Jayden Connor in action for City Brothers against Magpies Crusaders in the Mackay Premier League. Photo: Alison Langevad Photography
Jayden Connor in action for City Brothers against Magpies Crusaders in the Mackay Premier League. Photo: Alison Langevad Photography

How City Brothers went from 12-nil loss to a finals berth

CITY Brothers’ Mackay Premier League season was cut short at the hands of Lions on Saturday night but the team can take great pride in its 2020 performance says vice-captain Jayden Connor.

Under coach Brad Radunz, City Brothers shocked the established order this season to come within one game of a grand final berth.

That they came so close to contending for a title would have come as a shock to anyone who watched their 12-nil opening round loss to Magpies Crusaders a little over three months ago.

In MCU’s Mackay Premier League debut, the former NPL Queensland outfit put City Brothers to the sword in an ominous forewarning of what was to come.

Connor, who returned to City Brothers this season after a stint with MCU in the NPL, said that loss instead lit a fire within the playing group, which vowed to never again be so thoroughly bested.

“We knew Crusaders would show up because they have a really quality team and they wanted to set the benchmark pretty high,” the vice-captain said.

“After that game we got stuck in. We didn’t like the feeling of losing 12-nil. We didn’t want to make that a continuous thing.”

The team returned to winning ways in round two with a 3-2 result against Whitsunday United, before falling 3-2 to Rangers a fortnight later coming off the bye.

Pegged at that point as a mid-table team at best, City Brothers then shocked the competition with a 2-1 win over reigning champions Magpies on August 8.

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Jayden Connor in action for Magpies Crusaders last year. Photo: Alison Langevad Photography
Jayden Connor in action for Magpies Crusaders last year. Photo: Alison Langevad Photography

After claiming the prized scalp of the previously unbeaten Magpies, City Brothers went on an impressive three-game winning run which included victories over Lions and perennial finals contenders Wanderers.

Connors’ team ended the regular season having beaten every team outside of Magpies Crusaders at least once.

“After not making finals the last couple of years to stunning the league and beating almost every team … I think we did pretty well,” Connor said.

Under Radunz, who Connors said is “one of the best coaches in Mackay”, City Brothers quickly became a team no opposition wanted to face.

Well-structured, well-drilled and with quality across the park, the Bridge Rd club was “unlucky” not to go further in finals, Connor said.

Lions’ finals experience proved the difference.

“We beat Lions in our first game and (drew) the second game. It was pretty much our game to win,” he said.

“Our team is a young team. I’m 22 and the second-oldest on our team.

“I think it comes down to experience and finals football is pretty hectic. We’ll be back bigger and better next year.”

Connor said the group had already discussed returning early for pre-season and making another run at the title in 2021.

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