A veteran of football in Northern NSW, Rhys Tippett has now found himself at Kahibah FC in the NEWFM Northern League One in the hope of taking the club to new heights. The former NPL NNSW Champion and Premier has long been known for his great ability in front of goal whether it be scoring or creating goals and he’s once again showcased that for the Rams in 2019. Reece has accomplished a lot throughout his career, and he caught up with league correspondent James, to discuss his journey including some of the differences between playing top flight and second division football, his move to Kahibah and much more!
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
My family moved to the UK when I was six and at 12 I joined Exeter City’s academy. I stayed there and signed om as an apprentice pro at 16 but was released when I was 18. After that I played two seasons of non-league football with Exmouth Town and Quorn FC. I moved back to Australia at the start of the A-League hoping to get an under 20 contract, however, that didn’t eventuate so I decided to enjoy my football and ended up at Old Bar Barbarians playing with some friends. I stayed there for a season before the president, who at the time was a former Weston player, organised for me to sign with Weston. I was at Weston for five years, moved to Broadmeadow Magic for another five and then the Lambton Jaffas for two seasons before now joining Kahibah.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not playing football?
Most of my spare time is taken up by my two little boys Leo, who is one and a half, and Sonny, who is three and a half. Outside of that I can usually be found at my piano bashing out Coldplay songs haha.
What do you do for work?
I am an accountant for NSW Health Pathology who look after all the blood testing in NSW hospitals.
Having played both NPL and now NEWFM Northern League One football, what is the biggest difference between the two leagues? Also though, have you seen an improvement in the second-tier competition?
The biggest difference I have noticed is the intensity. At all levels of football, the higher you go, the quicker it is and the less time you have on the ball. That said, I have been impressed with the standard. The top teams in the league on their day would give NPL sides a good game. This season’s FFA Cup saw us beat Adamstown while Cessnock beat Lake Macquarie and Southy gave Magic a big scare. To me, that alone says the league is improving as I don’t think we would have seen that five years ago.
There is a much younger playing group at Kahibah this season and as an experienced player yourself, what advice have you imparted onto them to try and help them progress?
A big part of the reason I went to Kahibah was the opportunity to be part of a young playing group and work with Andre Gumprecht. The main thing I have been telling the boys is to compete in every area of the game, if you do that you always have a chance. After that, be smart about the areas you play, make sure you play to your strengths and always believe you can win no matter who is on the other side of the pitch. Having experienced older players around me when I was young helped me mature as a player, so hopefully I can give something back in that regard.
The green and black also went far into the FFA Cup in getting to the last eight in Northern NSW but fell short at one of the final hurdles, can you tell us a bit about that great cup run you guys went on?
It was a really enjoyable cup run. The whole club got behind the boys and we put in a great performance against Adamstown and just fell short against Valentine. 8-1 looks like a drubbing but if you saw the game for 70 minutes we were in with a chance of winning it. An injury to one of our key players late in the game hurt us a bit and then the floodgates open. It was great exposure for the club and hopefully next year the lads can give it a good crack again.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
Two moments come to mind. First would be playing for Exeter City in the FA Youth Cup third round at Vicarage Road and beating Watford 2-0. We went on to play Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park and got smashed 6-1.
The second would have to be the 2012 Grand Final win with Magic against Olympic at Magic Park. The atmosphere that day was electric and I don’t think I have experienced anything like that in my career.
Most influential person in your career?
Two people come to mind. One of the reasons I have been able to be play a few different positions over my career is down to the coaches I had early on. Eamonn Dolan was a coach I had from 12 to 18 and he ended up being one of the UK’s best academy coaches bringing through players like Shane Long.
The second would be Mike Radford. He is an Exeter legend. I remember him being a coach who always demanded the best from you, he was a big part of shaping me not only as a player but as a person too. The best coaches care about your football development but your personal development too, and Raddy was a coach that always looked after both.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season? Individually and as a team and what is Kahibah’s objectives for the remaining games?
This year to date in the league we have not had a lot of luck, but the effort from the boys has been exceptional. Given we are such a young side we are just looking to build a platform to move the club forward on the field. Creating a great culture is the bedrock of success and I think the club is working hard to prioritise that. Once you get that right, results will follow. The second half of the season I think we are going to be a real handful for any side we come up against. Top four is the aim for us and I think we are in with a chance.