Shields to face music against former club
Canberra Olympic coach Leo Exarhos expects star recruit Mark Shields to receive a frosty reception from Tuggeranong United in his first meeting with his former club.
Shields is the headline act of Olympic's massive off-season ''shopping spree'' and will play a crucial role in Saturday's Capital Football National Premier League clash at the Hawker Football Centre.
The 28-year-old was the shining light for Tuggeranong last season, firing home 21 goals to finish in a four-way tie for the glory as the competition's leading scorer, a terrific achievement in a side which missed the finals.
He hasn't wasted time in making an impact in his new surroundings, finding the net four times in Olympic's 8-1 season-opening thrashing of the Monaro Panthers last weekend.
Exarhos said Olympic had targeted a quality finisher as part of the club's plan to rebuild from last year's fourth-placed finish.
''We have gone on a bit of a shopping spree and one of the biggest priorities was bringing in a striker like Mark Shields,'' Exarhos said.
''In the past we've created a lot of chances, but haven't had that final edge.
''I'm sure he'll cop a bit of stick tomorrow and knowing Shieldsy he will thrive on it.''
Another major selling point was the opportunity to feature in Olympic's Waratah Cup campaign.
Olympic is away to Sydney club Belmore FC in the opening round of the knockout competition on March 27.
But the priority is getting all three points against Tuggeranong despite being without five regular first-team players.
Tuggeranong will be eager to bounce back after last week's embarrassing 8-1 loss to Canberra FC, which faces a sterner test when it entertains reigning league champions Belconnen United on Sunday.
In other games on Sunday, Cooma Tigers begin their grand final defence with a trip to Riverside Stadium to play the lowly Panthers, while Canberra City takes on Woden Valley at Hawker.