Macleay Valley Rangers added their name to a growing list of clubs that wouldn’t be human if they weren’t slightly envious of Coffs City United.
The full-time scoreline read 5-2 in favour of the Lions at Rangers Park on Saturday, but the hosts were left to lament some mistakes that didn’t go unpunished.
“We’re not going too badly; they’re the side to beat obviously. They’re up there for a reason,” Rangers coach Jason Coleman admitted.
“They’ve got depth in their club, they’ve got quality of players, every one of their players knows their job and they tend to do it very well.
“Their movement off the ball [is impressive] and they’ll burn you if you have a moment where you think about it, they’ll go straight past you.”
Coleman said it was the Lions’ ability to punish any error from the opposition that made them so good – and how quickly it all unfolded.
“If you make a mistake up your end, they’ll go down the other end and score whereas the other sides… you can get back in time to cover it, but that’s why they’re on top of the league,” he said.
A ninth-place position at the halfway point of a competition would make plenty of coaches nervous, but not Coleman.
He knows Rangers have to be “sharper” at times in games, but he feels they are playing good enough football – it’s just waiting for it all to click.
“We’re not panicking. We are absolutely not panicking,” he said.
“We’ve played some good footy in patches, but we’ve just got to be a bit more consistent and we’ve got to make it last the 90 minutes. The effort is there; the effort is absolutely there.”
This weekend Rangers have the opportunity to claim six points from a double-header of matches agaisnt Kempsey Saints and then Taree Wildcats.
Victory in both of those fixtures could propel Macleay Valley back into finals contention.
“We can gather six points if we play well and then that jumps you straight back up into the zone,” Coleman said.
“Then we’ve got another two more games to catch up after that, so we’re definitely not panicking. We’ve just got to keep focused on what we’re doing.”