The Monaro Panthers clinched rights to the John Brooks Memorial Shield in the National Premier League on Saturday afternoon, following a five grade whitewash of their Woden-Weston counterparts.
Avenging their loss in the inaugural installment of the shield last year, the Panthers dispatched of Woden-Weston in the NPL14, NPL16, NPL18, NPL20, and NPL matches, while their NPL13 team also tasted success against Canberra Olympic.
First grade Monaro coach Graeme Plath said the weekend’s showing was an indication of the club’s depth and a sign of competitive times to come.
“The six male Monaro NPL teams won their games on that day and we’re actually very excited about that because we felt to be successful in first grade, the players will have to come from within our own ranks,” he said.
“And that result suggests to us that what will come through our ranks, will be of good quality.”
In the lowest-scoring match of the day in first grade, Monaro’s Sam Roestbakken slotted home the sole goal off the back of a low yet lethal drive. While pleased with the result, Plath pointed out his squad’s shortcomings but lauded the tight defense and the ability to keep Woden-Weston “to nought” as major factors in the 1-0 win.
“I was a little bit disappointed that it was only towards the end that we made good chances,” he said.
“We didn’t create the best chances in the first half. I felt we were taking too many touches and not releasing the ball early enough in the midfield.
“But I was very impressed with our back four, they were the stand out component of our game.”
The win didn’t come without its downsides, and star winger Darian McGarry-Watson left the field after 25 minutes of gameplay due to injury.
“We had to take him off, his groin was giving him too much trouble,” Plath said.
“He’s been one of our dynamic players, a lot of our chances are created through his speed and agility so when he came off it took a little bit of punch away from our attack.
“But the great thing was that we won, we have no game this weekend, and he will be able to rest.
“We took a lot of injured players into that game, at least five of them have injuries that will really benefit from the rest.”
NPL13 - Monaro 4 def. Canberra Olympic 2
NPL14 - Monaro 6 def. Woden 1
NPL16 - Monaro 5 def Woden 2
NPL18 - Monaro 5 def. Woden 2
NPL20 - Monaro 5 def. Woden 1
NPL - Monaro 1 def. Woden 0