As the countdown to the 2020 season continues, National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland, National Premier Leagues Women’s (NPLW) Queensland and Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) clubs are preparing to welcome a number of signings from interstate competitions.
NPL Queensland’s Magpies Crusaders have brought versatile twenty-year-old attacker Dylan D’Agostino to the league following his impressive goal-scoring record in the top tiers of South Australian football.
Following a prolific goal scoring record at youth level, D’Agostino signed with NPL South Australia team WT Birkalla in 2018.
Last season D’Agostino was on the move again, signing for South Australian State League 1 side, Western Strikers. With 13 goals throughout the season, he claimed the Golden Boot award for his side.
Now looking reproduce such statistics in the NPL Queensland with the Magpies, D’Agostino is relishing the opportunity to prove himself in Queensland’s top tier of football.
“It’s been a quite a long process for me, trying to get an opportunity to play elsewhere – challenging myself whether it be overseas or interstate,” D’Agostino said.
“Tom [Ballantyne] came to me with the opportunity to test myself and move away from home to try and build a career, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Despite his habit of getting on the scoresheet, D’Agostino emphasised a desire to contribute in other areas, with his ability to play across a front three providing his new coach plenty of options.
“First and foremost, I am a goal scorer. However, there is a lot I can offer – not just centrally – but also on the wing as a playmaker,” he said.
“That’s how I’ve always played my football – getting on the ball and helping others score in addition to myself.”
In preparation for his debut NPL Queensland season, D’Agostino said he is working hard behind the scenes to ensure he can hit the ground running, in what he hopes will be a successful upcoming year with Magpies.
“I’ve been doing a lot of fitness work by myself, and finishing with coaches here. My goal is to help Magpies improve on the league position, but to also have a strong presence in the cup like we did [last season]. The ultimate goal is to hopefully win some silverware,” D’Agostino said.
Another player that has travelled North for the upcoming 2020 season is Kelsey Minton, who has left NPLW Victoria side South Melbourne FC in favour of NPLW Queensland club Western Pride.
Minton rose through the ranks of the Victorian football leagues with Berwick City FC, before joining NPLW Victoria side Alamein FC in 2017. After scoring a bag full of goals in her second season, she moved to fellow NPLW side South Melbourne FC in 2019.
Described by South Melbourne FC’s Women’s Football Director Gabrielle Giuliano as “a dynamic and aggressive forward,” Minton proved her ruthlessness in front of goal by scoring 19 goals in 26 games, claiming her side’s Golden Boot award in her first season at the club.
When asked about Gabrielle Giuliano’s assessment of her playing style, Minton explained that her physicality and determination on the field and in front of goal is an important part of her game.
“My style of play is aggressive – I’m a physical player that likes to put the pressure on defenders – I like to hold players off with the ball at my feet, and I’m always looking for the goal,” Minton said.
Making the switch to NPLW Queensland, Minton insists her new club Western Pride is the perfect place to be as she looks to progress in her playing career.
“I want to further my development as a footballer and I liked what George [Kalogeridis] had to say and his intentions for the club and that’s something that I really wanted to be a part of,” Minton said.
“I want to have a good consistent season and score as many goals as I can.”
FQPL side Logan Lightning will also welcome a player from Victoria for the 2020 season, with midfield recruit James Coutts arriving from the NPL Victoria 2.
Coutts returns to Queensland after leaving Gold Coast United in 2018 to take up a player/coach position at North Geelong Warriors FC.
Originally from England, Coutts signed his first professional contract with AFC Bournemouth in 2004, remaining tied to the club until 2007.
He had significant spells at English clubs Grays Athletic FC, Weymouth FC, Dorchester Town FC, and AFC Totton before heading to Australia to join Victorian side Murray United.
Returning to Queensland for the upcoming 2020 FQPL season with Logan Lightning, Coutts is taking on a player/assistant coach role, where he will work closely alongside coach Rick Coghlan.
The Englishman said the relationship he built with Coghlan during their time together at Gold Coast United was one of the reasons he decided to return to Queensland.
“My partner lives on the Gold Coast, so that was a big factor – but also Rick and I are very close mates from our time at Gold Coast United – we kept in touch throughout last year and the plan was to finish the season and come and play under Rick,” Coutts said.
When asked about the squad’s goals for the upcoming season, Coutts insisted the focus from a coaching perspective is on the bigger picture.
“We’ve got such a young group of players, we’re trying to maximise the potential by creating an environment where they can learn and be the best they can be – in terms of titles and things like that, it’s not really something that we’ve spoken of,” Coutts said.
“It’s about creating a culture that we’re bringing to the club. You can see by the players we’ve recruited that people want to come and be a part of it, which is exciting for the club.”
Words: Darren Newell