LANGWARRIN gaffer Jamie Skelly has wasted little time in refashioning his squad by signing two new players for the 2024 season.
And a third newcomer could be on the way if discussions between the club and an attacking player reach a positive conclusion.
Last week the local NPL2 club agreed terms with central defender Luke Adams and Queensland goalkeeper Griffin Bambach.
Adams, 29, boasts an impressive CV.
He has captained New Zealand at under-17 and under-20 levels and made five appearances for the full national side.
He started playing as a junior with Auckland-based Fencibles United eventually signing for Waitakere United as a youth before joining Derby County on a one-year contract.
He returned to Waitakere United before joining Wellington Phoenix for the 2013-14 A-League season.
Another spell at Waitakere United followed before he agreed terms in November 2014 with South Melbourne then under head coach Chris Taylor.
In 2021 Adams signed for Green Gully then switched to Dandenong Thunder for the 2023 season.
It’s a measure of his durability that he featured in all 26 league games for Thunder this year.
Adams arrives at Lawton Park amid high expectations of what he can deliver.
Last season Langwarrin and Melbourne City conceded 56 goals a tally only exceeded in NPL2 by bottom side Pascoe Vale.
And when veteran defender Simon Storey retired and took on an assistant coaching role it was important that the club sign a suitable replacement to guide a young defence.
“I have no problem taking on responsibility,” Adams said.
“I’ve taken on leadership roles before and I’ve been in the NPL for seven or eight seasons now.
“I’m a no-nonsense sort of player – talking, leading, organising – probably not the most talented but I’ll give you concentration and focus and I can help others along.”
Joining Langwarrin is a homecoming of sorts for Adams.
“I was actually born in Frankston so there’s a bit of a special touch coming back to where you were born.
“My parents came here from England then went back because of a family issue before going to New Zealand and settling there.
“Joining Langwarrin was a good opportunity for me to come to a family club as I have a six year old, a four-year-old and a newborn.
“I spoke to the coaches and it just seemed like a good fit in fact it ticked all the boxes for me.”
Bambach reached a similar conclusion after speaking to Langwarrin sponsor Greg Kilner and Skelly.
“I didn’t know much about Langwarrin at first but after speaking to Greg and Jamie and looking further into it they look like a really good club,” he said.
“I think they’re essentially a British club and they’ve got a good record at holding on to players, so it seemed a perfect segway for me if I’m looking to play at a higher level.”
Bambach hails from the NSW coastal town of Byron Bay.
He played junior football there and after two seasons in the Bryron Bay seniors he moved to Burleigh Heads in the Gold Coast Premier League.
His next move was to Ipswich-based Western Pride under former Langy coach Terry Kirkham.
“I had a pretty good season there individually and that was the stepping stone for a move to Sunshine Coast Wanderers.”
But Bambach suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries during his time there.
Four games into the 2020 season he suffered a severe shoulder dislocation and the following pre-season as he prepared for a comeback a training mishap resulted in a broken ankle.
It was back to Burleigh Heads for the 2022 season and this year he returned to Sunshine Coast Wanderers.
But the urge to test himself at a higher level prompted a call to Kirkham who recommended Langwarrin and the Victorian NPL as a progressive move.
There was another lure at Langwarrin drawing Bambach towards the club – goalkeeping coach Lou Kastner.
“Yeah, that was a big part of it too – to work with him.
“Obviously he’s worked with professional clubs before, so I know he knows how to push me in the right way to get the very best out of myself and take me to that next level.
“And I’ll need that because I know Langwarrin has a strong core of keepers.
“I’m going there to fight for the number one spot – I want to try and get it for the whole season but that’s up to me whether I get it or not.
“I’m confident in my ability though.”
In State 2 news Skye United held its presentation night last weekend with Brett Heskins and Mark O’Connor sharing the senior men’s best and fairest award with Nhan Than runner-up.
Ben Guerts won the reserves best and fairest and Charlie Jeffs was runner-up.
Leo McLeod won the senior men’s Golden Boot award and Daniel Castillo won the reserves equivalent.
In the senior women Alex Jones won the best and fairest award while Neah Ascott was the reserves best and fairest.
The senior women’s Golden Boot award was shared by Jenna Chandler and Tata Ascott with Neah Ascott winning the reserves Golden Boot honours.
The senior women’s Players’ Player of the Year was Kerryn Thomson while Hollie McDonald was runner-up.
The reserve women’s Players’ Player of the Year was Chiara Ferra with Meike Berg runner-up.
In other news former Frankston City defender Bobby Adams died last week after a long illness.
Adams, 71, was a prominent member of Frankston’s 1979 squad that was beaten by Essendon Croatia on goal difference in the race for the State League title.
He made 90 appearances in the seniors from 1977 to 1981 and transferred to Mornington in 1982.