There’s still five months and a hearty holiday season before next year’s Pascoe Cup kicks off in earnest but Mark Mellish isn’t pausing for thought.
Fresh from masterminding Young Lions’ renaissance from wooden spooners to grand finalists, Mellish has set his sights on snaring football talents from across the globe in a bid to go one better next year.
It’s an audacious plan but one he believes could help Lions become the best club in the business.
“I remember seeing a bunch of French backpackers around here kicking the ball and thinking it could be a good idea to try and encourage travelling or international players to play with us,” Mellish said.
“We don’t really have things like a university or RAAF bases like give a continual supply of players, so at the end of the day, our club’s really running at a net loss with blokes growing up and moving on.
“(Recruiting international players) isn’t something we’ve typically done in that past and we’ve never really put it out there for international players to come to Young, but it’s something to consider.”
Mellish said a recent trip to Vanuatu during which he spoke with a number of local players highlighted the potential for import success.
“It’s not like I’m going to bring in heaps of players but I’m probably looking at five who are interested and of them, I might end up with two.”
“I don’t want our team squad to read like a wine list with 11 players from across the world but I do want a few senior players in key positions.
“Something like a really good central defender who can help out our younger fellas or a 20-goal-a-season striker from somewhere who can give us that extra one or two per cent.
“Those are the kind of players we want because they’ll come and make our club better and then our guys can learn from them and take those skills with them to the next club they play in.
“That’s the whole ethos we’re basically trying to build here – we want to be a positive club that helps people get better.”
Mellish hinted at a new American signing who would arrive before the new year but stopped short of laying out his prospective imports.
“Those overseas guys have a lot to offer, I think – the Europeans have that flair and the Americans bring that professionalism,” Mellish said.
“We’ve got a bloke coming in from the States in the next few weeks or so… but nothing else aside from that yet.”
“I think he’ll be taking on a bit of a coaching role as well, so that’s pretty exciting.”