Team spirit positive in lead up to debut season
THE WAY sport is, teams are always searching for an advantage over their rivals.
And Fraser Flames, the new team in this year's Three Cities League, has potentially gained the biggest one.
Football Hervey Bay has granted the Flames permission to play their home games at Fraser Coast Anglican College making them the only side in 2015 to have their matches played at a stand-alone ground.
In last year's Four Cities League, only Gympie Diggers (which has withdrawn from this year's competition) played the majority of their games at a venue not shared with any other club.
Two teams called the Hervey Bay Sports Club field "home", while all three clubs in Maryborough played their home fixtures at Federation Park.
In Bundaberg, all six sides played the bulk of their matches at Martens Oval, but Bingera, Across The Waves, Alloway, Diggers Bundaberg and Brothers Aston Villa were granted up to two games to be played at their home ground.
Some may debate the theory teams gain an automatic edge because they are playing in familiar surroundings, however the Flames will have a genuine advantage given the larger size of their field.
Flames coach Andrew Catton revealed they would almost certainly have the largest playing surface in the league (within FIFA regulations) and with good reason.
The Flames are likely to field the youngest team in the Three Cities League and Catton said a big field would suit their game plan.
"The style we play I'm sure we will make the most of the space and we've got a couple of quick lads at the front who will exploit the space well," he said.
Other sport carnivals might mean the Flames won't be able to use the FCAC field for matches until after Easter.
Portable grandstands will help maximise the experience for spectators and provide great views for first and second division matches on the same day.
And while the Flames' younger legs will thrive on the spacious ground, centre midfielder Ben Waters, 16, believed the atmosphere at FCAC would help the team perform better.
"It's definitely a challenge we have to live up to getting teams to come here and face us out here, but it will be good for the community and hopefully get a lot of people to come watch and support us," he said.
"There are a lot of new people coming into the side, which will be very interesting, but throughout training so far I have noticed everyone has got stuck in and shown a bit of intensity heading towards the season."
The Flames had a strong turnout for their first training session of the year on Wednesday.
The Flames also announced they would play National Premier League club Sunshine Coast Fire in a trial match in Hervey Bay on February 21.
While the date of the match is not ideal given it has now been announced that the Three Cities League kicks off the following week, Catton felt it would be a good chance for his charges to get a strong hitout against a quality side before the season starts.
"It will be a very tough challenge and probably tougher than anything we will face in first division this year," he said.
"We obviously are not going into the matches against the Fire to win them, but I want the boys to understand the level they need to strive for because my main priority is to develop these boys and getting them to higher levels of their careers."