THE silly season exploded into action last week with Jamie Skelly, Billy Armour and Scott Morrison taking a spin on the annual coaching merry-go-round.
And more local clubs will join in shortly with newly created coaching vacancies at Peninsula Strikers and Skye United, Baxter still searching for a senior coach and rumours of change at Frankston Pines.
Skelly was appointed assistant to Scott Miller at Langwarrin last week.
He is a former Langy player, reserves coach and senior assistant who has now finished a second stint as senior coach of Peninsula Strikers.
“This is an opportunity to further my development as a coach and the chance to work under someone who has worked at a professional level,” Skelly said.
“No (coaching) course is going to give me that experience.”
Miller, Skelly and technical director Stephen Fisher will select an under-20s coach this week but the club already has settled on its other junior NPL coaching positions.
Confirmed appointees are Francis Beck and Johnny Martin (two under-12 teams), Andy Duckett (under-13s), Gary Brisbane (under-14s), Donn Delaney (under-15s), Dougie Hodgson (under-16s) and Michael Van der Zwet (under-18s).
Former Baxter senior coach Beck has also been appointed junior goalkeeping coach.
Langwarrin plans to be an active player in the transfer market and has aggressively pursued a number of targets recently with a series of announcements expected in coming weeks.
The main talk last weekend was that former Langy midfielders Callum Goulding and Thomas Ahmadzai have agreed terms along with Dandenong Thunder keeper Fraser Maclaren and Bulleen winger Jordan Templin but Langy is yet to confirm these signings.
Goalkeeper Robbie Acs was told last week that he was no longer required and many of his 2018 teammates could suffer a similar fate.
One of the losing candidates for the Langy assistant position was Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor but the former Westgate senior coach and Bentleigh Greens under-20s gaffer is now one of the most sought after coaches on the market with three local clubs and Eastern Lions all keen to speak to him.
In State 1 South-east news Mornington has been busy pursuing players as recently returned senior coach Adam Jamieson plans to take the club into the NPL for the 2020 season.
Hot on the heels of Amir Osmancevic’s signing comes news that the club is keen to bring Eastern Lions keeper Kile Kennedy and Langwarrin defender Andy McIntyre to Dallas Brooks Park.
Mornington held its presentation night last Friday with Jamie Cummings winning the best player and players’ player awards in the seniors while Jack Heseltine did the double in the reserves.
In State 2 South-East news Peninsula Strikers held their presentation night last weekend with Oscar Marsden named best and fairest while Alex Van Heerwarden won the players’ player of the year award despite only joining the club in the second half of the season.
Ash Hupe did the double in the reserves winning both the best and fairest and the players’ player of the year awards.
Opinion is divided as to whether or not Skelly’s departure will trigger a player exodus at Strikers but there is a strong rumour that Van Heerwarden and English striker John Prescott will try out at Langy.
Strikers’ president Trevor Johnston is yet to decide whether or not he will stand for re-election but the club will start the interview process for a new senior coach this week.
In State 3 South-East news Skye United dropped a bombshell last week when it told Armour that he wouldn’t be reappointed as senior coach for the coming season.
Armour was appointed in May 2015 and came out of retirement to save Skye from relegation that year.
In 2016 he led the club to the State 4 South championship and has twice gone close to promotion from State 3 with a fourth-placed finish last year and third this year.
Armour was unavailable for comment and Skye would not elaborate on the reasons for his sacking.
“We parted ways amicably with Billy and we would like it known that we are extremely grateful for everything he has done for us and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” vice-president Stuart Lawrence said.
Skye advertised the position last week and Armour’s assistant Billy Rae will not be applying although it’s believed that the club will hold talks with him about his plans for next season.
Steve Babbage remains senior women’s coach with Lee Evans assisting.
Armour already has been linked to the vacant coaching position at another local club.
In State 5 South news Somerville Eagles announced last week that Morrison and star striker Dave Greening will be joint senior coaches for 2019 with Stan Packer reappointed as an assistant.
Morrison, Greening and Packer were involved in the success of Rosebud Heart and it comes as no surprise that they are again working together.
Morrison stepped away from coaching at the end of the 2017 season and spurned overtures from Seaford United in the first half of last season to concentrate on his personal life.
“The year off was a really enjoyable one. My son Archie played his first year of football for Langy under ‘Pooley’ and ‘Caff’ and it was great to watch him develop and love the game the way I do,” Morrison said.
“I was able to watch lots of local games which was great but as the season progressed it really made me miss coaching and reignited the fire in the belly.”
So when Greening approached him just over six weeks ago about becoming involved at Somerville the timing was perfect.
“Since day one at the Heart Dave and myself had a great relationship. He has an amazing football brain and obviously his record on the park is astounding.
“Somerville has set some big goals for the next few years and some brilliant people are running the club so I can really see us going places quickly.
“I’m excited about the challenge ahead and can’t wait to get stuck into pre-season.
“Look we’ll be kidding ourselves if we think we can just roll up and it will happen for us because it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get out of State 5 but I think the players and the coaching staff will be up for it.”
The only match involving a local club last weekend ended in heartbreak for Southern United when it went down 2-1 to Calder United in the NPLW under-14 grand final at ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows.
A missed tackle inside Southern’s defensive third allowed Calder captain Olivia Anderson to open the scoring in the 5th minute.
Five minutes later Southern winger Danica Vukcevic cut inside and played the ball to captain Sage Kirby whose first-time strike made it 1-1.
In the dying seconds of the half a Tayla Gonzalez free-kick went straight through the hands of Southern keeper Candy Vakacavu for what was to be the decisive goal.
Southern enjoyed the bulk of possession in the second half but despite an outstanding display by Kirby and fellow midfielder Alessandra Davis the 2018 league champion couldn’t find a way past Calder keeper Keara Calafiore.
Meanwhile Thursday’s annual general meeting at Monterey Reserve is looming as one of the most important events in the history of recently relegated Frankston Pines.
Hamdija “Boz” Osmancevic took over as interim president after Gary Hodgson stood down from the role a few weeks ago.
Osmancevic is keen to remain president and has been busy organising a coaching and playing budget for next season.
There’s one hitch though.
Osmancevic wants to handpick his committee and with the exception of club stalwart Tommy Mitchell it is believed that he does not want to work with many of the current committee members.
However some of the incumbents have an opposing view of how the club should be run.
The main event gets underway at 7pm sharp.