Northies get into trial mode

North Companions Football Club will take to the pitch for the first time this season on Saturday when they hostValentine Football Club in a pre-season trialat Scully Park.

The Tamworth club jumped at the chance to host the Newcastle Premier League club’s first and reserve grade outfits when approached about the trial game late last year.

“Starting this season with a quality inter club fixture sets us up in such a positive way,”NCFC president Steve Mitchell.

“Especially when you consider that we were facing the prospect of being unable to field a Northern Inland Premier League squad this time last year.”

The indications are of the opposite problem this year for coach Dave Palmer and his selection team.

“Anywhere from 35 to 40 guys have been sweating it out at the Marius St Playing fields each week,” Palmer said.

“And the breadth of experience available to us isgoing to give us two really well rounded teams.”

The emergence of youngsters such as Scott Flanagan, Ben Foster and Isaac Woods along with the return of experienced midfielder Ben Todd and striker Ben Van Aanholt has increased the depth of the squaddramatically.

Young and explosiveplayers Jake Thompson and Zac Kam, both seasoned first graders, will provide the x-factor.

Valentine FC coach, Darren Sills said the opportunity to form a long term relationship is important to them and that he would like to see more players from the North West area test themselves in Newcastle.

He made particular mention of former North Companions start Will Kam, who played with Valentine FC last season and will line up again with them this season.

“He settled in really well and has made significant improvements to his game,” Sills said of Kam.

North Companions will also again take part in theannual FFA Cup, and have drawn South Armidale in their first game in early March.Saturday’s game will present a chance to work out a few things for that.

Reserve grade will kick-off at 2pm with the first grade fixture following at 4pm. Gates open at 1pm and entry is free.

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