Friday 26th of February cannot come soon enough for Dom Ferguson and the Manly United squad as they play host to its first 2021 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s match against a hungry Mt Druitt Town Rangers squad at Cromer Park.
The hard-working midfielder however was dealt with a blow succumbing to injury earlier in January but is on the mend and has stated to Football NSW that the squad is slowly hitting its straps having played a number of positive pre-season hit outs.
“On a personal note it’s been a little disruptive with regards to the start of the 2021 season after I tore my calf by 14cm in early January.
“From a team perspective, we are starting to look very sharp as we get some games under our belt.
“We have many new faces and we all can’t wait to get the season underway starting with a tricky home match against a tough Rangers outfit who seem to have recruited well in the off-season.
“Our focus this year is playing finals football as well as playing good football and if we can pick up a trophy along the way, that would be a very successful season.”
With the 25-year-old nursing his injury, Ferguson has had the opportunity to witness how coach Adam Griffiths has continued to develop into yet another rising young coach hailing from the NPL NSW Men’s competition with big ambitions to take it to the next level.
“Adam’s been great from the get-go.
“He’s started the year intensely with the lads at Cromer with sessions nearly every second day but everyone is now very clear on how he wants us to play and what he expects from us.
“He’s got fantastic support in Marty Judge and Dylan Macallister who both add another layer of professionalism and expertise to the squad that helps us out a lot.”
The Northern Beaches have been blessed with some quality local talent recently with the likes of former Manly youngsters Patrick Wood and Calem Nieuwenhof flying the flag for the club doing their thing in the A-League with Sydney FC.
Manly United’s squad is littered with local talent this season, something that has really excited Ferguson who believes there’s much more quality to come from the Northern Beaches.
“It’s crazy how many Northern Beaches boys we have in the squad this year but I guess that’s a huge testament to the clubs philosophy.
“Andrew Christiansen, our Technical Director and 20s coach, has been instrumental in this and should take a lot of the credit for the pathway that’s been created from junior ages right through to the first team.
“It seems like every year there are young boys ready to step up which is great and puts pressure on us older lads to stay at a high level.”
One player returning to his old stomping ground is Benjamin Koop after spending some time with Sydney FC, a recruit Ferguson is excited to see at the club.
“Benny has been exciting to watch since returning and I think he’s going to have a real impact for us.
“He’ll be getting a lot of minutes this year alongside some more experienced heads like Scott Balderson, Richie Cardozo and Dejan Pandurevic which he’ll be able to learn a lot from.”
One familiar face that won’t be at the club after spending several seasons and banging in a number of goals along with exciting the Cromer faithful will be Brendan Cholakian.
The energetic attacker signed with fellow NPL NSW Men’s rivals Sydney Olympic with round 7 set to be the clash which will see both players go head to head at Cromer Park on Friday 9th of April.
“Choc is an absolute legend, and no one has forgotten what he did for Manly over the years he was here.
“We still speak nearly every day so it’s going to be weird lining up against him but I’m relishing it.
“No matter what happens in the game, there’s no doubt we’ll be having a beer afterwards together.”