LANGWARRIN has sealed the signing of attacking midfielder Keiran Dover from NPL heavyweight Bentleigh Greens.
It’s a massive coup for the local club but its off-season splurge may not end there as another NPL star is considering joining Scott Miller’s men.
The curtain falls on the NPL transfer window at 5pm on Thursday but already what surely is the strongest squad ever assembled at Lawton Park is preparing an assault on the NPL2 title and a historic place in Victoria’s elite club competition.
Dover, 25, has reached the highest levels in Australian club soccer making his debut for Melbourne Victory off the bench in 2014 against arch enemy Sydney.
He’s had two stints at Dandenong Thunder and Bentleigh Greens and played with Green Gully in 2018.
He was bullish about his new club’s prospects heading into the season.
“Langwarrin is an ambitious club and it’s known for being really competitive,” he said.
“I can’t wait to help the club push for promotion and with the current playing group and coaching staff I believe we have the quality to compete at NPL level.
“The facilities are great and I can’t wait to get started.”
There was no happier person at Lawton Park than Miller who has had Dover on his radar for some time.
“I’ve been tracking him for probably 18 months now,” Miller said.
“Our focus always has been on trying to get the best players in the area to play for us and knowing his character and football qualities he’s going to be great for the club, no doubt.
“We’ve worked hard behind the scenes these past three years and the fact that the club’s profile has risen to such a degree that players of this quality want to join us is a credit to all involved.”
Langy’s build-up to the league kick-off next month continues on Friday at Jack Edwards Reserve when Miller’s men take on Oakleigh Cannons at 6.30pm (under-21s) and 7.30pm (seniors).
And the feeling at Frankston Pines that the State 3 championship rug has been pulled from under their feet for the past two seasons no longer is front of mind as they zero in on this year’s campaign with news that Aaran Currie has switched from Casey Comets.
The Scottish striker joined Comets from Peninsula Strikers last November so the move was unexpected.
“It looks like Pines have got a chance to win the league and the most I’ve enjoyed football was when I won the league with Langy (in 2017) and I want to win it again,” Currie said.
“My work commitments meant I was struggling with the schedule at Casey and I wanted a more relaxed atmosphere where I still had the chance to win something.”
Pines remain in talks with Currie’s close friend and former Langy teammate Liam Baxter.
Currie joins other off-season signings in Ryan Ratcliffe (from Launceston United), Keegan Grealy (Doncaster Rovers), Thomas Dunn (Navua FC, Fiji), Tommy Hawkins (Peninsula Strikers) and Beaumaris duo Callum Batey and Tom Scott.
“Aaron brings us something a little different as he likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender, has undoubted class and great technical ability,” Pines senior coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor said.
Currie scored on debut last Sunday when Pines beat Mazenod 2-1 at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve.
CJ Hodgson also scored for Pines.
Taylor confirmed last weekend that NPL3 side Doveton had signed Fijian international midfielder Savenaca Baledrokadroka who had been with Pines since 2020.
Taylor’s side continues its pre-season preparation against Skye United on Thursday at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve at 7pm.
In State 1 Mornington defeated Clifton Hill 4-1 last Thursday night at Dallas Brooks Park with goals from Josh Hine (2), Josh Heaton (2) and Tom Wood.
Mornington hosts Box Hill United this Saturday at noon while the reserves will kick-off at 2pm.
Peninsula Strikers went down 2-1 to Dandenong South at Centenary Park on Saturday.
Huss Chehimi scored for Strikers while Dandy South featured Jeremy and Matthias Schwellinger and they are expected to be joined this week by another Seaford United teammate in Jack Carter.
Strikers are at home on Saturday against South Springvale at 1pm and 3pm.
Skye United defeated Baxter 4-0 at Baxter Park on Saturday.
Jason Nowakowski, Mitch Blake, Daniel Walsh and former Eastern Lions player Michael Bruzzese scored for Skye.
Early last week Skye beat Kingston City’s under-21s 5-1 with goals from Marcus Anastasiou (2), Daniel Walsh, Jason Nowakowski and Logan Magri.
Baxter lined up against Skye with six changes from the previous week’s matchday squad.
Nat Daher, Charlie O’Connell, Kieron Grant, Matty McDermott, Dan Disseldorp and triallist Yodishtra Jagatheson were missing while Brodie McMinimee broke a bone in his foot for the second year running.
Nathan Yole and Charlie Hunt were back in action and got through the game unscathed.
Baxter’s State 4 rival Chelsea beat Pakenham United 4-1 last weekend at IYU Reserve with goals from Daniel Vella (2), Luke D’Alessandro (2) and Arki Gantzos while Somerville Eagles travelled to Bunyip Recreation Reserve and lost 2-0 to Bunyip District Strikers.
In State 5 Mount Martha lost 5-1 to Shepparton South at Civic Reserve last weekend.
The classy visitors led 4-1 at half-time so the second-half effort from Chris Sanderson’s side was much improved and Dave Oswald scored for the locals.
Aspendale Stingrays beat Lyndale United 2-1 at Lyndale Secondary College on Saturday with James Macnab and Mathew Leggett scoring for Aspendale whose best were Leggett, Blake Rosenberg, Macnab and Kieran Hughes.
Meanwhile State 4 and State 5 local sides were waiting for the draw for the first round of the 2022 Football Australia Cup as we went to press.
Games are due to be played next weekend.