Monday, 29 January 2007 1:00 AM
South Melbourne continues to distinguish itself on the playing field by producing and blooding talented youngsters who are going on to play at the highest level.
Two recent defensive talents unearthed by the lakeside based club, Dino Djulbic and Steven O’Dor will return to the club for season 2007 with Djulbic to spend only half a season at South after being promised a contract by A-League club Perth Glory and young Socceroo O’Dor sure to be picked up after some astute defensive displays during the late season revival of the New Zealand Knights.
O’Dor was blooded by South coach John Anastasiadis during the 2005 season and quickly went on to establish himself in the heart of the South Melbourne defence, his confidence and natural defensive talents earnt him a scholarship at the AIS during 2006 which also saw O’Dor become a regular with the young Socceroos.
Towards the end of the current A-League season and with the New Zealand Knights in turmoil, O’Dor was called upon and instantly adapted to the standard and pace of the competition, looking quite at home and at ease in the heart of the Knight’s defence. O’Dor’s most commanding display came in the last game of the season where New Zealand comfortably accounted for the Perth Glory 2-0, with O’Dor not putting a foot wrong.
Conversely, Dlujbic has followed a similar path towards the A-League, turning out for Perth SC in the Western Australian Premier League before moving down to Melbourne last season to play for the Frankston Pines. Somewhat unsettled at the Pines, Djulbic moved to South half way through the season and it was from there that the player began to shine. With South’s defensive core decimated by injuries to key players Arthur Tsonis and Con Blatsis, Djulbic was quickly thrown into the heart of the South defence.
Within a few games Djulbic was marshalling the defence like a seasoned pro, dominating everything in the air and starting attacks with his ability on the ground.
In the grand final against Altona, the big “Sandgropper” was outstanding, nullifying completely the presence of the league’s top scorer Saso Becivnovski and intercepting everything that came his way.
Such was Djulbic’s displays for South that Perth Glory Coach Ron Smith invited the player down for a trial. Djulbic immediately impressed and will link up with the Glory sometime in July for his crack at A-League football.
In other defensive news, South is also continuing to trial Clifton Hill defender Frank Drakopoulos. The 22 year old has impressed in pre-season trial games and may be picked up by the Albert Park-based club.