Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC goalkeeper James Chronopoulos is hungry to go back-to-back as he and his team-mates chase a second-straight championship.
The reigning PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues New South Wales Men’s champions endured a terrible slump of seven games without a win during the home-and-away season but have found their form heading into finals.
That extended into their finals campaign last week when they got the better of Rockdale City Suns FC in an entertaining 4-2 win.
A 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Blacktown City FC in the FFA Cup Round of 16 may have put a dampener on the White Eagles heading into their Minor Semi-Final against Manly United FC, but Chronopoulos insisted that the game was never far from their thoughts despite their mid-week commitments.
"We have 100 per cent given a lot of thought to it," Chronopoulos said, speaking before the Blacktown game.
"We have been playing back-to-back games for the last couple of weeks and the boys have been great in dealing with that.
"The boys have a great spirit and I think we just look after that. Plus [coach Brian Brown] ‘Bomber’ and the other coaches have done a great job of keeping us fresh and motivated."
Last season, Bonnyrigg entered the finals outside the top-two and were seen as rank outsiders for the crown behind Blacktown and APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC.
This year, they finished even further down the pecking order, sneaking into the finals in fifth position, but Chronopoulos insisted his team can repeat the heroics of last season.
"I think it can be repeated. I know we had a grey patch and everyone doubted we would even make finals, but we managed to scrape into the finals and now it’s a whole new ball game," he said.
"We finished the first task last week and we want to go all the way.
"For me, I came here last year and won it in my first season and the chance to go back-to-back is massive for me and I think we have the team to go back-to-back."
But first, Chronopoulos and Co. must take on Manly – a side that has risen the bar for themselves this season, but perhaps failed to deliver on the bigger stages.
"I hope they don’t rise to the occasion this week," Chronopoulos joked.
"But seriously, we’ve played them I think three times this year and we’ve beaten them twice and drawn once, but that all means nothing now.
"They have progressed as a team under [coach] Paul Dee] and they have a dangerous forward line.
"But we have experience and I think if we can get the job done this week, we can go all the way."
Saturday 27th August
Manly United v Bonnyrigg White Eagles @ Seymour Shaw
7:30pm kick off