NPL: Scott Smith calls the tune for Charlestown City Blues

Scott Smith and Kane Goodchild were expected to spearhead Charlestown’s revival this season after the club’s three-year absence from the Northern NSW NPLfinals.
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HIGH FLYERS: Striker Scott Smith, left, celebrates a goal against Lambton Jaffas with Charlestown teammate Rene Ferguson at Lisle Carr Oval this season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Smith, the Blues’greatest scorer, and Goodchild have finished top of the Northern NSW NPL/State League goals list in four of the past five seasons and were back at Charlestownafter one and three yearsrespectively at Hamilton.

But withGoodchild sidelined since round three, and at least a month away from a return,with a hamstring tear, many would have expected the revival to be short-lived approaching the halfway point of the season.

However, awin on Sunday over the Newcastle Jets Youth at Lisle Carr Oval will have the Blues as equal leaders, or better, after 11 rounds.

Blues coach David Tanchevski said the influence of Smith, whohas seven goals in nine games, has been vital.

“To be equal top of the table after the first round would be a long way above where we thought we’d be, especially when you consider we lost Kane after two games,” Tanchevski said.“It’s a big achievement.”

“We needed Scott to step up with Kane out obviously.Those two are so good working together, but Scott’s taken on a big brunt of the attack and Cal Lewis has stepped up as well and scored.

“It’s been a good start for us and Scott has really led by example up there and he really motivates the boys.

“He’s always a threat aroundgoals and he’s just an old school natural No.9.

“He’s got some pace, he’s good in the air, he finishes well. He’s not a flashy player by any means, but he’s a consistent performer and puts the ball in the back of the net.”

Smith said thedifference this season has been the club’s depth to cover the lossof Goodchild, Riley McNaughton (knee) and Daniel Minors (calf) in recent weeks. Minors is expected to return against the Jets but Zac Lloyd (knee) is out.

“We don’t have any real standout world-beaters,but everyone is solid and does their job,” Smith said.

“Tommy Smart, [Cameron] Sullini, Kev [Davison] and Ljubo [Milicevic] are doing a fantastic job at the back. [Matt] Tullis tidy, winning the pill and playing, andDaniel Minors as well.

“I’m happy to be scoring some goals. It’s what I play for, scoring goals and winning games, so it’s good that the group’s come together the way it has. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t be happier to be where we are and be wearing this shirt at the same time.

“It’s been a long time coming.I’ve been in a couple of squads that were in grand finals way back when.

“It’s good to be in contention, to be playing good football and getting results at Azzurri.It’s something we’ve been working a long time for.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, Broadmeadow welcome Maitland to Magic Park and Hamilton travel to Weston to take on the Bears.

On Saturday, Lambton Jaffas host Lake Macquarie at Edden Oval from 2.30pm and Valentine take on Edgeworth at Jack McLaughlan Oval from 5pm.

We’ve just got a group of blokes that aren’t world-beaters but everyone knows their job and does it really well.

Ljubo is a massive bonus, but we’ve been missing the squad depth

We’ve lost Goody, Riley, Daniel and Cas, but we’ve had that depth. We’ve had good young boys come in and fill the void and we’ve not missed much, which is good.

I’m happy to be scoring some goals. It’s what I play for, scoring goals and winning games, so it’s good that the group’s come together the way it has.

We had setbacks with Kane andRiley and then Daniel Minors at , then to lose Casca because he wasn’t starting, then to lose Daniel Minor the next week, was hard but the boys have been good.

It’s a good squad. The boys like playing together and hanging out, so it’s a good environment.

I hope they continue to underestimate us.

It would be great to fly under the radar all year, but I read Labi’s comments today about us, that he’s watched us and we’re experienced. So I guess people are taking a little bit of notice.

Absolutely

The more I’ve matured. I;m getting along a lot better with Tully now. We’ve matured and everyone’s getting along really well. Everyone knows their roles well

To lose Goody is massive. Playing alongside him is fantastic.

With Cal Lewis, he’s so bull at a gate,

don’t know where he’s going, don’t know what to expect. good and bad for us

doing well in replacing Kane, so that’s fantastic.

Laiman back, depth in centre of park.

The pre-season, the less said the better, worked straight away.

played every game,

Tanch

We want to finish on a win against the Jets and be equal top of the table after the first round which would be a long way above where we thought we’d be, especially when you take into consideration we lost Kane after two games,

It’s a big achievement.

We needed Scott to step up with Kane out obviously

Those two are so good working together, but Scott’s taken on a big brunt of the attack and Cal Lewis has stepped up as well and scored.

It’s been a good start for us and Scott has really led by example up up there and he really motivates the boys.

He’s always a threat aroundgoals and he’s just an old school natural No.9.

He’s got some pace, he’s good in the air, he finishes well. He’s not a flashy player by any means, but he’s a consistent performer and puts the ball in the back of the net.

key goals against Hamilton and Jaffas.

Goodchild back in light training, aim for four to six weeks.

hopefully in finals frame from there

Minors back, Lloyd still out.

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