Canberra Olympic couldn’t have asked for a better start to their National Premier League campaign after securing a 5-0 win against West Canberra Wanderers in their opening match of the new season.
Missing the top four by a solitary point last season was unfortunate for Olympic, however they’re tenacious to make amends and play Finals football this season.
Assistant Coach Daniel Macor, who has experienced plenty of success back in his playing days, says he wants to record a memorable year by challenging for the trophy at the end of the season.
“We want to win. Most clubs do, I know everyone says the old line ‘We want to make the top four,’ but you know you want to win trophies if it’s there,” Macor expressed. “We want to be at the pointy end of the season and hopefully challenge for those trophies but there’s a long way to go”.
Better opposition in the National Premier League, each team this year seems strong enough to contend for the top four, gives Olympic something to fight against and allows them to gain good flow throughout the season.
“We’re playing better opposition, which I think has kept us in a good stead to start the season,” Macor states. “Each team seems to have improved their squad and will pose a tough challenge for us.”
Olympic are looking to improve their game play this season with a different tactical plan to last years. With the new signings of Callum Smith and Thomas James, plus a full season from Nik Popovich and Nathan Megic who both joined mid-campaign in 2022 this will bring new skills to the squad.
“We’ve come in with a new game plan from last year,” Macor admitted. “It’s also pretty much a new addition, the squad’s a little bit different to last years.
“We have picked up some excellent new additions that will strengthen us in key areas, areas that we identified as being the ones that needed to be bolstered if we were to push for the finals.
Olympic have re-signed a lot of their outstanding players from the 2022 season. Luca Florez is a key re-sign who showcased his strength and capability in the opening game of the season by scoring a hat-trick.
Commitment from the team has shown extensively through the pre-season which has set high hopes for the forthcoming journey. With all their players turning up to training it has allowed Macor, and Head Coach Paul Macor, to gain a sense of what’s to come with the squad.
And, with a few acquisitions to their squad, Macor believes the club’s culture has been the best it’s ever been.
“Pre-season has been excellent and the commitment from the boys has been brilliant, so can’t ask for much more than that,” Macor commented.
“It’s probably the best the culture has been for a while. I think it’s been incredible from day one and those inter-state games with staying a night just brings the group together. I think you can see from the opening game they’re a squad, we don’t call them a team cause any one of those boys can start games so yeah, the culture’s fantastic”.
The mixture of senior and junior players within the team has shown a variety of abilities that will amplify the squad, and Macor understands that a full squad is essential for any success.
“We’ve got a good group of senior players that have still got it and young players that will only get better as the year goes past,” Macor revealed. “So we’ve got a good blend, many of those players have still got a lot to give. It’s exciting for the younger players and the older players.”
Good progression off the field creates a good environment for the Olympic squad, which allows the on-field stuff to be easy. The buzz around Canberra Olympic in 2023 is exciting and their opening day win, plus a last-gasp Australia Cup Qualifying victory over Tuggeranong United has got them off to a flyer.
“It’s a great club and a great bunch of boys. The off-field stuff is being taken care of by the club itself and the committee,” Macor reveals. “So it makes the on-field stuff pretty easy and transitional”.
Olympic hope to continue their excellent start to the season when they play a derby against O’Connor Knights at O’Connor Enclosed after the Easter break. You can watch it live on BarTV Sports.
Words: Shania McCormack