Panthers raise the bar
THE Pottsville Panthers have clawed their way back into Football Far North Coast premier league soccer and have their sights set on a finals berth next season.
Captain-coach David Lonie returns to lead the side after a year in first division and says he will not be content simply with getting back into the main draw.
“We are obviously excited to be back, we would like to get stuck right into the premier league this time around and our goal is to finish in the top five,” Lonie said.
The club will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Nathan Wilson, who has trialled with Gold Coast United and was name premier league goalkeeper of the year in 2008.
While a top-five finish may seem far-fetched for a team that has just earned promotion, Lonie thinks that setting goals and raising the bar is the key to good performances.
After being relegated to first division, Lonie set his team the goal to dominate that competition if they wanted to return to the top league.
“We set out to make the most of our year in first division, to work on our combinations and improve as a team,” he said.
The Panthers made light work of the 2009 FNC first division by taking out the pre-season Anzac Cup 7-2 in the final; sweeping through the regular season, losing only two games on their way to the minor premiership and promotion; then smashing South Lismore 6-1 in a semi-final and 3-2 in the grand final.
Pottsville replaces Lennox Head in the premier league for 2010.
The Sharks finished with the wooden spoon this year after going all the way to the grand final against Richmond Rovers the previous season.