The Goulburn Valley Suns have signed professional footballers Rob Hughes and Liam Baxter for the coming National Premier League Two season.
The duo, who are in their 20s, are expected to add some attacking flair to a developing Suns side.
Hughes, a striker and notable goalscorer for Rhyl FC in the Welsh Premier League, will operate as a number nine for the Suns, while Scottish Premier League winger Liam Baxter will be looking to create a number of chances as he fancies himself in a wider role.
Suns player-coach Nick Kalafatis was excited about the prospect of having two new visa players joining his side.
‘‘We know a bit about these boys and we’re stoked to have them,’’ Kalafatis said.
‘‘They come from a professional background, so they’ll add a lot of experience to our younger squad.’’
Kalafatis was told about Hughes’ ability last year after striking up a relationship with former Goulburn North East Football Association import Carl Lamb.
Hughes and Lamb have played together at Rhyl.
Kalafatis was interested in signing the striker then, but was thankful he finally sealed the deal.
‘‘I’d known about him for a while, so it’s good that we have finally secured him for the season,’’ Kalafatis said.
Lamb, who is back playing in Wales, was thrilled to see Hughes had signed with the Suns and believed the NPL club had picked up a quality footballer.
‘‘He’s a complete player for me. He’s very skillful with both feet, he’s creative and doesn’t mind a tackle,’’ Lamb said.
‘‘I’m happy for him, he is a top lad.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity for him, one I hope he takes.’’
In 2015, Hughes went viral online after scoring and absolute world class goal in Wales.
The left-footed striker dazzled past four players on a 65m run before coolly slotting home from outside the penalty area.
Kalafatis, on reflecting on that goal, believed Hughes could cause NPL defenders a lot of problems this season.
‘‘He’s a talented footballer, he’s tricky and can score a good goal as we saw, so hopefully he’ll be a threat this season,’’ Kalafatis said.
Each NPL club is restricted by the number of visa players a team can have and Kalafatis believed the duo would be worthy of visa tag.
‘‘Both the boys are coming in from a good standard of football,’’ Kalafatis said.
‘‘They are professional players, so hopefully they can deliver on the pitch and offer their skills and knowledge to younger guys.’’
With the season starting in less than a month, the Suns are optimistic about what lies ahead.
‘‘We’re confident and we’ll always aim high,’’ Kalafatis said.
‘‘We just played Green Gully in a friendly and they’re a premier side, so I was pretty happy with the end result.’’
With limited games last season due to a back injury, Kalafatis was every chance to wear the orange jersey again this year.
‘‘Touchwood, it looks like I’m over my back injury, so I’m a lot healthier and fitter than I was last season,’’ he said.
‘‘So if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready.’’