Bradbury's departure leaves Monaro with empty net

NATIONAL Premier League All-Stars goalkeeper James Bradbury hasn’t shut the door completely on answering another SOS from the Monaro Panthers this season.

But it remains highly unlikely that the classy shot-stopper will be seen in the green and black again anytime soon after his cameo appearance in the Panthers 2-0 Mayor’s Cup win over Queanbeyan City last Sunday.

Bradbury, who last year captained Monaro in his one and only season at Riverside Stadium, moved to Sydney during the off-season leaving the Panthers with a massive hole to fill.

But with the club still yet to source a replacement gloveman for its upcoming Premier League campaign, Bradbury was only too happy to make himself available for the Mayor’s Cup contest.

And in doing so, the 22-year-old showed once again just why he is so highly regarded, making a string of fine saves to keep a clean sheet against last year’s Capital League grand finalists.

Panthers fans however, would be wise not to hold their breath in hope of a repeat appearance.

“Sunday was really just to help the club out since I was back in town for the weekend anyway,” Bradbury said. “As far as I know though that’s it for the rest of the season.

 “It’s pretty hard to definitely rule anything on or out at this stage since I haven’t even really settled up here [in Sydney] yet,” he said. “But I’ll always be open to any opportunities that might come up though.”

Meanwhile, after being entrusted with the captain’s armband with Monaro last year, Bradbury said he had been “devastated” at having to call time on his all-too-brief stint with the club.

“I was pretty devastated to leave to be honest,” he said. “It was probably the most enjoyable season I’ve had in the Canberra Premier League.

“Obviously I wasn’t planning on leaving after just the one year but that’s how things worked out so I’ve just got to move on unfortunately.”

The Panthers’ win on Sunday saw Monaro become the first club in the Mayor’s Cup four-year history to retain the trophy after backing up from last year’s victory in the pre-season derby.

Monaro’s young squad was put under plenty of pressure by a more experienced Queanbeyan City outfit for much of the match but showed plenty of flair on the counter-attack.

“We rode our luck a little bit there at times but, in saying that, you make your own luck and we managed to put ourselves in the right places at the right times to get the win,” Bradbury said. 

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