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The 2017 PS4NPLWA season kicks into action this weekend with the QBE Night Series starting at venues across the metropolitan area. This season there will be a new format, with the Night Series being a knock-out competition, and it all starts on Friday evening with games at Percy Doyle Reserve. First up hosts Sorrento meet a young Perth Glory side. (6.30pm) With the Glory side still in Foxtel National Youth League action, it will be a young side that take on the Gulls, but Coach John Gibson said it’s a great challenge for his youngsters. “It’s a nice challenge first up young the side, but they have been away in the tournament in Japan playing against footballers of the same age and performed well - we are sure they will enjoy the upcoming fixture on Friday night,” he said. “We go into the Night Series looking to expose members of our extended squad to senior football and gain invaluable game time."

In the late game the two new NPL side meet, with Joondalup United and Mandurah City doing battle (8.30pm) Mandurah midfielder Andy Brown said the club can’t wait for the new season to start. “The feeling at the club is that our position in the NPL is well-deserved and where we feel we belong,” he said. “I think the ties between JUFC and ourselves have only strengthened through the off season, with what eventuated off the field. But saying that, its new friendship aside and back to battle on the playing field.”

Brown said the Night Series will be used as an opportunity to get the squad up and running for the NPL. “The night series in its new knockout format, so it won’t allow for any complacency. We need to hit the ground running and progress technically and structurally as the season continues,” he said. “There will be a fair bit of tinkering by management player wise, but the foundations of our structure and strategies will remain the same, as they have served us well so far. We haven’t played any friendlies as yet, the coaches have been drilling us in training and prepping us for the extra-long season, and we all can’t wait to get started.”

The rest of the first round of fixtures are on Sunday evening, and first up at the E&D Litis Stadium hosts Floreat Athena entertain Balcatta (5.30pm). Floreat won the 2015 Night Series and skipper Ludovic Boi said they are looking for a repeat this season, but is expecting a tough first up game, and he knows a loss and they are out in the new format. “This year should be interesting and with the night series now being a knock out completion means that teams will have to win games,” he said. “Like I always say, every team can beat anyone in this league, so it's just a matter of who decide to turn up on the day. Balcatta will be a good test for us and vice versa. I'm sure they have recruited some players during the off season and so have we. It will be a good see if we gathered the right balance of players this year. But saying that pre-season competition or not, we want to win everything. Teams won't be able to test many formations if they don't win games, as it is a knock out competition. We are going to have to be able to test formations and new players but making sure we win as well.”

In the late game last season’s Night Series winners Bayswater City take on last season’s League Champions Perth SC. City finished a disappointing fifth place last season and winger Jason Mirco said they are hungry to rebound this season and starting off with a good showing in the pre-season competition. “Being the current holders of the trophy is a great achievement, but like every team going into the competition, we want to give it a good crack. It might be early on in the peace but it's a trophy up for grabs and we'll be looking to make sure it stays at the club,” he explained. “Games against Perth are a big game weather it's a pre-season game or a cup final. It's still early doors for us but we've had a good pre-season and looking forward to getting into competitive matches.”

Bayswater are coming off a big win against Division Two newcomers Gwelup Croatia in midweek and Mirco said everyone at the club is on the right page and focused on a good 2017. “The coaching staff have bought the under 23’s in to do a full pre-season with us off the back of their championship season, so I'm sure they'll monitor the young boys closely coming into the season. Jamie Murphy and Luka Ninkovic have come in and really gave it a good rattle,” he said. “We’ve played a number of matches and it’s been good for Coyney to look at how some of the younger lads go, and they have all done well.”

The final games are too played at Dalmatinac Park, and in the early game Armadale take on Subiaco, both sides under new coach. Ian McMurray will take charge of his first competitive game for Subi, while John O’Reilly will do likewise for Army. In the late game hosts Cockburn City entertain ECU Joondalup. Last season ECU surprised many, and this season the northern suburbs club will be looking to continue their improvement. New signing Fraser Greenwood will make his debut for the club on Sunday and he said games at Cockburn are never easy. “An away trip to Dalmatinac Park has never been easy for any team over the years but whether it's against Cockburn or any other team, it doesn't make a difference as we're ready to take on anyone and progress in this competition,” he said. “I'm friends with a few guys from Cockburn and by the sounds of it they're just as excited for this game as we are so it will be tough test.” Due to the expansion of the PS4NPLWA to 14 clubs, Inglewood United and Stirling Lions have a bye in first round.



Perth Glory will hoping to continue their four game unbeaten run, and also add misery to Melbourne Victory, when the pair meet at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. (5pm) Second placed Victory are coming off a big defeat against Wellington Phoenix in mid-week, and if the Glory turn up to play they could give Kevin Muscat’s side more headaches. But they will be without skipper Rostyn Griffiths who is suspended, and defender Alex Grant, who could be out for the season because of serious foot ligament damage sustained in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets last Sunday. There is also doubt of in-form Chris Harold, who injured a shoulder in the Jets game.

Kenny Lowe has added defenders Dino Djulbic, Rhys and Aryn Williams, and midfielder Kosta Petratos, who has been in good form with the Youth side, to the squad for the Victory game, and despite the outs Glory striker Andy Keogh believes they have the depth to cover. The Irish striker, who broke his five-match scoring drought against the Jets to become Glory’s top scorer in the A-League era with 30 goals, is confident they can fill the gaps and his strike partners can cause the Victory problems. “It was nice to get back on the scoresheet for sure,” he said. “But the manager signed a squad that has got a good strength in depth. Dino Djulbic is back from suspension as well so we should be OK. Tags (Taggart) has been out a long time and he’s gradually getting there. He’s working on his fitness and he’s scoring some goals now. It’s more a case of fitness and familiarity with each other. Diego (Castro) is creating, I’m back on the scoresheet, so it’s looking good.”

The defeat in Wellington brings an extra edge to Saturday's game, and it will be Victory's third game in nine days. They'll be without defender Jason Geria and forward Fahid Ben Khalfallah, both of whom collected their fifth yellow card of the season against the Phoenix. Coach Kevin Muscat has few concerns about making the long haul trip to Perth so soon after the trek across the Tasman to Wellington. "It's a good challenge for us to go across there and get our performance back to where it should be," he said. "We're capable of it - I'm not going to be asking the players something that's foreign to them, or that they're not capable of. We'll head across to Perth with a positive mindset - there's no reason why we can't get ourselves back up to the standards that we desire very, very quickly."

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam Reddy, GK Nick FEELY, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Rhys WILLIAMS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Joe MILLS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Rhys WILLIAMS (promoted), Dino DJULBIC (returns from suspension), Aryn WILLIAMS (promoted), Kosta PETRATOS (promoted) Outs: 2 Alex GRANT (foot – 4 weeks), 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (suspended)

Melbourne Victory squad: GK Lawrence THOMAS, GK Matt ACTON, 4 Nick ANSELL, 5 Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 7 Marco ROJAS, 8 Besart BERISHA, 9 Max BEISTER, 10 James TROISI, 11 Mitch AUSTIN, 13 Oliver BOZANIC, 15 Alan BARO, 16 Rashid MAHAZI, 17 James DONACHIE, 19 George HOWARD, 21 Carl VALERI (c), 22 Stefan NIGRO, 23 Jai INGHAM - *two to be omitted* - Ins: Rashid MAHAZI (promoted), George HOWARD (promoted), Stefan NIGRO (promoted), Jai INGHAM (promoted) Outs: 2.Jason GERIA (suspended – 1 match), 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH (suspended – 1 match)



Ryan Williams is aiming to persuade national team coach Ange Postecoglou to call him into his army of Championship-based Socceroos. While Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Jackson Irvine (Burton) and Bailey Wright (Bristol City) are all green and gold staples, uncapped Williams, 23, is the odd one out at newly promoted Barnsley.

After casting aside the considerable setback of two-years plagued by groin problems, Williams is making inroads for the mid table Tykes. And with his contract winding down, he is aiming to put himself in the spotlight in this weekend's Yorkshire derby which has Barnsley at home to promotion-chasing Leeds United.

"If I can play every week in the Championship then I don't see why Ange Postecoglou wouldn't take a look at me," said Williams. "There are five others playing in this division each week who are part of the squad. If I start performing people are going to take notice - and the one I want to notice the most is the Socceroos coach."

Williams has featured in several preliminary Socceroos squads without making the breakthrough. "It's always been a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos," he said. "I think I might have been involved before but for the injuries. I am on the road to being a regular Championship player and the next step is being an international player."

And the pacy attacker knows an eye-catching performance against Leeds will benefit him on both fronts. "It would be a great occasion to show people what I can do," he said. "I am off contract at the end of the season but the club have the option to extend it by a further year and hopefully they will do that. If not we'll just have to wait and see what happens."

Williams, who is currently playing as an attacking midfielder, can also play out wide and even in a deeper midfield role. And he is in England for the long-haul, with the Premier League at the end of the rainbow. "I have never planned to go back to Australia until I am 30-plus and that's still my goal," he said. "I want to get to the highest level possible here ... and that's the Premier League."



Melbourne City midfielder Marianna Tabain became just the second player to crack a W-League century when she featured in last Sunday’s Melbourne derby. Perth-born and raised Tabain follows on from Matildas co-captain and Brisbane Roar skipper Clare Polkinghorne who was the first to achieve the feat a week earlier.

Tabain spent seven seasons at Perth Glory and remains second on the club’s honour board for both appearances (77) and goals (20). After helping the Glory to their first premiership, Tabain joined Melbourne City where she has continued her impressive goal return and was part of the record-breaking side which won last year’s championship.

Always with an eye of for the unexpected, the silky-skilled Tabain won the W-League's maiden goal of the year aged just 16 for a spectacular curling effort for Glory against Adelaide United. Canberra United defender Ellie Brush and Sydney FC midfielder Teresa Polias may join the 100 club in this weekend’s round.



Irish striker Andy Keogh believes Perth Glory has the depth to cover its injury toll and the suspension of captain Rostyn Griffiths for several games. Glory will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to five games when they host second-placed Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.

Glory will be without defender Alex Grant (foot), winger Chris Harold (shoulder), midfielder Mitch Oxborrow (foot) through injury while suspension has ruled Griffiths out of the game. Keogh, who broke his five-game scoring drought against Newcastle Jets on the weekend, is confident his team can fill the gaps.

He also believes his understanding with Adam Taggart and Diego Castro will bring more results. “The manager signed a squad that has got a good strength in depth. Dino Djulbic is back from suspension as well so we should be OK,” Keogh said. “It was nice to get back on the scoresheet.”

“Tags (Taggart) has been out a long time and he’s gradually getting there. He’s working on his fitness and he’s scoring some goals now. It’s more a case of fitness and familiarity with each other. Castro is creating, I’m back on the scoresheet, so it’s looking good.”



Perth Glory won't appeal the two-game ban handed to captain Rostyn Griffiths over his second-half brain snap at Newcastle Jets on the weekend. Griffiths was shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Devante Clut late in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Newcastle, before then copping a straight red for giving referee Stephen Lucas a retaliatory earful.

After receiving submissions from Griffiths and Glory, the A-League match review panel found the midfielder guilty of breaching the national code of conduct and warned any further violation could draw more severe sanctions. That means he'll miss Saturday's vital home clash with Melbourne Victory along with next weekend's trip to Central Coast.


STEPHENSON TAKEN BY INGLEWOOD CULTURE (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)

New signing Riley Stephenson’s first impressions of life at Inglewood United have been positive. Stephenson, one of the best young goalkeepers in Western Australia, recently became Inglewood’s first signing ahead of the 2017 National Premier League seasons after agreeing terms with the club.

“There is a fantastic culture and a winning attitude throughout Inglewood … it’s something I very much want to be part of,” said Stephenson, who will celebrate his 19th birthday early next month. “Inglewood has very good facilities and everyone puts their best foot forward for the club.”

“I’ve had only a few sessions with the playing squad but I’m loving training and being part of Inglewood. All the players and coaching staff have been really welcoming and easy to get along with. There is a real competitiveness to every aspect of training and that will drive me to do my best.”

Stephenson joins Inglewood fresh from a three-season stint with NPL rivals Perth Glory. “The chance to play for Inglewood came through goalkeeper coach Dave Whalley, who has been a big part of my development,” he explained. “Dave introduced me to head coach Taki (Nicolaidis) and he invited me to join them for training.”

“As a player, I’m always looking to keep improving myself and Inglewood will provide me that opportunity. Alex (Dunn) is a very good goalkeeper and is understandably the number one so I’ll be learning all I can from him. And I’ve known Dave for a few years and it’s great to be working with him again.”

“My goal for this year is to push Alex and bring the best out in both of us. Obviously I want to be starting games for the first team and I might have to bide my time with that. But I know I can play at NPL level and if I keep training well I’ll be ready for when Taki throws me into the mix.”



Newly promoted PS4NPLWA side Joondalup United have added to their Division One Championship side by signing former Scunthorpe United and Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Matt Sparrow from Sorrento. As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the club, the 35-year-old will combine his playing duties with a role as a coach having completed his B License in recent months.

Joondalup coach Nick Jennings described the signing as a great coup for the club and believes that Sparrow can have a big impact this season. “He’ll be an asset on and off the field using his experience, his leadership and his knowledge of the game having been a pro since he was 16-year-old,” said Jennings. “He’s played 500 professional games so with him it’s a two-way thing – it’s not just his football ability.”

Sparrow spent eleven years of his career at Scunthorpe, and scored twice in the 2008/09 League One Play-off Final at Wembley as the club overcame Millwall 3-2 to reach the English football’s second tier, the Championship. Following his 300th appearance for The Irons in 2009, Sparrow was given a testimonial by the club and then made a move to Brighton & Hove Albion the following year and also played for Crawley Town, Cheltenham Town and Lincoln City during his professional career in England before he moved to Perth in 2016 to link up with Sorrento. The midfielder said he’s looking forward to the new challenge at Joondalup. “I have only been around the boys for a week but they seem like a good bunch of lads, it helps that most are English and the banter seems good and they like a laugh,” Sparrow said. “I had around 10 games for Sorrento last season and the standard was good, every team has one or two really gifted players and the rest are fit and up for a battle. The standard was good and I enjoyed the battles I had last year.”

The decision to move to JUFC was made easier by the fact that Sparrow’s good friend of over 30 years, Rudy Proctor, is part of the club’s NPL coaching staff. “I didn’t think that spending more time together was possible seeing as we are housemates, but now we are involved in football together I am sure the banter will get even better,” he said. “I’m not sure I will be able to take instructions from him though! I went ten years without seeing him so we have some catching up to do.” With the season just around the corner, Sparrow is confident that United can be very competitive in the club’s first year of NPL football. “I always want to win every game I play in, so my aim is to win every game of football I play in for JUFC,” he said. “From what I have seen so far I think we should be aiming to finish in the top four cup places.” Sparrow will be part of the Joondalup United squad for next Friday’s QBE National Premier Leagues WA Night Series clash with Mandurah City which takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve in Sorrento (8:30pm kick off).



Perth Glory skipper Rostyn Griffiths will miss the next two Hyundai A-League games after he was sent off for a spray at referee Stephen Lucas in last week’s game against Newcastle Jets. Football Federation Australia (FFA) has determined that Griffiths, has breached the FFA National Code of Conduct (the Code) by actions he engaged in immediately after receiving an indirect red card in or around the 88th minute of the Hyundai A-League Round 15 Match between Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory on Sunday, 15 January 2017 (Match).

Griffiths was asked to make a submission to FFA in response to the allegation, which he has done. After consideration of the submissions made by Griffiths and Perth Glory, FFA determined to sanction Griffiths with a one (1) match suspension for breaching clauses 2.1 and 6.1(a) of the Code. In determining the sanction, FFA considered sanctions applied in comparable incidents in the Hyundai A-League.

In addition, FFA has informed Griffiths that any further breach of the Code could result in more severe sanctions being applied.

Accordingly, Griffiths will be ineligible for Perth Glory’s next two (2) Hyundai A-League matches against Melbourne Victory on 21 January 2017 and Central Coast Mariners on 28 January 2017 due to the suspension he has incurred as a result of the indirect red card and the subsequent breach of the Code of Conduct. Griffiths has seven (7) business days to appeal FFA’s determination, should he wish to do so.



A ten man Perth Glory have maintained their spot in the Hyundai A-League top six after a hard fought 2-2 draw against Newcastle Jets at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Roared on by The Shed Boys Tour of Duty, the Glory made the perfect with Adam Taggart giving them the lead early. But the Jets hit back with Mateo Poljak converting a dubious penalty, before Andrew Nabbout gave the home side the lead in stoppage time. Andy Keogh bagged his eighth goal of the season to level and the woodwork and former Glory keeper James Duncan then denied the Glory all three points. The result was soared late with skipper Rostyn Griffiths sent off.

Taggart said the Glory are starting to gel and the point keeps their unbeaten run going. “In patches we were really good. It’s definitely an improvement on recent weeks,” he said post-match. “At the end of the day that’s now four games unbeaten and we just have to make sure we’re hard to beat. It’s a step forward but disappointing not to get the three points. We’re going in the right direction and we’re starting to click a little bit more now. As long as we keep working hard and we continue to turn those 20 minute patches into a full 90 minutes, we’ll be able to beat anyone on our day.”

Glory went into the game with the same side that beat Wellington Phoenix last time out, and The Shed boys were in full voice at kick off and they didn’t have long to celebrate the opener. Keogh’s through ball on seven minutes was misjudged by Lachlan Jackson, giving the ball away to Taggart who finished clinically low past Duncan, to score against his former club and make it six for the season for the striker.

The Glory almost added a second three minutes later, Keogh lost his marker, but his curling effort drifted narrowly wide. Moments later Taggart found space in the box, but his header crashed off the woodwork and away to safety, before Chris Harold did likewise from Joe Mills cross. The Jets began to get into the game with Nabbout a constant threat. His shot on the quarter hour flashed wide before Nick Cowburn’s cross shot was tipped over by the alert Liam Reddy.

But on 36 minutes the Jets levelled. Andrew Hoole’s cross was headed away by Glory defender Shane Lowry, but referee Stephen Lucas said the former Aston Villa defender had fouled Jets’ Danish striker Morten Nordstrand. Reply’s showed there was little or no contact, but Poljak stepped up to score from the resulting penalty. Then in first half stoppage time the Jets hit the front. Nordstrand was the supplier this time feeding Nabbout, who finished with aplomb past Ready. There was a scary moment in the celebrations when a fence gave way squashing the Jets fans, but lucky no one was seriously injured and the Jets went to the break with the lead.

Despite conceding late the Glory were out of the blocks quick after the break, and Diego Castro saw his shot hit woodwork two minutes in, after being picked out by Harold. Moments later Castro long-range shot flicked the crossbar as the Glory looked for the equaliser. That duly arrive on 55 minutes. Harold made space down the right and whipped in a superb cross to the back post and Keogh did the rest, finished low past Duncan, to end his barren spell in front of goal.

The Jets went close to a third on the hour, but Jackson’s header flashed wide of the target. The home side were tiring and it looked like the Glory would go on and win it, but former Glory custodian Duncan had other ideas. On 69 minutes Keogh crossed to Taggart, and it looked like the striker would score, but Duncan produced a stunning point blank save to deny him. Both sides pressed late but clear cut chances were few and far between. The Glory were reduced to ten men three minutes from time when Griffiths was shown a second yellow card by the official, but when the Glory skipper gave him a spray, he received a straight red, and he could hear more about it later in the week. The Glory remains unbeaten in its last four games, and meet form team of the league, Melbourne Victory, next Saturday at nib Stadium.



Perth Glory Youth side three game winning streak in the Foxtel National Youth League came to an end, and also their finals hopes, after a 0-1 defeat against Melbourne City at Dorrien Gardens on a hot and humid Sunday morning. A 54th minute goal to Gerrie Sylaidos secured the result for City who overtook Brisbane Roar at the summit of the table and qualified for the Grand Final as winners of the Conference.

The visitors opened brightly and Aryn Williams was working overtime with the rest of the Glory back four, but it was the Glory with the first chance on the quarter hour. Calvin Whitney cutting the ball back to Gian Albano, whose shot was straight at City keeper James Delianov. Daniel Stynes’ long-range shot was deflected wide as the Glory looked for the opener. City had plenty of possession but the Glory were finding holes in their back four. On 35 minutes Stynes sent Kosta Petratos clear, but a poor first touch from the midfielder allowed City to clear the danger.

Daniel Arzani and Mahmut Ali Eyigun were causing the Glory problems, and both went close late in the half, and in the final minutes both sides had chances to take the lead. First Braedyn Crowley was sent clear one-on-one with Glory custodian Jordan Thurtell, who stood tall to deny him. Then from Joe Knowles’ corner Aryn Williams’ header flashed inches past the post, and at the break it was scoreless.

Petratos had an early effort flash wide of the target, but on 54 minutes City scored the winner. The Glory failed to clear their lines and Sylaidos was on hand to fire home from close-range. The Glory pressed and half chances fell to Mustafa and Petratos, and Delianov was out quick to save at the feet of Knowles as they pushed for the equaliser. Aryn Williams headed inches wide late on but the Glory couldn’t break down a solid City defence and the visitors’ win handed them the conference title.



A first half blitz from Perth Glory bogey team Canberra United helped them to a stunning 7-2 win at McKellar Park on Saturday afternoon. The win leap frogging United over the Glory with only two games remaining in the season. Four goals in 50 minutes from Ashleigh Sykes and strikes from Grace Maher, Stephanie Ochs and Hayley Raso saw Canberra United romp home and despite late goals from Vanessa DiBernardo and Sam Kerr, the result put a dent in the Glory’s title hopes.

The home side got off to the perfect start in the sixth minute. American striker Jasmyne Spencer found Sykes at the near post and she made no mistake from close-range. Canberra were well on top and five minutes later Spencer’s flick was clawed off the line by Perth goalkeeper Melissa Maizels as United looked to double their advantage.

Kerr’s pace was again causing problems, and on 16 minute she raced clear, but she was denied by Trudy Burke who was shown a yellow when she handled the ball outside the box. But Canberra doubled their advantage three minutes later. Emma Checker sent Spencer free down the right, and her cross found Sykes again who calmly rounded Maizels before rolling the ball home.

Stephanie Ochs added a third in the 24th minute after a great chip pass from Maher caught the Perth defence napping to allow her in behind for a composed finish. Maher had one of her own in the 33rd minute when Raso's cross found her unmarked at the back post to tap home as Canberra turned the screws on the visitors, and Sykes completed her hat trick in the final minute of the half with another calm finish.

The second half opened as the first finished, with Sykes scoring after just 25 seconds to grab her fourth goal and Canberra's sixth, while Raso put away the seventh four minutes later when Maizels could not keep out her strong drive. The Glory eventually got on the board on the hour, when they were awarded a penalty when Checker brought down Kerr, and DiBernardo dispatched the spot-kick into the corner.

Kerr grabbed a second for Perth in the 79th minute when the ball fell back to her after a Burke save and she made no mistake on the second attempt, but it was too little too late for Bobby Despotovski’s side. The Glory will host Adelaide United next weekend in what will be the last home game of the season, and a must win game - Kick-off is at 4pm on Sunday January 22.



Adam Taggart believes Perth Glory’s Season is beginning to click into gear after they earned a draw away at Newcastle Jets on the weekend. Glory extended their unbeaten run to four games as goals from Taggart and strike partner Andy Keogh early in each half allowed them to come away with a 2-2 draw.

In an end-to-end contest, Glory also hit the woodwork on two occasions but also had captain Rostyn Griffiths sent off late on for a second bookable offence. “In patches we were really good,” Taggart said post-game. “It’s definitely an improvement on recent weeks.”

“At the end of the day that’s now four games unbeaten and we just have to make sure we’re hard to beat. We’re going in the right direction and we’re starting to click a little bit more now. As long as we keep working hard to turn those 20 minute patches into a full 90 minutes, we’ll be able to beat anyone on our day.”

It was Taggart’s first match in Newcastle since he left the club at the end of the 2013/14 campaign when he took out the competition’s Golden Boot with 16 goals. And he came back to haunt his former club with the opening goal, capitalising on a shocking error to net his fourth goal in his last five appearances.

“I loved my time here (at Newcastle). The fans were great, the club were great but at the same time, I’m at Perth now,” said Taggart. “I’m giving my all for (Glory) now, I gave my all for Newcastle and that’s how I’ll continue to be. I wanted to win and it was nice to get a goal, regardless of who it’s against.”



Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has denied any personality clash with an out-of-favour Rhys Williams after the midfielder made a welcome return to training this morning. Williams joined in match practice with his Glory teammates just 72 hours after a mediation session with club officials in a bid to be released from his contract.

Williams, who has not played since early last month, missed Wednesday’s training session with what a club spokesman described as illness. Lowe said it was not awkward having the 28-year old former Middlesbrough captain on the training track. “Rhys understands where I sit and I understand where he sits,” Lowe said.

“It’s a professional relationship. He’s trained today and trained very well. He’s a contracted player at the club open for selection. There’s a few other players who haven’t been selected, but you haven’t mentioned them. It’s not (awkward) at all, we’re all big boys. It’s a game of football, it’s not life or death.”

“Every club has got some little issues going on, but we’ve dealt with it in the way we’ve always said. The club has had a mantra and a steadfast way of dealing with it and we’ve stuck to that. You always want quality players in your team firing on all cylinders, training the house down, being the best players in the club ... that’s what you want your best players to be.”



Perth Glory heads east for round 15 of the Hyundai A-League, when they visit McDonald Jones Stadium to take on Newcastle Jets on Sunday (2pm WA time) The Jets beat the Glory for the first time in a number of years in round 10, a 2-1 come-from-behind win at the nib Stadium. Kenny Lowe has been happy with the players work rate in the recent three weeks, with two draws and win last time out against Wellington Phoenix, and believes the front three (Diego Castro, Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart) will start to shine after playing those last three games together.

Taggart will come up against his former club on Sunday, and the Young Socceroo has scored five goals from six starts this season and believes last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium is the kick-start they need to secure a play-off spot. “There’s a job that needs to be done. We need to go there with a lot of confidence, with a positive frame of mind, and take the game to them,” he said. “It (the Phoenix win) was fantastic for us but we need to keep working hard to go into the end of the season with a good run. It’s not time to panic just yet there’s still a long way to go and we need to find a run of form. There’s still a lot more to come, and we haven’t reached our full potential yet.”

Taggart endured a difficult period overseas with Fulham, where he was unable to make a lasting impression and was often farmed out on loan, and the 23-year-old even missed a large portion of 2016 by virtue of the fact he had played for too many clubs according to FIFA rules in one year. “Especially over the last couple of months, I’ve been able to stay fit and play regular football, and just being back in the home town, where I can play in front of family and friends again,” Taggart said. “Over the last few years it’s sort of just been turn up to the stadium by yourself with no one watching. It’s definitely a nice feeling, especially having the win on the weekend, that’s just top the last month off. We had a good trip away, results are decent for any club, and it’s a positive for myself and the club.”

The Jets have been on the improve and last week’s 3-2 win against Brisbane Roar moved them to sixth place on the table only one point behind the Glory. English midfielder missed the second half of the game flying back to Newcastle to be at his wife’s side when she gave birth to their second son. Last week, Morten Nordstrand struck Newcastle's winner in the 84th minute, and it was the third time in their last four games that Newcastle secured points with a decisive goal in the final 30 minutes.

Brown believes that proves the Jets are able to overrun their opponents at the end of matches. "If you look at the performances, you know, we're strong all the way to the end of the game," he said. "You know, we never give up and we score late goals, so in order to do that you have to be fitter and stronger." Brown has now turned his focus to Sunday's clash with the Glory, and hopes to see a similar performance this week. "That was, for me, the best performance of the season and the most enjoyable game," the Englishman said of their win in Perth. "If we can do the stuff that we did that day and try and perform like we did then hopefully we can get the three points and push on again."



Young Socceroo midfielder Daniel De Silva is considering A-League and overseas options after parting company with Eredivisie outfit Roda JC. The 19-year-old is back home in Perth, with his two-season loan deal from the Glory to the Dutch club ending six months prematurely. The Glory would be interested in signing the talented midfielder, but his immediate future has yet to be resolved - with the playmaker hoping to return to Europe to continue his career progression.

De Silva started the campaign as a first-teamer only to fall out of favour at Roda, for whom he made nine appearances this season. The youngster believes he has added considerable polish to his game during his 16 months in Holland, but has dropped down the pecking order at his club heading into the winter break. "I have learned a lot about the mental side of the game, and that's what so much of football is about," De Silva said. "I think that has helped me mature and prepare me better for whatever lies ahead, wherever that may be. Right now there are a few options but I can't say what will happen, whether that's returning to the A-League or overseas."

Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos sounded a conciliatory note when asked whether the club would enforce De Silva's return. "We are in embryonic discussions with Danny and his management to find out what he wants to do next," he said. "We certainly need to take his wishes into account. It's premature to say whether he will be rejoining us or not."

The former Glory youngster was originally signed by AS Roma but when that move hit a stumbling block, he was subsequently loaned to Roda, pending a possible full transfer. He made 20 appearances for Roda in all competitions. "I have left with a lot of good memories and enjoyed my time there ... I'd have been happy to have stayed, but I didn't fit into the style of the team so it was time to move on," De Silva. “I want to be playing, and even though the season started well, I am back home now and I am keen to sort out my future as soon as possible.

“I would love to return to Europe, but also staying in Australia is possible, there are a few options but nothing has been decided yet, so I really can't say for certain what will happen next. But I know I have become a better player and I'm stronger and more resilient for the experience I've now had in Europe, and I'm looking forward to building on that now and pushing on with my career."



Striker Adam Taggart says he has rediscovered his love for the game in the early stages of his second stint with Perth Glory. Taggart endured a difficult period overseas with Fulham, where he was unable to make an impression and was subsequently loaned out to Scottish Premier League club Dundee United.

Released by Fulham in January last year, Taggart sat out the closing stages of the 2015/16 A-League season by virtue of the fact he had played for too many clubs in one year, according to FIFA rules. Now back to full fitness, the 23-year old is enjoying life with his hometown club.

“Especially over the last couple of months,” Taggart commented. “Just being back in the home town where I can play in front of family and friends again. Over the last few years it’s sort of just been turn up to the stadium by yourself with no one watching ... it’s definitely a nice feeling.”

Glory are unbeaten in their last three matches and now sit fifth on the A-League table, four points behind Brisbane Roar. Taggart warned there is still plenty more to come from Glory in the second half of the season. “I think we’re all still building up to the second half of the season,” he said.

“In the A-League, if you can have a good run into the finals, everyone forgets about what happened in the first half of the season, like what happened with Adelaide (last season) and what happened with Perth last season. There’s still a lot more to come ... it’s pretty obvious we haven’t reached our full potential yet.”



Perth Glory has been dealt a huge blow with star defender Josh Risdon confirming he will leave the club at the end of the A-League season. Glory had tabled a lucrative contract extension to Risdon in the hope of convincing the Socceroo to stay with the club for at least another season, however, it is believed he will accept an offer to play for Western Sydney Wanderers in 2017/18.

"This has not been an easy decision. I feel the time is right for me to explore a new adventure and grow in a different environment and move out of my comfort zone in Western Australia," Risdon said. "For the past seven years I have bled purple and I owe a lot to Perth Glory and my coaches. It's here where I have been fortunate to lead the team on the park, and as a result earn a berth in the Socceroos."



Perth Glory officials are preparing to meet gifted midfielder Daniel De Silva, who has returned to Perth. De Silva, 19, has been released six months early from his two-season loan deal with Dutch club Roda JC and is now assessing his options in the A-League and overseas. The Australia youth international earned Glory a $1.8 million windfall in 2015 when he left the club for Europe.



The nightmare homecoming of Socceroo Rhys Williams has taken another turn with the Perth Glory utility told he will not be released to join Sydney FC during this month's transfer window. Williams, who did not train today with a club spokesman saying he is ill, looks set to miss a fifth consecutive A-League game as tensions between Glory and Sydney continue to simmer.

Williams joined his hometown club at the start of the season following several injury-ravaged years in England. Sydney are keen to add Williams as a replacement for Matt Jurman (released to Suwon Bluewings) and Seb Ryall (hamstring), however, Glory are not interested in releasing a player to one of their A-League rivals.

A meeting between Williams, his manager Tony Rallis, the players' union, and Glory was held on Tuesday. The mediation session ended with the same result - Williams being told he will not be released by Glory to a rival A-League club under any circumstances. That has left Williams with two options - find an overseas club during the transfer window or work his way back in favour at Glory.



Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon has rejected a strong offer to stay at the club for at least the next two seasons, opting instead to continue his career outside of Western Australia from next season. The 24-year old was re-signed by the club last year on a one-year deal and over the past several weeks, the club had been negotiating with the player and his management team, to renew his contract for another two seasons.

Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos said contract negotiations with the 24-year old Bunbury born Socceroo and his management, ceased today, after Risdon informed the club of his intentions. “Despite presenting a very strong offer to Josh and his management, we’ve been advised today that he won’t be renewing his contract for season 2017/18 and beyond” Filopoulos said. “We understand Josh is keen to explore life outside of Western Australia, and while we respect his decision, we are extremely disappointed he won’t be wearing the purple kit after season 16/17.

Risdon, who has been reported to be joining former Socceroos Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers, said it was time to move on and grow as a person. “This has not been an easy decision. I feel the time is right for me to explore a new adventure and grow in a different environment and move out of my comfort zone in Western Australia” he said. “For the past seven years I have bled purple and I owe a lot to Perth Glory and my coaches. It’s here where I have been fortunate to lead the team on the park and as a result earn a berth in the Socceroos”.

“I’m a WA boy through and through and hopefully I’ll be back one day to play in front of my family and friends. I’d like to thank the fans who’ve embraced me along the way and I’ll always be grateful for their support. In the meantime I’m looking forward to helping the team with its quest for another Hyundai A-League finals campaign and hopefully a third championship.”

Risdon began his professional career with Perth Glory FC in 2010 at the young age of 18 where he has now amassed 127 matches, making him the club’s most capped player in Hyundai A-League history. Along the journey he has appeared for the Socceroos three times, including a friendly against England. Risdon was given the captain’s armband mid-way through last year and is a former winner of the club’s Most Glorious Player (MGP) award.



Perth Glory have opened contract negotiations with defender Josh Risdon for next season amid speculation he has already signed with Western Sydney Wanderers. The Socceroos right-back has been linked to a move to Belgium during this month’s transfer period, while several A-League clubs have inquired about the out-of-contract 24-year old’s status. But with a proposed deal for 2017/18 on the table, Glory are increasingly hopeful about retaining the services of Risdon.



Central Coast Mariners defender Scott Galloway says his side have developed something of a habit of conceding sloppy goals this season. Central Coast have let in the most goals of any team in the A-League, conceding 31 in 14 games, and Galloway believes it has come part and parcel of his team’s form.

“We switch off at the wrong times and concede sloppy goals,” Galloway, who switched to Central Coast shortly after the season began from Melbourne Victory, said. “We have to work for our goals but we seem to give them away cheap. It just kind of seems to be the story of our season.”

The weekend 3-2 loss to league leaders Sydney FC saw Galloway get on the scoresheet for the first time since this summer. But the fullback says his individual accolade counts for nothing given Central Coast failed to pick up points. “It was nice to score the goal but I still wasn’t happy with my performance,” he commented.

“In the first half I could have given away a goal with the mistakes I made. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet but in the end it means nothing because we don’t get the points.” Central Coast are second from bottom in the A-League and preparing to travel to Wellington Phoenix, who sit just one rung above them.



Promising 19-year-old Australian midfielder Daniel De Silva is set to leave Eredivisie side Roda JC after falling out of favour. De Silva, 19, has made nine appearances this season but he's managed just one outing in his team's last seven league fixtures.

De Silva joined Roda in August 2015 from Perth Glory on a two-year loan, a deal which is set to expire at the end of the 2016/17 campaign. The attacking midfielder is not part of the Roda squad currently in Portugal for a training camp and, although his future is unclear, he is expected to remain in Europe.



League One club Bury have taken Cameron Burgess on loan until the end of the season as part of a triple transfer swoop to boost their defence. In a busy afternoon for the Shakers, they brought in 21-year old Burgess and fellow youngster Taylor Moore, from Fulham and Bristol City respectively, along with Reece Brown.

Burgess entered the Fulham academy in 2011 after playing juniors with ECU Joondalup. Comfortable in the centre of defence and on the left, he helped Fulham to the FA Youth Cup final in 2013/14 and has made four league appearances for the Cottagers. He gained 17 outings for Cheltenham Town while on loan last season and similar deal this term saw him play 31 times for Oldham Athletic.



Adelaide United midfielder Jesse Makarounas has praised former club Melbourne Victory for its youth development but says he has no regrets about leaving. Makarounas has played eight games for Adelaide this season after gaining 36 appearances for Melbourne between 2013 and 2016.

Makarounas began his senior career with Perth Glory in 2011 but managed four outings in two years. He shares similar stories with former teammates Connor Pain (Central Coast Mariners), Scott Galloway (Mariners), Andrew Nabbout (Newcastle Jets) and Joey Katebian (Brisbane Roar) who all left Victory to further their careers.

“I enjoyed over three years at Victory, I enjoyed my time a lot but for me on a personal level I wanted to try and move away and get some more game time,” Makarounas said. “That’s football, you have to move to where you think is going to be the best place for yourself so that was the decision I went with.”

“I learned so much while I was there and I’m sure a lot of other boys did as well. From my perspective I think the youth part of it has a pretty good development system. Victory’s such a big club and they always have great foreign and Australian players as well so I guess it makes it hard to break into regular game time there.”

22-year old Makarounas faces his former club for the second time this season at home tonight. Adelaide have been cut three points adrift at the foot of the A-League ladder whereas Melbourne are second but with a game in hand over leaders Sydney FC. “It’s always good to win against your old team,” Makarounas said.

“I think with the run they're on at the moment getting a win over them will be that much sweeter. I feel like I’ve improved a lot since I came down (to Adelaide) playing some games and I’m enjoying myself. I’ve settled into the team well and all the boys are well, the club’s good and I’m enjoying myself.”

“Life-wise it’s good but football-wise it could be better if the team had the results but I’m enjoying it here. We’re down the bottom and we need to pick up as many points as we can. Not so much to disrupt their form but to get ourselves on a roll, it’ll be a really big game in that respect.”



Perth Glory Women’s season has been outstanding and the side sit in second place on the Westfield W-League table, only two points behind league leaders Sydney FC, with a game in hand. Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski was delighted with the come from behind win against Melbourne Victory on Sunday, a five goal thriller.

“Not many times in my playing or coaching career have I been involved in a game where one team scores all of the five goals, but only wins 3-2,” he joked. “We started the game very strong with a clear mindset to win the game, and we pressed from the first minute and tried to win the ball higher up the park.

“But we were not patient enough in our build up and wanted to finish the game in the first half. Yes we did create a few good chances but didn’t score and result of it the players became a little frustrated. But after the break we scored the early goal and looked like we would run away with it.

“But what transpired was like a movie plot, scoring two own goals to lose the lead. But in saying that we still had control of the game but we needed a spark, and that was provided by the whole team who lifted the intensity to the next level and sure enough we levelled from the penalty spot.

“From that point on I believed we were always going to win, you could see it in the players’ faces – the desire to score again and we pressed late and it was rewarded with Rosie scoring the winner. The win sets a great platform for us and the upcoming game on the road against a very good Canberra side, to keep the pressure on Sydney FC.”



Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is excited by the prospect of attacking trio Adam Taggart, Andy Keogh and Diego Castro teaming up regularly after combining to good effect last night. Glory claimed their first win in six games with a 2-1 triumph over Wellington Phoenix at Perth Oval, where the trio combined for the match-winner from Taggart early in the second half.

Johnny Warren medallist Castro and off-season recruit Taggart have both had their injury troubles this season, affecting their availability. “That’s only their fourth game they’ve played together and we’re into round 14,” Lowe said. “Any side wants their good players on the pitch and any side wants their good players firing, at the moment we seem to have those guys.”

Taggart has scored five times in nine appearances this term and Lowe said his goal return was outstanding. “If you go from day one, his very first game he scored,” Lowe said of the 2013/14 A-League Golden Boot winner. “Goals per minute, if you worked out how long he’s been on the pitch, he’d be up there with anyone in the league.”



Perth Glory kept the pressure on Westfield W-League leaders Sydney FC after scoring twice in the final 10 minutes to secure a crucial 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. It was tight first half but all the action came after the break, Skipper Sam Kerr opened the scoring five in, but Victory hit back with a helping hand from the Glory, Arianna Romero and Alyssa Mautz both scoring own goals. But a penalty from Vanessa DiBernardo and a late striker Rosie Sutton had the Glory faithful on their feet in celebration.

“It’s obviously hard looking at the clock ticking down, but we stayed positive. A win’s a win, so we’re happy,” Kerr said. “We didn’t deserve it up until the 60th minute, when we really put things into gear and got working. I think we deserved the win in the end. We picked up our game and we played well as a team, so we’re happy. The ball’s in our court (for the rest of the season). If we win our last three, we finish top. We’re happy to make the four, but to go one or two would obviously be a bonus.”

The Glory made just the one change from the side that drew with Newcastle Jets last week, with Melissa Maizels replacing Gabby Dal Busco between the sticks. The home side made a good start and Kerr was sent clear by Sutton but she fired straight at Bianca Henninger in the Victory goal. Moments later Nikki Stanton fired over the top from a long-range free kick, before Victory skipper Christine Nairn’s free kick whistled inches wide.

But five minutes into the second half the home side made the breakthrough. Stanton’s corner picked out Kerr, who rose highest to head past Henninger. The home faithful didn’t have that long to celebrate as two minutes later the Victory levelled. Nairn’s corner deflected off the unfortunate Romero for an own goal. The Glory almost regained the lead sixty seconds later, Kerr’s header crashing off the crossbar. Then on the hour the Victory hit the front, again with a helping hand from the Glory, this time Mautz putting it past Maizels. Kerr was on fire for the Glory, going close on two occasions, but on 79 minutes the speedy striker was brought down in the box and referee Kate Jacewicz pointed to the spot.

American import DiBernardo stepped up to take the penalty and finished low past Henninger, making amends for her missed penalty against Newcastle last Monday. Then five minutes from time the Glory won it. A ball into the box caused havoc, and in the goalmouth scramble that ensued saw Henninger produced two good saves, before Sutton poked home from close-range to set off celebrations on and off the pitch.



Perth Glory Youth side moved within four points of Foxtel National Youth League Conference A leaders Brisbane Roar, after beating them 2-0 in Week 6 at A.J. Kelly Park on Sunday morning. The home side thrashed the Glory 0-6 in the opening game of the season, but in the reversal goals from Kosta Petratos and skipper Joe Knowles won it for the youngsters and pleased Head Coach John Gibson, who said it showed how much the group has improved. “Pretty happy with the performance today from the group against a side who currently sits first in our conference but a team that handed a huge loss in the first game of the season,” he said.

“We started strongly and scored early - after that we controlled the rest of the half and possibly could have scored a few more. However, second half we knew Brisbane we're going to come out strong - which they did but we held strong and came out with a positive result. A fantastic week away and a great road trip producing two wins - its super pleasing for the whole group. Recent performances and form has been pleasing but this group has more improvement and look forward to our remaining two home games.”

The Glory, who were bolstered with former Socceroo Rhys Williams in the line-up, made the perfect start and hit the front after only four minutes. Petratos, the brother of Roar’s Dimitri, who was in the crowd to watch him, cut in from the left just outside the 18-yard box, and on an angle curled home superbly of the underside of the bar. The home side almost levelled six minutes later, Nicholas D’Agostino run ended with a cut back to Shannon Brady, who was only inches away from the ball in the penalty area.

The sides took a well-earned drinks break half way through the half, and it seemed to help the Glory and they doubled their lead on the half hour. Skipper Knowles was picked out by a pass from Ross Millard, and he calmly finished low past Tomislav Bilic. Both sides pressed late in the half but the Glory youngsters went to the shed with a two goal lead.

The Glory held firm early in the second half as the Roar lifted looked to reduce the margin, and Nicholas Panetta’s free kick flashed just wide of Nick Feely’s upright on the hour. Moments later Joe Champness found space down the flank, but his dangerous cross missed everyone in the penalty area. The Roar had a penalty claim turned down by referee Daniel Olson after Brady’s shot stuck the arm of Glory defender, but the official waved away their protests.

Moments later Champness shot rattled the post, and the Glory were defending in numbers. The Roar went close again two minutes from time, after Panetta’s in-swinging cross picked out Dane Ingham, but he couldn’t find the target. There was four minutes of stoppage time but the Glory stood firm to take the three points.



Perth Glory had to come from behind to win their first game in seven, after a 2-1 win against Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium on Thursday evening. The visitors were handed the lead on 11 minutes when Roy Krishna’s shot under Glory keeper Liam Reddy, the goal was the 4,000th scored in the A-League, but one Reddy will not want to watch again. But his blushes were sparred with a stunner from skipper Rostyn Griffiths just before half time and a header from Adam Taggart won it for Kenny Lowe’s side after the break.

Glory striker Andy Keogh said they deserved the win and believes they can finish the season well. “We’ve got the players, we just need a bit more consistency, a bit more of a settled back four and we go from there,” he said. “We had a little more composure on the ball [tonight] and played the simple passes, and we deserved the victory.” Lowe said the trio up front are gelling nicely. “That’s only their fourth game they’ve played together and we’re into round 14,” he said. “Any side wants their good players on the pitch and any side wants their good players firing, at the moment we seem to have those guys. Hopefully (they’ll stay fit), you keep your fingers crossed.”

Lowe made one change to the side that drew with Western Sydney Wanderers last time out with Milan Smiljanic coming in for the suspended Brandon Wilson. It was the Phoenix who started the brighter and Krishna was sent clear after only six minutes, but Reddy was out quick to clear the danger. But five minutes later the visitors hit the front. Shane Smeltz picked out Krishna, whose shot was straight at Reddy, but the ball squeezed under the body of the Glory custodian and into the net.

The Phoenix continued to dominate and Adam Parkhouse shot on the run was saved by Reddy, and moments later Kosta Barbarouses shot was saved by the busy Reddy. It was a subdued Glory and Reddy produced a great save to deny former Glory striker Smeltz on 23 minutes, before Barbarouses stung the palms of the keeper again just before half time. It was a half to forget for the Glory faithful, but in stoppage time they were off their seats, Griffiths’ long-range shot flew into the net to level.

With Lowe’s half time address still ringing in their ears the Glory started the second half well and Griffiths tried his luck again from distance, but it was straight at Glen Moss, The Glory had the ball in the net on 49 minutes, Diego Castro’s through ball sent Keogh into goal, and the Irishman finished well, but the flag was up for offside. But on 51 minutes the Glory were ahead. Keogh found space down the left and whipped in a cross to Taggart, who lost his marker and head home, much to the delight of the 9,210 crowd.

The Phoenix suffered another blow on the hour when Roy Krishna was shown a straight red card by referee Shaun Evans, for a lung on defender Shane Lowry. It looked a little harsh, but his studs were up, but it meant the Phoenix had to play the final half hour with 10-men. The Glory went in for the kill and Joe Mills’ ball picked out Lowry, whose header is well saved by Moss. Despite dominating the Glory couldn’t find the third goal and late on Roly Bonevacia almost nicked a point for the visitors, his shot saved well by Reddy to secure the points.



Perth Glory will be looking for their first win in six games when they entertain Wellington Phoenix in the ‘Long Distance Derby’ at the nib Stadium tonight (Wednesday - 6pm). Just two points separate fifth-placed Glory from Wellington in eighth, giving added importance to the game, and throw in a likely debut of Phoenix’s Kiwi international – and ex-Glory striker Shane Smeltz - and there is plenty to like about tonight’s encounter. It was Glory that got the points when these sides met earlier in the season (a 2-0 win in Rd two) but much has changed since then. While Kenny Lowe’s side picked up two away draws against Melbourne City and the Wanderers over the Summer of Football, it’s now time to give the home fans something to cheer.

After back-to-back away draws, Kenny Lowe’s side need to get their home form back on track, after losing their last two games against Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC. Lowe is hoping the road trip to the east coast will give them a springboard for a late-season surge, starting against the Phoenix. “We had two road trips last year, won two on the one trip and won one and drew one on the second,” he said. “This season we’ve had two draws, so it seems to suit us.”

The return of Diego Castro has given the Glory a huge boost, but Lowe said the performance of other players has also improved. “We’re getting Cas (Castro) back, which is really good, and Taggs (Taggart) is lively – he’s getting more game time into himself,” he said. “Shane Lowry played his first game back and Milsy (Joe Mills) is getting to grips with things. We’ve got a good group of people starting to hit their straps, so hopefully we can kick on.” In team news Brandon Wilson and Dino Djublic are both suspended for the game, with Nebojsa Marinkovic likely to come into the middle of the park.

There will be a few familiar faces in the Phoenix squad, with former Glory striker Shane Smeltz and keeper Lewis Italiano in their squad, along with former ECU Joondalup Captain Ryan Lowry. Interim Phoenix Coach Chris Greenacre said the striker could come into the side. “I think its ruthlessness, being really determined to score a goal, and we just seem to be lacking that,” he said. “Going in with everything you’ve got, the old cliché about going in where the boots are flying and it’s dangerous and having the real killer instinct.

“We just don’t seem to have that, it’s something that’s just natural, you can’t coach it, that instinct to be where the ball is and I’ve no doubt that Shane would have scored against Adelaide.” In team news Vince Lea misses the game due to suspension, and Michael McGlinchey is still missing with a calf injury, and Alex Rodriguez and Matthew Ridenton will be in the mix to replace Lea.


Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Nick FEELY, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 8 Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 14 Chris HAROLD, 16 Joe MILLS 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Aryn WILLIAMS, 21 Jamal REINERS, 22 Adam TAGGART, 23 Kosta PETRATOS, 24 Milan SMILJANIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: WARREN (promoted), FEELY (promoted), REINERS (promoted), PETRATOS (promoted) – Out: Brandon WILSON (Suspended – I week)

Wellington Phoenix: GK Glen MOSS, GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Jacob TRATT, 4 Roly BONEVACIA, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 7 Gui FINKLER, 8 Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9 Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11 Hamish WATSON, 12 Adam PARKHOUSE, 13 Marco ROSSI, 16 Louis FENTON, 19 Tom DOYLE, 21 Roy KRISHNA, 22 Andrew DURANTE (c), 23 Matthew RIDENTON, 24 Logan ROGERSON, 99 Shane SMELTZ - *two to be omitted* - Ins: FENTON (promoted), ROGERSON (promoted), SMELTZ (new signing) - Outs: Vince LIA (suspended – 1 week)



Perth Glory Youth side have won back-to-back after a 2-0 win against Melbourne Victory at the Epping stadium on Wednesday morning. John Gibson’s side beat Victory in their last game before Christmas, and goals from Kostas Petratos and Joe Knowles were enough in this reverse meeting, and it moved the youngsters to within three points of second placed Adelaide United, and seven points behind Conference A league leaders Brisbane Roar.

It was a lively opening to the game with both sides having half chances, but it was the Glory who hit the front on 14 minutes. Petratos was brought down in the box and referee James Hortle pointed to the spot. Petratos picked himself up and fired past Victory keeper Lucas Spinella to give the Glory the lead. Dejan Spaseski and Jamel Reiners also went close as the Glory put pressure on the home side.

The Victory custodian then produced a great save to deny Knowles, as the Glory looked to add to their lead. The home side settled and went closer themselves on the half hour. Pierce Waring raced past Marc Warren, but his shot from the angle flew over the top. Moments later George Howard lost his marker in the penalty area, but his header was off target.

The Glory opened the second half well and defender Callum Goulding did well to clear Knowles’ shot off the line, and Scott Robertson fired the follow up shot wide. With that let off the Victory almost levelled just after the hour. Pierce Waring picking out Nicholas Sette, but his shot flashed wide of the target. With Victory pushing men forward the Glory went close to the second with Gian Albano and Daniel Stynes going close. But the points were made safe for the Glory on 80 minutes, Knowles finding space in the penalty area and the skipper fired past Spinella.



ECU Joondalup have signed talented keeper Fraser Greenwood for the 2017 PS4NPLWA season. The former Bayswater City custodian will fill the void left by Lewis Italiano who re-joined A-League side Wellington Phoenix at the end of last season, and the 21-year-old is looking forward to the challenge. “With the standard set extremely high from Lewis last season, it feels nice to be included this coming season,” he said. “Yes I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I’m itching to show everyone how I can assist in what's already a fantastic looking team.”

Greenwood played a number of first team games for Bayswater last season and also helped the under 23’s to the league and Cup double, and the decision to leave was a difficult one. “No one likes moving from club-to-club but when there's only one position on the park and you’re at a club with one of the best goal keepers in the state, it's always going to be a struggle to get game time,” he explained. “I've spent a couple seasons with Bayswater, and don't regret a minute of it and they have an outstanding bunch of guys both on and off the park.”

The former Bunbury Dynamos, Shamrock Rovers, Perth Glory Youth, Floreat and Bayswater custodian said once he got the call from ECU it wasn’t a hard decision to move to the club. “Steve McGarry gave me a call a while back just asking what my plans were for next year and I told him I just want to be playing first team football again,” he said. “He basically told me that ECU needed a new keeper, and the rest is history, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Jacks Coach Dale McCulloch said it’s a great signing for the club. “We’re delighted to have signed Fraser, who we believe is a one of the best young keepers in the league,” McCulloch said. “He impressed for Bayswater last season and he was one we were looking at, and we believe he will be a great acquisition for us in 2017.”

McCulloch said the club have some talent keepers and whoever takes over the number one shirt will do a job for the club. “With the help of goalkeeping coach Andy Petterson, all our keepers will be pushing for the starting role, and whoever takes the position, they will have big shoes to fill after Lewis (Italiano) starred last season between the sticks,” he said.

“Fraser has impressed the Coaching staff and is a player we’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, and he knows it’s a performance based gig, and if he continues with his form he will be the number one. We had the best defence in the league for the second half of last season and we will be looking to do the same in 2017, and the signing of Fraser has given us a massive boost.’

Greenwood had a stint with A-League side Perth Glory’s Youth side, and he said it gave a glimpse of what it’s like to play at the next level. “I think it gives you an insight to what it's like to play in a professional environment and of course it's something I'd like to do again,” he explained. “At the moment I'm trying to put myself in a position to play at the highest possible standard, and perform well for ECU Joondalup, but if something further comes along that would be a bonus.”

The tall keeper has worked with Jacks goalkeeping coach Andy Petterson in the past and said he’s learnt a lot form the former Charlton Athletic custodian. “From my first goalkeeping coach when I moved to Perth in Willy McNally, to seven years down the track to Andy (Petterson), every coach has played a part to where I am now,” he said. “Each coach has been different and helped me develop at different parts of my journey to date. I'm eager to get stuck in with Andy again, and I'm sure he will be quick to jump on me about something I need to change, from what I here.”

After just missing out on the Top Four Final last season the Jacks are determined to go one better, and Green wood said he’s ready for the fight. “I think signing basically every player from last season is a pretty clear indication that the clubs doing something right,” he said. “They have all made it clear they're not content with just settling for a top four finish. With the run home ECU had last season, it's not ambitious to say everyone here wants to go all the way this year, and I’m hoping to help them.”



Veteran striker Lisa De Vanna still has the desire to continue her long and illustrious international career, but says she must plan playing commitments carefully to look after her body. De Vanna started a guest stint with W-League club Canberra United on Tuesday, as she prepares to get herself in shape for the 12-team Algarve Cup competition Australia will contest in Portugal in March.

De Vanna, a two-time FIFA World Cup All-Star team representative, didn't play for almost a month following Australia's 2016 Olympic Games quarter-final elimination in Brazil in mid-August. She featured in the last three matches of the National Women's Soccer League season for Orlando Pride but hasn't played since their campaign ended in late September.

"I had a bit of a break, I want to focus on my coaching and I want something different," said De Vanna after joining Canberra, her sixth senior Australian club. "So I decided to come to Canberra, where it's a good team environment. It's a place that I've been training for the last two years and it's just completely football, because my main goal is to be ready for the Algarves."

De Vanna has amassed 117 caps and 40 goals since her Matildas debut in 2005 and her appetite for international competition clearly hasn't been sated. "I'm 32 years old so I have think carefully about what I do next because I need to look after my body," she said. "I really enjoy playing for my national team, so for me to do that at such a high level, I need to look after my body."

De Vanna had no opportunity to exert a major influence on her first game for Canberra United in their 6-1 away loss to W-League leader Sydney FC. She was injected into the game at Lambert Park just before the hour with her team trailing 4-0. "That was tough 1-0, 2-0 you still have a chance to change something," she said. "But when it's four or five, all you can do is just keep working."



Injury-prone striker Eli Babalj will start trialling with Western Sydney Wanderers this week as the A-League club looks to solve its goalscoring issues. Free agent Babalj has spent the last year recovering from an ACL rupture suffered during a loan spell with Adelaide United last season.

The 24-year-old twice-capped Socceroo has since left his Dutch parent club AZ Alkmaar and paid his own way through rehabilitation in Belgium. Western Sydney are keen to see how he's coming following Kerem Bulut's recent departure and with Brendon Santalab suspended for three games.

Babalj, who has also played A-League for Melbourne Heart, will begin training with the Western Sydney squad tomorrow in a bid to win a contract. "He's coming over to train," Popovic said. "The boy has been out for a very long time and we're going to give him the opportunity to train and see where he's at."



If road trips can change people, then Perth Glory boss Kenny Lowe sure hopes this one's done a job on them. A fortnight ago the Glory's A-League season looked on a path to nowhere, the team's performances stagnating as much as their woeful results. But something happened on the east coast between Christmas and New Year.

The team displayed a new resilience in drawing with Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers, prompting Lowe to predict they can provide the springboard for a late-season surge. "Hopefully," Lowe said. "We had two road trips last year, won two on one trip and won one and drew one on the second. This one we've had two draws so it seems to suit us."

Glory's defensive fight stood out against Western Sydney, who they kept at bay for much of the game after Adam Taggart's 14th-minute opener which was eventually cancelled out by Jaushua Sotirio in the second period. The overall improvement has coincided with Diego Castro's return to the starting line-up, but Lowe insisted out others were also finding form.

"We're getting Cas (Castro) back which is really good and Taggs (Taggart) is lively - he's getting more game time into himself," Lowe commented. "Shane Lowry played his first full game back and Millsy (Joseph Mills) is getting to grips with things. We've got a good group of people starting to hit their straps, so hopefully we can kick on."

If you have any additional information on Western Australian soccer that we have left out, or if you would like to get in contact, email Jacob at jacob@footballwa.net

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