Panthers on a roll to top
THE 4-0 thrashing of Lismore Workers on Tuesday night validates suggestion the Pottsville Panthers are well on their way to being the new kings of the FFNC jungle.
With their second four-goal haul in four days, the re-formed Premier Leaguers have raced into second spot on the ladder and show no signs of slowing up.
Although level on points with Richmond Rovers and Byron Bay, Pottsville's superior goal differ- ence, courtesy of Josh Taylor, Mike Kolovos, Adam Rodgers – who all scored on Tuesday with Kolovos bagging a double – and Josh Boag, has the Panthers on top of the chase pack.
“We're looking good; played eight, won five,” captain/coach David Lonie said.
“I'm really happy with all the boys, and a finals spot looks promising, but we must keep moving forward.”
It was only a matter of weeks ago when Pottsville were struggling to get a game due to weather restrictions, and Lonie worried the long lay-off may cost his troops a finals berth.
Off the back of being the first team this season to twice lead undefeated front-runners Goonellabah – in their 3-2 loss – Pottsville produced the flawless 5-1 flogging of Ballina and 4-3 destruction of Bangalow.
However, after beating Bangalow on May 22, Pottsville did not take to the field again until Saturday (June 19).
Yet Lonie's fears were laid to rest when they first toppled third-placed Byron Bay 4-3 before banishing Lismore Workers back to sixth on Tuesday.
“I was very afraid that we would lose our momentum, but we've definitely kept it rolling. The break may even have been a good thing,” Lonie said.
“We've been playing great first halves and have proven we have probably the best fitness in the comp which is allowing us to push through the second half.”
This weekend Pottsville face a massive double-header at Koala Beach Sports Fields, with the six points on the line worth everything to a club with a point to prove.
On Saturday, starting at 5pm, they tackle fifth-placed Lismore Thistles who, on a tight table, are only two points adrift of Pottsville.
A win there would start to bridge a gap between the top four and the rest of the table, while a second win over ninth-placed, one-match winners Italo Stars on Sunday (2.30pm) would leave Pottsville a comfortable second, three points clear of third.