LANGWARRIN and Seaford United will participate in the 2020 league season.
The last two local clubs to decide their response to the disrupted season have informed Football Victoria of their decision.
Langwarrin president Tanya Wallace addressed the senior squad last week before making the decision to play this year.
“All of our players returned and have agreed to play so I’m really grateful for the commitment they’ve shown and for wanting to stick by the club in challenging and difficult times,” she said.
“I’m really proud of the way everyone throughout the club has reacted to what needed to be done to allow us to get back training and the staggered approach to introducing different groups to training has definitely worked well for us.”
Wallace has spearheaded Langy’s biosecurity education program for NPL and community club coaches and singled out former long-serving senior coach Gus Macleod, technical director of the club’s community junior program, for special mention.
“Gus has been great throughout this and he’ll be assisting the community coaches when they all return to training,” Wallace said.
Wallace also confirmed that Langwarrin will compete in all four age groups as a junior NPL licence holder – under 13, 14, 15 and 16 levels – and the club was expected to announce the appointment of former player Liam George as under-16 NPL coach.
The junior NPL competition completed seven rounds prior to the COVID-19 shutdown and Langy’s previous under-16 coach walked out after just five rounds before taking on a junior coaching role at a women’s NPL club.
George’s last coaching gig was at Skye United and he had shunned overtures from other local clubs before deciding to return to Lawton Park.
“I had intended to have an educational year and I’d been attending sessions at local senior clubs and connecting with local coaches all with a view to enhancing my knowledge,” George said.
“But I’m a Langy boy and I knew the club was looking for someone so when this opportunity came up it seemed like a really good fit to me.”
George currently coaches at Rowville Secondary College and works with former Manchester United and Denmark star Jesper Olsen in the Future Football project.
Seaford United president Willie Lynn was the last local State League boss to give season 2020 the thumbs up.
His caution was centred on doubts about player numbers but Seaford had a full complement of players at both training sessions last week and only two senior squad players did not train but are expected back this week.
“I think it’s important for the club to participate this year and one of the main reasons is that if we hadn’t then next year it would have been harder to get the players back,” Lynn said.
“It’s important to keep them going.”
In State 1 news Mornington had pencilled in a friendly against Bulleen at the Veneto Club at 1pm on Saturday 27 June.
That match was arranged pending expected state government approval of a return to contact training later this month but on Sunday the government announced that full contact training could resume from Monday 13 July.
“Well obviously the game’s off now and we thought we had the next four weeks planned perfectly,” Mornington gaffer Adam Jamieson said.
The government announcement included a return to competition date of Monday 20 July meaning the opening of the State League season will take place on the last weekend of July.
FV is yet to announce the season format and the structure of the individual leagues as we went to press but speculation was mounting that a number of clubs may decide to withdraw.
While local clubs are confident of fielding both seniors and reserves a number of other clubs are rumoured to be struggling to assemble two squads among them Heatherton United, Springvale City and Keysborough.
In State 2 news former Mornington and Frankston Pines striker Jason Bradbury who joined Peninsula Strikers from Sunshine Coast Fire in the off-season has returned to Queensland for family and work commitments while Michael Nobbs, Julian Malander and Laban Stringer have not returned to Strikers’ training.
“Laban may return but Michael is busy with work and looking to play closer to home with less training commitments,” head coach Paul Williams said.
“Julian is still trying to get his body right so he’s looking at a club closer to home and less training commitments too.”
In State 3 news former Casey Comets and Langwarrin goalkeeper Faraz Zanoozi could join younger brother Hamraz at Frankston Pines.
The Monterey Reserve side remains hopeful that it can clinch the signature of striker Matt “Hammer” Hames.
Last week Pines announced the advent of their All-Abilities Program which will be sponsored by JD’s Truss Co. Pty. Ltd.
The company’s principal is former Pines player and Langwarrin technical director Stephen Fisher.
All abilities football provides the chance for people with a physical and/or intellectual disability to directly participate with a local club in a fun, supportive and inclusive environment.
The program will start with a free Come And Try Day at Monterey Reserve on Saturday 27 June between 10am and 11.20am.
The non-competitive All-Abilities Program will lead to the formation of all-abilities teams for various ages, genders and levels of experience and Pines want to emphasise that everyone is welcome.
The 27 June session will be hosted by Pines senior coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor and goalkeeping coach Lee Davies and will be conducted in a COVID Safe environment.
Taylor holds a B licence and is part of the way through his A coaching licence.
He is a former Pines, Seaford, Langy, Mornington and Huskisson Vincentia (NSW) player and has coached Bentleigh Greens under-20s, Langy under-20s and held senior coaching positions at Westgate and Seaford United.
Davies played at Pines, Altona Magic, Brunei and Marine Castle in Singapore.
He holds a level 1 goalkeeping licence and has been goalkeeping coach at Pines, White Eagles, Strikers and Southern United and has coached Pines reserves.
For further information contact Taylor on 0433 759 220 or register via Frankston Pines FC Facebook Event page.
The big news in State 4 is the appointment of Stan Packer as senior coach of Somerville Eagles.
He previously was assisting player-coach Dave Greening who stepped down recently and has left the club.
“It’s all happened quite quickly and in a sense I’ve inherited the job,” Packer said.
“Even though there’s no relegation this year I want to make the squad super competitive and although at this stage we’ve lost Dave we’ve got a couple of players we’re looking at bringing in.”
Packer’s assistants are Paul Robinson who also coaches the reserves and Neil Wypor who also is goalkeeping coach.
The club is hopeful of welcoming back experienced midfielder Carlo Cardoso.
Meanwhile Chelsea had hoped to host Aspendale Stingrays on Friday 26 June at 6.30pm and 8.30pm in friendlies for both reserves and senior squads at Edithvale Recreation Reserve.
The club also had hoped to play Lyndale at Lyndale Secondary College the following Saturday at 1pm and 3pm.
Sunday’s return to training announcement forced those friendlies to be put on hold pending an official announcement from FV.
In player news Chelsea has signed former St Kilda Celts central defender Chris Muir.
“Chris is a Scottish lad that has fitted in well with our playing group,” senior coach Carlo Melino said.
“He was only at training for a week and made the effort to come to a players’ social event and he has really made himself part of the squad in a very short time.
“His professionalism, technical ability, experience and his no-nonsense approach to the game are great qualities for a central defender.
“It’s great to have him at Chelsea.”