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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Cook on the ball - Copy

Photo:  South Hobart's Ryan Cook on the ball and supported by team-mate Adam Gorrie [PlessPix]

[Pre-season friendly, Saturday, 26 January 2018, South Hobart Oval]

South Hobart 1 (N Morton 8’)

Bentleigh Greens 4 (M Thurtell 15’, 30’, 60’, 78’)

HT: 1-2   Ref: J McInerney

South Hobart: Moncur - Gorrie, Demar, Schmidt, Douce - Cook, Kemp, N Morton, Conforti, Saracino - Walter (Subs: Degetto, Griggs, Becker, R Morton, Smith)

Bentleigh Greens: Scott - Jancovic, Webski, Duncan - Cavallo, Kelly, Holmes, Xydias - Lucas, Thurtell, Hicks (Subs: Dillon, Fay, Hatzimoratis, P Clark, Andrisevic, D Clark)

Nick Morton shoots - Copy

Photo:  South Hobart's Nick Morton lets fly [PlessPix]

In the pre-game media conference, South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, announced that three players would be missing for this friendly against Bentleigh Greens - goalkeeper Kieran Brown, and centre-backs Hugh Ludford and Daniel Brown.

It turned out that there were six first-teamers missing in all. Loic Feral, Darcy Hall and Jake Brennan can be added to the trio Morton named. If you wanted to add a relative newcomer who played last weekend against Hume City, you’d add Keenan Douce to make it seven absentees.

I am told that a former South Hobart player had organised a buck’s party in Melbourne and that’s where some of the missing players were.

Alex Walter tackling - Copy

Photo:  South Hobart's Alex Walter tries to win the ball in midfield [PlessPix]

This was, after all, only a friendly, but perhaps the game could have been played in Melbourne and Bentleigh Greens could have been spared the travel.

I am writing tongue-in-cheek, of course. One can learn something from every game, and there were things to learn from this contest. I’ll deal with just five. Readers may add to this list in the comments section.

1. The Victorian NPL seems a much stronger competition than the Tasmanian NPL. We seem to do better against them in competitive matches such as in the FFA Cup and the NPL finals series. So, it depends to some extent on what you consider a friendly. Is it a serious occasion to try out your best line-up, or is it a time to cast an eye over your fringe players. Ideally, it’s a combination of both. What I have learned is that if you want to watch a really good and exciting game of football, then watch a competitive a match and not a so-called friendly. Actually, that applies to our local scene and to the highest international level of the game of football.

Keeper blocks from Cook - Copy

Photo:  Bentleigh keeper Ryan Scott about to save at the feet of South Hobart's Ryan Cook.  Scott made at least two other similar saves in the course of the match. [PlessPix]

2. South Hobart, the Tasmanian champions, surprisingly appear to have a dearth of goalkeepers capable of stepping up and playing in the seniors.

Mark Moncur, with whom I get on well and with whom I often jest, is in his 40s. He is the club’s goalkeeping coach and was a superb keeper in his playing days. Mark would be the first to admit he is not match fit, and he joked with me about that very fact as I took up my position behind the goal to take photographs.

3. The Tasmanian NPL is, in reality, an amateur competition. Some players have things other than football as a priority. That’s fair enough and I am not being critical, but just stating a fact. I, too, may well adopt that outlook this season. Some of my family would probably be the first to say that it’s about time.

Walter in race - Copy

Photo:  South's Alex Walter (right) in a race for the ball [PlessPix]

4. Is disciplinary action prudent in amateur football? The question I am keen to have answered is whether Ken Morton will take any action about the missing players. He has been in similar circumstances before and has taken disciplinary action.

5. The excellent live stream coverage of the game almost invites punters not to attend in person. How this will affect attendances this season is an interesting question. I know several who have already been deterred from attending because of the heat. It’ll be because of the cold later. This splendid coverage is a feather in the cap of Ash Wilkes and his partner, Vlasta, as well as the commentary team of Andrew Cooling and his colleagues.

Chris Lucas hurdles Mark Moncur - Copy

Photo:  Bentleigh's Chris Lucas hurdles goalkeeper Mark Moncur to score [PlessPix]

Now, to the game.

Nick Morton opened the scoring for South Hobart after just 8 minutes following a couple of howlers by the Bentleigh Green defence. A short goal-kick by Bentleigh keeper Ryan Scott went to the centre-back, whose pass back to the keeper was not weighted properly, allowing Morton to nip in and gain possession and roll the ball home. Scott was guilty during this game of taking huge risks in clearing the ball and he was lucky to get away with conceding only this opening goal.

This brings up the whole question of playing out from the back. If a team presses high and cuts out the avenues for playing out from the back, the keeper is forced to kick it long and risk losing possession. Bentleigh did just this to Hobart Zebras the following day and it worked a treat.

The hero of this game was undoubtedly Bentleigh’s striker, Matt Thurtell, who ended up bagging all four goals for his side.

Kobe Kemp pressing - Copy

Photo:  South Hobart's Kobe Kemp puts pressure on an opponent [PlessPix]

In the 15th minute, Thurtell equalised, and he never looked back from there.

His second goal, on the half-hour, was a beauty. Tyson Holmes crossed the ball diagonally from the right and Thurtell met it first time and volleyed it into the ground and over Moncur to make it 2-1 for the visitors.

James Xydias almost made it 3-1 in the 32nd minute, but he shot narrowly wide of the right-hand upright.

A minute before the break, the visitors hit the post and Thurtell squamdered the opportunity to complete his hat-trick by lifting his shot over the bar.

Thurtell did complete his hat-trick on the hour after a corner, while 12 minutes from the end, he made it 4-1 for his side with a powerful low drive.

During the course of the match, South Hobart had several one-on-ones with Bentleigh keeper Ryan Scott, but the custodian saved each time.

And, Bentleigh were denied goals on at least four occasions as South Hobart's Adam Gorrie and Connor Schmidt cleared shots off the line.

Despair - Copy

Photo:  The look on South Hobart goalkeeper Mark Moncur's face says it all [PlessPix]

Comments   

+1 #8 Scotty fan 2018-02-02 08:35
Where is Liam Scott for South Hobart? I saw him kicking around in the last couple Challenge League games last year and I heard he was back at South for 2018?
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+1 #7 Anon 2018-02-02 05:33
One question, where's Albie. Is he not playing at South this year?
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0 #6 Anonymous 2018-01-30 08:55
Quoting Walt:
#4 Anonymous, I suspect that one was disallowed. Again, my error in the caption.


thanks Walter. Just checking. Love the reads.
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+2 #5 Walt 2018-01-29 10:03
#4 Anonymous, I suspect that one was disallowed. Again, my error in the caption.
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+1 #4 Anonymous 2018-01-29 06:56
Quoting Walt:
#2 Anonymous. Lucas scored against Zebras. Thurtell scored all four against South Hobart.


The photo with the caption above says Lucas scored against Moncur :0)
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+2 #3 Walt 2018-01-28 09:24
#2 Anonymous. Lucas scored against Zebras. Thurtell scored all four against South Hobart.
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+2 #2 Anonymous 2018-01-28 08:08
I'm confused, did Lucas hurdle the goalkeeper to score score or did Thurstell bag all four?
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+4 #1 Cup match 2018-01-28 04:41
Don't know about competive games Olympia v Apia should have been 10-0 they're were awesome
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