Friday, January 12, 2007



Last night’s disappointing draw against a dreadful New Zealand Knights – who showed that despite their improvement against Queensland and Sydney, they have some way to go yet – has probably ended the Mariners’ title hopes this season.

The injury curse, already covered in some detail here, has hit them once again…with a vengeance. They have badly missed the creativity of Tom Pondeljak in midfield lately, not to mention the experience of Tony Vidmar at the back; however, the most serious loss has been the chronically absent Nik Mrdja.

Some rumblings emanating from Gosford have suggested that there is an element of malingering involved in Mrdja’s continued spell on the sidelines, but whatever the cause, he has been irreplaceable up front (now that Damian Mori has gone on his way).

Not least because Lawrie McKinna’s side has relied largely on Adam Kwasnik for goals. And the bustling young attacker has been woefully off-beam recently.

Watching Kwasnik’s progress through this season has been enormously frustrating. With his driving runs, intelligent off-the-ball movement and fine close control, he looks one of the most accomplished young forwards in Australian football. Until he gets the chance to shoot, that is.

Not only did he send an embarrassing number of shots several feet wide of goal against the Kiwis, but in at least two cases he had far better options available. On one upfield run, Kwasnik could have quite easily played in Andre Gumprecht, who had taken up a perfect position on the left as the defence backed off. And the German would have been a very good bet to score.

Instead, Kwasnik scuffed another one wide of the mark.

Genuine, dependable finishers are quite rare in Australian football. Damian Mori is still the best of the bunch, even at his advanced age. But is Kwasnik merely suffering from stage fright, in his first season as a genuine first-teamer in a genuinely professional (pace Northern Spirit) side?

In this year’s pre-season, he was scoring regularly; against Perth in the first pre-season cup game, I saw him combine smoothly and effectively with Stewart Petrie up front, and he scored a fine goal. The occasion, however, was decidedly pressure-free.

I still believe that he has much to offer, whether as a winger or a central striker. But how exactly does he get his confidence, and composure, back?

Kwasnik has been off target, that's for sure. Andy Harper hit the nail on the head though when he said he still hasn't lost his confidence and is still taking shots. Compare this to some strikers who go into a shell from time to time and don't take their opportunites, good or bad. IMO the Mariners only really looked like threatening the league when they had Mori in their side.
I would rather strikers taking shots then not.

The A-league very quickly descended back to the NSL level of not taking shots early or too much passing when in front of goal.

Call me superficial but more shots at goal would make me happy.
Certain aspects of Kwasnik's game need to be rectified,like his head down style of running with the ball. He has been much better out on the right wing, but Mrdja'a absence has meant he has had to take central responsibilities again.I think he HAS lost a certain amount of confidence, but he works hard and doesn't give up all game, and will continue to shoot, and take the wrong options, even if and when others have dropped their heads. A big heart with some good skills who really just needs a bit of zen in his game.
I've told you once, I've told you twice, the kid is a winger. ;)
I wonder how he would've gone had he scored the winner/equaliser against Sydney in round one from his two excellent close-range chances that Bolton brilliantly saved?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?