by Jarrard Potter
FOOTBALL: The dream of playing in the finals this year is still alive for the Bobcats, but today's match against the second-placed Urunga Raiders will prove pivotal to their chances of making it into the top four of the North Coast Football Premier League.
Head coach Dennis Mavridis said a 3-1 win against Coffs Tigers in a mid-week catch-up match was crucial to their finals hopes, but they need to keep winning to be any chance of claiming a finals berth.
"We're on equal points with Sawtell who are sitting fourth, so with two games left in the regular season this weekend's match really shapes things for us,” Mavridis said.
"We have put ourselves in this position from the start of the second half of the season, and since then we've basically been one of, if not the, form side of the competition. We've only lost one game since then, and that's been our main focus, maintaining consistency and focus.
"This match is a big one, because there's four teams battling it out for the final two spots in the finals, so no-one can afford to be complacent.”
With Urunga still in the hunt for the minor premiership, Mavridis said he expects a tough encounter.
"They're not coming up here just to play a game of football, they've got a lot to play for themselves,” he said.
"It will be a great test for the team. Urunga are a good team and they're hard to score goals against, but we just need to look at what we've done and what we've achieved in the last seven weeks. We can match them and give them a really good game.”
While injuries and the flu have hampered preparations, Mavridis said the depth in the Bobcats' squad will see them field a strong side today.
"We've got to take all the confidence into this game, we've been playing so well the last seven weeks so there's no reason for the guys to have an fear,” he said.
"What I've been impressed with throughout the season is our counter-attack, we transition quickly and swiftly from defence to attack and we have the players to do that. Being a well organised team, Urunga are hard to break down but I think we can catch them off-guard by playing on the counter.”