Monday, December 31, 2018

From the archives - 19 October 1996

Today is the last day of 2018 so I thought I’d delve into the past and revive some Tasmanian football history.

Perhaps we can learn something from history so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

I reached into my archives and pulled out the match program from the 1996 Wrest Point State League Grand Final.

Most of my younger readers will be surprised to see that this grand final was played on Saturday, 19 October 1996, at KGV Park, with the kick-off at 7.15pm.

How many of you are shocked that the season went for so long?

It wasn’t long for fans and players.  That was a normal season.

I feel our season is now too short and I admit that I am a fan of four rounds in the current State League, the NPL Tasmania competition.

It comprises nine teams and I reckon there should be 32 games per team in all.

Now that the summer cup is history, and now that we have artificial pitches and Daylight Saving Time, 32 rounds should be a piece of cake and fair to all.

It would certainly sort the sheep from the goats and the most consistent team would win the title, having played every other team four times  -  twice at home and twice away.

Back in 1996, there was a Cadbury League in the south and a Boags Premier League in the north.  Both were the second-tier competitions immediately below the State League.

The day (19 October 1996) began with the Cadbury Boags State Premiership Cup match between University and Burnie at 2.30pm.

This was the second leg of the final and University won 4-3 and 8-6 on aggregate.

The teams were:

University:  Alistair Bain, Grant Anderson, David Proctor, Paul Enkelaar, Craig Cooper, Shane West, Simon Goninon, Scott Barlow [now Chairman of A-League club Sydney FC], Matthew Shaw, Michael MacDonald, Graham Crook, Mark Rapley, Chris Green, John McCarthy, John Demir [Andrew Robinson (Coach), Doug Gray (Manager), Ron Coutts (Physio)]

Burnie:  Mark Overton, Ian Miller, Russ Troughton, David Mitchell, Scott Parke, Tim Jones, Rodney Smith, Chris Olsen, Rodney Leary, Hugo Luttmer, Simon Jago, Trent Johnson, Allen Parke, Ray Parke, Shane O’Neill [Ray Parke (Coach), John Wheeler (Manager)]

Denis Laing was the referee, assisted by Graham Vines and Tom Hutchinson.

That game was followed at 5pm by the Wrest Point State Youth Grand Final between Launceston Juventus and South Hobart.

Launceston Juventus won 3-0 with two goals by Jon Mereszka and one from Shaun Miller.

The teams were:

Launceston Juventus:  Alastair McGrath-Kerr, Darryl Brownlie, Tomas Pinkewicz, Liam Monagle, William Hernandez, David Newman, David Craig, Peter Savill, Shaun Miller, Thomas Martschinki. Jonathan Mereszka, Adam Clydesdale, Ian McGrath-Kerr [Chris Couch (Coach), Robert Morgan (Manager), David McKay (Physio)]

South Hobart:  Kristian Beardwood, Mark Scotney, Bret Anderton, Paul Thomas, Dion Byas, Garth Plunkett, Bernhard Klasen, Luke Rayner, Ashton Maggs, Chris Rayner, Jared Richardson, Luke Barlow, Nathan Robinson, Nigel Binns, Kirk Stanton, Will Russell [Bret Anderton (Coach), John McCormack (Manager), Ian Colhoun (physio), John Harbinson (Trainer)]

Craig Granger was the referee, Troy Smith and Stuart Day the assistants, and Tom Hutchinson the fourth official.

The State League Grand Final kicked off at 7.15pm, as previously stated, and at half-time there was the J Boags & Son 50 metre dash final, a sprint race.

Olympia beat White Eagle 2-1.

The teams were:

White Eagle:  Craig Jones, Ricky Turner, Martin Nidorfer, Michael Driessen, Richard Ketchell, Craig Pitt, David Stoddart, Scott Young, Colin Sherpherd, Matthew Holloway, Paul Morrison, Adam Jones, Andrew Savage, Richard Leszczynski [Mark Leszczynski (Coach), Chris White (Manager), Frank Bansel (Trainer)]

Olympia:  Neil Connell, Chris Hey, Corey Slade, Geoffrey Vaughan, Michael Berwick, Glen McNeill, Peter Tsakiris, Raymond Benson, Trevor Carson, George Kalis, Craig Nichols, Matthew Sly, Greg Calvert, Rowan Trappes, Alan Rankine, John Ioannou [David Crosson (Coach), Russell Allie (Physio)]

Kim Barker was the referee, assisted by Rebecca Di Martino and Leon Ashlin, while Paul Jones was the fourth official.

Richard Leszczynski gave White Eagle the lead in the 16th minute and that’s how it stayed until half-time.

Referee Kim Barker awarded Olympia a penalty in the second half which was converted by Glen McNeill, while Trevor Carson headed the winner for Olympia from Alan Rankine's corner.

David Smith, the recently appointed coach of Hobart Zebras, was the CEO of Soccer Tasmania in 1996, while John Barker was president of Soccer Tasmania.

Devonport won the Ansett Northern Women’s League that year, while Nelson Blue won the Ansett Southern Women’s League.

May I wish everyone a happy New Year and all the best for 2019.

It doesn’t look as if my new website is going to get up, so this site is the one to go to from now on.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Knights learn what return to top flight will be like

 Photo:  South Hobart's Pajari Sculthorpe (left) in a contest with Knights' Tyler Harrison [PlessPix]

Pajari Sculthorpe hit a hat-trick in 9 minutes as South Hobart beat Glenorchy Knights 4-2 in a pre-season friendly at KGV Park this evening.

It was a rude awakening for the Knights, who return to the NPL Tasmania top-flight competition in 2019 after three seasons in the second-tier Southern Championship.

Neither side was at full strength, with the Knights missing Hugh and Declan Foley, Callum and Declan Brown, and Jonathon Ladic.

 Photo:  The Bellini brothers, Thomas (foreground) and Alex (right), gang up on South Hobart's Gilly Desouza [PlessPix]

New signing from Olympia, Thomas Bellini, was on view, as was Tom Young, a striker-cum-midfielder from Taroona.

South Hobart were missing Adam Gorrie, Ben Hamlett, the injured pair of Ryan Cook and Connor Schmidt, and Oscar Thomas to name just five players.

Cook has a quadriceps injury, which will sideline him for another month, while Schmidt underwent surgery today after breaking his leg in Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to Hobart Zebras in a pre-season friendly.  It will be six months or so before he will be able to resume training.

Nick Morton put South Hobart ahead in the 28th minute after Knights keeper Trent Le Rossignol blocked a short from Bradley Lakoseljac and the Knights defence failed to clear the loose ball.

 Photo:  Nick Morton (left) is congratulated for his goal by Bradley Lakoseljac (No.8) and hat-trick hero Pajari Sculthorpe [PlessPix]

Sculthorpe made it 2-0 in the 40th minute, and then 3-0 in the 45th when Le Rossignol fumbled Morton’s corner from the right.

Sculthorpe completed his hat-trick 4 minutes after the resumption when he collected Morton’s pass and lobbed the goalkeeper from range.

Knights’ substitute Mathew Nowicki pulled a goal back with an opportunistic lob over South Hobart keeper Kieran Brown from range in the 55th minute.

In the 72nd minute, Nowicki’s cross from the left was turned into his own net by South’s Frenchman, Loic Feral, to make it 4-2.

 Photo:  The two teams observe a minute's silence before the game in memory of the alte Michael Furjanic [PlessPix]

The game was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of Knights’ late president, Michael Furjanic.  The Knights also wore black armbands.

The attendance was very good considering this was a pre-season practice match.  Indeed, the four friendlies played to date had excellent attendances and this augurs well for the 2019 NPL Tasmania season.

“It’s difficult in these early matches,” said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton.

“Knights were obviously lacking a little in fitness, but they worked very hard for each other and had a good spirit among them.

“I think in the first half we had good possession and had one or two chances which we missed, but overall I think at half-time it was a fair result [at 3-0 for South Hobart].

“In the second half, after both teams made lots of changes, then the game gets a bit iffy at times.

“Players get good minutes and the young lads have had a chance at this level and it’s a good opportunity for them and we’re happy with that.

“I think, for where we are at this stage of the year, I think we’re in a good position and we’ll just look to build on it in the new year.”

 Photo:  South Hobart's Ewan Larby (left) gets a pass away before Knights' Rowan Heggie can intervene [PlessPix]

Morton said his side would have a break now before resuming training on the 2 January and they would have four or five training sessions before heading to Melbourne to play Pascoe Vale.

South Hobart would then have some big games at home after that, including a return meeting with Pascoe Vale and home-and-away games against Devonport City and Launceston City.

“We’ve got some good games to come and we hope to have a couple of players (new signings) in January,” Morton added.

This game was the first for Knights’ new coach, James Sherman.

“It was okay,” said Sherman.  “It was okay.  More positives than I probably thought we were going to get out of it.

“I’m happy.  I’m happy with parts of what I saw, anyway.”

 Photo:  Knights' Thomas Bellini (left) and South's Gilly Desouza go for the ball [PlessPix]

Knights’ Jacob Hebert hobbled off with what appeared to be a quadriceps injury.  He missed much of last season with a hamstring injury and appeared to be back to full fitness before tonight’s setback.

“He’s [Herbert] been absolutely fantastic pre-season,” Sherman said.

“He couldn’t have gone any better.  He’s looked super sharp, super fit, and I think it’s something that he’s never had [this latest injury].

“I think it’s a quad, perhaps, but we’re hopeful that it’s not going to be anything too major.

“It’s positive that it’s not something that he’s done before, anyway.”

 Photo:  Knights' Tom Young is a split second too late to stop Nick Morton getting a pass away [PlessPix]

Knights face searching test of their credentials this evening against South Hobart

 Photo:  South Hobart's Gilly Desouza (third from right) has signed after leaving Kingborough during the past season and returning interstate for a while [PlessPix]

Glenorchy Knights will play South Hobart in a pre-season friendly at KGV Park today at 7pm.

Knights have been promoted to the NPL Tasmania top-flight competition after three years in the wilderness of the Southern Championship.

They showed they were the best team in that second-tier competition by winning the league title three years in a row and they deserve to be included in the new 9-team top-flight league.

“I’m happy with the preparation pre-January and looking forward to returning after the break,” said Knights’ new senior coach, James Sherman.

“We’ve added two or three really good signings to the squad to strengthen us for our NPL return.”

One of those signings is Thomas Bellini from Olympia Warriors, who will team-up again with his brother, Alex Bellini, who is already with the Knights.

South Hobart have beaten NPL rivals Olympia Warriors 4-1 in a pre-season scrimmage recently, but they lost 4-3 on Wednesday night to Hobart Zebras.

Fullback-cum-midfielder Connor Schmidt suffered a broken leg in the game against Zebras and he will be badly missed by South Hobart.

 Photo:  Jack Bowman (second from left in background), Gilly De Sosa and Tobias Herweynen against Zebras' Matthew Pace and Mathew Sanders on Wednesday night [PlessPix]

Their defence is clearly missing the experience of Daniel Brown and Hugh Ludford, while the loss of midfielder Kobe Kemp to Victoria is also a blow.

More responsibility is therefore being placed on Jack Bowman in defence, while much is expected of captain Nick Morton, Loic Feral and Alex Walter.

The return of striker Ben Hamlett is a huge plus, while the club has also signed midfielder Gilly Desouza and defender Tobias Herweynen, who both played for Kingborough last season.

Conditions will be wet tonight and the artificial surface at KGV Park should be slick and fast.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

South Hobart lose game and player against Hobart Zebras

 Photo:  Connor Schmidt lies motionless as team-mates surround him [PlessPix] [Click on photos to see full-size image.]

South Hobart defender Connor Schmidt suffered a broken leg tonight as his side went down 4-3 to Hobart Zebras in a pre-season friendly.

Schmidt was on the wrong end of a tackle by Zebras defender Luke Bighin, who received a yellow card for the challenge.

Schmidt was stretchered off and taken to hospital by ambulance.  X-rays revealed he had sustained a broken leg.

 Photo:  Schmidt is stretchered off the pitch by South Hobart and Zebras personnel [PlessPix]

South Hobart scored from the resultant free-kick.  Adam Gorrie floated the ball towards the far post and Alex Walter netted to give South Hobart a 2-0 lead in the 34th minute.

Skipper Nick Morton had given South Hobart the lead after 19 minutes.

A minute before the interval, Bighin volleyed home from inside the box to make it 2-1 and put Zebras back into the game.

 Photo:  Nick Morton puts South Hobart ahead [PlessPix]

Jordan Muller equalised for Zebras shortly after the resumption, while an excellent goal in the 53rd minute by Mathew Sanders, following a precise and speedy attack down the right involving Dwayne Walsh and Matthew Pace, put Zebras ahead 3-2.

 Photo:  Luke Bighin (partially obscured at left) scores for Zebras [PlessPix]

In the 57th minute, Pace’s run down the right and perfect cutback enabled Lachie Burt to make it 4-2 for Zebras.

South Hobart pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute from Gorrie’s penalty, awarded for Henry Fagg’s foul on Morton, but Zebras clung to their lead to win 4-3.

 Photo:  Zebras keeper Sam Whatman saves at the feet of South Hobart's Alex Walter [PlessPix]

“I think it was a good hit-out for both teams,” said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton.

“It was a good test for us.  We played 20 players tonight and most of them have got a good bit of game time.

“I’m happy where we are at this stage.  I thought in the first half we dominated the game quite convincingly and then, when we made a few changes, they were a bit stronger and sharper at the start of the second half.

“I think overall it was a good hit-out for us.  We had good possession at times but just missed a few chances which maybe would have made it a bit closer.”

 Photo:  Zebras' Mathew Sanders (No.17) and South Hobart's Nick Morton come to grips [PlessPix]

 Photo:  The situation became quite tense and South's Ben Hamlett and Zebras' Dwayne Walsh become involved [PlessPix]

Hobart Zebras coach, David Smith, said it had been a good workout for his team.

“The South Hobart boys were much better early on than us again, but we changed shape and went to a 4-4-2 and I think that helped a lot.

“We had a good chat at half-time about maybe putting a lot more pressure on them rather than sitting back.

 Photo:  Zebras' Luke Bighin (left) clears as South Hobart's Bradley Lakoseljac rushes in [PlessPix]

“I thought when we changed it, Matty Sanders and Matty Pace worked together quite well, and I was really pleased with a couple of youngsters who came on.  Young Jones and Chase [Clarke] did well for us.

“To be fair, [Henry] Fagg and Luke [Bighin] did also.

“I’m pretty happy with it.  Twenty-three players got a run and we’ve had two games in five days.”

Photo:  Former South Hobart player Antonio Saracino, who is now with Sydney FC's academy, watches tonight's game with a friend [PlessPix]