Thursday, September 16, 2021

Interview with Brett Pullen, Clarence Zebras' new technical director and assistant NPL coach

Photo:  Brett Pullen in his days as player-coach with Beachside. [PlessPix] 

Brett Pullen, 49, has been appointed as technical director and assistant NPL Tasmania coach by Clarence Zebras.

Pullen has a wealth of experience in the game, both as a player and a coach.

His playing career spanned the years 1987/88 until 2017/18.

In that time, he played for Caledonians, Olympia, Croatia-Glenorchy, Olympians (South Australia), West Adelaide (NSL), Knox City (Victoria), Hobart Juventus, Metro Claremont, Glenorchy nights and Beachside.

AS a coach, he began with the youth and junior at Hobart Zebras and from 2008-2019 with Beachside.

I spoke to Brett about his new position with Clarence Zebras.

Walter Pless:  What made you leave Beachside?

Brett Pullen:  I didn’t leave Beachside per se, but I left Football.

Beachside gave me the opportunity to test myself in all facets of coaching and administration.

I went there as a senior player after “retiring from state league as a premiership player for the old Juventus (Hobart Zebras).

I had the opportunity to play with the likes of Nathan Robinson, Dan Brown, Shae Hickey, Colin Shepherd, Bernie Klasen and Micky Sos [Soszynski] just to name a few.

I was given the chance to coach seniors and from there coached across all levels and age groups.

I was able to help develop a junior program that grew and held its own over the years against the “bigger clubs”

I had a fantastic time at Beachside and I am really proud of what was achieved whilst I was there.

But after almost 12 years, I was simply mentally and physically drained.

WP:  What is your new position with Clarence Zebras? 

BP:  My title is Assistant NPL coach and Technical Director.

WP:  Why did you take up this position?

BP:  After stepping away at the end of 2019 I was able to look and re evaluate throughout 2020 and see what I still wanted to try and achieve in football.

I have always wanted to coach at the highest level so I started looking at the southern-based NPL clubs to see which one for me would be the best fit.

In my opinion that club was Clarence Zebras.  It ticked all the boxes that interested me when looking at facilities, history (combined and past), potential for development and growth across all sections and the desire to improve and be successful.

So, I started looking and talking to the appropriate people and here I am.

WP:  What does it entail? 

BP:  The role has several layers.

As assistant NPL coach I will be there to help Franco [Previdi] with the day-to-day running of the squad, the preparation of the trainings, the selection of the squads from NPL down and the management of players and staff.

As TD, my role spreads a bit wider.  My main objective is to assist the Football Committee with coaching appointments across the club and then developing and implementing programs into the club and assisting the coaches with these programs.

I aim to develop two levels of youth academies that will attract scholarships and sponsorships for identified talented young players.

And I hope to ensure that a clear pathway is developed which will allow young players to have the ability to reach the NPL/WSL level with appropriate support and guidance.

WP:  What are your plans for the future at Clarence Zebras?

BP:  I think the sky is the future for a club with the potential of the Zebras.  I hope I can help be a part of the club realising its full potential and gaining the desired success it hopes to achieve.

WP:    What improvements, if any, would you suggest for the NPL Tasmania competition?

BP:  As an outsider in 2021, it appeared that the rostering was a point of conjecture, so I hope that matter will be rectified.

A reserve comp for this league is a must and I’d suggest that this should be an under-18 league with 2 or 3 over-age players and must include the Northern clubs.   I’ll leave it at that.

Followed by a youth roster that models.

WP:  What improvements, if any, would you suggest for the Championship?

BP:  This is a hard one for me as I am a strong believer in this league being a stand-alone league and not having NPL teams in it, or having reserves as they currently stand.  My model would see this league become two tiers of 6 or 8 teams with promotion and relegation, with again, an under-18 reserve league with 2 or 3 over age-players.

A copied model in the north ( most likely only one tier due to team numbers – but then with a North vs South play offs etc to determine promotion into NPL.

WP:  Is football in Tasmania heading in the right direction?

BP:  I’m really not sure as the direction is always hard to determine.  We have seen some improvement, although very overdue in facilities, but a long way to go when looking at the home of football.

A clear and well communicated direction is maybe lacking from where I sit, but I do see some new appointments that may help find the rudder and correct the game’s direction.  We will see which way the wind is blowing.



Anonymous said...

An U18 reserve league with 2-3 overage players has been done over and over .After a couple of years, clubs with low numbers at that level with the appropriate ability will struggle and clubs will complain that they don't have sufficient players at that level and will threaten to drop out . This is part of the problem with the league as a whole, being too young.
If you have a team of 15 eighteen year olds and they have not made seniors by the time they are 19 or 20 , what do they do ? These kids mature at different rates . Some earlier than others. Some will go on to play seniors at 18 or 19. What do you do with the other 12 or so 19 year olds who are still developing towards NPL level? How do they improve unless they are playing against older , better players. This should be in a reserve league with no age restriction. It is up to the clubs to organise these reserve teams so that they are a mixture of good/developing youth players and sprinkling of mature ex NPL players or similar who can help with the development of the younger players.
An under 18 reserve league is not the way.
Look at A League clubs. They have their youth teams ( reserves) playing in NPL senior leagues.

Anonymous said...

It’s an debate that will always go around
Where do the 18-19 yr olds who don’t make the npl squads go
Answer = championship