By Con Stamocostas
FourFourTwo January 25 2017 5:35PM
Victorian NPL 2 club Nunawading City has strengthened its senior squad with the addition of three former A-League stars ahead of the 2017 season.
Nunawading’s three new signings include Western Sydney Wanderer Jason Trifiro, ex-Melbourne City star James Brown and one-time Newcastle Jet Mitch Cooper who all played A-League last season.
Nunawading’s previous two campaigns in the NPL2 East saw them finish on the bottom of the table, winning only two games out of 52 with playing style and development the focus rather than results.
But now that NPL2 clubs face relegation to State League 1 should the team finish bottom of the table, the club has stregthened it’s squad and Cooper is hoping to inspire his new team to victory.
“There is nothing better than the feeling of knowing that you have won playing the way you want to play football,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m so hungry to play football at the moment. I want to come down and help my team win. I want to score goals at the same time.
“There is so much potential in the kids in this club they have such bright futures. Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City wanted to sign some of these kids but they are choosing to stay here. When they start winning, and playing football it’s an addictive feeling so I want to help them get that feeling back.”
After being realeased by City last season, Brown had short playing stints with Avondale and in South Africa.
He said the possibilities of undertaking a mentoring role drew him to the NPL club.
“I’m excited about playing with the squad of 2017,” said the 26-year-old. “I hope to help the younger players in the senior squad and I may even try my hand at coaching juniors. I would love to start something that would support and develop potential indigenous footballers. This has been on my mind for quite a while and it is close to my heart. I know Nunawading City is keen to support this initiative.”
Trifiro said after consulting with one of Nunawading City coaches, Tim Dakis, he was keen to add some top-level experience to the fledgling NPL team.
“I liked what I heard about Nunawading City and their technical development and support of building upon young players,” said the 28-year-old. “I was also attracted to the opportunity to support the younger players in the team and I can definitely help players with my on-field leadership.”
While Nunawading’s new signings signify its intent to improve, the club is still focused on continuing their development program and maintaining culture.
“The philosophy will not change.” said a club spokesperson. “The new signings have the prerequisite traits to complement the Nunawading City philosophy in 2017. We are proud of providing senior opportunities for approximately 30 players aged 16 up to 20 to develop. Seventeen players have gone onto careers in other senior NPL clubs while our successful development program has also culminated in four players from 2016 squads offered positions at A-League clubs.
“Watch this space because we expect to see the continued emergence of many younger talented players into our senior ranks in 2017.”