Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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State premiers, South Hobart, are off to Melbourne on Thursday morning to play friendlies against top Victorian Foxtel Cup sides Oakleigh Cannons and South Melbourne.

The match against Oakleigh Cannons is at Port Melbourne on Friday at 8pm, while the spar with South Melbourne is at Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday at 6pm.

"We're heading off with a group of 15 players," said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton.

"The purpose, obviously, is to get us playing at a higher level and to try and focus the players into playing with much more intensity and concentration for 90 minutes.

"And, obviously, it's to get us match fit and a little bit quicker than what we would naturally be if we just played games here in Tasmania.

"It's really to help us acquire our way of playing, our pattern of play, and to develop our fitness at the same time."

The trip signifies a new level of professional at South Hobart, which has not been noted for such intense pre-season preparation in the past, apart from competing in the northern Steve Hudson Cup pre-season competition, of course.

"I think it was something the players wanted to do after our challenge last year against Gladesville in Launceston City's fiftieth anniversary tournament," said Morton.

"When they weren't coming back this year, we had no interstate opposition, so this was just a way of providing it.

"Through my connections in Melbourne, we were able to arrange these two games.

"Oakleigh Cannons are a strong side and they were high up in the league last year, something like fifth or sixth.

"South Melbourne Hellas? Well, they're South Melbourne Hellas.

"They have a great tradition and are a great club with a fantastic stadium and some bright and gifted young players.

"So, we're looking forward to both of these games to extend us and to see if we are progressing along the right lines."

Morton said he was taking his strongest possible team.

"We're taking 15 of our 18 first-team players," he said. "David Cooper can't come because he has a wedding to attend, while Josh Heerey has only recently returned to Tasmania from Melbourne and has a new job and cannot take the time off.

"All the rest of our top players are there and I'm very happy to be taking such a strong squad.

"They'll include Ricky Eaves, Igor, Jonathon Ladic, Bart Beecroft, Garry Upton, goalkeepers Mark Moncur and Sam Kruijver, Liam Scott and Greg Downes.

"Yes, we're at full strength."
It's about time Tasmania was given a competitive Socceroos international match.

The Socceroos have only played here once, and that was a friendly against Tasmania in the early 1980s.

We recently gained kudos for the performance of our under-21s against A-League youth teams, and attendances at the pre-season A-League cup matches in Launceston have always been respectable.

Well, guess what? The venues for Australia's Asian Cup qualifiers against Oman on 14 November this year, and the return leg against Indonesia scheduled for 3 March next year, have not yet been decided.

Canberra will host the Australia versus Kuwait match on 5 March this year. Darwin and northern Queensland have often been touted as future venues for Socceroos matches.

I think Football Federation Tasmania should be lobbying hard for Football Federation Australia to stage the match against Oman, or the one against Indonesia, in either Launceston or Hobart.

It would be a marvellous reward for Tasmania's efforts to promote soccer, and appropriate recognition of our current standing in the game nationally.

I don't think it would cost FFT anything as these are national team games and are the responsibility of FFA.

The time to lobby is now, while there is still time.

* * * * * *

While on the subject of the Socceroos, tomorrow night's (Wednesday) game against Indonesia at the Gelong Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta should be a fascinating showdown.

Australia will be fielding a second-string eleven, made up entirely of home-based players from the A-League.

Let's hope we don't come unstuck and that some of our inexperienced representatives don't wilt before an expected vociferous home crowd of 90,000.

With the day not being a scheduled FIFA match day, Australia did not have its overseas players available, so there was little choice but to blood the best of the A-League crop.

Only six of the squad have previously been capped, so it will be a huge learning curve for some of the players and one which will stand them in good stead in the years to come.

The squad is: Danny Allsopp (Melbourne Victory), Billy Celeski (Melbourne Victory), Shannon Cole (Sydney FC), Robert Cornthwaite (Adelaide United), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Dean Heffernan (Central Coast Mariners), Scott Jamieson (Adelaide United), Dylan McCallister (Central Coast Mariners), Matthew McKay (Queensland Roar), Craig Moore (Queensland Roar), Tom Pondeljak (Melbourne Victory), Paul Reid (Adelaide United), Matt Simon (Central Coast Mariners), Michael Theoklitos (Melbourne Victory), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Matthew Thompson (Newcastle Jets), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Perth Glory), Rodrigo Vargas (Melbourne Victory), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Michael Zullo (Queensland Roar)

But, some of the squad have also played for their clubs in Asian Champions League matches and should know what to expect.

I think the squad is good enough to win, providing the players don't underestimate the opponents and the conditions.

Moore has 40 caps for Australia and has played in Europe, of course, while Archie Thompson has 30 caps.

The other internationals are Allsopp (2 caps), McKay (1 cap), Pondeljak (4 caps) and Topor-Stanley (3 caps).

* * * * *

Let's not forget the Matildas.

The Australian women's team will play Italy in Parramatta on Saturday, 31 January, and again in Canberra on Saturday, 7 February.

The Matildas squad is: Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne Victory), Danielle Brogan (Sydney FC), Ellie Brush (Canberra United), Tameka Butt (Queensland Roar), Lauren Colthorpe (Queensland Roar), Lisa de Vanna (Perth Glory), Heather Garriock (Sydney FC), Katie Gill (Newcastle Jets), Lana Harch (Queensland Roar), Elsie Kellond-Knight (Queensland Roar), Collette McCallum (Perth GLory), Kate McShea (Queensland Roar), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra United), Amber Neilson (Newcastle Jets), Jo Peters (Newcastle Jets), Clare Polkinghorne (Queensland Roar), Karla Reuter (Queensland Roar), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle Jets), Emily van Egmond (Newcastle Jets), Sarah Walsh (Sydney FC), Lydia Williams (Canberra United).

* * * * *

FFA have appointed Gary Power as the National Elite Referees Instructor.

He will report to Mario van der Ende, the National Referee Technical Director.

Power has been the Referees' Expert for the Qatar Football Association for the past three years.

Power's achievements and previous position is another example of the career paths available for Australian referees now that we are part of the Asian Confederation.

It should serve as an inspiration to our young up-and-coming Tasmanian referees who literally have Asia, and indeed the world, at their feet.

They need to be recognised nationally, however, and this is an area that FFT must address. Our most promising referees must get the chance to referee interstate so that they can catch the eye.

Tasmania has had one FIFA referee in the past - Jack Johnston.

It's high time we had another.
The Steve Hudson Cup pre-season competition in Launceston begins on 7 February and there will be two groups of four teams.

South Hobart, Taroona and the Tasmanian Institute of Sport are the southern representatives in this year's competition, which is organised by Launceston United and named after their late goalkeeper.

Group A: TIS, Launceston City, Riverside Olympic, South Hobart

Group B: Prospect Knights, Taroona, Northern Rangers, Launceston United

South Hobart, the holders, complete their preparations next weekend with a trip to Melbourne where they will play Oakleigh Cannons on Friday, 30 January, at Port Melbourne, and South Melbourne the following day at the Bob Jane Stadium.

It is a credit to Taroona that they are participating. They were demoted to Division One at the end of last season and their entry in this northern competition speaks volumes about their commitment and desire to regain Premier League status.

Nominations for the southern Summer Cup do not close until Friday.
Fred Joughin, 82, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division for his services to soccer.

Joughin OAM is an institution at the University Soccer Club, which is 60 years old this year.

Joughin has been president and chairman of the club since 1959 and served on southern and state administrative bodies during the 1960s.

He has served on the board of the now defunct Southern Tasmanian Soccer Association and also on various committees, where he played leading roles.

He played regularly for University until he was 51, and after that, as often as he could, until he was 58.

“I played intermittently for the Grads team whenever I could persuade the coach to give me a run,” said Joughin, a lawyer by profession, but now retired.

Joughin has seen many changes and many fine players at the club over the past 60 years.

“We’ve had a lot of good, hard tackling, hard playing sides, including a very good side in the early 1960s with players such as Raja Ram, Aslam Buksh, Robert Surrendra, and a Swiss player, Fritz Hadorn," Joughin said.

“We were often known as Uno rather than Uni because we had players from many countries.

“We had a Sikh, who wore the special turban they use for playing sport, and a Fijian winger who discarded his boots after 20 minutes of his first game because he preferred to play in bare feet.

“The other teams complained because they were frightened of breaking his toes, but no-one ever did him any damage because he was too quick on his feet.”

Andy Galbraith, a centre-back, Jack Atkinson, an old-fashioned centre-half who never missed a ball in the air in three seasons, and goalkeeper Eddie Klassen were other great players to play for University, according to Joughin.

University is noted for the number of players who just seem to go on for ever, gradually dropping down through the ranks but remaining active as players.

Graham Smith, Tom Ballantyne, John Nicholson, Les Jackson, and Michael Thompson are just some who spring to mind.

“It’s a club with a great camaraderie and loyalty amongst the old players, and we have 30 life members,” said Joughin.

“There have been so many changes, from our first year when we struggled to put eleven players on the field, to now when we have more than half a dozen senior men’s and women’s team.

“The girl’s teams are very loyal and they do everything possible to help.

“When the club started, we played at Bell Street in New Town, where there was one tap in the middle of a paddock to wash the mud off ourselves, and the changing shed was as big as four telephone boxes, with a wooden partition down the middle to separate the opposing teams.

“I remember one team would always hit the booze for refreshment at half-time and we could hear them through the partition and, even if we were behind at that stage, we knew we’d beat them in the second half.”

And how long will Joughin stay as president?

“Until the boys decide they’re sick of me,” he said.