Who Is Walter Pless?

Walter_Pless

A teacher by profession, but has been a football writer for 33 years. 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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Photo: Jim Pennicott

Jim Pennicott, South Hobart’s 15-year-old defender, is quickly coming to grips with first-team football.

The club has had many injuries and Pennicott has been drafted into the side rather sooner than expected.

He came on as a substitute in the 4-0 league win over Glenorchy Knights two weeks ago, while last weekend, he started and finished against Kingborough Lions United in the 0-0 draw.

He made his senior debut this season in the Summer Cup against New Town Eagles, when South Hobart won 6-0.

That’s not bad for a player who could not get into the Tasmanian Institute of Sport programme.

Pennicott came through the Central Region junior development programme and then the State under-14 and under-15 teams.

“The only opportunity after that was the TIS, but I didn’t get in, so I decided to come to South Hobart,” said Pennicott, who is in Year 10 at Taroona High.

“I think I’m doing all right.

“The last game, I made some mistakes, but against Kingborough I felt more comfortable.

“I’d bring the ball down and have a look at the options up front.

“Last week, I didn’t realise I’d come on so early in the game, but David Cooper got injured and so I was it.

“I was really nervous and it took me a couple of minutes to realise I was on the pitch.”

Pennicott, whose father, Gary, was a notable player in the north and south of the State, began as a forward but was moved to the defence in the State squads.

He has thoughts of moving interstate when he is older and of making soccer a career.

“That’s what I want to do because I enjoy the game,” he said.

“I was anticipating sitting on the bench for much of this year, but with all the injuries we’ve had, I’m just going to seize the opportunities that come my way.

“I think South Hobart can retain the title this year, particularly with the quality of players we have.

“But, we can’t take things lightly because we won’t breeze through because there are lots of good teams.”

After Greg Downes broke his leg on Saturday, Pennicott may well be called upon again this coming weekend against Hobart Olympic.

It’s a game South Hobart must win to stay on top of the Forestry Tasmania Premier League ladder.




Photos: (Top to Bottom) Sam Kruijver, South's number one keeper; Kruijver patrols his penalty area; Greg Downes being treated while his team-mates regroup; Downes suffered a broken leg and is stretchered off.

It’s taken Sam Kruijver a while, but he is now the number one goalkeeper at reigning Premier League soccer champion, South Hobart.

Kruijver was understudy to Mark Moncur for most of last season, but the 27-year-old has now established himself as coach Ken Morton’s number one choice in goal.

He has not let the side down and played a crucial role in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Kingborough Lions United.

In fact, Kruijver has kept a clean sheet in all three league games to date.

Kruijver made excellent saves against Tom McDonald, Marcello Marchioli and Charles White as the Lions threatened to score and steal the three points against the run of play.

“Things are going well and we’re on track to defend our title,” said Kruijver, the 183cm custodian.

“It’s taken me a while to become the number one choice, but Mark Moncur is hot on my heels.

“There’s good competition between the two of us.”

Kruijver underplayed his saves against the Lions.

“I didn’t really think about it, to be honest,” he said.

“I saw the ball coming and just sort of got myself there and was lucky enough to keep them out.”

Kruijver is impressed by South Hobart’s young talent coming through, but injuries are a problem.

Greg Downes, the club’s dynamic young midfielder who had trials last year with Sunderland and Walsall, broke his leg in Saturday’s game and will be out indefinitely.

“I think we’ve got a good chance of retaining our title, Kruijver said.

“We’ve got a good bunch of young guys coming through, including Jim Pennicott and Nick Di Falco.

“There’s plenty of young guys coming through to keep the team going.

“There’s strong competition from all teams now that there are only eight teams in the league.

“It’s going to be very close, but I hope we can continue without conceding goals.

“From my perspective, it was frustrating to see so many chances at the other end and we just couldn’t score. I was pulling my hair out.

“You have those days, but they also defended well.”

Damien Pearce

Kingborough Lions United’s central defender, Damian Pearce, 21, is settling into his new club after signing from South Hobart.

The left-footed fullback has been moved into the centre of defence and is relishing the challenge.

And, there is plenty of work to do as the Lions have conceded seven goals in two games, although they have scored ten.

Pearce played with South Hobart from junior level and made the State under-19s when he was 18.

“I thought I’d have a change and so came down here to Kingborough,” he said after Saturday’s 6-3 win over New Town Eagles.

“I did play for Kingborough’s under-12s before moving to South Hobart, so I guess I’ve returned.

“I’m hoping to get a little bit more game time here, plus I live here and work here and there’s less travel.

“Since moving from left-back into the middle of the defence, I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to do, but I’m enjoying it,” he said.

Pearce is studying for a Certificate IV in business and is employed by a local ship contractor.

He said it was good that the side scored plenty of goals against Eagles.

“It was good to get the goals in the back of the net,” he said.

“There’s still definitely room for improvement, though, and we’ve got to stop leaking silly goals.

“After that happens, we’ll be good, I reckon.

“I think, after the first goal, we started to lift.

“We were then able to play our game and we stopped them from dictating the play.”

Pearce’s brother, Trent, has also moved from South Hobart to Kingborough and is playing in central midfield in the reserves at the moment.



Photo: The signing of Michael Soszynski (above) has relegated Craig Minty to number two again at Eagles now that Nathan Pitchford (top) and Andrew Savage (middle) are both injured.

Craig Minty was thrown in at the deep end on against Kingborough Lions United two weeks ago, but showed he has what it takes.

The 17-year-old is third-choice goalkeeper at New Town Eagles, but with first-choice Nathan Pitchford injured and out of action for the next few months, Minty was understudy to Andrew Savage for the Premier League match against Kingborough Lions United.

Three minutes before half-time, Savage snapped an Achilles tendon and was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery on Sunday.

He had suffered a similar injury on the other leg two seasons ago.

Minty came on with Eagles 2-1 down, and he went on to concede four more goals as the Lions ran out 6-3 winners.

But, the young custodian pulled off two brilliant saves near the end to deny Greg Freeman, who had already netted a hat-trick at that stage.

“I felt pretty nervous when I came on,” said Minty, who stands at 188cm and whose father, Malcolm, was also a keeper.

“It was a good game and we didn’t lose out heads, but we did make silly mistakes in the back-line.”

Minty has been playing in the under-19s and reserves, but just when it looked as if he would be in the seniors for some time to come, Eagles signed goalkeeper Michael Soszynski, who kept a clean sheet in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Hobart Olympic.

Minty played school soccer with Dominic College until grade seven, when he joined Eagles, and he has now been with the club for three years.

Now that Eagles have signed Michael Soszynski, Minty has had to go back to being the number two keeper at the club.