'We can't wait to get started' - Vicelich

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 1 November 2019

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC head into the unknown when they face Hawke's Bay United in the ISPS Handa Premiership opener in Napier on Saturday.

Gone is talismanic coach Ramon Tribulietx with the Jose Figueira-era yet to find it's feet with the one-time Central United coach away on international duty with New Zealand U-17.

In his place is a reliable pair of hands in former club captain and All Whites stalwart Ivan Vicelich.

Vicelich has been in temporary charge over the last couple of weeks managing Auckland City FC to a win over Waitakere United while keeping the home fires burning for Figueira who has used technological advances to keep an eye on what's going on back home.

AUDIO - Ivan Vicelich previews Hawke's Bay United opener

With Auckland City FC making seven new signings during the off-season, the mood music across the league has signalled a broad change with all of the top four sides parting with their coaches - Tribulietx, Willy Gerdsen (Canterbury United), Danny Hay (Eastern Suburbs AFC) and Figueira (Team Wellington), all moving on to new pastures.

There have been other changes elsewhere with Lee Padmore (Canterbury United), Tony Readings (Eastern Suburbs AFC), Jess Ibrom (Tasman United), Scott Hales (Team Wellington), Chris Greatholder and Bill Robertson (Hawke's Bay United) and Paul Hobson (Waitakere United) joining Figueira in taking on new roles.

Three clubs have stuck by their encumbents with Paul Temple (Wellington Phoenix), Paul O'Reilly (Southern United) and Ricki Herbert (Hamilton Wanderers).

While the theme of all change remains strong, Vicelich's focus on Hawke's Bay United remains tight.

"It's exciting to get the season underway we've been working very hard and we've had a couple of good games leading up to the first match.

"They're never the same intensity but it's nice to get 90 minutes under the belt and have a look at the new players with the changes in personnel through the team and head coach.

"It's going to be an exciting start to the season and hopefully we can produce some good football.

"We know it's going to be very difficult to get off to a good start but we're preparing as best as we can for that.

"Chris and Bill have assembled a very good team again with new players and some that have been involved with Napier City Rovers and won the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup.

"They'll be a very tough team to play against and we'll have to be at our best to get a good result," he said.

With a number of regular players possibly facing fitness tests before the team travels, Vicelich underlined the importance of the club's National Youth League squad.

Figueira has already showed an enthusiasm for promoting young local talent into the first team ranks and Vicelich repeated the thinking that saw Thomas Drillien, Matt Ellis, Jackson Wood and others make the step up in recent weeks.

"The youth team is there for a reason and there are opportunities through players playing well to move up and impress.

"A lot of players have been involved in training and with games so far so there's a lot of opportunity there for young players to strive for.

"We're fortunate there are a lot of players coming through and hitting a spot that we like that can keep the standards in training and in games very high," he said.

The match kicks off at 4.30pm NZST at Bluewater Stadium on Saturday 2 November 2019.


Match Details
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 2 November 2019
Hawke's Bay United v Auckland City FC
Bluewater Stadium, Napier
Kick-off: 4.30pm NZST

AC (from): 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Keegan LINDERBOOM, 14. Jordan VALE, 16.Yousif ALI, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 20. Logan ROGERSON, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cameron BROWN (GK).


INJURED: 5. Angel BERLANGA, 8. Albert RIERA, 19. David BROWNE.

NYL: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK).



v. Hawke's Bay United (H) won 3-1
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) won 4-1

v. Hawke's Bay United (H) won 5-0
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) won 3-0

v. Hawke's Bay United (H) won 1-0
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) lost 1-2
v. Hawke's Bay United (H) won 1-0 (Semi-Final)

v. Hawke's Bay United (H) drew 1-1
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) won 3-1

v. Hawke's Bay United (H) won 3-2
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) won 3-0
v. Hawke's Bay United (H) won 2-1 (Grand Final)

v. Hawke's Bay United (H) drew 4-4
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) won 4-1

v. Hawke's Bay United (H) drew 1-1
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) drew 1-1

Played: 36
Wins: 26
Draws: 7
Losses: 3
GF: 97
GA: 39

The biggest victory in this tie was set in 2005-06 season on March 11, 2006, when Auckland City FC thrashed Hawke's Bay United 6-0. Liam Mulrooney, Grant Young, Jonathan Smith, Neil Sykes and a double from Chad Coombes rounded off the scorers.

Hawke's Bay United has recorded just three wins over Auckland City FC since the inception of the ISPS Handa Premiership in 2004-05.

The first win came on January 4, 2005, when they downed the Navy Blues 4-2 courtesy of goals from Jimmy Cudd, Leon Birnie, Jason Hayne and Hayden Beale. Jonathan Smith and Paul Vodanovich were on target for Auckland City FC.

Hawke's Bay United's second win over Auckland City FC was on March 1, 2008, when goals from David Gearey and Leon Birnie sealed a 2-0 victory at Bluewater Stadium in Napier.

February 5, 2017, saw Hawke's Bay United register it's third victory over Auckland City FC after Sam Mason-Smith bagged two goals in a 2-1 victory, his late winner cancelling out Clayton Lewis' opening goal.

Auckland City FC have won 18 matches, drawn four and lost just one of the last 23 encounters between the two clubs dating back to 2008.

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