Five clubs will have new head coaches for the 2022 Lotto NRFL first division season and it’s clear that most place great importance on their quest for coaching qualifications.
The division includes Northern Rovers and West Coast Rangers — both with new coaches after their relegation from the Northern League — while promoted Onehunga Mangere United have lost last season’s title-winning coach Brian Murphy to Australia.
Here’s Friends of Football’s guide to the 2022 Lotto NRFL first division:
Northern Rovers (last season: relegated)
Former All Whites and Wellington Phoenix goalkeeping coach Paul Gothard has been appointed head coach at Northern Rovers who were relegated last season from the Northern League.
Gothard (47) has multiple qualifications including OFC/NZF B, FA/UEFA Goalkeeping B, FFA L3 Advanced, AFC B and L2 Advanced Goalkeeper Licences.
West Coast Rangers (last season: relegated)
Former All White Chad Coombes (38) has been appointed head coach at West Coast Rangers, working with Director of Football Andy Dunn.
Coombes joins WCR after leaving Birkenhead United, where he was assistant coach. He takes over from Albert Riera (now head coach at Auckland City) and veteran Auckland City player Angel Berlanga.
Albany United (last season: 3rd)
Albany’s coaching staff are led by Director of Football Andrew Mobberley.
Having played in all three divisions of the Lotto NRFL, he has 10 years’ coaching experience in First Kicks, junior and youth grades. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport & Recreation, majoring in Sports Management with minor in Coaching.
First-team coach will again be Dan Campbell, who has played for Albany since he was a junior. His assistant will be Leewaine Scott.
East Coast Bays (last season: 4th)
Joe Hall (31) has been appointed ECB’s Director of Football and will coach the club’s Lotto NRFL first division side.
He has coached at the Olé Academy in Wellington and assisted Willy Gerdsen at Canterbury United. He was Director of Football at Ferrymead Bays.
Manurewa AFC (last season: 5th)
Coach Rhys Ruka has been busy over summer, making key signings of All Whites striker Monty Patterson (25), from Auckland United, and Horace James (37), from North Shore United.
Ruka says last year was about trying to build two squads from scratch.
“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,” he says.
Mt Albert Ponsonby (last season: 6th)
Waitemata (last season: 7th)
First-team coach will be Hamish Mackay who will be leading Waitemata for the second season.
He’s also the Director of Sport at Green Bay High School.
Mackay got seriously into coaching when on his OE to the United Kingdom, he got roles as a community coach with Queen’s Park Rangers and coached girls for Crystal Palace. He’s now got his B Licence.
Tauranga City (last season: 8th)
Tauranga continue under the leadership of Director of Football Barry Gardiner.
The club has brought together a highly-qualified team of coaches to lead their Lotto NRFL campaign in 2022. It comprises Gardiner (NZF/OFC A Licence candidate), Nic Millichip (NZF/OFC A Licence candidate), Maia Ririnui (NZF/OFC A Licence candidate), Cameron Grieve (NZF/OFC B Licence), Jim Burtenshaw (NZF/OFC C Licence), Kieran Mischewski and Emily Parthemore.
Metro FC (last season: 9th)
Experienced goalkeeper Danyon Drake (28) has quit his playing career to focus on coaching and he’s been appointed co-head coach at Lotto NRFL first division club Metro FC. His co-head coach is Nathan Christie who returns for his fifth season.
Metro have appointed Tim Ragg as Director of Football for 2022, and the club has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Auckland City for the clubs to collaborate on a playing style and philosophy to be managed by shared Sporting Director and former All White Kris Bright (35).
Ellerslie (last season: 10th)
Ben Fletcher (32) heads up the Lotto NRFL first division club’s coaching staff, having rejoined the club over summer.
Four years ago, he coached the Ellerslie youth team to success at the national U-19 tournament in Napier. His last role was at Franklin United where he was Director of Football.
Onehunga Mangere United (promoted)
The Mountain Men won last season’s Lotto NRFL division two and will go into the first division with a new coach.
Update March 14: United have appointed former Bay Olympic coach Paul Marshall as their Director of Football and first team coach for 2022.
Last year’s head coach, Irishman Brian Murphy, has headed to Australia where he has become full-time head coach at Magpies Crusaders United in Mackay.
Fencibles United (promoted)
All Whites assistant coach Darren Bazeley is Fencibles’ Technical Director while Director of Football Marty Rodwell will also coach the club’s first team, promoted last year to the Lotto NRFL first division.
Rodwell was previously with Manurewa AFC.
Tomorrow: Check out our guide to the Lotto NRFL second division