PAUL Arnison oozes experience and is rated the fittest man at the Sunshine Coast Fire, but even he isn't guaranteed a spot in the National Premier League side this year. The former English league journeyman may have played a crucial role for the Fire during its march to third position last year but he, along with mainstays Greig Henslee and Ryan Smith, have been told their places in the team are not secure. Coach Kevin A'Herne-Evans said yesterday: "It will take a really good player to push any one of those three out of their spots, but by the same token these boys have got to come back with enthusiasm and passion and we've got to get back to winning titles.
"It's all good being loyal to players - and we'll always be loyal to players who win us trophies - but it's just that we need to make sure we do get back to winning trophies." THE winner of multiple state league titles, the Fire expects nothing less than success - and it has already shown it is willing to make tough decisions. The club has released flamboyant Frenchman Nicolas Bechar in the wake of last season, having failed to satisfy its appetite for goals. Defensive midfielder Arnison could be harder to dislodge after a particularly solid showing in 2013.
"For his first season he acquitted himself really well," A'Herne-Evans said. "He was brilliant, not just with his passing ability but with his guidance and leadership, which was second to none. "And in terms of his fitness, he's amazing. He's the ultimate professional. He's 36, but if we're doing any form of fitness he'd probably be leading the run. He's very enthusiastic and obviously wants to get us back to winning trophies."
The coach admits, however, the northern Englishman "still has to adjust a little bit to the game over here". "It's a bit different and the referees control the game differently," A'Herne-Evans said. The club is also expected to have more depth in the midfield this year. "Deejay Firth has really improved. I expect him to have a really big year this year," A'Herne-Evans said. "And also Wade Zammit, who had a breakthrough year last year ... And we will have a couple of new faces which will be here in January. So it will be really interesting."
Sunshine Coast Daily