Dandenong Thunder boss Dean Hennessey remains confident that his side can keep going from strength to strength after getting off their National Premier Leagues Victoria campaign to a blistering start, but admits the Thunder are ahead of where he’d thought his side would be four rounds into their NPL campaign.
The former Green Gully coach led his charges to a gusty 2-1 win away to Melbourne Knights in Round 4 thanks to second half goals from Jake Nakic and Brendan Craig’s late winner.
The triumph propelled the unbeaten Thunder into third place in the standings, and while the win was greatly satisfying, it proved a momentous one for the Englishman in more ways than one.
“I’ve been to Somers Street for 30 odd years as a player and as a coach and never won,” he said.
“It’s always a tough place to come and as a result, we were delighted. To have the character to come back and win late on, I can’t be prouder.”
His fledgling side has been undaunted by tough opposition faced thus far, which has come as a pleasant surprise to Hennessey.
When asked as to whether he thought he could’ve predicted such a bright response, the ex-Southern Stars coach responded sincerely.
“Absolutely not,” he declared.
“We’ve built this team pretty much from scratch and retained five or six of the lads from last year. They’re all pretty young. I mean the oldest two are 23, 24 and the rest are teenagers.
“And we’ve kept them. And then we’ve brought in 14 new players and they’ve gelled really really quickly. And we’re well ahead of schedule.
“We set certain goals as a team in terms of where we wanted to finish. We’re certainly much higher than we thought we’d be at this stage. But look, this league has an uncanny knack of biting you on the backside pretty quick.”
The task does not get any easier for the Thunder when it hosts Miron Bleiberg’s high-flying Oakleigh Cannons at the George Andrews Reserve on Thursday night in what will be a stern test of his team’s credentials.
“We go in pretty well wanting to win every game,” he affirmed.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to win our first three at home – two in the league and one in the cup. We want to make it a bit of a fortress, where it’s hard to come to our place.
“We’re at home [on Thursday] and we want the points, but I’ve watched Oakleigh and so they’ll be coming in confident and so will we, so it should be a really good game.”