Tatura Soccer Club has pulled off a stunning off-season coup, announcing former Shepparton South winger Sean Grant as playing coach next season.
Grant, who audaciously made the switch from arch-rival South, was appointed on Tuesday night, while former Goulburn Valley Suns visa player and defender Lewis Coyle will join as a playing assistant.
The duo, which arrives at Tatura with high expectations, is expecting to bring the Ibises back to their halcyon days.
‘‘We are aiming for a grand final, I wouldn’t have taken the job otherwise, we will be aiming to finish on top of the league too,’’ Grant said.
Grant, 28, was brought out from Scotland to play at South three seasons ago and has endured a terrific spell at the club, coaching it to a minor premiership, while also playing an integral role in the season’s Bendigo Amateur Soccer League Championship success.
Grant is expected to add some much needed firepower going forward after the Ibises finished sixth in the championship, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Shepparton United.
‘‘Pre-season will bring upon a fresh slate of players to work with, we are hoping to build a strong squad with 15 to 16 good quality players,’’ Grant said.
‘‘It’s not just in attack we will be looking to improve, it starts from the back, we want to build a solid base and then go from there.’’
The departure from South may leave a bitter taste between the two clubs, but Grant was playing down the rivalry that is now expected to increase.
‘‘They have been sensational to me, they helped me come out and settled me, so I can’t thank them enough for what they have done,’’ Grant said.
Coyle, who went home after his brief stint with the Suns, is looking to redeem himself down under and can’t wait to begin life as an assistant to Grant.
‘‘I feel like I underachieved during my time at the Suns, I have a few demons left here and I am still wanting to prove myself,’’ Coyle said.
‘‘It is a great opportunity to be at Tatura and I am looking forward to helping the club move forward in the right direction.’’
Ibises president Mimmo Lia was delighted with the signings, claiming the Scottish import would add a new lease on life at the club.
‘‘It is an exciting coup, he is one of the best players, if not the best player in the competition,’’ Lia said.
‘‘The club has had a few of the same people around for the last few years, so it will be good to bring some fresh faces and new ideas into the club.’’
Lia was tight-lipped on any new signings coming in, but believed he and Grant would sit down in the coming weeks to discuss player movements.
‘‘We have our eye on a few players, but I am sure we will sort a few things out going forward,’’ Lia said.
‘‘He will want to bring in a few players, so we are looking forward to the season ahead.’’