First impressions are important for new Victory keeper

Jesse Wray-McCann Roar Rookie

3 Have your say

    New Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe will need to impress in his first few games if he stands a chance of winning over the blue and white faithful.

    The 28-year-old fringe Socceroo surely has the CV to be a top A-League custodian, but the big question is whether or not the Victory fans will get behind him.

    The club’s supporters have certainly been a fickle lot when it comes to approving of each goalkeeper to don the Victory shirt. Only two keepers, Michael Theo (nee Theoklitos) and Mitchell Langerak, have been given a clear thumbs up by the Victory’s fans.

    Ante Covic also passed the tough test last season, but perhaps to a lesser, and more brief, extent.

    On the other hand, the likes of Glen Moss and Michael Petkovic were the victims of intense scorn, as supporters sought to name scapegoats for a series of unacceptable defensive displays.

    The issue, it seems, is that poor first impressions of a goalkeeper almost certainly last with Melbourne Victory fans.

    If we look at the beginnings of Moss’s and Petkovic’s brief Victory careers, we find that they both shipped five goals in their first two games.

    Having said that, one could argue that the goalkeepers were not to blame for conceding those goals.

    Moss’s debut was a 2-0 loss to the Central Coast Mariners on the sixth of August, 2009. Matt Simon lashed the ball into the top left corner at point-blank range after a set piece scramble, and this was followed by a Michael McGlinchey goal which took a wicked deflection.

    His next game was a 3-3 draw with the Brisbane Roar which started with a Danny Tiatto rocket into the right side netting. Moss was also beaten by a Sergio van Dijk penalty and a great curling strike into the bottom right corner from Henrique. Brisbane’s goals could only have been stopped by truly outstanding saves.

    Petkovic’s debut was another 3-3 draw for the Victory, this time against Sydney on the seventh of August, 2010.

    Alex Brosque scored an easy opener after Kevin Muscat was caught in possession while dawdling in the box. This was followed by an impressive looping header goal from Terry McFlynn after young Victory fullback Evan Berger fluffed a simple clearance in the box.

    The final goal came from a brilliant Shannon Cole free kick. Petkovic got a glove to the shot, but saw it too late to make any meaningful contact.

    Petkovic’s next match was a 2-0 loss to Perth, where he was indeed to blame for coming off his line and missing the ball from a corner – it was slotted in to the net by Glory legend Jamie Harnwell. The second goal was not so much his fault, as Mile Sterjovski had ample time and space to fire a great shot inside the near post.

    Despite the fact that both keepers were near blameless in their opening games, the Victory fans quickly took to social media to vent their disappointment in the new men behind the sticks.

    This, coupled with the fans’ fierce loyalty and affection for Theo and Langerak (who were the first choices before Moss and Petkovic respectively), meant Moss and Petkovic would never get much love from the stands, even if they proceeded to perform impressively.

    So Coe has a tough task ahead of him, especially considering the fact that Covic’s impressive form last season led him to win the Victory Player’s Player of the Year Award.

    But if Coe can catch the fans’ eyes early, for the right reasons, they will surely bestow their affection upon him, and the club may have yet another fan favourite between the sticks.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • October 25th 2012 @ 3:36pm
      Paul said | October 25th 2012 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

      I think Victory have been spoilt for keepers in the past. Remember that for the first two seasons, MV had the choice of Theoklitos and Galekovic, both of whom are now first-choice keepers at other clubs. Then along came Mitchell Langerak who knocked off Glen Moss while Moss was a NT GK with the All Whites and has since moved on to the Bundesliga, even snaring a cameo appearance in the German Cup Final.

      Victory fans have to accept that we won’t always be blessed with top GKs. In any case, the best teams in any competition ensure that the GK isn’t busy so even if he is a bit rusty, it should not matter.

    • Roar Guru

      October 25th 2012 @ 4:14pm
      Philip Coates said | October 25th 2012 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

      In my opinion the goalkeeper who really set the standards at Victory was Mitch Langerak. Theo and Glakovic were/are great goalies and Theo was a MV favorite who set the initial standard for performance though he had the advantage of keeping goal behind MV’s best teams so far. Then we got Moss who never looked comfortable and didn’t really control his area at all. Enter Mitch and as an 18/19 year old he really owned the box. He would yell and direct traffic and make sure people knew what was going on, and that included yelling at Musky playing central defence. I believe that was what endeared him to Victory fans – he was in charge and he meant business and his age or (in)experience were totally put aside – and he was a good goalie as well. To compare that to Petkovic, who panicked every time the ball came across his goal from a corner or free, was like chalk and cheese.

      Velaphi and Thomas may be ok goalies but neither of them command their area, marshal the defence and really stand up like they are in charge when they take the field. Let’s hope Coe is more positive and commanding when he takes the field because a strong goalkeeper gives the defenders an enormous amount of confidence.

    • October 26th 2012 @ 12:43pm
      Paul said | October 26th 2012 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

      I agree Philip, his performance in the 2010 GF was almost Schwarzer-like, I really felt for him the most after those blingers stole the trophy. A Perth Glory fan who attended the game and was standing next to us at Southern Cross Stn heaped praise on Mitch and believed he would be the true successor for Mark Schwarzer.

      I too shared that opinion, though I’d felt that way since Mitch’s debut at the SFS in early 2008.

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