Sport

Challenge ahead for Goulburn Valley Suns

By Alex Mitchell

One of the Goulburn Valley Suns’ most talented exports will return to his former club this weekend looking to again send pain in its direction.

Former Sun Gianluca Ianucci, originally from Cobram, has established himself as a regular standout in Melbourne City’s NPL side and even toured with the power club’s seniors during its pre-season.

He netted a hat-trick when City squared off with the Suns in round five and will look to do the same this weekend when his side travels to McEwen Reserve, Shepparton.

It will be a difficult challenge for the Suns, looking for their first win in four games against a side that handed them their biggest loss in their short history in round five, a 6-1 thumping.

‘‘Last time they put on a fantastic performance and one team didn’t show up — make no mistake, they were certainly the better performing team,’’ Suns coach Craig Carley said.

‘‘But at home, we want to redeem ourselves for what happened and look for three points, but we need to respect their players and their club as a whole.

‘‘They have some fantastic young players, some with international recognition.’’

The contest shapes as a potential high-scorer with two of the most prolific sides to square off.

It will also be a battle for fourth on the National Premier League Two table, the fourth-placed Suns one point ahead of City.

Carley was disappointed reflecting on his side’s inconsistent season, but saw plenty of positives stemming from it.

‘‘The boys have been fantastic all season, the camaraderie is great and it’s a fantastic bunch of guys that get on really well,’’ he said.

‘‘But we have expectations, we want to be finishing a bit higher than we are, we want to be taking points from every game.

‘‘Winning is infectious, like losing is as well. If we’re a bit more consistent within games, we can be a force to be reckoned with in the league.’’

●In the curtain-raiser, the Suns’ under-20s will look to double down on their winning form and jump Melbourne City for third on the table.

They won for the first time in five games last weekend, a 3-2 result against the Moreland Zebras, and will need to reproduce that form to hang with a similarly strong side.

City’s under-20s eased to a 3-0 win against St Albans last weekend and will ask questions of the Suns’ defence this weekend as the eastern division’s highest scoring team.

The Suns beat City 5-3 when the teams locked horns earlier in the season, but will be without that contest’s four-goal hero Alou Kuol who has risen to the senior ranks.