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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Brisbane Roar went to the top of the A-League standings last night when they beat Wellington Phoenix 1-0 at home at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane before just over 7,000 fans.

It was the Roar’s third consecutive win, while Wellington have yet to win a match at Suncorp in six outings there. They have now lost five and drawn one at that venue.

Ironically, the goal came from former Wellington player Kosta Barbarouses in the 73rd minute, following good play on the left by Reinaldo and Shane Stefanutto and then a neat one-two between Matt McKay and Barbarouses just outside the box.

It was only his third A-League goal and his first for Brisbane. Barbarouses missed out on World Cup selection for New Zealand and was keen to impress Wellington and All-Whites coach Ricki Herbert. Well, he did just that with his fine goal.

Wellington went close to scoring on two occasions in the opening half. In the 4th minute, Paul Ifill found Dylan MacAllister, whose shot from the right was parried wide for a corner by Brisbane keeper Michael Theoklitos. From the corner, MacAllister placed a header wide.

In the 34th minute, MacAllister again got onto the end of a Leo Bertos corner and his header was flicked on inside the 6-yard box by Chris Greenacre, but Theoklitos’s sharp reflexes enabled him to punch the ball clear.

Brisbane had more of the possession, but it took them until the closing minutes of the first half to create a couple of scoring chances.

In the 42nd minute, keeper Mark Paston saved brilliantly from Mitch Nichols in a one-on-one situation after Nichols had been put through on the left by a wonderful Barbarouses flick.

On the stroke of half-time, Paston produced another brilliant save from Thomas Broich after a perfect through-ball by Henrique.

Wellington had some good chances in the second half, but were unable to beat Theoklitos.

In the 55th minute, an Ifill lob over the shoulder from wide on the right threatened to sneak in under the bar but the ball landed just on top of the net.

In the 74th minute, seconds after Brisbane had hit the front, Ifill again provided the danger but was denied by the excellent Theoklitos.

Theoklitos again came to Brisbane’s rescue in the 83rd minute when a Mirjan Pavlovic shot was tipped over the bar by the keeper.

This loss was Wellington’s first defeat of the season. Wellington have now won only 8 games in 36 away trips in the A-League.

Beachside will win the Division One title on Saturday when they take on the FFT Under-15s at KGV Park at 4pm.

The home side need just a point from their remaining two games to prevent second-placed Metro from catching them and this game should provide three points, which are more than enough to secure promotion.

The FFT Under-15s are bottom of the table and have conceded 132 goals this season. Beachside have scored 110 goals and the youngsters will be subjected to more withering firepower in this encounter.

Fabian Lapolla returns to the Beachside line-up after injury, as does Colin Shepherd, who has completed a suspension. They replaced Dave Chadwick and Adam Direen.

“The State Under-15 boys have had a long season, but it was obvious that they had improved between our first and second encounters,” said Beachside coach, Nathan Robinson.

“KGV’s surface should help them continue to play passing football.

“However, it is our chance to seal the title and move a step closer to going through the season undefeated.

“Several players, including veteran Colin Shepherd, have committed to playing at senior level in the Southern Premier League next season with Beachside and that will provide great leadership for the club to move forward with some optimism about our chances of competing at the highest level.”

Nelson Eastern Suburbs travel to Pontville on Sunday to take on Hobart United and the visitors will have the same squad and starting eleven as last week, when they just scraped home 3-2 against the FFT Under-15s.

Under-19s Ollie Ireland, Max Caulfield and keeper Ollie Burdon will, therefore, again be on the bench.

“It was a tougher-than-expected match for us last week against the State Under-15 boys, who worked very hard and just couldn’t hold on for a win or draw,” said Nelson coach, Michael Roach.

“The same eleven will start for us as last week and they know they’ll need to lift to a higher level for this game.

“Hobart are in good form by the looks of last week’s draw against Beachside and, in theory, this should be a good match.”

In other games on Saturday, Metro should beat Southern FC away at Sherburd Park, while University will have few problems at home at Olinda Grove against DOSA.

Meanwhile, the question on some people's minds is: "What were the Taroona president and the FFT CEO discussing over breakfast at ZUM this morning?"

Steve Payne, Football Federation Tasmania’s technical director, has resigned.

Payne has been in the job for just under 12 months.

He coached Tasmania in the recent game against A-League side Central Coast Mariners, which Tasmania lost 3-0.

Payne had taken sick leave earlier this year but returned to the job after a brief visit to his former home in Canada.

I spoke to Payne this morning and asked him whether he had, in fact, resigned and he responded with the one-word answer: “Correct”.

When I asked him whether he could tell me the reason for his resignation, he replied: “No.”

I also asked him whether he would be staying in Tasmania and he replied: “I really have nothing further to say.”

FFT CEO John Boulos was unavailable for comment.

Tilford Zebras will be without star striker Ben Crosswell for the match against Burnie United at KGV Park on Saturday at 2pm in the State-wide top-four finals series.

Crosswell is unavailable and will be sorely missed by the home side as he has scored 14 goals in the league this season, making him the southern competition’s second-ranked marksman.

Matt Hall is likely to come into the starting line-up but will not necessarily play in attack. He is likely to play in his normal midfield position.

Dwayne Walsh, Zebras’ other recognised striker is under an injury cloud and will need to pass a fitness test this afternoon before he is available for selection.

“I think Burnie will be physical,” said Zebras coach, Romeo Frediani. “They did well against Glenorchy Knights earlier in the year.

“We’re not too worried, though, if we go out there and play the game I know the boys can play. I don’t think we’ll have any problems.

“It’ll be a tough game, though, and we expect them to come out nice and hard.

“We had a good training session last night in the rain, so we’ll be pumped for tomorrow’s game.”

Burnie beat Glenorchy Knights at KGV Park earlier this year in a Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy match and know the venue well.

They cannot be underestimated and, with players of the calibre of Sam Cocks, Adrian Scolyer and Andrew Wright in their line-up, they will give Zebra a run for their money.

The danger for Zebras is complacency, and if they are not at their best, they could be bundled out of this finals series.

South Hobart have swept all before them this season and are in line for their fifth piece of silverware this season if they win this series.

They face fourth-placed northerners Riverside Olympic on a heavy pitch at South Hobart on Saturday at 2pm.

Defender Daniel Brown and midfielder Shae Hickey are the only doubtful starters as both are carrying injuries.

South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said there was some pressure on his players as they have gone 30 games without defeat and a clean sweep of trophies was in sight, but he felt they were up to it.

He said they had weathered such pressure in the past and come from behind in some games so he was confident they would do well against Riverside.

He acknowledged Riverside were a good outfit and played attractive football, but he said South had weathered some huge storms this season and that his players were good enough to come through Saturday’s game with a win.

Northern Premier League champions Northern Rangers entertain fourth-placed southerners Clarence United at the NTCA Ground on Saturday at 2pm and this should be a close match.

Clarence showed last week what they are capable of when they almost toppled South Hobart, coming back strongly in the second half and almost snatching victory.

Rangers have won back-to-back northern titles and will be keen to win this finals series and this match may well require extra-time and penalties to decide the outcome.

The remaining game is at Valley Road on Saturday at 2pm, where Devonport City welcome Glenorchy Knights.

Both sides have been inconsistent, but home-ground advantage may just favour Devonport.