Brad Boardman is never one to be serious off the pitch if a good laugh can be had so when asking the difference between Sutherland Sharks when he last played here to returning this season you get what you expect.
The main difference is that I am now 30-years old rather than 26,” he utters with that cheeky grin before continuing.
“But other than that there is little change to be honest.
“The club set-up is the same, many of the lads are still here and I couldn’t be happier to be back at Seymour Shaw Park playing for Sutherland Sharks again.”
Sitting second behind league leaders Bonnyrigg White Eagles, the team he left the Sharks for, and battling them for top spot is slightly ironic.
“It’s a big, big season for both clubs like you say and we’ve started it off pretty good and want to finish it well also.
“Obviously with Bonnyrigg still ahead of us, when we had the chance to go top last week, are obviously our main target and to keep up our momentum and hopefully overhaul them of course.”
There is no extra incentive for the burly striker that it is the club he went to that Sutherland are chasing.
“Not at all, Bonnyrigg are a great club too but I’m back at Sutho now and my heart is with this club.
“The White Eagles have been a benchmark club for the last few years and last season, he spent time playing with Dapto Dandaloo in the Illawarra Premier League, I kept tabs on both sides and of course Bonnyrigg dominated the 2012 campaign and we have made it a target to keep in touch with them and overtake them hopefully.”
Many believe the difference between the two coach’s is little more than Brown (Bonnyrigg) is a dead-ball specialist whereas the emphasis in a Stanton (Sharks coach) produced side is all about running on and off the ball structured around speed but having played under both, Boardman begs to differ.
“Brian (Bomber) Brown is a very gifted coach and his philosophy over the years has been to work hard with his team, get them really fit and to organise a good support structure in the way he wants his teams to play and the way he goes about achieving that.
“Stanno (Robbie Stanton) is a more modern, up to date type of coach where he adopts a lot of passing drills and by-the-book moves that has got us playing some good football that certainly isn’t based purely on pace.
“Both have their own ways of motivating players and although speed is important it is of little use if the final product isn’t the back of net due to haste.
“The ability of both sides to break quickly, and even dead-ball situations, are just part of the armoury of each team but so is the ability to defend in depth and work as a unit to get the points and so far this season it seems the two of us are better than the rest at this but that can change at the drop of a hat and we need to be constantly alert to this.”
Both Bonnyrigg and Sutherland are playing pretty but effective football so far in 2013 with the Round 16 clash between the two to come in a couple of weeks at Seymour Shaw and the possibility of meeting in the Final of the Waratah Cup looming on the horizon it remains to be seen who will come out as top dog.
One thing for sure, there are a number of sides sliding under the radar who will also have a mighty big say between now and Round 22 and the perennial question remains – Who will hold their nerve to the end in what promises to be an eventful couple of months?
-By Micky Brock