WARD TIPPED FOR GLORY
Australian Institute of Sport graduate Nick Ward could be offered terms by Perth Glory after impressing in trials with the National Soccer League champions. The 18-year old midfielder has been training with the club for a several weeks and, with Anthony Danze, Wayne Shroj and Jade North set to be away for all of next month on international duty, Ward is hopeful of earning his first professional contract. Having spent his development years with E.C.U. Joondalup, Ward's career blossomed in 2002 when he played a creative role in the centre of the park for Future Glory. State Under-19 and Schoolboy honours were followed by trials with top flight English side Middlesborough before he took up a scholarship at the A.I.S.
LIONS TO HOST KOREAN TEAM
A Stirling Lions will host the visiting Korean Republic Under-23 side ahead of their one-off friendly international with Australia next week. The Korean side will make full use of the facilities at Macedonia Park with training sessions planned for 2nd January (from 5.30), 3rd January (10.00am and 5.30pm), 4th January (10.00am and 5.30pm) and 6th January (5.30pm). All supporters of the world game are invited to attend the training runs at Macedonia Park where bar facilities will be open for the evening sessions. Australia take on the Korean Republic at Members Equity Stadium on Wednesday 7th January, kick-off at 7.30pm.
TOUGH CALL FOR BORO'S JONES
Armadale born Brad Jones has reluctantly turned down an offer to join the Australian Under-23 squad for the up-coming Olympic Games qualifiers. The 21-year old goalkeeper found himself between a rock and a hard place when called-up by national coach Frank Farina earlier in the month. With his contract set to expire at the end of the season Jones has been discussing his playing future with the Middlesbrough hierarchy. "It really was a very difficult situation for Brad," explained his father, Ian Jones. "He's currently talking with the club about a new contract and he really can't walk away from the negotiations at this stage. On top of that Boro's second choice 'keeper, Carlo Nash, is out for the rest of the season through injury and Brad has stepped into his place. So you can see his dilemma - it doesn't matter which way the boy goes, he's going to let somebody down."
"When I spoke to Brad last night he was very upset at having to pull out of the Under-23 squad," added Jones. "He desperately wants to play for his country at the Olympics, it's been his dream since he was knee high. But at this stage he can't take the chance of coming over here and playing in the qualifiers then returning to England to find he's without a club for next season. Brad tried to finalise a new contract earlier this month, so that he would be free to join the Under 23's but the club have been dragging their heels. He had a good meeting with Boro manager Steve McLaren a couple of days ago and following that he is confident he will be staying with the club next season, but nothing is signed and anything can still happen. McLaren has also spoken to Frank Farina and explained the situation so hopefully Brad will still be in the running to be selected for the Olympic squad later on in the year."
BEACH SOCCER KICKS-OFF
A new season of beach soccer gets underway next Monday, 5th January, at Bayswater Bowling Club (Murray Street, Bayswater). The five-a-side competition, which would be an ideal way to ease yourself back into the swing of things following the off-season, caters for all skill levels and is open to both male and female players. For more information on the tournament contact Alf De Bono on 0403 161 655.
MADASCHI LANDS TOP AWARD (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi picked up the man-of-the-match award in Partick Thistle's 4-1 defeat of Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday. It was the Jags' first win in the Scottish Premier League this season and also the first since the appointment of players Gerry Britton and Derek Whyte as manager and assistant respectively. "Coming off the back of the 0-0 at Dundee United, we went into the game very confident," said a delighted Madaschi. "The Pars had just come off beating Rangers, so we knew it was going to be tough. But the goals went in at right time and we kept it tight at the back. We defended high up the pitch and competed everywhere. It was a great team effort." On his man-of-the-match award, Madaschi added, "I'm delighted to be now making my mark here in Scotland. It's tremendous to pick up awards like this, particularly in front of your own supporters. We've now taken four points from the last two games and the self-belief is back for all the lads. We can go into the New Year feeling very confident."
WEST WELL REPRESENTED IN NATIONAL SQUAD
The Australian Under-23 team for next months Olympic Qualifying Tournament will have a distinct West Australian flavour with six players that have links to the west included in the 20-player squad. Locally produced trio Richard Garcia, David Tarka and Anthony Danze are joined in the squad by Perth Glory teammates Jade North and Wayne Shroj and one-time Glory sweeper Ljubo Milicevic, who will captain the side. The side will assemble in Perth for Wednesday's friendly with the Korea Republic at Members Equity Stadium before heading to Queensland to play Brisbane Strikers. The Olympic Qualifying Tournament starts in Sydney on 14th January with Oceania's representative at the Athens Olympic Games decided later at months' end in a two-legged play-off.
The complete Australian Under-23 squad is Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (AGF Aarhus), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City), Brett Holman (Excelsior), Carl Valeri (Inter Milan), Alex Brosque, Nick Carle, Michael Turnbull (Marconi Stallions), Anthony Pelikan (Melbourne Knights), Jonathan McKain (National Bucuresti), Dylan Macallister (Northern Spirit), David Tarka (Nottingham Forest), Michael Beauchamp, Ahmad Elrich (Parramatta Power), Anthony Danze, Jade North, Wayne Shroj (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski (Rot Weiss Essen), Eugene Galekovic (South Melbourne), Ljubo Milicevic (FC Thun) and Richard Garcia (West Ham United).
ONWARD AND UPWARD FOR GLORY
For Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana Saturday nights opening of Members Equity Stadium was a dream of seven plus years come true. Ever since the club's acceptance into the National Soccer League in 1996 Tana has campaigned for a purpose built venue for soccer in Western Australia. "A purpose built rectangular stadium was something that West Australia did not have. We have a lot of ovals and they are just not the same atmosphere. You can not deliver what we need to deliver in an oval environment," Tana told SBS TV reported Andrew Orsati. In conjunction with the State Government and the Town of Vincent, the Glory chairman structured an $11.3 million plan to convert Perth Oval, Glory's home for the past seven seasons, into the newly named Members Equity Stadium. "It's been a very successful ground for the club," commented WA premier Geoff Gallop. "Glory have built up a support base at this location and now that we've got a genuine soccer stadium I think it'll attract more people to support the club."
Glory are one of the new existing N.S.L. clubs widely considered to be virtually assured of a place in the new 10-team national competition due to get underway late next year. The work done at the ground will only strengthen that position, and depending on the stadiums' success in attracting other sports such as rugby union to use the facilities there are plans to further upgrade it's capacity from 18,450 to around 30,000. "This now puts us in a much stronger position than what we were before," said Tana. "Now we have got basically everything - we've got a credible club, we've got the best fans in the land and we've not got the venue that we so desperately desired." While he has achieved his dream, Tana is not about to rest on his laurels with a major overhaul of the national competition on the horizon. "We're going to keep on pushing at the same level and we're going to be out there in front ... let the others follow. But we know full well that as the league strengthens that we may not be the leader of the pack, but if the league has strengthened then we'll do what we have to do to be up there with the best of them."
LAZARIDIS BLUES FADE
Birmingham City wingback Stan Lazaridis says Friday's defeat of Manchester City was one the Blues players owed to manager Steve Bruce and their loyal supporters. Prior to the match at St. Andrews Birmingham has failed to collect a single point from the last three home outings which included a 0-4 hammering by Blackburn Rovers. "It was nice to see the manager with a smile on his face afterwards," commented Lazaridis. "After Blackburn you could see he was distraught, embarrassed. We owed it to him and to do something for the fans. It was a good hard-working performance and I think they enjoyed it, it was an electric atmosphere," the Australian international added following the 2-1 win over City. "The result keeps us in that top-half of the table, where we want to be. We want to avoid being involved in a relegation fight as soon as possible and then go on from there."
STADIUM A HIT WITH PLAYERS
Members Equity Stadium has received a resounding thumbs up from the Perth Glory players following it's unveiling with a 6-1 mauling of Brisbane Strikers. "It's a fantastic stadium," commented defender Shaun Murphy. "We are the most professional outfit in the league and its just what we needed as players. Its also what the fans needed, to have that sort of stadium to come to every week is fantastic." Scott Miller, Glory's 209-game veteran, was impressed with the heightened atmosphere at the ground. "It was a finals atmosphere that they put on today for us and to play in front of that crowd makes you want to get up and go," commented Miller. Star striker Bobby Despotovski singled out the clubs' loyalist fans for their contribution to the night. "The noise the people made in the Shed was absolutely brilliant for the game of soccer. We've travelled so much so far this season so it was good to be back at home."
GLORY CELEBRATE HOME RETURN IN STYLE (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory celebrated their return to East Perth with a 6-1 win triumph over fourth-placed Brisbane Strikers. Both sides played an attractive, open style of play with the visitors using three up front and only three at the back, a rarity that Glory exploited to the full. The first chance of the evening presented itself to Anthony Danze who placed the ball wide from close range after a neat lay-off from Wayne Srhoj. In general it was the visitors that had the better of the early exchanges and could have gone in front via Josh McCloughlan who, left unmarked at a corner, blasted over the bar when in front of goal. It was Glory who opened the scoring when the Striker forgot the old adage of playing to the whistle when referee Eddie Lennnie allowed play to continue following a suspected handball and Bobby Despotovski was able to stroke the ball home. Glory then began to apply more pressure as Shroj and Tom Pondeljak took control of the midfield. Mark Byrnes found the net just before half-time when Tom Pondeljak's drive was deflected into his path and the unmarked defender made no mistake in firing into the roof of the net from 9-metres.
Eleven minutes into the second half Glory further extended their margin through Brad Hassell who hammered a sensational shot from all of 30-metres into the roof of the net for what will rate as one of the goals of the season. The lead was trimmed within a minute as the Strikers were awarded a penalty for an obvious push inside the area and Royce Brownlie coolly converted to give his side some hope at 3-1. But for all their possession and attractive midfield play the visitors were unable to penetrate as Glory stood firm at the back where Byrnes and Jade North had outstanding games. Glory picked up the pace following the introduction of Adrian Caceres and Nick Mrdja, both players proving a constant menace for the Strikers defence. Caceres started the onslaught when he raced through the centre to combine with Despotovski before adding to Glory's tally. Pondeljak added a fifth goal when his low cross into the area evaded layers on both teams to sneak in at the far post. A brilliant, flowing move involving Mrdja and Caceres in the 84th minute enabled the former to complete the scoreline and leave the fans wondering why the lively pair hadn't been brought on much earlier.
A NEW AWAKENING (courtesy Perth Glory matchday programme)
The unveiling of Member's Equity Stadium - aka the revamped Perth Oval - this evening signals a giant step forward for soccer in Western Australia. Local fans of the world game have been waiting a long time for their own purpose-built stadium and the redevelopment heralds the start of an exciting new era. The stadium, which will also cater for other rectangular sports, has backing from the Town of Vincent to the tune of $4.5 million and a further $6 million from the State Government. The new ground has a capacity of 18,450 and Allia Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Perth Glory, will contribute $400,000 each year for twenty years and an extra $80,000 each year into a reserve fund for oval repairs and maintenance, as well as $1.2 million worth of equipment. Members Equity has signed a three-and-a-half year deal to secure naming rights tot he stadium.
PARTICK OFFER MADASCHI NEW DEAL (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Scottish Premier League club Partick Thistle have offered a new contract to West Australian defender Adrian Madaschi. The former Atalanta centre-half joined the Jags earlier this season on a deal running to January. The clubs new management team of Gerry Britton and Derek Whyte have given the go-ahead for the board to offer the Australian youth international a new contract to the end of the season. Last week, Madaschi said he was now feeling comfortable in the Scotland's top flight. "Its my first real run of senior games," he said. "I've picked up a few knocks, which is expected when going from Primavera football in Italy to the SPL. But I'm now shaking them off and feeling a lot more comfortable at this level. I just hope I've done enough to earn a longer contract so I can keep this run going."
BIG GAME LOOMS FOR GLORY (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory are set to celebrate the Christmas season in spectacular style with the unveiling of Members Equity Stadium on Saturday night. "This is a very exciting time for the club," said coach Mich d'Avray ahead of the National Soccer League meeting with Brisbane Strikers. "I know all the players are looking forward to playing on the new ground for the first time and we are hoping for a big crowd to cheer us on. The players have done a simply magnificent job so far this season, to be in second spot after all the away games we have had to play is a remarkable sporting achievement. Any team in any competition in the world would be proud to achieve what we have done so far this season in the face of adversity." However, the Glory boss warned against complacency on home soil. "The big danger is thinking that the hard part is over," d'Avray added. "We should remember that Brisbane Strikers beat us on our own patch last season and they will be tough first up opponents at Members Equity. We are going to need our fans in full voice and I hope the people of WA will turn out in force."
The 'staff' of www.soccerwa.com would like to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas, a joyous New Year and - most importantly - a safe holiday period. We'll be taking a short break over the next couple of weeks but will be back with all the latest from the world of West Australian soccer early in 2004.
WWW.SOCCERWA.COM ALL-STARS NAMED
It's a bit later than we had planned for but www.soccerwa.com is pleased to honour those players that impressed us the most over the winter months with the announcement of the unofficial 2003 Premier League All-Stars team and shadow squad.
CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR PERTH PAIR
Tal Karp and Lisa De Vanna are amongst a group of thirty-two players named to attend an Australian Institute of Sport selection camp next month. The nine-day camp, which starts on 10th January, will be used to select the A.I.S. Scholarship holders and Matildas squad in readiness for the Australia Cup in February, which is followed by the Oceania Olympic Games qualifiers a month later. 21-year old Karp, who plays in the Women's National Soccer League with Canberra Eclipse, has made 20 appearances for the Matilda's and was part of the squad which competed at Septembers' Women's World Cup Finals tournament in the United States. An Australian youth international, De Vanna bagged ten goals for Adelaide Sensation in the recently completed W.N.S.L. season to finish runner-up in the Golden Boot award.
POSH WITHDRAW LOAN DEAL FOR GARCIA
Peterborough United boss Barry Fry has pulled out of a loan deal for West Ham United's Richard Garcia due to his commitment with the Australian under-23 side. The young attacker was set to move to London Road on a one-month loan before Posh manager Barry Fry became aware Garcia had been called up for the next month's Olympic qualifiers for the Athens Olympics. "I had agreed a deal with West Ham United striker Richard Garcia with Alan Pardew, but Richard has been called up by the Australian Under-23 side for the Olympics and would miss the whole of January so unless Alan can talk him out of going, then that is a no-go," said Fry. Garcia started the English First Division season in the Hammers starting line-up but the majority of his ten appearances over the first four months of competition have been off the bench. While he is yet to score his debut goal for West Ham at senior level, Garcia bagged four goals in eighteen starts as a loan player at Leyton Orient three seasons ago.
DOUBLE TO MRDJA AS GLORY DEFEAT KNIGHTS
Nick Mrdja has stepped out of the shadows to lead Perth Glory to victory over Melbourne Knights this evening. With regular strikers Damian Mori (injured) and Bobby Despotovski (personal reasons) absent 25-year old Mrdja was the stand-out performer with two goals in the win which lifts Glory back to second spot on the National Soccer League standings. The visitors took control from early on with Mrdja twice going close in the opening quarter hour. The big striker opened his account in the 32nd minute by shaking off Adrian Leijer before unleashing a rocket from 30-metres which hit the top corner of the net before goalkeeper Vilson Knezevic could react. Anthony Danze looked to have increased the lead when he calmly knocked the ball past Knezevic only to have the goal disallowed for offside.
Glory continued to apply the pressure after the break as Knezevic produced a fantastic save to thwart midfielder Brad Hassell. On the hour Mrdja was presented with an opportunity to add to his tally but found the Knights 'keeper perfectly positioned to save. The home side clawed their way into the game midway through the half only to be met with strong resistance from Glory's rearguard. Lacking ideas, the closest the Knights came to scoring was through an error by Hassell who almost headed into his own net with only a flying save from Jason Petkovic preventing an own goal. Mrdja sealed the win in the 73rd minute when he ran on to a through pass from Scott Miller and slotted the ball home after some defensive hesitancy left Knezevic badly exposed.
LIONS NAME NEW COACHING TEAM
Stirling Lions have made clear their intentions for the coming winter with the unveiling of the clubs’ new-look coaching staff. Former Northern Ireland youth international Thomas Leeman has been put in charge of the Lions senior squad, highly respected Bosnian professional Mirsad Kovacevic will look after the reserves/youth teams with Ian Munro taking over the reigns of the Under-18 development squad. Under their leadership the Lions will be looking to leave their mark on the Premier League as the club go about establishing themselves as serious top five contenders courtesy of a rigorous pre-season schedule and recruitment drive that will revitalise the playing stocks at Macedonia Park.
Leeman's credentials speak for themselves. The one-time Northern Ireland Under-18 international joins the Lions with twenty-three experience at the highest levels in Europe. As a player he spent time with Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers along with Irish League clubs Glentoran and Ards. Leeman enjoyed a stint in Western Australia during the late 1980's when he played for Bayswater Inter, Spearwood Dalmatinac and Sorrento. Prior to returning to Perth in the middle of last year he was working as a development coach in Scotland which included scouting for St Mirren.
Reserve team coach Kovacevic also boasts a wealth of international experience from a professional career in Germany, Bosnia and Austria. Since hanging up his playing boots Kovacevic has turned his hand to player recruitment and development which included a spell assisting National Soccer League outfit Melbourne Knights. With eighteen years coaching in the United Kingdom, not to mention time at Perth S.C. and with the Junior Soccer Association's regional squads, Munro also adds an extra dimension to the Lions coaching staff. His mission is to form a strong and talented youth squad from the clubs junior ranks that will one day play at senior level. Munro will be assisted by hard-working Lions junior coach Joe Pugliese and Mitch Doherty, director of coach for the Kings Academy.
GLORY MEET FAMILIAR FOE
For the tenth time this season Perth Glory are on the road as they come up against arch-rival Melbourne Knights on Sunday evening. It’s been a tough couple of months for the Knights who’ve struggled to find the back of the net while leaking goals at the opposite end of the ground. Currently placed twelfth the hosts have been boosted by the recent signing of lanky goalkeeper Vilson Knezevic, former Socceroo Kris Trajanovski and young gun Nicholas Marinos, who scored the injury-time winner last weekend against Marconi Stallions. A bye last weekend gave Glory players Tom Pondeljak and Scott Miller the opportunity to recover from minor injuries. However, the side could be without striker Bobby Despotovski who will leave it until late before deciding whether to travel to Knights Stadium. It will be the second meeting between these clubs this season, Glory claiming maximum points from September’s game courtesy of late goals from Damian Mori, Pondeljak and Adrian Caceras. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live to Perth on radio station 6PR 882AM from 3.00pm (Perth time).
DANZE AIMS TO BECOME A CONSTANT
Anthony Danze has set his sights on a regular place in the Perth Glory team. The talented midfielder returned to Glory training this week after impressive performances for the Australian Under-20 side at the recent World Youth Championship. "I'm confident I can play at national league level, it's just about getting an opportunity," Danze said to Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "We were playing against the best players in the world at under-20 level, so it was a pretty good standard. It's not a huge difference to playing here. Sometimes you have doubts but being over there and holding my own against good opposition, I probably reassured myself that I can do it."
Danze, whose Glory contract expires at the end of the current season, scored twice in Australia's magnificent 3-2 win over tournament favourite Brazil to secure their safe passage intot eh second round. The win came after the Young Socceroo's were held to a draw by Czech Republic and victory over Canada. But, after scaling such heights, Australia were eliminated in the second phase by host nation the United Arab Emirates. "We will be remembered for beating Brazil but it was a big opportunity wasted," Danze said. "It was disappointing in the end. At times we played really good football."
Having impressed as a 16-year old while playing for E.C.U. Joondalup, Danze knocked back an offer from English club Southampton in preference for joining Glory in September 2000. The following year he took up a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport which in turn lead to his inclusion in the Joeys squad which competed at the Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago. It wasn't until February of this year that Danze finally made his National Soccer League debut, the midfielder going on to make seven appearances in total for Glory over the latter stages of their successive 2002/03 season.
DESPOTOVSKI KEEN ON HOME GAMES
Perth Glory's all-time leading goalscorer Bobby Despotovski is looking forward to the clubs return to Perth Oval - or Members Equity Stadium as it is now known - next week. Although Glory played twice at Arena Joondalup this season, their last game on true home soil was the 1-0 defeat of Olympic Sharks some seven months back. Like his teammates Despotovski is keen to play at the redeveloped ground and make the most of the advantage it will offer Glory. "The people will be closer to the action which will be very good for them and definitely, in the last few years playing at Perth Oval, the fans always give Glory a one-goal advantage," the striker told "Community Newspapers" reporter Matt Zis. Currently third on the National Soccer League standings, Glory are well placed going into the second half of the season which will see them play ten games at their new stadium. History shows the former Perth Oval has been a fortress for the side, in 101 games at the venue Glory have amassed 224 goals and conceded 105 for an impressive record of 66 wins, 16 draws and just 19 losses.
W.A. WOMEN REGULARS IN N.S.L.
The home-and-away portion of the 2003/04 Women’s National Soccer League season has come to a close. The season finale takes place this weekend as Queensland Sting go head to head with New South Wales Sapphires in the Grand Final at Lions Stadium in Queensland. While no West Australians will be taking part in the decider, the state was well served throughout the season by players at three of the W.N.S.L. clubs. Lisa De Vanna found the back of the net with regularity to finished the season with ten goals and claim second spot it the Golden Boot award. The young striker did her chances of being named in the Australian Olympic team the world of good in her ten appearances for Adelaide Sensation. Another Olympic hopeful, Collette McCallum, played Sensation’s opening three games of the season before being forced out of action due to injury. Sensation ended the season in third in the six team competition.
Canberra Eclipse midfielder Tal Karp was one of few players to see out the full 90 minutes of each of the seasons’ ten rounds. The Australian international scored once, that an 80th minute winner in the 2-1 defeat of Northern New South Wales Pride, as Eclipse ended the season in fourth place. Three West Australian’s were on the books of Northern New South Wales Pride. Highly rated defender Tanya Oxtoby started the campaign strongly only to suffer injury in the mid-season loss to Queensland Sting. Oxtoby was more often used as a substitute on her return and in total made eight appearances for the club. Another local defender, 16-year old Candice Townsend, established herself as a regular in the Pride matchday squad with the majority of her eight outings being off the bench. One of three goalkeeper in the Pride squad, 18-year old Ashley Bennett was unable to force her way into the starting line-up in 2004.
STRIKERS OFF TO BRAZIL
Leeming Strikers have formally announced Mike Brazil as first team coach for 2004. Brazil, who was in charge at Queens Park last season, turned down offers from several other interested parties to join the Strikers. “We worked hard to get Michael and it is a further statement of our intent,” said a spokesman for the First Division club. “Michael will bring valuable experience and ‘know how’ to the Strikers and we offer him a very warm welcome. The initial response from the players has been excellent and many already know of the mans abilities.”
Brazil has called for the pre-season to commence in January and is said to be scouting the necessary ingredients to make the Strikers a force this season. “I was impressed by the club and it’s leaders,” said the new coach. “Yes, I had opportunities elsewhere but after meeting with the Strikers board I knew they were front runners to get me … I am delighted to be here. I saw them last year and know the talent that lies in their ranks and of course the young players are quite exceptional. The future for this club is very bright, the leadership is very professional and the facilities are equal to anyone’s. I wish to thank the board for their trust and for giving me at the opportunity to assist the club with it’s ambitions.”
FIRST DIVISION TAKES SHAPE
The 2004 First Division season is taking shape with Soccer West Coast likely to go with a fifteen team competition, although the door is still open for one more club to be added to that number. The new season is scheduled to kick-off on Saturday 13th March with the closing round of fixtures penciled in for Saturday 16th October. Over the summer two clubs have undergone name changes. After one year in competition as The City, the amalgamation of Wanneroo City and Perth City have voted to play under the Wanneroo City banner and in the blue and gold colours of Perth City. In a similar move Southside United have reverted back to playing as Gosnells City, the name which brought them much success throughout the early 1980’s. While it is yet to be confirmed it is understood that the First Division winners will gain promotion to the top flight at seasons’ end with last-placed Premier League dropping down for 2005.
SEASIDERS LOSS IS BORO’S GAIN
Middlesbrough have recalled Brad Jones from loan to Blackpool following injury to back-up goalkeeper Carlo Nash. 21-year old Jones joined Blackpool in early November, making his debut in the 1-0 LDV Vans Trophy defeat of Doncaster Rovers and becoming an automatic choice in the starting eleven for manager Steve McMahon. In seven appearances Jones kept five clean sheets and conceded only two goals as Blackpool surged up the English Second Division table. Jones’ return to the Riverside Stadium will be a huge blow for Blackpool.
NATIONAL LEAGUE RIVAL FOR GLORY?
The Australian Soccer Association have received a flood of inquiries - including one from a new consortium in the west - regarding entry into the new national league which is due to commence late in 2004. While reigning National Soccer League champions Perth Glory are widely expected to be granted entry into the ten-team competition, an unnamed ASA spokesman has told Peter Desira of the “Sun Herald” that another West Australian franchise are keen to launch a second team in Perth. Desira reported that interest for new teams has also come from Tasmania, Melbourne, Adelaide and Queenslands’ Gold Coast. Under the recommendations of the Report of the N.S.L. Task Force released last week W.A. will have one entrant in the national competition. Formal expressions of interest in the league will need to be lodged in a two-month window commencing 28th February with the successful applicants to be announced on 30th June. The season will kick off mid-November.
NEW FACE ON SWC BOARD
Stirling Lions president Don Evans has been elected to the position of club director on the board of Soccer West Coast. "I look forward to the challenges ahead for all our member clubs to promote and enhance the profile of soccer, and to educate the broader community on how attractive the world game is, not just professionally but socially," said Evans shortly after being elected. "Soccer is in for some exciting changes and I look forward to doing my job and representing all clubs on the new board alongside John Quigley. Together we will strive to achieve unequivocal government support to streamline and redefine the game in Western Australia." The current SWC board consists of president David Schrandt, independent directors Dennis McInerney, Russell Goodrich, John Quigley and Jason Charles, formerly of the Victorian Soccer Federation, along with Peter Koulizos and Evans whose positions are as club directors.
PETKOVIC TOP OF THE PILE
Goalkeeper Jason Petkovic created a new record for the number of career clean sheets in the National Soccer League by keeping Marconi Stallions scoreless in mid-week. The shut-out was the 106th of Petkovic’s career, eclipsing the previous record set by journeyman Bob Catlin who spent 18-years in the domestic competition. In comparison it has taken 32-year old Petkovic eleven seasons with Adelaide City and Perth Glory to break Catlin’s record. Petkovic started out with Spearwood Dalmatinac before joining Adelaide in 1993 for whom he made the first of his 15 ‘A’ appearances for Australian and twice won the N.S.L. Goalkeeper of the Year award. After six seasons in South Australia he headed home to sign with Glory, helping the club to the home-and-away season trophies in 1999/2000 and 2001/02 before playing a leading role in their Grand Final victory of 2002/03.
Over the past couple of decades Western Australia have consistently produced top quality goalkeepers as is borne out with a cursory glance down the list of goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in the domestic league. One-time Spearwood Dalmatinac goalkeeper Robbie Zabica sits in ninth place having kept the opposition scoreless on 76 occasions in 202 outings for Adelaide City and Perth Glory. Zabica made 27 ‘A’ appearances for Australia and was named the 1992 N.S.L. Goalkeeper of the Year in a career that was interrupted by a serious knee injury. Close behind sits 278-game veteran Tony Franken who kept 74 clean sheets in a 16-year career with Canberra City, Sydney United, APIA Liechardt, Parramatta Eagles, UTS Olympic before calling it quits after three years with Perth Glory. The 1984 N.S.L. Under-21 Player of the Year represented Australia twice at ‘A’ level.
Several other goalkeepers have emerged from the local ranks to carve out successful professional careers. Australian Institute of Sport graduate Vince Matassa represented Australian at the 1993 Youth World Cup and the following year helped the short-lived Perth Kangaroos to the S-League title. Currently second in the pecking order at Glory, Matassa also played at national league level for Morwell Falcons as well as English non-League sides Wycombe Wanderers, Basingstoke Town, Salisbury City and Woking. Like his elder brother, Michael Petkovic began life at Spearwood Dalmatinac before joining N.S.L. club South Melbourne where he played six seasons, was three times crownded N.S.L. Goalkeeper of the Year and won Australian representative honours. The 27-year old is currently in his second season with top flight Turkish club Trabzonspor where he has attracted the interest of several of Europe’s larger sides.
OLYROOS COMING TO TOWN
Tickets are now on sale for the friendly international between the Under-23 teams of Australia and the Korea Republic at Members Equity Stadium on Wednesday 7th January, 2004 (kick-off 7.30pm). The Olyroo line-up could feature as many as five players from the west with Brad Jones, David Tarka, Adrian Madaschi, Richard Garcia and Anthony Danze all in contention for a place in the squad. In addition former Perth Glory defender Ljubo Milicevic and current Glory players Wayne Shroj and Jade North are also vying for inclusion. The match will serve Australia as preparation for the Oceania qualifying tournament for the 2004 Olympic Games. To purchase tickets to Western Australia's first truly international fixture since 1998, when the Australian Olympic team defeated Brazil 2-1 at the W.A.C.A. Ground, contact BOCS on 9484 1144.
CLUB LEGEND TAKES REIGNS AT COCKBURN
Cockburn City have looked to the past for future success with the naming of star of yesteryear Kevin Elliott as coach for the coming season. "Kevin's history as a past player speaks for itself," said Cockburn president Sue Potter. "His appointment as first team coach means Kevin has now gone full circle with the club. Under Kevin we hope Cockburn can finish next season one place better that 2003 when we were runner-up in both the Premier League and Night Series."
Elliott arrived from England in early 1982 to join Spearwood Dalmatinac (nee Cockburn) for whom he scored twice on debut in a season that saw the club lift the Premier League and Top Four trophies. His 25-goal haul in 1984 earned the striker his first Golden Boot as Dalmatinac set about establishing themselves as one of the state's top clubs with a hat-trick of D'Orsogna Cup wins (1983, 1984, 1985). In 1986 Elliott joined Perth Azzurri where, in the first of his two seasons at Dorrien Gardens, a 23-goal winter saw him end as the top flight's leading goalscorer for the second time. Elliott's acceptance of the reigns makes him Cockburn's sixth coach in the past five years.
GLORY ARE TEAM OF THE YEAR (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory has been named the Team of the Year at the 2003 ANZ Sports Star Awards. Glory were honoured for its success in winning the National Soccer League title and joins an impressive list of previous winners that includes the crew of Australia II, West Coast Eagles, Western Warriors, Perth Wildcats and the WA King's Cup Rowing Team. The award was presented at a Gala Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in front of 550 guests. Chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said the award was a great honour for the club. "To join such a list of achievers in Western Australian sport is a great thrill to the club. It is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved, both on and off the pitch and of course to our fantastic supporters who become our 12th player when we are playing at home."
CANNING CITY COACHING POSITIONS
Canning City are seeking coaches for the 2004 season. The club requires an experienced senior coach to take over the reins of a very young and talented first team which will start only its fourth season in the Soccer West Coast ranks next year. As part of its ongoing junior development program the club is also seeking a development coach to oversee the implementation of structured skills training programs for players in the 11 to 15 age groups. In addition to their Junior Champions League squads the club has over 350 juniors playing in junior competitions. All non-Chelsea supporters are welcome to apply. For more details contact Malcolm Watson on 0408 031 793 or email email@example.com
KINGS COACH RETURNS FROM RED DEVILS LAIR (courtesy www.kingsacademy.com.au)
Kings Academy coach Ian Dignon, who was last season in charge of the Under-13's and is presently assisting the academy with their fitness program for 2004, recently made use of the Kings links with Manchester United by visiting the powerhouse club. During Dignon's time with the Red Devils he met the entire coaching staff, including Sir Alex Ferguson, and had a unique opportunity to watch both the academy and first team players in action. The visit had a number of objectives, including taking a close look at how the worlds biggest soccer club runs their academy squads, manages their younger players, and how they deliver their unique programs with the end aim being to export some of the professionalism found in Manchester back to Perth, and particularly the Kings Academy, for the betterment of the local players.
Dignon also returned with a Manchester United video which shows their academy players performing a range of skills and techniques with assistance from first team players such as Ronaldo, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary and Ryan Neville. The Kings coach was enthused that the experience would prove invaluable in assisting the development of junior players here in Perth. "The one thing that struck me more than anything else was the total professionalism and dedication at every part of the club. Even the youngest players - aged eight, nine and ten - demonstrated a total commitment and focus to their training and games. All the sessions I witnessed were approached with an intensity with which I have not seen previously and while the coaches were able to mix in fun with the training it was the motivation of the players themselves which impressed me most."
All of the Manchester United academy players have realised that they are living the dream of millions of other kids around the world. The Kings players are in a unique position in Western Australia, representing Manchester United's development and identification program, through the official national affiliate program managed by Parramatta Eagles Soccer Academy in Sydney. One of the messages I will be taking to the Kings players is the need for hard work and dedication, but I will also be reminding them of the fortunate position they are in while they are with our club" For more information regarding the Kings Academy please visit http://www.kingsacademy.com.au or contact Mitch Doherty, Director of Coaching, on 9300 8654.
GLORY SMASH AND GRAB
Despite a flat overall performance Perth Glory head home from this evenings meeting with Marconi Stallions in Sydney with maximum points. The home side dominated much of the game only to be let down by poor finishing. The first chance of the evening came the way the hosts as Nick Carle combine with Brad Maloney to set up Eric Anabalon who was thwarted by an alert Jason Petkovic. Glory's only opening of the half came after 18 minutes with Bobby Despotovski picking out Damian Mori whose shot was wide of the target. Not long after the Stallions should have gone in front as Carle was put through one-on-one with Jason Petkovic who came out on top from the challenge. With 35 minutes elapsed Carle found himself within sniffing distance of goal but couldn't find a way past three defenders.
The second half commenced just as the first had ended with the home side dominating play but unable to convert. The turning point came on the hour with substitute Wayne Shroj taking over in midfield and Despotovski moving to his more accustomed role up front. The deadlock was broken in the 68th minute when Gary Faria's deep cross opened up the defence and Brad Hassell brilliantly cut the ball back to Mori who lashed it home from close-range. Five minutes later Jade North pushed down the right flank to deliver a superb cross into the area where Despotovski's diving header crashed into the back of the net to kill off the Stallions hopes. The win takes Glory to within a point of the league leader South Melbourne as the Stallions slip out of the top six.
NEW BEACH SOCCER SEASON SET TO COMMENCE
Looking for a way of maintaining your fitness over the summer - why not try beach soccer? "The game is a good opportunity for players to get involved in an alternative soccer activity that will provide sufficient exercise to maintain a good level of fitness over the off-season," said organised Alf De Bono. The 2004 summer season will be staged at Bayswater Bowling Club (Murray Street, Bayswater), adjacent to Frank Drago Reserve, on Monday evenings from 5th January. "All games will be played under lights and are be five-a-side, but the number of substitutes is unlimited," added De Bono. "There will be competitions catering for men only, females only and juniors at the cost of $5.00 per player." Individuals or teams interested in taking part in the new beach soccer season should contact Dobono on 0403 161 655.
LATE GOAL SINKS YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Young Socceroos 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships has come to an end with an upset 1-0 loss to the lowly ranked United Arab Emirates. Australia dominated for much of the game only to lack penetration in the final third of the park where chances on goal were few and far between. The best chances of the first half came from the hosts with Ismail Matar going close to netting on three seperate occasions with long-range strikes. Australia's best opportunity came from a corner shortly before the interval when Anthony Danze's header looking as though it would go in before goalkeeper Ismail Rabee moved to deny. Midway through the second half Danze raced past the defence only to be narrowly beaten to a through ball but the UAE shot stopper. With the game looking destined for extra-time, Matar struck the killer blow in the final minute with a speculative shot that struck Spase Dilevski and the spinning ball squirmed under goalkeeper Nathan Coe and over the line. "I thought we had their measure, but they got the better of us" said coach Ange Postecoglou, "It is very disappointing." Western Australia's two Under-20 representatives, Danze and David Tarka, both splayed the full 90 minutes of the match.
GLORY WELCOME BLUEPRINT (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory have welcomed the recommendations of the Task Force into the future of the National Soccer League and has called for urgent action to see implementation as soon as possible. "We have waited since the club's inception eight years ago for the right blueprint. Now we have it we need to transform plans into action," said Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "The Task Force is to be congratulated on its efforts and with the combination of business expertise and knowledge of the game that the taskforce represents there is no doubting its credentials."
"What we need to see now is an immediate and steady effort to take soccer's vision from the drawing board and into the real world," added Dennis. "The hundreds of thousands of players and supporters who love the game deserve no less. Perth Glory will be making every effort to be a part of the new competition and to meet the criteria outlined by the recommendations. We have long believed in the potential of the game in Australia, now we need to see that potential realised. The Task Force has given us the basis from which to move forward - now it is up to everyone in the game to seize on the opportunities offered to us."
NIGHT SERIES GROUPS DRAWN
Soccer West Coast have sent to clubs a draft schedule of the new season Night Series which will return to Litis Stadium for 2004. The pre-season tournament will commence on Sunday 8th February and be played out over the following seven weeks with the Final set down for Sunday 28th March. Pooled in Group A are Premier League champions Perth S.C., Boral Cup holders Swan I.C. and First Division winners Bayswater City. Northern suburbs outfit E.C.U. Joondalup are in Group B along with Inglewood United and Stirling Lions. Sorrento, Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian will fight it out in Group C. In the all south of the river Group D are Fremantle City, current Night Series trophy holders Western Knights and their traditional rival Cockburn City.
TARKA RATES BRAZIL WIN AS AMONGST BEST
Australian Under-20 defender David Tarka rated the Young Socceroos' win over Brazil at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship as equal to his National Soccer League grand final success with Perth Glory. Tarka, who joined English First Division side Nottingham Forest in August after helping Glory to their first championship, described the 3-2 defeat of the powerful South American nation as unbelievable. "It's definitely a highlight of my career," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. "I'd say it would be up there with winning the NSL. When that third goal went in, it was just unbelievable."
Tarka said wearing the captain's armband in the absence of regular skipper Scott McDonald gave the match extra personal significance. He fondly recalled bursting into astonished laughter when the Young Socceroos' scintillating start produced two goals from Anthony Danze and a third from Spase Dilevski to give the side a three goal lead. Tarka said the team was stunned that it had gained such an impressive advantage against the highly fancied South Americans. "At 3-0, no one could believe it," he said."When the third goal went in I remember jogging back and looking across at Alex Wilkinson and just laughing."
The win over Brazil has instilled new found confidence in the Young Socceroos who now believe they are capable to going al the way in the tournament. "I think the team has realised now how we can perform if we put it together. The first half against Brazil was really good for us," he said. "It was the best we've played. At times, we tore them apart." Australia started the championship with a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic which was followed by wins over Canada and Brazil. By topping Group C the national Under-20 side have earned the right to play the United Arab Emirates in the second phase, a team it beat 2-0 and drew 0-0 against in friendlies in October.
NAVEN HONOURED BY NSL CHAMPIONS
Gareth Naven will forever be associated with Perth Glory following the club's decision to name a function area at Members Equity Stadium in honour of their inaugural captain. Never one for individual accolades, Naven was at first taken aback when asked for his approval for a members bar at the ground to be renamed the Gareth Naven Room. "It was a bit of a surprise and at first I said I needed a week to think about it. After that, I needed another week," Naven said to Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" newspaper. The one-time Glory captain also sought the advice of former teammates Bobby Despotovski and Scott Miller, who were part of the inaugural squad with Naven, before making a decision. "They've done so much for the club as well. They were great about it," commented Naven who led the club for six seasons and made 143 appearances in purple and orange.
Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said when the club decided to acknowledge tradition and its short history by honouring a player at the redeveloped stadium, there was little discussion about who that player would be. "If there is one person who deserved recognition in this very early stage of the club's history, it's Gareth," commented Dennis. "Basically, he was Perth Glory during the club's formative years. People in the soccer community still look up to him. There was never any doubt in our mind and from a couple of years ago we were committed to having Gareth associated long term with the club in some way, shape or form. And this is the most appropriate way of doing it."
NEW-LOOK TO NATIONAL LEAGUE
Australian soccer will make a fresh start beginning with the creation of a new ten-team national competition which could kick-off as early as November 2004. That is the chief recommendation of the "Report of the N.S.L. Task Force" made public today via the Australian Soccer Association. The Task Force recommended a new domestic competition be put in place as soon as practicable with teams in Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane (one each), Sydney (three), Melbourne (two) and the remaining two clubs coming from other markets including New Zealand. Perth Glory and Adelaide United - widely hailed as models of teams needed for the new league - are almost certain to be admitted while Marconi Stallions and South Melbourne are also expected to step up to the mark, however the future of the remaining nine national league clubs is not so clear.
The new league will operate under licence from the ASA who will appoint an inaugural board and chairman of the league to ensure its independence in accordance with recommendations of the Crawford Report. The new board will be in place early in the new year with clubs given until the end of April to register their interest in participating in the league. The successful ten clubs will be announced on 30th June with the inaugural season expected to commence in November. Clubs will be required operate on a minimum $3.5 million budget in the first year, rising to $5.5 million by the third year. The report also recommended average player salaries are increased in order to attract European-based players back to Australia. The Task Force report, including the recommendations, is available online at http://www.australiansoccer.com.au
PARTICK NOW HAVE SELF-BELIEF : MADASCHI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi shook off a bout of flu to play a major part in Partick Thistle's first victory of the Scottish Premier League season last night. Under the caretaker management of Gerry Britton and Derek Whyte the Jags broke their season-long duck with a 1-0 home win over Motherwell. "The lads are delighted, it's a mixture of relief and pride," said Madaschi who started his career as a junior with Perth S.C. "Motherwell have been very good this season, so to make them the first to lose to us gives everyone a sense of pride. It's been a tough week after the gaffer's exit, Gerry and Derek were in charge for the Cup game against Celtic and we did okay, so now to win in the League * I think there'll be a couple of teams just above us now looking over their shoulders. We definitely believe we can get enough wins to get away from the relegation zone."
TWO-GOAL DANZE REFECTS ON BRAZIL WIN (courtesy www.australiansoccer.com.au)
Young Socceroos forward Anthony Danze is unlikely to forget in a hurry last Thursday's meeting with Brazil. Two goals from the Perth Glory youngster helped the Australian Under-20 team to a stunning 3-2 win over the traditional powerhouse of world football at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. Having been left out of the previous game against Canada after a subdued performance in the opening match with the Czech Republic, Danze played like a man with a point to prove and ended up playing the most dramatic game of his fledgling career. "This has to be the most memorable game I have played in that is for sure," said Danze who is used to playing his club football in front of the large crowds normally in attendance at Glory home games.
Two months ago Danze was only playing irregularly for Glory and had not played for the national team since appearing for the Joeys at the 2001 Under-17 World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago. A first ever call-up to the Young Socceroos in October meant the chance to secure a berth in the World Youth Championship squad and the 19-year-old is clearly relishing the opportunity. "I felt pretty lucky just to be here in the first place," said Danze. "What happened (the other night) was pretty amazing and not something I would ever have expected. I came here with a few things to prove to myself and to the people back home so hopefully I have started doing it and hopefully I can keep doing it. I was pleased (with my performance) but felt I could have done better. A few times I could have whipped in a better cross, I could have played a better pass or made better runs. I have played better games and not scored any goals."
All the more remarkable is that Danze scored more goals against Brazil in one half of football than he has done during his brief career with Perth Glory and the Young Socceroos combined. The parallel has been drawn by some to the Young Socceroo squad of 1997 and to Kosta Salapasidis who famously scored four goals against Argentina having only scored once previously in the National Soccer League. The current crop of Young Socceroos will be wary not to follow the path of their predecessors six years ago who, having sensationally disposed of the South Americans, went out in a lacklustre 1-0 loss to Japan.
Last week's 3-2 result was Australia's first ever win at the World Youth Championship over Brazil and more importantly ensured that the Young Socceroos topped Group C. Host nation the UAE, who finished third in Group A behind Burkina Faso and Slovakia, now await the Australians with a noisy and boisterous crowd expected at the Al-Sharjah Stadium. Danze who made his debut for the Young Socceroos against the UAE in Abu Dhabi in October is, along with his team-mates, quietly confident about their prospects in Tuesdays game. "We should have a fair bit of confidence after the last game but it is important that we don't get carried and keep everything in perspective," he said. "The belief is there but we still have to get out and do it. I think the crowd should be a motivation for the players to do well. It is the sort of game you want to play. I am worried about my job too much to be worrying about the crowd. There is nothing better than to play in front of a large crowd."
DISCUSSIONS HELD WITH NATIONAL BODIES ON REFORM (courtesy www.dsr.wa.gov.au)
Robin Graham of the Australian Soccer Association (ASA) and Stephen Fox of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) met with all association board members on the 26th of November 2003. The meeting discussed the key issues and differences between the Soccer Forum's model for the restructure of soccer in Western Australia, and the ASA's model based on the recommendations of the Crawford Report.
The model for WA contained a two-staged implementation process. The first stage involved the establishment of a new peak body to replace the Soccer Administration of WA, and the appointment of a board of seven directors who would then appoint a chief executive officer. An Advisory Council would provide advice to the board of directors on all aspects of the development of the game. An Industry Executive, headed by the CEO of the new peak body as well as the General Managers of the three major associations (Soccer West Coast, WAASSA and the Junior Soccer Association), would draw together the operational development and competition arms of soccer, and plan for their incorporation into the new body. Stage two proposed that all associations would amalgamate into the new body, together with their combined resources.
While the models proposed by WA and the ASA have similar principles, they are structually different. However, it was generally felt that the two models could be successfully combined to provide a WA structure so that players, coaches, referees and volunteers have a clear development pathway from grassroots participation in soccer through to international participation. The ASA's timeframe for implementation requires a much earlier implementation of stage two of the WA Soccer Forum model. That is, all current associations' operations will need to be incorporated into the new West Australian Soccer Association as early as possible in 2004.
Graham and Fox also advised that the draft national and states' constitutions would be amended to reflect the adjustments to the soccer structures as a result of their consultative meetings with the states over the past few weeks. Importantly, proceedings can commence immediately with the appointment of directors to the board of the WA Soccer Association, a company limited by guarantee and established under the Corporations Act 2001. An information package is available online to prospective applicants for the director positions via http://www.dsr.wa.gov.au/soccer.asp
STRONG START BY YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Australian Under-20 squad have made a sensational start to the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates by ending the preliminary stage on top of Group C. In their opening game the Young Socceroo's held the Czech Republic to a one-all draw. Playing a short passing game the Czechs dominated the first half and deservedly went in front after 24 minutes via David Limbersky. Four minutes after half-time Australia leveled through Scott MacDonald who tapped in from close-range following David Tarka's glancing header at a corner. The remainder of the match saw few chances at either end and the game ended even. Tarka played a full game in the heart of the Australian defence while the west's other representative, Anthony Danze, was replaced nine minutes from the end.
On Tuesday Australia took a giant step to qualifying for the second phase with a 2-1 defeat of Canada. It took the Young Socceroos just 12 minutes to open their account through Alex Brosque, but on the half-hour Canada replied with a stunning long-range goal from Iain Hume. As against the Czech Republic Australia started the second half brightly and in the 54th minute restored their lead as substitute Matthew McKay shot past goalkeeper Alim Karim. Both teams continued to look dangerous going forward but were rarely able to fashion any real gilt-edged chances before the final whistle signaled victory to the Australians. Rock solid in defence Tarka, who was booked in the 56th minute, saw out the entire match while Danze was an unused substituted.
Danze marked his return to the starting line-up by scoring twice in Australia's surprise 3-2 defeat of Brazil on Thursday. The Young Socceroo's first goal arrived after 31 minutes when a deflected shot fell to Danze who drilled the ball into the back of the net. Six minutes later the Perth Glory player added to the tally by tapping in from close-range after Dustin Wells' strike cannoned back off the upright. Two minutes into the second half the gap became three goals as Spase Dilevski beat the goalkeeper with a fine shot. Brazil then increased the tempo but it took until the 75th minute to break through with a spectacular volley from Juninho. Three minutes from regulation time Brazil further reduced the deficit through Dudu but, despite four minutes of injury time, it was the last of the goalmouth action. Having worked tirelessly in attack Danze was replaced after 76 minutes while Tarka played a full games as team captain.
Coach Ange Postecoglou was ecstatic after the defeat of Brazil. "For the first hour of the game we played as well as I've seen any team play representing Australia," he said. "We took it to the Brazilians, created some good chances, and scored three excellent goals. When you beat Brazil everyone has to play well, you can't have any players who don't. But Anthony Danze, who scored two of the goals, was outstanding, as were Alex Brosque up front and Nathan Coe in goal." Australia will now play a third-placed team from either group A, B or F with the opponent to be determined following the conclusion of the group stage tomorrow. The round of sixteen match will be played next Tuesday in Sharjah.
LAZARIDIS KICKS ON
A veteran of three unsuccessful World Cup campaigns, 32-year old Stan Lazaridis (right) would love nothing more than to be part of the Socceroo's squad for the 2006 qualifiers. Since making his debut in 1993 the left-sided player has made 46 appearances for the senior national side as well as being one of three overage players in the 2000 Olympic team. Now Lazaridis is hoping Australia's fortunes will take a turn for the better and, despite being written off in the aftermath of Montevideo, he intends to be there when it happens. "I've been part of three World Cups and I'm desperate to be there for a fourth," he told Michael Cockerill of the "Sydney Morning Herald". "It's a big drive for me, to be involved in 2006. I'll do whatever it takes, but I want to be there on merit, nothing else."
Currently playing some of the best football of his career Lazaridis is well on track to realise his dream. This season the midfielder has been a regular fixture of the Blues side that are currently placed eighth on the Premier League standings. And while players have come and gone at St Andrews Lazaridis finds himself as the last man standing from the squad manager Steve Bruce inherited a couple of seasons ago. "I believe thirty-six players have gone since the gaffer arrived, and I'm the only one left," Lazaridis commented. "I suppose that's a reward in itself. I wasn't sure what would happen when he got here, I was probably on the list myself. But I've done well for him and he's rewarded me with a new deal [up to 2005]. When a manager gives you confidence it does a lot for your game."
"I'm at a stage where I'm much more relaxed than I used to be," Lazaridis said of playing in England's top flight. "I feel comfortable and I can't see why I can't stay at this level for a few more years. I've kept my pace, which obviously makes a big difference. It's probably why I'm still in the Premiership and not in the First Division. But I'm also looking after myself more. It might sound a bit cheesy, but I'm doing things like yoga and meditation after games and it's made a big difference to my flexibility. If you'd told me at the start of the season that I'd play twenty-five games I would have thought 'that's brilliant.' I've already played fifteen and it's not even Christmas. I'm not getting the niggles I used to, so I suppose things have been going pretty well for me."
FOUR NOMINATED FOR ANNUAL AWARDS
Soccer is well represented in the 2003 "West Australian"/ANZ Sports Star Awards. Locally produced Australian international Stan Lazaridis, who is currently plying his trade for top flight English club Birmingham City, has been short-listed for the prestigious Sports Star of the Year along with Perth Glorys' goalscoring machine Damian Mori. Former Ipswich Town player and current Glory boss Mich d'Avray is one of four finalists in the Coach of the Year. And Glory's National Soccer League title winning squad of 2002/03 is one of three nominees for the honour of Team of the Year. The awards will be presented at a Gala Event at the Hyatt on 10th December, with a highlights package of the ceremony to be broadcast by Channel 7 later that same evening.
A COMMENT ON ADMINISTRATION (by Bill MacAllister)
It is now December and - like last year - Soccer West Coast - are once again dragging their heels. While many other sporting organisations can supply their clubs with fixtures for next season within weeks of the close of their most recent season, it seems the local body in charge of soccer are unable or unwilling to follow suit. Of course, by providing fixtures at the earliest possible date S.W.C. would be doing a courtesy to their members who would then be able to organise social events to fit in around their playing schedule.
As our Premier League and First Division clubs are paying top dollar in membership fees and the like to play in S.W.C. ranks, it is up to those accepting the salaries to do their jobs and get the information out in a timely and efficient manner. Last season we had a situation where new season fixtures were not confirmed until the end of March - just a couple of weeks before the start of the home-and-away series! In this age of computers I'd consider drawing up the fixtures (there are computer programs available specifically for this purpose) would be a half-day task, and that would include printing a copy for every club.
Similarly, why is it a matter of secrecy what is discussed at board meetings? This information should be in the hands of the clubs within two weeks of the meeting, so why is it that clubs do not receive a copy of the minutes? Is the board not there to serve the Clubs and not the reverse? The Department of Sport and Recreation must be made aware of the shortfalls at S.W.C., and when it takes control of the game must ensure the code is run in a fit and proper manner which benefits the Clubs and not the hierarchy.
JONES TO STAY A SEASIDER
Australian youth international Brad Jones has been rewarded with another month on loan to English Second Division club Blackpool. Having conceded just a single goal in five outings for Blackpool, the former Bayswater City shot-stopper was thrilled when asked to extend his stay at Bloomfield Road. "This time last week I didn't know what was going to happen but during the week I found out Blackpool wanted to extend it, which I was happy to do," commented Jones following Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Bristol City. "Everything is going well, so why stop now? To be honest I just wanted to get a few games under my belt the fact that everything has gone well is a bonus, I have been really pleased with way things have turned out, and I am delighted to be stopping here for another month."
MADASCHI OKAY AFTER CELTIC CLASH (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi trained with the Partick Thistle first team squad yesterday after being given the all-clear by medicos from damaged ribs. The Australian defender sustained the injury in the Jags' 1-3 defeat by Celtic on Saturday when Madaschi was stretchered from the field of play after 67 minutes. "I'm pleased that I'm okay to carry on playing," Madaschi told www.tribalfootball.com. "I feel like I'm now adjusting to the pace of Scottish football. I received a lot of good feedback on Saturday's performance. I must admit, I thought I shaded my contest with John Hartson. It was a wrench to be forced off with the injury."
INJURY TOLL MOUNTS FOR NSL CHAMPIONS
Mich d'Avray must be thankful that Perth Glory won't be involved in next weekends round of National Soccer League fixtures. With five players nursing injuries and another on international duty Glory have been left somewhat depleted by a hectic travel schedule. "If we had to go into a game today, I have thirteen fit players of which two are goalkeepers," said the Glory boss on arriving back from Newcastle. "That gives you an idea of where we are at at the moment." Inspirational midfielder Matt Horsley has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a serious knee injury suffered against Wollongong Wolves little over a week ago. Bobby Despotovski started Friday's loss to Newcastle United on the bench due to concerns over a hamstring tear, Scott Miller played despite being hampered by a hip injury, while Tom Pondeljak failed to see out the game because of a groin problem. Although on the mend, Adrian Caceres missed both the Wolves and Newcastle games after fracturing his arm in training. The squad's options have been further tested by Anthony Danze's commitments with the Australian Under-20 side which is competing at the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates.
SOUTHSIDE REQUIRE COACHES
First Division Southside United are seeking senior and junior coaches for all age groups, including Junior Champions League teams for season 2004. Formed in l969 as Gosnells Town (later to become City), the club merged with Ferndale United in 1993 and two years later adopted their current moniker after joining forces with Kelmscott Roos. In each of their previous incarnations the club won numerous trophies including the D'Orsogna Cup in 1982, the Reserves Cup in 1980, 1982 and 1987 and the Youth Cup in 1983. As Southside the club took out the 1997 First Division title at both senior and Reserve levels, while last season the Under-18 team ended the season as table toppers. Individuals interested in coaching at one of the states proudest clubs are asked to contact president Jim Winrow for further details via either 94596992 (home) 0408 912 567 (mobile) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
FLAT GLORY LOSE IN NEWCASTLE
For the first time under coach Mich d'Avray Perth Glory have lost their second successive match courtesy of a late Esala Masi goal to give Newcastle United the points at EnergyAustralia Stadium last night. The first chance of the night came the way of the visitors with Nick Mrdja flicking Damian Mori's low cross from the left just wide of the post. Shortly after Tom Pondeljak created space for himself on top of the box only to send his right-foot shot the wrong side of the target. Newcastle's Josh Mitchell then squandered a golden opportunity midway through the half when his close range shot was blocked by goalkeeper Jason Petkovic and Mark Brynes cleared before the attacker could react to the loose ball. In the 36th minute Damien Brown teed-up for Ryan Griffiths who blasted wide from a good position, and a few minutes later Masi's cross was met by Mark Wilson but his close-range header was also off-target.
It was a case of more of the same after the interval with Masi forcing a fine save from Jason Petkovic, then Craig Deans rose above the defence to crash his header narrowly over the crossbar. The second half was twelve minutes old when a floodlight failure plunged the stadium into darkness and forced play to be held up for over forty minutes. Upon the resumption of play the home side again came close to taking the lead with Mitchell blasting well over the top from 10-metres. As the match wore on Glory created some promising attacks but were unable to break down their opponents defence. The game looked destined to end scoreless, when seven minutes from the full-time, a Scott Thomas cross found Masi unmarked in front of goal and the Fijian international made no mistake in heading in from close range.
GLORY TIPPED TO BOUNCE BACK
Energy Australia Stadium is the venue for this evenings National Soccer League meeting between Newcastle United and Perth Glory. The hosts started 2003/04 with promise but in recent times have dropped off the pace, taking just a single point from their past five outings. Missing Robbie Middleby due to suspension, Newcastle will look to experienced campaigners Milan Blagojevic and Scott Thomas to provide much of the drive while goalkeeper John Perosh is sure to be another player kept busy. Glory's hectic travel schedule is beginning to take its toll on the players - as evidenced by recent losses to Parramatta Power and Wollongong Wolves - but there are still plenty of reasons why they are favoured to take out the points over Newcastle. The understanding between Shaun Murphy and Mark Byrnes in the centre of defence strengthens with each outing, and at the opposite end of the field Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski are finding the net with alarming regularity. The game will be broadcast live and exclusively on 990AM Information Radio from 4.00pm (Perth time).
LAZARIDIS’ DEVOTION RECOGNISED BY PFA
Stan Lazaridis has become the first West Australian to be granted Life Membership of the Australian Professional Footballer’s Association. The Birmingham City and Australian midfielder was inducted late last week along with former Socceroo Craig Foster and administrator Brendan Schwab at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting. Each of the inductees were voted unanimously into Life Membership of the PFA largely due to their immense contribution to and support of the PFA and the game in Australia. Lazaridis, Foster and Schwab join Kimon Taliadoros, Frances Awaritefe, Andrew Harper, Robbie Hooker and long-time Australian captain Alex Tobin as PFA Life Members.
After playing locally for Kingsway Olympic and Floreat Athena Lazaridis steped up to National Soccer league ranks with West Adelaide where he assumed PFA executive responsibilities following his Socceroo debut. He signed for London club West Ham United in 1995 and after five seasons moved to Birmingham City where Lazardis has taken his English career tally to in excess of 300 games. At the same time the left-sided midfielder carved out a reputation as a hard-working player for the national team for whom he has turned out for on 57 occasions which includes the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup campaigns as well as the 2000 Olympic Games. Off the field Lazaridis has continued to support his fellow players through his work for the PFA.
Foster spent a four year period on the PFA Executive towards the end of a long playing career which included spells with Sydney United, Sunshine, Singapore (Malaysia), Ernest Borel (Hong Kong), Adelaide City, Marconi Stallions, Portsmouth (England), Crystal Palace (England) and Northern Spirit. In addition he made 29 appearances for national team and represented Australia at Under-16 level in the 1985 World Youth Championship finals in China. Schwab, a co-founder of the PFA, has arguably been the single most influential person in the history of the organisation. As Chief Executive and General Counsel of the PFA he has worked tirelessly for both the interests and recognition of Australia’s elite players and the game, and has overseen the creation of an organisation that has helped shape the game in this country.
DEANS HAS POINT TO PROVE
For Newcastle United defender Craig Deans tonights National Soccer League fixture with Perth Glory has extra significance. The former Glory boy will be keen to prove a point to the club which discarded him midway through rehabilitation from a career-threatening knee injury. A cartilage tear in his right knee suffered just weeks out from the start of the 2002/03 season forced Deans to sit out the entirity of Glory's championship winning summer. Following an operation to repair his knee damage the 29-year old worked hard and joined Newcastle for whom he made his comeback a fortnight ago against Sydney United - some two-months sooner than expected. "I should've only just started light training," he told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "I didn't have any problems at any stage and every time I did a little bit extra it felt okay." Deans admits that playing in tonights match against his former club was always his goal, "just to prove a point to those people who said I wouldn't be playing again".
FARIA BENEFITS FROM TEAMMATES MISFORTUNE
After missing the majority of last season due to injury, Perth Glory’s Gary Faria has been offered an opportunity to rejuvenate his National Soccer League career at the expense of an injured teammate. The versatile 24-year old is tipped to take the place of Matt Horsley, whose season has been cu short by a serious knee injury, in Glory’s starting line-up for Friday night’s away meeting with Newcastle United. Now in his fourth season with Glory, the former Fremantle City midfielder was himself forced to spend much of the 2002/03 campaign watching from the sidelines due to chronic injury. Since his arrival at Glory Faria has become established as a regular fixture of the matchday squad, making 65 appearances and finding the back of the net on five occasions - including one goal in a man-of-the-match performance against Newcastle two seasons ago.
TARKA RARING TO GO (courtesy www.australiansoccer.com.au)
Young Socceroo vice-captain David Tarka is champing at the bit as he and his team-mates await Friday evening's opening game at the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship against the Czech Republic. "Come the end of the camp (last week) everyone really now just wants to get on with it and do the job," says Tarka. "Now that we are here and we are living with the other teams (all four Group C teams - Australia, Brazil, Canada and the Czech Republic are staying in the same hotel) we all have the mentality 'bring it on.' We have had a few games over the last few weeks and the tournament in Korea was good preparation. We have all worked very hard in training so I think we are as prepared as we can be."
Unlike a number of his team-mates Tarka has yet to appear in the a world championship match having not been in the squad for the 2001 Under-17 World Championship, but the veteran of two National Soccer League Grand Finals does not seem phased by the big occasion 48 hours out from kick-off. The 185cm stopper along with central defensive partner Alex Wilkinson and goalkeeper Nathan Coe have formed a solid backbone to the team's defence conceding only a miserly three goals in ten internationals since the start of the qualifying tournament late last year.
At 20 years of age Tarka became one of the 'Aussies Abroad' earlier this year after playing his last game for Perth Glory back in May in that memorable Grand Final win over Sydney Olympic. A contract with former European Cup winners Nottingham Forest finally came to fruition in August after some protracted contract negotiations. Whilst Tarka has yet to crack the first team he is a regular in the senior training squad of twenty having spent a significant chunk of the season away with the Young Socceroos and the Australian Under-23 side that will soon attempt to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The Perth born and bred stopper has settled in quickly in England in what is the land of his parents birth. "I have a nice apartment in the city and the club have been very helpful in that sense. I also have some family in England so that helps as well - both parents were born in England. The games in England are a lot quicker, more of an athletic game. The whole set up is obviously more serious and I need that around me 24 hours a day if I'm to take the next step," says the ambitious Tarka.
However his immediate goal is to help the Young Socceroos to the Final of the World Championship. If signs off the park are anything to go by, then it is looking promising for the Australians with the level of camaraderie exceptional amongst the tight-knit squad that first came together last December for the Oceania qualifying tournament. "We gelled well way back then (during the Oceania qualifiers) and then coming together again it was just a case of continuing on from there. The teams gets along really well in terms of morale and bonding. Also on the park I think we have come along way since then. Like I said just 'bring it on'."
LA FIAMMA ENLIGHTENED
WAASSA First Division club Geraldton La Fiamma will be able to up-grade facilities at Salvatore Sciuto Stadium thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Sport and Recreation. The funding allocation, which has been matched by the City of Geraldton, will allow the club to add floodlights to a third playing pitch along with a half-field training area. The work is expected to be completed by the end of January, in plenty of time for the Indian Ocean Masters Games tournament which is scheduled for May 2004.
INJURY ENDS HORSLEYS' SEASON
Perth Glory midfielder Matt Horsley has shelved thoughts of an early retirement after suffering a serious knee injury on the weekend. “I’m going to do my darndest to come back and be the best I can,” he told Jonathon Cook of the “West Australian” newspaper. “The drive is still there. I want to play.” The dynamic 31-year old snapped the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee playing against his former club Wollongong Wolves on Sunday and underwent surgery this morning to repair the damage. Out of contract at seasons’ end and faced with a 12-month rehabilitation period, Horsley initially thought his career was over but is now focused on getting back on the field. “I know with the support staff (at the club), my wife, family and all the supporters out there that I’m going to give it a good go.”
JONES TURNS ON THE STYLE AT BLACKPOOL
Australian youth international Brad Jones has turned on the style to take out the www.blackpoolfc.co.uk man of the match award in Blackpool’s 1-0 defeat of English Second Division rival Peterborough on the weekend. “I thought it was a good performance by the team and I thought we stuck in and made the most of what we had, everybody was happy,” commented the young goalkeeper. “I was happy with my performance, I would be happy if we had won 1-0 and I had nothing to do but to be able to make a few saves and contribute to a win is nice but it is the three points that is most important.” Jones came to his sides rescue early in the second half by smothering at the feet of Leon McKenzie, then immediately sent the ball long to Scott Taylor whose pace put him in behind the Posh defence to bag the games’ only goal. Peterborough threw everything forward in search of an equaliser only to be thwarted by the Perth-born 21-year old time and time again.
HOWELLS REACHES MILESTONE
Long-serving midfielder Lee Howells recently became just the third Cheltenham Town player to make 450th appearances for the club when he ran out for the English Third Division fixture with Torquay United. The Fremantle-born 35-year old made his debut for the then non-League Cheltenham way back in November 1991. Thirteen years later and Howells has surpassed some of the clubs legendary players to become the Robins' third highest appearance maker of all-time, bettered only by Roger Thorndale (702 appearances) and Dave Lewis (523).
"In this day and age there are not many players who would stay with one club for thirteen years so for me personally it's an achievement," Howells told www.cheltenhamtownfc.premiumtv.co.uk. "If someone had said to me when I made my debut that I would still be with the club thirteen years later, and that we would then be in the Football League, I would have probably laughed at them. I was at Bristol Rovers between the ages of 10 and 18 then played for a couple of clubs in Australia before coming to Cheltenham. In 25 years I've only played for four clubs so I feel I've been loyal to everyone I've played for."
"When I first came to Cheltenham Town I think it's true to say the club was going nowhere," he recalled. "I'll never forget coming up for a trial and asking someone on the street in Cheltenham for directions to the ground. The man replied that he didn't even know Cheltenham had a football club!" Howells thirteen years at the club have certainly been eventful. On three occasions he experienced promotion and twice he's tasted relegation, there were two big stadium finals and two England semi-professional caps have come his way. "There have been some really great times, some good times and one or two disappointments as well, but we've gone from crowds of about 700 to nearly 4,000 so that's a great achievement in itself."
There was a time no so long ago when just playing football was a dream to Howells, let alone reaching the 450-game milestone. The midfielder suffered a broken leg while playing against Bristol Rovers in March 2002 and, after an lengthy lay-off, he only recently made his first team return. "It's been a difficult time for me and no player can be out for 18 months and then come back exactly the same player," Howells commented. "Maybe it's true that time has caught me up a bit but the more I play the fitter and better I feel. I'm still certain that as long as the fitness is there and the power is in my legs then I can play at this level. Having been injured for a while you get a bit more time to step back and take a look at things ... I'll certainly look back over the last thirteen years at some great times that I'll never forget."
FEDERATION SCORE OWN GOAL ON PEACE TOUR (by Matthew Hall)
What should have been a global public relations winner for Australian soccer has become an embarrassing own goal after a visit to Australia by the national team of Iraq. The Australian Soccer Association has been criticised by the West Australian Department of Sport and Recreation after the governing body withdrew two national teams from a match billed as a world peace game played last weekend in Perth. Rather than a diplomatic triumph, the match - funded by the federal and state governments - proved an embarrassing failure with Iraq playing against an ad hoc WA team that included 39-year-old former Socceroo Robbie Slater and Australian Institute of Sport students flown from Canberra to make up numbers.
"We wanted an Australian team to play against Iraq," said Tom Hoad, an event organiser for the WA Department of Sport and Recreation. "It was promised and it didn't happen. Had the Olyroos turned up, we would have had a good crowd." Hoad claims he first raised the game with national coach Frank Farina in June and later received verbal and written commitments from Soccer Australia that, although the Socceroos would not be feasible opponents, the Olyroos would play. Hoad said he again received confirmation of the agreement from ASA when the new organisation took control of the local game that either the Olyroos or Young Socceroos would participate in the match but was stunned when later told both sides were unavailable for the game. "ASA said they could not provide a team on that date because they couldn't get one together," Hoad said. "There was nothing about financial reasons. The reason given to me was that they did not have a team available in that period."
ASA's claim came although the match fell on a FIFA-sanctioned international date and the Young Socceroos returned to Australia from a tournament in Japan on the Friday before the Iraq game. While Iraq spent the week in WA, the Young Socceroos were in Brisbane preparing for the FIFA World Youth Championship which begins this week in the United Arab Emirates. ASA maintains its absence from the match last Sunday is a non-issue and said it was "unable to come to a final arrangement to our satisfaction. Alternatively, we offered our under-20 national team on a slightly different date, however that was not satisfactory to the organisers."
Iraq returned home on Sunday after a week in WA that passed without fanfare in the rest of the country. The squad, coached by former Perth Glory boss Bernd Stange, face an uncertain trip home that will include a likely two-day overland journey through their war-ravaged country. Iraq are ranked 44th by FIFA in comparison to Australia's 78th position - the Socceroos sit behind Thailand, Kenya, and Burkina Faso in the latest world rankings. Former Socceroo Robbie Slater was a guest player for the WA side and said he was embarrassed that a goodwill event had backfired. "It was an own goal without doubt," Slater said. "I spoke with the Iraq captain after the match and I was embarrassed. We missed a sporting opportunity and a diplomatic one as well. Any national soccer team that visits this country should be given respect."
GARCIA BACK FOR HAMMERS
Having missed the past few weeks due to a minor knee injury, Richard Garcia made a welcome return to the West Ham United first team in the scoreless away draw with Watford on the weekend. The young attacker came off the bench after 67 minutes and shortly after raced away down the right only to see his shot flash just wide of the upright. "I nearly scored but it's hard coming on late in the game, it's hard getting to grips with the pace and stuff," said Garcia who is still seeking his first goal at senior level for the Hammers. "We dug in and got a result but I think we are capable of a lot better." With West Ham currently placed ninth - seven points behind leaders West Bromwich Albion - Garcia is confident the team can go all the way to the First Division title. "If we get our run going I don't think there will be anything stopping us and I think all the boys are optimistic. We are very tight as a group and once we get a couple of wins we will damage this league."
WOLVES TOPPLE LUCKLESS GLORY
For the second week running Wollongong Wolves have upset the National Soccer League leader, this afternoon toppling Perth Glory 2-1 at a wet WIN Stadium. The result comes hot on the heels of the Wolves stunning defeat of then unbeaten competition leader Parramatta Power. The home team got off to a perfect start when Jason Petkovic spilled a speculative long-range strike from Stuart Young in just the second minute, the ball slipping through the Glory goalkeeper’s fingers then his legs before dribbling over the goal line. Glory their laid siege to their opponents goal, Wolves custodian Andrew Crews making six telling saves which included palming Jade North’s goalbound half-volley onto a post. The home side held on and nine minutes after half-time extended their lead via Nigerian striker Chimaobi Nwagazi whose shot on the turn was wide of Petkovic and went on off the base of the upright. Damian Mori reduced the deficit twenty minutes from the end, but with Crews in superb form coupled with late misses from Mori and Gary Faria the visitors were unable to level the game. “As long as we continue to make chances, I’m happy,” said Glory coach Mich d’Avray who saw the positives in his sides’ performance. “Tonight we had a host of chances but couldn’t take them but on another night, they will go in.” The only sour note for Glory was a knee injury to right-sided midfielder Matt Horsley who was stretched from the field late in the first half.
IRAQ END VISIT ON HIGH
Iraq have ended their ten-day visit to Western Australia with a 4-0 defeat of the State team in an exhibition match played at Collingwood Park in sunny Albany this afternoon. Played in front of a crowd numbering around 1,500 the State opened brightly to quickly have Iraq under pressure. In the 14th minute Dale McCulloch's quickly taken free-kick found an unmarked Andy Mason who superbly controlled the ball before volleying past goalkeeper Jammel Saad, only to have the goal disallowed by referee Angelo Nardi who called play back to have the free-kick retaken. A few minutes later Keith Brown combined down the left with Todd Howarth whose glorious cross into the area was side-footed in by Garin Collins but it too was disallowed, this time for offside. Iraq immediately launched a counter-attack in which Ahmed Rafid was brought down outside the area, and with the aid of a strong breeze Jassim Swadi crashed the ball into the back of the net from a tight angle. In the minutes that followed the State side were tested as Iraq sought to increase their lead but with captain Adrian Sutton leading by example West Australia survived the onslaught. Eight minutes from half-time Iraq did add to their tally with a fine move down the left that resulted in captain Mohannad Mohammed Ali firing in from the top of the 18-yard box.
The second half began just as the first had ended, Iraq doing all the attacking and forcing the host side on to the back foot with some exquisite first touch and lovely movement off the ball befitting the nations' 42nd place on the FIFA world rankings. But for all their possession Iraq were unable to capitalise and West Australia worked their way back into the match. Leon Russell clipped the ball over the defence for substitute Jeff Bright to run on to and send a tempting cross to Daniel Trim whose header flashed wide of the near post with the ‘keeper beaten. Not long after Brown won the State side a free-kick which Bright brilliantly curled around the defensive wall only to see it narrowly miss the target. Iraq then pretty much killed off the game as a contest when Mohannad, after intercepting a throw-in, squared from the left to Ahmed Manajid who made no mistake with a tap-in. With ten minutes to go Adam Bunce found Bright with a tremendous cross-field pass which the youngster took past the defender to deliver a low cross to Collins whose effort bounced just the wrong side of the post. The visitors final goal of the afternoon came a minute from full-time when second half substitute Nasser Talaa converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down inside the area.
"In truth the four goal margin to Iraq did not reflect the game," said State coach Paul Simmons after the match. "We had them under the pump for much of the match. At nil-all we had the ball in the net twice and they were ruled out … I believe a fairer result would have been 3-3. People have underestimated the results the State side achieved Iraq - a team who are now ranked 42 in the world by FIFA. The players showed all the qualities expected of them and have done not only soccer but the people of WA proud. Every member of the squad is worthy of praise, they put in a great effort, were disciplined and their commitment over the series was second to none. I think Bernd Stange put it best when he summed up the WA boys application to the games by saying “the State side played like lions”. But the big winner here was soccer and the hope of peace with good bonds created and friendships formed between the two sides.”
WOLVES NEXT UP FOR GLORY
Perth Glory head to rural New South Wales for Sunday's Round Ten National Soccer League clash with Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium. Although currently twelfth on the standings, the home side will be confident of toppling Glory following last weekend's 3-1 mauling of then league leader Parramatta Power. With a comparatively young squad the Wolves will draw upon the experience of dual championship winner Stuart Young and no-nonsense defender Ben Blake for on-field leadership, while the attacking flair of Argentine midfielder Nahuel Arrarte is sure to keep Glory's rearguard on their toes. 4-1 victors over Adelaide United last weekend, Glory make the trip east focused only on gaining maximum points. Tom Pondeljak has been a revelation in the centre of the park since his arrival over the off-season, Damian Mori continues to bang in the goals while defensively one-time Australian international Shaun Murphy is running the show. In seven regular season trips to Wollongong Glory have come home with the goods on four occasions, twice the points have been shared with the Wolves triumphant just once. Local fans can listen to the game live on 6PR 882AM from 3.35pm (Perth time).
REFORM MOVES FORWARD (courtesy www.dsr.wa.gov.au)
The restructure of soccer in Western Australia has taken another step forward with the appointment of a project manager to take reforms to the next level. Soccer Administration of Western Australia president David Schrandt said he was pleased to announce that Kevin Watts, a senior consultant with the Department of Sport and Recreation, had been seconded to S.A.W.A. for six months to project manage the restructure. Schrandt said that the W.A. Soccer Forum, which represented all stakeholders in W.A. soccer, had developed a two-stage model for the restructure. "Stage One will include forming a new company, the Western Australian Soccer Association, to replace S.A.W.A. and the appointment of a board of directors," Mr Schrandt said. "Mr Watts will coordinate the appointment of the directors; the Minister for Sport and Recreation will approve their initial appointment as members of the board; and the board will then appoint an eighth director." Information about the restructure will be available online through the Department of Sport and Recreation's website http://www.dsr.wa.gov.au/soccer.asp and will be regularly updated to keep the soccer community informed. Meetings will be held shortly with representatives of the Australian Soccer Association (ASA) to discuss the progress of the restructure of soccer in this state.
LOCAL DUO KEY PART OF YOUNG SOCEROOS PLANS
David Tarka and Anthony Danze have continued to feature heavily for the Young Socceroos as they prepare for the 2003 World Youth Championship which commences later this month. Last Thursday the pair both saw out the full 90 minutes of the Under-20's 1-0 friendly win over Japan in Tokyo. The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot in the 48th minute via Australian captain Scott McDonald. Against the Malaysian Under-23 side on Monday Tarka played a full game and Danze was replaced at half-time as the Young Socceroos strolled to a 2-0 win at Valentine Sports Park in Sydney. Tarka set-up MacDonald for the opening goal after 9 minutes with Dustin Wells securing victory early in the second half. And on Thursday Australia swept to a comfortable 3-1 win over a Queensland Select side courtesy of goals from Alex Brosque (2) and Jonathan Richter. Danze came off the bench after 45 minutes with Tarka playing a full game at the heart of the Australian defence. The Young Socceroos remain in camp in Brisbane until Monday evening when they depart for the United Arab Emirates.
BOARD POSITIONS OPEN AT S.W.C.
Soccer West Coast are calling for expressions of interest for two independent directors on the organisations board. With applications for the positions closing on Friday 28th November, interested individuals are asked to send their submissions to Paul Tombides, PO Box 188, Jolimont, Western Australia 6014. It is expected that Liam Twigger and John Quigley, whose places on the board are those up for grabs, will both nominate for re-election.
HESKETH JOINS WELSH LEADERS
Former Fremantle City midfielder James Hesketh has signed non-contract forms for Welsh Premier League leaders Total Network Solutions. The 19-year old agreed terms with the Welsh club last week and made his first appearance as an unused substitute in the 3-1 Premier Cup Group A victory over Bangor City last Tuesday. On the weekend Hesketh again watched from the bench this time as his team went down 2-3 at home to third-placed Rhyl F.C.. Having represented the State at youth and Schoolboys levels' while playing for Cockburn City, the attacking midfielder spent 2002 honing his skills with Future Glory before spending the recently completed Premier League season at Fremantle.
GLORY BACK ON TOP
Perth Glory have re-gained top spot on the National Soccer League table by courtesy of a convincing 4-1 win over Adelaide United in front of 13,266 fans at Hindmarsh Stadium. The opening quarter hour were fairly even with the home side having two clear-cut chances with Jason Petkovic beating Carl Veart to dangerous cross by Matthew Kemp, and a cracking long-range shot by Richard Alagich ending just wide. The complexion of the game changed in the 15th minute when Tom Pondeljak latched on to a pass from Brad Hassell and rove the ball past goalkeeper David Scarsella from 30-metres. A minute later Damian Mori won possession from Ross Aloisi and embarked on a determined run in which he fended off Alagich to unleash a shot from just outside the penalty area that gave Scarsella no chance. The home side soon pegged back the margin as Kemp blasted home from 15-metres following great work on the right by Goran Lozanovski and neat header by Aurelio Vidmar. Four minutes after the interval Glory wrapped up the points as Bobby Despotovski made the most of some hesitant defending to place his shot neatly over the 'keeper. Pondeljak completed the scoreline in the final minute when he capitalised on more hesitant defending to slide the ball under the advancing Scarsella.
PEACE DREAM BECOMES REALITY (by Richard Kreider)
The Iraqi national football team secured the 'World Peace Game' trophy at the expense of the Australian Representative side at Arena Joondalup this afternoon but, nevertheless, visiting coach Bernd Stange chose to celebrate the fulfillment of a long-standing dream rather than the game's outcome. The team arrived from their war-ravaged nation last Friday and had only two days to acclimatise, which included training on a grass surface. An 89th minute bullet-like header from Abbas Hassan proved the only difference in an even, albeit momentous encounter for the players and 2,800 world football fans in attendance, which included the West Australia Premier Geoff Gallop. Even Australia's Prime Minister John Howard got in on the act with a video-taped message that was broadcast on a giant screen prior to kick-off.
"The smiles and spirit are much more important," said former Perth Glory's charismatic coach Stange after the game which was contested in humid conditions. "Forget the result it was the event that was more significant. Normally, I would have made a 'thunderstorm' in the changing rooms but it was the 'message' rather than performance that mattered today," he said on his side's below-par display. Much of the reason for the visitors not firing though can be put down to the no-nonsense tackling attitude of the Representative team, especially in their defensive zone, which was superbly marshaled by their lofty skipper Adrian Sutton. Goalkeeper Neil Young was equally outstanding following a couple of quality reflex saves in the opening half. Guest player, former Socceroo midfielder Robbie Slater, executed some classy touches that he once possessed in abundance during his English Premier League heyday, only to eventually have age prove his toughest opponent over the ninety minutes.
"This was a massive game for West Australian soccer," said Australian Representative coach, Paul Simmons. "They (Iraq) were the better side with their first-touch football but our quick closing-down approach worked really well against that. Believe me, our lads wanted to win. They had been buzzing all week," said Simmons, who is in his first year as boss of the State side after leaving local club E.C.U. Joondalup. After a fairly even first-half, the second would be no different, where both midfields were gridlocked and defences uncompromising. Tireless Iraqi midfielder Qusay Aboudy was inspirational in the middle-third, as was his skipper Muhaned Ali, while left-sided wingback Todd Howarth of the Perth S.C., Australian Institute of Sport midfielder Nick Ward and Sorrento striker Andy Mason all grafted hard with confidence for the home team.
Just when the game appeared heading for a disappointing goalless conclusion and a PA message informed the spectators a penalty shoot-out would be used to find a winner in the event of a draw, a perfect left-side centre from Jasim Fayad in the closing stages picked out Hassan on the six-yard line. The tall striker finished off the move by climbing high and bulging the net with an unstoppable header, which sent the large contingent of Iraqi supporters into a frenzy. "I am so happy with the W.A. people and Mr Gallop to have given us so much support," said Stange, who has reportedly spent at least $20,000 of his own money on the team which recently qualified for next years Asian Cup. The Iraqi's, ranked 52nd in the world, will now prepare for an exhibition game at Albany's Collingwood Park next Saturday against the West Australian State side ahead of a number of other commitments during their 10-day visit which include coaching clinics.
PARKINSON TAKES OUT GOLD MEDAL
Inglewood United teenager Louis Parkinson has strolled away with the Gold Medal as the Premier League's best and fairest player for season 2003. The 19-year old attacker ended the annual poll three points clear of joint runners-up Richard Watson (Sorrento), Gareth Naven (Perth S.C.) and Michael Mirco (Cockburn City). In a season which saw him poll in nine of the twenty-two games, Parkinson's consistent season was highlight with best on ground performances against the Western Knights (Round 3), Cockburn City (Round 9), Stirling Lions (Round 17) and Sorrento (Round 19). An Australian Under-17 international while at E.C.U. Joondalup, Parkinson joined Inglewood for the 2001 season and hasn't looked back. Following a disjointed debut season for Inglewood due to trials in England the youngster proved his quality on the local scene to win State honours and twice claim Inglewood's leading goalscorer award. A glaring omission from this years State squad, it could be sooner rather than later that Parkinson progresses to the National Soccer League with several clubs having already expressed interest in signing the striker.
Parkinson ended the polling period with 19 votes, three ahead of his nearest rivals. A late charge by Watson saw him share the runner-up mantle with Micro and veteran midfielder Naven, the latter leading the count at the seasons' halfway stage. Danish midfielder Claus Nielsen (Western Knights) and the top flight's leading goalscorer Shane Crampton (Perth S.C.) ended level with 14 votes each, while Knights defender Evan Wallace and Swan I.C. player/coach Carlo Scali were one vote behind. Polling 12 votes were up-and-coming Perth star Adam Bunce and Bassendean Caledonian goalkeeper Alan Dunlop who were closely followed by Alex Christie (Knights), Andy Wright (Stirling Lions), Todd Howarth (Perth) and Jamie Trandos (Floreat Athena) on 11 votes. Seven players - Jordan Conti (Lions), Steven McDonald (Sorrento), Alan MacKenzie (Inglewood), Bobsom Karoma (Fremantle City), Andreas Oliveira (Athena), Scott Bulloch (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Jeff Bright (Cockburn) - ended another vote off the pace. One behind that group were Swan striker Elton Holmes, Eugene Singeorzan (Knights/Lions), State representative Sean Fallon (Sorrento), Marc Wingell (Fremantle), Troy Bernard (Athena), Adbul Kamara (Joondalup) and Craig Naven (Bassendean).
17 votes were enough for Inglewood United midfielder Renato Rechichi to claim the Premier League Reserves Fairest and Best from Farrell Hedges of Sorrento who ended with 14 votes. Rechichi was at his best in mid-season when the collected best on grounds against Cockburn City (Round 9), Swan I.C. (Round 12) and E.C.U. Joondalup (Round 13). With his season cut short by injury, Sorrento's Jake Harman ended joint third with Joe Liguan (Fremantle City) on 12 votes, which was one more than Stipan Majic (Western Knights), Ashwin Nair (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Perth S.C. teammates Daniel Arias and Damian Catalano. A further vote off the pace were Perth attackers Vlad Milasinovic and Daniel Micevski, Bassendean Caledonian youngster Wesley Ryder, Damian Todorovic (Swan I.C.), Jordan Andrews (Fremantle City), John Greenwood (Joondalup) and defender Petar Mrdja of Cockburn City. With 8 votes Joondalup's Dwayne Sajda claimed sixth spot on the leaderboard ahead of Fremantles rising star Chris Wylie, Perth duo Paul Natale and Albert Osei Tutu, Jamie Goodman (Inglewood), Iain Deans (Sorrento), Fabio Fusari (Cockburn), Steve Grant (Bassendean) and Joondalaaup teammates Steve Beesley and Jarrod Smith.
With a contract from English club Birmingham City in the offering, E.C.U. Joondalup's Rostyn Griffiths was recipient of the Premier League Youth (Under-18) Fairest and Best award with 21 votes. Four behind Griffiths were Perth striker David Micevski and State Under-16 representatives Mo Atak (Fremantle City) and Scott Bushby (Joondalup). Highly rated Fremantle midfielder Seb Trim claimed third place with 16 votes to finish two ahead of Fabio Oliveira (Cockburn City) with Jarryd Campher of Floreat Athena polling 13 votes. A further vote behind were Swan I.C. teammates Matthew Ullbricht and Daniel Agudelo, Dejan Gurovski (Sorrento), Stephen Worthy (Perth) and Leo Perrotta (Bassendean Caledonian). On 11 votes were Joshua Manella (Stirling Lions), Marlon Ramirez (Fremantle), Nick Studer (Athena) and Justin De Abreu (Cockburn). Perth midfielder Aaron Colli polled 10 votes along with Kevin Carmona (Joondalup) and Daniel Lanza (Cockburn) who came in one ahead of Michael McKeague (Athena) and Joondalup pair Leigh Perry and Daniel Waind.
Currently in the middle of a three-month loan deal with Perth Glory, promising young Fremantle City defender Dean Apelgren was named Rookie of the Year. At the end of his sixth season at Perth S.C., the safe hands of Robert Scarparolo earned him the Goalkeeper of the Year award from Dino Pacella (Cockburn City) and Cory Hugo, the latter collecting the trophy as the Man of the Match from Swan I.C.'s victory in the Boral Cup Final. Retiring greats Gareth Naven (ex-Perth S.C., Perth Glory), Paul McVittie (ex-Western Knights, Perth Glory, Fremantle City) and Willie McNally (ex-Sorrento, Adelaide City, Kingsway Olympic) along with Ken Maguire were honoured with Western Australian Soccer Services Awards. The annual Referee of the Year award - the Golden Whistle - was taken out by Michael Klaver who is in his third season as an assistant referee in the National Soccer League. Also in the running for the award were Patrick McCaffrey, Steve Muldoon, Angelo Nardi, Michael Nugus and former World Cup Finals referee Eddie Lennie.
The runaway winner of the Most Valuable Player in the First Division was Bayswater City captain Gareth Healy. The hard-working midfielder polled in no less than 17 games - of a 30 games season - to end the long winter season with 40 votes. Eleven votes adrift in the runners-up spot was Glen Hallums of Rockingham City with David Rodgers (South West Phoenix), pre-count favourite Scott Broadley (Balcatta) and Gary Collins (Mandurah City) finishing in joint-third place on 26 votes each. Teenage midfielder Jordan Rhodes (Mandurah) collected 24 votes followed by Armadale's Paul Colkin (23 votes) and Bayswater's Scottish import Kevin Henderson (22 votes). South West Phoenix attacker Steven Suttie tallied 20 votes to finish one ahead of Brian Robertson (Queens Park), Christian Paschkewitz (Mandurah) and Dragan Njegic (Dianella White Eagles). Level on 16 votes were Gary Murray (The City), Dimce Tanevski (Stirling Suns), Nigel Comito (Morley Windmills), Carlo Di Toro (Leeming Strikers), Ben Harris (Ashfield). Tenth spot on the final standings was shared between Marco Schisano (Windmills), Boima Karpeh (Bayswater), Greg Newcombe (Armadale) and Queens Park teammates Ross Posthuma and Darren Williams who each polled 15 votes.
With five best on ground performances, Ashfield's Martin Kelly took out the First Division Reserves Most Valuable Player courtesy of a 21 vote haul. Jake Loretto (Mandurah City) picked up the majority of his tally in the second half of the season to finish joint runner-up with Julio Barrendilla (Canning City) on 19 votes. Mandurah's Adam Boone (Mandurah) finished strongly by polling in his clubs' last four games to come in third with 18 votes, two ahead of teammate Gary Atrill followed by fifth-place getter Nick Paone (Bayswater City) on 15 votes. A further vote off the pace was Pasquale Marrapodi (Bayswater) with five players - Steven Choate (Mandurah), Sam Fazzari (Balcatta), William Kirkpatrick (Armadale) and Kingsway Olympic teammates Steven Dimitrovich and Reagan Hill - polling 13 votes apiece. Ending the season on 11 votes were Stirling Suns' Matthew Dimitrovski and Phil Chapman of Queens Park, while one behind them were Michael Jennings (South West Phoenix), Mark Tjchung (Leeming Strikers), Stevica Petrovic (Dianella White Eagles) and Steven Walker (Canning).
Southside United striker Simon El Chami was named the First Division Youth (Under-18) Most Valuable Player for 2003. 17-year old El Chami ended the polling period with 30 votes, two more than joint runners-up Daniel Trevisiol of Canning City and Balcatta's John Aitken. A distant third with 23 votes was South West Phoenix' Gino Comito who ended one ahead of Jack Kearns (Mandurah City) with Leeming Strikers' Shirash Sasikumar - who was joint leader at the seasons' halfway stage - claiming in fifth on 21 votes. A further vote off the pace was Gordon Hind (Strikers) followed by Jason Maiola (Southside) and Tony Canzurlo (Balcatta) on 18 votes each, and Bayswater City's Chris Herd with 17 votes. John Thornley (Southside), who lead the way with Sasikumar after 15 games, finished with 16 votes to be joint ninth alongside David Perich of Kingsway Olympic. Stirling Suns attacker Nick Slaveski polled 15 votes to round out the top ten.
IN THE NAME OF PEACE
The Iraq national team commence their ten-day visit to Perth this weekend with the World Peace Game at Arena Joondalup against an Australian representative XI on Sunday (kick-off at 3.00pm). The core of the Australian side is provided by the West Australian State team which will be supplemented four Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holders and former Socceroo midfielder Robbie Slater. Bernd Stange, coach of Iraq, heads to West Australia with a largely experimental squad that includes no less than nine players from the nations’ heroic Olympic team which recently defeated North Korea to claim the last berth in the final tournament for next years’ Athens Olympic games. Included in the squad is promising striker who was this week nominated for the Asian Football Confederation’s Young Player of the Year award. Iraq end their time in the state next Saturday, 22nd November, when they take on the West Australian team in an exhibition match at Collingwood Park in Albany (kick-off at 2.30pm).
The West Australian squad for the series is Alan Dunlop (Bassendean Caledonian), Keith Brown (The City), Jeff Bright (Cockburn City), Anthony Jones, Andreas Oliveira, Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Kevin Coreira, Craig Surtees (Fremantle City), Shaun Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich (Inglewood United), Darren Broxton, Scott Bulloch, John Higgins (E.C.U. Joondalup), Adam Bunce, Aaron Cole, Todd Howarth, Shane Crampton (Perth S.C.), Simon Harland, Dale McCulloch, Andy Mason, Glen Thomas, Neil Young (Sorrento), Cory Hugo (Swan I.C.), Leon Russell and Daniel Trim (Western Knights). They are joined by twice Oceania Footballer of the Year Robbie Slater and A.I.S. scholarship holders Nick Ward, formerly of E.C.U. Joondalup and Future Glory, Stuart Musialik, Chris Tadrosse and Billy Celeski. Paul Simmons will coach the team with John Brown and Paul Kelly as his assistants.
Iraq, currently ranked 52 in the FIFA world rankings, head to Perth with a twenty-man squad consisting of Rafid Badraddin (Arbil), Haidar Jabar (Al-Ettihad, Syria), Saeed Muhsin (Al-Najaf), Nashat Akram (Al-Nasr), Abbas Hassan, Qusai Munir, Jassim Swadi (Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya), Mohanad Mohammed Ali (Al-Shurta), Haidar Abdul-Kadir, Emad Aoda, Ahmed Manajid, Odai Talib, Haitham Khadim Tahir, Nassir Talaa (Al-Zawraa), Basim Abbas, Qusai Hashim, Younis Mahmoud, Saad Nassir, Salih Sadir (Talaba) and Haidar Obaid (West Riffa, Bahrain). The coaching staff consists of Bernd Stange, assistant coaches Nazar Ashraf and Karim Mohammed Allawi, and team manager Sadad Abdullah.
COCKBURN SEEK COACHES
Cockburn City are seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to coach their Premier League side and under-21 and under-18 teams for season 2004. The club are also seeking expressions of interest from interested parties for their five Junior Champion League teams, from under-11’s through to under-15’s. Cockburn would also like top hear from individuals interested in coaching either of their two women’s teams next season, while the positions of sports trainers/physio and goalkeeper coach are also up for grabs. Anyone interested in applying for any of these positions are advised to submit their details by either emailing them to email@example.com or via fax to 9494 2088. For further details contact club president Sue Potter (0401 340 157) or Frank Da Silva (0408 948 533).
GOLD MEDAL UP FOR GRABS
The Soccer West Coast season officially comes to a close tomorrow evening with 43rd Annual Awards ceremony. The centre piece of the night will be the local games’ top individual honour - the Gold Medal for the Premier League’s fairest and best player. Amongst the favourites for the award are Perth S.C. teammates Shane Crampton and Todd Howarth, State and Floreat Athena defender Adrian Sutton, Western Knights Danish import Claus Nielsen, and Sorrento ever-present Glen Thomas. Others tipped to poll well include Cockburn City pair Michael Mirco and Boza Erakovic, Craig Surtees (Fremantle City), Carlo Scali (Swan I.C.), Peter Roberts (E.C.U. Joondalup) and veteran midfielder Alan MacKenzie (Inglewood United).
The Rookie of the Year is expected to be fought out between Dean Apelgren (Fremantle), Daniel Kovacevic (Inglewood), Daniel Cain (Sorrento) and Jonathon Mathers (Bassendean Caledonian). Tommi Tomich (Knights), Alan Dunlop (Bassendean) and Dino Pacella (Cockburn) are front-runners for the annual Goalkeeper of the Year award. Balcatta’s Scott Broadley is widely tipped to win the First Division Player of the Year but he’ll have to fend off strong challenges from Mandurah City captain Gary Collins, veteran goalkeeper Darren Williams (Queens Park), David Mrdja (Dianella White Eagles) and Kevin Henderson (Bayswater City). We hope to carry a comprehensive round-up of who took out what as part of our next news update.
GLORY PAIR IN DOUBT
Injury and illness could leave Perth Glory short of firepower for this weekend's clash with Adelaide United. Bobby Despotovski, the clubs' all-time highest goalscorer, lasted just ten minutes on the training track today before succumbing to illness and putting the striker in some doubt for Sunday's game at Hindmarsh Stadium. Later in the training session an awkward fall has forced attack-mined player Adrian Caceres on to the sidelines for at least the next fortnight. The 21-year old, who has featured in every game so far this season for the National Soccer League champions, fractured his left arm in the fall.
DANSKIN SOLDIERS ON
It's been a tough past couple of months for local product Matt Danskin who has suffered a series of minor setbacks in his attempts to become established as a regular fixture of the Under-19 side at Werder Bremen. Competition for places in the line-up is red-hot with Danskin up against no less than four German youth internationals as well as one Finnish youth representative in the Under-19 side that is currently placed second in Germany's First Federal League. After a promising start to the season an ankle injury forced the former Fremantle City player out of action, and once over that a bout of bronchitis meant another week on the sidelines. Now back to full fitness, the talented young midfielder is proving he can match it with Europe's best and is consistently making the Under-19's matchday squad. Danskin came on at half-time when Werder thumped Hamburg SV 5-0 at the start of the month, his performance resulting in a place in the starting eleven for the 0-2 home loss to FC Paderborn which followed. An unused substitute in the 4-0 defeat of Union 60, Danskin played the second half of Werder's 6-0 German Cup victory over Holsten Kiel, and last weekend he was again an unused substitute as his team fought off a determined Hannover 96 outfit 3-2.
LOCALS PUSH FOR PERMANENT GLORY STATUS (courtesy of the Perth Glory matchday program)
When Perth Glory signed four player from the State League on three month loan deals in late September, coach Mich d’Avray assured them they were not in the squad simply to add numbers to a thin Glory list. Teenagers Scott Bulloch and Dean Apelgren (right), from E.C.U. Joondalup and Fremantle City respectively, and Perth S.C. duo Aaron Cole and Shane Crampton were rewarded for their good form in the local ranks with a chance to push for a permanent place with the current National Soccer League champions. And with the coach’s backing that is what they are aiming to do.
Now halfway into the deal, 19-year old Bulloch could be forgiven for thinking his time at Glory his felt like a lifetime after he endured the cut-throat work of week-long trials in the U.K. last year. “That was a pretty stressful time for me,” the Scottish-born left-sided midfielder told Matt Somerford recently. “I was doing things on the pitch that I normally wouldn’t do to make sure I was always involved - I was trying really hard to show that coaches what I could do.” Bulloch had trials with English Premier league club Charlton Athletic, First Division Preston North End - where he was asked to stay on an extra week - and at Scottish Premier League club Motherwell, the club he has supported since birth. “It was good to see how I compared to the players over there,” he said. “I learnt a lot, especially that I had to be stronger on the ball and to play to my strengths more.”
Bulloch said he also had come to grips with the art of being on trial. “You have to have your mind on the job and focus,” he said. “You do the hard work but you also have to be able to have a laugh as well, like you would if you were training with your normal team.” With the lessons learned from his U.K. adventure in mind, Bulloch is keen to make the most of his newest opportunity as Glory. “This is a big opportunity for me,” he commented. “It’s not just a week or two but three months so I have a good period of time to show people what I can do. I think my strengths are my speed to get around opponents and put in good crosses, and I’m also good finisher. But I’m at the best team in the country with the top players and I can only learn from them. If I keep plugging away and working to my strengths then hopefully it will go well.”
Fellow loan signing Apelgren has had similar disappointment in his efforts to attract interest beyond the local league, but the 18-year old’s enthusiasm and permanent smile at training seem to suggest he is up for the challenge. “I’m here to get my foot in the door,” he said. “I’ve been a bit unlucky in the last few years with trials and representative teams. I made the Australian Schoolboys team last year and we were going to England, Ireland and Wales but that got cancelled because of funding.” The versatile teenager , who after moving around the midfield and the back-four became settled at centre-back with Fremantle this season, said that training alongside the like of former Socceroo Shaun Murphy had left him enjoying every minute of his time with glory so far. “It’s brilliant. I’ve spoken to him (Murphy) a bit and asked him if there’s anything to work,” he said. :People like him and Matt Hosrley and Matty Bingley , you ask them questions and they’re always willing to help you out.”
While eager to learn, Apelgren said he was even more determined to pull on Glory’s purple strip at some stage. “I’m happy to be here training with the boys, picking up as much as possible, but realistically I’d love to get a game. Just for the experience and if nothing else to let people see me play. I have my family and little cousins asking ‘when are you going to play’ so to get a game and play in front of them would be good.” For Apelgren selection to the team would be a fairytale story after he and his family had supported Glory from the stands through its formative years. “When Glory came about I was a bit of a young-un and we used to head down to watch every single game,” he said. “And now to come to the games and I don’t have to play anymore and to be a part of it - it’s not too bad.”
STANGE TO HOLD COACHING CLINICS
Former Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange will conduct a series of coaching clinics for junior players during next weeks ten-day visit with the Iraq national team. The first session takes place prior to Saturday’s friendly between an Australian representative XI and Iraq at Arena Joondalup. For just $7.00 children can gain entry to the game and participate in the coaching session being conducted by Stange. On Thursday 20th November the Iraq coach will be holding a free coaching clinic at the Soccerdrome on Parade Road in Bunbury. For more details on the two-hour session, which commences at 3.30pm, contact Allan Whitfield at the Department of Sport and Recreation on 9791 7100. The final coaching clinic takes place on Saturday 22nd November at Collingwood Park in Albany from 12.30pm. For $2.00 children will be coached by Stange before watching the exhibition match between the West Australian State side and the Iraq national team which kicks-off at 2.30pm. For more information on the Albany clinic contact Kelly Moss at the Department of Sport and Recreation on 9841 6800.
CHANGE AT JOONDALUP
There’s been a changing of the guard in the northern suburbs with E.C.U. Joondalup parting company with coach Stuart Kamasz after one season. Speaking via the clubs’ website club president Steve Wheatley confirmed late last week Kamasz’ departure by mutual consent. A former championship winning coach with Stirling Lions and Fremantle City, Kamasz had the difficult task of rebuilding Joondalup following the departure of the bulk of the senior playing list last summer. With a young and largely inexperienced squad at his disposal, it was a credit to Kamasz’ hard work and the level of commitment that the club ended 2003 in seventh place, just three points away from a finals berth. “Stuart had a difficult job this season, but he handled it exceptionally well … we’d like to thank him for that,” Wheatley told www.ecujoondalup.com.au The club wasted no time in re-appointing founding member Paul Simmons, who was controversially dumped as coach twelve months ago, to the helm for season 2004. With expectations Joondalup would settle well under their new coach, Wheatley expressed his confidence in the future. “We can only get better. 2004 is shaping up to be a great year for us.”
MADASCHI FOCUSED ONLY ON PARTICK (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Despite Partick Thistle's struggles this season, defender Adrian Madaschi says he is enjoying his time with the Scottish Premier League outfit. The Jags lost 2-0 at Livingston on Saturday, with Madaschi being introduced at half-time with his team already two goals down. "I may have started but I hadn't done much training during the week because of a knock to my calf," Madaschi told www.tribalfootball.com last night. "It's very tough for the Partick supporters. We're all working hard to break our duck, it's a very difficult situation."
Although Partick are rooted to the bottom of the table, Madaschi is enjoying every minute of his time at Firhill. "I'm not taking anything for granted," he continued. "It was a great experience for me to play alongside Derek Whyte on Saturday. Kenny Arthur is a fantastic goalkeeper to play in front of and I take some pride in the fact we didn't concede a goal in the second-half. We've just need a little bit of luck and I'm sure we can turn things around here." Madaschi says it's nice to know that Australia youth team coach Frank Farina is monitoring his progress, but at the moment the young defender has just one thing on his mind. "I'm just focused on winning a regular start at Partick and trying to do my best for the gaffer and the fans here. They deserve more than they're getting at the moment."
YOUNG SOCCEROOS GO WINLESS IN SOUTH KOREA
The Australian Under-20 team have warmed-up for the World Youth Championship later this month with a four-nations tournament in South Korea. The Young Socceroos kicked-off the friendly series with a 1-2 loss to Colombia at Suwon World Cup Stadium last Tuesday. Victor Montano scored twice for the South Americans before Perth Glory’s Anthony Danze reduced the deficit with an excellent close-range header after 67 minutes. Both sides ended the game with ten men, local product David Tarka sent off for a dangerous tackle eleven minutes from full time. Two days later the national Under-20 team went down 0-1 to Slovakia for whom Lukas Hricov scored in the 36th minute. Danze, playing a creative role in the middle of the park, was replaced ten minutes from full-time while the suspended Tarka watched from the sidelines. In Sunday’s final game Danze came off the bench on the hour and Tarka was rested as Australia forced a credible 0-0 draw with host nation South Korea, who ended as overall winners of the tournament.
GLORY SNEAK THREE POINTS (by Mike Hennessey)
A relieved Perth Glory scraped home 1-0 in a lacklustre National Soccer League clash with South Melbourne at the Joondalup Arena this afternoon. In a dull, insipid affair the main highlights were goalkeeper Jason Petkovic equalling the N.S.L. record for keeping a clean sheet and the performance of the FESA helicopter at half-time. South Melbourne had the better of the first half with their first chance on goal arriving after 20 minutes when Michael Panopoulos’ fierce drive was tipped around the post by Petkovic. Minutes later came Glory’ Shaun Murphy headed over the defence to an out-of-form Damian Mori who fired weakly across the face of goal with only goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic to beat. Twice Con Boutsianis found Petkovic well-positioned, and shortly before the interval Steve Laurie’s header dropped just short of the line and the Glory custodian moved sharply to save. Glory’s only other chance of the half came after 37 minutes as Bobby Despotovski sent a high cross in from the right to an unmarked Brad Hassell whose header flashed just over the crossbar.
Nil-all at half-time, the game looked destined to end scoreless with neither side creating much of substance in the quarter-hour following the re-start. As South wilted in the heat the home side began to get on top. Hassell set up Despotovski in the 61st minute but he was prevented from scoring by Galekovic’s outstretched leg. Matt Horsley and Despotovski combined to set-up Tom Pondeljak whose shot cannoned into the arm of an unlucky Levent Osman and referee Simon Micallef awarded a penalty that Despotovoski stroked home to put Glory in front after 63 minutes. The home side could have added to their tally late in the game only to be let down by some woeful finishing. Hassell shot wide after receiving a pass from Despotovski in the 76th minute, and not long after substitute Adrian Caceras faltered in front of goal with Galekovic blocking his shot and Pondeljak blasted the rebound over the bar from close-range. The last final opportunity of the day came just before stoppage time when Pondeljak blazed high from just inside the penalty area.
STATE CRUISE TO FRIENDLY VICTORY
The West Australian State team continued preparations for the up-coming series against Iraq with a comprehensive defeat of the State Amateur team at Armadale Park this afternoon. Following a lacklustre performance against Perth Glory in mid-week, the State team came out fired up and determined to prove their detractors wrong. And it didn’t take long for their account to be opened as Daniel Trim headed in a superb Todd Howarth cross from the left. With the WAASSA representative team finding it difficult to compete against their well-organised opponent, the goals began to flow freely as the State team went on the rampage. At the end of 90 minutes the State side had piled on nine goals without reply, Trim ending a memorable day with a deserved hat-trick, Howarth two snaring with Scott Bulloch, Kevin Corriera, Jamie Kuzmanovich and Adam Bunce also getting on the scoresheet. “Cory Hugo in goal did not have one save to make,” said coach Paul Simmons following the game. “The scoreline could quite easily have been double figures if we had taken all the chances we created.”
TOMICH STARS FOR KNIGHTS
He may have conceded four goals on debut but new Melbourne Knights goalkeeper Tommi Tomich was the star performer of the sides loss to Parramatta Power. Rushed into the team after the Knights received permission to sign a new ‘keeper after suffering a mini-injury crisis, Tomich kept his team in the game in the first half with a series saves which held the National Soccer League leaders at bay. The one-time Western Knights shot-stopper twice denied Ante Milicic and on three occasions kept out shots by John Buonavoglia before being beaten by a 37th minute own goal. Tomich was busy in the second half as well but could do little as Milicic scored twice with a late goal from Travis Dodd completing the scoreline. “Tommi made some good saves and none of the goals were his fault,” said Knights midfielder Andy Vargas after the game. “He’s a big lad who stamps his authority in the box.”
SETBACK FOR GARCIA
Injury has forced Richard Garcia on to the sidelines just as he was beginning to get more match time at West Ham United. “It is just a strain on the medial ligaments of my right knee so it should be somewhere between two to three weeks,” the young attacker said of the injury he picked up against Coventry City at the start of the month. “It is not too bad - we feared it could have been cartilage or something like that but the results from the scan came back negative for that so it is good news that it is nothing more serious.” Garcia will miss today’s First Division home meeting with West Bromwich Albion but is hopeful of making his return when the Hammers travel to Watford on 22nd November.
SECOND CHANCE AT INTERNATIONAL GLORY FOR DANZE (courtesy of the Perth Glory matchday program)
Teenage Perth Glory midfielder Anthony Danze flew out of Australia with his Young Socceroo teammates last Saturday ahead of preparations for the teams’ tilt at the Under-20’s World Youth Championship starting on 27th November in the United Arab Emirates. The tournament was originally scheduled for March/April of this year but the outbreak of war in the Middle-East caused them to be postponed. That re-scheduling benefited Danze who was not part of coach Ange Postecoglou’s squad that easilt qualified for the Championship as winner of Oceania last December. In fact the midfielder only made his Under-20 debut last month when the Young Socceroo’s made a two-match visit to the U.A.E. where they played that nations Under-20 side. “I’ve got a bit of a second chance,” Danze told Matt Somerford of his selection. “The trip over to the U.A.E. was pretty enjoyable and just a good experience, it was a good chance to get used to the conditions over there. It was also Ange’s last chance to get a look at everyone before he had to cut four players and select the final squad.”
Danze survived that final cull and many would view his ability to break into Glory’s championship winning team at the end of last season as a legitimate reason for his inclusion. It was the 19-year old’s first is the National Soccer League after attending the Australian Institute of Sport the year before. Danze made six of his seven appearances during the finals series and, while all but one of those was from the bench, his inclusion in Glory’s playing squad at such a vital stage of the season was an indication of his rising stock. “I think that definitely had to help me getting selected,” he said. “I wasn’t playing at the start of the year and, while I was mainly making substitute appearances in the final it was good to be getting games. Ange has tried to select players who’ve been playing regularly and while I haven’t played much recently I think I deserve to be in the team.”
A goalscoring midfielder, Danze had previous international experience when he was involved in the Joeys side that reached the quarter-finals of the 2001 Under-17 World Cup ion Trinidad and Tobago. Danze played all four of the Joeys games in that tournament and was the team’s leading goalscorer, netting twice in the final pool game against Croatia. Those strikes helped the Joeys to a 4-0 win to secure their place in the last eight where they were humbled 5-1 by Nigeria. “I’ll definitely be able to draw comparisons from that (tournament) and hopefully it will be good experience for to me to,” he said. “It’s similar in that we’re away for five or six weeks and I’ll be playing with about seven or eight of the same guys.” Danze will be joined in the Young Socceroos’s squad by former Glory teammate David Tarka who is now playing his trade with English First Division side Nottingham Forest. “It’ll be good to catch up with Tarks again,” he commented. “He played in the first of the games in the U.A.E. before he had to go back and play with Forest, it was good to see him and hear his stories - it will be good to play alongside him because he’s a quality player.”
If the Young Socceroo’s reach the final of the Championship Danze will be unavailable for Glory selection until just before Christmas. The team kicked-off its preparations for the finals by participating in a four-nations tournament in Suwon, South Korea, where they take on Colombia, Slovakia and South Korea. This is followed by a one-off friendly with fellow finalists Japan before the Australian squad travel to Dubai, their home away from home for the initial stage of fixtures. The Young Socceroo’s have been pitted in Group C where they come up against the Czech Republic, CONCACAF group winners Canada and three-time champions Brazil. Boasting a proud record in the youth tournament Australia will be making their eleventh appearance at the finals, the young Socceroo’s missing the event on just three occasions in its’ 26-year history.
RARE HOME GAME FOR GLORY
Perth Glory are home for the just second time this season when they take on South Melbourne at Arena Joondalup on Sunday afternoon from 3.00pm. The reigning National Soccer League champions will be eager to make up for the six-goal hiding handed out by Parramatta Power last Sunday. The only change to that squad is the return of Jade North from injury at the expense of striker Nick Mrdja. South Melbourne head west with an unchanged squad to that which defeated Marconi Stallions last weekend. Amongst their number are the ever-dangerous Con Boutsianis and New Zealand internationals Marcus Stergiopoulos and Vaughan Coveny. History is on the side of a home win, in seven meetings between the clubs in Perth Glory have claimed victory on six occasions with the points shared once. For those unable to get to the game it will be broadcast live and exclusively on 6PR 882AM.
FUTSAL TEAM GEARS UP FOR NATIONALS
The West Australia Futsal team are busily preparing for the 2004 National State Championships being held in Canberra this January. Under the watchful eye of coach Brian Watkins, whose involvement in the game stems back over twenty years including a period as an Australian international, the State side have been honing their skills in the northern suburbs as they aim to better last year's performance in which they were edged out 7-5 by Queensland in a very tight quarter-final contest. In total ten teams will compete at the up-coming nationals representing the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and, of course, West Australia.
"The State side has been training twice a week at Kingsway International Sport Stadium for the nationals," added Watkins. "Unfortunately we've been restricted to playing games amongst ourselves as there are no other teams in Perth that play using the current Futsal rules * a lot of centres play Futsal but they use rules which are about three years out of date. We'd like to hear from teams interested in playing us using the new rules as they are what we'll compete under in Canberra. Any teams willing to take us on in practice games to sharper out skills in the lead-up to departing for Canberra can phone team captain Rod McMullen on 0400 216 901 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. We're also in the look out for sponsorship, so if there's anyone willing to help us out in the department we'd be appreciative if they too could get in touch with Rod."
"We have a squad of thirteen players, a of whom either play in or have played in the State League, plus a coach, team manager and hopefully a trainer - if we can find one," commented Watkins this week. "All the squad have played or are currently playing outdoor soccer at State League level. There are two goalkeepers - Pedro Pavez, who represented Australia in Futsal, and his understudy Grant Hird whose new to the game. Five of the outfield players - Rod McMullen, Ryan Underwood, Dave Butler, Paul Cummins and Jamie Herkes - were at the nationals last year while Leon Russell played at the tournament in 2001. The experience they gained at those events will serve the State side well in Canberra early next year. Jason Hope, Ross Beatty, Craig Highet and Sean Kilkelly are new to the squad along with Eldon Abraham who previously played for Australia at youth level and New South Wales."
FREMANTLE CELEBRATE 25 YEARS
Fremantle City are commemorating their quarter century since foundation with the 25th Anniversary Reunion Gala Ball and Exhibition. The club are calling upon all past and present players, coaching staff, members, supporters and families to come along to the Cockburn Civic Centre, Spearwood, on Saturday 22nd November from 6.00pm to be part of the celebrations. Tickets are available at a cost of $75.00 a head which includes dinner, drinks and entertainment as well as an exhibition of club memorabilia. In addition, everyone who attends the evening will receive a special commemorative book incorporating the club history. To ensure you don't miss out on tickets to the event, which are being snapped up fast, book yours by contacting Skip Pereira on 0422 440 622. Formed in 1978 as Fremantle Benfica, the club have become established as a mainstay of the top flight and in 2000 claimed the Premier League championship for the first time.
IMMEDIATE CALL-UP FOR TOMICH
Tommi Tomich will make his National Soccer League debut this weekend for Melbourne Knights who have been granted special dispensation to register the goalkeeper. Injuries to regular 'keepers Martin John and Adam Hrehoresin left the Knights short, and the door open for Tomich to go straight into the side for Saturday's tough away game with Parramatta Power. The Knights normally would not have been able to sign Tomich, currently contracted to Western Knights, until January's transfer window, but the local club agreed to release the 'keeper to play in the national competition.
AROUND THE CLUBS
Next weekend Soccer West Coast hold their annual awards night, the Gold Medal Presentation ceremony, at the Hotel Rendezvous in Perth’s northern suburbs. In the weeks the since Premier League and First Division seasons came to a close the local clubs have honoured those voted their best players over the course of the 2003 winter season. This week we take a comprehensive look at who won what at club level in the local game …
At Premier League champions Perth S.C., the Fairest and Best was taken out by State midfielder Todd Howarth who claimed top honours from retiring great Gareth Naven. The Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy, presented to the clubs' most outstanding young player, was won by Rhys Graham while David Micevski was named the Youth Development Player of the Year. Daniel Micevski went home with the Under-21's Fairest and Best award with solid young defender Daniel Arias his runner-up. Cormack Dawson was voted the Under-18's Fairest and Best player over the recent season ahead of youth team vice-captain Dean Sinagra. With 21 goals Shane Crampton was the first teams’ highest goalscorer, Vlad Milasinovic and Albert Osei-Tutu shared that honours in for the Under-21 side, and having found the net 16 time during the winter David Micevski ended as highest goalscorer for Under-18 team.
There wasn’t an empty seat to be seen when Premier League runners-up Cockburn City celebrated their most successful season in recent times last weekend. Influential midfielder Shane McNally took out the first teams’ Fairest and Best player with the runner-up spot shared by central defensive partners Boza Erakovic and Dusan Macura. The Top Goalscorer trophy was also a joint affair with brothers Michael Mirco and John Mirco ending the season with 8 goals apiece. Promising young goalkeeper Jeff Cargill was the recipient of the reserve teams’ Fairest and Best award which saw Daniel Palermo and Robert Potter come in as joint runners-up. With 9 goals to his credit Jason Dos Santos was the Reserves Top Goalscorer. Fabio De Oliveira went home with the trophy as the Under-18’s Fairest and Best ahead of State Under-15 teammates Alex Darby and Luke Eaonnidis who shared second place. The Top Goalscorer for Cockburn’s youth team was Justin De Abreu.
It was a night to remember for Claus Nielsen when the Western Knights held their presentation evening at Nash Field last month. The Danish midfielder collect the Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the Year awards. State defender Leon Russell was runner-up in the Fairest and Best count with highly rated teenager Luka Jukic the clubs’ Most Improved. Carl Medica received a Recognition Award for his ten years of service to the club, Miso Bunic was honoured with the Clubman Award, and the Golden Boot was shared between Medica and Stuart Montgomery. The Knights Under-21 Fairest and Best was won by Artur Majewski ahead of Kevin Munro, Kris Hansen took home the trophy as the Most Improved player with Stipan Majic the highest goalscorer. Fairest and Best for the Under-18 side was Matthew Francis, Matthew Walker came in runner-up and Aaron Ellwood received the Most Improved. The youth teams highest goalscorer was Paul Underwood.
Veteran midfielder and winner of Gold Medal in 2000, Alan MacKenzie was named Player of the Year at Inglewood United when they held their awards ceremony in the middle of last month. Runner-up for the trophy was Louis Parkinson who, despite playing the first half of the season on the left wing, also ended as the teams leading goalscorer with an 11 goals winter. Former State player Ryan Newhill was named Coaches Player of the Year with teenager Demir Arslanoski honoured by the Rising Star Award. The Under-21’s Player of the Year was Renato Rechichi ahead of defender Paul Baczynski, and promising striker Lee Haienko ended as the teams leading goalscorer. Alex Stamatiadis was runner-up in the Under-18’s Player of the Year to winner Mladen Kovacevic who also ended the season as the youth sides leading goalscorer.
Sorrento held their annual awards ceremony last Friday night. At the end of a season which saw him earnt State representative honours, creative midfielder Glen Thomas won the trophy as Best Player by three votes from Richard Watson with Simon Harland coming in third place. The Most Improved Young Player was talented defender Daniel Cain, Jake Harman took out the Golden Boot Award, and Thomas’ match winning goal against Perth S.C. won him the Best Goal/Save trophy. The Reserves Best Player went down to the wire with just four votes separating three players - Daniel Cagorski taking out the trophy with Jake Harman runner-up and Ian Deans third. Dennis Galan received the Under-18’s Best Player trophy from Dejan Gurovski (runner-up) and Andrew Brand (third). The mischievously titled Brush of the Year went to John Cain, and Jasmine Albon took home the Best Club Person award.
In his first season with E.C.U. Joondalup, Peter Roberts consistency earnt him the Players Player of the Year award. The team captain took out the trophy with a total of 179 votes to pip State representative Scott Bulloch (166) who ended as runner-up. Hard-working midfielder Abdul Kamara was a distant third with goalkeeper Peter Stewart and Darren Broxton finished fourth and fifth respectively. Bulloch capped his fine season for the northern suburbs club by taking out the Fairest and Best trophy as well as that as the first teams’ Top Scorer. Steven Beesley was named the Reserves Players’ Player of the Year with John Greenwood’s 14-goal haul enough to give him the teams’ Top Scorer. Highly rated Rostyn Griffiths won the Under-18 Players’ Player of the Year, while the youth teams’ Top Scorer was Phillip O’Callaghan with 18 goals.
The Cockburn Civic Centre was the venue for Fremantle City’s trophy on Sunday 26th October. Young defender Dean Apelgren will remember the night for a long time after going home with both the Fairest and Best and Rookie of the Year awards. First team leading goalscorer Craig Young ended as runner-up Player of the Year with State representative Craig Surtees recipient of the Coaches Choice trophy. The Under-21’s Fairest and Best was won by promising young defender Chris Wylie ahead of Paul Coehlo. Tyrone Fenwick took out the Coaches Choice and the reserves’ leading goalscorer was Joe Liguan. Mo Atak continues to go from strength-to-strength for the port club, this year his 27-goal winter handing the young striker him the competitions’ Golden Boot and playing a big part in him taking out the club’s Under-18 Fairest and Best award. State Under-16 representative Mark Darby was runner-up Fairest and Best, and Marlon Ramirez took out the Coaches Choice.
For the fourth consecutive year one-time New Zealand international Adrian Sutton has won Floreat Athena’s top individual award. The 30-year old State defender ended the polling period in front of Andreas Oliveira to claim the trophy for the clubs’ Most Valued Player. Promising teenager Josip Magdic was named Athena’s Most Improved player, and goalkeeper Anthony Mori received the inaugural Frank Papas Memorial Trophy for the best clubman. Although no trophy is given as their highest goalscorer, Andreas Oliveira ended the winter with 10 goals. Most Valued Player for the Reserves was Jed Lea Henry with Filippos Pakioufakis as runner-up. Paul Vlachou went home with the award as the teams’ Most Improved, and Mathew Novatsis and Robert Cibesku finished as joint highest goalscorers. The Under-18’s Most Valued Player trophy was taken out by Jonathon Davite, runner-up was Nick Struder and Paul Vatistas was named the Most Improved. The youth teams’ highest goalscorer was Troy Dott.
The full house sign went up early as Swan I.C. commemorated a successful season with an audio-visual presentation of their Boral Cup victory compiled by midfielder Damien Scali. In his first season back at Swan, Elton Holmes took out the Player of the year award by a single vote from the tireless Carlo Scali. With 10 goals to his credit, journeyman striker Paul Lincoln was named the first teams Leading Scorer. State Schoolboys representative Chris Ramsey won the Under 21’s Player of the Year ahead of State Under-16 captain Daniel Simcox. The Under 18’s Player of the Year award went home with Danyal Bennett, Brendan Knox coming in as runner-up. Matt Ullbricht took out the trophies as Leading Scorer for both the Under-21 and Under-18 teams.
In his return to top flight football midfielder Paul Hickey turned on the style for Bassendean Caledonian to take out the clubs’ Fairest and Best trophy from attacker Kevin Griffiths runner-up. Partners in defence Craig Naven and Kevin Smith won the Players’ Player of the Year and Most Consistent awards respectively. David Gordon took home the Reserves Fairest and Best as well as the award for Most Consistent player. Runner-up in the Fairest and Best was Jim Houston while goalkeeper Stephen Grant was nominated Players’ Player of the Year. The Under-18 trophies were shared between Troy Smith (Fairest and Best), John Barker (runner-up), Leo Perrotta (Players’ Player of the Year) and Michael Alessandrini (Most Improved). While no trophies were awarded for highest goalscorers, mid-season recruit Andy Cornmell, Wesley Ryder and Ryan Frisina ended top of the pile for the first, reserve and under-18 teams respectively.
Veteran defender Andy Wright ended another fine season for Stirling Lions by being named the Players’ Player of the Year, and Fairest and Best, at the annual awards ceremony at Macedonia Park on Friday 24th October. Up-and-coming teenage goalkeeper Jordan Conti was runner-up in the Fairest and Best poll and also took home the inaugural Courage Award. Recipients of the other first team awards were Christian Debarro (Most Improved), Darko Ilomanoski (Best Clubman), Tony Paolino (Presidents Award) and Eugene Singeorzan (Golden Boot). The Reserve team Fairest and Best was won by Steven Hicks with Christian Debarro and Joe Cinquina finishing in joint second. Goalkeeper Ken Ftynogiannis was named Most Improved and Joe Pugliese Best Clubman. Michael Pugliese and Anwar Ahmed shared the Under-18’s Fairest and Best with Matthew Debarro coming in as runner-up. The youth teams’ Most Improved was Laze Tanevski with Joshua Mannella picking up the Best Clubman award. The Lions’ Supporter of the Year was Clive Hicks and a special Federal Government Volunteer of the Year Certificate was presented to Erin Debarro.
Kevin Henderson, vice-captain at First Division champions Bayswater City, was named as his clubs Player of the Year from tricky wingback Andrew O’Neill. The Coaches Award was taken out by Daniel Naumovski with Boima Karpeh ending the season as the teams highest goalscorer courtesy of a 21-goal haul. The Reserves Player of the Year was awarded to attacker Nick Paone with Pas Marrapodi runner-up, David Formato was recipient of the Coaches Award. Luke O’Neill, whose 19 goals gave him the title as Under-18’s highest goalscorer, was named the youth teams Player of the Year. Runner-up Player of the Year was James Bongiovanni with Joe Sabatino picking up the Coaches Award.
Hard-working Gary Collins scooped the pool at Mandurah City’s awards ceremony on Saturday 18th October. Collins went home with the southerner’s three top awards - Club Champion, Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the Year. Steve Adam went home with the Coaches Award, while the first teams highest goalscorer was Christian Pascherwitz with 23 goals. David Jackson was named Reserves Fairest and Best, the second string Players’ Player of the Year was won by Paul Dixon with Alan Fitzmaurice collecting the Coaches Award. The teams highest goalscorer was Steven Choate who netted 16 times during the winter. The trophy for the Under-18’s Fairest and Best player was taken out by Nigel Reuscher, Zac Nicholls won the Players’ Player of the Year with leading goalscorer Jack Kearns awarded the Coaches Award.
At Queens Park the Best and Fairest award was taken out by Ross Posthuma who ended ahead of highly rated teenager Linden Pywell (runner-up) and sweeper Grant Learmont (third). In his first season with the club Brian Robertson picked up the Top Goal Scorer trophy courtesy of a 21 goal season, while veteran goalkeeper Darren Williams was named Most Consistent player. Fairest and Best in the Reserves went to John Robertson, while the trophy for the Under-18’s was won by Matt Iverson. Blair Walsh collected the Women’s Fairest and Best, the Players’ Player of the Year went home with Tara Jemmeson, and Novella Avezzu received the Coaches Award. The WAASSA Masters Players’ Player of the Year was Gavin Pasco with Brad Pasco honoured by the Coaches Award.
Midfielder Chris McCullough went away with the Player of the Year award at Ashfield’s presentation night on Saturday 25th October. Experienced campaigner David Mayers was runner-up in the top award, teenager Muhamad Komadaric was the first team Top Goalscorer and Wally of the Year went to Daniel Taylor. The Reserves Player of the Year was Shane Hashim with Martin Kelly as runner-up. Kelly also took home the trophy as Top Goalscorer, while Craig Highet was named Wally of the Year. The recipient of the Nuder-18’s Player of the Year was Jake Watson ahead of Daniel Grosso. The Top Goalscorer was shared by Alex Crookes, Micheal Banting and Adam Dennis, and Robbie Anderson claimed the youth teams’ Wally of the Year. The Club Top Goalscorer was taken out by Komadaric, and the Club Wally of the Year was Highet.
Morley Windmills officially brought to a close a seasons which saw them devastated by injury with their annual trophy presentation night on Saturday 25th October. The Fairest and Best award went home with Nigel Comito who ended the polling period ahead of Marco Schisano. Leith Hinds was recipient of the Players’ Player of the Year trophy and goalkeeper Matt Darling picked up the Coaches Player of the Year. Although no trophy was presented, Rydeen Botha finished the year as the teams highest goalscorer. Matt Carruthers was named the Reserves Fairest and Best with Luke Thompson runner-up, and Ryan Taylor ended as the teams highest goalscorer. The Under-18’s top individual award was won by Mark Aldworth, the Players Player of the Year was Carlos Mazloomi, and the highest goalscorer Mark Aldworth.
16-year old Chris Currie was the runaway winner in The City’s Player of the Year award which was awarded at the Moon and Sixpence function centre in Woodvale on Friday 17th October. Polling was tight in the Players’ Player of the Year in which three votes separated four players with Nick Edwards and Scott Wyeth finishing as joint winners. The Most Improved Player went to Gareth Davis, and 16-goals gave Mark Cox the Top Goalscorer trophy. Steven Blake collected the awards as Reserves Player of the Year Steven Blake, the Players’ Player of the Year went home with Scott Ferguson and Gary Kent came in as Top Goalcorer. The Under-18’s Player of the Year was won by Bin-Ma, Richard Edwards was named Players’ Player of the Year Richard Edwards and the youth teams’ Top Goalscorer was Ryan Thorpe.
Leeming Strikers Fairest and Best player for season 2003 was experienced defender Carlo Di Toro who won the award from Ciaran Allen. Promising young striker Lucas Whitehouse found the back of the net 19 times during the winter months - over twice that of his nearest club rival - to be awarded the Golden Boot. Mark Tjuchung went home with the Reserves Fairest and Best, Phil De Sousa ending the polling period in as runner-up. The Golden Boot was won by Josef Tomancek who bagged 10 goals this season. Gordon Hind won the Under-18’s Fairest and Best ahead of Jarryd Thraves whose 28 goals put him well in front to take out the youth team Golden Boot.
The doors were shut early as close to 400 people turned up to see Balcatta hand out their club awards on Saturday night. It was a big night for one-time State representative Scott Broadley who won the Best Player award with Anthony Toutountzis coming in as runner-up. Broadley also took home the Players’ Player of the Year from a season that saw him find the back of the net on 15 occasions to end as the Balcatta’s highest goalscorer. The Reserves Best Player went to Jason Magnaterra ahead of Daniel Causerano, Adam Dassie received the Players’ Player of the Year and Greg Lione ended as the teams’ highest goalscorer. Boro Kezic took out the Under-18’s Best Player trophy with John Aitken as runner-up, the Most Improved award going to Chris Grossetti. A 27-goal winter meant Aitken also ended as the youth sides leading goalscorer.
PERTH TO HOST INTERNATIONAL
Western Australians will see live international soccer for the first time in six years when Members Equity Stadium hosts the friendly clash between the Under-23 teams of Australia and Korea Republic on Wednesday 7th January, 2004. Expected to be amongst the Australian squad for the game are local products David Tarka (Nottingham Forest), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough) and Richard Garcia (West Ham United), along with Perth Glory players Jade North and Wayne Srhoj. The game at Members Equity Stadium will be the second in a two-match series against Korea Republic, the first being played in Sydney on Sunday 4th January. The last time Perth witnessed international action was in March 1998 when a crowd of 13,357 watched the Australian Under-23 side defeat Brazil 2-1 at the WACA Ground.
Allia Holdings, operators of Members Equity Stadium, will host the game and chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said the game showed the benefits of having a purpose built stadium. "To secure a game like this is a great boost for Members Equity Stadium and it repays the faith of the State Government and the Town of Vincent in getting the stadium built," Dennis said. "I am sure the people of Western Australia will be delighted to have the chance to see our Olympic hopefuls and especially to welcome back some players who are well known here. We can only hope this is the first of many visits to come." Dennis added that he was delighted the Australian Soccer Association had chosen Members Equity Stadium to host one of the two matches that will be played against South Korea as a build up to the Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament. "Western Australians love their soccer and I am sure they will turn out in big numbers to watch the game."
BALGA SEEK SENIOR COACH
Balga Soccer Club require a senior coach for the 2004 season. Balga has a proud history in WA soccer and are keen to earn promotion next year. Interested persons can email club President, Ken Shorto, at email@example.com or alternatively visit the Balga Soccer Club website.
KNIGHTS REQUIRE YOUTH COACH
Western Knights are seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to coach their Under-21 side for season 2004. All interested parties are advised to submit their details via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax on 9433 2054. For further details please contact Basil Zuvela on 9433 2505.
GLORY DOWN STATE IN UNEVENTFUL FRIENDLY
A second string Perth Glory line-up defeated the West Australian State team 3-0 in a friendly at Arena Joondalup this evening. The game offered some much need match practice for Glory's squad players, and a welcome opportunity for the State side ahead of their up-coming clash with the Iraq national team. A scrambled goal by Shane Crampton, on loan from Premier League champions Perth S.C., was all that separated the teams at half-time. After the interval Wayne Srhoj bagged a sensational goal to double the margin before the midfielder secured victory with a tap-in after good lead-up work by Crampton.
BALCATTA AIM HIGH
First Division club Balcatta have set their sights high with the aim of playing top flight football within the next three to five years. "We've set ourselves that goal," commented Basil Lenzo, recently appointed first team coach at Balcatta for 2004. "The club is very well supported in all areas from the number of registered Juniors, a very successful womans team, an excellent support base, very well structured and managed, and a great history. Now we are looking to add to it by attracting some more players that will bolster the squad to be more competitive on the park. In addition we are working towards the implementation of a youth development program which, in years to come, will put us in very good standing."
"The club has always produced good players with Michael and Richard Garcia, Tony Cumace, Vince Tana, Peter Coci, Tony Paolino havng played for Balcatta as youngsters," added Lenzo. "However, we really want to work at giving the new generation a first team to continue through to. This year the club had a young squad which performed well - the average age was 21 - and both our reserve and under-18 teams finished in the top half of their respective tables in what were very competitive leagues." A former State League player at Perth S.C., Bayswater City and Balcatta, Lenzo was co-coach at Stirling Lions when they gained promotion to the Premier League in 2002. Lenzo will be assisted by a former teammate Paddy Strano next season with Marco Mucciarone to look after the reserve team. Balcatta are currently on the look out for quality players to join their ranks for next season, players interested in turning out for the club are asked to contact Basil Lenzo on 0417 9189 255.
JONES LOANED TO BLACKPOOL
Armadale-born Brad Jones kept a clean sheet on debut for Blackpool who defeated Doncaster Rovers in the second round of the LDV Vans Trophy over night. The 21-year old goalkeeper, currently contracted to Premier League side Middlesbrough, agreed terms on an initial one-month loan deal with Blackpool little under 24-hours before taking his place between the posts at Bloomfield Road. Blackpool dominated a dour clash against Rovers in which the deciding goal arrived seven minutes from full-time via striker Mike Sheron.
RECORD NEARS FOR PETKOVIC
A shut-out this weekend by Jason Petkovic against South Melbourne will see the Perth Glory custodian equal the National Soccer League record for the most clean sheets. The former Cockburn City shot-stopper currently has 104 clean sheets to his credit from 280 games, one less than record-holder and former APIA Leichhardt, Marconi Stallions, Sydney Olympic, Newcastle Breakers and Newcastle United goalkeeper Bob Caitlin whose tally came from 345 N.S.L. outings. Glory meet South Melbourne at Arena Joondalup on Sunday afternoon from 3.00pm.
CAMP QUALITY TO BENEFIT FROM FUTSAL COMPETITION
The local soccer community are encouraged to get behind a new Futsal competition being held at Murdoch University for which money's raised will go towards enriching the lives of children suffering from cancer. The competition will run on Saturday afternoons between 12.00noon and 4.00pm with the opening round of fixtures scheduled for 6th December. "We are trying to offer something a bit different from other competitions," said Inglewood United midfielder Scott Campbell, one of the organisers of the Futsal tournament. "We are giving the winning team a kit of their choice which will be supplied by Armandos Sport. There will also be awards for the leading goalscorer, player of the season and players' player of the season. A weekly all-star team will be named, and two all-star teams will play eachother in an end of season game. Most importantly though is that a lot of the money raised will be donated to Camp Quality, a non-profit organisation that helps bring hope and happiness to children with cancer." Teams or individuals interested in a taking part in the Futsal tournament, and helping a worthy cause at the same time, can contact Campbell on 0412 148 243 (mobile) or 9272 3102 (home) or Bren Hartnoll on 9330 3810.
TARKA LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUTH TOURNAMENT
David Tarka has put Nottingham Forest career on hold to chase top international honours with the Australian Under-20 at the World Youth Championships being held in the United Arab Emirates later this month. "I'm really looking forward to the competition," said the highly-rated defender who joined Forest from Perth Glory a few months back. "I suppose the timing of it could have been better because I just feel as though I'm beginning to really enjoy myself at Forest. But it's a great opportunity for me to play on a big stage and hopefully as a nation we can make a big impression." Based in Dubai, Australia will meet Brazil, Canada and the Czech Republic in the group stage of the tournament.
Parramatta Power have emerged as the National Soccer League's benchmark after handing Perth Glory their ever heaviest defeat - a whopping 6-0 - at Parramatta Stadium this afternoon. Glory were torn apart by the pace, skill and class of a Power team that produced one of the finest attacking displays seen in the local competition for years. The win was orchestrated by former Glory players Andre Gumprecht and Simon Colosimo who simply oozed quality as Power continually went on the offensive. Damian Mori was twice presented with good chances to put Glory in front but, in the opening minute, he missed with a cross from Bobby Despotovski then after 6 minutes the striker squandered a one-on-one with goalkeeper Clint Bolton. Power went ahead two minutes later with a sweeping attack that resulted in Ante Milicic placing his shot beyond the reach of Jason Petkovic. John Buonavoglia doubled the lead after 29 minute by connecting with Gumprecht's cross from the right as Power took control. Matt Thompson set up Milicic for his second in the 37th minute, and shortly before the break Milicic completed his hat-trick from corner. The new half was only minutes old when the unmarked Buonavoglia rose to head in Ahmad Elrich's cross. With nothing left to lose Glory threw men forward, at one stage playing with four strikers, but could not find a path to goal as Tom Pondeljak, Adrian Caceras and Scott Miller were all denied. In the final minutes Colosimo bagged his sides' sixth and final goal to complete what was a miserable day for the team from the west.
EIGHT GOALS IN STATE-CALLIES FRIENDLY (by Bill McAllister)
The West Australian State team had their latest hit-out against a Bassendean Caledonian Invitational XI at Jubilee Reserve this afternoon. Played at a spritely pace, the game's first goal arrived after just 6 minutes when Andy Cornmell beat goalkeeper Neil Young from 8-metres to put the host club in front. A few minutes later the margin was almost increased as Jimmy Houston sent Cornmell through again but on this occasion the striker's shot strayed wide of the target. Not to be outdone, the State side responded with a smart attack which caught the Caledonian backline napping and Todd Howarth brought the two teams back on level terms. Midway through the half Cornmell's lob over the 'keeper came back off the bar and Graeme Matthews was there to follow up and restore Caledonian's lead. Oliver Taseski, in goal for the host club, tipped a thunderbolt from Keith Brown over the bar but could to little as Brown chested down the resultant corner for Howarth to knock in his second of the day, and minutes from the break Kevin Correia netted to put the State in front. The margin was extended early in the second half by midfielder Glen Thomas, and when Howarth converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Scott Bulloch the game was pretty much over as a contest. The State team continued to pressure and would have added to their tally if not for some lacklustre finishing. Late in the match Caledonian won a penalty of their own after Scott Campbell was brought down inside the area which Cornmell tucked away for a final 5 -3 scoreline. Best on the day for the State side were Brown, who was outstanding in the centre of the park, and the central defensive combination of Aaron Cole and Adrian Sutton.
STADIUM DELAY FORCES GLORY FIXTURE CHANGE
Construction delays caused by bad weather and industrial action have forced Perth Glory to push back their first game at Members Equity Stadium until after Christmas. "As one of the main tenants of Members Equity Stadium the club knows that the builders have done everything they can to keep work on track. Unfortunately the weather has beaten them," said Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "However, having seen Members Equity being transformed into a purpose built rectangular stadium, I have no doubt that the wait will be worthwhile. With fans enjoying greater comfort and being much closer to the action, the atmosphere will be absolutely sensational." The reigning National Soccer League champions will now play their first match at the $10.5 million redeveloped ground on 27th December against Brisbane Strikers. The meeting with Sydney United, which was to have been the first at the venue, has been rescheduled for Wednesday 18th February with a 7.30pm kick-off.
Back to the www.footballwa.net Archived News Index
This page was last updated on the 31st December, 2003