It has been a dream season for the Western Eagles and particularly for its coach Patrick Mangion.
The Eagles earned promotion and locked up the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 4 west title with three games left to play.
Rewind the clock to March and only in Mangion’s wildest dreams did he consider he might be at the helm of such a team.
Mangion was content with his position of reserves coach at the time, but jumped at the chance to step up into the head coaching role vacated by Danny Krasic.
“I didn’t expect that I’d be having this kind of season with the senior team,” Mangion said. “As I was the reserves coach last season, the players all knew me, which made it easier.”
Mangion inherited a strong team.
He was steadfast in his belief the Eagles could achieve greatness this season. What he did not expect was to be talking in the middle of August about having already secured the title.
“I knew we had a good side and I knew that we wanted to challenge, but I didn’t expect us to have it wrapped up three weeks before the season finished,” he said.
Western Eagles claimed the title in front of their home fans on August 4, beating second-placed Truganina Hornets 2-1.
The Eagles partied long into the night at the Polish Sports and Recreation Centre after Stefan Dimeski scored the 87th minute winner.
“There was a big celebration there – it was good fun,” Mangion said.
Western Eagles have shown no weaknesses. They are ranked first in goals with 64 in 18 games at a jaw-dropping average of 3.55 goals per game. They also defend well, conceding on average just 1.11 goals per game.
It helps when you have strikers of the calibre of Matthew Lodkowski and Robert Chelchowski.
The front men have combined for a massive 49 goals – 32 to runaway golden boot leader Lodkowski and 17 to Chelchowski.
Mateusz Kowalski and Juan Igic have produced a stack of assists among the Western Eagles goals.
Captain Charlie Mizzi has played a vital role marshalling the defence.
But Mangion stressed the importance of team work. “Everybody has chipped in,” he said.
Western Eagles will be looking to extend their winning streak to four when they host third-placed Spring Hills in a cracker this Saturday.