Who Is Walter Pless?


A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Melbourne Victory won the A-League grand final 1-0 against Adelaide United before a crowd of 53,273 spectators - including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd - at the Telstra Dome tonight.

Melbourne became the first team to win the A-League grand final for a second time.

The game was televised live to 85 million homes - overseas!

This is simply scandalous. Australian fans should have been able to watch the game on free-to-air TV, but it was only those with pay TV in this country who could watch it.

It was a match filled with drama and plenty of controversy.

Both sides had a player sent off - in controversial circumstances, referee Matthew Breeze having to consult his assistant on both occasions - and there was a second-half melee in the Adelaide goalmouth involving most of the players.

Adelaide had Cristiano sent off after just 10 minutes for an elbow on Roddy Vargas, which left the Victory player bloodied.

Adelaide were on the back foot then, but five minutes into the second half they suddenly threw everything at Melbourne and created two excellent scoring chances in the space of five minutes.

But, neither Scott Jamieson, from Matthew Mullen's cross, nor captain Travis Dodd, after an amazing dribble, was able to beat Melbourne keeper Michael Theoklitos.

Melbourne took the lead on the hour when Tom Pondeljak collected a back-heeler from Evan Berger and cut in from the left and beat Eugene Galekovic with a low drive from 25 metres.

The 33-year-old Pondeljak, playing in his third grand final, was later named the Joe Marston man-of-the-match.

Melbourne's Daniel Allsopp was sent off in the 64th minute for headbutting an opponent.

With both sides now reduced to ten players, Adelaide revived but were unable to find an equaliser.

Substitute Paul Agostino had two good chances for Adelaide in the dying minutes but could not connect with the first and fired wide with the second.

"Every one [grand final win] is great," said Victory coach, Ernie Merrick. "We've just had a great year and it just caps off two other fantastic trophies.

"Fifty odd thousand and the game has been beamed to 85 million households world-wide.

"That's just fantastic for Australian football.

"Every year it seems to get tougher.

"I thought Adelaide gave us a really tough fight all the way down to the wire. It could have gone either way.

"Eugene [Galekovic] saved them a couple of times, Michael [Theoklitos] saved us a couple of times.

"Overall, we just persevered and we got what I thought we deserved."

Adelaide captain, Travis Dodd, said: "You can't fault the boys tonight.

"It was a gutsy performance. Down to ten men, it was a very difficult game for us, but the amount of courage and heart the boys showed tonight to get through the game was fantastic."
Clarence United will meet Hobart Zebras on 9 March in the final of the Premier League section of the Summer Cup competition after both sides won their last group-stage matches.

Clarence easily accounted for University 3-0 at KGV Park on Friday night, while Zebras produced their annual miracle by beating New Town Eagles 6-0 at South Hobart on Saturday.

Zebras earned their place in the final by virtue of having scored one goal more than South Hobart (8 as against 7), both sides having identical goal-differences (plus 6).

South Hobart’s downfall was their 0-0 draw with Hobart Olympic at KGV Park on Friday night and their subsequent 4-2 loss in the penalty shoot-out.

It was the second season in a row that Zebras have squeezed into the final in the most unlikely way.

Zebras squandered several good chances in the opening minutes and then survived two close calls by Eagles, who took the opportunity to launch dangerous counter-attacks.

Youngster Braydon Pace headed Zebras in front from Andrew Telega’s cross in the 10th minute, while Pace set up Ben Crosswell for the second in the 17th minute.

Thorpe rifled home the third midway through the second half, while a penalty by Crosswell two minutes from the end made it 4-0.

Needing to win by six goals, the Zebras’ hopes seemed dashed as the match entered stoppage time, but goals by Crosswell two minutes in, and Pace four minutes in, produced the required miracle.

After a goalless opening half, Clarence took advantage of atrocious defending by University to win 3-0 through goals by Luke Cripps, Julian McMahon and Ben Parker.

Penalties by Michael Bulis, Chris Tsakiris, Dmitri Nester and Danijel Djekanovic gave Olympic their penalty-shoot-out win over South Hobart, who could only convert through Bart Beecroft and Jonathon Ladic, Olympic’s Nester saving spot-kicks by Hugh Ludford and Greg Downes.

South’s Shae Hickey and Ludford had hit the Olympic woodwork in normal time.

A 21st-minute goal by captain Josh Fielding gave Glenorchy Knights a 1-0 win over Kingborough Lions United.

[Detailed match reports of Zebras v Eagles, and Knights v Lions, to follow later.]
Summer Cup (Premier League Section)

Glenorchy Knights 1-0 Kingborough Lions United
Tilford Zebras 6-0 New Town Eagles

[Clarence United to meet Tilford Zebras in the final on 9 March.]

Reserve Summer Cup

Kingborough Lions United 3-1 Glenorchy Knights
Clarence United 3-0 University
Tilford Zebras 2-0 New Town Eagles
South Hobart 1-2 Hobart Olympic

Division One Summer Cup

Taroona 1-1 Nelson
(Taroona won penalty shoot-out 4-2)

Beachside 2-1 New Town Eagles
Hobart United 0-2 DOSA Northern Suburbs
Christian United 0-4 Metro

North-West Summer Cup

Devonport City 3-1 Ulverstone
Somerset 5-2 Burnie United

[Hobart Olympic win penalty shoot-out 4-2.]

South Hobart have to await the outcome of Saturday’s match between Tilford Zebras and New Town Eagles before they know whether they are in this season’s Summer Cup final.

This 0-0 draw was not enough to ensure them of a place in the final, and when they lost the penalty shoot-out 4-2, the situation became even more precarious.

Zebras must beat Eagles by 6-0 to pip South Hobart for a place in the final, while for Eagles to make it, they would have to beat Zebras by a dozen goals.

Eagles will be without as many as seven players for the match, so a 6-0 scoreline is just about feasible. That is the margin by which South Hobart beat Eagles in the opening round of matches.

Zebras squeezed into last year’s final because of other results, so it is far from impossible that they will do so again.

If they do, they may win, just as they did last season.

South Hobart had Sam Kruijver in goal in place of mark Moncur, whom was unavailable.

They lost strikert lost Ricky Eaves through injury after just 12 minutes.

He was replaced by Julius Ross, while new signing from Greece, Kostas Kanakaris, played a part in the match but was unable to make an impression.

Olympic relied on counter-attacks and one of these, in the 16th minute, almost paid off. Jonathon Ladic lost the ball in midfield and Akuel Guot skipped past goalkeeper Sam Kruijver on the right of the box, but the angle was impossible for a shot.

Guot played the ball back for Chris Tsakiris, but his powerful shot was blocked.

In the 25th minute, Julius Ross was given a through-ball, but he drove his low shot straight at goalkeeper Dmitri Nester.

Midway through the second half, Greg Downes did very well to beat Chris Tsakiris on the left of the box and cut the ball back for Shae Hickey, but his shot came back off the crossbar.

In stoppage time at the end of the match, South Hobart were again unlucky as Hugh Ludford fired against the crossbar from 25 metres.

Nester proved Olympic’s hero in the penalty shoot-out, beating out spot-kicks by Ludford and Downes.

Only Bart Beecroft and Ladic netted for South Hobart.

Olympic’s four spot-kicks were flawless, with Michael Bulis, Chris Tsakiris, Nester and Daniejel Djekanovic all scoring.

  • South Hobart coach, Ken Morton, said:

“An entertaining game, and not much else.

“I thought we had good possession, good territorial advantage. They never threatened us. A couple of breakaways, that’s all.

“But, we have to turn our possession into goals, and we didn’t do that.

“But, as I’ve just said to the players, seven players, seven strikers - Ricky Eaves, Julius Ross not yet fit. Neither of them had a pre-season.

“You take Danny White, Billy Gasparinatos, Igor, Johnny Lo, Tommy Roach, all inside the last six months we’ve lost.

“But, as I just said to them, they’re good football players, they’re creating chances and they’ve got to turn them chances into goals to win matches.

“I was quite happy with the way we played, but we ran out of time. That’s the problem in these games, you know, to turn the screw a little bit.

“We live to fight again.”

  • Hobart Olympic coach, Farrell Shaw, said:

“It was a hard game. We did a lot of defending.

“I was very pleased with the way we defended.

“They had a couple of good shots at the end there which hit the crossbar from distance. So, they go in or they don’t go in from distance.

“I was very pleased with the defensive unit and the midfield. They worked their butts off.

“We’ve still got things to work on - passing, receiving the ball up front to try and create a few chances ourselves.

“I don’t think we created a real clear-cut chance, but that’s something to work on.

South Hobart: Kruijver - Cooper, Ludford, M Brown, Scott - Heerey, Hickey, Upton, Beecroft, Ladic - Eaves [Substitutes: Ross, Pennicott, Di Falco, Downes]

Hobart Olympic: Nester - Lebski, P Tsakiris, Mohamad, Tsimiklis - C Tsakiris, Larzabal, A Hedge, Richardson - Bulis, Guot [Substitutes: Djekanovic, Kaproulias, Assenheimer, Kanakaris]

Booked: Lebski 20, Richardson 57

Ref: C Phillips

Att: 200