STATE IN FRIENDLY ACTION
As part of their continuing preparations for the up-coming ‘World Peace Game’ with the Iraq national team, the West Australian State team will play two friendlies in the next few days. “The lads are looking good, getting sharper with each session,” commented coach Paul Simmons this week. On Saturday 1st November the State side meet a Bassendean Caledonian Invitational XI at Jubilee Reserve. Kick-off is 4.00pm and entry is free. Arena Joondalup is the venue on Wednesday 5th November as the State side take on National Soccer League champions Perth Glory, proceedings getting underway at 7.00pm.
GROWING INTEREST IN FUTSAL
One of the fastest growing sports in the world, Futsal, is beginning to take off in Perth. "The Western Australian Futsal Association has just been formed and at present they are approaching venues to run competitions using the current, internationally recognised rules," said State Futsal squad member Rod McMullan this week. "Futsal is already played at several centres around Perth but games are being under rules which are about three years old. A new competition is about to start at Kingsway International Sports Stadium using the current rules." Individuals and teams interested in participating in the leagues are invited to contact McMullan via either email@example.com or 0400 216 901.
"Futsal is very similar to traditional outdoor soccer except it is played on a smaller playing surface," explained McMullan. "It's also got a lot in common with indoor soccer, the main difference being that when the ball goes out of play in Futsal there are corners and kick-ins, whereas in indoor soccer the ball never goes out play as you can play it off the walls. Like outdoor soccer in Futsal players - including the goalkeeper - can go anywhere on the court but with indoor soccer the goalkeeper is not allowed out of his area and field players are not allowed inside the goalkeeper's area. The other major difference between the two games is the size of the ball, Futsal uses a size three ball which is small and doesn't bounce very high whereas indoor soccer is played with a size five ball."
Played on a basketball-sized court but without the use of sidewalls, the origins of Futsal stem back to Uruguay in 1930 when Juan Carlos Ceriani devised a five-a-side version of soccer for youth competition. The game rapidly gained popularity throughout South America, particularly in Brazil where players including Pele, Zico, Socrates and Bebeto regularly played Futsal as part of their development. Not surprisingly Brazil were the winners of the first three FIFA sanctioned Futsal World Championship's with victories over the Netherlands (1989), the United States of America (1992) and Spain (1996) with Spain taking out the 2000 tournament courtesy of a thrilling 4-3 defeat of the reigning world champions. Australia have competed at each of the four finals tournaments but are yet to progress from the initial group stage.
N.S.L. CALL FOR TOMICH
Melbourne Knights coach Ian Dobson has asked the clubs' board to begin negoitating for the transfer for goalkeeper Tommi Tomich from Western Knights. The young 'keeper has been trialling in the east for the past fortnight and Dobson is confident Tomich is ready to step up to the National Soccer League. "He has the ability to compete for a first-team spot," the Knights coach told Peter Desira of the "Sun Herald". "He's big and strong, he commands his area, he's a good shot-stopper and he kicks a good ball, something that has been a weakness for us." Speaking yesterday, Tomich said he was ecstatic at the prospect of playing in the national competition.
NEW COACH FOR WINDMILLS
First Division club Morley Windmills have announced the appointment of James Herbert as first team coach for 2004. Herbert spent several years with the club as a player during the 1990’s and, upon hanging up his playing boots, coached the clubs’ reserve side with much success. An excellent communicator, Herbert assisted John Castrelli, who has stepped down from the helm, at Windmills during the recently completed winter season. With the existing squad already looking forward to working with their newly appointed coach, Windmills are seeking to strengthen their stocks for next season and invite interested players - including those eligible to player Under-18’s - to contact Herbert on 0418 957 846.
PERTH FAREWELL FAVOURITE SONS
The curtain has come down on the playing careers of three of the favourite sons of Premier League champions Perth S.C. Having been part of the set-up at Dorrien Gardens since their teenage years, Gareth Naven, Stephen Willey and Vince Tana decided a few months back that season 2003 would be their last as players, the trio citing a combination of personal, family and work commitments for their decisions. In an era where club loyalty means little to many players, Naven, Willey and Tana collectively spent in excess of thirty-years entertaining not only the crowds at Dorrien Gardens but also the wide soccer loving public of West Australia.
There is little doubt that Naven is one of the all-time greats of West Australian soccer. A State junior and Australian youth representative, Naven stepped up to senior ranks at Perth in 1988 and wasted no time in carving out his reputation as a hard-working, no-nonsense midfielder. Winner of the top flight's Player of the Year award in 1992, Naven spent time with Adelaide City and the short-lived Perth Kangaroo's before being named captain of the inaugural Perth Glory squad. In six seasons with Glory Naven made 142 appearances, lead the club to two Minor Premierships, two heart-breaking Grand Finals and was recipient of several individual awards including the 1999/2000 Most Glorious Player. The veteran returned to Dorrien Gardens last year and at the age of 34 was an influential figure in Perth winning back-to-back Premier League titles.
A product of Perth’s fertile youth development system, Willey first experienced senior team football in 1991 at the age of 18. Possessing a strong work ethic the youngster enhanced his reputation with some standout performances in the local competition which lead to his inclusion in the Perth Kangaroos squad that took out the S-League championship in 1994, as well as senior State representative honours. Although he proved himself early on in his career as an accomplished defender who keeps his cool no matter how intense the pressure, Willey’s versatility has been put to good use in an attacking capacity on the right flank as well as playing a creative role in the centre of midfield. In latter years his experience and natural leadership qualities have served Perth well as they re-claimed their mantle as the top flight’s premier club. While his final season was hampered by injury, Willey is one of the local games’ most respected players and his on-field presence will be sadly missed by his teammates next year.
Tana made a name for himself in Perth’s youth ranks before establishing himself as a mainstay of the senior squad. With State junior representative honours to his credit, Tana’s career took off following his inclusion in the Australian Schoolboys squad which toured the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland in early 1992. A hard-working midfielder with great ball skills and superb distribution, Tana spent over a decade playing for the Perth first team which was interspersed by single season stays with the Perth Kangaroos (1994) and Floreat Athena (1997). While Tana’s contributions were often over-shadowed by some of Perth’s flashier midfield players, his commitment and reliability made him a firm favourite with the Dorrien Gardens faithful. Having missed much of 2003 due to a knee reconstruction Tana worked hard over the winter months to get back to full fitness only to succumb to another serious knee injury in his final outing for the club on home soil.
JUNIORS INVITED TO JOIN THE KINGS
Coaching director for the Kings Academy, Mitch Doherty, today released the grading (i.e. trial) dates for the 2004 season. Grading will be held over four consecutive Saturday mornings, in November, starting on the 8th and the club invite quality players aged 10 through to 15 to trial. With the continuing success of the Academy’s program it is expected grading for next season will be very competitive. All grading sessions are to be held at the Academy’s new training ground at Rickman Delawney Reserve in Balcatta, the same venue at which many of next season’s squads will play their league games.
As well as being Manchester United’s youth development partners in Western Australia, the Kings provide the Junior Champions League teams for Premier League club Stirling Lions. Since being formed the Academy have gone from strength to strength with a progressive and innovative training program that includes the specialized SAQ (quick feet) methodologies. Full details of the grading, along with the summer clinics being held by the club, can be found online at www.kingsacademy.com.au . The Academy’s website also features a complete listing of coaching and administration staff and their contact details.
OLDFIELD BAGS DOUBLE FOR RESERVES
David Oldfield bagged a brace as Oxford United’s reserves ran riot in the second half of their Pontins Holiday Combination meeting with Swansea City to claim victory by 5-1. Midfielder Mark Rawle opened the scoring from close range after 50 minutes, and six minutes later Oldfield go in on the act by clipping the ball into the net from 22-metres following a scuffed clearance by goalkeeper Ryan Harrison. It became 3-0 in the 58th minute when Rawle bent the ball in from an impossible angle. Swansea pegged back the gap via Jamie Rewbury, however, just a minute later Derek Townsley flicked in Oxford’s fourth goal. With eight minutes left Oldfield neatly tucked away a low cross from Josias Carbon to complete the scoring.
OLYMPIC CELEBRATE FIFTY YEARS (club history reproduced with permission from Richard Kreider’s excellent book “A Soccer Century”)
Kingsway Olympic invite all former and current players, officials and supporters to attend celebrations this weekend honouring the clubs’ 50th anniversary. Kingsway Sporting Complex will be abuzz come Saturday afternoon as Olympic hold their Reunion Carnival Day with a full days’ activities planned. Kicking the entertainment off will be a game between the fabled ‘Green Machine’ and former players from other by-gone eras. Following this the current Olympic side, which features the talents of Alan Nanini, Jason Stern, Alan Henderson, Andy Brown and Scott Evans amongst others, take on another team of former players, this time drawn from those still playing locally including Ryan Newhill, Kosta Kalavroutziotis, Jamie Trandos, Steven MacDonald and Daniel Stoitis.
Olympic started in 1956 at Wellington Square, East Perth, and immediately won the Third Division North section. They were third in the 1957 Second Division, and gained promotion to the main league the following year as runners-up to Windmills. In 1959 Olympic impressed the local soccer fraternity by again coming second, this time to Azzurri in a neck-and-neck battle that wasn't decided until the final round of fixtures. Forwards Mike Ireson, Bev Allen and Bobby Varlow were three of their match-winners. Ireson won the competitions Fairest and Best award in 1966 and jointly in 1967, while Varlow took out the honour as the local games best player two years later.
After the 1959 bridesmaid placing, Olympic had to wait nineteen years before winning a championship, and it was only goal difference that separated 'The Green Machine' - as they were now known - from Dalmatinac in 1978. Ironically, it was again decided on the final weekend of fixtures, when the two sides met at Kingsway Reserve and Olympic made sure of the title with an emphatic 5-2 victory. Prior to the match, Spearwood striker Frank Smerilli had been leading the goalscorers' board with 14, but the diminutive dynamo Len Dundo stormed past him after netting four in the last game to give him a third consecutive top goalscorer award. Dalmatinac made amends the following season by winning their first title, two points ahead of Olympic. In 1980 goal difference was again used to determine a league champion and again it was Olympic that emerged triumphant over Spearwood.
After stays at Memorial Park, Mount Yokine, as Olympic Macedonia, and at the Velodrome, Kingsway Olympic moved to their current home, Kingsway Reserve, in 1974. They were the first soccer club to build a clubhouse in nearly 30 years. Olympic played an effective team game under coaches John Ward and Mike Leigh, with names like creative midfielder Stephen Sceats who represented the State on 40 occasions which included twelve as captain, Willie McNally, Steve Tombides, Paul Tombides, Keith Blunt, Neil Blunt, Bill Murray, Chris Proctor, Neil Garvey, Arthur Sharp, Paul Terpkos and Steve Callaghan. Since then Olympic have not seen much in the way of silverware and, after single season stays in the second tier in 1986 and 1995, Olympic took up residence in the First Division following relegation in 1999.
Some of the players to spend time at Olympic during the 1990’s have been Martin Guilfoyle, Andy Wright, Scott Racey, Graham Normanton, Stan Lazaridis, Tom Kilkelly, 1994 Player of the Year Ricky Davis, Michael Vassiliou, James Afkos, Steve Riberi, Dean Nicolaou, Terry Nicolaou and Jamie Kuzmanovich, son of Olympic stalwart Danny Kuzmanovich. Apart from Dundo, both Paul Middleton (1985) and Scott Racey (1991) have won the top flights’ leading goalscorer award while playing for Olympic, with Ivica Markovic taking out the trophy as the First Divisions’ top marksman in 1995. Their coach for the 1996 season was John Coyne, a former Australian representative with nine appearances, and who once played alongside Pele with the New York Cosmos in 1973.
MEMBERS EQUITY STADIUM IT IS! (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Members Equity Stadium will be the home of Perth Glory following the announcement of a three-and-a-half-year deal with the financial institution to secure the naming rights to the new venue. The stadium, formerly known as Perth Oval, will also provide a purpose-built arena for other rectangular sports and will be a major Western Australian home for cultural and social events. Until now Members Equity has remained one of the best kept secrets in the Australian financial services industry, however the new stadium sponsorship combined with a major branding campaign, is expected to raise their profile and lead to increased awareness amongst the Australian public.
Perth Glory Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dennis said he was delighted with the partnership, which is worth over half a million dollars. “This arrangement will help ensure Western Australians have a professionally run, state of the art, boutique venue which will attract events of great cultural and economic benefit to the State, as well as providing a fitting and permanent home for one of the State’s most successful and well-supported sporting organisations. Members Equity is a company with great integrity and an enormous amount of respect. It was important to us that this fantastic new stadium should bear the name of a respected organisation. We are delighted with this announcement.”
Members Equity also shares the delight. Anthony Wamsteker, chief executive officer of Members Equity, said he was excited by this sponsorship opportunity, a first of this kind for the bank. “Perth Glory, as the major tenant of the Members Equity Stadium is a community-focused, member-oriented and progressive organisation. These are qualities both companies have in common. With Members Equity Stadium as its home base, Perth Glory is set to play a strong role in leading soccer to the front ranks of Australian sport and Members Equity looks forward to that. Members Equity Stadium is also set to provide a great venue for other social and cultural events and over time will play a major role in the life of many Western Australians. As an organisation with its origins and culture firmly linked to the Australian community, this is a natural linkage for Members Equity”.
WOMEN’S BEST HONOURED!
The W.A. Italian Club in North Perth was the venue for the Women's Soccer West Australia annual Gala Presentation Dinner on Friday evening. To a packed house the association paid tribute to the games' championship winning teams and honoured the best individuals from each of the five divisions. Having lost just once in twenty home-and-away games, Northern Redbacks were crowned Premier League champions with Balcatta taking out the runner-up spot. Redbacks striker Lisa De Vanna, currently playing in the Women's National Soccer League for Adelaide Sensation, was named the Premier League's Top Goalscorer after finding the net 32 times over the home-and-away campaign. Lindsay Jobling (Balcatta) was a distant second with 15 goals. State representative Sarah Cunningham (Balcatta) backed up the Premier League Fairest and Best award she won last season by claiming the trophy again in 2003 with Lynwood's Penny Hoath coming in as runner-up.
UWA were installed as Division One champions ahead of Cockburn City. A 27-goal winter meant Jessica Hunter (Cockburn) went home with the Top Goalscorers award ahead of Kelly Baker (Cockburn City) and Joanne Steer (Murdoch) who both ended two goals off the pace. Emily Granger (UWA) was named the Division One Fairest and Best with Noranda's Cherise Graneri in second place. Beckenham Angels were runaway winners of the Division Two championship as F orrestfield United claimed the runner-up spot. Angels' striker Lisa Tomney took home the Top Goalscorer award with 33 goals as her teammate's Elizabeth Scott and Corinne Pidala shared second with 28 goals each. Scott was named the divisions' Fairest and Best player and Tomney ended the polling period as runner-up.
In Division Three, Bassendean won the championship by finishing three points clear of Balga. It was a night to remember for Ashfield Swans attacker Nathalie Ferraz who took out both the Top Goalscorer (53 goals) and Fairest and Best trophies for the competition. Runners-up in the Top Goalscorer was Ballajura's Bethanie Melis (39 goals) while and Amy Yong of Noranda claimed second in the Fairest and Best count. Armadale were crowned Division Four champions with The Jacks finishing in second place. Carol Howes (CN Canning Inter) was the Top Goalscorer courtesy of her 61 goals with Anna Pawlowski (The Jacks) five goals behind. Barbara Cundall (Gosnells City) was named the competitions' Fairest and Best player ahead of Howes.
NOT SO HAPPY DEBUT FOR MADASCHI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
It was an unhappy Scottish Premier League debut for former Perth S.C. junior Adrian Madaschi on Saturday as his club, Partick Thistle, went down 1-4 at home to Hearts. “We were caught out in the first-half,” Madaschi told www.tribalfootball.com yesterday. “Their lad Andy Kirk gave us some problems and we just struggled to get hold of the ball. We were 3-0 down at the break and the boss wasn’t happy. But as he pointed out after the match, we can take something out of the second-half. We started getting at them and created some good chances. Ricky Waddell scored a great goal and at 3-1 we were still in it. But their last finished it.”
After six years at Atalanta where he played predominantly youth team football, Saturday’s game was Madaschi’s first start at senior level. “I’m grateful to the boss for letting me have the 90 minutes,” he added. “It’s certainly a step up from the Under-21 match I played last week. The pace and the tackling was unbelievable … it was very intense.” During the match Madaschi came face-to-face with fellow Australian youth international Patrick Kisnorbo who featured in the hearts defence. “atrick was very supportive when I was trialling with Scottish clubs and we’re good mates. He’s going great guns at the moment and deserves his success. Hopefully the next time we play the scoreline will be a lot closer!”
GLORY GO TOP
Six weeks into the 2003/04 National Soccer League season and Perth Glory have claimed top spot courtesy of a 2-0 away defeat of Sydney Olympic. With both teams taking their time to settle, the games first opening came the way of Glory after 14 minutes when Bobby Despotovski’s shot on the turn end just wide of the target. On the half hour Brad Hassell forced a diving save from Olympic’s debutant goalkeeper Glenn Moss, and moments later at the opposite end Paul Kohler burst through the middle but his fierce shot on the run whizzed narrowly the wrong side of the upright. Olympic’s inexperience at the back was exposed in the 37th minute when Iain Fyfe failed to clear from inside the 18-yard box and quick-thinking Matt Horsley unselfishly squared to Damian Mori who made no mistake from 12-metres.
After the interval Glory defender Mark Byrnes pushed forward to fire into the side netting after Jamie Coyne headed the ball down into his path. Olympic continued their search for an equaliser but Michael Baird’s disappointing finish after 74 minutes failed to call Jason Petkovic into action. Two minutes later the visitors sealed victory with a fine counter-attacking goal. Despotovski threaded a great 30-metre pass out of midfield to Mori who drew the defence before laying the ball off to Tom Pondeljak with a cheeky backheel, Moss blocked the midfielder’s shot but the loose ball fell perfectly for Mori who stroked it across the line for his and the teams second of the game. The win moved Glory to the top of the N.S.L. standings, undefeated after five outings and with 13 points, two more than their nearest rival.
CRAMPTON COLLECTS “SUNDAY TIMES” AWARD
State striker Shane Crampton has capped a fairytale debut season with Perth S.C. by taking out The “Sunday Times”/West Coast Surgical and Medical Player of the Year award. Crampton, who found the back of the net in excess of thirty times during the winter, polled 29 votes to claim the trophy ahead of Western Knights defender Evan Wallace on 27 votes. “It’s definitely been the season of my life, for sure,” Crampton told Braden Quartermain of the “Sunday Times” on receiving the award. “But I’ve been part of a great side with good quality of service behind me.” Finishing joint third and two votes behind Wallace were Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Jamie Kuzmanovich (Inglewood United) and Elton Holmes (Swan I.C.). Cockburn City’s Michael Mirco polled 24 votes to come in ahead of Craig Surtees (Fremantle City), Todd Howarth (Perth) and Carlo Scali (Swan) on 23 votes. Rounding out the leader board were Cockburn veteran Boza Erakovic and Knights midfielder Claus Nielsen with 22 votes each, defender Dusan Macura (Cockburn) was a further vote off the pace with Aaron Cole (Perth) and Shaun Kilkelly (Inglewood) ending equal eighth on 20 votes.
LIONS FITTING TRIBUTE TO DEBARRO
Stirling Lions have introduced a Courage Award to their roll of honour in tribute to the fighting spirit shown by committee member Erin Debarro, who was struck down by a brain aneurysm earlier in the year. Debarro, whose three sons Christian, Matthew and Mitchell play for the Lions, underwent surgery and fought her way back to health before continuing her work for the club. “Erin’s story should prove inspirational to anyone battling adversity on or off the field,” said Lions president Don Evans. The commitment and contributions of Debarro didn’t go unrecognised at the clubs annual trophy night on Friday when Debarro was awarded a federal government Volunteer of the Year Certificate from senator Jann McFarlane.
Against the odds Debarro survived a brain aneurysm to continuing working regularly in a voluntary capacity for the club with husband Richard. Her plight started on a Sunday night in February. “I did everything absolutely normal that afternoon, but I said to my husband ‘I’ve got a really bad headache’,” she said. “By four that Monday afternoon I was having brain surgery. Debarro spent fifteen days in hospital following the surgery before embarking down her miraculous road to recovery. The Lions committee member still finds to difficult it difficult to comprehend what she went through. “You would be amazed how many people it happens to ... Most people die of it, I still can’t believe I went through that.” Debarro attributes part of her successful recovery to her fellow committee members, “They have been a huge help and support,” she commented.
REDBACKS ARE NUMBER ONE
Northern Redbecks A have completed the local women's season as the games top side, claiming both the Premier League and play-off tittles. Lisa De Vanna bagged a hat-trick and Kim Mickle scored twice for the Redbacks in their 5-0 Grand Final triumph over Queens Park. The Division One play-off title was won by Cockburn City with goals from Jessica Hunter, Kelly Baker and Tiffany Eyre to down East Fremantle 3-1, Sarah Hughes the scorer for the port side. Lisa Tomnay and Sandy Rowles were on target for Beckenham Angels who defeated Forrestfield United, Leeanne Keary their scorer, 2-1 to claim the Division Two play-off trophy. Balga accounted for Ashfield Swans 5-2 in the Division Three Grand Final, Vanessa Mitchell-Anyon, Karen Eason (2), Claire Archdeacon and Anne Archdeacon netting for Balga as Ashfield scored via Monique Wiggers and Leagh Taylor. The decider of the Four Division play-off series went to Armadale courtesy of goals from Gabriella Kist and Christine Finucane which enabled them to defeat The Jacks 2-1, Kristina Oxley scoring for the northern suburbs side.
The regular season Premier League crown was taken out by Northern Redbacks A who ended the winter four points clear of Balcatta A with Queens Park B a distant third. The Redbacks ended their campaign on a high by defeating bottom side Subiaco United A 4-0 courtesy of a Lisa De Vanna hat-trick and Carys Hawkins also finding the target. Deb Gorton scored twice for Balcatta in their 2-0 final round victory over Queens Park. The race for the Division One crown went down to the wire with three teams in the hunt. In the final round of fixtures UWA A thrashed Northern Redbacks B to overtake leader Cockburn City at the top of the standings. Emily Granger (3), Lauren May, Lynne McGowan, Marcia Norrish and Margaret Gaucci were on target for UWA in their 7-1 win over Redbacks B for whom Lara Jones and Ayshar Arslanosky were the scorers. Cockburn City ended the winter as runners-up after suffering a surprise 1-2 loss to Noranda A with Murdoch University claiming third place.
Beckenham Angels A were the runaway winners of the Division Two title, ending the season a massive fourteen points clear of runners-up Forrestfield United with Subiaco United B third. It was a great achievement for the Angels who went the winter undefeated in the home-and-away series in which they conceded just 15 goals. Top honours in Division Three weren't decided until the last round of the season. Goals from Blair Walsh, Tara Jemmeson and a hat-trick by Novella Avezzu gave Bassendean the trophy by three points courtesy of a 5-0 thumping of Rose and Shamrock. In the runners-up spot were Balga who went down to Ashfield Swans 1-0 in the last game of the season, Tina Lawson the scorer. Ballajura B took out third place. The honour of the competitions highest scoring team went to Division Four champions Armadale A who amassed 135 goals over the course of the 22-game season. Thirteen points behind Armadale were The Jacks A who edged Kingsley B out of the runners-up spot on goal differnce.
SIGNS PROMISING FOR TOMICH
Tommi Tomich has impressed in his two training runs with Melbourne Knights this week and, according to Peter Desira of the "Sun Herald", is likely to be offered a playing contract at the end of his two-week trial. "He's a solid lad, probably about 95kg. You wouldn't want him coming at you at full pelt," said coach Ian Dobson, who is on the look-out for a tall goalkeeper. "He's also very agile, so the first impressions have been good." Tomich's arrival is expected to have current Knights custodian Martin John looking over his shoulder, but Dobson stressed competition for places was part and parcel of the modern game.
The 29-year old goalkeeper headed east in search of National Soccer League action having continually produced the goods for the Western Knights only to be unable to pique the interest of hometown side Perth Glory. "There's a lot of young players who Glory just ignore," Tomich said, who spent the 1999/2000 campaign with Glory. "I played in scratch matches and was on the bench plenty of times, but I don't think Jason Petkovic has had an injury or suspension ... Don't get me wrong. He's a top-class keeper and I learnt a lot as his understudy. I am a much better player for the experience."
INJURY FORCES MILLER OUT
An injury set-back to defender Scott Miller has soured Perth Glory's preparations for Sunday's National Soccer League clash with Sydney Olympic. Having only last week made his return from a knee injury, the 31-year-old failed to see out today's training session because of back, hip and groin tightness. Miller's place in the line-up is expected to be taken by another local product in Jamie Coyne who played well in Glory's three N.S.L. outings before Miller fought his way back into the side for last weekend's defeat of Northern Spirit.
Three players that were key features of the Olympic side over the past few seasons will be plotting the clubs' downfall this weekend. Central midfielders Tom Pondeljak and Wayne Srhoj and defender Jade North have settled quickly into the Glory side since their arrival over the off-season. Although Olympic lost the majority of their playing staff over the winter, Pondeljak is sure the healthy rivalry between the clubs will be as strong as ever come matchday. "A lot of players have left and Olympic have pretty much got a whole new squad," he told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "But I think there's still that rivalry between the clubs, which has been built over the past couple of years."
SWAN AIM TO STRENGTHEN FOR 2004
After a season of success for Swan I.C. in which they captured the Boral Cup, the Swan Valley outfit is looking forward to a bright future and is preparing for season 2004. With Gary Marocchi and Carlo Scali at the helm of the senior side, the black-and-whites are hoping to attract new players to the club at all levels. The club have received applications from a number of quality coaches for the Junior Champions League Director of Coaching position and are hopeful of announcing the successful applicant shortly.
In the meantime trials for the 2004 J.C.L. teams are about to commence. Try-outs for the Under-11 and Under-12 teams take place on 29th and 31st October as well as 4th and 6th November. Following these are sessions for the Under-13 and Under-14 teams on 10th, 12th, 14th, 17th, 19th and 21st November with trials for the Under-15 and Under-18 squads being held on 28th October. All trials will be held at La Salle College, Muriel Street, Middle Swan between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on the allotted days. For further details contact Cos (041 1872 247), John Muriale (040 7987 771) or Peter Simcox (041 8941 583), or email the club via firstname.lastname@example.org
"The profile of the club has been lifted with the Boral Cup win", said recently appointed reserve team coach Peter Simcox. "The professionalism of the club has been greatly improved and that's got a lot to do with Gary and Carlo and the first team squad. The younger boys have developed their skills and the club has put faith in these boys. State Schoolboys goalkeeper Chris Ramsey made his League debut this season along with W.A. junior representatives Scott Paterson and Daniel Simcox. The club is aiming high and we hope to attract players to the club and bring more success to the Swan Valley.".
STATE SQUAD NAMED FOR IRAQ
There were more than a few raised eyebrows this week following the announcement of the provisional State squad for the up-coming friendly series with the Iraq national team. While the bulk of the 24-player squad is drawn from that which played Perth Glory six weeks in the annual Charity Shield clash, it was the inclusion of The City defender Keith Brown and out of contract attacker Kevin Correia that grabbed the headlines. A former trainee at Blackburn Rovers, 24-year old Brown made 19 appearances for Scottish club Berwick Rovers in 2002/03 only to be released at the end of the season. Correia spent a year in Portugal with Maritimo before returning to Perth to play for his former club Fremantle City followed by a spell with Sorrento.
The State side is scheduled to play two games against the touring Iraq national team. The opening fixture is on 16th November at Arena Joondalup with the second game taking place the following weekend in Albany. The provision State squad for the series is Alan Dunlop (Bassendean Caledonian), Jeff Bright (Cockburn City), Anthony Jones, Andreas Oliveira, Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Craig Surtees (Fremantle City), Shaun Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich (Inglewood United), Darren Broxton, Scott Bulloch, John Higgins (E.C.U. Joondalup), Adam Bunce, Aaron Cole, Shane Crampton, Todd Howarth (Perth S.C.), Simon Harland, Andy Mason, Dale McCulloch, Glen Thomas, Neil Young (Sorrento), Cory Hugo (Swan I.C.), Leon Russell, Daniel Trim (Western Knights), Keith Brown (The City) and Kevin Correia.
TWO CALLED-UP FOR WORLD CUP
Local products David Tarka and Anthony Danze have been named in the Australian Under-20 squad for next month's Under-20 World Youth Championship in the United Arab Emirates. The pair featured in last week's two-game friendly series with the United Arab Emirates which started with a scoreless draw on Friday. Tarka, who recently signed for English club Nottingham Forest, played a full game and was named one of the best on ground for the Young Socceroos while Danze came off the bench after 70 minutes. In Abu Dhabi on Monday Australia controlled the match to claim a 2-0 victory courtesy of first half goals from Vince Lia and captain Scott McDonald. Perth Glory midfielder Danze, who represented Australia at the 2001 Under-17 World Youth Championships, was introduced into the game in the 58th minute.
National youth coach Ange Postecoglou announced a 20-player Australian squad for World Youth Championship which run from 27th November until 19th December. The Young Socceroos Group C opponents are the Czech Republic, Canada and Brazil with all games to be played in Dubai. Prior to the Championship Australia will participate in a four-nation tournament in South Korea where they'll meet Colombia, Slovakia and the host nation before a friendly against Japan. The Australian Under-20 squad is Wayne Heath, Matthew McKay (Brisbane Strikers), Nathan Coe, Carl Valeri (Inter Milan), Alex Brosque (Marconi Stallions), Steve Pantelidis (Melbourne Knights), Jobe Wheelhouse, Tom Willis (Newcastle United), Mark Milligan, Jonathon Richter, Alex Wilkinson (Northern Spirit), David Tarka (Nottingham Forest), Anthony Danze (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski (Rot Weiss Essen), Massimo Murdocca, Vince Lia (South Melbourne), Michael Baird (Sydney Olympic), Mile Jedinak (Varteks), Scott McDonald (Wimbledon) and Dustin Wells (Wollongong Wolves).
PARTICK COACH HAPPY WITH NEW SIGNING
There was little for the Partick Thistle coaching staff to complain about when new recruit Adrian Madaschi made his first appearance for the club in the Under-21's 3-2 win over Dundee last night. "I know it is an Under-21 game but you can only go with what you are playing against and he was playing against a very experienced side," Jags manager Gerry Collins said after the game. "I thought the big guy did great and without getting carried away he made a very efficient debut for his first game for the club. He looks comfortable on the ball, he is prepared to pass the ball, he is not a bad header of the ball, he reads the game quite well and in the 90 minutes he only got caught out once. I said we had taken a gamble in signing him but hopefully it will be one that will pay off."
SIX OF THE BEST
Six of West Australia's best players will represent the State in the 2003/04 Women's National Soccer League which kicked-off over the weekend. Under contract to Adelaide Sensation are Australian youth internationals Lisa De Vanna, who ended last season as the clubs leading goalscorer, and 17-year old midfielder Collette McCallum. The pair worked tirelessly on Friday night but were unable to prevent the Sensation from going down 1-4 to Queensland Sting at Hindmarsh Stadium. Defenders Candice Townsend and Tanya Oxtoby will spend the season with Northern New South Wales Pride along with talented young goalkeeper Ashley Bennett. Townsend was replaced 78 minutes into the opening round match by Oxtoby as Pride crashed 0-9 to New South Wales Sapphires. Having turned out for Australia at the recent Women's World Cup finals tournament in the United States of America, 21-year old Tal Karp played a full game for Canberra Eclipse in their scoreless draw with Victoria Vision on Sunday afternoon.
DAVIES RETURNS TO BRADFORD
An injury crisis to the goalkeeping stocks at First Division Bradford City has led the club to recall Clint Davies from his loan period at non-League Halifax Town. Davies started the season as Halifax's fist choice 'keeper, making eight appearances before finding himself out of favour following the arrival of Mark Cartwright. With Alan Combe injured and the club unable to agree terms with Marlon Beresford, 20-year old Davies is expected to provide cover for New Zealand international Mark Paston who joined the club little under three months ago. Adding to the Bantams woes is a broken fingers to youth team custodian Aaron O'Malley which is likely to keep him sidelined for about six weeks while 15-year old schoolboy Nathan Thackeray is still not 100% fit having himself been out injured.
CHAMPIONS OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND FIVE
A quality days entertainment is always assured when traditional rivals Perth S.C. and the Western Knights go head-to-head, and the Final of the 2003 Champions of Champions promised to be no different. A fortnight ago the Knights progressed to the series decider courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Perth who were keen to make amends for being forced to take the long route. The Premier League champions would be looking for big efforts from goalscoring sensation Shane Crampton as well as creative midfielder Robbie Puca in order to add to their trophy cabinet. Crowned winners of the Night Series in pre-season, the Knights were at full-strength with Alex Christie and Paul Cooke proving their fitness in the days leading up to the game. Both clubs possess impressive play-off records, Perth aiming to capture the trophy for the fourth consecutive year while the Knights were making their fourth Final appearance since their triumph in 1998. In case either side needed added incentive to win there was the retirements of Gareth Naven, Stephen Willey (Perth) and Paul McVittie (Knights) - three of the local games' loyalists servants - to take into account.
Perth got underway a fast and furious opening period in which chances on goal presented themselves at both ends of the ground. The first came via a Knights free-kick which teenage midfielder Luka Jukic curled narrowly wide of the upright from 30-metres. Some hesitancy in the Knights defence allowed Mark Pottier in after 8 minutes but he sliced the ball wide, and shortly after Rhys Graham sent a low cross into the path of Robbie Puca only to have goalkeeper Tommi Tomich come quickly off his line and snuff out the move. With several overly-enthusiastic and late tackles going unpunished by the referee it was surprising that Jukic received the first of the days yellow cards for a seemingly harmless challenge. Having found their rhythm early Perth were by this stage going forward at will courtesy of some crisp first time passes only for strikers Shane Crampton and Adam Bunce to find themselves out-numbered by the Knights four-man backline. But after 20 minutes the Blues persistence paid off as Crampton fended off Claus Nielsen as he raced onto Bunce's clever header over the defence before calmly slotting past the advancing Tomich to open Perth's account.
Stringing together some lovely exchanges when going into attack Perth looked to consolidate their position. In the 24th minute Tomich read the play brilliantly and moved quickly off his line to smother at the feet of Puca, and shortly after the 'keeper made a similar save to deny Graham from rifling off a shot. With an elegant counter-attack the Knights got themselves back in the game after 29 minutes as Paul Cooke created space for himself wide on the right to send a low cross to the top of the 6-yard box where Daniel Trim nipped in between two defenders to slide the ball past goalkeeper Rob Scarparolo. The game threatened to boil over minutes later following Scott Devine's crunching tackle on Pottier but referee Michael Nugus was able to maintain control and restore calm despite a war of words erupting between the coaching benches. Seven minutes from the break Perth were awarded the softest of penalties for Tomich's innocuous push on Aaron Cole who, it could be strongly argued, had impeded the 'keeper as they competed for a high ball. In any event there was no doubt over the outcome as Puca drilled it low and to the left of the 'keeper to restore his sides' lead. Totally contrasting with the penalty decision was Graham's rash late challenge on Leon Russell two minutes into stoppage time for which play wasn't even halted let alone a card issued.
The second half began similarly to the first as opportunities came the way of both sides. A well-weighted pass from midfield by Gareth Naven found Graham who lifted his shot high under pressure from Nielsen. Carl Medica knocked the ball on to Cooke to slipped in behind the Perth defence and the midfielder delivered a low cross to Trim whose powerful strike on goal looped over the crossbar via the boot of Stephen Willey. Tomich came to the Knights rescue by smothering a close-range strike from Crampton after Pottier's shot in a crowded area was blocked by a desperate Alex Christie. Having won possession in midfield Graham raced through on goal only to have Nielsen to get the slightest of touches to send the ball into the waiting arms of a relieved Tomich. With the pendulum beginning to swing in Perth's favour Knights coach Ronnie Campbell sacrificed the creative Jukic and introduced a third striker in John Nicolaou. The move almost produced immediate dividends as David Annall pumped the ball long into the heart of the 18-yard box where Nicolaou rose above the defence to glance on target only to have Scarparolo steal it on the line at the second grab.
Both teams resorted to playing the long ball into attack over the closing stages in the hope of catching the other out. With the respective defences battening down the hatches and playing it safety first, the ball was turned over with regularity with neither Perth nor the Knights managing much in the way of shots on goal. As the clock ticked down it became apparent that the Knights had nothing to lose by throwing extra men forward, forcing their opponents onto the back foot in a tense final few minutes. Paul McVittie played a free-kick short to Medica just outside the area which he slammed under the defensive wall only to find Scarparolo positioned to save. Early in stoppage time Nicolaou stabbed the ball just wide of the far upright after Steven Zuvela swung a free-kick from the right flank into the dangerzone. A minute later Nicolaou featured again, this time controlling the ball just outside the box before turning towards goal and shooting past the 'keeper as well as the far post. In the dying moments Neilsen shrugged off an opponent and sent the ball goalward but on this occasion Michael Icanovski thrust out a leg and deflected it wide for a corner.
With the final whistle came the official end to on-field activities for the 2004 State League season. Few would deny that Perth deserved to lift the trophy at the end of 90 minutes, but had luck been on their side the Knights could just as easily gone home with the silverware. The Blues win came about through a very structured performance in which there were key contributors all over the park. Having kept a tight reign and limited their opponents to only scattered goalscoring opportunities it was the defensive combination of Cole, Icanovski and Dino Djulbic that were Perth's unsung heroes. By no means out-played, the Knights were equal to their opponent in many respects but a lack of penetration in their attacking third proved to be the difference between two very evenly matched sides. From his position wide on the right Cooke was the instigator of the Knights best attacking moves with a lively display, while the central defensive pairing of Nielsen and Evan Wallace worked tirelessly for the duration.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulic, Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski,
Todd Howarth, Rhys Graham, Gareth Naven (Paul Natale 84), Mark Pottier,
Robbie Puca, Adam Bunce (Steven Willey 45), Shane Crampton
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Alex Christie (Steven Zuvela 87), Evan Wallace, Claus Neilsen, Leon Russell, Paul McVittie, Scott Devine (David Annall 41), Luka Jukic (John Nicolaou 60), Paul Cooke, Carl Medica, Daniel Trim
Cautions :Jukic (13), Christie (21), Devine (35), Annall (56), Graham (71), Howarth (83), Pottier (89)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Michael Nugus
Attendance : 1,800 (approx.)
The Final of the Under-18 play-off series pitted Premier League champions E.C.U. Joondalup against a red-hot Perth S.C. line-up which ended the regular season in third place. In a physical opening it took the northern suburbs side just two minutes to open their account with a long ball into attack which fell perfectly for Daniel Waind who coolly converted the opportunity. The goal acted as a wake-up call for Perth who responded twelve minutes later via Nikita Rukavytska following a fine run by the youngster down the left flank. With the game back on level terms the two sides battled unsuccessfully to take control of proceedings. A long ball from David Micevski in the 32nd minute found Rukavytska out wide and his return pass was superbly struck by Micevski into the top corner from 16-metres to make it 2-1. Joondalup's ploy of playing the ball over their opponents defence rarely caused concern for the Perth rearguard as the inner-city club upped the tempo. Perth increased their lead via a fine Micevski free-kick that Craig Simpson nodded in from an acute angle at the back post after 39 minutes. The second half started with both teams trying desperately to seize control only to be met with strong resistance from the respective defences. Twelve minutes into the period Perth increased their grip on the trophy when Steven Worthy's long-range shot was parried by goalkeeper Jakub Chudy who could only watch on as Cormac Dawson raced in to slam the loose ball over the line from 2-metres. Joondalup threw everything at their opponents as their sought a way back into the game but with Perth holding firm at the back they were forced into shooting from distance more often than not. The final whistle set off scenes of wild jubilation in the Perth camp as they celebrated the Under-18's first trophy since claiming the Premier League title in 2001.
SPIRITED WIN BY GLORY
Perth Glory have extended their unbeaten start to the season - and celebrated Scott Miller's 250th national Soccer League outing - with a 5-3 defeat of Northern Spirit at Pittwater Park in Sydney's northern suburbs. The small crowd of 2,867 had to wait just six minutes for the opening goal which arrived via Wayne O'Sullivan whose low, curling shot beat Glory custodian Jason Petkovic. The visitors responded with a three goal spree in four minutes. Brad Hassell teed-up Tom Pondeljak to side-footed into the net after 11 minutes, Damian Mori slotted the ball into the same spot minute later, and Bobby Despotovski made it 3-1 by pouncing upon some hesitant defending to round goalkeeper Paul Henderson before clipping into the empty goal. In the 34th minute Petkovic parried a powerful Stuart Petrie header and O'Sullivan was on hand to reduce the gap, then four minutes later Dylan MacAllister's low shot on the run was spilt by Petkovic and this time Mathew Osman was there to level the game. Hassell chased a long, hopeful ball in the 43rd minute and rounded Henderson to put Glory back in the lead two minutes from half-time. Three minutes after the interval Hassell added to his and Glory's tally when he converted a through ball from Pondeljak. The visitors created numerous opportunities over the remainder of the match but were unable to extend their lead.
STANGE RETURNS TO PERTH (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Former Perth Glory coach Bernd Stange returns to West Australia this week to promote his Iraqi team's World Peace Game tour. The popular German will be in charge of Iraq's national team for two games - at Arena Joondalup on 14th November and in Albany eight days later - against a representative State team. Former Blackburn Rovers and Australian midfielder Robbie Slater will guest for the State along with several players form the Australian Institute of Sport. The West Australian government and the Australian Sports Commission have joined funded the Iraqi tour. "There are currently no facilities to play sport in Iraq and any assistance in the rebuilding process is greatly appreciated," Stange told the "West Australian."
GLORY MAY OPT TO POSTPONE
Perth Glory may be forced to postpone their move to a redeveloped East Perth Oval because of construction delays. The National Soccer League champions were scheduled to occupy the venue, which has been renamed Multi-purpose Stadium until a naming rights sponsor is secured, for their Round 12 fixture with game Sydney United. But any hiccups in the tight construction schedule are likely to mean a bring about change to Glory's plans. Town of Vincent chief executive John Giorgi told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian" the redevelopment would not be complete in time for the game on 6th December, but that it would go ahead as the ground was safe for supporters. "If there are any further industrial disputes or inclement weather then it will be unlikely the game will be played there on the sixth," commented Giorgi before adding that the Town of Vincent would make Leederville Oval available to Glory for the game. Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said the club would look to postpone the match rather than find an alternative venue if the ground was not completed on time. "At the moment we would like to think the stadium will be ready in time but on the off chance that it isn't we are exploring back-up strategies," he commented. Dennis said the club would look at swapping the Sydney United fixture so that the December game was played in the east with the return match, in February, in Perth.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
For the fourth successive year, Perth S.C have been crowned Champion of Champions. The Blues took out today's series Final at a packed Litis Stadium by 2-1 over the Western Knights. Shane Crampton put Perth in front after 20 minutes, but their lead was short-lived with Daniel Trim equalising nine minutes later. Robbie Puca decided the game when he converted a hotly-disputed penalty seven minutes from half-time. The win completed a memorable day for Perth whose youth team won the Under-18 play-off title by defeating E.C.U. Joondalup 4-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Seven weeks of finals action come to a head this Sunday with the Champion of Champions Final and the deciders of the Junior Champions League play-offs at Litis Stadium. Regular season champions Perth S.C. meet old foes Western Knights, winners of the pre-season Night Series, in the final of the top five series which kicks-off at 3.00pm. Preceding this is the final of the Under-18 play-offs in which Perth take on E.C.U. Joondalup from 1.15pm.
Providing the perfect finale to the inaugural Junior Champions League season are the finals of the Under-13, Under-14 and Under-15 play-offs. The on-field action gets underway at 9.00 am when Stirling Lions, who claimed the regular season trophy, and Fremantle City meet in the final of the Under-13 series. Following at 10.20am is the decider of the Under-14 play-off's in which Fremantle City take on Sorrento. And in the Under-15's league champions Cockburn City are up against runners-up E.C.U. Joondalup from 11.40am.
OLD RIVALS TO SLUG IT OUT FOR PLAY-OFF TITLE
Another chapter will be added to the long history between Perth S.C. and the Western Knights when they meet in the Final of the Champion of Champions series at Litis Stadium on Sunday. Over the years the two clubs have developed a very healthy rivalry as they've constantly battled eachother for silverware come seasons' end. Looking at the immediate past, the clubs have squared off four times already this year with the ledger slightly in the Knights favour. Dorrien Gardens was the venue for the Round Five Premier League clash which ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw, while in the return meeting Paul Cooke scored the only goal to hand the Knights victory. The two clubs next met in the Semi-Finals of the Boral Cup when Perth triumphed 2-1 courtesy of a controversial golden goal from star striker Shane Crampton, and a fortnight ago it was the Knights that came out on top by a 2-1 scoreline in the Major Semi-Final of the top five series.
Knights coach Ronnie Campbell will leave it until late before naming his matchday squad with Alex Christie and Paul Cooke racing against time to prove their fitness. Christie missed the Major Semi-Final win over Perth because of suspension, but Campbell revealed this week that the defender has been battling to overcome ankle ligament damage that was sustained during a training incident a few weeks ago. "We didn't make it public at the time, but Alex went over on an ankle in training and he's been having treatment ever since," commented Campbell. "His chances of playing on Sunday are probably 50-50." Right-sided wingback Cooke has been missing for a few weeks because of hamstring trouble. "Paul is probably a 50-50 chance as well, but we'll certainly give both players every opportunity to prove their fitness and make the squad. I know they are both desperate to play."
While Perth coach Graham Normanton expects to name the same squad that beat Cockburn City in last Sunday's Preliminary Final, he will give classy midfielder Robbie Giorgi every opportunity to overcome a troublesome thigh strain and make the match list. "Robbie hasn't trained for nearly three weeks and I doubt if I would put him in the starting line-up even if he were to shake off the injury," said Normanton. "But he would certainly be a valuable player to have on the bench. We'll wait and see what happens." The Perth coach also has anxieties over the fitness of key players Rhys Graham, Aaron Cole and Mark Pottier who all picked up knocks against Cockburn. Graham hobbled off with a knee injury but the club physio is hopeful the youngster will make a full recovery in time for the match, while Pottier and Cole are both expected to line-up against the Knights after responding well to minor thigh problems.
Campbell believes this years Final has all the making of a classic. "I think the best two teams in the competition are in the final - and it should be a fantastic Grand Final," the Knights boss said. "We've got a lot of respect for Perth, they are a quality team. They won the league title and they've got two players in great form in Shane Crampton and Robbie Puca. But we believe we are a good side as well. We'll try not too worry too much about Perth and focus on ourselves. We are fresh after a week off and believe we have a good chance." Under Campbell and his assistant Willie Kelly, the Knights have made the top five Final four times in the past six years. Their only victory came in 1998 when the club also lifted the Premier League title and the West Ham Cup in what was a memorable year for the club. Having taken our the pre-season Night Series and finished the regular season in third place, Campbell's side are keen to end their season on a high.
Like Campbell, Normanton reckons the contest has the potential to be a crowd-pleaser. "I said at the start of the year that we were the two best teams in the league, so I'm looking forward to this game," he commented. "I think we deserve another chance after losing to the Knights in the semis. We created a lot of scoring chances in that game but, as has happened to us in a lot of fixtures this season, we just couldn't put them away." The Perth coach believe the difference on Sunday will be which team wants victory the most. "At the end of the day it won't matter what you do tactically, it will be down to how much the players want it. It may come down to someone's desire or who puts in that extra yard." He may be in just his fourth full season at Perth but Normanton is already amongst the clubs most successful coaches. Under Normanton Perth have won an amazing 10 trophies and are aiming for their fourth successive top five series crown. Already this year they've taken out the Premier League crown and were runners-up to Swan I.C. in the Boral Cup.
COACH PONDERS MILLER'S RETURN
Perth Glory's Scott Miller has indicated he's ready to return to National Soccer League action following a three week absence because of injury. But the left-sided defender won't simply walk into the squad for Sunday's fixture with Northern Spirit at Pittwater Park. "I want to get back in but the boys are playing well. We'll have to see," Miller told Jonathan Cook of the "West Australian" before yesterday's training session at Arena Joondalup. "It doesn't affect my movement at all now ... I can do anything I want without any pain." Coach Mich d'Avray will wait until late before deciding whether Miller, a 200-game veteran for the club, will travel to Sydney this weekend. "I'm still chewing it over," the coach said. "It's a scenario where you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. We know what Scotty can do and how vital he is to the team, and yet we've got a defence that has conceded one goal in three games." In Miller's absence Jade North has established himself in the left back position to partner the central pairing of Shaun Murphy and Mark Byrnes with local product Jamie Coyne on the right.
MADASCHI JOINS SCOTLAND'S THISTLE (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Partick Thistle have signed Australia Under-23 international defender Adrian Madaschi. Out of contract from Serie B Atalanta, Madaschi was snapped up by Jags boss Gerry Collins after less than a week's trials at Firhill. Collins made up his mind after playing Madaschi in a friendly at Clydebank on Sunday and intends to throw the youngster into first team action immediately. "He had spent four weeks at Barnsley, who couldn't sign him and Ronnie Glavin was very impressed with him and recommended him to us," Collins told the official Jags website. "We saw him play against Clydebank where he looked very sharp and has looked very good in training as well. He has a good pedigree and has played in a World Cup final and I am sure that he will force his way into the first team reckoning before too long."
Madaschi is delighted to have won a contract with the Scottish Premier League outfit. After negotiating a release from his contract with Atalanta over the summer, Madaschi and his agent, Lou Sticca, were determined to launch the young defender's senior career in the United Kingdom. "I'm as relieved as I am excited to finally sign a concrete deal," Madaschi told www.tribalfootball.com early this morning. "I had offers from other clubs, but things just kept dragging on for one reason or another, but I kept my focus and I'm just so pleased to be joining Partick Thistle. The Jags are well known in Italy because of how well Daniele Chiarini did at Firhill in the first-half of last season. It's an honour to be pulling on the Jags strip."
Sticca paid tribute to Madaschi's determination after the youngster signed his Jags deal yesterday. "The lad wanted to play in the UK - simple as that. It was all about winning a deal either in England or Scotland and he never lost focus of what he wanted to achieve. Adrian had a short-term offer from Burnley, which didn't suit him and Barnsley manager Gudjon Thordarson wanted to sign him - but it was just taking too long for them to come out of administration. The international week fell at the right moment for us and allowed Adrian to play in a fully-fledged practice game at Clydebank. By all accounts it was a tough, gritty sort of game and Adrian proved that he could handle those sort of conditions. It's a great tribute to the lad's professionalism and application that he's won a contract with a top-flight club after leaving Atalanta before the start of the season."
FIRST DIVISION ALL-STARS NAMED
The First Division season came to a close several weeks back with Bayswater City pipping Mandurah City on goal difference to claim promotion to next seasons' top flight. With many clubs currently in the midst of handing out their annual awards (more details on the winners of those in coming weeks), www.soccerwa.com this week acknowledges those players that consistently turned on the style over the winter months with the announcement of the inaugural, unofficial 2003 First Division All-Stars squad.
MELBOURNE KNIGHTS SEEK OUT TOMICH
Western Knights goalkeeper Tommi Tomich has accepted an invitation to trial with National Soccer League side Melbourne Knights. At the end of a season in which he has already helped the club to the Night Series title, Tomich heads to Melbourne following Sunday's Champion of Champions series finale with Perth S.C. "He's the most outstanding keeper in the state," coach Ronnie Campbell told Peter Desira of Melbourne's "Sun Herald" newspaper. "He has really matured after coming back to the club from spending a frustrating season with Perth Glory, where he was not given a chance like most of the promising young players that Glory signs." Tomich made his senior debut for the Knights at the age of 17 and was a key figure in the clubs' Premier League and Champion of Champions successes of 1998. Seen as a player for the future Perth Glory signed the youngster shortly before the 1999/2000 season only to release Tomich some twelve months later. Successive seasons with Cockburn City and Bassendean Caledonian followed before his return to the Knights camp at the start of 2001.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Solidly built striker Shane Crampton claimed the Premier League Golden Boot award in his first season for Perth S.C., while big Christian Paschkewitz did likewise for Mandurah City in what was a very tight finish to the First Division season. Jake Harman, a product of the Sorrento youth system, came in as the Premier League reserves top scorer, while State Under-16 representative Mo Atak ended well in front of his nearest rival to claim the under-18's trophy. Stevica Petrovic (Dianella White Eagles) and Julio Barrendilla (Canning City) ended level in the race for the First Division reserves award. The honour of the local seasons' highest individual goalscorer of 2003 went to Southside United's Simon El Chami who found the back of the net an amazing 44 times during the winter months. All goalscorer tallies are courtesy Soccer West Coast.
Courtesy of a 21-goal winter, Crampton took out the top flights' Golden Boot by finishing streets ahead of Inglewood United youngster Louis Parkinson whose 11 goals were enough to give him the runners-up spot. Despite missing the tail end of the home-and-away campaign with a broken leg Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights) was amongst a group of six players that netted 10 times, the others being Paul Lincoln (Swan I.C.), Eugene Singeorzan (Stirling Lions/E.C.U. Joondalup), Andy Mason (Sorrento), Andy Cornmell (Bassendean Caledonian) and Andreas Oliviera (Floreat Athena). Knights captain Carl Medica was a further goal off the pace, while finishing with 8 goals were Scott Bulloch (Joondalup), Ryan Newhill (Inglewood), Michael Mirco, Johnny Mirco (both Cockburn City), Elton Holmes (Swan) and Craig Young (Fremantle).
20-year old Harman claimed the award as the reserves leading scorer with 16 goals, two more than John Greenwood of Joondalup. Close behind in joint third were Perth teammates Vlad Milasinovic and Albert Osei-Tutu with 12 goals, while big Inglewood striker Lee Haienko was a further two adrift on 10 goals. Having made his first team debut towards the end of the season Damian Catalano (Perth) ended the season with 9 goals for the reserves, which was one more than Petar Mrdja, Jason Dos Santos (both Cockburn) and Jarrod Smith (Joondalup). Knights attacker Stipan Majic ended level on 7 goals with Fremantle's Joe Liguan and Demir Arslanoski (Inglewood), and one goal behind that trio were Saul Contera (Fremantle), Michael Baczynski (Inglewood) and Farrell Hedges (Sorrento).
The under-18 scorers award was taken out by Fremantle striker Atak who ended the regular season with 27 goals, nine ahead of Phillip O'Callaghan of Joondalup. Sorrento's Dejan Gurovski came in third on 17 goals with Perth striker David Micevski hot on his heels with 16 goals. Although he left Fremantle mid-season Marc Sim finished joint fifth with Steve Worthy (Perth) on 14 goals, which was one more than Cormac Dawson (Perth). Level with 10 goals were Athena's Troy Dott and Jan Zablocki (Perth), with Rostyn Griffiths (Joondalup) and Matt Ullbricht (Swan) having found the net 9 times each. Mladen Kovacevic (Inglewood) bagged 8 goals along with Kevin Carmona (Joondalup), Justin De Abreu (Cockburn) and Gerald O'Brien (Athena).
Mandurah may have dipped out on the First Division title but 23 goals put Paschkewitz two ahead of Mohamed Komadaric (Ashfield) and Boima Karpeh (Bayswater City). Leeming Strikers young gun Lucas Whitehouse ended the winter with 19 goals and was hotly pursued by Jordan Rhodes (Mandurah) and Brian Robertson (Queens Park) on 18 goals each. Kingsway Olympic's Steven Bretti and Michael Bobridge (Mandurah) came in with 17 goals, one more than Steven Suttie (Mandurah) and The City's Mark Cox. One-time State representative Scott Broadley netted 15 times over the winter with David Rodgers of South West Phoenix a further goal off the pace. Kevin Henderson (Bayswater), Greg Newcombe (Armadale) and Alex Jankulovski (Stirling Suns) bagged 12 goals each, one ahead of Glen Hallums (Rockingham City), Dennis Lee (Armadale) and Bayswater teammates Sal Marrapodi and Andew O'Neill.
The trophy for the First Division reserves leading scorer was shared between Petrovic of Dianella and Canning forward Julio Barrendilla who both found the net 21 times during the winter. Olympic's Hill Regan ended with 18 goals to claim the runner-up spot ahead of the Suns' Slobodan Njegic and Steven Choate of Mandurah who scored 17 and 16 goals respectively. Mandurah players dominated the next four positions, Jake Loretto (13 goals), Gary Atrill (12), Steven Rhodes and Adam Boone (both 11). Dianella's Stefan Smiljanic ended the season with 10 goals along with The City teammates Scott Ferguson and Gary Kent, Josef Tomancak (Strikers) and Bobby Ristevski (Suns). A further goal off the pace were Armadale pair Peter Taylor and Darren Kingston, Mark Cox (The City), Christian Dolva (Canning) and Aaron Platten (Olympic).
Southside youngster El Chami took out the First Division under-18 scorers award with 44 goals top come in eleven ahead of State representative John Thornley who left Southside mid-season to join Fremantle in the top flight. 27-goals gave Balcatta's John Aitken third place ahead of Jack Kearns (Mandurah) on 26 goals, Jarryd Thraves (Strikers) on 25 goals and Daniel Trevisiol (Canning) on 24 goals. Three players - Simon Versaico (Strikers), Jason Maiola (Southside) and Gino Comito (Phoenix) - were a further goal behind. Strikers pair Shirash Sasikumar and Gordon Hind netted 21 and 20 times respectively to finish ahead of Luke O'Neill (Bayswater) and Daniel Narandzic (Dianella) with 19 goals. With 17 goals was Balcatta attacker Tony Canzurlo, while Zorgan Alsamani (Bayswater) netted 16 times, Stefan Smiljanic (Dianella) 15 times and his teammate Igor Novakovic 14 times. Ending the season with 13 goals apiece were Todd Dwyer, David Hall (both Phoenix), Matt O'Brien (Mandurah) and John Mansaray (Suns).
ONE MORE GAME FOR KNIGHTS VETERAN (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Western Knights stalwart Paul McVittie is expected to announce that he is hanging up his boots following Sunday's Champion of Champions series final. The veteran midfielder had intended to retire at the end last year but changed his mind. "This has been a bonus year for Paul and it would be great if he went out with another title under his belt," said Knights coach Ronnie Campbell. McVittie was part of the Perth Kangaroos team that won the Singapore League in 1994 and was an inaugural member of the Perth Glory squad of 1996/97. In a lengthy playing career he won numerous trophies with Stirling Macedonia, Fremantle City and the Knights.
STATE TEAM TO PLAY IRAQ (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
The State team's international friendly challenge with the Iraq national team, coached by former Perth Glory boss Bernd Stange, has been given the green light. The match will take place at Arena Joondalup on Sunday 16th November with an afternoon kick-off. State coach Paul Simmons is set to announce a squad of twenty players following this weekend's top five Final which will go into training next week. "I just want to make sure there are no late injuries before naming the players," he said.
PERTH COACH FINED (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Perth S.C. coach Graham Normanton has been fined after being sent off following an exchange of words with the Cockburn City coaching bench in the final minutes of Sunday's top five Preliminary Final at Litis Stadium. His comments were overheard by referee's assistant Tom Klaver and reported to referee Steve Muldoon, who sent the coach behind the fence. Normanton forfeited a $100 good behaviour bond he had been on following an incident in the Night Series in March, was fined an additional $150 - and has been placed on a further $150 bond. The Perth coach has since written to both Cockburn and Perth to apologise for the incident. The outburst occurred after Normanton, who claimed he had been provoked, approached the Cockburn bench following his team's third goal.
AUSTRALIAN PREMIER LEAGUE A STEP CLOSER
The new hierarchy of the Australian Soccer Association have taken the first steps towards formation of a new national competition with the announcement of a seven-person task force to oversee the establishment of the Australian Premier League. The task force is due to report back to chairman Frank Lowy on 1st December with submissions to join the new league expected to be called for by the end of the year. The inaugural A.P.L. season is likely to comprise of eight, ten or twelve teams with a kick-off of either late 2004 or early 2005. The task force have been asked to consider the best playing season (ie summer or winter) for the national competition along with the introduction of a second tier competition from which teams would be promoted and relegated.
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana has welcomed the formation of the task force. "This is the news we have been waiting for and takes us another giant step forward towards reform and a secure, bright and exciting future for the game in Australia," he said. "The principle of the new competition being established as a separate entity operating under licence from the Australian Soccer Association is one we heartily endorse. Perth Glory has long stated the need for an independently run, fully funded and professionally marketed national competition and the formation of this task force brings that closer. Australian soccer fans have been demanding action for decades and it is very exciting that the action is now underway."
CHAMPIONS OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND FOUR
The Preliminary Final of the Champion of Champions series threw together home-and-away season champion Perth S.C. and runner-up Cockburn City on a wet and miserable Sunday afternoon at Litis Stadium. With a place in the top five series decider against Western Knights on offer, coaches Andy Thorburn and Graham Normanton opted for a spot of mind games on the eve of the do-or-die fixture. "We are very confident," commented Thorburn via the "West Australian" newspaper. "I thought Perth looked a bit flat last week and they have now lost three in a row. I think that will work well for us." The Perth coach agreed but said his side would be focused on one thing only come kick-off time. "In fact, we have won just two of our last seven but we should have won six of them and don't think they didn't cop a blast at training on Thursday. You will see a fired up, passionate Perth on Sunday." Perth's only absentee for the outing was midfielder Rob Giorgi due to injury, while Cockburn welcomed back Jeff Bright and Shane McNally from suspension as well as attacker Dean Wallace who missed the past few weeks with an ankle complaint.
Light drizzle greeted the players as Perth got proceedings underway. The opening period produced little in the way of attractive football as the respective midfields unsuccessfully attempted to seize control of play by out-bullying their opposite number. With the rain increasing in intensity, the scrappy nature of the game became established as passes often failed to hit their mark and other unforced errors resulted in the ball being turned over with monotonous regularity. It took 14 minutes for the first attempt on goal, Aaron Cole rifling wide from distance after Boza Erakovic headed a dangerous cross from Rhys Graham clear of the 18-yard box. Two minutes later Mario De Felice lifted the ball over Perth's backline as John Mirco raced through, but goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo read play well to quickly race outside his area to nullify the attack. Cockburn's next chance came via a free-kick from the top of the area which Jeff Bright played short to John Mirco whose stinging shot whizzed just the wrong side the upright. Shortly after and down the opposite end Shane Crampton cut in from the right to weave past two defenders before a no-nonsense challenge from Steve Adam halted the attack.
On the half hour Cole propelled his side into attack with a superb pass to the top of the area which just evaded the out-stretched leg of Gareth Naven in a desperate attempt to deflect the ball past Dino Pacella who was rooted to his line. Two minutes later - controversy. Latching on to a long ball from defence John Mirco went past the last defender only to have his heels clipped by Naven as he raced through on goal, but the foul - which would have resulted in a red card - was not given and play continued much to bewilderment of the Cockburn players and staff. A few minutes later Peter Petkovich should have done much better than blaze high from 12-metres after Perth sweeper Dino Djulbic accidentally deflected a cross into his path. With the half looking likely to end scoreless, a quick counter-attack down the left saw Perth break the deadlock with a quality move. Playing his side out of defence, Todd Howarth sent a long ball down the flank where Crampton headed past Adam and made his way to the by-line before playing it square into the area for Adam Bunce to side-foot home from close-range in the 41st minute.
Perth began the second half fired up and determined to add to their tally with a string of attacks only to be let down by poor delivery to their attackers. After weathering the onslaught Cockburn pushed forward in the 54th minute through Shane McNally who played an elegant one-two with Bright to go past the defence only to scuff his shot as the ball bobbled awkwardly. Not long after John Mirco robbed Michael Icanovski of possession to embark on a weaving run than ended with his shot from a narrow angle spinning away from goal and out of reach of the in-rushing Michael Mirco. But any thoughts Cockburn may have entertained about clawing their way back into the game were put on hold as Perth launched another wave of attacks. Adam kept a cool head to thwart Crampton after he looked certain to score on the hour, a two minutes later Robbie Puca blasted over the crossbar from 10-metres in a crowded penalty box. Crampton raced on to a long ball played over the defence after 67 minutes but with only the 'keeper to beat he hesitated to fire to allow Pacella to close the angle and kept out the eventual shot. The Cockburn 'keeper was in the thick of the action a minute later to deny Bunce with a fantastic reflex save. Having quickly turned the ball over in midfield Perth streamed straight back into attack but they could find no way past Pacella who thrust out a glove to paddle Crampton's low strike around the post.
With the clock ticking down Cockburn had little option but to throw caution to the wind. Perth failed to deal sufficiently with a Bright corner from the left which fell to Domenic De Felice whose smashing volley was somehow cleared off the goal line. Scarparolo was called into action after 72 minutes when he dived full-length across the face of goal to tip a fine free-kick by the same player wide of the target. Cockburn were sure they'd equalised a minute later through Bright whose flick went past the Perth 'keeper but was ruled to be hooked off the line by Mark Pottier. In a tense finish Pacella twice foiled Crampton within minutes as the pendulum swung back in Perth's favour. Five minutes from full-time Crampton finally broke through after Bunce's shot from 12-metres was blocked by Erakovic and the Perth striker crashed the loose ball over the line. The result was put beyond doubt in the 87th minute when Crampton snared his second of the day by glancing Puca's cross from the left past the 'keeper. Following the goal celebrations Perth coach Graham Normanton was sent from the bench for a heated exchange with the Cockburn coaching staff. The southerners were fortunate not to have McNally sent off shortly after when frustrations got the better of the midfielder as he steam-rolled Howarth well after he'd played the ball.
>From a match that had a touches of everything - controversy, tension and some fine individual performances - Perth progression to next week's series decider came courtesy of a three-goal margin that belied the closeness of the two teams. Although Perth and Cockburn both struggled to get going early on, once they did find their rhythm the crowd was treated to a tight, entertaining match which could quite easily have gone either way. Puca and Bunce combined to great effect for Perth in creative roles in the centre of the park, while Crampton was unlucky not to end with more than the two goals he tucked away late in the game and . But the man-of-the-match was undoubtedly Cockburn custodian Pacella with a fantastic display of agility and lightning reflexes to continually thwart the Perth forwards, and in particular Crampton. For the southerners there were also impressive showings from Bright, who basked in the opportunity of a more attacking role on the left flank, and central defender Erakovic.
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Boza Erakovic, Steve Adam, Mario De Felice,
Josh Pescud (Dean Wallace 62), Domenic De Felice, Jeff Bright, Shane
McNally, Michael Mirco, John Mirco, Peter Petkovich (Roberto Colalillo 78)
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulbic, Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski, Todd Howarth, Rhys Graham (Stephen Willey 70), Gareth Naven, Mark Pottier, Robbie Puca, Adam Bunce, Shane Crampton
Cautions : Djulbic (22), Graham (37), Erakovic (56), Pottier (75), Crampton (80), J.Mirco (86), McNally (89), Naven (90)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Steve Muldoon
Attendance : 600 (approx.)
Perth S.C. are through to next weekend's final of the Under-18 Champion of Champions series after defeating Floreat Athena with a late goal at Litis Stadium amidst overcast conditions. In an entertaining match both team created several good openings in a free-flowing first half but neither was able to capitalise and the game remained scoreless at half-time. Perth started to gain the upper hand after the interval only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Alex Dunn and a well-organised Athena defence. The deadlock was finally broken after 73 minutes when David Micevski put Perth in the box seat. Over the closing minutes Athena threw everything into getting back on level terms but it wasn't to be as the final whistle signalled Perth's safe passage into the decider next weekend against E.C.U. Joondalup.
KINGZ NO MATCH FOR GLORY
Three second half goals have enabled Perth Glory top return from New Zealand with all three points from their clash with Kingz F.C. Played on a waterlogged Ericsson Stadium pitch in front of a disappointing crowd of just 1245, the home team had a good first half but were unable to convert a number of chances to go in after 45 minutes on level terms. Three minutes after the re-start Bobby Despotovski opened his seasons' account by knocking in a pass from Matt Horsley three minutes after the re-start. In the 57th minute an error in midfield by the Kingz saw Glory stream into attack with Tom Pondeljak, Horsley and Despotovski combining before Pondeljak extended the margin. Harry Ngata gave the hosts some hope by heading in a cross from substitute Jeff Campbell shortly after, but that hope was extinguished three minutes later when Pondeljak provided the build-up and Damien Mori the finish to make it 3-1. Post-match Glory coach Mich d'Avray admitted he had concerns about the state of the pitch, the long trip to New Zealand, the early kick-off and the tiredness. "I thought the team played much better here than against Brisbane last week," he said. "You have got to be happy with a result like that and the fact we now have seven from a possible nine points."
BAYSWATER SEEK COACHES
Recently crowned First Division champions Bayswater City are seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals to coach their reserve (under-21) and under-18 teams for the 2004 season. Next year marks Bayswaters' return to the top flight following a three year absence and the club are keen to cement their place in the Premier League by bringing on the many talented youngsters in their ranks. All interested parties are to contact head coach Salv Todaro via email@example.com or by phone on 0414 696 807.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
On a wet afternoon at Litis Stadium, Perth S.C. defeated Cockburn City to set up a Champion of Champions series decider with Western Knights next weekend. Perth were lucky not to go a man down when 32 minutes when Gareth Naven clipped the heels of John Mirco as he skipped towards goal. Four minutes from the end of an uninspiring first half Adam Bunce broke the deadlock by converting a swift counter attacking move from close range. Both teams created some good openings in an entertaining second half but it wasn't until the closing stages that Perth sealed victory with a Shane Crampton double to produce a flattering 3-0 final scoreline. In next Sunday's under-18 final, E.C.U. Joondalup take on Perth who this afternoon accounted for Floreat Athena 2-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
A spot in the Final of the Champion of Champions series is up for grabs on Sunday as regular season champions Perth S.C. take on runners-up Cockburn City at Litis Stadium from 3.00pm. In what promises to be a very competitive encounter, Perth will be eager to make amends for last weekend’s disappointing loss to arch-rivals Western Knights. Graham Normanton has played his cards very close to his chest this week with about the only thing the Perth coach has conceded is an injury cloud over dynamic midfielder Rob Giorgi. Having convincingly accounted for Sorrento last week, Cockburn will surely brimming with confidence heading into the game. The southerners welcome back from suspension Jeff Bright and Shane McNally, and have their fingers crossed that experienced defender Dusan Macura will also be available for the clash. The winner will advance to meet the Knights in the top five Grand Final at Litis Stadium the following Sunday, 19th October.
CRAMPTON AND KARPEH VOTED YOUR BEST
The West Australian soccer community have elected Perth S.C. attacker Shane Crampton and Bayswater City’s Boima Karpeh as winners of the 2003 Premier League and First Division Player of the Year awards respectively. Over the past month readers of www.soccerwa.com were asked to submit their votes for who they rated as the top three performers from the 2003 Premier League and First Division seasons. State representative Crampton took out the unofficial award for the top flight by a landslide margin, while the final gap in the First Division poll was just two votes in Karpeh’s favour. Previous winners of the www.soccerwa.com Player of the Year award, as voted by the website readers, are Branimir Mikulic (2001) and Jamie Coyne (2002). The W.A. Soccer Website would like to thank all players, coaches and supporters of the local game who submitted votes over the past few weeks.
Crampton accumulated 68 votes to take out the www.soccerwa.com Premier League Player of the Year, the striker finishing well ahead of Perth teammate Todd Howarth (51). A distant third was Western Knights Danish midfielder Claus Neilsen (36) with State teammates Aaron Cole (Perth) and Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena) joint fourth with 24 votes. Three votes adrift of the defensive pair was Scott Bulloch of E.C.U. Joondalup who just pipped Bassendean Caledonian striker Andy Cornmell (20). Sorrento captain Glen Thomas was his clubs highest placed player with 18 votes, the same number as retiring Perth midfielder Gareth Naven. 17 votes were awarded to Michael Mirco (Cockburn City) who came in three ahead of Fremantle City’s Craig Young and Swan I.C. goalkeeper Cory Hugo. Jeff Bright (Cockburn), Louis Parkinson (Inglewood United) and Elton Holmes (Swan) each received 13 votes with Simon Harland (Sorrento) and Jordan Conti (Stirling Lions) rounding out the leaderboard with 10 votes apiece.
In his first season with Bayswater 19-year old Karpeh raced away from the field in the www.soccerwa.com First Division Player of the Year poll only to have his lead steadily trimmed over the past seven days. The young striker ended the polling period with 28 votes to finish, two more than Mandurah City’s teenage sensation Jordan Rhodes who was himself just in front of teammate Christian Paschewitz with 23. One-time State representative Scott Broadley (Balcatta) claimed fourth place with 18 votes which was two more than Queens Park wing-back Lynden Pywell and Bayswater teammates Gareth Healy and Kevin Henderson. Another Bayswater player, young defender Jason Lawton, ended level on 12 votes with Mandurah’s Gary Collins. Veteran Queens Park goalkeeper Darren Williams, David Mrdja (Dianella White Eagles) and Andrew O’Neill (Bayswater) tallied 10 votes, with Queens Park sweeper Grant Learmont one behind that trio.
ATHENA UPSET FREMANTLE IN UNDER-18 PLAY-OFF
Litis Stadium was the venue on Thursday evening for two catch-up games in the Under-18 Champion of Champions series. The Minor Semi-Final between Fremantle City and Floreat Athena got underway at 8.05pm with the port side quick to assert their authority and forced their opponents on to the back foot. Fremantle's early dominance reaped reward with a delightful attacking move down the fight which resulted in a corner, Ben Howe playing it the near post where the ball was knocked on and Michael Cutri was on hand to score with a close-range header. Desperate defending preventing Fremantle from adding to the tally before, late in the half, Athena made the most of some sloppy defending to level the match. The second half started in the same way as the first with Fremantle well on top as Howe, Mo Atak and John Thronley all went close to restoring their lead. Over the closing stages Athena came back into the contest as their opponents, who had six players attend last weeks Nationals in Sydney, began to tire. A final minute free-kick pumped deep by Athena brought about the deciding goal and bring to an end Fremantle season. "It was really poor to let in two goals in the way we did," said coach Mike Tetlow after the match. "The poor command of our defensive 18-yard box really cost us dearly in our last couple of games."
Earlier in the evening E.C.U. Joondalup became the first team into the final of the Under-18's series when a penalties were needed to separate them from Perth S.C. in the Major Semi-Final. In an even first half both sides squandered several good scoring opportunities which were provided by their hard-working flank players. After the break it was Perth that played the more creative football only to be let down by some poor finishing, while at the opposite end Joondalup were limited to scattered shots from distance. With the match deadlocked at nil-all after regulation time, the northern suburbs side emerged victorious 4-2 in a tense penalty shoot-out. Perth meet Floreat Athena on Sunday from 12.45pm at Litis Stadium to find out who will take on Joondalup in the top five decider next weekend.
LONG JOURNEY FOR NORMANTON (courtesy www.perthsc.com.au)
Perth Soccer Club, Tuesday night - it’s a cold, rainy mid-July night and the head coach, Graham ‘Normo’ Normanton can be heard from the clubrooms that overlook the pitch at Dorrien Gardens as he puts his charges through their paces. Once upon a time Graham was also on the track - first as an apprentice with Middlesborough before he signed as a professional, and later moving to Hartlepool FC. Normanton first passed this way as a player twenty years ago with the Perth Azzurri team of 1983. “We didn’t win anything that year. We were told that the club was cutting costs.” Since then Normanton has gained considerable coaching experience, first as player-coach of Kingsway Olympic and following that at the helm of the Western Knights.
Nowadays Normanton is in charge of some players against whom he played with passion until he stepped over the touchline to take a coaching role. Perth veteran Gareth Naven recalls Normanton the player, “He was very quick and strong and could pass the ball accurately with both feet - and I’m not talking 20 yards, but 50 or 60 yards. He was an all round good player. He certainly puts his influence on Perth to play good soccer all the time.” Young centre back Dino Djulbic, who is highly rated by Normanton and expects him to one day play in the National Soccer League, has a high opinion of his coach. “He’s one of the best around - as a coach and as person,” said the teenager. “He talks a lot before the game and during training. He has good talking skills I guess!”
Amongst Normanton’s boyhood heroes were England’s 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore and his West Ham United clubmate Trevor Brooking. Another member of that famous England team was Middlesborough’s manager during Normanton’s stay at Ayresome Park, Jack Charlton, who made a lasting an impression on the now Perth coach. “He always said that the game was simple - a simple game made difficult by players.” Willie Maddren was also playing at Middlesborough with Normanton and both were at Hartepool at the same time. “I always remember his total honesty and that he always impressed a good work ethic on the players,” Normanton said of Maddren, another big influence on his career. “He was different from other English coaches in the fact that he wanted the game to be played on the deck - with a passing game rather than the long ball game that the English teams were famous for.”
Normanton has been in charge at Perth since May 1999 and has become the club’s most successful coach since Gary Marocchi led the club to three championships in 1991, 1992 and 1993, which added to the 1989 and 1990 triumphs of Alan Vest and Kenny Worden. However the team that Normanton inherited was second last on the ladder only managed seventh place the year before and was still suffering from the loss of talent to the newly formed Perth Glory. “We’d only won one game in seven. The morale and the belief in their own ability was at a very low ebb. It took a lot to turn around. That year the team finished eighth, but in 2000 we jumped five places to third and only three points off first place.” How did he do it? “A lot of hard work and perseverance getting the players to believe in themselves.”
“You’ve got to have the ability to manage your players so that you can get the best out of them,” Normanton said when asked to describe his job. “The hardest part is telling a player that he’s not going to make it.” A lot of potential coaches prefer to stay on the sidelines rather than face the pressures involved. This doesn’t trouble Normanton. “The only pressure is the pressure you put on yourself. You have to believe in the techniques that you put in place that will gain you results. As a coach you’ve got to want to be a winner. And if you are a winner that’s the pressure you put on yourself.” Now 43, Normanton’s ambition is to coach at a higher level and have a go in the National Soccer League, “Although the opportunity will probably be very limited,” he commented.
JONES BACK IN THE MIX AT BORO
Recalled from a loan spell at Rotherham United a fortnight ago, Brad Jones has quickly settled back into life at Middlesbrough. After watching the recent Premier League games with Southampton and Chelsea from the bench, the 21-year old was between the posts overnight as the Boro reserves squandered a 3-1 lead before losing 3-4 to a Leeds United side reduced to ten men for 52 minutes. “It was an unbelievable result,” Jones commented via www.mfc.co.uk “We played so well in the first half then we threw it away in the second … very disappointing.” Amongst the games’ talking points were a couple of debatable goals to the Yorkshire club. “It wasn’t a penalty,” Jones said of the spot kick awarded when Nick Barmby ‘went down’ inside the area. “And I think their fourth was offside, but hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes. I think our young team has held it’s own, they are good enough players, they have proven that in this league … The lads were gutted in the dressing room afterwards, they knew they had thrown it away.”
Jones went to Rotherham at the start of the season hoping to experience first team football but had to be content with playing second string to regular custodian Michael Pollitt. “I was disappointed not to have played at Rotherham,” he said. “It was going to be hard if I stayed at Middlesbrough because Carlo Nash is with us now, so I went to Rotherham and hoped to play but I played reserve league football that’s all. But it was an eye-opener, there is a massive difference between the Premiership and the First Division, I didn’t realise there was that big a gap.” A former Bayswater City junior, Jones said he is glad to be back at the Riverside Stadium and training with current Socceroo No.1 Mark Schwarzer. “It’s good for me to be understudying a ‘keeper of his stature and good for Australian to have two ‘keepers at the same club. But I know when Carlo returns (from injury) I will just have to dig in.”
GULLS TRIO LOOK AT OPTIONS
Relations have soured between Sorrento and Tony Cumace, Sean Fallon and goalkeeper Gareth Deeg. The trio, regulars for the northern suburbs club during the home-and-away season, were all absent from the Gulls teamsheet for their recent Champion of Champions outings against Inglewood United and, more recently, Cockburn City. With their contracts due to expire at the end of the season, the players are understood to be considering their playing options. 2003 was Cumace’s fifth season at Sorrento after graduating from the youth system at Perth S.C. for whom he represented the State at junior levels. Fallon, who made one appearance in the National Soccer League for Kingz F.C., scored some handy goals for Sorrento in this his second season which comes after a lengthy spell at E.C.U. Joondalup. A former Australian Schoolboys international, 25-year old Deeg played in the National Soccer League for Newcastle Breakers before heading west to spend four seasons with E.C.U. Joondalup and two at Sorrento.
S.W.C. GO FOR TWELVE AND SIXTEEN MIX
Next year’s Premier League will consist of twelve teams with the promotion of Bayswater City from the First Division. Recent suggestions that one club was to be relegated from the top flight have been proved to be nothing more that scurrilous rumour. The 2004 First Division is expected to feature sixteen clubs, the existing fifteen plus one of three amateurs clubs that have expressed an interest in joining the professional ranks. It is understood Forrestfield United, Shamrock Rovers and Subiaco City are the clubs vying for that remaining place.
TESTING TRIP TO AUCKLAND FOR GLORY
Perth Glory are in the midst of preparing for what is unofficially the most testing trip in world sport. This weekend’s journey from Perth to Auckland for the National Soccer League fixture with Kingz F.C. rates as the longest domestic league ‘road trip’ in world sport. The one-way trip covers some 5,330 kilometres, not that far short of the 5,560 kilometres covered when flying from London to New York! After midday training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Glory leave Perth on Friday morning for Sydney where they’ll stay overnight before flying to Auckland on Saturday. The match itself kicks off the following day at what equates to 7.15am Perth time. Glory return to Perth, via what will be a much-needed Sydney sleepover, on Monday morning.
FUTURE LOOKS ROSEY FOR MANDURAH (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Mandurah City president John Fitzmaurice said his club hopes to be playing at their proposed new $2 million facility by the start of the 2006 season. Application for funding will be lodged by the end of the month and it is hoped to be approved by February/March next year. Mandurah currently shares Peelwood Parade Reserve with cricket and this year had to vacate the ground about a month before the end of the season, meaning their last five games were all played away from home. “We’re very ambitious and I think we deserve to be in the Premier League - hopefully we’ll make it next season,” said Fitzmaurice. “The future looks good. We’ve got hundreds of kids coming through, we’ve got good Council support and we have a good administration.” Mandurah’s youngsters won the Under-14 and Under-15 section of the First Division Junior Champions League and were runners-up in the Under-12’s. The club’s women’s team won the South-West league, while the First Division reserves won their league and the Under-18 team ended third.
PERTH COACH WANTS SECOND GO AT KNIGHTS (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Perth S.C. coach Graham Normanton is champing at the bit to make the Grand Final of the Champion of Champions series and have another go at long-time rival the Western Knights. On Sunday the Knights progressed to the top five decider with a 2-1 defeat of Perth who have a second bite at the cherry to reach the Grand Final courtesy of having won the Premier League title. “I’m determined to have another crack at Western Knights,” said Normanton. “I still can’t believe we lost to them in the semi-finals. We created the majority of chances but just couldn’t put the ball away. I’d like another go at putting the balance right.”
Midfielder Rob Giorgi faces an anxious week in order to be available for this weekend’s Preliminary Final clash with Cockburn City. Giorgi missed Sunday’s loss to the Knights because of a thigh strain and it’s touch and go if he will be able to shake off the injury. “Rob’s availability depends on what sort of training he can achieve this week, for he hasn’t really done much in the past few weeks and I might not take a chance on his fitness,” commented Normanton. “I’ll probably rely on the same squad from last weekend - and maybe juggle things around a bit … I’m working on something different for this weekend. Anyway, it’s all up to the boys now, we’ll see what they’re made of.”
BAYSWATER’S SUCCESS BASED ON STRONG WORK ETHIC
Following a three year absence from the Premier League, Bayswater City last weekend re-claimed a place in state's top flight when crowned First Division champions for 2003. "It's a great reward and deserved recognition for all the hard work the players put in this year," said coach Salv Todaro this week. "Over the course of the season they were able to meet the challenges put before them and in the process silence a few critics who said that Bayswater weren't good enough to win the league. As a club it's a fantastic reward for all the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes by the board and other backroom staff. Along with our return to the Premier League, we have given our juniors the opportunity to play against the best the state has to offer in the Junior Champions League next year."
Having completed their league commitments, Bayswater were forced to sweat it out last weekend as Mandurah City attempted to overtake their rivals with a big win over Ashfield. Although they claimed the three points to end on level points, Mandurah's two-goal margin wasn't enough to steal the championship from Bayswater. "Our success was down to plain hard work and a talented player group that were happy and remained focused," commented Todaro. "I was very pleased with the discipline and flair that the players displayed with this year. In the first two thirds of the season we played some exceptional soccer , very exciting with plenty of goal scoring opportunities being created and some excellent goals scored. We also defended well which is evidenced by us only conceding 31 goals all the season. In the run home there were some ugly games, but the boys stuck to their tasks and our game plan to ensure that the right results came about."
The cornerstone of Bayswater's championship season was an amazing 23-game run in which they lost just once to climb up the competition standings and become established at the top of the leaderboard. As the season progressed it emerged the battle for top honours in the First Division would be a two horse race between Bayswater and Mandurah who went match-for-match right up until the end. But despite being under pressure to keep on winning, Todaro's confidence in his young squad never once wavered. "I felt that if the boys kept working hard, remained focused on their jobs and concentrated only on what we had to do then we were in with more than a chance. I emphasised to them to enjoy their game, and to work hard at training and on matchday and if they could do that then I was sure the results would go our way."
Todaro views the clubs' return to the Premier League as "extremely important" for all those associated with Bayswater. "We have first class facilities at Bayswater which are deserving of first class football. The players are a talented group who need to challenge themselves against the best in the state, and our supporters suffered when we were relegated back in 2000 so winning promotion is a way of thanking them for sticking with us through thick and thin. I have to say that we are now better prepared for being in the Premier League then when we were in 2000. We have a number of players that will be competitive in the top flight, however, we will definitely need to strengthen our squad to ensure that we are able to consolidate our position. That said, I'm not about to discuss those areas that we need to strengthen as I don't want to give too much away just yet!"
WILSON ON TARGET AT CHARLTON
Described by his clubs official website as a "lanky midfielder", Wayne 'Fred' Wilson is quietly going about the business of becoming a regular fixture in the Under-19's at Charlton Athletic. On the weekend the 18-year old scored the only goal of the home game with Ipswich Town to extend the unbeaten run of the Addicks' youth team to five games. Wilson started 2003/04 on a high, scoring the first goal of season for the Under-19 side with a curling long-range free-kick in the 3-0 defeat of Leeds United. Since that opening round win Wilson has turned out against Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, Bristol City, Fulham, Leicester City and, most recently, Ipswich. Wilson played locally for Sorrento and was spotted by Charlton scouts at the 2001 National Talent Identification Championship after which he was offered a scholarship with the London club. Last season he made 23 appearances for Charlton's Under-17 side as well as a several for the Under-19's for whom he aims to become established this season with hopes of maybe evening push for a place in the reserve squad.
CHAMPIONS OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND THREE (Perth S.C. vs Western Knights courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com)
For either Cockburn City or Sorrento, today’s die Minor Semi-Final would be their last competitive outing of the 2003 season. Played on a warm, sunny spring day at Litis Stadium, both teams were missing key players for what loomed an entertaining tussle between two very evenly matched sides. Due to suspension influential Cockburn duo Shane McNally and Jeff Bright were forced to watch from the sidelines along with the injured Dean Wallace, while work commitments kept Dusan Macura out of contention. Balancing the ledger Sorrento’s list of absentees included Steve MacDonald (overseas) and Jake Harman (injury) along with Tony Cumace, Sean Fallon and Gareth Deeg who are all currently in dispute with the northern suburbs club. Little has separated the teams in the two previous meetings this year, the first match ending in a one-all draw with Cockburn taking out the return game by a 2-1 scoreline just over a month ago.
Both teams started out cautiously with Cockburn the more productive when going into attack. John Mirco played a clever one-two with Peter Petkovich to get in behind the defence only to opt for power over accuracy and hit the ball wide of the target. A few minutes later Michael Mirco was allowed to run the ball out of midfield before chancing his luck with a grass-cutter that ended the wrong side of the upright from 20-metres. Petkovich out-jumped Daniel Cain after 13 minutes to nod the ball into the path of Roberto Colalillo who stepped past two defenders but his shot lacked pace and goalkeeper Neil Young made the save with ease. Although Jared Love was proving a handful for the opposing defence, it took Sorrento until the quarter-hour mark before threatening. Having been caught ball-watching as a Glen Thomas free-kick floated into the area, Cockburn breathed a collective sigh of relief when a well-timed Simon Harland volley flashed across the face of goal. Four minutes later the Gulls pushed forward down the right through Todd Harnwell whose low cross was stepped over by James Morgan and Harland's rising shot was acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Dino Pacella.
As the half progressed Cockburn were able to influence more of the play coming out of midfield thanks largely to the efforts of Domenic De Felice. Some good lead-up play down the right allowed Michael Mirco to go past the last defender and through with only Young to beat but a perfectly timed challenge from a lunging Richard Watson thwarted the Cockburn midfielder. A few more minutes had elapsed before Daniel Stoitis came to the Gulls' rescue with a strong tackle to foil Petkovich who had found himself in good position and with the ball at his feet. Nine minutes from the interval Cockburn's persistence paid off when Josh Pescud surged down the left and played the ball inside to Petkovich who returned the pass for Pescud to slam his shot between Young and his near post from 9-metres. Not content with taking a one-goal advantage into the break the southerners pushed forward again four minutes later through Colalillo whose delicate chip into the area was glanced narrowly wide of the far post by Michael Mirco. On the back foot for much of the half, Sorrento ended the period with a flourish of activity. Dale McCulloch's stinging shot was sensationally tipped over the bar by Pacella, and from the resulting corner Stoitis' angled header flashed just the wrong side of the back post.
The second half was little more than a minute old when Cockburn doubled their lead. Pescud swung a corner from the left into a crowded 6-yard box and John Mirco's near post flick-on was chested down by Boza Erakovic before the Cockburn captain drilled his shot under the goalkeeper from close-range. Determined to make the most of the situation, the sourtherners proceeded to bombard their opponents goal in an attempt to break Sorrento's spirit. Petkovic's bullet-like shot crashed into the crossbar and ricocheted out of play. A minute later Colalillo worked hard to tee-up Michael Mirco who scopped his shot into the waiting arms of Young from just inside the area. In the 53rd minute Pescud pushed forward before cutting the ball back to Petkovich but he too found the Sorrento 'keeper positioned to make the save. Having weathered the storm, Sorrento slowly but surely worked their way back into the game only to meet with strong resistance from their opponents well-organised defence. All too often Love and Harland were left with little support as they attempted to race onto long passes played over the Cockburn defence who, out-numbering their opponent, dealt comfortably with the danger. Only once did the tactic look like paying off, in the 62nd minute Love broke through only to have Pacella come charging off his line and boot the ball to safety.
Young was again in the thick of the action in the 69th minute, this time keeping out a goalbound John Mirco free-kick which curled around the defensive wall. With victory within reach Cockburn eased off to focus on maintaining their two-goal lead, while Sorrento upped the pace in an attempt to extend their season beyond the afternoon. With fifteen minutes to go Farrell Hedges got the better of Simon Jonas to send an inviting ball into the heart of the 18-yard box only to find none of his teammates on hand to complete the move. Shortly after a booming clearance from the back by Young found its' way to Love who threw off his marker to go through with only the 'keeper to beat, but Pacella held his nerve and turned the shot away with an excellent reflex save. A few minutes later Pacella was again Cockburn's saviour when he courageously dived at the feet of Harland after he slipped past the last defender. With Petkovich off receiving treatment for a knee injury, Cockburn played the last six minutes with ten men but never once were troubled by a Sorrento side who had by this stage run out of ideas. The final whistle signaled the end of a season that began full of promise for Sorrento only to end with disappointment for players, coaches and supporters alike.
Going on today's performance, Cockburn will take some stopping when they meet Perth S.C. in next weekend's Preliminary Final. Under the ever-vigilant eye of Erakovic, they were rock-solid at the back and confidently negated their opponents attacking thrusts with ease. On those few occasions the back-four was breached Pacella was at his brilliant best to keep Sorrento scoreless, while in the engineroom Domenic De Felice worked tirelessly on a day that Cockburn had major contributors all over the park. Not to put too fine a point on it, Sorrento were out-played by an opponent with more structure that was focused solely on victory. Unable to assert influence over what happened in the middle of the park, the Gulls lacked creativity when going forward and all too often relied upon playing a long ball game which quickly became their Achilles heal. With Cockburn creating the better of the scoring opportunities, it’s little surprise that Sorrento’s best players were the defensive combination of Watson, Stoitis and Cain.
Cockburn City : Dino Pacella, Boza Erakovic, Josh Pescud, Steve Adam, Mario
De Felice, John Mirco (Petar Mrdja 76), Simon Jonas (Marco Aleksic 84),
Michael Mirco, Domenic De Felice, Peter Petkovic, Roberto Colalillo (Mileta
Sorrento : Neil Young, Richard Watson, Daniel Cain, Daniel Stoitis, David Foster (Farrell Hedges 58), Todd Harnwell, Dale McCulloch (Shaun Bowyer 64), Glenn Thomas, James Morgan , Simon Harland, Jared Love
Cautions : Harland (39), Pescud (41)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Jeremy Oliphant
Attendance : 550 (approx.)
The Western Knights booked their place in the top five series decider for the fourth time in six years following a 2-1 victory over Perth S.C. at Litis Stadium. The game could not have started better for the Knights as a Carl Medica corner found an unmarked Luka Jukic on the edge of the area from where the teenager’s first time shot took a fortunate deflection off a defender to leave goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo with no chance of saving in the 1st minute. Going a goal down so early fired Perth into action and for the next ten minutes they stormed the Knights goal in search of an equaliser. Shane Crampton and the ever dangerous Robbie Puca combined well only for Puca to fired over the crossbar. Then following a well earned corner Crampton rose at the far post and headed across Tommi Tomich who threw out a hand to stop the ball and Claus Neilsen cleared the danger. These two combined again to keep the Knights goal in tact a little later, Puca’s shot on the run blocked by Tomich and the loose ball ricocheted to Adam Bunce who unleashed a thunderbolt that Nelisen courageously headed away to safety. The Knights created a great opening to extend their just before half-time when Leon Russell played a one-two with John Nicolaou to send an inviting cross into the path of Daniel Trim but the move was thwarted by Aaron Cole who miraculously got his foot to the ball first and happily conceded a corner.
After the Trim had a chance to stretch the Knights lead following a mis-kick by Scarparolo but the Knights attacker opted for power rather than placement and shot over the bar. Within three minutes Perth were back on level terms. Following a bizarre decision by the referee to award Perth a throw-in, the Knights were caught short at the back when a quick switch of play found Adam Bunce in the clear and the youngster advanced on goal before delivering the ball to the unmarked Puca who equalised from 8-metres after 54 minutes. However, the Knights response was immediate. Nicolaou nipped in ahead of Dino Djulbic and Scarparolo to collect Scott Devine’s cross from wide on the left, the big striker taking the ball away from goal before swiveling to curl his shot into the bottom corner from the tightest of angles. Perth upped the pace over the final fifteen minutes but, despite the continual pressure applied to their opponents backline, the Blues were unable to muster any clear cut chances on goal as the Knights held on to secure a place in the season finale. The Knights’ central defensive combination of Nielsen and Evan Wallace were outstanding throughout the afternoon while for Perth it was the lively Puca and left flanker Todd Howarth that stood out. Perth must now re-group in time for next Sunday’s Preliminary Final showdown with an in-form Cockburn City, the winner of which advance to the series Final.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THIRTEEN (Ashfield vs Mandurah City by Barry Rennie)
In just their second season with Soccer West Coast, Mandurah City have missed out on promotion to the top flight by the narrowest of margins. Needing victory over Ashfield on Saturday by five goals to rob Byswater City of the First Division title, Mandurah threw everything at the home side but were only able to score twice. In front of a huge crowd at Ashfield Reserve, Mandurah started in an attacking frame of mind that saw some desperate defending and good goalkeeping by the hosts which prevented their opponent from taking an early lead. Although Mandurah were the ones doing much of the attacking, it was Ashfield who nearly took the lead when Gary Collins conceded a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box and, in an attempt to clear the shot, defender Adam Parmenter crashed the ball into his own upright. Much to the delight of the travelling fans Andrew Rennie gave Mandurah the lead by coolly slotting the ball past the Ashfield custodian after some brilliant lead-up work between Jordan Rhodes and the tireless Collins. Despite creating four good chances, Mandurah had to be content with a one-nil half-time lead.
The second half saw some several changes to the visiting line-up with midfielders replaced by attackers as they set about increasing the lead and reducing the slender goal difference advantage Bayswater held over them. The tactic appeared to be paying dividends when Christian Paschewitz rose high above the Ashfield defence to power a header beyond the outstretched arms of the ‘keeper. The goal not only gave Mandurah a spring in their step but also clinched the Golden Boot award for Paschewitz as the competitions’ leading goalscorer, an honour taken out last year by Rennie. The visitors tried desperately to add to their tally over the remainder of the half but Ashfield were not about to roll over and time after time their young backline held firm under increasing pressure. In the end Mandurah had to make to do with a two-goal win, a result that gave Bayswater the title courtesy of just three goals over a thirty game home-and-away campaign. Having clinched the trophy last weekend, Mandurah’s reserves ended their season on a disappointing note with a 1-2 loss to Ashfield who scored twice in the first half before Jake Heathcote pulled one back after the break. The under-18 side fixture also ended in Ashfield’s favour by 1-0.
In their catch-up Round Six meeting at Kingsway Sporting Complex, Kingsway Olympic took out all three points with a 2-1 defeat of Stirling Suns. The hosts club began positively with striker Sota Iwasaki tucking the ball into the back of the net after 8 minutes, and midway through the half Adam Purcell doubled the lead when he beat Suns custodian Jason Razmovski. Ten minutes from the interval the Suns reduced the deficit as Stefan Stolevski knocked the ball past goalkeeper Kalon Tenakov to bring his side back into the match. To add a bit of spice to proceedings Olympic went down a player in the 53rd minute with the red carding of Oli Foster, but the hosts held on despite constant pressure from the Suns to register victory in their final outing of 2003. The result moved Olympic into sixth on the First Division table, although they may finish the season one place below dependent upon the outcome of the Suns Round Eighteen catch-up fixture with Dianella White Eagles.
POINTS SHARED IN BRISBANE
In front of a crowd of 3,042, Brisbane Strikers and Perth Glory played out a scoreless draw at Perry Park this evening. It took until seven minutes from half-time for the first serious shot on goal to arrive with Strikers midfielder David Pilic unsuccessful in chipping Jason Petkovic. Two minutes later Josh Rose curled his shot high from an angle. Glory's only chance of the half saw Bobby Despotovski raced onto a clever chip from Tom Pondeljak only to blast his attempt high and wide. After the break the two teams were able to conjure up a few more scoring opportunities with Damien Mori and Pondeljak both missed with chances inside six minutes of the re-start. The best opportunity came the way of the home side, a short free-kick finding Pilic whose curling shot was tipped away by Petkovic. Midway through the second half Matt Horsley rifling the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Jason Kearton only to end just the wrong side of the upright. Peter Grierson almost became the home teams saviour close to the final whistle with a dipping long-range shot that deceived Petkovic but ended wide of the target.
WEST AUSSIES STAR AT NATIONALS
For West Australia the 2003 National Talent Identification Championship have been the most successful in years with both the State Under-15 and Under-16 teams making the last four of their age-groups. The Under-16 side progressed from the group stage with just a single loss from five outings. Undefeated in the qualification stage, the Under-15's make the semi-finals with a hard fought victory over Country New South Wales in their final group game. Played at Valentine Park in New South Wales, the Nationals brings together the cream of Australia's teenage talent with the primary goal of identifying players with the potential of one day becoming national team members. It also provides players a chance to display their talents in front of scouts from Australia and overseas clubs, as well as the Australian Institute of Sport.
The West Australian Under-16 team begun their 2003 campaign with a 2-0 defeat of Country New South Wales. It what was an even opening half the team from the west had goalkeeper Tando Velaphi to thank for keeping the score level by producing two great saves. After the break W.A. began to get on top and took a deservedly lead after 64 minutes when Martin Ashworth's fine cross from the left was superbly finished by John Thornley. The goal gave the westerners more confidence and they increased the margin in the 76th minute as a deep Scott Bushby corner was spilt by the goalkeeper and Andrew Brand was on hand to score from close range. "It was an excellent result for the boys", said coach Peter Bliss. "We struggled in the first half, but the boys just stuck at it and the second half was better. A good start to the tournament." In other opening day games South Australia downed Northern New South Wales 4-0 and Country Victoria won 1-0 against the Northern Territory.
The following afternoon at 5.00pm Country Victoria were the opponents in what was expected to be a tight encounter. West Australia could not have got off to a better start, Rodrigo Aguirre finding the back of the net after 5 minutes and on the quarter hour John Thornley putting away a Scott Bushby free-kick to make it 2-0. But the Victorian's refused to conceded defeat and reeled in the margin through Jason Hill in the 36th minute with Michael Peterson putting the two side on level terms early in the second half. Martin Ashworth restored the westerners lead with a great strike after 57 minutes, and in the final minute Aguirre scored his second of the game to complete the 4-2 scoreline. The win leaves West Australia on top of the Group B table as the only team with a 100% win record. Both the other Day Two games - South Australia against Country New South Wales, and the Northern Territory verses Northern New South Wales - ended in scoreless draws.
It wasn't until late on Monday afternoon that the West Australian Under-16 were next in action, their opponents being Northern New South Wales. After a scrappy first half, a Northern New South Wales attack down the right shortly after the break put Troy Hearfield through one-on-one with goalkeeper Mark Bentley who saved well. A through ball by Martin Ashworth three minutes later found Rodrigo Aguirre who finished superbly from a tight angle to give the west the lead. With chances coming at both ends as play swung from end to end, West Australia were served well defensively by Daniel Waind and Mark Darby who worked tirelessly in restricting the opposing attackers. Maximum points were secured in the 73rd minute when a great run and cross from the left by Ashworth was brilliantly headed in by Dejan Gurovski. "The squad has gelled into a great unit," said coach Peter Bliss in praising his side after the game. "We worked really hard today, and got the rewards." In other Day Three games, South Australia thrashed the Northern Territory 7-1, and Country New South Wales defeated Country Victoria 2-1.
The State Under-16's carried their perfect record over into Day Four with a 4-0 triumph over the Northern Territory. The Territorians came close to taking a surprise lead after 3 minutes but goalkeeper Tando Velaphi moved sharply to keep out Matthew Goodwin's strike. As the game progressed the westerners began to assert their authority and in the 9th minute Mustafa Atak's cross was put away by Rodrigo Aguirre. Fourteen minutes later the lead was doubled when a cross from Sebastian Trim was expertly volleyed home by Aguirre. Scott Bushby forced a fine save from goalkeeper Matt Connole as West Australia threatened to run away with the game. Seven minutes into the second half Aguirre completed his hat-trick following a long clearance from the back by Mark Darby which Atak sent into the area. The margin became four goals in the 64th minute as Daniel Waind won West Australia a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Aguirre converted for his seventh goal of the tournament. Tim De Souza was hauled down for a last minute penalty but Scott Paterson was unable to capitalise and further increase the lead. In other games, South Australia defeated Country Victoria 2-0, while Northern New South Wales went down by the same scoreline to Country New South Wales in the late fixture.
With Wednesday a rest day for all teams, it was an under-strength West Australian side which met South Australia the following afternoon. With goalkeepers Mark Bentley and Tando Velaphi struck down by a stomach big, Under-15 custodian Daniel Agudelo took up the place between the posts for the fixture. South Australia were soon on top and took a deserved lead after 19 minutes with Kain Knauer finishing well from inside the 18-yard box. John Thornley created the west's best opening of the first half with a strong run into attack only to see goalkeeper Nicholas Crossley make the save. After the break South Australia continued to dominate and in the 48th minute increased their lead through Oliver Hales. The boys from the west fought hard to get back in the game with Dejan Gurovski shooting high before, four minutes from full-time, John Thornley converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down. The goal re-ignited the State side who almost found a late equaliser via a free-kick which Scott Bushby laid off to Martin Ashworth whose shot forced a great save from Crossley. The 2-1 win to South Australia gave them first place in the final Group B standings with West Australia runners-up. Northern New South Wales defeated Country Victoria 2-0, and Country New South Wales downed the Northern Territory by the same scoreline in the days other games.
In Friday's semi-final West Australia came up against a Victorian team which ended the preliminary phase undefeated to take out Group B. Although depleted by injury, illness and suspension, the west started the more confident of the sides by forcing several corners in the opening five minutes. But Victoria were quick on the break and in the 9th minute took the lead when Chris Aldunate's cross found Semir Sivic unmarked at the back post from where he made no mistake. It was very nearly 2-0 a minute later as goalkeeper Tando Velaphi produced a fine save to tip Alex Rojas' powerful drive onto the post before being cleared by his defence. By this stage Victoria had established control of proceedings and a great flowing move involving five players ended with Sivic shooting high when he really should have tested the 'keeper. In the 33rd minute a defence error presented a rare opportunity for West Australia as goalkeeper Ante Loncaric made a courageous diving save at the feet of Scott Bushby. Some tactical and positional changes at the interval from the West Australian coaching saw the west a more competitive proposition after the re-start, their best moves coming through Daniel Simcox who ran the ball into attack before slotting to Rodrigo Aguirre but the strikers shot was narrowly high. As was the case earlier in the game, Victoria slowly began to take the upper before adding to their tally in the 29th minute when Sivic delivered the ball to Rojas who netted. Any hopes West Australia had of getting back into the game were extinguished beyond doubt three minutes later when Sivic scored his second of the game.
West Australia battled it out with neighbours South Australia, who lost their semi-final in extra-time to Queensland, for third and fourth places on Saturday morning. The first chance of the game fell to South Australia but pacy attacker David Thornton shot just wide of the target. Shortly after Sebastian Trim and Scott Paterson combined to put Mustafa Atak clear whose shot saved was kept out by goalkeeper Matthew Walding. In the 24th minute West Australian captain Daniel Simcox directed a Kain Knauer cross past his own 'keeper but the goal was fortunately ruled out for an earlier offside call. Two minutes from the break the west went in front as Paterson's in-swinging corner was headed in by Mark Darby. Todd McSorley (South Australia) and Paterson (West Australia) were denied by the respective 'keeper's in an end-to-end second half. Dejan Gurovski shot narrowly wide before, with 72 minutes elapsed, another corner by Paterson was cleared to the edge of the 18-yard box from where John Thornley volleyed it into the back of the net. The west came close to extending the margin in the final minute as Scott Bushby's header found the target but the goal was disallowed for offside. The Final was taken out by Queensland by a 2-0 scoreline over Victoria, Chris Acaster and Tim De Silva scoring in each half.
The West Australian Under-15 squad began their tournament on a high, defeating Tasmania 1-0 in their Group B meeting. The only goal of the game came after 23 minutes when Cockburn City's Luke Eoannidis found the back of the net. Ben Howe had a couple of good opportunities to extend their lead but was unable to make the most of either chances. "A scrappy game, which wasn't helped by the windy conditions," commented coach Mike Tetlow. "We dominated the game and we should have scored more goals, but we'll take the one-goal victory." The other Day One results the Northern Territory were no match for South Australia who triumphed 5-0, and Country Queensland took out the points with a 1-0 defeat of Northern New South Wales.
At 9.00am on Sunday, West Australia's Under-15 side continued their dream start to the tournament by accounting for the Northern Territory 2-0. Luke Eoannidis was again the hero for the westerners, netting twice in three minutes early in the second half to move him amongst the tournament's leading goalscorers. "A pleasing result," said coach Mike Tetlow following the final whistle. "We played some good football on a bumpy playing surface and deserved the victory. We could have scored more goals, but we are creating plenty of chances." The win puts West Australia on top of the Group B standings alongside Queensland who defeated Tasmania 1-0. In the days other game Country New South Wales were too strong for South Australia by 2-1.
Day Three of the Under-15 tournament threw together joint Group B leaders west Australia and Country Queensland in what promised to be a very even contest. As was expected it was end-to-end action for the duration with chances coming and going at both ends of the park. With Chris Smith and goalkeeper Alex Vrteski working hard at the back for West Australia, their best opportunity came the way of Luke Eoannidis who, not realising he had more time, headed into the arms of the waiting goalkeeper. Although the game ended in a scoreless draw, coach Mike Tetlow was well pleased with the outcome against a tough opponent. "A great display today," he said. "We had our moments to win it, but we defended extremely well when it was required." The meeting between South Australia and Tasmania also ended with points shared at 0-0, while Country New South Wales romped home 5-0 against the Northern Territory.
At midday on Tuesday West Australia came up against Group favourites South Australian who started with great promise but were unable to make much of their early chances. The best opening of the first half came the way of the west as Phillip Waite's pass found Ben Howe inside the 18-yard box, the attacker turning well only to have the goalkeeper prevent his shot from crossing between the posts. South Australia came close to going in front shortly after but Scott Weidenbach's shot on the turn flew wide of the upright. It was a much more confident West Australia that emerged for the second half to dominate play but, like their opponents earlier on, just could not find the target although Howe came close with a last minute free-kick which flew narrowly over the crossbar. "I'm thrilled to bits with the boys," said coach Mike Tetlow after the nil-all draw. "We're the only side in the tournament not to concede a goal and we're one victory away from a spot in the semi finals. If someone had told me that we would be in that position before we left I would have taken it." Country New South Wales accounted for Tasmania by 2-0, and Country Queensland crushed the Northern Territory 5-1 in the days other games.
Although undefeated, the State Under-15's needed to take maximum points from their Thursday clash with Country New South Wales in order to claim a spot in the round of four. Both teams opened brightly with the first opportunity coming the way of the west as Adriano D'Adamo surged into attack only to have goalkeeper Tony Kaye make the save. It was then Country New South Wales' turn, Nathan Burns beating the off-side trap but was thwarted by a fantastic tackle by Matthew Wardle. With their third corner in succession Phillip White float the ball into the heart of the dangerzone where, in a goalmouth scramble, Stuart Hartmann put the west ahead after 20 minutes. Shortly after Fraser Marr raced away down the right and combined with D'Adamo whose cross found Luke Eoannidis but his header was well saved by the 'keeper. The Countrysiders almost leveled early in the second half through Coret Ryan who was denied by Daniel Agudeo, while down the opposite end Steven McLaughlin crashed an Adam Surjan cross against the bar as the boys from the west looked to kill off the game. Having survived a tense final ten minutes, coach Mike Tetlow celebrated with his players following the final whistle. "I'm delighted the way the boys have performed," commented. "To go through a tournament and not concede a goal and undefeated is a credit to them." Country Queensland took out the group courtesy of a 2-0 final day win over South Australia, while the Northern Territory went down 0-2 to Tasmania.
West Australia met Group A winner New South Wales in Friday's semi-final stage of the Under-15 tournament. It was a bright opening by the hosts State who quickly had the west on the back foot performing defensive duties. A corner after 15 minutes from Scott Jamieson was met by William Thorn whose header was finger-tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Alex Vrteski. New South Wales pressed again shortly after with Tayfun Buyukkopru beating the offside trap but his shot on goal was cleared off the line by Alex Darby. The second period saw West Australia in a confident mood as Stuart Hartman threaded the ball through to Ben Howe whose shot was held by the 'keeper. Chris Smith was working overtime in the heart of the wests defence as New South Wales attacked constantly. With 43 minutes gone New South Wales were awarded a free-kick just in side there own half which was sent long and Ben Vidaic headed in what would be the games only goal. West Australia tried desperately to respond with a stunning long-range strike by Matthew Wardle tipped over the cross by Nicholas Andrianakos. The dismissal of Phillip White for his second yellow card offence didn't help the wests cause and New South Wales qualified for the age group decider.
Early on Saturday morning West Australia took on Country Queensland in the play-off for third and fourth places. The Queenslanders started well and twice hit the frame of the goal inside the opening twenty minutes before seizing the advantage in the 25th minute when Judd Molea's shot on the turn fly past goalkeeper Alex Vrteski on its way into the top corner. The west began to get back into the game and a superb pass from Adriano D'Adamo picked out Ben Howe but the attacker shot wide when well positioned. The effects of a long week started to show on both teams after the break with neither able to create much in the way of scoring opportunities with West Australia's best move ending with Luke Eoannidis shooting high. Queensland emerged triumphant in the Under-15's Final when they defeated New South Wales 1-0, Brodie Ireland leaving it until very late in the game to score his first goal of the tournament.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The First Division championship will be decided at Ashfield Reserve on Saturday when Ashfield host second-placed Mandurah City. With claims that this will be the biggest game of the First Division season, Mandurah must win by five goals or more to overtake Bayswater City and claim the trophy and a place in next years' top flight. The joint highest scoring team this season, Mandurah need big efforts from star striker Christian Paschkewitz, talented youngster Jordan Rhodes and hard-working defender Damian Condo. With a top five place assured, 2003 is already a success for Ashfield for whom coach Tom Kilkelly has been able to consistently get his young squad to produce the goods on match day. Striker Muhamed Komadaric, who sits level with Paschkewitz on the scorers tables, will be eager to add to his tally while midfielder Chris McCullough and experienced campaigner David Mayers will also be key figures.
There's a mouth-watering double-header the following afternoon in the Champion of Champions series at Litis Stadium. Kicking-off at 12.45pm, Cockburn City take on Sorrento in the do-or-die Minor Semi-Final. Cockburn will be missing three key players with Jeff Bright and Shane McNally out through suspension while attacking midfielder Dean Wallace is sidelined with serious ankle ligament damage. On the flip side of the coin they hope to welcome experienced defender Dusan Macura back to the fray after a six week absence due to work commitments. State striker Simon Harland is in doubt for Sorrento due to a knee injury while Steve MacDonald (overseas), Jake Harman (ankle) and Sean Fallon have already been ruled out of contention.
Following that game at 3.00pm is the Major Semi-Final showdown between Perth S.C. and Western Knights from which the winner qualifies for the top five series finale later this month. There's been little between the rival clubs in their three meetings so far this season, each side able to claim victory by a single goal with the third match a pulsating 3-3 draw. Graham Normanton, coach of Perth, has the luxury of a full squad to select as the Blues attempt to win their fourth consecutive play-off title. Missing for the Knights will be experienced defender Alex Christie through suspension, while a late fitness test will determine whether or not talented wing-back Paul Cooke makes the matchday squad. "He's probably only about a 50-50 chance," said coach Ronnie Campbell. "Paul has a hamstring injury and those normally take two to three weeks to shake off."
NATIONAL CALL-UP FOR DANZE AND TARKA
Perth Glory's Anthony Danze is one of five new faces in the Australian Under-20 squad announced today for a two-game series with the United Arab Emirates later this month. Recently signed by Nottingham Forest, David Tarka is the other local product in coach Ange Postecoglou's 22-player squad. The full Young Socceroo's squad is Wayne Heath, Matthew McKay (Brisbane Strikers), Nathan Coe, Carl Valeri (Inter Milan), Alex Brosque (Marconi Stallions), Daniel Piorkowski (Melbourne Knights), Jobe Wheelhouse, Tom Willis (Newcastle United), Jonathan Richter, Alex Wilkinson (Northern Spirit), David Tarka (Nottingham Forest), Anthony Danze (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski (Rot Weiss Essen), Vince Lia, Massimo Murdocca, Steve Pantelidis (South Melbourne), Michael Baird (Sydney Olympic), Mile Jedinak (Varteks), Scott McDonald (Wimbledon), Dustin Wells (Wollongong Wolves), David Carney and Franco Parisi (both uncontracted). The two games with the U.A.E, to be played on 16th and 19th October, will allow the Young Socceroo's to commence their final preparations ahead of the 2003 F.I.F.A. World Youth Championship to be held in the United Arab Emirates starting in late November.
MIXED FORTUNES FOR STATE UNDER-13'S
The West Australian Under-13 North and South Development squads spent the week in Queensland where they competed in the 2003 Gold Coast Champions Cup at Carrara Sports Stadium. Playing in Group A, the Under-13 North squad kicked-off the tournament with two successive losses, going down 0-5 to Mudgeeraba in Sunday's opener and the following morning to Beenleigh by 1-3. Tuesday brought more success with a 3-1 triumph over NT Scorpions before Wednesday's scheduled rest day for the West Australian teams. The North squad complete their commitments on Thursday with a 1-11 loss to Capalaba. This year's Under-13 North Development squad consists of Christopher Harlond, Sadmir Jakupovic, Alexander Sutton (Inglewood), Ramon Amorganda, Jason Galea, Brent Griffiths, Patrick Le, Chris Porter, Adriano Rossi (Stirling Lions), Jamie Defazio, Ryan Haliday, Ciaron Kavanagh, Adam Luca, Chris Rutherford and Rowdy Yates (E.C.U. Joondalup). Team officials are Andy Ross (coach) and David Lewin (manager).
The Under-13 South Development were drawn in Group B with their opening round fixture ending in a 1-2 loss to Altona City on Sunday morning. Day Two of competition saw Gympie take out the points with a 2-4 win, but the South squad got themselves back on track with a 2-1 defeat of Murwillumbah on Tuesday afternoon. With Wednesday a rest day for the West Australian teams, the South squad completed their tournament with a scoreless with Easts Queensland on Thursday. The Under-13 South Development squad is Dane McBride (Belmont), Mark Townsley (Cockburn City), Cody Duffy (Forrestfield United), Tyrone Browne, Michael De Souza, Mason Levitt, Lloyd Padwick, Callum Roberts, Lorenzo Tambasco, Josh Wade (Fremantle City), Jack Bate, Julian DiGiorgio, Matthew Smerili, Robert Young (Perth S.C.), and Dannie Richman (Southside United). Also travelling with the team are coach Mike Brazil and Andy Wragg (tour manager).
INJURY KEEPS MILLER OUT
An knee injury means Scott Miller will wait a little longer before making his 250th appearance in the National Soccer League. "My knee is a bit worse than we thought," the one-time Socceroo told "West Australian" reporter David Marsh. "Not playing my 250th game this week is not a concern of mine, though I hate missing games and love being in winning sides with the boys." Miller missed only his second game in seven years at Glory when he was sidelined for last weekend's season opener against Melbourne Knights, and he is looking doubtful for this weekend's away trip to Brisbane Strikers. Miller, who injured his right knee in the recent friendly with Perth S.C., expects to slot into the Glory back-four for next week's game in Auckland against the Kingz.
LAZARIDIS STARS FOR BLUES
One-time Floreat Athena star Stan Lazaridis was the star performer for Birmingham City in their 2-0 win over Premier League new boys Portsmouth at St Andrews on the weekend. The Australian international created the Blues opening goal in the 21st minute, swinging a deep free-kick into the heart of the 18-yard box where Stephen Clemence poked it past the goalkeeper. Four minutes into the second half Lazaridis sealed victory by latching onto Clemence' through ball to slot past the advancing 'keeper. Lazaridis started the new English season coming off the bench for Birmingham but recent form has seen the skilful left-sided midfielder in the starting line-up for each of his clubs last three outings.
Lazaridis says that at least part of his return to form is down to the support of Birmingham manager Steve Bruce. "Steve certainly added something to my game and I feel I'm playing some of the best football of my career," he commented. "I've got older and more experienced and so I've become a bit smarter in the game. My pace is still okay and the way I look at it is that I feel I've another good couple of years left in me in the big time. I also feel happier. This is a good place to be and the manager always comes up to me in times when I'm feeling bad and says 'look, I'm right behind you, just do your stuff'. He would rather I go out there and try to beat players and lose the ball rather than not wanting the ball. Credit goes to the manager with the way he has been to me."
At his best when running at, and usually beating, opposing defences, Lazaridis has found himself coming under increasing scrutiny from opposition players as was evidence on the weekend when several Portsmouth players resorted to simply hacking him down in a bid to stop his surging runs. "I got hit a few times, but you just have to keep going," he said. "I suppose it's a compliment in some respects. Teams set their stall out and they are probably saying 'get into him and bring him down because he doesn't like it'. There were some blatant fouls, but what can you do? You've just got to get on with it, and anyway, when you're 2-0 up it doesn't hurt as much. The fans help you up as well which is good. They were chanting my name, with the hairs standing up on the back of my neck. I do sincerely love playing for this club and whatever time I've got left here, I just want to make sure I do well and help the club progress."
NATIONAL RE-STRUCTURE HAS FLOW-ON EFFECT FOR WEST
The decision late last week to shut down Soccer Australia, which will be replaced by the Australian Soccer Association, will have ramifications for all State associations - including Western Australia - as the recommendations of Crawford Report are incorporated into the constitution of the newly formed body. The voting structure for the election of the five independent directors to the board of the national body will change dramatically with the A.S.A. recognising one member body per State who will be entitled to one of 17 nationwide votes. Under the previous structure 61 votes were cast from around the country with five of those coming from the west - four via the Soccer Association of W.A. and one from the Junior Soccer Association.
All State member bodies will be asked to adopt consistent State constitutions which are to be developed and implemented in consultation with the A.S.A. over the next three months. The State member bodies are to assume responsibility for setting up a new State structure in line with the A.S.A. constitution and by-laws, and in accordance with the Crawford findings. Recommendation 35, which states "Representatives on the State council exercise one vote each", is expected to bring about considerable change to the voting structure for S.A.W.A. board positions. The Crawford Report found Soccer West Coast, W.A.A.S.S.A. and the J.S.A. each had two votes in the election of S.A.W.A. directors with the seventh vote shared between Womens' Soccer W.A., the W.A. Referees Association, the W.A. Coaches Association, Schools Soccer and Perth Glory. It is understood these eight bodies will be entitled to one vote each in the election of the S.A.W.A. board under the new structure.
GASPAR CONFIDENT OF SABAH CUP SUCCESS
Influential midfielder will have added incentive to help Sabah take out the Malaysia Cup this weekend with his family making the trip from Perth for the Final at the Bukit Jalil Stadium. Gaspar's parents and brother arrive in Kuala Lumpar on Friday ahead of the Cup decider the following evening against MPPJ Selangor. "I am glad my parents and brother will be there to support me and the team," the 22-year old told the "New Sabah Times" this week. "They want to come, and it's good they'll be here as this will only make me try even harder." While acknowledging Selangor are a good team, Gaspar says that as long as his team can play with the spirit and determination they have shown in recent outings they are capable of achieving Cup Final glory. "The team has been training hard and I firmly believe that we have a good team here," he commented. "All of us are fired up for the clash and I'm sure we will do well. I'm really proud to be part of this team."
BAYSWATER ON CUSP OF TOP FLIGHT RETURN (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
It has been a momentous season for Bayswater City president Charlie Licata who has succeeded in turning the club's fortunes around in his first year as president. Licata is currently negotiating to bring a major sponsor on board with the club. "Things would certainly be easier in the negotiations if we were to win the championship," said Charlie, who has been a long-serving member of Bayswater. "I believe we are now ready to resume our position in the Premier League. We've been on top of the league for seventeen weeks and, of course, the destination of the title is now out of our hands with Mandurah having the chance to pip us. I've got a few sleepless nights ahead of me." Licata said the club's coaching staff and most of its players planned to attend Saturday's match at Ashfield Reserve. No guesses who they will be cheering for in the clash between Ashfield and Mandurah.
POSTPONED GAME A BLESSING IN DIGUISE (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Perth S.C. would have been without two key players had their semi-final clash with Western Knights taken place as scheduled last Monday. But the rain that caused the postponement could prove a blessing in disguise for the club - and star midfielders Rob Giorgi and Adam Bunce. Giorgi had failed a late fitness test on a thigh strain and wasn't included on Perth's team sheet, but the extra week off should be enough for the pocket dynamo to overcome the problem. Bunce had been ruled out several days earlier because of a University commitments, but he is due to return to Perth on Friday and should be available for Sunday's game. "There won't be any problems about Adam missing a week's training, for he's been on a physical education course with his University and he'll have been very active ," said Perth's Graham Normanton. The Perth coach said the correct decision was taken to call off last Monday's game. "The pitch was dangerous - it was hard underneath a top few inches of mud and there was about four inches of water in the goalmouths. There's no way the game could have been played. It was still in a bad state even an hour after the scheduled kick off."
HUNTER FOR ATHENA RETURN? (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Former State striker John Hunter is the lastest name to be associated with the coaching position at Floreat Athena. Hunter had a stint with the club a few years ago following time at the helm of Inglewood United. Peter Murphy, the former Canning City coach, is another to be linked with the Athena post, which will become vacant in December when Julio Moreno leaves to become assistant coach to Bora Milutunovic with the Honduras national team.
GLORY, PERTH TRACK KARPEH (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Perth Glory are rumoured to be showing an interest in Bayswater City's teenage striker Boima Karpeh. The 19-year-old scored in Monday's 2-1 away win over Balcatta to bring his goals haul for the season to 21. He joined Bayswater from Dianella White Eagles at the start of the season, but is originally from the African country of Liberia, whose most famous soccer son is George Weah, the former World Player of the Year. Karpeh trialled with Perth S.C. last year and the Premier League champions are also understood to be keeping close tabs on his progress.
CHAMPIONS OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND TWO
Monday's Major Semi-Final clash between Perth S.C. and long-time rival Western Knights was postponed due to a waterlogged playing surface at Litis Stadium. The pitch was inspected by match and team officials shortly before the designated 3.00pm kick-off time and deemed unplayable following heavy rains earlier in the day. It is expected the match will now be played next Sunday as a double-header with the Minor Semi-Final meeting between Cockburn City and Sorrento.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIX (Balcatta vs Bayswater City courtesy www.bayswatercity.com)
Round Six of the First Division season, postponed from April, would be the final full round of fixtures in what has become a race between Bayswater City and Mandurah City to take out top honours and a place in next year's Premier League. The rain was bucketing down when Bayswater ran on to Graham Burkett Reserve for their away clash with traditional rivals Balcatta. It didn't take the visitors long to establish control of proceedings with Bobby Klenkoski bundling an Andrew O'Neill corner into the net after 5 minutes. With Kevin Henderson outstanding in the middle, Bayswater wasted no time as they searched for a second goal. Klenkoski was sent through one-on-one with Balcatta goalkeeper Colin Lees who brilliantly denied the striker only to see the ball rebound to Boima Karpeh who proceeded to net for the twenty-first time this winter. Bayswater twice in quick succession came close to extending their lead early in the second half, Henderson crashing the ball into the crossbar and not long after Karpeh hitting the upright. Following the introduction of Sam Fazzari off the bench, Balcatta slowly but surely clawed their way back into the game as their opponents tired in midfield. A swift attacking move resulted in Adrian Zonato reducing the gap with a perfectly executed chip over goalkeeper Francis Allen. With the pendulum now in Balcatta's favour, the home side brought on young striker John Aitken as they looked to equalise. And they very nearly did in the dying minutes but Aitken sprayed his shot the wrong side of the post from close-range as Bayswater's fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. Final score, Bayswater 2 Balcatta 1.
Mandurah City headed into Monday's meeting with Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve well aware that something special was needed in order to keep the pressure on Bayswater City. Trailing the First Division leader by three points but having played a game less, Mandurah's chances of winning promotion relied upon them reducing the eleven-goal break Bayswater had on them in goal difference. As such, Mandurah faced Windmills in an attacking frame of mind on a playing surface in need to some urgent attention. Playing some of the best football of their season, the southerners piled on the goals with Andrew Rennie, Christian Paschkewitz and Jordan Rhodes find the target before they were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Steve Adams after 41 minutes. Steve Choate got in on the act with a goal of his own after 61 minutes, Rennie and both bagged their second of the day shortly after and Adam Boone completed the scoreline in the 86th minute. Next Saturday Mandurah end their season with a visit to Ashfield where they'll have to win by five goals to pip Bayswater for the title of First Division champions. Having wrapped up the reserves title two days earlier, Mandurah were afforded the luxury of experimenting a little but still came away with a convincingly 6-2 win. Windmills proved no match in the under-18 game, completely out-classed and eventually succumbing 0-9 to the visitors.
Kingsway Olympic were confident of taking all three points from their final game of the 2003 season when they welcomed third from bottom Southside United to the northern suburbs. The hosts started in an attacking mood and a darting attack down the right flank was sent into the area where makeshift striker Andy Brown tucked it into the net for the games opening goal. Not long after Brown turned provider by laying the ball off to striker Sota Iwasaki who curled his shot in from long-range. The second half started with a bang as Iwasaki again found himself in sight of goal to slot past the Southside goalkeeper to make the difference three goals. The Olympic defence of Alan Nanini, Oli Foster and Jason Stern were rarely troubled and took the opportunity to push forward in the hope of getting themselves on the scoresheet. The goal of the game resulted from a free-kick which Foster sent into the dangerzone where Iwasaki, one of the shortest players on the field, leapt high to complete his hat-trick home with his first ever goal from a header. The margin really blew out Olympic goalkeeper Kalon Tenakov showed his talents at the opposite end of the field by converting a penalty, and Steven Dimitrovich made it 6-0 with a free-kick that Southside failed to clear and the ball somehow crossed the line between the posts.
Canning City went down 0-4 at home to Armadale for whom Emlyn Whetnall, Craig Anderson, Laurence Bruce and Matthew Bennion were the scorers. Queens Park were also comfortable winners in their last game of the season, downing Dianella White Eagles 3-0 at Coker Park. Rockingham City were held to a 3-3 draw at home by with Stirling Suns, while the game between Ashfield and The City was awarded a 0-0 draw on agreement between the two clubs. The clash between South West Phoenix and Leeming Strikers has officially been postponed until further notice.
GLORY LEAVE IT UNTIL LATE (by Mike Hennessey)
Perth Glory began their defence of the National Soccer League title with a less than convincing 3-0 win over Melbourne Knights at the Arena, Joondalup, on a warm Sunday afternoon. The game looked destined for a 0-0 draw after 80 minutes and only in the last 10 minutes, as many of the 9,780 fans were leaving, did Glory dominate. The first half ended scoreless with the best chances coming the way of Knights' Bill Natsioulas, who had a long-range strike tipped over by Jason Petkovic and, for Glory, Damian Mori firing into the side-netting after some fine lead-up play from Wayne Shroj. As half time approach Mori received a pass from Tom Pondeljak and cleverly turned his marker only to fire across the ace of goal. Glory should have scored early in the second half when Mori won the home side a penalty, but the striker saw his tame shot saved by Martin John. Two minutes later Pondeljak put Mori through only for the forward to hit the top of the bar with his close-range effort. It was not until the 82nd minute that Glory finally took the lead when a long throw-in from Jamie Coyne was headed back by Shaun Murphy to Mori who slotted home from close-range. A goal up, Glory continued in attack as the Melbourne side tired. Pondeljak finished a move he started by firing into the bottom far corner of the net to extend Glory's lead in the 86th minute. Two minutes later Coyne won the ball and set up a move that ended with Adrian Caceres playng a neat one-two with Bobby Despotovski before slotting home to make it 3-0. Caceres almost added a fourth when he intercepted a pass and raced through to bring a fine save from John.
POSH WANT GARCIA (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Peterborough United have confirmed they're chasing West Ham United's Australian midfielder Richie Garcia. Posh boss Barry Fry wants the versatile Garcia to play in attack and the Second Division club said yesterday: "(Barry) Fry is still trying to sign West Ham United front man Richard Garcia on-loan after tracking the Australian for more than a year. Garcia came on as a substitute for the Hammers against Cardiff City and at this moment in time, the management at Upton Park don't want to allow the 21-year-old to leave the club."
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THIRTY (Rockingham City vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Stirling Suns vs Ashfield courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com; Canning City vs South West Phoenix by Phil Unsworth)
Bayswater City travelled to Dowling Street Reserve on Saturday where they faced second from bottom Rockingham City. In an even opening spell it was the home side that did much of the attacking only to meet strong resistance from the Bayswater backline which was led well by Jason Lawton. With Rockingham able tkeep visiting forwards Boima Karpeh and Bobby Klenkoski quite, the first shot of the afternoon came the way of Andrew O'Neill whose effort from distance scrapped the top of the crossbar. Bayswater began to find their rhythm as some individual brilliance by Karpeh lead to him volleyed just wide of the goal. Five minutes from the interval the visitors broke through with a quick move down the right in which O'Neill netted from close-range. Karpeh upped his work-rate in the second half as Bayswater looked to go on with the job. Klenkoski lingered too long on the ball and was dispossessed before shooting, then Kevin Henderson's header found the frame of the goal. A free-kick by Rockingham's Glen Hallums was spilled by goalkeeper Francis Allen and, with several home players racing in for the crumbs, Henderson and O'Neill combined to clear the ensuing goalmouth sramble. The margin blew out in the final minutes with Karpeh heading in an O'Neill cross and a ricochet off Daniel Naumovski flying over the goalkeeper and into the net from distance.
Mandurah City went into the weekend knowing they had to take maximum points from both Saturday's meeting with Kingsway Olympic as well as Monday's clash with Morley Windmills in order to keep alive their slender hopes of taking out the First Division and gaining promotion to the top flight. It was a none-too-convincing display by the southerners when they ventured to Kingsway Sporting Complex for the meeting with Olympic. It took until 31st minute for Mandurah to break down the home defence and find a path to goal via Andrew Rennie. Eight minutes into the second half Christian Paschkewitz doubled the margin, but Olympic refused to give up hope and continually pushed forward with conviction. Their persistence was rewarded after 75 minutes when Sota Iwasaki was brought down for a penalty which Andy Brown converted, but within sixty-seconds Mandurah had restored their two-goal buffer with Jordan Rhodes finding the back of the net. Olympic's never say die attitude resulted in a second penalty being awarded to the host side, and again it was Brown that slotted past the goalkeeper from the spot with five minutes remaining. With Mandurah now on the back foot, Olympic threw everything into an equaliser but it wasn't to be as the visitors ran out 3-2 victors. The fate of the reserves title was decided as leaders Mandurah maintained focus to defeat second-placed Olympic 3-1 in a hard-fought contest. It was a successful trip north for Mandurah who also took out the under-18 game, by a 2-0 scoreline.
Stirling Suns were the hosts for the weekend clash with Ashfield who took just 9 minutes to opened their account as Matt Pochroj's corner was partially cleared and Wayne Culverwell hammered the ball back over a crowd of players and into the top corner. The Suns began to find their rhythm and get back into the game but could find few ways past there opponents well-organised defence of Daniel Taylor, Edin Mehic, David Mayers and goalkeeper John Vandervoet. The second half was fourteen minutes old when the score became 2-0, Brad Pochroj's throw-in was flicked on by Culverwell to Muhamed Komadaric who placed his shot past the 'keeper. The Suns continued to search for a way back into the game only to be dealt a body blow with the dismissal of Stefan Stoleski for an off the ball incident, but shortly after the hosts were thrown a lifeline when Danco Jovanoski confidently dispatched a penalty past the 'keeper. Not to be outdone Ashfield went straight from the re-start and scored their third as Matt Pochroj's cross found Komadaric who blasted in his second goal of the day from close-range. With around twenty minutes to go when Vandervoet was red carded when judged to have handled the ball outside his area, and replacement Eldin Ibrisimovic was immediately called into action with a spectacular save to keep out the resultant free-kick. The game was wrapped up when Komadaric produced a fantastic piece of individual skill in turning his marker to set up Culverwell who made no mistake from 10-metres to make it 4-1.
A weakened team Canning City competed well but could not manage to snatch a point from their home encounter with South West Phoenix. With regulars Billy Stirling (broken arm) and Shane Laing (disciplinary reasons) absent, first team debuts were handed to 15-year old Daniel Trlvisior and 17-year old Darius Krispler. With such a young team on the park, it was hardly surprising that Phoneix dominated the opening half, taking a deserved lead after 22 minutes when Jason King turned sharply to shoot into the back of the net from 11-metres. The visitors were unlucky not to go two goals up when Steve Suttie robbed Paul Van Dongen in his own half only to be denied by a good save from Robbie Meyer. Five minutes from half-time Suttie benefited from a mistake by Paul Van Dongen and this time the attacker made no mistake with a fine finish to make it 2-0. Canning were handed a lifeline just before the break when Greg Hayes pushed Paul Oliver in the back and the referee awarded the home side a penalty which Oliver converted himself. Stern words from coach Billy Watson saw Canning come out fighting for the second half which was just four minutes old when the home side were awarded a second penalty which Oliver again calmly slotted home. Three minutes later Suttie received a cross from the left and finished an easy chance to restores Phoenix' lead. It wasn't until the final minute that the points were secured by the visitors whose fourth goal came from Dennis Carr.
Despite having home ground advantage, Balcatta proved to be no match for Queens Park who ran out 5-1 winners. Glen Noblett got the ball rolling after 21 minutes for the visitors who went into the break with a two-goal buffer courtesy of a Brian Robertson strike. Scott Broadley pegged one back for Balcatta in the 67th minute after which Queens Park pulled away with further goals from Noblett, Grant Learmont and Ross Posthuma. The game at Wootton Reserve opened with a flurry as Morley Windmills' Ben Hedley netted in the 1st minute and Dennis Lee equalised for Armadale three minutes later. But that was the end of the scoring and the two teams had to be content with a share of the points at the end of 90 minutes. Leeming Strikers took the lead late in the first half against The City through Gordon Hind. With the Strikers set to take maximum points, the visiting team mounted a late charge which resulted in goals to Ben Yates and Scott Bullock in the final ten minutes, and a 2-1 win for The City. Southside United crumbled 0-5 at Walter Padbury reserve to the visiting Dianella White Eagles whose goals came from Taki Nicolaidis, Zeljko Savic (2), Robert Cibesku and an own goal.
LOWY WINDS UP SOCCER AUSTRALIA (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
A new company to replace the existing corporate entity of Soccer Australia will be formed within days to oversee the development and control of the game in Australia. This follows confirmation that Soccer Australia is in effect "broke" and unable to manage the activities of soccer in Australia. The current board of Soccer Australia believes that the new structure is the only viable way to successfully develop the game in Australia at all levels, from grass roots to international, and to lead to greater public interest and engagement with the sport. The new body will be known as the Australian Soccer Association Limited. FIFA has advised that it will recognise the Australian Soccer Association Ltd as the controlling body for soccer in Australia and the reorganization has the support of the Australian Government, through the Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Olympic Committee.
Chairman Frank Lowy said the decision to create a new entity provided an opportunity to start the rebuilding of soccer in Australia with "a clean sheet." "We can now begin a fresh relationship with the soccer community, players, administrators, governments and potential sponsors. We will develop a blueprint for the national competition which is the foundation upon which soccer in Australia will be rebuilt. Everything else flows from that. We would hope to introduce a new-look national competition in time for the 2004 season, but much work needs to be done. We need to restore credibility, and attract sponsors and other commercial partners to get money flowing into the game. I should emphasise that as the new board develops the long-term strategy for the game in Australia it will consider the importance of the grass roots aspects as well as the national league and Socceroos. The thousands of grass roots competitions that occur around the country - week in, week out - are the breeding grounds for future Socceroos and it is important that we nurture the role of community soccer."
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The pressure is back on Bayswater City who must take all three points from their away clash at Rockingham City on Saturday to keep in tact their slender lead at the top of the First Division table. Should Baywaster slip up Mandurah City, who have a game in hand over the leaders, will be well-positioned to pounce if they can defeat mid-table Kingsway Olympic. Third-placed Armadale find themselves on the road to Morley Windmills, while Balcatta will be out to upset an inconsistent Queens Park outfit. Stirling Suns have home ground advantage over Ashfield, and Leeming Strikers welcome last weekend’s big winners The City to John Connell Reserve. Southside United take on Dianella White Eagles, and Canning City are home to South West Phoenix.
At Litis Stadium on the Queens Birthday public holiday Monday, Western Knights will be seeking to avenge their Boral Cup semi-final loss to Perth S.C. when those teams clash in the Major Semi-Final of the Champion of Champions series (kick-off 3.00pm). Perth will be without talented young midfielder Adam Bunce for the match due to study commitments, but the blues welcome back to the fray experienced goalkeeper Rob Scarparolo who sat out of last weekend’s friendly with Perth Glory. Carl Medica makes his return to the Knights matchday list following a two-week suspension as defender Alex Christie is ruled after being sent off last weekend. The under-18 fixture, which pits regular season champions E.C.U. Joondalup against Perth has been postponed.
The Monday public holiday also sees the final complete round of fixtures for the 2003 First Division season. At Graham Burkett Reserve lowly Balcatta take on leaders Bayswater City as Morley Windmills play Mandurah City at Wotton Reserve. Following a disappointing start to their campaign Armadale have come good and will be out to end on a high when they travel to Canning City, while a young Ashfield team could finish as high as fourth with victory over The City at Ashfield Reserve. Queens Park have a difficult final round meeting with Dianella White Eagles, Rockingham City welcome Stirling Suns to Dowling Street Reserve, and Southside United head to Kingsway Sporting Complex for their clash with Olympic Kingsway.
JOONDALUP HOSTS N.S.L. RETURN FOR 2003/04
The National Soccer League returns to the west on Sunday as reigning champions Perth Glory take on long-time rival Melbourne Knights in what is sure to be a fiery clash at Arena Joondalup (3.00pm kick-off). The Knights have made the trip to Perth on nine occasions in the past and are yet to go home with maximum points, the most recent meeting being in March of this year when the visitors went down 3-1 at Perth Oval. Undefeated in pre-season, Glory boast a squad brimful of talent which includes local products Jason Petkovic, Scott Miller and Shaun Murphy along with eastern states imports Tom Pondeljak and star striker Damian Mori. New Knights coach Ian Dobson has brought together a very young squad which last weekend began their campaign with a 1-1 home draw with Marconi. An injury cloud hovers over key midfielder Andy Vargas who may yet take his place in the starting line-up alongside highly rated teenager Steve Pantelidis. Glory’s defence are sure to be kept busy by the likes of Peter Buljan, Anthony Pelikan and Soloman Islanders international Henry Fa’arodo. The game will be broadcast live on 6PR 882AM.
NATIONALS BECKON FOR UNDER-16’S
Flying to Sydney tomorrow is the Western Australian Under-16 State Team squad who will take their place at the annual National Talent Identification Championships at Valentine Park. Under the watchful eye of coach Peter Bliss, the squad have formed a cohesive unit over the past few months. “I have had to take the patterns of play that I feel will work against top opposition and adapt them. While I’ve based the squad around a 4-4-2 formation, I try and make sure we have players who can operate under a number of different systems. With 4-4-2 as a base we can then adapt to changing needs without radical changes to personnel. I’m looking forward to taking the boys away so that they can show how good they are on the national stage.”
To complete what has been a stellar season at club level, Swan I.C. defender Daniel Simcox (right) has been selected to captain the Under-16 team for the journey to Sydney. “It’s always an honour to be picked as a captain for your club, but to captain my State is a dream come true for me,” said the teenager. “We have a great team spirit and are looking forward to do our best in the Nationals.” Although it will be Simcox that wears the captain’s armband, the State coach expects all his players to lead by example. “I chose Danny as captain because the lads respect him and I feel I can depend on him to help me both on and off the pitch. But the majority of the squad are leaders within their own clubs - they may not be the captain but show through word and deed how to lead, have the desire to win, and support each other by being positive in everything they do.”
The State Under-16’s will battle out the preliminary stage of the tournament with South Australia, Northern New South Wales, Country New South Wales, Country Victoria and the Northern Territory in Group B. heading east to represent the State at Under-16 level are Rodrigo Agguire (Floreat Athena), Mo Atak, Mark Bentley, Mark Darby, Tim De Sousa, John Thornley, Seb Trim (Fremantle City), Martin Ashworth, Scott Bushby, Daniel Waind (E.C.U. Joondalup), Tando Velaphi (Perth S.C.), Andrew Brand, Dejan Gurovski, Brodie Martin (Sorrento), Scott Paterson, Daniel Simcox (Swan I.C.). Also making the journey are Peter Bliss (coach), Steve Coppack (tour manager) and Mark Finucane (physiotherapist). Ben Coppack (Sorrento), Leigh Perry and Danel Defazio (E.C.U. Joondalup) were part of the initial squad but withdrew due to injury.
UNDER-15’S GEL UNDER TETLOW
Coach Mike Tetlow is confident the West Australian Under-15 State team squad will do the state proud when they compete in the National Talent Identification Championship which kicks-off on Saturday at Valentine Park in Sydney. “The team has gelled well since coming together in early June,” said Tetlow. “There’s good team spirit amongst the lads but I think our main strength is our pace and the quality of players down the full length of the field. The forwards have a keen eye for goal, the midfielders are hard workers, we’ve got defenders that can pass the ball and read the game well, and behind them two excellent goalkeepers. All I ask of the players is that they play with passion, energy and a desire to better themselves, if they can do that they hopefully we will do well enough to finish in the top five.”
The State Under-15’s have come through the past few months with flying colours, losing just two of eleven warm-up games as Ben Howe, Marc Bent and Luke Eoannidis piled on the goals. Successive wins over the under-18 teams of Queens Park (5-0), Swan I.C. (3-2), Cockburn City (2-1) and Bassendean Caledonian (3-0) preceded two games with the Western Knights under-16’s which produced a 1-0 victory and a scoreless draw. Against the State Under-16’s they went down 1-3 before drawing 0-0 draw in a re-match, they rebounded from a 4-1 loss to Queens Park’s first team by triumphing 4-1 against the club side, and a 1-0 defeat of Rockingham City’s under-18 team completed the pre-tour schedule.
For the qualifying phase the West Australian Under-15 team has been drawn in Group B along side South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Country Queensland and Country New South Wales. The Under-15 squad is Alex Darby, Luke Eoannidis, Adam Surjan, Fraser Marr (Cockburn City), Ben Howe, Chris Smith (Fremantle City), Adriano D'Adamo (Inglewood United), Marc Bent, Stuart Hartman, Matt Wardle, Phil White (E.C.U. Joondalup), Robert Sciascia (Perth S.C.), Steve McLauglin, Alex Vrteski (Sorrento), Cameron Carruthers (Stirling Lions) and Daniel Agudelo (Swan I.C.). Also making the trip is Mike Tetlow (coach), Glenn Morley (manager) and Robin Horne (physiotherapist).
CHAMPIONS READY TO DEFEND THEIR CROWN (courtesy Joseph Sapienza and www.socceraustralia.com.au)
Perth Glory starts its 2003/04 National Soccer League campaign without having to play with a monkey - or, in Bobby Despotovski’s terms, a gorilla - on their backs. A sigh of relief continues to reverberate around the entire Glory setup months after that once-elusive achievement. It was a case of third-time lucky for the Western Australian outfit as it triumphed 2-0 over Sydney Olympic in last season’s grand final at a sell-out Subiaco Oval. However they will be without five starting players from that memorable day when they kick-start their eighth N.S.L. season on Sunday against the Melbourne Knights at Arena Joondalup.
Attacking midfield duo Andre Gumprecht and Simon Colosimo were both snared by a free-spending Parramatta Power, Australian under-21 centre-half David Tarka signed a $250,000 deal with English First Division side Nottingham Forest whilst fellow key defenders Shane Pryce and Jamie Harnwell opted for moves to Sengkang Marine in Singapore and Leyton Orient (since returned to Australia because of injury) in England’s Third Division respectively. “You have to expect anything really. Of course, I would have loved to have kept together those players and try to improve on that and win back to back titles,” said Glory coach Mich d’Avray. “Unfortunately it wasn’t possible and I respect their decisions. Each left for a variety of reasons. Now that nine have left, we had to start all over again and sign new players. They have come from interstate and will take time to settle into their new surroundings and culture. It will also take some time for the new guys to gel”.
D’Avray wasted no time in finding valuable replacements bombarding grand final opponents Sydney Olympic (previously known as Olympic Sharks). The results? Tom Pondeljak, Wayne Srhoj and Jade North, three exciting players who collectively, can play in midfield and defensive positions, giving d’Avray invaluable versatility for the arduous start to their season. Glory will play eight of its first ten games interstate whilst its traditional base at Perth Oval is undergoing redevelopment into a multi-purpose stadium. “There’s no doubt about it that travelling will take its toll on us”, d’Avray continued. “The harsh reality is travelling and it is a big factor for all teams from W.A., including the likes of West Coast. Hence our results of the last two seasons needs more credit than what they deserve. New Glory players are actually astounded at the amount of travelling we have to do and how much it takes out of you. This season, there will be an instance in which we’ll have only one day of training between games due to the travelling. There’s been no hype in this, just reality. It will also level the playing fields”.
On the Olympic signings, D’Avray said they are ready to go however fans must be patient with them. “Yes the new players are set. They come from a different club and are probably not used to the culture of Perth Glory just yet. It will take a bit of time to adjust, and I am hoping that they do find their feet quickly. Obviously they have big shoes to fill so there will be big expectations but the quicker they settle in the better.” Ever since Glory’s inception, Pondeljak has been a thorn in their side. When he was a Knight, he played an influential role and scored in the Knight’s 3-1 win over Perth in the last round of the home and away series at Somers Street in 1996/97 to edge Glory out of the top six for the finals. He should be a certain starter for the Glory this season and will be expected to line up in the centre of midfield.
Srhoj, the former Brisbane Striker and current Australian under-23 international, may line up next to Pondeljak in midfield, though he will be under stiff competition from youngster Anthony Danze, who has scored for the Glory in several pre-season matches, including a goal against W.A. state league title-holders Perth S.C. in last Sunday’s 5-2 win. North may occupy Pryce’s position at right full back, especially since Olympic coach Lee Sterrey played him on the right side of a three-man defence last term. “In order for Glory to be successful, we need the likes of Danze, (Jamie) Coyne and (Adrian) Caceres to come through and force a way into the team as cost cutting within the club has reduced the squad numbers significantly,” comment d’Avray. “They must be ready to do their job, and each will no doubt be paramount to the team’s potential success this season.”
Glory further reinforced their vacant rearguard by signing former Qantas Socceroo defender Shaun Murphy. Sheffield United accepted Murphy’s resignation, with the player citing family commitments as his main reason for coming home. Nevertheless, this would be a big boost for the Glory defence, as he will no doubt spread his experience and enriched knowledge of the game to the team after his successful spell in the UK. Murphy is capped 20 times for Australia and was a part of that ill-fated World Cup qualifying campaign against Uruguay two years ago. Murphy’s signing will not only be beneficial for the Glory, but for the whole competition itself because of his pedigree. Prior to moving to the UK, Murphy played 19 games in the NSL for Heidelberg and Blacktown City. “The reasons why we signed him was because of his vast experience in the game, he’s a W.A. boy, and we are hoping some of his experience will rub off on some of the younger players like Coyne, (Mark) Byrnes and North”, d’Avray said.
The other major signing for the N.S.L. champions is 304-game veteran Matthew Bingley from Newcastle United. His versatility will also be handy throughout the course of the season as he can either slot in at centre midfield or in defence. Craig Deans heads in the opposite direction to the steel city. Deans was plagued by a knee injury for the majority of last season and will be raring to go for United. Jason Petkovic will line up between the posts again for the Glory this year after a stellar season last term and fan favourite Scott Miller will play in his familiar role at left wing back. Not only is Miller a key wing defender, but he can also add extra impetus to Brad Hassell’s attacks in front of him on the left side of midfield, pending D’Avray continues with his usual 4-4-2 formation. Expect to see either Mark Byrnes or Jamie Coyne line up alongside Murphy and Miller in the defence further down the track.
Like Danze, Adrian Caceres is another youngster who will be seriously vying for regular game time this term, and after impressing many soccer pundits last season with his goalscoring exploits upon entering the pitch as a substitute, he will be looking to be a vital cog in Glory’s attacking artillery permanently. Caceres’ determination should keep Hassell on his toes. Matt Horsley will ensure the Glory is well covered on the midfield flanks by taking up the right wing role. Strikers Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski, arguably the most dangerous strike-force in the N.S.L., will once again be the Glory’s hit men in the attacking third of the pitch. Though a poor start by either one could persuade d’Avray to use back-up forward Nick Mrdja, who has impressed in pre-season. Mrdja was a little inconsistent when he did play last year and would have to improve on and maintain his form if he wants to oust either Mori or Despotovski.
Glory has also picked four players on loan from three local Premier League teams. Future stars Scott Bulloch and Dean Apelgren, both in their late teens and who both start for E.C.U. Joondalup and Fremantle City respectively, have been added to Glory’s list as they look up step up to the next level. Shane Crampton, a 27-year old striker with Perth S.C. who finished top of the scoring charts in the State league, will provide extra back-up in the forward department. Aaron Cole returns for another stint with the Glory after a couple of seasons in the N.S.L. wilderness. “They’re (the loan players) are there to bolster the squad numbers and not to make up the numbers. They will be treated the same as the other players and if they can prove they are good enough, they’ll make the squad.”
D’Avray refuses to get carried away with last season’s Grand Final success and predicted a modest target for his team. “There are two alternatives for the new season. One, keep the present squad and add to it, and two, lose several players and start again. Unfortunately we had to take the second option. This, together with other factors that can go into a season, we will do well to finish in the top six.” The Glory coach believes Parramatta Power will be standout team this season after a winter recruiting spree. The south African-born d’Avray also thinks Newcastle will be the usual well-organised and disciplined team, one that would be hard to break down, and suggests Marconi will be the surprise packet of the coming campaign. year.
KARP THE WEST AUSSIE WHO BROKE THROUGH (courtesy Janene Mar and www.socceraustralia.com.au)
Matildas midfielder Tal Karp knew she wanted to go all the way to the top with her football career and made the conscious decision four years ago to leave her home in Western Australia in pursuit of that goal. Today, she’s in the United States of America competing in her first World Cup, something she has dreamed about since she was seven years of age. When Karp made her international debut twelve months ago in Canada before the U.S. Women’s Cup, she was the first Western Australian to break through into the Matildas team since the establishment of the National Training Centre program in the eastern States. Having competed in the Women’s National Soccer League since its inaugural season for the South Australian Sports Institute, Karp’s desire to study law at university lead to a move to Canberra where she joined the N.T.C. program and also threw herself into a joint law and arts degree at the Australian National University. Now finally Karp has an opportunity to make her football dreams come true ...
"At the time, the A.N.U. was a very good law school and that’s what I wanted to study, and also if I was ever going to make it in soccer, I’d have to move, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and move away. I obviously miss my family and friends, and I miss the beach - I love the beach so it’s pretty sad not having that in Canberra. It’s unfortunate I only get to go home about once a year, but Canberra is now my home really." Canberra may now be home, but Karp hopes the path for success becomes more accessible to her compatriots back in the west. "Unfortunately when I was growing up there wasn’t much of an infrastructure in Western Australia - there were some great girls but not enough support. So about four years ago I made the decision to move over to Canberra to train with the Academy of Sport there. I was lucky enough to do that and I think that I’ve improved because of the different infrastructure definitely. So I hope that things in Western Australia can get rolling and I hear that Alistair (Edwards, elite coach) is doing quite nicely there now."
As for those law studies, Karp has needed to change her study pattern this year to a part-time format with all the training and tours involved leading up to a World Cup and Olympics. "It’s going to take a little bit longer now. I’m supposed to be in my fifth year of law and I also do arts - it’s a joint degree, but it’ll take another year or two. I think I want to be a lawyer and I’m working at Chamberlains law firm who have been fantastic supporting me through this - letting me work when I’m there and not work when I’m not, and teaching me a lot. I’ll finish my degree and I’d like to look forward to a future with them." The bold move and the sacrifices have now reaped their rewards, with Karp lining up for her first match at a World Cup over the weekend. "It’s taken a long time, but I’m really glad to be here and very proud to be standing alongside some of the really great athletes they’ve got here. I was never sure that I was ever going to make it, but it was always one of my dreams to make the national team, and I’m just really glad that I got here finally."
The anticipation and thrill one might normally experience on one’s World Cup debut turned out to be on the day itself somewhat of an anti-climax for Karp, expecting a much grander and more spectacular arena in which to perform, after all the stories of the huge following the 1999 World Cup attracted in the U.S. "To tell you the truth, I thought I was going to be really excited and really emotional but in the end I wasn’t. I walked out and I almost felt unemotional, a bit flat like, wow, this is the World Cup, is that it? We were promised thousands of supporters, fifteen thousand at least, and we went out there and there wasn’t that much of a crowd and it wasn’t as vocal as what we’d expected. So that was a bit of a disappointment but at the same time, the game was what was important, so we had to focus on that. It was a really strange feeling but at the same time I was inspired with the fact that my family came all the way over to watch and there were so many Aussie supporters out there, so that did rev me up and I was just looking forward to a good game."
"Adrian (Santrac, Matilda’s coach) went through a few speeches talking about how we needed to stay in control. He wanted us to stay fairly unemotional and not get caught up with all the razzamatazz of the World Cup. I think I might have taken that on a little too much. I was just so unemotional that I wasn’t as inspired as what I usually am before a game. So maybe next time I’ll let myself get a bit more excited." Unfortunately neither was Karp able to celebrate the occasion with a better result for the team, Australia going down 2-1 to Russia. "It was very disappointing, it was devastating for us. We thought that we really could have taken out that game and we did have the potential to take it out, we just didn’t convert the results. We made a few mistakes at the back and it cost us." The only way forward for the Australians is to bounce back and put their all into the China match on Thursday - a mighty challenge indeed, but one on which the team must now focus all its energies. "China’s an incredible opposition - we haven’t had great results against them the last two times. But having had a loss, we’re the underdogs completely now and got nothing to lose, so maybe that’s a good approach coming into the next game. We need a win and have got nothing to lose, so maybe we’ll just be able to get that."
POINTS GO TO BALCATTA IN CATCH-UP GAME
Balcatta proved too strong for Kingsway Olympic in this evenings First Division catch-up game. Both teams wrestled for control of midfield without being able to dominate in a tight opening half. The best of shot on goal came from Balcatta with Adrian Caloiero shooting just wide, Adrian Zonato’s attempt well saved by the Olympic goalkeeper and a powerful free-kick taken by Scott Broadley flew narrowly over the crossbar. Olympic also carved out some good openings as a header by Oli Foster grazing the wrong side of the post and Shane Fitzpatrick’s attempt also just wide of the target. The deadlock wasn’t broken until after the break, a Broadley free-kick which drifted into the area caused confusion in the Olympic defence and their ‘keeper by surprise as the ball came to nestle in the back of the net. Balcatta doubled their lead via a superb run down the right flank by Zonato whose cross fell perfectly for substitute Sam Fazari who, with his first touch of the game, smashed the ball in from point blank range. Finding their opposing defence difficult to break down despite applying non-stop pressure, Olympic reduced the margin with quarter of an hour to go via the penalty spot through Steven Bretti whose initial header was goalbound before being punched away by midfielder Carmello Gumina who was subsequently red carded. Content to hang on to their one-goal lead Balcatta defended well by repelling everything their opponents threw at them. In the final minute of play a baffling decision by the referee resulted in an Olympic corner, and with the danger not cleared properly an infringement in the box lead to a penalty, but Andy Brown shot wide from the spot to hand maximum points to Balcatta.
OFFERS FLOOD IN FOR NAVEN (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
The news that former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven will hang up his boots for good when Perth S.C. finish their commitments for this season has sparked a rush of coaching offers from Soccer West Coast clubs. Cockburn City are known to be one of the clubs who have approached Naven, who has also had offers from other quarters. Cockburn want him to take over the coaching reins, vacated when Mirko Jelicic went to Malaysia two weeks ago to become assistant coach at Sabah. Perth are believed to be keen to convince Naven that his coaching future lies with them, probably initially at junior level.
DOUBLE-HEADER NO-GO (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Soccer West Coast has rejected moves to play a double-header in this Monday’s Champion of Champions play-offs at Litis Stadium. Clubs had lobbied for support to bring forward the Cockburn City-Sorrento semi-final from October 5 to be a curtain-raiser to Monday’s Perth S.C.-Western Knights game at Litis Stadium. “We looked at the proposal, but decided against it and the fixtures will be unchanged,” said S.W.C. general manager Paul Tombides. “We haven’t had much luck with the weather in recent weeks with wear on tear on grounds and, with another wet day forecast for Monday, we’ve decided it would be unwise to add an extra game to the schedule.”
MANDURAH MAKE PLANS FOR FUTURE (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Mandurah City are taking strides to have a new super soccer stadium built in Mandurah - even if they don’t clinch promotion to the Premier League this season. The First Division club are currently in second spot, three points behind leader Bayswater City but with a game in hand. “If we get in next season we already have plans to improve our current ground at Peelwood Parade and bring it up to the required standard,” said club secretary Mark Russell. The drawback with Peelwood Parade, however, is that it doubles as a cricket ground during the summer and City - as has happened this year - must vacate the premises before the end of the season. The club, however, have a longer term aim - building a new $2 million soccer stadium on the outskirts of the city. “We are negotiating with the local council and the Department of Sport and Recreation regarding grants to make this $2 million project a reality,” said Russell. “There is a huge interest in soccer in the Peel region, with a boom of junior clubs, and we are convinced this facility can pay its way. Hopefully it will be underway within two years.”
FIVE IN RUNNING FOR REFEREE’S AWARD (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
The Referee of the Year award will be made in conjunction with the Soccer West Coast Gold Medal awards, which will be held at the Rendezvous Hotel in Scarborough on Friday 14th November. The whistlers in the running for the top accolade include National Soccer League regulars Angelo Nardi and Eddie Lennie along with Michael Klaver, Steve Muldoon and Patrick McCaffrey who all figure prominently at local level as well as officiating as referees’ assistants in the national competition.
UNDER-13’S HEAD TO GOLD COAST (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
The Junior Soccer Association will send their two Under-13 Development squads to Queensland for the Gold Coast Champions Cup which gets underway on Saturday at Carrara Sports Stadium. All teams participating in the international youth tournament play a minimum of four games during the round robin stage with additional matches should they progress to the final series. Last year the two West Australian teams met in the semi-finals with the Under-13 South Development squad going on to take out the age group with a 2-0 defeat of Rochedale in the final. The Gold Coast Champions Cup is sanctioned by the Oceania Football Confederation, Soccer Australia and Gold Coast Soccer.
This year’s Under-13 North Development squad consists of Christopher Harlond, Sadmir Jakupovic, Alexander Sutton (Inglewood), Ramon Amorganda, Jason Galea, Brent Griffiths, Patrick Le, Chris Porter, Adriano Rossi (Stirling Lions), Jamie Defazio, Ryan Haliday, Ciaron Kavanagh, Adam Luca, Chris Rutherford and Rowdy Yates (E.C.U. Joondalup). Team officials are Andy Ross (coach) and David Lewin (manager). The Under-13 South Development squad is Dane McBride (Belmont), Mark Townsley (Cockburn City), Cody Duffy (Forrestfield United), Tyrone Browne, Michael De Souza, Mason Levitt, Lloyd Padwick, Callum Roberts, Lorenzo Tambasco, Josh Wade (Fremantle City), Jack Bate, Julian DiGiorgio, Matthew Smerili, Robert Young (Perth S.C.), and Dannie Richman (Southside United). Also travelling with the team are coach Mike Brazil and Andy Wragg (tour manager).
SOUTHSIDE AND LEEMING BATTLE IT OUT IN THE UNDER 18'S
The First Division Under-18 competition will go down to the wire this long weekend. With two fixtures to be played by Monday to complete the league season there is only one game separating top of the table Southside from challengers the Leeming Strikers. Leeming put themselves back in the title hunt a few weeks ago when they visited Southside and took the points with a superb 2-0 win, Jarryd Thraves scoring both those goals. Interesting they haven't lost since then and neither has Southside as they prove the outstanding sides of the competition. This weekend Southside do battle against rivals Dianella White Eagles at Gosnells and then travel to Kingsway Olympic on Monday, meaning they will have to defeat two of the top five teams to win the championship. Leeming meanwhile face The City, 1-0 losers to Southside last week, at Dimond Court before facing South West Phoenix. Leeming although 3 points behind Southside have turned a large goal deficit into a 13 goal advantage and will win the league if points are level.
SOUTHEND MOVE FOR PETTERSON
English Third Division club Southend United late last week secured the services of journeyman goalkeeper Andy Petterson on a non-contract basis. With regular custodian Carl Emberson out with a calf strain, Petterson will compete with 20-year old Ryan Robinson for the position between the posts. “Andy is a very experienced goalkeeper and I know from him old as I had him in on loan when I was at Colchester United,” commented Southend manager Steve Wignall. “He did a great job for us and he will do us a treat.” Fremantle-born Petterson made his Southend debut in their 2-2 weekend draw with Carlisle United.
CALL FOR HALL OF FAME NOMINATIONS
The Hall of Fame Committee have embarked on a project to select Western Australia’s top 100 players in celebration of a century of activity by the State team. The committee, chaired by former National Soccer League referee Louis Prospero, is seeking input from the local soccer community. Nominees must have played in W.A. for a minimum of three years and represented the State between 1902 and 2002. Suggestions can be forwarded to Soccer Hall of Fame W.A., P.O. Box 444, Cloverdale 6105, or submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before Thursday 30th October. A gala event will be held next year to honour to the top 100 and a comprehensive publication will be compiled with details of their careers.
TANA EXCITED BY LOWY VISION (courtersy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory owner Nick Tana is convinced the national league will be a huge success under the leadership of Frank Lowy. Tana met with Lowy a month ago and told “West Australian” reporter Jonathon Cook that he would swap last season’s championship for league reform. “That’s how important reform is to the future of the game,” Tana said. “There’s no joy in being so far ahead of the pack. I don’t take the same pleasure that other clubs and club owners take in winning a championship. I would take more pleasure in having the game right and everyone doing it correctly both on and off the field.” He also said, “I was absolutely enthralled by what he had to say. If we achieve only a percentage of what he is thinking, we will put this game through the roof. Frank laid out his vision in a general sense. And what he saw for the national league excited me.”
GLORY END PRE-SEASON UNDEFEATED
An injury to last season's club player of the year, Scott Miller, was the only down side as National Soccer League champions Perth Glory ended their pre-season campaign with a 5-2 defeat of West Australian Premier League champions Perth S.C. Played amidst some wild weather at Dorrien Gardens this afternoon, Miller bagged the games opening goal with a cracking drive. Minutes later Tom Pondeljak doubled Glory's lead by when he finished off a sweeping move which featured a neat one-two involving Nick Mrdja. Damian Mori beat the Perth offside trap to make 3-0 before Mark Pottier pulled one back for the blues before the break. The scoreline threatened to blow out as substitutes Anthony Danze and Bobby Despotovski added to the tally for Glory, but a fantastic free-kick by Todd Howarth restored some pride for the home side. Glory begin the defence of their N.S.L. crown next Sunday when they take on Melbourne Knights at Arena Joondalup.
In a game befitting of two of the main title challengers for season 2003, an exciting game between Hamersley Rovers and University of WA finished up all square at 3 a piece at the end of 90 minutes. The only downside to a terrific game all round was the broken leg suffered by Rovers keeper Aleks Lackovic in a first half collision with UWA striker and State player Robert Benkovic. Both players never pulled out of the clash on a wet ground and Aleks sustained fractures to both tibia and fibula. Once both sides settled after Aleks injury it was UWA who went in front ironically through Benkovic whose first effort was save by substitute keeper Benstead but the follow up shot was blasted in from an acute angle. UWA were on top in the early exchanges obviously set on proving that they were worthy challengers to a Hamersley side who had just taken the week before the Premier League title for a third record breaking season in succession.However, slowly Rovers came back and equalised when league leading scorer Flavio Labbate equalised from close range. Not long after UWA went in front again when after a break the ball was swept to the far post and headed home by the UWA attacker for a half time lead of 2-1. At half time coach Mickey Brennan brought on key midfield player Alun Vernals who had an influence straight away with his passing and strong tackling. >From one of his corners it was Labbate again who scored to once again bring the sides level at 2-2.This took his seasons tally to 27 out of only 19 league games, a great effort from a player who is always tightly marked week in week out. With fifteen minutes to go UWA once again swept forward and after a few attempted clearances around the box were thwarted a shot from 25 metres out took a wicked deflection off Martin Rigby to see UWA in front again. Not to be outdone and befitting of a side that has only lost 10 league games out of the last 66 over three seasons, Hamersley equalised again with the goal of the match when Peter O'Connell swivelled onto a looping clearance about 12 metres from goal to volley the ball home for the end score of 3-3. In the end a thrilling game from both teams and one that suggests both will be at the top again next season.
In other games Murdoch University beat Kwinana United 3-0, Perth Azzurri and Canning International fought out a classic 5-5 draw. Spearwood Dalmatinac were too good for Balga, winning 5-2. Shamrock Rovers defeated Forrestfield United 3-1, while Fremantle United secured second place with a 7-0 thrashing of North Perth United. The Stirling Panthers and Colo Colo will be promoted to the WAASSA Premier Division next season, with North Perth United and Balga replacing them in the First Division. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
CHAMPIONS OF CHAMPIONS, WEEKEND ONE Cockburn City vs Western Knights courtesy www.westernknights.web1000.com)
The Champion of Champions series kicked-off at Litis Stadium on Saturday with the Elimination Final between Sorrento and Inglewood United which would bring the season to a close for the loser. The Seagulls may have taken out the early season fixture meeting between the sides but last month Sorrento required a very late goal to steal a draw at National Stadium. Today the northern suburbs side would be without several players who have been regulars over past months. Towering central defender Steven MacDonald was overseas due to family commitments with the backline was further weakened by the absence of goalkeeper Gareth Deeg and Tony Cumace, and ruled out by injury were midfield duo Sean Fallon and Jake Harman. In the opposite corner Inglewood were at near full-strength, their only absentee being defender Daniel Kovacevic, who has had a fantastic debut season at first team level, with torn ankle ligaments.
With a strong breeze in their favour Inglewood began dangerously. Michael Baczynski stretched to reach a cross from Louis Parkinson after 3 minutes but was unable to direct his header on target. Three additional minutes elapsed before a cross from the opposite flank by Scott Campbell found Baczynski who, under pressure from Daniel Stoitis, this time looped his header over the crossbar. The best of Inglewood's first half moves came in the 12th minute as Rory Mouttet whipped the ball in from wide on the left to the unmarked Fahid Albumajim who sprayed his shot high from 11-metres. Shortly after Sorrento had the ball in the back of the net via Todd Harnwell with what was pretty much their first meaningful attack, but the goal was rightfully disallowed for an Andy Mason infringement on Inglewood goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. Undeterred, Glen Thomas was the architect of the games next attack by playing the ball over the defence for Simon Harland to race onto but his low drive was brilliantly blocked by Jamie Kuzmanovich.
The battle on the flank between Campbell and Jared Love was one of the highlights of the opening half, and in the 25th minute it was Love that got the better of his opponent to swing the ball into the 18-yard box towards Mason as Taseski acted quickly to intercept. A sweeping move at the other end saw Parkinson centre to Albumajim, he in turn relayed the ball wide to the free Campbell who blazed disappointingly wide of the target. Not to be outdone, two minutes Love squandered a golden opportunity to put Sorrento ahead when he swiveled on Mason's pass only to crash the ball wide with just the 'keeper to beat. As the half came to a close it was the northern suburbs side that were the more creative. Jamie Goodman blocked Mason's shot from 14-metres and the loose ball fell to Harnwell who cleverly chipped the advancing 'keeper only to see his attempt land on the top netting. The deadlock was broken three minutes from the interval when Sorrento were awarded a dubious penalty after Mouttet was judged to have fouled Mason, and from the spot McCulloch sent Taseski the wrong way.
The second half was only five minutes old when Thomas intercepted in midfield to advance on goal, his shot from 22-metres bouncing awkwardly in front of Taseski who kept his composure and scooped up the ball. Any hopes the Seagulls faithful had of their side going on with the job were slowly erased as Inglewood wrestled control of the game and played with more conviction. With much of their moves stemming from the flanks, Inglewood were denied appeals for a penalty when Campbell's corner into a crowded area struck the hand of a Sorrento defender before being hacked to safety. In the 67th minute Neil Young made what was his first save of the day by blocking Ryan Newhill's close-range strike. The Sorrento goalkeeper was again called into action shortly after, this time back-tracking to keep a dipping long-range shot from Shaun Kilkelly out of the top corner. Having been a virtual spectator for much of the afternoon, Young came to his teams' rescue for the third in time six minutes when he literally picking Alan MacKenzie's pin-point cross from off the head of Baczynski.
As the clock ticked down and the score remained unchanged, desperation and frustration crept into Inglewood's game. Appeals for another penalty were waved away when Kosta Kalavroutziotis' powerful drive struck the hand of McCulloch, and on this occasion Kuzmanovich protested a little too loudly for referee Tom Klaver who hesitated not a moment in sending off the defender. The dismissal took the wind out of Inglewood's sails and for the remaining ten minutes it was Sorrento that dominated possession but were unable to add to their tally thanks to a fantastic display of goalkeeping by Taseski. A brilliant volley by Harland produced an equally spectacular save from Taseski after 83 minutes, and shortly after the Inglewood 'keeper was at his best in turning a fierce shot by David Foster around the frame of the goal and out for a corner. Harland unleashed from 14-metres but could only watch on as a diving Taseski parried the shot and then recovered in time to smother at the feet of Harnwell as he raced in and lined up the target.
The final whistle which came not long after called to an end what was by and large a dour struggle in which there was very little between the combatants. Sorrento supporters would have been hopeful of a strong second half showing by their team, but instead they watched an unconvincing and seemingly content Seagulls' side defend a one-goal lead. Thomas and McCulloch worked hard in the middle of the park for the northerners on a day when they star performer was left-sided defender Stoitis. After conceding a controversial penalty then having several claims for a spot kick of their own dismissed, Inglewood had good reason to feel more than a little jaded with the outcome. Although they threw everything at their opponent in the second half, Inglewood were guilty of being wasteful in front of goal and that was ultimately what lead to their demise. The distribution from midfield by MacKenzie was the catalyst for many of their attacking forays, while at the opposite end of the ground Taseski thwarted Sorrento in open play for the duration of the match.
Inglewood United : Oliver Taseski, Jamie Goodman, Jamie Kuzmanovich, Shaun
Kilkelly, Scott Campbell, Louis Parkinson, Rory Mouttet, Alan MacKenzie,
Ryan Newhill, Fahid Albumajim (Kosta Kalavroutziotis 67), Michael Baczynski
Sorrento : Neil Young, Richard Watson, Daniel Stoitis, Daniel Cain, Todd Harnwell, Jared Love, Dale McCulloch, Glen Thomas, James Morgan, Simon Harland, Andy Mason (David Foster 75)
Cautions : Morgan (31)
Dismissals : Kuzmanovich (80)
Referee : Tom Klaver
Attendance : 300 (approx.)
The weather and atmosphere were both stormy when the Western Knights played Cockburn City in the Preliminary Final at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. The first scoring chance came the way of John Nicolaou would received a terrific pass by Claus Nielsen but the Knights striker stumbled as he ran into the penalty area and Mario de Felice was able to clear. Not long after Josh Pescud sliced the ball just wide following a goalmouth scramble as Cockburn search to take the upper hand. In a match of few genuine scoring opportunities, it wasn't until ten minutes from the break that the deadlock was broken. Cockburn goalkeeper Dino Pacella mis-judged the flight of Paul Cooke's corner which Paul McVittie rifled goalward only to strike a defender, the loose ball then fell to Daniel Trim who made no mistake in smashing it over the line from 8-metres. Cockburn's chances of getting back into the game looked to have suffered a body blow when striker Dean Wallace was helped from the field with an ankle injury late it the half, however, the introduction of lively Roberto Colalillo kept the opposing defence on their toes. A clever header by Peter Petkovich left Colalillo with the goal at his mercy from 5 metres but the youngster was foiled by a terrific save from Tommi Tomich. Right on the stroke of half time Luka Jukic beat the offside trap and surged towards goal, forcing Pacella off his line and chipping the 'keeper only to watch as the ball floated just the wrong side of the post.
The Knights squandered another opportunity to extend their lead shortly after restart as midfielder Scott Devine shot wide from inside the area. All hell broke loose in the 59th minute when Jeff Bright brought down Trim, the Knights players immediately rallying around their prostrate teammate as the two teams became embroiled in an ugly melee. Calm was eventually restored by referee Ron Tully who sent from the field Cockburn pair Bright and Shane McNally along with the Knights defender Alex Christie, while Pacella and McVittie were extremely lucky to remain on the park. Despite their numerical advantage it was Cockburn who came the closest to scoring as Pescud's thunderous 75th minute free-kick from the edge of the 18-yard box was well blocked by Tomich. Within a minute the Knights delivered a fatal blow, Devine's cross from the left found Cooke who had the time and composure to chest the ball down before blasting it past the 'keeper to make it 2-0. The win tees up a meeting with Perth S.C. for the Knights next weekend when the winner will book their place in the Final of the top five series. Cockburn will get a second chance in the competition when they take on Sorrento in the Minor Semi-Final in a fortnight.
The season is over for Cockburn City's Under-18 side who were thumped 5-0 by Floreat Athena in the Elimination Final played at Litis Stadium on Saturday. In a match played in very windy conditions, it took Athena just 13 minutes before taking the lead through State Schoolboy representative Rodrigo Aguirre. Six minutes from the break Aguirre struck again to sent his side into the break with a two-goal buffer. Midway through the second half Athena's safe passage to the last four was all but assured by Gerald O'Brien. With the game now beyond their reach, Cockburn's frustrations began to get the better of them as goalkeeper Luigi Lopresti was booked for dissent, and from the resultant free-kick Aguirre completed his hat-trick with a fine free-kick from 18-metres. Cockburn went down to ten men with the dismissal of Andrew Jennings after 76minutes, and a minute later another fantastic free-kick by Agguirre which gave the 'keeper no chance rounded out the scoreline.
Appalling weather greeted the teams from Fremantle City and Perth S.C. as they emerged from the tunnel at Dorrien Gardens for Sunday's Under-18 Qualifying Final. With the wind blowing a gale, the two teams started cautiously with chances at both end but neither was able to establish early dominance. The opening goal arrived on the half-hour mark when David Micevski's corner from the left was met by Cormac Dawson who made no mistake in heading past the Fremantle goalkeeper. The port side began the second half the more confident only to find themselves two goals down when Nikita Ruravytsya doubled the margin with a low drive from the edge of the 18-yard box after 64 minutes. From there Perth never looked like letting the game slip from their grasp with Micevski adding to the tally with a well-struck shot from 13-metres and, in the final minute, bagging his second of the day from close range.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-NINE (Armadale vs Bayswater City by Adam Rucci; Canning City vs Mandurah City by Barry Rennie; Dianella White Eagles vs Leeming Strikers courtesy www.leemingstrikers.com)
Victory to Bayswater City in their away meeting with Armadale would have handed the side the First Division trophy despite there being two full rounds of fixtures remaining. The home side began confidently and took the upper hand with just 4 minutes gone as a swift counter-attacking move saw the ball find Darren Ingham unmarked and inside the area from where he made no mistake. Bayswater had several attacking forays of their own thwarted by a well-organised defence before they equalised in the 20th minute, Jason Lawton's cross into the are producing a goalmouth scramble in which Bobby Klenkoski bundled the ball over the line from close-range Not to be outdone, the reds conjured up a second goal with a quick break as midfielder Greg Newcombe found the back of the net with a close-range strike. A minute from half-time Bayswater drew level for the second time as Andrew O'Neill's corner was controversially touched in by Klenkoski to send the teams into the break on a even footing. Bayswater came out determined to go in front after the interval only to find it difficult to break down the opposing backline, although Ian Davidon should have done much better when, unmarked inside the area, he scuffed his shot wide of the target. With Dennis Lee having more influence over proceedings Armadale upped the pace over the closing stages, winning three consecutive corners before Nicholas Tywman nodded in from close-range following a superb ball in by Newcombe. Bayswater substitute Nick Stojanovski came close on three occasions before the final whistle gave the points to Armadale. The reserves match also ended in Armadale's favour by a 4-3 scoreline while the under-18 clash finished 3-3.
Mandurah City are back in the hunt for promotion to the top flight following a solid 2-0 defeat of Canning City on Saturday as Bayswater slipped up at Armadale. The visitors dominated the game against a youthful Canning line-up and would have been two goals the better inside the opening 10 minutes if not for some sloppy finishing. The home side competed well over the opening stages and had an appeal for a penalty turned down when Shane Laing's strong run into the box was halted. Mandurah eventually opened their account after 20 minutes when Steven Rhodes scored a simple tap-in from a great cross by Andrew Rennie. As the first half came to an end the visiting side should have extended their lead through Jordan Rhodes who did a lot of hard work to see two chances just go wide of the post. The second half began in much the same way that the first ended, Mandurah continually applying pressure to the home defence. In the 50th minute Mandurah extended their advantage after some excellent lead-up work by man-of-the-match Jordan Rhodes who unselfishly laid the ball off for Rennie to score his first goal in ten outings. Canning spent much of the rest of the game camped in there own half while creating only two attempts on goal. The first came via John Rodden whose outrageous overhead kick just cleared the crossbar, the other when Mick Van Dongen mis-shot after being played through by substitute Julio Barrendilla. Mandurah's reserves continued their march to the title with a resounding 5-1 victory with goals from Jake Loreto (3), Gary Attrill and Adam Boone. The under-18 fixture also ended 7-2 in Mandurahs favour.
Dianella White Eagles had home ground advantage in Round Twenty-Nine of the season when they hosted Leeming Strikers. Having lost Russell Carr to injury early in the game, the Strikers fell behind after Jimmy Stoichev found the target for the hosts. Despite these setbacks the Strikers continued to plug away and deservedly level the game when Dale Wingell got on the end of a cross after 27 minutes to head into the back of the net. The second half saw the Strikers in winning mood as they began finding holes in their opponents backline. Five minutes after the re-start their persistence paid off when awarded a penalty which Lucas Whitehouse converted to make it 2-1. The margin was extended further on the hour as the impressive Glynn Busson turned provider for Wingell who was perfectly placed at the back post to head truly. A diving header by Phil Bell that gave the goalkeeper no chance made it 4-1 with ten minutes remaining, and shortly after a quick attack down the left resulted in Whitehouse turning the ball into the 18-yard box where Craig Ruthven time his arrival to perfection and head past his teams fifth of the day. A poor decision by an inconsistent referee lead to Dianella being given a penalty which was confidently Nikola Culum to make the final score 5-2 to the visiting team. The reserves match ended with honours even at 2-2, and goals to Jarryd Thraves (2) and Kierran Summerton allowed the Strikers under-18 side to remain in the hunt for the championship with a 3-0 defeat of Dianella.
At Kingsway Sporting Complex striker Mark Cox put on an astonishing one-man show as The City ran away with their home match against Southside United. The City got off to a flying start with Gareth Davies finding the net after 7 minutes and Cox bagging the first of his six-goal haul shortly after. Southside's Craig Innes reduced the gap in the 17th minute only to have Jason Hope restored the two-goal buffer four minutes later. The margin blew out to 4-1 when Cox slotted home four minutes from the break. The second half saw Cox in fantastic form in front of goal, adding to the tally in the 53rd, 56th and 59th minutes before ending his spree eight minutes later. The win, the ninth of The City's debut season, elevates the club to eleventh on the First Division table. In the reserves, The City thumped their opponent 6-0 to remain fourth on the standings. Southside claimed the points from the under-18 fixture by a 1-0 scoreline which was enough to keep them three points clear of Leeming Strikers at the top of the standings with two games remaining.
Ashfield cruised to victory by 4-0 over Balcatta at Ashfield Reserve. Mohammed Komadaric got the home team off to a great start by netting after 10 minutes, Chris McCullogh doubled the lead nine minutes from the break with Komadaric adding his second shortly after. Brendan Wilkinson completed the scoring in the 74th minute. Stirling Suns went into the half-time break a goal down to Queens Park for whom Linden Pywell found the target after 34 minutes. But goals in a devastating twelve minutes burst from Billy Ristevski, Danco Jovanovski and Orkun Ozturk put the Suns in command before Luay Alkatib reduced the deficit in the final minute of play. South West Phoenix were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Kingsway Olympic, and Morley Windmills crashed 0-3 to Rockingham City at Wotton Reserve.
SOCCER AUSTRALIA ON LAST LEGS (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
The Frank Lowy led board of Soccer Australia is beginning plans to wind up the company and launch a new entity to run Australian football. The new company will allow the Lowy board to review all existing commercial contracts and bring in new ones. It will also allow changes in the game's constitution, as demanded by the Federal Government enquiry. "There is absolutely no certainty we could have got money for the old entity, or implemented the Crawford Report," Lowy told the "Sydney Morning Herald". "There were certain other elements - old deals and so on - that were stifling the company going forward, so we decided we can't do business this way." The Federal government and also FIFA are both backing the move, which will lessen the power the states have on the running of the game.
Lowy also confirmed that a newly launched domestic competition is still on track for 2004/05. "We look at this year as a transitional season," he said. "We hope to put a new national league in place for next year which will ensure there are financially viable clubs, the structure is right, that the proper leadership and sponsorship is in place. And that we can play the game attractively. Basically, what we want is that we have - whatever number of teams there are - they are in a good location, they have a ground where they can play, that they have players. We will invite players back from overseas, hopefully to provide them with rewards which are commensurate with Australian living standards. They will earn a good living. Probably we'll ask for expressions of interest in the New Year. Obviously, if it can be done in Perth, it can be done in other places."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The season is over for Inglewood United who were eliminated from the Champion of Champions series 1-0 by Sorrento on Saturday. A penalty converted by Dale McCulloch three minutes from half-time was all that separated the teams, but Inglewood should feel aggrieved after having three separate penalty appeals turned down by the referee in the second half. The following afternoon Western Knights defeated Cockburn City 2-0 amidst trying conditions at Dorrien Gardens. Daniel Trim put the Knights in front after 36 minutes but it wasn't until close to full-time that the result was sealed with Paul Cooke adding his teams' second. Floreat Athena eliminated Cockburn City from the under-18's finals by a 5-0 scoreline on Saturday, while Perth S.C. downed Fremantle City 4-0 the following day.
The race for the First Division title will come down to the final weekend of the season following Saturday's dramatic round of games. With two game to go, leaders Bayswater City have had their lead trimmed to three points as a result of a 2-3 away loss at Armadale as Mandurah City, who have a game in hand over Bayswater, won 2-0 at Canning City. Queens Park went down 2-3 at Stirling Suns, Ashfield hit four past Balcatta without reply, and it ended 1-1 when South West Phoenix met Kingsway Olympic. The City thumped Southside United 8-1, Leeming Strikers upset Dianella White Eagles by 5-2, and Morley Windmills crashed 0-3 at home to Rockingham City.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Champion of Champions series gets underway this weekend with fixtures at Litis Stadium and Dorrien Gardens. It's curtains for the loser on Saturday as Inglewood United and Sorrento go head-to-head at Litis Stadium in the Elimination Finals (kick-off 3.00pm). Both teams will be without key players for the game, young Inglewood defender Daniel Kovacevic has been ruled out with a serious ankle injury while Steve MacDonald will be missing from the Seagulls line-up to family commitments. The fixture is preceded at 1.00pm by the under-18 Elimination Final between Floreat Athena and Cockburn City.
The action switched to Dorrien Gardens on Sunday for the top five series' Qualifying Final. The day kicks-off at 11.30am with the tempting under-18 showdown between Fremantle City and Perth S.C. Following at 1.45pm, a full-strength Cockburn City side under the guidance of caretaker coach Andy Thornburn come up against Western Knights. Missing from the Knights line-up will be captain Carl Medica due to suspension, although defenders Ivan Zuvela and Evan Wallace come back in contention following injury. At 4.00pm Premier League champions Perth S.C. play National Soccer League outfit Perth Glory in a friendly.
There's a full round of First Division fixtures on Saturday with the match of the day taking place at Alfred Skeet Oval between third-placed Armadale and league leaders Bayswater City. Canning City will find the going difficult despite home ground advantage over Mandurah City, Stirling Suns take on Queens Park, and Kingsway Olympic travel to Bunbury to play South West Phoenix. Dianella White Eagles welcome Leeming Strikers to Dianella Reserve, while down the road at Wotton Reserve it's Morley Windmills against Rockingham City. Balcatta are on the road to Ashfield, and The City meet near-neighbour Southside United at Kingsway Sporting Complex.
WORLD CUP BERTH LOOMS FOR KARP
Hard working midfielder Tal Karp featured prominently for the Australian national team in each of their five warm-up games for the Women's World Cup Finals which are being staged in the United States next week. It was an illness depleted Matilda's side which started their five-game tour with successive 0-2 losses to China, ranked fourth in the world, with Karp seeing out the full 90 minutes of both encounters. The national squad then headed to Great Britain where the 21-year old was in the starting line-up of Australia's 0-1 loss to England as well as the 1-0 defeat of Scotland. Los Angeles was the venue for Monday's friendly with Canada, who claimed victory 0-2, against whom Karp again featured in the starting eleven. Since making her senior international debut twelve months ago when she became the first West Australia field player for the Matildas since 1996, Karp has represented Australia on 17 occasions with two goals to her credit.
VERY LITTLE SEPARATES TOP FIVE
This weekend sees the commencement of what promises to be a very evenly contested Champion of Champions series. A couple of months back the smart money was on Perth S.C. and Sorrento to fight it out for top honours in the end of season play-offs, but over the closing weeks of the season both teams stumbled when they were expected to take maximum points and were reeled back in by the remainder of the field. At the same time Cockburn City, Western Knights and Inglewood United all performed strongly to stake their claim to finals silverware. With each of the five competitors capable of beating each other on their day, it is shaping up to be a very intriguing end to season 2003 ...
Although they sat proudly atop the Premier League table since the opening round of the season, some indifferent recent form has lead many to question whether or not Graham Normanton's side have it in them to make it back-to-back Champions of Champions titles. While they possess a poor record against the other finalists (won 3, drew 1, lost 4), Perth have quality in every position and will be focused on ending the playing careers of Gareth Naven, Stephen Willey and Vince Tana on a high. Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski and goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo have formed the backbone of one of the more intimidating defences in the local game. At the age of 34 Naven continues to be an inspiration for all, while the silky skills of left wingback Todd Howarth dazzle and confuse even the best of defences. Undoubtedly the signing of the summer was that of striker Shane Crampton whose netted close to thirty times already this year. On their day Perth and the best team in Western Australian by a country mile and they'll be keen as mustard to prove their detractors wrong and lift the silverware following next months final.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of 2003 has been the superb form of Cockburn City, whom many were eager to write-off in pre-season. After a poor start to the year, the southerners burst into life following the coaching appointment of Mirko Jelicic to win eleven and draw three of their last fifteen home-and-away outings. Cockburn's strength lies in a rock-solid defence which has conceded at a rate of less than one goal a game, and features the talents of Jeff Bright, Boza Erakovic, Dusan Macura. The seven cleans kept by goalkeeper Dino Pacella played a major role in them finishing the League campaign as runners-up to Perth, and the addition of John and Michael Mirco has provided the team with an extra dimension out wide and in attack. Cockburn's record against the other finalists is the best of the five (won 4, drew 2, lost 2) and alone lends considerable weight to suggestions the club will claim their first trophy since the 1995 D'Orsogna Cup when known as Spearwood Dalmatinac.
One side that will be focused for the play-off series is Western Knights who are eager to make up for their controversial exit from the Boral Cup earlier this month. While their record against the other finalists isn't the greatest (won 2, drew 2, lost 4) the Knights went the final month of the regular season without defeat to storm into third on the final standings. Goalkeeper Tommi Tomich has this year produced the best form of his career and has found strong backing in a watertight defence which regularly features State player Leon Russell and seasoned campaigner Alex Christie. The midfield partnership of Paul McVittie, Claus Neilsen and teenage sensation Luka Jukic has been instrument in their drive towards a play-off berth. While the goals may not have exactly flowed freely for the club in 2003, the Knights are never one to underestimate and coach Ronnie Campbell is sure to have his players tuned to peak performance and ready, willing and able to go all the way to the series decider.
They may have one of the most experienced squads in the local game, but Sorrento's form over the past few months has been anything but convincing. Their position on the table at the seasons' half way stage should have had the northern suburbs side challenging Perth for regular season honours, however, an inability to take out maximum points saw them slip down the standings and into fifth place. Crucial to Sorrento's chance of regaining lost pride will be the form of Todd Harnwell and captain Glen Thomas - if they are firing on all cylinders the Seagulls will be tough to stop. While their goals have come from a variety of players, Andy Mason and Simon Harland have lead the way in attack. Former National Soccer League player Richard Watson has played a leading role in the centre of a defence which also features the versatile Tony Cumace. As the second highest scoring team in the regular season Sorrento are capable of matching it with the other finals contenders, as their record against those clubs shows (won 3, drew 3, lost 2), but the jury is still out on whether they can be a force over coming weeks.
Only the very brave - or the criminally insane - would have been willing to put money on Inglewood United to make the finals at the halfway stage of the regular season. Sitting seventh and losing further ground each week, the clubs fortunes took a turn for the better with the arrival of Eddy Hodgkinson as coach. Inglewood ended the season in sensational form, winning five and drawing two of their last eight games, including a 2-1 final round defeat of Perth, to finish fourth. Although they'll see anything from here as a bonus, the club have a good record against the other finalists (won 3, drew 2, lost 3) and do possess the talent to go all the way. In 19-year old Louis Parkinson they have one of the state's most lethal strikers and with the likes of Ryan Newhill, Kosta Kalavroutziotis and Alan MacKenzie supplying the ammunition opposing defences had best be on their guard. Daniel Kovacevic's absence due to an ankle injury will be noticed during the finals, the young defender stepping up to senior ranks this year and forming a fantastic understanding at the back with State representatives Shaun Kilkelly and Jamie Kuzmanovich. The dark horse of the series, Inglewood's survival will be on a week-by-week basis with their fate entirely in their own hands.
ARMADALE GET CLUB PATRON
First Division club Armadale are pleased to announce that MLA for Armadale, Ms Allanah MacTiernan, has become patron of the club. Following an invitation from club President John Anderson, Ms MacTiernan stated that she is delighted to accept the opportunity and expressed that she will assist in whatever way possible in the future development and progress of the club. In other club news, an Armadale XI will take on the Radio 96FM Breakfast Crew XI in a friendly on Wednesday 24th September at Alfred Skeet Oval. Gates open at 5.00pm and admission is free to the game with all proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
SWAN SAVIOUR SUCCESS
Founded in 1985, Swan I.C. last weekend celebrated their first appearance in the Boral Cup Final by defeating red-hot favourite Perth S.C. 2-1 in a highly entertaining game at Dorrien Gardens. Having joined the club as a 12-year old and now in his seventeenth season with the club, for Carlo Scali Sunday's victory could not have been any sweeter. "The win was very important for the club and I think that it was the clubs first piece of silverware makes it a little more special," said Scali, recipient of the 2001 Gold Medal for the Premier League's best and fairest player. "We have a lot of passionate people around the club and playing on Sunday and hearing their support during the game, not to mention getting to celebrate with them afterwards, was absolutely fantastic. Hopefully we can build on the win and consolidate a position in the league as a strong club."
For their final game of the 2003 season, Swan went into the Boral Cup Final focused on taking out the trophy with the aid of a game plan developed by coach Gary Marocchi which aimed to nullify their opponents attackers. "Gary asked a couple of players to do specific jobs," Carlo Scali explained. "He wanted Perth's two front men to be marked tightly at all times and we were to also focus on and stop their two wide players, especially Todd Howarth. By cutting their wide players out of the game we'd be preventing Perth from getting any dangerous crosses into their attackers. On the day we needed all our players to be accountable if we were to stop Perth from playing, and I feel that everyone responded brilliantly to turn in great games for us."
One player that rose to the occasion was big defender Michael Di Fulvio who was given the job of keeping a close watch on Perth's dangerous forwards. "I was originally playing on Mark Pottier but after he pushed back into midfield I marked Shane Crampton. We knew that if we were to beat Perth we needed to keep the front two players relatively quiet. Carlos Echeverria played a great game, as he has done all year, as did Carlo Scali who made sure we always kept our shape and formation. Cory Hugo was always in our ears shouting encouragement which also helped a lot, especially late in the game when Perth kept coming at us. As a team all the boys did well and we managed to restrict the supply to their front guys."
Following a tough opening period, Swan nudged ahead in the 20th minute through Paul Lincoln, as left-sided midfielder Mark Lee explains. "The first goal I will always remember well. Perth partly cleared a corner which dropped to me on the top edge of the box, I volleyed it back towards goal where thankfully Paul was lurking - he normally misses from 6 yards but on the day toe-poked it in!" Thirteen minutes later Elton Homes pounced on a defensive error to doubled Swan's lead. "It was a great position to be in," added Lee. "We felt at half time that if we matched our first half performance we could pull it off. Against Perth a two-goal lead doesn't guarantee victory, so we knew it was going to be a tough second forty-minute minutes."
Swan's game plan to restrict supply to the Perth forwards worked a treat in the first half with the black and whites going into the break with a two goal buffer. But the game dynamics were changed six minutes after the turnaround with the controversial dismissal of Swan captain Damian Scali. "Even with ten men I thought if everyone stuck to their task then would could hold on and win the game," commented 23-year old Di Fulvio. "No one expected us to win against Perth, especially on their home ground, so we had something to prove. All the players desperately wanted to win and always stayed positive throughout the match, if we kept getting bodies behind the ball we'd stop Perth from scoring. Naven bagged a cracker for Perth and if they had scored again the result may have been different as the momentum was with them."
The final whistle was greeted by wild celebrations from the Swan faithful who had waited eighteen years before tasting their clubs first major trophy success. "The celebrations at the final whistle was something I will never forget," said Lee. "Our supporters were fantastic all through the game and it was fitting that they should join us on the pitch. The feeling in the dressing room was one of relief and jubilation. All the boys had gave 100% and we were all delighted with the result. The celebrations went on long into the night and morning and let's just say there were a few headaches on Monday! All the Swan staff and players had worked hard throughout the season and to win the Boral Cup against a strong outfit like Perth really was the icing on the cake for us."
A big part of Swan's success on the weekend, an in fact over the closing moths of the regular season, has been the close bond shared by the player group. "We are a very tight knit group," commented Damian Scali. "We obviously see a lot of each other at soccer but also socialise quite a lot together. There has been a nucleus group at the club for a long time - myself, Carlo Scali, Justin Hugo, Cory Hugo and Trevor Hatton - and that had made a difference. These guys have been through some serious lows but have always stuck at it and enjoyed the ride, and the new players that arrived for this season have fitted in perfectly. One thing that we don't have at Swan is players with ego's, we're all there for the team and not for individual glory."
"I have to personally thank the other boys for Sundays effort after I got sent off," added the Swan captain. "There were lots of things against us on Sunday so to get up and to win was huge. The club really has come of age, we had a dream 18 years ago to win something major and now we have. But the job is not finished yet, next year and further on down the path we want to win more and become established as a force. As for the red card, I got to school on Monday - I teach at Kolbe Catholic College - and a number of students had organised red cards for the day after reading about it in the paper. As I walked around the school or into a class I was greeted with a sea of red cards which I thought was hilarious. It's great that the students take a keen interest in our team and are quick to point out how we have gone on the weekend."
THORBURN IN CHARGE AT COCKBURN
Andrew Thorburn has taken over the coaching helm of Cockburn City following the recent departure of Mirko Jelicic who has taken up an offer to assist Peter Butler at Sabah. "Mirko has a years contract in Malaysia, depending on his success there, he may stay on. But should he return to Perth it will be to Cockburn," explained club president Sue Potter. "As far as the remainder of the season goes, Andy Thorburn will be taking over for the Finals." As coach of the reserves, Thorburn lead Cockburn to a place in the final of this years' Boral Cup.
MAROCCHI STAYING PUT (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Swan I.C. technical director Gary Marocchi is in much demand. Marocchi, who led Swan to Boral Cup glory over his former club Perth S.C. on the weekend, has revealed that he has had several offers to take over the coaching reins at other clubs. "A few clubs have been on to me, but I have no intention of moving," said Marocchi. "I don't have a contract at Swan IC, but I'm happy there and will stay as long as the club wants me." The former Australian international feels that soccer in the Swan area is on the verge of an explosion. "Our success in the Boral Cup will make it easier for the club to attract players, particularly youngsters," he said. "The club certainly will do its bit for the region. The prize-money from the Boral Cup will be ploughed into improving the team for next season - providing us with a bit of icing on the cake."
JUKIC TEMPTS HEARTS (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Scottish club Hearts are taking a close interest in the progress of Western Knights teenage midfielder Luka Jukic, who scored one of the goals of the season with a stunning 20-metre volley in his team's 2-1 loss to Perth S.C. in the Boral Cup semi-finals recently. Jukic, who has just turned 18, has been brought to the attention of Hearts scout Dave McPherson, who had a spell in the National Soccer League a few years ago with Carlton. McPherson recently was instrumental in Patrick Kisnorbo joining Hearts from South Melbourne.
MORGAN RE-JOINS SEAGULLS (courtesy West Coast Bugle)
Trevor Morgan, the man who lead Sorrento to their only Premier League crown in 2001, has returned to Perth following a coaching stint in Singapore with Sengkang Marine. It is understood Morgan will re-join the coaching staff at the northern suburbs club next season by sharing first team responsibilities with current coach Steve Neville, who guided to the club to a place in the top five series this year. Morgan hasn't lost enthusiasm for the playing side of the game either, the veteran striker scoring three goals in two recent outings for the Seagulls reserves.
FURTHER ACTIVITY FOR STATE TEAM?
The West Australian State team may be back in action over the summer with a series of high-profile friendlies against international opposition, beginning in November with a clash against the Iraq national team. It had been hoped Iraq would play the Australian Under-23 side in Perth, but that is now looking unlikely according to Sport International spokesman Hallam Pereira. There are suggestions that funds which were to have been spent on the Olympic team will now be put towards luring guest players to Perth to make the State team a more attractive proposition for local fans. Amongst those being considered by Sport International WA, an arm of the Department of Sport and Recreation, are Bryan Robson and Peter Beardsley (both ex-England), Niall Quinn (ex-Republic of Ireland) and David Ginola and Eric Cantona (ex-France). It is understood Soccer West Coast have also been approached by Serbia and Montenegro champion Partizan Belgrade and Croatian side Hajduk Split about playing in Perth during the final months of 2003.
HARNWELL COMING HOME
The overseas career of former Perth Glory defender Jamie Harnwell has stalled. Harnwell, who made three recent appearances for English Third Division side Leyton Orient last month, has cut short his time abroad due to an ankle injury. "It's disappointing but I'm just going to enjoy the fact that I've got nothing to worry about for the next month or so," the 26-year old told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. Harnwell will return to Perth for an operation after spending time on holiday in Europe. Following his release by Orient at the end of a month-long contract, Harnwell played one game for Dr Martens League outfit Welling United before being struck down by injury.
SWAN LIFT CUP IN TENSION FILLED FINAL
Amidst picture perfect conditions at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday, traditional rivals Perth S.C. and Swan I.C. squared off in the final of the 2003 Boral Cup. Victorious in the local knock-out competition on ten previous occasions, Perth are no strangers to Cup Final football and were widely favoured to add to the Premier League title they captured last month. Having defeated Swan in both regular season meetings and with Perry Ielati (knee) and Vince Tana (knee) the only notable absentees from the matchday squad, Perth had every reason to be 'quietly confident' prior to kick-off. Making their first appearance in a major final, Swan were comfortable with the underdog tags that had been bestowed upon them in the days leading up to the match. The black and whites ended the home-and-away series strongly only to narrowly miss out on a place in the top five play-offs, so success today would be the perfect send off to their season. But they would have to achieve victory without Christian Marocchi (knee) and teenager Tom Shepheard (broken hand).
The first chance of a quick opening period came the way of Perth for whom Gareth Naven surged into attack by shrugging off a couple of challenges only to be halted in his tracks by a superb smothering save from goalkeeper Cory Hugo. Swan responded a few minutes later via a deep in-swinging corner from Dean Nicolaou that appeared to have crossed between the posts before being cleared, but referee Patrick McCaffrey saw it differently and play continued. In the 9th minute Todd Howarth's high cross was deflected by the Swan 'keeper to the feet of Mark Pottier who amazingly sliced wide from 10-metres. A dubious back-pass decision resulted in Perth being awarded a free-kick inside the area which, with all ten of his teammates lined up behind him on the goal line, Cory Hugo brilliantly kept out a low strike by Shane Crampton. Going forward with regularity through wide players Mark Lee and Justin Hugo, Swan were finding few holes in their opponents three-man defence. With their second corner of the day Swan took the lead as goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo punched the ball clear of the box to Lee who drilled it back into a crowded area where Paul Lincoln stuck out a boot to deflect the shot into the back of the net.
A stunned Perth almost found an immediate response through Crampton whose back post header from a Pottier cross flashed half a metre the wrong side of the post. Although stifled to a large degree across the middle of the park, Perth were still able to force their opponents onto the back foot as they sought to level. Aaron Cole rose above a stagnant defence to meet Howarth's free-kick into the dangerzone but his powerful header skimmed the top of the crossbar. And on the half-hour Howarth was again provider, this time sending a corner deep for Pottier whose diving header crashed into the side netting. Three minutes later Swan were able to double their lead when last defender Dino Djulbic misjudged a long clearance played into the centre circle and Elton Holmes benefited from his error to stream into attack and side-step the advancing Scarparolo before placing the ball in the back of the net. Buoyed by the goal, Swan went in search of a third shortly after as Nicolaou threaded through to Lincoln who held off Cole only to slam his powerful low shot straight at the 'keeper. Desperate to score before the break, Perth twice came close but Naven shot weakly to the 'keeper and Cole nodded an Adam Bunce corner high.
Whatever drama's were played out over the opening 45 minutes were nothing compared to those that exploded early in the second half. Six minutes after the re-start Swan went down to ten men as Damian Scali received a dubious second yellow card that rightfully earned the referee the wrath of the Swan faithful. Three minutes later the game reached flashpoint when Carlos Echeveirra was felled by Rhys Graham in a nasty off the ball incident which somehow went unnoticed by all four match officials. Upon the resumption of play Perth started to make full use of their extra player as Swan dug deep and resiliently defended their lead. A corner went to feet and from 10-metres Naven disappointingly skied the attempt on goal, and nine minutes later Bunce's rising shot flew just high following a partially cleared free-kick. With time running out, Perth coach Graham Normanton threw caution to the wind by bringing on young attacker Albert Osei-Tutu at the expense of defender Michael Icanovski. The blues dominance was eventually rewarded after 71 minutes as Howarth cut inside and twisted his way past two defenders before sliding the ball to Naven who unleashed an absolutely rocket of a shot from just outside the box that gave Cory Hugo absolutely no chance.
Back in the hunt, Perth now upped the pressure only to find their opponents defence equal to the task. With experienced campaigner Carlo Scali at the heart of the Swan rearguard and with solid support from Michael Di Fulvio, Justin Hugo and Echeveirra, the black and whites worked hard in repelling Perth's attacking thrusts and allowed their opponents little time on the ball when within sight of goal. In a tense closing period, Osei-Tutu was thwarted by Echeveirra after he broke through, the loose ball came to Graham whose shot was blocked by Carlo Scali and Naven placed his effort high in the same passage of play. Two minutes later Swan failed to sufficiently deal with a corner which Osei-Tutu swung over the crossbar. Graham was again fortunate not to have his name taken - or to have not been dismissed outright - following a dreadfully late tackle on Justin Hugo in the 85th minute. In stoppage time a back-tracking Cory Hugo brilliantly paddled a dipping long-range shot from Howarth over the crossbar, and a minute later the Swan 'keeper was solid in cutting out a high cross pumped into the area from Bunce. At the end of four nervous minutes the referee blew his whistle for the final time to set scenes of jubilant celebrations in the Swan camp.
With every player that took to the field giving their all for the club, Swan were deserving victors on a day of high drama in which they not only out-manoeuvred a formidable opponent but also overcame some dreadfully inconsistent refereeing. "We want to lift the soccer profile in the Swan area and if winning the Boral Cup doesn't do that, I don't know what will," commented Swan technical director Gary Marocchi. Cory Hugo collected the man-of-the-match award for a sterling performance between the posts while other deserving of recognition in what truly was a team effort were central defenders Di Fulvio, who snuffed out Perth dangerman Crampton, and Carlo Scali. Although Perth dominated possession they were all too often forced to shoot from distance as a number of usually influential players were kept out of the game. Providing much of the drive from midfield was 34-year old Naven whose work-rate continually puts to sham that of younger players, while out wide on the left Howarth once again turned on the style with a tireless display of skill and creativity.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulbic, Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski
(Albert Osei-Tutu 62), Todd Howarth, Rhys Graham, Rob Giorgi (Robbie Puca
57), Gareth Naven, Adam Bunce, Mark Pottier (Michael Catalano 80), Shane
Swan I.C. : Cory Hugo, Carlo Scali, Carlos Echeveirra, Michael Di Fulvio, Justin Hugo, Mark Lee, Dean Nicolaou (Damian Todorovic 79), Gary Andrews, Damian Scali, Elton Holmes, Paul Lincoln
Cautions : Icanovski (35), D.Scali (41), Echeverria (58), Howarth (66)
Dismissals : D.Scali (51)
Referee : Patrick McCaffrey
Attendance : 1,000 (approx.)
The Final of the reserves Boral Cup pitted runaway Premier League champions Perth S.C. with a Cockburn City side which ended the regular season mid-table. Vlado Milasinovic put Perth in front with Albert Osei-Tutu adding a second before Cockburn were able to reduce the margin through Robert Potter. Cockburn's chances of victory took a turn for the worse when an unnecessary late challenge earned Simon Jonas a red card from referee Derek Minett. Despite this Cockburn pressed hard to find a way back into the match, but when Damian Catalano slid the ball home from close-range the game was effectively put beyond their reach. The win made it three consecutive Boral Cup triumphs for Perth following wins over Fremantle City and Mandurah City in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
Many of the state's best young players were on show in the final of the under-18 Boral Cup which saw regular season champions E.C.U. Joondalup come up against runners-up and arch-rival Fremantle City from 11.00am. The northern suburbs side drew first blood with Kevin Carmona giving them the lead but it was the port side that went into the break in front courtesy of two goals in quick succession. Fremantle started the second half positively only to have Joondalup level via Martin Ashworth. In a tense closing stages Fremantle restored their lead but their opponents were not to be outdone as Philip O'Callaghan made it 3-3 to send the game into a penalty shoot-out. Joondalup ended up taking out the trophy 5-4 with Scott Bushby bagging the deciding goal.
Sunday's victory at Balga gave Hamersley Rovers their third title win in succession in the WAASSA Premier Division. Not since the days of Gosnells Amateurs in the old First Division has a side won three in a row. The best since the formation of the WAASSA Premier Division has been by Fremantle United with two championships in succession and who since 1988 have won the title seven times which in itself is a great achievment. The final scoreline of 6-2 in favour of the Rovers did not reflect the spirit shown by Balga who despite having a very difficult season never gave up trying and in fact came out on top in the second half by 1-0 after Hamersley failed to add to the 6-1 lead they had built up by the break. Scorers on the day were Flavio Labbate (2) Darren Yates (2) Gavin Hendry and a own goal. It was a very satisfying result for the club after setting the standard over the last few years to once again be crowned Champions and they were pushed all the way by perennial rivals Fremantle Utd and new boys over the last two years UWA. In the end the players at Hamersley need to be congratulated as they have covered the loss of some good players from last years side to once again come up with a combination that would no doubt hold their own in the Saturday comp. In Labbate and Yates as the front two they have a strikeforce that has netted 35 league goals between them with Labbate once again about to be crowned as the Golden Boot with 25 out of only 18 games and still has one game to play this weekend against UWA. The recovery from the Cup debacle when they lost to UWA by a unbelievable 8-0 scoreline was a key factor with only one league defeat in the last 16 games.
University of WA were defeated 2-1 at home by Forrestfield in the WAASSSA Premier league fixture at McGillivray Oval on Sunday. Starting brightly UWA should have wrapped the game up within the first 25 minutes. After 8 minutes Robert Benkovic turned and beat a defender on the edge of the box only to see the shot pushed around the post by Forrestfield goalkeeper Scott Kessner. From the corner Gavin Dennis shot just over the bar. After 12 minutes 3 UWA players each had a chance to score in the same move from close range. UWA's Max Percy then picked the ball up from a poor clearance and ran in on goal from the left hand side but shot weakly at the Forrestfield goalkeeper. UWA continued to find space at will and a Gavin Dennis chip shot from the right hit the bar. Then against the run of play the ball found itself in the UWA penalty area and UWA's keeper Adam Kesacoff failed to keep out the challenge of Forrestfield's Brad Eiffe who then got up and finished the loose ball to put Forrestfield 1-0 up. Four minutes before half time the ball came through the centre of UWA's defence to Forrestfield's Harvey Jennings who hit the ball into the ground and despite Adam Kesacoff getting a hand to it the ball bounced high into the net to make it 2-0. A shell shocked UWA struggled to get into the game early in the second half and after 20 minutes Forrestfield should have wrapped the game up when a striker was put clear in the penalty box but UWA's goalkeeper Adam Kesacoff made an excellent save to push the ball away from the right hand post. Two UWA substitutions breathed life into the last 30 minutes but it was not until the last 5 minutes of the half that UWA finally broke through when an Adam Brett far post header found David Berg who headed powerfully home to make it 2-1. Forrestfield had a player sent off but time ran out for UWA and they now slip to third spot on the ladder with Fremantle gaining a draw at Shamrock Rovers. Coach Kevin Burton said:" It's been a tough 5 days being defeated on penalties in the cup semi final against Fremantle and now losing a game we should have won in the first 25 minutes. Being philosophical about it its results like these that makes soccer such a compelling sport and at least we can say we in were in the frame until the last 2 games." UWA Reserves drew 1-1 with Forrestfied to remain in second spot.
In other games Kwinana United defeated Perth Azzurri 2-1, Canning International and Spearwood Dalmatinac drew 2-2, and North Perth United look all but relegated after losing 2-1 to Murdoch University. The result of the Shamrock Rovers-Fremantle United fixture is unknown. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
EASY WIN FOR GLORY
A rapid-fire second-half hat-trick by 24-year old striker Nick Mrdja was the highlight of Perth Glory's 9-0 friendly win over Cockburn City this afternoon at Dalmatinac Park. Missing three of their regular defence, Cockburn were on the back foot from early on as midfielder Matt Horsley netted twice and Brad Hassell once to put the National Soccer League side in a commanding position at half-time. Former Socceroo Shaun Murphy headed a fourth after the break, Damian Mori tucked home a penalty and Adrian Caceres added to the tally before Mrdja struck. Following the match, coach Mich d'Avray said only a few of Glory's 18-man squad are sure of a place in the starting line-up when the National Soccer League season kicks off. "What has really come out of the pre-season is that maybe only three players can really be sure of a place in the starting line-up."
DEPLETED STATE TEAM EDGE OUT INGLEWOOD
With the bulk of their squad ruled out due to illness, injury or other commitments, West Australian coach Paul Simmons 'borrowed' two players for this afternoon's friendly with Inglewood United which ended in a 1-0 win to the State team. Played at National Stadium, some rash early challenges forced referee Steve Muldoon to speak at length with several players about the supposed 'friendly' nature of the game. Neither side were able to dominate play nor create any clear cut chances on goal in a scrappy opening half as the respective defences held firm. After the break the State team played with more purpose as Glen Thomas and Dale McCulloch assert their influence in midfield. Garin Collins squandered a golden opportunity to put the State in front, and down the opposite end goalkeeper Tommi Tomich thwarted the host club on numerous occasions. The deadlock was finally broken as Thomas' corner fell to Craig Surtees who crashed the ball into the roof of the net from 9-metres. There were half-chances at both ends of the ground in the closing minutes which saw Louis Parkinson denied by Tomich, while Branimir Mikulic was unable to make the most of a one-on-one with the Inglewood 'keeper. "It was a bit of a nightmare but a win is a win as they say," commented Simmons after the game.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-EIGHT (Bayswater City vs Leeming Strikers by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Ashfield by Barry Rennie; Balcatta vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth)
Holding at comfortable lead at the head of the First Division table, Bayswater City traveled to John Connell Reserve where they met Leeming Strikers on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It was the hosts that started the more promising, dominating the opening 20 minutes and coming close to taking an early lead through Lucas Whitehouse whose shot was well saved by young goalkeeper Francis Allan. Following the scare the visitors tightened up defensively and began to create some scoring opportunities of their own only to be held at bay by a well-organised backline led by captain Carlo Di Toro. Bayswater finally broke through with a swift counter-attacking move which ended with Boima Karpeh's fine left-footer flying past Strikers goalkeeper Michael Smerelli. Heading into the break the home team re-established control of the game to bag a deserved equaliser via midfielder Allan Haugh. The start of the second half saw the Strikers play the better football as their opponent relied chiefly on quick breaks for their opportunities on goal. One such play resulted in Bayswater taking a 2-1 advantage as Andrew O'Neill played a nice one-two with Bobby Klenkoski whose pin point cross saw Boima Karpeh head in from close-range. The Strikers response was to throw everything they had left at Bayswater without success, although it appeared their luck was about to change when the visitors were reduced to ten men after Karpeh collected his second yellow card of the afternoon. But things didn't pan out in the hosts favour as Klenkoski made the most of a one-on-one with the 'keeper and O'Neill also found the target to make the final score 4-1 to Bayswater. The reserves match was taken out by the Strikers 4-2, with the under-18 game also ending in their favour 5-1.
Mandurah City got back to winning ways with a 3-1 defeat of Ashfield at Peelwood Parade on Saturday. Knowing anything less than maximum points would make it a formality for Bayswater City to finish in top spot and be assured of promotion to the top flight for next season, Mandurah didn't disappoint the home crowd in their last home game of the campaign. Making a welcome first team return following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury, Michael Bobridge marked the occasion by scoring twice for the hosts while Christian Paschewitz also found the target to maintain his lead at the top of the First Division goalscorers list. But Mandurah's win did not come without a couple of early scares. There was some excellent defensive work from Peter Knight and Gary Collins who worked tirelessly to keep Ashfield's lively forwards at bay while between the posts Mike Green, who was also making his return from injury, made a couple of brilliant reflex saves. Ashfield's goal came in the 75th minute via Matthew Pochroj. The win still keeps Mandurah in with a mathematical chance of taking out the title, however, they will be relying on Bayswater to slip up in their remaining three games. Mandurah's reserves continued their push to win the competition with a resounding 5-1 win with goals coming from Adam Boone, Jake Loreto and a brilliant Steven Choate hat-trick. The under-18 fixture also ended in favour of the home team where the margin was a comfortable 4-0.
Canning City travelled north on the weekend to take on Balcatta at Graham Burkett Reserve. The visitors went into the match confident of following up last weekend's 2-1 defeat of Stirling Suns with another positive showing. Canning spent the early part of the game camped in their own half defending deep and attempting to score on the counter-attack. It wasn't until the 24th minute that Balcatta were able to break down their opponent defence and fire on goal as Michael Sharp's shot on goal was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Robbie Meyer following a long goal kick by Balcatta custodian Colin Lees. Seven minutes from half-time and Canning managed their first quality attempt strike as Paul Oliver's shot hit the frame of Balcatta's goal. The second half continued in much the same vein. Balcatta looked like scoring when Orelio Labambara outpaced the visiting defence to go one-on-one with Meyer who quickly advancing off his line to make a diving save and thwart the attacker. However, three minutes later Balcatta were rewarded for their dominance when Carmelo Gumina headed a corner in through a crowded goalmouth. Canning then came into the game more and in the 77th minute Oliver volleyed against the upright for a second time after some good lead-up work from twins Mick and Paul Van Dongen down the left flank. Four minutes later Adrian Calovera had a similar effort hit the frame of Canning's goal before the final whistle signalled a 1-0 win to Balcatta. Earlier in the day Canning claimed the reserves by 3-1 while the under-18 match finished in a thrilling 5-5 draw.
Southside United proved too strong for a depleted Morley Windmills by a 4-2 scoreline at Walter Padbury Reserve. Craig Innes put the home side in front after 27 minutes with Stuart Jones adding to the tally eight minutes later to give Southside a two-goal buffer at the break. Tommy Drummond made it 3-0 early in the second half before Rhydeen Botha pegged back the margin after 72 minutes. Simon El Chami secured victory for Southside five minutes. In an action packed finale Windmills went down to ten men with the red carding of Amir Bektic in the 87th minute which, two minutes later, was followed by a goal from Nigel Comito which completed the scoreline. Goals from Adrian McBride and Grant Learmont enabled Queens Park to take maximum points over the visiting South West Phoenix by 2-1, David Rodgers netting for the Bunbury-based team. A ten man Stirling Suns scored a late winner to defeat Kingsway Olympic 2-1. In the opening minute Alex Jankuloski gave the Suns the upper hand only to have Scott Evans equalise in the 28th minute. The Suns went down to ten men with the dismissal of Stefan Stoleski shortly before half-time, but the home team dug deep in the second period as Orkun Ozturk scored the decider after 84 minutes. Dianella White Eagles proved no match for Armadale who took out the points by 4-2, and The City accounted for Rockingham City 1-0.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Although reduced to ten men, Swan I.C. claimed their first ever Boral Cup on Sunday by overcoming pre-match favourite Perth S.C. - and some inconsistent refereeing - at Dorrien Gardens. Paul Lincoln put Swan in front after 20 minutes and thirteen minutes later it was 2-0 after Elton Holmes benefited from an error in the middle of the park. Damian Scali was controversially sent off for a second yellow card offence early in the second half, and minutes later Perth were lucky not to also go a man down following an off the ball incident. Gareth Naven reduced the gap in the 71st minute but Swan's resolve was strong and they held on to take out their first major trophy. The reserves Cup was won 3-1 by Perth over Cockburn City, while penalties were required in the under-18's as E.C.U. Joondalup defeated Fremantle City.
Bayswater City continued their march towards the First Division title with a 4-1 away win over Leeming Strikers on Saturday afternoon. With three full rounds of fixtures remaining Bayswater top the standings with a six point lead over their nearest rival. Mandurah City remain second courtesy of a 3-1 win at Ashfield, and two points behind them are Armadale who accounted for Dianella White Eagles 4-2. Queens Park won 2-1 at home against South West Phoenix, there was a rare win for Southside United who toppled Morley Windmills 4-2, and Stirling Suns proved too strong for Kingsway Olympic 2-1. Balcatta held off Canning City 1-0, and The City defeated Rockingham City by the same scoreline.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The 100th Cup Final will be contested at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday with Premier League champions Perth S.C. taking on Swan I.C. in what promising to be a classic encounter. At 1.00pm is the reserves Final champions Perth will be gunning to win their third Boral Cup in as many years when they come up against a Cockburn City side that ended the regular season in mid-table. No quarter will be given in the under-18 Cup Final with champion E.C.U. Joondalup taking on runners-up and arch-rival Fremantle City from 11.00am.
Holding a six point lead at the top of the First Division table with only a handful of games to go, Bayswater City have been installed as the red-hot favourite to win promotion come the end of this month. This Saturday Bayswater travel south to take on Leeming Strikers, but the match of the round takes place at Ashfield Reserve where fifth-placed Ashfield welcome second-placed Mandurah City in what promises to be a quality fixture. Dianella White Eagles are home to Armadale, Queens Park come up against South West Phoenix at Coker Park, while in an intriguing mid-table fixture Stirling Suns have home ground advantage over Kingsway Olympic. The City meet bottom club Rockingham City, Morley Windmills will be aiming to take maximum points against Southside United, and Canning City are on the road to Balcatta.
HISTORY ALREADY MADE IN CUP FINAL
The biggest game on the local calendar takes place at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday as traditional rivals Perth S.C. and Swan I.C. battle it out for the prestigious Boral Cup. Taking part in their first ever cup final, Swan go into the match as underdogs but brimming with confidence following a superb run at the end of the regular season in which they lost one in three months to narrowly avoid a spot in the Champion Of Champions series. "We were really disappointed as a club that we didn't make the top five," said long-serving midfielder Damian Scali. "It had been our goal to make the Cup final. Now we're there we want to win it." The black-and-whites path to the final has been an interesting one with good wins over Cockburn City and Mandurah City prior to last week's 2-0 defeat of Kingsway Olympic. State goalkeeper Cory Hugo is bound to feature prominently for Swan the black and whites as are defenders Carlo Scali and Michael Di Fulvio. Their drive midfield comes from the likes of Damian Scali and Mark Lee, while in attack the lively Elton Holmes and veteran Paul Lincoln are sure to keep Perth on their toes.
Premier League champions, winners of both regular season meetings between the two clubs and with home ground advantage, it's little surprise that Perth are widely tipped to collect their 10th trophy under coach Graham Normanton. Despite the favourites tag, star midfielder Todd Howarth says Perth are not concerned by other peoples' expectations. "I wouldn't say there is added pressure" he commented. "We want to win as much as we can." Perth's route to the final has been decidedly more difficult than their opponents, a comprehensive defeat of Queens Park was followed by an extra-time win over Sorrento and last weekend it took a controversial sudden-death goal to separate them from arch rival Western Knights. With seven goals already in the Cup this year, Shane Crampton will be Perth's dangerman with hard-working trio Howarth, Gareth Naven and Rhys Graham providing the ammunition. Defensively Aaron Cole and Michael Icanovski provide the muscle in front of outstanding goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo. The reserves Final between Perth and Cockburn City gets underway at 1.00pm, while from 11.00am Fremantle City and E.C.U. Joondalup meet in the under-18's decider.
GLORY MOVE ON LOCAL QUARTET
Perth Glory have moved to sign on loan four players from the local competition on loan. The quartet that have been approached are Perth S.C. pair Shane Crampton and Aaron Cole, and teenagers Scott Bulloch (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Dean Apelgren (right, Fremantle City). Glory coach Mich d'Avray said the local players would be given every chance to show they have what it takes to make the grade at National Soccer League level. "For three of the players - Shane, Dean and Scott - this is their first opportunity to move up to the next level," said d'Avray. "We have looked at Aaron before, while he was released he has continued to perform well in the State League and that shows character. The players will train with the first team squad and with a squad of eighteen contracted players there is every chance that they may get an opportunity to impress at N.S.L. level." Crampton's 21-goal haul over the winter saw him comfortably take out the top flights' Golden Boot award, while Cole has been a regular fixture at the back for Perth and the State team for many seasons. Central defender Aplegren, 18, and left-sided midfielder Bulloch, 19, have won State Schoolboys honours in recent years and both are rated amongst the local games' brightest young prospects.
TURKS OUT-SHOOT OLYROOS'S
Australia's Under-23 team have continued preparation for the 2004 Olympic Game qualifiers with a 1-2 friendly loss to Turkey in Istanbul. Brett Holman and West Australian Richard Garcia came close to giving the Olyroo's the lead before the host nation sent the crowd into wild celebrations after 37 minutes as a Turkish free-kick struck the leg of defender Jon McKain and dribbled between the posts for an own goal. Having had more shots at goal and corners than the home side the Australians were somewhat unlucky to go into the break a goal down. Nine minutes after the interval good work from Alex Brosque resulted in Turkey conceding a penalty which Luke Wilkshire converted with ease. Patrick Kisnorbo and Brosque had chances to put Australia in front, but it was Turkey that would take out the game courtesy of a 75th minute free-kick from Hanefi Erdogdu that gave Perth-born goalkeeper Brad Jones no chance of saving. "Considering they (Turkey) are rated in the top three teams in Europe at this age level and have played something like 20 odd games together, our performance was generally very pleasing," said national coach Frank Farina after the game. "We actually got in behind them much more than they did against us and I think the overall stats favoured us."
JOONDALUP BUILD-UP UNDERWAY (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory players will make twenty visits to schools in the City of Joondalup area to promote the club's first ever home game, finals apart, to be played away from Perth Oval. The redevelopment of Perth Oval into a multi-purpose stadium will see Glory play two of this seasons' home games at Arena Joondalup, and now the race is on to encourage local youngster to get a taste of the National Soccer League and help re-create the best atmosphere in Australian soccer. "We know our loyal fans will be there to welcome the N.S.L. champions for their first game since the Grand Final triumph," said chief executive officer Jeff Dennis, "what we would love to see is thousands of locals as well."
In addition to visiting schools and shopping centres in the northern suburbs, players will hold a full training session at Arena Joondalup on Wednesday 17th September to be followed by a short session indoors from 6.00pm. Match day sponsor for the clash against the Melbourne Knights on Sunday 28th September, as well as a second game at Arena Joondalup against South Melbourne on Sunday 9th November, will be the City of Joondalup. "This is a great opportunity to take soccer to the suburbs and we aim to make the most of it," said Dennis. "Match day itself will be a family themed day of entertainment with all sorts of activities including soccer clinics for under-10's and under-12's run by GloryZone, vertical bungee, gladiator duels, a climbing wall, the chance to bend it around the Western QBE wall, soccer games and dance competitions, face-painting, an animal farm and other fun and games, with great prizes on offer. We want the local community to embrace the game and we will be encouraging all supporters to come along from midday onwards and have a great day out."
TARKA HAPPY WITH FOREST DEBUT
Following the completion of his transfer from Perth Glory to Nottingham Forest, David Tarka started his English career with a starting appearance in the reserves 0-1 loss to Charlton Athletic last week. "It was good to finally get the chance to play again after what seemed like an eternity waiting for all the paperwork to be completed. I felt a little bit rusty on Tuesday night which I suppose is to be expected but I really enjoyed myself," Tarka commented via the official Forest website. "I'm not really setting any targets as to when I might be pushing for a first team spot. I've still got a lot to learn and the manager has told me he wants me to concentrate on settling down at the club." The central defender is expected to turn out for the Australian Under-23 side when they travel to Istanbul this week for a friendly meeting with Turkey.
SOCCEROO'S SUCCEED IN READING
Australia have defeated Jamaica 2-1 in a friendly international played at the Madejski Stadium in Reading overnight. Striker Harry Kewell was instrumental in the Socceroos' opening strike after 19 minutes by linking up well with Marco Bresciano whose volley at the second attempt beat goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. The Reggae Boyz hit back just two minutes later Mark Schwarzer parried a shot by Ricardo Fuller and Kevin Lisbie was on hand to slot the ball home from close range. Kewell, who looked dangerous throughout the match, scored the deciding goal in the 58th minute following a pass from Paul Okon. "We played very well and created lots of chances," said Australia coach Frank Farina. "I think this is one of the best Australian squads ever. Players like Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell are world-class and bring a lot to the side." It was Australia's first success on 'home' soil after completing a deal to play a number of matches at Reading's ground.
GLORY DOWN STATE IN FLAT FRIENDLY
The Charity Shield clash between Perth Glory and the West Australian State team provide local fans of the world game an opportunity to view up close some of the best players on both the local and national scenes. Recently appointed State coach Paul Simmons bestowed senior representative honours on no less than a dozen players for the first time, amongst them the Premier League's leading goalscorer Shane Crampton and creative midfielder Glen Thomas. Just weeks out from defending their National Soccer League crown Glory coach Mich d'Avray went for a blend of the club's high-profile players, including off-season recruit Shaun Murphy and the N.S.L.'s all-time leading scorer Damian Mori, with a smattering of their up-and-coming stars. But the time 4.30pm rolled around a very healthy sized crowd had opted to brave the wind, rain and increasing chill factor for the friendly at Litis Stadium.
In search of an early goal, W.A. opened strongly and set about applying pressure to the Glory backline who proved up to the task by confidently dealing with anything that came their way before going on the attack themselves. The first opening arrived in the 8th minute when a sloppy clearance by Alan Dunlop landed at the feet of Wayne Shorj who, with the W.A. goalkeeper caught well out of position, chanced his luck from close to the halfway line only for the shot to finish the wrong side of the far post. Two minutes later Glory really should have taken the lead when Tom Pondeljak pounced on a defensive error to send Adrian Caceras through with only the 'keeper to beat but the attacker chose power over accuracy and blasted well wide from 9-metres. Todd Howarth was involved in many of the State's best attacking plays over the opening half but goalscoring chances were at an absolute premium for W.A. whose delivery into the area was constantly intercepted by Glory's central defensive pairing of Murphy and Jade North.
Always the more likely to score, Glory got the breakthrough goal after 19 minutes as Shroj swung his corner into a crowded penalty area where an unchallenged Anthony Danze side-stepped it in from close-range. Not content to rest on a one-goal lead, Glory went forward again shortly when Mori made his way down the left before centring to Matt Horsley who was in the process of lining up his shot when defender Aaron Cole appeared seemingly from nowhere to soil the opportunity. It took W.A. until the 34th minute to penetrate their opponents defence as Howarth surged in attack to send a looping cross into the heart of the 18-yard box only to find on-one there to receive the ball. Glory counter-attacked immediately as Danze raced away down the left but his pass into the path of the on-rushing Mori was intercepted by a quick thinking Jeff Bright. As half-time approached W.A. upped their attempts to get a shot on goal but it was all to no avail as a well-organised Glory back-four broke down their best moves to ensure that they were the team to go into the break with the upper hand.
By the start of the second half the Litis Stadium playing surface was showing the effects of a full days play amidst intermittent showers. It was a nervous start to the new period for W.A. as Glory came out at full throttle. Second half goalkeeper Tommi Tomich spilled Jamie Coyne's low cross into the area which fell perfectly for Mori but the Glory striker amazingly skied his effort from 10-metres. Minutes later Danze curled the ball to the top of the 6-yard box where an unmarked Caceras should have done much better than to head wide of the far post. With Glory doing all the attacking, W.A. wisely sat back and defended while breaking only on the occasional counter-attack. Moments after coming off the bench Nick Mrdja found himself in the thick of the action by unselfishly laying the ball back to Horsley whose crack on goal from just outside the area rose narrowly high. Having weathered the storm, W.A. began to re-discover their attacking feet and in the 58th minute a cross from the left by Scott Bulloch was met by Rhys Graham who'd leapt above a stagnant Glory defence but failed to call goalkeeper Jason Petkovic into action with his header.
With little over twenty minutes remaining Tomich kept W.A. in the game with a fantastic reflex save to deny Mori from close-range after he seized upon some hesitant defending at a corner. Shortly after Anthony Jones embarked on a determined run down the right to send a deep cross to Branimir Mikulic whose nod back to Graham was swooped upon by Murphy who then played the ball to safety. With little in the way of attractive play being produced by either side and the weather worsening, the stand at Litis Stadium began to empty well before the final whistle. Those that did leave early missed a couple of great saves, the first when Mrdja stretched Tomich with a blistering strike from outside the area and five minutes later Vince Matassa had his reflexes tested by a close-range shot from Mikulic. The result was put beyond doubt two minutes from the end of regulation time when Bobby Despotovski played the ball over the defence to a suspiciously offside looking Mori who benefited from a slip by Jamie Kuzmanovich to go one-on-one with Tomich, the Glory player side-stepping his opponent before rolling the ball gently into the back of the net.
Regardless of which side you were cheering on, the fact is that this was a terribly lifeless and scrappy match in which both team failed to get out of first gear. On the balance of play the two-goal final margin in Glory's favour was probably fair, but with a new season on the horizon coach d'Avray would not have been overjoyed by what he saw on the park. The N.S.L. team lacked creativity, imagination and spark, and in the end appeared content to grind out a result. In complete command of the defensive zone, Murphy was by far Glory's best player while there were also solid showings from Horsley and Scott Miller. For their part W.A. lacked fluency - something not helped by a string of second half substitutions - and struggled to match their opponents in many positions. In a match dominated by the respective defences, Cole worked tirelessly for the State along with Howarth, before he was replaced at half-time, while the introduction of Graham early in the second period injected some much needed energy into the forward line.
Perth Glory : Jason Petkovic (Vince Matassa 78), Jamie Coyne, Shaun Murphy,
Jade North (Mark Byrnes 62), Scott Miller, Anthony Danze (Brad Hassell 62),
Tom Pondeljak (Bobby Despotovski 62), Wayne Shroj (Gary Faria 62), Matt
Horsley, Adrian Caceras (Nick Mrdja 49), Damian Mori
Western Australia : Alan Dunlop (Tommi Tomich 45), Craig Surtees (Anthony Jones 64), Jamie Kuzmanovich, Aaron Cole, Jeff Bright (Dean Apelgren 75), Darren Broxton (Rhys Graham 57), Shaun Kilkelly (Adam Bunce 78), Glen Thomas (Dale McCulloch 67), Todd Howarth (Scott Bulloch 45), Shane Crampton (Branimir Mikulic 45), Simon Harland (Rostyn Griffiths 82)
Cautions : None
Dismissals : None
Referee : Patrick McCaffrey
Attendance : 800 (approx.)
NO ORIENT DEAL FOR HARNWELL
Defender Jamie Harnwell has joined English non-League club Welling United after being told his contract with Leyton Orient would not be extended beyond it's one-month term. The 26-year olds deal was due to come to an end on Monday, but Orient agreed to release Harnwell early so he could line up in the weekend Dr Martens League Premier Division fixture with Moor Green. "Jamie's a terrific lad, and he's worked very hard the whole time he's been with us," said manager Paul Brush. "But we're not in a position to offer him anything past this month with Simon Downer getting close to fitness again." The former Sorrento and Perth Glory star made three senior appearances in the Third Division for Orient during his stay.
University of WA defeated second placed Fremantle United 3-1 away at Hilton Park in the WAASSA Premier League on Sunday. In difficult windy conditions UWA had the first meaningful chance when a David Berg shot was cleared off the line by a Fremantle defender. After 20 minutes a Fremantle cross from the right was not dealt with by the UWA defence and from the edge of the box John De Felice hit a dipping shot into the top right hand corner to put Fremantle 1-0 up. Despite a lot of possession it was not until the 41st minute that UWA equalised when Robert Benkovic put Marc D'Ascanio through in the centre and beating one player, he carried on to slide the ball past Fremantle keeper Greg Sheldon. Then on the stroke of half time UWA's Bryn Griffiths shot from outside the box only to see the ball go just over the bar. The second half saw a hard scrap in midfield until the 75th minute when Robert Benkovic took on the Fremantle right back and set Bryn Griffiths free who beat a defender, turned inside to go round the keeper and placed the ball in the corner to put UWA 2-1 up. After 75 minutes UWA clinched the game when a Max Percy corner was met with a superb header inside the right hand post from Gavin Dennis. UWA keeper Adam Kesacoff was called into action late when he pushed away substitute Danny Collova's shot from the left hand post. Both sides meet again in the WAASSA Mitre Cup semi final on Wednesday at Ashfield. Coach Kevin Burton said: "Despite going down early in the game we never gave up and our quality came through especially in the second half. The referee did a good job out there today. We now have both firsts and reserves in second spot on their respective ladders and it is down to us as to whether we are good enough to stay there with two games to go." UWA Reserves defeated Fremantle United Reserves 2-1.
Sunday's game between Hamerley Rovers and Canning International was always tight with both sides creating goalmouth opportunities and the difference in styles was evident throughout. Canning International were certainly the more skilful and creative but Hamersley wore them down and were more direct, creating several chances themselves whereas at times Canning overdid the skills with one touch too many. At the end of the day Hamersley are where they should be at the top as their mixture of defensive strength linked with creativity and goalpower sees them with a healthy goal difference and more wins than anybody else. Canning will finish in a creditable position and can be well pleased with their first season back in the top flight. To the game itself and even though there was plenty of attacking skills from both teams it was three penalties that decided the result. Flavio Labbate converted both for Hamersley to confirm his golden boot chances ( again ) with now 23 league goals this season from only 17 games played and Andrei Babaef scored from the spot for Canning to confirm hiself as their leading scorer so far with 13 goals. The weather on the day was not condusive to good football but both teams ignored that to play an exciting game throughout. Referee Wayne Oldham tried to play his part with use of the advantage rule but was forced at times to stamp his authority on the game and certain players after over exhuberant tackles from both teams. All in all a well handled game in difficult conditions.
Hamersley Rovers are now in the box seat for a third championship in a row, after third place University of WA leapfrogged over Fremantle United. This leaves Hamersley four points clear of both sides, a win next weekend away to bottom side Balga will confirm Hamersley as champions again. In other games Spearwood Dalmatinac defeated Kwinana United 1-0, Perth Azzurri beat Murdoch University 3-1, Shamrock Rovers were too good away to North Perth United winning 4-2, while Forrestfield United could only beat Balga 1-0.
Promotion to the WAASSA Premier League has been sealed after Colo Colo's 2-0 win at home to Suburbs United in the First Division on Sunday. Stirling Panthers achieved their promotion last week but with two rounds to go and only five points clear on top, their championship is not yet assured. A win this week against Ballajura will bring the silver wear to the Panthers. Geraldton La Fiamma, Belmont Villa, Carlisle and North Beach could still face the dreaded drop into Division Two next season with only four points separating all four teams at the bottom of the table.
Kingsley and Joondalup United continue to fight it out for the WAASSA Second Division title, with Kingsley leading the table by only two points. South Perth United in third place and Southern Spirit still have a chance of promotion being only a few points behind. Cloverdale Chindits and Morley United look certain to be relegated. Gwelup Croatia have been crowned champions of the WAASSA Third Division. With two games to go, they can not be dislodged. ECU Joondalup are in second place and will be hoping to join them in the Second Division next season. For a more complete look at the amateurs game in Western Australia, including results for all WAASSA competitions, the latest news and so forth, visit http://waassa.ola.com.au
BORAL CUP, SEMI-FINALS
The weather conditions were perfect for Saturday's Boral Cup semi-final meeting between long-time rivals Perth S.C. and Western Knights at Litis Stadium. Perth coach Graham Normanton took into the game a very young but experienced line-up which had taken the club to the Premier League title for the second time in as many years. The key to the blues success in 2003 has been a hard-working midfield in which Gareth Naven and Rob Giorgi have been the mainstay with Todd Howarth providing an endless supply from the left for those in attack. The Knights ended their regular season on a high, undefeated over the last month of competition to claim third place on the final standings. State representative Tommi Tomich has produced some of the best form of his career this year while Claus Nielsen and club captain Carl Medica have been influential in attack. Matches between these two clubs are never for the feint-hearted and, with a place in the decider of the Cup on offer for the victors, today's encounter promised to be no different.
The opening twenty minutes was a scrappy affair that produced little in the way of genuine scoring opportunities at either end of the field. Although neither side was able to dominate possession, Perth were the more creative with Todd Howarth in top form and continually causing problems down the left flank. The Knights were rock solid at the back and looked comfortable as they repelled their opponents attacks. It wasn't until the 14th minute that the games first shot on goal arrived as Mark Pottier crashed the ball just over the crossbar. Seconds later the Knight's carved out their first opening of the afternoon which John Nicolaou squandered by shooting high. The first five of the games' ten booking arrived in quick succession as referee Michael Klaver stamped his authority over what was a typical tussle between two old foes. Knights defender David Annall was the first booked for dissent, Pottier followed for the same reason and shortly behind him was Carl Medica for a poorly timed tackle on Michael Icanovski. Rhys Graham and Nicolaou then scooped cards numbered four and five for tackles are seen more often in the kindergarten playground.
Although both teams were moving the ball around to great effect, it was the Knights that looked the more dangerous heading into half-time. Ten minutes from the interval Annall was narrowly off-target following a corner, and three minutes later Perth custodian Robert Scarporolo was quick off line to thwart Daniel Trim. As half-time approached Shane Crampton wasted a perfect opportunity to give Perth the lead when put through but, believing he was in an offside position, the striker made no attempt on goal as Tommi Tomich gained possession. Three minutes into stoppage time talented Knights midfielder Luka Jukic then received the sixth yellow card of the game for very poor challenge on Aaron Cole. Within seconds Jukic regained his composure and was well positioned to score what will surely be one of the goals of the season, from the top of the 18-yard box the youngster volleyed Medica's corner straight into the top right corner of the goal leaving Scarporolo with absolutely no chance.
The Knights began the second half in attack mode, constantly putting the pressure on their opponents backline as they sought to ensure a place in the Cup decider. Scarporolo was stretched full-length to tip a powerful Medica strike away from goal, and with no one on hand for the follow up Perth were able to clear the danger. The game was thrown wide open in the 50th minute when Crampton lobbed Tomich in a one-on-one situation to bring the teams back on to level terms. Although stunned, the Knights were still very much in the game and for the remainder of regulation time made better use of the ball to create numerous scoring opportunities. Dino Djulbic became the seventh player booked after he brought down Nicolaou, and the Knights striker picked himself up only to send the resultant free-kick disappointingly high from 25-metres. Just five minutes later they could have found themselves in front after some great work up the line by Leon Russell whose cross into the box caught teammate Nicolaou by surprise and the chance went begging.
The Knights maintained enormous pressure on the Perth defence as the half progressed but no matter what they tried they just could not find the target. Jukic took the opportunity to show just how dangerous a player he is via a free-kick from 35-metres which roared through the air and only just missed the target. For their part Perth went forward on occasions only to find the opponents backline a nut too tough to crack. Going the other way, Russell sent the ball to the left post where Nicolaou was lurking but again the big striker was unable to make the most of the opportunity. Stephen Willey assisted the visitors by bringing down Nicolaou just outside the area for a Knights free-kick which Paul McVittie crashed into the five-man defensive wall. There were half chances at both ends as the teams tried desperately to avoid extra-time. Perth sweeper Djulbic stood in the way of Nicolaou's attempt at goal, and shortly after Howarth swung a corner into the dangerzone where Tomich opted for a safety first approach in a crowded area by punching the ball out of play.
With the score locked at 1-1 after the regulation 90 minutes, the match moved into golden goal extra-time. The Knights continued from where they left off by launching an endless barrage of attacks as Nicolaou and Steven Zuvela went close within minutes of eachother. Robbie Puca and McVittie then had their names taken by the referee for their involvement in a mini-brawl in which Medica was booked for a second time to earn himself an early shower. Perth used the extra player with maximum effect to carve a couple of great chances before the change of ends. Icanovski and Puca linked up to penetrate the Knights defence only for play to be halted for an offside call, and minutes after Icanovski chipped into the area but Crampton was beaten to the ball by Alex Christie. The barely had time to prepare for the second period when Perth scored a controversial winner. Having checked with his assistants on the line the referee whistled for play to commence, Pottier played the ball short to Crampton who, spotting Tomich still making his way to his place between the posts, clipped the ball from inside his own half over the stranded 'keeper and into the back of the net.
Upon sounding the final whistle the referee was surrounded by irate Knights players and officials protesting the decision to allow Crampton's goal to stand, but in the end it was all to no avail. To be knocked out of the Cup amidst such controversy was a very cruel and bitter blow for the Knights on a day when they showed more desire and urgency to take out the game. "It is definitely the hardest decision I have ever had to accept," said experienced defender Christie after the game. "You train and play all year to win things and make finals with your team mates and to lose in that manner is devastating." With McVittie and Nielsen working over time in midfield, the Knights finished the match the stronger of the teams and looked the more likely to find the net in extra-time. For their part Perth lacked their typical attacking flair, rode their luck and it was only down to some poor finishing on their opponents behalf that the game wasn't decided in regulation time. Not for the first time this season Howarth ran himself into the ground up and down the left flank while the contribution of experienced campaigner Stephen Willey at the back was vital.
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Stephen Willey, Michael Icanovski, Aaron Cole, Todd Howarth,
Mark Pottier, Rob Giorgi, Dino Djulbic, Gareth Naven (Adam Bunce 75), Shane Crampton,
Rhys Graham (Robbie Puca 75)
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, David Annall (Steven Zuvela 60), Leon Russell, Alex Christie, Luka Jukic, Paul McVittie, Carl Medica, Claus Nielsen, Paul Cooke, Daniel Trim, John Nicolaou
Referee: Michael Klaver
Cautions : Annall (16), Pottier (21), Medica (22), Graham (23), Nicolaou (27), Jukic (45), Djulbic (49), Puca (94), McVittie (94)
Dismissals : Medica (94)
Attendance : 250 (approx.)
On Sunday afternoon First Division outfit Kingsway Olympic were looking to make their way into the Cup final by toppling Swan I.C. on a fast deteriorating Litis Stadium pitch. With the clouds rolling in, Swan got proceedings underway and were soon on the attack as Elton Holmes' cross found Damian Scali who shot over the crossbar from inside the 18-yard box. Showing that they weren't there just to make up the numbers, an Olympic corner came the way of Sota Iwasaki who slammed the ball goalward only to find goalkeeper Cory Hugo positioned to save. A Jason Stern foul on Holmes resulted in a free-kick to Swan on the edge of the area from where Mark Lee's strike was well saved by Kalon Tenakov. The early stages of the saw some neat movement of the ball by Swan but the black and whites lacked quality in their delivery to the strikers, while Olympic were content to suit back and defend in numbers before hitting their opponent on the counter-attack. On the half hour Iwasaki unleashed from distance but his attempt ended narrowly the wrong side of the crossbar. Growing in confidence, Olympic won another corner which Steve Dimitrovich played in and Cory Hugo this time denied Stern. Swan made the games' first substitution after 35 minutes as Damien Todorovic replaced Justin Hugo to give their forward line a bit more oomph. The move played off shortly after when, with their third corner in succession, Dean Nicolaou's ball into the area was met perfectly by Carlos Echeverria who powered his header past the stranded 'keeper. Olympic went in search of leveling before the break but the closest they'd come was a long range strike from Scott Evans which went just wide of the upright.
Olympic came out firing on all cylinders for the second half to force Swan on to the back foot. A corner from the left by Adam Purcell caused problems inside the area before the ball was scrambled clear by a defender. Having weathered the storm, Swan went in search of a second goal as Gary Andrews shot rose over the bar, and shortly after Holmes was thwarted by Tenakov who smothered at the strikers feet. Christian Marocchi was stretchered from the field with suspected knee ligament injury followed a heavy challenge from Purcell as the game continued to swing from end to end. A great long ball by Stern picked out Iwasaki who cut inside only to have Cory Hugo make a fine save. The result was finally put beyond doubt in the 70th minute, a lovely pass from Nicolaou found Damian Scali wide on the right and his cross was expertly put away by Todorovic. A rash of substitutions followed as Olympic threw four players forward in an attempt to keep alive their Cup dream, but when Cory Hugo kept out Andy Brown's close-range strike the writing was on the wall. As the rains became heavier it was Swan that looked more likely to find the target and, close to the end, they were denied a third goal by Tenakov who spectacularly tipped a back post header from Echeverria over the crossbar. The final whistle signaled Swan's first ever appearance in the final of the Boral Cup. "Swan is in its first final as a club, and that's an achievement in itself," said Gary Marocchi, technical director of football at Swan. "As a club we're heading in the right direction. Our form in the last few league games was disappointing, we dropped vital points and as a result only just missed out on a top five spot. A spot in the Cup Final is important for the club but we know we'll have to be at our best against Perth."
RESERVES AND UNDER-18'S ROUND-UP
Perth S.C. kept alive their dreams of three successive reserves Boral Cup victories by eliminating Bassendean Caledonian in Saturday's semi-final at Litis Stadium. Chances came and went as both teams sought to take the advantage in a tight first half which ended scoreless. After the break it was a similar story with neither side able to put the ball away, at least that was the case until the 78th minute when Vlado Milasinovic bagged the only goal of the afternoon to send Perth through to the decider. Cockburn City moved into next weeks Cup Final by eliminating Stirling Lions on Sunday in slippery, wet conditions. The Lions began with great promise by launching a series of attacking raids only to be let down by some very average final passes. Having sat back and absorbed the early pressure, Cockburn forced a defensive error in the 35th minute which Simon Jonas drilled past the goalkeeper. A minute before half-time the Lions chances nose-dived following another mistake at the back which permitted Cockburn to double their lead through Roberto Colalillo. The second half proved to be an arm wrestle for supremacy in midfield with neither side really troubling the respective goalkeepers from which Cockburn emerged victors.
In the Under-18's, Premier League winner E.C.U. Joondalup downed Inglewood United in Saturday's semi-final through first half goals from Martin Ashworth and Shane Lowry. The following day it took Fremantle City just 12 minutes to open their account against Cockburn City with Mark Darby heading in the games' opening goal. Not long after the port side doubled their lead through Jason Barrarea who benefited from a fine corner. Within the space of seconds Luigi Lopresti made two crucial saves to prevent Fremantle from running away with the game. Injury forced Fremantle's Seb Trim and Chris Smith from the field before Cockburn reduced the margin with Justin De Abreu finding the net after 34 minutes. Chances came the way of both teams to add to their tally after half-time without success. Substitute Kerim Alexio twice came close to securing victory for Fremantle, while down the opposite end goalkeeper Mark Bentley made great save as Cockburn threw everything at their opponents over the closing stages. But the port side held on to earn their place on the final and extend their unbeaten run to 21 League and Cup games.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-SEVEN (Bayswater City vs Southside United by Adam Rucci; Mandurah City vs Queens Park by Barry Rennie; South West Phoenix vs Ashfield courtesy www.ashfield.com; Canning City vs Stirling Suns by Phil Unsworth)
Bayswater City went into their home fixture with Southside United favoured to collect maximum points and hold on to top spot on the First Division table. With both sides finding to difficult to adapt to the slippery conditions, the opening period was a scrappy affair in which the host club continually pushed forward only to meet strong resistance from the Southside rearguard. With Andrew O'Neill providing the ammunition from out wide, good chances came the way of strikers Bobby Klenkoski and Boima Karpeh but neither player was able to convert. The deadlock was broken after 20 minutes when O'Neill swung in a corner which landed on the head of Kevin Henderson who netted for the fifteenth time this season. Bayswater's search for further goals was rewarded five minutes from the break when Klenkoski's cross from the right found the unmarked Karpeh who clipped the ball over the goalkeeper to make it 2-0. The second half was controlled by the host team who killed off the game as a contest in the 55th minute as Sean Cowman's ball into the area was met by Boima Karpeh who tapped home from close-range. Well aware that the championship could be decided on goal difference, Bayswater threw everything at their opponent and in quick succession Klenkoski twice squandered chances to add to the tally. A strong run into the box by Filipe Xavier looked promising only for the midfielder to scuff his shot, and in the final minute Daniel Naumovski skipped past three defenders and struck the post with a powerful left-footer, the loose ball came to Klenkoski whose effort met with the same fate. Bayswater won the reserves 3-0 with the goals from Ray Ballerini and Nick Stojanovski, while the under-18 match Southside collected the points courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline.
Mandurah City virtually handed the First Division title to Bayswater by going down 1-3 at home to Queens Park. The hosts started the game in fine form and were unlucky not to be on the scoreboard after 10 minutes when Mick Bobridge was brought down inside the penalty area only for the referee to allow play to continue. Queens Park consolidated on their good fortune shortly afterwards when a speculative cross was tipped onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Paul Dixon, only for the loose ball to fall to Dean Dalby who made no mistake in tapping in from close-range. Mandurah's usually calm game disappeared after that and it came as no surprise when the visitors added to their tally. After conceding a free-kick just outside the area, some indecisive defending on the hosts behalf saw the ball come to Ross Posthuma who drilled his shot from 16-metres into the back of the net. The second half saw Mandurah throw everything at their opponents in an effort to get back in the match, and they appeared to have pulled a goal back after Christian Paschewitz out-jumped Darren Williams to nod the ball into the net, but the goal was disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper. With 65 minutes gone, the hosts finally got themselves on the scoreboard after Jordan Rhodes was awarded a penalty which the youngster converted himself. Chances to level the match came and went for Mandurah in a completely one-sided half, however, sloppy finishing in front of goal saw four golden opportunities go begging. Queens Park sealed the result with their third of the afternoon in the 87th minute after Luay Alkajib caught the host team short at the back. Mandurah's reserves also had a scare in their quest for top spot when held 1-1 by Queens Park, but the southerners remain five points clear at the top of the league and with a game in hand on their nearest rival. The under-18 match ended in a comfortable 4-1 win to Mandurah.
Ashfield could not have started better their away game with South West Phoenix with Muhamed Komadaric blasting into the back of the net from 15-metres following a fine cross from Matt Pochroj in the 2nd minute. Buoyed by the early goal, the visitors knocked the ball around the park with growing confidence and twice hit the frame of the goal to dominate play. Despite this pressure, Phoenix hit back on the quarter-hour through Steve Suttie who made the most of a one-on-one with goalkeeper Johnathon Van Der Voet. Ten minutes later the home team took the lead when Suttie brilliantly turned his marker to volley into the top corner. David Rodgers made it 3-1 three minutes from the break when he converted a free-kick from distance as Phoenix looked to run away with the game. Six minutes after the break Ashfield pegged back the gap through Komadaric who found himself on the end of a John Monterosso cross. Komadaric then completed his hat-trick by knocking in a Monterosso cross to the back post to level the game after 72 minutes. Monterosso and Wayne Culverwell had opportunities to put the visitors in front only top be thwarted by the Phoenix goalkeeper, but there was little he could do eleven minutes from the end when Culverwell's ball into the area was rammed home by Komadaric to make the final score 4-3. The reserves game ended in a scoreless draw, while the under-18's was taken out by Phoenix 2-1.
Due to the unavailability of Willetton Sports Club unavailable, Canning City's home fixture with Stirling Suns was moved to John Connell Reserve, home of neighbouring Leeming Strikers. With key trio Robby Meyer, Jix Loong and Paul Oliver all returning to first team duty, it took Canning just 6 minutes to open their account after John Rodder was brought down by an illegal challenge in the penalty area and Oliver struck the spot kick into the roof of the net. A goal down, the Suns then laid siege to their opponents goal but were thwarted by a combination of resolute goalkeeping from Meyer and some very poor finishing. The Suns were finally rewarded when midfielder Davlo Jovanovsky drove a powerful shot from the edge of the area into the top right hand corner of the goal four minutes from half-time. Canning started with more purpose after the break and almost went ahead through Daniel Laing who hit the upright. Two minutes later Mick Van Dongen was on the receiving end of a great cross from the right by Rodder but was unable to direct his header between the posts. Thirteen minutes into the half Paul Van Dongen won possession in the centre circle and with the ball at his feet dribbled past three challenges before unleashing a powerful shot to the right of goalkeeper Jason Razmosiu to restore Canning's lead. The Suns' final serious effort was made four minutes later when Stefan Stoleski ran the ball into the area only to shoot over the crossbar. The final twenty five minutes of the game belonged to Canning who were denied on numerous occasions by man-of-the-match Razmosiu. Earlier in the day Canning came from behind to take out the reserves 5-3 with goals from Andre Dolva, Christian Dolva, Julio Barendilla, and Nathan O'Brien (2). Canning's cruised to a 7-1 victory in the under-18's.
Morley Windmills came from behind to claim victory by 4-3 over Leeming Strikers at Wotton Reserve. Goals from Gordon Hind and Russell Carr inside the opening 11 minutes caught the hosts napping as the Strikers looked to make it two wins in as many weeks. But Windmills had other ideas as Rydeen Botha pegged back the gap in the 15th minute, nine minutes later Gary James put the two teams on level terms, and Botha bagged his second of the day midway through the half to put the hosts in the driving seat. A penalty converted by Lucas Whitehouse in the 73rd minute gave the Strikers hope of snaring at least one point before a defensive error allowed Steve Keady to net the winner eight minutes from full-time. At Alfred Skeet Oval, Armadale defeated The City 2-1. Craig Anderson put the home team in front after 18 minutes, three minutes after the interval Gareth Davies level, and Greg Newcombe scored the deciding goal in the 75th minute. Rockingham City went down 0-1 at home to Dianella White Eagles for whom Robert Cibesku netted in the 39th minute. The visitors ended the game a man down following the red carding of David Mrdja.
GLORY WIN DULL ENCOUNTER
Perth Glory have defeated the West Australian State team 2-0 in a lacklustre Charity Shield clash at Litis Stadium on Sunday evening. Neither side was able to dominate the game played in cold, wet conditions in which the best performances came from the respective defences. Local product Anthony Danze put Glory in front after 20 minutes following a Wayne Srhoj corner, but it wasn't until two minutes from the end that victory was sealed when Damian Mori rounded goalkeeper Tommi Tomich in a one-on-one situation. A more comprehensive report will follow as part of Friday's regular update.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Perth S.C. will meet Swan I.C. in the final of this years Boral Cup. A Shane Crampton doubled put Perth through to the decider on Saturday at the expense of Western Knights for whom Luka Jukic netted with a fantastic volley. The following afternoon, Swan progressed to the final courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of First Division Kingsway Olympic. Carlos Echeverria gave the black and white the lead shortly before the break with substitute Damien Todorovic secured their safe passage midway through the second half.
A six point margin has opened up at the top of the First Division table with four rounds remaining. Leaders Bayswater City extended their undefeated run to twelve games with a 3-0 win over Southside United as down south Mandurah City lost ground by losing 1-3 at home to fourth-placed Queens Park. Armadale remain third after accounting for The City 2-1, and Ashfield held on to fifth by taking out a seven-goal thriller with South West Phoenix by the odd-goal. Rockingham City went down 0-1 to Dianella White Eagles, Canning City were too strong for Stirling Suns by 2-1, and Morley Windmills toppled Leeming Strikers 4-3.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
It's a big weekend of local football with the semi-finals of the Boral Cup, close to a full round of First Division fixtures, and a friendly between Perth Glory and the West Australian State team. Recently crowned Premier League champions Perth S.C. come up against long-time rival Western Knights at Litis Stadium on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off) in the first of the weekend's Cup fixtures. The key to Perth's game is a hard-working midfield featuring the talents of Gareth Naven, Adam Bunce and Todd Howarth. Goalkeeper Tommi Tomich has been an important figure in the Knights going their last four games without loss, while Danish import Claus Nielsen and attacker Carl Medica are always a threat to opposing defences. From 1.00pm the reserves semi-final pits Perth against Bassendean Caledonian, while preceding that Inglewood United and E.C.U. Joondalup meet for a spot in the decider of the under-18 competition (11.00am kick-off).
In Saturday's round of the First Division matches, Mandurah City will need to be on their guard at Peelwood Parade where the visitors are a Queens Park side who have run hot and cold all season long. Leaders Bayswater City should cruise to victory over struggling Southside United, while the match at Alfred Skeet Oval between Armadale and The City promises to be an entertaining one. Morley Windmills have had a terrible seven week run and they'll find the going tough at home to Leeming Strikers who last weekend scored a confidence boosting win. At the Soccerdrome in Bunbury there's a derby of sorts between South West Phoenix and Ashfield, Rockingham City are home to Dianella White Eagles, and the youngsters from Canning City welcome Stirling Suns to Willetton Sports Club. Due to Cup commitment's on Kingsway Olympic's behalf, their home fixture with Balcatta has been postponed until later in the season.
On Sunday we return to Cup action at Litis Stadium where Swan I.C. take on First Division side Kingsway Olympic from 1.45pm. Having lost just once in the past three months, Swan were disappointed to miss out on a place in the Champion of Champions series and will be going all out to make the final of the knock-out competition. With regular State No.1 Cory Hugo between the posts and Carlo Scali, Mark Lee and Damien Scali in the engine room it will take a lot to stop the black-and-whites. But coming off a big win last weekend, Olympic will be no pushover. Alan Nanini and Jason Stern form a solid partnership at the back while in midfield Alan Henderson, Andy Brown and Scott Evans are sure to keep their opponents backline on their toes. The reserves semi-final pits Cockburn City against Stirling Lions from 11.15am, while the under-18 fixture between Cockburn City and Fremantle City kicks-off at 10.20am.
Following the semi-final at 4.30 is the annual Charity Shield challenge match between Perth Glory and the West Australian State team in what promises to be perfect conclusion to a memorable day's entertainment. Last year's Charity Shield game ended in a 1-1 draw, but Glory are undefeated in seven meetings against the State side with the most recent clash ending in a 4-0 victory. With the new National Soccer League season due to start later this month, the match will be Glory's stiffest test of the pre-season. State coach Paul Simmons has brought together an impressive 25-man squad for his first game in charge and is confident they will compete strongly with the N.S.L. champions. However, the coach won't be able to finalise his line-up until the completion of the previous days Cup fixture between Perth and the Knights who, between them, have seven players in the squad.
INJURY CLAIMS LAZARIDIS
Australian coach Frank Farina has named three uncapped players in his squad for next week's international against Jamaica, but a notable absentee from the Socceroo's list is Perth-born Stan Lazardis. The left-sided player picked up a minor injury while playing for Birmingham City last weekend against Newcastle United to be ruled out of contention for national honours. The Australian squad is Scott Chipperfield (F.C. Basel), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Tony Vidmar (Cardiff City), Vince Grella (Empoli), Brett Holman (Excelsior), Josip Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Mark Viduka (Leeds United), Mile Sterjovski (Lille), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Kevin Muscat (Millwall), Steve Laybutt (Mouscron), Jon McKain (National Buchuresti), Marco Bresciano (Parma), Zeljko Kalac (Perugia), Ljubo Milicevic (F.C. Thun), Steve Corica (Walsall) and Paul Okon (Vicenza).
TOP EFFORT BY STATE WOMEN'S TEAM
The West Australian State women's team are back from their whirlwind tour of the nation with some very encouraging results in their collective belts. While in the east the team played four games against Women's National Soccer League opposition and proved that they would be competitive at national league level. "There is no doubt they W.A. could now argue for a place in the W.N.S.L.," said State player Penny Hoath (formerly Tanner). "Our learning curve over the past six months under coach Alastair Edwards has been phenomenal and the results on the tour reflect that. The players are some of the best in terms of skill and ability that I have played along side in my 21-years of state and club soccer. Alastair Edwards got the mix and talent perfect. W.A. can compete at this level, it is now all a matter of finances - there won't be any arguments from anyone anywhere on that score."
The tour kicked-off Thursday 23rd August when the State team took on a strong South Australian line-up which featured the core of the Adelaide Sensation squad which competes in the W.N.S.L. along with a number of triallists. In a very quick game played on a small, bumpy pitch, the explosive pace of Lisa DeVanna and Collette McCallum continually caused problems for the host team who eventually took out a tight match 3-2. McCallum scored the goal of the game to opening the account for W.A. with a weaving run through the defence before drilling the ball with her left boot into the back of the net. Hoath added to the tally for the west following a fantastic corner from Canadian import Sarah Cunningham, "I simply couldn't miss the ball which landed perfectly on my head and bounced into the goal!," commented Hoath.
Having turned on the style in the opening game of the tour, five players from Perth - McCallum, DeVanna, Cunningham, Stacey Woodfin and Tania Oxtoby - were invited to trial for Sensation the following day. Offers to join the Adelaide-based club for the up-coming W.N.S.L. season were made to McCallum, DeVanna and Oxtoby. Two days after their initial meeting, W.A. and S.A. again went to battle on a cold and windy afternoon. Having earnt the respect of their opponents, it was a much more cohensive W.A. side which took to the park and claimed victory through a Deb Gorton header. "The only goal of the game resulted from a great cross by Lisa (DeVanna)," said Hoath. "Deb doesn't score many headers so it was a special shriek of delight that further inspired us to defend madly our lead." In another close match W.A. were lead by Luciana Colangelo who worked tirelessly for the duration.
For the concluding leg of their trip W.A. headed to Melbourne for a two-game series with W.N.S.L. outfit Victoria Vision. "The weather was windy and rainy, and the city itself was similar to England in its' architecture," commented Hoath before adding, "Utterly adorable, and shopping central for us women!" The first match, played played amid cool but windy conditions on Tuesday 26th August, opened with both teams making good use of the wide playing surface. The westerners continued to show improvement, knocking the ball around well and linking up to great effect to earn themselves a 1-1 draw courtesy of a goal from Australian Olympic hopeful DeVanna. "Lisa scored with an incredible left-footer, then was flattened in a fracas with the goalkeeper and had to come off with suspected ankle ligament damage," commented Hoath who replaced DeVanna in attack "with all the zest but a little less of Lisa's pace."
The final match of the State team's journey took place three days later when the outcome was a scoreless with Vision. "After playing four games in eight days we were all getting tired and a wee bit emotional as girls do," Hoath said tongue in cheek. "This was a hard game for us, the wind was blowing in short, sharp bursts, the pitch was muddy and uneven, and the rain just didn't stop. Still, we dug deep and played well with Collette (McCallum) playing out of her skin in midfield and Stacey Woodfin inspirational up-front. Our defence copped a hammering but we held firm to draw for a second time with the Victorians. Four matches in a week will take its' toll on the best of players. Some of our players were drained emotionally as well as physically by the end of the tour, but every one of the squad played to their maximum and did a great honour to the State. Our youngsters proved they have the talent to compete at the highest level with the right sort of training programs in place."
MIDFIELDER REFLECTS ON LIONS WINTER
2003 was always going to be a difficult first season back in the top flight for Stirling Lions. Last year's First Division champions began their campaign brightly, winning twice in their opening four games only to drop off the pace and go winless over the remainder of the season. While results didn't always go the way the club or their players would have liked, former State representative Toby Wright (right) believes the club have laid the foundations for future success. "At the start of the season our coaches set us the goal of being as competitive as possible in the top flight and to show the other teams exactly what we are capable of," he said. "I think we managed to do that, we played well throughout the season but unfortunately our final position at the bottom of the table really didn't reflect this."
"For the past three season we've said the club should be in the Premier League, that we are a Premier League team," added Wright. "But regardless of how well we played we just didn't get the results needed to actually make our way back into the top flight until last year - and 2003 was a similar story. If you asked about at other clubs I think they'd all agree that the Lions were a difficult side to play, especially in the second half of the season, and that we didn't deserve to finish bottom of the table. We're a strong club and have stuck together this year and will do so again next season. For us the results this year didn't count as it was a season of establishing the club in the Premier League ... mind you, we did finish one place higher than last year!"
"As a club we have shown that we can match it with the Perth's, Sorrento's and Cockburn's, those three have been the benchmark teams this season. It was only one goal in each of the second round games that separated us and cost us draws with Perth and Cockburn and a win over Sorrento ... not bad for a bottom team, especially when you take into account that we played them in successive weeks," commented the midfielder. "We were always confident that we could win prior to every game regardless of who we were up against. Our team spirit is one of our big strengths. We celebrated the season after Saturdays' final game almost in the same fashion as when we won the First Division last year, and that shows just how much spirit and passion exists for the club amongst the players and coaches."
Part of the 2002 championship squad, Wright says there are a couple of differences to the way the game is played in the top flight as compared to life in the First Division. "In the Premier League if you make a mistake you get punished for it, whereas in the First Division you could get away with that sort of thing on occasions," he said. "The majority of the teams you come up against in the top flight have six or seven really good players as opposed to maybe the one or two that most First Division clubs have, that means you've got to be able to match up in more positions across the entire pitch. Other than in those areas though, we didn't really find there to be much of a gap between the two competitions. We have a lot of quality players in our squad and, as many of them have previously played in the Premier League, I think we benefited from their experience."
When asked who the key figures for the Lions were this year and Wright doesn't hesitated a moment in singling out two terammates. "Andy Wright has been our Mr Consistency this year, he's someone you can always rely upon at the back and give his all for the entire 90 minutes. Jordan Conti came to the club with some big boots to fill and has been nothing less than outstanding for us. To be fair to the rest of the players though, every player in the squad has stepped up to the challenge when asked to do. Keegan Ashley, Leo Harman, Darko Ilmanovski, Tony Paolino, Christian DeBarro * the list just goes on. In terms of our 'star of the future', I'd say that would be Christian who has improved as the weeks have gone by and will continue to learn. He's still only young but isn't letting playing first team go to his head, he'll listen to and accept criticism and in the long run he'll be a better player for it."
A regular in the middle of the park for the Lions this year, Wright set himself the pre-season goal of proving that he is still top flight material. "Things started very well, I was playing my usual attacking role and scoring some magic goals. But as the season went on I took on more of a defensive role and I found it difficult to get involved in our attack. While I wasn't able to have the same impact as last year, I did the job I was asked to do and worked hard at it. Hopefully I'll have a bigger impact next season * in fact I'm looking forward to it already!"
A former State junior and senior representative, not to mention an Australian Schoolboys international, Wright spent two seasons with E.C.U. Joondalup in the late 1990's before linking up with the Lions. Last year his list of honours grew when named the First Division Player of the Year, something he acknowledges was always going to be a difficult task to follow-up. "After such a good season last year I had to prove that I could do it again in the Premier League. I started very well and was playing my usual attacking role and scoring some magic goals, but as the season went on I was given a more defensive role so found it hard to get involved in the attack. I did the job I was asked to do and worked hard at it, but I feel I wasn't able to have the same impact on games. I know that I can compete and play well in the Premier League and hopefully I'll have a bigger impact next season * in fact, I'm looking forward to it already!"
GLORY MOVE FOR COONEY (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory coach Mich d'Avray is interested in bringing Coventry City defender Sean Cooney back to Western Australia. The Glory boss is still looking for defensive signings after shelving his interest in former Rotherham United player Mark Williams who spent the past few weeks on trial with the club. Along with Cooney, out of contract Newcastle United utility Matt Bingley and Preston defender Sash Ognenovski are also believed to be under consideration.
TWO ADDED TO STATE SQUAD
Coach Paul Simmons has made a number of changes to the State squad for Sunday's Charity Shield clash with National Soccer League champions Perth Glory at Litis Stadium (4.30pm kick-off). Although currently without a club attacker, Greg Sharland has been called-up for duty along with versatile E.C.U. Joondalup player Darren Broxton. 20-year old Sharland spend the 2002/03 season in England with Charlton Athletic, while Broxton returned to Perth earlier this year after a couple of seasons in the youth set-up at Southampton. "We've got quite a strong squad," commented Simmons this week. "Our biggest problem has been training on Sundays as you don't know what you have with injuries from Saturday."
With seven members of the squad featuring in Saturday's Boral Cup semi-final between Perth S.C. and Western Knights, Simmons will be keeping his fingers crossed that they all come through unscathed. Swan I.C. pair Cory Hugo and Elton Holmes will miss the match due to being involved in the Boral Cup semi-final meeting with Olympic Kingsway which precedes the friendly. Fremantle City striker Craig Young is unavailable having returned to Scotland, veteran midfielder Gareth Naven has also withdrawn from the squad for personal reasons, and New Zealander Adam Rains has also pulled out due to injury. It is understood injury clouds also hover over Floreat Athena pair Adrian Sutton and Andreas Oliveira.
The West Australian side completed preparations for the Glory clash with a friendly against the WAASSA State side at the Edith Cowan University ground this evening. Some early shakes allowed the amateurs to take an early lead, but the senior State team bounced back quickly to dominate the remainder of the opening half. Midway through the period Simon Harland equalised with a fine volley after a slick exchange of passes between Leon Russell and Todd Howarth down the left flank. Five minutes later Shane Crampton finished a fine attacking move by placing his shot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper. Nine changes at the break didn't interrupt the flow for the State side as 15-year old midfielder Rostyn Griffiths added to the tally. Scott Bulloch made it 4-1 before Cockburn City teenager Jeff Bright found the net with a tremendous strike to complete an emphatic victory.
The 26-man training squad for Sunday's Charity Shield clash with Perth Glory is Alan Dunlop (Bassendean Caledonian), Jeff Bright (Cockburn City), Anthony Jones, Andreas Oliveira, Adrian Sutton (Floreat Athena), Dean Apelgren, Branimir Mikulic, Craig Surtees (Fremantle City), Sean Kilkelly, Jamie Kuzmanovich (Inglewood United), Darren Broxton, Scott Bulloch, Rostyn Griffiths (E.C.U. Joondalup), Adam Bunce, Aaron Cole, Shane Crampton, Rhys Graham, Todd Howarth (Perth S.C.), Simon Harland, Andy Mason, Dale McCulloch, Glen Thomas, Neil Young (Sorrento), Leon Russell, Tommi Tomich (Western Knights) and Greg Sharland (unattached).
SOUTHSIDE AND STRIKERS IN RACE FOR YOUTH HONOURS
A look at the First Division Under-18 competition and it's clear to see why interest and enthusiasm is growing as the season comes to a close. Although Southside United top the standings with a handy six-points buffer, Leeming Strikers have a game in hand and a superior goal difference to ensure the battle goes down to the line. A closer look at the remaining fixtures only adds to the intrigue. Winners in 23 of their 25 games this season, Southside this weekend meet Bayswater City followed by Morley Windmills and The City. A home clash with an improving Dianella White Eagles side is next up before a final round showdown with third-placed Kingsway Olympic. The Strikers face the same opposition albeit on different weekends. Morley is their opponent this Saturday, then it's Bayswater before a possible title decider against Dianella. A home match with The City proceeds a trip south to play South West Phoenix on the final day of the season.
Southside were the form side of the opening half of the season, sustaining a superb unbeaten run and opening a twelve-point gap over their nearest rivals at one stage. The Strikers, however, have strung together nine straight victories - including a 2-0 win at Southside - and have amassed ten consecutive away wins to close the gap. With only a handful of games to go, Southside lead the way with 69 followed by the Strikers on 63 points, Olympic are third four points behind with Mandurah City and Dianella close behind. The departure of John Thornley from the Southside camp has seen Simon El Chami race up the goalscorers charts, the youngster currently sitting on 34 goals which is one fewer than his former teammate. The Strikers have no fewer than four players - Simon Versaico, Jarryd Thraves, Gordon Hind and Shirash Sasikumar - in the top ten scorers. The level of the under-18 competition this year has generally been of a very good standard with many games producing high excitement levels, but at the end of the day it appears it will be either the boys from Southside or the Strikers that will take out top honours.
JOONDALUP COACH LOOKS TO 2004 (courtesy the West Coast Bugle)
Coach Stuart Kamasz was disappointed with E.C.U. Joondalup's final day capitulation to Floreat Athena, the 0-5 home loss sending the northern suburbs to seventh on the table after being in top five contention for many weeks. But Kamasz, who led Stirling Macedonia and Fremantle City to league titles in the last eight years, is confident the young Joondalup side will produce the goods next season. "When you consider we had a side which included a lot of youngsters, it was a very good effort," he commented. "If I can bring in a few older heads for next season and the youngsters continue to show improvement, then the future looks very bright. I reckon the club is in a very healthy position, for the Under-18's won their league title."
KNIGHTS DID NOTHING WRONG EXPLAINS PRESIDENT
With Soccer West Coast expected to investigate Trim Morgan's participation in two recent games for Western Knights, club president Basil Zuvela is adamant his club have followed the rules and guidelines of the local authority in regards to the transfer of players from abroad. Back in Perth on holiday, Morgan was granted international clearance from the English Football Association to Soccer Australia which allowed him to play for the Knights. Later the club were advised by S.W.C. that the striker had an outstanding two-week suspension from England and should not be allowed to play between 19th August and 2nd September. "In all honesty I can not see why an investigation needs to be carried out as Soccer West Coast were the one that gave us permission to play Trim," said Zuvela this week. "We have all the paperwork from Soccer West Coast which says Trim was eligible to play for the Knights - everything we did followed the regulations. Two weeks after we received clearance for him to play we were told by Soccer West Coast that he was suspended and could not play. The club immediately withdrew Trim from the team and he didn't play for us again. If there was an error by anyone it certainly was not by us."
THREE LOCALS IN OLYROOS SQUAD
Australia's Under-23 side continue their preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games with a friendly against Turkey at the Inonu Stadium, Istanbul, on Wednesday 10th September. Coach Frank Farina has included three West Australians - Brad Jones, David Tarka and Richard Garcia - in his 18-man squad for the clash which will be the first between the two nations at any level. In addition to the locally produced trio, former Perth Glory sweeper Ljubo Milicevic, who is now plying his trade with Swiss club F.C. Thun, and current Glory players Jade North and Wayne Srhoj have been called up for Under-23 honours. The qualifying tournament for the up-coming Olympics are scheduled for January next year and will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
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This page was last updated on the 31st October, 2003