Lambton Jaffas have been ticking boxes for more than a decade now, with a promotion in 2012, a maiden first division grand final appearance in 2013, the inaugural NNSW NPL champions in 2014, reaching the FFA Cup Round of 32 for the first time in 2016 and their first premiership in 2021.
This year, they are hoping to add their first premiership/championship double to that glowing list of achievements.
The David Tanchevski-coached Jaffas ended the 2023 campaign on a seven-game winning streak and a 10-game unbeaten run to claim first place by a point from their grand final opponents Broadmeadow.
Jaffas beat Magic 4-2 in the major semi-final to progress to the big dance before Magic overcame Charlestown Azzurri 1-0 last weekend to join them.
Lambton’s skipper and reliable gloveman Ben Kennedy said that his side were firing at the right time of the year following a slow start to the season, and they were ready for Saturday’s challenge.
“It was a tough start for us after winning the grand final last year. We had seven new boys come in, plus a new coach and assistant coach,” Kennedy said.
“It was different and pretty difficult; big change, which is always hard to deal with. We’ve gelled together well though.
“It was a slow start, but we always felt confident that once we got on the same page, we were going to do well, which is what is happening now.
“We’re very confident heading into this weekend, and I think that if we can keep the group together for a while yet, we still have more things to come.
“I’ve been here nearly four years now and it’s been a pretty good ride. There are some really good people involved in the club. They have definitely made me feel like family from the moment I signed here, so it’s an important club for me.”
The final hurdle in the Jaffas’ potential history-making season is a young and talented Broadmeadow Magic side that have raised eyebrows all season with their sensational style of football.
Kennedy won the championship as a teenager with Broadmeadow back in 2005 before he joined the Newcastle Jets and is full of praise for this year’s Magic side.
“We’ve had three wins this year against Broadmeadow, but all of those games could have gone either way,” Kennedy said.
“They are a tough side and they play good football. They are young and enthusiastic and they are going to be hard to beat. The top five this year were all pretty close, but I think Broadmeadow over the past two years have been one of the better sides.
“I think it will be a good game, and I don’t think the results from earlier in the year will play into it.”
Kennedy has been superb this season during Lambton’s premiership and grand final pushes, proving the difference with huge saves time and time again.
The captain has been almost impossible to beat from the penalty spot, saving 10 of 11 penalties this year, which could come in handy for Lambton if the scores are level at the end of extra time on Saturday night and a shootout is needed.
Kennedy will lead his side in the battle for the championship against Broadmeadow Magic at Jack McLaughlan Oval, kicking off at 6pm.
Find out all match day information for this weekend’s grand finals here.
Equal prize money announced, pro/rel returns as 2024 NPL NNSW competitions launched
Northern NSW Football launched its 2024 NPL NNSW competitions on Monday with one of the biggest seasons in its history on the horizon starting this weekend.NNSWF CEO Peter Haynes announced the NPL Women's NNSW competition would receive equal prize money, bringing it into line wit
2024 HMRI Charity Shield Review: The Magpies soar to victory, while Magic's men finally settle the score
NPL Women's NNSW: Broadmeadow Magic FC 2-4 Maitland FC Maitland FC were crowned the inaugural women's HMRI Charity Shield champions after defeating Broadmeadow Magic 4-2 on Friday night. Both sides came out of the gates strong, with the first piece of silverware on the line for 2
2024 HMRI Charity Shield Preview: Friendly fire set to light up when Magic takes on the Magpies before Jaffas battle Broadmeadow's men
The inaugural HRMI Charity Shield will kick off the 2024 NNSW premier competition season at Jack McLaughlan Oval on Friday 16 February, with all gate proceeds going to Hunter Medical Research Institute. The double header will see NPL Women's NNSW premiers and champions Broadmead