Senior soccer returns to Laidley with a roar
Soccer: For the first time in four years, a senior men's team ran out on to the field at Laidley Soccer Club on Saturday.
After four seasons without a top-level team, the club is brimming with positivity heading into the new season, due to kick off in just three weeks.
The return of the men's side has also brought some familiar faces back to the pride.
The team coach, captain and vice-captain are all veterans of the Laidley club.
Coach Paul Brady has lead several younger teams at the club but this will be his first time coaching an adult side.
While he admitted he was a little daunted at first, he said he felt positive seeing the return of the men's game to Laidley.
"It's good the senior men are back,” Brady said.
"Hopefully that is going to have a snowball effect and bring in more families and kids to the club.”
While there's plenty of fresh faces in the line-up, the team is being lead out by two club veterans.
Captain Andrew Martin and vice-captain Corey Hoey bring years of experience both on the pitch and at the club.
Hoey started playing with Laidley when he was seven and said it was "absolutely fabulous” to be back in the green and gold.
"Growing up playing there the whole time made it feel like that was my home,” Hoey said.
"Laidley's always just been home.”
He said the return of the men's side was a big boost.
"It's not just good for the club, the whole community really benefits,” he said.
Training for the side kicked off in late January and the team faced their first challenge on Saturday when they hosted Rockville Rovers FC for a pre-season friendly.
The Lions put in a spirited effort and came away with a 2-2 draw.
Goalkeeper Reese Mulhearn was named man of the match following an incredible display in goal.
Hoey said the team worked hard for the result.
"Everyone put in 100 per cent, couldn't be more happy with the effort involved,” he said.
Brady was equally impressed by the performance from the team.
"I thought they all did really well - remarkably well,” he said.
"Against a seasoned club like Rockville - they're no slouches, they're a good side.”
With three weeks to go before the start of the season, Brady will be focusing on improving the team's communication and defence.
Boosting fitness levels will also be on the agenda.
Brady is confident the team has the ability to finish in the top four and will be pushing his players to make it there.
Hoey is also confident the Laidley side has what it takes to finish well.
"Once we get into it I think we're going to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
"We've got a great chance, we can finish up the top.”