Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 16 April 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 16 APRIL 2016 27 SPORT Cannons go south in search of another big scalp Kingston hits top spot on NPL 2 E GEORGE STOGIANNOU The last time current Oakleigh Cannons joint coach Peter Tsolakis coached in a premier league match at Lakeside was when he was coaching South Melbourne in 2013. He resigned in July that season and the man who took over his position at South, Chris Taylor, has enjoyed two very successful seasons, winning a number of trophies including last season's Dockerty Cup final at Lakeside, a 3-nil win over the then Arthur Papas-coached Cannons. On Sunday, Tsolakis' Cannons return to Lakeside to take on the current NPL1 ladder leaders, in a match he says has no special significance personally to him. He told Neos Kosmos in the lead up to the round eight game, “for me it's going to be no different from the Bentleigh game, to the Hume game”. “We're going there to get three points and that's it. It's another football game, 11 v 11. That's how I'm approaching it. We've got a full squad to pick from and that's very encouraging.” For the players, however, the match may hold greater significance. Having coached and played at the club, he understands perfectly that “everybody wants to beat South”. “This is no different. It's a Greek derby. There's always Jake McLean (Oakleigh Cannons) catching the eye. a bit of rivalry between Oakleigh and South Melbourne. To be honest, you really don't have to say much to the players. Put them in the dressing room, tell them we're playing South Melbourne and they'll just go out on their own because it's South Melbourne. “If we can get a result against South Melbourne, then I think maybe people will start taking us a bit more seriously.” For the Cannons, Sunday's match will be its fourth away game in a row, and Tsolakis believes if it can pick up points on Sunday, "that's money in the bank so to speak, because then we've got those four or five games at our ground in the second half of the season, which will be a bonus”. With three wins in their last four games, the Cannons are rising up the ladder, and although encouraged by recent results, Tsolakis believes there’s quite a way to go in terms of reaching the performances he's aiming for. “We've got a bit of a game plan, we're trying to implement and that doesn't happen overnight,” he said. If Oakleigh can upset South on Sunday, Heidelberg United is poised to grab top spot on the ladder if it can defeat FC Bulleen at the Veneto club on Monday evening . It would be a remarkable recovery for the team that crashed in the opening game of the season to South Melbourne and had a three-point penalty deficit. Bergers coach George Katsakis believes his team are well prepared to play on Bulleen's synthetic pitch. “The confidence is very high. We had two pre-season friendly games on that (Veneto) pitch with Adelaide Comets and Mitchelton and we did very well. I think we'll be able to adjust. We've had two sessions this week on a synthetic surface. We're doing everything possible to give ourselves every opportunity. It's going to be a tough one and we need to be well prepared.” Coach Gymnopoulos departs Northcote City Club to announce new signings in fight for NPL1 survival GEORGE STOGIANNOU Northcote City's Alex Gymnopoulos has become the first coaching casualty of the new NPL season, receiving the tap on the shoulder after just seven rounds into the season, which has seen his beloved Northcote hit rock-bottom with just one point and one goal to its credit. A loyal servant of the club who has coached the reserves and youth teams for the last 10 years, Gymnopoulos was appointed to his first senior coaching role at the end of last season after Goran Lozanovski's resignation. Club vice president and close friend Peter Kotsiris says: “I can't comment on anything as to how, what, when and why the coach got sacked. All I can say to you is a decision has been made by the rest of the committee and the club has to move forward and we need to make changes to try and survive in this league right now because it's going to be very difficult. “The sad thing is, we all love Alex, and we've got a lot of respect for the work he's done at the club. He's a club legend. It was always going to be difficult whoever made that call. So it's tough. It's part of football. Kenny Dalgleish Liverpool legend - he was sacked. Kevin Bartlett was a Richmond legend and he was sacked. At the end of the day, it's a sad situation. It's a disappointing situation. Because of circumstances they've come to that decision." The decision to fire a fa- vourite son from the coaching role may be considered a brave move by some, but others may see it as a desperate move, clutching at straws in a bid to survive. It begs the question whether Gymnopoulos was given every opportunity to succeed, given he'd expressed concerns on the eve of the season that he had no recognised or experienced strikers at his disposal. “It's a tough question,” Kotsiris says. “At the end of the day, I don't know - because he hasn't had the opportunity to see out the season. I would probably say no. “I just think from the club's point of view, people felt a decision had to be made in relation to the coaching staff and the playing personnel, and that decision was made to release Alex of his duties. Me personally, I'm shattered and gutted for Alex as an individual. But knowing Alex, I'm sure he'll bounce back and he's going to become an even better coach because of this. But I've always said categorically, I don't think he was coaching badly. I just think it was the question of the cattle. That's about it.” When asked if he thinks the current squad could've got better results under a more experienced coach, Kotsiris replies, “no, I don't think Jose Mourinho could coach this team at present”. Kotiris added that the club was currently hoping to announce new signings to the playing roster later in the week, but was unable to comment on the search for a new coach, stating he is not part of the process. At the time of writing, the club had yet to announce a new coach. In NPL 2 East action news, Kingston City sits on top of the ladder after the FFV tribunal ruled mid-week that league leader Dandenong Thunder played a suspended player in the opening game of the season, and deducted Thunder three points. Today Kingston is away to Murray United while Box Hill United hosts Goulburn Valley Suns. Third-placed Brunswick City faces its biggest test to date when it travels to Dandenong Thunder on Saturday evening. In round three State League 1 NW action today, both Western Suburbs and Yarraville are looking to follow up last week's first wins of the season, with second victories. Fourthplaced Western Suburbs travels to 10th-placed Cairnlea, while eighth-placed Yarraville hosts Diamond Valley United. Meanwhile, Altona East Phoenix is looking for a first win of the season at home today to Sydenham Park. In state League SE 1 action today, FC Clifton Hill is hoping to follow up its strong first win of the season last week against South Springvale with another good performance, this time away to Langwarrin. Clifton Hill coach Leigh Tsoumerkas said after the 5-1 come-frombehind home win last week against South Springvale: “To come back and play the way we did was very pleasing. The most important thing is we're trying to build a culture here which is not only winning but giving everything you've got. It was pleasing to get that win and turn it around like we did. Now we've got Langwarrin, which will be another massive test.” Tsoumerkas will no doubt be pleased if his team can emulate Malvern City's 3-1 win over Langwarrin last round. Today, third-placed Malvern travels down the Princess Freeway to take on Morwell Pegasus. Bottom-placed South Springvale will face another tough challenge today when it hosts top of the table Mornington SC. In State 2 SE, Caulfield United Cobras will hope it can bounce back from last week's loss to St Kilda when it hosts Beaumaris. Departed Northcote Coach Alex Gymnopoulos. PHOTO: MARK AVELLINO.
9 April 2016
23 April 2016