Pre-season prediction: Sixth
Position: Sixth (7 wins, 1 draw, 8 losses, -1 goal difference)
In short: Griffith City might have fallen five points short of a finals berth but the club made some significant inroads in a number of areas. Coach Ross Panebianco accepted his side was not going to be title contenders but after a season when club culture and unity was the focus, they surely will be one day soon.
What went right: With the exception of the two big losses to bogey side HFC – in which they conceded over one third of their goals against for the year – City were never shamed. The heaviest defeat outside of those was a 3-1 result against YSC, which almost any side in the GDFA would have gladly claimed.
What went wrong: Only two clean sheets were kept all season, which will bug the defensively minded Panebianco, and they were both in successive weeks – against YFC and sister club Yoogali Wanderers. For City to improve in 2014 that needs to change.
Best win: For pure epicness it’s very hard to go past the 5-4 win over Leeton United, which was quite possibly the match of the season. Leeton were 4-1 up with 25 minutes to go after an Aaron Monaghan hat-trick on debut, but City refused to roll over and pulled a miracle win out of nowhere. Adding to the feat was that this was all on enemy territory in Leeton.
Worst loss: After a reasonably solid start to the season – which featured two wins over weaker sides and two losses to stronger sides – the 7-0 defeat to Hanwood FC in round 6 came out of nowhere. A performance City would love to forget.
Best player: There were no absolute standouts – and that’s probably how Panebianco likes it. But the likes of Ben Boland, Matthew Whight, Ben Duggan, Daniel Bergamin and Chris Andreazza were the backbone of the side.
Leading goalscorer: Ben Boland stamped himself as a more-than-capable first grade striker this season, leading the line for City and contributing 10 goals – the only player from the side to notch double figures in that department.
Moving forward: Like any club outside the “big three”, City could do with the lift a quality import or two would bring to the side. But this team is capable of playing finals next year as is, provided the majority of the squad stays together and works hard in the off-season.
Grade: B-. As good as 2013 was to Griffith City, there’s no denying this year was a missed opportunity. Finals could have happened, but they didn’t. Can it happen next year? Time will tell.