Quirindi FC experienced grand final heartache of the highest order in 2016 but now have the chance to reverse that result.
In the decider two years ago, Gunnedah FC triumphed following a penalty shootout and the two teams will clash for a second grand final in three years in Saturday’s Tamworth District Football men’s first grade decider on Saturday at Scully Park.
Quirindi FC coach Steve Sharp – who took over the coaching reins in 2017 – was there in 2016 and said his side – which had changed since 2016 – was ready for the grand final.
“We’ve had a couple of players leave, had a couple return to the club and had some reserve grade players that are first grade quality step up,” Sharp said.
“We’re a much more well rounded squad this time around.”
Head-to-head, Gunnedah FC has won all three games – 4-0, 1-0 and 1-0 – between the sides this season.
But Sharp doesn’t read into those performances all that much.
He said despite not managing to score, Quirindi had created chances and in front of goal was where they needed to be better.
“I think we’ve just been unlucky,” Sharp said.
“Last time we played them, we wasted our opportunities.
“Hopefully with a couple tweaks we can change that.”
Breaking down Gunnedah FC’s defence will be no easy feat.
Gunnedah FC coach Andy Cygan has the utmost confidence in his defensive unit.
He says the players at the back have “been solid” and have only conceded about “three goals in open play all year”.
He says GFC have a mountain of experience and will be hard to score against in Saturday’s Tamworth District Football first grade grand final against Quirindi FC.
And while they’re defence in grand finals has been spotty – Gunnedah FC have conceded seven goals in the last two deciders – Cygan said his team could turn that form around.
“I’m really not sure. I wasn’t there in the grand final two years ago but they actually came back and won that so that wasn’t too bad,” Cygan said of the 2016 decider.
“Last year, Souths just started better than us and we made silly mistakes at the back.
“But that’s something we’ve not done all year – we haven’t made any mistakes.”
Anchoring the defence at the back is Kameron Manks who has missed matches throughout the season due to work commitments. “Kameron Manks, when he’s there, he’s solid. He doesn't concede many,” Cygan said.
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