Goalkeeper Marshall Pooley does a job for Northern Rangers

SOUND ADVICE: Veteran Marshall Pooley has a word to the young Rangers playing group last week before returning in goal for the club's NPL side at the NTCA No.2 ground. Picture: Phillip Biggs.
SOUND ADVICE: Veteran Marshall Pooley has a word to the young Rangers playing group last week before returning in goal for the club's NPL side at the NTCA No.2 ground. Picture: Phillip Biggs.

Northern Rangers have started safeguarding their encouraging recent results from the back end.

That’s where Marshall Pooley steps in, growing his reputation as a Mr Fixit.

Or the “rock” should an ear get close enough to the door of any changeroom.

Pooley was forced to hold together the almost-teenage George Town A-grade cricket side together last season.

So when American goalkeeper John Connolly’s sudden decision to walk out on the club just three games in to expose teen Zac Chugg, Pooley put his hand up.

But coach Lino Sciulli said last year’s Rangers Northern Championship coach was not a permanent return. 

“Not at this stage,” he said.

“All the next keepers in line are very, very young – it’s a pretty tough league for young players. We’ve got a guy on the move from interstate and hopefully he’ll be here in the next week.

“But Marsh’s helping out at the moment with his experience because it’s a tough gig for a kid to go in goal.

“So it’s nice to have that reassurance...for our boys to have someone behind them that they’re confident in.”

Rangers will host Kingborough Lions on Saturday in a chance to secure the club’s second NPL win of the year.

Sciulli is not underrating the second-to-last Lions that reportedly signed eight from interstate in the offseason.

“They must have some quality there, but they just aren’t gelling yet,” he said.

Returning for a third home match in seven days, Rangers went from a deserved point against Hobart Zebras to conceding a Lakoseljac Cup goal in a stinging loss to Southern Championship side Nelson two days later.

Sciulli was at pains to explain “what sort of head space” to next expect.

“I don’t we take anyone too lightly. Sometimes the guard drops a bit. We’ve got to be careful of that,” he said.

“If you get points off the Zebras, they’re bonuses.”

Launceston City travel to face off against South Hobart a week ahead of their Lakoseljac Cup quarter-final.

FIERCE: City defender Alexander Rosetto shows resistance earlier this season against Devonport.

FIERCE: City defender Alexander Rosetto shows resistance earlier this season against Devonport.

Coach Ben Brookfield said the Cup clash takes greater importance, but his side will be in two minds on Sunday.

“We’ll go in to win both games as you would,” he said.

“We do have again a couple of injuries, so we’ll send a team that can do the job.

“We’re not saying we’re going to win the league, but the cup is probably a little bit more important for us.

“As a club, I’d say the second game (in the Lakoseljac Cup) is slightly bigger for us.

“Especially being at home, as we showed against Olympia, we can really take it to anyone at home.”

But Brookfield also believed there could be game psychology at play ahead of the knockout clash.

“It’s a good way of trying to figure out how they play and it’s a good test for us,” he said.

City are yet to register a win in six NPL starts, but Brookfield said there is a mood of positivity going forward.

“It’s the first time this season where we have come off a nice result,” he said.

“There was definitely a happy camp in training this week.

“You can’t underestimate the power of confidence especially with the younger lads.

“So hopefully we can take it up to them and give an extra spring in their step to cause a bit of an upset.”