Green Gully has not sat on its hands in this NPL football off season.
The Cavaliers are hellbent on improving on their straight sets finals exit last year and have been aggressive players in the transfer market.
Time moves fast for clubs in the Victorian top flight and the Cavs needed to keep up or risk stagnating.
The likes of Liam Boland, a hero of Green Gully’s FFA Cup run last season, and Rodrigo Vargas, a revered stalwart, will not be in the green and white in 2017, but a host of exciting new signings should appease the Cavaliers’ fan base.
Boland moved to Hume City after the Cavs did not match their sizeable contract offer, while Vargas will call the Dandenong Thunder home after being released.
Vargas, a former Socceroo who played at the highest level with Melbourne Knights and Melbourne Victory, strung together 150 games for Green Gully.
“He’s been a great servant to the club,” Cavaliers general manager Raymond Mamo said. “He’s a great guy, Roddy. I’ve got a lot of time for him and the club holds him in high regard.”
Green Gully could not afford to stand still after losing that calibre of player.
The Cavaliers got their business done early and have most of their squad bedded down in readiness for their season opener against Bentleigh Greens on February 10.
“I think we’re nearly done now,” Mamo said. “I can’t really say what’s going to happen in the next couple of weeks, but at the moment the coaching staff are quite satisfied with the signings and the club is excited as well.”
One of Green Gully’s biggest issues last season was its depth.
The Cavaliers enjoyed a deep FFA Cup run, but as the fixtures piled up, so did the injuries and they were not prepared as well as they could have been.
“The depth was an issue for us last year,” Mamo said. “You can’t help players being injured or suspended, but you need to have replacements for them.
“We lost Matthew Breeze 60 minutes into the first league game and he was gone for the whole season. Nick Krousoratis was injured as well.
“It’s always hard to replace these talented players, but you’ve got to have a back-up as well.
“I think we’ve done that this year.”
Green Gully had already brought in Jonathan Bounas, Josh Brindell-South, Sami Nour, Alex Caniglia, Jeremy Walker and Josh Barresi in the lead-up to Christmas before announcing the signing of Wade Dekker last week, a forward with A-League experience with Melbourne City.
“We have made some really good signings,” Mamo said.