Look out Wagga, the next generation of Wanderers are taking over.
The city’s brightest young footballing prospects were on full display over the weekend with 10 junior Wanderers Academy sides strutting their stuff at the 2018 Kanga Cup in Canberra.
Last year’s tournament was a resounding success for Wagga’s under 14 girls team, who produced a strong campaign and were the only Wanderers side to take out the Kanga Plate in 2017.
With the majority of players retained for this year’s title defence, the under 14 girls were out to make it two in a row and they didn’t disappoint, topping their pool and crushing semi final opponents Balmain 10-0 to set up a grand final showdown with the Brindabella Blues.
Having toppled the Blues 2-0 in the group stage, Wagga laid down early pressure and were rewarded with a long-range goal to Hannah Stevens in the 10th minute.
Brindabella nearly hit back when awarded a penalty but gave the Wanderers a life with a miss from the spot.
The wayward shot proved costly for the Blues as Wagga held out for a 1-0 victory, claiming their second Kanga Plate in as many years.
Amazingly, the under 14 girls weren’t the only Wanderers side to take home silverware this year with the under 9 boys, under 12 girls and under 13 boys also winning their Plate divisions.
The under 9 boys overcame a few early wobbles to scrap their way into a grand final date with Balmain.
Despite having lost to Balmain during the group stage, Wagga got off to a flyer with Will Smith scoring an early goal before Hamish Inglis doubled to lead just after halftime.
Max Crawford was immense in goals and kept Balmain at bay for almost the entire game as the Wanderers held out for a 2-1 win.
In the under 12 girls grand final, Amelia Walker stole the show with a late strike against Logarzo to seal the 1-0 win while a Zac Steele double saw the under 13 boys overcome an early setback to take out their division.
Steele kicked two goals to turn the tide after Wagga conceded first blood against Glenmore Park FC before Matthew Mitchell slotted a beauty to hand the Wanderers a 3-1 lead that held until the final whistle.
Football Wagga development officer Liam Dedini said it was terrific effort from all Wagga teams.
“Wagga City Wanderers was the largest represented club and had a fantastic week of results,” he said.
In further honours, Will Smith and Thomas Yongai were named Player of the Series in the under 9 boys Plate and under 13 boys Plate respectively.