It’s not yet perform or perish, but the Coffs Coast Tigers face a crucial test away against Port United in the Coastal Premier League 1st Division on Saturday.
To borrow the words of American gridiron icon Vince Lombardi, ‘winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing’.
In Tigertown, the significance of the Dixie Park fixture with Port U is keenly felt.
“Our squad should be back to full strength this week in a must win game,” Tigers captain and keeper Luke Kliendienst said.
The visitors go into the match sitting on 13 points and in seventh place on the ladder. Port U have assembled just three more competition points, but sit fourth.
In a congested ladder, Saturday’s result could be telling and a 6-point swing if the visitors were to prevail.
Exactly how it came to this for the Tigers – a team fancied by many – is a barbecue conversation.
All season, against the top sides and the lesser, they’ve been in the hunt right up to their sabre-tooth back molars.
Somehow, their competitiveness hasn’t brought an equal amount of competition points.
“I agree 100 per cent – we have played some very good football but have failed to stay switched on for the 90 minutes to hold on for all three points,” Luke said.
As the captain and the team’s stopper with that incisive end-to-end view, Luke is forthright that the Tigers need only a concerted complete dig to right the ship.
“Staying switched on for the whole 90 would be an important thing for us to keep pushing towards what we want,” he said.
“The competition is very close and we still have our eyes on a top four finish so our next fixture against Port United is big for us definitely.”