Keen coach shapes undefeated Diggers

GYMPIE Diggers A-grade coach Jeff Manthey goes one-on-one and is confident Diggers have a successful season ahead of them.

Q. Firstly Jeff, what is it like to coach some of the best players in Gympie?

A. I have a true passion for football and it's great to share my knowledge of the game with the local players. It can be challenging at times with the boys always learning and improving.

Sometimes I'm on the computer for three hours finding new training drills and exercises for the team so they can continue to progress.

Q. How did your team go at the weekend's fixture?

A. We had a solid game against Kawungan Sandy Straits winning 5-0.

We had some early problems trying to rush the play but we eventually found our rhythm late in the first half.

Adam Cross played exceptionally, scoring a hat-trick alongside a great performance from Aaron Walker.

Heading into the second half at 2-0, we upped the tempo and finished strong.

Q. After a relatively unsuccessful season last year, why do you think the Diggers are undefeated this year?

A. The team has definitely come together this season, the team is playing some of the best football I have ever witnessed in the region.

At the start of the year I put a jig-saw together and matched the players with their positions so that we had a great combination that could form an evenly balanced team.

Q. Going up against fierce Maryborough opponents in the Fraser Coast league who are renowned to be physical, how does it affect your team?

A. Obviously these games can be daunting for players, especially the younger ones.

The boys need to learn not to fall for their tricks and get trapped in dirty play.

If we can play the ball quick enough then it will stop them from confrontations.

All we want to do is play some quality football and if they want to be rough I'm certain our boys are more than ready.

Q. With a red card handed out last week and several yellows, what will you do to stop these penalties?

A. To be honest with you, our penalties are all part of our strategy.

Our defenders apply pressure quickly to the attackers even if that means showing physical presence when they have the ball.

If you watch any team in the premier league then it is evident they have a similar play style.

Q. How have injuries affected the team this year?

A. Unfortunately we have had several injuries this season.

We actually haven't had a full side yet so we definitely still have room to improve.

As far as injuries go they mostly only influence where the players are positioned on the field.

Fortunately we have a squad of talented boys who can play a variety of roles.

Q. How is the team looking for this weekend's game against Bundaberg side Bingera?

A. This is our first game against a Bundy team so we have no idea what the quality of play is up there.

Bingera are coming into the game after winning their past two matches so it might be close game.

Q. Lastly Jeff, who is your favourite team in the premier league and your favourite player of all time?

A. Currently Southampton is my favourite team and Pele is my favourite past player.


Player profile

Name: Jeff Manthey

Age: 51

Born: Gympie

Favourite food: Chicken and chips

Favourite TV program: Mrs Brown's Boys

Funniest moment in sport: When I was playing for Diggers we had a corner against Golden City, I cheekily pulled the goalkeeper's pants to his ankles and he had no idea what to do. Funnily enough we scored from that play.

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