Panthers set to tackle world's best

MONARO Panthers vs Deportivo isn’t the kind of game you see scheduled every week.

But that’s exactly the assignment that awaits a young Panthers outfit at this year’s Gyeongju International Youth tournament in South Korea.

Dubbed a ‘mini World Cup’, the annual tournament brings together some of the best junior club and representative sides from around the world.

The Panthers will be one of just two Australian sides competing at the event alongside a representative squad from Tasmania.

The Monaro side will be made up in large part by the club’s under-13s Plate winning Kanga Cup team with a number of new additions.

Two of those new faces are brothers Andrew and Tim Noack who will be two of the youngest players making the trip to Korea.

And Andrew said he was looking forward to the opportunity of testing himself on an international stage.

“Deportivo is going to have some of the best players in the world so it’s pretty exciting,” he said. 

“Hopefully we can win a game but it’s going to be very difficult and we’re going to have to push ourselves a lot. But I think we’ll be a lot taller than them and a lot more aggressive as well.”

The Panthers will open their campaign on Sunday against Japanese club Nagoya Grampus before taking on Chinese side Tiewu PS and Korean outfit Hwarang on Monday.

Monaro’s final round game will be against Spanish giants Deportivo on Tuesday.

The Panthers have competed at the tournament for the past four years as part of the club’s ongoing association with Korean club Singok.

“We’re obviously only exposed to a small part of our own backyard most of the time,” coach Frank Cachia said.

“This is an enormous opportunity for our players to see where they’re at compared to some of the best players in their age group in the world.

“For the boys to be able to see the sort of ability and desire it takes to make it at these kinds of clubs is going to be a massive eye opener.”

While in Korea, the Panthers will also have a training session with the Korean national coach and a three-night homestay with a local family in Seoul. 

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