As Launceston City looks to set another new club mark – five straight NPL wins – the man driving the late-season revival is set to stay on the pitch in a permanent move.
Coach Ben Brookfield said he now regrets not taking on a playing role earlier in the season when the club had won just once in 15 matches and was on track to claim the club’s second wooden spoon in the NPL’s five seasons.
“The simple answer would be yes,” Brookfield said.
“After the first round (of matches), I was thinking in the back of my head: I could so something here.”
Brookfield flirted with the idea of “kicking the legs over” in the Northern Championship before deciding the best way to provide leadership was in the youthful lineup.
The move appears now to have shored up, with City on the verge of announcing a new director of coaching to support Brookfield’s tenure.
“There was never any doubt in my head, but whether my body could go from not training to playing.
“But it made me think, I want to go back to coaching/playing or assistant coaching/playing or something.”
City hosts Olympia Warriors in the first of two milestone games at the weekend.
But Brookfield hopes his side can arguably first claim its best win under his reign.
“I think the most historic win of the year was South Hobart (in the Lakoseljac Cup), which in hindsight was a massive achievement when you look at what they’ve gone on to achieve,” he said.
“I actually think the best performance we’ve had was at Devonport when we were really low on confidence and we just lost in the last minute.
“But if we can win this, I think it is the best achievement for the season because we are on a massive run.”
City’s Aaron Campbell and Ranger Pat Lanau-Atkinson will both walk out the first men to reach 100 games in NPL Tasmania history since the statewide’s competition was revived back in 2013.
Star Brayden Mann, not named on Thursday night for Devonport City, is stranded behind both on 99 games.
Northern Rangers meanwhile enter favourites against last-placed Kingborough.
The recent NPL battlers are seemingly heading in opposite directions.
Rangers just held FFA Cup round of 32 qualifier Olympia to a 1-1 draw, while Lions swapped table places in their goal loss to Clarence United.
“It was really a good performance, so to let it all slip this week would be a bit of a crime,” Sciulli said.
Sciulli said his side has to expect take the three points against bottom-four sides.
But the valuable points have a more important role towards securing last League Cup spot for Sunday’s hosts.
“That’s the importance of it all – we’ll eliminate two teams by winning this weekend and still keep us in a good position to finish above City too,” Sciulli said.
“Most of it (motivation) is that they had such a poor year last year that it’s imperative that we climb the ladder and do better each year now.”
There was never any doubt in my head, but whether my body could go from not training to playingCity coach Ben Brookfield