Victory happy under radar

The two halves of Melbourne’s new football landscape could not have been any different over this Hyundai A-League off-season.

The two halves of Melbourne’s new football landscape could not have been any different over this Hyundai A-League off-season.

While there has been massive anticipation about Melbourne Heart, perennial powerhouse Melbourne Victory has flown under the radar.

For Billy Celeski, who has spent the last ten months cooling his heels after rupturing his ACL against Newcastle, the new season can-t begin quick enough, but playing second fiddle to the new boys is of no concern.

“I don-t think we’ve focussed on it. They have recruited very well and it’s great for the league, good luck to them. We’re focussed on what we-ve done,” Celeski said.

One of the reasons Melbourne has not courted publicity over the past few months is the lack of changes of the playing list.

But Celeski does not see that as a negative and believes the continuity is a good thing as Victory look to maintain its fine recent record in the A-League.

“The fact that we-ve managed to get everything together, continuity at the club is really good. We all know each other’s games so well now. It-s been really uninterrupted; there haven’t been a lot of new signings coming in with chopping and changing. In that aspect, it’s going to be really positive for us,” he said.

Having missed much of last season, Celeski will be like a new addition to the club and he believes the re-integration of those players who have had long-term injuries will inject energy into the team throughout the season.

“Coming back into it, I can be another player to the team. The beauty of it is I’ve been here before. I am like a new player, but I’ve had the experience of playing with the boys. That’s going to be important,” he said.

“Obviously with (Matthew) Kempy and Archie (Thompson) coming back in down the track, that’s two great players that we are going to get back.”

Celeski has been ready to play for the past couple of months and will start against Sydney in Melbourne’s opening match at the SFS on Saturday night after an impressive pre-season.

“Luckily enough I’ve had a couple of months training before our break and obviously I’ve had an uninterrupted pre-season. That’s been really good for my touch, my fitness and all that stuff,” he said.

“I don’t feel like I have the pressure of having to prove myself in that sense. Trying to put everything behind me and go forward, contributing to the team and hopefully making it a successful year for us.”

“I think everyone feels hungry to come back from injury, whether they-ve been out for a week or two, or a year. I’m really hungry to be out there and continue from where I left off before I had my setback. Hopefully just put it all behind me and look forward.”

Sydney looms as a perfect measuring stick for Melbourne in their first match. The teams met on six occasions last season with Sydney winning the two things that matter, the premiership and then the championship.

“It-s great that it-s Round 1 and we’ve got such a big game to look forward to, especially like someone like myself who has been out for so long. It-s great that it creates a bit of extra buzz. I’m really looking forward to that game,” he said.