Young Wests take out Cen­tral League crown

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON -

Pop­ping the cham­pagne cork proved the tough­est task for the West­ern Sub­urbs play­ers on Sun­day.

The club claimed their first Cen­tral League ti­tle since 2009 cour­tesy of their 6-0 thump­ing of Palmerston North Marist at En­deav­our Park, win­ning the league with two games to go.

It was a win in keep­ing with their dom­i­nance of the league this sea­son where they have won 13, drawn two and lost one, but things proved a lit­tle tougher post­match for cap­tain Harry Edge af­ter be­ing pre­sented a bot­tle of bub­bly to cel­e­brate their win.

He gave it a cou­ple of shakes with­out much suc­cess, be­fore re­serve goal­keeper Isaac Tet­teh took con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion to en­sure a proper un­cork­ing. Ear­lier, Wests chair­man Dean Ea­gar had quipped about it be­ing po­ten­tially the cheap­est shout in Cen­tral League ti­tle-win­ning his­tory.

That in­di­cated two things about this squad: they are young - Tet­teh, at 22, would be con­sid­ered an el­der states­man of the team - and they haven’t lifted too many tro­phies in re­cent times.

It was the first ti­tle of coach De­clan Edge’s five-year reign, with more im­por­tance put on de­vel­op­ing play­ers than re­sults, but he said a big mo­ti­va­tion this year was to si­lence their crit­ics.

‘‘Be­ing pissed off with a few peo­ple say­ing we couldn’t win,’’ he said of the change this sea­son.

‘‘Other peo­ple say­ing things like ‘maybe De­clan is good at de­vel­op­ing play­ers, but he doesn’t know how to coach a team to win’.

‘‘So I must thank all the haters, the ones who have said we can’t do some­thing. It’s just been peo­ple piss­ing me off say­ing I couldn’t win the league for a few years re­ally. It was about go­ing and do­ing that now, do­ing a few things a bit dif­fer­ent, be a bit more dili­gent at the back.

‘‘Also, those boys at the back are 20, 21, they’re start­ing to find some ma­tu­rity.’’

Edge said part of it was also him­self get­ting bet­ter as a coach.

Sun­day’s game was over very early on. Any wor­ries about get­ting past last-placed Marist were put to bed with two goals in the first 15 min­utes. That was the half­time score as Wests laboured through the rest of the first 45, but Xavier Green’s top-class strike into the top-right cor­ner from the left-edge of the box early in the sec­ond half sparked them again as they ran away with the re­sult.

While few would’ve ex­pected overly wild cel­e­bra­tions from the young Wests team, Edge said they would be straight into train­ing for next Sat­ur­day’s Chatham Cup quar­ter­fi­nal, at home to Bay Olympic.

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