Friday, April 17, 2009

Bye could cost Prospect Knights top spot on Northern Premier League ladder

Photo: (Top) Devonport's Paul Scicluna is in a rich vein of goalscoring; Devonport's Chris McKenna is back in action; (Bottom) Ulverstone...playing host to arch rivals Devonport City

Northern Rangers have the perfect opportunity to take over at the top of the Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League on Saturday.

With current leaders on goal-difference Prospect Knights idle because of the bye, Rangers just have to beat sixth-placed Riverside Olympic, a far from impossible task.

Rangers are unbeaten in the league and will be full of confidence after downing Somerset 2-1 away at Cardigan Street last weekend.

Paul Bremner has strengthened Rangers this season and his goalscoring feats are a real asset.

“This is our first home game and I will only be happy with a win,” said Rangers coach, Roslan Saad.

“I've seen the way Riverside play their soccer and I am quite impressed with it.

“I have always respected Riverside for their beautiful soccer and their very good quality young players.

“My team have been scoring every game but also conceding.

“It will be good if we can stop conceding and continue scoring.”

Riverside Olympic have just one win from three outings and will need to show a reversal of form to come away with anything from this meeting at 4.30pm at the NTCA Ground.

Third-ranked Ulverstone entertain fourth-placed Devonport City at the Ulverstone Showground in what should be a thrilling Coastal derby.

Devonport will have Chris McKenna in action again and that should boost the visitors’ chances.

Devonport will field the same side as that which beat Riverside Olympic 6-0 a couple of weeks ago.

The bye last weekend will have enabled players to get over tiredness and niggling injuries.

“We should be able to account for them, but not if we play as we did in round one,” said McKenna, City’s 29-year-old striker.

“It should be the same side as a fortnight ago.

“I don’t feel too bad and I’m getting there slowly.

“The ribs still aren’t one hundred per cent but the hamstrings are all right.

“I’ve had a full week on the training track this week, which is probably the first time since I hurt the ribs about two months ago.”

Former Ulverstone goalkeeper, 43-year-old Rod Andrews, will be facing his former team-mates for the first time.

He had last season off and has now joined Devonport, who are, of course, Ulverstone’s arch rivals on the Coast.

“We’ve got a couple of players coming back,” said Ulverstone coach, Kim Rigby, himself a former Devonport player.

“One of those is our captain, Adrian Beard. Our vice-captain, Brian Tabrett is number 12 at the moment. He’s struggling a little bit with an injury.

“Brian didn’t pull up too well from our Hobart trip last week against Kingston Cannons.

“There’ll be no major changes.”

Rigby agreed that it would be a big game.

“Definitely a big game,” he said. “Our ex-goalkeeper is actually playing for Devonport.

“That sort of ruffled a few feathers. He retired at the right time, we feel.

“But then he decided to make a comeback, but not with us though.

“That’s ruffled a few feathers a bit, so we’ve probably got a few points to prove.

“I think we’ll have a right good go at it, actually.

“We’re three points in front of them at the moment, so if we can get another win, that puts them six behind us.

“That’s what we’re looking to do.”

Launceston United host Burnie United at 2.30pm at Birch Avenue in a bottom-of-the-table clash.

Launceston are last and Burnie third-last and three points separate the teams.

Two injuries from the weekend have forced Launceston United coach Brian Dracup to ring some changes.

“Chris Budgeon, the captain, comes back in,” said Dracup. “He played last Monday but not on the Saturday.

“He’s looking all right again.

“James Bolzanello got injured on Monday and therefore he’s out.

“They’re the only changes at this time as everyone else looks fine.

“We’re looking forward to a good game against Burnie.

“I think we’ll be very competitive with them and, hopefully, I’m looking forward to our first win.”

Burnie coach Ray Parke said his side would be missing a couple of experienced players.

“Aston Johnson and Will Nichols are injured,” Parke said. “We’ll put in a couple of promising youngsters, a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old.

“Ben Agar, and Brodie Knight, who’s in the State under-15 squad, are the players.

“Apples being apples, Launceston aren’t doing too well and, hopefully, we’ve got enough power and experience to come away with the three points.

“Last week, in our game against Launceston City, we should have actually thumped them, but we got beaten 2-1.

“We just couldn’t put the ball away.

“I’m still confident we’ve got the ability and the personnel to beat Launceston.”

The final match of the round is at Mitsubishi Park at 2.30pm, where hosts Launceston City, in second-last place, entertain fifth-placed visitors, Somerset.

Somerset have yet to strike form, while it looks like another hard slog this season for Peter Savill’s young City side.

City scored an important win over Burnie last time out, while Somerset lost.

There could well be a reversal of fortunes this time out.

City were missing as many as six players when they lost to Clarence United in the Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy competition on Monday.

"We'll have some of those players back for this game," said coach Peter Savill.

"Drew McNeill, Richard Price-Brown and Sam Morely are among those who should be back and we'll be a different side."


Captain Australia said...

Thanks Walter, this is a fine preview and we in the north appreciate it!

orlando said...

ulvie to run dev close
rangers over river by 1 or 2
burnie easy over lonnie
set comfortable over city

orlando said...

theres a nice invitation by mckenna to hit him hard a few times early. any ulvie boys on here?