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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The Division One league season begins on Saturday with three matches.

Hobart United have the bye.

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METRO V BEACHSIDE
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Saturday, 2.30pm, North Chigwell

Beachside beat Metro 2-1 in a pre-season friendly, but Metro then turned the tables and easily accounted for Beachside 4-0 in the semi-finals of the Summer Cup.

This is an important showdown, therefore, for two of the three sides expected to fight out the title, Taroona being the other.

“We got off to a flyer against Beachside in the semi final of the summer cup a couple of weeks ago, which set the game up for us,” said Metro coach, Darrin Chaffey.

“We’re well aware that this is unlikely to happen again and therefore won’t be thinking that this game is a given.

“Beachside have some experienced players in Nathan Robinson, Colin Shepherd and Bernhard Klasen, and some very good youngsters coming through also.

“I’m sure they’ll be out to make amends for that result.”

Martin Cairns, Terry Kent and Wayne Jackson have returned to training this week after extended breaks and holidays.

Youngsters Danny Cowen and Wade Hawkins have had excellent starts to the pre-season and will star in this match.

Darrin Chaffey (stress fractures of the foot) and Ricky Orr (hamstring) are unlikely to feature in this match.

Beachside will miss Klasen and Luke Atkins, who are unavailable, and Ben Davies, who has a groin injury.

Sebastian Milford, David Long, and Liam Brown will come in to the side.

“We’ve certainly got a younger more athletic team, and I think that’s important,” said Beachside coach, Nathan Robinson.

“Pace was a factor in their favour last time, so we need to counter that and we’ve got the team to do that.

“We certainly need to defend better. There’s no doubt about that.

“They were quite efficient and impressive up front in an attacking sense.

“It wasn’t just their strikers, but their midfielders as well.

“Jason Dawes and their existing players seem to have got a boost from these other guys from Scotland coming in, so they’ve lifted.

“They’re a danger. They’re favourites for the Division One title, and rightfully so.

“We think, when you’ve got guys like Colin Shepherd and Colin Wain and Kurt De Jong in an attacking sense in our team, we’re always a chance.

“We need to make sure that we defend properly and we’ll see how Metro cope with the tag of favouritism now.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. It’ll be a good game and a good test for us.

“The weather forecast is good and the ground should be in good nick at this time of the year, so it’ll be a good run for everybody, hopefully.”

Prediction: Metro

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TAROONA V DOSA
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Saturday, 2.30pm, Kelvedon Park

DOSA will begin its 2009 season away to Taroona.

DOSA has several new signings who will be making their debuts.

These are Daniel Chisolm, from Metro under-19s, Dave Visentin, from University, Joel Richardson, from Glenorchy Knights, and Steve Swift.

Richard Korn is unavailable as his brother is getting married.

Aaron McGurk is still out due to an ankle injury sustained during the Summer Cup.

16-year-old Zak Alumbulwa showed some promise in the summer cup and will possibly be given an opportunity to make his senior league debut. He has been named on the bench.

Taroona will field a formidable line-up, similar to the one that played in the northern Steve Hudson Cup competition.

“Darragh Carey and Llewyn Tubb will make their first senior league starts at left- and right-back respectively after their outstanding performances throughout the pre-season,” said Taroona’s assistant coach, Ben Horgan.

“They’ve both been really impressive in making the step up from under-19s last year, and they give us a lot of drive coming out from the back as they are both quick and confident on the ball and solid defensively.

Up front, Hugo Luttmer seems to have gotten over his hamstring problems, but Chris Cox is away, unfortunately, so we’ll have to change things slightly.

“Cian Carey is always dangerous in front of goal and Toby Dove has looked really sharp in training the last couple of weeks and he will worry teams with his pace and movement, so we’ve got a few options.

“We haven’t played DOSA for a few years, so I don’t know too much about them, but I expect they’ll be pretty pumped up for their return to Division One.

“We need to make sure we build on the form we showed in patches through the Steve Hudson Cup and really start to take control of games and finish teams off.

“But, overall, I’m very happy with the way our pre-season has gone and I expect a good first-up performance from our guys.”

Prediction: Taroona

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CHRISTIAN UNITED V NELSON EASTERN SUBURBS
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Saturday, 2.30pm, Sherburd Park

Nelson Eastern Suburbs should start as favourites against last season’s Division One Knock-out Cup winners, Christian United.

Craig Stockdale comes into the Nelson line-up for his debut in the league after sitting out the Summer Cup because of cricket commitments.

Stockdale has Premier League experience with South Hobart and University and should find this league well within his capabilities.

Tom Gordon returns from a hamstring injury sustained in the opening minutes of the last Summer Cup match against Metro.

Also back after missing the Summer Cup and most of last season is striker Luke Wallace, while two members of the under-19 team, midfielder Cody Flynn and striker Andrew Gaskell, are named on the bench and will definitely come on in the second half.

“This is the strongest team we have available at the moment, with just a couple of guys out injured, and we have a fair bit of firepower up front,” said Nelson coach, Michael Roach.

“I'm also interested to see how the two guys from our under-19s go.

“They are terrific young players, and are quick and skilful.

“We're hoping for a win first up, but we won't be underestimating Christian United either.”

Prediction: Nelson Eastern Suburbs