Mt Druitt Town Rangers were sitting rather pretty as this year’s National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition reached its midway point.
Eleven rounds in and fronting a peloton in touching distance of a lead pack occupied by Sydney United 58, Rockdale Ilinden and Blacktown City, you wouldn’t have found many complaints coming out of the Rangers’ spiritual home ground namely Popondetta Park.
Frustratingly, six rounds down track, they now find themselves tussling for the right to play in this year’s finals.
It would be fair to assume that the wheels have fallen off in Mt Druitt however, a charge into this season’s edition of the FFA Cup has seen the smiles return to all those involved with the club after a tough run of results.
For midfielder Jack Stewart, he admits that dropping points of late have hurt, although he believes if they can muster a run of victory’s when we say goodbye to lockdown, they can enter the finals as serious contenders.
“If you look at our results this year, you’ll find we’ve performed really well against those above us. If we can get into the finals, which I believe we can, we can go far and be a real dark horse.”
After gaining entry into the FFA Cup as a club for just the second time, Stewart was quick to find the silver lining from the current lockdown situation, thankful for being part of a club that he says is really there for one another.
“Qualifying for the cup was a major personal goal of mine this year. I want to go to the next level and play in that arena and competitions like this give you a chance to prove yourself.
“We want to play the best teams and go as far as we can so when lockdown came it was nice to have a break as we were about to head into a really busy period of games.
“Of course it still isn’t easy and many of us have jobs and families outside of playing but the club has been really supportive. We’ve been given programs and have trained together in very small groups where we can. The club is in constant contact, checking in on us to see how we’re doing which has been great.”
For an aspiring player like Stewart, chances such as those in the FFA Cup won’t come around often as we’ve seen in the past.
For the Western Sydney local, he is dreaming of coming up against the likes of Sydney FC or Western Sydney Wanderers at home, going up against some of the very best in the country.
“Drawing Sydney FC or the Wanderers at home would be great. I’m looking forward to the pressure of it all. Playing under those lights, against those players and hopefully showing that both I and the club can really compete.
“As I mentioned, I’m a part of a great club in Mt Druitt. We’ll stick together, be there for each and get through this. And once the time comes to play again, we’ll be ready to go as we’re eager to finish the season strong.”
-By Joseph Esposito