Sunday, December 31, 2006

Introducing Allsopp, James Allsopp... wtf?

This was pointed out on the Melbourne Victory forum... lucky that the Age is one of our "official sponsors", eh?

Edit 01/01/07 9.46am: Looks like James Allsopp wasn't the only suprise of the match, Archie then put the ball in the net after "turning Mariners defender Bradley Porter inside out and guiding the ball past Melbourne 'keeper Eugene Galekovic."

Good to see that the MV forum is wide awake here, even I hadn't noticed that one after reading that we had a James Allsopp.

Looks like The Age throw a mean New Year's Eve party!


Firstly, thanks to Shieldsy for giving Leijer (and Thompson) their required yellow cards. I hope you have a happy new year!

Secondly, Melbourne, you need to learn the art of time-wasting.
  1. When the ball goes out for your throw in, he who takes the throw in should distract himself talking to his team-mates attempting to position them and avoiding the retrieval of the ball.
  2. Similarly, when the ball goes out for a goal-kick, the 'keeper should waste time by yelling at his defenders about whatever - how poorly they were defending, demands on why they weren't marking, or arranging his players. Then the 'keeper can go get the ball.
  3. This is a particular favorite of mine, and it works well when there are no ball-boys, such as at Blue Tongue (where there are minimal ball-boys due to the size of the stadium). Take your sweet time collecting the ball. I don't mean walking over to get it, I mean jog over. But that type of jog where you look like you're trying hard to get back, but it would've been faster to walk.
  4. Another favorite of mine is a goal-kick related one. After establishing that your defender will start taking goal-kicks, the 'keeper should retrieve the ball as per tip #3, and hand it over to the hands of the defender. Tell the defender not to kick the ball until the 'keeper is back under the goals, and you may be able to get away with some random pointing before this, as if to suggest to the defender where he should deploy the ball to.
  5. I am also a fan of finding unsavoury patches on the pitch, and trying to place the ball somewhere unstable before a free-kick/goal-kick. The ball will then roll off, and you have to replace it. Apologise to your team-mates, and when it happens again (as it will), you then pretend to act flustered, place it nearby and then kick it.
  6. If you find yourself under pressure and in need of kicking the ball out, make sure you kick it high and far. I've had a lot of fun with this one, where my team was protecting a very slim lead, and we ended up making use of the high fence on one of the sides of the pitch. After kicking all three balls out, we wasted time by acting dumb and making the other team get the balls for us. We then continued to kick them over. Very funny indeed, however only applicable in the A-League if your fans are in on the 'joke' and hide the balls.
  7. Boot laces. Enough said.
  8. Another 'keeper one - fiddle with your gloves.
  9. If you decide to feign an injury wait until a stretcher comes out, and leave the pitch on it.
Alright, I think that's enough time-wasting tips for the moment. Most of these I've used quite happily and I'm yet to get a yellow. But that's women's football and the naivety of the referees we tend to get. I do believe that they're applicable to football in general, although perhaps they cannot be flaunted as readily as I have been able to.

Also, related to the crowd at Blue Tongue, my dad pointed out the high numbers of women at the match. I agreed that the percentage of spectators that were women seemed high compared to other matches, so a bit of an applause for the Mariners.

Onto the goalkeeping at Melbourne Victory. Sure, Theo drives me insane with his lack of confidence, but Galekovic is very late, especially with high balls. I'm really not sure who's worse, but I'd be happy if we signed Necevski.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hey Karen!

This is what you missed out on!

P.S. I work with Karen, and she decided not to rock up to the Victory match... poor poor form...

Monday, December 18, 2006

The morning after...

I can't deny being happy that the Victory confirmed their minor premiership last night, and it was great to do it at Olympic Park.

However, a short message to the Platinum members from the western stand - where the hell were you? If you don't rock up, our crowd numbers go down. I think seats are sold eventually, but before the 15min up to kick-off many fans would already have been turned away - if what's happened in previous matches is still what occurs.

Second, thanks to the Eastern stand who cheered on the Kiwis when they turned out for their warm up. :o)

It's funny that although my second team this season is Queensland, I don't have any problems beating them when Victory are playing them. However, last night I was a bit out of sorts, with the Kiwis being my second team last season. But I'm thinking that my concern for them is more to do with their demise as a club than anything else. Lately they've been playing much better than last season, and it's a shame they've collapsed at this time.

I can't figure out if I was happy for the Kiwis to be included in the A-League in the first place, but now that they're there, if they fail it just gives anti-footballers some ammunition. Also I read somewhere that neither Woolongong or Townsville would be ready to take over the 8th license next season, as their plans were for the season after... or something like that...

Should it be between those two consortiums (with Canberra as a third), I'd hope Townsville gets it. Simply because NSW already has plenty of clubs, and that's probably affecting crowd numbers already.

Speaking of the Sunshine State, what a joke was Matthew Breeze on the weekend? That was one of the most pathetic displays of refereeing I'd seen this season in the A-League, and there have been a few. Oh, and Hyuk Su-Seo! Just a message in case you receive treatment on the pitch again in the future. If the stretcher comes out, I'd recommend getting on it. Whether you walk off or get stretchered off, play will not restart until you're off. Now I have very faint recollections of Batistuta's yellow card at USA '94 (I was only 10... in fact I can't think of any other memories at the moment from when I was 10. So this made quite the impact on me.) He got the yellow because the ref thought Bati was time-wasting or feigning his injury because he didn't get on the stretcher when it came out. So, as I said, no harm done if you leave via the stretcher, you have to go off anyway.

For the record, Hamish - I've decided that Paston is kinda cute (this definitely to do with goalkeeping ability I'm sure) and two days ago I decided that Hickey was cute too. Funny that his Knights profile claims that his known for his good looks...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Feeling very cheery at the mo...

Considering how awful I was feeling as work finished this evening, was greeted by some great news in the car just after I finished work. Now I'm too happy to go to sleep - but I must as I have a game to watch tomorrow. Especially since I'm not a fan of Breeze to being with, this will be fun! 8am?!?!? Yuck! Well, I suppose it'd be worth it! :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Why Ernie, why?

Short rant here:

Ernie Merrick has left Mark Byrnes out of the Melbourne squad! Why oh why? I thought he'd been playing really well, with some good tackles and the ability to know what to do with the ball once he'd won it. Sarkies is in... Boo hoo hoo... he was a bit disappointing last season, and he hasn't added anything to the team this season...

In other commentary, I'm hoping that if the Knights aren't around next season, that the replacement for the A-League is Townsville. I don't think we need another NSW team in the A-League, so no Woolongong I hope.

No comments on the Melbourne/Sydney crowd 'controversy' as it's being well covered in the other A-League blogs that are around. And I don't have anything useful to add anyway...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Musings from round 16

Coaches gambling on the not-quite-right
In round 15, Laurie McKinna gambled on Tony Vidmar's calf, only to take him off early in the match and lose a substitute... This weekend, McKinna did it again, and Farina joined in with Matty McKay.

Poor lad - he looked miserable after half-time when the cameras lingered on Matty and Spase Dilevski. If there was a sight that nearly made me sob* during the weekend, it was the contrast between Dilevski up and about signing stuff for the kids and Matty just sitting there. I can't describe it enough, but he looked so unhappy. He's always seemed like the heart of the team, and it must've been difficult for him to watch Queensland more or less collapse and being unable to do anything...

Players who ball watch... or similar
I was livid with the third goal from Newcastle on the weekend - I don't understand how three defenders can just stand there and watch Bridge and Rodriguez do their thing. Sure, it was in the box (I think...), and diving in would and should be the last thing on the mind of any of the defenders, but surely one of them could have committed to closing down the space Bridge had, knowing he had 2 team-mates to back him up! Perhaps they didn't all want to commit at once, as could have happened if they don't talk. If that was the case, I wonder why Reddy didn't do some talking in there. Unfortunately, not being at the matches makes it difficult to figure out what's really going on...

The crowd at Melbourne
Hurrah! So we got 50, 333 people down to the Telstra Dome. Next thing to do, is to make all those people who turn up for the sake of being there appreciate the game. Today's Age had an article which stated the following:

By way of comparison, Melbourne's turnout was eclipsed by only one English Premier League match last weekend — the Manchester derby at Old Trafford — meaning it out-drew the London derby of Chelsea versus Arsenal.

Can I point out that at least the people who go to EPL matches would understand the game? I wouldn't expect to see women (yes, it's the girls who are driving me quite insane at the football) yawning during EPL matches and reading magazines while the team's warming up. I wouldn't expect to see little brats going to EPL matches and running about the place. And I'm sure that more appreciation would be given to players who put in during the match - eg. last season Danny Allsopp copped a lot of flack for not scoring, but very few people would have realised the work-horse that he is, and the number of times he allowed Melbourne to lose respectably by saving us in the defence.

What I'm trying to say, is that you can't really compare the crowds between a country where many people understand the football and a country where's its only growing and may have a novelty factor attached to it at the moment.

New Zealand
Hurrah for the return of Jonas Salley! Having him for most of the match meant that the Kiwis could actually be competitive and I was happy at how tough Salley was on Veart (especially considering how much I dislike Veart). It was good to see Veart under wraps because it meant that he didn't do any awful fouls on others. Made me very happy. Marcina played well again, but like last week annoyed me with his missing skill - finishing. And Paston had another great game! I finished the A-League weekend on quite a high after the misery of Thursday night.

Good to see that Kosmina actually figured that Aloisi wasn't required in the team... That's right, I just made a positive comment on Kossie and Adelaide. Also good to see that Kossie took Romario off when he wasn't having much of an effect on the match. Uh oh, that's two positive comments, I musn't be feeling well.

*Perhaps I should point out that I'm the kind of person who can sobs at sad points in movies - even bad ones. Heck, I even sobbed during the end of 'New Police Story' today when the background of one the characters (Frank if you're wondering) was revealed... I got all misty reading the Paolo Di Canio interview and Fabio Cannovaro articles in the latest Four Four Two. I'm pathetic, I know :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Disciplinary Hearings

Stray elbow = 3 weeks

Hands at throat of opposition = 4 weeks

Completely intentional kick at opposition = 2 weeks

Where's the smegging consistency?!?!? Surely Bajic should have received 3 weeks at least! His kick was as intentional as they come!

Going over the disciplinary hearings for the season, Adelaide lead the count with 3, with Melbourne, New Zealand and Sydney each having had players or coaches called up once. Perhaps Adelaide United should become Thuggery United.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The rest of round 15

A few days late, but here're my (biased) thoughts on the rest of round 15!

Queensland vs. Perth
Missed this game on Saturday night due to work commitments, but ended up trying to watch it the next morning at 9am. I actually woke up at 9am, got out of bed at ten past and eventually made my way to the TV by 9.20am. So I had missed the first 20 minutes or so, but at the pace the match was going, it didn't seem like I had missed much.

Except for an incident at or near kick-off where Sasa Ognenovski apparently received the ball, and with time, he Mickey-Mouse-passed the ball square, the ball was intercepted by some Perth player and apparently there was a chance. But I missed this, and so I'm not sure if it really happened or not!

I thought Chris Grossman, Spase Dilevski and Matt McKay all played pretty well in the first half, as boring as it was. Distribution of the ball from the midfield seemed to have improved compared to recent weeks. Unfortunately Dilveski seems to be having a mistiming issue with his tackles, or he is being reckless - ended up copping a yellow card for it, but at least he isn't collecting them at the same rate of Melbourne's Adrian Leijer.

The second half was a very different match - ended up being quite entertaining, especially McKay's rocket. Unlike many other A-League players, McKay's first touch was, well, exquisite, putting the ball in a great position so that he could volley the ball home in style. Very classy really. I also thought that Dilevski improved considerably in the second half, having taken the reckless tackles out of his game (amazing what a yellow card can do for some players) and putting in some great crosses. I hope he and McKay play more like this in the coming weeks - maybe not against Melbourne though.

I also hope that there's a way to keep Grossman in the club after his short-term contract expires...

New Zealand vs. Newcastle
Although my second team this season has been Queensland, I still cheer on my second team from last season, New Zealand, on whenever possible (i.e. not playing against either Queensland or my beloved Melbourne). This was a little more difficult than usual as I am a fan of Nick Carle.

New Kiwi signing Dean Gordon worked wonders for the Kiwi defence, always there when the time game. The goal conceded by the Kiwis was unfortunate, and I wonder why Mark Paston was off his line... Relatively new signing Alen Marcina scored via the penalty, but his second half performance was frustrating - he generally played really well, but lacked that final touch to send the ball home.

Central Coast vs. Sydney
If anyone was hoping for at least one match to not have a baised point of view, this isn't the weak. Not that I was going for Central Coast, but I didn't want Sydney to win. Andre Gumprecht was back, which I think was a good thing - I like his leadership on the field and how he often plays for the team.

Alright, so the last part of that sentence didn't make much sense, but I really like to see instances where the ball is controlled by one player and in the same touch played to a nearby player, and Gumprecht seems to do this quite a bit. Me like. :)

It seemed like luck wasn't going the Mariners' way, with two attempts hitting the woodwork in each half.

Sydney had a few opportunities, especially when Alex Brosque nearly got away. A good foul by Alex Wilkinson put an end to any ideas Brosque may have had, and Wilkinson received a yellow card for his efforts. Not that I'm complaining - if you're going to cop a yellow card, it may as well be for a reason.

More good defending from the Mariners when Wayne O'Sullivan brilliantly tackely Steve Corica towards the end of the match, when Corica almost broke through the penalty box. I think the Coast did a good job in keeping Corica quiet, and hopefully Melbourne kept an eye on this.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Activism Against Violence Against Women – how about the men?

Adelaide vs. Melbourne. Where to start?

Robert Bajic – what are stupid, idiotic thing to do. Not only do you get yourself sent-off, you lose a field player and concede a goal. Stupid stupid stupid! And then who to take off? I would’ve taken Fernando or Veart off – simply because they’re older and not able to run as much, as would normally be required when playing a man down. Of course, Fernando is needed on the pitch to communicate with Romario, as Dad pointed out. So take Veart off – but no, Kossie takes off Dodd. Who’s a bit like the Energizer bunny at times.

And then the Brebner red card. It was a hospital ball, Brebs was in front, Aloisi ends up on the floor and Shieldsy sends off Brebs! I swear it was just to make the teams even again!

Theoklitos was back in goals this evening, which is rather upsetting. Was in his typical panicky state tonight. And in the Fernando goal, I can’t help but blame him for playing without conviction and not clearing the cross. Everytime the ball approaches Theoklitos I get the jitters. He's a bit like me really, especially when it comes to high balls. We get so worried about getting to the ball first we forget to watch how it comes to us. Then we have to stretch out and nearly catch it over our heads, rather than in front. There will come a day when he'll stretch out but it won't be enough...

The second half was a lot calmer, with a number of opportunities missed by Melbourne. Allsopp needs to work on his left foot. Thompson needs to get fitter, Caceres lacks stamina, and the two of them need to learn how to kick the ball with a downward follow-through. i.e. lift the foot to the height of the ball and then kick it with the downward action. This would stop the amount of goals we miss by clearing the ball over the crossbar and into the stands.

I think it should have been 1-7 really, with Allsopp’s shocking left-footed attempt, Archie’s over the cross-bar moment from inside the box, Caceres’ similar attempt (as in over the cross-bar) albeit from outside the box, and Allsopp's shot that hit the cross-bar.

Fred played well tonight, except that he should’ve scored his goal on the first attempt. But he’s great to watch simply because he takes his time to play the ball. He’ll receive the ball, or win it, takes a look up and then plays it. Even when we’re in the deep-end. Cool as a cucumber.

Costanzo’s also pretty cool, but an animal too. Dad wishes that Costanzo would take that chopping instinct out of his game, because he’s such a good reader of the game and very calm.

In the land of officials… the assistant referees really should only flag offside when the player has played the ball. As per the rules. It just looks silly otherwise. Especially when the offside occurs near the centre circle but the ball reaches the ‘keeper. As in the offending player is NOWHERE near the ball. Thankfully Shieldsy didn’t whistle it, but seriously refs, get your act together!

The anti-Farina Fan Club

Even to my friends who don't know what the A-League is, they know I don't like Farina. The few who know what the A-League is know I like Bleiberg. It's a sad co-incidence that the former has replace the latter at my second team for this season, Queensland. This means that Farina now needs to be forgiven for both his national team shenanigans and for replacing my favourite A-League coach. Sure, Bleiberg resigned, but I'm sure that Farina's public comments on how he'd like to coach Queensland combined with the drop in form were the reason for the resignation. That said, I'm not Bleiberg, so I don't really know, do I?

Anyway, in today's Courier Mail, Frank's written an article, 'Invest more in our youth.' It's a very annoying piece of work.

Look at Manchester United. Most of its players, aside from the imports and marquee players, generally come through the club's youth system and that's what A-League clubs should be doing.

Oh yeah, Man U... I think the only regular players for them who've come through the youth system are Scholes, O'Shea and Fletcher. Oh yeah, the great Fletcher (I'm being sarcastic here.) Scholes I like (yes, there is such a thing as a Man Utd player that I like to watch - or rather, I like to watch his attempts on goal, has quite a powerful shot... scary, really) and O'Shea's alright - but Fletcher!!! If that's what the youth system is producing, I'd be very very worried - especially if he's the 'quality' that plays first-team football!

Next season I obviously want a nucleus of experienced players but I want to see more local players coming through the ranks.

This makes me worry. He's already brough Mori on board... next I think he'll go to old favorite Okon (who seems to have been invovled in every goal has Newcastle conceded. I'm sure if I look back on videos, any goal that they concede, Okon's there. Or at least in the frame. Can you tell I'm not an Okon fan?)...

The way I see a nucleus is to have an experienced 'keeper, an experienced defender, an experienced midfielder and an experienced striker. At the moment I think Queensland have a great 'keeper in Reddy and a good backline. However, they seem to have no midfield, as I've mentioned earlier - either here or in a comment on another blog. As I've previously pondered, I'm not sure if this is due to Murdocca being injured and not finding the right player to replace him, or not. Wedau's been disappointing, and I don't believe Gibson is the answer. Seo's alright, his distribution isn't bad, but he's not exactly the commanding type that I like to see in midfield and he's been quite wasteful.

Looking at the stats... of 21 attempts, 10 have been on target and 0 goals. Everyone above and the next two below him ( in order of attempts) have scored. Even Zhang, who's three below has had less attempts but at least he's had 2 assists. Oh, Seo's had 0 assists. Might have to reassess my distribution comment...

And speaking of goals... oh, now this whole A-League site setup is beginning to annoy me. You see, Mori's now in the Qld list, with all his stats from Central Coast. Looking at last season's stats, Brosque isn't there but Milicic's data from Newcastle is! It's all very very silly! To cut things short, I don't like Reinaldo - he simply hasn't quite gotten into gear... Perhaps Mori might net some, but there seems a number of 'strikers' at the club, and none being particularly exciting. Hopefully Lynch will be back soon.

Anyway, just putting in my 2 cents worth...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Stay sober on Friday"

Not really an A-League related post today folks, but it didn't quite belong on my non-A-League blog!

The Football Tragic posted today on when the A-League should be played and how A-League teams should align themselves with State League teams. He also linked an article by Terry Butcher on the SMH website, from the time when Sydney couldn't fill the bench.

The last line is, "So, if you are Sydney fans and are travelling up the coast this weekend, please bring along your boots and stay sober on Friday."

It made me remember my time at a certain local soccer club (they don't play well enough to be titled a football club). I was one of the youngest in the team at this club, and come around Sunday, we'd only sometimes have enough to put 11 participants (not players) on the field. One day, against Croydon, we had 8 on the field. Why only 8? Because the older girls went out drinking the night before, and were too hungover to play. Our "captain" was also hungover. Great, eh?

Every year the club would have a fundraiser where you get a T-Shirt with all kinds of drinks on the back, and you'd spend the night drinking. Is this really the appropriate culture for a football club? While it hasn't happened at the other clubs I've played at, this local club was the only one where the girls' and guys' teams actually supported each other - perhaps because it was such a small club.

Other clubs, the girls' teams are either left to fend for themselves (including the reigning Premier League champions, and another Premier League club I've played at), or in the case of the club will I never name, completely supported by the club financially but with an awful coach who's friends with the committee. I've never been content with any club I've played at, and while my local club are still on friendly terms with me and extremely handy in terms of location - I can't stand the drinking culture there.

Sorry, just a rant on the state of women's football in Victoria... or south-east Victoria. I suppose the bottom line is that if women's football wants to grow, it needs to be well managed at "grass-roots" level. I'm sure junior teams are well managed, but once the girls are over 18 they'll play for a senior team should they choose to continue playing... and then what? To be honest, I can barely watch women's football because the quality is so poor. No wonder nearly no-one else wants to watch it...

I vaguely recall an article by Greg Baum in the sports section of The Age a while back referring to comments Liz Ellis (netball, I think) made about how not enough media focuses on women's sport. I'd link it if I could find it... it was on an even sided page, down the bottom on the right, about two columns wide. Helpful for searching the 'net, eh? The point is, I don't see the point of legislating for increased coverage on women's sport, when there's no use watching it because it's so poor. I don't think better support at club level would help anyway - would you rather watch the women's tennis or the men's?

Monday, November 27, 2006

There was a round 14?

As a fellow lab member has essentially finished her PhD, I missed Sydney's demolition of Queensland - I was out celebrating. Alas, I come home and find my more-or-less beloved Queensland in a spot of bother...

Then I missed Central Coast's win over Adelaide due to a work Christmas party. At least my mum txt'd me the score, but no-one else at the party really cared.

By Sunday I was feeling very very sick (not due to the alcohol though - one week from summer and I have a cold!) So I headed off to Telstra Dome, and while I think that Melbourne had another luckluster performance, I wasn't mentally there, so that game's a bit of a blur. Perhaps I want it to be a bit of a blur...

Get home in time to watch the 2nd half of Perth vs. New Zealand. Had some chicken soup, felt a little better, saw Harnwell finish off his hat-trick and Despotovski get back on the score-sheet. But still didn't really enjoy the match. Was alert enough to pick up Harper's "Vu da-je" comment, relating to New Zealand's performance... I'm sure he meant, "Deja vu." Or perhaps I was so stuffy in the head that I was hearing things...

So in the end, I honestly can't say much about Round 14.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Letter to Fox Sports

Dear Fox Sports,

I would like to make a complaint about the commentary offered by two of you employees - Andy Harper and Michael Cockerill.

I find that should Sydney be playing a match, the commentary offered by this duo is often biased towards Sydney - which seems to be their hometown. It is almost as frustrating to listen to as some of the English commentators with Manchester United.

Secondly, Harper carries on and on and on at times. He needs to take a leaf out of the Simon Hill/Robbie Slater pairing. The make commentary when necessary, and each of them do not speak for longer than 10-15 seconds. I can't tell you how long Harper speaks for, as I have resulted to the use of the mute button on my remote control.

In last night's Perth vs. Newcastle match, Vaughn Coveny received a yellow card for "diving/simulation" in the box. Poor decisions by referees are out of Harper's and Cockerill's hands (how a ref can not expect a player to fall over when he's made contact with the 'keeper defies the law of physics... even if he didn't want to award the penalty, he could have let the play go on - no penalty and no yellow card.) However, Cockerill applauded the referee's decision. Solely because he believed that by booking Coveny, it was a step in the right direction in the fight against simulation, even if in this case it was the wrong decision. Harper did do the right thing, admitted that he too had though Coveny had dived, realised he was wrong, and expressed his concern at the stance taken by Cockerill. Even after replays showed that Coveny had to fall down due to his collision with Tommich, Cockerill did not seem to change his mind, or admit that he could have been wrong.

I also wish the express some concern about some of the figures of speech from Cockerill.
  1. When the referee booked Colosimo and showed him a yellow card, Cockerill said that the referee had given the player a yellow card. This implied that the ref no longer had the yellow card, or maybe he carries a few on him, so by giving Colosimo one it doesn't really affect the referee.
  2. Bridge came off for Rodriguez promted Cockerill to make comments that could imply that van Egmond was a cheat, as he had "an ace up his sleeve."
  3. There was another comment, which made absolutely no sense, as it used a negative term to explain something positive. It's slipped my mind now, but rest assured that in the future I will write down all Cockerill-isms and express my concern over them.
Meanwhile, keep up the otherwise good work - maybe don't get too carried away with replays. The Newcastle penalty taken by Carle was missed as a result of replay over-enthusiasm and we had to watch the penalty as a replay.

Yours sincerely,

Scary Monkey (a.k.a. Cecilia)

Comments on Covic, version 2.0

After half-watching Perth/Newcastle last night, I decided that having Covic at Newcastle wouldn't be a bad thing. I'm all for player development, and I think Kennedy will gain more if Covic is around - even if Kennedy loses his place between the sticks. My change in opinion from being unsure about Covic to deciding I want him there does stem from trying to watch and listen to Kennedy yesterday.

I once played in a team where I was tired of defenders mucking about with the ball in the back-third. So the coach and I worked on teaching them to kick the ball out (eg. onto the sideline) if they were in trouble. I doubt these girls ever watched a football match in their life because they then ended up tapping the ball out in any situation. So I ended up talking throughout the entire match telling them things like "time" (even when your defending, you sometimes have time to do something else or a little more with the ball), "up the line" (heck, if you're going to give a throw in away, keep it as far from me as possible), or telling them how they could distribute the ball. That's the advantage of playing as the 'keeper - you can see the entire field of play.

Now, it's a not as easy to listen to matches (as in the team talking to each other) when you watch the match on the TV due to the commentators, compared to being at the match. Further, the task is made more difficult when Andy Harper is commentating. He just doesn't know when to shut-up. We've now resulted to using the mute button an awful lot. More on Harper/Cockerill some other day. But should Harper have lost his voice for a moment, and Newcastle were defending, you can here Kennedy shouting most of the time. "Out!" and "Kick it out!" are either particular favourites of his or that's what I ended up hearing. He shouts an awful lot this boy... if he made commentary along the lines of, "Player 1, mark up #2" or instructions to watch unmarked players, I couldn't hear it on the TV, probably due to Harper.

I'm hoping with the arrival of Covic, Kenners may learn how to talk to his team, rather than giving mindless "kick it out" shouts. And sure, he had a couple of mis-timed moments during the match, but they've started to occur less often than earlier in the season. There's no doubt the boy has improved, but I'd like to seem him become a better 'keeper, and I believe his communication needs improvement.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Comments on Covic

Well, we're* back home next week, facing Newcastle. So I'll probably watch Carle and Rodriguez for the 90 minutes. And keep an eye on young Kennedy. It's a shame Covic has been signed, as I'd like to think the A-League is developing our youth, and Kennedy is a player with a lot of potential. He makes mistakes, but sometimes the only way to correct them is to realise that they've been made. Most often, some mistakes only occur at matches - so I like the idea of him getting game time. On the other hand, having a more experienced 'keeper could do wonders for Kennedy as Covic may end up in a mentoring position, which I think would be good for Kennedy even if he loses his place between the sticks.

*As in Melbourne - I'm a tad obsessed with Queensland, but I'm a Victory fan through and through.

Young players = hotheads = yellow cards.

I hate stupid yellow cards. I don't want to see good players serving suspensions for silly offences. It means I miss out on watching them play.

Leijer, Piorkowski and Dilevski all picked up stupid yellow cards this evening. Leijer for 'delaying the restart of play' or however that ruling goes. Piorkowski for celebrating the Thompson goal - this was off camera, so I didn't see what he actually did. And Dilevski for getting involved in a little face off between Pantelidis and I can't remember who. The Dilevski one annoyed me the most, because he wasn't involved in the foul that brought down Panta, but had to go over and give Panta his opinion. Leijer picked up a couple of yellows last season in the same fashion.

Maybe stupid yellow cards tend to occur to the younger players because of a lack of experience. Maybe they wear their hearts on their sleeves more so than older players who may be more able to control their tempers. From today's stupid yellow card receivers, I don't want players like Leijer and Dilevski collect yellows then serve suspensions. I am a fan of Leijer, and was disappointed that Vargas was back this week solely because I thought how Leijer dealt withe organising the defence last week was brilliant, and that the more experience he has as this, the better defender he'll be. Although Dilevski disappointed me a little today, he has the ability to play, and at least has two feet. I think Panta covered Dilevski well today, and stifled his game somewhat, but I expected a little more from him. Perhaps he was too much of a hothead this evening?

Qld vs. Melbourne

I'm feeling quite tired at the moment - physically and mentally. But I'll try to make my commentary on this game tonight. Before I curl up in bed and end up forgetting...

Where to start...? New coach, but no result for Queensland. I didn't think Farina would be able to change things in time for this evening's macth. I think they need to figure out how to defend. I don't know how Packer's own goal happenned, I don't think it should have, but it did. Mind you, I'm not a Packer fan, and my dad's been on an anti-Packer crusade since last season. Along with the drought occurring at the other end of the pitch, Queensland have gone from being an entertaining team to watch because of their play to not being, well, fluid. I wasn't able to watch all the matches at the start of the season due to other committments, but is this unravelling due to Murdocca's absence? It's almost as if they have no mid-field. McKay has his runs up and down the left side... and Dilevski was being a little bothersome on the right, but there's no heart. Unlike Melbourne.

I'll admit I never truly appreciated Brebner until a few weeks back. Or rather, I've acknowledged that he steadied the midfield, along with Muscat in his new position, but didn't really appreciate how important he is. Last year we would've had Ferrante and Pantelidis forming the heart of the team. And the difference Brebs/Muscat make is that they are imposing. I'd assume that they'd both be imposing players to have to face. Sure, Pantelidis is a hard tackler, and I loved him last year because of it. Ferrante was a good distributor. But Brebs seems to be combination of these two. As a result, Panta doesn't seem to have featured as much this season, but Merrick has found a place for him on the wing/defence. Brebs also seems to be more of a leader, giving instructions and talking while off the ball - but this isn't easy to pick up on the TV. Hence I prefer to attend matches.

I can't remember where I read it, but some people thought Muscat moving into midfield at his age was a silly move. I thought it was a good move. He doesn't have the pace he once had, and putting him as a last man would've been detrimental to Melbourne. So, he now plays that position, but in the midfield. His distribution today wasn't exactly his best, but as someone who believes in defending from the front, I like having him, along with Brebs in the middle.

I was very disappointed with Melbourne's display last week, and so I was probably far more critical than I should have been. Today, having watched the match via a TV, I'm a little calmer.
However, I was quite disappointed in Vidosic - I expected more from him. He had a luckluster performance and almost made me feel sorry for Postecoglou. Almost. That's another story, but essentially goes something along the lines of, "we need a change." Piorkowski produced only one suprise, where he traversed the box and cleaned up what Storey messed up at one point in the second half. Other times Piors would receive the ball from a team mate who was facing him and would either pass it back or try to play the ball when he should have booted it up the line because Qld was closing down. Storey had a better match than I expected. Not only did he provide the ball that was mis-timed by two (two!) Qld defenders and consequently lobbed over Reddy by Thompson, he also had a few other moments where he either tried to use his left foot, or did something well.

Thompson annoyed me, as per normal. I like players to have two feet - perhaps that's why I like Dilevski. Piorkowski is heavily right-footed, but occasionally uses the left just to annoy you , eg. "Ahhhhh!!! Why didn't you use the left earlier you smeghead!" Thompson had a couple of chances this evening to put another ball into the back of the net - but he couldn't because he doesn't have a left foot! Quite frustrating. And he seems to be lacking in fitness. And if Robbie Slater refers to the pace of Thompson and Allsopp, I will fly over to wherever Robbie is and scream at him. Thompson has no pace. His feet are very quick when the ball's at his feet, but in terms of chasing down a ball - no.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wake me up, before you (a)go-go


Ok, so Schwarzer didn't hold onto the ball... but Agogo (which makes me feel like singing Wham) was smegging unmarked!!! Where was our defender? Goal-side mean anything? Grrr...

Perhaps I need to watch some replays and figure out what happenned.

Australia vs. Ghana

Yes, I know it's not A-League, but I'm feeling cheery because Australia aren't playing as badly as I feared that they would. We're currently up 1-nil, thanks to an Aloisi penalty. I suppose we should be ahead by more considering the number of chances we've had, but the reason for this is another reason why I'm cheery.

Yes, that's right, I'm happy that we're not ahead by more... simply because the Ghana 'keeper, Kingston (the elder one, not to be confused with his midfielder brother) has been brilliant. I love goalkeepers, or rather, I love good 'keepers, and Kingston's save against Moore's header was top notch. Hopefully someone will post it onto Youtube so I can add it to my favourites.

Anyway, he's been subbed off now - hopefully we can now get a few more goals in...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Will I still follow Queensland?

On Sunday night, I began to write: "I am going to eat my words. Just like last season really... should I have expected any different from Queensland? They seem to self-destruct... one week they're playing good football and the next... unmentionable."

Anyway, I ended up saving this as a draft, went off to dinner, then to bed, and now I can't remember where I was headed... especially since now things have changed at the Roar.

I kinda have Queensland as my second team this year (last year, my second team was the Kiwis, but this year they have bored me). Don't really know why Qld became my second team, but it's probably becuase they have both Reddy and Willis. Sure, I think Vukovic is a brilliant keeper considering his age and experience, and Paston had made quite a good impression against Qld. But in case you haven't read previous posts, if I had a crush on any player, it'd be Willis. But Reddy's a better keeper (and he also pulled his socks up last year, but Willis is now doing this too) and not bad looking, and so they're kinda even. I also love to laugh at Gibson, as he seems to be permanently stuck in the one facial expression. As if he was playing a brass instrument. But he hasn't been playing - so I haven't had much of an opportunity to chuckle.

Anyway, back to Queensland. I also liked Bleiberg. He has a lot of character, and is quite refreshing compared to other figures in the A-League. And in case you've been living under a rock, he has resigned. (I yelled out, "No!" in the lab this morning when I read it on the website of The Age. No-one else really understood why I was a little upset... a mixture of losing Bleiberg and possibly gaining Farina. I don't like Farina for what he did to the national team. Or what I think he did.) But I suppose, with all the talk of Farina, I would rather resign than be sacked in the future under worse circumstances. And so, I have forgiven Beliberg. Almost. If Farina is hired... I may need a few weeks to forgive Miron.

And now comes the tricky part... will swooning over Reddy and Willis be enough to semi-follow the Roar (after Melbourne of course!) even if Farina ends up as coach?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Melbourne vs. Perth

Well, what an annoying game last night...

"Suffering?" asked someone I bumped into at the match.

To be honest, no, I was finding Melbourne's performance really disappointing. Maybe it's because I'm so defensively minded, having played as a 'keeper the past couple seasons that I played, but the Melbourne defence and their methodology really annoyed me. I completely and utterly believe that defending is the role of EVERY player on the pitch. Including Thompson. It annoys me how little he does to try and recuperate a ball that he's lost. Sure, sometimes you lose the ball and it's well-handled by the defence, so you have no chance of winning it back. But often this isn't the case. Allsopp works very hard... and this would have been why he wasn't scoring goals last year. We didn't have much of a midfield last year, so Danny would have to cover that area as well. He'd even drop back to the defence at times, so it not only astounded me how fit he was to do that for 90 minutes, but also how much the Victory crowd would give him flack for not scoring.

Anyway, so then the ball enters the midfield. If Brebner or Fred are around, they seem to try their damn-hardest to win the ball back. Unfortunately, Fred's game plan/style seems to be to link the forwards and mid-field by dribbling the ball. Whereas Brebs takes the pass approach more often. This means that Fred does an awful lot of running, and towards the end, as much as he tried, he didn't have the legs. And the contrast between his dark skin and white teeth made it easy to tell that he was grimacing, trying to get his legs to work. Now, if Sarkies is around... well, it depends on the stars. Even if he goes in, it's soft. Along with his free-kicks, most of which went straight to the hands Perth 'keeper, Tomich, Sarkies was extremely disappointing. Occasionally, when the stars aligned, he would put a good ball through... but they didn't align very often.

And so on we go to the defence. Pantelidis played his normal game, went in hard, played well. Can't talk too much about him, as he performed as I expected. Leijer seems to improve with every game. I don't know what we would have done if both Vargas and Leijer had been suspended, as Piorkowski and Storey are the greatest disappointments of the Melbourne line-up. In my opinion anyway. Storey receives the ball from Panta or Leijer and then doesn't know what to do. So he'll pass it back. Even when there was space to run up the wing a bit to try and get an angle... perhaps pass it to Brebs/Fred/Sarkies, or even Thompson. But no, unless Brebs gave him instructions. Sometimes Storey would receive the ball from Brebs to widen the play, Brebs would point out where to pass the ball and Storey would then put the ball in. But otherwise, it would go back to the player he received it from. I can imagine the dialogue between them...

Player 1, usually Leijer: "Uh oh, Perth player taking up my space. Storey's on the left, I'll pass it to him!."
Storey: "Oh, I've received the ball. I have heaps of space. But I don't know what to do. Sure, player 1's covered, but heck, I'll pass it back."
Player 1/Leijer: Option 1 - "Great. I've got it again. I'll pass it back to Theo then... see what he can do."or Option 2 - "There's Panta/Brebs."
Option 1 -
Pulls his shorts up. "Oh, here comes the ball."
Theo then passes it back to Leijer, who consequently does passes it to Storey/Piorkowski or to Panta/Brebs as per Option 2. Alternately, Theo whomps it up the field.

And now the other side of our defence - Piorkowski. Like Storey, he's soft - not a hard tackler. But there were a few times that Pior mustn't have been feeling well, as he did go in hard. And to me, if he can do it once or twice, he can do it all the time. He's also slow... he loses his player, and then doesn't have the speed to chase them down...

Let's move onto the custodian. Theokolitos. He's a hoot to watch. Seriously. If the other team are attacking the goal - stop watch the play, and watch Theo. He'll pull his shorts up, take a few steps forward, take a few steps back, pull his shorts up again, maybe go back a bit more, pull his shorts up... He's so worried! He seems to panic... must feel great to be in the defensive line with him. And when I say "pull his shorts up" I mean he pulls them up from the legs, like Barthez when he's annoyed or prepares for a shot against him, if you've seen him play. And then when Theo has the ball. It's painful to watch. Last week, against Central Coast, we were 3-2 down... we NEEDED another goal. I would have thought that once Theo has the ball during play, that he'd call for his team to push up, put the long ball in and go for a counter. Theo does call for his team to push up... and then delibirates... bounces the ball a few times, giving Central Coast time to drop back and re-organise themselves, and then he kicks the ball. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

My my, haven't I ranted?

I best be off now - this took much longer than I expected, mainly because I ranted. I have a bit more to rant... perhaps later...

For the record, to the suffering question. I replied, "Oh, yeah, I suppose so." Heck, really, what could I say? That I was disappointed with how Melbourne were playing? This guy's meant to be a coach, surely he can recognise the difference between bad-luck (eg. when the team plays well, but the shots hit the post all the time) and when a team's not playing well (eg. creating no real opportunities.)

Oh, and at the train station after the match - bumped into a friend.

"Frustrating, wasn't it?" Again, what could I say? Well, I replied, "Oh, yeah, I suppose so." Despite Brebs' goal, in the dying moments of regulation time, I was still disappointed. And this friend doesn't play, so I dunno how much she would understand of a rant to would have gone something along the lines of what I did in the above paragraphs...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Miron Bleiberg Fan Club

Queenland head over to Kiwiland this weekend to play the Knights. Miron Bleiberg is one of my favourite A-League coaches, actually, he probably is my favourite. Merrick annoys me at times. I also like Queensland because my favourite player to swoon over plays there - well, sometimes anyway. (See! I managed to finally incorporate some swooning into a post!)

Anyway, in case you've been living under a rock, the Knights haven't been doing too well. And little support from the stands is not helping their cause. Bleiberg would like to see a crowd at Kiwiland, “I would be more than happy to see a big crowd there even if they are all cheering against us.”

Isn't he lovely?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Blatter and the AFC

Blatter says sorry and the AFC are being silly.

Re: Blatter.
I don't like this guy - he seems to be off with the fairies a bit. As an example, as a girls who plays* the game, his idea of getting the girls to essentailly wear less clothing is not only belittling, but also quite stupid. Maybe because when I play I end up with all kinds of scrapes and bruises just from slide tackles and hitting the ground. This got worse whenI first moved into goals - and once I ended up playing there all the time I switched to long pants. Anyway - he's a moron. But that's just my opinion.

And now he's decided to apologise to Australia for that penalty. Or rather, that dive. Why, hadn't he noticed that 'simulation' had gotten out of control? Smeghead! But I think he's put the whole World Cup into direpute by essentially calling the World Cup winners cheaters. I'm sure that I was as upset as any other Australian about what happenned (my lab book has a bit of an anti-Italian prose in between experimental data), but seriously, talking about it now? Months after it occurred? Sorry Sepp, but an apology doesn't go far unless you intend to seriously stamp simulation out of the game and make plans how to do that.

Re: the AFC
The AFC wants FFA to submit two teams for the Asian Champions League, starting in March 2007. That's after our A-League's wrapped up. So you'd think that our representatives would be determined by A-League season 2006/2007. Sadly, we may end up being represented by Adelaide and Sydney based on their performances last season, as the the AFC wants names. By December. Twats. FFA are lobbying to put in Australia 1 and Australia 2, or something like that, but... I suppose we'll have to see what happens.

*Haven't played since sustaining an injury to my knee in late February. :o(

Friday, October 27, 2006

The deceptive kick

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I ended up finding an old video of Nicky Carle and his deceptive kick. It occurs at about 49 s.

Sorry about the (what I think is) tacky music. I swear if I had the time I'd be making all sorts of compilations... or even better, showing exactly the footage I want.

Round 10: Newcastle vs. Adelaide

Some quick notes before I head off to bed:

1. Okon's an idiot. Seriously. What was he thinking? Heck, he evidently wasn't thinking! In case you missed it, he conceded a penalty because he decided to grab Qu's shirt. Now, I don't like cheating, although that's a bit of a hypocritical comment considering what I've done, but at least do it so the ref doesn't see. My rule for football is, you only have to follow the rules when the ref's watching. And sure, the refs in the A-League are complete rubbish. But they're not so bad that they can't see your outstretched arm pull the back of an opponent's shirt so he ends up on his bum! Ok, Okon?

2. Nicky Carle's goal. Exactly why every kid in Australia needs to learn the art of the deceptive kick. If you can get your hands on a copy of this, stick it into your scrapbook, and show it to every kiddie who decides to kick a ball. Aside from the fact that he had a brilliant run from his own half, and that he must've been dog-tired, the finish to this was all class. And the best thing about this 'deceptive kick' that I really love, is that you don't see it coming. Whereas most shots involve pushing the ball forward a bit, winding up your kicking leg and giving it a crack, the deceptive shot is nowhere nearly as obvious. But lovely when it works. Essentially you take your shot with your stride. So you let the ball 'sit' back a bit on your kicking side. And when your kicking foot makes the action to take the stride, you kick the ball instead. Once you've mastered the deceptive kick, you can have all sorts of fun, such as Thierry Henry...

This isn't just showboating... he also does it in the 7-0 win over Middlesborough. I think they were 5-0 up at that point. But I just can't find the video on YouTube at the moment. I'll link it later.

3. The refs need specs. If there's one thing that driving me nutty about the A-league, it's the linesmen, sorry, Assistant Referees and the Referees. For example, Vaughn Coveny's yellow.

4. Unprofessionalism from players. Joel Griffiths had a shot towards the end of the match at one point. He didn't miss the goal as such - the ball didn't go into the goal, but (and this is crucial) was still in play. In fact, it happenned to go his way. I was waiting for him to have a follow-up shot. But no, he was so caught up in having missed his first shot, hand on head, etc., that he didn't follow the play until the ball was dead. Grrrrr...

5. Jade North. Ok, make it be known, that sometimes I don't like the guy. But if there was a time to get sent off in a match, I'd rather it be for using a hand to keep a certified goal out then some stupid tackle. Of course it helped that Veart missed the 2nd (or 3rd if you count the retaken one earlier) penalty he took. Was that the same end that he missed last year when he had to retake it?

All up, it was a great match to watch. It may be a skewed view, as I have to admit I was going for Newcastle. I was over the moon when Coveny got that first one in, and then ever so furious at Okon. Like North, I don't like the guy. Or unlike really, as I only sometimes don't like North.
Oh, and one more thing..

6. Stop running uselessly!!! I don't understand why players want to transport the ball so much. The more you transport it, the more tired you become, and the more likely that the shot or pass that you aim to do at the end will be inaccurate. Especially at the end of the match. Also, the game slows down to your pace. If you have team-mates around, use them. Not only will the ball out run you when you kick it, it doesn't get tired. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as when you counter and there's no support - in which case, slow the game down, hold the ball and wait. The other exception is when you're near your goal - take a defender on. Especially in the box, where they're much less likely to tackle you. Unless they're Paul Okon and he'll pull on your shirt.

So much for a girl's guide, eh? I'll try and make an entry solely about players' looks eventually... But not right now - you see, I think I have my priorities straight here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


My MSN spaces blog has been overtaken by the A-League. As a result, I am now seperating my A-League commentary from my spaces blog. Not only does this make my blog more enjoyable to my friends (most of which do not follow football at all), but it means that I can now whinge and moan about football in Australia to a greater extent. Enjoy! :)