How the Gladiators will fire for the 2019 season
FOOTBALL: The season kicks off in March and there is a different feel around the Gympie United Gladiators men's side this year.
It was a difficult year for the team last season but the momentum shift in the last game ignited a fire.
"We finished second last and because of the way we dominated in the last game (it) is our benchmark,” Gladiators coach Kyle Nix said.
"This season when we play the better teams, we want to make a game of it. Not give in but make it difficult.”
The Gladiators played a trial game against Nambour-Yandina United on Sunday sealing a 5-4 win.
"Our two stand-outs were Billy Bayldon and Jayden Davey,” Nix said.
"Jayden score four goals and is just a goal machine. On his day there is no one better around, he's a hidden gem and a natural finisher.
"Billy played in the mid-field and he just makes things happen.
"They will be our key players for this season.”
Nix will have his second season as coach of the Gladiators this year and he wants his boys pushing higher on the ladder.
"We want to improve on last year, start well and win the first game,” he said.
"I don't want us to go out there and get beaten 5 or 6 nil - we have to be competitive and consistent. Just win and getting used to the feeling of winning.”
Speaking exclusively to The Gympie Times, there was excitement in Nix's voice during the interview.
"I can't wait for the first game of the season, I'm buzzing. We had 36 players turn up for a training session before Christmas which has never happened before,” he said.
"There was a good mix of senior and younger players. We have some quality players who can play some good football.
"The lads have no fear when they are training.
"We need those players coming through and bringing the buzz back into the game.”