COUNTRY pride is on the line when the Stags head into Sunday’s Champion of Champions semi-final clash with Castle Hill United in Sydney.
The STFA club is the last remaining non-Sydney team in the amateur U21 competition that sees the best team in each NSW Association battle it out for State honours.
“We don’t know anything going into this weekend’s game, that’s the beauty of this competition,” coach David Jones told the Post.
The last time Jones was in this position in the state wide championships, he was coaching the U14 Wollondilly Soldiers 20 years ago.
He says for the Stags to make it this far, is a testament for Country football.
To make it to the final four, they beat Maroubra club Heffron two weeks ago.
“City guys always underestimate country clubs because country clubs generally don’t get past the first round in most cases,” he said.
“So for us to get this far for a country club is a pretty big achievement. Sydney teams - they have bigger wallets, bigger talent pools.”
Leading Stag goal scorer Jason Broadbent said the side has been working on their short game, after a lack-lustre short passing performance against Heffron.
But he admits, it’s hard to go into a game unaware of what a team is like.
“There’s not much you can do but prepare for it like any other normal game. Hopefully we can put a few past them and hold that lead,” he said.
“Sydney metro teams always have class though. That’s one thing we can expect.”
If the Stags win they’ll earn a finals showdown with either the Ryde Saints United or Glenmore Park FC back up in Sydney the following Sunday.
Either way, it’s likely be the biggest match in the club’s history.
U21 captain Jarrod Twaddell said there was a feeling at the club that they weren’t just representing the Stags, but Goulburn as a whole.
He said for them to get over Castle Hill, they’ll need to play by their unofficial motto: “Be there for the player next to you.”
“Castle Hill made the final last year and the team that beat us in the quarter final last time was beaten by them.
If we want to beat them we need to have faith in our team mates,” he said.”
The Stags kick off against Castle Hill at 11.45am Sunday morning in Sydney.