Reining PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Champions Manly United are yet to reach their potential and will only get better, coach Paul Dee has declared ahead of the start of the 2018 season.
Last September the northern beaches side stunned Premiers and favourites APIA Leichhardt Tigers in the championship decider to clinch their first title in 22 years.
Dee, returning to the club this season after a work secondment to Melbourne in 2017, believes his side has plenty of room to grow and is confident their recent success will be a platform for even great glory in the future.
“Each season we set out to improve on the previous year and even though we won the title last season the goal remains the same this time around,” he said
“The club has been on this growth path for a number of seasons and it was an incredible feeling to finally reap the rewards.
“To see the pure elation on the face of the players and officials who have given so much to the club was something that is sure to stay with me for a long time.
“This is just the start for the club and the goal for this campaign is to build from the grand final win and perform consistently at this high level.”
Player retention was the motto for Manly’s off-season business with the club keeping most of the players from their Championship winning squad.
One big name who won’t feature will be winger Dejan Pandurevic who departs after securing a professional contract in Serbia.
While Manly United has yet to splash out in the transfer marker, Dee revealed the club is actively in the market for new talent.
“I’m really proud the team has stuck together,” Dee said.
“That was the most important thing for me coming into this season. A few players have moved on and we have elevated some standout players from our Under 20s team.
“We haven’t brought in any big name acquisitions just yet as the focus was on re-signing players but that doesn’t mean we won’t.
“We are in the market to make a signing or two but we aren’t going to bring a guy in just for the sake of it. If the right player in the right role becomes available we will make a move but otherwise we are happy with the squad we have.”
With his side coming into 2018 as reigning champions, Dee knows his team will be a target and is using this preseason to steel his team for the gruelling campaign ahead.
“Quite simply this season we will be looking for greatness in everything we do,” he said.
“We know we need to achieve that because every team in the league will be working harder than before to beat us.
“It is going to be a bigger challenge this time around but it’s one everyone at the club is ready for.”
-By Nick Houghton