Griffith City will unleash new coach Erik Listmann onto the Griffith District Football Association first grade competition this weekend.
Listmann – who has played for Estonian national junior teams – will lead his troops into battle against reigning champions Yoogali SC at EW Moore Oval on Sunday at 3pm. The debut excited Griffith City president Pat Cirillo.
“Erik Listmann, the coach, he’s very good,” Cirillo said when asked who’d be the player to watch for Griffith City.
“He’s trained with the national team in Estonia, he’s a very good player and I think he’ll be one of the best players in the competition.”
Despite the big signing, Cirillo wasn’t expecting miracles from the club’s two first grade sides – one to be led by Listmann and the other to be led by Angelo Cirillo – in the opening rounds with several players missing.
“We’re not going to be at full strength for the first two, three, maybe even four weeks but after that we should be right,” Cirillo said.
“[It’s due to] work commitments and some of our players are yet to arrive.”
The match between Griffith City one and Yoogali SC will have an extra twist in it with a rare GDFA Estonian battle within the battle.
Yoogali SC have its own Estonian players in Mario and Mairo Tikerberi who helped YSC claim the Riverina Cup in the pre-season.
“The Tikerberi brothers aren’t slouches,” Yoogali SC coach Luke Santolin said.
“There might be a bit of Estonian pride on the line out there.”
Yoogali SC’s pre-season has been a successful one with the Riverina Cup win but Santolin said the big test would come as the season commences.
“There’s still a question mark there, no doubt we’ve got talent across the board but we’re yet to field our strongest team at the same time,” Santolin said.
“Our biggest challenge is going to be how quickly we can come together as a team instead of playing as 11 individuals.
“We have put just as much work in off the field as we have on it.
“There’s players from different countries that have to combine with the local players and we’re trying to create a positive culture that’s so important.”
While Griffith City one will be taking on the minor premiers, the number two side will be taking on Hanwood FC Blue at 1pm on Sunday which will also be played at EW Moore Oval.
The team is made up of a mixture of reserve grade players from previous years along with members of the club’s over 35s team.