Floraville Public School’s boys soccer team has narrowly missed a NSW Primary Schools Sports Association title, falling to one of the best schools in the country in the knockout final.
The gifted group of boys were crowned Hunter champions earlier this year and qualified for the state finals with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Neutral Bay Public School in the quarter finals in September.
The side travelled down to Valentine Sports Park in Sydney as one of four schools left in the statewide competition for the finals last Monday.
In their first match, a semi-final against Narranga Public, the boys went three goals ahead by halftime but left their supporters with a nervous wait until they held on to claim a 3-2 victory.
Taking on the renowned King Park Public School in the final, the boys held their own against some of the most talented players in the country but could not come away with a full-time result.
They went into the sheds at the break 2-0 down, but lifted in the second half to press the opposition. Six minutes from full time, Reece McManus went on a rampaging run down the right wing and buried the ball into the net.
Despite the spirited comeback, the boys could not find another goal to send the game into extra time.
“I knew this would be a tough match,” Floraville principal Simon Mulready said.
“King Park win the state knockout most years.
“They have an elite soccer program that feeds into Westfield Sports High.
“Former students at King Park, include Aaron Mooy, Terry Antonis, Connor Chapman, Bernie Ibini, Brendan Hamill, Matt Jurman.
“So to lose so narrowly was actually a tremendous achievement for the boys.”
Proving the elite level the boys were up against, King Park’s old coach Trevor Morgan is now the head coach of the junior Socceroos (Joeys).
SEARCH ON FOR WORLD STAGE ATHLETES
The search for junior athletes to represent Lake Macquarie at the world’s largest multi-sports youth competition next year has begun.
Lake Macquarie council has opened entries for the 2019 International Children’s Games, which are being in Russia in July. Athletes aged 12-15 from across Lake Macquarie can apply for a spot.
“Participating in the Games is not just about the competition – it’s about travelling overseas, discovering other cultures and meeting peers from around the world,” Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said.
A team has been to the Games every year since 2008 and Lake Macquarie hosted it in 2014. The 2019 Games will be held in the city of Ufa, 1400km east of Moscow.