MAN IN THE MIDDLE: Sutton leads both sides in Bobcats battle
MACLEAN Bobcats coach Wayne Sutton has been tasked with leading not one, but two women’s Division 2 North sides in 2020 and the interclub rivals are set to square off at Wherrett Park on Tuesday.
The Bobcats have long been a powerhouse in North Coast Football and the women’s sides are often the most successful at the club.
This year is no exception, with Maclean Green sitting undefeated atop the ladder ahead of the Westlawn Tigers in second and Maclean White in third.
Sutton has been the key to the Bobcats success this season but his allegiances will be put to the test when the two square up for a midweek clash.
Normally sat with one side near the half way line, Sutton will split the gap as he comes up with a winning plan … against himself.
“I will pull the two benches closer together and just put another chair in-between them,” Sutton said.
“It will be more or less the same coaching box.”
Initially set to have just one team in 2020, Sutton said the recruitment drive from his girls saved the season.
“It eventuated because Yamba and Coutts Crossing who were in competition last year weren't able to field teams. It was six teams last year and we only had one team at that stage,” he said.
“The girls went on a recruitment drive and got people to come in. Grafton and Westlawn had enough for one team but with the extra player, Maclean having two teams allowed us to go ahead with a competition.”
Sutton was hesitant to lean one way or another, but said he would likely be lending more a hand to the less experienced group on the night.
“I’ll possibly be helping White a bit more than Green. A few of them are still learning whereas Green team has had more experience,” he said.
“Green haven’t lost a game but White have only lost to Green and Westlawn. I’m really happy with the way they’ve both gone.
“A lot of newcomers ended up in White team but they’re certainly working very hard and are doing a fantastic job for people who haven’t played before.”
Without Yamba challenging reigning premiers Maclean Green at the top, Sutton said Westlawn and Grafton have stepped up to the plate and have shown huge signs of development.
“Both Grafton teams are slowly and steadily improving. By the third time we played Westlawn they had improved a lot. Recruiting a new goalkeeper halfway though has really helped them,” he said.
“Grafton has also picked up a few new players that have been very handy. It’s good to see both sides improving. I would say Green would win easy peasy but that’s not going to happen this year.”
While most would have difficulty coaching just one team, Sutton said it has certainly been a challenging leading two but he wouldn't have it any other way.
“It’s been more difficult than I thought it would that’s for sure. We could be playing away at Grafton with White starting at 1pm and I’ll have to either stay or leave half way through to go watch Green playing at Westlawn,” he said.
“It gets tricky but it’s enjoyable. Seeing the development of the girls not just in my team, but the competition as a whole is what makes it worthwhile.”