READY for action ... Murwillumbah Services? Chris and James Ismail brush up on their skills for president Lionel McCloy ahead o
READY for action ... Murwillumbah Services? Chris and James Ismail brush up on their skills for president Lionel McCloy ahead o

Youth has own magic

By TANIA PHILLIPS

MURWILLUMBAH Services Soccer Club believes youth can overcome anything ? even Magic.

The new-look team heads to Carrara this afternoon to open its Gold Coast Soccer Premier League campaign against Magic United.

And despite having lost six experienced players from last year, and personally battling hayfever and an injured toe from a skateboard accident, coach Jason Thatcher is thinking positively.

Thatcher, who took over from John Bruggy at the end of last year, believes his young side will cause a lot of problems for other teams this season.

"We have lost in some places and gained in others. I think we will probably be a bit harder this year," he said.

"We are probably six players down on last year, but we have got our goalkeepers back."

(Arpi Papp and Michael Breckenridge made a late return to the side).

Thatcher said the side would be strong up front and, like last year, strong in the back line.

"We will be a bit weak in the midfield, and the boys have to learn how to score goals," he said.

Thatcher, now 38, comes into the mid-field to add some experience ? especially in the absence of former Kingscliff and Tweed player Mark Wright who injured a rib in a trial two weeks ago.

The side will also include new captain Aaron Hodges, Luke Martin and James Ismail.

This week Thatcher has gone for a midfield of Kenta Shimizu, teenager Matt Peate, making his Premier League debut, Ryany Butler and himself, with former Saints player Kurt Buchanan and Ashley Tickner up front and Armadeep Ghooti in the roving role.

Thatcher admits the club's main problem is its depth, and it is looking for a few more signings over coming weeks.

Gold Coast Soccer chairman Peter Gray said he expected this to be a tougher and more exciting season than ever, with many of the teams having strengthened their line-ups in recent weeks and an added incentive to do well.

"Emerald Lakes Country Club has come on board and will put $300 on the bar for the team that wins the Sunday match of the round each week," he said.

Gray said he expected Burleigh to be strong after signing former Socceroo Con Boutisianis, but Broadbeach was favourite at this stage.

In other games, Surfers take on Nerang, Broadbeach United plays Mudgeeraba and Musgrave plays Gold Coast Knights this afternoon, while at Palm Beach tomorrow the home team takes on Burleigh in the match of the round.



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