The winds of change are sweeping through Green Gully in the off season.
The Cavaliers have already had a high turnover of top players as they strive to find the right mix to take the club to its next National Premier League Victoria premiership.
Heading the list of departures is central defender Daniel Jones, a two-time premiership winner, a Dockerty Cup champion and a captain in his time with the Cavaliers.
Jones called time on his top-flight career, but only after he had left an indelible impression on everyone at Green Gully.
Cavaliers general manager Raymond Mamo said Jones had been inspirational.
“He’s always done the right things by the club, always done the right things by his peers and his coaching staff,” Mamo said.
“It just shows his professionalism when he says I can’t give any more. We want him back at the club in some capacity sooner rather than later because you can’t lose people like that from club environments.”
Jeremy Walker is another big name to exit. The versatile defender has signed as an injury replacement player with Perth Glory in the A-League.
Walker could well return to the Cavaliers, but it will be dependent on whether the Glory decide to keep him once his 12-week contract expires.
“He’s got all the right attributes to be playing in the A-League,” Mamo said.
“He’s very skilful, plays right and left back … he’s another person with such a great character.
“We’re happy for him that he’s taken the next step, even though it’s only an injury replacement position at this stage.
“As much as we’re happy, we’re sad to see him not part of the squad … if they do decide to keep him, it will be a loss to us.”
Josh Brindell-South has decided to return to Brisbane, forward Wade Dekker is sourcing a club closer to home, Kliment Tasevski will take a year off to travel, Stephen Hatzikostas has retired and goalkeeper Rani Dowisha was released.
While there has been plenty of traffic through the exit door, Green Gully has gone some way to replenishing its stocks.
Key target Joseph Franjic has signed on the dotted line. The former Altona Magic player will be the Swiss army knife of the team.
“He’s one who can play all over the park – he’s a talent,” Mamo said. “Predominantly, we’ll look to have him in the midfield area, but his quality is going to bring another level to the squad. We’re pretty excited with that signing.”
Mitch Cooper is the most high profile of Green Gully’s signings.
The former Gold Coast United and Newcastle Jets attacking midfielder spent five years in the A-League system and was an Australian representative at under-17 and under-20 level.Cooper took a step back from his professional career, playing last season with Nunawading City, where he scored 18 goals in 27 games.
“We regard him as another player who should be in the A-League,” Mamo said. “He’s played at a lower level, he’s proven himself there and he’s got his confidence and hunger back.”
Green Gully’s other major signing is defender Tomislav Uskok.
Uskok had a brief A-League stint with Central Coast Mariners, but the bulk of his career has been with the Melbourne Knights.
“A very good, strong central defender with leadership and skills that are second to none,” Mamo said.