City main­tain fo­cus

Southern Telegraph - - SPORT - Stu­art Hor­ton

Rock­ing­ham City’s strong show­ing in the Na­tional Pre­mier Leagues WA Night Se­ries hasn’t changed the team’s ex­pec­ta­tions or fo­cus ahead of their first game in WA’s top soccer league, ac­cord­ing to coach Cameron Lord.

Lord said while the team were look­ing for­ward to their round 1 NPL WA clash against Bal­catta on Satur­day, the Night Se­ries per­for­mance, in which City missed out on a place in the fi­nal af­ter a semi­fi­nal penalty shoot- out de­feat to Floreat Athena, had not changed their out­look for the sea­son.

“The Night Se­ries was al­ways about prepa­ra­tions for round 1, so noth­ing has changed,” he said.

“It was a won­der­ful learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us and al­lowed us to un­der­stand what we needed to be bet­ter at in prepa­ra­tion for the NPL. Nonethe­less, we are not in this league to make up the num­bers and we want to have a suc­cess­ful sea­son in 2019.

“As a newly pro­moted club, the first tar­get is to stay in the league, how­ever with a play­ing group with so many win­ners we will not set­tle sim­ply for that and want to make sure that the State starts to view Rock­ing­ham City as a club that be­longs in the NPL.”

Lord said it was dif­fi­cult to gauge any side based on its Night Se­ries re­sults as ev­ery team chopped and changed line- ups in prepa­ra­tion for the league sea­son.

“I would not ex­pect Bal­catta to have fielded their strong­est line- up in all of their fix­tures,” he said.

“We just need to con­cen­trate on what we are do­ing and make sure we are fully pre­pared to per­form to our best abil­i­ties in round 1.”

City face a run of away fix­tures to be­gin life in the NPL WA — six of their first eight games will be played away from home — be­cause of the WA Pre­mier Cricket sea­son and the like­li­hood of Rock­ing­ham-Man­durah host­ing home fi­nals.

Rather than a dis­ad­van­tage, Lord be­lieves it could be ben­e­fi­cial for his team to start away from Lark Hill.

“Cricket has con­trol of the fa­cil­i­ties un­til the week of round 4 . . . it is what it is,” he said.

Rock­ing­ham City take on Bal­catta FC at Grindle­ford Re­serve, Bal­catta on Satur­day, March 16, at 3pm.

Rock­ing­ham City coach Cameron Lord.

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