Drury and Franklin join forces

Franklin County News - - SPORT - ALAN APTED

Drury United’s best ju­nior prospects will soon be play­ing in the Northern Re­gion Foot­ball League.

This fol­lows an agree­ment which will see the club’s best play­ing pre­miers, re­serves and un­der-19s for Franklin United, the Pukekohe-based club that suc­ceeded Waiuku in the northern league last year and which fin­ished sev­enth in the 11 team com­pe­ti­tion.

The op­por­tu­nity arose when Waiuku AFC pulled out of an agree­ment with Pukekohe AFC, an ar­range­ment which con­sti­tuted Franklin.

Drury pres­i­dent Martin Strange said the de­ci­sion to step into the breech was a no-brainer. ’’It took us less than month to make a de­ci­sion that is nec­es­sary and so ex­cit­ing for Drury.

‘‘We’ve been work­ing on a path­way for our play­ers for some time and when this op­por­tu­nity pre­sented it­self it was a very quick and easy de­ci­sion.

‘‘The club has seen sig­nif­i­cant growth and in­vest­ment in re­cent years and has more than dou­bled it’s mem­ber­ship in five years. We as a club are com­mit­ted to the de­vel­op­ment of play­ers . . . We sub­sidise Co­erver coach­ing for our ju­niors and have been in­volved for some years with the South Auck­land Elite acad­emy run by for­mer All White Mark Atkin­son.

‘‘We have helped our play­ers grow their skills and now we have an out­let for tal­ent at the top of the club,’’ he says.

Strange said the ar­range­ment was a big step for Drury and foot- ball in South Auck­land. ’’Franklin United was set up to at­tract and keep tal­ent in the south and to stop the ex­o­dus of tal­ent north to clubs in Auck­land.’’

Strange said Drury United play­ers were al­ready tak­ing ad­van­tage of the link up. ’’We have a num­ber of play­ers try­ing out for the Franklin team al­ready. They’re re­ally en­joy­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing with and against play­ers from the northern league. For those who miss se­lec­tion, the ex­pe­ri­ence they pick up will ben­e­fit our se­nior side.’’

Franklin play Ba, a team of for­mer Fiji play­ers liv­ing in South Auck­land, in a pre-sea­son match at Drury United on March 6. Kick off is 7pm. Drury tri­als con­tinue Fe­bru­ary 28 and March 1-2.

SUP­PLIED

Franklin United chair­man Michael Lieshout, left, and Drury United pres­i­dent Martin Strange sign­ing up to an ex­cit­ing new foot­ball ven­ture.

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