Newcastle Jets have signed former Wellington Phoenix keeper Lewis Italiano on a one year deal to push his old Kiwi team-mate Glen Moss for the number one slot next season.
A Perth Glory junior, Italiano was part of the squad which finished runners-up in the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season.
After making the move across the ditch at the end of the 2012/13 season, the talented shot-stopper made 19 appearances for Wellington in the A-League between 2013 and 2018.
The 27-year-old and Moss have a good relationship already, having spent a number of years fighting for a spot between the sticks at Wellington.
Jets boss Ernie Merrick said Italiano – who joins from NPL WA club Stirling Lions, where he played six games in the middle of the 2018 season – was a strong addition to the squad.
“I know Lewis well from my time at Wellington, and I know what he can bring to our side,” Merrick said.
“He’s a tremendous physical presence and has all the attributes you look for in a keeper – he’s dependable, a quality shot stopper and very good in the air.
“He’ll push Glen hard and the competition for a starting position will benefit them both as we embark on a busy year ahead.”
Italiano said he was pleased to be linking up with familiar faces in Newcastle.
“To have the chance to work with Ernie and Glen again is something I’m really looking forward to,” Italiano said.
“My game came a long way under Ernie at Wellington, Mossy and I both pushed each other hard over there and being in a similar environment here in Newcastle will help me reach my best.
“The team plays an aggressive brand of attacking football which I saw plenty of last season, and hopefully I can do my bit for the fans and help the Jets have another successful campaign.”