The Bulleen Lions have signed Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Lewis Italiano for the remainder of the 2017 NPL Victoria season.
He replaces former first-choice keeper Shane Viitakangas, who is out with a long-term injury, with former Melbourne Victory youth Wyatt Chant featuring between the sticks in the meantime.
Italiano is a familiar face to Victorian football, having had two stints at Oakleigh Cannons.
Born in Perth, Italiano started his senior journey at Inglewood and Balcatta, before being signed by Perth Glory in 2011.
He was there for two stints as a backup without making an A-League appearance, also featuring for the Cannons in 2012 and 2013, making some 30 league appearances in total and featuring in the 2012 VPL Grand Final defeat to Dandenong Thunder.
He was then signed by Ernie Merrick for Wellington Phoenix in 2013, primarily used as a backup to Glen Moss.
His A-League debut came on 26 April 2015 against Sydney, making a total of six appearances mainly towards the end of his tenure at the Phoenix, and also featured in his home state’s top-flight in the meantime.
He departed at the conclusion of the A-League season alongside Moss, who joined Merrick at new club Newcastle Jets.
The 26-year-old becomes Aaron Healey’s first mid-season signing in the side which is looking to stay away from relegation, sitting in 11th place – a point above Melbourne Knights in the half-relegation spot.
Write up – The Corner Flag – Staff Writers