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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 22 September 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 22 SEPTEMBER 2018 27 SPORT Hellenic FC: 60 years of success This year’s NPL championship has special significance for the Darwin club celebrating its 60th anniversary ALEX ANYFANTIS As Hellenic FC ease their way towards the final of the play-offs in the Northern Territory, everyone around the club eagerly awaits the time when the NPL trophy will be lifted into the blue skies of Darwin. Even though the club has won the League many times in the past, this particular season has extra meaning, since this year marks its 60th anniversary and the people at Hellenic would like to give their fans an extra reason to celebrate. As chairman of Hellenic FC Kostas Boubaris tells Neos Kosmos, it was 1958 when an initiative began by immigrants and spearheaded by the first chairmen of the club, John Miliariakis and John Vrontos, in order for the people to find a way to socialise and adapt to their new environment. They used football as a means for Greeks to adjust, considering its popularity in Greece, and thus Hellenic FC was founded. Through the years, many great players represented the team on and off the pitch, like Spyro Makrylos (Stavros, his nephew, currently plays for Hellenic) and Andrew Papazoglou in the 60s. One figure that has remained with Hellenic throughout the years is Boubaris' uncle, Nikitas, who began his career at Hellenic as a player, continued as manager of the club after he retired, then eventually proceeded to become chairman. Board and players at the festivities for Hellenic’s 50 years. PHOTO: KOSTAS BOUBARIS Hellenic has become a family business of sorts; a feeling that resonates even in the dressing room with players being friends with one another and even foreigners having no issues adapting to their new environment. And that, according to Boubaris, is the club's greatest success. Because even though they have managed to impress in sealing top spot in the NPL NT this season, swaying 17 whole points ahead of their eternal rivals Darwin Olympic and annihilating most of their opponents with 6-7 goal margins, it's the atmosphere in the locker room that led to all this. "All our players are friends and even the foreign players want to come to our club because they see the great climate that we have. And that's the best thing about this. We make sure to develop not just great players but most importantly great characters who will eventually become good people and contribute to society", says Boubaris. Even though the club has reached the final of the NPL, Boubaris considers that to be one part of a widely successful season. "Most of our senior teams, including our women's team and even our youth teams, are finishing in top place. So to only take into consideration what our senior team South Melbourne to battle the Lions in quest for back to back NPL W championships South spearhead Lisa De Vanna will again look to score against the Lions. (PHOTO: THE WHITE LINE) GEORGE STOGIANNOU South Melbourne's NPL W team coach Angelo Koutos remembers his players' excitement when it was announced that the NPL-W Grand Final was to be staged as part of a triple header at AAMI Park together with this year's men’s NPL Grand final. "Their eyes lit up- it was extra motivation. They were just so excited," he says. "Finally, there's a bit of recognition for women’s football. Credit to the FFV for staging it at AAMI as part of a Triple Header with the men's grand final and the relegation play-off." As fate would have it, South Melbourne go into Sunday's Grand Final facing the same team which it defeated as recently as a fortnight ago, Bulleen Lions, to clinch another valuable piece of silverware, the NPL W Premiers Plate on the last day of the home and away season. That win was South's sixth in a row over the Bulleen Lions in South's two seasons in the NPL W and on that basis are considered favourites to clinch the Premiership-Championship double on Sunday. Coach Koutos believes that last year's very narrow grand final against Geelong, which South won only after a penalty shoot-out, is a lesson for most of the girls who were in that final, against being complacent. "They won't be complacent and they won't be taking Bulleen lightly. We'll show them the respect they deserve," Koutos told Neos Kosmos. "Bulleen have got a very good forward line," he added. "They're more than capable. There's one present W-League player in Lia Privitelli and another with W-League experience, striker Caitlin Friend. They're an experienced attack and that's one thing we'll have to be careful of. That's what cost us the two goals last time we met. They capitalized on our inexperience at the back and punished us. That's their main strength. They've got Amy Jackson, a WLeague player in the middle of the park. She orchestrates everything there for them. We've done our homework. Sort of know where their strengths and weaknesses are." "Bulleen are a good ball playing side just like us. They don't like to just sit back and play negative football. I think they'll come out and try to press us and try and dictate the terms to us. But we'll be prepared with whatever outcome. Whether they sit back or whether they come at us. That'll show up in the first couple of minutes." South has Melina Ayres and Lisa DeVanna as spearheads, supported by a host of other players with W-League experience, including midfielders Jamie Pollock, Tiffany Eliadis, Sarah Richardson, Ella Mastrantonio and Sophia Sakalis. In fact, both sides boast considerable W-League experience. "It's a one-off game," Koutos says of the grand final. "Anything can happen. All I'm hoping for is we play well and put on a good show for the people who will come to support us and watch the game. Not only our supporters but the neutrals as well, and showcase women's soccer in Melbourne." South Melbourne Squad: Coach: Angelo Koutos 26 - Beth Mason-Jones (gk) 2 - Tiff Eliadis 3 - Alexandra Gummer 4 - Leah Scroggie 5 - Aimee Medwin 7 - Chelsea Blissett 8 - Jamie Pollock 9 - Julica Nicolaci 10 - Natalie Martineau 11 - Lisa De Vanna 12 - Sarah Richardson 14 - Alex Cheal 15 - Leia Varley 16 - Sofia Sakalis 17 - Melina Ayres 54 - Ella Mastrantonio 1 - Alexia Karatzikos (gk) Bulleen Lions Squad: Coach: Paul Kilpatrick 1 - Emily Shields (gk) 2 - Tessa Sernio 3 - Lexi Anastassiou 4 - Claudia Fruscalzo 6 - Caitlin Friend 8 - Alex Natoli 9 - Lia Privitelli 11 - Whitney Knight 12 - Liana Iaconis 13 - Hayley Richmond 14 - Cristina Cardaci 15 - Amy Jackson 16 - Shelby Green 17 - Daniela Gudelj 19 - Tyla Vlajnic 20 - Kayla Morrison 22 - Emily Dolzan Kick Off 3.30 pm AAMI PARK 23/09/18 Chelsea beats PAOK, Olympiacos survives with 0-0 score against Betis Greek clubs completed a week with three games in Europe and no goals scored, as after AEK's 3-0 loss to Ajax for the Champions League on Wednesday, PAOK went down 1-0 at home to Chelsea and Olympiakos shared a goalless draw with visiting Real Betis for the Europa League. Chelsea was a difficult opponent for PAOK, playing the long game, with the Chelsea players often breaking free inside or just outside the box. Willian managed to score, after just six minutes, while the team created several more chances to add to its lead, without success. One goal sufficed for the Blues, as PAOK could have easi- Former club presidents Nikitas and Matthew Boubaris celebrate the club’s anniversary. PHOTO: KOSTAS BOUBARIS has done is looking at things from a narrow point of view,” he says. Boubaris expressed his thanks to the club’s fans for their continued support throughout the season and promised that there will be an event sometime before the year is over to celebrate the club's 60 years and (hopefully) success at the NPL final. ly conceded three or four goals on the night, not being up to par, except for one or two instances. Olympiakos earned Greece's first group stage point this season with its 0-0 result against Spain's Betis at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. The team from Seville was more dangerous and may feel hard done by the draw in Piraeus, but this certainly is a result that gives Betis an improved chance to reach the next round. The Reds had heir moments, but as they were left with 10 men due to the second bookable offense of Costas Tsimikas with 17 minutes left on the clock, they will not be too disappointed with the result.
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