A season of challenges both on and off the pitch have led Blacktown City to their lowest finish on the ladder in four seasons, but defender Grant Lynch says write them off at your own peril.
The Mark Crittenden coached side limped into the playoffs in fourth position after defeat at the hands of bottom three sides Hakoah Sydney City East and Sutherland Sharks.
Injury has plagued the Seven Hills based side this season and it has hit their usually potent attack the most.
However, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom for Blacktown with the side boasting the league’s best defence and a bevy of young players determined to fill the void of their injured stars.
Defensive mainstay Lynch believes that Blacktown is still a team which should not be underestimated throughout the finals.
“We are a team which is very competitive and driven by success so to finish fourth is not something we would’ve pictured at the start of the season,” Lynch said
“Yeah our form has been off the past few weeks but it hasn’t stifled our confidence at all and we still feel that we have what it takes to win the Championship.
“We have great players across the park that can turn a game and I think teams underestimating us could play to our advantage.”
City’s defence has been their saving grace this campaign with Lynch’s form one of the main reason for their impressive record at the back.
“Having a full pre-season with the team has really made a difference for me and I think my performances have demonstrated that,” Lynch said.
“As a unit we work very well together and the fact that many of the boys have been playing together for a few seasons has been a factor.
“Everyone in this team just wants to do their part and help get the win. That doesn’t change for the finals.”
Saturday’s elimination final has a tinge of deja vu about it with Blacktown hosting Rockdale in the first week of the playoffs just as they did 12 months ago.
Lynch said not to much attention has been spent on looking at last year’s result but recognised that his side has a strong record against Rockdale at Lily Homes Stadium.
“Rockdale have had a bit of an up and down season like we have and will be just as determined to keep their finals hopes alive,” he said.
“It is going to be a tough game as Rockdale have a dangerous attack and can score from anywhere on the park if they are in the mood.
“If we minimise our mistakes and just focus on doing the little things right I’m confident we can get the job done.”