Werribee will be out to retain its hold on the Ron Hepburn Memorial Shield when it squares off against North Ballarat at Eureka Stadium on Saturday.
The Shield has been contested between the two clubs since 2004 and is named in honour of the late Werribee treasurer, who began a seven-year stint in the role in 1998 and helped guide the club through a very difficult financial period.
Hepburn also had strong links to North Ballarat, a club he spent plenty of time around in his younger years, and he helped forge the strong bond between the Tigers and the Roosters that continues to this day.
While North Ballarat proved the dominant force in the Shield’s formative years, Werribee has held sway in recent times, winning the last three encounters and four of the last five to move clear on the ledger with seven wins to six.
But while the win-loss tally suggests a run of Tiger dominance, the last three Shield meetings – all held at Avalon Airport Oval – have all been classic contests.
Last year’s hard-fought 11-point victory snapped a seven-game losing streak for Werribee, a rain-soaked 2015 affair saw the Tigers come from behind in the final term to snatch a 14-point win, and 2014 produced a wildly seesawing game that ultimately had the hosts home by 22 points.
The 2017 Ron Hepburn Shield kicks off at 1pm at Eureka Stadium in Wendouree.