The Nelson Falcons, lead by Mark Johnston, are ready for their first season in the ASB Youth League.Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Falcons ready for first flight


The task couldn’t be harder for the Nelson Falcons, who face last year’s defending champions in their inaugural match. But despite the all-important clash against Canterbury United on January 13 and the announcement that Nelson has bid for a senior team, youth coach Davor Tavich is certainly not feeling the added pressure.

A reasonably successful pre-season trip to the North Island gave the Falcons their two first victories and it was those results that have given the team confidence that they deserve to be in the ASB Youth League. Cory Brown and Ross McPhie will have no part in the Falcons’ first season, being called into the New Zealand Under-17 team instead. But it is the experience of two overage players, captain Mark Johnston and goal keeper Coey Turipa that will hope to carry the youngsters. “There’s a lot of young boys that are promising but the two senior boys are probably going to be called upon a lot. It’s good for the boys to learn from them and the work ethic from the two senior boys is amazing and the other guys just feed off it,” says Davor.

Davor believes the Canterbury match will be the toughest of the campaign with a number of their players already boasting ASB Premiership experience with the Canterbury United senior team. But Nelson’s strength will be its unity, according to Davor, who believes the fact most of the Falcons have played together for their individual schools and clubs for a number of years will make them gel a lot quicker.