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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 02 March 2019
SPORT 26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 MARCH 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Sydney Olympic women aim for steady course in maiden voyage to the top GEORGE STOGIANNOU Sydney Olympic women's team is entering unchartered waters as it embarks on its ninth season. This year is the first time the team competes in the NSW NPL's top tier competition after winning the NPL 2 title last season. There will be a host of new faces on deck as the club has completed a strong recruitment drive in a bid to avoid the pitfalls, facing many newly promoted clubs to the NPL 1 in recent seasons, which has seen the newcomer unceremoniously relegated almost immediately. Sydney Olympic senior women's team coach George Beltsos, speaking to Neos Kosmos on the eve of the NPL 1 season says," For us to be competitive and have a chance of staying up, we've had to recruit , go out and contact players, speak to a lot of players. After a lot of hard work by all of us, we were able to recruit pretty much a competitive team." Twelve new recruits to be exact, most of whom have had NPL 1 experience and five of whom played in the W- League season just completed. In fact, the team retained just five of the NPL 2 Championship winning squad of last season, including top scorer Lieke de Bever and Olympic stalwarts Kate Halaska, Danielle Calvi, Kristy Kunovski and Madelaine Costanzo. Unfortunately, prolific goalscorer Costanzo injured her knee in a recent pre-season trial match and looks likely to be out with a long term injury in what coach Beltsos describes as "a really big loss for us." With such a high turno- ver of players, coach Beltsos says, "It won't be easy. It will take time to hit the ground and to gel as a team. But as a club, we sort of did what we had to do, I thought, to give ourselves a chance of staying up." The five new recruits from W-League clubs include three Greek-Australian players, midfielder Teresa Polias and defender Angelique Hristodoulou from Sydney FC, as well as forward Panayiota Petratos, (sister of footballers Dimi and Kosta) from New- castle Jets. Joining them from Western Sydney Wanderers are young forward Susan Phonsongkham and keeper Jada Whyman. The late arrival of the WLeague recruits, means that with just a couple of weeks out from the start of the season, "We've hardly had our WLeague players for our training sessions so far. For them to understand out formations and style of football we want to play, there's still a little bit of work ahead for us. For cohesion to be in the team, it will take a bit of time. I think the club will be patient." Going from top dog over the last two seasons in NPL 2 to the new kids on the block in NPL 1, will require some adjustment according to the coach. "We were the superior team in the last two years. This year we're not going to be the superior team, so we have to be a bit smarter in the way we play, attack and defend. It's not going to be like, 'if we concede, don't worry, we'll score four or five, it doesn't matter.' We can't have that attitude. So our game plan and our formation is team and they've made funds available for us to get some players. They've given us better training grounds, the facilities are better. The club's been really very supportive. There's only going to be two clubs in the whole competition that have a women's and a men's team both in NPL 1. The other one is Manly United. So that's great." One of Sydney Olympic’s new recruits from W-League is Panagiota Petratos (L) from Newcastle Jets. PHOTO: ZIMBIO changing." It says a lot about the club's ambition and commitment towards the women's game that they are putting plenty of resources into women's football. Beltsos says having a successful senior women's team competing in the top tier means a lot to the club. "It's huge, it's very important to them. They've backed the Beltsos is also appreciative of the work of club Technical director Ante Juric, who recently coached Sydney FC to the W-League title. "It's really good to have such a great football brain working with our club. He's had a wealth of experience. He's been really, really helpful. Bends over backwards to help the teams." According to coach Beltsos, "success for Sydney Olympic women's team would be to consolidate a spot in the NPL 1 in 2019 and then just grow stronger and stronger in the years to come, and make ourselves a powerhouse in Women's football as we are in Men's football." Sydney Olympic's season kicks off on Sunday 10 March against Blacktown Spartans. Adelaide Olympic kick off season in dramatic fashion The South Australian club managed to overcome the Panthers thanks to two goals in the last two minutes of the game ALEX ANYFANTIS The NPL championships all around the nation are beginning to kick off one after another every weekend. And it was South Australia's turn to hit the pitch last Saturday and Sunday as fans resumed their favourite positions along the playing grounds in order to support their teams as best they could. Within that specific competition there are two Hellenic clubs participating: Adelaide Olympic and West Adelaide. Here's a look at how they did in their opening games of the season. ADELAIDE OLYMPIC The first of the two played at home against the South Adelaide Panthers, in what could only be described as a rollercoaster of a game. The visiting side managed to claim the lead on the 36th minute after an own goal by Brown and were able to maintain it until the end of the first half. And as if that wasn't enough, South Adelaide further added to the home side's woes put the ball past the keeper. Yet no one could've prepared the Panthers for what was to come, as just one minute before the end of regular time, Makridis found the equaliser for Olympic. And just moments after the kick off, the home side managed to steal the ball and get into the area, feeding it to Pounenidis who found the net for the second time in the evening, giving his team the three points and the fans a reason to celebrate. Adelaide Olympic now turn their attention towards their next home game against the NE Metrostars that will be played on 2 March. WEST ADELAIDE Pounenidis celebrates the winning goal of the match between Adelaide Olympic and the South Adelaide Panthers. PHOTO: ADELAIDE OLYMPIC FOOTBALL CLUB FACEBOOK GROUP just three minutes after the break, thanks to a class strike by Wooding. Adelaide Olym- pic began to show signs of a comeback on the 67th minute however, when Pounenidis The latter Greek team of Adelaide was not as fortunate. West Adelaide succumbed to the superiority of the Comets at the Jack Smith Park, losing 2-1. The Comets took the lead just after nine minutes thanks to Farquhar. This result remained until the half time break. West Adelaide responded on the 53rd minute with Mitris, but it wasn't meant to last, as the home side found their second of the evening through Wiens less than ten minutes later (65'). West Adelaide will now travel to Croydon to face the local team for day two of the South Australian NPL. OLYMPIC FC Meanwhile, the NPL of Queensland continued with day two of the competition, with the participation of Olympic FC. The "red-andwhites" annihilated the SWQ Thunder by 7-0, giving attending fans many reasons to cheer about. The score opened after 22 minutes by Smith, while on the 29th Shol doubled the lead for Olympic. And it wouldn't be Shol's only goal of the encounter, as he found the net again on the 34th, taking advantage of a deflection and the slow reaction by the opposition defence. Lofthouse added his own name on the score sheet at the last seconds of the first half by pouncing on the rebound after his initial shot was blocked out. The Thun- der players seemed incapable of stopping the waves of attacks coming at them by the Olympic players, with the onslaught continuing in the second half. Shol completed his hat-trick just seven minutes after the break, while Smith was left alone with a defenceless goal on the 67th to double his own personal tally and extend his team's lead by six. On the 71st, the Thunder drama came to an end with Psaros going past several defenders before providing the assist to Lofthouse, who also found his second in the night. The next opponent for the seemingly unstoppable Olympic will be the Redlands at home, who have already started the season with four losses out of four games. At the same time, the Tasmanian NPL also kicks off this weekend with the participation of the Olympia Warriors. They began their season yesterday (1 March) at the Warrior Park, where they hosted South Hobart, in hopes for a better season than the previous one.
23 February 2019
09 March 2019