Damian Zane might not have hit the heights he dreamed of as a player, but as a coach he has emerged as one of the best operators in Australia outside of the A-League.
Zane has been in charge of Northern NSW NPL club Edgeworth Eagles since 2014.
In that five-year period Edgeworth has won four Premierships in a row and reached four consecutive Grand Finals, winning deciders in 2015 and 2016, as well as knocking off bigger and better resourced clubs from NSW and Victoria to reach an NPL final.
They have also impressed in the FFA Cup, regularly getting to the round of 32 and reaching the round of 16 against Western Sydney Wanderers three years ago.
This year they have also progressed to the last 16 after beating Darwin Olympic 3-0, setting up a huge local clash with Newcastle Jets next week.
It’s a game the high-flying Eagles and their talented coach are relishing.
"The draw against the Jets sort of took us by surprise,” Zane told FTBL.
"It’s something that you didn’t want in one way, because you want as many Newcastle teams to progress as much as possible.
“But after a day or two, it ends up being quite exciting. We should get a good crowd and there will be a good vibe in the town, so there’s plenty of pluses.”
Edgeworth will take on the Jets at their home ground Jack McLaughlan Oval, which has a capacity of under 5,000.
The club is hoping for close to a sellout crowd.
"That’s what’s going to make it even more special, we get to play it at our home ground,” Zane said.
"It will be one of the biggest nights in the club’s history and possibly the biggest at Jack McGlaughan. They’re predicting it to be pretty full, so it should be a good atmosphere."