COULD Paul Truman be the man who lifts Rosebud off the foot of the State Leagues?
The ’Buds re-entered State League for the 2019 season finishing eighth in State 5, not competing in a pandemic-ravaged 2020 then seventh in an interrupted 2021 before hitting rock bottom last year.
Rosebud won just two games in 2022 amassing nine points in all with a minus 54 goal difference.
Clearly the ’Buds were the worst team on the peninsula.
The senior coaching position had become a poisoned chalice that had seen Pat Sabatino, Tommy McShane, Mark Pagliarulo, Ryan Monk and Stef Papaluca come and go.
Now it was Truman’s turn but many critics wrote off his chances of turning things around before he’d even held his first session.
Yet from the outset there have been positive signs and Truman sees no reason why that won’t continue.
“It’s been good and I’ve been impressed by the turnout we had from my very first session before Christmas,” he said.
“We’ve averaged around 26, 27 players turning up to training which has been positive and the committee has been very supportive.
“Everything I’ve asked for they’ve got for me.
“Sometimes committees want to run before they can walk but not this committee.
“They have a bright outlook and they know where they want to go but they also realise it’s about small steps and bits of improvement.”
Truman has signed a number of young players including Tom Donoghue, Jacob Bigg, Luka Varga and Davis Markulin while experienced midfielder Corey Osorio has signed on for another season.
“Donoghue is a young centre back who will improve with time,” Truman said.
“Bigg is a left-sided player who is good with the ball and Varga is an energetic midfielder who can assist with a goal.
“All three need to improve on playing without the ball and that’s something we’ll work on.”
Donoghue, Bigg and Varga have been involved in the junior boys NPL program with local clubs.
Markulin is a forward and was part of Skye United’s reserves championship side last season but has linked up with his brother Jakob at Rosebud.
Another new signing is Julien Dos Santos, who played with Northern Falcons last season and has been on the books of Dandenong City and Moreland City.
“Julien’s an experienced central midfielder, very good on the ball, very composed,” Truman added.
The signings are unlikely to end there.
“I’m looking for an experienced goalkeeper and perhaps a centre forward.
“I have a young striker who I think could be really good but he hasn’t played for a year and he’s a bit raw at this stage.”
Truman has hired Mount Eliza co-founder Pete McLoughlin as his assistant while Shane Caulfield and Marty Phillips are in charge of the reserves.
In NPL2 news Langwarrin lost 2-1 to NPL heavyweight Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Saturday morning.
Langy took a first-half lead after Brad Blumenthal sent Jeremy Min Fa down the right and his cross was finished by Archie Macphee inside the six-yard box.
Both sides rung the changes on the hour mark and the Greens scored twice in the last 20 minutes.
Langy has now taken on three established NPL clubs – Oakleigh Cannons, Dandenong Thunder and the Greens – taking the lead against all three, eventually drawing with Oakleigh and losing to the others.
Significantly Macphee has hit the target in all three games.
If the Scot maintains his consistency he’ll leapfrog John Kuol’s record at Lawton Park which stands at 10 goals during the 2018 NPL season.
In State 1 news Mornington has released its pre-season schedule. Here it is:
Saturday 4 February: v Dandenong City, Dallas Brooks Park, 10am seniors, 12 noon reserves; Saturday 11 February: v Doveton, Waratah Reserve, KO TBC; Saturday 18 February: v Clifton Hill, Dallas Brooks Park, KO TBC; Saturday 25 February: v Whittlesea United Dallas Brooks Park, KO TBC; Thursday 2 March: v Mazenod, Dallas Brooks Park, 7pm.
The Seagulls may announce new signings next week.
In State 2 news Peninsula Strikers won two friendlies in four days starting with Wednesday’s 3-1 home win against White Star Dandenong with goals from Huss Chehimi, Jai Power and Marcelo Rojas.
Chehimi’s 25-metre screamer was a highlight while Cal Bradbury starred and controlled the contest.
On Saturday Strikers beat Chelsea 4-0 at Centenary Park with goals from Cassius Delaney (2), Bradbury and Riley Anderton.
Strikers have been impressed with the form of 18-year-old left back Jordy May from Mornington.
Experienced defender Andrew Goff is yet to join the exodus from Mornington but has trained with Strikers since December.
In contrast State 2 rival Skye United leaked nine goals in five days starting with a 4-0 loss to Langwarrin’s under-21s on Tuesday night then going down 5-1 to Collingwood on Saturday.
The other local State 2 outfit Frankston Pines lost 4-0 to Casey Comets at Monterey Reserve last weekend.
Casey had a large squad of players – twice as many as Pines – with the home team having to rely on a 13-man squad due to injury and other commitments.
Meanwhile the Australia Cup first preliminary round involving local State 4 and State 5 teams will be held on the second week in February.
The second preliminary round will be held a week later when State 2 and State 3 clubs join the fray.
Here are this week’s friendlies:
TUESDAY (31 January)
Seaford Utd v Brandon Park reserves, North Seaford Reserve, 7pm seniors.
THURSDAY (2 February)
Rosebud v Skye Utd, Olympic Park, 6.45pm seniors.
SATURDAY (4 February)
Langwarrin v Boroondara Eagles, Lawton Park, 1pm seniors; Mornington v Dandenong City, Dallas Brooks Park, 10am seniors, 12 noon reserves; Peninsula Strikers v Beaumaris, Centenary Park, 1pm & 3pm; Skye Utd v Altona East, Monterey Reserve, 12 noon seniors & 2pm reserves; Baxter v Noble Park Utd, Baxter Park, 1pm & 3pm; Casey Panthers v Chelsea, Prospect Hill Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Somerville v Mentone, Knox Regional Football Centre, 1pm & 3pm; Seaford Utd v Officer, North Seaford Reserve, 3pm; Aspendale SC v St Kevins Old Boys, Tooronga Sports Field, 3pm & 5pm; Mount Eliza v Old Melburnians, Monterey Reserve, 1pm & 3pm.
SUNDAY (5 February)
Langwarrin v Boroondara Eagles, Lawton Park, 5pm U21s.