SAMSON Lucas sent a warning to his more experienced teammates he'll be pressing for first grade minutes this season after his brace guided Wagga City Wanderers to a 2-1 FFA Cup win over Majura at Junee on Saturday.
Playing on the right wing, the 18-year-old found space before cutting back inside to score the opener midway through the first half, and doubled the Wanderers' advantage just before the break after forcing a turnover applying defensive pressure on a Majura defender.
The visitors from Canberra scored late in the match, but the Wanderers advanced to take on Brindabella in the next round of the knockout competition.
"It was probably a fair result, the guys played well in patches and we were pretty happy," Wanderers coach Dave Leonard said.
"It's about getting kilometres in the legs and the guys getting some combos going."
Leonard praised Lucas, who generally plays through the midfield in the under-18s, for taking his chance.
The Wanderers are taking a streamlined squad into their National Premier League Two premiership defence, meaning Lucas will see senior-level football at some point this season.
"He was outstanding. He's one of the head honchos in the 18s but has been training with us over pre-season and has really impressed us," Leonard said.
"At full strength maybe not (in our first choice team), but I tell you what he's going to put some pressure on the guys that's for sure.
"For a younger guy he's got all the skill attributes, but one thing which can differentiate players from others is he has a football brain.
"There's purpose in what he does, which is hard to find in young players. No doubt he'll be playing first grade at some stage, there's no doubt about that at all.
"It's a long season with 21 rounds and we're going in maybe slightly thin on numbers with 29, when generally you want about 32."
The Wanderers face a much greater challenge on March 27 when they travel to Canberra to take on defending NPL One champions Canberra Croatia.
The only injury concern for the Wanderers was a concussion to Shaun Moffat, who left the field at halftime.
"We've got a two week break until we play again, he'll train lightly away from the squad then get back into it," Leonard said.
"At the moment these games are about getting run in everyone's leg and forming those combinations."
"We'll be up against it against Canberra Croatia in a fortnight and we understand that."
In other FFA Cup matches played on Saturday Griffith outfit Yoogali proved far too strong for Gungahlin Juventus 6-0, while Weston Molonglo outclassed Woden Valley 6-1.
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