Saturday, April 6, 2013

Devils keen to avenge grand final loss

Dustin Wells believes Belconnen United can lift its form.

Dustin Wells believes Belconnen United can lift its form. Photo: Graham Tidy

Belconnen United talisman Dustin Wells is confident the Blue Devils' patchy start to their league title defence will be short-lived.

Their task doesn't get any easier when they travel to Nijong Oval on Saturday for a rematch of last year's grand final with the Cooma Tigers.

Stephen Domenici's cracking 30-metre strike in the final minute of injury time sealed a dramatic 3-2 victory for the Tigers and prevented a Blue Devils double.

Reigning three-time player of the year Wells admitted complacency crept in once they took a 2-1 lead early in the second half. ''It hurt big time,'' Wells said. ''I thought after we scored that we would go on with it, but we sort of sat back and they got the momentum. It felt like it was coming, unfortunately.''

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After opening the season with 4-2 win against Canberra City, back-to-back losses to joint leader Canberra FC and Canberra Olympic has put Belconnen United six points off the pace after three rounds.

Wells isn't making any excuses and is expecting a fired-up Tigers outfit after a controversial ending the last time the Blue Devils made the trip to Cooma. The Tigers won last year's corresponding fixture 2-0, but had the victory overturned due to an administrative error on the match card. The Blue Devils were credited with a 3-0 result on the forfeit, and the switch played a crucial role in delivering them the league championship.

Wells remains confident in the squad, with goalkeeper Ben Klug and striker Michael Taurasi proving to be valuable additions.

Klug has plenty of experience from his time at Canberra FC, while Taurasi has returned after missing most of last season through injury.

The Tigers will also be keen to rebound from a shock 1-0 mid-week loss to Woden Valley, their first defeat of the new campaign.

They will likely have to do it without Domenici, who is expected to miss with a hamstring strain.

Canberra FC and Canberra Olympic will be favoured to continue their perfect starts to the season in their respective Sunday games with Woden Valley and Canberra City.

Monaro Panthers host Tuggeranong United in the final game.

Meanwhile, the women's Premier League kicks off on Sunday, with defending league champion Belconnen United at home to ANU while grand final winner Woden Valley takes on Monaro Panthers at Woden Park.


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