Monday, 25 August 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
Atrocious local weather could not prevent South Melbourne continuing its 100% pre-season record. 1000-2000 odd diehard supporters braved the conditions to witness the renewal of the once much revered South Melbourne vs. Heidelberg derby.
Typically South dominated their State 1 division rivals, with Massimo Murdocca proving to be a constant menace throughout the night. Much-heralded recruit Michael Panopoulos made his debut for the Lakesiders playing the midfield anchor role with an assurance “reeking” of European experience. Panopoulos oozed class with every touch and should go on to become crucial to South’s plight in the upcoming season.
Dutch import Max Lohy again caught the eye showcasing great ball control and always threatening with his pace, Coach Munro seems to have unearthed a player more than capable of providing that moment of inspiration that can often turn a match.
To the “Bergers” credit the scoreboard remained un-affected going into the break, however, Heidelberg can be thankful that veteran custodian Jim Kourtis was in inspirational form, repeatedly making save after save to not only keep Heidelberg in the contest but to also prevent a complete blowout.
The second half saw South continue their domination, however this time they were somewhat rewarded for their efforts. A glancing Michael Curcija header saw Kourtis finally beaten and great linkup play between South legend Trimboli, – who had come on in the 2nd half – Lohy and Murdocca saw Murdocca bundled down in the area and a subsequent penalty awarded to the home side. New Zealand International Vaughn Coveny stepped up and dually dispatched to round off the scoring.
So a comfortable win to the NSL outfit and a fitting end to a great initiative from both clubs, hopefully such an encounter can become a regular annual event with a helping hand – where possible – from the “heavens” as well.