THE 10th staging of the Steve Wallace Cup takes place at Lawton Park, Langwarrin on Saturday.
The event commemorates the life of local soccer icon Stephen William Wallace who was 54 years old when he died on 19 July 2011 and was a former Langwarrin player, coach, president, life member, club council representative and Bayside League referee.
His daughter and current Langwarrin president Tanya Wallace is the tournament organiser and is proud of the manner in which this charity tournament showcases the local game.
“It’s a special tournament for teams on the peninsula,” she said.
“It brings people together and it’s a great day to celebrate my dad almost 12 years after his passing.
“The day allows us to remember him, cherish him and play the game that he loved.”
COVID-19 rules forced a revised event last year with a series of one-off 90-minute games so no winner was declared but the tournament returns to a more familiar format this year.
Here is the draw with matches starting at 12.30pm on pitch 1 and pitch 2:
PITCH 1 (top pitch): 12:30pm: Somerville v Mt Martha, 1:15pm: Skye v Mt Eliza, 2pm: Strikers v Somerville, 2:45pm: Langwarrin v Baxter, 3:30pm: Strikers v Mt Martha, 4:15pm: Mornington v Mt Eliza, 5:30pm: SEMI-FINAL 1.
PITCH 2 (main pitch): 12:30pm: Strikers v Pines, 1:15pm: Baxter v Rosebud, 2pm: Pines v Mt Martha, 2:45pm: Mornington v Skye, 3:30pm: Pines v Somerville, 4:15pm: Langwarrin v Rosebud, 5:30pm: SEMI-FINAL 2.
The final will kick-off on the main pitch at 6.30pm and all games throughout the tournament will consist of 17½-minute halves with no half-time breaks.
Previous Wallace Cup winners are: Casey Comets 2013; Mornington 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018; Moreland Zebras 2019; Langwarrin 2020, 2021.
While 10 local teams contest the Wallace Cup there will be a noticeable absentee.
For the first time in the event’s history Seaford United will not compete but is expected to return to an expanded tournament next year.
Uncertainty over Seaford’s participation and the problem of having an uneven number of teams with a bye in the fixtures led to its exclusion.
“It’s unfortunate but we’re hopeful that won’t be an issue next year,” Wallace said.
“We’d like to increase the number of teams by two so we can incorporate everyone and not have anyone miss out.”
In NPL2 news Langwarrin has added two new midfielders to its senior squad in Kyoungjin (Jin) Jeong from Northcote, and Carlos Abboud from Dandenong City.
Jeong, 26, is a former Hoppers Crossing player and made 21 appearances for Northcote last season while Abboud, 19, made three senior appearances last season.
“Jin can play in numerous positions and when it became apparent that he was available we moved straight away,” head coach Scott Miller said.
“Carlos is a really talented young player, he believes in himself and he has big ambitions.
“He reached out to me in the off-season and I invited him down to trial and we liked what we saw.”
Langy’s pre-season schedule started in upbeat fashion when it drew 1-1 with NPL giant Oakleigh Cannons at Lawton Park on Friday night.
The home side led after Brad Blumenthal crossed to Tom Youngs whose first-time shot was diverted into goal by Archie McPhee.
Oakleigh equalised late in the contest.
“It was a positive night, our first game and good to see everyone enjoying themselves and getting the reward for a long pre-season with a result against a good opponent,” Miller said.
Langwarrin is back in action at its home ground tonight (Tuesday 17 January) when the seniors and under-21s take on Dandenong Thunder with both games starting at 7.30pm.
In State 2 news Frankston Pines will name its new reserves coach next week and is conducting interviews this week for a senior assistant coach.
Pines have scheduled a handful of pre-season games with more likely to be arranged. The current schedule is:
Saturday 21 January: Wallace Cup, Lawton Park; Saturday 28 January: v Casey Comets, Monterey Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Saturday 11 February: v Dandenong South, Monterey Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Saturday 18 February: v Richmond, Monterey Reserve, 1pm & 3pm; Saturday 25 February: v Elwood, Monterey Reserve, 10.30am (seniors only); Saturday 11 March: v St Kilda, Monterey Reserve, 1pm & 3pm.
In State 4 news Somerville Eagles lost 3-1 away to Plenty Valley Lions on Saturday in heatwave conditions.
The match was played over four quarters and Somerville head coach Adam Steele used a mixture of seniors and reserves.
Somerville’s goal came from a Marcus Anastasiou shot which was deflected allowing Nick Simmons to poke the ball home.
In State 5 news Seaford was buoyed by the turnout at training last week as its preparations for re-entering State League ramp up.
“The numbers were good with approximately 30 on both nights and some players still to return from holidays or from injuries,” head coach Paul Williams said.
On Saturday Seaford will host Boronia at North Seaford Reserve at 12 noon and 2pm.
Aspendale Stingrays’ first pre-season game also takes place on Saturday against Lyndale United at Lyndale Secondary College at 1pm and 3pm.
Another State 5 outfit, Mount Eliza, started its pre-season schedule in style with a 7-3 win over Lilydale Montrose United at North Seaford Reserve on Friday night.
Mount Eliza’s star recruit Amir Osmancevic had a 25-minute cameo and scored a hat-trick in just 15 minutes with Pat Briggs (2), Lachie Mitchell and Ewan Barford also getting on the scoresheet for the local side.
“It was a good team performance and we showed signs of what we’ve been working on at training in terms of our structure and patterns of play which was pleasing,” Mount Eliza head coach Bryce Ruthven said.
“I was pleasantly surprised with our conditioning coming off the Christmas break, and our football improved as the match went on which you don’t often see in January.
“Goalkeeper Sam Green was great and showed why I brought him to the club.
“He is already showing some great leadership qualities and Amir had a good start to life in a Mount Eliza kit linking up well with Lachie and Pat.”
Don’t be surprised if Ruthven lures legendary scorer David Greening to Mount Eliza from current club Baxter.
Greening has close ties with the Mount Eliza coaching staff and Ruthven and assistant Stan Packer have already discussed the possible switch with him.