Brimbank Stallions have banded together to clinch the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 3 west title.
The Stallions were in turmoil before former Socceroo Andrew Marth took over as coach six weeks ago. The committee changed hands, a coach departed and players wanted to leave – it was a tumultuous time to be involved.
Marth somehow got the players’ minds back on the job and they completed their mission to become champions when they beat FC Strathmore 1-0 on a tense final day at the Club Italia Sporting Club in St Albans on Saturday.
“When I took over, they had lost five in a row and were under the pump a little bit,” Marth said.
“It was a lot harder than what I expected.
“The players are quite good, they’re a pretty good team and that’s the reason why they started off the season well.
“They fell in a bit of a hole, so we just went back to basics and it has worked out well for us.”
Brimbank simply had to win on the final day to seal the title.
Its opponent, Strathmore, also had a chance to finish with the title, but its dreams were shattered when Stallions striker Robert Chelchowski produced a goal that was championship worthy.
Not only did Strathmore miss out on first place, it slid to third and missed out on promotion.
“Kacper [Hubiak] laid it off to Robbie and Robbie hit a brilliant one-time shot from 25 metres out into the corner,” Marth said, describing the decisive goal.
It was a deserving three points for Brimbank – one that saw the team finish the season with four consecutive wins to swoop on the title.
The Stallions bossed the game for the most part with only the woodwork and the opposition goalkeeper denying a bigger margin.
Marth could not fault his team’s performance, which was sparked by standout players Tom Galea and Seny Diedhiou.
“It’s probably the best we’ve played as a team since I’ve been there,” Marth said.
“It was the biggest crowd they’ve ever had and the end result was what we wanted to achieve.”
Marth admits his stay at Brimbank could be a short one.
The 48-year-old, who moved to the Stallions after a lengthy stint as coach of the Melbourne Knights, is keen to return to coaching at a higher level, but did not totally rule out a return to the Stallions for their tilt at state league 2 next season.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself at Brimbank, it’s a club that’s up and coming,” he said.
“I’ve got my options open, but I obviously want to coach at a higher level. If that doesn’t eventuate, I’d be happy to stay at Brimbank, that’s for sure.”
In men’s state league 4, Spring Hills has been promoted after a 2-0 win over Keilor Wolves on the final day at Green Gully Reserve.