Carl Pideski has been in and around soccer for long enough to know an opportunity when he sees one.
The veteran midfielder says while the Wagga City Wanderers have had a harsh initiation into the State League Two competition, the opportunity can’t be knocked.
“It’s something to get on board with and to even help some young players come through,” said Pideski. “When I was 16 or 17 I never had that opportunity to play at state league level. For players who want to go further with their soccer it’s a great pathway and for the development of youth, it’s brilliant.”
Unfortunately, work commitments have limited Pideski’s availability for the Wanderers and he is no certainty to play on Saturday against Hurstville City Minotaurs.
But his experience has been invaluable and the 32-year old wants to see his young teammates make the most of the State League experience.
“Just at training and during the games, I try to encourage these players to back their ability. Don’t be overawed by the experience,” Pideski said.
“It’s a steep learning curve but take something out of every game and progress.”
Pideski thinks the Wanderers also need to grasp their chances on the field.
“We do need to work on just being sharper in finishing off the opportunities. What seems to happen is we have a few opportunities early and if we don’t take them, these teams get a couple of chances in the second half and they take them… It comes back to bite us. We’ve just got to be more clinical.”
It’s as much about toughening up mentally as stepping up physically.
“The young players have the skill, but the mentality just needs to be a bit stronger. That comes with experience, they wouldn’t have been used to that level of competition,” Pideski said.
The losses to Western Condors (9-0) and Dunbar Rovers (6-1) in particular haven’t looked pretty. But there has been plenty to like about some of what the Wanderers have produced.
“I’ve been very impressed with the way that we move the ball around,” Pideski said.
“Particularly in the first half – we start well and put most teams under pressure. Our last two games in Wagga, we played against some really good opposition… and we’ve given them a run for their money. The last 15-20 minutes, they ran over the top of us. But they knew at the end of the game that they’d had to work for the points.”
Pideski believes the Wanderers are due for a win.
Coach Blaise Fagan said training has been positive and, even in the disappointment of a drubbing, there were signs of promise.
“We were down 7-nil on Sunday and just in front of the coach’s box, four of our guys just kept going bang, bang, bang, bang … about nine passes in a really tight area,” said Fagan.
“We just kept possession of the ball and actually made the other side look a bit foolish. It was great to watch and just for that moment I thought, there’s something here… there’s a little component here that we need to hang onto.
“We were unlucky not to get a shot on goal. If we’d have scored I would’ve been absolutely over the moon because that’s what we want to do. We want to have effective possession and we want to be known as the team that plays football.”
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