Heidelberg appoint former Western assistant & NPL legend, Knights also name Cahn replacement

Heidelberg United have turned to a legend of Victorian football, appointing ex-Western United assistant John Anastasiadis as their head coach for the 2024 NPL Victoria season.

Heidelberg were on the lookout for a new coach after farewelling one of their favourite sons – iconic coach George Katsakis following a tenure that spanned over a decade and 350 matches.

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Katsakis guided Heidelberg to three consecutive Premierships from 2017-19, the Championship (2018), the Dockerty Cup (2017) and the NPL Cup of Champions (2017), while the Bergers also reached the Australia Cup quarter-finals this season.

However, there is a new man at the helm, with former South Melbourne, Oakleigh Cannons and Bentleigh Greens head coach Anastasiadis returning to NPL VIC football.

The 55-year-old – a former Heidelberg player – had last worked for Western in the A-Leagues, spending four years as an assistant at the expansion club.

During his time there, Western were crowned 2021-22 Isuzu UTE A-League champions under John Aloisi.

Now, he will look to taste more NPL success with Heidelberg, having won three Championships at Bentleigh before moving to Western in 2019.

Melbourne Knights, who eliminated Heidelberg from the Australia Cup, have also appointed a new coach.

After NPL Coach of the Year Ben Cahn departed the club to take up a role as Brisbane Roar’s Youth Technical Director on the back of a semi-final run in the Australia Cup, Knights have appointed assistant Ben Surey.

Surey has served as Knights’ Under-20 coach before moving into an assistant role under Cahn in 2023, while he also twice served as a caretaker coach.

Ben Cahn (L) and Ben Surey (R). Image source: Melbourne Knights

“I understand the responsibility and the expectations and look forward to the challenge of working with the players and the club to make the community proud,” he said.

“It feels like we’re in a good place to start with but at the same time there’s a lot of work to do so it’s important use the highs and the lows of last year and start building to improve again.”