Strikers struggle early to find feet

DEVONPORT Strikers coach Chris McKenna has attributed a slow start as the reason for his side’s 2-1 loss to Olympia Warriors in Hobart on Saturday.

The Strikers were sluggish out of the blocks, conceding two first half goals to their Hobart counterparts, who were clearly the better team to that point in the match.

Devonport came out rejuvenated from the break after a half-time rev up from McKenna, with Brayden Mann scoring five minutes into the second half.

They pressed hard to find an equaliser before full-time, but the Warriors managed to hold on.

”It was a very disappointing loss,” said coach McKenna yesterday.

”We didn’t come to play in the first half, we stood off them too much, didn’t put enough pressure on the ball carrier and got punished for it.”

McKenna couldn’t quite put a finger on why his side got off to a slow start, but said the time allowed for the warm-up on the artificial turf was less than ideal after the game before ran longer than expected.

”There wasn’t enough time between the two games to get on the pitch and prepare properly,” he said.

”We weren’t familiar with the surface, we struggled to retain possession and it took us a while to get our passing game going.”

While McKenna was disappointed with the loss, he insisted there was a long way to go in the season.

”It’s early days . . . there’s plenty of time to recover,” he said.

”But we are under no illusions to how difficult it’s going to be this year.

”Every week will be a new challenge.”

The Strikers will play their second game in three days this afternoon in Hobart, when they take on the Tilford Zebras in the quarter-final stage of the Statewide Cup.

McKenna said he was confident his side could bounce back from Saturday’s loss but expected a tough hit-out against a driven Tilford outfit.

The Zebras are yet to win a game from their two starts this season after heading in to this year’s inaugural Victory League as one of the title favourites.

”They’ll be gutted,” McKenna said.

”I’m sure they’ll be keen to finally register a win and start to build some momentum.

”We’ll be doing everything we can to stop that.”

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