Hamilton Wanderers’ begin life in the Stirling Sports Premiership at home to Southern United. Already tested by the likes of Hawkes Bay United and Eastern Suburbs in two pre-season wins, the Blues now face the first competitive action against a side that has also been active in player acquisitions.
From a Wanderers’ standpoint, fans have reasons to be hopeful that their side can push for a play-off spot, acquiring several of the Birkenhead Chatham Cup winners in the off-season whilst also bringing in the experience of Aaron Scott to complete an all rounded squad.
Whilst many will be catching several of these players in action for the first time this weekend, Wanderers fans throughout the LottoNRFL Premier League, will also recognize familiar faces in Mark Jones and Alexis Varela.
Southern United themselves have jumped across the world in bringing in players, coach Paul O’Reily brought in five Irish imports with Wanderers needing to be wary of each of them, especially Eric Molloy in particular, who scored two in a preseason victory over newcomers Tasman United.
One major strengthening in the Wanderers squad has been upfront, for most the winter season the task of scoring was laid upon the sole shoulders of Jama Boss, with the likes of Marc Evans and Judd Baker now also being introduced into the squad, Boss may find more freedom as he looks to recreate his early goal scoring form.
Another interesting battle to watch will be who holds the starting post in between the sticks, Damian Hirst had a great season at Birkenhead and looks to be number one for now, but Matt Oliver also had moments of his own, most notably the performance against Tauranga City to prevent the team from being relegated.
Questions that need answers in terms of how far Wanderers can go this season, and whilst it may be too early for those answers this Saturday, the day will definitely hold a spot in the club’s history with their first ever Stirling Sports Premiership game.