Bayswater's Jamie Coyne and Subiaco's Danny Milne in action in season opener.

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29.3.2015

FFA CUP THIRD ROUND REVIEW

Mandurah City moved into the Fourth round of the FFA Cup after a 6-0 win against fellow Division One side Gosnells City at the Hyundai Stadium on Saturday. “We’re extremely pleased with the application of the whole squad,” he said. “We knew it would be tough and the result is a little unfair on Gosnells, but the lads took every chance.” The home side dominated and Luke Johnston fired over from close range early. But it wasn’t long before they hit the front; a quality ball from Jordan Rhodes found the overlapping Mark McGlaughlin, who finished clinically. It was 2-0 before the break, Johnstone finishing off after a great team move. After the break they added four more, O’Brien shot on the turn on 53 minutes made it 3-0, before Rhodes added the fourth from the spot. O’Brien added his second, before youngsters Michael Fleming and Dylan Risk combined for Abe Tucoma for the sixth.

Curtin University ended Port Kennedy cup run, running out 4-1 winners. Jon Krawec, Nathan Smith and Khaled Salhah as well as an own goal, were enough to get the job done for the home side against a gallant Port Kennedy side. Wanneroo City new coach Matt Debarro won his first match in charge, after a 5-4 penalty shootout win against Ellenbrook United. The Roos were down to ten men after 30 minutes, when Lyon Varney was sent off. Ellenbrook scorers were Nathan Hibbert and an own goal, while John Monterosso and Joey Woodin for the Roos. David McNally was the hero converting the winning penalty. “It was a great performance to dominate majority of the game with 10 men we still had control and was a very good performance for only 3 training sessions,” Debarro said. “Things are coming together nicely and the future is looking bright for the team and the club, a special thanks to the people who came down and supported us today.”

In other results on Saturday Ashfield beat Hamersley Rovers 4-0, with goals from Liam Merigan 2, Sean Byrne and great solo goal from Alex Stamatiadis. Joondalup United beat Olympic Heat 9-0, Callum Stocks scoring five, Josh Whitmore and Lee Jones 2 and an own goal. Sunday amateur side Gwelup Croatia caused the biggest upset on Saturday, thrashing Kelmscott Roos 11-1. Former Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry scored four, Mwansa Musonda a hat-trick, John Cafferkey a brace and singles to Jordan Constanza and Benny Kovadio. Swan United beat Kingsway Olympic 2-1. Former Swan midfielder Andy O’Neill scored for Olympic, while Callum Burton and Anthony Papalia were on target for Swan. Melville City beat Twin City 7-1, Christian Long scoring a hat-trick, with Mark Lucas, Simon El Chami, Barry Richards and Sasa Slavujevic on target. Josh Harvey, Lee Stewart, Ryan Francis and Ryan Risdon scored in South West Phoenix’s 4-0 win against Bunbury Dynamos. Other results Kingsley beat Balga 2-1, UWA-Nedland overcame Eaton Dardanup 5-0, while North Lake beat Chapman Athletic 5-0. In Sunday’s games North Perth United beat East Fremantle Tricolore 4-1, with Ray Maloney scoring a brace. Goals from David Johnstone, Branimir Mikulic , Adam Kostrencic and Hussein Naser gave Freemantle Croatia a 4-1 win against Jaguar FC, while Fremantle City beat beat Kwinana United 2-1, with Nicky O’Brien scoring both. In other games Rockingham City beat Whitfords City 10-1, BB United beat Backpackers FC 3-1, while Cracovia FC beat Emerald FC 5-4 0n penalties, after the game ended 2-2 at normal time. Other results are not available at this time.

28.3.2015

BAYSWATER OPEN TITLE DEFENCE WITH A WIN

Bayswater City started their title defence with a 3-1 win against Subiaco AFC at Frank Drago Reserve. The home side were leading 3-0, with first half goals to new signing Hayden Doyle, Damian Catalano, and a second half header from Chris Saldaris, but they gifted Subiaco a goal just after the hour, with Matt Akehurst scoring, and Coach Chris Coyne said they were sloppy at the back, and he said they have to improve. “We got sloppy in the second half, tired legs, tired minds, I will watch the tape and we’ll go from there, but we need to do better,” he said. “The pitch is spongy and we tried near the end, and we made some poor decisions, and if they had scored again it would have been a close finish, so a good result but a disappointing performance” he said. “

Both sides had early chances, Subiaco striker Jackson Darnell was thwarted early by Devon Spence after only three minutes, before Saldaris and Jamie Coyne both hit the woodwork for Bayswater. But on ten minutes the home side made the break through, Doyle racing clear from Paul McCarthy’s through ball, and the former Stirling Lions midfielder fired low past Ryan Montgomery.

The home side continued to press and Saldaris headed over five minutes later, before Montgomery saved well to deny Sam Mitchinson. Bayswater’s dominance was rewarded in first half stoppage time with a second. Doyle burst down the right and pulled the ball back to Catalano who fired home from the edge of the penalty area.

Bayswater opened the second half well and made it 3-0 ten minutes into the second half, Saldaris rising high at the back post to head home David Heagney’s corner. After conceding Subiaco changed their formation and they were back in the game on 66 minutes. Danny Miller and Josh Booysen combined to feed Akehurst who fired low past Spence.

Subiaco were now in the game and holes began to appear at the back for Bayswater, and Spence was called into action on a number of occasions, and James Oliver headed over when unmarked in the box. Bayswater continued to look dangerous on the attack and they hit the woodwork again on 80 minutes, Doyle was on the end of a superb team move, but his shot on the run crashed off the post.

28.3.2015

VITTIGLIA HEADS PERTH HOME

Perth Soccer Club opened their season with a hard fought 1-0 win against ECU Joondalup at Dorien Gardens. A Reece Vittiglia’s header midway through the second half won it for Taki Nicolaidis’ side but the game could have gone either way. Perth skipper Ashley Rosindale said they deserved the victory against a good ECU outfit “I was very pleased to get the points, and I felt that we had plenty of possession and control of the game,” he said. “ECU did very well defensively, but we kept our shape well, and it’s always nice to win the opening game of the season, so I’m delighted.”

The home side had plenty of possession early, Carlo Coelho forced ECU goalkeeper Jamie Serra into a good save, before Vittiglia headed wide from Calum O’Connell’s cross. The visitors went close moments later, Danny Dixon picked out new signing Josh Tucker, but his long-range shot flew inches past the post. Then on the half hour ECU had the ball in the net, Scott Bushby made space on the edge of the penalty area, his shot was saved by Alex Dunn, and the rebound fell to Dixon who fired home, but the flag was up for offside. It was a tight affair but Perth went in level at half time.

After the break the lively Tommy Amphlett then found himself through on goal on the hour mark, but could not hit the target. Perth responded by having their best spell of the second half, Rosindale and Vittiglia both forced Serra into fine saves from long range, before the pair combined on 67 minutes for the decisive goal. Rosindale cross found Vittiglia at the back post and the former Sorrento striker headed home past Serra. ECU pressed late but they couldn’t find the equaliser and it was Perth who began the season with the victory.

28.3.2015

BALCATTA STUNS LIONS WITH LATE BURST

Balcatta produced a stunning fight back in the final nine minutes of the game to beat a ten man Stirling Lions 3-2 in the local derby at Macedonia Park. The home side were cruising at 2-0, with goals to Daniel Micevski and Robert Petkov, but Gustavo Catarcione pulled one back, and the home side had former Balcatta striker Lawrence Shuruma sent off for a second yellow card. Then two goals in the final two minutes from Kieron Colwell and David Cyrus won it for Balcatta. “We showed great character it's always a big game in the derby,” Tong said. “We found our backs to the wall and the gaffer sent me and Kieron up front and it worked, I don't think we will ever do that in any other games in our careers.”

The first half was a tight affair with chances few and far between, but the second half was a classic. The Lions hit the front on the hour, Teeboy Kamara made space down the flank, and crossed into the penalty area, where Micevski held off his marker and firing low past Clint Davies from eight-yards. They doubled their advantage eight minutes later, Tim Hill finding Shuruma, who played in Petkov and he finished with aplomb.

It looked game over, but Balcatta Coach Ramon Falzon moved skipper Adam Tong and Kieran Stallard up front and they pulled a goal back on 81 minutes, substitute Catarcione curling home a free kick from the edge of the penalty area. The Lions were then reduced to ten men and Balcatta equalised two minutes from time, Stallard played in Colwell who buried his shot low past Connor Campbell.

Then sixty seconds later Balcatta won it. Lions were caught in possession straight from the kick off, and Cyrus surged forward and fed substitute Luke Randazzo on the wing. Cyrus continued his run, and when Randazzo cut the ball back the defender burst into the box, and finished low past Campbell at the second attempt, much to the delight of the travelling supporters.

28.3.2015

GULLS FLY HOME WITH THE POINTS

Sorrento began their new season with a 4-0 win on the road against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. The Gulls led at the break with a goal from Niccolo Sabatini, before English striker Sean Canham, Todd Harnwell and Jack Salter gave them a comprehensive victory. “We played well and created some good clear opportunities in the first half, unfortunately couldn't put them away and only went into the break 1-0 up,” Sorrento defender Danny Cain said. “They lifted after the break and they came out strong for the first 15 minutes of the second half, but once we got our second goal we were able to settle and control the game. “

The two teams had met recently in the Night Series, the Gulls coming out on top and they hit the front in this one on seven minutes. Sabatini raced forward, and wasn’t closed down and long-range shot flew past Luke Radonich. The Armadale custodian was in for a busy afternoon, as the Gulls pressed for a second, but at the break the Gulls led.

Armadale began the second half well and had Sorrento on the back foot. They went close to the equaliser when striker Raveshlan Kuppusamy’s shot from the edge of the box was saved low by James Morgan, at the second attempt. Moments later the home supporters thought they had levelled when Darren Francis’ header looked destined for the net, but new signing Brad McDonald cleared superbly off the line.

The home fans were right behind their side and substitute Thomas Covell then tried his luck, but his shot flashed inches past the post. But against the run of play Sorrento made it 2-0 on 73 minutes. Canham was brought down in the area by Mitch Castrilli and referee Shuo Chen pointed to the penalty spot, and Canham picked himself up to score from the spot. The Gulls went in for the kill and four minutes later they added a third. Harnwell wasn’t picked up at the back post and he scored low past Radonich.

With Armadale pushing men forward Sorrento began to open them up, and Radonich saved well on two occasions to deny them. But there was little he could do in the third minutes of stoppage time when Sorrento added a fourth. Canham was given far too much time on the flank and his deep cross picked out Salter at the back post, and the former Stirling Lions striker headed home.

28.3.2015

COCKBURN THRASH INGLEWOOD IN OPENER

Cockburn City continued their good pre-season form after thrashing Inglewood United at Intiga Stadium on Saturday evening. Irish import Rory Patterson scored four goals on his league debut for the club, while midfielder Conor Kavanagh added the fifth. Inglewood’s consolation came from John Thornley in stoppage time. “We scored some good goals today and we were well on top, but we were disappointed not to clean sheet, but obviously the three points is what matters most,” Patterson said

The visitors were ahead after only 11 minutes, Friday Zico found Kavanagh who crossed to the back post and Paterson headed past Aleks Vrteski. Then three minutes later the visitors doubled their lead, Kavanagh sending Patterson clear and he lobbed the on-coming Vrteski to give them a two goal buffer at the break.

Cockburn continued their domination after the break and added a third on the hour. Former Perth Glory midfielder Harry O’Brien ran at the Inglewood defence and slipped the ball through to Patterson who went one-on-one with Vrteski, and finished clinically for his hat-trick. Kavanagh got in on the act five minutes later, racing clear after a clever back heel from Patterson, and he fired home from six-yards.

They weren’t finished yet and with 15 minutes remaining they added a fifth. O’Brien again was the provider, his run and pass found Patterson again one-on-one with Vrteski, and the outcome was the same. Inglewood’s consolation came in stoppage time, Thornley header crashed off the bar and the ball rebounded into the net of Cockburn keeper Curtis Aspden.

28.3.2015

MACLAREN'S TRIPLE TREAT FOR OLYROOS

Perth Glory striker Jamie Maclaren bagged a hat-trick as the Olyroos began their road to the Rio Olympics with a comprehensive 6-0 win against Hong Kong in their opening AFC U-23 Championship qualifier on Friday night. Going into the game there were concerns of injuries to a number of Aurelio Vidmar’s squad, but they totally dominated a spirited Hong Kong with Melbourne Victory midfielder Connor Pain scoring a brace, while German-based Mustafa Amini was the other goal scorer.

Glory custodian Jack Duncan began between the sticks, while Danny De Silva was on the bench, but WA-born Adam Taggart was not risked as he seeks to return from injury. The Olyroos were ahead after only 13 minutes, Amini’s stunning long-range shot gave the Hong Kong keeper no chance. Jackson Irvine almost made it 2-0 moments later, but the Ross County midfielder’s shot was well saved.

But on 20 minutes the Olyroos did double their advantage, a solo run from Pain ended with the Victory star firing home. The hosts began to get back into the game but didn’t test Glory custodian Duncan, and at the break the Olyroos led 2-0.

WA-Born Ryan Williams was replaced early in the second half by Steven Ugarkovic, while De Silva and Jaushua Sotirio also made appearances off the bench. But it was Maclaren, who shone in the second half. He added his first and Olyroos third, before Pain added his second to make it 4-0.

The Glory striker added his second and the fifth for his side, but he kept the best till last. In stoppage time the Glory sharpshooter juggling effort in the box was finished with aplomb, to complete his hat-trick,

The Olyroos will next take on tournament hosts Chinese Taipei on Sunday before their final match against Myanmar on 31 March. The AFC U-23 Championship, which will be played in Qatar in 2016, doubles as the qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games, with the top three ranked teams stamping their ticket for Brazil. To progress to the AFC U-23 Championship the Olyroos need to top their Group F or be one of the best five second place teams.

Olyroos starting Line-up: GK Duncan, Geria, Donachie, Irvine, Smith, Brillante (De Silva), Edwards, Amini, Williams (Ugarkovic), Pain (Sotirio), Maclaren

27.3.2015

NPL-WA ROUND ONE – PREVIEW

The 2015 PS4 National Premier League WA bursts into action this weekend, and this season its first past the post who takes out the title. The match of the round is the local derby between Stirling Lions and Balcatta at Macedonia Park. The pair drew in the Night Series and this should be another tight encounter. Lions’ midfielder Tim Hill said it’s always a tough game in the local derby. “The game in the Night Series was a really tough game, but we know it would be as it was a derby,” he said. “They have picked up some good players but we prefer to focus on ourselves more than the opposition.”

The Lions lost a number of players in the off-season but Hill send the new lads have fitted in really well. “I thought the Night Series went quite well for us, considering the huge amount of players we've had leave us and all the new players we've had join as its progressed,” he explained. “We also picked up some good wins and only just missed out in the semi-finals, which was really good considering we had been written off by a lot of people.” The Lions have a full squad to choose from and will only be missing Michael Pugliese and Kryon Nunes through injury.

Balcatta had a good night series and have a good record at the venue, and midfielder Alex Caniglia said they hope to continue that on Saturday. “Stirling proved to be a difficult opponent in the night series so all that we can do is learn from that game,” he said. “The night series highlighted a lot of positives for our team as well as a few things that need to be worked on. It was unfortunate that we were knocked out during the group stage since we were leading the group for most of it but it allowed us to get to know the new players and how they will fit into the team and how we can use their strengths to help us win games, and we will be looking for all three points on Saturday.” In team news Adrian Caceres is carrying an injury and has been monitored all week, but apart from that Balcatta have a full squad to choose from.

Perth SC was edged out of the title last season and they began the 2015 campaign against ECU Joondalup at Dorrien Gardens. Perth skipper Clark Keltie, who misses Saturday’s game due to suspension, said they are expecting a tough game against Joondalup. “Having already had a look at Joondalup in the group stages I think it will be a good test on the opening day for us,” he said. “But it’s always important to open the season with a win and the boys have to be confident of getting the points regardless of who we play.” The former Darlington midfielder said they were disappointed not to have advanced further in the pre-season competition, but said there were some good signs. “I thought we could have and should have done better, but I was impressed with the amount of goals we scored, something we’ve improved on from last season,” Keltie explained. “We hope to continue that on Saturday and start the season on a high.” The home side will also be without Luka Njegich, who was injured in the Night Series, and he will be out for the season. We all wish him well on a speedy recovery.

ECU Joondalup skipper Jon Higgins, who missed part of the pre-season to get married, said the intensity at training has lifted this season. “I’m not sure if it’s me getting slower, but the training has been hectic since I returned,” he said. “The pace and intensity is the best I’ve seen at the club since I started, which bodes well for the season.” The midfielder believes Perth will be there or there about come the end of the season, so Saturday will be a good first up test. “They (Perth) have signed some quality players, so it always good to have a tough game first up and see where we are at,” he said. “We played them in the Night Series and it was a close game so we know what to expect. Then looking forward we’ve got Bayswater next week, so I’m sure all the questions should have been answered by then.”

In other games on Saturday, Bayswater City begins their defence of the title when they take on Subiaco AFC at Frank Drago Reserve. Chris Coyne’s side stuttered through the Night Series, but they go into this one as strong favourites, although Subiaco will have other ideas. Sorrento makes the trip to Alfred Skeet Oval to meet Armadale. Both sides struggled in the Night Series, and both will hope to get off to a good start, while new Inglewood United Coach Michael Garcia opens his tenure at the club with a home game against Cockburn City at Intiga Stadium. The final game of the round, between Perth Glory and Floreat Athena, has been re-scheduled for Anzac Day.

27.3.2015

INTO THE LOOKING GLASS: THE NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON-WA PREVIEW

The NPL-WA season kicks off this weekend in what should be another exciting year. Reigning State champions Bayswater City are looking to make it three titles in a row, and are widely expected to lead the race for top honours alongside Perth SC, however, it would take a brave person to write off Cockburn City and Floreat Athena. The battle at the other end of the table is likely to be just as tight, and with relegation back on the agenda, the likes of Subiaco AFC, Armadale and Perth Glory will be doing their best to avoid the dreaded drop..

The team which finishes top of the regular season table will represent West Australia in the national NPL play-off series, and for the first time since 2008 will also be champions, with the finals series being axed. This week the footballwa.net team takes a look at the twelve clubs, and are joined by Richard Kreider, author of the spendliferous ‘Paddocks to Pitches’, and Eamon Duffy, host of "Let's talk Football", in offering their thoughts on how season 2015 will pan out...

27.3.2015

FFA CUP THIRD ROUND – PREVIEW

The FFA Cup reaches the metropolitan area, and this weekend there will be 21 third round ties. The pick of Saturday’s game pits Division one sides Gosnells City and Mandurah City at the Hyundai Stadium. The pair met in the recent State League Night Series, with Mandurah running out winners and Gosnells coach Rob Eldridge will be looking to reserve that result on Saturday. “Mandurah are an extremely good footballing side but our youthful team are excited by the prospect of taking them on again on Saturday,” he said. “The lads have been training the house down and we played some great football against Wanneroo in a pleasing 2 nil victory last weekend. Everybody knows anything can happen in cup games and we know our army of Gosnells fans will be there to support the lads.”

Mandurah will travel north in a confident mood, but Coach Doug Hesketh knows cup games can go either way. “The FFA Cup is a great concept and we are hoping to progress in the competition, but we know it will be a tough game” he said. “The lads are keen to prove themselves and this cup game will give us the chance to mix a few of our younger squad members in the squad, so they Cn experience the occasion in the first team.” Jon Brooks will miss the game, while there are three players carrying niggling injuries and they may not be risked.

The Cup is all about upsets, and Port Kennedy will looking to cause on when they travel to Edinburgh Oval to take on Curtin University. Port coach Kris Donnell said they will be looking for the win. “It’s a game we have all been looking forward too, and we have prepared ourselves very well,” he said. “It’s always good to go up against a Saturday side to test ourselves, and we believe we can cause an upset if we do as planned. We won’t be sitting back put it that way.” New signings Chris Hanson, Simon Kelly, Gary Lunt and former Cockburn City striker Oscar Thompson, have settled in well and will give the visitors a boost in the game. Curtin coach Campbell Ballantyne said it should be a great day. “We’re really looking forward to the tie and the occasion,” he said. “We had some great battles with them in 2013 and they have a great travelling support. They won promotion last year so have clearly strengthened. We will have to be at our best.” Carlo Chiellini is doubt for the clash after suffering concussion last Friday. Other games on Saturday are: Ellenbrook United - Wanneroo City, Ashfield - Hamersley Rovers, Joondalup United - Olympic Heat, Kelmscott Roos - Gwelup Croatia, Kingsway Olympic - Swan United, Melville City - Twin City, South West Phoenix - Bunbury Dynamos, Balga – Kingsley, UWA-Nedlands FC - Eaton Dardanup.

On Sunday the pick of the games sees Shamrock Rovers making the trip to Tompkins Park where Perth Saints will be waiting. Saints coach Ben Fitzpatrick believes the national competition is great for the social football clubs. “The FFA Cup is a great addition to the national football calendar and we are delighted to take part and represent social football. To be honest I think we have drawn the toughest team possible at this stage of the Cup, in last season’s State League Division One Champions, but I am sure that they won’t enjoy coming to take us on,” he said. “They will undoubtedly be the favourites and will be expecting to rack up an easy win, but we have a very skilled side that wouldn’t look out of place in much higher levels of football in WA, so we hope to play our part in an entertaining game for those coming to watch. It’s a classic David & Goliath battle and who knows what can happen in the Cup. New signings Steven Green will play a huge role in the game along with last season’s golden boot winner Stuart Harris, while keeper Sam Collins will no doubt have his work cut out. Rovers’ coach John O’Reilly said they have nothing to lose and they will have to be at their best. “We are looking forward to the game and ready for a tough challenge,” he said. “It’s great to see the lower league teams in the competition, and it makes it exciting in the early rounds as the social and amateur teams looking to cause an upset.” “We will threat this game as per normal and the players are up for the challenge.” – In team news Dave Murphy is out injured, but they do retain the services of Dan Corbett.

The other games on Sunday are: Chapman Athletic - North Lake, BB United - Backpackers FC, Emerald – Cracovia, Kwinana United - Fremantle City, Ballajura – Busselton, Fremantle Croatia – Jaguar, Maccabi - Rockingham City, Whitford City - Joondalup City, North Perth United - East Fremantle Tricolore

26.3.2015

GLORY SKIPPER UNDER AN INJURY CLOUD

Perth Glory will need to end their nine games without a win, sooner rather than later, if they want to reclaim top spot in the A-League, but of more immediate concern is the fitness of skipper Michael Thwaite. The big defender left the training track early on Wednesday, after feeling tightness in his leg.

Glory officials were optimistic Thwaite will be fit to play in Saturday night's crunch clash with Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium, but the 31-year-old will have to pass a fitness test later in the week before he is given the green light. "To see him go off is a bit concerning," defender Scott Jamieson said. "But I had a quick chat and he said it's just tightness. A massage or two before Saturday, and he'll be fine."

The form of Kenny Lowe’s side is worrying, and they were flying high and were seven points clear in first spot in January but, with a nine-match winless run, they have slumped to fourth. Keeper Danny Vukovic returns for the Wanderers clash and he said they are desperate to reclaim top spot. “At the start of the season, we said top four was our goal, but you reassess as the season goes. We still want top spot," Vukovic said. "We had a wonderful season up until we stopped winning games, but we're still in amongst it. Confidence is obviously a little bit down. When you haven't won for so long, it happens. But that can change in one game."

Vukovic missed his first game of the season in last week's 1-1 draw with Central Coast due to a hip injury, but the veteran goalkeeper declared himself fit to return against the Wanderers. Olyroos keeper Jack Duncan performed well in Vukovic's absence last week, but a stoppage-time thunderbolt from Mariners midfielder Nick Montgomery changed all that. "Even if me and Jack were in the goal together, I don't think we could have saved it," Vukovic said. "It was a wonderful strike and worthy to draw the game for them."

The Glory will enter Saturday's match without young gun Danny De Silva, Duncan and striker Jamie Maclaren, with the trio called up for Olyroos duties. Rostyn Griffiths should be available after a slight injury last week, while Mitch Nichols will be monitored during the week after coming off injured against the Mariners.

But the Wanderers have even more personnel issues, with a host of players unavailable or in doubt, and Tomi Juric is with the Socceroos. Matthew Spiranovic (hamstring), Brendon Santalab (shoulder), Shannon Cole (collarbone), Brendan Hamill (quad), Mark Bridge (groin), Mateo Poljak (calf) and Nick Ward (knee) are all injured, and added to the Wanderers' woes is their hectic schedule, with the team to fly to Perth after Wednesday night's clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. "We're hoping they come over a little bit tired and depleted," Vukovic said. "It's a good opportunity to play them. They've got a lot of first-teamers out. So really it's a game we should be dominating."

26.3.2015

SOCCEROOS STUN THE GERMANS

Australia has built on their historic Asian Cup triumph by holding world champions Germany to a thrilling 2-2 draw in an international friendly in Kaiserslautern. Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus had opened the scoring early for the hosts, before James Troisi levelled before half time, and skipper Mile Jedinak put the Socceroos ahead with a stunning free kick just after break. But substitute Lukas Podolski struck against a tiring Australian defence in the 81st minute to spare the home side's blushes at a packed Walter Fritz Stadium.

Already missing first team regulars Tim Cahill and Matthew Spiranovic, Ange Postecoglou was also missing Massimo Luongo (groin) and Trent Sainsbury (knee). The coach handed a surprise international debut to 25-year-old Brisbane Roar defender Luke DeVere, who partnered Alex Wilkinson in central defence, while Matt McKay was preferred to Tommy Oar in midfield.

The Socceroos looked sharp early, and could have been two in front had they been sharper in front of goal, with Mathew Leckie and Nathan Burns causing Joachim Loew's side plenty of headaches. Leckie, who plays for German Bundesliga Division Two side FCIngolstadt 04, was causing problems with his pace to Germany's back three, and with Matt McKay and Mark Milligan pulling the strings in midfield, Australia had the best early chances and should have scored first.

Leckie wasted a great one-on-one opportunity in the ninth minute before Burns missed a free header from a superb McKay cross five minutes later. The hosts, who were tinkering with a new formation, looked vulnerable in the defence, but the Socceroos were equally shaky at times, and Germany hit the front on 17 minutes. Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira glided through a gap and found Reus, who finished with a glancing shot that gave Mat Ryan no chance.

The goal didn't force the Socceroos into a shell, with Jedinak forcing a great save out of Ron-Robert Zieler with a speculative long-range effort. But the Socceroos excellent first half performance was rewarded with the equaliser five minutes before the break. Burns made space down the left and his cross picked out Troisi who headed home past Zieler from eight-yards.

The game continued in end-to-end fashion after the break and the Socceroos took a surprise lead through their skipper Jedinak. Troisi was fouled on the edge of the penalty box and the Crystal Palace midfielder, brilliantly curled his free kick past Zieler at his near post. Germany started to mount heavy pressure on the Australian goal, and Ryan forced into several great saves to deny them and Alex Wilkinson producing some brilliant scrambling defence.

Tommy Oar, Aaron Mooy, Bailey Wright, Oliver Bozanic and Tomi Juric all came off the bench, but the home side were dictating terms and with nine minutes remaining and the Socceroos tiring, the German side levelled. Substitutes Andrew Schurrle and Podolski combined for the equaliser, but the Socceroos hung on for a well-deserved draw.

24.3.2015

JAMIESON 150 NOT OUT IN A-LEAGUE

This weekend, Perth Glory FC defender Scott Jamieson, will play his 150th A-League match against the Asian Champions, Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium. The 26-year-old, who joined from Sydney FC in 2012, said the time has flown by. “It’s amazing how time flies isn’t it” he said. “I still remember playing my first match for Adelaide, so to have played such a number of games at a relatively young age, yeah I guess I do pinch myself.”

Jamieson was signed by English Premier League club Bolton Wanderer as an 18-year-old, and he spent three seasons at The Trotters, before returning to the A-League with Adelaide United in 2008, and that season at the Reds he won the Young Player of the Year award. His good form for Adelaide was rewarded with a Socceroos call-up, under then coach, Pim Verbeek, playing four caps including an Asian Cup qualifier.

He then returned home to New South Wales and signed for Sydney FC, playing for the Sky Blues for two years before heading west to Glory, at the start of the 2012/13 season. “Moving to Perth has been great. I’m very happy here, and the aim for all the boys now is to be part of history and win some silverware for the club” he said.

If not for an Achilles injury which ruled him out for most of last season, Jamieson probably would have notched up his 150th milestone already. But now he is injury free he is really enjoying his football at the moment. “Getting injured made me realise how much I missed playing week-in week-out and I was hungry to get back out there this season. It certainly motivated me to play and play well,” he explained.

In January, Jamieson re-signed with Kenny Lowe’s side for a further two years with the possibility of a third, meaning he could be wearing purple until 2018. Next up he comes up against Western Sydney Wanderers, and he has special memories of the last time the two sides met when his curling free kick won the points, with a contender for ‘Goal of the Season’. “It would be nice to score against them this weekend but I’ll take the three points first in front of our home crowd any time” he said.

22.3.2015

GLORY LET IT SLIP LATE IN GOSFORD

Perth Glory’s form slump continued, when they conceded a stoppage-time goal to miss the chance to break their winless run after a 1-1 draw with Central Coast in Gosford on Sunday. Kenny Lowe’s side looked on track for their first win in nine games when super-sub Jamie MacLaren headed them in front with just 11 minutes left. But Nick Montgomery had the final say in the second minute of stoppage time, hitting a powerful shot from 25-yards, which flew into the top corner of the net.

In wet conditions the Glory opened brightly and went close to the opener after only seven minutes. Nebo Marinkvic’s powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area was touched on the bar by Liam Reddy, and Andy Keogh’s follow up shot was over the top. The Mariners, who were still in the hunt for a finals spot, went close moments later, Dino Djublic was caught in possession and Fitzgerald nipped in, but James Duncan was out quick and did enough to put the midfielder off, whose shot hit the post and rolled out safely.

Both sides were creating chances, but it was the Glory with the best off them, Scott Jamieson and Marinkovic’s long-range shots whistled wide. Then just before first half Keogh made space down the right, held off his marker, but his low cross into the penalty area was inches away from Mitch Nichols at the back post.

On the hour Maclaren came on for Danny De Silva, and on 79 minutes the Olyroos striker gave the Glory the lead. Marinkovic’s teasing corner picked out Maclaren, and his glanzing header flew past Reddy and into the corner of the net, and Glory travelling fans, on their Tour of Duty, celebrated. It looked like their first win in nine games has been heard, but the Mariners nicked a point in stoppage time.

A corner wasn’t dealt with and Michael Twaite’s scuffed clearance went straight to Montgomery, and the English midfielders shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Duncan no chance. It was no less than the Mariners deserved in an encouraging display but Glory’s Premiers’ Plate hopes have taken a hit, still without a win since January 2.

21.3.2015

ATHENA SPOT ON IN NIGHT SERIES DECIDER

Floreat Athena has won the 2015 PS4 National Premier League WA Night Series Final after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win against Cockburn City at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening. Lewis McMahon had given Floreat the lead midway through the second half, and it looked like they would win in normal time, but Rory Paterson equalised for Cockburn in stoppage time. But the Cockburn striker went from hero to villain, as it was his penalty that was saved by substitute keeper Nicholas Felekis to win the shoot-out for Athena. Floreat skipper Ludovic Boi was presented with the ‘Robbie Dunn Medal’ as the best player on the ground. “We struggled in the first half but all credit to Glen and the boys we came out in the second half and got the goal, and on the night I thought we created the better clear cut chances and could have nicked a few more,” Floreat striker McMahon said. “It was a good game I thought both sides had a fair crack at it, and were happy to come out on top.”

There was a big crowd on hand at kick off and it was Cockburn who dominated the early exchanges. Conor Kavanagh and Devon Gibson firing wide, before on 20 minutes Williams got back with a last ditch tackle to deny Cockburn striker Liam Murray. After the early onslaught Floreat steadied and on the half hour they had a strong penalty claim turned down by referee David Bruce, after Ludovic Boi was bundled down in the box by Euen Grant. Floreat ended the half the better and Gibson had to be alert to get back to deny Kris Gate, before Blair Govan’s curling shot flashed just wide of the post, but at the break it was scoreless.

A double change was made at the break by Floreat, with injured keeper Greenwood replaced by Felekis, while Bobby Wilson replaced the injured Gate. They started the second half as they finished the first, and were rewarded with the opener on 56 minutes. Robert Gasper began the move playing Govan down the left hand channel, and his low cross was turned home by McMahon from eight-yards. After dominating, Cockburn were now chasing the game but Floreat were in no mood to let it slip, and Felekis saved well to deny Paterson’s glancing header on 79 minutes. With Cockburn pushing men forward they almost conceded a second on 86 minutes, but Curtis Aspden saved low from Boi’s shot. The Cockburn custodian then saved Tom Allen’s shot from the edge of the penalty area.

It looked all over, but in the second minute of stoppage time Cockburn found the equaliser. Kavanagh’s free kick fell to Gibson, whose shot was well saved by Felekis, but Paterson was quickest to react to fire home the rebound from close-range. There was still time for Floreat to win it, and Clayton Arnez’s deep cross picked out McMahon at the back post, his header beat Aspden but Jonathan Corness cleared the ball off the line, and it was off to the penalty shoot-out. All players converted their spot kicks but with the 10th penalty Felekis saved to win it for Floreat.

21.3.2015

KNIGHTS EDGE OUT EAGLES

A ten-man Western Knights has beaten tradition rivals Dianella White Eagles 4 -3 in a penalty shoot-out to win the State League Night Series, in front of a big crowd at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening. After normal time the score was 1-1, but Knights goalkeeper Scott Rowe was the hero, saving two penalties in the shootout before Tom Southgate scored the Knights’ winning spot kick. “I thought we controlled the first half, but the sending off changed things,” Knights skipper Ben Coulter said. “The lads battled hard after the break and we kept our shape well and they really didn’t create too many opportunities, and we held our nerves in the shoot-out, so we’re delighted.”

It was a tight opening, but the Knights capitalised on the quarter hour, when Ross Cosgrove slotted home past keeper Yousri Gharsallah after a great build up. Eagles’ winger Jose Zuniga showed his pace out wide, but their long balls failed to find their mark, while the Knights looked sharper in midfield. But on the stroke of half time the Eagles were gifted a penalty, Shaun French bringing down Angel Andres Ribeira and referee Tom Glavovic pointed to the spot and sent the defender off. Ribeira kept his nerve to score from the spot to send the sides to the break level.

Despite being a man down, Western Knights continued to push forward, allowing Dianella to find gaps in the defence, but a great defensive display held them out. The Knights missed an opportunity to nick it late when Yves Mwila mistimed a pass across goal caused problems, but Gharsallah was alert to save. The Knights prevailing in a tense shoot-out, and coach Andy Thorburn said they deserved it. “We kept our defensive and midfield shape and we knew it was going to be hard to get possession high in the park,” he said. “But we’ve got a lot of experience in our team, we’ve tried to set ourselves up with the right boys for the way we want to play this year, and I think it paid off tonight.”

20.3.2015

GWELUP TAKE OUT AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES FINAL

Gwelup Croatia won a pulsating Amateur Night Series Final after a 6-5 penalty shootout win against Fremantle Croatia at Intiga Stadium on Friday evening. The game had everything, both sides were reduced to ten men, and after the game had ended 4-4, Gwelup held their nerve in the shoot-out. Skipper Ian O’Sullivan, who was carried off late in the game with an ankle injury, said they knew Fremantle would fight to the end. “We knew coming into the game it would be a tough test and they (Fremantle) never gave in, and after last week coming back from 0-3 down, we thought they would come at us, but we dug deep and I thought we deserved the win,” he said. “The sending off was a turning point, but it’s a derby and emotions run high, it spurred both sides on, but luckily we won it in the end.”

It looked like Gwelup were cruising at 3-0 up at half time, with a brace from Mwansa Musonda, and a stunner from Nicolas Tatasciore. But like last week Fremantle hit back with goals from Kevin Carmona and David Johnstone, before Jordan Costanzo made it 4-2. Johnstone’s second gave Fremantle hope and in the last minute Alen Galic levelled thing up, but Gwelup prevailed in a dramatic shoot-out.

Gwelup made a great start to the game and they were ahead after only nine minutes, Tatasciore cross from the right was headed home by Musonda at the back post. They were well on top and moments later Vincent Longo’s long-range shot was superbly saved by David Gasper. But on 20 minutes Gwelup doubled their advantage. Steven McGarry fed the lively Musonda on the left, he found Tatasciore, who long-range shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Gasper no chance.

Fremantle needed a quick response, and they were almost gifted a goal four minutes later. Kevin Carmona’s free kick was dropped by Gwelup custodian Francesco Capra, but Branimir Mikulic couldn’t convert the rebound, blazing over from eight-yards. It was the best period of the game for Fremantle and Troy Sillis’ header at the back post flashed wide. But three minutes before the break Gwelup made it 3-0. Musonda racing down the left, he cut inside his marker and fired home from the edge of the penalty area.

Fremantle began the second half well and reduced the margin on 53 minutes, Mikulic’s header was cleared off the line by O’Sullivan but Carmona fired home the rebound. Both sides were then reduced to ten men, with Fremantle’s Daan Francis and Gwelup’s Tatasciore both shown red cards after an altercation.

But on 62 minutes Fremantle scored again to reduce the margin, second half substitute Johnstone running clear from a Banin Hashem through ball, and lobbing the on-coming keeper. It was game on with both sets of supporters in the large crowd urging their sides on.

Gwelup steadied and increased their lead on 74 minutes, Sebastian Munoz crossing to Constanzo, who rounded keeper David Gasper and fired home. It looked like it was all over, but Fremantle had other ideas. First on 81 minutes Johnstone was sent clear again, and he repeated his last effort lobbing Capra. With time running out, Fremantle pushed men forward and were rewarded in the last minute, Galic scoring to send the game to penalties.

In the shoot-out both sides missed one each, and in sudden death the unfortunate Greg Montenegro saw his spot kick saved by Capra to give Gwelup the victory. In the third and fourth play-off Shamrock Rovers beat Joondalup United 3-1. Cathal O’Kane, Declan Murphy and Peter Smith were on target for Rovers, while Jordan Spencer scored Joondalup’s consolation.

20.3.2015

NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES FINAL PREVIEW

The first piece of silverware is up for grabs this weekend, when Cockburn City and Floreat Athena meet in the PS4 National Premier League WA Night Series Final at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening. Cockburn came from behind to beat Stirling Lions last week and young defender Jonathan Corness said they needed to lift after an indifferent first half performance. “I thought we deserved the victory, but a poor first half cost us,” he said. “But credit to the lads we all pulled together and played with that confidence and belief we’ve shown all through our previous matches to prevail deserved winners.” Cockburn City will be looking for their first ever Night Series victory, the only other pre-season success came in 1993, when the club was known as Spearwood Dalmatinac. But whatever happens on Saturday Corness, who joined the club from Ashfield this season, said the players are going to enjoy the night. “It’s always a great occasion when you make it into a Final,” he said. “We know Floreat are going to have a lot of quality in their side, so we have to on top of our game. We have been slow starters for the past couple of game so if we can rectify that I believe we can cause them some problems.”

City Coach Marc Anthony said Floreat are a strong side and it should be a cracking final. “I watched them against a good Perth side and they were very impressive,” he said. “They looked strong all over the park and they like to play a bit, and we like to get the ball down and play it around, so it should be a great final.” In team news for City, Harry O’Brien has trained with the club all this week after leaving Perth Glory, and will be available, if selected.

Floreat Athena overcame Perth SC last week, and midfielder Kris Gate said they totally dominated the game and thoroughly deserved the win and a spot in the Final. “I thought we were the better team from the first whistle, and it looked like we wanted it more,” he said. “We went in with a game plan and we nailed it on the night and we could have added a few more if we had taken our chances.” Gate, who joined the club from Balcatta this season, said the two best teams in the Night Series are meeting in the Final and it should be an exciting contest. “Cockburn are a very good side this season, and from what I’ve seen it will be our toughest test of the competition, but we go into the game full of confidence,” Gate said. “Both teams deserve to be in the final, and it should be a great game and hopefully there is a big crowd to watch, and we will come out on top.”

Floreat Coach Glen Grostate said he was delighted the way his side took the game to Perth last week. “We played some good football against Perth and it showed how tight our player group is,” he said. “They have a good bond on the pitch, and off it, and it showed, and we will go into the game with confidence, but know it will be a tough encounter.” He believes both sides on Saturday will get the ball down and play good football, but he has been pleased the way his side have performed against the big teams in the group stage, and say’s the game will be a good test, as the two meet in the league early in the season. “We have played some good sides in the early part of the competition and that will help us on Saturday, because Cockburn will be tough challenge,” he said. “Marc has done a great job at the club and like us, he has them playing good football, it will give us a good guide to see where we are at as meet them in the NPL in round two.” In team news for Floreat, Bobby Wilson returns to the squad after missing last week’s win, and Coach Glen Grostate will have a full squad to choose from.

20.3.2015

STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES FINAL PREVIEW

The State League Night Series Final will see traditional rivals Western Knights take on Dianella White Eagles at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday afternoon (6pm). The last time the two sides met a big crowd was on hand and it should be more of the same on Saturday in the Final. Knights had to overcome a strong Mandurah City side in the semi-final and midfielder John Migas said their win will give them a huge boost going into Saturday’s game. “We played really well in the semi-final, and they were the best opposition we have played in the competition so far,” he said. “They dominated possession at times but we took our chances, and it great having David Onoforo up top, who has added another dimension to our play.” Migas, who played in the Premier League with Floreat Athena and Balcatta, believes the Eagles have recruited well and will be a tough opposition. “It couldn’t really be set up any better, with the history between the two clubs,” he said. “We know it’s going to be a tough game, as they have made some quality signings, but we’re confident in the ability of our players that we can win. I’ve never won a Night Series Grand Final so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to change that on the weekend.”

Dianella under new coach Mauro Marchione have been impressive in the Group stage and totally dominated a brave Joondalup United in their Semi-Final, but keeper Yousri Gharsallah said they took their foot of the gas in the second half. “We played well in the first half, but we let them back into the game after half time, and we dropped our standards,” he said. “That’s something we can’t do on Saturday as the Knights have some good players and they will punish us.” The former Floreat Athena custodian said the Final will be a tight affair, but is confident they can win the clubs first Night Series title. “It will be a tight game, and we will have to be on our game for the whole 90 minutes,” he said. “Both sides have quality, and I believe it will be decided on a set piece or a defensive mistake on the night, and hopefully it’s us hold the cup up at the end of the match.”

20.3.2015

AMATEUR NIGHT SERIES FINAL PREVIEW

The Amateur Night Series Final takes place tonight with a Croatian derby, when Fremantle Croatia take on Gwelup Croatia at Intiga Stadium (8.30pm) Both sides won hard fought semi-finals, with Gwelup edging out Shamrock Rovers on penalties, after the game had finished 1-1, while Fremantle won a nine goal thriller after a 5-4 win against Joondalup United. Gwelup assistant Coach Gavin Knight said the semi-final win was tough and is expecting the same tonight. “It was a great game and a good win for us against a good Shamrock side, and to win on penalties isn’t the best way to win a game, but we’ll take it,” he said. Knight, who is out for the rest of the season after knee surgery, believes the local derby will be a great game and is expecting a good crowd. “The Croatian derby is always a good game to be involved in, and it will be very close, and I’m sure there will be a good turn out,” he said. “They have been playing well in the competition, but anything can happen in a final, so we will need to be on our toes and we’re confident we can get the right result.”

Like Gwelup, Fremantle topped their Group, going through undefeated, and Greg Montenegro said the game in the semi-final was a classic, with them coming from 3-0 down to win. “It was defiantly a game of two half’s, we were caught out on quick counter attacks and found ourselves three down, but we changed formation at the break and got on top and scored five goals,” he said. “The fire to win a trophy, after going so close last season, has us more hungry and determined and everyone in the side played for the shirt with pride and we were relieved once the final whistle blew.” The midfielder said tonight’s game is huge, and both sides are well matched. “The Croatian derby is always great to be a part of, and the crowds get involved by the numbers and I’m sure it will live up to everyone’s expectations,” he said. “Both teams have new players with a lot to prove, and it will be definitely be a game not to be missed. It’s going to be great for football in WA and for the Croatian community.” Paulo Coelho returns to the Fremantle squad after missing the Semi-Final, and they have a full squad to choose from.

20.3.2015

MADASCHI FORMALLY LEAVES NEWCASTLE

Newcastle Jets have confirmed the mutually agreed release of 'sacked' duo Adrian Madaschi and Billy Celeski. The experienced pair were brought into the squad for the summer season by coach Phil Stubbins only to be axed by the club in January. Madaschi, a former Perth SC junior, made ten first team appearances for Newcastle and is understood to be close to signing an injury replacement deal with Western Sydney Wanderers.

19.3.2015

INGLEWOOD SIGN COMEBACK KID KEOGH (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)

Irish attacker Kenny Keogh plans to re-ignite his football career with Inglewood United. Keogh, younger sibling of Perth Glory marksman Andy Keogh, has been out of the game for the past few years but after a couple of Night Series hit-outs with Inglewood the 27-year old is determined to make his mark in this year’s National Premier Leagues.

“I’m very happy to join Inglewood United, I’ll wear the club shirt with pride,” said Keogh upon signing up to play under Michael Garcia. “I haven’t played for quite a few years - since I moved to Perth in fact - so I’m very keen to get back into playing football. I’ve been working hard to get my fitness back and I look forward to enjoying the season ahead.”

Keogh, formerly of Dublin-based Wayside Celtic, relocated to Perth four years ago with his family. “When I came here I wanted to concentrate on work and that meant taking a break from football,” he explained. “But I’m ready to start playing again. A friend of mine, James Steedman, was training with Inglewood and asked me down so I gave it a shot and now I’m signed up.”

“All the boys have been welcoming, which has made it easy to fit in,” he added. “There’s a real focus on being a team and what Michael (Garcia) has done is very professional. We’re still gelling as a team, still figuring out how each other plays. It might take some time, but we’ve got a good group of players and I’m confident we can do well.”

Keogh will be in contention to make his NPL debut when Inglewood open their season with a twilight game against Cockburn City on Saturday 28 March. Fellow summer signings Aleks Vrteski, Jovo Pavlovic and David Micevski are also likely to make their appearances at Inglewood Stadium on that date, while defender Rikki Smith returns to the venue after a year’s absence.

19.3.2015

VUKOVIC IN DOUBT FOR MARINERS CLASH

Perth Glory FC will be looking to return to winning ways in the Hyundai A-League, when they travel to the Central Coast to face the Mariners in Gosford on Sunday, but they could be without record games holder Danny Vukovic. The Glory custodian is in doubt after injuring his quad following last week’s clash against Wellington Phoenix, with Olyroos keeper Jack Duncan in line to replace him. Kenny Lowe’s side have struggled against the Mariners, but last time the sides met in Gosford the Glory claimed its first away victory over the Mariners.

The Glory are on an eight game streak without a win, but in round 5 a sublime free kick, from Nebo Marinkovic gave them victory, before they thrashed them 4-1 with Chris Harold scoring a brace and an audacious strike from Danny De Silva. Glory will welcome back Socceroos midfielder Mitch Nichols, who has served a one match ban after picking up two yellow cards against Melbourne Victory in Round 20, and he’s happy to be back. “It’s good to be back this week and hopefully I can contribute. We need to be back to winning ways if we want to be pushing for the championship” he said. “I think you can tell by training everyone’s raring to go and ready to give a 100-percent and I think people know what they want now and hopefully we can go to Central Coast and get a good result and get the three points and really give it a good shot”.

Glory coach Kenny Lowe will be left with a few tough decisions when picking his starting eleven. Ruben Zadkovich made the most of his starting chance in midfield last weekend, scoring a cracking goal, and he also has Sidnei Sciola back from injury. They will be looking to compound the Mariners woeful home form, after losing six home matches this season – the most of any Hyundai A-League club. Perth will also want to maintain its impressive defensive record on the road, having conceded just nine away goals this season which is the least of the 10 Hyundai A-League clubs.

With six games remaining in the regular season Kenny Lowe said the task from here on, is simple. “Finish high up the League as you possibly can and have some momentum rolling into finals that is utopia really,” he said. “If we’ve had a bit of a dip and we’re two points off the top and there’s five of us in the run there must be a few other people who’ve had dips as well, that’s the nature of the league….everybody can beat everybody”. The game at Gosford kicks off at 3pm WA time.

19.3.2015

WILLIAMS ITCHING TO RETURN TO FOOTBALL

Gary Williams will be watching from the stands for the first time in a number of years, when the PS4 National Premier League WA kicks off next weekend. The former Stirling Lions Coach said it’s really strange not being involved with the game, after departing the Macedonia Park club at the end of last season. “I have been involved at various levels of football at the club for the last eight-years, so for the season to start without having any involvement is a new thing for me,” he said. “I enjoy watching games, which I have been doing regularly during the Night Series; however it is a poor substitute for standing on the side line with your team.”

Williams led the Lions to the Cup Final and just short of the end of season finals, and thought with his assistant Danny Stoitis they would have made the finals but for a long injury list. “We weren’t far off the mark, despite an horrendous injury list at the beginning of the season, but our form during the latter part of the season when we had a full squad to choose from improved greatly,” he said. “The low for me was the performance in the Cup Final, as the team didn’t do themselves justice and those opportunities don’t come along every year.”

The opportunity to take on A-League side Brisbane Roar in last season’s FFA Cup was something that Williams and the players enjoyed. “The game was a momentous occasion for all involved at Stirling Lions. Playing against the Premier team in the country at the time was an opportunity for the players to benchmark themselves against the best players in the land and also provided an opportunity for Daniel and I to meet and talk to Mike Mulvey who was very informative and very helpful,” he explained. “I was also pleased to see Daniel offered a role at Perth SC with Taki and Ante after deciding to leave Stirling, he is a very good young and upcoming coach who will be an asset to the club.”

The 45-year-old dropped down from coaching at the end of the season to take up a new role at the club, but unfortunately things didn’t work out. “I moved to take over the role vacated by Don Evans as Football Operations Manager, but unfortunately things did not work out so I formed the view it was in the clubs best interests for me to leave,” Williams said. “I have many good friends at Stirling Lions and still enjoy my visits to Macedonia Park, and I wish them every success this year and was really pleased to see them reach the semi-finals of the night series.”

He also has had the opportunity to coach in the NPL Academy, and he believes there are some good players coming through the system. “I coached Stirling Lions juniors for 4 years, with the under 11’s through to Under 14’s, and to see a number of those players playing at senior level now if great,” he said. “I enjoy watching players develop and assisting them in achieving their goals. It is a huge reward as a coach to see young players develop into senior players, mature as people and achieve success. I also coached at ECU Joondalup for a year with Dale McCulloch, who was great person to work with and was somebody the young players related to.”

The 2013 Premier League win, by the Lions was a standout for Williams and the character in the side and the camaraderie in the coaching staff made it a special occasions for Williams. “I was assisting Doug Hesketh at the time and to win the league was a great achievement for the club after failing to win the league for several years,” he said. “The team was full of good players and characters and to be a part of the club at such a time was great. The title winning year was the culmination of two and a half years of hard work during which Dougie and I formed a very good working relationship and still speak regularly now.”

Williams believes there is still some unfinished business for him in WA football, and is hoping to back in the game soon. “I’ve still got that urge to coach and I’m looking to get back into the game at a good progressive club “Whilst I completed a season as the Head Coach at Stirling Lions I am not averse to assisting somebody as I did Doug Hesketh and Mick Lyons previously,” he explained. “I worked my way through the various levels which in hindsight was of great benefit It enabled a broader understanding of the issues that present themselves to clubs, coaches and staff at all levels, so in the meantime I’ll be watching from the stands but will be striving to get back in the coaches box sooner rather than later.”




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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