Lions want to share soccer skills with Harden players

Young Lions coach Mark Mellish is inviting Harden's soccer players to join their pre-season training in January.

Young Lions coach Mark Mellish is inviting Harden's soccer players to join their pre-season training in January.

The Young Lions is inviting Harden’s soccer players to join pre-season training.

Young Lions senior mens coach Mark Mellish said it was about helping to boost the game in the district.

He said it wasn’t about pinching Harden’s junior soccer players or replacing the junior club, but providing an avenue for players to improve.

“We’ve had players who previously came from Harden as part of their career,” Mellish said.

Mellish said the Lions had also hosted players from Grenfell and Cowra and had players on its roster from Temora.

He said there was plenty of flexibility for players, whether they wanted to travel twice a week to training or for players who simply wanted social games.

While training is available, there’s no requirement for people to play for the Lions when the Football Wagga season begins this year.

“I want to ensure there’s development for 15 to 18-year-olds or people who have moved to Harden and want an outlet for soccer,” he said.

“If there’s players who want to test themselves on a Sunday, there’s this opportunity and that can flow back to Harden’s junior club.

“If there’s enough players for a senior side, we’d like to help promote that.

“We would much prefer people to play soccer than to be lost to other sports or not play at all.”

Mellish was previously the head coach for the Lions between 2010 and 2015 and has returned to the job for 2018.

“When I left the average age was about 25, and this time when you look at the 20 or so players I’ve spoken to so far, the average age is probably pushing right back into the teens,” he said.

Mellish said he will be looking to guide the Lions into finals contention but was not looking for any quick fixes.

“Coaching the Lions will be about looking at the bigger picture,” he said.

“That will basically involve setting a system that we will be able to use over time.

“We have an exciting young list so it's about getting them into a structure that we can go a long way into the competition with, but my primary goal will be to get them playing well as a team and perhaps playing finals in 2019.”

The Lions pre-season training starts on January 8 at Hall Brothers Oval in Young from 6pm to 7.30pm.

Contact Mark Mellish on 0412 495 397 for more information.

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