McCulloch reflects on the Night series and the Season ahead

McCulloch reflects on the Night series and the Season ahead

Posted on March 11, 2016 in 'News'

It’s been a tough week for ECU Joondalup coaching staff, with the 20 man squad having to be forwarded to Football West on Wednesday morning.

There were some robust conversations over the table as Dale McCulloch, David Tough and Steven McGarry had some difficult decisions to make, but they believe squad has the right mix. “We are very fortunate we have some talented younger players (under 20) at the club, and they can play up to eight games of the first 11, from off the list,” McCulloch said. “Yes we had to make some tough decisions but we think we have the right mix and we’re looking forward to the season.” (Photo McCulloch with Perth Glory and former ECU Joondalup defender Shane Lowry)

Although the night series didn’t go to plan McCulloch believes they are heading in the right direction. “We tried a few things in the pre-season competition, some worked and some didn’t, but that is what the competition is for,” he said. “At times we played some good football but defensively we struggled, but the lads have worked hard in training and we’re starting to see an improvement.

“Some of the younger player showed us they can play at this level and it gives us options going forward, while the new recruits have settled in well. I thought 16-year-old Stefan Vranesevic was outstanding against Stirling, and he was really unlucky not to play the next game. I’ve coached him as a junior and is a talented lad, but he is still leaning his trade and we will continue to monitor his development.”

McCulloch was delighted with the signings of Steve Walmsley and Harley Orr this week, and Andy Higgins has returned to the club, and he said they will give the squad some quality. “Yes really happy to sign the two lads for the season, and with Andy returning to the squad is looking stronger,” he said. “We’re waiting on the international clearance for Steve and Harley has looked sharp in training, they are both good kids and give us options in midfield and up front.”

The return of Tommy Amphlett late in the Night Series is also a plus, the clubs leading scorer last season looked impressive but is still not match fit. “Tommy showed in the Sorrento game what a good player he is and his partnership with Gordy (Gordon Smith) is exciting,” he said. “We will have to monitor his injury and his work load, but we know what you get from Tommy, he’s a game changer and we need that in the side as well, so it’s good to get him back on the park.”