Thursday, 31 October 2002 12:00 AM
South Melbourne and Olympic Sharks have a great history of passionate interstate derbies, which have created a healthy rivalry between the two Clubs. Another contest will form this Sunday, when two former team-mates and Brisbane born coaches go head to head.
Danny Wright will be up against his former colleague and coach of Olympic Sharks Gary Phillips. They both played in Brisbane Strikers’ 1996/97 Championship, in which they served under current Socceroo coach Frank Farina. As players, they have both loyally represented the clubs that they now coach.
Danny Wright had a successful playing career winning two championships, represented Australia at the 1983 World Youth Cup Finals, played 92 games, scored 30 goals for Brisbane and another 167 games, scoring 19 goals for South Melbourne. Wright also won consecutive Championships in his first two years as a coach in the Queensland First Division.
Wright’s opposite number this week Gary Phillips, also thrived in his playing career. He played in three Championships, 277 NSL games and scored 18 career goals. In a remarkable debut season as coach, he took the Sharks to their second NSL Championship, winning 16 games, drew 5 and losing 8 along the way.
“Coaching against Danny Wright is not an issue. I have to concentrate on my players and South Melbourne players for that matter”.
“It’s pleasing to see Danny Wright, an old favourite at the South, take up the coaching job and put something back into Australian Soccer, just as he did as a player”, says Phillips.
Phillips will be cautious heading into this weeks match, saying travelling to South Melbourne has always been a difficult task, especially as a player.
“Danny and I both played for our respective Clubs. As a player I can only remember coming to Melbourne and beating South Melbourne on one occasion in 12 years. I came here as a coach last season and lost 3-0.
“It will be an interesting day. South Melbourne defeated Perth at home, which will be in the back of our minds and we will be cautious”.
South Melbourne coach Danny Wright has a lot of respect for his former colleague and is preparing or a tough encounter this Sunday.
“Gary and I shared some great experiences as team-mates playing for Brisbane. Since taking on Olympic Sharks coaching job, he’s achieved the ultimate in his first year as a National League coach and from all reports is well respected by his players”.
“It should be a very entertaining game, as Olympic Sharks are one of the more flamboyant teams in the NSL. They tend to play a lot of their football off the cuff, which makes it difficult to play a strategy against”.
South Melbourne will take on Olympic without classy defender Patrick Kisnorbo who’s injured heel will rule him out for another week. On a positive note, Vice Captain Steve Panopoulos who rested last Saturday suffering from a groin injury, has trained well and will be fighting for selection.