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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The former Juventus centre-half in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Luciano Longo, passed away in Hobart on Wednesday aged 69.

Luciano was the father of Dominic Longo, one of Tasmania’s best-known players who went on to play for the Joeys, the Young Socceroos, the Olyroos, Cercle Brugge in Belgium, and Marconi in the NSL.

Luciano was a commanding figure on and off the football pitch and he was synonymous with Juventus during those two decades.

He was of large stature and was powerful in the air, but a gentle man off the pitch.

In 1959, he was selected for Tasmania against the visiting Scottish club, Heart of Midlothian, but injury prevented him from playing.

Hearts beat Tasmania 10-0 before a crowd of 3,000 at North Hobart Oval.

The ‘gentle giant’ was also a Southern Tasmanian representative when South won the round-robin series in 1961 against the North and the North-West.

South beat North-West 6-0 in the semi-final and then downed North 5-0 in the final.

Longo was also a member of the 1961 Juventus team that withdrew from the association and played against Launceston Juventus on alternate weekends at what is now Queens Walk in a competition involving the State’s two Italian clubs.

Juventus eventually rejoined the association.

Luciano was again selected for the South in 1963 and they won the intrastate series by overcoming North-West 3-0 and the North 2-1 in the final at South Hobart.

Longo captained Juventus in 1963 when the title was decided on the last day. With one round remaining, Hobart Rangers had 28 points and Olympia and Juventus were level on 26 points in second and third places, respectively.

Rangers only needed a draw against Juventus in the final game to win consecutive titles. But, Juventus beat Rangers 3-2, while Olympia beat Wayatinah 4-0.

That meant Olympia and Juventus finished level on 29 points and superior goal-average gave Olympia the title.

It was the first time that any Tasmanian league title had been decided on goal average. [Note: Goal average is different to the current system that is used, namely goal-difference.]

I remember watching Luciano Longo being interviewed on the Channel Six (the precursor of WIN TV) sports show by Harry Ward on the Sunday afternoon and arguing passionately in favour of a play-off between Juventus and Olympia to decide the title.

He said that was how it was done in Italy if two teams finished level on points, as indeed it was.

But, his pleas fell on deaf ears. Tasmania tended to follow British practices and the title was Olympia’s.

Longo played for Tasmania against Victoria at Olympic Park in Melbourne before a crowd of 9,500 in 1964 and the Victorians won 7-1.

He missed out on selection later that year for Tasmania’s game against Western Australia at South Hobart, a match which Western Australia won 5-3.

The 900-strong Tasmanian home crowd booed their side off the field at the end in protest at the team selection and some late changes that had been made due to injuries.

That signified the end of an era and Longo retired from the game not so long after.

He will always be associated with Juventus, and remembered as the father of one of Tasmania’s greatest football exports, Dominic Longo, and he will be missed by the Italian and football communities.

The funeral will be at St Mary’s Cathedral at 10am on Monday.

Defending champions South Hobart visit KGV Park on Saturday at 6.30pm to take on Tilford Zebras in their opening Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League match of the season.

South Hobart go into this showdown fresh from their Summer Cup win last Saturday and will be more used to the venue and the later-than-usual kick-off time than Zebras.

And, South beat Zebras 1-0 in the Summer Cup group stage.

All these factors make South the favourites, but Zebras are quite capable of springing some surprises.

Shae Hickey will be missing from South’s starting line-up because of an ankle injury, but he may play on Sunday in the Steve Hudson Cup final against Ulverstone.

His place in midfield will be taken by Garry Upton, a move that can only strengthen the side.

Upton is a marvellous player. He reads the game well and has excellent technical skills, while his physical capacities can be intimidating for opponents.

In other words, he is the complete player and on a par with some of the great imports of the past.

South coach Ken Morton said his team had trained well during the week.

Zebras’ chances may depend on the type of side they send out.

They never really hit top form in the Summer Cup and this may have been due to some positional changes and experimentation by new coach Romeo Frediani.

If he makes the right selections and chooses players in their most suitable positions, Zebras will give South a run for their money.

The league season begins on Friday night when Glenorchy Knights entertain Clarence United at KGV Park at 8pm.

Both sides have a lot to prove.

The Knights will be keen to show that last weekend’s Summer Cup final loss was an aberration, while Clarence will want to show that their spectacular and successful end-of-season accomplishments last season were not just a flash in the pan.

Knights should have defender Tony Dzelalija back from suspension and his experience will be important.

Jacob Huigsloot will have plenty to prove to his former club and against his brother, Luke, even though they are unlikely to be in direct competition.

Knights’ goalkeeper Alex Tatnell will also want to do well against his former club and also prove to the knockers who criticised him for some of the goals in the cup final that he is up to Premier League standard.

Knights beat Clarence 1-0 in the Summer Cup group stage and therefore may have the psychological advantage.

Coach Eamonn Kelly will also be back and his disciplined approach should make the Knights slight favourites.

Clarence certainly have the ability to topple the Knights in this joust, but they will have to show improvement over their Summer Cup displays.

They certainly have the potential to win and, if their youngsters can put together an exciting 90 minutes of fast, accurate and technically proficient football, they can get off to the perfect start and collect three points.

Newcomers to the league, Taroona, open their top-flight campaign by hosting Olympia Warriors at Kelvedon Park at 2.30pm on Saturday.

Taroona must learn to score if they are to have any chance of winning.

They created numerous chances in their Summer Cup games, but did not find the back of the net once in three outings.

They have managed to score in the northern Steve Hudson Cup competition, but that was against poorer opponents than they will meet in the southern league.

“We’ve got pretty much a full strength squad to choose from this weekend for our game against Olympia,” said Taroona coach, Ben Horgan.

“Our new signing from Somerset, Garry Hamilton, will start up front with Hugo Luttmer.

“Rick Nettlefold will be in goals after his great form in the Steve Hudson Cup.

“Hamish Macgregor will start on the bench having had a late start to pre-season after returning from overseas.

“We’ve had a pretty long pre-season playing in both the Summer Cup and Steve Hudson Cup so we’re looking forward to getting the league underway and it is important that we find some good form, particularly at home, so we’re keen to make it a good start to the season.”

Olympia have clever striker Kosta Grillas available, but he will probably start on the bench, while Adam Hedge, recently returned from overseas, is likely to feature in the starting line-up.

Olympia coach Chris Hey rates Hedge in terms of his positioning and his ability to hold up the ball and make something happen.

The Olympia squad is: Nester, Hey, Peter Tsakiris, Powell, Lebski, Wiggins, Phillips, Richardson, Meredith, Adam Hedge, Emmanuel Tsakiris, Kunwar, Grillas, Farrugia, Tracy.

The final game of the round is at Lightwood Park on Sunday at 2.30pm, where Kingborough Lions United welcome New Town Eagles.

KIngborough will make one change to their side, with Marcello Marchioli coming in for Ryan Bevan.

Kingborough coach Geoff Freeman is confident that his side can begin their campaign by collecting three points at home.

Eagles coach George Krambousanos again has headaches.

Chris Wass and Shane Kent, his two key central defenders, are both out because of injury.

On the positive side, goalkeeper Nathan Pitchford and striker Alex Leszczynski both return from injury.

Jacob Clamp will come into the squad.

“It won’t be exactly the formation I was hoping for,” said Krambousanos.

“Steve Louden and Jacob Clamp will be the two centre-backs, while Adam McKeown and Alex Leszczynski will be our two strikers.

“I think we can win this one, but a few of my plans have suffered set-backs.

“The boys will do all right, though.”

Adelaide United beat Shandong Luneng 2-0 away in Jinan, eastern China, this evening to top Group H in the Asian Champions League with maximum points from two matches.

Sergio Van Dijk scored a beautifully created opener in the first half, while Matthew Leckie struck in the second period to complete the victory.

Both goals came from unstoppable headers.

Robert Cornthwaite won the ball in midfield and passed to Marcos Flores, who released Lucas Pantelis down the right.

His perfect cross found Van Dijk at the far post and he powered a header into the net.

Leckie’s goal came from a Scott Jamieson corner from the right, the striker heading the ball in off the crossbar.

The ball bounced down and over the line before coming back into play, but the assistant referee correctly signalled a goal.

Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic had little to do in the match but still produced an outstanding save from close-range in stoppage time at the end of the match as the Chinese side finally looked dangerous.

United, who finished last in the A-League, have had a complete form reversal and are the team to beat in Group H.

Leckie scored the only goal of their 1-0 win over Pohang Steelers in the first match, running from his own penalty area before scoring at the other end and now has two goals from two games.

Adelaide next meet Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

The 2010 Forestry Tasmania Premier League season was officially launched at Football Federation Tasmania headquarters at KGV Park this evening.

FFT president Sean Collins hosted the proceedings and, after asking each Premier League club captain and coach some questions, presented them with an obscure old book, pamphlet or brochure, most dealing with forestry topics.

Collins prefaced his questions with famous quotes from leading football personalities from the United Kingdom and used these quotes to lead in to his own questions.

That was fair enough, but the items presented to the player and coach of each club must have been a joke.

Perhaps I just don't get the Irish sense of humour, but it seemed as if Forestry Tasmania were having a clean-up and discarding items from their library.

Let us hope the league is a little more serious.

Michael Wood, an official from major sponsor Forestry Tasmania, delivered a speech extolling the virtues of the world game and said it was the second most popular football code in the State.

Wood said there were 14,000 registered football players in Tasmania and he was delighted that Forestry Tasmania was continuing its sponsorship of the game in both the north and south of Tasmania.

The captains and coaches of the eight southern Premier League clubs were presented to the gathering.

Players from several of the women’s Premier League clubs were also in attendance but , strangely, were not formally introduced.

Collins announced that Patrick Barlow was the new FFT CEO.

Barlow, who runs his own advertising, marketing, public relations and sales firm called Jacaranda Communications, would start work next week.

“I am excited,” said Barlow. “If there’s ever been a job that’s been made for me, it’s certainly the CEO of football Federation Tasmania.

“I think the first thing is to just start the position, which is next week, get to know the staff.

“The first month is really to see where the light switches are, where the pens and paper are, and just whether the format is working.

“But then I think with my marketing and public relations skills, I think that can be put to good use to take soccer to a stage further.

“It is the number one world game and I’d love it to be the number one world game here in Tasmania.”

While the launch was in progress, South Hobart's reserves were beating the Tasmanian Institute of Sport 5-1 on the KGV pitch just outside in the first of the regular Wednesday night matches in which the TIS will play Premier League reserve sides.

Jim Pennicott and Andy Brennan each scored twice and Pat Donohue once for South Hobart.