Southgate heads home for NPL push

Forrestfield United have signed defender Tom Southgate from Western Knights, as they prepare for their first season in WA’s top flight of football since 1986.

The versatile player can play in a number of roles, and was a stand-out for the Knights in their push to the Division One league title last season, but he said to return to Hartfield Park is exciting. “It’s good to be back playing for the club it all started at for me,” he explained.

“I’m excited to be here, to challenge myself at the best level in the state. Rod got in contact with me and we arrange to have a meeting and have a chat, and after having a chat with him and seeing what he wants to accomplish with the side for the coming years made me really keen to get on board.

The move home was tinged with sadness, after leaving Nash Field where he had enjoyed three good season’s but he wishes them all the best in the future. “Western Knights over the last 3 years has been incredible, from the staff all the way through to the boys,” he explained.

“Having won the double last season was something that I will remember forever. The decision to move on wasn’t an easy one at all, but after speaking with close friends and family I felt it was the right move for me to progress my footballing career.”

Forrestfield Head Coach Rod Banjac said to have secured Tom for next season will strengthen the squad. “Although we have a very good squad, we were on a lookout for quality additions as we intend to make an impression in a very competitive environment of NPL WA,” he said. “Tom was one of the players we identified earlier in the season as a potential recruit and we are delighted that he chose to come back to Hartfield Park and continue his career where he played as a junior.

“Tom has had a standout season in Division One throughout the year, but it was the games against Bayswater during the semis and Sorrento in the grand final of the FFA cup that he impressed me the most. Although 23 years of age he is an intelligent player with great vision, he is comfortable on the ball, reads the game well and is a fierce competitor which makes him perfectly suited to our style of football.

“Having the ability to play in a variety of positions makes him a very valuable player to us, and although he prefers the centre back role, he’s just as comfortable in holding midfield or right back. We are very pleased to have Tom at Forrestfield United and look forward to helping him reach his potential as a footballer and as a person.”

The 23-year-old arrived from the UK in 2013 and played junior football at Forry, before heading to the Knights, and he said the club has grown both on and off the pitch since he was last at the club. “Forrestfield have come a long way and look to be getting better with each season,” he explained. “I’m really eager to get started with the boys and coaching staff and see how far we can push ourselves against the best in the state and hopefully win some silverware for our efforts.”