Boambee Bombers exceed '07 goals
DAYS before Boambee debuted in North Coast Football's Premier League back in April, club president Rob Manning told the Coffs Coast Advocate he had just one wish for his fledgling outfit.
"How many games we win or lose are beyond our control right now but all I really hope for is we do enough to avoid relegation," he said.
Five months, 16 gruelling competition matches and one epic semi final appearance later, and Manning has seen his Bombers exceed all expectations.
Within five weeks of starting the season with an 8-1 romp over Valley United, Boambee had chalked up a 3-0 defeat of reigning premiers Urunga, signalling the club was on the upward spiral.
"The year has been absolutely unbelievable," Manning chuckled.
"Once the season got underway we started setting some realistic goals but by the end, we are probably the over-achievers of the competition.
"To make the playoffs at our first attempt was beyond all expectation."
In the weekend's minor semi final the Bombers held the strong Northern Storm outfit 1-1 before bowing out in a 5-4 penalty shoot out.
"A hell of a way to finish but that's football," Manning said philosophically.
"We may have ended up even higher on the ladder if there hadn't been the pair of draws with Woolgoolga and letting Coffs United off the hook.
"Only a late goal against the run of play allowed the Lions to escape and now, they'll possibly go on to become undefeated premiers."
But it's in the junior ranks where the club has made astonishing inroads.
"Boambee went into the season with 15 junior sides and 11 made the semis," the president said proudly.
"Three of the women's sides have already advanced to the grand finals on Sunday week at BCU International Stadiums and we've got another four sides engaged this weekend also trying to make it.
"If all works out right we could have seven teams playing grand finals which will be mind-blowing, given the size of our club."
Manning not only credits his own teams but believes there's an explosion of talent coming out of local female ranks.
"With Jenna Tristram, Laura Hall and now Gabby Dickinson firmly entrenched in representative teams of the highest standard, maybe the football hierarchy will have to sit up and take notice of who is in our own backyard," he added.
With the groundbreaking 2007 season reaching its conclusion, Manning could be forgiven if he was pausing to take a refreshing break.
"Not likely," he laughed.
"We're full of enthusiasm and already in 2008 mode by preparing submissions for sponsors, working on the retention of players and chasing new talent.
"From the coaches and players to the ground and canteen staff, this is a real family organisation and the reason why we've been so successful, first up."