Findlay surprised but satisfied by impact

Rory Findlay (18) is ready to throw the ball at the University Oval yesterday as he prepares for...
Rory Findlay (18) is ready to throw the ball at the University Oval yesterday as he prepares for Southern United’s game against Hawke’s Bay United. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Rory Findlay wanted to make an impression this season.

You would have to say he has certainly done that, although even he was not expecting such a rapid rise.

The 18-year-old defender began the season in Southern United’s youth team. By week three he had made his debut for the men’s first team. Now, six games in, he has racked up three consecutive starts. Not bad for someone who has only just finished his last exams at Taieri College.

Breaking into that top side was always the goal. However, his initial vision had him helping the youth team in its second-last game against Hawke’s Bay United today.

Instead, he will turn out against the club’s senior team a day later in Napier, as Southern looks to make it three wins on the bounce.

"I didn’t expect it to be so soon, basically," he said.

"I expected hopefully to push into the squad after Christmas and just spend the first half of the year with the youth team.

"It is pretty satisfying.

"Obviously it’s a bit nerve-racking pushing up into the men’s team, but it’s good to get a few starts under my belt at the moment."

His goal now is to maintain his spot in the team.

While that could come with pressure, he is focusing on doing the things he had done to earn the call-up in the first place.

He has found it a big step up in intensity, although the older players aree giving him tips to help him adapt.

Having grown up in Mosgiel, playing for Southern wasa goal and it was great to have followed the pathway to the top team.

"It is pretty cool to get that from the academy to the youth and be able to push into the men’s squad.

"It obviously shows there is a pathway into the men’s squad and probably beyond the men’s squad as well, if the youth boys work hard enough.

"That’s kind of what I go by — I try 100% at trainings and put everything out there and leave nothing in the tank."

It has capped a big year for Findlay, who also went to the United States with the New Zealand secondary schools team.

That had been great and progressing further into the national set-up was the next goal.He hopes to break into the New Zealand under-20 squad and has an eye on moving north for that.

Unsure whether he wants to go to university, he feels he may look further north to work and play winter football for a year to try to get noticed.

However, Findlay plans to return to play for Southern should the club want him.

He also plans to go to Otago University should he decide to take the higher education  route.

There is a while to go before then though and playing well tomorrow is his focus.

If Southern wins, it could move to 13 points from seven games — especially impressive given it has played just one at home.

It is tied with Hamilton Wanderers in fourth place.

Findlay’s other team, the Southern youth team, is among the contenders as its season winds down.

It is tied with Eastern Suburbs in third place in the national youth league, one point behind Waitakere United and three behind Auckland City.

 

National football premiership
Southern Utd v Hawke’s Bay

Bluewater Stadium, Napier, Tomorrow, 1pm

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