Slice of

NPL Tasmania Round 18 Preview

Photos: Solstice Digital

Match report: Dan Thurley

South Hobart vs Kingborough Lions


Date: Saturday August 14

Venue: Darcy Street

Kick-off: 2:00 pm

2021 Record
South Hobart: 9-4-3 (third in NPL TAS)
Kingborough Lions: 7-3-6 (fourth in NPL TAS)

Top Scorers
South Hobart: Nicholas Morton (14)
Kingborough Lions: Adam McKeown (12)


It would appear that the title is out of reach for both South Hobart and Kingborough Lions at this late stage of the season, however if South Hobart are going to hold onto any hope of a late push for silverware, it must start with a win this weekend.

South Hobart narrowed the gap to the top of the table last week thanks to a draw between first placed Devonport Strikers and the second placed Glenorchy Knights. Still, the difference sits at seven points with just five games remaining, which one would imagine will be enough to see South Hobart remain back in third. Nick Morton scored a brace to return to the scoresheet in style last week, and Hugh Undy also found the net on his return to the starting line-up which will give Ken Morton a tough choice when selecting his midfield to face the Lions.

Jez Kenth made some midfield changes of his own last week, though Jack Turner’s absence may have forced his hand. Kobe Kemp played in behind the two strikers and wreaked havoc against the Warriors’ defence, though Kemp’s former teammates at South Hobart will be all too familiar with his attacking prowess and are likely to learn from last week’s performance by limiting his time on the ball. Keenan Douce was quiet last week, but he is also ex-South Hobart and will look to make more of an impact against his former side. He said after last week’s result that third place is the aim for him and his teammates, but anything less than a win this weekend will see that goal go up in smoke.

Key Player: Kasper Hallam, South Hobart

On paper, this looks like a tough fixture for Kasper Hallam. The Lions are a unique mix of strength and speed with Joseph Juma’s defensive efforts last week proving they are a tough team to play in behind. However, Hallam caused some headaches for the Lions at Lightwood Park in round 11 and you can expect he will do the same on home turf.


Devonport Strikers vs Clarence Zebras

Date: Saturday August 14

Venue: Valley Road

Kick-off: 2:15 pm

2021 Record:
Devonport Strikers: 12-2-2 (first in NPL TAS)
Clarence Zebras: 4-3-9 (sixth in NPL TAS) 

Top Scorers:
Devonport Strikers: Brody Denehey (17)
Clarence Zebras: Riley Dillon (11)


The Devonport Strikers will know that they have to win out for the rest of the season to ensure they lift the NPL Tasmania trophy yet again at the end of the year, but the Clarence Zebras have made it hard for them in their two meetings so far.

The Strikers were victorious in both prior meetings, but only one goal separated the two sides in 2-1 victories back in round 6 and round 11. That said, the Zebras are playing for pride at this point in the season and results have been hard to come by lately which opens the door for the ladder-leading Strikers to sweep them aside and get one step closer to the championship. News last week of Miles Barnard’s season ending injury will mar what has otherwise been another good season for the Strikers, but the emergence of Jordan Lamb as a key player is a promising sign. He played well against the Knights last week and will look to do so again against a young Zebras defence.

The Zebras had a chance to jump into fifth last week but instead lost 2-0 to Launceston City in a match where captain and leading goal scorer Riley Dillon picked up a fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he will not be available for selection this week. It has been four weeks without a win for Franco Previdi’s side, but the Zebras are a hard team to judge based purely on recent results. Back in round nine they bounced back from a 9-2 defeat at home with a 4-1 win the following week but without the goals of Dillon, it will be a hard task against what is already the toughest defence in the league.

Key Player: Matthew Pace, Clarence Zebras

Behind Dillon, Matthew Pace is the Zebras’ biggest goal threat. It won’t be known until the day whether or not he takes up the number nine role, but it does not matter if he is down the middle or out wide, he will need to be at his best to give the Zebras a fighting chance.


Olympia Warriors vs Launceston City


Date: Saturday August 14

Venue: Warrior Park

Kick-off: 4:30 pm 

2021 Record
Olympia Warriors: 4-2-10 (seventh in NPL TAS)
Launceston City: 6-1-9 (fifth in NPL TAS) 

Top Scorers
Olympia Warriors: Kyle Vincent (11)
Launceston City: Yasin Mohammadi (5)


With five rounds remaining and silverware out of the question, the Olympia Warriors and Launceston City will both be aiming for their highest possible league finish and a win here for either side will go a long way to seeing that happen.

The Warriors were undone at home last weekend, which would have been disappointing having defeated South Hobart at Darcy Street the week before. Jake Vandermey made his second appearance of the season, but the defence did not maintain the same standard of the South Hobart victory and were bested by the hard-hitting Kingborough Lions. This week’s clash will be a similar challenge with Launceston City also able to strike hard and fast in the final third, but the home ground advantage will play a big part against City, who have a poor track record on the road – especially on artificial turf.

Launceston City are a different side away from home, and it will haunt them to know they are yet to take a point down south this season. The Warriors defeated them 4-1 in round six, but City are in a good position to get a result this time around having turned their season on its head to earn 15 of their 19 points since round 10. That resurgence has them with their eye on fourth, and Daniel Smith and Gediminas Krusa are leading the charge. Lachlan Clark’s impressive season continues with the goalkeeper playing a key role in keeping the Glenorchy Knights to a lone goal in round 16, but he will face a tough challenge against Kyle Vincent who has scored world-class goals in back-to-back weeks.

Key Player: Anthony Mamic, Olympia Warriors

Vincent’s goal threat is well documented, and it has allowed Anthony Mamic to thrive in recent weeks with all of the attention on his strike partner. He scored an important goal in the win over South Hobart and against a side with two clean sheets in their last five games, Vincent’s impact alone may not be enough to get the Warriors over the line.


Riverside Olympic vs Glenorchy Knights


Date: Saturday August 14

Venue: Windsor Park

Kick-off: 4:30 pm

2021 Record
Riverside Olympic: 0-3-13 (eighth in NPL TAS)
Glenorchy Knights: 11-4-1 (second in NPL TAS) 

Top Scorers
Riverside Olympic: Fletcher Fulton (5)
Glenorchy Knights: Nicholas Mearns (11)


The Glenorchy Knights will aim to keep the pressure on Devonport Strikers with another win this weekend, while Riverside Olympic have nothing to lose as they look to bounce back from a disappointing loss.

Riverside will be wondering what they have to do to earn a victory this year. Two solid showings against Launceston City and the Clarence Zebras were followed by a 4-0 thumping at the hands of South Hobart last week, and it will take something special for them to get a result against the title-chasing Knights. The league’s most potent offence meets the league’s leakiest defence in what could be an ugly affair for Riverside, although they may be comforted to know that each of their three points this year have come at Windsor Park. Taking a 4-1 lead over the Kingborough Lions in round 10 shows that they are more than capable on their day, but they will need to pull out all the stops against a well-drilled Knights outfit.

The trip up the Midland this weekend will mark the third straight road game for the Knights. Having come away from Buckby Motors Park with three points and a draw at Valley Road, this is the last test before a run of consecutive home fixtures to see out the year. Like the Devonport Strikers, they simply cannot afford to drop points. Eduardo Castaneda and Jack Bowman were two of six yellow card recipients last week meaning they are suspended for this weekend, but as important as they may be, the Knights will still be heavy favourites to take the three points back home with them.

Key Player: Jordan Muller, Glenorchy Knights

With Eli Luttmer’s move into defence and Castaneda’s suspension, Jordan Muller will be the only remaining midfielder from Sherman’s first-choice trio. It is likely that one of Nick Mearns, Nick Naden, or Austin Yost will drop in to help him, but his experience will be important to ensure the title dream does not end unexpectedly at Riverside.