Round 14 Preview
Hobart JEEP Zebras v Olympia FC Warriors, Friday 1 July, KGV, 8.00pm
Last Time They Met: Round 6 NPL TAS, Olympia 0-4 Hobart JEEP Zebras, Warrior Park
League Form: Hobart Zebras: WWLWW Olympia: LWWWL
Traditional rivals meet under Friday Night lights as the Hobart JEEP Zebras look to close within a point of Devonport when they host the Olympia Warriors at KGV. It’s always a big occasion when these two teams meet and this will be no different.
When the two teams last met back on ANZAC day it was all one way traffic as Toghill and Walsh ran riot down the right wing and were the catalyst for a big 4-0 win. Olympia were stretched at the back that day and with Aidan Farquhar to miss this game, they will likely need to draft Jack Callan into centre back alongside Vandermey this week which could disrupt things. Jacob Leaman has shown promising flashes including a best on ground display against Clarence but will face a stern test against a dynamic right wing of Zebras.
The Zebras will be buoyed by their 1-0 win over South Hobart last week as they continue to grind out results to keep themselves in the title race. That win has firmly established them as the number one contender to challenge Devonport but they will be acutely aware they cannot afford to be dropping points.A major positive in the win was the central defensive pairing of Tyler Harrison and Paul Stevens, who have gelled quickly and looks to be a pairing that can provide a strong foundation for the race to the finish line.
The Warriors will be glad to welcome back Nick Mearns into midfield, without their star midfield man they struggled to break down Launceston City last week but with his return, he helps form a very dangerous midfield triumvirate with Gavin Hoy and Warren Wadawu that has the quality to challenge this Zebras side.
What the Coaches Said
“Sunday’s game was a massive plus for us and keeps us close enough to Devonport to challenge for the league title.”
“We had four players from our last match who were very sick with flu and we are still missing two of those from our training squad this week but we are hopeful they will be fit for Fridays big game. Still no Cairns though.”
“Olympia have a strong squad with some great players right across the park. Mearns and Hickey are a great midfield pairing and with Hoy and Warren holding out the flank, along with their new signing, they are a huge threat going forward. Their Captain controls their defence and leads young Leaman and Farquar well. It’s a contest that can go either way.”
“I think we have a number of real quality young players, which is very exciting for the future of the club. We were lucky enough to have Tyler Harrison unexpectedly return to us and with the inclusion of Hugh Undy and Paul Stevens, who I thought was fantastic last game, it has given us a good edge to our game.”
“Matthew Pace I think also has a great future as a senior player but needs to develop a little more physically before regular senior football. Has some great skills and vision.”
“This week we head to KGV to meet Zebras. These matches are always highlights on our calendar and we look forward to the challenge.”
“Last week was disappointing for us. Not only the loss but our failure to capitalise on our opportunities was frustrating.”
“Olympia v Zebras matches are always played with passion and these matches often become folklore of the local game. This match should be no different.”
“There are no injuries. Nick Mearns will be back for this match.”
“We have had a number of young players start to make their impact at senior football level. Aidan Farquahar has been good this season and is spending the next two weeks trialing with Melbourne City. Jacob Leaman has been important for us and Tom Little had a very good debut last week. Others to look out for are Jackson Ibini, Jairus Leszek, Mark Ortmann and Nick Zammit”
Northern Rangers v Launceston City, Saturday 2 July, NTCA Ground, 12.30PM
Last Time They Met: NPL TAS Round 6, Launceston City 1-1 Northern Rangers, Mitsubishi Park
League Form: Northern Rangers: LLLLL Launceston City: LLLLW
Northern rivals Launceston City and Northern Rangers are set to renew their rivalry when the pair meet for the second time this season at the NTCA ground on Saturday. As well as the vital three points on offer, the game represents the second leg of the Derby Cup that is played for between the two sides over the course of their three league meetings during the season. Northern Rangers are the current holders, having won it on goal difference in 2015. The first meeting between the two teams in 2016 was a 1-1 draw, leaving the 2016 cup firmly in the balance and giving both sides something to play for in addition to the local bragging rights heading into this game.
Launceston City will enter the game on a high, having beaten Olympia 1-0 last weekend, which represented the first time a side bottom four had beaten team in the top four all season. In fact Northern Rangers were the only other side before that to have taken points from a top four side when they drew 3-3 with Hobart Zebras. The surprise win snapped a four game losing streak for City and should boost their confidence heading into this game against a Rangers side searching for their first victory of the season. Des Baker, who took on the full time job two rounds ago and has attempted to instill a positive brand of football, experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation last week will be looking at this game as their best chance to take point since he took over, having faced road trips to Olympia and Devonport in his first two games in charge of the side.
What the Coaches Said
“Last week they carried out the game plan, all players performed well in all areas, unfortunately we had a lapse of concentration around the 60 minute mark, Devonport then scored 2 quick goals from then on it was difficult to contain them.”
“The team is shaping up well for the match this week. We have no injuries from last week’s game.”
“Launceston City are similar to us in all positions , so head to head we match up well. I don’t think that they have any player who is a great stand-out who we have to watch, so it is a matter of showing them all respect.”
“So far City have more points on the board than us so we will need to be on our toes, but of course we will be looking for our first win for the season.”
“I think it will be a bottler of a game, so hopefully we will get plenty of supporters to come along to watch the game.”
“Young Zac Cross has started to find his feet and form , so I have been very impressed by the way he is developing his game. Also Jesse Fulton has been growing in confidence when he is on the ball going forward.”
“Last week was a good all round performance possibly first 90min effort for the season.”
“Squad came through ok though Aaron Mattarozzi has a twisted ankle and will require testing and Jarrod Linger has futsal commitments out of the state.”
“Like all games it will be very tough. Will take a look at the Rangers squad over the week and go from there.”
“It is a must win or last week’s good win will be for nothing, I see that the forecast for Thursday is more rain but the NTCA usually drains well but will still be tough and should be pretty physical.”
“We have a very young squad and all the boys have impressed when they have come up which is fantastic.”
Kingborough V Devonport, Saturday 2 July, Lightwood Park, 2:00PM
Last Time They Met: NPL TAS Round 6, Kingborough 0-5 Devonport Lightwood Park
League Form: Kingborough: WLLLW Devonport: WWWWW
A difficult road trip awaits the league leaders who will look to make it 10 consecutive league wins in a row as they head down the Den to face an improving Kingborough Lions side. The Lions have looked a much more organised unit under Ian Shaw and will be riding high on confidence following their thumping 6-1 win over Clarence last week.
The Strikers have had the Lions number in 2016, they thumped them 7-1 at the Den in the Lakoseljac Cup and then 5-0 at Valley Road in the league with Brayden Mann helping himself to 8 goals across the two games. The Lions will need to pay him close attention with the pairing of Cuthbertson and Nugent set to face a difficult task in tracking the spearhead of the Strikers mobile front three. Teams with pace up front have troubled the Lions this year, and despite playing at home it would not surprise to see them playing a fairly deep line to try and counter this threat.
Another fascinating duel that will prove key to the game will be played out at the other end between the powerful Shane Cartwright who has been used as a striker in recent weeks, up against an equally strong central defensive pairing in Nathan Gratton and Joe Zupo. If there is a defensive pairing best suited to dealing with the threat of one of the form players of the competition then it will be this duo who should be able to nullify the physical edge he usually enjoys. Cutting off his supply by keeping the set piece master, Chris Downes quiet will also play a big role with Daniel Syson likely to be the man charged with curbing his influence.
What the Coaches Said
“Very happy with the team’s performance in the fact we played as a team and produced a full 90 minutes.”
“The squad has trained well. Unfortunately grounds continue to be an issue with conditions dictating what we do. A few injuries from the Clarence game but I am hoping the support staff will oversee their return to fitness this weekend.”
“Devonport are having a fantastic season and will be looking at the premiership with only 8 games to go. Having won 12 games to date and scoring 42 goals with conceding only 8 who is going to stop this runaway train?”
“ I would like to think we have learnt from my time at The Den. The thought of losing is now missing from the equation when the players represent KLUFC and every effort is left on the park and not discussed in the rooms. I am predicting a solid contest between the top team and a team not yet knowing how good they can be.”
“Chris Downes has been exceptional for the club since his arrival. His ability to read the game is of a high standard and importantly his ability to take on new tasks within his role. Most importantly the player is receptive to being coached and for me is one of the most important attributes a young player can have.”
“We put in a fairly solid performance last week against Rangers. We are starting to see teams try a few different things against us so it will be interesting to see how our players react to that as the year progresses. Miles Barnard had an excellent day out in front of goal and he is proving himself to be a reliable goal-scoring midfielder. His enthusiasm and vigour will be valuable assets in the next 8 or so games.”
“We don’t have any injury concerns to speak of so the starting line-up should remain unchanged from last week.”
“Kingborough are playing some pretty attractive football from what I have seen of late and they put in an excellent performance last week. Cartwright has given a few teams headaches so far this year so it will be important to curb his influence on the game. It was a pretty classy hat-trick from Chris Downes last week so I think Niko Giantsopoulos is looking forward to the challenge of keeping those types of goal out.”
“This will be a tough match. They were in a good position to beat Zebras and had a confidence boosting win against Clarence. They are a team on the improve and a winter’s day at the Den could prove tricky to overcome. We are certainly very aware of the dangers of this game.”
“Dom Smith has been targeted a few times this year by opposition players and coaches but week in and week out he rises to those challenges and is rarely beaten, which is particularly impressive considering he’s still 17. Those who have played on him will know that he never tires and never stops trying, a true testament to his fitness and will power.”
Clarence United v South Hobart, Saturday 2 July, Wentworth Park, 4:30pm
Last Time They Met: NPL TAS Round 6, South Hobart 8-0 Clarence, Darcy St
League Form: Clarence: WLLWL South Hobart: WWWLL
Two teams reeling after a difficult round 13 meet at Wentworth Park with points to prove. For Clarence, they had their pride wounded last week, copping a belting from a side that had been below them on the table on their home turf was extremely disappointing and they need to show more fight this week. South Hobart need to win their final 8 games and hope for results to go their way, the title looks beyond them but strange things can happen in football, and if they win out, they can at least put the pressure on Zebras and Devonport. That starts by getting the job done with an undermanned squad against Clarence.
The home side continue to struggle for consistency. They have produced some good fighting displays this year, but have also been on the end of some heavy defeats and last week saw old flaws coming to the fore again. They had no answer to Cartwright and will be thankful they don't have to deal with Leszczysnski this week. Against what is likely to be a young South Hobart side, Clarence need to make use of their physicality, play a compact style of game and try to play direct. One of their best displays of the year was a 2-1 loss to Olympia at Wentworth and that style of play should be the blue print for how the approach this one.
With three suspensions from last weeks game in Brown, Leszczynski and Hall and three losses on the trot, South Hobart have been going through a tough patch. It's amazing to think that if not for the woodwork a fortnight ago, and some Giantsopoulous magic, South Hobart would have been sitting on top of the table. Yet after failing to win that game, and imploding against the Zebras, they now sit some eight points adrift. It shows how big those games against the top sides are, and South have been unable to get the results this year. They have consistently put the bottom four sides to the sword though and despite the players missing will be expecting to do just that again.
What the Coaches Said
"We didn't defend in the same way we had over the last few weeks, it wasn't the effort. We just didn't defend as a unit as we had been and we left too many 10-15 yard gaps between players."
"You have to take winning and losing with the same frame of mind, it's too easy to get too far up when you win and drop too far if you lose."
"We're going to have to defend a lot better against South Hobart. If we defend anything like we did last against the Lions it's going to be an even worse scoreline."
“I thought we worked hard to get into the game and were getting on top when disaster happened. Quite devastated in the manner in which we lost the game.”
“Not available through injury: Kobe Kemp, Hugh Ludford, Ben Hamlett. Ryan Cook may play half a game in the Under 18s. Obviously, missing Darcy, Albie and Daniel through suspension.”
“I think this will be a very difficult game for us at Wentworth Park. Clarence’s form has been up and down but they play with a great spirit which I think is a key factor when they play at home.”