Knights TD Dale Itchins “We want a pathway from Academy to NPL”

From left, Knights’ NPL Coach James Sherman and Technical Director Dale Itchins

The NPL TAS has returned and one team that want to build on their previous season is the Glenorchy Knights (Croatia-Glenorchy).

I had the chance to speak to Knights Technical Director Dale Itchins earlier last week on his thoughts for the season and what he feels could be next for the club.

Dale Itchins

“I was appointed TD last year,” Itchins said.

“James {Sherman} approached me 18 months ago about the job. After 3 years of TD with Olympia FC Warriors, I was tired and thought that I had done more than enough there.

“Knights were in the rebuilding phase and they had just rejoined the NPL, so it was a good challenge.”

After commencing in the role in December 2018, Itchins was unable to continue with his regular duties after some medical issues. After overcoming that he resumed his role in December 2019.

“I’ve been back on board since last December,” he said.

“We wanted to improve our youth and junior setup. I’ve been back on board for the past 8 months since last December and we wanted to improve both our Junior and Youth structures both in numbers and quality.

“We don’t want to be seen just as as a high performance club, and in 2 to 3 years we want to be but still offer the community arm as well. We are happy with the numbers we have, and at the moment we have every youth age group covered. “All bar one side is in tier one, so we are getting there.”

Having more teams means more coaches more resources and facilities and Dale says he is fortunate to have multiple training facilities at his disposal.

“We have Eady St as a hub for all our juniors and our Skill Acquisition program (Knights Skills Program,” Itchins said.

“Our Youth teams and Academy program operate at Prince Of Wales Bay complex which had floodlights installed early 2019.

“I introduced the ‘Knights Football Academy’ at the start of the 2019 season and we have seen that develop some quality players over the past 2 years.

“We kept our Academy intake numbers to 40-50 players because we want to have quality in there. We now have a pathway to the NPL so that the Club won’t need to go and continuously look for outside players, and that we can produce home grown players over the next 3 years.”

The Women’s Super League season started a fortnight ago with the standard 6 team format. One of the teams that are not in the competition is Glenorchy. Itchins wants to see Knights eventually included.

“It’s going to take us a while to get into the WSL,” he said. We currently have a Southern Championship 2 women’s team but the plan is to have a competitive WSL side competing in the league.

“We currently have an outstanding Under 13 Youth girls team but it will take 3 to 5 years to develop them to that level.”

Knights’s Jack Bowman prepares to heave the ball long as Olympias’ Jack Ryan looks on in the background Credit Tanner Coad

Knights finished the 2019 NPL season in 5th position and Itchins wants to see them go even further in 2020.

“This year I’ve been able to have more involvement with James and the NPL Squad,” Itchins said.

“James now has a good Assistant Coach in Marcello Marchioli because he needed that support. George Hallard is now in charge of the Southern Championship team with Tom Huigsloot running our U18s.

“The player pathway through to the NPL is what we want to achieve and that is a work in progress. The club have recruited well this year and I speak regularly with James about the NPL program.

“I’m more a sounding board for James and I certainly don’t tell him what system to play or who to pick, that is his job.

James Sherman

“I think James would be disappointed if we didn’t finish in the top two or three with the squad we have got in 2020. With a short season hopefully we can keep players fit and I think they have got a real good shot at the championship”.

Itchins went onto to praise Sherman for his current work with Knights.

“He is a little bit similar to myself but much younger,” he said.

“He is confident and knows exactly what he wants but if you want to be a successful coach that’s what’s required.”

Knights’ had to struggle after being relegated to the Southern Championship, but they won the competition three season in a row. They gained promotion back into the top tier in 2019 and have now settled back in to the NPL for their second year.

“He wants to be a full time coach. His biggest challenge is managing the players on and off the field. He’ll be fine.”

It’s no secret Glenorchy raided South Hobart FC for some fresh talent, namely Oscar Thomas, Alex Walter, Connor Schmidt, Jack Bowman and Harry Anderson.

But they wanted to make more noise. Enter long time Olympia striker Joffery N’Koso who made the shock move to come over the Derwent River, leaving his time at Warrior Park behind.

“I coached Joffery at Olympia in the NPL in 2018” Itchins said. “In my time there, he was a regular starter.

“He was pretty entrenched there. He can play out wide or up top. In a 3 man attack he certainly is going to be another string to the bow. It’s going to put a lot of pressure on other players.”

N’Koso had an impact in the Knights’ v Olympia game last weekend when he went onto score with a lovely solo goal.

They will have a sterner test this weekend however when they will be away to South Hobart on Saturday afternoon.

A good start last week, but what will Round 3 bring?

One thought on “Knights TD Dale Itchins “We want a pathway from Academy to NPL”

  1. Dale is an outstanding coach, who not only strives to develop the quality in players, but is also there, whenever you need that second helping hand. As a member of the Academy Program, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am as a player, without Dale, and for that, I’m forever grateful. I’m sure he will continue to make positive changes to our wide known club, as he hands on his knowledge of football, to the current, and next generation of players and supporters, of Glenorchy Knights FC. Cheers Dale.


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