The Northern Storm have turned things around dramatically at the business end of the season.
After languishing near the bottom of the ladder for much of the season, the Storm have made a charge up the ladder in recent weeks into the top four.
The Storm have gone from tenth to fourth on the back of a four-match winning streak which has put them right in the thick of finals contention.
The winning run started after the Storm became the first team to take points from the Coffs City United Lions this season, in a 1-1 draw at Korora.
Storm president Craig Caruana explained why the side had turned their season around.
“The enjoyment of the game has been the biggest change, and they are actually looking forward to playing,” he said.
“They are bonding and gelling well, and we’re competing well and playing for the 90 minutes, and the boys are starting to believe they can compete against the top teams,” he said.
Caruana highlighted two pivotal games as the turning point in their season.
“The fortnight playing against Port United and Coffs United was definitely the turnaround,” he said.
“After the touch up against Port (7-0 loss), the boys had a tough training session where they didn’t touch the ball, and I don’t think they wanted to do a physical session like that again.
“They bounced back brilliantly with a draw against Coffs United, and they got a belief out of that game and built on that and got good results.”
The Storm is at home to the third-placed Southern United this weekend, in a crucial match for both teams’ finals chances.
“They are one point ahead of us and we are one ahead on goal difference with a game in hand, so it’s a big game for us,” Caruana said.
“If we can get a result this week it will be great, but if we don’t get the chocolates we’re back in the pack.
“If we keep playing like we have been we’re every chance of making finals, and if we don’t then we don’t deserve it.”