IT IS still early days for the newly formed Emerald Football Club after merging their junior and senior clubs into one entity with Football Federation Australia but already there is a stir of confidence building in the ranks.
The club’s senior grade slipped on the boots in Frenchville, just outside of Rockhampton, for one the region’s first competitive football tournaments of the season.
From four games played the Emerald underdogs could manage just one win, with two close losses and a nil-all draw to Frenchville White, however the scores only told half the story, according to team captain Tim O’Rourke.
“Each game was very tight,” he said. “In four games we only conceded three goals,” he said.
Despite a five-nil win over Central he labelled the two-nil loss to local Rockhampton team Berserker as one of their best games of the carnival.
“We defended well, moved the ball around more and just generally played better as a team,” O’Rourke said.
“I felt that with every game we were getting better and better.
“Nobody slacked off, everybody put in.”
The effort was all the more remarkable considering some of the opposition they were up against, including the captain of QSL team Capricorn Cougars Tristan Fraser.
The Emerald club finished third overall in their pool and didn’t even need the win, just a draw, to finish second and
thereby qualifying for the B semi-final.
O’Rourke named Shannon Elford, Mario Terranova and Nick Andrews as some of the team’s best on ground with both displaying “outstanding defence and work rates”.
Much of Emerald’s newfound confidence on the field could be attributed to the introduction of team coach John Salogni and untried training methods in the Central Highlands side.
When asked if he could describe the type of change the team had undergone, O’Rourke found it difficult to pinpoint an exact cause, but said it was likely the mental approach.
“We’ve been training to approach the game differently, with a different attitude,” he said.
Tieri was to be the second Central Highlands side entering the Frenchville tournament but were forced to pull out only days from first kick-off after being told the club needed to be registered with Football Federation Australia.
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