Local rivalries buried as Southern United shape up for CPL
All the old rivalries have been buried as Southern United look to make an impression on the Coastal Premier League.
Wallis Lake and Tuncurry-Forster football clubs have joined forces in 2022 aiming to make the people in the southern part of the Mid North Coast proud.
While a lot of talk in the pre-season has been around how high one of two new clubs can finish in their inaugural campaign, coach Jonathon Newman remained coy about his side.
“I’m not listening to what other people say,” he said.
“You can see what looks like a fantastically strong side on paper, but they might not be able to gell at all. You want to keep your predictions in your back pocket until we’ve played at least a few games together.”
But there is one expectation he has of his side – make it as difficult as possible for opposition teams to win at either Boronia Park or Tuncurry.
“My hope is certainly that for when teams come to us, they’ll find it really tough going and our home games will be very, very difficult to turn over (if) at all,” he said.
“If we’re in the position to make the semi-finals, that’s what the plan is. I’ve blocked my diary off until late September.”
Part of the reason for the aim of appearing in the finals is due to the number of teams eligible to progess due to the addition of Southern and Bellingen.
“Given they’ve expanded the number of teams eligible for finals football, I expect that we’ll be in that mix,” Newman said.
“If you look at what our first grade run-on side will be, you’ll look at it and say ‘that’s a strong side’. It’s certainly nice to be considered to be challenging for honours straight off the bat.”
The Forster-based side will have a strong Wallis Lake flavour with a number of their players transferring across into the new entity.
Wallis were one of the Football Mid North Coast Premier League heavyweights before the Coastal Premier League’s inception.
“We’ve got a real central amount of players from that Wallis Lake group,” Newman said.
“Beau Wynter, Roan Whiteman, Ethan Perry, Bayden Schumann, Brock Gutherson and goalkeeper Rhys Dawes, so it’s a fair chunk of the side that would have been on the park when they last played in the (FMNC) Premier League.”
They have also picked up a number of Tuncurry-Forster Tigers players from the old competition.
“They’re all quite excited to be playing in the same team as each other for the first time ever,” Newman said.