ACE Reserves could not only match the Class of 2011 tomorrow night – they could beat it!
Ten years ago, the Ressies, under current coach Greg Bradley, won the Division Two Premiership and Grand Final.
This year ACE have the Premier League Reserves title and are in the Grand Final against Toowong at CTM Management Stadium tomorrow, 7.30pm.
They are also unbeaten with 21 wins and two draws from 23 regular season and play-off matches, scoring 80 goals and conceding just 17.
Enough to make them hot favourites? Not quite. Toowong have lost only once (1-0 to ACE in July) in two years and scored 83 goals this year.
“I think it’s just business as usual tomorrow,” said ACE defender Ethan Bryant, who was in the ACE Reserves’ sides for the 2018 and (pictured above) 2019 Grand Finals.
“Don’t look back at previous matches, just focus on what’s ahead of us.
“Be positive, not defensive and have confidence in each other. The ground should suit us with the space and how we play.”
Tomorrow’s final will be the third for ACE Reserves in four years. They lost 2-0 to Bayside in 2018 and 3-2 after extra time against Toowong in 2019.
Of the current ACE squad, Ethan, Matthew Sanchez, Ryan Thomas and Matt Andrews played in the 2018 finale; Ethan, Ryan, Matt and Jamie Sanckson in 2019.
That experience, with the addition of Macca Smith, has combined superbly with younger players such as Daniel Bryant and Zavier Hardes this season.
“It is basically a very young side,” said Ethan, now in his 19th season playing for ACE.
“The likes of Tom Gilbert and Josh Hall have gone. Matt Andrews is still playing, but injured at the moment. I’m probably one of the oldest,” the 24-year-old said.
“But we played St George, who were physical (in Saturday’s semi-final) and dealt with it. We got the job done … and we’re in the final.”
In 2011, ACE won the Seniors and Reserves double as well as the Football Brisbane Club Championship. Five trophies.
This season it could be six, with the Canale Cup, two Premierships and Club Championship already in the bag before this weekend’s finals!