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Page No. 1 - 1997/98 Season - September to December, 1997

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UNDER THE SPOTLIGHTS ..My personal comment :

Live Match Report:

Marconi Stadium, 7.10pm Saturday 27th December, 97

Marconi Fairfield Stallions 2 v. Newcastle Topper Breakers 1 (1-1)

Crowd: 3,000 ish. Referee: Con "the card" Diomis 5/10 Game: 5/10 Scorers: MF: Awaritefe, Maloney; NTB: Zane. Players: NTB: Baker, Sprod, Austin, Pryce c., McManus, Ritchie, Wilson, Edwards (West), Lowe, Zane, Bennett (Halpin). MF: Covic, M Babic, Longo, Casserly, Maloney c., Z Babic, Awaritefe, Renaud, Kim, Mendez (Care), Zoric.

On a mild and overcast Saturday night the Breakers came to Bossley Park in Sydney amid amazing rumours about the club, and knowing that even a win would only lift them one place off the bottom of the table, so they were expected to be very hungry. Alas the fire still doesn't seem to be there. We started well enough for the first 10 with Zane obviously intent to work hard and, with Halpin and Swancott dropped, the rest of the team on notice even in this thin squad. There was early evidence of problems on the left as Awaritefe and Z Babic were giving McNanus and Sprod real trouble. A probing ball from the left from Z Babic somehow evaded 3 Breakers defenders and Francis said thanks as he slotted it away. Meanwhile Zane was having to drop back, pick up, pass to himself, then try to score - a big ask. Finally a great piece of work saw Zane rewarded with space to slot the ball home inside the left hand upright (coming over to the small knot of we supporters nearby for a salute - thanks Clacka!). Our Marconi hosts nearby suggested it would end 2-2 before they went for a beer but given the Breakers penchant for handing over a goal within minutes of scoring it was indeed unexpected to go in even at half time. Certainly we had been relieved when Awaitefe had milked a penalty and then allowed Baker to psyche him into hitting it straight to him. The half had been slightly Marconi's way but with some good spells from Newcastle.
The second half was a different story with wholesale abandonment of the midfield and some hair raising defending by the Breakers. It was then not a surprise when Awaritefe turned McManus inside out on the right edge of the box and placed a weighted ball over the goalmouth for Maloney to bang in from close range inside the left upright. Why Baker didn't even get a hand to it amazed us behind the goal. With some of the Newcastle fans going ape calling for Halpin to be brought on - who spent a full 20 minutes warming up - we were quickly going nowhere with no chasing or closing down in the midfield. Yellow cards started to fly from Diomis as both sides got frustrated or bored or both! At last Kosmina introduced Halpin and West and the tempo lifted balls were being actually supplied to Clacka!. For 20 minutes it looked a half chance we could snatch a draw but the final whistle saw Marconi deserved winners.
We can only hope for retribution on Friday night. As there is expected to be a good number of Marconi fans there we hope the Breakers fans can get behind and lift the team. Best for NTB: Zane, Pryce, Lowe MF: Awaritefe, Maloney, Z Babic.

Live Match Report:

Topper Stadium, 7.30pm Friday 19th December, 97

Newcastle Topper Breakers 2 V. UTS Olympic 3

Crowd: 2,273 (again poor) Referee: Rookie B. McKay (4/10) Match: 6/10 if you discount the result. Scorers: NTB: Ritchie 18mins, Wilson 65; UTS: Petratos 21, Tsekenis 67, Tome (pen.) 81
Breakers team: Swancott, Pryce, McManus, Edwards, Wilson, Austin, Ritchie, Ironside, Bennett (Lane 79), Sprod, Lowe, Zane. UTS: Catlin, Juric, Hristodoulou (Carle), Tskenis, Emerton, De Marigny, Ardone, Augerinos (Eagleton) , Jomaa, Petratos, Tome.

Having been on holidays in the beatiful Hunter River/Port Stephens area straight after the seeing game I didn't take notes. I have just watched the video and it seems that the penalty decision which we violently disputed was a nearer thing than we thought. I still think it wasn't a penalty but perhaps it wouldn't have made the difference as the Breakers seemed intent on throwing away their chance for a home win. The first 20 minutes saw the Breakers playing well and UTS on the back foot but by 25 we were 1-1 and the game was wide open. The Zane - Ritchie combination for the first was excellent with Clacka turning De Marigny into a pretzel. Petratos's goal caught Swancott badly positioned and he didn't cover the bounce. At half time we felt that the Breakers had a good chance to win even if Bobby Catlin was in great form and having fun with the Rowdiws behind him (including his brother). In the second half UTS were again on the back foot as Ritchie, Pryce, and Wilson gave good support to Zane and Bennett. In the 65th min Wilson placed a shot neatly inside the right upright 2-1. Just when it looked like we might go on with it Tsekenis picked up a lose ball in the box which Swancott and 3 -4 defenders should have cleared and it was 2-2! From their on UTS picked up the tempo and from an Ardone through ball to Brett Emerton Swancott came out and missing the ball collected Emerton. Referee McKay, much to the Rowdies and I might at 'the cardboards' voiced fury pointed to the spot. Tome sent Swanny the wrong way and that my friends was that! Best for NTB: Ritchie, Zane, Wilson with Pryce doing well in midfield. A lot of yellows were handed out and Ironside misses the Marconi match. What Kossie can do with 16 players now to get off the bottom rung I don't know!

Live Match Report:

Topper Stadium 7.30pm Friday 28/11/97

Newcastle Topper Breakers 1 v. Brisbane Strikers 2 (0-1)

Scorers: Rod Brown 27min, Frank Farina 52min, Clayton Zane 90min
Referee: Greg Leverton 7/10 (one linesman was bad on off-sides). Crowd: 2,200

Teams: BS - Bolton, Gwynne, Zoricich, S Cranney, Farina (Knipe), Brown, T Cranney, Chay Hews (Meredith), Laybutt, Andrew Packer, Harper. NTB - Swancott, Pryce, McManus, Ritchie, Ironside, Sprod (Edwards), Halpin (Austin), Lowe, Zane, McGuire, Lane.

A major downpour and inky threatening skies kept the crowd down so there were less to be disappointed in a game which, going on last year, promised much but delivered very little. The exception to this would have been Strikers supporters who at least picked up 3 pts from a poor display. The first 20 minutes was sparring stuff. Probing runs from both sides interspersed by hesitant passing spells and the game was balanced. Brisbane then started to pick up the tempo possibly having realised that Newcastle weren't about to sweep them away and some strong running by Farina opened up the Breakers defence. Both teams were playing with three strikers but Harper and more so Brown were running parallel to Farina at the twin defence and causing real heartache. Surprisingly Kosmina didn't seem to react to this. All the Strikers attacks were coming straight down the field and the Cranneys were no where to be seen. A couple of chances before the 25min at the other end which Zane failed to convert left Newcastle exposed and at 27min former Newcastle player Rod Brown scored a fine classic far post header from a well placed corner from the left leaping freely and high to place it powerfully past a swivelling Swancott. 0-1. 30mins and Pryce clears very well indeed off a Farina angled shot but again 6 mins later Farina is allowed to run and he sets up Brown for a shot which Swancott covers well. A brief spark from the Breakers has Benn Lane hit a scorcher to the right of Bolton which the reprieved Brisbane keeper takes high up. The tempo died down until the half time whistle which sees both teams needing to rethink their second half plans.

The Breakers come out and a false aura is cast by the 1st min header from Benn Lane. The Rowdies come alive and put Bolton under pressure but 7 mins later that man Farina scores on a breakaway and the Breakers drop their heads. The second half is best forgotten with Brisbane coasting and Newcastle struggling and playing very ordinary football. Kosmina surprises by taking off Sprod for Shaun Edwards who makes his EC debut this year, and an even bigger shock Halpin for Austin. Two creative players for two defenders when you are 2 blot down? Edwards at least shows some class, and Austin is all commitment which perhaps Halpo wasn't demonstrating. Just when the crowd was starting to leave early (very unusual for Newcastle) the Breakers came alive and played the fast interpassing stuff that got them to a cm of the 6 last year. A bit late for even Zane's goal (cleaned up from a Benn Lane strike parried by Bolton) in the 45min was not going to save the points.

The top 6 looks a far distant goal now for the Breakers and coach Kosmina needs a rethink while Brisbane go north with some cheer at last. Best for BS - Farina, Brown, Gwynne, NTB - Swancott, Lane, Pryce

Match Report: Off Optus - A League - Rnd 6

Friday, 14th November 1997 - Topper Stadium 7.30pm
Newcastle Topper Breakers 0 V. Carlton Blues 0 (2-0)
Referee: Con Diomis 6/10 Game: 7/10. Crowd: approx. 3,000

Last week we played over Sydney United for 50 minures and lost; this week we played over Carlton for 80 mins and drew! At least the team is starting to play well but oh for a goal poacher. You can't miss a dozen good chances and win games.
The game started well for Newcastle with no deference being given to big names or high position on the table. That's my boys! As the game wore on we slowly gained the upper hand and what was more Carlton only had 3 or 4 chances and no soft goals were conceded. I often think Swancott has too much confidence but tonight he played with a lot of maturity and even when he made mistakes he receovered well. Carlton were starting to get agitated and no one more than their bench.
In the second half Carlton tried to lift a cog through Marusic but he soon faded and Lapsansky just disappeared. For the rest of the match except for a long range try and a lob from substitute Grella Carlton were backpedalling and on the defensive. With the send off of Anthopolous with ten to go I thought this could go either way now but the pressure stayed on and several saves were needed from Anastasiadis.
The game ran out a nil all draw but it had plenty to offer the fans. And whilst the crowd was probably down to a little over 3K they were very vocal with a very tighlty packed Rowdies Hill and some fine singing. It looked and sounded great! OK Glory what we lack in quantity we make up for in quality! :-) The points lost are a real problem and the top 6 is receding but a good game, we played well, and I think we may be on the way back. In short we have made Sudney United and Carlton (1 & 2) look ordinary in two weeks - bring on the rest!
Best for NTB: Zane, Ritchie, and Swancott. Halpin contributed well but can do better. Good to see McGuire getting a full run and doing well. Lowe had a good game again. As for Ironside - after the last two weeks let's hope the yellow was his 4th! :-)

Match Report: Live - A League - Rnd 6

Friday, 7th November 1997 - Parramatta Stadium 8pm
Sydney United Pumas 2 V. Newcastle Topper Breakers 0 (2-0)

Well what can you say? An extremely dubious penalty, a soft own goal, no pressure on our keeper, shots and crosses in the air to/at Kalac!
Referee: I don't know yet, but boy the 50 Breakers supporters just had their jaws dropped to their feet and mouth gaping at the penalty he gave! On the Ball on Sunday is a must to see what it was for. That said he did card a lot of Red shirts! :-) Anyway 0/10 until I know about the penalty! Crowd: Crowd? You call that a crowd. 50 of us and about 2000 of them! Pathetic! Game rating: 6/10 mainly for the 2nd half. Scorers: Bilokapic (pen), Bosevski claimed an own goal by I think Ritchie.
The story was that the Breakers came out tentatively without the suspended playmaker Troy Halpin and pumped a few too many long balls but were settling against the Pumas who were struggling without Mitchell. We were getting on top, certainly in time occupying their half when a long speculative ball to a mass of players in the box was cleanly and clearly taken by Brad Swancott, who played in lieu of Liam Baker who looked a bit ill composed last week. Suddenly the ref blew the whistle, pointed at Swancott, and the spot, then ran to the line. Our defence just stood their dumfounded. Bilokapic sent Swanny the wrong way 1-0.
I received a call on the mobile from Newcastle, 'how's it going?' - Started to explain the penalty when - Oh #4@5# an own goal. A strong long range shot was deflected by Swancott - but alas then deflected into the net by a Breakers player running in! 2-0.
For the rest of the half we struggled to regain dominance and ideas were lacking, and the final pass woefull. The second half saw Clayton Zane replaced by Liam McGuire (due to injury?). As the half wore on the Breakers got on top and then camped in the Pumas half, with just a few forays into our half by SU. There is however a real flaw in crossing and shooting at Kalac in the air. We never quite cottoned on. OK, so they won, but they really are a shadow of the team of last year, with little vision and creativity, plus poor temperament. On our side we played better football in the second half, and learned how to play without Halpin, but like previous weeks when Halpo has provided oodles of quality dead ball movements which were left totally unconverted , this time the attack found no clear way around Kalac who had more work than Swancott but retained a blank sheet. Anyone got a spare $100,000 for a striker who can score? I think SU will struggle on the last two weeks performance and will slide back down the ladder. As for the Breakers? Unless we get back to the superb play of last season, and start converting one chance in 4 or 5, that 6th spot is very far over the horizon. A bright note was the performance of 'new' boys - Lane, Lowe, and Swancott. Lane particulary tried to make some creative openings rather than the obvious. Best: Breakers - Lane, Lowe, Swancott SU - Kalac, others I don't know. 8/11 Addenda -: After reading SMH: Referee: David Dwight!!!! You know how the referees is always right even when he's wrong. Well this was certainly one of those occasions. It seems Mike Cockerill thinks likewise. His article says Dwight was the only one at the ground who knew why.

Crowd: 3,656 Hmm... Scorers: Bilokapic 20min (pen), Bosevski (26) Cock reckons Bosevski scored. Well I was right in line of the ball moving away from the kick and I still reckon Swancott parried it away from its line heading for the far post, but into the path of our defender who almost walked it into the net.. Look I'll take a soft own goal and admit to 1-0 despite out playing them generally - especially as we couldn't breach Kalac's defence with the pop gun and badminton stuff we served up....but 2-0 on that penalty - No way!
Nevertheless Kossie has a lot of work to do quickly, and so does Mitchell - he just has some more points to buffer him for a while! Interesting that our team played better in the second half than for a few games without relying on Halpin and Zane. Perhaps some more variation and responsibility in the tactics and execution of them is needed from all.

Match Report: Off Optus Vision - A League - Rnd 5

Friday, 31st October, 1997 - Topper Stadium, Birmingham Gardens, 7.37pm
Newcastle Topper Breakers 2 V. Perth Glory 3 (1-1)

Referee: Greg Leverton 8/10 (good - the cards were needed I suppose) Crowd: 4,183 (good but should be better) Game rating: 7/10 (even for a loss!); Scorers: Breakers - Pryce (pen) 20. Lane 89 ; Perth - Despotovski 14, Strudwick 50, Miller 65
Team: NTB - Baker, Austin (Wilson 75), Pryce (c), McManus, Ritchie, Ironside, Halpin, Sprod, Zane, Bennett (Lane 75), Williams (Lowe 10) PG - I'll have to check that! Subs on were Wilkinson and Halpin.

Intro: A nice fine warm night with a bit of breeze, Topper Stadium surface back to near top standard, a good crowd, and two combative teams. What more could you ask for. Well I would have liked to have been up there instead of 135km away watching on Optus Vision - but hey, a comfy seat and you can still hear every word from the Rowdies! As the teams warm up so are the Rowdies and it seems Sports Oz have decided the viewers can take hearing a little Rowdie singing as the mikes pick it up loud and clear! I sang along! Celery!

The game commenced with some fervour and in the 2nd min. Sproddy went near from a laid-off ball from Ironside drawn from a Mick Williams cross. Williams in his first start for the Breakers looked willing to get forward but he was taken off injured in the 10th minute. In the first 4 mins Bennett fired over with Maras out (he had tried man-handling Bennett and was lucky not to give a penalty), and Pryce heads over from what was to be a series of great Halpin free kicks and corners which the Breakers must learn to do more with. We could have been 5 up by 30 mins but no. Williams tries a 50/50 ball with Strudwick and comes off worse. (Taken to hospital with a suspected fractured leg). In the 11 min a beaut ball in is only forced for a corner by Ritchie. One of those in-curling Halpin corners is desperately cleared by Strudwick. Ritchie skies one over the Rowdies a little later when Zane is upended and the free kick suggests the Breakers are moving well on top. We always say that and put the mockers on because Perth start to move into counter attacking mode (Marocchi learned something at AdCity) and first Siasia earns a free kick off Pryce and another dead ball situation outside the area sees the wall containing too many gaps and Baker is badly beaten on his left through one of them by Despotovski. 0-1. Perth again slices through - G Naven - Siasia - saved. The Breakers continue to put enormous pressure on Perth and some tough tackling is brought to bear. About 20 min, on the left, Halpin executes a delightful back heel through two players and Sprod crosses menacingly but Maras saves. Presurre on Maras mounts as Sprod gets to a cross and a diving header forces a corner. Bennett slices into the box and is manhandled by Hay and Pryce makes no mistake from the spot! 1-1 Perth are desperate - Buljubasic earns a Yellow on Ritchie and Ironside over of a Halpin free. At 30 mins it seems we've had a half already there has been so much action. Perth start making more breaks and Austin is Yellow carded for pulling up Despotovski. Austin is handling Siasia fine but Strudwick and Despotovski are starting to cause worries. Maras still has the wobblies but the bug moves up field and Baker catches it. He spills a stinging shot from Tapai who has suddenly realised the kick off whistle has gone. He makes up for lost time. Halpin is trying to lift the Breakers and is pulling off some lovely work but with Baker dropping balls Perth start to get a sniff. It's end to end stuff up to half time.
After the break NTB start well with some good pressure. The tide is turning though as Perth step up their tempo and regain their composure. A lovely ball from Tapai on the right to Strudwick not picked up on the left and he stides forwrd and steers the ball into the net past a transfixed Baker. 1 -2 Some more end to end stuff and then Strudwick earns a Yellow on Ritchie. Breakers starting to panic and Halpin is carded for a maybe hand ball and letting off steam. About 65 min Miller slips free and from Tapai gets a ball he just has to sink. He does. 1-3 Breakers pressure but their composure is now under fire and found wanting. The spirit and fluency I've seen many times goes 'walkabout' and when Troy's younger brother Scott comes on for Glory and slips one just over the bar at almost his first touch even Troy's head drops. Kossie makes a double substitution and young Ben lane comes on full of running. Tapai hits well and Baker punches well clear. Just when I was slumped in my chair after having been on the edge for so long Ben lane picks up through ball, sidesteps the defender and drives it with his left into the upper reaches of the Perth net. 2-3. Just for a flash there's some hope and some life but Perth are not going to squander this lead and keep possession.
At full time the Breakers can only blame themselves for a) too many missed chances (we must start putting those 3/4 chances away) and b) some naive lapses in defence. Baker who I think highly off had a shocker (I just don't think Swancott would have been better). We are well out of the 6 now and if we are to get back in, and stay in, a lot of things must change. Let us hope the crowd keep coming. I'll be at Parra Stadium next week to give them some support as it will be a big ask, but a necessary won to win. Perth - well they may have been a few down by 20 mins and it may have been different. Siasia is not firing and the defence was very risk taking. They play UTS at home and will need to watch Emerton.
Best: NTB - Sprod, Halpin, Pryce PG - Tapai, Strudwick, Despotovski

Live Match Report - Rnd 1 - 1997/98 - A League

Newcastle Topper Breakers 4 V. Adelaide Sharks 2 ( 3-1 )
Friday 3rd October, 1997 7.30pm at Topper Stadium, Birmingham Gardens, Newcastle

Game Rating 6/10 (for the win), Crowd: 5,022 (good but less than hoped), Referee: Mark Shields ( 5/10 - last year he was quite good but this was not one of his better games - the penanlty and the booking of Zane were weird))
Squads: NTB - Baker, Austin, Pryce (c), McManus, Ritchie, Sprod, Ironside, West (Williams 54, Halpin (Lane 84), Bennet, Zane (Wilson 82). AS - Wildy, Pezos (Castro 29) The Breakers looked good in their new strip as the new season squad fronted up for a re-run of last years opening round which ended 6-1 to the Breakers. Could we repeat this with our stable, more experienced, but not really strengthened young side? This was answered in the 8th min, whilst the Rowdies were still warming up and finishing their first can, when Zane latched onto a ball from Jason Bennett and slammed it past Wildy. Within 17 mins we were 3 up through another goal by Zane from Bennet and then a penalty. A dubious penalty in the 43 min taken well by Cardozo made it 3-1 at half time. The Breakers had dominated the first half except for a few chances which Baker covered well but seemed to slacken off in the 2nd half. The Sharks missed Tsekinis and Iriarte was not seen plus young Wildy did well considering the tirade he was copping from the Rowdies, whilst the Breakers generally played well as a unit. Bennett put a nice one away at 80 min after good lead up work by 3 Breakers but the Sharks pulled another back via Castro in the 88th min. after Kosmina had made a few changes. Best: NTB Zane 3, Pryce 2, Baker 1 ; AS ?

Live Match Report

Wednesday 10th September,1997 at Marconi Stadium, NSW Waratah Cup Group B


Blacktown City Demons 3 V. Canberra Olympic 1
Marconi Faifield Stallions 2 V. Newcastle Topper Breakers 4 (0-2)


'Crowd': about 1500!
Blacktown City Demons 3 V. Canberra Olympic 1
BCD Dave Harding 2 Ivo De Jesus 1, CO ? ; Only saw the last 25 mins. Canberra looked sharp and skilfull but in the last 15 mins they let in 2 goals as they tired. The Demons were half a metre slower than EC pace but played the ball around well.

Marconi Fairfield Stallions 2 V. Newcastle Topper Breakers 4 (0-2)
NTB: OG, Ritchie, Zane, McGuire ; MFS: Zoric, Renaud ;
The Breakers were well on top for the first 10 mins and had a couple of half chances. The difference between this NTB team and the one I saw at the same venue in Nov. 96 is that they not only are as good as the next team, now they know it! Big, fast, and less tactically naive they made a Marconi that is still finding Matic's style look pretty ordinary, especially the attack which McManus, Pryce, Wilson, West and Ritchie held well. Playing only two new faces (NYL Brad Swancott in goal and Doug West in defence) from last season they went in at half time with a 2-0 lead. An own goal at 33 mins and then at 42 mins Ritchie hooked a loose ball in the box into the net. The second half saw Marconi pick up the game a little with Babic, Zoric, and Casserley looking to be a worry for NTB. A goal by Zoric at 53 mins which Swancott couldn't hold after it found a niche in the wall somehow put Marconi back in to it, but somehow Zane (who had a poor first half) found the net at 55 mins. NTB got back on top and on a break away Liam McGuire who had come on at half time placed one of his fine looping headers over the keeper. In the 82 min Renaud picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box and Swancott (who followed it out with no chance of getting it in the melee) was lobbed. Shaun Edwards and Ian Tresidder came on for NTB late. NTB finished stronger for a well deserved win. We should not however read too much into this though for the season proper. Best for NTB Pryce, Sprod, McManus MFS Babic, Zoric, ?

Live Match Report

Central Coast Coasties 0 V. Newcastle Topper Breakers 0 ( 0-0 )
Sunday 24th August, 1997 3pm at Pluim Park, Lisarow

'Crowd': about 150ish! Practice match.
Ground: Nice little ground with a small stand on half the western side and a couple of elevated seating areas on the east. Wet Canteen as well as the usual pies and BBQ. Well grassed for the end of the season but very hard and bumpy which didn't suit the Breakers much.
Well the score probably says it all. The Coasties having only finished their season a couple of weeks ago came out looking pretty good against a Breakers combination which has only been training that time. The Coasties of course did quite well in their inaugural NSW Super League season. The NTB having lost Scottie Thomas, Harry James, and Andy Roberts were trialling some youth leaguers and some others. Mr Attitude Brad Swancott started in goals and made a great gather off the foot of a Coast player early in the first half. Clacka Zane looked a bit sharper after failing to get a transfer, Robbie Ironside not playing due to flu, and Jason Bennett with short haircut looks even thinner if that is possible. YL'er West played well enough, and Weston's Ian Tresidder was on in the second half. The Coast did well in the first half moving out of midfield well and often but failing to breech the NTB defence. The NTB forward line on the other hand also failed to impress. NTB got the cobwebs out in the second half and looked to be getting on top late. Troy Hlpin looked class as always but was coasting. It certainly wasn't a classic game or too encouraging for our fans but the crunching tackles showed it was a fair dinkum game and a good hit out for the team. A couple of Coasties players looked useful if a little shy of EC style tackling.
The Breakers will have to pick it up a lot to trouble Marconi in the Waratah Cup however a few weeks may make a hell of a difference.


Epping Eastwood U13 / 2 - Results & Fixtures

*** My Son OWEN's U13 Team! ***


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| This page was last updated on 29th December, 1997 (11.00 pm) |
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