Gouburn Valley Suns have made their first major signing, with former Shepparton South player Frankie Lagana committing to the club.DAMEN FRANCIS AND MATTHEW GALEA March 10, 2014 11:50am
Shepparton soccer’s favourite son Frankie Lagana is Goulburn Valley Suns’ first major signing, topping a hit list of high-calibre recruits for the club’s inaugural National Premier Leagues campaign.
Lagana, 29, has committed to the new club, which will see him playing in his home town for the first time in 12 years.
The former Shepparton South product was joined at training at McEwen Reserve on Thursday night by ex-A-League players Naum Sekulovski and Kristian Sarkies and Melbourne Heart National Youth League trio Stipo Andrijasevic, Ersin Kaya and Hernan Espindola.
Sarkies, Andrijasevic and Espindola all committed to the club yesterday after the club’s first hit out, a 2-1 loss to FC Bendigo.
Sekulovski has also agreed to play for the Suns.
The quintet joins Craig Carley and Nick Kalafatis as the first to commit to the fledgling club, giving it a tremendous platform of players to build on.
Lagana, an established Victorian Premier League player at Melbourne Knights and Oakleigh Cannons who also had a stint at Scottish First Division club Airdrie United, had initially joined Green Gully Cavaliers as a fitness and assistant coach, before pledging his allegiance to the Suns.
‘‘When I heard they got issued a licence, I knew it would be good for the town,’’ Lagana said.
‘‘I wanted to be involved in some capacity, because it’s a great opportunity for the town.
‘‘Hopefully the town and the local clubs get behind it, because this can be a great feeding ground for the young talent coming through to have an opportunity to be seen.’’
Lagana said his own pathway to elite soccer might have been different had a club like the Suns existed as a youngster.
‘‘Myself, Vince Lia; there were a lot of players that had to travel to Melbourne to move on, so this gives us a great chance to breed these young kids and not lose them to Melbourne or other codes as soon as they’re 17,’’ Lagana said.
‘‘They can stay here and play their soccer (at a high level).’’
Suns adviser Melvyn Wilkes, who took control of the friendly against Bendigo, said the signing would be a huge boost as the club sought to establish itself in the community.
‘‘Having somebody of Frank’s calibre and character on the pitch is just phenomenal,’’ Wilkes said.
‘‘He brings leadership, quality — he’s a galvaniser and a talker, just like Sarkies, and that’s what we need.’’
‘‘That’s the sort of player we want to help bring through this next generation of kids.’’
The Suns will be Sarkies’ fourth club in as many seasons since Melbourne Heart released him.
The creative midfielder, 27, made more than 70 A-League appearances in seven seasons at Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United and the Heart.
Sarkies signed for Bulleen Lions in August, but with the club placed in the lower NPLV division he could be looking to join a team in the top tier.
Sekulovski, 31, played 107 times for Perth Glory, following a journeyed career in the National Soccer League.
Mainly a full-back, Sekulovski would likely play in the centre of defence and add some much-needed experience and class to the Suns’ backline.
Andrijasevic, 20, is a promising forward and Espindola a central midfielder.
Andrijasevic and Espindola have agreed to relocate to Shepparton to play with the club.
The Suns’ opening game is at McEwen Reserve on Saturday at 7.30
A two- car crash has blocked the intersection in front of Shepparton's Marketplace shopping centre, with police controlling traffic at the scene.
Perfect weather forecasted this weekend will please the many boating enthusiasts registered for the inaugural Lake Mulwala Boat Muster to be held on Saturday.
A dairy cow has died from the disease anthrax in the Tatura region.
Campaspe Shire still does not have an alternative to the Moama slipway more than two years after obtaining permits to build a dry dock at the Port of Echuca.
There was a sentence doing the rounds at the weekend’s Great Northern Show.
Vic Govt issues alert after dairy cow death in Tatura
Two local teenagers have formally apologised to the Finley community for destroying 14 trees in Finley's Railway Park.
St Mary’s Catholic Church in Heathcote has undergone extensive roof repairs due to increasing water damage.
Cobram and District Toy Library secretary Liz Stronge said she was ‘‘really happy’’ with the turnout of more than 100 people to the 25th birthday Playfest at Mivo Park on Saturday.
McGregor takes 6-21 to lead Hay to DDCA premiership.
Fruit Growers Victoria plans to give fruit growers in Victoria more on-farm support as a result of its organisational restructure.
Betty Summer walks 6 kms in a round trip, three times a week to go to the gym. She hates people asking her age, but couldn't keep it secret when she hit the big nine-oh.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.