Camaraderie takes Monaro Panthers reserves to grand final

Monaro Panthers goal-keeper Igor Ilievski saves a goal at team training last week. 		 Photo: Joshua Matic.

Monaro Panthers goal-keeper Igor Ilievski saves a goal at team training last week. Photo: Joshua Matic.

THE camaraderie of being together as a playing group for six years has kept them strong through the thick and thin, and the Monaro Panthers ACT State League reserve side won straight through to the grand final last Saturday.

Fifteen of their players left the Queanbeyan City football club ACT State League squad and formed their new team with the Panthers in the reserve grade competition this year, after disagreements with their former club during the pre-season.

And they will now aim to win the premiership after beating ANU 4-0 in the major semi-final.

They lost just one match in the regular season and along with a draw, won 16 of their 18 games.

Panthers player Andrew McGurgan said it was a great result given how hard the start of the year had been for his men.

"It was hard at the start of the season. Queanbeyan City were a bit dirty with the boys," said McGurgan.

"But we're a really tight group of boys. We don't care which club we play for, just as long as we play together. We've been playing together for so long now."

"I think that camaraderie has really kept us strong this season, which obviously had its distractions, and I think that's why we finished first in the competition."

Former Queanbeyan City coach Vlatko Tomeski returned to coach the team six weeks ago, having spent many seasons with the same group in the past, and said his men were happy after beating ANU.

"It was our biggest challenge of the season," said Tomeski.

"Beating them 4-0 and keeping a clean sheet, it was good from the team, and we've got a week off now which will be a good rest and we'll be fresh for the grand final."

"Each player knows what path they have...Overall I think the team has lifted, and the results have come."

They will play the winner of ANU and Canberra Olympic at Hawker on September 6.

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