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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 May 2018
26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 MAY 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM GEORGE STOGIANNOU Taylor takes charge of the Cannons There's a little bit of history between Oakleigh Cannons and their newly appointed coach Chris Taylor, and it revolves around finals. Rewind to 2011 when an Arthur Pappas-coached Cannons were facing off against Green Gully in the VPL Grand Final. Helping Pappas on the Oakleigh bench that day was CT, as he is known in Victorian football circles. He was only there for four or five weeks, but it may have given the astute Taylor a valuable insight into finals football. The next year he coached Dandenong Thunder to an unprecedented triple crown of Championship, Premiership and Dockerty Cup trophies. From Thunder he went on to become one of the most successful coaches in the NPL era, enjoying great success coaching South Melbourne. Since his sudden departure from the South Melbourne coaching position just weeks before the start of the current season, there has been little doubt that Taylor would coach again before too long. The question was not so much if, but where and when. Last Friday, Oakleigh supplied the answer to that question by announcing the appointment of Taylor as its new senior coach, shortly after the departures of previous joint coaches Peter Tsolakis and Con Tangalakis. Speaking to Neos Kosmos after his appointment, Taylor said, that after his departure from South Melbourne, "I don't think I had any aspirations for getting back into it (coaching an NPL side). The most important thing was, to get back into it if I felt the challenge was the right challenge." Despite interest from other clubs, Taylor said the two main factors that influenced his decision to join the Cannons are the club's level of ambition and their location in relation to where he lives. Oakleigh Cannons' newly appointed coaching team: (L-R) Bojo Jevdjevic (goalkeeping coach), Chris Marshall (assis- tant coach), Chris Taylor, Steve Pantelidis (assistant coach). PHOTO: KOSTAS DEVES "Once you've had the taste of success and you've won things, you still want to maintain those standards. That's probably what drives me. I probably want to go out there and win things again. There's no secret in that. That's why Oakleigh seems to be the right fit. They're a club that [has] passion, they've got a lot of drive and they want some sort of success so hopefully I can bring that for them." Taylor says of the current Oakleigh squad, "I don't think there's anyone that's been under me in the past. So that becomes a bit of a challenge in itself, working out what makes people tick and what's good for them. It's a challenge we keep looking at, and seeing what we've got. We've got some very good players there that we know, having played against them. Hopefully we can all work well together." According to Taylor, introducing change to a squad inherited from another coaching team, well into the new season, requires a certain approach. He says, "For me the biggest thing is observation. I don't think you can change lots and lots of things around, because the players are obviously geared to do certain things. Little by [little], you introduce new things to it. You know, a lot of it is observing what you see, what you like and what you don't like and then making subtle changes along the way." Taylor will have plenty of opportunity to observe his new players as matches come thick and fast in his first two weeks in charge. Along with his newly appointed assistant coaches Chris Marshall and Steve Pantelidis, and goalkeeping coach Bojo Jevdjevic, Taylor coached the team to a first-up win against Bulleen Lions at the Veneto Club last Monday, the first of three league matches and a cup tie in rapid succession. "We've ended up with something like four games in 12 days and at this level, when it's semi-professional, it's not the ideal scenario. But you take the cards you're dealt and you've got to move forward I suppose." The club hopes it will be the start of a turnaround in results after a very slow start to the season. Club president Stan Papayianneris told Neos Kosmos midweek following the announcement of Taylor's appointment, "We consider him [Taylor] to be the most suitable coach who's available now. Peter Tsolakis was dismissed for performance reasons: six losses against two wins. That's the reason for the dismissal. And we appointed Chris Taylor as a suitably alternative coach." When asked what was the reaction around the club to Taylor's recruitment, Papayianneris replied, "Everyone was pleased with the outcome. At the moment Chris has been appointed for one year, but the intention is he's there for a longer period." Papayianneris added that as the senior coach, "He [Taylor] will have total free rein in decisions regarding player list management and recruitment." When asked whether Taylor was appointed in the belief he could lead the club to win the silverware that has long eluded it, Papayianneris replied, "We never really thought of that at the time. We were 6-2 down. We were more concerned about the immediate results. We weren't thinking about silverware. If silverware comes, it's great. But Chris has got quite a significant track record for silverware, as you're aware." If any club is acutely aware of the Taylor's ability to win trophies, it is the Cannons. The last two times the Cannons made it to the Grand Final were in 2012 and 2016, against Dandenong Thunder and South Melbourne respectively. In between they also made it to a Dockerty Cup final. Oakleigh lost both Grand finals and the Cup final and the opposition coach on each of those occasions was Chris Taylor. To borrow a saying, "If you can't beat him, get him to join you."
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