Bobcats bounce back in long-awaited home return
MACLEAN Bobcats bounced back from a heavy defeat with a 3-1 victory over Alstonville at Wherrett Park on Saturday.
More than a decade after their last home Football Far North Coast fixture, coach Dennis Mavridis was pleased to see his side back in the Premier League winners circle.
“It was a massive effort. It was good to see how we bounced back from that tough loss,” Mavridis said.
“We’ve been looking forward to our first home game. We had a good crowd so it was really important to show we had the confidence to come back and get a result.”
After starting the season with two wins on the trot, Maclean were humbled 5-1 by a Bangalow Bluedogs outfit that poured in all of their goals in the final 30 minutes.
“That result had a lot to do with fatigue. Three games in eight days took its toll,” Mavridis said.
“But the focus this week was to get that result out of their heads and to make sure we were in a position to come away with points at home.”
Mavridis said he was pleased with the commitment to the club so far this season.
“I’ve been really impressed with the maturity the guys are showing and the way we started the game. They put in a lot of energy and maintained throughout,” he said.
“We were up 2-1 at half time. Both teams played quality football but we had the better of the first half.
“In the second half we came out and we were on fire. We got a goal about 10 minutes into the second half to keep a buffer.
“After that we took our foot off the pedal a little. It’s something to work on closing games out but you could just tell we didn’t want to give this one up.”
Maclean were under a barrage of pressure for large parts of the game but Mavridis said it was only making them stronger.
“We’re learning from each game, that’s a really positive step as a coach. You see guys playing with purpose,” he said.
“I’m really over the moon with everyone’s effort. They fight it out and dig deep. Alstonville is a really good team so you can’t afford to give them an inch.”
While Maclean have had some ins and outs through the opening rounds, Mavridis is pleased to have been able to keep the core starting group together.
“The only changes we’ve had to make were to cover injured players. Yesterday (Saturday) we made two changes to the team. Jarred Doyle came back in and Brad Corbett as well to cover for Sean Potter,” he said.
“We’re still waiting on Nelson Burgess to recover. He might still be a week or two.”
The Maclean championship side have had a difficult run and are yet to pick up a point after a fourth straight loss, going down 8-0 to Alstonville. But Mavridis said it’s not all doom and gloom.
“It’s very disappointing for them and their coach to come away with that scoreline. They’ve done a great job putting a very inexperienced team together,” he said.
“There’s a lot of youngsters coming through. It’s a steep learning curve, but I think they’ll get better as year progresses. This experience is good for them.”
Maclean will be back at home on Sunday as they welcome Lismore Thistles at Wherrett Park to kick off another busy eight-day period.