“I’ve done the hard yards” – Johnny A gets his chance in...

“I’ve done the hard yards” – Johnny A gets his chance in latest NPL success

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The look and feel of the A-League’s newest club has continued to take shape on Friday. 

Western Melbourne Group appointed Bentleigh Greens manager John Anastasiadis as their inaugural assistant coach with the 50-year-old having completed an apprenticeship of some eight years with the Greens, and before that, Oakleigh Cannons, South Melbourne and Yarraville Glory.

Under Anastasiadis’ leadership, Bentleigh became one of the NPL’s biggest clubs nationally, reaching two FFA Cup semi-finals, winning the 2015 league championship, 2016 premiership and Dockerty Cup.

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Bentleigh’s results have seen Anastasiadis’ name regularly thrown up as being A-League worthy, yet no opportunity had been forthcoming at the existing 10 clubs, until now, with an 11th entering the fray.

Anastasiadis is, in effect, WMG’s first recruit, whether it be players or managers.

“I’ve done the hard yards in the NPL and have been successful through hard work,” the 50-year-old said.

“I’m now grateful to Western Melbourne Group that I now have an opportunity to further my career at such an ambitious club on the national stage.

“I’m Victorian through and through, always give 100% and want desperately to help make this club a success for the community of the west.

“And with our own stadium in Tarneit to be built and funded privately, the club truly represents the region.

“We are a club for the future, and I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and work even harder for my new club and the community of the west.”

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Anastasiadis’ appointment marks the latest in a string of success stories for Australia’s collective leagues unofficially underneath the top tier, though few have stemmed from the coaching ranks.

At playing level, the likes of Jordan Murray, Josh Macdonald and the impressive Matt Millar have linked up with Central Coast Mariners, and further north, Dylan Wenzel-Halls found his way back to Brisbane Roar from Western Pride.

In Victoria, former Avondale man Elvis Kamsoba joined Kenny Athiu as an NPL graduate at Melbourne Victory shortly after the turn of the new year, turning his trial into a professional deal.

The Brunudian refugee made his debut for Victory against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night.

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