Despite sitting at opposition ends of the Pascoe Cup table, Hanwood FC are expecting a high-quality game of football when they meet the Tumut Eagles at Rawlings Park on Sunday.
The 2019 premiers have only lost one game in 2020, and sit in second place with two rounds remaining, while Tumut got on the board for the first-time last weekend with a dominant 5-nil victory over South Wagga.
Still, Hanwood FC coach Anthony Agresta has a lot of respect for Tumut, who he believed had the ability to beat any side on their day.
“I have been keeping an eye on their results and have talked to people who have played them and they have said they are definitely no push overs and we are expecting a tough game,” Agresta said.
“We played on the field next to them the other day and they pushed Henwood Park all the way and we will have to be on guard and at our best to get the result because really, they could beat anyone.
“I remember from last year, the score lines didn’t reflect our results, and they were tight contests and they will be tough to beat.”
Agresta said the current Pascoe Cup competition was much tighter than last year’s competition that saw the Griffith side go through to win fairly comfortably.
“It’s pretty wide open at the moment. Every week is a different challenge, even last week playing at home, people would have expected we would win comfortably but Wagga United pushed us all the way,” Agresta said.
The Hanwood coach said the strong club was transitioning to a younger senior player group, boasting a very different side this year compared to last year.
“We are still trying to play a possession-based game, similar to last year, but we are still in a transition period from last year and lost six or seven players from our premiership winning team,” Agresta said.
“Slowly, slowly we have built week-to-week and put ourselves in a reasonable position but we are still finding our way.
“I’ve have not seen anybody play us off the park, but we definitely need to be at our best to win the competition this year.”
The Griffith based football team will have the bye in the final round of the year and Agresta wants his side to enter finals in good form.
“Being our last game of the regular season, we want to take some good form into finals and put in a good performance this weekend against Tumut,” Agresta said.
Tumut won’t be rolling over to Hanwood though, with Eagles striker Tim Dixon excited for the contest and confident that his side can kick on and score more goals in the coming weeks.
“I think that gaining some confidence in the last attacking third from goals has been something we’ve needed all season, me included,” Dixon said.
“Hanwood from the sounds of it play very similar football to us, which should be interesting as we tend to really push to that next level against the higher teams in the comp.”
It won’t just be Tumut’s first grade team in action this weekend either and in Tumut’s lower grades, the Eagles Gardiner Shield team can keep their slim hopes of making the top four alive with a win over Hanwood FC.
The eighth place Tumut need to win and win well over the fourth place Griffith side.
In the Blake Trophy competition, a struggling Tumut third grade side look to have a tough task against a high-flying Hanwood FC.
Eagles draw Rawlings Park
Blake Trophy: Tumut v Hanwood 4.40pm (Saturday)
Gardiner Shield: Tumut v Hanwood 1pm (Sunday)
Pascoe Cup: Tumut v Hanwood 3.30pm (Sunday)
Castle scores in Wanderers loss
Tumut footballers were again busy over the weekend, playing representative football for the Wagga City Wanderers in the NPL 2 and NPL Capital Football competitions.
Megan Castle was able to find the net for the Wanderers women, but her side went down 3-1 to the third place Gungahlin United FC at Gungahlin Enclosed on Sunday.
Although sitting second last on the Capital Football ladder with only one win, the Wanderers women have been big improvers in 2020, and have kept in close contact with the top teams during most matches.
Castle, who is only 16 and eligible to play under 17s, is having another exceptional season in what is her first full year of first grade football and the youngster will look to make more of an impact when the Wanderers host Woden Weston FC at Gissing Oval on Sunday.
Braydan Salmon also scored for the Wanderers, with his under 13s Wagga side drawing 3-all with Canberra Olympic FC at O’Connor Enclosed on Saturday.
It was the fourth goal of the season for Salmon and he hopes to keep up the form against Griffith FC at Gissing Oval on Saturday.
The young Wanderers do look finals bound after eight games though, with five wins and two draws.
Matthew Mitchell tasted some success on Saturday, with his under 16s Wanderers winning their third game of the season to beat Canberra Olympic FC 2-1 at O’Connor Enclosed.
With only three rounds left, the Wagga side needs to win all remaining games to be a chance of finals and will aim to start that run when hosting Griffith FC at Gissing Oval on Saturday.
The under 14s Wanderers and Gabe Gilbert had a tougher time of things against Canberra Olympic on Saturday, going down 4-nil.
The Wanderers are out of finals contention but will hope to finish the season strongly and build for next season, starting with Griffith FC this Saturday.
It wasn’t much better reading for Ethan Watt and Daniel Castle and their under 18s squad that went down 3-nil to the top of the table Canberra Olympic FC.
The under 18s are now teetering on the edge of finals and need results in the coming weeks to secure a place in the post-season.
The side has a bye this week before playing Tigers FC and Radford College to round out their regular season.