Top Tiger on the ride of his life

The 2020 Coastal Premier League season has been diamonds and rocks for the Coffs Coast Tigers, but men’s first grade coach Felipe Barrera isn’t kicking stones.

Though he could well be excused for thinking he’s been strapped on an endless wild ride at Dreamworld, such has been the form-line of his charges.

“It’s certainly been a rollercoaster. We’ve had some great performances and some shocking performances – we just haven’t had the consistency that the top sides have,” Felipe said.

“In the past month we beat Sawtell, lost 2-1 to the Lions, then played the NPL who are a good young team and got the win. Then we hit Boambee (midweek) and I thought we came into that with positivity – and it all goes out the window.”

Felipe said the disjointed structure of the season brought about by changing health restrictions had impacted all sides – and the Tigers had failed to handle that.

“When we were training Tuesdays and Thursdays with a game on the Saturday (in the combined competition) we could see ourselves improving,” he said.

The addition of midweek fixtures he felt had been a bridge too far for some of his squad.

“Some players, their enthusiasm just dropped off. As people we’ve got to work to improve our mindset,” Felipe said.

There have been plenty of good signs for the club too.

“I’m really happy with where we are at. We’ve still got a relatively young side and it’s been great to see a couple of our 17s step up,” he said.

“We’ve definitely got the potential to see good development.”

The Peru-born Felipe who arrived on the Mid North Coast in 2000 is in his third year at the helm of the Tigers 1sts.

“I’d been coaching youth grade and juniors but always wanted to coach senior men at some time so when the opportunity came up I put my hand in the air,” he said.

“It’s been a steep learning curve but I enjoy it. It’s been tough and challenging at times but I want to learn as a coach.”

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