Trent Lett will be a big loss in defence for Dalefield. PHOTOS/FILE
Dalefield will have a new look as they seek to defend their Wellington premier men’s title.
The season hits off on Saturday with an away game against fierce rivals Hutt United, and Dalefield will be missing several players who took the team to a second consecutive title last year.
There will also be a change in the running of the team. Former Junior Black Stick Benedict van Woerkom takes the reins as player-coach from Dane Lett, whose involvement will be limited by his inclusion in the Black Sticks’ squad to prepare for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Van Woerkom won’t play in the early rounds though. He is recovering from hip surgery.
The biggest loss is arguably the tough defender Trent Lett, who bruised the bones around his knee when he jarred it and slammed the tibia and fibula together in a tackle playing for the Central Falcons in the final of the national league in November.
Team co-manager Bernie Lett said it was a serious injury that would keep the experienced player out for the season. However, there would be no long-term damage if he looked after it properly.
Bernie Lett confirmed that Ethan Presow, who is studying at Massey University, is to play in Manawatu, Graeme Murrell is not playing this season and Ethan Cohen is focusing on rugby, while former Rathkeale students Gus Borren and Zac Caldwell have moved to Christchurch for university study.
The biggest impact will be in Dalefield’s defence, with five defenders from last year’s squad having moved on.
Dalefield have picked up Miles Houlihan from Northern United, and Marcus Ambrose, a Central Under-18 player from Hawke’s Bay.
Also joining the club are Ben Schwass and Alex Clark from Wairarapa College along with James Crawley from Rathkeale, and Craig Pankhurst, who has just left school.
There is still a talented and experienced core within the team with 2020 captain Rowan Yeo, Daniel van Woerkom, Alexander Sumenko-Bucknell, Dylan Price, Jayan Parbhu and uncompromising goalkeeper John Forsyth.
Seven teams will line up in this year’s championship, with the newly promoted Tawa Titans replacing Naenae.