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Matthew Spiranovic signing boosts Western Sydney Wanderers

May 17, 2014 – 12:00AM

Dominic Bossi

Sports reporter

Hungry for more: Matthew Spiranovic.

Hungry for more: Matthew Spiranovic. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Matthew Spiranovic will travel to Brazil with the clarity of his future secured after signing a two-year contract extension with Western Sydney Wanderers.

The 25-year-old defender made a considerable show of faith in Australian domestic football by re-signing with the Wanderers before putting himself on display in world football’s greatest shopping window, the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Spiranovic was out of contract as he prepared for Brazil and would have been free to pursue a potential move abroad had he attracted attention of European suitors, instead opting to remain with the Wanderers.

Since regaining full fitness under the guidance of Tony Popovic, Spiranovic emerged as an integral figure in Western Sydney‘s defence that lead them to a second grand final appearance and the AFC Champions League quarter-finals. It’s understood that playing under the Wanderers coach was a decisive factor in Spiranovic’s decision to commit until the end of the 2015/16 A-League season.

The retention of Spiranovic occured as the Wanderers step-up their pursuit of former Sydney FC coach Ian Crook who is on the cusp of making a cross-town switch to Western Sydney after holding preliminary talks to become their new assistant coach.

With their season completed and players now on leave, the Wanderers’ attention has turned towards finding a replacement assistant coach.

Following the departure of former assistant coach Ante Milicic to the Socceroos for the coming World Cup, the Wanderers have moved towards appointing the former head coach of their biggest rival as understudy to Tony Popovic.

The two met on Friday, but it was not a formal interview and club sources say a deal is yet to be concluded.

 It has been confirmed, though, that Crook is favourite for the position, and he is highly regarded by the coaching staff and the club’s hierarchy.

Despite both Crook and Popovic previously coaching at Sydney FC, the two never worked together at the Sky Blues, and it was Crook who replaced Popovic as assistant coach in 2011 under the tenure of Vitezlav Lavicka.

Crook was later appointed as Lavicka’s replacement as head coach in 2012 before resigning after just six games in charge due to health and personal reasons, but he was remembered for overseeing the inaugural A-League derby, which Sydney won 1-0 at Parramatta.

Meanwhile, Sydney FC are close to re-signing Serbian midfielder Milos Dimitrijevic on a one-year-deal. The Sky Blues are in advanced talks with the 30-year-old, who could become the third off-season recruitment within a week following the signing of Bernie Ibini on loan from Shanghai SIPG and the retention of defender Matt Jurman.

Despite playing only nine games in the A-League last season, the central midfielder did enough to convince Sydney of retaining him for another year. It is understood new coach Graham Arnold has also approved of keeping him on board.

The former Nantes, Red Star Belgrade and Chievo player had not played football for 18 months when he joined Sydney in February last year, and the club is hopeful Dimitrijevic will emerge as one of the strongest midfielders in the competition, given a full pre-season and proper preparations. Should he sign, he will join compatriot Nikola Petkovic at the club, though Serbian striker Ranko Despotovic is unlikely to be given a new deal.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Socceroos won’t cower despite nightmare World Cup draw in Brazil, says Curtis Good

May 17, 2014 – 12:23AM

Sebastian Hassett

Football reporter

Curtis Good, seen here matching wits with Melbourne Victory's Archie Thompson, says Australia will not be intimidated by any other team in Rio.

Curtis Good, seen here matching wits with Melbourne Victory’s Archie Thompson, says Australia will not be intimidated by any other team in Rio. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Socceroos defender Curtis Good is adamant there is no way Australia will “park the bus” in next month’s World Cup despite being up against three of the world’s most intimidating teams.

Australia’s nightmare draw against Chile, the Netherlands and Spain has many fans and pundits predicting that coach Ange Postecoglou’s only hope of gaining points is to produce a ultra-defensive display.

But speaking before the Socceroos’ first World Cup training session in Gosford, Good said the players would not cower before anyone.

“Obviously they have looked at us and see it as three points and obviously we are used to being underdogs at times,” Good said. “But I think we will cope fine as long as we stick together. We want to try and play football, not just go there and park the bus. It’s always natural for teams to target defences but I think we [will] be fine.”

Good has recently been battling a hip flexor strain that he picked up when he last played for Australia, the 4-3 defeat against Ecuador in London. It has meant he has missed a large chunk of time with his Scottish club, Dundee United.

However, he is confident he will be completely healed in time for the World Cup should he be named in the final 23-man squad.

“It’s coming along very well,” he said. “It brought my [club season] to an end a bit early but it’s good to be in the hands of the physios here.

“I’m looking to be ready for the game against South Africa. I’m not training today, I’m just easing into it and I’ll start in a couple of days.”

Once he gets back to full fitness, the 21-year old is anticipating the opportunity of marking players from three countries with very different approaches.

“I played against some South American teams at junior levels in the under 20s,” he said. “They were sharper and different in style compared to Scotland but it’s a great challenge.

“We dealt with it in the under 20s, so one of things you’ve got to adapt to is to be more solid at back and get your fullbacks around you, organising cover.”

Good admits it was often daunting when he found himself marking some of the game’s biggest names, especially on loan at Bradford during their miracle League Cup run last season.

“Probably a year ago, when I was starting off, it did get to me a bit [at Bradford],” he said. “But now it’s not really an issue.”

Despite his youth, Good has been a quick developer since making his debut with Melbourne Heart as a teenager, signing a long-term contract with Newcastle United and spending recent time on loan with the Terrors.

“It was only up there three months or so but it went fairly quickly,” he said. “Playing for results and for UEFA [club] spots makes a pretty big difference.

“You learn a lot in the game, being part of club fighting for [that]. We’ve got the [Scottish FA Cup] final tomorrow night, which I was unfortunate not be involved with. Winning that would qualify them for the Europa League.”

Good admits he is “not sure” if he will be fighting for a first team spot at St James’ Park next season or looking for another loan deal.

Source : Football Federation Australia

Kate Gill breaks record as Matildas beat Jordan in Asian Cup

May 17, 2014 – 12:35AM

Milestone: Kate Gill.

TV Verdes Mares

Captain Kate Gill scored a double to help Australia to a routine 3-1 Women’s Asian Cup victory over Jordan becoming the Matildas’ greatest goalscorer in the process.

Gill scored either side of halftime in Ho Chi Minh City to take her tally 40 goals in 81 international appearances, topping the previous mark held by former long-serving skipper Cheryl Salisbury.

Katrina Gorry extended the margin before Jordan rounded out the scoring with a controversial goal.

Australia, who entered the eight-nation tournament as Asian champions, can qualify for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada with victory in their next match against Vietnam on Sunday.

Matildas coach Alen Stajcic made 10 changes from the side which drew 2-2 in their opening game against world champions Japan on Wednesday, and his new-look side struggled for fluency in the humid conditions.

There were few clear-cut openings for the Australians against the lowly-ranked west Asians, until Gill neatly headed home Kim Carroll’s searching cross from deep nine minutes before the interval to claim the record.

Gill doubled the advantage six minutes after halftime, this time nodding home Sam Kerr’s cross from close range.

The introduction of substitutes Caitlin Foord and Katrina Gorry sparked some life into the Matildas, and the latter scored with a sweet strike within minutes of taking the field midway through the second half.

Just as Australia were finally threatening to take a stranglehold on the match Jordan skipper Stephanie Al Naber hit a spectacular 40-metre effort that was claimed under the crossbar by goalkeeper Brianna Davey, with the goal awarded despite television replays suggesting the ball hadn’t crossed the line.

Jordan were largely content to slow the match down at any opportunity and the stop-start nature of the match continued throughout, compounded by a 15-minute halt during the second half due to a floodlight failure.


Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Tony Abbott’s name is mud

May 15, 2014

Mike Carlton

Well, I can understand why just at the moment politicians aren’t much trusted because we’ve had too many politicians who say one thing before an election to win votes and then do the opposite after the election…

Tony Abbott, Newcastle radio, June 13, 2013.

<i>Illustration: Glen Le Lievre.</i>

Illustration: Glen Le Lievre.

The Prime Minister is a liar. There is no point mincing words. We have never seen anything like it.

With this budget he has shown himself to be cynically dishonest on a scale unprecedented in modern politics. Although Abbott is not the first political leader to break an election promise and will not be the last, no prime minister in memory, Liberal or Labor, has come even close to his contemptuous deception of the electorate he sucker-punched on Tuesday.

To a point, this is not surprising. All my adult life I have been lied to by the Tories, from the Vietnam war on down to John Howard’s invention of the non-core promise. I was therefore expecting duplicity from Abbott. It’s what people like him do, how they think, how they govern.

But it was genuinely shocking to see his wholesale abandonment of the bargain of candour to be expected between leader and people. Almost every significant commitment he made in the election campaign last year has been flung overboard or distorted beyond recognition.

No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.
Tony Abbott, SBS NEWS – September 6, 2013

There are five separate betrayals in that lot alone. The most heinous is his full frontal assault upon Medicare, with even the poorest families forced to fork out a $7 “co-payment” – as the euphemism goes – to see their GP, to get a pathology test, to have a CT scan, to fill a prescription. It’s a tax from a government that promised no new taxes. Pay it, or join the ever-lengthening queue at your local hospital’s emergency department, where Abbott has given them the green light to charge you as well.

In education,


 fees will soar as they are thrown onto the open market. Stand by for the $120,000 arts degree. This, despite Christopher “Poodles” Pyne’s promise to Sky News on November 7 last year that ” we’re not going to raise fees … I am not even considering it because we promised that we wouldn’t.”

But these two hits – gross as they are – pale against the enormity of the biggest surprise in this no-surprises budget, the government’s decision to unload $80 billion of health and education spending onto the states in the coming years.

It is the end of the Gonski education reforms. It is the shredding of the health care safety net by a Prime Minister who just weeks ago could proclaim, without batting an eyelid, that he was “the best friend Medicare has ever had”.

The state and territory leaders – Tories all bar one – are livid. Mike Baird rightly called it ” a kick in the guts for the people of NSW,” and Queensland’s Campbell Newman demanded an emergency COAG meeting. At which, no doubt, the states will howl for an increase in the GST. Eventually they will get it, expanded to catch food and anything else it does not hit now, and then hoicked to 12.5% by a prime minister who could boast in opposition:

“We are about reducing taxes, not increasing taxes. We are about getting rid of taxes, not imposing new taxes. This is my whole reason for being in politics, in the Parliament.”

Tony Abbott, November 20, 2012.

And on it goes. Up with the fuel excise, hitting you at the servo. Old people will fall back in the race against inflation. Eventually they will have to work to 70 to get the pension ; OK, perhaps, if you’re an office worker. Frightening if you’re on the tools, driving a truck, teaching infants, or nursing in intensive care.

The young unemployed are savagely bashed with the refusal of the dole for six months. The disabled are to be interrogated, yet again, to determine if they are cheating. The ABC, bludgeoned as well, will be forced to shed staff, cut programs and very probably close some of its foreign news bureaus. And that’s before the so-called “efficiency dividend” is imposed. Goaded by the Murdoch press, the Liberals make no secret of their loathing for the ABC as a nest of lefty traitors. It is punishment politics at its most vindictive.

This is a fair budget, everyone is doing his or her bit, including, dare I say it, politicians.”
Tony Abbott, Channel Ten, May 14.

If Labor had brought in a “deficit levy” on the wealthy – yes, another tax – the Tories and their claque of media toadies would have shrieked blue murder about socialist class warfare. Instead, they portray Abbott as a strong leader taking tough decisions to end a budget “emergency” they themselves invented.

Actually, someone on $200,000 a year would pay around an extra $210 in tax, the cost of a business lunch. And the politicians’ wage freeze is derisory. On $507,000 a year, Abbott is one of the world’s best paid leaders, doing rather better than Barack Obama earning the equivalent of $425,000 or, say, the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who scrapes by on $161,000.

With Orwellian deceit, Abbott insists that “we have fundamentally kept faith with the Australian people”. In fact, he and Smokin’ Joe Hockey have brought down an oppressive, grasping budget. It is not so much a fiscal document as a political tract, driven by a brutal conservative ideology in which ordinary people are lashed to the wheels of “the market” and conscripted to serve an economy which should be serving them.

It is a delicious irony that Abbott has destroyed the faith the voters placed in him. Endlessly blackguarding Julia Gillard for her broken carbon tax promise and trumpeting himself as a paragon of probity, he raised the bar.

On Tuesday he fell beneath it, face down in the mud, and will never be trusted again.

Twitter: @MikeCarlton01

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald