Jackie Epstein, Herald Sun
Former Melbourne Knights coach Vlado Vanis said his shock departure on Tuesday night would not damage the club’s finals chances.
He believes the Knights have the talent to succeed despite the disruption only six weeks from the finals.
“The team is now sixth with a very realistic chance of making the finals,” Vanis said yesterday.
“The last few games have been disappointing, but I think it was just that maybe a couple of players didn’t put everything into it.”
Captain Andrew Marth, who has coached St Albans and Green Gully in the Victorian Premier League, has been installed as the caretaker coach for the rest of the season.
Knights general manager Robert Hrzic said the club’s recent poor form — a loss and two draws — had put pressure on everyone.
“Naturally we were disappointed from the past three matches,” he said.
“There’s a lot of pressure associated with coaching a national team and the board respects his decision.”
The Knights are due to play Northern Spirit in Sydney tomorrow night and Marth said the entire team was focused on maintaining its place in the six.
“Definitely the main objective is to get to the finals and I think we have the potential,” he said.
“I haven’t looked at the team yet, but I’m sure we’ll make some changes and try new things.”
The Knights have won 10, lost eight and drawn five matches this season.
Their fluctuating form has angered fans, but Vanis said he was proud of the club’s achievements in rising from last position since he took over during the 1999-2000 season.
“I have done the best I can,” he said.
“I’ve brought five players from premier league in the 11 and we’ve produced a very good team.”
Expectations were high after the Knights also signed former Carlton players Marth, Lubo Lapsansky and Steve Horvat.
Vanis said his sudden split from the Knights would not deter him from pursuing his coaching career.