(from the Geelong adi site)
GEELONG SC coach Petar Stojanovski has blamed poor fitness, off-pitch disruption and lax defending for the clubs relegation, which was sealed earlier this week.
Westgate’s 4-1 win over Ballarat Red Devils ensured that Geelong, in second last position on the State League 2 ladder, won’t be able to bridge the gap in the last game of the season tomorrow.
The demotion marks a swift return to State League 3 after last season’s promotion.
Stojanovski admitted that several factors conspired against his team, one of which being the early change of coach.
For the second season in a row, Geelong’s newly-appointed coach didn’t last until the end of the year with Vince Ierardo departing his player-coaching role.
Stojanovski took over but had to battle to keep afloat a team that ultimately won just six games all season, conceding a massive 51 goals, the worst in the league.
“It has been a tough year,” Stojanovski said.
“Obviously there were changes in the coaching and players have come and gone, so the stability wasn’t there.
“I’ve got to take responsibility as coach, but then so do the players. Unfortunately, we weren’t consistent enough and there are good teams in the second division. Simple mistakes get punished.
“I’d like to say the change of coach didn’t affect the players, but in some cases maybe it did.”
Stojanovski said that fitness was a major issue for his team, with Geelong again going into a campaign after an undercooked preseason.
“There are a lot of good quality players in the squad, but fitness-wise they haven’t been up to scratch,” he said.
“We brought in players who didn’t have a preseason and there’s only so much they can do.
“I think we kept one clean sheet all season, so obviously that’s very disappointing from a defensive point of view.
“When you leak that many goals, you probably don’t deserve to stay in the league.
“Defending has to start from the front and we have let teams score easy goals against us.”
Stojanovski said that he was keen to stay on as coach next season but will be meeting with Geelong’s committee in the next few weeks to finalise his position.