As the countdown begins to the inaugural Escape Travel AFA Cup, the media team are catching up with each of the participating sides. The first team to come under the microscope are the Newcastle Titans of Northern New South Wales, who are competing in the Mens Tournament.
Head coach of the Newcastle is George Poulos, a familiar face in the Northern New South Wales (NNSW) futsal scene. Poulos has been involved across the age groups, coaching juniors before stepping up as head coach of the NNSW state team in 2012. In the five years that have followed, the team have racked up three national final appearances – two of them victorious.
Poulos said: “It was a great feeling when we received our invitation to the tournament. We’ve had good success at state level, so it was excellent to be recognised and asked to be part of this exciting new tournament. The boys were excited from the start.
“Preparation has been pretty good so far. Unfortunately one of our main players will not be able to attend due to holidays and one other is coming back after a six month absence, but we have the depth to overcome any obstacle.”
Asked about what the team are looking forward to, Poulos commented: “The competition against the best clubs from the states will see how we as State champions really stand. Also look forward to our friendly rivalry we have with Brisbane Atletico in particular.
Coaching is always learning and growing with the sport. I hope the experience will do that for both the coaching team and the players.
I have travelled with futsal representative teams to tournaments and even to the last mens World Cup but nothing beats coaching your own home team, especially with the backing Newcastle Titans get from our supporters.
Poulos is clearly ambitious but wary of the tough test that awaits. He rounded off by saying: “Experience always counts. We will be okay at the tournament as long as they stick to the game plan. Slight pressure will be on as the team as we will probably be one of the favourites to win and all of the opposition teams always get a lift when playing the Newcastle Titans.”
The Newcastle Titans squad competing is as follows: Peter Mullard, Nick Della, Scott Pettit, Nathan Baker, Josiah Sutherland, Canli Hakan, Mathew Hoole, Joseph Grujevski, Alex Tserepas.