Futsal champs pay tribute to coaches (NSW)

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Illawarra Mercury

Having just secured their second straight title, Southern NSW coach Michael Norris is hoping his side will be recognised for their level of commitment after winning the athletes with a disability section of the recent National Futsal Championships.

Illawarra futsal stars Rocco Musumeci (left), Nathan Whalen, Caitlyn Cooney, Dane Pritchard, John Ruiz, Mitch Forrest, Koby Banks and Tim Walsh who were members of the Southern NSW side that won the athletes with a disability section of the national titles. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Illawarra futsal stars Rocco Musumeci (left), Nathan Whalen, Caitlyn Cooney, Dane Pritchard, John Ruiz, Mitch Forrest, Koby Banks and Tim Walsh who were members of the Southern NSW side that won the athletes with a disability section of the national titles. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

The side’s origin can be traced to the Illawarra Disability Trust as recently as three years ago, but they have already snared back-to-back crowns in the Football Federation Australia-sanctioned tournament.

And they’re also plotting how to win a hat-trick of titles.

“I think it’s a testament to their commitment and I can attest that it’s not a Mickey Mouse competition for them,” Norris said.

“They’re fully fledged athletes and what they do should be recognised by everyone and what they put in is no different to what everyone else does in their sport.”

The free-scoring Southern NSW side netted an amazing 54 goals in just eight matches against rivals from the ACT, Victoria, Queensland and other regions of NSW.

Their 5-1 grand final rout of hosts ACT Cobras was underpinned by a two-goal performance from skipper Rocco Musumeci, who was forced to miss last year’s tournament when stranded in the Queensland floods.

The ages of the Southern NSW side range from 16 through to the mid-40s and they leaked just three goals for the entire tournament.

Norris said the meteoric rise could be attributed to the program’s coaches at the Illawarra Disability Trust.

“It’s been a really quick rise for us and when we went to our first state titles we were getting beat 10-0,” he said.

“Twelve months later we’re knocking on the door and winning the national title. It’s largely in part to the great coaches we have.”

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