Former Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Martin Lo is revelling in his new-found confidence at Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC.
The diminutive midfielder might have only played nine senior games for the club’s senior outfit this season, but he has proven one of the club’s best performers in the last two months and now he has Sydney United 58 FC in his sights ahead of this weekend’s PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues New South Wales Men’s Preliminary Final.
"There’s a good feeling in the group," Lo said.
"The season didn’t go as well as we thought it would but we turned it around and we managed to make it into the top five and finals and things have been going really well.
"We’re in a good position now and now we want to make this season a fairytale season."
As the White Eagles faced a run of seven games without a win in the regular season and looked unlikely to make the Finals Series at all, Lo was one of several youngsters Brown turned to in an attempt to turn the club’s season around.
Lo has been a constant in the club’s improved run of form and he says he has to thank his coach for trusting him and his fellow youngsters like Asmir Kadric.
"He has shown a lot of faith in the younger boys," he said.
"We’ve been training well, playing well in the under-20s and he has given us an opportunity which we’ve taken and he has just kept giving us more games.
"He always told us if we kept working hard, we would get our opportunity and once we’d proven ourselves we’d get a chance."
Coming off a pro contract at Western Sydney Wanderers, moving to the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s with Bonnyrigg has been something of a sea change, but the youngster is learning plenty.
"It is a lot more tough physically than the National Youth League was," Lo said.
"I would say that [playing in the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s and being at the Wanderers] is quite similar. The only think that the A-League has is a bit more structure, but the NPL is very competitive.
"There’s definitely quality in this league that has not been seen in the A-League and in terms of quality, I don’t think it’s that much different. There’s a lot of good talent."
And this weekend’s opponents rank among the best.
Sydney United 58 FC were far and away the best team in the home-and-away season, winning the premiership by nine points.
But they find themselves in a tough spot against Bonnyrigg in the Preliminary Final, having lost to Blacktown City FC in the Major Semi Final.
United have beaten the White Eagles twice this season, but that will only make Bonnyrigg hungrier to win when it counts most, according to Lo.
"Those games will be our motivation," Lo said.
"They’ve done us twice this season and we’re looking to get them back. Especially at this stage of the season.
"It’s a big game, maybe the biggest I have played in."
-By Matt Galea
Purchase tickets to the Grand Final of the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s