Dylan Piper-Bye will look to spread his wings in a coaching capacity as he prepares to lead the Tumut Eagles 2020 Pascoe Cup campaign.
The 17-year-old was originally going to spend the year as an assistant coach after suffering an ACL injury playing for the Wagga Wanderers last season but has been thrust into the spotlight following the sudden departure of Matthew Lopez.
Age won’t impact Piper-Bye’s confidence either, with the Tumut Eagles product stressing that he had the respect of the playing group and the experience to back up his sudden appointment.
“I feel respected as a player and I’m hoping that will transfer to my coaching,” Piper-Bye said.
“Although I’m young, I have a lot of experience in leading a team through captaincies, which should transfer to my coaching.
“I worked alongside my representative coach Andrew Mason at the end of last year as manager and he gave me a lot of helpful guidance as to coaching a team to success.
“He was the coach of our NPL championship team and also the Fiji Cup winning team.”
For such a young player, Piper-Bye has a storied history in the Football Wagga Wagga competition, having progressed through the junior Eagles ranks before becoming a regular in the Tumut’s Pascoe Cup team in 2018, even scoring on debut.
At a representative level, the Eagles new coach was involved in the Wanderer’s Skills Acquisition Program, before making a name for himself as a Wanderer in the under 16s, 17s and 18s, while winning the NPL ACT premiership with the Wagga representative side in 2019.
Piper-Bye also boasts Riverina and NSW representative honours, and was invited to attend the International Football School and was originally selected to play at the Fiji Cup before injuring his knee.
At such a young age, Piper-Bye will bring optimism and a fresh set of eyes to the club and hopes to instill a different playing style that will suit the new Pascoe Cup substitution rules.
‘I’m hoping to bring a fresh mindset and variation to the way the Eagles play, or even the way football is played in the Pascoe (Cup) competition,” Piper-Bye said.
“I’d like to try and copy the classic brand of football and use the ball rather than the players due to the new rule that doesn’t allow unlimited subs.”
Lapses in concentration and shock losing results in 2019 is motivation enough for Piper-Bye, who will look to eradicate the typically defensive mindset used by the Eagles, suggesting they can match any team in the Pascoe Cup if they play a more positive game.
“I’d like to play a balanced team. I feel we have a team who can put it to all the other teams if we go in with the right mindset,” Piper-Bye said.
“We tend to fall into the trap of playing defensive and not being able to turn around when we need to, so I’m hoping to change that this year.
“Last season we had multiple games slip when we had the lead; turning too defensive, resulting in the opposition scoring and putting the pressure back on us.”
Piper-Bye didn’t want to focus on any one player that would make the difference for the Eagles this season, but expected the senior players to help develop any of the seven players stepping up from the Tumut Eagles junior system.
“I feel this year especially, we will need everyone to step up. The senior players will be key as they can teach the newcomers all about the opposing teams,” Piper-Bye said.
“Also, fresh players will bring a new mystery to the Pascoe Cup competition, as opposition will not have faced them and know how to handle them.”