Western Spirit rebuilds after massive player exodus
TO say 2019 semi-finalists Western Spirit have endured an off-season shake-up is an understatement.
However, head coach David Coles is confident of rebuilding a competitive Capital League 1 first team after losing 11 regulars and recruiting some higher level footballers.
Preparing for a scheduled first round FFA Cup game against CL2 opponents Bardon Latrobe at Kippen Park on Saturday, Coles was encouraged by the addition of experienced players including Emmanuel Peter (formerly Ipswich Knights), Moses Joseph (Souths United) and Brian Caulker (Sydney Olympic).
"I've got the core still of last year's side,'' Coles said, happy to see players like goalkeeper Jack Fuller, pre-season captain Monty Banks and regular goal scorer Francis Patricio back.
Andrew Jarrett and Andy Muir are also planning returns.
"With 11 going, it's basically going to be a rebuild,'' he said.
Players from the Brisbane Knights will bolster Spirit who have lost senior footballers including Sam Carr and Michael Wybranowski (retired).
A group of players have joined Ripley Valley FC who were promoted to Capital League 2 after winning their debut season in CL3.
Ripley recruits include Josh Murphy and Corey Dunne.
Spirit's first CL1 match is set down for March 7 against North Pine away.
Coles took over as head coach early last season, guiding Spirit to the playoffs.
His primary 2020 focus has been rebuilding the side after the major off-season moves.
"It has been an up and down pre-season,'' Coles said.
"We have only played four pre-season games, mainly because of the weather.
"We are starting to gel somewhat now and hope the Cup games (this weekend or next week) are a good lead into the season proper.''
Coles has appreciated the support of dedicated Spirit servant AJ Varkevisser and his wife Malindi, who have been busy behind the scenes securing sponsors and setting up the club's 2020 campaign.
Coles is also pleased to see Spirit's coaching roster strengthened in talent and expertise this season.
Assistants Mario Malvsevic and Reginald Yaqub from the Brisbane Knights are on board.
Another key appointment is long-serving regional coach Nev O'Sullivan, who will guide Spirit's Reserve Grade team after a stint with Annerley. He brings considerable experience to the Goodna-based side.
Loyal clubman Chris Morrell will be goalkeeper coach with Carl Lovell (gear) and Tom Docherty (sports trainer) also having important roles.
Spirit training is on Tuesday and Thursday nights.