There is no doubt what Northern Storm coach Eric McCarthy expects from his team in 2021.
Despite finishing in the middle of the pack in the inaugural Coastal Premier League, McCarthy has labelled anything less than a semi-final finish this season as unacceptable.
“If we don’t make the top four then myself and Craig have not done our job and the boys haven’t put in as much as they are capable of,” he said.
“The reality is the squad we have is capable of top four and anything less is a failure.”
Consistency plagued the Storm in 2020 with a win-loss sequence punctuating their shortened CPL campaign before COVID-19 forced the competition to be split into a northern and southern conference system.
When they resumed after the break, the Storm registered three wins from their first four matches to shoot out of the blocks before they finished the season with barely a whimper.
They didn’t score a goal in their final three matches and that is something that has stung those involved with the club all off-season.
It’s what the coaching staff are focused on improving after they managed to find the back of the net just 24 times in 17 matches.
“We need more consistency in defence; we need to cut out those silly errors and on the other side of the coin I thought we were a bit toothless in attack,” he said.
“Our aim is to fix that in front of goal.”
While the Storm will still field a youthful squad, McCarthy will not be using it as an excuse if they again can’t improve their consistency with results.
“Last year was always a year of transition for us and we had a very, very young squad,” McCarthy said.
“Seventy-five percent of them were under the age of 20 and having a season under their belt is going to go a long way to bringing more consistency to them this year.
“They’ve gone through a season of senior football and realise that it’s got to be 100 percent every single week. You can’t take your foot off the gas.”
Ins: Bailey Bathgate, James Gorrie, Christian Mirindi, Jyelei McKell, Mitch Weeding, Jeff Odgers, Paul Matten
Outs: Mykel Watson, Rory Goddard, Tom Sweeney, Kodai Mikuni, Blake Austin, Dylan Young.