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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 August 2019
SPORT 26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 AUGUST 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Bergers’ chance to retain Premier’s Plate against League leader Avondale FC GEORGE STOGIANNOU Despite the fact that the Top 6 teams are already assured of finals football this season, NPL fans can expect drama and tension aplenty in this weekend's penultimate round of the season, with something riding on almost every fixture of the round. Topping the bill is Saturday afternoon's heavyweight clash between league leader Avondale FC and second placed Heidelberg United at Avenger Park in Parkville. The 'mini grand final' between last season's grand finalists, will go a long way in deciding this season's Premier Plate winner. With just one point separating the teams, a win to Avondale will clinch its first ever Premier's plate. In the event of the clash ending in a draw, Avondale will still remain in the box seat, albeit with the challenging task of needing to win its last match of the season away to Bentleigh Greens to make sure of the trophy. If however the Bergers win on Saturday and then win the final match of the season away to South Melbourne, it will capture the Premier's Plate trophy for an unprecedented third time in a row. Speaking to HUFC TV after last week's scoreless draw in the catch up match against Oakleigh Cannons, Heidleberg United coach George Katsakis said "our destiny is in our own hands at the moment. It still means we've got to come away with two wins in order to finish top of the league again." He said the weekend's match against Avondale is now their focus. "If we win this one, we give ourselves every opportunity. We've got to be mindful of Avondale - they're a very good team, It's the reason why they're up there at the moment. We'll no doubt do some work on them during the week, and talk about all the areas we need to be concerned about in terms of them getting forward. I'm sure they'll be doing the same thing. Obviously we'll be looking for ways to break them down and hopefully get a positive result," Katsakis said. Avondale's form has been a little inconsistent going into this crucial match with just in the top four under threat from both Green Gully and Oakleigh Cannons. A loss by the Greens to the Sharks on Saturday (and wins to both the Cannons and Green Gully) could see Bentleigh lose its top four place and miss out on the chance to host an elimination final. The Bergers and Avondale have built up an intense rivalry over recent seasons. PHOTO: NPL two wins from their last six starts, but with the squad returning to full fitness after a rough patch they will be a formidable opponent for the Bergers, both physically and mentally ready for the opportunity to clinch a trophy which would be a just reward for an excellent season. They have key players such as prolific striker Liam Boland, supported by speedsters in Stefan Zinni and Valentini, as well as one of the league's most creative playmakers in Tasuku Sekiya. Before last week's draw against Oakleigh, the Bergers had won five of their last six matches to close the gap on Avondale. When they last met earlier in the season, they shared the points in a 1-1 draw at the village. In attack the Bergers will be relying on their familiar quartet of Ellis, Cahill, Noon and Zahra with the addition of speedy Lucas Derrick. Alex Schiavo returning from injury provides further options FFA appoints Katholos and Mersiades to Football Heritage Committee In the wake of scrapping its National Club Identity Policy (NCIP), and allowing clubs to celebrate and express their heritage, the FFA has taken another step towards reconciling the game's past with its present, announcing last Friday the establishment of an official Football Heritage Committee. Former Socceroo and Syd- ney Olympic star, Peter Katholos is one of the new appointees along with other members passionate about preserving the game's long history. They include publisher Bonita Mersiades, former Matilda Heather Garriock, football commentators Simon Hill and Andy Harper, as well as author Trevor Thompson and Jamie Warren, chairman of the Johnny Warren Football Foundation. Leading the committee will be FFA Director Remo Nogarotto. "In the past, we have relied on passionate individuals to Peter Katholos. PHOTO: NEWS.CGTN.COM document our history, to collect memorabilia, to showcase our history and it's now time to bring all of this together in a coordinated way for the entire community to enjoy," Nogarotto said. "We would also like to recognise those who have played a significant part in our game by introducing annual awards and ultimately, it is our long-term ambition Bonita Mersiades. PHOTO: ADELAIDE NOW to establish an Australian Football Museum," he added. The sentiment was shared by FFA Chairman Chris Nikou. "It is time to preserve and honour Australian football's heritage and those associated with it. I am pleased that we will be able to dedicate the resources towards promoting football's valuable cultural, social, economic and histori- cal significance," Nikou said. A panel of experts with an extensive knowledge of the history of the game in Australia will form a subcommittee to support and advise the main committee, helping to ensure Australian football's milestones and key figures are properly celebrated. The sub-committee includes Dr Roy Hay and Dr Ian Syson of Melbourne, Andrew Howe of Adelaide, Peter Kunz of Canberra, Thompson (Sydney) and Garry McKenzie (Gold Coast). For Mersiades, her appointment to the Committee represents a return to a role at the FFA for the first time since 2010, when her contract was terminated. At the time she was head of Corporate and Public Affairs. Since then, she has been a FIFA whistle blower, writing and speaking out about corruption and the lack of accountability and transparency in football's governing bodies. from the bench. In defence, the experienced back four of Doumbalis, Byles, Pace and Wilkins partners with mid-season signing Brendan White who has been preferred in goal to Bergers stalwart Chris Theodoridis in recent weeks. Besides Saturday's top of the table clash, Saturday afternoon features a Greek derby at Port Melbourne between the Sharks and a third placed Bentleigh Greens struggling to keep its place At Lakeside on Sunday, eighth placed South Melbourne hosts 10th placed Altona Magic in a match in which a few youngsters may get a run, given that both teams are safe from the threat of relegation and have no chance of making finals. It's a huge weekend for Kingston City fans, who'll be on the edge of their seat on Saturday, keeping a close eye on the match between Green Gully and Dandenong Thunder. A win to 12th placed Thunder, which leads Kingston by a point on the table, will secure it a play-off spot and send both Kingston and Pascoe Vale down to NPL 2. However a draw, or a win to Gully, will give Kingston the chance to overtake Thunder if it can defeat Dandenong City on a Monday night match at the Grange which will close out the round. Young Greek makes Victorian school state basketball team ALEX ANYFANTIS Eric Kafritsas will have a chance to show off his talent and hopefully take the next step forward in his career during the interstate school championship. The 17-year-old was selected to be a part the team representing Victoria, named Victoria White, after he passed not one, but three consecutive try-out sessions, convincing his coaches that he was well worth the investment. And it would seem that the talent flows in the blood, his older brother Lucas a part of the team back in 2009. "My brother tried out for the team, so the school recommended that I try out as well. After three try-outs, I was chosen. There are two Victorian teams with 20 kids each from all the state," Kafritsas told Neos Kosmos. The promising basketballer started his career at the age of six, but it was at 12 that he realised basketball was truly the sport he was passionate about. He hopes to one day play in Europe next to greats such as Vasilis Spanoulis. "I would like to play pro(fessional) in Greece. I prefer the culture there and I also like the European style of basketball compared to Australia or anywhere else," he said. Despite only having been to Greece once in 2008 – Kafritsas has roots in Crete – he admits it was enough to leave a lasting impression on him for many years to come. So much so that when it comes to the hypothetical question of which national team he would choose to represent, should he be given the opportunity, Kafritsas has little difficulty responding: "Greece, no doubt," he says confidently. But for now, he'll need to focus on what's ahead of him and make the most out of the school championship. Hopefully, he'll be making headlines again in the future.
10 August 2019
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