Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Greg Meek
A raft of emerging Gold Coast City young talents are doing all the right things to prepare for the move to senior football, according to Under 18’s coach Brad Robinson.
City’s Under 18’s team concluded their season a fortnight ago with a typically emphatic 4-0 win over Moreton Bay United, ensuring a second-place finish to the season.
Despite the team being amongst the youngest in the competition – with a number of players transitioning from Under 16’s competition last year – Robinson said the statistics provide an indication of the quality emerging in City’s ranks.
In addition to being bested only four times in the league campaign, City also notched 10 clean sheets and striker Andrew Mackintosh topped the competition’s goal-scorers list with 21 goals.
Robinson, who has coached junior and youth teams at City for four seasons, said his side’s work ethic and attitude shone through the year.
“Where we finished on the table, and some of the statistics like conceding very few goals and also scoring lots of goals, are a reflection of a good mindset amongst the team,” he explained.
“For me, it is always important that players understand that 90 per cent effort is not enough at this level. The boys took that on board and never took anything for granted.”
“They did what they should at training, they gave it everything on match day and they followed instructions very well. It’s been very pleasing.”
Robinson stressed he is not the type to single out individuals in a team environment, but said that several players are showing they have the potential to eventually make their mark in the senior team.
“A few of our players had the capability to play in the Under 20’s this year and they have done so and done well,” he said.
“There’s a fair number that should be able to go on and play senior football at some point. It probably won’t happen next year but in the next couple of years I expect quite a few to be ready to take that step.”
Robinson said that the standard of football in the Under 18’s is continually improving, with players progressing through the junior ranks of PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues over the prior four seasons now reaching the youth age groups.
“About three or four of the boys have been in the NPL since the first year in Under 13’s, some have been in-and-out in that time and some joined the program for the last couple of years.”
“The standard of the Under 18’s competition this year was the best I have ever seen it. The gap between the NPL competition and the next level down in local football is just getting bigger.”
“Most of the top eight or nine teams could have beaten each other on any given day and that sort of competitiveness is excellent for the players’ development.”
Despite the home-and-away campaign being over, there is no let up for several Under 18 players as they continue to train.
Robinson said his only disappointment from the Under 18’s competition is the lack of a Grand Final.
“I would love to see a finals series introduced into the NPL in the youth age groups,” he said.
Gold Coast City FC Under 18’s Season Summary – PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland 2017
Position – 2nd
Played - 22 (W13, D5, L4)
Goal Difference - +41 (F62, A21)
Points - 43
Clean sheets - 10
Biggest win - 10 -0 v Sunshine Coast FC (June 17th @ Duncan Mckenna Field)
Longest winning streak - 3 games
Longest unbeaten run - 8 games
Top 10 Goalscorers -
21 – Andrew Mackintosh
8 – Zane Rowles
5 – Hunter Rutty, Marley Arreola
4 – Joseph Knox, Regan Lowry
3 – Maxi-Jae Rodriguez
2 – Christopher Phillips, Cooper Walls, Samuel Shephard
Top 10 Appearances -
22 – Andrew Mackintosh, Christian Deans, Jed Jackson
21 – Hunter Rutty, Matthew Guerin, Regan Lowry
20 – Harrison Lister, Thomas Fagence
19 – Cooper Walles
18 - Earl Pantillano