Green Gully remaining hopeful of finals berth

Green Gully's Jordon Lampard (Ljubica Vrankovic) 347368_31_3

Harper Sercombe

Finals remains the goal for Green Gully in the National Premier League season.

Currently sitting in seventh spot and only one point behind sixth, coach Stephen Downes remains confident his squad can secure a finals berth.

However, a loss to Dandenong Thunder last Saturday means results will have to fall its way to achieve it.

The eighth placed Thunder won 1-0 in the Saturday night clash with Grad Damen scoring the game winner through a 68th minute penalty.

“It’s unfortunate that it (making finals) is not in our own hands with the weekend’s result,” Downes said.

“We’ve been inconsistent across the full year, but there’s many reasons for that.

“There’s been a lot of injuries… I don’t want them to sound like excuses because we’ve got a good squad, but injuries do take its toll.

“Injuries have impacted the season and the results and the consistency and continuity of the group who’s on the pitch… has probably played out and is a fair reflection of where we sit in the league.

“But the hopes are we still make the finals, and we give it a good shake up.”

Green Gully’s goal difference sits at 12, much higher than the teams around them on the table, which Downes said shows the quality within the squad.

However, against the top three clubs, Avondale, South Melbourne and Oakleigh, the Cavaliers have conceded 14 of its 38 goals.

“We can be competitive, it’s just the inconsistencies,” he said.

“We’ve been able to compete other than the games against the top three sides. Irrelevant of what the match day squad’s been like.”

After unexpectedly losing 10 players last season Downes said consistency is key to future success.

“There’s always been heavy turnaround with the squad. It needs a couple of years with the same group,” he said.

“Continuity is a key platform. With continuity you can get consistency, you can get a level and an understanding of relationships on the pitch.

“Keeping a large percentage of the squad [will be key].

“The highest we can finish this year is fifth so if we want to improve you’re going to look to add quality, so there will be changes.

“But as a club we would like to retain as many (players) as we can.”

Although Downes did not hint at where the on field improvements he is seeking to make will be.

“Those things will be assessed at the end of the year,” he said.

There was a competition wide by on the weekend with the Dockerty Cup final being held on Sunday.

The Cavaliers face 10th placed Heidelberg United this week, before facing the 11th ranked St Albans in the last round of the season.

In other matches this weekend, the Saints will play Moreland City and Melbourne Knights will face Dandenong Thunder.

In NPL3, Caroline Springs George Cross will aim to go one step closer to the title against Ballarat City, while North Sunshine Eagles will face Doverton.