Eagles aiming high

EMERALD Eagles will get their first taste of amateur football's top grade when they trial with Nerimbera Football Club in Rockhampton this weekend.

Three Emerald grades will turn out for trial matches, including Premier (A-Grade), Women and Youth. All will be keen to prove their worth against their regional counterparts as the Eagles club prepares to make the transition into more structured competition.

The trial will be the first major test for the club's senior grade, with much pain, sweat and even a few tears shed during training to prepare the club to take on an opposition the quality of Nerimbera.

Rated as one of the competition favourites in the Rockhampton Premier League, the Emerald players were under no illusion about the tough battle that awaited them.

No matter the final score, the benefit players would receive from the exposure and match fitness would be huge.

It is hoped this will be the first of a number of Rockhampton trials for the Emerald outfit as Eagles coach John Salogni slowly strengthens the player-base.

He said they had to crawl before they could run and losing would inevitably come as part of the package.

“At some point in time we're going to lose but if you've got improvement at every loss, then that's what I want to see. But if we lose and there is no improvement then I'm doing something wrong,” he said.

Brisbane Roar assistant goal keeping coach John Garside made a flying visit to Emerald late last month to discuss future plans for football in Central Queensland.

He was adamant it was a patience game for coach Salogni and his Emerald team.

“It's just one step at a time for John and starting with the basics, getting them on their feet just touching the ball and getting the feel for it – it's patience now, it's patience,” Garside said.

Speaking from extensive coaching experience in Australia and overseas, Garside said the most difficult aspect to master was keeping the team's fires burning whether they were winning or losing.

“From a coach's point of view it is the hardest to keep the motivation and keep telling them they are getting better even though they might be getting hammered,” he said.

“You have to learn to lose before you can win and then the winning situation changes because you learn to win.”

The Emerald side can seek confidence from their last encounter in Rockhampton, with a number of tight results shedding light on a positive future.

The trials will kick-off with youth players at 2pm tomorrow afternoon.

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