SCOTT Miller and Trevor Johnston stole the coaching spotlight last week with Langwarrin and Frankston Pines respectively.
Former Socceroos assistant Miller will line-up for a fifth straight season at Lawton Park while Pines wasted little time in filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor by announcing Johnston as his replacement.
“We’ll go again,” a buoyant Miller said.
“I really enjoy being there.
“I enjoy my relationship with the 21s coaches Ben and Pooley while Greg (Kilner) has been like a mentor to me.
“We’ve got a really strong, united group behind the team.
“The club knows where it wants to go and we are all aligned with where we want to take it.”
Miller readily acknowledges that the team fell short of expectations this year finishing seventh in a 12-team NPL2.
“On the park things weren’t what we wanted but the structure is there to continue and improve.
“That’s important because there are some really strong sides coming into the league.”
NPL2 will be expanded to 14 teams next season and will include Preston Lions, Melbourne City and Western United who were promoted from NPL3 and Dandenong City and Eastern Lions who were relegated from NPL.
“There are some really strong sides coming into that league.
“It’s going to be harder than this season – no doubt about it – and in my view this league will be just as competitive and maybe even harder than NPL.”
Johnston has a long association with Peninsula Strikers as a player and administrator but he’ll be plotting Strikers’ downfall next season with Pines.
He’s had a stint as assistant coach at Berwick City but this is his first senior coaching job and he’s relishing the prospect.
“It’s a good job for sure,” he said.
“There’s a really good structure in place thanks to ‘Squizzy’ and my initial conversation with him was about him staying and I wanted to assist him in some way but his mind was made up about leaving.
“I’d been at the club all year watching my son play in the reserves and after ‘Squizzy’ resigned the club approached me and asked if I was interested in the job.
“I then spent hours on the phone to ‘Squizzy’ and the players before deciding to take the job.”
The feedback from the players has been positive.
“I’ve spoken to every single player and they have all assured me they want to stay together and they are rapt that I’ve become the coach,” he added.
“I’m very happy with that outcome.”
Johnston sees no reason why Pines can’t challenge for promotion from State 2 and says that the players share that view.
“For me it’s all about having people here who want to play for the right reasons and this current group of players know they have the ability to take that next step.
“I’m pretty close to the players.
“I’ve had a year of going to training sessions and even holding a couple of sessions so I know them pretty well.
“I think this is a good group of boys and I think they’ll have every opportunity to be successful next year.”
Johnston plans to hold half a dozen training sessions before Christmas before “ramping it up into proper pre-season training” in the new year.
He dismissed a rumour that Casey Comets’ ace striker John Prescott would join him at Monterey Reserve.
“I’ve spoken to him and he won’t be going to Pines.
“But it wouldn’t surprise me if there are new arrivals.”
Overall there’s been little recent movement of the coaching merry-go-round this pre-season with most incumbents expected to be at the helm next year.
Three clubs are yet to settle on their senior coaching set-up – Peninsula Strikers, Somerville Eagles and Rosebud.
Strikers and Somerville are expected to make those decisions this week while things are up in the air at Rosebud after president John Grbac’s recent resignation.
Here are the expected coaches for season 2023:
Langwarrin (Scott Miller), Mornington (Adam Jamieson), Skye United (Phil McGuinness), Frankston Pines (Trevor Johnston), Baxter (Stephen Fisher), Chelsea (Carlo Melino), Aspendale (Gregor Macnab and Tony Guedes) and Mount Martha (Chris Sanderson).
Aspendale will hold the grand opening of its new pavilion at Aspendale Gardens Sports Ground on Saturday 10 September.
“It will be a full-on day as it coincides with our MiniRoos presentation (260 kids plus their families) and we are also making it a Community Day with lots of kids’ inflatables, food, and Melbourne City coaching clinics,” club president Derrick Berends said.
The day will kick-off at around 10.30am and run until 5pm with the official opening expected to take place between 2pm and 3pm.
Victoria’s Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence and Kingston City Mayor Steve Staikos will attend.
In other news Langwarrin and Mornington will field teams in the Junior Super League tournament due to run from October to December.
The league was established last year for selected clubs to create a high-quality competition for players from under-8 to under-12 levels.
It allows for highly organised and competitive games at the end of the MiniRoos and junior winter leagues seasons.
Langwarrin’s program is headed by under-21s assistant Adam Poole and senior assistant Jamie Skelly while Mornington’s program is headed by former star striker Nick Waite.
Both local clubs are holding trials and players do not need to be existing players at those clubs.
Those interested in registering for either club’s JSL programs should check the respective club’s facebook page.