Jacks look to fire up against the Gulls

Jacks look to fire up against the Gulls

Posted on March 18, 2016 in 'News'

ECU Joondalup open their 2016 PS4 National Premier League WA campaign on Saturday with a local derby against Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve (3.00pm) The two teams met in the recent QBE Night Series, with the Gulls winning 3-2, and the Jacks will be looking to change that this weekend and get their league season off to a good start.

Head Coach Dale McCulloch said the lads have trained well this week, despite the fires in and around the ECU campus. “The flames got close, we thought Miles O’Neill had left the coffee maker on,” McCulloch joked. “Things were good when we arrived on Tuesday for training and the fireman had done a good job in hot and windy conditions. “The lads have put in two good sessions this week and we have worked hard to prepare for a tough local derby.”

McCulloch has played in many games against the Gulls and knows what it means to the players and supporters. “Any local derbies around the world are hard fought, and I’m expecting nothing less on Saturday,” he said. “We have worked hard on our game plan, and David (Tough) and Steven (McGarry) and I believe we have a good squad and are looking to start the season off with a win.”

ECU will be missing striker Gordon Smith who is suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the Night Series, which was very disappointing for McCulloch. “We heard this week that Gordy is suspended, and it doesn’t sit well with me. To train so hard in the re-season and to miss the opening league game for getting two bookings in a pre-season tournament is frustrating for hi and the club,” he said. “But it’s not just us who are unhappy there are 16 other players who will be missing the season opener for their clubs too. But we have to get on with it, but this needs to be looked at in future seasons.”

Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell knows any local derby games are hard fought, and he is expecting the same on Saturday. “A derby game first up is always interesting,” he said. “They (ECU) have recruited well and have improved in a number of areas but we were able to get over the top of them in the night series. With three points up for grabs though, I am expecting the usual fire and aggression to come to the fore.” In team news Jordan Brown is suspended for the home side, and Scott Bulloch is out injured.