CJ HODGSON will make his 250th and final appearance for Frankston Pines on Saturday when the State 3 promotion contender takes on Elwood City at Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve at 6pm.
Hodgson’s battle to overcome post-concussion syndrome has forced the 28-year-old into early retirement.
He was substituted in February after a head clash in a friendly against Mazenod and has not played since.
He has a medical clearance to play this weekend but the risk of long-term and serious injury is too great to continue.
You won’t hear a player or a club on the local scene with a bad word to say about Hodgson which, in itself, is a remarkable achievement.
“I’m just really glad that my last game is with Pines,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to finish at any other club.
“For the next year or two I think I’ll settle for being a spectator but after that I might look at getting into coaching.”
Hodgson started as a junior at Langwarrin and made his reserves debut under then-coach Jamie Skelly as a 15-year-old in 2009.
He switched to Pines for the following season and Tommy O’Halloran gave the 16-year-old his senior debut against Knox in 2010.
His CV includes a pre-season at Mornington and short stints at Casey Comets and Doveton but Pines has always been his preferred football home.
He has played in every outfield position at Pines and even pulled on the goalkeeper’s gloves at one stage.
On Saturday he is likely to start against Elwood City and later be substituted and when asked if he’ll be heading the ball his response typified his commitment to his club.
“Well if there’s a really good scoring chance …”
Meanwhile in State 1 Mornington was forced to battle hard to eventually overcome bottom team Mazenod at Dallas Brooks Park on Saturday.
Mornington keeper Josh Gates had a brain fade in the 21st minute allowing Mazenod striker Rocky di Petta to close him down and block Gates’ panicked attempt to clear before stroking the loose ball into the gaping goal for the opener.
Although Mornington bossed the ball it didn’t test diminutive Mazenod keeper Rahul Ramkumar enough.
It soon became clear that Mornington’s main threat was in the air with the combined heading ability of towering central defender Josh Heaton and his defensive cohort Jamie Davidson and a Davidson header in the 37th minute made it 1-1.
The aerial onslaught was ramped up in the second half but it took until the 78th minute for substitute Taylan Geylan to convert after the ball was headed down to him from a far post cross and he gleefully slammed it past Ramkumar for the winner.
In State 2 Peninsula Strikers made it six wins in a row with a convincing 3-0 defeat of Mooroolbark at Ballam Park on Saturday evening.
Strikers opened their account after 23 minutes following an impressive interpassing combination that saw Riley Anderton’s low ball from the right of the area tucked away by Cal Bradbury.
Right on half-time it was 2-0 when a Huss Chehimi corner was headed home by Bradbury at the back post.
Abe Kuol was red carded in the 73rd minute for retaliating after clashing with Mooroolbark’s Nicholas Andrejic and seconds later it was 3-0 when a poor clearance fell to Anderton whose sweetly struck volley gave Barkers’ keeper Mark Naumowicz no chance.
On Sunday Skye United travelled to Caulfield Park to take on North Caulfield and came away with a 3-0 win.
Skye led 1-0 at half-time thanks to an Alex Van Heerwarden goal and second-half goals from Daniel Attard and substitute Daniel Jones completed the scoreline.
That sets up this Friday night’s derby clash with Strikers at Skye Recreation Reserve when history will be made with two Irish coaches – Skye’s Phil McGuinness and Donn Delaney of Strikers – going head to head.
In State 3 Frankston Pines suffered its first loss of the season going down 4-2 away to Bayside Argonauts last weekend.
Pines had gone into the clash without striker Liam Baxter who was hospitalised with pneumonia last Thursday and was due to be discharged as we went to press.
Pines missed a host of chances and paid dearly for its profligacy staring down the barrel of a three-goal deficit at half-time.
The second half was action-packed involving three send-offs and a facial injury to Pines’ striker Dylan Waugh who had to be hospitalised after scoring.
Bayside had players sent off in the 65th and 87th minutes while Pines veteran Tommy Hawkins was dismissed in the 57th minute after his second yellow card.
Pines’ goals came from a Joe O’Connor free kick and a brave Waugh header.
In State 4 Baxter made it two in a row with a 3-2 home win over winless Lyndale United but had to twice come from behind.
The visitors led 1-0 just before the interval when Baxter couldn’t clear properly from a corner but the home side hit back within 30 seconds after Lyndale keeper Michael Napolitano failed to handle a deep cross from Izaak Barr allowing Dave Greening to walk the ball into the net.
Lyndale regained the lead with its first attack of the second half when it was awarded a controversial penalty in the 55th minute and James Collard converted.
Seven minutes later Lachie McMinimee finished off one of numerous chances and perennial goalsneak Greening came to the rescue in the 65th minute taking full advantage of an excellent kick-out by Baxter keeper James Foster.
In the final analysis the scoreline didn’t reflect Baxter’s dominance.
In other State 4 fixtures Chelsea drew 1-1 away to FC Noble Hurricanes last weekend while Somerville Eagles lost 2-1 against Keysborough at Tyabb Central Reserve.
Chelsea did well to snare a point with five players out due to COVID and unavailability including the captain and both vice-captains.
A superb 25-metre strike from Emmanuel Deiwal gave Hurricanes a 1-0 half-time lead but the equaliser in the 76th minute came via Piers Brelsford’s superb turn and shot that went in off the post.
In State 5 Mount Martha created club history with a second straight State 5 win on Friday overcoming Rosebud 3-1 at Olympic Park.
Rosebud dumped Pat Sabatino as senior coach last week with Ryan Monk and Stef Papaluca taking over as joint coaches and although Callum Richardson, Brandon Monk and Beau Sharpe returned to the matchday squad the home team was no match for its opponent.
Mount Martha’s leading scorer Ethan Sanderson made it 1-0 in the 30th minute when he caught Rosebud keeper Hayden Hicks off his line.
Two minutes into the second half Neil Byrne rifled a strike from 25 metres into the top corner to make it 2-0 and Rosebud was out of the contest three minutes later when Sanderson got clear and clipped the ball over the advancing Hicks with a neat finish.
Rosebud’s response came in the 91st minute via a corner that was headed home at the near post by Brandon Monk.
Here are this weekend’s round 7 games:
FRIDAY: Skye Utd v Peninsula Strikers, Skye Recreation Reserve, 8.30pm.
SATURDAY: Langwarrin v Moreland Zebras, Lawton Park, 3pm; Mornington v South Springvale, Dallas Brooks Park, 3pm; Frankston Pines v Elwood City, Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve, 6pm; Lyndale Utd v Chelsea, Lyndale Secondary College, 3pm; Endeavour Utd v Somerville Eagles, Reema Reserve, 3pm; Sandown Lions v Baxter, Tatterson Park 3pm; White Star Dandenong v Mount Martha, Greaves Reserve, 3pm.