Charles Sturt University Football Club is no stranger to an intra-club derby. However, for the first time ever, the students will see a first grade grudge match, on April 19 – with the clash sure to be a real calendar highlight.
A packed out Proctor Park 1 will play host to the mammoth clash between Red and White. Add hundreds of cheering students to the equation and suddenly there’s a lot more than three competition points on the line.
CSUFC’s motto may be ‘together as one’ but for 90 minutes these two sides won’t be club mates but rather fierce competitors competing for pride.
Calum Williams replaces Alex Ward at the helm of reigning premiers First Grade White, joining Mitch Kunnen this year, and both are no strangers to Bathurst’s top grade. Both find themselves relegated to a purely coaching role this season following horror runs with injury. However, in previous years, both have contributed hugely on the park for CSUFC and will be aching to get out there and run around themselves.
Kunnen comes from a sport science background and as such drills his side with a fitness first approach which often sees them outgun oppositions owing to their superior aerobic capabilities.
Contrastingly, First Grade Red gaffer Rhys Manners has never found himself in Bathurst’s premier grade as a player but rather brings a real clubman’s experience to the table. Manners played second grade for much of his CSUFC career before an injury – coincidentally suffered in a second grade derby last season – halted his playing career.
Manners’ side entered this season with small expectations – essentially a second grade side thrust into first grade by structural changes. However, their opening two fixtures have seen a real shift in opinion on the side with some believing they could be a considerably tougher outfit to face than first thought.
Coach Manners has set up his side solidly and will be hoping their form line can bring see them cause a real scare to the White camp.
How they’ll line up
First Grade White
It’s no secret that First Grade White is considered the stronger of the two sides. However the absence of key defenders Jake ‘Panther’ Brown and Toby Spora, who remains sidelined with a broken nose suffered in pre season, will cause a huge reshuffle in the side.
The White boys were unstoppable on opening day against Mudgee, with talismanic midfielder and skipper John Henry marshalling his troops around wonderfully from the centre of the park – while also grabbing a couple of goals for himself.
White will line up in a 3-5-2 formation as they look to utilise the quality of their backs and wide men in making their way up the park in complete control of possession. Goalkeeper Bryan Warren has proved a tough man to beat and enjoyed a quality first season with the gloves last year.
Expect to see a new look back line for the boys in White in the absence of Brown and Spora. Regulars Todd Jeffree and Callum Cauduro will be joined in defence by winger Jaydon Hannaford who will slot in at right back.
In the centre of the park, Henry is complimented wonderfully by the likes of the terrier-like Doug Connor, quality Semon Rakiwskyj, silky Felix Croshaw and big man fresher Callum Weafer. Expect to see these players look to dominate and distribute through the centre of the park.
Out wide, Ben Green and Andrew Smith all possess quality in delivery and on the ball. The duo will be key to their side’s forays forward in this clash.
Up top, reigning CSUFC player of the year Jimmy Shaw is accompanied capably by the monstrous Ollie Briggs and the wicked left boot of Alec Geelan.
All in all it really is a side to be feared, with quality all over the park and a game plan which is seriously difficult to halt. Red will have their work cut out for them.
First Grade Red
A relatively new-look side, First Grade Red have found themselves employing a similar style to their second grade namesake in 2016. A 4-3-3 formation looks to utilise a combination of experience and enthusiasm from new players as the Red men look to forge their own destiny in first grade this season.
Goalkeper Ollie Parry is no stranger to the big stage, having pulled on the gloves in the top grade at various points in his three years at CSUFC and will be looking to have a huge impact in this one.
Veteran Baden Smith and skipper Aaron Reilly form a formidable centre back pairing and are ably flanked by the likes of Alec Dolby, Blake Sanders as well as second year left back extraordinaire Josh Decent.
In the middle, a triangle three of Frenchman Pierrick Jacquety, nutmeg merchant Ryan Beetson and Lithgow import Dylan Anlezark has already shown signs of gelling and will look to spend some time on the ball in this clash.
Out wide, the speed of Shaun Paterson as well as the finishing ability of Aymon Bertah represent a real scoring threat for the boys in Red. While Manners’ side also welcome back Jake Rosengarten from a hip injury which kept him out of their opening two fixtures.
Up top, two-footed striker Angus Granger could cause some problems with his speed. While freshers Alex Mills and Lachlan Balcombe have already looked dangerous given a sniff of goal.
Red are a young side, however they’ve already shown they’re not a side to underestimate – White would do so at their own peril.
White has only taken to the park once in an official capacity in the new look Bathurst Premier League thus far. The reigning premiers did away with a promoted Mudgee side who were made to look seriously average by the passing and intensity of an established White outfit. However, the boys did take to the park just prior to the season at the Challenge Cup in Dubbo. They looked in good nick as they scooted through the round robin phase before going down and finishing in third spot against some of the best club sides in the Central West.
Red have played twice already this season. In their opening clash they registered a solitary point as a goal from Aymon Bertah cancelled out Panorama’s opener. Their second outing looked considerably more polished, as they turned it on in the second half to crush Macquarie United 4-0 at Proctor Park.
Why should you be there?
There is no greater excitement than watching two CSUFC sides take to the park against each other. The passion and skill on show will be second to none as the two nemeses do battle under lights at Proctor Park on Wednesday evening.
Bring all your mates down to watch and give these two sides the crowd they deserve.
Alternatively, if you can’t make it down to Proctor, be sure to give CSU Football Club a like on Facebook and tune into our live stream of the clash live from kick-off.