It was a cool, calm Wednesday evening at Cromer Park for the Premier Select teams from Manly-Warringah (MWFA) and North Shore (NSFA) to play each other in an early season hit out. The two select teams had met last year with Manly thumping North Shore 5:0. This year, MWFA won 3:0.
Before the match Manly Warringah FA select team coach, Joe Santarosa said “I am very happy with the squad of players; we are looking forward to the challenge. We have been communicating a fair bit, but it has been difficult with club pre-season training sessions as well as trial games to get everyone together.”
Greg Fuchs coached the NSFA squad. “Despite the difficulties of getting everyone together, I feel the team are ready and up to the challenge.”
Manly started the game with lot more little touches, short passes, certain passes. They were playing a good steady game within NSFA’s half. NSFA were left to defend and make a few sporadic foray’s towards the Manly goal.
Manly had the first real scoring opportunity, sending the NSFA goalie sprawling to push the ball wide of his right post.
However, Manly’s Tyson Masters followed-up soon after, thumping the ball left of the goalie and in to the back of the net.
NSFA fought back well and had a couple of decent chances, one rattling the crossbar but flying high over the goal. NSFA did not appear as coordinated as MWFA. There were some great players, but they weren’t playing as a team.
If MWFA edged out NSFA in the first half, they dominated in the second half.
Masters scored his second goal early in the half with a header right in front of goal. That was followed by Jordy Edwards scoring off right boot. Not a pretty goal, but one that pretty much sealed the outcome.
Fuchs made some quick changes to the NSFA line-up, bringing on some good defensive players, shutting down any further chances from Manly.
To me, the MWFA Select Team seemed better prepared and played more coordinated football. That is in great part thanks to their coach Joe Santarosa.
In 2015, Santarosa coached the Narrabeen Premier League side to MWFA Premier League glory; the first time in the club’s fifty year history. Narrabeen were outright winners, winning the league with two rounds remaining.
“I have been very impressed with the level of intensity; the boys have all been terrific. Charlie Fyfe, for me, has been the standout player in the MWFA Premier League for a number of years,’’ he said. “Tyson Masters from Manly Vale impressed me this year, as did Matt Cooper from Dee Why.”
“Jakub (Skelnar) from Narrabeen and Pittwater RSL FC’s Jordy Edwards and Cam White are in great shape and I expect (Dee Why’s) Matty Cooper and (Manly Vale’s) Tyson Masters to cause plenty of headaches up front.”
NSFA Premier League Select Squad
Jamie Wall (West Pymble FC), Ray Lee (West Pymble FC), Josh Ciabatti (Lindfield FC), Agneesh Lahiri (Lindfield FC), Matt Vickers (Old Barker FC), Nick Swart (Chatswood Rangers FC), Tom Mackay, (Chatswood Rangers FC), Brendan Burns (Kissing Point FC), Rob Tall (West Pymble FC), Michael Reece (West Pymble FC), Clem Burgmann (West Pymble FC), Jack Richardson (Lindfield FC), Mitchell Stark (Lindfield FC), Marcus Flotmann (Kissing Point FC), Jason Lal (Lindfield) and Daniel Hepworth (West Pymble).
MWFA Premier League Select Squad
Johnny Hall (Brookvale), James Clare (CC Strikers), Matt Cooper (Dee Why), Tyson Masters (Manly Vale), Sam Byrne (Mosman), Ollie Skelding (Narrabeen), Josh Lawson (Narrabeen), Jakub Sklenar (Narrabeen), Pearce McGuiness (Narrabeen), Charlie Fyfe (Pittwater RSL FC), Cam White (Pittwater RSL FC), Jordy Edwards (Pittwater RSL FC), Rocco Papalia (Narrabeen), Stu Ivey (Seaforth), Michael Barbalace (St Augustine’s), Angus Thompson (St Augustine’s) and Russ Bream (Wakehurst).