Promotion next goal as Phoenix rise

Lincoln Bertelli, SOUTH WESTERN TIMES
Promotion next goal as Phoenix rise

The South West Phoenix has returned.

Bunbury’s premier soccer team has decided to revert back to its original name after five years playing as Bunbury Forum Force.

President Guy Italiano said the decision was made after the club’s naming rights deal with Bunbury Forum shopping centre ended.

“We went to look at alternative names and the surveys we did overwhelmingly said to go back to South West Phoenix,” he said.

The club will not be looking at naming rights sponsors for the 2015 season but will be making a serious push for promotion into the top-tier National Premier League.

Governing body Football West has announced the top team in the Phoenix’s State League Division One will earn promotion this year – subject to suitable club structure and facilities.

The Force spent two years in the top league before controversially being the only club relegated in this year’s restructured competition. Italiano said the club aimed to earn promotion next year and start the 2016 season among the State’s elite.

“We’re putting all our efforts into going to the NPL,” Italiano said.

“It’s game on basically – we have got the talent and have to do what we can to get promotion.”

The president’s message was backed up by coach Trent Hathaway, who said 2015 was “going to be a big year” as he targeted top spot.

They finished third last season despite winning nine of their first 10 games but beat Ashfield in Perth in the final round to deny their former alliance club the title.

Italiano also said pre-season meetings would take place with South West club presidents and coaches regarding dual registrations, which often meant first team players turned out for their SWSA club just 24 hours after playing matches in the State competition.

“At the end of the day, South West Phoenix is meant to be the pinnacle of South West soccer, ” he said.

“The reason we suffer fatigue is because players are performing on a Saturday and Sunday.

“It comes to bite you at the end of the season and how dual registrations are going to work is something we need to iron out.”

The club will also hold trials for its under-18 team on the next two Sundays from 4-6pm at the Hay Park premier pitch.

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