- Written by Walter Pless
- Published: 28 March 2014
Photo: The cup that Launceston City and Rangers will compete for this season [Photo courtesy of Northern Rangers]
Tilford Zebras tackle Devonport City and Kingborough Lions United take on Olympia Warriors in a Victory League double-header at 4.30pm and 7pm, respectively, at KGV Park today.
In the remaining game of the opening round, Launceston City host Northern Rangers at Mitsubishi Park in Launceston at 7pm.
Zebras will be without Jacob Clamp for the entire season after he suffered a back injury in the Summer Cup.
Devonport will have their latest English recruit, Callum Moore, on view, in addition to Englishman Corey Vickers, who arrived earlier.
Brendan McCaffrey, Dallas Baldock and Miles Barnard will also make their Victory League debuts for the Devonport.
McCaffrey is the son of former Devonport star Charlie McCaffrey, who was one of the Coastal side’s Scottish imports in the early 1990s.
Barnard, of course, was formerly with University before returning to the Coast in his employment.
Bobby Eaves will be missing because of a knee injury.
Olympia will welcome back Jake Vandermey, Warren Wadawu and Will Roberts for their game against the Lions.
The Warriors suffered a humiliating 3-0 loss to Northern Rangers last week in the Lakoseljac Cup and will want to make amends in their opening Victory League game of the season.
The players to make way are Alex Bellini, Gift Ochaya and Gus Rumney.
Lachlan Nichols may get a run at some stage of the match.
Lions coach Stephen Pitchford is wary of his team’s opponents.
“Our opening fixture against Olympia on Saturday night at KGV presents a real challenge for our squad,” said Pitchford.
“The loss to Rangers last week will have given Glen McNeill ample ammunition to fire up his troops for this clash.
“I am sure the Summer Cup winners will respond.
“We take a good deal of confidence from our five-goal win last week away from home against a seasoned Beachside outfit.
“Whilst there were periods where concentration waned, the persistence with our system of play was pleasing, and clearly displayed the capability of the team to compete at the highest levels.
“Our strikers will be looking to repeat their successes against what is now clearly a suspect Olympia defensive line. Our own defensive unit will be looking to make it two weeks in a row without conceding.
“Lewis Verdouw returns to the starting eleven with Nick Vialle missing following concussion last weekend.
“Dylan Loh, Jack Turner, Angus Souter and Dan Kingsbury are unavailable due to injury, work or prior commitments. Keeper Adam Coleman will be rested for this match.”
Kingborough’s starting-eleven is likely to be (in alphabetical order): Danny Cowen, Nick Cuthbertson, William Davis, Joe Davis, Martin Farquhar, Adam Hedge, Seung Yong Jin, Francis Kenyi, Andrew Duncan, Phil McEldowney, Lewis Verdouw. Substitutes from Fionn Collins, David Leamey, Jae Young Choi, Dean Watkins, Ben Sanderson and Trent Pearce.
Photo: Rangers coach Tim Lunnon (left), FFT CEO Richard Welsh and major sponsor Grant Jenkins in Launceston yesterday [Photo courtesy of Northern Rangers]
The Launceston City versus Northern Rangers match is being played for the inaugural Launceston Mitsubishi and Launceston Mazda Derby Cup.
This is the first game in the best-of-three Victory League meetings between the clubs this season.
The John McKenna Medal will be presented to the best player over the three games.
This game presents Launceston City with the chance to put their dismal 2013 form behind them.
They have certainly improved, judging on their pre-season form, but whether they can topple Rangers in the opening league match of the season is questionable.