Wanderers coach Paul Arnison will kick-off pre-season preparations next week. Picture: Warren Lynam
Wanderers coach Paul Arnison will kick-off pre-season preparations next week. Picture: Warren Lynam

Wanderers gear up for busy pre-season

Wanderers coach Paul Arnison says his charges will embrace a busy pre-season schedule packed with plenty of game time when they return from a rejuvenating extended break.

The Buderim-based outfit will kick-off their 2021 preparations on Tuesday following a long and tiring COVID-19 impacted season last year.

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It’s the latest the Wanderers have started a pre-season since forming in 2017.

“We are a bit later than other clubs and teams but with the extent of last year and how long it went on for we’re just giving the players a little bit of an extended break,” coach Arnison said.

“Hopefully, they’ll come back refreshed and ready to go for what’s going to be another long, hard and exciting season.”

They’ll have seven weeks to prepare ahead of the season opener in early March and Arnison is wasting no time in getting them straight into game scenarios.

“It’s obviously going to be a busy pre-season schedule and I think I’ve got six or seven games locked in so hopefully come Tuesday night they’re ready to go.”

They’ll play their first trial game in the opening week of pre-season with a special in-house game.

The following week they’ll tackle the Maroochydore premier men with a clash against Brisbane Strikers for the Mitre 10 Cup on February 6.

“You can do as much training as you want but there’s nothing as good as getting out there and playing a game and that’s what the players want,” he said.

And it obviously gives me a chance to look at them and to try and fit the right players in the right places.”

He said a core group had been signed but another seven or eight players were yet to be confirmed.

New faces at the Wanderers in 2021 will be Chris and Andre Jancevski, Ethan Galbraith, Mitch Bridge and Jacob Fulluck.

Last year’s captain Jeremy Stewart would be returning.

Among the players that have moved on include Sho Koto (Japan), Eligh Williams (US), and Daniel Cuttler.

Arnison said he was “delighted” with the squad that was forming and was eager to lock in a new goalkeeper as priority.

While some clubs put a big focus on fitness in the early phases of pre-season, Arnison said he would instead emphasise skills and game play in his early training.

“We’re going to get the ball out and do plenty of ball work just to get the legs going again,” he said.

“There’s no point me bringing them in after eight weeks off and just going ‘we’re going to run and run and run’.

“We’ve got to build it into them slowly.

“It’s a long seven week pre-season and there’s going to be plenty of games.”

The season opener is set for the weekend of March 6-7.