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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State-wide Top-Four Grand Final (KGV Park, Saturday, 11 September 2010)

___________________________


South Hobart 1 (T Roach 67)

Northern Rangers 0


HT: 0-0 Att: 500 Ref: K Barker


South Hobart: Kruijver - Pennicott, Ludford, D Brown (Upton 85), Scott - Hickey, Roach, Beecroft, Kanakaris - Brennan (Wook Bum Heo 72), Lo (Downes 83) [Substitute not used: Moncur]


Northern Rangers: Pooley - Tams, Tuma, Luck, Demeijer (Cuschieri 55) - Nicholson, Bremner, Hingston, Schipper, Dumbuya (Lanau-Atkinson 80) - Jago [Substitutes not used: Summers, Lichtendonk]


___________________________


South Hobart set a new Tasmanian record by going 34 games unbeaten when they downed Northern Rangers 1-0 to claim the State-wide Top-Four championship. It was their fifth trophy from the five that were on offer this season.


They were clearly the better side, apart from the opening few minutes and the final ten minutes, which is when Rangers created a couple of excellent scoring chances, which they squandered.


South demonstrated their usual style of play, characterised by possession play and attacks down the flanks. But, their Achilles Heel was again evident - an inability to put away good chances.


Jonathon Lo, the Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League’s leading marksman, missed four good scoring opportunities, while Andy Brennan, Shae Hickey and substitute Greg Downes were also off target.


The goal came from a typical South Hobart move in the 67th minute. A throw-in from the left near the corner flag was collected by Kostas Kanakaris, who laid the ball back for Hickey to cross towards the far post and there was Tom Roach to head powerfully past Marshall Pooley.


That seemed to spark Rangers into action and they pushed men forward for the first time in the match and provided support to their lone front-runner, Stefan Jago.


In the 71st minute, Todd Hingston headed Gabriel Tams’s corner straight at Sam Kruijver when he should have scored, while in the 83rd minute, Tams blazed just over the bar with a ferocious shot.


In the dying seconds, Paul Bremner’s header bounced slowly towards the line but the ball was cleared in the nick of time.


Official man-of-the-match, South Hobart fullback Jim Pennicott, was unlucky not to score twice. In the 7th minute, he fired narrowly wide of the angle of crossbar and post, while on the hour, his deep cross from the right deceived Pooley and came back into the keeper’s arms off the base of the far left-hand post.


South Hobart deserved the win, but it might all have been different if Rangers had come out of their defensive shell earlier and applied pressure to their opponents.


___________________________


South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:


“I thought it was a good game played in a good spirit.


“I thought we dominated the football match for long spells. We made some good opportunities and, apart from 8, 9 or 10 minutes from the end, where they had a bit of momentum and a couple of chances, they never really looked like scoring.


“I thought where we’ve been and what we’ve done this year, it was another good performance from us.


“Once we settled and got into our rhythm, I thought we passed the ball really well and created some really good opportunities.


“Obviously, near the end, we should have finished the game off well and truly. Jonathon Lo and Greg Downes both had reasonable chances that should have been tucked away.”


Northern Rangers coach, Adam Whitemore, said:


“I think the better side won. I wouldn’t dispute that.


“We knew South Hobart’s intensity was going to be a problem for us.


“The intensity in the southern league is much higher than in the northern league and it showed today.


“Under pressure, we couldn’t quite keep possession as we like to. They played pretty well and pressed us high as expected.


“They probably had twice the chances we had.


“Disappointed to lose, most definitely, but the better side won.”













Central Coast Mariners are exploring the possibility of playing some A-League matches at Bellerive Oval.


A practice match was played at Bellerive this afternoon between Clarence United’s seniors and reserves and film of the game and reports about the layout of the pitch and the facilities available at the venue will be forwarded to Lawrie McKinna, the football general manager of the Mariners.


The Tasmania United Taskforce also had chairman John McGirr at today’s game to assess the venue as a possible ground for a Tasmanian A-League side.


“We’ve had approaches from Central Coast Mariners,” said Michael Moschogianis, of Cricket Tasmania, and himself a former Clarence United senior goalkeeper.


Moschogianis said the Mariners had come and had a look at the venue during their recent visit to Tasmania, when they played Melbourne Victory at Aurora Stadium in Launceston and a Tasmanian State side at KGV Park in Glenorchy.


“They came and had a look at the facilities and were very impressed,” Moschogianis said.


“They couldn’t make it down today, but it’s all about making sure that we can actually fit their minimum requirements on the facility which we can show today.


“We’re also getting some feedback from some senior players about the surface and then they’ll go from there.


“It’s very premature at the moment, but Central Coast are certainly very keen to look at a real fixture next year, as early next year.”


Moschogianis said the film footage would be sent to the Mariners today and he would await developments.


“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge, so to speak, but we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.


“It’s certainly not about venue versus venue. Using Bellerive Oval to maximum potential [is what it’s about]. There’s a big soccer supporter base down in the south here and, if we can get, not only an A-League team, but a home team eventually, a Tasmanian team, playing here, that’s something we’d look forward to very much.”


The Football Federation Tasmania representative at today’s event was Robert Freke, who is in charge of referee development in the State.


“This is great,” Freke said. “This is a tremendous facility. Nice surface and very good facilities for spectators and players and officials.


“This is where professional football should be in Tasmania.”


Freke said that many more people would have attended the Central Coast Mariners’ game against Tasmania if the game had been held at Bellerive rather than at KGV Park.


He said that Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United could be future contenders for games at Bellerive.


“It would be really good to have a regular season match here,” Freke said. “Judging from the pre-season matches, the interest is there.


“[Today] is really just a trial of the facility more than anything else. Clearly, Michael [Moschogianis] and FFT will be talking again to the A-League.”


The pitch for today’s match measured 105 metres by 68 metres and had a cricket pitch in the middle of it.


Moschogianis said the pitch had been laid out that way because of the camber of the ground so that it sloped equally towards the two soccer goals.


John McGirr, the chair of the Tasmanian A-League Taskforce said: “It worked out a lot better than I honestly thought.


“I thought the touchline would be further away from the corporate area, but it’s not, so that’s a really big positive for us.”


When asked whether a Tasmanian A-League side could be playing at Bellerive any time soon, McGirr said: “Ah, that’s the $64,000 question.


“Our business case will be finished roughly within the next eight weeks and, as you’re probably aware, there’s a lot of issues at FFA, and the Newcastle Jets have struck financial trouble, so that may well impact on their extension plans. We don’t know.


“Well, obviously, if they [the Jets] had to pull out, they would be looking to another team because there’d be a bye again, so that would work in our favour, but we wouldn’t wish any harm on Newcastle Jets, but if that did happen then, obviously, that would open up a window of opportunity for us.


“The thing with the FFA is that they don’t tell you much at all.


“But, they are negotiating new television rights. They do want more content and they wouldn’t be able to run with the bye, so when Sydney come in next year, we would have 12 teams. Canberra have still got a strong bid, so if we bid, in three years’ time we could have 14 teams, which would suit us.


“We’ve got some sponsors lined up and we’ve also talked to some potential investors, Hobart business people.


“We’re re-jigging the Taskforce to fit a different business model which we think will make it more attractive to sponsors. We’ve got a couple of high-profile business people coming on board, which we’ll announce in the next couple of weeks.


“At the moment, the Taskforce is only an association so we’re moving towards a more professional business model.”















South Hobart picked up their fifth piece of silverware for the season on Saturday when they beat Northern Rangers 1-0 in the State-wide Top-Four Grand Final.


They thus completed their season with the State Premiership trophy, having already collected the Steve Hudson Cup, the Summer Cup, the Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy and the Forestry Tasmania Southern Premier League title.


And, they set a new Tasmanian record by remaining undefeated in 34 consecutive matches.


The win against Northern Rangers, who suffered only one loss in winning the Forestry Tasmania Northern Premier League title, was typical of their recent games.


South had numerous chances, survived a few scares, and won 1-0.


Northern Rangers made the mistake of playing just one striker, Stefan Jago, who was always outnumbered.


It was only in the final 15 minutes, when they trailed 1-0, that Rangers pushed men forward in an attempt to find an equaliser. And, they came close to doing so.


Gabriel Tams sent a pile-driver from the right just over the bar, while Paul Bremner saw his header bounce close to the line almost in slow motion before the South Hobart defence cleared the ball.


Adopting a cautious approach from the outset, Rangers had a few long-range efforts that came to nothing, whereas South Hobart looked dangerous every time they got the ball down the flanks.


Defenders Jim Pennicott and Liam Scott were given the space to push forward regularly and it was Pennicott who almost scored in the 7th minute with a long-range drive that flew narrowly wide.


In the 10th minute, Jonathon Lo missed a sitter from close range after Andy Brennan pulled the ball back for him from the right.


Lo missed another glorious chance in the 37th minute when he blazed over the bar from 12 metres. It was difficult to reconcile these misses with the fact that Lo was the Premier League’s leading marksman with 18 goals.


The second half began with South on the attack and, in the 48th minute, Shae Hickey sent a tremendous shot just wide of the angle of crossbar and post.


Brennan failed to control a Tom Roach cross in the 57th minute and another chance went begging for South Hobart.


Lo scooped the ball wide two minutes later, while on the hour, a deep cross from the right by Pennicott deceived Rangers keeper Marshall Pooley and flew over his head before coming back into play off the base of the far left-hand post.


Given that sort of pressure, a goal had to come, and it did in the 67th minute. A throw-in near the corner flag on the left went to Kostas Kanakaris, who laid the ball back for Hickey. He floated a cross towards the far post and Roach rose above his opponents to head home.


Rangers missed a marvellous chance to equalise in the 71st minute when a Tams corner from the right towards the far post found Todd Hingston, but his powerful close-range header flew straight into the arms of South Hobart keeper Sam Kruijver.


In the 76th minute, Lo missed his fourth chance of the match. Scott’s pass put him through the defence and in a one-on-one with keeper Pooley, but the ball bobbled at the last minute and he scuffed the shot wide.


South survived the final quarter of an hour of pressure to lift the trophy, but Rangers could have done more to make a game of it.


In the Women’s State-wide semi-finals, Clarence United needed extra-time to beat a 10-player Olympia Warriors side 3-2.


In the other semi-final, Launceston City fought back strongly in the second half after being 2-0 down against Taroona to just lose 3-2.


In the men’s Division Three final, Clarence United Spirit beat Huon Valley 4-1.













State-wide Top-Four Grand Final


South Hobart 1 (T Roach 67) beat Northern Rangers 0


Women's State-wide Semi-Finals


Clarence United 3-2 Olympia Warriors


Taroona 3-2 Launceston City


Division Three Final


Huon Valley 1-4 Clarence United Spirit


A-League


Wellington Phoenix 2-1 Sydney FC


Adelaide United 2-1 Newcastle Jets


English Premier League


Everton 3-3 Manchester United


Arsenal 4-1 Bolton Wanderers


West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur


Newcastle United 0-2 Blackpool


Manchester City 1-1 Blackburn Rovers