South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Parramatta Vs. South Melbourne – Match Preview

Parramatta Vs. South Melbourne – Match Preview

Thursday, 18 September 2003 12:00 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

Saturday night sees South Melbourne travel to Parramatta Stadium for the opening game of the 2003/2004 National Soccer League against the Nick Theodorakopoulos’ coached Parramatta Power.

It’s no secret that in a period of financial gloom for the local game the Power have defied the norm and assembled one of the most if not the most powerful playing rosters in Australia.

The off-season has seen names such as Rech, Milicic, Dodd, Colosimo, Gumprecht, Durante, Pantelis and Bolton join the Power squad in what appears to be a last ditch attempt from the NSW-based club to secure a backer to maintain its future longevity.

South Melbourne have also added greatly to their playing roster, in Max Lohy and Michael Panopoulos South has managed to obtain two players with European experience, coupled with the return of Michael Curcija to lead the line and the confirmation that Con Boutsianis has committed himself for the next three seasons, it’d be safe to assume that Saturday’s encounter looms as a potentially high-scoring affair.

Retained from last season’s squad Parramatta top scorer John Buonavoglia and young Socceroo Ahmed Elrich add yet another dimension to the Power’s attacking presence. Coach Munro will no doubt be favouring a tentative approach early on, one looking to stifle the attacking ability of the Power and hence allow South to try and achieve some early confidence in the middle of the park. Crucial to this strategy will be the combination of Michael Panopoulos and Massimo Murdocca; both players have shown a cohesive understanding throughout the preseason, with Murdocca in particular looking to have emerged a better player from his off-season trials in Portugal.

Without a doubt the somewhat makeshift South Melbourne defence will come under close scrutiny, in Durakovic and Kovacevic South have two of the leagues’ most solid and confronting centre backs, however, new acquisitions Steve Laurie and Simon Storey remain largely unproven at NSL level. Levent Osman brings some much needed experience to the backline, however, the test of Rech, Milicic and Buonavoglia should go a long way in determining where the South Melbourne defence lies.

Game: Parramatta Power vs South Melbourne
Date: Saturday 20 September 2003
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Kickoff: 6.30pm AET

HEAD TO HEAD (Overall):
Played: 8
Parramatta wins: 2
South Melbourne wins: 5
Draws: 1

HEAD TO HEAD (at Parramatta):
Played: 4
Parramatta wins: 2
South Melbourne wins: 2
Draws: 0

Last Encounter: Parramatta 4-1 home win – 1 March 2003

Position on ladder last season: 3rd V 7th

PARRAMATTA POWER SQUAD: C Bolton (gk), A Durante, A Ceccoli, S Colosimo, M Beauchamp, M Thompson, T Dodd, A Gumprecht, A Milicic, F Rech, L Pantelis, A Elrich, P Zorbas, J Buonavoglia, D Vukovic (gk)

OUT: K Salapasidis (foot – 4 weeks), P O’Grady (groin – 3 weeks), D Beltrame (shoulder – 10 weeks), V Ripepi (wrist – 4 weeks)

SOUTH MELBOURNE SQUAD: E Galekovic (gk), L Osman, S Storey, M Durakovic, M Murdocca, M Lohy, A Kovacevic, V Coveny, M Curcija, C Boutsianis, M Stergiopoulos, S Laurie, V Lia, M Panapoulos, M Theoklitos (gk)


Privacy Preference Center