Saints on the up


Tara Murray

St Albans Saints believe they are better placed heading into this year’s National Premier League season than last year.

After a tough 2021 season, where the Saints were sitting bottom when the season was cancelled, the Saints have been busy behind the scenes.

Saints coach Kruni Razov said they were happy with how things were tracking so far.

“It’s a lot better than last year,” he said.

“We’ve retained about 10 or 11 players from our existing squad from last year. We’ve signed a couple and we’re looking to sign some more.

“We got to work really early on as soon as the season was shut down. We’ve looked at way we were going forward.”

Razov said they knew last season was going to be tough, with the club unable to match the offers of many other clubs when trying to recruit players.

The club’s two big signings so far are Nikola Jurkovic, who crosses from Melbourne Knights, and Zander Guy, who is making the move down from Queensland.

Razov said they were close to signing another two key players.

He said for the club in the short term, the goal was to keep their spot in the top division.

Football Victoria decided against promotion and relegation with the season ending, ensuring the Saints spot for this year.

“We want to be a lot more competitive and cement our place in the NPL,” he said.

“We know that it’s not an easy task and we don’t have the finances to match it with a lot of the teams.

“We want to stay up in the league and hope we can do that and in one or two years start to look to compete for finals.”

The Saints are already back at training after the Christmas break. Razov said there had been limited players at training, with 16 of the 23 signed or trialling players having COVID-19.

The Saints pre-season will ramp on this weekend, competing in a tournament.

“We’ll play two games and hopefully see where we are at,” he said.

“We will play Avondale Heights, Hume and Heidelberg in the coming weeks. Some of the big boys.

“We played South Melbourne before Christmas. We’re keen to play the bigger teams and see where we are at.

The Saints will kick off their NPL season on February 19 against Port Melbourne.