EXCLUSIVE: New North Queensland coach Franz Straka is fast becoming an A-League cult hero while unbeaten Fury’s “Kangaroo” goal celebration takes hold up north.
Straka was a highly animated figure on the sidelines last Saturday night as Fury racked up their first win of the season with a sensational 2-1 victory over reigning champions Sydney FC.
The result came on the back of an encouraging 3-3 draw away to Perth Glory a week earlier. The two results have Fury unbeaten and joint top of the A-League on four points.
On Saturday night, the Czech coach repeatedly gestured madly for Fury fans to support his players in the final frantic few minutes after super sub Dyron Daal’s late winner.
And the coach was front and centre of celebrations with the players on the pitch after the three points were confirmed. Straka even joined in the club’s goal celebration dance which mimics a kangaroo hopping.
His enthusiasm has caught the eye of A-League fans across the country who saw the game on Fox Sports. Fury football operations boss Robbie Middleby says the former Czechoslovakian international’s zeal is infectious.
“When the FFA came in, they and I wanted that sort of excitement, and with our budget it had to be a younger squad and with that a coach that would adapt with that,” Middleby told au.fourfourtwo.com.
“His enthusiasm for Fury and the league in general ... We’ve got many very good coaches in the league but this guy is a real character which is great.
“And you have to remember, it’s very different over here to what he’s used to. But he’s enjoying it, and he’s enjoying the group that we’ve got.
“It’s a good atmosphere which makes for a close bunch which sticks together through the ups and downs, which we’re going to have. We’ve got characters here on and off the field.”
Meanwhile Straka has told the Townsville Bulletin that life up north was close to perfect.
"When flying away on holiday, you dream of sand, oceans, barbecues ... now I see that every day from my window," he said.
“At night we sit there as a family, cook the beautiful fish my wife brings home, have a nice bottle of wine and it is amazing.
"This is life."
And the Fury goal celebration dance which mimics a kangaroo hop derives from a keepings-off training drill (known locally as “Sheva”), as Middleby explained.
“If any player is nutmegged or in the circle too long they have to do a dance," said Middleby." The players and the coaches do it too to rip that person off.
“The players came up with it and now the young kids want to do it like David Williams. They think it’s like a kangaroo dance – it’s just made up by the players. I think it’s fabulous. It’s their little dance.”
However, while Middleby senses the dance may just take off as a gimmick, he is not quite sure about his new coach’s fashion cues.
“My mate Terry McFlynn from Sydney FC rang me up and asked, ‘what’s going on with your coach’s jacket?!’,” he revealed.
Straka has been wedded to a cream, striped jacket since he arrived in Australia wearing it all games and at the recent A-League launch. It may be his lucky charm.
Middleby added: “I think it’s that European style of dress. He loves it!”