Youthful Northies defy all expectations

NOT many predicted them to be there at the start of the season but on Sunday North Companions will be shooting for their first Northern Inland Premier League premiership for almost a decade.

The Northies last held the silverware in 2007 – incidentally the last year  they made the grand final. 

None of the starting side on Sunday was part of that side. Most of them were either in, or about to hit, their early teens.

“It should be good,” skipper Zac Kam said.

It’s been a good year for the club, with five teams qualifying for the Tamworth grand finals on Sunday, and just making the grand final has surpassed their expectations.

“At this stage we feel we’ve over-achieved,” Kam said.

“Just to make the final four, and then make the grand final is a pretty big thing.”

After losing the likes of Ben Davis and Ben van Aanholt, not many gave them much chance.

“At the start of the year nobody felt we’d get this far,” Kam said.

“We are a young side and everyone ruled us out.”

At 20 he is one of the oldest. There’s a couple of “older blokes” but not many.

It is his first crack at the captaincy and he’s thoroughly enjoyed it.

“We lost a lot of experience last year. I thought I’d step up,” he said.

“It’s been one of the best years I’ve had in football.”

They have had a really strong back end of the season and will go into Sunday carrying the confidence of youth and a side playing well.

Kam has tasted grand final success before. He was part of Tamworth FC’s maiden premiership win back in 2012.

Then they defeated Oxley Vale Attunga – something he hopes to repeat on Sunday.

The Mushies got the better of them the last time the two met.

“They’ve done us twice this year already during the season,” Kam said.

He said the big thing for them would  be dealing with the Mushies’ physicality.

“I think we need to toughen up,” he said.

“They are a bit physical. 

“And they’re a lot more experienced.

Oxley Vale Attunga's  Brendan Fergie (right) will be a key man for his side in Sunday's grand final against North Companions.  Photo: Geoff O'Neill. 070615GOF05.

Oxley Vale Attunga's Brendan Fergie (right) will be a key man for his side in Sunday's grand final against North Companions. Photo: Geoff O'Neill. 070615GOF05.

“Hopefully we can move the ball a bit quicker through the flanks.”

That’s what has been working for them.

“We try to keep the ball on the ground and move it around,” he said.

The grand finals will be played at Scully Park and see the Mushies matching up against North Armidale in second  grade.

This story Youthful Northies defy all expectations first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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