JAMIE Skelly is the new senior coach of Langwarrin.
The local NPL2 club made the announcement late last week on its facebook page.
Skelly replaces Scott Miller who resigned last month.
Skelly is a former Langwarrin junior, reserves coach and senior assistant to both Miller and his predecessor Gus Macleod and has held senior coaching positions with Peninsula Strikers, Casey Comets and Noble Park United.
His appointment came as no surprise after David Chick accepted the Bentleigh Greens role and Langy decided to honour the succession plan put in place five years earlier when Skelly became Miller’s assistant.
“We first spoke about a succession plan with the people who brought me back to the club (in late 2018) – Scott, Greg (Kilner) and John Heskins – and if I didn’t think that the timing was right I wouldn’t have taken the job,” Skelly said.
His father Jim, uncle Brian and brother Sean are all Langwarrin life members and there’s a sense that he was destined to one day take over as senior coach.
He’s hit the ground running and has been speaking to players about plans for next season.
“Judging from our initial discussions the players are happy and no-one has given any indication of leaving so my expectation is that most will stay.
“But if positions open up in the squad we’d likely bring in maybe three or four as we don’t need to make wholesale changes.
“Both myself and Greg have been speaking to the players and they have been positive about what next season might hold.”
Last season there was a focus on scoring more goals and that was achieved but Langwarrin also conceded the highest number of goals since its initial NPL campaign back in 2018.
“One of our problems was conceding late goals and we probably dropped 12 to 15 points in the last five minutes of games,” Skelly said.
“When we sat down at the end of the season and identified the problem some of it was attributable to not being fit enough as well as not having the right people on the park at the right time.
“And during our discussions with the players a lot of them felt that they could have been fitter so fitness is definitely an area that we will concentrate on during the pre-season and throughout the season.
“But overall the players won’t see too much difference between me and Scott which comes from us working together for five years as coach and assistant.
“It’s been a really good environment for players and one I want to continue.
“We’ll focus on a couple of changes that we think can take us to the next level.”
And that next level is the elite club level of the sport in this state.
Frankston Pines remains the only local club to have walked boldly on that stage and Langwarrin would be over-the-moon if it could match that feat.
“I still need to sit down with the club and nut out what our aims are but first and foremost we need to stay in the league.
“It’s a tough league and it’s going to get even tougher with North Geelong, Bentleigh Greens, Melbourne Victory and Caroline Springs George Cross coming into it.
“So first we need to win as many games as we can and create a really competitive, strong side and what happens from there will happen.
“If we get everything right we’ll be pushing towards the top end of the table and giving ourselves every chance of taking the club to the next level.
“Right now the club and the team are in a good place so it’s a great opportunity to try and make that happen.”
Last week was big on coaching announcements as State 2 side Peninsula Strikers announced that senior coach Scott Morrison will be in charge for a second successive season.
Strikers also named Jake Priest as senior assistant.
“Scott’s first season in charge of the club produced thoroughly entertaining football and although we fell short of promotion, there is no one better suited to lead the club to another promotion push in 2024,” the club statement said.
“Jake has been the reserves coach at the club since the start of 2021 and has a very impressive record, only losing seven games from 57 with a 65% winning record, as well as leading the reserves to a first league title in 30 years.”
Former senior assistant Jason Symonds left Strikers earlier this year eventually taking on the head coaching role at Rosebud but he’s back at Centenary Park as reserves coach.
“I went back to Strikers due to the opportunity to work again with Scotty and a talented set of lads already there and some exciting new young signings with whom I have previously worked with,” he said.
“Hopefully I can add to the overall set-up, assist in developing young players into first-team footballers and help get the club into State 1.
“I really enjoyed the spell at Rosebud and it was good to go back to my first club.
“If not for a points deduction which is still being contested Rosebud would have been promoted, so the lads were brilliant.
“I’ve left on good terms as Rosebud knew up front that I was there to help out till the end of the season and I wish them only the very best for 2024.”
Strikers also have been active in the transfer market signing a trio of young players in midfielder Ethan Goulding and striker Tom Wood (both from Langwarrin) and defender Charlie Gunning from Mornington while also announcing that captain Riley Anderton and Cooper Andrews have re-committed for another season.
“Ethan, Tommy and Charlie give us more leg speed and although they are young they have played senior football and are more than good enough,” Morrison said.
“Ethan will add more quality in midfield, his passing range will complement our wingers and strikers and can really hurt opposition teams.
“We needed to add some firepower to help take the load off Riley as we asked a lot of him this year and the addition of Tommy will help with that as Tommy is a handful for any defender.
“Charlie helps strengthen us at the back.
“He’s very versatile playing across there and not only is he a quality defender but he’s a ball player and brings players higher up the pitch into the game.”
Strikers held their presentation night last weekend and the senior best and fairest was Andy McIntyre with Shameit Sharma winning the reserves award.
Jamie Davidson was senior players’ player of the year and Jacob Pay was reserve players’ player of the year.
Top scorer in the seniors was Anderton while Sharma was top scorer in the reserves.
As we went to press Frankston Pines received the bombshell news that head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor had resigned.
The rumour mill had moved into overdrive on Sunday with talk of former Strikers’ coach Donn Delaney taking over at Monterey Reserve next season and approaches being made to some Strikers’ players.
Pines president Lee Davies was adamant that the club had not made any decision regarding the senior coaching position but the persistent rumour was enough for Taylor to decide to leave.
What had started as a positive weekend for Pines with the first session of its inaugural Mini Roos program on Saturday attracting 51 children – 35 boys and 16 girls – ended in uncertainty with the senior coaching upheaval.
Still in State 2 Skye United held its players’ player of the year night last weekend.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Crook won the senior players’ player award with defender Brett Heskins runner-up while striker Sebastian Stevens won the reserve players’ player award with midfielder Alessio Izzo runner-up.