Experienced defender Jade North has given another glimpse of the unwavering determination within the Brisbane Roar squad for a “fairy-tale” ending to what has been one of the club’s most challenging seasons.
As the Roar prepare for Sunday’s Semi-Final showdown with Western Sydney for a place in the Grand Final, North today spoke candidly about what it would mean to him and his squad mates if they could get another crack at Australian football’s most prestigious title.
While stressing there is still a long way to go, including an extremely tough sudden-death clash against the Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday (5pm KO), North admitted “you can always dream” as he briefly contemplated what for many was unthinkable when the season kicked off and the club didn’t even have a training ground.
Since then, hard work on and off the field has seen the club’s fortunes turned around and the Roar deservedly among the Final Four.
“We are still a long way from the final yet, but to play in another Grand Final would be, for this season anyway, the icing on the cake,” North said.
“The start that we had and everything that was happening at the club at the time but we have held it together and this is the moment that we can really make a fairy-tale ending.
“All the boys have put in with the coaching staff, it’s just been a great story for us . . if we can get to the final and win it that would be a massive, massive achievement and will go down as one of my greatest moments.
“There is still a long way to go but you can always dream.”
North (above, at training today) has played every minute of every game this season which probably gives him the right to take a light-hearted poke at two team-mates when asked by the media today about the confidence levels in the squad coming into Sunday’s clash with Western Sydney.
“If Matt (McKay) can score with his right foot and Thomas (Broich) with his header (as they did against Victory last weekend), that gives us all confidence,” North joked.
Putting on his serious face, North reiterated what Roar Head Coach John Aloisi (below, at training today) has been saying for several weeks that his side is peaking at the right time.
“We are a confident outfit at the moment, We have had some good form coming in (to the Finals Series),” North said.
“Obviously we started off a bit slow first half against the Victory but that to me is a sign of a good side – that you can correct things at half-time and still go on and win the game.”
Fellow central defender James Donachie (below, at training today) echoed North’s mind-set about Sunday’s game – it’s going to be tough but the Roar has everything to play for.
He agrees with Aloisi’s post-match assessment that the first 45 minutes against the Victory was an anomaly.
“Going into the finals and it’s knock-out as well, you get a bit of nerves and stuff like that. That’s all out of the system now and we will go down there (Western Sydney) and play like we usually play,” Donachie said.
The Olyroo, who has tasted finals football before with the Roar but as a bench player not a regular starter, says the squad is determined to pick up where they left off last Friday when they scored two stunning goals in the final four minutes.
“We will go down there with that second half in mind. It was a good moment and hopefully we can create some more,” Donachie said.