It’s a tale of contrasting coaching styles this Sunday night at Cromer Park when Adam Israel’s Pittwater RSL FC takes on Brookvale FC, with Mark Hunt at the helm, in the MWFA Men’s Premier League grand final replay.
Ask Brookvale FC head coach Mark Hunt to name 3-4 players he expects to perform well in the grand final replay against winners Pittwater RSL FC at Cromer Park this Sunday, and the man will politely demur. For Hunt, you see, it’s all about the team.
“We’ve been working hard on togetherness, on a ‘group’ mentality,” Hunt said. “They all know if they perform well, they keep the shirt. It’s about working for the group. Naming guys could undermine that.”
Pittwater RSL FC coach Adam Israel has no such qualms. Indeed he’ll talk up the other team, too.
“Brookvale is a top side,” Israel said. They’ve got David Cain, a midfielder, very good player, experienced. There’s another guy, Mark McManus, a big centre-back, fantastic player. They’ll miss Josh Haywood, he’s scored 15-20 goals a season for them for ten years but they’ve recruited well and have some very good young guys.”
As does Pittwater RSL. Israel said he was “very excited” by the return of Pittwater juniors Kye Conna from Manly United and Nelson Pyl from North Shore Mariners.
“Kye got a brace on the weekend [in the 3-all draw with Curl Curl FC] and I’m really excited to see Nelson go around after playing a lot of first team football for the Mariners,” Israel said.
“They’re great young talents and it’s a big feather in our club’s cap that they’ve returned to play their football with us.”
To beat Brookvale, as they did on penalties in last year’s grand final after scrapping to a 2-all draw with 10 men for 45 minutes, Israel said his team had to win across the park.
“Against Brookvale you need 7, 8, 9 players winning their individual battles,:” he said. “There isn’t a lot of difference between the top teams. It’s about who wants it more on the day.”
Though the Covid-affected 2020 season was another highly successful one for Brookvale FC, and in their first round match they destroyed Seaforth FC 5-0, Hunt said there’s “definitely an edge in the dressing room” at Grahams Reserve.
“A full season will be much more competitive than last year,” Hunt said. “The competitive edge has gone up a notch. The boys are right up for it.”
Brookvale FC and Pittwater RSL FC kick-off at 7pm this Sunday at Cromer Park.
– Matt Cleary