Football: Port Saints to clash with Macleay Valley Rangers

Big role to play: Dan Gardiner will be a key figure for Port Saints on Saturday. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Big role to play: Dan Gardiner will be a key figure for Port Saints on Saturday. Photo: Ivan Sajko

PORT Saints face their toughest test this season when they clash with Macleay Valley Rangers on Saturday.

In a match which pits the only two undefeated sides in the competition against each other, Saints coach John Goodman is looking forward to the challenge.

He is, however, wary of how much of an affect a two-week break will have on his side at Findlay Park.

They have only played one match in the last month, but Goodman was confident it won’t have disrupted their early season momentum.

“Our season has been a bit stop-start so hopefully having a break over the last couple of weeks won’t affect us too much,” he said.

“It would have been nice to get a roll on and continue to build some momentum, so I don’t know whether the break is a good thing or a bad thing.

Our season has been a bit stop-start so hopefully having a break over the last couple of weeks won’t affect us too much. - Port Saints coach John Goodman

“It’s not a good preparation for us, but we have been training twice a week.”

Rangers are flying high after six-straight wins where they have put 23 goals in the back of the net and conceded just four.

Goodman said it would be Saints toughest test this season and he knows their defence will need to be at its best.

Defender Dan Gardner will have a role to play, as will youngster Ty Marchant.

“You’ve gotta give it to MVR, they’re undefeated for a reason and have been smashing everyone, but we both haven’t lost a game,” Goodman said.

“The only difference it we’ve had a draw. I haven’t seen them play so I can’t pinpoint how they do what they’ve been doing.

“It just sounds like they’ve been taking their opportunities when they present themselves and mentally it looks like they have it – they just know how to win.”

The top-of-the-table clash could be decided by a moment of brilliance or a defensive error and the Saints coach was looking forward to the challenge.

You’ve gotta give it to MVR, they’re undefeated for a reason and have been smashing everyone, but we both haven’t lost a game. - John Goodman

“It only takes one moment to decide a match and I’m expecting that to be the case on Saturday,” he said.

“There is no doubt it’s our big challenge this weekend.”

While victory on Saturday will not see Saints surge to the top of the table, they still have two games in hand.

They were scheduled to host Taree on Wednesday night in a washed out fixture, but that has been shifted to another date later in the season.

Goodman said he would have almost everyone on board for Saturday’s clash.

“I’ll have close to my first-string side available although Jammo is in a bit of doubt, but hopefully he will be okay,” he said.

“I think we’re every bit as good as them and I’m hoping we’re fitter than them.

“We’ll run all day because it’s going to be very physical  it always is when we play them.”

First grade kicks off at 3pm with reserve grade at 1.15pm.

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