John Goodman will take over as coach of Port Saints in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League

Challenge accepted: John Goodman has been announced as the new coach for Port Saints in 2017.
Challenge accepted: John Goodman has been announced as the new coach for Port Saints in 2017.

JOHN Goodman has been entrusted with the job of lifting Port Saints out of the Football Mid North Coast Premier League cellar.

Last year Saints suffered an enormous fall from grace when they went from the penthouse to the basement.

Now Goodman is looking forward to the challenge of returning the 2015 champions back to the top.

For the immediate future, Goodman has set small goals for the senior squad.

“For me, it’s more about development,” he said.

“At this stage I’d rather develop players than go out and try and coach teams to win. I’ve got no expectations either way at this stage.”

Goodman admitted former coach Mark Rogers had a difficult job to come in after the club won the competition in 2015.

The coach felt semi-final football was a realistic step. He wants Port Macquarie to feature in the post-season after local clubs had a disappointing 2016.

“Port Macquarie were last, second last and third last last year which isn’t good for football in the area so I want to get Port Macquarie up challenging for titles.

“It’s just small steps, so we’ll see how we go; there’s a lot of talented kids here so I’m happy and looking forward to the year.”

Goodman felt the fact he had no connection to the club would benefit both himself and the players.

“I think it’s a good thing because most of them don’t know me,” he said.

“There are a few who do, but we’ve had a few training sessions and I’ve been really pleased with how many have turned up and been prepared to have a go.

“With senior players the biggest thing is to get them to buy in to what you want to do and keep the enthusiasm going.

“If you can get them enthusiastic and a roll on with their attitude that’s half the battle because they’ll want to play.”

In his playing years, Goodman spent time at Camden Haven and cross-town rivals Port United before he hung up the boots nearly 10 years ago.

He has been involved with Football Mid North Coast for the last six years and coached junior teams in Newcastle for the last three.

“I’ve been coaching in the NPL the last three years following the teams through from 13s, 14s and 15s and we’ve had a lot of success down there.”

If there is one thing he wants Saints to achieve in 2017, it’s a collective effort both with and without the ball.

“I don’t expect every player who’s a defender to be a defender all the time and I don’t expect an attacker to attack all the time; they have to do both,” he said.

“When we have the ball we’re all attackers and when we don’t we’re all defenders.”

Saints will resume pre-season training on January 17 from 6pm at Macquarie Park.