FINLAY IMPRESSES IN ENGLAND
Joondalup United teenager Mark Finlay is turning a few heads while trialling in the UK. by all accounts. The 17-year old midfielder, who headed to England a month ago, started out with a weeks stay at Premier League club Sunderland where Director of Coaching Gavin Tate expressed an interest in the youngster but, realising nothing more was forth-coming, the young West Australian saw it was time to move on. Next up was Notts County who asked Finlay to stay for three weeks, during which time he was one of the best on ground in a youth practice match against West Bromwich Albion. After impressing the coaching staff at County, Finlay has been invited back for further trials during the 20001/02 pre-season. This week sees the teenager trying his luck with 1st Division outfit Burnley.
DISCOUNTED SUSPENSION BAFFLING
There has been a lot of discussion over the past few days centring around the supposed suspension of Floreat Athena striker Robyn Dyers. Last week the tall striker was sent off early in the second half of his clubs' Night Series victory over ECU Joondalup, later being handed down a two-week lay-off for the indiscretion. Dyers appealed this decision, as is his right, and won the case which saw the suspension reduced to one-game which would have meant he missed the weekend clash with Fremantle City, right? Well, you'd think so.
Instead, Dyers missed the mid-week State team fixture with visiting Malaysian club Sarawak, which brings us to the points of contention. To the best of our knowledge Dyers has not been a part of the W.A. squad for the better part of 18 months - if not longer - but suddenly he gets a shot to represent the State, only for it evaporate due to the suspension. Even if you do accept that the striker was called into the state squad at late notice, nowhere else in the world is a player's suspension - received at club level - permitted to be served in the representative arena. Just another example of the baffling world of the local administration?
SORRENTO-SARAWAK HONOURS SHARED (by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento and Malaysian outfit Sarawak battled out an entertaining two-all draw on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve in what was the visitors last game of their three match visit to Perth. The home side started the match in control of the ball for long periods and deservedly took the lead in the 8th minute. Michael Garcia, after a penetrating run down the left, sent a low cross to Toby Wright whose first time flick over the 'keeper struck the back of the net to the cheers of the home supporters. Sorrento should have been two up after another 2 minutes of play when Glen Thomas played a neat one-two with Wright to get behind the defenders, but his attempted lob lacked quality and Mazlan Abdul Wahid was able to tip the ball away from danger. Within a minute Sarawak drew level - a long cross by Ramles Sari was misjudged by Stuart Banks, leaving Abdul Halim Jantan free to neatly lob Neil Young from 20-metres. Todd Harnwell comprehensibly beat the last defender, Bobby Chua Kim Lun, but his weak shot was gathered by Mazlan Abdul Wahid after 30 minutes. Five minutes later Banks advanced to set free Garcia on the left, but he pulled his shot across the face of goal and wide of the right post.
Early in the second half Sorrento had the better opportunities but failed to deliver. Harnwell fed Wright, but he shot straight at the 'keeper. Thomas' skills created a pass to Wright who had to stretch to shoot and it rebounded off the agile Mazlan Abdul Wahid. As the players tired in the heat, mistakes occurred. A mis-hit cross from the right by Abdul Halim Jantan travelled across the area to the unmarked Ramles Sari who powered home at the far post on 66 minutes. In the 74th minute Thomas rifled Sorrento's equaliser into the top left corner from the edge of the area after his first attempt came back off Johnny Joseph.
LEEDS TOUR OFF
Leeds United have reportedly called off their end-of-season tour of Australia due to the international commitments of a number of first team players, including Socceroos Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka who will be involved in Australia's World Cup qualifiers. The cancellation comes as a blow to local promoters who were teeing up a glamour fixture between Leeds and Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic.
JUNIORS WANTED AT SORRENTO
Sorrento are still seeking a couple of junior players - girls and boys - to complete a full complement of teams for the Under-5 & 6, and Under-11 age groups. The club have 29 junior teams and currently have vacancies for three coaching positions in the Under-6, Under-10 and Under-11 age groups. If any player or coach is interested they are asked to please contact Jasmine Albon on 9409 3955 for more details. There are also openings for goalkeepers in the Under-15 Premier and Under-14 second (Division 1) sides.
Sorrento has five women/girl's teams with the senior women's side presently taking part in the Night Series at Morley Windmills every Friday night from 6.30pm. Any players interested in joining the women's squads should contact Rita Berry on 9401 1319.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND TWO (Inglewood United vs Bassendean Caledonian and Perth S.C. vs Swan I.C. reports provided by Community Newspapers reporter Mike Hennessey)
The late game on the second weekend of the 2001 Night Series pitted Floreat Athena against Fremantle City, and with both sides at full strength, it was a tough game to call pre-match. At home, Athena were coming off a 1-0 win over ECU Joondalup last weekend in which forward Robyn Dyers was expelled, only for his suspension to be over-turned in somewhat bizarre circumstances. Their opponents were held to an exciting two-all draw with Perth in their opening clash and went into tonight's encounter needing maximum points to keep alive their faint hopes of making the finals.
The match got off to a fiery start when, in the third minute, City were reduced to ten men after defender Craig Surtees was red carded for lashing out at Ryan Newhill. Kamasz hastily re-shuffled his deck and a relatively even opening quarter hour ensured in which few genuine chances came the way of either side as they tried to assert some degree of control over the game. Despite some strong defensive work, City went a goal behind in the 14th minute after Troy Bernard quickly knocked a free-kick short to Kevin Smith. The midfielder spotted Alan Dunlop well off his line and floated a spectacular 30-metre lob over the stranded 'keeper which tucked inside the far top corner.
The goal sparked life in the match and what followed was an end-to-end battle with chances coming thick and fast. City looked to have equalised in the 17th minute when a Dale Wingell cross picked out Trim Morgan whose header flew past John Xigas and was destined for the net * until Bernard scooped it out with a lunging, on-the-line clearance. Within 60 seconds Anthony Perriera smashed a cracking volley wide of the target from 16-metres as the visitors showed they were by no means out of the game. Doug Ithier sent two long-range efforts wide, and with his third finally tested Dunlop with a dipping 20-metre drive which was tipped over the bar. Then Dyers showed lovely control to bring down a difficult ball after 21 minutes but put his shot over the top.
Slowly Athena's midfield came into the game and effectively shut their opponents out of the contest. On the few occasions City did manage to get into attack they found life difficult in the final third where Bernard, Hugh Miller and Adrian Sutton confidently dealt with any danger. Adrian Spinelli and George Tiniakos were making some great runs down the flanks for Athena to provide Newhill and Dyers with plenty of ammunition, but it wasn't through great play that the margin was doubled after 34 minutes. Dunlop received a gentle back pass just outside the 6-yard box and looked to slot it to a teammate on the far side of the area - instead his weakly hit pass was intercepted by Dyers, who had the simple task of putting the ball into an open goal from dead in front and little over 8-metres out. It was an absolute clanger and one that the State 'keeper will want to forget in a hurry.
City started the second half with a bit more conviction and substitute Will Pryce came close to scoring with his first touch a minute after the re-start when his first time volley skimmed the bar from 15-metres. But the port side's comeback was short-lived and Athena's midfield once again began to dictate terms. Smith was coming into the match with sparkling regularity, and Tiniakos was creating all sorts of problems on the right, knocking the ball into the area to give Dunlop - who was showing signs of having lost some of his usual confidence - cause for concern as the tall Athena forwards bore down on him. But for all their good work Athena were often guilty of over-hitting their final passes and few real chances on goal resulted.
Their opponents were not fairing a lot better, still struggling to maintain a presence in their attacking half where Xigas was yet to make a save - in fact the 'keeper had only a couple of goalkicks to his credit such was Athena's dominance. On the hour mark Kevin Correia finally broke free and latched onto a great pass from Pryce, but the striker's poor finish didn't call Xigas into action. Two minutes later came the proverbial straw which broke the camels back. Playing the ball through the middle of the pitch, Dave Evans' pass struck the leg of an opponent, rebounded back past the tall defender and released Dyers through the centre. The Athena forward raced clear of his opponents before placing his shot wide of Dunlop and into the bottom right corner of the net.
Three-nil down and with little over 15 minutes remaining, City were well and truly on the back foot with all hope of taking something from this match gone. Ithier was determined to score and skilfully out-manoeuvred his marker to unleash a 25-metre bomb which went close to the target. Then it was Costa Socratous' turn but his shot was blocked off the boot. It came as no surprise when Athena did add their fourth, Newhill finishing a fine move which he also started in the 67th minute. The striker collected the ball in the middle of the park and took it past several opponents before squaring to Tiniakos as he neared the area - from wide on the right he clipped it to the near post where Newhill stooped to send his header at Dunlop's feet and into the back of the net.
The home side eased off in the final 10 minutes with coach John Hunter using the time to give some of the younger squad members some first team experience. There were a few half chances in the closing stages, second half substitute Terry Georgianis couldn't make the most of his opportunity, while Ithier again blasted high from outside the area. Michael Mirco fired off a speculative long-range salvo in the hope of making the scoreline look respectable for City, but it too sailed well over the bar.
City tonight really struggled to get out of first gear, and a couple of lapses in concentration by Dunlop resulted in two first half goals from which they never recovered. The defence worked over-time in trying to limit Athena's attacks but without the experience of Surtees that was always going to be a big ask. Their midfield was effectively neutralised and the usual supply line to Morgan and Correia non-existant. Athena, on the other hand, had contributors all over the park and won the match in the middle with Ithier the architect. Smith and Socratous provided ample support for Athena's play-maker, while down the flanks Tiniakos and Spinelli worked hard at both ends of the pitch. Athena must now be odds on favourites to take out the group with two wins from their two outings, while City are going to find it difficult to make the play-offs stage of the Night Series with just one point from their two games.
Floreat Athena : John Xigas, Troy Bernard, Hugh Miller, Adrian Sutton, George Tiniakos, Adrian Spinelli
(Manuel Arapis 71), Jason Smith (Miguel Ortin 71), Costa Socratous (Chris Georgianis 68), Doug Ithier,
Robyn Dyers (Terry Georgianis 66), Ryan Newhill
Fremantle City : Alan Dunlop, Dave Evans, Craig Surtees, Cesare De Bartolo, Vladimir Beretovac (Will Pryce 40), Anthony Perriera (Cisco Jorqueira 66), Daniel Trim, Dale Wingell (John Ferreira 66), Michael Mirco, Trim Morgan, Kevin Correia (Joe Liguan 66)
Referee : Derek Minett
Cautions : Correia (54)
Dismissals : Surtees (3)
Attendance : 350 (approx.)
In what was expected to be a tight contest, the Western Knights took on a confident Cockburn City side in the early game of Sunday's double-header. City started with more urgency and took the lead after just 12 minutes when Branimir Mikulic seized upon some poor defending and caught 'keeper Pedro Pavez well out of position to bang the ball into an open net. Eight minutes later the margin was doubled after Paul Cooke slid the ball to Christian Alvarez whose shot caught the leg of an opponent and looped over Pavez amid justified calls for off-side from the Knights defence. Proceedings took a nasty turn when Carl Medica was carded for a dreadful tackle from behind on Mikulic, and a minute later Craig Anderson clumsily bought down Shane McNally to earn a place in the referee's book - shortly after McNally limped off and took no further part in the game. With 32 minutes gone, Eugene Singeorazan raced onto a bouncing through ball, out-muscled an opponent to go inside the area and cheekily knocked it over the advancing Dino Pacella to pull a goal back for the Knights. City's two goal buffer should have been re-stored on the stroke of half-time, Antonio Naglieri missing a golden opportunity when put clear by Peter Petkovic but the midfielder took too long with an empty goal an his mercy and allowed Pavez to scramble back and pull off the save.
The second half began with the Knights dominating play in their quest for an equaliser. Their best chance of the period came after 46 minutes, Medica sending a low corner skittling through the area which found Singeorzan on the far side, the striker's powerful blast going narrowly over the bar much to his disappointment. With their first attack since the break, City killed off their opponents hopes when Mikulic thumped the ball against the inside of the up-right to make it 3-1 after 50 minutes. Eight minutes later John Nicolaou, who was having a very quiet game, was sent-off for retaliating against what he considered a late tackle by Steve Adam. Mikulic bagged the first hat-trick of the season in the 60th minute by hitting a fantastic curling shot from 28 metres which Pavez did well to get a hand to but couldn't keep out. Playing with little direction up-front, the Knights misery was compounded when Alex Christie was dismissed for his second yellow card offence after a silly challenge on Alvarez in the 65th minute. It was now all one-way traffic and only the Knights reliance on springing a well rehearsed off-side trap kept the margin from being greater. Even so, ten minutes from full-time Ilia Manolev knocked a low ball into the area and, with the Knights defence nowhere to be seen, young striker Joshua Pescud slammed it over the line from close range. In the final minute City found the net for a sixth time but Naglieri's strike was ruled out for off-side. In a fast-flowing game Cooke was the stand-out player for City along with hat-trick hero Mikulic, while for City only Scott Devine could hold his head high at the end of 80 minutes.
It was a high-scoring weekend all round with the two Friday night games producing a further seven goals. In the opening fixture, a youthful Inglewood United proved too hot to handle for newly-promoted Bassendean Caledonian who began brightly enough, matching their more fancied opponents over the opening 30 minutes. But Caledonian had no answer in the 35th minute to the skills of Scott Campbell who swept down the right to send a fierce 25-metre drive that gave goalkeeper Tommi Tomich no chance. The new-comers to the top flight fought back and within three minutes had equalised when Jason Van Rooy picked out Garin Collins who made no mistake which his header. Just before half time Elton Holmes restored United's lead with an impressive diagonal shot on the run which he placed out of Tomich's reach. They held on to the 2-1 lead in an even start to the second period and, as the game progressed, United began to take control. It was no surprise when Bassendean conceded an own goal after 70 minutes, central defender Alisdair Annall knocking the ball into his own net when attempting to clear a shot from Holmes. The 4-1 trouncing was completed in the final minute when Holmes bagged his second of the evening, pouncing to score from close-range after Tomich's unfortunate clearance rebounded into the strikers' path off a teammate.
Swan I.C, under new coach Vesko Zmukic, lost their opening game of the Night Series by going down 2-0 to a lively and skilful Perth side. With several new faces - including former Glory players Peter Vukmirovic and Scott Halpin - in the Swan line-up, they are clearly going to need time to rediscover their form of last season going on tonight's display. Perth were on top for much of the first half and went ahead when Andreas Oliviera calmly slotted home a deflected shot from Jamie Coyne after 14 minutes. Swan reorganised for the second half with Vukmirovic playing up front along side Rory Mouttet and came into the game more, but too often they were left without support by a midfield concentrating on defence. Despite an outstanding performance from Dean Mlinar at the back for Swan, Perth increased their lead when a David Onoforo shot gave Corey Hugo no chance in the 60th minute. Perth's 2-0 lead was never threatened as the game deteriorated in the later stages, and Swan will need to be more creative in attack if they are to challenge teams like Perth this winter.
SAWA BACK LABBOZZETTA
With the election for the new chairman of Soccer Australia being held tomorrow, it is believed that the Soccer Association of Western Australia will go against the wishes of the majority of the clubs it represents and cast their four votes in favour of Marconi Stalions president Tony Labozzetta. Last weekend saw a meeting of over 100 stakeholders in the W.A. game at which 90% of those present expressed concerns about Labbozzetta's leadership and requested that SAWA not vote for the controversial figure. W.A.'s two remaining votes - those from Perth Glory and the Junior Soccer Association of W.A. - will go to Joe Brondolino who is the other front-runner for the position which is expected to go down to the wire. Also in the running is Renato Orsatti who is likely to only pick up the protest votes should there be any.
FREMANTLE SIGN PRYCE
The Western Australian Soccer Website can reveal that Premier League outfit Fremantle City have secured the signature of 19-year old William Pryce - the younger brother of Perth Glory star Shane - for the up-coming winter season. Pryce spent his junior years playing in the local Northern New South Wales leagues and was added to Newcastle United's youth squad for the 2000/2001 season where he is the club's joint leading scorer. The teenager is hoping the move west will kick-start a career in the NSL.
BASSENDEAN SET FOR DEBUT
Bassendean Caledonian will tonight (23rd February) get their first taste of what to expect this season when they take on Inglewood United in the 6.45pm game Night Series at Litis Stadium. Having taken out the First Division title last season with the final weekend triumph over Stirling Lions, Calies return to the top flight this year for the first time since 1993. And coach Barry Smith believes his squad has the ability and depth to surprise some of its more fancied opponents. "We will be very competitive," Smith said yesterday. "The lads are up for it. They're sharper and fitter than last year and looking forward to it." Unfortunately last season's top scorer David Boffa will be missing from tonight's game, although former Perth Glory midfielder Paul Strudwick is expected to play a prominent role after missing much of last season through injury.
Swan I.C. play Perth in tonight's late game which gets underway at 8.30. On Sunday Cockburn City meet the Western Knights at 6.00pm, with Fremantle City and reigning Night Series champions Floreat Athena contesting the late fixture.
The West Australian leg of Soccer Australia Referees is searching for someone to fill the position of Commission for Administration. Interested parties are asked to contact Louis Prospero on 0413 041 942 for more details. Applications close Friday 9th March.
SARAWAK A TOUGH PROPOSITION FOR STATE TEAMS
Visiting Malaysian side Sarawak have pushed the Western Australian amateur and professional teams all the way in the first two fixtures of their three-match stay in Perth. One-time Fremantle City striker Christian Paschewitz was the hero for the W.A. amateur side in an entertaining four-all draw with Sarawak at Hilton Reserve on Saturday. Played in blustery conditions, it was an all-action affair from the start which saw the Malaysian League side find the net twice in the opening six minutes as they threatened to run away with the contest in the first half. But Paschewitz singled handedly brought the State side back into the game, bagging two goals to ensure the sides went into the break on level terms. Shortly after the re-start Graham Branwell curled a corner past the visiting 'keeper to give W.A. the lead, and Chris Atkins completed an impressive move with a stunning lob with what looked like the sealer. But the skillful Sarawak side were not finished and they mounted a strong comeback late in the match with two further goals of their own to snare an exciting draw.
On Tuesday night it was the turn of the W.A. professional side to take on Sarawak, this time at the Litis Stadium. In a tight contest, there was little to get excited about in a goalless first half which saw the visitors focus on defensive duties after conceding four goals a few days earlier - unfortunately this meant they put together few attacking moves to leave Cory Hugo a virtual spectator in the W.A. goal. The only two decent goal-scoring chances of the period fell to W.A. striker Kevin Correia - the first after just 7 minutes was deflected over the bar, while in the 35th minute his shot flew wide of the mark. After the break Sarawak relied on some effective work on the counter-attack to get forward and on several occasions sweeper Troy Bernard was called upon to make some well-timed tackles for W.A. the deadlock was finally broken after 61 minutes when Sandy Robertson converted a penalty after Sarawak goalkeeper Mazlan Wahid up-ended Craig Surtees in the box. Five minutes later it was two-nil after Trim Morgan used his body to shield the ball in the box, then teed-up midfielder Steve White who blasted home from close range. Driven largely by Ramos Sari and Ramles Sari, Sarawak almost caught out W.A. on a couple of occasions before substitute Safri Amit pegged a goal back with ten minute remaining.
Sarawak play the final match of their brief visit to Perth this Saturday (24th February) when they face Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve, Warwick Road, Duncraig. The game gets underway at 3.00pm and part of the gate entry fee of $3.00 will be donated to the Salvation Army. Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan is looking forward to the test of his side against the full-time professionals from Malaysia.
MURPHY HOPEFUL OF PLAY-OFF BERTH
Australia international defender Shaun Murphy has expressed his belief that a play-off spot for Sheffield United is "a real possibility". After two excellent performances against Fulham and Birmingham City, the Blades are only six points from sixth-placed Watford and appear to be gaining some late season momentum after their impressive 3-1 defeat of Birmingham on the weekend.
"I guess a play-off is a realistic possibility after the four points we've just picked up against Fulham and Birmingham," said Murphy. "The addition of Peter Ndlovu and also Paul Peshscisolido has added some much needed skill, pace and finishing to our forward line which undoubtedly will trouble many defences." United faced high-flying Fulham a fortnight ago and won a much deserved point at Craven Cottage. "Fulham are a class act. I fully expect them to more than hold their own next year in the Premiership and finish in the top half. Fortunately we've managed to so far catch Louis Saha on two off days, but he is the best all round striker in our league." Murphy also had a good word for Bolton's Michael Ricketts, a young striker who has already come under the notice of Sunderland. "Michael Ricketts at Bolton is someone I don't relish the thought of playing against as well."
Murphy has established himself as part of Frank Farina's World Cup squad and took great pleasure in playing his part in the famous 2-0 win against Scotland last year. "The Scotland game was a massive plus for me personally. With so many friends, family and teammates watching both here and back home in Australia, it was important that the team did so well. It was pleasing to be able to dish out alot of stick in the dressing room to my Scottish teammates also!"
LONG ARM OF THE LAW NABS BUNBURY
Bunbury United are in threat of folding after it was announced this week that they will become the state's first prosecution test case under new Health Act legislation aimed at stopping smoking in enclosed public places. The Health Department has laid two charges of allowing people to smoke in an enclosed public place following raids on the club's regular bingo nights last year. And with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of $5000 things are not looking good.
United general manager Ivan Garic said that the court action has the potential to destroy the club as they can not afford a lawyer and the courts had twice refused self-representation. Added to this, they are struggling to pay an $85,000 self-supporting loan from Bunbury City Council, a large portion of which was used to improve ventilation in the bingo hall after club members voted unanimously for the hall to be a smoking venue. "We realise smoking doesn't promote a healthy environment and we don't promote it - but we still believe the majority should rule," Garic said. "We've done everything we can to ensure the safety of our members and cater for the non-smokers."
The club wrote to then health minister John Day in 1999 requesting that they be considered an exempt public place the same as metropolitan gambling venues - including Burswood Casino - and others used by charity groups. They were later informed that the club did not qualify for such an exemption but continued to allow people to smoke on their premises. Garic said the club would argue that the bingo nights were private functions, that players had to be signed members of the club, and there was no public advertising for the events. The club have already been remanded on the charges three times with a trial date set this week in Bunbury Magistrate's Court for 21st August.
LA FIAMMA INVITED TO MALAYSIA
First Division amateur club La Fiamma have been invited to attend this years "Tiger Sevens" tournament in Malaysia. While details are still to be confirmed, it is believed the event will be held in Penang during the third week of October. The Geraldton-based club finished in fifth place last season after winning the WAASSA Second Division title twelve months earlier.
In other news, the club are also searching for new players for the up-coming season. If you are interested in playing for Geraldton La Fiamma please contact Michael Glynn, Ph: 0417 092 434 or email email@example.com for details. Alternatively check out their website which can be found at www.lafiammasoccer.com
FIRST DIVISION FAVOURITES END LEVEL
Two of the main contenders for First Division title this season - the Dianella White Eagles and the Stirling Suns - faced off in a pre-season friendly on Sunday. In an match which saw energetic performances from both teams, the White Eagles started brightest and within 20 minutes found themselves two-nil up thanks to a double from Dragan Njegic. This stirred the Suns into life and they picked up the pace to pull a goal back through the penalty spot. Shortly after Zelko Savic restored the White Eagles two-goal buffer and it looked that was the way things would stay until late in the piece when from Zoran Talimidzioski - himself a former White Eagles player - levelled the scores with two beautiful strikes. The White Eagles had a chance to win the game in injury time but Dragisa Volarevic was twice denied and the score line ended at a deserved three-all.
DUNLOP FORCED OUT OF STATE TEAM
A brave performance from Fremantle City's Alan Dunlop in their opening Night Series game with Perth on the weekend has forced the young goalkeeper out of a State debut against Sarawak. Dunlop came out of the clash with a corked thigh much to the disappointment of W.A. coach Paul Wormley. "I believe he could hardly walk yesterday, so he's had to withdraw from the squad. That's a pity because I had intended using Alan in the starting line-up to give him a run after missing out on our game against Red Star Belgrade a few weeks ago."
Cory Hugo, who was himself injured playing for Swan I.C. recently, is expected to take Dunlop's place between the posts for the clash with the Malaysian side. It's been rumoured that Hugo is being tracked by several National Soccer League clubs after an impressive performance for W.A. against Red Star Belgrade and could be in line for an NSL call up in the not-too-distant future.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND ONE
The new season Night Series got underway on Friday night with last season's Boral Cup winners the Western Knights taking on a new-look Inglewood United. The Knights lost few players over the off-season with those that have moved on to greener pastures - goalkeeper Darren Williams, midfielder Joe Vaz and defender Ivan Ljubicic - expected to be largely replaced from within the clubs junior ranks. New United coach Steve Parkinson has recruited heavily over the summer with the emphasis on youth and called up no less that eight new-comers for tonight's squad.
Played out over two 40 minute halves, it was a typically scrappy start to the season which saw both sides fore-go playing attractive football in preference for knocking the ball hastily from one end of the park to the other which lead to several good chances on goal. Seven minutes into the contest Carl Medica raced the ball to the by-line before pulling it back into the area to skim the head of John Nicoloau then somehow evade the out-stretched leg of David Annall who was charging in at the far post. Two minutes later Knights custodian Damon Sluchniak pulled off a stunning save when he dived full-length across the face of goal to turn a Lee Crosby free-kick from 20 metres around the post. Before you could blink, the ball was raced downfield where Nicolaou seized upon some hesitancy at the back by Jamie D'Arcy, but the Knights striker pushed the ball wide of the target with only young 'keeper Beni Pietropiccolo to beat.
While their methods may not have bee the most attractive, the Knights were having the lions share of possession and looked the more dangerous once inside their opponents area. Michael Vaz was getting good penetration on the right for the Knights who were beginning to asserting their authority in the middle of the park. But United struck a devastating blow in the 13th minute which left their opponents feeling numb - on the counter-attack, Paul Lincoln sprinted clear down the left then knocked the ball low into the box, a scramble for possession followed from which Scott Campbell emerged to slot it between the legs of Sluchniak from close range.
With the wind taken out of the Knights sails and United struggling to maintain a presence in the middle, attractive football was not the order of the day for the remainder of the half as both defences worked hard to repel everything thrown their way. Scott Devine rifled the ball into the side netting from 18 yards after 25 minutes for the Knights best effort of the period, while, just a few minutes, later Daniel Harrop was denied from close range by a fine save by Sluchniak. Campbell was about the only player giving the healthy crowd much to get excited about, effortlessly pushing his way past opponents on the right then cutting the ball back into the area to cause concern for the Knights backline, but equally let down by his own strikers.
Where the first half was a drab encounter with some uninspired and at times laboured performances, the second period saw United come out with all guns ablaze as the pace of the match kicked up a notch. Within a matter of minutes Harrop floated a corner deep which was headed out of the danger zone by Stephen MacDonald - the ball fell to Crosby on top of the area who hammered a low shot through the congested area which initially caught Sluchniak unsighted, but the 'keeper recovered in time to pull off another great save. Campbell continued to create problems for the Knights with some weaving runs and in the 49th minute laid the ball off to Drew Carruthers whose superb long-range strike whizzed narrowly over the top.
In an effort to stem the tide, Knights coach Ronnie Campbell brought on midfielder Shane McNally in a move that would change the complexion of this match. Until the substitution they had looked tired when going forward, but the introduction of McNally breathed new life into the Knights efforts. In the 55th minute McNally found Vaz inside the area and he tested Pietropiccolo with a rasping shot from close range which the 'keeper somehow pushed around the post. And three minutes later McNally sent a searching pass to the feet of Nicolaou whose first time shot on the turn was luckily blocked by Jamie Goodman from 9 metres.
While the Knights were strong going forward, at the back there were several moments of panic in a still unfamiliar defence. The most dangerous of these came when United substitute Elton Holmes squared a flat cross into the area after 61 minutes which MacDonald should have had cleared comfortably. Instead he opted to let the ball to run out for a goal-kick, oblivious to the fact that Cornwall was racing in behind him and it was nothing short of a miracle that the midfielder didn't bundled it over the line and kill off the game.
Pushing forward with more conviction since McNally came off the bench, the Knights always looked like scoring but had to wait until the 67th minute to get back on a level footing with their opponents. From wide on the left Medica played it low inside the box, the United defence failed to deal with the danger and Nicolaou pounced to drive it through a sea of legs and beyond the reach of the 'keeper. Sensing that the game was now there for the taking, the Knights stepped up a gear and continued to go forward with confidence. After 73 minutes Andrew Lawson's speculative long-range shot forced a sharp response from Pietropiccolo to keep it out of his net. From the resulting corner MacDonald was allowed to jump unchallenged and send a powerful header to the feet of the 'keeper which amazingly bounced over the bar rather than inside the top netting.
Within a minute MacDonald almost handed his former teammates victory when he dilly-dallied on the ball for too long in the middle of the park and conceded possession to Crosby. The United captain wasted no time in spiriting it to Holmes on his right but, with only the 'keeper to beat, he thundered his shot the wrong side of the bar. As the final minutes ticked down, Knights second half replacement Tom Radic almost grabbed a late winner when he spotted an opening at the near post, his explosive shot flying into the side netting.
The new season kicked off with a game of two very different halves. A scrappy first half saw plenty of off-season cobwebs still being swept out before the pace picked up after the interval and came to life with some entertaining play which kept the crowd enthralled until the final whistle. Campbell was the stand out performer for United with some darting runs, while for the Knights it was Vaz and substitute McNally that provided the inspiration for their second-half revival. Both teams had their chances to seal victory - and had they had a few more games under their belts we would have witnessed a bagful of goals - but as it was neither was able to put away their opportunities and the points were deservedly shared after 80 minutes.
Inglewood United : Beni Pietropiccolo, Jamie D'Arcy, Jamie Goodman (Sean Kilkelly 69), Alex Cummings,
Drew Carruthers, Andy Cornwall, Scott Campbell (Keith Taylor 61), Lee Crosby, Daniel Harrop
(Peter Tana 63), Paul Lincoln (Elton Holmes 56), John Bartolomei
Western Knights : Damon Sluchniak, Ivan Zuvela (Andrew Lawson 67), David Annall, Stephen MacDonald, Leon Russell (Shane McNally 52), Carl Medica, Michael Vaz (Tom Radic 69), Scott Devine, Alex Christie, John Nicolaou, Eugene Singeorzan
Referee : Steve Muldoon
Cautions : D'Arcy (29), Annal (45), Vaz (45)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 450 (approx.)
In other opening night fixture, Cockburn City surprised Sorrento 2-1 with a winner four minutes from full-time. In a match full of goal chances, Sorrento got away to the better start when after 5 minutes Shaun Bowyer speared it to Michael Garcia who drew opposing 'keeper Dino Pacella out of position, but his attempted pass to Todd Harnwell was blocked by a desperate lunge from Craig Anderson. Three minutes later a mix-up in the Sorrento defence gave Ilia Manolev a clear avenue to goal, but his lob over Neil Young also cleared the crossbar. After 22 minutes Harnwell was one-on-one with Pacella when the 'keeper was equal to the task and deflected the poorly placed shot to safety. >From the resultant corner, Glen Thomas' powerful shot was deflected over. While the play was not pretty, the end to end action was plenty to keep the fans interested. In the 30th minute Harnwell won a free-kick after being bought down by Dusan Macura, Chapman fired a low shot that went through the defensive wall and Pacella was again on hand to cave City with a good save low down to his right. A minute from the break a City corner from the left evaded everyone and landed at the feet of Dean Gartside at the far post, and he duly dispatched it into the back of the Sorrento net for the opener.
Within a minute of the restart Young prevented Sorrento from going further when he tipped over a shot by Peter Petkovich. Sixteen minutes later Young was at his brilliant best to again deny Petkovich as he flung out his left hand to turn the ball wide. Pacella made his first and only error of the game in the 66th minute, a poor clearance went directly to Ross Greer whose first time shot went agonising wide of the right post. Five minutes later Sorrento grabbed the equaliser when a string of passes ended with Harnwell powering his shot between Pacella's legs. But the sides remained on level terms for only five minutes, a dreadful error in defence handing City victory 4 minutes from time. Sorrento self destructed when defender Richard Mills squared the ball intended for his own 'keeper, but City striker Mileta Miletic nipped in to steal possession before tucking it wide of Young and into the bottom right corner to give Cockburn a surprise win.
Floreat Athena got their Night Series off to a great start by downing ECU Joondalup in Sunday night's opening Night Series fixture. In a physical encounter, both sides were reduced to ten men shortly after the half-time interval, Athena striker Robyn Dyers and Joondalup defender Scott Broadley receiving their marching order after clashing. Midfielder Costa Socratous popped up in the 55th minute to score the solitary goal of the game, breaking through the middle to beat Gareth Deeg in the Joondalup goal. Athena defended resolutely with Troy Bernard and Hugh Miller outstanding, while very late in the match 'keeper John Xigas stuck out his right leg to pull off a spectacular save to deny Joondalup teenager Derek Cooke an equaliser.
The game of the round was expected to be Sunday's late clash between last seasons' Champion Of Champions Perth and Premier League Champions Fremantle City. Perth teenager Andreas Oliviera turned in a spectacular display against City and 20 minutes into the contest the 19-year old striker flashed home a brilliant goal when he latched onto the end of a fine Todd Howarth cross. Jamie Coyne and Nick Mrdja had good chances to extend Perth's lead when put clear by the hard-working Oliviera, but both were thwarted by City 'keeper Alan Dunlop who courageously smothered at their feet. Daniel Trim came close to equalising after the break with a header that grazed the bar, but it wasn't really until the final minutes that things hotted up. City substitute Joe Liguan put the port side back on level terms in the 73rd minute with a fierce drive, but that was short-lived as nippy striker Boni Botha restored Perth's lead four minutes later with a stunning volley. Perth looked safe with less than a minute left on the clock, but a Perry Ielati clearance rocketed off Trim Morgan to ensure a point for his side.
VAZ ON TARGET FOR FAWKNER
Former Western Knights player Joe Vaz has opened his account for Fawkner Blues in Victoria's State League, the midfielder netting his team's lone goal in their 1-3 away loss to St Albans Saints on the weekend. Fawkner are sitting in 10th place after three rounds and are still awaiting their first victory of new the season.
Vaz's former teammate at the Knights, Ivan Ljubicic is yet to find a new club in Victoria. The strongly built defender came to W.A. last season after several years in the Victoria State League with North Geelong Warriors.
BUSY WEEKEND FOR ARMADALE
New Armadale coach Billy Russell is making sure that his side will be match-sharp in time for the start of the 2001 1st Divison season. On Thursday night Armadale played host to Cockburn City's reserves outfit with the home team running out winners 5-1. Thirty-six hours later they were in action again, this time away to north-of-the-river rivals Kingsway Olympic where they went down 2-3. In the clash between the two club's reserves sides, Olympic came away victors 10-4 in the free scoring clash.
QUEENS PARK REUNION
Queens Park Soccer Club are celebrating their 92nd birthday and are arranging a reunion for all past and present club players and officials. The birthday party will be held at their Coker Park clubrooms in Cannington on 3rd March 2001 from 7.30pm. A three course dinner will be provided plus drinks at just $15.00 per head. For further details contact David and Beryl Woodfin on 9458 7252 before 24th February.
KNIGHTS READY FOR ACTION
It's been a relaxed build-up to the Western Knights 2001 Night Series campaign which gets underway tonight with the opening match of the competition against Inglewood United, kick-off at 6.45pm. Having been in training for little over a month, the Knights played their first pre-season game just last weekend when, in an uninspiring game, they defeated Bassendean Caledonian courtesy of Andy Lawson who bagged the only goal of the day.
Throwing a lot of the clubs youngsters into the mix this weekend against Swan I.C, the Knights ran out easy winners by a margin of 4-1. Teenager Michael Vaz was instrumental in the win, creating one goal and netting one for himself while the others came from John Nicolaou and a double from Eugene Singeorzan. Peter Vukmirovic got the lone reply for the home side. With their rising stars giving a good account of themselves, the tip from inside the Knights camp is to watch out for 18-year old Ivan Zuvela who is reported to have "the best left peg in the state - up there with John Hunter in that department."
UP AND DOWN AT SWAN
Swan I.C. have had a busy pre-season schedule and, going on recent form, the team are more than ready to kick-off their Night Series campaign when they take on Perth in the late game on Friday 23rd February. New coach Veselin Zmugic has seen his side thump ten goals past the Dianella White Eagles without reply and a week later record a convincing 3-1 triumph over the Stirling Suns.
Unfortunately their pre-season has taken a nose-dive this week with two losses in the space of five days. On the weekend a young Western Knights side ran away 4-1 victors. The turning point came 20 minutes into the clash with the scores tied at one-all when State representative Corey Hugo was forced out of the match through injury, and with no substitute 'keeper on the bench, Swan had their backs to the wall for the remainder of the match. Missing Hugo and with back-up 'keeper Frank Letizia taking his place, Bassendean Caledonian chalked up a 2-1 win on Thursday night in what was a relatively even contest. Swan looked to be headed for victory at 1-0 up with 20 minutes to go, but a series of late substitutions by Zmugic allowed their opponents to seize control of the closing stages and find the net twice. For Caledonian Tommi Tomich was outstanding in goal while Swan's bets players on the night was defender Anthony Jones.
SARAWAK SNEAK INTO PERTH
Malaysian club Sarawak arrived in town during the week as part of their preparations for the up-coming M-League season. This Saturday (17th February) they take on the W.A. amateur team, captained by Fremantle United defender Rob Santich, from 4.00pm at Hilton Reserve, Walton Way, Hilton. Admission to this match is free and all are invited.
Sarawak will then next be in action on Tuesday 20th February when they play State professional side. Their brief stay in Perth wraps up a few days later with a fixture against Premier League side Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday 24th February.
WAASSA AID EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
On Sunday 18th February the WAASSA State team will play a friendly challenge match with a Latin American Select XI in the El Salvador Earthquake Appeal. Played at the W.A. Spanish Club in Farrington Road, North Lake, proceedings get underway at 6.30pm and admission is by a gold coin donation. The State squad named for this clash is Steve Roberts (Forrestfield United), Graeme Bramwell (ECU Joondalup Amateurs), Alan Young, Chris Mullen, Steve Martin (Joondalup United), Joe Italiano (Geraldton La Fiamma), Gary Collins (captain), Steve Adams, Michael Bobridge, Sean Kearns (Mandurah City), David Coates, Nathan Chapman (Murdoch University), Tom Griffiths, Mark Kelly, Grant Heard (Shamrock Rovers), Ben Spinks (South Perth United) and Andy Muir (Spearwood Dalmatinac).
It will be the second game of the weekend for the WAASSA side who also play the visiting Sarawak team on Saturday from 4.00pm at Hilton Reserve, Walton Way, Hilton. The squad for this game is Rob Santich (captain) (Fremantle United), Rob Rees, Lee Brennan (Hamersley Rovers), Chris Darling (ECU Joondalup Amateurs), Chris Atkins (Kwinana United), Zane Ugle, Joe Italiano (Geraldton La Fiamma), Andrew Rennie, Sean Kearns (Mandurah City), Jason Dixon, Christian Paschewitz, Gary Mayers, Mark Kendall, Steve Migas, Andre Van Lieshout (Murdoch University), Charly Jensen (Perth Azzurri), Mark Kelly and Grant Heard (Shamrock Rovers).
NEW FACES AT FREMANTLE
Premier League side Fremantle City have confirmed three new signings for their Night Series campaign which gets underway this weekend when they play Perth in the late fixture on Sunday night. Into the squad come former Perth Glory teammates Dale Wingell and Vladimir Beretovac along with young 'keeper Sam Tomea. Wingell and Beretovac were members of Glory's squad in their inaugural NSL season, and both are expected to make their debut on Sunday.
After spending one season with Glory, Wingell had a less than successful spell with Canberra Cosmos before returning to W.A. and turning out for the Bayswater City Panthers and later Swan I.C. last season. Beretovac struggled to hold down a place in the Glory side during his two seasons with the NSL side and has been signed from amateur side Fremantle Croatia. He has also had spells with Fremantle City and Inglewood Falcons in recent times. 20-yard old Tomea will replace Craig Shanko, who has retired, in the City squad and is expected to be back-up 'keeper to first choice and State representative Alan Dunlop. Tomeo spend last season in the amateur ranks with Fremantle United.
17-TEAM FIRST DIVISION, BUT CONFUSION REIGNS
Soccer West Coast have confirmed that the First Division will be split into two geographic conferences this season following the admission of three new clubs - South West Phoenix, Morley Windmills and Canning City (Cosmos) - who will all compete in the south conference. But a many of the clubs have been kept in the dark as to the changes to the First Division this year, the only thing that is clear is that promotion to the Premier League will be decided by an end-of-season play-off series involving the top four teams from each conference.
The Windmills re-admission to the League as part of the south conference has also raised more than a few eyebrows, which is hardly surprising considering they are a north of the river club. And if you thought that doesn't make sense, can anyone explain why the Bayswater City Panthers - whose home ground is south of Morley - have been included in the north conference?
LIGHTNING FAILS TO STRIKE
Soccer West Coast's bid to join the ranks of the National Soccer League will not be ready for the 2001/02 season according to general manager Paul Tombides. He has cited the protracted process to decide which clubs will make up the reduced competition as making it impossible for SWC to have a team up and running should their application be accepted. "We will be forced to put our bid on hold for another 12 months," Tombides said this week. "We want to be in it, but we want to do it right. We are ready to go with sponsors and players and we would get the crowds - with the local derbies against Perth Glory it would be a sell-out."
Soccer Australia is considering applications from the existing 15 NSL clubs to see if they meet the entry criteria. They will be told on 23rd February whether they are considered going concerns. If the selection panel decides they do not meet the out-lined criteria which is centred around being financially viable, clubs will have until 16th March to apply for a hearing. A final decision on which clubs qualify will be decided on 23rd March, and the League will then consider new applications only if they do not have 12 existing clubs meet the criteria.
SORRENTO END PRE-SEASON WITH WIN
Sorrento's final friendly match before the commencement of the Night Series was an entertaining clash with Floreat Athena which left home coach Trevor Morgan very happy with the performance of his side.
Sorrento started the better and with a strike force of Toby Wright, Jared Love and Michael Garcia they soon tested John Xigas in the Athena goal. With Hugh Miller assisting his 'keeper with a solid effort in defence, it was in the middle of the park where Jason Smith and Shaun Bowyer put on a lively display for the small crowd which was not for the faint hearted. But with thrills a-plenty in the opening 45 minutes, there were no goals and the sides went in level at the break.
The second period picked up where the first left off and Athena found the net after 65 minutes only to have it ruled out. Doug Ithier powered in a shot from 25 metres which took a deflection off Ryan Newhill on its way into Neil Young's net, but unfortunately for the visitors Newhill was judged to be in an off-side position. Their disappointment was compounded five minutes later when Sorrento took the lead, Bowyer slotting to new signing Michael Garcia whose left-footer from the right gave Xigas little chance. Four minutes later the match was put beyond Athena's reach when teenager David Foster cut in from the right and placed his shot wide of Xigas and into the bottom right corner.
Unfortunately for Sorrento promising young defender Tony Cumace looks set to miss the majority of the Night Series after damaging knee ligaments in training. In other news, the club will play Malaysian League outfit Sarawak at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday 24th February.
MRDJA SIGNS WITH GLORY
Perth striker Nick Mrdja has become the latest addition to the Perth Glory squad after he signed an 18-month contract with the NSL side this week. It will be the 22-year old's second stint in the ranks of the national competition - his first with the Canberra Cosmos was cut short by a series of injuries two seasons ago. But now a fitter, stronger and more muscular Mrdja is confident he can break into the big time with the biggest club in the league following a six-week trial.
"I'm delighted, for this is a huge opportunity for me to prove I have what it takes at a high level," he said this week. Mrdja was an integral part of Perth's march to the 2000 Champion of Champions title, scoring scored in the grand final win over Western Knights despite carrying a knee injury through much of the winter. He went into hospital in November to repair the problem. "I've fully recovered and the knee isn't giving me any problems," he said. "I feel fitter than ever because I've also been doing a lot of extra work in the gym."
Mrdja is the fourth local player to be signed by Glory in the past few months, following Todd Harnwell, Antonio Naglieri and Anthony Danze to the club. "It is good to see another Western Australia talent join the squad," Glory general manager Roger Lefort said after Mrdja's signing. "Aaron Cole received a great reception from the fans when he made his debut on Saturday against Sydney United and there is no doubt the supporters like to see local players get a chance when they are good enough." Mrdja will continue to train full-time with Glory and will be loaned out to Perth for the up-coming Night Series, as will Harnwell (Sorrento), Naglieri (Cockburn City) and Danze (Inglewood United).
OTHER WEEKEND RESULTS
There were plenty of friendlies played in Perth over the weekend. Cockburn City defeated Fremantle City 2-1 at home, while Kingsway Olympic thumped ECU Joondalup 4-1 north of the river. It wasn't a great day for Ashfield who took in Sorrento in two challenge matches at Ashfield Reserve - Sorrento's reserves winning 2-0 over the senior Ashfield team, and home reserves losing 6-0 to Sorrento's Under-18's.
It was a busy weekend for the players of First Division Armadale. On Friday night they took on WAASSA First Division outfit Carlisle, Armadale going home with two victories up their sleeve. After a tight first half, the senior side ran away with the match after the break to win 6-4, while in the reserves it was never a contest as Armadale steam-rolled their way to a 14-0 triumph. Two days later Armadale lost to First Division rivals the Stirling Suns 3-1, Dennis Lee converting a penalty for the side.
SORRENTO SIGN GARCIA
In another W.A. Soccer Website exclusive, we can confirm that former Perth Glory midfielder Michael Garcia has signed with Sorrento for the duration of the up-coming winter. Garcia has been on the look-out for a local club for some weeks, during which time he's trained and held talks with Fremantle City and Perth. But after a week at Sorrento he was convinced that that was the club for him and he put pen to paper on Tuesday night.
Garcia started out with Kingsway Olympic in the early-1990's before spending several years in the NSL, first with Canberra Cosmos and then Perth Glory. But injury hasn't been kind to the midfielder - a knee injury robbed him of a place in the national Under-20 squad that competed at 1997 World Youth Championship, and a recurrence of that same injury forced him out of the running for an Olyroos berth a few years later. He left mid-1999 when he headed overseas for trials with Barnsley only to suffer ruptured ankle ligaments before being offered a contract. On the road back to full fitness, Garcia last year saw out short-term contracts with Marine Castle United (Singapore) and ECU Joondalup.
MADASCHI OUT OF UNDER-20's
Atalanta defender Adrian Madaschi has been forced to withdraw from the Australian Under-20 squad ahead of the up-coming Oceania Qualifiers for the World Youth Cup. The 18-year old was injured playing club football last week, however the severity of the injury was only confirmed today after several tests undertaken by the Australian Medical Team.
"An MRI scan confirmed a fractured rib, which means a 3-4 week recovery period, which effectively rules him out of this qualifying period," said coach Ange Postecoglou. "It's very disappointing, as Adrian was obviously looking forward to continuing his run with the Australian side, and was always going to be a vital part of our set up. At least the injury isn't too serious, and we'll obviously have him available for the next phase of competition for the Young Socceroos."
A regular in Cockburn City's senior side at the age of 16, David Tarka has gone on to great heights since taking up a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in January 2000. Now into his second year in Canberra, Tarka has been appointed captain of the AIS side that competes in the Northern Division of the National Youth League, and with the team sitting on top of the 15-team competition team after 16 rounds - six points clear of nearest rivals Parramatta Power - he's well on his way realising his ambition of playing the game at the highest level possible.
Tarka came up through the junior ranks at Spearwood Dalmatinac where he started out at the age of six where current Perth Glory midfielder Scott Miller was his first coach. By the time he entered the soccer program at John Curtin Senior High School, he'd moved to Fremantle United and was already a regular in the W.A. junior State teams. At 16 Tarka signed with Cockburn City and was looking forward to biding his time in their Under-18 side, but after impressing coach Gerry Christie he'd soon established himself as a feature of their senior side. After playing for W.A. at the 1999 Schools National Championship in Canberra, Tarka was selected to represent Australia for the November tour of England, Ireland and Wales. On completion of that tour, he trailled for a place at the AIS and took up a full scholarship shortly after, turning down an offer to try out for N.S.L. side Sydney Olympic.
QUICK SIX WITH STAN LAZARIDIS
Socceroo and Birmingham City defender Stan Lazaridis has a big year coming up. His club side has just qualified for the League Cup Final in England ... his country is preparing for a big World Cup Qualification year ... and on the home front, his family has just expanded by one - more than enough to keep this big hearted crowd favourite on his toes.
Stan, you and Birmingham City are through to the League Cup Final, with the game deemed as Birmingham's biggest since winning the League Cup in 1963 - would you agree?
I'd have to - I mean if you had seen the scenes afterwards - our pitch was covered with the fans running on, we couldn't get to the dressing rooms for ages because we were being mobbed, and then into the next day, it was almost like a public holiday with people taking the day off work - so yes, I'd agree that this is the biggest thing to happen to the club for a long, long time. We haven't had an easy run at all, having beaten the likes of Spurs, Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday and now Ipswich, so I'd say the scenes were pretty much right on target, having got past three Premiership sides.
Extra time was needed to finally get past Ipswich in the semi final ... did you have your doubts at any stage of the match?
The main problem that we were facing was the goal rule over here, and knowing that we had to score first or we could be in trouble, that put a lot of pressure on with the away goal counting as double. We scored the first, then the second, then they pulled one back and we were even, it was just like the Iran game, and had that been the end of the game, we would have lost on the away goals rule, but as it was, we scored two more and took it out. Through the whole match, all I kept thinking was we have to score. It's one of the longest matches I've ever played - at the 110th minute your legs are crying and screaming, and you're just trying to push yourself through it - and then we scored in the 112th minute I think, and that sent us through. The thing is that three minutes was added on each half, so it was an extra 11 minutes on top of all of that, then with the fans running on and the rest of it, we didn't get to the dressing room until after midnight, and then had to play a league game a couple of days later - but we did it, and the manager has given us a couple of days off - well earned I'd say, just to have a breather.
The match-up will be against Liverpool, who, as opposed to Birmingham, has a lot of silverware in the cupboard. Is there much talk amongst the team about your opponents yet .. and do you have some words for the Merseysiders?
I don't think you can really have too many tactics against a side like Liverpool - they've got 20 players who could play, so the thing is we have to play to our own best ability. I can't say I'm going to mark Fowler or Owen or Heskey, we don't have enough players to cater for that, but what we can do is go out and give the best we've got, to play to our strengths and hopefully score against them - and you never know what can happen, you never know in a final - we've been underdogs all the way through this competition, and they will start as favourites, but who knows, because it's a game of football, and we'll be giving it our best shot. It's a great achievement to get to where we are now, but don't get me wrong, we want to win it, for ourselves, for the club, for the fans, for the whole area. It's so passionate here, and our lot hasn't had success to cheer about for so long, and then this happens - it was funny, because when we played on Saturday, the fans didn't have enough energy to scream because they did it all on Wednesday. This is a great feeling as a professional footballer - it's times like these that you look back and know this is what it's all about ... when you're running around in the snow and in minus 10 degree temperatures, this is what makes it really complete.
Stan, you're game seems to improve with every week - what do you put it down to?
If I'm fit, then I think I'll always play well. Previously I've carried injuries, and if you're not settled and playing catch up football, it takes its toll. Last year I suffered a horrible knee injury that put me out in the middle of the season for 2 months, and I lost a lot of fitness. It's really hard when everyone else is at 100% and you're only at 60% - the fans know what can do and you're just not doing it, and I'm probably my own worst critic, so it makes it worse. This season I'm a lot fitter and stronger and you can see the results. Basically since being with the Australian team where we've had some good matches, as well as playing at the Olympics where I felt I did well, then right through the season here, physically and mentally my attitude has been to get on with it, to forget the bad, and to look forward to the future. Birmingham is a massive club which is very capable of making it to the Premier League, and that would be brilliant for me.
It's also a big year for Australia on the international scene ... do you think about that much during the week-to-week goings on at Birmingham City?
Very much so. I keep in contact with a lot the boys over here, and I'm always on the phone to Shaun Murphy and Kevin Muscat, asking them about what's coming up, what's pencilled in, waiting for news on the web, waiting for the phone call - so yes, I'm always thinking of the next game for the LG Socceroos. Our last game in Scotland was excellent, it really was a great win there and we have to march on - with the spirit that we have among the guys, it's hard to see us not doing that, so hopefully that - and our football - will get us through.
Finally Stan, you've recently become a father for the first time ... how are you and your wife adapting to the arrival of baby Dior - and is she going to follow in dad's footsteps?
Dior's arrival was unbelievable - as it happens, I got the call 15 minutes after a football match and rushed to the hospital and there she was. Being a dad is brilliant, it's hard to explain but it's an experience every day. My in-laws are over here at the moment, taking the weight off me, because I still have to sleep before the games and train and the rest of it, and Mary is doing most of the work, but I do the roster during the day - feeding, burping, that takes about half an hour, changing the nappies - she actually yells a lot when I do that so I don't know if I've got it right or wrong - but it's brilliant, it's given me a different look on life as to before she was here. As for my footsteps I don't think so - she'll probably watch me, but I won't get her into football - and I'll definitely be keeping her away from footballers!!
MANDURAH AIM FOR HONOURS
WAASSA Premier Division side Murdoch University look like losing their leading goalscorer Christian Paschkewitz to First Division champions Mandurah City for the up-coming season. Paschkewitz, who netted 18 times for Murdoch University last winter, started out as a junior in Mandurah and with that club back in the top flight the striker is said to be looking forward to re-joining his old club. With Sean Kearns and Paschkewitz returning to Mandurah, coach Paul O' Brian is starting to put together a very strong squad for the 2001 season.
ATHENA GEARING UP
Floreat Athena defeated Premier league rivals Cockburn City 2-0 on the weekend at the Litis Stadium. Terry Georganis set the home side on their path to victory with brother Chris putting the result beyond doubt. Coach John Hunter has retained the bulk of last season's squad and complemented it with new-comers Adrian Spinelli (ex-Ashfield), Alan Pottier (most recently of Dianella White Eagles) and Ryan Newhill (ex-Inglewood). Athena get their 2001 season underway on 18th February with the early Night Series fixture against ECU Joondalup.
RUSSELL MAKING HIS MARK AT ARMADALE
New Armadale coach Billy Russell is making sure his troops will go the distance this season, putting them through some searching pre-season fitness sessions which are said to typically end with a 2.5 kilometre run! Russell, last season in charge of Rockingham City, has introduced a number of new faces to the club - including former City players David Twigg, Steve Tsallis and Bryon Wood - to add some much needed experience to Armadale's ranks.
With a professional attitude permiating the club, Armadale are shaping up for a solid 2001 winter with up to ten pre-season friendlies planned as opposed to the three in 2000. Russell will be assisted by reserves coach Charlie Stumph, who was last season in charge of the Under-18 side, with Jim Loveless in leading the juniors this year. In their first pre-season hit-out under the new coach, Armadale belted the Swan I.C. reserves 6-0 on the weekend, Paul Loveless leading the way with a double.
ASHFIELD SNARE IRISHMAN
First Division Ashfield Soccer Club have beaten off some of the state's more glamorous clubs to sign left-sided midfielder Gareth Gorman, who has previously had stints in Ireland with Galway United, Derry City and Distillery. It's believed that a number of local Premier League sides were chasing signature of the 26-year-old who Ashfield coach Tom Kilkelly is hoping can help the club bounce straight back to the top flight after being relegated last term. "Gareth is big and strong and a very good player," Kilkelly said.
Gorman joined First Division Galway at the start of the 1997/98 season from his local club Letterkenny Rovers and would go on to make 115 appearances for the club over the next three and a half seasons. A deadball specialist, Gorman was instrumental in the club's push for promotion in 1998/99 - which included netting the goal that secured a spot in the Premier League - only to struggle for form the following term. The midfielder looked to have rediscovered his touch during the off-season which followed but, unable to break into the first team, left Galway for Australia late in 2000.
Photograph by Joe O'Shaughnessy, reproduced with permission from the Into The West : Galway United F.C. 100% Unofficial Website
STATE TEAM TO PLAY SARAWAK
The W.A. State team will be in action next week when they take on visiting Malaysian side Sarawak who are in town as part of their preparations for the up-coming domestic season. In total Sarawak are likely to play three games while in town - two against the State team and a third against a local club to finish off their visit.
"We're still deciding if it will be one or two games," said State coach Paul Wormley this week. "Sarawak arrive on the 15th and we're looking at playing a game on the 17th, which is a Saturday, and then on the following Wednesday. Whether it's against the full state team or an Under-23 state team, that's still to be decided." The reasons for this indecision is that the games clash with the start of the Night Series which gets underway on Friday 16th February, leading to doubt over the availability of some players. "I'm hopeful something can be worked out, for I'd like to face Sarawak with our strongest squad," said Wormley who is wanting to draw on those that lost 0-2 to Red Star Belgrade recently.
It's been rumoured that Serie A outfit Reggina will make a visit to Perth when they tour Australia mid-June. Although details are yet to be finalised, organisers have confirmed that the trip will see the Italian club play matches in Sydney and Melbourne with games in Adelaide and Perth also under consideration.
JUNIOR NUMBERS ON THE RISE
The number of juniors taking up the game in W.A. has been on the increase at an average rate of 10 percent over the past five years according to Junior Soccer Association of W.A. general manager Lisa Braddock. With some to 12,500 involved in the junior game, Braddock believes participation rates are going to continue to rise in some areas such as at Subiaco who are aiming to double their figures over the next five years after recent strong growth. "TV coverage of the world game is encouraging kids to get involved," Braddock said. "We have had enquiries from people with kids as young as three and four." Children can start playing rooball, a non-competitive football modified version of football, from the age of five.
JSA's first registration day of the new season was on Sunday, but if you missed don't worry - there is another planned for this Sunday, 11th February. Parents are asked to contact their local club for details specific to that club who can tell you what information is needed for registration. Alternatively, you can contact JSA on 9271 7677 of check out their website at http://www.jsawa.org.au
CORREIRA ROBS SORRENTO
Sorrento had a solid workout against Fremantle City on Sunday morning with the port side running out eventual winner by a 2-1 margin. Sorrento came out of the blocks quickest with some slick passes carving open their opponents, only to let themselves down in front of goal with some average finishing. Efforts from Toby Wright, Gary Andrews and Michael Garcia were either wide or hit straight to Alan Dunlop in the City goal. City opened the scoring following a free kick, new signing Dale Wingell testing Sorrento 'keeper Neil Young with a blistering shot that he could only parry and the ball fell to Michael Mirco who despatched it straight back past the recovering 'keeper. Sorrento pressed for an equaliser and Garcia had the frustration of seeing a cracking shot come back off the cross bar. However, soon after he found the target to send the sides in on level terms at the break. A very tight second half followed and ten minutes before full-time the deadlock was broken by Kevin Corriera when his shot struck Young on the body and luckily rebound back to him, netting before Young could recover.
The next outing for Sorrento's first team is on Sunday the 11th April at 5.00pm when they face Floreat Athena at Percy Doyle Reserve. Earlier that day a composite Sorrento side will take on Ashfield kicking-off at 9.00am at Ashfield Reserve, Guildford Road, Ashfield.
NOT BLIND * NOR DEAF * AND YOU WANNA BE A REF?
Ever fancied yourself as a referee or assistant? WAASSA have embarked on a recruitment drive to help them cope with the needs of it's clubs. With some 4,000 playing members on their books, the amateur body is in need of around 3,00 match officials - 100 referees and 200 assistants/linespeople - to oversee it's Sunday fixtures which get under way in April and run until September.
Prospective referees - who do get a match fee to officiate - must complete an accreditation course being run by WAASSA over the next month. If you are interested, the next course is scheduled for Saturday the 24rd February between 9.00am and 4.00pm and Sunday 25th February from 9.00am until 1.00pm. The cost to become recognised as the man in the middle is just $35.00, which includes a Law Book. For more details contact the WAASSA office on 9204 5511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
BROXTON IN SOUTH AMERICA
Just over six months after leaving Perth, one-time ECU Joondalup midfielder Darren Broxton finds himself this week participating in an international tournament in Chile. Part of Southampton's Under-17 side, Broxton and his teammates are the guests of Deportivo de Universidad Catolica - the club with which the Saints have established recruitment links - and will this week face some of South American football's super-powers. The academy side have been grouped with the Paraguayan Under-17 national squad, River Plate (Argentina), Nacional (Uruguay), Deportivo di Universidad Catolica and Union Espanola (both Chile) for the first stage. Broxton is not the only Australian in Southampton's touring party, Matt Rosier from New South Wales has also made the trip.
McCAFFREY REWARDED FOR LONG SLOG
W.A. referee Patrick McCaffrey this week left for sunny New Caledonia to take part in the Oceania Under-20 World Cup qualifiers - his first overseas tournament since making it on to FIFA's list of officials two years ago. "It's been a long time coming and I can't wait to get over there," McCaffrey said before flying out of Perth. "I really want to do well, not just for me but to put WA on the map as well."
Born in Ireland, McCaffrey has been doing extra work in the swimming pool and on the training track of late in preparation for the tournament. On arriving in Noumea, he will have to pass a strict fitness test - as is the case for all FIFA officials before major tournaments. "You have to do the test as soon as you get there and if you don't pass they send you back," McCaffrey said. Having followed the advice of the state's only FIFA referee Eddie Lennie, McCaffrey is confident he can do the job well and perhaps make a good impression. "Eddie's got so much experience and he's talked me through everything," McCaffrey said.
Lennie, who refereed at the 1998 World Cup in France and the 2000 Olympic Games, was also selected for the Under-20s tournament but had to knock back the offer due to work needs. However, he will officiate at the Oceania Under-17 Qualifiers in Vanuatu next month. Lennie said he looked forward to the day when Australia's top referees were full-time professionals and could concentrate solely on soccer - unfortunately such a scenario is still a few years away and Lennie believes it will come be too late for him.
MADASCHI MAKES YOUNG SOCCEROO'S
It's been a great month for Perth-born defender Adrian Madaschi who is these days plying his trade in the Primavera ranks with Italian club Atalanta. The year started off with the call-up to attend the Young Socceroo's training camp in New South Wales during which he featured in the two friendly clashes with the touring Glasgow Rangers youth team. Returning to Italy late-January, Madaschi played his part in Atalanta making the final of the Coppa Italia Primavera, defeating Juventus 1-0 over two legs.
Little over a week ago Madaschi featured in his sides 1-0 victory over Verona which kept the side at the top of the Group B leaderboard. The promising defender capped off what was a great start to the year when he was named in the Young Socceroos squad that will shortly play-off for a berth at June's World Youth Cup to held in Argentina. At the completion of the qualifiers, Madaschi returns to Italy to take his place in the Atalanta side that will play-off for the Coppa Italia Primavera with Bari, the final being played over two legs on 14th March and 4th April.
IN CONVERSATION WITH JORDAN RHODES
Subiaco-born Jordan Rhodes is one of a brigade of West Australian youngsters that have headed abroad while still in their teens in an effort to seek out a professional career in football. Currently in the academy set-up at Premier League club Charlton, Rhodes took the time recently to respond to some questions posed by Brett Klucznik how he got to where he is today
Could you give us a bit of background information on Jordan Rhodes - how long have you been playing football, who you played for locally as a junior, that sort of thing?
>From a young age I was brought up kicking a football due largely to my dads influence, he played for local clubs in Western Australia and always took me to his games. I already had a big interest in football when my dad enrolled me at our local club, Mandurah City, where he was involved as a player and a coach. Mandurah is a country town which is about 75 kilometres south of Perth. I started playing for my school in the local league and also for Mandurah, in the Junior Soccer Association of W.A. leagues where I always played above my age group. My favoured position is in the centre of midfield, although I have also had a few games as centre forward. I represented Mandurah at Country Week and for two years running we won the Under-12 State Championship. In 1996 I was lucky enough to score the winning goal (in extra-time) in the State Championship Final. I also represented Country Western Australia in a tournament in Adelaide in 1997.
At 13 I was approached by Kingsway Hammers (the West Ham Academy in Perth at the time) to play for them. This involved a huge commitment from my family as I had to travel three times a week to Perth for training and games but, thankfully, my family thought the positives would outweigh the negatives. I played and trained with a good group of players and was again selected to play a year above my age group in the Premier Division. A year later the programme changed from Kingsway Hammers to E.C.U. Joondalup Saints, when Southampton took over the program, which meant an even bigger commitment from my family as Joondalup is a 100 kilometre round trip from Mandurah and required three to four trips per week! The coaches and players were both excellent at the club and I spent a season playing Under-16's and half a season playing Under-18 football.
And last year things really took off for you. You continued with Joondalup and were selected to play for W.A. at the Nationals, which meant an even bigger commitment from you and your parents ...
I represented Western Australia in the Under-15 National Championship in Sydney, which I consider to be the biggest honour I have so far had in Australia. It meant, however, that from January to July in 2000 I was travelling to Perth five or six times per week, to train and play for the Saints side and the State team. I was leaving home for training on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 3.30pm and getting back home between 9.00pm and 10.00pm. My parents were fully behind things however ... as long as my schoolwork, homework and grades did not suffer. Mum and Dad also helped me out with my time management skills.
So did you head off to England after the Nationals for trials?
When I was 11 years old (1997) I went for a holiday in England and my Dad organised for me to train with Charlton Athletic. I played one game for them, against Crystal Palace, we won 4-2 and I scored! So they were impressed and kept my profile on their books. Two years later I returned to England for two months with my Dad and again I trained with Charlton, as well as with West Ham. I had two games for Charlton, one against Arsenal which we won 1-0 - I scored the winner! - and not long after they expressed a desire to sign me. Last year our family made the decision to return to England for more than a holiday. My Dad is English but has lived in Western Australia for seventeen years and he wanted to spend some time with his sisters, nephews and nieces and suggested the family go on a "working holiday" to London. When we finally decided that yes, we were going, I was both excited and frightened ... I really wanted to go but I had the feeling that I was dragging the rest of my family from their home to a foreign country.
Who were your heroes in the game when you were growing up, and who are the players you admire the most these days?
My footballing hero as a junior was Bryan Robson, the former England and Manchester United midfielder who is currently managing Middlesborough. I have two footballers that really inspire me now - the first is David Beckham because he is the greatest passer, crosser and free-kick specialist in the world. The other is Harry Kewell because I love his confidence, dribbling skills and the fact that he is an Australian.
You're now part of the youth set-up at Charlton. Take us through a typical week ...
I'm in the academy Under-15 squad, although I also play for the Under-16's. We train three times a week and play every Sunday. On Monday we train from 6.30 to 8.30 on astroturf and under lights - and it's the same routine on Wednesday. Saturday's we train at a different venue on real grass, mostly it's tactical stuff and the way we'll be playing the next day's game. We play on Sunday morning. If it's away we all meet up and take the team coach and we play thirds or even quarters depending on the coaches preference. In between all that I go to school and have a normal school life. On non-training nights I do weights at my Auntie's house, she has some good equipment in her garage, as weight sessions aren't provided by the club for my age group.
How have you found it adjusting to a new climate and way of life in the U.K.? Do you feel you - or your family - have had to sacrifice a lot to get where you are today?
The change of lifestyle and weather is huge but you get used to it and it becomes normal after a while. Personally, I've sacrificed a lot of time which means not having a big social life. And travelling to Perth three times a week was a pretty big sacrifice for me and my family, both in time and financial terms. This move to England means that we have given up our good, stable lifestyle in Australia for London's cold weather, smaller houses, greater living expenses as well as having to start out at new schools again. My sisters watch me play and put up with me always kicking a football, even in the house, they're also very good at sport and my parents have to juggle their time to make sure we are all treated fairly. My parents have sacrificed a lot in terms of friends and family also.
What about on the flip side of the coin. There must be a stack of benefits that you're experiencing by playing in the U.K. and being in the middle of one of the world's best Leagues?
Absolutely. On the up-side the coaching is more intense and technical, but there is the constant pressure to perform as your place is never secure, which makes you determined every week to succeed.
How does the set-up at Charlton compare with what you experienced in Perth?
The facilities are much better ... there is astroturf for training and the game pitches are always really nice. It's also a really good feeling putting on the proper Charlton kit and going to play another team like the Arsenal, Spurs or West Ham academy. It makes you try even harder. There is a constant eye on you and you have a head start if you are already in their set-up which is much more professional than anything in Perth - they even supply bananas and drinks after the game! All this makes you want to achieve more and develop to be a better player. I'm aiming for the top and realise that I'm going to have to work really hard to get there.
How have the academy side been performing this season? And what about yourself, how is your development as a player coming along?
I'm currently playing in the Under-15/16 Academy side and are a regular starter for them. I'm progressing really well through the technical training provided. My confidence is better and I have gained more knowledge and more attributes which I've added to my game. I've also gained a great deal of experience by playing against good opponents on a regular basis. Thankfully I've had no major set-backs or injury's and hope I won't have any in the near-future.
What have been the highlights of your time to date with Charlton?
The biggest highlight so far was the pre-season Northern Ireland Milk Cup tournament which is one of the most prestigious Youth Tournaments in the World. Kids came up to us after the game and asked for autographs, and there was major interest and support from the public. There were about 10,000 people at the final when we beat Manchester City on penalties - even though I spent a lot of time on the bench (because I'm younger than the other players) it was still the greatest feeling I have had so early in my footballing career.
You're obviously happy playing with Charlton for the time being ... where do you see yourself going from here?
I am really happy at Charlton, all the coaches are good and everything is well organised. The club are helpful and friendly, my team-mates are also very friendly and our team bonds really well. The club gives us their views and encourage us through half season progress reports, and I hope to establish myself as a "must have" academy member and then gain a three year Y.T.S contract. I then want to establish myself as a regular member of the Under-17/19 academy sides and gain a professional contract. My ultimate goal is to play regularly in an English Premiership team and also one day to represent Australia at a World Cup.
Thanks for your time Jordan and all the best with making it to the highest level at Charlton. Maybe one day we'll see you back in Australia playing for the national side?
You never know your luck, maybe one day ...
Nominations are invited from interested players to try-out for the W.A. State Schoolboys and Schoolgirls teams. To be eligible for selection players must be a full-time student at a secondary school, have been under the age of 20 as of the 31st December 2001, and gain the permission of the school Principal to nominate for trials. Those interested must complete a nomination form and hand in to the team manager at the April trials.
Trials for both teams will be held at Brittania Road Reserve, Brittania Road in Mount Hawthorn starting the week before the April school holidays. Things get underway for the Schoolboys side on 4th April at 4.15pm and the side is once again coached by Tony Ratcliffe (ph: 0893090880 (wk) or 089304 0550 (hm)) who recently went overseas with the Australian schoolboys side. Wayne Baseden (ph: 0894555 037) is the contact person for the Schoolgirls side who commence trials on 7th March at 4.15pm. Sessions for both sides will last approximately 90 minutes.
This years Schoolboys and Schoolgirls sides will travel to New South Wales to compete in the Australian Secondary Schools Soccer Championships, the tournament running from 4th August through until 11th August. Some of the names that have passed through the ranks of the Schoolboys game in Australia in the past decade include Ned Zelic (1860 Munich), Tony Vidmar and Craig Moore (Glasgow Rangers), Brad Maloney and Gareth Naven (Perth Glory) and Troy Halpin (Sydney Olympic).
BALGA KICK-OFF NEW SEASON
Things are back in full swing at Balga Soccer Club as of Tuesday 6th February when the club have their first pre-season session of 2001. Training will be held at Liddell Reserve on Wanneroo Road (which can be found between Beach Road and Templeton Cresent) starting at 6.30pm. Players interested can call Danny after hours on 9300 5858 for further information.
SORRENTO YOUNGSTER JOINS GLORY
Todd Harnwell has become the latest player from the ranks of the W.A. Premier League to sing with NSL outfit Perth Glory, this week agreeing terms on a two and half year deal which will see him join brother Jamie in the squad. The 20-year old has nothing but the greatest admiration for his older sibling who is firmly established in the Glory side and is fast developing a reputation as one of the competition's outstanding defenders. "I've always looked up to him," Todd said of Jamie this week. "He got his chance and he's done well and I think he's destined to move on to bigger things."
Todd joined Glory from local club Sorrento for whom he will continue to play until July when the 2001/02 NSL pre-season gets under way. He put pen to paper after extended trials and negotiations with the club and is now prepared to put everything into making the step-up to the national competition. But the talented right-winger knows he'll have to bide his time before seeing action in the NSL with Glory. "With the big squad they've got I don't expect to be involved this year," he said. "Next season is what I am looking at. I hope I can be involved this season but I don't expect anything."
Glory coach Bernd Stange said Todd had similar characteristics to his brother. "He has passion and commitment and his attitude is similar to Jamie. And he adds another element from W.A. to the squad," he said.
PARKINSON SEES YOUTH AS THE WAY TO GO
New Inglewood United coach Steve Parkinson has built what amounts to a junior State team over the off-season after raiding the youth set-up at ECU Joondalup. In come 2000 State representative Keith Taylor, Ryan Fredericks, Sean Kilkelly, Louis Parkinson (all Under-16's) and Mark Craft (Schooboys) for the up-coming winter, joining Michael Bushby (Under-16's), Stefan Smiljanvic (Under-15's), Jason Godfrey and Daniel Arias (both Schoolboys) at the club.
Other new faces in the squad at Kiev Sports Ground include Andy Cornwall (Rockingham City), defender Davorin Svirac (Dianella White Eagles), one-time Perth Glory attacking midfielder Dale Wingell (Swan I.C.) and former Joondalup midfielder Anthony Danze, who is on loan from Perth Glory.
United's coach last season, John Hunter took Ryan Newhill with him to Floreat Athena late last year, while negotiations are continuing for the transfer of young midfielder Gary Andrews to Sorrento. State representative Steve MacDonald has also left the club to link up with Boral Cup holders the Western Knights.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA vs RED STAR BELGRADE
This was always going to be a tough match for a young W.A. side, their opponents ranks brimful of star players including five current Yugoslavian internationals - including $30 million Goran Drulic - one Croatian and a couple of Yugoslavian Under-21 players amongst their ranks. None the less, home coach Paul Wormley was confident that his troops would be able to contain Yugoslavia's Red Star Belgrade, arguably one of the strongest European sides to ever make the trip west. But some of Wormley's optimism turned to disappointment just half an hour before kick-off when informed Red Star would be making full use of their entire 22-man travelling party over the course of the game while - unprepared for this turn of events - his side limited to their five-man bench which included back-up 'keeper Alan Dunlop.
Right from the opening kick Red Star showed that it was via their flanks that they would cause most havoc through Ivan Gvozdenovic (left) Dejan Ilic (right) who made some penetrating runs deep into the W.A. half. Building their attacks slowly from the back, Red Star always made sure they had plenty of men behind the ball before getting into their final third of the pitch. With both sides creating some very early half chances for themselves, it was the visitors that made the most of theirs to take the lead after only four minutes. The W.A. defence were still settling in and becoming accustomed to the pace of the game when Red Star sliced their way into the heart of the home area with a string of crisp passes which was finished off by Mihajlo Pjanovic who stabbed the ball home from 12 metres.
Not content with a one goal lead, Red Star continued to surge forward at will. Three minutes after the goal, Milenko Acimovic was allowed to drift in unmarked at the far post where he tapped-down Pjanovic's high ball only to find Hugo at his feet before he could think to shoot. A 12th minute Acimovic corner was not properly cleared, the home defense breathing a collective sigh of relief when Blaze Georgioski skied over from 15 metres. Sixty seconds later Pjanovic centred to Leo Lerinc, he dummied to allow the ball to run to Acimovic who flashed it wide of the far up-right.
After some early jitters which saw the ball unceremoniously hoofed to safety, the W.A. defence settled in to weather what would prove to be a tumultuous storm. They would spend the better part of this match in their defensive half but as it progressed they grew in confidence and were more controlled under pressure. Red Star pulled no punches in the tackle and it wasn't long before their opponents started to play with the same aggression. Cooke was lucky not to have been carded in the 16th minute when he heavily bought down Pjanovic as he raced forward. Play resumed after a stern talking to from referee Eddie Lennie, but shortly after the largely-Yugoslav crowd was up in arms again after Doug Ithier laid out an opponent with a similar determined challenge.
Hugo produced a great reflex save to deny Ivan Vukomanovic from close range after 19 minutes after the W.A. defense were caught napping. From the resulting corner the same player found himself with a golden opportunity to score, the forward was somewhat taken by surprise when the ball came to him inside the 6 yard box and before he could react Hugo had snatched it from under his feet. Shots on goal were coming in from all over the park - Georgioski hammered wide from long range after 24 minutes and a couple of minutes later it was Pjanovic whose shot from an tight angle was kept out by a superb flying save from Hugo.
Paul Cooke and Sandy Robertson were showing some promising signs on the left where W.A.'s more enterprising moves were originating. It wasn't until the 28th minute that the home side carved out their first real chance on goal when Louis Parkinson raced onto a searching clearance from Troy Bernard. The young striker brilliantly turned Goran Bunjevcevic near the right corner flag before looping it back to Robertson just outside the area, he trapped the ball with his thigh before smashing a 20-metre volley which momentarily had Yugoslav national 'keeper Aleksander Kocic concerned, but he ended up watching it sail high.
Minutes later Hugo was back in action when he kept out a low, long-range attempt from Lerinc after he out-witted two defenders. W.A. came more involved as the half came to a close, Robertson, White and Ithier seeing more of the ball. Five minutes from the break Ithier was unable to get on the end of an in-swinging cross from Craig Surtees which landed just beyond the midfielders reach inside the area. The home defence were working hard to force their opponents into shooting from outside the penalty area and Georgioski blasted high in the 43rd minute. On those occasions Red Star did get inside the area, Hugo saved the day such as when Ilic and Georgioski teamed to get past Aaron Cole, the latter Red Star player seeing his low cross into the 6 yard box quickly pounced upon by the W.A. 'keeper.
As promised pre-match, Red Star emerged from the tunnel for the second half with a completely different line-up, coach Slavoljub Muslin opting to replace all eleven players. It looked as though the changes would work in the home side's favour and they stepped up their efforts to get back on level terms. A few minutes after the re-start a long-range bomb from Robertson skimmed the wrong side of the crossbar, followed shortly after by Surtees' speculative 35-metre shot which deceived second half 'keeper Dejan Pesic, who obviously expected it to land somewhere in the crowd. But the ball dropped late, clearing the back-peddling Pesic and crashing into the under-side of the bar before, unfortunately, rebounding back into play.
W.A.'s period in control was short-lived, the new-look Red Star side taking ten or so minutes to settle into their rhythm before again running the show from the middle of the park where Branko Boskovic was influential. He had the visitors first chance of the half, pouncing on a stray backpass from Ithier to stream forward only to finish poorly. A minute later it was Stevo Glogovac who took advantage of some sloppy defensive work and was allowed time to line-up the target after his initial shot was blocked by Bernard but, like Boskovic, the final shot left a lot to be desired.
The Yugoslav club were quick to break on the counter attack, catching their opponents out of position with some superb one- and two-touch passing and turning defence into attack with a minimum of fuss. But once forward, they found the W.A. defence to be a tough nut to crack and were often hurried into offloading their shots from outside the penalty box. Having soaked up the first hours' pressure, the home backline were now able to accurately forecast their opponents attacking moves and acted quickly to limit their effectiveness. Bernard was super-cool throughout in his role as sweeper, making a number of crucial tackles, cutting-out dangerous through-balls and growing in confidence as the game progressed. In front of him Broadley and Cole were doing a credible job of keeping Vladislav Mirkovic and Dragan Stevanovic in check, while flank players Surtees and Cooke were always quick to lend a hand at the back.
But for all their good work the W.A. defense were not making life any easier for themselves by fiddling around with the ball when under pressure deep in their half. Rather than knock it early to feet, they often took their time on the ball only to be forced into playing it to a teammate under just as much pressure as themselves. Stemming from such a situation, Boskovic turned the ball over in the 62nd minute before chipping it over Hugo, but the midfielders shot had a little too much carry and it landed on the top netting.
A minute later Boskovic was again in the thick of the action, weaving his way past three opponents to get deep inside the area only to slam the ball into the side netting from a tight angle. The Yugoslav side continued to surge forward at every opportunity and it was only due to some great work at the back that the margin was not extended. A perfectly timed slide by Surtees saw him intercept a through ball which was destined for Stevanovic, who would have then gone one-on-one with Hugo. And not long after a determined Cole-Bernard combination conspired to thwart Drulic on top of the area.
Sensing W.A. legs were tiring, Red Star lifted for the final 15 minutes in their quest for a second goal. A flying run down the right by Marjan Markovic saw him knock the ball past Hugo from a narrow angle and across the face of goal, only to find no one on hand to tuck ball into the net. In the 78th minute Mirko Bunjevcevic and Nenad Lalatovic combined on the left with the latter sending a high cross to the far post where Markovic volleyed disappointingly wide.
With Red Star orchestrating play from the middle of the park, their defence was rarely put under pressure, but on those occasions they performed admirably. W.A. only created a couple of chances in the closing stages with poor finishing not bringing Pesic into the action. In the 65th minute Cooke should have done better than to hit the ball wide from 16 metres, and eight minutes from full-time substitute Kevin Correia shot disappointingly after good lead-up work from Jamie Kuzmanovic. On both occasions the ability of the Red Star defence to close down their opponents with a minimum of fuss made all the difference.
The star of the final stages was young 'keeper Hugo who highlighted just why he is rated at the State's No.1. In the 83rd minute he thumped a dangerous through ball to safety as Red Star players raced through the W.A. off-side trap. Four minutes later a thunderbolt from Boskovic was deflected off the boot - with it looping goalward and Vladislav Mirkovic closing in fast, Hugo hurled himself at the ball to knock it around the post. Shortly after he proved his reflexes were at their best by pulling off a spectacular one-handed save to keep a powerful close range header from Nenad Miljkovic out.
But there was little the W.A. custodian could do to prevent Red Star from netting their second goal of the evening in the final minute of play. Hugo did well to get a hand on Lalatovic's high ball played in from the left, only for it fall to Drulic who. Taking advantage of a tired and disorganised defence, the midfielder fed the ball to Stevanovic who slammed it over the line from close range with what would prove to be the last kick of the match.
First impressions were that it was an impressive 90 minute display from Red Star side, Pjanovic featuring heavily in the first half, delivering a killer blow after just 4 minutes and coming close to extending the margin on several other occasions. After the break midfielder Boskovic was seemingly involved everytime the side went forward that was the stand-out player. But, putting the game in perspective, Red Star didn't really live up to the pre-match hype. While they were without a doubt the dominant side on the park, they never really showed the dazzling skills against a W.A. team playing out-of-season and with only three weeks preparation under their belt.
Although outplayed, full marks go to the young W.A. side who showed real determination against their hugely credentialled opponents. Hugo was without a doubt the home side's best player, saving the team on numerous occasions, while Bernard was reliable behind the centre-backs. Others who impressed included Cooke on the left, and midfielders White and Robertson, although they were overshadowed by their opponents for long periods. Special mention must also be made of the refereeing by Lennie - he controlled what at times was a when very physical match in which a lesser official would have been dealing out the cards from the opening minutes.
Post-match, Wormley said he was disappointed to have conceded goals early and late in the piece, but was pleased with his sides performance. "It's a crying shame we conceded that late goal because I think 1-0 would have been a lot more respectable result when you look at it down the track," he said. "I thought it was a supreme effort all round, especially when you consider the guys have had just two and a half weeks in training ... It really shows the character of our guys because they did contain Red Star for parts of the game."
Western Australia: Corey Hugo, Troy Bernard, Aaron Cole, Scott Broadley,
Craig Surtees, Paul Cooke, Doug Ithier, Sandy Robertson (Jamie Kuzmanovic
78), Steve White, Trim Morgan, Louis Parkinson (Kevin Correia 78)
Red Star Belgrade: Aleksander Kocic (Dejan Pesic 46), Jovan Markoski (Vladimir Matijasevic 46), Petar Djenic (Nenad Lalatovic 46), Goran Bunjevcevic (Stevo Glogovac 46), Ivan Gvozdenovic (Mirko Bunjevcevic 46), Dejan Ilic (Naned Miljkovic 46), Leo Lerinc (Marjan Markovic 46), Blaze Georgioski (Branko Boskovic 46), Milenko Acimovic (Goran Drulic 46), Ivan Vukomanovic (Vladislav Mirkovic 46), Mihajlo Pjanovic (Dragan Stevanovic 46)
Referee: Eddie Lennie
Cautions: None Expulsions: None Attendance: 3,700 (approx.)
SORRENTO TRIUMPH OVER ROCKINGHAM
Sorrento's preparation for the Night Series continued with a narrow 3-2 victory over on the weekend. The sky blues got a brilliant start when Leo Harman found Gary Andrews who, with a quick movement, flicked the ball wide of goalkeeper Adrian Rawlings in just the 3rd minute of play. Rockingham, eager to impress new coach Rawlings, equalised 16 minutes later - Steven Stewart was allowed to turn inside the box then slot the ball to Bruno Veri who tucked it over the line at the far post. Sorrento regained the lead following after Glen Thomas was fouled, Harman sending the resulting free-kick low into the area where Andrews sent it goalbound only for Rawlings to parry the effort, and Toby Wright pounced on the rebound to make it 2-1.
Play was congested to say the least for the early stages of the second half as both sides adjusted to a change of personnel. Rockingham's drew level for the second time after a defensive mix-up allowed the ball to bounce kindly into the path of Scott Fletcher who raced on the beat Neil Young after 71 minutes. Just 7 minutes later Sorrento again took the lead in stunning fashion - David Colegate fed Jared Love down the right wing and from his cross teenager David Foster powered in an angled header for what proved to be the winner.
Sorrento's next pre-season hit-out is the home clash with Fremantle City which kicks-off at 10.00am on Sunday, 4th February. There will also be a reserve team match between the clubs.
RED STAR PREVIEW
W.A. coach Paul Wormley said his side will be approaching tomorrow night's clash with Red Star Belgrade with an all or nothing attitude despite the imposing stature of it's opponent. "I think character is a fantastic trait in Australian players and the lads will be going in with nothing to lose," Wormley said on the eve of the game. "They know they're up against a quality side and if we're not on our game early we could be chasing shadows. But the squad has great passion and a real desire to do well."
"The feeling in the camp is fantastic," the State coach said. "What's happened over the last few nights is that the tempo's really picked up, there's been a lot more aggression in training and a lot more commitment to the extent that's it probably getting a bit over the top. So I've had to tell them to pull their heads in - it's a great attitude but I just said to save it all for Sunday. It's marvellous to see but it's not good trying to lame one another in training, there's a great camaraderie happening within the squad [but,] unfortunately, we haven't had a great deal of preparation because we have been together only two or three weeks. They'll give everything they've got but we know it's not going to be easy."
Wormley will be asking his troops to focus on the opening period of the match in the belief that this will be the key to the contest. "The initial 10 or 15 minutes will be important. Their pace has the potential to catch us off guard, so if we can settle and do what we do best we'll be okay." Whatever the outcome, Wormley rates the game against the Yugoslav club as one of his biggest matches in his coaching career, rating it along side Inglewood Kiev's 1996 championship. "I always really love leading out the State team as coach who-ever it is against, but in this position to come out to face Red Star Belgrade without a shadow of a doubt is the biggest moment to date. As a coach, winning the State League the way we did in 1996 with Inglewood was a great moment as well."
IN CONVERSATION WITH SEAN COONEY
Former W.A. junior captain Sean Cooney carved out a reputation as a reliable midfielder with an eye for goal during his time in Perth. Mid-2000 he joined the youth academy at English Premier League side Coventry City, quickly establishing himself as a regular in the clubs Under-17's where he now plays as a central defender. Cooney returned to Perth for the Christmas/New Year break and Brett Klucznik caught up with him to find out a bit about how he is going in the U.K.
Could you give us a bit of background information on who you played for as a junior, where you started out, that sort of thing?
I started off with Rockingham and played there for maybe six years and then we moved to Fremantle so I played for Fremantle United for a year. After that I went into the Hammers Academy at Kingsway then played for Inglewood for about a year and a half.
And you went to England for trials mid-way through the 2000 W.A. winter season?
I went over after the first game of the season, then came back but didn't play at all for Inglewood. I was back for six weeks but didn't want to take any risks.
Did you play for the State team as a junior?
Yeah, Under-13's. I was captain of the Under-13's and also played at Under-14's, Under-15's and Under-16's when I was vice-captain. We went to Singapore for the Lion City Cup twice and also went to Sydney and Adelaide.
Before trying out with Coventry, did you have any offers from other clubs in England?
About a year ago I went to Barnsley and I went to Blackburn for about a week. That was more just for a look about kind of thing, I was only 15 at the time so I couldn't have signed anything.
How did the chance to trial with Coventry come about?
There was just a guy over here that knew someone at Coventry and he asked if I wanted to go over for trials and I said yeah. I actually went over twice. I originally went to England at the end of the 1999/2000 season. They didn't have any games left, just a tournament in Holland after which they said we'd like to sign you, come back for the pre-season. So I did the pre-season with the club, starting about July.
Was there ever any doubt in your mind about going to England to play football, leaving behind family and friends?
Yeah, there was a bit but it was the best thing for me in hindsight.
What are the accomodation arrangements at the club?
We live on the training ground, it's like a lodge set-up. All the boys who are from Scotland, Ireland or say the north of England live in the one place. It's a room between two or three, just depending on how it was sorted out. They're a really good bunch of lads, it's excellent.
What is the weekly routine for the academy side?
Monday morning we go to College then we train in the afternoon, and Tuesday we train twice a day. Then on Wednesday we go all day to College, Thursday we train twice and on Friday we just do set-pieces for Saturday's game. Sunday is a day off to relax.
And what do you do at College?
You can do whatever you want but I'm doing a sports science sort of thing so I can be a phys. ed. teacher. I go to a sports centre where I teach kids sports and the like.
What is your daily routine?
We get up about 8.00 and go downstairs for 9.00, getting dressed and ready. Then we start at maybe 10.00 with our jobs - we all have different jobs to do and I'm the kit boy, I have to make sure everyone's kit is in number order and all that sort of stuff for all the teams, first team, the lot.
Do all the Coventry sides train together?
We're all on the same training pitch but we're all seperate - 17's together, 19's together, that sort of thing.
There seem to be two paths that young players are following these days. You can either make a name for yourself in the N.S.L. and play for the National Under-17's, Under-20's and so on or, like you did, leave Australia in your mid-to-late teens for trials at a number of clubs. How have you found it going over so young?
I think it's easier doing it that way. If you're older you can get into some bad habits developed in Australia compared to how they do things in England. They can teach you their way of playing which makes it easier. You also get to know a lot more about the game over there as you're doing it every day. You learn more about different positions and everything, it's really good.
What have been the highlights of your (short) time with the club?
Probably being on the bench for the reserves against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge ... that was a good experience despite me not getting to go on. And I scored two goals against Millwall when we drew two-all, that was really good. I was playing as a centre-back and just went up for the corners and free-kicks and put it in twice.
Do you have a lot to do with the players in the senior side?
Quite a bit actually. We're always helping them out because we all train on the one pitch. You can have a laugh with them as well, they're really good to see. We're all together so you do get the chance to see what it's like in the first team.
What's it like to have someone like John Aloisi, a player from your own country, at the club doing well?
He's really good. He's taken me under his wing and looks after me.
Having already made the bench for the reserves, what are your chances of making the first eleven of that team this season?
Maybe next year I'll have a chance. We've got quite a big youth team for an academy, we've got maybe 20 odd players so there are a lot of players and it's hard to get a breakthrough, especially when they are a year or two older. I'm the youngest so they're all ahead of me there.
Are Coventry the sort of club that you'd like to play for professionally?
Yeah. They're a good club and they're a good team. Gordon Strachan's a good coach, you can learn a lot from him. He's done a lot as a player so he knows a lot about the game which helps us.
You are obviously enjoying your time with the club. Where do you see things heading?
At the moment just to play for Coventry, break into the first team and just see how it goes from there. I'd love to play for Australia, if that comes along I'd take it.
Thanks for your time and I hope things go well for you at Coventry.
PARKINSON W.A.'S SECRET WEAPON
Inglewood United new-comer Louis Parkinson, undoubtedly one of the hottest properties in W.A. soccer, is expected to play a big part in this weekend's friendly clash between the W.A. State side and touring Yugoslav club Red Star Belgrade. One of the few shining lights in last weekend's practice match with Inglewood United, State coach Paul Wormley has no qualms about throwing the teenager into the deep end against Red Star. "Louis is an exciting talent and I'm sure he won't be overawed," Wormley said.
The youngest member of the State squad, Parkinson's personal training routine includes juggling a golf ball with his feet, thighs and back of his neck, a trick he took up after seeing Brazilian star Denilson perform it on television. "I started with a small soccer ball, then a tennis ball and eventually a golf ball," the (recently turned) 17-year old striker said this week. "It was pretty hard at first, but I've been doing it for about six months and it's now part of my routine before I go training. I also practice it every day for 20 minutes. I find it helps my touch and makes me concentrate."
Long earmarked for big things, the teenager shot to prominence when he won the Golden Boot at the three successive National Talent Identification Championships. With talent to burn, he ventured to the UK for trials with Southampton in early 2000 which he found a great learning experience, "I learnt a lot in England and I now know what's required."
Seeing out the winter with ECU Joondalup, Parkinson tasted limited first team action but showed that he was more than ready to step-up to Premier League ranks. Mid-year he was named W.A.'s Best Player at the national championships after scoring nine times in Sydney which, in turn, lead to his promotion to the senior State side for November's two-game friendly series with Malaysia. Invited to attend the Australian Under-17's training camp in late November, Parkinson was disappointed to miss out on making the final party which competed in the Ocean Nations Cup in Samoa but is determined to make amends this season with Inglewood.
This weekend's opponents, Red Star, are so far undefeated on their Australian tour. Last week they defeated New South Wales Premier League side Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-0 with goals from Marjan Markovic, Branko Boskovic and Milenko Acimovic. And on the weekend, Slovenian international Acimovic continued his fine form by netting both goals in the 2-1 triumph over NSL outfit Adelaide City Force.
NIGHT SERIES FIXTURES RELEASED
Soccer West Coast this week confirmed the fixtures for the 2001 Night Series after consultation with the ten Premier League clubs. Group A this year consists of Fremantle City, Swan I.C., Perth, ECU Joondalup and Floreat Athena, while Group B pits together the Western Knights, Sorrento, Inglewood United, Cockburn City and Bassendean Caledonian.
The tournament will kick-off on Friday 16th February when Boral Cup holders Western Knights take on Inglewood United at 6.45pm, followed by Sorrento and Cockburn City at 8.30pm. Two days later reigning Night Series champions Floreat Athena play ECU Joondalup (6.15pm) followed by the glamour fixture between Premier League champions Fremantle City and Champion of Champions Perth (8.00pm). All matches will be played at Litis Stadium with the Grand Final on Sunday 1st April.
SORRENTO THUMP OLYMPIC
Things are in full swing at Sorrento where the club are well into their pre-season schedule. After a narrow loss to Floreat Athena a couple of weeks back, the senior team took on Kingsway Olympic on the weekend and inflicted a 6-0 defeat on their neighbours. Two goals from Toby Wright got Sorrento off to a blistering start, but Kingsway could have pulled a couple back only for some poor finishing to let them down. Potential new signing Gary Andrews added Sorrento's third before the break, and Wright completed his hat trick 7 minutes after the re-start when he lifted an Andrews cross over 'keeper Sam Scutti. Andrews made it five, then Tony Cumace converted a penalty awarded after Trevor Morgan was brought down in a untidy challenge.
Their next friendly is against Fremantle City on Sunday 4th February at Percy Doyle Reserve, kicking-off at 9.00am with both the first and reserves teams in action. A week later (11th February) sees the senior and reserves sides on the road to face 1st Division outfit Ashfield Soccer Club at Ashfield Reserve, things getting underway at 9.00am. Sorrento get their Night Series campaign underway with the opening night 8.30pm game against Cockburn City. The first match of the series, which kicks-off on 16th February, sees Western Knights take on Inglewood United from 6.45pm. All games in this years competition will be played at the Litis Stadium, Britannia Road in Mt Hawthorn.
Sorrento's Under-18 squad will commence their pre-season shortly, players interested can contact coach Pine Clarke on 9448 9828. Junior trials for the 12 to 16 year old age groups has commenced and details can be obtained from Jasmine Albon on 9409 3955. Sorrento fields at least 2 teams in each age group of which one plays in the Junior Soccer Association's Premier Division. 4th February is Registration Day for junior players at the club's premises on Beddi Road, Duncraig, between 10.30am and 2.00pm. Fielding team from Under-5's up, new players are requested to bring along three passport photos and a copy of their birth certificate. Further information by contacting secretary Kerry Slater on 9448 5908.
IN'S AND OUT'S AT COCKBURN
Laszlo Koroknai will again be in charge of Cockburn City for the up-coming season and is hoping for a better finish than the eighth spot the side achieved last winter. The side will be strengthend at the back by the signing of Western Knights pair Aaron Beattie and Damir Mikulic, plus Floreat Athena's Boza Erakovic. Re-joining the club is Scott Grieve, who has most recently been playing in Scotland, while Dean Gartside, another former Knights player, has been promoted from the Cockburn amateurs. Unfortunately, the clubs departures are great with talented young midfielder Antonio Naglieri heading to the Australian Institute of Sport (via Perth Glory) on a scholarship, goalkeeper Tommi Tomich moving on to play with Bassendean Caledonian and Gary Numan currently on trial with English Conference side Stevenage Borough. Paul Wozny and Peter Bliss have been named as coaches of the Reserves and Under-18's sides respectively.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA vs INGLEWOOD UNITED
Western Australia continued their preparation for the up-coming friendly international against Red Star Belgrade with their only competitive hit-out against a very young and comparatively inexperienced Inglewood United side on the weekend. State coach Paul Wormley rested midfielder Scott Devine and goalkeeper Alan Dunlop due to niggling injuries, while Todd Harnwell has only recently re-commenced his pre-season after a calf complaint. Inglewood coach Steve Parkinson took the opportunity to rest ten first team regulars, giving the clubs youngsters and new signings the opportunity to show their wares in what Parkinson expected to be a pressure situation. The Inglewood coach would experiment with his 21-man travelling party over the course of the match, fielding what amounted to a youth side with only two players over the age of 20 taking to the field for the clubs first outing of 2001.
Played over three 30 minute periods, the match saw with the State team dominate from the opening, effortlessly moving the ball around in the middle of the park to set-up wave after wave attack. But for all W.A.'s creativity and endevour, the Inglewood defence were always on hand to clear any danger and effectively limit the number of shots W.A. could muster when within scoring range. It wasn't until the 10th minute that we saw either 'keeper tested - Inglewood defender Davorin Svirac almost putting the ball past his own 'keeper from close range but thankfully Oliver Taseski was on top of his game and moved quickly to save his side the embarrassment of an early own goal.
It was beginning to look as though pre-match expectations of State team walk-over would come true as the W.A. midfield took control of the contest with Steve White and Sandy Robertson in sparkingly form. With all the play taking place in their half, Kevin Correia met a curling Steve MacDonald cross from the right in the 13th minute, forcing Taseski to concede the corner by paddling the ball over the bar. Five minutes later Todd Howarth slotted to Louis Parkinson who was charging into a congested area only to fire over from 14 metres. A long-range drive from Howarth which skimmed the wrong side of the bar ended the period in which W.A. were continually thwarted by their own poor finished.
Inglewood started the second period with more confidence and carved out several promising moves inside the opening ten minutes, only to be let down by some very sloppy work in attack. With their defence turning the ball over with relative ease, it wasn't long before the back-four were again in the thick of the action as the midfield conceded possession by taking far too long to do anything constructive with the ball against a far more experienced side. On the occasions the ball did make it to the forward line, the strikers often took on one opponent too many and ended up losing the ball without so much as sighting goal.
After about ten minutes on the back foot, W.A. came back into the game and flexed their midfield muscle once again to have Inglewood's defence under almost constant pressure. The teenage backline of Ryan Fredericks, Jason Godfrey, Daniel Arias and Mark Craft weathered the storm well and kept their more fancied opponents at bay with a determined showing. Trim Morgan sent a perfectly weighted cross in the direction of Todd Harnwell at the far post, only for Arias to pop up and head the ball to safety. A minute later Harnwell returned the favour to pick out Morgan but this time it was Craft that intercepted and knocked the ball out of the dangerzone. In the 45th minute Paul Cooke did all the hard work to set-up Correia inside the area, he expertly turned his marker to find Taseski in fine form and pull off a sprawling save to keep the ledger even. The State side should have taken the lead after 48 minutes when Harnwell sent a low cross into the area which caught Inglewood ball-watching, only for those in W.A. colours to be doing likewise as it passed along the top of the 6-yard box and across the by-line.
As the second third drew to a close Inglewood tightened up considerably at the back to restrict the space in which their opponents could operate, and began to get forward themselves with some regularity. Scott Campbell put the ball into the side netting, but their best chance came in the 51st minute when Anthony Danze waltzed his way past three opponents only to have his shot blocked off the boot by a defender. Both teams were having a hard time breaking down the opposing defence and fighting hard for space in attack, but an 54th minute lapse in concentration at the back allowed W.A. to finally take the lead. Craft looked to switch play in defense only for his cross-field pass to spray off the side of his boot, Morgan intercepted, chested the ball down and then drilled it past Taseski from the top of the penalty area. And two minutes later it was almost 2-0 but Cooke shot disappointingly after a fine run.
The final period saw Cooke continue where he left off, racing onto a long ball from Aaron Cole and taking it to the by-line before cutting it back into the area where Harnwell's blast was deflected out. From the resulting corner, Cooke nodded it down to White who bundled the ball over the line only to have the goal disallowed for off-side. W.A. stepped up the tempo with 20 minutes remaining and they were rewarded with three goals against a fast tiring Inglewood team. In the 72nd minute some good lead-up by Cooke and Howarth saw Morgan double the margin, and two minutes later it was 3-0 when Parkinson was released down the right, turned an opponent on the corner of the 18-yard box and curled the ball around Taseski and tuck inside the far post. Morgan almost added a fourth in the 78th minute when he sent a powerful diving header narrowly over the bar from a spot-on Robertson cross.
It wasn't all one-way traffic, however, and Inglewood had their best two chances of the game within the space of a few minutes. A mis-kick by Corey Hugo - who was having a very relaxing day in goal - was collected by Michael Bushby who in turn played it short to Matt Aitken. With the W.A. 'keeper well out of position and the goal Aitken's mercy, the young striker pushed the ball the wrong side of the upright as Hugo struggled to get back between the posts. A few minutes later the State defence failed to deal sufficiently with an in-swinging corner, the ball fell to Anthony Arnold at the top of the area but he drove it wide as defenders raced in to challenge.
Three-nil up, W.A. were not finished. Cole knocked the ball short to Cooke in the 84th minute, the midfielder ran it half the length of the pitch and past two defenders before crossing from close to the by-line - Doug Ithier charged into the area unmarked to send diving, bullet-like header past Taseski from close range which left the young 'keeper with absolutely no chance. In the remaining six minutes Taseski twice prevented the margin from blowing out even further - making a fantastic reflex save to deny Morgan, then smothering at the feet of Parkinson after he'd rounded two defenders. A few minutes later and the final whistle was welcomed by players on both sides who had endured the warm conditions, high humidity and a distinct lack of breeze.
Pre-match a 4-0 scoreline in favour of the State side was not out of the question, but considering they way they went about the win, it did rather flatter their performance especially when you consider the relative inexperience of their opponents. W.A. dominated the game as expected, but rarely looked like running away with it once proceedings got underway. Robertson was an inspiration in midfield with his fine distribution of the ball, while Parkinson proved a handful for a defence which will this season be his own. There were also impressive displays from central defender Cole, Cooke on the left flank and midfielder White. But overall, to say that the teams performance today was disappointing would be an understatement, and coach Wormley will be looking for a much improved effort against Red Star in a week's time. For Inglewood teenager Danze was the standout player, showing his quality in the middle of the park which underlined just why he is part of the current Under-17's national side. Goalkeeper Taseski had a great game and prevented the State side from scoring on several occasions, while Godfrey and midfielder Keith Taylor were the other players to shine in an Inglewood side that, due to the continual rotation of players and experimentation with positions, never really got out of first gear.
Western Australia: Corey Hugo, Troy Bernard (Aaron Cole 60), Aaron Cole (Scott Broadley 43), Steve
MacDonald (Doug Ithier 43), Todd Howarth (Paul Cooke 30), Craig Surtees (Jamie Kuzmanovic 60, Steve
MacDonald 78), Jamie Kuzmanovic (Todd Harnwell 30), Steve White (Todd Howarth 60), Sandy Robertson,
Kevin Correia (Louis Parkinson 60), Louis Parkinson (Trim Morgan 30)
Inglewood United: Oliver Taseski (Jordan Conti 60), Keith Taylor (Daniel Arias 30, Anthony Arnold 60), Jason Godfrey (Davorin Svirac 60, Gary Friedman 68), Davorin Svirac (Mark Craft 30), Michael Bushby (Ryan Fredericks 30), Andy Cornwall (Keith Taylor 60), Anthony Danze (Sean Kilkelly 60), Sean Kilkelly (Stefan Smilijanic 30), Scott Campbell (Michael Bushby 60), John Bartolomei (Peter Mrdja 30, Matt Aitken 60), Dale Wingell (John Bartolomei 60, Paul Baczynski 68)
Referee: Arthur Papas
Attendance: 75 (approx.)
Footnote - The "West Australian" newspaper reported that Kevin Corriea scored W.A.'s opening goal, but from my vantage point I'm sure it was Morgan that bagged it. Then again I could be wrong, it's been known to happen!
WORMLEY HAPPY WITH STATE SQUAD
State coach Paul Wormley has knocked back Perth Glory's offer of seven players for the up-coming friendly clash with Yugoslavia's Red Star Belgrade. The NSL side had earlier in the week indicated that fringe players Tony Franken, Aaron Cole, Gareth Naven, Anthony Danze, John Carbone, Peter Buljan, PJ Roberts and Vinko Buljubasic would be released for State duty should Wormley require them. But speaking with Dennis Gedling on Radio Fremantle today, Wormley made it clear that just one of that group was under consideration for a place in the team. "We've only got one Glory player that's been training with us and that is Aaron Cole. I know Soccer West Coast are still persevering with Jason Petkovic as the goalkeeper, but I don't know how far that has developed. The other rumour at the moment is Gareth Naven, but I think he had a discussion with Bernd Stange last night about his position as he'd rather be playing against Wollongong. So apart from that I'm certainly considering no one else."
Preparation for the Red Star fixture have been far from ideal for the State team. Their first training session was cancelled after Soccer West Coast failed to notify all squad members in time and at least one other session suffered the same fate when training balls could not be found. On top of that Wormley has had to deal with players withdrawing from the squad, goalkeeper Robert Zabica due to cricket commitments and more recently young Perth striker Nick Mrdja for reasons still unknown to the coach. "I spoke to Nick on Tuesday and he said he'd ring me back after he spoke to Bernd Stange, he's been on trial with Glory and his concern was he didn't want to risk his chances. But I thought Bernd would have welcomed him to train with us and play in this game, but I've not seen or heard from him since so he's definitely out of the squad."
Eight days out from the game, Wormley admitted that he knew very little about his opponents. "I'm totally in the dark about them apart from what I've read in the local papers about Goran Drulic, I'm sure he'll be a very good player. As I'm sure they'll all be, very fit and very focused as they've got a very big game on when they get back against Partizan, which is why they've bought the full squad out. I'm sure they'll be very in tune with what is going on." Soccer West Coast are expecting to come close to selling out the Litis Stadium which is believed to have a capacity somewhere in the vacinity of 10,000.
DANZE JOINS INGLEWOOD
16-year old Perth Glory midfielder Anthony Danze has joined Inglewood United for the up-coming Premier League season. Danze, who turned down an offer to join English side Southampton last year, will go on loan to United in a bid to sharpen his match fitness and boost his chances of selection in the Australian team for the World Under-17 Championships in Trinidad and Tobago later this year.
Danze made a big impact when playing the Joey's in the Oceania qualifiers last month but was told there was no guarantee he would be in the squad for finals unless he was playing regularly. Several local clubs are believed to have been chasing the teenager, including his former club ECU Joondalup, but Glory management let Danze make the decision. "The only guarantee we wanted was that Anthony would be playing regular first-team soccer," Glory general manager Roger Lefort said.
Stirling Suns are planning to improve on their fifth placing of last winter and have gone on a signing spree to boost their bid for the First Division trophy. Joining the club for 2001 are one-time Wollongong Wolves player Desimir Tosevski, Robe Markovski who was with rivals the Stirling Lions last season, Zoran Talimdzioski of Dianella, and Phil Covier from Bayswater.
IN CONVERSATION WITH DARREN BROXTON
Darren Broxton was a regular in the West Australian junior State side until he trialled successfully with English Premier League club Southampton early in 2000. Twelve months later the talented right-sided midfielder is consistently making the starting eleven with that clubs Under-17's side and learning a lot as he pursues his footballing dream. He was back in Perth for the English mid-season break which was when Brett Klucznik caught up with him to find out how life was treating him overseas ...
Could you give me a bit of background information on Darren Broxton, who you played for in Perth, that sort of thing?
I started off at Sorrento where I played from Under-10's to Under-15's and then moved to Inglewood with the Hammers set-up. And later when that became the Saints Academy I moved to Joondalup ... I played State all through from Under-12's to Under-15's but I didn't play State last year. Under-12's I went to Japan, Under-13's and 14's to Adelaide, and at Under-15's the nationals were in Canberra. And I was in the Joeys set-up for a while, but because I went to England I think I've dropped out of the scene there.
So it was through the Saints Academy that you came about landing a contract in England?
Southampton were aligned with Joondalup, they came and watched our team play and picked out who they thought were the best players and it went from there. I went to England for trials in January 2000 originally ... I was injured for quite a bit during the trials but I trained for about a week, played a game and they offered me to stay after that game.
You then came back to Perth and with Joondalup for the winter ...
I played until about June then went back to England for the pre-season.
How did you feel about having to leave Perth, family and friends to play on the other side of the globe?
It's been alright because it is what I've always wanted to do. I've been bought up to play football so it really wasn't that bad when I went over, and I get to come back twice a year which is pretty good.
What is the academy set-up like at Southampton? Take us through a typical week ...
On a Monday I go to College in the morning and then it's training in the afternoon. Then on Tuesday we train twice a day - morning and afternoon - and the same on Wednesday. Thursday it's all day at College, Friday we have a little practice match - Under-17's verses Under-19's - in preparation for Saturday's game. Sunday's a day off.
What do you study at College?
I'm doing a coaching course where I practice coaching little kids.
Do you have a lot to do with the first team players at the club?
I see them everyday and they're alright if you want to ask them questions. They're okay to say hello and all that but really we don't see them that much. I suppose maybe in a few years time when I'm 19 and in the Under-19's I might do.
What is the standard of the competition in England's youth system?
It's a lot faster, a lot harder, more physical than over here. When I first got there I didn't know how I was going to fit in but as each month goes it's getting better and better ... I'd say it's quicker than the N.S.L. but it's hard to judge because I've not played in the N.S.L. It's really fast for the age though.
There are two paths that young players are following these days. One takes players through the N.S.L. and national junior sides before heading abroad, while the one you've chosen takes you overseas at a young age where you progress through the grades there. How have you find it going over in your teens?
I think that because it's faster and I just wanted to play at the best standard possible, it's better to go over young. It makes you a better player overall because you're doing this full-time and it's all professionally organised.
You've been a regular in the Under-17's side this season. How have the team been performing?
We must have gone at least ten games unbeaten and I was starting every week. But lately we've dropped off a little bit - Arsenal and West Ham have probably the best youth set-up's in the whole of England and we drew with West Ham and lost to Arsenal which wasn't bad. We're third to them I think.
What have been the highlights of your first six months with Southampton?
I'd say playing in the F.A. Youth Cup when I came on as a substitute playing at the Dell (against Birmingham City). I also got to catch up with Clint (Davies) - he was on the bench and we beat them 1-0. We're now through to the next round when we play Leeds at Elland Road about five days after I get back. I'll definitely be in the squad at least and if I'm a sub I should get a run.
And I believe you are off to Chile shortly with one of the youth sides?
The 17's and either the year above us or the year below us, it's either an Under-17's or 18's tournament. We'll be playing against a lot of national sides like Peru, I'm not sure about Brazil, but Mexico, Chile and teams like that. I think Southampton have got a link with one of the Chilean sides and that's where they got the idea from. The tournament is in the beginning of February for about three and a half weeks I think ... I'm really looking forward to it.
Are Southampton the sort of club that you'd like to play for professionally in terms of what they can offer you as a player?
Definitely. I love living at the lodge because all the players are there ... I don't really want to live with families, digs and all that, I don't really like that. It's good being with all the players and I suppose it's easier to push youngsters through at Southampton, they've had heaps of youngsters graduate to the first team like Matt Le Tissier, Alan Shearer, Kevin Phillips and so on. I think it's a bit easier than going to say Liverpool or Manchester United and trying to go up through the ranks because they are such good teams and it would be so much harder to breakthrough.
All the players at Southampton live together then?
If a player comes from around Southampton then they usually live at home. But players from overseas - Australia, Italy, Wales and even other parts of England - in their first or second year with the club, and there are probably about 16 of us, we all live together.
There are quite a few players at Southampton from Australia aren't there?
There was Mark Graham but he wasn't offered another contract because he's third year but he's back in the Under-20's squad for Australia now. There's Matt Rossier, he's from New South Wales, Scott MacDonald who played in the Youth World Cup side, and Adrian Caceras and myself from W.A.
Adrian Caceras followed you over from Perth and has been featuring fairly prominently in the reserves side at Southampton. What can you tell me about him?
He's going really good. He's scored a couple of goals and travelled as part of the first team to Manchester, which he loved because he got to warm-up on the pitch at Old Trafford. We're good friends and get along really well.
Where do you see your career heading from here? What do you hope to achieve in the next 12 months?
I'm just hoping to see out this year with the 17's, that's what you normally do, and then be pushing for reserves next year and especially in my third year with the club. Then hopefully secure a contract and go from there.
What about getting back in the running for a spot in the Australian team?
Yeah. It's weird because I was actually born in England and I lived there until I was about nine or there's a bit of mixed feelings there. But if the chance came up I'd definitely take it, the club are not interested in holding players back from that sort of thing.
You never know, you were in the Joeys squad before you went to England and by the sounds of things have come on in leaps and bounds since linking with Southampton. Thanks for your time and all the best with making a career for yourself with the club.
No problem ... and thanks for the kind words.
FINLAY HEADS O.S.
ECU Joondalup teenager Mark Finlay heads to the UK today (19/01) where he has trials lined up with four English clubs in Manchester United, Manchester City, Sunderland and Birmingham City. Finlay has spent the past two weeks training/trialling with the Perth Glory squad where he has impressed members of the side with his strong workrate and some explosive shooting.
PLAYERS NEEDED AT MORLEY
One of the state’s longest serving clubs, Morley Windmills are calling on interested players to swell their ranks for the up-coming winter season. With the club back in the State League this season after a few years absence, Windmills are having difficulties getting the numbers needed to field sides in both the professional and amateur leagues. Players available to play Saturday’s in the State League First Division are asked to contact John Castilli (ph: 0419 938 911), while those keen for a run in the Sunday Premier League amateur side can ring Nigel Sayers (ph: 041 030 4791) for further details.
SWAN SNARE EX-GLORY PAIR
New Swan I.C. coach Veselin Zmugic has had his troops working hard in preparation for the fast approaching pre-season Night Series competition which kicks-off on 16th February. Zmugic, who last winter was in charge of First Division side the Dianella White Eagles, has focused upon building on the strong foundations laid over the past couple of seasons by previous coach Eric Williams and signed former Perth Glory pair Scott Halpin and Peter Vukmirovic, both formerly with ECU Joondalup. It appears that Swan have bought in the pair to replace strikers Dale Wingell and Elton Holmes who are yet to make an appearance at pre-season training.
SORRENTO CONTINUE PRE-SEASON HIT-OUT
With Trevor Morgan once again at the helm of Sorrento, the club this weekend continue their pre-season with a friendly match against Kingsway Olympic at Percy Doyle Reserve, Duncraig this Sunday (21st January) kicking-off at 9.00am. Last weekend Sorrento went down to a revitalised Floreat Athena side 1-2, Adrian Spinelli scored the first goal, with Chris Georganis scoring the second for Athena. Tony Cumace converted a penalty for Sorrento late in the game. Unfortunately for Sorrento they are without regular defenders Kevin Murphy and Scott McLeod, both out with groin injuries, and Perth Glory hopeful Todd Harnwell, currently sidelined with calf problems. Sorrento’s reserve team was also in action last weekend, losing 1-2 to the senior team from the Stirling Lions.
There was some hope that recently-married Tony Carbone would be returning to the club for the up-coming winter but he has opted for another season in Singapore with Marine Castle United on Sunday. In other players moves, it is looking unlikely that Simon Harland will return to Perth in time for the up-coming Night Series, he’s still in England with is wife. And striker Michael Johnson his left the club to join Kingsway Olympic for the 2001 winter season, although paperwork on that deal is yet to be finalised.
NUMAN LOOKING GOOD IN UK
19-year old former Mandurah City junior Gary Numan, who spent last season playing with Cockburn City is currently on trial with English Conference side Stevenage Borough. The winger featured in last week’s reserves clash with Harrow Borough, scoring his side’s fourth goal in the 5-0 drubbing. Having caught the eye of club management with an impressive performance, Numan has been invited to travel with the senior squad for their FA Umbro Trophy match with Aldershot.
LOCAL QUARTET PLAY PART IN INDONESIA’S EXPULSION
Four players from the W.A. Premier League have been caught up in the international scandal which resulted in Indonesia being kicked out of the Sahara Millennium Super Cup tournament in India for including seven foreign players in their national squad. “The competition rules specify that all players should be subjects of their country,” All India Football Federation secretary Alberto Colaco said before announcing the withdrawal of Indonesia. The four local players who were named in the squad - Fremantle City’s John Mirco, Swan I.C. goalkeeper Corey Hugo, and Floreat Athena pair Doug Ithier and Troy Bernard - are all members of the W.A. State team that will take on Red Star Belgrade at the end of the month.
The Indonesian team arrived in India early last week and within a matter of days were asked to replace the seven players - the Perth-based quartet, two Thai’s and a Cameroon player. But Indonesian officials expressed their inability to comply with the rules, forcing organisers to scratch the team from the competition. The tournament has been plagued with problems from the start with organisers unable to secure the big name nations they were after. On top of that Cameroon and Iraq pulled out with 48 hours of eachother just days before the tournament was due to start. And Chile’s opening match on Wednesday was re-scheduled when the teams luggage failed to arrive in India having apparently not been loaded in Johannesburg.
CACERAS CLOSE TO SAINTS DEBUT
Having celebrated his 19th birthday just last week, former Perth attacking midfielder Adrian Caceras is getting closer to a spot in Southampton's senior side. Last week he scored in the Saints 2-0 practice match with Crystal Palace and was rewarded on the weekend with a place on the bench for the Premier League clash with Charlton Athletic which ended in a 0-0 draw. Unfortunately Caceras was an unused substitute for that fixture.
WORMLEY WELL AWARE OF TASK AHEAD
With the State squad beginning their preparation for the up-coming friendly international with Red Star Belgrade last weekend, coach Paul Wormley is well aware that his players will need to be on top of their game to defeat the visiting team. “(Red Star) will really be buzzing for this game because they have a big game on the 7th of February which is virtually for their League title, so that’s why all their squad is in Australia. I’m sure they’ll be fired up.” The Yugoslav club have confirmed that they will be at full-strength for the Australian tour and will include striker Goran Drulic who has resisted an international call-up with Yugoslavia in order to tour Australia.
Wormley last week named a young and relatively inexperienced 23-man squad for the clash which is based upon the State side that twice defeated Malaysia late last year. “The more experience I could have got in the team the better, but at the same time the young boys did very well for me against Malaysia in November last year. And when I sit down and consider experience there’s not really a lot around these days (in the local competition).”
One player that was named in the squad was former Socceroo goalkeeper Robert Zabica, who has since declared himself unavailable for the clash much to the disappointment of Wormley. “It’s a bit of a shame because I would really have liked Robbie, with his immense experience at all levels, he would have been a great asset for us in this game,” the State coach said this week. “We’ll be looking at Corey Hugo and Alan Dunlop, and I may consider somebody else to be included in the squad depending on the availability of those two.”
It will be the second time that W.A. have played a touring Red Star side, the other occasion being the forgettable 5-0 thumping handed out by the visitors in 1980 at the Velodrome. Tickets for the up-coming fixture are on sale now through Soccer Headquarters in Perry Lakes (ph: 9383 7878). The match will kick-off at 6.00pm on Sunday 28th January at the Litis Stadium, Mount Hawthorn.
AUSTRALIA WIN SCHOOLBOYS TOURNAMENT
The Australian Schoolboys have defeated New Zealand 2-1 at Canberra’s AIS Athletics Stadium to take out the 2001 Australian Schools International Cup. W.A.’s sole representative in the side, Rhys Graham who plays locally for Perth, came on in extra time as the host nation held on for victory. Australia took the lead through Evan Papadopoulos after just four minutes of play, but the Kiwi’s were back on level terms in the 22nd minute when Joseph Waugh netted. In a tight second half, a John Majurovski strike 12 minutes from full-time broke the deadlock and sent the trophy Australia’s way. Northern Ireland defeated Wales 4-1 in the play-off for 3rd place.
SWC STILL KEEN
Representatives from Soccer West Coast are still chasing English club Leeds United in a bid to secure financial backing for the entry of Western Lightning into the National Soccer League. It is believed that acting chief executive of Lightning, Paul Tombides, is attempting to set up a meeting with Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale. Tombides has confirmed that serious talks have already taken place with two other British clubs, but the major sticking point has been that the new club has no guarantee of securing a licence in the re-vamped competition next season.
"The ones that are serious are saying ‘get this licence and we're on board’ but I don't even see that as a problem because we can still do the deal without an overseas club," Tombides said. He is of the firm belief that the Soccer West Coast bid will be able to ride the coattails of Perth Glory who are clearly the best financed and supported club in the competition. Tombides also expressed his doubts that Soccer Australia will enforce the 12-team competition for next season, thus making it easier for new teams to enter the fold.
ANOTHER BOOK HITS THE SHELVES
If you fancy a walk down memory lane look no further than “Soccer : Western Australia 1960 to 2000” by Barry Greenwood which chronicles through an array of photographs 40 years of the professional game in this state. The Soccer Federation of Western Australia life member and former “Sunday Independent” writer has complied the book which draws heavily on the photographic collection of Scott Symons. An invaluable publication for anyone with an interest in the history of the game in W.A., “Soccer : Western Australia 1960 to 2000” is now available from Soccer Headquarters for the very reasonable price of $10.00.
PETKOVIC CALL-UP SCARPERED BY GLORY
Soccer West Coast’s plans to call-up Perth Glory goalkeeper Jason Petkovic to the State squad for the challenge game against Yugoslavia’s Red Star Belgrade later this month have been scuttled by the NSL side who have labeled the invitation as "ridiculous". The request came after former Socceroo ‘keeper Robert Zabica, who had an outstanding 2000 season playing locally for Inglewood United, withdrew from the State squad for personal reasons.
With the friendly international taking place on 28th January at Litis Stadium - the day after Glory face Wollongong Wolves at Perth Oval - Glory general manager Roger Lefort said there is no way Petkovic could be expected to play two games in the space of 24 hours. "It's ridiculous, the player needs time to recover," said Lefort. "We're happy to assist with players for the State fixture, but not ones who are involved in what will be a big game for us against Wollongong."
But SWC general manager Paul Tombides said that the request for Petkovic’s services could help his career. "I believe Jason is keen to chase a contract in Europe and playing against Red Star might just help draw attention to his outstanding ability."
The eldest of the Petkovic brothers, Jason started out locally with Spearwood Dalmatinac before joining the ranks of the NSL with Adelaide City in mid-1994. With that club he twice won the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year award and represented Australia at senior ‘A’ level twelve times. But after five seasons with the Zebras, during which time he’d chalked up 155 appearance, Jason was ready for greener pastures and he tried his luck in England only for problems getting a work permit to put an end to that dream. He returned to Perth to play with Glory late in 1999 where he’s ranked as one of the NSL’s top ‘keepers.
IN CONVERSATION WITH CLINT DAVIES
Wanneroo teenager Clint Davies has been in England with Birmingham City for the past 18 months where he's making a name for himself playing in the club's youth ranks. Enjoying his time with the club, Clint took advantage of the Christmas/New Year break in the English season to return home to relax, soak up Perth's summer sunshine and catch up with family and friends. Brett Klucznik spoke to him shortly before he returned to England to start preparing for Birmingham's derby clash with Aston Villa on 13th January 2001.
Could you give us a bit of a run-down on your career to date?
I started off as a junior with Whitfords, I was there until I was 13 or 14. We had a really good year but after that everyone went everywhere and I went to the Hammers Academy ...
When they were at Kingsway?
Yeah, at Kingsway. I stayed with the Hammers when they went to Inglewood and through that I went over to England for trials with Southampton. I headed over there about August last year so I've been there a year and a half so far. I also played Under-15's and 16's for the State, we went to Singapore for the Lion City Cup where we came second twice, we got beaten by the Indians both times.
So you went to Southampton early in 1999?
I was there for a long time, maybe 10 weeks or so with the Saints. After that I went up to Birmingham and I played two games for them and they got me in on the next Monday after the second game and said "We want to sign you ..."
How did you find it settling in at Birmingham, being so far away from family and friends? And how did the set-up compare with what you'd become used to at Southampton?
At the start I thought Southampton was better because they have this hotel where everyone stays and they've got a pool table and Sky TV and everything like that to make life a bit easier for you. At Birmingham we don't have that, but the lads at Birmingham are much better, everyone's friendlier and there's more of a team feel ... overall things were a bit of a culture shock but you tend to get used to that with time.
What is the typical daily routine for a player in your position at Birmingham?
Normally we get to the training ground about 9.30 but we don't actually start until 10.30 because we have to collect balls and bibs and cones and get them all ready. We go up to the training pitch about 10.00 and mess about kicking the ball around, have little juggling games and so on. The coaches come up - Bob Latchford and Stu normally take us for the warm-up before Brian Eastick, the main coach, does positional play and stuff like that with us. Then we have small games and that's when it starts proper, before finishing off with maybe some shooting. All up that usually lasts about an hour and a half and we then go for lunch between 12.30 and 1.00. But sometimes we have really long mornings if the weather's been really bad - our pitch is just mud so it's hard on your legs and we just train from 10.30 until 1.00 or 1.30, then it's lunch and the day's finished. But normally we'll have lunch and go to the gym and do a bit extra.
So you are training full-time, pretty much every day of the week?
Yeah, the goalkeepers, we normally train more than the outfield players because on Thursdays they have a psychologist come in and take the players. But the three of us goalkeepers go off with Nigel Spinks, our goalkeeping coach, and he takes us by ourselves. On a Tuesday he takes us in the morning but Brian will usually want us to play in a game or join in with the rest of the squad so we might be halfway through something and we have to go over. On Thursday we can do whatever we want, improve our technique and the like.
And then you play on the Saturday?
On Friday we have like a half day off - we train until about 1.00ish then go home and have pasta and that for dinner. Normally on away games you have to get up early to catch a coach to the game, we travel on the day of the game. But for home games you get up about 9.30 to get down there for 10.30, play the game and you're on a break for the rest of the weekend … unless you played badly and then you're back in on the Sunday. We think we work hard but really we only work for about an hour and a half each day, there's a lot of sitting around, and I mean a lot of sitting around.
I believe you've also made the travelling party for the reserves?
I've been on the bench a few times, the reserve team goalie is quite good. His name is Kevin Poole, he's getting on - he's 37 - but he's still a good 'keeper ... I'd love the chance to get on and play but we'll just have to wait and see ...
You combine football with studying at College. How often do you go there and what are you studying?
Monday mornings we start about 9.00 and finish around 12.00, we have lunch and then it's off to training. We go to Sollyhull College which is about 35/40 minutes away so we have to catch two buses. Then on Wednesday we have College all day starting at 9.00 and finishing up around 4.00. It's alright, I do sports psychology and sports studies, how the body works and that sort of thing.
Do you feel that you have had to give much up by pursuing your career overseas, leaving behind your family and friends at such a young age?
Yeah, but you have to move out of home sometime so why not now. I've settled in now so it's alright but when I first went over it was a bit hard. I've been there a while now so I know what to expect.
You went to the U.K. quite young which a lot of players seem to be doing these days. It used to be more common for players to make their name in the N.S.L. and with the national youth sides, then using that as a springboard for an overseas career. What can you see as the benefits of they way you have gone about things?
Well, it's so much of a change ... I think it's better to go over there early because then you can work your way up the levels of football over there. It's so much quicker and it's much more physical - I could get a bad tackle or an elbow over there because the players really want to succeed, their hunger is much greater. Whereas over here players might want to do it but not as much, they really wait for things to happen rather than attack the ball. And in England you're doing things full-time so you get more of a chance to work on things than over here.
You've been playing in the Birmingham youth team for the past 18 months?
Last year I played Under-17's and this year I'm playing Under-19's under Bob. You work your way up which is good because it helps you get used to the game, the weather and whatever.
With your family still in Perth, where do you live?
We used to all live together - 12 of us in one place with a guy looking after us - but now we're all moving in to digs with a family. Two of the lads are a few doors down from me so we're all still together. This is happening when I go back, I'll be in a nice area with a good family.
Is this because you've moved up the scale or have the club done away completely with the existing set-up?
It was costing too much for the club keep running it and house us together so they've done away with it.
But you'll still be close to the training ground?
It's close to the College so it's about 35/40 minutes away from the ground. One of the other lads nearby has a car so I'll be able to go with him to training ... I might have to pay him off to get a lift!
There are quite a few players from Perth that have gone to England in the past couple of years and are currently in the youth system at a variety of clubs. I think quite a few of you played together at State level, do you have much time to catch up with any of them?
When we play each other normally we see each other after the game like, when I played Coventry and I was speaking with Sean (Cooney). And I was speaking to Darren (Broxton) the week before at another game but we don't really have a lot of time to see each other and chat. Although Sean is nearby with Coventry you just don't get the time to do that sort of thing.
You were recently a guest at the Perth Glory-Marconi Stallions game at Perth Oval. How did that game shape up against where you are playing in England?
A good Under-19's game would be about the standard of that game, but it's a lot quicker and everyone moves a lot more. Over here teams seem to take two or three touches whereas in our team it's one touch-one touch all the time. It's definitely quicker than the first team over here but it's quite hard to judge as I've never played in the N.S.L.
What have been the highlights during your time with the club to date?
We went to Germany in the pre-season to play in Dusseldorf, we didn't win anything but that was a really good experience. It was a youth tournament where we played other big youth teams like 1860 Munich and Real Madrid. It was a really enjoyable time. I was also loaned out to Bromsgrove Rovers about half way through this season and that was also enjoyable. They play below the Conference League, maybe one or two leagues below, and asked Birmingham for the loan of one of our goalies when theirs was suspended. I went over and played a couple of games, won a man-of-the-match award then the manager changed and I had to go. And I trialled for the Northern Ireland Under-18's - I've got a double passport so I can play for them. They said they'd call me in the summer but the summer's gone and I'm still waiting!
This season you've seen a couple of players from the youth ranks join the senior side. It's obviously very competitive in England and it must be inspiring when these sorts of things happen. It must make you want to work that little bit harder to be the next?
Absolutely. Recently AJ (Andrew Johnson), one of the youth players, was promoted to the first team and to see that sort of thing happen makes you realise that you really can do it. Everyone's striving to do their best but whether you get signed or not is up to you. You've got to keep going, keep doing you best. Our coach says "If you get released at the end of it make sure you've put everything in so you can't say well if I did this or I did that ... make sure it's I gave it my best shot and didn't make it, but I did my best." So you've got to work really hard and do all that you can. They tell you what you have to do but you're the one that's got to do it.
So it's completely self-motivated at Birmingham?
It is. We have a psychologist come in to help us deal with things and keep your mind on what you need to do. I would say everything they do for us is really good ... I mean we don't have to do jobs or anything whereas at Southampton we had to scrub boots and all that before training. But with Birmingham we get to go out and practice instead, it's something little but it's for our benefit.
You are obviously enjoying playing with Birmingham and doing well, working hard to pick up a full-time contract ...
Yeah. It's a great life if you can make it. It's not often that you get money to do what you love.
Thanks for your time Clint and all the best with breaking into the Birmingham reserves, hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later and one day we'll see you amongst the club's senior ranks.
Fingers crossed. Thanks a lot.
KNIGHTS GET 2001 UNDERWAY
Boral Cup holders the Western Knights have commenced their pre-season with two new faces in their ranks. State representative Steve McDonald, formerly with Inglewood United, and goalkeeper Pedro Pavez (Ashfield) joining the club for the up-coming winter season. Going the other way is attacking midfielder Joe Vaz who has headed to Victoria where he is believed to be playing in the State League with Altona.
GRAHAM MAKES NATIONAL TEAM
Perth junior Rhys Graham is the sole W.A. representative in the Australian Schoolboys team that this week competed for the Australian Schools International Cup at Canberra’s AIS. Athletics Stadium. The young midfielder sat out the Day One clash with New Zealand which ended in a 4-1 in to the home national, but did take part in the following two days’ action. On Tuesday Graham came on with nine minutes remaining as Australia crushed Northern Ireland 8-0, and the following afternoon he again came off the bench this time at the break to help the national side defeat Wales 2-0. Having topped the group standing, Australia now face New Zealand in Friday (12/01) evening’s final.
STATE SQUAD ANNOUNCED
Soccer West Coast have named a 23 man squad for the friendly international with touring Yugoslav club side Red Star Belgrade to be played later in the month. Paul Wormley is once again in charge of the side to play the former European champions on 28th January at Litis Stadium. It was initially hoped the game would take place at Perth Oval but that deal fell through.
The training squad is Paul Cooke (Cockburn City), Troy Bernard, Doug Ithier (Floreat Athena), Kevin Correia, Alan Dunlop, Abdul Kamara, John Mirco, Trim Morgan, Craig Surtees (Fremantle City), Robert Zabica (Inglewood United), Scott Broadley Jamie Kuzmanovic, Sandy Robertson, Steve White (ECU Joondalup), Todd Howarth, Nick Mrdja, Craig Naven (Perth), Todd Harnwell, Richard Turnbull (Sorrento), Corey Hugo (Swan IC), Scott Devine, Steve MacDonald (Western Knights).
LEEDS INTERESTED, BUT NO DISCUSSIONS … YET
Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt was this week expecting to discussion his bodies NSL application with with English Premier League side Leeds United who were reported to be contemplating taking a multi-million dollar stake in the proposed second side from Perth. With Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale in Australia to sound out his clubs’ prospects, Schrandt was said to be looking forward to meeting with the Leeds chairman. “He’s coming, I don’t now exactly when, but we plan to have some discussions,” Schrandt said early in the week. “There is a big interest shown. Our people in England have already had talks with Leeds and they have been encouraging.”
Ridsdale confirmed Leeds had looked at the SWC offer, but, speaking on radio station 6PR on Tuesday evening from Sydney, was quick to pour cold water on meeting with local officials this week. “I don’t know where that’s come from, we have no likelihood of visiting Perth at this stage. But it is likely that we will be back again in the next few weeks.” The Leeds chairman said that he would be speaking with representatives from “up to five” eastern states clubs who are interested in pursing a link with Leeds. Ridsdale also stressed that they were at this stage wanting to align themselves with an existing NSL side than a new one like the SWC’s Western Lighting.
It is believed that former England international Graham Roberts, who was in Perth during September, has been acting as a go-between in SWC’s endevours to tempt an English club in taking up a 35% share in the new club. SWC would themselves have a 16% share with five local businessmen holding the remaining 49%.
MRDJA AND HARNWELL IN GLORY’S SIGHTS
NSL outfit Perth Glory are said to be close to signing two young talents from the local competition, namely Sorrento winger Todd Harnwell and Perth striker Nick Mrdja. Both have been on trial with the club for some time and have impressed the coaching staff at the club. Also trying out with Glory is ECU Joondalup teenager Mark Finlay who is heading overseas for trials later in the month.
For Mrjda it will be a second bite of the NSL cherry after a less than successful stint with Canberra Cosmos last season during which he made only a smattering of first team appearances. He had a strong 2000 winter with Perth and played a leading hand in the club securing the Champion of Champions trophy in October. He shortly after underwent a knee operation but now seems well on the road to recovery.
In this third trial spell with the club, Harnwell is said to be close to agreeing terms with Glory and, should the deal come through, will play alongside brother Jamie who has cemented himself as a regular starter. The right wingback has been playing for Sorrento for several season now and first came to prominence when he made the W.A. Under-15 side in 1996, graduating to the senior team three years later. He also represented Australia at the World University Games in 1999.
Western Australian soccer has 15 players - including 9 players born/raised in Perth - in the running for the 2000 West Australian newspaper / ANZ Sports Star of the Year award. 229 men and women have been nominated for the award from 40 sports and that list will be cut to just 12 in the next few weeks. Those hailing from Perth that have been named are Bobby Despotovski (Perth Glory), Ivan Ergic (FC Basel, Switzerland), Jamie Harnwell (Glory), Paul Lincoln (Inglewood United), Gareth Naven (Glory), Jason Petkovic (Glory), and Australian representatives Tracey Wheeler (Matilda’s), Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City, England) and Shaun Murphy (Sheffield United, England).
The six other nominee’s with Perth ties are Brazilian midfielder Edgar (Glory), Olyroos goalkeeper Danny Milosevic (Leeds United, England), coach Bernd Stange (Glory), Socceroo Kasey Wehrman (Glory) and Rob Trajkovski (Glory).
ERGIC REFUTES CLAIM
Former Perth Glory star Ivan Ergic has denied he has turned his back on Australia to gain representative honours with Yugoslavia. The 19-year-old midfielder declined an invitation to join a Young Socceroos camp in Canberra this week because he wants to concentrate on cementing his place with Swiss team FC Basel, where he is on loan from Juventus. "If I get asked to play for Australia once I'm established with my club, then I will say yes," Ergic said.
MAROCCHI IN CHARGE OF PERTH JUNIORS
Former Perth Glory coach Gary Marocchi is poised to make a comeback - of sorts. Marocchi, who guided the Glory in its first two years in the NSL, will take charge of Perth Soccer Academy's elite under-15 team for the coming junior season.
"I like to stay involved in coaching but I will only be taking the boys one night a week and we will also be playing on one night against other academies," said Marocchi, who is chairman of the Perth academy, which is in its second year. "We've decided this time to form elite teams to give the better players a bit of extra tuition but the boys will still play in their normal Sunday competitions as well."
The Perth academy has also appointed two new coaching coordinators - Brian Adams to look after northern affairs at Forest Park and John Higginson to head the southern set-up at Wauhop Park. "It didn't work as well as we'd hoped with one coordinator last year but we're confident the youngsters will benefit much more this time," Marocchi said.
Adams, who is president of the W.A. coaches association, was a professional player with Chelsea, Wimbledon and Millwall. Higginson also played in England and has been involved in coaching juniors at State level for several years.
NSL SECOND DIVISION A NO-GO ZONE
Schrandt dismissed reports that SWC was interested in entering a team in a proposed NSL second division. SWC, which has applied for membership of the NSL, had been linked to an Adelaide-backed second division involving 16 teams. "We either play at the best level or not at all," Schrandt said.
NIGHT SERIES SCHEDULE DUE SOON
Soccer West Coast have sent out provisional fixtures to all Premier League clubs for this years pre-season Night Series competition. Fixtures will be finalised at a management meeting next week, and we hope to bring those to you as soon as possible.
It can be revealed that one group consists of Sorrento, Western Knights, Cockburn City, Inglewood United and newly promoted Bassendean Caledonians. The other will see Perth, reigning Night Series champions Floreat Athena, Fremantle City, ECU Joondalup and last seasons surprise packet Swan I.C in what has already been hailed as the ‘group of death’.
ERGIC TURNS BACK ON AUSTRALIA?
It appears that former Perth Glory midfielder Ivan Ergic has rejected an offer to attend the Young Socceroos training camp in Canberra commencing next week. He is one of four players to have made themselves unavailable to coach Ange Postecoglou, the others being Gareth Edds (Nottingham Forest), Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Brad Groves (both Leeds United).
Yugoslav-born Ergic insisted he was committed to representing Australia when he left Glory to join Italian giants Juventus during the N.S.L. off-season, but seems to have had a change of heart since. “I left several messages when I was in Europe recently, and he didn't bother returning the calls,” Postecoglou said. “From what I hear he's decided against playing for Australia, which is obviously very disappointing. If a player at this age is not prepared to put his hand up to play for his country, then I'm not going to chase him. I think that would set a very bad precedent … I'm not saying Ivan will never play for Australia, because who knows what happens when he matures two or three years down the track. But for now, he's out of the equation.”
Postecoglou selected 23 players for his first Australian under-20 side, including nine overseas-based players and ten graduates of Australia's silver medal-winning Under-17 World Youth Championship team of 1999. Named were three players with W.A. connections Perth-born defender Adrian Madaschi (Atalanta), goalkeeper Brad Jones (Middlesbrough) and Victorian-born Glory defender Ljubo Milicevic. The side will start a ten day camp on 7th January which will include a two macth series with the youth team of Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers.
EUROPEAN TRIALS FOR THREE
Disappointed at being left out of the Joeys squad for the recent Oceania Nations Cup tournament, talented young striker Louis Parkinson is believed to be headed for France where he is set to trial with an undisclosed club. Having topped the reserves goalscoring charts with ECU Joondalup last season, Parkinson is said to have joined Inglewood United following the appointment of his father Steve as senior coach for the up-coming season
Two former teammates of Parkinson are also looking to further their careers overseas. Joondalup teenagers Greg Sharland and Mark Finlay are heading to England shortly where they have trials lined up with a number of clubs. Both boys are expected to join Inglewood for the 2001 winter should they not be successful in gaining a contract abroad.
JSA / SWC RELATIONS ON THINNER ICE
It is no secret that there is one almighty bun-fight brewing between the authorities which control the game in this state. And the ejection this week of two Junior Soccer Association of W.A. officials from the Soccer Association of W.A.’s annual meeting has done nothing to smooth over the already rough waters.
JSA president Bill Oddy and board member Mike Anderton were escorted out of the boardroom of Soccer Headquarters at Perry Lakes Stadium by four policemen having attended in an official capacity. “They told us that if we didn't leave, we would be arrested,” said Anderton earlier this week. “We just wanted to look and listen, but not participate … “We were there to represent the interests of the 20,000 kids who are part of our organisation and of the many parents. We were not allowed to do that.” But SAWA president Paul Afkos felt forced to call in the police after Oddy and Anderton refused on three separate occasions to vacate the premises. “They turned up uninvited and without notice they were coming,” said Afkos. “They said they were representing the JSA, but I reminded them that the meeting was for members of SAWA only and for affiliates. It was not open to the public.”
JSA resigned from SAWA, the state’s ruling body, last March but has applied for re-admittance several times in recent months. Anderton claims that he and Oddy had every right to be at the meeting. And cited a directive from Soccer Australia chairman Basil Scarsella dated 28th December for SAWA to re-admit the junior body immediately. Afkos said he had recommended in his annual report that steps be taken early in the new year to consider the JSA's request. “It could not be discussed at the annual meeting as it was not part of the agenda, but it will be at our first meeting in about a month,” he said.
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This page was last updated on the 28th February, 2001