Saturday, March 20, 2021

Opening round of NPL Tasmania may provide an early indication of top-four

Photo:  Goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford deserves huge credit for Devonport's title success last season [PlessPix] 

Devonport City begin their NPL Tasmania title defence on Saturday with an away trip to Launceston to face Launceston City at 4.30pm at Buckby Land Rover Park.

On pre-season form, this should be one-way traffic.

But, in last year’s Lakoseljac Cup, Launceston City beat Devonport at this very venue, so the visitors will need to be cautious.

Devonport have recruited three new players, which should strengthen an already powerful squad.

Nick Lanau-Atkinson, formerly with Northern Rangers, has signed after a stint overseas, while Toby Barton is back after last playing for the club in 2019.

And, New Zealander Jordan Lamb had also signed for Devonport.

The trio should be more than adequate replacements for Todd Hingston, Harry Crocker and the injured Dominic Smith.

Title aspirants Glenorchy Knights host Olympia Warriors at KGV Park at 4.30pm on Saturday and all the pressure will be on Knights.

They have recruited well and many would consider them as Devonport’s main rivals for the title.

James Sherman’s men suffered a shock loss to South Hobart in the Summer Cup and they must ensure that they start this league campaign with 3 points from a win over the Warriors.

Warriors coach Rob Clarke said the Knights will be challenging for the title so this game will be a challenging one for his side, especially since Olympia are in a rebuilding phase.

He said none of last year’s first-eleven would be in the team as they have all left.  The exception is Jake Vandermey, who is currently injured.

Clarke said the whole club had changed since the departure of former president George Mamacas.

Clarke said Mamacas had never interfered with the coaching side of things, but the club’s sponsorship was now not as good as it had been, although it was still satisfactory.

There were a lot of youngsters coming through and the club was generating its own income.

“George Mamacas never interfered with selection, but he provided the budget for players,” Clarke said.  “But there was only one title in during his tenure.

“Players are now playing for the right reasons.”

Clarke said there was no guarantee that all the players would stay, but he thought the team would be competitive and the aim was to finish in the top-four, one better than last season.

South Hobart welcome Clarence Zebras to South Hobart Oval at 2pm on Sunday and the home side will be keen to erase the memories of last week’s 3-0 Summer Cup Final defeat to Kingborough Lions United.

Clarence Zebras coach Franco Previdi said the club was in a rebuilding phase and using some 15- and 16-year-olds.

“We must be realistic,” Previdi said.  “We won’t be looking at the points or the ladder.

“I expect South Hobart to come up firing because they lost the Summer Cup Final and they don’t usually have two bad games in a row.”

Jayden Hey, who played with Clarence Zebras last season, could be the key for South Hobart in defence as he knows what weapons the visitors have.

The remaining match of the opening round is at Lightwood Park at 2.15pm on Saturday when Kingborough Lions United host Riverside Olympia from Launceston.

The Lions are the newly crowned Summer Cup champions and will be confident of doing well.

There has been somewhat of a tradition that Summer Cup success does not guarantee league success, but the Lions should break that tradition against Riverside.



David Webb said...

The players were only at Olympia for the money. I'm shocked. Who could possibly have guessed that...and here's me thinking it was the love of the club.

Anonymous said...

You really think the players left Olympia for the love of the "other club"?
Please get a life as this is football globally.
Mamacas understood this and was never under any illusions of grandeur or loyalty.

Anonymous said...

David the stupidity of your statement is only surpassed by your ignorance as to how football works.