Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but is now in his 37th 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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Photos (Top to Bottom): Hiroshi Sagawa won Taroona's 'The Rohner' award; Adam McKeown (right) was New Town Eagles' most-consistent award winner; Michael Anderson (nearest the ball) was New Town Eagles' best-and-fairest Premier League player [PlessPix]

Michael Anderson won New Town Eagles’ senior best-and-fairest award at the club's vote count last weekend.

Anderson played in defence or midfield and was a solid performer throughout the season for the club’s Premier League side.

Striker Adam McKeown was adjudged the club’s most consistent senior player, while Steve Louden took out the coach’s award.

Barry Pope won Eagles’ reserves’ best-and-fairest award, while Matt Fennell was the reserves’ most consistent.

In the Under-19s, Brody Holmes was the best-and-fairest player, Travis Ware the most consistent, and Ryan Nutting was presented with the coach’s award.

Eagles’ Division Two best-and-fairest player was Damien Bones, while Brent Leonard won the award for Eagles’ Division Three side.

Saad Pasalic won the club’s ‘Golden Boot” award as the top goalscorer.

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Central defender Lucas Wyatt was Taroona’s best-and-fairest Premier League player, while goalkeeper Rob Hortle won the coach’s award.

Hiroshi Sagawa was the Premier Reserves’ best-and-fairest player and the utility player also won The Rohner ‘Best Team Player’ award.

The coach’s award in the reserves went to Jordan Wright.

In the Under-19s, Dominic Maher-Pyrke was the best-and-fairest award winner, while Chalerm Tuantab took out the coach’s award.



Photos (Top to Bottom): Anthony Grundy tackles Kingborough's Brett Andrews; Anthony Grundy clears his lines against Kingborough [PlessPix]

Anthony Grundy has been appointed as assistant coach at Glenorchy Knights for the coming season.

Grundy has been a key central defender for the Knights for over a decade and is looking forward to trying his hand at coaching. He will be the assistant to senior coach, Nick Harrison.

I spoke to Anthony after his appointment.

Walter Pless: What is your reaction to your appointment?

Anthony Grundy: I feel good about my appointment and I’m really looking forward to it.

WP: What is your aim?

AG: Well, basically, we want to aim for the title, of course. I think if we can pick up a couple of players, then I think we can give South a good push for the title.

WP: Will you be playing?

AG: I’ve said at this stage that I’ll play reserves and support the seniors it it’s required through injuries or something like that. But, I’m certainly not putting my hand up to play seniors at this stage.

WP: Do you have coaching qualifications?

AG: No. I’ve just booked in to do the course for the senior licence in November. Nick Harrison and I have just enrolled to do that. That’s the course in Campbell Town over three days, I think. Two days one weekend and then another day on the following weekend, and then there’s an assessment after that.

WP: Do you have the Intermediate?

AG: No. Apparently you don’t need it. That’s what I’ve been told.

WP: From a player perspective, where do you think the club needs strengthening?

AG: I think our big issue is that we didn’t score enough goals last year, so the first thing we want to do is see if we can find ourselves a striker. That’s not going to be easy, of course. And, I think we really lacked a strong central midfielder. They’re two particular areas we need to target.


Photo: Nick Harrison...appointed coach of Glenorchy Knights [PlessPix]

Nick Harrison has recently been appointed coach of Glenorchy Knights for the next two seasons.

He took over in a caretaker capacity half-way through last season after the sudden resignation of Eamonn Kelly.

I spoke to Nick about his appointment and the interview follows.

Walter Pless: How do you feel about your appointment?

Nick Harrison: Pleased. Obviously, there were a couple of other people interested [in the position]. On the plus side is having Anthony Grundy involved in it. He is the one who approached me after the Devonport game and said what he felt and that he wanted to get involved in coaching and step down from playing seniors, so we put a package together to submit to the club and then they had a meeting and offered us the job after asking some further questions and we’ve got a two-year contract, a two-plus one-year contract.

WP: You’ve already been coaching the club for the past six months. What changes can you see you’ll need to make?

NH: Obviously, we need strengthening in certain areas. We need to know which players will leave. When Eamonn [Kelly] left a third of the way through the season, all players stayed with us, which was pleasing at the time. There’s talk of certain players maybe leaving and we know some of our players have already been approached by other clubs. My concern was that if the club didn’t make a decision sooner than later, then we’d be behind the eightball.

If players leave, I’ll shake their hand and wish them well. As I said at the dinner the other week, where are you going to play where you’re going to better yourself? If players move on to better themselves, I’ll wish them well. So, what we need to know is which players will leave. We want a commitment out of the players who are at the club at the moment, I suppose, and then we’ll be talking to players on our wish list, that is, players we’d like to bring to our club, and I’ll be speaking to some of those. I’ll try and meet some of those players and talk to them and see what they think and try and attract those players to our club.

I’ve also said to the committee what I want in return. A lot of clubs don’t charge registration and that’s something we’ve got to address. All clubs have to be more professional in what they do, and we do too. Coming from England, as I do, you don’t hear about registrations. Players sign on and they get a club tracksuit, they get a club polo shirt and they get training gear. I suppose that’s a dream, but if you play that’s what you get. You’re expected to wear your tracksuit to all games, and all that sort of thing. If we can come up with something like that it’ll be good. The club has got to be proactive as well, and more active as well. The committee had been struggling with members. We need more members and more people involved. There’s work to be done on and off the field.

We’re going to have a club barbecue at the Prince of Wales Ground on the 31 October, which is a Sunday. The following few weekends there’s a senior licence course which Anthony and I will be going on, so [on 31 October] we’ll have an open day and welcome new and old players and welcome everybody there and let people know what we’re doing. We start [pre-season] training on Monday, 22 November.

We know we’ve got to strengthen the side. A goalscorer will be a priority, and there’s not many of them about. Corey Smith is an answer, depending on the situation. Hopefully, all players will stay and we’re looking at where we need strengthening. We need more depth in our squad to be competitive. We want to improve on this year, and there’ll be a lot of other clubs out there wanting to improve as well.

WP: What qualifications do you have?

NH: In Australia, all I’ve done is the junior and youth licences. I’ve done the Intermediate Coaching Course, but there was never eve a coach here to assess it. I’ll be attending the course in Campbell Town in November and, hopefully, Anthony Grundy will come with me on that course as he needs to be qualified as well. That’s the Senior Certificate Course.

Rushden and Diamonds 1-0 Mansfield Town

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This home win placed Rushden and Diamonds above Mansfield Town on the Blue Square League ladder.

Rushden have now suffered only one defeat in their past seven games and are sixth, while for Mansfield, it is now four matches without a win and they are in seventh spot.

Rushden are doing very well for a club that is now in the 5th tier of English football after only being formed in 1990 and having a brief spell in the English League. It is their fifth season back at this level. They even have their own radio station, Radio Diamonds.

Their delightful Nene Park ground, with a capacity of 6,441 (4,641 seated), would be the envy of an A-League side such as Gold Coast United, who might fill such a ground with their home games and spare TV viewers the sight of huge empty grandstands on three sides of Skilled Park.

The pitch was in excellent shape, while the stands were brightly painted and appeared to have comfortable seating. The canteens look easily accessible and Wells Bombardier, the so-called ‘English drink’, is available for those who want to enjoy a beer during the game.

In fact, this venue and its fine facilities will be the training headquarters for judo and table-tennis at the 2012 London Olympics.

Times are not so good for the visitors, who were relegated from Division Two in 2008 after 77 years in the English League. The Stags were losing 10,000 pounds a week and have now been taken over by a new owner, who has promised to pump half a million quid into the club this season.

The Diamonds, playing a 4-3-3, should have taken the lead after only 8 minutes when a throw-in from the right was flicked on twice and the ball fell for Tim Sills, but he headed wide from close range.

Seconds later, however, Sills fired the home side into the lead. Rene Howe, who is on loan from Peterborough United, cut the ball back from the byline on the right and Sills side-footed the ball into the roof of the net with his left peg to register his first goal for the club.

The Diamonds, as well as Mansfield, who were playing a 4-4-2 system, were relying on the long ball at this stage. Both sides were also trying to penetrate down the flanks and managing to send over some dangerous crosses.

In the 12th minute, the home side had a lucky escape. Mansfield sent over a cross from the right to the far post, which was dropped by Rushden’s keeper, 20-year-old Joe Day, but as the ball bounced back towards the goal, Shane Huke hooked it clear.

Joe Day, who was filling in for the injured Dale Roberts, recovered from this opening bout of nerves and went on to have a fine game and was later named man-of-the-match.

In the 19th minute, he produced a good save from Adam Murray’s low strike.

Both sides were now beginning to play the ball on the ground and building up from the back. In the 28th minute, Luke Medley had the ball in the back of the Rushden net after some poor defending by the home side, but the effort was given off-side.

Joe Day repaid manager Justin Edinburgh’s faith in him a minute before the interval when he produced a brilliant save from a Gary Mills shot from 25 metres. With the ball arrowing into the top-right hand corner of the net, Day threw himself through the air and tipped it wide for a corner.

In stoppage time, Joe Day was at his best again as he turned Louis Briscoe’s shot from the right, after a well-rehearsed free-kick routine, wide for another corner.

There was some fierce tackling in the final minutes of the opening half and the commentators, Joe Speight and Ian Snodin, suggested there would have been at least five free kicks awarded if it were a Premier League match, but referee Carl Berry allowed play to go on. There was nothing malicious, however, as has recently been suggested occurs in the Premier League. It was good old manly stuff, on which the English game’s reputation has been built.

Eight minutes after the resumption, Rushden’s Alan Power sent a shot straight at Mansfield keeper Mihkel Aksalu, who is on loan from Sheffield United, after a poor attempted over-head clearance by a Mansfield defender.

Aksalu sent his team straight into a counter-attack and Medley broke through with only the keeper to beat, but he miscued his shot and the ball hit the base of the far post. It was a golden chance to put the visitors level with the Diamonds.

In the 57th minute, Mansfield manager David Holdsworth, changed his strikers, taking off Paul Connor and Ashley Cain and bringing on Scotsman Keigan Parker and Welshman Rob Duffy.

Rushden hit back and, in the 63rd minute, Aksalu was forced to make a timely save at his near post from a shot from the left.

Mansfield hit the woodwork for the second time in the game when, in the 74th minute, Duffy cracked a great shot against the crossbar after a hotly contested corner decision.

Mansfield’s Chris Smith was very lucky to stay on after he head-butted an opponent in the 77th minute and in clear view of the referee.

Four minutes from the end, the busy and mobile substitute, Parker, was through on goal but volleyed wide with his right foot when he perhaps should have tried a left-footed strike.

That was the final chance of the match and the Mansfield fans had to make the 90-mile journey home disappointed.

And some trivia? The Diamonds wear a Macron strip, but their captain, Jamie Stuart, wears a Nike armband. The Stags wear an Errea strip, while the match ball was an Umbro.

Oh, and there is life outside the English Premier League.

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Rushden and Diamonds (4-3-3): Joe Day - C Osano, J Stuart, S Huke, Jamie Day (K Robinson 46) - M Porter, A Power (R Charles 83), M Johnson - T Sills (L Spence 65), A O’Connor, R Howe [Substitutes not used: L Key, M Corcoran]

Booked: L Spence 79, K Robinson 90+5

Goals: T Sills 8

Mansfield Town (4-4-2): M Aksalu - D Silk, S Foster, C Smith, K Sandwith - A Cain, G Mills, A Murray, L Briscoe (S Istead 79) - L Medley (K Parker 57), P Connor (R Duffy 57) [Substitutes not used: N Collett, P Stonehouse]

Booked: C Smith 90+2

Att: 1,480

Ref: C Berry (Surrey)