ALBURY High School is setting a soccer record — for the fourth time in the past five years it is part of semi-final action in the NSW Combined High Schools competition
This morning the team takes on Homebush Boys in Sydney for a spot in the grand final.
Having won the zone, Albury flogged Griffith’s Wade High to move into the round of 16 and easily account for Canterbury Boys’ High 6-2.
But a penalty shoot-out was needed to decide the quarter-final contest against Hurlstone Agricultural High.
Coach Guy Fahey said it was an “absolute thriller”.
He believes the team’s efforts to make the semi-finals in recent years is unprecedented and believes it is partly due to the blooding of teenagers in the senior competition on the Border.
“I can’t find any other schools in the state who have been able to achieve this, at least not in the past 50 years,” Fahey said.
“It’s interesting our junior sides don’t do that well but by the time they get to Year 9 when some of them are already playing senior soccer at the weekend, against men, that we see them come on in leaps and bounds.
“The key is they are playing quality football every week and it’s testimony to the clubs in town as to the development job they are doing with the juniors.”
Fahey said it also makes for intense competition to make the first XI at Albury High.
“At the start of the year you will have 40 or 50 kids and you have to get that down to a squad of 15,” he said.
“We have quality players that miss out all the time.”
This year’s squad also has several siblings of those who were part of the cup winning 2010 side and girls team a year later.
“The keeper Harry Thurtell who was outstanding in the quarter-final, had his brother play in the winning side in 2010 and sister in 2011,” Fahey said.
The Albury High soccer mentor said he knew little of their opposition today.
“But Homebush won the cup in 2009, the first year we were in the semis, and they were a very slick combination that year,” Fahey said.
“This year they won their way to the semi-final beating Byron Bay 1-0 and we have played teams from the North Coast before and pretty much had their measure.”