Tuesday, 22 April 2008 10:05 AM

By George Kouroumalis

 

Many people in the Victorian football world would be quite familiar with the surname Alatsas, but on this occasion it isn’t the commentator and host of the Victorian Football Show that people are talking about. Instead they are talking about his daughter Heleena, who has impressed everyone involved in the WPL with her performances in the last few years.

Heleena was an integral member of the highly rated Heidelberg United Women’s setup that captured the WPL crown in 2007, but with South Melbourne being promoted to the Premier League in 2008, Heleena took the opportunity to come on board and sign on with the club she has been supporting all her life.

Heleena is a highly rated player in her own right and has already provided South with an experienced and hard working player to lead a relatively young and inexperienced side through a tough year back in the WPL.

We caught up with Heleena to see how she is finding life at SMWFC and to discuss the challenges that she has faced when switching clubs over the summer.

How are you finding life at South Melbourne?

HA: “Well as to be expected with the promotion back into the Premier League, there have been quite a few changes in regards to the Women’s team at South. A new coach was appointed to take on the challenge of securing the promotion – Morris Mihailidis, and after a couple of months of pre-season training he’s managed to put together a team that in my opinion has plenty of talent and the potential to be very competitive this season.

The team at the moment is fairly young in comparison to some of the other WPL teams and some might say lacking in experience, but we’re all very focused and have shown great signs, especially in the last few weeks, that we are a side not to be underestimated.”

How has the team performed in this early part of the season?

HA: “So far this year the results unfortunately haven’t been too great, but I’m sure spectators would agree that we’ve been fairly unlucky, and the results in most if not all the games, haven’t truly represented the way we actually played! Last week many would have probably predicted a bigger score line against Box Hill, I think we definitely silenced a few people by going 1 nil up early in the game and taking it to them for the whole 90 minutes. The result in the end, for me, was irrelevant and was overshadowed by the heart and standard of football that we displayed, it was one of those games that makes you proud to be a part of a team!

As the ladder stands at the moment, we have lost to teams who haven’t dropped points yet and we were very competitive in all games, so that being said, if we continue to play the way we have been, I’m sure we’ll pick up some more points in the rounds to follow.”

How difficult was it moving from Heidelberg to their big arch rival in South Melbourne?

HA: “Changing clubs is always going to be challenging. I’ve been fortunate now to play for two of the most historic Victorian clubs with years of tradition behind them.

I guess wearing the South jumper just means that little bit more as I am playing for the club that I have followed for most of my life. ”

What are your aims for the rest of the season?

HA: “The next few weeks for us will be interesting. The league is definitely becoming closer and I think this is now showing on the park. I’m confident that we’ll pick up some well deserved points and who knows, we may even cause a few upsets while we’re at it.”

Any final words?

HA: “I urge all South fans to come and watch us this Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium against the Casey Comets. With the senior mens side playing on Monday night against Altona, everyone can come along on the Sunday and cheer the girls on for hopefully our second win of the season.

Also on Friday the 9th of May, we are hosting Keilor Park under lights at Bob Jane Stadium. The restaurant will be open for everyone who attends. The reserves kick off at 6.30pm, the seniors kick off at 8.30pm and it promises to be a great night.”

South Melbourne thanks Heleena for her time and wishes her and the women’s team all the best for the upcoming game against Casey on Sunday at Bob Jane Stadium