Author: Craig MacKenzie

SOCCER ALEX Van Heerwarden’s wonder goal for Skye United and a controversial end to Peninsula Strikers’ round 10 contest were highlights of last weekend’s local fixtures. Frankston Pines, Mornington and Chelsea all faced setbacks to their promotion push while Rosebud won its second game of the season. Skye won 2-0 away to Brandon Park on Saturday in their State 2 clash and spectators lucky enough to be there were treated to the big Al show in the 12th minute. The former Langwarrin captain and central defender burst forward after defending a Brandon Park corner and was put through by a…

SOCCER LANGWARRIN broke its winless run in style with a 6-1 mauling of Goulburn Valley Suns in Shepparton on Saturday. It took Scott Miller’s side three minutes to open its account with a superb solo effort from Jeremy Min Fa who dribbled past two opponents then curled the ball into the far corner from just outside the area. In the 24th minute Cal Goulding won possession and sent Kieran Dover clear on the right. Dover’s cutback was met first time by Tom Youngs and it was 2-0. Three minutes into the second half any chance of a Suns comeback ended…

SOCCER DESPITE having a raft of senior players sidelined through injury Mornington defied all odds to record a 2-1 away win over high-flying Malvern City on Saturday. The Dallas Brooks Park club reacted to its injury plight with a clutch signing leading up to this contest. The Seagulls agreed terms with 27-year-old central defender Keagan Sheridan from Dandenong Thunder and his central defensive combination with the towering Josh Heaton was an important element of Saturday’s success. Campbell Steedman put Mornington ahead in the 27th minute when he broke clear and finished well but a knee injury forced captain Wayne Gordon…

SOCCER MORNINGTON’s injury crisis, CJ Hodgson’s playing finale and Rosebud’s drought-breaking win in a nine-goal thriller were major talking points in an action-packed round 7 of the league season. Mornington’s woes started over a week ago when marquee striker Josh Hine was rushed to hospital and underwent an emergency appendectomy. He is expected to miss between four and six weeks. First-choice keeper Taylor Davidson was expected to return from suspension last weekend but on Friday he was in hospital having wisdom teeth removed. Davidson’s replacement Josh Gates broke down during the warm-up on Saturday and reserves keeper Jerry Swift was…

SOCCER CJ HODGSON will make his 250th and final appearance for Frankston Pines on Saturday when the State 3 promotion contender takes on Elwood City at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve at 6pm. Hodgson’s battle to overcome post-concussion syndrome has forced the 28-year-old into early retirement. He was substituted in February after a head clash in a friendly against Mazenod and has not played since. He has a medical clearance to play this weekend but the risk of long-term and serious injury is too great to continue. You won’t hear a player or a club on the local scene with a…

SOCCER BAXTER kickstarted its season with a dominant performance against FC Noble Hurricanes at Alex Nelson Reserve last Thursday night. The visitors got off to the perfect start after 65 seconds with Lachie McMinimee finishing off an Izaak Barr cross from inside the six yard box. Baxter continued to create numerous chances with McMinimee hitting the bar and Dave Greening just missing the target. The second goal came after 19 minutes and what a goal it was. A magnificent Charlie O’Connell through ball sent Robbie O’Toole clear and he calmly rounded Hurricanes keeper Jimmy Zafiriou then stroked the ball into…

SOCCER JOSH Hine’s hat-trick and Peninsula Strikers’ unblemished record were highlights of local State League fixtures last weekend. In State 1 Mornington got its promotion chase back on track with a 4-1 home win over Bentleigh United Cobras on Friday night. Assistant coach Nathan Peel resigned after the previous week’s 2-0 reversal against Casey Comets so it was important for the local club to bounce back immediately. Hine scored a second-half hat-trick and is one of the leading contenders for the league’s Golden Boot honours while John Maclean was Mornington’s other scorer. Strikers kept their faultless State 2 record intact…

SOCCER YOUNG Tom Simmons proved to be the matchwinner as Somerville defeated Baxter 2-1 on Saturday in the first local derby of the season. Clashes between these State 4 rivals are usually entertaining and this encounter was no different. Tyabb Central Reserve is a difficult proposition for sides that favour an interpassing game and the home side adapted to the bumpy surface with a no-nonsense approach. Baxter led 1-0 through Lachie McMinimee’s well-taken strike in the 20th minute but its new striking combination of McMinimee and boom recruit Dave Greening blew a series of chances in both halves. The key…

SOCCER PENINSULA Strikers have made their best start to a league season since 2016. A revamped senior squad under new coach Donn Delaney relied on a 22nd minute Cooper Andrews shot from inside the area to record a 1-0 win over Old Scotch at Ballam Park on Saturday evening. The result follows a 2-1 opening round win in what is Delaney’s first senior coaching job. He was unavailable last weekend along with four players who all were forced to isolate. “We’re a tight-knit group so handing the reins over to (reserves coaches) Steve Shephard and Jake Priest was easy,” Delaney…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines’ title tilt got off to a flyer last Friday night when it smashed visitor Brighton 5-0 at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve. Pines made no secret of its State 3 ambitions during the off-season and although it’s just one game in it has reclaimed the ladder position it had cemented before last season’s shutdown. A Liam Baxter hat-trick underpinned this result as the visitors couldn’t contain the experienced Scottish striker and ex-NPL hit man. Baxter put Pines ahead in the 12th minute when he finished a Tom Hawkins’ cutback from the right and three minutes later Brighton had…

SOCCER THE 2022 league season gets underway this weekend with high hopes that for the first time in three years a full season can be completed. There are a few local clubs that fancy their chances this year none more so than Frankston Pines. However head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor is on holiday in the UK and will miss the first three games. Assistant Paulo Pinheiro takes over as Pines embarks on a State 3 campaign it hopes will go some way towards making up for the club’s bitter disappointment at the outcome of the previous two seasons. Mornington rounded…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines captain CJ Hodgson won’t play this season due to post-concussion syndrome. Hodgson was substituted in a friendly against Mazenod early last month after a head clash. The 28-year-old has suffered multiple concussions throughout his career which now hangs in the balance as there is uncertainty over whether he can return. “I knew something wasn’t right straight away as my eye was going weird and there was blurriness so I had to come off,” Hodgson said. When a teammate phoned later that night it was clear that all was not well. “I was lying in bed when Marinos…

SOCCER RHYS Craigie could be the last piece of the promotion jigsaw put together by Mornington gaffer Adam Jamieson. The 24-year-old Scottish midfielder arrived in Melbourne just over a week ago for his second stint in State 1. Edinburgh-born Craigie was picked up by Hearts when he was just nine-years-old and was involved with the Jambos until he was 18. “I played one year full-time at Hearts then they released me and I signed with Stenhousemuir,” Craigie said. In 2019 he was on holiday in Melbourne when invited to Beaumaris for a two-week trial. He signed with Mornington’s State 1…

SOCCER SEAFORD United players walked off Edithvale Recreation Reserve pleased with the 3-2 away win that kept their promotion hopes alive in State 4 South. It’s Friday 30 July, 2021 and no-one has the slightest inkling that this is Seaford’s last appearance in State League ranks for some time. Perhaps forever. Peter Schwellinger was in his first full season as senior coach and along with assistant Andy Lancaster had embedded belief and structure in the squad. When COVID-19 forced Football Victoria to call a halt to the league Seaford was third, one point behind second-placed Endeavour United after 12 games.…

SOCCER THE first qualifying round of the 2022 Australia Cup was held last weekend and of the six local clubs in action just two survived this Victorian section of the national competition. The rebranded knockout tournament replaces the FFA Cup and last weekend’s opening involved local State 4 and State 5 clubs Baxter, Chelsea, Somerville Eagles, Rosebud, Aspendale Stingrays and Mount Martha. Seaford United was involved in the Cup draw but forfeited its away clash with Westside Strikers Caroline Springs FC. Peninsula Strikers, Skye United and Frankston Pines participate in the Cup next weekend but the draw had not been…

SOCCER LANGWARRIN has sealed the signing of attacking midfielder Keiran Dover from NPL heavyweight Bentleigh Greens. It’s a massive coup for the local club but its off-season splurge may not end there as another NPL star is considering joining Scott Miller’s men. The curtain falls on the NPL transfer window at 5pm on Thursday but already what surely is the strongest squad ever assembled at Lawton Park is preparing an assault on the NPL2 title and a historic place in Victoria’s elite club competition. Dover, 25, has reached the highest levels in Australian club soccer making his debut for Melbourne…

SOCCER THE Fijian tsunami surging through Frankston Pines continued unabated last week when the State 3 title contender announced the signing of 19-year-old Thomas Dunn from Navua FC. Pines currently have goalkeeper Aeseli Batikasa, defender Penni Tuigulagula, midfielder Savenaca Baledrokadroka and striker Tito Vodowaqa on their books while midfielder Jordan “Caka” Avraham has previously been selected in the Fijian under-23 national squad. While Baledrokadroka still is trialling at NPL3 outfit Doveton the local club expected Tuigulagula and Vodowaqa to train this week despite both players trialling with Springvale White Eagles recently. And the influx of Fijian stars doesn’t end there…

SOCCER THE 10th staging of the annual Steve Wallace Cup was put on hold last weekend after clubs were hit with player unavailability due to the current pandemic. Instead host club and event organiser Langwarrin changed Saturday’s usual format from group and finals stages to a number of one-off 90-minute games. “The day still went well and was well attended,” Langwarrin president Tanya Wallace said. She plays a pivotal role in organising the charity event named in her father’s honour and this year over $2000 was raised and will be donated to Frankston Hospital’s Emergency Department. The revamped tournament was…

Pandemic president: Langwarrin soccer club boss Tanya Wallace in full PPE during a shift in emergency at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Main picture supplied. Inset: Darryl Kennedy. SOCCER THE panic attacks are less frequent now but anxiety is a regular companion. Such is the lot of Tanya Wallace, 32, Langwarrin soccer club president and registered nurse who works in emergency at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Fear and uncertainty are ever present on the pandemic frontline and part of her everyday life. “The second lockdown in 2020 was the hardest one,” she said. “I couldn’t see my mum or my brother for three…

Ins and outs: Paul Truman has been appointed senior coach of Seaford United. Inset: Outgoing senior coach Peter Schwellinger. Main picture supplied. Inset: Darryl Kennedy SOCCER PAUL Truman is the new senior coach of Seaford United. He fills the void left by Peter Schwellinger whose recent departure was unexpected. Schwellinger had coached at Frankston Pines, Old Carey, Melton Phoenix and Whittlesea United before being appointed to the Seaford job in December 2020. However he faced a demanding travel schedule and it eventually proved too much. “I spent up to 10 hours a week in the car just to get to…

SOCCER BAXTER has achieved Gold Level status in the Skilled Workplace program run by Mental Health First Aid Australia. Bryan Jeffrey from MOAT Mental Health Services conducted the course at Baxter Park that involved 16 participants drawn from the soccer club’s administration, coaching and playing ranks. “I spoke to MHFA and they confirmed that no other club in the world has this accreditation,” Jeffrey said. “It entails two days of training but we split the training up into evening chunks to make it easier for the club to organise participants.” The course draws parallels between general first aid and mental…

SOCCER JOSH Hine’s nightmare may be over. Fatherhood, football and a positive prognosis are the keys to unlock the door and walk free of the personal hell he has endured for most of 2020 and throughout 2021. There’s a baby on the way (his partner is due in May) and his surgeon has told the 30-year-old that he’ll be able to play soccer again. That news was a godsend for the star Mornington striker who continues to battle a soul-destroying legacy from a road accident when cycling last year. “I’ve had at least five surgeries since then,” Hine said. Initially…

MORNINGTON will take on A-League giant Melbourne City on Saturday in a glamour friendly at Dallas Brooks Park.The David and Goliath clash kicks off at 2pm and at 4pm Mornington’s reserves will square up to City’s NPL outfit featuring some of the finest young talent in Victorian soccer.The double-header is expected to attract a bumper crowd to the local venue with at least 10 players from City’s senior squad expected to feature.On Wednesday night City defeated Perth Glory 1-0 and the City substitutes for that match are all expected to play against Mornington.That should ensure significant game time for central…

SOCCER WHEN Alex Van Heerwarden went down injured during an intraclub training game at Centenary Park late last year he thought he’d never play again. The big defender had his worst fears confirmed a few days later when x-rays revealed a second ACL knee injury that required reconstructive surgery. It was his left knee this time having recovered from similar surgery to his right knee back in 2009 in his first season with Langwarrin. His route to Lawton Park had come via a junior career in NSW after his family had left Melbourne when he was four years old. His…

SOCCER CARLO Melino’s name has been synonymous with local football since the ’90s and 2022 will mark his fifth successive season as head coach of State 4 club Chelsea. The Melino family moved from Adelaide to the Victorian capital in 1996 after Melino’s father bought a Nissan dealership on the peninsula. Just 14 years old the teenager had spent his junior days at Adelaide City and had played in its under-18s when he was just 13. Here he played in the reserves at Glen Eira, spent a season at Bentleigh Greens alternating between the National Youth League and reserves squads…

SOCCER WHEN Aspendale Stingrays effectively sacked senior coach Lee Barber early last month it raised a few eyebrows. Barber was completely blindsided by the move. “I wanted to stay but I got an email from the president saying they wanted to go in a different coaching direction and good luck on your travels sort of thing,” Barber said. “Look the coaches they’ve got there now had the reserves last season so as far as I’m concerned it’s just bullshit. “I didn’t even respond to the email. I just got on with it.” On 9 October Aspendale announced that its senior…

SOCCER PENINSULA Strikers, Somerville Eagles, Rosebud and Aspendale Stingrays will all feature new head coaches for the 2022 season. Donn Delaney has replaced Paul Williams at Strikers, Lee Barber is the new head coach at Somerville, Pat Sabatino is back in charge at Rosebud while Gregor Macnab fills the vacancy at Aspendale left by Barber’s switch. Delaney has been at Strikers for most of his coaching career having spent 10 years with the club’s juniors before NPL junior stints at Springvale White Eagles and Langwarrin. He has coached Strikers reserves and takes over from Williams who may have a year…

SOCCER PENINSULA Strikers told Football Victoria last week that they would not compete in the elite junior boys’ NPL competition next year. This leaves the local area with just two junior NPL licence holders, Langwarrin and Mornington. Strikers have contemplated this move for some time as senior vice-president and NPL coordinator Steve Schreck explained. “Probably when our under-16 team left and we had to withdraw from that age group,” he said. “We had the minimum squad number but six players decided they wanted to play elsewhere and that left us with 10 players and you can’t run a team with…

SOCCER THE strong bond among Seaford United players has underpinned the club’s promotion push this year. That’s the view of club captain Jeremy Schwellinger. “We’ve got good tactics, we’ve got a good coach but I think what really helps us is the camaraderie amongst the playing group,” he said. “Everyone is friends with everyone so we’re going to play for each other. “There’s no bad blood in this team.” Seaford is very much a Schwellinger family affair with dad Peter head coach and younger brother Mathias joining Jeremy in the senior squad. Although the season is in limbo Seaford United’s…

SOCCER HE’S played football in more countries than perhaps any other player on the peninsula and he has a close connection with the Smashing Pumpkins. His career has seen him parade his skills on pitches in England, Scotland, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia and he’s spent much of 2021 showing what he’s capable off with a team that calls Lawton Park home. Life for Sammy Orritt started in Doncaster in Yorkshire 28 years ago. Life for Orritt the footballer started in California at the age of three and the Smashing Pumpkins introduced him to the game and provided…