Western Pride defender Hayden Mchenery is helping out the club's under-18 side.
Western Pride defender Hayden Mchenery is helping out the club's under-18 side. Chris Simpson

Why football coach committed to getting job done

WHEN a coach is fully focused, the team often follows, especially after a period of transition.

That's the case at Western Pride where Reg Davani is steering the proverbial ship after some recent coaching and player losses.

However, preparing for another testing away game against Gold Coast United, Davani shared his single-minded approach after receiving the head coach role until the end of the 2018 state league season.

"I've been part of the group since December,'' Davani said having been Graham Harvey's understudy until he recently accepted a professional job in Hong Kong.

"The big thing is that we just have stability. Someone who understands the structures and the players in terms of personality, just to finish the year off.

"I haven't really thought about anything else.

"I'm just really focusing on getting the team into the finals and making sure we finish as high as possible.''

Since being thrust from a learning role to guiding the senior team, Davani has done a solid job.

 

Western Pride assistant coach Reg Davani.
Western Pride coach Reg Davani. David Lems

With five National Premier League football games left, Pride are in third spot after recent wins over South West Thunder and the Magpies Crusaders.

However, Davani welcomed extra help from another aspiring young coach Jordan Manning and skilful first-team regular Hayden Mchenery.

Manning has been assisting Davani with Pride's under-20 side and providing an extra set of eyes for the top team.

Mchenery has stepped up to help Pride's promising under-18 combination.

"It's great for Hayden as well because it's someone from within the team environment,'' Davani said.

"He understands the culture. He's a young player with good experience already having come through the Roar, QAS and NPL systems.

"It's good for the young players to see someone like that.''

And former Ipswich Grammar School student Davani has kept in touch with master mentor Harvey as he continues the progressive work that carried Pride to last year's grand final success.

"The big thing is that we take care of our side of things,'' Davani said.

That includes being ready for Gold Coast United on their home field on Saturday night after the game was originally scheduled for Sunday night.

"We're not going to take them lightly at all,'' he said. "It's business as usual for us.''

Although Pride only beat the Magpies Crusaders 2-1 in Mackay last weekend, Davani was satisfied with his team's commitment when frustration could have set in.

"We started slowly but by midway through the first half we were back to 100 per cent going,'' he said.

"The opportunities were just countless. The amount of possession we had as well.

"It was just one of the those nights. It wasn't falling our way.

"But the big thing was the attitude and the applications were good. The pleasing thing was they just kept at it. The professionalism was good.''

He said when the crowd started to get rowdy, "the boys managed it well''.

"The boys have been around together for so long now that even though they are a young group, they've experienced a lot and managed the situation well.

"We did a job in the end.''

Davani said the team worked on its finishing at training this week.

Battle for starting spots

WESTERN Pride head coach Reg Davani is happy to see captain Jesse Rigby on the way back after receiving more than 40 minutes of game time during the past two matches recovering from his ankle injury.

After having university commitments, utility player Nielen Brown is also available tonight, providing more experience.

Jacob Minett has been a valuable addition to Pride's defence in recent weeks.

"He gives us that go forward and also that stability helping out at the back,'' Davani said.

As former head coach Graham Harvey did, Davani is also keen to promote Pride's under 20 players at every opportunity.

Midfielder Josh Wilson has been starting matches, bringing extra energy.

Striker Alex Parsons has been busy up front adding more firepower.

Youngsters like Matt Haspels are coming off the bench.

"Everyone is really fighting for the starting 11 places,'' Davani said. "There's a lot of opportunities now for our under-20 players, depending on tactical reasons and personnel for the weekend.''

Game day

NPL: Saturday (7.30pm) - Western Pride v Gold Coast United at Robina.

NPL women: Sunday (2pm) - Western Pride v Gold Coast United at Runaway Bay.

FQPL: Saturday (6pm) - Ipswich Knights v Sunshine Coast Wanderers at Eric Evans Oval.

CL1: Saturday (6pm) - Ipswich City v Park Ridge at Sutton Park. Tomorrow (5pm) - Western Spirit v St George Willawong at Kippen Park.

BWPL: Sunday (5pm) - Ipswich City v Park Ridge at Sutton Park.