Wagga City Wanderers are on the board for the new season, bringing up their first win in impressive fashion courtesy of a 4-2 victory over Weston Molonglo.
The Wanderers made their second consecutive trip to Canberra to kick off the CPL season but were this time successful, enjoying a 4-2 win at Hawker Football Centre on Saturday.
Weston Molonglo were first to hit the scoreboard, going 1-0 up against the run of play, before Nashwan Sulaiman levelled the scores to go into half-time at 1-1.
The Wanderers turned it on after the break, scoring firstly through Jake Ploenges, then Jacob Ochieng bagged a brace as the visitors produced one of their best performances of the past 12 months.
Wanderers coach Dave Leonard labelled it one of the best efforts in his time at the club.
"It's just good for the boys. They've been working hard, it's nice to get a little bit of reward," Leonard said.
"They were pretty determined (on Saturday). I haven't seen them play footy like that for a little while, even when we played Yoogali in that last game (last year) and we beat them, I still don't think we played as well as we did (on Saturday).
"The score could have been bigger but it was good to see them play the way I know they can play."
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New recruit Morris Kadzola lit it up and inspired the Wanderers' performance. Leonard said he was the difference.
"Definitely having Morris play at 10. He just brings people into the game. You've got no choice. He directs traffic so well," he said.
"He was the best player on the park. Just the way he brings players into the game, they can't rest on their laurels, he expects high work rate and they know that."
Leonard believes an early win like Saturdays will give his young team plenty of confidence.
"I think it just gives them belief, to be able to play to their potential, especially against quality teams," he said.
"In their minds, they just know when they're playing their best, they're going to be somewhere thereabouts, which is really important for us.
"The culture of the club has always been super solid, which I've always loved about it, and it's just got better and better. The way the boys get around each other, if we lose every player feels that, which is what you want, but they all hooked in (on Saturday) and it wasn't going to be anything else but points. We discussed that, it can't be anything else but.
"We went down 1-0 against the run of play and I thought, gee, I hope it's not one of those days and it wasn't to be."
Fellow new recruit Jayden Kinces also impressed with a strong game in defence, with Leonard labelling his overlapping ability, class and transition in defence as 'outstanding'.
The entire defensive unit impressed, while Ochieng and Ploenges also enjoyed big games in attack.
Leonard believes the best is still in front of the Wanderers as they adjust to a new style of play this year.
"We're playing a different system again, we're playing 4-3-2-1 and that takes a bit of time, it does, sometimes it can take a whole season to grasp it," he said.
"Even for us, we're nowhere near where we want to be but it's a work in progress. To be where they are right now is really pleasing from a coaching perspective."
The Wanderers will enjoy Easter off before travelling again, this time to Griffith, to take on Yoogali on April 24.
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