GSL semi finals
MOE United has put the euphoria of the League Championship on hold to focus on the Gippsland Soccer double, and faces its first finals hurdle in Sale United at home on Sunday.
Red Devils coach Lee Dastey said there was no lack of intensity ahead of the clash, despite having already secured the league’s most coveted trophy, signalling the premier’s intent to augment its legacy.
“We’ve tried to put aside the League Championship victory until the finals series is over. It’s all about getting the boys’ minds back on the job, concentrating on the finals series and hopefully doing the double,” he said.
“There’s definitely not (any complacency) as far as ‘job done’. The league (title) was the big one but at the same time those within soccer know that’s the main prize to win but there’s a lot of people out there who don’t so… if you don’t win the grand final a lot of people in their own mind don’t class you as champion.
“We were lucky enough in 2007 to win the top four playoff but we were second in the league and didn’t go down as champion.
“To do the double is something that the club, since the finals series was introduced, has never done.”
Moe had one win and a draw against Sale in the regular season.
Youth versus experience is the apparent theme for the match, with Sale’s speed and mobility a threat across the park.
The Swans’ midfield combination of Tommy Nguyen and Ash Ross has proved a handful throughout the season, and Dastey said limiting their impact would be vital.
“They’re both young quick and mobile players… but its not two players that have got them there. They’re actually very well organised at the back, their defensive record shows that so it’s up to our strikers to pick our way through that,” he said.
“It’s combating and setting up our side to control the game as much as possible so we’re not left chasing the speed of their players.
“That’s been the biggest factor, the pace that they have.”
Moe captain Marc McHallam will be key to containing the midfield magic.
Apart from the out-of-country Adrian Savage, Moe has a full list to choose from.
Dastey said the club was not sure whether former National Soccer League player Manny Gotis would rejoin the squad at the time of print.
Churchill United plays Monash in the other semi-final.