Thursday, May 23, 2019

To live-stream or not to live-stream, that is the question.

While on my way to get a cappuccino this morning, I ran into a friend who used to be a very promising young player until serious injury ended his career.

Being a fellow Liverpool fan, we discussed the forthcoming European Champions League Final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

After a while, the conversation turned to the local game and I asked him if he’d been to see any games recently.

He said he hadn’t, but had often been on the verge of going, especially to the double-header at North Hobart Oval on Anzac Day, and to the Lakoseljac Cup match between Hobart Zebras and Devonport City at KGV Park.

What had stopped him from attending, I asked.

He said he’d recently discovered that all NPL games were live-streamed and so, on both occasions, he stayed home and watched them on his computer.

I’ve discovered a small number of others who are doing just that  -  watching on live-stream rather than attending games in person.  I have no idea at all what the stats are in terms of people preferring to watch on live-stream rather than attend in person.  All I know is that some do, and they have a variety of reasons for doing so.

But, my conversation this morning raises the vexed question of life streaming.

It’s a topic that has often been informally discussed by local fans and which has been raised by Matthew Rhodes on his Facebook site.  There are people for and people against.

I’m on the record for praising the practice and for complimenting the people who are involved in live-streaming  -  the camera operators, the technicians, the editors and the commentators.

They produce first-class coverage of the games, and I have watched some games being played in the North of Tasmania.

I generally go to all games in the South and so don’t rely on live-stream, unless there is a time clash, when I will sometimes watch a replay when I arrive home of the game I couldn’t watch.

It’s certainly a boon when you’re ill.  You can watch a game from your sickbed.

It’s also handy if you have work commitments and can’t get to a game.

I marvel at how far we’ve progressed in terms of technology.  When I was a kid growing up, and later, when I was a player and a coach, the idea of watching an entire game on a computer or TV screen was unthinkable.  It was Dick Tracy stuff.

I believe we have now reached the stage where the subject of live-streaming needs to be discussed by all parties, including clubs and Football Tasmania.  The pros and cons and suggestions need to be aired.  We don’t want to kill what is a marvellous initiative and which certainly promotes our local game here, interstate, and even overseas.

That’s all I am saying in this article.  I am sitting on the fence, but I’d love to hear the arguments for and against live-streaming, and suggestions for a policy surrounding it.

What do clubs think?  Are they losing revenue because people are not attending?  Are those people who don’t attend games not attending because they are watching the live-streams?  Do clubs even care about attendances?  Is the revenue from the gate an important source of income for them?

There, I’ve opened the can.  Let’s see what stakeholders think.  Let’s see what Football Tasmania thinks and does.  I don’t want to knock live-streaming on the head as I can see its value and I have the highest regard for those producing this service.  I admire their work and their initiative.  And, I sometimes watch it.  I’d probably be peeved if I didn’t have the option.

Let the debate begin.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Joeys coach Trevor Morgan visited Hobart last weekend

Photo:  Trevor Morgan (right) with Football Tasmania's technical director, Michael Edwards, at last Saturday's Olympia versus Devonport NPL game at Warrior Park [PlessPix]

Trevor Morgan, the head coach of the Joeys, Australia’s Under-17 national team, was in Hobart last weekend scouting for talent.

A trial game was organised on Sunday at KGV Park between two teams of players from all around Tasmania and the game was videoed as Morgan watched from the grandstand.

Photo:  Trevor Morgan sits just behind Glen McNeill, who is videoing the trial game at KGV Park on Sunday [PlessPix]

“I’m looking for kids to represent their country,” Morgan said.

“This age group, the 2004-born age group players, did fantastically well at the national youth championships last year so I’m looking to see them live before we invite some of the boys in to camp.

“At the moment, we need to go where the kids are, to see them first, and then to speak with their coaches.

“In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and now Hobart, and tomorrow [Monday] I’ll be in Melbourne.

“I’m just trying to see the best kids live and talk to their coaches about how they’re going.”

Photo:  The goalkeeper for the Red & White side, who had an excellent game, blocks a shot [PlessPix]

The two sides that played at KGV only had ten players each, which was disappointing.

I would have thought local youngsters would have been breaking their necks to play in front of the national coach in the hope of being selected to attend a training camp for the Joeys.

Apparently, some clubs received rather short notice of the trials and couldn’t notify players in time, while other clubs needed their players for games.

You’d think they’d be keen to have their better players vying for national selection, especially when the national coach comes here to have a look and the boys don’t need to travel interstate.

Photo:  Action from the trial game.  Black & Yellow beat Red & White 3-1. [PlessPix]

“This age group will start their first round of trying to qualify for the Asian Cup in September this year,” Morgan said.

“Prior to that, we have a tournament in Thailand that we’ll be entered into by Asian football.

‘That will be more of a friendly tournament, so it’ll be good experiences for the boys playing a number of international matches before they have to go and play in a qualifier.

“That will start in late July, so the very best players from around the country, the ones who are most ready right now, will be in Sydney on the 21 of July.

“They’ll be coming in to camp and, three or four days later, they’ll be flying to Thailand.”

Photo:  Trevor Morgan has visited Tasmania a couple of times previously [PlessPix]

Morgan said it was important to see players in the flesh and in their home environment and to talk to their coaches.

“Firstly, we look at where they’re at, and who are the better players and where they’re at, and secondly, then you’ve got to compare them to the best in their position around the country,” Morgan said.

“The video helps us with that, seeing then live helps us with that, and then, obviously, we have to make some tough decisions about whether this player is ahead of that one.

“It’ll be difficult.”

Photo:  More action from Sunday's trial game [PlessPix]

Morgan said while in Melbourne he’ll be having a look at another promising young Tasmanian player, Declan Zasadny.

“Declan Zidanski is at a sports high school in Melbourne and I’ll see him next week,” Morgan said.

Zasadny is from Launceston, but is attending Maribyrnong College in Melbourne.

Michael Edwards, Techical Director of Football Tasmania, said Zasadny plays centre-forward.

“He scored multiple goals in the first three games at the National Youth Championships last October before breaking his leg on day three,” Edwards said.

Photo:  It will be interesting to see if any Tasmanian boys are selected to attend the Joeys camp [PlessPix]

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Devonport down the Warriors to open up 5-point lead at the top

Photo:  Olympia's Ryan Cook eludes Devonport's Daniel Syson and Joel Stone [PlessPix]

(NPL Tasmania, Warrior Park, Saturday, 18 May 2019)

Olympia Warriors 1 (N’Koso 82)
Devonport City 2 (Stone 4, Fitzgerald 53)

HT:  0-1   Att:  100   Ref:  B Kopra

Olympia Warriors:  McDonald  -  Hill, Vandermey, Stevens, Kurtz  -  Ladic, Mearns, Scott  -  N’Koso, Ryan, Cook  (Subs:  Wadawau, Randall, Leaman, Thompson)

Devonport City:  Pitchford  -  Parke, Reynolds, Mulraney, Smith  -  Dance, Giampaoli, Stone  -  Fitzgerald, Barnard, Syson  (Subs:  Barton, E Bidwell, West)

Photo:  Max Fitzgerald and Joel Stone celebrate Stone's goal [PlessPix]

Devonport City scored an important 2-1 away win over nearest challengers Olympia Warriors on Saturday to take them 5 points clear at the top of the NPL Tasmania standings.

The visitors got off to the perfect start when they hit the front in the 4th minute.  Jonathon Ladic gave the ball away in midfield and Lucas Hill fouled Ignacio Giampaoli on the edge of the box in a desperate attempt to retrieve the situation.

Joel Stone hammered the free-kick into the far top right-hand corner of the net to punish Olympia for their slackness.

Olympia upped the tempo then, with Joffrey N’Koso prominent in attack, but they were not really testing Nathan Pitchford in the Devonport goal.

Photo:  Devonport's Miles Barnard and Olympia's Bay Kurtz in an aerial contest [PlessPix]

The home side’s passing tended to be inaccurate and their crossing was woeful.  Their supply to centre-forward Jack Ryan had the powerful striker frustrated.

Devonport showed they were a danger as Miles Barnard, making a rare start rather than coming on as a late impact substitute, headed just over the bar.

Thirteen minutes after the resumption, Devonport made it 2-0.  Barnard played a perfect pass wide to the left for the advancing Max Fitzgerald to hammer home from the edge of the box, the ball beating Olympia keeper Kyle McDonald at his near post.

Ryan was cautioned just before the hour mark and this may rule him out of Olympia’s next game, so it will be a costly yellow card.

Minutes later, he was finally given some decent service and was unlucky when his header came back of the crossbar.

Photo:  Olympia goalkeeper Kyle McDonald and Devonport striker Miles Barnard lie injured as referee Brenton Kopra and players from both teams gather around [PlessPix]

In the 78th minute, there was one of those sickening incidents where a striker (Barnard) and a goalkeeper (McDonald), both with eyes only for the ball, collide in midair while going aggressively for a cross.

The game was delayed for several minutes as both players received attention.  Fortunately, both were able to resume.  The incident illustrated the determination of both side to come out winners.

Eight minutes from the end, Olympia pulled a goal back as Mearns passed to N’Koso, who swept the ball home to set the scene for a thrilling climax.

Photo:  Devonport's new signing Toby Barton, from Palm Beach in Queensland [PlessPix]

Devonport now introduced their new signing from Palm Beach in Queensland, Toby Barton, in place of Giampaoli.

With Devonport playing it safe and Olympia unable to muster any meaningful openings, the game ended with Devonport collecting the precious three points which opened up a 5-point gap at the top in their favour.

That’s a handy lead as the season approaches the half-way mark and the North-West Coast outfit are looking good to retain their title.

The Warriors were disappointing and will need to improve their act if they are to remain title hopefuls.

Photo:  Devonport's coach, Rick Coghlan, issues instructions while Olympia's assistant coach, Andrew Tye (right rear) looks dejected [PlessPix]