Who Is Walter Pless?

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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Central Coast Mariners went to the top of the A-League standings when they beat Melbourne Heart 1-0 before a crowd of 6,326 at Bluetongue stadium in Gosford tonight.


The goal came from Daniel McBreen in the 20th minute.


The Heart were reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute with the dismissal of Michael Beauchamp.


His send-off for an attempted head-butt on Oliver Bozanic should probably have resulted in a penalty as the incident occurred inside the penalty area, but referee Peter Green strangely awarded the Mariners a free-kick just outside the box.


Beauchamp had missed at least 10 minutes of the match as he had to leave the field three times in the first half to have a bleeding nose treated. The injury resulted from an accidental elbow to the face by Matt Simon.


Heart keeper Clint Bolton made a brilliant save in the 15th minute from McBreen’s acrobatic volley from 10 metres after Bozanic’s left-wing cross.


Five minutes later, Pedj Bojic chipped the ball towards the far post from the inside-right channel and McBreen beat his marker, Wayne Srhoj, to beat Bolton at his near post.


Simon headed wide in the 28th minute from Bozanic’s left-wing cross as the Mariners continued to make ground down the flanks.


Heart’s only response in the first half was two shots straight at keeper Mathew Ryan, by Aziz Behich and Nick Kalmar.


The Mariners were unable to take advantage of Beauchamp’s dismissal in the second half to add to their score and Heart actually pressed strongly in an endeavour to find an equaliser.


Substitute Adam Kwasnik almost extended the home-side’s lead in the 87th minute when he beat a defender on the right and sent in a firm shot, but it was well held by Bolton.


Matt Thompson’s cheeky effort from long range in the 89th minute was caught by a back-pedalling Mariners keeper Ryan, while in the 91st minute, Heart substitute John Aloisi showed excellent control in bringing down a cross, but he fired over the bar.


Heart continued to attack in the dying seconds and Behich had a shot deflected for a corner.


From the corner, substitute Eli Babalj had a shot blocked from close range for another corner, but Mr Green blew the whistle to end the match before the corner could be taken.


Mariners coach Graham Arnold was pleased with his side’s performance and praised the contribution of midfielder Rostyn Griffiths.


Mariners had 11 shots on goal (Daniel McBreen 3, John Hutchinson 2, Matt Simon 2, Oliver Bozanic 2, Joshua Rose 1, Adam Kwasnik 1), 4 of which were on target (McBreen 2, Hutchinson 1, Kwasnik 1), compared to Heart’s 7 (Aziz Behich 2, John Aloisi 2, MattThompson 1, Nick Kalmar 1, Eli Babalj 1) and 3 (Behich 1, Kalmar 1,Thompson 1), respectively.


Mariners had 2 corners and Heart 4, while Mariners committed 10 fouls compared to Heart’s 11.


Mariners were caught off-side 6 times and Heart just once.


Mariners received 2 yellow cards (John Hutchinson in the 76th minute, and Adam Kwasnik in the 78th minute), while Heart received one yellow card (Dean Heffernan in the 23rd minute) and one red (Michael Beauchamp in the 52nd minute).






The stage is set for a magnificent State-wide Top-Four Grand Final at KGV Park at 4pm on Saturday with the two best teams in Tasmania ready to lock horns.


The unbeaten South Hobart, who are going for their fifth piece of silverware this season in this match, are up against Northern Premier League champions Northern Rangers, who have lost only one league match this season.


South Hobart did beat Rangers in an early round of the Milan Lakoseljac Memorial Trophy and this may give the southerners a psychological advantage.


But, South Hobart have tended to create numerous chances in recent games without converting many and this could lead to their downfall against the eager and direct northerners.


Both teams should be at full strength, which makes for a classic confrontation.


South Hobart will field the same side as in recent weeks and the only change is likely to be on the substitutes’ bench, where David Cooper, who is unavailable because of work commitments, will make way for either goalkeeper Mark Moncur or youngster Cameron Williams.


Both coaches are confident, but are expecting a tough game.


“We expect a hard game,” said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton. “We played them earlier in the Lakoseljac Cup at Birch Avenue on a very tight ground with long grass and it was a difficult game.


“But, I think it was difficult for them as well because they tried to play some football.


“They’re a very tactical side. They can fill in spaces and play on the counter-attack and then look to get forward in the last 15 to 20 minutes with a more direct aerial approach.


“It’ll be interesting to see how they come out and play, and we need to be ready for them.


“They’ve had a hell of a good year themselves and we need to continue our way.


“We’re playing good football, but we’ve got to turn our chances into goals and finish teams off as well.


“We had a look tonight at some development play out of midfield to get the ball wide and to cross and to attack the ball.


“But, sometimes, it’s confidence rather than anything else with players.


“Like young Andy Brennan, for example. He’s very young and very inexperienced, but when he goes direct for goal and hits things early, they go in for him.


“We’ll just want to play our game the way we’ve been playing, featuring patience, yet fast.


“I think we’re a much better side when we keep moving the ball quickly. When we take too many touches and delay the decision making, then I think we’re ordinary.


“As long as our decision making is good and the ball is going forward quickly, or back quickly and then forward again, I think we’re a good side.”


Northern Rangers coach, Adam Whitemore, said a couple of his players had a touch of the ‘flu, but they should recover in time.


“I’ve one position to finalise and I’ll think about that overnight,” said Whitemore.


“I fancy our chances, I have to say.


“I think we’re understandably underdogs, but then no-one expected us to finish in the top four in our league, and we won it, in style, I think, really.


“In a game where two teams are playing, your odds are pretty good, I think.


“Realistically, I’m a big South Hobart fan. I like their style of play, but we’ll go in and deal with it.


“We’ve played positively and attacking football all season and they’re the only side to have beaten us in a live game.


“Devonport beat us in a dead rubber in the last game of the season and we lost our unbeaten record, but we’re looking forward to it.


“South Hobart beat us 2-0, and comfortably, I thought, in the Milan Lakoseljac Trophy, but we weren’t playing half as well as we did towards the end of the season.”




Tasmania’s 24-year-old Mathew Sanders will be playing in the Victorian Premier League grand final at the new AAMI Park in Melbourne on the weekend.


Sanders will play for Green Gully Cavaliers against Richmond and I interview him this week for the blog.


Walter Pless: How long have you been in Victoria?


Mathew Sanders: This is my fifth season in Victoria at Green Gully.


WP: Which clubs have you played for in Tasmania and in Victoria?


MS: I played for Metro-Claremont from 2001-2003 and Glenorchy Knights from 2004-2005 and I’ve been with Green Gully from 2006 until now.


WP: Will this be your first grand final?


MS: Yeah, this is my first grand final in Victoria and to be playing at AAMI Park on Saturday night will be great. Hopefully, there’ll be a big crowd at the game.


WP: How do you think your team will go?


MS: We have a very good chance of beating Richmond and winning the final, but it will be a very close game. We have beaten them twice this year and they have beaten us once.


WP: In which position will you play and what will be expected of you?


MS: I will be playing as a left-sided forward, so, hopefully, I can score or create some goals so we can win the game. But, I also have some defensive responsibilities as we like to drop off and then pressure the opposition when we are ready.


WP: Rumours have been circulating that you will be playing in Tasmania next year. Are these rumours true?


MS: Ha! Ha! Yes, I have also heard some rumours about me moving back to Tassie next season but, at the moment, I’m not sure what my plans are for next season. I haven’t spoken to any clubs in Tasmania or been contacted by any at this stage. I have a young daughter and another child due in November so my wife and I will have to make a decision which will suit all of us in the long run. If I stay in Victoria, I couldn’t see myself anywhere else but at Green Gully as it’s a great club.


WP: Do you like the Victorian football scene, and if so, why?


MS: It’s a very different environment to Tassie. All the clubs over here are ethnic-based and there’s a lot of rivalry over here, which is good. And, everyone gets paid well and you always have your full squad at training, otherwise you get fined and you could lose your place in the team. I think it’s just a bit more professional over here.


WP: What needs to be done in Tasmania to raise the profile of the game and the standard of play?


MS: I think the coaching at junior level is important and, from what I’ve heard, it has got a lot better since the Tasmanian Institute of Sport and other development programs have started as you need something to progress to as you get older, especially when you get to 16 or 17 years of age. I think there need to be more senior Tasmanian State team matches as it gives the better players a chance to prove themselves against better opponents and maybe they’ll be lucky enough to be signed to play at a higher level.


WP: What does the future hold for you in terms of football?


MS: I’m enjoying the level I’m currently playing at. It’s a good standard of soccer and I would be happy to play at this level for as long as I can.


WP: What advice would you give to young players in Tasmania who are contemplating football as a career?


MS: I think the best way for them to be identified is to be on the Mainland at the moment as there’s more professional and semi-professional opportunities here and you get more exposure to A-League clubs.


WP: What do you think of the A-League?


MS: I think, individually, there’s not much difference to the top state leagues in Australia, but as a team, in terms of performance, A-League teams are more noticeable and when they are training two times a day you are going to be a lot fitter and sharper than people who train two or three times a week.


WP: Thank you for your time, Mathew, and I’m sure all Tasmanians wish you and your side well in the grand final on Saturday night.


MS: Any time. Thanks.











Division One (KGV Park, Wednesday, 8 September 2010)
_______________________


DOSA 1 (R Daw 57)

Hobart United 4 (I Gwolo 6, 13, 19, J Letiko 78)


HT: 0-3 Att: 50 Ref: C Phillips


DOSA: Davey; Butt, Vu, Woodward, McGuiness, Ali, Korn, Reid, Langshaw, Filip, Stern (Daw 33)


Hobart United: Dand; Walker, Letiko, Lotiko, J Otto, Gwolo (Nguv 72), Hazikimano, P Otto (Dhieu 65), Youl, Songa, David (Omery Zola 46)


_________________________


Hobart United moved up one place to finish fourth on the Division One ladder after this 4-1 win over second-last DOSA in the final Division One league match of the season.


United dominated play in the first half and led 3-0 at the interval through a hat-trick by Isaac Gwolo, but DOSA held their own in the second half and scored one goal and missed a couple of other chances.


Peter Otto missed two good chances in the opening five minutes for Hobart United before Isaac Gwolo put them ahead in the 6th minute from Justin Letiko’s excellent pass from the left.


Gwolo should have added a second in the 8th minute from George Lotiko’s pass, but he shot wide of the far left-hand post.


DOSA put together a fine counter-attack in the 9th minute which forced United to concede a corner, which came to nothing.


It was 2-0 in the 13th minute through the simplest of goals. United goalkeeper Alex Dand threw a long ball to the left for George Lotiko, who controlled it and played it through for Gwolo to run onto and beat Davey.


Davey was in the thick of the action in the 19th minute as he saved in quick succession from Peter Otto and Lotiko.


Within seconds, however, Davey slipped while trying to repel a United attack and the ball rebounded to Gwolo, who rounded the keeper and stroked the ball into an empty net to make it 3-0.


In the 33rd minute, Richard Stern had DOSA’s first shot in anger but sustained a leg injury in the process and had to be replaced by Ross Daw.


With three minutes remaining, a foul by David McGuiness on Justin Letiko resulted in a penalty. Ian Walker put his spot-kick high over the bar and the teams went in for the break with United leading by just 3-0.


DOSA had been encouraged by their performance in restricting United to just three goals in the first half, however, and they managed to create some dangerous attacks in the opening minutes of the second half. In the 46th minute, Gustavo Vu forced a fine save from Dand.


Within five minutes after the resumption, however, Letiko hit the crossbar as United sought to make up for their misses in the first half.


DOSA went one better and their efforts were rewarded in the 57th minute when substitute Daw netted from just inside the box after he gained possession and turned sharply before unleashing his shot.


United hit their fourth in the 78th minute when Letiko broke through the middle as DOSA looked unsuccessfully for the off-side flag. He rounded the keeper before easily slotting the ball home.


Hobart United's reserves also finished fourth after overcoming DOSA 7-0 in this evening's curtain-raiser.


______________________


DOSA coach, Pedro Ramirez, said:


“I think, all things considered, we played all right.


“In the first half, we were a bit shaky, especially on the wings, but we fixed that a little bit and it showed in the second half.


“I’m happy with our draw in the second half. Again, as I said all year, the game doesn’t reflect the score.


“I’m quite happy and I’m sure next year we will improve more.”


Hobart United coach, Mark Broadbent, said:


“In the first half, we played extremely well and some brilliant football.


“Chances came in the first half and, if we’d put them away, I reckon it would have been close to double figures by the end.


“But, the chances weren’t taken and we didn’t progress after half-time.


“We tried a few new things and brought in a few young kids for their second chance at this level and they adapted. It’s a big stage for these boys and it’s nice.”