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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 7 February 2015
32 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2015 SPORT Page 30 Cahill move to China a Socceroos decision Page 31 July the month of football 9 771321 167062 Antonis fighting for spot again Becoming second best thanks to Sydney FC’s January signing has spurred Antonis into action to earn his spot back Back to basics Archie Thompson returns to Melbourne Victory tonight. After the Socceroos’ phenomenal win, the A-League returns full swing with the final Melbourne derby of the season It's been almost a full month since these bitter rivals met and now circumstances have completely changed. The A-League's hiatus for the Asian Cup has given the coaches time to reassess game plan and players to rehabilitate, meaning there's no real way to predict this derby's result. Last time they played each other Melbourne City stole a 1-0 win from an in-form Melbourne Victory but the October 5-2 thrashing left a lasting impact on City. Now, both Victory coach Kevin Muscat and City coach John van Schip have to prepare for anything and everything if the derby track record is anything to go by. In terms of results, Mel- bourne City was the only one of the two to secure a win last week, but Melbourne Victory respectably earned a 3-3 draw with League leaders Perth Glory. City battled against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, with Jacob Melling scoring and former Wanderer Aaron Mooy grabbing the winner against his old side at the match's tail end. City's win has placed it sixth on the table and a huge seven points from Brisbane Roar's seventh, giving them a clean FFA CEO David Gallop is already hoping to use the nationwide popularity of the sport to develop the grassroots program Close to two million people play football around Australia, and FFA CEO David Gallop says he's hoping to see that skyrocket with the game's added popularity. With record numbers of locals tuning in to see the Socceroos and Greek Australian coach Ange Postecoglou be crowned champions of Asia kids when they’re making their decisions on what sport they want to play." Millions watched the Socceroos claim victory. PHOTO: AAP/DEAN LEWINS. in the Asian Cup last Saturday, the code is now looking to boost the sport’s popularity even more and get the next generation loving the game. The FFA says it’s expecting a spike in MiniRoos registrations in the weeks to come. "These introductory programs are important," Mr Gallop told the ABC. "We need to focus on young The decision of what sport to pursue happens when children first enter primary school, and with the market saturated by a well funded and popular Auskick program from the AFL, the going can be tough. That's why the FFA is banking on the newly found popularity of the sport and with the continuation of the ALeague season, hopes to recruit a large number of grassroots players. "Our sport is very inclusive, it's very safe, it's very simple and the program of MiniRoos gives kids a chance to have some fun and learn some PHOTO: AAP /JOE CASTRO. Socceroo Terry Antonis' return to Sydney FC was a bit of a reality check this week. After the sheen of being chance for finals berth. Melbourne Victory on the other hand don't have much to worry about. On equal points with second placed Adelaide United, their position in the top three is pretty secure considering their next couple of fixtures are pretty kind. Muscat has made two additions to his squad for today, adding Archie Thompson and Scott Galloway to the ranks. Sadly Captain Mark Milligan who returns from Socceroos duty is still serving a suspension and won't be starting. Move to harness popularity skills," Mr Gallop says. The FFA is also looking into keeping its affiliated programs affordable for families, and says they are comparable to other code programs. "For the bulk of young players, 90-95 per cent of them pay fees that are similar to the other sports, but certainly there is a heavy cost at the elite level, at the NPL level," he says. "We are looking to address that. It's only 5 per cent of players that are paying those big fees." Better linking the grassroots programs to the A-League is still a long-term priority for the federation and they have seen some success with the introduction of the FFA Cup and the NPL state scheme. crowned Asian champions faded, he came back to a team that had moved on and replaced him pretty easily. Following the arrival of Mickael Tavares during the January transfer window, Antonis is now facing the prospect of losing his prime starting position. But, the young Greek Australian is taking the situation in his stride and says he sees it as a positive. "Having him [Mickael] with me and Milos [Dimitrijović] in midfield I think is going to help me a lot and just by being able to train with them and learn heaps off them helps a lot," he said in training this week. "They're both great players and I think I'll learn a lot." The team has been preparing all week to go up against League leaders Perth Glory, and coach Graham Arnold says fans can expect the best. "The break for the Asian Cup came at a good time for us to freshen the players up. The players had a tough time in November and December with the injuries we copped and the players saw their team-mates get some bad injuries, Arnold said.. "I was able to spend a lot of time on recruitment to strengthen the squad and we were able to do that. It was like a mini pre-season, a good time for us and I'm expecting a strong second half of the season." Their last match was proof that the hard work is paying off, with the Sky Blues thrashing Central Coast Mariners 1-5 at Gosford. Antonis agreed and expects the Sky Blues to become much more competitive as the finals loom. "Since I've come back the boys are looking good," he said. "I think it will be a great test for us. We've been confident from the start of the season that we'd be able to do well with all the players we've got and the coaching staff so I think the final leg, halfway now, I think we'll do really well." DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 Terry Antonis returns to the A-League. PHOTO: AAP/PAUL MILLER.
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