The 2017 Capital Football Charity Shield will kick off the Capital Football season on Friday, with Canberra Olympic and Tuggeranong United battling for the first silverware of the season.
All proceeds from the match will go to Ronald McDonald House Canberra, benefiting the local community and the families of sick children.
The hit out will be the perfect preparation for both sides heading into the beginning of the NPL season next weekend, although with Olympic’s Round one clash being rescheduled followed by Easter the following week, Frank Cachia’s men will have their first outing for points on Sunday 7th April.
Olympic have kept together the majority of their table topping, Grand Final squad, but have seen key personnel depart and will seek firepower from other avenues on Friday. Stephen Domenici, Josh Gulevski and Jordan Tsekenis will all not return in 2018, but Cachia has looked to offset that with the arrival of Nik Popovich early in the off-season and also through the signing of Domenic Giampaolo last week from Canberra FC.
Tuggeranong meanwhile have boosted their forward stocks having retained Fernando Jorquera, and added Danny Crkovski, who was the spark for a mid-season resurgence from Woden-Weston during 2017. That firepower will be valuable this year after United scored only 30 goals across the season in 2017, but the big test will come for the midfield against an experienced Olympic cohort.
Cachia has kept that core together, including Robbie Cattanach, Tom McLachlan and the crafty Jeremy Habtemariam and Olympic arguably hold the upper hand in the middle of the park.
But United’s Coach Mitch Stevens maintained at Wednesday’s press conference that the match is good for his side, even against esteemed opponents.
“This close to the start of the regular season, for us as a club to be facing Olympic is perfect,” Stevens said.
“They are the benchmark in the region, and have been for a number of years, so it is wonderful to be able to put a charitable event together with silverware on the line, ahead of the season.”
Despite personnel losses, Cachia believes the Olympic squad is one of the strongest he has seen recently at the club.
“On reflection, this current squad is probably one of the most balanced we have had in the last four or five years,” he sad.
“Tuggeranong are a very proud club and the boys are always up for a game, so we will be cautious about how they approach it and we know we will be in for a big game.”
Match Details |
Canberra Olympic v Tuggeranong United
Friday 16th March, 6:30pm (Gates from 5:30pm)
Melrose Synthetic – Gold Coin Entry (All Proceeds to Ronald McDonald House Canberra)