Last season, Sydney Olympic surprised many to make the top five and later go on and challenge for the Championship in the Grand Final.
A young squad, that was vastly different from the previous season, lacked the experience of teams such as Blacktown Spatans and Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Their coach and mentor, Grant Lee, believes in his team’s ability to prove the doubters wrong this year, and possibly even go one better.
“I hope we can replicate and build on from what we did last season.
“We’re set up as we’ve maintained the majority of the squad and turned over a few players that weren’t putting pressure on those playing in front of them.
“In saying that, we’ve added a few boys that will do that and it’s already showing with our Preseason Cup form as our play has continued on from last season.”
This year, Olympic won’t be flying under the radar. They will this weekend be vying for their first piece of silverware in the PS4 Preseason Cup Final. And it’s this type of form that will become an expectation for fans and pundits, but it doesn’t phase a buoyant Lee.
“You put pressure on yourself and your future is in your own hands.
“It’s all about the mentality the boys have and how we prepare them”
The results haven’t come overnight for the boys from Belmore and Lee recognises that.
“When I came we lost a whole starting 11 so we started to rebuild.
“We gave the players confidence and needed the new boys to understand how we want to play.
“The key for us was that it didn’t matter if we copped a goal against the run of play or if we were being dominated but mentally to trust how we play; that’s what we’re building towards.”
Olympic has carefully added to their roster this year, acquiring the services of Howard Fondyke from Bonnyrigg White Eagles and the Manly duo of Scott Balderson and Leigh Egger.
“Scott is a decent player and was ready to give it up and play park football but he came down here and he’s enjoying himself again.”
The Olympic boss believes his team is looking good ahead of the new season.
“We’re happy with the squad, we’ve got some good young boys mixed with the experienced heads of Hendo (Paul Henderson) and (Petar) Markovic in there.
“We’ll also get back Michael Trajkovski from the Western Sydney Wanderers, James Andrews from Sydney FC and Yianni Spyrakis from the Central Coast Mariners.
2015 could also be a big year for returning youngster Brayden Sorge with Lee holding him in high regard.
“Brayden Sorge keeps getting better, his potential and play has gone ahead in leaps and bounds and will grow into a great footballer.
“Hopefully he will play in the A-League in the near future.”
Lee pins down who he believes will challenge for the Premiership.
“It’s the usual suspects; Sydney United, Bonnyrigg, Blacktown City, Rockdale and I believe APIA is the team to watch.”
He’s also picked Steve O’Connor’s Sutherland Sharks to create some problems moving on in the season.
“Sutherland have undertaken a massive rebuilding of their squad and with a quality coach like Steve O’Connor at the helm with all the experience he has it will be interesting.
“It will take time though and I believe in the second half of the season they’ll be real dangerous.”
by Nikola Pozdar