2020 has been an eventful year for Crookwell soccer, and as the end of the season approaches, the club is gearing up for a big finals campaign.
After a drop in player numbers in 2019, the club welcomed a second senior men's team back into the fold this season as it also celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The Crookwell Reds and the Crookwell Griffins are the two senior sides, whose performances have pleased the club according to committee member Nick Harrop.
"I think both teams have done well, we were able to create the second team because there was interest from a few of the old boys in coming back and playing in the 50th year," Harrop said.
"We had enough to create two teams, and they've both done pretty well. The old boys, or the comeback squad, have definitely proved that they were very competitive and were unlucky to miss out on [Division One]."
With the All Age Men competition to split into two divisions, the Reds will contest Division One while the Griffins will play in Division Two.
Harrop, who plays for the Reds, believes that Crookwell is more than capable of challenging the current leaders in the Goulburn Strikers and Stags FC.
"I actually feel pretty good about our chances in Div One," he said. "It's a lot closer than it looks, the Strikers stumbled in their last game before the split and only narrowly beat us.
"We definitely feel like we can get them, and it's a similar story with Stags. They had a good win over us but if things click for us, we feel like we can win. it's a matter of getting our game on track in the next three games."
The biggest challenge remaining for the Reds is their fitness. Due to the numerous interruptions to the season, many of the teams in the competition have struggled to maintain fitness levels, which Harrop believes may play a role as the weather grows warmer.
"It's the case for all teams. There are some fitter teams than others, Stags FC probably have the edge in terms of fitness," Harrop said.
"That shutdown with coronavirus and then the three week shutdown due to wet weather has definitely affected fitness. I don't think any team out there would be match fit.
"If we do have a 30 degree day, fitness will definitely come into it."
The Reds are also aiming to play a more positive brand of soccer.
"We also need to probably work on playing our own game rather than reacting to the other team," Harrop said.
"We know we can be threatening if we play positively, pass the ball around without rushing things. It's very much a case of respecting our opponents but not playing a reactive game."
Crookwell Red will get its Division One campaign underway this Saturday, September 19, against the Strikers at Crookwell 1 from 3pm.
Meanwhile, the Griffins will kick off their Division Two rounds with a match against Stags 97 from 1pm this Saturday at Crookwell 1.
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