CALLUM Goulding has high expectations of what Langwarrin can achieve this year in NPL2.
And the midfielder doesn’t buy into talk of 2022 being a disappointing season.
“From the outside it may have looked like we didn’t have a good season but we drew eight or nine games – something ridiculous like that – and if you win some of them it’s a whole new season altogether and people are probably not talking about us the way they were last season,” Goulding said.
Much hype surrounded Langwarrin heading into last season with the club eventually finishing seventh in a 12-team league.
That’s changed this year with NPL2 now consisting of 14 teams contesting a 26-match season and Goulding offers Langy fans a positive outlook.
“There’s no point going into a league as competitive as NPL2 if you don’t expect to do well.
“At the same time we’re not putting pressure on ourselves to achieve anything in particular but the standards have been set by the coaching staff and by the boys at training.
“Everyone seems really focussed on doing the business on the pitch.
“Not that I’ve been training as I’m struggling with a niggle at the moment but from what I’ve seen when doing my rehab and having a nosey at what’s going on all the boys are working really hard which is good.”
Goulding turns 25 next month and has an impressive football résumé.
His junior career involved spells with Mornington, Langwarrin and Peninsula Strikers before accepting an offer to join Victoria’s National Training Centre program.
From there he signed with Melbourne Victory and his four seasons with the A-League giant were highlighted by winning promotion from NPL1 East in 2015, being in the matchday squads against touring sides Juventus and Atletico Madrid and being selected in 2016 to attend a 23-player Young Socceroos training camp.
In 2018 he agreed terms with then newly promoted NPL2 East side Langwarrin but left midway through the season and made 12 appearances with Box Hill United.
Scott Miller’s appointment as Langy boss for the 2019 season played an important part in Goulding’s return but during that season he had a brief stint with NPL powerhouse Bentleigh Greens before heading to Lawton Park a third time.
“My two-week ‘loan’ spell at Bentleigh didn’t work out,” he said with a giggle.
“I spoke to Scott and said it wasn’t happening the way I was told it was going to happen and I needed to be playing not sitting on the bench so I decided to come back.”
He’s not the only Goulding welcomed back to Langy with open arms as younger brother Luke has returned from a couple of seasons with Mornington.
“Luke was young when he left Langy and had a couple of good seasons at Mornington.
“This season he was really strong from what I saw.
“He fancied having a crack at a higher level again and Scott and Jamie (Skelly, assistant coach) reached out to him and told him to come down and to see how he goes.
“They didn’t put pressure on him to sign but just to train with us for a bit and he did well so they signed him and it’s good to have him back.”
The Gouldings are expected to have major roles to play in Langwarrin’s upcoming season and Luke at least should be in the thick of the action on Friday night against Oakleigh Cannons.
Langy has set a testing pre-season program having lined up games against some NPL heavyweights before the league season kicks-off in mid-February.
Here is the club’s pre-season schedule:
Friday 13 January: v Oakleigh Cannons, Lawton Park, 7.30pm seniors (U21s v South Melbourne, Lawton Park 7pm); Tuesday 17 January: v Dandenong Thunder, Lawton Park, 7.30pm seniors, 7pm U21s; Saturday, 21 January: Steve Wallace Cup, Lawton Park; Saturday 28 January: v Bentleigh Greens, Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, 10am seniors; Saturday 4 February: v Boroondara Eagles, Lawton Park, 5pm seniors, 7pm U21s; Tuesday 9 February: v Doveton, Lawton Park, 7.30pm seniors & U21s.
In State 1 news Mornington has signed tall central defender Travis Trent-Hatton from NPL2 side Manningham United Blues.
Although Trent-Hatton has also played in midfield and up front the Seagulls can now boast the twin towers of the competition with Trent-Hatton likely to line-up alongside Josh Heaton in the club’s new central defensive combination.
Trent-Hatton trained with Mornington and Beaumaris prior to Christmas before settling on the Seagulls.
Liam Quinn from Bentleigh Greens is another new signing.
He links up with former Greens teammate Brady Pollard and is vying for the right back role.
Mornington gaffer Adam Jamieson has confirmed that star striker Josh Hine is on the move.
Hine has been training with Langwarrin but it’s understood that Doveton is among a number of clubs who have approached the former Salford City forward.
Midfielder Damien Peters has retired due to work commitments while veteran striker Wayne Gordon remains a Doveton target.
Midfielder Kane Bentley is on the comeback trail from an ACL injury.
“We hope to get Kane sorted when we get back (to training) and I’ll be disappointed if we can’t get him,” Jamieson said.
In State 2 news Skye United gets its pre-season match schedule underway when it again competes in the Steve Wallace Cup at Lawton Reserve on Saturday 21 January. Its other games are:
Tuesday 24 January: v Langwarrin U21s, Lawton Reserve, 7.30pm; Saturday 28 January: v Collingwood, venue TBA, 1pm & 3pm; Saturday 4 February: v White Star Dandenong, venue TBA, 1pm & 3pm; Tuesday 7 February: v Bayside Argonauts, venue TBA, 7.30pm; Saturday 11 February: v Pakenham Utd, IYU Reserve, 12 noon & 2pm; Wednesday 15 February: v Endeavour Utd, Reema Reserve, 7.30pm; Saturday 18 February: v Baxter, Baxter Park, 1pm & 3pm.
In State 4 news Liam Baxter has quit Baxter and signed with NPL3 outfit Beaumaris.
The journeyman striker was touted as a signing coup when he arrived at Baxter Park from Frankston Pines in September but a few weeks later he was on the move again.
Baxter will be joined at Beaumaris by ex-Pines teammate Savenaca Baledrokadroka.
The 23-year-old Fiji international midfielder agreed terms before Christmas.
Both Baxter and Baledrokadroka link up once more with ex-Pines coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor now assistant to Dave Gibson at Beaumaris.
State 4 rival Chelsea has high hopes for the upcoming season and its pre-season schedule includes the following games:
Saturday 28 January: v Peninsula Strikers, Centenary Park, 1pm & 3pm; Saturday 4 February: v Casey Panthers, Prospect Hill Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Friday 24 February: v Monbulk Rangers, Monbulk Regional Soccer Facility, 6.30pm & 8.30pm; Thursday 9 March: v Aspendale Stingrays, Edithvale Recreation Reserve, 6.30pm & 8.30pm.
In State 5 news Seaford United finally named Paul Williams as its new senior coach.
He has had a long association with the club both in a playing and coaching capacity and pre-season training gets underway this week.
“We’ve got a few players in the pipeline but at the moment let’s see who rocks up and go from there,” Williams said.
“My first priority is putting two teams on the park but with the calibre of player I’ve been talking to I think we can become successful.”
Seaford will face Boronia in a friendly at North Seaford Reserve on Saturday 21 January at 12 noon and 2pm.
That’s because the club won’t compete in the Wallace Cup for the first time since the annual event’s inception.
State 5 rival Mount Eliza has signed goalkeeper Sam Green and midfielder Michael Clarke.
“Sam is from White Star Dandenong and he’s a major signing for us,” Mount Eliza head coach Bryce Ruthven said.
“He was the standout keeper in State 5 South last season and I have no doubt he’ll replicate that form in a Mount Eliza jersey.
“Michael has been signed from Baxter and he’ll help mentor the younger boys on the pitch given he’s won State 5 with Somerville.
“Both signings adhere to our recruitment strategy of bringing back local players to play for a new peninsula State League team.”
Here is Mount Eliza’s pre-season schedule:
Friday 13 January: v Lilydale Montrose Utd, Monterey Reserve, 7pm & 8.30pm; Saturday 21 January: Steve Wallace Cup, Lawton Park; Wednesday 25 January: v East Kew, Monterey Reserve, 6:30pm & 8:30pm; Saturday 11 March: v Knox United, Parkridge Reserve, 1pm & 3pm.
Other games have been arranged against Mount Waverley (Saturday 28 January), Old Melburnians (Saturday 4 February) and Ballarat (Saturday 4 March).
Check social media to confirm venues and kick-off times.