Inverell FC Seniors have the gold in their sights as both grades face the major semi-finals as the minor premiers of the season.
“It’s always a confidence booster to go into the finals of the season being the best team for the regular season,” coach Kyle Chilcott said. Both teams will face their rivals at home this Saturday.
He warned the local teams’ good fortune also meant they had a target on their back.
“Other teams think we’re the team to beat – which is a nice feeling – but they always fire up more to play against you, I think,” he said.
Going in with a hefty goal scoring history, grade two will need to step up their defence as they face Armidale’s Demon Knights (DK Dads).
“They’re pretty strong in second grade because they don’t have a first grade team,” Chilcott said. The DK Dads have a strong striker, who will challenge the locals’ attacking prowess.
“We’ve played them twice this year and had draws, so we haven’t beat them yet,” Chilcott said. He said that if Inverell FC tightens up their defence, they’re “in with a big chance” of winning.
“I think they’re probably the frontrunners, but that always gets tricky this time of the year, because you play bad once and it’s all over,” he said.
For grade one, the challenge is keeping their heads regardless of how their fight against the Glen Innes Highlanders begins.
“The start of the game’s been a problem for us. If they succeed early, we seem to drop our heads and we’re not really in the game,” Chilcott explained.
Glen Innes and Inverell have had a fierce rivalry this season. The Highlanders beat the locals twice with scores of 5-0 and 6-0, while Inverell FC finally fought back with a comfortable win of 3-0.
“It could really go either way. We haven’t had a close game against them yet,” Chilcott said.
“I think the first 15 minutes pretty much decides who wins at the moment, between the two teams,” he said. He said if the locals manage to keep their heads and stay in the game, they should come away with another win.
“Both teams struggle when they get behind, they kind of hit the panic button and go away from the game plan, which is what we’ve done when we’ve lost to them twice this year,” he said.
Argentinian Ricky Massola has proved to be a player to watch in Inverell’s first grade. Based in North Star, Chilcott said Massola has shown a lot of dedication in travelling in to the games each week.
“I think he’s been a big influence. He trains every week and he brings up the attitude of the club because of his commitment,” he said.
Saturday will be a full day of competition at the Inverell Sporting Complex, with youth semi finals running from 8am, second grade taking on DK Dads at 12.30pm and first grade facing Glen Innes at 3pm. The canteen will be open, and a barbecue will be available.