Saturday, 31 March 2012

Keeping a lid on it - Oakleigh 1 South Melbourne 3

Oakleigh looked the hungrier team, with South struggling to get anything meaningful going at all. Bad tackles or not, they seemed like they really wanted to win this game. When they opened the scoring, it should have set the alarm bells ringing for South, but it didn't seem to make much difference.

The turning point was when Dimi Tsiaras copped an elbow or forearm to the head, leaving him bleeding, but no foul given and play allowed to continue. After that, South started gradually working their way back into the game, earning a few corners and taking some sort of momentum into the break.

An unseen Fernando De Moraes slips the ball past the Oakleigh goalkeeper for the equaliser
Photo: Anita Milas/Victorypix
The second half was a massive improvement from our side. Once the early equaliser went in, the question became when rather if we would score again. As it happened, we added another two for good measure. It was great to see Trent Rixon on the score sheet as well. Get it out of the way nice and early in the season. Seven goals scored so far, with six different scorers.

As good as the second half was from South, it should not have taken 35 minutes and a forearm to the head for them to wake up and start playing some football. That's the one thing I'll pull out of this game as a pointer to the improvement we have left in reserve.

Different coach, same tactics from the home team, and all this despite the field seemingly being in reasonable nick. Bomb it long to the forwards, and hack, hack, hack. Oakleigh have decent talent on their books, and they sell themselves short when they resort to these rubbish tactics.

Of course, one can't let the refs off in this area. In a properly officiated competition, a player like Frankie Lagana would have such a poor repuation, that he wouldn't be able to sneeze oin the field without getting into trouble. But this is the VPL, where foul language is viewed upon as the greater sin compared to a forearm to the head.

Minor Observations
Message to the Oakleigh goalkeeper (who was not Peter Zois, who was absent for whatever reason). When you start time wasting from the first minute of the second half, you know you're in trouble.

I suppose there's so many ex-South boys at Oakleigh, one
can forgive them for reacting to the muscle memory of
running towards South's fans to celebrate a goal.
Photo: Anita Milas/Victorypix
Disappointing crowd. Did anyone cheer when Oakleigh scored? When they scored the poor Oakleigh players felt they had to run towards Clarendon Corner for some reason. South fans should be used to that by now.

The Charles Dickens Tavern is still a nice place for pre-game meetups.

Story time on the train is fun.

Kudos to the FFV for publishing a note on their Facebook page that there were disruptions on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines, with trains only going as far as Oakleigh station. As it turned out, the signalling issues were cleared up well before kickoff, but it was a nice a touch nevertheless.

Under 21s
As I arrived by train with certain other miscreants, I did not get to see almost anything of this match. Turns out we won 4-1. What changed from last week?

Next Game
Now, a week off courtesy of Easter. Then a Saturday afternoon game away at Green Gully. Could we possibly break our drought there? Nah.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Elephants and Wheelbarrows - Kiss of Death, Round 2, 2012

Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah!
Round one of the 2012 VPL season has finally kicked off. I graced Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Friday night, to see Bentleigh Greens pretty much destroy Green Gully. I was also in attendance at the new $60 million worth of Lakeside Stadium down at Albert Park, to see South Melbourne take on a nothing State 1 team in Whittlesea Zebras, and teach them a thing or two. More about that later.

Hume City vs Dandy Funder @ Epping Stadium @ 8.30pm on Friday
Looks like Hume has chosen Epping Stadium as their home ground this season due to the redevelopments taking place down at Broady. They couldn’t have chosen a colder place. Hume is coming off a 0-2 win at Somers St, while Dandy is coming off a 4-0 clobbering of Dean Hennessy’s Southern Stars. Dandy had pretty much a walkover on the weekend, but I can’t see Hume beating them. Hume City 2 – Dandy Thunder 2.

Oakleigh Cannons vs South Melbourne @ Jack Edwards @ 8.30pm on Friday
So. South to play Oakleigh AGAIN away first up, AGAIN within the first three rounds. FFS. Don’t tell me the computer draws it like that! They beat an underdeveloped Bergers 0-2. Nothing spesh. South beat a State 1 side 4-0. Same, nothing spesh.

Will I look at this match as a measure of where South is at? Hmm, possibly. Talk to me on Friday night. South looked good on Sunday in patches. End of the day, we did the job and have Oakleigh on Friday. A 4-0 at I reckon 75% effort, is a great result. At 100% we should look special. We have a good track record down at Oakleigh so I’m expecting nothing but a win. No injuries, no suspensions, all's looking good. Oakleigh Cannons 0 – South Melbourne 3.

Richmond vs Bentleigh Greens @ KB Reserve @ 8.30pm on Friday
Richmond was beaten 2-1 away by Northcote last week, while I witnessed Bentleigh have a really good second half against Gully. Four well worked goals was enough for Bentleigh on the weekend, and I can honestly say, it should’ve been more. They outplayed Gully completely in the second half. This week will be a different ball game. Both teams seasonal strugglers. Richmond 1 – Bentleigh Greens 1.

Green Gully vs Heidelberg United @ Green Gully Reserve @ 3pm on Saturday
Dobbo, Dobbo, Dobbo. Why, Why, Why? Osagie on the bench? Are you nucking futs? Johnny A and his band of brutes played cat and mouse with you for the whole second half. Vlahos on the other hand, had difficulty containing a rampant Diaco. Two goals from the ex-South striker. I have a feeling Osagie will be starting this week, and he’ll be the pain in the ass for Vlahos. Green Gully 2 – Heidelberg 0. Osagie double.

Melbourne Victory youth system under Jim Magilton?
Southern Stars vs Northcote City @ Kingston Heath @ 7pm on Saturday
Seriously Dean, where do you find these players? Still waiting for the day you develop a local boy. The Elephant & Wheelbarrow and PJ O’Briens can only sustain their backpacker waiters for so long. Take a page out of Northcote's book Dean. Local talent. Cheaper talent. Play for the shirt talent. Not being baby sat for Magilton talent. Anyhoo. I’m pencilling this in as a loss for Stars. Northcote will be too strong. Unless of course Loza totally fucks this up. Southern Stars 0 – Northcote City 3.

Moreland Zebras vs Melbourne Knights @ Epping Stadium @ 3pm on Sunday
The only game on Sunday. Moreland look totally out of their depth in the VPL. Didn’t keep tabs on them during pre-season, but from what I saw against South, they will struggle. Recchia being played as last man and also expected to be the team's playmaker is a FIFA 12 tactic. Radojicic was unlucky to be subbed on then subbed off. Looks like his knee injury is starting to haunt him again. Overall, an unbalanced side, who were tactically poor. Haven’t seen the Knights yet, but personally can’t wait. Moreland Zebras 0 – Melbourne Knights 3.

Monday, 26 March 2012

And all's right with the world - South Melbourne 4 Moreland Zebras 0

A first round win for the first time since 2006. Don't look for any omens in that though.

The score did flatter South a bit. The second half was not nearly as good as the first, and if the Zebras were a bit more clinical with their limited chances, they may have made more of a game of it. As it is, they were disappointing for most of the match - whether that's due to an inadequate list or an off day is yet to be seen.

The potential for lots of goals for South this season was indicated by a Kyle Joryeff double, with Jason Trifiro and Dimi Hatzimouratis also scoring on their official South debuts. Poor play in defense by the Zebras in defence cost them two early goals, with ex-South player Carl Recchia being uncharacteristically responsible for one of those goals.

South's defending was a bit haphazard at times, but for the most part looked better than most of the pre-season efforts. As in the times of yore, goalkeepers will be faced with the challenge of looking into a setting sun. Peter Gavalas seemed to be affected by it when he made an awkward attempt at saving a long range shot.

Joryeff was injured in an incident right on half time, and while he started the second half, he was replaced by Gianni De Nittis just minutes into the second half. Why De Nittis was subbed on first before Hatzimouratis I'm not sure - the latter eventually came on replacing Trent Rixon.

We looked dangerous on the counter, and should have finished the visitors earlier than we did. Seems like there's still work needed to get the team gelling. If that's our average output though, we could be in for a good season.

Clarendon Corner Kindergarten Crew
Seems like Clarendon Corner have settled into our grandstand, taking up the bay nearest the scoreboard end. Better sound under the roof. Great to see a spit roast 'Hellas, Ole' chant being started with the youngsters in the new stand. Will that continue in subsequent home games? Who knows, but it was good to see it happen.

Under 21s
Looked very poor against the Zebras. Lost 3-1, but could have lost by much more. More concerning was the apparent lack of skill across the board. First touches were atrocious, attitude at times just as bad.

Silver Surfer Scenario
I'm not a fan of silver or grey tops in any circumstance. Confusion circulated yesterday as to why we were wearing this year's silver away top in a home game. Rumour going around is that the kit supplier Adidas has stuffed up the orders of several VPL clubs, including ours. But the blue shirts will be available for when we need them, which will be the round four match away against Richmond.

Miscellaneous Gleanings
Even though we have two gates available, it looks like we'll only be using one of them on match days - in case you're wondering, the in use one is our traditional entrance.

Was nice to get in with a membership card with a bar code on it. Got scanned through like I was at a major stadium instead of a cinema.

The Zebras mascot a acted like a bit of a twit, but that's what mascot's are there for. I wonder if either us or Zebras will get a fine for the mascot's Zorba dancing.

Scoreboard was good - hopefully we get a match clock running on it soon. Can see  the bloody thing from way outside the stadium, too.

Lights looked good, though weren't really necessary. Field was immaculate. Announcements over the PA system nice and clear.

The 'only sing when you're merging' chant was taken out of the woodwork. Love that one.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Exclamation marks flying all over the place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They're big and they're cheesy!
Hi, my name is Michael Lynch, and I'm the chief soccer writer at The Age, the Melbourne tabloid without an online paywall. I'm also the only soccer writer there, but fancy titles are fun and look nice under your staff photo. You may remember me from such South of the Border posts as 'I tweet, therefore I am (a twit)', and 'They don't let me write about second tier soccer, honest injun'.

Over the past few years, I've been given a really rough time by some fans of the Victorian Premier League, mostly bitter wogs and pseudo intellectuals who don't believe me when I say that I love the VPL, and that my editor won't let me write more about it. Some have even suggested that I'm actually dismissive of the entire competition.

Did you know that the word dolma
 comes from the Turkish word for 'stuffed thing'?
But that's just not true! Just look at this 2012 VPL season preview I fought tooth and nail to get into the paper! Check out my in-depth analysis! Knights tipped to struggle! South favourites! Ex-NSL teams still exist! Some players have ambitions of getting out of this urine soaked hellhole!

Notice also how I spend heaps of time talking about the most important part of an ethnic club's existence, namely the delicious food! You can't remember the last time dolmades were served at South? You saying I'm making this stuff up? I didn't even resort to talking about the nut sellers!

Don't tell me bringing different kinds of food to Australia is not the wogs' greatest contribution to Australian society? I thought that's what multiculturalism was all about!

While recommended, a Greek passport is
 no longer necessary for entrance to South
 Melbourne matches. European Union
passports are also accepted. (*subject
to Greece remaining part of the EU.)
Pay attention to the fact that we included a photo of Victory fans instead of anything VPL related! And look at all the compliments I pay towards the old clubs - nurturers of talent, creators of our soccer culture, bad toilets, no women at games!

I also suggest that maybe the FFA should treat these teams better! I don't really talk directly about their current concerns, because they don't really have any, but they do have wounded pride because they're now completely irrelevant entities. And once a year at least, we should pretend that we care.

There, that ought to shut up those morons for another few months. Don't ask me who's going to cover the league for us while I'm on holidays.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Kiss of Death, Round 1, 2012

As much as I’d love to do a season preview, the FFV have failed to distribute the VPL pack with all the team lists. This being three days before kick off! So, I'll go straight into round one.

Bentleigh Greens vs Green Gully – Friday 8:15pm
A scintillating derby in the cold, on a Friday night to open the season. FFS. I have no idea who these clubs have lost or recruited, so I’m going into this one pretty blind. People are already talking about Gully going back to back, I think they should stop pissing in the wind. Bentleigh will start strong, and Gully will start slow. Bentleigh Greens 2 – Green Gully 1.

Northcote City vs Richmond – Saturday 3pm
The new look Northcote takes on the Richmond of Topalovic. Apparently Northcote have a youthful team full of promise. How successful they will be is another story. Who knows, really? Richmond has Topa back and Chatz still driving the train. They are kinda turning into a really boring team, and have a shit venue to match. Northcote City 1 – Richmond 1.

Dandenong Thunder vs Southern Stars – Saturday 5pm
Chris Taylor heads Dandy and they have Zaim Zanelli in goals. Southern Stars is headed by ? and they have ? in goals. This highlights the importance of not only having a website, but also having a regularly updated website. I have never seen Southern Stars, and I expect Dandy to wipe the floor with them. Dandy Thunder 4 – Southern Stars 0.

South Melbourne vs Moreland Zebras – Sunday 5pm
According to some people, South Melbourne deliberately asked for a 5pm kick off so people don’t go to the Olympic Village “el Classico”. Please, take your hands off it. South has recruited well. Moreland hasn’t done too bad either. I saw Moreland(Whittlesea) a few times last year. I especially enjoyed watching them wipe the floor with Port Melbourne. Do I think that same tactic can work in the VPL? No. A prime example is Springvale White Eagles. Their coach is a Domenic Barba. He was the referee at the infamous “riot” vs Preston at Lakeside a few years ago. So a ref turned coach. Previous stints at Altona City juniors, Altona East seniors/juniors, Sydenham Park seniors, then Whittlesea seniors. I have not seen South Melbourne all year in any capacity. Some people say good, other say bad. Believe nothing you hear. Just things you read in this column. South Melbourne 2 – Moreland Zebras 0.

Melbourne Knights vs Hume City – Sunday 6pm
Can anyone tell me if these teams have signed anyone since last season? Even can’t seem to fill in the gaps. NFI. Melbourne Knights 2 – Hume City 0.

Heidelberg United vs Oakleigh Cannons – Sunday 6pm
The “El Classico”. This derby is on par with the local cock fight down the road. The one where “Ron the Rooster”, takes on “The Cockinator”. Fucken gimmick derby. Crowd won’t be more than 150. Heidelberg United 0 – Oakleigh Cannons 3. Then everybody will come out pulling themselves over how Oakleigh has it in the bag already.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

South tickets available on Ticketmaster

It's part of the stadium deal, but worth a chuckle nonetheless. Here's the link if you're that peachy keen or afraid there won't be tickets available at the gate on match day.

Remember though, that from here on in, tickets bought at the gate or of course via Ticketmaster mean that a portion of that ticket goes towards the venue and ticket consortium.

So buy a membership. Every dollar of every membership goes to the club.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Model of efficiency; Shopping Trolley Shenanigans

Trundled out yesterday all the way to South Dandenong to watch us play our last friendly game before the real stuff starts next week. First surprise - we didn't play on the main field, but on the one behind the stand. More of a rural atmosphere, what with trees hanging over the edge of one side the field.

The game itself - we had all of two shots on goal, and scored from one of these. Dandenong peppered the goals, and fed through their new college superstar recruit on the counter, but they also only managed one goal. Our defense was makeshift, so whole it struggled to contain and clear the ball, there's plenty of of experienced players to come into the squad.

Judging by their approach to the game, Dandenong are pumped for this season after last year's relatively poor effort. Craig Elvin still allowed to get away with murder. Hopefully the refs start clamping down on such players across the league. I'm not holding my breath.

Public transport in the south-eastern suburbs - or Dandenong at least
Well patronised, punctual and effective.

Until some idiot leaves a shopping trolley on the tracks before Huntingdale station on the way home. Cue the train smacking into said trolley, being damaged, and after sitting idle for about 40 minutes (or whatever it was), then dumping us at Oakleigh (because in the driver's words, the train was being held together with a stick). And there's also some probably pseudo marine corps dude giving me greasy looks for who knows what reason.

Another story to add to the public transport filebook.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Vale Ian Marshall (12 February 1949-13 March 2012)

With thanks to Roy Hay for providing the news and obituary.

Ian Marshall died on 13 March 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand after a long battle with cancer. Ian was a key member of the South Melbourne Hellas midfield in the 1970s, playing alongside Jimmy Armstrong, Peter Bourne, John Bedford and Steve Walker. He helped South Melbourne to the State League championship in 1972 and 1974. He was selected in an Australian squad but did not take the field in an international match. From Hellas he joined Juventus and then went to New Zealand, from where his wife, Christine, hailed.

Ian Marshall was born in Ross-shire in Scotland and started his senior career with the local club Ross County in Dingwall. He was spotted by Tommy Docherty when he was managing Chelsea and the ebullient Scottish manager intended to take the young man to London. However a serious leg injury kept Marshall out of the game for some time. By the time he was back on the top line, Dockerty had left Chelsea so the big move never came about, and Ian Marshall played for some time with Rotherham under Docherty. In 1970, however, he made an even bigger move, when he was recruited by South Melbourne. Marshall and Peter Bourne hit it off in the midfield and Laurie Schwab in 1972 wrote, they ‘look and play as if they were brothers’ knocking off league leader George Cross at Middle Park in front of 11,000 fans and rarely allowing their opponents John Gardiner and Kevin Walker a sniff of the ball. South won that game four-nil. The arrival of Jimmy Mackay from Sydney in 1975 probably limited Marshall’s opportunities and he moved on. At Juventus he played with Jim Armstrong, Jack Reilly and Pat Della Rocca. In New Zealand he continued to play and coach and was involved with the national team, the All Whites. He was an inaugural inductee in the South Melbourne Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife Christine, son Callum and twin daughters Alana and Vanessa.

I am indebted to Robert Levene and Jim Armstrong for assistance with this tribute.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

3-3 vs Port; Another keeper; Another friendly;

Last night, Port Melbourne 3, South Melbourne 3. Decent half arsed game I guess. Some tidy work up front by Rixon and the Trifiros. Were 2-0 up, then 3-2 down, and equalised later. One ripper goal from Port from Zeus knows how far out. Steve from Broady is at Bible Camp, so I'm enjoying three days of peace and quiet.

Jason Saldaris
The Perth keeper who's been doing the pre-season with us is signed up. Apart from his name, his vague origins, and rumours that he's a male model, I don't know much about him. Expectations are that he will fight with Gavalas for the number one spot.

Of course this means that George Malliaras, long time under 21s keeper, is now on loan to Springvale White Eagles. They're apparently a young side, and expected to struggle in state league 1. Has a player ever come back from a loan period since we've been in VPL? 

Final Friendly
Our last friendly before the season starts will be on this Saturday, 17th March, away at Dandenong Thunder at 6:00PM. Undecided about this game - may opt for statewide knockout cup match instead.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Can the Hellenic Cup be saved from itself?

Normally, once the Hellenic Cup is over, there aren't too many recriminations from this blog, outside of our own progress at least.

One also doesn't want to knock the efforts of a group of volunteers just for the sake of it. In the past, I have been prone to defending the Hellenic Cup committee, especially in their efforts in rejuvenating what could have become a moribund competition.

Certainly, their inclusion of women's, youth and veterans comps has added another dimension, and increased the participation base of the competition. Considering that this is where this sport is headed at this level, that was a good idea.

And the prizemoney is still good, let's not forget that. $10,000 for the winner of a pre-season competition, when the top prize for winning the VPL or the state cup is worth not much more than double that, is fantastic.

And yet, the organisation of this year's tournament has been shambolic. Constant fixture changes and confusion; grounds destroyed by weather and overuse; the lack of any website updates; and now the prospect of high profile teams not even bothering to enter.

And yet this should have been the best tournament yet in terms of competitiveness. The provisional league teams were whittled down before the state league and VPL teams entered. The state league teams, courtesy of the FFV pushing back the VPL season to late March, now had a pre-season alongside the VPL sides, meaning fatigue woild be less of a factor.

And yet somehow the competition was still a shambles, and Western Suburbs' surprise victory overshadowed by the calamitous organisation.

There were constant fixture changes, even before the tournament started. The tournament programme booklet was rendered all but useless. The decision to change a South fixture twice due to the Antipodes Festival was ridiculous.

The confusion about who would play where, especially in the north/west portion of the tournament, was even more confusing, after the Ralph Reserve field succumbed to the twin perils of overuse and the weather.

The effect of all this would have been lessened if they had made use of their website even in a rudimentary fashion. But since they could not even manage to update results, what hope of informing the public about the other changes.

Last year, Hellenic Cup committee chairmain Jim Massis told me that the reason the website hadn't been updated was because the person responsible was in Greece. I had made an effort, for the general public, to keep track of results as best as I could, using a google document and updating scores as I learnt of them.

It wasn't a perfect solution - at one stage I was copying notes by hand from Massis' notes - but it seemed to be reasonably popular among people wanting to get that information. No single topic/entry has even been half as popular on this blog as this post.

Massis' reassurance that the website would be running for this year's tournament was enough for me to not offer any assistance. Of course, once again, there were no updates on their site. Information could only really be gleaned by looking on, which is blocked again; the site, which only had senior men's results, and not all of them; and the south-east results as provided on the Kingston City website by the soccer-forum user known as 'Psycho'.

The lack of reliable information was not the only issue. Despite managing to get it down to four senior groups of four teams each, the tournament still managed to force them to play matches on consecutive days. When Altona East chose to forfeit their quarter final, due to a lack of available players after what was apparently a tough encounter the day before, rather than acknowldege that there perhaps was a problem with the fixturing, the Hellenic Cup committee tried to get Brunswick City to play the match agaonst South - fortunately, they had the good sense, or the necessity of also declining the offer, and South eventually went through to the semi-finals on a forfeit, as they should have in the first place.

Massis was later apparently waiting to unleash on Altona East's refusal to play on Greek radio - fortunately for all concerned, 3XY's phone hook up wasn't working for anyone, and thus further embarassment was avoided, for the time being at least. But then came the semi-finals. Played at different venues, at different times, with different rules. While both semi-finals finished level after regular time, the match at Ralph Reserve, owing to a lack of match lights, went straight to penalties, while the game at The Grange went to extra time.

And while it's easy to point out all the things that went wrong, one is obligated perhaps to provide some possible solutions. And  while that's not usually my strong point, I should give it a stab.

Firstly, do not charge such a high entry fee. $8 for an adult ticket to watch 70 minute matches of a pre-season quality is not value for money.

Secondly, do not charge any entry, let alone $8 for the pre-tournament qualifiers. How much money do you think was going to be made from these games?

It might not be under your direct control, but do try and lean on the host clubs to stop them from price gouging on food and drink. Apparently the cost of a souvlaki at Kingston went from $8 to $10 for the final, and other food drink went up in price also. Way to piss people off.

Think about getting rid of the under 21s competition. The reserves teams below state league one play in an all ages competition, making it very difficult for them to field competitive teams made up only of players under 21. It might also ease your scheduling issues, even if it forces reserves teams to seek other games outside the tournament.

Either use your site properly, or dump it. I'm happy to offer my limited talents in running a site for you, provided I can be provided with accurate fixtures and results in a timely manner.

And lastly, don't piss off any more teams. While not necessarily your fault, it was disappointing not to see the big spending Clifton Hill in the tournament, and even the struggling AEK Waverley. Getting in non-Greek teams to fill in the gaps is counter intuitive to what this tournament is about.

Monday, 12 March 2012

When Officer Friendly Comes Calling

Tucked away in an entry last week, we warned you that a South Melbourne flavoured mudslide was ready to flow down FourFourTwo mountain. Unlike the article referred to last week, this latest article, by the mysterious 'Staff Writer', does have real world consequences for South supporters, unlike that other Clive Palmer related nonsense.

It looks like the introduction of a supporter code of conduct is gathering pace. This has been an issue that has been around for many years, and which has always been viewed with suspicion by the people most likely to fall foul of such rules.

And until recently, the club has had a dreadful record in making disciplinary action stick, that is when they've even bothered to dish it out. Rather than go off half-cocked though, I think we should wait and see what exactly the club has in mind.

Of course there will be questions - such as how will this be any different to the FFV's code of conduct?

Will foul language be targeted? Will foul language in Greek be targeted?

Will talented, handsome, but prone to roguish behaviour media volunteers have the rules applied to them in the same way as their non-volunteer friends?

Is any of this necessary when we're at a 'major events' venue where specific laws already exist to deal with offenders?

And is it true that some fans are considering bringing flares back to games, not realising they could be up for a fine in the realm of $6,000?

And is it true that there are security cameras and people operating them just waiting for some dolt to do something stupid?

So many questions, and not enough information. Not quite yet, anyway.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

South snare third place in 2012 Hellenic Cup

Apparently came from 2-0 down to beat Northcote 3-2. No idea on lineup, I wasn't there. I was, rather, at McKechnie Reserve watching Westvale Olympic beat Cairnlea 5-2 in the statewde knockout cup. Next South match is a friendly against Port Melbourne this coming Wednesday.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

South exit Hellenic Cup; two new signings; FourFourTwo shenanigans; Beachcombing

It was a farcical evening of football last night at The Grange. For the second time this pre-season South has come up short against state league one outfit Western Suburbs, this time bowing out in a penalty shootout, after both regular and extra time yielded no goals.

After all five penalties were scored by both teams in the shoot out, Suburbs went ahead 6-5 in sudden death - and they won the tie when Steve O'Dor hit his penalty too close to the Suburbs keeper who easily kept the ball out. This will be the first time since 2008 that South has not made the tournament final.

The game was open, with chances ate both ends, though the shooting of both sides left a lot to be desired - in South's case this was worsened by the apparent fear of shooting from anything other the six yard box.

Suburbs played a counter attacking game, clogging up the middle of the field, pushing South wide, and attacking on the counter. Their speedy players were able to race up the field and place the defense under serious pressure - especially considering the apparent disconnect between O'Dor and Gavalas.

After being nursed through the pre-season, Trent Rixon came on late, though Gus Tsolakis appears to be a coach who is wary of using his bench. Crosses that were in the right spot were not met by players being in the right spot. Players that were in the right spot saw crosses fly over them.

It's hardly end of the world stuff though - and it goes to show how the alignment of the state league and VPL pre-seasons have enabled a more closely fought tournament - however this has been overshadowed by even more ludicrous actions from the organising committee.

The original kickoff time for the game was 6:30PM. Of course most, if not all of our players are semi-professionals, who work day jobs. Some even work as late as 6:00 PM. The time would have been even worse for the Western Suburbs, whose players would have likely had to have journeyed an even longer distance than most of our players.

I can't even recall what time the game eventually started. To my surprise, the game also went the full 90 minutes, instead of the hitherto usual 70 - if my recollection is accurate, in previous tournaments 90 minute matches were reserved for the final.

The most ridiculous portion of the evening though, was when news filtered in from the other semi-final, being played by Heidelberg and Northcote. Remarkably, it was being played at Ralph Reserve, whose surface, by all accounts, has been ripped to shreds, and had whole days of action cancelled on it, and matches relocated.

That match, too, failed to yield a winner, but rather than going into extra time, the match went straight into penalties. The lack of suitable lighting was given as the reason for this occurrence. One wonders of they were finishing their match in the dark, and why we had to play extra time.

As it is, our involvement in this tournament is now over, except for the wearisome 3rd/4th place playoff. If last year's match between Oakleigh and Bentleigh is any guide - the single worst game I have ever seen - there will be no point in attending this match. I would feel confident in predicting a largely under 21s squad will take the field on behalf of the club.

Tournament highlights next week.

Need More Greeks!
Boy, hasn't this angle being worked to death lately. Two more officially on board - goalkeeper Peter Gavalas signed over from Bentleigh Greens - confirmed as both a Greek speaker and of the Orthodox faith; and Dimi Hatzimouratis, a pacy forward type who has been at a few clubs around Melbourne but has also spent some time in the Cypriot leagues. Gavalas' signing means the exit of Zaim Zeneli, most likely to Dandenong Thunder. Probably part of their 'need more Albanians' push. Hatzimouratis' signing means that Nicky Jacobs and Gianni De Nittis will probably be fighting over a bench position - unless Jacobs can somehow win a spot out wide.

South sides with the FFA
In the latest and perhaps most pointless chapter of the Clive Palmer - FFA feud, FourFourTwo is reporting that we're not saying that much at all about the matter. Word on the street is to expect more hot air blather in the coming months from us or about us in FourFourTwo

South at the Beach
Finally, in a revolutionary move, this year's version of South in the suburbs/aka membership fun day is actually taking place somewhere within rock throwing distance of South Melbourne! Well, more so rock throwing distance with a mortar launcher, but still better than requiring an intercontinental ballistic missile to deliver your payload.

It's on next Sunday, March 17th, from 11am to 1pm, at (new sponsor) Beachcomber Cafe, 10-18 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda. I think I'll give this one a miss. They seem like nice people over there, and the beach soccer volleyball to be played by South people sounds interesting (even it's no sepak takraw), but I think I should spend some time at home. Or maybe even at a Statewide Knockout Cup match.

So what the hell have they been doing for the last

SMHSC and SMWFC Joint Statement

Monday, 5 March 2012 5:23 PM

South Melbourne Women’s Football Club (SMWFC) and South Melbourne Hellas Soccer Club (SMHSC) are pleased to advise they have agreed to engage in a process to explore mutual benefits for both clubs and recommend a way forward.

As part of the process, representatives from both clubs will examine many areas including the organisational structure, governance model, strategic plan, operations and club culture required to achieve the best outcome for our members.

Once the process is completed, the organisational structure which is recommended may be a merger, affiliation or operating as separate entities.

We will regularly keep our members and supporters informed of progress and seek feedback along the way.

During the 2012 Season, SMWFC will continue to field Women’s and Girl’s Teams and SMHSC/SMFC will continue to field the Men’s and Junior Boys Teams.

As part of the exciting 2012 season ahead, SMHSC and SMWFC will play Premier League matches at the newly completed Lakeside Stadium.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Hellenic Cup semi against Western Suburbs

We have eventually been awarded passage through to the semi finals, after the Hellenic Committee finally and correctly giving us a forfeit win over a team that told the Hellenic Cup committee they were forfeiting.

Of course it took the brains trust running the comp a day or so to figure this, to them at least, uncommon sense arrangement out - some of which will be elaborated on in a sort of written highlights package of the day's action when we have some free time next week. Let's just say it involved listening to 3XY Radio Hellas for two hours and copious use of the word 'fuck'.

So the semi final is on this Wednesday 7th March, at The Grange, against Western Suburbs. Kick off 6:30 or 7:00. I don't know, maybe they'll end up starting it at 6:45 just to be smart. I'm just here giving you a very rough guide to things.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Fuck the Hellenic Cup

Seriously, it's fucken fucked.

We were supposed to play the runner up of one of the north-west groups. Turned out this was Altona East, but they've pulled out due to a lack of players.

Rather than award us the win on a forfeit, apparently the Hellenic Cup committee have tried to wrangle the third placed team from that group, Brunswick City. At the time of print, there was no definite word on whether they would agree to play.

So, if you make the trek out to Clayton South today, you do so under the full realisation that South may not play a match today. As founding member of the Public Transport Faction, I refuse to take the chance that there might actually be a game today, and make a 90 minute slog for probably no good reason. Was happy to deal with heat, rain, the blatant ripoff entry fee and even my team's substandard performances, but this crap is one step too far even for me.

Jim Massis, you're a good bloke, but fuck it, I'd rather we just enter the Eastern Lions or Casey Cup comps next year, even if the Hellenic Cup is the only thing we've won since our last VPL title..

Saturday, 3 March 2012

South beat Malvern 3-0 and move into Hellenic Cup quarter final

Don't know who are opponents are at this stage, but our match will be on tomorrow, that is, Sunday 4th March, at The Grange, at 4pm.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Stand up, all victims of oppression!

There have been some people visiting this site, seemingly in order to gather what this blog's and the general South fan's response has been to the Clive Palmer situation.

Well, things move so fast, and are so surreal, that any rational response is pointless. There are some - I repeat only some - South fans who not only believe this is the beginning of the end, but also that Clive Palmer is some kind of hero, who will usher in a new era where South will reign supreme again.

Let me make it clear, that I don't share that view. I'm of the view that Palmer is a deadset loon, who put no more foresight into his latest shenanigans than he did Gold Coast United's success. He's not the messiah, he's just a very naughty boy so to speak, albeit one with a lot more money than your average idiot.

But having said that, it's not like I'm not enjoying the spectacle. This is the stuff that Australian socce was created for, the kind of comedy heights only our game can produce. I could re-publish so much material that's been sprouted on the forums lately, but for succumbing to the sheer farce of the situation, this video is my current favourite item.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Iraq! Iraq! Makedonia! More mingling with the mainstream

Trundled down to Swan Street yesterday for the Socceroos match against the Saudis. This post will likely have much the same content as this post last year, so if you're not keen on me repeating myself, you can skip this article.

Ah, the semi-dead rubber. That is, it was a dead rubber for the Socceroos, but for the visiting Saudis, there was everything at stake - they needed to win. I suppose there was some incentive for our side as well - apart from fringe players seeking to impress, it'd be fair to say that if there was one team that we'd rather not progress to the next stage, it'd be the Saudis, rather than Oman or Thailand.

Quite a decent crowd in attendance, about 25,000 people, quite good for such an occasion with a kickoff also pushed back an hour - on a school night! Plenty of kids in the crowd, too. If there was a rule about no club colours, it didn't get through to some. I had my South beanie on, and while most of the crowd were arrayed in some sort of green and/or gold merchandise, there were the usual suspects in their club tops, both A-League and overseas.

Credit to the bloke with the vintage Manchester City shirt with Danny Tiatto's name on the back. That was one bloke who'd obviously been following that team before City's Arab ship came in, when they were a team that went up and down several divisions and were just another side of no consequence. Speaking of Danny Tiatto, he was awarded some sort of accolade at half time, but the only club mentioned was his junior side Bulleen. A shame, as that Melbourne Knights side he was such a crucial leg chopping part of, was probably the best Aussie club team I've ever seen.

The Green and Gold Army may just as well have not been there for most of the match. I was in the corner about a bay across from them, and barely a peep was heard from their direction until Archie Thompson got some sort of whisper in his ear while he was warming up in the first half, and then nothing again really until we scored that barrage of goals at the end. They were put to shame by the Saudi away end (though really, it should be Saudi away corner, as they were shoved into the metaphorical crawl space on the Yarra side of the stadium). At least the Saudis had an excuse for eventually losing their voice - their team got done like a dinner.

At least the Mexican wave and Aussie, Aussie, Aussie chants didn't come in until the very end. I felt also that the crowd couldn't read the game. Fair enough, they booed what they considered were soft fouls, the occasional milking of a foul and the obligatory rolling on the ground. But we've been in Asia for something like 5-6 years now? Time to just get used to it, maybe even play along with it. Me and Gains were just laughing at both the Saudi antics and the crowd's reaction. The WWE should look into marketing to this crowd, they fell for that heel routine like nobody's business. The absolute best moment was when the Saudi player felled himself on the verge of halftime, when they were 2-1 up. Out comes the stretcher, eventually - of course within ten seconds of being stretchered off, the bloke gets up. Crowd goes nuts. Classic stuff.

Rudimentary clearances and interceptions were being cheered like it was Simon Prestigiacomo making a last ditch spoil on Warren Treadrea in his prime after Presti's deceptive closing speed made up a five metre gap. Case in point - David Carney came on late, had the ball kicked into him in a failed attempt to dribble past him, and the bloke behind me burst out with 'classy stuff, Dave!'. Indeed every player was a champion to this bloke. No questioning of the need to play a bunch of 30 year olds, or why Mark Schwartzer flew halfway around the world for his match, or why we played with four centrebacks, why we couldn't figure out the Saudis' fairly obvious plan for most of the match, why we couldn't hit a five metre pass etc. That's not to say that the Socceroos didn't improve as the game wore on, and the stereotypically mentally fragile Saudis collapsed in tremendous fashion. And it was nice to be at an exciting and entertaining national team fixture - thanks for nothing, Pim.

Still, as entertaining as the game was, crowd watching was still just as good. There was the bloke with the A3 sheet of paper with Arabic text scrawled in permanent marker. Not sure if his message got on screen. There was the young woman with the dyed blonde hair and tight shorts, wearing a Saudi flag around her shoulders - good thing there were no mutaween there. And then there was was the bloke with the modern Iraqi flag, who seemed to enjoy the win more on two fronts. They may have got rid of the sectarianism that held the national league back, but its heartbeat is still kicking on at some level in the present. Which is more than can be said for Richmond station, which had no electricity in its station building before kickoff and was still pitch black at 11pm.

Iraq! Iraq! Ma-ke-do-ni-a! This fan got two wins for the price of one. Photo: Gains.