Western United Academy Director and NPL 3 Senior Men’s Head Coach Anthony Frost was delighted with the performance and the result as his side defeated Nunawading City 3-0 in the opening round of the NPL 3 season on Sunday.
Two goals in a minute before the half-hour mark from Christian Theoharous and Jake Najdovski set the team on its way before Sebastian Lo Monaco sealed the win late on.
Frost said he was thrilled with how the players were able to take charge of the game and react to different challenges throughout the 90 minutes.
“I’m really pleased, the boys can be really proud of the effort they put in. I was very impressed with the first half and our ability to control the game,” he said.
“Overall, very pleased with the performance, particularly when he hung on towards the end when Nunawading started to press a bit higher. The physicality of the game started to come into play and the boys were able to manage that quite well.”
Frost named a strong line up for his first competitive game with the Club, with Theoharous joined in the starting XI by fellow A-League Men scholarship players Luke Duzel and Dalibor Markovic.
While the trio boasts a combined 46 A-League Men appearances, Frost said he was most impressed with the way each of the players applied themselves and led by example in the NPL team.
“We say to those boys that drop down that they have an opportunity to be a leader in the group and show their quality, and I think all three did that. They can be really proud of their performances,” he said.
“It’s great to see players come down and make sure they put themselves in the mix to be in the first team again. That’s what you expect, it’s what John (Aloisi) expects, so fair play to them.”
Western United was one point off the top of NPL 3 when the 2021 season was suspended, and Frost and his players will look to pick up where the inaugural squad left off last year.
While the goal on the pitch will be to push for strong results and promotion to NPL 2, the ultimate ambition of the Academy is to see players transition into the A-League Men set-up.
Anthony Frost looking to see players progress to the Western United A-League Men team
Adisu Bayew has been a shining example of that with nine appearances this season, while Rhys Bozinovski and Ben Collins have both featured on the bench throughout the campaign.
Frost said that example and the faith from the first-team staff to incorporate young players will motivate this year’s crop of NPL talent to reach their own personal dreams.
“It’s great to have those example and it’s a bit of a carat for some of our boys when they see ones that have been pushed in and given a chance in the first team – for them to work even harder,” he said.
“It’s great that that’s front and centre for our boys. That’s one thing that’s a real positive for our Club that John and his staff are willing to support and back in our Academy players.”
Round 2 of the NPL 3 season will see Western United meet Whittlesea Ranges away from home, with kick-off at 3pm on Saturday March 26 at Epping Stadium.