On the eve of the 2018 pre-season campaign, Old Paradians footballers and coaches have come together at funky Thornbury locale Joanie’s Bareto - a football club sponsor through its owner and Old Paradian Marco Finanzio (1994).

Pictured here having been welcomed into the fold are new recruits Matt Mahony (North Heidelberg) and Keenan Posar (Coburg) who has nominated the Old Paradians as his local club. Also joining the club is Greensborough’s Matt Luciani, Nick Ross and Andrew McCann – the latter following his brother Luke back to the Garvey Oval.

Matt Mahony and Luke McCann are Old Paradians from the final year class of 2012, while Matt Luciani and Andrew McCann completed their schooling at the College in 2014.

Keenan Posar’s father Marty (BMI International) and Matt Luciani’s father Mark (Capital Discount Tyres) are both sponsors of the Old Paradians’ Association Amateur Football Club.

The McCann brothers’ father, the Old Paradians Premiership player Dale McCann, has worked feverishly behind the scenes in both sponsorship and recruiting to ensure that the football club is in a sound position both off the field and on it as the 2018 season nears.

Matt Mahony joins the OPs after eight years and more than 100 games with North Heidelberg - and his reasoning is simple.

“I thought I’d come back to play with my mates – old school friends with whom I’ve got a bond,” Matt said.

“Luke was the one who encouraged me. We always wanted to play together, but haven’t had the chance to do so since the 1st XVIII days in 2012.”

A 16 year-old College student when he joined North Heidelberg on the invitation of a family friend, Matt said he would like to see both Parade and the Old Paradians former greater strategic links - as with the likes of Xavier and St Bernard’s and their respective old collegian clubs.

“Yeah, I think Parade needs to develop that stronger affiliation, but the Old Paradians also need to act,” he said. “Hopefully the team wins a few games and becomes a bit more competitive.”

Senior coach Ryan Smith, who took the Old Paradians to the 2017 Preliminary Final in his maiden season at the helm, was also at Joanie’s, as was his assistant Steve Fazekas, together with a number of loyal football club Members and supporters.

The Old Paradians’ first night of training is scheduled for the Naughtin Oval at 6.00pm on the night of Monday, November 20, with all prospective players welcome. Training nights will be conducted on Mondays and Wednesdays prior to Christmas.