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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Northern Rangers face a tough test at home against third-placed Prospect Knights at 6.30pm at the NTCA Ground on Saturday in the Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League.

Rangers are 4 points clear at the top from second-placed Devonport City and third-placed Knights.

Knights coach Dane Hudson appeared quite blasé about his team’s chances going into this match.

“This week gives us an opportunity again to compete with a top-of-the-table team and see where we are in the scheme of things,” Hudson said.

“I’m not sure of their ins and outs, so I will have to wait to see the team sheet Saturday to see their line-up.

“But, like us, I’m sure they will have 11 players.

“We will, as always, be playing to win and I’m sure Roslan [Saad] will have the same mindset.

“May the best team win.”

Devonport City visit Windsor Park in Launceston to take on fifth-placed Riverside Olympic.

Devonport City thrashed Olympic 6-0 in the first round and appear to have the measure of the Launceston-based outfit, although it may not be as one-sided this time.

Sixth-placed Ulverstone host second Launceston City at the Showgrounds on Saturday and the Reds should be too good for the visitors.

Both sides are very young and this should make for an entertaining and spirited clash.

The temperature should rise along the Coast when fourth-placed Somerset entertains local rivals Burnie United, who are in seventh place, in what is always a keenly contested derby.

Burnie won the first-round meeting 4-2 at Montello, but current form indicates the Sharks should gain their revenge.
Division One soccer leaders Metro should have a relatively easy task this weekend against an opponent much lower on the ladder.

Metro, who beat Taroona 5-2 in mid-week to leapfrog their opponent and go back to the top of the standings, will have few problems against fifth-placed Northern Suburbs DOSA on Saturday in a match that has been switched from the Showgrounds to Queen’s Walk.

Metro’s new Scottish import, 26-year-old striker Steve McClung, netted four goals against Taroona, while Jason Dawes grabbed the other.

McClung showed all the requisite skills of a striker and his finishing was lethal.

He started and finished moves that resulted in goals and he set up team-mates for chances and it was evident he is an important signing for the club as it strives to go straight back into the Premier League next season.

Ricky Orr, another of the club’s four Scottish imports, was the ideal foil for McClung, but he went off injured 20 minutes from the end after earning a penalty, from which McClung scored.

He may not have recovered in time to play against DOSA, but player-coach Darrin Chaffey will return after his one-match suspension.

Second-placed Taroona’s match away to bottom-side Hobart United, scheduled for Pontville on Saturday has been postponed because the ground is closed.

Christian United, in second-last place, has the bye, so the only other match of the round is at North Warrane on Sunday, where fourth-placed Nelson Eastern Suburbs entertain third-ranked Beachside.

Beachside lost ground last weekend when they went down to bottom-side Hobart United and this game will also be tough.

Colin Shepherd, Sebastian Milford, Andrew Douglas and Ben Davis all return to the Beachside squad.

“We haven't been able to train this week due to continued ground closures, but are looking forward to getting back into action on the weekend and putting our poor result from last week behind us,” said Beachside coach, Nathan Robinson.

“Hobart United were deserving of their victory last week, but I believe with our experienced players back in the team this Sunday we can get a much-needed victory.”

Craig Stockdale returns for Nelson, replacing Damien Bradburn while under-19 stiker Jordan Brighella comes onto the bench.

“We’ve had very little football with the bye and disruptions to training with rain over the last fortnight, but we’re gettingthe closest yet this season to an unchanged team,” said Nelson coach, Michael Roach.

“Hopefully, the lack of training won’t affect the players too much and that we put up a good performance at home.

“We certainly need the points to keep in touch with Beachside on the ladder.”
Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League leaders Tilford Zebras take on second-placed Glenorchy Knights at KGV Park on Friday evening in an important game in the title race.

Zebras lead the Knights by 8 points and a win could increase the margin at the top even further, depending on the result of third-placed South Hobart’s game against Clarence United at South Hobart on Sunday.

Zebras are in outstanding form and knocked in 8 goals against bottom-side University on Monday.

This will be a much more difficult game, but the Zebras have the class to win.

Aaron Brazendale returns to the squad, but may not necessarily start as coach Nick Lapolla was pleased with the team that started against University.

Youngster Kurt Engels impressed with a hat-trick and would be unlucky not to retain his place, while another relative newcomer on the left flank, Jayden Welch, is playing very well.

It will be interesting to see if the experienced retiree Brett Pullen plays after making a comeback to senior soccer against University.

Pullen, who had a fine match and was an influential figure in the side, is well worth a place, but it probably depends on whether he wants to continue at this level or return to the reserves.

Knights are in excellent form and will be formidable opponents, especially if they can get an international clearance through in time for their new Brazilian import, Breno Bianchini Joviano Dos Santos.

Knights were beaten 6-1 by Zebras in an earlier round but the landscape has altered significantly since then.

South Hobart will have their strongest available squad for the clash with fifth-placed Clarence, but the side is still feeling the effects of the absence of the injured Greg Downes and Sam Kruijver.

Downes was in outstanding form for one so young when he broke his leg and he has been a huge loss for South.

Bart Beecroft, the captain, has missed months because of a facial injury, may play in the reserves, but he is still some way away from senior football.

Clarence will have their strongest possible line-up and cannot be discounted, despite losing 3-0 to South in an earlier round.

Fourth-placed Kingborough Lions United will have Charles White and Damien Pearce back for their home against second-last Hobart Olympic at Lightwood Park on Saturday.

But, striker Greg Freeman still has hamstring problems and is unlikely to be risked.

Kingborough trained indoors during the week and this is not exactly the perfect preparation, but many other clubs have been facing the same situation.

Olympic will be pleased that Michael Bulis and Peter Tsakiris will be back, but memories of the 2-1 loss to the Lions in the first round add to the gloom caused by the club’s current predicament.

Bottom-side University must recover psychologically from a humiliating loss to Zebras on Monday as they face sixth-placed New Town Eagles at home at Olinda Grove on Saturday.

University’s morale was improved with their first win of the season last Friday and this success will give them some confidence against a promising Eagles outfit, but one that runs hot and cold.

Eagles beat University 3-0 in the first round and must go into this contest as favourites, but the Students could be a tough nut to crack at home on the heights of Mt Nelson.

Eagles will be without Shane Kent and Alex Leszczynski, but Jacob Malakoff returns to the line-up.
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METRO 5-2 TAROONA
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Metro need to win this game, postponed from last Saturday, to regain top spot on the Division One ladder, and they did it.

Their latest Scottish recruit, 26-year-old striker Steve McClung, scored four goals on his debut and his combination with fellow Scotsman Ricky Orr was awesome.

Metro could have been 2-0 down in the opening minutes, but poor finishing by Taroona let them off the hook.

Taroona had some other good chances during the course of the match and the score flattered Metro in some respects.

Metro were porous at the back, giving the ball away far too easily and creating problems for themselves, but they had the firepower to score goals and that was the difference between the sides.

Taroona should have hit the front after just 25 seconds when Matthew Gasparin gave the ball away to Hugo Luttmer, but he advanced on goal and shot centimetres wide of the far right-hand post.

In the 6th minute, Paul Hunt’s clearance went straight to Jack Elliott, who fed Chris Cox on the right of the box, but his shot was straight at goalkeeper Simon Land.

Having survived that opening period, Metro took the lead in the 8th minute when McClung played the ball back to Jason Dawes, who put Orr away on the left.

Orr’s cross found McClung, who scored with a fine volley from inside the box.

McClung almost had a second in the 16th minute when a neat series of passes between him and Orr put him through the Taroona defence, but Taroona keeper Nathan Meyers, a former Metro player, came off his line and blocked at the striker’s feet.

Two minutes later, Orr broke through but fired over the bar.

In the 20th minute, Wade Hawkins fashioned a chance from wide on the left but also blazed over the bar.

Four minutes later, a shot by Hamish Macgregor was fumbled by Land, allowing Cox in, but he was unable to convert and the ball was cleared.

Metro again hit back strongly and, in the 31st minute, Orr found space on the right and crossed low into the 6-yard box, where McClung was unmarked and finished lethally to make it 2-0.

On the stroke of half-time, Cox pulled a goal back for Taroona with a glancing header from Macgregor’s corner from the left. Metro cleared, but the assistant referee on the far side indicated the ball had crossed the line.

Eleven minutes after the resumption, Macgregor made it 2-2 with a tremendous shot from 30 metres on the left, the ball easily beating Land and lodging inside the far top corner of the net.

Metro restored their lead in the 59th minute when McClung fed Dawes near the edge of the box and his powerful outside of the right foot shot from 20 metres sailed into the far top corner of Meyers’s goal.

In the 63rd minute, Orr’s low left-wing cross was mishandled by Meyers and the ball rolled free towards the far post, where McClung slotted it home to give Metro a 4-2 lead.

Two minutes later, it was all over when Meyers conceded a penalty. In going for a high ball into the box, he smashed into the back of Orr and Mr Collins immediately pointed to the spot.

McClung scored easily from the penalty to make it 5-2, but Orr had been injured by Meyers’ rash challenge and, although he resumed after treatment, he limped off in the 71st minute, to be replaced by Kye McQueen.

Metro will be hoping the injury is not serious as the partnership between Orr and McClung seems destined to be very fruitful.

Taroona had several more chances late in the match through Luttmer, substitute Daniel Palmer, and Macgregor, the latter’s shot forcing a fine save from Land, but it was Metro who leapfrogged them to go a point clear at the top of the table.

Three of the Carey brothers featured in the Taroona side on the evening - Darragh, Duncan and Cian - while an head injury early in the game to Cox - he had to wear a bandage for the rest of the match - may have dampened his impact on the game to some extent.

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  • Metro coach, Darrin Chaffey, said:

“Very sluggish in the first half. We kept ourselves out of position and we struggled a bit at the back and were over committing ourselves.

“We probably left ourselves very open at the back.

“In the second half, I think we corrected it and the guys were getting right behind and we weren’t over committing.

“We were first to the ball and we were switched on in the second half.

“It was a very good second half.”

  • Metro’s striker, Steve McClung, said:

“A good performance by the team. We did well.

“A great start. First half we were a bit shaky, but second half we lifted a bit and played well.

“It was a good performance for a debut with the team.

“It’s not easy. To say that would be disrespectful.

“It’s obviously a change from back home.

“They got the boys out to make better players and we’ll do that.”

  • Taroona coach, Ben Horgan, said:

“Basic errors killed us. Even after we made a few in the first half, we got a goal on half-time and were right back in it and then that goal from Hamish [Macgregor] out us level.

“We were just ordinary all night, really.

“We just didn’t pass the ball well. Defensively, we were just all over the place and we made some shocking mistakes.

“We just weren’t switched on.

“We had some really good chances in the first five or ten minutes but we didn’t take them.

“That’s been the story of our year. I mean, we played DOSA the other week and only got away with a 2-1 win.

“I don’t know what the shot count was, but it must have been thirty to three, so it was going to come back to bite us eventually.

“But, having said that, even if we’d tucked away those early chances, we were poor in a lot of areas in our game tonight so we would have had to completely turn around the way we defended and the way we used the ball.

“We weren’t on tonight. Anyway, there are plenty of games left.”
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Metro: Land - Hunt (Ramage 77), Gasparin, Malcolm, Jackson - Rahni (Marney 46), Sweeney, Dawes, Hawkins - Orr (McQueen 71), McClung (Substitute not used: Porter)

Goals: McClung 8, 31, 63, 66 pen, Dawes 59

Taroona: Meyers - Horgan, C Carey, Tubb, Darragh Carey - Macgregor (Schaap 87), Atkinson (Oates 77), Elliott, Duncan Carey (Palmer 64) - Luttmer, Cox (Substitute not used: Hortle)

Goals: Cox 45, Macgregor 56

Att: 118

Ref: S Collins