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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Holmes and badge

Photo:  Olympia's Alex Holmes at a pre-match media conference yesterday [PlessPix]

Round 21, the final round, of the Victory League kicks off today and there are unlikely to be any changes to the standings.

If there is a change, it is most likely to be in the third and fourth positions, where fourth-placed Northern Rangers host third-ranked Olympia Warriors at 2pm at the NTCA Ground today.

Holmes

Photo: Alex Holmes predicts few squad changes at Olympia for next season [PlessPix]

A win for Rangers will see the two teams swap places because they are only separated by 2 points at present.

“Last round, we set ourselves to come away from Valley Road with at least a point in order to make this last game live, and we did that,” said Rangers coach, Tim Lunnon. “Whilst it wasn’t easy, we are pleased with the result.

“This week against Olympia is a big game. It’s the last home and away game, and it’s a ‘live’ game in that, if we win, we jump to third, which would be a great result for us as a club. It is also vital preparation in order for us to be competitive in the Victory Cup.

“Olympia feature some talented individuals in their squad. Some I know a little more of now from state training, and I know Glen is focused on them getting back to playing some good football after their last couple of weeks, so we have to be on our game.

“Given that our club doesn’t have the resources nor depth of the bigger Hobart clubs, we feel that we have made big gains this year.

‘We are 10 points up on last year ladder wise, and have had some really good patches of consistent football. Some on the outside have called us pretenders, not contenders, but we never said we were contenders. Our aim was to improve on last year, hopefully be in the mix and press for a top-four spot, which is what we have achieved.

“We feel with the players and resources we have that we have punched above our weight. Now at the business end of the season, anything can happen - it only takes one great game, so let’s have a crack.

“Our squad for this week is the same as the one we took to Valley Road last week and we hope, given that we are playing at home, that we can take our game up another notch or two.

“We might make some minor changes, but overall we look to reward the players who have been putting in on the track lately.”

Olympia have much to prove in this game after some poor recent results and coach Glen McNeill comes up against his joint State coach in Tim Lunnon.

“This week, we travel to Launceston to meet Rangers, which effectively is a third-place play off,” said McNeill. “This is an important match for both sides and should prove to be an entertaining contest.

“Our game against South last week was disappointing but shows how much South have improved over the course of the year. We haven't played a better side this season.

“Rangers and Olympia match up quite well and it is sure to be an even contest.

“The improvement in our side will be determined over the next few weeks. If we can get the right result against Rangers and play in the final of the Victory Cup, then we can say we have improved this year.

“We will have Gus Rumney and Jono Griffiths back from injury but will lose Emmanuel Tsakiris to a groin injury.”

Darcy Street South Hobart 05 08 14 003

Photo:  The oldest and probably correct street sign for the street running past the South Hobart Oval [PlessPix]

Darcy Street South Hobart 05 08 14 001

Photo:  A more recent version with the effectation of an apostrophe [PlessPix]

Darcy Street South Hobart 05 08 14 002

Photo:  Another recent sign withour the apostrophe.  Does the Hobart City Council know what it's doing in this regard? {plessPix]

Darcy Street South Hobart 05 08 14 005

Photo:  And yet another new version with the apostrophe.  It's all irrelevant as the Council calls the ground the South Hobart Oval.  For soccer followers back in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, the ground was always simply 'South Hobart'.  Everyone knew what that meant and where that was. [PlessPix]

South Hobart, the champions, should be much too strong for bottom-side Launceston City at 1.30pm today at South Hobart Oval.

The biggest interest will probably surround the golden boot award for the league’s leading marksman.

South Hobart pair Brayden Mann and Andy Brennan are vying for this honour and Mann currently has 29 goals and Brennan has 25 so both will be keen to be among the scorers.

In the previous meeting between the sides, Mann netted four goals and Brennan notched a hat-trick.

“We played a very good game against Olympia, winning 4-0 [last week],” said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton. “I thought we took our goals well, although we missed a number of opportunities.

“We were incisive, our passing was sharp and we had a cutting edge and we were strong all over the park - a solid performance and a super result.

“We would like to finish our regular season off at our home ground [today] with a convincing performance.

“Launceston City under the leadership of Kurt Reynolds are individually and collectively better this season [than last].

“They had a good result against Knights last weekend and I am sure they will come to D’Arcy [sic] Street and make it hard for us. [Nathan] Bartlett has been impressive since his move into midfield and his leadership is vital to the team.

“It is an important match for us in terms of building on our momentum and to keep improving and moving forward as we move to the top-four play offs and the NPL final series.

“So it is a good game for us and it will give us an opportunity to increase our game time for a couple of key players.

“It has been a good season. We were disappointed in our performance and the result in the FFA Cup, but overall, I believe we have had a very good season.

“We have been resilient and strong and we play with good creativity and speed. We are still in with a chance of a domestic treble, which would make for a fantastic season.

“Chris Hunt and Joe Stevens could start in this game.”

Launceston City will have their tails up after beating Glenorchy Knights last week and they know a win against the champions could mean they will avoid the wooden spoon.

“We have something to play for in the season’s last round, although South Hobart will be a tough gig at Darcy Street,” said Launceston City coach, Kurt Reynolds.

“The incentive for us is to pinch a win, which could see us ‘leap frog’ Glenorchy Knights and move off the bottom of the ladder should they lose to Zebras.

“South Hobart are a well-organized side and well-coached by Ken Morton. South have wrapped up the premiership and we must pay them respect.

“They have strength and depth across the park and are particularly dangerous up front via Mann, Brennan, Hamlett and Morton.

“Our focus in the last round is to continue working on our playing system and playing style.

“It is also about providing further learning opportunities for the youth in our squad.

“The last round represents a great opportunity to conclude the season with a positive performance.

“The top-versus-bottom clash means that we have nothing to lose and all to gain from this match.

“Mathematically, we can move ourselves of the bottom of the ladder. What a great incentive for the team.

“We, as a club and squad, need to improve in a number of areas. In order to be more competitive in this competition we must ‘lift the bar’ towards increasing the support behind our Victory League squad and maximizing the valuable football time that players can commit to.

“In saying this, we have made significant progress this season on and off the park.

“We enter the last round with a relatively consistent squad to recent weeks.

“A sound performance by our back-four and six/eight will be critical against South Hobart.

“Additionally, our strikers must be ready to finish and convert attacking opportunities.

“Brad Martin may get an opportunity to start in midfield.

“Dom Rossi returns from suspension, whilst Gukhyeon Kim is available after recovering from a minor injury.”

Second-last Glenorchy Knights will be keen to win against second-placed Tilford Zebras at 2pm at KGV Park today to add a little lustre to a largely disappointing season.

Knights will be missing Jeremy Marshall, Blayne Hudson and Callen Griffin because of work commitments, while Sam Johnson and Nick Di Falco are out injured.

Seung Yon Jin has not returned from Korea and, coach Chris Hey describes him as ‘missing in action’.

“[It will be ] a tough task against an opposition in the best form of teams in the competition at the moment,” said Hey.

“It is difficult to pick a fault at the moment with Zebras, so we will need to be alert from the first whistle and try and shut their space down quickly. This is something we struggled with last time we met, so it is a priority for us this week to see the season out.”

Zebras should win this game comfortably, given the players at their disposal.

Robbins and badges

Photo:  Kingborough Lions United coach Colin Robbins at yesterday's pre-match media conference [PlessPix]

In the remaining match of the round, sixth-ranked Kingborough Lions United entertain fifth-placed Devonport City at Lightwood Park at 2pm today.

The coaching team are looking for the team to display the same intent from our past two games against Rangers and Zebras, with the aim this week to score goals and win the game,” said Lions coach, Colin Robbins, who will be in charge for possibly the final time.

A decision about the Lions’ coaching position for next season will be made tomorrow by the club committee.

The Strikers are a strong team, [and it’s a] long trip for them coming down from the north of the State,” said Robbins.

“They have had a few close games over the past few weeks with the exception of the heavy loss to South, with two wins over Knights and City and a draw last weekend against Rangers. [They have] very quick young players, combined with good positioning, [and] they also have some good tall timber and this will be a threat at set pieces.

“Our plans will not change this week against Devonport. We will continue to bring our playing style to life with a view for the longer term. We will look for crisper finishing with our goal scoring opportunities to punish the opposition on the score board. Bagging the first 3 points at home for this season will be a good way for everyone at the club to finish the season off.

Maintaining effective possession in the middle-third will be a key to getting a result on Saturday. We have entered the attacking-third the same or more times than our opponents in recent weeks so creating opportunities to score from these entries needs to improve and we need to also see an improvement in the goals scored. The first one will give everyone a huge lift at the Den. Our height and organisation at set pieces will continue to pose a dangerous situation for our opponent.

Nathaniel Taylor and Adam Hedge return this weekend, and there are no other changes with a full squad to select from.”

Robbins

Photo:  Colin Robbins is interested in coaching the Lions again next season [PlessPix]

Nick Owen will be in charge of Devonport for the final time. He is getting married and won’t coach next year.

“We make two changes to the squad this week for our last game of the season,” Owen said. “Cory Vickers' poor disciplinary record means he will miss this week after he received his eighth yellow of the season [last week].

“Vickers could have easily been one of the league's best players but his suspensions and temper have meant we never truly saw the best of him. He comes out of the squad along with Chris McKenna, who has accumulated 5 yellows. Bobby Eaves and Billy Meldrum come into the squad.

“Billy Meldrum, son of ex-State League player David Meldrum, is a 16-year-old future star midfielder who has performed well in under-18s and at NPL level also. Both these inclusions will start on the bench, fitness permitting.

“This will be Casey 'The Dugong' Eaves’s last game in the sticks for Devonport's Victory League team. Despite his unsuitable size for a goalkeeper, Casey has been a pillar of strength over his two years with us. He has accumulated a bit of a cult following amongst fans and commentators and his presence will be missed around the club. The ‘Sea Cow’ is the only player who has openly signalled his intentions for next year.

“It will also be my last game in charge of the Victory League squad. I can't fully commit to the role next year due to my impending wedding and honeymoon.

“Some may have said the honeymoon period was already over for me, but I'll be looking for a role within the club that requires a lot less commitment and I will, hopefully, enjoy a few games next year without the coach’s hat on.”

TASMANIAN VICTORY LEAGUE (As at 23 August 2014)

TEAM

P

W

D

L

F

A

Pts

South Hobart

20

17

1

2

85

18

52

Tilford Zebras

20

14

2

4

60

19

44

Olympia Warriors

20

12

2

6

50

33

38

Northern Rangers

20

11

3

6

51

37

36

Devonport City

20

8

2

10

43

46

26

Kingborough Lions

20

5

1

14

32

78

16

Glenorchy Knights

20

3

2

15

27

63

11

Launceston City

20

3

1

16

29

82

10

Comments   

+3 #3 Nigel 2014-08-30 01:39
Casey Eaves back to Shark Park next year. Casey (,a 300 game Shark player and Life Member), went to Victory League with the clubs blessing 2 years ago to see if he could play at this level. He has no doubt proved himself and we congratulate him on his achievements.
Hopefully he will bring some of that experience back to our club.
Well done Nick Owen, a character of the game and nice bloke to boot.
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0 #2 Frodo 2014-08-30 01:36
ENGERLAND
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+1 #1 Anonymous 2014-08-30 00:38
"Status Quote Likely in Victory League" is arguably a more accurate title.

I called it in April that South would lose two games all year, and I highly doubt they'll make a fool of me by losing to City at home.

One wonders if the 2014 season will be viewed as more or less successful than the 2013 one for the V-league?
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