Talal Safar joined ANUFC for the 2022 season, hoping to continue his coaching success after winning the premiership with the Monaro Panthers 23’s side in 2021.
After a slow start to the year, ANU have seen their form improve and have had a dominant run of six weeks, topped off recently by their 2-0 win over league leaders Tuggeranong United.
Safar couldn’t be happier with his team and is happy that they are finally gelling as a group and playing attractive football.
“We have played these guys (Tuggeranong) twice before, so we knew how they were going to play,” he said.
“We just stuck to our game plan, and we were luckily enough to score twice. They are the top team, and it was a top of the table clash, and the boys were ready for it.”
Although ANU are sitting in second place, and despite their success, their season hasn’t been an easy run.
“I think our season has been a bit two-fold. I think the first two thirds of the season was a bit yo-yo, up and down,” Safar commented.
“But in the last six seeks, we have really been playing well and been dominating. The last six weeks have been what ANU football is about.
“After the White Eagles game seven weeks ago, we sat down and said what happened, happened and set our sights on winning as many games as possible.”
The main challenge Safar has faced in the 2022 season has been getting his squad to gel and work together when they play. In this case, he has been leaning on the leadership of his captains, Jan Wojna and vice-captain Chase Dean who have been in great form throughout the season.
“I think our main challenge has been probably getting the team to start playing our style of football,” Safar said.
“Of course, a new coach, new philosophy and it took them some time to be ready and execute how we wanted to play.
“Jan (Wojna) has been amazing this season, he’s so much more than a captain and he always knows what to say and do to get the team performing well.
“Him and Chase (Deans) are both really experienced, and they always make sure that the boys give 100% when they step on the field.”
With ANU likely to finish among the top four, Safar is looking for finals and is confident with his teams’ ability, especially after the weekends win.
They will be aiming to be consistent as possible till the very end and continue that form into the finals.
“The first goal is to continue our awesome run, six games, six wins which has been great and great to stay in second place,” Safar admitted.
“That is our first, and second is to win as many games as possible before the finals. I am feeling much better about the finals than I was seven weeks ago.
“The boys are playing much better and I hope that this will give us confident and a boost going into the finals.”
Words: Matthew Williams
Image: ANU FC