Terry Antoniadis will return to Western Suburbs with unfinished business to take care of.
Antoniadis has been re-appointed coach of Suburbs with the intent of delivering a much better result than last season’s disappointing eighth in Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 1.
“This season kind of left me unfulfilled and unsatisfied,” Antoniadis said.
“The on-field performances and results weren’t what we were hoping for.
“To be given another opportunity to coach the team again is really exciting and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The reality is, next season is going to be even harder for Western Suburbs than the one recently completed.
It’s a fact that Antoniadis and the club’s committee are well aware of.
State league 1 has become a high stakes game with promotion to the National Premier League on offer for the champions, so clubs
are recruiting more aggressively than ever before.
Those not busy in the transfer market or raising the bar in terms of professionalism on and off the field will get left behind.
“It is a really tough league,” Antoniadis said. “We won it in 2015 and we’ve managed to keep about 80 per cent of that team.
“But since then, the standard has gone up a lot – and the main reason for that is there’s now promotion places up for grabs to the NPL.
“We know we need to improve, we know we need to get better and we can’t wait to get started.”
Antoniadis has promised Western Suburbs fans he will leave no stone unturned to bolster the squad and create stronger competition for places.
Depth was lacking in the first team last season, but at least it sped up the development of some of Suburbs’ younger players.
“We gave a lot of opportunities to younger players this year who probably weren’t ready to be given the responsibility that we gave them, in terms of what … they were probably ready for,” Antoniadis said.
“But by giving them a lot of opportunities, I think it has fast-tracked their development … we’re hoping those guys that were thrust into the team last season can kick on and continue to improve.
“We’re still going to be fairly aggressive with the players that we target from elsewhere.
“We are targeting some experienced players, just to get that balance in the squad, which I don’t think was right this year.”
Antoniadis has brought back senior assistant coach Nick Efthimiou for 2018, while Darren Pace will coach the reserves with Joseph Formato his assistant.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Knights have secured the signature of stalwart Ben Surey. It will be the 34-year-old’s ninth season with the Knights. Surey is so highly regarded at Somers Street that he was appointed player manager at the tail end of last season.
The Knights first signing of the off season was central defender Ayden Brice, who joins from NPL northern NSW champions the Edgeworth Eagles.