I saw it as a real coup when it was announced that former Socceroo John Aloisi would be guiding the Melbourne Victory Youth Team in this season’s NPL. It was only a few years ago that Dutchman, John Vant Schip, was singing his praises as one the up and coming coaches in Australia and there is no doubt that his experiences as a player mean he is equipped with the knowledge to succeed. A poor spell in charge of Melbourne Heart forced Aloisi in to the studios as a pundit and many thought that he would be sucked in to the cushy life on the TV sofa. But according to reports it has only increased his appetite to improve as a coach and it now looks as though Victory will benefit.
Despite the hype surrounding the deep dark blues entering a youth team in this seasons NPL competition and their new gaffa, the season hasn’t got off to the dynamic start that many predicted. Aloisi said his side struggled during their 1-1 draw with Dandenong City on Saturday due to a lack of fitness and ability to cope with the physicality of playing against seasoned footballers.
“We were lucky today,” Aloisi said after watching his side scrap out a point.
“Dandenong City were good – it’s a different style of football for our boys compared to what they’re used to in the NYL. Everyone there tries to play a certain style and it’s a little bit different to what you’re going to come up against in the NPL.”
Dandenong had taken the lead early in the second half through Sean Seavill and looked on course for a fantastic win before two Aloisi substitutions changed the feel of the match. Anthony Duzel and Lucas Derrick came on and caused a number of problems before Stefan Nigro grabbed an 85th minute equaliser for the blues.
It wasn’t the win that many had expected but Aloisi was proud of his boys and feels that playing in such a tough competition will go a long way to helping Victory create some of their own World Class talent.
“They struggled with the physicallity side, but also they’re coming up against experienced players that have played a lot of football. When you’re playing a lot of NYL, all the players are the same age [and physical build] as them, but this will fast-track them.”
The Victory will now face off against The Sprinvale Whie Eagles on Tuesday the 17th of March at White Eagle Stadium.