THE banter is in good spirits, but the student-teacher relationship between Tayla Harmer and Susie Balcin will be put on hold when they battle for a place in the AFL Southern NSW Women's grand final on Friday night.
Harmer, 17, will line up for Collingullie-Glenfield Park in the preliminary final stoush with North Wagga, who Halpin has played for the past two seasons.
Halpin teaches physical education at Wagga High School, but Harmer will look to deliver a lesson of her own with a spot in the decider on the line
"There's always a bit of banter, and the banter is always better when you win against them (students)," Halpin laughed.
"It's all good fun. I know Tayla didn't expect to play against one of her teachers last year.
"Tayla is a really clean player and we've played netball before against each other."
Harmer, who plays ruck or in defence, has played netball with the Demons the past few years before picking up a Sherrin last year.
"There's a few of us from netball who have come across to play football," she said.
"It's good already knowing a few people on the team. We recruited a few from CSU and other teams, but it helped knowing a few girls already."
CollingullieGlenfield Park finished top of Pool B, but produced a shock when they beat defending premiers Charles Sturt University in a semi final thriller last week.
Harmer said it gave them confidence they can hold their own against the Saints, a perennial competition heavyweight who are looking to go one better than last year's grand final defeat.
"Having two Pool B teams go through, it's pretty good for the competition," Harmer said.
"Last week gave us some confidence and it's going to be a hard game this week, but I have faith in the girls. What happens on the field stays on the field, so there'll be no conflict at school."
Balchin said the Saints are desperate to take the next step this year. They were set to play in the 2020 grand final before it was cancelled due to COVID, while they fell just short against CSU last season.
"It would be nice to get to the final and win it this year," she said.
"We're a different team, some experienced heads but others who have only started playing footy this year.
"COVID has thrown some curve balls with us and across the competition, but it's great having more teams available this year and the talent spread across the clubs."
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