KEEGAN Myatt would like nothing better than to strike fear into the heart of opposition defenders next season.
Baxter’s 20-year-old left winger has held his own debrief of season 2023 and is his biggest critic.
“I didn’t have a great season,” he said.
“I didn’t do terrible but I didn’t have as good a season as I wanted because I aimed to score at least 18 goals and maybe get 15 assists but only scored 12 and assisted a few but not enough.
“When I was younger football was my life but now I’m getting lazy, getting distracted and I need to do something about that.
“I need to prove myself because I came to Baxter with all this hype but I underperformed and definitely feel that I could have done a lot better.”
The Myatt family is synonymous with Doveton soccer club as Keegan’s grandfather was a founding member and his father is team manager.
Unsurprisingly that was where Keegan Myatt’s football story started when he was just four years old.
Current Doveton president Daniel McMinimee coached Myatt as a junior and his close friendship with McMinimee’s son Brodie has endured.
“Brodie’s been my best mate just about since we were born,” Myatt said.
“We grew up together and shared the same soccer journey.”
When Myatt was 11 the junior boys NPL program started and he made the switch to the under-12s at Serbian-backed Springvale White Eagles.
“Being non-Serbian in a team full of Serbians was a bit weird at the start and it took me ages to get going but it turned out really good in fact I reckon going to White Eagles was one of the best decisions I ever made.
“I improved so much there and as a 13-year-old I was getting picked for the (under) 14s then the year after I jumped up to the 15s and played some 18s games and in the 20s as well.”
At White Eagles Myatt came into contact with Nebojsa Vukosavljevic who was coaching the under-14s and he left a lasting impression.
“He picked me for the 14s and he was unreal, I mean scary as.
“He’d scream and yell but it was always done out of love and always realistic.
“He could see the ability and wanted to bring it out.”
Myatt didn’t go unnoticed.
He was invited to join Victoria’s Talented Player Program eventually winning selection in the Victorian metro under-14s to contest the national championships at Coffs Harbour.
“I honestly never thought I’d make it but other players started dropping out and I found myself in the last 30 then suddenly I was in the last 20 and I started thinking ‘geez, I’m a chance here’.”
Vic metro coach Jasper Kristensen played Myatt on the wing throughout the nationals and the youngster excelled in a team that won the title by beating Northern NSW.
“At the end of the championships someone came up to me and asked me to point out my dad.
“It was a guy from Melbourne City so I ended up going there and playing in their NPL under-18s.
“My entire family are diehard Manchester City fans so going to Melbourne City (owned by the City Football Group) was a bit of a dream come true.”
It didn’t long though for that dream to be shattered.
“It was so hard, so really hard.
“I had to leave school an hour early three days a week to get to Latrobe Uni for 4.30.
“I was getting a bus from school to Berwick train station then a train to Caulfield where my dad was working and he’d drive me to Bundoora.
“To make it worse they were playing me left back and I’m a full-on winger.
“I couldn’t defend and I was looking stupid.
“It was hard for my dad watching what was going on.
“One time I got all my family there to watch me play – I think it was against Bulleen – and played about 30 minutes then ran the line for the whole of the second half.”
Myatt returned to White Eagles the following season and played in the under-18s also making two appearances in the under-20s.
In 2019 he returned to his own age group when playing for the under-16s at Langwarrin where he met current Baxter coach Stephen Fisher.
When Fisher joined Doveton now in NPL3 Myatt wasn’t far behind and it was shortly after Fisher was appointed to the senior coaching role at Baxter late last year that Myatt chose to drop down from NPL3 to State 4 level.
It was a long-time friendship that swayed the youngster into joining.
“When he got Brodie (McMinimee) down there he probably gave him a nudge to try and get me down.”
But it will take more than a nudge to ensure that Myatt remains at Baxter.
“If all the boys stay and we have a decent team then I’ll stay at Baxter,” Myatt said.
There’s talk about the club’s recruits from Noble Park United having rejoined their former club while Izaak Baar, Brodie Jones, Noah Green and Jack Elliott could add to the departure list.
If that happens it will force Fisher to oversee a second major squad makeover in as many seasons.
“Brodie’s only 20 but he’s stopped playing and Izaak’s one of the original Baxter boys that I got close to.
“He’s such a character and such a competitor – if he’s involved in a 50/50 I get scared for the other guy!
“Jack’s undecided and Noah’s moved to the city.
“Noah’s our rock mate – he does all the hard yards and he’s an absolute workhorse.”
Green won Baxter’s best and fairest and players’ player awards this year so losing players of such quality would be a major blow.
If Myatt remains then winning the league is his number one team target.
On a personal level he is hellbent on improving his finishing.
“I can’t keep missing so many opportunities.
“I’m talking about having the ball squared to me and my first touch taking it on an angle instead of setting me up to shoot.
“I want to score more goals and I want to be a threat so that when I get the ball on the wing the opposition is like ‘oh no, what’s he going to do now?’
“I need to be more dangerous, more clinical in front of goal.”
While that’s an ominous sign for any right-sided defenders confronting Myatt next season they can’t say they haven’t been warned.
In State 2 news long-serving Skye United goalkeeper Jonathan Crook has decided to step away from senior football.
“I’ve thought about it after other seasons but this time it just seemed right,” Crook said.
The big Kiwi keeper joined Skye from Matamata Swifts in 2016 and has been a mainstay ever since.
Skye gaffer Phil McGuinness took the news on the chin and paid tribute to the stalwart.
“He’s the most dedicated player I’ve ever known so for him to say he wasn’t playing next season he’s obviously thought about it a lot,” McGuinness said.
“I thought it would be very unfair of me to try and persuade him but he’s a massive loss.
“Jono’s probably been Skye’s greatest ever player.
“I know that’s a big call but that’s my opinion.”
In other news next year’s Wallace Cup will once more be hosted by Langwarrin at its Lawton Park complex.
The annual charity tournament will take place on Saturday 20 January.
The event commemorates the life of local soccer icon Stephen William Wallace who was 54 years old when he died on 19 July 2011 and was a former Langwarrin player, coach, president, life member, club council representative and Bayside League referee.
This will be the 11th staging of the Wallace Cup and previous winners are Casey Comets 2013; Mornington 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018; Moreland Zebras 2019; Langwarrin 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Event organiser Tanya Wallace will announce the competing clubs at a later date.