Friday, 8 April 2005 12:34 AM
By Michael Tsoukalis
Fans of the Vodafone Premier League are in for a treat this Sunday night when championship leader South Melbourne make the trek to Green Gully Reserve to take on the notoriously consistent Green Gully Cavaliers.
Both sides have been in superb form throughout the first 8 rounds of the season, so much so that Gully find themselves a clear 2 games ahead of the third placed Sunshine Georgies, whilst South are a further point in-front (of Gully).
Similarly to South, the Cavaliers play a compact game, keeping strong defensively whilst managing to poach a goal or two when needed. The arrivals of giant ex-Preston keeper Pasi Schwalger and former NSL and Melbourne Knights midfield maestro Lubo Lapsanky have no doubt strengthened the Cavaliers who already boast one of the most talented squads in the league.
Ex-NSL regulars Roddy and Andy Vargas, Dragi Nastevski, Dean Fak, Nick Tsaltas and Josip Rajher provide the core of the Gully side which is also led by ex-Melbourne Knights coach Ian Dobson.
Year after year, Dobson is renowned for moulding Gully into a highly consistent outfit and this season appears to be no different. The key to Dobson’s success has been sustaining relatively the same personnel over the last few seasons whilst topping up the squad annually – where needed – with 1 or two experienced players
In the South Melbourne camp, the Lakeside-based club will be without inspirational captain Vaughn Coveny who is serving a suspension after being red-carded against the Georgies. Coveny’s absence could signal the way for the squad inclusion of Brazilian recruit Fernando Moraes. Moraes has been training as normal with the club but as yet has been unable to force his way into a squad which is still currently undefeated. That said, with Coveny ruled out, Peter Koustoupias – very familiar with striking duties from his time at Whittlesea – could see his name on the starting sheet.
Encouraging for South last week was the form of right-winger Ryan Dinse. The Scottish-born speedster proved the difference against the Georgies nodding home a goal and supplying a superb cross for Vasilios Natsioulas to grab the vital second. Dinse’s transition from State League Two club Yarraville has been extremely comfortable with the diminutive winger slowly carving out a name for himself at Lakeside.
Special mention continues to go out to the South defence who in their 8 games to-date have only conceded 2 goals. Veteran goalkeeper Dean Anastasiadis has been the undoubted star, rediscovering career best form with some breathtaking saves and faultless positioning whilst Con Blatsis and Arthur Tsonis continue to form an intimidating duo in the heart of the South defence.
With top spot in the most prestigious VPL to-date up for grabs, not to mention the psychological advantage that could result from victory, both sides will be eager for a strong showing and a positive result.