Sydney Olympic earned valuable experience when they were defeated 3-0 by the Iraq national side in a friendly match at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium last Wednesday.
Last year’s PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Runners Up were put through a great test against the 2007 Asian Champions as the visitors prepared for the AFC Asian Cup.
Head coach Grant Lee was happy with his side’s performance despite the loss.
“This was one of our first hit outs after only three weeks preseason training before Christmas and the boys did well,” he said.
“We took a big squad with a lot of young players and they all pretty much got about 45 minutes each.
“Iraq scored two quick goals and secured it with a goal in the 88th minute.
“I thought it was a great exercise for us as a club for many reasons.
“We gave our boys some good exposure against international players which showed them the next level and what it takes to be a professional.
“More importantly it takes the fear factor out of them and they now know what it takes to become a professional.
“We played against the Malaysian national side last year and it was a great exercise. To be honest I would take on any national side as I only see positives out of those sort of friendly matches.”
The match also gave Lee the chance to see his new recruits in action and he was not disappointed.
“Scotty (Balderson) played 45 minutes and I thought he did really well,” he said.
“Unfortunately Leigh Egger played 20 minutes and had to come off with an ankle injury and Howard Fondyke didn’t play due to an injury.
“But seeing the younger boys play really shows the depth we have in our squad and I think we are in a good position.
“We are also trying to line up a couple of friendly games against teams in Canberra for over the Australia Day long weekend now to continue the preparation.”
The entire squad is expected to be at training for the first time this week.
Sydney Olympic’s preparation for the upcoming PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 competition will go into overdrive in the Preseason Cup.
The Blues are grouped with the Marconi Stallions, Sutherland Sharks, Blacktown Spartans, Parramatta FC and Manly United in pool B.
It will be structured as a round robin format with the winning teams from both pools facing each other in the Grand Final.
by Chris Georges
Archives for January 2015
PS4 NPL NSW Mens 1 Champions Blacktown City have continued their tradition of developing professional footballers with four of their premiership winning players securing Hyundai A-League contracts this season.
Centre back pairing Jacob Poscoliero and Zac Cairncross were both snapped up by the Central Coast Mariners on one-year and short term contracts respectively.
Star midfielder Kearyn Baccus last week signed a two and a half year deal with the Western Sydney Wanderers after impressing coach Tony Popovic while on an injury replacement contract.
PS4 National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 player of the year and top goalscorer Travis Major also signed on with the Mariners for the remainder of the A-League season.
Blacktown City head coach Mark Crittenden said he never doubted the four could make the step up to the A-League.
“Those four boys are now professional footballers and they deserve it,” Crittenden said.
“As much as we would like to think it is about Blacktown and getting results, our goal as a club is to get our boys to the next level.
“Jacob has fit in comfortably from day one with that Mariners side and Baccus looked quite good before getting injured for the Wanderers.”
Central Coast head coach Phil Moss knows the strength of the PS4 National Premier League NSW Men’s 1 competition and didn’t hesitate on signing his three players.
“I’m fully aware of the talent in the state league having spent eight years coaching Manly United,” he said.
“For me it is about giving players the opportunity to have a crack at the A-League and so far they are doing well.
“Jacob has made quite a good start and Trav did well coming on for his debut recently.
“Zac hasn’t had a start for us yet but played in a trial match for us against Newcastle and did himself proud.
“Add in Glen Trifiro who came from Sydney United 58 and Matthew Sim from Manly and we have quite a few players who have made the step up from the competition.
“Blacktown certainly have a successful history of developing players and it is a credit to their structure.
“I think Blacktown and the Mariners have a lot in common in developing players and seeing them move on and we are proud of that.”
Blacktown City have begun preparing for the defence of their title with a new new squad for 2015.
Crittenden said he believes in the club’s youngsters and is confident of another strong season.
“We’ve signed Chris Tomaras from Sydney Olympic and are looking at a player from the Newcastle competition but at Blacktown we always try to promote our own,” he said.
“Those four boys who are now playing in the A-League are all Blacktown City juniors and we want the same for our next crop of players.
“We have quite a few players in the National Youth League teams as well including Shayne D’Cunha (Western Sydney Wanderers), Daniel Araujo (Sydney FC) and Sam Perry (Central Coast Mariners) to name a few.
“So it will be a bit hard losing the A-League boys but we will regroup and go again.”
-By Chris Georges