The NCF 14 years team, with players from Macksville to Iluka, is playing in the NPL grand final on today against Edgeworth.
The NCF 14 years team, with players from Macksville to Iluka, is playing in the NPL grand final on today against Edgeworth. Brad Greenshields

NCF shoot for back-to-back titles

WHEN North Coast Football's 14 years team plays in Saturday's Northern NSW NPL grand final against Edgeworth, coach Joe Skrtic believes the incredible level of commitment his team has shown in 2018 will hold them in good stead.

"Some of the boys travel from Maclean, Grafton, Scotts Head and Nambucca to train in Coffs twice a week and we travel down by bus every second Saturday to play in Newcastle so it's a huge commitment from the group," Skrtic said with enormous pride.

"To show up at training, put in 100% and then again on game day it's a big effort from them and from their parents as well."

The match is a replay of last year's grand final, which the North Coast Football team won.

Facing Edgeworth at Broadmeadow, Skrtic said his team has sufficient ability, talent and desire to claim victory but added it won't be easy by any stretch of the imagination.

"I think the players will take confidence out of the last game they played against Edgeworth," he said.

"This year we've met twice and it's been one win for them and one win for us so it's going to be a pretty tight showdown on the weekend but we're looking forward to it.

"They're a talented group and they've put the hard work in all year and hopefully it will all pay off on the weekend."

Last week the NCF 14s progressed to the big match after defeating Hamilton Olympic 5-3 in the semi final.

Skrtic said it was a great win but knows improvement is needed if the young group is going to make it back-to-back titles.

"I was very happy scoring the five goals but obviously we let in three goals so we probably need to work on our defensive shape at training and hopefully the group will show up on Saturday and be ready for the grand final," he said.

While playing in the NPL requires incredible commitment from the players and their families, the coach said playing at a higher level every weekend benefits the players and their rate of development enormously.

"It's great to have a pathway for our kids, for them to actually go down there and play in a strong competition," he said.

"It's a pathway for the kids that hopefully want to one day play in the A-League or play for Australia or go overseas."



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