Leeton United FC have made it no secret that want to win the 2020 Pascoe Cup.
United were busy in the off season with recruitment before making the prized acquisition of brothers, Fred and Henri Gardner; and both players will be on show when Leeton visit the Eagles at The Bull Paddock on Sunday.
The ex-Wanderers are goal-scoring fiends, who made a name for themselves with the Wagga representative side after leading Lake Albert to Pascoe Cup glory.
Fred Gardner has been especially effective to start the 2020 season, scoring four goals from three games, and leading Leeton to two wins from their first three matches.
Leeton coach, Frank Alampi said that Fred and Henri had fitted straight into his squad and were buying into the team ethos.
“They have fitted in quite well; they are very passionate and there is no doubt about that, but they wanted to come here because they liked the way we played football,” Alampi said.
It wasn’t either of the Gardner brothers that Alampi believed the Eagles should be concerned by though, instead naming two other finishers that have been in fine form, including a striker who has also scored four goals in three first grade games from the bench this season.
“Adam Raso played the first two games of the season in reserve grade because he didn’t do a preseason but he has started the season really well and scored four goals in first grade after coming off the bench,” Alampi said.
“Conor Edenden is another one going well, he has scored three from midfield, which is a massive effort.”
Alampi said he was happy to have the focus on the Gardner brothers though, which he believes will end up being opposition team’s downfall.
Adam and Fred have scored a bulk of the goals but really, Fred and Henri have added a point of difference to our attack and the beauty about them coming in, is that defences can’t just worry about those two guys because we have other strikers,” Alampi said.
Despite boasting one of the most potent attacks in Football Wagga Wagga history, Alampi said his side was playing far from their best on a consistent basis.
“We are going okay, we have a lot of things to improve on after a disrupted preseason, but we are getting there,” Alampi said.
“We got well beaten in one of them and won the other two easily, so there is improvement.”
Alampi was wary of visiting Tumut on Sunday, after the side’s drew two-all last year in a tense and physical encounter.
“It’s supremely important we win; every game is just as important as the next. Last year we drew with Tumut 2-all and it was one of the factors why we didn’t get a double chance in finals,” Alampi said.
“I trust in our boys and the team we select for the weekend and if they play to their for potential, we will come away with the win.”
Despite the task ahead, Eagles coach Dylan Piper-Bye wasn’t too concerned by the Gardner brothers, or any Leeton striker, and had full confidence in his back four.
“We just need to shut them down on offence and hopefully take our opportunities,” Piper-Bye said.
“Yeah they are in pretty hot form, but I think we have the backs to handle them and we will rely on the defenders to get the job done.”
Piper-Bye said a win was important for Tumut, who lost their first two matches against Lake Albert and Young before a bye last weekend.
“We need to win. We just need to hold the ball. If they don’t have the ball they can’t score and I think if we win, we will have a chance at top four, which was our main goal this season,” Piper-Bye said.
In other Pascoe Cup matches, Tolland and Henwood Park will come together in a top of the table clash.
The Wolves, who have the likes of Tumut players Mitch and Myles Henman, have maximum points from three rounds, while the Hawks on the other hand, have won twice and have one draw from three fixtures.
It is safe to say the winner of their match will have one foot in the door of a top five position and a chance to compete for the Pascoe Cup.
In a tricky match, premiers Hanwood FC will take on Young, who were surprising 5-nil losers to Leeton United FC last week
Finally, the all-Wagga derby will see Wagga United host Lake Albert and both sides will be desperate for a win, with the loser leaving themselves in a tough position to qualify for the Pascoe Cup.
Reggies chasing second straight victory
Both Tumut’s Gardiner Shield and Blake Trophy sides will be chasing back-to-back wins when they take on Leeton at The Bull Paddock on Sunday.
The second-grade side, who won comfortably 6-1 over Cootamundra last week, face the top of the table United this week; a side that has score nine goals in three matches.
In third grade, Tumut put in a dogged effort to beat Temora 2-1 when down one man for a majority of the match, but again have a tougher task in the form of Leeton.
Coach, Mark Evers said there was no easy game this season and admitted Leeton would be strong and tough to beat.
“They are a pretty handy side but there aren’t any easy games this year,” Evers laughed.
Without trying to sound like a broken record, Evers said ball control and smart football would be Tumut’s best chance of defeating United at home.
“We just to need continue to build on that good result and work on holding the ball and knocking it around,” Evers said.
“That served us well us last week and we finished strong and hopefully we can hold that mentality of holding possession into this week.”
The Eagles will be without regular Mick Gray, who is serving a week’s suspension after his two yellow cards last weekend against the Redbacks.
“Mick got two yellows and that is automatically one week. It shouldn’t impact us any more than the loss of any of the senior players,” Evers said.
“Third grade is used to variable availability, so we will just take it in our stride.”
Tumut Eagles supporters will be privileged to a full day of football on Sunday, with the Blake Trophy fixture kicking things off at 10am before the Gardiner Shield and Pascoe cup fixtures.
Blake Trophy kick-off: 10am
Gardner Shield Kick-off: 12.30pm
Pascoe Cup Kick off: 3pm