Sixteen months after he stepped away from the Illawarra Premier League spotlight, Steven Dimitrievski says he is refreshed and ready to take over the reins as Bellambi's new head coach.
The Rosellas announced Dimitrievski's appointment for 2022 on Friday following Jeff Allport's shock departure due to work commitments earlier this month. Allport had only been in the role for one year, with Bellambi finishing their 2021 campaign in 10th position.
But it's the start of a new era for the club and is Dimitrievski's first mentoring gig since resigning as Port Kembla's IPL head coach last July, just days out from round one.
However, Dimitrievski brings a wealth of experience to the Rosellas, having been been involved in the game for more than two decades as a player and coach.
"With Jeff leaving, they were on the look out for a next coach and a few mates got in touch with me. I put in an expression of interest and then caught up with the president and the board, and pretty much within 24 to 48 hours, it was a done deal," Dimitrievski said.
"The Rosellas have got a rich history and have had some great footballers there, plus they had an excellent coach in Jeff. It's exciting to get back into the Premier League and I'm looking forward getting back on the park with the boys and using my leadership and management skills to try and get the club where it needs to be. It's a great opportunity to be back in football.
"I went away for about a year-and-a-half and I've missed it. I've been involved in the football circles as a player or coach for 20 plus years. At the end of the day, being away for a year-and-a-half, you get that itch back, and Bellambi seems like a great fit and a great environment. You learn all the time and I feel refreshed, and itching to get back into it."
2022 will mark Bellambi's third season since being promoted into the IPL. The Rosellas finished seventh in 2020 under Andrew Paine before coming 10th this season, with both campaigns heavily impacted by COVID.
However, the club has been able to unveil some exciting talent in that period, which excites Dimitrievski.
"They've got a lot of young players coming through the ranks, and it's a place where I can help develop some of the youngsters into potential first graders. But I'm under no illusions, and I'm trying to get a few extra experienced boys in there," he said.
"Everyone goes into every season trying to get into the top five, and I'm no different. But it's going to be a difficult task. But if we can remain in the mix, mid-table to top five is my expectation, but let's see who we've got on the park over the next few weeks."
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