Finn MacKenzie is coach and player for Nerimbera Football Club. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Finn MacKenzie is coach and player for Nerimbera Football Club. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Rookie takes reins at Magpies three years after joining club

PILBEAM Park has become a second home for Finn MacKenzie since he joined the Nerimbera Magpies three seasons ago.

And he's going to spend a whole lot more time there next year.

MacKenzie joined the Magpies before the 2011 Premier League season, after spending five seasons with Berserker, and has now taken over the reins of the club's top side.

"I love the club and I have since I first came down," the 24-year-old rookie coach said. "They're just so welcoming and as soon as you come here you don't want to leave.

"It just feels like home.

"Playing with CQFC last year was a good experience but it didn't feel the same."

A standout in his inaugural season at the club, the then 22-year-old claimed Football CQ's Premier League player of the year award.

Grand finalists in 2012 and preliminary finalists this year under the watch of Roy Benson, MacKenzie is stepping in after Benson decided not to take on the job next year. MacKenzie said he understood not much would need to change.

"I don't really think there's too much to change," he said. "We just need to fine-tune a couple little things. We're really looking forward and we're going to come out wanting to take home the Wesley Hall (Cup)."

Undaunted by the task at hand, MacKenzie said he had the full backing of the playing group and had no doubts he could handle the role, despite his young age.

"A lot of people will look at my age and say I haven't got the experience to do it, but I've played all over Queensland and been over to England and I've had a lot of experience playing," MacKenzie said.

Nerimbera president Rick England said MacKenzie had the full support of the club and his Premier League teammates.

"With a young team, we thought going with a coach that is the same age as most of the players was a good way to go about it," he said.

As a player/coach, MacKenzie will spend most of his time on the pitch and will instead leave the game-day duties to assistants Mark Brown, and ex-Frenchville player Darren Volling who has joined the club for the 2014 season.

England said the club, which has teams from under-5s to seniors, were still looking for players.

Anyone interested in playing should phone England on 0438182815.

Nerimbera VCap Coast

Pre-season friendly at Pilbeam Park.

Tonight, 6.30pm