Saturday, 5 March 2016

Can't complain - Port Melbourne 0 South Melbourne 2

Puts pretend tactical hat on
Pretty good first half, pretty meh second half, but who could tell what was happening all the way on the other side of the ground with poor depth perception and a black net in the way. First half tactics seemed interesting to me. Press them high up the field, because with no Kamal Ibrahim this season, who was going to be able to take it through the midfield for them? No one, and we could even afford to let them give off the first pass because all it did was hit a brick wall of South midfielders.

Even better was when the Port defence just coughed up the ball under little to no pressure from us. Even Gal's goal kicks were slicing off his boot with unerring regularity. The main instigator of harassing tactic was Iqi Jawadi, who was having a blinder. His goal from absurdly long range was hit as much in anger at being fouled as intention to score, but they all count the same.

A pity then that he had to come off after getting injured before the half was even out. Still, by that stage we were 2-0 up thanks to Luke Adams finding himself unmarked at the back post from a set piece at this ground for the second year running. Eric Vasiliadis apparently tore shreds off his players at half time, and sure they came out looking better, but did they look dangerous? Probably not.

Were we able to be more clinical with some of our chances on the counter, we could have won this more comfortably, but all in all that part of our game looked out of synch. The runs forward from the forwards were usually all over the shop, and Lujic looked a little out of sorts too, as well as frustrated. It's not a new frustration for him to be the sole target man, nor to have that much close attention paid to him, but there were moments where he clearly seemed to be expecting a pass played through or a cross sent in, and it didn't work out the way he wanted it to.

And as much as we could all say that Andy Brennan would have provided the required delivery, he's gone and he's not coming back*, so we all need to move on, and appreciate those who are still with us now†. Besides which, we're three from three, 12 goals for and zero against. There'll be plenty of time for complaining as the season drags on.

* He may well come back one day, but it doesn't look like that will be any time soon.
† The decision to appreciate or despise the 'People's Champ' is at entirely your own discretion.

More importantly (takes ridiculous pretend tactical hat off)
What are we going to do with Port Melbourne's ground? Already accustomed to having the outer side blocked off - you know, the side with the best view of the game - yesterday saw even more of the ground blocked off, this time including the end behind the Plummer Streets fenced off. Pretty soon (recycles joke from yesterday), they'll be putting everyone that doesn't want to sit under their social club roof into a Polish style hooligan cage.

Now far be it for a South fan to talk about restricted areas of a venue, but at least at Lakeside you have the option of being in any one of the 2900 odd seats of 'our' grandstand, standing at the back of the stand or along the fence, or if you have money to throw around sit with the corporates. Shoving everyone at Port into increasingly smaller spaces for goodness knows what reason just makes the whole thing more and more frustrating for those who choose to go to that ground.

Next match
Bulleen Lions away on Labour Day, with at this stage the customary 8:30PM kick off still in place. Could they somehow find it in their hearts to move the game to an earlier timeslot? Oh, I know some people love Mondays at the Veneto Club, but I... no, let's save that for the next match report.

Speaking of which...
I've finally come around to the issue of night game kick off times. For Friday night and Monday night games, surely it's time to banish the reserves to a Saturday or Sunday afternoon slot alongside the other junior sides. 8:30PM kickoffs are absurd. Moving the reserves to the weekend means you can start a senior match at the more reasonable time of 7:30PM, seeing a 9:30 finish and an earlier arrival home. Readers of this blog will already know I think Monday games are daft enough as it is. But even on Friday nights, for those clubs that have social clubs attached, wouldn't it be better to have a game finish at 9:30, and have people stick around for an hour or so afterwards, rather than just go home straight away? And there's the issue of those who want to bring their children with them to games.

Specious thinking (on the live streaming of NPL games)
MFootball were conducting a live video stream of this game. I don't know where I stand in this to be honest. When the FFV did much the same operation a few years ago, I was one of the few people that regularly watched their one live game a week. I don't think it greatly lessened my overall attendance at matches, and was especially useful when the matches being covered were a long way from my former abode in Altona North.

Regardless of whether it's being done by a federation or private media organisation though, live video streaming has to answer the questions of who's watching and why. Leaving aside the gambling demographic for a moment, is there that much of an audience for this competition? Why are neutrals, especially those from interstate, watching this game when there is A-League, and soon to be rugby league, union and AFL matches on at the same time?

The concern that live video streaming will hurt attendance at games seems to stretch credulity. Being realistic, for most games I don't think there'd be much of a negative impact. The NPL is the kind of competition where either you go to games, or you don't - it's not really the kind of league for people that want to hedge their bets on attending. And on any of the regulation match days - Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays - there are already so many competing fixtures across a plethora of sports, that your potential audience already seems to exist very much on the margins.

This must go for the radio productions as well, though to a far lesser extent. At least for traditional broadcast radio (restricted to the Greek language 3XY Radio Hellas these days),e there is a very specific target market. For the internet radio broadcasts, while theoretically aiming for anyone within the FFV/NPL social media sphere (the only way potential audiences will find out about it) seems so broad and aimless that again, you wonder who's tuning in? The online radio broadcasts also have the dilemma of if you're listening to the commentary of a match you're actually at, the commentary may be so delayed that it's a pointless exercise.

The trickiest aspect to deal with though may be the issue of important matches. Matches between two leading sides or an FFA Cup qualifier between traditional rivals, or hypothetically a match between Melbourne Victory's NPL side and South or the Knights. The temptation would clearly be there to believe that the setting would be right to take advantage (whatever the hell that means) of the atmosphere or feeling in a match.

But in these cases, could it be that the appeal of those kinds of games played at our level (and probably of the FFA Cup scam as well) is the act of being there in person, looking cool, being a bandwagoner, while knowing full well you won't be seen at "insert venue of relevant peasant club" until the next 'event' game? In other words, shouldn't most of the effort be put into getting people through the gates?

I suppose as long as the host clubs get a say on whether or not people can live stream their games, each club can choose it's own course of action, they can do whatever they like. It's not like anyone's paying us broadcasting money for the rights to do so.

I joined NUGAS, again
The National Union of Greek Australian Students - aka, NUGAS - have been around for a very long time. Not usually giving a damn about 'tavern nights', I have taken very little interest in their affairs during my career as a tertiary student, and lord knows I've had enough opportunities to do so over a uni stint spanning two different institutions, three or so degrees and I don't know something like eleven years or so hanging around.

That, and there was a stupid incident involving right wing front ticket student union election bollocks involving NUGAS back at Melbourne Uni in 2003. Someone made a documentary about it, go watch that if you can some somehow find it. Mind you, the documentary maker probably left out the bit where someone piffed an ashtray from the balcony of the UBar down at some arsehole Young Liberals. Not that I'm endorsing that kind of behaviour mind you, and luckily no one got hurt, but it was a very tense moment in the lives of some mostly over privileged people (from both sides of that political divide) in their early 20s who mostly ended up who knows where. (I think one ended up co-authoring a book on why Australia's cities are broken, but the writing style was too much of an ordeal to persist in reading it).

All of which is a very long winded way of saying that whoever at South was responsible for lining up the deal with NUGAS to get them to offer three game passes, would be moderately pleased that they did in fact mention that deal to me as part of their membership pitch. It did help that I was wearing one of my South hats though. Less successful was the attempt to get one of the adjacent non-Greeks to join up with the offer of a South Melbourne three game pass.

Me, I'll be surprised if they even manage to send me an email this year, considering they didn't manage to do it last year.

Match programmes
Starting to clear the little bit of a backlog that's accumulated here. Most updates from this week are of away games from 1993-1994, but there have also been some items from other seasons scattered around. More to come from these batches next week.

Final thought


  1. I didn't know about the livestream until after the event. Couldn't make the game, but would've tuned in online without question. D'oh!

    1. Had a look at the youtube version afterwards, and apart from a lack of ambient/crowd noise and some issues with the replays, I was impressed with the quality of the coverage.

    2. It is a great effort by MFootball. I must say that the quality of their production is better than what the FFV was serving up a few years ago. Hopefully the FFV is assisting MFootball financially so they can continue these live streams.

  2. Does any other spectator sport start their night fixtures at 8:30pm?
    It is a complete joke, that the FFV has allowed to carry on for far too long.

    1. A lot of matches in European Leagues have kick offs at 8.30pm, 8.45pm & 9pm. But I agree that here it doesn't make much sense. It seems to relate to the need to play a youth fixture beforehand

  3. Melbourne Water been working on the sewers that run beneath the Plummer St end of the ground i think, i`ve seen workmen and pump trucks in there most days last week.
    8.30 pm kickoff is shite.
    Access to the new social club will be on a rotational basis i`m assuming?


    1. Thanks for the info on the reason for the fenced off Plummer Street end, Stormy.

      As for the new social club, I hope those who were, like me, foolish to purchase a social club membership when Lakeside re-opened get first dibs.

    2. Lets just hope whenever your social club opens it will be big enough to accommodate your '6000 members'.

    3. Maybe the size has been an issue?

      It might be too big? :)

    4. at least we can keep a blog active for more than a week. what happened to down in the quarry?

    5. What do you mean 'we'? Its Paul's blog. But nice attempt at trying to take credit for it mate. What an ego on this bloke lol

    6. Not as big as yours MelbCro. No where near as big as yours AND your "ratsa"

    7. OK, maybe time to pull back a bit on the personal insults. Let's all agree that this blog is great, I'm great, our comment leavers are great (including MelbCro) and that West of the Quarry could do with a bit more regular posting.

    8. As for what keeps this blog ticking, yes a large part of it is my own drive to keep it going, but of course there also is the question of the audience. It's always encouraging and delightful to have a chat with people at South games who are taking an interest in what has been posted and what may be posted.

  4. Its been a long time since I've seen a goal scored from range like that for South. Thank you Iqi a fucking belter!

    1. His goal against Thunder away last year was also a cracker, but that goal last week was something else.



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