Spirit eye off new-comers
AFTER a heavy loss to start the Queensland State League season, Bundaberg Toyota Spirit's task gets no easier tomorrow.
Still smarting from a 5-0 defeat at the hands of North Queensland Razorbacks, the Spirit will venture to Perry Park tomorrow to take on league newcomer Southern Cross United.
United made a perfect debut with a 4-2 victory over Capricorn Cougars and with former Brisbane Roar player Josh McCloughan at the helm, Spirit coach Tony Roebuck said the team was shaping as a real force.
The Spirit will be without assistant coach Paul Fagan, who did everything he could to marshal the defence last week, but Roebuck said the vastly experienced Lucas Read would slot into that role and do a good job.
The team will welcome back Shane Youngberry, who will add steel to the attack, and Roebuck is expecting a much-improved showing.
“Tuesday was pretty wet and we did a lot of running but they trained very well on Thursday night and we worked on our defensive structure and on the ball,” Roebuck said.
“The boys were a bit disappointed with themselves last week but hopefully they can pick up their act and take it into the game.
“Perry Park is a big pitch, and they (United) did leak two goals too, so maybe there is something in that.
“I'm looking to see some intensity from the start of the game.
"It has to be up from the opening whistle, something which it wasn't last week.
“I'm also looking to put more pressure on the ball.
"We want a good start and we have to be mentally and physically switched on for that.”
Inspirational captain Brett Kitching and fellow club foundation warhorse Laurie Stephenson are certain to do everything in their power to lift the side.
They need a positive result to buoy everyone's spirits and restore their confidence.
The Spirit's Youth side will also be hoping to improve on its 5-2 defeat by South West Queensland when it meets United's young guns in the early match on the program.
After recording five wins and a draw from their seven trial matches, assistant coach Nog Connolly said the players were too laid back in the first half last week and they paid the price, trailing 4-0 at the break.
But he said they were much better in the second half, with Tim Merrick the best and Luke Murphy also doing well.
Connolly said if the team players could get back to their game plan from the start, they were capable of toppling United.