Omori and Meredith Recommit As ‘Keeper Archbold Joins

Jan 31, 2018 by

Turbo-charged fullback Hiroki Omori, experienced goal scorer Rhys Meredith and Novocastian goalkeeper Nathan Archbold have become the latest players to sign up for the Brisbane Strikers in 2018 as football manager David Large and senior coach Owen Baker go about putting the finishing touches to the senior squad.

2017 Brisbane Strikers Supporters’ Player of the Season Omori (pictured), 2015 Golden Boot Meredith and former will be entering their third season with the club while former Charlestown and Broadmeadow Magic goalkeeper Nathan Archbold will be making his debut if he gets the nod for Saturday’s season opener against Western Pride.

Japanese import Omori has become a fans’ favourite at Perry Park due to his immense work rate and ability to contribute at either end of the field. While defensively more than solid, Omori’s fitness and technique also make him a potent attacking threat and something of a nightmare for opposing defenders and coaches.

But not for Large, who is in no doubt about the player’s qualities and could not be happier to have them at his own disposal.

“He puts us in a situation where we are very fortunate to have an A-League quality player at our club, as far as I am concerned,” Large said. “He is the best fullback in the (NPL Queensland) competition and capable of playing A-League football”.

And according to Large, Omori is only getting better as his understanding of the English language improves and he is able to absorb more tactical information and on-field instructions from team mates.

“We get an opportunity now to get his feedback and it’s really helped us over the time he has been with us,” Large continued.

“He tends now to be a little bit more cautious about when he goes (forward) and when he doesn’t go. In the early days he would just go, and not think anything about it, as if he thought ‘oh, they’ll give me a licence to get forward’. Now he picks his times and with those later runs I think he’s even more dangerous than ever”.

Meredith is on the comeback trail from injury after an operation to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament sustained in round three of the 2017 season. He was a standout player in the 2016 squad that took Strikers to their breakthrough NPL Queensland premiership, scoring 17 league goals and terrorising defences around the state with his speed and unpredictability on the ball.

If Meredith can recapture anything like that form this year, Strikers fans are in for another treat. Large believes there is every chance that he can.

“He looks as good as what he was before he got the injury in terms of his sharpness,” Large said of Meredith.

“You’ve got to remember this has been a ten and a half months journey for him. I suppose he’s gone through those horrible times in terms of wondering why it happened to him and all that sort of thing.

“But once we convinced him to come back to training with the boys, and not just do his rehab in private, his progress has been unbelievable. He’s back to full training with no restrictions and he’ll be playing on Monday for the Under-20s with a view that we’ll have him available (the following weekend) for the Lions FC game.

“He’s looking sharp, he’s looking strong and he’s ultra-eager to get involved again”.

Archbold is a late addition to the squad, having ventured north in the off-season to try his luck at replacing last year’s Strikers number one, Zac Speedy, who has signed for Gold Coast United.

“He offers us a lot of confidence,” said Large of Archbold. “He’s got a presence. It’s something that we’ve probably not seen since Michael Weier was here – and that’s no disrespect to Speedy or any of the other ‘keepers, because every ‘keeper has his own separate abilities.

“I think he’s still learning about the Brisbane Strikers, he’s still trying to understand how we play. But on the positive side he’s definitely improving training session after training session and game after game”.

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