South preview: Taree Wildcats “should have won last week”.

That’s the opinion of coach Ben Sedlen ahead of this weekend’s clash with Kempsey Saints.

After not hitting the target for more than 10 hours, the Wildcats took a surprise 2-0 lead into half-time against Macleay Valley only to see their lead evaporate in the second stanza.

“We just got tired and a few subs that we had to make that we probably didn’t want to make turned the tide a little bit,” Sedlen said.

“We were more than happy with the way we played and if we play like that this week we’ll certainly come away with something.”

The Wildcats were more organised than in previous weeks and having some more experienced heads available made them more difficult to break down.

They now just need to maintain the rage for the full 90 minutes.

“The older heads organised the team a lot better and put the game plan into action, and that’s the only thing that was different,” Sedlen said.

“They finally did everything I had asked them to do at training for the last eight to 10 weeks.”

While Kempsey came away with a hard-fought 1-0 victory when the teams last met a fortnight ago, Sedlen felt it was a match of missed opportunities.

“We played them two weeks ago and went down in a game we felt we should have won and goalscoring was a problem,” the coach said.

“But it looks like we turned that corner against Macleay Valley.

“They were disappointed when they walked off the field, but they have the self-belief they can match it with the best.

“We belong in the coastal league if we’re going to play like that.”

Kempsey have traditionally struggled at Omaru Park over the years, and coach Kevin Sinclair wasn’t expecting anything different this weekend.

“We haven’t got the best history down there, but after seeing last weekend’s result it’s certainly another wakeup call for us,” he said.

“They’re always a much tougher team at home, and I’m not surprised by the result last week because they’re a very capable side.”

Saints will field a new-look defensive lineup with defenders Toby O’Brien and Lachlan Jay both unavailable.

“Toby is one of our senior players who is a huge loss and Lachlan was our CPL captain and did a great job, and he’s away for family reasons,” he said.

“We’re down a couple, but we’ll fill the gaps with juniors as we’ve done all year and we’ll be right to go.”

Also this weekend, Port Saints are at home to Macleay Valley Rangers.



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