Hume City has had a jam-packed pre-season ahead of this year’s National Premier League season.
Hume has played eight pre-season matches in the past few months, including four games in seven days in recent weeks.
The last two of those games were on the Gold Coast as the side went on a pre-season trip for a third straight year.
Coach Nick Hegarty said that while it had been a tiring few weeks, seeing the side in action had been good.
“It was good to get the boys together and play some different opposition,” Hegarty said.
“Over pre-season, the aim is to get everybody fit and the best way of doing that is playing games, in my opinion.
“We had four games in seven days and it got everyone some minutes.”
Hume has had just one loss during the pre-season, losing to Gold Coast Knights. They most recently had a draw with St Albans Saints, 1-1.
Hegarty said he wasn’t too concerned, as the focus was more on the way the side had been playing.
“We’re seeing that natural progression as we go,” he said.
“We’ve going through different situations, like being in front and being behind and focusing on still playing the way we want to be playing. It helps to play in those situations now before they happen in the season.”
Hegarty, who has retired from playing and will be just coaching this year, said the club had kept about 60 per cent of the squad that played in the back end of last year.
Michael Weier, James Kapuranovski, Gidi Sweet, Hayden Tennant, Theo Markelis, Harry Monaghan, James Brown, Brad Blumenthal, Will Hendon, Ersin Kaya and Umut Bozdugan are among those who have returned.
Marko Delic, Steven Hewitt, Ben Bowler, Paul Wilson, Matthew Lazarides and Mitch Cooper have joined the club.
Hegarty said some of the new players were already having an impact.
“Mitch comes over from Green Gully and he has a fair bit of A-League experience,” he said.
“Steven is over from the UK – he used to play for Burnley. A young player from Adelaide, Paul Wilson looks like he will fit the mould of a talented NPL footballer.
“They’ve fitted in quite well.”
After an up-and-down season last year, when the team just missed playing off in a relegation match, Hegarty said everyone involved was hoping for a much smoother season.
He said the club as whole, juniors and seniors, was in the best place it had been for a long time.
“We’ve worked hard for the juniors to have the right facilities and the coaches,” he said. “And how they are being taught and being given opportunities to come through.
“We’re building the club, not just the team.”
Hume will kick off its season on February 16 away against Dandenong Thunder.
Hegarty said that like most teams, Hume City was aiming for finals.
“Anything less than that will be a failure,” he said.