THE Orange Wanderers kick-started their assault on the 2014 men’s Premier League Hockey competition with a 4-nil trial loss to Sydney Premier League outfit the Burwood Briars.
Making the trip to Concord with a largely understrength line-up on Saturday, Andrew Reddan’s Wanderers squad fought hard against one of metropolitan Sydney’s strongest sides, much to the delight of the Orange head coach.
“The Briars are a fantastic side, from memory they made the semi-finals of the Sydney Premier League competition and their second grade side won it,” Reddan said, thrilled with his side’s improvement in 12 months.
They lost the corresponding trial game against Briars 9-nil last year.
“We had a number of players out but the guys that made the trip did the job well,” he continued.
“Our juniors really stood up.”
Those juniors were Adam Skelton, Caiden Reddan and Mitch Vennard, while the returning Scott Newman also impressed.
Of the regular Wanderers, Alex Said, Mick Dillon, Adam Hurford and Zac Royal made the trip to Sydney.
By and large, they’re all familiar names.
Reddan said the squad at his disposal in 2014 would be almost identical to last year’s, and the challenge that plagued the Wanderers in a wooden spoon- earning season last year would again be the main test in 2014.
“Even the Briars boys, they were the first to say it’s our final pass that’s letting us down,” Reddan said.
“Our build-up play is great ... it’s just 10-minute lapses in concentration that seem to kill us.”
“I’ve always said it, the boys can play hockey, it’s just their mental attitude.”
Reddan has had his side in fitness training for six weeks, with preparations ramping up ahead of the season proper next month.
The club’s only scheduled trial at this stage, the Briars’ hit-out was a perfect opportunity to blood some new faces and further develop the juniors who’ve already shone in Wanderers colours, the experienced coach added.