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Ex-A-League player joins Suns coaches

Goulburn Valley Suns coach Peter Zois is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of his home debut tonight, but he believes he has secured an ace assistant coach. Former Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets defender Shaun Ontong has teamed up with Zois and the Suns’ new brains trust is hopeful of delivering a second win of the season when Bentleigh Greens come to town.

May 17, 2014 4:15am

Goulburn Valley Suns coach Peter Zois is keeping his cards close to his chest ahead of his home debut tonight, but he believes he has secured an ace assistant coach.

Former Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets defender Shaun Ontong has teamed up with Zois and the Suns’ new brains trust is hopeful of delivering a second win of the season when Bentleigh Greens come to town.

Ontong captained the Australian under-20 side in 2006 before his three-season, injury-plagued stint in the A-League and has since played with Zois at Oakleigh Cannons.

‘‘He’s got a good playing pedigree. He’s recently retired from playing at a young age like me and he sees the game really well,’’ Zois said.

‘‘He was a very smart player and he’s already been a big help and he will be a big benefit for us as a club going forward.’’

Zois’ first game in charge of the Suns turned into a nightmare when his side fell 3-0 down within the first 35 minutes of the game.

The coach said concentration was the key issue and while it might come down to individual and collective sharpness, Zois has not begrudged his share of the work load in correcting the errors.

‘‘The first goal comes down to concentration as a group... but it was a set piece, so as a coach you talk them through it and try to rectify it,’’ Zois said.

‘‘It’s a work in progress and it won’t click straight away. There’s no magic wand here.’’

Zois did not reveal his plans for tonight’s match, but confirmed a question mark hung over Kristian Sarkies and the match day squad would be much the same as last week.

The focus will be on remaining tight at the back and playing to the Suns’ strengths going forward.

‘‘I’m not saying anything new when I say we’re conceding a lot of goals. The scoresheets prove that,’’ Zois said.

‘‘You can defend aggressively or you can sit back, but we have to pick our moments. No one can be aggressive for 90 minutes.

‘‘They are one of the best ball-playing teams in the league, so we know they’re going to have a lot of the ball ... but we have a lot of pace going forward which is always dangerous.’’

Zois said Suns leading goal scorer Craig Carley has stood out in training for his incredible work ethic and had also been impressed with what Stipo Andrijasevic, Daniel Chaabani and Hernan Espindola had brought to the table.

The Greens have lost their past two games and while Zois would love to make it three in a row for them, he knows his side is up against a well-balanced, well-organised outfit.

Stephen Hatzikostas, James Cumming and Wayne Wallace are the danger men.

‘‘They have a lot of depth and John (Anastasiadis) has done a great job with them,’’ Zois said.

‘‘Most of their players would fit into any starting XI, even on the bench, which makes them dangerous because they can change the game at any point in time.’’

Whatever the result, Zois said he was enjoying himself early on in his reign.

‘‘I won’t lie, it’s a big challenge and maybe even a bit daunting, but that’s what enticed me to take it on,’’ Zois said.

‘‘It’s almost a seven-day job at the moment, but it’s very exciting.’’

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