Two Griffith District Football Association powerhouses will take part in the Combined Association Preseason Tournament at Wagga’s Henwood Park on Sunday.
Yoogali SC and Hanwood FC will both use the Griffith-Wagga associations-run nine-a-side tournament to kick-start their 2017 campaigns.
“We’ve been training for about three weeks but it looks very different to years gone by – we haven't hit the road yet with our fitness and boot camps sessions we’d usually do,” Yoogali SC coach Luke Santolin said.
“The challenge will be to pace our way through the day without that fitness behind us with, as I’ve been told, the potential to play up to six games.”
Hanwood FC is likewise only just beginning its pre-season but the squad did get some game time in last weekend.
“We played in a pre-season comp over there in Albury,” Brian Bertolin, who has stepped away from the Hanwood FC coaching role but is still heavily involved with the club, said.
“It was pretty scratchy, we won just the one match out of five. It was a bit disappointing but the squad wasn't at full strength with vintage.
“We’re looking forward to this weekend – we’ve only been training for two weeks so it’ll be good to blow the cobwebs out.”
Hanwood FC will again be missing players in this weekend’s tournament due to the grape harvest.
They will also be without coach Jason Bertacco who injured his knee playing touch football and is facing a long lay-off.
Barring the loss of Bertacco, Bertolin said the side was shaping up well.
“Joey Schirripa made himself available which should be good – the nucleus is there to build around,” he said.
Yoogali SC will field a totally different team to last year, according to Santolin.
“Aside from three or four players, we virtually have a brand new side,” he said.
“A few have left the area, a couple young boys moved on to bigger things and the bulk of our squad has gone over to the Riverina Rhinos.”
Santolin said reserve grade players will make the step up along with new signings to fill the void.
Of the new signings, Santolin was especially excited about a pair of brothers.
“Without putting too much pressure on Mario and Mairo Tikerberi – you can tell they have it. We’re looking forward to getting them out there,” he said.
Along with the GDFA sides, Leeton United, Henwood Park, Wagga United and Monaro – with two sides – have entered.
Field one: Leeton United FC v Yoogali Soccer Club
Field two: Hanwood Football Club v Wagga United FC
Field one: Henwood Park FC v Monaro B
Field two: Yoogali Soccer Club v Monaro A
Field one: Leeton United FC v Monaro A
Field two: Wagga United FC v Monaro B
Field one: Henwood Park FC v Wagga United FC
Field two: Leeton United FC v Yoogali Soccer Club
Field one: Yoogali Soccer Club v Monaro A
Field two: Hanwood Football Club v Henwood Park FC
Field one: Hanwood Football Club v Monaro B
Field two: Leeton United FC v Monaro A
Grand final at 4:10pm
1st Pool A v 1st Pool B
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.