NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND FOUR (Perth S.C. vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Bayswater City vs Western Knights courtesy Western Knights; Floreat Athena vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
Perth S.C. took out first place in Group A by defeating Swan I.C. 1-0 in the weekend’s opening game of the Night Series. As the teams emerged from the tunnel a giggle rippled around the ground as coaches Gary Marocchi and Graham Normanton hobbled to their respective benches on crutches following recent knee surgery. In a scrappy half Perth gradually claimed the ascendancy. A David Onoforo free-kick forced a great save from Cory Hugo, and not long after the Swan custodian thwarted Robbie Puca following a fine cross by David Micevski. A ball into the area by Onoforo was diverted goalward by defender Justin Hugo and again Cory Hugo rescued his team with a fingertip save. At the start of a seesawing second half Swan appeals for a penalty were turned away after David Foster went down inside the area. Onoforo then rounded Justin Hugo and pushed the ball past Cory Hugo only to have Mark Donnelly clear off the line. Miki Vujacic took Swan forward and his cross was brilliantly controlled by Paul Lincoln only to be thwarted by young goalkeeper Trando Velaph. A long ball out of defence in the 57th minute found the unmarked David Micevski who was allowed to advance and blast the ball into the back of the net from 18-metres to hand Perth the lead. Swan threw everything into leveling as Tony Cumace’s header was cleared off the line, then Gary Andrews’ effort was saved by Velaph. In the closing minutes Dino Djulbic’s perfectly timed tackle dispossessed Foster, and from the resultant corner Lincoln nodded just wide from close range.
E.C.U. Joondalup became the first team to qualify from Group B when they defeated Inglewood United 1-0 in Friday’s late game. With less than a minute played young midfielder Scott Patterson took Joondalup into attack and Garin Collins clever flick on goal was brilliantly saved by Oliver Taseski. The northern suburbs side enjoyed the better of the first half, continually coming at their opponents who were forced to spend long periods on the defensive. The deadlock was broken two minutes from half time when a thunderous long-range strike by Keith Brown crashed into the crossbar and Collins responded quickly by collecting the rebound and rounding Taseski to slot home. The second half began much as the first had ended with Joondalup applying the pressure but unable to convert their chances. With the clock ticking down and their campaign facing an end, Inglewood upped their intensity. Louis Parkinson, Ryan Newhill and Alan Henderson were all presented with opportunities to level the match only to find veteran Paul Kelly in superb form between the posts for Joondalup. The northerners could have wrapped up the game five minutes from full-time when awarded a penalty after Derek Cooke was hauled down inside the box, but Taseski had little trouble in keeping out Collins weakly struck shot.
Sorrento went through to the knock-out stage of the Night Series despite going down to Floreat Athena on Sunday afternoon. Even with eight first team players absent Sorrento attacked from the outset and inside the opening minute mounted a lighting raid down the left through Scott McIlroy whose crossed was just over the head of Todd Harnwell. A probing Athena attack shortly after saw Coast Socratous' effort kept out by the feet of teenage goalkeeper Alex Vrteski. On 26 minutes James Morgan's free-kick from wide on the right was met perfectly by Jared Love whose header glided past Vas Vujacic for the match opener. A minute later Sorrento should have been two-up when Daniel Cain's cross was headed high by Harnwell who had the goal at his mercy. Anthony Jones made his way down the right shortly after to deliver a low cross which evaded Vrteski but not striker Peter Coci who tapped in to an empty net. Within three minutes Athena had taken the lead as Jones punished some sloppy defending from close-range. Either side of the break Coci came close to extending the margin, first with a free-kick that struck the crossbar then with a spectacular overhead that was inches too high. In the 61st minute Magdic bagged the goal of the evening with a delightful chip from 22-metres that floated over Vrteski and into the net. Sorrento upped their workrate and reduced the gap in the final minute when Harnwell's fierce shot cannoned in off the chest of Aaron Moschopoulos.
Western Knights continued their defence of the Night Series title with a spirited 2-0 defeat of Bayswater City in energy sapping conditions. With Alex Christie and Daniel Trim making their first appearances for the season the Knights were on the offensive from the opening. With 2 minutes gone Claus Nielsen split the defence to play Josh Kamasz through and the teenage striker hesitated not a moment in shooting past Francis Allen to give the Knights the advantage. Further chances came the way of Trim and Kamasz as the Knights asserted their dominance across the ground and limited their opponents to only the occasional counter-attack. The margin was doubled after 26 minutes when Mark Lee's superb crossfield pass found Kamasz who zeroed in on goal and fired under the advancing 'keeper despite pressure from a defender. Minutes later Kamasz spurned a golden opportunity to seal his hat-trick by shooting well over the crossbar from close-range. As the half came to a close Knights custodian Robert Pedri kept his side two-goals to the better by denying Gareth Healy and Kevin Henderson within minutes of eachother. The warm and humid conditions made for a slower paced second half in which Bayswater were able to steer play their way. But clear cut chances were few and far between thanks to some resolute defending and the safe hands of Pedri. Despite being on the defensive for much of the period the Knights held firm with the win booking their place in the round of eight.
Stirling Lions Night Series campaign came to a crashing halt when defeated 1-3 by Cockburn City. Having been told prior to kick-off that penalties would decide the game - and the Group B winner - should the scores be level at full time, both camps were left scratching their heads when informed midway through the second half that the winner would be determined on a ‘fair play’ basis in the event of a draw. Eight minutes in Cockburn took the lead after Antonio Naglieri found Simon Jonas whose inch-perfect chip over goalkeeper Gareth Deeg came to nestle in the back of the net. Play flowed from one end of the ground to the other with both teams needing victory to ensure their safe passage to the knock-out phase of the competition. In the 29th minute Cockburn played the ball back to goalkeeper Jeff Cargill who was dispossessed by Jake Harman and the Lions attacker made no mistake in putting his side back in the game. Upon the resumption of play Cockburn looked the more composed side and twice in quick succession came close to restoring their lead. It was a case of third time lucky when, five minutes in, Peter Petkovich’s shot crashed into the back of the net to put Cockburn in the driving seat. Six minutes later the outcome was put beyond doubt by Domenic De Felice who meet a centring pass from the right and rocketed the ball into the net from the top of the 18-yard box.
REDS GET HOME IN CHARITY FRIENDLY
Over $1000 was raised towards Leukemia Research from today's annual Charity Trophy clash between Gosnells City and Armadale at Walter Padbury Reserve. Despite the oppressive playing conditions the opening exchanges where fast and furious with each side eager to take the upper hand. Gosnells squandered a guilt-edged chance to go in front after eight minutes, and shortly after Armadale capitalised when Aaron Beattie’s shot from 25-metres was parried by the goalkeeper and 18-year old Darren Kingston tapped the loose ball in from close-range. The Reds then took the game by the scruff of the neck and pushed home their superiority through Kingston whose first time shot crashed into the roof of the net. Gosnells began to work their way back into the game but were hampered in their efforts with three players succumbing to injury. The tail end of the half was evenly contested with Armadale's well-drilled defence very difficult to break down whilst Gosnells pulled themselves together as a team after conceding two early goals.
Neither team looked overly keen to return to the heat following the halftime break and it turned into a battle of attrition in which both sides gave their all. The Armadale goalkeeper kept his side in front with several good saves as Gosnells' attackers grew in confidence. The skills of the 'keeper proved provital as, five minutes later, Armadale struck a third and decisive goal with Jason Goodwin this time the scorer. "I can not fault my players efforts on a hot day like today," commented Gosnells coach Alex Grindley. "But we were ultimately beaten by superior fitness, stamina and teamwork. All of which we will have to work on in the weeks ahead if we are going to be competitive." Earlier in the day a makeshift Gosnells reserve team that included several 'ring-ins' went down 1-5 to the Reds. Armadale made a clean sweep of the day with their youth side triumphant 4-0. "Even though the results didn't go our way it was a thoroughly enjoyable day in which both clubs raised over $1000 for a very worthwhile charity," said Gosnells president Jim Winrow.
LATE GOALS RESCUE GLORY (by Peter Simcox)
Perth Glory left it late before coming from two-goals down to grab a share of the points from this evenings clash with Marconi Stallions at Members Equity Stadium. The Stallions looked lively and totally dominated the opening half with Joe Spiteri a constant threat in attack. After 9 minutes Spiteri was played through a flat Glory defence who were rescued by goalkeeper Jason Petkovic who smothered the strikers shot. The visitors had winners all over the field with newly capped Socceroo Nick Carle running the show. Carle found Alex Brosque wide on the left in the 11th minute and his low cross to the top of the 6-yard box was jumped on by Petkovic as Spiteri lined up the target. The home team didn’t manage a shot on goal until the quarter hour when Gary Faria’s cross fell nicely for Tom Pondeljak whose volley was brilliantly saved by Stacy Alogdellis. The Stallions took a deserved lead after 21 minutes as Brosque carved the home defence wide open and Spiteri raced through before powering a low shot which gave Petkovic no chance. For the remainder of the half Glory’s focus was on preventing the deficit from being increased as the Stallions pilled on the pressure. But hesitant defending almost cost the home side in the 36th minute when Brosque was allowed to advance on goal only to fire narrowly wide of the left post from 14-metres.
After the break Glory made more of a game of it. A 55th minute Bobby Despotovski corner went to feet and caused more than a few nervous moments for the visiting defence as Jamie Harnwell hit the upright from close range. Not long after Mark Byrnes was denied by an amazing save from Alogdellis following another Glory corner. The introduction of Nick Mrdja, Adrian Caceras and Jamie Coyne allowed the home side to step up the intensity a level, but it was the Stallions who would find the net. Harnwell mis-timed a header then Shaun Murphy failed to clear as Spiteri bore down on goal and slotted under the body of the advancing ‘keeper to make it 2-0 with 76 minutes gone. With their opponents tiring, Glory rolled up there sleeves and got stuck in. A low cross from the right by Coyne was cleverly stepped over by Mrjda and Damian Mori swept the ball past Alogdellis in the 84th minute. Three minutes later the Stallions ‘keeper spilled Jade North’s cross from the left and the ball spilled to Mrdja who finished well to level the score. By his own admission Glory coach Mich d’Avray will have some hard decisions to make over the next couple of weeks with local trio Mrdja, Caceres and Coyne all staking their claim to starting berths in the coming finals series.
A strong first half performance by Bassendean Caledonian paved the way for a 4-1 defeat of Ashfield in their friendly meeting on Saturday afternoon. After a tight opening period Caledonian slowly pulled away from their First Division opponent and after 20 minutes went in front through Andy Cornmell who was presented with a simple tap-in. Jonathon Mathers' cross was dispatched into the back of the net by Cornmell to increase the margin, then Graeme Matthews converted at the near post. Just before the break the gap became four goals when Craig Wells crossed and Matthews' powerful header hit the target. Ashfield worked their way back into the game after the interval and pegged back the margin when teenager Alex Crookes danced past three defenders before chipping the goalkeeper from the top of the area.
An in-form Fremantle City had little trouble in accounting for home team Balcatta by 6-2 in hot and humid conditions in the northern suburbs. Striker partners Branimir Mikulic and Kevin Correia netted twice each for the port side whose other goals came via young guns John Migas and Peter Lord. David Moschilla scored from the penalty spot for Balcatta with Adriano Caloiero bagging the goal of the game with a stunning free-kick. Although the result didn't go in their favour the match proved a solid workout for Balcatta who are aiming for a place near the top of the First Division table this coming season.
In stifling conditions in the south-west Mandurah City emerged as winners at all three levels over Australind. Mandurah asserted their dominance from the opening exchanges of the senior match with some slick passing and good movement on and off the ball. The final 6-0 scoreline came about through goals by Christian Paschewitz (2), Adam Boone (2), Jake Loreto and John E. Platt. A solid performance form Daniel Baker was the highlight of the Reserves outing which ended 3-0 courtesy of goals from Michael Charlesworth, David Jackson and Jake Heathcote. Mandurah's youth team took on the Australind social side and came away with a 3-1 win. The star performers of the match were Clint Brown and Gerard Keely.
Although outplayed for much of the afternoon, Stirling Suns defeated Kingsway Olympic 2-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Neither side really threatened until the 20th minute when an error in the Olympic defence resulted in Alex Jankulovski scoring the games' opening goal. For the remainder of the half Olympic did much of the attacking as the visitors sat back and soaked up the pressure. Early in the new half goalkeeper Jason Razmovski made a great save to deny Alan Nanini an equaliser from the penalty spot. The Suns were then awarded a spot kick of their own which Jankulovski converted to double the margin. Despite being two-goals behind Olympic continued to dominate and ten minutes from the end were rewarded when Phil Russie netted from the spot following a foul on Nigel Comito.
On Sunday Wanneroo City battled their way to a 3-2 win over a determined Leeming Strikers. The only goal of an uneventful opening 45 minutes came from Strikers' off-season signing Michael Vaz who found the back of the net against the run of play. Wanneroo began the new half positively with Ben Yates firing in from close-range to put the game back on level terms. But it was short lived with Vaz turning sharply to throw off his marker before drilling the ball into the bottom corner to restore the Strikers advantage. A partially cleared corner in the 72nd minute made its way to Scott Wyeth whose blistering shot from 30-metres found the target. The winner came from Scott Bulloch who scored from the penalty spot after being brought down inside the box.
CRUCIAL NIGHT SERIES GAMES
It's make or break time this weekend with the final round Night Series qualifying games at Litis Stadium. The action kick-off at 6.45pm tonight with a top-of-the-table Group A meeting between traditional rivals Perth S.C. and Swan I.C. Perth are eager to avenge last seasons' Boral Cup final loss but Swan have been in superb form and are favoured to take out the game. E.C.U. Joondalup and Inglewood United follow at 8.25pm. With all four Group B teams level on three points, both Joondalup and Inglewood will be wanting maximum points to secure their place in the round of eight.
Proceedings get underway on Sunday from 4.30pm when Floreat Athena and Sorrento go head to head. Automatic qualification for the knock-out phase will greet the winner while the loser will have to sweat it out and rely upon other games going in their favour to progress as one of two best ranked 'third place' teams. At 6.10pm Western Knights need a sizeable win over Bayswater City to ensure their continuance in the tournament. The weekend concludes with the second do or die Group B meeting as Stirling Lions and Cockburn City square off.
DANSKIN REMAINS FOCUSED DESPITE SETBACKS
Matt Danskin has left German club Werder Bremen with plans to land a contract with Perth Glory. But first the highly rated midfielder will have an operation on a troublesome ankle injury that will put him out of action for up to six weeks. In and out of the Werder Under-19 side over the past six months, Danksin re-charged his batteries during the Christmas/New Year break which he spent in Perth and trained with Glory. He returned to German keen to re-establish himself but, after less than a month abroad, the 19-year old opted to end his time with Werder as a result of a long-term coaching issue that is still to be resolved. It is understood discussions are continuing between the players agent and the club.
It was while training with Glory (with Werder's permission) that Danskin picked up the ankle injury that has put him temporarily out of the game. An MRI scan done at the time failed to detect any serious damage, but the injury failed to respond to treatment upon his return to Germany. Following his departure from Werder Danskin linked up with Fremantle City only to experience further problems with his ankle during his first training run. A second MRI revealed the problem for which Danskin is currently receiving treatment. He plans to spend the coming winter at Fremantle with the end goal of securing a playing contract with Glory for their 2004/05 campaign. Danskin has opted not to take up an offer of trials with English club Huddersfield Town.
GLORY NINETY MINUTES FROM NSL RECORD
Perth Glory are on the cusp of making National Soccer League history. Victory on Saturday over Marconi Stallions will make Glory the first team in the competition's 27-year history to go an entire season without dropping a single point on home soil. So far Glory have taken maximum points from each of twelve games played in Perth, accumulating 31 goals while conceding just four. Undefeated in their past thirteen games, Glory head into the match as red-hot favourite to claim victory and create history in the process. The action gets underway on Saturday from 7.00pm at Members Equity Stadium.
WHAT MORE DOES MRDJA HAVE TO DO? (by Brett Klucznik)
Nick Mrdja must be wondering what he had to do to hold down a regular spot in Perth Glory's starting line-up. Since Christmas the 25-year old has been his teams form striker and, yet, he is unable to command a place in the first eleven. In his past ten outings Mrdja has netted nine goals, and in the past week alone has scored four times in little over 100 minutes of game time. Despite such an impressive strike rate Mrjda looks unlikely to start in this weekend against Marconi Stallions. "Nick has made a statement again," coach Mich d'Avray was quoted this week. "In the last few weeks Bobby Despotovski and Damian Mori have been playing well and scoring goals, so there is not really any reason to change," he added.
A fair comment one could say, but one that does not hold up under scrutiny. A cursory glance at match statistics reveals that since Christmas Mrdja has scored nine times - the combined total of Despotovski and Mori during that same period. In ten games (all starts) Despotovski has found the net on four occasions. Mori fairs slightly better with five goals in ten games (six starts and four subs). Now compare those with Mrdja who, in ten games (six starts and four subs), has scored nine times including a sensational hat-trick last weekend against Sydney United which rocketed him to fourth on the N.S.L. goalscorers table for season 2003/04. One really does have to wonder just how much of a 'statement' Mrdja has to make before he convinces d'Avray that he is worthy of a starting berth.
QUEENS PARK GET OFF THE MARK
Queens Park opened their account in the four-team friendly night competition at Coker Park with a 3-1 defeat of a young and inexperienced Ashfield team. Despite having by far the better of play Queens Park were unable to finish their good approach play and the first half ended scoreless. The host club took the lead on the hour via a cracking long-range strike by Mark Brown. Shortly after Ashfield made the most of a mix-up in the Queens Park defence to equalise. Billy Robb restored Queens Park's lead when he converted from the penalty spot, and the result was put beyond doubt by promising young attacker Nick Paone who headed in at the back post from a Adrian McBride cross.
Kingsway Olympic were held to a scoreless draw by northern neighbours Wanneroo on Tuesday evening. With both teams taking the opportunity to rest a number of first team regulars, the opening period was an evenly contested if overly aggressive affair. The respective defences were under pressure from early on and responded with confidence as they absorbed the pressure before confidently playing their team into attack. As a result chances on goal were few and far between although speedy Olympic youngster Chris Tinker looked the most likely player to break the deadlock. After the break goalkeeper Matt Battigelli did well to curb Wanneroo's best attacking moves as the match fizzled out to end goalless.
LOCAL RIVALS TEAM UP FOR CHARITY (courtesy Gosnells City)
First Division Gosnells City are preparing to face off with arch rival Armadale for the upcoming Annual Charity Derby Match. The event, which is in its third year, is a fundraising initiative with all monies raised going towards the Leukaemia Foundation. This year Armadale and its supporters will travel to Walter Padbury Reserve on Sunday - 29th February - when they'll attempt to pry the trophy from Gosnells. But the trophy holders are in no mood to hand it over that easily according to head coach Alex Grindley. "Armadale can think again if they believe they are going to come here and walk all over us," he said. "The game will be a very physical one, and at the end of the day for a great cause." The day starts with an Under-18 game at 11.15am, followed by the reserves at 1.00pm with the feature match commencing at 3.00pm. All players and spectators will be asked for a gold coin donation. Full canteen and bar facilities will be available.
TRIAL DATES FOR STATE SQUADS
Trials for the West Australian Schoolboys and Schoolgirls teams are being held next month in locations both north and south of the river. John Curtin Senior High School (Ellen Street, Fremantle) is the venue on Wednesdays 3rd and 10th March for players in Perth's southern suburbs. Players from north of the Swan River can attend trials at Stirling Vasto Club (1 Vasto Place, Balcatta) on Thursday March 4th and Wednesday March 10th. It is expected that all sessions will commence at 4.15pm and conclude at approximately 5.30pm. Students interested in trying out for either the Schoolboys or Schoolgirls squads should approach their Physical Education teacher for further details. The 2004 Schools National Championship are being held in Adelaide during August.
MCNALLY IS NUMBER ONE
Retired great Willie McNally is West Australia's best goalkeeper according to the soccer loving pubic of West Australia. Over the past fortnight visitors to www.soccerwa.com were asked to vote upon who they considered the State's best goalkeeper and it was McNally that came out on top. The Irish-born shot-stopper accumulated 28.5% of the count to pip former Australian international Robbie Zabica (26.9%) in to first place. Current Perth Glory custodian Jason Petkovic (13.6%) claimed third place followed by Azzurri legend Saverio Madaschi (10.7%). Tony Witschge (6.2%) came in fifth place, Tony Franken (5.0%) was close behind with Michael Petkovic and Peter Mitchell ending level with 4.5% of the votre.
McNally arrived in W.A. in the late 1970's and began a long and successful local career with Olympic. State honours against Vardar, Red Star Belgrade (both from Yugoslavia), AC Milan (Italy) and Northern Ireland followed before Azzurri's undefeated League campaign of 1981. He then spent seven seasons with National Soccer League giants Adelaide City who captured championship in 1986. Upon his return to the west two year later McNally turned out for Kingsway Olympic, Stirling Macedonia, Floreat Athena, Sorrento, Wanneroo City, Swan I.C. and Bassendean Caledonian before only recently hanging up his professional playing gloves. During this period he captained the State team on numerous occasions including the 1992 defeat of then European Cup Winners Cup holder Werder Bremen (Germany).
Spearwood-born Zabica is arguably West Australia's most decorated goalkeeper. Time in the local ranks with Cockburn United, Spearwood Dalmatinac and Stirling Macedonia preceded a move to Adelaide City in 1988 for whom he'd keep goal for seven seasons. A serious knee injury suffered while representing Australia against Japan in 1994 forced the aging shot-stopper on to the sidelines for twelve months, but on his return Zabica was back to his brilliant best. The following year, while with Cockburn City, he won the first of his three WA Goalkeeper of the Year awards and shortly after joined Perth Glory. A season in England with Bradford City was followed by spells with Bayswater City, Inglewood United and Fremantle City before retirement, aged 38. In total Zabica played 202 N.S.L. games, won the competitions' Goalkeeper of the Year in 1991/92, and represented Australia at 'A' level on 27 occasions.
Since debuting for Spearwood Dalmatinac in the early 1990's Jason Petkovic has become established as one of the best goalkeeper in the national league. The two time N.S.L. Goalkeeper of the Year is fast zeroing in on his 300th appearance in the competition in which he's worn the colours of Adelaide City and Perth Glory. In addition, Jason Petkovic has played for the Socceroo's on 15 occasions. Madaschi represented WA on 28 occasions in a 16-year career in the top flight. Having started out with Bayswater United he played two seasons for Sydney-based Western Suburbs in the mid-1970's before re-establishing himself on the west coast. Upon his return Madaschi wore the club colours of Kiev, Azzurri, Galeb, Dalmatinac, Forrestfield United and Balga before hanging up his gloves for the last time.
With 35 outings for the State team Witschge is West Australia's most capped goalkeeper. Best remembered for his starring role in the 1975 defeat of Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers, Witschge enhanced his reputation at Spearwood Dalmatinac for whom he played between 1976 and 1984. He also turned out for Ascot, East Fremantle Tricolore and Kwinana United. By accepting a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport in 1982 Franken set off an what was to be a fruitful career in the domestic competition. Between 1984 and 2003 he made 278 N.S.L. appearances for Canberra City, Sydney Croatia, APIA Leichhardt, Parramatta Eagles, UTS Olympic and Perth Glory. An Australian international, Franken is currently goalkeeper coach for the national squads.
Like his older brother Michael Petkovic started out with Spearwood Dalmatinac for whom he represented the State and was named WA's Goalkeeper of the year in 1994. Shortly after he joined N.S.L. side South Melbourne where he played six seasons, won the Goalkeeper of the Year three times and made his Australian team debut. Michael Petkovic is currently in his second season with top flight Turkish club Trabzonspor. Mitchell made his mark as the first goalkeeper to enjoy a long tenure with the State team. Between 1967 and 1974 he pulled on State colours over 30 times and earned a deserved call-up for the national training squad. He commenced his club career with Subiaco City but it was wearing the No.1 shirt with Cracovia for twelve years that he is best remembered.
TV SHOW MAKES HISTORY
'West Coast Soccer' has celebrated becoming West Australia's longest running locally produced soccer program on television by doubling its running time. The program, which goes to air every Thursday night from 7.00pm on Access 31, has been extended to one hour in duration. "With Adcorp now producing the show viewers will be able to see additional feature segments," said the program's host Bob Figg. "Each week we will be putting the spotlight on Perth Glory players and fans will be able to see them off the field and in front of the camera. The show will also feature a comprehensive match preview segment, including highlights vision from the last time the teams met. And we have increased the length of the player and coach interviews each week to give viewers more of an insight into the matches." The additional segments, along with the show's new logo and graphics, are thanks to the team at Adcorp, a national advertising agency who are also the executive producers of the television show. The first episode of West Coast Soccer went to air in October 2001. 120 shows later it has become the longest running local soccer program in the state.
ATHENA TOO STRONG FOR DIANELLA
Floreat Athena have beaten Dianella White Eagles in a pre-season friendly at Litis Stadium this evening. Neither side was at full strength for the match in which the visitors started the brighter but were unable to make the most of their chances. The hosts slowly found their rhythm and, after twice hitting the frame of the goal, took the lead through a swift attacking move converted by Norwegian trialist Rune. The second half started with the two teams having an equal share of possession before Dianella got themselves back on level terms via Zelko Savic. From there Athena upped the pace, regaining the lead almost immediately through a brilliantly struck free-kick by Peter Coci, then adding further goals through Adrian Sutton and Josip Magdic and to run out 4-1 victors.
SCHOOLS SET FOR ACTION
Those heading to Members Equity Stadium on Saturday evening are encourage to get to the ground early to cheer on some of the state's brightest young prospects. Perth's four high schools with specialist soccer programs - John Curtin, Forrestfield, Woodvale and Safety Bay - will feature in the Curtin University Challenge as the curtain raiser to Perth Glory's home fixture with Marconi Stallions. The four teams will compete in games of 30 minutes duration with the first kicking off at 5.10pm. "This is a great way for Perth Glory and Curtin University to assist with soccer development at the elite school level," commented Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "We hope to develop the program so that the schools compete each season for the Curtin University Challenge Cup."
IRISH INTERNATIONAL JOINS STRIKERS TEAM
Leeming Strikers have scored something of a coup with confirmation that former Republic of Ireland international Eddie McGoldrick will head up their new academy structure. "Eddie's arrival signifies the importance and sincerity of the concept" said Strikers president Alan Thraves via www.leemingstrikers.com this week. "His arrival signals a new era in the way we do our business and conduct ourselves with our European allies."
McGoldrick, who will take up the director of football role with the academy, is looking forward to the task ahead. "I am very excited about the venture and opportunity and am delighted to be given the chance to be involved," he said from London. "When Alan (Thraves) first spoke of the opportunity I felt very positive and now things are real, it's great, I can't wait to get started." In a professional career that spanned thirteen years McGoldrick made 419 appearances for Northampton Town, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Manchester City and Stockport County. In addition he played 15 times for the Republic of Ireland in the mid-1990's.
To assist players achieve their dream of playing in Europe McGoldrick and Thraves have established Aust-Euro Football Clinics. The organisation, which has access to FIFA endorsed player agents, will open up the opportunities available to aspiring young players from West Australian with plans to eventually source players from the eastern states. Former Australian goalkeeper Tony Franken has committed himself to coaching at the clinics while Robbie Slater, who made 28 'A' appearances for the Socceroos, is also likely to assist.
London giants Arsenal have also voiced their support for the new Strikers academy through their academy chief Liam Brady. "It is wonderful to have that knowledge and expertise available to our boys. Many of the Arsenal fundamentals will be incorporated into our clinics and academies," Thraves said. When asked about the other possible European connections Thraves spoke positively. "We will have a base club in each of Europe's larger cities and they will act as nurseries and assist with the visa issues where exporting foreign talent is concerned," he said. "We can't believe this has slotted into place, the ramifications to soccer in this state as well as others, are tremendous".
CACERAS GIVES COACH FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Adrian Caceras feels he's done his chances of breaking into Perth Glory's starting eleven no harm with a solid performances in Sunday's 4-2 win at Sydney United. "I believe I've shown the coach that I can add something extra to Glory," said Caceras who has been pleading for a chance to start. "Going into Sunday, I was determined to put in a consistent ninety minutes and I believe I did that. I was pleased to put on a bit of a show for the Glory fans, they're fantastic how they travelled across." Although he's scored four times this season Caceras has been used sparingly by coach Mich d'Avray with eighteen of his twenty appearances being off the bench.
SUNS SEEK PLAYERS
Stirling Suns are on the lookout to strengthen their Under-18 stock and invite interested youngsters to join the club for the coming winter. The club head into the 2004 season with an all new coaching staff who are confident of a successful campaign. "This year we have a multicultural mix of players at the club," said youth team coach Rodney Njirich. "With the season is only three or four weeks from starting the club is gearing up for a fresh start and a good year." With opportunities to progress up through the Suns ranks, interested players are asked to attend training at Grand Promenade Reserve (on Grand Promenade, Bedford) on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6.30pm. Alternatively, contact Robert on 0408 030 888 for further details.
COONEY SLIPS THROUGH AUSTRALIA'S NET
Sean Cooney is the latest Australian youngster to slip through the net of the national set-up. The defender has been called-up for duty by the Republic of Ireland Under-21 side who compete in a four-nation friendly tournament in Madeira this week against the hosts, Italy and Portugal. Although born in Australia, Cooney qualifies for the Republic of Ireland through his parentage. Twice last year Australia were thwarted in their attempts to secure Cooney's international future. In March he was named in the Young Socceroo squad for the Under-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates only for that tournament to be postponed following the outbreak of war in Iraq. When short-listed for the Under-20 squad later in the year Cooney had no option but to declare himself unavailable having only recently had a hernia operation.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND THREE (Inglewood United vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans)
Fremantle City booked their place in the knock-out stage of the 2004 Night Series with a 1-0 victory over Bassendean Caledonian at Litis Stadium on Friday evening. The opening period was played at a cracking pace and set the tone for the remainder of a physical match in which five players were issued yellow cards. The port side started the more confident, moving the ball around well with Branimir Mikulic and Jeff Bright creating endless problems for the opposing defence from his position wide on the right. Fremantle's persistence was rewarded in the 29th minute as Peter Lord's free-kick crashed into Ian Griffiths and deflected past teammate Steve Grant for an own goal. Caledonian upped the pace after the break but suffered a setback when Ian Griffiths was forced from the field suffering a knee injury. Down the opposite end goalkeeper Grant was in sensational form, denying Kevin Correia, Albert Osei-Tutu and Lord as Fremantle sought to kill off the match. With ten minutes to go Matt Donlevy came close to pulling a rabbit out of the hat for Caledonian with a shot from 25-metres that collided with the top left-hand corner of the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten. For Caledonian it was a disappointing end to their Night Series campaign which resulted in three losses and no goals for.
Old rivals Perth S.C. and Western Knights fought out a 2-2 draw in Friday's late game. The games first chance came the way of Josh Kamasz who scuffed his effort high after only a few minutes. Shane Crampton made the most of some defensive hesitancy after 16 minutes and drew goalkeeper Robert Pedri out of position before firing in low for Damian Catalano to convert. Eleven minutes later Crampton doubled the margin with a blistering shot that gave the young Knights custodian no chance. Teenager Greg Montenegro pegged one back seven minutes before half time, and Claus Nielsen should have leveled when put through one-on-one with goalkeeper Alan Mattecucci who blocked the Danes effort. Midway through the second half a superb free-kick from Ivan Zuvela traveled some 35-metres to find Leon Russell who controlled brilliantly with his left and slammed the ball into the roof of the net with his right to level the score. "We've lost six players out of the squad from last season and we've got a lot of young players," said Perth coach Graham Normanton. "But the more games these kids get, the more they'll improve. I still think we'll do pretty well and we will be competitive. But whether we can maintain what we've been achieving over the years, I don't know."
Stirling Lions opened up their Night Series account with a disciplined 2-1 defeat of Inglewood United on Sunday evening. The new-look responded to the request of coach Tom Leeman for the team to develop a 'killer instinct' with a performance that would have pleased the clubs loyal supporters. But it was Inglewood that started the more composure and immediately set about applying the pressure. A fine pass through ball from Alan Henderson after 13 minutes opened up the Lions defence for Shaun Kilkelly to race in and hit a powerful low shot past goalkeeper Gareth Deeg. Sparked into action the Lions worked hard to gain control of midfield and force Inglewood on to the back foot. Their reward came after 28 minutes when Jake Harman acted instinctively to head Mohammad Komaderic shot past goalkeeper Nick Stone to level the game. The second half opened as the first had ended with the Lions on top. Sniffing the game was there for the taking Leeman introduced fresh legs in the shape of Michael Filippou who wasted no time in getting into the thick of the action by netting after 70 minutes only to have his effort disallowed for offside. Five minutes later Jake Harman crossed from the right to Komaderic who rose above the defence to head in the match winner..
Cockburn City were firing on all cylinders from the opening exchanges of Sunday's late fixture with E.C.U. Joondalup. In just the 2nd minute Cockburn opened up their opponents defence as with the speedy John Mirco going through one-on-one with goalkeeper Paul Kelly only to knock his shot wide. Having survived this early scare Jooondalup re-grouped to dominate the half but were unable to convert chances into goals. The northerners should have gone in front when Andre Sarpe drew goalkeeper Jeff Cargill out of position and squared to Garin Collins who, with the goal at his mercy, ballooned the ball over the crossbar. Shortly before the interval Collins looked to have made up for the miss when he fired into the back of the net only for an offside call to disallow the goal. Twenty minutes into the second half Cockburn took the lead when Shane McNally's shot was parried by Kelly and Peter Petkovich charged in to head the loose ball across the line. Cockburn were forced to play the closing stages a man down following McNally's dismissal for a foul on Sarpe. With an extra player Joondalup pressed for an equaliser but were thwarted in their attempts by the reflexes and agility of Cargill.
Striker Nick Mrdja bagged his first hat-trick in the national competition as Perth Glory defeated Sydney United 4-2 this afternoon at the Sydney United Sports Centre. Mrdja, back in the starting line-up, made his intentions clear from early on and has given coach Mich d'Avray food for thought coming into the play-offs. Both teams craeted some good early chances with Mark Beldham putting the ball wide for the hosts, and Glory midfielder Wayne Shroj shooting straight at goalkeeper Liam Reddy. The deadlock was broken after 27 minutes when Mrdja pounced upon a defensive error by Joe Vrkic and fired home with a cracking shot from 25-metres that left Reddy grasping at air. United failed to make the most of their chances before the visitors increased their advantage through Mrdja who beat the defence and advancing 'keeper to score his second of the match.
In the second half United again started strongly but were blocked by the Glory defence. With 68 minutes gone the home team pegged back the gap as Brendon Santalab spotted goalkeeper Vince Matassa out of position and from the left clipped his free-kick in at the near post. Two minutes later Brad Hassell's quickly taken free-kick controversially found the back of the net with United still setting up their defensive wall. But United were not about to lie down and in the 78th minute an unmarked Dean Heffernan slotted in at the near post following a Franco Parisi cross from the right. The hosts threw everything into their quest for an equaliser only to go down to ten men when Brendan Santalab limped off with an ankle injury. The outcome was sealed until the final minute when Mrdja completed his hat-trick on a swift counter-attacking play.
On a lovely sunny afternoon Mandurah City thumped WAASSA Second Division side South Perth United 9-1 in a friendly at Coote Reserve in Madora Bay. The hero for Mandurah was teenage sensation Jordan Rhodes who found the target on five occasions in a man-of-the-match performance. There was also an impressive first team debut from rising star Mark Brabazon. Star striker Christian Pachewitz snared a double for Mandurah while Jake Loreto and new arrival John E. Platt also got on the scoresheet. The Reserve meeting was also taken out by Mandurah with Adam Parmenter, Micky Sesma and Daniel Baker the architects of the 3-1 win.
Bayswater City left it until late to come from behind and defeat Queens Park at Coker Park. The visitors used the outing to provide some much needed match practice for those players who have so far not featured in the Night Series. Although the match remainder scoreless at the interval it was Bayswater that had done much of the attacking and they'd have been a few goals to the better if not for several dubious offside calls. The second half mirrored the first as Bayswater wasted a number of good chances to open the scoring. Midway through the period Queens Park netted against the run of play when Abel Mphande slid his shot under the body of goalkeeper Dusan Martinovic. Bayswater upped the tempo for the closing stages to run out 3-1 winners after Kevin Henderson, Bobi Klenkovski and Cormac Dawson found the target.
Balcatta turned in an impressive display to defeat Armadale 4-1 at Alfred Skeet Oval on Saturday. Cheered on by a small but boisterous crowd the match was played at a frantic pace with both teams unable to convert a slew of opportunities. Shortly before the break Armadale got the breakthrough courtesy of a goal by Gary Murdoch. Some half-time changes saw Balcatta emerge a more focused team and within ten minutes they'd taken the lead with Adrian Zonato and Mark Wilson finding the target. The match could have gone either way as both side wasted chances in front of goal before Balcatta killed off the match with further goals from Wilson and Michael Chiari.
Inglewood United wasted no time in taking control against Ashfield and within the first ten minutes had twice found the back of the net. a surging run into attack by Joe Capone brought about a goalmouth scramble in which Dinko Ahematovic drilled the loose ball home from close-range. Shortly after Capone sent in a corner deep to Ahematovic who, from an acute angle, rifled in his shot in via the underside of the crossbar. Slowly Ashfield worked their way back into the game but found it difficult to break down Inglewood's well-organised backline. Their best chance of the afternoon resulted from a defensive error which allowed Dion Florias in but the Inglewood goalkeeper recovered in time to thwart. Final score - Inglewood 2, Ashfield 0.
Gosnells City began their clash with a youthful Bayswater City in devastating form and before most of the small crowd had found their seats were already a goal the better. That margin was doubled after 20 minutes when teenager Adam Bremner held his nerve to brilliantly lob the advancing goalkeeper. Bayswater forced their way back into the game and reduced the margin just before the interval. Late in the second half Bayswater equalised and then took the lead before Gosnells converted from the spot to draw the match 3-3. "I am very please with what my players have shown me today," said Gosnells coach Alex Grindley. "I think we will more than hold our own this season."
Leeming Strikers headed north on Sunday when they played Kingsway Olympic in blustery conditions. The Strikers were the first to find their rhythm but were unable to convert chances into goals. Against the run of play the home side went ahead when Chris Tinker maneuvered past a defender to rocket the ball into the top corner from 20-metres. After the interval Olympic gained the upper hand and extended their lead after 56 minutes through Phil Russie who rounded the last defender and goalkeeper to score from an acute angle. The visitors clawed their way back in the match in the 73rd minute when an error at the back by Olympic gifted Lucas Whitehouse a goal. And three minutes later it was 2-2 when Leroy Goodwin netted following a long-range drive from a teammate that the goalkeeper could only parry.
TIME RIGHT FOR SHARLAND
Former Charlton Athletic attacker Greg Sharland is expected to make his debut for Perth Glory in Sunday's away meeting with Sydney United. It'll be a deserved reward for the 21-year old whose career was put on hold last year by illness. Sharland returned from England mid-year and commenced training with Glory in September, but it wasn't until last month that he was signed following a two-month lay-off due to glandular fever. "It's a weird sickness," said Sharland. "It knocks you out for about two months and then if you try to get back into training too quickly you get chronic fatigue." Although never diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, Sharland's desire to play for his hometown club had its consequences. "I came back to training too quickly," he added. "But I'm over it now and it's going really well ... I really feel like I'm getting back to it. I feel a lot sharper."
The promotion of Sharland to the starting line-up is one of many changes to the Glory side which defeated United on Wednesday evening in Perth. With the regular season title wrapped up coach Mich d'Avray will give those on the teams' fringe some much-needed game time. Sharland is expected to partner Nick Mrdja in attack, while there's a rare start for second choice goalkeeper Vince Matassa. Andrew Packer and Wayne Srhoj return to the eleven after time on the sidelines through injury. Young defender Dean Apelgren and talented midfielder Nick Ward, both products of the local scene, have been named on the bench. Staying in Perth for a well-earned break from National Soccer League duty are Jamie Harnwell, Gary Faria and Bobby Despotovski. Tom Pondeljak will also be rested but is expected to travel with the squad to visit family in Sydney.
FREMANTLE SET TO BOOK PLAY-OFF BERTH
Opening the third round of Night Series action this evening is Bassendean Caledonian and Fremantle City who square off from 6.45pm. Victory to the port side will assure their participation in the knock-out stage of the tournament while for Caledonian there is little but pride to play for. Long-time rivals Perth S.C. and Western Knights go head-to-head from 8.25pm in the match of the weekend. Sunday’s action gets underway from 6.15pm with a revitalised Inglewood United favoured over Stirling Lions. This is followed at 8.00pm by Cockburn City and E.C.U. Joondalup in what promises to be a very close and fiercely contested match.
CHANGE AT GOSNELLS (courtesy Gosnells City)
It’s been a summer of change at Walter Padbury Reserve. The name Gosnells City is back in favour after over a decade playing under the Gosnells/Ferndale United and, most recently, Southside United banners. The club has gone with an all-new coaching team for the coming season which they hope will revitalise the playing stocks through a combination of youth development and astute recruitment that, long-term, will return Gosnells to the top flight. Other off-season developments include an upgrade of training facilities at the clubs home ground.
It was unanimously decided at the clubs’ annual general meeting late last year to revert to the name Gosnells City. Founded in 1969 the club competed in the State League for over twenty years as Gosnells before a succession of mergers in the mid-1990’s. The decision for the club to return to their traditional name came about so as to avoid confusion amongst the junior, veterans, women’s and amateur teams who continued to play as Gosnells after the amalgamations with Ferndale United (1993) and Kelmscott Roos (1995). It was also decided at the meeting to combine the junior and senior committees to increase the interest and openness for all members in the many facets of the club.
Complementing the name change is a new coaching team headed by former Queens Park and Bayswater City defender Alex Grindley (right). Assisting Grindley with first team duties is Jonathon Cook. Mark Donohue has been appointed coach of the reserves with Tony Pritchard in charge of the youth squad. The quartet bring with them a wealth of playing experience as the club set their sights on re-establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Having been denied promotion on a technicality after winning the First Division in 1997 the club have stagnated. But behind the scenes many people have put in hard work and long hours to return the club to a financially stable position from which they plan to built.
The first step in this process has been an upgrade of facilities at Walter Padbury Reserve. New lights have been erected for training purposes, the clubrooms redecorated and a new ten-year lease was recently signed with the City of Gosnells for the continued use of the venue. The next step is to further develop the many talented players currently in their youth set-up with the end goal being promotion to Gosnells’ senior ranks. In recent years the club have seen their best young players move onto other clubs and it’s been this loss, in combination with the departure of senior players, that has hindered Gosnells success. But with a number of new faces fronting for pre-season and the bulk of the championship winning under-16 squad progressing to the youth team the club are looking forward to what the future holds.
“Our aim is to stop the loss of our younger players to other clubs,” commented youth team coach Pritchard this week. “By promoting youth, increasing the intensity both in training and on the pitch and a renewed approach from the coaching staff is seen as a formula for success. We no longer want to be considered one of the ‘also rans’ of the First Division, for too many years now we have been just making up the numbers. Now we are looking to realise the true potential of the club and re-establish Gosnells City as a force across the many leagues in which Gosnells participate.”
With their first competitive outing not until Saturday 27th March when they host Balcatta, Gosnells senior squad commenced their pre-season just a few weeks ago. Players over the age of fifteen looking to improve their game or seeking a change of scenery, that are not frightened of putting in some hard work but more importantly are up for a few laughs throughout the year, are encouraged to contact the club on 9459 5978 either Tuesday or Thursday evenings. Alternatively, players interested in turning out for Gosnells this year are invited to attend training at Walter Padbury Reserve on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7.00pm.
NOMINATIONS CALLED FOR NEW WOMEN'S COMPETITION
Loftus Recreation Centre, already renowned for it's strong open soccer competitions, are launching a new ladies indoor soccer competition. Played on Tuesday evenings, the season commences on 9th March and will run until September. Games are to be played under rebound rules which allows five players on the court at any one time and continuous substitutions. Places in the new competition are limited and will be taken on a 'first come first served' basis. Whether you require for further information on the upcoming women's competition or wish to nominate a team, contact the Sports Manager on 9227 6526. Loftus Recreation Centre is centrally located on the corner of Loftus Street and Vincent Street in Leederville.
PREMIERSHIP “THE BEST” SAYS D’AVRAY
Mich d’Avray has praised his squad after Perth Glory wrapped up their third National Soccer League premiership in five seasons last night. Glory claimed the regular season crown by defeating Sydney United 2-0 courtesy of goals by Damian Mori and Nick Mrdja. “To me this is the best premiership the club has won when you take into account all the circumstances,” commented the Glory coach. “There was the loss of personnel in the off-season, the heavy schedule of away games in the first round and the season-ending injuries to Matty Horsley and Scott Miller. But the team kept on playing and in the second half of the season, most of our games were at home. The team was under intense pressure to perform in front of their home fans, and they did. This is a fantastic achievement.”
LAZARIDIS LIMPS OUT OF HISTORIC FRIENDLY
Australia secured a historic 1-1 draw in today’s friendly with a Venezuela side that suffered only one defeat in their past 13 home international matches. The only bad news to come out of the game for the Socceroos was a hamstring tear suffered by Stan Lazaridis that forced him from the field after 28 minutes. “I feel very sorry for Stan,” said coach Frank Farina. “I think it is the first time since he has been travelling away with the team that he has gone back with an injury.” The Perth-born midfielder played a key role in the Australian goal after 18 minutes when he deep corner was nodded against the post by David Zdrilic and Paul Agostino was on hand to ram the loose ball home from close-range. Although reduced to ten men after 72 minutes with the red carding of captain Jose Manuel Rey, Venezuela fought doggedly and leveled the match in stoppage time through Juan Arango.
WANNEROO COACH HAPPY WITH RESULT
The four-team friendly night competition at Coker Park continued on Tuesday with Wanneroo City proving too strong for Queens Park. The match was only ten minutes old when the northern suburbs side went in front after Ashwin Nair played through to Stuart Collins who calmly rounded the goalkeeper before tucking the ball away. Although they enjoyed the majority of possession Wanneroo failed to extend their advantage and five minutes from the interval Queens Park found an equaliser via youngster Matt Aitken. The deciding goal arrived midway through the second half when a fine pass from Ben Yates sent Jason Hope through on goal and the attacker made no mistake is stepping past the 'keeper who to make it 2-1. The final margin should have been much greater but Wanneroo squandered several late chances to add to their tally. "We played quite well and made good use of the ball but the heat and humidity didn't help with the quality of the game," commented Wanneroo coach Stuart Curries after the outing. "We took seventeen players to the game and used them all including quiet a few younger boys who perform very well."
Ashfield fielded a mixture of reserve and first team players for Thursday's fixture with Kingsway Olympic. As was expected the more experienced Olympic side settled the quicker and within 4 minutes had take the lead via defender Jason Stern who nodded a cross from the left past the Ashfield goalkeeper. Olympic were in an attacking frame of mind and just two minutes later increase the margin when Jesse Higgins latched onto a cross from the left to flick the ball into the net. Ashfield came into the match after Sean Lynch, coach of Olympic, brought off the bench some of his clubs youngsters. Christian Novatis came agonisingly close to putting Ashfield back on level terms with a fantastic strike from 25-metres which Olympic's young 'keeper Nick Cristos tipped over the crossbar. Both coaches made numerous changes in the second half as they experimented with players and positions. Although John Doherty forced the 'keeper into a fine save, Olympic by and large were let down by poor finishing in their attempts to wrap up the game. Eventually the result was put beyond doubt with Scott Evans unleashing a left-foot thunderbolt which made it 3-0.
OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND AT QUEENS PARK
Players south of the river looking for a club are invited to contact First Division side Queens Park who are looking to strengthen playing stocks for their men’s, women’s and junior teams. “We are after more juniors, particularly for our under-14 girls teams, and women players for our Sunday Premier League and reserve teams are also required,” said long-serving club president Dave Woodfin this week. “Senior players are also required for our Soccer West Coast and WAASSA teams.” The pre-season is in full swing at Coker Park where with the men’s and women’s squads are training under lights on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Junior sessions will commence in the not-too-distance future. For more information on playing opportunities at Queens Park contact Dave Woodfin (9458 7252) for the men’s teams, and Linda Woodfin (9459 8489) for the women’s side of the game.
TWO-NIL WIN SECURES TITLE
Goal from Damian Mori and Nick Mrdja have given Perth Glory their third National Soccer League premiership in five years courtesy of a 2-0 home defeat of Sydney United this evening. The visitors were on the back from the outset and only the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Liam Reddy prevented the final margin from being much greater. Adrian Caceras, in the starting eleven for the first time this season, lashed the ball across the face of goal as Glory began on a positive note. The games opening goal arrived after 20 minutes with tireless defender Jamie Coyne delivering a superb ball Mori who unleashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from 12-metres. In quick succession Mori and strike partner Bobby Despotovski were denied by Reddy as the hosts went in search of further goals. Coyne's willingness to run at defenders almost brought reward after 39 minutes when he played a neat one-two with Despotovski only to shot high.
United started the second half in a more positive frame of mind. Two minutes after the re-start a golden opportunity to level went begging for the visitors as Jason Petkovic parried a fine header by Mark Rudan, the loose ball fell to Mark Beldham but he somehow missed the target from point blank range. Glory responded quickly with Coyne racing away down the right before cutting the ball inside to Matt Bingley whose shot was kept out by man-of-the-match Reddy. Shaun Murphy crashed a header into the crossbar, then a close-range volley from Despotovski was brilliantly tipped over the top by the United 'keeper as Glory reasserted the dominance. Nine minutes from the end the match was settled when Jade North made his way down the left and played the ball low to the top of the 6-yard box where substitute Nick Mrdja slammed his effort first time past Reddy.
MURPHY, HOME AND HAPPY (courtesy “Glory Days” magazine)
When Shaun Murphy turned his back on a successful career in England there were some eyebrows raised. He had just played his part in a great season for Sheffield United where two fine cup runs (including an FA Cup semi-final) and a promotion campaign ultimately ended in disappointment when Wolverhampton Wanderers edged the Blades out in a play-off final at Millennium Stadium. There were personal reasons for Murphy’s move back to Western Australia and the beneficiary has been Perth Glory as the former Socceroo has built his form over the season to be a star performer in recent weeks.
For Murphy, who has worn the captain’s armband for most of the season, there are no pangs about leaving behind soccer-saturated England for the National Soccer League. “The move has been great, I have no regrets at all,” said the central defender. Off the field the Perth lifestyle has reminded Murphy of plenty of things that he enjoyed growing up in Sorrento. “The fantastic weather, the beaches -you take it for granted when you grow up in Western Australia, but having been away for ten years like I was, you certainly appreciate them when you get back.” Murphy, who is married with two young children, says the family too is enjoying the change of scenery. “The children are starting school and kindy respectively and they are close to their grandparents. They also have much more freedom than youngsters do in England, so they are really enjoying it.”
On the field of play the tall central defender has imposed himself on what was a new Perth Glory defence. Only Scott Miller remained from the starting line-up for the 2002/03 Grand Final and even he has missed games through injury. Any fans close to the action at Members Equity Stadium can hear the constant calling, the organisation and the urgings from the big Glory number five. Murphy says the leadership role at the back took-time. “You cannot come in and just start shouting and bawling. It takes time to get respect from players and to understand them as well. You deal with different people in different ways and I wanted to settle in first. The key thing is organisation. We have some fantastic players and they know their roles, we just have to keep focused and make sure we do those jobs.”
Despite the hard work defensively, Murphy has found time to get forward and score four goals in as many games. “The delivery of the ball has been great and that has helped,” he said. “I tend to score in bursts. I got four for Sheffield United last season in about seven games so it seems to be a bit of a habit of mine to get them in quick succession.” Murphy says that comparisons between the English game and that in Australia were almost impossible to make. “It can become a bit of a grind in England, you are always playing two games a week and everything is totally results driven. A coach can lose his job if he loses four games.”
“I have been very impressed with the skill levels in the NSL, there are some very good players,” he added. Murphy is too modest to say so, but he is one of them. In recent matches it has not just been his goal scoring and organisation that has caught the eye. Watch out for his reading of the game, which often leads to interceptions out wide and around the halfway line, which can send ateam embarking on attack scurrying back to defence as the Glory go on the counter. Shaun may well love the weather and beaches. The people of Perth are starting to appreciate his qualities too.
RHINO’S RETAIN GASPAR
Robbie Gaspar is looking forward to his second season with Sabah. The talented midfielder signed a new contract with the Rhino’s just hours before Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of Sarawak in the opening round of the Malaysian Super League. “I’m delighted now that I have finally signed my contract and now nothing will bother me,” said the 23-year old. “Like the rest of my teammates, I will play my part to assure that we do well in the competition. I want to do well with the team and win some trophies. I think we are capable of doing it provided that everybody is willing to work hard for it.”
Last year Gaspar established himself as a regular fixture of the first eleven, his thirteen goals earning him the mantle of the Rhino’s highest goalscorer. But coach Peter Butler says the midfielder is not guaranteed of his spot this season. “Robbie has got to work hard to get into the team. He definitely can’t look back. He is a quality player and needs to improve and work on his weaknesses … defensively. He is an all-round player and he definitely needs to work harder because we can only play three foreigners in any match. There will be no comfort zone for players in the team and we cannot afford that if we are to win something,” said Butler.
CACERAS UNHAPPY WITH GLORY ROLE
Perth Glory attacker Adrian Caceras has expressed his frustration at being unable to command a place in Mich d’Avray’s starting line-up. The young attacker was introduced into Saturday’s win over Newcastle United with five minutes to go, and within sixty seconds he was on the scoresheet. “I’ve been coming off the bench and doing well, then not getting a chance in the next game,” said Caceras. “Anyone would get frustrated. Every player wants to play as much as they can and when you are only getting two or three minutes, or even ten minutes at the end of the game, it’s not enough.” Caceras’ outburst comes just three weeks after Damian Mori criticised the team selections of d’Avray.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND TWO (Swan I.C. vs Bayswater City by Peter Simcox; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Bassendean Caledonian vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater)
Swan I.C. overran recently promoted Bayswater City by 2-0 in Friday’s early Night Series match at Litis Stadium. Bayswater began brightly with Andy O’Neill’s header flashing wide in the opening minutes after a strong run down the flank by lively teenager Lynden Pywell. Minutes later Gareth Healy found Jerry Karpeh whose shot from an angle was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Cory Hugo. Swan eventually found their feet with Miki Vujacic going close after playing a lovely one-two with Dean Nicolaou. On the half hour Bayswater were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Bobbi Klenkoski following his late challenge on Cory Hugo. The deadlock wasn’t broken until stoppage time when Swan recevied an indirect free-kick inside the 18-yard box which Damien Todorovic tapped to Tony Cumace who rocketed the ball into the back of the net. After the break Vujacic wreaked havoc down the right and in quick succession set-up Paul Lincoln and David Foster who couldn’t make the most of their chances. Bayswater almost levelled after 65 minutes with a O’Neill lobbed the ‘keeper only to hit the base of the upright before the danger was cleared. The result was sealed six minutes from full-time by Gary Andrews who converted following more good work from Vujacic.
Stirling Lions commenced their Night Series campaign with a narrow 0-1 loss to a tough, experienced E.C.U. Joondalup side in Friday’s late game. It was a nervous start by both sides with passing going astray and tight marking the order of the day. Joondalup steadily took control through midfielders Keith Brown and John Higgins who troubled the opposing defence with some dangerous runs and superb distribution. The breakthrough came after 30 minutes when a defensive mix-up allowed Garin Collins to ghost in and meet an inch perfect cross from Higgins which presented the striker with a simple tap in. Jake Harman found himself in space to shoot on goal in the 38th minute but the Joondalup goalkeeper wasn’t troubled in gathering possession. After the break substitute Christian Debarro threatened the opposing defence with some darting runs, while down the other end Joondalup were twice thwarted in their attempts to add to the tally by Deeg. In the final minutes the Lions were awarded a penalty for a crude challenge on Jake Harman but having sent the ‘keeper the wrong way Keegan Ashley could only watch as his shot ricocheted to safety off the frame of the goal.
15-year old Alex Vrteski made his senior debut for Sorrento in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat of Bassendean Caledonian. The match was six minutes old when first choice goalkeeper Phil Straker collided with Andy Cornmell while the pair were contesting a loose ball, and Straker injuring his collar bone in the process and four minutes later was replaced by Vrteski. On 14 minutes Daniel Cain played a free kick to the back post where an unmarked Jared Love directed his header on target only to be denied by Caledonian 'keeper Steve Grant. In quick succession Vrteski kept put a goal bound shot from Graeme Matthews then blocked Cornmell’s effort. The Gulls rode their luck for the remainder of the half and it was with some relief that they went into the break still on level terms. The half-time introduction of Glen Thomas and Scott McIlroy breathed some much needed life in Sorrento’s performance. A partially cleared corner in the 63rd minute corner fell to McIlroy who drilled a swinging volley past Grant to break the deadlock. Eight minutes later Sorrento’s win was confirmed by Todd Harnwell who nodded in at the second attempt after a scrambling Grant kept out his initial effort from a Thomas cross.
Much was expected from the large crowd as Floreat Athena, 5-0 winners a week ago, took on the youngsters of Fremantle City in Sunday’s late fixture. The opening exchanges were played at a cracking pace with Jeff Bright and Kevin Correira in dangerous form for the port side while Athena’s best early moves came via the versatile Anthony Jones. Peter Coci was also causing a few headaches for the Fremantle rearguard and on 29 minutes he twisted and turned inside the box only to have his goalbound shot blocked by defender Shane Nunes. After a scoreless first half, the second period opened sensationally. Having gathered a Peter Coci free-kick goalkeeper Michael Basilio launched a swift counter attack in which Craig Surtees, Branimir Mikulic and Peter Lord combined with the latter sending an inch-perfect cross to the back post where Correira headed past Vas Vujacic. Five minutes later a great cross from Bright found Mikulic but his strike was knocked around the post. With the clock ticking down Athena threw everything into finding an equaliser. The hard working Josip Madjic teed-up Coci but his shot was well saved by Basilio. Shortly after Costa Socratous’ explosive shot was deflected wide, and from the resultant corner Coci crashed the ball into the upright. But it wasn’t to be and Fremantle claimed the points by 1-0.
GLORY EXTEND WINNING RUN
A young Newcastle United outfit were left to ponder what might have been as Perth Glory scrambled their way to victory at Members Equity Stadium this evening. The match was 12 minutes old when hard-working midfielder Mitchell Johnson laid the ball off to Robbie Middleby whose delicate chip was paddled onto the crossbar by Jason Petkovic. The Glory 'keeper came to his side rescue again twelve minutes later by smothering Thomas Libbesson's effort after an excellent ball over the defence by Stuart Musialik. Somewhat against the run of play Glory got on the scoreboard when Bobby Despotovski and Pondeljak combined with the latter's cross headed in by an unmarked Damian Mori after 27 minutes. Shortly after the home side squandered a golden chance to double its lead as Pondeljak raced clear only to shoot into the body of on-coming goalkeeper Tom Willis.
After the turnaround both teams appeared to lose all sense of urgency with better attacking moves coming from the visiting team. In the 59th minute Johnson nipped in between two hesitant defenders but scuffed his shot from 13-metres wide with only Petkovic to beat. Ten minutes later Middleby's long-range strike didn't cause Petkovic too many problems as United searched desperately for an equaliser. A minute after coming off the bench Adrian Caceres wrapped up the points for Glory when he collected a pass from Despotovski to drill a low shot past Willis after 86 minutes. Although the match was now out of reach United continued to attack and Johnson was unlucky not to bag a stoppage time consolation goal after muscling his way past the defence. The win leaves Glory requiring just a single point from their remaining three games to secure their third regular season title in five years.
Western Knights traveled south this afternoon to take on pre-season favourites for the First Division title Mandurah City. Teenager Greg Montenegro and John Thornley gave the Knights a two-goal lead before Christian Paschewitz headed in a cross from Jordan Rhodes to reduce the deficit. Shortly before the break Daniel Trim restored the visitors two-goal buffer. In the second half 17-year old Jake Loreto pegged back the margin only to have Luka Jukic swung a superb free-kick around the defensive wall and into the bottom corner to make it 4-2. Another set-piece resulted in David Annall bagging the Knights fifth, but Mandurah refused to concede defeat with Jordan Rhodes netting his teams final goal in the 3-5 loss. Earlier in the day Mandurah won the under-18 meeting 2-1, while the reserves ended 4-1 in favour of the Knights.
Wanneroo thrashed Dianella White Eagles 6-1 in warm conditions at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The opening goal arrived via veteran striker Nigel Aubin who smashed the ball home from just inside the area after a surging run down the left by Scott Bulloch. Dianella equalised not long after but a scorching drive from 25-metres by Bulloch enabled Wanneroo to go into the break with the advantage. The home side controlled the second half with Aubin adding a third following a corner, then Bulloch scored his second of the day with another long-range gem. Gareth Davies further extended the gap before Jason Hope completed the scoreline after great lead-up work by Ben Yates.
Leeming Strikers gained a 2-0 friendly win over a new-look Morley Windmills in warm conditions at Jubilee Reserve on Sunday morning. The best chance of the first half came the way of Windmills striker Ray Rose who nipped in to beat the goalkeeper only to have his shot crash into the base of the post. The Strikers slick movement of the ball and superior fitness allowed them to take control after the break. New signing Leroy Goodwin was on the end of a lovely exchange of passes to bag the games' first goal, and Roddy Cortes sealed victory close to the final whistle by turning sharply to volley past the goalkeeper.
Under lights on Thursday (12th February) Armadale continued preparations for the up-coming season by taking on a very youthful Fremantle City line-up. The port side opened brightly and raced to a three goals lead as Saul Contera (2) and Tim De Sousa netted inside the opening half hour. Armadale found their composure and came back into the match after Paul Colkin converted from the spot. Greg Newcombe rose above the defence to head in a Colkin free-kick and make it 3-2, and shortly after the striker ran on to a through ball from Aaron Beattie to bend his shot around the goalkeeper to level the match. The deciding goal resulted from a defence-splitting pass from Emlyn Whetnall that allowed Newcombe to sidestep the 'keeper and complete his hat-trick.
EVICTION HANGS OVER GLORY
Perth Glory could be forced to leave Members Equity Stadium if a stand-off between the Town of Vincent and Allia Holdings continues. The National Soccer League champions have an interim licence for this evenings game against Newcastle United, and Wednesday’s match with Sydney United at the $11.3 million refurbished ground. But the club could be left to seek an alternative venue for its fixture with Marconi Stallions on 28th February and the first home final match which is pencilled in for Saturday 20th March.
Town of Vincent chief executive John Giorgi said the council wanted Allia, a subsidiary of Glory set-up to manage the Members Equity Stadium, to finalise the mortgage document for the council’s $4.5 million contribution to the redevelopment and to settle outstanding accounts by Monday week. Giorgi said it was possible that Glory would have to look for another venue to play its final two matches if the agreement was not settled by 23rd February. “That’s a possibility, as a last resort. But we hope it doesn’t come to that,” Giorgi told Jonathon Cook of the “West Australian”.
Jeff Dennis, chief executive officer for both Allia and Glory, said he was in the process of responding to the notice from the council. Allia wanted the opportunity to address the council to ensure the company’s position was understood. “As it stands, there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be addressed and we’d like the council to hear our position in full,” he said. “It’s essential council get to fully understand our position, and understand the negotiation process to date.”
GLORY SET TO SECURE TOP TWO FINISH
An injury depleted Newcastle United visit Members Equity Stadium on Saturday night to take on competition leader Perth Glory (kick-off 7.00pm). Injured has claimed Adam Griffiths, John Perosh, Damien Brown, Jobe Wheelhouse and Greg Owens for the remainder of the season while for the trip west United will also be missing Peter Tsekenis (suspended) and injured duo Steve Eagleton and Esala Masi. They may have the enviable record of being the last team to beat Glory but United's finals dream has turned to dust with the side having won once in their past eight outings. Glory on the other hand are in peak form and require only a single point to secure their place in this season's major semi-final. Since the late November meetings between the two clubs Glory have gone nine games without loss, amassing 27 goals and conceding just four. The only change to the side which defeated Wollongong Wolves last week is the addition of defender Jamie Coyne with Mark Byrnes out through injury.
NIGHT SERIES CONTINUES
The Night Series continues this evening at Litis Stadium with a 6.45pm showdown between E.C.U. Joondalup and Stirling Lions. It’s the first competitive outing of the year for the two clubs and anything less than victory will be deemed unacceptable by the coaching staff of both. In the late match Swan I.C. are hotly tipped to make it two wins from as many starts when they take on Bayswater City. On Sunday the action commences at 6.15pm with Sorrento up against a Bassendean Caledonian side in need of maximum points to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the knock-out phase. But the best has been left for last with the 8.00pm meeting of Floreat Athena and Fremantle City undoubtedly the pick of weekend fixtures.
GASPAR IN TALKS
Negotiations are continuing between former Perth S.C. midfielder Robbie Gaspar and Malaysian side Sabah. "We need to discuss some minor things so I guess it is not a big problem," said Sabah team manager Joehari Ayub this week. With a deal in the offering Gaspar is expected to become the fourth foreign player on the Rhino's books when he puts pen to paper for the up-coming Malaysia Super League season.
FRIENDLY NIGHT SERIES BEGINS
For the second successive year Queens Park have taken the initiative and invited First Division rivals Ashfield, Kingsway Olympic and Wanneroo to participate in a pre-season night competition at Coker Park. For the opening match on Tuesday Wanneroo opted for a young and experimental side to meet Ashfield who took the lead through a long-range strike by Ben Kelly after 15 minutes. Ashfield doubled their advantage via a well worked free-kick that ended with Daniel Taylor slipping the ball past the advancing goalkeeper. Gary Kent pulled off several great saves as Ashfield piled on the pressure, but there was little the Wanneroo custodian could do to prevent Alex Novatsis from scoring three minutes from the break. Talented midfielder Alex Crookes beat his marker before placing his shot in the net for Ashfield's fourth. Wanneroo continued to search for a way back into the game and were rewarded for their endevours when some crisp movement of the ball allowed Dean Measures to reduce the deficit. But almost immediately newcomer Peter Noizsewski replied with his first goal in Ashfield colours. Some great ball control by Ben Harris enabled him to beat two defenders before rounding the 'keeper and complete the 6-1 scoreline.
The opening period of this evenings clash between Queens Park and Olympic was played at a cracking pace as the two combatants wrestled for control of midfield. Olympic were the quicker to settle and struck after 9 minutes when Shane Fitzpatrick played into the path of teenager Chris Tinker who unleashed a vicious dipping shot from 25-metres that left the goalkeeper with no chance. With play swinging from end to end the host club conjured up a goal of their own after the ball was bundled home in a goalmouth scramble after Olympic failed to sufficiently deal with a free-kick. After the break Olympic were able to assert more influence over proceedings and forced their opponents on to the back foot as Phil Russie, Liam Moorhouse and John Doherty all went closing to scoring. Olympic's second goal finally arrived in the 67th minutes via a Moorhouse corner that Steve Dimitrovich neatly headed in at the back post. It didn't take the host club long before responding with a defensive mix-up allowing Queens Park in for a well taken second goal. Olympic continued to pressure and two minutes from the end Jason Stern hit the bar with a header before Alan Nanini rifled the rebound into the roof of the net from 10-metres for a final 3-2 scoreline.
JOONDALUP KEYED UP FOR BIG START
E.C.U. Joondalup commence their season in earnest on Friday evening when they take on Stirling Lions under lights at Litis Stadium. And coach Paul Simmons says his side are primed and ready for action following a tough pre-season. “Our squad is looking very strong,” commented Simmons this week. “Pre-season training has been a real pleasure as we have a lot of committed ‘footballers’ in the squad and no passengers. This weeks game will be a good test for us. Stirling Lions have got a solid pre-season behind them so Friday night will provide us with a good gauge as to where we sit in terms of our opponents for the coming season.”
The northern suburbs club may have commenced training only six weeks ago but Simmons says competition for places in the side has never been so fierce. “Some of the guys initially found it tough but as their fitness levels increased so did their intensity in the small sided games. Joondalup has never been a place for the feint hearted and the guys are well aware that no one is guaranteed their place in the team so competition is red-hot right now. Every player has trained to their maximum capacity and that alone is something that I have not seen in years. I am confident that we’ll do well this season and a finish in the top five is definitely within our reach.”
Upon his re-appointment in November Simmons worked hard to lure back a number of players that sought greener pastures following his unceremonious dumping after Joondalup’s 2002 Boral Cup success. Andy Mason and Dale McCulloch return after a season with Sorrento, likewise Andy Brown via Kingsway Olympic. Also back with the club are Scott Broadley and Andrei Sarpe who spent last season with Balcatta and QAFFC (Brunei) respectively. New to the club is former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Keith Brown who joins after a short spell with The City, while Simmons hopes to add State defender Jamie Kuzmanovich from Inglewood United in the not too distance future. They may have recruited well over the summer but Joondalup have also lost some talented youngsters. Skillful left-sided midfielder Scott Bulloch has signed for promotion chasing Wanneroo City along with 19-year old defender Ashwin Nair. One-time Australian youth international Josh Kamasz has joined Western Knights, while former Australian Schoolboys goalkeeper Alan Matteucci has been added to the books of Perth S.C. Tom Jones has sought a change of scenery and joined Floreat Athena, while Scott Blackmore is currently trying his luck in England. Attack minded Abdul Kamara and versatile big man Peter Vukmirovic are also understood to have left the club.
PERTH THE FANS FAVOURITE
Perth have been installed red-hot favourite to lift the Night Series trophy. In the first ever www.soccerwa.com poll in excess of 900 votes were cast over the past two weeks in response to the question ‘Who will win the Night Series?’ By accumulating close to one fifth of the votes Perth (18.4%) emerged as the clear favourite of the fans. Tied in a distant second place were Western Knights and Swan I.C. (both 12.1%) with Sorrento (9.7%) rounding out the top four.
BOSS HAILS LAZARIDIS' WONDER GOAL
Socceroo Stan Lazaridis earned the praise of Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce over his magical 39th minute strike in the Blues 3-0 home defeat of Everton. After taking possession inside his own half Lazaridis sprinted with the ball into the 18-yard box where, from a tight angle and under pressure from Tony Hibbert, he rammed his shot into the far top corner of the goal. "We haven't scored many this season and I can't remember any better, it was a fantastic goal," said the Birmingham boss. "I was pleased for the lad because over the last eighteen months, since we got into the Premiership, his contribution has been immense." Lazaridis has been named in the 20-strong Australian squad to play Venezuela in Caracas next week.
FORRESTFIELD RESPOND (by Brian Mansfield, President of Forrestfield United)
Now that the dust has settled I would like to clarify the series of events leading up to the special general meeting of Soccer West Coast regarding the entry of Forrestfield United to Division One, and the debacles of that non-eventful evening when Forrestfield were not successful because of some clubs that think only of their own agenda and not the development of soccer in Western Australia.
Our written application, dated 19th October 2003, was personally handed to the SWC General Manager and one of the directors. On the 11th November a cheque for $2000 and accompanying letter was forwarded to SWC showing our commitment. At this stage, our expectation was that this application would be raised at the next SWC meeting, or at least the SWC annual general meeting on 8th December. Our follow up to this found that the subject had not even been discussed with the clubs, and was not tabled as an agenda item at the AGM. As you can imagine Forrestfield United were devastated. Nothing could be arranged other than to be a silent observer at the AGM knowing that Forrestfield United would not be discussed. At that meeting, an amendment was voted - and passed - for a fifteen-team Division one.
Pursuing Forrestfield United issues, the SWC committee discussed our application at their board meeting on 3rd December. The outcome of this was Forrestfield United were asked to submit a full application for entry which included responding to the criteria required to join SWC. This had to be prepared and presented to the SWC Board at a convened meeting for 8.00am on 17th December. This was fulfilled and presented by three executive members of the Forrestfield United Committee. The presentation should have been made to the full committee of SWC, however, the President and two other Directors failed to show and hence were not in attendance.
The SWC Board received our 22-page binded presentation and we were complimented on the presentation, the response to the required criteria and the brief business and sponsorship plan in place. At this point Forrestfield United needed to know where we go from here and what happens next. SWC could not make any immediate decisions (not a full quorum) and resulting from this the club were advised to do the following to enable a special general meeting to be held as early as possible in January 2004, for Forrestfield United's application to Division One.
Forrestfield United needed to contact an exsiting SWC club who would put on their club letterhead the following motions, and find another club who will second these motions. Then, 50% of the full members had to endorse and sign the document and agree to a special general meeting. The document then had to be personally delivered or by registered post to SWC. On receipt of the document the board would then convene a Special General Meeting. The information and signatures required were as follows: "We ......... Soccer Club wish to call a Special General Meeting to move the following motions. 1. Move a motion to waver the 28 days notice of a Special General meeting been convened due to these special circumstances. 2. Move a motion that Forrsetfield United be admitted to the First Division of the Soccer West Coast league. 3. Move a motion that the First Division league be changed from fifteen teams to sixteen teams for season 2004."
In a space of seven days (and keeping in mind this was a week prior to Christmas) our club submitted the required document to SWC on 23rd December. The motions were raised, seconded and thirteen other clubs signed the document. There were two other clubs who would have signed the document but had to get together with their own committees first but time didn’t permit us to receive their signatures as we needed to deliever the document to SWC prior to Christmas so as to arrange the meeting. The fifteen endorsing clubs represented 56% of all the affiliated clubs. Forrestfield United then proceeded to follow up with the SWC Board members to arrange the special general meeting on 12th January 2004.
That meeting was backed by good work from Forrestfield United to establish links with other SWC clubs to ensure their vote. However, there were several clubs working against our club and this was clearly evident with the way they banded together to discuss negative tactics. On top of this the SWC President had resigned the morning of the meeting, and as a result the board was not strong and in full control when certain negative opposing clubs spent valuable time procrastinating over the constitution issues and trying to disrupt the meeting. This they achieved and the Board lost control in the clarity of the motion. When finally the first amendment was raised some clubs probably didn’t know what was going on and were confused with their voting decision. The final outcome was that Forrestfield United did not gain acceptance to the dismay of our club representatives and several supportive and forward thinking clubs.
This result will not affect Forrestfield United going forward and achieving further great results in 2004. We will not give in and intend to re-apply to join SWC. With three of our five Junior Champions League teams winning their respective age groups plus our amateur first team winning the Mitre Cup, Forrestfield United are in a healthy position. On reflection, the way the meeting and voting process was handled can only be described as asking a Coles store whether to allow Woolworth’s to move into the same shopping complex. Not at any stage did SWC request or try to visit Hartfield Park to inspect the facilities and surroundings, or speak positively on our behalf to the members present at the meeting to promote our application. Forrestfield United were not even permitted to speak or present their application. Soccer Australia needs to review our case and the archaic nature of the process. We are a strong, progressive and forward thinking club that has a great deal to offer soccer and the community of Western Australia.
COACH WANTED FOR COCKBURN WOMEN’S TEAM
Cockburn City's women's team are seeking a first team coach and new players for the coming season. The women's team finished the 2003 First Division season in second place, pipped by a single point by UWA 'A'. They then went on to take out the Top Four play-offs with victory over East Fremantle in the series decider. Boasting the First Division's best defensive record as well as its leading goalscorer, Jessica Hunter, Cockburn have set their sights on adding to their trophy cabinet this season. Those interested in applying for the coaching position or joining in a playing capacity are invited to contact either Amanda Mirco (0417 964 295) or the club office (9418 3800).
PETKOVIC BACK IN FRAME
A string of shining performances for Turkish side Trabzonspor has earned goalkeeper Michael Petkovic a recall to the Australian squad. Petkovic made his full international debut against Colombia in March 2001 and played in the Oceania Qualifying Tournament the following month, but since that time has been out of favour with national selectors. He joins Stan Lazaridis, West Australia’s most capped Socceroo, in the 20-player squad for next Wednesday’s (18th February) friendly with Venezuela. The match will be the first time Australia and Venezuela have met at senior level.
The complete 20-man squad for the friendly with Venezuela is Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel), Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City), Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Tony Vidmar (Cardiff City), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Vince Grella (Empoli), Josip Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Craig Moore (Glasgow Rangers), Mark Viduka (Leeds United), Miles Sterjovski (Lille), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Kevin Muscat (Millwall), Marco Bresciano (Parma), Simon Colosimo, Ahmad Elrich (Parramatta Power), John Alosis (Osasuna), Steve Laybutt (Royal Excelsior Mouscron) and Michael Petkovic (Trabzonspor).
Bassendean Caledionian are expected to be without State goalkeeper Alan Dunlop for the remainder of the Night Series. The 23-year old is likely to be out of action for up to eight weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in Friday’s nights opening round clash with Floreat Athena. The match was only ten minutes old when Dunlop was forced from the field of play after colliding with Aaron Moschopolous while competing for a high ball. Initial concerns that he had dislocated his right shoulder were allayed following tests this week which indicate ligament damage. Dunlop is now focusing on being back to full fitness for the opening round of the Premier League season in mid-April.
INJURY CLAIMS GULLS TRIO
Sorrento face a tough Night Series campaign with the absence of key players Simon Harland, Glen Thomas and NeilYoung. Although he’s making a steady recovery from shin splints State midfielder and club captain Thomas remains an outside chance of featuring in the pre-season competition. Also working his way back to full fitness is Harland who went under the knife over the summer and is on track to make his return with the commencement of the home and away series. But the news is not so good for Young whose been struck down by osteitis pubis which will keep him on the sidelines for an indefinite period.
New recruit Phil Straker has take over between the posts for the Gulls following his arrival from England. Straker, a former youth team player for Sunderland, most recently played for non-League outfit Farsley Celtic. Trialist Scott McIlroy has shown some good touches in early outings for Sorrento which could well see him land a contract in the near future. The club have further strengthened their stocks by signing 24-year old midfielder Ben Adams from Kingsway Olympic. It is understood Sorrento are also working frantically to lure former Australian youth and Perth Glory midfielder Tony Carbone back to the game after a self-imposed twelve month absence.
ON THIS DAY ... 1980
Despite the wet conditions a bumper crowd of 3000 turned up to the Velodrome on Sunday 10th February, 1980, to witness Manchester United great Bobby Charlton make the first of three guest appearances for Perth Azzurri. Although aged 42, Charlton’s skills were still as sharp as ever when Azzurri met East Fremantle Tricolore in their opening match of the 1980 Night Series. Tricolore drew first blood when John Polyket netted inside a minute, but the two teams went in at the break on level terms thanks to a goal from Peter Gangemi. With Charlton pulling the strings in midfield Azzurri dominated the second half but could not find a way past goalkeeper Ian Harvey. Against the run of play Tricolore regained the lead when Graham Cramphorn benefited from a defensive error and rounded goalkeeper Saverio Madaschi to tuck the ball home. The result was put beyond Azzurri’s reach close to full-time when Paul McKenna rifled home from close-range.
If the tournament organisers were pleased with the turnout for Charlton’s debut, then they were left flabbergasted a week later when almost 5000 spectators watched Azzurri stormed to a 3-1 victory over Gosnells City. Three minutes had elapsed before Chris Proctor set Azzurri down the road to victory with a superb drive from 25-metres. While the remainder of the first half produced little for the crowd to get excited about, the match burst into life after the break. Gosnells equalised in the 53rd minute when Peter Creamer rose high at a corner and powered the ball over the line. But soon after Azzurri returned to the lead when the unmarked Barry Bolton headed past goalkeeper Owen Nuttridge. The result was secured after 79 minutes as Charlton collected a fine cross from Proctor before angling a superb shot beyond the reach of the Gosnells ‘keeper.
In his last appearance for Azzurri Charlton shone but there was little he could do against a Kingsway Olympic side hell bent on winning. Azzurri began the 24th February clash promisingly and after 15 minutes went in front through a fantastic individual goal from Charlton. Intercepting the ball in midfield, the veteran attacker beat several defenders in racing half the length of the field before carefully placing his shot past goalkeeper Willie McNally. The goal galvanised Olympic into action and the remainder of the match belonged to them. After the break the green machine kicked up a gear top pile on four goals - two each from Paul Tombides and Derek Watt - as they ran out victors by 4-1. Following the match local fans Charlton farewell and thanked him for a classly display of pinpoint passing, deft turns that left opponents chasing shadows, and the occasional (he was 42 after all) well-timed run into attack.
Charlton joined Manchester United in 1953 and by the time they lifted the First Division championship in 1956/57 he'd become an integral member of the first eleven under Matt Busby. Further trophy success came in the way of 1963 FA Cup Final and 1964/65 First Division title. Part of England’s 1958 and 1962 World Cup squads, Charlton orchestrated the host nation's celebrated 1966 World Cup Final victory over West Germany. Crowned European Footballer of the Year that same year, he’d then lead United to another First Division championship (1966/67) and the 1968 European Cup. Following the Mexico World Cup of 1970 he opted to end his international career on 106 caps (49 goals) and, three years later, Charlton made the last of his 768 appearances (253 goals) for United. Two seasons as player/manager of Preston North End (38 games) followed before Charlton hung up his professional playing boots.
DESPOTOVSKI’S FEARS FOR FUTURE (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Striker Bobby Despotovski says delaying the kickoff of new national league competition will drive many players to the wall. The Perth Glory star fears many current National Soccer League players will struggle to make ends meet with so much uncertainty over contract liabilities and the future of many current clubs. “Frank Lowy’s celebrated ten-team competition is not expected to be up and running until late January or early February,” wrote Despotovski in his weekly column for the “Sunday Times” newspaper. “If that’s the case, players won’t be required for pre-season training until around December. That means players, many with young families, will not be paid for up to five months. It doesn’t make sense, but the game’s powerbrokers must understand that the players need to live. That the competition will be delayed until early next year is a major concern because everybody has known about the new guidelines for long enough. There is little doubt Perth Glory will be in the competition - and Adelaide United. But, as for the other eight clubs, nobody knows. That is not an ideal situation.”
HOWELLS JOINS MERTHYR
Veteran midfielder Lee Howells has joined Dr Martens League club Merthyr Tydfil on a one month loan. The 35-year old Cheltenham Town player has been loaned out in order to play regular first team football following a lengthy period out through injury. Howells is the third highest appearance maker in the Robins’ history with over 450 first team appearances behind him. He made his debut for the non-League club in Saturday’s 1-1 away draw with Eastbourne Borough.
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND ONE (Cockburn City vs Inglewood United by Lennie Bavich; Fremantle City vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Bayswater City vs Perth S.C. by Adam Rucci; Swan I.C. vs Western Knights by Peter Simcox)
Inglewood United took maximum points over Cockburn City in the opening game of the 2004 Night Series at Litis Stadium on Friday evening. In an even first half good chances came the way of Dean Wallace and Roberto Colalillo who headed over and shot wide respectively, while down the opposite end big striker Ryan Newhill was kept scoreless by the experienced defensive combination of Dusan Macura and Bozo Erakovic. Fourteen minutes into the second half Inglewood got the breakthrough when Shaun Kilkelly’s volley was trapped by Newhill who converted from close range amid cries for offside from the Cockburn contingent. Daniel Palermo and Domenic De Felice combined to great effect down the right wing and provide Wallace with a simple tap in after 67 minutes to bring the game back on to a level footing. Six minutes from the end Inglewood turned the ball over in midfield and Newhill sent an inch perfect cross to strike partner Louis Parkinson whose superb diving header from 10-metres gave goalkeeper Dino Pacella no chance as it crept inside the upright to make the final score 2-1.
Bassendean Caledonian’s Night Series campaign got off in dreadful fashion with a five-goal thrashing from Floreat Athena. Ten minutes into the match disaster struck Caledonian when injury claimed former State goalkeeper Alan Dunlop who now looks likely to miss the remainder of the pre-season tournament. Anthony Jones was providing much of Athena’s attacking drive from wide on the right and it was his pinpoint cross that Peter Coci placed wide of replacement ‘keeper Vince Mateo to open the scoring. Caledonian came close to equalising a minute later but Andy Cornmell’s grasscutter slammed into the outside of the post. With half-time approaching Josip Madjic and debutant Adam Bachelor combined for Coci to double Athena’s lead despite the best efforts of a full-stretch Mateo who got his fingers to the shot but couldn’t prevent it from going in off the post. The second half began with Caledonian making a couple of substitutions which allowed them to better compete with their opponents. But in the final ten minutes Athena ran away with the match as Jones rifled past Mateo, then set-up to Josip Magdic for Athena’s fourth. As the clock ran down Coci was brought down inside the area, the nippy attacker picking himself up to completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
On Sunday afternoon Fremantle City and Sorrento shared the points with a 2-2 draw. The northern suburbs side started confidently and it came as no surprise when they went ahead after Jason Godfrey conceded a needless penalty which was put away by Jared Love. With Dean Apelgren their driving force Fremantle gradually came into the match and in the 26th minute the teenager skipped past three opponents only to chip his shot over the crossbar. Eight minutes later Fremantle drew level as John Migas’ cross from the right was knocked in by the outstretched foot of Kevin Corriea. Early in the second half new Sorrento signing Phil Straker produced two smart saves to deny Branimir Mikulic and Apelgren in quick succession. In a frenzied goalmouth scramble Todd Harnwell and Steve McDonald both has shots blocked the pressure was relieved then Fremantle custodian pushed Farrell Hedges’ effort wide for a corner. Twelve minutes into the half the port side went in front as Apelgren’s cross into the area was turned in by a misdirected clearance from young defender Daniel Cain. Harnwell was thwarted by Koroma in a one-on-one situation, and minutes later a back post header by Love bounced agonisingly wide. With the match seemingly over Sorrento grabbed a dramatic last minute equaliser when McDonald was brought down by Korama and Love coolly converted from the spot a second time.
With several fresh, young faces in their line-up Perth S.C. defeated Bayswater City 3-1 in the second of Sunday’s fixtures. The Premier League champions applied the early pressure to their opponents backline who stood firm. With Daniel Vangelovski eliminating the threat of Shane Crampton Perth looked at other avenues to goal and in the 20th minute Robbie Puca found the net only to have his effort disallowed for offside. Bayswater started to grow in confidence and should have gone in front through Boima Karpeh who scuffed his shot in a one-on-one with Robert Scarparolo. Not long after Francis Allen blocked a Todd Howarth shot but there was little the young goalkeeper could do as the rebound was coolly tucked away by Howarth from 9-metres. Bayswater leveled through Bobby Klenkoski who was presented with an easy chance after good lead-up in midfield. After the interval Perth seized control of the match and restored their lead when defender Dino Djublic nodded in a corner. With Puca creating all sorts of problems for the Baywater defence the outcome was put beyond doubt by substitute David Onoforo whose shot slipped through the hand of replacement goalkeeper Dusan Martinovic.
Swan I.C. commenced the Night Series with a 3-1 victory over a trophy holders Western Knights who were without six first team regulars. In a scrappy opening it was the Knights that looked the better side with Josh Kamasz’ shot well saved by Cory Hugo. Former Swan player Mark Lee surged forward to lay the ball off to Kamasz who sprayed the ball high when well placed, and shortly before the break Lee teed-up teenager John Thornley whose effort was wide of the target. The black and whites started the new half promisingly with Elton Holmes header well saved by goalkeeper Robert Pedri following Miki Vujacic’s cross. The Knights broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute when Kamasz was allowed space and his shot took a deflection off a defender and fly past Cory Hugo. The match was put back on a level footing midway through the half by Justin Hugo who headed in a curling free-kick from Tony Cumace. Five minutes later Swan struck against this time through good work from Elton Holmes and Miki Vujacic which was finished off by Dean Nicolaou. With the Knights showing clear signs of tiring Swan wrapped up the match minutes from the final whistle as Cumace’s cross into the box was nodded past Pedri by Justin Hugo.
LIGHTS OUT ON WOLVES SEASON (by Peter Simcox)
Perth Glory celebrated the official opening of Members Equity Stadium with a 2-0 defeat of Wollongong Wolves this evening, the result effectively ending the visitors play-off hopes. The Wolves looked lively over the opening minutes but lacked penetration in and around the 18-year box with the best chance coming when Jason Van Blerk found Jacob Timpano whose shot on the run was pushed away by Jason Petkovic. Glory didn’t find their rhythm until around the 20 minute mark as Gary Faria chipped goalkeeper Andrew Crews only to have Shane Lyons clear the danger. A minute later Mark Byrnes forced a fine save from Crews following a free-kick from Bobby Despotovski. Just as the momentum was swinging in Glory’s favour the stadium was plunged into darkness caused by a transformer failure which held up proceedings for twenty-five minutes. Seven minutes after the re-start Glory went in front when Mark Byrnes cut the ball back from the by-line which Brad Hassell cleverly stepped over and Despotovski turned to drill the shot low and into the far bottom corner of the net.
Following the half-time break the Wolves worked hard to find a way back into the game but struggled to break down a well marshaled home defence that had former Socceroo Shaun Murphy at its heart. Stuart Young chanced his luck from distance but shot straight at Petkovic, and two minutes later a powerful shot from the top of the box by Michael Hawrysiuk forced a fine save from the Glory ‘keeper. But the visitors had the wind taken out of their sails in the 63rd minute by a controversial Glory goal. Gary Faria appeared to control the ball with his arm as he raced towards the by-line before playing a cheeky back heal to Tom Pondeljak whose low cross was converted from close range by Damian Mori. A demoralised Wolves managed only one further shot on goal through Hawrysiuk who brought an easy save from Petkovic. After the game coach Mich d’Avray admitted his side was on the back foot before the stadium was plunged into darkness. “We allowed the Wolves to dictate the game early on”, he said. “Then the lights went out and that helped us out … You’ve got to accept that there are matches in which you don’t play well and you win, so I’m happy with the three points.”
A youthful E.C.U. Joondalup line-up were forced to dig deep before overpowering the visiting Dianella White Eagles in the far north this afternoon. In the 2nd minute goalkeeper Michael Lawson kept the match on level terms by turning wide Zelko Savic's spot kick. Not long after Miladin Guguroski bagged Dianella's opening goal after good lead-up work from Mario Lucic. Joondalup responded almost immediately through Garin Collins, but just prior to the break Dianella's lead was restored by Savic. Some half-time changes saw a more composed Joondalup side take to the field and they quickly powered away with Collins netting twice more and Darren Broxton once. Jimmy Stoichev brought Dianella back into game before Collins took his personal tally to five and Broxton two for final 7-3 scoreline.
Mandurah City turned in a great performance to trounce Cockburn City 4-0. With both clubs at less than full-strength it was Mandurah who were the first to hit their straps with Jordan Rhodes' defence splitting pass to Jake Loreto who in turn crossed for Christian Paschewitz to finish with just eight minutes elapsed. Mandurah were unlucky not to add to their tally with Rhodes having a shot cleared off the line and Loreto hitting the frame of the goal. The margin was increased however after 20 minutes via a well planned set-piece which Christian Paschewitz knocked on for Loreto to head home at the far post. After the break Mandurah stepped up a level to completely dominate as Paschewitz and Andrew Rennie found the net to complete what was a comfortable friendly win.
First Division rivals Armadale and Wanneroo went head to head at Kingsway Sporting Complex this afternoon. With a very young and inexperienced side out on the park Wanneroo were all at sea in the opening twenty minutes as their opponents piled on three goals to take command. Luke Morris snared the games first goal, Dennis Lee doubled the margin and summer signing Dean Gartside added Armadale's third. The second half was a different story with Wanneroo settling quickly and enjoying the better of possession but unable to find a path to goal. Armadale created several chances on goal of their own but, like their opponent, couldn't add to the 3-0 scoreline.
Leeming Strikers made the journey to Ashfield Reserve where it took the home side just five minutes to get on the scoreboard through summer recruit Ben Charlton who made the most of a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The Strikers slowly began to find their rhythm and got back on level terms after 10 minutes with a fine goal from just outside the area. Midway through the half the hosts restored their lead with Charlton and Peter Noizsewski combining to set-up Wayne Culverwell. A defensive error early in the second half was pounced upon by Culverwell who knocked his shot past the advancing 'keeper to make it 3-1. Culverwell completed his hat-trick - and a 4-1 winning margin - late in the game after Admir Mehic's initial shot came back off the up-right.
DISPELLING THE MYTHS
Over the past few years a number of misconceptions have built up around this website and its role in the Western Australian soccer community. With a new season upon us we thought the time was ripe to set the record straight on a number of matters ...
Despite what you may have heard, read or been told, www.soccerwa.com is NOT the Soccer West Coast website. The truth is that we are totally independent of all the local soccer organisations, SWC included. Our primary aim is to encompass all aspects of the round ball game in and from West Australia - be it at professional, semi-professional or amateur levels for men, women, juniors, referees or coaches.
Contrary to popular belief no one associated with www.soccerwa.com is paid to compile or contribute to this website. All news and information is put together by volunteers who give their time to promote the local game. In fact their are costs incurred by all of our contributors be it time taken to write articles/reports or photographic expenses.
Just because you are involved in soccer in Western Australia does not mean you or your clubs' activities will be covered by www.soccerwa.com. We rely very heavily upon the input of the local soccer community for all our information. Some clubs are more active that others in promoting themselves through regular clubs news and match reports, and it is those that feature prominently on our pages. Conversely, those clubs that we don't hear from receive little coverage.
At this stage we'd like to invite players and officials of all clubs and organisations to help raise the profile of soccer in Western Australia. Over the past few years we have developed strong working relationships with numerous clubs that have ensured what appears on-line is accurate and up-to-date. If you would like to help out in any way then please contact Brett (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jacob (email@example.com) as soon as possible. All contributions are welcome.
WOLVES HUNGRY FOR POINTS
Wollongong Wolves arrive at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday evening needing to take maximum points from Perth Glory to keep alive their slimming finals hopes. The Wolves have a strong record in the west where they've won two and drawn two of their seven regular season meetings with Glory. Although boosted by the return from injury of experienced goalkeeper Andrew Crews the visitors have struggled in recent outings which produced successive losses to Kings F.C., Sydney Olympic and Parramatta Power. Already assured of a top six spot are Glory who've set their sights on their third regular season title in five years. Australian Under-23 international Jade North comes back into the equation but with Glory undefeated in nine games it remains to be seen whether there's a spot for him in the starting line-up. The game will be broadcast live to Perth audiences via 6PR - 882AM - from 7.00pm.
NIGHT SERIES COMMENCES
The local season officially gets underway this evening with the return of the Night Series to Litis Stadium. In a tantalising opening to the series Inglewood United go head-to-head with Cockburn City from 6.45pm, followed by Floreat Athena verses Bassendean Caledonian at 8.25pm. The competition continues on Sunday with a triple-header commencing at 4.30pm when the youngsters from Fremantle City take on Sorrento. Traditional rivals Perth S.C. and Bayswater City come up against each other at 6.10pm, after which a Swan I.C. side boasting several new faces meet Night Series holders Western Knights from 8.05pm.
SWAN COMPLETE SUCCESSFUL PRE-SEASON (courtesy Swan I.C.)
Swan I.C. ended their pre-season with a comfortable five-goal win over Balcatta 5-0 this evening. Swans' new boy David Foster opened the scoring after 5 minutes with a great header following a pinpoint cross from Miki Vujacic. Shortly after Vujacic was again the provider and Foster the scorer as Swan increased the gap. Balcatta's defence was held marshalled by Antoine Aquilla while down the opposite end lively David Moschilla caused the black and whites backline a few moments of concerns. After the break Swan ran away with the game as Dean Nicolaou, Tony Cumace and Damien Todorovic found the target to complete the scoreline.
LIONS STRENTHEN SQUAD WITH QUALITY SIGNINGS (courtesy www.stirlinglions.com.au)
An aggressive recruitment campaign has paid early dividends for Stirling Lions whose squad has been strengthened with the addition of four quality players. Joining the club are goalkeeper Gareth Deeg, attackers Jake Harman and Mohammed Komaderic, and midfielder Alan Zilic. "The recent signing of Gareth puts the icing on the cake for our Night Series squad and I expect the other new lads to up the ante on players wishing to be in our starting line up," said Lions coach Tom Leeman. "We have the ingredients of a very talented and competitive unit here at the Lions and we have not finished with player recruitment."
With outstanding young goalkeeper currently Jordan Conti trialing with English club Bristol City, the Lions have beat several other clubs in securing the services of 25-year old Deeg. A former Australian Schoolboys representative, he spent time with National Soccer League outfit Newcastle United before heading to Perth to playing two seasons with each E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento. Following Deeg from Sorrento to the Lions is Harman whose ability to find the back of the net enabled him end the past two seasons as the leading goalscorer for the Gulls reserve team. Looking for an opportunity to play regularly at senior level, Harman joins brother and team captain Leo at Macedonia Park.
Former Perth S.C. junior Zilic returns to West Australian after a brief stint in Austria's top flight. Zilic has shone in pre-season outings against the South Korean Under-23 side and Malaysian champions Perak, much to the delight of coach Leeman. Talented young striker Komaderic joins the Lions from First Division side Ashfield where his scoring abilities saw him find the onion bag on 23 occasions last year. A stand-out in pre-season training, Komaderic adds value to the Lions forward line which includes experienced duo Rob Milevski and Toby Wright.
SENIOR HONOURS BECKON FOR DE VANNA
Lisa De Vanna is set to make her senior Australian debut after being called up for national honours in the up-coming Australia Cup and the Oceania Olympic qualifiers. The Perth born striker is one of five new faces in the 18-player Matilda's squad named today by coach Adrian Santrac. 19-year old De Vanna, an Australian Under-19 international, ended the 2003 Womens' National Soccer League season with ten goals to finish runner-up in the Golden Boot award. Also in the squad is hard working midfielder Tal Karp who also hails from the west. With 20 international appearances under her belt 22-year old Karp has been a Matilda's regular line-up since her debut in September 2002. The 6th Australia Cup tournament commences on 18th February with China, North Korea and New Zealand in competition with the host nation. The Women's Olympic Qualifying tournament kicks-off on 2nd March in Fiji.
TOMICH SET FOR KNIGHTS RETURN
Goalkeeper Tommi Tomich is expected to return to the Western Knights camp early next month. The 23-year old joined Melbourne Knights at the completion of the 2003 State League season and within a week had made his National Soccer League debut in November's meeting with Parramatta Power. Tomich has since been a regular fixture of the matchday squad, making 6 starting appearances and as many on the bench to share to gloves with Vilson Knezevic. Melbourne Knights recently announced they would not participate in the revamped national competition in preference for a return to the Victorian Premier League.
COURSE FOR COACHES
SAQ is the name behind the physical training and conditioning of players at some of the world's leading clubs, including Premier League sides Manchester United and Arsenal. Local coaches, conditioners and trainers are invited to attend SAQ's Preliminary Award course which is being held in Perth on Sunday 15th February.
SAQ programs emphasise the importance of agility training to equip athletes with the best methods and techniques for increased quickness, speed, control and movement. Agility training also has many other benefits including a reduced risk of injury and improved body awareness.
The one-day course includes hands-on practical sessions, visual presentations, an open book examination and a practical assessment. It is supported by comprehensive reading materials and a video resource designed to aid your club and its players. To attend the up-coming course download an application form. For further details visit the SAQ Australia website, or email Fabio Macolino.
FRIENDLY WIN FOR GULLS (by Kerry Slater)
Sorrento enjoyed their first competitive outing of the pre-season this evening against good friends and neighbors Kingsway Olympic. The Gulls started at full steam and within 7 minutes gained the upper hand with a well taken free-kick from Scott McIlroy which came to nestle in the back of the net. The lead was doubled two minutes later as Todd Harnwell netted after his initial shot was blocked by the young Olympic goalkeeper. Despite the early set backs the home team worked hard to make in-roads of their own but couldn't find a way past a Gulls defence lead by the experienced Richard Watson. Sorrento were gifted a third goal when a lack of communication in their opponents defence presented Harnwell with an opportunity that he converted from a narrow angle. The Gulls fourth goal of the half arrived via the boot of Ben Adams who controlled well and beat the on-coming defenders before firing home. After the break, coaches Sean Lynch (Olympic) and Steve Neville (Sorrento) made several changes to their teams as the energy sapping conditions took its took. Despite some free flowing play from both sides there was no addition to the scoreline with passes all too often going astray in the final third of the field
MADASCHI A COLOSSUS AGAINST RANGERS (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi enjoyed arguably his finest game in a Partick Thistle shirt in Sunday's 0-1 defeat by Rangers. The big West Australian was a colossus against the Gers in a game which was decided by a wonderful piece of skill from Danish attacker Peter Lovenkrands. "All the lads are disappointed after that result," Madaschi said yesterday. "We created the better chances, but it was just that wee bit extra that Rangers have that made the difference. What it does prove is that we can compete with anyone in this league - we just need that wee bit of luck." On a personal level, Madaschi says he has been happy with his form since Christmas. "It'd be wrong to say I feel comfortable at this level, no professional should say that. But I do believe I'm now showing my true ability. I've adjusted to the pace of Scottish Premier league football, the physical challenges, I'm now a hell of a lot sharper and while it's tough given our position, I'm enjoying the experience here at Firhill."
SWAN ON THE ROAD (courtesy Swan I.C.)
Swan I.C. went country over the weekend for a training camp at Jurien Bay, 266km north of the metropolitan area. Making the journey were the first team squad and several players from the under-21's as well as the coaching and support staff. "The Jurien Bay camp will be great for both team spirit and for helping the new players to settle in with the current squad," said coach Gary Marocchi prior to setting off. "The camp will be a mixture of hard work and socialising between the players. Also the introduction of the younger players from the under-21's will give them a taste of the necessary work required to be done to succeed."
After a sound nights sleep, the squad was put to work at 7.30am the following morning with a 40-minute beach session that was followed by breakfast. The wind was blowing strong by 10.00am when Swan arrived at the Jurien Bay Football Club for an intra-club practice match. With Eddie Lennie look-alike Paul Lincoln refereeing Swan's youth team ran out 7-6 winners thanks to a four-goal haul from Matt Ullbricht with Tom Shepheard, Rob Shepheard and Brendan Knox also scoring. Tony Cumace bagged a hat trick for the first team, Miki Vujacic scored twice and Michael Di Fulvio once.
The squad returned to the house for lunch and began preparing for the iron man challenge which lay ahead. With the wind blowing a gale the beach conditions were far from ideal but the players gave it there all regardless. In a grueling and, at times, comical kayak paddle the brotherly team of Robert and Tom Shepheard took out line honours ahead of Matt Ullbricht and Brendan Knox with Miki Vujacic and Carlo Scali in third place. Michael Di Fulvio and Carlos Echeverria had the distinction of finishing the event in last place.
Following an testing days activities the Swan players made the most of their evening by relaxing with some good-natured humour aimed at the younger squad members the order of the night. The players rose early on Sunday for another session of beach work, followed by a well deserved breakfast. By 11.00am Swan had completed a memorable trip north and were on their way back to Perth. The players and coaching staff would like to thank club president John Muriale and committee members Tony Scali, Cos Coniglio, Darren Blankley, Enio Paolone and Vic Hugo for all there work in making the camp a success.
JONES STILL IN CONTENTION
Brad Jones' dream of representing Australia at this years Olympic Games are still alive. Last month Jones and Hearts defender Patrick Kisnorbo declared themselves unavailable the Oceania qualifying tournament, both citing club commitments as their reason. And, despite speculation to the contrary, national coach Frank Farina insists that decision will not be held against either player in the lead up to Athens. "There is nobody that has a line through their name whatsoever and that's including the players that pulled out," commented Farina. "People were throwing fuel on the fire, which was never really there in the first place."
MATASSA GOES PART-TIME AGAINST THE TIDE (courtesy Perth Glory matchday program)
There are some exciting times on the way for soccer in Australia. The new national league is on the horizon, leaving many players and fans licking their lips at the thought of a truly professional league being developed in this country for the first time. With increased player wages, sponsorship and media exposure all mooted, players will be required to be full-time athletes. However, there is one Perth Glory player who is moving against the tide. Goalkeeper Vince Matassa will be employed by the club on a part time basis starting in February as he looks to combine his work as a school teacher with his Glory commitments.
Matassa is in the process of completing his qualifications in a Diploma of Education, which he began at the start of last year, and is set to start the school year in a teaching role. "I've been full-time with Glory but with school starting up soon I'm going to be part-time," he told Matt Somerford of his Glory commitments. "I've just about finished my qualifications in a Diploma of Education which I'm doing at Notre Dame and a job has come up at my old school (John XXIII College). It's part time work as a mathematics teacher."
An original Glory squad member, Matassa has been limited to just two appearances behind Glory's first choice goalkeeper Jason Petkovic since his return to the club in November 20011 At the end of last season he was asked by the club to take a pay cut, which encouraged his thoughts outside of the round ball game. "That's the way the club elected to go and at the end of the day it was the club's choice rather than mine," he said. "It was a bit frustrating for me but I'm by no means closer to stepping out of the game than I was ten years ago. This (being a school teacher) is something I want to try my hand at and see how I go, I can work until 3.15pm and then still be available for afternoon training. And then there aren't too many commitments on the weekends so it all fits in pretty well and hopefully it works out."
Coming out of contract at the end of the current season, Matassa is well aware of the strains the new professional league may put on his plans to teach. "With the new league it win be full-time with more mid-week games so I'd have to meet that standard," said the former Australian youth team goalkeeper. "I'm unsure (about his future) until the new league is in order. I do wish it was around seven or eight years ago when I was starting out. I haven't decided what I will do, whether I'll go back to being full-time or stay part-time."
The 30-year old said that while he was unsure what lay ahead, he was sure the new league would provide a great opportunity for players around Australia. "From the model produced by the Players Union it seems the average wage will increase and there will be a salary cap, a good sized salary cap too, so that allows players to be paid well," he added. "That's to the benefit of the players and the league. In the last ten years there hasn't been enough money in the game to let players play full-time. They've had to find other jobs and live off the goodwill of their employers who let them meet their commitments as a player. Those players have done amazingly well to survive I think."
When Matassa started out in the N.S.L. with Morwell Falcons in 1996 he and most of his teammates had to work part-time, and that's a situation that still exists for most players at some of the smaller clubs. "Certainty over east a lot of the players have jobs as well," he said. "You look at the older guys who have retired or are close to retiring and you look at the players who were playing in the early 90's - they were all playing and working. Apart from the big name players over the years there just hasn't been enough money. An example is Tony Franken who ended his career at Perth Glory. He was working as a teacher in that time and he's a perfect example of the older style of player. But the thing is the new league is great news for the young players coming through and I hope for them they can take full advantage of it."
Matassa has recently turned his attentions to doing some media work which has included being a regular guest on the West Coast Soccer program that airs every Thursday night from 7.00pm on Access 31. It's another professional the locally produced goalkeeper is keen to explore. "Definitely, 100 per cent, I would like to look at going into the media," Matassa commented. "I enjoy talking about sport and about soccer and I don't mind putting forward my opinion, which is pretty important in the media. Hopefully with the new league there may be some bigger and better opportunities in the media for guys like me and I can try my hand at those."
DAVIES MAKES ENGLISH LEAGUE DEBUT
Clint Davies made his English league debut for Bradford City in yesterdays First Division clash with Gillingham. The 20-year old came off the bench shortly before half-time after regular Bantams goalkeeper Alan Combe was red carded for dissent. In the second half Gillingham threw everything at the young shot-stopper who showed few signs of nerves to continually thwart the home side. Despite Davies' efforts Bradford lost the match 0-1 to a Patrick Agyemang goal after 16 minutes.
SCRAPPY WIN FOR GLORY
Perth Glory moved a step closer to claiming the regular season title with a 2-0 defeat of Adelaide United at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday evening. But Glory's performance was far from championship material in an error-riddled match that neither side was able to dominate. The home side should have been two-up inside ten minutes but on both occasions Damian Mori spurned one-on-one opportunities with goalkeeper David Scarsella. Adelaide's first chance arrived after 18 minutes when a flat-footed Glory defence allowed Adriano Pellegrino in only for the ever alert Jason Petkovic to smother the midfielder's shot. Shortly after Jamie Harnwell rose high to send a powerful header goalward which was amazingly cleared off the line by visiting defender Aaron Westerveldt. The breakthrough came on the half hour when Mori nodded in from close range a perfectly executed Bobby Despotovski cross. Five minutes later Mori doubled the margin by heading in a cross from the right by Tom Pondeljak after a neat exchange with Gary Faria.
Adelaide came out fired up after the interval and quickly established a pattern in which they did most of the attacking. But with Glory's four-man defence holding firm the visitors were limited to chancing their luck from distance. For their part Glory seemed content to sit back and defend, pushing forward only occasionally on the counter-attack. The best of these moves arrived in the 58th minute when an Adelaide corner was cleared to Pondeljak who embarked on an electrifying run full length of the pitch that ended with a delicate chip which sailed wide of the target. Not to be outdone, Pellegrino unleashed from long-range a minute later but Petkovic comfortably gathered the powerful shot. Jamie Coyne was at the heart of a rare Glory attack after 67 minutes in which his curling centre found Mori whose header flew wide of far post. Adelaide continued to plug away in the hope of a late consolation goal but it wasn't to be as Petkovic capably dealt with the scattered half chances that came the visitors way. "The intensity wasn't there and we gave away the ball far too much," said Glory coach Mich d'Avray after the game. "Nevertheless we did enough and I'm happy with the three points."
Weekend action commenced on Friday night when First Division champions Bayswater City played a Balcatta side boasting several new faces. After a tentative start by both sides it was Bayswater that posted the games first goal as Andy O'Neill found the back of the net. With the midfield combination of Kevin Henderson and Gareth Healy in command Bayswater took control of the match and added to their tally with Bobby Klenkovski, Nick Stojanovski and two own goals to make the final score 5-0.
In the northern suburbs on Saturday E.C.U. Joondalup overran Inglewood United by 3-1. Having dominated the opening exchanges Inglewood went a goal down after 28 minutes when Garin Collins slid home a cross from the right by Darren Broxton. With half-time approaching Louis Parkinson was given the benefit of an offside decision and coolly slotted past Gareth Deeg to equalise. Midway through the second half Joondalup restored their lead with Collins again the scorer, and close to full-time an blistering long-range drive by 16-year old Scott Patterson secured victory for Joondalup.
Bassendean Caledonian defeated First Division opponent Leeming Strikers 3-1 at Jubilee Reserve. Following an even opening the Strikers went in front through Julio Barrendilla who pounced upon an error by Matt Donlevy. The young midfielder made amends shortly after by levelling the game with cracking shot from 25-metres that left the Strikers keep with no chance. Jimmy Christopoulous gave Caledonian the lead for the first time this afternoon before the result was put beyond doubt by Joe Woodin. "We were a little bit rusty but overall I was quite happy with how we played," commented Caledonian coach Gerry Wardle following the game.
At Watsons Reserve in Spearwood, Fremantle City proved too strong for First Division favourites Mandurah City by 4-0. In what was a fairly physical battle it was rising stars Chris Wylie and John Migas that stole the show for Fremantle with impressive displays. On the goal front Kevin Correira scored twice with Branimir Mikulic and a penalty converted by Peter Lord completing the scoreline. Despite the result, the level of enthusiasm and commitment shown by Mandurah side is sure to see them pushing hard for promotion this season.
TARKA HELPS OLYROOS TO GREECE
Perth-born David Tarka has played a key role in Australia navigating their way to this years Athens Olympic Games. The Nottingham Forest defender featured prominently for the national Under-23 side throughout the Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament played in Sydney over the past fortnight. Two days after helping Australia see off Samoa 6-0 in the opening match Tarka was rested as the Olyroos swept aside Papua New Guinea by 9-0. He then saw out the full 90 minutes of the 5-0 win over the Solomon Islands and the 6-0 drubbing of Fiji which enabled Australia to complete the group stage undefeated. In the first leg of the final on Monday afternoon Australia scored two late goals to see off New Zealand. In this afternoon's return leg in Auckland a 1-1 draw with the Kiwi's was enough to ensure Australia's safe passage to Greece. Adopted West Australians Jade North and Ljubo Milicevic, who hail from Brisbane and Melbourne respectively, were also instrumental in Australia taking out the tournament.
GLORY EDGES NEARER TO TITLE
Perth Glory can all but wrap up the regular season title with victory over Adelaide United at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday night (7.00pm kick-off). There is little doubt that Glory's strength this season has been the defensive core of Jason Petkovic, Shaun Murphy and Mark Byrnes which has kept the opposition scoreless on nine occasions. It's at the opposite end of the field that coach Mich d'Avray continues to face a selection headache with three players - an in-form Nick Mrdja, Bobby Despotovski and Damian Mori - vying for the two goalscoring roles.
Although Adelaide are well on track for a spot in the play-offs their recent form has not been the best. In their last four outings they have taken just five points with last weekend's narrow win over bottom team Kingz F.C. their first in four games. Reliable defender Richie Alagich has had a great summer for the competition newcomers, likewise one-time Australian Schoolboys goalkeeper David Scarsella. And in attack veteran Carl Veart is enjoying a new lease on life as the teams main goalscorer. For those unable to get to Members Equity Stadiom this weekend the game will be broadcast live to Perth audiences on 6PR 882AM.
SEASON OVER FOR MILLER
The season of Perth Glory defender Scott Miller has been cut short by injury. A meeting with a specialist yesterday confirmed the worst for the 31-year old who will have an operation on Tuesday to rectify an Achilles problem. "The realisation that you're not going to play again this season is the hardest thing to take," Miller said. "All I want to do is play and the last four or five games I was getting back into it and feeling good. The positive thing is that after the operation I'll get back to 100 per cent."
Having overcome a nagging hip injury at the start of the campaign Miller was reaching peak form when he aggravated his left Achilles playing against Sydney Olympic earlier this month. Following next weeks operation Miller's left leg will be in a plaster cast for a fortnight after which he faces four months of rehabilitation. Prior to this season Miller, part of Glory's inaugural squad, had enjoyed an almost injury-free run. But now his club record of 211 appearances is under threat from teammate Bobby Despotovski whose Glory tally currently stands at 204 games.
DOUBLE SIGNING FOR SWAN
Swan I.C. has completed the signing of David Foster and Miki Vujacic for season 2004. "The signing of David and Miki will be a big boost for the club," said coach Gary Marocchi. "Both players were members of the state Under-19 squad which toured France in 2002 with David selected as WA's best player on that tour. The intensity levels at training have lifted as players now realize there will be a fight for selection in the first eleven." 20-year old Foster arrives after several seasons in the senior squad at Sorrento and is has quickly settled into life with the Swan Valley club. Vujacic, also 20, played locally for Perth S.C. and Future Glory before spending last season with Adelaide City Force in the South Australian State League.
COYNE MAKING MOST OF OPPORTUNITY
Jamie Coyne is relishing the chance of playing regular first team football for Perth Glory. The versatile 23-year old has been in fantastic form since coming back into the starting eleven for right-back Jade North whose currently away on international duty with the Australian Under-23 side. "For the last few weeks I've been playing a lot better than I was at the start of the season," Coyne said this week. "I've been more positive in my approach, getting forward more regularly and putting in some crosses ... I think I've been playing well."
On his return to the starting line-up Coyne produced a solid display as part of Glory's back four against Sydney Olympic at the start of the month. But it was in the 4-1 home defeat of against title rivals Parramatta Power that the former Perth S.C. player excelled. "It was a big game, they are a good side and everyone played well," he said of the match in which Glory's defensive combination of Coyne, Shaun Murphy, Jamie Harnwell and Mark Byrnes were the stars. "I'd played well in patches the week before against Olympic, but as an overall performance I think I'd have to rate the game with Power as my best so far this season."
Glory coach Mich d'Avray faces a selection dilemma headache next week when North returns from international duty. Although he's well aware that the pressure will be on, Coyne feels he has done enough to be keep his place in the line-up. "Before I came back into the team Mich (d'Avray) said that if I played well then it would make it a difficult decision whether to play Jade or to keep myself. Jade didn't do anything wrong when he was playing and he's been away representing Australia, but both of us have a reason to be playing. Hopefully I've done enough to stay in the side."
FREMANTLE KEYED UP FOR NEW SEASON
The disappointment of missing out on the play-offs last year will provide the impetus for Fremantle City's youngsters to produce the goods this season. The port side were well placed at the half-way stages last year, second on the table and on course for a top five finish. But an injury list that appeared to be growing on a weekly basis quickly put an end to their finals dream. "Many of the players were professionally hurt by the second half of last season, we were well placed at the halfway stage but in the end failed to claim a spot in the top five," said the club's director of football Andrew Danskin. "The desire to be one of the leading clubs this year is evident by the attitude being shown by the players in pre-season. As a club we are extremely happy with the squad we have and are confident of an improved showing this season."
While the focus remains on promoting from within their fertile youth ranks, Fremantle have made a couple of clever signings over the off-season. New to the club are State representative and former Cockburn City utility Jeff Bright along with one-time State Schoolboys defender Jason Godfrey whose arrives after several seasons at Inglewood United. Adding to their attacking option is the welcomed return of a re-focused and fit Kevin Correira. The club are also understood to be in discussion with another local striker to further bolster their forwardline. "Our younger players, Dean Aplegren, John Migas and the like are now a year older and with the first team experience they gained last year we expect to be competitive this season," commented Danskin.
On the flip side Fremantle will be without the services of experienced defender Alex Cummings to work commitments, while former Australian youth international Marc Wingell will be out until mid-year following a knee reconstruction. Others missing from last seasons squad include James Hesketh, currently playing for Welsh Premier League leaders Total Network Solutions, along with Joe Liguan and Michael Vaz who are understood to be training with Cockburn City and Leeming Strikers respectively. In addition a number of young players that have come up through Fremantle's youth ranks have opted to move on. "It's disappointing that we have lost some of our under-18's from last year but it is not unexpected," said Danskin. "Three have moved to other clubs and a fourth, striker Mo Atak, is trialling in Turkey. We wish them all well in their endevours at other clubs."
Former State League player Greg Kazmer will lead Fremantle for the third season. "Greg has a great repertoire with the players and is building a great spirit amongst the boys," commented Danskin. Joining Kazmar on the bench as his assistant is long-time reserve team coach and club legend Joe Pereira. Mike Tetlow, who last year was in charge of Fremantle's Under-18 side as well as the State Under-15 team, will look after the reserves with John Loreto as his assistant. The Under-18 squad will be under the guidance of Adriano Scagnetti with Doug Hesketh as his assistant. Trials for Fremantle's Under-18 side commence next Tuesday at Beeliar Oval (on The Grange, Beeliar) from 6.30pm.
WINDMILLS EAGER FOR NEW RECRUITS
An opportunity has opened up for new players to break into the senior ranks of First Division side Morley Windmills. The clubs numbers were trimmed over the off-season by the departure of eight first team players including midfielder Marco Schisano whose been forced into early retirement by injury, while Ken Dunne, Ben Hedley and Chris Kahil have moved to the country for work reasons. Added to that Simon Messenger recently went under the knife for a knee problem and, while he's confident of being fit for the start of the season, the club would like to strengthen their stocks before the opening round of 2004.
For young players looking to further their career a stint with Windmills could lead to trials with English Second Division side Bristol City with whom the club have recently developed ties. Windmills are also hopeful of forging similar links with a number of Dutch clubs in not too distant future. Players interested in joining Windmills senior, reserves or under-18 teams are asked to contact coach James Herbert on 0418 957 846 for further details.
STRIKERS PRE-SEASON MOTORING ALONG
After less than two months in the job new Leeming Strikers coach Mike Brazil is happy with the way the club are shaping up for the coming season. "Our pre-season is going better than we had expected, we've been getting a lot of players down for training which makes for a more enjoyable session," said Brazil this week. "So far we have made two signing, that of defender Jamie Bell from Queens Park and striker Michael Vaz from Fremantle City. We are also expecting a striker from overseas to arrive the first week of March, all I'm saying at this stage is he has playing experience with a Premier League side in Scotland. Our goal as a club this season is to promote players from the very successful under-18's squad of last year to the reserve side and let them get this year under there belt. Then maybe we'll look at a push for promotion in season 2005." In the meantime the Strikers are on the look out for an experienced first team goalkeeper, players fitting the bill are asked to contact Brazil (041 8959 201) or David Anderson (040 7456 162) for further details.
PETKOVIC STARS AS GLORY GAIN TOUGH AWAY POINT
A man of the match display from Jason Petkovic earned Perth Glory a share of the points in this evenings National Soccer League clash with South Melbourne at Bob Jane Stadium. Reminding anyone watching why he is still regarded as one of the domestic games top shot-stoppers, Petkovic produced a string of saves to deny the home side and frustrate the 11,641 fans that turned up to watch two of the nations best teams. South dominated for much of the match and could have been several goals up by half-time. Vince Lia unleashed from 14-metres in the 13th minute only to have Petkovic produce a top-class save, and six minutes later Lia was again thwarted with Petkovic this time at full-stretch to tap away the danger. Boutsianis chanced his luck from distance but couldn't find a way past the Glory 'keeper. The visitors best chance of the half came via a free-kick which Bobby Despotovski send narrowly over the crossbar from 17-metres. South continued to attack and in the 38th minute Boutsianis should have done better than shoot across the face of goal after good lead-up work by Lia.
The first chance of the second half came the way of Glory with Brad Hassell's header testing goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos. Almost immediately South replied, Boutsianis crossing to Kristian Sarkies who was unable to direct his header toward the target. With play moving rapidly from end to end, South captain Vaughan Coveny drilled a low shot on goal from 35-metres which Petkovic scooped up with little trouble. The final fifteen minutes produced some exciting play from both teams. In the 84th minute Jamie Coyne found space on the right but his shot was deflected away by a South defender. A Glory corner five minutes later found the head of Shaun Murphy whose effort was just wide of the mark. The home team soon mimicked the visitors with Coveny's header punched over the crossbar by Petkovic. "Our keeper kept us in the game with three or four very good saves," said Glory boss Mich d'Avray after the game. "They came at us but we soaked it up and they became frustrated as the game wore on. We could have sneaked a goal on the counter near the end, but it would have been an injustice if we'd won."
DEAL ON HORIZON FOR GASPAR
State representative Robbie Gaspar looks likely to extend his time with Sabah when the inaugural Malaysian Super League season kicks-off in the middle of next month. Although the former Perth S.C. midfielder is yet to sign papers with the Malaysian club, Sabah president Datuk Anifah Aman has indicated Gaspar will join Saint Kitts and Nevis international Keith Gumbs and become the clubs second foreign signing. "We will take two more foreign imports to complete the four quota as allowed by the FA of Malaysia," commented Anifah. It is expected Sabah will add a further two imports to their playing roster before the season gets underway on February 14th when the Rhino's travel to play Sarawak.
Several clubs commenced their pre-season over the weekend with their first competitive matches of the year. Cockburn City coach Kevin Elliott opted to field a youthful line-up for Saturday's friendly clash with First Division outfit Armadale. But even without seven first team regulars - Dino Pacella, Boza Erakovic, Dean Wallace, Mileta Miletic, Steve Adam, Dom De Felice and Antonio Naglieri - Cockburn never looked in trouble as they eased to victory by a 5-1 scoreline. John Mirco found the back of the net to get Cockburn off on the right note before youngsters Roberto Colalillo, Marko Aleksic, Jason Dos Santos and Simon Jonas added to the tally.
At Elstead Reserve in Morley, Inglewood United and Stirling Lions contested a high-scoring match that ended in a 5-4 screoline in favour of Inglewood. In an entertaining and at times heated encounter Inglewood coach Eddy Hodgkinson would have been happy that his teams goals came from five different players - Michael Baczynski, Ryan Newhill, Faheed Albunajim, new arrival Bryan Hedges and Rory Mouttet. For the Lions attacking midfielder Toby Wright scored twice as did Jake Harman.
A far from full-strength Floreat Athena side had little trouble in accounting for First Division opponent Kingsway Olympic by 6-0. In their first competitive outing under newly appointed coach Michael Roki Athena's goals came from Costa Socratous, Peter Coci, Josip Madjic (2) with a trialist from Cyprus known only as Nik netting the other two. Missing from the Athena line-up were regular starters Andreas Oliviera, Anthony Jones, Troy Bernard, James Afkos and Aaron Moschopoulous.
An under-strength Bassendean Caledonian went down to newly promoted Bayswater City at Jubilee Reserve. With eight first team players missing, amongst them Graeme Matthews, Ian Griffiths and Kevin Griffiths, Caledonian rarely threatened in their first hit out of the pre-season. Bayswater took the lead through Kevin Henderson, and their advantage was doubled when Nick Stojanovski pounced upon a defensive error. The result was put beyond doubt when Stojanovski was bundled over in the area and Henderson converted from the penalty spot.
SWAN ON TRACK (courtesy Swan I.C.)
Swan I.C. have begun the new year full of confidence. The reigning Boral Cup winners are well into their pre-season and the club are looking forward to more success in 2004. "As a club we must become more consistent in 2004," said the clubs technical director of football Gary Marocchi. The Swan Valley club tasted major trophy success for the first time last year when they won the Boral Cup and club president John Muriale hopeful that Swan will add to their list of honours this coming winter. "Gary has brought his undoubted experience and professionalism to the club and we hope to continue our improvement through the whole club," commented Muriale. "We hope to have at least three new faces in the first team squad this season and under Gary and assistant coach Carlo Scali we are confident of continued improvement at Swan."
"The club have signed former Perth and Sorrento player Tony Cumace," commented Marocchi. "Tony brings a vast amount of experience to the club and is a versatile player who can play in many positions. He is excellent at set pieces and corners and we hope to utilise this to our advantage." Cumace was selected in the www.soccerwa.com All-Stars shadow squad last year. Swan also have former Sorrento striker David Foster and one-time Future Glory midfielder Miki Vujacic training with them and hope to sign the pair before the season begins. "Both players are young and very talented and will improve the squad from last season," added Marocchi.
Peter Simcox has been appointed coach of Swan's team for season 2004, while the Under-18's will be looked after by former Italian Serie B player Mauro Marchione. Both squads are training hard with their sights set on a strong showing over the winter months. The club will also field teams in the Junior Champions League which this season enters its second year. An Information Day has been arranged for Sunday 25th January at the Swan Italian Club starting at 11.00am for players aged eleven to fifteen interested in playing for Swan in the JCL. There is still vacancies in some of the teams, and players interested are asked to contact the club either via SwanIC@hotmail.com, by telephoning Muriale on 040 7987 771, or by attending this weekend's information session.
NIGHT SERIES DRAW CONFIRMED
The draw for the 2004 Night Series has been finalised by Soccer West Coast. The annual pre-season competition will kick-off on Friday 6th Feburary at 6.45pm with Inglewood United go head-to-head with Cockburn City. That match is followed at 8.30pm when Floreat Athena take on Bassendean Caledonian. All games wil be played under lights at Litis Stadium in Mount Hawthorn.
At the request of the clubs SWC have altered the format of the series to three qualifying groups of four teams. All of last seasons trophy winners - Premier League champions Perth S.C., Night Series holders Western Knights, Boral Cup winners Swan I.C. and First Division champions Bayswater City - have been pooled in Group A, aka the Group of Death. Group B features Inglewood United, Cockburn City, E.C.U. Joondalup and Stirling Lions. Fremantle City, Sorrento, Floreat Athena and Bassendean Caledonian make up Group C.
The group phase will be played out over a four-week period after which eight teams progress to the knock-out stage. Going through to the second phase are the group winners and runners-up along with the two best ranked third-place getters who will be decided by the number of points collected from the three qualifying games and goal difference. The round of eight will be played on Sundays 7th and 14th March, with the semi-finals taking place on Sunday 21st March. The Night Series final is scheduled for Sunday 28th March.
ARMADALE SECURE MAJOR SPONSORSHP DEAL
First Division club Armadale have secured a major sponsorship arrangement with BGC Blokpave for season 2004. Blokpave, whose manufacturing plant is located on Stone Street in Armadale, will support the first team by providing home and away playing strips, casual polo shirts and tracksuits for the coming winter. A club spokesman stated that not only was it important to receive support from a company held in such high regard, but also one that is important to the local Armadale community.
COACHING OPPORTUNITY WITH MANDURAH
Would you like to be part of the fastest growing and most progressive soccer set up in Western Australia? If so, then bring your soccer coaching skills to Mandurah City who are seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified persons for the position of coach for their WAASSA first and reserve teams. At the present time Mandurah's WAASSA teams compete in the Third Division where they play an integral role in the development of the club, and of young players being groomed for future success. While coaching qualifications are desirable, the position may suit an experienced player or someone wanting to take up coaching at a senior level for the first time. For further details please contact Mandurah City via firstname.lastname@example.org
LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY FOR ERGIC
After a thirteen month absence former Perth Glory star midfielder Ivan Ergic has taken his first tentative steps to returning to the playing arena. The talented 22-year old hasn't featured for Swiss club F.C. Basel since November 2002 when he was forced on to the sidelines by an on-going groin problem that required surgery. With that out of the way Ergic prepared himself for Basel's pre-season only to be struck down by glandular fever, the illness lengthening his time out of the game. Having now regained his health Ergic is slowly working towards getting his fitness - and career - back on track.
"I'm not actually training with the team yet," Ergic told Daniel Schaub of Switzerland's online newspaper "Basler Zeitung." "Over the mid-season break I've been doing a special training program developed for me by our rehabilitation trainer Harry Korner who has set a number of goals for me to achieve. For January it was to stick as close as possible to the first team, to get back into the rhythm of being with the players and part of the squad, and the step after that is to join in training. But the most important thing at the moment is that I'm making progress."
And progress he is making. Ergic says that as recently as two months ago he had difficulty walking normally, whereas he is now running up to seven kilometres at a time. "The speed isn't up to match level and there are still times when I get really fatigued. On the whole am still a little unstable, and from time to time I get pain in the areas that were operated on (abdominal and abductor muscles). The big question is how long before I can play again? Quite simply, I don't know the answer to that, I could guess two or three months but I really have no idea. However it is safe to say that I am still rather some distance from taking to the field."
Born in Yugoslavia, Ergic arrived in Australia at the age of fifteen and first came to prominence while representing Western Australia at the National Talent Identification Championships. Ergic honed his skills in a twelve month stay at the Australian Institute of Sport being snapped up by Perth Glory in mid-1999. In his debut National Soccer League season Ergic took out the Under-21 Player of the Year award as Glory made the Grand Final only to go down to Wollongong Wolves in a penalty shoot-out. In July 2000 he joined Italian club Juventus and was immediately loaned out to Basel for whom he made 65 appearance and scored 12 goals before being struck down.
WHERE ARE OUR FIXTURES? (by Bill MacAllister)
This first draft of fixtures for the 2004 Premier League season was issued by Soccer West Coast on 9th December. Having viewed the abysmally programmed fixtures, I stated at the time that it appeared SWC were trying to please certain clubs - for what reasons I can only speculate. It is now six weeks later you would expect that we would have the fixture for this season confirmed by now, by no. It behoves SWC to sort it out and come up with a final draft based on home and away principle each alternate week for all clubs. This is not difficult and is fair for all. If you start the season with a home game you should by logic finish away, and vice versa. It also means the second half of the season is a mirror image of the first half.
Now this is the most simple thing in the world with an even number of teams as we have, twelve. There should be no Kow Towing to certain clubs no matter the reason and all clubs should have had a final fixture list by now to enable them to plan their social events accordingly. It should not be the case that those clubs who jumped the gun and have already planned social events, or that those with ground problems, dictate when and where they play to SWC and the majority of other clubs. SWC administrates a semi-professional Premier League and as paid administrators should act professionally. I am confident they will get the simple task of finalising this season's fixtures completed soon.
MALAYSIANS GO HOME UNDEFEATED
Perak have returned to Malaysia undefeated in three friendly outings with local opposition. Under lights at Beale Park on Friday, Ricardo Silva scored twice and Liberian international Frank Seator once in the 3-3 draw with Cockburn City whose goals came from Peter Petkovich, Anthony Naglieri and Simon Jonas. On Monday the Malaysian champions proved too strong for Stirling Lions by a 2-1 scoreline. Former River Plate junior Silva again found the net as did Seator, while the hosts goal came via a rasping volley by Rob Milevski early in the second half. Perak wrapped up their time in Perth with a 4-0 win over First Division side Armadale last night. The visitors goals came from Seator (2) and Liew Kit Kong (2).
NEW SEASON COACHING APPOINTMENTS
Eleven clubs will commence season 2004 with a new coach calling the shots. Cockburn City have given club legend Kevin Elliott the task of taking them one step further than the runners-up spot gained last year. Elliott was a key part of the great Spearwood Dalmatinac (aka Cockburn) side of the early 1980's before ending his senior career at Perth Azzurri. The coaching job at Floreat Athena has gone to Michael Roki who wore the clubs famous blue and white strip throughout the 1990's. Roki began his senior career with Osborne Park Galeb and his time with punctuated by a spell in Malaysian with Kuala Lumpar.
Paul Simmons returns to E.C.U. Joondalup little over twelve months after he tendered his resignation from the club. Simmons, whose association with Joondalup stretches back to their days in the amateur ranks, last year looked after the State team in friendlies with Perth Glory and the Iraq national team. At Bassendean Caledonian Gerry Wardle has stepped up to the mantle of first team coach after several seasons looking after the reserves and as assistant to Alan Weir. And it's all change at Stirling Lions where former Northern Ireland youth international Tom Leeman has taken over the coaching reigns. Leeman played locally for Bayswater Inter, Spearwood Dalmatinac and Sorrento during the late 1990's.
>From the outside it appears as though Queens Park and Leeming Strikers have simply switched coaches. Queens Park have appointed former Strikers boss Bob Braid for the coming winter while Mike Brazil, who last season coached Queens Park, has take over at John Connell Reserve. Gosnells City have gone for the youthful combination of Alex Grindley and his assistant Jonathon Cook. The pair have a wealth of playing experience which includes time at Queens Park, Leeming Strikers and Bayswater City amongst others. Morley Windmills have named James Herbert as coach for 2004. Herbert spent a number of seasons as a Windmills player during the 1990's and, since hanging up his boots, has been in charge of the clubs reserve team.
New Balcatta coach Basil Lenzo has set the clubs sights on a finish in the top half of the table this coming season. A former State League player with Perth S.C., Bayswater City and Balcatta, Lenzo takes over at Balcatta following time as assistant coach at Stirling Lions whom he helped claim the First Division crown in 2002. Former Western Knights, Kelmscott and Southside United coach Frank Longstaff will make his return to senior level with Canning City in 2004. With five successful years as State coach for the Junior Soccer Association, Longstaff's wealth of knowledge and experience is sure to serve the Canning youngsters well during the coming winter campaign.
GLORY DIG DEEP FOR POINTS
A relieved Perth Glory gained a hard-fought 3-2 win over a plucky Northern Spirit side at Members Equity Stadium this evening. The home side began the match well and took the lead after 9 minutes when Bobby Despotovski's in-swinging corner was met unerringly by Shaun Murphy whose header found the net despite the best efforts of defender Mark Milligan on the goal line. Fifteen minutes later Spirit broke on the right with the lively Jonathon Richter forcing Glory custodian Jason Petkovic to push his shot over the bar. The resultant corner was poorly cleared and from 22-metres Richter hammered a fierce low drive into the bottom corner of the net to level the score. The goal lifted the visitors and they began to look the better side particularly in midfield only to be thwarted by Glory's solid defence. Just before half-time Brad Hassell sent Tom Pondeljak free down the left and the midfielder squirted his shot past Henderson for Glory's second of the night.
Spirit came close to equalising within 38 seconds of the restart when Richter's pace again left the Glory defence chasing shadows only for his toe poke to drift agonisingly wide of the target. The home side replied when Mark Byrnes ventured down the left and crossed into the box where Nick Mrdja's explosive header was kept out by a well-positioned Henderson. As the match progressed the standard of play fell away with both teams playing their second game in the space of a few days. With five minutes of normal time remaining the result was put beyond doubt by Despotovski who latched on to a superb long ball from Byrnes before drilling past Henderson. A comedy of errors in the glory defence lead to the visitors scoring a second goal in the final minute through Vuko Tomasevic who fired home from 12-metres. The win extends Glory's lead on top of the National Soccer League table to eight points with just seven regular season games remaining.
ROVERS AIM TO CONSOLIDATE
WAASSA Premier League club Shamrock Rovers are seeking first team players for the coming season. "After a year of consolidation we are now looking to blend an excellent crop of youngsters with a few older heads and challenge for the title," said coach Nik Silsby this week. "We are predominantly looking for good quality players for our first and reserve teams but also have social vets and ladies side looking for players." Rovers have been a mainstay of the Premier League over the past decade during which time they won back to back titles in 1996 and 1997, were runners-up on two additional occasions (1994, 1999), claimed the Mitre Cup in 1997 and two years later were runners-up. The clubs pre-season commences on Thursday 29th January from 6.30pm at Harold Rossiter Park in East Victoria Park. Players interested in joining the club for 2004 are asked to contact Silsby on either 9248 4821 or 0402 284594.
SHARLAND ADDED TO GLORY LIST
For the second time this month Perth Glory have dipped into the transfer market and signed a player from the local ranks. 20-year old attacker Greg Sharland (right) has agreed terms with Glory until the end of the season subject to his international clearance being received from the English FA. "Greg will give us some depth as we approach the business end of the season," commented coach Mich d'Avray this week. Having developed his game with Kingsway Olympic, E.C.U. Joondalup and Inglewood United, Sharland first played in the national competition with Wollongong Wolves for whom he took out their Rookie of the Year award in season 2002/03. Sharland spent last season playing reserve team football for English side Charlton Athletic before heading back to Perth where he has been training with Glory for the past few months.
SAWA OPT NOT TO APPOINT NEW PRESIDENT
The Soccer Administration of WA is unlikely to appoint a replacement president in anticipation of a new governing body being put in place next month. The decision comes after David Schrandt, who was president of SAWA and Soccer West Coast, resigned from both positions last week because of work demands. "I've enjoyed it immensely and I hope I've made a contribution," said the out-going president. SWC will advertise for a replacement for Schrandt, who was elected president in 1999. But SAWA secretary Rob MacKay said it was unlikely to seek a successor as the new controlling body - WA Soccer Association - was scheduled by late next month there seemed little value in appointing a president for such a short period. Kevin Watts, the project manager overseeing soccer's restructure, expected the new eight-member WASA board and a new constitution to be in place by the end of February. Sport Minister Bob Kucera will appoint seven directors with the eight appointed by the board.
CONWAY PLAYS PART IN SCHOOLGIRLS SUCCESS
Australia have taken out the Schoolgirls Trans-Tasman Trophy with a clean sweep of the series over arch-rival New Zealand. The two-match series ended in a 10-0 aggregate score to Australia with Perth attacker Ciara Conway featuring for the victorious side. Last Tuesday's first test ended in a 3-0 win to Australia courtesy of first half goals from Amy Chapman and Sally Shipard with a penalty converted on the hour by Hayley Todd. Australia registered a massive 7-0 win in the second test played over the weekend in which Conway found the back of the net along with Renee Cartwright (2), Jenna Tristam (2), Amy Chapman and Kristy Rohmer.
DANSKIN ON THE OUTER
Former Fremantle City midfielder Matt Danskin is heading for a bitter split from German Bundesliga side Werder Bremen after an unhappy spell at the club. After playing a starring role for the club in his first season, a change of coach last year pushed Danskin to the outer. In and out of the side over the first half of the current season, the recently turned 19-year old is now hoping to move on before the European transfer window closes at the end of the month. "The last six months have been a nightmare, to be honest," Danskin told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "It's hard for me. I'm trying to weigh up what's best for me and what's best for my career." His two-year contract expires in July and Danskin has not played enough Under-19 games to extend the deal, not that he wants to. "In the long run, I'll probably look back and say it helped me," Danskin added. "There's a bit more fire in the belly." Danskin would prefer to seek opportunities elsewhere and has been offered trials with English side Huddersfield Town. A month spent training with Perth Glory has also given him a taste for soccer closer to home.
CHELTENHAM VETERAN CONTEMPLATES FUTURE
Veteran midfielder Lee Howells is in search of a loan move away from Cheltenham Town in order to play first team football. The Robins longest serving player has not featured in the last six matches and is keen to feature in regular match action. The 35-year old, who is the third highest appearance maker in the club's history with in excess of 450 starts for the club, has made a total of 10 appearances this season after recovering from eighteen months out with a serious leg injury. "I'm looking to go out on loan and play some first team football," said Howells. "I spoke to John Ward and he explained that I am not in his plans at the moment so I asked if my name could be circulated to other clubs. At the end of the day I've got to look after myself and there is no sense travelling round the country just to sit in the stand."
While the broken leg suffered in early 2002 has affected his chances of first team football, Howells says that he is prepared to drop down a couple of levels to continue his career if necessary. "People look at my injury and hold that against me but I've only had one serious injury in twelve years at the club and have made over 400 appearances. I've been fully fit now for a good year or so but I've not really featured under two different managers. I don't feel that I've really been given a chance but I have to accept that and get on with my football. I'm still fit and feel that I can do a job at Division Three level but if the chance isn't there I'll drop down to part-time football again. I just want the chance to show people what I can do."
Howells is realistic about his current situation and admits that his time with Cheltenham could be coming to an end. He joined the club way back in November 1991 when the team was on its way to relegation from the Conference. Over the following years he became a fixture in the centre of midfield throughout five seasons in the Dr Martens League and was one of the first names on the team sheet. He broke his leg against Bristol Rovers in March 2002, and subsequent complications meant that it was not until the end of last season that he was able to make his way back to full fitness and make a handful of tentative appearances for the Robins' reserve team.
With a full pre-season under his belt Howells had hoped to re-establish himself this season only to find himself down the pecking order. "It's been a funy old season and sometimes you can read what is going to happen," he explained. "I've come to accept the fact that this could be my last season with Cheltenham Town. I still feel I can do a job for the team but I think the boss has made his decision on me. I could just sit here and pick up the money for the rest of my contract but that's not my style. I want to earn my money and I want to play football," he added. Howells is second only to Roger Thorndale and Dave Lewis in terms of the most appearances made by a player in the club's history. Awarded a benefit match in 1999, Howells us assured to legend status at Cheltenham no matter what the future holds.
GLORY POWER TO VICTORY (by Peter Simcox)
A great team performance has enabled Perth Glory to defeat title contenders Parramatta Power 4-1 in front of a bumper crowd of 12,624 at Members Equity Stadium this evening. The home side produced their best display of the season and erased the memory of the bitter 6-0 defeat handed out by Power little over two months ago. Played at a frenetic pace, the best move of the opening spell came via Jamie Coyne whose cross from the right was met by Nick Mrjda but his header was held by goalkeeper Clint Bolton. Three minutes later Glory took a deserved lead as Bobby Despotovski's free-kick into the area was partially cleared and Mrjda drilled a low shot between the legs of Bolton from 12-metres. Shortly after a Mrjda cross was nodded by Despotovski into the path of Brad Hassell who shot well over when he should have done much better. Tom Pondeljak sent Mrjda clear with a perfected weighted pass after 27 minutes and, having round Bolton, the Glory striker was brought down inside the area by Matthew Thompson and Bobby Despotovski converted the resultant penalty. Mrdja was presented with the chance to add a third goal only to snatch as Pondeljak's pass and balloon the shot high.
A dominant Glory made it 3-0 seven minutes after the interval as Pondeljak drew Bolton out of position wide on the right before crossing to an unmarked Mrdja who had the simplest of tap-ins from 1-metre. Power continued to plug away in a desperate attempt to get back in the match only to meet with strong resistance from a well-organised Glory defence. Eventually their persistence paid off when substitute Naum Sekulovski brilliantly curled a 70th minute free-kick over the wall and into the top corner of Jason Petkovic's goal. In the final minute of regulation time Hassell won possession and played substitute Damian Mori to the by-line from where his low centre was perfectly met by Adrian Caceres who deftly knocked the ball over Bolton to complete the scoreline. In all honesty Glory could - and more importantly should - have scored six or seven on a night in which Pondeljak was the destroyer in midfield, while the defensive unit of Mark Byrnes, Jamie Harnwell, Shaun Murphy and Coyne were all outstanding. The win puts Glory five points clear at the top of the National Soccer League standings and in pole position to complete the home-and-away schedule in first place.
CRAMPTON IN LIMBO
Shane Crampton's attempt to break into the National Soccer League appears to have stalled. Having played a key role in Perth S.C. winning the Premier League and Champion of Champions titles last year, Crampton jumped an the offer of spending the summer months on loan to Perth Glory. His hard work impressed coach Mich d'Avray who rewarded the striker with his N.S.L. debut in the recent 4-0 home defeat of Kingz F.C. Glory had asked to extend Crampton's loan from Perth only to be informed that the striker was likely to head east where Sydney Olympic were seeking his services. But that deal stalled late last week with Crampton now fearing he will be unable to play for either N.S.L. side.
WALSALL SIGN PETTERSON
Walsall have completed the signing until the end of the season of experienced goalkeeper Andy Petterson on a non-contract basis. The 34-year old West Australian has previously worked with manager Colin Lee at both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Torquay United, and arrives as a free agent following a spell with Southend United. "He is a goalkeeper who has been around for a number of years and I am confident that he will come in and do a job for me," commented Lee. "I know what type of character he is and he is experienced enough to be able to handle the situation." In a 15-year career in England Petterson has made 193 first team appearances in spells with Luton Town, Swindon Town, Charlton Athletic, Portsmouth and Brighton and Hove Albion amongst others.
DIFFICULT WEEK FOR GLORY
The biggest game of the National Soccer League season so far takes place at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday night when leaders Perth Glory meet second-placed Parramatta Power from 7.00pm. The clash offers a chance for Glory to avenge the 0-6 pounding received when the sides last met in early November. With his squad already stretched by injury and international commitments coach Mich d’Avray will be hoping for an injury free outing as Glory head into a hectic eight-day period in which they play three times. Next Wednesday (21st January) the N.S.L. champions welcome Northern Spirit to Members Equity Stadium for a 7.30pm showdown, while the following Monday (26th January) Glory find themselves on the road to South Melbourne.
KNIGHTS LOOK TO YOUTH
John Thornley has set his sights on ensuring the successful future of the Western Knights by taking on the role of reserve team coach for the coming season. It is Thornley's brief to further develop the clubs youth brigade with the end goal of players graduating to the senior ranks. "There are some good young players at the club who will develop into classy players if they keep there mind on things," commented the recently appointed coach. "I'll be looking to put at least five of my boys into Ronnie Campbell's first team throughout the year."
Born in England, Thornley arrived in West Australia in the late 1970's and initially played for Albany before moving to the metropolitan area and signing with Gosnells City. Spells at Forrestfield United, Kelmscott Roos, Fremantle Benfica and North Perth Croatia were to follow during which Thornley was part of six trophy winning squads. After hanging up his playing boots he turned his hand to coaching with successful stints with WAASSA clubs Canning Villa and South Perth preceding time at Queens Park and, last season, Southside United.
At junior and youth levels Thornley has twelve years experience as a district academy coach for the Junior Soccer Association of WA. The Knights will next week conduct trials for players aged fourteen and upwards to join the club for season 2004. Trial sessions will take place on Tuesday 20th January and Thursday 22nd January at Nash Field in Mosman Park from 6.30pm. For further details enquiries contact Thornley on 041 9047 419 or 9492 0120.
APELGREN STAY EXTENDED
Young defender Dean Apelgren will stay on with Perth Glory following a successful three month loan from Fremantle City. Reduced to just fifteen fit players this week Glory moved swiftly to retain the services of the talented 18-year old who captained the State at Under-15, Under-16 and Schoolboys levels. Glory have also made moves to sign another local product, former Inglewood United player Greg Sharland, until the end of the season. But the news is not so rosy for three other players from the local ranks with State representatives Scott Bulloch (E.C.U. Joondalup), Aaron Cole and Shane Crampton (Perth S.C.) all released after spending the summer with Glory.
Glory's decision to strengthen their squad comes at the end of a horror week for the club in which they were reduced to just fifteen fit players - a number that includes two goalkeepers. Club veteran Scott Miller failed to see out last weekend's win over Sydney Olympic with an Achilles tendon problem that is expected to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks. Thigh problems have sidelined midfielders Anthony Danze and Wayne Srhoj for four and two weeks respectively, while recent signing Andrew Packer limped from the training track this afternoon with an ankle complain. In addition Glory are without attacking midfielder Matt Horsley (knee) and Jade North (international duty).
MALAYSIAN CHAMPIONS ARRIVE IN PERTH
Malaysian Premier One title holders Perak touched down in Perth yesterday for a ten-day. Perak will play three matches while in town as they enter the final stage of preparations for the inaugural Malaysian Super League season. The Perak squad includes eight players who were this week called up for national duty, namely Liew Kit Kong, Mohd Hamsani Ahmad, Syamsul Saad, Chan Wing Hoong, K. Nanthakumar, Mohd Khalid Jamlus, V. Saravanan and former national team captain Ahmad Shahrul Azhar. In addition Brazilian striker Ernandez Cerroici is part of the touring party along with Argentines Luciano Gouz and Ricardo Silva and Liberian international Frank Seator. Perak commence their stay with a friendly against a young Cockburn City side from 7.00pm this Friday (16th January) at Beale Park. A few days later they are expected to play Premier League champions Perth S.C. Their on-field activities conclude on Wednesday 21st January when they take on First Division side Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval (Armadale Road, Forestdale) from 7.30pm, entry is free.
MOVEMENT AT ASHFIELD
Ashfield are gearing up for the new season with the additional of several new faces to their playing ranks. The First Division club moved quickly to secure the services of talented teenager Ben Charlton following his recent arrival from England, and brothers Alex Novatsis and Kristian Novatsis have been signed after time with Floreat Athena. In addition former State Schoolboys striker Peter Noiszewski is understood to have impressed in trials and is likely to be offered terms. But the news is not all good for Ashfield. Exciting youngster Muhamad Komadaric is expected to join Stirling Lions while last seasons Player of the Year Chris McCullough is likely to be unavailable due to work commitments.
Experienced coach Tom Kilkelly will once again lead the club into the new season with Mark Culverwell as his assistant. Former Forrestfield United pair Glen Walters and Alistair Banting have taken over the coaching reigns of the Under-18 side. Although their pre-season has commenced, Ashfield are seeking talented players who believe they have got what it takes to compete in the First Division. Players aged fifteen to seventeen are encouraged to trial with the club on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.15pm at Ashfield Reserve. In other club news, Ashfield have reached an agreement with Ballajura who will play in the Junior Champions League this year under the Ashfield banner.
GLORY PAIR OUT OF OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS
Local product Anthony Danze and Perth Glory teammate Wayne Srhoj will play no part Australia's campaign to qualify for this years Athens Olympic Games. The pair were forced from the Australian Under-23 squad on the eve of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament on medical grounds. Danze is expected to be out of action for a month after sustaining a thigh strain in training and confirmed by an MRI scan. Srhoj, who came into camp with a thigh injury, has run out of time to recover sufficiently for the tournament and was ruled out by the team's medical staff. The withdrawal of the Glory pair comes a week after a training mishap put attacker Richard Garcia out of the squad.
EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM FOR THE FORMATION OF WASA (courtesy dsr.wa.gov.au/soccer.asp)
To become the state member of the Australian Soccer Association (ASA), the West Australian Soccer Association (WASA) will adopt a constitution in line with the recommendations of the Independent Soccer Review Committee (ie the Crawford Report). The following is a summary of the major features of the proposed new constitution for WASA and its current progress as outlined by the Department of Sport and Recreation.
The members of WASA will total twenty-one persons. Five members will comprise the chairs of the five proposed 'standing committees' - women, Futsal, juniors, coaches and referees. These standing committees are made up of persons elected by their peer members (eg referees) or clubs (eg clubs involved in juniors’ competition elect the members of the Junior Standing Committee). In 2004, current associations and other bodies will represent the initial standing committees.
The remaining sixteen members of WASA will be elected by clubs with two from each of the proposed eight zones. Four zones represent the metropolitan area and are defined as North-West (currently JSA North), North-East (JSA Central), South-West (JSA South) and South-East (JSA East). The other four zones represent the country regions of Southern (incorporating Peel, South West and Great Southern), Western (Mid-West and Gascoyne), Northern (Pilbara and Kimberley) and Eastern (Wheatbelt and Goldfields). Clubs located within each zone will nominate and elect their representative members.
The Board of directors of WASA will comprise up to eight independent directors. Seven directors of the inaugural WASA Board will be appointed by the Minister for Sport and Recreation with the eighth appointed by the Board itself. Three of the inaugural directors will be selected by the Minister from the nominations of the WA Amateur and Social Soccer Association, the Professional Soccer Federation of WA (aka Soccer West Coast) and the Junior Soccer Association of WA. This is subject to those bodies agreeing to be part of WASA.
Ultimately the WASA Board will consist of six elected directors with an additional two directors appointed by the Board. All directors must be independent, that is they do not hold an official position in a club or other soccer associated body, nor be a member of a standing committee. The members at annual general meetings will elect the directors for four-year terms, with half board elections every two years. The first elections will take place in 2006.
The Board is responsible for the effective governance and management of WASA, including policy setting, strategic and risk planning, reporting on organisational performance to members, developing annual budgets, setting delegations and managing financial performance as well as oversight of the delivery of programs and services. The Association’s day-to-day affairs will be managed by the Chief Executive Officer who will report to the Board. The CEO will appoint other staff and engage the services of the staff of the major participating WA soccer associations.
Potential directors of the inaugural WASA Board are currently being identified and names will be submitted to the Minister for Sport and Recreation as soon as possible. Lawyers from the ASA are currently drafting a constitution for WASA, together with other states, based on the model state constitution circulated previously. This is expected to be available for viewing from 27th January, 2004. Completion of the constitution and By-laws for WASA, and identification of inaugural directors, is expected by mid-February. Commitments from current soccer associations in WA to become part of WASA are being sought.
For further information on the reform process, including a diagram of the proposed structure of WASA, visit the Soccer Forum section of the Departure for Sport and Recreation website. Alternatively contact Kevin Watts, Project Manager for the WA Soccer Reform, on (08) 9387 9770 or 0419 948 636 or via email@example.com
CLUBS VOTE TO KEEP STATUS QUO
Forrestfield United have been blocked from re-entering the professional ranks at a special meeting of Soccer West Coast clubs held on Monday evening. It is understood that a vote was called for to rescind a previous decision to play the coming First Division season with fifteen clubs. A positive outcome would have then opened the doors for a subsequent vote to be taken to admit Forrestfield as the sixteenth First Division club. But Forrestfield's hopes were scuppered when the initial vote ended in favour of retaining a fifteen team competition, meaning a vote to admit the club was not required. Winners of the First Division title in 1984, Forrestfield were last part of the professional ranks in 1992 when they ended in fifth place. They are now rated as one of WAASSA's premier clubs, finishing in the top five in each of the past four seasons which includes coming runners-up in both 2000 and 2002.
CHALLENGE FACES PERTH COACH
The departure of numerous players from the Perth S.C. camp during the off-season will provide Graham Normanton with the biggest challenge of his coaching career when the local seasons gets underway in a months' time. "To say we are in a rebuilding mode is somewhat an understatement," commented Normanton recently. Since taking out the Premier League and Champion of Champions double last year Perth have parted company with no less than six players and face the possibility of losing another three in the not too distant future.
Having hung up their playing boots at the end of last winter the club have lost to retirement experienced trio Steven Willey, Vince Tana and Gareth Naven, although the latter has taken up an assistant coach role at Perth. Work commitments have taken Adam Bunce abroad, goalkeeper Gianni Papalia has signed with newly promoted Bayswater City, and State representative Rhys Graham has opted to take early retirement. In addition, Aaron Cole and Shane Crampton are currently under contract to Perth Glory - although Normanton is hopeful of both their return - while highly rated left-sided player Todd Howarth is said to be considering a move to England.
"It sure will be a challenge this season but that's what makes the job worthwhile and all the more rewarding," commented the Perth coach. "Quite a few people have said that I should retire and quit while I'm ahead but they have obviously missed the point. I coach because I think I have something to offer the game and the individual player, not solely to win things. I think the winning will come if you are there for the reason of progressing the players and the team in the right direction. And on top of that I enjoy coaching."
Balancing out the departures are the signing of former Western Knights striker John Nicolaou and attack-minded midfielder Alex Josifovski who spend the early part of last season on the books of Inglewood United. "We also have some very good youngsters coming through and they'll play an important role this year," said Normanton. "It is about time some of these kids had a an opportunity at playing in the senior team and I'm prepared to work with them and start to rebuild again. I still think that we will be very competitive in all games so don't write us off just yet."
Jamie Harnwell completed his return to Perth Glory late yesterday and was immediately thrown into the mix to face Parramatta Power at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday night. An Archilles tendon problem will keep Scott Miller out of action for at least a fortnight, meaning Harnwell could make his return to the club as early as this weekend. "We are glad to have him back," coach Mich d'Avray said of Harnwell's signing. "We know what Jamie is capable of and he will be a big asset to the squad." Although short of match fitness Harnwell would like nothing more than to feature against Power. "I want to get back into it," he said. "If my clearance comes through from overseas then I’ll be eligible to play. But whether Mich selects me or not is a different story." Harnwell has signed with Glory until the end of the season.
MADASCHI WANTS TO BE LIKE DAD
Adrian Madaschi has a long way to go before he follows in his father’s footsteps, but a Scottish Cup winner’s medal would do nicely for starters. The Partick Thistle defender was proud as punch when his dad, Saverio, was inducted into the Western Australia Soccer Hall of Fame last year. And Madaschi admits he’d love one day to see his picture hang proudly beside his father’s. But first the Australian youth international wants to try to be part of the first Partick side to reach a major domestic final since the Jags famously beat Jock Stein’s Celtic 4-1 at Hampden in the 1971 League Cup Final.
“My dad was a bit of a famous goalkeeper during his time in Perth during the 1970’s,” Madaschi told Anthony Haggerty of Scotland’s “Daily Record”. “To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is a superb achievement and I am really proud of him. He played for local teams in Perth and then in the national league. He spent all of his career in Australia as it was much more difficult back then to move to Europe. I’d love to emulate his feat and have my portrait displayed alongside his. I have some way to go before I scale the heights my dad did but if I could help Partick Thistle to a good Scottish Cup run and help play my part in keeping them in the SPL that would be a great start.'”
The 21-year old has an impressive Cup record having twice won the Youth Cup with Italian side Atalanta. Having scored his first goal in Partick colours in last week’s 3-2 defeat by Hibernian, Madaschi is desperate to repeat his cup feat with the Jags. “I enjoyed scoring last week but I was gutted we did not get anything from the match,” he commented. “I have been a Italian Youth Cup winner twice with Atalanta in 2001 and 2002 when we beat Napoli and Bari respectively. It was fantastic to lift the Cup and it would be a real bonus if Partick Thistle could go on a decent run in this tournament.” However, Madaschi’s ultimate aim is to wear the Socceroos’ green and gold. “The Australian national team coaches are always made aware of the talent that goes across to Europe … a call-up to Frank Farina’s squad would be a dream come true for me.”
PERTH IN INTERNATIONAL LOOP
Perth should host more international fixtures following the Australian Under-23s' 1-0 win over South Korea last week at Members Equity Stadium. "We were delighted with the night," commented Allan Vessey, football administration manager for the Australian Soccer Association. "We are going away very satisfied. The organisation and the presentation of the match were both excellent and we were quite pleased at the crowd." Although the crowd of 6,117 was less than organisers had hoped, Vessey said it was understandable with Perth Glory playing at the venue the weekend before and after the friendly. "We could hardly expect more, being in midweek between two Glory matches," he commented. "But we look at much more than just attendance figures."
MURPHY HEADS GLORY BACK TO TOP (by Peter Simcox)
Perth Glory bounced back to the top of the National Soccer League table with a 2-0 victory over Sydney Olympic at Members Equity Stadium. Played in sweltering conditions with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees at kick-off, the early was not surprisingly slow as both teams looked to conserve their energies. The only talking points of the opening stages was a high challenge by Bobby Despotovski on George Goutzioulis whose retaliation against the Glory striker was met by a yellow card from referee Angelo Nardi. Looking comfortable in the right back position, Jamie Coyne linked well with Gary Faria in the 28th minute before crossing to Nick Mrdja whose powerful shot on the turn produced a great reflex save from Brett Hughes in the Olympic goal. Two minutes later Faria made his way down the right but his cross hit an Olympic defender and the ball looped narrowly over the bar with Hughes beaten. For their part Olympic pressed forward on numerous occasions but were unable to breach the Glory defence of Scott Miller, Mark Bynes, Shaun Murphy and Coyne.
An injury to Miller forced a re-shuffle upon the home side at the break with Adrian Caceres coming on and midfielder Matthew Bingley dropping back into defence. Within a minute of the re-start Glory went close as a great cross from Despotovski was met by Mrdja but his explosive header crashed into the underside of the crossbar and came back into play. It looked like it was going to be one of those nights for the home side. Olympic created a rare opportunity after 52 minutes when an Ante Juric cross found Goutzioulis whose header was straight at Jason Petkovic. The visitors began to look fatigued and Glory started to gain the upper hand. But it wasn’t until the 76th minute that Glory converted that dominance. A poor defensive clearance fell to Tom Pondeljak whose his far post cross was met on the run by Murphy who made no mistake in heading into the back of the net from close range. Within minutes Murphy turned savior for Glory when he instinctively cleared a Michael Baird shot off the line after the Olympic player had gotten the better of Petkovic in a goalmouth scramble. The result was put beyond doubt in the 84th minute when Despotovski’s deep cross was solidly headed home at the back post by Murphy.
OLYROOS DRAW FINAL WARM-UP GAME
The Australian Under-23 team completed their preparations for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament by coming from two goals down to draw with National Soccer League side Brisbane Strikers in Queensland. A defensive mix-up allowed Luke Morley in to score after 24 minutes with Mat MacKay doubling the Strikers lead early in the second half. The Under-23’s hit back almost immediately through Ryan Griffiths and Alex Brosque leveled the score after 71 minutes. Perth Glory midfielder Anthony Danze was replaced on the hour, while former Cockburn City player David Tarka took no part in the match due to a foot injury.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR COYNE
Local product Jamie Coyne has been promoted to the starting line-up for Perth Glory's clash this evening with Syndey Olympic at Members Equity Stadium. The 23-year old made an impressive start to the season at right-back making eight appearances before losing his place to the defensive combination of Scott Miller and Jade North. "It's been very frustrating because you don't play soccer to sit on the bench or not to be involved at all," said Coyne, whose last appearance in the starting eleven was more than two months ago. "And sometimes it does feel that no matter how well I play or train, I'll miss out. But it's about being professional and staying focused. I think I've done well at training and that's all I can do." With North, Anthony Danze and Wayne Srhoj away on international with the Australian Under-23 team Coyne is ready to make the most of his opportunity.
GRAND FINAL REMATCH PROMISES MUCH
Members Equity Stadium hosts a rematch of last seasons' National Soccer League Grand Final on Saturday when Perth Glory and Sydney Olympic go head-to-head from 7.00pm. A strong rivalry has developed between the two clubs over the years with Glory holding a slight advantage with eight wins to Olympic's seven while four games have ended with honours even. Five goals in three games will see Nick Mrdja keep Damian Mori out of the Glory line-up while Jamie Coyne is expected to replace Jade North (international duty) in the starting eleven. Although they've taken maximum points from each of their past four outings Glory will be put to the test by a focused Olympic side. The visitors to the west may be without star striker Pablo Cardozo (suspension) but they'll welcome Australian youth international Iain Fyfe back to the fray. Although placed tenth with just four wins from sixteen games, Olympic are definitely not a side to be underestimated with the likes of Ante Juric and potential match-winner Hiroyuki Ishida in their ranks. The match will broadcast live to Perth audiences on 6PR 882AM.
GLORY PAIR BREAKAWAY IN POLLS
Off-season recruit Tom Pondeljak and 200-game veteran Bobby Despotovski are leading the way in the numerous Perth Glory player polls at the half-way stage of the season. The duo are streets ahead in the “West Australian” Mel Moffat Award which is judged by a media panel for the best player in Glory’s home games. Following the weekend defeat of Kingz F.C. it is Pondeljak that tops the leaderboard with 43 votes, one more than Despotovski. Scott Miller (15 votes) is a distant third with Jade North (13) and Nick Mrdja (9) close behind. Pondeljak (34) also leads the way in the clubs’ Sony Player of the Match award, in which the media cast votes for home performances. Despotovski (32) is hot on the midfielder’s heels with Miller (11), Wayne Shroj and North (both 8) a considerable way off the pace.
The GloryBoys Home Player of the Year is voted upon by the clubs fans via the online forum at http://www.gloryboys.net. After four home games Pondeljak (11) leads the way from Shaun Murphy, North (both 5) and Despotovski (2). Mark Byrnes, Shroj, Adrian Caceras and Matt Horlsey are gathered on one vote apiece. The “Sunday Times” Perth Glory Player of the Year award features votes cast in both the clubs home and away games this season. Prior to Saturday’s win it was Despotovski (27) that sat top of the pile with one-time Australian international Murphy (26) in second spot. As the second half of the season gets underway several players are within striking distance of the leaders, namely Pondeljak (19), goalkeeper Jason Petkovic (17), Horsley (16), Damian Mori and Byrnes (10 each).
TWO CLUBS UNITE
Leeming Strikers have joined forces with Fremantle United to provide a boost to soccer in the region with the two clubs vowing to work together for future developments. The aim of the agreement is to improve the standard of soccer being played at all junior levels from Rooball upwards, and to provide young players the best possible opportunity to play in the Junior Champions League and above. Fremantle president Andy Henson says his club have over the years produced a number of quality players only to lose them to other clubs. Amongst those that started out at Fremantle are Gary Faria (Perth Glory), David Tarka (Nottingham Forest) and Sean Cooney (Coventry City).
The Strikers are an exciting club and have made clear their intentions for the coming season. Mick Brazil has been appointed head coach and, together with some pre-season signings and a fertile youth system, signal the club as a potential force in 2004. Former Perth Glory and Australian international Tony Franken will again head up the goalkeeper development for the club as well as running clinics in the area, while outfield players will benefit from the new relationship struck up between former Socceroo midfielder Robbie Slater and his team. Between the two clubs soccer can be covered with every Association to give all players an opportunity to play the greatest game on Earth.
WARD SIGNS FOR GLORY
Creative midfielder Nick Ward has become the first Future Glory player to join Perth Glory’s senior list. Ward, who signed with Glory until the end of the season yesterday, featured in the Future Glory side which competed in the Premier League a couple of seasons ago. “The goal now is to try and break into the Glory side,” said Ward. “And with the three boys away with the Australian Under-23 team I’ve been given a good opportunity to get into the Glory side, and I’m determined to make the most of it.”
Having established himself as one of the local scenes hottest young talents Ward headed to Canberra little under twelve months ago to hone his considerable skills at the Australian Institute of Sport. “The A.I.S. was good to me. In the year I was there I learnt so much about the game which I could not have picked up had I stayed in Perth - things like different styles of play, effectively moving the ball around the park, where to play the ball, the list goes on. I’d recommend that young players wanting to make a professional career out of football to go to the Institute before they try their luck overseas.”
LATE GOAL EARNS AUSTRALIA VICTORY
The Australian Under-23 team kicked off their preparations for the up-coming Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a dour 1-0 win over the Korea Republic at Members Equity Stadium this evening. There was little for the crowd of 6,117 to get excited about during the opening quarter-hour with neither side able to penetrate their counterparts’ sturdy defence. With midfielder Sung Kuk Choi and Tae Uk Choi able constantly to find space it was the visitors that looked the more likely to score. Korea did find the net in the 19th minute with Jae Jin Cho heading over advancing goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic only for a marginal offside decision to rule out what would have been a deserved goal. Australia's first chance came after 29 minutes when Brett Holman was through with only the goalkeeper to beat but, rather than shooting, the striker attempted to round Young Kwang Kim who gathered possession.
The second half threatened to boil on several occasions as frustrations grew at both teams' lack of penetration. A yellow card to Carl Valeri raised the temperature of the game before Sung Hwan Cho's lunging tackle on Ahmad Elrich sparked an ugly melee in the 62th minute. Cho, who was stretchered from the field, received a straight red card for the foul from referee Eddie Lennie. Australia failed to make the most of their numerical advantage and in the 78th minute were lucky not to go a goal down when Jae Woon Chun rattled the crossbar with a thunderous strike from 20-metres after some clever work by Sung Kuk Choi. Breaking immediately on the counter-attack, Holman rounded defender Byung Kuk Cho to go one-on-one with the 'keeper but his shot from an acute angle flashed across the face of goal. The match was eventually decided in the final minute of regulation time as Holman fended off his marker to turn in Ryan Griffiths' cross from the left.
INJURY CLAIMS GARCIA
Attacker Richard Garcia has been ruled out of Australia's qualifying campaign for this years Olympic Games. Garcia, who plays his club football for English side West Ham United, suffered a knee injury during a training drill on Sunday afternoon. "It was most unfortunate, he was going to cross the ball and he said his studs got caught in the ground and he fell awkwardly," said national coach Frank Farina. The initial prognosis for the 22-year old was cartilage damage and a routine operation on his left knee that would sideline him for around four weeks. But following an arthroscopic examination on Tuesday it was revealed Garcia would need a knee reconstruction, meaning he'd be out of action for up to nine months. It is the second time the talented attacker has succumbed to knee injury. In November 2000 he suffered serious knee ligament damage during an otherwise successful loan spell with Leyton Orient. Newcastle United's Ryan Griffiths has come into the 20-player squad in place of Garcia.
CLEAN SHEET FOR JONES ON ‘BORO DEBUT
Brad Jones’ decision last week not to join the Australian Under-23 squad for the up-coming Olympic Qualifying Tournament looks to have paid early dividends. The 21-year old made a comfortable first team debut for Middlesbrough in the weekends 2-0 Third Round F.A. Cup defeat of Notts County after regular goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer withdraw due to a back injury. “I wasn’t too nervous,” Jones said of his promotion to the starting line-up. “I’ve just come back from Blackpool playing against the likes of Notts County and I did quite well. To be playing against that kind of team with the sort of team we’ve got gave me a lot more confidence. To play behind Gareth (Southgate) and Ugo (Ehiogu) was comfortable for me … my time on loan has helped give me confidence to play first team football.”
“To go to the Olympic qualifiers would have meant me being in Australia for the whole of January and it would have affected my place here,” added the Perth-born shot-stopper. “I hope playing on Saturday has given me something back in that sense.” Jones decision to stay in England came after the clubs’ back-up ‘keeper, Carlo Nash, suffered a finger injury which will require surgery. “Hopefully I’ll be able to make a good enough impression here to persuade the Australian Olympic coach to include me. The Olympics is pretty much a one-off and it would be great to represent my country and I’ll be disappointed if I miss, but at the same time I have to look after what comes first and at the moment that’s Middlesbrough.”
With Schwarzer continuing to undergo treatment for his back problem, Jones is in line to make his Premier League debut against Fulham tomorrow. “Mark injured his back and we had no hesitation putting Brad in, he performed very well,” said Boro boss Steve McClaren. “We would have no hesitation using him again tomorrow if we have to. He could have gone to the Olympics but with Carlo injured long term he decided he wanted to stay here and it’s served him well because he has had an opportunity to play. There was no pressure at all, he just decided he wanted to stay with us. We have another seven games in January and we do need him.”
GLORY FOR SALE ONLY WHEN TIME IS RIGHT
Perth Glory owner Nick Tana will relinquish control of the National Soccer League club only if he is convinced genuine reform of the domestic competition will stand the test of time. Late last week Tana said he would be prepared to sell part or all of his 75% stake in the club in anticipation of the launch of a domestic premier league. He has had initial discussion with business partner David Rodwell, who has a 25% share in Glory, but has not sought further advice.
But Tana said he would not turn his back on a club he had helped nurture since its inception in 1995 without being convinced it and the new league were well placed. “I wouldn’t do anything on the basis of a blueprint,” he told “West Australian” reporter Jonathon Cook. “I would ensure that it’s well on track. I wouldn’t just walk away because there’s a plan on the table. There may well be a phasing out period over one or two seasons. Until the game is mature, until it is commercialised to a point where it cannot be derailed, I would not let go.”
The Glory chairman set himself four objectives when the club entered the N.S.L. in 1996. The establishment of a sound commercial club was first and foremost for Tana. A purpose-built soccer stadium in Perth, a thriving national competition and a youth development structure for Glory were his other objectives. Although he admits his plans for the latter have been “parked” since last year, Tana says the launch of a new league would conclude these aims.
Tana has long claimed he would sell his share in the club for only $1 and that he would frame the coin as a reminder of his achievement. “I never went into this to make money,” he said. “I’ve also said if at all possible I’d like to get my money back. The chances are I won’t.” Though he has been opposed to overseas clubs investing in Australia, he has since softened his stance, saying last week, “It may be an option down the track. But my preference has always been to have a club for the people, by the people and with the people.”
FAMILIAR FACE BACK WITH GLORY
Jamie Harnwell has returned to Perth Glory in the hope of winning a contract for the remainder of the National Soccer League season. The big defender, who played 133 games for Glory before heading overseas after last season’s Grand Final, started a week long trial with the club on Friday. “I just want to get back in the team, if I get signed. It’s as simple as that,” said Harnwell who admitted things “fell apart” in England. Having achieved his dream of playing in England where he a handful of appearances for Leyton Orient, Harnwell was released and ended up at non-League Welling United before eventually succumbing to an ankle injury.
An operation to rectify the problem was followed by a trip to Malaysia where Harnwell was unfortunate not to land a contract with Sabah. “The coach was keen to sign me and made his recommendations. The president turned around and said he didn’t think I was good enough after watching two training sessions,” commented the 26-year old who does not regret about leaving Glory following last seasons Grand Final success. “I was in England for nearly three months and played five or six games up there. I learnt a lot there and it fulfilled a dream for me. I probably regret the last month in Malaysia because I could’ve been doing something more worthwhile.”
NEW ROLE BECKONS FOR LAZARIDIS
Australian international Stan Lazaridis is making moves to prolong his playing career with Birmingham City. Having made a career out of terrorising opposing defences Lazaridis spend the festive season on the left side of defence following injury within the Blues squad. And, according to boss Steve Bruce, the Socceroo was one of Birmingham’s best players during that period. Now aged 31, Lazaridis says a permanent change of position certainly is not out of the question. “Playing there could well add longevity to my career and maybe keep it going for another four or five years,” he commented. “As a winger you need to rely on bursts of speed and you get through a lot of work tracking up and down. As the years go by it certainly doesn’t get any easier so that may well be an option in the future.”
Birmingham manager Bruce praised the efforts of Lazaridis in the clubs’ most recent outings. “For me, Stan has been our best performer for the last two games. And he’s shown me why he’s played 40-odd times for Australia there. As to why he didn’t tell me that last Christmas, heaven only knows. He had played there before, it seems, but that night at Upton Park was the first time I’d been alerted to it,” said the manager in reference to Lazaridis’ shining performance in Australia's 3-1 defeat of England in March. “He gives us something else going forward. He finds it more comfortable because he’s coming on to things. Coming from deeper positions, he can build up more of a head of steam. And, ironically, he was less of a threat when I pushed him further forward in the second half at Everton. He defended well, too, but then he’s never going to let you down in that area, as he’s never going to shirk a tackle.”
GLORY GO TOP (by Peter Simcox)
Perth Glory returned to the top of the National Soccer League table with a workman-like 4-0 win over bottom side Kingz F.C. at Members Equity Stadium this evening. It looked like men against boys with the Glory on fire in the opening minutes. Nick Mrdja turned well to set-up Bobby Despotovski whose clever chip beat goalkeeper Ross Nicholson but ended well wide. The attacking qualities of Australian Under-23 defender Jade North was there for all to see and his surging runs down the right flank were a constant treat to the visiting team. Having weathered the early storm the Kingz first chance came after 12 minutes when Tallan Martin ran on to a great pass from Harry Ngata only to shoot into the side netting. In the 29th minute Glory took the lead as a Despotovski corner was headed home by an unmarked Shaun Murphy. The crowd may have lifted the home side as they went in search of further goals but it was the Kingz that came closest with a thunderous strike from 25-metres by Jeff Campbell that dipped and swerved before cannoning back into play off the crossbar with Jason Petkovic well beaten.
The second half began with Glory eager to finish what they had started. The influential Tom Pondeljak pushed down the right before finding Mjrda in the box but his shot was well saved by Nicholson. The Kingz failed to heed the warning and in the 56th minute Pondeljak took the ball to the bye line and send a low cross into the area which Gary Faria slammed into the back of the net at the back post. Pondeljak was on fire and he was again involved in the 62nd minute when his pull back from the right was tucked away by Mjrda to make it 3-0. The introduction of Adrian Caceres gave Glory another avenue to goal and his pace down the left set up their fourth, the young attacker combining with Despotovski for Mrdja to slot home after 78 minutes. Former Perth S.C. striker Shane Crampton made his N.S.L. debut when he replaced 200-game veteran Despotovski shortly after. To their credit the Kingz kept coming at Glory but couldn’t break down the home sides well-organised backline. With national coach Frank Farina in the crowd exciting young defender Jade North turned in a man-of-the-match performance that will significantly boost his chances of a starting berth in the up-coming Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
NEW CONTRACT FOR MADASCHI
Adrian Madaschi backed up his sparkling performance against Dunfermline Athletic last weekend by agreeing to a new six-month contract with Scottish Premier League side Partick Thistle. “I was pleased when the management asked me to sign for the rest of the season. I am very happy here at the club, getting on with everyone in the dressing room has not been a problem but the only real problem is the cold!,” commented the big defender. “I feel personally that I am getting used to the pace of the Scottish game. It is different from Italy and perhaps the main difference is the work that you have to put in and everyone at the club is working to the same goal.”
Having spent his junior years with Bayswater City and Perth S.C., Madaschi headed abroad in late 1997 to join Italian outfit Atalanta. While there were numerous successes for the defender in the clubs youth teams, Madaschi found it difficult to break into the senior squad. “At Atalanta I just wasn’t given a chance,” he added. “I sat on the bench a couple of times, but I think I was probably there for too long. They actually wanted to ship me out to a Serie C club this season, so I’m indebted to my agent, Lou Sticca, who managed to negotiate a release from my contract there. We had a chat about things and decided together that this season I had to make the leap forward to become a senior pro.”
Off-season trials with Dundee United and Barnsley were followed by short-term offers from Burnley and Coventry City before an offer came from Scotland. “When the Partick chance came up I took it with both hands. I copped a few knocks in the beginning - which the physio George Hannah said was expected because of my lack of match fitness. Anyway, I’m now feeling a hell of a lot stronger and I think I’ve proved Gerry Collins’ decision to sign me was the right one with the man of the match award on Saturday. Now we go into the New Year with full confidence, the gaffer and Derek Whyte have been working on our confidence since they took over and its really beginning to rub off on us.”
A teammates misfortune has opened the door for Nick Mrdja to return to the Perth Glory starting eleven for Saturday’s National Soccer League fixture with Kingz F.C. at Members Equity Stadium. A groin injury to first-choice forward Damian Mori has elevated the strongly-built Mrdja into the side, and coach Mich d’Avray says a lively performance from the 25-year old would ensure he kept his place next week. “If he does well, he’ll stay there,” said the coach. Mrdja’s recent form has been sensational. A fortnight ago he scored twice in leading the club to victory over Melbourne Knights only to be dropped for the clash with Brisbane Strikers against whom he scored after coming off the bench late in the piece. His place on the bench against the Strikers resulted in the quietly spoken Mrdja to confront d’Avray. “To be fair, the time is right for Nicky Mrdja,” said d’Avray. “He was unlucky to be left out last week and for the first time he was upset about it. He told me what he really felt and I believe tomorrow night will be a good opportunity for him.”
GLORY STRIKER REACHES 200
Bobby Despotovski will make his 200th National Soccer League appearance for Perth Glory when he runs out to face Football Kingz at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday night. Despotovski becomes the second Glory player after Scott Miller to reach the 200 game milestone for the club. The occasion will be marked with a special presentation by Glory chairman Nick Tana prior to kick-off. The former Floreat Athena striker started his career in the domestic competition with Heidelberg United (18 games, 9 goals) which was followed by a spell with Morwell Falcons (6 games, 1 goal) before returning to Perth to join Glory for their debut in the N.S.L. in October 1996. During his time with Glory Despotovski has twice ended the season as the club's leading goalscorer, on two occasions was named the Most Glorious Player, once voted the Supporters' Player of the Year and won international honours for Australia. In addition he has won two Premierships, featured in three Grand Finals and became the first Glory player to lift the N.S.L. Championship trophy when it was presented to him following last season's Grand Final win over Olympic Sharks. To date the 32-year old, who is under contract until mid-2005, has amassed 96 goals for Glory in his 199 N.S.L. outings.
2003 A SMASHING SUCCESS
The West Australian Soccer Website continues to go from strength to strength with 2003 being our most successful year to date. A grand total of 160,055 hits were registered on the website for the twelve month period commencing 1st January 2003, that figure close to doubling the 80,661 that were tallied the previous year. We would like to thank all readers of, and visitors to www.soccerwa.com for making 2003 such an smashing success.
With the countdown to the commencement of the 2004 State League well underway, we ask and encourage all clubs to regularly contribute news and information to the website. www.soccerwa.com is totally independent of any of soccer's organising bodies in Western Australia and, as such, we rely heavily upon the input of local clubs. Whether it be general club news - including player signings and departures - details of events and functions, match reports or whatever, we would like to hear from you in 2004.
WINDMILLS SEEK COACH AND UNDER 18'S PLAYERS
Morley Windmills are seeking expressions of interest from suitable individuals to coach their First Division Reserves side for season 2004. The club are also after players for their Under 18's side. Interested parties can contact Club President Rob Vanderheld on 0413 765 602. Morley Windmills first training session commences on Thursday 8th January, new players are welcome to meet at Wotton Reserve at 6:30pm.
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This page was last updated on the 29th February, 2004