We’ve had a fairly low key start, at least publicly, to the Swifts 2022 senior football season. That’s been deliberate as we figure out what we want to do and where we want to be this year.

Our senior players, both men and women, have been in training for several weeks now. Numbers have, by and large, been consistent and we’re confident we’ll again be able to field three men’s teams and one ladies team.

The biggest change, of course, is where the Comag Matamata Swifts 1st team will play this year. We made the call early in the year to relinquish our WaiBOP Premiership spot. This was largely due to the turnover of senior players, who have made themselves available for one reason or another. It seems we started a trend, with several other Premiership clubs from smaller communities following suit not long after.

We also had one eye on the 2023 season and the league restructuring that will come with it. Rebuilding at a lower level, rather than slogging through a Premiership campaign with an inexperienced playing squad, only to end up at the same spot in 2023 is, we believe, a far more effective use of the club’s resources.

After several training sessions we came to the belief that, should we have the opportunity, we’d apply for a place in this season’s WaiBOP Championship, our region’s second tier. The vacancy opened up and we were duly accepted, so we now have the chance to blood our local young players at a level that will be challenging yet manageable with respect to where they are in their development.

Both Comag Matamata Swifts and Challenge Matamata Swifts Ladies will enter 2022 with new head coaches. Josh Couchman, who coached Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves in 2021, has moved into the 1st team hot seat. As with our playing group, we believe 2022 is a great opportunity for a young coach to learn his trade at this level. Mike Botting, a coach with significant experience in the ladies game in Auckland, has taken over as head coach of the Swifts Ladies.

We’d like to say a big thanks to Duncan Lowry, Gary Darkes and Bob Ricketts, for their work with the 1st team over the last couple of seasons, and also to Rob Cox and Scott Hudson for their efforts with the Swifts ladies during a similar timeframe.

Waharoa Transport Swifts Reserves and Fez Kebab Swifts 3rds will again play in the local Waikato leagues. We’re still looking for someone to step in to help coach/manage the reserves and we also have spaces available for any local players keen to get involved and keep fit during the winter. If you’re interested just turn up at the Domain on a Tuesday or Thursday evening, from 6.30pm, and join right in.

One of the key things we’re looking to achieve during the 2022 is to bring back a strong sense of what it means to be a Swift. This isn’t necessarily something we’ve had for a while now. We want to play hard, play smart and play together and make a genuine go of building a stronger, better, more interesting senior club for our community.

Come on you Swifts!