Friday, May 3, 2013

Aussies Abroad Month in Review April

 Aussies Abroad compiled by Damian Davies
April has to be one of the most exciting months on the pitch as the European leagues come to an end, where promotions/relegations and European places are determined.  A real mixed bag for our Aussies Abroad, looking like a higher proportion of players suffering the drop, so will be interesting to see the transfers over the summer. A decent amount of games have now been played across the Asian leagues this season so we can check in on our Aussies.  The domestic league is over, congratulations to the Central Coast Mariners, and the exodus of players seems to have commenced.  The club competitions round the globe have progressed beyond the group stages, we will see which Aussies remain.
Transfers:-  a bit of one way traffic this month with players from the both the A-League and WA league making their way overseas.  The pattern of Aussie youth heading abroad also seems to be continuing.
Additions/changes to player database:
Terry Antonis (26 Nov 1993) - transferred from Sydney FC to Parma, Italy
Eli Babalj (21 Feb 1992) - transferred from Melbourne Heart to AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands
Cameron Burgess (21 Oct 1995) - transferred from Joondalup to Fulham, England
Adam Griffiths (21 Aug 1979) - transferred from Sydney FC to Selangor FA, Malaysia
Harry Kewell (22 Sept 1978) - uncontracted, transferred to Al Gharafa, Qatar
Daniel Leach (5 Jan 1986) - uncontracted, transferred to Eastbourne Borough, England
Daniel Moss (8 Apr 1994) - transferred from NTC to Greenock Morton, Scotland
James Sammut (12 Dec 1989) - transferred from Inglewood to Birzebbugu St.Peter's, Malta
Ryan Strain (TBC) - transferred from Modbury Jets to Aston Villa, England
Josh Tanner (17 Jan 1994) - transferred from UE Cornella to FCV Dender, Belgium
Connor Thurston (TBC) - transferred from Perth SC to Blackpool FC, England
Removed from player database: 
Yahaya Musa (Wilmington Hammerheads) - uncontracted, whereabouts unknown
Anthony Skorich (Mitra Kukar) - uncontracted, returned to Australia 

Club Level:-
England (Premiership) - Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) is the only Aussie that got any starts in the EPL during February.  His contract has been the focus of discussion over the past few weeks so will be interested to see if he can hang on for one more season leading into the World Cup. Just one appearance as a substitute for Brett Holman this month, but great to see Villa look like staying up after a crushing defeat of Sunderland.  Adam Federici (Reading) made one start in his return from injury before heading back to the medical rooms.  Having returned straight back to the Championship, another player that will be carefully considering his future.  Brad Jones (Liverpool) warmed the pine behind Reina.

England (Championship) – for a season that looked to promise a lot for our Aussies, with one game to go, seems as through Mile Jedinak at Crystal Palace is the only one that will see play-off action.  He missed a few games due to suspension, so will be nice and fresh for the play-offs.  Scott McDonald took his season tally to 13 goals for Middlesborough, whereas Rhy Williams was in and out of the starting eleven.  Failure to again get promoted may mean moving on for both players.  Shane Lowry (Millwall) also served a suspension which coincided with 3 losses to his club.  They would like a point from their last game to hopefully avoid the drop.  He has managed 3 suspensions in the past few months on the back of his 13 yellows!! Pleasing to see Neil Kilkenny back in the starting eleven at Bristol City, but has not been his most productive season and his club have now be relegated. Having played just 32 minutes during his loan spell at Ipswich Town, Patrick Kisnorbo may make his way back to Australia for the next season.

England (League One) – Massimo Luongo will be the sole Aussie involved in the play-offs in this league as Swindon Town scrapped into the final round.  He hasn't missed a minute in his seven starts and will play an important role as his loan club push for promotion. The other young Aussie on loan in this league is Brad Inman at Crewe.  He managed 21 appearances and 5 goals in a productive stint.  Our Aussies at Oldham managed to stay up after a shaky last two games.  Dean Bouzanis was the big find for the season, ending with 36 starts and keeping Alex Cisak (5 starts) on the bench.   A little shocked to hear both Bouzanis and young Aussie keeper Liam Jacob have been released. James Wesolowski has ended the season with over 2600 minutes, a very welcome stat after spending so much time out injured.  Over 3000 minutes for young centre back Bailey Wright at Preston North End, which was rewarded with a contract extension. 

England (League Two) – only James Meredith at Bradford City is any chance of promotion after making the playoffs.  He has returned to the starting line-up after a stint on the sidelines with glandular fever.  Jamie Young (Aldershot) made 44 starts but will be shattered after his club was relegated and lost their league status.  Aaron Downes made 38 starts in his first season at Torquay and would be content with that output.  On loan Shane Cansdell-Sheriff (Rochdale) had a successful stint, and combined with his efforts at PNE, made 32 starts for the season. 

Germany (Bundesliga) – another solid month for Robbie Kruse at relegation threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf.  A strong season means the rumours are flying that he is on the verge of transferring to giant Bayer Leverkusen. Mitch Langerak got a rare start at Dortmund, while Nikita Rukavytsya has made his return from injury. 

Germany (2.Bundesliga) – Mathew Leckie has finally put together a good string of games, now having made 25 appearances for the season.

Netherlands (Eredivisie) – Tommy Oar made three starts for the month at Utrecht while Michael Zullo was in and out of the starting eleven.
Turkey (Super Lig) – Ersan Gulum (Besiktas) continued his strong run in defence, derailed only by a suspension for amassing too many yellow cards. Kerem Bulut (Akhiser Belediye GS) continues to make appearances from the pine as his team has incredibly got out of the relegation zone nearing the end of the season.

Austria (Bundesliga) – Twenty-nine starts now for James Holland at league leading Austria Wien, with the title close to wrapped up.

Scotland (Premier) - Midfielder Dylan McGowan has now made 17 appearances this season for Hearts.  Whereas Tom Rogic finally got a starting berth late in the month for Celtic.  With the title in the bag, hope to see a few more appearances for the ex-Mariner.
Denmark (Superliga) - while accumulating over 200 minutes of game time coming off the bench, Brent McGrath will be looking to break into the starting line-up at Brondby.
Greece (Super League) – Apostolis Giannou would be content with his nine starts while on loan at Plantanias, and hope to push on now at PAOK. 
Greece (Football League) – Twenty-three year old midfielder Andreas Govas (AEL Kallonis) has scored his debut goal and made 16 appearances for his new club.  While Billy Konstantinidis (Ethinikos Gazoros) is now up to 15 appearances for the season.
Cyprus (1.Division) - young winger Robert Stambolziev (Olympiakos Nicosia) has made 24 appearances as his club face a battle to avoid relegation.

Russia (Premier League) - Luke Wilkshire is back in the starting line-up at Dinamo Moscow.  His club have not been defeated in the league since November.   
Malta (Premier League) - Jacob Borg has now made an impressive 23 appearances at Balzan Youths and been an unused substitute again for the Malta national team.
USA (MLS) - how refreshing to see a Tim Cahill brace at NY Red Bulls late in April after a bit of a goal drought at club level.
China (Super League) - plenty of highlights from China. A brace to Erik Paartalu at Tianjin Teda and several players like Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng) and Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe) yet to miss a minute of the season.
Japan (J League) - fantastic to see Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus) back starting and scoring after a long injury break.
Korea (K League Classic) - a high number of Aussies still in the treatment room, but Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United) was  a constant in defence by the end of April.
India (I League) - Tolgey Ozbey (Mohun Bagan) has moved to 9 goals this season in 16 starts, whereas Andrew Barisic is proving to be more an AFC Cup specialist having scored 3 goals in that competition but none in the league.
Qatar (Stars League) - the season has now ended.  Sasa Ognenovski (Umm Salal) made 18 starts, as did Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa). Matt Spiranovic made 12 starts in an injury interrupted season for Al Arabi.  Harry Kewell made a brief cameo for Al Gharafa to replace the injured Bresciano.
U.A.E. (UFL) – nearing the end of the season, Dino Djulbic has been the stand out Aussie, with Alex Brosque a close second.   

Injuries:-   seems to be a large number of long-term injuries at the moment, with the following players all out; Adam Sarota (knee), Kofi Danning (knee), Chris Herd (foot), Carl Valeri (ankle), Nathan Burns (knee), Luke Devere (knee) and Shane Huke (foot), Brad Smith (knee), Taylor Tombides (knee) and Mark Bresciano (knee). The off-season could be very busy in rehab for these boys.
Club Competitions:-

(UEFA Champions League) - Mitch Langerak's Borussia Dortmund have now made the all German final for late May.  Although likely to be warmeingthe bench, great experience for the young shot stopper.
(UEFA Europa League) t- he Aussie connection at Tottenham was eliminated at the quarters, with our boys not featuring. 

(Asian Champions League) – while in the group stages, numerous Aussies have been seeing game time; Jonas Salley (Guizhou Renhe), Alex Brosque (Al Ain), Milan Susak (Sephahan), Eddie Bosnar (Suwon Bluewings) and Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors).  Unfortunately Jeonbuk Motors and Al Gharafa (Bresciano) are the only clubs with Aussies to progress.
(AFC Cup) – Dimitri Petratos (Kelantan), Michael Cvetkovski (Yangon United) and Andrew Barisic (East Bengal) all played critical roles in April as their clubs progressed to the knockout phase.
North America
(CONCACAF Champions League) – Andy Rose appeared for Seattle Sounders as they were knocked out in the semi-finals at the expense of Mexican club Santos Laguna
(O League)
A big chance for one of our Aussies progressing to the World Club Championships with Scott Gannon (BA FC) and keeper Michael Rutherford (Amicale) both appearing as their respective clubs advanced to the semi-finals and are on opposite side of the draw.
Reserves and Youth:-
These leagues are winding down as well, but mention to some of the April standouts.
U21's – starting in England, Leicester City Aussies Rob Paratore and Callum Elder, Tom King (Bristol City), Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Tottenham), Cameron Burgess (Fulham), Jordan Lyden (Aston Villa), Jackson Irvine (Celtic) and Alex Baird (Dundee).
Youth – Peter Makrillos (Stoke City), Gethin Jones (Everton), Milos Degenek (VfB Stuttgart) and James Stojcevski (FC Astoria Walldorf) continue to appear in their respective leagues.

International level:-  No fixtures in April but June will be busy with World Cup qualifiers and the U20 World Cup.

Socceroo(capped) of the month – when the developing Socceroo was an off-season transfer from Scotland to China, a few people shook their heads.Ryan McGowan seems to have settled in China, cemented his place and dis elivering outstanding performances on the pitch.  Yet to miss a minute, a debut goal and his club are well placed.  Great start.
January – Federici, February - Jedinak, March - Holland

Under (uncapped) the radar – another player from the Super League in China.  Erik Paartalu decided to move on from the Championship winning Brisbane Roar to China.  He hasn't missed a beat, and is a physical standout with his height and blonde hair.  Also yet to miss a minute of game time and scored an impressive brace during the month to take his tally to 3.  He has made Socceroo squads, but not yet taken the field.
January – Bouzanis, February - Gulum, March - Lowry

Young player (U21) of the month -  here is a name probably only known to the football enthusiast.  Represented NZ at youth level, recently made his Serie B debut, 20 years old and eligible to represent Australia.  Liam Graham, product of the Vicenza academy and 3-4 years in the Italian youth system.  Watch this space.
January – Wright, February - Paratore, March - Skapetis

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