COFFS United swept almost everything before them last season. Almost everything.
But the problem you occasionally get with sport is that those who deserve a trophy don’t always lift it on grand final day.
United were the success story of 2020 and claimed the Coastal Premier League Premiers Plate as the team on top of the ladder after nine rounds.
But when COVID-19 forced the competition to split into a northern and southern conference, every team had to start again.
Glenn Williams’ men continued on their merry way until grand final day when an 87th minute strike plunged a dagger through their hearts.
In 2021 they’ll again have to start from scratch after going oh-so-close in a campaign which was all-but perfect.
“There’s a lot of fire in the belly for the guys,” Williams said.
“It’s one of those things where you have half a hand on the trophy and then you make one little mistake with three minutes to go and you realise how much hard work is required.”
The challenge for United and their coaching staff is to replicate last season although there is always a concern they may not be able to get motivated after being at the top of the competition for so long.
“It is hard to get the players back up to do it again and for me that’s the biggest challenge, but in saying that we’ve had an average of 30 at training every night which is great,” the coach said.
“The option of playing a whole season of CPL is exciting for them all and you can’t hide the fact after one round we had more points than everyone else.
“With grand finals nobody remembers who came second and that’s the disappointing thing about it.”
United will take to the park this season without one of their mainstays in defence which will provide an opportunity for a number of their young guns to make an impression.
“Brent Turner has been with the club for a long time and is probably one of the most underrated players for the last 10-15 years,” Williams said.
“The way he reads the game is a big loss for us and we need to fill the position he’s playing at the back.
“You miss that experience, but we’ve got some young guys who can fill those shoes and it’s just a matter of getting the football brain between some young ears.”
Ins: Ky Birmingham, Hameed Edo, Azad Qasim, Tahseen Edo, Nathan Zawadski, Will McAlman, Will Goodwin, Joel Hampson
Outs: Jyelei McKel, John Omtha, Brent Turner