Boost for Kadina High's soccer hopes
By STEVE SPINKS
CENTRAL midfielder Joel Gosper has provided a timely boost to the Kadina High School Open soccer side as they prepare for their quarter-final shootout against Sydney's Plumpton High in the Puma Cup Combined High Schools State Knockout this afternoon.
Gosper was a noticeable absentee when Kadina squeezed past Coffs Harbour High in the regional final in a tense penalty shootout at the end of last term.
The talented Workers Premier League player missed the match as he was was playing for the NSW CHS representative team.
After some strong performances he won selection in the NSW All-Schools team to play in the national titles later this year.
Gosper will lead Kadina at Weston Park, Goonellabah, this afternoon and his return has bolstered his school's hopes of moving into their third semi-final in the knockout in a decade.
"With Joel back, I expect to get a fair bit of work out of him and midfield partner Matt Pratten," coach Tony Wilson said.
"While this is not our strongest team individually over the years, collectively they've been a doing a good job. I'm really impressed with the teamwork of the side."
Wilson also expects central defender Daniel Morrow to feature.
The Kadina coach is hoping the home ground advantage, with a host of students on the sidelines barracking, will lift his side.
Kadina made the semi-finals in 1996 and 1998, while they have featured in eight quarter-finals since 1994.
"By all reports Plumpton is a very good team," Wilson said.
Kadina has a rich tradition of producing talented soccer players.
Former students include former National League player Adam Hughes and a host of local Premier League regulars including Damien Keevers, Adam Holmes and Clint Willougby.
Another former student, Ben Hughes, is currently at the Australian Institute of Sport.
But of course the best known Kadina exports include former Socceroo captain Craig Foster and his brother Paul.
Kadina progressed to the quarter-finals by defeating Richmond River High School, Lismore High, Alstonville High, Southern Cross K-12 and Coffs Harbour High.
The match kicks-off at 1.30pm.