Thursday, 31 March 2005 9:45 PM
By Michael Tsoukalis
After a weeks recess due to Easter, Vodafone Premier League action resumes this weekend with South Melbourne hosting the high-flying Sunshine Georgies.
A former NSL club, the Georgies fell on hard times and found themselves outside the Premier League for a number of years. However, last season under the helm of Coach Chris Taylor, the Georgies managed to win the State One league and hence finally return to familiar territory.
This season, much like South, the Sunshine based outfit has managed to defy the critics. The core playing group of the Georgies State One triumph has been kept on with Chris Taylor’s men rewarding his faith by currently sitting in third position. The Georgies appear to be the “entertainers”, having leaked 9 goals – the highest of any team in the top 6 – but at the same time having scored 12, the most of any team to date.
Unlike many VPL clubs this season, the Georgies’ squad lacks any familiar ex-NSL talent. Perhaps their most recognisable player of recent times is young ex-Bulleen striker Marinos Gasparis, a player noted last season for managing to achieve a National call-up from Ange Postecoglou whilst playing in a state-based competition (the VPL).
Conversely, South Melbourne is now the Vodafone Premier League’s sole remaining undefeated side. Having conceded only 2 goals in 7 outings, the strength of the Lakeside-based club clearly revolves around its experienced defence.
Right-back Arthur Tsirtsakis will be available once more after serving a 1 game suspension against the Melbourne Knights. Tsirtsakis is likely to be re-instated to the starting 11 meaning that promising young defender Steven O’Dor is likely to be included in the squad as a substitute. Arthur Tsonis and Con Blatsis should resume their central defensive pairing after Tsonis filled in at left-back against the Knights.
Coach John Anastasiadis is also likely to include exciting new Brazilian signing Fernando Moraes in the squad. Moraes had a mid-week hit-out in a friendly against Yarraville – scoring one goal in the process – and should be pushing for inclusion.
During the pre-season South’s only win happened to come against the Georgies. That day an attacking onslaught by John Anastasiadis’s men saw the Albert Park-based club stroll to a 3-0 triumph. At the time it was thought that Sunshine would offer little resistance come the actual league, however, Taylor’s men have shown, much like South, that pre-season form counts for nothing.