MOUNT Eliza and Seaford United will apply to Football Victoria for a place in next season’s State 5 South.
Both clubs confirmed their intent last week after the state federation opened the application process outlining the wide-ranging criteria clubs must address in their application.
Mount Eliza is the new kid on the block as far as State League status is concerned and club president Justin Sheppard is keen to halt the annual player exodus from its senior squad currently competing under the Bayside Football Association banner.
“We keep losing players every year who want to play at a higher level,” Sheppard said.
“The majority of the current group want to try their hand at State 5 and we’ve got players coming to the club if our application is successful.
“We won’t be able to announce a coach until we find out if we are in State 5 but [selecting] the coaching staff has been done.”
Sheppard believes that State League status is key to embedding a development pathway for a flourishing junior program with around 540 boys and 132 girls involved.
The club has 38 registered senior players.
Seaford United withdrew from State 4 South last February but will base its application for re-admission to State League on both its men’s and women’s programs.
“We’ve already been in State League so we know what’s involved,” president Willie Lynn said.
“We had an under-16s last season so we could always use those players in the reserves and it’s just a matter of approaching players for the senior team.”
Seaford has a men’s and women’s program and an established junior program.
In State 1 news Mornington has clinched the signature of NPL goalkeeper Fraser Maclaren.
The former Beaumaris, Melbourne Victory, South Melbourne and Dandenong Thunder custodian recently ended a second stint with Langwarrin.
Mornington coach Adam Jamieson has chased Maclaren for some time and the 27-year-old keeper didn’t need much convincing to make the move to Dallas Brooks Park.
“For a couple of years now ‘Jamo’ has chased me and I think with the way they’re going and the squad they’re building I thought ‘why not give it a crack?’ Maclaren said.
“Their aim is to get promoted and I know half the boys down there anyway.”
When Maclaren left Langwarrin he was expected to return to his boyhood club Beaumaris which had won promotion to NPL3 but the opportunity wasn’t there.
“Beaumaris is happy with its squad and they’ve got a goalkeeper so I said to the coach ‘while you’ve got a keeper there’s no time for discussion’.
“I said if there had been a position available then we’d sit down and talk.”
Maclaren’s departure from Langy wasn’t pleasant but he doesn’t have a lot to say about that.
“I’m disappointed over a number of things that happened and the way things ended but I’m happy to draw a line under what was a challenging year last season,” he said.
“I’m excited to join a club with great ambition and to continue a great culture.”
In State 2 news Frankston Pines has signed striker Antonio Marcuccio from rival Berwick City.
The 20-year-old was at Berwick when Pines’ head coach Trevor Johnston was there.
“He played at Comets last season then went back to Berwick and scored 12 goals in 12 games,” Johnston said.
“He’s a play-off-the-shoulder type, he’s super quick with a good eye for goal and he’ll be a good addition seeing as how we’ve lost Liam Baxter.”
Pines also are tracking a South American import and hope to welcome him to Monterey Reserve early next year.
The club refused to name him until confirmation of his visa approval.
Star Pines midfielder Thomas Dunn returned from his native Fiji on Friday and the 19-year-old has been quoted by FijiLive as being keen to represent his country in next year’s Under-20s World Cup finals.
Indonesia is hosting the tournament which runs from 20 May to 11 June.
“We’re not sure how many games Thomas could miss but we’re very supportive of him playing for his country,” Johnston said.
Meanwhile Jason Symonds shunned overtures from Mornington last week re-affirming his recent appointment to the coaching panel at Peninsula Strikers.
Mornington was keen to get Symonds to return to Dallas Brooks Park to continue his developmental work with its reserves squad.
“I was on holiday last week so I had time to think things through and I’m staying at Strikers,” he said.
Symonds’ son Ben also has made the switch to Centenary Park.
He won the best and fairest in Mornington’s reserves last season and his father thinks that the 19-year-old will have more chance of senior game time at Strikers.
“I love Mornington and I’ve got a very good relationship with ‘Jamo’ but I’ve also got a good relationship with ‘Scotty’ (Strikers’ joint senior coach Scott Morrison) and it’s pretty exciting what Strikers are doing.
“It’s a great opportunity for Ben to step up and it’s also an opportunity for me to help Strikers.”
In State 4 news Somerville Eagles have signed winger Reilly Saffin and are close to agreeing with five other newcomers one of whom is former player Chris Thomas.
Thomas joined the Eagles from Seaford United then switched to Dandenong South this year.
Saffin, 19, has played with Mornington and Skye United and can play on either side of the pitch.
Somerville head coach Adam Steele will start pre-season training on Tuesday 15 November and expects all current and prospective players to attend.
“We’re focussing mainly on the re-signings right now,” Steele said.
Josh Simmons, Tom Simmons, Joe Simmons, Sam Beadle, Conor McFall, Connor Carson, Nick Bucello, Tom Pollock, Zach Karolidis and Joel Wade have re-committed for next season.
“We’ll definitely be bringing in new players and the ones we’ve been talking to are 80 to 90 percent over the line,” Steele added.
“We’ll be making those announcements prior to Christmas.”