Round 10 Preview
Hobart JEEP Zebras v Clarence, Friday 27 May, KGV, 8.00PM
Friday Night Football to kick the round off as Hobart Jeep Zebras host Clarence United at KGV. Both sides are coming off successful road trips up north, with Clarence taking their second victory of the season with a commanding 4-0 win over Northern Rangers, whilst Zebras dug deep to overcome Launceston City 2-1.
The last time these two sides met was back in round 3. Playing for the Luke Cripps shield, Clarence fought doggedly to reach half time at 0-0 before the Zebras quality shone through and they ran out comfortable 4-0 winners. Both sides will line up very differently in this one, with a number of personnel changes having taken place since that game 2 months ago.
The biggest of those changes is the presence of Scotsman Aaron Cairns in the Zebras line up. The prodigiously talented attacking midfielder is set to make his long awaited return against the club that he initially played for in Clarence United. Tyler Harrison and Michael Maiorano should also be fit to return to the line-up so it should be a very strong Zebras starting XI that takes the field.
Clarence will be missing scorer of last week’s remarkable goal in Paul Bremner and will need to find his replacement to lead the line. Adam Hedge has filled that role for most of the season but after a starring display in the heart of defence last week, Jablonski may be hesitant to make that change. In midfield the pairing of Aldridge and Naden looks to have real promise, offering a calmness on the ball that was lacking early in the season, whilst Kyungmin Choi appears to have settled nicely, playing as an inverted winger on the left.
On paper Clarence have gotten stronger and they will hope that last week is a sign that their season will start to trend upwards after a difficult month. Zebras are an entirely different proposition however and will go into the game as comfortable favourites, this will be a good test to see if Clarence have improved, whilst for Zebras it is a game that they should be expecting to win.
What the Coaches Said
"Given what we have been through with injuries / Illness I was extremely proud of the way in which we fought out what was a hard game of football and the passion shown by our players not to surrender."
"We are starting to get players back and still have a few surprises in the bank, which will become apparent in the near future. Both Alex Woodham & Matthew Ferguson are now clear for selection, with Alex to have a second game with the reserves to provide him confidence with his hand. Aaron Cairns has trained well this week and will play a part in Fridays game with both Henry Moody & Michael Maiorano to be confirmed after this evenings training session, so all in all we are getting back to having some good depth in the squad."
"Clarence achieved something we could not the week before and it was from all accounts a convincing result. They have strengthened their squad considerably since we last played them, so we need to respect them and expect nothing but a tight contest. We dropped valuable points against Rangers and those speed humps are the ones which cost premierships."
"It is our game to lose I feel, so the pressure is on us. How we handle that pressure is crucially important. The player group is aware of previous let downs and the added pressure which will continue to build for places in the starting 11 should increase the competitive nature on and off the park, but it is one game at a time. Clarence have their tails up and their dogged work rate for one another is evident. We have everything to lose and they have everything to win, so we need to be wary."
"I think we are a better footballing side when the ball is on the deck. At times it is the selection in the type of ball you play that is crucial to maintaining possession. The other issue for me is still quicker movement of the ball through all moments of the game."
“Yeah very happy with last week’s performance, we felt that the week before, our first half against Devonport was one of our best 45 minutes, yet we were down 4-0."
"But we knew going in we had a chance, 0-0 at half time was a bit scary because our second halves haven’t been the strongest, but as soon as we got that first goal, the boys got a sniff and from there we finished the job.”
"We’re just going by the old adage of week by week, and this is a big one this Friday night, I thought we were quite good last time we played them, in the first half."
"The bigger ground probably doesn’t suit us as much, as we’re still trying to build fitness, we’re hoping that the occasion will spur the boys on a bit."
"They’ve really stepped up lately, with the inclusions of Kyungmin Choi, whose last couple of weeks have been super, and Phin Aldridge who can really pull teams apart if he gets time on the ball."
"Last week means nothing if we have a poor performance this weekend, so we will be looking to take it to them on Friday night."
Olympia v Kingborough, Saturday 28 May, Warrior Park, 3.00PM
The Warriors entertain the Lions at Warrior Park as they look to bounce back from a couple of heavy defeats against the competition heavyweights over the past two weeks. The Lions are looking for their first points under new coach Ian Shaw, despite showing some encouraging signs; they have lost both games to begin his tenure.
Last time they met, the Warriors produced their best 45 minutes of the season as they crushed the Lions, scoring eight times in the second half as they powered to a 9-0 win. There are two very different teams on the park now though with Olympia having lost a number of their big early season signings, whilst conversely the Lions have strengthened their side and it should be conducive to a closer game this time.
New signing Sam Conway looks set to be played in an attacking role and his pace has the ability to trouble a Warriors back four that has been exposed by fast wing play this season. They may opt to have the returning Zak Drake follow him to counter this. The game will likely be won in midfield which is the strength of both sides. How the enforcer Cartwright goes trying to negate the likes of Hoy and Mearns, who can pick teams apart if given too much time on the ball, will likely go a long way to determining the outcome of this game.
Ian Shaw has signaled he wants his side to be aiming for top 4 by seasons end and if they are to close that gap then taking points from this game is crucial. Whilst Olympia have struggled this season against the top 3, they remain the only sides they have dropped points to. They have gotten the job done against the bottom four sides on all four occasions. Despite fielding a young side, they will back themselves to show that the gap to the chasing pack still remains.
What the Coaches Said
"First home game for me and I am very happy with the performance shown. The squad showed belief in their roles and importantly conveyed their desire and commitment to the club and spectators. As a playing group we are looking forward to our next game against Olympia at Warrior Park and continue our growth as a team."
"The squad trained well on the AFL field (Twin Ovals) but highlights our need to improve training facilities - the club has recognised this and is campaigning for change to give every young footballer the opportunity to develop their full potential. No injury concerns at the moment with Nick Cuthbertson, resting after a head clash requiring stitches - his modelling career will now be confined to hand & foot work."
"Olympia obviously have some good players in Gavin Hoy, Shae Hickey and their young Goalkeeper, Rohan Gillam. Coach Glen McNeill will have the squad ready to play when we walk onto Warrior Park this weekend. I am predicting a good game played by both squads and it will be decided by the team that converts their opportunities."
"Obviously a disappointing road trip for us against Devonport. We are now focusing on transitioning our younger players and giving them game time in the first team."
"This week we will see Mark Ortmann making his first senior start. Mark has developed into a very good young footballer and we are looking forward to seeing him play at this level."
"Kingborough have improved over the last few weeks and they will be out to prove a point this weekend. I'm anticipating a closely contested match at Warrior Park."
"I rate Sam Conway and Shane Cartwright highly and I'm sure they will be looking to try and boss the midfield."
Launceston City v Devonport, Saturday 28 May, Mitsubishi Park, 4:30PM
Launceston City welcome another title contender to Mitsubishi Park as they conclude a three week homestead by hosting the Devonport Strikers. After pushing Hobart Zebras all the way in a tight 2-1 loss last week, they will hope to go one better and take points from the league leaders, who continued their winning ways with a convincing 5-2 win over the defending champions Olympia.
When the pair met back in round 3 at Valley Road, it was the Brayden Mann show, the striker hitting a hat-trick on route to a comfortable 5-1 win and keeping him in check will be crucial if Launceston are going to improve to get anything out of this game.
The arrival of Ryan Schofield in the heart of defence, and Martyn Jackson in midfield should see them put up more resistance this time around, as will playing it at Mitsubishi Park. If not for some fine goalkeeping by Zebras Graham Wright they could have taken points from Zebras last week and they suddenly look a very tough proposition on their home patch. Dom Rossi is back and had his best game since his long injury lay off last week, he will provide a stern test for Dom Smith.
The Strikers remain unbeaten on the road this season and a big key to Devonport’s this has been the stability and continuity of the side. With Miles Barnard hitting a brace from midfield last week, coach Peter Savill has somewhat of a selection dilemma on his hands, with Beau Blizzard returning to full fitness and perhaps having to bide his time to get back into the side. It should be a fascinating game that you would expect to be much closer than the first time around. This is a potential banana skin for Devonport, whilst if Launceston City are to meet their goal of a top four finish, they need to take some points from the competition heavyweights.
What the Coaches Said
Devonport Assistant Coach, Nick Owen
“We made it tough for ourselves in the first half by not finishing our chances and it was disappointing that we conceded 2 goals in the way that we did. We thought we created enough chances in the first half to be in front so we didn’t have to change too much. We just tightened our defence up and put away our chances in the second half and the game worked out well in the end.”
“It’s business as usual with our squad at the moment. Beau Blizzard only made a brief appearance off the bench but he looked OK so our squad shouldn’t change.”
“I really think Launceston City have a great crop of young players coming through and they seem to be improving as the season goes on. Dom Rossi is their most dangerous player and someone we will have to pay close attention to.”
“They have had some mixed results at home this year, but we will be expecting some close attention from their defence and they may look to play a counter-attacking style. As always, taking our chances when they come will be crucial.”
“We are still trying to get the things we worked on in pre-season right! Defending as a unit and creating chances is what our focus has been all year. Once we’ve master those things we might move on to something different.”
Launceston City Coach, Lino Sciulli
“The team performed very well last week but we had a couple of lapses and we enabled them to score two quick goals after half time.”
“Isaac Degetto with a thigh injury and Martyn Jackson with a groin will have tests but all else should be ok.”
“Devonport are another top side who have talent all over the park. To score goals against their defence and their goalkeeper our guys will need to be really clever. The midfield and forwards score at will so any lapses in concentration will be suicidal.”
“I’m expecting a hard game where a team contribution is vital and any passengers may cost us the points.”
“Back four and central midfield is an area that we have been working to get better every week but we have also focused on the front four in recent rounds.”
Northern Rangers v South Hobart, Saturday 28 May, NTCA, 4:30PM
Northern Rangers will be looking to bounce back from last week’s 4-0 loss to Clarence, but it won’t get any easier for them as they host South Hobart who comfortably accounted for Kingborough 3-0, to keep up the pressure on their fellow title contenders.
Last time these sides played it was a dark day for Rangers as South Hobart inflicted the heaviest defeat of the season upon them, winning 12-0. With Rangers coach Dane Hudson resigning midweek; they’re going to need to do some major regrouping to avoid another big loss. The departure of Hudson, citing personal reasons, came as a surprise, and it adds to the tough situation the club finds itself in, already sitting at the bottom of the table.
In team news, Jorge Palacio will continue to miss which is a major blow for the Rangers rear guard. Without him last week the defence struggled to deal with Clarence’s attacking midfielders crashing the box, which is something that South Hobart do better than anyone. They will need their midfield to get back and offer more support to the back four this week if they are to keep the red hot South Hobart attack at bay.
South Hobart continue to motor along, they have notched 50 goals through the first 9 rounds of the season, with star striker Alex Leszczynski contributing 13 of them. The burly forward continues to overpower defences and with the likes of Darcy Hall, Alfred Hess and Nick Morton aptly supporting him, the firepower at Ken Morton’s disposal is second to none. Rangers will need to respond after what has been a very difficult week both on and off the field for the club but South will be expecting to win this one comfortably, but as we saw against Zebras a fortnight ago, they have goals in the side to cause upsets.
What the Coaches Said
South Hobart Coach, Ken Morton
“We started very well attacking well over the flanks. We missed a couple of good opportunities which kept Kingborough in the game. Kingborough played with a good spirit and created a couple of good efforts but overall I thought we controlled the game.”
“We have injury concerns to Hugh Ludford (will resume light training today). Ben Hamlett concussion. Daniel Brown back soreness. Jack Bowman hamstring. Ryan Cook back soreness. Everyone else trained on Tuesday.”
“Rangers in my opinion are a much better team than results and performances suggest. The Lanau Atkinson brothers are great talents and obviously Thanhauser is a quality player. “
“A difficult away game but we will be ready. It is important for us to be ready, focused and determined”.
“Our major focus in training at the moment is ball retention so lots of continuous work to do.”
Dane Hudson stood down from the position yesterday and as such no coach comments are available from Rangers.