Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Stars on club emblems, yay or nay?

Nick Amies, Gerald Crawford and Clive MacKillop talk over the Mariners' decision to wear championship stars, as well as assessing the value of the A-League finals series. We also discuss the W-League grand final between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC whilst bringing you some news from all corners of Australian football.

or play right from your computer....


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Nearpost Football Show January 23rd

Nick Amies, Gerald Crawford and Clive MacKillop discuss the weekend's A-league action as well as taking a closer look at Wellington Phoenix..

or play right from your computer....


Football Fans: Australia Day was never like this.

A long long time as a new immigrant I'd wander along to the Australia Day events, watch with bemusement at cars carrying their Australian flag, complete with Union Jack, and wonder at the sentiments being thrown from the passing windscreens of cars. Wait for the fireworks - is there any other way to celebrate in Australia other than fireworks - and then we'd all resume normal service, until ANZAC Day when we do it all again.

Most sports fans watched cricket on Australia Day (or maybe Tennis), as they had on Boxing Day it seems, and all throughout the summer. Cricket is not my thing.

Football fans had to follow the overnight scores from England, Italy or in my case Celtic Park.

It didn't feel right.

Having grown up and enjoyed the passion surrounding football in the UK I yearned for a game, a big game, a televised game with a passionate crowd right here in my new country.

There was the occasional Grand Final in Perth or Brisbane that made me wonder. There was the Socceroos' home qualifier every four years and that in terms of big games was largely it. I know we had the NSL - I watched it all but it didn't feel quite right to me. Not in terms of crowds, stadia - remember Archie at Morwell on TV, his current stage is more appropriate - and certainly not in terms of media coverage.

Now we have our own occasions. And lots of them seem to be building.

We can even get into Australia Day, and from fans with tickets the noise is this will be the highlight of the day. What a fantastic way to end the day.

And fireworks on the football field, Archie v ADP or should that be Rojas v ADP. That's my idea of an Australia Day celebration.

Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC - sold out. Followed by the Wanderers v Heart. Two games sure to cause any sports fan to stop for a moment as they flick through the channels.

Heck! We're even grabbing and using some of the AFL ideas, you know where we make ANZAC legends blur with Lance Franklin or Chris Judd or is it the other way round.

The FFA have taken the immigration ceremonies which are held across Australia Day and planted them front and centre into the Melbourne Sydney game. I hate it, but it's mainstream and it's brilliant.

This is where the game needs to be.

And I'm sure many in the crowd will ponder their own, or their families passage to Australia at this moment.

Football is building some great rivalries, some passion in the stands and increasing quality in the coaching arena and in the teams on display. The tempo is up the skills are responding. In short we're moving, fast.

Buzz Rothfield wrote this week that football has more avid 15-34 male fans than cricket. Read that again and discuss!

If this statement is correct, it's a startling positive statistic in a country where football on tv has been largely hidden, and cricket know the rest.

We've a long way to go in football in Australia, but Australia Day will become a traditional day for football fans and sports viewers.

Can't wait for Australia Day! I'd never thought I'd say that!


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Tom Rogic - path to Celtic Park?

Canberra's Tom Rogic has signed a four and a half year deal with Scottish Champions Celtic.

And while many have seen Tom in one of his 28 professional games to date few will know that the former ANU and Belconnen United Premier League player struggled to find a pathway from his talented potential in Canberra local teams to full-time professional.

 Canberra football in the past has struggled to help our late developers. If they didn't get into the 20 man AIS national program, at 17, they were finished. All of them.

In Canberra, faced with being dumped from the local ACTAS program - Rogic didn't make the AIS national program - he simply had nowhere to go. The local Premier League, training twice a week is simply no stepping stone to professional football in it's current form.

Fortunately the visionary John Mitchell took Tom and a number of other talented ex-ACTAS players, introduced a fitness regime planned by fmr Fulham Head Conditioning Coach and Canberran Andrew Young, football intensive training guided by Fmr AIS Head Coach and Canberran Ron Smith and the team was passionately lead by John.

It took one individual to bring in this talented group of professionals to assist our local youth. (Interestingly the program was never supported by the local Football Association. Too visionary at the time it seems, the program is now dead.)

Tom of course was a tremendous prospect. Slow they said. Too gangly they said. But anyone who watched him play knew he had something special.

Futsal - he represented Australia at a very young age. Next time your coach winces at the word - check out you Coaches skills. His technical skills. Are they any good! Probably not.

Of course it's hard to go from ANU men's to the A-League.

But the Nike World Challenge helped!

Tom won it!

Competing to be one of four from Australia and NZ, Rogic made that cut.

But amazingly when competing for the Nike World title in the UK against players from Brazil, Europe etc Tom won again.

He came back to Australia due to visa requirements and was picked up by fmr Socceroo and Reading player Andrew Bernal. The Canberra born Bernal worked hard with Rogic to lift his fitness levels prior to and after the Nike challenge.

The story goes.

Bernal rang Rogic late on Christmas Eve. "Training tomorrow Tom, 6am Mount Ainslie."

Rogic was the first to turn up.

Bernal simply wanted to test the guys dedication! Bernal knew what it would take to get anywhere near a contract.

To the Mariners under the watchful eye of Graham Arnold, Rogic instantly replaced media darling and upcoming star Mustafa Amini. No easy feat..unless you were better!

He'll be marked in Scotland, unlike in the A-League where he often roamed free from Sydney and Melbourne's poor excuse for a defence.

But if he can crack a significant number of games this season and create something special, the roar from the stands in Glasgow will be like nothing he heard in Gosford.

Big club, big expectations.

A lot to learn but what an adventure.

Good luck in Paradise Tom Bhoy - every Canberra football fan wishes you well.