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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 May 2019
SPORT 26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 MAY 2019 Former Greens, South and Cannons winger comes out GEORGE STOGIANNOU This week footballer Andy Brennan became the first Australian footballer who has played at a professional level, to come out and publicly announce he is gay. The 26-year-old Hobart-born winger, played five games in the A-League for Newcastle Jets between 2015-17 in amongst stints at Bentleigh Greens. He also played a number of seasons at South Melbourne and then Oakleigh Cannons just last year. He currently plays for NPL club Green Gully. Brennan made the announcement on his Instagram page on Tuesday, saying: "It's taken me years to get comfortable saying this — I'm gay. I was scared it would affect my friendships, my teammates, and my family. But the support of the people around me has been so great and helped me get to the final step; being completely open. Being open is the best way for me to feel most comfortable and be myself." Speaking to the Herald Sun, Brennan said, "Statistically speaking, people playing sport, whether it would be football or AFL or any sport, you'd think there were more who would be gay." "There is a bit of stigma withWINNERS Brennan in his South Melbourne playing days. in the sport and if people are going through what I went through, (they may think) it's not okay because of not being accepted," he added. "This isn't a call for those people to come out and tell everyone who they are. They shouldn't have to, shouldn't need to. "If there's people out who've had that burden, especially playing sport, and feel like they can't be who they are in a professional or amateur environment, it's vital they see others accepted." Brennan's decision to come out publicly comes amidst the recent controversial homophobic comments by Rugby Union star Israel Folau. An independent panel is currently preparing its final deliberation which could see Folau's contract terminated for breach of players' code of conduct. Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) chief executive John Didulica said: "It is really encouraging that football has provided Andy a safe and inclusive environment to share his story and to feel comfortable to come out publicly. "We're not doing our job well enough if participants have a perception that their sexuality prevents them excelling or from building the trusting friendships that are the cornerstone of sport." Former Sydney Olympic star set to sign with Western United GEORGE STOGIANNOU Former Sydney Olympic star Max Burgess, looks set to continue his A-League career, but not with the club that lured him away from Olympic, Wellington Phoenix. It's believed, that new Victorian A-League club Western United is poised to announce the signing of the talented midfielder as part of its inaugural A-League squad. The 24-year-old has just completed his maiden ALeague season with the Phoenix during which he made 23 appearances including 16 off the bench. Phoenix's coach Mark Rudan signed Burgess after the young playmaker played a major role in Olympic winning the 2018 NSW NPL Championship. Burgess's expected signing with Western United follows the club's recent signing of another player from the Phoenix, keeper Filip Kurto. United it's been an absolute privilege wearing the Wellington Phoenix shirt and living in this fantastic city." Burgess had two stints at Sydney Olympic in 2017 and 2018 sandwiching a brief spell playing in Europe in Portugal. He played a total of 31 games for Olympic scoring nine goals. Midfielder Max Burgess in his Sydney Olympic days. PHOTO: SYDNEY OLYMPIC FC is expected to also announce the appointment of resigned Phoenix coach Mark Rudan as its new senior coach. It was he who plucked Burgess from the NSW NPL recognizing the young player's potential. On announcing his departure from the Phoenix, Burgess said, "I've had the opportunity of playing with a great group of footballers and His brother, midfielder Darcy Burgess continues to play his football with Sydney Olympic in the NSW NPL. Whilst there is expected to be a lot more player movement in and out of A-League clubs in the coming weeks, the transfer window has also opened in the NPL. A few of the clubs which have struggled in the first half of the season, are expected to announce player movements in the coming days and weeks. South Melbourne has announced the departures of keeper Alastair Bray and George Howard. PAOK First league title in over 30 years? Check. Undefeated throughout their entire domestic season? Check. Acquisition of their second consecutive Cup trophy after reaching their third final in three years? Check. First double in the club’s over-90-year history? Check. We don’t know what could happen in the years to come, but there really isn’t much left (bar winning a European title) that this PAOK side wasn’t able to do. One could argue that Razvan Lucescu’s side had the most success within a single season in Greek football history. And it seems that this could just be the start of even greater things to come for the Thessaloniki club. FOOTBALL VICTORIA Within the series of unfortunate events that seem to occur in the Australian Football Federation that seems to have alienated crowds from the game, there remains a shining beacon of light that shows the way for how a proper organisation that values its followers needs to operate. Football Victoria has constantly helped out its local clubs, from grassroots all the way to the NPL level and worked beside them rather than alienate them. Their recent initiatives with the live-streaming of all NPL SINNERS AEK This season was definitely a step back for the yellow-and-black team that went from being champions to third-place winners. The change on the bench (Manolo Jimenez returned to replace Marinos Ouzounidis) seemed to have worked in favour of the former champions, however by that time all was lost as even the second position that leads to next season’s Champions League qualifiers was taken by Olympiacos who were too far out of reach. Rumour has it that the Spaniard will remain for the following season, meaning he will be able to continue his work and create a more competitive side winners sinners & DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM by alex anyfantis Find out who’s hot and who’s not following another week of sports action Andreas Samaris will remain at the Da Luz for the next four years. PHOTO: APE/MPE games on YouTube as well as the recent announcement of a $15-million promise by the Federal Government to build the Matildas’ base in Melbourne are but only a few of the moves that Football Victoria have taken towards improving the sport. Perhaps the FFA should take note. ANDREAS SAMARIS At the start of the season, the 29-year-old midfielder seemed to be an afterthought for then-coach Rui Vitoria, who seemed to prefer the likes of Samaris’ former teammate at Olympiacos Ljubomir Fejsa to cover the defensive midfielder’s position. This led to many rumours surrounding his name and other clubs. But none of this seemed to bother Samaris, who continued to work hard in training while waiting for his opportunity. This came when Bruno Lage STEFANOS TSITSIPAS The young gun has come a long way since he blitzkrieged to international attention at the Australian Open. Ranked World No 7 after his recent run to the Madrid Open final where he beat Rafael Nadal on a clay court. And even though Tsitsipas lost to Novak Djokovic in the final, 6-3 6-4, it was apparent that the Greek would be a force for the years to come. He tweeted: “I have never been more excited for the future... like never!” Rightly so! replaced Rui Vitoria at the manager’s spot and restored Samaris back to the starting line-up. He has not regretted this decision, and the Greek international player has now become an integral part of the Benfica squad. So much so that his contract will be extended for another four years. that will provide a strong challenge for both PAOK and Olympiacos. MELBOURNE VICTORY What can be said about a squad that costs almost $2 million more than any other in Australian football, yet surrenders without even putting up a fight against a more spirited and well-read Sydney FC side? The greatest margin of the responsibility of course falls on Kevin Muscat for not being able to properly guide these players, but the players are not entirely without fault, as they should have at least lost with a more dignified score rather than let themselves be humiliated with a heavy 6-1. You wouldn’t expect such a horrendous performance by a team with the likes of Honda, Toivonen or Niedermeier... GREEK U17 FOOTBALL TEAM The youngsters participated in the group stage of the recent European Championship in Ireland, yet their performances left much to be desired. Getting only one point in their first game against the hosts (thanks to a goal in the closing minutes of the game), the Greek youths then went on to lose both of their remaining two ties against Belgium (3-0) and the Czech Republic (02). Hopefully this tournament works as a learning experience for the future as they rise up the ranks.
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