GLORY WANT TOP SPOT SAYS MILLER
Currently in second place on the National Soccer League table, Perth Glory are have set their sights on catching leaders Olympic Sharks according to local product Scott Miller. Although the club are well on the way to securing one of the top two finals spots, the team are now focused on overhauling the Sharks who lead the standings by four points. "We are not really worried about anything except winning games," Miller told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian". "We're still behind Olympic and while you've got someone to chase, that's all you're focused on. We are not worried about anything else except wanting to be on top."
OLDFIELD AMONGST GOALS
It has been a good holiday period for Oxford United and especially West Australian attacker David Oldfield. The English Third Division Three side faced two tough matches over the Christmas spell against two of its nearest challengers at the top of the table and on both occasions came out trumps. On Boxing Day, third-placed Oxford faced fourth-placed Bournemouth and came away with a 3-0 win, Oldfield coming off the bench after 65 minutes to score his teams' third of the afternoon eleven minutes later. Then, two days later, Oxford faced the daunting away trip to second-placed Rushden and Diamonds. With Oldfield in the starting line-up, the visitors came away with a spirited 2-0 win with Oldfield bagging his third goal of the campaign on the half hour.
REGISTER FOR COCKBURN JUNIORS
Cockburn City are holding their registration day for the new Junior Champions League (11 to 15 year olds), at Beale Park on Sunday 12th January between 9.00am and 11.00am. In fairness to all interested players, registration must be done on this day with grading trials commencing on Tuesday 14th January at 6.30pm. Players for the clubs' under-18, reserve and senior teams are advised that pre-season training has already started and takes place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Beale Park from 6.30pm. Cockburn invite any new players down to these sessions to try out for the teams. Further details can be obtained by telephoning 0401 340 157 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
GOAL-DEN MONTH FOR TARKA
It may have taken David Tarka 28 games before scoring his first goal for Perth Glory, but his 77th minute winner against Parramatta Power ends a memorable month for the talented defender. The goal follows the two Tarka scored for the Australian Under-20 team who recently qualified for next year's World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirites. It's been a swift rise to prominence for Tarka who made his senior debut for Cockburn City as a 16-year old and represented Australia at Schoolboys level before taking up a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in 2000. He signed for Glory in July 2001 and has gone from strength to strength under coach Mich d'Avray. "At the end of last season I put my foot down and said I wanted a spot in Glory's eleven, which I have done," Tarka said. "Then it was spot in the under-20 side, which I have done and next it is the world youth championships." From there Tarka aims to continue his career in Europe, hopefully with a big name club. "I will keep my head down and hopefully get away after my contract expires,"
GLORY SNEAK HOME (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory squeezed past Parramatta Power at Perth Oval today in a game they could quite easily have lost. The three points keeps Glory in touch with National Soccer League Olympic Sharks, but the hometown fans must be concerned at their teams' title prospects. Power had the better chances in the first half with Kosta Salapasidis blasting wide when through on goal, and Jason Petkovic was quick off his line to prevent John Buonavoglia from scoring in the 31st minute. Glory's best efforts came from Brad Hassell who, after a fine run, had his shot brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Liam Reddy who then blocked a shot from Damian Mori. It was well into the second half before the goal drought was broken. Scott Miller went on a run, received a return ball from Bobby Despotovoski before firing low into the far corner of the net after 73 minutes. But the home lead did not last long - a defensive error let Buonavoglia through and he coolly slotted home to equalise two minutes later. Seemingly satisfied with a point, Power then went on the defensive but Glory made them pay when their lead was restored via defender David Tarka who headed home a Despotovski corner at the far post. Substitutes Matt Horsley and Nick Mrdja gave Glory new life with Mrdja creating a couple of good chances in the last ten minutes only for his efforts to be wasted with Despotovski the main culprit. While Glory did enough to gain the three points, the overall quality of the match wasn't likely to encourage the missing fans to return to Perth Oval.
AUSTRIAN GAME SUITS SAVIC
Former State junior representative Bajo Savic is enjoying life in Austria where he's become established as a regular feature of Rapid Vienna's amateur team. Wearing the number ten shirt, the 20-year old striker has found the net seven times in twelve outings for Rapid who are currently second in the 16-team Wiener Liga. Savic started the season sensationally by netting a last minute winner in the opening round victory over ISS Landhaus, but a minor injury forced him to spend several weeks on the sidelines shortly after. September marked his to the first team and two goals in the 4-2 away win over Polizei/Feuerwehr brought Savic the best on ground award. The following month Savic found the net in the first half of the 4-2 win over SV Gersthof, and a week later he bagged a hat-trick as Rapid thrashed Ankerbrot 11-0. With the Austrian season now in its winter recess, Rapid have the enviable record of being the competition's highest scoring team and sit just a single point behind league leaders SV Donau. Savic played locally for Dianella White Eagles and, after a spell with in the youth ranks at Red Star Belgrade, joined Rapid in mid-1999.
THE GLORY AND THE POWER
Perth Glory will round out 2002 with a home clash against Parramatta Power on Sunday afternoon (5.00pm kick-off). Fresh from a successful stint with the Young Socceroos, defender David Tarka comes back into contention for Glory as does new signing Mark Byrnes. Shane Pryce, who strained the AC joint in his left shoulder in last weekend's draw with Brisbane Strikers, will be out to prove to coach Mich d'Avray that he's fit to play. Power are a team on the improve, notching up successive victories over Wollongong Wolves and Sydney United. The visitors are expected to include former Glory midfielder Brad Maloney, who was sensational in last weekend's win over Sydney United, in their starting line-up.
FATHER MY BIGGEST INFLUENCE SAYS COYNE
Up-and-coming defender Jamie Coyne says he and older brother Chris, a regular with English Second Division side Luton Town, had no greater influence on them playing the round ball game than their father, John. A former Socceroo, John played in England and Australia as well as alongside Brazilian great Pele on New York Cosmos' world tour in 1975. "We got into soccer because of him really," 21-year old Jamie said. "Not that he pushed us towards it, but there was always a soccer ball around and it's always been a big part of life for us." For as long as Coyne can remember, his father has been there to offer encouragement and point out how he can improve his game.
Now one of the youth team coaches at Perth S.C., John believes his son has "improved in leaps and bounds" during the past year, but says Jamie was too raw when he spent a season at West Ham United as a teenager. "It's dog eat dog over there and at that stage he didn't have that attitude," he told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian". "But I think he's got that now. It's only in the last 12 months that he's started believing in himself." With six appearances off the bench for Glory, Jamie is well aware that he has a lot of hard work ahead of him in order to grab a regular place in the starting team. "I feel like I've achieved something but it's only the start," he said. "I haven't even broken into the side really, so I can't say I'm a national league player yet."
PETTERSON SLOTS IN AT BOURNEMOUTH (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Australian goalkeeper Andy Petterson is expected to line up for Bournemouth today when they take on Oxford United. "Signing Andy was an opportunity to sign an experienced goalkeeper," said team manager Sean O'Driscoll on welcoming Petterson to the club. The former Brighton and Hove Albion, Charlton Atheltic and Portsmouth shot-stopper was snapped up as a free agent recently and will become the fifth goalkeeper to be used by Bournemouth in ten days. The club had Neil Moss recalled by Southampton, deputy Gareth Stewart broke his leg in mid-week, third choice Chris Tardif suffered concussion against Hull City on Saturday and Marcus Browning took over.
TARKA HELPS UNDER-20'S TO FINALS BERTH
The Young Socceroos' have booked their place at next years' World Youth Championships after defeating Fiji in the Oceania play-off, and Perth-born defender David Tarka was there in the middle of the action for the Australian team. In last weekend's home leg, the former Cockburn City player scored with a close-range header after 25 minutes as the national Under-20 side romped home 11-0, the other goals coming from Michael Baird (4), Alex Brosque (2), Dustin Wells, Scott McDonald, Vince Lia, Franco Parisi. And on Monday afternoon Tarka saw out the full 90 minutes of the away leg clash in which Australia cruised to a 4-0 win courtesy of goals from MacDonald (2), Parisi and Matthew McKay. Following the 15-0 aggregate win, coach Ange Postecoglou heaped praise on his team. "We are producing fantastic young players who deserve an opportunity to be on the world stage. But, because of the lack of television coverage, people aren't seeing Alex Brosque or Matty McKay or David Tarka or any of these kind of players on a regular basis," Postecoglou said. "They're hidden secrets at the moment, but I firmly believe they're as good as any we've produced."
EXCITING TIMES FOR SOCCER
Last week's decision by F.I.F.A. to provided the Oceania region with direct qualification for the 2006 World Cup Finals will have a positive effect on the number of juniors playing the local game. West Australian soccer already experiences an average growth rate of 7% amongst boys, while for the girls that jumps to 10% - and both figures should go even higher in the countdown to the 2006 tournament. Around 18,000 players are registered with the Junior Soccer Association of W.A., and Soccer West Coasts' recent announcement of the Junior Champions League will see the fast-tracking of the state's best youngsters. S.W.C. president David Schrandt said the new juniors competition was a positive step for local soccer, and F.I.F.A.'s decision would mean there are some exciting times ahead for the game Australia-wide.
POSITIVES FROM ELEVEN TEAM TOP FLIGHT (by Bill McAllister, reproduced with permission from the unofficial Bassendean Caledonian website)
The latest from Soccer West Coast nearly had me complaining! An eleven-team Premier League for next season and only 20 games (or would that be 30)? But on reflection I thought, 'Well two weeks holidays during winter wouldn't be so bad'. Then, looking for more positives, I came to the conclusion that this should bring many benefits to all clubs in the top flight when I read no club would be relegated at the end of the 2003 season. This will give some clubs the chance to weed out many of their older players who were used to stave off relegation, while at the same time providing the opportunity to experiment with youth for a whole season. This can only benefit all clubs and the game as a whole. Clubs will be able to now ease the financial drain of wages by negotiating lower pay for their more mature players, especially those who will be at their career end by the finish of 2003 and surplus to requirements come 2004. It is not often that I agree with Soccer West Coast but this is a very good decision. I believe we may see some exciting new talent emerging towards the end of what should be an interesting 2003 winter season.
STRIKERS STEAL A POINT
Bobby Despotovski marked his return to Glory's starting line-up by playing a starring role in the sides tough 1-1 draw with Brisbane Strikers yesterday. The visitors from the west took the lead after 16 minutes when Damian Mori made the most of an error in midfield, then unselfishly laid the ball off for Despotovski to score his second of the season. The Strikers leveled the score against the run of play via Anthony Roche in the 63rd minute, the striker driving home after the initial shot from Fernando Rech rebounded off Glory custodian Jason Petkovic. Despotovski came close to becoming Glory's saviour six minutes later but his thundering volley was comfortably saved by Jason Kearton.
DEPARTED JOONDALUP COACH SETS RECORD STRAIGHT
One of the biggest surprises of the off-season was the sudden departure of E.C.U. Joondalup's long-serving coach Paul 'Geordie' Simmons. In recent times there have been a number of rumours and stories doing the rounds in regards to the circumstances in which Simmons, who diligently served the club for over a decade, parted company with the northern suburbs club. In an effort to set the record straight, Simmons this week discussed the sequence of events that lead to him not only being replaced as Joondalup's coach, but withdrawing his services completely from the club.
The first inkling Simmons' had that things were not all that they seemed was at a meeting of the club committee, held the week of Soccer West Coasts' Gold Medal night, when the coaching positions for 2003 were brought up. "The club president, Tom McKrisken, stated that they would like to 'keep the book open and get the best person for the job'," Simmons said. "I was gutted by this and asked what was meant by the 'best person for the job'. There was then some discussion at the end of which I walked out of the meeting. Later that night I received a telephone call from Tom who said the club had decided to advertise the senior coaching position. My response was to make it clear that I had absolutely no intention of applying as I believed I deserved the position due to the successful season we had just had."
"Following a special club meeting at which it was decided to advertise the coaching position, one of the committee members resigned in protest," Simmons continued. "At Joondalup's annual general meeting almost all of the first team squad turned up to direct several questions at the committee in regards to who the coach would be. It was at this meeting that Tom McKrisken stepped down as president and Steve Wheatley took over. The only statement made in regards to the coach's position was that next season an emphasis would be put on development and survival in the Premier League - in my opinion, that's a pretty poor statement considering the season we had just come off."
"At the meeting after the annual general meeting I asked the committee to explain why they were unhappy with last season's performance. The general consensus was that we were unsuccessful, lacked discipline and that not many of our under-21 players had broken into the first team. I pointed out to the committee that - having won the B.G.C. Cup, the Boral Cup, the Under-21's league and the Under-18's play-off series - every club in the competition, with the exception of Perth S.C., would gladly swap places with us. 2002 was, without a shadow of a doubt, the most successful season in the club's history."
"I regards to the under-21 players, the reason few of them progressed to the first team was that they simply weren't good enough. That's not to say they're not a good group of players, far from it as they were the best in the league and proved it by winning the home-and-away competition. After further discussion the topic of youth development came up again to which I handed them a list of sixteen players - two were fourteen, three were fifteen, the large majority sixteen and the rest eighteen - all of whom had seen action for the first team last season. I couldn't, and still can't, understand where their logic is."
"After discussion with my family and friends I decided to leave Joondalup completely - it was the only option available that would leave me with my achievements, record, pride and dignity in tact. I still can not to this day believe that people who I believed were friends conducted themselves in the manner in which they did. That said, I have accepted the end result and will get on with my life. Since I took that decision I've been inundated with support from past and present players and committee members along with soccer loving people from other clubs. These people have shown me the utmost of respect and acknowledged my achievements - more than the club has done - and I thank each and every one of them for doing so. I would also like to say a big thank you to Garry Murray who has been my faithful offsider for over five years, he's shown the loyalty and friendship that is certainly lacking in some areas."
"To say I was upset with the handling of this would be an understatement," Simmons added. "I had twelve years at Joondalup with a 67% win record - no other club comes anywhere near that. The season before last was my tenth as coach and there was never any suggestion of a testimonial or any other recognition from the club. It hurt that all my efforts and commitment weren't shown some sort of recognition. What lies ahead? I want to be involved in coaching still as the buzz that I start to get on Thursday nights culminating in the Saturday game is stronger than ever. If the right opportunity comes along I will take it and make that club buzz with the same excitement I feel."
ELEVEN TEAM PREMIER LEAGUE
Soccer West Coast have opted to go with an eleven team Premier League next season after the withdrawal of Future Glory recently. Paul Tombides, the organisations' general manager, said there would be no relegation from next season when the winner of the First Division will be promoted to make a twelve team Premier League for 2004. The decision comes despite the best efforts of Ashfield, who were relegated from the top flight last season, and First Division runners-up Armadale to stake their claim to a spot in the Premier League.
OPERATION A SUCCESS FOR ERGIC
Former Perth Glory star Ivan Ergic has had a successful operation in Munich to rectify an on-going groin injury according to online newspaper "Basler Zeitung". The 21-year old midfielder, who has dual Australian-Yugoslav citizen, hopes to return to the training track for F.C. Basel on 8th January as the club prepare for the second stage of the Swiss season.
There have a number of movements within the local soccer community since the 2002 season officially came to an end nearly two months ago. The biggest players in the transfer market appear to be Inglewood United who have snapped up Shaun Kilkelly (Future Glory), Jamie Kuzmanovich (E.C.U. Joondalup), Ryan Newhill and Kosta Kalavroutziotis (Floreat Athena). It is believed the club also have their sights set on State player Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn City). Perhaps the most surprising move so far this summer is that of State striker Andres Oliviera who looks set to leave Perth S.C. for neighbouring Athena. The inner-city club is also believed to be in the hunt for the signatures of Dale McCulloch (Joondalup) and Aaron Moschopoulos (Bassendean Caledonian).
For the second consecutive season Sorrento have lost a bunch of players in Michael Ord (Sengkang Marine, Singapore), Kevin Murphy (Sheffield United, England), Lee Burns (East Thurrock United, England) and Stuart Banks (interstate). On the upside the Seagulls are have secured the services of defender Richard Watson from northern suburbs rival Joondalup, and are hotly tipped to also sign teammate Andy Mason. With a new coach at the helm, Joondalup are believed to be after Athena's defensive pairing of Adrian Sutton and Anthony Jones. Caledonian are understood to be close to signing no-nonsense midfielder Kevin Griffiths. Swan I.C. are also looking at strengthening their playing stocks but the only confirmed move from their camp is the retirement of long-serving defender and one-time Australian Schoolboys international Darren Freeman.
SET-BACK FOR FORMER SEAGULL MORGAN
Having spent close to a month training with the reserves team at Leyton Orient, the hopes of former Sorrento player James Morgan to continue his career in England have been dealt a cruel blow. "It was going well, I had been training with the Under-19 and reserve teams but found out last week I have no clearance to play in a full reserves game and am four months too old to play for the Under-19's." The midfielder is now considering his playing options, hinting at a possible return to Sorrento while not ruling out another spell with Singaporean club Sengkang Marine for whom he played last season.
HAMMERS BOSS GLAD TO HAVE GARCIA
Speaking with "Golden Goal" magazine, West Ham United boss Glenn Roeder is promising big things from Perth-born attcker Richard Garcia. "He's someone that I'm comfortable putting on the substitutes bench, I'm happy putting him on and happy for him to start a few games," the Hammers boss told Frank Paverman. "If we can do that with Richie over the next year, and he gets enough experience and improves as much as he did last year, then by the time he gets to 23 he could establish himself in the team. We have got a very small senior squad so we need players who are versatile. Richard can play central midfield, wide of midfield and as a striker. So he's a versatile young player, he's got a great attitude and we're very pleased to have him at the club."
The Hammers manager added there is something a bit extra to an Australian that makes them more likely to succeed. "It's not just Garcia's talent that he has going for him, it's his heritage," Roeder insisted. "Australians in world sport have probably the most winners per capita in the world. They produce winning sportsmen and it's worth keeping an eye on the talent that's down there." A number of years ago West Ham forged links with several Australian clubs, but in recent time they've opted to scale back that committment. "Although we're not putting money into Australia anymore, we've still got friends down there and people who will give us a call and tell us to have a look at a quality player. We're like all clubs - we'll look anywhere in the world but we're certainly not against having an Aussie at the club - they are tough boys. It must be the way they are brought up because they have got a winning attitude, and that's the sort of mentality you want at your football club."
SORRENTO RING IN THE CHANGES (by Kerry Slater)
There will be several notable absences when Sorrento's players turn out for their first pre-season training session on 2nd January. Club captain Kevin Murphy has re-located to England where he's signed professional papers with Sheffield United. State player Stuart Banks has moved to Sydney due to work commitments, while fellow defender Michael Ord has linked up with Sengkang Marine in Singapore. Midfielder Lee Burns, who last season took out the clubs' Best and Fairest award, has returned to England where he'll play for non-League outfit East Thurrock United. These departures open the door for a crop of youngsters who broke into the senior ranks in 2002, amongst them Gareth Phillips, Shaun Mooney, Farrell Hedges and Mark Walsh.
Continuing their commitment to youth development, former West Ham United midfielder Peter Butler will took after Sorrento's academy teams that cater for players aged 11 through to 15. Since joining Sorrento several years ago, Butler's experience, knowledge and commitment have taken the Sorrento junior and youth teams to a new level. The individual progress of players last season was extraordinary, and Butler's presence has given the overall operation of the club a huge boost. Trials for the Sorrento academy teams commence on 6th January with interested players asked to contact Jasmine Albon on 9403 3243.
ASHFIELD AND FORRESTFIELD JOIN FORCES
Ashfield have signed an agreement with the Forrestfield United Soccer Academy that will see the junior club field teams in the Junior Champions League that is being planned for next year. The deal was agreed upon by the two clubs last week and ratified at a Soccer West Coast meeting on Wednesday. With five teams - Under-11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 - playing under the Ashfield banner, Forrestfield held their first trial session for players this evening. A second session has been scheduled for next Monday night, 23rd December, at Hartfield Park in Forrestfield starting at 6.00pm. Further details can be obtained by contacting Phil Barker (9359 1524 or 0419 043 758) or Karen Rae (9359 0657).
J.S.A. HONOUR JUNIORS
The Junior Soccer Association of W.A. recently honoured those players that turned out for the State Under-15 and Under-16 teams. Amongst the invited guests to the dinner ceremony held in Fremantle were the National Soccer League's all-time leading goalscorer Damien Mori, former Australian national coach Frank Arok as well as numerous other soccer identities from the past and present. A celebration of West Australia's participation in the National Talent Identification Championship in mid-year, highly rated E.C.U. Joondalup youngster John Higgins was named as the Under-16 Player of the Tour while the Under-15 award went to Sorrento's Andrew Brand.
MORI THE HAT-TRICK HERO (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory's National Soccer League title challenge remains on track following a 3-0 win over Marconi Stallions at Perth Oval. Three quality goals and some brilliant goalkeeping by Jason Petkovic lit up what otherwise was a drab, lacklustre game. For much of the first half neither side could score. Marconi had the best chance when Grant Last was through in front of goal but Petkovic raced out to block the shot. A game that cried out for a goal finally received one after 41 minutes as Damian Mori, aided by diagonal run by Nick Mrdja, cut in from the left, raced through the gap that had been left and hammered the ball into the bottom far corner. One-nil up, Glory soon added a second as an in-swinging Scott Miller corner was headed in by an unmarked Mori as Mrdja again took defenders with him in his move to the near post.
Glory looked to have scored a third just after the interval but Mori was adjudged to have been off-side. Marconi had the chance to get back into the game in the 55th minute but Petkovic again saved well this time using his legs. Marconi looked the better side for much of the second half but their failure to score showed why they are at the foot of the league table. The arrival of Matt Horsley off the bench sparked new life into Glory, and his speedy run down the right and low shot appeared to be taken over the line by a defender but Mori was on hand to head into the back of the net to complete his hat-trick. Michael Turnbull in the Marconi goal twice saved well from Mori but any further goals would have flattered Glory.
LOAN DEAL FOR 'BORO 'KEEPER JONES
Australian Under-20 international Brad Jones will spend the next month on loan to English Second Division club Stockport County as Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren continues to give as many of his squad as possible first team match practice. The 20-year old has found opportunities at the Riverside Stadium limited with Mark Schwarzer and Mark Crossley ahead of him in the pecking order. Should he impress the Hatters coaching staff, Jones could be offered to stay with the club for the remainder of the season. Wearing the No.38 shirt, the young goalkeeper was among the substitutes for the weekend clash with Huddersfield Town. Jones becomes the second West Australian on County's books, joining youth team player Oliver Hilton.
GLORYZONE HEADS TO JOONDALUP (reproduced with permission from the official Perth Glory matchday programme)
Joondalup youngsters aiming for success in soccer have received a major boost with the GloryZone program launching a new training satellite in the area. With the addition of the Joondalup facility, the GloryZone program now operates out of four centres within Metropolitan Perth (the others being Cockburn, Kalamunda and Subiaco), with a large training satellite also operational in Mandurah. The signs are positive for the new satellite after it's launch on Sunday 1st December when over 130 children attended the first assessment session at Bouncer Sports Centre.
At the assessment session players aged from seven to fifteen years of age were put through their paces by GloryZone coaching staff who identified individual's physiological and skill levels before giving them a sample of the type of training circuits that are utlised as part of the regular training program. "I was very pleased with the general standard of the players, and with the right attitude and application I feel confident that the GloryZone program will see them achieving very high levels in future years," said the programs technical and operations manager Paul Wozny.
The program, which is supported by Perth Glory but run independently of the club, is administered by trained junior soccer instructors and encompasses state of the art electronic and physiological testing equipment. The beauty of the GloryZone program is that it is a 100% individual development program and is aimed at junior soccer players of all levels, not just those identified as 'elite players', although they are also welcome to join the program.
The three basic requirements for GloryZone members are attitude, ability and fitness - a banner that helped foster the talents of current Glory squad members Scott Miller, Vince Matassa, and brothers Jamie and Todd Harnwell (all of whom are active coaches in the GloryZone program). It is a belief of the GloryZone program that a player with the right attitude can improve their skills and fitness rapidly under this structure.
The first terms' training starts at Bouncers on Wednesday 12th February 2003 from 4.15pm and running until 5.35pm. The program will last nine consecutive weeks and ends on 9th April. For further information on the program please contact the GloryZone on 9388 3548 (phone) or email@example.com (email).
HOWELLS BACK AFTER BREAKING LEG
Lee Howells made his return to the playing arena in mid-week as Cheltenham Town's reserves thumped Reading 4-0. The long serving Robins' midfielder appeared for the final 25 minutes of the Avon Insurance Combination clash having watched form the sidelines for the past nine months with a badly broken leg. Although he played well, Cheltenham manager Graham Allner pointed out that Howell's is still some way off a return to first team action. "We've got to take it steadily with Lee and he is still under the guidance of our physio Ian Weston," said Allner. "We cannot expect him to be back to first team level within two or three weeks after nine months out. We will give him a little bit more in each reserve game and I don't think anyone should get carried away because he had 20 minutes in the reserves. He did well and has broken down that first barrier but there is a lot of work still ahead of him." Howells is expected to feature again in the up-coming reserves meeting with Cambridge United before the Avon Insurance Combination going into a winter recess.
APOLOGY TO MR AFKOS AND MR NOGAROTTO
The Western Australian Soccer Website would like to make a full and unreserved apology to Mr Paul Afkos and Mr Remo Nogarotto over the appearance of an article on this website on Friday. Comments attributed to Mr Afkos in the article were sourced from a third party who has since advised that the information provided was incorrect and was in fact a total fabrication. As author of the piece I, Brett Klucznik, acknowledge that the article was not comprehensively reference checked. I personally offer my sincerest apologies to both Mr Afkos and Mr Nogarotto over the inaccurate reportage, and for any distress which this unfortunate incident may have caused.
GLORY TIPPED TO TAME STALLIONS
History will be against Marconi Stallions when they take on Perth Glory at Perth Oval this Sunday afternoon (5.00pm kick-off). In the fifteen meetings between the two clubs, Glory have emerged triumphant on eight occasions to Marconi's two with the remaining five games ending with honours shared. Fresh from a 4-1 win over Melbourne Knights, Glory's stocks have been boosted by the return from injury of Jamie Harnwell, while Bobby Despotovski and Matt Horsley are both pushing to regain their places in the starting line-up. The match will mark the 100th time Brazilian import Edgar has pulled on Glory colours, and the only notable absence is David Tarka who's currently overseas with the national Under-20 side. Currently sitting in 12th place, the Stallions have started the season in less than impressive fashion. With just a single win from seven regular season visits to Perth Oval, Marconi will have their backs to the wall with Domonic Longo (suspended), Kevo Gulesserian (knee injury) and Alex Brosque (international duty) all expected to be missing on the weekend.
'BORO'S JONES AIMS FOR FIRST TEAM SPOT
The career of former Bayswater City youth goalkeeper is back on track after making a full recovery from some early season injuries which threatened to stall his career. The 20-year old has his sights on challenging Socceroo custodian Mark Schwarzer and Welsh international Mark Crossley for a spot in the Boro first team. "It's great experience for me to be part of the squad," he told the 'Boro website this week. "The two of them (Schwarzer and Crossley) are good for me to look up to and see how far I can progress to become what they are. I'll be honest, at the moment I'm not quite there. But hopefully within the near future I'll reach their level," he added.
During the week Jones was between the posts for the Middlesbrough reserves when they drew nil-all with West Bromwich Albion in which he was forced to make only a single save. "It's always nice to be able to have a save," he commented. "Unfortunately in the first half I didn't have one to make and I was freezing so it was nice to make one in the second half and feel I'd contributed to the team. Concentration is one of the hardest things for a keeper and normally the best keepers are the ones who keep concentrating for the full game."
DIFFICULT DECISION FOR S.W.C.
There have been several recent meetings of the new Soccer West Coast board with the main areas of discussion being season 2003. In light of the recent withdrawal of Future Glory from the Premier League, one of the hot potatoes is who will be the twelfth club in next year's top flight with two clubs - Ashfield and Armadale - laying claim to the single spot. Ashfield ended the 2002 Premier League season in last place but are arguing that they should avoid relegation in the same way that Swan I.C. survived the drop in 2001. Armadale's case revolves around the fact that they finished as runners-up to Stirling Lions in the First Division last season. It awaits to be seen which way the S.W.C. board will go.
NEW PRESIDENT FOR S.A.W.A
Soccer West Coast official David Schrandt became the third president of the Soccer Association of Western Australia in little over 12 months when he was voted in at Wednesday night's board meeting. Schrandt takes over from Louis Prospero who, in his twelves months at the helm, set in motion the re-structure of the local game that is currently being undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Sport and recreation. Also on the S.A.W.A. board are R. Mackay (secretary), Steve Coppack (treasurer), Dave Collier, Marin Vlasich, Peter Koulizos and Jeanette Spencer.
KNIGHTS SEEK JUNIORS APPOINTMENT
Western Knights are seeking to appoint a suitably qualified junior development officer/coach for the 2003 league season. The successful applicant will implement and monitor a development programme for the clubs junior teams. Interested parties are invited to submit their CV to the Junior Administrator, 21 Millington Street, Ardross WA 6153, or faxed to 9316 9912. Applications for the position must be received by 20th December.
JOONDALUP NAME NEW COACH
E.C.U. Joondalup have appointed Stuart Kamasz as senior coach for the 2003 winter season. One of the state's most experienced coaches with championship success at Stirling Lions and Fremantle City, Kamasz can't wait to get started. "I'm looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to see some of the youngsters that the club has been developing," he said this week. Former Rockingham City goalkeeper Adrian Rawlings, who spent the past two years as coach of Rockingham, will be Kamasz' assistant at Joondalup.
HARNWELL BACK IN CONTENTION
After over a month on the sidelines due to a groin problem, Jamie Harnwell is ready to take his place in the Glory line-up for Sunday's clash with Marconi Stallions at Perth Oval. Harnwell's last outing was in October's 2-0 win over Sydney United, and the big defender has been happy with his rehabilitation. "The muscle got a bit stiff and sore towards the end of last week but it felt better over the weekend and feels fine now," he said. Coach Mich d'Avray said a solid week on the training track has brought Harnwell into the equation. "I will be looking to bring Jamie back in at the weekend, providing his injury stands up to training," said the Glory coach. "If he's fit, Jamie should always be part of the squad. This is his second week in full training and he did a bit of work with the physio before so he's ready to come back."
KILKELLY RELEASED BY GLORY
Former State youth team captain Shaun Kilkelly will not be retained by Perth Glory at the completion of his three-month contract that expires on Friday. Widely regarded as one of the best young talents the state has produced in recent times, Kilkelly enjoyed a superb 2002 winter in which he turned out for Future Glory and was part of the State Under-19 side which travelled to France mid-year. With Glory keen will sign Olympic Sharks defender Mark Byrnes at the end of the month, Kilkelly has been told his contract will not be renewed.
TRIAL FOR MANDURAH JUNIORS
A joint venture between Mandurah City and the Peel Junior Soccer Association will give young players from the area the opportunity to strut their stuff in the Junior Champions League. The new juniors competition, an initiative of Soccer West Coast, will be played on Sunday mornings from next year with teams competing in the Under-11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 age groups. Trials for players aged 9 through to 15 start this Thursday for Mandurah's youth teams at Bortolo Park, Murdoch Drive, Mandurah, from 4.00pm. There will be a second trial session next week, 19th December, at the same venue that will also include try-outs for next year's Under-16 side. Players interested in trying out for Mandurah but who are unable to attend either session are asked to contact Tom Duxbury (ph. 9531 3137) or Jason Pratton (ph. 9586 9674). With the Junior Champions League in mind, the P.S.S.A. in conjunction with Mandurah City will be restructuring their coaching set-up to help meet the needs of the players, teams and coaches. It is hoped the new competition will help produce higher calibre players as Mandurah strive for a place in the West Australian Premier League.
OFF-SEASON OPERATION FOR ERGIC
21-year old Ivan Ergic looks likely to undergo the surgeon's knife at the completion of the Swiss season for a troublesome groin. Last week F.C. Basel finished the domestic season in second place, but with the top eight play-off series on the horizon and Basel involved in the Champions League, there's still a few more games to be played before Ergic can seek treatment. "I can't say I'm quite 100 per cent but I'm doing everything so I can play," he said to Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" this week. "I've had problems with my groin for a long time and I'll probably wait until the winter break, then have an operation."
There was some speculation prior to the current season that Ergic would join Juventus, from whom the midfielder is on loan to Basel. But, with prospect of Champions League involvement, the former Perth Glory player wanted to stay in Switzerland. The move has certainly paid off with Ergic a key part of the Basel line-up that became the first Swiss club to progress to the final 16 of the Champions League. "It's been great," Ergic said. "Nobody really expected that we would get this far. It's been a big success, not just for Basel but for Swiss football. And for me personally to play in the Champions League - it's unbelievable."
RESERVE COACH SOUGHT BY WINDMILLS
Morley Windmills, one of the State League's founding clubs, are on the look out for a coach to look after their reserve team in season 2003. With pre-season training commencing on 16th January of next year, interested parties are requested to contact John Castrilli on 0413 765 602 or the clubhouse after 4.00pm on 9272 1109. Formed in 1950 and members of the inaugural State League season a decade later, Windmills have won numerous trophies in their long and proud history including two Premier League championships and two D'Orsogna Cup successes.
AUSTRALIA MAKE UNDER-20'S FINAL
Perth Glory defender David Tarka has played his part in Australia emerging victorious from Group A of the Oceania Football Confederation's Under-20 Qualifying Tournament in Vanuatu this week. Last Sunday the Young Socceroos' vice-captain played a full game when they accounted for Vanuatu 2-0 courtesy of first half goals from Scott MacDonald and Carl Valeri. With the tournament being played in very hot conditions, Tarka came off for a well-earned rest at half-time as Australia swept aside Papua New Guinea 6-0 to finish the group stage undefeated. The Young Socceroos will meet the winner of Group B in a two-legged home-and-away series on 19th and 22nd December to decide the region's representative at the 2003 World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirites.
SINGAPORE SNARES SORRENTO DEFENDER
West Australian soccer's ties with Singapore have lead to the signing of 21-year old Sorrento player Michael Ord with Sengkang Marine. The central defender, who started out with Olympic Kingsway, will join former Seagulls teammate Danny Hill and coach Trevor Morgan at the club, the pair having both agreed terms for another year with the S-League club.
S.W.C. PRESS AHEAD WITH NEW JUNIORS COMPETITION
Although they are yet to receive the thumbs up from the Junior Soccer Association of W.A., Soccer West Coast are pushing ahead with plans for the Junior Champions League to commence next season. "The new competition is going ahead, hopefully with J.S.A approval and assistance," said S.W.C. president David Schrandt. "We have been preparing this competition for about 18 months and we can't wait any longer - the hard decision had to be made and it has been made."
PERTH GIRLS HAVE REASONS TO SMILE
The 2003 Womens' National Soccer League season is over with West Australia's two representatives, Kal Tarp and Lisa DeVanna, having plenty to be proud of. An ever-present for reigning champions Canberra Eclipse, who ended the season in third place, Tarp finished as the teams leading goalscorer, and third overall, courtesy of a four goal summer. The top goalscorer after ten rounds was none other that DeVanna who found the net nine times for Adelaide Sensation as they claimed fourth spot in the final standings.
Tarp started the second half of the season by scoring Eclipse's opening goal in their 2-0 Round 7 win over Northern New South Wales Pride. From the top of the 18-yard box, the midfielder hit a stunning drive to set her side down the road to victory after 57 minutes. The following week Tarp provided the pass for Australian international Amy Taylor to score the only goal of the game against Victoria Vision, the win keeping alive Eclipse's hopes of making the season finale. But a week later those dreams were shattered by Queensland Sting who came away with maximum points courtesy of a 2-1 win, Tarp seeing out the full 90 minutes for Eclipse. The final game of the season again saw Tarp score her teams account, this time finding the net shortly before the interval in the 2-0 home win over Adelaide Sensation.
Sensation started the final stage of their home-and-away campaign with a 0-4 thrashing at the hands of Victoria Vision, the usually lethal DeVanna kept completely out of the match by a well-organised defence. A week later DeVanna was the star performer in Sensation's dramatic 3-3 draw with New South Wales Sapphires. The former State youth team striker bagged Sensation's opener after making her way past two defenders before finding the target, she then set-up 14-year old Vicki Balomenos for the teams second goal and in the 88th minute went through with only the goalkeeper to beat to level the scores. DeVanna continued that form into Round 9, her ninth goal of the season arriving in the 87th minute to level the game with Northern New South Wales Pride at 2-2. The season ended with DeVanna replaced five minutes from full-time in the 0-2 loss at Adelaide Sensation.
MRDJA INSPIRES AWAY WIN (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Stand-in striker Nick Mrdja inspired Perth Glory to one of their best performances of the season in their 4-1 victory at Melbourne Knights last night. Mrdja scored the opener and had a hand in two other Glory goals as Bobby Despotovski's replacement tormented the Knights defence. Mrdja was only called on by coach Mich d'Avray after Despotovski chose to miss the game amid fears for his security. But his five-star display now gives d'Avray a selection headache with Despotovski waiting to welcome his teammates back in Perth. "It gives me an option but Bobby is a quality player and a consummate professional - he did well for us last season and he will be back," said d'Avray.
WIN SEALED IN FIRST HALF
Strike-partners Nick Mrdja and Damian Mori have torn apart the Melbourne Knights defence as Glory collected three well-deserved points courtesy of a 4-1 away win on Sunday evening. But it was Knights who found the net first, Anthony Pelikan converting from the penalty spot after 17 minutes. In a free-flowing opening to the match, both sides had opportunities to score before the visitors equalised in the 27th minute through Mrdja who made a jinking run past the defence before hitting the target. Six minutes later Mrdja laid the ball off to Mori to fire in the go-ahead goal. It became 3-1 on the stroke of half-time when Mori back-heeled the ball to Brad Hassell who then combined with Mrdja before curling a lovely shot into the top corner of the goal.
Three minutes into the new half Jason Petkovic made a top-notch diving save to deny Solomon Islands international Henry Fa'arodo. The Glory custodian again came his sides rescue on the hour, this time producing a stunning save to keep out Pelikan's spot-kick. And when Gustavo Bizcayzacu hit the up-right with a free-kick in the 77th minute it was very clear it wasn't going to be the Knights' night. A minute later Mori put the result beyond doubt, latching on to a long pass and out pacing two defenders before tucking the ball home to add insult to injury of the Knights' first home defeat of the 2002/03 campaign.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA BOARD WILL STEP DOWN SAYS NEW CHAIRMAN
Shortly after being elected the new chairman of Soccer Australia, Remo Nogarotto has promised the Australian soccer community that his board will stand down if the government inquiry into the sport calls for such action - as long as the move was supported by the game's stakeholders. "We are prepared to work with the sports commission ... work through the set of recommendations then put those recommendations to the stakeholders," Nogarotto said. "If the stakeholders deem it appropriate that the board be collapsed and a fresh apparatus be put in place than that's what will be done." The Australian Sports Commission, effectively Soccer Australia's only remaining sponsor, will hand down its findings in the second quarter of 2003.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS GOOD FOR LOCAL GAME
The appointment of two high-profile people to the Soccer West Coast board will provide the local game with a big boost according to the organisation's president David Schrandt. Labor M.L.A. John Quigley and former Channel 9 news reader Russell Goodrick were recently voted on to the board, along with the Perth businessman Denis McInerney who was reappointment for a two year term. Schrandt said the newcomers were a vital addition to the board during an important time. "It's probably the most vibrant board we've had," he said. The board is likely to be presented with significant challenges as local stakeholders consider a proposed restructure of the game's administration. Quigley said he was anxious to see the game reach a sound administrative footing, and was delighted to have been asked to join the board. "Whatever advocacy skills I have to speak on behalf of Soccer West Coast, I fully intend to use to make sure the league is enhanced and strengthened," he said.
POSITIVE STEPS MADE BY PROSPERO
The past twelve months has seen the groundwork laid for major change on the West Australian soccer scene. And it's by no accident that the positive developments of this period has coincided with the Louis Prospero's term as President of the Soccer Association of Western Australia. Next Wednesday will see the S.A.W.A. presidency come up for re-election, and Prospero has again thrown his hat into the ring so he can finish the work he start in his first year in the job.
"The local soccer community voted me in as president to re-unite the game," Prospero said this week. "The sport in W.A. had been factionalise for years with the Junior Soccer Association, School Sports and Perth Glory at odds with S.A.W.A. For me, the greatest achievement was being able to reunite the code within two months of becoming president."
Prospero has also played a key role in the proposed re-structure of the local game. "With the assistance of the Department of Sport and Recreation we were able to consult all stakeholders through a State Planning Forum which resulted in a new, workable structure being presented to the code last month. The majority of the stakeholders have accepted the Stage One of the proposed structure that will effectively dissolve S.A.W.A. In it's place will be an independent commission which will run the code, the seven members of which are to be appointed by the Minister of Sport and Recreation himself."
"I believe the new structure is fair and equitable - everyone within the game will get a say on how they wish to see he code advance," Prospero added. "We are confident that the profile of the code will increase once the game the seven independent commissioners are appointed and the administration of the code is controlled by them. In addition, a high profile chief executive officer is being sought to lead the body, and his appointment will attract several high profile sponsors to the local game, sponsors who have been waiting patiently for the code to be put in order."
Other than unification and restructure, Prospero said there have been plenty of other positive steps made during his presidency. "The current S.A.W.A. Board has been progressive in that it is looking at employing a full-time director of coaching, and initiated the Soccer Planning Forum with the State Government's assistance. We are encouraging progressive tours to this state, as well as promoting teams from here to tour overseas and interstate. The Board resurrected the Hall of Fame and I am proud to have been chairman of the committee which honoured those who had made a significant contribution to the code either as a player, referee, coach, official or administrator."
With his position up for re-election, Prospero said he would be honoured to the lead the sport until the new commission is put in place by the State Government. "I believe the new commission will prove to the wider community that soccer has finally gotten the stability it needs. I will continue to - at all times - put the good of the game ahead of personal or political argument or gain. I have at all times had an independent voice for all stakeholders in the game, be they supporters, players, administrators or officials. And I will continue to implement positive changes in a consultative and representative way."
TARKA DELIGHTED (reproduced with permission from www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory are delighted that David Tarka has been named vice-captain for the Young Socceroos as they embark on their World Youth Championship qualifying campaign. "David is an excellent young player and has great leadership potential," said coach Mich d'Avray today. "He is a Western Australian and everyone who has played a part in his development over the yearsshares in his success. David is a fine example of what Australian soccer can achieve when it comes to developing players not just in terms of on-field performance but in attitude and character."
Perth Glory's Bobby Despotovski has made the short-list for the "West Australian"/ANZ Sports Star of the Year award. The striker, who started out locally with Floreat Athena, ended the 2001/02 national Soccer League by being named his clubs' Most Glorious Player for the second successive year. Over the winter he made his international debut for Australia, playing with distinction in the Oceania Nations Cup tournament in New Zealand where he scored five times in four outings. With 30 local sportsmen and women short-listed for the award, a committe will reduce the nominees to 12 prior to Wednesday's presentation ceremony at the Hyatt Regency.
AFKOS' ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONED
It's looking likely former Northern Spirit official Remo Nogarotto will have a clear run to become chairman of Soccer Australia at tomorrow's meeting. The news comes in light of questions over the eligibility of West Australian Paul Afkos to stand under the articles of association because he is an independent member of the organisations' board. Legal advice might be needed to sort out the problem amid counter claims Afkos should be allowed to stand because, in a break with convention, he was elected to the position at Soccer Australia's annual general meeting on 26th October. Should Afkos be forced out of the race, the way will be cleared for Nogarotto to replace former chairman Ian Knop, who resigned last week.
REGISTRATION DAYS FOR BAYSWATER JUNIORS
First Division outfit Bayswater City are holding registration days on Sunday's 8th and 15th December for their junior teams. Formalities will take place at the clubs home ground, Frank Drago Reserve in Bayswater, between 9.00am and 12.00noon for all age groups ranging from Under-7's through to Under-15's. Existing and new players are invited to register and bring with them two passport sized photographs. Further enquiries can be directed to Charlie Licata on 9316 8060.
SIGNS POSITIVE FOR RESTRUCTURE
Several weeks ago the Department of Sport and Recreation called together the local games' stakeholders to present a proposed restructure of soccer in Western Australia. The culmination of a series of forums held over the winter months, the model presented is aimed at determining the future direction and unification of soccer in this state to enable it to move forward. Some of the expressed goals of the proposal were the implementation of a coordinated organisational structure with effective leadership and representation, the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for soccer in W.A., an independent body to manage the local game, and the provision of government funding for the sport.
"The proposals were well received by all and in fact all of those I spoke with said it was about time that this has come about," said Lou Propsero, president of the Soccer Association of W.A. "I believe that the proposed structure for the code is workable and equitable. It is also the first time that the code has called for representation from all sectors of the community including players, coaches, referees, schools, regional representatives and the media. It will give everyone a say on the future running of the sport."
"The State Planning forum members have been working in a positive, cohesive and constructive manner for the progression of the game, and I am proud to have been part of the forum process. It's pleasing to know that the soccer community want the code to become a force in W.A. sport," Prospero added. News of the local games' reform has spread to the extend that Prospero has been contacted by other State Federations requesting information on the re-structure. A summary of the proposal restructure can be found here . The full presentation can currently be located in the soccer Forum section of the Department of Sport and Recreation website.
MURPHY JOINS BROTHER AT SHEFFIELD UNITED
There was much cause for celebration up Sorrento way last week following the signing of club captain Kevin Murphy by Sheffield United, who are also home to his older brother Shaun. While the 22-year old's contract runs only until the end of the current English season, it is just reward for Murphy who linked up with the Blades in August and has been a regular fixture of the clubs strong second string team over the past few months. The deal was sealed just two days after the defender scored with a back post header to put the reserves 2-1 up against Wolverhampton Wanderers who rallied late to draw the match. Murphy joined Sorrento at the age of six and progressed up through the Seagulls ranks, culminating his him being named club captain for the 2002 Premier League season.
PATERSON RUBS SHOULDERS WITH CHELSEA GREATS
Having spent the winter playing for Future Glory and in the Perth S.C. Junior Academy, 15-year old Scott Paterson is currently trying his luck in the United Kingdom. The teenager started out with English glamour club Chelsea where, having made a mark on the coaching staff, he spent close to five weeks training with the reserve and Under-19 side. While at Stamford Bridge he featured in several practice matches against the senior squad, Paterson coming up against the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Emmanuel Petit, Marcel Desailly and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Following this Paterson trialled with Londoners Charlton Athletic and he is at the present time training with top flight Scottish club Dundee. Paterson expects to return to Perth early in the new year when he will commence the search for a club for the 2003 local season.
LOCAL LEGENDS HONOURED
In front of close to 300 guests at the Parmelia Hilton on Saturday night, the local soccer community welcomed twenty five individuals into West Australian soccer's Hall of Fame. Eleven players were added to the Hall of Champions, amongst them one-time Australian internationals Robbie Dunn, Arno Bertogna and Sauro Iozzelli. 1966 and 1967 Player of the Year Mike Ireson, Denis Barstow, who made 34 appearances for the State, and former Poland internationals and star players for Cracovia during the 1960's Zygmunt Pieda and Paul Sobek were also amongst those inducted. Royston Macaulay Evans, Peter Mitchell and Tony Witschge and goalkeeping great Saverio Madaschi were the other new additions tot he playing side of the Hall of Fame.
Morley Windmills founding member Henk Beumer, Domenic Italiano, who has committed 40 years to the growth and development of the game in the south-west, and long-serving Queens Park president David Woodfin were amongst those welcomed into the Hall of Recognition. Early soccer personality Aleck Peters, who is often referred to as the father of soccer in Western Australia, long-serving Inglewood United club official Zyggie Kramer, and East Fremantle Tricolore Life Member Lou Ricci were also acknowledged for their services to the game. Others recognised in a non-playing capacity were Dick Fearon, Doug Grant, Ted Gray, Frank Miller, Sam Sciutto, Ron Tindall, John Van Hoek and Bob Watson.
GAME URGED TO SECURE BRIGHTER FUTURE
Sport and Recreation Minister Alan Carpenter has urged the state's soccer community to look at the big picture as they discuss a proposed new structure for the sport in Western Australia. A proposed new management structure is in the process of being presented to local stakeholders, as well being discussed at forums in Bunbury, Albany, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie. The past seven months has seen the Department of Sport and Recreation work in conjunction with representatives from all sectors of the soccer community to map out a plan for the future of the game.
"The number of people playing soccer is increasing significantly but soccer is being held back by the lack of co-ordination between its governing bodies," said Carpenter. "I don't want to tell the soccer community how I think they should structure themselves for the future, but I do want them to understand that I do want soccer to grow in this State. What we want is a focus on the big picture - to ensure kids get the chance to play soccer at all levels in this State, from local to elite, and that the administrative body is there to support those goals."
The Minister said he was encouraged that the proposed management structure had been developed by those involved in soccer in this state. The proposed restructure would be in two stages. The first would see the Soccer Administration of W.A. replaced by an independent commission, with a chief executive officer and support staff working closely with the existing associations to unify the management and development of the sport at all levels. The second phase would result in a merging of all associations into the commission with all clubs and regional associations affiliating directly to it. "Given the challenges currently facing soccer on a national level, I encourage the custodians of the game here in W.A. to lead the way by developing a co-operative and workable model, from which the future of the sport can be secured," Carpenter added.
NEW S.W.C. BOARD APPOINTMENTS
Last Wednesday's Soccer West Coast meeting resulted in two new members added to the organisations' board. Russell Goodrick, president of the juniors at Inglewood United, and John Quigley were voted in as independent directors, replacing outgoing vice president Keith Jones and Andrew Carr. A third board appointment was also made on the night with Denis McInerney successful in becoming an independent director.
DELAY FOR NEW JUNIORS COMPETITION?
The kick-off date for the proposed Junior Champions League could be delayed following a decision taken at the Junior Soccer Association's annual general meeting on the weekend. Soccer West Coast had hoped the new competition would start next season, but on Sunday the J.S.A. clubs voted against rushing things and favoured a 2004 commencement. The Junior Champions League would see junior teams - from Under-11's through to Under-15's - representing all S.W.C. clubs meet in Sunday fixtures which mirror those of the senior teams'. The concept has been greeted positively by both S.W.C. and J.S.A. clubs, and is viewed as a positive step towards building stronger bonds between the two organisations.
STATE YOUTH TEAM GROUNDED
Plans for the West Australian youth team to go to Europe next year have been shelved. The State Under-19's were expected to travel to Italy for the Viareggio Carnivale early in the new year, but the trip was recently canceled due to financial reasons. And, having competed at the Tournoi de Croix for the past two years, Soccer West Coast have confirmed they will not be sending a team to next years event as an official invitation has not been received from French officials. However, there is a glimmer of hope for the state's best young players with tentative plans for a youth squad to play in Dubai and Oman during April.
JONES BECOMES NUMBER TWO
Australian Under-20 international Brad Jones has stepped up to become the second choice goalkeeper with top flight English club Middlesbrough. With Mark Crossley joining Stoke City on a month's loan late last week, Jones has moved up the pecking order behind regular custodian and fellow countryman Mark Schwarzer. Boro boss Steve McClaren's decision to allow Crossley to join the Potters shows how much confidence he has in the 20 year old shot stopper who played locally at Under-18's for Bayswater City. Following his performance between the posts for the reserves in their 2-1 come from behind defeat of Sheffield Wednesday, Jones found himself on the bench for the first team's surprise 0-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
SUPER-SUB MRDJA (by Mike Hennessey of 'Community Newspapers')
Perth Glory returned to their winning ways at Perth Oval on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Adelaide City Force. Adelaide were early into attack and were unlucky not to take the lead when a fine move opened up the Glory defence for Aurelio Vidmar to beat Jason Petkovic but his header hit the outside of the upright. Glory responded with a fine move of their own, David Tarka forcing a flying save out of young Adelaide goalkeeper David Scarsella, who was immediately in action again to tip over an in-swinging corner. Despite some good midfield play the game then fell away as neither side as able to penetrate the opposing defence. On the half-hour mark Glory finally produce a move that provided a goalscoring chance but Damian Mori, in a poor game by his standards, headed straight at the 'keeper. Adelaide then had a period in attack but they were no more successful than Glory. The home side had one last flurry just before the half-time whistle when Edgar put Gary Faria through on the left but his shot flashed just wide to keep the half scoreless.
Glory went into attack from the start of the second half. Andre Gumprecht had a shot tipped over by Scarsella who then saved well from Brad Hassell, but generally the visiting defence remained solid and in control with Bobby Despotovski, Mori and Hassell failing to impress. Carl Veart came closest to scoring when his shot crashed into the side netting with Petkovic beaten. A double Glory substitution in the 71st minute brought the desired result for the home side. A move down the left gave the lively Nick Mrdja the chance to coolly slot home home to put Glory into a 1-0 lead in teh 85th minute. Veart had the opportunity to equalise for Adelaide but with the goal opening up in front of him he shot high over the bar. The last chance of the game fell to Mori who was set-up by Mrdja but he too shot high over the bar to leave Glory with a 1-0 win and three precious points. Although not an entirely convincing performance, the result was enough to keep Glory in touch with league leaders, Olympic Sharks, while Petkovic celebrated his 250th appearance in the National Soccer League with another clean sheet.
LAZARIDIS PONDERS FUTURE
After starting the season on the bench at Birmingham City, Australian international Stan Lazaridis is back in the starting line-up and back to his brilliant best. Last week the former Floreat Athena player turned on the style against Sunderland, leading Blues manager Steve Bruce star to lavish praise on the 30-year old wingback. Lazaridis recently spoke about his return to first team football, Australia and watching television with Birmingham's official website ...
It must be a relief to be back in the first team?
Yeah, especially as the rest of the team have been doing so well, comparatively. You've just got to keep going, we've a lot of good players and it's great to be playing. The manager's always kept me involved with the first team, no matter what, so I can have no complaints there. We've had a reasonable start to the Premiership but we'll have a better indication soon.
How do you think the Premiership has changed since you played here with West Ham?
It's more difficult, certainly, even in such a short space of time. Even at West Ham we had to scrap a lot to try and get points at places like Chelsea, Manchester United. But the fact that Blues are now in that same position is testament to how far we've come. As a left winger you're sometimes singled out for special attention, being a sort of specialist position, and every game has been hard so far. But my job's to get forward and get the crosses in, and I'll carry on trying to do that.
How would you describe the football climate back home in Australia?
It's not really picked up as much as some people would've hoped, but with every Aussie playing in the Premiership there's a big new following for the English game at least. So the more Australian players that get top flight football, the better it'll be for the game at home. All of a sudden, although we're a world away, Birmingham's profile has been boosted over there. People probably knew who I was because of the national side, but perhaps not so much Birmingham City, and it's good that that's starting to change.
Where can you see the Socceroos going, after failing to qualify twice?
We've just got to keep trying. An extra World Cup Finals place for Oceania keeps being mentioned by FIFA, but then the problem is that it becomes a bit too easy, in comparison to now where it's too hard! Sending Australia out to have to play the fourth or fifth best side in South America can be a bit unfair when you've countries like Argentina or Uruguay, who have for whatever reason struggled to get through their own groups. Then getting players together constantly is hard too. We're hoping perhaps to be put into an Asian group where the standard is higher than what we're playing right now, but would give us a much more realistic chance of qualifying. We'll get there!
Do you still watch local Australian soccer leagues? Any promising youngsters you could recommend?
Yeah I keep in touch by e-mail or whatever, but most of the best players are being fed in by English clubs actually. I know Middlesbrough have taken in a couple of 17, 18-year-olds and Blues have done the same in the past. How did you get into football back home, considering it's quite far down the pecking order in comparison to Aussie Rules, cricket and rugby? I just started playing at school and I eventually got a chance. West Ham came over to Australia and it just went from there, something I'm very grateful for.
You're from a Greek background, did you ever consider playing for their national side instead?
Yeah, the opportunity did arise but I was born Australian and wanted to go with them really. I respect the heritage and that, but it'd be hard to live your life in Australia and play for another team. It happens a lot here, especially with Ireland and people tracing back roots, but it'd be very different back there to take to a country on the other side of the world.
Have you been watching much of the Ashes?
Yeah of course, haha! Some of the cricket we've been playing has been phenomenal, though England sort of made it difficult for themselves by choosing to field first. But they had a good second day, and played some pretty good stuff, but I think consistency is their biggest problem.
What can you see yourself doing after football?
I think I'd stay in football for a bit in Australia, especially locally. But I can't see myself going into management or anything like that. Do I have any secret passions to do anything? Haha, none that I'd mention over the phone! But seriously apart from that I'd quite like to perhaps go into property development, I do a bit now, but I've got a good while to think about it and I'll see what else happens.
What do you do in your spare time then?
As most footballers will tell you, football seems to occupy all of your time! It's not just turning up a couple of hours for training, sometimes it's difficult to separate yourself from it. I do watch and play cricket but my main priority away from football is just relaxing, usually in front of the TV, and getting ready for the next game.
Do you watch Neighbours?
Haha, sometimes! Although I watch anything really - you'd be surprised, though, no-one really bothers with it in Australia. It's nothing like as big as it is here. Do I often get asked about the plot? Haha, yeah I used to get that all the time, but I reckon it's probably all caught up now.
What are your personal aims this season?
Just to keep putting those balls in for people to score, working hard for the team and keeping my place. Keeping Birmingham in the Premiership is all we're all working towards and I'm looking forward to doing my bit.
TARKA PURSUES INTERNATIONAL GLORY
Perth Glory's David Tarka goes into camp with the Young Socceroo's after Sunday's clash with Adelaide City Force as the national Under-20 team prepare for the up-coming World Cup qualifiers in Vanuatu. The teenage defender, who joined the Glory last year after a successful stay at the Australian Institute of Sport, is hoping qualification for the world youth championship in the United Arab Emirates next year will provide a springboard to launch his career abroad. "Obviously this is something I've been looking forward to for a while," he said. "I'm hoping to have a solid season with Perth Glory and use the Under-20 championships, if we qualify, to help me get overseas. It's a big international stage and there'll be a lot of scouts there." Like so many other young Australian players, Tarka has his heart set on playing in one of Europe's big leagues. "Hopefully, I'll get to England," he said. "The demands of the game can take their toll, particularly for a young player striving for the top."
SECOND VERSES FOURTH AT PERTH OVAL
It's second against fourth when Perth Glory take on Adelaide City Force at Perth Oval on Sunday afternoon from 5.00pm. Since Glory's entry into the National Soccer League the two clubs have met fourteen times with Glory emerging victorious on eight occasions to the Zebra's two and four matches ending with honours even. The home side will be wanting to make amends for last weeks loss to Olympic Sharks and will look for big efforts from influential midfielder Andre Guprecht and the competition's leading scorer Damian Mori. But with the likes of Aurelio Vidmar, Carl Veart and Italian import Claudio Pelosi turning on the style, the Zebra's are certainly not a team to underestimate.
IMPRESSIVE MONTH FOR DANSKIN
Former Fremantle City midfielder Matt Danskin has been turning more than a few heads since his arrival at German club Werder Bremen in mid-September. After an intense four week training schedule, Danskin linked up with the Werder Under-19 side where he's quickly become entrenched as a regular in the starting line-up. His debut came in the 2-1 home win over Carl Zeiss Jena at the end of October, Danskin following this by being named one of his clubs' best in their narrow loss to Hamburg. And the following week the teenager created two goals in a man-of-the-match performance as Werder swept aside Union 60 5-1. On Saturday Danskin played a full game in Werder's 1-0 home win over Holstein. Danskin is being coached by former German international Dieter Eilts, who has fond memories of Australia and particular Perth after Werder's visit downunder in the early 1990's.
AFKOS IN LINE FOR SOCCER AUSTRALIA CHAIRMANSHIP
Elected to the board of Soccer Australia last month, former Perth Glory deputy chairman Paul Afkos has become one of the front runners to replace Ian Knop as chairman of the national body. The news comes less than 24-hours after the resignation of Knop, fellow board members Nick Greiner and Graeme Bowker, and chief executive officier Alan Vessey. "I accept there's substantial support there for me," Afkos told "West Australian" reporter Jonathan Cook. "It's a position I would have to consider seriously. This has happened so suddenly I have not gathered my thoughts about the position." It is believed N.S.L. commission chairman Remo Nogarotto is also tipped as Knop's possible replacement.
In a statement released by Knop, Greiner and Bowker, the trio said the majority of the board was opposed to reform, to improving Soccer Australia's constitution and also to the Crawford inquiry into the game which had been established by the Australian Sports Commission. But Afkos vehemently defended the board. "The new board is committed to reform and dispels any misinformation and innuendo that suggests otherwise," he said. "The Australian Sports Commission review is progressing well and we are looking forward to considering their recommendations with the stakeholders. The federation is strong, it has strong commitment from the stakeholders and as a team we shall go forward."
FUTURE "ON HOLD" SAYS TANA
Following the withdrawal of Future Glory from the Premier League earlier this week, Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana said he expects the club's youth team to return to the competition should proposed changes to soccer in Australia come to fruitition. Speaking with Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian", Tana said the soccer climate would improve dramatically under a proposal for a new-look National Soccer League, the restructuring of local administration and after the Australian Sports Commission completes its national inquiry into the game.
However, for the time being at least, Tana said he would concentrate on matters more pressing than the Glory youth team. "My energies are going to be better spent making sure we get the game into a position where it does have a future," he said. "One of the hardest decisions I've made was to put Future Glory on hold - and that's all we've done. We haven't terminated it. What form it takes down the track I don't know but ultimately we have to be involved." Future's withdrawal from the local competition will save the club about $250,000, although the Glory will continue to indefinitely run its program for 11 to 14-year-olds.
HOWELLS GIVEN GO-AHEAD
Cheltenham Town's Lee Howells has been given the go-ahead to resume full training. After recently consulting a specialist, the long-serving midfielder was told him that his broken leg had healed and that he could return to action with the first team squad. Howells broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg during the English Third Division fixture with his former club Bristol Rovers in March. The break was a complicated one and the 34-year old, who had signed a new two-year contract only a week before suffering the injury, suffered another setback in August when he was told that the injury was not healing properly.
But a delighted Howells is now raring to get back into action and is hoping to make an appearance for the reserves in the very near future. "I've been told I can resume full training so it is a question of getting myself fit now," Howells old the official Cheltenham website (http://www.cheltenhamtownfc.com). "I've been doing a lot of training such as bike work and swimming to build up the muscles in the leg but now it is a question of getting match fit. You only get match fit through playing matches so I hope to have a run-out with the reserves in the next few weeks. The specialist was very pleased with my progress because I am four or five weeks ahead of schedule with my rehab. I'm looking forward to playing football again and just want to get on with it now." Howells may target the up-coming home reserves clashes with Portsmouth (27th November) and Brighton and Hove Albion (4th December) for his comeback.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA ROCKED BY RESIGNATIONS
Soccer Australia has been left decimated following today's meeting of the Board of Commissioners which resulted in the resignations of Nick Greiner (president), Ian Knop (chairman), Graeme Bowker (commissioner) and Alan Vessey (chief executive officer). In a joint statement released to the nation's media, Greiner, Knop and Bowker said the decision to step down came as a result of difficulties working with the newly elected board members.
"We have attempted to work with the Board in a positive fashion and continue the reform program we have established over the past twelve months. It has become clear to us that the majority of the new Board are opposed to the reform program. Specifically, we believe that the majority of the Board are opposed to improving Soccer Australia's constitution and establishing new levels of corporate governance and professionalism for the game. This is also reflected in their opposition to the Crawford Enquiry which has been established by the Australian Sports Commission," the release read.
SHINE RETURNED TO HISTORIC TROPHY
A meeting last month of the Hall of Fame committee inspired local soccer historian Richard Kreider to revisit a dirty old trophy that had spent 18 months collecting dust in his house. A bottle of polish and numerous hours of buffing later returned the Fairest and Best award from the North Perth Soccer Club to its former glory. "I couldn't believe it," Kreider told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" this week. "I was thrilled and I was a bit annoyed at myself for not doing something earlier."
Kreider said he had not been able to value the piece, which was given to him by former State player Tom Clayton. Originally donated to the now-defunct North Perth club in 1934, Kreider believes the trophy could fetch a four-figure sum. Not that he has any intention of selling the piece. "I've had a fascination for this sort of stuff for a long time. It's almost an obsession," he said. "I'm going to put the trophy into temporary storage until a W.A. soccer museum becomes a reality."
A member of the West Australia Hall of Fame committee, Kreider has helped select the latest group of inductees who are being announced at a gale event on Saturday night. Three of the winners of North Perth's Fairest and Best award - Ron Adair, Con Purser and Don McArdle - were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the inaugural ceremony in 1996. This weekend eleven former players will be added to the Hall of Champions, while another fourteen people will be picked for the Hall of Recognition which honours officials.
MILESTONE FOR PETKOVIC
Australian international Jason Petkovic is poised to make his 250th appearance in the National Soccer League when he turns out for Perth Glory in Sunday's home clash with Adelaide City Force. Petkovic kicked-off his career in the State League with Spearwood Dalmatinac before moving up to the ranks of the N.S.L. with Adelaide City in time for the 1993/94 season. Over the next five seasons the talented shot-stopper played 155 times for the Zebra's, twice took out the N.S.L. Goalkeeper of the Year award and pulled on the green and gold of Australian close to a dozen times. Petkovic returned to Perth late in 1999 and has been Glory's No.1 since with just under 100 outings in club colours to his name.
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce has hailed the performance of Stan Lazaridis after the weekend's hard-fought 1-0 win over Sunderland. The Australia international played a leading hand in the outcome of the match and provided the pass for Clinton Morrison to knock home the late winner to leave Bruce beaming afterwards. "We've had enough of the Aussies for the last three days, but I thought Stan Lazaridis gave an unbelievable performance. It was certainly the best performance he's produced under me, and I've been here a year now ... He tackled, he headed and he competed. It was a complete performance - he was outstanding." Morrison also lavished praise on the Blues Socceroo. "Stan was awesome. When he knocks that ball past the defender and goes after it you think he's going to run out of the stand sometimes! Stan's got great energy and when he plays like that he's unstoppable. He put the ball through for my goal so I've a lot to thank him for."
A.I.S TRIALS FOR SCHOOLBOYS TRIO
Three of the states brightest young talents arrived in Canberra today to participate in two weeks of trials at the Australian Institute of Sport. The teenagers, Nick Ward (Future Glory), Allan Mattecucci (Rockingham City), and Dean Aplegren (Fremantle City) are hoping to impress head coach at the A.I.S. Steve O'Connor. While O'Connor admits to not getting to see a lot of West Australian youngsters, the state has a proud tradition of graduates which include Perth Glory players David Tarka and Anthony Danze. Ward, Mattecucci and Aplegren came to the attention of national selectors following their performances for the State team at the School Sport Australia Secondary Soccer Championships which were held in Perth during August. The trio, all students at John Curtin Senior High School, were selected to represent Australia following the tournament in a planned tour of the United Kingdom which recently fell through. The spin off from their selection is the opportunity to impress in trials over the next fotrnight.
Perth Glory have withdrawn their youth team, Future Glory, from Soccer West Coast competition citing uncertainty over the game's future on the national level and a distinct lack of support from some State League club. The decision will be a blow to the development of young players in this state, and the local game in general. Numerous players from within the Future ranks won State representative honours over the course of the 2002 season in which the first team finished the home-and-away series in seventh place and runners-up in the prestigious Boral Cup.
"Political uncertainty with Soccer Australia and the N.S.L. has created an unstable framework discouraging investment for the future," said Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis this week. "Uncertainty over the future of the N.S.L. has made it difficult for the club to secure corporate support for the program over the long-term. This decision underlines the desperate need for reform of a national competition in which all clubs are struggling financially. Unless this situation changes, the game will continue to stumble along impoverished. It will struggle financially and remain funded from the bottom up."
"We have also experienced difficulties with a lack of public endorsement of Future Glory from some Soccer West Coast clubs," Dennis added. "Perth Glory acknowledges and thanks the Soccer West Coast board for their vision and united support of Perth Glory's youth development model, but unfortunately some clubs don't share this vision and commitment for the good of the game." Glory will remain committed to the Future Glory programme for 11 to 14 year olds, which has seen over 200 Western Australian youngsters receive top class weekly skills coaching.
AROUND THE CLUBS ...
It's now close to two months since the regular season ended for the majority of the Premier League clubs, a period which has seen all club's hand out their annual end-of-season trophies. Champion of Champions Perth S.C. held their awards ceremony in conjunction with the annual Club Ball on Saturday. Senior coach Graham Normanton was recognised for his outstanding achievements by being presented with a framed playing strip signed by all those players that made the team sheet throughout what was a very long season. Creative midfielder Jamie Coyne was the recipient of the Fairest and Best award with club favourite Mark Pottier as runner-up. The Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy, which goes to the most outstanding young player, was taken out by Adam Bunce, while the Development Player of the Year was Daniel Micevski. Damien DeLaurentis went home with the reserves Fairest and Best ahead of Jason Colli and Nicolas Zumaran. In the Under-18's it was Cosimo Cavallaro that claimed the Fairest and Best trophy with Joseph Graneri as runner-up.
Down at Litis Stadium, Floreat Athena's Fairest and Best award went to State defender Adrian Sutton who won the trophy for the third consecutive year. Nuggety midfielder Jamie Trandos was the recipient of the awards for the Most Consistent Player and Players' Player of the Year, while big striker Ryan Newhill claimed the Golden Boot courtesy of 17 regular season goals. Goalkeeper Vas Vujacic was named the reserves Fairest and Best ahead of Mark Nauer with Matthew Novatsis the leading scorer. In the Under-18's the Fairest and Best went to Fillipos Pakioufakis, while Rodrigo Aguirre and Paul Vlachou ended the season with 11 goals each.
Former State midfielder Paul McVittie took home the Western Knights Fairest and Best award at their 34th annual trophy presentation night. Danish import Claus Nielson came in as runner-up to McVittie, club captain Carl Medica received the Players' Player of the Year, and highly-rated sweeper Ivan Zuvela the Most Improved. The Clubman award went to physiotherapist Sania Musulin, while Medica ended the season as the clubs highest goalscorer. The reserves Fairest and Best went to Artur Majewski ahead of Michael Vucic, with Stipan Majic the Most Improved. It was a big night for Paulo Jardin who was the proud recipient of the Under-18's Fairest and Best and Most Improved trophies. Andrew Jennings finished as runner-up in the Fairest and Best poll.
In a season which saw Bassendean Caledonian make the top five play-offs for the first time in their long history, 22-year old goalkeeper Alan Dunlop was named their Fairest and Best with Kevin Smith runner-up. Veteran defender Craig Naven completed a superb debut season for Caledonian's by claiming the Player's Player of the Year and Most Consistent awards. Jim Houston won the reserves top honour with Joel Powell runner-up, the Players' Player of the Year went to goalkeeper Dusan Martinovich and the Most Consistent award to Matt Gow. The Under-18 Fairest and Best was Michael McGrath who finished ahead of Ian Robertson. The Player's Player of the Year was taken out by 17-year old goalkeeper Frankie Ternel, while Elvis Korda won the Under-18's Most Improved.
Inglewood United sweeper Jamie Goodman won his club's Player of the Year with skillful attacker Elton Holmes runner-up. Despite missing the first part of the season, Louis Parkinson proved his value by finishing the season with a hatful of goals to take home the Leading Goalscorer trophy. State Under-16 representative Michael Baczynski collected the Rising Star Award as well as the Under-21's Leading Goalscorer trophy. The Under-21's Player of the Year was Scott Mison who finished ahead of former State Schoolboy Matt Donlevy in the counting.
It was a night to remember for no-nonsense defender Jamie Kuzmanovich who made it back-to-back victories when he was named as E.C.U. Joondalup's Fairest and Best for the second successive year, edging out fellow defender Richard Watson for the main prize. Kuzmanovich also finished as runner-up in the Players Player of the Year which was won by striker Andy Mason who also claimed the trophy as the first team's Leading Scorer. 18-year old Ashwin Nair went home with the reserves Players Player of the Year with Gary Murray runner-up. Murray was the recipient of the reserves Leading Scorer trophy after he found the net 22 times over the winter months. The Under-18 Players' Player of the Year was taken out by Daryl Platten, while the age groups leading scorer was Daniel De Fazio with 9 goals.
After a successful season, Future Glory opted not to hold a presentation night and instead invited all their players down to Perth Oval for an evening of celebrations. Over the season numerous Future players won State representative honours with first teamers Shaun Kilkelly, Miki Vujacic, Admir Mehic and Nick Ward part of the Under-19 side which traveled to France mid-year. Ward was also part of the Schoolboys squad for the Secondary Soccer Championships along with Jordan Conti, Adam Calleja, Kris Haxton, Damir Kuduzovic and Colin Gilchrist. Jonathon Mathers, Ashley Otte, Ben Rogers and Michael Smerilli represented that State Under-16 side at the National Talent Identification Championship, while at that same tournament Marlon Ramirez, Wesley Ryder, Daniel Simcox and Sebastian Trim played for the West Australian Under-15 team.
Cockburn City's Fairest and Best award went to captain Steve Adam with tough-tackling defender Dusan Macura in second place. The Players' Player of the Year was taken out by Macura, and State representative Branimir Mikulic claimed the Leading Scorer after finding the net 20 times in the regular season. The reserves top honour went to Mario De Felice ahead of young goalkeeper Jeff Cargill. Fabio Fusari won the Players' Player of the Year, and Simon Jonas the Leading Scorer. In the Under-18's the trophies went home with Luigi Lopresti (Fairest and Best), Fabio De Oliviera (Fairest and Best runner-up) and Omar Lemzouri (Leading Scorer).
Over 300 supporters of Fremantle City were on hand to see versatile 35-year old Alex Cummings take out the clubs Fairest and Best award with Llewellyn Bake coming in as runner-up. Cummings also received the Players' Player of the Year, while Australian youth international Josh Kamasz was named the Leading Goalscorer and Rookie of the Year. State Schoolboys representative Dean Apelgren won the under-21's Fairest and Best ahead of Jordan Andrews, while Michael Vaz took out the Leading Goalscorer award. In the Under-18's the Fairest and Best award went to John Migas, who made his debut for the first team towards the end of the season. Chris Wylie was runner-up to Migas, and Mark Sim took home the Leading Goalscorer trophy courtesy of a 21-goal winter.
In his first season with Sorrento, Lee Burns was named the Seagulls Fairest and Best after finishing narrowly ahead of club captain Stuart Banks. The Most Improved Young Player was Shaun Mooney, 17-year old Farrell Hedges claimed the club's Golden Boot Award, and Banks' stunning free-kick against Swan I.C. was voted the Goal of the Season. The reserves' Fairest and Best was won by Mark Walsh ahead of Shaun Mooney. Dean Cain took out the Under-18's Fairest and Best with Farrell Hedges in second place. The Sorrento Breakers awards went to Candice Townsend (Fairest and Best), Catherine Zainudin (Players' Player of the Year and Coach's Award) and Kelly Reeves (Most Improved).
Versatile 29-year old Trevor Hatton took out the Fairest and Best award at Swan I.C. closely followed by Damian Scali whose 15 goal winter gave him the club's Leading Scorer trophy. The reserves top honour went to Paul Dundo with Chris Ramsey and Joe Kendall finishing as joint runners-up. The Leading Scorer award went to Reece Britton. Talented goalkeeper Chris Ramsey was the recipient of the trophy for the Fairest and Best in the Under-18's, Damian Coniglio came in as runner-up and Hayden Darcy won the Leading Scorer award.
Although relegated from the top flight, Ashfield still managed to kick up their heels at the clubs' annual trophy night. Influential midfielder David Mayers won their Fairest and Best award with Karl Atley and Martin Sherwin ending level as joint runners-up. The first teams' Wally of the Year award went home with Craig Calvert. Shane Hashim received the reserves Most Improved Player award, outstanding young goalkeeper Johnathon Van Der Voet took out the Fairest and Best ahead of Tom Gaca, while Craig Culverwell was the reserves Wally of the Year. The Under-18's top award went to John Monterosso, Adam Quinn came in as runner-up, and Daniel Dawson claimed the age groups Wally of the Year trophy.
Andy Wright scooped the pool at Stirling Lions in a tight, three-way finish with New Zealand import Adam Rains and goalkeeper Rob Pucovski. The 34-year old defender took home the Player of the Year and Fairest and Best trophies with Rains coming a close second in the latter. Adam Kostrencic (Best Clubman), Riste Stefoski (Presidents Award) and Bobbi Klencovski (Top Goalscorer) claimed the remaining first team awards. The reserves Fairest and Best went to Tomo Nishizawa with 16-year old Christian Debarro runner-up, teenagers Mark Randazzo and Michael Filippou tied for the Most Improved, and Frank Olivieri was named as the Best Clubman. Alex Veljanovski won the Under-18's Fairest and Best ahead of Joe Pugliese, Paul Stanoevski recieved the Most Improved, Simon Randazzo the Best Clubman, with the Top Goalscorer going to Anthony Macri courtesy of his 22-goal winter.
Midfield general Gary Murdoch won the Best and Fairest at Armadale, Paul Caulkin took home the Players' Player of the Year award and goalkeeper Michael Kelly the Young Player of the Year. The reserves top award went to Steve Tsalis with talented youngster Emlyn Whetnall the Players' Player of the Year. Steve Hanley picked up the Under-18's Best and Fairest, and Lee O'Reilly the youth teams' Players' Player of the Year.
Mandurah City attacker Andrew Rennie was named the Club Champion 2002 after being awarded the Fairest and Best and Players' Player of the Year awards. Damian Condo was the recipient of the first team Coaches Award. Steven Rhodes collected the Under-21 Player of the Year along with the reserves Coaches Award, the reserves Fairest and Best went to Mikel Sesma, and Paul Dixon claimed the Players' Player of the Year. Adam Boone was named the Under-18's Fairest and Best, Nigel Reuscher the Players' Player of the Year, and Matthew Maiolo the Coaches Award. The Youth Encouragement Award went home with John Campbell, the Clubman of the Year was Barry Neylon, and youngster Alan Fitzmaurice the Sportsperson of the Year.
Hard-working Simon Messenger capped a brilliant season for Morley Windmills when he was announced at their Fairest and Best for 2002. 39-year old ever-green Martin Woodall came in as runner-up, and the Players' Player of the Year was awarded to Christian Khalil. In the reserves, Daniel Smith was a deserved winner of the Fairest and Best ahead of Ryan Martins with Matthew Darling named the Players' Player of the Year. Troy Carro laid claim to the Under-18 Fairest and Best award with Daniel Ostrognay the runner-up.
Bayswater City held their awards night at the start of October when 20-year old attacker Andrew O'Neill, who joined the club from Floreat Athena last summer, took out the Fairest and Best trophy with Jason Lawton and Daniel Vengelovski ending as joint runners-up and Gareth Healy third. The reserves Fairest and Best trophy went home with Antoli Hainko, Yanni Piannis (runner-up) and Jason Arto (third) taking out the minor placings. The top award for the Under-19 side went to Jamie Naumovski when he finished ahead of Justin West (runner-up) and David Narella (third) in the polling. The final award of the evening was the Club Man which was won by devoted team manager Charlie Licata.
David Mrdja had a strong season for Dianella White Eagles where he was named the clubs' Fairest and Best player for 2002. Mario Lucic was the recipient of the Most Improved Player, and the Leading Goalscorer award went to 18-year old striker Boima Karpeh. The reserves Fairest and Best was won by Drazenko Tesic, the Most Improved Player award went to Goran Hajdin and Stevica Petrovic took home the award for the Leading Goalscorer. Milan Peric was awarded the Under-18's Fairest and Best with the Leading Goalscorer going to Sasa Dragosevic.
Reliable defender Tony Lang was the recipient of Southside United's Fairest and Best, while the Leading Goalscorer went to Brian Cairney. Left-sided player Ian Ingham took out the reserves top individual honour, and central midfielder Tom Pougher ended as the sides Leading Goalscorer. Vocal central defender Anthony Maguire won the Under-18's Fairest and Best and, although absent for several weeks after breaking his wrist, John Thornley was the age groups Leading Goalscorer.
At Balcatta, the Best Player trophy was taken out by Marco Mucciarone with 20-year old Aleandro Di Nuzzo runner-up. With 6 goals each, Hadi Polozani and David Moschilla finished tied for the honour of the clubs Leading Goalscorer. The reserves top award was won by Michael Algeri ahead of Robert Luca. Jeff Lione claimed the Leading Goalscorer trophy with 12 goals. Adam Dassie was the recipient of the Under-18's Best Player, while the Leading Goalscorer was shared between Michael Care and Dave Bandy.
SHARKS REPEAT GRAND FINAL VICTORY
Olympic Sharks stretched their lead to five points at the top of the National Soccer League after a 2-1 home win over Perth Glory on Sunday. In a re-match of last years Grand Final, Glory enjoyed the better of the opening half with Andre Gumprecht forcing a fine save from Clint Bolton after 15 minutes. The Sharks custodian then came out on top of a one-on-one with Damian Mori, and breathed a sigh of relief when Gary Faria's 35th minute effort cannoned back off the crossbar. In first half stoppage time it was defender Andrew Packer than came to the Sharks rescue when he prevented Gumprecht's shot from crossing the line after Bolton spilled the ball.
A more positive Olympic emerged for the second half and they took the lead via Ante Milicic on the hour. Five minutes later the scores were levelled by Brad Hassell who headed in a deep Shane Pryce cross from the right. Glory goalkeeper Jason Petkovic found himself in the thick of the action late in the match, keeping out good efforts from Greg Owens and Packer as the clock ticked down. But the Sharks would not be denied and Jeromy Harris secured all three points when he drilled the ball into the bottom corner with three minutes remaining. "For at least 45 minutes there was only one team in it," said Glory coach Mich d'Avray after the game. "On another day, when we take our chances, the game is over at half-time."
BAYSWATER SEEK RESERVES COACH
First Division club Bayswater City Panthers are seeking expressions of interest for the position of reserve team coach for the 2003 season. Interested persons are requested to contact senior coach Salv Todaro on 9427 1442 or via firstname.lastname@example.org to register their interest. Applications for the position close on 6th December 2002.
WWW.SOCCERWA.COM ALL-STARS NAMED
The local season is over, Soccer West Coast have handed out their annual awards, and this weekend marks the last of the Premier League clubs to name their best players for 2002 (full details on who won what next week). Now it's the turn of the Western Australian Soccer Website to honour those players that consistently turned on the style over the winter months with the announcement of the unofficial 2002 Premier League All-Stars team and shadow squad.
N.S.L. GRAND FINAL RE-MATCH
On Sunday afternoon, reigning National Soccer League champions Olympic Sharks come up against the might of Perth Glory at Toyota Park in Sydney. Olympic, who beat Glory 1-0 in last season's Grand Final at Subiaco Oval, top the leader board after nine rounds of action with 20 points - two more than Glory - and will be tough to beat on home soil. But confidence in the Glory camp is sky-high after last weekend's 3-1 victory over Wollongong Wolves who had lost just twice before its' trip west.
MORE CHANGE AT JOONDALUP
There's been further upheaval in the northern suburbs where E.C.U. Joondalup president Tom McCrisken stepped down from the position at last weeks' Annual General Meeting. McCrisken, who spent two years as club president, is succeeded by Steve Wheatley with Chris Darling appointed vice-president and former Bassendean Caledonian coach Barry Smith taking up the role of Director of Football. The moves come hot on the heels of the refusal by long serving coach Paul Simmons to apply for the position of coach for the 2003 season after the committee opted to advertise the position. "You better ask the club why they went down this path," said Simmons when contacted this week. "As far as I am aware they believe we had an unsuccessful season. What is success, ask all the other teams in the league other than Perth and I think we were successful. But, some people can't seem to handle it."
AMATEUR'S MAKE A STAND
The West Australian Amateur and Social Soccer Association, along with the amateur bodies from Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales, have pledged their support for current Soccer Australia chairman Ian Knop. Following the annual general meeting of the National Amateur Soccer Association of Australia (N.A.S.A.A.), the member organisations resolved not to support moves for Knop's removal instigated by a group of directors of the national body, saying that such a move would only further fragment an already divided soccer community.
In a statement released this week, N.A.S.A.A. said Knop is the first chairman of Soccer Australia concerned to bring the grass roots of Australian soccer - the amateur's and junior's - fully into the soccer family at national level consistent with the major part they play in the development of the code. The collective went on to add that they view the present board as an interim board, and that any restructuring should be put off until the findings of the current Soccer Inquiry is known. The inquiry, which is looking into the future governance and management structure of soccer in this country, is expected to be complete with in the next eight months.
PERTH LOOK FOR JUNIOR COACHES
Over the years Perth S.C. has displayed an outstanding and proven commitment towards the development of junior players in Western Australia. Amongst those to have progressed through the club's youth ranks in recent years include Australian youth internationals Adrian Madaschi and Richard Garcia, Perth Glory's Adrian Caceres and State representatives Aaron Cole, Dino Djulbic and Rob Giorgi. To help continue this tradition, the club are currently seeking expressions of interest from qualified, experienced coaches for their junior and academy teams.
The Perth Junior Academy are on the look out for coaches with Level 2 or 3 accreditation for their Under-11 through to Under-15 teams, while the Perth Junior Soccer Club are after coaches with Level 1, 2 or 3 accreditation for age groups from Under-6 to Under-16. Written applications for all positions are to be marked "In confidence" and addressed the Secretary, Perth Soccer Club, PO Box 249, North Perth, 6906. Applications must be received by Friday 29th November. With trials for the club's academy teams being held next month, interested players are invited to contact the Director of Coaching, John O'Connell (0413 973 846), or the club direct (9328 2474) for an application form.
LEEMING APPOINT NEW COACH
First Division club Leeming Strikers has secured the services of Bob Braid as senior coach for the 2003 winter season. Braid previously spent several years in charge of the reserves at Inglewood United, his time with the club ending with a short spell as first team coach towards the end of the recently completed season following the departure of Steve Parkinson. In taking on the role Braid said he was excited about the lub's prospects and, with their youth program being to pay off, he hopes to have the Strikers as contenders or promotion in the not too distant future.
LEEMING APPOINT NEW COACH (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Former Sorrento striker James Morgan is currently on trial with English Third Division outfit Leyton Orient. The 19-year old spent 2002 in Singapore where he played for Sengkang Marine, originally in their youth side before winning a place in the first team over the closing weeks of the season. Morgan is hoping to do enough this week to convince Orient manager Paul Brush to offer him a permanent deal.
PATIENT GARCIA WAITS TURN AT UPTON PARK
Former Kingsway Olympic youngster Richard Garcia is hoping to step up his career at West Ham United by enjoying more first team action. "You always want to go as far as you can and if I have something to offer I want to play - and play well," said Garcia, who made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in the Worthington Cup clash with Oldham Athletic recently. "I definitely want to play but I have to be patient." With the Hammers yet to win at home this season, the Australian youth international believes it will be only a matter of time before they pull away from the foot of the English Premier League table. "I think we have been playing quite well at home despite what others may say, but the confidence is low and when you can't get a goal at home it is pretty frustrating. I think we will get going at our place ... it is just a matter of getting a couple of wins under our belt."
HARD WORK PAYS OFF FOR MRDJA (reproduced with permission from www.perthglory.com.au)
Nick Mrdja's first goal of the season was the icing on the cake for the young striker who has relied on his own ability to stay in the team after illness opened the door for him. Those who can remember Mrdja crashing home goals for Bayswater Panthers think of a raw youngster with speed to burn and a venomous left foot shot. A few years on and Mrdja has certainly added a few experiences to his repertoire. A spell at Canberra Cosmos ended with a return to Perth after just three appearances in the national competition, and for a time it seemed as though it was the end of Mrdja's career in Australia's top flight.
But the striker continued to turn on the style in the local league with Perth S.C. with a series of fine performances that eventually attracted the attention of then Glory assistant coach Mich d'Avray. After impressing in trials, Mrdja was rewarded with a full-time contract and the rather difficult task of unseating Bobby Despotovski or Damian Mori, the N.S.L.'s most lethal strike force, in order to make the starting eleven. And in the past couple of weeks Mrdja, who turns 24 at the end of this month, has done just that. A stomach upset forced Despotovski onto the bench for the clash with Sydney United and such was Mrdja's form that he was retained for the game with Northern Spirit.
Against Spirit, Mrdja supplied the crucial pass for Brad Hassell's opening goal and managed to get himself on the end couple of opportunities without success. For Mrdja the chance to start matches is one that has come as something of a surprise. "I am really enjoying it while it lasts," he said recently. "I have been reasonably pleased with the way I have played and it is a great learning experience for me. I would have liked a couple of goals and had a couple of chances against Spirit, but at as long as the team is winning, that is the important thing." D'Avray says it is up to Mrdja to take the opportunity to stake his claim for a regular place. "This is a very important year for Nick. I am sure he doesn't want to be a squad player all his career and he now has a chance to really set out his stall for a regular starting berth. He has great pace and leads the line well but we do need to see him scoring more goals if he gets an extended run in the team."
TOOTHLESS WOLVES NO MATCH FOR GLORY
Three first half goals ensured Perth Glory collected maximum points from today's National Soccer League clash with long-time rivals Wollongong Wolves at Perth Oval. The home side did all the early attacking with some fluent football resulting in the match opener after 14 minute, man-of-the-match Andre Gumprecht ending a fine run with a neat pass to Brad Hassell who slotted the ball home. Eight minutes later a Scott Miller corner found Nick Mrdja unmarked inside the 6-yard box to head Glory into a two-goal lead. The Wolves handed a lifeline when referee Peter Green awarded them a penalty which visiting captain converted to reel in the margin. But more defensive frailty two minutes from the break saw Glory restore their two-goal buffer with Hassell scoring via a goalmouth scramble. After the interval it was Glory that created the better of opportunities, Gumprecht sending a long-range effort narrowly high and Damian Mori's over the visiting goalkeeper drifting just wide.
AFKOS TIPPED FOR TOP JOB
With moves to remove Ian Knop as Soccer Australia chairman next months' general meeting, former Perth Glory co-owner Paul Afkos is shaping up to take on the top job within the organisation. Knop is believed to be on shaky ground with the games' stakeholders who have been asked to decide if he should continue in his role a the 7th December meeting. Afkos, elected to the Soccer Australia board only last month, is tipped to succeed Knop should he be voted out of office.
ENGLAND WILL BE VERY TOUGH SAYS LAZARIDIS
Just 24 hours after the announcement that Australia will England in a friendly international next February, Perth-born Socceroo Stan Lazaridis has already felt the jibes from his English teammates at Birmingham City. "The stick has already started in the dressing room," said the midfielder. "It is all good natured, but if we can get a good result, it will be a shock to them." With 44 'A' appearances for the Socceroos under his belt, Lazaridis said the game is the perfect opportunity for Australia to prove that it can play the game at the top level. "The result will determine how much respect we get," he added. "This is our chance to turn a lot heads and will give some players the chance to get noted and some recognition as well. I am confident in the fact we have a lot of good players and can play at this level, but beating them in England will be very tough. It will do a lot for the game in our country if we can get a result."
GLORY TAKE ON ARCH-RIVALS
After a fortnight's break from the National Soccer League, Perth Glory get back into the swing of things this Sunday when they face arch-rivals Wollongong Wolves at Perth Oval (kick-off 4.00pm). Exciting local product Nick Mrdja is expected to hold on to his place in the Glory starting eleven and partner the league's leading goalscorer, Damian Mori, in attack. But visitors have a good regular season record on Glory's home soil and come to Perth with an unchanged line-up fresh from a 2-1 defeat of Northern Spirit last weekend.
STATE'S FINEST YOUNGSTERS ON SHOW
Perth Glory will honour 180 of Western Australia's best young players with a parade around Perth Oval ahead of Sunday's National Soccer League fixture with Wollongong Wolves. The youngsters took part in tours by State representative teams of various ages in recent months. "This is the cream of the crop in Western Australian soccer. They have represented their State with great success and we thought it was appropriate to recognise them formally," said Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis this week. The teams went to destinations including the Gold Coast and Sydney, as well as Western Australia which was the host state for the 2002 Australian Schools Championships. "These are the players of the future for Western Australian soccer and their achievements deserve a salute from W.A. soccer supporters," added Dennis.
ENTIRE GLORY SQUAD UP FOR SALE
Players from National Soccer League outfit Perth Glory are putting themselves up for sale to help Perth City duo Aaron Cowdrey and David Fyfe who were injured in the Bali bombings last month. Supporters of the world game will bid for the honour of having a pair of Glory boys to use for one hour - perhaps at a corporate function, a dinner, a breakfast, to conduct a training session, attend a staff event or just sign autographs. "The club will use its discretion, but within reason the players will be game to help out as much as possible," said Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. Funds raised from the player auctions will boost the pool available to the two Perth City. Almost $10,000 has already been raised by way of a collection from Glory supporters at the home game with Sydney United, and an additional $2,000 was raised from the State teams' recent clash with Glory.
There will be three separate auctions for the pairs of Glory players. Fans attending Perth City's auction night at the Old Bailey Tavern on 25th November will be able to bid for Jamie Harnwell and Antonio Naglieri, Craig Deans and Shaun Kilkelly, Damian Mori and Todd Harnwell, and Vince Matassa and Mohammed Mouhouti. Glory sponsors attending the pre-match function on 1st December will be able to bid for Bobby Despotovski and Adrian Caceras, Edgar and Anthony Danze, and Scott Miller and Nick Mrdja. And online auctions - via www.perthglory.com.au - will be held throughout December where Shane Pryce and Brad Hassell (2nd December until 8th December,), Jason Petkovic and Michael Garcia (9th December until 15 December), Andre Gumprecht and Gary Faria (16th December until 22nd December), and Matt Horsley and Jamie Coyne (23rd December until 29th December) are on offer. "This was a players' initiative and we are delighted that they wanted to help the Perth City boys out directly. It is great that the soccer community is rallying together to help its own."
HOWELLS ON COMEBACK TRAIL
Cheltenham's Lee Howells has been given the go ahead to resume training and is eyeing to make his comeback to the playing field later in the month for the Robins reserves. Howells, who is his clubs' captain, broke his leg towards the end of last season and will be a big asset to the side as they look to break out of the Second Division drop zone.
COYNE SLOTS IN AT GLORY
Halfway through a loan spell from Perth S.C., 21-year old Jamie Coyne agreed terms on a contract with Perth Glory that will run for the remainder of the 2002/03 season. Coyne caught the eye of coach Mich d'Avray during an impressive state league season before taking up a two-month loan deal with the National Soccer League club. While he was utilised mostly in midfield during his time at Perth, it was as a central defender that d'Avray wanted to try Coyne. "Jamie is a very versatile player and I reckon he could be an excellent centre back," said d'Avray. "He has come on for us and done a job on the right hand side of midfield, he can also slot in at right full back so we have someone who is very useful. Jamie is a hard worker, has fitted in well with the squad and has a bright future if he keeps the right attitude."
Coyne played his club football with Kingsway Olympic before heading off to Europe when he linked up with West Ham United. Injury restricted his chances in England and he joined Perth on his return to Western Australia. State honours at Under-15, 16 and 23 levels are evidence enough of Coyne's abilities and, should he need advice, he can turn to either his father, John, well known in local circles and a former Australian international, or his brother Chris who's forging a career in England with Luton Town. Coyne is delighted with his move to Glory. "To be able to have a full time career in the game here in W.A. is a dream come true. There is plenty of work to do yet but I hope I can force myself into the starting eleven in the near future. I am enjoying the experience and I know I'll have to work hard and I am willing to do that."
ERGIC HELPS BASEL MAKE HISTORY
Australian Institute of Sport graduate Ivan Ergic has helped F.C. Basel create history overnight when they became the first Swiss club to advance to the last 16 of the European Champions League, and in the process send English giants Liverpool toppling out of the competition. While the match ended in a three-all draw, Basel qualified for the second stage after finishing second in group B behind Valencia, who beat Spartak Moscow 3-0. Ergic, who shot to prominence while playing for Perth Glory, was optimistic prior to the match. "Many underestimated us before the group stage started - we knew it and it motivated us even more," he said.
In a pulsating match, Basel raced to a three-goal lead as Julio Hernan Rossi (20 min.), Christian Gimenez (22 min.) and Timothee Atouba (29 min.) found the net. Goals from Danny Murphy (61 min.) and Vladimir Smicer (64 min.) reduced the gap as Liverpool surged back into the game after the interval. Nine minutes from the end of regulation time Ergic made a long run before forcing goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek into a spectacular flying save. Just two minutes later Liverpool levelled the score when Michael Owen netted at the second attempt after Pascal Zuberbuehler had saved his spot kick.
DESPOTOVSKI PREPARED TO LEAVE
Perth Glory's all-time leading goalscorer, Bobby Despotovski, says he will consider joining another National Soccer League club if his playing contract is not renewed by early next year. "I would love to stay here if they want me, but if not I have another year or maybe two to offer another club," Despotovski told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" yesterday. "I want to know in December or later in January what I'm going to do for next year because I'm definitely not ready to retire yet." Jeff Dennis, chief executive officer with Glory, said Despotovski - who has scored 72 goals in 161 Glory appearances - was an asset to the club and they had no intention of releasing him. "The club values Bobby and what he has done in six years here and we are committed to him staying at Perth Glory."
PERTH GIRLS IMPRESS IN WOMEN'S N.S.L.
The 2002/03 Women's National Soccer League season is in full swing with Western Australian's two representatives - Tal Karp and Karp DeVanna - right in the thick of the action. Having made her senior international debut shortly before the start of the summer campaign, Karp has been in fine form in what is now her fourth season on the books of Canberra Eclipse. After six games 20-year old DeVanna, an Australian youth international, tops the leading goalscorers table with six goals. Both players are yet to miss a single minute of action for tehir respective team this season.
Midfielder Karp has been busy keeping the play-off hopes of fourth-placed Eclipse alive. The Perth-born player got her 2002/03 season off on the right foot by bagging Eclipse's third goal in the 4-0 drubbing of Northern New South Wales Pride, following this with tireless performances against Victoria Vision (0-0) and Queensland Sting (0-2). Karp returned to the scoresheet in Round Four, finding the target with a sensational 25-metre pile-driver against New South Wales Sapphires to earn her side a share of the points. In the past fortnight Karp saw out the full 90 minutes of clashes with Adelaide Sensation and New South Wales Sapphires, both games ending with honours shared at one-all.
Two goals from DeVanna in the opening round 3-1 win over Victoria Vision made sure the young attacker would be a player to watch out for. Kept scoreless by New South Wales Sapphires, who claimed maximum points by 1-2, the 20-year old netted a stunning goal from long-range three minutes into the away clash with Northern New South Wales Pride which sent Vision on the path to a 2-1 win. The young attacker then scored both goals in her side's 2-0 defeat of Queensland Sting, and DeVanna took her season tally to six goals after finding the net in the 1-1 draw with Canberra Eclipse. But there was little DeVanna could do on the weekend when table topping Queensland Sting avenged their earlier loss by crushing third-placed Sensation 0-4.
MIKULIC HOT PROPERTY (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Golden Boot winner Branimir Mikulic is being chased by two clubs - Perth S.C. and Inglewood United. Mikulic, whose contract with Cockburn City expires this month, has been offered terms by Perth, but Inglewood, now coached by Jimmy Pearson, have come strongly into the picture in recent days. Inglewood are rumoured to be also keen to sign Floreat Athena goalscorer Ryan Newhill.
KNIGHTS COACH DENIES RUMOUR (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Western Knights coach Ronnie Campbell has denied rumours linking him with a move to E.C.U. Joondalup following the departure of Paul Simmons last week. Campbell said that several people approached him at the Gold Medal presentation ceremony asking if it was true about the rumoured move to Joondalup. "I haven't spoken to anyone connected with Joondalup, so I don't know how this started," said Campbell. "I don't know as yet what I will be doing next season. The Knights have indicated that they would like myself and Willie Kelly (his assistant) to stay on. We haven't sat down yet to have a heart to heart on the matter."
THE WRIGHT STUFF
First Division Player of the Year Toby Wright was the driving force behind a fun day of activities yesterday at Bouncer Sports Centre with all monies raised going towards Perth City's appeal for Aaron Cowdrey and David Fyfe who were badly injured in the Bail bombing last month. "I organised a five-a-side knock out tournament at Bouncer Sports Centre, who allowed me to use their facilities free of charge," said Wright, who plies his trade for Stirling Lions. "The day was a huge success - we managed to raise $1,400 which I'll be donating to Perth City this week. I just wanted to thank everyone involved in the competition and send my best wishes to the Perth City team and family."
COYNE TAKES OUT GOLD MEDAL
Creative midfielder Jamie Coyne will look back on 2002 with fond memories after taking out the 2002 Gold Medal, awarded to the Premier League's best player, at a black tie event last Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency Perth. Currently negotiating terms with Perth Glory, the 21-year old won the local games' top individual award despite missing Perth's last two League fixtures, and strong finishes from Claus Nielsen (Western Knights) and Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena) who ended up level in second place. Coyne spent the pre-season in England where he trialled with Luton Town and Carlisle United before returning to inspire Perth to victory in the final of the Night Series. His excellent form carried over into the regular season when Coyne helped Perth to a further three trophies, won State representative honours, and eventually landed a short-term deal with Glory who are now working towards his permanent transfer.
Coyne accumulated 20 votes over the home-and-away season to finish one ahead of Neilsen - who picked up 11 votes in the final month of competition - and Sutton on 19. Early pace-setter Andres Oliveira (Perth S.C.), Floreat Athena's Jamie Trandos and Richard Watson (E.C.U. Joondalup) ended in joint third with 15 votes apiece, one more than the trio of Carl Medica (Knights), Justin Everley (Swan I.C.) and Shaun Kilkelly (Future Glory). Cockburn City and State striker Branimir Mikulic polled 13 and was hotly followed by Alex Cummings (Fremantle City) and Garin Collins (Joondalup) with 12. Although he missed the tail end of the winter, Sorrento's no-nonsense midfielder Lee Burns picked up 11 votes along with Perth's Todd Howarth, Robbie Gaspar and Aaron Cole. Athena's Robin Dyers was amongst the early leaders but ended in eigth place with 10 votes alongside veteran midfielder Alan MacKenzie (Inglewood United) and former State defender Jamie Kuzmanovich (Joondalup).
The Golden Boot, which goes to the top flight's leading goalscorer, was taken out for the second successive year by Cockburn forward Mikulic who hit the target 20 times over home-and-away season. Oliveira came in as runner-up with 19 goals, followed by Ryan Newhill (Athena) and Andy Mason (Joondalup) who each scored 17 times. Two goals behind them were Damian Scali (Swan) and Mark Pottier (Perth) with Knights captain on 14 goals. Fremantle custodian Robert Zabica was named the Goalkeeper of the Year for the fourth time in his career. Zabica's previous triumphs came in 1995 while playing for Spearwood Dalmatinac, and back-to-back successes in 1999 and 2000 when he turned out for Bayswater City. Joondalup's John Higgins and Fremantle's Josh Kamasz were joint recipient of the Rookie of the Year award. Higgins, recently named in the Australian Under-17 squad, spent last summer with English side Birmingham City and is believed to have recently caught the eye of Southampton. Goalscoring teenager Kamasz is poised to trial with National Soccer League club Newcastle United over the off-season.
Joondalup's Garry Murray capped a fine season in the reserves by claming both the Player of the Year and leading goalscorer awards. Murray won the Player of the Year with 21 votes to finish well ahead of Inglewood's Renato Rechichi on 16 and Michael Vaz of Fremantle on 15. Sorrento's Jake Harman came in fourth place with 13 votes, one more that Joel Powell (Bassendean) and two ahead of Liu Oliveria (Fremantle) and Simon Jonas (Cockburn). Murray was also the runaway winner of in the goalscoring stakes with 22 goals to end seven clear of teammate John Greenwood. Vaz claimed third place with 13 goals and was hotly pursued by Michael Baczynski (Inglewood) with 12 goals, and Vlad Milasinovic (Perth), Jonas and Harman who each netted 11 times over the course of the winter.
It was a big night for Singapore-born youngster Marc Sim (Fremantle) who shared the Under-18 Player of the Year award with Athena's Filippos Pakioufakis, both players ending the season on 22 votes. Future's State representative Ben Rogers came in as runner-up on 15 votes, which was one more than teammate Alex Crookes and Joondalup's Scott Blackmore. Simon Trinca, Joe Graneri (both Perth) and Paul Vlachou (Athena) polled 13 votes, with four players ending level on 12 in Brendan Knox (Swan), John Migas (Fremantle), Rostyn Griffiths (Joondalup) and Omar Lemzouri (Cockburn). With 21-goals, Sim also won the age groups leading scorer award when he finsihed three clear of Dinko Ahmetanovic (Ashfield) and Rogers. The minor placings went to Migas (15), Wesley Ryder (14, Future), Chris Zarricueta (13, Fremantle) and Cosi Cavalaro (12, Perth).
Stirling Lions' capped their championship winning season when former Australian Schoolboys international Toby Wright was awarded the First Division Player of the Year. Wright ended the winter with 20 votes to take out the trophy by a single vote over Carlo Di Toro of Leeming Strikers. Andrew Rennie (Mandurah City) and Gareth Healey (Bayswater City) finished level for third place on 17 votes, one more than highly rated Queens Park attacker Glenn Noblett. Veteran defender Andy Wright (Lions) and Bioma Karpeh (Dianella White Eagles) tallied 15 votes, Kingsway Olympic's John Doherty ended with 14, and close behind him were Daniel Carlino (Lions), Simon Messenger (Morley Windmills), Paul Colkin and Aaron Beattie (Armadale) on 13 votes. Mandurah ended a successful debut season in Soccer West Coast ranks with Rennie named the First Division's leading scorer courtesy of his 19-goal winter. Two behind Rennie was the Lions' Bobby Klenkoski, followed by his Lions teammate Robert Milevski, Greg Newcombe (Armadale) and Noblett with 16 goals each. Dianella youngster Karpeh found the net 13 times to come in fourth place.
The top honour for the First Division reserves was shared between Stuart Jones (Rockingham City) and Carlos Almeida (Mandurah) who ended the winter level with 21 votes. Hot on their heels was Kingsway Olympic's Hill Regan on 20 votes. Four behind him was Stuart Moses (Perth City), Mark Randazzo (Lions) and Richard Dos Santos (Strikers) came in fourth on 13 votes, and John Beattie (Queens Park), Craig Bowman (Perth City) and Emlyn Whetnall (Armadale) shared fifth a further vote off the pace. Regan and Bowman each found the target 25 times over the winter to finish as joint recipients of the Golden Boot, the pair well clear of runners-up Miroslav Kondic (Suns) and Almeida on 16 goals. Dianella's Stevica Petrovic and Perth City striker Mark Cox scored 15 times to take out third spot.
Armadale attacker Oliver Crockford (21) took home the First Divisions' Under-18 Player of the Year trophy ahead of Stirling Lions' Anthony Macri (19). Michael Jennings (South West Phoenix) and Jordan Viforj (Strikers) finished in equal third with 18 votes. Shirash Sasikumar (15) of Leeming Strikers and Marko Aleksic (13) or Rockingham City took out the minor places. South West Phoenix striker Chris Norminton won the age groups Golden Boot for his 27-goal haul, five more than runner-up Macri. Crockford's 19 goals helped him to third place, Kenny Wilson (Perth City) and Viforj ended the winter with 16 goals each, while a further goal off the pace were Zarko Rajokovic (Rockingham), Peter Taylor (Armadale) and Jake Loretto (Mandurah).
The final vote tallies for all competitions - Premier League and First Division, senior, reserves and under-18s - can be found online in our Soccer West Coast section.
SHARLAND IN LINE FOR CHARLTON CALL-UP (reproduced with permission from ww.tribalfootball.com)
West Australian teenager Greg Sharland is in line for a call-up to the Charlton Athletic first team squad for this week's crunch game against Manchester City. The 19-year old has been training the house down at The Valley and impressed boss Alan Curbishley in recent displays for the Addicks' reserves team. Curbishley is set to shake-up his squad after last week's 1-0 defeat by Everton and Sharland, who only moved to Charlton over the summer from Wollongong Wolves, is being mentioned amongst several hopefuls on the fringes. Sharland, who played locally for Inglewood United, was signed by the Wolves last year as a replacement for Basel winger Scott Chipperfield, ironically a target for Curbishley ahead of January's transfer window.
TRIALS LINED UP FOR PERTH PAIR
Perth S.C. teammates Andres Oliveira and Todd Howarth - who Western Australia's two goals against Perth Glory on the weekend - could soon be joining the ranks of the National Soccer League. Howarth, surely the best left-sided prospect in the State League, is off to Adelaide in the next few weeks for trials with Adelaide City Force, which already has former West Australian goalkeeper Ian Martin on its books. Howarth's departure will depend upon when he completes exams he is due to sit in Perth. South American born Oliveira is also being linked with trials in Adelaide along with South Melbourne. It is understood that Marconi Stallions are also very sweet on the talented youngster and could be making an offer when the transfer window opens again in January. "I think Andres might be heading to better pastures soon. He's got the ability and I think he will be a loss to the game in W.A.," ," said State coach Gary Marocchi. "These players aren't getting a (N.S.L.) game here so they have to go elsewhere to test themselves, to see what they can do in another environment," he added.
GLORY SNEAK HOME AGAINST STATE SIDE
Perth Glory withstood a strong second-half performance from a courageous State side before running out 3-2 winners in Sunday's friendly match that helped raise funds for the Perth City players injured in the Bali bombings. The first opening of the game came the way of the State side with Branimir Mikulic heading into the path of Scott Campbell whose dipping shot from 16-metres was comfortably held by Jason Petkovic. But some hesitant defending at the opposite end of the ground allowed Glory to draw first blood after 13 minutes, Nick Ward's fine cross into the area finding Antonio Naglieri who was allowed a free header that he sent past Corey Hugo. The goal sparked Glory into a frenzy of activity. Mohammad Mouhouti sent Bobby Despotovski through with only the 'keeper to beat but Hugo's sharp reflexes kept a rising shot from the Australian international. And moments later Jamie Coyne made his way past two opponents wide on the left before releasing Todd Harnwell but he too was denied by the State custodian.
With Glory dominating possession, it came as no surprise when the margin was doubled in the 22 minute. The State side failed to sufficiently deal with an Adrian Caceres corner, Coyne clipped the ball back into the area and, after coming off several heads, Naglieri controlled and drilled home from a narrow angle his second goal of the afternoon. Minutes after, Harnwell ran onto a defence splitting pass by Despotovski and slid the ball wide of Hugo but also the upright. The State team also created some nervous moments in their opponents defence without really troubling Petkovic. A powerful blast from 18-metres by Andres Oliveira was deflected wide by Coyne for a corner, Mikulic got in behind the backline only to see a desperate Michael Garcia cut out his through ball. But as the half came to a close it was Glory that went closest to adding to the scoreboard with Caceres and Despotovski both having good shots kept out by man-of-the-match Hugo.
The second half was only five minutes old when Caceres close-range effort was superbly blocked by Hugo and the striker's follow-up was cleared off the line by Dean Johnson. But the State team refused to be overwhelmed by the occasion and clawed their way back into the contest with a hard-working team performance. Miki Vujacic, who spent the winter playing for Future Glory, forced an acrobatic saved from second half goalkeeper Tony Franken with a blistering shot from the top of the area. The James Afkos and Johnson combined for Vujacic whose curling effort was bound for the top corner before Franken flew high to prevent it from crossing the line. In the 76th minute Coyne send a high ball to the far post where Caceres rose above a stagnant defence only to have his close-range header brilliant blocked by Hugo.
The introduction of Rob Giorgi and Robbie Gaspar just after the hour had injected some new life in the State side, and three additional substitutions by coach Gary Marocchi in the 79th minute had almost immediate effect. With eight minutes left on the clock, Todd Howarth pumped a long ball into the danger zone where Oliveira brought the ball under control, shrugged off a challenge from Ben Blake before rocketing it into the top left hand corner of Franken's goal. Two minutes later Gaspar, Ryan Newhill, Stuart Montgomery and Afkos James held possession on top of the 18-yard box until an opening appeared, Afkos' cross met at the far post by Howarth whose stunning half-volley bulged the back of the net before Franken had time to react. With the match looking destined to end in a draw, Despotovski popped up in stoppage time to score what was a very lucky winner. Coyne sent the ball high to the top of the area when Despotovski leapt at the ball, his out-stretched arm breaking the concentration of substitute goalkeeper Oliver Taseski whose attempt to punch the ball clear ricocheted off the Glory striker and into the net for the deciding goal.
Glory's third goal came as a cruel blow for the State team who had the tenacity to bounce back from a two-goal half-time deficit. Without a doubt, the star player for Western Australia was goalkeeper Hugo whose sharp reflexes prevented the score from blowing out in the opening period. There were also important contributions from midfielder Scott Campbell and teenage defender Dino Djulbic, who effectively kept dangerman Despotovski out of the game for long periods. Although worthy winners for their early dominance, Glory were very fortunate to get over the line with a very lucky goal. Glory coach Mich D'Avray said the game was much needed for the club's fringe players. "You could see near the end the lack of match practice showed. It was a great run out for the players." Teenager Anthony Danze made the most of a competitive match with a strong performance, while Ben Blake and Adrian Caceres also showed they are ready, willing and able to be promoted to the first team should the opportunity arise.
Perth Glory : Jason Petkovic (Tony Franken 46), Ben Blake, Mohammad
Mouhouti, Jamie Coyne, Michael Garcia, Todd Harnwell, Nick Ward (Peter Lord
55), Anthony Danze, Antonio Naglieri, Bobby Despotovski, Adrian Caceres
Western Australia : Corey Hugo (Oliver Taseski 79), Dino Djulbic, Troy Bernard (Stuart Banks 79), Dean Johnson, Miki Vujacic (Rob Giorgi 63), Scott Campbell (Robbie Gaspar 63), James Afkos, Todd Howarth, Carl Medica (Stuart Montgomery 79), Andres Oliveira, Branimir Mikulic (Ryan Newhill 79)
Referee : ?
Cautions : ?
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 1,500 (approx.)
GOLD MEDAL NIGHT PREVIEW
The Soccer West Coast season officially comes to a close tonight when the trophies are handed out at the organisations' 42nd Annual Awards night. In what is expected to be a gala event, several players are shaping up to fight it out for the top individual honour, the Gold Medal for the Premier League's fairest and best player. Amongst the front-runners for the award are Siena Cafe/"Sunday Times" Player of the Year Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Western Knights influential captain Carl Medica, and Perth S.C. midfielder Jamie Coyne, who was recently announced as the winner of the W.A. Soccer Website's Player of the Year. Also expected to poll strongly are Richard Watson (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jamie Trandos (Athena), Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn City), Claus Nielsen (Knights), Andreas Oliveira (Perth), Justin Everley (Swan I.C.) and Shaun Kilkelly (Future Glory). It's interesting to note that, on each of the past five occasions, the recipient of the Gold Medal has come from a club that ended the winter in the bottom half of the table. We will have a full round-up of who took out what in next Friday's news update.
GLORY AWAITS STATE'S BEST
Perth Glory may have a bye from the National Soccer League this weekend, but the clubs many loyal supporters can still catch their team in action when they meet the West Australian State team at Perth Oval on Sunday afternoon (4.00pm kick-off). It is expected Glory will give some of their fringe players the opportunity to impresses coaches Mich D'Avray and Alan Vest. Amongst those likely to line-up for Glory are local products Adrian Caceres and Anthony Danze, along with defender Ben Blake who joined the club early in the season after three years with Wollongong Wolves. Blake could come into the running for a spot in the Glory side when they return to N.S.L. as replacement for David Tarka who will be involved in Australia's quest to qualify for the World Youth Championship next month. Late this week, D'Avray said his players were looking forward to the friendly clash. "It's a very good state side and they will offer a real challenge. It is up to our players to step up and meet that challenge head on."
State coach Gary Marocchi this week added 19-year old defender Dino Djulbic and former Ashton United (England) player Dean Johnson to his squad. Marocchi's preparations for the match have been affected by the withdrawal of defenders Adrian Sutton (overseas), Aaron Cole (tendonitis), and Claus Nielsen (on holidays) along with the versatile Jamie Coyne who is close to agreeing terms with Glory. Well aware of what the State side are up against, Marocchi said it wasn't realistic to expect his team to defeat Glory on the big playing surface at Perth Oval. However, the the match will be a great opportunity for some of the local games' rising stars to impress against quality opposition. The State squad for the clash is Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn City), Troy Bernard, James Afkos (Floreat Athena), Shaun Kilkelly, Miki Vujacic (Future Glory), Oliver Taseski, Scott Campbell (Inglewood United), Andres Oliveira, Todd Howarth, Dino Djulbic (Perth S.C.), Stuart Banks (Sorrento), Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.), Carl Medica, Dean Johnson and Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights).
The main match will be preceded by two curtain-raisers. At 1.45pm Perth City take on the W.A. State Amateur team, while a Media Select face off against a Celebrity All Stars side from 2.45pm. Part of the $8.00 entry fee will go towards Perth City's fundraising for senior squad members Aaron Cowdrey and David Fyfe who suffered severe injuries in the Bali bombings last month. Some of those expected to entertain the crowd in the media-celebrity clash include former West Coast Eagles player Chris Mainwairing, Steve Nelkovski, Basil Zemplas, Gary Adshead, Liam Bartlett and Tom Baddeley.
DON'T GO AWAY NOW, Y'HEAR
Make no mistake, 2002 has been the most successful year since the inception of the Western Australia Soccer Website - aka www.soccerwa.com - way back in September 1997. Since 1st January until the end of October, we have registered 69,824 visitors from far and wide including Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, Denmark and Canada. This figure leaves for dead our previous record 12-month total of 43,107 visitors' that was logged last year - and there are still another two months of this year to go! Now firmly established as the second most popular soccer-devoted website in Western Australia behind the official Perth Glory website, our coverage will continue over the summer months with all the latest news and gossip as it comes to hand. In the next few weeks alone we'll have a complete run-down on this weekends Gold Medal Night, a comprehensive coverage of who has taken out the various club awards in 2002, and the naming of our annual All-Stars team. So stay tuned, there is plenty more to come.
NAVEN PLOTS DOWNFALL OF FORMER TEAMMATES
Former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven has taken his first steps into the coaching arena and is plotting the downfall of his former club. The no-nonsense midfielder will be on the bench as assisant to Gary Marocchi on Sunday when the State team take on Glory at Perth Oval. After a punishing eight-month local season, Naven could provide the right tonic should the State team need a lift pre-match. "Glory are seven games into their season, they're training full time and they're going to have players in there who are trying to push for the first team. I'd expect them to be getting stuck in," Naven said. "But there's no pressure on (the State players) so they can just go out and express themselves, get the ball and be confident."
After six seasons with Glory, Naven ended his association with the National Soccer League club in the middle of this year. He immediately linked up with Perth S.C. but had his winter cut short by an ankle injury. Naven, who intends to continue playing next year when he'll turn 34, is making plans for his involvement in the world game once he hangs up the playing boots, and sees his role as assistant State coach as an ideal starting point. "Gary asked me to help him out and I thought it was a good opportunity for me because I'd wanted to try to stay involved (in the game) somehow," Naven said.
JONES ON THE MEND
Floreat Athena defender Anthony Jones is on the mend after being taken to hospital following a clash of heads with Mark Pottier (Perth S.C.) in Sunday's Champion of Champions series Final. Jones spent the night in hospital and, while he was released the following day, is still taking things easy at home. "Anthony has a broken nose, but X-rays didn't pick up any other injuries," said Athena coach Taki Lambetsos. "However, he is suffering quite severe headaches." It's not been a great couple of months for the Jones family. Just six weeks ago Anthony's younger brother, Tom, was forced out of the State Under-16 side after breaking his leg in a training ground friendly.
KINGS INK DEAL WITH MANCHESTER UNITED
After fifteen month of negotiations, the northern suburbs' Kings Soccer Academy are pleased to announced an agreement with English giants Manchester United and the Sydney-based Parramatta Eagles Soccer Academy which will benefit youth development in this state. The deal comes as Manchester United look to strengthen ties with the Oceania region and follows the signing of a five-year agreement with the highly successful Parramatta Eagles set-up last year. Coinciding with the announcement, the local academy have launched their new website at www.kingsacademy.com.au
"We believe this agreement is an excellent opportunity for future development of W.A. youth soccer players and will have a lasting beneficial effect on the game here for many years to come," said Mitch Doherty, the coaching director of with the K.S.A. "An important factor in this agreement is that the majority of our players will stay and play in W.A., and that we will continue to support local initiatives where we believe it is in the interest of the player or the local soccer scene. This season we have four players in the Future Glory Under-18 squad and we will continue to support this program. We also have 20 players in Glory's overall development program, and four of our Under-13 players successfully graded for the State team."
"The aim and objective of the agreement we have entered into is to offer a career path to the very top of the professional game, to strengthen relations between W.A. soccer, the youth system in New South Wales, and the European game. We firmly believe that an association with the biggest football club in the world, Manchester United, who hold a reputation for worlds best practice youth development systems can only benefit our local talent." Amongst the benefits offered to the Kings Academy will be access to the latest training techniques using drills and sessions developed and put in practice at Manchester United. The academy will also run coaching clinics throughout the state with the assistance of both the English Premier league club and Parramatta Eagles.
JOONDALUP COACH RESIGNS (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Paul Simmons has resigned as coach of E.C.U. Joondalup - a position he has held since the club was founded as initially an amateur team eleven years ago. He led the club to the Premier League title in 2000 and also won the Boral Cup twice - in 1998 and this season. Simmons made his shock announcement at a club meeting on Monday night. Club president Tom McCrisken was reluctant to give away too much detail of the resignation, but did say: "This is a very unfortunate turn of events. Paul has been known as 'Mr E.C.U. Joondalup' and was instrumental in getting to the club to where it is today. It is sad that he has chosen to resign. He has personal reasons. His resignation was accepted very reluctantly." E.C.U. have yet to take steps to appoint a successor.
LOCALS IN N.S.L. SIGHTS (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Some of Western Australia's brightest young prospects could be swept away from under the nose of Perth Glory if their rivals in the National Soccer League have their way. Fremantle City's 16-year old goalscorer Josh Kamasz is being pursued by high-flying Newcastle United. Kamasz recently had several trials in England but Newcastle, where Josh's father Dave lived for several years before settling in Perth, looks likely to be his future destination. United coach Ian Crook wants to have a close-up look at the all-action youngster, who is expected to travel to the East coast very shortly for trials.
South Melbourne is another club that could soon be scooping some of the best young talent from the west with Premier League champions Perth S.C. poised to forge links with the N.S.L. giants. It is understood Perth will recommend that South take a good look at the likes of burgeoning talents Todd Howarth and Dino Djulbic, who are both in the State side to face Glory this weekend. "There are a lot of talented players in W.A. and we certainly would not stand in the way of any player who gets the opportunity to step up into the N.S.L.," said Perth coach Graham Normanton.
S.W.C. SEEK BOARD MEMBERS (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
Soccer West Coast are calling for expressions of interest in two vacant Independent Director posts on their Board. The two outgoing directors are Denis McInerney and Keith Jones, whose two-year periods are up. McInerney is expected to nominate again, but Jones has indicated that he won't be going forward again due to increased work commitments. Interested parties should contact S.W.C. general manager Paul Tombides with nominations received before 15th November.
TARKA WINS NATIONAL CALL-UP
Australian Under-20 coach Ange Postecoglou has included Perth Glory defender David Tarka in his 20-player squad that will compete in the Oceania World Youth Championship Qualifying tournament being held in Vanuatu next month. The squad goes into camp in Melbourne on 1st December before departing for Port Vila three days later. The Young Socceroos will play only twice in the Group A qualifying stage - against Vanuata (7th December) and Papua New Guinea (9th December) - following the late withdrawal of the Cook Islands. The group winner then meets the winner of Group B with the victor representing Oceania at the F.I.F.A. World Youth Championship being held in the United Arab Emirates next March and April. Tarka made his State League debut at the age of 16 for Cockburn City and toured the United Kingdom and Ireland with the Australian Schoolboys in late 1999. The following year he captained the Australian Institute of Sport team in the Youth N.S.L., signing with with Glory in July 2001.
Local product Nick Mrdja is one of three Perth Glory players whose names have been put forward for the "West Australian" ANZ Sports Star of the Year for the month of October. Mrdja was nominated after a superb performance against Sydney United at Perth Oval recently. Having scored all four of Glory's goals this month, Damian Mori was also added to the list along with German midfielder Andre Gumprecht. A short-list of 30 local sportsmen and women will be announced by the committee, which features members of the "West Australian" newspaper and the W.A. Sports Federation, next month before the naming of the winner of the annual award on 12th December.
MORE SUCCESS IN LINE FOR YOUNG PERTH SIDE
Few would argue that 2002 belonged to Perth S.C. after the club took out four of the five competitions contested over the course of the season. Since taking over the reigns in mid-1999, coach Graham Normanton has led the Blues to no less than eight trophies, and he predicts there will be more silverware added to the trophy cabinet in coming years as Perth continue to produce quality players from within their youth ranks. As a case in point, Normanton's starting line-up for Sunday's Champion of Champions Final featured eight players aged 22 or young, making them the youngest side to win the annual play-off series. Andres Oliveira (20) and David Onoforo (21) lead the side in attack where they received an endless supply of ammunition from wide players Todd Howarth (20) and Michael Icanovski (22). 33-year old veteran Mark Pottier may have provided the drive from the middle of the park, but it was fellow-midfielders Rob Giorgi (21) and Adam Bunce (19) that got themselves on the scoresheet. Defensively, captain Stephen Willey (29) and goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo (30) were rarely out of the side over the winter months as they built a solid partnership with State squad members Aaron Cole (22) and Dino Djulbic (19). Normanton also had plenty of youth on the bench in the form of Giannia Papalia, Paul Natale (both 18), Jason Colli (19), Albert Osei-Tutu (20) and Perry Ielati (24).
TICKETS ON SALE FOR HALL OF FAME DINNER
Tickets are now available for the Hall of Fame gala dinner, which is being held at the Parmelia Hilton, on Saturday 30th November. Eleven former players will be inducted into the Hall of Champions on the night, while there will be fourteen inductees into the Hall of Recognition which caters for administrators, coaches, referees and others associated with the sport. West Australian Premier Geoff Gallop will attend the function, as will Soccer Australia chairman Ian Knop. Tickets for what promises to be a night to remember are available from John O'Connell (ph. 9275 5329) or Bob Brown (ph. 9446 3338) at a cost of $85.00 each.
QUEENS PARK STRENGTHEN COACHING STOCKS
First Division club Queens Park are pleased to announce the appointment of Perth Glory youth development coach Nick Edwards as the Under-18 development coach for the 2003 season. With Mike Brazil as the first team coach and Nick Edwards looking after the youth side of things, everyone associated with the club are looking forward to the 2003 winter. Queens Park will commence their pre-season schedule early in the new year and invite any interested players which are turning 15, 16 or 17 in 2003 to contact with the club (ph. 9458 8704) or Edwards (ph. 9362 2717) direct.
DJULBIC IN STATE CALL-UP
State coach Gary Marocchi has added Perth S.C. defender Dino Djulbic to his squad for this Sunday's friendly clash with Perth Glory at Perth Oval. The highly-rated 19-year old was a key player for the Perth side when which claimed their fourth trophy of the season by defeating Floreat Athena 3-0 in the Final of the Champion of Champions series on the weekend. "Dino was in the Under-19 squad earlier in the year, so I know his capabilities," said Marocchi. "He did well in the Grand Final and I've called him up to give us extra cover at the back." A product of the club's youth development system, Djulbic has previously represented Western Australia at youth, Schoolboys and Under-19 levels.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
For the third successive year the Champion of Champions trophy will reside at Dorrien Gardens after Perth S.C. defeated Floreat Athena 3-0 in Sunday's season finale. Rob Giorgi gave Perth the perfect start when he found the net after 3 minutes, and the loss of Jamie Trandos and Anthony Jones to injury delivered an already depleted Athena a further blow before half-time. Andreas Oliveira doubled the margin shortly after the interval with Adam Bunce putting the icing on the cake with a 79th minute header.
Earlier in the day, E.C.U. Joondalup took out the Under-18 play-off title, coming from two goals down to Fremantle City and forcing the game into a penalty shoot-out. With the scores tied at 3-3 after regulation time, Joondalup won the shoot-out 3-1. Future Glory won the Final of the Under-18 Challenge with a convincing 4-0 result over Sorrento.
Perth being crowned Champion of Champions. (Photograph by Brett Klucznik)
PERTH COMPLETE PLAY-OFF HAT-TRICK (CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND FOUR)
The local season came to a close with the Final of the top-five Champion of Champions series on Sunday at the National Stadium between local rivals Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena. Perth coach Graham Normanton had the luxury of a full squad to select from after his players earnt themselves a rest last weekend. He opted to make just one change to the side which swept aside the Western Knights a fortnight ago with teenager Dino Djulbic replacing Perry Ielati at the back. Athena on the other hand went into the game without key striker Robin Dyers and ever-present Adrian Sutton due to work and family commitments respectively, while James Afkos and John Xigas overcame late tests to take their place in the starting line-up.
The game was barely three minutes old and spectators were still settling into their seats when unexpectedly Perth snatched the lead. A strong run from Michael Icanovski took him behind the Athena defence wide on the right to cross into the area where Athena custodian Xigas spilled the low cross and young midfielder Rob Giorgi found himself perfectly positioned to sweep the ball home from close-range. Stunned at being behind so early in the piece, Athena took some time to re-gain their composure as Perth pressed to make the most of the situation. 11 minutes into the game and Howarth pounced upon a partially cleared corner to volley brilliantly from 18-metres but Xigas made the save without having to extend himself.
With the Perth midfield dominating possession, Athena were make to work hard for the ball and it took until the 18th minute before they threatened as Dejan Djukanovic's glancing header from Afkos went just wide of the up-right. A minute after Jamie Trandos thwarted Mark Pottier on top of Perth's attacking area, the Athena midfielder went down under an Icanovski tackle which would eventually see him replaced with an ankle injury. It was a very cruel blow for Athena who were just beginning to find their rhythm, string together some good passes and caught their opponents defence trouble.
The closing stages of the period produced some good end-to-end football that kept the crowd onthe edge of their seats. Another dangerous Icanovski cross into the area this time found Andres Oliveria who was unable to steer the ball in the direction of the goal. Three minutes later, and at the opposite end of the ground, Anthony Jones pumped a high ball into the dangerzone where Perth goalkeeper Robert Scaraparolo made a flying save to deny Afkos. And shortly after David Onoforo shook off the last defender to go one-on-one with Xigas who smothered at the young strikers feet. But the half came to a sobering close after Pottier and Jones collided when contesting a high ball, the Athena defender eventually carried from the field on a stretcher before being rushed to hospital by ambulance with a suspected neck injury.
After a much deserved break, the two sides emerged from the tunnel to play out the last 45-minutes of the 2002 season. The half was only 39-seconds old when Perth extended their lead through Oliveira who knocked in a deep corner from the left by teenage midfielder Adam Bunce. Two goals up and with the trophy well within their reach, Perth eased off a little in an effort to gain some perspective on things and stay focused on the task at hand. This allowed Athena to have more of the ball, but for all their possession they found it very difficult to break down the defence of Stephen Willey, Aaron Cole and Djulbic who formed an impregnable wall at the back for Perth. Lacking penetration, Athena were frustrated into chancing their luck from distance with few attempts troubling Scarparolo.
But as the half wore on Athena turned to making better use of the flanks, the end result being they were now able to get in behind Perth's defence with some frequency. A 61st minute corner was cleared of the 18-yard box as far as Eugene Tan who unleashed a thunderbolt from 20-metres which unfortunately flew straight to the Perth 'keeper. Shortly after Ryan Newhill's cross from the right landed perfectly for Marc Nauer but his blistering drive rose narrowly over the crossbar. The momentum was now with Athena who were desperate for a goal that would bring them back into the game. Newhill found himself in space on top of the area after 72 minutes but Scarparolo moved sharply to keep out the striker's goalbound effort.
Content to sit back, soak up the pressure and press forward on the counter-attack, Perth won themselves a corner eleven minutes from full-time which Howarth hit deep and Bunce looped over Xigas to make it 3-0 and end the game as a contest. The goal renewed Perth's enthusiasm and in the time remaining they came close on several occasions to finding goal number four. Onoforo's smashing drive was brilliantly tipped wide by Xigas after 81 minutes, and from the resulting corner Cole crashed the ball into the wrong side of the bar. Six minutes later Onoforo spotted the Athena 'keeper off his line and sent a clever chip over his head which bounced off the crossbar. The final opportunity of the day came the way of Athena when Troy Bernard snuck in behind Willey but his toe-poke was kept out by the sharp reflexes of Scarparolo.
Being crowned Champion of Champions was a fitting end to Perth's 2002 campaign in which the added the pre-season Night Series, the E.C.U. Centenary Cup and the Premier League championship to the Dorrien Gadens trophy cabinet. In a solid overall team performance, Cole kept Athena dangerman Newhill quiet while Pottier provided the drive from the middle of the park. "I wanted to see a bit more quality early on but the last 30 minutes was much better," said coach Normanton after the game. "It could've been five or six-nil on another day - but three will do in a final." In a match that never reached any great heights as a spectacle, Xigas was the stand-put performer in a depleted Athena side that was unable to get their natural game going.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Stephen Willey, Aaron Cole (Paul Natale
90), Dino Djulibic, Todd Howarth, Michael Icanovski (Perry Ielati 68), Rob
Giorgi (Albert Osei-Tutu 76), Adam Bunce, Mark Pottier, David Onoforo,
Floreat Athena : John Xigas, Troy Bernard, Anthony Jones (Eugene Tan 43), Fernando Coron, Marc Nauer (Matthew Novatsis 84), Kosta Kalavroutziotis, Jamie Trandos (Andreas Pantelis 29), Costa Socratous, James Afkos, Dejan Djukanovic, Ryan Newhill
Referee : Angelo Nardi
Cautions : Icanovski (22), Djulbic (45), Newhill (64)
Dismissals : None
Attendance : 1,300 (approx.)
The deciding game of the Under-18 play-offs pitted home-and-away champions Fremantle City against an E.C.U. Joondalup side that took the long route to the final, coming from fifth place in the final standings and scrapping over the line in two penalty shoot-outs. Joondalup started the game looking to take the early lead, and they would have had it in the 7th minute if not for the agility of goalkeeper Luke Rotadella who pulled off a fantastic save to keep out John Higgins' thunderbolt from 17-metres. But for much of the opening spell it was the respective defences that dominated play, working overtime to negate the effect of their opponents' attackers.
In the 23rd minute Joondalup strung together a sequence of passes to go down the left flank which ended in Daniel De Fazio's explosive half-volley whizzing inches the wrong side of the up-right. Having been held at bay by a well-organised Joondalup defence for the better part of the first half hour, the pendulum began to swing in Fremantle's favour as the half came to a close. Five minutes from the break the port side won a free-kick on the top of their 18-yard box, which captain Paul Oliver brilliantly curled round the defensive wall to send the ball flying into the top corner of the net to give his side the lead going into half-time.
Fremantle extended their lead two minutes into the new half when Daniel Barlow's looping header evaded the out-stretched arms of replacement goalkeeper Michael Lawson. The port side continued to go on the attack and it looked only a matter of time before the margin would blow out even further with John Migas's powerful strike desperately blocked by a defender. And, on the hour, a spectacular long-range effort from Tim De Sousa grazed the wrong side of the crossbar as Fremantle set their sights on wrapping up the trophy. But Joondalup had other ideas and when Higgins nodded in Phil O'Callaghan's 63rd minute corner, it not only renewed interest for those neutrals in the crowd but also sparked a goalscoring frenzy.
Miga's perfectly-struck shot from 18-metres left Lawson with absolutely no chance in the 65th minute to restore Fremantle's two-goal buffer. Not to be outdone, Higgins bagged his second of the afternoon with a stunning strike from distance three minutes later. And, with ten minutes remaining, O'Callaghan reacted quickest to a loose ball inside the area to level the scores. De Fazio was presented with a golden opportunity to give Joondalup the lead when he broke free of the Fremantle defence only to slam the ball into the side netting from 14-metres close to full-time.
After 80 minutes of energy-sapping, edge-of-the-seat football the Under-18 Final would be decided on penalties which resulted in Joondalup coming out on top 3-1 and make it back-to-back play-off triumphs. Higgins, De Fazio and Daniel Waind converted their spot-kicks for Joondalup, while Oliver was the only one of four Fremantle penalty takers to find the net. Superb in the middle of the park from where he scored twice, Higgins was the stand-out performer for Joondalup on an afternoon that saw important contributions from De Fazio and O'Callaghan. Fremantle were led Oliver, who was a commanding and calming presence at the back, with Migas and Barlow also amongst their best players.
Fremantle City : Luke Rotadella, Paul Oliver, Chris Wyllie (Arthur Twarog
79), Tim De Sousa, Simon Elton-Bott, John Migas (Chris Zarriceuta 77),
Daniel Barlow, Michael Cutri (Chris Smith 74), Dean Apelgren, Mark Sim, Mo Atak
E.C.U. Joondalup : James Forsythe (Michael Lawson 40), Darryl Platten, Daniel Glasgow, Daniel Waind, Carmelo Genovese, Martin Ashworth (Lee Perry 47), Phil O'Callaghan, Royston Griffiths, John Higgins, Scott Blackmore, Daniel De Fazio
Referee : Paul Anderson
Cautions : Atak (46), Blackmore (74)
Dismissals : None
Future Glory took out the Final of the Under-18 Challenge Cup with a 4-0 trouncing of northern suburbs side Sorrento. Anthony Danze, a member of the Perth Glory senior squad, line-up for Future and played a key role in the victory by scoring twice. Sasa Killibardi and Lyndon Pywell, regulars in the Future side which played in the Premier League reserves competition this year, also got their names on the scoresheet.
TOP GERMAN CLUB CHASE ERGIC (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Crack German outfit Bayer Leverkusen have made an approach to Juventus about Australian midfielder Ivan Ergic. The Yugoslavia Under-21 international, who was educated at the Australian Institute of Sport, has been in sparkling form in Europe on-loan at F.C. Basel. Ergic hit the headlines recently with a sensational two-goal haul at Valencia and Bayer trainer Klaus Toppmoller sees the former Perth Glory ace as the ideal replacement for German international Michael Ballack. According to "Tuttosport", Juventus are ready to offer Ergic as a make-weight to bring Bayer's Brazilian defender Lucio to Turin early next year.
GLORY GO TOP!
Perth Glory wore black armbands as a mark of respect to absent midfielder Matt Horsley, whose 6-year old daughter Brook died during the week, when they met Northern Spirit in Sydney last night. Brad Hassell opened the scoring after 25 minutes when he ran onto a superb pass from Nick Mrdja to volley past Spirit goalkeeper Paul Henderson. The lead lasted just ten minutes before Brent Fisher profited from some confusion in the Glory defence to level the scores. Glory regained the lead after 62 minutes through a Scott Miller header, and the result was put beyond doubt in the final minute when Damian Mori bagged his seventh goal of the season. "It was a win for Matty," said coach Mich d'Avray after the victory which lifted Glory to the top of the National Soccer League table. The Glory coach was quick to praise the efforts of Mrdja who played a pivotal role in the win. "Nicky had a very good game. It was very similar to last week and maybe even slightly better."
CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS FINAL PREVIEW
The local season reaches it's climax this Sunday with the Final of the Champion Of Champions series at the National Stadium in Inglewood. The season finale promises to be a blockbuster with Premier League champions Perth S.C. squaring off against neighbours and long-time rivals Floreat Athena. The clubs have played each other three times this season with honours even. Athena defeated Perth 1-0 at Dorrien Gardens in Round Four of the home-and-away season, the return fixture finishing in a thrilling 3-3 draw. Their most recent encounter was the Final of the E.C.U. Centenary Cup when Perth triumphed 2-1 amid controversial circumstances.
It will be the fourth time in two years that the inner-city rivals have met with silverware up for grabs, and on each of those occasions Perth have emerged as victors. "We certainly appear to have the wood on Athena when it comes to Finals but we won't be complacent on Sunday," said Perth coach Graham Normanton this week. Between the posts, Robert Scarparolo has enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career and with sweeper Stephen Willey also in red-hot form, Athena will have their work cut out for them when on the offensive. State wingback Todd Howarth has proved he can open up the best of defences, the muscle in midfield will come from Mark Pottier with Andreas Oliveira hoping to continue his goalscoring touch on the weekend.
After accounting for the Western Knights last weekend, Athena coach Taki Lambetsos is confident his troops can claim the trophy over Perth on Sunday. Unfortunately, Athena will be without tw of their star players in Adrian Sutton and Robyn Dyers due to holidays overseas and work commitments respectively. Adding to Lambetsos' woes are injury clouds over goalkeeper John Xigas (knee) and influential midfielder James Afkos (hamstring). "We are still confident," said Lambetsos. It is expected Troy Bernard will replace Sutton at the heart of the defence with young gun Dejan Djukanovic partnering big striker Ryan Newhill, who has had a sensational second half of the season, in attack. The performances of hard-working midfield pair Jamie Trandos and Costa Socratous also will prove crucial to Athena's chances of success.
The Under-18 Champion of Champions Final (kick-off 1.00pm), pits Fremantle City against E.C.U. Joondalup. Having already lifted the home-and-away series trophy, Fremantle go into the match as outfit favourites after the more than convincing 5-0 demolition of Perth S.C. a fortnight ago which secured their place in the decider. Joondalup have done things the hard way, coming from fifth on the table and relying on penalty shoot-outs to get over the line against Floreat Athena and Sorrento before recording a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Perth S.C. last week.
At 11.20am, the Final of the Under-18 Challenge is being contested between Future Glory and Sorrento who progressed through the qualifying rounds which were held last weekend at Frank Drago Reserve. Sorrento's Under-18 side made their way through the qualifiers with an impressive 3-1 defeat of Mandurah City, drew with E.C.U. Joondalup 1-1 before thumping Armadale 3-0. The defeated a dogged Rockingham City outfit 1-0 in the semi-final stage, while Future Glory scraped through with an entertaining 4-3 win over Perth S.C.
GLORY LOOK FOR SPIRITED PERFORMANCE
Perth Glory are looking to build on its best performance of the season when they visit Sydney to take on Northern Spirit at North Sydney Oval tonight. Last weekend's victory over Sydney United saw a greatly improved effort and a similar showing will be needed to keep the pressure on league leaders Olympic Sharks. Glory is currently in second spot on the National Soccer League ladder, just two points behind Olympic.
AFKOS PLEDGES NEW DIRECTION
Newly elected Soccer Australia director Paul Afkos has pledged that a reformed national competition, with nationwide television coverage, and an adequate international program for Australia's national teams are high on his agenda. While Afkos has devoted his time and money to the sport for 32 years, some have questioned the wisdom in his decision to join the S.A. board at a time when the game in Australia is arguably at an all-time low. "I am not frightened of the work at all and I'm confident and optimistic about the potential of the game," he said this week. "We need to resurrect the momentum and the profile of the game. We need to put past differences aside and work towards the common goal of lifting the game of soccer."
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This page was last updated on the 31st December, 2002