Season 2019 looms as a transitional year for both one of the most successful clubs and one of the most successful coaches of the NPL era.
Bentleigh Greens and the most successful coach in the club’s history, John Anastasiadis will start their eighth season in the state’s top flight together but will finish it apart. For around June, Anastasiadis will head west to pursue an A-League coaching career as assistant coach at the A-League’s newest addition, the Western Melbourne group in preparation for the 2018-19 A-League season.
Although Anastasiadis won’t be at the helm for the Greens come finals time, he told Neos Kosmos that he will remain as senior coach at the Greens until at least the half way mark of the season, some time in June, by which time the club hopes he will have built the foundations for yet another successful season.
Anastasiadis believes that his A-League coaching appointment hadn’t affected the Greens’ preseason.
“…we want to get more bodies in the box and create more opportunities,” says coach John Anastasiadis.
“No, it hasn’t affected it at all and the reason being that before the media got to the appointment, I had talked to the players and told them straight out what was happening. I just wanted it out as quick as possible so there’s no distractions throughout the year. Since that day, the players have gone about their business as per normal, worked hard, done the right things through our pre-season and now we’re looking forward to the first game in a couple of weeks.”
The Greens have been able to keep the core of last year’s successful squad together with just five players departing including striker Chris Lucas, Dimi Hatzimouratis and James Kelly. The new signings include defender Matt Crooks (ex Adelaide United), midfielders George Lambadaridis and Josh Baressi (both signed from Green Gully), and forwards Valentino Yuel (ex Adelaide City), and German born visa player Arnold Suew. Full back James Xydias has also returned to the club after trialling overseas.
Anastasiadis says, “We’ve had a good pre-season. Tried a few new things which have been working, so that’s been good. Our (possession based) style won’t change. We want to keep the ball. But in our attacking movements, we want to get more bodies in the box and create more opportunities. That’s what we’ll be trying to do this year.”