PORT Saints can end Kempsey Saints Football Mid North Coast Premier League first grade season with a win at Findlay Park on Saturday.
In a competition which is set to go down to the wire, only eight points separates Kempsey from third-placed Wallis Lake with three rounds to go.
But a loss in Port Macquarie on Saturday will end Kempsey’s finals hopes.
Port Saints go into the match refreshed after having their second bye of the season last weekend which coach John Goodman conceded “came at a good time”.
“I think when we got past United in our last game we all breathed a huge sigh of relief and thought ‘we made it’,” he said.
“We were happy to have the bye because it really helped us out.”
With a team dominated by teenagers preparing for their trial Higher School Certificate, Goodman knew football would come second for a few weeks.
“We’re at that time of the year where school is important for these kids,” he said.
Saints currently sit five points clear of third and Goodman now wanted his side to stay there, admitting they had exceeded expectations so far this season.
We were happy to have the bye because it really helped us out.
“We probably have to a point,” he said.
“But in saying that, we looked pretty good after our first few games as well and we have shaken up pretty much every side who might have though we were too young.”
The last five years for the club has been up-and-down, winning the grand final in 2015, before being left with the wooden spoon last year.
Two years before they won the grand final they were in a promotion/relegation battle just to stay in the competition.
While this is Goodman’s first year in charge of the club, he felt there were outside factors that contributed to the yo-yo performances of the team over the years.
“I think it’s got a lot to do with availability and having players that all left at the one time which is what happened after winning the grand final,” he said.
Kempsey are still a very dangerous football team and we definitely don’t want to finish any lower than third.
“Over the next few years if we can stabilise our juniors we won’t have a lot of older players which will leave us with the juniors going forward.”
A win on Saturday will cement their position in the top-two although the coach was expecting Kempsey to throw everything at them.
“They’re the sort of side who play really similar to how we play, but for some reason haven’t been getting the results they’d like,” he said.
“But they’re still a very dangerous football team and we definitely don’t want to finish any lower than third.”
Goodman said they would enjoy ending Kempsey’s season with a win.
“It is always good to put a team out of contention,” he said.
First grade kicks off at 3pm, while reserve grade starts at 1.15pm.