Shock ran through Bonnyrigg Sports Ground during the off-season with a major coaching announcement.
Long-time assistant coach at the Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Cliff ‘Cliffy’ Pointer, decided to hang up his whistle, put aside his notes and kick up his feet.
Other than the White Eagles faithful, the news hit his partner in crime and the Reds head coach Brian ‘Bomber’ Brown hardest.
“I had a gut feeling this was going to be his last year and I ultimately knew this day would come.
“We caught up for a coffee and he told me he wanted to do some travelling with his partner along with spending more time with his family.
“I know it was a hard decision for him to make and it will be strange not having him by my side.”
Working side-by-side for 16 years, the White Eagles boss was ‘surprised’ Pointer had hung around for so long.
“I am really surprised he put up with me for as long as he did. I have been very lucky to have Cliff by my side for such a long time.
“He is a great coach who really cares about the players, and he has a winning mentality that is infectious.
“I can only describe this as it’s like losing my right hand. Although he has agreed to do some scouting for me.
“Cliff didn’t drink red wine when I first met him but now he and I have similar taste’s, so we will continue our great friendship and continue to share our love for wine and football.”
‘Batman and Robin’, ‘Starsky and Hutch’, now ‘Bomber and Cliffy’, all became household names. White Eagles fans will need to adjust.
It all started for the two way back in 2001 at ‘Gabbie Stadium’ now known as Lilys Football Stadium.
“Cliff was coaching the under 16’s at Blacktown and I needed an assistant, he was easily the best fit.
“We won the league three times along with playing in another three grand finals.”
A disagreement at the then ‘Demons’ saw the pair jump ship to Marconi Stallions followed by Sutherland Sharks.
“We spent a wonderful year at Sutherland who had finished fourth bottom the previous season.
“It was a fantastic time for us as we built a great team who went on to with the league and lose the grand final.”
The iconic duo returned to Sydney’s South-West, this time to the Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
“When we came to Bonnyrigg they were second bottom having just gained promotion.
“We inherited a squad that just got promoted but were not quite good enough to achieve the club’s expectations.
“In year two we built another team and had instant success.”
Year two moved to year three and so on to nine years later with some honourable results and trophies.
“In the last nine years at Bonnyrigg we have won the league three times and been in four grand finals winning two. This is our first full year where we have not made the final series.”
Bomber didn’t have trouble describing his time with Pointer who through the years became a close friend of his.
“We both wanted to win, we both love football and we both thrive in being around the players. Cliff has had a great coaching career and is a very close friend who I totally trust and respect.”
In almost two decades of a great career together, there were many highs and lows for the pair.
“I tend to think of the people, moments and players we have coached.
“From Scott Jamieson and Oliver Bozanic both making first grade debuts for Blacktown at 15 to Robbie Younis’ dramatic last minute winner against Sydney Olympic to win us the Premiership.
“Another was Chris Tadrosse’s last game in a man of the match grand final winning performance against Blacktown City.”
But Brown has been quick to find Pointer’s successor, naming Milan Susak as his new right-hand man.
Susak, a White Eagles junior has enjoyed an illustrious playing career, playing in Serbia, Germany, China, Iran, UAE along with winning the Hyundai A-League with the Brisbane Roar and playing in the Asian Champions League final with Adelaide United.
It wasn’t a tough decision for Bomber who is looking forward to working with his new assistant.
“Milan signed as a player last year and unfortunately, he got injured in pre-season and never played a game. While he was playing overseas he would come and train with us to keep fit while back home in Australia.
“Milan has great football knowledge; passion and he really connects well with the players. He and I created an instant rapport, and it made my decision very easy.”
The experience that Susak brings with him was another factor in Brown’s decision and the White Eagles head coach believes that the former A-League winner can take the mantle when he leaves the club.
“Milan has worked with some great coaches. I want him to take his knowledge and experience and share that with the team at Bonnyrigg.
“Milan brings a fresh set of eyes and ears that will allow us to add some variety to our training and challenge our players to adapt. He has a desire to win and understands what we are trying to do a Bonnyrigg.
“Hopefully when I leave Bonnyrigg I can hand over a successful team and he can continue as the coach of a winning team.’
Hopefully for the White Eagles, Susak enjoys a glass of red and can help Brown lead the club to further success and trophies.
-By Nikola Pozder