New Bundaberg Toyota Spirit signing Commins Menapi.
New Bundaberg Toyota Spirit signing Commins Menapi. Vince Habermann

Spirit fields a genuine striker

FOR the first time in their four-year history, Bundaberg Toyota Spirit will field a genuine striker with a proven record at the top level when Commins Menapi makes his debut tonight.

The 33-year-old has scored 30 goals in 34 games for Solomon Islands and 19 in 66 appearances for Sydney United in the former NSL, playing under coach Branco Culina.

He will suit up against Gold Coast Stars in their Queensland State League clash at ATW Sports Complex tonight after the rain postponement of their round-two match-up with Southern Cross United last Sunday.

Menapi, who also played for New Zealand's Waitakere United in the 2008 World Club Championship in Tokyo during his five years with that club, joined the Spirit last week after being a member of the Southern Cross United team which won the Pre-Season Cup.

Spirit coach Tony Roebuck said Menapi's goal is to play “consistent football at top level” leading into Solomon Islands' World Cup qualifiers in September, and that he has settled into the club “really well”.

He will provide a major boost to a side which was overwhelmed by North Queensland Razorbacks 5-0 in the first round two weeks ago, although their defence obviously also needs to be shored up.

“I don't have the right combinations at this stage but I'm working on that, and I'm still tweaking across the pitch, and I won't name the team until match morning,” Roebuck said.

“But I'm hoping with his experience, Commins will hold that ball up for us and provide something for our young players to aspire to, and someone for them to learn from.

“Obviously we have to improve but I'm quietly confident – training has been good for the last two weeks, and if we turn up in the right frame of mind, I think we can do a job.”

The two clubs will also clash in the Youth division.

In Bundaberg Premier League matches at Martens Oval tonight, Across The Waves will be keen to bounce back from their loss to Moore Park when they take on North at 5pm, before the unbeaten Moore Park does battle with Alloway at 7pm.

With two losses so far, Brothers-Aston Villa will need to improve but they will be aided by the home ground advantage for their clash with premiers Diggers tomorrow afternoon.

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