Slice of Cheese

League Cup Semi Final Preview

Solstice Photography

The penultimate round of action on the Tasmanian Football calendar is set for Saturday when the League Cup semi finals kick off. Both games are set to be staged in Hobart as the final four gets cut to the two who will meet in next weekend’s League Cup final at KGV.

In the first game South Hobart will welcome Northern Rangers to Darcy Street as they look to continue their preparation for the National NPL Finals series game against the Brisbane Strikers. They remain in the midst of an undefeated streak that has now hit 16 games, with their last defeat all the way back in Round 6 of the NPL Tas season. That streak was given a stern test in the quarter finals as Northern Championship side Somerset came close to producing an upset against an under strength South side, in a 3-2 win that took extra time to decide. They will enter the game as comfortable favourites against the lone Northern side remaining in the Cup in Rangers, but the much improved young Rangers outfit have taken a big leap forward this year under Lino Sciulli and have the players to give South a good test. South took all 3 of their league meetings this season, though their 2 more recent clashes up at the NTCA were tight affairs as the Rangers really took the game up to them, ending in 2-0 and 3-2 wins. Recent trips to Darcy Street have not been so kind for the Northerner’s losing 5-0 back in Round 2 and twice heavily last year, though the strides they have made since then leave such results largely irrelevant.¬†South remain undefeated at their home fortress this year though and it remains the most daunting trip for a side to make, leaving South comfortable favourites to progress despite injuries ruling the likes of Ludford, Hall, Schmidt and potentially Dan Brown out.

South are unbeaten at home in 2017- Solstice Photography

In the other semi final, Olympia will take on Glenorchy Knights in a rematch of the Statewide Lakoseljac Cup at Warrior Park. Olympia were too strong on that day as they controlled the game from the outset and claimed a 4-2 win to qualify for the FFA Cup. They proved far too strong in midfield which was where the match was won early on, before the Knights switched to 3 in midfield for the second half and got back into the contest. It’s a tactical tweak they may well try from the start this week, having done so in their thrilling 3-2 last minute win over Launceston City the week prior. The Warriors rode their luck against Zebras in the quarter finals, winning 2-1, thanks in no small part to some spectacular goalkeeping from Jakob Cole who produced a huge double save at the death. He may need to be sharp again this week as the Warriors will be without Jakub Sklenar for this game, hurting their goal scoring potential. Paul Stevens and Shane Cartwright are also set to miss through injury, leaving Coach Kenny Weston with a dilemma of how to fill the striking void. Lucas Hill is one potentially option, but with Stevens out he may be required in the middle of defence. Knights too will have their selection issues with the suspension of Nowicki and season ending injury to Declan Foley which initially occurred in the Cup final between these sides. Nowicki was likewise suspended for that game with Danny Allsop flown in to play, so it will certainly be a different starting line up that the Knights roll out this time. The narrower field is also set to be a factor and should if anything suit the Knights, who were stretched on KGV, with the rather unique situation of both these sides probably being stronger on their opponents home track.

The second semi is a Lakoseljac Cup Final rematch- Solstice Photography