Thursday, February 19, 2009

Summer Cup finalist could be decided after just two games

The finalist from Group B of the Premier League section of the Summer Cup competition may be decided after only the second round of matches at South Hobart on Saturday.

If South Hobart, the group leaders, beat second-placed Tilford Zebras in the day’s second match at 12.30pm, South Hobart could be in the final, depending on the outcome of the earlier game (11am) between third-placed Hobart Olympic and fourth-placed New Town Eagles.

This shows what a farce the competition has become now that there are just eight Premier League sides.

Two groups of four, with no semi-finals, makes a mockery of the competition as a team could be out of the running after just one defeat.

At least with two groups of five, the suspense went on a bit longer.

The fact that such prominent teams can be eliminated so early in a very short tournament lends weight to the argument for a revamp to a World Cup-style format of 16 teams - four groups of four, with quarterfinals and semifinals - and involving Division One teams [as outlined in an article published earlier this month].

South Hobart are not taking Zebras lightly as it was the Zebras who beat them in last season's final.

Tilford Zebras will have central defender Ryan Smith back after he returned from overseas just before Christmas.

He was in the UK last season and Zebras sorely missed him.

His return will bolster the defence.

Youngster Brayden Pace will make way so that Smith can resume his partnership with Henry Fagg and Michael Connolly.

“It’s always a good contest between the two clubs,” said Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla. “But, it’s early in the season, so who knows what will happen?

“We beat them in the final last year when we weren’t expected to get there.

“But, it’s too early in the season to put bets on things at the moment.

“I was pleased with certain aspects of our game last week, but I don’t think we got out of second gear really.

“We need to work more on certain parts of our game. We lack a bit of match fitness as well.

“I was pleased with Dwayne Walsh’s first game. He played really well.

“He’s been looking very, very sharp at training and he seems to have a new lease on life. He’ll do well.

“We’re looking forward to it.”

South Hobart may rest striker David Abbott, who has a hamstring strain.

“After speaking to Jed Donohue, who took training on Tuesday, the senior players have been in good spirits and trained well,” said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, who attended an international coaching conference in Sydney earlier in the week.

Andrew Brown, Michael Edwards and Franco Previdi, all from Clarence, also attended, as did the TIS head coach, Dean May, Neil Connell, Mark Broadbent of Hobart United, and Mike Denton from the North-West Coast.

“We’ll go into the game with a full-strength squad,” said Morton. “Ricky Eaves will take part in this game, but we may give David Abbott a rest.

“We’re well aware of the Zebras’ ability.

“A forward line consisting of Aaron Brazendale, Ricky Self, Dwayne Walsh, Josh Thorpe and Ben Crosswell - it all depends on which one wants to push on - is as good as, if not better, than any in the league.

“Without a doubt, Ben Crosswell is not the footballer of the year for nothing.

“We’ll treat them with due respect.

“I still think it’s very important that we focus on our own game and how we play and to be prepared to take the game to them and to be confident in our own ability.”

Hobart Olympic will have Youssef Mohamad and Michael Bulis back for the showdown with Eagles, but Ben Backhaus and Chris Tsimiklis will make their return via the reserves.

Backhaus has been on holiday and Tsimiklis twisted an ankle in a practice match a few weeks ago.

“We’re looking to improve from last week,” said Olympic coach, Farrell Shaw.

“Hopefully, we can against an Eagles team that will be very tough.

“They’ll be a lot different to what they were against South Hobart.

“South Hobart are a very daunting team and they put the wind up most players.

“Eagles have got a few good players, such as that lad in the middle of the park [Richard Delara], who showed he could play a bit.

“We’ll have to keep an eye on him.

“Cormac Collins up front can do different things, as we’ve found out previously.

“A few of the lads we’re not familiar with, but we’ll keep an eye on them and, hopefully, we can perform well.

“Michael Bulis, after a run in the reserves, will turn out for the seniors.

“He and Akuel Guot will form a good partnership in attack.”

New Town Eagles coach, George Krambousanos, will bring Wade Savage into the defence after watching his performance for the reserves last Sunday.

“We had a talk and a good session on Tuesday and we need to improve our defending,” said Krambousanos. “We worked on a few things at training.

“It’s hard when some of the players are in Launceston during the week studying and you haven’t got the whole squad to work with.

“We’ll look to doing better this week. It was hard playing the first game against a team of the quality of South Hobart, but we hope to bounce back this weekend.”

A loss for either side means curtains as far as appearing in the final is concerned.

Glenorchy Knights and Clarence United, the two top sides in Group A, meet at 2pm and a win for either will almost certainly mean a place in the final.

Knights will have Corey Smith and Tony Dzelalija in the line-up, but defender Nektar Vavoulas could be missing because of family reasons.

“The inclusion of Smith and Dzelalija will certainly boost morale,” said Knights coach, Eamonn Kelly.

“As far as last week’s game is concerned, a win is a win, but we won’t take too many glories out of it.

“There’s a long way to go.

“We played some good one- and two-touch football, which was good to see.

“We thought we might be without Jade Clay, but now we won’t be. He’s retired from cricket and we’ve got him for the rest of the season.

“I was very happy with Mynonge Kamba last week.

“He’s settled in well with the club and is training very hard.

“He’s personally got a point to prove this week against his old firm.

“Everyone’s looking forward to this game.”

Clarence may have Sam Cannamela, Julian McMahon and Luke Cripps back for this match.

The final game of the day, at 3.30pm, is between University and Kingborough Lions United, fourth and third in the group, respectively.

Having lost their opening games, the prospect of a place in the final is already looking slim for both clubs.

University hope to have Brook Teale, Damien Bones and Nigel Blundell available, which would make them a formidable outfit.

The possible return of Julian Proud from suspension would also be a positive factor.

Taka Manaka is currently in Malaysia, while Aaron Hindmarsh is still on holidays.

Kingborough will retain the same squad as last weekend, with Charles White ruled out for the Summer Cup series after jarring a knee in a practice match against Metro.

Ross Hinkley has ankle problems and coach Geoff Freeman said he may keep him on the bench again this weekend.

“He may get some game time and he may not,” said Freeman, who was critical of the rules of the competition, which he said restricted his choice of players.

“We are handicapped by the Summer Cup rules so I’ll probably get as much time as possible out of the guys who have already played.”


Anonymous said...

very good preview walter,
keep up the good work

just wondering if u have read soccer international this month ?

interesting hearing that walsh went to knights lol a new lease on life for the boy wonder what that means....

didnt no kamba was at knights either , saw him the other day in full clarence training gear Hmm...

Anonymous said...

How many coach's do they need at Clarence ? thanks Walter for a great preveiw lots of info on all bar one club, did they not bother to give you any?

Anonymous said...


Yes, I did read "Soccer International". A slip of the pen about Walsh as he went to Zebras. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I managed to contact six of the coaches by phone. University's coach didn't return the call but I spoke to their team maanger. The remaining club's coach didn't return the call despite me leaving a message. Oh well, six out of seven clubs isn't bad. Don't know if I'll go through that exercise every week. It's much easier if they just send me an email, which some of them did last season.

The Mercury are cutting stuff savagely so the exercise is a little pointless anyway.

Anonymous said...

Has Igor left the state?

Brad said...

Can people please register some sort of name when they use this's really starting to cheese me off because 'Anonymous' hogs the discussion on this site.

Also a subtle hint for coaches to 'promote' their teams and clubs rather than rely on Mr Pless to drive the game. Surprisingly we all want to read what you have to say it for crying out loud.

Anonymous said...

Love this new site Walter. Great previews. What has happened to Gov? The forum is very quiet these days. In its final I days I fear :-(

Anonymous said...

The mercury is a bloody disgrace with how much chopping and cutting of your articles, It's about time AFL & Cricket start getting chopped. I mean no offence to golf, but surely (football/soccer/world game)should get more coverage in the local paper. Thanks for the great coverage Walter but I don't know how you put up with it.

Anonymous said...

Great article Walter , fully support the need for change , very little planning appears to have gone into the new "8 team" competition and the affects it will have on other divisions and competitions.
Re Summer Cup Of course as a minimum their should be be semi finals whether it is 8 or 16 teams regardless- this is supposibly about preparation for the season , seem to remember from years gone by their was even a comp in Summer cup for teams that didn't make semis , maybe that took it to far but at least all teams played 5 games with interest to the end, not gone after 1 game!

Keep up the good work , maybe the powers to be should talk to you about competition formats!!
ps please don't forget coach interviews want to enjoy my Sunday morning coffee!!
PSS coaches please support this guy provide him the info, South Hobart have set the target hopefully rest will try and reach !! we need more well oiled machines from all areas of tassie - take note Northern League coaches

The Phoenix said...

Thanks for taking the effort to ring them Walter. Brad you are right so I am no longer anonymous as I was at 7:12 am, ah what a difference a day can make!!!!

Anonymous said...

nice work on the site walter, (will sign up when i come up with something catchy)
walsh looking sharp this season, but may be with a few good players around him providing good delivery and not just long balls for him to chase may make him look even better?

Anonymous said...

always thought walsh looked good haha
sorry couldnt help myself lol
as a female player will there be anything on the women's summer cup walter ?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I will be covering the reserves on Sunday, which, unfortunately, precludes me from covering the women's matches.

My brief with The Mercury doesn't include women's soccer and so that's why I must make that choice on Sundays.

If someone were to provide me with information, I could mention the women's results on the web.

Anonymous said...

Eagles 1, Olympic 0
South hbt 1, Zebra's 1 (Sth on pen)
Clarence 2, Knights 1

Anonymous said...

south and zebras clearly the pick of the games. fast paced, good skills/passing. south's goal was very dubious for offside (in my opinion clearly offside). and several people commented the same. pity to have such clouds over results. overall a very even game. expect plenty more like that over the winter.

Ricky Self's goal an absolute cracker!

perhaps kenny needs to poach a striker.... or trade for a midfielder!! :)

The Phoenix said...

Zebra's should have won with the first half penalty very poorly taken.