“Five games, zero points. What are you going to do?” I was asked by someone earlier this week.
I think my response surprised him.
Despite the results so far, there are some positives to the way we’re playing. For those of you have seen us play – and we’ve only had one game at home so far – we’re doing reasonably well up to a certain point.
What I have noted is that when we lose the first goal, we’re very vulnerable in the next 15 minutes. Other goals come quickly.
So what we need to do is, beyond stopping that first goal in the first place, is to work extra hard to plug the gaps so more goals are not scored.
The other aspect that has been pleasing is that the players have not put their heads down. When we have a chance to talk to them at half-time, and work on some tactical matters in the game, they work hard, they focus on their job, they work to instruction and do as well as possible.
We also have to understand as a football community that we don’t have a player pool to choose from that is as big as most other NPL clubs.
So, yes, results are important. No-one likes to lose their first five games of the season. Just ask Adelaide United who lost their first eight games of the current A-League season and could be Premiers by the end of this weekend.
However, our primary aim is to educate players so they become better players, week-in, week-out.
I like to see individual improvement in each player every week. As an example, Sam Herlihy came off the bench last week against FNQ Heat in Cairns. He changed the game. Not only did he score a goal, but he understood his role, kept his width, tracked back into defence and didn’t stop working. It was a great reaction to being benched, and he approached the game with entirely the right attitude and focus.
A lesson for all of us. The right attitude. Focussed on our own job. Keeping shape.
Hope to see you at Townsville Sports Reserve on Saturday when we meet Gold Coast City. Kick-off is at 7pm with earlier games starting at 3pm.
Ian Ferguson is Director of Coaching of Northern Fury FC and Head Coach of the NPL team. He has previously coached Perth Glory and the former NQ Fury in the A-League. His playing career spanned 18 years, mostly with Rangers in the Scottish Premier League. He was capped nine times for Scotland.