Manly United FC men’s first grade season preview
By Chris Curulli
Manly United’s men’s first grade side will kick off their 2020 National Premier LeaguesNSW campaign with a tough away trip to Rockdale Illinden FC on Sunday afternoon.
The club are hopeful of improving on the last two seasons where they have not tasted finals football since historically winning the championship back in 2017.
Paul Dee has bolstered his squad with a handful of players returning to the club including 2017 championship-winning midfielder Sasa Macura, promising young attacker Marley Peterson, striker Jack Fulton and the experienced Richie Cardozo.
Left-back Paul Katsetis also links up with the club after some valuable overseas experience while midfielder Dean Bereveskos returns to NSW after some time in Victoria with Dandenong Thunder.
Dee believes his squad are “ready to shine” in 2020 and alongside his new signings he is expecting a strong output from experienced campaigners Dejan Pandurevic, Brendan Cholakian and Dylan Mitchell.
On the other hand, the club will continue its emphasis on youth development which was a shining light last season.
“I think last year we had a reasonable start but didn’t finish as well as what we would have liked,” Dee reflected. “But at the same time we developed and exposed more juniors within the club than we’ve ever done before.
“You take away lessons from every season whether it’s playing style, squad management, recruitment or development of juniors.”
Sunday’s trip to Sydney’s south may well be far from straightforward against another club looking to restore an era of success.
Dee is expecting an “emotionally charged” clash against a determined Rockdale outfit.
“These two teams in particular have had a little bit of a history and in recent years there have been some tough encounters,” he said.
“Away from home they will have a big crowd, they’ve had a really good preseason and have recruited quite well.
“It’s a big challenge but we’ve prepared well for it. It’s been a long pre-season and everybody’s at the stage now that they are raring to go.”
Cromer Park will host Manly’s first home fixture of the season against Blacktown City FC on the 7th of March, but you can catch a glimpse of their trip to Rockdale via the NPL NSW Facebook page and Football NSW YouTube channel from 4:30pm on Sunday afternoon.