Mt Druitt Town Rangers’ Solomon-John Monahan-Vaiika scored his second goal of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season, knocking home a clinical header to earn a point from his side’s hard-fought battle with Rockdale Ilinden on the weekend.
After being sidelined for six games throughout the season due to injury, he made his return off the bench in the Rangers Round 10 clash and settled back into his starting position in their Round 11 draw with Sydney FC.
Having spent a large portion of the season so far, Monahan-Vaiika has been able to keep his spirits up through the morale of the team, despite their campaign not going the way they had planned.
“I got injured in our third game that we played, so the team morale is everything,” he explained.
“I think we started off very slow and it’s taken us a while to regain our composure but at the moment we’ve got a good thing going and it’s been good for the past couple of weeks.
While their 2022 season has seen them with only two wins, the Western Sydney outfit have held off some tough competition to remain undefeated in four matches heading into Round 17.
“At the moment we’re just proving that we also belong in the league,” Monahan-Vaiika said of the current mentality of Mt Druitt.
“At the moment when teams come to play us, I don’t think they’re coming in with the mentality that we’re a lesser team than others, but I think teams are scared to play us and we’re just coming in with the underdog mentality.
“Everyone’s pushing to prove their position for the next year and hopefully players in our team retain their spot for next year.”
With dynamic striker Jack Stewart leading their attacking charge, the Rangers have amassed a respectable 27 goals for their 2022 campaign.
“There’s a lot of confidence with Jack going forward, you can always kind of rely on him to bring about great moments that probably wouldn’t be there otherwise,” Monahan-Vaiika explained.
“I think he’s also gotten a lot better in the second half of the season. In scenarios where he could have passed the ball but he chose to get on a different route, he’s maturing in that sense.
“It’s comforting knowing that going forward we have someone like that to rely on.”
Having been part of the team at Mt Druitt Town Rangers for four years now, Monahan-Vaiika praised the welcoming nature of the club for new players.
“I think the club as a whole is very welcoming,” he said.
“I think they’re very good with the new players that come in.
“The staff that are around and Robbo [Mark Robertson], our president, make it very comforting when you join the club.
“It’s good to have a chat with all those types of people around the grounds and it’s very comforting, for me especially considering that they’re my first NPL team.
“It’s kind of like home.”
With their 2022 aspirations all but ruled out, the Rangers are using the remainder of the season to focus on proving they deserve a place in the competition and preparing for next season.
“I think we’re definitely looking towards next season,” Monahan-Vaiika said.
“At the moment for the players, it’s kind of proving a point that we definitely belong in NPL1.
“I think for everyone, we’re looking to prove a point for this year, and I think everyone’s playing to better themselves for next year.”