by Shane Jones
FOOTBALL: The final pieces of the puzzle are almost in place for the Wide Bay Buccaneers and coach Tim Lunnon.
Yesterday the picture became clearer about the new state side when Lunnon announced his inaugural squad that will compete in the Football Queensland Premier League next year.
Lunnon has named an original squad of 16, which will rise to 20 just before the start of the season.
The coach, using local talent, has named 15 players who came from the Wide Bay League this year.
Included are leaders Jason McEwan, Jacob Chapman, Sam Meyer and Brad Mitchell, who were named as the leadership group last month.
All up, The Waves, KSS Jets and the United Warriors provided three players each, with Bundaberg represented by seven players and the Fraser Coast by eight.
International player Ben Brookfield from Launceston City rounds out the 16 players named.
"After the last session, all players came together and said this is a good squad,” Lunnon said.
"We're really good with defenders and midfielders within the squad.”
Lunnon plans to solve the attacking issue with the final international spot.
"We're talking to a striker from the United States of America,” he revealed to the NewsMail.
"He's an out and out player and if we get him he will compete our squad nicely.”
Lunnon was also confident the other players could stand up to the rigours of state football and pinpointed three players he thought would shine in season one.
"Doug (Patrick) Fennessy and Lachlan Scarborough have the quality to rise to the challenge,” he said.
"Jacob Chapman is only 20 but has an older head on his shoulders.”
The final three positions of the squad will be filled by one more senior player and two from the under-18 and U20 squads.
Lunnon said that decision was not influenced by a lack of interest from the seniors around the region.
"We want to promote and encourage those youngsters in U18 and U20 that there is a chance for them to play in the seniors so that is why the spots are free,” he said.
The squad has already been training for the past six weeks, getting used to state- level requirements.
Lunnon said the squad would have this month off before coming back in January to get ready for the year.
"We'll be training for the first two to three weeks of January to get some legs into the boys,” he said.
"Kawana will be coming up for our first official friendly on January 20.
"They will bring their 20s and seniors and it will be a good hit-out.”
The side will officially start its new QPL season in February.