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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 September 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2016 27 SPORT Rising Cobras Climb into State League One GEORGE STOGIANNOU Caulfield United Cobras is a club going places in a hurry. Within a span of two seasons, the Bentleigh-based Cobras has won two successive promotions, to climb from State League 3 SE into State League 1 SE for the first time in its history. The Greek-based, southeastern suburban club has been around since 1985, but is starting to make its mark following its league successes and two successive strong Dockerty/FFA Cup runs. "We've certainly got Cobras on the map. I think we're going to be here to stay for a while," says senior coach Mike Kupinic, appointed at the end of season 2015 when promotion-winning coach Gus Caminos departed to take up a coaching position at NPL 2 E club Springvale White Eagles. "When we had our meeting (prior to the start of the season), it was discussed that it’s a very ambitious club, and the objective was to try and win promotion," Kupinic says. "The club didn't want it to take too long. They were hoping it was going to happen this season and fortunately together eight wins in a row before hitting another slight snag. But as the experienced coach says, "you'll find at all levels these things can happen. But what's important is how you get out of it. So we had a little bit of work to get them back up again. Boy did they ever, and the rest is history." One area on the park that the Cobras of 2016 improved on was its goals tally, increasing the tally from 37 in 2015 to 58 in season 2016, helped no doubt by striker Steve McRae, whose individual tally of 24 goals was the second highest in the league. As well as league success, the Cobras are making a habit of enjoying good Cup runs. In 2015 they reached Rd 6 of the Dockerty/FFA Cup and in 2016 they got to Rd 5, bowing out in both years to NPL powerhouse Heidelberg United at Olympic Village. Caulfield United Cobras coaching and playing staff. PHOTO : CAULFIELD UNITED COBRAS FACEBOOK. we were able to achieve that." Reflecting back on the season, Kupinic says he wasn't surprised that the team won promotion so quickly. He'd inherited a good squad which required only a couple of ad- ditions, and the team put in a strong pre-season, which included a good cup run. "I recall we played against Whittlesea Utd in the cup," he says. "It was one of those days where you say to yourself, ‘if we can get out of this we can get out of everything’. Everything was stacked against us. But the boys just pulled out all stops and won it comfortably in the end. I remember speaking to them as a group after the game. ‘After today, I'm pretty confident we should be in for a really good season’." Coach Kupinic's confidence was well placed, as the team overcome a slow start to string The experience has no doubt been a positive one for the club, allowing it an insight into what it takes to be a toptier club. "At the moment, the goal is basically to sustain first division status," coach Kupinic says. "I'm pretty sure we've got plans to grow. They are ambitious without a doubt." Apollo shines brightest in exciting Gold Coast Grand Final After a strong season in a number of competitions, Surfers Paradise Apollo SC has capped it all off by winning the Gold Coast Premier League Grand Final last Saturday night, with a thrilling 3-2 win over Murwillumbah Football Club at Nikiforides Park. Last season under coach David Benigno, Apollo narrowly missed out on a grand final spot after finishing third and bowing out on penalties to Broadbeach in the preliminary final. However, Benigno's team wasn't to be denied this season, after finishing second on the ladder at the end of the home and away season. In Saturday's grand final against Murwillumbah, centre back Acim Tomic scored Apollo's first goal and man of the match Simone Mangiante followed up with a brace to secure the grand final win and the Gold Coast Champions trophy. Apollo's championship win fol- lows on from its strong run in the FFA Cup, when it became the first ever Gold Coast Premier League team to qualify for the FFA Rd of 32, before bowing out eventually to Canberra Olympic. After Saturday night's win, Surfers Paradise Apollo SC club president Telly Karadimos said: "Not even in a lifetime many players can have the pleasure to be part of such a group, where everyone in the changing room can look after and lift each other like we do. This victory is a result of hard work, dedication and first of all respect for each other. Many thanks also have to go to The Coffee Club, who have been our major sponsor for a number of years now and has contributed to the club's success in 2016." The secretary, Vera Georgiou, says that the many nationalities represented in the club make the culture at SPASC seem like one big family. The ‘United Nations’ of clubs. After the match, Apollo player Simone Mangiante was awarded the inaugural Bob Jeffrey medal for the best player in the grand final. Barba to lead Sharks in 2017 NPL 1 club Port Melbourne Sharks has announced Dominic Barba as Eric Vassiliadis' successor to the senior coaching position for 2017. Port's announcement follows on the heels of Barba's resignation from NPL 1 club Bulleen Lions, where he was senior coach over the last two seasons. In his first season at the Lions in 2015, he led the club to an NPL 2 title and promotion to the NPL 1, where in the season just passed, the club struggled but eventually survived relegation, finishing in 10th position, just one point behind the Sharks. Barba's 2015 success with Bulleen Lions was the second time he'd led a team to the top tier of Victorian football, having also coached Moreland Zebras to promotion from State League 1 in 2011 to the VPL in 2012, where he was replaced early in the 2012 season by current Melbourne City Youth team manager Joe Palatsides. The Sharks will be the second Greek-based club that Barba has coached. The former VPL referee took up coaching at Altona East Phoenix (PAOK) in 2007 when the club was playing in Former Lions coach Dominic Barba has been appointed as Port Melbourne’s new coach. PHOTO: FC BULLEEN LIONS FACEBOOK. State League 2. He spent twoand-a-half seasons there, finishing fourth in 2008. Port Melbourne Sharks released the following official statement on its Facebook page, regarding Dominic's appointment. "The board is pleased to announce the appointment of Domenic Barba to the role of senior head coach at Port Melbourne Soccer Club. "Dom will be taking over the reins from Eric Vassiliadis, who has been with the club for the past seven seasons. This provides a unique opportunity for the club to step outside its comfort zone and take a new direction in this challenging environment of top-flight NPL. "We welcome Dom to the club and look forward to what the 2017 season will bring."
17 September 2016
1 October 2016