Armidale after cup hat-trick

FOOTBALL

ARMIDALE will find itself in something of a unique position in this weekend’s Acropolis Cup – chasing back-to-back titles three decades apart.

The pre-season tournament is being relaunched in Tamworth after the cup and competition disappeared in 1986.

Armidale had won it that year and so are in essence the defending 

champions.

They also won the year before that.

The shined-up silverware will be contested  between Armidale, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Kamilaroi and the Tablelands at the Gipps St fields today and tomorrow, and will be a good preview to the Northern Inland Premier League, which kicks off next weekend.

The Armidale side is predominantly made up of players from North Armidale United.

Probably 98 per cent of the side is Redmen with a couple of DK players to round it out.

“It’s a pretty well-balanced outfit,” coach Chet Davies said.

“There’s plenty of strike power up front and a handy back four for defending with a good six, eight and 10 in the middle to direct the traffic around.”

He said they’re looking forward to the challenge. “We’re looking forward to it. “It’s great to see it (Acropolis Cup) up and running again,” he said.

It will be a great hit-out for the NIPL with sides each playing four games.

The Redman have had four trials already including one against DK and have “gone very well”.

“We’re standing in pretty good stead for the season,” Davies said.

He also co-coaches the Redmen with Andy Lennon and said they were looking pretty sharp, both for the season, and this weekend.

“I’m pretty happy with the inclusion of the DK boys.

“They’ll be a tremendous asset.”

Josh Quaife will play a central striker role and Geoff Donovan the number eight.

The side is a mix of youth and experience. At least five of the side could play for the U19 side on the weekend, but are stepping up to first grade.

He said he’ll be looking to the likes of Tyler Cook, Brendan Pincham and Willow Grieves to lead the young boys such as Brody Davies, James Frost and Ben See around.

They will be the third game on today and tackle Gunnedah in their first game.

It will be Gunnedah’s second after taking on Tamworth in the opening game. 

The home side will be hard to beat with a side  predominantly coming from Tamworth FC and OVA - last years grand finalists.

Kamilaroi will be made up of players from Wee Waa, Narrabri and Moree.

Each are supplying around five.

Luke Stawksi is playing with and looking after them, but isn’t entirely sure what to expect.

They haven’t had any chance to train together, at least not with the Moree boys with Narrabri and Wee Waa playing as a joint venture this season.

“Obviously we’re not expecting too much results wise,” he said.

“(But) Hopefully we should improve over the four games.”

He said it will be “good to get a few minutes into the legs” and good from a Wee Waa/Narrabri perspective to try out and work on a few combinations.

The first game is at noon.

Tamworth and Armidale will also clash in womens and U19s tomorrow.

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