This season has been a rollercoaster ride for Bankstown City Lions, the south west club has grafted their way through the minefield of the finals to make it to the promise land of the Grand Final.
A major help in getting them there has been striker Tania Baban; The energetic forward has tallied 13 goals in her 20 games thus far this season and relishes the challenge on Saturday night.
Bankstown City Lions head into this weekend, as the heavy underdogs against a Sydney Olympic FC side that has swept all before them, with fourteen straight victories but the Lions are confident.
“We just have to stay calm, the longer the game stays 0-0, the tension builds on Olympic. All the pressure is on them,” said the striker.
Baban added that Saturday night is one of the biggest nights for Bankstown City Lions club. “Winning would make it one of the best days, we’re relaxed though and look to improve on our regular season results against Olympic FC.”
The spirit in the Lions team through both their first grade and reserve squads is evident. The joy shown in their celebration after what has been an inconsistent season after the preliminary final highlighted it further, as the squad joined in a huge circle to sing the team song on-field.
“Team culture has been huge for us, we’re all so close. We had a few signings this season which took some time to gel but once we did, our season started to change,” said Baban.
It isn’t only the players on the field that are close. The close-knit relationship between coach Troy Spink and his side shines through in the effort from the side even in tough moments like their 120-minute slugfest with Nepean FC in the first week of the finals.
“Troy [Spink] has been a great support to the girls, he is always positive and encouraging to the team and I can say, we wouldn’t be here this weekend without him.” beamed Baban.
There was also relief for Baban after the game. She had some golden chances, including a one-on-one which she fluffed but eventually, she scored two minutes from time to seal the victory.
“It was more relief than anything [after the game]. I missed a few chances, so it was good to put one away after the earlier miss.” chuckled the relieved striker.
Looking forward to the weekend, Baban once again adds that the pressure is on Olympic and she has told her younger team-mates to enjoy the week.
“I just said to them – don’t let it get to your head, enjoy the week and prepare like usual so we’re buzzing headed into the game and hopefully put on a good contest.” She finished.
The Playstation4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s Grand Final is at Valentine Sports Park #2 Saturday night at 7.30pm.
-By Justin Davies, PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s reporter