PORT United will take a mixture of youth, maturity and a few new faces with them to this weekend’s Nambucca Challenge Cup.
In the last couple of years, United has performed well and this year they also have a new coach trying to make his mark.
Nathan Wade has been involved in the Green Bloods setup for many years and now he has the opportunity to put his own spin on the team after taking over from Chris Walsh.
Wade is hopeful experienced duo Brett Ervine and Adam Broderick will provide some on-field leadership not only at this weekend’s event, but throughout 2017.
“They’re normally the regulars, are our more mature guys and have been there for a few years and know how to lead by example,” he said.
Whether the event goes ahead remains to be seen with Nambucca Heads receiving more than 150 millimetres of rain throughout the week.
If they get on, Wade said there were no expectations on the team, but he did want them to be strong defensively.
The main thing I want to instil into them is a bit of belief that they can win any game.Nathan Wade
A positive mindset was integral to a successful result.
“The main thing I want to instil into them is a bit of belief that they can win any game,” Wade said.
“Obviously you’re not going to win every game, but if you go into a game thinking you can win you’ve won half the battle.”
Wade didn’t want to give too much away, but said his side would be flexible in their formations.
“We’ll focus on counter-attacking football, but will have a few other systems we can change to if we need to,” he said.
“We’ll probably start with a 4-3-3 and then change to a couple of others during the season.”
Matt Bale has impressed the coach with his performance at pre-season training.
We want to be able to go into the final 20 minutes where we’re still full of running.Nathan Wade
“He’s a striker who looks the goods after a few training sessions, but we’ll see how he goes,” Wade said.
“It’s a bit early to make any sort of call on him, but he looks as though he will be quite handy for us up front.”
The coach also wants his side to be able to run games out better than they did in 2016.
“Fitness is a main thing for me and hopefully we will be a bit fitter than last season,” he said.
“We want to be able to go into the final 20 minutes where we’re still full of running.”
United play their first game against Coffs United, which is followed by a clash with Kempsey Saints and then they wrap up Saturday’s action with a match against West Pymble.
“The quarter-finals are unknown for Sunday until after the completion of Saturday.”