Early Cup start could catch players off-side


OXLEY Vale Attunga warmed up for a first round State Cup knockout clash on the mid-north coast this Sunday with a trial win against North Companions in Tamworth on Saturday.

The OVA Mushrooms won 2-1 after goals from Ben Genardini and Mitch Cone.

Will Kam scored on debut for North Companions after switching from Tamworth FC over summer.

OVA coach, Sam Higgins, was delighted with the trial performance as he prepares his side for a “surprise State Cup start”.

“When we signed up to play in the State Cup we didn’t realise it was such an early start,”  Higgins said.

“We only started official training last week. But the State Cup is something you always want to play in.”

The Mushies head off to Taree this weekend to play Wingham Warriors on Sunday afternoon.

“We don’t know much about them except they won the southern conference over there last season and earned promotion to their Premier League.”

On Saturday he was happy enough with the result but more interested in seeing how his players performed in their first trial of the season.

“We have a couple of good young kids stepping up,” he said of the likes of Rhett Graham and Matt Dunn.

OVA has lost Callan Elliott but retained most of its squad.

While OVA have no great changes North Companions have a new coach in Gavin Thompson as well as attracting a few other players from Gunnedah and in Tamworth.

Will Kam was the most notable. His goal showed NC officials he will be a marvellous acquisition for them.

Thompson was also impressed by what he saw on Saturday.

“It was a very good hit out for us,” Thompson said.

“It let us know where we are before the season starts.

“I was very happy with the way they played and passed the ball around. We’ve got a lot of young kids coming through too.

“Some were playing their first game of senior football today. And we are still missing four or five of our first grade players.”

He said the likes of David Ifield (14), Jake Thompson (15) and Harrison George (16) showed they are up to Northern Inland Premier League pressure.

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