Season 2017 Preview – Mens

Season 2017 is finally upon us, after weeks of pre-season training and trial matches the first points go on the line this weekend and here is all you need to know about our five men’s sides ahead of Round 1.

 

A Grade

Coach: Daniel Rossi
Captain: Gary Dal Broi
Vice Captains: James Buccella & Joelon Covino

2016 Record: Div 2A 3rd, 11 wins, 4 draws, 3 losses, +25 GD

Pre-Season Form: def by Rostrevor 2-0, def by BOSA 2-1, def Pumas 1-0, def by St Peters 4-1, def Salisbury Florina 3-2

Who to Watch: Nick Barbieri. After a stellar 2016 season can Barbs keep it going in 2017? The reigning Div 2 leading goalscorer has already opened his scoring account and should he remain in one piece, things are expected to continue on the same path in 2017.

Will they be as good?: Peter Barone. The newly discovered right-back stormed home in the back end of season 2016 not for his defensive prowess but for his goalscoring ability from back there picking up 7 goals and three best on ground performances in his last 5 games. What will Coach Rossi do, put him back there and hope for more of the same or accept that he will go forward anyway and put him up there?

After a slow start to 2016 the A’s finished strongly going undefeated following their Round 6 loss to Red Blue Eagles to finish one point short of a return to Div 1. They did however make their first ever SAASL Cup Semi putting in an admirable performance against Salisbury Inter. Season 2017 builds as a highly competitive year with up to 6 sides expected to be challenging for the promotion spots. The season opens with four sides the A’s did not play in 2016 the first of whom is newly promoted Prince Alfred; a side who took out Div 3 by 5 points and has had a mixed pre-season of 2-1-2. The side has been bolstered by the addition of a mix of youth and experience; Joelon Covino and James Buccella having positive pre-seasons in defence covering the hole left by Stents’ departure, Billy Karapetis is welcomed into the midfield along with new graduate Tim Otten, up front it remains the Barbs and Mike show seeing a side who if they do the right things will be at the pointy end of the table.

Coach Says: “The side has a lot of young guys, many of whom learnt a lot from last year which has put us in good stead to take the next step in 2017.”

     

 

B Grade

Coach: Greg Buch
Captain: Shaun George
Vice Captains: James Blake & Davide Cavuoto

2016 Record: Div 2B 3rd, 12 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses, +53 GD

Pre-Season Form: def by Rostrevor 5-4, def by BOSA 1-0, def Pumas 3-0, def St Peters 2-1

Who to Watch: Nick Penta. A barnstorming start 3 games, 4 goals this pre-season has him already knocking on the door of the A’s before his debut season has even gotten underway.

Will they be as good?: Curtis Covino & Raf Ceravolo. One vote split them at the top of the B&F count sparking all kinds of debates as to who really was the “favourite”, truth was they were both Greg’s favourite in their own special way. Raf with his hard defending which saw him win the Platinum Shinpad and Curtis for his run in the midfield.

The B’s loss in the final Round of the year saw them surrender the title to Titans. A positive pre-season with 2 wins including against Prem B champions St Peters (a side who won that league by 15 points in 2016) and big injection of young players this year leaves Greg with a good problem at the selection table. With the lowest conceding defence in the league in 2016 they will look to replicate this in a league which is expected to far more competitive than the previous year with three of the four sides coming into the league finishing in the top half of their respective leagues last season. We can’t preview the B Grade without mentioning “The Move” it will be back and it will no doubt paying dividends once again.

Coach Says: “We are in a better position than 2016 to start the season, we have learnt a lot about our opposition and go into the season with the expectation of a good year ahead.”

Captain Says: “We have a strong squad and hopefully a few of the younger guys can develop and push for A Grade selection. The goal is to win the title this year.”


Curtis & Raf, can’t even separate them in a photo…

 

C Grade

Coach: Mark Andrawos
Captain: Adam Kangas
Vice Captains: Anurag Chauhan & Andrew Talbot

2016 Record: Div 6 2nd, 15 wins, 5 draws, 0 losses, +53 GD

Pre-Season Form: def by Rostrevor 3-0, def BOSA 3-2, def Pumas 6-1, def St Peters 2-1

Who to Watch: Lewis Cooke. The new signing has already made a big impact with 4 goals in the Pre-Season while forging a reputation that he “scores crackers.”

Will he be as good?: Paul Barolo. Going around again, Paul has moved down to the C’s hoping to have a bit of fun and while remaining a defensive stalwart adding to his two goals at the other end in 2016.

The C Grade produced a record unbeaten season in 2016, but were unable to take out the silverware. Mark Andrawos steps out of the B Grade goal and into the C Grade coaching role. The side has had an injection of youth with the Glenunga cartel of Anurag & Anubhav Chauhan & Jack Cooke plus new additions of Lewis Cooke & Nick Evenden on the back solid debuts in the D’s in 2016 moving up to the C’s in 2017. They have already caused sides significant headaches scoring 7 of the 11 pre-season goals between them, which is the perfect fit for a side that averaged over 4 goals a game last year.

Coach Says: “To be better than last year means only one thing and we have the calibre to achieve it.”

Captain Says: “Hope to go one step better than last year and enjoy it along the way.”

 

D Grade

Coach: Adam Ciano
Captain: Emerson Ciccarello
Vice Captains: Iordan Kostadinov & Marko Draganic

2016 Record: Div 4A 6th, 6 wins, 3 draws, 7 losses, -18 GD

Pre-Season Form: def Rostrevor 5-0, def BOSA 2-1, def Para Hills East 4-1, def by Elizabeth Downs 5-1

Who to Watch: Emerson Ciccarello. Have we finally answered the question of who is actually the right Ciccarello? After a potentially career ending injury in 2016 Emmo is back and moving like a Gazelle up and down the wing, scoring a big goal against Rostrevor proving that Pen Ciccarello is no one trick Pony and now he has the armband, could the head get any bigger?

Will they be as good?: Marko Draganic. Simple answer, of course he will. A cornerstone of the D’s defence in 2016, he has been brought into the leadership group in 2017.

A good pre-season for Ciano’s men with three victories out of four. Division 4 set to take on a different and more competitive edge in 2017 with the move of Elizabeth Grove from Sunday Div 1 and a youthful Elizabeth Downs side (who inflicted the D’s only pre-season loss 5-1) not to mention the need to tour the state to play. The side will face a challenging year but are set to learn a lot from the experiences that lay ahead. A solid spine of players will see them remain a competitive unit who will no doubt pick up some big scalps along the way.

Coach Says: “I intend to give my best, to improve things and to create the football team in relation to my image and my football philosophy.”

Captain Says: “After missing last year through injury; I’m ecstatic and humbled to be leading our Div 4A side this season. With a mix of youth and experience, as well as a strong team culture, the team is more than capable of producing the goods against some tough opposition #COYW.”

 

E Grade

Coach: Dan Hurt
Captain: Martin Radcliffe

2016 Record: Div 4B 4th, 3 wins, 3 draws, 6 losses, -12 GD

Pre-Season Form: def Elizabeth Downs 4-3

Who to Watch: David Leach. You can’t really do a preview without Leachy’s name featuring somewhere, the 500 goals for OISC looming imminently on the horizon. Will we see it scored this year???

Without calling the side the retirement home, the E’s is a side which will have many many games of experience behind it but that does not mean that the players within it show any signs of slowing down; names like Hurt, Radcliffe, Leach and Walker among them. They will be joined by a brigade of young talent who will learn a lot from their senior team mates and who will be the better for the run and experience.

Coach Says: “We should be very competitive in Div 4B. This year will see many seasoned veterans and long term club members teaming up with some new (fitter) players. In the E Grade we can all look forward to an enjoyable year, on and off the pitch.”

Captain Says: “From a great group of guys (seasoned and fresh) I am looking forward to going as hard as we can for wins and importantly enjoy some laughs along the way!”