Ripley football’s quality rise for new season
FOOTBALL: Newly-promoted Ripley Valley FC go into next week's FFA Cup opener aware of the heavyweight opponent they are tackling.
Surfers Paradise Apollo is scheduled to play last year's Capital League 3 champions at the Briggs Road Sporting Complex.
But while welcoming such a tough first-up clash against the Gold Coast Premier League threats, Ripley Valley head coach Nick Paterson is more focused on consolidating the squad's recent efforts.
"It's all progression for us,'' Paterson said, back to guide the team that won last year's CL2 grand final in their debut season.
"We haven't set our sights on going on a Cup run.
"It's not the greatest draw for us but it show where we are at.
"We'll use this as another pre-season game for us to get ourselves ready for the season.''
The FFA Cup clash was scheduled for Sunday before being moved to next week due to the wet weather.
Ripley's first CL2 premiership game is against North Brisbane away on March 7.
Paterson has retained all but two of last year's victorious squad, bolstering the ranks with some quality additions.
They include Stew Simons (Taringa), Dane Grant (Ipswich City Bulls), Adam O'Sullivan (returning from injury after a year off), Corey Dunne and Josh Murphy (Western Spirit).
Alex Weatherby remains as club captain after his fine leadership role last season.
The former Premier League player is joined in the leadership group by Brodie Kenyon, Rhys Jackson, Mitch Love and possibly more additions.
"We're moving along nicely,'' Paterson said.
"The squad is building nicely and we've just had a team bonding weekend down the coast which was beneficial as there are several new faces.''
That bonding session featured a squad of 24 doing beach work after a planned trial at Tweed Heads was called off.
"I'm very confident with our recruitment that it will put us in good stead to be competitive in Capital 2 this season,'' he said.
"We've definitely got a lot more depth.
"Most pleasing for me is the youth that we've added. I am confident a majority of these younger lads will see first team football this year.''
Dave Wilson continues as Paterson's assistant and goalkeeping coach.
Former Taringa recruit Nathan Schleeman is Ripley's Reserve Grade coach.
"I'm really looking forward to the season ahead and building on what was a great first year last year,'' Paterson said.
"We've still got a core group that will strengthen Reserve Grade and push those boys in first grade.
"We're really happy with where we are at.''