Manly United FC will have a slightly different look in the dugout this season.
A late enforced coaching change has thrown a slight spanner in the works ahead of the new PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition, with veteran coach Paul Dee having to step down on the eve of the new season.
Dee’s work requires him to move to Melbourne, and while the coach and the club hope that the move is a short-term one – Dee is hoping to return for the 2018 season – club Technical Director Warren Grieve is set to take the reins in the short term.
"The intent is to come back," Dee said.
"I have absolutely loved being a part of the evolution and growth of this club, and I am very committed to the club and to helping our players who aspire to continuously develop and make the grade in the A-League."
Dee said he was happy with his work at Manly and remained confident that the team could build on a successful 2016 in his absence.
"The team has worked exceptionally hard. The intensity all pre-season has been where we want it to be," he said.
"I think it is looking positive for the upcoming season. We finished in the top-three and made the semi-finals so the aim is to improve on that."
And Dee says the team is in good hands with Grieve in charge.
Grieve has been Manly’s Technical Director for the past six months after serving as ACT Capital Football’s Technical Director for five years.
Today, Grieve continues to deliver advanced coaching courses on behalf of Football Federation Australia in addition to his Manly United duties.
And while the enforced coaching change came about very quickly, Grieve is confident that the club is well-placed to transition smoothly.
"It’s all very recent and it all happened very quickly, but we always knew with Paul’s work that it might happen, so we’ve been prepared," Grieve said.
"It just made sense for me to take charge on an interim basis this close to the season to ensure as little disruption as possible for the players.
"The intention is that we will find a coach to take on the role, but he has to be right for the club and knowing that we’re still hoping for Paul to return as well."
Grieve said he was happy with what he has seen from the team’s first-grade players heading into the new season.
"The boys have been tremendous," Grieve said.
"Paul has dome some fantastic work. It was an incredibly successful season last year and we want to continue in that vein this season."
Manly United will go into season 2017 as one of the title contenders having put together a well equipped squad.
New faces include former Blacktown City FC midfielder Sasa Macura, ex-Rockdale City Suns striker Dylan Macallister and Nikola Taneski from Sydney United 58 FC.
-By Matthew Galea