Lambert Park will play host to Saturday night’s Elimination Final between Sydney Olympic and Rockdale City Suns, but if you’re a Suns fan you might secretly wish that the game was being played at Olympic’s home – Belmore Sports Ground.
Of Olympic’s ten wins in the 2014 IGA National Premier League NSW Mens 1 regular season, their victory song was only heard four times at Belmore with the first rendition not belted out until more than halfway through the season.
“Yeah, I’m certainly aware of that stat, but I’m not really sure why that is,” shrugs star left-back Troy Danaskos who made his first grade debut in the blue and white colours back in 2012.
“We’ve been really good away, but for some reason we have struggled at home this year even though Belmore has a really good playing surface.
“Perhaps it’s because most of the away pitches have synthetic decks and it maybe suits our style of play a bit more, but in reality I really don’t think that the losses at Belmore come into play – I’d say it’s been more of a bit of bad luck and a touch of misfortune than anything else.”
Danaskos though is quick to point out that his side has won three of their last four regular season games – and two of those wins were at Belmore.
“The last few weeks we’ve won three straight and then the narrow loss last round to Bonnyrigg in injury time, so we’ve hit some form of late which is good momentum heading into the semi-final series.
“During the second half of this season we have definitely gelled a lot better, there were a lot of new players who came in this year, so during the first half of the season we were really finding our feet and trying to work out each other’s play.
“We’re really understanding things better now, everyone’s a lot closer and when you’ve got the ball there’s a lot more options – I think that’s definitely showing in our games over the past few weeks and that’s why we’re getting the results.”
Danaskos, who missed seven weeks mid-season due to a hip flexor injury, has only been back on deck for Olympic for a handful of games, but the 22-year-old has already figured in the IGA NPL NSW Mens 1 ‘Team of the Week’ twice since his return.
“Collectively it’s a team effort”, claims a modest Danaskos.
“If we’re going to beat Rockdale then we’re going to have to stick to our game plan by playing our style of football and just keep doing what has worked best for us over the past few weeks.
“We have a lot of young players at our club, but we’ve also got a lot of experienced heads around us that are more than capable of leading us deep into this semi-finals series – no matter which ground we play at.”
-By Gary McDonald