Melbourne Knights coach Steve Bebic is keen to build on a positive first season at the National Premier League club.
The Knights were sitting eighth when the season was called off early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with seven wins, five draws and six losses.
The club announced that Bebic, along with assistant coach Diogo Ferreira and goalkeeping coach Tony Belica, have all recommitted for next year.
Bebic said he was excited to be back at the Knights for another season, saying he felt like his work wasn’t done and there was a lot more gas left in the tank.
He said there had been some real positives out of the season.
“We had to roll with the punches,” he said.
“There were some real positives and we were achieving some of our goals.
“The gap between second, eighth and ninth was really close.
“Whichever team found a consistent run of results, could have quite quickly jumped up the ladder.
“We would have backed ourselves to make finals.”
Bebic said despite not getting the chance to make finals, they would look at the season as positive overall.
He said from his perspective the season was also about coming in and getting to know the playing group and setting clear goals and targets.
With a focus on continuing that process, the side has started its 2022 pre-season.
“We’re straight into it, training four times a week, up until Christmas,” he said.
“There’s five or six new faces, with 90 per cent of the squad done.”
The club is yet to announce any new signings, but Bebic said they had focused on bringing in younger types to match their age.
He said the squad was one of the youngest in the competition this year.
“We’re probably looking at younger types of players, who are hungry for success and look at the NPL as a stepping stone in their career,” he said.
“They’re the traits we’re looking for. The majority are towards that younger age with some pace. They know how to work hard and this is the first step in becoming professional.
“It’s up to them how far they push.”
Bebic said they would look to complement the young players with some experienced heads to help provide experience and set the standards.
On the women’s side, the Knights have appointed John Diaz as senior coach.
Diaz makes the move across from South Melbourne, having previously coached at Point Cook and Hoppers Crossing.
On the Knights’ website, Diaz said he was excited for the challenge that lies ahead and is confident that the side can build on its 2021 cup success, while also improving on league competitions.