Macleay Valley Rangers’ pre-season focus from coach Jason Coleman was on simplifying the way they treated their football.
Focus on yourselves and no-one else in the Coastal Premier League. The rest looks after itself.
After a slow, rain-interrupted start to the season the Kempsey-based side are warming to the task and have quietly climbed the ladder.
Chris Walker’s second-half strike allowed them to pinch all three points from a nine-man Port Saints on Saturday at Rangers Park.
In their last eight matches, Rangers have only failed to take any points from just two of those fixtures – a 4-0 loss to runaway leaders Coffs City United and a 4-3 defeat to Coffs Coast.
They have played enterprising football to move into fifth spot on the ladder, just one point behind Port United.
“But we said at the start of pre-season we don’t concentrate on other teams, we just worry about what we’re doing,” the coach said.
“We’re placed just nicely at this time of year I believe.”
Coleman admitted the three points on Saturday was nothing more than they deserved and it had added to the growing belief in the side.
Previously Rangers had an over-reliance on striker Chad Applegate, but they have now added a few more strings to their bow.
“We didn’t have Mr Applegate against Kempsey Saints midweek (in a 5-1 win) and even this game he was out so I’m trying to get that belief and the boys are building as a team nicely,” Coleman said.
“It’s not a one-man show.”
Outside of the four goals in each game they conceded against the Lions and then the Tigers (on May 28 and June 4), Rangers have been difficult to break down.
They have conceded just six goals from the last six games where they have either taken all three points or shared them.
“Lately we’ve got our structure right defensively and across the middle and structurally we’re defending well and pushing out nicely,” Coleman said.
“Then we’re wearing teams down and getting goals. We’re scoring goals which is good and a big change from last year.”
Coleman won’t change a thing and the focus will again be on how they can improve every week.