Friday, 7 November 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Sunday South Melbourne travels to Perth to face NSL champions the Perth Glory. Both teams have much to play for with a South victory moving the Albert Park based club into second position whilst a win for the Glory could potentially see Mitch D’Avray’s men reclaim top position.
Perth should come out keen to atone for last week’s astonishing defeat suffered at the hands of NSL title contenders the Parramatta Power, the Glory were comprehensively beaten 6-0 by a Power side that finally gelled and delivered on the much publicised talent they have at their disposal.
Conversely, South coach Stuart Munro has named an unchanged squad after his chargers put in their best performance of the current season in managing to overcome – by 2 goals to nil – the much revamped Marconi Stallions. Stuart Munro’s men lead brilliantly by Captain Vaughn Coveny and gun signing Michael Panopoulos – who pulled the strings in midfield – managed to produce an extremely even and consistent performance that had the South faithful present, quite rightly impressed.
Coach Munro will be eager to try and overcome the travel curse that has plagued South since the Glory’s inception. In seven visits to Western Australia, South’s best result remains a 0-0 draw; the other six games have resulted in defeats for the Lakesiders.
Both sides have experienced a reasonably heavy change in personnel over the off season, the most notable departures for the Glory include Simon Colosimo and Andre Gumprecht who have both gone to the Power whilst exciting young defender David Tarka has left for the English 1st division and joined Nottingham Forest. Former Sydney Olympic trio, Jade North, Tom Pondlejak and Wayne Srhoj have been brought in to help erase the memory of the departed trio. Perth has also managed to pull off somewhat of a coup by attracting former Australian and Sheffield United defender, Shaun Murphy, back to the club.
Besides their impressive off-season recruiting, Perth also possesses arguably the most deadly, but without a doubt, the most consistent forward line in the competition. In Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski the Glory have in their arsenal two front men who enjoy scoring goals for fun, add to this attacking presence the defensive stability provided by goalkeeping stalwart Jason Petkovic, the midfield drive experienced campaigners Matthew Horsely and Brad Hassell often supply along with a few up-and-coming youngsters such as Mark Byrnes and Adrian Caceres and the Glory possess one of the most balanced and impressive squads in this season’s competition.
So a tough encounter lays ahead for South, Munro’s men on purely historical data will not be expected to come away with a positive result, however, Munro has managed to assemble a squad that displays a never-ending and battling spirit, hopefully with an ounce of luck, South will be able to get something out of Sunday’s game.
Game: Perth Glory Vs South Melbourne
Date: Sunday 9 November 2003
Venue: Arena Joondalup
Radio: 6PR 882AM 3pm (WST) live broadcast (Perth only)
HEAD TO HEAD (Overall):
Glory wins: 8
Sth Melb wins: 3
HEAD TO HEAD (at Perth)
Played: 7 (Regular Season)
Glory wins: 6
Sth Melb win: 0
Glory won 2-0
Glory 6-0 away loss V Power
Sth Melb 2-0 home win V Marconi
Position on Ladder:
2nd V 3rd
PERTH GLORY SQUAD: J Petkovic (gk), J North, B Hassell, S Murphy, M Byrnes, M Bingley, T Pondeljak, W Srhoj, D Mori, S Miller, M Horsley, B Despotovski, A Caceres, J Coyne, V Matassa (gk)
IN: J North
OUT: N Mrdja (ommited)
SOUTH MELBOURNE SQUAD: E Galekovic (gk), M Panopoulos, A Kovacevic, M Stergiopoulos, M Curcija, C Boutsianis, S Tunbridge, V Coveny, S Poutakidis, C Recchia, K Sarkies, S Laurie, P Trimboli, L Osman, M Theoklitos (gk),