Melbourne Victory's Anthony Lesiotis made the move to his boyhood club in search of A-League minutes - but he never quite expected them to come at right-back.
Victory's newly-christened right-back made history when he debuted for the club during the 2018/19 season, becoming the first player that had previously played a senior game for Melbourne Heart/City to represent the four-time A-League champions.
He is one of three teenagers – alongside Brandon Lauton and Jay Barnett – to have logged A-League minutes for the club so far in 2019/20, a big driver in the childhood Victory fan’s decision to make the jump from Bundoora to AAMI Park.
“I’d say it was more for seeking more opportunities to play,” Lesiotis said of his cross-town jump. “I did enjoy my time at City, but if I wasn’t going to play…
“At that time, it was [Luke] Brattan, Osama Malik, [Rostyn] Griffiths and also Kearyn Baccus [ahead of him]. So, it was tough to get minutes so that’s why I was sort of seeking a new opportunity.
“I was a Victory supporter as a kid, fortunately, it was my dream to play for Victory so it was a good move when the opportunity came up.”
With the youngster, who hails from Melbourne's north, recently coming into contention for Olyroos selection following his positional shift, it appears as though City’s loss has been City’s gain. Yet, loathe as it may be for them, Victory fans may owe a debt of gratitude to a long-time member of City for the youngster's skills.
“[Paddy Kisnorbo] was definitely a big mentor,” Lesiotis said. “I can say that, without him, I probably wouldn’t be the player that I am.
“I’m always tough but he sort of brought that side out of me. He’s always believed in me, gave me opportunities and helped me out. Even with the first team, he was the assistant, so he was always looking after me, trying to get better and helping with extras after training."
Lesiotis played a full 90 minutes as Victory walloped Newcastle Jets 4-0 on Sunday evening, providing the straw that broke the back of Ernie Merrick’s tenure in the Hunter.
Though predominantly deployed as a defensive midfielder throughout his junior and fledgling senior career, it was the third game on the bounce that the 19-year-old had put in a full shift at right-back.
And while it’s an admittedly very small sample size, Victory have yet to taste defeat in any of the games where Lesiotis has featured on the defensive flank - his side defeating Perth Glory 1-0 in round eight and scraping to a 0-0 draw with Wellington in round 10 before logging back-to-back wins over Melbourne City and the Jets.
“At the start it was… I was a bit shaky, wasn’t sure,” he recalled. “Obviously I’ve never played right back. But things are turning out really well by the looks of it.
“We’re on a bit of a run. I think I’m doing well at least, good to see the team doing well, me doing well and good to be winning.
“Perth Glory was the first-ever time I played right back, it came out of nowhere. I sort of went off watching Storm in training, all the things I’ve learned off watching him.
“I do believe [Head Coach Marco Kurz] believes in me if he’s keeping me in the starting line-up. He has been helping me a lot over the past few weeks, trying to give me the confidence I can get.
“I have to learn so much more defensively. More about timing and being a bit smarter, anticipating and there’s more 1 v 1 defending.
“I wasn’t really keen on going forward that much because I was a bit worried about how I was going to get forward and back but [against Newcastle] Filip [assistant coach Filip Tapalovic] was telling me to get forward and overlap – and when I did, we scored off the own goal!”