After four rounds into the Tamworth District Football season, Gunnedah FC sits in second in first grade and fourth in reserve grade and first grade coach Andy Cygan said the promotion of the junior brigade has played a big part in that.
“The young players are the pleasing thing so far this year,” he said.
“Kaleb McIlveen, Adam McGuirk and Jayden Thomas have come in and done a great job in the last couple of weeks.
“The Keeler brothers – Bailey and Rowan – are starting to show the flair and ability we know they have. It was nice to see Rowan get a goal in first grade as he puts a lot of effort in at training.
“Boyd McCormack was outstanding at the back and if he starts getting to training he should be a first grader all year.”
Gunnedah FC took on Hillvue on the weekend and came away with wins in both grades.
Reserve grade had a strong lineup with the welcome return of captain Nathan McDonald and very few other players being absent.
The confidence from the previous week flowed through the team with strong passing and communication which paid off with goals from McIlveen from Zac Crowhurst.
McGuirk then scored his second for the season when he wrong footed the Hillvue keeper. The score stayed at 3-0 at half-time after a scoring opportunity, from some individual brilliance from Shelly White, went begging.
Myles Conn, Jayden Thomas and Rowan Keeler played outstanding games and continued to work right to the end. This became critical when Hillvue scored two quick goals in the final 15 minutes to come within one of equalising but FC held on for a 3-2 win.
Coach Alexzanna Budge was proud of the commitment her team showed and said she has noticed considerable improvement throughout the team over the last four weeks.
In first grade, Gunnedah FC were without the usual back three of Matt Davis, Welington Sardinha and Justin Lawrence which gave a first grade debut to Boyd McCormack who stood out from start to finish. David Silver dropped in at the back and took control with McGuirk and Mitch Whitten covering the fullback positions.
Also missing was new keeper Kameron Manks so Alex Boyd stepped up playing both grades and wasn’t beat all game as Gunnedah FC went on to thrash a tired Hillvue side 12-0.
In the first half only three goals went in but in the second half the flood gates opened.
Rob Pryor ended the day with four, Cygan and Matt Williams two, McIlveen, Bailey Keeler, Rowan Keeler and Crowhurst with a goal each.
Cygan said the strength in the second half was pleasing.
“The last couple of years we have beaten teams well in the last 20 minutes and we got back to that today,” he said. “We’re way off where we need to be in terms of fitness but it was pleasing to see a few goals go in.”
Along with the efforts of the younger brigade, Cygan also said the experienced players led by example.
“I was also very impressed with the efforts of Michael Cooke and captain Matt Williams in the middle of midfield, they never stopped battling all game,” Cygan said.
This weekend, Gunnedah FC will take on Quirindi away from home.
Cygan thanked ADS Drilling, The Courthouse Hotel and Gunnedah Leather Processors for their continued support.
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