HFC to turn young guns loose

Football

TOMORROW'S glamour friendly against Marconi will be all about the kids for Hanwood FC head coach Anthony Agresta.

While the GDFA minor premier will field more senior players than it did in last year's shock 1-1 draw with the Stallions, the focus will be squarely on the young guns coming through.

Agresta is set to expose some of the club's best junior talent against the NSW Premier League powerhouse, with a life-changing move to Sydney perhaps only one good performance away for some.

"We had a couple of them train with us this year, like young George Pavese and James Musolino," Agresta said.

"There's a few of them that will get a bit of a run at some stage.

"It's good for them to have a taste of football at the next level up.

"Even for the senior boys, having a side like Marconi here gives them a bit of a buzz, a bit of a step-up.

"They've been down four or five times now and it's good that teams from Sydney like that want to see what we're about.

"It's good for everyone to challenge themselves again. Everyone's looking forward to it."

HFC coaching director Joey Schirripa said: "We left Shepparton a couple of years ago to come home and concentrate on youth development.

"When you've got kids who are playing regional and state rep, they're the ones we need to be looking after.

"That's what having an association with a club like Marconi is all about."

Hanwood has been back in training for nearly three weeks and Agresta believes enough cobwebs have been blown out for the side to give a good account of itself against the Stallions.

"We know we're not going to be super match-fit but we just have to go with what we've got," he said.

While English imports Brandon Barski and Tom Elford have long since departed, stopper Daniel Johnson is set to marshall the defence, possibly alongside Joey Gioia, who will return from injury this year.

Gioia missed the majority of last season due to nerve damage in his leg but has come back super fit, Agresta said.

"It'd be good to see how he's travelling," Agresta said.

"He's telling me he's feeling good."

Tomorrow night's match is HFC's first trial for the preseason with the club keen to leave a nightmare 2013 in the past.

While Hanwood had an extraordinary season in reaching the Football NSW State Cup final and finishing clear on top of the local ladder, the lack of silverware at the end of it is still burning in the guts of the players.

"We'll have a week or so off after this and get right into the full pre-season and, hopefully, try to rectify what happened last year," Agresta said.

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