Victory hand Athiu two-year contract

19 June 2018 08:42:29 EST
James Donachie

Melbourne Victory have signed forward Kenny Athiu to a two-year deal, but have lost defender James Donachie.

Athiu has signed for Kevin Muscat's side after making an impact in the latter stages of last season while he was on loan from Heidelberg United.

We're looking forward to seeing what he can do with a full pre-season under his belt.

Kevin Muscat

The 25-year-old took some time to adjust to the higher level of football following his time in the NPL, but Muscat insisted he'd fully merited his contract.

He played 11 games last season, all but one of them from the substitutes' bench.

One of Athiu's two goals came in the 6-2 Asian Champions League loss to Ulsan Hyundai, and he only missed one of Victory's six group games in the competition.

Muscat said of the Sudan-born forward: "He's worked incredibly hard over the past six months to get himself into a position where he now has the physical capabilities to play at the top level.

"We saw him come into his own late in the season, not only getting himself a couple of goals, but more importantly he made an impact off the bench and influenced games."

Athiu played a key role in the lead-up to Terry Antoni's winning goal as they knocked out defending champions Sydney FC in the semi-finals.

Muscat said: "Kenny's a big boy who moves well across the ground, so he's going to cause plenty of headaches and we're looking forward to seeing what he can do with a full pre-season under his belt."

Victory have seen both defender Donachie and forward Pierce Waring depart.

They had made an offer to 25-year-old Donachie, but he has hoped to move to South Korean side Jeonnam Dragons.

The former Australia U-23 player leaves after 38 appearances for the club, having joined from Brisbane Roar in 2016.

Waring, who only played two games last season, is also reported to be moving overseas.

Melbourne Victory are 9/2 to win the Grand Final.

Victory are 15/4 to win the Premier's Plate.

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