WCW coach Dave Leonard decides on change of approach

WCW coach Dave Leonard decides on change of approach

Wagga City Wanderers men’s coach Dave Leonard will wait until after at least one pre-season trial game before culling his squad in a deliberate change of tact this season.

The Wanderers resumed pre-season training this week with less than a month remaining before they hold their first pre-season trial in Albury.

The Wanderers are doing things a little bit differently this season. Traditionally, the club would have announced their senior squad by now but Leonard will hold off until at least their first trial game before culling any players.

It is all part of a calculated change of approach after the Wanderers’ depth was severely put to the test last year.

“One hundred per cent. We found ourselves a little bit short last year and that was my fault because I made the call. We’re definitely going a larger squad this year, our numbers look really good, hence we haven’t really cut anybody at this stage,” Leonard said.

The Wanderers hope to be in a position to announce some new players within the coming weeks.

That does not mean they haven’t had to make some tough calls already. They have parted ways with Tumut’s Dylan Piper-Bye and promising under 23s footballer Nick Van Honk.

“Dylan Piper-Bye, out of Tumut, because of his inability to be able to commit because of his position with the RFS, we’ve let him go. Which is a big, big call. He was playing first grade well last year.

“From 23s, Nick Van Honk, again, he wanted to play but his inability to being able to commit to us meant we let him go.

“That’s something we’ll make clear to the guys. Those two guys at any stage could have played first grade but for us to voluntarily leave them out, is a huge call to make but it sets a precedent for not only the players but for us as well.”

The Wanderers will kick off their pre-season trials with a trip to the border to take on Albury United on February 13.

A week later they will take on Hanwood in Griffith, followed by a home game against Leeton United on the weekend of February 26-27.

They will then finish with an intra-club game before the NPL Two season gets underway in early March.

“By then (after the trials), we’ll have our squads pretty much set for firsts and 23s and we’ll have an intra-club game, which is always interesting when they’re against each other,” Leonard said.

“It’s pretty full on, to be honest. It’s always a good hit-out.”

The club is also yet to lock in whether it will compete in the FFA Cup or not.

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