Photos (Top to Bottom): Chris Hey, the Olympia warriors coach; Nektar Vavoulas, seen here on the left, in action against New Town Eagles' Alex Gordon, won't be available for the game against South Melbourne Hellas; Olympia's Adam Hedge (with the ball) is heading overseas until March; Goalkeeper Dmitri Nester saving a penalty...he has been training; Kosta Grillas has a long-term injury; The club room at Olympia's new ground and one penalty area; Looking down the length of the artificial pitch; A view of the flank next to the club room; Looking at one wing of the ground; One touch-line area; A corner quadrant and one flank of the ground; The touchline next to the club room [PlessPix]
Olympia Warriors are currently training three days a week - Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays - in preparation for the 2011 season and the forthcoming visit of South Melbourne Hellas.
“Pre-season training is reasonable,” said Olympia coach, Chris Hey.
“It’s a bit up and down in terms of attendances, at times, I suppose.
“We’re certainly ahead of where we were at this time last year.
Hey said many players in Hobart were looking around at this time of the year and training with a number of clubs and Olympia had had a few new faces.
“There’s a lot of players in Hobart looking around,” said Hey.
“I’ve generally focused on the senior squad and the younger guys who are our future.
“Our reserves and under-19s haven’t really started yet.
“We’ve had up to 25 or 28 players at training at one time, and we’ve had about 36 players all up for training, and that includes players from other clubs.
“At this time of the year, people are just looking around.
“If they come along, we’re happy for them to come along without any commitment or without signing anything.”
Olympia’s new artificial surface is not yet complete and so training has been conducted at Warrane Primary School.
“We were hoping our new ground would be ready for training in the New Year, but I don’t think it’ll be ready until about 20 January,” said Hey.
“I’ve never experienced playing on such an artificial surface.
“I’ve been told by players who have played on such surfaces that it is pretty hard on the legs, so I think, throughout the course of the year, we’ve got to be careful in regard to how much training we do on that pitch in comparison to on grass pitches.
“We’ll train on grass as well and the club is looking at developing the area on the other side of the pitch.
“I don’t want the players training on that surface every single training session given that every second week we’ll be playing on grass.
“It’s uncertain what the outcome over the long term will be, but we’ll be monitoring things closely.
“We’re going to have to do that because it’s something new to the State.
“We’re lucky that we’ve got a good physiotherapist with our club and it’s just something we’re going to have to monitor.”
Hey said he had learned things after the experience of last season.
“Last year was all about changing the culture at the club,” he said.
“Looking at training so far this year, and we’ve started a lot earlier, I think we’ve gone a long way to changing that culture.
“Overall, that leads to better fitness, better attitudes of players and, hopefully, better motivation as a group to move forward.
“Towards the end of last year, the players actually did believe that we could compete with others.
“I certainly get the feeling from the player group training at this particular time that we certainly can compete and that this is going to be a good year.
“I think the biggest issue with us may be depth, given injuries and such things.
“It’s hard to predict at this time of the year what you’re going to end up with for the first game of the season.”
Hey confirmed that goalkeeper Dmitri Nester, who had been expected to retire, was training, as was goalkeeper Justin Farrugia.
But, Adam Hedge and captain Hugh Richardson are heading overseas. Hedge would return in March, but Richardson will be away for 18 months.
Kosta Grillas and Fletcher Tracy have long-term injuries, while Nektar Vavoulas will be on the Gold Coast at the time of the game against South Melbourne Hellas in mid-January.
Hey is a little apprehensive about the South Melbourne game.
“There’s no such thing as a practice game,” he said.
“I’m a little uncertain at this stage as to how strong we’re going to be for the game as we do have a couple of long-term injuries with Kosta Grillas and Fletcher Tracy while Nektar Vavoulas will be on the Gold Coast.
“I’m a little concerned as to what the strength of our squad will be, but I think it’s important for us in January to focus on getting as many games in January as we possibly can, and it’ll be another game.
“We would like to give them a good show and try and encourage good soccer and I will be putting out as strong a team as I possibly can, given the resources I have at the time.
“I don’t believe we should be going into the game, given the efforts South Melbourne are making, without giving them a good show.”