I did promise Paul a season preview this week. But to be honest, I cant be fucked reviewing something that’s been previewed countless times by other websites. Waste of my time. I have however studied round one, and I can give you my tips for the start of the season.
Thursday 19 February, South Melbourne vs Oakleigh Cannons @8:15, Lakeside Stadium
I’d call this one the clash of the titans, but it’s more Titan vs Minnow. South has had an excellent recruitment drive in the off-season. Signing no less than ten players, and releasing nine. Now before everyone points the finger, Dimi Tsiaras has retired, Jamie Reed has moved to Wales, and the other seven were if anything, bench players. The ten we have signed are pretty much all first eleven players. There will be a lot of competition and headaches for Taylor this season, which is a good thing. We lacked depth last season, and I mean quality depth. These signing have made depth a non-issue. South the side to watch this season. Oakleigh as usual are being overrated by everyone. They sign one or two fancy names and everyone starts pulling themselves. Calm the fuck down. South signs a few and it's “South's stealing our players”. The double standards, eh? They have an, 'eh', not bad team at Oakleigh, but not championship winners. Mentally it will always sit in the back of their heads. They are not a big enough character to deserve anything, and their trophy cabinet will be sitting bare for a while to come. South Melbourne 3 – Oakleigh Cannons 1.
Friday 20th February, Bentleigh Greens vs North Geelong @ 8:30, Kingston Heath
Bentleigh are still on their high from their FFA Cup run, where they played no team of note. Big fucken deal really. Have as usual splashed the cash and made signings, which I think are useless and unnecessary. North Geelong have an issue with leaking goals. Only had two clean sheets last season. However, they should still offer good value to this league in their maiden appearance [Let's not forget they did win the predecessor VPL competition in 1992. Ed.]. If they don’t have any coaching issues midway through the season, I can see them trying to force themselves into the finals series. Bentleigh Greens 2 – North Geelong Warriors 1.
Friday 20 February, Melbourne Knights vs Avondale FC @ 8:30, Knights Stadium
Watched the Knights last Friday night against South Melbourne for the Community Shield. They were woeful. It pains me to say it, but they will struggle. Their transfers in the off season have been poor. If they get the injuries they got last year, they’re fucked. Avondale FC have their turn in the NPL after being promoted again (three out of four seasons). They too have signed no one of note. You know, when you come to play with the big boys, you need to have some depth and players who can turn it on. Avondale have come into NPL with pretty much the same team. It will be a tough lesson for them. Melbourne Knights 3 – Avondale FC 1.
Sunday 22 February, Heidelberg United vs Pascoe Vale @ 3:00, Epping Stadium
Haven’t seen the Bergers yet, but by all accounts they have recruited well. Katsakis always seems to pluck these players out of nowhere and this season is no exception I suppose. I have no idea where or how he finds them, but they always seem to surprise. Pascoe Vale have a new ground this season, thank fuck for that. Their old ground is more of an antique now. They have signed three new players of not much calibre. Last year they were stubborn fucks, but this year everyone else's patience has worn thin. Expect Pascoe to finish in the bottom half of the table. Heidelberg United 2 – Pascoe Vale. 1.
Sunday 22 February, Hume City vs Port Melbourne @ 3:00, Broadmeadows Valley Park
Hume has gone on a spree, snapping up a bunch of NPL youth players. Are these players ready for the step up into senior football? No. Are Hume wasting their time? Yes. Will they have a strong campaign? No. Will they make the finals? No. Are they they a team to watch? Fucken LOL no! Port Melbourne have signed Trent Rixon, Alan Kearney and Shaun Kelly, just to name a few. Should other clubs be worried? No. We will see our first coaching change by round six. Eric Vass will be gone and Gus Tsolakis will be moved into his seat. You can see it already. Eric is being set up to fail. The clique has formed at Port and Eric will not be able to control it. Hume City 1 – Port Melbourne 1.
Sunday 22 February, Werribee City vs Dandenong Thunder @ 3:00, Galvin Park
Werribee City are already in relegation trouble and the season hasn't even started yet. Poor signings, poor friendly performances, poor youth team. They are doomed. Don’t bother tipping this team all season. Dead wood. Wasting everybody's time. Dandy Thunder, if they didn't have Stuart Munro, I’d have them down for relegation as well. All sorts of issues off the park, which has left a minimal budget on the park. Won’t get relegated, but will finish 3rd last, opa opa rok der! Werribee City 2 – Dandenong Thunder 2.
Monday 23 February, Green Gully vs Northcote City @ 8:30, Green Gully Reserve
Why would a team like Green Gully sign three players from Bendigo City? People have lost the plot. Overall poor recruitment drive. Disappointing. They've also signed Rani Dawisha from South Springvale Aris. Big jump for the young boy, will be under a shitload of pressure. Northcote has been raped and pillaged in the off-season. I dunno, really, I dunno. They’re one of those teams that always ends up being a pain in your arse somewhere through the season. Just wish they would go away. Green Gully 2 – Northcote City 2.