Fresh faces, a rejuvenated squad, and no-one was quite sure what might happen in a first-up derby to start the 2020 season.
How would the new-look ‘Bergers shape up after a somewhat lacklustre pre-season and up against an old foe looking to make its own big impression on home turf?
Following on from perhaps the club’s greatest era, the early signs in what might be termed a rebuilding phase for the ‘Bergers look positive. Led by a brace from Lucas Derrick and a goal from recruit Dusan Bosjnak, a convincing 3-0 win over South Melbourne was secured, much to the delight of the travelling faithful.
Much of the credit for the victory can be attributed to the significant contributions of some of the off-season additions, who appear to have fitted in seamlessly in George Katsakis’ side, captained last night for the first time by Reuben Way.
Lachlan Barr shone at centre back alongside evergreen ‘Berger veteran Les Doumbalis. Wearing former skipper Luke Byles’ #13, the stylish Barr won challenges left, right and centre in a polished debut performance.
Bosnjak opened his Heidelberg account with a clever chip and played a hand in the other two goals – and complemented an ominous James Demetriou, who came close to scoring on a few occasions.
There was even a cameo from substitute Amir Abdallah – catalyst for the third goal – who showed all his flair and tricks to excite the fans.
Along with solid contributions from seasoned leaders of the group in Zahra, Petrie, Way, Wilkins and Doumbalis, the coaching team could not have asked for a better result in the opening round. The win will bring much confidence to the squad, boosting hopes that this fresh new wave of ‘Bergers are still on the hint for further silverware.
“It’s always pleasing to get off to a really good start” said George Katsakis.
“In the big derby game, first game of the season, no-one’s expecting a 3-0 result. Full credit goes to the boys again. They dug deep when they had to – we got the early goal and consolidated on that.”
“The second half was quite an impressive performance. Going forward, we looked really mobile, and had a lot of solutions to the problems we were confronted with early on.”
NPL Victoria 2020 Round 1:
South Melbourne FC 0 – 3 Heidelberg United FC (Derrick 30’, 90’, Bosnjak 84’)
Team Line Up
GK – Chris Theodoridis
2 – Josh Wilkins
3 – Les Doumbalis
7 – Reuben Way (capt)
8 – Dusan Bosnjak
9 – Adrian Zahra
10 – Jack Petrie
11 – Lucas Derrick
13 – Lachlan Barr
19 – Sean Ellis
22 – James Demetriou
GK – Jack Eres (not used)
5 – Ajdin Fetahagic (not used)
14 – Harry Noon
18 – Anthony Theodoropoulos
21 – Amir Abdallah
Noon – replaced Demetriou
Abdallah – replaced Ellis
Theodoropoulos – replaced Petrie