Recently Sutherland Sharks FC’s U20 side travelled south to Victoria on Tuesday, 21st February for a three day interstate team bonding tour of Melbourne as part of their pre-season match preparations ahead of Saturday’s 2017 Round 1 U20 PS4 National Premier League NSW home fixture against Manly United FC at Seymour Shaw Park.
Viewed as a way for the technical staff to expose the players to a professional football environment Head Coach Nick Dimovski praised how the team responded to an off-field schedule amidst matches against South Melbourne FC and Port Melbourne Sharks SC of the NPL Victoria competition.
“I think there is no better way to bond as a team than in a similar to professional environment as the team got to fly, travel in a 21-seat bus, room together and share breakfast, lunch and dinner with team mates,” Dimovski said.
“This is the typical life of a professional footballer in the A-League and on top of that the challenge of playing in a different state with different referees and pitches along with players is all part of the valuable experienced gained,” he said.
“The boys were given a tight schedule to follow but also can’t be supervised 24/7 and therefore every player needs to be responsible”.
“Therefore their [player’s] attitude and commitment was brilliant throughout the trip but their excellent behaviour in particular stood out for me”.
It was this team comradery which Dimovski began to see carried on to the pitch in their pair of fantastic performances; defeating South Melbourne FC 6-2 at Bob Jane Stadium on Tuesday and then drawing 2-2 with Port Melbourne Sharks SC at JL Murphy Reserve in the second game in as many days.
“In the game against South Melbourne’s U20’s the boys knocked the ball around well and controlled the game from start to finish [as] we created numerous goal scoring chances and in fact scored a number of good team goals,” Dimovski said.
“We played a senior [Port Melbourne] team made up of first grade players and it was a different game. We fell behind early and had to fight back into the game so for moral boosting we displayed a never say die attitude on tired legs,” he said.
Following the second match the squad departed Melbourne for Sydney, arriving late on Thursday evening and despite being content with where they are right now with no more friendlies scheduled they are continuing to train vigorously to maintain their sharpness for their Round 1 match against North Sydney opponents Manly United FC.
“The coaching staff and playing group are all on the same page. We are all looking forward to the start of the NPL season,” Dimovski said.
“Manly are the Premiers from 2016 so we will be out to cause an upset at home next week for our fans,” he concluded.
The Sutherland Sharks FC U20’s kick-off at 4:30pm this Saturday, 11th March with first grade commencing afterwards at 6:30pm in the first double header of the 2017 NPL NSW season against Manly United FC. Tickets can be purchased at the front gate and start as low as $10 for concessions and students, $15 for adults and FREE admission for children under 16 years of age.
Article by Lachlan Thomson
All the Boys together after the game