Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Tko je tu lud?

Tko je tu lud?

I recently had a conversation with a prominent Victorian football identity about where our club is at with our junior system and how it operates. He was basically asking why we aren’t producing talent of the quality we used to. Whilst we still track as exceptional when it comes to giving our talent a go at the top level, it’s not to the quality of what it once was.

Our club has always been blessed with an abundance of junior talent. The club just needed to take the pick of the bunch of their own, which they did most of the time. Naturally we could have done better especially in that first generation of juniors that came through in the late 70s and 80s. We had Istuk, Batinovic and others that were in the first team, but such was our quality over the park that not enough of our youth got a real fair crack at it - At one stage of the State team’s first eleven, seven were Essendon Croatia players. This is back when the National League had just started with four Victorian teams in it.

Back to the point, my mind wandered to the oft mentioned metrics that determine how and why a club produces or uncovers talent. Lately the arguments have been for better coaches, better facilities, professionalism and pathways. And you know what conclusion I came to? All of these things have been used as a tool for the general punter (who is usually of a low mental capacity) to disguise what’s really going on in the game. There’s been consensus that all of these four things have been a boon for the game and its future. I’d argue the opposite.

Firstly, let me paint you a picture. A large community of fanatics, in the sporting and cultural sense form  a club. The offspring of the founders begin to play as juniors.  My uncle once told me that watching Croatia in the early 70’s before we were kicked out (stara Croatija argument anyone?) was literally like watching the national team play, regardless of who was actually out on the park.

We usually had fanatical fathers, uncles and various strikos that took on the coaching of teams and instilled something special within these guys that kicked on, and the ones that didn’t - nearly all became lifelong fans of the club.

These days it’s pretty much universally accepted that we all want better coaches. So they make a licencing program that shuts out those most passionate and knowledgeable about the game. The barrier to entry is twofold, it costs a shitload to listen to tutors reading from a textbook and the second is a psychological one – ko ce meni pripovijedat kako se igra nogomet -Who’s going to preach to me how to play soccer?

So the punters wanted better coaches (how do you even quantify that?) and the FFA, as always, perverted that goal to serve their interest whilst giving the impression that it’s serving the original aim.

Then there’s the question of better facilities. This is a really personal point for me. We were forced, sometimes kicking and screaming by Soccer Australia to upgrade our ground constantly. If it wasn’t this it was that. If the TV tower needed to be 20Sqm this year, it was 25sqM next year after it was built by their plans. So yeah, we have a relic of a facility that we built and developed on a big fat lie. That lie is if you do the right thing, play by the rules and contribute to the sport you’ll always be respected and given an opportunity. Jesmo se najeli teska govna sve za nasu Croatiju.

Conversely, it’s quite stupid how the system works in the council-club dichotomy. Club X wants the council to upgrade the club’s facility that it plays out of. The club’s volunteers spend a year or more preparing all the documentation, plans and so forth to prove to the council that the project is worthwhile. Who is the idiot in this situation? The club of course. Volunteers doing to council’s job who are then forced to beg the councils to invest in their own infrastructure that they have use of – usually not exclusively either. It’s fucked.

Professionalism. We love it. The A-league players deserve more money.
Give me a break. The house of cards professionalism that exists in this country is the single-most contributing factor limiting our ability to uncover and produce players.

Before, players could float from the State League and National League without too many issues. This allowed the pool of players to be continually regenerated and any new talent that deserved its shot at the right time usually locked out the older hangers on and so it went.

These days, our club doesn’t get to blood young juniors at that level – so the best we can hope for is every once in a while we’ll blood someone who is better than the league we play in and he ‘might’ get to the A-league. Now apply the same logic to playing in the top league, every once in a while you’ll be able to find a player better than the league you play in and you’ll flog him off overseas. This helps the pool of potential Socceroos who are almost exclusively made up of overseas based players. We need to get this out of our head that we can develop world class juniors in Australia. It ain’t gonna happen.

The last point is pathways. Another punter-driven, FFA deviant buzzword with healthy intentions  (not that I agree with them) that has the opposite effect. It used to be that players played for a junior club, or more than one with the aim to make the senior team and kick on in a better senior team somewhere down the track, whether they were Provisional league, State league or National league. The cream always rises to the top.

What these pathways have done is give a false impression of entitlement that these anointed little shits running around in them are basically in the system and they’ll get their turn at an A-league contract when the time comes. Oh how much joy I have when that doesn’t eventuate which is 90% of the time.

These days the FFA (and other assorted sycophants) think we can supplant the cream by creating in a laboratory. Oh how they fail. But then again, they can always blame the clubs.
Basically, what I’m saying is that everything is fucked. It’s fucked because we have a governing body that is clinging onto power with all of its might. It’s a governing body that does not care about you, me, our club, history, legacy but most importantly our collective future – because we aren’t in that future. Either we fight, and fight hard – or give up.
But then again, what’s the point?

PS – I used to get upset reading Zavicaj’s comments on the blog, but at least you care – and lately I’ve been getting into the nihilistic outlook.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Is a 2nd division on the way?

As most people would be aware by now, after years of being neglected and bossed around by FFA the clubs have decided to take matters in their own hands by forming the Association of Australian Football Clubs.

In a very short amount of time clubs from all over the country have signed up, and in an even shorter amount of time a handful of whining A-league fans have started to put the boot in, even going as far as alleging certain clubs funnel junior fees straight into first team wages. Can't quite figure out if this is coming from previous butt hurt experienced during the NSL years or just out of fear.

I think it's safe to say that the power this association holds may well and truly be causing some people to shit their pants. And for FFA or anyone else to be writing them off would be doing so at their own peril. I am not suggesting they will or would, but you could imagine the impact it would make if every club in that association refusing to pay fees or take the field for competition matches.

So what about all the other clubs or groups that fall under FFA? Well what about them? No one is stopping them from doing the same. If they want a seat at the table it's up to them to make it happen.

Anyway enough of that, let's skip all the bullshit and go straight to the fun part. It's fast approaching the 2019 season and FFA have agreed to a second division, so who should be in it?


Melbourne Knights - For obvious reasons I will put my club first. I don't need to, but I will mention that we have a proud history, one of the proudest this country has ever seen and may see for some time to come. Also one of the only clubs in the country that has exclusive 365 day access to it's own purpose built facility.

South Melbourne - Pretty similar reasons to Knights, bar the exclusive access. But it would be pretty fucking funny to see the Oceania club of the Century left out. Mike would have a heart attack.

Heidelberg United - They have sorted themselves out in the past few years, facility will pass for now, probably the only other club that are worthy of a seat at the table at the moment. 


Sydney United - The Melbourne Knights of NSW, without the back to back championships.

Sydney Olympic - Not too different from South Melbourne, but a much worse circumstances facility wise if their history is anything to go by.

Marconi - Were great in the NSL. They have the facilities, they have the finances. Why not?

Wollongong - Another proud NSL club (I think a pattern may be emerging). They showed they could pull off a crowd in the FFA Cup. Great stadium to play out of. Even without any of that, the epic come back against Perth Glory should allow immediate entry.


Northern Fury - Oops these guys weren't in the NSL. Perhaps aren't quite A-league level but going by how they were when in the league, would be a welcome inclusion to a second division.

Brisbane Strikers - It's been too long since I listed an NSL team.


Adelaide City - Very successful in the NSL, caused us some heartache but also some joy when they finally did their balls against us at home in 95, let em in.

West Adelaide - Came back from the dead to win back to back state titles, one of the more ambitious ex NSL clubs in recent times.


South Hobart - Have been dominating the local competition for the past few years. It's time to give Tasmania a club on the national stage.


Canberra FC - Have won the league 12 of the past 16 seasons and have always spoken out whenever the opportunity of playing at a higher level has come out. Can't do any worse than Cosmos surely.

At this point in time I'm not sure that the league would be ready for a WA side, but should be the priority for expansion within 3 years along with another Victorian side.

This is obviously what I would like to see happen as someone who dearly misses the 'bad old dark NSL days'. I'm sure if and when the time comes, proper thorough procedures will be put in place and followed to source the best possible candidates from each state, ensuring the best possible outcome for FOOTBALL IN AUSTRALIA.

Happy to answer any questions about clubs that didn't make the cut in the comments section!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

From 0 – 100 in Only Three Weeks

Pretty safe to say that all Knights fans have had a nice kick up the ass at work all week thanks to the boys heroic efforts during the away game at Bentleigh last Friday.

I know for me, it’s just given me that little bounce in my step, knowing that at the end of the day, the team can rip out a solid 90 minute masterclass against league favourites and come out of it feeling pretty untouchable.

It’s not to say that we’re out of the woods yet in terms of stagnating plays, but jebiga, I’m gunna enjoy this one and stay hopeful that Stabba and the squad do the exact same business that they did last week; for the rest of the season, or at least most of it.

Last Friday Night: Feelin’ Good

It was a decent drive from my friends place out to Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, when I got there after work – we were both starving and jumped straight in the car. 
Jacket – check, keys – check, trip to the ATM – check. 

We arrived and lunged straight into the all-to-famous Bentleigh gyros, at $12 a pop for an over-filled pita pocket of goodness, we weren’t complaining – although I did wonder if George Calombaris had been there earlier in the day adding the finishing touches to achieve the price-tag.

The game kicked-off, and we found refuge from the relentless hurricane of insects on the hill-side of the park, my beer got necked and it was time to focus on some serious action.

Both sides running their guts out for the first 10 minutes, earning as many chances forward as they could, and a succession of about 246 Bentleigh corners; it definitely wasn’t a slow start – but in the 12th minute of play, I let out an all-to-familiar “for fucks sake, man” .. a soft pass being stolen and placed clear of the helpless stretch of Harry. I just hoped that it hadn’t smashed his confidence, or the teams .. and then what happened next was what you always dream of after going a goal down.

The boys hit the go-baby-go button and the rest of the half was filled with chances for Dixon, Hicks, Harris and eventually Tom Cahill got up and bashed one in with his head at the half-hour mark to equalise. It must be mentioned that both keepers were outstanding for the entire 90 minutes, some of the saves I saw were just plain outrageous.

Half-time came and I didn’t know how to feel, happy that we were playing the best I’ve seen in a long time, or worried that we wouldn’t capitalise on the chances in the second half and fall short. I distracted myself, passing the time with a cigarette and some non-football conversation with my mates. It worked, just.

Second-Half After-Marth

The ref had made a few bad calls and had been justifiably abused just the right amount, as was the linesman. Everything seemed to be in place, and I felt strangely calm for a knights fan at an away game against arguably the league’s best performers.

Elvis came out all-guns-blazing in the second half, clearly chasing to get on the score-sheet a third week in a row, it actually amazes me the situations this guy can get himself out of. At one point I remember seeing three green shirts around him, and he just ducked and slipped through and kept running down the line with the ball still at his feet. Skills, man, skills.

Timmy Purcell was copping it from Stabba on the sideline, and seemingly trying to defy the coaches every request, instead of what would have been a golden through-ball opportunity along the line, he decided to run straight into the box, in the firing line of two greens – he knew exactly what he was doing. Penalty received after a frustrated and tired tackle left him face-planted at the top of the box. We went up 2-1 after Hicks did what he does; and smashed it in, low and to the right.

The last goal was the one I was the happiest about though – Caleb Mikulić, another one of our clubs youth products, delivering possibly the most devastating goal that Bentleigh have copped at home in a while – a low flying belter from outside the box; what a feeling for him, the team and the fans.
Off the bench, I like Miku as a player, I think he’s quick, has got good technical skill and I always like when he gets a run because the kid will run his guts out for the badge, every single time.

This Friday Night: Feelin' Good

In two days’ time we’re back at home to face NPL newbies Kingston City, who I don’t know too much about. All I’m hoping is that we can back up last week’s performance and lock-down another convincing win. One would think that as they’re newly promoted they can’t be too much of a threat, as opposed to last week’s opponents. 

But, if there is one thing that following this league has taught me, it’s that on any day, any team can beat another. Constant form is hard to come by, and most clubs can have a bad day, or a really good day – some days this is frustrating, other days it’s magical.

It will be exciting if the squad can lock down the way they played against Hume and Bentleigh, and harness it and create a dominant form of play as the week-in, week-out regular style; cause I tell you now, it is the most joyous thing in the world when your football team plays well.

This will be our second home fixture for the season, I’m hoping that a lot more people turn up as the season goes on. The crowd against Pascoe Vale wasn’t pathetic, but for the first home game it was certainly a little disappointing.

The Friday night 8.30pm games I think will be a success, the general vibe around Knights Stadium is better when there’s music and kids running around kicking a ball. It’s a happier place when there’s drinks, food and laughs flowing – rather than on rainy winter Sunday’s – so we’ll see how numbers add up at this years AGM.

We’ll be enjoying dinner again this week, I think I’ll call ahead and make sure there’s a pržene lignje there for me this time, still pissed about missing out 2 weeks ago!

Hope to see you all there, Živjela Croacija.

Friday, 24 February 2017

“Aaaaand we’re off! ….. or not. – Either way, either way is fine.”

It’s been an interesting start to the season, to say the most. It’s been pretty tame from a Knight’s fans perspective.. are we going to see another year of the standard issues? I hope not..

Only 2 games into the season proper, and it’s clear to see that there is some spark on the pitch, a bit of energy, a flickering flame – but who’s got the spray can? We need some homemade flame thrower action out there! 2 games in and we’ve seen one really good performance, and one that I’d rather just forget about. With the game against Bentleigh tonight, I’m interested to see which team rocks up.

Those crazy refs huh?

I can’t put much on the officials for last week’s game against Paco, we more so let that game go ourselves. But I would have enjoyed having the +9 minutes extra time that Hume had the week prior to try and get one back. That would’ve been nice.

I feel for all players when a shit call is made by a ref, whether it’s on one of ours (that’s when the ‘jebemti pas mater’s’ start getting hurled) or when it’s against an opposition player (the ones where you crack a cheeky smirk cause you know it was bullshit but you love it anyway). 

It’s a hard pill to swallow for players and for fans, we expect the officials to be of a minimum standard, and to at least be consistent throughout the league. It’s the most frustrating thing to watch, or be a part of – so who is at fault? 
My personal opinion – is both. Players and refs.

Bite your tongue, like a pro.

It’s one thing for a ref to make a horrendous call, or allow a game to go on 3 days into extra time – but to lose your shit at the guy, obviously doesn’t work – of a lifetime I have watched football, I can’t ever remember a refs call being changed straight after being called a fucking cunt. Just doesn’t work that way.

Ego is a massive factor, I can understand feeling hard-done-by, especially after 96 and a half minutes of pressing football – but we should remember – the officials have egos too, and they’re not about to kiss the boots of someone who just hurled abuse for a good 2 minutes.

It’d be nice to see some professionalism, some guys in the NPL have it, some don’t, but it can be learnt, it’s not a hard thing. I’m not saying the refs calls aren’t cactus, but it’s give and take, and if that’s what the FFV are gunna give us, then we should learn to deal with it, to get the best out of each game.

Locked & loaded.

The squad is looking solid, I think that given the mass-exit of some key players last season, the club has done a good job of damage control and acquired some boys that are capable of creating magic. As mentioned, there’s been some small sparks .. but we’re often late out of the gates, the next 3 or 4 games will be a good indication of how our season will go.

I’m not going to go into each player and what I think about them, it’s too early to see how our existing players have grown from last season, and how our new boys will perform this season. But from first impressions of the first two games, it’s plain to see that Elvis is a man to watch. Scores a goal, does a flip – twice in two games, let’s hope it continues. Also want to mention young bloods Nikola Jurkovic and Harry Cakarun. 

Nikola has been nothing short of impressive in the back line, and his improvement on discipline has done wonders for him. He’s taking charge, chasing down the ball when lost and he’s doing it in a smarter way, hopefully that means less yellows! He may have started out as a warrior, but he’s been polished – he’s a Knight now.

Harry has had to step in for Chalmers, and he definitely stepped in and stepped up. It’s always shaky as a fan watching a second keeper come in out of necessity, but to be honest, watching the kid out there was natural, didn’t even have to spark up a cigarette when Paco got a corner or anything. The two goals he copped could not be helped from a keepers perspective, I hope that the added game time will only give him more confidence – it’s what you want to see for a club who is big on promoting youth.

Season is underway, I love that shit.

It’s back, and no matter what, it’s all good. Naturally, in the NPL; a league that is only semi-pro, things happen slowly – look at the A-League for fucks sake, that shit is professional and it is moving at only glacial speeds.

So we can’t expect things to transform season to season – it takes what football is built on to achieve it, hard work. So I’ll sit back, be a little bit more patient, and in my almost depressing amount of optimism – hope that we can get the club back to performing at a solid and consistent level of quality. It’s what keeps me going to games every week, my curiosity to see how the boys will perform against a wide array of opponents.

Tonight: Is it flares? Is it ethnic violence? Nah it's just the smoke from the gyros at Kingston Heath for our third NPL fixture against table-toppers Bentleigh, who have 2 wins from 2. I’m looking forward to two things in particular; seeing how they use Stipo and a cold pivo to end this week. It’s almost as if the weather knows that NPL is back, and the last two weekends have been cold – but I don’t mind it. Jacket on, beer in hand – Friday night football, there’s nothing better.

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Past, The Present & Why Somers Street Will Always Remain.

In typical Knights fashion; just when you thought the blog had its career ended by a savage double-footed tackle inside the box – West of the Quarry is back on the pitch and ready to bring you all the necessary (and unnecessary) need-to-knows about Melbourne Knights Football Club during the 2017 NPL Victoria season. 

WOTQ will be making some changes moving forward, with a few new contributors and also some varied content – we’re looking at providing Knights members, fans and general punters with information and opinions from all around the club. If any readers wish to see certain aspects covered, feel free to comment and we’ll make sure we get it covered in future posts! 

Last Season: From The Sideline 

I didn’t want to focus this post too much on the 2016 season, but as I’m a new contributor to the blog, I felt that it would be fitting to take my opinion of last year, bench it at halftime; and then bring on my hopes for 2017 in the second half. Last season was extremely frustrating for me, I felt like an old Dalmo soccer dad; leaning on the fence, having to bite my tongue and hold back criticism for the way the boys were playing – even if I didn’t really have the answers. Performances were varied, some great games with flowing plays, and some displays that no one knew what to call. As a person who’s watched club football since I was a kid; I feel like it was one of those nothing seasons, finishing just comfortably clear of any relegation games, and entering the off season with a solid resounding ‘meh’ feeling towards it all.

MCF during Knights v Cockburn FFA Cup 2016 
In spite of our NPL woes, our FFA Cup run was a briefly exciting one; progressing past the Round of 32 after delightfully beating Cockburn City in a rainy night epic at Somers St. Although, not long after; our hopes of facing an A-League team in the quarter-finals were trampled by Green Gully when they beat us at home in the Round of 16. 

At the conclusion of the season, leading into this year – the on-field up and down performances made more sense, an array of starting players decided to leave the club and head off in different directions – I’m guessing their hearts and minds left at some point during the season, and it showed in the way the team gelled (or didn’t, depending on which game you want to refer to). 

 “That’s football, eh?” – It’s the term people use when they’re disappointed by the outcome, but they know nothing can be done about it, and they still support the team anyway. It’s a term that can be used to describe individual losses, player injuries, missed chances, unfair calls and any other solemn feelings associated with supporting a football club. 

Going into 2017, it seems Stabba has made it known that experience is required in the side, and has signed a number of senior-ish players (we’ll do another post soon with a more in depth look at the new Knights) – in hopes that we can get some consistency going into this year. Without naming names, it’s a given that when signing a decent amount of new players, some will be horrendous, and some will become new fan favourites – let’s hope that the majority of them are the latter; so that the team is better off, and so is my blood pressure.

Marijan Cvitković & Nikola Jurković celebrate after a goal.

This Season: What To Look Forward To 
The NPL off-season is the longest time of the year for me; not only do I have a short break from work over Christmas, but I’m also deprived of doing what I love most – heading to the game with a few of the boys, getting a free-poured scotch & coke from Jason’s Bar, a good feed from either the social club or the canteen and heading into Knights Stadium to watch some football. So for me, February couldn’t come soon enough! 

Until we see the new-look Knights take to the pitch in the new year, it can’t really be predicted how the team will place on the table at season’s end – all we can do as supporters of our great club, is support. There are a few pre-season friendlies coming up, and also the annual Friendship Cup against our brothers from Sydney United in early February, right before our season kicks off with an away game against Hume City. Needless to say, I’m keen to jump in the car and head to wherever Knights are playing; the NPL season is upon us, my friends. 

Last year when attending the AGM – I was wrapped to find out that all Knights’ home games for the 2017 season will be played on Friday nights, what better way to end the working week than to head out with some mates and watch a football game? The major benefit of having all games on a Friday night is that the social club, Jason’s Bar and Knights Stadium are all open simultaneously, and patrons in all areas can enjoy the fruits of the entire complex. I remember when I started attending Knight’s games religiously in my early 20s, even until now – that’s the bustling vibe that keeps me coming back, keeps me in love with the club and makes me feel a part of it all.

What more could a guy want? 

Although the players’ kits will be the same as last years – I am keen to see what the club come up with in terms of other fan merchandise, I’m always keen for that. My order will be as per usual, one (or more) of everything! I don’t know why I have that obsession with clothing items and other little kitschy things branded with the crest and name of my team, I’ve just never grown out of that, since I was a kid. I figure they’re things that I’ll pass on to future generations, like my old man used to give scarves and badges to me. 

Fans will be able to purchase 2017 memberships shortly, if you need help getting your hands on a membership form, or are not quite sure which package is best for you or how to go about it – contact us at WOTQ and we’ll point you in the right direction. Every member, whether they purchase the Bronze, Silver, Gold or Corporate membership – is eligible to vote on club matters at the annual general meeting. Becoming a member of MKFC means that you own a piece of your football club – there’s no better way to support than to sign up, and get as many hole-punches in your membership card as possible from attending home games.

For those who follow the NPL but don’t necessarily have a team, or who follow Knights in the backdrop but don’t attend games regularly – don’t believe the bullshit you see online from new dawn Facebook/Twitter haters; claiming that going to NPL games is like entering mono-ethnic warzones that contain only suburban terrorists.
It's nothing like that, come see for yourself; get some mates together or even come down by yourself (That’s how I started attending weekly back in the day!) introduce yourself and you’ll be sure to find some fellow football lovers to spend your Friday nights with. 

If you love football, then you are welcome at our home – that’s how it is at Somers Street in North Sunshine. That’s why Somers Street will always remain.

Bring on the 2017 season and hopefully see you in the Mark Viduka stand!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

A new beginning

Due to a combination of reasons over the last few months, I decided to put the blog to an end as it was. If I can't commit to it full time, then I don't really want to do it. West of the Quarry will still be here, but in somewhat of a different format. I can't reveal what that will be just yet as some things are still up in the air, but I can confirm that there will be a couple of other people involved as my involvement is significantly reduced. I will continue to occasionally post as I have in the past, especially when I feel like I need to get something off my chest.
I probably should do some sort of season review, and I will try to, but cannot guarantee anything. Although I am quite confident one of the other contributors will have something up pretty soon. 
The blog page will more than likely be down over the coming weeks as we try and freshen things up a bit, but will be sure to let you all know when we are back via Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for reading up until now. Here's to a new beginning!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Where do I even begin?

Where do I even begin? A fair bit has happened in the past few weeks and I was beginning to think it might be the end of the blog. (Un)fortunately thought I'm at home with then cold/flu which has given me some much needed free time. The last few weeks have been absolute chaos in terms of getting as many things as I need done before heading overseas in a couple of weeks.

Had I been doing this blog over 10 years ago, I wouldn't have gone more than a few days wihout writing something about the 'Melbourne Derby' let alone a few weeks. For some reason on my way to the match I was thinking about how different the fixture has become. What was once the date I would look for immediately every year when the fixtures were released. What was once something I would countdown to for weeks, is now something I look forward to after work that day. Gone are the days of thousands of people coming close to filling a stadium and creating a pulsating atmosphere. It has now sadly become nothing more than any other game. A great crowd now is anywhere near 1000+ which was once an average crowd against Green Gully or Altona Magic. I have shown such little interest in the ocassion this year that I haven't even bothered to check our rival blog to see what they have been saying about us.
As far as the match itself went, you couldnt asking for much more (other than the three points). If you were wanting to put your case forward about the club to anyone this was the match to do it. The crowd was good, the weather was fine, there were plenty of goals and not a sign of any violence which Melbourne Victory has been plaguing the league with in recent times (without any form of sanction it would seem). 
An early lead was as good as it was going to get for us. While a comment about us probably going on tok lose 3 - 1 may not have been correct, it was at least pointing  in the right direction. There have definitely been easier losses to swallow than this one, but I don't think we can really fault the boys all that much. We are a very young side with injuries shuffling around our 11 weel to week, against a side who has the luxury of splashing the cash on quality players every year (at least until the government funding runs out). 
Jason Hicks may not have done what I was hoping he would do, but he did enough to impress one older Knights fan who went on to claim he is our best player since the NSL, could play anywhere in the world apart from the EPL and that we should send him to Hajduk Split. And we always have the return leg for him to make things right. 

Our loss to Avondale hurt me a lot more than the one against South did. I'll even go as far as saying that it is worse than our second round loss to Heidelberg. 
Our last Friday night match at home, which I don't agree with for a number of reasons. Mainly because I just prefer Friday nights. And I think the majority of our fans who aren't in or approaching retirement would agree. But also I don't buy the arguement that it's too cold in winter, Sunday afternoons in then middle of winter are bloody cold and if you can bare them you can bare Friday nights. And a lot of people just don't want to go on a Sunday afternoon. I'll go no matter when we play, but Sunday afternoon I believe is the worst time lot and is probably the day I would miss most games due to other commitments. People with young kids who are out at 8am for juniors football don't want to hang around until 5pm. Nor do people want to hang around for a drink as is evident by the place being a ghost town by 6pm. Nothing beats a few drinks before the game after work on a Friday, followed by more of the same until 1, 2 or even 3am on some occasions this season. 
Anyway the only thing lacking from our first half performance was another three or four goals. We definitely created the chances but failed to take them. What happened at the break still remains a mystery to me and how two teams can come out the complete opposite the way they did that night just doesn't add up. I initally jumped to the conclusion that our season was over, until common sense prevailed and I realised it was only just the half way mark.

Our last fixture was far more pleasant than the two prior.  My first time back to CB Smith since we donned the ol' camouflage jersey. The place sure has changed a bit with the old stand being knocked down and rebuilt on an adjacent pitch. Nice little set up and decent stand, just a shame there was no foresight with some genius placing three light towers between the playing arena and the stand blocking a fair bit of the view from numerous spots. Another match where our 11 had to be reshuffled due to injuries and suspensions but the boys definitely proved they have what it takes. I felt that they dominated throughout the match and the result never really looked in doubt, even after heading into the rooms the exact same way we did the week before. 
Jason Hicks took another step closer to anywhere else in the world after the break with a well taken goal on his weaker right foot. The magic man together with Stipo Andrijasevic were unstoppable with both finding the back of the net after assisting each other. But I think the man in yellow may have beat them both for man of the match after showing two Pascoe Vale players red. I really do think that he listened to me when I told him he still owes us three red cards against them.
The win put us back into contention for finals just a week after the season was prematurely labelled over. But even though the boys have shown they have what it takes to put away the teams below us, it seems we may need to have a bit of activity in the window if we are to be able to take on the few at the top.

And finally tonight our much anticipated FFA Cup clash against our Croatian brothers Dandenong City. Win and were probably cunts, but lose and they will all laugh. I learnt from our last cup match that if you are 50/50 about going to a match, go as you will never no what you may miss out on. But if there is one thing that can stop me from going to a game, it's man flu.

*Please note this is a rush job, affected by sickness and medication. Therefor there are no images and more than likely a handful of mistakes with a lot of bad writing.