A final round clash with Panorama Red for the minor premiership shapes as a mammoth clash for First Grade White, however for the likes of captain John Henry and winger Andrew Smith, the matchup also sees them come up against a number of their Western Mariners teammates.
The two dominant sides for the entirety of the season, both the Stags and the Goats boast multiple players who represent their region at NPL3 level alongside their usual Sunday club duties.
A dual registration sees these players often taking to the pitch for two matches each weekend and is a testament to their love of the game. However, as they come up against each other in what shapes as the most important match of the season, Mariners camaraderie counts for little.
Mariners vice-captain John Henry will pull on the armband for CSU on Wednesday evening and is looking forward to lining up against an array of players he usually goes into battle alongside.
“It will be fun playing against them. It’s not often you get to play against your teammates.”
Henry believes there’s no rivalry between himself and his fellow Mariners and expects a tough contest following a narrow 2-1 victory for his side the last time these sides met.
“I don’t know about rivalry between the Mariners players, but there is certainly a healthy rivalry between the clubs. It was a very good feeling to beat them last time, there was a little bit of gloating but we couldn’t get carried away with this replay in the back of our minds.”
“I think it will be fast and physical. Panorama have pace all over the field and so do we, I think it will come down to who can take their chances.”
Winger Andrew Smith will line up against a number of players he has played alongside in the past.
Stags and Mariners teammate Andrew Smith echoed his captain’s sentiments.
“I’m excited to play against my Mariners teammates, its always fun and competitive – even more now with the importance of this game. We’re all mates off the field and no matter the result that won’t change… but you always want to get one up on your mate.”
‘Smithy,’ as he is affectionately known, broke his collarbone the last time these two sides met and heard from his hospital bed of his side’s victory.
“Last time I left the field with a broken collarbone, with 30 or so minutes to play, the game was in the balance at that point and when I heard from the hospital bed that we got up I was so pleased. I’m keen and I know the boys can do it again.”
“I reckon whoever comes out of the gates fastest will make the difference and that will be us.”
Henry, Smith and their Stags teammates will take on Panorama Red on Wednesday evening at Proctor Park. The winner will take out the Bathurst Premier League minor premiership and secure a favourable finals draw – kick off is scheduled for 7pm.
Don’t miss out on the match of the season so far!