New-look Magic keen to impress

Johnny Stojcevski is back for another season. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 353162_27

Tara Murray

New Altona Magic coach Goran Lozanovski isn’t looking back at the past, only what his side can do in the National Premier League season.

The Magic made the NPL finals for the first time last season, but with a new coach and a new playing group, things are very different.

Lozanovski said with having so many new faces, they can’t afford to look back at last season. The Magic was knocked out in the first week of finals last season.

“Last season is out of mind,” he said. “It’s different coaching staff, different playing group, we’re looking to build something new.

“We’ll take it week by week and we’re going to shock a few teams. Not too many teams know what we have.

“Hopefully we’ll get some points on the board early.”

For Lozanovski, it’s a return home to a club he knows well. The former Australian player coached the club between 2017-2020.

He said things were going well off field and the committee was allowing him to look after the on field side of things.

Lozanovski said it had been a big pre-season and ideally a couple of more weeks on the track and a couple more practice matches would have been good.

He said with such a new group they were still learning to put everything together, having played just five games together.

Lozanovski said he thought they had put together a strong squad.

“We’ve had massive squad turnover,” he said. “A lot of players have moved on.

“We have a fairly young squad with a lot of young kids who are 21-22 which is a good thing. We have a few other experienced players.

“Hopefully we have the right mix of players. The first match will tell us where we are.”

Lozanovski said there were plenty of players he was looking forward to seeing on the pitch, with a combination or local and players from overseas.

Bul Juach is a striker from Sydney and has played in the Bulgarian second division, with Lozanovski saying he would bring some excitement to the Magic.

Saad Moukachar comes to the club having previously played in Croatia and he impressed Lozanovski in their last pre-season outing.

Nathan Liberto and Jay Kelly have joined the club from Brunswick Juventus and bring some experience.

Stephen Lawless crosses from Werribee City and Aaron O’Driscoll arrives from New Zealand.

While there is a new squad, Lozanovski said they still had set their ambitions high.

“Every club has ambitions for the top six,” he said. “That is definitely the aim.”

The Magic start its season on February 10 at 6.15pm at home against Heidelberg United.