South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

Newcastle Vs. South – Preview

Newcastle Vs. South – Preview

Thursday, 18 December 2003 12:00 AM

By Michael Tsoukalis

NSL pacesetters South Melbourne travel to Energy Australia Stadium this Friday night to take on Ian Crook’s Newcastle United.

After last week’s impressive come-from-behind 2-1 victory against the Parramatta Power, Stuart Munro’s men will be eager to maintain their position atop the NSL ladder.

Super-consistent-South-workhorse Marcus Stergiopoulos will bring up his 200th NSL appearance against United whilst Captain Vaughn Coveny is only 2 goals shy from breaking the 100 goal NSL barrier.

Both sides met earlier in round 5 with South running out the comprehensive 4 goals to 1 winner. United are currently languishing in 7th position yet are only 2 points away from a top 6 position, hence, the importance of a United victory cannot be underestimated and with South looking to maintain their recent run of solid form, there is plenty at stake in this encounter.

United’s strength lies with experienced NSL campaigners such as Milan Blagojevic, Esala Masi, Robert Middleby, Scott Thomas, Damian Brown, Craig Deans and Peter Tsekenis who always assure that Newcastle present a competitive force in each and every encounter. Add to the experienced core the exciting Griffiths brothers and the emerging talent of players such as Jobe Wheelhouse and one can see that Ian Crook has done a great job in assembling a competitive squad.

Conversely, Stuart Munro has an abundance of talent to select his squad from. Fan’s favourite Sam Poutakidis has shown very consistent form over recent weeks culminating in a starring role against the Power, his emergence is one of many examples of Stuart Munro’s astuteness in backing raw talent and then watching it blossom.

The recent return of Young Socceroos Massimo Murdocca and Vince Lia provides South with an added attacking flair. Furthermore, the return from injury of gun-recruit Michael Panopoulos adds further steel and class to the South midfield.

Finally, attackers Vaughn Coveny and Michael Curcija have figured consistently in the goals with 17 between them, their prolificness should cause the Newcastle defence many problems.

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