WAGGA City Wanderers mentor Dave Leonard has been coaching for 37 years, but never has he been forced to adjust philosophies on the run more than this season.
After the Wanderers lost their first five National Premier League Two games in his first year in charge, Leonard knew tactics had to be changed and the squad's willingness to buy in resulted in back-to-back wins.
They will look to back up a solid 3-1 road trip loss against second-placed O'Connor Knights in their last outing when they host ladder leaders ANU at Gissing Oval on Saturday.
"I've coached since I'm 16 and I'm now 53. I've never had to change so many philosophies in how I think we should be playing in my entire coaching career," Leonard said.
"Adapting to the changes is a credit to them because it's an almost completely new squad. I'm extremely proud of the group and now for us we need to keep applying pressure to ourselves.
"Our attitude needs to be rock solid, we've played every team once now so we can change our tactics to who we're playing, because they all play differently.
"Basically after the fourth game (we knew we had to change things up). How we play defensively, like where our screening back who plays in between the midfield and defence is positioned, and playing two 'tens' instead of two defensive midfielders."
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Now they've lifted themselves off the bottom of the ladder the Wanderers plan to throw the kitchen sink at ANU to see how they stack up against the competition pacesetters.
"Everything's always more upbeat when you're winning. Despite going through those tough times they're such an upbeat group, so the culture of the club is on the right path," Leonard said.
"It helps you through those periods, we've changed philosophy so many times this year and they've had to adapt. The buzz around is really good, we're keen to play this week and it's about consistency now for us.
"We're starting to finetune how we play and it's starting to work for us. We'll look to put a bit of pressure on ANU, it's a huge challenge but will give us a true indication of where we are."
"We performed really well against O'Connor, which was really pleasing. It's not the result we needed but being honest with ourselves the boys came off and thought they tested their squad."
Meanwhile the Wanderers women are presented with a big opportunity to secure a second win of the season when they host Tuggeranong United at Gissing Oval on Sunday.
The Wanderers accounted for winless Tuggeranong 5-1 in their previous meeting this year.
Saturday's men's first grade match gets underway at 2.15pm, with Sunday's women's clash kicking off at 2.30pm.
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