Sunday, September 06, 2009


Golden Boy

Although the majority of the plaudits after last night's Gold Coast v. Sydney encounter will naturally go to Shane Smeltz, there was another Gold Coast player whose reputation will have been considerably enhanced. I refer to Zenon Caravella.

It's a pleasure to see such a positive, resourceful player back in the A-League, and Miron Bleiberg deserves credit for his canny recruitment of the former Sydney Olympic and New Zealand Knights midfielder.

Caravella was desperately unlucky to spend his first season in the A-League alongside a number of third-rate plodders from the English lower leagues, in a squad assembled without much imagination by John Adshead. As a result, Caravella's bright performances tended to be obscured by the Knights' poor results, and he spent the following winter with Sydney Olympic in the NSW state league...again, looking a notch above his team-mates, as my Well-Informed Covite friend regularly observed.

After a spell in Holland, he has been sensibly snapped up by the new franchise, and last night he ensured that his side made light of the absence of Jason Culina. In fact, with his darting runs, purposeful movement and neat skills, he made more of a contribution than Culina had the previous week against the Jets.

His companion in the three-quarter line, Robson, showed class in patches but was disappointingly static at other times. Caravella, by contrast, was always mobile, even if his passing wasn't always precise.

As for Culina himself, he was back in a defensive role in Seoul, and looked as insipid as ever in a Socceroo shirt. It was interesting to compare the midfield of Mile Jedinak and Luke Wilkshire, in action against Ireland, to the well-known Grella-Culina axis which operated again in Seoul. Such a comparison would not reflect kindly on the latter, to be honest.

Culina, in the green and gold, is yet to move beyond the square passes and occasional dinks to the wing which have been his trademarks in recent times. As for Grella, his propensity for giving away needless fouls is becoming a genuine worry.

Two incidents which summed up the problems of the Culina-Grella combination in the second half in Seoul: the Koreans' third goal, when Culina was a complete specator in the area while Park Chu-Young moved himself into position for a shot, and a moment some minutes earlier, when Grella nastily elbowed Lee Jung-Soo on the goal-line after a good chance for the Koreans (unnoticed by the referee, fortunately).

I think Pim needs to have a good look at the triumvirate of Grella, Bresciano and Culina. These three need a good spell on the sidelines, as they really are a shadow of their former selves.
Grella and Bresciano have never been anything but hype in the national team so i fail to see how they can be a shadow of their formerselves. Mediocrity is all you've ever gotten from them and all you'll ever get from them.

Culina ... A certain former team mate of Culina's at United suggested that when Branko brought his son in he became the most technically gifted player iin the team.(although in hindsight, looking at the GF line-up it may not be that hard a task.) Pim is holding him back in the natio team by playing Bresc, Cahill and the likes of Sterj and Holman in the forward positions he should be in and the implementation of his boring but safe tactics.

Caravella, he's a great part player. A in he'll be a great part of your team. But he's a compliment, not an inspirational catalyist. He's quite, unassuming and still in bad need of a hair cut. He was always better then his kniggets excursion sugggested thou. And maybe someone we should have looked at a long time ago as a successor to bimbi.
Agreed regarding Bresc, Grella and Culina. Too often when with the ball, Australia put emphasis on retaining possession at the expense actually doing anything with it. I personally don't like Jedinak either but Wilkshire added something in that role.

I would be surprised if Bresc, Grella and Culina play on after the Asian Cup.

Also, as great as he is at cleaning up the scraps, playing Cahill in behind the striker too often seems to sacrifice creativity, passing and dribbling in the centre of the park. He's brilliant at that one thing but it's somewhat limiting.

It's a pity Carle doesn't play very often and doesn't score more. He's the opposite of Cahill, no goals directly but can improve the ball circulation.
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