MATCH PREVIEW | Essendon Royals promotion chase continues with visit to Maribyrnong Swifts

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The Essendon Royals will be looking to hold onto their promotion-clinching second spot on the Women’s State League 2 North-West table when they travel to Maribyrnong Swifts on Sunday.

Johno Clemente’s side have worked brilliantly well this season to earn their spot in the race for promotion to State League 1, but know that the next five weeks will define whether or not they make the jump up a division.

That mission starts tomorrow against the Swifts, but Clemente is keen for his team to understand that they will not be defined by short-term results.

“We were lucky enough to get a sports psychologist in during the week and it was a really helpful exercise to review the season we have had so far and set goals for the rest of the season,” he said.

“I think one of the most important things for us is that we need to understand that while we obviously want to finish the season strongly and get that promotion to State League 1, we can’t define ourselves and our success this season simply by whether or not we achieve promotion.

“At the start of this season we were struggling to put 11 girls together and I was having moments of self-doubt myself.

“But in the end, we’ve had girls knock back State League 1 opportunities to be a part of what we are trying to build at this club and that means this project is bigger than one season. It’s about building a culture that brings more and more women to Essendon Royals and helps us build a women’s program the state can be proud of.”

With Maribyrnong occupying bottom spot on the league, it would be easy for the Royals to be come complacent heading into this weekend’s fixture, but Clemente said the sessions with the sports psychologist were crucial to reinvigorating the team and refocusing on the weeks to come.

“These games define the season as much as the games against top opponents,” he said.

“There’s no point picking up results against the Spring Hills and Hume City’s of the league if you don’t make it count in these games, so the girls are completely focused on the job at hand this week.”

The girls kick-off at 1 pm at Johnson Reserve.

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