- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 28 March 2014
The Southern Premier League kicks off today with three close games scheduled, all kicking off at 2.30pm.
Taroona welcome Clarence United to Kelvedon Park, New Town Eagles host Nelson Eastern Suburbs at Clare Street, and University take on Beachside at Olinda Grove.
Clarence beat Taroona 1-0 in the State-wide Cup last weekend, so the two teams will now know what is necessary to win this league game and will have fine-tuned their line-ups accordingly.
Liam Pitchford is unavailable for one or two weeks for Nelson Eastern Suburbs due to a non football related head knock, while key defender Troy Hoppit is unavailable this week, and midfielders Ethan and Jordan Brighella remain out due to injury.
Young forwards Pat Kloser, Alex Cronk, and Alex Finch come into the starting-elevn, while from last week’s State-wide Cup team, Alex Fleming and Saif Shukur have been omitted and Mitch Lange is unavailable this week.
“We still have some key players unavailable, with an unfortunate head injury to talented young forward Liam Pitchford being particularly disappointing,” said Nelson coach, Michael Roach.
“Overall though, we have a stronger squad than last week when we were basically a pinata for a very impressive South Hobart team and we will be looking to commence the SPL season with a win, but are aware that Eagles will give us a tough match at their home ground.”
The University versus Beachside game could be the pick of the round.
The Students are certainly in form, while Beachside are the champions.
“We all want to win the 2014 championship, but at University, we are more focused on the process rather than the result itself,” said University coach, Romilton Amaral.
“Our aim is to invest in the development of young players. We want to make sure that we provide them with good training sessions that support them to be the best they can be.
“Beachside usually play a very compact style. Last time we played them, we perished in the last minute under an intensive ‘aerial bombardment’ from the mid third.
“We are now better prepared to deal with this type of game so we expect it to be a close contest.
“Our pre-season involved four official games against Victory League teams and we won two of them. Therefore, we should be able to provide a good account of ourselves in this game.
“University has got a completely different team than last year. We lost some excellent players such as Yun from Korea, Damien Scott and Miles Barnard.
“We also have recruited well and our new squad is very strong and committed to our philosophy.
“We have 18 to 20 players in our senior squad and there is a lot of competition for a place in the main 11.
“Luke Huigsloot, Justin Letiko, Phineas Aldridge, George Kamano, Ronald John, Alex Buga, Matt Griffiths and Jake Undy are some of the new faces featuring against Beachside this weekend.
“I’m very proud of their commitment and dedication week in and week out.
“This is the beginning of a new era at University.”