Kiama Football Club begin their 2017 Illawarra District League season away to Fernhill Foxes on March 25.
Kiama first grade coach James Spence embarks on his third season in the top job, supported by assistant Curtis Campbell and Spence’s father, club legend Neil.
The 31-year-old Spence is focused on Kiama become tighter defensively.
“We have a young side and we’ll be competitive.
“We won’t have an issue scoring goals but we must ensure we don’t concede multiple goals every match.”
Kiama finished the 2016 season in sixth place, missing out on a finals spot through goal difference.
Kiama suffered a blow in pre-season when captain and inspirational midfielder Dean Land injured his anterior cruciate ligament and was ruled out for six months.
In his absence, 29-year-old striker Chris Christodoulou will don the skipper’s armband.
Christodoulou, embarking on his third consecutive full season with the Quarriers, is buoyant ahead of the new campaign.
Kiama are winless in three Fraternity Cup matches so far, but Christodoulou has been encouraged by Kiama’s performances.
“Although results have not gone our way in pre-season, we have looked very promising,” he said.
“Our new signings have been a great boost for the team. Our goal for the season is to go one better than last season and qualify for the finals.”
Kiama will rely on the quality and experience of returning players such as defenders Daniel Gillespie and Adam Hinkley, goal-keeper Dylan McDonald, last season’s top-scorer Keegan Beringer, and midfielder Jacob Lester.
Kiama have strengthened by signing Joshua Swinton, who missed last season due to injury, Cameron Barrett from Port Kembla, Michael Hampton from Wollongong Olympic, Brenton Burke from Oak Flats and former player Ben Hardcastle.
Swinton last played for Kiama in 2012, when he was voted the club’s player of the season, alongside brother Daniel. Jason Perinich returns to take the reins of the youth grade side, while Chris Gardner, back in Kiama after living in the UK, is the reserve grade player/coach.