Who Is 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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The sides have met twice in the league this season and each have won once.

Zebras will welcome back midfielder Ricky Self, but midfielder Paul Cairns is suspended after being sent off against Clarence United last weekend.

“It’s a big game for both sides, but whether or not it’s the title decider is an open question as there are more games to play,” said Zebras coach, Nick Lapolla.

“We’ll go into this as the underdogs and they’ll be very hard to beat, but I hope it doesn’t come down to one mistake deciding the match, as it did the last time we met.”

South are trying to sign and obtain a clearance in time for the match for 25-year-old Englishman, Liam MacKin, a striker, who was an apprentice at both Queens Park Rangers and also played for Fulham Town.

South will be at full strength and MacKin is unlikely to play as FFT have received no request for him to be registered.

The latest information is that he has not played serious football for five years and he missed training on Thursday so he remains an unknown quantity.

Third-placed Glenorchy Knights trave to Lightwood Park on Saturday to take on fifth-ranked Kingborough Lions United and the state of the pitch may have a bearing on the outcome.

Knights will be without captain Josh Fielding, who has the flu, and Brazilian Breno Bianchini Joviano Dos Santos, who aggravated an ankle injury at training on Monday.

“I don’t think we’ll see much of Dos Santos this year,” said Knights coach, Eamonn Kelly.

“He may get one game, against Hobart Olympic, but he’ll be lucky to play because of this unfortunate injury.

“It’ll be hard for us down at Lightwood, but it should be a good, equally-balanced game because they play the same kind of football as we do in a way.”

Damien and Trent Pearce are both doubtful for Kingborough because of illness, while Charlie White picked up a knock in the intrastate representative game last weekend and may miss this match.

Midfielder Brett Andrews is suspended, while midfielder Ryan Bevan strained a muscle against New Town Eagles and must be considered doubtful.

Striker Greg Freeman and midfielder Ross Hinkley are trying to regain fitness and may play a part in the match.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of the Knights and we will have to look at a few different options, but I still expect a good showing from us,” said Kingborough coach, Geoff Freeman.

New Town Eagles entertain Clarence United at Clare Street on Sunday in a game that is important to both sides in the fight against relegation.

Clarence beat University 5-0 on Thursday evening, however, and this has taken the pressure off Eagles as University are all but relegated now.

Eagles will be without goalkeeper Michael Soszynski and defender Nick Ferrall, while Alex Gordon may start on the bench.

Eagles’ coach, George Krambousanos, said training had been disrupted by the wet weather but that all the other teams had been similarly affected.

Clarence have a demanding schedule with two games in four days, but their young players should be up to the task.

University have only a slim chance of avoiding relegation now and they face Hobart Olympic at South Hobart on Saturday.

They may be fired up, however, and Olympic must not take things lightly if they are to earn the three points.

Clarence United jumped from second-last to fourth on the Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League ladder as a result of their 5-0 win over bottom-side University at Wentworh Park this evening.

Clarence are level on 21 points with Hobart Olympic, who dropped a place to fifth because of their inferior goal-difference.

The loss virtually condemns University to relegation. They are 7 points adrift of second-last New Town Eagles and have just three games remaining.

These are against Hobart Olympic, current leaders Tilford Zebras, and second-last New Town Eagles.

They would need to win all three games and hope that Eagles lose all their remaining matches.

David Hoppitt gave Clarence a 1-0 lead at the break, while second-half strikes by Ben Hamlett, Luke Huigsloot, Luke Cripps and Hamlett again completed the tally.

"We had 21 shots at goal and our keeper, Michael Moschogianis, touched the ball twice in the second half," said Clarence's assistant coach, Franco Previdi.

"We hit the bar twice in the first half and their keeper, Hamish Peacock, made two brilliant saves."

In the under-19s, Clarence United downed Kingborough Lions United 5-1 through goals by Marsh, Nicholson, Bugg, Brown and an own goal.

Photos: John McGirr (top) and Ken Morton (bottom) went to Sydney on Wednesday to meet FFA officials

John McGirr and Ken Morton have returned from Sydney where they and executives of Stratcorp met FFA’s John O’Sullivan to discuss Tasmania’s A-League bid.

“We had a very positive response to our stage 1 document,” said McGirr today.

“There was a suggestion that we go away and get some more evidence around the budget numbers and come back to them with that evidence in a business case, which will be a bid document.

“We put a time frame in for that and spoke to Brad [Stratcorp executive] and he said he could do it within eight to twelve weeks.

“Within the eight to twelve weeks we would then have to cover our sponsors.

“The information we’ve got from the AFL bid is that to get the one-and-half million dollar sponsorship wouldn’t be a problem.

“The main problem would be getting investors, I would say.

“So, you do need, when you present your bid document, a bank guarantee from a group of investors, otherwise you’re not in the ball park.

“And that’s where we’re at now.”

When asked whether he was confident of getting those investors, McGirr replied: “How long is a piece of string?

“Personally, I’m reasonably confident.

“I shall get the feedback from the guys [Tasmania United A-League Taskforce members] tomorrow as to how confident they are and we’ll make a group decision as to what we will put out there in the media.”

Photos (Top to Bottom): Rangers' goalkeeper Ray Johnson (centre) organises a goalkick in the game against Olympic at South Hobart in 1963...Johnson moved to Melbourne that season; Eddie Puclin in action at South Hobar for Croatia; Steve Darby catches a cross for University against Olympia's Peter Sherman at KGV Park, while David Forshaw looks on; Steve Darby of University is beaten at South Hobart by Olympia's Keith Broadhouse; Rapid's Phil Kannegiesser takes a goalkick at KGV Park; Olympia's Martin Burden at South Hobart; Olympia's Martin Burden makes a save at KGV Park against University as Dominic O'Brien (University No. 7) is set to pounce; White Eagles' star keeper Peter Groenewoud; John Michniewski (second from left) after he joined Croatia-Glenorchy from White Eagles...his pre-match warm-ups were worth the price of admission; The victorious Southern Tasmania team on the bus heading home from a clash with the North...Steve Craven is second from the left at the back, and Phil Kannegieser is at his left, while John Charlton, son of Jackie Charlton, is at Craven's right; Harry Alexiadis saves a penalty for Olympia against Rangers at South Hobart in 1963 [Photos by Ralph Dymond and Walter Pless]

There has been a lot of discussion on this blog about goalkeepers following the North versus South match last weekend.

Good goalkeepers have been abundant in Tasmania in years past.

Harry Wise, the Metro keeper, was selected for the Australian Olympic team in 1954.

Harry Alexiadis, of Olympia, was selected in the national squad in the 1960s but was forced out through injury.

A shoulder injury ended his goalkeeping career, but he was reincarnated as a brilliant centre-forward and scored numerous goals for Olympia.

His place in goal at Olympia was taken by Mick Roussos, who turned out to be one of the best keepers the State has seen.

Eddie Puclin and Joe Udovicic were two of the best keepers to have played in Tasmania.

Both played for Croatia Glenorchy and coaches always found it difficult to choose between the two.

Puclin eventually moved to Metro, while Udovicic transferred to Devonport City, paving the way for the talented young Rodney Tattam to take over.

Let’s look at more recent times, when the crop was even more widely recognised.

Anthony Breaden, now 30 and who hailed from Somerset, went to the Australian Institute of Sport, played for the Australian under-20s - the Young Socceroos - and eventually joined Adelaide City in the National Soccer League.

“The Gorilla”, as he was known, later played NSL for Brisbane City, I believe.

Corey Baldock, who is in his early 30s now and who is related to the Darryl Baldock of Australian Rules fame, also hailed from the North-West and found some fame in South America in the mid-1990s.

He was with Bolivian first division club, Bolivar, which had regular home attendances of 70,000.

Baldock was understudy at Bolivar to Cameroon’s World Cup goalkeeper Thomas N’Kono.

Baldock returned to Tasmania in 1997 and was cleared by Bolivar to play for Devonport City.

White Eagles frequently had good keepers and some that spring to mind are Robbie Groenewoud, who trialled in England and eventually went to New South Wales.

The late David Siggins was one of their most spectacular keepers, and they also had a Polish keeper called John Michniewski, who played professionally in the US before coming to Tasmania.

His warm-ups were magnificent pre-match entertainment.

The late Matthew Calvert, who was with Olympia, had a trial with Arsenal in 1997, while Robert Harrison of University and Caledonians did well in NSW.

Martin Burden was one of Olympia’s finer keepers in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Brett Williams of Juventus and Croatia-Glenorchy was with Notts County in the UK for a term.

Zlatko Belanic was also a decent keeper here with Croatia and Rapid before he returned to South Australia.

He suffered a serious head injury in a game at KGV Park and later played with protective headgear, well before Petr Chech of Chelsea made it fashionable.

Steve Craven, who came from England to join Rapid in the late 1970s, was a marvellous keeper and a fine centre-forward.

As a keeper, he once scored a goal with a mighty clearance against Steve Darby (pace Steve) at South Hobart.

We’ve had a few keepers in Tassie who were also good as outfield players.

Bruno Cengia was another. He was with Juventus and Rapid and could stop goals as well as score them.

Phil Kannegiesser is another Rapid keeper who springs to mind and who was good enough to play interstate.

Simon Miotto, from Launceston, remains our only English Premier League keeper, although he did not get to play a single league game for his club, West Bromwich Albion.

Miotto also played in Scotland for Raith Rovers and other clubs, and he was also active in Denmark.

In Tasmania, he played for Launceston City.

Alex Cisak, the former South Hobart junior keeper, is now with Leicester City in the UK, of course, and is a member of the Young Socceroos.

In the days that some of these later keepers played, Neil Connell, himself an accomplished keeper with Caledonians and Juventus, and a man who played professionally in South Africa and England, ran a ‘goalkeepers’ club’ at KGV one night a week.

As many as a couple of dozen keepers would attend and they would receive specialised training.

Where do we have such a scheme now?

I am sure to have left out some fine keepers in this overview, and I apologise to them.

Now, fellow bloggers, given that the scene has been set, let’s talk about our current crop and see where they rank.