Michael Janssen has put pen to paper and extended his contract at UWANFC until the end of the 2018 season. 2016 saw UWANFC achieve both its highest total points, 32, and highest ladder position, equal 5th, in the State League Division One, and with Janssen committing for a further two seasons the future looks bright for the club.
Janssen has experienced a successful start to life at UWANFC but noted the difficulty in taking the reigns, "The first season was a huge experience. We knew the results would come with developing the team's performance, but you need patience when you introduce a new style of football to a team that has never worked like this," he expressed. "In some games it worked better and in others not, but the majority of the performances were promising. To minimise the downs and the inconsistency is the target for next season."
Janssen believes the club's decision to extend his contract shows their support towards his philosophy, "It shows the club's trust in our work. We all have the same idea and we work in the same direction. It is a signal for the whole club and particularly the senior State League teams, that we will continue our way and create a philosophy of football for this club," Janssen stated. "UWANFC can expect a hard working and creative team which is willing to perform enjoyable and successful football as much as possible."
One notable feature of Janssen's first season in charge was his squad depth, with close to 30 players appearing for the First Team across the regular season. Janssen believes this to be an integral part of the team's development, "The depth and the connection to the Reserves and 18's was a key reason for our development and results," said Janssen, who believes the majority of the squad will stay on for 2017. "We will have the same depth next season or even more players; our focus was, is and will be the existing squad. We have already had 21 first team players commit to next season, so we'll add a few more places to keep the competition high.
In addition to squad size, Janssen's squad was also one of the youngest sides in the league, something that hasn't happened by coincidence. "It is definitely our philosophy. The club will continue to develop young players, make them better and keep them at the club. We offer a great environment for all players and we are working hard to improve it, " he explained. "The young players in my team are raw material with promising abilities in different areas. And we are just in the beginning of this process. I am very happy with the youngsters but without the guidance of some of our more experienced players like Josh Maroccchi, Robbie (Black), Marco (Murray) and Ranjeet (Sekhon) it might be more difficult."
Janssen also acknowledges the desired end goal of reaching NPL status with the club. "If it takes 3-4 years to be in this position, I'll take it. If we make it happen earlier, I'll take it too. If it takes longer but we stay to the club's philosophy, I'll also take it," said Janssen. "We started from zero and we are on our way, every 'expert' said we would finish last this year. Nobody expected the results we got and we surprised the league with wins against Mandurah, Ashfield and Gosnells. I am fairly sure the State League will see UWANFC from a completely different angle after 2016," he emphasised. "And this is what we have achieved yet, I look forward to the future."
The State League sides will continue light training through October before starting pre-season preparations in December, more news about training times will be released closer to the date.