Wanderers line up for baptism of fire

LEADER: James Shakeshaft shapes as one of Wanderers' most important this season. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

LEADER: James Shakeshaft shapes as one of Wanderers' most important this season. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

The new-look Orange Wanderers will get the perfect yardstick in Saturday’s opening men’s Premier League Hockey fixture when they host reigning champions Lithgow Panthers.

It doesn’t get much tougher for any side, especially one which has lost all of its former leadership group.

Daryl Kennewell, Nic Sharpe, Zac Royle, Andrew Rutledge and last year’s co-coaches Keiran Gentles and Matt Johnson have stepped away from the club ahead of this winter, a mass exodus by anyone’s standards.

There is promise in the club’s youngsters though, there has been for a long time.

The side will likely be led by Adam Skelton, James Shakeshaft, Connor Morris and Tom Powell, while the likes of Bailey Ferguson look set to step up into the premier division too.

Cohesion shouldn’t be an issue, most of the new-look squad has played plenty of under-age representative hockey together.

But the question is how they’ll handle their baptism of fire against Panthers on Saturday afternoon, against the premier side in the competition, one also known for its physical, ruthless nature on the field.

The new-look Wanderers host Panthers at Orange Hockey Complex, from 1.55pm.

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