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Coaches Corner: Round 17

This was an emotional and significant day for our football club. We went into combat against Altona City in what was billed as a derby. They are still pushing for promotion. We knew it would be hard.

Off the park, we hosted our first ever President's Function at the new Georgies On Vista Bistro in front of 130 people. Great to see personalities like Kevin Muscat, Mark Rudan, Steve Horvat and John Grimaud as special guests. They all love our facility. So do we.

The main event - we played our first game on the new international standard main pitch. We got our first three (3) points at home. No one can ever take that away from us. Huge recognition must go to the club and all involved behind the scenes for getting the facility and function ready.

We knew coming into this game that it held a special significance for our club, supporters and for the type of legacy we want to leave. At the end of the day, we would never get the chance to play a ‘first’ game here again. We had to start the journey with a win. It was hard. It was emotional. The boys were unbelievable. We got it done.

During the week we had to say goodbye to more members of the squad. We take the time to thank and wish these boys all the best in their football endeavours. Yuji Kin, Kobe Kemp and Rayane Frihi all departed. All quality boys. But that’s football. In came former Altona City centre back, and club captain, Johnny Black. He started his first game for us against his former club. He did everything we expected.

Also, getting his first start was Dominic (Dom) Swinton. Dom scored the winner - had a fantastic game and showed some wonderful composure and experience at important times. The whole group was incredible.

The game did not start well. It got worse when we went two (2) nil down after 35 minutes. Its not that we were playing poorly, we had numerous chances to stay in the game.  Altona City were more clinical, more composed and were really enjoying the quality of the pitch; who wouldn't!

At half-time we had to address a number of things. Nothing major. A change in mentality. A desire to stay calm, play football and use space. We needed to concentrate and focus on our set pieces, patterns and raise our endeavour. We need to match teams in the fight and respect the Georgies reputation of old. More of the #GeorgiesCourage.

We got back into the game early in the second half with Andres playing a dangerous free kick in from a wide area. A deflection. 2-1 and we were back in it. We could feel the momentum shift. The boys were showing so much character. Minutes later Andres whips in another ball and big George Slefandorfas is there to bring us level. We could feel this was our game. We always want to win. But on this night, with that historic Georgies chorus ringing from the packed grand stand once again, we were determined to win.

Up steps Swinton and he slots a ball low under the keeper with 10 mins to go. We seal the three (3) points. We could have had more. Altona City were very good in the first half, they also hit the bar, but in my opinion we thoroughly deserved all three (3) points.

To share that night, that performance and that win, given the circumstances, with all of our members and supporters was amazing. That is simply the best thing about our game. That’s why we do what we do. So great to see so many of our supporters, men and women, young and old, celebrating. Let's continue to share those moments together.

We must remember it was only Round 17. The group must now focus on the next match against Brimbank Stallions FC, not on our home ground. An aggressive and well organised unit will await us. We may have either Rhys Saunders and/or Brian Summerskill available - but we won’t rush them.

What a night. What a win. Now though, a new challenge awaits - to try and back it up.

Eric Vassiliadis

Senior Coach

Caroline Springs George Cross FC

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