Thursday, 13 November 2003 12:00 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
This Sunday sees the recommencement of the local Melbourne derby. Stuart Munro’s men travel to Somers St to come up against perennial rivals the Melbourne Knights.
The Knights have been struggling this season and currently find themselves in 10th position. Last week saw Ian Dobson’s men put up a decent early showing against the Parramatta Power, however, the floodgates eventually opened and the Knights were well beaten by 4 goals to nil. Conversely South has had a solid start to the season but will be eager to atone for last week’s unfortunate 1 goal loss to the Perth Glory. A South victory would see the Lakesiders reclaim a top 4 birth.
Knight’s coach Ian Dobson – restricted by one of the tightest budgets in the NSL – has done a great job in moulding a side consisting of predominantly young players. Players such as Bill Natsioulas, Tom Razov, Serkan Oksuz, Isyan Erdogan and Adrian Leijer whilst largely unproven at NSL level should go on to have successful careers in the NSL. Western Australian goalkeeper Tommi Tomich is also expected to make his home debut, Tomich was one of the few shining lights in last weeks performance against the Power, Tomich comes equipped with a classical goalkeeping frame, decent height, and good shot stopping ability.
Ex-Carlton youth player Anthony Pelikan is a genuine danger-man, with 5 goals to his name so far this season, Pelikan is looking to establish himself as one of the NSL’s premier attacking players. The off-season saw Pelikan nearly secure a move to the Croatian first division; the move broke down at the last minute but thankfully for the Knights Pelikan has come back to Australia eager for a good season in order to press for Olympic selection and an eventual permanent overseas move.
The Vargas boys as always give the Knights both experience and sharpness, and the pacy Henry Fa’Arodo will need to be watched carefully as his explosive speed can surprise many NSL defensive lines.
On the other hand, South has named an unchanged squad from last week’s game against the Glory. Encouraging for the Albert-Park based club is the ever-increasing presence of Michael Panopoulos. In his past two encounters Panopoulos has slowly recovered much of his match fitness and is approaching decent form, his ability to pull the strings in the centre of the park is unmatched by most NSL centre-men, his influence along with the ever-present Vaughn Coveny – who not only provides many goals, but also a great option down the right flank – should hold South in decent stead.
Game: Melbourne Knights Vs South Melbourne
Date: Sunday 16 November 2003
Venue: Knights Stadium
HEAD TO HEAD (Overall)
Knights wins: 13
Sth Melb wins: 23
HEAD TO HEAD (at Melbourne)
Knights wins: 7
Sth Melb wins: 10
Knights wins 1-0
Knights lost 4-0 V Power
Sth Melb lost 1-0 V Perth
Position on Ladder:
10th V 5th
MELBOURNE KNIGHTS SQUAD: T Tomich (gk), S Zilic, R Vargas, A Kovacic, T Razov, I Erdogan, B Natsioulos, A Vargas, H Fa’Arodo, A Pelikan, N Waite, S Oksuz, N Sabljak, A Leijer, D Zilic (gk)
SOUTH MELBOURNE SQUAD: E Galekovic (gk), M Panopoulos, A Kovacevic, M Stergiopoulos, M Curcija, C Boutsianis, S Tunbridge, V Coveny, S Poutakidis, C Recchia, S Laurie, P Trimboli, L Osman, M Lohy, M Theoklitos (gk),