Author: Craig MacKenzie

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…

SOCCER MORNINGTON and Frankston Pines are on the verge of securing promotion. In the worst case scenario that Football Victoria calls off the remainder of the 2021 season due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions then both local clubs will be playing in a higher league next season. Last week FV announced an NPL competitions restructure for 2022 increasing NPL2 from 12 to 14 teams which will see Langwarrin contesting a 26-game season. A strong rumour is that A-League clubs will be placed in NPL2 along with promoted clubs from NPL3. It’s unclear what impact this will have throughout lower leagues especially…

SOCCER ETHAN Sanderson has come a long way in the last six years. The distance between Morpeth in England’s northeast and Mount Martha is almost 16,895 kilometres. In 2015 he made that journey as the Sanderson family settled in the Mornington Peninsula and it didn’t take long for the youngster to start playing the sport he’d grown up with. “Before we came here I played for my local club back home mainly as a defensive midfielder,” Sanderson said. “Initially I trained with Mornington then we met someone here on the Mount Martha committee who knew friends of ours back home…

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…