Monday, 27 April 2009 9:39 AM
By John Kyrou
Vaughan Coveny’s goal against Hume City on Saturday brought up his 100th league goal for South Melbourne FC in both the National Soccer League and Victorian Premier League. Throughout Coveny’s twelve seasons at Bob Jane Stadium, supporters have taken great delight in seeing their quick and strong forward score many fantastic goals from headers or with his feet. We look back at Coveny’s career at South whilst acknowledging his milestone achievement.
Coveny was brought to South in 1995 by Frank Arok, the senior coach at the time. Before his arrival, Vaughan had experienced NSL football with both the Melbourne Knights and Wollongong. The big Kiwi’s first goal for the club was on the 24th of September 1995 in a Docherty Cup Quarter Final match against Preston at Connor Reserve. Coveny took possession of the ball and outpaced the Preston defence before firing home the away side’s third goal in what turned out to be a comfortable 1-4 victory. A goal in the Semi Final against Morwell and then another in the Final against the Melbourne Knights took the big man to three goals from three games, as South won the Docherty Cup.
Coveny had an excellent debut season for the club in the 1995/96 NSL season, registering nine goals from his 26 games. However he saved his best for the club’s NSL Cup run, with a hat-trick against the Melbourne Knights in the First Round first leg. He added to this with another goal against Marconi in the Quarter Final before scoring a double against Newcastle in the Final. His goals helped South to a 3-1 win to add to its Docherty Cup triumph at the beginning of the campaign. Coveny’s incredible burst of speed and pace when taking on defenders was soon noticed by supporters and the football staff alike, who were both quick to tag him with the nickname of ‘horse’.
Seasons 1996/97 to 1998/99 showed just how valuable Coveny was to the team, as the big forward registered 28 goals to help South reach the Preliminary Final in 1996/97 before going on to win back-to-back championships the next two seasons. One of his finest seasons was in 1998/99, with a return of 14 goals from 31 matches. Season 1999/00 was his leanest in the NSL, with only six goals from 33 matches. However Coveny nearly made history as he twice went agonisingly close to scoring against Manchester United in the inaugural FIFA World Club Championships in Rio de Janeiro, including having a shot that hit the left post and roll across the goal line before hitting the right post and staying out.
Horse was back to his best for the 2000/01 season, scoring eight goals and sharing the goal scoring with Con Boutsianis (14), Andy Vlahos (13) and Vas Kalogeracos (6) as the team fell just short of a record fifth NSL championship. The following season South was rooted to the bottom of the ladder halfway through the season, but it was no surprise that when Coveny (injury) and Boutsianis (Kingz FC) returned to the line-up that the side soared up the ladder to qualify for the finals series. Coveny hit seven goals in the last 9 games of the regular season, including a hat-trick against Wollongong at WIN Stadium in round 25. He added to this in the finals series with a double against the Brisbane Strikers in the first leg of the Elimination Final at BJS.
Although South missed out on the finals in 2002/03, it was through no fault of Coveny, who added another 11 goals to his tally, this time from only 21 matches. Supporters will remember his double against Sydney Olympic in the unforgettable 6-4 home victory, with the Kiwi’s 89th minute penalty wrapping up the three points. New coach Stuart Munro appointed Coveny as captain for the 2003/04 NSL season and the big man did not disappoint, with another big haul of 12 goals from 24 matches. This included a hat-trick against Newcastle in round 5 (4-1 win at BJS) and two doubles, against Wollongong in round 3 (1-4 win at WIN Stadium) and in round 14 against Parramatta (2-1 win at BJS).
Coveny showed his loyalty to South by continuing on with the club when it re-joined the VPL in 2005. His power shot from a free kick outside the area gave South its first goal and first three points for the campaign against St Albans in round 2 at BJS and he ended the season with a respectable eight goals. His other memorable strikes for the season included the last-minute equaliser against St Albans at Churchill Reserve in round 15 (2-2 draw) and the long-distance rocket against Preston at Connor Reserve in round 23 (0-1 win). Horse only played 10 matches in 2006 before being signed by A-League side Newcastle; however he still managed to score six goals before departing.
Coveny again showed his loyalty to South by returning to BJS this season, after retiring from the A-League. A class double in the Hellenic Cup Semi Final victory against Oakleigh and a powerful finish in the 3-0 demolition of Heidelberg in the Final showed the importance of Coveny’s addition to the side, especially after South’s struggle in consistently scoring goals in recent seasons. Despite a slow start to 2009, Coveny has showed his class in recent weeks, with an assist and goal against the Melbourne Knights and then an outstanding strike against Richmond to bring up his 99th league goal. His header into the open net against Hume brought up the milestone, making him only the second player to reach 100 league goals for South. Only Paul Trimboli has scored more, with 115 goals.
Coveny’s 100th league goal for the club has been well deserved for a player that has been a role model not only for South Melbourne FC but also for Australian and New Zealand football.
Vaughan Coveny – Total SMFC Goals – All Competitions
National Soccer League – 83
Victorian Premier League – 17
National Cup – 7
Dockerty Cup – 5
Hellenic Cup – 3
TOTAL – 115