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...