Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Eight things we learned this weekend

Photo:  Devonport's Brodie Denehey shadowed by South Hobart's Ewan Larby and Patrick Kibler [PlessPix]

1.  Devonport City will be hard to deprive of the NPL title.

NPL Tasmania league leaders and title holders Devonport City’s 4-1 win over South Hobart kept them 4 points in front of Glenorchy Knights with just six games remaining.

Devonport’s final game will be against Knights away at KGV Park, but even if Knights win that game it may not be enough to secure them the title.

Someone else will have to help Knights by taking points off Devonport, all other things remaining equal.

Knights can’t afford to slip up and will have to rely on beating Devonport in that final match and hoping that the North-West Coast outfit falters somewhere else along the way as well.

2.  Nathan Pitchford is the State’s best goalkeeper.

Pitchford was brilliant against South Hobart and on my count made at least seven crucial saves, including several in one-on-one situations.

He appeared to injure himself while making one save in the second half, but he recovered and completed the game untroubled.

Photo:  Nathan Pitchford between the sticks for Devonport [PlessPix]

Not only does Pitchford make brilliant saves, he urges and encourages his defenders to do the right thing.

He was constantly yelling out instructions and praising players for a job well done and letting players know if they had stuffed up.

Photo:  Nathan Pitchford saves from South Hobart's Sam Tooze [PlessPix]

Goalkeepers have a good view of the action and tend to be able to ascertain where things are going right and where mistakes are being made.

The only thing going against Pitchford is his height.  But, he more than makes up for that with his agility and his ability to read the play and predict danger.

Devonport would not be the same team without him.

Photo:  Nick Morton scored with this shot against Devonport on Saturday [PlessPix]

3.  Devonport don’t always need the goalscoring prowess of Miles Barnard to win games.

Miles Barnard, known in some quarters as “The fox in the box” because of his goal poaching knack, did not play against South Hobart on Saturday but warmed the bench instead.

Strangely, this worked in Devonport’s favour.

They varied their game and did not rely on high balls into the box for Barnard to head at goal, which is sometimes their major tactic.

Barnard  -  who used to be a defender for University  -  has scored many a goal in that way.  Perhaps that is why he knows what defenders are going to do and that makes him a dangerous attacker?

In his absence, Eddie Bidwell was able to play out of his skin and scored two goals as Joel Stone and Harry Crocker provided the ammunition in the ground.

Bidwell tore the right flank of South Hobart apart and Devonport proved ,ore unpredictable in Barnard’s absence.


Don’t get me wrong.  Barnard is an integral weapon in Devonport’s armoury, but his absence showed how versatile the team can be, which makes them extremely dangerous,

Photo:  Olympia centre-back Maddie Black at Monday's press conference [PlessPix]

4.  Olympia Warriors women’s side are in the box seat for the Women’s Super League title.

Olympia’s 1-0 win over Clarence Zebras took them to the top of the Women’s Super League title and they now have a 2-point lead over their major rivals.

The previous week, Clarence Zebras had beaten Olympia 1-0.

Olympia defender, Maddie Black, said at a Monday press conference that her side should have scored more goals and had struck the woodwork three times.

Black said the strong wind had not hampered Olympia and it was beneficial regardless of whether the team were playing with the wind or against it.

“It would have been nice to have another goal or two just to take some of the pressure off us at the back,” Black said.

Photo:  Maddie Black said her team respects Clarence Zebras and were well prepared for last Sunday's game against their strongest rivals [PlessPix]

Black said it could all come down to the final game, when Olympia entertain Clarence Zebras at Warrior Park.

She said other sides could sometimes be difficult opponents and she named South Hobart as one of those.

Olympia have beaten South Hobart 1-0 and 3-0 this season but they are always difficult opponents as they play a similar style to Olympia.

5.  Change of venues interesting.

Not much has been said of Southern Championship title-holders Hobart United using the Cosgrove High School ground as their home.

Their scheduled game there on Saturday against Glenorchy Knights had to be switched to North Chigwell at very short notice (Friday) after an inspection showed the venue was not up to scratch.

Why did it take so long to determine that?  The venue was decided months ago so how was it approved if it failed the test last weekend?

Perhaps Football Tasmania can inform the football public?

New Town White Eagles played Beachside at KGV Park instead of at Clare Street on Saturday.

I don’t know why that change was made, but again, perhaps FT or the clubs can throw some light on the matter.

Photo:  Jamie Cook in action for Eagles against Glenorchy Knights [PlessPix]

6.  A knee injury has ended the season for promising young New Town White Eagles goalkeeper, Jamie Cook.

Jamie Cook has injured knee ligaments and is unlikely to play again this season.

This is a blow for Cook and for Eagles as he has stepped up into the seniors with confidence this year and produced some fine displays.

Cook comes from a goalkeeper family, of course.

Photo:  Shelley Cook in action for Clarence Zebras' Women's Super League side [PlessPix]

His mother, Shelley, is first-choice goalkeeper for Clarence Zebras Women’s Super League team, and his father, Matthew Rhodes, was an accomplished goalkeeper and later coach for several local clubs.

I am sure all readers and football fans will wish Jamie a complete recovery so that he can soon resume his career.

7.  The passing of Tim Partridge, former Caledonians player and brilliant musician.

Tim Partridge passed away aged 70 on Sunday.

He played for Caledonians (now Kingborough Lions United) back in the late 60s and early 70s before concentrating on his music career.

His son, Mitch, also played for Calies.

Photo:  Tim Partridge and wife at Clare Street in 2010 [PlessPix]

Tim was a year behind me as a student at Claremont High and played in one of our school soccer teams.

He was one of Australia’s greatest bass guitarists and toured the world with the famous band, the Kevin Borich Express from 1976 until 1980.

He was very popular and even while living on Tasmania’s east coast, he was always off for gigs interstate.

Tim sometimes attended Kingborough games virtually incognito and few people would have known who he was.

I have attached a couple of photos of Tim at White Eagles versus Kingborough games at Clare Street in 2010 and 2012.

Photo:  Tim glowers at the camera when attending a New Town Eagles v Kingborough game at Clare Street on 30 June 2012.  Kingborough coach Matthew Rhodes and assistant Kevan Wright and trainer Bernie Siggins can be seen in the background, as can Eagles coach Stephen Pitchford. [PlessPix]

He did attend a reunion of Claremont High soccer teams of the early 1960s and he was meant to play with a band at a general Claremont High reunion held last year, but he had to decline that latter invitation as he was playing in Sydney that day.

Vale, Tim.  You loved your football and your music.

8.  Print media coverage of the game varies considerably.

The Mercury used to be the number one paper when it came to covering football in Tasmania.

When I wrote for the paper from 1984 to 2009, there'd be a soccer column in the paper six days a week.

Sometimes there'd be seven or eight local soccer articles a week.

This seems to have dropped to two a week most weeks now.  Previews are on Saturdays and match reports on Sunday.

The two northern papers, The Advocate and The Examiner, seem to have increased their coverage of Tasmanian soccer.

They cover the State-wide and local leagues and I noticed that The Examiner even publishes the NPL Tasmania standings.

Incidentally, that league table highlighted a point I made weeks ago, namely that in the the print media, Clarence Zebras are increasingly being known simply as Clarence.



Anonymous said...

Walter apparently Eagles had to leave Clare St as it is now used for cricket

Walter said...

Thank you, Anonymous at 1.52pm.

Anonymous said...

Hi Walter
Jamie Cook is not only a great young keeper he is also one fantastic kid and he is part of the White Eagles family.

Anonymous said...

I remember many moons ago young Jamie's dad playing at wwp àgainst Phoenix as they were back then. A long ball and Rocket Saunders was chasing it at full speed( he was quick back then) and he and the keeper met the ball at the same time. The loud crack heard from the collision turned out to be two broken legs. Matty hadn't realised until he went to get up to remonstrate. He soon knew. A totally innocent and fair challenge.
Good luck Jamie in your recovery, you come from good stock in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Walter have to agree regarding the media I stayed up North and North West recently and the coverage was excellent and puts The Mercury and the South of the state to shame. I honestly don’t think the Mercury has even mentioned the Southern Champ comps this year. The bias towards AFL is unbelievable an example being the amount of media coverage provided to a schools boys AFL final last week it literately received more than the NPL .... it really is a joke and to be honest pretty disheartening for all those people involved in our game

Hunty said...

Same with Gunn Oval Walter, Brighton Cricket team now in residence.

Striker said...

Anonymous 5.17pm, I am not trying to be smart or rude, but I want to set the record straight because it's someone's name. I keep seeing the same mistake and it's about time people got it right. Rocket and Matt's surname is SANDERS and not Saunders. There is no 'u' in the name. Please respect these guys and get it right. Remember, I am not being pedantic because it is a family name. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

My mistake. You are quite correct. I can't edit it (can you Walter?) But I do apologise to and old mate. To me he's just Rocket.

Walter said...

Anonymous 7.52pm. I can't edit comments. I can only post or remove them. If you'd like to resubmit, I can post it. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Best of luck Jamie your old man is in the top 5 keepers to ever grace the turf in the state great stock indeed .

Anonymous said...

The Mercury coverage is not good enough. They only seem to care about AFL and cricket.

Anonymous said...

KGV surface claims another victim. This pitch seems far more dangerous than warrior park for some reason. There has been a lot of serious injuries at KGV since the plastic pitch was laid. I heard that Jamie got his studs caught in the pitch which caused the injury.

JL2 said...

Football is just not the same as what it used to be in Tasmania the good old days when Friday night at KGV ressies kick off at 6 seniors at 8 on a grass pitch. You could read a good article from Walter in the paper with all game previews aswell but now now if it’s not for Walter and Mathew Rhodes I wouldn’t have a clue where games where around the state fft are a complete utter joke

Anonymous said...

JL2 - I would recommend bookmarking this website if you need previews and reviews of every NPL and WSL game + the upcoming fixtures -

Anonymous said...

Top 5 is a big big call.

Anonymous said...

I was also going to add that you should look at Slice of Cheese which gives us three sources of information about Tassie soccer along with Walter and Matthew.