Casino rich with young talent

THE fairytale story in FNC soccer Premier League ranks this season has been the rise of Casino Cobras.

Cobras were a first division team last year and after they were promotion to the top flight there were not too many local soccer experts who tipped big things from them in 2011.

But on Saturday the club recorded a hat-trick of wins, easily accounting for Ballina 5-3 at home.

To start the streak, the Cobras were surprising 3-1 winners over major premiers Rovers.

Casino then followed up with a 3-0 win over Alstonville before Wayne Mortimer's hat-trick on Saturday ensured yet another big win for his team.

The Cobras now sit in seventh spot and just one competition spot outside the top five.

Former Italo Stars assistant coach Scott Creighton built the club from the ground up at the start of last year.

“I'm very pleased with the way we're playing now,” he said.

“I thought we'd be competitive in our third year of Premier League but we've started playing the soccer I would have liked 12 months earlier than expected.

“We got off to a dusty start (Cobras lost their first four games). “But the guys have started adapting well to this level of soccer over the last three weeks.

“The mood's pretty good at the moment but we can't get carried away.

“Our tough start to the season made us realise this.”

Creighton said the way Pottsville dented his side's pride with a 5-1 away thrashing was a major reason behind Casino's upset over Rovers the following week.

“I gave it to the boys afterwards,” he said.

“The boys needed to pick up their games and they came out and played their best two halves of the year against Rovers.” Creighton has been impressed with Zac Innes and Kevin Butwell this season.

“We've got a young side – there's a few that are 18 or 19-years old and most are 20-22,” he said.

“I just want to see this team keep improving.”

It does not get any easier for Creighton's men – their next challenge is on Saturday away to last year's minor premiers Goonellabah.

But Creighton believes his team can continue its winning streak.

“We're in good shape, we'll have an unchanged line-up,” he said.

“With the right mindset, we've showed we can do anything.”

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