WITH four wins from as many games Panorama FC has made an early statement in the battle for 2022 Western Premier League glory, but there's another huge Goats victory not reflected on the ladder.
It's having had Brent Osborne on the field for every minute of each of those four wins.
Osborne has been a driving force behind Panorama's pursuit for WPL glory since they joined in the league's return season in 2020. However, over the past two seasons he's had to do it from the sidelines rather than out in the middle due to Gullian Barré Syndrome.
"It's a syndrome where your immune system eats your nerves, so at it's peak about two years ago I couldn't really walk. I've been in rehab for two-and-a-half years trying to get everything to work and get back on the pitch," Osborne said.
"I'm still recovering, I'm a bit slower than I was in the past .. but it's been fantastic being back, it's really good."
Even after Osborne, who is the Panorama Goats' skipper for 2022, decided he lace up the boots again he was not sure how he would handle his return.
As it turns out, he's been solid for the club he's so passionate about.
"I made a bit of a leap of faith towards the end of last year and gave Ricky [Guihot] and Tony [Clancy] the reins to coach with a chance to try and play again. At that stage I was a bit unsure if I'd play or not because I was still recovering and I still am," he said.
"But I've played in all four matches, every minute of them, and I feel like I'm contributing.
"I bloody love playing, I think I've still got a bit to give the game. I'm 33 so I'm probably at the tail end of it, but I think I still have something to give and it was important I play again for my own self."
Osborne's return has been a plus for the Goats, as have the other new faces in the squad this season.
In the skipper's opinion, it's the talent and experience they've brought with them that has seen the Goats enjoy their best start to a WPL season.
"We've got a great squad this year, the boys we've had come in have just been phenomenal - Ryan Campbell, Steven Long, Matt Hobby - those three alone are just massive, they're some of Western's best players from the last three years," Osborne said.
"Then we've had some great guys come in like Seth Kandegedara, Campbell Smith has been great, I've come in after a few years out as well.
"So the depth is there. Last year and the year before they were great squads, but we just didn't have the depth. When we were travelling we were often struggling for numbers, whereas this year we've got a squad of 20 blokes and unless you're playing and training well, you won't play on game day.
"There's pressure for spots and the group is taking that really well. We've been building this for a number of years, we've been building this squad."
This Saturday Osborne and his team-mates want to build on their momentum when taking on Barnstoneworth United in Orange.
Barnies are currently sixth on the ladder with a win, two draws and a loss, but Panorama is certainly not underestimating them.
"They've been a bit of a bogey side the last two years, but we're a different beast this year, there's no two ways about it. We'll go into the weekend with confidence - not arrogance - that we should do well," Osborne said.
"Josh Ward is a very switched on coach and they've got some great players in Jackson Fuda and Duncan Logan.
"We know that no-one is going to give us the trophy this week, we've got a long way to go yet."
Saturday's game kicks off at 3.15pm at Orange's Jack Brabham Park.
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