Joe Hayward faces his first season in charge of North Shore Mariners in the context of playing top tier NPL NSW Men’s football for season 2020 but has approached it with a calm determination that keeps his charges feet firmly grounded.
Speaking after the nil-all draw pre-season game vs. Rockdale Ilinden last weekend, Hayward was ready for the huge task at hand.
“It’s about trying to build a culture at the club, you’ve seen tonight a lad who has made his debut after being with the club since the age of 10-years (now 16) and four U18s in the side and it’s about trying to build the strength within the whole club for us.
“We don’t have the massive squad lists some can boast so it’s important to us we build the 18’s, 20’s and first grade and can strengthen these areas and count on them when required.
“Although there isn’t a Club Championship this season, we are treating 2020 as if there were and look after the players but also they are all pushing one another week-in, week-out.”
When quizzed on aspirations for this campaign, Hayward stated to Football NSW.
“For us as a club it has always been to concentrate on winning the next game, trying to do our best in the next training session and push ourselves to the next goal.”
The team morale, as expected, is high with a little under a week until the big kick-off.
“Everyone is definitely getting excited now as it’s our first year in the program.
“I’ve been here since we were a park football team and we’ve come through from Division 4 to the top tier and the boys in the side that have made that journey from the start are now starting to look forward to it and there is certainly a buzz about the place with what we’re doing.
“It’s exciting times for the players and us a club.”
The North Shore Mariners will be playing their home games out of Lambert Park and will be well worth going along to watch.
In the above mentioned match, there were plenty of good signs, combinations and a steely determination that will stand them in good stead for the competition to come and in Joe Hayward they have an enthusiastic and determined young coach.
The opening fixture cannot come quickly enough as they take on 2019 Champions APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park with kick off set for 6pm this Saturday evening.
-By Micky Brock