Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gloves off for Glavas

NSW premier league grand final wrap - United striker makes the A-League world sit up and take notice

IF you are an A-League club looking for some untapped striking talent to round off your squad, then you could have done worse than to visit Marconi Stadium earlier today where you would have witnessed a truly top-notch display from a kid on the rise.

21 year old Sydney United striker Luka Glavas would not be known to many outside the confines of the NSW premier league, but this was the day he made the Australian football world sit up and take notice, scoring all four goals in an outstanding individual display of finishing, the foundations of which were laid by a dominant team performance, from front to back.

There is not much to Glavas, all skin and bones, but beyond the fragile exterior ticks a true striker, blessed with the nous to be in the right place at the right time.

He was a constant headache to the more experienced and more fancied Blacktown defence, teasing them with his movement and pace, popping up all over the front-line to damage more than the odd reputation along the way.

Lawrie McKinna was certainly among those in the crowd appreciating his performance, but any A-League manager struggling to find a striker can do worse than give this kid an opportunity to show what he has at a higher level.

Due to the more physical requirements of the A-League, a clear step-up, he mightn't necessarily set the world on fire, but if his attitude is anything to go by, he will learn.

Glavas is a player who has grown with the United season, yet another talent from a nursery famous for producing Socceroo after Socceroo.

He may at times look uncoordinated or gangly, but he proved on this day that looks can be deceiving. His finishes for United's second and final goals were clinical.

His first came not even 15 minutes in, brilliantly set up by some lovely work from United's holding midfielder Mile Jedinak, who won the ball on the half-way line before playing in Ben Vidaic with a perfectly weighted ball which drew Demons keeper Ivan Necevski off his line. Vidaic, the other half of this impressive young strike-force, rounded him, kept his cool and delivery a perfect cross onto Glavas' head.

If the first was a tap-in, the second was high quality, Glavas playing in Peter Markovic down the right, who, from the byline, delivered a perfect first time ball to the near post for Glavas to flick past Necevski. It was clinical, the finish of a true striker, confident and composed.

On top of the world, Glavas didn't stop there, driving in early shots with both feet, confidence flowing.

When the livewire central midfielder Mitchell Thompson, brother of Newcastle Jets' Matthew, drew a penalty from the shaky Blacktown sweeper Mirko Jurilj early in the second half, there was no debate about who would step up.

Not even a substitution from Demons boss Aytec Genc, which forced Glavas to wait a couple of minutes, affected him. He stepped up and comfortably claimed his hat-trick.

There was more. With Blacktown pressing for something from the game, Glavas hung out on either flank, waiting to pick the Demons off on the counter. He had his chances and eventually latched onto a Jedinak early ball, skipping beyond Jurilj and blasting it into Necevski's top corner. Thrilling front play.

This wasn't supposed to be Glavas's afternoon. It was the A-League bound Tolgay Ozbey, top scorer for the season, who was supposed to grab the headlines, his team meant to march towards their fourth crown of the season, but someone forgot to tell a United side that has grown under Jean Paul De Maringy.

When he came in for Zlatko Arambasic midway through the year he demanded more pressing from his team, and with the young legs of Glavas and Vidaic up front, it was a mantra practised from the front.

But is wasn't only the front two in control of this final. All over the park De Maringy had the measure of the two young-guns in the Demons dug-out, Genc and Milan Blagojevic. There was a strong spine behind the victory with the experienced NSL trio of Ante Juric and Joe Vrkic at the back and Jedinak in front of them laying the platform for the win.

While it was all youth up front, Juric and Vrkic showed there is no substitute for defensive experience, controlling the backline, never allowing Ozbey and Luke Roodenburg a sniff. Said to be short of pace, they used their heads, Juric dropping and covering for Vrkic, rarely allowing Ozbey any room in behind. Highly organised stuff.

But it was in central midfield where United controlled the match.

Jedinak, Thompson and Lisandro Berbis were miles ahead of Ivan Zelic, Milorad Simonovic and Kain Rastall, allowing the two flankers, Todd Brodie and Markovic to totally dominate the flanks, against Paul Karbon and Michael Brown respectively.

This is where the Demons failed, giving up the ball centrally as United pressed them into submission, before out-passing and out-pacing them. 4-0 was a fair reflection of United's dominance.

So the team that set the benchmark for much of the second half of the season (Marconi had set the early pace), fell at the final hurdle to a team which appeared to grow after Troy Halpin's departure around the finals.

Glavas was the hero and will dominate much of the discussion, but this was truly a smashing team display.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great report. It's good to see the Vodafone Premier League getting some quality coverage of its grand final. As someone who's involved, it's about time.

Mon. Jul. 17, 09:27:00 am AEST  
Blogger The Round Ball Analyst said...

Glad you enjoyed the read and thanks for the comment.

While it wasn't the most dramatic contest, essentially over when Glavas grabbed his second, it was nonetheless exciting to see this talent emerge, unless of course you're a Blacktown fan.

It is certainly a performance that will be hard to wipe from the memory and I for one will certainly be intrigued to see how Glavas kicks on from here.

Mon. Jul. 17, 05:46:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im curious to c ur comments regarding Troy Halpin in ur report on the Premier league grand final. It amazes me as a long time supporter of soccer in Australia to read articles from people such as u who constantly knock or take digs at players like Halpin. Any person with any knowledge of the game would agree he has been along with the likes of Paul Trimboli & Con Boutsianis our most gifted player. Did u attend any games at United this season or the past 10 yrs of the National League. Robots we produce in numbers while class is something we have very little of in this country. Name a genuine playmaker in the A-League that can produce half the entertainment of these players & i will be a season ticket holder. Halpin in particular is a player we should have nurtured & respected rather than dis-respect with digs such as urs. My guess is u played at the highest level urself. Other than that, i quite enjoyed ur match report. Surprised..

Mon. Aug. 07, 03:20:00 pm AEST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a more sinister side to Mr Halpin. I wish for one second people would stop bowing down for him and see him for who he really is...Why dont you round up all the girlswhose live's and other parts of them he has touched...

Fri. Jan. 09, 10:20:00 pm AEDT  
Anonymous Michelle Halpin said...

The previous comment on Troy Halpin was unnecessary, hurtful and disgusting. Troy has 2 little boys who one day may look on this webpage and see the disrespectful comment that you have made. You should be ashamed of yourself. I notice you have put 'anonymous', do you not want anyone to know who you are? Why not? Did Troy not want anything to do with you and you are being spiteful. Please do the right thing and delete this comment off as it has no place on here. This is for comment on soccer, not players so called behaviour...

Mon. May 10, 06:53:00 pm AEST  

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