Aussies Abroad – March 2014 Review

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Seems as though the composition of the Socceroos squad is fast becoming a week by week exercise in assessment and analysis.  We are closely watching who is playing, who is injured and who is in good form.  Plenty of football being played around the global, and a large number of Aussies are making a case for inclusion in the World Cup squad.  A lot of international club football in progress, with a healthy number of Aussies featuring in these competitions.

Transfers:

Numerous players released at the end of the last season across Asia have been unable to find new clubs or have moved back to Australia. Two moves relevant to the Socceroos with Lucas Neill going out on loan to get first team football and the injured Curtis Good ending his stint in Scotland early.

Additions/changes to player database:

Luis Abadia (14 Apr 1995) – transferred to Kaya FC, Philippines

Mitchell Austin (3 Apr 1991) – loan to Brackley Town, England

Matt Bonasera (8 Jul 1995) – transferred to CF Badalona, Spain

Sam Gibson (11 Nov 1988) – transferred to SV Bergisch Gladbach 09, Germany

Curtis Good (23 Mar 1993) – loan return to Newcastle, England

Ryan Griffiths (21 Aug 1981) – transferred to Sarawak, Malaysia

Jordan Nadalin (28 Jan 1996) – transferred to Balzan, Malta

Lucas Neill (9 Mar 1978) – loan to Doncaster Rovers, England

Removed from player database:

Oscar Brooks (Vyzas FC) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Richie Cardozo (Waitakere United) – transferred to Hume City, VIC

Michael Cvetkovski (Yangon United) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Jamie de Abreu (Team Wellington) – transferred to Bentleigh Greens, VIC

Brendan Gan (Kelantan) – changed citizenship to Malaysia

Liam Graham (Ascoli) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Steve Hayes (Hong Kong Rangers) – transfer cancelled, returned to South Coast Wolves

Danny Invincibile (Army United) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Dylan Mernagh (Waterford FC) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Daniel Mitwali (SV Wehen Wiesbaden II) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Kyle Nix (Chiangrai United) – transferred to Bentleigh Greens, VIC

Harley Orr (APS Zakynthos) – transferred to Perth SC, WA

David Rowley (Nara United) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

George Slefendorfas (WaiBOP) – transferred to Bendigo, VIC

Goran Subara (Bangkok Glass) – uncontracted, whereabouts unknown

Club Level:

England (Premiership) – A recent win against Chelsea sees Mile Jedinak’s Crystal Palace sneak a little closer to safety. With only seven games to go, he is still yet to miss a minute of this campaign and is leading the way in tackles, incepts and clearances in the Premier league. Outstanding season for him personally.

England (Championship) – In terms of minutes played, Shane Lowry at Millwall had the most productive March.  Team mate Scott McDonald was not too far behind him.  Alex Cisak’s Burnley are looking good for automatic promotion although he has played only a supporting role watching from the bench.

England (League One) – Another month of standout Aussie performances.  Hard to split the contributions of Inman (Crewe), Wesolowski (Oldham), Kilkenny and Wright (Preston North End) and Luongo (Swindon Town).  All seeing good minutes and having an impact on their respective club’s perfromances.  We may well see one or two of these guys playing themselves into the Brazil squad.

Germany (2. Bundesliga) – Promising signs for the Socceroos with Mat Leckie taking his goal tally to eight at FSV.  We have also seen the return to the starting line up of Ben Halloran at Fortuna Dusseldorf

Netherlands (Eredivisie) – Jason Davidson scored again late March, and has probably almost cemented his spot in the Socceroos over the past 4 months.  Tommy Oar continues to show his value, providing assists and scoring at Utrecht.  Team mate Adam Sarota has been in and out of the starting eleven of late.

Austria (Bundesliga) – James Holland continues to start every game for Austria Wien.

Belgium (Pro League) – Mat Ryan is arguable the most successful of players to move abroad this season.  Keeping plenty of clean sheets at Club Brugge while moving closer to cementing the first choice keeper role at national level after an assured 45 minutes against Ecuador.

Switzerland (Super League) – Both Aussies Dario Vidosic (FC Sion) and Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern) didn’t have the same high flying months in Switzerland that they have experienced since transferring but still featuring regularly.

Greece (Super League) – A new role for Apostolis Giannou at Panionios Athens as he plays a more creative role as opposed to finishing. Nearing 2000 minutes in his 26 appearances, his off-season move is certainly getting him the playing time he needed.

Croatia (1. HNL) – The emergence of Tomislav Mrcela at NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac is very impressive.  With now 18 starts in a fairly tough league, he is certainly on the national radar.  Reportedly several bigger name clubs monitoring him closely.

Scotland (Premier) – With 30 starts at Hearts, Dylan McGowan is gaining more recognition of his talents.  A club that has had it’s fair share of financial hardship along with impending relegation, will be interesing to see if Dylan has played his way into a move to a bigger club.  Jackson Irvine has now returned to the starting eleven at Kilmarnock.

Scotland (Championship) – Journeyman keeper Seb Usai now finds himself as starting keeper at Cowdenbeath.

Cyprus (1. Division) – Winger Robert Stambolziev has made 26 appearances at AEK Kouklion but now is playing in the relegation group.

China (Super League) – With the new season just commencing, Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Adam Hughes (Harbin Yiteng), Billy Celeski (Liaoning Whowin) and Daniel McBreen (Shanghai SIPG) have all started strongly.

Japan (J. League) – Josh Kennedy has started the season well at Nayoga Grampus.  Having played 90 minutes in the first five fixtures and scoring twice.  Both Mitch Nichols (Cerezo Osaka) and Danny Vukovic (Vegalta Sendai) have made their club debuts.

Philippines (UFL) – Numerous Aussies at Kaya FC are making an impact, one of which is former A League player Richard Greer. While Jesse Martindale is starting each week at Green Archers United.

India (I League) – Special mention to Tolgey Ozbey who scored all four goals in a recent Dempo victory.  Several Aussies such as Sean Rooney (Bengaluru), Daniell Zeleny (Churchill Borthers), Simon Colosimo (Dempo), Mirjan Pavlovic (Pune) and Matt Foschini (Salgoacar) all turning out each week for their clubs.

Hong Kong (HKFA 1st Division) – Former Melbourne Knights striker Andrew Barisic continues his scoring spree at South China. While Dylan Macallister is the man at Eastern AA.

Malaysia (Super League) -Ryan Griffiths has made his debut for Sarawak, while Mario Karlovic (Terengganu) and Steve Pantelidis (Selangor) continue to perform well in that league.

Thailand (Premier League) – Former A-League players Erik Paartalu (Muang Thong United) and Trent McClenahan (PTT Rayong) are seeing plenty of game time.

Qatar (Stars League) – Mark Bresciano has made a successful return to first team football at Al Gharafa.

Injuries:

A long term knee injury to Robbie Kruse and an achilles problem for Rhys Williams look like, at this stage, to have ended World Cup hopes for both players. James Meredith is still on the sidelines with his broken foot, while Carl Valeri has been out for a month with a thigh problem. Curtis Good continues his recovery from a hip injury suffered on national duty while Tim Cahill has sent a scare through the ranks after coming off with a hamstring injury. Trent Sainsbury is back in full training for PEC Zwolle after his freakish knee injury.

 Club Competitions:

Europe​

(UEFA Champions League) – Both Langerak (Dortmund) and Schwarzer (Chelsea) sat on the bench as their teams progressed to the quarter finals..

(UEFA Europa League) – No Australians appeared in March although Eli Babalj’s AZ remain in the competition.

South America

(Copa Libertadores) – Richard Porta was an unused substitute during the month for his club.

Asia

(Asian Champions League) – In the group stages, Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors) and Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe) saw 90 minutes in both their games.  Mitch Nichols came off the bench at Cerezo Osaka while Ryan McGowan remained on the bench at Shandong Luneng.

(AFC Cup) – A number of Aussies playing n the group stages with Andrew Barisic (South China), Steve Panteldis (Selangor), Sam Gallagher (Hanoi T&T) and Mirjan Pavlovic (Pune) all getting starts.  New recruit Daniell Zeleny remained on the bench for Churchill Brothers.

Reserves and Youth:

Some promising news in Spain with both Theo Markelis and Calvin Lovric appearing in the second string at Hercules Alicante. Giancarlo Gallifuoco is progressing well at Tottenham, while 16 yo Hyuga Tanner has been playing for the Blackburn U21′s.  Another young talent to note is Panos Armenakas.  At the age of 15, he is now starting in the U18′s at Watford and has played for a Greek national youth team.

International level:

The friendly against Ecuador taught us many lessons.  Mat Ryan seems to have put a bit of distance between himself and Langerak, but that really shows how important game time is at club level.  Our younger players need experience at international level as soon as possible. We are a little lost when playing one down.  The creativeness of Robbie Kruse will be missed. We have space for the likes of Kennedy and Bresciano to come into this squad. Tim Cahill is an Aussie legend.  All good pieces of information as we build for Brazil.

Socceroo (capped) of the month

A fairly even month for about 3-4 Socceroos, but the recognition goes to Josh Kennedy.  Starting the season in Japan with full games and a few goals is the perfect scenario for both club and country. Reaching an age where perhaps he needs to be “managed” because of his history of back injuries, a very positive start.

Sept – Cahill, Oct – Vidosic, Nov – Ryan, Dec – Jedinak, Jan – Jedinak, Feb – Ryan

Under the radar (uncapped)

Also a line ball decision this month, but the efforts of Shane Lowry deserve recognition.  A very challenging season after both falling out of favour with the manager and receiving two red cards, he has bounced back strongly.  Facing a huge relegation battle at Millwall, so will be an interesting 2 months both at club level and national level as he strives to impressive the national selectors.

Sept – Wilkinson, Oct – Konstantinidis, Nov – Luongo, Dec – Mrcela, Jan – Giannou, Feb – Wright

Young player (U21) of the month

Sixteen year old Hyuga Tanner has been in the youth ranks at Blackburns for several seasons, he is also involved in the junior national teams.  Now finding himself starting in the U21′s at Blackburn is a feather in his cap.  He reportedly has several of the bigger clubs closely monitoring his progress.  One to watch.

Damian Davies

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