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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 October 2015
SPORT 30 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Tsoumerkas takes charge at the Quarry First-time senior coach brings extensive Premier League experience GEORGE STOGIANNOU State League 1 SE club FC Clifton Hill has wasted little time in appointing Leigh Tsoumerkas as its new senior coach following the surprise departure of George Karkaletsis, who has accepted the senior coaching position at NPL 1 club Brunswick City. It's the first senior coaching job for the former Heidelberg United defender, who over the last eight seasons has been an assistant coach to various VPL and NPL coaches including Goran Lozanovski and then Andy Vla- hos at Hume City, as well as his most recent stint as an assistant to former teammate Eric Vassiliadis at Port Melbourne Sharks. The club also announced Alex Fakos will be Tsoumerkas' assistant. The coaching change at FC Clifton Hill may have come as a surprise to many given the club finished second in the league and undefeated in its last 14 matches. Comparisons may be inevitable but Tsoumerkas doesn't feel the burden of expectation, preferring instead to see it as an exciting challenge. "For me it's exciting, but I know it's a challenge,” he told Neos Kosmos. “I look forward to that challenge. Obviously George, who was the coach last season, did a fantastic job with the team he had. I look forward to replicating that success. I wouldn't be doing it just to make up the numbers in the league. I'm used to my coaching at Hume playing finals and winning. The pressure of winning was there and I welcome that. You go into a competition and I want to win it. I don't like losing. The club has set itself a standard and I don't want to shy away from that." Club president Michael Tyrikos, a former teammate and an old friend of Heidelberg looks to build on FFA Cup success with signings Sharks sign Debreu and Karvelis GEORGE STOGIANNOU Heidelberg United coach George Katsakis readily admits the windfall from the club's FFA Cup quarter final appearance has made it easier to re-sign players and also attract new signings to the club during the off-season. "It's been an easier accomplishment this year with what's happened in the FFA Cup. It's only players that we actually wanted to get rid of that we did get rid of, if you know what I mean." Katsakis says nearly eve- ryone of last season's senior squad has re-signed. "We've lost obviously Daniel Heffernan to the A-League," he told Neos Kosmos. "And the departure of Slovenian midfielder Nick Kolman has released one of the visa spots. For him we've brought in a player called Harry Noon from England, a 25-year-old midfielder with a very good pedigree. He was part of the Manchester City youth team. "We signed striker Sean Ellis from NPL1 club Goulburn Valley, Josh Wilkins from Perth SC, ex-Perth Glory Youth centre back Lewis Hall, and 22-year-old striker from Tasmanian NPL champions Olympia Warriors, Emmanuel Tsakiris." Tsakiris netted an impres- sive 23 times in 21 league appearances as he spearheaded Olympia Warriors sharpshooter Emmanuel Tsakiris will cross the Tasman to play for Heidelberg. PHOTO: WWW.THEMERCURY.COM his club's NPL title win. Heidelberg fans can expect to see nearly all their favorites from last season including Ken Athiu. In other NPL transfer news, Port Melbourne Sharks has announced the signing of 24-year-old winger Jamie De Breu from Bentleigh Greens. De Breu was an integral part of the Green Machine which won last season's NPL grand final. Sharks coach Eric Vassiliadis, speaking on portmelbournesc.com.au said "Jamie brings a unique explosiveness and comes with a background of success. He is someone that can help drive the group". Port has also picked up 20-year-old defender James Karvelis from NPL 1 club Kingston City. Karvellis made his senior debut for Oakleigh Cannons in the VPL in season 2011 followed by stints at both Melbourne Heart youth and Melbourne Victory youth teams as well as South Melbourne before settling into regular NPL 1 football at the Grange for the last two seasons. Source: portmelbournesc. com.au Tsoumerkas', said the club looked for a young coach who had played at a decent level and that although they preferred someone with senior coaching experience, that wasn't a deciding factor in their choice. He's convinced Tsoumerkas is the right person for the job. "I think his management skills are fantastic. Speaking to the boys at Hume and Port, his training sessions are high quality, high intensity. His game sense is right up there with the best. The fact that he can read the game and make certain changes, it really appealed to us more than qualifications like B licences, C licences and so forth," he said. Tyrikos says that the club understands it's Tsoumerkas' first senior gig and it will be a learning curve for him. The president says he will receive the full support of the board. He told Neos Kosmos: "We're not going to say you've got to get us promoted. It was the same thing with George this season. There was no pressure on him at all. Initially when we sat down last season, we said it's a three to five year project. We're going down the path of promoting a lot of young kids. In the squad of 20 we only had four over the age of 21. We're going to continue the same thing next season. Again we're not going to put much pressure on the coach." As for the style of football the fans can expect from Tsoumerkas's team, the new coach says "it all depends on the personnel” “The style of play will always be determined by the type of player that I have." He says it's early days yet and he expects there will be some turnover of playing personnel in the squad over the off season. "I expect there will be some interest for certain players from a high level. I've been there. You can't take that away from a player." But he also expects to be able to bring in some new faces. "I like to believe my team's style will be to play good football. I like to believe that, but then again, some of the pitches out there don't allow you to do that" Tribulation at the FFV Tribunal for Heidelberg GEORGE STOGIANNOU Heidelberg United will be relieved if it starts the 2016 NPL season just three premiership points in arrears of the rest of the competition. It could have been much worse following an initial FFV tribunal ruling last month (16/09/15) which penalised the club nine points and a $4,000 fine for misconduct arising from its NPL elimination final loss to Pascoe Vale on 30/08/15. At the initial ruling, the tribunal found the club guilty of the charge of a club associate committing a serious offence against a match official involving "violent, repeated and/or excessive conduct". However, at a subsequent appeal hearing last week, the charge was successfully downgraded to a non-violent offence against a match official. As a result, the ninepoint deduction was reduced to just three points, although the tribunal increased Heidelberg's fine from $4,000 to $15,000. The club is also required to write a letter of apology to the referee who was the victim of the offensive/abusive language. The letter is to be sent to the FFV. Heidelberg United's elimination from the 2015 NPL finals may have been a hard pill to swallow coming so quickly on the heels of a euphoric FFA cup triumph over Sydney United. But it's also threatened to leave a bitter aftertaste long after the 2015 NPL season has been put to bed. The last time a premier league club was penalised premiership points for the following season was when Dandenong Thunder won the 2012 grand final but picked up a three point deduction for the following season. However in Thunder's case, the point deduction paled into insignificance compared with the additional $40,000 fine and order to play its first ten home matches behind closed doors following a rocket flare being launched during the final. It signalled the start of a slow decline for Thunder, ending in relegation at the end of 2015. Heidelberg hopes that will be the end of the matter, however it will have to endure an anxious wait for an adjourned hearing to hear possible further charges arising from the game. Coach Katsakis told Neos Kosmos: "I can't say anything because we're looking at it possibly going a little bit further, so I'd rather say nothing at the moment. “It's certainly a relief (to have the nine-point penalty reduced) but I can't understand penalising the playing group for something where potentially we don't know whose supporters they were who were making the comments or remarks."
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