Fans of NPL Victoria side Port Melbourne Sharks will be hoping new signing Milos Lujic can rediscover his goal-scoring prowess of a couple of seasons ago when he steps back out on the park for the next season.
The 29-year-old centre forward arrives at JL Murphy Reserve on the back of a fallow season, spent largely warming the bench at Oakleigh Cannons for whom he scored just three goals all season. This is a stark contrast to the times when he dominated the NPL goal-scoring charts four seasons in a row whilst playing for Northcote City and South Melbourne respectively.
In fact in four consecutive seasons, beginning at Northcote City and then at South Melbourne, the centre forward netted at a prolific average of about 20 goals a season, scoring 123 goals for those clubs. He moved to Oakleigh Cannons for the 2019 season where the goals and first-team appearances dried up.
A goal-scoring focal point is someone the Sharks have been crying out for. If Lujic can form a formidable goal-scoring partnership with Yuta Konagawa, the team’s leading scorer last season, then finals football could return to JL Murphy reserve after they missed out last season.
As well as confirming the signing of Lujic, the Sharks have also added another experienced NPL player to its senior roster, in 29-year-old midfielder Evan Christodoulou.
Christodoulou brings a wealth of experience to the Sharks’ midfield with nearly 200 appearances over the last decade at the top level in Victorian football with a variety of clubs, including Heidelberg United, Oakleigh Cannons, Green Gully, and Avondale. He took an NPL sabbatical last season and played for State League 1 club Altona City.
With the departures in the off-season of Sharks’ midfielders Daniel Clark and Alan Mulcahy (retirement), Christodoulou will bolster the midfield stocks.
Meanwhile, the champions, Bentleigh Greens, are not prepared on their laurels, with coach Nick Tolios continuing to strengthen his squad in preparation for another campaign.
The Greens have added height to their attack with the signing of experienced 28-year-old striker Brent McGrath. The Sydney-born McGrath is no stranger to Kingston Heath and the NPL having previously played for the Greens in 2014 when he scored nine goals in just 13 appearances, before heading off overseas.
Over the last few seasons, he’s played his club football in Denmark. McGrath has represented Australia at under-17, and under-20 level. He appeared for the Socceroos off the bench in 2011.
The Greens have also strengthened their goal-keeping department by signing experienced Spanish -born keeper Javi Diaz who comes with La Liga 2 experience.
Diaz’s signing follows the secondment of Greens keeper Ryan Scott to A-League club Western United as an injury replacement.