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South Melbourne coach Chris Taylor slams ‘lazy’ A-League recruiters, reignites promotion-relegation debate

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WINNING South Melbourne coach Chris Taylor has taken a swipe at the A-League’s ecosystem, declaring deserved players are missing out on top tier chances.

Taylor has reignited the promotion-relegation debate after leading former National Soccer League side South Melbourne to another state league title on Sunday, beating Oakleigh 3-2, calling for reform.

Since South Melbourne, who were voted the Oceania team of the century, and company were relegated to the state leagues, increased crowds have been offset by drop in quality of Australian players.

Mile Jedinak, Sasa Ognenovski and Rodrigo Vargas were originally overlooked for A-League contracts, but Ivan Franjic (no prior NSL experience) is perhaps the greatest state-to-national league success story of the modern era.

Taylor, who coached Franjic, Mate Dugandzic and Cameron Watson at Melbourne Knights before they progressed to the A-League, said there were plenty more out there such as Jimmy Rooney medallist (grand final man of the match) Marcus Schroen.

“The A-League is an environmental sort of set up where they recycle most of their players and coaches,’’ Taylor said.

“If a player’s had five or six clubs and still gets picked up, there’s players like Marcus that deserve an opportunity.

“There’s players in my team that could play in the A-League. Younger and fresher players with something else to offer.

“Then someone like Milos (Lujic) earns a good wage with us, a good wage in a job, how are you going to take him to the A-League and offer him $55,000 (a year)?

 “The A-League needs to have a look at the way they’re set up, when you give someone like (Alessandro) Del Piero $2m a season and the boy next to him is getting $45,000.’’

Melbourne Knights coach Andrew Marth recently slammed Central Coast, who were the worst side in A-League history last season, and Taylor said clubs like the Mariners and Newcastle Jets had reason not to play kids.

“I admire (Kevin) Muscat, at least he brings kids in, but bottom clubs like Newcastle and Central Coast are still recycling,” Taylor said.

“The obvious one that everyone talks about except the FFA is promotion-relegation. How good would it be if the winner of (the grand final) plays in the A-League next year and Central Coast, who haven’t won a game for two years, get relegated?

“That’s the way it should be and how it is everywhere else in the world. It brings out the passion.’’

Schroen, who scored a grand final brace, was a Melbourne City youth player but was released after a knee reconstruction and hoped to get another shot after a short trial with the Mariners last season.

“I had a bit of interest last year when I spent a bit of time at Central Coast,’’ Schroen said.

“Last year was a bit of a comeback year after my second knee reco, this year I tried to take it to the next level, we’ll wait to see what comes about in the next few weeks.

“Hopefully something comes along because I’ve definitely got aspirations of going to the next level.’’

© 2016 Herald Sun | This article was written by David Davutovic and first appeared on The Herald Sun website on 12 September 2016.

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