Falcons face big test against Wellington

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 26/01/2013
Davor Tavich
Shuttersport
BIG TASK: Davor Tavich will return as Nelson Falcons coach as the team prepares for its second season.

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The Nelson Falcons are preparing to leave the nest as they travel to the capital to take on Team Wellington tomorrow.

Though its learning to fly that poses an issue, it's coming back down to earth after an 8-0 shellacking of Manawatu last weekend.

Unbeaten in two ASB Youth League home games to kick off their inaugural season, the New Zealand King Salmon Nelson Falcons lead the southern conference. Head coach Davor Tavich said tomorrow's match would be their toughest yet.

Playing away for the first time against a quality Wellington side who beat Canterbury United 4-2 last week will be a tough prospect, though the Falcons have beaten the black and yellow clad side in their backyard already.

On their way to a preseason tournament in Palmerston North, the Falcons had their first-ever hit out against Team Wellington, and beat the national league foundation side 2-0.

An ankle injury to last week's five-goal hero and golden boot leader Daniel Grimshaw has seen a forced reshuffle up front.

Tore Waechter will take over the striker's position in the middle of the park, while Omar Guardiola moves into the right wing position allowing the left-footed Sam Maxwell to come into the starting side on the left flank.

Marlborough's Waechter, who started his time at the Falcons in a holding midfield position, has been slowly creeping forward.

A knack for knocking in the goals, first showcased in the preseason tournament was added to when Waechter scored a brace in last week's romp. This week Waechter gets his chance to start in the target-man position.

The third week of competition will see the Falcons' third centre-back pairing. Both Erik Panzer and Fox Slotemaker have returned to other commitments, though replacement Harry Tod-Smith is a handy guy to have in a tight spot.

The team's vice-captain has been coming off the bench with assurance for the past two weeks. He came off the bench to score the vital referee's time goal that earned Nelson a 2-all draw with Canterbury in their first match.

Tod-Smith partners the incomparable Mark Johnston, with Niall Young on the left and Fletcher Slierendrecht on the right. Taylor Hall-Jones of the Wellington ilk has been moved into the midfield to help sure up the defence in the middle of the park; he is joined by Taine Swete and Furkan Kokcu.

In-form goalkeeper Coey Turipa is coming off a well-earned clean sheet, while Ashleigh Langbein, Nat Payn, Jamane Wilson-Duggan, Hal Fish and Lian Cinzah will come off the bench.

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Travelling with the team is Tavich, assistant coach and manager Andy Morris and assistant coach Peter Simonsen.

- The Nelson Mail

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