Author: Craig MacKenzie

SOCCER SEAFORD United is the only local club that remains unbeaten after seven rounds of the 2021 league season. Peter Schwellinger’s side prevailed 2-1 against Chelsea in Saturday’s State 4 South local derby at North Seaford Reserve while State 1 leader Mornington and State 3 pacesetter Frankston Pines both lost their unblemished league records. Mornington went down 3-2 away to Boroondara-Carey Eagles on Saturday while Pines lost 2-1 to Hampton East Brighton at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve on Friday night. Two second-half goals from Wayne Gordon put Mornington 2-1 up but Benjamin Osei-Safo equalised shortly after and Alex Meaney got…

SOCCER MORNINGTON remained on track to achieve its aim of joining Victoria’s elite club competition with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Beaumaris at Dallas Brooks Park on Saturday. Sam Scott snatched the winner for the Seagulls in the 83rd minute when Josh Heaton’s hopeful ball forward wasn’t dealt with by the Beaumaris defence and Scott volleyed home from 20 metres. Mornington’s push to win State 1 and clinch an NPL3 spot next season continued with this sixth straight win that now has Adam Jamieson’s side five points clear in top spot. Despite that Mornington has plenty of improvement to make.…

SOCCER SOMERVILLE Eagles won their first State 4 fixture when they overran Dingley Stars 7-2 at Tyabb Central Reserve on Saturday. Dingley already was in disarray having dumped coach Stan Webster a few days earlier and Somerville showed no mercy with a Bryce Ruthven free-kick in the opening minute making it 1-0. Eight minutes later it was 3-0 after Naseer Mohammad finished off a Damien Finnegan through ball and a corner from player-coach David Greening was met with a bullet-like header from Ash Scholes. A Scholes foul inside the box late in the half earned Dingley a penalty which Koray…

SOCCER MORNINGTON recovered from a 3-1 deficit to beat Mazenod 5-3 at Dallas Brooks Park on Saturday and retain top billing in State 1 South-East. Mazenod’s Navin Vellupilay opened the scoring with a header from a corner in the 16th minute but 10 minutes later Milos Lujic equalised after holding off his marker then turning and striking the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net. A Dominic D’Angelo penalty put the visitors 2-1 up and the impressive Luke Gallo capitalised on a defensive error to make it 3-1 after 41 minutes. A minute later big Josh Heaton powered…

SOCCER MORNINGTON, Frankston Pines and Seaford United head their respective leagues after three rounds of the 2021 season. And NPL2 outfit Langwarrin is second on goal difference to Goulburn Valley Suns with both sides enjoying a perfect start to their league campaigns. A Tom Youngs tap-in after 29 minutes was enough to separate Langy and Moreland Zebras at Lawton Park on Saturday. Rogan McGeorge sent George Howard down the right and Howard’s ball across the face of goal was cut back by Damir Stoilovic on the left for a simple finish by Youngs. Howard injured a hamstring during the build-up…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines left online betting agencies reeling with a stunning 4-1 demolition of Epping City in their fourth round FFA Cup tie last Thursday night. Bet 365 had a Pines’ win at $4.50 fixed odds on the morning of the clash between State 2 visitor Epping City and its State 3 host at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve. Those odds were snapped up by punters and tumbled throughout the day with Pines eventually starting a firm odds-on favourite. At one stage rival online agency Sportsbet was forced to suspend betting on a Pines’ win. Alex Roberts sent bookmakers scurrying for…

SOCCER TEENAGE midfield sensation Ethan Goulding marked his senior debut with a goal in Mornington’s 5-0 rout of Warragul United last weekend. The 16-year-old former Melbourne City junior scored in the 41st minute to give the visitors to Warragul’s Baxter Park a 3-0 half-time lead. Josh Hine opened the scoring in the third minute following a corner which was headed on by Josh Heaton and Hine was at the far post to tuck it away. Milos Lujic increased the lead in the 39th minute after getting on the end of a Hine shot and Ethan Goulding smashed home the third…

SOCCER AN OUTSTANDING defensive display from Langwarrin underpinned its spirited 2-1 win over Manningham United Blues in their NPL2 clash at Lawton Park on Saturday. The home team had just gone 2-0 up in the first half when left back Jaiden Madafferi was sent off in controversial circumstances. Langy was in rampant mood early on and within three minutes Tom Youngs had sent Sammy Orritt clear on the left. Orritt’s composed finish gave advancing Manningham keeper Stefan Taleski no chance. Straight from the restart Langy keeper Fraser Maclaren was forced to spread himself and block Franc Carafa’s attempt with a…

SOCCER LANGWARRIN, Mornington, Peninsula Strikers and Frankston Pines are the only local clubs remaining in the 2021 FFA Cup after last Saturday’s matches. Langwarrin had to rely on a Wayne Wallace header in extra time to see off the threat of Brighton at Lawton Park after scores were tied at 1-1 at the end of normal time. Sammy Orritt had scored for Langy in the first half. Last week Langwarrin announced the capture of Shayan Alinejad from Dandenong City. The 31-year-old former Melbourne Knights, Oakleigh Cannons and Bulleen player has been on the radar of Langy head coach Scott Miller…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines overcame the spirited resistance of fellow State 3 outfit Hampton East Brighton in a riveting FFA Cup tie on Saturday. This was a contest from go to whoa and although the final whistle signalled a 2-0 win for Pines their opponents left no-one in doubt about their promotion credentials. In just over 90 minutes a rivalry was born and Hampton East Brighton represents a clear threat to the lofty ambitions of the men from Monterey. Had Pines not prevailed there would have been much discussion around the contest’s most controversial moment. In the 15th minute Pines’ star…

SOCCER LANGWARRIN midfielder Callum Goulding joined leading NPL1 club Bentleigh Greens last week. It is the second time the former Melbourne Victory player has left Lawton Park having joined Box Hill United partway through the 2018 season. Goulding rejoined Langy under Scott Miller for the 2019 season and while there was much angst over his initial departure this time he went with the club’s blessing. “Callum has always expressed his desire to test himself at NPL1 level and the opportunity has presented itself at Bentleigh Greens,” was Miller’s matter-of-fact response. “He has been a big part of what we have…

SOCCER THE 40-day reign of Tommy McShane as senior coach of Rosebud ended abruptly last week. Club president John Grbac confirmed on social media on Friday that McShane had been “stood down”. “I won’t crucify the guy because he’s a good mate of mine,” Grbac said. “We’ve come to an agreement and he understands that. “It was a trial thing really and Tommy was new to it anyway. “He thinks it’s better for the club too because if he’s not getting the respect from the players then it’s time to move on. “Tommy’s a great guy and a top clubman…

SOCCER TEAM formation, culture change and depth are the key elements of success according to Seaford United senior coach Peter Schwellinger. The former Melbourne Knights, Richmond and Langwarrin goalkeeper has coached at Frankston Pines, Old Carey, Melton Phoenix and Whittlesea United and success has walked hand-in-hand with him in recent years. Schwellinger took Whittlesea United from State 3 to State 1 North-West in successive seasons so he knows what it takes to climb through the leagues. “I want to use a formation that has won promotion for me previously,” he said. “I don’t know that I should talk about it…

SOCCER LANGWARRIN’s pre-season preparations went according to plan last Saturday at Monterey Reserve when it won back-to-back Wallace Cups. As fate would have it Langy’s 1-0 win over Mornington in the final came thanks to Sammy Orritt who was brought here by the Dallas Brooks boys back in 2017. He’d scored a belter earlier in the tournament, a fiercely-struck volley that rocketed into the net and the decider in the final was a deftly curled shot into the far corner from the left of the box. Mornington took a young squad to the annual tournament with most of its high-profile…

SOCCER THE ninth staging of the Wallace Cup takes place this Saturday at Monterey Reserve. The annual charity event commemorates the contribution to the local game by the late Steve Wallace, who died on 19 July 2011 at the age of 54. Wallace was a Langwarrin life-member and former club president, committeeman, coach, player and Bayside League referee. Along with former Pines president Alan Hodkinson he played a pivotal role in forming the soccer liaison committee that has provided an important line of communication with Frankston council for clubs in that municipality. Mornington has won the Wallace Cup five times…

SOCCER THE topsy-turvy relationship between Dave Greening and Somerville Eagles took another twist last week when the club appointed him senior player-coach for 2021. The peninsula goals king with nine league Golden Boot awards to his name was re-appointed last week for his third stint as player-coach. He resigned from the role last June but recent changes at the club played an important role in his return. Close friend Stan Packer stepped down as senior coach earlier this month and took over as director of coaching and he supported Greening’s return as did club president Luke Mulder. “I’m thankful to…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines’ 2021 campaign got back on track with a 4-3 win over Berwick City in their friendly at Monterey Reserve last weekend. The local side had suffered a hiccup back in December when losing to Doveton’s NPL under-21s 3-1. There’s been a fair bit of hype around this Pines’ side and its State 3 title credentials not least because of its four young Fijian internationals so it needed a much more positive display to justify the noise. And it got one here as Pines were in control for long periods against a disappointing State 2 opponent. Pines ran…

SOCCER FAMILY reasons have forced Stan Packer to step down as head coach of Somerville Eagles while Rosebud is expected to announce Tommy McShane as its new head coach this week. Packer will remain with the Eagles as director of coaching and will serve on the committee. The hunt is now on for his replacement. “We are interviewing for both the senior men’s and senior women’s roles and should have an announcement in coming weeks,” president Luke Mulder said. It’s believed that discussions have taken place with former coach Scott Morrison and former club leading scorer Mark Pagliarulo now with…

SOCCER MONTEREY Reserve will be the venue for the ninth staging of the Wallace Cup on Saturday 6 February. Somerville Eagles and Mount Eliza make their tournament debuts and will be placed in two groups of five. The other contestants are Langwarrin, Mornington, Peninsula Strikers, Frankston Pines, Skye United, Baxter, Seaford United and Rosebud. The annual charity event kicks off at 12 noon with the top two teams after the round-robin stage qualifying for the semi-finals. The four semi-finalists will be drawn from a hat to determine the matches for the tournament’s penultimate stage and the kick-off for the final…

SOCCER FIFTEEN years after his last game for Frankston Pines veteran midfielder Scott Webster has returned to Monterey Reserve. He last played in Pines’ 3-3 home draw with Fawkner-Whittlesea in the final round of the 2005 league season. Webster’s impressive CV also includes stints at Eastern Pride, Oakleigh Cannons, Dandenong Thunder, Morwell Pegasus, Casey Comets, Mornington, Doveton and Seaford United. His sole appearance for Seaford came in an FFA Cup tie against Brunswick Zebras last March which saw Seaford win 7-6 on penalties. The 38-year-old adds much needed experience to the Pines’ midfield and looks certain to sit in front…

SOCCER MORNINGTON will celebrate the life of long-serving team manager Tony McKay on Friday when it takes on Manningham United Blues at Dallas Brooks Park. McKay was 77 when he died at the Alfred Hospital on Sunday 15 March after collapsing a week earlier prior to a practice match against Caroline Springs George Cross. Friday’s commemorative event starts at 6.30pm and the Tony McKay memorial will be unveiled at 6.45pm. The match kicks off at 7.30pm and Mornington’s facebook page last week invited the family and friends of the much-loved figure and the local football community to attend. “Tony would…

SOCCER WHEN Jason Nowakowski isn’t enforcing public health directives he’s policing the right side of Skye United’s senior team. He’s in his 10th year with Victoria Police and 2021 will be his fifth year at Skye Recreation Reserve. Nowakowski, 32, is married with a three-year-old son and is one of the few senior players in the local area never to have played as a junior. His playing career kicked off as a 14-year-old at Hailebury College and he was 18 when he joined his first club Endeavour United in Provisional League ranks in 2006. He spent a season in the…

SOCCER FOOTBALL Victoria faces a backlash from clubs over the calculation of player registration fees. The state government has been drawn into the controversy as Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence has been made aware of what is fast looming as a major confrontation between clubs and the sport’s governing body. FV’s player registration process involves the participation of both players and clubs. The first step is for a player to register to play with a club on the online Play Football site but the status of that registration is pending until the club logs on to that site and…

SOCCER MORNINGTON has clinched the signature of NPL scoring legend Milos Lujic. The 30-year-old has dominated Golden Boot honours at club and league levels throughout the decade and next year he’ll be wearing Seagulls’ colours as the Dallas Brooks outfit builds towards an assault on the State 1 South-East championship. Lujic has a massive profile in Victorian soccer. Starting with Northcote in 2013 he won his first NPL Golden Boot award then for the next three seasons after his switch to South Melbourne he made that award his own. He has won NPL championships, an NPL premiership, a Dockerty Cup…

SOCCER FEW players have confronted personal trauma and overcome such enormous hurdles as Langwarrin left-back Jaiden Madafferi. The 21-year-old was just seven on 5 November 2006 when his father Peter, 44, died suddenly. Peter Madafferi was president of Carrum United, the forerunner of Skye United. He left behind Jaiden, older brother Anthony and their mother Karyn. “It was hard because my brother and I were both young,” said Jaiden Madafferi. “Mum has brought us up to where we are now and done it all herself. “All credit to her – she has been phenomenal.” Jaiden had started playing as a…

SOCCER WHEN it comes to long-range forecasts Baxter captain Izaak Barr doesn’t hold back. The 22-year-old and his teammates have set their sights on winning the State 4 South championship next year. “I was absolutely devastated when we couldn’t play football this year because (with) the team that we had I reckon we could have won the league,” Barr said. “We put some absolute quality into the team with guys coming back from 2019 and a couple of Mornington senior players coming down in Charlie O’Connell and Charlie Parker as well as Robbie O’Toole in centre mid. “And Ben Meiklem…

SOCCER FOOTBALL Victoria started a trend that looks likely to spread throughout the competitions structure of each state and territory federation. “We were the first state to link the tiers of competition – NPL and non-NPL – which allowed aspirational clubs to rise through the ranks and participate at the highest level,” FV director Sezar Jakupi said. The chair of FV’s football committee is well placed to comment given that he has overseen the review and implementation of a restructure of Victoria’s men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ competitions in the past few years. “NSW eventually followed suit and Queensland has…

SOCCER A TV show, a new home ground for 2021, community projects and hospital beds for Fiji … Frankston Pines has been a hive of activity recently. Last week the spotlight fell on the club’s four young Fijian internationals, Pines vice-president Victor Kumar and senior coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor who were interviewed by former Socceroos inhouse videographer Ben Coonan. Coonan’s company Side Netting had been contracted by Beyond Productions to work on a show commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation focussing on the lives of Pacific Islanders in Australia. There’s no working title yet for the program which is likely…

SOCCER FOOTBALL Victoria held online meetings two weeks ago with senior and junior licence holders to discuss restructuring the state’s NPL setup. The game’s governing body held a zoom meeting with NPL1 clubs on Monday 28 September, with NPL2 and NPL3 clubs the following evening then met online with junior NPL clubs on Wednesday 30 September. The opening address at the meeting with NPL2 and NPL3 clubs was made by FV director Sezar Jakupi with the federation’s Football Strategy Manager Emilio Amanatidis and NPL Competitions Manager Hakan Dogan participating. At all three meetings clubs were told not to discuss the…

SOCCER ASPENDALE Stingrays are on track to christen their multi-million dollar Aspendale Gardens Sports Ground facility in 2021. The $12.5 million multipurpose complex will allow the State 5 club to reboot its expansion plans and immediately grow its junior program. The Kerr Crescent project is jointly funded by Kingston council ($8.5m) and state government ($4m). For some time now Football Victoria’s 2018 Club of the Year has been forced to curtail training to one session a week for most of its junior teams but the AGSG facility should address that problem. “Our biggest restriction over the past five years has…