|By PADDY HIGGS
Melbourne Victory have increased their key defensive options with the signing of Australia youth international Jason Geria.
Captured from Brisbane Roar's National Youth League side on a three-year deal, the 19-year-old has immediately joined senior training at Victory and could soon find himself in Ange Postecoglou's first-team plans.
Australian Institute of Sport graduate Geria is yet to make his A-League debut, but is a regular in youth international squads and was a key part of the Young Socceroos' successful 2013 Under-20 World Cup qualification campaign in the United Arab Emirates earlier in November.
Postecoglou has had trouble settling on a partner for captain Adrian Leijer in the centre of defence since Mark Milligan's move to defensive midfield, with Petar Franjic's extended run ending after a poor showing against the Central Coast Mariners in Week 7.
Replacement Sam Gallagher's opportunity lasted just 16 minutes before his straight red card against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday, meaning Canberra-born Geria may not have to wait long for his own chance.
Joining him in penning a deal at Victory is midfielder Jordan Brown, who moves from the AIS and is the brother of the club's W-League star and Matildas representative Ashley.
The 16-year-old Victorian has penned a three-year youth deal, though he must first recover from a groin injury before joining training.
"We are very happy to be welcoming these boys into the Melbourne Victory family and we believe they have the qualities, both on and off the pitch, to be an integral part of our club's future," Postecoglou said via statement.
"There is no doubt that they are both talented youngsters and we are definitely looking forward to seeing them develop and grow into future leaders of this club."