UWA-Nedlands Football ClubKevin Burton is honoured to have guided UWA-Nedlands to their first ever piece of State League silverware. UWA wrapped up the Division Two championship last weekend by demolishing Fremantle United 7-0 through a two goals apiece from James Plowman and Rory Feely plus singles to Tom Sellers, Steve Purton and Banner Schafer. The result ended a 48-year State League trophy drought for a club whose only previous capture was the Amateur Cup in 2009. “It’s a great privilege and, after coaching here for seven years, it is nice to have contributed to something so significant,” Burton commented on his unique place in UWA’s history.

Burton readily admits his surprise with how successful UWA’s re-introduction to the State League has been. “I’m a little surprised that success has come so early,” commented Burton on his clubs’ return to Saturday football after a 14-year absence. “The team bonded well and developed an inner strength which allowed us to win games by digging in when required. That said, some of the football we have played against the sides challenging us in the last few weeks has been quite exhilarating to watch. The quality of players we have is the reason for that and the relationships they have established on and off the field has improved with each game.”

Plowman, Feely and captain Purton have spearheaded the UWA attack this year, contributing in excess of 50 goals between them. Brad Skea and Roberto Lujan have turned in some sparkling performances in midfield while defensively it’s Sellers who has been the standout. Burton is quick to attribute UWA’s success not to individuals but to the depth of his squad. “Team selection is always tough with so many good players,” the coach commented. “When you have to put good players on the bench it is never easy but I always set them a challenge to get back in.”

A number of off-field factors also played a big part in UWA winning the league. “Former president Guy Hattersley made a personal commitment to make us successful and the club committee and new president, Conrad McKelvie, have continued to support the team reach its goals,” Burton explained. “Our secretary, Sam Watkins, ensured we had high quality physiotherapy services at training and on match days via our sponsors, Activate Physiotherapy of Claremont. Coach John McGlynn has made a positive contribution to all three of our State League teams and hopefully he’ll get our Reserves over the line for the title.”

With promotion secured, Burton is now turning his attention to 2013. “Our biggest issues are to get team managers, provide adequate catering and to improve our dressing room and bar facilities. We really need UWA Sports to help us with better infrastructure and facilities,” said Burton. “The club has created great pathways for our juniors so much so that one of our 15-year olds, Jonas Dorling, played reserves and came off the bench a couple of times for the first team. But we certainly need some additional under-18’s for next season as our very young squad was depleted on occasions this year despite some creditable performances.”

UWA have set themselves the target of going unbeaten in their last four games of the season. “I have said to the lads that it is unlikely we will ever coach or play with a team that has only been defeated once in a league season so we have reset our goals to remain unbeaten in the last few games,” explained Burton, who is tipping more success for UWA in 2013. “I think we will go well again. I’m not expecting much change to the squad, we have a positive football philosophy and we are now familiar with playing at this standard.”