Falcons look to carry on their winning ways
People still talk about the time Daniel Grimshaw put five past Manawatu, and for good reason.
The most memorable day in the New Zealand King Salmon Nelson Marlborough Falcons' short history came in just their second game in the national youth league, when they thumped Manawatu 8-0 at Trafalgar Park.
"One or two of the boys still talk about it, " said Grimshaw. "Maybe if I'm not playing too well then they will bring that up and say, ‘why can't you do that every game?"'
On Sunday the Falcons travel to Palmerston North, where they will meet Manawatu in the fourth round fixture. Grimshaw hopes to make up for what he remembers as missed opportunities.
"I was really happy we got the good win last year and couldn't have been happier to get the five goals. I set high standards for myself, I probably shouldn't, but looking back I probably could have put another couple in."
Grimshaw, 19, said the Falcons' three wins from three games this season has the team in a confident mood ahead of the match. Though, he said, every member of the southern conference leading side knows that there is plenty of room for improvement. This is a point head coach Davor Tavich has made clear to the team ahead of their meeting with a much improved Manawatu, who beat Canterbury 3-2 in the opening round.
"I think [Tavich] is absolutely right, we can play better, the last two wins we did scrape through," said Grimshaw. "Against Wairarapa we could have played better. [Against Wellington] we did play better but due to the conditions not being too great we struggled but still scraped through.
"Especially with the three wins we have decent team morale at the moment, it is early days, but there is still room for improvement.
"Everyone is level-headed, down to earth. We just wasn't to keep playing well, keep improving and come away with as many wins as we can, treating every game like it's the last one."
The Falcons have had a big impact on Grimshaw's decision-making. Originally from England, Grimshaw arrived in Nelson in 2009 and went to Waimea College to finish school. In late 2012 Grimshaw was considering moving to Dunedin, where he hoped to play for Southern United in the youth national league and study physical education.
The Falcons' arrival - along with the prospect of having to balance student life in Otago with top-level sporting commitments - helped Grimshaw with his decision to stay in Nelson. He now studies applied fitness at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, the same qualification obtained by Tavich.
"It was great the team formed when it did. It gave me an opportunity to stay in Nelson a wee bit longer. I was happy to stay here, play for them and I'm glad I did."
Game time at the Falcons also helped Grimshaw to break into the Nelson Suburbs Mainland Premier League side this season, where he was a regular off the bench. The football in the top club competition, followed by Falcons training, has Grimshaw in good form this season. After shaking off a niggling injury that kept him out of the opening match, the Falcons' top goal scorer netted against Wairarapa in Blenheim.
That was his sixth goal in the blue and white stripes and Grimshaw is hoping to add a few more this weekend.
"It won't be as easy as last year, they have got a lot stronger squad, but we will definitely going in looking for the win. It would be good to get another five, we will see, I will definitely do my best."
Falcons team to play Manawatu: Coey Turipa, Josh Moffat, Fox Slotemaker, Josh Sansom, Sam Maxwell, Ryan Stewart, Taine Swete, Furkan Kokcu, Matt Tod-Smith, Dan Grimshaw, Omar Guardiola. Reserves: Sam Wilson, Bertie Fish, Logan de Joux, David Maisey, Josh Lis, Levi Waddington. Head coach: Davor Tavich. Assistant coach: Mark Johnston.