Coming to grips with a whole new ball game (ACT)

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Canberra has always punched above its weight at the national futsal titles but this year changes to the ACT futsal premier leagues could make the capital’s teams even stronger.

The men’s and women’s premier leagues have been restructured so that each team is affiliated with one of Canberra’s outdoor clubs such as Belconnen or Canberra City.

Futsal League manager David Lee said one of the main reasons behind the new changes was to keep intact the ACT’s strong record at national futsal titles.

”It’s all part of providing a better lead-in to national championships and the selections from the teams will be based on premier league form,” Lee said.

”We’re matching up what the FFA plans are, in that Futsal and the outdoor game are united as one.

”Then we positioned the league at this time so it can be a lead into national championships.”

Last year the ACT open and youth men’s teams won national titles, and the youth women made the final in their division.

ACT and Australian open mens team member Trent Flanigan welcomed the changes to the league.

”It’s great, it just makes it more professional,” Flanigan said. ”When we go away in the national team, we are playing on 40 [metres] by 20 courts and in the ACT we were playing on 20 by about 13 courts and it’s really a completely different ball game.

”Now it’s all international sizes, and it’s less teams but the teams are better quality.”

Flanigan’s Canberra Olympic Supercats team includes Australian futsal keeper Angelo Konstantinou, former Australian players Matt Whyte and Elia Salloum as well as Belconnen’s premier league captain Lee Pietrukowski.

But Flanigan expects strong competition from the Canberra City team which has Australian assistant coach Mark Ramussen as coach and former Australian player Danny Macor as well as a host of ACT youth team representatives including City striker Pat Ross Magee.

”That Canberra City team, they’re actually mainly the ACT youth team,” Flanigan said. ”They’ve really been pushing us in past years, they’ve probably just lacked a little bit of experience, but someone like Danny brings that to the team so they will be tough.”

Then there is the Belconnen United team which has Callum and Taylor Beaton, David Leet, Dustin Wells and Cameron Reinhart from the team that won the Capital Football men’s premier league premiership last weekend.

”Belconnen, their team looks pretty good and then there is Queanbeyan as well, who have former Australian player Goran Josifovski and George Cattanach who used to play ACT as well,” Flanigan said. ”There isn’t really many weaknesses anywhere.”

And he’s betting that it will increase the ACT’s title run at a national level.

”We’ve always done pretty well at the national championships level and I think that’s also because we have had a team that has played together for a long time,” Flanigan said.

”But playing week-in week-out a great level of competition it can only be a good thing for ACT teams.”
The new ACT men’s and women’s premier league futsal competitions kick off tonight at the ANU sports halls.

The league will play every Friday night at ANU from now through to December.

Games kick off at 6.15pm.

The draws for the leagues are available on www.capitalfootball.com.au

Source : The Canberra Times
By : Merryn Sherwood
Published : 19/9/2008

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