Western United Academy Director Anthony Frost opened up on what promotion to NPL 2 would mean for the Club in just the second year of the Academy’s existence.
The Green and Black secured a third placed finish on the NPL 3 table with a 4-1 win against Geelong SC on the final day of the regular season, booking a play-off tie against Goulburn Valley Suns.
“It’s really rewarding to be in this position. We’re really thankful that the season has progressed in the way we had hoped, and we give ourselves the best opportunity to be in a position where we can push for NPL 2,” Frost said.
“Promotion would mean for us an opportunity to ensure that the gap between playing in the Academy and then the A-League is a lot shorter.
“I think being another step closer helps us in our preparation and our opportunity to stretch and challenge our players the best possible way we can.”
As well as playing for the chance to earn promotion, Frost sees the match as an opportunity to expose his players to a high-pressure scenario.
“For me, the most valuable thing is that we get to experience a real pressure type game, and that really prepares our players as well as we possibly can for their long-term development as well,” he said.
Goulburn finished bottom of NPL 2, amassing only four points throughout the campaign and going the entire season without a win.
But Frost is ensuring there is no complacency from his squad, and he is relishing the opportunity to come up against a new team.
“Playing Goulburn Valley, obviously not being in our league, it means we haven’t had the opportunity to play them during the season and maybe do our reconnaissance. We’ve got good information on how they’re looking to play, and I’m sure they do on us as well,” he said.
“Ultimately it comes down to who’s going to perform best on the day. We said to the playing group this week we don’t underestimate anyone, we make sure that we stick to our principles and our processes and we apply ourselves to our standards, and the rest should take care of itself.”
Western United fans have shown their support for the Academy throughout the NPL 3 season and are set to do so again for the play-off.
Entry is $15 for adults and $10 for concession at Valley Park Events Centre, and Frost encouraged the Green and Black army to get behind the Academy and join the journey of the Club’s talented young players.
“It’s a great opportunity for those fans to come and have a look at the future of the Club. It’s exciting that we’ve got young players coming through and progressing through the Club,” he said.
“We appreciate all their support and would encourage everyone to get down and be vocal, get the Green and Black on and cheer on the Club.”
Goulburn Valley Suns vs Western United
Saturday, 27 August
Kick-off: 2:00pm AEST
Valley Park Events Centre, Meadow Heights
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on NPL.tv