Rosters taking shape

Nick Modaffari (left) has re-signed at the Thunder, while James Kelly (right) returns to City in 2019. 171304 Picture: Rob Carew

By Nick Creely

The Dandenong Thunder are continuing to bolster their roster ahead of NPL 2019, with some solid new signings, line coaches and re-committed players down at George Andrews Reserve.

The Thunder have secured the services of 20-year-old Queenslander Pierce Clark, a talented goalkeeper who spent part of the 2018 season with the powerful Bentleigh Greens. Clark has also spent some time with Newcastle Jets in the A-League. Clark will work closely with newly appointed goalkeeper coach Jordan Franken this season, and is expected to have an immediate impact for the rising club.

The Thunder have also added Green Gully midfielder/striker Kieran Dover back to the club, who will add significant firepower to an already impressive amount of talent in the front half, while Keagan Sheridan has joined the club from South West Queensland Thunder, and will add a great deal of versatility in the middle or as a defender.

Veton Korcari and his coaching staff have also re-signed youngsters Mo Feizi, Sevdim Ismaili, Ajdin Memeti, Sanih Zijai as well experienced midfielders Jayke Cuschieri and Josh Bragg, winger Luke Gallo, and defenders Bryan Bran and Nick Modaffari for the 2019 season.

It comes off the back of earlier news that Brandon Barnes – one of the finest strikers in the country outside the A-League – is sticking around for yet another season in his extraordinary career.

Local rival, and fellow NPL club Dandenong City, have also been busy behind the scenes building what is an exciting roster.

The City have added former Box Hill and Bentleigh Greens goalkeeper Alex Connell, who will work alongside new goalkeeper coach Peter Blasby, talented 21 year-old Joey Monek from St Albans, promising youngsters Anthony Theodoropoulos from Melbourne City and Keenan Gibson from Sydney FC, while mature age players James Kelly (returning), Peter Franjic (former Melbourne Victory defender) and Mark Ochieng (former Adelaide United defender) will all call Frank Holohan Soccer Complex home as the City tackle the NPL’s top flight.

But, arguably the biggest signing for the club in the off-season to date is that of Diogo Ferreira on a two-year contract, with the former Australian representative at under 23 level who played A-League for Melbourne Victory, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory, returning back to the country after a recent playing stint in Japan.

NPL2 East club, Springvale White Eagles, have announced the signings of Nicholas Ally from Dandenong Thunder, Nemanja Lojanica and Brady Quinn, while Nebojsa Vukosavljevic is locked in once again to take on the senior head coach role in 2019.