Words: Michael Flynn | Image: SportsPics
Gold Coast City defender Eoghan Murphy says the pressure could prove too much for Premiership rivals Brisbane Strikers in the final round of the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland regular season.
City lost their hold on top spot in the league in the penultimate round following a 1-0 defeat to Western Pride, allowing Strikers to claim pole position on goal difference.
As such, the title will be determined this week – with City lining up against Moreton Bay United on Saturday night, before Strikers take on Brisbane Olympic on Sunday evening in the final match of the home-and-away campaign.
However, with everything still to play for, Murphy said he and his teammates will not acquiesce in their quest to become the first club to win a second PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Premiers title.
“We can still win the title and we are going to put the pressure right back on Strikers. Let’s see if they have the bottle to handle that pressure,” the no-nonsense defender said.
He confidently added, “I know they won’t be able to handle it. In my mind, if we win this weekend we will win the league. I just don’t think (Strikers) have got it in them.”
City’s next opponent is the only side they have not defeated this campaign – drawing 1-1 with Jets in their clash earlier this year at Duncan Mckenna Field.
But despite his confidence, Murphy accepts that the failure to take maximum points from that and other fixtures this year may ultimately prove telling in the title race.
“We’ve missed a lot of goals this year and leaked some silly goals too – so we have to accept that we have put ourselves in this position,” he explained.
“We’ve had three or four chances to put the league to bed this season and we haven’t taken them.”
This weekend’s fixtures are not the only chance for City to push for silverware in 2017.
City will again line-up against Jets on Wednesday night in the Westfield FFA Cup Round of 16 before moving on to the top four PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Finals Series next weekend.
However, Murphy said thoughts have not progressed that far in the squad – repeating an oft-used adage familiar to all sports fans.
“For the last five weeks we’ve had high pressure games and we have been taking it one game at a time. We don’t look too far ahead and we don’t ever get ahead of ourselves,” he concluded.
City will be without striker Jarrod Kyle for the clash as he continues his recovery from a dislocated shoulder but he is expected to return in the Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday.
Should City claim the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Premiership they will contest the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Finals Series against seven other Member Federation clubs following the conclusion of the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Finals Series.
Venues and dates for the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Finals Series have yet to be announced by Football Queensland.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland 2017 – Round 22
Moreton Bay United FC v Gold Coast City FC
Saturday, August 19 | 6:00PM
Wolter Park, Moreton Bay
Gold Coast City FC squad (one to be omitted/subject to change): 1. Matt STEIN (gk), 2. Riley DILLON, 3. Oskar DILLON, 4. Martin VAZQUEZ, 5. Matt SCHMIDT, 6. Roman HOFMANN, 7. Justyn MCKAY (c), 10. Jacob BOUTOUBIA, 11. Nik MIRKOVIC, 14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS, 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 16. Tom MILLER (in), 18. Jason CAMPBELL, 19. Ethan GRIMLEY, 20. Joshua LANGDON (gk), 21. Sam SMITH, 22. Jaiden WALKER
Out: Jarrod KYLE