NEW CHALLENGE: Michael Cay will play for and coach Nerimbera’s first division team in the CQ Premier League next year. Picture: JANN HOULEY
NEW CHALLENGE: Michael Cay will play for and coach Nerimbera’s first division team in the CQ Premier League next year. Picture: JANN HOULEY

Cay gears up for new role with Nerimbera in 2020

FOOTBALL: Michael Cay will take on dual roles at his newly adopted CQ Premier League club next season.

He will be player/coach of Nerimbera’s first division team and is excited for what promises to be a challenging role.

“I had to think long and hard about it because it’s a hard gig to try and be a player/coach because I still intend to play at least for a couple of years yet,” he said.

“I know it will be tough but we needed someone to put their hand up and I thought there’s no better time than now to do it.”

A highly accomplished player, Cay left Frenchville to play with Nerimbera in the 2019 season.

The switch was motivated by his want to help develop emerging talent and the regional competition.

“As a referee, I saw the young group of guys from Nerimbera playing through the junior ranks,” he said.

“I was quite impressed with that core group and realised they still had a lot of development to come.

“I decided that if I can go and help them develop, develop the game and strengthen the competition, that’s more of an interest for me.

Michael Cay won the Wesley Hall Cup four times with Frenchville.
Michael Cay won the Wesley Hall Cup four times with Frenchville.

“I’ve won the premiership four times in a row (at Frenchville) and I don’t need to prove anything more that way so helping foster a young team and strengthen the competition was my main goal.”

Cay started playing football with Berserker at age nine.

He enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks and played with the Capricorn Cougars for five years in the Queensland State League.

He returned to club football with Frenchville, which included his impressive run of four Wesley Hall Cup wins.

Cay’s experience and inspirational leadership proved a boon this season for Nerimbera, which took some big strides forward in the competition.

“We finished second last but it was a major improvement on previous years,” Cay said.

“We’re trying to convince the young guys that we had a stellar year in comparison to what they’ve had before.

“We conceded half the goals they did the year before, scored double the goals, won four times the amount of games and drew four times the amount of games.”

Michael Cay in action with the Capricorn Cougars in a Queensland State League fixture.
Michael Cay in action with the Capricorn Cougars in a Queensland State League fixture.

Cay plans to build on those achievements when he takes the reins next year.

His response when asked what kind of coach he wants to be: “Hopefully a fair one and a really good one.”

Cay’s number one priority is to build a strong squad.

“I think in the past year we had probably 11 or 12 players that were consistent first division players. I want to try to move that to having a strong squad of 20 to 25 that could play both divisions at any given week so there’s a lot of competition for spots and people have to keep performing to make the first division team.

“We’re looking at keeping the majority of the squad we had this year with a few extras coming in. I’m always open for players to come across; if they want to try something new and help develop a group of young guys they’re most welcome.

“I’m hoping to get between five and 10 extra players.

“Our second division team was really good. They finished in the top four so there’s players we can work with to build that competition for spots.”

Cay is aiming for a top-four finish in 2020.

“We’ll start with that as a goal because up until the season just gone, they’ve been the bottom team in the competition,” he said.

“We knocked off one team this year and you’re always looking at moving forward.

“If we can move into the top four that would be an ideal finish for our club.

“My message to the players will be to put your best foot forward, show me what you’ve got and let’s all have a good year together.”