Edgeworth midfielder Lachlan Pasquale and coach Damian Zane sometimes joke about the time the Eagles boss was ready to “get rid of him”.
That was leading into 2015 – the first of three premiership-winning seasons for Zane at Edgeworth.
By his own admission, Pasquale was “a bit lazy” at training, but Zane stuck with him – and at him – and “eventually got through to me”.
Pasquale went on to earn Northern NSW rookie of the year honours.
So when Pasquale’s form dipped this year, Zane knew the 20-year-old could respond.
Pasquale spent two games in the under 20s mid-season and has since risen to the challenge.
“He started off well then he probably got a bit complacent,” Zane said.
“But he’s knuckled down and his last eight to 10 games have been all top-notch, and he was good again on the weekend.”
As a defensive midfielder, Pasquale helped Edgeworth grind out a 1-0 first-leg semi-final win over Broadmeadow at Magic Park in wind-blown conditions.
Pasquale was glad he’d turned around his season as the Eagles battle on Saturday night (7.30pm) at Jack McLaughlan Oval for the chance to shoot for a third consecutive grand final win.
“My form just went down and I wasn’t enjoying it,” Pasquale said.
“It got to a point where there was a session and I just wasn’t feeling it. Zaney messaged me and we talked and he just told me to put my head down and work hard.
“I’ve really liked this second half of the season. I’ve just worked hard, doing extras and it’s kind of paid off so far.
“I’m enjoying it heaps more, and not just soccer. When things are going well for you, you just enjoy everything. Everyday life.”
He believed the mid-season malaise was partly because of a long 2016 season which was followed by three months of training with the Newcastle Jets Youth squad.
“I think I got a bit complacent,” Pasquale said.
“And after a while, things can get a bit monotonous. I didn’t really have much of a break in the summer.
“I trained with the Jets Youth and our season at Edgeworth went into October because of the NPL finals, so I was feeling a bit burnt out.”
He admitted trying to break into the Jets Youth squad “was pretty daunting”.
“Because I work full-time as an electrician, it was hard to juggle work, and racing straight to training,” he said. “I found that really difficult and after three months I saw where I stood in that Jets Youth team.
“I was one of the older boys and only able to play there for one year, so I rang Clayton [Zane] and told him I’d stay at Edgy.”