Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Aussies Abroad: Month in Review - September 2011

Compiled by Damian Davies.

Plenty of club level action for our Aussies across the globe with many appearances during the month, particularly in youth teams around Europe.  Various national level games with the Socceroos, Joeys, Olyroos and Matildas all playing during September. A sprinkling of transfers, with yet more players returning for the new HAL season.

Club Level:-    
Premier League 
Vince Grella made his return for Blackburn, but they are staring down the barrel of a long season.  Chris Herd features in the game day squad for Villa on a regular basis but hasn’t seen any game time after his impressive season debut in August.  Despite stringing together three recent draws, 
Starting with action in Europe, in particular to England where the Aussies playing in the EPL are not travelling that well. Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer were the only regulars over the past month, however both their club sides are sitting in the bottom half of the table.  

Middlesbrough remain in the automatic promotion places in the Championship early in the season.  Rhys Williams has continued his impressive season while Scott McDonald returned strongly after an early month hamstring injury. Kisnorbo, Jedinak and Federici are all mid table but all starting to hit form. Ryan Williams (17) continues to get some minutes for Portsmouth while Neil Kilkenny’s Bristol City are struggling, having not won since mid August. 

The Australian presence in League One is highlighted by James Wesolowski and Alex Cisak at Oldham athletic.  Two recent losses have seen them drop back to the lower half of the table. Worth noting that Kyle Nix’s Gateshead are currently top of the table at Conference level.  

Up in Scotland, not much Aussie action with McKay and Mooy missing through injury and Ryan McGowan getting limited game time in September. However Rangers have already managed to get a big 10 point lead over Celtic.  Defender Beau Busch seems to have cemented his place at Arbroath, who now lead Second Division in Scotland. 

In Scandinavia, great to see Nathan Coe getting so many starts in Denmark, along with youngster Brent McGrath.  Their team results have been a little up and down, but still plenty of games to go to get into the European places. Ante Covic had a month dominated by trips to the pine, but with Elfsborg still in second, all is not too bad for the 36 year old.  Luke Wilkshire has continued his great season with Dinamo Moscow, now three points over the lead in Russia

Moving back across continental Europe, in Croatia, both Ljubo Milicevic and Steven Lustica appear most weeks for Hajduk Split.  They are currently second on the table, but a gap of seven points now exists to powerhouse Dinamo Zagreb.  Young Tomi Juric didn’t see much game time this month as Lokomotiva failed to earn a point. 

Danny Invincibile now finds himself in the starting line-up at Ermis (Cyprus), but not the greatest start to the campaign with only one point in their first five fixtures.  In the Czech Republic, Mlada Boleslav (Kerem Bulut) dropped off a little during the month and now sit sixth on the table.  

Sydney born Aleksander Jovanovic has debuted at Serbian club, Hajduk Kula and James Troisi has been in and out of the starting eleven at the slow starting Kayerispor in Turkey.  In Germany, no starts this month for either Leckie, Rukavytsya or Langerak.  Robbie Kruse did manage to start during September in the second tier at Fortuna Dusseldorf.  He is yet to break his scoring duck but the team are travelling well sitting two points off the lead with a game in hand.

Moving to Italy where many of the Aussies are now in the lower leagues.  The exception being Carl Valeri who’s club, Sassuolo, currently sit fourth with Carl playing a significant role.  Exciting to note two young Aussies making their way in the Italian fourth division (Lega Pro 2), with both Francesco Stella (20) and Christian Esposito (21) regular starters for their respective teams. 

The Netherlands is a promising destination for Aussies this European season with Brett Holman continuing his great form at league leading AZ.  Great to see Tommy Oar starting to have an impact at Utrecht, where Michael Zullo and Adam Sarota are also appearing frequently.  Rounding out European coverage, yet another Aussie keeper is making headlines with Caleb Patterson-Sewell leading Atletico Clube Portugal to the top of the second division table in Liga de Honra. To date, he has kept four clean sheets in the first six games of the season. 

Across to Asia, where several leagues are reaching the end of the season. In the J.League, Josh Kennedy remains one clear in the race for the Golden Boot despite only scoring once in September.  His club side, Nagoya Grampus remain in third after a patchy run of late.  After scoring for the Socceroos against Thailand, Alex Brosque has maintained his scoring form in Japan, having scored three times over the past few weeks. Eddy Bosnar also featuring as Shimuzu S-Pulse slowly climb the table.  In the second tier in Japan, Jade North’s Tokyo lead the league, but Jade can’t take any credit though given he has played a total of 70 minutes for the season despite being available.  The opposite scenario for Mark Milligan (nearly 2000 minutes this campaign) as JEF try to gain automatic promotion back to the J.League. 

In China, another month to go, however Joel Griffiths’ Beijing Guoan look to be too far behind Guangzhou to claim the title.  Joel had a reasonable goal scoring month but currently sits five behind the leader of the Golden Boot.  At the other end of the table, Chengdu Blades (Salley and Santalab) will need a few points if they are to avoid relegation.  Our Aussies in Singapore are seeing starts in every fixture with Goran Subara (Singapore Armed Forces) currently sitting fourth while Mark McGough’s Balestier Khalsa sit near the bottom of the table. A quick mention to a player abroad known to many fans in Australia. “Aussie” Aleksander Duric remains second in the race for the Golden Boot in Singapore at the age of 41. Not bad for a guy that made his international debut at the age of 37 and has scored 18 goals in 37 appearances.

Lucas Neill has started his club career at Al Jazira (U.A.E.) with a few cup appearances while Richard Porta sits two behind the leaders in the race for the Golden Boot in Uruguay.
Would be remiss of me not to mention the problems in two leagues that are impacting numerous Aussies Abroad.  Several clubs from the Super League in Greece have been relegated for match fixing, whereas the association in Indonesia are struggling to launch a league for the new season. Worth watching further developments in the coming weeks.

Injuries:-    A few guys made comebacks during September – Grella and Chipperfield.  However longer term injuries continue to rule out Garcia (knee), Ireland (thigh), Tombides (cancer treatment), Mooy (back), Gulum (knee) and Ucchino (glandular fever).

Club Competitions:-
(UEFA Champions League) Limited Aussies making appearances with Mitchell Langerak have two games on the pine for Dortmund.  Scott Chipperfield got a few minutes off the bench in the glamour tie with Manchester United.
(UEFA Europa League) Only Brett Holman (AZ) and Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) remain in this competition with both getting starts during September.  James Holland was an unused substitute in the most recent tie for AZ..
(AFC Champions League) No Aussies remain.
(AFC Cup) No Aussies remain.
North America
(CONCACAF) No Aussie appearances

Youth:-    Updates from the “NextGen Series”, the youth level Champions League, were all about Brad Smith who made four appearances during the month for Liverpool.  Massimo Luongo appeared in a Tottenham fixture and Reece Caira (Aston Villa) was an unused substitute. Cameron Edwards (Reading), Jamie MacLaren (Blackburn) and Marc Warren (Sheffield United) are all regulars at the reserves level. An astounding number of Aussie keepers at youth level, with Liam Jacob (Manchester United), Alex Baird (Newcastle) and Dean Gardikiotis (Blackpool) all starting in their respective youth teams.

National level :-     After a narrow escape in the warm up game with Thailand, the Socceroos turned out against Saudi Arabia back in early September for a WC qualifier.  A pleasing 3-1 win with Josh Kennedy netting a brace.  The Olyroos played an uninspiring 0-0 with U.A.E. using an Australia based squad.  The Matildas were knocked out of the World Cup and the Joeys put in some smashing performances in Asia.

Transfers :-     Fairly limited movement this month.  A few Aussies headed to Hong Kong for the start of the new season there.  The trend of players returning to the HAL seems to be continuing however still a few uncontracted players in the market – not forgetting Carney, Bouzanis and Madaschi are still looking for homes.

Additions/changes to database: -      
Julius Doe Davies (4 Sep 1994) – transferred to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Germany
Karl Dodd (13 Nov 1980) – transferred to TSW Pegasus, Hong Kong
Christian Esposito (23 Jul 1990) – loaned to FC Catanzaro, Italy
Aleksander Jovanovic (4 Aug 1989) – transferred to FK Hajduk Kula, Serbia
Dane Milovanovic (2 Dec 1989) – transferred to Sun Hei SC, Hong Kong
Robert Stambolziev (26 Oct 1990) – transferred to AO Proodeftiki Nikea, Greece
Jonathan Stynes (1 Apr 1993) – transferred to Kilmarnock, Scotland
Nenad Vekic (14 Apr 1990) – transferred to Tuen Mun SA, Hong Kong

Removed from database:-   
Matthew Fletcher (1 Jun 1992) – released by Sunderland, uncontracted
Ryan Gazet du Chattelier (17 Feb 1991) – released by Stuttgart Kickers II, uncontracted
Daniel Georgievski ( 17 Feb 1988) – appeared for senior Macedonian football team
Andrija Jukic (3 Jan 1987) – released by Bogor Raya, uncontracted
George Lambadaridis (23 Apr 1992) – transferred to Brisbane Roar
Billy Quinncroft (25 Dec 1991) - by Bogor Raya, uncontracted
David Scarsella (2 Oct 1982) – released by Guiseley, uncontracted
Milan Susak (29 Jan 1984) – transferred to Adelaide United

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