Monday, 30 June 2008

Two ACT boys make Joeys

Chris Bush and Ben Harrington have been selected to represent Australia Under 16.

The Australian Under 16 Football Team leave Australia on Wednesday to participate in an Asean Football Federation Youth Championship in Jakarta from 9-19 July.

Coach Martyn Crook, has named 18 players to take part in the five team tournament which also includes Bahrain, Malaysia, Singapore and host nation, Indonesia.

"This is an important part of our preparation for the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) Under 16 Championships, and gives me a good opportunity to see the boys in action in conditions different from those they're used to at home," Crook said.

The AFC Under 16 Championships will be held in Uzbekistan in October.

"It is also the first time this group of players has played in a tournament against players of their own age. Past tournaments have been against older players, so this will be a very good test of just how we're doing at this age group."

"Being able to benchmark our performance at the age group is particularly important as this age group includes the players who will form the core of the Qantas Socceroos in 2018."

Crook said there is one debutant amongst the group, striker Kerem Bulut from NSW. THe full squad is:

KeremBulut strikerNSW
Christopher Bush midfielderACT
Million Butshiire strikerWA
JosephCosta midfielderSA
NathanFarrell defenderSA
PetarFranjic defenderVIC
Brendan Hamill defenderNSW
BenjaminHarrington midfielderACT
Kamal Ibrahim midfielderVIC
BenjaminKantarovski midfielderNSW
JaredLum midfielderNSW
ChahineNoujaim fullbackSA
TrentSainsbury defenderWA
NikolaStanojevic strikerNSW
LawrenceThomas goalkeeperNSW
MarcWarren left backNSW
TedrosYabio midfielderVIC

The tournament schedule will see the Qantas Joeys play four matches in six days with finals to be held on 19 July. The Qantas Joeys will continue their preparation for the Under 16 AFC Championships with club-based tournaments in the Netherlands and Germany in August.


NOTE: The Qantas Joeys depart Sydney for Jakarta on QF41 on 2 July 2008. Media interested in photo or interview opportunities should contact Adam Mark on 0409 390 340 for further details.

Asean Football Federation Under 16 Youth Championship
Lebak Bulus Stadium, Jakarta
9 July
Australia v Bahrain
Singapore v Malaysia
Indonesia BYE
11 July
Bahrain v Singapore
Indonesia v Australia
Malaysia BYE
13 July
Australia v Malaysia
Indonesia v Bahrain
Singapore BYE
15 July
Singapore v Australia
Malaysia v Indonesia
Bahrain BYE
17 July
Malaysia v Bahrain
Indonesia v Singapore
Australia BYE
19 July
3 v 4
1 v 2


How to get to Uzbekistan.

Three facts about Uzbekistan:

It's the home of the mighty warrior, Tamurlaine, and the fabled city of Samarkand on the Silk Road. But get this, together with tiny Liechtenstein, the distinction of being one of the two sole doubly-landlocked countries in the world (in other words not only is it landlocked, but it is surrounded by other landlocked countries as well).

How to get there:
Asiana Airlines
Sydney-Seoul daily
Seoul-Tashkent Tues and Fri.

It's the quickest and most direct route and it is the official airline of the Korean Footbal Association.


100 million watch Perth Glory?

Why Canberra needs an A-League team.

Perth Glory has kicked off their pre-season tour of Indonesia in fine form with a 2-1 victory against two times Indonesian Super League Champions Persik Kediri.

In front of a huge pre-season crowd of more than 15,000 local Kediri fans and beamed live across Indonesia to an audience of 100 million.


Sunday, 29 June 2008

Canberra stars in the news.

Socceroo Carl Valeri on the move? Ned Zelic on SBS catch his video here during the week. Nikolai Topor-Stanley plays centre-back for Olyroos! Kaz Patafta, Shaun Ontong, Caitlin Munoz, Amy Taylor and Adam Casey replaced by Irish popstar!

Carl Valeri's contract is up in twelve months. How many more times will he have played for the Socceroos by then?

And then he's a free agent. So don't be surprised to see Carl move on from his Serie B side, Grosseto in the next few weeks. But where to?

Serie A, or a top Serie B club I reckon but you never know. Holland could be the go, although with an Italian agent I expect him to stay in Italy.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley played a rare game at centre-back for the Olyroos last night. They drew with Chile 1-1 in Darwin. FFA Release at the very end of this post.

Former Canberra Croatia now Canberra FC Ned Zelic was interviewed on SBS today and you can see Ned in his tourist cart with Scott McIntyre giving his thoughts on playing football in Georgia. Yes Ned is still playing!

Kaz Patafta and Shaun Ontong. Both Canberra lads are now at Newcastle Jets.

Kaz played in the recent 1-0 defeat of the Mariners whilst Shaun is out for three months with a foot injury. Cruel world football. We wish Shaun, who was a recent guest on Nearpost radio a speedy recovery.

Better news for Adam Casey. The Sydney FC forward/winger come right back is back playing after breaking his leg early last season. He played in the recent 0-0 game against Blacktown before being replaced by Deltra's boyfriend Irish popstar Brian McFadden. Good to see Adam back.

Talking recently from Sydney FC, Adam said, "When I look at the talent around the dressing room, there's some great players, but I'm determined to work hard and earn my place."

Caitlin Munoz joins fellow Canberrans Amy Chapman and Lydia Williams as the Matildas head to China with a very young side.

And a former Matilda, Amy Taylor, loved her time in Canberra, playing for Tuggeranong United, Canberra City ACTAS under Katrina Neuss before being a Matildas for 8 years. Wally Hovell and Neuss were just two of the locals Amy mentioned in an interview for the Nearpost which you can hear in coming weeks.

For now she's WIN TV Sports Presenter and host of Football Superstar which airs on Thursday on Fox 8 at 7:35pm. Amy talks about the show on Tuesday on Nearpost radio.

Olyroos v Chile.

Qantas Under 23s Draw with Chile

The Qantas Under 23s played out an entertaining 1-all draw against the Chile Under 23s tonight in front of 1,780 fans at the Darwin Football Stadium. Kristian Sarkies opened the scoring for the Qantas Under 23s from the penalty spot in the 27th minute and Felipe Seymour equalised for the Chileans in the 67th minute with a clinical finish from inside the box.

Qantas Under 23s Head Coach Graham Arnold made 10 changes to the line-up for tonight's match with Mark Milligan the only player to start both games.

The match began at the same frenetic pace that was seen on Friday evening with the Chilean having the first attempt on goal in the 3rd minute, but five minutes later Kristian Sarkies had the Qantas Under 23s first shot which was expertly tipped over the bar by Gregory Saavedra in the Chilean goal.

The Qantas Under 23s continued to apply the pressure with Nikita Rukavytsya netting in the 21st minute but the goal was disallowed for off-side. But the Qantas Under 23s were on the scoreboard in the 27th minute when Kristian Sarkies calmly slotted home a penalty after David Williams had his shirt pulled in the box in a goal scoring opportunity.

Nikita Rukavytsya nearly doubled the lead in the 41st minute when his deft control in the box allowed him to unleash a stinging shot to the near post, but again Saavedra was on hand to make another crucial save.

After the half-time break, the Qantas Under 23s continued to push forward and had the bulk of possession and scoring opportunities. Had it not been for the goalkeeping heroics of Gregory Saavedra, who made a number of saves and interceptions, the Qantas Under 23s could have extended their lead on a number of occasions.

Just after the hour mark, Neil Kilkenny put Michael Zullo through but Saavedra was quick off his line and cleared the ball from Zullo's feet outside the area..

Chile's patience paid off midway through the second half when Felipe Seymour finished off a one-on-one opportunity against the Qantas Under 23s goalkeeper, Chris O'Connor, shooting low and hard to the bottom left corner of the goal.

After the match Graham Arnold was again pleased by with the performance of his players.

"Our players again performed well up against very good opposition tonight," said Arnold

"The purpose of this camp was for me to make critical selection decisions and also to prepare the players for the Beijing Olympic Games,"

"Based on that, this camp has been extremely successful, we have been very well looked after by everyone here in Darwin and the effort of all the boys could not be faulted.

"Now my coaching staff and I have a very difficult task in selecting the final squad that will go to the Olympic Games," concluded Arnold.

The Qantas Under 23s will take time out from their training camp in Darwin and will conduct a football coaching clinic tomorrow afternoon with Northern Territory junior football players before heading home on Tuesday.

The Australian Olympic Men's Football team will be named by the Australian Olympic Committee on Friday 4 July 2008 in Sydney.


Match Details:
Qantas Under 23s 1 (Kristian Sarkies 27' (penalty))
Chile Under 23s 1 (Felipe Seymour 67')
Sunday 29 June 2008
Darwin Football Stadium, Darwin Australia
Referee: Peter Green (Brisbane)
Assistant Referees: Tim Lay (Darwin) & Rohan Kelly (Darwin)
Fourth Official: Maurice D'Arrigo (Darwin)
Crowd: 1,780

Qantas Under 23s: 1.Chris O'Connor (gk), 3.Trent McClenahan, 5.Mark Milligan (Captain), 6.Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 7.Neil Kilkenny, 8.Kristian Sarkies, 9.Nick Ward (2.Jason Hoffman 65'), 10.Nikita Rukavytsya (20.Matt Simon 65'), 12.Nigel Boogaard (16.Robert Cornthwaite 67'), 15.David Williams (17.Michael Zullo 56'), 19.James Holland (4.Billy Celeski 70').

Substitutes Not Used: 18.Tando Velaphi (gk), 11.Tarek Elrich, 13.Troy Hearfield, 14.Nathan Burns.

Yellow Cards: Billy Celeski 73', Jason Hoffman 84'.

Red Cards: Nil

Chile Under 23s: 1.Gregory Saavedra (gk), 2.Marcelo Diaz, 3.Eugenio Mena, 4.Bruno Romo, 5.Bastian Arce, 6.Sebastian Mendez, 7.Felipe Seymour, 8.Angel Rojas (16.Sebastian Barrientos 56'), 9.Eduardo Vargas, 10.Esteban Paredes (Captain) (15.Fabian Torres 90'), 13.Esteban Saez (11.Boris Sa gredo 25').

Substitutes Not Used: 12.Fabian Cerda (gk), 14.Sebastian Diaz, 17.Lucas Dominguez, 18.Matias Campos.

Yellow Cards: Eugenio Mena,27', Esteban Paredes 34'.

Red Cards: Nil

Previous Match:

Qantas Under 23s 3 (Aaron Downes 20'/68', Troy Hearfield 76')
Chile Under 23s 4 (Esteban Paredes 26'/85', Boris Sagredo 47', Eduardo Vargas 82')
Friday 27 June 2008
Darwin Football Stadium, Darwin Australia
Referee: Ben Williams (Canberra)
Assistant Referees: Mark Finestone (Darwin) & Ned Sparkes (Darwin)
Fourth Official: Rohan Kelly (Darwin)

Qantas Under 23s: 18.Justin Pasfield (gk), 5.Mark Milligan, 6.Bruce Djite (10.Nikita Rukavysta 68'), 9.Tarek Elrich, 14.Billy Celeski, 15.Leigh Broxham (23.Nick Ward 79'), 17.Aaron Downes (16.Robert Cornthwaite 86'), 19.Mark Bridge (captain) (4.Michael Zullo 83'), 21.Dario Vidosic (7.Neil Kilkenny 67'), 22.Troy Hearfield, 24.Adam D'Apuzzo.

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Chris O'Connor (gk), 11.Jason Hoffman, 12.Nigel Boogaard, 28.Trent McClenahan.

Yellow Cards: Leigh Broxham 47', Adam D'Apuzzo 50', Aaron Downes 82'.

Red Cards: Nil

Chile Under 23s: 12.Fabian Cerda, 2.Marcelo Diaz, 3.Bruno Romo, 4.Eugenio Mena, 5.Bastian Arce, 6.Sebastian Mendez, 7.Felipe Seymour, 8.Angel Rojas, 9.Eduardo Vargas, 10.Esteban Paredes, 11.Boris Sa gredo

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Gregory Saavedra (gk), 13.Esteban Saez, 14.Sebastian Diaz, 15.Fabian Torres, 16.Sebastian Barrientos, 17.Lucas Dominguez, 18.Matias Campos,

Yellow Cards: Bruno Romo 60', Sebastian Barrientos 63', Eduardo Vargas 85', Esetban Paredes 89'.

Red Cards: Nil


ACT Wrap: Football on the rise

Canberra City off the bottom, Queanbeyan FC continue good form, Russ Gibb who supplied all the info for this report is the same Russ Gibb's you can find on FourFourTwo website....and more!

Canberra City thumped ANU FC 5-0 and moved off the bottom of the table with their first win of the season.

City keeper James Wood dislocated 2 fingers and striker Kevin Room went in goal, he even saved a few shots.

17 year old Zac Rando scored again for City, this time he netted twice and Pat Ross-Magee backed up from Friday night for the Rockets with a hat-trick for City. And City are off the bottom.

Queanbeyan United FC drew 1-1 with O'Connor Knights. And it could have been so different.

United led for much of the match through James Zdarnuk until Moshen Ravanparsa equalised right at the death. United's great recent run continues but to lose a goal at the death will hurt.

Knights Coach Dean Ugrinic said, "The first goal came from a goalkeeping error. We were flat, and unimaginative."

Canberra FC hit four past Tuggeranong United.

4-0 was the result. Kole Aitken opened the scoring in 26 minute with a right foot drive. Paul Ivanic couldn't score against the Mariners in the week but he netted with his head, or some thought his hand, just before the break. 2-0.

Two goals in three minutes finished the scoring.

Adam Spaleta belted one past Tuggies keeper Brett Dickens. Paul Ivanic latched onto a long ball over the top to complete the scoring.

Tuggeranongs best chance came four minutes from the end when Andrew Bobinskas hit the post.

Danny Macor retires from Premier League? Hear Danny on Nearpost radio this week.

Russ Gibbs promotes Canberra football on the FourFourTwo website. Nice one Russ.

And what did you think of the Canberra Times on Saturday. Great news on the A-League push, hope you'll give it your full support. And a whole page on a Canberra paper.

Wow, nearly spilt my cappucino! Great stuff Canberra Times, Tim Gavel, Merryn Sherwood, Chris Dutton, and Paul Newman, the whole crew. Keep it up!

Table: pts p
Canberra FC 30 10
Belcon 20 9
Olympic 17 9
O'connor 13 10
Queanbeyan 10 10
Tuggies 9 9
ANU 7 10
Cbr City 6 9
Woden Valley 6 10


Friday, 27 June 2008

The Weekender: Ivan Slavic leads Canberra A-League bid

The Nearpost supports Transact CEO Ivan Slavich.

I believe it's time for all in the Canberra business and football community to support the drive, and the vision, of Ivan Slavich.

The Canberra Times and ABC's Tim Gavel has written an article about football in this Saturday's Canberra Times. And it's all about Canberra and our cities opportunities in the A-League. Well done Tim.

Canberra is interested. We have a leader, a vision and there are opportunities.

Tim writes:

The benefits to those with the vision to take on an A League licence in Canberra would appear to be many. With Australian football now part of Asia and its booming economy, IT companies in Canberra seeking an entraacée to China and South Korea may see possible synergies.

Read the full article below.

Football or soccer, as it is often referred in Australia, has the potential to be the dominant sport in this country. For its part, Canberra needs to get its act together and unite to present, at the very least, an expression of interest in being an A League team home for the 2010-2011 season.

Canberra has a rich history of involvement in the sport through some great players and sport administrators. Gary Cole, the late Johnny Warren and, in more recent times, Ned Zelic, Carl Valeri, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Caitlin Munoz, Lydia Williams and Amy Chapman come to mind as players, while Gordon Dunster, Ben Wilson and Ben Williams have excelled as officials.

This is an indication that Canberra has a solid platform from which to launch a bid.
If we are to put forward a proposal, something must happen soon. Football Federation Australia has indicated that it will be admitting another four teams to the A League over the next couple of years. One of those teams will be the Gold Coast, which will be bankrolled by one of Australia's richest men, Clive Palmer. The remaining three licences are up for grabs.

Last month Football Federation Australia received ten expressions of interest from syndicates interested in taking up an A League franchise. There was interest from areas such as north Queensland, The south coast of NSW, and a second team in Sydney and Melbourne.

Surprisingly, there was none from Canberra. I say surprisingly because an expression of interest would have at least invigorated those with a passion for getting an A League team up and running in Canberra, coupled with the ACT being part of the bid for the 2018 World Cup.

On the surface it would appear that Canberra has been slow off the mark in mobilising support for a bid for an A League team but, there are several underlying factors. I have the feeling that some in the football community were under the impression that it was the responsibility of the sports governing body in Canberra, Capital Football, to be the driving force behind a bid.

That is not the case.

Each of the existing A League teams is run as a franchise, separate to the local federations. In Canberra, there has been an A League Foundation working behind the scenes determining the level of support an A League team would have from the business community.

Sure, there is a solid relationship between the licence holders and the local Federation but there is no financial input from the Federation. Interested parties have been told to expect losses of between one and a half and two million dollars for the first couple of years.

The former president of Soccer Canberra, Steve Dozpot, is a man keen to see an A League team in Canberra but says it's worth heeding some of the lessons learnt from the Cosmos experience.

He says the A League franchise needs to be a separate entity, looking at commercial opportunities, and it needs to be separate from the local Federation .It is a point that has been adopted nationally by Football Federation Australia.

Capital Football can facilitate discussion among Football Federation Australia and the ACT Government with business people interested in taking up a franchise but, they have made it clear that their focus is on running the local competitions which have close to 15 thousand registered players.

They also run Kanga Cup, which has emerged as one of the biggest junior tournaments in the world.

In other words, it is really up to people with a passion for football to drive a Canberra bid. Thankfully, there are people in the community who are prepared to drive a bid and canvas the business sector.

Prominent local business identity, Ivan Slavich, is heading up the process and is optimistic that Canberra can secure a licence for an A League team. Mr Slavich says, to mount a bid, he needs to find a substantial backer with start-up costs alone in the vicinity of six to seven million dollars, followed by on-going running expenses.

He says it is still early days and his drive to make it work comes from the belief that if centres with a smaller population than Canberra are in contention for a licence, then why not the nation's capital?

I have spoken to people who were involved in sponsoring national soccer teams in Canberra in the past. For some, the experience left a sour taste and they have expressed a reluctance to be involved again.

This time around though, it would appear that Football Federation Australia has its act together.

It has worked hard to ensure that ethnic issues, that held the sport back for so many years, are no longer part and parcel of the sport in this country.
In the past, when sports were looking for significant sponsors, the benefits to the sponsors and people putting money into sport wasn't exactly clear. Times have changed and a solid business plan outlining how a company can be rewarded by putting money into sport needs to be presented in a tangible sense.

The thing about sport that encourages sponsorship and support is that it is capable of breaking down many barriers which may otherwise seem intractable.

The benefits to those with the vision to take on an A League licence in Canberra would appear to be many. With Australian football now part of Asia and its booming economy, IT companies in Canberra seeking an entraacée to China and South Korea may see possible synergies.

Building companies in Canberra looking to break into the Asian market may reap the rewards of backing a football team playing in an Asian competition; What about Canberra Airport, with obvious benefits from increased exposure in Asia?

A League games are televised into Asia with potential audiences of half a billion viewers. For Asian Cup games involving Australian teams playing sides from Japan and Korea, the reach would be even greater.

There could also be business opportunities for Asian companies wanting to move into the Canberra market whether it be a closer relationship with the Australian Government or other business opportunities.

By financially backing an A League team, an entry point to Australian opportunities is possible, especially if there are influential people involved in the club. That's how business is often done these days.

Financial support may also come from the ACT Government through the National League teams' funding program; the Brumbies, the Raiders and the Capitals are current beneficiaries.

As these teams have found in the past, Canberra is a very tight market when it comes to sponsorship but talk to the soccer community and there is a belief that people who don't put money into the rugby union, rugby league and basketball may be willing to sponsor an A League team.

There is still a long way to go but now is the time to start mobilising support for a Canberra bid before the task becomes impossible.

Having said that, community support is vital if the team is to be successful. It is all very well to have a club with willing financial backers but if the people of Canberra don't support the team and don't believe it is their own, it is destined to follow the path well worn by a number of former national league teams in Canberra.


World Cup draw: Not bad, not bad.

Japan, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Bahrain. That's our path to South Africa 2010 World Cup.

FFA's High Performance Manager John Boultbee speaking on FoxSports seemed relatively calm, "It's a pretty even draw. It's a good thing getting Japan in one sense, there's a good rivalry and we'll all be looking forward to the last home game against Japan."

"Bahrain and Qatar are not too far from Europe. Pim has done a lot of work with the European clubs to get players released. It's a matter of continuing the good work that Pim has already done."

The quickest draw in World Cup history was made tonight. Opposition and the predictions below.

The Aussies first game is away in Uzbekistan in September. That's a 46 hour trip to Tashkent, but with the team having a bye on Matchday One, Australia will have plenty of days to get to the Uzbek capital. This was the one team Aussie Coach Pim Verbeek didn't want.

A couple matches are of particular concern. And we can expect plenty of media discussion about who will and won't come! Japan away Feb 11 and Bahrain away Nov 19 are not FIFA match dates so players need only be released 48 hours before the game.

Strong finish:
Three of the last four games are at home. The last game is against Japan at home. What a way to finish!

Australia may not have wanted Uzbekistan but they would expect to beat Qatar and Bahrain certainly at home and possibly away.

With two teams to qualify for South Africa and the third place team headed for a play-off possibly with Saudi Arabia or Iran, Australia have an outstanding chance of qualifying for South Africa. Wouldn't that be nice.

With four games at home their will be plenty of money rolling in to the coffers of the Football Federation.

On the teams:

Qatar: We can beat them, we already have twice in our previous group. We need six points from this one.

Uzbekistan: They'll have a chance to knock over the favourites in Tashkent in Australia's open game. The Uzbek's are potentially the best team in Asia. Shashkit is the key striker who plays for Dinamo Kiev. The fans are passionate, it's a real tough trip, a tough start for Australia. We'll need a point.

Japan: And of course our old mates Japan will figure highly in our group. Australia lost to Japan in the last meeting in the 2007 Asia Cup but Australia will be fitter and hopefully faster than they were in that tournament. Scott McIntyre from SBS will rave about Japan, but goalscoring has never been their forte, not at this level. Although our defence has problems, Lucas Neill alongside Jade North should be enough. Australia will have a great couple of battles with Japan. Can't wait.

The first game Feb 11th is non-FIFA matchday which makes it tricky. But everyone needs a profile in Asia. What player would miss that game:)

Bahrain: A quick lively team. Australia played them in recent Asia Cup qualifiers and beat them relatively easily. Australia should expect to win these games, although one game is on a non-FIFA date.

Mark Viduka could be back for some games. Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Lucas Neill should lift the quality of the Australian side in the coming campaign.

It's going to be a wild ride. But the draw is favourable.

I cannot see us coming 4th or 5th. Third would not be disastrous, but I'm predicting Australia and Uzbekistan to go through.

Socceroos Calendar for the next 12 months.

19/8/08 - South Africa, London, friendly
9/10/08 - Uzbekistan away, World Cup Qualifier
15/10/08 - Qatar home, WCQ
19/11/08 - Bahrain away, WCQ
14/1/09 - TBA, TBA, Asian Cup Qualifier
28/1/09 - TBA, TBA, ACQ
11/2/09 - Japan away, WCQ
1/4/09 - Uzbekistan home, WCQ
?/6/09 - Italy home, friendly
6/6/09 - Qatar away, WCQ
10/6/09 - Bahrain home, WCQ
17/6/09 - Japan home, WCQ

What say you?


Mariners rampant, Pilkington impresses

Canberra Youth: Still everything to play for.

Central Coast Mariners defeated ACT Rockets 4-0 at Deakin Oval tonight. The Mariners responded to Lawrie McKinna's harsh words this morning.

And Woden Valley's Luke Pilkington was singled out for praise by McKinna in the Youth game played earlier.

"We're back down to Canberra for the Jets game (July 12 Canberra Stadium) and we'll get a few of the Young Rockets and Under 21's training with us," said McKinna.

Russ Gibbs was at the game and rang through this report.

Mariners 4 ACT Rockets 0

The Mariners cruised to a 3-0 half-time lead with goals from Predrag Vogic (14 mins) Frank Lagana (38) and former Socceroo Sasho Petrovski on the stroke of half-time. Matt Osman returning from a long-term injury scored the fourth in the second half.

Belconnen keeper Alex Connell came on for Mariners keeper Andrew Redmayne in the second half.

Despite pre-match speculation Danny Vukovic did not play.

McKinna was happy with the performance. "We had words this morning about the Belconnen performance being unacceptable. I told them places in the squad are still up for grabs.

"We played some good football in the first half. Some good moves and our support play was superb. Credit to the ACT they put us under pressure in the second half."

Rockets Coach Dean Urginic said, "The score didn't reflect the performance. We were a bit panicky on occasions. But we definitely improved in the second half. We kept possession, tracked our runners."

Adam Spaleta and John Ison had good games. Right back Justin Selkirk got the nod of approval from McKinna as well.

Canberra FC striker Paul Ivanic played in the old National Soccer League reflected on what might have been, "I thought I'd scored but the keeper (Andrew Redmayne) made a great save. I think a few of the boys were a bit overwhemled in the first half. The main difference at this level is you have to think quicker. The Mariners are also that much stronger and fitter."

When asked if he thought he get more time against Tuggeranong on the weekend Ivanic simply smiled!

ACT Rockets (Youth 2 ACTAS 1

Tim Cole scored the opener in the 34th minute for the ACT Rockets (Youth) tonight at Deakin Stadium. The match was watched by Central Coast Mariners Development Manager Alex Tobi. Tobin is looking to bolster his Mariners Youth team. But with contracts as low as $2500 per year would anyone take the contract if offered?

Dean Tomeski hit an equalizer for Milan Milovanovic's ACTAS side in the 72nd minute, before Yianni Karabalas sealed the win for the Rockets ten minutes from the end.

And Woden Valley's Luke Pilkington was singled out for praise by McKinna in the Youth game played earlier.

"We're back down to Canberra for the Jets game (July 12 Canberra Stadium) and we'll get a few of the Young Rockets and Under 21's training with us," said McKinna.

Central Coast Mariners 30. Andrew Redmayne (gk) (1. Alex Connell (gk) 82’), 5. Bradley Porter, 7. John Hutchinson, 8. Dean Heffernan (6. David D’Apuzzo 46’), 9. Predrag Bojic, 10. Frank Lagana (22. Sasho Petrovski 42’), 15. Andrew Clark (11. Taylor Beaton 46’), 16. Jamie Lobb, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 21. Ahmad Elrich, 27. Dylan Macallister (17. Matthew Osman 65’) Yellow Cards NoneRed Cards NoneGoals Bojic 15’, Lagana 39’, Petrovski 45’+1, Osman 73’

ACT Rockets 1. Nathan Denham (gk), 2. Lukas Roth, 3. Matthew Valeri, 4. John Ison, 5. Adam Spaleta, 6. Justin Selkirk, 7. Paul Ivanic, 8. Travis Dries, 9. Pat Ross-McGee, 10. Goran Veljanovski, 11. Victor Yanes

Substitutes 12. Oliver Wiederkehr, 13. Marcin Zygmunt, 14. Goran Josifovski, 15. David Kemp, 16. Brett Dickens (gk)

Yellow Cards NoneRed Cards NoneGoals None

Referee Richard Normovski


ACT Rockets/ACTAS Match reports/Quotes etc

Russ Gibbs reports on ACT Rockets v Mariners and ACTAS v Youth Rockets. (See below)

ACT Rockets v Central Coast Mariners
(Deakin Football Stadium, Deakin)
Friday 27th June 2008, Kick off: 7.00pm


Match Report
ACT Rockets 0 Central Coast Mariners 4

By Russ Gibbs

A ruthless Central Coast Mariners racked up a convincing four-nil victory over the ACT State Representative team, the Rockets, on a chilly Friday evening at Deakin Oval in Canberra. First half goals from Predrag Bojic, Frank Lagana and Sasho Petrovski were added to by a late strike from substitute Matthew Osman as the Mariners rounded out their pre-season trip to the nation’s Capital in some style.

After a disappointing performance against local ACT Premier League outfit Belconnen United two days previously, a match in which they were rescued from a draw by a ninetieth minute winner from Belconnen’s own Taylor Beaton, the A-League side were given a royal dressing down by coach Lawrie McKinna and it showed in their opening half performance as they relentlessly took advantage of any mistakes made by the home team to roar into an unassailable three goal lead.

Striker Frank Lagana almost gave the Mariners a dream start inside the first minute, pouncing onto a through ball to fire a low drive that Nathan Denham did well to block to his right.

It wasn’t long before the professionals took the lead though as a near-post flick from a corner found Predrag Bogic unmarked on the far post and the triallist was left with the simplest of tasks to poke the ball into the unguarded net.

Whatever McKinna had said to his charges at the Thursday morning training session appeared to be having the desired effective as the visitors doubled their lead seven minutes from the interval.

Frank Lagana collected a superb ball over the top before unleashing a sublime chip over the advancing Denham and into the far corner of the net. By this stage the Rockets, who appeared a little overwhelmed in the opening half an hour, had begun to find their feet a little.

However, the much vaunted strike duo of Goran Veljanovski and Paul Ivanic were left with only scraps to feed off and largely untroubled Andrew Redmayne in the Mariners goal.

The pace of the match was a telling tale for the Rockets who, at times, struggled to come to grips with the slick passing moves and instant control of the Mariners side.

Full-back Justin Selkirk, of the O’Connor Knights, was one who shone for the home team negating the attacking forays of Dean Heffernan and Ahmad Elrich to some effect.

Canberra FC central defender Jon Ison was also in good form but both were powerless to prevent Sasho Petrovski taking the score to 3-0 before half-time. The striker had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he forced a shot through Denham on the near-post to start what was a lively night for the under-pressure forward.

After the interval Dean Ugrinic and Scott Conlon changed tactics slightly and the pace of Oliver Wiederkehr and David Kemp began to cause some headaches for McKinna.

Rockets skipper Paul Ivanic nearly brought the home crowd to its feet with a curling right foot shot from the edge of the penalty area that seemed destined for the net until Redmayne produced a stunning save diving full length to his left to palm the ball away for a corner. A quite exquisite save from a shot that seemed destined for the goal.

Mariners substitute Matthew Osman supplied a well-taken fourth goal of the evening, capping a lively twenty-two minute cameo on his return from injury, which would have pleased the Central Coast coaching staff. Osman slipped his marker and advanced on Rockets substitute ‘keeper Brett Dickens, before slipping a neat shot past the Tuggeranong United stopper’s attempted block to complete the scoring.

In the end the professionals simply had too much in the locker for their amateur counterparts, but it was a good night’s entertainment watched by an appreciative crowd and will prove a valuable learning experience to all the ACT player’s involved.

Match Reaction

Lawrie McKinna (Head Coach, Central Coast Mariners): “This was a good performance compared to Wednesday; we were a totally different side. We played some great football in the first half and their ‘keeper had to make two or three good saves.

I was happy with our movement and the support play was excellent. Full credit to the ACT team they put us under pressure in the second half when they out the fliers on, there is a fair bit of pace in that team and they pinned us back for a while. I wasn’t impressed by the performance on Wednesday. We were not switched on and Belconnen made it very hard for us.

I made it clear to the players that they need to prepare correctly for matches like these and, yes, we had a few words about it. I’ve got six or seven players unavailable through injury or international duty so the pressure is on the guys in this squad, but overall I’m happy.

As for the Youth players we watched (in the Youth Rockets v ACTAS match that preceded the main game) young Luke Pilkington looked promising and caught the eye. We are looking to organise a get together for the young players when we come down again in a few weeks for the Newcastle Jets match so we will take another look at some of them then.”

Dean Ugrinic (Head Coach, ACT Rockets): “I thought we were a little bit panicky in the first half, but in fairness I don’t think the score reflected the performance. We defended well and they scored their goals off our mistakes.

"When we managed to get the ball down we played some good football and we had much better possession in the second half and were able to execute some of the stuff we have been working on in training.

"After the break we started tracking their runners more effectively and for a first run out for this squad it was really, really good. This match just goes to show that Canberra needs a top-level outfit so that we do not fall behind the other regions too far in terms of our development. As for our players, Justin Selkirk was outstanding and both Jon Ison and Adam Spaleta were fantastic.”

Scott Conlon (Assistant Coach, ACT Rockets): “In a short time that we had our squad together we did our best to formulate a game plan and take it out there and to some extents we did that.

"A lot of their training ground set pieces and drills caught us out, but we tightened up in the second half. It was plain the Mariners didn’t want to lose this evening and they needed the result after Wednesday’s performance. They were clinical and when we did make mistakes in the wrong areas of the field they punished us.”

Paul Ivanic (Captain, ACT Rockets): “We played really well in the second half when we pressed on them and it was a great learning experience. Maybe we were a bit overwhelmed in the first half but it was obvious that they could think quicker and were more physically stronger than us. It was definitely a step up in class. I thought I had scored at one stage but the ‘keeper made a good stop.”

Justin Selkirk (Defender, ACT Rockets): “I had an absolute ball and enjoyed every minute of it even though it finished 4-0! I am from the Central Coast and you don’t get the chance to play against teams like this every day of the week. We made some errors, but we played much smarter in the second half on what was a fast and very slippery ground.

"I have loved playing with all these guys for the past month and I believe we have learned a lot from each other, especially our attitude and enthusiasm which was awesome again. Even when we were down everything was so positive.”


Minute Scorer Team Score


Predrag BOGIC
Central Coast Mariners


Central Coast Mariners


Central Coast Mariners


Matthew OSMAN
Central Coast Mariners

• Earlier in the evening in a special trial match organised to showcase the talent in the ACT, the ACT Youth Rockets defeated the ACTAS side 2-1 in a keenly fought encounter.

A fine headed goal from Tim Cole after thirty-four minutes gave the Youth Rockets the lead in the first half before Dean Tomeski side-footed home a neat equaliser for ACTAS with eighteen minutes remaining.

The Youth Rockets grabbed the spoils when substitute Yianni Karabalis netted the match-winning goal in the 82nd minute from close range. It was a useful work out for both sets of boys many of whom impressed the watching Alex Tobin and Lawrie McKinna from the Central Coast Mariners with Woden Valley midfielder Luke Pilkington warranting attention.

ACT Youth Rockets: Codey Larkin, Zak Maybury, Jonathan Reis, Benard Rene (Aaron Cashman), Ryan Jones (Cameron Gordon), Tim Cole (Tal Evans), Josip Jadric (Phillipe Bernarbo), Luke Pilkington, Zak Knight, Kole Aitken, Matt Atkins (Yianni Karabalis)
Goals: Tim Cole (34), Yianni Karabalis (82)

ACTAS: Jack Pettit, Dylan De Montis, Chris Bush, Ben Mitchell, Steven Lustica, Dean Tomeski, Tom Rogic, Alex Meibush, Edgar Daly, Rocco Strika, Tom Davies
ACTAS Substitutes (all used): James Bradbury, Ben Harrington, Andrew Gibson, Declan Poon, Zvonimir Rogic, Stephen Domenici, Danai Gapare, Izach Clemens, Joe Chapman
Goals: Dean Tomeski (72)


Olyroos selections getting closer

Qantas Under 23s Go Down in Seven-Goal Thriller: With the Beijing Olympic squad set to be announced on Friday interesting to see who Coach Graham Arnold is starting out of his 33 man squad in Darwin. With three overage players expected to get the call pressure is on for the eighteem places. FFA release below.

Qantas Under 23s Go Down in Seven-Goal Thriller

The Qantas Under 23s have been defeated 3-4 by Chile Under 23s in an enthralling match at Darwin Football Stadium tonight.

A crowd of 1,404 was on hand to see the first international football match in the Northern Territory and neither teams disappointed scoring seven goals in ninety minutes.

The Qantas Under 23s opened the scoring in the 20th minute when a Dario Vidosic corner found Aaron Downes unmarked at the far post for a corner who was able to slot home with trouble. Chile equalised five minutes later when Chilean captain Esteban Paredes curled his left-footed free-kick over the Australian defensive wall leaving goalkeeper Justin Pasfield little chance of saving.

The Qantas Under 23s had an opportunity to take the lead shortly before the half-time break when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the edge of the box, but Dario Vidosic's shot went over the cross-bar and the score remained the same going into the break.

The Chileans took the lead two minutes into the second half when Boris Sagredo and was able to drive a half-volley into the net following a well taken free-kick.

Aaron Downes bagged his second and equalised for his team in the 68th minute following another corner and Troy Hearfield grabbed the lead back for the Qantas Under 23s in the 76th minute following a good piece of individual strength that resulted in his left footed strike finding the bottom corner of the goal.

But the Chileans fought back and equalised again in the 82nd minute when Eduardo Vargas was on hand to capitalise on a wayward backpass from Aaron Downes. Vargas making not mistake with his one-on-one opportunity with Pasfield.

Esteban Paredes scored the winner for Chile in the 85th minute when he flicked on a corner inside the near-post to end a high scoring affair.

After the match, the Qantas Under 23s coach Graham Arnold was disappointed with the result but happy with the performance.

"You never like to lose a match, but I was happy with the overall performance of the players," said Arnold

"We became a little disjointed towards the end with six substitutions but this match was more about testing ourselves against quality opposition.

"Three of the goals we conceded were from set pieces, but those sort of errors can be fixed.

"We will now use Sunday's match to give some other players a chance to impress ahead of the final team selection", concluded Arnold

The Qantas Under 23s will meet the Chile Under 23s again on Sunday 29 June 2008 (kick-off 5:00pm ACST) at Darwin Football Stadium. Tickets for the match are still available from Darwin Entertainment Centre


Match Details:
Qantas Under 23s 3 (Aaron Downes 20'/68', Troy Hearfield 76')
Chile Under 23s 4 (Esteban Paredes 26'/85', Boris Sagredo 47', Eduardo Vargas 82')
Friday 27 June 2008
Darwin Football Stadium, Darwin Australia
Referee: Ben Williams (Canberra)
Assistant Referees: Mark Finestone (Darwin) & Ned Sparkes (Darwin)
Fourth Official: Rohan Kelly (Darwin)

Qantas Under 23s: 18.Justin Pasfield (gk), 5.Mark Milligan, 6.Bruce Djite (10.Nikita Rukavysta 68'), 9.Tarek Elrich, 14.Billy Celeski, 15.Leigh Broxham (23.Nick Ward 79'), 17.Aaron Downes (16.Robert Cornthwaite 86'), 19.Mark Bridge (captain) (4.Michael Zullo 83'), 21.Dario Vidosic (7.Neil Kilkenny 67'), 22.Troy Hearfield, 24.Adam D'Apuzzo.

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Chris O'Connor (gk), 11.Jason Hoffman, 12.Nigel Boogaard, 28.Trent McClenahan.

Yellow Cards: Leigh Broxham 47', Adam D'Apuzzo 50', Aaron Downes 82'.

Red Cards: Nil

Chile Under 23s: 12.Fabian Cerda, 2.Marcelo Diaz, 3.Bruno Romo, 4.Eugenio Mena, 5.Bastian Arce, 6.Sebastian Mendez, 7.Felipe Seymour, 8.Angel Rojas, 9.Eduardo Vargas, 10.Esteban Paredes, 11.Boris Sa gredo

Substitutes Not Used: 1.Gregory Saavedra (gk), 13.Esteban Saez, 14.Sebastian Diaz, 15.Fabian Torres, 16.Sebastian Barrientos, 17.Lucas Dominguez, 18.Matias Campos,

Yellow Cards: Bruno Romo 60', Sebastian Barrientos 63', Eduardo Vargas 85', Esetban Paredes 89'.

Red Cards: Nil

Upcoming Match:

Qantas Under 23's v Chile Under 23's
Sunday 29 June 2008
Kick-Off 5:00pm ACST (5:30pm AEST, 3:30pm AWST)
Gates Open 3:30pm
Darwin Football Stadium, Darwin, Northern Territory

Ticket prices
Adult $15
Concession $8 (Pension Card Holders, Senior Card Holders, Full Time Students)
Child $8 from 4 years to 16 years
Children 3 years and under free on the knee
Family Tickets - $30 - 2 Adults and 2 Children
Transaction fees may apply

On Sale Date
Friday 20 June 2008 - 10am

Sales outlets
Darwin Entertainment Centre Box Office – 93 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800

Counter sales:
Darwin Entertainment Centre Box Office
Oasis News and Lotto, Palmerston
Customer Service Desk, Casuarina Shopping Square
Tourism Top End Mall Information Booth, Smith Street Mall

Telephone sales:
Dial ‘n’ charge – 08) 8980 3333 (Darwin Entertainment Centre Box Office)

Internet sales:

At Darwin Football Stadium on Match Day:
- Please note that this is subject to ticket availability


Danny Vukovic to play now?

Merryn Sherwood from the Canberra Times scoops the story on Danny Vukovic,

He's been banned from the Olympics for striking a referee, but Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic is clear to play against the ACT Rockets at Deakin tonight.

What is going on!

Last night Mariners Coach confirmed Danny Vukovic could play the first A-League games and any games leading up to it. But he can't play in the Olympics. His ban starts in Australia on August 28th.

A joke I hear you cry.

Assistant Coach Iain Ferguson felt for Vukovic, "I feel the ban is too harsh. What he did is wrong, he knows that, we all know that, but to miss the Olympics it's just too harsh. I ask the question what made Danny do it. Mark Shield the Ref, he made a mistake but what happens to him, nothing!"

Judging by the groans around the room last night few locals agreed. Clearly hitting the ref is wrong and any player has to take the resultant rap. Olympic games or no Olympics.

But what sort of decision is this. A ban, a change, and now a misunderstanding and Vukovic can play and then be banned. Confused? How must Vukovic feel?


Friday Local Wrap:

Taylor Beaton: What he needs to do, Canberra's Matildas head-off, Rockets to play tonight, Next Young Canberrans to impress Alex Tobin, and Amy Taylor get her boots on Football Superstars.

Central Coast Mariners Lawrie McKinna: Taylor Beaton was confident, stepped up, gave short give and goes, and when he made a mistake he just got on with the game. Everyone makes mistakes, but it affects young players confidence, that's what we watch.

Mariners Iain Ferguson, "Taylor did well, very well the other night. Can he do it again on Friday and then we'll play a game in Sydney on Tuesday. We're looking for consistency now."

Matildas: Caitlin Munoz, Amy Chapman and Lydia Williams selected for China games.

ACT Rockets take on the Mariners at Deakin Oval tonight. Alex Tobin will watch the Young Rockets and ACTAS boys from 5pm. So with 10-12 youth places to fill and the whole of North Sydney to choose from (don't tell Sydney FC) the young Canberrans will have to perform. Should be a cracker and good luck lads.

And we can expect to see former Canberran and Matilda Amy Taylor put the boots back on in an upcoming edition of Fox 8's Football Superstar. And Amy's hoping there will be a second series. We'll keep you posted.


Matildas China Squad named

"Only six players from last year's FIFA Women's World Cup campaign are involved in this squad that will tour China,"said Sermanni
Release below

Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni has named an 18-player squad for the Matildas upcoming two match tour of China in July.
Having placed fourth at the recent AFC Women's Asian Cup in Vietnam and with a strong performance at the 2008 Peace Cup in South Korea earlier this month, Sermanni will use this tour to give a number of younger players valuable international experience against the Chinese women's National Team who are preparing for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The tour will involve two matches on the 6 & 9 July at the Olympic Stadium in Tianjin, which is same venue in which the Matildas played Brazil in the Quarter-Finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.

"Only six players from last year's FIFA Women's World Cup campaign are involved in this squad that will tour China,"said Sermanni

"As a result, we have a large number of younger players who will be able to get much needed experience at an international level on this trip.

"It is also very beneficial for us to play two challenging internationals against one the top teams in the world at a fantastic venue in front of a large crowd, particularly as they are preparing for a very important tournament for them - a home Olympics, " concluded Sermanni.

The Matildas will depart Australia on 3 July and return on 11 July and will face the New Zealand Women's Team at North Sydney Oval on Saturday 12 July (kick-off 12pm AEST) as the first part of a double header which will also see the Qantas Under 23s take on the New Zealand men's Under 23 team.

Matildas Squad for China Tour 3-11 July 2008

Melissa BARBIERI (Melbourne), Victoria BALOMENOS (Adelaide), Joanne BURGESS (Brisbane), Kim CARROLL (Brisbane), Amy CHAPMAN (Canberra), Lauren COLTHORPE (Brisbane), Leena KHAMIS (Sydney), Kate McSHEA (Brisbane), Caitlin MUNOZ (Canberra), Amber NEILSON (Newcastle), Ellyse PERRY (Sydney), Clare POLKINGHORNE (Brisbane), Karla REUTER (Brisbane), Renee ROLLASON (Sydney), Kyah SIMON (Sydney), Brooke SPENCE (Brisbane), Yesim Servet UZUNLAR (Sydney), Lydia WILLIAMS (Canberra).

Match Details
China PR v Australia
Sunday 6 July 2008 (Kick-Off Time TBC)
Olympic Stadium, Tianjin, China

China PR v Australia
Wednesday 9 July 2008 (Kick-Off Time TBC)
Olympic Stadium, Tianjin, China


Thursday, 26 June 2008

Matildas and Alexandra Cook.

The saying in football "you're only as good as your last game," means Caitlin Munoz and Amy Chapman are pretty good. Australia 1 Brazil 0 was the Matildas last game!

Matildas stars Caitlin Munoz and Amy Chapman take time out for a photo with Alexandra Cook, Matildas fan and Majura Soccer Club junior, after their Nearpost radio performances this week.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said, "women are the future,"

when talking about the growth of the World Game. And for once I agree with Sepp!

When Majura Junior Alexandra Cook heard we had not one, but two Matildas coming into our radio show she got her Australian tracksuit on and came in to listen, learn and meet her football heroes. Amy and Caitlin also signed the back of her tracksuit.

Alexandra plays her football at Majura Soccer Club. Having entertained the crowds with numerous and wonderful goals in the Under 7 and 8 girls some years ago, she's now playing in the Under 10 boys competition.

Amy Chapman who grew up playing against boys thinks this may help a young girls game development. This was Amy's experience when she started playing.

Certainly an interesting point.

Women and girls football is growing across Canberra and Australia at an amazing rate. With the increasing profile of the Matildas don't expect this to stop anytime soon.

For now Alexandra, who also referees Under 3s for Majura, can perhaps dream one day of playing for Australia and beating Brazil.

But on Saturday she'll be back down Dickson Oval doing what she loves, playing football.


Alex Tobin back from Brazil

Alex Tobin, Central Coast Mariners Development Manager is back from Brazil, Sao Paolo to be exact. Mariners Release below.

Tobin returns from eye opening São Paolo excursion

Central Coast Mariners Development Manager Alex Tobin has returned from a week-long stay with Mariners’ sister club São Paolo in Brazil eager to further establish the yellow and navy’s links with one of the true giants of world football.

Tobin was given a rare insight into São Paolo’s truly one of a kind facilities in Brazil’s most populous city by virtue of the Mariners’ relationship with English Championship club Sheffield United, who have formalised links with both the Mariners and São Paolo in recent times.

While in São Paolo, Tobin was treated to a viewing of the club’s staggering youth academy and senior squad structures, which over the years has produced an astounding number of world class players including no less than Brazilian national team icons Adriano, Cafu, Juninho and Kaká – the world’s most expensive footballer.

The São Paolo youth development network is commonly regarded as the best in South America, if not the world, and continues to produce wave after wave of exceptional footballers, many of whom dominate the big leagues of Europe, South America and Asia at present.

"The quality on show during my stay, on and off pitch, really has to be seen to be believed," said Tobin.

"It’s quite phenomenal just how well resourced São Paolo FC is by way of facilities and infrastructure and this translates to a talent pool at their disposal that would be the envy of any professional football club in the world.

"The trip was hugely beneficial in terms of further developing the relationship between the Mariners, Sheffield United and São Paolo and we will certainly explore these links in greater depth in the future – both long and short term.

"The prospect of São Paolo sending one or more of their best youngsters to the Hyundai A-League to link with the Mariners is one that appeals to them, as it provides the player with a chance to develop their game in an environment different to what they would be typically used to, as well as providing us with a top-class player capable of contributing most positively to our season.

"This is just one of the initiatives that were talked about between the clubs that were so kindly invited to experience São Paolo’s facilities and we will absolutely keep the lines of communication open between all that belong to our worldwide network in the lead up to the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season."


Belconnen Beaton by Taylor!

Match Report By Russ Gibbs
Belconnen United 1 Central Coast Mariners 2
(BU: Dustin Wells 33’) (CCM: Taylor Beaton 63’, 90’)

Match Report
Belconnen United 1 Central Coast Mariners 2
(BU: Dustin Wells 33’) (CCM: Taylor Beaton 63’, 90’)

By Russ Gibbs

Match Report
Belconnen United 1 Central Coast Mariners 2
(BU: Dustin Wells 33’) (CCM: Taylor Beaton 63’, 90’)

By Russ Gibbs

Belconnen United were undone by one of their own at the Belconnen Soccer Centre on Wednesday evening as the Central Coast Mariners defeated Steve Forshaw’s plucky troops by the odd goal in three thanks to a brace from current Blue Devils youngster Taylor Beaton. The Belconnen midfielder shone in both halves, the first played in the Blue of the home team and the second in the yellow of the visitors as he trialled for the A-League franchise.

But it was for the Central Coast that he stamped his mark on the match with a pair of expertly converted goals, the second coming with literally the last kick of the match, to secure the Booz and Company Cup for Lawrie McKinna’s men. Beaton would have done his chances of securing a contract with the Mariners Youth set-up no harm at all with an all-action display that lifted a lacklustre Mariners outfit to victory.

The first half belonged to the home side, egged on by a lively crowd of over 800. Belconnen’s performance belied their recent form slump in the ACT Premier League, with last Sunday’s goalless draw at home to Queanbeyan City seemingly costing the club any hopes of a minor Premiership as they drifted seven points behind competition front runners Canberra FC.

After a scrappy opening period the Blue Devils stunned their illustrious visitors with a goal after thirty-three minutes that will no doubt have pleased head coach Forshaw. David Kemp stormed through from midfield with a lung-bursting run taking him at the heart of the Mariners defence before slipping a slide rule pass through to the advancing Dustin Wells. The former Wellington Phoenix tyro took one touch before smashing a low drive past the hapless Andrew Redmayne and into the corner of the net.

The response from the visitors was immediate as last season’s A-League Grand Final runner’s-up lifted the ante. A swift break saw Dean Heffernan cut the ball back to ace-predator Sasho Petrovski and the Mariners hit-man looked certain to score only to be denied by a sensational defensive block. Belconnen shot-stopper Alex Connell then made a superb reflex save to deny Dylan MacAllister a sixth pre-season goal, but in truth the Central Coast opportunities were few and far between. At the other end Belconnen probed for a second before the break but to no avail.

The half-time interval saw Taylor Beaton switch sides in order to give Lawrie McKinna the chance to see the youngster in action at close quarters and he certainly impressed. His verve and swagger gave lie to his tender years as with some experienced colleagues surrounding him he took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Freed into the penalty area just after the hour mark Beaton composed himself to coolly slot the ball past the advancing Connell to level the scores prompting much angst amongst the parochial home support who, on the one hand were glad for Beaton, but on the other were hoping he missed!

No such luck for Belconnen on that occasion, but the crowd would have been delighted by the spirit and determination showed by their favourites as they more than matched the professionals. With Socceroo’s Heffernan, Petrovski and Ahmad Elrich in the line-up as well as seasoned pros such as Andrew Clark, Alex Wilkinson and John Hutchinson, this was by no means a second-string Mariners team and yet the Blue Devils were more than their equal for large swathes of the clash. Indeed the match looked to be heading for a draw until the Beaton’s denouement.

There were only seconds remaining on the clock when the Central Coast pressed for a winner down the right flank. A cross field ball fell kindly to Beaton twenty-five yards from goal and the Belconnen boy lashed home a cracking first-time drive low into the bottom corner of the net to seal what was an underserved victory.

It was a harsh conclusion for Belconnen who were worthy of a draw but it was a night to remember for Taylor Beaton who may have taken a major step towards A-League stardom.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 30. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 6. David D’Apuzzo (11. Taylor Beaton 57’), 7. John Hutchinson, 8. Dean Heffernan (16. Jamie Lobb 46’), 9. Predrag Bojic, 10. Frank Lagana (17. Matthew Osman 74’), 15. Andrew Clark, 18. Alex Wilkinson, 21. Ahmad Elrich, 22. Sasho Petrovski (12. Nathan Moseley 66’), 27. Dylan Macallister

Yellow Cards Elrich 88’
Red Cards None
Goals Beaton 59’, 90’+3

Belconnen United 20. Alex Connell (gk), 3. Dustin Wells, 4. Lee Pietrukowski, 5. Taylor Beaton, 6. Ian Waldon, 7. Cameron Beaton, 8. Cameron Reinhart, 9. David Leet, 11. David Kemp, 14. Steve O’Callaghan, 15. Nuru Somi

Substitutes 1. Ben Cheyne (gk), 2. Matthew Valeri, 12. Marc O’Neill, 13. Scott Blewitt, 17. Phillip Brugead, 18. Ryan Kyprianou

Yellow Cards None
Red Cards None
Goals Wells 34’

Referee Gary Vanderburgt



Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Taylor Beaton sinks Belconnen

Nice one Taylor, make that two!

Central Coast Mariners defeated Belconnen tonight in front of a very healthy crowd. But the A-League stars needed local Belconnen United boy Taylor Beaton to give them the win.
Beaton who plays his football with Belconnen was trialling with the Mariners and didn't he do well. He scored both, including one in the 90th minute to seal the win. Rest of report and Mariners views below

Dustin Wells scored for Belconnen in the first half to give the Mariners a rude awakening to their two game Canberra trip. Next game Friday 7pm Deakin Oval. Mariners v ACT Rockets with ACTAS v Rockets Youth at 5pm.

Full report from Russ Gibbs to come. Mariners views below.

How the Mariners saw it..below

Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna reviews the Mariners’ 2-1 triumph over ACT Premier League heavyweights Belconnen United at the Belconnen Soccer Centre this evening.

Two goals from 17-year-old triallist Taylor Beaton secured the Mariners their hard fought win.

With barely a starting eleven of contracted senior players available for selection, the Mariners were forced to wait until the final minute to secure their fourth win of their pre-season trial match program – Canberran starlet Beaton delivering the telling blows against his current club.

Beaton, having played the first half with Belconnen, traded sky blue for yellow and navy in the second stanza and first drew the Mariners level shortly after the hour mark before netting the match winner with the final kick of the game.

Earlier, Dustin Wells had given Belconnen the advantage – one that the home side, who currently sit second in the ACT Premier League, thoroughly deserved and held onto until the second half intervention from regular team-mate Beaton.

Most positively, midfield ace Matthew Osman completed his 15-minute cameo towards the end of the match without any complications in what was his first contribution to a competitive or non-competitive match since October 2007.

The Mariners’ pre-season trial match program continues in the nation’s capital in two days time with a match against local representative outfit the ACT Rockets at the Deakin Football Centre on Friday, 27 June. Kick off is at 7pm.

And from Alex Wilkinson:

Central Coast Mariners captain Alex Wilkinson reviews the Mariners’ 2-1 triumph over ACT Premier League heavyweights Belconnen United at the Belconnen Soccer Centre this evening.

It was the Mariners’ most experimental line up of the pre-season trial match program to date that made hard work of proceedings early on, if not for the stern challenge offered by Belconnen than because of the unfamiliar weather conditions that plummeted to 3° by kick off.

The visitors were dealt a blow at training yesterday, with Paul O’Grady and Bradley Porter both ruled out of the fixture with slight injury concerns – further depleting the Mariners’ already threadbare playing stocks.

Indeed, the only 2007/08 regulars to feature in the starting side for the yellow and navy were Andrew Clark, Dean Heffernan, John Hutchinson, Sasho Petrovski and Wilkinson, all of whom, bar Heffernan, have featured prominently in the lead up to season four.

Former New Zealand Knights midfielder Dustin Wells slotted home the opener on 34 minutes and, in truth, it was no less than the home side deserved.

The Blue Devils were good value for their one-goal advantage and were equally deserving of their first half clean sheet, with the Mariners largely frustrated going forward and limited in their chances on goal.

In accordance with Football Manager Lawrie McKinna introducing a further three triallists from the bench as the match wore on, in addition to Matthew Osman’s late inclusion, the Mariners began to assert their authority to greater effect and were justifiably rewarded with two goals.

Standout Taylor Beaton produced two clinical finishes to make sure of the plaudits for the Mariners, who will stay in the capital for another two days – culminating in a fixture against the ACT Rockets at the Deakin Football Centre.

The Mariners’ pre-season trial match program continues in the nation’s capital in two days time with a match against local representative outfit the ACT Rockets at the Deakin Football Centre on Friday, 27 June. Kick off is at 7pm.


Another Dutchman to replace Rob Baan?

Steve O'Connor's replacement at the AIS Dutchman Jan Versleijen is rumoured to have been given a contract worth between $300k & $350k a year; but has a get out clause after 6 months if the U20 Aust Team do not get through their World Cup qualifiers!

Great commitment!

Not sure what the AIS development program is supposed to do after 6 months (allows him to head back to UAE if he wants?). Nice contract if you can get it.

Oh and Rob Baan's replacement? You bet, he's Dutch.

Will it ever end? Should it ever end?


Matildas in line for AFC Player of the Year Award

Heather Garriock and Collette McCallum nominated, but unlikely to win this year I reckon. AFC Release below.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two players each from the semi-finalist teams of the recently concluded AFC Women’s Asian Cup figure in the first list of contenders for the coveted AFC Women’s Player of the Year award released by AFC today.

Co-headlining the roster are reigning AFC Women’s Player of the Year Ri Kum-suk, who steered DPR Korea to the silverware in Ho Chi Minh City with seven goals, and tournament MVP Homare Sawa of Japan, who picked up the accolade after helping her side finish third.

Sawa, who was named the best Asian women’s player in 2004, was first runner-up to Ri Kum-suk last year.

Also in contention from DPR Korea is another architect of their memorable triumph, midfielder Ri Un-gyong.

Xu Yuan, who has taken over the mantle from the legendary Sun Wen, and her fellow Chinese striker Qu Feifei will also be vying for the award alongside the Australian duo of left-wingback Heather Garriock and playmaker Collete McCallum, who was second runner-up in the 2007 awards.

Aya Miyama, who pulled the strings for Japan from the centre of the park, rounds off the list of eight players which will be updated after the Beijing Olympics.

At 29 years Ri Kum-suk is the oldest of the eight contenders while McCallum is the youngest at 22 years.

The second AFC Women’s Awards ceremony will be held on November 20 here in the Malaysian capital.


DPR Korea
Ri Kum-Suk (April 25, DPR Korea)
Ri. Un-Gyong (Wolmeido Sports Club, DPR Korea)

Xu Yuan (Shanghai Club, China)
Qu Feifei (Army Club, China)

Homare Sawa (NTV Beliza, Japan)
Aya Miyama(Okayama Yunosato Belle,Japan)

Heather Garriock (Fortuna Hjorring, Denmark)
Collette McCallum (Pali Blues, W League USA)


Lawrie McKinna speaks:

And you can check the accuracy or otherwise on this weeks podcast see earlier post.

On Gary Van Egmond's match winning tactics in the Grand Final: "Rubbish," says Lawrie. "If Tony Vidmar hadn't slipped and the ref had given a penalty when (James) Holland handled in the last minute we may have won. We didn't play well."

On Gosford born Jess Van Stratten: Juventus's Jess Van Stratten didn't train with us, he had coffee.

He's back in Italy now, and we'd like him to come and cover for Vukovic. We'll see.

Mile Jedinak played 4 long balls for the Socceroos (v China). I know I counted them. We tell him not to play long balls. Mile is great at breaking up the play and playing short balls. Maybe he hit one wrong and felt he had to show he could do it.

On his aspirations "I'd like to Coach at a higher level. I feel my accent is held against me."

On other matters of importance:
Tom Pondlejak didn't perform often enough.
Adam Kwasnik is gone.
Lee Hendrie, Sheff United, doesn't want to come to Australia.
We're lacking an attacking midfield player.
We've got three spots, four with Kwasnik leaving, left in our squad.
"I recommended Charlie Miller to Frank Farina." (Don't you like Frank, Lawrie? okay I'm a Celtic fan and Charlie is ex-Rangers!)
Canberra's Taylor Beaton is impressive and he's only 17 in't he, he'll play a half for us against Belconnen.

Watching Rangers lose the league to Celtic was worse than losing the UEFA Cup. (Well I had to ask how he felt, how he rated it. Wouldn't you?)

With the Mariners season extended due to the Asian Champions League next season "I don't want to hear any complaints of players being tired. And my wife is staying home looking after the dog and the grandchild.


What is that noise in Canberra?

Canberra A-League rumbles.

My very new best mate ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr said today at the launch of the Kanga Cup, "We're looking at ways to get Canberra, Canberra business into China."

And I bumped into Opposition member Sports nut Bill Stefaniak as well. He thought the A-League in Canberra would be a good idea as well or so it seemed.

Well hello world. Let's get that A-League push happening. And it seems that the push is back on. It's early days but the sleeping giant of Canberra sport is starting to stir. Watch this space.

And on another note Heather Reid teased, "If the Minister releases land to us I've got people ready to build a sports complex, with stadium, swimming pool, pitches the lot."

The Minister smiled.

It was that sort of Press Conference. $1.4 million upgrade announced for Hawker Oval. A synthetic pitch, floodlights and upgrade to changing rooms and additional rooms and works.

Slowly but surely the infrastructure, the pathways will come. Too slow for me, but it's coming.


Kanga Cup: 230 teams expected.

230 teams, 600 games all for football in Canberra. Must be worth some dough to the community.

The 2008 McDonalds Kanga Cup has received a record number of applications with 230 teams expected to converge on the nation’s capital in two weeks time for the week long junior football tournament.

In its 18th year, the international junior football tournament is the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere with 76 teams from NSW, 5 from Queensland, 4 from South Australia and 1 from Western Australia.

“It’s certainly a thrill to see the number of teams that have entered this year, from not only across Australia but around the world” McDonalds Kanga Cup coordinator Sarah Body said.

“For the first time in ages we’re welcoming back teams from the United States of America and Western Australia.”

The week long tournament will see over 600 matches be played out over ten venues with finals at Greenway Enclosed, McKellar and Deakin Stadium on Thursday and Friday.

According to Body, along with a record number of teams, this year’s McDonald’s Kanga Cup will see some differences.

“It’s with excitement that we’re introducing an under 10’s division to this year’s tournament for the first time which will be great for those young ones to play against some opposition they’ve never encountered.”

Local, interstate and international teams may be competing for the prestigious silverware the tournament’s sole focus isn’t on results rather ‘uniting the youth of the world through football’ with a number of cultural and social activities organised for the week.

“The ever popular Host Night makes a return on Monday along with the Moove to the Groove Disco on Tuesday followed by the Greater Union Movie Night on Wednesday,” Body said.

“All the activities provide the perfect opportunities for all participants to interact and build friendships in a non-competitive environment.”

Along with a record number of teams, 130 referees from interstate and the ACT will officiate the tournament, a record of its own.

“Referees are an integral part of the tournament with the McDonalds Kanga Cup playing an important role in the development of not only players but referees as well,” referee coordinator Daniel Murphy said.

The Kanga Cup kicks off on the 6th July with the Opening Ceremony at the AIS and concludes on Friday with finals and an award presentation.


Canberra Football Game Caller wanted!

Running-Ball need a Canberra live match reporter. Details below.

I received an email from Michael asking the following. Thought some Canberra football nut might want a bit of dosh. Don't email me, please, email Michael address at the bottom.

I am emailing you is because I work for a company called Running-Ball ( what we do is provide "live match reporters". Basically the job entails you to be on the phone the whole game(they pay for the call!) and you tell them the happenings on the pitch, whos attacking, red/yellow cards, goals etc. This information is used be Asian betting companies for adjusting live odds. So the reason why I am emailing a Canberran is because as you might know the AIS play in the VPL these days and my company is hoping to cover all VPL games, theyre next home game is July 5. Pay is $80 a game and entry is free at AIS games.

I hoping you'd know someone who may be interested, seeing you are quite a football enthusiast. So if you do know anyway please pass on this email to them or my MSN address which is



Canberra Women's A-League news.

Capital Football presented their proposal for a women's A-League team to the FFA in Sydney yesterday.

With the FFA favouring an A-League based approach to the new women's league Canberra's entry is not certain.

Capital Football presented a plan showing how and why a Canberra team should be included.

With the number of girls and women playing in Canberra, the never-ending supply of National team players and our history of women's football the FFA would be silly, nay daft, to leave the region out.

With mid-July set as the date for the official announcement of the new league, it's not long before Canberra an surrounding regions will know its fate.


Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Nearpost Radio/Podcast: Mariners and Matildas

On the Nearpost: Central Coast Mariners' Lawrie McKinna and Matildas Amy Chapman and Caitlin Munoz.

powered by ODEO


Central Coast Mariners Coach Lawrie McKinna joins us in the studio. We focus on the Mariners as they prepare for the fourth A-League season.
Fitsum and Michella talk Socceroos, we've quiz questions, A-League news, dedications and all the Matildas news.

Chris and Russ talk to Matildas stars Amy Chapman and Caitlin Munoz. they join us in the studio about the Asia Cup, The Peace Cup and how they beat Brazil 1-0. Sarah Body talks Kanga Cup.

All mens and women's Premier League did not record. Apologies. We will fix it!


Canberra's Shaun Ontong's injury blow

FourFourTwo are reporting Canberra born and Newcastle Jets new signing Shaun Ontong is out for three months.

This is a real blow for Ontong who was desperate to impress and further his career with the Jets. Shaun was an entertaining guest on Nearpost radio recently, we wish him a quick recovery.


Olyroos and Matildas to play NZ in Sydney.

The Qantas Under 23s and the Matildas will face New Zealand's Men's and Women's Olympic Football teams at North Sydney Oval on Saturday 12 July. FFA Release below.

Qantas Under 23s and Matildas Play Neighbours from Across the Ditch

The Qantas Under 23s and the Matildas will face New Zealand's Men's and Women's Olympic Football teams at North Sydney Oval on Saturday 12 July.

This will be the first opportunity for football fans to see the Qantas Under 23 team that will head to China for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after the final squad is announced in Sydney earlier in July, They will meet the New Zealand Under 23 Men's team which is also Beijing-bound, having come through Oceania qualification undefeated.

The Matildas will provide essential match practice for the New Zealand Women's team, the Football Ferns, as they also head off to Beijing. While the Matildas fell narrowly to North Korea in the final qualifying stage, the Football Ferns, qualified for the Olympic Games after defeating Papua New Guinea 2-0 in a play-off in March.

The double header kick's off at 12 noon when the Matildas meet the New Zealand Women's Football team, with the Qantas Under 23s going head to head with the New Zealand Under 23 Men's Football team at 2.00pm.

Ticket's for both matches are on sale from today from Ticketek, via the internet, over the phone, at outlets or at the ground on match day.


FFA annoints: Jan Versleijen, Okon, Williams, Edwards and Tobin.

The younger Jan Versleijen, thank god he's Dutch!

FFA have announced the appointment of the new AIS Coach Jan Versleijen and four "young" coaching scholarship worth $25,000 per year for three years for Alistair Edwards, Paul Okon, Alex Tobin and Nicola Williams. Full release below.

24 June 2008

Three former Socceroos, including two Socceroos captains, and a former national women’s league player have been named today as the recipients of the inaugural Elite Coach Development Scholarships by Football Federation Australia (FFA), simultaneously with the announcement of 53 year old Jan Versleijen as the new Australian Institute of Sport (AIS)/Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach.

“Today’s announcement is about building for the future,” said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

“On the one hand, we are delighted to announce the appointment of someone as credentialed and able as Jan Versleijen to head our national youth program which is vital to the long term success of Australian football.

“But on the other hand, we’re also investing in the future by announcing the recipients of our inaugural scholarships under the Elite Coach Development Program,” Buckley said.

Versleijen has an extensive record in football in the Netherlands, Asia and the Middle East having coached at senior and youth levels in clubs such as Venlo, Roda and Go Ahead Eagles in the Netherlands, JEF United in Japan, as well as clubs in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. He has also held the position of coach of the Dutch U17 and U23 teams.

“This is a significant addition to our senior national coaching staff,” said FFA National Technical Director, Rob Baan.

“The current group of players involved in the National Under 20 Men’s Football Program are expected to feature heavily in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games, the 2011 and 2015 Asian Cups and 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups.

“With the advent of the new National Youth League competition this year, the National Under 20 Men’s Football Head Coach will be extremely important for the preparation of players for not only the Hyundai A-League, but also the Qantas Socceroos of the future.

“In Jan Versleijen, we have someone who is not only in step with the technical direction of Australian football, but who also knows the Asian Football Confederation very well,” Baan said.

Acting AIS Director Phil Borgeaud said Versleijen's appointment continued the Institute's tradition of pursuing excellence.

“Jan is a coach of tremendous experience and great quality who I have no doubt will continue the Institute's excellent work in producing talented footballers who will go on to excel at the national and international levels of the game,” Borgeaud said.

“The Institute's proud record of preparing players for national and international representation is testimony to the quality of the program.”

“The 2006 Socceroos World Cup squad of 23 players contained 12 former AIS scholarship holders.”

“The likes of Frank Farina, Craig Moore, Mark Viduka, Brett Emerton, Lucas Neil, Mark Bresciano, Josh Kennedy and Vince Grella are just a few of the past and present international players who have come through the AIS Football program.”

The next major tournament for the Qantas Young Socceroos is the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U19 Championships to be played in Saudi Arabia in November , which also serve as the qualifying tournament for the next FIFA U20 World Cup to be held in Egypt in 2009.

Buckley and Baan said that four people had been awarded scholarships valued at $25,000 each under the Elite Coach Development Program.

Paul Okon from Sydney, Alex Tobin of the Central Coast Mariners, Alastair Edwards and Nicola Williams (both of Perth) will take up their scholarships from 1 July.

The Elite Coach Development Program is a scholarship program for younger coaches who aspire to coach at the elite level - whether for an Institute, Women's National League, Hyundai A-League or national team coach position.

"FFA is committed to ongoing growth in the area of football development,” said FFA CEO, Ben Buckley.

“It’s a vital component of our National Football Development Plan, and these scholarships provide another level of implementation in this area.”

Baan added that the Elite Coach Development Program will provide the springboard for targeted Australian coaches to ultimately reach the top of the coaching profession.

“Paul Okon, Alex Tobin, Alastair Edwards and Nicola Williams are all very worthy recipients of these four inaugural scholarships,” Baan said.

“While their playing and professional careers have been very different, they each bring something unique to a potential coaching career and each demonstrate considerable thought for where the game is heading.

“They are typical of the coach of the future in Australia,” Baan concluded.

Baan will lead the program, with assistance from the National Coach Education Manager, Kelly Cross, and the FFA National Teams and Football Development Units.

Each recipient will have a program customised for their level of existing expertise, skills, interests and aspirations.

Paul Okon, 36, said that he was delighted to receive a scholarship.

“It has always been my ambition to get into coaching at the highest level possible,” Okon said.

“I have been playing football for more than 30 years, and have been fortunate to play in the first division in Belgium (Club Brugge), Italy (Lazio and Fiorentina) and England (Leeds and Middlesbrough) as well as here at home, and I would like to share this knowledge as well as gain more.

“The technical direction football is heading in Australia, with people like Rob Baan at the helm, is the right direction for us and I want to be part of it.

“We are seeing the effects of this expertise and I hope that the scholarship will give me greater access and a more thorough understanding of this football methodology and philosophy,” said Okon.

The scholarships are valid for up to three years.


Monday, 23 June 2008

Mariners name strong squad

The Mariners have named a strong squad to face Belconnen on Wednesday and the ACT Rockets on Friday.

New signings former Socceroo Ahmed Elrich and Dylan McAllister are in the squad, alongside John Hutchison, Dean Heffernan, Sasho Petrovski and former AIS keeper Andrew Redmayne. Full squad below.

In regards to our squad, please observe the below list:

3 Paul O'Grady
5 Bradley Porter
6 David D'Apuzzo
7 John Hutchinson
8 Dean Heffernan
9 Nik Mrdja
12 Greg Owens
15 Andrew Clark
17 Matthew Osman
18 Alex Wilkinson
20 Danny Vukovic (gk)
21 Ahmad Elrich
22 Sasho Petrovski
27 Dylan Macallister
30 Andrew Redmayne (gk)
Predrag Bojic (triallist)
Frank Lagana (triallist)
Nathan Moseley (triallist)

Not all are fit or eligible to play.


Meet the Rockets

It should be a cracker of a confrontation.

Russ Gibbs gives the lowdown on the ACT players to take on the Mariners this Friday.


By Russ Gibbs

Gathering together a diverse group of players to mould into a team to represent a state is no easy proposition. Inevitably, given the various opinions of the selection committee, there will be some highly talented individuals that will miss out. For the 2008 version of the ACT Rockets, re-invented after a four year hiatus,

Capital Football have chosen two coaches whose respective teams like to play football by keeping possession and attacking at pace. Having a concept of how a side should play is fine, but who has been selected to carry out these ideals?

Coaches Dean Ugrinic and Scott Conlon have selected an eclectic mix of individuals, each with their own unique abilities. Over the last four weeks the group has trained together in an attempt to field a side that will be a proud representation of football in the Capital.

Here, we briefly profile what you can expect from the players picked to represent the ACT in the clash against the Central Coast Mariners at Deakin Football Stadium on Friday 27th June.

Coaches: Softly-spoken O’Connor Knights head coach Dean Ugrinic is the man tasked with masterminding the Rockets to a competitive performance against the Mariners.

Formerly a player with Belconnen United, Canberra Deakin and the University of Canberra at local Premier League level, his ideas hold the key to success. Assisting Ugrinic is Tuggeranong United coach Scott Conlon.

Conlon, who was voted ACT Coach of the Year in 2007, plied his on-field trade with Canberra Cosmos, Canberra Deakin and Gungahlin Juventus as a distinguished midfielder of some note, as well as enjoying a stint overseas at Harrogate Town in the UK.


Between the posts coaches Ugrinic and Conlon can rely on two knowledgeable, top quality shot-stoppers. The athletic Nathan Denham was the rock between the posts for Canberra FC in their treble-winning season last year and his commanding presence and vocal attributes should ensure that the Mariners are made to work hard for goals.

Brett Dickens of Tuggeranong United brings a wealth of experience to the squad having been a former Rockets goalkeeper and Brisbane Lions representative. ‘Dicko’s’ main qualities are his excellent sense of positioning and superb reflexes.


Agile and quick Canberra FC’s John Ison is built very much in the mould of the modern-day defender. Visually aware, and with the ability to read a game, his pace and physical prowess mean he is a hard man to beat.

Ison’s distribution from the back will be a key component of the Rockets game.

Belconnen United defender Matt Valeri brings a harder edge to the ACT back-line without compromising its ball-playing ability. Comfortable carrying the ball from the back and strong in the air the Blue Devils stopper looks to be an excellent foil for Ison in a solidly built Rockets back-four.

Stopper Steve Rezzo, who plays his club football at the O’Connor Knights, is a tough-tackling, no-nonsense centre-back/stopper who belies his physical size by showing excellent technique when in possession. Rezzo is one of four Knights in the squad. Rezzo’s team mate at club level, David Brouwer, is a solid and technical right-footed full back who is most at home collecting the ball and distributing it to his wingers.

Brouwer possess good pace and is often found overlapping his more attacking Knights colleagues. When in position to do so he delivers some devilishly accurate crosses from the flank. Unfortunately a medial ligament tear put paid to Brouwer’s chance to shine and his place in the squad was taken by Lucas Roth.

The versatile Roth, who is shortly to leave for the USA and a scholarship, can play anywhere along the back line but is most at home as a sweeper/stopper/centre-half. His composure on the ball and coolness under pressure will be a major benefit to the Rockets against their more experienced opponents.


Across the middle of the park Ugrinic and Conlon are gifted with a variety of talent that can create chances and put them away themselves. The silky skills and hard-working ethos of Adam Spaleta, Canberra FC, are the perfect complement to the attacking style this team threatens.

With the added bonus of being able to play further forward, if required, Spaleta brings a touch of class to the central midfield area. Canberra Olympic’s midfield triumvirate of Victor Yanes, Trent Flanigan and young tyro Oliver Wiederkehr bring a neat combination into the mix. Flanigan, an Australian Futsalroo international, has quick feet allied to a quick mind which enables him to see opportunities that his forwards readily take advantage of, making Flanigan one to watch

Wiederkehr is a winger of rare talent. With a low centre of gravity he is able to side-step his way at pace through the tightest of defences and his sheer speed will be a bonus out wide should he be given the chance to run at the Mariners defensive line. Yanes, who was joint ACT Player of the Year in 2007, is another with a stack of tricks and the vision to make use of the space he creates with his undoubted talent.

His creative skills could be the key to unlocking the Mariners back four with his perceptive passes a feature of Canberra Olympic’s matches this term. Woden Valley captain Marcin Zygmunt possess a lethal shot and a wide-range of passing, over both short and long distances.

The powerfully built central midfielder allies pace with power and is a difficult man to stop when in full stride with most of Woden’s attacking play starting at his feet. A surprise choice to some, Pat Ross-McGee has been impressive in training and certainly deserves his place amongst the elite. The ball-playing Canberra City midfielder has a dynamic running style and is invariably found in the right position to keep attacks flowing.

Not one to shy his defensive duties Ross-McGee’s tracking back and covering are also excellent. The engine-room of the O’Connor Knights midfield, Justin Selkirk, is a tall central midfielder who is the hub of the action at O’Connor Enclosed. A defensive midfielder with a huge tank of petrol, he will run all day, and is renowned for his perceptive delivery and for covering huge swathes of the pitch throughout the ninety minutes.


In the attacking department the Rockets are blessed with some terrific strikers, each with a devastating eye for goal. Elusive Canberra Olympic forward/midfielder Travis Dries is equally at home in the centre of midfield or out on the wing as sometimes utilised by his club.

The 2006 ‘Golden Boot’ has pace to burn, trickery and an uncanny knack of scoring spectacular goals as evidenced throughout his Premier League career with Woden Valley, Tuggeranong United and latterly Olympic.

Canberra FC centre-forward Paul Ivanic likes to drop deep from where he can use his blistering acceleration to dart into goal scoring positions, and once in, he rarely misses as his eleven goals so far this season testify.

Tall and powerful, yet equally as good on the floor as in the air, Ivanic should prove a real handful for the Mariners defence. Completing the trio of attackers is O’Connor Knights hit-man Goran Veljanovski. The talented and skilful forward has a wonderful touch and a sharp-turn and is a prolific finisher of chances. Veljanovski grabbed a mind-boggling eleven goals in the Knights successful Federation Cup campaign and hasn’t stopped scoring since – a dangerous and frighteningly consistent player.

Queanbeyan City front man Goran Josifovski was added to the squad as a standby player at the initial selection meeting. Josifovski is yet another player with a good touch, quick feet and an eye for the target. He has been in excellent form for his club in recent weeks finding the net on a regular basis and kick-starting Queanbeyan’s resurgence in the ACT Premier League.

On paper it looks like a formidable squad. Every player has been selected on merit for their ability to play precise football at pace. This requires a decent first touch, vision and awareness of the positioning of team-mates and opponents alike.

On the evidence of the sessions to date Ugrinic and Conlon have chosen well. It just remains to be seen whether this group has the underpinning qualities required to take on the 2007 A-League grand Finalists. It should be a cracker of a confrontation.


ACT Premier League Wrap.

Belconnen send a big warning to the Central Coast Mariners with a 0-0 draw with Queanbeyan City on the weekend, Canberra FC power on, Woden Valley grab their first win and Scott Barsley wins it for Olympic. Thanks To Russ Gibbs for the wrap below.

Belconnen 0 Queanbeyan City 0

"If we'd have played for forty years we'd never have scored," said Belconnen Coach Steve Forshaw.

Another great point for Queanbeyan, let's hope Belconnen can lift their game for the Mariners match on Wednesday, 7pm.

Meanwhile Canberra FC can see the finishing line...maybe. A 4-1 away win over O'Connor Knights sent further disappointment to the Belconnen side.

Paul Ivanic, Alex Castro, Adam Spaleta and Dom Giampaolo scored for Canberra. The game ended as a contest afte three goals came in the first fifteen minutes. Goal machine Goran Veljanovski replied for O'Connor.

Canberra City 2 Canberra Olympic 4

Zac Rando and Tom Davies scored for City, while Scott Barsley (2) Trent Flanigan and Travis Driers took the points for Olympic.

And well done to Woden Valley got their first win of the season. They beat ANU FC 3-1.Goals from Jon Caggiano (2) Marcia Zygmunt did the job. Jason Prestei scored for the Uni.

Tuggeranong United bye.
Canberra FC 27
Belco 20
Olympic 17
Knights 12
Queanbeyan 9
Woden Valley 6
Canberra City 3