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Pre-season league

fnal battle between


the new recruits
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NEWLYPROMOTED UNIVERSITIES
have been thrown in the deep end as the
Mainland Premier League season kicks
o, facing an away trip to Nelson Sub-
urbs on Sunday.
It is the rst of four games in a row
against last seasons top four sides, but
coach Joseph Hall thinks it is the best
xture they could have drawn.
Not only does the away trip make for
good team bonding, but well be going
out against a team with a history of suc-
cess in the league, and well get to test
ourselves against the best right away,
said Hall.
Te core of the Universities squad
have been together for a few years now
and captain Simon Tither said they are
condent they can compete in the pre-
mier league.
Te guys trust their ability to play in
the league, and not only play, but also do
well and get results.
Te Nelson side they will nd at the
end of their road trip is not quite where
coach Ben Wright would like it to be at
this stage.
Its not been the greatest of prepara-
tion. Weve lost a few players from last
year and weve been a little bit short on
numbers, but were staying positive, he
said.
Te other matches of the opening
round come in the form of a triple-head-
er tomorrow at ASB Football Park.
Ferrymead Bays coach Danny Halli-
gan is looking forward to his teams rst
game against Nomads United and cant
wait for the uncertainty to be over.
In pre-season you do as much work
as you can, but you dont know where
you stand until you start playing, he
said.
With a mixture of old hands and
youthful recruits, Halligan would like to
think Ferrymead would be in the top
two or three at the end of the season.
Nomads are in a rebuilding phase at
the moment, and coach Deane Hutch-
inson said they are focused on keeping
a core of players together over the next
few seasons.
Western coach Julian Morris will be
looking for possession and structure
when his team takes the eld against
Coastal Spirit in the days middle xture,
but warns early results have to be taken
with a grain of salt.
It will take a couple of weeks for all
the teams to settle and then we will see
who are the stronger teams.
Even so, Morris is condent Western
will be one of those teams, pressing for
the premiership.
Coastal Spirit coach Xavier Morin
thinks that his team looked good during
the recent pre-season tournament, but
like Morris he is weary of reading too
much into early form.
If we can make some trouble in the
championship and reach the top four,
that would be good, he said,
Te Hurley Shield will be up for grabs
when holders and defending league
champions Cashmere Technical play
Halswell United in the days last game.
Halswell coach Tomas Fry said his
team has a lot of strength in mideld,
led by Dagan Bland, and that is where
they will try and impose themselves on
other teams.
Weve got a squad that can beat any-
one on their day, the key is just to do it
consistently and stay injury free, he said.
Fixtures:
Ferrymead Bays v Nomads United,
12pm Saturday, ASB Football Park
Western vs Coastal Spirit, 2pm Sat-
urday, ASB Football Park
Cashmere Technical v Halswell Unit-
ed, 4pm Saturday, ASB Football Park
Nelson Suburbs v Universities, 1pm
Sunday, Saxton Fields
Road trip for Universities
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Lo Lhe season klcklng o.