Monday, 11 November 2013

FFA Coaching Conference: NPL clubs should pay all coaches U12 - NPL but not players. Which club will lead?

The recent Coaching Conference in Canberra asked local National Premier League Clubs to refrain from paying players - and pay your coaches instead.

Coaches are undertaking expensive courses and give many hours of their time so kids and adults can play in the NPL.

But how many Coaches are being paid, at your Canberra club?

Already clubs around town are trying to poach players by offering payments or higher payments than their current club. Some have offered to double what a player is getting at his current club.

So where does the money come from for these NPL players? Gate money? Stop laughing!

Well if players were paid based on the crowd they pulled in no-one in Canberra would be paid.

An increasing source of revenue for the NPL clubs is their juniors. Different clubs charge different fees for U12 - U18. I wonder why?

No doubt some is siphoned off to pay their leading male players.

You wonder what amount of money is wasted on player wages across the men's premier league season.

And it is wasted as no sooner does a player bunker down at one club, he heads to a rival club for presumably more money.

Mike Charlesworth, owner of the Central Coast Mariners, has called for junior playing fees to be reduced. Canberra National Premier League Clubs by stopping player payments could show they were really interested in promoting and developing their club.

Imagine if any of our 8 Premier League clubs came out and said we'll pay all coaches but not our players.

What an interesting culture you could develop. And how you could take pressure off these NPL clubs in a financial sense.

Should anyone really be paying players to play in Canberra to play football?

Only Canberra United players should be paid and they regularly train 5 times a week and attract close to 1,000 people per game. Can any men's Premier League club match that?

What is the benefit to any club of paying players in Canberra? And which club(s) has a focus on coach and player development rather than win, by paying players, at all costs?


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Nearpost Radio celebrates hosts rise, not once, but thrice!

When Simon Hill, from Fox Sports, launched the Nearpost Radio at 2XX most Canberrans knew that the Canberra community needed a football show. For many reasons.

But it has been great to see a new breed of wannabee football journos taking their first steps on the Nearpost and going onto bigger and better things.

I gained employment albeit briefly at the Canberra Times, covering the Socceroos Asian Cup adventure in Thailand in 2007.

Russ Gibbs used the airwaves to great advantage and to give him a foot in the door to his first love, football. Soon after hosting the Nearpost and calling Canberra United games Russ was appointed Capital Football media officer. He's also has had stints on SBS covering the Futsal Nationals.

And now Lucy Zelic, who having entertained us with her knowledge, insights and laughter at the Nearpost, has scored a wonderful opportunity as part of the new SBS football team. With SBS showing A-League games live every Friday for the first time this season what a fantastic time for Lucy to join the team. Good luck Lucy.


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Brazil gave Australia a gift - so lets use it. It's all about the future, Asia Cup 2015 and beyond.

Australian football fans have long known our 2006 generation have been on the wane since, well, Italy defeated us 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup.

 But somehow they managed to get us through to the 2010 World Cup under Pim Verbeek and we got found out with an absolute pasting against Germany.

Then our new coach Holger provided us some hope with a much improved and more mobile 2011 Asian Cup, only to see us lose narrowly to Japan.

And again our remaining players from 2006 managed somehow with a little help from a few of the younger brigade to get us to Brazil 2014.

Three World Cups in a row, and this last one is a gift.

So lets use it.

Football in Australia will continue to grow, particularly when we get to a World Cup. No matter how poor our team.

So wise men and women would say that we've got to the 2014 so let's use it to ensure we get to the next one, with a younger team, in better shape.

We should salute the Coach, both Pim and Holger, and of course the Aussie players who got us to three World Cups. Brilliant. Thanks, it's added so much to our history, our profile at home and abroad and of course our bottom line.

We all know our defence is old and porous against the best teams, our current midfield needs work and our forward line is interesting but not of Champions League quality yet.

So Brazil beat us 6-0. Hands up who was surprised?

No-one because we know our players are not of a Champions League or Brazilian standard.

Certainly not in the numbers we require them to be.  Not yet.

So let's not kid ourselves anymore.

We stumbled through the last World Cup Finals, lets do it this time with the future of Australian football on display.

Sell the message we are rebuilding and and lets do it.

Big Sas must go, Marco Bresciano also.  Mile Jedinak is simply not good enough to take us forward - central defender maybe but he's not a modern midfielder. His touch!And it won't improve scrapping around at the bottom of the EPL will it.

Mark Schwarzer's decision to play less is a sign of his age. Would he have been prepared to do this ten years ago? Time to move him on.

Out with Archie Thompson as well.

The focus has to be on the Asian Cup, on home soil, and the World Cup 2018 qualifiers after that.

There can be no room for sentiment. Tim Cahill at 34 is too old and too slow to really give us hope for the future. Lucas Neill shouldn't be allowed to continue should he?

Should any player over 30 be on the plane to Rio? Really?

Last night proved that even the remaining old brigade can't save our face at next years World Cup, so why not embrace our opportunities and build for 2015 Asian Cup and beyond.

 Let's get on with and enjoy the World Cup and set our stall out accordingly.

 If Holger won't do it - move him on. No ifs, no buts. Lets not waste anymore games.

We have a wonderful opportunity to mould and develop our team, from now to the World Cup.

I'd rather take a few pastings at the World Cup with a younger side then a few pastings with the current squad.

We've been handed a gift with this squad enabling us to get to Brazil.

Let's use it!


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Australia football must regenerate on Wednesday. Asian Cup not the World Cup should be our focus

If Australia beat Iraq we qualify directly for Brazil 2014, but win or lose Wednesday is time to rebuild.

Should Australia fail to win they may go to the third qualifying play-off route - but lets leave that aside for now.

Sasaa Ognenovski, Lucas Neill, Timmy Cahill, Luke Wilkshire, Mark Bresciano, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson, and Harry Kewell - he'll want back in - are all, very fast.

Gus Hiddink reduced the super fit Brett Emerton to wipeout in his pre-World Cup training sessions in 2006, and Hiddink knew and taught us, the World Cup is a young man's game, especially for teams outside the top four.

 You need to be super fit to compete.

Australia were simply over run against Germany in 2010 and a number of those same players are telling us they can't wait to get to Brazil.

Let's get serious.

We're never going to win in Brazil, to get out of the group would be beyond our dreams with our current team, but we can get to the Asian Cup Final 2015 on home soil just six months after Brazil.

Australia needs to use the East Asia Cup in July, the pre-World Cup friendlies and the 2014 World Cup to prepare for the Asian Cup 2015.

Let's regenerate on Wednesday even if we don't achieve our goal.

Holman, Oar, Kruse, Milligan, Rogic have all shown they can play the type of game Australia needs, desires over the next four years so why not grab the chance to rebuild...NOW!

Could any of the older players mentioned above take two daily Hiddink style sessions prior to the World Cup, and if they can't do we really need or want such experience.

Ireland in USA 1990 played a very old John Aldridge and Tony Cascarino up front both 35+ from memory and it was dire. Embarassing..and yet I know we beat Italy but we scored in the 12th minute of the very first game and that was the end of our attacks..for the tournament!

Australia now has an opportunity to qualify, and let's ditch the sentiment and thank the old guard and move them on. Maybe give them a send off! We should do it right.

The World Cup is not the guys chance to get a personal's still 12 months away and it's time to say farewell to most if not all!

And because you are outraged, you can keep two of the old guard and that's your decide but let's get Australia going forward finally!


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Hey Sydneysiders: Who do you sing for? Let me help.

All Sydneysiders should have their team by now.

But of course you wouldn't be Sydneysiders if you all did.

Are you Red or Blue? Now that wasn't hard was it?

 Do you like bumblebees of the red and black kind or bluebottles; these one's don't least not often.

If you're from Sydney and you have played football, watched football, enjoyed football or simply love sport.

Or if you are just from Sydney. It's time.

Who do you sing for?...and you can't change...ever!

Western Sydney Wanderers or Sydney FC.

And to help you here's a few reasons:  

For Western Sydney Wanderers:

You're from the West.
You support the strugglers.
You support all things new.
You love a winner - so you jump ship from Manly, Sydney FC or the Eels early and based on latest reports Sydney Swans won't win this year as we all take turns in AFL apparently.

You love Shinji Ono.
You want to get on the bandwagon and become a supporter of the first Aussie team to win a league in their first season.
You admire Poppa and his style of play - (even if he nearly elbowed Australia out of that World Cup qualifier against Uruquay in 2005...shhh).
You like to sing at football.

You enjoy a good bit of theatre on the sidelines.
You never went to watch Dwight Yorke  

For Sydney FC

I earn so much money.
I have been with them since Dwight scored so just have to stay.
I like mental torture.
Now Butcher has gone it's actually okay.
We haven't lost at home for like....ages.
Alessandro Del Piero is here.

It's so near the City.
It's so near the beach.
It's so near the Cricket.

We can do something else instead so that can be my team. I bought a shirt already...I've got it somewhere...I think.


Aussie football fans should not miss the Sydney Derby on Saturday

Western Sydney Wanderers will take the field against Sydney FC in a front of a sold out crowd on the weekend.

And every football fan around Australia should take a peak.

If you want technique look no further than Alessandro Del  Piero or the young Aussie Terry Antonis or check out former Feyenoord star Shinji Ono or Aussie Aaron Mooy if they take the park.

If you want tactics: Watch Tony Popovics' men perform and wonder no more why the Western Sydney Wanderers have managed to carve out a five point lead over the outstanding Central Coast Mariners, in  this the Wanderers first season.

If you want intrigue: WSW could win the Premiers Plate on Saturday in front of Sydney FC and their large travelling support. 

If you like your football sold out with engaged fans: Don't miss Saturday. Aussie fans of the two teams will sing and carry on like this thing has been going for centuries.

And you know I reckon it has, just not on the football field.

Now we have two teams. The Red and Blue, the Rich and the Poor, the Old and the New.

If you love football do not miss this third and final Derby of the season. You'll love it.

And if you are from Sydney and you play football, watch football, think's time.....who do you sing for?


2013 A-League flying debut winger...the winner is

I love watching Ange throw in the youth down in Melbourne. Particularly his wide boys.
We saw Andrew Nabbout burst onto the scene this year.

Introduced in Brisbane he did a couple of things of note in a 5-0 humiliation before producing a stunning two goal performance against Sydney FC.

If he could stunned Sydney over 20 minutes surely he could do more over 90.

Meanwhile Theo Markelis has seen his rise decline rapidly as Nabbout took the right flank, and then the central position as Ange hunted for the additional forward.

Markelis had a big wrap coming in from Valencia but rarely showed the finesse or dynamism we've come to expect from one of Ange's forwards.

 But in the cut throat world of football wingers, young wingers and pacy forwards come and go and usually before the age of 20!

Nabbout will be back, Markelis I suspect is gone for good.

Step forward Connor Pain.

The short-armed forward appeared from nowhere and of the three mentioned he has been the most consistent and grabbed that third forward spot.

The boy from the terrace is now a man on the pitch.

His pace and direct play is interesting to say the least and if Marcos Rojas leaves at season end Pain is ready to go a full season.

He has goals in him as well and I love his confidence and his desire to make things happen. To take players on and to simply shoot.

All clubs need to develop and critically assess the flying winger, early.

Ben Halloran, Taj Minniecon, Chris Harold, Iain Ramsay, David Carney, Michael Zullo, Tommy Oar, Mate Dugandzic, David Williams, Kofi Danning are just a few to grace the wings of the A-League.

To date, Tommy Oar is probably the pick of the bunch closely followed by Carney and Zullo.

 I wonder how far Pain can go.


A-League Allstars - give the Aussies a go!

1 Matt Ryan 
2. Trent Sainsbury 
3. Connor Chapman 
4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley 
5. Ivan Franjic 

 6. Billy Celeski 
8. Mark Milligan 
10 Alessandro Del Piero 

 7. Connor Pain 
9. Archie Thompson 
11. Thomas Broich

So why not give as much experience to young Aussies as possible, throwing in two of the best overseas stars. Manchester United will attract 80,000 plus fans and rather than giving Shinji Ono, Emile Heskey or even the delightful Kiwi import Marco Rojas the chance to show their stuff...let's give as many Aussies as possible the opportunity.

It's our league so why not reward the Aussies? After all they are better than ever these days.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Nearpost Football Podcast March 12th

Nick, Gerald and Clive talk about the future of the Socceroos, ground clashes with other codes and the weekend's A-League fixtures.

or play right from your computer....


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sydney FC remains a basket case - where is your football vision

The talk is that Sydney FC has spent more than $7 million this year on their playing budget.

 Is it possible for a team to spend so much in the A-League and to return so little. And are there any signs the playing group are heading in the right direction, this year or more worryingly next?

 Frank Farina the latest Coach, has made major changes to the playing group already, but who can see any structure to a team wallowing outside the six, heading, surely, for a third straight loss against the Mighty Mariners this weekend.

 The Mariners have a plan - think Mariners, you think of Bojic and Rose blazing forward.

 Melbourne Victory the same - think twinkle toes and deft touches from the great Archie Thompson, the mercurial Marcos Rojas and the ever improving Billy Celeski. It doesn't always work, but you can see where they are heading. Western Sdyney Wanderers have a plan. It's called solid defence and great forward pressure on the ball by a very fit front six.

Do Sydney have a plan?

Have they ever?

Season 2013 has been a disaster. In fact despite winning the league under the A_Leagues most boring coach Lavicka, Sydney has never really entertained. Not since Stevie Corica and Dwight Yorke were on the park and Alvin Ceccoli and an emerging David Carney were blazing away.

There has been little excitement, little consistency and when there were signs this year, Frank booted Jason Culina, dropped Blake Powell and the outcome, two defeats. What's new!

The owners have poured money in but so far they have got little real return - bar a bunch of very old players, Del Piero aside, doing very little for their money.

The appointment of Ian Crook - didn't they know Tony Popovic was any good - started the latest disaster.

When Brett Emerton went walkabout in the first game against Wellington and Trent McClenahan was floundering you knew it was a disaster in the making. Popovic has been an assistant at Sydney FC and every man and his dog now says he was always going to be a great coach. Go figure.

Were the Sydney owners the only one's who didn't know?

 Seeing Nikolai Topor-Stanley being interviewed recently about his Socceroo aspirations simply shows up the basket case Sydney FC has become. Topor-Stanley could and should have been at Sydney FC for his whole A-League career. He went to Perth for a few more dollars, starred at the Jets and now is part of a rock solid table topping defence in West Sydney.

Couldn't anyone at Sydney FC realise that this guy was worth developing, worth keeping!

Which brings me to Blake Powell. When the pacy Powell scored in the last Sydney FC victory he was promptly dropped for the ageing Joel Griffiths.

Griffiths is fast...for a 33 year old but with Del Piero, Emerton. McFlynn, Reid, A Griffith and Neil also in the team..he doesn't look so fast does he!

Powell is fast and worth developing. Joel he really the guy to lead the line?

So far Sydney have won as many games when he was suspended than with him. Interesting!

 Sydney expect to win and all of the above aged players expect to play.

Frank Farina got the team into some shape, won a couple of games and then resorted to age and names. Strangely he dumped the one guy who seemed to be helping. Out goes Jason Culina, in comes the painfully slow Paul Reid and of course Terry McFlynn is back. What has Tezza got that the goal scoring, two goals already, former Socceroo didn't have? Beats me!

Frank even had the opportunity to bring a whole new central defence since he arrived. And don't they look solid? 35 year old Lucas Neil, and Tiago Calvano rejected by the Jets, are Frank's men.

Interestingly the saviour Calvano was also dropped by Frank for the last game in Perth! Is their not a 16 -19 year old developing centre back in the whole of Sydney?

Jets, Mariners even Victory with Ansell all seem to be able to get developing centre backs. Why not Sydney?

And when they did in Topor-Stanley they let him go. Farina has blown his honeymoon period. In Triantis, Powell, Chianese, Antonis, Grant and Ryall he has some mobility to include for all or parts of games. And these guys can improve.

Unless you get better players, faster players isn't now the time to put some work into these guys. It's amazing what a bit of belief does and young guys will die for you.

Just ask Ange or Gary van Egmond or of course Arnie! When Frank wonders why his teams start so slow in recent away games - wonder no more. Your team is too old, or too many of them are.

Bringing in Lucas Neill, does he really add anything to a team struggling to push forward, at pace. Or does he have to drop back to avoid the risk of being exposed.

 It's Michell Duke this weekend. Have you seen how fast he is? Which means the gap between Joel and co should be massive. He might not even be able to see Lucas with his ageing eyes!

 Frank and Sydney remain a basket case. Frank recently bemoans the players contracted for many years but Sydney could have a current team with the current mob. No problems.

When Ange was faced with the same problem. A dodgy keeper or two. Out went Danny Allsopp, and of course have you seen Isak Cernak, Petar Franjic and other moved on and in come Francesco Stella, and Jaesse Makarounas.

Frank there are ways!

Franks task is to lay down a plan, build confidence and blend a team of pace around Del Piero.

Otherwise the little Italian will never experience finals football in Australia, not this year or next.

Joel Griffiths, Lucas Neil, Brett Emerton, Terry McFlynn, Peter Reid and Adam Griffiths can and never should start in the same team.

Not if you want to entertain, keep the ball and play exciting football.

 Frank, we need a strong Sydney FC. Everyone says it, but your recent signings in Joel Griffith, Calvano, and Neil give little confidence to this viewer!

Will Sydney FC ever stabilise, layout a philosophy, develop young players, keep some local heroes and move on from the McFlynn era.

 Frank needs to lead the whole club, the vision and take Sydney into a new era. Or is he just a coach with little of the extra. Ange has it. Arnie does it in his own way. Mike Mulvey is getting my vote early. Even Ali Edwards is talking a good game early in the West.

 Frank is in the hotseat and it's about to get hotter.

Making the finals has nothing to do with it.

Sydney FC, if they are going to spend $5 - 7milion per year are a massive A_league club but when are they going to excite the country with their football, their culture and their youth?

 Oops news just in:

 Tezza just got another contract. Did you do that Frank?


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Nearpost Football Show March 5th

Nick, Gerald and Clive talk about the conclusion of the National Youth League and the Mariners' Asian Champions League exploits, as well as dissecting the last round of A-League fixtures.

or play right from your computer....


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Les Murray - no-one's embraced old soccer, not as you know it - we never will!

The new NPL and excitement around the FFA Cup, or proposed cup has got Les Murray and his mates excited about embracing old soccer.

And of course down the track everyone is thinking relegation and promotion. The question remains, given the "passion" of our crowds and ability to attract a couple of head the ball "supporters" would old soccer really be embraced. I mean really?

Old soccer - riots, flag waving and burning, pitch battles between supporters and general disgraceful behaviour surrounding so called ethnic based football fans in the NSL - ain't ever coming back or being given a chance.

Does anyone seriously think the FFA would enable South Melbourne, Sydney Olympic or any other ethnically drenched team back into top tier football and risk everything we've worked towards?

Les you're dreaming!

Could such mono-ethnic owned teams, from Sydney and Melbourne, grow a supporter base in the modern era beyond the decreasing number of fans who attend these old soccer clubs. I doubt it. And who wants to see a Sydney or Melbourne team with just 5,000 supporter long term.

One flare at those games and the non-ethnic fans - would there be any - would be gone forever.

If you think the media are over reacting now what would they do if a guy in a Greek or Croatian shirt lit a single flare and ran on to the pitch.

Would the clubs themselves have ANY strategies to take their game and club to the mainstream, thus enabling us all to enjoy and be part of such a club. Not much evidence to date as they aimed.

In South Melbourne's case they even aimed to gain the second Melbourne licence.

Sir Lez, foolishly, naively even supported such a bid. Had they/he learnt nothing from the the new A-League? Blind freddy knew they had no chance, not in their current form. Not then, not now.

I love my football, my Simunic, Boban, and Modric even...hang on has there been any good Greek elite player?....but I don't want to support a team with tinges of overseas nations emanating from the stands, and sheds.

Les Murray might be excited for a return to old NSL grounds and atmosphere, but if the FFA can't allow Sydney Olympic or Marconi to be promoted then really have we really embraced old soccer?

Let's face it, it's never going to happen is it? No matter how much Sir Les thinks we have.

When Sydney Olympic has a chance of promotion then Old Soccer has been embraced and not before.

In there current form these old ethnic clubs have no chance of being promoted do they?

 I wish them well but unless they can sell their club and message to the mainstream they will never be attractive to the A-League set-up.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Grand Final Derby?

Nick Amies and Gerald Crawford discuss the Socceroos' loss to Romania, the Culina/Farina debacle, Ian Ferguson's departure from Perth Glory and the new A-League finals format.

or play right from your computer....


Friday, 8 February 2013

Thai Tims welcome Tom Rogic - love Celtic, Canberra and Aussie football go Tom!

Tom Rogic has joined a big club - here's he welcomed by the Thai Tims with a nice ditty! On a day when Aussie sport is engulfed in drugs and body building here's a little sport link to make you smile. Juventus on Tuesday Tom. I know you are not in the squad but the crowd is going to amaze you. Watch, enjoy and let's hope next time we have a European home tie you are in the shirt.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Stars on club emblems, yay or nay?

Nick Amies, Gerald Crawford and Clive MacKillop talk over the Mariners' decision to wear championship stars, as well as assessing the value of the A-League finals series. We also discuss the W-League grand final between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC whilst bringing you some news from all corners of Australian football.

or play right from your computer....


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Nearpost Football Show January 23rd

Nick Amies, Gerald Crawford and Clive MacKillop discuss the weekend's A-league action as well as taking a closer look at Wellington Phoenix..

or play right from your computer....


Football Fans: Australia Day was never like this.

A long long time as a new immigrant I'd wander along to the Australia Day events, watch with bemusement at cars carrying their Australian flag, complete with Union Jack, and wonder at the sentiments being thrown from the passing windscreens of cars. Wait for the fireworks - is there any other way to celebrate in Australia other than fireworks - and then we'd all resume normal service, until ANZAC Day when we do it all again.

Most sports fans watched cricket on Australia Day (or maybe Tennis), as they had on Boxing Day it seems, and all throughout the summer. Cricket is not my thing.

Football fans had to follow the overnight scores from England, Italy or in my case Celtic Park.

It didn't feel right.

Having grown up and enjoyed the passion surrounding football in the UK I yearned for a game, a big game, a televised game with a passionate crowd right here in my new country.

There was the occasional Grand Final in Perth or Brisbane that made me wonder. There was the Socceroos' home qualifier every four years and that in terms of big games was largely it. I know we had the NSL - I watched it all but it didn't feel quite right to me. Not in terms of crowds, stadia - remember Archie at Morwell on TV, his current stage is more appropriate - and certainly not in terms of media coverage.

Now we have our own occasions. And lots of them seem to be building.

We can even get into Australia Day, and from fans with tickets the noise is this will be the highlight of the day. What a fantastic way to end the day.

And fireworks on the football field, Archie v ADP or should that be Rojas v ADP. That's my idea of an Australia Day celebration.

Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC - sold out. Followed by the Wanderers v Heart. Two games sure to cause any sports fan to stop for a moment as they flick through the channels.

Heck! We're even grabbing and using some of the AFL ideas, you know where we make ANZAC legends blur with Lance Franklin or Chris Judd or is it the other way round.

The FFA have taken the immigration ceremonies which are held across Australia Day and planted them front and centre into the Melbourne Sydney game. I hate it, but it's mainstream and it's brilliant.

This is where the game needs to be.

And I'm sure many in the crowd will ponder their own, or their families passage to Australia at this moment.

Football is building some great rivalries, some passion in the stands and increasing quality in the coaching arena and in the teams on display. The tempo is up the skills are responding. In short we're moving, fast.

Buzz Rothfield wrote this week that football has more avid 15-34 male fans than cricket. Read that again and discuss!

If this statement is correct, it's a startling positive statistic in a country where football on tv has been largely hidden, and cricket know the rest.

We've a long way to go in football in Australia, but Australia Day will become a traditional day for football fans and sports viewers.

Can't wait for Australia Day! I'd never thought I'd say that!


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Tom Rogic - path to Celtic Park?

Canberra's Tom Rogic has signed a four and a half year deal with Scottish Champions Celtic.

And while many have seen Tom in one of his 28 professional games to date few will know that the former ANU and Belconnen United Premier League player struggled to find a pathway from his talented potential in Canberra local teams to full-time professional.

 Canberra football in the past has struggled to help our late developers. If they didn't get into the 20 man AIS national program, at 17, they were finished. All of them.

In Canberra, faced with being dumped from the local ACTAS program - Rogic didn't make the AIS national program - he simply had nowhere to go. The local Premier League, training twice a week is simply no stepping stone to professional football in it's current form.

Fortunately the visionary John Mitchell took Tom and a number of other talented ex-ACTAS players, introduced a fitness regime planned by fmr Fulham Head Conditioning Coach and Canberran Andrew Young, football intensive training guided by Fmr AIS Head Coach and Canberran Ron Smith and the team was passionately lead by John.

It took one individual to bring in this talented group of professionals to assist our local youth. (Interestingly the program was never supported by the local Football Association. Too visionary at the time it seems, the program is now dead.)

Tom of course was a tremendous prospect. Slow they said. Too gangly they said. But anyone who watched him play knew he had something special.

Futsal - he represented Australia at a very young age. Next time your coach winces at the word - check out you Coaches skills. His technical skills. Are they any good! Probably not.

Of course it's hard to go from ANU men's to the A-League.

But the Nike World Challenge helped!

Tom won it!

Competing to be one of four from Australia and NZ, Rogic made that cut.

But amazingly when competing for the Nike World title in the UK against players from Brazil, Europe etc Tom won again.

He came back to Australia due to visa requirements and was picked up by fmr Socceroo and Reading player Andrew Bernal. The Canberra born Bernal worked hard with Rogic to lift his fitness levels prior to and after the Nike challenge.

The story goes.

Bernal rang Rogic late on Christmas Eve. "Training tomorrow Tom, 6am Mount Ainslie."

Rogic was the first to turn up.

Bernal simply wanted to test the guys dedication! Bernal knew what it would take to get anywhere near a contract.

To the Mariners under the watchful eye of Graham Arnold, Rogic instantly replaced media darling and upcoming star Mustafa Amini. No easy feat..unless you were better!

He'll be marked in Scotland, unlike in the A-League where he often roamed free from Sydney and Melbourne's poor excuse for a defence.

But if he can crack a significant number of games this season and create something special, the roar from the stands in Glasgow will be like nothing he heard in Gosford.

Big club, big expectations.

A lot to learn but what an adventure.

Good luck in Paradise Tom Bhoy - every Canberra football fan wishes you well.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sydney FC rorting the salary cap?

Nick and debutante Geoff run the rule over the weekend's matches. Is Adelaide a spent force? Will Mike Mulvey resurrect Roarcelona?

or play right from your computer....


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Nearpost Podcast November 28th

Nick, Gerald and Clive are back again this week, taking a look at Holger's squad for the East Asian Cup qualifiers as well as discussing the week's news in Australian football.

or play right from your computer....


Thursday, 22 November 2012

What's Your Plan Holger?

Nick Amies, Gerald Crawford and Clive MacKillop take an in-depth look at the new A-League broadcast deal as well as running the rule over Holger Osieck's tenure as Socceroos coach.

or play right from your computer....


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Podcast Returns...

After a brief vacation the Nearpost Podcast is back! Nick Amies, Ben Kelly and Clive MacKillop take you through all the action of the weekend's A-League and W-League fixtures and also giving you their predictions for the upcoming round of fixtures.

or play right from your computer....


Sydney FC - Rogic is just developing, Flores and co are the final product.

You knew they'd concede heaps once Sydney came out 3-1 down on Saturday and went to a back three.

 They did.

Schoolboy Coaching? Possibly, schoolboy defending...all game.

 Confidence at an all time low? Of course 6 or 7 players out including a defence means results are perhaps not showing the real Sydney especially as its early in the season.

But you can guarantee if they can't get three out of four defenders back for this week they'll get thumped again.

Melbourne will rip them to shreds.

Worse teams than Melbourne have caused them problems this season; think game 1 v Wellington.

The pace, touch and vibrancy of the Victory front six could scare Trent McClenahan and co.

Tommy Rogic - he's just developing, Flores and co are the real thing.


Brebner and Broxham gone - Ernie Merrick take note!

It has always been interesting to watch the evolution of Australia's biggest supported football club. Melbourne Victory.

 Ernie Merrick took them to the heights early.

Thumping Sydney FC at Olympic Park in season 1 in front of a sold out crowd, followed in Season 2 by Archie's Grand Final (I was there)demolition of Adelaide United in front of 55,000 at one of the AFL's once previously monopolised hallowed grounds.

Ernie remained, players changed.

Grant Brebner and Leigh Broxham took centre stage and Ernie couldn't see it.

The damage done to the brand, the Victory brand.

Renowned for fast flowing football particularly in season 2 with Fred flying in behind and at times ahead even of Archie and Allsopp, things slowed a little once the Killer B's took over.

In Asia Ernie's men were embarrassing. Every time. And surely that was the true test for the rampant A-League squad.

Second time in Asia, Ernie was ditched pretty early.

And so Brebner, the faithful long ball servant retired. And Leigh Broxham after just one game under Ange and a demoralising few minutes at full back where he clearly gave up against Brisbane, or seemed to, he's also now gone. Not even on the bench.

Fans, we think we know football. We'd be screaming for years that Brebner and Broxham might get a you a result or two against Brisbane but they never were going to take the club forward, into Asia were they?

 Ange must be a fan, that's all you can assume!


Rado v Ange: Round 5 assessment

It was all Rado, what did Ange do?

Or so came the cry from some football followers and if grew a little louder once Brisbane had thumped Melbourne 5-0 in Round 2.

5 rounds in and it's time for further assessment.

Melbourne Victory are the most improved team in the league.

Their first half performance was simply stunning last night v the renowned tough to beat Wellington Phoenix. Last night Melbourne passed and passed again. It was fast and incisive, more so that Brisbane at their best? Possibly.

 And I loved it.

Archie and Marco Rojas have more pace than Brisbane ever had in the forward line and although Flinkler and Flores struggle for pace and endurance they can play a pass, a special pass, to ongoing willing runners can't they?

If anything Melbourne at their best are slightly more direct than Brisbane were at their best. Is this deliberate or just the nature of the group assets?

Brisbane are still maintaining possession but five games in they are looking far less potent and although still have a lot to offer no doubt they need to find extra pace and energy not to mention a few goals. There ball possession is still fine, but their ball movement too predictable and too slow to create real havoc. Early days?

Broich looks a little less consistent this year. Berisha also - is he following Rado's new plan by dropping deeper or is this just his frustration coming through.

The Roar without Ivan Franjic are half the team and it was no surprise with him back against Adelaide the possession and energy so reliant on wide players, returned. Not so the goals, not yet.

 Melbourne showed they have been training.

How many goals will Archie create for Rojas? At least three tap ins already. Interesting!

And with Flores and Finkler combining for one of the goals of the season, mind you the other two for Victory weren't bad were they, then you can see things are on the up.

Pace and movement in the final third is evident and thrilling. One touch.

Weakness? Clearly they couldn't sustain it beyond 48 minutes or the third goal!

Wellington came back hard which showed how well Victory had played early on. But Ange would be worried.

Flores and Finkler are no Mackay and Murdocha. Can you see Victory winning games in the last 3 minutes? Not yet, not with these players.

 But Victory have shown they can possibly perform on a par, maybe even better than Brisbane at their best.

Victory's defence, even the much-maligned Adrian Leijer, seemed more composed.

Although if the ball is down the other end all night you can pick yourself up for the odd chase and tackle I suppose.

Mark Milligan over Jon Bru is a huge improvement.

Great for the A-League to have another Ange team producing excitement. If he spends two years at each club in another 16 or so think of the quality of the league!!!

If it's not Ange that produces the quality free-flowing team, then who is it? Kevin Muscat?


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sydney FC: The entertainers. And have they found a no. 9?

Have you ever seen Sydney FC entertain like that?

They were sharp out of the blocks, took the lead with a great finish and with a little more urgency could have been a couple up early.

The Mariners were all at sea, unusually sloppy with their ball retention in front of their back four and the defence was losing tackles and players at will.

But Sydney despite being handed the lead and the initiative contrived to throw it all away in an instant.

The keeper spilled a tame shot, and Seb Ryall simply bundled the ball home to ensure it was a double catatrosphe.

It got worse.

Josh Rose parked himself in the attack...Holger must be worried about Emmo defensively after that..and Tommy Rogic slowly delivered the ball to anyone who wanted it and if they didn't he simply shot and scored himself.

Trent McClenahan fouled in the box when the danger had passed. Did he have a bet on.

3-1 and that's before half time. Sydney simply couldn't defend.

And then Ian Crook sends them out with a back three.

I kid you not. We all screamed it's going to be a mauling.

7-2. It was.

Danny McBreen even scored three!!!

Adam Griffith, Pascal Bosschardt and Fabio could easily reduce this game to a 3-2 type of defeat...and that's at best.

The positives? Sydney showed some attacking flair, real creativity against a Mariners team not easy to breakdown.

How many times have we watched a laborious Sydney FC build up...slowly. Oh for the days!

Have they found a new number 9 in the Panamanian. Jason Culina and ADP will need young legs around them. But it might be worth getting Yau in front of ADP. Surely ADP can release this guy. Lovrek is never going to score is he?

Sydney can be a good team, they have the players but do they have the Coaching staff.

After the performance in Wellington - they had a pre-season to prepare for that - the game last week and last night you wonder what they are going to build on in training this week.


United leave it late - but what quality goals..sssh don't tell the Canberra Times

Funny how people see a game of football.

I read the Canberra Times report of the game between Canberra United and Adelaide and you got a sense it was all United and they left it late but the report missed the real talking point among the fans.

The sheer quality of the goals.

Caitlin Cooper rose at the NEARPOST like that leaping salmon and thundered the ball into the net. The tension lifted immediately.

It was a crucial goal at a crucial point in the game.

United had struggled to complete many of their excellent opportunities and Adelaide had clung to a 1-0 lead. 

But a more powerful leap and header than Coopers you won't see.

 Until the second goal.

Ariane Hingst drove a free kick into the ball into the box with such power and pace, it had to be seen to be believed.

No-one in the stands wanted to head it believe me.

Ellie Brush came tearing in, leaping into the path of the ball and simply smashed the ball home.

It was the winning goal. It deserved to be the winning goal and Captain Brush, who had been leaping and winning headers all day, showed the determination, skill and leadership to win the game.

And then enter Sammy Wood. Wood picked the ball up maybe 20 - 25 metres out (40 in the Canberra Times apparently, that would make the half way circle in my book) and having only just come on, looked up and drove and effectively lobbed the keeper.

No mean feat, especially when you consider Sammy is in her first season and only just getting a few minutes on the park. This was her second run as substitute.

To understand the importance of the goal to Sammy, to Jitka you have to know something about the game, the players. If Sammy can score a goal like that in those minutes who knows what she can do over the season.

 I think it was the confidence to try the shot that impressed me most. The delivery? Well that sent me home smiling!

You can read the Canberra Times report here!


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Jitka Klimkova - my pick for the next Australian Coach

With Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni stepping down the search is on for the next Coach.
Should we appoint from within, or bring in new ideas? Certainly we need someone who can lead the game not just the team. Tactful and savvy with the media and of course a great coach of a team reaching for the heights.

So who is out there? Here's my top three in no particularly order.  

Robbie Hooker? Professional, former Matildas and now current Socceroos Assistant, Robbie is experienced and able to pick up where Tom left off. Would he bring new ideas? He'd keep the ship moving you'd think but would he take it forward? a recognised outstanding coach, is he the top man, a leader? Media savvy? Not sure he'd promote the game as well as Tom.  

Jitka Klimkova? Jitka is not Australian but has won the W-League title with Canberra United. A natural progression? Thought very highly of in the W-League, and standout Coach from the current crop. Professional, able and hugely talented. Media savvy? Very.  

Spencer Prior? Limited experience as a Head Coach, would probably represent a big risk. Although Tom Sermanni has had plenty of time to make his assessment of both Spencer and Robbie. If the former EPL player gets the gig he's won the Golden Ticket - from retired EPL player to Head Coach of a National team, and not just any national team but one from the lucky country.

I don't think he's ever been a Head Coach of a professional team. He is the current Assistant to Tom Sermanni. Media savvy? Certainly he's done a lot of work in this area but unproven as head of a national media circus.

It it time for a female Coach? Unless it's Klimkova it isn't going to happen is it?
Should the Coach be Australian? Yes and no.

It's important to grow the game and the coaching opportunities in Australia. I'd like to see an Australian Coach or someone currently living and committed to the game in Australia.

That makes the three candidates above top of the list. I think taking all things into account

I'd go with Klimkova. Or is there someone else in the wings? Gary van Egmond?


World's best appoint Australian Football Coach

A great day for Australian football.

Matildas Coach Tom Sermanni has been appointed Head Coach of the World's Number One ranked Football team, USA.

While this is a huge blow for the Matildas let's pause a moment and consider this.

An Australian Coach has been appointed Head of one of the best, if not the best, teams in the World. Aussie Coaching on the rise? You bet.

Hats off to Tom, he has been an unbelievable success in his 8 years in charge of the Matildas, leaves the squad in good shape, transformed the team and squads through various transitions and leaves with  huge interest in the game from fans and the next talented group of players.


Nearpost Radio - we want hosts/presenters - all things Aussie football

Nearpost Radio runs on 2xx 98.3fm every Tuesday 6.30pm - 7pm from the Griffin Centre, next to the Canberra Centre, in Civic.

Nearpost covers all things Socceroos, A-League and W-League. We're Aussie based and Aussie focused. (Few other, if any, radio or tv shows only cover Australian football)

The show was launched by Fox Sports Simon Hill over five years ago and in that time many passionate football fans have been involved in the show.

Paddy Bordier, Nick Cumpston and Lucy Zelic have recently been asked to produce, host and present the FFA's new weekly warm-up A-League podcast and as a result Mariners Mad Nick Amies is looking for new hosts and/or presenters, either weekly, or fortnightly.

The show goes to air live each week, is podcast on itunes and on this blog and also goes live and recorded to some of the 300 Community Radio Stations across the ACR Network.

 If you know your Australian football why not get involved? contact if you'd like to know more.