ACT National Premier League: Charity Shield gives new-look Gungahlin United perfect test

It's been a summer of change at Gungahlin United, and new coach Mitch Stevens couldn't ask for a better barometer for his revamped squad than facing the defending league champions.

Gungahlin United, last year's Federation Cup winners, will take on Canberra FC in the inaugural Capital Football Charity Shield match at Gungahlin Enclosed on Friday night.

Gungahlin United coach Mitch Stevens and player Marcel Munoz, and Canberra FC captain Aidan Brunskill and coach Zoran ...
Gungahlin United coach Mitch Stevens and player Marcel Munoz, and Canberra FC captain Aidan Brunskill and coach Zoran Glavinic will be competing for the inaugural Capital Football charity shield on Friday night. Photo: Graham Tidy

On the field, it was a dream debut season for Gungahlin United, going on a dream run to win the Federation Cup and earn a berth in the prestigious FFA Cup.

However, it was a different story off the field, with sponsors pulling out and the majority of the squad agreeing to see out the season despite playing for less money they originally agreed to.

That has led to a massive overhaul this year, with the likes of Dustin Wells, Stephen Domenici and Daniel Barac all moving on to greener pastures.

Stevens is keen to see how his squad performs against the most successful club in the history of ACT football.


"We lost a lot of players, but we knew that was going to happen," Stevens said.

"Last year was that one in a million - the way it started, the middle, the end, everything about it.

"We knew there had to be a complete overhaul on and off the pitch, administration, playing staff, coaching staff, it all had to be reviewed.

"At the end I think it's been a real positive experience because we're a stronger club because of it."

Stevens has stepped up from assistant coach to allow Claudio Canosa to concentrate on his technical director role.

Canberra FC is aiming to hit the ground running after the disappointment of losing to Canberra Olympic 3-1 in last year's grand final.

Recruiting has been the name of the game for Canberra FC coach Zoran Glavinic after losing several players in the off-season.

"2016 is looking pretty promising," Glavinic said.

"We've lost a number of players to different clubs and different states, but we've got some players coming back like Ryan Keir from Sydney and Michael Mensah from Monaro Panthers.

"We've also brought in Rory Larkin from Woden-Weston FC with last year's goalkeeper, Sam Brown, joining the Canberra United Academy."

All funds raised from the Charity Shield will go towards House with No Steps, which is one of Australia's leading disability service providers.

FRIDAY: Capital Football Charity Shield: Gungahlin United v Canberra FC at Gungahlin Enclosed, 7pm.