Strong start to season key for Knights

As one of Victorian football’s proudest clubs, Melbourne Knights are aiming to celebrate their 60th anniversary with a return to finals football.

Once again, under the tutelage of club legend and former Socceroo defender Andrew Marth, the Knights will look to build on the promising signs shown when Marth replaced Paul Magdic last May.

The change in coach seemed to work. When Marth took over the Sunshine North club were languishing in 10th and had lost their four opening home games. In the end, the Knights finished 8th, only four points from the finals.

A good start to the 2013 season could help the fast-finishing Knights make a push for finals.

Disappointment has been synonymous with the Knights in last few years with their last finals appearance coming in 2008, when they were crowned champions.

But Marth does not believe last season was a disappointment especially after their poor start.

“The boys really dug deep because we were struggling down in second last position and up against it,” Marth said.

“So it was a great achievement as far as I’m concerned.”

As a proud club with a long history of producing Socceroos, the Knights have always promised much since their return to the Victorian competition, however, they have only made the finals twice.

“It’s a big year for Melbourne Knights with their 60th year anniversary. First and foremost we want to try and get into the finals, where we just missed out last year,” Marth said.

“I firmly believe that with the acquisitions we made this year that’s our target.

“We’ve signed some experience and some young boys have come up through the youth team. I think we’ve got a really good blend.”

Remarkably, the Knights seemed to struggle against sides that finished below them, but managed to beat both Grand Finalists last season.

But their inconsistency has seen Marth reshape his squad drastically with the significant departures of Yusuf Yusuf, the Nakic and Romein brothers.

The departure of Jake Nakic (to Port Melbourne) means the Knights have lost their top goal scorer and last season’s first choice goalkeeper Aaron Romein has been replaced by Chris May from Heidelberg United.

Marth said the new signings will provide much needed experience.

“We lacked a little bit of experience last year, and obviously every team needs experience. We did lack it last year because we were the youngest team in the league and probably still are,” he said.

Their other signings include Englishman and former Brighton youth midfielder Tommy Fraser, Bobby Vidanovski from Hume and former Dinamo Zagreb youth academy player Joseph Konyit.

They have also welcomed Antonio Ivanisevic, Joshua Berrios, and former Sydney FC youth player Hassan Daramy.

It is Marth’s first pre-season in charge since his return to the club he coached from 2000 to 2003 and he is looking to build on what he started last season.

The Knights kick off their VPL campaign at home to newly promoted side Pascoe Vale on Sunday April 7.
Courtesy Football Federation Victoria

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