Young Roar coach John Sime says his team is making the most of the difficult scheduling that has disrupted the start of their 2015 PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland campaign.
After the end of this weekend, the Roar Youth side will have played five matches in the opening nine rounds of the NPL Queensland competition with their next match not until Saturday, 16 May.
A combination of the end of the Foxtel National Youth League season, rained out fixtures and an unplayable pitch at Moreton Bay United have contributed to the interrupted start of the competition for the Roar.
The postponement of the Sait Nagjee Amarsee Memorial International Club Football Tournament in India, which the Young Roar was meant to participate in this month, has also hampered the schedule including this weekend’s previously scheduled match against Northern Fury FC in Townsville.
However, Sime said he couldn’t fault the commitment of his players despite the fact they haven’t played a competitive fixture since a 4-2 win over FNQ Heat three weeks ago.
“It’s been a bit of challenge for the players but the commitment over the last few weeks without a game has been second to none and their concentration levels have been excellent,” he said.
“It’s been difficult for the staff too, we’ve been working hard to continue the combinations we’ve developed throughout the NYL season.
“But we’ve got a lot of games to look forward to and we can’t wait to play.”
The Young Roar coaching staff has compensated for the lack of regular games by organising a match with the club’s NPL Queensland Under 18s team during the week at Anglican Church Grammar School.
Sime and Under 18s coach Josh McCloughan mixed their teams to play in three 20-minute periods. The match finished 1-1 with Abrahim Yango and Samuel Sibatuara the goal scorers.
“It proved that you can train for a long time but if you don’t play games, your sharpness is off,” Sime said.
“It was enjoyable, Josh got some something out of it and we certainly did as well.”
Sime also said the players who made their Hyundai A-League debuts towards the end of the season had returned to Young Roar duty with renewed energy, which has helped add to the professionalism within the young playing group.
“I think it was an excellent effort from the boys like Abrahim, Luke (Pavlou) and LJ (Lachlan Jackson) who got a bit of game time in the last couple of games in the A-League,” he said.
“There probably could have been one or two more that deserved the opportunity. It was a big learning curve for them, I just said to them ‘don’t miss the moment’.
“It’s a long way before any of them are consistently full time A-League players but now they’ve gotten a taste.
“Jeff Hopkins made them extremely at ease and so did Rado (Vidosic) and Frans (Thijssen) – the A-League coaching team were superb in the way that they handled it.”
Young Roar players Jordan Lampard, Jesse Daley and Benjamin Lyvidikos are currently in New Zealand with the Young Socceroos and will return to Brisbane next Thursday.
The Australian Under 20s beat New Zealand 3-2 in the opening match of the Five Nations tournament and then lost 4-1 to Qatar on Thursday. Their next match is today against Panama before their final game against Ghana on Wednesday.
The Young Roar, who finished second on goal difference in this year’s Foxtel National Youth League, will return to NPL Queensland competitive action next Saturday, 16 May against Sunshine Coast FC at Perry Park (3.30pm kick-off).