New-look Victory heads into battle

Ange Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou Getty Images

OVERSEAS stars Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono got all the headlines, but the biggest off-season signing in the A-League was not necessarily a player.

Melbourne Victory showed nothing other than success was acceptable last season when it dumped two coaches in quick time, before it went for the best in Brisbane Roar mentor Ange Postecoglou.

But the former Melburnian wasted no time showing he thought the problem had not been at the top, sacking a host of the club's top players including just crowned player-of-the-year Ante Covic.

Also shown the door were long-time servant Grant Brebner, veterans Tom Pondeljak and Rodrigo Vargas, imports Fabio and Jean Carlos Solorzano and fan favourite Carlos Hernandez.

Throw in the fact Socceroos star Harry Kewell has returned to England to be with his wife's ill mother, and Victory fans at tonight's season opener against cross-town rival the Melbourne Heart may be excused for wondering whether they are watching the right team.

It has not been all bad news, of course.

Postecoglou pulled off a coup by signing former Adelaide attacking midfielder Marco Flores, who was the best player in the competition two seasons ago before transferring to Chinese club Henan Jianye for a reported $2.4 million over three years.

He should provide plenty of spark in the front third and could form a potent combination with livewire Kiwi attacker Marco Rojas.

Despite clearly being underused last season, the All White is a constant threat with the ball at his feet and will no doubt be given more opportunities by Postecoglou.

Speaking ahead of the season kick-off tonight, Postecoglou said given the changes he did not expect a faultless performance against the Heart.

"Obviously, we've made a lot of changes, not only in personnel but in the way we train and the way we play," he said.

"Having a derby first-up is fantastic, but tonight is just our starting point. Our ambition is to improve on anything we do tonight."

Despite the Heart finishing above the Victory last season, experts are expecting that scenario to be reversed this time around despite the signing of winger Richard Garcia, who has spent the past 13 years in England - the last five of those with Hull City.

Former Socceroo star John Aloisi has taken the reins at the Heart and may find things are tougher off the pitch than on it.

Star player Josip Skoko does not buy into that, saying he expects the club will again improve in its third season in the competition.

"Things that weren't perhaps right in the first year, got better in the second and it looks like in the third year now, the team is stronger again," Skoko said.

"I think anything less than a finals berth again this year will be a disappointment."

Topics:  a-league football melbourne victory

Busy time for police on Cunningham Highway

Police were on scene at the accidents.

Police busy with accidents and a drink drive charge on highway

Fire fighters battle house fire in Southern Downs region

Fire appliances are on scene at Glen Aplin.

Fire fighters battle house fire at Glen Aplin

Weather perfect for today's Heavy Horse Day at Yangan

Heavy horse action down the years.

Weather perfect to heavy horse day

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Former Warwick State High student is second

Victorian rider and former Warwick High student Lee Kimber (right) goes for his beast at the Warwick Rodeo.

Former Warwick High student to compete in national finals

13 things to do on the Southern Downs this weekend

Darcy Meek (left) is the early leader in parkrun on Saturday before being first man home.

Photo Gerard Walsh / Warwick Daily News

Here's a list of 13 things to do this weekend.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track