Thursday, 9 October 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
After two positive results away from home South Melbourne finally makes its home debut for season 2003/2004 against the Brisbane Strikers.
The Strikers find themselves lying an impressive third after an opening day victory against the Northern Spirit and two solid draws against Sydney Olympic and current champions the Perth Glory.
A win for South could see them consolidate a top 3 position whilst a Brisbane victory could see Stuart McLaren’s men top the table.
Brisbane have lost inspirational Brazilian import and former NSL player of the year Fernando Rech to the Parramatta Power, stepping in his shoes has been young Striker Luke Morley who has managed to score 2 goals in 3 appearances. Brisbane also boasts exciting youngsters in Australian representative Matthew McKay and nippy former Adelaide Force player Louis Brain.
The Strikers also possess a decent amount of experience, custodian Jason Kearton – a former Everton keeper – has remained an ever and solid presence in between the sticks for the Strikers since his return from England. In Shane Stefanutto, Peter Grierson and player/coach Stuart McLaren the Strikers boast quality players who are more than proven at NSL level. Add the acquisition of dangerous forward Royce Brownlie and South have more than a bit of homework to do in order to shut down the QLD-based club.
South however have started the season somewhat inspired, a great nil-all draw away to championship favourites Parramatta and a thumping 4-nil victory away to Wollongong sees South in both ominous attacking and defensive form. New recruits Simon Storey, Levent Osman and Ante Kovacevic have slotted in remarkably well and have managed to form a solid defensive understanding which has so far provided the Lakesiders with two clean sheets. Coupled with the array of attacking options the Albert Park based club possess in players such as Murdocca, Boutsianis, Coveny, Lia and Curcija not to mention the hopeful return of star recruit Michael Panopoulos means that a positive start for South in front of their home faithful is a genuine possibility.
Game: South Melbourne Vs Brisbane Strikers
Date: Sunday 12 October 2003
Venue: Bob Jane Stadium
HEAD TO HEAD (Overall):
Sth Melb wins 13
Brisbane wins 10
HEAD TO HEAD (at Melbourne)
Played: 12 (Regular Season)
Sth Melb wins 7
Brisbane wins 1
Sth Melb won 1-0, season 2002-2003
Sth Melb 4-0 away win V Wollongong
Brisbane 0-0 home draw V Perth
Position on Ladder: 5th V 3rd
SOUTH MELBOURNE SQUAD: E Galekovic (gk), M Durakovic, A Kovacevic, L Osman, M Stergiopoulos, M Curcija, C Boutsianis, S Tunbridge, V Coveny, S Pantelidis, M Lohy, M Panopoulos, S Storey, C Recchia, M Theoklitos (gk),
IN: M Panopoulos, C Recchia
OUT: V Lia & M Murdocca (Australia U/20 international duty)
BRISBANE STRIKERS SQUAD: J Kearton (gk), K Dodd, S Stefanutto, J McCloughan, S McLaren, P Grierson, S Fitzsimmons, A Webber, L Morley, J Rose, L Brain, D Pilic, R Brownlie, D Dreger, S Higgins (gk)
IN: D Dreger (promoted)
OUT: M McKay (Australia U/20 international duty)