Sheffield Steelers new goalie shows respect for rival for starting position

Tony Morrone is preparing to push Matt Greenfield for the starting goaltender’s spot at Sheffield Steelers this coming season.
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Morrone is a new signing for the EIHL club, along with former Sheffield Scimitars’ netminder Angus Laing.

The three hope to keep each other in top competitive shape as Steelers mount a challenge for the league title.

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Morrone faces a difficult task to unseat Greenfield, who was an almost ever-present last season.

Tony Morrone: glove save Tony Morrone: glove save
Tony Morrone: glove save

The 24-year-old newcomer has nothing but respect for what “Greener” achieved last year.

He told The Star: “Aaron (Fox, coach) told me about Matthew and how he did last year.

“He was really important for the team.

“Personally, I would love to be the starter, who wouldn’t?

Matt GreenfieldMatt Greenfield
Matt Greenfield

“But the main factor is that the team wants to win and I want what’s best for the team. If I am playing well then I should play if Matthew is playing well then he should, to me it is as simple as that.

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“Whenever I get a chance to play I will be grateful and I know I will be ready.

“Sometimes goalies can wait three to four weeks for a start, it happens, but in the professional game, it is all about winning.

“It’s team-first, always.”

The French Canadian, who played with Marco Vallerand at HK Olimpija Ljubljana for part of last season, pledged his support for Greenfield.

“I will be pushing him to be the best he can be and I think he’ll think the same for me. We will want to be a good tandem and instill confidence around us.”

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Fox has no doubts that the two imports can bring the best out of each other.

“I expect him to compete with Greener. I would never bring in a guy that I didn’t think could not be a starter in this league,” said the coach.

“There would be no point bringing in a guy in to sit there and not feel as though he is good enough to win games for us.

“He understands the situation, he knows Greener had a good year, he is the guy who is going to come in and work his tail off and be a good guy for the room. I will use him in certain situations especially early on, and see where that goes.”

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Morrone will play in some exhibition games some early Challenge Cup games.

Fox said: “We cannot expect Greener to play 70 games, he is going to need some nights off and it is important to us to give the new guy an opportunity to find his game, just in case we need him to go on a run.

“It is important for both goalies to have that, last year was hard on Greener mentally and physically to know he had to be be that guy, even when he was sick.

“There was a stretch of games last year when he probably played at 60-70 per cent because he knew he had no other option.”

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Morrone, who is 6ft 2ins and said to have an aggressive style, had been alerted to Sheffield’s interest by his agent.

“Right away I said: ‘Let’s get it going’ recalled the goalie.

“It is a place I have been wanting to play for a long time now, I have known players there like Vally and Anthony DeLuca, and am excited to get it going.”

Laing, who is also 24, arrives after five years in the US college system, his last team being East Texas Baptist University.

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The Edinburgh-born custodian, who played for Sheffield junior sides (2015-17) said: “I’m excited to be coming back to Sheffield, I know the organisation a little from when I skated a lot under Paul Thompson.

“When I decided to come back to the UK I reached out to Sheffield and within a week the deal was signed.

“It’s a great opportunity and one I intend to grasp being with the biggest and best organisation in the league. Hopefully this move will start my professional career”