FRASER Maclaren faces three months on the sidelines while A-League legend Leigh Broxham has joined Chelsea as a club ambassador.
Maclaren, Mornington’s first choice goalkeeper, will have surgery this week to repair knee damage following an incident in a recent friendly against Doveton.
“It was an awkward landing and I knew straight away that I’d hyperextended and I felt it pop,” Maclaren said.
“The meniscus tear is the main issue but I’ve done other things as well.
“It certainly is the worst injury I’ve had and I expect to be out for three months.
“Hopefully I have a speedy recovery and the boys are there or thereabouts when I get back and hopefully I can help them get promoted.”
Maclaren’s absence has opened the door for teenagers Ethan Farrell and Frankie Anderson.
Farrell, 19, was with Melbourne Knights U21s last season while Anderson, 16, has been involved with JBNPL programs at Langwarrin and Port Melbourne.
“Fraser is very, very important to us so we’ve got some big decisions to make,” Mornington head coach Adam Jamieson said.
“We’ve signed two young keepers and we’ll give them the opportunity.
“If they take it they take it and if not then we’re going to have to look elsewhere.”
The other injury news from Dallas Brooks Park is more positive with fears of a foot fracture for Ziggy Razuki proving unfounded.
Sam Scott (back) played 45 minutes of Saturday’s friendly, Kane Bentley (ACL) should shortly join in match simulation and Sean Kenny (quad) is expected to be fit for round one.
Jamieson isn’t just focussing on his goalkeeping situation and continues to look at possible signing targets in other positions.
“I’m speaking to two NPL players at the moment,” he said.
“One is a winger and the other one can play anywhere across a back four or back three and also in midfield.”
Meanwhile Chelsea is delighted with Broxham’s acceptance of a club ambassador role and he also will coach one of the club’s subjunior teams.
Broxham has won four A-League championships and recently made his 450th appearance for Victory.
“For the last few years my family and I have been a part of our local community club, Chelsea FC and it’s great to officially be onboard as an ambassador,” Broxham said.
“I’m looking forward to working with Chelsea to help grow the game in the community.”
In NPL2 news for the second week running Langwarrin came from behind to claim all three points with a 2-1 away win over Northcote City on Friday night.
Northcote took a 13th-minute lead thanks to a near post header from Steve Sokol.
Langwarrin’s James Kelly injured a hamstring and had to be replaced after 39 minutes by Josh Varga.
Three minutes later Varga’s pass found Tom Youngs inside the area and after being bundled over he converted from the penalty spot.
The winner came in the 73rd minute when Tom Podaridis redirected Archie Macphee’s volley past Northcote keeper Brandon Cuminao.
Langy had to play the last few minutes with 10 men after central defender Charlie Fry was shown a second yellow card in the 88th minute.
The local club has a 10-day break before it travels to the Veneto Club to take on Bulleen next Monday.
It will be chasing a sixth straight win as it finished last season with three wins in a row and has a perfect record this season.
In State 2 news Skye United has signed Baxter duo Lewis Gibson and Jack Buttery.
Gibson has been with Skye throughout the pre-season whereas Buttery trained with Peninsula Strikers prior to Christmas.
Gibson, 32, is essentially a wide attacking player while Buttery, 22, usually plays in defence or midfield.
State 2 rival Frankston Pines continues to be a work in progress as senior coach Trevor Johnston oversees the club’s return to State 2 level after a four-year absence.
Pines have signed Fijian international midfielder Anish Khem and Johnston holds the 29-year-old former Nadi and Suva star in high regard.
“I know it’s controversial but in my honest opinion when he gets fit he is the best of the Fijians that have played here,” Johnston said.
“I think he’s going to be very good.”
Another midfielder, Ahmad Jawadi, caught the eye in Saturday’s friendly and is expected to sign this week.
Jawadi is a product of JBNPL programs at Langwarrin, Dandenong City and most recently Dandenong Thunder.
In State 4 news there has been a major overhaul of Chelsea’s senior squad due to retirements and players taking a year off.
Leading striker Piers Brelsford has hung up his boots after a distinguished career at Edithvale Recreation Reserve as has Willie Ong.
Max Timuska-Carr is taking a season-long break while Daniel Vella and Tom Flavelle are both heading overseas.
Chelsea drew 2-2 with Monbulk Rangers at Monbulk Regional Soccer Facility on Friday night.
“We have a lot of players unavailable but we also have a lot of quality young players and given that we were playing a State 3 side I was very pleased with the performance,” Chelsea head coach Carlo Melino said.
“It’s going to take a few games for some of the young players to get used to this level but the signs are really promising.”
State 4 rival Baxter has been touted as a title contender and enhanced its credentials with a 2-0 win over Skye United last weekend.
Daniel Taylor, Dylan Murchie and Jonathon Parra were missing from Baxter’s matchday squad but gun recruit Damien Miskulin capped an impressive first-half display scoring on debut after forcing a turnover in midfield.
Baxter’s second involved a good build-up and an excellent ball from Keegan Myatt that set-up Dallas McNeill who doubled the lead.
Skye was unlucky not to pull one back before half-time being denied by a headed clearance off the line from Dylan Fisher.
“There was some great defensive work by us in the second half but it was a well-deserved win and I was really happy with the display,” Skye gaffer Stephen Fisher said.
In Australia Cup news five local clubs are in action this weekend with four of them playing at home while Rosebud faces a daunting away trip to Aurora Fields on Saturday afternoon to face Epping City.
Here are the results of some pre-season friendlies:
Mornington 1 (Brady Pollard) Whittlesea Utd 2; Peninsula Strikers 1 (Cassius Delaney) Banyule City 3; Frankston Pines 1 (Ahmad Jawadi) Elwood City 2; Baxter 2 (Damien Miskulin, Dallas McNeill) Skye Utd 0; Monbulk Rangers 2 Chelsea 2 (Nathan Boccari, Marshall Dobson); Lilydale Montrose Utd 5 Mount Martha 6 (Jaden Taberner 2, Ethan Sanderson, James Price, Mitch Hawkins, Josh McMillan); Boronia 0 Mentone 3 (Alex Mallamaci, Marcus Spivey, Frankie Varsamis); Seaford Utd 7 (Josh Vega 4, Chris Moreel 2, Uchenna Ikogwe) Melbourne Uni 0; Aspendale 2 (Matt Bruce, Dominic Paul) East Bentleigh Strikers 1.
Here are some of this week’s pre-season friendlies:
THURSDAY (2 March)
Noble Park v Mentone, Norman Luth Reserve, 6.30pm & 8:30pm.
SATURDAY (4 March)
Pakenham Utd v Chelsea, IYU Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Mount Martha v Old Melburnians, Civic Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Seaford Utd v Somerville Eagles, North Seaford Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Mount Eliza v Mooroolbark Knights, Monterey Reserve, 4pm & 6pm.
SUNDAY (5 March)
Baxter v Waverley Wanderers, Baxter Park, 11am & 1pm.
NEXT WEEK’S CUP GAMES
Saturday 4 March, 2pm:
Frankston Pines v Moonee Ponds Utd, Monterey Reserve
Epping City v Rosebud, Aurora Fields
Saturday 4 March, 3pm:
Mornington v Melton Phoenix, Dallas Brooks Park
Peninsula Strikers v Williamstown, Centenary Park
Monday 6 March, 7.30pm:
Skye Utd v Collingwood City, Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve