SORRENTO RETAIN COACHES
With the pre-season underway at Sorrento, the club have once again appointed Trevor Morgan to the position of senior coach. As was the case last season, Steve Neville will be his assistant while the reserves will be under the guidance of Vince Radcliffe. Pine Clarke is in charge of the Under-18’s. Sorrento have traditionally shied away from any off-season signing sprees and this season will once again rely heavily on their successful youth system to improve on last season’s performance.
RED STAR TO PLAY IN PERTH
One-time European champion Red Star Belgrade will stopover in Perth as part of a four-match tour of Australia next month. The Yugoslav side will play the W.A. State team on Sunday 28th January in what is shaping up to be a big year for the State side. Red Star won the European and world club titles in 1991 and has also scheduled games with Adelaide City Force, the Victoria and New South Wales State teams.
It is hoped that the Perth match will take place at Perth Oval with a late afternoon kick-off. Perth Glory hosts Wollongong Wolves at the venue the night before, but Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt is confident an agreement can be made to use the ground. “We're talking to the relevant bodies that control Perth Oval,” said Schrandt this week. “This is a major event and we want to use a ground with a good-sized capacity in order to cater for what we hope will be a big crowd. We want to see more European teams playing in Perth and we are confident of at least one other big club coming here in June”. It is believed that that club is England’s Leeds United, although Schrandt declined to comment at this stage.
THE BIDS ARE IN!
It can now be confirmed that two Perth-based syndicates have lodged applications with Soccer Australia for entry into next season's National Soccer League. Premier League club Fremantle City are one of the bidders for the license, the other being headed by local professional body Soccer West Coast which has the backing of several prominent Perth businessmen. Both have put up a non-refundable $10,000 application fee in addition to licence fees of $250,000, which will be returned to unsuccessful applicants.
City have reached an agreement with Australian Rules clubs South Fremantle and the Fremantle Dockers which would see them utilise Fremantle Oval in the event that the State Government's proposed multi-purpose sports stadium is not constructed in time. "We'd hope to be a tenant at the new stadium, but if that doesn't happen for some reason, or is delayed, then we've got the back-up of Fremantle Oval being made available to us," City treasurer Nick Rotondella said this week. The club's bid is backed by an mystery millionaire South African businessman and it is believed that at least one English club is interested in also taking a stake. "If the licence were to be awarded on merit they would have to give it to us," Rotondella said. "We have no hidden agendas and we are fully financed."
SWC are yet nominate a preferred venue for home fixtures should they be the successful bidder, however, it is known that officials have had discussions for the possible use of the WACA Ground. President David Schrandt said his group was confident of the quality of its submission and has indicated that it may also include financial input from an English club.
The third W.A. consortium in the running for the license have asked Soccer Australia for an extension on today's deadline. Headed by a business group under the name of Sports International Australian Consultants, this extension is unlikely to get the go-ahead by the national body, effectively eliminating them from the process.
Soccer Australia plans an overhaul of the NSL in time for the 2001/2002 season which includes cutting the number of teams from the existing 15 (16 prior to Carlton folding two weeks ago) to a more manageable 12. They have also imposed a tough selection criteria for inclusion in next seasons competition which even some of the current clubs might have problems meeting. A new club in the League will only be considered if fewer than 12 of the current clubs fail to meet the criteria. It can be revealed here exclusively that in total 18 clubs are vying for entry into next season's competition - all 15 existing NSL clubs have nominated themselves along with the two W.A. bids and another from Queensland-based the Brisbane Lions. Soccer Australia will announce the 12 successful clubs no later than the 4th June.
AROK TO WORK WITH W.A. JUNIORS
Former Socceroo coach Frank Arok has been appointed youth development officer of Perth Glory with his main objective being the establishment of the program he will head. Arok, who was in charge of the national team for eight years including the 1986 and 1990 World Cup qualifiers and 1988 Olympic Games - will take up the position in June of 2001. His primary goal, as outlined by Glory chairman Nick Tana will be "to seek, identify and develop future soccer stars from our West Australian youth." It has been claimed that every junior club in the state will be searched for recruits.
The plan may yet be scarpered by local authorities who were kept pretty much in the dark until the media conference announcing Arok's signing late last week. But Tana is optimistic that the program will be accepted. "Let me say that one of the prerequisites of anything we do has to be an integration with the local scene," he said. "Whether that means at JSA level, whether with Soccer West Coast, there is a strong requirement for us to integrate correctly, so that there is a real value in what we are doing that has to be paramount."
With his plans for an eight-team youth development league shelved after meeting strong resistance from local clubs, Tana has come lofty dreams for the newly unveiled program. It is believed that the Glory chairman's ambition is to eventually field what would be effectively a Glory youth team in the W.A. State League, however to date an agreement with local officials has not been discussed. The team would include up to four over-aged players who would supplement the youth team ranks each week, thus enabling senior Glory players who are not selected for NSL duty to stay match sharp.
Arok, who has been involved in working on a similar scheme at Sydney Olympic for the last three years, is unperturbed by the lack of any junior development structure in Perth, saying it gave Glory and himself the perfect opportunity to develop a tailor-made program. With so many juniors playing the game in W.A, the former Socceroo coach believes the state is capable of producing at least 30 players who will have careers in the NSL. Tana was quick to point out that the plan is to produce players for the game in Australia, he is not interested in developing players to sell to overseas interests. "I don't necessarily agree with the process of talent existing the country," Tana said.
NATIONAL UNDER-20'S CALL-UP FOR TWO
The Young Socceroos training squad for the up-coming Oceania Qualifiers has been named with two Perth boys, Brad Jones and Adrian Madaschi, in the running. The national Under-20's camp will take place in Canberra starting on 5th January and lasting 12 days. From there the final squad make their way to the Cook Islands for the Oceania qualification stage which runs for a month commencing the 5th February, with the goal of making next years World Youth Cup to be staged in Argentina during June.
Jones, a regular in Middlesbrough's Under-19's team this season, signed apprentice papers with the Premier League club a couple of years back and has recently been earning the praise of Socceroo and 'Boro teammate Mark Schwarzer. The international career of the young goalkeeper has been the subject of much speculation after he was called up for the England Under-17's earlier in the year due to his English parentage but, thankfully for Australia, he didn't make the final cut leaving him to ponder his future. Jones has since pledged his allegiance to his homeland and his inclusion in the training squad is just rewards for his efforts.
Although we were unable to confirm his selection at the time of going to press, it is believed that Madaschi was also named for the camp. Over the past two years the defender has established himself as a regular fixture in Atalanta's Primavera (youth) team in Italy. He has rarely been out of the starting line-up in what is shaping up to be a very successful 2000/2001 season for the side. Atalanta last week moved four points clear at the top of the Primavera Group B table and the recent defeat of AC Milan in the oppa Italia Primavera quarter-finals sets-up a semi-final meeting with Juventus. The former Perth junior made his international debut for the Joeysin last years Under-17's World Championship in New Zealand which saw Australia's best finishing at an international tournament, finishing runners-up to Brazil in a penalty shoot-out.
JOONDALUP REJUVENATED AFTER DISAPPOINTING SEASON
ECU Joondalup coach Paul Simmons is optimistic about his clubs chances in the Premier League this forthcoming season after what was a horror run in 2000. "Last season can only be described as a nightmare," Simmons said this week. "The season before we won the league and used a total of 19 players in the first team - last season we had used 32 up to the 11th game of the season! I have never been at a club that has experienced such a turn over of players through injuries. All the pre-season work with method of play and set pieces went out the window and nearly every game was played off-the-cuff. You can cater for two or maybe three changes to a side but when there was seven and eight it's impossible. Hopefully the injuries we had last year will keep us in credit for the next few seasons."
With all that behind him and the club, Simmons has spent the off-season looking at how to get Joondalup back on track, a job that should be made easier with the return of several key players. "This season we would like a good Cup run and be in the mixer for the League. We will have Sandy Robertson back and Joel Peacock, who we bought from Bayswater last season but only played three games before being out for the season with injury. Other players who are back to full fitness are Stuart Montgomery, Andy Mason, Sean Fallon and Carl McDarby. We also have Richard Watson returning and are close in finalising negotiations with Dylan Kerr," Simmons said.
Kerr could become the second player to join the northern suburbs club in the space of 12 months, following in the footsteps of former Glasgow Rangers midfielder Robertson. 33-year old Kerr played with Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United in England's top flight in the late 1980's and early 1990's before a very successful spell with Reading. Here the defender helped the club take out the 1993/94 Second Division crown and was rewarded with that season's Player of the Year award. After over 100 games for Reading, Kerr had a brief spell in South Africa, returning to the UK in 1996 to link up with Kilmarnock north of the border where further trophies were to come, including a 1997 Scottish FA Cup winners medal.
There are also several emerging talents coming out of Joondalup's youth set-up which Simmons is particularly excited about. The coach singled out the likes of 2000 State representatives Sam Miller, Ben Yates and Ashwin Nair - "all young, all committed, all very fit", but saved his loudest round of applause for new-comer Andre Sarp. The 16-year old has been signed from European outfit Dynamo Bucharest and Simmons describes him as "the best young player in WA - he has electrifying pace and two tremendous feet, he has a great engine and a genuine enjoyment of the game."
Contrary to what was reported a couple of weeks back, ECU Joondalup are still negotiating with Bassendean Caledonian regarding the release of Kevin Griffiths for the 2001 season. Griffiths, a former junior with Calies, has expressed a desire to play for the club on their return to top flight football but is contracted to Joondalup until the end of next season. He is expected to be in attendance when the club begin their pre-season on New Years Eve, although a further loan period to Calies has not been ruled out.
Inglewood United are expanding their set-up to accommodate more players to junior and amateur levels. With their 1,000 seat stand due for completion by March to celebrate their 50th birthday, United are launching a junior academy in 2001 and wants to hear from players who are interested in playing Sunday amateurs.
Perth striker Nick Mrdja will spend the next month on trial with Perth Glory. Mrdja is hoping for a second spell in the ranks of the NSL after previously having spnt a couple of years with the Canberra Cosmos.
The State team have been pencilled in to play European club Red Star Belgrade at the Litis Stadium on the 23rd January. The Yugoslav team, brought to Australia by Victoria state league club Fitzroy City, are planning a whirl-wind tour of the nation next month which will see them play half a dozen games in four states.
LOCAL COMPETITION IN SAFE HANDS SAYS SCHRANDT
Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt was interviewed by Martin Wells and the folks from Radio Fremantle on Saturday morning about all things to do with the local game. Wells started off by asking Schrandt what he considered to be the highs and lows of the 2000 season. "I suppose the only low was the disappointing crowds that our leagues are getting consistently, but they have improved slightly. I'd just like to see the people get out there and support the local sides, they play a good brand of football, the sponsors are right behind us and I think that's probably about the lonely low you could talk about. The rest of it was fantastic, we had four clubs share the major trophies, financially Soccer West Coast is in good hands and we've make a small but tidy profit - and that's coming off a loss last year, and a loss the year before and a loss the year before that, so it's a good turn around. All we need now is people back tot he game and we're on an even bigger roll."
In recent years especially, SWC have not been about to do as much promotion of the game as they would like to due to financial constraints. One tactic that the controlling body will employ in an effort to bring crowds back to the local competition is the much-discussed restructuring of the league next season which will see the Premier League cut to ten teams while the First Division is to be expanded and most likely split into two regional league. "It's not easy getting people out of their homes in the winter, but it's what we need to do. If we can provide a good product, and I think ten teams in the Premer League will provide a good product, if we can do that, and the sponsors are happy to run with it, that's where we'll get them. I think it will be a slow increase, it will take time but I think it will increase," Schrandt said.
The SWC president pointed out that the proposed addition of up to four new clubs to the First Division was down to the healthy state of the game in WA, the controlling body had not gone out seeking clubs as was widely believed. "We haven't actively pursued any clubs in amateur ranks or where ever, but we have had a lot of interested and a lot of contact. If we can make it possible, if we can provide football where ever it may be, we'll do so. Of course our big push is going to be into the country this year with a southwest team to play out of Bunbury which opens up a tremendous area - Busselton, Margaret River, Collie, Bunbury, Australind, all those areas. There are lots of kids playing soccer down there and we're going to take soccer there every week."
Morley Windmills are another of the 'new' clubs being added for the up-coming season. The club, who celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, left the SWC ranks midway through the 1997 season with mounting debts but that's past history as far as Schrandt is concerned. "We're happy to welcome Windmills back into the fold, they're a club that should never have resigned or left the organisation. They're one of the original 1960 clubs that formed the old Soccer Federation and we're happy to have them back in. They've got a very good ground, good premises, good facilities, they've paid their dues and they'll be playing in the league next year."
LONGER BREAK TO BENEFIT CLUBS
The 2001 Night Series will kick-off in about two months time after Soccer West Coast opted to give their clubs an extended break after a long winter season. "I think the pressure is on clubs is quite immense, we understand fully that the clubs don't find it easy to just keep pressing away 12 months of the year," said prsident David Schrandt. "We're not fully professional, we're sort of semi-professional at best and we really wanted to give the clubs a good break. We thought we'd condense the Night Series into a shorter, sharper format and probably kicking off about mid-February, finishing up at the end of March and then kicking straight into the season. If you start at the end of January the clubs have got to start training again in November, December which really doesn't give them a decent break and I think we're really trying to do that this year."
DANZE DEAL VOID
The transfer of Anthony Danze from ECU Joondalup to Perth Glory has apparently been nullified by Soccer Australia. It appears that when the midfielder went the UK to train with Southampton earlier in the year the Premier League club obtained an International Clearance and registered him to play in several games for their youth team. He later returned to Perth and saw out the 2000 winter with Joondalup, but somewhere along the way an administration error meant that he was not cleared by the Saints' to play professionally with anyone else. As Joondalup are considered an amateur club in terms of the global marketplace, there was no trouble with Danze seeing out the winter with the club. But once Glory got involved the problem was unveiled leaving the NSL club to sort out the situation with Soccer Australia and, more importantly, Southampton.
SWC KNOCK BACK AILING NSL CLUB
It has been revealed that Soccer West Coast last week rejected an offer to take over troubled NSL outfit Carlton because it could not get guarantees that the club would retain its licence next season. Commenting on the proposal, SWC president David Schrandt said "A Carlton representative approached us two weeks ago - it wouldn't be right to name him - and asked if we were interested in bailing out the club. We gave it some thought but decided against it because we could not get Soccer Australia to give us the guarantee that we ould be in there next year."
DECISION ON FIRST DIVISION RESTRUCTURE DEFERRED
At Soccer West Coasts' annual meeting on Tuesday night, a decision on the proposed re-structuring of the State League First Division will be deferred until next month. A special meeting of the body's member clubs has been scheduled for early January when SWC hope to gain approval to restructure it's two league competitions. The proposal on the table would see the addition of four clubs to the First Division which would then be split into two groups of between eight and ten teams depending on final numbers. The Premier League will have only 10 teams but it's been suggested they may be involved in a new competition during the regular season.
At this weeks' meeting. Perth businessman Denis McInerney was re-appointed to the SWC board, with former State player Keith Jones (43) taking on the role of director. Jones, whose brother David represented Australia, played for Kwinana United and East Fremantle Tricolore in the local competition and is the general manager of an engineering company. It was also announced that the body had made a profit of $10,000 in the last 12 months.
SWC PLANS FOR OVERSEAS VISITORS
Perth could host of swathe of overseas clubs next year which could see the State team in action up to half a dozen times. And at the top of list are Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers, and English Premier League outfit Leeds United. Also in the pipeline is a friendly against highly rated Yugoslav club Red Star Belgrade
Rangers and Red Star could become the first sides from Europe to play in W.A. since Italian club Sampdoria took on Perth Glory in mid-1996. Rangers, Scotland's leading club over the past decade, have been tempted to test the waters in Perth next month when the club sends a youth team during their three-week mid-season break. The side, to be bolstered by several players from the senior ranks, will be playing a series of matches in the eastern states and has indicated their intention to play a friendly against the State. Also planning a short tour of Australia trip for January are Yugoslav First Division outfit Red Star who are believed to have pencilled in at least one game in Perth against the W.A. team.
Leeds and Celtic have made their intentions clear that they would like to tour Australia later in the year when their domestic League's go into recess. It is believed both are interested in taking on the Socceroos, while Celtic is also keen to make an appearance in Perth most likely against the State team. Leeds want to play several challenge games in Australia and W.A. could be on the agenda after the club were recently approached about becoming involved in Soccer West Coast's bid for a second NSL licence in Perth. Celtic have also been offered into the SWC bid and could be tempted to follow their hometown rivals Rangers who are majority shareholders in Sydney-based NSL side Northern Spirit.
Leeds and Celtic are two of the five clubs approached over the possibility of committing up to $1 million into the SWC bid. The others are English clubs West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday. But time is fast running out for SWC who must lodge their non-refundable application fee of $10,000, plus a licence fee of $250,000, with Soccer Australia by 29th December.
UK TRIALS FOR JONES
ECU Joondalup striker Tom Jones has recently returned from the UK where he spent time training with the academy sides at English Premier League club Southampton. Arranged through contacts at the W.A. branch of the Saints Academy, namely Gary Williams and Mike Lyons, which operates out of the Joondalup club, the 14-year old was thrilled to have the opportunity to train with some of England's rising stars. "It was a great experience, the set up was brillant!" Jones said
PARKINSON OUT TO PROVE SELECTOR'S WRONG
To say that ECU Joondalup player Louis Parkinson was disappointed at being cut from the national Under-17 side that is currently in Samoa for the Ocean Nations Cup is an understatement. The striker has time after time proved he has an eye for goal by topping the scoring charts at three successive national under-age championships, but having made the initial squad of 22, was devastated when his name was dropped from the touring party of 20. "It was terrible," he said of hearing the news. "I still can't believe it. You don't think you are going to get dropped at the last minute. Obviously, it just wasn't meant to be."
Parkinson has been racking up an impressive list of achievements since his time with the Lynwood Under-9's where, even at that age, he knew where the back of the net was. At the 1997 national championships he scored an impressive 10 times to win the tournament's golden boot award, and continued that form the following year with a further 11 goals in State junior colours. This year he was voted W.A.'s best player at the championships after scoring nine goals in Sydney. His ability to consistently hit the net at these championships made it an the harder to stomach when his name was cut from the final Joeys list. But Parkinson has not been deterred by the setback. "It's going to make me work harder now and prove them wrong," he said. "The ultimate is to be playing in a top league in Europe, week in, week out, and to play internationally."
His efforts over the 2000 winter didn't go unnoticed he was invited to trial with Perth Glory and shortly after represented W.A. at senior State level. W.A. coach Paul Wormley called up the talented youngster for duty against Malaysia where he showed his predatory instincts, scoring from close- range to cap a strong .performance against the visiting team. Having scored a hatful of goals for Joondalup's reserves side last season, Parkinson's target for 2001 is to bang in the goals in first team ranks, most likely with Inglewood United where father Steve was recently made coach. "If I can play next season and be top goal scorer in the first team that would be good for a 17-year-old," he said.
GOOD WEEK FOR WEST AUSSIES ABROAD
It's been a great week for three young West Australians currently playing abroad. Former Perth Glory midfielder Ivan Ergic scored his first goal in the 9th minute of FC Basel's 2-3 loss to FC Lausanne in the Swiss League. Ergic has been on loan to Basel since he signed with Italian giants Juventus mid-year and has recently cemented his place in the starting line-up.
Also in Europe, this time England, one-time Inglewood United midfielder Sean Cooney netted both goals in Coventry City's Under-17's 2-2 draw with Millwall. Cooney joined the Premier League academy set-up mid-year where he quickly established himself as a regular starter for the club.
And in Samoa, Glory teenager Anthony Danze has been representing Australia at the Under-17's Oceania Nations Cup tournament. The midfielder featured in all four of the Joeys games and scoring three goals, including the only goal of the game against the Soloman Islands two minutes from full-time.
SCHOOLS HONOURS FOR THREE
And Rhys Graham and Robert Cibesku have returned from the Schoolboys 'A' tour of New Caledonia and Vanuatu where both featured heavily in the five game tour. The first two fixtures saw Australia take on the New Caledonian Under-16's with game one ending in a 5-0 victory to the visitors, Cibesku playing the entire match while Graham came on at the break and scored the team's final goal. Two days later both boys were in the starting line-up for the 10-2 triumph, Graham again getting his name on the scorers sheet while Cibesku came off after 52 minutes.
This was followed by a three game series at the Korman Stadium against Vanuatu's Under-20's which proved to be a stronger opponent for the Australian team. The first clash ended 3-2 in favour of the visitors, Graham scoring the opening goal as both local lads saw out the full game. Game two saw Graham give Australia the lead early in the second half not to mention scoring for the fourth successive time to set-up a 2-1 win for Australia. Cibesku came off 55 minutes into this clash with Graham following him 17 minutes later. The final match of the tour saw Graham rested having played four games in 7 days, Cibesku coming on at half-time as Australia went down 0-3 to the Vanuatans.
In related news, young Queens Park Thunder goalkeeper Elena Fantasia is currently traipsing around the Oceania rim as part of the Australian Schoolgirls team. Fantasia is the only Perth girl in the side that was selected after the Schools National Championship held in Darwin during August.
TANA DITCHES NSL TO FOCUS ON LOCAL COMPETITION
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana has resigned from the NSL executive by revealing the games inner-sanctum as a world of secrecy, self-interest and bitter conflict. In a letter sent to all NSL clubs last week outlining the reasons for his departure, Tana was also scathing of the perception of Soccer Australia in the business community. "I now find myself part of a process which is political and in my opinion viewed by corporate Australia as a failure, one lacking in leadership, direction and planning," Tana wrote. "I have tried to influence all the above but consider I cannot contribute further when I have lost respect, in a soccer sense, for the executive's leadership and majority of its members."
But Tana, a millionaire businessman who has pushed hard to improve the game's standing nationwide, has put aside his obvious disappointment at the perception of the sport and vowed to concentrate on ensuring the continued growth of soccer in W.A. "I will now focus and concentrate my attentions and efforts on W.A. - maybe that's where I should've been in the first place - and work up from there," Tana said.
STATE LEAGUE EXPANDING
The W.A. First Division will next season expand to accommodate four new clubs - two of them from outside the metropolitan area. The board of Soccer West Coast meet early next week and will will recommend the inclusion of Morley Windmills, Canning Cosmos, a Bunbury-based team which is yet to be named, and either Mandurah City or another metropolitan club.
"It's very encouraging for the future of soccer that we have had huge interest from the country, for the teams involved have strong junior bases," SWC general manager Paul Tombides said. It is believed that two other teams are also showing interest in joining the First Division. "We could have 20 teams, but will have at least 18 and we will be recommending that we split the league into two sections of nine teams each," Tombides said. "They will play each other twice, home and away, and the top four from each group will go on to play each other once to decide the title."
The more prestigious Premier League will be cut to just 10 teams - two down on last season' competition with teams still playing each other twice over the course of the winter. It is proposed that several weekends be left open during the season to accommodate proposed representative matches for the State team against international sides with a number of club showing interest in playing in Perth. There is also a strong possibility that the State side will play a friendly international next month.
SWC president David Schrandt has welcomed the move by the State Government to set up a new governing body for local soccer, with Stirling mayor Tony Vallelonga as interim chairman. "If it's good for soccer then we will be behind it," he said. The new body also has the blessing of the Junior Soccer Association who have been at odds with the current ruling body, the Soccer Administration of W.A. for some time. "It's a positive move for the future of the sport," junior association president Bill Oddy said.
WOMEN'S MASTER DO US PROUD
Women's team the Perth Strikers reached the grand final of the Asia Pacific Masters Games held on the Gold Coast recently. But having made the tournament decider, the side quite literally ran out of legs after a terrible run of injuries left the side severely depleted. All the same, the girls put up a tremendous effort and with a little more luck it would have been a gold medal they returned home with after going down in the final to South Australia 3-2 on penalties.
Success is nothing new to the Perth side - they are the current Australian Masters champions having defended that title in Adelaide last year, after winning gold in Canberra two years earlier. And in 1994 they were bronze medalists at the World Masters. Adelaide-based coach Craig Leith lead the team in Queensland which featured the likes of former Australian goalkeeper Julie Goodhead alongside ex-State players Jill Mateljan, Di Reeves and Janette Spencer. The rest of the Strikers squad that made the Gold Coast trip was Alison Butler, Kerrie Corbett, Rita Berry, Louise Garwood, Eileen Madida, Sam Anderson, Marita Ratcliff, Anna Buckley, Jackie Marsden, Sarah Bell, Bliss Brosnan and Niamh Scull. Also along for the ride was tour co-ordinator Pauline Scarfe.
BRENNAN TAKES OVER AT HAMERSLEY
WAASSA Premier Division club Hamersley Rovers have appointed former Manchester City player Micky Brennan to the post of coach for season 2001. Brennan, well known in local soccer circles as having been assistant coach of Perth Glory under Gary Marocchi, has previously been involved in the set-ups as Floreat Athena, Perth Italia and Stirling Macedonia. Brennan's job with Rovers will be made all the more easier with 2000 coach Colin Lester taking on the reigns as assistant. With pre-season starting next month, players interested in joining the club can contact Brennan on either 9227 8522 (work) or 0414 349 753 (mobile).
SHAKE-UP FOR GAME IN W.A.
Stirling mayor Tony Vallelonga will take on the role of interim chairman to oversee the establishment of a new governing body for local soccer in W.A. The body - to be called Soccer Western Australia - will replace the existing Soccer Administration of WA. The positions of four independent commissioners were advertised last week. Speaking of Vallelonga's appointment, Sport Minister Norman Moore said that Vallelonga had an extensive understanding of the sport and was not affiliated to any club or organisation. "Through his appointment I look forward to an even brighter future for soccer in our State," Moore said.
NEW COACH AT ROCKINGHAM
Goalkeeper Adrian Rawlings has announced his retirement from the game to concentrate on guiding Rockingham City back into the Premier League. Rawlings started his career as a junior at Kwinana United before progressing to take the No.1 shirt at Spearwood Dalmatinac, Fremantle City and eventually Rockingham. The 35-year old will be assisted by John 'LeBouef' Hudson, who took over the helm for the final weeks of the 2000 season after the resignation of Billy Russell, who has since joined Armadale.
The club have lost several players over the off-season including promising teenager Ian Griffiths who has agreed terms with Bassendean Caledonian, while captain David Twigg, midfielder Steve Tsallis and striker Bryon Wood have all followed former coach Russell to his new club. It is also believed Rockingham may lose Robert Crerar, who has agreed to join Cockburn City for the Night Series, and Best Young Player Danny Abbis who is said to be a target of Floreat Athena. On the plus side former players Andy Cornwall, who spent much of 2000 at Ashfield/Bunbury, and Cockburn defender Stuart Weston are in line for a return to the club.
Rockingham have already commenced their pre-season, sessions being held on Sunday's from 4:00pm at Dowling Street Reserve in Rockingham. The full pre-season program gets underway in early January.
CALIES TOP FLIGHT RETURN
Bassendean Caledonian will mark their return to top flight football in 2001 and are working solidly to remain their Premier League status. They have secured the services of 23-year old Kevin Griffiths from ECU Joondalup for the new season along with the return of 19-year old Ian Griffiths from Rockingham City. Former Perth Glory midfielder Paul Strudwick is also looking to get back on track and establish himself as a first team regular having been used sparingly last season due to injury.
SWAN APPOINT ZMUKIC
Former NSL player Veselin Zmukic has been appointed coach of Premier League club Swan I.C. following the recent departure of Eric Williams. "It was a shock to lose Eric, for he'd achieved so much with us in two years, but we hope Veselin can keep the momentum going," Swan president Tony Scali said.
Zmukic came to Australia from Serbia in 1994 where he'd established a reputation as deadly goalscorer, apparently netting 102 times in 213 outings at club level in Serbia, Bulgaria and Morocco. Upon arriving downunder he linked up with then NSL outfit Heidelberg United where he spent the 1994/95 season before heading west to play with Floreat Athena for several seasons. Zmukic turned his hand to coaching two years ago when he took the reigns of First Division side the Dianella White Eagles.
PERTH JUNIOR EARMARKED FOR BRIGHT FUTURE
The coaching staff down at Dorrien Gardens are expecting great things from junior Damien Catalano who spent the latter part of last season as part of the Under-18's squad. The 15-year old came into the squad late in the piece and capped his first season with the club by scoring the opening goal in Perth's 4-0 Champion of Champions Final victory over Fremantle City in early October. Catalano, whose brother Michael spent 2000 in the first team at Bayswater City, has received some big raps from Under-18's manager Pasquale Quaglia who believes the teenager has what it takes to make a career for himself overseas and is currently lining up trials for the youngster in Italy. Several Perth juniors have risen through the ranks and moved overseas with in recent times including Richard Garcia (West Ham United, and more recently on loan to Leyton Orient), Adrian Caceras (Southampton) and Sean Cooney (Coventry City).
NAGLIERI TO AIS?
Former Cockburn City midfielder Antonio Naglieri this week head to Canberra where he will participate in 12 days of trials at the Australian Institute of Sport. The 17-year-old has been invited to trial with the view of securing a year-long scholarship at the AIS. "I'm sure I would benefit," he said. "I would be training twice a day and there's the added attraction of having the opportunity to play every week in the youth league."
Just a matter of weeks ago Naglieri agreed terms with Perth Glory, but with the club not having a youth team, the teenager is restricted to joining in training and practice games along with other youngsters Aaron Cole, Tommi Tomich and Anthony Danze. Glory general manager Roger Lefort believes a year in Canberra will only better Naglieri, "He's an exciting talent and it's a great opportunity for him. The AIS has developed some fine players over the years and its team plays each week in the youth league."
Having recently stepped down as coach of relegated Rockingham City, Billy Russell has been appointed coach of First Division outfit Armadale. The club, who finished the 2000 season with just four wins from 22 outings, are embarking on an ambitious off-season program which will see the construction of a new $400,000 clubhouse and possibly new floodlights in time for the new campaign.
The bulldozers have moved in at Kiev Sports Ground where demolition work on the changerooms/shedded area is well underway. The existing structure, built in 1976, is being removed as part of a $750,000 upgrade to the venue which will see a new 1,000 seat stand built in conjunction with Inglewood United's major sponsors National Homes and BGC.
Following the lead of series other local clubs, Bayswater City has established their own junior academy to be based at Bayswater Oval and overseen by Director of Coaching John Birrighitti. This Sunday (3rd December) the club are holding a reunion for former players from the 1960-1975 period, starting at 12.00noon at Bayswater Oval.
SWC DEAL CLOSE TO REALITY
Soccer West Coast is poised to clinch deal in excess of $1 million with a top British club according to president David Schrandt. "We are not far away from making an announcement," Schrandt said this week. "One club has verbally said we are in, but I'm waiting to get it in writing before revealing which club and giving any other details." Schrandt added that the investment would aid the development of the game at the local level and would be subject to SWC gaining the second NSL licence in Perth.
Former England, Tottenham Hotspur and Glasgow Rangers player Graham Roberts, who was in Perth recently to meet with local officials, is helping SWC in its quest to establish a British link. Although the state's controlling body is keeping tight lipped for the time being, it is believed the deal will be struck with either English Premier League club West Ham United, First Division outfits Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday or Scottish Premier League leader Glasgow Celtic.
SOUTHAMPTON ON THE LOOK-OUT
English Premier league side Southampton is holding trials through their Saints Academy at ECU Joondalup next month. The trials will be held at Arena Joondalup with the Under-11s and Under-12s on December 5, starting at 5.00pm. There will also be a chance for the under-13 to under-14 age range to turn on the style at the same venue two days later.
The Saints Academy has unearthed a number of exciting talents in the past few years, including midfielder Anthony Danze who recently signed with Perth Glory and is currently in Samoa with the Australian Under-17 team for the Oceania qualifying stage of the World Youth Championship. Others who have come through he scheme to progress overseas include Darren Broxton (Southampton), Clint Davies (Birmingham City), John Dixon (ex-Falkirk) and Jordan Rhodes (Charlton Athletic).
"It's the boys who show the most hunger and determination who get ahead," said the academy's director of coaching Mike Lyons, a former England centre half. "I had a look at some of the academies in England and talent-wise the players aren't any better than ours. But we need more intensity in our youngsters. We've got to make them stronger and harder so they can compete more readily when they go to England on trials."
The annual Cappuccino Cup was played at Fremantle Oval over the weekend with penalties required to decide the winner. Anthony Pereira gave Fremantle City the lead in the first half but that was cancelled out in the 65th minute by Perth's David Onoforo. There were plenty of chances at both ends to put the match away but in the end it went down to a shoot-out in which City goalkeeper Alan Dunlop was the hero, twice saving his opponents efforts as City won 3-1.
The celebrity game also finished on level terms after 90 minutes with both sides finding the net twice. Eventually Perth came away with the result, winning 5-4 on penalties, the clinching spot-kick being converted by 10-year-old Calum O'Connell, son of radio celebrity John O'Connell.
The sixth annual Cappuccino Cup is being held this Saturday (25th November) at Fremantle Oval as part of the port's festival activities. As usual, a celebrity game will act as a curtain raiser to the main match between Fremantle City and Perth. Playing in the celebrity game will be the likes of journalists Bob Figg and Richard Kreider, former Australian women's team representative Penny Tanner, John O'Connell and Mo Caplin from 990 Information Radio, and TV journalists Clint Wheldon (Ch 10) and Howard Gretton (Ch 7). Perth Glory coaches Bernd Stange and Mich d'Avray are hoping to put in an appearance also dependant upon their return in time from Sydney after the Northern Spirit clash.
The feature match will see the Premier League's minor premiers and the Champion of Champions play-off winners go head-to-head with both coaches keen to give some exposure to the youngsters in their squads. Fremantle City coach Stuart Kamasz will be looking for a big showing from promising 14-year old striker Josh Kamasz who made his first team debut last season. The teenager is being tipped for big things by his uncle, Stuart. "There's no nepotism here - Josh is rated as one of the better young players in the State," said the Fremantle coach. "He's got a great shot and explosive pace. He's been a regular in our under-18's and we've already used him quite a few times in the first team squad, although he's only had one run. It could be a big year for him. If he makes good progress he could get a trip overseas for a trial." Kamasz will use the game to cast a watchful eye over possible new recruit Scott Campbell (20) who was previously with Perth and recently returned from a stint in England, Matt Favazzo (21) who has recovered from a lengthy injury and striker Joe Liguan (17).
Perth's bid for the trophy will be spearheaded by former Fremantle striker David Onoforo (19) who was a key figure in Perth's Champion of Champions victory. Onoforo has more recently been linked with a move into the ranks of the NSL with Sydney Olympic. Like his counterpart at Fremantle, Graham Normanton is already looking to next season and will include a number of teenagers in his squad. State junior representatives Scott Royal (16) and Damien Delerentis (16) were both regulars in Perth's Under-18's last season alongside goalkeeper Giovanni Papalia (17). Todd Howarth (18) had an outstanding 2000 winter season which saw him called up for the W.A. senior team, while others in the running for a spot on Sunday are Mick Vujacic (17) and midfielder Adam Bunce (17). "It's a great opportunity for these boys to show what they can do," Normanton said.
DUTCH TREAT AT MORLEY
Past and present players, friends and associates of Morley Windmills Soccer Club are invited to to attend the club's 50th anniversary celebrations this Sunday (26th November). A day of festivities to mark half a century of soccer is planned at their Embleton Avenue clubrooms, kicking-off at 10.00am with a series of junior games. Noon will see the official launch a commemorative book titled "Morley Windmills - 50 Glorious Years" which highlights events throughout the club's history. Past and present players will then challenge the Perth All-Stars team after lunch.
Visitors have a chance to win a $5000 trip for two to Amsterdam and London flying Malaysia Airlines just by entering the hole-in-one golf competition. Tickets for entry to the event are $10.00 for which you get barbecued food throughout the day and free soft drinks for a two hour period. The club is also licenced. For more details contact Nigel Sayers on 041 030 4791 or Rob Vanderheld on 0413 765 602.
SORRENTO REGISTRATION DAYS
Sorrento Soccer Club will be holding their Junior Player Registration day on Sunday 4th February 2000 at their Beddi Road, Duncraig premises between 10.30am and 2.00pm. A second registration day is planned for 11th February starting at 10.30am and running until 1.00pm. New players are asked to bring with them 3 passport photographs and a copy of their birth certificate.
Player trials for the Under-11 to Under-16 year old teams will be held from mid-January. Interested parties are asked to watch for the club's notice in early January in the "Wanneroo Times" newspaper. Sorrento have the fastest developing young market in the northern region as is evident in their fielding of 29 junior teams in the 2000 winter season. On top of this there were 3 amateur and 5 women's teams playing every weekend as well as the Premier League sides.
The club established a School of Excellence program in 1997 to provide additional skills and tactical knowledge to the 11 through 16-year old players. Funded by the club themselves, Sorrento are hoping to extend the School of Excellence in the near future so as to include younger aged players. Amongst those that have gone on to professional careers since leaving Sorrento are midfielder Tony Carbone (formerly with Perth Glory and an Australian junior representative), Chris Coyne (Dundee and Australian Under-23), Shaun Murphy (Sheffield United and Australian senior) and current Perth Glory defender Jamie Harnwell.
If you are interested in playing for Sorrento in 2001 please contact either Rita Berry (Women's - 9402 1319), David Jones (Social - 9300 9219), Paul Carney (Masters Division 3 - 9305 8023), Brian Wilson (Masters Division 4 - 9446 2741), or Kerry Slater (Semi-Pro and Under-18's - 9448 5908).
New Floreat Athena coach John Hunter has made his first signing of the off-season, snapping up attacking midfielder Ryan Newhill from his former club Inglewood United.
>From the amateur ranks comes the news that 24-year old Balga SC striker David Willey has signed with German club FC Creglingen. Willey's former club are looking forward to celebrating their 30th anniversary next season, their first back in the WAASSA Premier Division, and are currently seeking players that are interested for a run in 2001 to contact them on 9342 6824, or check out their website at www.geocities.com/balgasc
Fremantle City, in conjunction with the Fremantle Woolstores Shopping Centre, will co-host the 10th Annual Woolstores 2000 Art Exhibition which runs this week until Sunday 26th November.
SWAN COACH LEAVES
Former State coach Eric Williams last week made the difficult decision to resign as coach of Swan I.C., the club he took from the First Division to become a major force in the W.A. Premier League inside the space of two years. But Williams will not be lost to the game, accepting a position as part-time coach with Sportsgroup Australia which is responsible for the management and training of a group of the states elite players.
"It was a tough choice to leave the competitive field behind, but it's a big career opportunity and I think there will be a lot of satisfaction in preparing good players to make the leap into the NSL, or Asia or Europe," he said. Williams hopes the position will become full-time next year as Sportgroup's aims egin to gain acceptance with local clubs. "We can offer players excellent training facilities and fitness courses and hopefully send them back to their clubs as better players," Williams added.
Amongst those on the organisations books are 2000 State team representatives Cory Hugo (Swan I.C.), John Mirco (Fremantle City) and Jamie Kuzmanovich (ECU. Joondalup), former Perth Glory men Michael Garcia and Doug Ithier (Floreat Athena), promising players Todd Harnwell (Sorrento), Elton Holmes and Rory Mouttet (both Swan I.C.) and ECU Joondalup teenagers Louis Parkinson, Ryan Fredericks and Greg Sharland.
MOVEMENT IN THE KNIGHTS CAMP
Darren Williams, the goalkeeper who shrugged off a broken foot to become a hero in Western Knights' Boral Cup final win six weeks ago, has been released after failing to agree terms with the club. "It was an amicable split and I'm looking for a new challenge," said the 'keeper who won five semi-pro caps with England in his days in the Vauxhall Conference league with Dover and Dagenham.
Also on the way out is defender Aaron Beattie after just one season with the Knights. The 20-year old came to the club at the end of the 1999 season during which he captained Ashfield/Bunbury and made the W.A. Under-23 side. But he found it difficult to break into the Knights starting eleven over the winter and has been put on the transfer list at his own request.
Coming the other way is 22-year-old keeper Pedro Pavez who spent much of the 2000 season as the understudy to Phil Jackson at Ashfield/Bunbury. His signing comes hot on the heels of the Knights securing the services of State team defender Steve MacDonald just last week from Inglewood United.
TANA JOINS SAWA BOARD
Perth Glory co-owner Nick Tana has had to defend himself after being elected to the board of the State's governing body - the Soccer Administration of W.A. - after claims that Glory are trying to gain control of soccer in W.A. The NSL minor premiers now hold two seats on the five-man board with the club's other co-owner, Paul Afkos, having been chairman of SAWA since January when he was voted in by the state's amateur body WAASSA. The other board places are filled by Soccer West Coast directors David Schrandt and Siggy Kramer along with David Nurse of WAASSA. Tana will represent the affiliates - coaches, referees, schools, women's soccer and the Glory.
Part of SAWA's domain is making recommendations to Soccer Australia, and it has been suggested Tana and Afkos could influence any decision taken on the granting of a second NSL licence to a Perth consortium. But Tana said there was no hidden agenda behind his appointment. "In the case of the second licence, I will abstain from voting," he said this week. "I will have no influence whatsoever. I have made that categorical statement to all the affiliates. In no way, shape or form will I influence any decision on the second licence. In no circumstance was this the catalyst for my appointment."
With the rift between Tana and Afkos well documented, the appointment of Tana was a seemingly rare of instance of the two being in total agreeance. Afkos welcomed Tana on board to help with the restructuring of the administrative arm of the game in W.A. and was also quick to point out that the move did not indicate a Glory takeover. "We are concerned only with what benefits of the game as a whole, not Perth Glory," he said.
Tana's term on the board will be short-lived, lasting only until the SAWA annual meeting next month. He won the backing of the affiliates in order to pursue two objectives - "We want the juniors reinstated to SAWA, providing everything is in order, and we want to ensure that the Government Task Force recommendations (on the restructuring of soccer) as agreed, and if agreed, by all the stakeholders are implemented."
KILKELLY IMPRESSES IN UK
ECU Joondalup midfielder Shaun Kilkelly is weighing up his options at the moment after spending the past 14 weeks in the UK. The 16-year old, who captained the W.A. Under-16 team to second place at the Lion City Cup tournament in Singapore mid-year, has been on trial with a number of Midlands.
The midfielder started out with Premier League club Southampton in August and, after a short stay, switched his attentions to Barnsley where he was involved in a friendly against the England U-21 team where he spent much of the match marking West Ham United sensation Joe Cole. Asked to extend his stay at the club, Kilkelly turned down the offer for personal reasons and Leicester City was the next stop.
More recently the teenager has spent time at Wallsall where he has again impressed the coaching staff. After a recent training run in which the Perth lad was up against players two and three years older than himself, Youth Development Officer M. Halsall commented on Kilkelly's excellent first touch, reading of the game and shooting abilities. The club are said to be keen to hold onto the talented youngster with the offer of a footballing scholarship a distinct possibility.
NATIONAL CALL-UP FOR TWO
Two Perth boys have been named in the Australian Schoolboys squad that will tour New Caledonia and Vanuatu in late November/early December. Robert Cibesku of Morley Senior High School and Rhys Graham of Trinity College are among the 16 players in the touring party announced late last week.
Originally from Queensland, Graham came W.A. to further his playing ambitions and was a key member of the PSA champion's victory over John Curtin SHS recently. He plays locally in the middle of the park for Perth. Cibesku is an attacking midfielder with First Division club the Dianella White Eagles where he had an outstanding winter season which saw him with a regular place in the senior side. He said he was proud to be selected and hopes one day to be a Socceroo. Also making the trip will be W.A. coach Tony Ratcliff who was named assistant coach/manager of the team.
The squad will assemble in Sydney on 21st November for a few days preparation before departing on 23rd November for New Caledonia. The following day they play the New Caledonia Under-23 side before taking on the New Caledonia senior team on 26th November. They are then off to Vanuatu for three games with the Vanuatu Under-20's plus a friendly against the Vanuatu club champions before returning to Sydney on 4th December.
The Schoolboys squad is: Babak Ghotb (Vic.), Amied Shadmaan (A.C.T.), Michael Arena (N.S.W.), Shane Groen (N.S.W.), Ivan Klarica (Vic.), Simon Bernadino (S.A.), Chris Scuderi (Qld), Brett Kitching (Qld), Brendan Lewandowski (Qld), Farren Fleiter (Qld), Felipe Alves (S.A.), Rhys Graham (W.A.), Simon Mitchell (S.A.), Danny Agnello (A.C.T.), David Scarsella (S.A.), Robert Cibesku (W.A.). The coaching staff is made up of Brendon Fotheringham (N.S.W.), Chris Conti (A.C.T.), Richard Beazley (A.C.T.) and Tony Ratcliff (W.A.).
NSL LICENCE EXPOSÉ
Under the heading "Bidding War - Three Groups Vie For Soccer Licence", Bevan Eakins of the "West Australian" this week filed a feature two page report on what has become the battle to become Perth's second team in the NSL. Eakins revealed that there are now three bids on the table with by far the strongest coming from an umbrella group under the Soccer West Coast banner and Premier League champions Fremantle City. Both parties have until 29th December to lodge final applications with Soccer Australia and are confident of meeting the outlined criteria.
SWC general manager Paul Tombides said their bid was largely dependant on selling a 35 per cent share of the new club to European soccer interests. SWC president and one of the prime movers behind the Western Lightning bid, David Schrandt, is overseas at the moment and apparently "very close" to inking a deal with what is believed to be an English Premier League club. "If David gets that signature, there's no holding us back," Tombides was quoted as saying. "If he doesn't then, yes, there's a risk to our bid." SWC will lodge its $10,000 application fee plus the $250,000 licence fee with Soccer Australia next week. Amongst the committee pushing the bid are local businessmen Denis McInerney, Paul Afkos and Len Buckeridge.
Having publicly verified Fremantle City's application only a few weeks ago, club president John Da Luz confirmed Fremantle have already lodged their application and license monies with the national body. Unlike the SWC bid, the Fremantle consortium is not reliant on an overseas connection. "We are getting all the capital we need," said the club president. "We could kick off tomorrow and meet all Soccer Australia's criteria." Da Luz went on to explain that the bid is backed by business partner Nick Rotondella and a wealthy retailer who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being. The consortium are at the current time developing colours and logos and plan to incorporate the name Fremantle in the new club.
The third bid is being explored by former State League player John Montagu, who these days runs a consulting engineering company. "We're sorting out a couple of legal matters with Soccer Australia before proceeding," he said. The group has a European agent working on a connection with an overseas club to provide financial support. Montagu, the 1963 W.A. Player of the Year, said, "There's not a lot of difference between the three bidders in terms of expertise and facilities. But I believe between $6 million and probably $10m is needed to make it work."
However, it's likely that none of the bidders will start the NSL next season with Soccer Australia planning to cut the number of clubs from 16 to 12 teams. "If 12 clubs reach the criteria then there will be no room for a second side in Perth," said Soccer Australia general manager Stefan Kamasz. "They may put up a terrific bid but if there is no vacancy, there is no vacancy." Kamasz also expressed his concerns over the possible impact of a new side on Perth Glory. "Soccer Australia believes, some time in the future, W.A. could sustain two teams," he said. "Soccer Australia wants to ensure that when it makes a decision it has all the facts before it and makes the right decision. At the moment, it appears to be a good way to expand, that it would be beneficial. We need to research that and I'm not convinced one way or the other that the second team is a good idea. At the end of the day, we have to ensure we don't lose what Perth Glory has established."
The Western Knights have already begun building for the 2001 campaign with the signing of State centre-half Steve McDonald from Inglewood United. But the club could be about to lose midfield sensation Joe Vaz who is currently on trials with NSL outfit the Melbourne Knights.
Relegated Bayswater City are determined their stay in the First Division will not be a long one according to President Tony Carmignani. "The board has resolved to work harder, we'll consolidate from our pool of talented younger players and we're looking at a possible new coaching appointment" said Carmignani recently.
Former Australian Under-17 international Richard Garcia, currently on loan to Leyton Orient from West Ham United, is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season after damaging cruciate ligaments in his knee last week. Garcia had only a week earlier decided to continue with the O's until the end of the current campaign.
BUSY SCHEDULE FOR 2001?
Scottish Premier League leaders Glasgow Celtic could be on their way to Perth come the middle of next year to participate in what is shaping up to be a four-team international tournament. The club are one of four British sides - the others being Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Sheffield United - showing interest in touring Australia next year which will include playing a series of games against a W.A. squad.
"We're getting a lot of interest from foreign teams that want to come here," said Soccer West Coast general manager Paul Tombides. "Two Italians teams and a Brazilian side are also keen and it might be that we will organise a three or four-team tournament. But we've got to know within the next six weeks before we settle on our league fixtures for next season. We'd need to leave a few weekends free in order to accommodate visiting sides."
The State team are very much in demand overseas having been offered a trip to Malaysia at the end of January for the Under-23 squad. They've also been invited to compete in an international Under-19 tournament in France during June 2001. Although his position is an unpaid one, W.A. coach Paul Wormley is keen to stay on and help develop W.A.'s emerging players. "There's a lot of promising talent in the State and these sort of fixtures give players something to aim at," said Wormley.
AWARDS AT CLUB LEVEL
The 2000 Premier League season is well and truly over and all clubs have held their annual presentation nights where this season's club awards were handed out. With their awards ceremony hosted by Mel Moffat of the "West Australian" newspaper, Fremantle City's Best and Fairest for 2000 went to State representative Craig Surtees. The Players' Player of the Year trophy was taken home by one-time Perth Glory midfielder Paul McVittie while promising young goalkeeper Alan Dunlop was the recipient of the Rookie of the Year award. In his first season with the club after a lengthy spell with the Western Knights, Tim Morgan finished well clear at the top for the club's Leading Scorer award. The Reserves Fairest and Best went to John Ferreira, while in the Under-18's Louis D'Oliveira (Fairest and Best) and Joe Liguan (Leading Scorer) took home the honours.
Western Knights youngster Joe Vaz capped a fine winter by finishing in equal first place with defender Alex Christie in the club's Fairest and Best poll. It was a remarkable achievement by Vaz who missed the last six games of the regular season due to being on trial in Portugal. The Players' Player of the Year was taken out by Andy Wright, Most Improved went to defender Leon Russell with John Nicolaou the Leading Scorer. In the Reserves Mark Donnelly won the Fairest and Best, pushed all the way by young 'keeper Damon Sluchniak. The Most Improved trophy was taken out by Erik Kuzmar who was also runner-up to Stepan Majic for the Under-18's Fairest and Best award.
Vice-captain Mark Pottier was the Fairest and Best at Perth, winning by one vote from defender Aaron Cole. The Rob Giorgi Memorial Trophy to the most outstanding young player was won by Christian Marocchi, and Dino Djulbic was the Development Player of the Year. Ricardo Reynaga lead the way in the Reserves Fairest and Best, pipping promising striker Dario Pelliccitto, while Scott White won the Under-18's top award ahead of captain Miki Vujacic.
At Swan I.C. the Fairest and Best trophy went to State Under-23 representative Rory Moutett, utility player James Dimmock coming in runner-up. The Players' Player of the Year was taken out by long-serving defender Darren Freeman, while 37-year old striker Nigel Aubin was the leading scorer on 15 goals. The reserves top honour went to Darren Dimalo, Ben Headley was the runner-up and Robbie Peruzza Leading Scorer. Rob Shepeard was the Under-18's Fairest and Best, Adrian McBride came in second and Alain Campher lead the way in the goalscoring stakes.
It came as no surprise when former Socceroo goalkeeper Robert Zabica was awarded Inglewood United's Fairest and Best trophy. Long serving midfielder Lee Crosby was runner-up and Paul Lincoln took out the Leading Scorer trophy with 10 Premier League goals. State Schoolboy captain Jason Godfrey won the Reserves Fairest and Best with young goalkeeper Oliver Taseski a close runner-up - the pair tied for the Rising Star award. In the Under-18's State junior representative Paul Baczynski took out top honours ahead of Matt Kaszinski.
Jamie Kuzmanovic swept the pool at ECU Joondalup by taking out the club's Fairest and Best, Players' Player of the Year and Supporters' Player of the Year trophies. The only major honour that didn't come the defender's way was the Leading Scorer which went to Carl McDarby who found the net 12 times despite missing the opening weeks through injury. In the Reserves the honours went to Ryan Fredericks (Players' Player) and Louis Parkinson (Leading Scorer) while the Under-18 awards were won by Mark Ristovski (Players' Player) and Ben Yates (Leading Scorer).
The Fairest and Best player for Cockburn City in 2000 was Dusan Macura, Steve Adam coming in runer-up. Adam was first in the Players' Player of the Year and Antonio Naglieri lead the way as the club's Leading Scorer. Jodi Henderson won the Reserves Fairest and best, Jeff Cargill the runner-up and Michael Jennings topping the scoring charts. The Under-18's awards went to Jordan Kissane (Fairest and Best), Sasa Gojic (runner-up) and Melita Miletic (Leading Scorer)
Scott McLeod was a clear winner in Sorrento's prestigious Best and Fairest trophy, Ross Greer came in second and was closely followed by rising star Kevin Murphy. McLeod was a popular winner and had polled well in the Soccer West Coast Gold Medal count and also finished second in the media's award to Floreat Athena's Troy Bernard. The club's Golden Boot Award went to Under-18's striker Jake Harman who netted 23 times over the course of the winter, but the honour of Best Goal was taken out by State Schoolboy David Foster. The Most Improved Young Player was Barry Williamson. The Reserves Fairest and Best was won by Richard Mills with Mark Coppack coming in runner-up, while in the Under-18's it was Jake Harman followed by Wayne Wilson.
Floreat Athena's Adrian Sutton won their Fairest and Best in his first season at the Litis Stadium. It was a just reward for the defender who also made his senior debut for New Zealand during the winter months. Midfielder Jason Smith was runner-up for the award while former Fremantle City striker Robin Dyer took out the Leading Scorer trophy by putting the ball past opposing 'keepers 14 times in the Premier League.
It was a season of turmoil at Ashfield/Bunbury which saw the parties go their separate ways at the end of the winter and, as a consequence, there were separate end-of-season trophy presentations. Last weekend Ashfield held their awards night which saw top honours go to Gene "Surfie" Wyllie (Player of the Year) with Damien "treatment-table" Trim coming in second. Ashfield had a bit of fun and came up with some rather inventive awards which saw Phil Jackson named Wally of the Year, Steve Gillibrand Runner-Up Wally of the Year and the Pleasure To Coach (or Coaches Pet) trophy was taken out by Gyula "I can't stay long" Koncsek. Down at Bunbury their Fairest and Best trophy went to the versatile Daniel Trim with Gene Wyllie and Steve Goff close behind. And despite leaving the club mid-season Savo Garic was the Leading Scorer with 7 goals.
Soccer West Coast Gold Medal winner Alan MacKenzie took out Bayswater City's Fairest and Best award with young striker Alex Jankulovski runner-up. Dom Ando was the surprise winner of the club's Leading Scorer award with 6 goals, most of those coming via the penalty spot. The Reserves trophies went to Michael Catalano (Fairest and Best) and Jankulovski (Leading Scorer), with Ben Hasler winning both the Under-18's Fairest and Best and Leading Scorer, Matt Novatsis the runner-up in the former.
Rockingham City's Player of the Year is voted on by the supporters and this season they named Ian Griffiths as the winner, goalkeeper Adrian Rawlings coming in second. Rawlings took out the Players' Player of the Year, while Mark Hornby was the winner of the Coaches Award. Reserves honours went to Brian Hasty (Player of the Year), Ben Rosman (runner-up and Coaches Award) and Alex Smith (Players' Player), with Under-18's trophies going to Joe Rickard (Player of the Year), John Crawford (runner-up) and Glen Hallams (Players' Player of the Year).
In the First Division, it was a night to remember for Bassendean Caledonian's George Ramm who won both the Fairest and Best and Players' Player of the Year awards. Alistair Annall was the Fairest and Best runner-up and David Boffa Leading Scorer with 17 goals - oddly enough two goals ahead of Jamie Trandos (Kingsway Olympic) and Ashley Keegan (Stirling Lions) who shared Soccer West Coasts' Leading Scorer trophy! Kenny Smith also did the double by taking out the Reserves Fairest and Best and Player's Player of the Year awards.
STATE TEAM MAKE IT TWO OUT OF TWO
The second and final match in the two game series between Western Australia and Malaysia took place on Thursday night at the Litis Stadium. State coach Paul Wormley opted to go with an all-Under-23 starting line-up at the request of Soccer West Coast in an effort to make the it a more even contest against their young Malaysian opponents. That mean that Trim Morgan, Craig Surtees and the stand-out in Monday's clash Sandy Robertson all found themselves with a place on the bench, although all three did come on as substitutes late in the game.
It was looking as though another Malaysia were on their way to another hammering when the home side raced to a two goal advantage after 32 minutes. Promising wingback Todd Harnwell added some sparkle to the game with a thumping strike to give in the 14th minute. And an unfortunate own goal doubled the margin just after the half hour mark when, under pressure from John Mirco, Malaysian defender Jayaprakash steered Louis Parkinson's cross past his own 'keeper. Two minutes from the break the visitors finally had something to cheer about when influential midfielder Shawal Mouhtar pulled a goal back. The slightly built player took full advantage of Suhaimi Bahauddin's penetrating pass, knocking the ball past an opponent before slotting it past goalkeeper Cory Hugo.
Mouhtar's strike brought confidence to the Malaysian side who came out looking for more goals in the second period and increased the tempo with a string of substitutions. Bahauddin came close to equalising just after the re-start but his ferocious drive skimmed the wrong side of the bar. Following the introduction of their overage players, W.A. carved out a third goal to out the result beyond doubt. Three minutes from full-time Morgan's powerful shot was too hot to handle for the Malaysian 'keeper, Parkinson collected the crumbs and tapped in from close range to complete the 3-1 scoreline.
MORE ON THAT SECOND LICENCE
The bidding process for the second NSL license from W.A. is hotting with the news this week that a third party has entered the race alongside those from Soccer West Coast and Fremantle City. With details of the third bid sketchy to say the least at the current time, there have been some recent developments from the other camps.
It is expected that an announcement from SWC will be made in the near future regarding a sister relationship with an English club. President David Schrandt has been in the UK for the past few weeks sounding out clubs and will be returning to Perth shortly when more details will be made public. However, it is believed that an agreement has been struck with a club in one of England's lower divisions.
Fremantle City's bid is picking up the pace with several businessmen committing themselves to bringing top flight football to the port city. With the head of the franchise bid opting to remain low profile, club spokesman John Da Luz announced at the annual awards night that the $250,000 application fee had been lodged with Soccer Australia. It is believed the club, if successful at being granted entry in the NSL, will be focusing their attentions south of the river with particular emphasis on the area between Fremantle and Rockingham which are traditional strong Perth Glory areas.
With three parties involved in the race for the licence, a Soccer Australia representative recently said off-the-record that the controlling body were not looking at allowing entry of as second W.A.-based team until the 2002/03 season at the earliest. A decision on the final make-up of next season's competition should be made no later than 4th June 2001.
DANZE MAKES JOEYS SQUAD
Perth Glory teenager Anthony Danze has been included in the national Under-17's squad that will compete in the World Youth Championship Qualifiers in Samoa next month. The former ECU Joondalup midfielder was one of two Perth-based players under consideration with State representative Louis Parkinson narrowly missing the final cut of 20. The OFC Under-17 Champion will represent the region at the 2001 FIFA World Under-17 Championship in Trinidad and Tobago next year.
GLORY SWOOP FOR NAGLIERI
For the second time in recent months Perth Glory have made a late play and signed one of the state's promising youngsters ahead of English rivals when they snapped up Antonio Naglieri on a three-year contract. He is the second teenager signed by Perth this season, following in the footsteps of 16-year old Anthony Danze who agreed terms in September.
It was expected that the Cockburn City midfielder would shortly be heading to England where he had trials lined-up with Blackburn Rovers. 17-year old Naglieri burst onto the scene this season and took out the W.A. Rookie of the Year trophy before being rewarded with a spot in the state side. It was while playing for W.A. in a recently friendly with Glory that he came to the attention of former England international Graham Roberts, who passed the teenagers name to Rovers manager Graeme Souness.
The "West Australian" newspaper reported on Thursday that Naglieri was close to formalising his transfer from Cockburn with only a few minor details to be cleared up, including the terms surrounding a sell-on percentage. "Everything is agreed with the player and we're delighted to get him - he's an exciting talent," Glory general manager Roger Lefort said.
W.A. TOO GOOD FOR MALAYSIA
The opening game of a two match friendly international series between Western Australia and the Malaysian Under-23 team at the Litis Stadium on Monday night was witnessed by a paltry 150 spectators, hardly surprising considering the lack of publicity given to the event by those at the Soccer Association of W.A. With the senior national team involved in the Tiger Cup tournament in Bangkok, this was very much an developmental Malaysian touring party which featured no less than ten players that took part in July's Asian Youth Under-19 Championship.
W.A. opened with promise and held sway for the first ten or so minutes with Paul Cooke reeking havoc with some tight ball control and sublime skills wide the left. He carved out the first chance of the night after 6 minutes, sneaking past his man and clipping a deep cross into the area which found Craig Surtees who connected well but put ball into the side netting.
The visitors settled shortly after and an inch-perfect Rajini a/l Kahendran free-kick in the 9th minute picked out Azralan Azmi at the far post. His powerful header from a narrow angle flew past Dunlop and thankfully for the W.A. 'keeper beyond the post. A minute later Malaysia should have taken the lead when Troy Bernard badly mis-timed a clearance and Azralan pounced on the loose ball a metre inside the area. But the tall striker panicked with only Dunlop to beat, narrowing his angle by running the ball wide before knocking his shot clear across the face of goal.
It was a miss that Malaysia would regret as W.A. quickly raced the ball to the other of the pitch and took the lead in controversial circumstances. Kevin Correia latched onto a defence-splitting pass from midfielder Sandy Robertson and raced into the penalty area where he was bundled off the ball by 'keeper Mohd Syamsuri Mustafa. There wasn't a moments' hesitation from young referee Allan Dix in pointing to the spot, but the Malaysian players appealed the decision long and hard all the same. Eventually Robertson stepped up and sent the 'keeper the wrong way to open the state teams account.
Having taken the lead, W.A. then spent much of the rest of the first half on the back foot. Malaysia took control of the middle from where they ran the show, always with a free man moving off the ball and quickly exchanging passes to get around their opponents. But once in attack Malaysia were very reluctant to use the full width of the park, instead preferring to go through the middle on route to goal. As a consequence they managed few genuine shots with the W.A. backline of Bernard, Jamie Kuzmanovic and Steve MacDonald standing strong in front of Dunlop.
What of those occasions when the visitors did sight goal? Fared Shah Hasan wriggled his way past a couple of opponents in the 14th minute to open up the W.A. defence only to put his shot into the arms of Dunlop. In the 27th minute Mohd Shawal Johadi turned Kuzmanovic on the right side of the area, confidently strode forward and hit a vicious shot which Dunlop knocked around the post. And a few minutes later a great in-swinging corner from Azralan evaded Dunlop and dropped beyond the far post, but no-one was on hand to put the ball between the posts.
With Malaysia restricting W.A.'s supply through the centre, Trim Morgan was forced to come back into midfield to retrieve the ball but, with only Correia ahead, was left with few options going forward. In their first attacking move since scoring, W.A. were awarded a corner in the 32nd minute which Cooke knocked short to Robertson before the latter sent it deep to the area. Towering over the defence, MacDonald disappointingly put a weak downward header too close to Syamsuri when normally he'd have found the net.
In the minutes that followed W.A. enjoyed the better of possession as their midfield finally sparked into life and exposed some alarming holes in the Malaysian defence. In the 36th minute right wingback Surtees sent a low cross from the corner flag, the Malaysian defence were caught ball watching and Antonio Naglieri was on hand to double the margin. It was nothing short of suicidal defending from the visiting team who from some reason allowed the ball to roll straight through the heart of their defensive area and disregarded the threat posed by two unmarked opponents - Naglieri and Correia - lurking well within 10 metres of goal at the far side.
A minute later the margin was extended even further when Correia laid on a neat pass which found Morgan in a dangerous position inside the 6-yard box. The striker created space for himself by swivelling his hips to throw off the nearest defender only to crash his shot on the turn against the base of the up-right. The ball cannoned off the post, struck Syamsuri on the back and re-bounded over the goal line to make for one of the unluckiest own goals you'll ever see. Three minutes from the break it was almost 4-0 when Correia ran onto a lobbing through ball from Naglieri, the striker controlled the bouncing ball with two touches but put his shot wide with Mohd Nizam Jamil quickly closing him down.
W.A. turned the tables in the second half to completely dominate the Malaysian side who would be restricted to shooting from long range for the remainder of the match. Five minutes after the re-start Morgan was unlucky not to get on the score sheet when twice within the space of a minute he was denied by the reflexes of Syamsuri. The striker's first effort was tipped over the bar when he capped a lovely weaving run with a splendid dipping drive from 18 metres. The resulting corner was not properly cleared and was quickly pumped back into the dangerzone, Morgan beating the off-side trap to thump the ball to Syamsuri's right from close range but the 'keeper threw out his hand and pushed it around the post.
The architect of W.A.'s second half revival was Robertson, one of only three players over the age of 23 in the team. Working from the centre of midfield, he stamped his class all over the match with a string of pin-point passes, clever flicks and delightful exchanges which opened up the Malaysian team and set teammates on their way to goal. Other than Robertson it was an average team performance with many players floating in and out of the match with regularity. Only Cooke was consistent down the left flank where his excellent ball control caused all manner of problems for the visitors.
Although overpowering their opponents, W.A. could not find the net. Correia went for power rather than accuracy in the 58th minute when, 7 metres out, he hit the ball well wide from within a crowd. John Mirco put a long range effort over the bar, and shortly after was in the thick of the action again. A Todd Howarth cross cleared those in the middle and fell to Surtees at the far post, he flicked the ball back over his head and to the top of the area where Mirco volleyed strongly, forcing Syamsuri to dive full-length to keep it out of the net. In the 83rd minute another jinking run by Morgan took him past three opponents before pulling the ball back to Todd Harnwell but his shot clattered into the body of a defender.
In an effort to restore some pride Malaysia fought hard to find a goal in the closing stages with their best chance created by Fared when he raced clear of Cooke down the right and inside the penalty area. He powered the ball to Dunlop's right, the 'keeper responded quickly and palmed the ball across goal where it flew past Indra Putra Mahayuddin who was unable to react in time to tuck it into the now exposed goal.
The visitors frustrations were growing with their lack of success in front of goal and Saiful then Shawal were booked for clashing with Morgan. The latter was lucky not to be sent off after bringing down the striker from behind with a crunching tackle six minutes from full-time. Robertson took the resulting free-kick, hitting a swinging 22-metre right-footer over the wall and out of Syamsuri's reach to make it four-nil. Malaysia looked like getting on the score sheet when awarded an 88th minute free-kick on the edge of the area. Something special was expected as Shawal shaped up to take the kick - his teammates backing off and giving him all the space he needed - only to pump the ball about 10 metres high and wide of the target.
The final whistle signalled the end of a match in which the home side went into the half-time break with an undeserved three goal advantage that greatly flattered their performance. With such a margin to overcome, the game was already well out of the reach of the young Malaysian side who showed promise when going forward, especially in the opening half, but were let down consistently in front of goal. Azralan was perhaps their stand-out player with a stirring first half performance, but he was guilty of missing a couple of clear chances inside the first 10 minutes. At the end of the day it was Malaysia's inability to match the physical prowess of the home team, most notably the hard-tackling Morgan and no-nonsense approach of the defence, that would prove to be the difference between these two sides.
Western Australia : Alan Dunlop, Troy Bernard, Steve MacDonald, Jamie Kuzmanovic, Paul Cooke,
Craig Surtees, Scott Devine (Todd Howarth 63), Antonio Naglieri (Todd Harnwell 64), Sandy Robertson,
Kevin Correia (John Mirco 59), Trim Morgan (Louis Parkinson 84)
Malaysia Under-23. : Mohd Syamsuri Mustafa, Irwan Fadli Idrus, Mohd Nizam Jamil, Mohd Mazuki, Rajini a/l Kahendran (Nazril Ezwan 84), Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Mohd Shawal Johadi, Azralan Azmi (Mohd Hairul Nizam 63), Fared Shah Hasan, Norhafiz Zamani, Saiful Sabto
Referee : Allan Dix
Cautions : Saiful (62), Shawal (84)
Expulsions : None
Attendance : 125 (approx.)
Soccer West Coast are at the moment deciding what format the First Division will take next season. With a couple of options on the table, it is said that the one being favoured currently will see the competition split into regional divisions - north and south of the river - with the likelihood of eight teams in each. The top three would then play off at the end of the season for promotion to the Premier League. The controlling body are also said to be considering the entry of up to four new clubs into the First Division, including a submission from Morley Windmills.
The pitch at the Litis Stadium will be dug in the next couple of weeks as work begins to alleviate the drainage problems at the newly developed ground which saw the surface at times resembled a swamp more than a football pitch over the winter months. Meanwhile construction work at Kiev Sports Ground, where a 1,000 seat stand is planned, has been delayed.
Following last week's departure of coach John Hunter come some disturbing reports of a mass player exodus from the Inglewood United camp. It is believed that several key figures from their winter campaign are unhappy at the club and are negotiating contract details with Premier League rivals for the 2001 season.
W.A.'s rising stars will get the chance to strut their stuff on the international stage next year following Soccer West Coast's acceptance of invitations to send two underage teams abroad. The State Under-23's will take part in a tour of Malaysia in January after this weeks visit by their Malaysian counterparts, and the Under-19's have accepted an a place at an international tournament being held in France next June.
VALE HENK BEUMER
One of W.A. soccer's great characters Henk Beumer died on Saturday 4th November. Born in Holland, Beumer was a former president of Morley Windmills and, despite ill health, had been working tirelessly for the past nine months to compile a history of the club for its 50th anniversary, which is this year. The Dutchman also held the position of director with the Soccer Federation of W.A., was a member of the protest and disputes board, and in more recent times, was an administrator with Soccer West Coast.
HUNTER APPOINTED COACH OF ATHENA
It was announced via the "West Australian" newspaper on Thursday that Inglewood United's coach of the past two seasons John Hunter had been released by the club, replaced by Steve Parkinson for the 2001 season. But the W.A. Soccer Site can exclusively reveal that within 12 hours of the story hitting the streets, Floreat Athena swooped and signed Hunter as coach for next season
Hunter lead United to fourth place in the Premier League this season, an improvement of three places on the previous campaign, but he and the club could not agree terms on his reappointment. Club president Siggi Kramer said Hunter's financial expectations could not be met, although Hunter denied that had been the case. "I wanted to go the next step and sign some players to challenge for the league," he said. "They didn't see it the same way so I felt it was time to move on." Despite this, Hunter said he's left the club on good terms.
By 7.00pm that evening Hunter had agreed terms with representatives from Athena. He then was introduced to the players whom he addressed for close to an hour behind closed doors and outlined his plans for the team in 2001. He hopes to be able to steer the club back on-course after they finished perilously close to the relegation zone this winter and aims to return them to the heady experienced in the late 1980's. Hunter was a member of the playing staff at Athena in those days and won several trophies with the club including the double of the Leagues' Player of the Year and Leading Scorer in 1990.
STATE TEAM TAKE ON MALAYSIA
The senior W.A. state team will play the Malaysian Under-23 side in two challenge matches under lights next week. The games, to be played at Litis Stadium, will kick-off at 7.00pm on Monday 6th and Thursday 9th November.
With Paul Wormley once again in charge of the side, the squad for the series is Paul Cooke, Antonio Naglieri (Cockburn City), Troy Bernard (Floreat Athena), Kevin Correia, Alan Dunlop, John Mirco, Trim Morgan, Craig Surrtees (Fremantle City), Steve MacDonald (Inglewood United), Scott Broadley, Jamie Kuzmanovic, Louis Parkinson, Sandy Robertson, Steve White (ECU Joondalup), Todd Howarth (Perth), Todd Harnwell, Richard Turnbull (Sorrento), Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.), and Scott Devine (Western Knights).
The latest publication dealing with the local game is John Williamson's book "Soccer Anzacs : the Story of the Caledonian Soccer Club" which chronicles the highs and lows of the club formed in 1913 and who have gone on to become one of W.A.'s longest serving outfits. Priced at just $15.00, it is available via the Bassendean Caledonian club (Ph: 9377 1070), or through Serendipity Books which can be found at 256 Railway Parade, West Leederville (Ph: 9382 2246).
"Soccer Anzacs" is the third recent publication to take an in-depth look at the game in W.A. Richard Kreider's "A Soccer Century" is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the game in this state and is still available for $12.00 (including postage) from SportsWest Media, PO Box 444, Cloverdale WA 6105. Earlier this year of Perth Azzurri/Italia/S.C. somewhat belatedly celebrated their 50th anniversary with the release of "Azzurri : 50 Golden Years" written by soccer journalist David Andrews. Copies of this can be purchased through the club (Ph: 9328 2474 or Fax: 9227 5670) at a cost of $20.00 each.
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This page was last updated on the 31st December, 2000