Round 16 saw us back on the artificial pitch against a much improved and well organised Essendon Royals.
The Royals, who like us, have recently invested in their squad, were coming off a strong 4-0 win over Whittlesea and a narrow 3-2 loss to Preston. We knew they had a number of different avenues to goal and would be a threat going forward.
Coached by former Georgie, Vaughn Coveney, they were led well by the experienced Michael Ferrante, Liam O’Connell and Joel Nikolic. It was a very tight game and another one our boys can be proud of. Our third clean sheet in four weeks meant the lone header from captain George George Tsiakalakis was all we needed in the end. A 1-nil win at home is credit for the resilience, determination and fight the boys showed.
This week Rayane Frihi came back into the squad after a week off injured and young Jakob Krajacic missed out due to suspension. As a centre back, Jakob has done a great job for us at left back over the last few weeks and now that Peter Deng has arrived we have genuine competition for places across all positions.
The Royals hit the bar from distance and had numerous set piece opportunities - in the end, we should have had more reward for much of our good work in the front third as well. George Slefendoras on another day could have had a hatrick! But great to see us creating chances.
The week on the track was another positive one with lots of work around us defending and being more precise at set pieces. Andre Lopes delivery from wide areas was a replica of what we conceded the week before - so it was great to see the team learn and show the right attitude. His delivery to George Tsiakalakis was impeccable. Across the park we were relentless with another strong performance defensively and in goals by our young Goal Keeper Ryan Gauci – who continues to grow. He is joined by the young Alex Diamond and together it’s great to see some Georgies juniors getting and taking their chance.
During the week we said goodbye to Christopher Triantafilopoulos who has decided to move on from the club. Christopher is a great character and someone that worked hard and always had the right attitude. We thank and wish him well on his move to Clifton Hill and it’s a shame we didn’t get more time together.
Also great to see Dominic Swinton get a bit more game time after his return from a long term hand injury. Rhys Saunders and Brian Summerskill are still a couple of weeks away with hamstring niggles.
This week is huge. We host Altona City in a massive contest. Altona City are coached by another friend in Andy Odell. Andy is an honest and direct football person with an immense will to win. His teams always show the same characteristics. Sitting fourth and still in touch of promotion, they will arrive and throw everything at us. We will work hard again this week to make sure we are ready. The club is organising a pre-game function and we hope to see many more of our long-term supporters in attendance.
A big shout out to all our backroom staff (medical, support staff and marshals) who continue to work hard and together as we continue on our journey. Also a massive thank you to Adam Wakefield our Technical Director who has been doing a great job making our Junior girls and boys part of the Senior game day and thankfully on the weekend, part of the celebrations. It’s one club for us all to share and show that #GeorgiesCourage
Caroline Springs George Cross FC