Plenty of class in first outing

Albury’s Brenton Newnham has his hands full controlling the ball against Canberra United on Saturday. Pictures: DYLAN ROBINSON

Albury’s Brenton Newnham has his hands full controlling the ball against Canberra United on Saturday. Pictures: DYLAN ROBINSON

THE Strikers have made light work of a switch to a new competition with a 6-1 thrashing of Canberra United in their first game in the Capital League.

But the Spitfires came up short in their clash against a team that included a former Kookaburra.

Playing at home, last year’s Victorian State League 1 premiers created any number of chances and even enjoyed the luxury of tinkering with positional switches when the result was beyond doubt.

Captain Nan Latta, voted best on ground, led the way for the Spitfires with three goals, while regular contributors Jade Mann, Maddison Horsburgh and Eloise McCormick also got on the scoresheet.

Coach Tony Jones was also impressed with the contributions from the returning Rhianna Coleiro and Allison Nicholson.

“In the off season, we lost Amy Allen but the return of Rhianna has gone some way to off-set that,” he said.

“We also wanted to experiment, given Nan will spend the best part of six weeks overseas playing for Australia in the next two months. To that end, we want Allison to take on that role.

“With her up front we slotted Brooke Purtell, a development player last year, into Allison’s spot and it all worked fine.

“Any time you put six goals away you are happy but, even more pleasing, was the number of chances we created.

“We had a squad of 15 and the four off the bench added something.”

But Jones was cautious about talking up his team’s hopes.

“We’d done our research and this team was among the bottom three last year so we probably need that sort of result if we are going to be competitive against the better sides,” he said.

“This week we go to Canberra for the first time and play a team that was in the finals last year.

“We’ll have a better idea of where we stand after that game.”

The Spitfires went down 3-0 to Canberra United in their first game in the men’s Capital League game at the Albury Hockey Centre on Saturday but coach Matt Smart said there were plenty of positives from the game.

Smart rated goalkeeper Scott Foley, Ben Allen and teenage Dan Ciccone among their best.

“They were a little more clinical than us,” he said.

“It was the simple things that let us down — trapping and passing — and we need more talk if our press is going to work.

“But we had some really good passages of play and, if we can move the ball a bit quicker out of defence, we will be in a good place.

“United had obviously been together for some time and have a former Kookaburra in the squad so, be down 1-0 at half-time and 2-0 until very late in the game, was a good effort.”

United's Luke Mackinnon and Albury's Charley Wallace clash.

United's Luke Mackinnon and Albury's Charley Wallace clash.

Albury's Josh Pritchard powers away from his opponents.

Albury's Josh Pritchard powers away from his opponents.

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