Westside Panthers bound for Dubbo football's first grade finals

FINALS BOUND: Brock Cameron (centre) and the Westside Panthers team mates Hayden Bax (right) and Jarred Clark (left) have had plenty of reason to celebrate this season. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

The Westside Panthers may not have taken much out of last weekend's victory, but there's plenty of positivity in the club as it heads towards a long-awaited return to the Dubbo and District Football Association first grade finals.

Westside scored a impressive win on Sunday, running out 5-1 victors over an RSL 78s side they're set to meet again in the first week of finals later this month.

With the sides already guaranteed to finish fourth and third respectively regardless of the result, coach Luke Cameron admitted neither team was exactly firing on all cylinders on the weekend.

Getting into the position of having a finals place secured is the biggest plus for Cameron, given much of his side is made-up of young players only just starting out in senior football.

A team made-up largely of teenagers, many of which have worked under Cameron since the under 8s, the Panthers showed no fear early in the season and lost just once in the opening seven rounds.

Things haven't been quite as smooth since but there's still been a lot to like and having a finals spot secured is a massive tick.

"The second half of the season was a bit more challenging but a good challenge for them," Cameron said of his side.

"To be fair, I think a lot of other sides realised they really had to play against us and this year is the first time in a long time there's been a Westside side playing in the finals series, so it's a credit to all the boys for what they've been putting in at training and on the pitch."

Teamwork and positivity, something Cameron has spoken about at length with his players, has been key to Westside's success this season and it showed again on the weekend during the win over RSL.

A number of players stepped up after helping the second grade side to a morale-boosting win while there were five different goal-scorers in the victory.

"My view of the weekend was I was proud of first grade boys but probably more proud of second grade lads," Cameron said. "They were playing for pride and can't make finals but played one of their best game of the season and stuck it to RSL.

"They scraped 11 players together to field a team and they implemented stuff we've been working on at training and really stepped up and looked like they were having fun."

This coming weekend's final round is no certainty to go ahead given it was decided it is a non-competitive round with no points on offer as all sides have already played each other twice.

The next set of matches could be the finals, where minor premiers Wellington will meet Newtown in the major semi while Westside and RSL again do battle in the minor.

"My method is to let the team set their goals and that helps keep them accountable," Cameron said of the season.

"A goal was to reach the finals and it's a good success marker for us. Now it's about focusing on each game as it comes and work our way through and see if we can get through a grand final. That would be fantastic.

"We're not getting ahead of ourselves and we're a very young side that's fit but we've got a lot to learn and adapt to."

Elsewhere last weekend, Wellington showed why it's top of the ladder by crushing Macquarie United 5-0, Newtown scored an utterly dominant 13-0 win over wooden spooners South Dubbo Wanderers, and Dubbo FC downed Orana Spurs 3-2.

CREDIT: Daily Liberal Article (Nick Guthrie - https://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/7379378/positivity-and-teamwork-from-panthers-cubs-helps-secure-finals-return/?cs=113#comments)

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