Johnny Warren Cup Preview Round 1 2008


Following the great exploits of players, coaches, media and organisers last season ? both on and off the field ? a greater, and bigger, season of Football in NSW is ready to commence.

In its fifth year now, the Johnny Warren Cup will officially mark the start of proceedings this Saturday – the official curtain raiser to the Football NSW Premier League season.

In 2007, A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers surprised all opponents and supporters alike following their disastrous Premier League campaign in 2006.

The Tigers, courtesy of Ian King and Christian Care, sealed a memorable Grand Final victory against Penrith-Nepean United, paving the way for a great run in the NSW Premier League in 2007, which ended prematurely despite an impressive showing until the final weeks of the regular season.

Johnny Warren Cup 2008 promises to provide yet another action packed ?appetiser? in-sight of the ?main meal? come February.

The new boys on the block ? Macarthur Rams and West Sydney Berries ? will provide stern competition for the ?old boys? in a great opportunity for players and coaches alike to fine-tune come Round 1 of the NSW Premier League season.

In Pool A Marconi Stallions will get a first-hand look at the new Berries. With the experience of Scott Baillie added to their line-up, the new boys will also hope to unleash Kosta Lagoudakis ? formely of Sydney Olympic ? and former NSW Winter Super League midfielder Sash Tirovski at Marconi Stadium, in a bid to start their run amongst the ?big boys? in the best possible way.

The Stallions will have to keep their new signing Tolgay Ozbey on ice for another week at least, as the NSW Golden Boot winner rests a niggling knee-injury.Manly United?s clash against Wollongong FC ? to be the curtain raiser at Marconi Stadium on Saturday ? will pit together two sides with serious ambitions this season.

Manly United surpassed all expectations last season when they finished third after losing out to Blacktown City Demons.Coach Phil Moss will have Robbie Cattanch back on-board, despite concerns he was to leave the club following last season, meanwhile Wollongong FC have a few hidden weapons under their sleeve.

Coach John Turner will have former A-League players Justin Pasfield and Steve Eagleton amongst his squad, some fine additions to the defending Tiger Turf Cup champions.

Sydney Olympic and Bankstown City go head-to-head as two-former Australian National team representatives take charge of both sides.

Peter Tsekenis has the bonus of keeping the greater part of his side from last season together with some important additions to bolster the side this season.

Striker Paul Harries and goalkeeper Zlatko Josevski are notable additions to a side that always feature in the top-two.Sydney Olympic has a ?new-look? after the departure of Manny Spanoudakis who has since been appointed the club?s new technical director.

Former Socceroo Milan Blagojevic has been given the coaching gig at the club and has ?rung-in? the changes, signing some extremely impressive talent. Mirko Jurilj, Roger Galayini, Milorad Simonovic, Paul Wither, Bobby Dragas, Michael Cindric, Anthony Hartshorn and Anthony Doumanis promise to add spice to the former NSL club-side, where supporters are expecting silverware after a lean-spell.

Pool B matches kick-off on Saturday evening at Fairfax Community Stadium when Abbas Saad?s Penrith-Nepean United face Paul Carter?s Macarthur Rams.

Saad, who did turn the club?s fortunes around ? in terms of results – after his mid-season arrival during the last term, will be hoping to get a good start to build morale after his side claimed the wooden-spoon last season.

Paul Carter on the other hand has recruited well for his side?s debut in the NSW Premier League.

Former Bankstown City player Sam Mort, Michael Brown – a former Young Socceroo who had stints at Blacktown City, Parramatta Eagles and also played in Holland adds strength to the defence, meanwhile in goal, former U/23 Kiwi International shot-stopper Roy Bell will have his team?s best interests in his hands.

Striker Shannon Hankin, who returns from injury after an impressive run in the NSW Super League, will carry the goalscoring duties on his shoulders.

Last season?s NSW Premier League champions Blacktown City Demons have lost a number of players from their squad, though new coach Ken Schembri will be out against Sutherland on Saturday to convince their supporters that the Demons will again be a force.

Schembri has been able to recruit Paul Karbon from the Marconi Stallions while the likes of Matt Nemes, Matthew Pressello, Ryan Walsh and Leo Carle have re-signed with the Demons.

The Sharks new boss Brian Brown will be looking for a more successful stint than that at Marconi last season.

The Sharks boss has been impressed with his new squad in pre-season and will give supporters a clearer idea of their intentions on Saturday against Blacktown.

Apart from regular Sharks starters George Souris, Philip Zabaks and Nick Stavroulakis, Sutherland will also have new signings ? defender Michael Katz who has returned from a stint in the US meanwhile David Reid is a player with a point to prove this season.

Ex-Under 17 Joeys star, and Northampton Town FC player, Pedj Bojic will add much flair to the side, as he hopes to use the NSW Premier League as a platform to the A-League.

While in the late match, defending Johnny Warren Cup champions A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers will have their work cut-out against Sydney United.A.P.I.A. has signed Sebastian Sinozic, who has returned from a stint in the US, along with Christian Cevenini and William Thom, though perhaps their biggest acquisition has been goalkeeper Matthew Nash, after the club managed to re-sign the shot-stopper.

Sydney United, under new coach Ivan Petkovic, will keep the Tigers defence on their toes with former Perth Glory and Sydney FC striker Luka Glavas re-joining the club, along with former NSW Super League 2007 Silver Medal winner, Elsid Barkhousir.