Sheridan van Gelderen & Hannah Hammoud from HUFC Media spoke to senior men’s vice-captain Adrian Zahra, following the 3-1 loss to South Melbourne on Thursday night.
The season opener of NPL Victoria saw the inclusion of five new ‘Bergers to the starting XI, featuring Ivan & Joseph Franjic, Josh Pin, Kaine Sheppard and Brian Summerskill.
With regular skipper Reuben Way out injured, vice-captain Zahra stood-in to lead a refreshed line-up for Heidelberg. Following the match, he acknowledged the disappointing finish but remained focused on the games ahead.
“It was an exciting game to come back to. Obviously we didn’t get the result that we wanted so we’re back to the drawing board this week and hopefully next week we come back out and give our fans something to see,” Zahra said.
With quite a few fresh faces on the pitch, Zahra acknowledged that opening round nerves may have impacted the squad’s synergy on the night.
“It’s just one of those things – I think we had a lot of interruptions prior to the season kicking off,” he said.
“He had a couple of injuries that went down, so we had a bit of a makeshift team. I think in the next coming weeks we will bounce back.”
One of the new signings – a Warrior returnee in Sheppard – grabbed a late consolation goal to kickstart his goal scoring season. When asked what the takeaways from this week’s game were, Zahra mentioned a focus on intensity and cohesion.
“The beautiful thing about football is we have another game next week. We’ll regroup, we’ll dust this one off, we’ll let it hurt – but we come out better,” he said.
When asked about what head coach George Katsakis had to say at half-time, Zahra summarised his message in a few words.
“He just said to stick to the game plan. Unfortunately South Melbourne got the better of us but it was a good battle out there… Hopefully, next time, we’ll bounce back.”
Lakeside Stadium was a packed house, featuring a large and boisterous South Melbourne fan base. However, Zahra believed the rowdy crowd served no interruption for the squad.
“You forget about it when you cross that white line, it doesn’t do too much for us,” he said.
Written by Sheridan van Gelderen & Hannah Hammoud from HUFC Media.