The Melbourne Knights pre-season kicked off over two weeks ago with many triallists trying their luck at making Ivan Duzel’s first team. With the squad nearly settled, the first team manager along with his assistant Paul Magdic, will have a solida base from which to prepare for the 2010 Victorian Premier League competition.
The Melbourne Knights coaching staff have ensured that the players fitness levels are primed for the highly anticipated Friendship Cup match against sister club Sydney United, as well as the first game in the 2010 season scheduled to kick off at the end of February.
Although many players from the 2009 squad have left, the committee and coaching staff have pooled their reasources and through their many contacts have assembled a formidable side. With many former Knights players now playing at other clubs, it was necessary to think outside the square and look at players interstate as well as internationally. With former Duisburg midfielder Ivica Praiz marshalling the middle of the park, as well as yet to arrive Canadian striker Tommy Ples expected to spearhead the Knights attack, things at Somers Street are looking on the up.
Loyal clubman Liam Cannell is set to have his best season yet, along with former NSL player Daniel Rocco in defence. A number of players with whom the club has agreed to terms are currently training at the Knights, including goalkeeper Ante Loncaric and ex-Crystal Palace defender Ben Surey. Former Floreat Athena and Perth Glory attacking midfielder Josip Magdic arrived only a few days ago to join his ex-NK Marsonia team mate Ivica Praiz. The combination will surely tear apart any opposing midfield in the VPL. Coach Ivan Duzel also has a few surprise packets in his team and is keen to keep a few aces up his sleeve.
The club has reluctantly released livewire striker Melvin Becket to join the Australian Institute of Sport on a full scholarship. He joins a long list of former Knights stars to rise through the ranks of the AIS, including Mark Viduka, Josip Simunic and Adrian Leijer. The club wishes him all the best, with coach Ivan Duzel commenting that, “Melvin is ready to explode onto the footballing scene and I’m sad to see him leave as he would have been an integral part of our team this year.”