Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Seven things that caught my eye this weekend

Photo:  Devonport keeper Nathan Pitchford is beaten by the free-kick from Chris Downes [PlessPix]

1.  Devonport lost ground slightly in their quest to retain the NPL Tasmania crown.

The reigning champions and ladder leaders drew 1-1 with fourth-placed Kingborough Lions United away at Lightwood Park to reduce their lead over second-placed Glenorchy Knights to 4 points at the half-way point of the season.

Devonport should have won this game easily, but they seem to be poor finishers.

Their shooting was often erratic, and when they were on target, Kingborough somehow managed to clear off the line.

Photo:  Kingborough's Adam McKeown and Danny Cowen can't believe their side's luck [PlessPix]

Kingborough goalkeeper Lee Mackie was also in excellent form and saved at least twice in one-on-one situations.

It was clearly a case of a point won by Kingborough and 2 points lost by Devonport.

2.  Devonport have the best defence in the league, followed closely by Glenorchy Knights.

The North-West Coast outfit have conceded just 4 goals in 7 games, which is pretty good going.

The goal they conceded against Kingborough was bizarre.

Chris Downes’s long range free-kick from wide on the left eluded everyone and goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford was taken by surprise and his despairing dive was in vain.

Glenorchy Knights have conceded an average of one goal a game and have the second-best defence in the competition.

Good defences win you the league, while good attacks win you games.

I’d say the title will be fought out between Devonport and Knights.

Photo:  Twenty-year-old goalkeeper Lachlan Hart, the Glenorchy Knights goalkeeper, who stands at 190cms, is a key player for the Knights [PlessPix]

3..Glenorchy Knights have the best attack in the league and have scored more than two goals a game on average.

Devonport have tended to win by the odd goal and this inability to make the most of their chances may ultimately prove to be their undoing.

They will have to be more clinical up front and take their chances or they could be overhauled in the title race.

Devonport’s squad on Saturday was their complete pack.  It’s all they have.  They named just three substitutes.

Knights, on the other hand, have greater depth.  They have the injured Alex Bellini, for example, to come back in.

4.  The use of substitutes can be fascinating, as can the treatment of the player being replaced.

I felt sorry for Devonport’s Brody Denehey, who was taken off after an hour of the game against Kingborough.

I thought he’d done a decent enough job on the right against Joel Sammut, and he almost scored on a couple of occasions.

Photo:  Brody Denehey cuts a lonly figure as he makes his way back to the Devonport bench [PlessPix]

Minutes after the start of the second half, he demonstrated impressive commitment and determination when he chased a long ball down the right that everyone had given up on.

Not only did Denehey get to the ball, he forced a corner by playing it off Kingborough’s Danny Cowen.

It reminded me to some degree of West Germany’s legendary centre-forward, Uwe Seeler.  He was renowned for pursuing lost causes.  He would sprint for balls he had no right to get to.  He often did and scored as a result because there wasn’t a defender, apart from the goalkeeper. within cooee.

Denehey’s reward?  He was replaced.

Photo:  No-one notices Denehey's return to the bench [PlessPix]

The new laws allow the player going off to leave the field at the most convenient point and, if necessary, make his way around the perimeter of the ground and back to the bench.  Denehey thus went off on the opposite side of the ground to the coaches’ technical area and made his way back the long way.

Denehey cut a forlorn figure as he made his way back to the bench.  What surprised me was that neither the coach nor his assistant gave him a pat on the back or extended their hand to thank him for his efforts.  They didn’t even look at him as he took his place back on the bench.

They may have done so later, of course, and I may have missed it, but the original look of the whole thing was far from gracious.

5.  Concussion is a serious issue.

At least four players in games I attended on the weekend were involved in head clashes and it brought home to me that it is so important that players are properly assessed for concussion.

Photo:  Devonport's Kieran Mulraney leaves the field with blood oozing from a head wound [PlessPix]

Devonport’s Kieran Mulraney left the pitch with his head bandaged and blood clearly visible.  He was assessed and resumed playing.

In the same game, a collision between Devonport’s Miles Barnard and Kingborough goalkeeper Lee Mackie left both players on the ground needing treatment.  After assessment, both players were able to continue.

I have no problem with this and am confident that the two teams’ personnel dealing with such issues knew what they were doing and took the right course of action.

Photo:  Devonport's Miles Barnard and Kingborough goalkeeper Lee Mackie lie injured as referee Brenton Kopra calls for assistance [PlessPix]

I merely wish to emphasise the fact that in such situations where there are head clashes, players should be rigorously assessed before being allowed to continue playing.

In Sunday’s Women’s Super League game between Olympia Warriors and Kingborough Lions United at Warrior Park, there was a sickening collision between Kingborough defender Claire Edwards and Olympia attacker Bonnie Davies.

Davies’s forehead struck Edwards’s temple with great force and Edwards went down as if she’d been pole-axed.  It was completely accidental and both players were going for the ball.

After receiving attention on the field, an obviously groggy Edwards was assisted from the field and took no further part in the game.  I hope she makes a full recovery, but it was shocking to see the incident at close range.

These incidents are examples of what can happen and it is important that players are properly assessed for possible concussion before being allowed to return to the action.

6..Some players get cards and others don’t.

South Hobart goalkeeper Nathan Reid received a yellow card when he brought down Olympia striker Jack Ryan and conceded a penalty in Saturday’s game, which Olympia won 2-1.

The punishment was just and Reid ‘took one for the team’, I guess one could say.

Before the recent law changes, Reid might have received a red card and also conceded the penalty.  The law change deems that a yellow card is sufficient as the penalty has been awarded.

Reid was, however, fortunate not to be shown a second yellow card as he refused to hand over the ball as Ryan was preparing to take it to the penalty spot.  The two players wrestled over the ball and the referee had to order the goalkeeper to hand it over.  He could, however, have issued a second yellow card and ordered Reid off.  He would have been well within his rights but decided to use his discretion.

Photo:  Devonport's Miles Barnard about to rip off his short in celebration after scoring the equaliser [PlessPix]

In the Kingborough versus Devonport game, Miles Barnard was fortunate not to be shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour after he scored the equaliser in stoppage time.

Barnard went to rip off his shirt, but thought better of it and stopped half-way because it probably dawned on him that it would have resulted in a yellow card.

Instead, he ran back towards the Kingborough goal and taunted the defenders with various hand gestures.

The referee spoke to Barnard and to the Devonport captain before restarting the game without issuing a yellow card to Barnard.  Lucky boy.

Photo:  Referee Mr Kopra speaks to Devonport skipper Kieran Mulraney [PlessPix]

7.  Wednesday night’s [tomorrow] Women’s Super League showdown between Clarence Zebras and Olympia Warriors could determine the destination of the title.

Both sides won on the weekend and Olympia currently lead Clarence Zebras by 2 points on the ladder with an equal number of games played.

It’s a bit like the Scottish League, where usually only Celtic or Rangers can win the title.

The Tasmanian WSL title can only be won by either Olympia or Clarence Zebras, so an Olympia win on Wednesday night will give them a stranglehold on the title.

This meeting should have been played a couple of weeks ago, but a ground closure forced a postponement because Clarence Zebras declined a change of venue.

I reckon it only delayed the inevitable.

I’m tipping Olympia to win.

Both teams have good goalkeepers in Jenna Farrow (Olympia) and Shelley Cook (Clarence Zebras).

Olympia’s fast attack, however, should overcome a relatively slow Clarence Zebras defence.  The respective midfields are a good match and both are creative.

Photo:  The lightning fast Bonnie Davies beats a Kingborough defender [PlessPix]

Bonnie Davies and Madison Chambers look like being too fast for the Clarence Zebras rearguard and that is likely to be the key.

Clarence Zebras have excellent goalscorers in Allie Berry and Zoe Nichols, but Davies and Chambers, together with Olivia Bomford, should prove too hot for the Clarence Zebras defence to handle.

Olympia may well have to switch from a back-three to four at the back to counter Clarence Zebras’ attack.

It could be a high-scoring affair, but I expect the Warriors to have their noses in front at the final whistle.

Photo:  Clarence Zebras attacker Allie Berry chips the South Hobart goalkeeper to score last Sunday [PlessPix]


Anonymous said...

Barnard is the last person who should be taking the p....sss out of the opposition.
This behaviour gives the impression that he is arrogant and full of himself.
His only strength is that he can head a ball. Other than that there is not much else.
Maybe when he misses his next attempt at goal opposition players can do the same to him.
Is this Devonports culture?

Anonymous said...

Have you got a beef with Clarence Zebras Walt very negative towards them?

Walter said...

Anonymous 11.49am. No, not at all. Why do you think that I have a beef with Clarence Zebras? I've just expressed my views, namely that Olympia will win. Surely I can do that? If Clarence Zebras win, good luck to them. I just think that the Olympia attack is too good for the Clarence Zebras defence. But, the Zebras attack is also very good and could be too much for the Olympia defence to handle. An intriguing game and it could be high scoring. Cheers! Walt

Anonymous said...

You Clarence Zebras people are very touchy about every little thing. Walter was not negative towards Clarence Zebras, unless you are reading a different article. He only voiced his opinion on who he thinks will win. Surely he is entitled to that. And like he said, if Clarence Zebras win, good luck to them.

Anonymous said...

Just can’t wait for this one tonight ; I don’t usually go watch the girls play due to it being on Sundays but I will freeze my ass off to watch this at Wenty tonight

Anonymous said...

I think goalkeepers need more guidance of acceptable control. The same keeper that upended Jack Ryan took out the legs of another player last year when he was midair and after he had moved the ball to the side. 5 days waiting for surgery 9 weeks off the start of the season and not a penalty in site. Im all for protecting keepers but they can also be dangerous to others. Perhaps Mark Monkur can mentor and pass on some of his vast knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Guess Clarence Zebras got it right by playing at Wentworth Park , great spectacle for our game , good crowd and a Clarence Zebras win , looking forward to those anon keyboard warriors

Anonymous said...

I keep reading that Clarence Zebras refused a venue change but am yet to see any evidence of this. Is this factual or just an assumption? Are there more details? Where and when was a venue changed offered?

Mr Darcy said...

If a post on an earlier thread is to be believed then about this time last week Rob Clarke was finding out he was the head coach of an NPL team......via social media!
As he wasn't the coach come game day could someone inform me exactly what his status is at Olympia FC now?...... as I don't have Facebook.