Whilst all football fans are in the grip of an enthralling World Cup 2018, a derby delight has crept up on us Knights fans! This week sees your Melbourne Knights make the return leg to Lakeside Stadium to face off against long-time rivals South Melbourne FC, in Round 19 of the NPL.
It’s safe to say this season has been a tough one for our rivals. Hellas currently have 16 points and subsequently sit in 12th position on the table, which Knights fans know all too well as the eligible position for the relegation play off. Of their last 5 games, South Melbourne have lost 3, drawn 1 and won 1. In saying that, there are currently only 10 points separating dead last Northcote City, and the top 6; proving that the NPL is a volatile league where anything can still happen.
The mid-season transfer window saw some key movement for South, with Sasa Kolman resigning from his position as head coach, only to be replaced by Con Tangalakis, formerly of Oakleigh Cannons until he was acrimoniously let go. On top of that, goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson took on an overseas opportunity which sees Nikola Roganovic and Rory Brian step up as number one and number two goal keepers respectively. Nick Epifano was also released from the club due to a number of misconducts with fans and has recently signed with Victorian State League Division 1 side, North Sunshine Eagles FC.
The Knights on the other hand played a thrilling draw last week against Bentleigh Greens FC, in a clash where both sides walked away sharing the spoils. With only 8 games of the regular season remaining before finals footballs take place, gaining as many points on the road as well as at home is important for the Knights if they wish to remain in the top six and be eligible for the finals. The Knights currently round out the top six on 25 points, however fifth, sixth and seventh place all share the same amount of points, with only goal difference separating the teams. For the punters, if Green Gully SC and Port Melbourne SC both fail to take away points from their matches, a win in Round 19 for the Knights could see them jump up one place to fifth.
With a solid eight days of rest between their matches, the Knights have had ample time to recover and prepare for the match at hand. This derby always brings out the best in both sides and this week will be no different so expect an exciting contest Knights fans! We remind all fans and supporters that Melbourne Knights FC adopts a respectful play and supporter culture, and any supporter misconduct will not be tolerated by the club
Venue: Lakeside Stadium
Forecast: 13°C, Shower or two
Melbourne Knights FC squad: 1. Harry Cakarun, 2. Luke Jurcic, 3. Shaun Timmins, 4. Ben Surey, 5. Milan Batur, 6. Tomislav Uskok, 7. Nate Foster, 10. Marijan Cvitkovic, 12. Anthony Dezic, 13. Ayden Brice, 14. Teeboy Kamara 17. Nicholas Jurcic, 18. Mitchell Walsh, 19. Anthony Duzel, 21. Andelo Svalina, 23. Tim Purcell, 37 AJ Inia, 40. Sam Butcher
Ins: 11. Nikola Jurkovic
Unavailable: 9. Kym Harris, 20. Jordan Gifkins (injury)
Referee: Christopher Hope
Assistant Referee 1: Isaac Trevis
Assistant Referee 2: Aleksandar Liber
4th Official: Adam Bavcar