Sturt-Marion Thunder out to prove lightning strikes twice

17 JAN 2018 | BY TIM BAKER

Jay Honeysett will return as coach of Sturt-Marion’s championship winning SA Amateur Soccer League Saturday Premier League side in 2018.

Established in 1986 and based at Club Marion on Sturt Road, Marion – the Thunder won it’s first ever A-Grade Premier League title during 2017 in Honeysett’s first season as Coach.

He will be joined by Michael Wheeler, stepping up from the Club’s C-Grade side to take over the reins of the Thunder Reserves from Chris McElroy who moves into a newly created role of Football Operations Director.

Honeysett said he was delighted for his players and honoured to be apart of the Club’s historic achievement.

“To be honest, I see Sturt Marion as a club that has huge potential with arguably the best facilities in the league,” he said.

“Along with the team, we as a Club made some really good progress in 2017 and strive to continue the upward trend in 2018.”

At just 33 years of age it is remarkable that Honeysett has been able to achieve what many other coaches couldn’t, despite coming very close, in just one year at the helm.

“Obviously being a young coach at the age of 33 coaching a senior group poses its challenges at the best of times, and even more so when its a group of similar age that you played with the previous year, however I like to think I handled the challenge pretty well.

“I actually found it as an advantage in many ways being able to draw some good young players to the club along with being able to relate to the players needs and expectations on a closer level to get the best out of them.”

In fact, both coaches have youth on their side. Wheeler is just a click over 30 at 31 years of age giving the SAASL one of it’s youngest ever coaching tandems.

“I’m ecstatic to be making the jump up from the C-Grade to the Reserves this year,” added Wheeler.

“We had a great year last year and I learned a lot in my first year coaching, but I always knew that I wanted to progress up through the club if the opportunity became available.

“Jay and myself are good friends away from football so it makes it easier and more enjoyable to coach alongside one another too. He’s a phenomenal coach and showed everyone just how good he is by winning the league in his first season coaching at the club.”

Both coaches are buoyed by the promise within the Club and welcome new players to solidify their position and defend their title.

Club President David Sedgwick hailed the Club’s maiden A-Grade trophy and praised the current coaches efforts following years as a bridesmaid in a heavily competitive division.

“For a great number of our past and current coaches, players and committee members last year’s result represents reward for a lot of hard work and effort,” he said.

“Our current group of coaches led by Jay Honeysett raised the bar for everyone at the Club including the Committee through both work ethic and setting the re-evaluating objectives throughout the season.”

“We are now a Club that not only plays at the best sports complex in southern Adelaide, we are a Club that has our expectations and goals set to match it with the very best.

“Club Marion is an important sporting and community hub in the heart of inner southern Adelaide. Many who join our Club are drawn to the great structural facilities we experience here but they invariably stay because of our Club’s inclusive culture.”

Despite the fact that geographically the sports complex is landlocked, Club Marion continuously invests in ways to improve facilities for all affiliated sporting clubs, including Sturt-Marion Thunder.

“For us this means support for new equipment – particularly big ticket items like goals – or infrastructure items like change rooms, lighting and canteen facilities,” added Sedgwick.

“These all represent other ways we can entice players to our Club to experience not only strong on-field results but off-field structure in line with the award winning restaurant and bar facilities. There really is something for almost everyone in the community here.”

Sturt-Marion commences pre-season training on Tuesday, 23 January from 6:30pm. Trainings take place every Tuesday and Thursday at Club Marion, 262 Sturt Road, Marion. New players welcome.

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