Sydenham Park sitting pretty

Sydenham Park's Juro Salic. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 237536_04

Tara Murray

Everything was starting to go to plan for Sydenham Park in the Football Victoria state league 1 north-west competition before the latest lockdown suspended the league.

After a less than ideal pre-season, Sydenham was starting to put it together on the park and after nine rounds was sitting comfortably in the top half of the table.

Coach Denii Lisolajski said hat despite the competition being on hold, they were happy with where things were sitting.

“We are where we expected to be in the pre-season,” he said.

“There was a big turnover from the 2020 squad and even in the pre-season players were coming in and out.

“Going into round one we thought we were five or six weeks behind schedule and the aim was to keep in contact with the guys up the top and we have.

“We were starting to hit form and then COVID-19 hit.”

Lisolajski said they had set the aim to take maximum points in the four matches before the halfway mark of the season and had been on track for that.

The other major focus for the club is the FFA Cup. The club is one of three state league sides to make it through to the final 16 of the Victorian stage.

“The FFA Cup was another big thing,” he said. “We wanted to get to the round of 16 which we had never got to before and we’ve done that.

“In our four walls of our club, we don’t fear anybody. There are a lot of quality players at Sydenham who are top tier players, NPL level players.”

Lisolajski said despite starting to hit form, the enforced break to COVID-19 restrictions wasn’t the worst thing for the team.

With restrictions being extended, at least two rounds of the competition will be missed due to the lockdown.

“I don’t think it’s ideal for anyone,” he said.

“But in terms of our boys, it’s good time to have a break. We’ve had some injuries and a fairly hectic schedulE, to is gives the guys time to recover and reset.

“We handed out a program for the first week and with the extension of the lockdown, we’ll get in contact with every player individually and hand out another program.

“The players are smart enough to keep themselves occupied and at the level they need to be for the rest of the season.”

Lisolajski said they were set to get some players back after the break and there would be a lot of competition for spots.

He said they were in the perfect position to continue their strong form.

“It’ll be a heavy schedule as we have FFA cup, as well as possible mid week games,” he said.

“We’re in a healthy space and healthy environment from the top to the bottom.

In a statement released last week, Football Victoria said it was continuing to work through rescheduling options for the two postponed rounds in metropolitan Melbourne.