Fire yet to sign a player but prospects are lining up: coach
FOOTBALL: The Sunshine Coast doesn't have a player on its books yet for its 2017 state league campaign but it's not through a lack of interest, according to the club's new coach.
While the likes of Brisbane City have confirmed more than half of their squad, the Fire is yet to announce one signing.
But Roger Hardwicke, appointed a month ago, says the club has fielded several expressions of interest from prospective recruits.
"There's players contacting us from everywhere,” he said.
"It's good to know that people are keen on coming to try and play for us. It's encouraging.”
He said the club, which currently has open-invite training sessions once a week, will start to reach agreements with players during the next month.
"At the moment we're just trying to chat to people and get them to come along to the trials and (to) start trying to get the line-up sorted for next year,” he said.
"We've been contacted by players who are overseas who are heading home.”
About 25-30 players have been at the Friday training sessions, for under-18s, under-20s and seniors and they will break for Christmas.
The pre-season proper won't start until January. The fixtures haven't been released for next year but this year, the season started in late February.
The Fire is eager to assemble a competitive squad after battling to make an impression on the competition in recent years.
"We know we can't compete with some of our Brisbane counterparts (financially) but we offer a lifestlyle second to none and (the chance) to play at one of the best facilities in the NPL,” he said.
"We also have a media presence you don't get in Brisbane so there's other things.”
Hardwicke is the fourth coach to arrive at the Fire in as many years.
He steered Kawana to the Sunshine Coast Football premiership in 2012 and was more recently the coach at Pine Hills in Brisbane's Capital League Two competition, essentially the fifth tier of football in Australia.
He is intent on bringing an aggressive form of play to the Fire in the state league, which is basically the second tier.
"It's the same style of football I coached through my Kawana times, an attacking brand of football, possession-based,” he said.
"A lot of players are technically good but it's about getting them used to the system, the nuances of my playing philosophy.
"We will try to entertain and scoring goals is the best way to do that.”
He's intent on helping the side climb back towards the pointy end of the ladder.
"I can't change what's happened in the past (few seasons). It's not what the club had envisaged. It's all about moving forward,” he said.
"We're here to at least be competitive. From there you never know. If we want to play finals football, we've got to get that Fire back in us.”