Adversity is something Devonport haven’t had to encounter too often during their magical 18-month-run at the top of the NPL Tasmania tree.
Their injury list has never had players with season-ending ailments, and while there was a huge turnover of players from last season, new coach Chris Gallo has been able to wave his magic wand and continue on the club’s winning ways.
But in the lead-up to Saturday’s crunch game with Olympia, the past fortnight hasn’t been kind to the Strikers, with the career-ending injury to club figurehead Chris McKenna and departure of leading scorer Tyler Fischer.
It’s a problem Strikers captain Brayden Mann strongly believes his team can overcome in the second half of the season.
“With Kenny (McKenna) getting injured we were devastated for him,” Mann said.
“We all knew it was the end for in terms of playing, but his wisdom will be a still be a big in what we are trying to do.
“Tyler has moved on to bigger and better things and all the best to him, but we’ll now focus on what Chris Gallo is trying to get us to buy into.
“He’s still got faith in us and we still have faith in him, nothing changes, and no player is bigger than the club, especially at Devonport.
“We’re up for this game, we know it’s a big one and we’ll go in confident.”
While Mann welcomes the extra responsibility up forward to score, he is also confident centre-back Raphael Reynolds and his defenders can quell a Warriors attack that contains the leagues leading scorer in Jakub Sklenar (15 goals in 11 games).
“We’re confident in our defensive structures but we can’t focus on one player because they’ve got guys who can score from midfield and out wide as well,” Mann said.
“Raph has been great for us and you never with imports what sort of attitude they bring over with them.
“But he’s settled with our team perfectly and compliments our young defenders as well.
“He pushes everyone to be better and he wants to be a better player as well.”