Doon Villa coach forced to make hard choices ahead of finals
FOOTBALL: Doon Villa coach Joel Neilsen is experiencing the best and worst aspects of being a successful coach as they close in on the Wide Bay Premier League finals.
The Maryborough club has won 10, lost two and drawn one to sit second on the WBPL table, and is guaranteed to play finals football.
But with that glory comes the hardship most overlook.
A Doon Villa veteran, Neilsen is left to decide which of his team mates and friends may have to sit on the bench, or drop to the Wide Bay League 2 team as the club chases a breakthrough title.
Tonight's clash with leaders Bingera at Villa Park could be a grand final preview. There is no way Villa will easily give up the three points.
"It's tough to be a coach at this time of year,” he said.
"Brett (Kitching, Bingera coach) has the same issue. We're both looking to be full strength so I've got to decide who's on the bench.”
It is why Neilsen will look to the team's dynamics when picking his starting XI.
"There's no friends, no feelings, I just look at that to make my decisions,” Neilsen said.
"I could go for loyalty but I've got a premiership to win.”
Doon Villa scores more than any other WBPL team.
While level with third-placed Brothers Aston Villa in terms of the number of goals scored (49), the Magpies have reached that mark despite playing one less game than the Bundaberg side.
Doon Villa scores 3.8 goals per game, with Bingera just behind on 3.4 (third overall).
It is in defence where the Stripeys, who have lost just once this year, reign.
Bingera concedes less than one goal per game (12 from 13 games at 0.86), while Doon Villa has allowed 23 (1.8).
According to Neilsen, it is his side's attack that will get the home side home tonight.
"We score goals, that's what we do,” Neilsen said. "The best form of defence is attack, and that's what we'll do.”
Kick-off at 6pm.