Rockingham City expectations for NPL WA debut the same despite strong Night Series showing

Stuart HortonSound Telegraph
Rockingham City coach Cameron Lord.
Camera IconRockingham City coach Cameron Lord.

Rockingham City’s strong showing in the National Premier Leagues WA Night Series hasn’t changed the team’s expectations or focus ahead of its first game in WA’s top soccer league, according to coach Cameron Lord.

Lord said while the team was looking forward to its round 1 NPL WA clash against Balcatta on Saturday, the Night Series performance, in which City missed out on a place in the final following a semifinal penalty shootout defeat to Floreat Athena, had not changed its outlook for the season.

“The Night Series was always about preparations for round 1, so nothing has changed,” he said.

“It was a wonderful learning experience for us and allowed us to understand what we needed to be better at in preparation for the NPL. Nonetheless, we are not in this league to make up the numbers and we want to have a successful season in 2019.

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“As a newly promoted club the first target is to stay in the league, however with a playing group with so many winners we will not settle simply for that and want to make sure that the State starts to view Rockingham City as a club that belongs in the NPL.”

Lord said it was difficult to gauge any side based on its Night Series results as every team chopped and changed line-ups in preparation for the league season, and applied the same thinking when weighing up Balcatta.

“I would not expect Balcatta to have fielded their strongest line-up in all of their fixtures. I am sure they will be a good side, as with all teams in this league,” he said.

“We just need to concentrate on what we are doing and make sure we are fully prepared to perform to our best abilities in round 1.”

City faces a run of away fixtures to begin life in the NPL WA - six of its first eight games will be played away from home - because of the WA Premier Cricket season and the likelihood of Rockingham-Mandurah hosting home finals.

Rather than a disadvantage, Lord believes it could be beneficial for his team to start life away from Lark Hill.

“Cricket has control of the facilities until the week of round 4... it is what it is,” he said.

“I actually believe some of the earlier games that we play away will be beneficial for us with our style of play to be played earlier in the season when their playing surfaces will be in better order.”

Rockingham City takes on Balcatta FC at Grindleford Reserve, Balcatta on Saturday March 16 at 3pm.

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