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Essendon Mazda Coach’s Comment: Battiato seeks big Royals performance against Clifton Hill

Essendon Royals Senior Women’s Coach Vince Battiato says in the context of his side’s season, Friday night’s clash with FC Clifton Hill is now the biggest game of his team’s season.

After facing off with two league heavyweights in Spring Hills FC and Moreland Zebras, Battiato says the Royals cannot afford to let more points slip, even against the top-of-the-table Clifton Hill.

Anything less than three points would mean the Royals will spend the rest of the season chasing the front runners, whilst a win would help Battiato’s team considerably close the gap at the top of the table.

Battiato said that Clifton Hill’s rise to the top was no coincidence and that he expected a tough game on Friday.

“I’m expecting a very tough encounter at Cross Keys,” he said.

“We’ve had to negotiate some tough games already, with Spring Hills and Moreland, but Clifton Hill has been good enough to get the wins in all of their games.

“So if we slip up against Clifton Hill now, it’s a big mountain to climb. In that way, this is a bigger game than playing Spring Hills or Moreland at the moment.”

Battiato said Friday’s opponents would be riding high on confidence.

“They’ve had three good wins, best of all which came last week against Bundoora, so they’re going to look at this and think why shouldn’t they be confident they can get a result?

“They can definitely cause us some problems. They are a very balanced side with some outstanding individuals amongst that, so we need to be at our best.”

COVID infections and some unfortunate injuries pose Battiato some selection troubles this week, but one player he will be able to welcome into the squad for the first time this season is Rebecca Davies.

“She’ll come off the bench, but she brings a lot of quality to the side, and I’m excited to finally have her available to the team,” he said.

“Despite the injury and COVID issues, we’re fortunate to have some great players in our Reserves, so I’m confident that anyone called up will be able to get the job done if they bring their best.”