It was 2001. John Howard was our Prime Minister, the name ‘Harry Potter’ was only just becoming known to the public, and the Nokia brick phone was the height of technology.
It was also the last time CSU’s 4th Grade Men’s team made the finals.
After an early season slump, the 4th grade boys picked up their game midseason, finishing 5th and booking their place in their first finals series in 17 years.
The lack of a full-time goalkeeper told in the early stages of the season, with fill-in Michael Burns conceding seven goals in the opening match of the season.
The acquisition of goalie Jono Cutler mid-year stopped the flow of goals immediately, and allowed the side to focus on their attack, most notably with back-to-back 8-0 wins over Bathurst 75’s and City Red Tops during the June break period.
The team has grown in stature immensely between now and the beginning of the season, with strikers Angus Floyd and Jayden Bilton really honing their trade late in the season, while Tom Neely’s shift from the midfield to centre-back has reinvigorated the side’s backline. The form of rookie midfielder Alex Hibbard has been another strong point for the men in white, with his attacking presence and toughness adding a lot to the squad.
The team will take on the 4th place Panorama Black tonight on Proctor Field 2, in what will be the third clash of the season between these two teams.
The first matchup between the pair ended in heartbreak for CSUFC, with the university going toe-to-toe with higher placed outfit until they conceded an 85th minute goal, ending the game in a 1-0 loss.
However the side would bounce back on the club’s annual Headspace Cup day, defeating Panorama Black with a convincing 4-0 scoreline, and announcing themselves as true contenders.
Despite winning the last clash between the teams, CSU 4th Grade head coach Declan Gilkes knows finals footy is a different arena.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game tonight but the boys deserve to be in the finals and we are ready to show why”.
Their late season surge also saw them manage 0-0 draws with both Bathurst Athletic and Eglington FC, those teams finishing the season ranked 1st and 2nd respectively.
CSU will be understrength heading into the clash with the loss of Bilton, however the backline will be boosted by the return of Tim Eviston in the centre.
With a high number of supporters expected to turn out for the do-or-die clash, CSU are certain to put their best foot forward in a bid to advance to this weekend’s semi-final against Eglinton, with the loser to be eliminated from this year’s finals series.
The game will kick off at 6pm, September 12 at Proctor Park Field 2, so be sure to make an appearance and cheer the boys on as they make a charge towards the Grand Final.