A MULTI-MILLION dollar makeover, new coaches and new players on the way – there’s a quiet revolution underway at Mornington.
The Seagulls are major beneficiaries of an $8.5 million redevelopment of Dallas Brooks Park involving four new pitches, new drainage, floodlighting to 200 lux on the main pitch and 100 lux on the other pitches with a new access driveway and car parking.
“This redevelopment has been in the works for the last 12 months and we’re rapt that it’s going to go ahead,” Mornington president Matt Cameron said.
“The footy oval redevelopment starts first and it’s planned to start the soccer part around this time next year.”
Mornington will be forced to relocate for the 2024 season and Cameron has held preliminary discussions with other clubs including clubs outside the shire.
“There’s nothing locked in,” he said.
“If we end up relocating outside the council area I don’t anticipate any opposition.
“We can make arrangements locally for our community juniors but it’s our NPL juniors and senior teams that are the problems.”
And last week Chris Crewther, Liberal candidate for the seat of Mornington at the upcoming state election, committed a Matthew Guy government to a $2.5 million grant for new clubrooms for the local soccer side.
“Chris has been great to deal with and it’s a lot of money as a starting point especially if the federal government and council get involved,” Cameron added.
“We’ll canvass other candidates to see if can secure a similar promise.”
The club also has been finalising its coaching set-up with head coach Adam Jamieson renewing his association with new assistant Craig Lewis.
“We go back a long way – ‘Lewie’ and I first worked together at Frankston Pines and he’s the reason I got involved in coaching all those years ago,” Jamieson said.
“He’s got a brilliant football brain and his tactical nous is second to none.
“Having worked so well with ‘Peelie’ (Nathan Peel) and Gerry (McDonagh) I needed someone I could trust so when his name first came up I moved quickly to talk to him.”
David Waring has been re-appointed senior team manager and Jamieson also confirmed that Peter Blasby will be senior goalkeeping coach.
Blasby had been goalkeeping coach at Langwarrin since early 2019 but was told last week that his services were no longer required.
He has been goalkeeping coach for Mornington’s junior NPL program and will continue in that role.
Jamieson’s focus has been dealing with an enforced coaching restructure following the departures of Scott Morrison and Jason Symonds (to Peninsula Strikers) and McDonagh (to Doveton).
He can now turn his attention to the playing group and although he has re-signed a few players he still has to hold individual discussions with the bulk of last season’s squad.
Matt Harrington is unlikely to play next season as he plans to head overseas in April.
So far Ziggy Razuki, Shaun Kenny, David Stirton, Danny Brooks and Sam Scott have re-signed.
“We won’t be rushed into anything despite the rumours and innuendo going around,” Jamieson said.
“We won’t listen to everyone’s else’s opinions.
“I want to make sure that we are working through this properly and that we make the right decisions for our football club at the right time.”
It seems certain that new signings will emerge in coming weeks but there’s one newcomer already locked in for next season.
Teenage midfielder Brady Pollard from Bentleigh Greens joined Mornington last week and the youngster who turns 19 next month is held in high regard.
“We’re absolutely rapt to get him over the line,” Jamieson said.
“We’ve seen him a couple of times and he’s a very, very talented young footballer.”
In State 2 news Peninsula Strikers announced last week that it had clinched the signature of central defender Jamie Davidson from Mornington.
The 21-year-old started his junior career with Whitehorse United before joining Box Hill United’s junior NPL program.
He was in the club’s under-21s when he switched to Mornington and was in the senior squad there for the past two seasons.
Davidson lives in Ringwood having grown up in the eastern suburbs and the commute to and from Strikers for training and matchdays isn’t an issue.
“The travel’s worth it when you’re at a good club,” Davidson said.
“Obviously I knew Scott (Morrison) and Jason (Symonds) from Mornington then catching up with the coaching team and Adrian (Scialpi, club president) – they talked about culture, signing up all the guys who were here this year and wanting to go for promotion – was a big influence.
“And speaking to the strength and conditioning coach (Kosta Drakoulakos) was important – it’s a big part of my game and a big bonus for me.”
Meanwhile Skye United held its presentation night on Saturday with Alex Van Heerwarden winning the senior men’s best and fairest award while Mohamad El Hassan was runner-up.
Reserves best and fairest honours went to Nicholas Wright with Rob Schreurs runner-up.
Senior women’s best and fairest winner was Cadi Vakacavu and Caitlin Robinson was runner-up.
The women’s reserves best and fairest was Meike Berg and Stephanie Cullen was runner-up.
State 5 women’s best and fairest winner was Gadise Hughes-Smith and Jessie Mclean-Cook was runner-up.
Mitch Blake was the senior men’s Golden Boot winner while Jasmine Jaber won the women’s Golden Boot award.
In the men’s reserves the Golden Boot honours were shared by Mikey Turner and Marcus Anastasiou.
In State 4 news Baxter has added Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor to its coaching panel and head coach Stephen Fisher was relishing the prospect of the former Seaford, Pines and Bentleigh Greens coach working at Baxter Park.
“In ‘Squizzy’ we’ve got a massive knowledge base that I want everyone to tap into,” Fisher said.
“He has so much to offer and he’s more than happy to share that knowledge and experience and I want to take advantage of that.
“We know it’s not a forever appointment but it’s a massive coup for us.”
State 4 rival Chelsea held its presentation night on Friday with Piers Brelsford winning the seniors’ Player of the Year and Golden Boot awards.
Seniors Best Player was Connor Scott and runner-up Daniel Vella while reserves Best Player and Golden Boot winner was Kieren Harbis, runner-up Danny Graham while reserves Players’ Player was Marshall Dobson.
Former club president John Zeccola and wife Paula were awarded life memberships.