The new year started on a high for Melton Phoenix with a dominant display in their FFA Cup qualifying match.
In its first official match of the year, the FFV state league 5 side was never in trouble against lower-ranked Glen Iris, romping home to a 7-0 win.
Jason Hill got the scores going with the only two goals of the first half.
Jake Etherton added one after the break, before Michael Kapiris and Connor Krizmanic added doubles.
Speaking before the match, new coach Mark Parnis said the players had been hanging out for the real stuff to begin.
“It has been long overdue,” he said. “We want to go out there and test where we are at. It was our fifth week of training and we had played four practice matches. We’ve had some mixed results, but we’re starting to gel a bit better.”
Parnis is looking at the season ahead as one of rebuilding and getting confidence back into the squad after a disastrous 2017. Phoenix won just two games, finished bottom of state league 4 west and was relegated to state league 5 west.
“We’re trying to rebuild and to consolidate our position,” he said.
“With a bit of luck, we might be in consideration for promotion.
“We’ve got a few new guys who have come in from various places, which is good. There’s no big names, just giving players a chance.
“There’s a couple of boys coming back from injury as well. It’s a real mixed bag.”
Parnis said that while there were a few new players, the club was focused on making sure it continued to bring younger players through and give them a chance to show what they can do.
Among the players to watch for the Phoenix this season are Krizmanic, Gustavo Arbizu, Chris Vassallo and Tyson Ramon.
“Connor is a young defender who is coming up from the reserves,” Parnis said.
“He’s embedded in the seniors at the moment.
“Gustavo has played a mix of seniors and reserves before, but is becoming part of the senior set-up.
“Chris Vassallo, who has come across from division 2 or 3, is the goalkeeper and had a great game at the weekend.
“Tyson Ramon is the back-up keeper and is pushing for a spot, so there’s a bit of competition.”
Phoenix will start its FFV state league season on March 24 against Gisborne.