Confidence on the rise after young Lennox team’s 3-0 win
LENNOX Head coach Paul Kirkland is backing his young side to defy the odds and upset Byron Bay when they meet at Skennars Head tonight in the second round of Far North Coast premier league soccer.
Despite a 6-0 loss to the Rams in the Anzac Cup a few weeks ago, Kirkland believes the Sharks' 3-0 win over Italo Stars in the opening premiership round last week was just the tonic they needed.
"It's done wonders for the boys' confidence and they're keen as mustard to have a crack at Byron," Kirkland said.
"We won't be playing a defensive shape; we'll be going out there to win it and we're backing ourselves for a big upset."
But that remains a daunting challenge against a Rams side at full strength and riding a wave of momentum that has already swept it into the Anzac Cup final.
The Sharks will need big games from teenage midfielders Kyle Kingston and Callum Viel, with their battle against the vastly more experienced Rams pairing of Quinn McDonald and Aaron Walker vital to their hopes.
Central defenders Jaiden Patch and veteran Adrian Zakaras will also need to be at their best against a Rams attack bristling with scoring options such as strikers Tyson Kaye and James Tomlinson, along with flankers Lachlan Dewer and Kazi Tsukamato.
Newly promoted Stars face a similar scenario to the Sharks in the other game tonight when they host an in-form Goonellabah that put 11 goals past Casino last week.
Stars coach Rick Austen is likely to make some changes to the line-up that went down 3-0 to Lennox.
"We have good depth in reserves and I'll be bringing in some older heads," he said.
"Some of our younger players were a bit overawed last week.
"We have a totally new side and at this stage it's still about finding the right combinations."
Both games kick off at 8pm.