Sharks a tough test for North Coast Suns

THE North Coast Suns face a tough opening to their Summer Soccer Youth League campaign tomorrow when they host Brisbane State League champions Palm Beach Sharks at Crozier Field, Lismore, from 3pm.

Palm Beach is expected to field an even stronger side than last summer, but Suns coach Jona-than Harlen remains confident.

Harlen served as assistant coach to Paul Foster last summer when the Suns surprised several of the top Brisbane clubs.

With most of the players back, he expects their momentum to grow.

"The players and myself learnt a lot from Paul and the team ethos is still there, so that'll make it easier to pick up where we left off," Harlen said.

"The squad has a lot more experience and depth this year and while Palm Beach will be of a high standard and an unknown quantity to us (sic), I still think we're a good chance of a first-up win."

Striker Tom Guttormsen played a key role for the Suns last summer, leading to his signing by Rochedale Rovers, but after a season in Brisbane he's back to help out the Suns.

Guttormsen will be reunited with former Lismore Workers team-mate James Hirst up front and their natural understanding should help create chances in front of the Sharks' goal.

Flanker Eden Robinson also has the skills and pace to trouble the Sharks' defence, while central midfielders Joel Gosper and Joel Rudgley will look to provide stability.

In their only warm-up game, the Suns did well under the pressure of appearing at Suncorp Stadium as a curtain-raiser to a recent A-League match, going down by one goal to a Brisbane Men's Select Under-19 squad.

It might not be Suncorp Stadium, but Crozier Field will offer the roar of home support tomorrow, as the dawn of a new summer arrives for the Suns.

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