Aussies Abroad – April 2014 Review

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Not only was Dylan Tombides a young Aussie footballer with an exciting future, he was a son and a brother.  He has left this world way too early after a brave and inspiring fight against cancer.  Our thoughts and best wishes are with his family and friends.

A busy month on the football scene for our Aussies with European leagues coming to their conclusions for the 2013/14 season and Champions League action in both Europe and Asia.  The announcement of the Socceroos squad is only days away and many players have made impressive charges towards the squad.  Minimal transfer activity, but as we near the end of the season in Australia and Europe, expect a flurry of transfers over the coming months.

Transfers:-  the move of young striker Peter Skapetis to Stoke City was significant as he pushes for first team football in England.  He is a prominent player in our national youth set-up.

Additions/changes to player database:

Harrison Delbridge (1 Mar 1992) – transfer to Sacramento Republic, USA

Scott Gannon (12 Mar 1988) – transferred to Hekari United, Fiji (OFCCL)

Danijel Nizic (15 Mar 1996) – loan to Workington AFC, England

Reece Papas (11 Mar 1996) – transferred to Stoke City, England

Peter Skapetis (13 Jan 1995) – transferred from QPR to Stoke City, England

Jamie Street (2 Oct 1993) – transferred from non league to Workington AFC, England

Jason Taylor (1 Jan 1997) -  transferred to Tampines Rovers, Singapore

Removed from player database:

Nathan Burns (Incheon United) – uncontracted

James Georgeff (Torgelower SV) – uncontracted

James Meyer (Pune FC) – uncontracted

Adriano Pellegrino (Kedah) – deal cancelled

Milan Susak (Al Wasl) – uncontracted

Jamie Young (Hayes & Yeading) – retired

Club Level:-

England (Premiership) – Mile Jedinak has inspired the Crystal Palace team to great heights this season.  Avoiding a relegation scrap for his club, winning plaudits for his tackles, inceptions and minutes.  To the point of being named in some Premier League “Team of the Season” line-ups. He is one of only 3 players to play every minute of the season and scored his first Premier League goal during April. An injury to Petr Cech has seen Mark Schwarzer take over the gloves at Chelsea.  An important time of year as they chase the EPL title.  Brad Jones continues in the match day squad at Liverpool, but infrequently gets a run.

England (Championship) – celebrations for Leicester City and Burnley who have automatic promotion.  A total of 7 Aussies on the books of both clubs, predominately in the youth teams with the exception of Alex Cisak who is the second choice keeper at Burnley.  Very little to note from an Aussie perspective with injury and form keeping most of our contingent on the sidleines.  Scott McDonald is getting game time at relegation threatened Millwall.

England (League One) – Bailey Wright and Neil Kilkenny have been features in Preston North End’s charge to the playoffs.  Given both players are tracked in the national set-up, would be fantastic to see them up in the Championship.  The impressive campaigns of Luongo and Wesolowski continue, but they will need to rely on transfers to move up.  Brad Inman is getting minutes at Crewe, now over 2400 minutes for the season.

England (League Two) – not too many bright spots for our Aussies in League Two with the exception of Ryan Williams at Oxford United.  The 20-year-old now netted six times in his 35 appearances.  Will be interesting to see if he returns to parent club Fulham during the off-season or looks for guaranteed first team football elsewhere.

Germany (Bundesliga) – Mitch Langerak continues to wait patiently for his opportunities, having made 11 appearances in all competitions this season.

Germany (2. Bundesliga) – the form of Mat Leckie has been consistent over the past month at FSV Frankfurt, having scored nine times in his 28 starts.  The bolter has to be Ben Halloran at Fortuna Dusseldorf.  During April he has scored in four successive games.  Fit and in form, he should have done enough to get to Brazil.

Netherlands (Eredivisie) – Tommy Oar has certainly matured more as a player at Utrecht this season. Having played a career high in minutes and appearances, he is one player that will be in the shop window at Brazil.  Jason Davidson continues to impress at Heracles.  Adam Sarota (Utrecht) is having an interesting season since coming back from his knee injury.  He is still trying to cement a starting eleven position, and rarely sees out 90 minutes.  National competition is tight in his position, will be intriguing to see which way Ange goes with him.

Netherlands (Eerste Divisie) – the season has just finished with Andrew Marveggio (Telstar) making 14 appearances in his best season as a pro.  Young VVV Venlo Aussies, Travis Cooper (14 appearances) and Harry Ascroft (7 appearances) should be proud of their accomplishments as their European careers begin.

Austria (Bundesliga) – a delayed start to April courtesy of a red card, James Holland is now back in the starting line-up at Austria Wien.

Belgium (Pro League) – a few more clean sheets for Mat Ryan at Club Brugge.  He is now chasing a domestic league in what would cap an amazing club season.

Croatia (1. HNL) – the rise and rise of Tomislav Mrcela at NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac.  The towering defender has now made 24 starts and scored twice at the centre of defence.  Getting very difficult to not try to entice him to the Aussie World Cup squad.  With his club team facing relegation, a get chance to get in the shop window as well. The other unheralded Aussie in this league is Steven Ugarkovic.  Having scored his debut goal in April and now made 21 appearances.

Scotland (Premier) – Dylan McGowan continues to gain valuable experience at Hearts.  Having now been converted to a defender, he has made 34 starts to date.  Young midfielder Jackson Irvine continues to start at Kilmarnock.

Wales (Premier League) – young defender Daniel Collins has made his way into the starting eleven at Bala Town in thime for their playoffs.

China (Super League) – the current Aussie standout in this league is journeyman Adam Hughes.  Plying his trade at Harbin Yiteng, he hasn’t missed a minute scoring twice in the league as well as being statistically the best defensive player in the league. Billy Celeski, Jonas Salley and Daniel McBreen start each game.  Ryan McGowan has been in and out of the squad at Shandong.

Japan (J. League) – four goals in his eight appearances makes that a reasonable return for striker Josh Kennedy at Nayoga Grampus.  He is currently on the sidelines with a minor thigh injury. Mitch Nichols remains in the matchday squad at Cerezo Osaka but sees very few minutes on the pitch.

Philippines (UFL) – young defender Jesse Martindale continues to play 90 minutes each week for Green Archers United.

India (I League) – Sean Rooney’s Bengaluru FC were crowned champions in this league with Sean amassing 10 goals in his 21 starts.  Several Aussies were prominent in this league: Simon Colosimo (Dempo), 19 starts and played the full 90 minutes each game. Matthew Foschini (Salgoacar), 16 starts and also all full games, Tolgey Ozbey (Dempo) after transferring mid-season, 8 goals in 8 appearances, Mirjan Pavlovic (Pune) scored 3 goals after his mid season move and Daniell Zeleny made a handful of appearances, notably in the AFC Cup, after he was bought in.

Hong Kong (HKFA 1st Division) – Andrew Barisic (South China) seems to be predominately used in the Champions League and AFC Cup. Playing full games and scoring plenty of goals. Dylan Macallister (Eastern AA) has been pivotal in his club’s cup run, scored a brace on two occasions.

Malaysia (Super League) – Mario Karlovic (Terengganu), Ryan Griffiths (Sarawak) and Steve Pantelidis (Selangor) are all starting and scoring for their respective clubs.

Vietnam (V League) – former Melbourne Victory defender Sam Gallagher has made a bright start to his career at Hanoi T&T, scoring his second goal of the season and making Champions League and AFC Cup appearances.

U.A.E (UFL) – Brett Holman has now played over 2000 minutes for Al Nasr this season.

Iran (Persian Gulf Cup) – Iain Fyfe (Mes Kerman) ended a disappointing season with 11 starts from 30 games.  With his team getting relegated, he may be on his way back to Australia.

Promotions/Relegations for our Aussies:

(England) – Promoted – Leicester City, Burnley

(England) – Relegated – Torquay, Dartford, Workington

(Cyprus) – Relegated – AEK Kouklion

(Iran) – Relegated – MES Kerman

(Netherlands) – Relegated – FC Chabab

(Scotland) – Relegated – Hearts

(Turkey) – Relegated – 1930 Bafraspor

Injuries:-

A few fairly minor injuries causing a little anxiety in Socceroos circles.  Chris Herd, Curtis Good, Lucas Neill, Trent Sainsbury, Josh Kennedy and Tim Cahill have all missed parts or all of April.  Would be great to see these guys back in the next week or so leading up to the WC squad announcement.

Club Competitions:-

Europe                             

(UEFA Champions League) – Mitch Langerak (Dortmund) sat on the bench as his team was eliminated in the quarter finals.  The big Aussie story was Mark Schwarzer (Chelsea) taking the gloves from the injured Petr Cech.  He kept goal as Chelsea were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the semis.  Not bad for a 41 year old.

(UEFA Europa League) – no Australians remain in the competition.

South America

(Copa Libertadores) – Richard Porta was an unused substitute as Nacional were eliminated in the group stages

Asia

(Asian Champions League) – several Aussies remain in this competition with Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Mitch Nichols (Cerezo Osaka) and Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng) all seeing game time during the group stages in April.

(AFC Cup) – also in the group stages still for the AFC Cup, Andrew Barisic (South China), Steve Panteldis (Selangor), Sam Gallagher (Hanoi T&T), Mirjan Pavlovic (Pune) and Daniell Zeleny (Churchill Brothers) all featuring.

Reserves and Youth:-

The Aussie Villans of Jordan Lyden, Thomas Strain and Ryan Strain continue to appear from the Aston Villa youth teams.  Centre back Cameron Burgress scored in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final as Fulham look to claim some silverware.  Gethin Jones has stepped up to U21′s level for Everton.  While in Italy, Chris Ikonomidis continues to start for Lazio in the Primavera.

International level:- as we get close to the World Cup, the field is certainly narrowing in terms of players that are in the frame for selection.  Fantastic to see so many players having a great few months in the lead up to selection. A huge thank you to those Socceroos that have recently hung up the boots, this being Harry Kewell, Brett Holman and Lucas Neill.

Socceroo (capped) of the month – a true inspiration to his team this season with his leadership and determination, Mile Jedinak has played a large role in the end of season revivial at Crystal Palace.  Playing in arguably the biggest league in the world, he continues to have an amazing season.

Oct – Vidosic, Nov – Ryan, Dec – Jedinak, Jan – Jedinak, Feb – Ryan, Mar – Kennedy

Under the radar (uncapped)  - extremely easy choice this month.  Four games in four games has thrust Ben Halloran into the limelight.  Not only at club level in Germany, but now with the national team selectors.

Oct – Konstantinidis, Nov – Luongo, Dec – Mrcela, Jan – Giannou, Feb – Wright, Mar – Lowry

Young player (U21) of the month – a previous winner, Steven Ugarkovic had a strong month in the tough Croatian league. Scoring his debut goal in April, and now making 21 appearances for the season, he will be hoping to avoid relegation in the last few weeks of the campaign.

Oct – Ugarkovic, Nov – Ryan Williams, Dec – Cooper, Jan – B.Smith, Feb – Grant, Mar – Tanner

Damian Davies

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