The disappointment of last season’s TAFE NSW Waratah Cup defeat is driving APIA Leichhardt Tigers to go one better in 2018, striker Jordan Murray has revealed.
The Tigers suffered a surprise 3-1 loss to Hakoah Sydney City East twelve months ago and fans will be guilty of feeling like they’re experiencing Deja Vu with the two teams meeting again in this year’s decider.
Just like last season, APIA come into the game flying high with great form and with three competitions still to play for.
For Murray that is where the similarities end.
The young striker has come on in leaps and bounds during the past twelve months and is now the clear focal point of the Tigers attack.
Murray revealed it was defeat in this game last year which helped him take his game to another level.
“The whole team was devastated to not win the Waratah Cup in 2017,” he said.
“Even though we were a young team we had been playing great football but sadly we couldn’t get the result we wanted on the day.
“Combined with defeat in the grand final last year, I realised that I needed to work harder and put more energy into my football.”
The 22-year-old acknowledged that not often do teams get a chance of a do over and stressed that APIA are in a better position this time around.
“I think last year’s final was just a case of bad luck for us,” he said.
“I don’t think we played poorly, just on the day things didn’t go our way.
“The fact that we are playing Hakoah again at the same ground is a rare opportunity and one we are desperate to take advantage of.
“The disappointment of our defeats in finals has brought the team together and been a major driving force behind us this campaign.”
While Hakoah rode the wave of a fairy tale cup run last year, Murray believes APIA’s cup final opponents will be even tougher to beat this time around.
“Hakoah have proven to be very good in cup competitions and anybody who has seen they way they step up in these matches shows that last year wasn’t a fluke,” he said.
“However, like us they have had a number of big changes in the past 12 months so it will be a case of who can perform at their best when the pressure is on.”
Showing a cool head in front of goal this season to lead the golden boot race, Murray is fired up to give his team the best shot at taking home their first piece of silverware for the season.
“I’m playing some of my best football and I’m really confident in both my abilities and that of my teammates to create chances for me to score,” Murray said.
“I think when you have that confidence it allows you to just play and not worry too much about the little things as much.
“Its going to be a tough match but we have learnt our lessons. We felt the disappointment of losing a cup final and this time we are determined to do whatever it takes to be the ones holding up the trophy at full time.”