Stirling Lions: Into 2016
Report by Jonathan Cook
Infographics: Adrian Petrilli
When Rob Milevski sat down to assess Stirling Lions’ 2015 campaign, it didn’t take him long to identify the glaring weakness that had cost his side a higher place on the final competition ladder.
A “rebuilding” phase had left the Lions threadbare and exposed to injuries, suspension and fluctuating personal form.
“There were a lot of changes at the club last season and we were going through that rebuilding phase,” he said.
“We finished eighth in the end and we could’ve finished a bit higher if we had more depth in the squad – unfortunately, it wasn’t there.
“This year we’ve got that bit more depth. We’re looking at a core of 16 or 17 players, which is pleasing for the club.”
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What was also pleasing for those in the Lions’ den, was the march to the QBE Night Series Grand Final, even though it ended in defeat to Bayswater City at the ultimate stage.
That run of form had started with successive victories over Sorrento, Balcatta, Perth and ECU Joondalup before a defeat to Armadale, and was a firm indication of how quickly new and old faces had blended into a reshaped club portrait.
“We picked up some good signings and they’ve fitted in well with the team,” Milevski said. “And we’ve got good options going forward. We’ve got some good personalities and good characters and that makes it a lot easier.”
Key to the new-look Stirling is a familiar face with David Micevski returning to his former club to rejoin his brother Daniel.
“I think it brings the best out of both of them,” Milevski said. “They’re quality players with a lot of experience and they can score a lot of goals for us.”
Micevski spent 2015 at Inglewood United, as did David Sesay, who will also be aiming to make his mark at Macedonia Park this season.
Former Adelaide United winger Teeboy Kamara will again be a threat, while skipper Brodie Martin, Blamo Quaqua and Miki Vujacic are experienced campaigners.
Having completed a simple review of last season and putting in the work to build a fresh squad, Milevski now has a simple target.
“We aim to be in a top-four play-off come September,” he said. “And I expect there’ll be half a dozen teams looking to go into top four, so I think it’s going to be a bit more of an open field.”