Magpies defeated Lions 4-2 in the Mackay Premier League grand final last season. Picture: Aidan Cureton
Magpies defeated Lions 4-2 in the Mackay Premier League grand final last season. Picture: Aidan Cureton

SEASON PREVIEW: Young Lions ready to roar

“WE’VE got a young fella” – this is Lions coach Daniel Scotton’s answer to every positional question asked of his squad ahead of the Mackay Premier League season.

Last year’s runners-up already boasted one of the youngest rosters in the competition but now, with a handful more “wise heads” moving on, the average age has dropped once again.

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“I think we’ve dropped from 20 last year to 19 this year – but they’re a young gun team,” Scotton bragged.

The proud coach waxed lyrical over his talented young group, which he believes can do some damage this season – even against the quality of Magpies Crusaders.

“We’re ready to take them on. We’re super keen,” Scotton said.

“You play football to play in the tough games. We’d rather have a good battle than stroll to a six-nil win.

“This is a good chance for the young team to see where it’s at.”

Scotton tempered any early season expectations – happy to take a “wait and see” approach to the COVID-affected campaign.

But he has seen enough at training and in the dressing room in recent weeks to know his team is hungry to prove itself.

“The past week the shackles have come off, we got to finally play some football and it was great,” he said.

“I haven’t seen a more balanced, evenly-spread team in a while.

“Yes we’re a team of boys at the moment, but this is a good chance to grow up.”

Season previews:

Wanderers FC – Wanderers won’t die wondering

Rangers FC – Rangers ready for Friday night lights

ONES TO WATCH:

Liam Carey and Josh Holder (Wing/Midfield)

“Super fast with all the skills” is a pretty good plug for wide man Liam Carey. He and good mate Holder are expected to combine for plenty of goals in Scotton’s young side this season.

“They’ve played juniors together and have an understanding built through years of playing with each other. They’re ready to hit their straps,” he said.

Jacob ‘JPR’ Pace-Ruggeri (Midfield)

Scotton has his “midfield general” in the big and fast Pace-Ruggeri. The man affectionately know as ‘JPR’ “has a bit of everything”.

“He’ll dictate the pace of play and hopefully unlock some defences for us,” Scotton said.

“He sees the game in front of him and picks the right pass more often than not.”

James Carey and Adam Turner (Defenders)

James is the younger brother of Liam and alongside Turner, is expected to be a key component in the Lions defence this season.

“James is big, tall and fast while Adam is small and skilful,” Scotton said of the pairing.

“They’ll give us some variety back there.”

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Round 1 (July 11)

7pm – Wanderers v Lions at Wanderers F1

Round 2 (July 18)

7pm – Lions v Rangers at Lions F1

Round 3 (July 25-26)

7pm – Lions v Crusaders at Lions F1

Round 4 (August 1)

5pm – Whitsundays v Lions at Whitsundays

Round 5 (August 8)

BYE Lions

Round 6 (August 15)

7pm – Lions v City Brothers at Lions F1

Round 7 (August 22)

7pm – Lions v Magpies at Lions F1

Round 8 (August 29)

7pm – Lions v Wanderers at Lions F1

Round 9 (September 5)

7pm – Rangers v Lions at Rangers F1

Round 10 (September 12)

5pm – Crusaders v Lions at Magpies F2

Round 11 (September 19)

7pm – Lions v Whitsundays at Lions F1

Round 12 (September 26)

BYE Lions

Round 13 (October 3)

7pm – City Brothers v Lions at Brothers F1

Round 14 (October 10)

7pm – Magpies v Lions at Magpies F2


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