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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Melbourne Victory bowed out of the Asian Champions League when they drew 0-0 at Docklands tonight with Chinese champions Beijing Guoan.

Melbourne might have had a penalty in the 19th minute when Beijing’s goalkeeper appeared to bring down Robbie Kruse, but the Singaporean referee waved play on.

The visitors were the better side in the first half and had numerous chances but were unable to score.

Melbourne’s Kevin Muscat and Sukha were both booked as the home side defended desperately, knowing they had to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for the round-of-16 stage alive.

Melbourne finally got on top in the final 15 minutes, but their only chance came in the 76th minute when a superb shot by Marvin Angulo almost caught out Beijing’s keeper. He managed to parry the shot with one hand and, when the ball fell to Nik Mrdja, he fired straight at the keeper.

Last year’s Football Superstar winner, Luke Pilkington, came on for Nicky Ward in the 83rd minute.

Melbourne had the better of possession (53% to 47%), but Beijing spent 56% of the match in Melbourne’s half.

Beijing had 10 corners and Melbourne just two, while both sides were caught off-side on four occasions.

Melbourne committed 19 fouls and Beijing 15, while Melbourne had just 6 shots on goal (four on target) compared to Beijing’s 17 (five on target).

Melbourne got the ball into the opposing penalty area 17 times, while Beijing did so 27 times.

Each keeper had four saves to make.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick said he was disappointed that the club’s Asian Champions League campaign was over, but he was pleased that his players, including several youngsters, had stepped up to this level of competition.

He said he felt Melbourne could have scored a couple of goals against Beijing.

Melbourne have, in fact, scored just once in the tournament, and that was from a penalty.

Glenorchy Knights Reserves beat the Tasmanian Institute of Sport 3-2 at Wentworth Park this evening through a last-minute goal by Corey Smith.

Brendan Garth had given Knights a 1-0 lead at the interval.

Hugh Foley made it 1-1 when he turned home Declan Foley’s free-kick, while Eli Luttmer’s goal put the TIS 2-1 ahead with 10 minutes remaining.

Mynonge Kamba then equalised and Smith hit the winner in the closing seconds.

Adelaide United and Pohang Steelers moved through to the round of 16 knock-out stage of the Asian Champions League when they drew their Group H match 0-0 at the Steelyard in Korea this evening.

Pohang, who are the reigning champions, dominated the match, but poor finishing cost them dearly.

The closest they came to actually scoring was in the 78th minute when Shin Hyung-Min hit the post.

Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic was again in excellent form and produced a superb double-save late in the game to deny the Koreans a goal.

Galekovic also did well in the 86th minute when he dived to his left to keep out a goal-bound shot by the home side, who are now unbeaten in 11 matches at home in this competition.

Earlier, one of Pohang’s Brazilians, Mota, missed an easy header from 6 metres.

Adelaide brought on Matthew Leckie during the second half in place of captain Travis Dodd, but he was unable to swing the game in the visitors’ favour.

Pohang did not even give a run to their other Brazilian, Alexsandro, and were probably happy to settle for a point on a very cold evening to take them through to the next stage.

Zlatko Belanic, the former Rapid, Croatia-Glenorchy and White Eagles goalkeeper, was back in Hobart last week to conduct goalkeeping clinics.

Belanic, 47, came to Tasmania from Adelaide in the 1980s and stayed for a decade before returning to his home state, having won a treble of trophies with White Eagles.

“Andrew Leszczynski was on a business trip to South Australia and came down to watch me coach one of the Premier League clubs and he invited me back to Tasmania to conduct some coaching clinics,” said Belanic.

“My daughter was born in Tasmania and I have really enjoyed my trip back here to coach.”

Belanic is currently freelancing as a goalkeeping coach but spent four years with the South Australian Sports Institute and the elite women’s team.

He was also an assistant coach and goalkeeping coach at a number of senior South Australian clubs.

Croyden Kings was his last club before branching out on his own as a goalkeeping coach.

“It’s not a case of doing some sessions and saying ‘see you later’,” he said.

“I like to provide feedback and help them as much as I can because it’s a very lonely position at the best of times.”

Belanic said the clinics went very well and he coached junior keepers as well as senior keepers from a number of local Hobart clubs.

“We had about eight junior keepers in the mornings and in the afternoons we’ve had senior keepers,” he said.

“The pitch at Clare Street has been perfect.

“If you talk to the kids, I think they’ll tell you they’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Belanic rates Adam Federici of English side Reading as Australia’s next national team goalkeeper after Mark Schwarzer.

He said there were a few young keepers overseas knocking on the door of national selection but Australia was not producing them in the same numbers as before.

“When Schwarzer came along, he was only about third or fourth in line for selection,” Belanic said.

“That shows you how persistence and patience pay off as far as goalkeeping goes.

“I think Federici has been consistent, and I think Eugene Galekovic has to go overseas as he’s by far the best keeper in the A-League.

“I think our current national coach and whoever takes over from him will want goalkeepers who are playing in the better leagues.”

Belanic said the A-League clubs needed to give young players more of a chance, and that meant goalkeepers and out-field players.

He said that Melbourne Victory’s Mitch Langerak had played superbly recently but that he needed to do that over a longer period and he needed to go overseas.

“Goalkeeping is a cut-throat position,” said Belanic. “Galekovic couldn’t displace the previous Melbourne Victory keeper, Michael Theoklitos, who eventually went to England and played for Norwich City.

“They lost 7-1 in his first game and although he stayed on for a while he eventually became the third-choice keeper and he’s now back in Australia and has signed for Brisbane Roar.”

Belanic was not very confident of a good showing by Australia at this year’s World Cup in South Africa.

A performance like the one in Germany would be very good, he said, but we had a better team, man for man, in 2006.

“This will definitely be the last World Cup for some of the older guys,” he said.

“It’s a tournament in which the older players haven’t got time for recovery and, if we get some injuries, we could be in trouble.

“If we keep away from injuries, we could do okay.

“I think if we get to the quarterfinals we’ve got to be happy with that.”


Tasmanians Michael Holden, Dean Watkins, En Soo She and Isaac Kenyi were selected for the All-Stars team from Group B at the recently concluded 2010 FFA National Championships for Under-13 Boys held in Canberra.


All games scheduled for KGV Park have been cancelled until 7 May because the two goalmouths have to be repaired.

This means there won’t be any Friday night games for a while, which is disappointing as these have become part of the game’s culture in Hobart.

And, the TIS will have to find another venue for their Premier League Reserve mid-week matches.