Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 31 August 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 31 AUGUST 2019 27 SPORT One of the first ever South Melbourne teams that took part in the Victorian State Leagues in the early 1960’s. Heidelberg players and Coach staff celebrate clinching the premieship plate at Lakeside last Sunday PHOTO SALLY TSALIKIDIS HUFC CLUB PHOTOGRAPHER Berger Warriors forge a dynasty with third premiership win in a row Brazilian legend Romario besides Paul Trimboli, as Vasco Da Gama and South Melbourne players come out of the dressing rooms for their game during the FIFA World Club Championships. GEORGE STOGIANNOU "For us that served South Melbourne for all those years, that was the greatest gift to have the opportunity to travel to Brazil". However the next few years weren't met with a similar level of success and in 2005 the foundations of the sport in Australia were shaken to their core with what many people consider to be a huge step back for the sport: the ALeague was introduced, bringing with it a slew of entirely new franchises to Australian football, while the clubs that belonged to the NSL were forced to return to their respective State Leagues (now dubbed "National Premier Leagues" - NPL). Since then, South Melbourne has won the NPL a total of three times (2006, 2014, 2016), yet now the club seems more focused on finding its rightful place within the Australian football community. South Melbourne chairman Nick Maikousis points out his most important moment with the club to Neos Kosmos, while also stating their intentions for the future: "For me personally it had to be (Ange) Postecoglou's first championship with us (1998) and the reason for that is because my father had passed away a week leading up to the final. He was the one that took me to the club when I was twoyears-old. I also recall thenpresident George Vasilopoulos draping a scarf over my father's coffin. So that was a very big, emotional week for me," Mr Maikousis says. "It's all very good to talk about our history, but frankly it's all about us writing our own history moving forward. We need to be recognised as a significant football brand in this country and broader Asia and we hope to accomplish that through The Championship, which is the new Second Division." Heidelberg United has written itself into the history books by winning an unprecedented third Victorian NPL Premiership Plate in succession, when it defeated traditional rival South Melbourne 3-0 at Lakeside on Sunday afternoon. Needing to win to make sure of the minor premiership, the Bergers started the match with a restructured backline due to injuries and suspensions. Deputising in an unfamiliar role at right back was strongman Harry Noon whilst Les Doumbalis stood in for Steven Pace alongside skipper Luke Byles in the centre of defence. Heidelberg began the match the stronger, with striker Tom Cahill missing a golden opportunity to give the visitors the ideal start when he shot wide with just the keeper to beat. However Sean Ellis soon settled any early Bergers nerves when he opened the scoring for the visitors in the 10th minute after his blindside run enabled him to tap in a Paul O'Brien long throw which South's defence failed to clear. The home team enjoyed a good spell midway through the first half with Zac Bates's pace down the left flank causing some problems to the Bergers defence. South's Gerry Sylaidos fired at goal from outside the box forcing a finger tip save from Bergers keeper Brendan White. However, the Bergers reasserted itself late in the first half when Cahill powered his way past two South defenders and cut the ball to the near post where Alex Schiavo turned the ball into the goal to double the Bergers' lead. South keeper Nick Roganovic denied the Bergers further goals saving hots from Lucas Derrick and twice from Sean Ellis as the Bergers produced the best attacking moments in the second half. However the South shot stopper was unable to save an injury time effort from another Berger player returning to the team from a long injury lay-off, Andrew Cartanos, who collected the ball from wide, and cruised past a dispirited defence to slot his shot inside the far post. Immediately after the match, Bergers coach George Katsakis, speaking to HUFC TV, commented on his reaction to winning a third Premiership in a row, "An unbelievable feeling. I got emotional towards the end of that game. To think that winning one championship in a lifetime is massive. And then backing it up the following year is quite unique. But this is mind blowing. It's incredible to think these boys week in, week out, year after year, they just get up for it. Today was a sheer display of what they're about. It's just roll up the sleeves stuff and out we go to win games. It was just incredible." When asked how it felt to be the most successful coach in the club's histo- ry, Katsakis replied, " It's a group effort. It's not just an individual effort. However when it comes to proudest moments, I'd probably say that this is the most unique, the most glamorous of all time. I will not relive this moment again, that's for sure. What a club! What a wonderful team to do it with. It belongs to everyone involved at Heidelberg in the past and in the future. We've got some really good kids coming through. If everyone can live up to the expectations of this group we've got, I'm sure there will be a lot more success to come through the ranks." Winning the Premiership Plate means that the Bergers will not only contest the Victorian NPL Finals series, but also the National NPL Cup which they won two seasons ago. Heidelberg will host WA Premiers, Perth SC in the round of the elimination finals on either 21 or 221 September in the national cup competition.
24 Aug 2019
07 September 2019