Seagulls Set Sights On Templin
Latest from Mornington Peninsula with Craig MacKenzie
By Craig MacKenzie
Mornington is in a fight to win the services of teenage midfielder Jordan Templin.
Templin’s CV includes stints with Bentleigh Greens, South Hobart, a best and fairest award at Nunawading City and a spell last year with Hercules FC in Alicante, Spain.
He also played in the Victorian Champions League with Southern Blue Tongues under present-day South Melbourne boss Chris Taylor.
Templin is seen as a key element in the Seagulls’ drive towards a place in the PS4 National Premier Leagues.
The current Zagame’s State League 1 South-East champion is waiting expectantly for FFV’s announcement regarding promotion and relegation to and from the NPL in the next few weeks.
“He’s a really talented kid and I really hope he chooses us,” said Mornington head coach Adam Jamieson.
“Our preparations and our planning during the off-season have been based on this coming season and the next and we’ve already signed two boys from Pines in Kris McEvoy (goalkeeper) and Paul McEvoy (midfielder) and we’re in the process of completing the signing of a third Pines player in CJ Hodgson (forward).”
Jamieson also has signed central midfielder Chris Reid from Manningham United Blues. Reid has played with a number of Melbourne-based clubs and also had a spell in the Premier League in WA with Sorrento.
“We have a couple of others in the pipeline and we’ll see how that goes in the next few weeks.”
Jamieson readily acknowledges the contribution made by visa players to Mornington’s recent success and although the club is talking to three players in England, Ireland and Scotland they won’t all be heading Down Under.
“Visa players have been very important for us because of the professional vibe they create,” said Jamieson.
“From training to playing matches everything they do is usually spot-on and they lift the quality of everything the coaching staff are trying to do.
“We are heavily involved with our juniors and we try and get them to come and see us training and playing and those visa players play an important part in that aspect of our club.”
But the relationship between Mornington’s senior and junior wings was not always as strong, certainly not when Jamieson arrived at the club for the 2009 season.
“When I first came here we talked about how we could get the juniors rolling through and wanting to play in the seniors,” said Jamieson.
“We were losing a lot of 14-, 15- and 16-year olds to other clubs because the senior group was not good enough for them to go into so my aim in the first five years was to get the club up as high as possible in the leagues so that these kids would have something to aspire to here.”
That aim is all but achieved and former star player and now junior technical director Jamie Paterson has played a pivotal role.
“The last few years we have succeeded unbelievably with the junior setup thanks mainly to Jamie and we now believe that by far and away we have the best junior setup on the peninsula as the quality of kids we are producing is excellent.
“The other week I had 12- and 13-year-olds training with me and although I know it’s a big call I think that within 12 months or so we are going to have our own Vinnie Grella types coming through the ranks at a very young age.
“We’re facing the prospect of kids at 14 and 15 playing senior football because they are that good.
“That’s why we are desperate to get into the NPL so that they can continue their development here rather than going to other NPL clubs.”
One aim that Jamieson can already sign off on was his belief that he had to create and imbed a winning culture at the club.
He took over when Mornington was in the old Provisional Leagues and championships and promotions have followed.
“Last year was about continuing the belief in the local football community that we are number one and what we created last year was fantastic.
“I know that other clubs in our league were of the opinion that going for the championship was not the be-all and end-all as there was no promotion but we had a different view and we wanted to maintain a winning culture here.
“Even the recent Steve Wallace Cup (which Mornington won) was important for us. Even though it’s a charity event we wanted to win it because winning becomes a habit and it’s the sort of habit we like.”
And the men entrusted with helping Jamieson to maintain that habit are assistant coach Dale White, specialist goalkeeping coach Peter Blasby, team manager Tony McKay and reserves coach Anthony Christodoulou.
In coming weeks Jamieson expects to finalise a senior squad that is younger than last year’s group but is talented enough to take the club to the NPL should the opportunity present itself.
He knows that back-to-back titles is a big ask and he expects strong opposition from some local clubs.
“Yeah, I’m hearing murmurs about Casey (Comets) at the moment and I know they held a few boys back during the Steve Wallace Cup (in which Mornington beat Comets 2-0 in the final).
“From what I hear Comets have got a bit of talent down there and I’m expecting them to be a top four side this season.
“I think Langwarrin will always be up there because Gus (Macleod) is a cagey old fella and he’ll make sure they are.
“Other than that it’s been very difficult to find out what’s going on at this stage.
“There’s been a (coaching) change at South Springvale and one person tells me they’ll be stabilising things this year then another person tells me they’re throwing money around.”
Irrespective of which challengers emerge to try and dethrone the Seagulls, Jamieson is confident that his side will be up to the challenge.
That’s because winning has become the Mornington way.