He orchestrated a surprise championship victory at Woonona, and Dan McGoldrick is hoping to bring that magic touch to Figtree as he comes out of the coaching wilderness.
The Community League club on Monday revealed that they had signed the 2020 Premier League title-winning coach for their 2024 campaign.
It is McGoldrick's first mentoring gig in more than two years.
He stepped down as the Sharks' head coach in September 2021 following a disappointing season, where the side finished seventh - 12 months after claiming the league's ultimate glory.
Wollongong United had looked a shoe-in to secure the 2020 championship, however, a last-round loss to Coniston opened the door for Woonona to swoop on the title. It was the club's first IPL championship win in their 134-year history.
Since departing the Sharks, McGoldrick has remained involved in football, having a kick around with the Figtree Old Boys during the off season. It's something that he has done for about a decade.
McGoldrick was then recently approached by the club about potentially taking the reins as their first-grade head coach.
"I went and had a chat to them about what their plans were? I wanted to see what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go. So I'm taking it on as another challenge and seeing if we can get them into District League," McGoldrick told the Mercury.
"The feedback that I've got from the club president is that they were quite a competitive side in the Community League, I think they even made the grand final this year (Figtree lost 5-2 to University). It's a good club, they've got a good structure and they've got a long-term plan on where they want to go.
"It's predominantly about having as many pathways as possible for their juniors. If we can get a stepping stone from 17s and 18s into District League, it gives them an opportunity to play youth grade for their own club.
"If they're then good enough, they can play first grade. That's what we did at Woonona with all of those kids from Bulli under-19s."
Spending time out of the coaching realm has made McGoldrick hungrier than ever for the Figtree role.
"The first three months was tough because you really miss it," he said.
"But I was playing some Futsal and picked up a little bit of casual work, so this will fit in better for me than a Premier League gig at this stage. So I thought rather than just fading off into the distance, I may as well have another crack. And I'm quietly confident that if we can get a reasonable squad together, then we'll go okay.
"I went to the Football NSW coaching conference on the weekend and it was really good. It reinforced the enthusiasm that I still have for coaching, so I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting back amongst the lads and trying to get the best out of them."
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