Wednesday, 16 February 2005 3:41 PM
By Mark van Aken
4 points from 2 starts, not bad for a South Melbourne team that was supposed to be battered from pillar to post in this year’s Vodafone VPL. But there is no time to rest on their laurels for John Anastasiadis’ SMFC side that travels to Frankston Pines on Saturday night.
“We’ve had good results so far but I expect that, I expected 4 points from 6”, says a steely resolved Anastasiadis. “I expect to win at home and I definitely think we shouldn’t be losing any games at home through out the season”, says a coach who is pleased with how his largely young team has handled the pressures of representing Australia’s most storied club. “They handled the pressure in front of 12,000 really well and backed it up against St Albans”.
With the VPL season taking an early breather last weekend, South’s squad was back at the coal face against Western Suburbs in a friendly. “It was a chance for some of the guys who hadn’t played much in the first two games to get a run, we won 3-1 and it’s good to know that we have a squad, not just 11 players, who can stand up when needed” explains the South gaffer whose squad is slowly growing in stature each week.
The longest away trip for the SMFC was previously across the ditch in New Zealand or across the Nullarbor in Perth, this year it is down the peninsula to Frankston, and it’s a road trip that Ananstasiadis is weary of. “They are a fit group and won’t stop running for 90 minutes”, warns the former striker, alluding that extra fitness in the legs was a determining factor in South’s opening fortnight’s positive results. “If you don’t have a fit side then you are going no where and I think we are in pretty good shape”.
From a youthful side with little size in the pre-season, South’s team has been boosted with the late signing of Steve Mc Nichol and still has Con Blatsis to return shortly. Others like Salapasidis and Dinse have impressed in the early going, but South have not fully settled their playing list just yet. “We are looking at some more senior types right now but nothing is concrete”, says a coach still keen to unearth the next SMFC young gun, “Victoria hasn’t produced too much talent of late, and we want to change that and bring through some really good new stars – we don’t just want to be recycling players”.
Which youngster will step up this week for the blue and whites? Fans will have to make the trip down to Frankston to find out.