RYAN Paczkowski has reunited with Mornington gaffer Adam Jamieson while Langwarrin has signed WA-based goal ace Joe O’Brien.
And both Frankston Pines and Somerville Eagles have settled on the men to head up their coaching staff for the upcoming season.
Paczkowski turned 34 this week and the ex-Bentleigh Greens, Oakleigh, Langwarrin and Preston player last played for the Seagulls in 2017.
He played for Preston Lions last season and could have stayed there but agreed terms for a second stint at Bentleigh before a change in his work circumstances forced him to head back to Dallas Brooks Park.
“I had a situation come up at work where I’ll have to travel interstate so I couldn’t really commit to Bentleigh,” he said.
“When that happened there was only one club I’d be going to and that was Mornington.”
Paczkowski is likely to play up front with Rory Currie and another recent returnee Sammy Orritt while David Stirton plays in behind them in an attacking midfield role.
And Paczkowski may prove just as important off the field as on.
“I’ve spoken to a few guys already and obviously we want to get as strong a team as we can.
“I’ve got a feeling that this might be ‘Jamo’s’ last crack at getting Mornington into the NPL.
“He had offers to go elsewhere but he stayed and in the discussions I’ve had with him I said that he needs to do this (win promotion) for himself and I want to help him to do it.
“From what I’ve seen they’re only a couple of players away from going up.
“With me and Sammy there and another one or two I think we can have the strongest team in the league if things go our way.”
Paczkowski also alerted Mornington to the prospect of Chris Caponi joining the coaching staff.
“Chris was on Preston’s coaching staff and now stays at Somerville.
“He’s a brilliant tactician so if Mornington can get someone of his calibre to work with (senior assistant) Craig Lewis and ‘Jamo’ they’ll be unstoppable.”
O’Brien, 26, arrives at Lawton Park with a record as a proven goalscorer.
Hailing from north London he was 10 years old when his family moved to Australia and he started playing with Mandurah City as a junior.
He made his senior debut when he was 16 and has scored over 100 goals for the club.
“It’s a special club to me and I’ve won a State League title, two Night Series and a Top Four Cup with them,” O’Brien said.
He was league Golden Boot winner last year and was recommended by former Langy import and ex-Scottish professional John Baird who is player-coach of Mandurah City.
“I get on well with ‘Bairdie’ and he told me that Langwarrin is a very British-based club with a really close-knit group of lads and what you see is what you get.
“They are really honest with you and they play a good brand of football.
“He said the culture is very similar to what we have at my current club so I can’t wait to get to Melbourne and start pre-season.”
O’Brien is due to arrive on Tuesday 14 November and his accommodation and employment have been arranged.
New Langwarrin coach Jamie Skelly has high expectations of what O’Brien can bring to the NPL2 club’s squad.
“We’re looking forward to getting Joe over here,” Skelly said.
“He has a great scoring record at Mandurah and his qualities will complement what we already have in our squad.”
In local coaching news Mark Larner is the new boss of State 4 outfit Somerville Eagles while Frankston Pines as expected appointed former Peninsula Strikers coach Donn Delaney as head coach.
Larner’s appointment leaves a coaching vacancy at State 5 club Mount Martha where he took over as senior coach in late 2022 but he has had a strong Somerville connection for some time.
“I’ve coached juniors there for a few years now and I know a lot of the senior guys from my days at Mount Martha and Seaford,” he said.
“I’ve been interested in coaching the seniors at Somerville for a few years but the timing hasn’t been right and other coaches have been ahead of me.
“But when we sat down this year and had a chat it just felt right and to be honest I didn’t feel as much of a connection with Mount Martha as I did with Somerville.
“I was only 50-50 about staying at Mount Martha anyway so when this opportunity came up everything just fell into place.”
Larner has assembled his support staff and has spoken to some senior players.
He intends holding a players’ meeting in coming weeks “to set the scene for the upcoming season” but he already has a firm idea of what type of player he’d like to bring to the club.
“Looking at them last season they were very close to pushing for one of the promotion spots so I think there’s only small tweaks that need to be made.
“What attracts me to this playing group is the culture – they’d run through brick walls for each other and that never-say-die attitude appeals to me.
“There may only be two or three that need to be added but they need to be that young and hungry type of player and we need to follow what’s been a successful recipe and not bring in players that could upset the group.
“I haven’t sat down with the coaching staff to identify where the gaps are but I’ll do that then probably ramp up conversations with prospective new players towards December when pre-season starts.”
For Delaney it’s a return to coaching after suddenly stepping down from his role at Centenary Park one game into the 2023 season.
He coached Strikers’ seniors in 2022 and boasts a 55 per cent win percentage ranking him as the third most successful coach in the club’s history behind George Hughes and Russell Black.
“I’m delighted to be back coaching,” he said.
“Frankston Pines have been very welcoming and very early on in conversations with Lee (Davies, club president) and the committee I was optimistic as we share the same values.
“I’m looking forward to working with everyone and helping to develop every player at the club from juniors to seniors.”
Former Pines senior coach Trevor Johnston has been appointed as Delaney’s assistant.
“With Trevor’s help I believe we can create something great that players will want to be part of and spectators will love watching,” Delaney added.
“I’m all about style of play and believe that it is a coach’s role to set the tone and we’ll create a professional environment where players, coaches and committee are all aligned.”
Delaney aims to “lock in” a senior squad as early as possible and is likely to draw on a number of players he knows from his time as a coach in junior NPL ranks.
“My interests are always in helping players to reach their potential and if players commit to us and our vision then we will commit to them.”
In other coaching news former Langwarrin senior coach Scott Miller last week was appointed head coach of NPL outfit Altona Magic.
The Macedonian-backed club made the announcement via its Facebook page.
“Scott has held a number of high-profile roles including assistant coach to Ange Postecoglou with the Australian national team, senior roles under Roy Hodgson and Mark Hughes at Fulham in the English Premier League, as well as being appointed as head coach at Newcastle Jets in the A-League,” the club’s announcement read.
“Scott holds both a UEFA A and AFC Pro Licence while also bringing a wealth of experience in sports science and sports psychology to Paisley Park.”
In State 2 news Peninsula Strikers has hired Steve Kenya as goalkeeping coach.
Kenya was at Langwarrin last season and has also worked at Casey Comets.