Newly crowned National Premier League NSW Men’s Premiers Rockdale Illinden have had a rebooted season to remember for the ages as the club scooped its first ever piece of NPL silverware.
Leading the charge in Rockdale’s stunning season has been debutant senior coach Steve Zoric who too was elated with how his first season as first team coach unfolded.
After winning the 2020 NPL NSW Men’s Premiership in thrilling circumstances on the final day of play against the North Shore Mariners last weekend, the former Rockdale youth coach has set his sights firmly on their massive semi-final clash against staunch rivals Sydney Olympic this Saturday evening at the Ilinden Sports Centre.
“This weekend I am expecting a blockbuster match with both teams filled with quality across the park.
“Sydney Olympic are a very experienced and accomplished squad with a lot of fire power in the front third.
“My thoughts are that this game will be won on the team that is defensively stronger on the day keeping in mind that midfield control will also contribute to who will be successful in getting to the Grand Final.
“Even though this will go down to the wire, I have great confidence in that we have shown enough ability and character to win this game and earn a spot in the main dance.”
One player that has certainly turned it on has been the club’s legendary marksman Alec Urosevski.
Originally, Urosevski was set to miss out on the rebooted season after stating he wanted to concentrate on his family baking business but couldn’t resist the temptation in helping his boys out in what has been a big year for the ex-Sydney FC Youth player.
Zoric who played youth football with Sydney United during the NSL as well as playing in the NPL with Manly Warringah Dolphins, Macarthur Rams and the Suns, paid tribute to his prolific goalscorer and the important role he played with the nucleus of the entire Rockdale squad.
“The greatest thing about Uro and the entire squad is that they are beautiful human beings that are humble. All the experienced players along with Uro are very nurturing for the younger players coming through.
“The dressing room is fantastic and players like Uro are key to providing a family type environment within it.
“Uro has had a very difficult year due to COVID-19 affecting the family business and difficulty in balancing the business, family and football.
“Initially, Urosevski could not commit 100% due to the added load in working the business and having a young family but his passion for football, club and community ensured that he would again take part which he has been instrumental to the clubs success this season.
“As a coach, it’s has been an honour to work with a player of his ability and drive to always, even with his achievements, in improving his game. He is a coach’s delight.
“His presence in the dressing room and on the park is phenomenal.”
The ambitious 46-year-old coach stated that it was the club’s push in creating a legacy in late 2019 that boosted the team’s drive to win every match at all costs even when the football lockdown took shape.
“When we commenced this journey in late 2019 during pre-season, we all always spoke about creating a legacy at the club.
“Legacy and giving the Club and Community the Premiership which it deserves was the main motivation.
“It was a perfect mixture of players and coaching staff that have come together in really being motivated to produce something special for the club.
“The main principles that we focused on to deliver this Legacy were Defensively, Possession and Mental Fitness.
“Defensively, we needed to ensure that we improved defensively as a team and ensured that our transition into defence was quick and structured.
“Possession, that we maintain possession and stay structure during this phase of play for long periods of time as a measure to prevent counter attacks
“Mental Fitness, we focused in this area so that we slowly build a culture of a winning mentality which has been on display during the last three weeks in closing out the Premiership
“In addition, we have started instilling our philosophy, but the most pleasing aspect is that we still have much more improvement and there is still a long way to go in fulfilling this philosophy.
“The squad is still in a development phase which is putting the club in a positive position for the future.”
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