- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 30 March 2009
Photos: (Top to Bottom) Sam Kruijver, South's number one keeper; Kruijver patrols his penalty area; Greg Downes being treated while his team-mates regroup; Downes suffered a broken leg and is stretchered off.
It’s taken Sam Kruijver a while, but he is now the number one goalkeeper at reigning Premier League soccer champion, South Hobart.
Kruijver was understudy to Mark Moncur for most of last season, but the 27-year-old has now established himself as coach Ken Morton’s number one choice in goal.
He has not let the side down and played a crucial role in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Kingborough Lions United.
In fact, Kruijver has kept a clean sheet in all three league games to date.
Kruijver made excellent saves against Tom McDonald, Marcello Marchioli and Charles White as the Lions threatened to score and steal the three points against the run of play.
“Things are going well and we’re on track to defend our title,” said Kruijver, the 183cm custodian.
“It’s taken me a while to become the number one choice, but Mark Moncur is hot on my heels.
“There’s good competition between the two of us.”
Kruijver underplayed his saves against the Lions.
“I didn’t really think about it, to be honest,” he said.
“I saw the ball coming and just sort of got myself there and was lucky enough to keep them out.”
Kruijver is impressed by South Hobart’s young talent coming through, but injuries are a problem.
Greg Downes, the club’s dynamic young midfielder who had trials last year with Sunderland and Walsall, broke his leg in Saturday’s game and will be out indefinitely.
“I think we’ve got a good chance of retaining our title, Kruijver said.
“We’ve got a good bunch of young guys coming through, including Jim Pennicott and Nick Di Falco.
“There’s plenty of young guys coming through to keep the team going.
“There’s strong competition from all teams now that there are only eight teams in the league.
“It’s going to be very close, but I hope we can continue without conceding goals.
“From my perspective, it was frustrating to see so many chances at the other end and we just couldn’t score. I was pulling my hair out.
“You have those days, but they also defended well.”