Wagga City Wanderers coach Dave Leonard believes some existing players are going to have a battle on their hands to hold starting positions next year.
Leonard’s remarks come on the back of the Wanderers’ opening trials last Saturday, where the club was thrilled with the strong numbers that turned out.
Some 30 players took part in the Wanderers’ senior trial, with another 26 trialing for the under 18 squad.
The Wanderers were unable to back up the all-conquering 2020 season this year, working their way to fifth on the ladder with four wins after a slow start.
Leonard is looking forward to much more competition for spots in 2022.
“I think with the numbers there, some of your first up starters might not be so much first up starters,” Leonard revealed.
“We’ll go in with a bigger squad this year. We probably put a little bit of pressure on ourselves and the squad last year, but we’re going to pick a bigger numbers this year and there will be huge competition for positions.
“That’s what we want. We’ll make that perfectly clear to the guys, that some guys will be sitting on the bench and you’ve just got to keep fighting for a spot. That’s a happy place to be, a coach’s nightmare, but it is what it is.”
Leonard was thrilled with the turn-out to the opening trial.
“It was a huge roll up. Massive numbers,” he said.
“We left some of the 18s that we will probably take across to 23s. We couldn’t have done it with any more. That was a big squad as it was, 30 players.”
Leonard put the big turnout down to the tremendous feeling within the club, and recent successes,
“It’s been the last two years where the guys that have been involved in the club since day dot, even on the weekend, they say it keeps getting better and better, which I think speaks volumes for the club and where it’s heading,” he said.
“Even though last year wasn’t successful, the year before was, the 23s always do well, there’s still a little bit of success there as well.
“A couple of guys that are playing are always talking to some of the guys that should be playing and it’s a revolving merry go round there where we keep picking up players, which is really pleasing.”
Leonard is confident the Wanderers will adding a number of new players to the squad.
He conceded the departure of Luke Stevens will be difficult to replace but the Wanderers did welcome one player with semi-professional experience to the trial that they hope to welcome on board.
“The calibre of players there on Saturday was really outstanding,” he said.
“We lost someone like Luke Stevens, who was an X-factor, which is big shoes to fill but there were some guys there who were really impressive. It’s really nice to see a couple of new faces and it’s good that they’re really decent footballers, that’s always nice.”
The Wanderers men will hold their second trial on Sunday at 4pm at Gissing Oval.