New-look Yoogali FC predicts bright year

Football

A SHAKE-UP at Yoogali Football Club will see the beaten GDFA preliminary finalist head into the new season with an unprecedented power in numbers.

Former West Griffith SC coach Peter Jennings has joined the club as director of coaching and has overseen a huge recruiting drive that has netted six new Fijian imports.

Combined with the return of a host of players from the now-defunct Yoogali Wanderers, Jennings believes YFC will boast depth this season that will be the envy of rival clubs as it looks to join Yoogali SC and Hanwood FC in a likely three-way tussle for the title.

"We'll have a very comfortable situation," Jennings said.

"What we're looking at is knowing we'll have a competitive side on the park each and every weekend playing first-grade, but with a back-up of support and competitiveness in the ressies.

"We've also got a few younger players coming through, 16s and 18s, and they'll grow. They'll learn off all these guys.

"We expect to challenge for the title and we're going to strive to do it."

Fijian football legend Abraham Watkins will remain YFC's first-grade coach but will be assisted by Jennings every step of the way, helping break down the language barrier.

The six new Fijians join last year's signings, Archie and Sitiveni Watkins, while YFC has also retained the majority of their key players.

"You can feel it already - that camaraderie in the pre-season," Jennings said.

"We've got a mixture of the Islanders and the local boys and it was always going to be daunting first up.

"But we've found a happy medium. They've mixed really well."

Jennings said he left Wests with a heavy heart after guiding a young and undermanned Magpies side to an eighth-placed finish last season - but he was left with little choice.

"It was tough. There was only talk of it but they didn't come back to me or ask if I was interested," he said.

"They'll probably be struggling to try and find a first-grade coach.

"But I'm happy, there's a little bit more professionalism towards it here at Yoogali."

YFC's pre-season continues tomorrow afternoon with a clash against NSW State League One team Granville Rage.

Jennings was the Rage's under 20s coach before he moved to Griffith and said YFC is keen to forge a sister club relationship with the Italian-backed Sydney club.

"It will be a good test for the Yoogali boys," he said.

"The Rage is an Italian-based club so there's an opportunity for something there between us.

"We're trying to develop a sister club relationship there, and perhaps at some stage we'll be able to get them to come again, or we could go over to Sydney.

"We also want to include our juniors and get the guys who are coaching at Granville to help us run our YellowTail Academy."

The friendly match begins at 5.30pm at Noe Santolin Oval.

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