Promoted Manurewa have made a series of new signings ahead of their return to football’s Northern League.
They include two players from England’s National League South, an attacking midfielder from Chile and three players from league rivals Hamilton Wanderers and Melville United.
Coaching combo Rhys Ruka and Paul Marshall — the latter joined last year from Onehunga Mangere United — have also re-signed key players from their promotion-winning squad from last year’s Lotto NRFL first division.
Pre-season results indicate the South Auckland club are putting together a strong campaign for 2023. They have beaten Onehunga Mangere United 8-0, Albany United 5-2 and Ellerslie 7-0.
Main photo: Manurewa celebrate winning promotion last season.
Attacking midfielder Ronaldo Lopez (23) arrives from Santiago club Club Deportivo Y Cultural la Pintana Unida who play in the Chile’s fourth-tier competition, Third Division B. He was introduced to the club by ‘Rewa’s Player of the Year Nico Bobadilla, who has also re-signed.
Ross Staley (28) and Joe Budd (20) arrive from English club Taunton Town FC who compete in the National League South.
Staley, a winger, scored 27 goals in 73 starts and 38 appearances off the bench for Taunton.
Budd, a midfielder, joined Taunton after being loaned to the club by Bristol Rovers.
The pair will coach Manurewa’s U-14 and U-15 teams.
Taunton’s head of football Rob Dray said:
”Ross and Joe leaving will no doubt leave a hole for us all at the club both on and off the pitch but we totally understand the opportunity to go and live and play in New Zealand.
“Ross, in particular, has been a fantastic servant from the Step 4 days to the National League. Buddy again has been magnificent and as a young player will only get better. We will welcome them both back in September after their season finishes.”
Two Hamilton Wanderers players will move to Jellicoe Park for 2023. They are right-sided defender Dylan Morris (24) and midfielder Connor Probert (24), who has played for the national U-20 team.
Announcing their signings, Manurewa say: “Dylan comes to us with an abundance of football experience on and off the pitch and has the same passion for defending as he does attacking — rare to come by these days. Both absolutely class Kiwi lads, best mates, humble and will always put the team first.”
Forward Moh Reynolds (19) joins Manurewa after spells with Auckland United, Manukau United and last season at Melville United.
Rewa coach Ruka says he thinks Reynold’s blistering pace could see him improve with Rewa.
“I believe he has a very high ceiling and hopefully, me and Marshy can accelerate his progress towards that. His attributes suit our style very well.”
The versatile James Hoyt (32) returns to Manurewa after spells with Manukau United and Fijian side Nadi FC.
“James is a very complete player and is comfortable in many positions in a number of different formations,” the club says.
“It’s not often that a player has both the technical and physical elements of the game but James does in spades. Play him wide and see the tricks to beat a man. Play him central and he keeps it beautifully simple.”
Other returnees include defensive linchpin Agustin Contratti and wingers Mohammed Nabeel and Mohammed Shah.
The versatile Dylan Horgan returns for his third season with Rewa.
Leading goalscorer combines playing with coaching
Last year’s leading goalscorer, All Whites striker Monty Patterson, returns and will also coach the club’s U-23 side, and its U-19 and U-17 tournament squads.
Patterson scored 13 goals for ‘Rewa last season.