YOOGALI Football Club might be rolling out the welcome mat for rival clubs at this weekend's Real Juice Cup but they'll be anything but hospitable hosts on the field.
Senior player Rocky Marando said last year's GDFA preliminary finalists are desperate to take out their own competition and ensure the $4000 winner's cheque stays in Yoogali.
"We always go into tournaments trying to do our best and seeing as this is our tournament, we really want to win it," he said.
"We're definitely looking at it as a great dress rehearsal for the season."
The second annual Real Juice Cup kicks off tomorrow at Noe Santolin Oval and it appears nearly every team involved has a genuine shot of winning.
Only seven clubs have entered this year's competition and none of them are out of town, despite genuine interest from Cobram FC and Manly-Warringah association outfit Brookvale FC.
Hosts YFC have been drawn in Pool A alongside Hanwood FC, the Yenda Tigers and a composite side that will be made up of reserve-grade players to make it an even eight teams in the nine-a-side competition.
Tomorrow looms as the start of a brand new era for YFC, with a host of fresh Fijian imports and the return of the strongest players from the ill-fated Yoogali Wanderers giving the club a squad that is bursting at the seams, Marando said.
"The squad's changed a fair bit but it's great, and a really exciting time," he said.
"I rate the Fijian boys pretty highly. They're quality players. They can definitely play the game.
"I think they are international representatives - most of them, if not all, have represented their country so they're of a decent standard.
"There's a couple with niggling injuries at the moment but they've settled into town quite well and they're enjoying their football."
But Marando admitted that YFC has been frustrated with their lack of pre-season action after the late cancellation of two scheduled friendly games.
On the back of the Granville Rage trial match that never eventuated, Cobram FC were meant to play Yoogali FC last weekend but pulled out at the last minute - much to the disappointment of the local players.
"It's very annoying. All the players have been itching to get out on the pitch," Marando said.
"It's just a pity we haven't had a full-on trial game yet so our preparation hasn't been the best.
"Hopefully everyone can perform at their best on the weekend."
Marando said the likes of former Wanderers trio Frank Romeo, Anthony Trimboli and Pat Ielasi have been performing well at pre-season alongside the influx of Pacific Islanders that has come to the club.
But YFC will be without Michael Romeo, Caleb Musitano and Marando himself this weekend due to a wedding in Sydney.
Yoogali FC's star striker Jordan Lando has also departed the club and will instead play in Canberra this season with Cooma.
"He's been there a fair bit for work and got a very good deal," Marando said.
"He's just a class above and deserves it. He was the first player picked every week so out of our squad we're looking for a couple of strikers to step up and take his place."