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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Wellington Phoenix have qualified for a home match in the A-League finals by beating Central Coast Mariners 3-0 at WestPac Stadium in Wellington this afternoon.

The victory cemented fourth spot for the Phoenix, who delighted the home crowd of 14,327.

Tim Brown headed the Phoenix in front from 6 metres after an excellent pass by Vince Lia had put Manny Muscat away on the right and Muscat crossed accurately from the byline.

It was Brown’s seventh goal of the season.

Two goals in the final 11 minutes by Paul Ifill destroyed the visitors.

In the 79th minute, Phoenix stole the ball following a sloppy Mariners free-kick and attacked down the right.

Chris Greenacre’s shot took a deflection and fell perfectly for Ifill, who swept the ball into an empty net to make it 2-0.

A minute later, Ifill made it 3-0 by collecting his 12th goal of the season.

He ran onto a clever lobbed free-kick on the left and cut inside, where he beat a defender before smashing his shot past Danny Vukovic and inside the far post.

The Mariners, who remain seventh, were very disappointing and Phoenix keeper Liam Reddy had very little to do.

The northern Steve Hudson Cup pre-season competition kicks off on Sunday at Launceston’s Birch Avenue grounds in Newstead, with two southern clubs also involved this year.

South Hobart and Taroona will be wending their way north each weekend to do battle with their northern opponents.

Early indications are that South Hobart will relish the challenge as it will enable them to use some members of their squad who are on the fringe of senior selection and also to rotate their senior players.

It may be a different kettle of fish for Taroona, who already seem to be hit by injury and player unavailability.

Taroona have a massive task in staying competitive in the southern Premier League after winning promotion last year, so one can only admire them for taking on this extra challenge of turning out each weekend in Launceston.

Ulverstone, from the North-West Coast, are also to be admired for leaving their own turf to contest this cup as that region has its own pre-season tournament starting shortly.

The series is hosted by Launceston United and is named in honour of a former goalkeeper of the club, who was injured during a game and subsequently died as a result of those injuries.

The competition is divided into two groups:

Group A: Launceston United, Taroona, Northern Rangers, Ulverstone

Group B: Launceston City, South Hobart, Western Knights, Riverside Olympic

Sunday’s schedule is:

10.30am: Launceston City v Western Knights

12.30pm: Ulverstone v Northern Rangers, and Launceston United v Taroona

2.30pm: South Hobart v Riverside Olympia

Launceston City will be coached by former Young Socceroos captain Kurt Reynolds and they should be too good for Western Knights in the opening match.

Ulverstone will test northern league champions Northern Rangers in the second game, while at the same time, there will be little to separate Launceston United and Taroona.

South Hobart should come away with the spoils when they take on Riverside Olympia.

Tilford Zebras are the kings of the Summer Cup, having won the trophy for the past three seasons.

They begin their attempt to make it four pre-season trophies in a row at South Hobart on Saturday at 2.30pm when they take on league champions South Hobart in Group A of the competition in what promises to be a thriller.

They will have a new man in charge in Romeo Frediani, who coached the reserves last year.

Frediani realises he has big shoes to fill now that Nick Lapolla has handed him the reins, but he is looking forward to the challenge and does not mind taking on the league champions in the first match.

“I am confident,” Frediani said from Queensland this evening, where is doing some work.

“We’ve had a good pre-season. It’s been a long pre-season.

“I’m ready to start, and I think the players are ready to start, so we’ve got to start some time and it may as well be against South Hobart.

“We don’t have any injuries and I have a full squad from which to choose.

“It’ll be a strong squad. The other night, when we played Knights, I had a squad of about 20 odd players to choose from, so we’ve definitely got a full squad.

“I can’t see why we cannot win the trophy for a fourth year in a row.

“I’ve got big boots to fill, I suppose, with Nick gone and trying to keep up with his record.

“But, yeah, I don’t see why we can’t. The confidence is there, and the players are confident, so I don’t see why we can’t do it.

“Ken [Morton] taught me well when I was young and I haven’t forgotten what he taught me.

“We’ll see.”

Frediani confirmed that Troy Kaden would be in goal and that Ben Crosswell would play.

The Tilford Zebras squad is: Troy Kaden, Henry Fagg, Ryan Smith, Andrew Telega, Kurt Engels, Ben Crosswell, Ricky Self, Matt Hall, Luke Engels, Jayden Welch, Dwayne Walsh, Ashley Fisher, Josh Thorpe, Adam Young.

The South Hobart squad will be: Sam Kruijver, Josh Heerey, Daniel Brown, Hugh Ludford, Liam Scott, Matthew Brown, Bart Beecroft, Greg Downes, Jonathon Ladic, Jim Pennicott, Kostas Kanakaris, Shae Hickey, Jonathon Lo, David Cooper, Garry Upton, Andrew King.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton.

“They’re obviously the cup team, having won the Summer Cup a few times in the last few years.

“We expect a hard game. We understand that they’re very fit and strong.

“With Crosswell and Walsh, you’ve always got to be on your toes because they’re good strong strikers and good finishers.

Morton conceded that his team had probably had the best preparation of all the sides, but he did not want them to be at their peak yet.

“We don’t want to be fighting fit at this stage, where we’re bursting out of our skins,” Morton said.

“But, we believe we’re in good condition. We’ve had good preparation and, while I’ve played a lot of players, we feel whatever combination we put out, that combination has generally played together at some time, be it a training match or be it a practice match.

“I think we’re in good shape.

“We have some little injuries. Tom Roach is not there, and David Abbott, because of a few little knocks, but hopefully they’ll be fresh for Sunday as well, so we’re just trying to juggle a little bit.”

Clarence United will be missing some players from last season when they take on Kingborough Lions United at South Hobart at 11.30am on Sunday in a Group B match.

“I’ve got a few out this week,” said Clarence coach, Andrew Brown.

“Changes from last year are Chris Hunt out, Alex Nandan from the TIS in, Julian McMahon out, Adam McIntyre in, and Michael Moschogianis retired, and Cameron Sweeney from TIS in.

“It’s hard to say how we’ll go against Kingborough.

“We’ve only had two hit-outs. One was against the TIS and the other was against Taroona.

“It’ll be a good test. We’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve got very good mental strength for young boys and we’re looking forward to playing a real game, where there’s a winner and a loser.

“We’re not going into the game to lose. We’re going in it to win it.

“Other players not available or injured are Sam Cannamela, David Hoppitt and Andy Barron.

“But, we’ve got good depth, so we’re looking at blooding kids.”

Clarence lost 5-4 to the TIS and beat Taroona 1-0.

The TIS game was purely to assist the TIS before they attended the Institute Challenge in Canberra, so Clarence played to the requirements of the TIS in terms of tactics and formation.

“Technically, it was a hit-out for Dean [May, the TIS coach] and the TIS players,” said Brown.

Clarence reached last year’s Summer Cup final, where they lost 4-3 to Tilford Zebras.

The Kingborough Lions United squad is: David Leamey, Ross Hinkley, Andrew Davies, Isaac Lucas, Michael Palmer, Marc Iseli, Trent Pearce, Ryan Bevan, Marcus Bremner, Greg Freeman, Tom McDonald.

“It should be a good game,” said Kingborough coach, Geoff Freeman.

“They finished quite strongly last year and I’m imagining they’re pretty keen to build on that.

“We’re looking to try and start the season quite positively as well and the Summer Cup is an extension of our pre-season. Not that you want to play it down, but that’s what it is really.

Marcello Marchioli will be in the reserves, while Brett Andrews will be rested as Saturday night is his 21st birthday party.

Damien Pearce has a sprained ankle and will miss the opening match.

In Group A, New Town Eagles meet Olympia Warriors in the main game on Sunday at 2.30pm.

The Eagles squad is: Nathan Pitchford, Mark Page, Andrew Clark, Steve Louden, Chris Wass, Alexander Leszczynski, Joshua Quon, Ethan Menzie, Jacob Clamp, Matthew Fennell, Jamie Vernon, Josh Hadfield, Michael Anderson, Shane Kent, Adam McKeown and Ben Whitehall.

“They’ve got a very young side, but they can run, run, run,” said Eagles coach, George Krambousanos.

“He’s got them very fit and they’re very good little runners.

“They gave South a bit of a headache for at least three-quarters of the game in a practiced match last weekend.

“This game will be only 30 minutes each way and anything can happen. The runners can win a game like this, compared to skilful players.

“We are missing four very good players who could probably make it anywhere else. They are Nick Ferrall, Jacob Malakoff, Cormac Collins and Alex Gordon.

“We’ve trained well and have been averaging over 30 players each training session, but when these four players are out, it gives another four players the chance to come in.

“Everyone has been attending training and everything has been really good. We finished off with very good vibes.

“It’s a Summer Cup and we’ve only had one practice match, against South, and we had a few players missing in that game.

“I suppose it’s the same scenario as last year when we only had one practice game.

“The positive thing is we’ve got Nathan Pitchford back and also we have Michael Anderson and Shane Kent, three players we missed last year at this time.

“I think we can beat them, but I’m not going to take anything away from Chris [Hey] and his players. I was impressed with their running style that they had in the game I saw and also with their quickness to the ball and to the player with the ball.

“It’s 30 minutes each way and it’s going to be hard, but I think we can beat them, and we should, too, really.”

Olympia have added Emmanuel Tsakiris to their squad, but the club still has not received a clearance for their Zimbabwe player, Warren Wadawu.

“We’ve got a couple of changes from last week’s squad, and I was pretty happy with the way we played last week,” said Olympia coach, Chris Hey.

“We certainly need to have more penetration in the front third. That probably let us down a little bit last week.

“But, we’re confident and there’s no reason why we can’t play to the standard we did last week and, if we can penetrate a little bit more in that front third and get some shots on target, then it should be a good game.

“I haven’t seen Eagles play, but I know they’re a young side so they’ll have a lot of mobility across the park and we’ll see how we go.”

In Group B, Taroona meet Glenorchy Knights at South Hobart at 11.30am on Saturday.

“We’re a little bit stretched this weekend,” said Taroona coach, Ben Horgan.

“There’s last-minute panic about getting people registered in time and all that sort of rubbish.

“It’ll be a bit lightweight. It’ll be a big challenge against the Knights.

“We’ve got pretty well the same squad as last year.

“We’ve got Chris Cox and Cian Carey both injured, unfortunately, and our two normal centre-backs are both out.

Ben Schaap has a broken toe and Sam Johnston has work commitments but will play in Launceston on Sunday in the Steve Hudson Cup.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who have to juggle work commitments and who can’t get free for both days on the weekend.

“Knights are looking good for the top two or three, so it will be very hard for us.”

Glenorchy Knights coach Eamonn Kelly is likely to field a similar line-up to the one that drew 0-0 with Tilford Zebras in a practice match at Prince of Wales Bay on Tuesday night.

Alex Tatnell missed that game with an ankle injury but should be fit to play in this game.

Tony Dzelalija and Anthony Grundy are back in action for the seniors, while Kelly may choose to play Tom and James Sherman, even though they are expected to head overseas soon.

Daniel White is also certain to play after signing from Whittlesea Zebras in Victoria.

Amadu Koroma may have earned himself a trial with Melbourne Knights and he has shown good pre-season form.

Given Taroona’s injury problems, this should be a romp in the park for the Knights.

As predicted on this blog this morning, the Tasmanian Government has given $80,000 to the Tasmania United A-League Taskforce so that it can develop a comprehensive business case to present to the A-League with a view to Tasmania being given an A-League licence in the future.

Any such licence is unlikely to be granted before the 2012-2013 A-League season.

Michelle O’Byrne, the Minister for Sport and Recreation, announced the $80,000 grant at a media conference at the South Hobart ground this afternoon.

“This funding means the taskforce will be able to put forward the best possible case to get a Tasmanian team in the A-League,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“There has already been significant work done with a feasibility study and detailed research.

“That work has found that an A-League team is possible and would attract strong local support.”

The Government also recognised that there would be economic benefits to having an A-League team based in Tasmania.

“We know that having elite sport played in Tasmania generates significant plusses for the economy, and having an actual side based in Tasmania would further increase the benefits,” Ms O'Byrne said.

“It also encourages young people to take up sport, promoting active and healthy lifestyles, and also gives young players a clear path to pursue an elite sporting career.

“As part of the business case, prospective sponsors will be approached and I encourage companies to give strong consideration to backing a Tassie A-League team, given the extensive coverage the A-League receives not only domestically but also in Asia.

“The Football Federation of Australia has indicated that it will expand the competition in future and have granted Melbourne Heart and Western Sydney the 11th and 12th licences, respectively, that will see Melbourne Heart enter the competition in season 2010 and Western Sydney enter the competition in season 2011.

“We believe we are in the mix for a licence after these two teams are admitted and need to be able to demonstrate that Tasmanian can support and sustain a team with a comprehensive business case.”

The business case will include:

  • Full financial analysis including a ten-year operational and financial plan
  • Identification of ownership options
  • Identification of capital-raising options
  • The optimum management arrangements and structures to ensure the ongoing viability of a team
  • Identification of team-development options
  • Identification of membership programs including costs and benefits
  • Identification of areas of revenue
  • Identification of administration and training facility options
  • Identification and delivery of corporate partners