Brisbane Roar newcomer Joey Katebian dismisses claims his departure from former club Melbourne Victory was a result of a bad relationship with head coach Kevin Muscat.
Katebian played his first and only senior game for Victory last season coming on at the 90th minute for Gui Finkler in a 2-1 win against Central Coast Mariners in November.
Katebian captained the youth team and won individual accolades along the journey including the 2016 Victory youth medal and 2015 Victory NYL/NPL Player’s player of the year award. He also has the 2015 NYL and NPL golden boot to his name.
Katebian’s final NPL game for Victory was in Round 15 and scored a total of eight goals in 12 matches in this year’s campaign. He then proceeded to go on trials at Serbian club Cukaricki, A-League side Wellington Phoenix and his eventual club Brisbane Roar.
The 20-year-old’s records left many wondering why Muscat let him go, but Katebian said it was nothing to do with a falling out and stated it was a mutual agreement with all parties after discussions with player manager Vince Grella.
“It was a good relationship, there were no problems. There are players that fit into set-ups, Musky taught me a lot when I trained with the first team and he gave me an opportunity,” Katebian told FourFourTwo.
“I think a lot of people thought Musky didn’t like me and that he never gave me a chance, it was nothing personal, they had players they needed in their system and I wasn’t part of that which is fair enough, I can’t be everyone’s favourite.
“They’ve got a lot of class in that team in the front four, places were limited. The players in those positions were playing 90 minutes every game, there were back-up players as well and I wasn’t one of them, so that’s part of the reason I wasn’t playing.
“I spoke with my manager, we discussed whether or not I was going to be offered a contract at Victory the following year and then I sat down with Musky. Obviously it wasn’t to be and there’s no problem with that.
“We decided to move on, it worked out and I thanked everyone at Victory for giving me the opportunity. I improved so much as a player there and hopefully work with some of them in the future, it was a great experience.”
Katebian leaves hometown Melbourne and a club he supported since childhood. After living with mother Carole in the Eastern suburbs his whole life, he will now room with two flatmates at a townhouse close to their training ground.
Katebian began training with the Roar two weeks ago and is now reunited with John Aloisi who briefly worked at Victory at the start of 2015 as a development coach for the NYL and NPL sides.
The bullish striker said he’d been working closely with Socceroo Jamie Maclaren up front. Brisbane play Perth Glory in the FFA Cup at Ballymore stadium on Wednesday night and Katebian was keen throw on the boots for the first time.
“I’m feeling good, hopefully I get to make my debut tomorrow for the Roar and to especially get the win tomorrow night, it’s exciting times and I’m pumped for the upcoming season,” he said.
“It’s a good feeling winning awards along the way, they’re at youth level and I want to strive for higher. I want to win awards in the A-League, they’re just youth awards, I have to put them behind me as I’m not in the youth team anymore and aspire for greater things.
“Johnny (Aloisi) was the boss as I call him now, he was coaching down at Victory. I got along with him really well, he helped me out a lot and he was a brilliant striker. He knows what I can do and I think that’s what helped him make his decision to sign me.
“Maca (Maclaren) had a great season last year. I’m working with him a lot up front, we’re both training hard and I’d love to get minutes off the bench and hopefully get a few starts. I’m focused on improving my game especially at training and getting some game time.”
The Roar will play against Victory in Round 1 and should Katebian play, he stated there would be no bitterness.
“I’m excited to play against them (Victory) obviously, I get to play against old teammates, I have a lot of respect for the club,” he said.
“Just business when we go against them, there’s no favourites and I have to do the best for my current team, that’s what I’m going to do.
“I want football to be my job and obviously that’s going to take me all over the world. Brisbane is still in Australia, but it’s away from home. The boys have welcomed me with open arms and I get along with all of them which is good.”