Sunday, January 07, 2007

My wishlist, the Goalkeeping Gods, and some definitions

Where to start?

If we recall my post last week, I was hoping for a few things to happen in Round 19. Although Queensland and the Kiwis both won, there was no draw between Newcastle and the Mariners, and Perth managed to get a point.

Since I think van Egmond's done a great job as Newcastle coach, and would like to see him there next year, my wish-list will now includes Newcastle coming into the top 4. I've figured that regardless of the result against Melbourne, if New Zealand win their last two matches, Adelaide continue to lose, and Newcastle and Queensland win their non-Melbourne matches, then I get everything I want:
  • Kiwis don't come last,
  • Adelaide out of the top 4,
  • Queensland and Newcastle in top 4, and
  • Sydney might end up 3rd.
This means the Mariners miss out, sorry Wayne... even if Danny had smothered the ball (not that I solely blame the 'keeper, but I tend to watch 'keepers more than anyone else) I couldn't fit you into my top 4. Maybe if you beat the Knights, but I don't want them to come last...

As I said, I tend to watch 'keepers...

Both Paston and Covic had great matches this weekend. Nice to see Covic either settle in to the A-League, or simply have a good game. His first match was awful and his second only marginally better, so some crucial great saves were definitely good signs. I was feeling sorry for Ben Kennedy during the first two matches, but Covic's display against the Mariners probably showed why he's Newcastle's man between the sticks.

Paston was consistently good as per usual. However, with New Zealand having to hold on to the match, I think he could have employed some timewasting techniques. It was good to see Ricki Herbert employed some good subsitutions, Gao and Hickey taking their time on the floor, Bazeley getting distracted organising the team before AND after retrieving the ball before taking the throw-in, Milligan and Ceccoli taking the ball with them for a little bit once the ref confirmed a Kiwi throw - huh? Silly, silly Sydney players. Losing and wasting time on behalf of the opposition - how curteous! Back to Paston - everytime he saved the ball and went to ground, he should have stayed there for a bit before getting up and taking up his six seconds of holding the ball. Sure, Sydney would've beaten Paston had the two post-hitting shots not hit the post, or hit the post and gone in. But I'm a firm believer of goalkeeping faith. If it hits the post and it doesn't go in, it's not meant to be. If it happens again, the Goalkeeping Gods are making a mockery of you.

I've already made my Vukovic comments on Wayne's Fisherman's Friend blog.

Now let's move onto my favourite team with my least favourite goalkeepers - Melbourne. Theo's been given a break for the moment, so Galekovic is in between the sticks for the moment. Galekovic needs to soften* his hands. Too often, a shot comes his way and he parries it. Far too often. Sure, sometimes shots are hot, and it's best to parry rather than attempt to catch and the ball slips through. But please don't tell me every single Perth shot was hot! Just like last week, Galekovic can't do much with the high balls, often missing or mis-punching them. Perhaps he's too heavy? However, I was amazed he managed to catch a high one in the end, and a waist height one too. Must've been the Goalkeeping Gods making a mockery of me...

Tommich didn't have a bad game, he conceded two goals where he didn't have a chance. First, Brebner's shot was just-off-spot-on**. So fair enough Tommich didn't get to it. And once Sarkies got to the rebound Tommich had no chance. Second goal was well placed by Sarkies into the gap in the wall that I think Robinson was creating (the only thing he did all day - if it was Robinson). The way I see walls in front of goals is, you arrange the wall to cover the half of the goal where the front post is, and the 'keeper covers the back half, with the opportunity to move forward and cover what he can of the other half if necessary. Sarkies' shot went through the wall and to the front post. Hence, I can't blame Tommich can I?

I watched the Queensland match after I knew the result, which meant I couldn't sustain my concentration - no matter how hard I tried! So Reddy and Beltrame won't be commented on this week. Good to see that Beltrame looks to have replaced Bajic - he was awesome for Adelaide last season and in my opinion a far superior custodian than Bajic.

Paston was far busier than Bolton during his match - and I was quite actively cheering the Kiwis. Although Bolton was the 'keeper who conceded, I can't see how he could've helped stop the goal. It was from point blank, and well placed. Most players would've had difficulty is keeping the ball down and, unlike Bunce, would've skied the ball.

  • Just cushion the ball! When you make contact with the ball drop your hands back a little at the wrist. Practice by throwing a ball into a small elasticised net so it comes back at you hard.

**Just-off-spot-on: Perhaps I should explain 'spot-on' first!
  • When shooting to goal, one should aim for the far post. This is because the goalkeeper should be covering the near post. If the 'keeper is stupid and has not covered the near post, by all means, shoot there. Otherwise aim for the far post, and do this at training nights. Anyone can place a ball into an empty net, but the task isn't as easy when there's a capable goalkeeper. When you aim for the far post, the ball should hit the inside of the post. If it goes in because you have placed the ball perfectly and truly inside the post. If it comes back in play, it's because you've hit the point where the post is still 'inside' the goal in one axis/plane, but not the other.
So, Brebner hit the far post - which is 'spot-on', but the ball came back into play, so it was 'just-off'. That's how I would term it anyway.


Anonymous said...

Aah, not to worry Scary, three losses in a row does not a finals team make, even if we still have a chance. Great work explaining the technical stuff, it all goes into my vocabulary! At the moment, the league is more important than individual teams, which is why i hope QLd get in, with the third biggest market to peg down. Mariners will be back, and if we play like we did against Newy all the time, it's all good. Thanks for the mention!

Anonymous said...

Very good reading, thank you!

It is unusual to be able to read insightful comments about goalkeeping. Considering it is such an important it is surprising so very few people understand it. I wish more people observed the keepers and I am very grateful you are sharing your insights.

I wish SEN, Foxtel and SBS had commentators that explain the technical aspects as well as you do.

Hamish Alcorn said...

Scary, if you have an opportunity to watch a tape of the Roar vs Adelaide game, I am very interested in your goalie's opinion of Liam Reddy's alleged "violent conduct".

Personally I think it's crap. Did the Adelaide player complain? Did any official complain? I don't know but on the face of it it seems that this very serious aspersion comes straight from the FFA. I was with John at the time and we replayed it several times, and Reddy's version of events certainly seems credible and coherent. The idea that the incident (of him stepping on an Adelaide player on his way across the goal) was deliberate violence is madness, to the extent that it's hard to not at least speculate about an agenda.

Needless to say, if Liam is suspended (the trial is at 10am tomorrow I think), the Roar's slim chances are f***ed, as Willis is out injured and the young reserve (can't think of his name) is completely unblooded.

If you do get a chance to look at it Scary, I'd love your viewpoint.

Cecilia said...

Hamish, I got a look at the incident only once, and about five minutes ago. So I can't see the play, and it was in slow motion, which is deceptive when trying to figure out what happened and what could have happened.

It looks like Reddy could have done more to not step on Rech. I think he could have stepped forward to pass Rech over his head and then to wherever Reddy wanted to go. Look at it this way, if Reddy saw a white shirt on the ground I doubt he would've stepped on the grounded player.

'Deliberate violence' is a bit harsh - stupid is the word that comes to mind. However for your sake and mine, I hope that he is not suspended given that there's no real backup. There could always be a suprise in McMaster, but now is not the time to find out.

By the way, Reddy's due defend himself on Wednesday arvo, and his first bub's due tomorrow.