WAGGA City Wanderers will go into the CPL season with confidence on the back of a string of pre-season trial wins.
The Wanderers will now ease off in preparation for the season start on April 2 after their latest trial win over Pascoe Cup reigning champions Leeton United.
The Wanderers again highlighted the difference between them and the Pascoe Cup with a 5-0 win over the 2020 champions.
While recognising it is only pre-season form, Wanderers coach Dave Leonard is thrilled with how his team is coming together for the start of the year.
"Absolutely. I thought the Hanwood game was really going to be a test. They're a powerhouse. The same as Leeton, and to beat them 3-1 and then 5-0, I'm really stoked," Leonard said.
"Years gone by, they're the games where we've not played well and get beat. There is games where we've played well and still got beat. It's just really nice for the guys to not play well, against Albury, and still come away with a 3-1 win against a really quality team."
After a tough season last year, Leonard also likes how the Wanderers have developed an early habit of winning games.
"It doesn't hurt, does it? It's got to do the boys good, it's got to be a good thing for them," he said.
"I think now we'll have a rest for a couple of weeks and maybe have one last trial with West Canberra Wanderers."
Leonard explained that a lot of work over the pre-season had been done on a style of play that will stand up against their Canberra opposition.
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He believes it is starting to come through in their play.
"I'm stoked. We've really been working hard at training. Just the really early bounce ball, because we've still got some guys in the team that skill-wise, they're really good on the ball but you just don't have that time, the guys know that, you don't have time in CPL2," he said.
"We've been drilling it into them at training, just that early bounce ball and Liam (Dedini) said they were on song (on Saturday).
"Some of the boys have been frustrated that we've been training that, and some of the other guys are still finding it hard a little bit to let go when they should be playing the simple ball. They've had a chat to each other and said hey, this is what we're doing, this is how we should be doing it and let's get it done. It's really pleasing to hear that."
Leonard said the Wanderers will ease off now, but still play an intra-club match and potentially one more trial against West Canberra Wanderers before the start of the season.
"We've had a few little niggling injuries, we've had three back-to-back trial matches. Some of the boys didn't play on the weekend due to niggling injuries so now it's a really good opportunity to rest up a little bit," he said.
Leonard also sees positives in the CPL season start being pushed back two weeks until April 2.
"In turn, it's not a bad thing to be honest because we've got a couple of boys coming off a few niggling injuries," he said.
The Wanderers under 23s also had a 1-1 draw with Lake Albert on Saturday.pre
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