ACT Premier League, round 2
Who: Monaro Panthers v Belconnen United
Where: McKellar Park, Belconnen
When: Saturday, 3pm
MONARO Panthers midfielder Daniel Colbertaldo says the rebuilding side isn’t far off hitting its straps this season. The Panthers will take on Canberra heavyweights Belconnen on Saturday in a match few will be tipping Monaro to win.
The Panthers have assembled an almost entirely new-look squad this year after the departures of a host of senior players.
The massive turnover in playing and coaching personnel has led to Monaro largely being written off as genuine contenders in 2012.
Colbertaldo however, disputes the idea that the Panthers won’t be competitive this season.
‘‘We’ve got a few games under our belt now and we’ve obviously been training as a group for a while now so I don’t think it’s going to take us that long to come together,’’ Colbertaldo said. ‘‘I think it’s more of a short term thing to be honest.
‘‘We’re starting to get to know each other’s game and things are coming along so within the next few weeks we should really start to gel.’’
The Panthers got their season underway with a 4-0 loss to reigning premier Canberra FC before the Easter break and looks set for a torrid opening month.
After meeting Belconnen a McKellar Park tomorrow, Monaro is set to take on Federation Cup semi-finalists Cooma and Canberra Olympic.
It’s a daunting run that will see the Panthers take on the four favourites for the Premier League title in consecutive weeks.
But with the side having taken plenty of positives out of its round one match-up against Canberra FC despite the final result, Colbertaldo said the club was happy to embrace its underdog status.
‘‘Given we didn’t have the best of seasons last year, I wouldn’t be too surprised if some of the other clubs are looking at us as one of the easier teams [to beat],’’ he said.
‘‘But we’re pretty happy [to fly under the radar] at the moment and hopefully we can catch a few teams off guard.’’