Saturday, November 11, 2006


He Who Hesitates - update

Fans of Alex Brosque will be pleased to note that he gave a far better account of himself against the New Zealand Knights on Friday night. Although quiet for the opening twenty minutes, he was highly influential thereafter, managing a good shot on goal, a couple of excellent through-balls, and, last but emphatically not least, a successful run at a defender. He managed to take on Sime Kovacevic on the left wing and win, and was clumsily fouled by the Knights' centre-half.

Sadly, the news was not so good for another former Queensland Roar player, whose form has nose-dived this year.

I refer, of course, to Jonti Richter.

Richter was one of the revelations of last year's A-League season. A lively, adroit winger with a knack for beating his fullback, Richter was at the heart of some of Queensland's best moves in the first season of the new league. For obvious reasons, I remember his Round 19 performance against Sydney FC particularly well; he absolutely murdered Sydney FC's World Cup-bound fullback Mark Milligan, and had a hand in both Queensland's goals.

Early on this season, many pundits felt that Paul Nevin was not giving him sufficient game time with the Knights, particularly given their lack of penetration out wide. Well, Nevin has now made him a regular, and perhaps he's wishing he hadn't.

The sort of hesitation which was a feature of Alex Brosque's play early in the season has been even more evident in Jonti Richter's performances. Against his old club last week, he worked hard and helped to stifle Queensland out wide, but when he found himself in position to shoot, or even cross, he tended to be either fearful or over-elaborate.

Against Sydney FC on Friday, he could have given the away side the lead twice in the first half, had he been prepared to back himself a little more.

Clean through on goal on 21 minutes, he paused, almost amazed that such an opportunity had been given him, and back-heeled weakly, missing his intended colleague by some distance. Then, twelve minutes later, he was through again. This time he did manage a shot, but only after a few seconds' hesitation; it sliced off his left foot, and over the bar.

It's a pity to see such a talented young player apparently losing faith in his own abilities. The sort of healthy self-confidence that has marked the performances of some A-League youngsters at times this season (Nathan Burns, in particular, is worth a mention here), seems to have eluded Jonti Richter.

As you probably know Mike, I rate(d) him highly enough to consider him a possible right-wing option for the (full-strength) national team in the future. We lack good young, genuine right wingers at the moment and he looked promising enough last season despite the tactics not really suiting him a lot of the time IMO.

The question for me now is that can he come back? Would an A-League club with a more positive atmosphere and outlook (not that the Knights should take all the blame for his lack of confidence) be willing to give him another chance?

He was part of the Northern Spirit team towards the end of the NSL and played regularly there. Would McKinna see enough in Richter to go for him again? For mine it wouldn't be a bad move. O'Sullivan's getting on a bit and Pondeljak is perhaps better off in the middle. Also, McKinna has been great at getting the best out of his players at the Mariners. I'd love to see such a move happen, personally.
I wouldn't mind him at Sydney either, although Butcher so far hasn't shown much evidence that he can get the best out of younger players (even Topor-Stanley has been pretty average of late, truth be told). We have a very left-side-heavy squad, and if Richter could rediscover some form he'd fit into our current setup perfectly.
I thought Richter was a certainty to come to Sydney but we got Brockie instead. Does anyone know anything about that?

I don't remember if Brockie was signed post-Litti or not but I think Littbarski was after Richter.

Anyway, hesitation and inconsistancy are pretty good to have as problems as they tend to go away with gametime.

Littbarski made it very clear that his two key signings, should he have been kept on at Sydney FC, were to be Richter and the re-signing of Bingley.

Every time I watch him I'm even more glad we got rid of Littbarski. Horrible, horrible player. Pace merchant and nothing more.
Hey Jaza don't forget Litti brought in Brosque... hmm hang on... maybe Littbarski wasn't as good as we thought in scouting young players :)

I can't see how anyone could be happy with getting rid of Littbarski. No matter how much better a tactician and a motivator Butcher is than Litti, Sydney FC is bascially now a team without a future. The only decent signing Butcher has made was Nikolai but the quicker he is gone and Timpano is back the better. But lets not degrage this into a Littbarski debate :)
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