Futsal Rant is back in a big way! Futsalroos, F-League and the Dural Challenge mentioned this time…
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Futsal Rant will follow up stories from Tasmania to Townsville and bring you as much information as possible. Futsal Rant mails to all leading Futsal websites & Football Federation Futsal departments.
Greg Giovenali on Fox sports was a fantastic boost for our sport in terms of coverage and exposure in the pre-tournament frenzy. Would’ve been nice if they could fit some futsalroo highlights in one of their 48 repetitive daily bulletins. Being able to watch the games via asian live streaming online was fantastic though!
Well done to Steven Knight and all involved in qualifying for the Futsal World Cup. What an absolutely fantastic achievement! A couple of interesting squad selections (Keith, Wright, no Adeli, no fulton?) but they did the job and we can be nothing but proud of the boys and the efforts of the whole travelling party. You really put Australia back on the futsal map!
What a fantastic weekend for Australian Futsal, the first series a huge success for some and complete failure for others. Overall Melbourne did a fantastic job hosting. The referees were great for most of the tournament with the odd card happy moments and at times making some poor decisions, however they managed the stop clock fantastically well. Matches were played on time, and bar St Albans playing at 8:00am and 6:00pm the same day, the scheduling wasn’t too bad.
Some of the highlights included; teams playing fifth man in a variety of ways, some of the goals were outstanding, the goalkeeping performances were good, bad and ugly and the Melbourne crowds coming out in numbers. The music was also flawless. For the neutral the back to back games just rolled on one after the other a real weekend feast of futsal.
One burning question that hasn’t been addressed is the first past the post situation. Its evident teams will have no chance of finishing first potentially after the second series. What will this mean for the remaining weekends? Will clubs travel if there is ‘nothing’ to play for as such? Do finals for the top four ensure teams participate right down to the last game? Going forward what will be better, hypothetically if Dural won the league by the fourth series will dead rubbers be a nightmare for organisers and fans alike? Finals are entrenched in Australian sports culture, futsal rant is all for acknowledging the team on top but thinks Finals should be reintroduced for the guaranteed integrity of a competition still in its infancy.
Team entry fees of $5000 don’t come easy either. Where is all that money going?? Clubs need some sort of financial reward for winning competitions like these, large entry fees should equate to some form of prize money for the champions surely. Players & Clubs can’t afford entry fees like this forever… Just look at clubs like Maccabi who pulled the pin due to financial constraints, and the complete disappearance of Victoria’s Inner City.
1st Dural Warriors
Dural lived up to all expectations opening up their campaign by smashing favourites East Coast Heat 7:3 in the opening day. Dural really set the standard and look the team to beat. They really epitomize what a futsal club should be all about, with Giovenali, Seeto & Basger joining the fold who can stop them? They easily accounted for the Boomerangs & Jaguars and find themselves sitting on top with three wins from three games. Rob Varela will be delighted with the teams performance going into the 2nd series of competition. They play an exciting brand of futsal and were a joy to watch.
2nd Vic Vipers
The dark horse of the competition went about their business swiftly and soundly without really making a splash. They too smashed the Jaguars in the opening day of competition followed by some handy victories against the Boomerangs and Parramatta. Milton Sakkos has made a fantastic return from national futsal exile; he has a sharp and refined outfit with De Moraes making influential guest appearances alongside a list of boys who look hungry for success. The Vipers lead the Victorian contingent that could cause a few upsets and maybe even find themselves top of the pile after five series.
3rd St Albans Strikers
Last year’s runners up are back bigger and better than ever. With a squad filled with Victorian state and club representatives, youth and experience, St Albans mean business. Rob Lakovski’s men notched up series one comprehensive victories over Parramatta & Melbourne Heart. They were unlucky not to take three points off East Coast on day two with danger man Vadim Mazurski going down injured early in the game. Two wins and a draw sees them third and in a good position to have a crack at the title. They have represented Victoria well at home, it will be interesting to see if the full squad make the trip to Sydney and if they can maintain there good start in series two. They look a lot sharper and smarter this time around.
4th East Coast Heat
The ‘All Star Team’ caused a stir in the F-League build up by recruiting players from three states, which other clubs were not too happy about. It sounded like a genius inventive idea at the time but doubts were raised about how the team would gel if they hadn’t trained prior to the tournament. The team started well in the first half of its opener against Dural but went downhill fast. They were embarrassed by Dural in the end; they struggled to score against St Albans, dejected to get away with a point. Jamie Amendolia’s side looked disjointed and divided and struggled to beat the amateur Jaguars who had been beaten comprehensively in its previous two games. The team looks dependent on Chris Zeballos & without him firing it’s hard to see them challenging those above them. Sitting just outside the top three Heat will need to get their act together in the next series if they are to mount a serious title challenge in their debut season.
5th Parramatta Blues
After finishing a lowly 5th in the first edition of the F-League the blues have bolstered their stocks with futsalroo duo Lachlan Wright & Danny Ngaluafe. Both reportedly earning $600 a weekend for their efforts! This didn’t stop the St Albans Strikers smashing them 4-0 in the opening game, other than hitting the post and a few neat saves from Brackenrig the Blues didn’t even look like scoring. They amended that issue the following day with a 6-0 drubbing of Melbourne Heart. They struggled in their third game however after a Fernando inspired Vipers got over the line in a 5-2 victory. Parramatta has the funds, personnel and ambition to do well and could spring a few upsets in Series two.
After finishing last in the inaugural F-League season word on the street was that they would come out firing this edition. For a side brimming with talent like Fogarty, Flannigan & Adeli last year it was a complete failure from the solo club from the ACT. They got off to a winning start this year in a hard fought 2-1 win over unknown quantity Melbourne Heart. Things went downhill quickly though with a 4-1 loss to the Vipers later that evening. An 8-3 loss to Dural the following day didn’t help the cause. Number one goalkeeper Konstantinou taking to the court as a player after Cattanach went down injured the night before. Angelo’s squad down to bare bones for the second consecutive F-League! There were smiles galore, almost as if the side was just happy to be a part of the competition! Unless Heart & Jaguars improve hastily it will be hard to see Boomerangs finish higher or lower than 6th.
7th Melbourne Heart
Nobody knew what to expect from the Melbourne Heart, but regardless it was an exciting move from the A-league franchise. The team forayed into unchartered territory, from Football to Futsal, led by a largely unkown coach Edgard Vatcky. It was an exciting development that the whole futsal community tuned into, SBS covered the story and it was just the boost the second edition of the F-League needed. Disappointingly, the only similarity between football and futsal teams was the playing kits. There was no heart in the performances, no excitement in the brand of futsal, no crowds, no sign of the Melbourne Heart football department on or off the court. They started with a 2-1 loss to Boomerangs after showing rare glimpses of talent (largely from interstate ring ins). Bizarre substitutions and play from Heart was made even more laughable when one of the best goalkeepers in Australian Dianosh found himself spending more time on the pine then on the court! Inevitably things got worse for the amateur Heart, a 6-0 thumping from Parammata & a 5-3 loss to St Albans sees the Heart without a point on the table. If it wasn’t for the Jaguars the Heart would be last. Let’s hope that they get better fast, it would be hard to see the club support an abysmal futsal team for consecutive seasons and could deter other A-league clubs from doing the same.
After Maccabi’s last minute withdrawal from this year’s edition leaving the competition in limbo, up stepped a fourth Victorian club the Jaguars to fill in. After scoring four goals and conceding twenty four goals it’s needless to say the club is winless and in dire straits. Little was known about the club before the opening weekend, but it was clear how the club would fare after it received an 8-1 annihilation from the Vipers. To add insult to injury the formidable Dural smashed the Jaguars 10-1 in the following game. In fairness to the Jaguars they have quite a young and inexperienced team but they just don’t cut the mustard to play in a state competition let alone a national one. Some are questioning whether 7 teams would’ve sufficed given their abysmal showings. They need to change things fast with the second series on the horizon if they wan’t to avoid finishing last in their debut season.
The Dural Challenge
Absolutely fantastic idea, NOT! What an absolute joke from one of Australia’s more prominent and successful clubs. Zero takers to this ridiculous challenge really sums it up. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your successful club, but this is just plain silly.
Lets breakdown the objectives of this bizarre concept:
To expose football players to the value of futsal? Hmmmmm I don’t think so unless you’re talking about financial value if they win! Unlikely given how good Dural is!
Establish futsal as a recognised indoor sport in Australia? Futsal is a recognised indoor sport anyway this stupid challenge isn’t going to help that. You’d be better off dropping off pamphlets in letter boxes.
Provide an opportunity to experience playing international rules etc: Well this seems like the only credible objective. But isn’t that what the F-League is all about? What are the F-League doing that isn’t international?
Establish a low cost method of enabling futsal players to be financially rewarded: Hmm getting futsal players to play other futsal players! Sounds sustainable and long term to me.
Build a marketable product for sponsors tv yadda yadda yadda: Random teams playing Dural for prize money in potentially six games hardly a marketable product.
If there are more than 6 teams wishing to challenge, first come first served!! There hasn’t been ONE yet has there?? Don’t flatter yourselves though, the Dural juggernaut is definitely beatable, just look at their results in the NSWPL over the years & the F-league last year. I think futsal teams and clubs have better things to do then spend a Friday night gambling on a futsal game. Things like training and saving for real competitions and matches of substance like participating in their local comps and the F-League.
The flyer for the competition leaves a lot to be desired too.
Mseeto then comments “interesting to note no challengers given the f-league poll”. Mmm what’s interesting? That some people in the community tipped other clubs than Dural? That nobody wants to take part in your bizarre challenge? That as good as Dural is the idea is just plain silly. The challenge is a futsal farce from start to finish.