BIG WEEKEND OF LOCAL ACTION
Three teams' continuance in the 2003 Night Series will be on the line in this weekends round of fixtures at the National Stadium. Having conceded nine goals in their previous two outings, Stirling Lions face early elimination should they go down to a powerful Western Knights line-up in Friday's opening match of the pre-season tournament. A point will be enough for E.C.U. Joondalup to progress to the knock-out stage and eliminate Bassendean Caledonian in the process - when they take on Floreat Athena from 8.20pm. There's an early start on Sunday (5.15pm kick-off) when tournament favourite Sorrento meet a Cockburn City side which found the net five times in their first competitive hit-out of 2003. Traditional rivals Perth S.C. and Swan I.C. meet from 6:50pm, while Fremantle City must win the late game against host club and Group B leaders Inglewood United in order to remain in the tournament.
The opening games of the 2003 Boral Cup take place on Monday when the only all-Premier League clash has Bassendean Caledonian with home ground advantage over E.C.U. Joondalup. Western Knights travel to Alfred Skeet Oval where they play Armadale, while the match of the round takes place at Frank Drago Reserve between Bayswater City and Mandurah City. Queens Park will be out to put their Pioneer Night Series final loss behind them when they go head-to-head with Stirling Suns at the National Stadium in Inglewood. At Walter Padbury Reserve its Southside United against South West Phoenix, and Leeming Strikers are on the road to Kingsway Olympic. Elsewhere, Rockingham City play Balcatta at Dowling Street Reserve, and Morley Windmills are at home against Canning City. On Saturday 8th March The City meet Fremantle City at Kingsway Sporting Complex, while at Litis Stadium it's Floreat Athena against Ashfield. The First Round of the Cup concludes on Saturday 15th March at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions are home to local rivals Dianella White Eagles. Sorrento, Cockburn City, Perth S.C., Swan I.C. and Inglewood United all have a bye into the Second Round.
A.I.S. SCHOLARSHIP FOR WARD
One of the state's rising stars, midfielder Nick Ward, has cut short trials with English club Middlesbrough to take up a 12-month scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. The teenager, who turns 18 next month, was only days a matter of days into trials with 'Boro when contacted by Steve O'Connor, soccer coach at the A.I.S., with an offer to immediately join the institute's prestigious program. Having watched Australia defeat England with Middlesbrough's Perth-born goalkeeper Brad Jones, Ward jumped on the first plane back home before departing for Canberra on Monday.
The scholarship is a just reward for the skilful midfielder who was outstanding for the West Australian Schoolboys at last year's national championships. And his efforts didn't go unnoticed with a spot in the Australian Schoolboys squad at tournaments' end and offers to trial at Middlesbrough and the A.I.S. With trips to China and South America in the offing at the institute, Ward is keen to get down to business and has already set his sights on claiming a spot in the national Under-20 squad. A State Under-15 and Under-16 representative while with E.C.U. Joondalup, Ward was loaned to Future Glory last year when he travelled to France with the State Under-19 squad for the Tournoi de Croix.
SECOND LICENCE RUMOURS RE-SURFACE
Suggestions that Western Australia may become home to a second side in the National Soccer League have surfaced once again. With the competition to be re-launched for the 2004/05 season, there has been widespread speculation in recent weeks that the N.S.L. will be enlarged to 16 teams next year. This would provide new clubs or consortiums with the opportunity to press their claims for entry in the re-vamped competition. It is understood consortiums from Adelaide, Fremantle, the Gold Coast and Melbourne have all started to campaign for inclusion in next season's N.S.L. along with Queensland state league champions Queensland Lions and Victorian premier league side Whittlesea Stallions.
However, Soccer Australia chairman Rego Nogarotto has played down suggestions the N.S.L. will be expanded. "That's fanciful," Nogarotto told Michael Cockerill of the "Sydney Morning Herald". "Obviously next season is a difficult one. We have to work out how we can retain interest while at the same time we're in a holding pattern for the re-launch. But making it bigger is not the answer. If we've got 13 teams struggling to make ends meet, as we have at the moment, bringing in more teams is only going to add to the problem, not solve it." The N.S.L. reform sub-committee - which includes Nogarotto, a representative of media partners Channel Seven, Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana and former Socceroo and lawyer Peter Tredinnick - is scheduled to meet for the first time within the next fortnight.
MRDJA STEPS UP (reproduced with permission from the 'Glory Days' magazine)
Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer waited for several seasons before getting a regular run and now Perth Glory may have it's own equaivalent in former Perth S.C. player Nick Mrdja. Solskjaer faced competition over the seasons from the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and now Rudd van Nistelrooy. Mrdja is in a similar situation - having to unseat the National Soccer League's all-time leading goalscorer, Damian Mori, and his clubs Most Glorious Player for the past two seasons Bobby, Despotovski.
"That was never going to be easy," said Mrdja. "But the plus side is that you are training day in and day out with the best in the business and that helps you improve your game." Mrdja has improved to such an extent that he impressed experienced N.S.L. watchers with a series of performances leading the line alongside Mori. With pace to burn and a venomous left foot shot, Mrdja set tongues wagging, especially with a great showing at Northern Spirit when he set-up one of the goals of the season for teammate brad Hassell.
Mrdja has been aware of the need to move from squad player to a more regular performer. "Coach Mich d'Avray has said publicly that he expected me to be pushing for selection this season so I knew what the aim was." There was also advice on one of the weak points of the striker's game - an over-reliance on his left foot. "Mich has told me to have a go on the weaker foot whenever the opportunity arises. I think two of my four goals have come with the right so it is working out okay."
The 24-year old, who started out in the local competition with Bayswater City, knows that like Solskjaer he may still find himself in and out of the team. "Being honest, Bobby and Damian are hard people to shift. They are proven goalscorers and performers. I need to take every opportunity as it comes along, make sure I enjoy it and try to take the chances on offer." D'Avray meanwhile knows Mrdja's emergence as a potential starter has given him new options. "Nick gives us a lot of options such as switching to 4-3-3 or dropping Bobby deeper if we need to."
THERE'S STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT SAYS BAYSWATER COACH
Bayswater City are expected to be one of the First Division's big improvers when the new season kicks-off next month. Last week the club started 2003 with victory over Queens Park in the final of the friendly Pioneer Night Series, a result which left coach Salv Todaro a very happy man. "I was very pleased with the way the team worked as a unit last Thursday night, and credit must also go to Queens Park who put up a very good battle," said Todaro. "We've still got a lot of room for improvement and we'll be working hard on the training track to ensure that we are ready when the season proper starts. Our main aim this year is to develop both as individuals and as a team to ensure that we have adequate depth and coverage in our squad - something that we lacked last year. After our Night Series win we're looking forward to the season ahead and being involved in the chase for a spot in the Premier League."
Since the end of last season Bayswater have been able to strengthen their squad with some quality additions. "Goalkeeper Adam Ashworth, who actually played with us while on loan from Inglewood last season, has signed with the club. The experience of Sean Cowman and Alex Grindley, who both played for Leeming Strikers last year, will provide the team with some much needed depth. And, after two years out of the game, Adrian Scaffidi has decided to make his comeback with us. At this stage we have no other players coming down to trial, however, we are always on the look-out for players that can add value to our squad," said the Bayswater coach. "Apart from club captain Kevin Henderson, who is currently considering his playing future, all of last years' senior squad have returned for the new season."
While the First Division season is still some weeks from getting underway, Todaro believes three clubs stand head and shoulders above the rest. "The First Division title this year will be one by either Armadale, Queens Park or Mandurah City. Armadale are always a hard team to play, if they have kept the same squad as last year they will go very close to winning the league. Queens Park are a very competitive unit, and I believe Mandurah have picked a couple of very useful players including Christian Pascherwitz which will make them hard to beat. And I think Bayswater will also be up there at seasons' end, our young squad is quickly maturing and with a couple of experienced additions we have a very nice mix developing. My dark horse prediction would have to be Kingsway Olympic ... to be honest I wouldn't discount anyone if they are able to string together some good early season results."
RELEGATION LIFT FOR BIRMINGHAM, AND LAZARIDIS
Australian international Stan Lazaridis played a leading role as Birmingham City eased their relegation fears with an upset 2-1 win over Liverpool on the weekend. The Blues opening goal came after Lazaridis won his club a free-kick which was nodded home by Stephen Clemence after 34 minutes, and Birmingham doubled their lead on 68 minutes when the former Floreat Athena player crossed to the unmarked Clinton Morrison to score. Lazaridis might have scored Birmingham's third when sent free by Robbie Savage but Liverpool goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was quick off his line to smother. "Hopefully that was the little kick-start we needed to get back into winning ways," said Blues boss Steve Bruce after the game. "It's a possibility that two more wins may be enough for us (to avoid relegation)."
GOALKEEPER'S ERROR PROVES COSTLY
So often Perth Glory's saviour, goalkeeper Jason Petkovic has admitted it was his mistake which led Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Olympic Sharks, the side's first loss in twelve matches. Petkovic, who started out locally with Spearwood Dalmatinac (nee Cockburn City), said he should have held Jeromy Harris' long-range effort which rebounded off him before being bundled over the line by his unfortunate teammate Jamie Harnwell. "I was disappointed," he told Len Findlay of the "West Australian". "If I had held it or pushed it round the post it would have been fine but that's the way it goes ... (Sharks goalkeeper) Clint (Bolton) spilled two or three and we couldn't put them away. I spilled one and we got punished for it." The goalkeeper's unexpected error not only cost Glory three points, but also resulted in their third successive loss to the Sharks.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
A Dean Wallace hat-trick inspired Cockburn City to a convincing 5-1 win over newly promoted Stirling Lions in this evenings round of the Night Series at the National Stadium. In the late game Sorrento continued to shape up as 2003's big improvers with a 1-0 result against Western Knights. On Friday Swan I.C. recorded a 2-1 win over a Fremantle City side which ended the game with ten men. And Bassendean Caledonian's continence in the series is now out of their hands following a 1-1 draw with E.C.U. Joondalup. Caledonian must rely on Floreat Athena defeating Joondalup by 2-0 or greater next weekend in order to progress to the knock-out phase.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND TWO (Cockburn City vs Stirling Lions by Lennie Bavich; Sorrento vs Western Knights by Kerry Slater)
Friday nights opening match of the Night Series was an entertaining tussle between E.C.U. Joondalup and Bassendean Caledonian. The northern suburbs side started the stronger and should have taken the lead in the opening minute when Derek Cooke failed to make sufficient contact with Scott Bulloch's cross to truly test the opposing goalkeeper. Shortly after Caledonian created their first opportunity but, rising above the defence, Kevin Griffiths' well-directed header was kept out by goalkeeper Peter Stewart. As the half progressed Joondalup's youngsters grew in confidence. After a period of sustained pressure, the ball came to Darryl Platten who fired home from 10-yards to hand Joondalup the lead on the half-hour. Caledonian responded by picking up the pace and were rewarded five minutes later when Kevin Griffiths' cross found Dean Gartside who past post header levelled the score. Joondalup were awarded a penalty with the final play of the half when Bulloch was brought down inside the area, but Derek Cooke unfortunately sent the spot-kick over the crossbar. In a tight second half there were good chances for both teams to add to their tallies without success as the intensity went up a notch. Scott Blackmore and John Higgins began to get more involved for Joondalup while for Caledonian it was Kevin Griffiths, Jason Van Rooy and Gartside who were at the heart of their best attacking raids. Close to the final whistle Joondalup were reduced to ten men when Craig Cheesman was received his second yellow card, but in the end it made no difference as the match petered out into a hard-fought one-all draw. The only disappointing aspect of an otherwise enthralling contest was the poor standard of refereeing, especially in light of the fact that there was no third official, his place being taken by a Caledonian representative.
Swan I.C. gained their first win of the year in the Night Series in Friday's late game when they defeated Fremantle City 2-1. The black-and-whites continued with the good form displayed in the final stages of their narrow 3-2 loss to Inglewood United the previous week. With a re-arranged side Swan took time to settle with the port side enjoying the better of the early exchanges. They were rewarded in the 17th minute when Anthony Pereira met a centring ball to fire past Corey Hugo from the edge of the box. Slowly but surely Swan worked their way back into the game but were unable to level the score before the interval. Early in second half Damian Scali came close to equalising but his effort scraped the wrong side of the post. But a goal was soon to come for Swan, Adrian McBride finding Elton Holmes on the edge of the area from where he hammered a first-time shot into the back of the net. Midway through the period City were reduced to ten men when their goalkeeper was forced to handle the ball outside his 18-yard box leaving the referee with no option but to flash a red card. With seven minutes to go Swan took the lead when Damian Scali's long-range shot went through the legs of the substitute goalkeeper to give his side a 2-1 win.
A hat-trick by Dean Wallace got Cockburn City's season off to a flying start when they thumped newly promoted Stirling Lions 5-1 in Sunday's early Night Series game. With 13 minutes gone on the clock, Wallace struck a fine drive from just outside the penalty area which hit the underside of the crossbar before crossing the line to opening Cockburn's account. Their second goal came from some great lead-up work by highly rated teenager Jeff Bright who combined with Shane McNally to present Wallace with a simple tap-in. In the 40th minute Mileta Miletic touched the ball to fellow striker Peter Petkovich who slipped the ball under the Lions goalkeeper to make the margin three goals by the half-time interval. Toby Wright gave the Lions some hope when he latched onto a pass from Darius Dweh to expertly chip goalkeeper Dino Pacella from 18-metres seven minutes into the new half. Twelve minutes latter Wallace was on hand to finish a slick move by Cockburn and complete his hat-trick. With the game in Cockburn's hands, coach Mirko Jelicic substituted Wallace, Petkovich and Peter Vukmirovic giving to give Domenic De Felice, Roberto Colalillo and Allan Pottier a run towards the end of the game. De Felice rounded out the scoreline by back healing a cross from the right wing in to cap an impressive footballing display from the southern suburbs team.
Still smarting from their loss to Sorrento in the final of the BGC Cup, Western Knights came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders in Sunday's late fixture. Carl Medica had the first opportunity after 2 minutes with a long-range effort that didn't trouble goalkeeper Neil Young. Five minutes later Iain Deans high lob from the right forced Knights custodian Tommi Tomich to back-peddle and tip the ball over the top for a corner. A flowing move by Sorrento down the left saw Sean Fallon's cross nodded down by Todd Harnwell into the path of Glen Thomas whose volley was hit straight at Tomich. Moments later the Knights should have opened the scoring as Stuart Montgomery teed-up Eugene Singeorzan but his powerful shot was turned away by Young. And with half time approaching Montgomery got the better of Richard Watson only to poke his effort wide of the up-right. Seven minutes into the new half and Singeorzan was again denied by Young. On 57 minutes Sorrento almost conceded a goal of their own making as Steve MacDonald panicked while attempting to clear but he was saved by Tony Cumace who was handily placed on the goal line. A defensive error by the Knights allowed Simon Harland in but he pulled his shot across the face of goal. With the match seemingly destined for a draw, Cumace's cross was cleverly flicked on by Harland to the in-coming Thomas who slid the ball under Tomich for the match winner with just three minutes left on the clock.
INGLEWOOD DEFEAT YOUNG ASHFIELD SIDE
Ashfield yesterday suffered losses at both senior and reserve team levels to top flight outfit Inglewood United at Ashfield Reserve. The main match saw Inglewood stroll home 5-0 courtesy of a Louis Parkinson hat-trick while Paul Baczynski and Admir Mehic also got themselves on the scorecard. It was a brace performance from a young and inexperienced Ashfield side who showed enough to please coach Tom Kilkelly. In the reserves clash, Ashfield put up a strong challenge for the duration of the match only to go down 1-2 with Craig Highet converting a penalty in his first outing for the home side.
SHARKS COMPLETE DOUBLE OVER DISAPPOINTING GLORY (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory disappointed a large crowd when they lost the game and top spot on the National Soccer League by going down 1-0 to Olympic Sharks. After an even and scintillating first half the Sydney side clearly had the better of the second to fully deserve their win. After a minute's silence to mark the early death through cancer of popular, long-serving Socceroos coach Eddie Thompson, Olympic sharks signalled their intentions by going immediately on the offensive. For the first 10 minutes they stretched the Glory defence with Joel Porter forcing a good save from Jason Petkovic. Glory then began their best period of the match. An attack down the right nearly ended in an own goal. Damian Mori blasted wide after being put through by Bobby Despotovoski who, minutes later, was denied by some solid defending. The match was living up to its top billing and tension was evident in some of the midfield play as Glory created the better goalscoring opportunities. Scott Miller's fine drive was magnificently saved left-handed by Clint Bolton. And a minute later another great Bolton save denied Despotovoski but Mori should have done better with the rebound. The Sharks came back and Glory were force to defend in depth with David Tarka and Miller in outstanding form. Glory fans had a scare in the 37th minute when Petkovic nearly let Porter's fierce drive slip through his fingers but the teams went into half-time level at 0-0.
The second half began with Glory having an early chance to get on the scoreboard but Despotovoski put his free kick straight at the visiting goalkeeper. But otherwise Glory were unable to penetrate the well-drilled Sharks defence. The breakthrough came in the 61st minute when Petkovic spilt a shot from Jeromy Harris and in the ensuing goalmouth melee Jamie Harnwell had the misfortune of turning the ball into his own net to give the Sharks the lead. Glory had a similar chance six minutes later but Despotovoski was unable to convert. With Mori and Despotovoski proving ineffective coach Mich d'Avray brought on Nick Mrdja and surprisingly dropped Mori into midfield to replace Brad Hassell. It was a failed move by the Glory coach with Mori looking way out of form while Mrdja and Despotovoski were tightly marked and largely unsupported. With 10 minutes to go Adrian Caceres came off the bench but he, too, lacked support. Only Mrdja had the skill to create space for himself but his hard, low drive was well-saved at his near post by Bolton. In the end Sharks gave Glory a footballing lesson and fully deserved the three points and top spot.
TARKA LOOKING FORWARD TO UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIPS
While focused on performing defensive duties for Perth Glory, Australian youth international David Tarka views each National Soccer League outing as an important part of his build-up to next months' Under-20 world championship. "It's in the back of your mind that the world youth championships are coming up and every N.S.L. game is part of my preparation for that," said Tarka recently. Australia have been grouped with Brazil, the Czech Republic and Canada in the preliminary stage of the tournament which starts on 25th March in the United Arab Emirates.
NIGHT SERIES CONTINUES
The second round of Night Series fixtures get underway on Friday night at the National Stadium in Inglewood. The Group C clash between Bassendean Caledonian and E.C.U. Joondalup kicks-off proceedings at 6.45pm. It's make or break time for Caledonian who face early elimination from the official pre-season tournament should they lose to the youngsters from the northern suburbs. Later in the evening Fremantle City and Swan I.C. will both be aiming to register their first wins of the series following narrow losses in last week's opening Group B games. Cockburn City and Stirling Lions have both strengthened their playing stocks with the additional of Perth Glory players ahead of their meeting on Sunday (6.30pm kick-off). In an effort to stay match fit ahead of the up-coming National Soccer League finals series, Simon Colosimo (Cockburn) and Mohammed Mouhouti (Lions) have been loaned out for the duration of the Night Series. But the highlight of the weekend is undoubtedly the B.G.C. Cup Final re-match between Sorrento and Western Knights from 8.05pm. Penalties were needed to separate the two sides a fortnight ago before Sorrento emerged victorious, and the Seagulls go into this weekends clash as favourites following their 4-0 demolition of Stirling Lions last week.
TITLE CLASH LOOMS FOR GLORY (reproduced with permission from www.perthglory.com)
Perth Glory's home-and-away title aspirations go on the line on Saturday night with the crucial home clash with the Olympic Sharks. Coach Mich d'Avray has a full contingent to pick from with Anthony Danze, Adrian Caceres (right) and Brad Hassell all contesting the left midfield role. Hassell comes back into contention following time on the sidelines due to suspension, Danze made his National Soccer League debut in the last home game, while Caceres has scored three goals in two games which includes a double on his full debut against Wollongong Wolves last Sunday. The Sharks approach the game with new coach Lee Sterry at the helm following the mid-week sacking of Gary Phillips who guided the club to second place on the table and victory in last seasons Grand Final.
AN INVITATION TO ALL CLUBS, PLAYERS AND OFFICIALS
With the 2003 State League season about to get in full swing, the Western Australian Soccer Website (aka www.soccerwa.com) would like to invite all clubs, players and officials to get in touch and help raise the profile of the local game, and your club. Over the past 12-months we have developed positive working relationships with representatives from the majority of local clubs, ensuring that the information which appears on these pages is accurate and up-to-date. Contributions, no matter how big or small are welcomed and may range from a detailed weekly match report to providing occasion items of club news. If you would like to contribute, we ask that you contact Brett (email@example.com) or Jacob (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. It should be noted that this website is compiled by a small team of dedicated volunteers, none of whom receive payment for their time or commitment to soccer.
BAYSWATER MAKE HISTORY (with the assistance of Adam Rucci)
First Division club Bayswater City have lifted their first trophy in fifteen years by claiming victory over Queens park in the final of the Pioneer Night Series at Coker Park tonight. The game started brightly for City with Gareth Healey's dipping shot crashing into the crossbar after he seized upon a loose ball in the 3rd minute. In a tight contest there were several crunching tackles as the two teams attempted to assert their authoriity over proceedings. The best opening of the first half came the way of City attacker Nick Stojanovski whose surging run ended with a low shot that hit the up-right. And shortly after Healy was sent through in a one-on-one with Queens Park goalkeeper Darren Williams who denied his opponent.
Following a confidence building half-time pep-talk from coach Salv Todaro, Bayswater came out raring to go for the second half. And they didn't have to wait long before the deadlock was broken. Andrew O'Neill's in-swinging corner was fumbled by Williams, allowing City new-comer Sean Cowman to bustle the ball over the line from close-range. From that point the result was never in doubt as City stepped up a gear in their search for a second goal to kill of the match. Stojanovski was denied for a second time tonight by the post, and not long after Sal Marrapodi was presented with a good scoring opportunity only to have Williams keep his shot out. With the match coming to a close the host club threw everything into levelling the score with Jodi Henderson finding the back of the net only to have his effort ruled out for off-side. The final whistle signalled victory for a disciplined City side who showed they will be up there contesting the title once the new First Division season kicks-off in a months' time.
STRIKERS RECRUITMENT DRIVE IS ON!
Complete with a new president, new logo, committee and sponsors the Leeming Strikers have hit top gear with their 2003 season recruitment plans with no fewer than 14 new faces being added to the three Saturday Teams rosters. The club is still trialing for all three teams and you can make application directly from their new site at http://www.leemingstrikers.com Positions are also still available in their Junior Champions League Teams for season 2003.
OPENINGS WITH LIONS UNDER-18 SIDE
Newly promoted to the Premier League, Stirling Lions are on the look-out for players for this seasons' Under-18 team. Youngsters interested in turning out for the club, who are based at Macedonia Park in Balcatta, are asked to contact Under-18's coach Leo Mannella on 0417 928 625, or club president Don Evans on 0411 512 345. The Lions this week confirmed the appointment of former Australian international Tony Franken as goalkeeping coach.
LOCAL CLUBS BENEFIT FROM GLORY
Several Premier League clubs have thrown their support behind Perth Glory as they set about winning their first National Soccer League Grand Final. As Glory fast zero-in on their third regular season title, E.C.U. Joondalup, Stirling Lions, Cockburn City and Perth S.C. have offered to keep the club's fringe players match sharp by utilising them in the Night Series tournament which is currently being played at the National Stadium in Inglewood.
Australian Under-17 international Anthony Danze will turn out for his former club Joondalup, while Perth welcome back attacking pair Adrian Caceres and Jamie Coyne. Stirling Lions have picked up Dutch-born defender Mohammad Mouhouti as well as one-time Australian goalkeeper Tony Franken, and recent Glory signing Simon Colosimo will pull on the colours of Cockburn. "These players have been given dual registration with Soccer West Coast and will only play in the local series if they are not required for first team action with Glory," said the club's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "And we've requested that their dual registration be carried over into the season proper, not just the Night Series."
Glory are also working towards an apprenticeship scheme which they hope will provide some of the state's hottest young talents a path into a professional career. "We will be selecting approximately six young players from the local game and invite them to join the senior Glory squad. They'll train with the first team and take part in intra-club practice games. We do not envision that this program will interfere with the players commitments too their respective Soccer West Coast clubs," added Dennis.
SIX-A-SIDE TOURNAMENT AT ARMADALE (reproduced with permission from www.armadalesoccer.org.au)
Access TV (aka Channel 31) and Radio 990FM in conjunction with the British Soccer Show are to sponsor a six-a-side tournament being held at Alfred Skeet Oval, Armadale on Sunday 9th March. Limited to a total of 32 teams who will be divided into eight groups of four, the tournament will kick-off at 10.00am. The group winners will then progress to the knock-out phase, while those finishing in the minor placings will also take part in a knock-out series for teams who ended second, third and fourth after the group phase. Trophies will be awarded to winners and runner-up in all four competitions at the end of the days' activities. Full canteen and bar facilities will be available. For further information on entering a team in the tournament, as well as rules, telephone 94954868 or email Armadale Soccer Club via email@example.com
NEW ROLE FOR EX-JOONDALUP PRESIDENT
Former E.C.U. Joondalup president Alan Cooper is enjoying his new role of coaching juniors in the United States. A member of the Joondalup as recently as six weeks ago, Cooper recently relocated to Georgia to take up a Director of Coaching position in the south west of Atlanta. "Things are going well but I do miss the sun and my friends at Joondalup," said Cooper. "Over here I'm responsible for over 900 kids from 6-year olds through to 19-year olds, teaching them and their coaches how to play the beautiful game."
LE TISSIER A HIT
Last night's evening with former England international Matt Le Tissier at Percy Doyle Reserve was a smashing success according to Sorrento secretary Kerry Slater. "It was a great function, especially for any fans of Matt. He was very casual, honest and at times provided plenty of humour when responding to the many questions put to him. He signed anything people wanted, including the Sorrento clubhouse wall after being asked by Derek Harnwell and John Walsh!," said Slater. "Even though we had hired evaporative air conditioning units for night it was very warm inside the clubhouse so lots was drunk although Matt only had Neverfail water, unlike the rest of us that had lots of everything else. Three big TV's gave everyone a good view of his "Unbelievable" video. As well as Matt there were a couple of other former Southampton players in attendance, namely John Sydneham and Sorrento coach Steve Neville. We presented Matt with a framed autographed photo set of Greg Norman as Matt is a golfing nut, he caddies for golfer Richard Bland who competed in the Johnny Walker Classic. He e seemed genuinely pleased with the gift and didn't want any payment for the presentation."
LAZARIDIS STILL HIGH ON SOCCEROO'S WIN
The bigger the stage the more Stan Lazaridis seems to rise to the challenge for the national team. In his 45th 'A' appearance for Australia, the Birmingham City player produced a dynamic performance as the Socceroo's cruised to a 3-1 win over England at Upton Park last week. "The reaction of the people back home has been amazing and it is only just sinking in," said the 30-year old this week. "Even the Birmingham lads have been supportive. They said it was a superb performance and a great display which showed everyone what a good side we are. Coming from English players, it is something, but I think they recognised what we achieved. It was always going to be difficult playing against an England side with players of the calibre of Gary Neville and David Beckham, but it was a team effort and every single player did a great job."
Lazaridis played an important role in Australia' - it was his 17th minute free-kick that Tony Popovic headed past David James to set the Socceroo's down the path to victory. Playing on the left side of defence rather than his more familiar role wide on the flank, the 30-year old was singled out for praise after the game by national coach Frank Farina. "I've played left-back for the team before," said Lazaridis. "I'm given a lot of freedom and a licence to get forward, but I have responsibilities to the team. My priority was to defend, but if the midfield could cover me, then I tried to get forward. As long as the rest of the team know what I am doing, then it's fine."
While argument will continue for some time as to England's option to field an experimental team for the friendly, the fact remains Australia were two goals the better against the strongest eleven England could put on the park after 45 minutes. With Australia still basking in the glory, Lazaridis says the result could have significant repercussions down under. "When we scored twice in the first half, I didn't get as excited as some of the other lads, because I didn't want to get carried away. I wanted to get back and make sure we won but when the third goal went in, I knew the game was won. It was an historic win for us. Soccer is getting more popular in Australia all the time and results like this will only help."
BORAL CUP FIXTURES CONFIRMED
The draw for the opening round of this year's Boral Cup was made during the week with several intriguing match-ups on the cards. The only all-Premier League clash will see Bassendean Caledonian host an E.C.U. Joondalup side bristling with some of the state's most talented young players. At Macedonia Park, last seasons First Division champions Stirling Lions come up against Dianella White Eagles in what is sure to be a physical encounter. Just up Wanneroo Road The City, who are the end result of a merger between Perth City and Wanneroo City, play Fremantle City. Floreat Athena are at home to the youngsters from Ashfield, while Western Knights meet an enthusiastic Armadale side at Alfred Skeet Oval.
The pick of the all-First Division games takes place at Frank Drago Reserve where Bayswater City and Mandurah City go head-to-head. Queens Park, who are shaping up as the team to beat this year in the First Division, face a difficult away trip to Stirling Suns. Morley Windmills have home ground advantage over Canning City, and Southside United meet South West Phoenix. Kingsway Olympic host Leeming Strikers, while Balcatta make the long journey south to play Rockingham City. There are First Round byes for the top flights' Sorrento, Cockburn City, current Boral Cup holders Perth S.C., Swan I.C. and Inglewood United. All games are scheduled for Monday 3rd March.
NEW START FOR MIKULIC
Recipient of the Golden Boot as the Premier League's top goalscorer for the past two seasons, Branimir Mikulic has left Cockburn City to take up a two-year contract at neighbouring Fremantle City. It's the second time the 23-year old has pulled on Fremantle colours, his previous stay being in 1999 which was followed by three seasons with Cockburn. Mikulic made a controversial debut for the port side in Friday's round of Night Series fixtures against Perth S.C. who are said to be considering lodging a protest on the grounds that the big striker had not been cleared from his previous club prior to the match. Unperturbed by this, Fremantle's first team coach Greg Kazmer says he's hopeful the club will sign another striker within the next few weeks who will partner Mikulic this season. "We're negotiating at the moment and it looks promising," said Kazmer. It is believed the player is from Europe and has not previously played in Australia.
ENGLISH TRIALS FOR HESKETH (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
A dozen of Fremantle City's first team squad of eighteen are under the age of 22, including new signing James Hesketh (right) who spent last season with Future Glory. The former John Curtin High School student recently signed a three-year deal with the port side but hopes to try his luck in England this August. Hesketh was born in Liverpool where his cousin Scott Brown is one of England's hottest young players, playing his club football for Everton and captain of the England Under-18 side. Hesketh, however, won't be trying his luck with Everton when he ventures abroad later in the year. "One of my relations has contacts at Crewe Alexandra and I hope to get a chance with them," said the talented 18-year old. Meanwhile, Hesketh has committed himself to full-time training and has landed a job as a coach with the Glory Zone.
NEW LOAN MOVE FOR DAVIES
Young Birmingham City goalkeeper Clint Davies has joined Nationwide Conference club Nuneaton Borough on a one-month loan. The first year professional recently returned to the Blues from a similar spell at non-League Tamworth where he made two appearances. Davies was recalled before the end of that loan spell to play for Birmingham's reserves in last week's 4-2 Birmingham Senior Cup win over Banbury United. The 19-year old now steps up a level to Conference football with relegation-threatened Nuneaton who have lost their regular 'keeper Chris Mackenzie to a broken finger. Rushed straight into the team, Davies made his debut for Nuneaton when they lost 1-3 at home to Dagenham and Redbridge on the weekend.
Perth Glory have firmed up as favourites to take out the home-and-away series after thumping Wollonong Wolves 6-1 on their home turf this evening. Witness by just over 3,100 spectators, the Wolves took the lead after 28 minutes when Shane Lyons controlled a high cross before smashing the ball into the roof of the net. That lead lasted just four minutes before Bobby Despotovski's sharp shot on the turn went in off the post. Damian Mori brought up his 200th goal in the national competition in the 39th minute with a fantastic volley which left the home goalkeeper with no chance. The match was effectively over as a contest two minutes later when Shane Pryce's cross was converted by Adrian Caceres.
The visitors continued to attack after the break. In the 53rd minute Glory extended their lead through Despotovski, who picked himself up after being fouled inside the area to convert from the spot. Caceres made it 5-1 on the hour, drilling a low shot into the net after being set-up by Mori. Glory completed the route five minutes from the end of regulation time when Mori put Nick Mrdja through on goal and the young striker made no mistake with his finish. Glory sit two points clear at the head of the National Soccer League table at the completion of the round following Olympic Sharks surprise loss to Northern Spirit. It also sets-up a blockbuster next weekend at Perth Oval where Glory will take on the second-placed Sharks.
Inglewood United resisted a second-half revival from Swan I.C. to record a 3-2 victory in Friday nights opening match of the 2003 Night Series. The late game ended in favour of reigning Night Series champions Perth S.C. who downed a young Fremantle City side 2-1. The early game on Sunday night saw B.G.C. Cup winners Sorrento thump Stirling Lions 4-0. Floreat Athena collected full points from their clash with Bassendean Caledonian courtesy of the only goal of the game from off-season recruit Andres Oliveira.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND ONE
Inglewood United have survived a late comeback by Swan I.C. to record victory in Friday night's opening game of 2003 Night Series at the National Stadium. The host club took the lead in a scrappy first half when Shaun Kilkelly threaded the ball to Louis Parkinson who showed his maturity with a precise finish. Swan looked to have levelled early in the second half when former Inglewood forward Paul Lincoln hit a stunning drive from 20-metres which goalkeeper Nick Stone spectacularly tipped over his crossbar. United responded by upping the pace resulting in Andy Cornmell doubling their lead after 66 minutes, and with seven minutes left Ryan Newhill teed-up Alex Josifovski who rifled in the home side's third goal. Although three goals down, Swan refused to concede defeat. Substitute Dave Mahon seized upon an error by replacement goalkeeper Oliver Taseski to peg back the margin, and a well-placed header from Damien Scali further reduced the gap. But in the end it was simply a case of too little too late for Swan as united claimed maximum points.
Night Series champion Perth S.C. made a stuttering start to the defence of their title by coming from a goal behind to beat a young Fremantle City side in Friday's late game. Michael Vaz swept the port side to a first half lead, but that was cancelled out after the break by Perth's recent recruit Shane Crampton who beat three defenders to score a stunning equaliser. Crampton capped an impressive debut by bagging the winning goal when he ran onto a well-weighted pass from Michael Icanovski. "We were very poor in the first half, but things improved after I pointed out a few things at halftime," said erth coach Graham Normanton after the game. "Still, overall it wasn't too bad considering it was the first time the senior team had played together this season." While his side went down, for City coach Greg Kazmer there were also several positive to come out of the game. "I was very pleased with our effort considering over half our team was made up of young players. I think it looks very promising for the season ahead."
Sunday night's early game saw Sorrento, who last week took out the friendly B.G.C. Lightning Cup, stretch their unbeaten run to six games with a convincing 4-0 win over an under-strength Stirling Lions. New Lions goalkeeper Jordan Conti was given an early workout as Sorrento went on the attack from the opening kick. After two near misses it was third time lucky for Todd Harnwell when he got on the end of a superb Tony Cumace cross to tap in the simplest of goals after 13 minutes to give the Seagulls the lead. Sparked into life, the Lions would dominate the remainder of the half but a lack of penetration in their attacking half left Bobbi Klenkovski and Danny Carlino out-numbered and without support. The second half ws just minutes old when Lions defender Adam Kostrencic was unfortunate enough to head the ball past his own 'keeper to doubled Sorrento's lead. With confidence waning in the Lions camp, their opponents upped the pace to kill off the match. Harnwell bagged his second goal in the 58th minute, drilling the ball home with a fine volley from the edge of the box after good lead-up work from Cumace. The margin would have been much greater if not for the excellent skills of Conti between the posts for the Lions. But there was little he could do in the 79th minute when David Foster nodded in a simple header from close-range to complete the scoreline.
Off-season recruit Andres Oliveira was the hero for Floreat Athena when he bagged the only goal of the late fixture against Bassendean Caledonian. Despite the narrow victory, Athena coach Taki Lambetsos was delighted with his team's performance, "We created enough chances to have scored about six goals, so it was a tremendous team effort." Post-match, Lambetsos singled out midfielder Costa Socratous for praise.
MARTIN RELEASED BY ZEBRA'S
Former E.C.U. Joondalup junior Ian Martin has parted company with Adelaide City. Martin joined the Zebra's at the start of the current National Soccer League season following a 19-month spell as first choice goalkeeper for Coleraine in the Irish Football League. Prior to his time in Ireland the 22-year old was a feature of the youth set-up with English Premier League club Newcastle United. Martin, who made 3 appearances for the Zebra's, was one of four players released following Zoran Matic's recent appointment as coach.
SOCCEROO'S EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS SAYS MURPHY
While disappointed not to have been included in Australia's squad for their recent friendly with England, Sheffield United defender Shaun Murphy said the Socceroo's exceeded all his expectations in recording victory in London. "It was a great performance by our lads and I couldn't be happier - I even won a bit of money from the lads in the dressing room," Murphy the Blades official website this week. "The result exceeded my expectations immensely. If I'm honest I expected a score-draw but we played ever so well, Stan Lazaridis impressed me on the left and Harry Kewell was back to his best. The result will add to our growing reputation, we have now beaten France, Brazil and England." A key player in Australia's bid to reach last years World Cup Finals, Murphy was one of several stand-by players for the match at Upton Park. "I am disappointed not to be involved but realistic to know that I won't be around for the next World Cup and that Frank will be using the next few games to blood more youngsters," he said.
CACERES EARNS GLORY START
After several sparkling performances off the bench, former Perth S.C. player Adrian Caceres will make be in Perth Glory's starting line-up for the first time when travel to meet Wollongong Wolves on Sunday evening. Coach Mich d'Avray has opted for the attacking guile of Caceres on the left side of midfield over another local youngster Anthony Danze. Danze did well in the position against Northern Spirit a fortnight ago, but it was Caceres' goal after coming on as a substitute in that 3-0 win that sealed him a place in the starting eleven. "It's not really a case of taking a more attacking attitude, it's just that I think Caceres did well when he came on against Sydney United and Northern Spirit," d'Avray told Jonathon Cook of the "West Austalian". "He scored a goal and I think he deserves an opportunity to see if he can produce that over a longer period of time." Caceres joined Glory prior to the commencement of the current season after a spell with English Premier League side Southampton.
NO CARDIFF DEAL FOR NAGLIERI (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Former Perth Glory midfielder Antonio Naglieri has been unsuccessful in trials with English Second Division club Cardiff City. Naglieri has been trialling at Ninian Park for the past fortnight after paying his own airfare to Wales. The 19-year old was released by Glory over Christmas and is a free agent, but didn't do enough to impress Bluebirds boss Lennie Lawrence.
INJURY FORCES GASPAR TO WAIT
State midfielder Robbie Gaspar will have to wait another week before making his debut appearance for Malaysian club Sabah. The 22-year old will miss the Rhino's M-League opener this weekend against Sarawak after aggravating an injury to his right leg during a friendly last week. "Our team will definitely be stronger with Robbie's presence," said coach Justin Ganai recently. Gaspar, who played locally for Perth S.C., is expected to make his debut when Sabah play Kelantan at home next weekend.
2003 OFFICIALLY KICKS-OFF (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
St Valentine's Day takes on a new meaning this year when the new Soccer West Coast season officially kicks off on Friday 14th February with the start of the Night Series at the National Stadium in Inglewood. Defending champion Perth S.C. will be in action on the opening night with a late date against Fremantle City at 8.20pm. Host club Inglewood United will take on Swan I.C. in the first match from 6.45pm. The Sunday night action will involve Stirling Lions against Sorrento, and Floreat Athena clashing with Bassendean Caledonian. The Night Series format has been somewhat restructured for the 2003 season with only 11 teams taking part in the competition. The winners of the Midland Brick sponsored tournament will pick up $5000 for their efforts with the second place getters receiving $1000.
AWAY TRIP FOR GLORY
National Soccer League leaders Perth Glory are on the road this weekend as they take on arch rivals Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium on Sunday evening. Wollongong has proven to be a happy hunting ground for Glory who have taken home maximum points on three occasions and drawn twice in six regular season visits to the rural city. Big defender Shane Pryce is expected to come straight back in the line-up having missed the last game due to suspension, while youngsters Anthony Danze and Adrian Caceres will battle it out for the spot on the left side of midfield. After a 0-3 caning at the hands of Northern Spirit last week, the Wolves will be desperate for victory to keep alive their hopes of making the top six. But their task has been made all the more difficult with leading goalscorer Stuart Young expected to miss up to six weeks with a groin injury.
ON THE MOVE
The local transfer market has really been busy over the past few weeks as teams prepare for the official start to the 2003 season. B.G.C. Cup winners Sorrento have added to an already impressive playing roster by adding Todd Harnwell, a Perth Glory player for the past two seasons, along with State midfielder Dale McCulloch from neighbours E.C.U. Joondalup. Andy Mason has also made the switch from Joondlaup to Sorrento, while young striker James Morgan returns to the club after a year in Singapore where he turned out for Sengkang Marine. Scott Bulloch is another player that's left E.C.U. Joondalup, the young midfielder recently inking a deal with the Western Knights. Former Knights' captain Scott Devine returns after time in England, while former Floreat Athena player Doug Ithier will add to the clubs defensive options.
Kevin Griffiths is back at Bassendean Caledonian after spending last season at E.C.U. Joondalup, while in the debit column one-time Perth Glory player Paul Strudwick has announced his retirement. With a focus on building towards the future, other new arrivals at Jubilee Reserve include former Future Glory teammates David Whiteside and highly rated striker Wesley Ryder. E.C.U. Joondalup recently confirmed the signing of Australian youth international Josh Kamasz from Fremantle City. He joins Alan Mattecucci (ex-Rockingham City), Chris Ritson (ex-Future Glory) and Darren Broxton (ex-Southampton, England) at the northern suburbs' club. Cockburn City will use the up-coming Night Series to evaluate John and Michael Mirco, both previously with Fremantle City, as well as former State midfielder Jason Smith. It is believed the southern suburbs club has also attracted midfielder Petar Mrdja and David Mrdja from First Division side Dianella White Eagles.
The recruitment of former State players Dean Nicolaou and Paul Lincoln from Western Knights and Inglewood United respectively will add depth to the squad at Swan I.C. The club have also signed striker Elton Holmes (ex-Inglewood United), Gary Andrews (ex-Sorrento) and State Under-15 player Daniel Simcox who spent 2002 with Future Glory. Fremantle City have promoted John Migas and Dean Apelgren from their youth ranks to first team status. The port side have further strengthened their squad by snapping up Future Glory trio Michael Basilio, James Hesketh and Peter Lord. Three other Future Glory players - goalkeeper Jordan Conti and midfielders Robert Monterosso and Miki Vujacic - have joined First Division champions Stirling Lions for their first season back in the top flight.
After a couple of years in the Victoria Premier League playing for Fawkner Blues, one-time Australian Schoolboys international striker Alex Josifovski returns to Perth and his former club Inglewood United. The club have also ready secured the services of 23-year old former Bournemouth (England) goalkeeper Nick Stone, and highly rated 16-year old midfielder Scott Paterson (ex-Future Glory) who trialled with London club Chelsea over the summer. Floreat Athena welcome back attacking midfielder Michael Lardis after several years playing professionally Greece. Perhaps the quietest team in terms of transfer activity have been reigning champions Perth S.C. It appears Future Glory youngsters Ben Rogers and Daniel Arias have signed with the Blues while former Sorrento attacker Shane Crampton impressed in trials during the B.G.C. Cup and now looks likely to be offered a permanent contract.
Queens Park have been the most active of the First Division clubs in the transfer market with no less than five new first team signings. Goalkeeper Darren Williams arrives after several seasons in the top flight with Western Knights, while veteran attacker Peter Murphy joins from Canning City. Jamie Bell and Brian Robertson have been recruited from Swan I.C. and Chris Khalil arrives via Morley Windmills. Former Inglewood United goalkeeper Adam Ashworth has joined Bayswater City along with defender Michael Kovacevic (ex-Western Knights) and midfielder Adrian Scaffidi (Perth S.C.), while the club are hoping to lure young striker Boima Karpeh from Dianella White Eagles. Leeming Strikers appear to have signed Ciaran Allen from Southside United.
BAYSWATER TO MEET QUEENS PARK
Bayswater City will meet Queens Park in the final of the Pioneer Night Series after a hard fought victory over Ashfield tonight. Going into the game as favourite, Bayswater got off to a shakey start as Ashfield dominated the opening 25 minutes only to be unable to find a way through their opponents strong defence. In the 32nd minute the deadlock was broken when Bayswater midfielder Gareth Healy played a great through ball to Sal Marrapodi who rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball home with his left foot. The goal re-invigoured the Bayswater side who play more confidently as Dario Pelliciotti came close to doubling the margin. The players emerged for the new half with Bayswater taking control of the game, knocking the ball around well and having their opponents on the back foot. The game was ended as a contest fifteen minutes from full-time by Andrew O'Neill who scored with a simple header after good work down the right by Nick Stojanovski. In an effort to take something from the game Ashfield threw everything at Bayswater but could not hit the target. The full-time whistle signaled Bayswater's safe passage to the tournament decided which is being played next Thursday, 20th February, from 6.45pm at Coker Park.
SOCCEROOS STUN ENGLAND
Australia this morning stunned England with a 3-1 win at Upton Park to record one of the biggest upsets in the history of the world game. The victory was Australia's first win over England and was set up in the first half against a near World Cup strength home team. The Socceroos took the lead after 17 minutes through Tony Popovic whose textbook far-post header from a pinpoint Stan Lazaridis free-kick, gave the many Australian supporters behind the goal plenty of reason to cheer. Outstanding in attack, Harry Kewell bustled defender Rio Ferdinand off the ball in the 41st minute before rounding David James to slide home Australia's second goal.
Francis Jeffers pulled a goal back for England on 69 minutes with a superb header that gave Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer no chance. Buoyed by the goal, the home nation began to attack with greater ferocity only to come up against the impregnable barrier that was Australia's defense of Lucas Neill, Craig Moore, Popovic and Lazaridis. The Socceroos sealed victory and a famous win when substitute John Aloisi leading a counter-attacking raid, released Brett Emerton who scored with ease eight minutes from full-time. "Stan Lazaridis I thought had a fantastic game," said national coach Frank Farina after the match. For Perth-born Lazaridis, making his 45th 'A' appearance for Australia, it was a happy return to the ground where he previously played several seasons of club football for West Ham United.
THE CITY IS BORN
The City is the new club which has resulted from the merger of First Division sides Wanneroo City and Perth City. The coming together of the two clubs to form the City, who will play out of Wanneroo's ground at the Kingsway Sporting Complex, is the outcome of summer talks. "Because both clubs were within 100-metres of each other, we decided it would be better of pooled our resources and formed one club," said the City coach Stuart Currie recently. "Hopefully everybody will support the merger. After what happened in Bali last year when several Perth City players were caught up in the tragedy, we're hoping the boys will blend together and become a strong, successful club. I'm sure everybody would like to see this." With Currie in charge of the club's first team, Michael Haigh has been appointed reserves coach with discussions continuing for the position of youth team coach. "At the moment I'm talking with Paul Simmons, formerly with E.C.U. Joondalup, about him coming on board with us," added an optimistic Currie.
BIG YEAR AHEAD
The Western Australian Soccer Website - aka www.soccerwa.com - has made a stunning start to the new year by smashing our record number of hits for a single day. On Monday 10th Feburary a total of 607 hits were registered on this website, by far eclipsing our previous record of 404 visitors logged on Monday 20th May 2002. Over the first six weeks of this year we have registered 10,434 hits, putting us well on track to breaking last year's 12-month total of 80,661 visitors.
LAZARIDIS CALLS FOR REGULAR SERIES WITH ENGLAND
On the eve of Australia's friendly international England in London, Perth-born Stan Lazaridis has called for an Ashes-style series between the two nations. The Birmingham City player would like to see a two-legged home and away meeting every couple of years between the long-time sporting rivals. "We are a side that can be taken seriously now and an Ashes-type series with England would be great and I am sure would be popular given the great rivalry between the two countries," said Lazaridis. "I know you would have to work out all the logistics but why not have a three match series or something on a home and away basis? It would be carrying things on from the cricket, rugby and tennis and there are loads of Australians living over here who would support it and plenty of English people settled down under who would feel the same. You could maybe play for a cup every couple of years and then whoever won would retain it until the next time."
Australia will use the up-coming friendly with England as a measuring stick as to their true world standing according to Lazaridis. "England will be favourites, for anyone to come to this country and beat England is a tall order. They are a world class team. But we are looking forward to putting on a good show and we could cause a surprise. It will be a yardstick to see how much Australian football has progressed. When you see our first eleven it is not bad. When Terry Venables was in charge he had us playing really well and we were so unlucky not to reach the World Cup finals in 1998. We never lost under Terry and yet we never made the World Cup! We won 14 games and drew the other two and never qualified - how do you work that one out? But this squad is one of the best we've had and there are a lot of young players in Serie A or the Premiership."
UNITED IN DEVELOPMENT (reproduced with permission from www.kingsacademy.com.au)
After recently announcing an association with English giants Manchester United and the eastern states based Parramatta Eagles Soccer Academy (PESA), the Kings Academy have started to realise some of the early benefits from their unique arrangement. Coaching director Mitch Doherty returned to Perth this week after a week long visit to Sydney as guests of Parramatta Eagles with the aim of benchmarking players from the northern suburbs academy with players throughout the Oceania region. "PESA, who are the official youth development partners of Manchester United in Oceania, invited the coaching directors plus a player from each of the affiliated clubs - Green Gully (Victoria) and Capabalaba (Queensland) - in Australia to view their set-up," explained Doherty.
"The whole trip was designed as a feast of footballing information with all the affiliate representatives taking the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other," Doherty added. "The set-up at PESA is aimed a creating a footballing culture based on the highly successful Manchester United academy structure. This culture was buoyed with a carefully planned program that included choreographed warm-up sessions, presentations on mental strength and ability, tactical sessions, technique sessions, indoor soccer and relaxation time in a swimming pool - all of which took place in a spectacular lake side setting in Sydney's northern suburbs."
"Accompanying me to Sydney was 14-year old Kings player Jerome Vallet who took part in the benchmarking programs and sessions. He performed extremely well both in training and during the friendly match which PESA arranged, scoring three goals in a 4-0 win on the final day of camp. Two of the squad that Jerome played with had just returned from a three-week spell in Manchester where they had trained and mixed with the academy teams at United as well as several first team players including David Beckham, Juan Sebastian Veron, Ryan Giggs and Fabien Barthez. Jerome fitted in well with the squad and the PESA coaching director requested Jerome play with the Under-17's squad which will shortly be touring the United Kingdom."
"The trip to Sydney was a sensational learning opportunity for both myself and Jerome. I was able to return to Perth with a plethora of information that will assist the Kings Academy in reaching our own set of objectives. And Jerome, who spent most of the trip bunked up with the PESA squads, has been invited back to Sydney later in the year. This is only the beginning of a very promising relationship with PESA and the other affiliate clubs throughout the region in what is the most exciting youth development plan in Western Australia."
PLAY-OFF BERTH FOR QUEENS PARK
Queens Park and Kingsway Olympic tonight produced a cracking match as the Pioneer Night Series entered the round of four. In highly entertaining and at times tense clash it was the host club that started the stronger, hitting the crossbar very early in the first half before asserting their authority to dominate proceedings for long periods. Their breakthrough goal arrived when former Institute of Sport kid Linden Pywell crossed from wide on the right for Warren Ottaabama to give Queens Park the lead. Stirred into life, the young Olympic team responded by taking the game up to their opponents, pushing forward at every opportunity to have the hosts firmly on the back foot for the remainder of the half.
Olympic picked up the second half exactly where they'd left off the first, mounting a string of dangerous assaults on the Queens Park goal. Twelve minutes after the interval Olympic found a deserved equaliser after Queens Park goalkeeper Darren Williams brilliantly saved a free-kick from the top of the 18-yard box only to have the rebound converted from close-range. The hosts appeared to have restored their lead when Chris Curtis pounced on an error by the Olympic goalkeeper but, after consulting his linesman, the referee disallowed the goal. It took until the 80th minute before a winning goal emerged, off-season recruit Brian Robertson sending Queens Park into next Thursday's final where they'll meet the winner of this Thursday's semi-final between Ashfield and Bayswater City.
TESTING WEEKEND FOR SWAN
Swan I.C. spent the weekend in Moore River where the senior squad undertook a through an exhausting training camp under the watchful eye of the clubs' coaching staff. With the players arriving in camp at 9.00am on Saturday morning, the gruelling fitness program started with a mixed triathlon consisting of a 750-metre surf-ski paddle, a 7.5-kilometre cycle and a 2.5-kilometre run. With teams of two competing in the event, it was the partnership of Daniel Webb and Trevor Hatton (right) who crossed the finishing line first, ahead of second place getters Eddie Mura and goalkeeper Chris Ramsey with Carlos Echeverria and Joe Kendall in third.
After a speed course of a 250-metre paddle and a timed 1-kilometre hill run, the players were rewarded with a well-earnt rest and a light salad and fruit lunch organised by the committee. The fitness regime re-commenced at 3.30pm with an iron man challenge, the players undertaking a 400-metre ocean paddle and a 1.5-kilometre run on soft beach sand before the circuit was repeated twice. Rough ocean conditions ensured the lead changed regularly as players failed to overcome the breaking waves. In the end it was the team of Mura and Ramsey that crossed the finishing line first with Echeverria and Kendall coming second.
The following morning kicked-off with a 30-minute game of beach soccer, followed by a 1.5-kilometre jog to bring the training camp to a close. After a hearty breakfast and a clean-up of campsite, the black-and-whites made the journey back to Perth as temperatures soared to over 40 degrees celcius. Speaking on behalf of the coaching staff, Gary Marocchi said the trip away proved to be a success. "It as a great weekend where we hope the young players were made to realise that success does not happen without hard work," Marocchi commented. "The program we put in place was pretty tough and the hot weather certainly tested the players, but at the end of the day I think they all got something out of the weekend."
CHANGE AT BAYSWATER
First Division side Bayswater City have officially removed the Panthers tag from the club name. At a meeting of the clubs' members last Wednesday, the vote was taken for the club to revert to the Bayswater City Soccer Club moniker. Over the summer there were several changes to the clubs heirarchy with former team manager Charlie Licata becoming club president following the departure of Tony Caminagni. Anthony Rizzacasa has been appointed vice-president, while team management will be shared between Gerry Maio and Adam Rucci.
NATIONAL TEAM ON THEIR WAY TO PERTH (reproduced with permission from the West Coast Bugle)
It's official - the Young Socceroos are headed for Perth. Australia's Under-20 team will stop off in Perth on their way to take part in the finals of the World Under-20 Championship which is being played in Dubai in late March. The Young Socceroos, who include Perth Glory defender David Tarka, will have a 10-day camp in the west and play several games. There is a possibility they may face a team from Korea or Japan, and they will probably also tackle the West Australian State team and possibly Perth Glory. "We've been told that the Young Socceroos are definitely using Perth as their base, so that's a great boost for the game here," said Soccer West Coast president David Schrandt. "They are expected to arrive here around 13th March and stay for about ten days."
GLORY THUMP UNDER-PREPARED STATE TEAM
On a day which saw the mercury in Perth exceed 41 degrees celsius, National Soccer League leaders Perth Glory went to battle with the West Australian State team under lights at Litis Stadium. Prior to kick-off State coach Gary Marocchi questioned the value in having the State team playing so far out of season, the opening round of the 2003 Night Series still a week away. With the match reduced to two halves of 40 minutes due to the heat, it was the State side which started the stronger with right wingback Todd Harnwell creating several nervous moments in the Glory defence. The first clear-cut opportunity of the evening came the way of Glory when Anthony Danze hit the frame of the goal after 7 minutes. The young Glory midfielder had better luck with his next attempt 60-seconds, his header from an Adrian Caceres cross coming back off the post and, as Corey Hugo attempted to gather, the midfielder made no mistake with the rebound.
The State team immediately set about finding an equaliser. A long diagonal ball into the area by Andreas Oliveira narrowly evaded the out-stretched boot of Harnwell as he charged in at the far post. The same two players combined again in the 19th minute when Harnwell's low shot beat goalkeeper Vince Matassa only to crash into the post following a weaving run to the by-line by Oliveira. Six minutes later Carl Medica tried his luck from long-range, Matassa diving full-length as the ball whizzed narrowly wide. Jamie Coyne should have doubled Glory's margin after 27 minutes when, despite legitimate appeals for offside, he raced onto a defence-splitting pass from Caceres only to pull his shot across the face of goal. Three minutes later the State failed to adequately deal with a corner, the ball falling at the feet of Coyne who was this time denied by a fine reflex save from Hugo.
It took Glory just 46-seconds into the new half to extend their lead. Substitute Nick Mrdja raced away down the left before centring low to the unmarked Brad Hassell who knocked in the simplest of goals from close-range. With the State team short on match practice, two goals down, and showing clear signs of tiring, Glory would control the remainder of the match. A darting run into attack by Caceres was deserving of better finishing as Hassell sent his shot well over the crossbar. On the hour Hassell squandered another opportunity to add to Glory's tally by shooting wide after again being teed-up by the hard-working Caceres. Shortly after Nick Mrdja shot disappointingly into the side-netting from close-range after some good lead-up work by Coyne.
The State team upped the ante in attempt to peg back the margin with ten minutes remaining. James Afkos made a surging run into attack where Oliveira quickly relayed the ball to Ryan Newhill whose explosive strike was brilliantly saved by Matassa. Moments later, and down the other end, Hugo came to his sides rescue by pulling off a smothering save at the feet of Mrdja as he attempted to get the better of the State goalkeeper. Doug Ithier's explosive 76th minute free-kick went under the Glory wall only to be gathered on the line by Matassa. Danze gave Glory fans more reason to celebrate in the 77th minute when he steered home a low Caceres cross at the back post to make it 3-0. Glory were not finished yet and, in the very last minute of play, David Tarka headed in the side's fourth after Shane Pryce flicked on Hassell's near post corner.
It was a brave performance by an under-prepared State side who, ultimately, were over-powered by a far fitter and more composed team. While Glory really should have made more of their opportunities in front of goal, their general play and movement both on and off the ball would have pleased coach Mich d'Avray. There were good performances from right-sided midfielder Coyne and his counterpart on the left Caceres, while Simon Colosimo improved as the match progressed in his debut outing for the club. For the State team - who had only one training session prior to match day - Afkos and Harnwell provided the drive as the side went forward as Oliveira worked tirelessly without result in attack.
Western Australia : Corey Hugo, Troy Bernard, Doug Ithier, Shaun
Kilkelly, Todd Howarth, Todd Harnwell, James Afkos, Carl Medica (Rob
Giorgi 51), Stuart Montgomery (Scott Campbell 51), Andreas Oliviera,
Branimir Mikulic (Ryan Newhill 51)
Perth Glory : Vince Matassa, Mohammad Mouhouti, Shane Pryce, Jamie Harnwell (David Tarka 40), Mark Byrnes, Jamie Coyne, Simon Colosimo, Anthony Danze, Adrian Caceres, Bobby Despotovski (Nick Mrdja 40), Brad Hassell
Cautions : None
Dismissals : None
Referee : Steve Muldoon
Crowd : 1,000 (approx.)
LIONS DOWN ATHENA IN HEAT (by Don Evans)
Tonight's curtain-raiser between Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena was played in energy-sapping conditions, extreme heat having a notable effect on both teams as the Lions recorded victory in the friendly. The first half was a battle of the midfields with few real chances being created by either side and no-one willing to take risks in the oppressive heat. Athena worked tirelessly but could not fill the gaps left by Troy Bernard, James Afkos and Andreas Oliveira who were all on duty for the State team. The second half took a different tact as both sides lifted in their search to score a winner before an ever-increasing crowd. With the Lions taking control across the middle of the park, Toby Wright worked some magic in teeing-up striker Bobbi Klenkovski who made no mistake in giving his team the lead after 70 minutes. Shortly after the Lions were awarded a penalty but Klenkovski was denied by a brilliant save from Athena custodian Anthony Mori. But in the end it didn't matter as the Lions notched up a confidence building win ahead of their Night Series campaign.
FIRST UP WIN FOR NEW DIANELLA COACH
Petar Drca has recorded victory in his first outing since being appointed coach of Dianella White Eagles. Played in very hot conditions, Dianella enjoyed the better of possession against First Division rivals Stirling Suns with 22-year old striker Zelko Savic bagging the only goal of a generally scrappy encounter. Both sides used the match as an opportunity to experiment with their playing roster and formation.
SERIOUS INJURY ENDS GARCIA'S CAREER
The career of one-time Australian youth international Michael Garcia appears to be over, a victim of injury at the age of 25. Facing major surgery on his left knee before the end of the month, the Perth Glory midfielder is said to be devastated by the news that he may never kick a ball again. "This is the hardest thing in professional sport," said Glory coach Mich d'Avray. "We have spoken and he is shattered because soccer has been his life. Michael has been a very good player for us and in representative matches. He was a very deceptive player who did a lot more good work than was always noticed. We all just hoped he would get through to about the age of 30 - to be advised to stop playing at 25 is very, very sad."
Garcia started playing locally with Perth Italia and Kingsway Olympic before joining National Soccer league club Canberra Cosmos in mid-1995. After two seasons with Cosmos, during which time he became an integral member of the Australian Under-20 and Under-23 teams, Garcia returned to Perth and signed with Glory. Twelve-months later he tried his luck overseas only to be held back by a series of knee and ankle injuries. Successive seasons with Inglewood United, Marine Castle United (Singapore) and E.C.U. Joondalup set Garcia on the road to recovery, and a fantastic 2001 season with Sorrento resulted in the midfielder earning himself a second contract with Glory. In total, Garcia made 84 appearances in the N.S.L., 57 of those with his hometown club.
ATTITUDES DON'T IMPRESS MAROCCHI
State coach Gary Marocchi has expressed his frustration at the resistance from local clubs when it comes to releasing players for State duty. "It should be an honour to play for your State and it reflects well on clubs who have players chosen," Marocchi said. "Yet the clubs don't seem to like to see their players taken away. They don't think it is important enough." The West Australian team had just a single training session - last weekend - to prepare for this weekend's friendly with Perth Glory. "We asked that the players be made available for training sessions during the week but some clubs wouldn't comply as they were involved in the B.G.C. Cup. So we switched our training to the weekend only to have other clubs say their players couldn't make it as they were playing pre-season friendlies. It really is ridiculous."
LAZARIDIS TO PLAY IT BY EAR
Although the English transfer window has closed, Australian international Stan Lazaridis has not entirely ruled out leaving Birmingham City for Leeds United. Linked recently with a move to Elland Road, the 30-year old said this week that should be not be offered a new contract by the Blues then a switch to Leeds over the summer may be to his liking. "I am happy to be at this club, but the issue goes a little bit further than that because I am looking at my career and want to stay in England for another couple of years," said Lazaridis. "To be honest, if Birmingham decide at the end of the season that they want me to stay then there isn't an issue. It is only if they are going to release me - then it would be a good move for me. I am happy to be here and want to concentrate on playing well, keeping the club in the Premiership and then see what happens at the end of the season."
SEAGULLS WIN LIGHTNING CUP
The B.G.C. Lightning Cup will continue to live in the northern suburbs after Sorrento defeated the Western Knights in a penalty shoot-out at the National Stadium last night. The Knights started the decider of the friendly series the stronger of the two teams but could find few ways through a watertight Sorrento backline. The best of the early chances came via deadball situations. A bullet-like Doug Ithier free-kick rose narrowly over the crossbar in the 11th minute and, five minutes later, the same played swung the ball to the back post where Alex Christie's looping header was paddled over the top by goalkeeper Gareth Deeg. Having taken a long time to settle, the Seagulls finally sparked into life. Daniel Cain made his way past two defenders wide on the left only to see his stinging shot from a tight angle come back off the bar after 19 minutes. Two minutes later Simon Harland pounced on an error by Dean Johnson but the striker was denied by the sharp reflexes of Tommi Tomich at close range. With Sorrento now in control of the match, a fine build-up through midfield put the ball at the feet of Andy Mason whose powerful shot was also kept out by the Knights 'keeper.
The second half was a much more cautious affair, neither side wanting to slip up and hand their opponents anything resembling a shot on goal. With the respective defences in command, much of the play took place between the two 18-yard boxes with very little of the action proceeding any further. It wasn't until the 46th minute that either defence was breached as Sean Fallon sped away down the left flank to send a low shot across the face of goal. Moments later Sorrento coach Steve Neville was forced to spent the remainder of the game amongst the crowd after he was somewhat harshly sent from the bench by the referee for abusive language. As the pace picked up and the clock ticked down it was the Knights who responded better to the pressure by gaining the upper hand. With eight minutes remaining Eugene Singeorzan curled a low free-kick around the defensive wall only to find the side-netting. The closing stages saw both play race from end to end with little in the way of goalscoring opportunities before the referee's whistle indicated a shoot-out would be needed to separate the two sides.
Shooting first, Carl Medica gave the Knights the advantage by rounding Neil Young to net. Harland looked to have levelled immediately but had his effort ruled out as he exceeded the 10-second time limit. With Ithier's shot save, David Annall took over between the posts after Tomich was sent off for hauling down Todd Harnwell, who shot over the bar with the re-take. Singeorzan's attempt was well saved by Young, and Tony Cumace sent the match in sudden-death with the last of the regulation spot-kicks. Scott Bulloch put the Knights in the box seat by converting his teams fifth 'penalty' only to see Steve MacDonald equalise moments later. Medica converted his sides' tenth attempt which was immediately cancelled out by Harland as the score became 3-3. Young saved the Knights next 'penalty' before Cumace sent the Seagulls fans into raptures by beating Annall and winning the clubs first trophy since the Championship in 2001.
In the early match Inglewood United overran a young Perth S.C. to take out fourth place. The host club struck early, Louis Parkinson giving them the lead with just 3 minutes elapsed. Andy Cornmell doubled United's advantage ten minutes later, and three minutes from the interval the left-sided midfielder effectively ended the game as a contest by converting from the penalty spot. State representative Shaun Kilkelly completed the route with a well-taken goal in the 40th minute.
DAUNTING TASK FACES STATE TEAM
The West Australian State team will be endevouring to record their first win over Perth Glory when the two teams go head-to-head in a friendly at Litis Stadium on Sunday evening (kick-off 6.30pm). There have been five meetings in as many years between the State team and Perth's sole representative in the National Soccer League, who have the ledger firmly in their favour. Glory have a 100% record against the senior State side, victorious in both previous encounters, while the W.A. Under-23 team have drawn once and lost twice to the state's only truely professional club. The senior State team will be seeking to avenge their last meeting when a controversial late goal from Bobby Despotovski gave Glory a 3-2 result three months ago.
Preparations for the game could hardly have been worse for the State team who had their first and only training session last Sunday. With the local season not officially starting until next weekend, coach Gary Marocchi faces the difficult job of getting a result with a team lacking any serious match practice. Much of their attacking impetus will come from wide where Todd Howarth (left) and former Glory player Todd Harnwell (right) will work in combination with creative midfielders James Afkos and Scott Campbell. Ryan Newhill, Stuart Montgomery, Carl Medica and last years' Golden Boot winner Branimir Mikulic are all competing to line-up in attack. The State team look solid at the back where goalkeeper Corey Hugo and defenders Troy Bernard, Shaun Kilkelly and Richard Watson are expected to start.
Glory, who have a bye from the N.S.L. this weekend, have already flagged their intention to use the outing as much needed match practice for their fringe players. New signing Simon Colosimo will pull on Glory colours for the first time and is likely to partner Anthony Danze in midfield, while teenagers Jeff Bright (Cockburn City), Scott Blackmore and John Higgins (E.C.U. Joondalup) have been invited to make guest appearances for the club. With Vince Matassa between the posts, the N.S.L. leaders are expected to start with a backline featuring Mark Byrnes, Jamie Coyne and Dutch import Mohammad Mouhouti. Coach Mich d'Avray is believed to be considering his attacking options and may well try former Perth S.C. teammates Adrian Caceres and Nick Mrdja up-front.
The main game will be the highlight of a triple treat which will kicks-off at 4.00pm when Floreat Athena and 2002 First Division champions Stirling Lions meet in a pre-season friendly. The same two clubs will also take part in the second game of the afternoon, which starts at 5.10pm, in an Under-13 Junior Champions League exhibition match. It will be the first outing for the Lions youngsters since forging links with the Kings Soccer Academy, who in turn are associated with English giants Manchester United.
COACHING COURSES FOR COACHES (by Mike Hennessey)
With an ever-increasing numbers of juniors playing soccer, the Soccer Administration of W.A. is putting on two coaching courses conducted by State junior coach Ron Tindall. The youth/intermediate course will be at Rosalie Park, Subiaco on Sunday 16th February from 9.00am and running through until 4.00pm. Goodchild Park in Hamilton Hill is the venue for the junior course which is scheduled for Thursday 6th March between 6.00pm and 9.00pm. Those interested are asked to contact S.A.W.A. during office hours on 9383 7878 for further details.
BAYSWATER TAKE OUT GROUP B
Queens Park and Bayswater City have progressed to the semi-finals of the Pioneer Night Series after tonight's round of games at Coker Park. Bayswater opened brightly and took the lead after 6 minutes only to see Jodi Henderson to level the playing field shortly after. The visitors restored their lead when their opponents defensive wall failed to hold it's form and the free-kick from 17-metres came to nestle in the back of the net. The second half saw Queens Park hit back with Nathan Watkins striking the bar with a fine header. Down the opposite end goalkeeper Darren Williams made a good save to keep his side in the match as Bayswater looked to end it as a contest. The hosts' chances of finding a second equalising goal stumbled with the dismissal of Henderson, leaving Bayswater with the numerical advantage on both the scoreboard and playing surface. The 2-1 result sends Bayswater through to the round of four where they'll meet local rivals Ashfield next Tuesday evening. Queens Park play Kingsway Olympic in the other semi-final. Tonight's late game between Canning City and Southside United was a dour affair which ended in a 1-1 draw, Mark Edwards the scorer for Southside.
COACHES CRITICAL OF NIGHT SERIES FORMAT
The format of the 2003 Night Series has come under fire from two of the state's most experienced and successful coaches. Graham Normanton, who has lead Perth S.C. to eight trophies over the past three seasons, and Stuart Kamasz, who tasted championship success with Stirling Lions (nee Macedonia) and Fremantle City, questioned the wisdom behind eliminating three teams after just a handful of games. The eleven Premier League teams have been drawn in three groups for the pre-season tournament with one team from each knocked-out in the intial stage of competition.
"The eliminated teams will only play two or three games and their opportunity to arrange friendlies will be limited because of the other clubs' commitments in the Night Series. This cannot be good for the overall improvement of our league - can it?," said Normanton. "Why not invite a First Division club in or have two groups, one with five teams and one with six? At least they would play a minimum of four games prior to the Premiership starting. Three teams doesn't constitute a league, therefore knocking one team out on what could be goal difference if they all win one game each, is a little unfair. I'm certainly open to change as long as it is good for the local competition but I'm not so sure that this is."
Normanton's words echoed those of Kamasz whose club, E.C.U. Joondalup are one of three in Group C. "I think the format is a joke - three groups is ridiculous. We are in a three team group - what happens if we miss out? We play two games then have to twiddle our thumbs looking for practice matches for weeks," said Kamasz. "The whole idea of the Night Series is to give players good quality match practice which used to mean at least four games. Why didn't the organisers go with twelve teams and bring a First Division team in, Armadale for example, so we could get five games in two groups of six each. It never ceases to amaze me some of the decisions that are made."
ON-LINE FORUM ALREADY A HIT!
The more inquisitive readers of the Western Australian Soccer Website have been quick to pick up on our latest addition - an on-line Forum in which you can discuss all things to do with the world game. The Western Australian Soccer Website Forum will be trialed over the next month or thereabouts and provide fans of the local game the opportunity to discuss issues and topics with like-minded individuals. We encourage all our readers to participate in the Forum, which success of which rests entirely on your shoulders.
BALGA SEEK PLAYERS
W.A.A.S.S.A. First Division club Balga are seeking players to join their squad for the up-coming season. It promises to be an exciting year for the club with recently appointed coach George Papaliaris at the helm as Balga attempt to make their way back into the Premier League. Players interested in turning out for the black-and-greens are invited down to training at Liddell Reserve, Girrawheen, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm. Training will return to Brian Burke Reserve prior to the commencement of the 2003 campaign. For more information visit the Balga Soccer Club website at http://balgasc.tripod.com
IT'S SORRENTO VERSES THE KNIGHTS! (Sorrento vs Perth S.C.by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento and the Western Knights have won their way through to the final of the B.G.C. Lightning Cup on Friday night following victories in tonight's semi-finals. The opening half of the first match between Sorrento and Perth S.C. was very much a one-sided affair with the Seagulls dominance evidenced by their 3-0 half-time lead. The goals started in the 4th minute when a high cross from close to the by-line by Tony Cumace deceived Perth goalkeeper Gianni Papalia and Steve MacDonald was well placed to chest the ball across the line to open Sorrento's account. The margin was doubled in the 17th minute when an unmarked Todd Harnwell was presented with the simplest of tap-ins following some good lead-work up by Cumace and Andy Mason. Papalia moved swiftly to keep out a curling free-kick from Cumace, and Simon Harland's volley struck the up-right as Sorrento applied the pressure. Damien DeLaurentis created Perth's first genuine chance in the 23rd minute but Jason Colli's shot found the side netting. Two minutes later Glen Thomas slipped the ball to Harland who rounded Papalia before slotting in Sorrento's third goal.
The second half saw Perth fight their way back into the match, although it was Sorrento who created the first opening when David Foster found Harland who quickly put the ball in behind the defence only for Harnwell to pull his effort across the face of goal. Slowly growing in confidence, Perth won themselves a penalty in the 42nd minute after Damir Kudozovic's shot was parried by goalkeeper Gareth Deeg, Eddie Parra pounced on the loose ball and his drive was handled by Cumace. Former Sorrento player Shane Crampton confidently converted the spot-kick to revitalise Perth's hopes. A lovely run by Colli in the 50th minute came to a disappointing end when he fired wide from the top of the 18-yard box. Three minutes later Sorrento had claims of a penalty turned down as Harnwell appeared to be hauled down by Papalia. Crampton worked tirelessly against his previous club and set-up Perth's final chance two minutes from the end, beating two defenders only to see Daniel Arias spoon his shot over the bar from close-range.
The late game may have started at a cracking pace but the Knights needed only three minutes to gain the upper hand over host club Inglewood United. From close to the halfway line, Stuart Montgomery switched play to the left where Leon Russell cut inside and unleashed a dipping right-footer which United's 'keeper got a hand to but couldn't prevent from crossing the goal line. Seven minutes the margin could have doubled after the Knights had legitimate claims for a penalty waived away when Jason Godfrey brought down Montgomery, who was subsequently sin-binned for verbally abusing the referee. With the player advantage Inglewood worked hard to get back in the game but Knights custodian Tommi Tomich had other ideas, making a great save to deny State midfielder Scott Campbell from 9-metres. The action swung wildly from end to end as the half came to a close. Eugene Singeorzan stretched Inglewood goalkeeper Oliver Taseski with an explosive drive from long-range, and moments before the interval the Knights were denied another penalty appeal when Leon Russell was up-ended following a corner.
The second half started brightly with both teams playing attractive football without causing either 'keeper cause for alarm. Desperate to level the scores, United launched an all-out attack in which their best chance came the way of summer signing Ryan Newhill who was disappointed that his close-range header failed to find the target. As the game came to a close the quality of play deteriorated with several rash challenges over the final ten minutes. As tempers frayed United saw their chances of success take a dramatic nosedive when lively forward Alex Josifovski was sent off for elbowing Doug Ithier in the face. And, adding to the hosts woes, Newhill was sin-binned shortly after. The Knights should have sealed the win with six minutes remaining as John Nicolaou and United's second half 'keeper Nick Stone contested a high ball into the area which fell to Singeorzan who squandered a golden opportunity from 4-metres. With the last play of an entertaining game, Louis Parkinson gave United one last chance when he opened up the opposition defence and Daniel Kovacevic raced through with only Tomich to beat but the former State Schoolboys representative was unable to keep alive his teams aspiration of a berth in Friday's final.
INTERNATIONAL CALL-UP FOR LOCAL REFEREE
Local referee Patrick McCaffrey has been selected as one of the officials for the Oceania Football Condeferation's Under-17 Qualifying Tournament which starts next week. McCaffrey, who has run the line in the National Soccer League for the past few seasons, will perform the same duties in Pago Pago, American Samoa, where Group A games will be played 13th and 21st February.
TWO ADDED TO STATE SQUAD
State coach Gary Marocchi has been forced to make two changes to his squad for Sunday's friendly with Perth Glory at Litis Stadium. Sorrento centre-half Richard Watson and Floreat Athena sweeper Troy Bernard have been added to the squad to replace Aaron Cole (knee injury) and Claus Nielsen (unavailable). For Watson, who won the Gold Medal in 1998 as the Premier League's best and fairest player, it will be his first outing in State colours. A product of Athena's youth system, 23-year old Bernard has been a regular feature of the State set-up since making his senior debut in 1998. The revised State squad to play Glory is Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn City), James Afkos, Troy Bernard, Andres Oliveira (Floreat Athena), Scott Campbell, Shaun Kilkelly, Ryan Newhill, Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United), Rob Giorgi, Todd Howarth (Perth S.C.), Todd Harnwell, Richard Watson (Sorrento), Cory Hugo (Swan I.C.), Carl Medica and Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights).
SORRENTO WELCOME SOUTHAMPTON LEGEND
Northern suburbs club Sorrento are hosting an evening with Southmapton legend Matt Le Tissier on Tuesday 18th Feburary. Getting underway at 8.00pm, the former England international will take a trip down memory lane, discussing his life in football and presenting a video compilation of his playing days. Le Tissier made 462 appearances for Southampton and scored 209 times in his 17-year playing career. The night will be compered by another former Saint, John Sydenham who played over 300 times for Southampton between 1956 and 1970. Tickets for the event are available from the club (Percy Doyle Reserve, Beddi Road, Duncraig) on Thursdays between 6.00pm and 10.00pm, or by phoning Jasmine Albon on 0403 938 292. Adult tickets, which include supper, are very generously priced at $15.00 each with free entry for children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adult.
Sorrento are also hopeful that Le Tissier will pull on the boots one more time in the club's annual exhibition match against an International Golfing XI. The game wil pit a team of former Sorrento stars against a side comprising various golfers and their caddies, many from the United Kingdom, who will be visiting Perth for the Johnny Walker Golf Classic which is being held at Lake Karrinyup Golf Course. Entry to the exhibition game, which kicks-off at 5.30pm on Tuesday 11th February at Percy Doyle Reserve, is free with full bar and canteen facilities available.
On the eve of Mandurah City's first friendly hit-out of 2003, club president John Fitzmaurice is confident the southerners will be able to build on the successes of their debut Soccer West Coast season. "We haven't lost any players from last season, in fact we have a number of new players at the club this year," said Fitzmaurice. "And the indications are the players can't wait for the season to start." Paul O'Brien will again coach the first team, while Carlos Almeida and Alistair Rhodes have been put in charge of the reserves and Under-18 sides. Mandurah travel to Perth this Saturday to take on Premier league outfit Bassendean Caledonian at Jubilee Reserve. Proceedings get underway from 11.00am with the Under-18's, the reserves kick-off at 1.00pm wiht the first team match at 3.00pm.
LEEMING AND ROCKINGHAM DRAW IN THRILLER
Leeming Strikers have drawn their final group stage match of the Pioneer Night Series 4-4 with Rockingham City at Coker Park this evening. After an even start to the match it was Rockingham that took the lead when Marko Aleksic put through to slot the ball into the net. As the opening half came to a close the Strikers asserted some authority and, after a couple of near misses, found an equalising goal from the boot of Steve Ball. The second half saw the Strikers start strongly before Lucas Whitehouse put them in front. It looked as though it wasn't going to be Rockingham's night when they squandered a penalty, but shortly after Aleksic netted his second to put the two teams back on level terms. Paul Gibson headed in a corner to restore the Strikers lead which proved to be short-lived as Rockingham swept forward with Terry Flynn this time finding the back of the net. It appeared Craig Ruthven scored the deciding goal as the clock ticked down but Rockingham refused to concede defeat and snuck a point from the game as Gavin McIlveen made it four-all. Kingsway Olympic took out the late match against Ashfield.
SOCCEROOS WON'T BE OVERAWED SAYS LAZARIDIS
Australian international Stan Lazaridis says the Socceroos will not be intimidated by reputations when they square off with England at Upton Park on 12th February. Included in Frank Farina's 18-man squad for the game, the left-sided midfielder believes that Australia will not be overawed by the occasion as the majority of the Australian team play in the English Premier League week-in, week-out. "It automatically takes away the shock you have of playing against the likes of Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and David Beckham for the first time. It eliminates the fear or respect you have for them," said Lazaridis.
With so many Australian's now plying their trade in England's top level competitions, Lazaridis says the English press have developed a new-found respect for the Socceroos. "When the English read eleven or twelve of the Australian players are playing in the Premiership or the First Division, they do realise that we have many good players. When you see the likes of Schwarzer, Kewell, Viduka, Okon and Vidmar in the squad, the English press are sitting up and giving us a bit of respect." The full 18-man squad named to take on the old enemy is Mark Schwarzer, Zeljko Kalac, Stan Lazaridis, Craig Moore, Kevin Muscat, Lucas Neill, Tony Popovic, Tony Vidmar, Marco Bresciano, Scott Chipperfield, Brett Emerton, Vince Grella, Paul Okon, Josip Skoko, Mile Sterjovski, John Aloisi, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka.
MAROCCHI ALL FOR STATE SERIES
A proposed series involving the representative teams of each state would be a huge bonus to the West Australian State team according to coach Gary Marocchi. It is believed Soccer Australia have floated the idea of a knock-out series involving the various State, although at this stage it is little more than discussion. "It would be something to give the players a bit of incentive to represent the State," Marocchi told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "If they do well in a tournament like that they might be seen by a national league team who might give them a chance. I think it would be a great thing."
Marocchi, a former Australian international, will lead the West Australian State side in a friendly with Perth Glory this Sunday evening at Litis Stadium (kick-off 6.30pm). Following the teams first training session over the weekend, the State coach said he hoped to tempt Sorrento defender Richard Watson to join the squad. But Watson's involvement may hinge on how far Sorrento progress in the B.G.C. Cup finals series this week. The Seagulls meet Perth S.C. on Wednesday in the semi-finals and will also feature in Friday's night action, either playing off for the trophy or contesting the minor placings.
RESTRUCTURE MOVING FORWARD
The restructure of the game in Western Australia is continuing to move forward with the Department of Sport and Recreation currently waiting to hear back from the associations. "Some of the associations had some concerns that they wanted to address before they signed off on the restructure," said Kevin Watts, a senior consultant with the Department this week. "The soccer forum has worked through those concerns and developed a memorandum of understanding that has been sent to the associations for signing. When we receive the signed document's back - hopefully within four weeks - we will proceed with seeking the Minister for Sport and Recreation's endorsement for the implementation of Stage One. We will also hold another meeting of the soccer forum to develop implementation strategies including the appointment of an executive/project officer to assist the with the implementation of Stage One."
KNIGHTS FAVOUR SHORTER SEASON
An eleven team Premier League in combination with a re-vamped format for the Night Series will mean fewer games in 2003 for those clubs in the top flight, something which pleases Western Knights president Basil Zuvela. "Last year was too long a season, with the Night Series starting in mid-February and the finals not ending until November," said Zuvela. "In all competitions, the Knights played about 44 games and Perth S.C. would have played close to 50. When you consider that this is a semi-professional league it is just too many games - the English Premier League doesn't play too many more games than that! As can be seen by Perth, they are not even playing there first team in the B.G.C. Cup. As for ourselves, we have up to six players from our senior squad who aren't even training yet, due to family or work commitments, or injury. A long season means more injuries for players, and possible loss of income if their job is affected."
THREE MORE OUTINGS FOR TARP
Perth-born Kal Tarp has taken her number of appearances for the Australian senior women's team to eight following her three appearances in the Australia Cup tournament last week in Canberra. The 21-year old midfielder was in the starting line-up for the Matilda's opening 2-0 win over South Korea, the game itself ending in controversy when abandoned close to the end after a South Korean official handled a referee. On Wednesday evening Tarp came off the bench in the 65th minute as Australia defeated Mexico 2-0. In Sundays game with Sweden to decide the tournament winner, Tarp was replaced 65 minutes into the 1-3 loss.
EASY WIN FOR GLORY (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory defeated both Northern Spirit and the hot and humid weather to win 3-0 at Perth Oval tonight. But the biggest cheer of the evening was reserved for former Socceroo Alex Tobin playing his 500th N.S.L. game in an illustrious career which saw him turn out for Adelaide City and Parramatta Power before joining Spirit. The visitors began well enough, maintaining possession and playing the ball around attractively but lacking the penetration to open up a solid Glory defence. Their best chance came when John Hutchinson was set free down the left but he blasted his shot wide. Andre Gumprecht was the inspiration for Glory in attack, setting up Damian Mori who fired over the bar before forcing a save out of Paul Henderson. Spirit then wasted an opportunity with Hutchinson again shooting over the bar. In the 24th minute Bobby Despotovski found Mori in front of goal and, although the ball curled off the side of the striker's boot, it spun into the corner of the net to enable Mori to break his goal drought and put Glory into the lead. Two minutes later Northern Spirit should have equalised as Adam Kwasnik was through with only Jason Petkovic to beat but he shot tamely at the 'keeper. The first half ended with another great run from Gumprecht but Glory failed to add their score before half-time.
Spirit had their chances early in the second half but it was Glory who scored. Nick Mrdja came off the bench with immediate success, taking two defenders with him he set Despotovski free and his simple pass to Mori saw Glory's lead doubled. In the sweltering conditions Glory were now well on top and cruising for victory. The home side had little problem repelling their opponents attempt at a fightback with Jamie Harnwell outstanding in the centre of defence. Mori came close to a hat-trick, put through by Mrdja only to hit the post and then narrowly failed to connect with the rebound. Adrian Caceres came on for the last ten minutes and he electrified the home fans with a searing run down the left which took him past a defender before unleashing a low, diagonal shot into the far corner to score his first goal for Glory. Apart from the 3-scoreline, Glory could be pleased with the performances of youngsters Mark Byrnes and Anthony Danze in his senior debut for the club.
Strikeball is a new seven-a-side game with continuous substitutions which is beginning to take off in Perth. "I've had a few soccer players trying it out over the last three weeks and they all have given it the thumbs up," said organiser Alf Debono. "It's a fast exciting game with lots of opportunities for spectacular goal scoring. A headed goal is worth three points, a volley is worth two points and any other strike is worth one point. The game is played on soft sand so it is very demanding on players strength and fitness. As it's played in bare feet, it also helps to strengthen the muscles of the feet."
"The game is played like touch with the ball carried forward in the hands but able to be passed in any direction. To score a player has to pass the ball to another player who strikes it into the net. A player who gets touched whilst in possession looses the ball. The goals are nearly as large as normal soccer goals so there are lots of shooting opportunities in the game giving players good practice," added Debono. A demonstration match has been arranged for 9th February starting at 8.00pm at Bayswater Recreation Club (Murray Street, Bayswater) - which doubles as a beach soccer venue. Male, female and mixed teams as well as individual players are welcome to try their hand at the new game at a cost of $5.00 a player or $35.00 per team. All enquires, including arranging a free trial game can be directed to Debono on 0403 161 655.
NIGHT OF CONTROVERSY IN BECKHAM GROUP (Stirling Lions vs Fremantle City by Don Evans)
Stirling Lions exited the B.G.C. Cup tonight in a blaze of excitement and controversy after their meeting with a young, vibrant Fremantle City team ended level at one-all after regulation time. Coach Wayne Thorpe used the match to field a very young Lions side with no players over the age of 18 in the line-up, while his Fremantle counterpart approached the game with a similar youth policy. The early passages were scrappy and untidy with both teams guilty of wayward passes and ineffective ball movement. In the 25th minute Lion's goalkeeper Jordan Conti made his only error of the series, racing to the top of his 18-yard box to retrieve the ball only to be foiled by John Migas whose cross to the unmarked David Rogers was whacked home from point blank range.
The Lions young brigade started the second half strongly when they were lead by Toby Wright with some superb cameo support from rising stars Michael Filippou, Ken Ftynogiannis, Joe Pugliese and Stjepan Beretovac. The large Lions contingent in the stands roared their approval when a brilliant individual effort from Wright saw his drive form 25-metres rifle into the bottom left corner of the net with goalkeeper Michael Basilio stranded to level the scores after 50 minutes. Both teams went hard in their search for a winner with City creating three great chances but were twice thwarted by the goalkeeping abilities of Ftynogiannis who watched the third attempt rebound of the post before being gathering the ball. The Lions also had chances to take the game through attacking sorties from Leo Harman, Wright and Beretovac which all went agonisingly close.
The full time whistle signaled the second time that the Lions would see their game decided via a shoot-out. As both teams potted goal for goal, the controversy slowly unfolded. It started when Ftynogiannis was sent off for fouling Mark Wingell as he made his way towards goal, the referee ordered the kick be re-taken with Toby Wright taking the 'keepers shirt. In scenes reminiscent of the World wresting Federation, Wright added his touch to the shoot-out by charging bull-like at Wingell, the resultant collision shaking the grandstand before Wright too was red carded. The drama-filled match ended when 17-year old Lions defender Joe Pugliese had his shot blocked by Michael Basilio to earn Fremantle a 5-4 result.
The late game between heavyweights Inglewood United and Perth S.C. proved to be just as entertaining. Perth's young guns served it up to the slick Inglewood team who took the lead with a well crafted goal from Alex Josifovski. Not to be outdone, Perth rallied and late in the game found an equalising goal via Damir Kuduzovic. With the scores tied at one-all after 60 minutes of football, the second shoot-out of the night went the way of the host club after Daniel Micevski's spectacular goal was ruled out by the referee who deemed the young gun to have exceeded the 10-second time limit.
In the semi-finals next Wednesday, Sorrento meet Perth from 6.45pm while Inglewood take on Western Knights at 8.00pm. The finals are being held on Friday night in which two semi-final winners will go head-to-head from 8.00pm. At 6.45pm the semi-final losers play-off for third and fourth places from 6.45pm. All games are being played at the National Stadium in Inglewood.
LANDMARK GAME AT PERTH OVAL
Tomorrow night's clash between Perth Glory and Northern Spirit at Perth Oval (7.00pm kick-off) will mark the 500th appearance of former Australian captain Alex Tobin, who has also racked up 113 games for the Socceroos in a long and successful career. The visitors arrive in the west confident of picking up a good result as coach Lawrie McKinna explained. "We've been playing well enough to attack the Glory and make them work hard. Coming off a bye is not ideal for us but it has worked well as we've had time to treat some niggly injuries." With regular starters Shane Pryce and Brad Hassell absent through suspension, the door has been opened for youngsters Adrian Caceres, Mark Byrnes and Anthony Danze to come into the Glory line-up. Another option apparently under consideration by coach Mich d'Avray is to partner Nick Mrdja and Damian Mori in attack with Bobby Despotovski dropping into midfield.
WARD OFF TO ENGLAND
Young E.C.U. Joondalup midfielder Nick Ward this week jetted off to England where he'll spend up to three weeks trialling with top flight club Middlesbrough. The offer to head abroad and trial came suddenly said Ward's father, Terry. "Last Saturday, totally out of the blue, I got a call from the head of recruitment at Middlesbrough, Ron Bone, who rang to offer Nick trials at the club as soon as he could get there." Ward, who spent last season on loan to Future Glory, was one of the shining lights for the State Schoolboys during the national championships that were held in Perth last August. The 17-year old was named in the Australian squad following the tournament at which he was also spotted by scouts from Middlesbrough.
It's the second time that Ward, who turns 18 in March, has trialled abroad. Two years ago he spent time with Sheffield Wednesday who offered him apprenticeship terms. Unfortunately the deal fell through because of F.I.F.A. regulations on the transfer of players under the age of 18. Despite his success at impressing the coaching staff at Wednesday, Ward won't be taking anything for granted. "Ron told me they are changing the academy structure in England so I will have to be good enough and prove I can play above my age in England," Ward said. "He also pointed out that they have five Aussies at the club so I'm hoping I can scam a ticket to see the Socceroos beat the Poms while I'm in England!"
FIRST DIVISION TAKES SHAPE
While the fixtures for the First Division season are still in draft form, it has been confirmed that the competition this season will consist of 16 teams following the recent merger of Perth City and Wanneroo City. Teams will meet eachother twice over the course of the winter campaign which is scheduled to commence on Saturday 15th March. It is expected the First Division champions will be crowned with the completion of the home-and-away series on Saturday 30th September.
STATE TEAM TO MEET GLORY (reproduced with permission from Soccer West Coast)
Former Perth Glory starlet Todd Harnwell will face his old club when he turns out for the West Australian State team in a glamour charity challenge match against the National Soccer League pacesetter at Litis Stadium on Sunday 9th February (kick-off 6.30pm). Right wing-back Harnwell was released by Glory late last year and recently rejoined his former club Sorrento. State coach Gary Marocchi was quick to snap up the services of Harnwell, who will face older brother Jamie, in the big match. It will be the second time that the State side has tackled the Glory in recent months. The Glory triumphed 3-2 courtesy of a late winner by Bobby Despotovski when the sides met on 8th November, when the Perth side had a bye in its N.S.L. fixtures. The second challenge also coincides with a Glory bye.
Marocchi's squad of 15 is mainly made up of players who were involved in the November game. The newcomers, apart from Harnwell, are another ex-Glory youngster Shaun Kilkelly, who is now with Inglewood United, and classy utility Claus Nielsen of the Western Knights. It is expected that Perth Glory's new signing, former Socceroo utility Simon Colosimo, will make his debut for the Glory in the friendly. It will be a big day of soccer on 9th February with two other games on the exciting triple header. Stirling Lions will celebrate their return to the top flight football by taking on Floreat Athena in the curtain raiser from 4.00pm. And, at 5.30pm, there will be junior challenge game spotlighting some of the State's many promising young players.
The senior State squad, who have their first training session at Macedonia park this Sunday is Branimir Mikulic (Cockburn City), James Afkos, Andres Oliviera (Floreat Athena), Scott Campbell, Shaun Kilkelly, Ryan Newhill, Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United), Aaron Cole, Rob Giorgi, Todd Howarth (Perth S.C.), Todd Harnwell (Sorrento), Corey Hugo (Swan I.C.), Carl Medica, Stuart Montgomery and Claus Nielsen (Western Knights).
ASHFIELD SURVIVE LATE CHARGE
Ashfield stay on track for a spot in the semi-finals of the Pioneer Night Series after defeating Leeming Strikers 2-1 at Coker Park past night. Although the action swung from one end to the other over the opening period, neither goalkeeper was really troubled as the respective defences held firm. The best chance of the half came the way of Lucas Whitehouse whose header was well-saved by young Ashfield goalkeeper Eldin Ibrisimovic. The deadlock was finally broken early in the second half when some poor defending on the Strikers behalf allowed Alen Havic in to give Ashfield the advantage. The match appeared to be over as a contest when a speculative lob over the goalkeeper by Jarod Smith found the back of the net to double the margin. Refusing to concede defeat, the young Strikers line-up dug deep and twice came to pegging a goal back before Howard Nystad's free-kick was nodded home by Paul Gibson. But it was a case of too little too late as Ashfield claim maximum points from the encounter.
The late game ended in a 4-2 over by Kingsway Olympic over Rockingham City. With one round of fixtures remaining in the groups stage, Olympic and Ashfield are in the box seat to make the play-offs.
TRIAL FOR KNIGHTS' JUNIORS (reproduced with permission from www.westernknights.web1000.com)
Premier League outfit Western Knights will be participating in the new Junior Champions League by fielding teams in the Under-11 through to Under-15 age groups. It will provide an opportunity for talented young players to develop their talent by competing in an elite competition. The Knights, whose home ground is Nash Field (Solomon Street) in Mosman Park, are conducting trials for players wishing to participate in the Junior Champions League.
All trial sessions will commence at 6.00pm at the Knights junior home of Bruce Lee Reserve (corner of South Street and Caesar Street) in Beaconsfield. Under-11 and Under-12 trials are being held on Tuesday 4th, Thursday 6th and Tuesday 11th February. Players interested in trying out for the Under-13 and Under-14 teams are asked to attend sessions on Wednesday 5th, Monday 10th and Thursday 13th February, while Under-15 trials are being conducted on Wednesday 12th, Friday 14th and Monday 17th February. The club have appointed a junior development officer to coordinate the program and specialist coaching methods. Parents interested in coaching or helping are welcome to become involved. For further information contact Jack Grego on 9316 3006 or 0418 910 855.
DREAM TRIP FOR LOCAL TEENAGERS
Three of the state's rising stars are about to get a taste of the footballing life in Italy. Jordan Rhodes (Mandurah City), Boima Kharpa (Dianella White Eagles) and the out-of-contract Antonio Naglieri will be guest players for Sydney team Apia Leichhardt when they compete in the prestigious Viareggio youth tournament next month. 17-year old Rhodes, a former youth team player with English club Charlton Atheltic, was a regular fixture of the Mandurah side in their debut season with Soccer West Coast while Liberia-born Kharpa, 18, turned many heads while playing for Dianella last season. The pair leave next week for Sydney where they'll train for a week with the Apia squad before setting off for Italy. Recently released by Perth Glory, Naglieri is currently on trial in England with Cardiff City and will link up with Apia on their arrival in Europe. The Viareggio tournament, which attracts the cream of youth from South America and Europe, kicks-off on 17th February and runs through until 5th March.
CACERES BACK ON TRACK (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory coach Mich d'Avray is expecting winter signing Adrian Caceres to make an impact in the second-half of the National Soccer League season. Caceres signed for Glory in the off-season after 18 months in England with Southampton in the top flight. The 21-year old has struggled to fit into d'Avray's regime as the Glory coach explained. "His attitude wasn't right. Maybe he thought that coming back from England it would be easy," d'Avray told the "West Australian". "He needed a wake-up call and, to be fair to him, he has changed his attitude and started to show signs of becoming the player we know he can be." Caceres, who started out locally with Perth S.C. agreed with his coaches assessment. "My head wasn't right. I was up and down and not settled. But after the chat with the boss I got my head straight and started to train well. I'm feeling good now."
LAZARIDIS TO STAY AT BIRMINGHAM
Western Australia's favourite son, Stan Lazaridis, looks set to stay with top flight English club Birmingham City after interest from Sunderland and Leeds United petered out. Lazaridis has the enviable record of having created more goals than any other Birmingham player this season, including the equaliser in the recent 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers, and is keen to keep supplying the forwards with ammunition now he has fully recovered from a groin injury. "It's nice if people say I've helped create a lot of goals but that's what I get paid for," the wingback told the "Birmingham Evening Mail".
Lazaridis expects to be fighting fit for this Saturday's crucial clash with Bolton Wanderers where defeat will land the Blues right in the middle of a battle to avoid relegation. Currently seven points clear of third-from-bottom Sunderland, Birmingham go into the match refreshed having not been involved in the last weekend's round of F.A. Cup fixtures nor the mid-week Premiership games. "The free days we have are a bonus. I'm able to get myself properly ready for Bolton," Lazaridis said. "If we can keep this sort of distance between ourselves and the bottom three or four clubs by the end of February, the run in is a do-able one for us. I can see us picking up things from those games."
KNIGHTS, SEAGULLS MAKE SEMI'S Sorrento vs Swan I.C. by Kerry Slater)
It was do-or-die time for E.C.U. Joondalup and Western Knights who met on Tuesday evening in the third and final qualifying round of the B.G.C Cup at the National Stadium. For the winners a place in next Wednesday's semi-finals beckoned, while the losers would have a fortnight break before the commencement of the Midland Brick sponsored Night Series. In a very physical opening to the match by the Knights, the first genuine shot on goal arrived in the 8th minute when a long Tommi Tomich goalkick found Stuart Montgomery whose curling effort was kept out by Alan Mattecucci. Joondalup eventually settled, found their rhythm and began to launch some promising forays into their opponents half. A brilliant through ball from John Higgins in the 21st minute sent Andre Sarpe through on goal with only the Knights 'keeper to beat, the skillful youngster rounding Tomich before tucking the ball in the back of the net.
The second half began with the Knights in an attacking mood with Joondalup content to sit back, soak up the pressure and break on the counter-attack. But poor marking six minutes into the new period allowed Montgomery to line up the target from 25-metres, his superb long-range shot evading the out-stretched arms of Peter Stewart before going in off the up-right. Shortly after Stewart pulled off a fine save to prevent a rasping Scott Bulloch volley from crossing the line. With frustrations starting to get the better of players, several poorly-timed challenges were allowed to go unpunished by the referee. In the 45th minute Daryl Platten surged down the right only for his cross into the area to catch players on both teams ball-watching. Four minutes from full-time Alex Christie's low drive was parried by Stewart who could only watch on as Montgomery reacted quickly to knock home what would be the winner. What had been an entertaining match ended on a particularly unsavoury note with Montgomery and Garin Collins sent from the field of play following an all-in brawl.
Sorrento continued their unbeaten start to 2003 with an comprehensible 5-0 victory over Swan I.C. in the late fixture. The black and whites started strongly, holding possession for long period in the opening 10 minutes but never really caused Sorrento custodian Gareth Deeg any troubles. The Seagulls eventually found their feet with Todd Harnwell's shot from 8-metres coming back of the right post, and shortly after Ryan Jeans' angled header went wide with goalkeeper Chris Ramsey caught out of position. It came as no surprise when Sorrento went ahead in the 18th minute when Jared Love switched play to Jeans on the right, Ramsey failed to hold the shot and Jeans streamed in to slot into the unguarded net. Four minutes later Richard Watson found Jeans who carved open the Swan backline for Harnwell to sped in and volleyed the ball home to make it 2-0. Leading the Seagulls attack, Simon Harland should have scored on 24 minutes but he contrived to also hit the right post.
Nine minutes into the new half Steve McDonald powered in his header from a Tony Cumace to extend Sorrento's lead. Within a minute Swan suffered another blow as a good exchange between Harnwell and Cumace saw the former's cross met at the far post by new signing Andy Mason whose header came off the bar only to strike the back of Ramsey and cross the line. In the 35th minute Swan created their only genuine chance of the half through substitute Mark Pettuccio who got in between Watson and McDonald only to under-hit his shot. David Foster found space down the left and his cross was met by Mason who this time put his header just over the bar. With Daniel Cain in the sin bin, Sorrento completed the route close to the final whistle as Sean Fallon set-up Harnwell whose shot was parried by Ramsey and Foster was on hand to smack in the rebound.
OPENINGS AT INGLEWOOD
Premier League outfit Inglewood United have opportunities available for players wishing to trial for their Under-18 and Under-21 squads. Players interested in joining one of the state's oldest clubs are asked to contact team manager Remo Merlacci on 9459 8101 or 0413 150 921.
GOALS FLOW AT COKER PARK
There were goals aplenty in the second round of games in the Pioneer Night Series as Bayswater City romped home 5-1 over Canning City before Queens Park downed Southside United 1-0. The opening Tuesday night fixture could not have started better for Bayswater who took the lead after 3 minutes when Dario Pellicciotti's cross found the unmarked Andrew O'Neill who tucked home the volley. Bayswater continued to attack and doubled their lead in the 25th minute through an identical goal which was again converted by O'Neill. The second half saw Bayswater pick up where they left off and it wasn't long before the margin blew out to three goals via Nick Stojanovski who made the most of a one-on-one with the Canning goalkeeper. A double by Sal Marrapodi completed Bayswater's scoring spree before Canning grabbed a late consolation goal.
The nights second match was an even tussle between host club Queens Park and Southside United. It was the visitors that came closest to scoring in the opening period when a free-kick struck from just outside the 18-yard box crashed into the up-right and came back into play. It wasn't until the hour mark that the deadlock was broken by Queens Park newcomer Steve Sauzier. "All in all I was very pleased with our performance," said Queens Park coach Mike Brazil after the game. "We made many changes in the second period, one of the most pleasing things about our pre-season games is how all the new players have fitted in at the club. There is still the league to come and that's the one we are all measured on, but it's very pleasing to know that we now have good depth at Queens Park."
DRAW DOES NOT SUIT CALLIES (by Bill McAllister)
Bassendean Caledonian have been handed what can only be described as a dreadful drawn for the 2003 Night Series tournament. The club's two group stage games will be played in the opening seven days of the competition - it should be noted the group stage lasts four weeks - and those are spaced just six days apart. Callies opening match is against Floreat Athena on Sunday 16th February with the second against E.C.U. Joondalup on Friday 21st February. Should Callies make the quarter-final stage of the Night Series, they will then be forced to wait until Sunday 16th March - that's three weeks before their next match. And who would be their opponents - Athena or Joondalup! This is a truly inspired piece of fixturing on Soccer West Coast's behalf! Added to this, teams in the other groups (which have four teams in each) have a 75% chance of progressing and while Group C teams have only a 66% chance or getting through to the second stage. Surely it would have been a better option to draft Ashfield or another of the First Division clubs in to make it a fairer competition?
ALL GO FOR DANSKIN
All is going well for Werder Bremen midfielder Matt Danskin who has continued the fine form shown at the end of 2002 into the new year. After spending the Christmas break in Perth, the teenager made his way back to Germany earlier this month to prepare for the second half of the domestic season. Danskin's first outing of 2003 came on 12th January when he played a full game in the 0-0 friendly draw with Danish side Bronby. The following weekend he turned out in an indoor tournament in Flemgo where the Werder Under-19 side lost to Bayer Leverkussen (0-1) and Bayern Munich (2-3) before recorded victories over Borussia Dortmund (2-0), SV Hamburg (1-0) and F.C. Flemgo (2-0). This weekend marked a return to league competition for the Werder youngsters, Danskin playing a full game in their 3-1 away win at V.F. Luebeck (26/01). The Werder Under-19 team are currently placed fourth on the table.
DRAW EXTENDS GLORY'S LEAD
A nine-man Glory have hung on to claim a vital away point from their clash with Sydney United. Played in searing heat in front of just 2,021 spectators, the visitors took the lead after 20 minutes when Brazilian midfielder Edgar accepted a cross from Bobby Despotovski to drill a low shot past diving goalkeeper Vanja Ivesa. Shortly after the Puma's came close to levelling via Brendan Santalab whose fierce drive was well saved by Jason Petkovic. Glory went down to ten men with the 52nd minute dismissal of Shane Pryce for a foul on Santalab, who picked himself up to rifle the resultant free-kick low into Petkovic's net for the equaliser. In the 87th minute Brad Hassell joined Pryce in the changeroom after he accidentally spat at an opponent. The result saw Glory's lead extend to three points over second-placed Olympic Sharks.
NAGLIERI KEEN ON OVERSEAS MOVE
After turning out for Cardiff City's reserves against Plymouth Argyle this week, Antonio Naglieri is keen to further impress the Bluebirds coaching staff and win himself a contract with the English club. The 20-year old midfielder has long thought about moving abroad and, following his recent release from Perth Glory, decided the time was right to try his luck. "I heard about Cardiff while I was in Australia and one of my former coaches helped me set up a trial," Naglieri told the South Wales Echo recently. "I'd love to spend more time with City and have the chance to show what I can do, but that's the manager's decision. I'm just happy to be here and pleased to get a game. If Cardiff offer me something that'd be fantastic, but if not I'll look for other opportunities, possibly in Italy." Naglieri spent time in Italy before shooting to fame with Cockburn City, taking out the W.A. Premier League's Rookie of the Year award in 2000. Offered trials by Blackburn Rovers, he opted to stay in Perth and sign with Glory but was unable to establish himself in the club's strong matchday squad.
COCKBURN TO LOSE STAR STRIKER?
Less than a month before the start of the Night Series Cockburn City may be about to lose State striker Branimir Mikulic. Recipient of the Premier League's Golden Boot for the past two years, Mikulic is currently in Singapore where he is hoping to impress the coaching staff at Woodlands Wellington ahead of the S-League season which starts shortly. It is believed the club are in competition for the signature of the 23-year old with Sengkang Marine, who are coached by former Sorrento boss Trevor Morgan.
INGLEWOOD, PERTH TO PROGRESS (Stirling Lions vs Perth S.C. by Don Evans)
Inglewood United strolled to victory tonight over a very young and comparatively inexperienced Fremantle City line-up in the second round of Beckham Group fixtures in the friendly B.C.G. Cup competition. It took the host club just 6 minutes to get on the scoreboard after an in-swinging corner from Andy Cornmell caught Fremantle's defence flat-footed and an attempted clearance ricocheted off Alex Josifovski and into the back of the net. Eight minutes later Ryan Newhill's shot from the top of the 18-yard box was blocked and Cornmell made no mistake with the loose ball from 9-metres. Fremantle's first opening came in the 16th minute when Craig Young laid the ball off to Josh Kamsz whose shot rose over the bar. The match was effectively over as a contest four minutes later when some sloppy defending allowed Newhill to further extend Inglewood's lead. To their credit the port side mounted a late first half charge with Jamie Jorqueira heading into the arms of goalkeeper Oliver Taseski who, just minutes later, made a flying save to tip a stunning long-range effort by Michael Vaz over the bar.
Fremantle started the second period in promising style as Jorqueira floated the ball to Anthony Pereira whose first time strike flew narrowly wide of the target. The port side continually pushed forward only to find their opponents defence a very difficult nut to crack. Inglewood on the other hand created numerous opening and in the 44th minute the gap blew out to four goals when Josifovski converted Renato Rechichi's cross from the left. Shortly after Newhill rose high above the defence to meet an inch-perfect cross by Daniel Kovacevic but the striker's header was scrambled to safety off the line by a defender. Rory Moutett's clever flick on goal met with the same fate in the 58th minute after he connected with a fine corner from Michael Baczynski. Fremantle were rewarded for their persistence just seconds before the final whistle when Jorqueira seized upon a defensive error by Jamie Kuzmanovich to slot the ball into an open goal with substitute 'keeper Nick Stone out of position.
The late game pitted Perth S.C. against newly promoted Stirling Lions in a clash that had the fans on the edge of their seats for 61 minutes before a winning could be found. Perth had the best of their talented pool of youngsters on display while the Lions included some new young faces in their starting line up. The silky skills of teenager Stjepan Beretovac combined with livewire Robert Cibesku in the 20th minute to create the first real chance with Beretovac's goalbound shot deflecting off the crossbar to safety with goalkeeper Gianni Papalia beaten. It was entertainment plus as both teams created openings and the action swung from end to end.
The Lions came close to starting the second half on the right note when Bobbi Klenkovski's drive grazed the wrong side of the up-right. A long-range chip from Perth's Paul Natale caught 18-year old goalkeeper Ken Ftynogiannis in no-man's land only for the ball to hit the crossbar with ten minutes remaining. For the second time in as many weeks the luckless Lions conceded a last minute goal, Vlad Milasinovic smashing home the match decider to signal the end of what had been a fantastic contest. Post-match, Perth coach Graham Normanton rated Natale and Eddie Parra as his two most valuable players, while for the Lions Wayne Thorpe was impressed by the hard work rate of midfielders Luke Pavlos and Cibesku along with debutant 'keeper Ftynogiannis. The result leaves Perth and Inglewood on top of the Beckham Group table and guaranteed of a spot in the knock-out phase, while the Lions and Fremantle will meet next Friday (kick-off 6.45pm) to decide third and fourth in the final group standing.
PERTH YOUNGSTERS GIVEN CHANCE TO SHINE
There were few familiar names in the Perth S.C. team when they ran out for the clubs opening fixture in the B.G.C. Cup last Friday night. The reason for that is the reigning Premier League champions have opted to field a reserve and youth combination in the friendly tournament as coach Graham Normanton explained this week. "While I whole heartedly support anything that is positive in soccer, as the B.G.C. Cup is, my focus is to prepare the team for another grueling season," said the Perth coach. "To play our up and coming players gives me a chance to assess their progress. I am very much in favour of giving our quality young players a go when they are ready and this competition gives them a pre-season competition to prove whether or not they have what it takes to compete in the Premier League."
"To be honest, the B.G.C. Cup last season was an interruption to our pre-season training. The games were not long enough to constitute a fitness session and it was another night that the players had to put into their program. All in all I considered it well worth it for the youngsters who are on the verge of the first team but a hindrance to those already in the senior squad. It's also useful for the reserve team who have the fewest games out of the three grades - they don't have a Top Five series at the end of the year and few pre-season games so from that point of view this tournament is also good. Players of this age should be playing more - not less - games because this is their peak development time, a point which needs to be considered by our fearless leaders when deciding not to have a top five for the reserves."
With Perth's up and coming talent strutting their stuff down at Inglewood, the first team squad have been busy working off the summer break on the training track. "The first team are being put through their paces in a very demanding pre-season training program," said Normanton. "I am a big believer in being prepared for the journey ahead, and after our achievements of the last couple of seasons we need to be better prepared than ever. The team is coming together pretty well and I am very happy with the progress made so far, although the players are probably cursing me at the moment!"
One of Perth's strengths since Normanton took over the reigns in 1999 has been a very stable playing roster, and this year looks like being no different. "There has been very few players wanting to leave - in fact only one - so there's been no need to replace anyone. I thought that we showed some quality last season and I don't think that there are many players in the league that could lay claim to a spot in Perth's first team at the moment. Okay, some will say Andres Oliveira is a big loss but it is not something that I lose sleep over, nobody is irreplaceable. The club is always bigger than the individual and I demand 100% from every individual."
"I think you have got to build a team, not buy a team, so yes a certain amount of stability is good although allowing the players to get into a comfort zone could be a disaster," added Normanton. "In our case we have gone to great lengths to ensure that that does not happen. I think you have got to have a nucleus of players that you build around while weeding out your weaknesses and adding to your strengths. Most of the time those strengths can come from within your own club - after all there is absolutely no point in having a junior development program if you are not going to use it."
REVISED FORMAT FOR NIGHT SERIES
The 2003 Night Series gets under way in three weeks time at the National Stadium in Inglewood with a slightly different format to that of previous years. With the top flight consisting of eleven teams this season, the annual pre-season competition will consist of three groups - two groups of four teams and one group of three teams - with the opening round of games scheduled for Friday 14th February. One team will be eliminated from each group with the remaining eight clubs progressing to the knock-out phase which concludes with the Night Series Final on Sunday 30th February. In Group A are First Division champions Stirling Lions, Western Knights, Sorrento and Cockburn City, while Group B consists of Fremantle City, Swan I.C., Inglewood United and reigning Night Series champions Perth S.C. The three teams Group C pits Floreat Athena, E.C.U. Joondalup and Bassendean Caledonian against eachother.
FIRST ROUND NIGHT SERIES WIN FOR QUEENS PARK
Host club Queens Park became the only side to claim maximum points from the opening week of fixtures in the Pioneer Night Series by defeating a young Canning City 1-0 tonight. Queens Park coach Mike Brazil included a number of new faces in his team including former Western Knights goalkeeper Darren Williams, and defenders Jamie Bell, Chris Khalil, and Matt Tilbury. The match start at a frenetic pace with both sides playing attracting, attacking football which kept the crowd on their toes. It took until the 12th minute of the second half for the deadlock to be broken by another of Queens Park's new-comers Chris Curtis. "It was real end-to-end stuff," said Brazil after the game. "To be honest there was not a great deal between the two sides."
The evenings late game saw honours shared with Bayswater City and Southside United finishing level at one-all. The match was just 8 minutes old when Stuart Inge's cross from the left found Mark Edwards who controlled before sending a dipping volley into the back of the net to give Southside the advantage. Having take the lead, the Blues then went to sleep and in the 25th minute conceded a free-kick just outside the box. The initial shot struck the defensive wall, the rebound hit the upright, and the ensuing scramble was eventually converted by Nick Stojanovski. The introduction of Mark Brown restored some fluency to the Southside's game as they knocked the ball around with confidence. Defensively, Tony Hall and Tony Lang were dominant as both teams had trouble converting chances in front of goal. With ten minutes to go Southside had a legitimate penalty turned down after substitute John Thornley was brought down after a fine run into the area. A frantic final few minutes saw neither side able to add to their tally.
GOALKEEPER WANTED BY ASHFIELD
First Division club Ashfield are seeking the services of an experienced first team goalkeeper for the 2003 season. The club have recently lost the services of regular custodian Phil Jackson, who is travelling abroad, along with reserves 'keeper Johnathon Van Der Voet and are looking to add to their playing stocks before the opening round of the new campaign. Players interested in joining can contact the club via firstname.lastname@example.org or first team coach Tom Kilkelly on either 0416 130 820 or 9378 3334.
GIRLS STATE TRIALS
Trials for the West Australian girls junior and youth teams are being held over the next month. Players interested in trying out for the Under-l4, Under-16 or Under-18 teams are invited to attend trial sessions at Gibbney Reserve in Maylands on Saturday's 25th January, 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd February. The State Under-14 team will travel to New South Wales in April to take part in the Girl's Friendship Games, while the Under-16 and Under-18 sides will compete at the National Championships later in the year. All enquiries as to the trial sessions can be directed to Lea Stinton, secretary of the Women's Soccer Association, on 9497 2534.
GOOD NIGHT FOR NORTHERNER'S (Sorrento vs Western Knights by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento repelled a late charge from the Western Knights to post their second win of the B.G.C. Cup at the National Stadium this evening. It didn't take long for the match to build in intensity. On 11 minutes a swift flowing move involving the Knights' Eugene Singeorzan and Stuart Montgomery saw David Annall fire into the side netting. Six minutes later the Knights were left exposed at the back as Ryan Jeans raced through only to be fouled by Doug Ithier inside the area, Jeans converting the resultant penalty by blasting it into the roof of Tommi Tomich's net. Shortly after the restart Carl Medica's free-kick curling high. The excitement continued late in the half when Sorrento were temporarily reduced to ten after Steve McDonald was cautioned for a late tackle on Joe Vaz. The Knights then upped the pressure only to be left stunned by a thundering shot from 25-metres by Glen Thomas which Tomich had no chance of keeping out.
The second half followed the same pattern of the first with both sides playing attacking football. Jeans fed the ball to Simon Harland in the 34th minute but the forward's shot was deflected wide by Tomich. Shortly after Singeorzan squared a perfect pass to Stuart Montgomery who fluffed his attempted side foot and goalkeeper Gareth Deeg gathered easily. On 42 minutes, Deeg was left stranded as his attempted throw out failed to reach its intended target and Vaz fired the ball back over the Sorrento 'keeper to reduce the deficit. The Knights were dominating play as Medica returned to the field after a stay in the sin bin. Montgomery should have leveled the scores but his flick on goal spun over the bar. Ten minutes from the end Ithier curled a Knights free-kick over the defensive wall only to see Deeg swoop low and gather possession. In the final minute of regulation time Deeg couldn't hold a cross into the area and the ball spilled to Medica who blasted wide of the up-right when it appeared certain he'd found the net. The pulsating match continued until for three stoppage time minutes before referee Wayne Oldham's whistle signaled a hard-earned victory to the Seagulls.
The night's opening game saw E.C.U. Joondalup account for a rusty Swan I.C. 2-0. The northern suburbs side took the led after 16 minutes when John Higgins cleverly flicked the ball over a flat Swan backline, Nick Ward evading the off-side trap and with the time to pick his spot low and to the right of the 'goalkeeper from close-in. Having scored their first, Ward then played a key role in Joondalup's second goal which securing their first win of the tournament. Having won possession in the centre circle, the young midfielder held of three challenges before sending the ball to the feet of Andre Sarpe who made the most of a defensive error to rifle the ball home from just inside the 18-yard box with 40 minutes elapsed.
NAGLIERI SOUGHT BY CARDIFF
Recently released by Perth Glory, Antonio Naglieri could be set to join the growing number of West Australian's playing abroad after receiving and offer to join English Second Division club Cardiff City. The Bluebirds have reportedly sought an international clearance for the highly rated midfielder after he impressed manager Lenny Lawrence in trials. Naglieri started out locally with Cockburn City, winning the W.A. Rookie of the Year in 2000, and has been part of the State set-up over the intervening years. Cardiff currently sit in fourth place on the Second Division table and are pushing hard to win promotion.
DECISION LOOMS FOR LAZARIDIS
Australian international Stan Lazaridis says he may leave English Premier League strugglers Birmingham City in order to continue his career at top level. While the 30-year old wingback said his preference would be to stay with the Blues, he admits to having to think of his future in the remaining fortnight of the international transfer window. "I'm facing one of those difficult issues that sometimes happen to footballers," he told the Birmingham Evening Mail. "I'm a few months away from the end of my contract and I would love to stay here, I really like this club. At the same time, I understand that hands are tied because we don't know what division we'll be playing in next year. If someone is willing to offer a couple of years extra on your contract, you have to think about your future and looking after your family." Both Leeds United and Sunderland are reported to be interested in the former West Ham United star.
POINTS SHARED IN FRIENDLY SERIES (Ashfield vs Rockingham City courtesy of the Ashfield website; Leeming Strikers vs Kingsway Olympic by Mike Hennessey)
The Pioneer Night Series kicked-off this week at Coker Park, home of Queens Park, with Ashfield meeting Rockingham City in the opening fixture. A tight first half started with Ashfield content to sit back and size up their opponents for whom Glen Hallums and Terry Flynn provided much of the drive from the middle of the park. While Rockingham did much of the early attacking, they were unable to break down the Ashfield defence, especially young goalkeeper Eldin Ibrisimovic who made sure the score remainder level at the break. Ashfield best chance of the half came the way of John Monterosso but his effort found the side netting. The deadlock was broken six minutes into the new half when some bad defending from Ashfield allowed an unmarked Glen Hallums to score at the back post. The goal had an immediate effect on Ashfield who would control the game from here on with Alen Havic, team captain Edin Mehic and Wayne Culverwell all going close. Ashfield's prolonged pressure eventually paid off with ten minutes left on the clock as Tom Gaca hit a thunderbolt from 25-metres which rocketed into the roof of the net to ensure the points were shared.
Leemimg Strikers began the new year with a credible 2-2 draw against an enthusiastic Kingsway Olympic side in the Pioneer Night Series at Coker Park tonight. The game began at a hectic pace with the Strikers enjoying most of the possession but unable to penetrate a solid opposing defence. Olympic took the lead against the run of play when a poor clearance enabled Ryan Lickiss to lob the goalkeeper to make it 1-0. The Strikers came back and only brave goalkeeping by Adrian Hayes prevented the score from being levelled. As half-time approached Lucas Whitehouse broke down the right and his in-swinging centre was deflected into the net by a defender to put the teams on an even footing at the interval. The Strikers went into attack on the resumption of play with Jeremy Herbert going close as his side dominated play. They finally took the lead on hour via a controversial penalty which was coolly slotted home by Whitehouse to put Leeming in the box seat. Olympic's qualiser was also fortunate, an indirect free-kick deflecting off the wall to give the unmarked Ben Roberts the chance to fire into the net from close range and earn his side a point. For Leeming there is promise of a good season with new coach Bob Braid having the services of Phil Bell (ex-Farnborough Town, England), Howard Nystad (Bronby, Norway) and Craig Ruthven (Floreat Athena).
Questions have been asked this week over the eligibility of players taking part in the friendly B.G.C. Cup competition who are not registered to participating clubs. The situation has come about after two players currently under contract to a First Division club took to the field the two most recent rounds of fixtures. Concerns have also been raised as to whether or not trial players are covered by insurance should they suffer serious injury while playing in the friendly tournament. We have been reliably informed that Soccer West Coast are to look into the situation.
GARCIA RUES INJURY
Injury has forced West Ham United attacker Richard Garcia on to the sidelines and out of contention for a spot in the Australia squad for next months friendly international with England at Upton Park. "I had a few weeks back home (in Perth) and pretty much the only thing I could do was rest," said Garcia of the stress fractures of the shin that have kept him out of the Hammers side. "Now I am getting back into it and I will be training in about a week - and hopefully there will be no recurrence of the injury, and I can get back to training and playing again."
"I would have loved to have been involved over Christmas with the squad and the team but unfortunately every footballer has injuries and, although it is always unwelcome, you have to take the good with the bad," the former Kingsway Olympic and Perth S.C. player added. "It would have been nice to get a run out over that period, but it is just unfortunate I had my injury at that particular time. I am disappointed to have got this injury because if I had made a few more appearances maybe I might have had a chance to be involved in the international, but being out didn't help my chances of playing in what is a historical game."
Garcia is aiming to make his return for the club when their reserves take on Leicester City at the start of next month. "I will be trying my hardest to get back into the team and hopefully get a few starts. That was my goal for the season but so far I haven't really been involved as much as I was last year - which has been a bit disappointing. But I have to just keep working and hopefully I will get my chance. Once that happens I will show what I can do." With 18 months left on his current contract, Garcia is keeping his options open. "I have another season after this, but if I am not doing it here and they don't want to keep me hopefully I can do it somewhere else. I would love it to be at West Ham though, and it is all down to me - we will see how things go."
COONEY PROMOTED TO SENIOR SQUAD
Former West Australian junior Sean Cooney was last week added to the senior squad at Coventry City after the club registered him with the Football League. The 19-year old defender has been a regular for the Sky Blues' reserves this season having made his way up through the youth ranks since his arrival at Highfield Road in mid-2000. Prior to heading abroad Cooney played for Kingsway Olympic and Inglewood United.
CLASSY WIN BY GLORY (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory celebrated their 100th home match in the National Soccer League by defeating the highly-fancied, third-placed South Melbourne 2-0 at Perth Oval on Saturday evening. In front of 11,173 fans, it was some resolute defending and two top-notch goals that would decided the game. Hard tackles and poor passing marred the early stages but Matt Horsley brought the crowd to its feet when he burst through to force Eugene Galekovic into a brave save. The opening goal arrived after 24 minutes when Shane Pryce's pass out of defence was chested by Damian Mori into the path of Andre Gumprecht who took one touch before arrowing a half volley home from the edge of the box. The goal lifted the standard of the game and only a last ditch tackle by Jamie Harnwell prevented Peter Buljan from equalising. Nick Mrdja then set up Mori whose curling shot just missed, as did Scott Miller's three minutes later. Former Glory player Buljan went closer for South Melbourne when his dipping drive rattled the crossbar - it was to be the closest the visitors were to come to scoring. Mori appeared to have broken his goal drought when he headed home only for the goal to be disallowed for offside. The grim struggle continued into the second half with Glory rock solid in defence with David Tarka outstanding and a confident Jason Petkovic collecting the high balls with ease. Glory sealed the game in the 81st minute when a darting run by substitute Mark Byrnes saw Miller putting Mori through on the left and his chip into the area presented Bobby Despotovski with the simple task of heading past the 'keeper from close range. With Sydney Olympic winning 1-0 the minor premiership seems to have settled into a battle between Glory and Olympic. The two teams meet at Perth Oval on Saturday 22nd February in what will surely be the game of the season.
INGLEWOOD TAKE OUT THRILLER (Inglewood United vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
Friday night's B.G.C. Cup showdown between newly promoted Stirling Lions and host club Inglewood United provided viewers with a taste of the not-so-surprising quality of young players currently in the local game. On show for Inglewood were many of their off-season captures including Ryan Newhill, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Shaun Kilkelly, Kosta Kalvrouziotis and Daniel Kovecevic, while their opponents gave starting berth to former Future Glory trio Miki Vujacic, Robert Monterosso and Jordan Conti. Both teams took time settling into the balmy summers' evening with the Lions looking by far the more impressive as gilt-edged chances to Vujacic and Toby Wright were sprayed wide in the 15th and 20th minutes respectively. With the Lions defence holding firm, it took until the 28th minute for the host club to threaten when a deep cross from the right landed at the feet of Newhill only for the big striker to guide it wide and not trouble goalkeeper Conti.
Inglewood seemed content to sit back and wait for something to happen at the start of the second half as the Lions underdog status allowed them to take the match up to the hosts. With the Lions midfield pairing of Vujacic and Wright giving their vocal supporters plenty to cheer about, the game really sparked to life over the closing stages. In the 50th minute Wright sent Danny Carlino into the area only for the nipping winger to be brought down by a crude challenge, Wright smashing the resultant penalty into the roof of the net to hand his side the lead. Five minutes later the hosts won consecutive corners as they upped their quest for an equalising goal, only to find Conti in fine form between the posts. It was well into stoppage time when Inglewood finally scored with Louis Parkinson getting on the end of a penetrating cross by Kuzmanovich to send the game into a penalty shoot-out. Oliver Taseski emerged as Inglewood's hero in the shoot-out, saving at the feet of Wright and Carlino to give his side maximum points.
Earlier in the evening, Perth S.C. and Fremantle City had their first competitive hit-out of the new season in front of an appreciative crowd. With John Coyne in charge of what is effectively a Perth youth team, the club took the lead after 6 minutes when 16-year old Ben Rogers stuck the ball in the back of the net. With Perth enjoying the better of possession, a penetrating Fremantle attack resulted in a penalty being awarded for some sloppy defending in the 19th minute which Michael Vaz confidently converted to bring the port side back into the game. Although there were some good opportunities for both sides to add tot their tally in the second half, neither was able to send the ball past the opposing goalkeeper. With a shoot-out looming, Perth's off-season recruit Shane Crampton bagged the deciding the goal with twelve minutes remaining to get his clubs campaign off on the right foot.
LONG TIME RIVALS SET TO CLASH
National Soccer League leaders Perth Glory will celebrate their 100th N.S.L. game to be played in Perth with Saturday evenings clash against third-placed South Melbourne at Perth Oval. In their seventh trip west, South are still in search of their first win in Perth - Glory claiming maximum points from all bar one of those previous home encounters. Fresh from victory over Newcastle United, coach Mich d'Avray has restored Bobby Despotovski to the matchday squad but the striker may find himself on the bench with Nick Mrdja and Damien Mori favoured to partner eachother in attack. South Melbourne bring to Perth an unchanged team from that which defeated Northern Spirit 1-0 last weekend. The visitors have a great blend of youth and experience in the current squad which includes rising stars Patrick Kisnorbo, Massimo Murdocca and Vince Lia along with seasoned campaigners such as Paul Trimboli, Mehmat Durakovic and Vaughan Coveny.
THREE CLUBS SEEK LAZARIDIS
Former Floreat Athena midfielder Stan Lazaridis has sparked a frenzy of interest on the transfer market with three top flight English clubs chasing his signature. Out of favour at Birmingham City, Manchester City and Sunderland have recently joined Leeds United in the queue for the 31-year old's signature. "To be honest I'm not sure which club I am heading too but at today's game against Arsenal I was told that Manchester City are keen on me," Lazaridis has revealed to foxsports.com.au. "Sunderland are another club who have shown interest although if I made any move, Leeds would be preferable given the amount of Socceroo team-mates at the club. I have always admired the way Terry Venables coaches and I had a great relationship with him when he was the Socceroo coach. It also helps when guys like Paul Okon, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka are at the club."
BLOW YOUR WHISTLE!
Soccer Referee's Australia W.A. branch are currently undertaking a promotional drive, highlighting the important role referees play in the world game while also asking people to turn their hand to officialdom. "As the Commissioner for Recruitment in W.A., it's my job to try and get more referees into the fold and through the training courses," said Perth-based National Soccer League referee Eddie Lennie (right) recently. "We're desperately needing referees - both male and female. So anybody that loves the game but doesn't play too well, then I encourage them to take up refereeing - that's how I started," Lennie confessed.
The granting of the Oceania region an automatic place at the 2006 World Cup Finals tournament has opened up to referees an even greater career path. "There's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," said Lennie, a referee at the 1998 Finals in France. "There are opportunities for referees from W.A. and the rest of Australia to get selected, and that's including female referee because there are female World Cup competitions as well." Australia has been well represented at recent Finals tournaments with Mark Shield (2002, Japan/South Korea), Tammy Ogston (1999, United States) and Lennie all blowing the whistle at the world's largest single sports event. For more information on how you can become a referee contact Peter Tripoli on 9453 9172.
MURPHY STAKES SOCCEROO CLAIM
Displaying some of the best form of his career, 32-year old Shaun Murphy has scoffed at suggestions of an international retirement by staking a claim to a spot in the Australian squad for next month's friendly international with England. "I'm not going to say I'm desperate, but I will say I'll be disappointed if I'm not picked," he told Mike Cockerill of the "Sydney Morning Herald" before brushing aside rumours of his international retirement. "I've played every game so far this season, I think it's about 33 or 34 matches, and I don't feel old. The England game is a huge one to be involved in, especially for the Aussies playing over here, and I'd love to be part of it."
FIRST UP WINS FOR KNIGHTS AND SORRENTO (Sorrento vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Kerry Slater)
Swan I.C. and Western Knights this evening started their season with an entertaining opening round clash in the B.G.C Lightning Cup. Both sides took their times to settle with several half chances calling the goalkeepers into action early on. It took until the 21st minute for the deadlock to be broken when David Annall and Eugene Singeorzan combined to send Lukic Jukic away down the right and his centring pass was converted by an unmarked Leon Russell who'd made his way into the heart of the 18-yard box. Five minutes later young Swan goalkeeper Chris Ramsey denied Vaz in a one-on-one situation when the midfielder sprinted onto a long ball from the back by Annall. In a carbon-copy move just moments later, Annall put Singeorzan through on goal and the experienced striker doubled the lead by clipping the ball over the advancing 'keeper.
Six minutes into the second half Swan were awarded a free-kick on the top corner of the 18-yard box, but while Adrian McBride's curling shot beat the wall it also cleared the crossbar. But any hopes the black and whites had of coming back into the game were dashed when Singeorzan turned the ball over in midfield to release Stuart Montgomery through the middle, the striker slamming it low past Ramsey as he came out to narrow the angle with 40 minutes gone. With their midfield now well and truly in control of proceedings, the remaining twenty minutes belonged to the Knights. But for all their efforts they were unable to add to their tally as Medica found the side netting and a curling shot from Vaz was kept out by Ramsey.
Earlier in the evening, Sorrento defeated youthful E.C.U. Joondalup side making their first appearance under new coach Stuart Kamasz. As with most early season games, both teams lacked accuracy over the opening period before the Seagulls snatched the lead after 14 minutes. A deep cross from Tony Cumace was spilled by State Schoolboys goalkeeper Alan Matteucci and the loose ball rolled to Todd Harnwell who made no mistake with an open goal at his mercy from 15-metres. Nine minutes later Joondalup created their first clear opportunity as Derek Cooke found Andre Sarpe whose curling wide went wide of the top corner. Shortly before the break Jared Love was denied by the sharp reflexes of Matteucci as Sorrento sought to double their lead.
The second half started with the more experienced Sorrento team making the better of their possession as Joondalup's passing let them down time and time again. By far the more comfortable team, the Seagulls should have wrapped up victory when awarded a penalty on 56 minutes, but Simon Harland's spot kick was brilliantly saved by second half 'keeper Peter Stewart who then moved sharply to twice prevent Harnwell from tucking home the rebound. The final score would have been much greater if not for the heroics of Stewart who made a number of important saves as Sorrento looked to kill off their neighbours from the northern suburbs. Michael Klaver's final whistle signaled the end of an entertaining match by two sides who can approach their next outings with confidence.
QUEENS PARK TO HOST FRIENDLY SERIES
At the initiative of Queens Park, eight First Division clubs will contest a friendly pre-season night series at Coker Park in Queens Park over coming weeks. Modelled along similar lines to the B.G.C. Lightning Cup, the teams are split into two groups of four who will play a round-robin series before the top two from each group progress to the play-offs stage of the tournament. The first group consists of a very young Ashfield side, Rockingham City, Kingsway Olympic and Leeming Strikers, while Canning City, host club Queens Park, Southside United and Bayswater City will battle it out in the second group. The opening night of fixtures take place on Tuesday (21st January) evening with Ashfield playing Rockingham from 6.30pm followed by Kingsway and Leeming at 8.00pm.
GET INTO BEACH SOCCER!
Looking for something a bit different? Why not try beach soccer? "Beach soccer is huge in some European countries and also in South America, and I'm sure that we will get a good following in W.A. once players get a chance to experience the challenge of playing our great game on sand," said respected coach Alf Debono this week. The driving force behind a new beach soccer venture, Debono is organising a mixed social competition on Friday nights at the Bayswater Recreational Club (adjacent to Frank Drago Reserve, Bayswater). For those more serious about the game, Debono is hoping to attract teams and players for a World Cup competition on Monday nights for which prize money is on offer. "All games will be 7-a-side and played on a large sand surface with a special beach soccer ball. It'll be a great opportunity for players to develop their leg power and cardiovascular fitness at the same time," Debono added. All players and teams are invited to get down to Bayswater Recreational Club on Sunday 9th February to give the beach version of the world game a try. Those planning to attend must book a playing time with Debono (0403 161 655 or 9401 2536 after hours) in advance.
NEW ROLE FOR EDWARDS
Following a career that saw him play in three continents and make 17 'A' appearances for Australia, Alistair Edwards (right) has made a smooth transition into the administrative side of soccer by taking up a dual role with Women's Soccer W.A. Appointed to coach for the women's senior State team, the former Perth Glory attacker has also accepted the position of manager for the association's new High Performance Unit. "The additional role will be to oversee the development and implementation of the association's High Performance Plan," said Janette Spencer, president of W.S.W.A. "Currently being established, this program will set some clear strategic directions for the development of the 'elite' side of the women's game in Western Australia over the next five years."
"As manager of our High Performance Unit, Alistair will work with Salvatore Todaro, coach of the State Under-16 team, and Jude Petitt, coach of the State Under-18 team, as well as the respective team managers, who we are yet to appoint," added Spencer. "All our State team coaches have the respect of the players and the association feels that this is an important factor in achieving the highest possible results in the National Championships in July this year. By the same token we have taken the longer view of getting quality results at the National level."
"It's important that we build a credible reputation in the high performance area if we are to have any chance of entering a team - or indeed drafting any players - into the Women's National Soccer League. A quality, well developed program is essential and includes a team of coaches that have the respect of coaches at N.S.L. and national levels. Alistair certainly has the credentials to achieve these objectives, and the in-roads he is making at a national level already have been impressive. His contacts and reputation have created a willingness on the part of national and interstate coaches to increase their dealings with us. What was once a much more long-term plan of entering the national league appear to be progressing faster than anticipated."
ONWARD AND UPWARD!
The Western Australian Soccer Website - aka www.soccerwa.com - wish to thank all our loyal readers for making last year our biggest to date. In the 12-month period commencing 1st January 2001 a grand total of 80,661 visits were registered on this website - by far eclipsing the previous record of 43,107 hits recorded in 2001. With a new season almost upon us, www.soccerwa.com invite players and officials from all clubs to get in touch and help raise the profile of the local game, and your club. It is only through establishing such links that we can ensure the currency and accuracy of what appears on these pages. If you would like to get involved in any way, shape or form, please contact Brett (email@example.com) or Jacob (firstname.lastname@example.org). All contributions are welcome.
CHANGE AT COCKBURN
After years of hard work as club secretary, Sue Potter recently became the first female president of Cockburn City. The Premier League club have appointed Mirko Jelicic to the senior coaching position for 2003 with Andrew Thorburn continuing as coach of the reserve/Under-21 team and Peter Bliss is in charge of the Under-18's. After a season with Future Glory, attacker Mileta Miletic has returned to the club. Also fronting for the pre-season are the Mirco brothers John and Michael who last played for the club in the mid-90's.
SPOT IN BOOKS FOR MRDJA
Nick Mrdja's goal after 15 seconds against Newcastle United has earnt the former Perth S.C. striker a place in the National Soccer League's record books. It's not often that team scores the winning goal inside the opening five minutes of a game - it's happened just 40 times in the national league's 26 years history - but last weekend it happened twice. Mrdja's goal for Perth Glory on Friday evening was the first time since February 2000 that the match winner arrived within five minutes of kick-off, a feat repeated by South Melbourne's Bill Damianos who netted 5 minutes into Sunday's clash with Northern Spirit. Mrdja's goal also has the distinction of being the fastest scored by Glory in a competitive match, edging out the 3rd minute strike by Paul Strudwick against Adelaide City in late 1998.
TRIALS BEGIN SOON FOR QUEEN PARK YOUNGSTERS
Leading First Division club Queens Park will be entering teams in the exciting new Junior Champions League this coming season and invite players aged 10 through to 15 to try out for the club. Trials for the Under-11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 teams take place at Coker Park (Wharf Street, Cannington) on Sunday 2nd February from 9.30am. All other juniors can sign up for the club that same morning from 10.00am. For further information on the juniors program at Queens Park contact the club on 9458 7252. Queens Park also extend an invitation to 15, 16 and 17-year old players to join the club for their pre-season. The Under-18 team commenced training this Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6.30pm at Coker Park. Players interested in attending these sessions can contact Under-18's coach Nick Edwards (phone 9362 2717) for further details.
INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES PLANNED FOR PERTH
Soccer Australia are lining up a two-match friendly series with South American powerhouse Uruguay in June - and Perth could be in line to host one of those games. With the Young Socceroos booked in for a Perth training camp in March, Soccer Australia board member Paul Afkos has told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" said he's hopeful the senior national team will visit the west mid-year. "Western Australia will bid to have one of those Uruguay games here," Afkos said. "If we can achieve good coordination and planning for the pre-World Cup camp, it would certainly help get support from Soccer Australia for the Uruguay game." It is hoped the up-coming Young Socceroo's camp will involve matches against Asian opposition as the national Under-20 team prepare for the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates which start late in March.
Sport International W.A., the State government's sporting arm, are also hopeful of staging a glamour tie in Perth later this year with plans afoot for Perth Glory to play the South African national team. The organisation is planning to take advantage of the number of international visitors to this year's rugby World Cup by staging the match around mid-October. "We are looking at trying to organise a South African national team game against Perth Glory and maybe even Australia some time in October," project officer Trevor Hoad told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "The Socceroos haven't played here for a long time and it might be an opportunity for them. But we are not that far into the discussions yet." The last time Perth hosted a senior international fixture was 1995 when Australian played Ghana.
JUNIOR TRIALS FOR GLORY
Youngsters with an eye to a career in the National Soccer League can take the first step with Perth Glory's Youth Development Program. Trials for the 2003 intake of players will take place this month. For the Under-11's the big day is 18th January, while 25th January is selection day for Under-12 and 13 players. All trials take place at the Vasto Club, Vasto Place, Balcatta and those attending are asked to be there by 8.00am for registration. The program, overseen by former Australian coach Frank Arok, has already seen over 100 youngsters receive free coaching through a carefully designed and monitored program.
LAZARIDIS WANTS LEEDS MOVE
With the prospect of lining up alongside Australian teammates Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Paul Okon, Birmingham City midfielder Stan Lazaridis has implored Terry Venables to add his name to the playing roster at Leeds United. "Terry is the sort of coach players love being around. He's the sort of guy you'd be prepared to die for," Lazaridis told David Lewis of England's "Sunday Telegraph". "He's the best manager I've ever played under and he always got the best out of me when he was in charge of the Socceroos. Players warm to him and I personally can't praise him highly enough."
With his contract due to expire in four months, Lazaridis has been left out in the cold following recent arrival of four players at Birmingham. The only stumbling block to Lazaridis' leaving the Blues is a transfer fee of $2.8 million - a lot for a player about to become a free agent. "If I'm not a part of (coach) Steve Bruce's plans and if a club like Leeds comes in, you can't dismiss it," he said. "It's an exciting thought when you consider the Aussie connection that already exists at the club. It would be great to be a part of that. Birmingham have to make a decision on whether they want me to stay or go. They are asking a lot for me. Realistically they'd be lucky to get a third of what they want." Should the move to Leeds fall through, it is believed another Premier League club is willing to make a play for the 30-year old.
GLORY GO TOP
Perth Glory have moved to the top of the National Soccer League table courtesy of Nick Mrdja's goal 15-seconds into Friday nights away meeting with Newcastle United. Turning the ball over seconds after kick-off, Glory streamed into attack where Damian Mori's centring pass was tucked away by Mrdja from close range. Mori was presented with a golden opportunity to double the lead after 20 minutes only to sky Matt Horsley's pass. Two minutes later United's Esala Masi could have leveled the score but his low shot on the run whizzed narrowly wide of the up-right. Good chances came the way of both teams in the minutes leading up to half time as Daniel Beltrane came out the better of a one-on-one with Horsley, then at the opposite end Ryan Griffiths header was kept out by Jason Petkovic.
It was a much improved performance from the home side after the interval as they sought for a way back into the game. But, despite their dominance, the best opening came the way of Glory with Edgar's stunning effort from 25-metres hitting the bar. Newcastle upped the pace and in the 63rd minute Masi found the net only to have the goal ruled out for offside. Eight minutes from full-time Joel Griffiths ran onto a pass from Matthew Bingley to beat Petkovic but again the linesman's flag was raised for off-side. Riding the luck at times, Glory held on to take out maximum points much to Mich d'Avray's delight. "It was a good battling performance," said the Glory coach. "They haven't been beaten here for 18 months so it's a fantastic result." Sydney Olympic's 0-3 loss to Brisbane Strikers on Saturday puts Glory two points clear at the head of the table after 17 rounds.
PRE-SEASON STARTS FOR CANNING
Canning City's pre-season training commences this week with sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Willetton Reserve (Apsley Road, Willetton) starting at 7.00pm. New players for the Under-18, Under-21/reserves and first teams are invited to come along and join one of Soccer West Coast's newest club as they continue the excellent progress made in their first two seasons. Canning have completed a long term agreement to establish our home ground at Willetton Sports Club (Burrendah Boulevard, Willetton). The club have excellent facilities including sports bar, lounge bar with covered spectator viewing area and gymnasium. Come along and join the revolution.
FRIENDLY TOURNAMENT STARTS WEDNESDAY
The second annual B.G.C. Lightning Cup kicks-off next Wednesday at the National Stadium, home of Inglewood United. The eight-team friendly tournament will be contested under lights over the next four weeks with two matches scheduled each Wednesday and Friday evening. The format of the B.G.C. Cup is similar to that of last year. Games will be played over two 30 minute halves with coaches able to make full use of their bench through a continuous interchange. Should a fixture end with scores level a shoot-out - in which both teams nominating three players to go one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper - will decide the winner
The invited teams are split into two groups - Pele and Beckham - from which the top two after the round robin series will progress to the play-offs. The opening night of fixtures sees the Pele Group teams in action with northern suburbs rivals Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup meeting from 6.45pm, and later Western Knights take on Swan I.C. (kick-off 8.00pm). The Beckham Group games on Friday night will involve Perth S.C. and Fremantle City (6.45pm), and Stiring Lions meet host club Inglewood United (8.00pm). Last year’s B.G.C. Lightning Cup was taken out by E.C.U. Joondalup who defeated favourites Western Knights in the Final.
NEWCASTLE AND GLORY MISSING KEY PLAYERS
Both Newcastle United and Perth Glory go into Friday night’s clash at EnergyAustralia Stadium under-strength with injury keeping several key players on the sidelines. Glory have left local products Bobby Despotovski (ankle), Gary Faria (groin) and Michael Garcia (asthma) in Perth, but welcome the return of defender David Tarka from illness. Former Southampton attacker Adrian Caceres and Australian Institute of Sport graduate Anthony Danze have been promoted to the travelling squad. The home team are also plagued by injury, midfielders Travis Dodd (knee) and Robbie Middleby (ankle) will be absent while former Australian international Milan Blagojevic is battling to overcome a calf problem. Adding to their woes is the suspension of experienced campaigner Peter Tsekenis. United have slipped to fourth place recently after successive draws with South Melbourne and Northern Spirit.
With the 2003 Night Series little over five weeks from kicking-off, it comes as little surprise that several players will start the season in new colours. Western Knights have strengthened their already considerable squad by re-signing midfielder Joe Vaz who returns after two seasons in Victoria, as well as Daniel Trim and Paul Cooke from Fremantle City and Cockburn City respectively. Dean Nicolaou has left the Knights camp to link up with Swan I.C. who will miss midfielder Justin Hugo for the first half of the campaign due to work commitments.
After several seasons in Greece, Michael Lardis has joined Floreat Athena for their pre-season, while Hugh Miller is back on the training track after sitting out much of last season with a serious knee injury. The club are believed to be showing more than a passing interest in Alex Novatsis (Bayswater City) and Dale McCulloch (E.C.U. Joondalup). It’s been a very quiet off-season for reigning Premier League champions Perth S.C. with coach Graham Normanton showing his confidence in those already at the club by making no summer signings. While coach Graham Normanton will rely on the club’s youth ranks, Perth welcome back Robbie Puca, Vince Tana, Perry Ielati and Gareth Naven from long-term injury along with Damir Kuduzovic who played last season in Future Glory colours.
Sorrento have moved quickly to secure the services of Simon Harland after time playing in England and more recently Singapore. The club are keen to re-sign midfielder Todd Harnwell, who was recently released by Perth Glory, while going the other way is former State player Steve White who missed much of last season through injury. E.C.U. Joondalup look like having a very young squad in 2003 with Nick Ward (Future Glory) and Luke Croxall (Bassendean Caledonian) returning to the club along with Darren Broxton and Andre Sarpe who’ve been playing in England and Romania respectively. After several seasons with Perth S.C., former State Schoolboy representative Daniel Kovacevic has signed for Inglewood United.
With Mirko Jelicic taking over the coaching reigns at Cockburn City, the club are looking for a strong 2003. Currently training with Cockburn are Mileta Miletic (Future Glory), along with John Mirco and Michael Mirco (Fremantle City). Stirling Lions have tempted defender Luke Pavlos (Ashfield) down for their pre-season, while Bassendean Caledonian are said to be casting their eye over Scott Bailey (Ashfield). There promises to be plenty more player movements in coming weeks with several Premier League clubs using the B.G.C. Cup - which starts next week - to evaluate players currently on trial.
SWAN START PRE-SEASON WITH OPTIMISM
Swan I.C. started season 2003 in earnest last week full of optimism with all squads returning to the training track. For the club’s Under-18’s, the season started prior to Christmas with newly appointed coach Peter Simcox keen to get his squad fit for the winter ahead. “The youngsters who have come along are very talented and they have all impressed me,” said Simcox. “We are keen as a club too become very solid throughout all the squads, including the new young Under-11’s to 15’s this season. The Under-18’s, 21’s and first team are in the trial stages at the moment and new players are invited down to the club to try out. We are training Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Swan Italian Club, 9 Francis Street, Middle Swan from 6.15pm.” Players interested in joining Swan for the up-coming season are asked to contact coaches Carlo Scali (0411 234 2241), John (0407 987 771) or Peter Simcox (0418 941 583).
With Swan fielding teams in the new Junior Champions League which begins shortly, the club have appointed Horacio ‘Eddy’ Ruiz as Director of Coaching. Ruiz comes to the club with a wealth of playing and coaching experience in Argentina, Uruguay and Australia. “It’s a great opportunity for the youngsters of the Swan area to represent the local team, and with the experience of Horacio at the helm the hopes are high for the inaugural season in the Junior Champions League,” said Swan committee member Paul Kendall. Trials for all junior teams - Under-11 through to Under-15 - will be held at the Swan Italian Club on Monday 13th, Wedneday 15th, Monday 20th and Wednesday 22nd January. All sessions start at 6.00pm and last for 90 minutes. For further details contact John Kendall (0407 987 771).
JUNIOR TRIALS FOR FREMANTLE START NEXT WEEK
With 2003 heralding the start of Soccer West Coasts' exciting new Junior Champions League, Fremantle City will be conducting trials for teams in the under-11 through to under-15 age groups over the next few weeks. The club invite all interested youngsters to attend the trial sessions which are being staged at Wauhop Park, corner of Preston Point Road and Wauhap Road, in East Fremantle. Try outs for the under-11 and under-12 teams will be held on 13th, 15th, 17th and 21st January from 5.30pm. The under-13 and under-14 sessions take place on 14th, 16th, 20th and 22nd January starting at 5.30pm. Sessions for the under-15 team will be held on 23rd, 27th, 29th and 31st January from 5.30pm, while those for the Under-18 side take place on 14th, 16th, 20th and 22nd January from 7.30pm. Further information on all trial sessions can be obtained by phoning Nick Rotondella, Fremantle's Director of Juniors, on 0412 944 116.
Fremantle City have enjoyed many successes in recent years - including being crowned Premier league champions in 2000 - to become established as one of the state's strongest clubs. Testament to the club's success is it's youth teams. The reserves/under-21's have topped the table three times since 1997 and been runners-up on two further occasions, while the under-18 side took out the Premier League last season and were winners of the Boral Cup in 2000 and 2001. Along with these triumphs Fremantle have produced numerous players who've moved on to play at a higher level, amongst them Giacoma Boranga (Parma, Italy), Kevin Correia (Maritimo, Portugal), Matt Danskin (Werder Bremen, Germany), Gary Faria and Scott Halpin (Perth Glory), and Chris Ball (Gippsland Falcons).
All coaches at the port side are accredited through the Australian National Coaching Scheme, or have proven equivalent accreditation in other countries. Late last year Andrew Danskin, formerly with the Leeds United academy, was appointed Football Director and will oversee the youth program this year while Peter Rickers has taken up the role of Coaching Coordinator. The various junior coaches for 2003 are Anthony Pereira (under-11), Carlos Correia (under-12), John Loretto (under-13), Robert Bruce (under-14) and Adriano Spagnetti (under-15) with John Tarka, Steve Duckworth and Joe Vinciguerra providing invaluable assistance. Mike Tetlow, coach of Fremantle's Under-18 side, will work closely with all junior coaches. Greg Kazmer will lead Fremantle's first team this year with Joe Pereira once again looking after the reserves.
CANNING INTRODUCE NEW JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (reproduced with permission from http://canningcitysoccer.com)
Canning City will be introducing a new junior soccer development program in 2003. The program is based on an established program started by the English Football Association in 1988 and is designed to provide a consistent approach to coaching at all levels from under 6 through to under 16. It is hoped that, with the support of the club’s more experienced coaches, the program will enable all of Canning’s junior coaches to conduct meaningful training sessions designed to improve the fundamental skills necessary to play the game whilst maintaining a focus on fun and enjoyment for the players.
The program will be fully documented with every coach receiving a manual that lays out recommended training drills on a week-by-week basis with full instructions on how to identify and fix basic flaws in technique. The program also enables coaches to assess the level of each player and monitor his/her improvement by a series of tests that have been trialled on millions of children throughout the world. This assessment part of the program will enable the club to monitor the progress of young players and will improve the grading process, thereby ensuring that each child is playing at a level commensurate with their ability which should mean more enjoyment for all. Whilst Canning would prefer all of their coaches to have had some playing or coaching experience, the club have designed the program with first time coaches in mind. Canning will also be holding training sessions for their coaches run by highly qualified and experienced senior team coaches.
LAZARIDIS OFFERED TO LEEDS (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Birmingham City have offered Australian international Stan Lazaridis to Leeds United in part-exchange for defender Michael Duberry. Blues boss Steve Bruce is prepared to offer Lazaridis plus £500,000 for Duberry. Leeds manager Terry Venables knows Lazaridis well from their days together with the Australian national team and rates the 31-year old wingback very highly. Bruce is planning to replace Lazaridis with Tottenham Hotspur’s Stephen Clemence, who could be snapped up on a free transfer in January.
DIAMONDS FOR DAVIES
Brian Talbot, manager of English Third Division club Rushden and Diamonds, is set to take a look at young Birmingham City goalkeeper Clint Davies. The Diamonds boss is currently seeking a goalkeeper after reserve custodian Adam Sollitt fractured his wrist in the 1-1 draw with Carlisle United. Sollitt is expected to be out of action for several weeks and current first-team goalkeeper Billy Turley is currently the only senior goalkeeper at Nene Park. Perth-born Davies is expected to trial with the club in their mid-week reserves fixture with Boston United.
INTERNATIONAL CALL-UP FOR KARP
Tal Karp will make her first appearance on home soil for the Matilda’s after being named in the 18-player Australian womens’ squad for the up-coming Australia Cup tournament. The 21-year old midfielder has enjoyed a sensational past six months, starting with her international debut on the Matilda’s September tour of North America and following it with a series of stand-out performances for Canberra Eclipse in the Womens’ National Soccer League. The squad assembles at the Australian Institute of Sport for a training camp commencing 15th January before taking on Sweden, Mexico and South Korea in the fifth Australia Cup which is being staged in Canberra between 26th January and 1st February.
BIG WIN FOR GLORY (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory gained the easiest of wins over the Football Kingz in front of 10,092 fans at Perth Oval on Saturday night. The toothless Kingz had considerable possession but totally failed to threaten the Glory goal. Glory were soon in attack after kick-off as Damian Mori went through but ended by weakly tapping the ball to goalkeeper Michael Utting. Mori then made amends with his one meaningful contribution to the game when, in the 7th minute, he provided the pass for Matt Horsley to hammer home to put Glory into a one goal lead. Glory doubled their lead four minutes later when Scott Miller’s corner was headed by Jamie Harnwell across goal to Shane Pryce who nodded it past Utting. With the lively Horsley inspiring them, Glory extended their lead when the midfielder cleverly headed a high ball to give Bobby Despotovski the easiest of goals after 31 minutes. Despotovski was injured just bfore half-time and had to be replaced by Nick Mrdja.
Glory started the second half like the first and soon found themselves on the offensive, Mori again through on goal but Utting saved well. The margin blew out even further when Glory added a controversial fourth. With Kingz defender Jonathon Perry already lying injuried in the goalmouth, Glory attacked down the right as Andre Gumprecht raced in to fire low diagonally across the goal into the net. Four-nil up, the home side continued to create chances. Several of these came the way of an over-anxious Mrdja who, on another night, could have ended with a hat-trick. And when the young striker did get the ball into the net the goal was disallowed, one of numerous puzzling decisions from referee Matthew Breeze. Glory’s fifth goal was a spectacular 30-yard drive from Gumprecht that gave Utting no chance and give Gumprecht his second of the game. The good news for Glory were quality performances from new-comer Mark Brynes and the returning Horsley, these off-setting the poor displays of the forwards and the big, aimless boot from defence that had the fans groaning. Glory needs quality performances against better opponents if the missing fans are to be enticed back.
PERTH OVAL LIGHTS UP
Night football returns to the west on Saturday when Perth Glory takes on Kingz F.C. at Perth Oval (kick-off 7.00pm). In their previous six meetings the two teams have conjured up an astonishing 31 goals, but history is against the Auckland-based side who have failed to pick up a single point from three visits to Perth. Glory coach Mich d'Avray has made one change from the side which defeated Parramatta Power last weekend with Matt Horsley replacing Gary Faria on the right side of midfield. Coming off a 0-1 loss to Sydney United, the Kingz will be eager to get a result this week but will miss leading scorer Patricio Almendra who is expected to be absent due to a knee injury.
TOUGH TIMES IN EUROPE
Two of West Australian soccer's latest exports, Matt Danskin and Greg Sharland, are back in Perth for the Christmas/New Year period for the first time since linking up with Werder Bremen (Germany) and Charlton Athletic (England) respectively. With the Germany season in its winter recess Danskin has taken the opportunity to catch up with family and friends in Perth. Sharland's return is the result of a foot injury. While the pair have now settled into life in Europe, both said there were some tough times initially.
For 17-year old Danskin, who joined Werder in September, one of the biggest obstacles early on was culture shock. The former Fremantle City midfielder said he was unable to join in the changing room banter because of his limited grasp of the German language, while competition for places and the isolation of living away from family and friends was difficult to handle. "It was a bit of an eye opener," he told Jonathan Cook of the "West Austrlaian." "The lifestyle is a lot different to what I'm used to. But everyone's fighting for positions so that's good for me."
Sharland earned a contract with the Addicks after a two-week trial in July and is enjoying the English experience. However, with eight strikers ahead of him in the queue for a first team place, he has quite a fight on his hands. "It's tough because there are so many strikers. But to train every day is awesome," said the former Inglewood United attacker. The 19-year old got a taste of how tough life it was going to be tough in England when, in his first outing for the reserves, he was crunched by Arsenal's French defender Pascal Cygan as the Gunners ran out victors by 6-1.
The number of West Australian players now plying their trade in Europe has increased significantly in recent years. While Australian internationals Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City) and Shaun Murphy (Sheffield United) are the best known of these, the state now has close to two dozen players abroad. Chris Coyne is a key feature of the Luton Town defence and Oxford United is the home for veteran attacker David Oldfield. Kevin Murphy recently joined older brother Shaun in Sheffield, and in another recent switch goalkeeper Brad Jones has gone on loan to Stockport County from Middlesbrough. On the continent, Michael Petkovic is first choice custodian for Trabzonspor (Turkey).
SEASON STARTS FOR KNIGHTS
Training for Western Knights under-21 and under-18 teams commences on Tuesday 14th January at Nash Field from 6.00pm. Players interested in playing for the club in 2003 are invited to come down and trial on the night. As a fundraising venture, the Premier League club are auctioning an original Chelsea strip signed by Gianfranco Zola. Further information about trialling with the Knights or the auction can be obtained by contacting Basil on 9433 2505 or email@example.com
QUEENS PARK SEEK 'KEEPER
Progressive First Division club Queens Park are seeking an experienced first team goalkeeper for the coming season. Interested parties are asked to contact coach Mike Brazil (041 8959 201) for more information and to discuss remuneration options. The call goes out after the confirmation that regular custodian Luke Woodfin will miss much of the 2003 campaign due to serious injury.
JACKS BRANCH OUT
Following the annual general meeting of the Joondalup City Junior Soccer Club, the club have decided to officially change their name to the Jacks Soccer Club. "The reason for this is that the club no longer plays within the City of Joondalup and that they will continue to further establish themselves in the Quinns Rocks area which comes under the City of Wanneroo," said Rooball coach Chris Jackson. "Understandably there has also been confusion in the past, when potential members thought we played in the Joondalup district and were then disappointed to find the club based in Quinns Rocks." The Jacks are also working hard to develop senior teams to allow their players the opportunity to progress up through the ranks and experience playing at that level.
PISTOIESE SNAP UP MADASCHI (reproduced with permission from www.tribalfootball.com)
Atalanta youngster Adrian Madaschi has been shipped out on-loan to Italian Serie C1/A outfit Pistoiese. The Australia Under-20 international defender is expected to go straight into starting line-up. Madaschi is regarded as one of Australia's brightest young defensive talents but has so far failed to make a first team breakthrough at Atalanta.
GLORY RELEASE TWO
Perth Glory has released local products Todd Harnwell and Antonio Naglieri from their first team squad. The decision will allow the midfielders to look for new clubs during the month-long transfer window which opens on 15th January. Naglieri is hopeful of continuing his career in the National Soccer League on the eastern seaboard. Harnwell will stay in Perth and complete his studies at the University of W.A. while turning out in the local competition for Sorrento.
Glory coach Mich d'Avray said the pair had been released through no fault of their own. "They are both great characters and I am sure they will find first team soccer elsewhere. Sadly for them the competition for places was coming from experienced and talented players so it meant their opportunities were very limited," said d'Avray. "With the transfer window opening we wanted to give them every chance to find another club without difficulty. Both players have been good servants of the club and put their heart into all areas including off field promotional work. The club and I wish them all the best for the future."
PRE-SEASON COMMENCES FOR LIONS
Last years' First Division champions Stirling Lions start their pre-season next Monday, 6th January, with a run about at Perry Lakes Stadium from 6.00pm. Any player interested in joining the club for the coming winter season are invited to contact Basil Lenzo on 0417 919 255.
GLORY CENTURY FOR PETKOVIC
Perth Glory goalkeeper Jason Petkovic will make his 100th appearance for the club when he takes his place between the posts for this weekend's home clash with Kingz F.C. Widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the National Soccer League and described by coach Mich d'Avray as being worth a dozen points a season, Petkovic will be honoured with a pre-match presentation prior to the match. An Australian international, Petkovic joined Glory in November 1999 and has missed just one game in the past three and a bit years, keeping 29 clean sheets over that period. The 30-year old becomes the second player in the space of a month to reach the 100 game milestone, following Brazilian import Edgar who celebrated his 100th outing with a 4-1 away win over Melbourne Knights.
RE-DEVELOPMENT OF PERTH OVAL GIVEN GO-AHEAD
The Town of Vincent have given the green light to the re-development of Perth Oval into a multi-purpose rectangular sports stadium which will accommodate Perth Glory. The $10.5 million dollar re-development is the culmination of eighteen months of negoitation between the State Government, the Town of Vincent and various sporting groups. Glory have agreed to relocate their administration offices to Perth Oval, and it is envisaged that office space will also be provided for W.A. Rugby League with discussions also being held with other sports.
Town of Vincent mayor Nick Catania said negotiations with the Department of Sport and Recreation had been most positive and had enabled the milestone decision to be reached. "I was delighted with the level of co-operation and goodwill demonstrated by the various sporting groups and the Department of Sport and Recreation," said Catania via a media release. "Working drawings are currently being prepared for building tenders, which we anticipate will be called in March 2003."
Stage one work on the re-development proposal is expected to take place between May and October 2003 when the venues capacity will become 17,850 spectators. The State Heritage-listed Perth Oval grandstand will be fully refurbished, and a purpose-built spectator 'bowl' will be created with seating for approximately 14,900. Standing space for a further 2,950 spectators has also been included.
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This page was last updated on the 28th February, 2003