Promoted Manurewa switch coaches at start of Northern League campaign

Paul Marshall has taken over as interim head coach at Northern League club Manurewa following the departure of Rhys Ruka.

Ruka, who led Rewa to promotion from the Lotto NRFL first division last season, was missing from the dugout as Manurewa won their opening game of the season, beating last year’s runners-up Birkenhead United 4-2 at McFetridge Park, Glenfield.

Marshall coached the squad for the win, having joined the club from Onehunga Mangere United late last year to be Ruka’s assistant coach.

Main photo: Rhys Ruka … no longer head coach at Manurewa. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Paul Marshall … interim head coach.

After the game, Marshall told Manurewa followers via the club’s Facebook page:

“It’s a good start for the team, obviously. We’ve had a pretty good pre-season.

“We’ve had a little bit of a raucous last couple of weeks with some episodes going on at the club.

“I’m in there on an interim basis, at the moment, as the head coach.

“The team really responded well to everything today.”

Marshall said to win, the team had to deal with a “little bit of a mental thing, really … if the players could just keep their heads with everything that’s been going on at the club, and I think they did that.”

New Zealand international Monty Patterson gave Rewa the perfect start with a 13th-minute penalty, but Marshall said Patterson’s second goal, on the hour mark, was the crucial moment in the match.

It gave them a 2-1 lead and Rewa were not headed, winning 4-2 in the end.

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Game played on Sunday March 26, 2023

Birkenhead United 2 (Dino Botica 45+1′, Finn McKenlay 90+1′)
Manurewa 4 (Monty Patterson 13′ pen, 60′, own goal 84′, Nico Bobadilla 90′)

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