Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Six things I learned this weekend

Photo:  The Nepalese team that played at KGV Park on Sunday evening.  Dipendra Kunwar is at the extreme right of the front row. [PlessPix]

1.  The local Nepalese and Vietnamese communities play a game of football against each other a few times a year.

Last Sunday evening, after the Women’s Super League game at KGV Park between Clarence Zebras and University, the latest instalment of this game was held.

The Nepalese beat the Vietnamese 3-1.

The series is organised by former Olympia and Clarence player Dipendra Kunwar, who also played in Sunday night’s game.

Readers may remember ‘Dipper’ as a small, fast and tricky attacker.

He told me he was trying to encourage members of both communities to play football for established clubs, but many were shy and fearful of being ‘outsiders’.

Clarence did have one or two Nepalese players in the past couple of seasons.

Dipendra said he was interested in possibly organising the two communities into entering a couple of teams in the lower leagues in the next few seasons.

In the meantime, I am sure all football followers wish these players well for the future as they have something to offer the local game.

Perhaps a little more publicity surrounding future games would arouse interest and draw a few spectators.

Photo:  The Vietnamese squad before Sunday's game [PlessPix]

2.  Devonport City Strikers are well on course to retain their NPL Tasmania title in this shortened season of just 14 league games.

Their 1-0 win over closest rivals Glenorchy Knights at Valley Road last Saturday put them 6 points clear of second-placed Knights.

I cannot see a team that can beat them, and with a 6-point lead with 8 games to go, I’d say they’re home and hosed.

If Devonport beat fourth-placed Kingborough Lions United away at Lightwood Park this coming Saturday, it’s all over.

Photo:  Referee Alistair Cooke watches the action in the women's game at South Hobart on Sunday [PlessPix]

3.  The rise and rise of South Hobart’s Women’s Super League team was quite evident on Sunday, despite their 3-0 loss to league-leaders Olympia Warriors.

This game was a wonderful advertisement for women’s football and it was a credit to all involved.

Players and coaches from both teams showed what a marvellous spectacle women’s football can be.

The players handled the appalling conditions at South Hobart Oval well and provided a lesson on how football should be played.

Photo:  Wow!  Inncocent Michael's hairdo caught the eye. [PlessPix]

There was little of kicking the ball anywhere to get it out of the danger zone and players mostly thought about what they were going to do with the ball when they had possession and executed their moves intelligently and skilfully.

I sometimes despair at what is offered up in some games, both men’s and women’s, but Sunday’s game has me yearning for more.

4.  Thank goodness we have two artificial pitches in the south of the State.

If we didn’t have KGV Park and Warrior Park, there might have been little football played this past weekend because of the wet weather.

I favour grass pitches, but at times like these, plastic pitches are very useful.

Photo:  The South Hobart canteen [PlessPix]

5.  I must thank Mel and her staff at the South Hobart canteen on Sunday.

I sheltered from the rain under the roof near the old turnstile entrance of the ground, which is about 20 metres from the canteen.

I was grateful to Mel for bringing me some coffee and nibbles during the game.  The gesture was very much appreciated.

I must also thank referee Alistair Cooke.  It was raining too much to go to the referees’ change rooms and photograph the team sheets, so I phoned Alistair at half-time and he photographed them for me and texted them to me.  Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

Photo:  The former entrance to South Hobart Oval.  The turnstile was there and in 1981 at the State League decider the queue of people waiting to get in stretched from here to Macquarie Street and the game had already kicked off. To the left of this photo is a hall and I recall South Hobart players of the 1970s telling me that coach John Kirkpatrick, the inaugural winner of the Rothmans Gold Medal, held training in there on evenings when weather conditions forced the closure of the ground. [PlessPix]

When I look back at my reporter’s notebooks of the past 40 years, I see that I wrote down the team lists for each game, which could be a quite tedious chore when the kick-off was looming.

I must thank all the referees for their assistance now and in the past.  They are always ready to open the door for me and other reporters and allow us to photograph the team sheets, which makes our work so much easier.

Photo:  Brian McKay (in shorts) and Mark Leszynski (right) watch Eagles play on Saturday at Clare Street [PlessPix]

6.  It was good to see some former stars of Tasmanian football at Clare Street on Saturday for the New Town White Eagles versus Glenorchy Knights Championship game.

The four Leszczynski brothers, Chris, Mark, Andrew and Richard, were there.  Andrew and Chris coach the current Eagles senior side, of course, but it was good to see Mark (‘Spider’) and Richard (‘Daggy’) there as spectators.

These guys set the State League on fire with their performances for Eagles in the 1980s and 1990s and the games between Eagles and Devonport were classics.

Brian McKay was also there.  I haven’t seen him at a game for years.  He won the Rothmans Gold Medal in 1973 and played for Olympia, Caledonians and White Eagles.

He captained Caledonians and was team manager of the Tasmanian State of Origin side, coached by Steve Darby, that played in Melbourne in the curtain raiser to the full international between Australia and New Zealand in 1981.

Photo:  The preview of Tasmania's curtain-raiser to the Socceroos' game against New Zealand, published in "Soccer Action" on 20 May, 1981.  Brian McKay is listed as Tasmania's team manager. [PlessPix]

When was the last time that Tasmania played a curtain-raiser for the Socceroos?

Bobby Rybak was also there.  He was an uncompromising player for Eagles and a strong tackler who could have made it at a higher level than in Tasmania but for injury.

The game is the better for former stars taking an interest in the local game and attending matches.

Youngsters would do well to learn about some of these players as they were genuine role models in their day.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic photo of Innocents hair Walter. It looks like tentacles are going to grab the ball.
This is a priceless photo.

Anonymous said...

The memories of excitedly walking through those South Hobart turnstiles as a boy... for a big Juventus/Croatia game... Ampol Cup Finals... premierships deciders. And Mrs Kirkpatrick (the late John's wife) keeping us in endless supplies of Wagon Wheels and Crunchies at the kiosk.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.23 am.
Comments spot on.
You won’t ever see that again thanks to a handful of

Anonymous said...

Another great write up Walter. Some seriously good players mentioned there.