Werribee City is leaving a little bit of intrigue in place over its starting line-up for Saturday’s much-anticipated season opener against Geelong in National Premier League 2 west at Galvin Park.
The Bees have chopped and changed their personnel on a game-by-game basis over the pre-season as coach Sergio Sabbadini tries to find the right mix.
“If you watched us play in the pre-season, you wouldn’t know who is going to be playing,” Sabbadini said.
“That’s the same with all the teams – you go and watch them play in friendlies and they end up lining up differently.”
The Bees’ record in season-openers since Sabbadini arrived at the club has been dismal.
“The last three years since I’ve been there, we’ve lost our first game,” he said.
“It’s really important that we make a positive start this season.”
Werribee City has shown encouraging pre-season form.
Aside from a 1-0 loss to Hoppers Crossing in the Wyndham derby on Saturday, the new year has seen the Bees have record victories over top-flight side Hume City and state league outfit Yarraville Glory.
With the warm-up games over, Sabbadini can sense enthusiasm within the group to hit the ground running.
“We’re looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s been a pretty hard pre-season, so I think they’re ready to go.
“Friendlies are one thing, but once the season gets under way there’s nothing better.
“We’re quietly confident going in and can’t wait for Saturday.”
A focus of Werribee City in the off season has been to strengthen its defence.
The Bees had been leaking far too many goals for Sabbadini’s liking.
Up to five new defensive recruits – New Zealanders Dave Parkinson and Julyan Collett, Northern Territorian Shaun Hodor and local signings Daniel Petrov and Tyler James – could be vying for spots in the Bees’ starting
Striker Alec Goodwin, winger Lisandro Paz and attacking midfielder Liam Brian should make the Bees more potent.
Sabbadini is happy with the balance.
“We knew the areas we had to strengthen,” he said. “I think all the new signings have been really good.”
Brad Murray will take the captain’s armband for Werribee City.
The central midfielder’s vice-captain will be Jake Butler.
“Brad’s earned the right to be captain with the season he had last year,” Sabbadini said. “He’s got on-field leadership and off field he’s pretty vocal as well.
“Jake will support him really well. It’s a pretty good mix, I think.”
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