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Page No. 2 - 1997/98 Season - January to May, 1998

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UNDER THE SPOTLIGHTS ..My personal comment :

Live Match Report:

Melita Stadium, 7.00pm Sunday 22nd February, 1998
NSW Super League PreSeason Cup (Nth Grp)

Parramatta Eagles 1 (Mittiga 15 ) v. Ryde City Gunners 1 (Koch 89) (1-0)

Crowd: 400ish Referee: ? 7/10 Game: 6/10
Players: Not known

Watched 1/2 an hour of Marconi v. Sth Melbourne and was pretty bored so decided to go to watch a live game after being Dad's Taxi. Got to Melita Stadium, South Granville 8mins late to find the gates closed and no one collecting money. Let myself in to find less than 500 there.
Newly promoted Ryde were pretty much on the back-foot against the 97 Premiers when I arrived so it was no surprise when the Eagles scored at about 20 mins when they got more players in the box and Ryde's keeper had no chance from close range. Ryde stayed under pressure the whole of the first half but some nice work by the wide defenders blunted the attack, anf the keeper made a couple of saves. The Eagles looked to be coasting in midfield and Ryde's attacks broke down as soon as they got into the Eagles half. Ryde seemed to be having trouble lifting to Super League pace and timing.
In the second half Ryde picked up their game and a few well chosen substitutions gave them a pace advantage. Looking more dangerous in attack when breaking away they wasted time a lot by playing too many unnecessary balls at the back Marconi style. The Eagles made several penetrative runs into the box but the Ryde keeper was superb keeping them in the game. A particularly fine effort after about 10 mins when he got his fingers to a stinging shot and steered it clear. In the last 10 mins Ryde at last begun to belive they could score and score they did in the 89th minute when a Ryde player contested a 50/50 ball in the box and slipped it past the keeper.

Live Match Report:

Topper Stadium, Newcastle 7.35pm Friday 30th January, 1998 EC Rnd 18

Newcastle Topper Breakers 1 v. Wollongong Wolves 2 (0-2)

Scorers: Perinich 12th min, Surjan 20th, Ironside 35th. Referee: Brad McKay 2/10, Game: 5/10, Crowd: 2,839.

Starting teams: Breakers: Swancott, McManus, Pryce, Austin, Edwards, Ritchie, Ironside, West, Wilson, Zane,Tollenaare; Wolves: Brodbeck, Ceccoli, Huxley, Stanton, Connolly, Souris, Surjan, Sevin, Horsley, Chipperfield, Perinich

A hot day was being turned by a glorious sunset into a balmy night by the time the teams took the field. Breakers fans had just had their first smile for ages when the NYL team whipped a ten man Wolves team 8-1. Was this a good or bad omen? We were all dismayed when the distinctive strut of Referee Brad McKay revealed itself. What did we do to deserve this turkey twice in one month.
The game opened with some fast interpassing by the Wolves and by 5 mins both teams had had their first chance with Perinich at one end missing a sitter and Tollenaare almost grazing the right upright with Brodbeck beaten. Some more pressure from the Breakers with Zane holding the ball up and a fine looking Tollenaare playing off him. Alas the play was quickly turned over by the Wolves tough as teak defence and Perinich was played on, rounded Swancott and thank you! Within 8 mins Surjan beat Swancott with a fine long free kick which showed Swancott as having somewhat less the reach of Kalac and the defence somewhat less of the wall building skills of AdCity. Strange then that for the rest of the half the Breakers were ahead on points with a well taken poached goal by Ironside, and three more chances, two to Tollenaare. One a beatifully executed volley which cannoned of the cross bar with Brodbeck at sea.
The second half promised a contest but both teams dropped into low gear for 40 mins and the Rowdies started singing the irreverent and irrelevant songs they reserve for when they are bored. Brodbeck punched clear several threatening crosses and Swancott was underemployed. The Breakers midfield dissappeared and the forwards dropped back to pick up. The Wolves for their part were losing their way forward and not exploiting that blistering pace of theirs. Brad McKay decded that he was the entertainment and became a complete prat. The last 8 mins saw a little sparkle as the Breakers tried hard to breach Brodbeck's area.
A handy win and 3 points for the Wolves taking them (at least for now) to 3rd. For the Breakers it extended out stretch without a win to a record 15 games. So much for the pre-season promise. Tollenaare looked a likely lad in the first half and the rest of the team tried hard - not enough I am afraid. Lots of rumours around the fans, odd board decisions, and some unhappy people in Newcastle. These 140km drives back seem to get longer after each loss!
Best: NTB Tollenaare, West, Zane. Wolves: Chipperfield, Surjan, Connolly.

Live Match Report:

Topper Stadium, Newcastle 7.35pm Friday 16th January, 1998 EC Rnd 16

Newcastle Topper Breakers 1 v. Gippsland Falcons 5 (0-2)

Scorers: Pryce (pen.) 77mins; Foy 4mins, Tricarico 41 62, Tsaltas 65, McNicholl 67 Referee: Barry Panella 4/10, Game: 4/10, Crowd: 2,888.

Starting teams: Breakers: Swancott, McManus, Pryce, Sprod, Austin, Edwards, Ritchie, Lowe (RC 44mins), Ironside, Lane. Falcons: Jeudjevic, Bell, Gotis, Sekulic, Palamaras, Tsaltas, Hastie, Osman, Tricarico, Mihajlovic, Foy. (Archie Thompson came on at some stage)
Well I'm not going to dwell on this game much and especially not the gory details. Two youngish teams lined up, both non-metropolitan sides facing the pressures of commercial success for Soc Aus. For the Breakers 2,888 faithfull fans came out on a warm overcast night to stand in solidarity with their players given the lowly table position and the perceptions of the opposition. Both coaches revealed surprises: Of course Zane was suspended but only one normal striker started, rookie Benn Lane, with Ironside pushed up front. Arok had to leave out big experienced Canosa and keeper Kourtis with Bosnian Jeudjevic in his first start in goals. As the game kicked off after the NYL (NTB 1 NSW ITC 1) rumours and 'dead sets' were bouncing around Rowdies Hill. We shall just wait and see!

Falcons looked sharp from the start with some strong direct running and in the 4th min Foy showed how striking is done with a nice little swerve in from the right and a powerfull wack into the top left hand corner which bypassed the 3 NTB players and Swancott in front of him. Over the next 35 minsthe Breakers could have had 3 or 4 chances had the good lead up work resulted in direct runs on goal or strikes on target. The rumoured $500K cheque book had better open for a striker. At 41 mins former Joey Tricarico scored. 3 mins and a moment of madness by promising young Matt Lowe saw him charge Hastie late and after a careless yellow (one of 4 to NTB in just the first half - "The refs a p....!" chants all round! - and he was.) he quickly walked to the tunnel with the colour red burned into his short term memory. 0-2 down and ten men ... shee!
The second half saw a more even battle for 20 mins as the Breakers did well with a man down. Your know when you watch a run and you say to yourself here's a goal? Well yes Tricarico runs into and across the box trailed by Sprod and deftly swivels placing the ball cms inside the left corner giving Swannie no chance. In quick succession Tsaltas and McNicholl stun but not surprise the crowd with 2 goals. Only one goal has been at all Swancott's responsibility. Reach for cheque book. It is only at this humiliating point that the Breakers rise, or the Falcons ease, or both, for the rest of the half we are marginally on top. A penalty taken sweetly to the right corner by Captain Pryce provides little consolation.
Best: Falcons - Tricarico, Foy, Gotis Least worst for NTB: Sprod, Swancott, Wilson.
In short Falcons are still on the rise and have found the touch of clinical finishing, and the Breakers are losing all confidence and wouldn't find goal if they had an NRMA map to it. At least Kossie tried something but moving Ironside around the park like a chess piece is solving nothing. The defence lacks a marshalling force and is lost. Still 280km was a good time with my kids, some good company, and still a team I feel I can cheer for! We only sing when we're losing! :-) Oh my, it's Wolves next home game!

Live Match Report:

Marconi v. UTS

Saturday 10th January, 1998 - Marconi 1 (Maloney) v. UTS Olympic 1 (Juric) (1-1)
Crowd: about 6300, Referee: Brett Hugo 9/10, Pretty ordinary game with Olympic coming off a 1-7 hiding from Canberra and just trying to get confidence back, and Marconi still not used to or able to work to Matic's plan. Well I am not a fan but having seen Marconi 3 times live in 3 weeks and Olympic twice live in the past month I reckon they are likely to drift around the 7-9th spots.

Match Report off Optus Vision:

Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide 7.30pm
Wednesday 7th January, 1998 Round 8 (deferred)

Adelaide City 4 v. Newcastle Topper Breakers 0

Crowd: perhaps 3,500! Referee: Gerry Connolly 6/10 Game: 6/10
Players: NTB: Baker, Austin, Pryce c.(Lane), Ritchie (West?), McManus, Wilson (Bennett), Ironside, Lowe, Zane, Edwards, McGuire.

In a deferred Rnd 8 game the Breakers travelled to the City of Churches with only prayers to sustain them in the post-Halpin era. Watching these two teams is hard for me as I was a City fan for nearly 20 years until Johnny Perrin was dudded as coach and now my more recently adopted Newcastle team I love dearly, as a convert should, but one has to despair at times! This was one of them.

If the EC was Rooball played for 20 mins the Breakers would be top of the league as so many times this year and last they dominate for spells of that length. Tonight we started out like wildfire with a good 25 mins of dominance and, 3 good chances, and a disallowed goal (I will need to watch the video to see why!). Wilson and Pryce were pushing up well in the midfield and both Clacka (Zane) and Brick (McGuire) competitive up front. Then just when it looked like the wheels might fall off AdCity it was classic counter attack and with Ironside standing flatfooted near the ever moving Mori it was a clear head past Baker at about 29 mins. City picked up the tempo and despite heaps of pressure from the Breakers the next 15 mins was City with 6 in the box being marshalled by Tobin (who incidently gave away 5 fouls) and swept by Costanzo in place of Ivanovic, with the fast midfield flick to Mori or Hassell to run with. At about 39 mins Brooks was left free on the left to place the ball past Baker who had made 2 great saves just before. At half time 2-0 with the cupboard bare for Kosmina on the bench.

The second half started with no changes at either end and for the next 25 mins the Breakers again dominated posession in 3/4 of the field but getting to just outside of the penalty area and losing it. One could sense that unless the Breakers got a shock goal their spirit would flag before their stamina and gradually AdCity blunted Zane, Pryce, and Wilson's threat and put pressure back on Austin, McManus, Ritchie and Edwards. In fact Ritchie stood on the ball trying to round Mori and off was Frogger tearing for goal and placing it well over Baker. 3-0. To give Newcastle credit they kept pushing forward but except for a freshened McGuire the attack was blunted. Painfully but inevitably Mori picked up another for his hat-trick (and 11 this year along with Cardozo) 4-0.

Best: NTB - Wilson, Pryce, Baker. AdCity: Costanzo, Mori, Petkovic.
Comments - AdCity: It could be said "he would say that wouldn't he!" but at the season's opening I picked Adelaide Zebras as finalists. Obviously they are shaking off the cobwebs and with 4 games in two weeks I would hate to be Perth & Carlton meeting them later this month to keep top 6 spots. Mori was very good, Costanzo excellent, Petkovic cool, and the defence back to top form. Newcastle: When is that Consortium making a bid? It is impossible for Zane to carry the team, even with support from Pryce, Wilson, and Ritchie. You can't fault anyone for commitment - what is needed now is ideas going forward and defensive intelligence. Both are lacking and if there wasn't already a CC (Cranney count) for balls given away I'd start an Ironside Count. He really is just taking up space despite the crap spoken about him by Kosmina and Wade etc. At least Baker is back to last year's form with none of the goals his fault. With just 4 reserves what options are there - bring up Heath Timmins, Juchniewicz, and Owens from the NYL? - we couldn't do worse! Buy Scott Mutton from Bathurst 75 - do something Kossie!

Live Match Report:

Topper Stadium, Newcastle 7.40pm Friday 2nd January, 1998

Newcastle Topper Breakers 0 v. Marconi Fairfield Stallions 0

Crowd: 3,892 Referee: Greg Leverton 7/10* Game: 5/10
Players: NTB: Baker, Sprod (West), Austin, Pryce c., McManus, Wilson, Ironside, Lowe, Zane, Bennett (McGuire), Halpin (Lane) MF: Covic, M Babic, Longo, Casserly, Maloney c., Z Babic (Care) , Awaritefe, Renaud, Kim, Mendez, Zoric.

It seems strange that despite the drought and bushfires it was for the first time in three games a fine hot night welcomed the Marconi-Fairfield Stallions fresh from their win in the first round's closing game against us at Bossley Park last week. Perhaps it was also the lure of the last game of Troy Halpin for the Breakers before his long expected but nevertheless shattering move to Perth Glory that brought a decent crowd approaching 4,000. The seasons avg. is down badly to 3,707 after last years good increase. The coffers are pretty bare I believe for any new staff and we are down to 14 fit field players.

The previous week's encounter had been fairly ordinary fayre only enlivened by Clayton Zane's fine display so it was not surprising to see 2-3 Stallions players shadowing Clacka every time he got the ball. This theoretically made room for others to shine but that wasn't the case. It was a continuation of the last game with a tentative start, Marconi showing some heart during the mid first half until Sean Babic was brought down in the box and had to stretchered off *. Christian Care came on for Babic but couldn't seem to 'jell' with Francis Awaritefe who was better held this week by McManus and often had to retreat to midfield. The Breakers had a fine chance through Halpin which just bent away from the upright. The midfield battle between Halpin and Wilson with "Chi Chi" Mendez and Maloney came out pretty even, Babic did a good job shackling Zane as I said with some help, and Bennett was mostly forced wide and covered. Marconi hardly threatened and when they did Liam Baker looked much more confident except when Awaitefe got through and Ironside was on the spot to clear.
In the second half Halpo and Zane tried very hard to create something and probably The Breakers were on top on points for a long spell, despite Mendez coming more into the game and Kim doing a fine job sweeping. Covic however never had to make a real save and was very safe looking handling crosses and through balls. Despite excellent defence in depth by Marconi the Breakers had several chances when Zane, McGuire, Lane. Lowe and Pryce hurried shots which were sent harmlessly into the Rowdies. The best chance fell to McGuire who was clear on the right and received a ball from Zane who had done all the hard work of shaking his shadows, but 'Brick' shot wide.
In the end a draw was a fair result but it does nothing for the Breakers' desperate need to avoid the wooden spoon approaching the rumoured year of the fully franchised "Super League". Where do we go from here? We haven't played totally crap except against Brisbane but somehow we must win something like half the matches to get up about 10th, without Halpin. A capital injection is definitely needed.

Best for NTB: Zane, Wilson, Halpin. MF-S: M. Babic, Mendez, Renaud.
* The incident with McManus tackling Sean Babic in the box was not awarded a penalty by the otherwise good Leverton. Although he let a number of midfield fouls go to our displeasure the Rowdies always 'bag' the Ref. and this time we were fortunate as the Optus TV view showed McManus to take out Babic's ankle not the ball. The serious injury was mainly due to the way his foot twisted when he fell but it was definitely a penalty.


Epping Eastwood U13 / 2 - Results & Fixtures

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


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| This page was last updated on 13th April, 1998 (3.00 pm) |
| Author: Chris Dunkerley |

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