Pre-season prediction: Third
Position: Third (9 wins, 2 draws, 5 losses, +18 goal difference)
In short: A strange sort of season. Expectations were high after the preseason addition of the Watkins family, but a mid-season spate of injuries and some shock results almost saw the wheels fall off. It got better, but the reality is there’s no silverware to show for it.
What went right: Talk about peaking at the right time. After an incredibly inconsistent two-thirds of the season, Yoogali FC finally hit their straps in July and went into the finals following a seven-game undefeated stretch, which included six wins and just one goal conceded.
What went wrong: The middle stretch of the season – from rounds 7 to 11 – was an unmitigated disaster for YFC. They lost 3-0 to City, drew with Yenda, fell 1-0 to YSC when they arguably should have won, fielded a suspended player and thus lost 5-0 on forfeit to Wests and then were tonked 4-1 by Hanwood. Fortunately, they recovered, losing just one more game for the season – the preliminary final.
Best win: It would have been the 1-0 win over YSC in round 18, but both sides were at quarter-strength and the match was billed as “meaningless”. The week after, YFC won 3-2 over Leeton in the elimination final – on paper, it might not read as impressively, but it was a gritty, character-building victory.
Worst loss: The 3-0 defeat to Griffith City in round 7 came out of nowhere and was the earliest sign that 2013 was going to be more of a struggle for YFC than anticipated.
Best player: There are two – English import Aden Johnson, who started out as a left back but quickly became a vital cog in midfield. Archie Watkins, on the other hand, established himself as Griffith’s version of Marouane Fellaini – distinctive, unbeatable in the air, slightly awkward at times but very, very damaging on the whole.
Leading goalscorer: He played just eight games for the season due to injury and other commitments, but Jordan Lando was easily YFC’s most lethal player in front of goal with 11. Not far behind was Archie Watkins, with nine goals from 14 matches.
Moving forward: It is unlikely Rocky Marando, as impressive as he was after taking over from Abraham Watkins, will remain as coach. If YFC can make the right appointment, keep their good players and recruit wisely, they should be title contenders next year.
Grade: B. Started OK, struggled in the middle but improved for the key part of the season. Yet Yoogali FC was simply not good enough to compete with the top two this year.