Sunday, December 21, 2014

Friday, 23 March 2012 16:09

Victorian Premier League prepares for new season

Written by  Daniel Quinn
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    Green Gully will be aiming to clinch a third VPL crown in a row and a record 10th title. Photo: DANIEL FLIS Green Gully will be aiming to clinch a third VPL crown in a row and a record 10th title. Photo: DANIEL FLIS

    The Victorian Premier League (VPL) kicks-off this weekend with Moreland Zebras and Southern Stars replacing the relegated St. Albans and Springvale White Eagles. Here is a detailed report on the 2012 squads and a prediction of how each side will do in the upcoming season.

    Round One Fixtures
    8:15 PM Fri 23/Mar          
    Bentleigh Greens v Green Gully
    Kingston Heath Soccer Complex 

    3:00 PM Sat 24/Mar          
    Northcote City v Richmond
    John Cain Memorial Park

    5:00 PM Sat 24/Mar          
    Dandenong  v Southern Stars
    George Andrews Reserve

    5:00 PM Sun 25/Mar          
    South Melb  v Moreland Zebras
    Lakeside Stadium

    6:00 PM Sun 25/Mar          
    Melbourne Knights  v Hume City
    Knights Stadium

    6:00 PM Sun 25/Mar          
    Heidelberg United  v Oakleigh
    Olympic Park


    Bentleigh Greens
    Bentleigh Greens go into the 2012 season with John Anastasiadis at the helm who took over after eight games.
    Anastasiadis has made many changes with Melbourne Victory youngsters Lawrence Thomas, Nick Ansell, Paulo Retre, Luke O’Dea and Dado Lokvancic all coming in. The Victory connection continues with Luke Pilkington being retained with Billy Liolios after the midfielder spent the summer season with Melbourne Heart. There is also a Perth Glory connection with Anthony Skorich and Andrija Jukic joining with the already present Scott Bulloch. Captain Wayne Wallace will be key for this season as the current Best and Fairest of the club and will provide experience to a young squad.
    Not only do Bentleigh have a squad of youngsters but good youngsters with a couple key regular VPL players like Nick Curtis who joins from Northcote. Bentleigh, on paper is going to be one of many clubs fighting for a finals place.

    2012 Bentleigh Greens Squad:
    1. Lawrence Thomas, 2. Christian Lar, 3. Joe Calderone, 4. Billy Liolios, 5. Nick Ansell, 6. Evan Batsis, 7. Nick Curtis, 8. Wayne Wallace (C), 9. Anthony Skorich, 10. Scott Bulloch, 11. Phillip Arnold, 12. Paulo Retre, 13. Connor Pain, 14. Aron Wilford, 15. Luke O’Dea, 16. Danny Kelly, 17. Jack Webster, 20. Damir (Dado) Lokvancic, 22. Dom D’Angello, 23. Andrija Jukic, 24. Luke Pilkington, 31. Chris Davies

    Dandenong Thunder
    Dandenong Thunder under Coach Chris Taylor go into the 2012 season with a strong squad and a very impressive strike-force.
    Thunder have added Hamlet Armenian and Sean McIlroy from Heidelberg United, Canadian Nathaniel Foster as well as former Sydney FC midfielder Adam Casey. Thunder’s squad isn’t just strong in attack but in midfield and defence after resigning Matthew Theodore, signing former Hume midfielder Ross Thompson as well as adding former Melbourne Victory youngsters Enes Sivic and Andrew Mullett. Giant defender Bryan Bran also joins from Oakleigh Cannons to provide some height at the back. Zaim Zaneli also joins from South Melbourne to compete with Stuart Webster after South signed Peter Gavalas from Bentleigh Greens.
    But a strong side doesn’t win trophies without discipline and a good coach. The main question of the season is whether Chris Taylor can discipline his side so Thunder can have a real shot at the title without a points deduction like in 2011.

    2012 Dandenong Thunder Squad:
    1. Stuart Webster, 2. Enes Sivic, 3. Andrew Mullett, 4. Brendon Elmazovski, 5. Bryan Bran, 6. Ross Thompson, 7. Liam Kearney, 8. Mathew Theodore, 9. Veton Korcari (C), 10. Feston Azizi, 11. Iqi Jawadi, 12. Tim Mala, 13. Shane Rexhepi (VC), 14. Craig Elvin, 15. Fitim Ibraimi, 16. Shain Elmazi, 17. Hamlet Armenian, 18. Liam Ryan, 19. Nathaniel Foster, 20. Luke Sherbon, 21. Zaim Zaneli, 22. Sean McIlroy, 23. Denis Shabanovski, 24. Adam Casey

    Green Gully Cavaliers
    Defending VPL champions Green Gully Cavaliers go into the 2012 season with a strong squad after adding Ante Cicak from Oakleigh Cannons and exciting forward Ederaro Osagie from Heidelberg United.
    But they have also resigned Melbourne Heart goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic who has won the VPL Championship in the past four seasons, twice with Altona Magic and in the last two seasons with Green Gully. Gully regulars Jeffrey Fleming, Graham Hockless, Andy Vargas and Matthew Sanders plus many more have all been retained.
    Former Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Knights midfielder Danny Tiatto has also predicted that Gully will go back-to-back-to-back. Gully are definitely going to be a huge contester for the VPL 2012 crown even if they start slowly. They are known to start slow then go on a huge win streak to take out the title and that may well happen once again.

    2012 Green Gully Squad:
    Hamid Basma, Muhamed Chawk, Ante Cicak, Christopher Dib, Cameron Drake, Stephen Downes, Brent Fisher, Jeffrey Fleming, Jason Hayne, Graham Hockless, Mathew Hume, Daniel Jones, Rhyss Keane (GK), Nikola Roganovic (GK), Mile Medjedovic, Jonathan Munoz, Joel Nikolic, Ederaro Osagie, Scott Robson, Mathew Sanders, Andy Vargas, Michael Ofarrell (GK)

    Heidelberg United
    Heidelberg United go into the 2012 season with former Hume Coach, Andy Vlahos at the reign.

    Vlahos took Hume to a third place finish in the VPL before succumbing to Oakleigh in the finals. Heidelberg have also lost many players but Vlahos has brought in a few new faces. Osagie Ederaro, Hamlet Armenian and VPL Goalkeeper of the Year Griffin McMaster have all left. But Vlahos has retained U21 Player of the year Even Christodoulou, Saso Alexovski, Leslie Doumbalis and the Warriors have brought in Melbourne Heart goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei, Nik Tzioulis from Northcote and Sebastian Petrovic from South Melbourne.
    Vlahos also remains a registered player but at 35 it still remains how many games the veteran winger will play. But Heidelberg can definitely use the former Melbourne Victory player’s coaching techniques which almost took Hume over the line last season. Heidelberg will be in around the finals race and might also push for the VPL crown.

    2012 Heidelberg United Squad:   
    Saso Alexovski, Mitchell Bissinger, Jonathan Bounas, Davide Cardamone, Evan Christodoulou, Con Dimitropoulos, Leslie Doumbalis, Zois Galanopoulos, John Lazaridis, Sebastian Mattei (GK), Chris May, Andrew Nabbout, Arthur Papadopoulos, George Papadopoulos©, Saranti Parissos, Sebastian Petrovic, Oliver Rowland, Peter Sawan, Ahmet Turgr, Nikolaos Tzioulis, Andrew Vlahos

    Hume City
    Hume City go into the 2012 season with former goalkeeper Lou Acevski as their manager after retiring at the end of last season.

    Acevski took over at the end of last season after Andy Vlahos walked out and in 2012 Vlahos has taken over at Heidelberg United. Vlahos wasn’t the only one to leave Hume as Adam Nakic joined the Melbourne Victory Youth side, Ross Thompson joined Dandenong Thunder and leading goal scorer Richie Cardozo joined Austrian side LASK Linz. But Hume have recruited well with former Gold Coast United youth defender Ben Harrison being joined with Chilean Jose Guerruero, former Perth Glory midfielder Howard Fondyke and Englishman Nick Hegarty.
    But Hume are expected to struggle with a rookie coach and a couple major changes. Hume will also play this season at BT Connor Reserve in Reservoir, home of Preston Lions as Broadmeadows Valley Park is being renovated.

    2012 Hume City Squad:
    1. Chris Oldfield (GK), 2. Adam Centofanti, 3. Ben Harrison, 4. Isyan Erdogan (C), 5. Steven Pace, 6. Serdar Pir, 7. Atilla Ofli, 8. Jose Guerruero, 9. Pece Siveski, 10. David Chick, 11. Nick Hegarty (VC), 12. Jarryd Barnes, 15. Zoran Petrevski, 17. Phillip Riccobene, 18. Evan Van Der Byl (GK), 19. Slave Bosinovski, 20. Archie Tomic, 22. Howard Fondyke, 24. Karan Gill, 37.Bobby Vidinovski, 41. Cem Cil

    Melbourne Knights
    Melbourne Knights under Paul Magdic go into the 2012 season after retaining a key core group of players from last season with Ryan Filipovic, Adam Zilic, Tomislav Uskok, Josip Kozic, Craig Sweeney and Jacob and Anthony Colosimo
    . But they lack a couple key players. Other Jacob Colosimo they are lacking a striker and a VPL class goalkeeper. However they have added Melbourne Victory youngster Jake Nakic, who has recently returned from nine months out with a hip injury, and Louis Fenton from relegated St. Albans. Knights though decided this season to promote a few youngsters like Stefan Baricevic and Anthony Boras and Brandon Zezovski to the first team rather than recruiting from elsewhere like their rivals, a move which may pull off or may not but may well be worth it.
    If you were to compare Knights squad with their rivals they can’t expect to win a finals birth but after all it is Melbourne Knights.

    2012 Melbourne Knights Squad:
    1. Aaron Romein, 2. Hrvoje Sibenik, 3. Ryan Filipovic, 4. Adam Zilic, 5. David Kustura, 6. Tomislav Uskok, 7. Shaun Romein, 8. Craig Sweeney, 9. Jacob Colosimo, 10. Josip Kozic, 11. Anthony Colosimo, 12. Shayan Alinejad, 13. Anthony Boras, 14. Stefan Baricevic, 15. Louis Fenton, 16. Marijan Cvitkovic, 17. Joseph Franjic, 18. Brandon Zezovski, 19. Yusuf Yusuf, 20. Nik Oblak, 21. Matt Hrastov, 22. Chris Talajic, 23. Jake Nakic, 24. Ben Surey

    Moreland Zebras
    The Moreland Zebras go into the 2012 VPL season after winning promotion from State League One as Whittlesea Zebras.
    After a name change the squad has strengthen under Coach Dominic Barba. In comes 2011 VPL Goalkeeper of the year Griffin McMaster, former South Melbourne and Melbourne Victory midfielders Daniel Vasilevski and new Skipper Carl Reccia. The Zebras have also added former Brisbane Roar and North Queensland Fury midfielder Chris Grossman.
    Leading goal scorer of last season Vincent Faherty and Stuart Nicholson will provide a threat up front with Steven Weir also joining from South Melbourne. Zebras have also added Korean midfielder Jungho Kim and have retained former AIS product Ersin Kaya.
    With an experienced coach in Barba and some strong recruitment the Zebras are going to be another side in around the finals and pushing for the title.

    2012 Moreland Zebras Squad:
    1. Griffin McMaster (GK), 2. Chris Grossman, 3. Ray Lally, 4. Will Abbot, 5. Danny Radjoacic, 6. Jole Delev, 7. Stuart Nicholson, 8. Carl Reccia ©, 9. Vincent Faherty, 10. Daniel Vasilevski, 11. Steven Weir, 12. Reardo Luka, 13. Brandon Defina, 14. Jungho Kim, 15. Ersin Kaya, 16. Michael Mazzarella, 17. Ralph Napoli, 18. Nelson Salvadore, 19. Jacob Ihnatisin, 20. Nace Kosmac, 21. Phil Petrovski (GK), 22. Sayeed Reza

    Northcote City
    Northcote go into the 2012 season after the departure of key players and their coach Peter Tsolakis who moved to South Melbourne.

    Tsolakis also lured Captain Trent Rixon and the Trifiro Brothers, Glen and Jason to Lakeside Stadium. Nick Curtis, Nick Tzoulis and club legend Harry Kinigopoulos also left for Bentleigh Greens, Heidleberg United and Malvern City Respectively.
    Despite losing leading goalscorer Rixon Northcote brought in Milos Lujic from Altona Magic and Matthew Demo from St. Albans to boost their attacking force. Pasquale Vizzari and Alex Rojas joined from Green Gully and Bentleigh Greens respectively to replace the Trifiro brothers.
    Tsolakis’ assistant, Goran Lozanovski takes over the helm at John Cain Memorial Park but hasn’t been in the manager’s seat since the 2010 season with Bentleigh but is respected highly after representing the Socceroos on nine occasions and leading Preston Lions to the 2007 crown.
    It is doubtful that Northcote can challenge for the finals after losing some key players. It will come down to what Lozanovski can do with the squad.

    2012 Northcote City Squad:
    1. Chris Petropoulos (GK), 2. Adrian Chiappetta, 3. Kristian Konstandinitis, 4. Antoni Jankovski, 5. James Stefanou, 6. Zane Sole, 7. Jonathan Voulgaris, 8. James Kalifatidis, 9. Milos Lujic , 10. Alex Rojas, 11. Pasquale Vizzari, 12. Hayden D’Agostino, 13. Ricardo Gonzales, 14. Quinn Macdonald, 15. Matthew Demo, 16. Dean Piemonte, 17. George Mcheileh, 18. Aaron Ward, 19. Parys Okai, 20. Luke Gavalas (GK), 21. Paul Savio, 22. Chris Di Bartolo, 23. Alvaro Carrillo, 24. Charlie Treacy (GK), 25. Darcy Vickery (GK), TBC. Bradley Treloar

    Oakleigh Cannons
    Oakleigh Cannons go into the 2012 VPL season without inspirational coach Arthur Pappas who has since taken over the Newcastle jets Youth side.

    Huss Skenderovic is his replacement. Skenderovic worked under Michael Chatzitrifonos at Richmond SC and has coached many junior football aged groups. But would Skenderovic be able to handle the job of a manager of a VPL side? We will have to wait and see.
    Cannons have been able to hold on to the majority of the squad from last season which were defeated in the VPL Grand Final in Extra-time against Green Gully. Peter Zois remains Captain and first choice goalkeeper. Ramazan Tavsancioglu, Frankie Lagana, Hayden Doyle are joined by new comers Goran Zoric and Daniel Dragicevic and will be welcome add-ons to the midfield. Melbourne Heart due Jeremy Walker and Craig Goodwin have also been retained with new forward Zac Walker. New Zealand forward Caleb Rufer joins from Sydney FC’s youth side and happens to be the son of former Oceanic player of the year Wynton.
    Oakleigh definitely have the squad to compete for a finals position but in Skenderovic the Cannons may struggle with an inexperienced VPL coach.

    2012 Oakleigh Cannons Squad:
    Peter Zois (GK) ©, Steven Gray, Ramazan Tavsancioglu, Jamie Cumming, Jeremy Walker, Ari Drakos, Bonel Obradovic, Frankie Lagana, Luke Walker, Hayden Doyle, Shaun Ontong, Craig Goodwin, Goran Zoric, Ricky Diaco, Jesse Krncevic, Zac Walker, Daniel Dragicevic, Caleb Rufer, Ashley Savanah, Munyar Nyadzayo, Laurent Coralie, Nikolas Robers, Daniel Neesham (GK)

    Richmond SC
    Richmond Soccer Club go into the 2012 season without making too many changes to their squad
    . Michael Chatzitrifonos has added Liam Cannell, Tom Milardovic and Daniel Visevic from relegated St. Albans with Steven Topalovic joining from South Melbourne. The latter three have already played for Richmond in the past so Chatzitrifonos has stuck with some familiar faces. Chatzitrifonos has also kept the core of the squad with Michael Ferrante, Stjepan Gal, Erhan Karahan and Nick Marinos. The Eagles have also retained Davey van ‘t Schip, son of Melbourne Heart manager John.
    Richmond are another side which probably won’t go for the title but may have a chance to sneak into the finals.

    2012 Richmond SC Squad:
    Jonathan Beamish, Devon Bonne, Liam Cannell, Michael Catalano, Mate Eterovic, Michael Farnha, Michael Ferrante, Stjepan Gal, Didier Imbert, Erhan Karahan, Josh Kweifio-Okai, Nick Marinos, Tom Milardovic, Scott Muirhead, Timmy Purcell, Sam Shepherd, Jonny Stahl, Steven Topalovic, Davey van ‘t Schip, Andrew Viola, Daniel Visevic, Oscar Vonk

    South Melbourne
    South Melbourne go into the 2012 season with a very strong squad and a great coach in Peter Tsolakis who won the Mirabella Cup with Northcote City last season.

    Tsolakis has brought Trent Rixon, the Trifiro brother, Jason and Glen as well as Gianni de Nittis to the newest VPL facility, Lakeside Stadium. Peter Gavalas also joins from Bentleigh Greens and will compete with Jason Saldaris, who comes from Perth, for the goalkeeper’s kit. Englishman Luke Byles strengthens the backline after joining from Heidelberg United and Brad Norton also arrives from A-League side.
    Although many players have joined South still have Tom Matthew, Rhodri Payne and Captain Steve O’Dor, Kyle Joryeff and Fernando.
    South will definitely be a title contender with a good coach and a great squad. But will the high expectations of the club and fans be too much of a burden for the squad? We will have to wait and see. 

    2012 South Melbourne Squad:
    1. Peter Gavalas (GK), 2. Tom Matthews, 3. Rhodri Payne, 4. Steve O’Dor ©, 6. Dimi Tsiaras, 7. Joe Keenan, 8. Dimi Hatzimouratis, 9. Trent Rixon, 10. Glen Trifiro, 11. Brad Norton, 13. Luke Byles, 14. Andrew Kaine, 15. Fernando, 16. Christian Skok, 17. Matko Budimir, 18. Marinos Gasparis, 20. Gianni de Nittis, 21. Jason Saldaris (GK), 23. Jason Trifiro, 24. Nick Jacobs, 25. Kyle Joryeff



    Southern Stars
    Southern Stars go into the 2012 VPL season after coming runners up to the then Whittlesea Zebras in State League 1 last season.

    But the VPL season will be a different test. Coach Dean Hennessey brings a great promotion record to the VPL with some good young players like former Melbourne Victory youth player David Stirton and Rudvan Saglam. Former Shamrock Rovers defender Pat Sullivan who played in the 2011-12 Europa League and has been training with Melbourne Victory over the offseason also joins to bolster the defence.
    Since Stars have been just promoted it is unlikely that they will compete for a finals position so they will battle to survive relegation.

    2012 Southern Stars Squad:
    1. Robert Acs (GK), 2. Darragh Ryan, 3. Pat Sullivan, 4. John Fitzgerald, 5. Luke Fitzpatrick, 6. Alan Mulcahy, 7. Darren Hewitt, 8. Frazer Siddle (GK), 9. Leon Williams, 10. Joe Diorio, 11. Yanni Galanos, 12. David Stirton, 13. Halil Gur, 14. Sait Guler, 15. Karl Brown, 16. Alan Kearney, 17. Rudvan Saglam, 18. Ari Ritz, 19. Liam McCormick, 20. Nick Abougelis (GK), 22. Mark Leach, 23. Kerim Tansel, 24. Keiren Fitzgerald

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