WARATAHS will face an early pre-season test like few others before it when the Orange based Western Premier League club takes on an in-form Deaf Football Australia outfit at Waratahs sportsground this afternoon.
The Australian outfit hit the ground running on Sunday courtesy of a 5-0 win over Blayney.
Just afterwards, Waratahs managed to scrape together a 1-0 win over fellow WPL outfit Lithgow Workies.
All four will go head-to-head throughout the week during the revamped Australia Day Challenge previously contested solely between Waratahs and the Deaf Football Australia unit, and the two will again meet for the first time in 2013 today.
Australia coach Rob Stanton said his side’s five-goal drubbing of Blayney was the ideal warm-up, adding the win was “one of the best performances” he has seen from his side.
“We’re looking forward to all of the games we’re playing,” Stanton continued.
“We’re using it as preparation for our upcoming tournaments, mainly with recovery. There’s just one day between games here this week so quick recovery is important for us. We’re working on that while getting the best out of the players.”
The Deaf Football Australia side on show this week is made up of players from right across the country, with the squad’s average hearing loss of 55 decibels or more.
The players range from ages of 15 through to 38 years of age and all have levels of experience from early years to professional league.
Each year the side gathers in Orange to prepare for upcoming tournaments and in 2013, the Aussies will use its trip to Orange to begin its preparation for a trip to London, a tour that’ll include matches against Arsenal, Fulham and a Great Britain side.
Stanton was happy with his side’s progress.
“It was our first game together in quite a while. It was a very good win. Very good,” Stanton said.
“I couldn’t single anyone out from Sunday’s game individually, but as a collective, it was close to one of the best performances from the team in my time involved as coach.”
The head coach said the likes of Waratahs, Lithgow and Blayney before that will provide the Australian side with a stern test.
“They weren’t too bad. They’re like a lot of the teams at this stage of the season, we’re really only just coming into pre-season so there’s a lot of rotations and it’ll be that way from all four sides this week,” Stanton said.
Today’s game between Waratahs and Deaf Football Australia begins at 4.30pm at Waratahs Sportsground.
The match will be followed by the Blayney and Lithgow clash.