Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Photo:  It's not every day one sees icebreakers from three different countries together in Hobart.  The photo shows the Chinese vessel XUE LONG passing Australia's AURORA AUSTRALIS and the American Coast Guard vessel POLAR STAR last Sunday.  If you zoom in you can see the main grandstand at South Hobart and the Keen's Curry sign in the paddock up on the hill overlooking the ground. [PlessPix]

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers and football fans everywhere.
May you have a wonderful festive season and all the very best for 2020.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

South Hobart aim to rise to the occasion again, and vale Otto Klaus

Photo:  Alex Walter (left) in action for South Hobart [PlessPix]

South Hobart duo Alex Walter and Jack Bowman are the latest South Hobart players to join Glenorchy Knights for the 2020 NPL Tasmania season.

In addition, South Hobart have lost Loic Feral and Adam Gorrie to Olympia, and Oscar Thomas and Connor Schmidt to the Knights.

South Hobart have retained rising stars Bradley Lakoseljac, Kasper Hallam, Sam Berezansky and Ewan Larby, as well as the experienced Kobe Kemp.

Photo:  South Hobart's Jack Bowman (right) tangles with Hobart Zebras' Nicky Edwards [PlessPix]

There is no doubt, however, that coach Ken Morton will have to rebuild and rely on youngsters for 2020.

“We’re remaining positive,” Morton said.  “We have good youngsters staying with the club and things will be good.

“We’ll be aiming to get them to a competitive level and work hard to achieve that.

“Many of the youngsters have played in the senior team so it won’t be entirely new to them.”

Photo:  South Hobart stalwart, Life Member and goalkeeper Mark Moncur [PlessPix]

South Hobart had an inter-club practice game at Cornelian Bay on today and veteran goalkeeper Mark Moncur addressed the players before the match.

Moncur, who is a Life Member of  South Hobart, recalled the good times and the bad times at the cub since he joined them as an under-13s team player in 1987.

He was thrust into the senior side aged just 15 in 1990 and has stayed with the club through thick and thin.

The club finished second-last that year in what was the equivalent of today’s Southern Championship.

Moncur said the club had many promising youngsters in succeeding years (Ben Harbinson, Nick Owen, Bernhard Klasen are names that spring to mind) and in 2002 won the Southern title under coach Nathan Robinson.

He said that team broke up but the club reached new heights when Ken Morton took over as coach in 2008 and inherited youngsters such as Daniel Brown, Bart Beecroft, Hugh Ludford, Tom Roach, Jonathon Lo, and Jesse and Bill Gasparinatos.

South Hobart won the title in 2008 and went on to win seven successive titles (2008-2014) under Morton.

The club’s only league success after that was in 2017, but at one point they strung together a run of 63 games without defeat.

Photo:  Mark Moncur (right) with Joe Gorman, football writer for The Guardian (Australia) [PlessPix]

“2020 will see South Hobart once again turn to our youth to rebuild the club,” Moncur said.

“I am confident we have the players and team capable of beating any team in the league.

“It will require us to play for each other and play with passion for the club, which is something that money cannot buy.

“It won’t be easy and we may not win the title, but I will be proud and honoured if I have the opportunity to play with this team.”


Photo:  Otto Klaus (right) with Ken Morton during a visit to Hobart in 2009 [PlessPix]

I learned today that Otto Klaus, one of the most controversial coaches ever to have worked in Tasmania, passed away on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland almost three years ago, aged 85.

I maintained regular contact with Otto, who was German, after he left Tasmania in the 1990s and sometimes met up with him and his wife, Roslyn, when they visited Tasmania.

After Roslyn passed away five years ago, contact with Otto became less frequent and finally petered out.

I knew he was still coaching in his 80s at the University of the Sunshine Coast, but was shocked today to learn of his passing in February 2017.

Photo:  Otto Klaus (second from left in back row) as coach of the North-West representative side [PlessPix]

He first came to Tasmania from New South Wales to coach Ulverstone in the early 1980s before moving south to coach Rapid, Olympia and Hobart City and, briefly, Hobart Juventus.

His tenures were always controversial, both in terms of his coaching methods and his media exposure, and he was coach of Hobart City when they famously walked off in a game against Caledonians at KGV Park.

The club was suspended and fined, as indeed was Klaus.

I was writing for The Mercury at the time, but he refused to talk to me and insisted that another Mercury reporter cover the case.  He felt I was biased against him and the club.

Photo:  Otto Klaus (left) with some of his Olympia players [PlessPix]

We re-established the relationship later and stayed in touch after he left Tasmania.

He coached international students in soccer at the University of the Sunshine Coast and was also involved with juniors in the region.

There must be many former players who wondered what happened to Otto after he left Tasmania.  Now we know.

Photo:  Otto Klaus (extreme left, back row) with his Olympia team at South Hobart [Photo by Ralph Dymond]

Photo:  Otto Klaus (left) with Olympia centre-forward Peter Sherman [Photo by Ralph Dymond]

Photo:  Olympia coach Otto Klaus shakes hands with a Rapid official after their game at South Hobart [PlessPix]

Friday, December 20, 2019

Football Tasmania officially release 2020 rosters

Photo:  Matt Bulkeley, Football Tasmania's CEO, at yesterday's media conference where the 2020 rosters were released [PlessPix]

Football Tasmania CEO Matt Bulkeley yesterday officially released the 2020 rosters for the NPL Tasmania, Women’s Super League, and Southern Championship competitions.

“These senior rosters are the culmination of the very comprehensive competition review process that we’ve undertaken his year and concluded a couple of months ago,” Bulkeley said.

“We’ve consulted widely through the process and done a lot of analysis and worked very closely with our clubs and stakeholders in terms of where we’ve landed with these competitions.

“I suppose in terms of summarising where we’ve got to, central to the development of these rosters has been the development of key rostering principles, which includes trying to achieve consistency, or more consistency, for our clubs, alignment, or what we’re calling big home days, where there are multiple games happening on the one day at the one place, maximising the access to our facilities, which are at a kind of premium, and also ensuring that we can allocate or maximise the allocation of referees to our fixtures.

“We’ve got a major focus on club match days, so, in the south, essentially, in many ways, we’ll be moving to a model that has been in place in the North for some period of time, where matches will flow from one to another.

“Our NPL clubs will now be part of the Southern Championship and so will run a first and reserve team effectively in that competition.

“What we will have is Southern Championship, in most cases, leading in to NPL.

“We’re also going back to more traditional time slots of having NPL on a Saturday, primarily, with staggered kick-off times as much as we can to ensure that we’re avoiding as much as we can simultaneous kick-offs.

“The other exiting thing is that we’re moving to Super League Sundays, as we’re calling it, so, essentially, almost all WSL will be on a Sunday, with the exception in 2020 of Ulverstone, who will be playing still on a Saturday as part of their kind of Northern match day.

“The move is to have all WSL games played on Sundays in 2020, 2021 and beyond.

“We’re also moving senior women’s football to Sundays as well.  We’ll have girls’ youth football leading into senior women’s football and then, obviously, the WSL, which mirrors what we’re doing for the men.

“In that respect, we’re confident that what we’ll achieve is a big match day for our female players and, more broadly, more sustainable clubs with more games going on, and economically it’s a better situation for our clubs.

“With the merger of Clarence and Zebras, Clarence-Zebras will now be the eighth team in the NPL, so an eight-team competition with no bye is what it’ll be.

“The WSL will continue to be a six-team competition with University the sixth team in that competition.”

Photo:  Matt Bulkeley said the clubs had been consulted on the rosters [PlessPix]

Bulkeley said there will be various summer cup competitions next season with the opportunity for clubs to win some silverware.

There will be one Friday night NPL fixture in Launceston in 2020, while South Hobart will play several Sunday stand-alone NPL games at home at South Hobart Oval.

“There’s not a lot of NPL games outside of Saturday and we consulted on that aspect with the clubs and their preference was primarily to have Saturday fixtures,” Bulkeley said.

“We’ve staggered the fixtures so there is some spread in that respect, but the preference was again to have that kind of big match day and not have too many stand-alone fixtures.

“The feedback was that we had too much of that in the past, with clubs having different teams in different places at the same time.

“We’ve listened and we’ve come out with rosters that we think reflect that feedback.”

Bulkeley said there had been talk of making the NPL a summer competition but that was not viable because Tasmania was aligned with the national NPL set-up.

He also said Football Tasmania was still in favour of a Tasmanian A-League team and that this was still a possibility in coming years as the A-League either expanded or if an existing A-League club was to experience difficulties.

A rectangular stadium to host football was still desirable, Bulkeley believes, and the possible development of Wilkinson’s Point in Glenorchy could be an ideal location, with football and rugby sharing it.  Concerts could also be held there.

Photo:  Matt Bulkeley said football was the biggest team sport in Tasmania [PlessPix]