The rebuilding Gungahlin Jets will treat their home clash against Tuggeranong on Saturday like a final as they look to finish their 40th anniversary season on a positive note.
A victory would be their third for the year and see the Jets avoid the wooden spoon. It would also cap a monumental turnaround considering a few years ago the senior Jets team only had six players.
"Tuggeranong are a great side," Gungahlin coach Paul Azar said. "They have great coaching staff and a great leader in Jimmy Rice. We are just excited to finish the season at home."
Azar is proud of his team and happy to see the rewards of the hard work put in over the past few years.
"When we started in October 2020, we only had six players," he said. "We didn't have an under-18s side, no reserve side, no president of football.
"Now, we have a full 18s team pushing finals, we haven't forfeited a reserve game because our numbers are so strong.
"When we compare the last few seasons from this season, it has been a great year for us at the club."
The Jets are encouraging a friendly environment for the club, focusing on three main areas: Culture, People and Football.
With this focus set, the club hopes to bring in more players, coaches and volunteers, and create their own style of football.
"There are three things that are important," Azar said. "We want to invest in the culture and make it welcoming, friendly and safe.
"We want to invest in our football program so the club has a brand of football it plays and teaches
"And we also want to invest in our people, like the players, coaches, volunteers, everyone. I think we have really done well over the past few years to build to where we are now."
The club ensures this by promoting from within and supporting their juniors so they can progress and build themselves into the senior sides.
Their captain Jake Thorpe is a perfect example of this, being a loyal member of the Jets since 2009.
Azar praised his core group of players who have come through the system and who are starting to perform now, like Andrew Reynolds who mentors and assists Azar in his coaching duties.
"The core group of players are all juniors who have come through the system, and they are starting to give back which is great to see," Azar said.
"Our captain Jake Thorpe, Matt Reynolds, Jesse Kemp, Robby Stewart, Matt McGrory, Logan Brian, Andrew Datson and all the rest, they're all juniors and it's great to see them coming through."
First Grade Men - Saturday, July 30 - Queanbeyan Tigers vs Ainslie Tricolours at Queanbeyan Park, 12pm; Gungahlin Jets vs Tuggeranong Valley at Gungahlin Enclosed, 1:15pm; Eastlake Demons vs Belconnen Magpies at Phillip Oval, 3pm.
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