Jacks host Floreat Athena in Round 17

Jacks host Floreat Athena in Round 17

Posted on July 15, 2016 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup have home ground advantage again this weekend when they host Floreat Athena in Week 17 of the PS4 NPLWA at the ECU Football Stadium on Saturday.

Floreat beat the Jacks convincingly in the first encounter this season, this after Gordon Smith had given them the lead at the break. Smith, who is in doubt for Saturday’s game after missing training this week due to illness, said they just want to keep improving and moving up the table. “The boys are looking forward to the game as it is potentially our biggest game yet as we can really close the gap on the top four teams,” he said.

“We have been playing really well and believe if we play the way we can with our strongest team out, we can beat any team in the league. Floreat will be a tough game as they have been in good form as well, but we are due them one after the last time we played them but Saturday will be totally different as we will have a different side out from when we last played.”

Jacks head coach Dale McCulloch said last week was a fantastic effort from his players and they deserved the points. “Last week we continued our good form in the PS4 NPLWA with a last minute winner against a good Stirling Lions side. The 3-2 win was a fantastic effort in terrible conditions and the wind was that bad Lewis’ goal kick almost landed back in his lap,” he joked.

“But the attitude and application of the players was outstanding, and we’ve been on the end of those sort of results in recent seasons so it was nice to be on the right end of one this time.”

McCulloch said the performance of the front three last week was great and is hoping they can continue on Saturday. “Daryl Nicol, who has come into the club and has started to hit his straps and his two goals last week were quality, and we hope he can continue,” he said. “His link up play with Gordon Smith and Tommy Amphlett was great, and they are really working well together as a strike force.”

The Coach knows Floreat are a quality side and his side will need to be at their best. “This week’s opponents have a very good squad and will be a tough opponent, but we’re confident we can beat any team in the league if we turn up and perform, and we’ll be looking to do that on Saturday,” he said. “They have a good season to date and on behalf of the club I’d like to wish Glen Grostate and the Floreat boys all the best in the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32 game when they take on Melbourne City.”

Floreat keeper Jason Saldaris said they didn’t take their chances in the first half last week in the 1-3 loss against Perth SC. “It was a very disappointing result for the club on the weekend, but we are taking it as a bit of an eye opener with a tough month of football to play ahead,” he said. “I believe the 3-1 loss was not a true reflection of the game, we had twice as many chances unfortunately we did not take them as well as Perth SC did, and were missing a number of strikers that hurt us a little going forward.”

Saldaris said it’s another tough test up at Joondalup but they are determined to bounce back. “Saturday’s game is a must win for us to get some momentum heading into the Cup Final against Cockburn next week,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge and we will look to bounce back. “ Jon Stynes returns to the squad after work commitments and Lewis McMahon and Clayton Arnez are back from suspension and Shaun Timmins is line to make his debut for the club, but they will be without the suspended Chris Saldaris and Blair Govan.