VALENTINE Phoenix will play their senior Northern NSW NPL matches at Croudace BayComplex in a move president Steve Screen has hailed as a win for football.
PITCH PERFECT: Valentine president Steve Screen at CB Complex in August 2016. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Phoenix have been working tirelessly togainapproval from Northern NSW Football to move from Cahill Oval atBelmont, where they share the huge pitch with cricket and rugby league, to dedicated football fields at CB Complex.
After making changes to CB Complex, the club’s junior grounds, and curating the surface to meet NPL criteria, Valentine gained the green lightthis week.
“It’s going to bring the club back to the community,” Screen said.
“We’ve been playing over at Belmont for a long time and people just don’t want to go watch us there.
“We’re hoping that’s going to be one of the good parts, and it’s going to give the players a better surface. Even though Cahill Oval is being returfed, we’ve got to share it with rugby league and cricket. Thisis a win for not only our club, but for the game.”
Valentine will play NPL Youth matches at Cahill Oval this year but hope to eventually host all games at CB Complex, which will have three football pitches under redevelopment plans before Lake Macquarie City Council. Another multi-million dollar revamp is planned for Cahill Oval.
Screen said the move came through successful collaboration between the club,NNSWF and council.
Phoenix coach Darren Sills said the CB Complex pitch was in “outstanding condition” after the hard work of volunteers and the movewill help the clubkeep and attract players, as well as improve their recovery.
“It’s a huge step forward for the club,” Sills said.
“Knowing we will have a pitch which is on par with others in the competition, in terms of quality and size, it’s a great benefit, and it’s going to be one club back at home, which is amazing.”
Valentine, meanwhile, have recruitedformerMarconi and Blacktown striker Daniel Ott andJapanese midfielderShinji Shozu. Zac Sneddon has returned early from US collegeand will play the full season. Young defender Reece Pettit has beennamed captain after the departure of Scott McGinley.