NEWS, COMMUNITY, RECREATION, FRIENDS & FAMILY | MUSWELLBROOK, SINGLETON & SURROUNDS

June 22, 2024 3:25 PM

Undefeated Strikers’ strong start

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BY ALEX TIGANI

The Singleton Strikers will hope to continue their red-hot start to the season against Kahibah this Saturday.

Mick Jarvis’ first grade side sit on top of the Northern League One table thanks to season opening wins against Cessnock (2-1) and Thornton (2-0) in a start which will not see them play their first home game until they host West Wallsend in Round 7 on Friday, April 7.

Second placed Toronto-Awaba is the only other club remain undefeated.

The club’s reserve grade line-up has also captured a 2-0 winning record under coach Julia Weir with victories over Cessnock (3-0) and Thornton (3-2) off the back of impressive trial match results against NPL side Valentine (2-1) and Forster (5-1).

She conceded Thornton had optimised on Singleton’s mistakes when scores were 2-2 before a solid chat at halftime rejuvenated her men to hone into their strengths.

Her passion for the side has been appreciated by many around the club given the reserve grade side had not been in the finals’ conversation prior to her appointment.

Commencing her junior football with Hellensburg, Weir went on to play for the Illawarra Stingrays’ representative side from ages 11-16.

Sidelined by injury, the Stingrays encouraged her to take on a Football Australia C-licence and she completed the coaching course as the only female student.

“I was 17 and the next youngest was 35 from memory but I was very grateful for the Stingrays for sponsoring me at the time,” she reflected.

Weir moved to Singleton in 2021 where she enjoyed a season as a player with the Storm (the club’s women’s side).

Storm legend Tove Crosswell advised the group that the Strikers were hoping to put some players through available coaching courses.

When senior club president Dean Dunn heard of Weir’s background, passion and knowledge for the game he made decision to fast track her role from junior to reserve grade level.

One year on, the visionary president made the right call as Weir enters this Saturday’s clash with a 7-6-7 winning record.

This is a tremendous achievement when you consider that the line-up had only won six of its previous 44 games.

“He was so wonderful about it, really encouraging and supportive,” she added.

“I had a few people who were concerned about the time it would take, the fact that it was young men I would be coaching and how I hadn’t been at the club for long.

“(Yet) I had others who saw it as a great opportunity that didn’t come around the bend too often.”

The Strikers still have 25 rounds remaining however their current top two position in both grades has brought an extra level of excitement for supporters in 2023.

Some even believe the reserves can go all the way.

“It would be pretty amazing but I wouldn’t look at it as my achievement as a coach, I would look at it as more of an achievement for the guys,” she concluded.

“If they continue to play the way they are playing I think they would be more than deserving of a championship and I would be absolutely happy to be along for the ride.”

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