Lees likes prospect of Moralee challenge

Matt Lees believes The Tigers NIHL could prove to be a surprise package in the Moralee Conference next season.

The locally-trained youngster will be a key part of Telford’s defence, following last year’s promotion from Laidler level.

Next season will be Lees’ first at full senior standard, as he looks to make the jump from playing ‘up’ with the under-18s side.

The experienced line-ups at Moralee level could make that debut a baptism of fire, but Lees is confident his side will still turn heads.

He said: “It is a big step up for me, and a lot of the other young guys, but with the experienced players on our team, we can hold our own.

“Playing alongside guys who are better than you can help to unlock your full potential, which was sometimes harder to do in the under-18s.

“We’ve got a good set of players and if we start the new season how we finished the last, I can see us coming out on top against a lot of teams.

“Like the under-18s who stepped up their game last season, the whole team will step up their game.”

Lees’s role in last year’s squad marked him out as a star of the future, but he is aware that the learning process will continue.

He added: “Taking on big names like Longstaff and Payette is an exciting prospect. I’m sure they’ll push my ability further than last season, which means I can only get better.

“At NIHL level, you can immediately see that the players are bigger, and the game is faster. I’m expecting the pace to increase again next season.

“A more subtle difference is the decision-making of players. They are better and quicker, so you have no time to relax.”

Tigers NIHL General Manager, Mike Washburn, expects the Telford youngster to embrace the challenge of performing at the higher level.

He said: “Matt is a great example of how we are trying to bring talent through the pathway of talent at Telford.

“He’s a product of the junior system, he got big minutes last season and I have no doubt will do so this season.

“He mentions Longstaff and Payette – I guess it will be interesting to watch the battle unfold of youth, speed and hunger against age, size and experience? For sure, the whole of the team are relishing such encounters, and not in any way fearing them!”

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