Northern Rangers have plucked two teenagers from NPL Tasmania obscurity to build on the club’s fortunes for next season.
Debutants Matthew Collins, 18, and Joe MacNevin, 16, will appear in Saturday’s home encounter against Clarence United.
Coach Lino Sciulli already has assured the pair a further game the following week against Kingborough Lions to coincide with Rangers taking on their bottom-two rivals.
Sciulli would not rule out bringing in more talent from the club’s under-18s side.
“It’s very important to see how they are going to go against the bigger, strong opposition,” the coach said.
“They have got a lot of imports that we’re playing against and they might even man up on one or two them.
“It’s important to see how they react and perform, but I have no doubts that we’ve picked some good lads.”
Collins comes into the side as a reliable left back in a year that Rangers has conceded 56 goals – the second most in the NPL competition.
He also admitted to nerves, but is hoping his pace and strength under the ball will trouble the Clarence attack.
“It’s exciting stuff – I’ve been looking forward to this moment,” Collins said.
“I’ve been working towards it these past few years, working my way up to the under-18s and now it’s a great chance to be able to play with the NPL guys.”
MacNevin is particularly a shock call-up after just the one fleeting championship appearance among men.
The year 10 Launceston Church Grammar student could not envisage earning a starting spot with the club’s senior lineup this season.
“I’ve always aspired to be playing at under-16s NPL level, but I definitely didn’t imagine being in the NPL side at the start,” he said.
“I like to play at the best I can, do the boys proud and hopefully get the win.”
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