NPL season wrap: Joe Palatsides

Melbourne Victory NPL Head Coach Joe Palatsides gave his thoughts following the conclusion of his side’s campaign.

On the end to the season…

“It is a disappointing end to the season for us. I think the boys’ effort throughout the year deserved to be rewarded with promotion. Unfortunately, we fell at the final hurdle.”

“One-off games like the play-offs require an element of luck. Sadly, we did not have that. Still, the learnings we take away from the season will really benefit our players and their development ahead of next year, so we look forward to what lies ahead.”

On the development of young players…

“It is great to look back on how some of the young boys have developed across the season.”

“Even in that final game we had three players who came through our Under-18s or Under-21s who all started. That shows the pathway for players going forward, and hopefully we’ll see some of these boys progress even further in the coming months and years.”

“I think we had strong contributions from all players throughout the season and we were able to give a lot of younger players the chance to gain some valuable experience in a tough league.” 

“There were certain players who really stood up at different points in the year. Alex Menelaou is someone we have identified as a real talent based on his performances. He has trained with the A-League Men’s squad and played against Manchester United, which I think is a wonderful story.”

“Franco Lino, Linus Bourke and Kayne Razmovski are examples of players progressing through our Under-21s system who ended up gaining some great experience with the NPL team.”

On the team’s performances throughout the season…

“I thought our performances grew as the year went on. We had a slow start, but that was more about us understanding a new game model. You could see our progression as the season continued. We ended up going on an eight-game undefeated run where we played some great football and really showed our improvement.”

On the future…

“Our priority remains to develop young players. Not every player will necessarily go into the A-League Men’s team, but the experience we give them and the way we can help them develop both as footballers and as people is a goal we have as a football club.”

“From a performance point of view, we put the foundations in place this year for a strong academy. We will continue to improve in the coming seasons.”