The Riverina Rhinos have brought their improved second season in the National Premier League with a 2-1 loss to Woden Weston at Solar Mad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Rhinos were the dominant side in the first half, and while both teams had their chances, it was the execution in front of goal which was letting them down.
The was until Alexander Mulrooney Castellano popped up and after Artur Rattel did the hard work of finding space and getting a shot on target, the youngster was able to get to the keeper’s save first and tuck it away.
The Rhinos went into the break with a 1-0 lead and were unlucky not to add to that lead early in the second half when stand-in captain Ally McLeod rose to head a corner which was saved off the line.
It was a perfect counter-attack from the visitors as after saving the chance from the Rhinos, Woden Weston was able to go from one end to another and Michael Adams was able to score the equaliser.
Scores weren’t level for long as Martin Deng gave Woden Weston the lead.
The Rhinos had chances to get the scores back level again with their best chance falling to Abhishek Sandhu, but his shot went well wide of the goal to see the visitors able to come away with the 2-1 victory.
Rhinos’ coach Gabriel Abdala felt it was a tale of two very different halves.
“If we had of played like we did in the first half it would have been completely different,” he said.
“Our first half was so good, and we were just very sloppy in the second half. The way that we maintained the ball in the first half more than anything was really good.”
While it does bring the season to a close with a loss the season on a whole has been a massive improvement from last season having picked up almost double the points.
“We said, in the beginning, our aim was to finish mid-table, and I think a win today would have put us there,” he said.
“In saying that we played some good football throughout the year and beat some really good teams. You are only as good as your last season and this season was a lot better than last year's.”