On the surface, Port United looks like they will have their work cut out to maintain the club’s recent history of success.
Numerous losses to their playing roster over the off-season have left coach Nathan Wade with plenty of questions and not a lot of answers.
Captain Matt Bale will miss the first month of the season due to non-football commitments.
Josh Casey, Ethan Perry, Bayden Schumann, Simon Granfield, Kaleb Langbein and Ben Oakley have departed while Riley Taylor and Mitch Higgins are the only two confirmed arrivals as the club strives for another grand final.
“The last four years we’ve made three out of four grand finals so there is probably pressure for us to try and at least make the finals,” Wade said.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see United slow out of the blocks once the season kicks off.
Different players will result in a different approach to the way they play their football with the coach to place more of an emphasis on keeping possession.
“At the moment we’re probably going to lack a bit of pace across the park which is a little bit of a concern,” Wade said.
“We will probably have to try and keep the ball a bit more and hopefully we can break down teams in the final third when we have possession, rather than having fast men creating havoc.”
What United lack in experience and game smarts they will make up for in youthful exuberance with a number of the club’s younger players ready to make the transition into the CPL.
How well they make that transition will have a major impact on where the Green Bloods finish on the ladder.
“There are eight teams who could make the top four,” Wade said.
“There’s not much difference between eight of the 10 teams so if you have a lucky season you could finish fourth, but if you have an unlucky season you could be seventh or eighth.
“Everyone wants to make the top four to start with and we’re no different.”
Ins: Riley Taylor, Mitch Higgins
Outs: Outs: Josh Casey (Gold Coast), Ethan Perry and Bayden Schumann, Simon Granfield, Kaleb Langbein, Ben Oakley