By Josip Zilic
The winning streak came to an end but the defensive effort to keep its fourth clean sheet in a row has reinforced North Geelong’s mid-season resolve ahead of its away clash with Box Hill this Saturday.
If not for the linesman’s call for an offside tap-in by Lewis Waight off Tom Hidic’s late shot on target, the Warriors would have deservedly notched up another win rather than 0-0 against Melbourne Victory in an action-packed match filled with creativity and opportunities.
The Warriors face a buoyant Box Hill this week, itself enjoying a 1-0 win away against Langwarrin, which is a tough ask in anyone’s book.
Box Hill has endured some disappointing results in the first half of the season, and the win last week courtesy of an Andrew Le Page goal will no doubt lift its belief as the side looks to disrupt the Warriors’ rhythm.
North Geelong will have other ideas though, and new coach James Coutts will look to get his first full week in charge of the side underway with a positive result.
With recent mid-season transfers resulting in departures by Damien Peters (Pascoe Vale), Michael Boyar (Sydenham) and Alessandro Merico (delisted), the new signings include some solid experience, with Coutts himself vying for a midfield positon along with new defender Ben Hampson seeking selection to open his account.
However, the more-interesting selection might come up the park. With goals from the forwards not coming freely in open play, Coutts will be thinking about how to present the most danger for Box Hill.
With Domenico Marafioti available again after missing last week due to illness, and an impressive performance from Hidic off the bench mixed with a lively forward line of Darius Madison, Jamie Noggler and skipper Michael Anderson, Coutts will have his work cut out for him come final selection.
Action gets under way at 3:15pm at Wembley Park, Box Hill.