Former Ipswich coach giving Spirit, Bulls respect
LONG-serving Ipswich player and coach Nev O'Sullivan concedes it was an eye-opener leaving a city-based team for the first time.
In accepting the Annerley assistant coach's job this season, O'Sullivan ended decades as a former St Helen's/Ipswich United player and mentor for regional teams like the Ipswich City Bulls and Western Spirit.
"I had to get out of my comfort zone a bit and see what the rest of the world looked like,'' O'Sullivan said.
"I hadn't coached outside Ipswich before.''
But while enjoying the opportunity provided by Annerley, O'Sullivan has kept a close eye on former clubs Ipswich City and Spirit.
Annerley is currently fourth in the Capital League 2 competition, six points behind the third-placed Bulls and four ahead of seventh-ranked Spirit.
Annerley and Spirit each have a game in hand.
Preparing to tackle Spirit at Kippen Park on Saturday night, O'Sullivan said the Goodna-based team's main challenge finding consistency was their young players gaining more experience.
However, the astute coach said that was also a threat rival teams had to counter.
"They are dangerous,'' O'Sullivan said. "They have got (regular goal scorer) Dylan Goodman playing up front for them and he's pretty sharp, and (experienced campaigner) Chris Morrall in goals.
"They have got both ends plugged up pretty well but we're just going to take it to them.''
O'Sullivan said Annerley were comfortable leading 2-0 in the first round before Spirit scored a late goal "which made it a little bit scary''.
O'Sullivan has seen a number of Ipswich City games as he still lives close to the Sutton Park fields.
"They are a very good attacking side, the best side they've had in years,'' O'Sullivan said. "That's my job, to bring them down.''
At Annerley, O'Sullivan is assistant to knowledgeable head coach Anthony Costa, who he described as "in the mould of Trent Abel'' (a loyal Bulls clubman).''
"It's good. He (Costa) is more tactical and I'm the motivational (coach),'' he said.
"I'm quite happy. They accepted me pretty well.''
Before his major change, O'Sullivan was head coach at the Bulls for six years and guided Spirit for three seasons.
He was also the coach of the Ipswich Invitational team that played Brisbane Roar in 2010 and 2011.
At Annerley, O'Sullivan said injuries and a stop-start draw had hampered his new team's momentum.
"We haven't had the same team out twice in a row yet,'' he said.
However, the experienced coach was confident Annerley could make an impact in the final stage of the season.
"We've got a fair squad,'' he said. "We're still pushing for top two. We haven't given that up yet.
"There's still eight or nine games to go so anything can happen.''
The Bulls are expected to enhance their top two prospects against Pine Rivers United at Sutton Park on Saturday night.
The Bulls lead the competition for most goals scored (61,) ahead of pacesetters Centenary (60).
Capital League 2: Saturday (6pm) - Western Spirit v Annerley at Kippen Park; Ipswich City v Pine Rivers United at Sutton Park.