Friday, May 15, 2009

Northern Rangers should hold on to top spot


NTCA Ground, 8.30pm, Friday, 15 May

Northern Rangers should maintain top spot on the Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League ladder with a win at home against bottom-side Launceston United.

Rangers will be without the services of Gareth Otley for the rest of the season as he has decided to travel the world.

“His professionalism in games and training has been very inspiring for the younger players,” said Rangers coach Roslan Saad.

“He started in the cup game against Ulverstone last week and played extremely well.

“I would like to put on record our appreciation for his services and it has been a pleasure for any coach to have a player like him.

“His loss will provide the opportunity for other players to try and win the spot.”

Rangers will be without the injured Rohan Pooley and he will be replaced by Brad Langerak.

Thataetsile Kakadumane may play in the reserves.

“We are looking forward to a good night game against United and, with their key players back in the squad, I believe United are not to be taken lightly,” Saad added.

“We just want to get the three points at home and I’m not particularly concerned with the goals.”

Launceston United are almost back to full strength with the return from Brazil of the Duffy brothers.

“Mitch Duffy had the honour of being captain of the team that went to Brazil,” said Launceston United coach, Brian Dracup.

“James Bolzonello and Michael Yates will also return to the senior squad and I have high expectations of these players to give us the impetus that we need.

“However, the club has made four new signings during the week and I can see some of the new additions being able to press for places in the squad over the coming weeks.

“We expect a hard game against Rangers and we anticipate all members of the team will give 110 per cent.”

Prediction: Northern Rangers


Montello, 2.30pm, Saturday, 16 May

Both teams have six points and everything to play for.

Burnie are in seventh spot and Riverside in sixth, but the statistics indicate there is little to separate the sides in terms of scoring goals and conceding them.

In the absence of team news from either side, despite emails requesting information, I’m stabbing in the dark here and will go for a stalemate.

Prediction: Draw


Cardigan Street, 2.30pm, Saturday, 16 May

It’s fourth versus third at Cardigan Street and the home side should just be in front at the end.

“The cup win against Hobart Olympic last week has come at a huge cost for the Sharks, with main defender Casey Eaves missing the next few weeks with a hamstring injury,” said Somerset coach, Kevin Considine.

“A young and inexperienced defence is likely to line up against the Prospect Knights, who, like Somerset, would have been expecting a top-three finish this season.

“On the positive side, Tom Roach returns this week from injury, strengthening our midfield and attacking power.

“It should be a great match, weather permitting, as both teams play very similar football and both squads possess experienced quality players with some speedy up-and-coming youngsters.”

Prospect Knights have Tim Claxton unavailable.

"We have been performing well since our loss to Ulverstone and I hope we can continue to improve against quality opposition," said Knights coach Dane Hudson.

"We'll be without Claxton, but they may have one or two out also, so each team has opportunities to win the game."

Prediction: Somerset


Mitsubishi Park, 2.30pm, Saturday, 16 May

The games between these two sides used to be the highlight of the Northern season, but no now.

Launceston City is in a rebuilding phase and cannot match the power of the current Devonport City outfit.

That does not mean a lack of endeavour and spirit, however, but it does mean that the visitors are the clear favourites.

Devonport are second on the ladder with 12 points, one adrift of leaders Northern Rangers, and six ahead of second-last Launceston City.

A win is vital for Devonport if they re to stay in touch with the leaders.

“There will be no changes in the team, just hopefully changes in the way they perform,” said Devonport City coach, Tom McGinn.

Ben Pizzerani will be included in the Devonport squad after he was unavailable for the past three weeks.

He will probably be given a run in the reserves and then sit on the senior bench.

Launceston City can never be dismissed and will lift their game for this clash, but Devonport are still smarting from their exit in the Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy competition last weekend to Clarence United and will be keen to atone for that performance.

Prediction: Devonport City

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