Knights go down in season opener

Ivan Franjic Ljubica Vrankovic) 350275_16_5

Harper Sercombe

The Melbourne Knights start to the National Premier League wasn’t what they had hoped, losing to South Melbourne on Thursday night.

The two arch rivals kicked off the whole season and it was South Melbourne that walked away with the points.

After conceding a goal in the fourth minute there was no catching last season’s runners-up, with the Knights going down 1-0.

Speaking before the game, Knight’s coach Ben Surey said he was looking forward to the season returning especially with the original Melbourne derby as the first game.

“South Melbourne and the Melbourne Knights was always going to be the season opener once that fixture was drawn for round one,” he said.

“It’s nice and early, obviously pre-season’s gone quick enough but round one came around quick as well which is great.

“The boys are buzzing, the boys shouldn’t struggle to get up for that one, it’s a massive game for us and it’ll be the same for them.”

Throughout pre-season the Knights have been strong with Surey saying the majority of players have stayed with the club and a few recruits brought in. It’s Surey’s first season as coach.

“We were happy to hold on to 90 or 95 per cent of our squad from last year and then you can always look to improve and strengthen as well, so we brought in a couple of experienced players,” he said.

Leading up to match day, the club announced the signings of four players with Tom Woerndl, Ben Carrigan, Saïf Eddine Sakhi and Tommy Semmy all joining the Knights.

Woerndl, the 24-year-old left winger, comes from Altona Magic and also has experience playing in England. Carrigan is a 25-year-old defender from the recently relegated Bentleigh Greens. Sakji is a 26-year-old attacking midfielder and joins the Knights from Belgian side UR La Louvière Centre, where he made 15 appearances, he has spent most of his professional career split between the French and Belgian leagues. Semmy is the most recent of the signings, the 29-year-old has 16 caps for the Papua New Guinea national side and joins Knights after departing Altona Magic at the end of last season.

Coming off a magical Australia Cup run last season, the Knights are hungry for more. Surey said with the disappointment of close losses finishing their season last year is providing all the motivation they need.

“We want to win a trophy obviously, we want to win every competition we’re playing in,” he said.

“Even last year we had such a good year, there was such a buzz around the club by the end of the season, with the cup run and everything else. But we still just about didn’t make the final, and just about didn’t get to the final of the FFA cup as well.

“Two 1-0 losses finished our season. We did well to get where we were and only narrowly missed out but we’re still looking to improve on that because we’re playing for silverware 100 per cent.”