South Hobart will be Tasmania's representatives in this year’s inaugural NPL finals series, having been crowned Premiers of the Victory League.
Club: South Hobart Founded: 1910 Colours: Red and Blue Home ground: D-Arcy Street, South Hobart Recent Honours: Five consecutive Premier League trophies (2008 -2012); three State Finals (winning 2010, 2011 and 2012) Head Coach: Ken Morton Key Players: Hugh Ludford (captain), Kostas Kanakaris, Lucas Hill, Nicholas Morton
Hailing from Tasmania, South Hobart were the first club in the country to qualify for the inaugural National Premier Leagues play-offs, which will pit together the top team from five divisions across the country in an end of season competition.
South Hobart will take on South Australian grand final winners Campbelltown City this weekend for the opportunity to play in the NPL Finals decider.
The club had a long-standing unassailable lead in Tasmania's Victory League, and finished the regular season 15 points clear following a 3-0 win over Launceston City. South Hobart went on to do the double as they won 3-1 in an extra-time thriller against Devonport.
Head Coach Ken Morton was thrilled to accept the Victory League minor-premiership at the Club's final home game of the regular season, following their 2-1 win over Olympia.
“The profile of the league has noticeably increased this year on the back of more media attention and the support of Melbourne Victory,” said Morton. “The most pleasing thing from our squad has been our consistency.”
“We've maintained our fitness at a good level, which has helped our stamina and sharpness. We've been able to overwhelm teams at the back end of matches because of it.”
Morton attributes South Hobart-s success to the depth of their playing squad and the fact they've had minimal disruptions from injuries and suspensions throughout the season.
“We drew our first game of the season then went on a long winning run. We had a little dip in form but really started to fire after we beat Devonport away, which is traditionally a fortress," said Morton.
Standout performers for South Hobart have been Kostas Kanakaris, whose claim to fame is holding the record for the fastest hat-trick ever scored in Australian football. The striker has netted 19 goals despite an injury plagued season and has been well supported by seventeen-year-old Nick Morton who has scored eighteen goals.
Lucas Hill is another player who has been earmarked for a bright future with Melbourne Victory and Wolverhampton Wanderers both said to have shown interest in the centre-back product of the National Training Centre.
This weekend South Hobart play Olympia in their league semi-final and the club is not getting too far ahead of itself before the NPL play-offs. Morton insisting that winning the finals series was the next priority before worrying about their inter-state rivals in the NPL round-robin tournament.
Morton said South Hobart hadn-t done too much research on their potential opposition but that he would endeavour to get to Adelaide to see their finals matches as they play the top team from South Australia in their first match. South Australia being the only league that will send the winner of their grand final and not the minor-premiership to the NPL tournament.
NPL Finals semi-final South Hobart v Campbelltown City Sunday 6 October 12pm KGV Football Park