HARD PLAY: Emerald’s Matt Holzigal felt the full force of Tieri’s defence and kept this nasty graze as a memento. sw-230211-6228
TWO Central Highlands soccer teams are ready to tackle some of the best in the region at the Frenchville six-a-side carnival this weekend.
Emerald Celtics and Tieri City Tigers tested their early season match fitness amid sweltering conditions in two trial games in Emerald at the weekend.
The 1pm Sunday timeslot in the heat of the midday sun was no mistake but a deliberate ploy to prepare players adequately for what they will endure at Frenchville.
For the record, Emerald defeated Tieri 1-0 in the first game and 3-1 in the second, but what both teams really drew on was team cohesion.
For Celtics’ coach John Salogni it’s still a work in progress but is building with each training run.
“We’re still coming together, we need more game time – shooting and finishing let us down,” he said.
“But the fact we had 30 blokes down here on a Sunday afternoon at all, that’s a big positive.”
Training for the dozen or so regulars has been a tough slog the past few weeks with evening and daytime sessions testing the resolve for those involved.
AS most players could probably testify, they receive little sympathy from coach Salogni who realises without pain, there can be no gain.
“Training isn’t there to hurt you it’s to help you,” he told the exhausted bunch of Emerald players sucking in the fluids post-game.
“And it shows that you have all got that hunger there to succeed.”
Emerald captain Tim O’Rourke said optimism ahead of the Frenchville carnival was at an all-time high.
“We’re confident. This is one of the better sides we’ve gone away with,” he said.
“A lot of it has to do with player availability – we’ve got the luxury this year of having too many to choose from.”
Tieri coach Steve Dawe said Frenchville loomed as a tough challenge. He is, however, reassured in the knowledge there is a strong junior player base emerging through the ranks which is quite capable of matching it with the seniors.
“Jessie Jackson, he’s only 12-years-old and he played exceptional today – a great young player,” Steve said.
“I’m very happy with the hit-out. We’ve still got a way to go with fitness but it was a good chance to work on our defence.
“We will represent them well.”
Tieri’s team line-up has not yet been confirmed but it is expected the starting six will be as follows:
Steve Dawe, Darren Stutz-Grimmond, Ben Millar, Andrew Stewart, Hayden Hearne, and another as yet unconfirmed player. The Emerald player list for Frenchville will include Tim O’Rourke, Ray Stanton, Shannon Elford, Mario Terranova, Nick Andrews, Geoff Gill, James Barley, Jason Cannons, Elliot Gregory, Zac Wood and goalkeeper Glenn Gilmour.
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