Southern United came within 90 minutes of achieving the perfect inaugural season in the Coastal Premier League Men’s competition.
The new boys on the block joined the competition for the first time in 2022 and if it wasn’t for Coffs City United, who knows what they might have achieved.
In the end it was a solitary first half goal in the grand final that was enough for the Lions to roar again and allow them to claim their first Coastal Premier League championship.
Ospreys coach Jonathon Newman admitted the loss of midfield maestro Mark Mallia early in the second half to injury proved pivotal.
But despite that hiccup, Newman’s side had a couple of chances to equalise which played a role in how he used his substitutes.
“In the second half I thought we were good for a goal and I kept thinking we were going to equalise and if we did the game would probably go to extra-time,” he said.
“In hindsight I should have bet the house and put everybody on. But as a coach you’re always going to reflect on what you could have, should have or might have done in different scenarios if you had a bit of knowledge how things were going to pan out.”
While disappointed to have fallen at the final hurdle, Newman admitted his team had met their lofty expectations they set before a ball had been kicked.
“I said to them you need to plan on being involved in football until September 17,” he said.
“You’ve got to aim high and we achieved that so a grand final win certainly was within our grasp. It’s always disappointing not to achieve that since you got there, but there’s 10 other clubs who would have loved to have been there as well.”
Newman acknowledged that in football you have to take their chances – and the Lions took theirs.
“You can’t begrudge a team that’s gone all season losing one game, drawing one and winning 20… you can’t begrudge them a grand final win on the back of form like that,” he said.
“In such a long season, for Glenn Williams and Coffs United to maintain the standard of football they did, it’s well worth mentioning.
“It’s a big achievement and worthy of congratulations.”
The Ospreys will now have all off-season to reflect on what might have been although there will be a steely focus to get it right in 2023.
“There’s some unfinished business there,” Newman said.
“We set the bar pretty high in our first season so the expectations aren’t going to be any less. It will be interesting to see who is going to go around again and who might decide they’re done for this level of competition.”