Box Hill United’s resourceful midfielder Thomas Lakic identified the cornerstones in the side’s fight to survive the relegation battle last time around.
The 21-year-old said it was refreshing to be back in pre-season action after a well-deserved break. Praising the team’s gritty display towards last season’s end, the former Melbourne Victory youth player added, “It was tough. Every team goes through some ups and downs in the season, [but] we coped well with what we had.
“There was a squad turnover through the season, but we dug ourselves out of the hole really well and came out of it quite strong. We put some strong performances together towards late in the season.”
Highlighting the key takeaways, Lakic added, “Perseverance, confidence in our ability, trusting each other, and knowing that positive things are potentially coming with hard work.”
Lakic has been alternating between defensive midfield and centre-back duties in the recent years, and said he was happy with the versatile roles, “I like playing defensive midfield personally, my attributes sit well with that. I have the work rate and the energy to do well in there. While some coaches are confident with me playing centre-back. So, it is whatever the team requires at the time. The team comes first.”
Since making his senior debut with Oakleigh Cannons in 2014, the young midfielder also had stints with South Melbourne and Northcote City. Commenting on his time in Victorian football, Lakic said, “I can bring some experience of having played with some of Victoria’s best younger players. Having that environment around you helps you teach other kids. I am still young, but I can teach young players and bring that level of leadership as well, which really helps.”
The Bachelor of Education student at Monash Univeristy was adjudged the tournament’s best player following Monash’s second-place finish at the 2016 Australian University Games. The Green and Gold Medal winner reminisced, “It was a different experience playing for the university. It was something you don’t always experience – playing two games a day for five days.
“It was quite strenuous but had some social element to it. I felt I was potentially a step stronger than some of the players there in terms of my fitness levels. It is something I’d recommend, you get to meet a lot of different people.”