OXLEY Vale Attunga head into tomorrow’s all-Tamworth Northern Inland Premier League grand final at Scully Park tomorrow on the cusp of becoming the most successful club in Premier League history.
That will be the cherry on top for the Mushies if they can knock over North Companions and go back to back.
They currently sit on five first grade premierships alongside North Armidale United.
It could be a huge day for the Mushies, with their seconds taking on Norths United.
They haven’t held the reserve grade silverware since 2009.
They got the treble that year – both premierships and the club championship.
It could be a good omen for them.
“I was just looking back and we’ve only won the club championship once – in 2009 – and we won it this year,” coach Tim Coates said.
Not that he is relying on that.
He’s relying on their football to get them home.
They will be missing Matt Dunn after he received his second yellow card last week but do have Jack Diebold returning.
He’ll slot in up front, allowing James Bailey – who filled in there for him – to play in the midfield role he’s more comfortable with.
“We have the experience and we have a good side but we’re not getting carried away,” Coates said.
“We’ve had three games against them.”
The first was in the FFA Cup and North Companions won that on penalties.
The Mushies won the next two 3-1 and 4-1.
“This game is a different game – there’s a different prize at the end of it,” he said.
He said they just have to play “like we normally do”.
“We’ve got to roll on and shut their guys down,” he said.
“We soaked up a lot of pressure last week against DK.”
“We just like to play the game hard and fast and keep the pressure on the ball at all times.”
Standing in their way is a North Companions side with nothing to lose.
“It’s our game to win and OVA’s to lose,” Companions coach Gavin Thompson said.
They’ve already done far better than the club anticipated in making the grand final.
“It’s a big task for us. We’re not shying away from that,” Thompson said.
It’s the first time they’ve made the grand final since 2007, which they won, and he said the boys were pretty switched on.
“Everyone’s taking it in their stride,” he said.
“We don’t want to do overdo it. We want them to go out and enjoy the game.”
He said they have pinpointed where they need to be better than they were in their last meeting.
One thing they need to do is put more pressure on the Mushies on their set pieces.
The Mushies’ goals against them have predominantly come from the set piece.
“Six of their seven goals have come from the set piece,” Thompson said.
“We need to put pressure on the ball receiver and not get caught ball-watching.”
They also need to take their chances.
They won’t be the only Norths side the Mushies have to face and, after going down to Tamworth FC last year, the North Armidale seconds will be keen to make amends.
“They are a good quality side and they play good football,” Coates said.
“The trick to them is stopping the supply, and supply is shutting down Michael
The two met in the semi-finals just two weeks ago, with Norths taking the points 2-nil.
“It was probably the worst game of football I’ve seen my guys play,” Coates said.
“Then they came out and played their best game last week.”
If they play something in between they should be a chance.
The Leader incorrectly referred to the North Companions captain as Zac Kam in an article in yesterday’s paper. It should have said Will Kam. It was also Ben Todd whom they have lost, not Ben Davis. The Leader apologises for the error.