Wellington Olympic face stiffest test of Central League title credentials
Stu Jacobs is cautious about talking up his Wellington Olympic team too much.
No, he won't be putting the house on his team taking out the Central League in his first year coaching the club, despite jumping five points clear with three rounds to play.
In fact, the focus at the start of the season wasn't even to capture Olympic's first title since 2010.
"When I came into the job this year it wasn't a priority to say "we have to win the league this year", I think we wanted to tidy things up first, like making sure we had good depth coming through the reserves, which we've done, and a good youth programme, which we've done.
"If we win the league it's a hell of a bonus for the club. I think we're playing well enough, in the last 10 games I think we have been consistent enough to suggest that we could win the league and now we're in a position where we can win it.
"I'm not going to put my house on it and say we will [win it], but we're in a good spot I think."
Olympic haven't lost in eight games and sit on 33 points after 15 games.
Napier City Rovers have 28, but have a game in hand, while Stop Out also have 28 but have three games to play like Olympic.
The other sides with chances are Western Suburbs on 26 points and Miramar Rangers on 25, both with games in hand over Olympic.
If Olympic win their last three games then they are champions, but it's a tough road home, starting on Saturday with a trip to David Farrington Park to play Miramar.
Miramar beat Napier 2-1 last week to aid Olympic's title bid, but could derail it this weekend. They were also the last team to beat Olympic, when Ben Harris grabbed a late goal to earn a 4-3 win on May 21.
"It could be season defining for us if Napier don't slip up, but we've got ourselves in a good position so hopefully we can finish the job nicely," Jacobs said.
Both teams possessed plenty of attacking weapons, so it could come down to who can defend best, Jacobs said.
"The last three weeks we have defended a lot better, but we've lost Dylan Wood, who went to the States on Wednesday, who has probably been our best defender up to this point.
"It will be good for another guy to come in and experience the game at this level and I'm sure he'll do a good job for us."
Olympic round out their season by playing Wellington United and Stop Out. Napier also face those two teams, as well as Lower Hutt and Palmerston North Marist.