The tide is turning at Tuggeranong United as they look to overcome last season’s disappointment and shift ambitions in 2016.

The 2015 National Premier League season for Tuggeranong United was one to forget, losing 16 from 16 games, conceding 56 goals and scoring a lonely 12. Looking ahead to the 2016 season, Tuggeranong United is hoping the new generation adds some spark. The club is known for its strong junior football with their under 16s, 18s, and 20s premier league teams all competing at the top of the table.

Newly appointed Technical Director Steve Kunovec stressed the importance of youth in football especially at Tuggeranong, We have some really good talent in the younger ages and we really want to develop and keep them in the club”, Kunovec said.

Aaron Cashman in action. // Photo by Daniel Graham.

Tuggeranong displayed some quality signs in 2015 and are hopeful of continuing them throughout the 2016 season. Zachary Munster, Tuggeranong midfielder, appeared only nine times for the club however managed to impress scoring 6 times, placing him in the leading goal scoring position for the club and top ten for the league.

The club have had little choice but to make drastic changes in preparations for the 2016 NPL season with the past squad being hit the hardest. “So basically the squad from last year no longer exists, we’ve kept four players from that group. The whole premier league squad is brand new, we’re rebuilding from the ground up”, explained Steve.

Opening the preseason with some up and down results, Tuggeranong captain Dom Colluciello gave his thoughts on the team’s performance, “Yeah, preseason is going really well! We’ve had a few losses but our last game we came away with a win, sort of getting us started going into the season,” Colluciello said.

Andrew Slavich looking for a line. // Photo by Daniel Graham.

The optimism Dom is expressing isn’t without reason, Tuggeranong have looked overseas and with the key signing of two international attacking players from Greece the team is starting to piece together. Head coach Miro Trninic expressed his pleasure in the squad moving into the 2016 season, “The whole team is brand new, the current age average is around 22 and we’re happy with that. We’re planning to challenge in the next three years”.

With the two new additions both being assigned attacking roles on the pitch, Tuggeranong will now attempt to compete with the big clubs of Canberra FC and Cooma Tigers, who both led the competition with 52 goals scored. Colluciello strongly believes the two new signings will bolster the depth of the squad, “Yeah they’re really good, they’re a class above and their integrating with the team well. They just need to adapt to the new style of play over here.”

With the promising performances over the preseason, the new look team spearheaded by the signings of two key players, Tuggeranong are focused on challenging for a top four birth. “I believe we can finish close to top four, we will compete and will finish close to top four”, added Miro, the head coach of the NPL side. The club is notorious for its positive club culture and will remain that way regardless of results according to club captain Dom, “Tuggers is a strong cultured club, the players will continue to work hard for each other to get the result”, Dom said.

It is hard to scope what the 2016 NPL season will have in store for Tuggeranong United, covering up holes in the defence from last year and resolving the problem of getting on the score sheet remain the biggest obstacles.

It will only become clear once the season commences on the 2nd of April when the club lines up against the future of football in Australia the FFA Centre of Excellence.

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Daniel Graham

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