Thursday, March 12, 2009

Forestry Tasmania Premier League kicks off on Friday night


The Forestry Tasmania Premier League season kicks off on Friday at KGV Park when Glenorchy Knights host New Town Eagles at 8pm.

Eagles finished in eighth place last season and avoided the drop to Division One by easily beating Hobart United in the promotion/relegation play-off.

With only eight teams competing in the Premier League this season and automatic relegation applying, Eagles will be keen to get off to a good start as this will be a make or break season.

But, Eagles could not face a tougher hurdle than the Knights, who played some excellent football in the Summer Cup tournament.

Eagles will be missing State representative goalkeeper, Nathan Pitchford, who has had knee surgery and could be out for some months.

Andrew Savage is a good keeper, but Pitchford is the number one and must be missed.

I watched Eagles train on Tuesday and Matthew Rybak twisted an ankle during the session and limped off. He resumed after a while, but there must be some questions about his ability to play in this game.

Key defender Wade Savage was doing laps and did not participate in the session with the other players. He is still recovering from a knee injury suffered against Tilford Zebras in that decisive Summer Cup match that got Zebras into the final.

Cormac Collins, Alex Leszczynski and Alex Gordon are studying in Launceston and will not have had the benefit of training with the other players.

They are supposed to be training with one of the clubs in Launceston, but this means they are still strangers to the rest of the team on match days.

Glenorchy Knights have named Corey Smith in their squad, despite coach Eamonn Kelly’s remarks a few weeks ago that Smith would never play for the club again. Perhaps all is forgiven and forgotten?

Smith attended one training session with Kingborough Lions United but has decided to stay with the Knights.

He said he was hoping to have a good game against Eagles and perhaps get a few touches of the ball.

Striker Amadu Koroma comes up against his former club and he will pose a huge threat to the Eagles defence.

I wasn’t a fan of Koroma last season when he first joined the Knights from Eagles, but he had a very good Summer Cup tournament and now certainly looks the goods.

Mynonge Kamba, acquired from Clarence United, is an anchor in midfield and will get better with every game he gets under his belt.

Knights’ assistant coach, Nick Harrison, said: “Will Roberts was struggling a bit at Monday evening training, but we think he’ll be okay.

“I think we’ll have a full strength squad to choose from come Friday evening.”

Prediction: Glenorchy Knights

Reigning champions South Hobart should get off to a winning start when they visit Olinda Grove at 2.30pm on Saturday to take on a University side that performed poorly in the Summer Cup and which still has many players to come back in.

South are also in action on Sunday in Launceston against Northern Rangers in the final of the Steve Hudson Cup competition, so they may ease off the throttle if they get in front against the Students.

South’s makeshift striker David Abbott is out for a month with a hamstring complaint. Coach Ken Morton does not want to risk him being out for longer, so he would prefer to rest him and get him fully fit.

Midfield star Gary Upton and goalkeeper Mark Moncur may be rested this weekend.

“David Abbott is seeing a physio and I’ll give him the chance to recover fully rather than extend himself and fail in his come-back,” said Morton.

“I probably won’t look at him until April.

“Julius Ross has a calf problem but will probably be fit, while Ricky Eaves is ready to play again.

“I’ll play both of them in the Steve Hudson Cup final.

“Gary Upton can have the week off to recover from an Achilles tendon strain.

“He trained hard earlier in the week, but we need him to be fully fit rather than playing on just one leg.

“I’m always respectful of our opponents, especially of sides currently taking a beating, such as University.

“They can always spring a surprise with their spirit and with players such as Julian Proud.

“I also respect the quality of football we’ve been playing, but we must turn that type of football into goals.”

University captain and striker, Julian Proud, said: “We’re starting to get the numbers back from school holidays and it’ll be interesting to see how we go in the early part of the season.

“It’ll be a tough call against the reigning champions and an interesting game.

“I’d like to think we’ll give them a few surprises, but time will tell.

“It’s my first game back this year [after suspension] and I’m chaffing at the bit to get back on the field.”

Prediction: South Hobart


Saturday’s other game is at South Hobart, where Hobart Olympic entertains Clarence United at 2.30pm.

Olympic’s use of South Hobart as its second home ground, after KGV Park, since abandoning the Athletic Centre, has not gone down well with South Hobart.

Clarence reached the Summer Cup final for the first time ever and gave a good account of themselves before going down 4-3 to Tilford Zebras and they represent a serious threat to Olympic.

Olympic showed potential in the Summer Cup and this should be a cracker of a match with the possibility of lots of goals.

“It’ll be incredibly difficult for us, I think,” said Clarence United coach, Andrew Brown.

“Players are terribly sore and there are lots of niggling injuries.

“We just lost one player, Adam Mahoney, from the reserves, with a burst blood vessel in his leg. It’s been bleeding since the game.

“It’s really a lottery for me. We had a recovery session last night and we’ll see who bounces back on Thursday, but we have a lot of sore kids.

“I won’t change anything if I don't have to, but I’m pretty sure I’ll make changes.

“I watched Olympic play in the Summer Cup and I thought they were unlucky not to make the final because I thought they played some of the best football, along with Zebras.

“We’ve played them before in the first game of the league and got beaten five nil, so anything better than five nil will be a blessing for us.”

Prediction: Draw

Summer Cup winners Tilford Zebras meet Kingborough Lions United at KGV Park on Sunday at 2.30pm and the Lions should be strengthened by the return of midfielder Charles White, who missed the pre-season tournament because of injury.

Zebras’ coach Nick Lapolla’s biggest headache concerns who to leave out of the Zebras’ line-up as the team is performing well and youngsters such as Kurt Engels, Brayden Pace and Fabian Lapolla have slotted in effectively when called upon.

With such a powerful squad, Zebras should win, although the Lions never give in and will make their opponents work hard for the three points.

“To be quite honest, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma at the moment,” said Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla.

“Those fifteen that started [in the Summer Cup final] were good and it’s going to be difficult to make changes this week.

“I’ll probably look at it closer to the game.

“I mean, everyone who came onto the field played their part last week and it’s going to be hard.

“The problem most definitely will be who to leave out.”

The Lions will benefit from White’s inclusion. Brett Andrews is very strong in midfield, while Marcus Bremner has looked sharp in attack.

Prediction: Tilford Zebras


The Phoenix said...

So much for Kelly's words on Smith just show's that nothing has really changed at knights at all.All said and done they should win.
South will flog Uni not just beat them but aniliate them.
Whats with Browny " i wont change anything but I probably will"This will show us if Clarence are going to be a serious contender or not.If they play like they did last monday they should win the game.
Just can't see lions getting close to Juve at all.
Good luck to all teams

extasplayer said...

Eamonn what ever happen to, my word is my bond. Just goes to show you cannot be trusted. Lets hope Corey plays. I'll have 20 bucks that he gets 2 REDS for the season.

Charlie White said...

Great work Walter, once again, far above and beyond the call of duty, I love the depth of the previews/reviews and hope that they continue. Thanks again.
The start of a new season, an old guy like me feels like it is all a bit soon, but still very excited. Good luck everyone

RCB said...

Excellent indepth look at round one walter .. i believe Uni may only get stronger and surprise some teams along the way this year, a couple of pickups may strengthen.. Can NTE finish top four Walter? With their list of very talented young players i imagine top four should be in the mix with their hierachy.. Very impressed with a young clarence outfit on monday , but can the high fast tempo be sustained for 90 minutes week in week out?
South/Zebras Premier League
Beachside Div 1

Thanks Walter look forward to reading again soon

Van djik said...

Again walter... very good work with your weekends previews. Disappointed with Eamon to go back on his word, but will probably benifit the knights. Knights, South, Olympic(for the upset) and Zebras with a
big win. As for RCB i think eagles will be first looking to fight relegation before top4 finish. again with Uni and i think kingborough. Metro to surprise div 1 but yes beachside look strong.

Old Man River said...

Uni for relegation, close battle with Eagles. Taroona to go up, Metro not far behind. Beachside might be in there.

Junior said...

Danger games for Zebras and Clarence after their epic match Monday. I recall Zebras getting walloped game 1 last season after their cup win and the majority of Clarence boys are young and possibly still on a high after their great performances that they could struggle to back up.
What is with Brownie's comment about anything under a 5nil loss being a blessing?
Interesting re Corey Smith, you would think being out injured for so long he would be just happy to be back playing and not causing trouble for his club. Maybe he apologised??
I believe South and Olympic may not be as strong as last year, as based on Cup results so far they dont appear to score freely although still early days.
Great Site Walter, top job as always.

Krauser said...

The rumour mill running wild that corey was going to be playing for kingborough any thoughts charlie ?
Zebras and Clarence will definetly earn 3 points this week hard game must take its toll on players.

Charlie White said...

Thoughts...I have many about Corey playing for Kingborough, the only one that matters is that it was never going to happen! His girlfriend plays for us (I think) and he trained with a limited number of reserves, probably so that the Knights hierarchy might get a bit jittery. Lets be honest though Corey and us were never going to be a good fit

Krauser said...

thanks charlie , was wondering that is all.
And yeh his gf does lol
this world amazes me sometimes...

Captain said...

Gotta go with Sth, Zebras & Knights easily (that game finishing up soon) and Clarence to squeeze in 2-1.

Agree with Benchie that Clarence's showing will be some indication of what to expect in months to come in the League.

The quote was actually, "won't change anything if I don't have to but probably will" have to.

The Phoenix said...

At the end of the day Boof , who cares what Brown says .His plans are always evolving or they are working towards something .Results are what will matter over the river this year. 6-7 years now and best finish was 4th??? They must be lining up for the job over there.

Captain said...

They should have got in last year then cos I think clarence may be on the way up. We'll have to see I guess.

I think - if you don't care what Browny says then don't ask, "whats with Browny" ...

On the subject of Cory - I say good on them both. Grown ups should be able to kiss and make up. Despite Cory being a bit of a personality I'd rather see him playing than not.