While they’re coming off a 5-0 win due to forfeit over Seaforth last start, incumbent first graders at St Augustine’s will be feeling the pinch from the club’s third-placed reserve grade team ahead of the match against Pittwater at Graham’s Reserve.
And they should probably take note given that’s the opinion of none other than Saints first grade coach, Sam Panetta.
“The whole squad has been working hard and I have been particularly impressed with some of the boys who have been doing well in our 1pm games. Connor Hickman, Aron Della, Cian Poirier and Tom Cryan, in particular, are close and putting pressure on to win a first grade spot,” Panetta said.
Saints go into Saturday’s 6th-v-7th clash at Graham’s in a decent position injury-wise with only Sam Byrne and Kiwa Berry unavailable. “It means competition for spots is pretty strong,” according to Panetta.
Prior to the Seaforth win, Saints have been disappointed with a 3-2 loss to Brookvale at home and 3-0 loss away to CC Strikers. Panetta said that players need to be switched on from the get-go.
“The boys know they need to start games with a stronger desire to win the ball back quickly and to play back to the front with quicker passing and movement. Pittwater are a great team with dangers all over the park. They were arguably the best team last season.
“However the boys are ready and looking forward to the challenge and are looking to prove that Saints away is one of the hardest games in the league.”
Panetta did have some encouragement for his incumbents.
“In our last game versus Brookvale, Domenic Marrocco, Jos Gwozdecky and Simon Dupond were outstanding. They will need to be at that level again versus Pitts,” Panetta said.
Kick-off is at 3pm at Grahams Reserve. In other games Collaroy Cromer Strikers take on Harbord at St Matthews Farm, Seaforth travel to Narrabeen, Manly Vale host Brookvale at David Thomas while Belrose-Terrey Hills Raiders take on Curl Curl at Wyatt Reserve
By Matt Cleary