Eric McCarthy is making no attempt whatsoever to keep a lid on things ahead of the Northern Storm’s perform or perish showdown with Boambee away on Saturday.
“It’s the best part of the season and it’s all to play for,” Eric said, with the outcome to basically determine who will meet Coffs United Lions in the CPL North Conference grand final.
In his first year at the coaching helm of the Storm 1sts, he’s pumped about the possibilities.
“Wowee, it’s like Christmas Eve,” he said.
While an experienced hand at coaching junior football, and having wracked up 12 years with the Storm, Eric said results matter when you progress to the elite level.
“If you’re not winning things then it’s not fun,” he said of senior football.
The Storm have ridden a topsy season.
The Korora outfit jumped to a strong start in the combined CPL competition, only for a couple of results to send them spinning down the ladder.
“That league was so tight. We fell away and that was an awakening for the coaching team and the players. But then when we re-started with the North Conference it gave us a fresh chance,” Eric said.
While the assault on Ayrshire Park on Saturday afternoon looms as a “grand final/semi-final” make or break for both outfits, the Storm can reflect on a season of steady progress.
“We started out this season with probably 75 per cent being a new squad. And the lads have been learning about one another and how everyone plays – they’re just starting to come together now,” Eric said.
“Both our firsts and reserves are right up there, so there’s some very good signs.”
The new look 2020 Storm boast experience and three or four 17-year-olds – a mix Eric said is vital for teams looking to develop.
“You’ve got to have some of those older heads to guide the younger players as they come into senior football,” he said.
While the Coffs Lions have been the benchmark, Eric believes they can be taken down, though it will be no easy feat.
“They’re a very mature side and their players have been around the traps for a long time,” he said of the competition heavyweights.
“Success against them will require 90 minutes of focus and 90 minutes of effort – teams will just have to bring their A Game for the whole match because 90 per cent won’t do.”