Big pre-season has Strikers primed for season opener

Ballarat Eureka Strikers are match-hardened and ready to go for round 1, says coach Adam Vranesic.

The Strikers have had a jam-packed pre-season schedule – playing seven practice matches.

Vranesic expected that to hold his group in good stead for its Football Federation Victoria women’s state league two north-west season opener against Maribyrnong Swifts Silvers.

“I’ve changed the system up a lot from last year and it is quite a different playing group from last year, so for the girls to have a chance to jell and play together – I’m definitely happy with the progression so far and going into round 1, I think we’re definitely ready for the challenge, ” Vranesic said.

“We’ve played seven or eight matches so I’m hoping we’re match-fit and ready to go.”

A change in system, both structurally and in personnel, will see a new-look Strikers to the one that won only one match last year.

The Strikers have only a handful of senior members from last season lining up this weekend while Vranesic said a focus on attacking soccer and a compact, demanding defensive structure would be the Strikers brand this season.

Vranesic was not looking too far ahead for his group, but had one non-negotiable – compete hard.

BIG PRE-SEASON: Ballarat Eureka Strikers Ash Blackburn, Jasmine Emselle, Nat Barbara and Paige Daly are primed for this week's season opener. Picture: Supplied

BIG PRE-SEASON: Ballarat Eureka Strikers Ash Blackburn, Jasmine Emselle, Nat Barbara and Paige Daly are primed for this week's season opener. Picture: Supplied

“We’re going to take it one week at a time, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We understand that we’ve gone into state two..but you’re going to be challenged each and every week.

“We just have to focus on the game in front of us. But one rule I do have is, we’ve got to be competitive.

“It doesn’t matter if a team is better than us...it’s not a bad thing losing, it’s how you go about it. If you go out there and do your best and a team’s just better than you on the day, then by all means they deserve it. But there will be no excuses for giving teams an easy win.”

The Strikers will hit the road for their season opener, travelling to West Footscray for a 3pm kick-off on Sunday.

We've got to compete, it doesn't matter if a team is better than us...there will be no excuses for giving teams an easy win.

Coach Adam Vranesic

LINE-UP

Nat Barbara (captain), Paige Daly (goal-keeper), Claire Demuth, Alannah Stevens, Alysha Reisacher, Kassy Stabb, Sophie Emota, Sarah Ham, Ali Haywood, Ash Blackburn, Maddy Vranesic, Molly Esmonde, Maggie Hutchins, Jordy Donald