Reappointed Wagga City Wanderers women’s coach Sam Gray would love to see more local footballers give the club a try.
Gray was this week re-signed for third year in charge of the Wanderers’ women in a move that provides stability to the program.
Gray will again be assisted by Rob Tuksar as the Wanderers look to improve again in the ultra competitive NPL women’s competition.
“I’m very excited to be reappointed,” Gray said.
“It gives the club some continuity in line with the men’s program. This will really be the second season Rob and I have been in first grade and reserve grade. It is the third year but the first season was really seven games and then everything closed up on us.”
The Wanderers finished seventh in the season just one. They won two of their 17 games before COVID forced an early end to the season.
The Wanderers will hold trials at Gissing Oval on Sunday from 4pm-6pm. Players can register via the club’s Facebook page.
“Last season was hindered massively be injuries. At one point we had 14 or 15 players on the sideline,” Gray explained.
“As we move into the new season, obviously with trials this weekend, we’re hoping that we’ve got over the injury bump and we can keep the squad pretty tight this year and move forward.
“We’re hoping to bring in some new faces as we head into trials this weekend.”
Improving the depth is one focus for Gray.
“There will be a bit more depth. There will be a bit more experience as well,” he said.
“Our under 17 squad from last year, half of them are now eligible to trial for the seniors so we’ll be welcoming them into the senior space and that obviously gives us a bit more depth numbers wise.
“Experience wise, I’ve been trying to talk to some experienced players and bring them in as well. The players that I’m hoping to bring in are not only experienced players but they’re quality experienced players and they’ll make a difference to the program, which in the long-term is a responsibility that I have to take on board.
“I have to make sure that the program functions and that everyone sees that first grade and reserve grade are playing the style of football that everyone else wants to play.”
Gray would love to see a greater representation of players from inside Football Wagga.
“It would be good if we could get more of the established local players in the women’s competition from teams like Hanwood and Tolland,” he said.
“If they’re interested in taking the step, we’d welcome they come on board and have a trial and see what they think as well. It’s obviously a big step up but we want to give them that opportunity.
“We’re there to provide a pathway and unless the local players embrace the pathway, the pathway won’t exist. The club was founded to provide that pathway and we’re supporting local football by providing it but we need local football to support us to maintain the pathway.
“We’d like to see more local players get involved.”
Gray indicated there will be a turnover of players from last season but there is a core group that will remain. He also pointed at some exciting additions.
“There will be a group that come into the club that will make a difference,” he said.
“I see it as a challenge to improve upon year on year the players that we have there and to try to compliment the players that we have and improve on what they have by bringing in additional players. Bringing in players that can offer something else that helps the others improve.”
Tuksar will again coach women’s reserve grade. Gray Lyons (under 17s), Rod Buik (under 15s) and Darren Surian (under 14s) will lead the lower grades.