ANDREW Hall will be in charge of Mount Martha’s senior side next season.
The local State 5 South club announced Hall’s appointment last week just before pre-season training started at the club’s Civic Reserve headquarters.
Hall, 53, replaced Mark Larner who resigned in October and was appointed senior coach of Somerville Eagles shortly after.
Born in Falkirk Hall was brought up in Yorkshire and arrived in Melbourne with his wife and two children in 2009.
“As a kid (in England) I played for Barnsley schools which is like the equivalent of county sides through to 15 then I started playing as an adult,” Hall said.
His two senior clubs were Hood Green FC in Sheffield and Cumberworth FC in Huddersfield.
“Cumberworth played in the county league at the time which would have been the equivalent of our State 1 or State 2 standard.
“I played seniors football on Saturday as a centre back and played for fun on Sunday as a centre forward.
“I started coaching at junior level when my son started playing in the UK for about three years.
“We came here for work reasons and moving to a new country with a young family I concentrated on my job although I kept watching football from all over the world even to the point of getting up through the night to watch Glasgow Rangers every week.
“When my son started playing for Mount Eliza I had the opportunity to coach their reserves for a season and when he switched to Mount Martha I came across with him.”
That was two seasons ago and Hall has moved from assisting with the reserves to senior assistant last season and now the reins are firmly in his grasp.
When Larner left the Mariners the club advertised the position and a number of candidates applied.
So why was Hall one of them given the workload associated with the role?
“My wife asked the same question,” he quipped.
“The club spoke to me about building on the great work of Chris Sanderson in setting up the senior squad over a number of years and continuing the work Mark did last season.
“They are a fantastic bunch of lads at Mount Martha and the club has a fantastic culture as well.
“I think they are an exceptional junior club and I think they have made really big strides in the seniors so it was just too hard to step away from that and not try to add to the progress.
“I want us to be a club that has as much success with its senior men and women as it does with its juniors and I think we can do that mainly because we have a really good base of players who have been with us for a few years.
“We’ve started pre-season and we’ve already got a group of new players down.”
There’s talk that the departures of Larner and senior mainstay Sanderson has pulled the rug from beneath the senior group and that Hall could find it hard to retain players but he’s confident about the future.
“I’ve been in football long enough to know that it’s an interesting time of year when everyone seems to be looking around.
“I think come January you start to see what your squad is looking like and where you are from a positional point of view and an experience point of view.
“We’ve managed to do a couple of things that’s going to assist us to attract players if we need players.
“We’ve brought in Charlie Platt as assistant senior coach and I’m delighted that he’s joined us.
“Charlie is a legend at Mornington and brings a wealth of knowledge to Mount Martha that helps me and helps the senior squad to see the quality of the individuals we are bringing in.
“The club will also bring in a technical director as well so they really are providing the squad with reasons to stay at Mount Martha.”
Hall hopes a winning start to next season will set the tone for what lies ahead and will see the Mariners viewed as an ambitious and progressive club.
“The framework we are trying to put around the senior program is as good as any other club down here on the peninsula.
“Every conversation I’ve had with the president and the new technical director has been to ensure that we are taken seriously as a senior club and having been here for the last two years I’m confident we can move that forward next season.
“I’ve never gone into any season playing or coaching without believing that we will finish in the top half of the league and that’s absolutely what we’ll be aiming to do and be very competitive against everyone that we play.”
In NPL2 news Langwarrin’s seniors and under-23s had friendlies away to NPL heavyweight Green Gully last weekend.
The seniors lost 2-1 with Gully grabbing the winner in the 80th minute.
Langy started well and created chances through James Kelly, Tom Youngs and Jacob Brito before the home side went 1-0 up via a back post header.
Langwarrin levelled in the 60th minute after Rogan McGeorge won the ball in midfield then Joe O’Brien set up Brito for a one-on-one with Gully’s keeper and he made no mistake.
Both sides made plenty of changes in the second half.
Langy’s under-23s lost 5-3 with four triallists and seven under-18s in the matchday squad.
One of the under-18s, Jed Hagenaars, scored a hat-trick after coming off the bench with 30 minutes to go.
In State 2 news Skye United’s pre-season hit-out last Thursday night saw the local side record an excellent 3-2 win over State 1 outfit Collingwood City at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve.
Just four senior players from last season’s squad – Daniel Attard, Alex Van Heerwarden, Nhan Than and Lewis Gibson – turned out for Skye who used a host of triallists.
Central defender Zamer Noor from Langwarrin’s under-21s was the most impressive of the newcomers.
The former Dandenong Thunder youngster didn’t just defend with aplomb he scored twice, his first was a header from a Than cross and his second was a thumping drive from outside the box into the top corner of goal.
Skye’s third came from Rosebud triallist Riley Gill who pounced on a goalkeeping error.
Rosebud’s 2023 State 5 South best and fairest and league Golden Boot winner Noah Musso also played for Skye.
Former Frankston Pines captain Ryan Ratcliffe played for Collingwood.
In State 4 news Somerville Eagles are hoping to play home games at Western Port Secondary College next season.
The Eagles have arranged some practice matches next year with the first on Saturday 13 January against Rosebud at Olympic Park (6pm and 8pm). Other games are: Saturday 3 February v. Bunyip District at Western Port Secondary College, 1pm and 3pm; Saturday 10 February v. Lilydale Utd at Western Port Secondary College, 1pm and 3pm; Saturday 2 March v. Shepparton Utd at John McEwan Reserve, KO times to be announced.
A few Mount Martha players have trained with Somerville.
Eli Masterson, Jaden Taberner, Corey Riddle and Howie Anderson have trained with the Eagles along with Kyan Taberner from Dandenong Thunder.
Meanwhile at Baxter former Frankston Pines head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor took training last Thursday.
No doubt this news will send the rumour mill into overdrive.
Taylor was filling in for senior coach Stephen Fisher and assistant Hayden Taylor who were both unavailable.
Finally here are some upcoming pre-season friendlies involving local clubs:
THURSDAY 14 DECEMBER: Springvale White Eagles v Skye Utd, Serbian Sports Centre, 7.30pm.
SATURDAY 16 DECEMBER: Langwarrin v Brunswick Juventus, Lawton Park, 4.30pm & 7pm; Rowville Eagles v Chelsea, Parkridge Reserve, 5pm.
THURSDAY 21 December: Langwarrin v Nunawading City, Lawton Park, 7.30pm.
WEDNESDAY 24 JANUARY: Frankston Pines v Chelsea, Monterey Reserve, 6pm & 8pm.