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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Photo: Darrin Chaffey...asked out of the blue to step down as Metro coach

Metro, the Division One leaders, have parted company with player-coach Darrin Chaffey.

Chaffey was asked to step down as senior coach last night prior to the club's training session at North Chigwell.

Chaffey agreed and Bob Nicholson took the session and will be in charge for the rest of the season.

The move comes as a surprise as Metro are top of the league and favourites to gain promotion to the Premier League next season.

Chaffey was, understandably, disillusioned by the club's decision to dispense with his services.

* * * * *

The draw has been made for the semi-finals of the Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy state-wide competition.

Somerset are at home at Cardigan Street to Northern Rangers, while Clarence United will host Tilford Zebras at Wentworth Park, thus ensuring a north versus south final.

The semi-finals will be played either on Saturday 18 July, or on Saturday 25 July. The FFT website lists both dates in different sections of the home page, so I hope someone decides which is the correct date.

The final is scheduled for 29 August.

Meanwhile, in the Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League, Hobart Olympic will meet Glenorchy Knights at KGV Park this evening at 8pm, while tomorrow, Clarence United take on Kingborough Lions United at Wentworth Park at 7pm.

Photo: University's new midfielder, Englishman Andrew King

University’s new 22-year-old midfielder from England, Andrew King, has already caught the eye after just two games for the last-placed Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League club.

His speed, vision, touch and reading of the game are very good, but he has also received two yellow cards - one in each game.

“I think maybe it’s a little bit different in England,” King said.

“I think you can get away with things a little bit more over there, but I’ll learn.”

University has beaten New Town Eagles 2-1 in the league and lost 2-0 to Clarence United in the State-wide Cup in King’s two games to date.

“We did well in the first half against Clarence on Saturday and I think we can move on from there,” King said.

“In the second half, we dropped a bit.

“I think if we had better fitness, we can be there and definitely avoid relegation.

“We’ve got the spirit and, if we can beat the teams around us, we can do it.”

King grew up in Surrey in England and has played at a semi-professional level.

His last club was Westfield FC in the Combined Counties League, which is four levels below professional level and of a similar standard to here.

“The tempo over there is a bit quicker than here, but I think the fitness levels here are higher,” he said.

King has a one-year visa and he came to Tasmania to work and play football and it was his friendship with University coach Scott Gallacher - both are involved in the construction industry - which led to him joining University.

He is playing as a wide midfielder and bears an uncanny resemblance in looks and playing style to former University player, Raymond Benson.

He can also play in the middle, or as a striker, but is happy with his current role.

“He’s fantastic,” said University coach, Scott Gallacher. “He had to perform a few roles against Clarence and did it well.

“His switch of play is excellent, and he’s good with both feet.

“I guess we just aren’t getting the ball to him enough, I suppose.”

If University manage to do that, the goals should flow from the Englishman and the club will be well on the way to avoiding relegation.

Photo: University's goalkeeper-turned-striker, Rory Mccallum

Three goals in four games is not a bad tally for a goalkeeper-turned-striker in the Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League competition.

That is what University’s Rory Mccallum has achieved since being moved from goalkeeper to the outfield.

The 18-year-old Elizabeth College student has helped turn University around and the club are now close to moving off the foot of the ladder, where they face the prospect of relegation.

University are now only three points adrift of second-last Hobart Olympic and two wins in three games has been a huge morale booster for the Students.

Mccallum played youth soccer through to the under-19s for South Hobart but transferred to University this season.

He scored both goals in University’s 2-1 win over New Town Eagles last Saturday.

“I’ve come to University to get some first-team games and it’s been going well,” Mccallum said.

“There was a bit of a kafuffle about that second goal on Saturday.

“Eagles didn’t quite know the ruling on that one, but I knew the ruling because I’m a keeper.”

Mccallum said he enjoyed playing in the outfield because he has the fitness to do it.

“The coach saw me at training kicking a few balls and he thought I was pretty good up front so he just gave me a go and I scored,” Mccallum said.

“Hamish Peacock has come here as a goalkeeper and we had Julian Proud and a few other first-team players out so I was put at striker to see what could happen.”

Mccallum was in the under-19s at South Hobart but his desire for senior games prompted his move to University.

“It’s very hard to get Premier League or reserve football at South because they’ve got such good players,” he said.

“It’s hard as a goalkeeper to get in ahead of Sam Kruijver and Mark Moncur, so I managed to get first-team football at University.”

McCallum believes University can avoid the automatic drop to Division One, which is the fate awaiting the last-placed Premier League team this season.

“We’ve been playing really well and have got two wins in the past week,” he said.

“If we beat Olympic and New Town the next time, we surely will avoid the drop.”



Photos: University goalkeeper Hamish Peacock

University’s 18-year-old goalkeeper, Hamish Peacock, can throw the ball from his own penalty area way beyond the half-way line - and accurately, too.

It’s the sort of throw one sees from professional goalkeepers, and his throws send his team into attack instantly.

Peacock, an engineering student at the University of Tasmania, just also happens to be ranked at number one in Australia in the junior age group for javelin throwing, which explains it all.

He is ranked number 6 or number 7 in Australia in the open age group.

International javelin tournaments generally mean he can play only four or five games of soccer towards the end of each season, in whichever team University needs him.

“For the last couple of years, athletics commitments have been my main priority,” Peacock said.

“But, I love playing football because it’s just so much fun.

“This year, I don’t have any big international competitions so I’ll be able to play out the season.

“It’s fun and I love it.”

University are currently bottom of the Premier League, but are closing in fast on second-last Hobart Olympic.

“We’re only three points behind Olympic, so I don’t see why we can’t avoid relegation,” Peacock said.

“We’ve had two wins in the last week [2-0 against Olympic and 2-1 against New Town Eagles] and we can just forget about last week’s loss to Zebras [8-2].

“The team is looking really positive, and against Eagles, with most of the first-team missing, we looked really good and won.”

Peacock deserves considerable credit for that win as it was his goal-kick that led to the winning goal by Rory Mccallum, ironically, University’s other goalkeeper who has been converted to a striker.

And, Peacock pulled off a brilliant save from a terrific shot by Eagles’ Alex Gordon to keep his side in the game.

“I thought we played a lot better against Eagles than we did against Zebras,” Peacock said.

“It was an improved performance, but we’ve still got plenty more to improve upon.

“We slacken off at times.

“We play good possession football and then, in patches, we don’t, so we must be more consistent.”

Peacock can also play in the outfield, but at the moment, coach Scott Gallacher can be thankful that his two senior goalkeepers are doing all the right things at opposite ends of the pitch.