A high profile roster overhaul could help catapult Marconi Stallions to NPL NSW Men’s success only two seasons since they were languishing in NPL 2.
It has been a busy off-season for the Peter Tsekenis coached side with the club making a myriad of moves to give the former Olympian a squad which is sure to make their opposition take notice.
Tsekenis said he was looking for players with a winning edge in 2019 and his new recruits have that in spades with six of his eight key signings winning one or more major tournaments in the past five years.
Fans would be excused for thinking Blacktown City have changed their colours when they see Marconi’s squad list this season.
Zach Cairncross, Mitch Mallia, Roberto Speranza, Giorgio Speranza and Connor Evans have all made the move from Lily Homes stadium.
Joining them will be ex-Hakoah attacking dynamo Anthony Frangie and Former APIA Leichhardt defender Nathan Millgate as well as Anthony Trimboli and James Baldacchino.
There has also been an exodus from last season’s squad with Peter Triantis, Mateo Poljak, Charles Mendy, Shaun Rooney, Judah Cluer, Hassan Jollah, Troy Danaskos , Theo Kofinas, Michael Beauchamp, Marc Warren and long standing captain Christopher Nunes all departing.
Tsekenis said the recruitment spree was all about building a squad which would be a title contender.
“At some point you need to call the shots and make some serious decisions about your squad especially after being promoted to the top league from NPL 2,” he said.
“I have been with the team from halfway through our last season in NPL 2 and as a result I had inherited a squad built to win promotion.
“Sometimes you have guys who can make the jump up to the higher standard and there are others who can’t. This season I want to be as competitive as possible so it was important we put together a squad of proven winners at this level.”
Last season in their first year back in NPL top tier, Marconi fell one game shy of securing a finals berth.
It was a frustrating end to the campaign for the Stallions but Tsekenis believes it formed a platform for future success at the club.
“Don’t get me wrong it was disappointing to end the season the way we did,” Tsekenis said.
“There were injuries to key players and a number of other factors which held us back from reaching what we had set out to achieve.
“I was proud of the efforts from that team but it also helped me identify what needed to change and the type of players I wanted in my squad for the next season.”
While the new signings may get all the headlines in the preseason, returning stars Mirjan Pavlovic and James Andrew could prove to be just vital to Marconi’s chances.
“Mirjan was injured for most of last season so to have him back fully fit is like getting a new player in,” Tsekenis said.
“He is a very dangerous player in front of goal and knows what it takes to be successful in this competition. With the calibre of player he will have alongside him this season he shouldn’t find it too hard to find the back of the net.
“There is a lot of X-factor in the squad this season and that is the sort of thing needed for success at any level of the game.”
Marconi open their season with a road trip to Lambert Park on March 10 for a blockbuster clash against fierce rivals APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Key player movements
Arrivals: Connor Evans, Zach Cairncross, Roberto Speranza, Giorgio Speranza, Mitch Mallia, Anthony Frangie, Nathan Millgate, James Baldacchino, Anthony Trimboli
Departures: Peter Triantis, Mateo Poljak, Charles Mendy, Shaun Rooney, Judah Cleur, Hassan Jollah, Troy Danaskos , Theo Kofinas, Michael Beauchamp, Marc Warren, Christopher Nunes
-By Nick Houghton