MATCH PREVIEW | Fright night lights beckon for Royals as Preston visit Cross Keys


The Essendon Royals are looking to shine under the bright Friday night lights at Cross Keys Reserve tomorrow when Men’s State League 1 North-West league leaders Preston Lions FC come to town.

IMPORTANT PARKING UPDATE: Parking is available via Bridge Street, which leads into the car park, or along Woodland Street. There is no access to the car park behind Cross Keys Hotel. Cars parked there are subject to being towed. Those who do not mind a short walk may also find parking at Strathmore Train Station on the Pascoe Vale Road side. Scroll to the bottom for a map.

This is the first time the Royals have ever played a senior match at Cross Keys Reserve and is the club’s first senior night game since 2006.

The move to Cross Keys is the culmination of years of hard work from the Royals committee in collaboration with Moonee Valley City Council and sets the scene for a very important game of football for the Royals tomorrow night.

The Royals will be keen to put the disappointment of last week’s 2-1 defeat at Brimbank Stallions behind them but will need to be at their absolute best to defeat Preston, who have been sublime in the league thus far this season.

While the Royals have run hot and cold so far this season, coach Vaughan Coveny says the players are keen to prove they can mix with the best in the competition, particularly in front of what promises to be a big crowd under lights.

“It’s going to be a great night for the club with the new club rooms and pitch ready to go,” he said. 

“The players are really looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd on a Friday night against a quality opponent.

“This week, we’ve stayed positive, there were some good things to take out of last weeks game despite the loss so it’s been a good week on the track.”


Coveny said that performance levels would need to be high for 90 minutes against Preston, but added that with an extra week of training in their new surrounds under their belt, the additional experiences and quality of new signings Michael Ferrante, Davey Van’t Schip and Luca Santili would help the team.

“We know that our performance levels will need to be high for the whole game,” Coveny said.

“We need to stay focused for the whole match and take our opportunities when they present.

“The new players have settled in really well. They provide a lot of depth to the squad and the coaching staff with plenty of headaches in terms of team selection.”

Despite the odds being seemingly stacked against the Royals, Essendon is one of few teams to take points off Preston this season, having drawn the 0-0 encounter at Preston in Round 3.

Coveny joined Royals president Richie Di Sauro in calling for all members and supporters to make their voices heard at Cross Keys on Friday night and help cheer the boys on.

“Get down to Cross Keys Friday night to show your support to the team and the club on a special night where we hope to provide plenty of entertainment on the pitch,” he said.

“The players appreciate all the support you will provide in a tough encounter against the league leaders.”

The seniors kick off at 8.15 pm.

In the earlier kick-off, the Royals reserves will also be looking to put the disappointment of a loss behind them.

The Royals went down 3-2 last time these teams met in Round 3 and know a win on Friday night would push them as high as fourth on the ladder.

The reserves kick off at 6.15 pm

Our new club room facilities will be open for all supporters where food and drinks will be served.

Patrons are reminded that alcohol will only be served and consumed inside the clubrooms.

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