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08 Sep

NPL Preview: Tigers coach Gaby Wilk says Cooma should be Capital Football champions

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Cooma Tiger’s Stephen Domenici (right) will miss the semi-final against Canberra Olympic. Photo: Elesa KurtzThe Cooma Tigers have launched a protest in a bid to claim the league championship, coach Gaby Wilk saying the side should have been awarded three points when Tuggeranong fielded an ineligible player.
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Capital Football is yet to make a ruling on the Tigers’ appeal following their 1-0 loss to Tuggeranong two weeks ago.

The result cost them top spot on the ladder with Canberra Olympic jumping above them.

But Wilk says Tuggeranong fielded an unregistered player and the points from the game should have been awarded to his team.

Tuggeranong have been stripped of the three points but they weren’t awarded to the Tigers, who would have won the title had they been given the points.

“I’m very disappointed because that time when we last played against Tuggeranong you see an illegal player,” Wilk said.

“The federation take the three points from Tuggeranong but don’t give it to us. If the federation give the points to us we are champions, it’s not fair.”

Tuggeranong coach Miro Trninic says the player in question came from the club’s under-20s side after a host of injuries struck the top-grade squad.

Trninic says clubs are not allowed to change their playing roster after June which is why the player – who was not in the first-grade squad – is deemed ineligible.

Trninic has been in Canberra football circles for 16 years and believes there are “too many rules and regulations” in local football.

“If we are in the wrong, it was the right decision to take the points off – that’s my opinion and always will be,” Trninic said.

“It’s very sad. This Cooma team are pretending to win the championship by complaining about a 20-year-old boy. We ran out of players because of a lot of injuries, and that’s why we’re using under-20s players.”

Wilk argues Capital Football should be consistent after Belconnen were awarded three points when Cooma fielded an ineligible player in 2012.

“In 2012 they take three points from us and give it to Belconnen for a non-registered player,” Wilk said.

“Now when another club does the same the federation are saying they recognise Tuggeranong’s [violation] and take the three points but still don’t give the points to us.”

The Tigers will play Olympic in a major semi-final battle at McKellar Park on Sunday with the two best teams going head-to-head for a spot in the grand final.

“I think these are the two best teams in the competition and in the finals anyone can win,” Wilk said.

“We’re missing Stephen Domenici because of suspension, he’s a big loss.”

Domenici is the top goal-scorer this year, with 21 goals.

Olympic coach Frank Cachia believes Domenici is one of the best players in the competition but maintains Cooma are capable of a good performance despite his absence.

“Any team that’s got Domenici in it is a quality side,” Cachia said. “They’ve got one of the best targets in the competition and I don’t apologise for saying that.

“I think he’s an outstanding player and probably one of the top five players in the whole competition.

“Cooma have a lot of quality across the park and big people like [Nicolas] Abot and [Julian] Borgna, so they’re still capable of mounting a very serious challenge.”

Cooma and Olympic have beaten each other away from home, but Olympic hold the bragging rights with a win in the Federation Cup.

Along with winning the title (as it stands), Cachia hopes his side can take a psychological advantage heading into its semi-final.

“We can [take an advantage], I’d hope to think so,” Cachia said.

“There’s the game we won on the weekend which gave us the league and then we’ve got the week where we beat them twice in the Federation Cup and in Cooma [in the Premier League].”

NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE

Sunday: Semi-finals – Canberra Olympic v Cooma FC at McKellar Park; Belconnen United v Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium. Both games at 3pm.

ACT WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE

Sunday: Semi-finals – Belconnen United v Canberra FC at AIS Grass Fields 3; Gungahlin United v Tugggeranong United at Woden Park. Both games at 4pm.

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