South Melbourne FC

The Blue and White Forever

2011 SMFC Season Preview

2011 SMFC Season Preview

Friday, 18 February 2011 10:45 AM

By John Kyrou

South Melbourne FC will enter the 2011 Victorian Premier League season confident in challenging for the Championship, something that has eluded the Club since defeating Altona Magic 1-0 in the 2006 Grand Final.

South experienced a year of both ups and downs in 2010, which began in February with a penalty shoot-out loss against the Bentleigh Greens in the 2010 Hellenic Cup final. South began its season slowly but gradually built up good form heading into the RHB Singapore Cup first round against Gombak United in May. South recorded a historic 2-1 victory over Gombak but suffered a hangover when returning to Melbourne, gaining only nine points from a possible 18 and slipping out of the top five.

With five matches left in the season and with a finals position looking out of reach, South turned things around and recorded three wins and two draws to finish the regular season in fifth spot. However, it needed to rely on a drawn match between Northcote City and Dandenong Thunder in a match played three days after the final round of matches in order to secure a finals position. Northcote had other ideas and denied South a finals spot by defeating the Thunder 4-1 the following Wednesday.

With the Victorian Premier League season over, coach Vaughan Coveny was replaced by Eddie Krncevic, who returned for his second stint as South manager, having coached South in the 2001/02 National Soccer League season. Krncevic needed to keep his players fresh for six weeks before meeting Bangkok Glass in the RHB Singapore Cup quarter finals. In this time, goalkeeper Peter Zois departed so Krncevic promoted Stefaan Sardelic from reserve to senior goalkeeper.

Despite losing the first leg 1-3, South outplayed their opponents from Thailand in the second leg and was incredibly unlucky not to win in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Bangkok Glass went on to win the competition so it was no disgrace that a semi-professional South Melbourne FC side lost to the eventual Cup winners, who were a professional side.

South has enjoyed a solid 2011 pre-season, traveling to Tasmania and winning the Hill Street/Thrifty Cup with a 5-0 victory over Tasmanian champions South Hobart. In the now annual pre-season Hellenic Cup, South won all of its matches comfortably before defeating rivals Heidelberg United in the final 2-1 after extra time. This gave South its third Hellenic Cup triumph in five years.

Expectations are high at the Club in 2011, with South aiming to make the finals and win the Championship. A big season is expected from 2010 VPL Gold Medalist, Theo Marmaras Medalist (South player of the year) and South Golden Boot winner Fernando De Moraes, who is two goals shy of becoming only the eighth player in the Club’s history to score 50 League goals. New signing Jesse Krncevic is also expected to have a good year following a solid pre-season that has seen many goals scored.

With Lakeside Stadium still undergoing renovations, South will play all of its 2011 Premier League home matches at Northcote City’s John Cain Memorial Park. South faces a tough start to the Premier League season, hosting Champions Green Gully on Sunday evening at John Cain Memorial Park, with the match kicking off at 17:00.

Click here to view the 2011 SMFC Senior Squad

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