IT’S a newlook Langwarrin that launches the league season on Saturday when it hosts Kingston City at Lawton Park at 7pm.
Scott Miller has brought in 13 players from other clubs during the off-season in a major squad makeover that the local club hopes will deliver a successful campaign.
“Pre-season’s been really enjoyable and the characters we’ve brought in have had a really positive effect on the group,” Miller said.
“I sat down last week and looked at the league and seven of those clubs have been in NPL1 while two are A-League clubs.
“Compare that to Langwarrin who have really only had three NPL seasons when you take the pandemic into account and it puts things into perspective.”
But despite being a comparative NPL newcomer Langwarrin goes into Saturday’s clash as a firm favourite.
It’s important that it gets a good result against Kingston as Langy had a stuttering start to last season having to wait until round 9 for its first win and after Saturday’s season opener it faces the next five games away while roadworks on Barrett’s Road are completed and the grass on the main pitch is resown.
“We all know Kingston’s system and how they play and I expect them to be more structured defensively after their coaching restructure but we’re all looking forward to this,” Miller added.
Here is Langwarrin’s senior squad with the previous club of new players in brackets:
GOALKEEPERS: James Burgess (Northcote), Nathan Lynders. DEFENDERS: Jaiden Madaferri, Charlie Fry (Kingston City), Luke Goulding (Mornington), Thomas Podaridis (Springvale White Eagles), Nathan Cook (Dandenong City), Jeremy Min Fa, Simon Storey, Lucas Portelli, Marcus Di Meo, Brad Chick. MIDFIELDERS: Jin Jeong (Northcote City), Carlos Abboud (Dandenong City), Ethan Goulding (Mornington), Josh Meaker (Dandenong Thunder), Tristan Meaker (CD Alcoyano, Spain), Callum Goulding, Rogan McGeorge (captain), Jacob Britto, Lenny Gregory. FORWARDS: Josh Varga (Nunawading City), Brad Blumenthal (Sydenham Park), Archie MacPhee (Nunawading City), James Kelly, Tom Youngs, Logan Crouch.
In the Langwarrin under-21s Ben Caffrey and assistant Adam Poole are aiming for another top four finish after sampling finals football in 2022.
“Having kept the majority of players from last season, signing two and promoting three, we have set goals as a team to go further than the semi-finals last year,” Caffrey said.
“As 21s coaches though, Pooley and I with the help of Sean (Skelly) are also looking to continue the players’ development towards the seniors, having seen two promoted this year already.”
Here is the under-21 squad:
GOALKEEPER: Branten Kindler. DEFENDERS: Oscar Goble, Kameel Khan, Zamer Noor (Dandenong Thunder), Owen Murphy (captain). MIDFIELDERS: Nicholas Corbett, Emmanuel Scarlett, Kyle Eichenberger, Leo Merks (U18s). FORWARDS: Tom Wood, Toby Mullins (Eastern Lions), Sean Smith (U18s), Mark Deacon (U18s).
In Australia Cup news, Mount Martha, Mentone and Baxter advanced to the second preliminary round after last weekend’s fixtures while Seaford United, Chelsea and Aspendale all lost.
Seaford United lost 1-0 away to Latrobe Uni, Chelsea went down 4-1 to St Kilda and Aspendale lost 5-1 away to Keilor Wolves.
Mount Martha scraped through Saturday’s Cup clash at Monterey Reserve with FC Tullamarine 5-4 on penalties after the sides were locked at 1-1 after extra time.
Ethan Sanderson gave Mount Martha the lead in the 10th minute with a superb finish into the top far corner after a flowing interpassing move on the right.
In the 35th minute Levent Gunerli converted from the penalty spot to level the scores.
Four minutes into the second half Mount Martha was awarded a penalty.
Davey Jones took it by scuffing his shot and gifting a simple save to Tullamarine keeper Nicholas Abougelis.
When it came to the penalties showdown Abougelis played a pivotal role.
He was quick to offer advice to Mount Martha penalty takes especially after they missed then decided to take a penalty himself sending his attempt sailing harmlessly over the bar.
After missing three good chances to deny the visitors Mount Martha keeper Derren Elliott became an instant hero diving to his right but using his legs to save the decisive spot-kick.
On Sunday Baxter thumped Glen Eira 7-1 at Baxter Park.
Within a minute the visitors stunned the home side when Max Perek put them in front but a powerful Brodie Jones header following a corner in the 10th minute and a superb Dylan Murchie free kick in the 24th minute gave the home side a lead it never relinquished.
In the second half Baxter’s new captain Aleksandar Dukic ended a slick interchange with Murchie by burying his low shot from outside the area into the far corner and four goals from Lachlan McMinimee completed the rout.
Mount Eliza, Rosebud and Somerville had byes in the first preliminary round.
The draw for this weekend’s second preliminary round was held after we went to press so check club social media posts for fixture information.
In State 1 news Jason Symonds has resigned from his assistant coaching post with Peninsula Strikers and looks set to rejoin Mornington’s coaching ranks.
Symonds took training on Thursday night as senior coach Adam Jamieson was on business interstate.
“I decided to leave Strikers as I thought they were top heavy with coaches and it was the right thing to do by all,” Symonds said.
“They’re a good club with good people and I wish Scotty (Morrison) and his team all the best.”
Craig Lewis has been on leave for personal reasons but is expected to return to Mornington’s senior assistant’s role later this week.
Josh Hine has joined Doveton but as yet there’s no news on another Mornington striker Wayne Gordon who had been training with Strikers.
In State 2 news Marinos Panayi who recently quit Frankston Pines has joined Bayside Argonauts who are believed to also have recruited Tyson Holmes from Oakleigh Cannons and former Bentleigh Greens and Port Melbourne player Jamie De Abreu.
Pines have signed Colby Jones from Doveton as their number one keeper as Thomas Hull, currently overseas, is understood to have agreed terms with State 1 outfit Bentleigh United Cobras.
In State 5 news Tony Guedes has resigned as joint senior coach of Aspendale and Gregor Macnab now has two new assistants – Paul Hampson and Alex Loupatatzis – who will also look after the reserves.
Mount Eliza signed former Berwick City and Pines striker Tyler White and he notched a hat-trick on debut in last week’s hitout against a Langwarrin Bayside squad.
Don’t be surprised to see a familiar face announced as a new Mount Eliza signing as head coach Bryce Ruthven looks to bolster his strike force.
There were a number of pre-season friendlies last week and here are some of the results:
Langwarrin 0 Doveton 5, Doveton 2 Mornington 3 (Rory Currie, Sean Kenny, Brady Pollard), Mount Eliza 9 (Tyler White 3, Amir Osmancevic 2, Matt Sestanovich, Bryce Ruthven, Conan Howett, Fraser Keon) Langwarrin Bayside 0, Rosebud 0 Somerville 3 (Tom Simmons, Peter Photopoulos, Guil Ribeiro), Beaumaris 4 Skye Utd 1 (Jack Buttery), Chisholm 4 Skye Utd 2 (Leo McLeod 2), Geelong Rangers 3 Peninsula Strikers 2 (Huss Chehimi, Josh Botha), St Kevin’s Old Boys 4 Somerville 1 (Reilly Safin).
Here are this week’s pre-season friendlies:
TUESDAY (14 February)
Seaford Utd v Skye Utd reserves, North Seaford Reserve, 6.45pm.
WEDNESDAY (15 February)
Endeavour Utd v Skye Utd, Reema Reserve, 7.30pm.
SATURDAY (18 February)
Mornington v Clifton Hill, Dallas Brooks Park, 12 noon seniors & 2pm; Peninsula Strikers v Brighton, Centenary Park, 1pm & 3pm; Frankston Pines v Richmond, Monterey Reserve, 10am seniors & 12 noon; Seaford Utd v Chelsea, North Seaford Reserve, 1pm & 3pm.