Friday, July 31, 2020

The time for the Warriors to stand up and be counted has arrived

Olympia Warriors will be desperate to beat Devonport City away at Valley Road tomorrow [Saturday] at 2.15pm.

The Warriors have lost both their games to date and are bottom of the ladder.

Devonport are joint leaders with South Hobart after winning their two games to date.

An Olympia loss will all but scupper their title hopes.

They have built a new side this season with a new coach and president George Mamacas must be a disappointed man as much would have been expected from this team.

Olympia may turn things around against Devonport as on paper they have a side to challenge for the title.

They just need to convert chances into goals, and they have the personnel to do just that.

Knowing how important this game is, the likes of Jack Ryan, Ben Hamlett and the Brown twins, Callum and Declan, are sure to give everything in this game to emerge as winners.

Callum Brown will be back after a week’s suspension and will be eager to atone for the rashness that saw him sent off against Clarence Zebras.

The goalkeeping position could be a headache for coach Andrew Brown.  He has alternated between Darby Randall and Elliot Hoysted and neither has a natural claim to the position.

Devonport are a solid workmanlike team.  They haven’t set the world on fire this season, but they are a side that grinds out wins, often by narrow margins.

It is such performances that have seen the North-West Coast side achieve great success in recent seasons.

Devonport are the reigning champions and Olympia will need to make every post a winner if they are to return to Hobart with 3 points.

South Hobart, who head the table on goal-difference, entertain Glenorchy Knights at South Hobart Oval at 2pm tomorrow [Saturday].

South Hobart will hope that captain Kobe Kemp is fit to play after he had to go to hospital last week after sustaining a leg injury against Clarence Zebras.

Andy Brennan will be out suspended after being sent off on his debut last weekend.

Coach Ken Morton also has a choice to make regarding the goalkeeping position.  So far, he has opted for veteran Mark Moncur, who has not let him down.

Morton signed youngster Nathan Reid from Clarence Zebras just before the season resumed but has yet to use him.  Reid suffered a head injury last week in a Championship game and may well have to sit this one out if he was concussed.

South Hobart have several promising youngsters such as Kasper Hallam, Sam Berezansky, Bradley Lakoseljac, Ewan Larby and Sam Tooze and they have contributed significantly to the team’s two wins from two outings to date and they will test Glenorchy Knights’ resolve.

The Knights lost their opening match and then recovered to easily beat the highly fancied Olympia 3-1 in their second outing.

The result of this meeting will be a significant indication of the two sides’ title chances and so both will give it everything.

Clarence Zebras host Kingborough Lions United at Wentworth Park at 4.30pm tomorrow [Saturday] and Clarence Zebras will be desperate to turn their fortunes around and establish some sort of consistency.

The Lions have made a reasonable start to the season but a win in this game will establish their credentials as serious title contenders.

The remaining game of the round is at Buckby Land Rover Park in Launceston when home-side Launceston City take on Riverside Olympia.

Both sides have failed to inspire, but City probably have the edge in terms of performances to date.

Games between these two sides, which are Launceston derbies, will be known as the Guardian Pharmacies Challenge Cup from now on.

I would back Launceston City to lift this trophy for the first time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Ten things we learned this weekend

Photo:  South Hobart's Andy Brennan walks after being show a second yellow card and then a red [PlessPix]

Ten things we learned this week.

1.  There were three send-offs in the four NPL Tasmania games, which is most unusual.

South Hobart’s Andy Brennan marred his debut when he collected two yellow cards in the 1-0 win over Clarence Zebras.

Brennan was shown a yellow card when he entered the field of play without permission after replacing the injured Kobe Kemp seconds before half-time.  He was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time at the end of the game for a desperate and reckless tackle from behind on Clarence Zebras captain, Jayden Hey.  Andy must have been keen to impress on his debut, but for a player of his experience, and for one who has played in the A-League, it was rash of him.

Launceston City’s Rob Gerrard was sent off against Devonport after collecting two yellow cards. 

Kingborough Lions United’s Davis Bryan was sent off 13 minutes from the end of the 3-3 draw with Riverside Olympic.  The Lions and Riverside were drawing 2-2 when Bryan was dismissed.  Fortunately for him, Kingborough were able to salvage a draw with 10 men after going behind immediately after his send-off when Adam McKeown netted his first goal for the club in his second appearance.

Photo:  Kobe Kemp leaves Wentworth Park on crutches as he heads to hospital [PlessPix]

2.  There were some bad leg injuries this weekend.

South Hobart’s Kobe Kemp probably suffered the worst injury when he tangled with Clarence Zebras’ Luke Huigsloot and had to be taken to hospital to assess the damage.  His injury was on the shin and he was in considerable pain and hobbled to a car on crutches after the half-time break to be driven to hospital.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' trainer Gary Pitchford accompanies the injured Noah Smithies-Sharples for the treatment rooms [PlessPix]

Clarence Zebras’ Noah Smithies-Sharples also suffered a leg injury and made his way back to the dressing room on crutches.

3.  The assessment of concussion is important.

Glenorchy Knights’ defender Jack Bowman fell heavily when he climbed above Olympia’s Warren Wadawu and fell to the ground from shoulder height.  It looked as if Bowman, who is a medical student, had sustained a whiplash-like injury as his head hit the artificial pitch at KGV Park.  He was assessed by Knights’ support staff and was allowed to play on.  He tackled as ferociously as ever after the incident and it will be interesting to see whether he did sustain concussion and whether he plays next weekend.

Photo:   Glenorchy Knights' Jack Bowman lies on the ground after a heavy fall [PlessPix] 

Photo:  Bowman's team-mates surround him as he lies on the ground [PlessPix]

South Hobart’s Championship team’s young goalkeeper, Nathan Reid, suffered a knock to the head against his former club, Clarence Zebras, about 20 minutes into the game between these two clubs at Wentworth Park.  Reid, a university student, went to hospital for assessment and certainly had a sore head the following day.  I wonder whether he’ll play next week.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras' injured Korean defender, Ahn Byunate, watching Saturday's game at Wentworth Park [PlessPix]

4.  Even bad injuries can’t keep some players away from their team’s games.

Clarence Zebras’ Korean defender, Ahn Byuntae, will be out for some time after suffering two fractures to his tibia in the game against Olympia Warriors the weekend before last.  Byuntae was watching Saturday’s game against South Hobart from the sidelines with his leg in plaster.  I’m sure all football supporters wish him well and hope to see him in action again soon.

5.  A drone stops a game.

A drone flew over the Wentworth Park pitch during the first half of the game between Clarence Zebras and South Hobart.

Referee Monty Piesse stopped the game according to regulations and players left the field.

Photo:  The drone hovering over Wentworth Park on Saturday [PlessPix]

Photo:  The teams return to the field after the drone flies off [PlessPix]

The ground announcer explained that the game would not continue until the drone flew away.  It did just that after the announcement was made and the game was able to resume.

The mystery surrounding the drone operator and the reasons why it flew over the ground during the game remain.

6.  Players should not go into a team huddle before a game.

Football Tasmania had an observer at the Clarence Zebras versus South Hobart game to check that COVID-19 guidelines were being followed.

Photo:  The Clarence Zebras huddle [PlessPix]

Photo:  The South Hobart team huddle [PlessPix]

That observer was not thrilled to see both teams go into a huddle before kick-off.

Such behaviour goes against the regulations applying to sport according to the COVID-19 guidelines.

Will there be repercussions?

The traditional handshake between the teams has ended, but the huddle is a worry.

7.  Excellent standard of play at Under-12 level.

I watched an Under-12 game on Saturday morning at Eady Street between Glenorchy Knights and Princes Street.

Photo:  Action from the Under-12 game [PlessPix]

It’s been a while since I watched a game in this age group and was really impressed.

There were some very skilful players on view and there was no kick-and-rush tactics employed.  Team-work and individual skills were evident and some of these players are certain to go a long way in the game.

Photo:  Metro's John McIntyre tests his injured hamstring [PlessPix]

8.  Some players just go on and on…

On Sunday afternoon I watched a Social League 4 game at North Chigwell between Metro and Taroona.

Some notable names from the past were on view and their enthusiasm was impressive, even though the speed and physical stamina had gone.

Metro won 2-1 and also hit the woodwork twice.

9.  Video streaming of games is impressive.

Football Tasmania is providing excellent coverage of many games by video streaming matches live.

Not all coverage includes commentary, but sometimes that’s a good thing.

If you are unable to attend a game, this is the next best thing.

10.  South Hobart's Kieran Brown is home for a while.

Former South Hobart goalkeeper Kieran Brown was an interested spectator at Saturday;s NPL game between Clarence Zebras and South Hobart.

Brown went to America last year to play college football in Kansas.

He returned home because of the  COVID-19 pandemic but hopes to return to the U.S.A. soon to resume his college career.

He said he thoroughly enjoyed his football in the States and can hardly wait to return.

Photo:  Kieran Brown at Saturday's game [PlessPix]