Green nails equaliser in emo­tional clash against com­pe­ti­tion favourites Fury in­spire tears of joy

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMP­SON michael. thomp­son@ news. com. au

THE North­ern Fury have kept their math­e­mat­i­cal hopes of mak­ing the Queens­land NPL fi­nals alive af­ter scor­ing an in­spired 2- all draw with ta­ble top­pers Gold Coast City.

Jar­rod Green again played the role of hero for the Fury by pounc­ing on a Gold Coast de­fen­sive er­ror to grab a 75th minute equaliser, one week af­ter he scored a brace in the Fury’s 3- 0 win over SWQ Thun­der.

The Fury are now three wins out­side the all- im­por­tant top four and have two games in hand as a re­sult of weather and travel in­ter­rup­tions, and Fury coach Paul Ron­cato is con­fi­dent Satur­day night’s re­sult on the glit­ter strip will be the cat­a­lyst of a late sea­son surge.

There was plenty of pregame emo­tion for the Fury, who made a point of mak­ing Ron­cato proud af­ter the re­spected coach suf­fered a stroke last week.

Fury goal­keep­ing coach Ken Mitchell filled in for Ron­cato dur­ing the rain- soaked game, which saw Gold Coast grab a 1- 0 lead af­ter half an hour through a header from league lead­ing goalscorer Jar­rod Kyle, be­fore Corey Waples slot­ted home a saved penalty near half­time.

Oskar Dil­lon made it 2- 1 for the home side just af­ter the break, ris­ing above the pack to score a header, and it could have been more if not for the stun­ning per­for­mance of Fury goal­keeper Joseph Si­mons who de­nied Gold Coast with a num­ber of re­flex saves.

Green then handed the Fury their de­served share of the points with his late goal.

“I think that was the first time I’ve been brought to tears in a long time,” Ron­cato said.

“My week wasn’t so good with the health scare I had.

“I don’t know if the play­ers ac­tu­ally played for me, but I know as a player I would have, and to hear they had scored a re­sult like that against the com­pe­ti­tion favourites was in­cred­i­ble.

“The feed­back from the play­ers was just beau­ti­ful. It’s hard to de­scribe how proud I am.”

The Fury again reached into its un­der- 16 ranks to cover player short­ages, and Jared Fagg was handed his NPL de­but just 15 min­utes into the game when cen­tral de­fender Mitch Ma­her suf­fered an an­kle in­jury.

Start­ing de­fender Dar­ren Walker was also a late with- drawal be­cause of a sore neck.

Kyren Wal­ters, an­other Fury un­der- 16 player, again had a stel­lar game and earned the penalty that was even­tu­ally con­verted by Waples.

The Fury host sec­ond­placed Bris­bane Strik­ers on Satur­day and Ron­cato said a sim­i­lar per­for­mance could put the Fury in prime po­si­tion for a fi­nals’ tilt.

“I still be­lieve if we can keep pulling re­sults like that – and with the two games we have in hand – any­thing can hap­pen,” he said. “The 3- 0 win we got over the Thun­der was mag­nif­i­cent and I think that gave us the be­lief we can re­ally achieve some­thing.”

STAND ASIDE: Western Lions’ Daniel Pick­er­ing charges into the Her­bert River Crush­ers in TDRL ac­tion. Pic­ture: SCOTT RADFORD- CHISHOLM

Fury player Jar­rod Green.

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