As the 40th anniversary of their last national league title looms next year, South Auckland club Manurewa is undergoing a resurgence ahead of their 2022 season.
While the signing of 15-cap New Zealand international striker Monty Patterson (25) captures most of the attention, the Memorial Park club has bolstered its coaching staff with key appointments.
Manurewa finished fourth in last season’s Lotto NRFL Division One but is aiming for promotion to the Northern League.
First-team coach Rhys Ruka told the club’s social media last year had been challenging, having to build two squads from scratch in his first year as coach.
“We now have more of an idea of what we want and more importantly what we don’t want.
“2022 is about building on what we started and finishing as high up the table as possible.”
Patterson: Rewa have ‘huge ambitions’
Ruka has signed Patterson from Auckland United and the much-travelled international brings experience from English club Ipswich Town, United States side Oklahoma City Energy, the Wellington Phoenix and Norwegian club Hønefoss Ballklubb.
Patterson (main photo) told the club’s social media channel: “When speaking with the club and the people involved at Manurewa, I was moved and excited by everything the club wishes to achieve.
“The people at Manurewa have huge ambitions to grow the club, academy and community. For me, it was a very exciting opportunity and a project that I am glad to now be a part of. I’m looking forward to helping grow the club with my efforts on and off the field.
“My personal goal is to continue to grow as a leader and person, with my efforts on the pitch I will do my best to contribute as many goals and assists as possible as well as doing my best to help bring a winning mentality to the team and club.
“Collectively the main aim for the team and club is to achieve promotion to the premier division. God willing, we will have a successful year and season.”
Coaching and backroom staff
Over the summer, Manurewa have moved fast to announce new appointments and to confirm which coaches and backroom staff were returning for their 2022 season.
The club’s new Director of Football is Brett McMurdoch, a UEFA A Licence-qualified coach with 30 years experience. His appointment is a partnership between Rewa and the South Auckland Elite Football Academy.
Ruka returns as first-team coach. Still only 33, he’s a vastly experienced midfielder who spent a decade at Hamilton Wanderers before turning out for Auckland clubs including Eastern Suburbs, Manukau City, Waiheke United and Bay Olympic. He also played in the Oceania Federation Championship for Cook Islands club Tupapa Maraerenga and has captained the NZ Māori men’s team.
He was Manukau United’s inaugural women’s team coach for two seasons, leaving in 2018.
The club has confirmed Tashreeq Davids and Pinda Singh will return as Ruka’s assistant coaches, while Anibal Paris continues as the club’s strength and conditioning coach.
Long-time Manurewa player Dion Hansen (43) has been appointed head coach of the club’s U-23 side. He’s been at Rewa since he was 5 and will be part of DoF McMurdoch’s plan to develop a youth development pathway and a programme to upskill the club’s coaches.
First team goalkeeper Fernando Orduna also joins the coaching ranks, having been appointed head coach of Manurewa’s women’s team.
Rewa’s backroom staff
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Using technology to analyse performance
The club has announced what it calls a ‘strategic alliance’ with Argentine tech company InLab Analytics & AI, who specialise in sports data analysis. The company, whose clients include BOCA and Argentinos Juniors, will provide Rewa’s coaches with weekly statistical data and analysis to help with their decision-making.
Can Rewa bring back the glory days?
Manurewa competed in the New Zealand national league from 1979 to 1992, and were crowned national champions in 1983.
The club’s league exploits and Chatham Cup wins in 1978 and 1984, helped boost the reputations of legendary coach John Adshead and internationals such as Dave Bright, Frank van Hattum, Keith Mackay, Sam Malcolmson, Lee Stickland, Steve Sumner and Mark Armstrong.
By 2019, Rewa had found itself in the Lotto NRFL second division – two tiers beneath the national league competition.
They earned promotion to Division 1 via the play-offs and consolidated their position last season.
Could 2022 be the season that gives Rewa supporters the chance to combine promotion to the Northern League, and a crack at qualification to the National League in 2023?
It would be one heck of a way to mark the 40th anniversary of their past glory.