Wednesday, 16 January 2013

2013 preparations slowly building steam

This off-season has seemingly lasted forever, and there's still two and half months to go. And without a Hellenic Cup to add structure to the pre-season, it will be an even more meandering affair than usual.

The latest news is that we've signed another forward/striker from Queensland, one Rhys Meredith. Meredith has been another one of those types on the edges of making the A-League.

Of course, we've already signed one Queenslander in Tyson Holmes. Interestingly, Hume City have also signed a couple of Queensland based players. Is this the beginning of a trend, or just an aberration? And why the VPL rather than NSWPL?

We've also signed Alan Kearney from Southern Stars, an apparently hard working Irish midfielder. Could do with one or more of those.

The players have started their pre-season schedule. Some of the players people thought may have been on their way out are still around. Goalkeeper Peter Gavalas is perhaps the most high profile of these. Gavalas had an awful year in 2012.

But with a two year contract, it was either keep him or find a club willing to buy his time out. It looks like he'll be number one again for this season - here's hoping he gets back to some of the form that prompted us to sign him in the first place.

Apparently former under 21s keeper George Malliaras is also taking part in pre-season with us, after a year at state league 2 outfit Clifton Hill. I saw him play for the Hillmen against Altona East last season, and to be honest I saw nothing in that game to suggest he had rectified his weaknesses. But maybe that was an off day.

Marinos Gasparis is still around, as is Dimi Hatzimouratis. I was prepared to see Gasparis leave - at his best he is one of the more effective midfielders/forwards in the VPL, but consistency has always been his enemy. Hatzimouratis was severely restricted by injury last season, so I'm interested to see him with a full and proper pre-season under his belt.

Steve Burton is reportedly gone back to Perth, as is back up goalkeeper Jason Saldaris. The status of Rhodri Payne's tenure depends on who you ask. Some claim he's still wanted, at least for pre-season, while others think he's gone. I tend to fall into the latter group. I liked both players, and felt that Saldaris was stiff not to get more opportunities considering Gavalas' woes in 2012.

Nicky Jacobs will miss most of the year recovering from the broken ankle he received while playing school football. Some of other 21s like Matko Budimir, Anthony Giannopoulos and Baggio Yousif are also training with the senior squad, but is that much different to last year?

Not too much word on random trialist types, but then again, we haven't played any friendlies yet. I was so bored last week that I went and watched an Altona East pre-season session last Saturday.

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