Proud record for Nelson Bay FC juniors in Northern NSW Champion of Champions tournament

Nelson Bay FC juniors celebrate their Northern NSW Champion of Champions Under 12s Trophy triumph in 2022.

MATESHIP and on-field connection have proved the main ingredients for success for the Nelson Bay FC Under 13s soccer team.

As the reigning Northern NSW Champion of Champions side for their age group, the Marlins have made an impact in Newcastle inter district football with their abundance of talent and skills and never-say-die attitude.

When the Nelson Bay whiz kids completed the 2022 season undefeated as twelve year olds – having annexed the premiership and championship double plus Champion of Champions trophies – the sky was the limit.

They capped a stellar season by receiving the club’s Most Distinguished Team Trophy – an award that holds pride of place for the players and coaching staff in Dave Harasti, Andy McKenzie and Gerard McGann.

Fast forward eleven months and the junior Marlins continued to impress keen judges with enterprising performances in the Under 13 Division One competition.

But the silverware has eluded the Nelson Bay youngsters in 2023 as the Maitland Magpies emerged as a force to clinch a premiership-championship double.

The Marlins lost only three matches during the season including a 2-1 Grand Final defeat at Fieldsend Oval – a stark contrast from the team’s magnificent deeds from the season prior.

Team manager McKenzie told News Of The Area that the team finally “hit our straps in the second half of this year’s Grand Final”.

“We trailed 1-0 against the Magpies before forward Noah Dunphy equalised then conceded a penalty,” he reflected.
“The boys created several scoring chances but were denied by the Magpies keeper as momentum swung our way,” said McKenzie.

With the core of the group having played together from an early age, the team unity and skill level has been a feature.

Head coach Harasti has moulded the squad into a formidable unit with a batch of prospects in defensive midfielder Andrew Farrell, striker Mo Kareem, centre midfield Conor McKenzie and right midfielder Frank Pullen still only eleven and twelve years old.

The gifted Farrell took out the club’s Best and Fairest Award this season with defender Joe Diemer named Players’ Player of the Year.

Other players to impress include talented goalkeeper Amos Marshall, key forwards Alex Campbell, Nick Campbell and Dunphy and central defender Will Harasti.

The highlight last season was clinching the Champion of Champions Trophy with a 2-1 triumph over Alstonville FC in the final.

During the prestigious round robin tournament the Marlins defeated Gunnedah FC 5-0 with a hat-trick of goals from Ashton Kime and Sawtell FC 3-1 and drew 1-all with Valentine FC to qualify for the trophy decider.

They get to do it all again this week when they travel to Coffs Harbour for the prestigious event – determined to duplicate the deeds of their 2022 heroics and bring home more silverware.

By Chris KARAS

Leave a Reply