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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Third-placed Beachside take on bottom-side Christian United in the Division One competition at the Showground 3 pitch at 2.30pm on Saturday.

Christian United must win if they are to avoid the wooden spoon.

Christian have an inferior goal-difference to second-last Northern Suburbs DOSA, so it would need to be a sizeable win, too, if Christian are to escape from last place.

Christian suffered a major blow last weekend.

They beat DOSA 7-5, but then had the result turned around 3-0 in favour of DOSA because Christian had fielded a suspended and, therefore, ineligible player.

That opened up a 6-point gap between the sides and Christian only have two games remaining.

Beachside have far too much class and experience to lose this game, so it looks inevitable that Christian will be handed the wooden spoon.

Second-placed Taroona travel to Pontville on Sunday to take on fifth-placed Hobart United at 2.30pm.

This is a vital game for Taroona as a win would put them back on top of the ladder and pile enormous pressure on current leaders, Metro, who play their final match next weekend.

“Hobart United have been in pretty good form recently and we haven’t had a game for a couple of weeks so we’ll need to make sure we’re switched on,” said Taroona coach, Ben Horgan.

“It really is an important game because if we lose we hand Metro the title.

“If we win, we keep the pressure on them for another week.

“Hobart United have some very quick and skilful players and we won’t be taking them lightly.”

Chris Cox comes into the Taroona squad in place of Duncan Carey, who is interstate.

“It’s great to have Chris back from injury as he is very dangerous whenever he plays, but especially when I have the luxury of using him off the bench against tiring defences,” Horgan said.

Hobart United should be at full strength and, because they hold the key to the destination of the title, they have everything to play for.

They can hand the title to Metro by beating Taroona, or if they lose, they can hand the title to Taroona by beating Metro next weekend.

“Although we are playing good football, it hasn’t been good enough against the top teams,” said Hobart United’s Pedro Ramirez.

“Having said that, though, we are a worthy and competitive team, but we need to play at a much faster pace against Taroona as they will be very dangerous if we go on the defensive too much.

“The key to success is to put a lot of pressure on them.”

Photos (Top to Bottom): Sydney Olympic, with Steve Darby in the back row at the extreme right; South Hobart... Steve Darby is in the front row, second player from the left (don't count the kids), while Brian Roberts is at the left of the back row (with the hat); A Tasmanian youth representative side (Darby is back row at the left and Ross Wesson is back row at the right); Tasmanian youth representative side (Barry Shacklady is at extreme left of back row and Darby extreme right of back row); Tasmanian senior State side with coach Darby at extreme left in back row and Brian McKay extreme right in back row...this may be the side that beat South Melbourne Hellas 2-0 at South Hobart in the early 1980s. [There are many youngsters in these photos who went on to prominent senior careers in Tasmania and elsewhere...see if you can recognise any of them.]

Steve Darby, who worked in Tasmania for a decade, has been appointed national coach of Thailand.

Darby had been assistant to Thai national coach, Peter Reid, the former Manchester City and Sunderland star.

Reid has returned to the UK and will most likely become assistant manager at Sunderland.

Liverpool-born Darby was assistant coach of Bahrein just before coming to Tasmania in the early 1980s to be the player-coach of Devonport City in the State League.

He then became Tasmania's director of coaching and was in charge of several of the State's under-age representative teams, along with Brian McKay, Ross Wesson and Barry Shacklady.

Darby then turned to playing and coaching.

He coached White Eagles to a State League title and then played for University, South Hobart and Croatia-Glenorchy before heading interstate, where was assistant coach of Sydney Olympic in the old NSL and coach of the Matildas.

Darby then coached in Vietnam, where he became national women's coach.

He moved to Singapore and took Police to the league title and into the Asian Champions League.

A move to Malaysia followed, where he achieved success at club level before moving on to Bangkok and the position of assistant coach of Thailand until his elevation to the position of national coach today.

Darby isn't the only former White Eagles coach to make it big overseas.

Ken Worden, who played for and coached Eagles in the late 1970s, also coached at NSL level and then became national coach of both Singapore and Malaysia.

Tasmanian state representative and club sides have a long history of playing against interstate opponents.

On 29 October 1983, a Hobart Select XI took on leading Victorian side Polonia at Taroona and scored a sensational 5-1 victory.

Hobart was on top from the start and Andrew Leszczynski smashed a ferocious shot against the Polonia post as early as the 5th minute.

Hobart led 1-0 at the break when Ian Parker scored in the 43rd minute from Perry Forster’s pass.

Lakic made it 1-1 shortly after the resumption, but within two minutes, Hobart were again ahead when Bruce Ward scored with a penalty.

Mark Leszczynski added Hobart's third from Sergio Pace’s pass on the hour, while Nick Cook made it 4-1 when he prodded home Ward’s cross in the 63rd minute.

Greg Ashwood headed the fifth to complete the scoring six minutes from the end.

The Taroona ground was good enough in those days to host such a match, which just goes to show that when there’s a will, there’s a way.

The Polonia squad was: Dzielakowski (Goalkeeper), Liparski, McCluskey, Mila, Smolarek, Czapnik, Tront, Petrov, Lakic, Marshall, Krysinski, Dachs, Lukac (Goalkeeper); Leszek Dzielakowski (Coach).

A year earlier, on 3 October 1982, Metro beat Victorian side Altona Gate 3-1, after leading 1-0 at half-time.

Metro's scorers were Paul Fone, Ian Parker and John McIntyre, while Serovski replied for the visitors.

Eli Luttmer, 15, who plays for the Tasmanian Institute of Sport team, is off to Canberra tomorrow for a 4-day training camp with the national under-16 side.

The under-16s will be playing in an Asian championship in Canberra later this year.

Many of the players selected will progress to the Joeys, the Australian national under-17 side.

Luttmer, who plays at right-back for the TIS, is excited about the upcoming camp.

“I’m both excited and nervous,” said Luttmer.

“Not knowing many people there and the standard that will be expected makes me a bit nervous about whether I can perform.

“It’s the first time I’ve been to such trials.”

Luttmer has had a good season with the TIS, which won the under-19 league title this year.

He is an overlapping fullback who, apart from defending, has attacking responsibilities and this has seen him score some impressive goals this season.

Luttmer is in Year 9 at Taroona High School and he hopes to win another scholarship to the TIS for next year.

He hopes that the TIS side plays at a higher level next season, such as in Division One.

He rejects the fears of some, who say that the youngsters would be physically unprepared for Division One.

“I think we’d be okay,” said Luttmer. “There are 16-year-olds playing in the senior Premier League competition.

“Next year, some of the TIS boys will be sixteen and there may be some 17-year-olds, so we could handle it.”

Luttmer’s aim is to make soccer a full-time profession.

He would like to be successful at the trial and also to earn a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

He is also a member of the State under-16 side that will compete at the national championships in Coffs Harbour next month.