Author: Craig MacKenzie

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines has been involved in a major squad overhaul as it zeroes in on its first championship success in seven years. Simon Webster and twin brother Scott are believed to have accepted offers from State 3 rival Rowville Eagles while first-choice keeper Aeseli Batikasa expects to be sidelined for the remainder of the season. The knee injury the big Fijian keeper suffered against Brighton has not responded to treatment and he will have an MRI this week. But the news is not all bad for the State 3 leader as head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor has brought in…

SOCCER ALEX Whyte is confident that Peninsula Strikers can finish the season in style. The 22-year-old is back at the club where his career kicked off and can’t wait for a season reboot. “I think we’ve been unlucky in the majority of our games this year,” Whyte said. “We’re just missing that one element that could turn our losses and draws into wins but I’m confident it’ll be coming soon. “We’ve got a lot of quality players and if we ever get back out there we can really finish the season strongly.” The fuse that could ignite the side and…

SOCCER FOOTBALL Victoria is holding its nerve and continues to look positively towards the completion of the 2021 season. FV CEO Kimon Taliadoros this week expressed confidence in the stewardship of the state government and Sport and Recreation Victoria despite the sport facing its second shutdown this season. “I’m comfortable that we’re in good hands,” Taliadoros said. “I feel that the state government and in particular sport and rec are now so well drilled that we can get the most out of this season that we possibly can. “After working so closely with government and the local councils last year…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines midfielder Jordan “Caka” Avraham has been outed for seven matches as the result of a social media exchange involving a rival club supporter. The exchange took place on facebook after Pines lost 2-1 to Hampton East Brighton in their round 7 clash at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve in May. FV emailed the club asking for a “please explain” from the player and both Pines and Avraham responded with an explanation of the circumstances of the exchange. Pines claimed that Avraham and other Pines’ players were abused during the match but on 29 June FV emailed the club…

SOCCER MORNINGTON stayed in the hunt for a berth in next season’s prestigious NPL competition after Saturday’s 2-0 away win over Casey Comets. The Seagulls proved too strong with a goal in each half. A Milos Lujic header in the 34th minute put the visitors ahead and the second goal came from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute after Kane Bentley was fouled. Josh Hine had no problem converting. Many pundits believe that Mornington hasn’t played to its potential this year despite continuing its title tilt. After the match head coach Adam Jamieson acknowledged that the ladder leader had…

SOCCER ROSEBUD player-coach Mark Pagliarulo was over-the-moon when he clinched the signing of Ash Scholes last week. “Pags” had been chasing the 27-year-old’s signature for some time and was close to signing him a few months ago. “I tried to get him at the beginning of the season but he wanted to stay loyal to Somerville but recently we spoke and he wasn’t enjoying it there so decided to come down,” Pagliarulo said on Friday. “He’s a massive signing for the club, a local lad and a top defender. “He’s a big boy, strong, good in the air and a…

SOCCER BEN Doree has been forced to quit Peninsula Strikers and has signed with Richmond. The leading scorer in State 2 South-East has had a change to his work circumstances and found it too difficult to continue to travel back and forward from his Altona residence. Doree’s goalscoring has been a pivotal part of Strikers’ league campaign so head coach Paul Williams is tasked with covering for his prolific striker’s absence. Last weekend Williams paired youngster Jai Power with Riley Anderton up front but neither had a major impact on what proved to be a dismal day for the local…

SOCCER FOOTBALL Victoria aims to restart the 2021 league season this weekend. The state body emailed clubs on Friday with a return to competition update, a link to its updated return to training and playing conditions, information on the competitions calendar, postponed fixtures and a link to its COVID-19 Football Portal providing information on the biosecurity requirements clubs must enforce. FV also urged clubs to register their matches with the state government’s public event framework to ensure COVID-19 safety for attendees, staff and organisers. FV’s email acknowledged the current circumstances faced by clubs coming out of lockdown as well as…

SOCCER LOCAL soccer is blessed with some excellent sports photographers covering the exploits of clubs throughout the broad peninsula area. They include Darryl Kennedy, Gemma Sliz, Paul Seeley and John Punshon and their photographs have appeared in these pages supporting our coverage of the local game. Kennedy is a former player, coach, team manager and administrator who turns 60 this year and has been involved in the sport since he was 12 years old. Most of his playing career was with Seaford United (including stints with Seaford North and Belvedere, the forerunners of the current club at North Seaford Reserve)…

SOCCER FOOTBALL Victoria CEO Kimon Taliadoros remains hopeful that the state’s seven-day lockdown has no lasting effect on local clubs but acknowledges that 2020 has taken its toll. Last Thursday’s seven-day lockdown announcement forced FV to suspend all football activity during that period. “The unknown for all of us is obviously the extent of the lockdown,” Taliadoros said. “While that impacts on our fixtures if it only lasts for seven days then we face a less complicated scenario than if it is extended for another week or longer. “If the number of games required to be played becomes an issue…

SOCCER BAXTER triumphed in a nine-goal thriller against local rival Somerville Eagles at Tyabb Central Reserve on Saturday. One of the games of the season had spectators spellbound as the visitors recovered from a two-goal deficit to win 5-4 and clinch the inaugural Eagles Cup, which will be contested each time these sides clash in the league. Football Victoria CEO Kimon Taliadoros witnessed the gripping contest and presented the Cup to Baxter captain James Foster along with a trophy struck by FV especially for the occasion. Taliadoros had just watched a battle with wild momentum shifts and stunning goals. Here’s…

SOCCER FRANKSTON Pines staged a stunning comeback on Saturday at Fawkner Park to maintain its push towards the State 3 South-East championship. When South Yarra striker Leo Holmes scored his second goal in the 27th minute the home side was cruising with a 3-0 lead and Pines looked dead and buried. Earlier in the season Pines had been tipped to emulate newly crowned Scottish champions Rangers and go through the season undefeated but now they were staring at successive losses and the chasing pack was closing in. “To be honest we were totally outplayed in the first 30 minutes,” Pines…

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…