Central Coast’s wonderfully compact Connor Pain reintroduced himself to his former team Melbourne Victory with an incredible goal in their 1-1 draw in Gosford on Sunday night. He nearly doubled the damage with what could have been goal of the year if not denied by the woodwork. That Pain was able to work his magic for the Mariners is in large part due to the A-League’s efforts to retain parity with it’s salary cap. It also got us thinking, how many other former Victory players are plying their trade elsewhere and what kind of team would they make? Here is the team we put together to answer that question.
GOALKEEPER: Michael Theoklitos
The two-time Melbourne Victory and five-time overall A-League Championship winner is hard to go past when looking at former Victory goalkeepers still making their mark in the A-League. That’s not to say it wasn’t a position with multiple options. Former Adelaide Championship Skipper Eugene Galekovic and Newcastle Jets shot-stopper Glen Moss both come under heavy consideration but couldn’t dislodge Theo.
The 36-year old spent the first A-League season in a bitter battle with Galekovic for the Victory’s Number 1 shirt before finally making it is own. With Theo in goals, the Victory claimed the 2007 and 2009 Grand Finals before Theoklitos parted ways with the club to try his luck in English Football. A 7-1 first up loss put paid to his dreams of a long stay in Europe and he was quickly back in the A-League and bringing his Championship winning ways to the Brisbane Roar. After 155 games and 3 Championships, he is a much loved member of the Roar squad and an obvious selection as Goalkeeper in the Former Victory XI.
DEFENDER: Daniel Georgievski
Georgevski was one of the influx of signings manager by Kevin Muscat that helped deliver Melbourne Victory the Premiership/Championship Double in 2014/15 and FFA Cup the following season.
The Macedonian International was a regular for the Victory in his three seasons at the club. An athletic, physical and aggressive, defender he regularly imposed himself on the contest. An ability that was recognised in his last game for the club, when he was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as Player of the Match in the 2017 Grand Final.
Now mentored by former Victory coach Ernie Merrick, Georgievski now plays for the resurgent Newcastle Jets
DEFENDER: Alan Baro
A replacement for Matthieu Delpierre, Alan Baro ran out for the Victory 26-times on their charge towards the 2017 A-League Grand Final. Having spent his early career with the likes of Osasuna and Ponferradina, it was no surprise that he was hot property when it became known that the Victory were not looking to retain Baro beyond the 2016/17 season. The Mariners quickly signed the Spaniard and announced him the skipper of the team for the current season.
DEFENDER: Scott Galloway
A promising defender, Galloway joined the Victory in 2013 and played 55 matches in Melbourne, including 13 appearances in the 2014/15 Premiership winning season, before departing the club for Central Coast.
The Gosnells City junior was a regular for the Mariners before departing the club for a trial with Dutch side Willem II. It didn’t work out in the Netherlands and the 22-year-old made his way to Wellington instead. A key cog in the Phoenix defence, Galloway would be hoping performances in the New Zealand capital will help him achieve his dream of playing in Europe.
Defender: Seb Ryall
A member of Victory’s 2008-09 Double winning squad, the 28-year-old has made a habit of hurting his former club after departing for Sydney FC.
In his time in the Harbour City he has claimed a further two championships, with both Grand Final victories over Victory in penalty shoot outs. His value to Sydney FC recognised with his selection in the club’s Team of the Decade.
Midfielder: Mitch Nicholls
A Socceroo representative brought to the club by current National Team Coach Ange Postecoglu, Nicholls left Victory for an opportunity with J-League Team Cerezo Osaka.
Now in his second post Victory stint at Perth Glory, Nicholls was a key member of Western Sydney Wanderers Grand Final side in 2016. The 28-year-old still has designs on a stint in Europe, a dream that was put on hold as a result of off-field misdemeanours at the end of last season.
Midfielder: Gui Finkler
Finkler, from Caxias do Sol, Brazil was an immediate fan favourite upon arrival the Victory 2012-13 season. A skilful midfielder who was a devastating free kick specialist in his 93 games for the club. A member of the double winning side in 2014-15, and FFA Cup winning side in 2015, his left the club disgruntled after being overlooked for the Victory’s Asian Cup campaign for the second straight year in 2016.
Now in his second season across the ditch, Finkler has been a constant in the Phoenix side but he has struggled to find the same success as he had in his early seasons with the Victory. Despite this, he remains as deadly as ever when presented with dead ball opportunities.
Midfielder: Fahid Ben Khalfallah
Speaking of instant sensations, there haven’t been too many bigger than Fahid Ben Khalfallah upon his arrival in Melbourne for the 2014/15 season.
Taking Melbourne fans and the A-League by storm, he was recognised as the club’s Player of the Year in the double winning season of 2014/15. He would add an FFA Cup Winners Medal to his collection before departing the club for Brisbane for this season.
Midfielder: Vince Lia
Lia, a Shepparton junior, was a member of Melbourne Victory’s inaugural squad back in 2005/06 and the squad that completed the double the following season.
Having departed Victory for Wellington Phoenix for the 2007/08 season, in one of is first games for his new club he scored his first ever A-League goal against Victory. He would spend the next 10 years in Wellington, appearing in close to 200 games before transferring to Adelaide United this season. Ironically Lia scored his first goals for Adelaide would also come at Melbourne Victory’s expense in a 2-all draw a fortnight ago.
Attacking Midfielder: Connor Pain
Pain was bundle of energy in his time at Victory, making 53 appearances for the club, often coming off the bench to have an impact late in games.
Despite having collected a Premiership, Championship and FFA Cup winners medals in his time in Melbourne, starved of opportunities he left the club to join Central Coast Mariners for the 2016-17 season. Still only 23-years-old, the Gosford club have the opportunity of seeing the best that Pain has to offer.
Forward: Andrew Nabbout
The 23-year-old forward will always hold a special place in the heart of Victory fans after his performance against Sydney FC back in November 2012. Having been injected into the game in the 66th minute with the Victory trailing 2-0, Nabbout scored in the 78th and 91st minutes to help the Victory to a comeback 3-2 victory.
Seeking greater opportunities Nabbout departed Victory for Negeri Sembilan in the Malaysian Premier League. He would spend just half a season in Malyasia, but his 9 goals in 14 games made him the club’s leading goal scorer.
He returned to the A-League with the Newcastle Jets last season and was discussed as a potential Johnny Warren Medallist on the back of his 8-goals in a side that struggled to create opportunities.
Even without the former Melbourne Victory stars plying their trade overseas, it remains a pretty handy squad. Given the club’s perennial contender status, it shouldn’t really surprise that a team made up of former players could look as competitive on paper.
What do you think? Did we miss anyone? Is the squad good enough to compete with the A-League’s best? Participate in the poll and/or comment below.