A glimpse of Whittlesea Ranges future was on display in their final match of the National Premier League 2 west season.
With nothing to play for in the final round against Sunshine George Cross, the Ranges coaching staff, led by Tony Ciantar, decided to shake things up a bit.
Ciantar said it was a good opportunity to give some players who haven’t been playing a lot, experience and exposure at that level.
“We had eight players who were 19 or below in the starting line [at the weekend]. To get that opportunity was just as good as a win,” Ciantar said.
“Some of them have been in the senior group for the last 12 months, so starting a game was good reward for them.”
Coming away with the points after a 1-0 win was also reward for effort.
“They [Sunshine] wanted to finish the season on a high. When you’re playing your old coach, you want to step up.
“We had enough chances in the first half to win three matches of football.
“It was a good test for the younger boys.”
The Ranges finished the season in sixth, a long way from relegation, which looked likely when Ciantar took over as coach midway through the season.
Ciantar was hoping to get the team up to fifth, but was content with a sixth-placed finish.
The Ranges had entered the final round on the back of four straight wins.
“It was a great second half of the season for the club,” Ciantar said.
“We made some changes to stabilise the team and to avoid relegation.
“We built a style that gave us a point of difference. To finish sixth is a super achievement from where we were.”
Ciantar said he would be back next season to help build on what the club had achieved
He said he would sit down with the club next week to talk about their future direction.
“I want to look at the plan and set goals going forward,” he said.
“Looking forward to the direction the club wants to take, I’m happy to lead again.
“We may lose one or two players and we will make some changes, but the second half of this season will be a great base.”