WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
There are a number of intriguing match-ups when Round Three of the Premier League is played out on Saturday. The big game takes place in the Swan Valley where traditional rivals Swan I.C. and Perth S.C. square off. Bayswater City face another difficult test when they meet joint leader Western Knights at Frank Drago Reserve. Fremantle City, who scored eleven goals over two games last weekend, will be confident going into their home clash with E.C.U. Joondalup. Bassendean Caledonian travel to the National Stadium for the clash with Inglewood United. Stirling Lions welcome Cockburn City to Macedonia Park, while Floreat Athena have home ground advantage over Sorrento.
First Division leader Armadale are tipped to score a sizeable victory over home team Morley Windmills. Canning City should add another three points to their season when they host strugglers Rockingham City. High flying Wanneroo City take on northern neighbours Kingsway Olympic at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Ashfield and Gosnells City collected full points last weekend and both will be gunning for a repeat performance when they meet at Ashfield Reserve. Queens Park are home to Leeming Strikers, Dianella White Eagles welcome Mandurah City, and Balcatta make the short journey to Stirling Suns. South West Phoenix are out of action due to the bye.
WARD JOINS LIONS
Australian youth international Nick Ward has agreed loan terms with Stirling Lions. The creative midfielder, who made his debut for Australia at Under-20 level just three weeks ago, will make his first appearance for the Lions in this weekend's Premier League clash with Cockburn City at Macedonia Park. Following time with E.C.U. Joondalup and Future Glory, Ward spent last year at the Australian Institute of Sport and was part of Perth Glory's double winning National Soccer League squad. The addition of Ward could not have come at a better time for the club whose depth has been tested with injury claiming Rob Milevski and Rob Monterosso. The Lions stocks received an additional boost this week with the return of lethal goalscorer Eugene Singeorzan from Romania.
FUNDING HOLDS UP INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENT
West Australian will miss out on hosting an annual international football tournament unless it finds financial backing for the venture. The men behind the tournament, Steve Stacey and Mike Anderton, said English clubs Blackburn Rovers and Everton along with Racing Santander and Seville from Spain have agreed to play in a competition provisionally scheduled for July. But without an injection of more than $1 million the tournament was unlikely to get off the ground.
Stacey, a former State team captain, said International Soccer Tournament had sponsorship interest worth between $1.5 million and $2 million but without government assistance or a major commercial backer, the tournament would not go ahead this year. "I cannot see why anybody would not embrace this," he said. "If we don't get it up this year, we'll start planning for next year." IST had discussed the matter with EventsCorp, the State Government's major events agency, and presented the organisation with a business plan for the tournament. But EventsCorp says they are yet to receive a formal funding request.
IST, which has been assisted by London-based Global Sports Management, believes the tournament would be a massive boost to the local economy, tourism and the development of soccer in West Australia. The tournament would be played at Members Equity Stadium with the final at a larger venue such as Subiaco Oval. It would coincide with a soccer convention focusing on sports management, psychology, injury management and coaching and training techniques. Stacey believes Perth to be an ideal pre-season base for European clubs because the climate is milder than Asia, which is frequently visited by clubs. "We can set this up as a major pre-season destination for English clubs," Stacey said.
TARKA REVEALS HEART SCARE
Nottingham Forest defender David Tarka has suffered a setback to his plans to play for Australia at the 2004 Olympic Games in little over three months time. Speaking with the official Forest website, the former Perth Glory player revealed that he'd picked up a virus which affected the rhythm of his heart while on international duty with Australia last month. "I picked up a virus which caused an abnormal impulse on an ECG reading that I had to take after dropping out of training in Greece one day," Tarka explained. "It was pretty scary at the time, particularly as I found myself in a Greek hospital wired up to a machine that was at least 50 years old." The solidly built defender says he is now working his way back to full fitness, although strenuous training is off the menu for the time being. "I had another scan recently which showed that everything is back to normal. The impulses are all fine but I've been told I can't jump straight back into training because there's a slight possibility it could come back. I've just got to build up my training workload over the next couple of weeks but I've been told it won't be a long-term problem."
GLORY TO GO HOMELESS?
Perth Glory may be on the lookout for a new home. The National Soccer League champion yesterday threatened to walk out of Members Equity Stadium if the Town of Vincent did not agree to alter the terms of its management contract for the ground. Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis said the club and its subsidiary, Allia Holdings, would refuse to pay nearly $200,000 the council claims it owes. He added that if the matter was not settled in a fortnight, Glory would be forced to search for a new home.
The long-running dispute over a heads of agreement the two parties signed on 13th July last year now seems set for another showdown. Both ToV mayor Nick Catania and chief executive officer John Giorgi stood firm yesterday, saying they would not be compromised on the $192,788.20 they claimed Glory and Allia owed. Glory have committed to paying $6,988 for part of the construction work on the redeveloped East Perth stadium, while Dennis said the full amount would be paid if the council agreed to alter the terms of the management contract.
Dennis said such demands by the council would "utterly compromise the commercial viability of the stadium and the future of Perth Glory." He went on to add that Glory and Allia would pay the outstanding money immediately if the council agreed to the management concessions. "We now have to look at the option of pulling out of the whole deal because we will not put the commercial interests of Perth Glory and Allia shareholders in jeopardy." The ToV have accepted legal advice and will allow another three weeks to resolve the issues before taking any legal action against Glory and Allia.
OLYMPIC TEAM LOSE TO TUNISIA
The Australian Under-23 side suffered a 0-1 defeat to Tunisia in a friendly played in Monastir, Tunisia, overnight. Despite dominating play and having the majority of scoring chances Australia were unable to convert in front of goal after the hosts took a 13th minute lead. Perth-born goalkeeper Brad Jones and defender Adrian Madaschi both saw out the full 90 minutes of the match as did adopted West Australian Jade North. It was the Olympic teams first loss in nine games as they continue to prepare for the Olympic Games being held in Athens during August and June.
PERTH PAIR CALLED UP FOR MATILDAS CAMP
National coach Adrian Santrac has called Tal Karp and Lisa De Vanna have made the shortlist of twenty eight players for the Australian Olympic team. The squad will assemble on the weekend for an 18-day training camp which commences in Canberra and concludes with a week on Queensland's Gold Coast. Both Karp and De Vanna were part of the Australian squad which took out the Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament last month. The Australian Olympic Committee will name an 18-player squad plus four 'alternates' for the Athens Games on 18th June.
COUNCIL PUT HARD WORD ON GLORY
Perth Glory have been given until the end of the week to repay close to $200,000 to the Town of Vincent or face legal action. Through their lawyer the ToV have asked that Glory and its subsidiary Allia Holdings pay - or at least commit to paying - the $191,788 they are owed for Members Equity Stadium. It is understood the debts include $100,000 in monthly installments for Allia dating back to February for the use of the redeveloped stadium, and $25,000 for lease costs on the venue for the 2002/03 season. "We've delivered the stadium they wanted and now we just want them to get in there and manage it so we can all move forward," said John Giorgi, chief executive officer for the ToV.
PETKOVIC EYES TOP HONOURS
Australian international Michael Petkovic is enjoying the passion and pressure of football in Europe. The former Spearwood Dalmatinac and South Melbourne goalkeeper is nearing the end of his second season with high flying Turkish club Trabzonspor where he's been a regular fixture of the first eleven. "The fans here create a fantastic atmosphere, it is inspiring to play in front of them, whether there are 10,000 or 50,000 at the game," he said from his home on the Black Sea coast last week. "They demand success and they want to win, to be the best. It's all they want here, football is their life. They love the game and the team, and I love playing here."
When he joined Trabzonspor two years ago Petkovic knew little of the club. But having established himself the 27-year old shot-stopper is more than happy to be part of a club that is going places. In two weeks Petkovic will line up against fellow Socceroo Josip Skoko when Trabzonspor meet Genclerberligi in the Turkish Cup Final. "The pressure was on last season when we also won the Cup, but this year it will be greater. I am looking forward to playing against Jo - he's been here for a season now, and he has been playing very well. It should be a great game and a great atmosphere." It could be a huge year for Trabzonspor who are still in with a chance to win the Turkish championship for the first time in twenty years and secure an automatic place in the group stage of next season's Champions League.
"It's my second season here now and I am really enjoying it," Petkovic said. "I have only missed five or six games and we play against some very good sides, teams that are playing in the Champions League and at a very high standard ... There was a lot of pressure on me to perform straight away. The fans here are pretty demanding, they want the best, they want success, and straight away. At the end of the day, I didn't mind being under a lot of pressure." Turkish soccer has come on in leaps and bounds in recent decades - Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbache always provide stiff opposition for any team that draws them in European competition. On top of that was the national team's remarkable achievement of reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2002.
It comes as no surprise that Petkovic is keen to be selected by national coach Frank Farina for next month's two-game friendly series with Turkey in Sydney and Melbourne. "Technically they are all very good, extremely fast and skillful, quick players," said Petkovic, who is currently third in the pecking order behind Mark Schwarzer and Zeljko Kalac. "I think they will bring an experienced team. They have a new coach, and I also expect him to bring in some new players as some of those older players are starting to step down. Long term, my ambition is to play for the Socceroos in the World Cup. Hopefully Frank and the coaches will feel that I am capable of doing the job for them."
CORNMELL SHINES ON ASHFIELD RETURN
Andy Cornmell could not have wished for a more sensational return to Ashfield. The 23-year old attacker bagged a sensational hat-trick to inspire Ashfield to a 5-1 mauling of his former club Rockingham City on Saturday. "Andy scored three, missed a penalty and had another goal disallowed," said Ashfield coach Tom Kilkelly of his start striker. "He's a very good player, has settled in very well with the rest of the squad and we're looking forward to some improved results with him playing up-front. Since we lost Mohammad Komaderic over the off-season we've been left lacked in the finishing department. We were making chances but not converting them, so the need for someone with pace and the ability to finish was exactly what we required." Ashfield's stocks received a further boost on the weekend with creative midfielder and former captain Steve Goff playing a full game for the reserves.
NAVEN BOWS OUT
Former Australian youth international and Perth Glory defender Craig Naven has reportedly bowed quietly out of the game. The 35-year old recently decided to hang up his playing boots at senior level and will now turn his attention to coaching at Bassendean Caledonian where he is assistant to Gerry Wardle. Naven's retirement comes six months after twin brother Gareth played his last game for Perth S.C. A tough-tackling player with a never-say-die attitude, Naven spent the last two years of a long and very successful career as part of the Caledonian backline where his efforts were rewarded with successive Players Player of the Year awards.
Having played junior football with Gosnells City and Bayswater City, Naven took up a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sports after representing Australia at the 1985 World Youth Championship. On his return to the west coast he spent nine seasons with Perth Italia, a period punctuated only by time as captain of the Perth Kangaroos side which won the S-League in 1994. A State regular, Naven was part of the inaugural Glory squad and over the clubs first 18 months made 29 appearances in the national competition before retiring for family reasons. Four additional and successful seasons at Perth preceded his joining Caledonian for the winter of 2002.
BALCATTA SIGN EXPERIENCED TRIO
The season may have started but Balcatta are still on the recruitment trail. The First Division club last week added to their number with the return of former State player Scott Broadley and the signing of Stirling Lions duo Adam Kostrencic and Danny Carlino. Broadley was Balcatta's star player last season and comes back to the club after spending the past few months with his former team E.C.U. Joondalup. Kostrencic, a reliable defender, arrives at the club following lengthy spells with Western Knights and the Lions. A former player of Kingsway Olympic and Balcatta, Carlino makes his return to the latter following four successful seasons with Lions.
GLORY STAR TO MAKE INGLEWOOD DEBUT
Bobby Despotovski will make his return to local ranks this weekend. The Perth Glory star, arguably the most recognisable face in West Australian soccer, has agreed terms with Inglewood United for whom he'll play next weekend against Bassendean Caledonian. "I am looking forward to it," said the 32-year old attacker recently. "It has been almost ten years since I played in the Premier League and I am looking forward to seeing the standard." Despotovski's last local outing was during the winter of 1997 when he played for Floreat Athena.
Despotovski is the latest Glory player to turn out in the local competition following the completion of Glory's double winning season. Yougnsters Anthony Danze and Greg Sharland are also on Inglewood's books. Gary Faria has been loaned to Fremantle City, the club that he started out with and who he helped to the Premier League title in 2000. Sorrento have welcomed back to the fray big defender Jamie Harnwell as well as midfielder Brad Hassell. Several other players are currently negotiating with local clubs for the winter season.
TANA URGES ASA FOR TARGET DATE
Perth Glory owner Nick Tana has urged the Australian Soccer Association to move quickly and confirm dates for the new national league in order for interested clubs to make their own plans. Last week the ASA confirmed that prospective applicants could register their interest in the new national competition over a two week period commencing 3rd May. The association is hopeful that the successful applicants will be confirmed by the end of August, however, there has been no talk about when the new competition will commence. "We need a timetable," Tana said. "We have to address our staff and sponsors and we don't have a target date. This new statement does not advance us very far."
BORAL CUP, QUARTER-FINALS (Cockburn City vs Bassendean Caledonian by Lennie Bavich; Wanneroo City vs Stirling Lions courtesy Wanneroo City)
Cockburn City were pushed all the way before emerging victorious over Bassendean Caledonian in their Third Round Boral Cup tie at Macedonia Park this afternoon. In an entertaining match Cockburn's dominance in midfield saw them create the lions share of first half chances only to find youngster Vince Matteo in superb form between the posts for the visiting team. Although on the backfoot for much of the period Caledonian made the most of their limited forays into attack when, six minutes from the break, Ian Griffiths streamed down the right win before finding Glen McCormack who rifled through a crowded goalmouth and past Dino Pacella for the games first goal. That lead lasted for all of two minutes, Antonio Naglieri swinging a free-kick into the area from the right which was cleared as far as Shane McNally who blasted in the equaliser from long-range. Midway through the second half Cockburn earned themselves a series of corners which eventually ended with Liam Lilly adding to the hosts tally. Having gone in front Caockburn established dominance and carved numerous opportunities to extend their lead without success. In a desperate attempt to send the match into extra-time Caledonian threw everything forward and came agonisingly close to leveling via Jonathon Mathers whose shot slide just the wrong side of the upright.
Fremantle City toppled Perth S.C. in a thrilling match at Dorrien Gardens which produced eight goals. It was a sign of things to come when, only minutes after kick-off, Anthony Perriera forced a smart response from goalkeeper Robert Scarporolo. In stark contrast it took Perth 18 minutes to mount their first serious attack but Todd Howarth shot wide of the target from Shane Crampton's cross. It surprised no one then that the visitors went in front on 22 minutes when Jeff Bright's far post corner was nodded in by Jason Godfery. Four minutes later Albert Osei-Tutu slotted to Perreira whose hard and low shot flew into the bottom corner to put Fremantle two up. Perth fought back and shortly after were awarded a penalty for a soft foul on Rob Giorgi which Crampton put away to reduce the gap. Within three minutes Fremantle had restored their two-goal cushion, Correia curling a free-kick into the top corner from 18-metres. Fremantle continued their onslaught and with 32 minutes elapsed bagged their fourth via Correia after Peter Lord's well weighted pass from midfield. Perth emerged from the break with some bounce in their step as Crampton and Giorgi went close to scoring. In the 59th minute they were rewarded when in a crowded area Aaron Cole headed in a Howarth free-kick. Six minutes later Perth were back in the match as Dino Djulbic converted from close-range after Koroma spilt a corner. The hosts worked hard to conjure up an equaliser but inevitably left themselves open at the back and after 72 minutes Branimir Mikulic played through to Llewellyn Bake who secured Fremantle a 5-3 victory and a spot in the round of four.
Without several key players and missing coach Gary Marocchi due to work commitments, Swan I.C. overcame the odds to defeat E.C.U. Joondalup 5-4 in a thrilling quarter-final showdown at the Edith Cowan University Campus. It looked as though a walkover would be on the cards when pre-match favourite Joondalup went in front after just 10 seconds through Gareth Phillips. But the visiting side had other ideas and after 5 minutes were back on level terms with David Foster the scorer. The seesawing nature of the game continued as the chances came and went at both ends of the ground before Garin Collins restored Joondalup's lead with 14 minutes gone. Swan, however, would respond in devastating fashion. In a match-defining eight minute period Foster drew the two teams level with a great header, then Elton Holmes struck twice in rapid succession to send the visitors into the break with a 4-2 advantage. Joondalup came out for the second half fired up and six minutes in Andy Brown reduced the deficit. The hosts continued to go on the offensive, earning themselves a series of corners but unable to fine a way past the sharp reflexes of State custodian Cory Hugo. Swan's passage into the last four was secured in the 87th minute when Foster completed a swift counterattacking move by netting for the third time. Dale McCulloch converted a late penalty to give Joondalup a glimmer of hope but by that stage the damage had been done and Swan held out for a memorable win.
Wanneroo City stormed their way into the last four of the Boral Cup by eliminating Stirling Lions in a penalty shoot-out. With the score tied at nil-all after 120 minutes, Wanneroo progressed the to semi-finals 5-4. The match started at a frenetic pace with the first scoring opportunity coming the way of Nigel Aubin whose far post header was palmed away by Gareth Deeg. Wanneroo threatened again soon after when Stewart Collins squared to Phil O'Callaghan whose mis-timed shot flew wide. The visitors almost took the lead seven minutes from half time through Andre Sarpe whose swerving free-kick from distance beat goalkeeper Alan Young only to ricocheting back off the upright. The Lions started the second half in blistering form, forming the host club on the defensive for long periods but unable to break through. The closest they came was when Adam Rains broke through only to be denied by the agility of Young. Wanneroo charged back into the match over the closing stages and looked to have taken the lead through O'Callaghan but his effort was disallowed for offside. The momentum was by this stage with the hosts. Deeg produced a fine save to keep out Scott Bulloch's shot, while substitute Adam Windley twice sent the ball wide of the goal. Thirty minutes of extra-time failed to separate the potential semi-finalists, so the match came down to a penalty shoot-out. With the score tied at four-all and the Lions having taken one spot-kick more, Gerry McEwan tucked converted to give Wanneroo victory.
MURPHY COLLECTS GLORY AWARD
Shaun Murphy is the runaway winner of "the Sunday Times"/Royal Bar and Brasserie Perth Glory Player of the Year award. The former Australian international polled 51 votes to win the award from goalkeeper Jason Petkovic (40 votes) and Bobby Despotovski (35). "It's a great honour," Murphy told "the Sunday Times". "The individual awards have been shared around a bit. I think Bobby (Despotovski) and Tommy (Pondeljak) have also won a couple. That's prety indicative of the season and the fact we didn't really rely on one particular player."
With the new league unlikely to start until the middle of next year, Murphy is facing a long period out of the game having decided not to play in the local competition. "I don't really want to drop in and play for four to six weeks and take the place of a young player who worked hard to earn his spot," Murphy said. "I've played a lot over the last ten or eleven years so this break will be strange. I can't say I'm looking forward to it but at the same time I can see why they're doing it."
ON THIS DAY ... 1916
World War One took a massive toll on soccer in Western Australia with close to 300 players and officials enlisting in the Australian Forces. Although all competitions were suspended for the duration of the Great War, one club felt its effects more than any other - Caledonians (aka Bassendean Caledonian). The club, formed in February 1913, had no less than twenty-seven players and officials sign up for the war effort on Europe's mainland.
Eleven players from the Caledonian first team of 1914 and 1915 fought in the war, namely Alec Cowan, James Cowan, Bob Dewar, Jim Durward, David Henry, Richard Leonard, Frank Lyon, Alec Marr, Dave McKinnon, Roger McKinnon and Jamie Simpson. Of the group six players - James Cowan, Henry, Leonard, Lyon, Dave McKinnon and Simpson - would never again set foot on Australian shores, all dying on the battlefields of Turkey and France. In addition Alec Cowan and Durward were wounded in action.
By the end of the Great War the majority of the Caledonians staff had also served the nation. This included another twelve players in James Anderson (wounded), Frank Beisley (wounded), Charlie Braidwood (wounded), Donald Cameron (wounded), James Chalmers, William Chalmers (died), William Earnshaw, James Gourley (wounded), James McFarlane, Alex McPherson (gassed), Charlie Monteath (died) and J.Thompson. Team officials Alec Brown, George Brown, Charles Grieve (wounded) and David Reid also answered the call to arms.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWO (Cockburn City vs Bayswater City by Lennie Bavich; Western Knights vs Swan I.C. courtesy Western Knights; E.C.U. Joondalup vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Stirling Lions vs Floreat Athena by Don Evans) City vs Bayswater City by Lennie Bavich)
Bayswater City continued a fairy tale return to the top flight by defeating Cockburn City 2-1 at Dalmatinac Park. The match began at a cracking pace and continued that way for the duration with both sides swapping shots on goal. Boima Karpeh went close after 8 minutes when his shot flashed the wrong side of the right post. Not long after John Mirco tried his luck from 20-metres but goalkeeper Francis Allen looked comfortable in making the save. Cockburn suffered a body blow on the half hour when influential midfielder Michael Mirco was forced from the field with injury after blocking a strong shot by Ross Barnes. The remainder of the half produced little which troubled the respective goalkeepers although there were a couple of long-range efforts from Antonio Naglieri but, as earlier, Allen really wasn't troubled. The hosts began the second half determined to go in front and after nine minutes they did exactly that. Under pressure from Jason Dos Santos, Allen muffed an attempted clearance from a backpass that presented Peter Petkovich with a simple tap-in. Bayswater spurned a couple of chances before Kevin Henderson played through to Karpeh who broke the offside trap and round the on-coming Dino Pacella to equalise with just over fifteen minutes remaining. The deciding goal came nine minutes later when Scottish import Ross Barnes robbed Liam Lilly of possession and forced Pacella off his line before chipping the goalkeeper.
Mark Lee was the architect of Western Knights comfortable 4-0 win over Swan I.C. at Nash Field. The former Swan midfielder opened the scoring after 16 minutes to set the scene for the Knights who dominated for much of the match. Having pretty much taken up camp in their opponents half, the home side in complete control across the middle of the park while defensively Claus Nielsen superbly played the anchoring role. Four minutes from the break Daniel Trim created confusion in the Swan ranks before pouncing on some sloppy defensive work by Cory Hugo and Carlo Scali to tuck the ball into an empty net. The second half started with Swan pushing forward with more vigour, usually through the flanks, to create a number of half chances only to find Tommi Tomich rock solid between the posts. Having soaked up the pressure the home team re-asserted themselves with the introduction of Carl Medica who didn't wait long before getting on the scoresheet with the Knights third after 81 minutes. The goal laid Swans hopes of snatching a point to rest and in the final minute of regulation time Stuart Montgomery completed the scoreline with a fantastic half-volley that gave Cory Hugo no chance as it flew into the far corner of his goal. The polished performance by the Knights sent them to equal top of the table to the completion of the round.
E.C.U. Joondalup came from behind to rob northern suburbs rival Sorrento off all three points at the Edith Cowan University Campus. Gulls goalkeeper Phil Straker was called into action twice in the opening few minutes, keeping out shots from Darren Broxton and John Higgins, while Jamie Kuzmanovich crashed a shot into the crossbar. The complexion of the game changed after 10 minutes as Brad Hassell's shot was blocked by Peter Stewart, the loose ball to came back to Hassell who laid it off to Todd Harnwell and he made no mistake in stroking into an empty net. Chances flowed at both ends but with neither side able to find the net it was Sorrento that went into the break in front. Early in the second half Sorrento laid siege to their opponents goal as Harnwell and Jared Love went close to adding to the tally. Sorrento were able to increase their lead after 79 minutes when Hassell's quickly free-kick caught Joondalup on the hop and Harnwell cleverly made his way past Stewart before making it two-nil. Joondalup started their amazing comeback with five minutes remaining, an error by Straker putting the ball at the feet of Garin Collins whose shot was blocked by the goalkeeper and Gareth Phillips put away the rebound. Three minutes later Collins' far post corner was headed in by Kuzmanovich to equalise. As regulation time expired Joondalup played a the free-kick deep and this time it was Andy Brown that rose highest to nod in what would be the deciding goal.
Fremantle City recovered from conceding an early goal to steam-roll Bassendean Caledonian 6-2 when they met at Jubilee Reserve. The match evenly poised when Caledonian nudged ahead after 14 minutes via Glen McCormick who headed past Bobson Koroma after the goalkeeper had parried a close-range shot from Graeme Matthews. The two teams traded attacks before Fremantle got back on level terms in the 28th minute when McCormick had the misfortune of turning a low Branimir Mikulic cross into the area past his own goalkeeper. Fremantle were unlucky not to go into the break with a healthy lead but debutant goalkeeper Vince Matteo kept out efforts by Kevin Corriea and Mikulic, while Luke Croxall cleared a Peter Lord volley off the line. The visitors won a succession of corners early in the second half before meeting with success as Mikulic headed in after Matteo made a great reflex save to deny Gary Faria from 8-metres. Correia made it 3-1 in the 52nd minute by racing on to a ball played over a stagnant defence and slotting past a badly exposed goalkeeper. Caledonian reeled in the lead with a controversial Craig Wells goal which was allowed to stand despite the raised flag of the referee's assistant. This only fired Fremantle up with Mikulic hitting the post and Anthony Perriera shooting narrowly wide before the former found the gap between 'keeper and post to restore the sides two goal buffer. Correia added Fremantle's fifth three minutes from the end, and in stoppage time Jeff Bright blasted in to complete a resounding win for the port side.
Perth S.C. suffered a rare home defeat when Inglewood United ventured to Dorrien Gardens. Coach Eddy Hodgkinson made several changes to the Inglewood line-up which last weekend went down at home to Western Knights, the addition of Louis Parkinson and Greg Sharland to the starting eleven retaining their very strong attacking flavour. But it was the home side that carved out the better of first half chances only to find that they'd left their goalscoring boots at home. While the central midfield combination of Mark Pottier, Rob Giorgi and David Micevski were able to determine the flow of play, some rusty finishing thwarted Perth up front. The first - and ultimately only - goal of the match arrived three minutes from half time when Anthony Danze's blistering shot gave goalkeeper Robert Scarparolo absolutely no chance. The pattern of the first half continued into the second with Perth continually forcing their opponents onto the back foot. For their part Inglewood went forward only occasionally, mostly on the counterattack, and rarely looked like adding to their tally. Following the game Hodgkinson admitted that his side had ridden their luck against the reigning Premier League champions, "We had a bit of luck ... they had lots of chances to be fair and will be right up there at the end of the season."
Hot, humid conditions greeted arch rivals Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena as they made their way out for the game at Macedonia Park. Missing regulars Anthony Jones, Adrian Sutton, Andreas Oliveria and Josip Magdic, Athena were always going to be in for a tough time on foreign soil. The vocal crowd lifted the Lions for whom Andre Sarpe was in sensational form with several weaving runs into attack. Led by the experienced head of Troy Bernard, Athena were under pressure at the back as Sarpe, Rob Milevski and Mohammed Komaderic bombarded their opponents goal. The breakthrough came after 29 minutes when a corner was headed into a packed goalmouth by Komaderic and Milevski cleverly chested the ball into the roof of the net. After a much deserved half-time break Athena forced their way back onto the contest. A cracking goalbound shot by Peter Coci after 65 minutes forced a miraculous save from Gareth Deeg. Against the flow of play the Lions increased their lead when an dreadful error by the Athena goalkeeper gifted Komaderic his first top flight goal as he side-footed into an empty net. Athena refused to give up hope, however, and with twelve minutes left on the clock were awarded a contentious penalty which Deeg brilliantly saved from Peter Coci. But referee Steve Muldoon spotted an infringement and ordered the spot-kick be retaken and on this occasion Coci made no mistake. Athena tried desperately to level but it wasn't to be and the Lions claimed maximum points by a 2-1 scoreline.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOUR (Armdale vs Queens Park courtesy Armadale; Balcatta vs South West Phoenix courtesy Balcatta; Mandurah City vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Rockingham City vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Gosnells City vs Stirling Suns courtesy Gosnells City)
Armadale showed they will be a force to contend with this season with an amazing 8-2 victory over traditional rivals Queens Park at Alfred Skeet Oval. After a slow start the Reds romped home with a great team effort in which forwardsDean Gartside and Jason Goodwin, who scoredseven goals between them, were the star performers. But it had all looked so different in the early stages as the visitors raced to a two goal lead within 18 minutes as Dean Dalby and Grant Learmont found the net. Armadale gradually began to assert themselves and after several missed opportunities Gartside finally pulled one back ten minutes before half-time. Sixty seconds later Luke Morris won his side a corner from which Gartside struck his second. Armadale were now on fire and Gartside completed his hat-trick inside nine minutes with a header. The home team ran amok in the second half. Gartside, Goodwin and Morris linked up superbly to cause all sorts of problems for Queens Park. With 59 minutes gone Gartside scored bagged his fourth, and Goodwin raced to his hat-trick with goals in the 63rd, 73rd and 79th minutes. Dennis Lee completed the rout moments from full-time. Armadale have now beaten two fellow top-four contenders in as many weeks, and with a 100% win recordso far it's looking like they will be difficult to beat. To complete a good day for the club, the Reserves won 5-0, and the Under-18's were held to a 2-2 draw..
Two goals either side of the half-hour mark set Balcatta up for a 3-1 victory over South West Phoenix at Graham Burkett Reserve. Balcatta opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Adrian Zonato tapped in from close-range after some excellent work down the right by David Moschilla. Moschilla was involved in Balcatta's second goal three minutes later, crossing to the unmarked Mark Wilson who directed a header into the top right hand corner of the net. But it was not all one-way traffic for Balcatta. Phoenix, who came into the game on top of the ladder having conceded just once, pulled a goal back in 35 minutes after the Balcatta defence failed to clear the danger and James Bergin pounced. Five minutes later Dabid Rodger's rasping shot hit the post with the rebound falling to the feet of Gary Mayers who skied over the crossbar with an open goal at his mercy. Phoenix continued to press after the break and in the 63rd minute Mayers struck the crossbar. Following this the hosts took control of the match with Zonato and Moschilla both having good shots saved by the goalkeeper. The visitors were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Bergin after 75 minutes, and shortly after Balcatta's new signing Danny Carlino secured victory by driving into the net from just outside the penalty area. To complete a miserable day for Phoenix captain Hayes was red carded with five minutes left on the clock.
Canning City continued their away fixture odyssey with a 3-1 fourth round defeat of Mandurah City. The opening twenty minutes belonged to Mandurah who went in front after 10 minutes when Adam Boone got in behind the defence to cross to Christian Paschkewitz who drilled a low shot into Canning's goal. The hosts continued to press and almost added a second through Neil Connor whose shot from 8-metres was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Robby Meyer. This seemed to be a turning point for Canning who now began to work their way into the game and force Mandurah on to the back foot. Midway though the half Canning's hard work paid off when awarded a free-kick some 40-metres from goal which Paul Oliver floated deep and over goalkeeper Mike Green for an unlikely equaliser. With their spirits lifted, Canning upped the work rate and in the 36th minute later took the lead through David Mahon who netted from 12-metres. Just before the interval Mandurah could have levelled the match from the penalty spot but Jordan Rhodes' effort skimmed off the crossbar. Seventeen minutes into the second half Oliver and Steve Adams were red carded after Canning were awarded a penalty which Brian O'Regan had saved. The score became 3-1 in stoppage time when confusion between Green and Damian Condo saw Mandurah conceded an own goal. The final drama to unfold was the dismissal of Stuart Francis for a second yellow card just minutes later.
Wanneroo City continue to shape up as a serious power in the First Division. The northern suburbs side made the trip to Leeming Strikers and came home with all three points to move into third place on the standings. The match started with the Strikers doing the attacking but for all their enterprise they could find few holes in a well-composed Wanneroo backline marshaled by the experienced heads of Gerry McEwan and Nick Edwards. Having weathered the early onslaught Wanneroo slowly took control of proceedings through some fine movement both on and off the ball. For the first time this season Wanneroo were the first team on the scoresheet when Phil O'Callaghan finished a flowing cross-field move that had the Strikers defence chasing shadows. Early in the second half veteran striker Nigel Aubin increased the margin with a superb diving header following Scott Bullock's cross from the left. The home side tried everything to force their way back into the match but it was all to no avail as Wanneroo held firm at the back. The result was put beyond late in the piece by Scott Wyeth with a well placed shot from 12-metres. Both the earlier games were taken out by the Strikers, 4-2 in the Reserves and 4-0 in the Under-18's.
Kingsway Olympic and Dianella White Eagles fought out a seven goal thriller at Kingsway Spoting Complex where the visitors went home with the points. Following an even opening period in which the two sides sized eachother up and proded forward with caution, the match exploded into life with a flurry of goals. In the 28th minute Sota Iwasaki found the back of the net but Olympic's lead lasted all of two minutes before powerful striker Dragan Njegic equaliser. However, the hosts were far from happy with the situation and launched a series of attacking raids which resulted in further goals from Iwasaki and Nigel Comito in the minutes leading into the break. Some determined play from Dianella saw them reduce the margin early in the second half through Mario Lucic. The visiting side continued to press forward but were unable to open up a passage to goal as Olympic's backline stood firm. Down the opposite end some good opportunities to add to the tally were squandered by the Olympic forwards. As the clock ticked down Dianella threw caution to the wind and mounted wave after wave of attack. This approach paid off after 82 minutes as Miladin Gugoroski drew the two sides level, and six minutes later David Mrdja popped up to score the deciding goal in Dianella's 4-3 win.
Ashfield finally opened their season account with a 5-1 thrashing of Rockingham City at Dowling Street Reserve. The visitors came out firing on all cylinders and took a deserved lead after 9 minutes when Dion Florias went past two players before pulling it back to David Mayers who fired the ball into the net. Two minutes later Rockingham found themselves two goal down as Ben Kelly's brilliant cross was fumbled by the home goalkeeper and Wayne Culverwell was on hand to tuck away from close-range. A great run into the area by Alex Crookes resulted in a penalty to Ashfield which new signing Andy Cornmell crashed into the base of the upright much to Rockingham's relief. Ten minutes later Culverwell's cross to the far post found Cornmell who made amends for his earlier miss with a well placed headed that made it three-nil. Fired up by a half-time address from coach Tom Kilkelly, Ashfield attacked from the opening kick and in the 55th minute Cornmell headed in at close-range from a Joel Powell cross. Cornmell looked to have scored his hat-trick when he nodded in Brad Pochroj's cross but the referee disallowed the goal for offside. Not long after Cornmell did score his third of the day, Joe Kendall winning possession at the back and relaying the ball to Daniel Taylor who set-up the striker. To their credit Rockingham they didn't give up the chase and late in the piece Glen Hallums bagged a consolation goal with a superb shot from 18-metres.
At Walter Padbury Reserve, Gosnells City took maximum points from their meeting with Stirling Suns. The home side took the game by the scruff of the neck from the opening kick with some hard tackling and quick movement both on and off the ball. Nine minutes into the half the Suns were slow to respond as the ball bobbled around inside the 18-yard box and in the confusion an attempted clearance struck Andrew Daffin and ricocheted into the net. With Suns defender Victor Iloski receiving treatment on the sideline, Gosnells went in search of a second goal but were unable to make the most of the numerical advantage. With just over half an hour played Gosnells did increase their lead as Jamie Grindley sliced open the opposing defence and Brian Cairney powered the ball into the net from the edge of the area. The second half became a battle of the midfields as the Suns finally produced the skills that had seen them win their two previous games. The final twenty minutes saw tempers begin to fray as several badly timed challenges went unpunished by the referee which only increased the players' frustration levels. The final whistle was greeted with hoots of delight from the home fans whose took all three points by a 2-0 scoreline.
DAVIES RELEASED BY BANTAMS
Bryan Robson, manager of financially troubled Bradford City, has released Perth-born goalkeeper Clint Davies from his contract. Davies, Ben Muirhead and Michael Standing were told they would be leaving the Valley Parade come seasons' end after the Bantams were relegated from the First Division last week. Davies joined Bradford last year from Birmingham City and was immediately loaned out to Halifax Town for whom he made 8 senior appearances before being recalled. Since Christmas he turned out twice for Bradford as well as making numerous appearances on the bench.
GLORY PLAYERS CONSIDER COURT ACTION
A number of Perth Glory players are considering legal action over the unpaid portion of their contracts which have been deemed dull and void as of the end of June. It is understood that the group are upset at the prospect of being unemployed and without pay as of 30th June, this despite having up to two years to run on their existing contract. With the new Australian league not due to start until the middle of next year, although a shortened competition is planned for early in 2005, all National Soccer League players have been cut from their clubs' payroll. It is believed the players will target the NSL rather than Glory in any claims.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The first of the years big derbies takes place in the northern suburbs where E.C.U. Joondalup have home ground advantage over Sorrento in Round Two of the Premier League season. It should be a great tussle between two old foes when Perth S.C. welcome Inglewood United to Dorrien Gardens. Bayswater City will be put to the sword when they travel to play Cockburn City, while Stirling Lions will find the going tough against a focused Floreat Athena line-up. Western Knights are expected to prove too strong for Swan I.C. at Nash Field. Bassendean Caledonian come up against a Fremantle City side still hurting from last weeks mauling.
Joint First Division leaders South West Phoenix and Armadale will need to be on their guard when they take on Balcatta and Queens Park respectively. Mandurah City are tipped for maximum points at the expense of Canning City, likewise Wanneroo City who are away to Leeming Strikers. Kingsway Olympic and Dianella White Eagles, two clubs whose glory days are now but a distant memory, clash at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Rockingham City and Ashfield are out to arrest their poor starts to the year when they face off at Dowling Street Reserve, while Gosnells City are home to Stirling Suns.
Completing a long-week of football action are the quarter-finals of the Boral Cup on Monday. The pick of the action takes place at Kingsway Sporting Complex where First Division outfit Wanneroo City are pitted against the top flights Stirling Lions. Perth S.C. are favoured over Fremantle City when they meet at Dorrien Gardens, while home team Cockburn City are expected to progress at the expense of Bassendean Caledonian. To the best of our knowledge (and we have been unable to confirm this with Soccer West Coast) E.C.U. Joondalup host Cup holder Swan I.C. in the northern suburbs.
WINDMILLS TAKE ON AMERICAN NAVY
Morley Windmills may have a bye this weekend but that doesn't mean they'll be sitting around with nothing to do. In the absence of a First Division match coach James Herbet has organised a friendly against a team from the USS Kitty Hawk which is currently docked in Fremantle. "All spectators are welcome," said Herbert, "It's an opportunity for all the single woman out there to feast their eyes on a team of professionally coached, highly skilled, good looking, athletic, sexy, rampant males - and that's just the Morley team!" The first of two games gets underway at 1.00pm with the main match scheduled for a 3.00pm kick-off at Wotton Reserve.
CLUBS SPLIT OVER GLORY ISSUE
The return to local ranks of several National Soccer League players, in particular those from double winning Perth Glory, has divided the West Australian soccer community. Last weekend Gary Faria, Anthony Danze and Brad Hassell represented Fremantle City, Inglewood United and Sorrento respectively in the opening round of the season, Over coming weeks a number of other Glory players, amongst them Bobby Despotovski, Jamie Harnwell and Tom Pondeljak, are expected to pull on their boots in the Premier League. The issue as to whether NSL players should be permitted in the local competition has evenly split the clubs with those in favour arguing NSL players will strengthen the league, while those against claim they'll do more harm than good.
Long-serving secretary of Sorrento, Kerry Slater, supports the clubs who wish to recruit players from the NSL. "Glory players, and for that matter any other players, should be able to play in the Soccer West Coast leagues now or at anytime as long as the FIFA transfer or loan criteria are correctly met and followed," he stated. "But it is important that clubs think about which players they sign with careful consideration given to players fitting in to the club at all levels. It's not just their on-field performance that needs to be looked at but also their attitude and leadership qualities, the effect on team harmony, their attendance at training and other club functions and the like. With this in mind Sorrento have taken Brad Hassell on loan to boost a midfield weakness and Jamie Harnwell, who is out of contract, will join us shortly on a permanent transfer."
Western Knights president Basil Zuvela holds the strong belief that clubs should be allowed to determine their own destiny. "It's a clubs right to secure any players that are available," he said. "All around the world clubs are able to purchase or loan players, so why in WA are we trying to go against that? If players can lift the profile of soccer in WA then why not - they'll have a positive influence at training, increasing the overall standard of soccer played and hopefully encourage more people to attend our games. I think the positives of having NSL players in the local game by far out weight the negatives. If a club is prepared to invest their money and sign these players then that is their choice, and if in the long run it costs them then that is the risk you take."
Graham Normanton, coach of the State's most successful coach Perth S.C., sees both the pros and the cons to the issue. "There are benefits for the league in bringing in NSL players but maybe a draft, like that in the AFL, should apply," Normanton commented, stressing this was his opinion and not necessarily that held by his club. "If the weaker clubs were given first choice of the players, up to a maximum of three per club, then this would go a long way to making the league more competitive and that can only be good for the game. It would also give the local competition a higher profile which, hopefully, would attract more people to the games. I have always maintained that the local league was in need of some quality players in it but, in all honesty, I'm not sure bringing players in for a short period is what is required. I'd be very hesitant to add Glory players to my squad as I'd have to drop one of my regulars to make way for them and that's not fair on players that have shown loyalty to the club and the ability to perform."
"The divestment of NSL players, and that includes those from Glory, is a concern at the local level across all of Australia," said Stirling Lions president Don Evans. "If these players come into our leagues it should be as ambassadors that are there to teach and develop our younger players, rather than come in and fill their own pockets at the expense of clubs whose vision is short-term and opportunistic. There have been some positive steps in youth development and wage rationalisation implemented by the clubs in WA and my concerns centre around undoing what we have achieved in these areas. This Premier League season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and evenly contested in years with the majority of clubs having a renewed enthusiasm for the future of our game. My belief is Glory players coming into the local leagues won't necessarily have a positive impact on the game. I have no ill will to the Glory players or the clubs that sign them, only the lack of direction from our Australian body on this changeover period."
E.C.U. Joondalup coach Paul Simmons also sees potential pitfalls for clubs. "The decision to tempt any NSL players is the prerogative of the individual clubs, but those that do sign two or three players may end up causing themselves problems in the long run. The addition of Glory players at training will send an initial buzz around the squad and the intensity at training will pick up. But the problems will kick in when players who've been at a club for a few seasons and have been getting regular selection find they are suddenly on the bench or in the reserves, a situation which will only cause unrest. I also think that any club that signs Glory players could be left in the lurch when those players are recalled at the end of June. In regards to Joondalup, I'm happy with the squad I have assembled and believe they can do well this season, so I won't be going out looking to pick up any of the N.S.L. players."
LAZARIDIS COMMITS TO SOCCEROOS
Stan Lazaridis has declared himself available for Australia's two-game series with Turkey next month. The Birmingham City player looked doubtful following a recent groin injury but has recovered well and could feature as early as next week when Birmingham City meet English Premier League leader Arsenal. "I thought the muscle had come off the bone and that my season was over," Lazaridis said yesterday. "But it wasn't as bad as initially thought. It turned out to be a grade-one strain on the middle abductor muscle."
Although told he needs to take a full month off football by Birmingham manager Steve Bruce, Lazaridis has left no doubt that he will be available for the Turkey series as well as the Oceania Nations Cup campaign which follows. "I'm fully committed. I'm coming back (to Australia) and it's not a token gesture. I won't just pick and choose games, I'm going back for all games," Lazaridis said. "It's up to Frank, but my understanding is that it's going to be a sizeable squad and that he will mix the players around."
Lazaridis, who will reach 50 'A' internationals should he play in both games against Turkey, is excited about coming back to play in front of a home crowds in Australia. "I am really looking forward to it," he commented. "I think its terrific for the public as well that they can finally see the best players come back to play in front of a home crowd ... We've played a lot of games away and had a lot of good results and it's a shame we haven't capitalised on that by returning home sooner and playing games. So this is a good opportunity for us to come back and obviously attract more people to come and watch the games."
JONES AND MADASCHI TO FACE TUNISIA
Perth-born Brad Jones and Adrian Madaschi, along with adopted West Australian Jade North, have been called up for next Wednesday's Under-23 friendly between Australia and Tunisia. "The Tunisians will provide us with a different style of play to some of the other countries we have faced at this level," said coach Frank Farina. "They has already qualified for the Olympic Games, so I will be really looking forward to how we measure up against them." Former Perth Glory defender David Tarka was not considered for the 19-player squad on injury grounds.
The Australian Under-23 squad to meet Tunisia is Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Aarhus GF), Fred Agius (Adelaide United), Gareth Edds (Bradford City), Dylan MacAllister (SK Brann), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City), Patrick Kisnorbo (Hearts), Carl Valeri (Inter Milan), Alex Brosque, Nick Carle, Michael Thwaite (Marconi), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), Scott McDonald (Motherwell), Jonathon McKain (National Bucuresti), Ryan Griffiths (Newcastle United), Ahmad Elrich (Parramatta Power), Adrian Madaschi (Partick Thistle), Jade North (Perth Glory), Spase Dilevski (Rot-Weiss Essen) and Eugen Galekovic (South Melbourne).
FANS WANT NEW APPROACH TO CUP FOOTBALL
West Australian soccer administrators take note - the local community want an all-encompassing knock-out Cup competition. That is the overwhelming response to the latest www.soccerwa.com poll which asked "Should WA have an FA Cup style competition involving both Soccer West Coast and WAASSA teams?" Just 28 votes of the 289 cast were against the idea, meaning the affirmative garnered a massive 90.3% of the count. It's now up to those in charge of the game in this state to work together and meet the needs of the those who support and play the local game.
LOCAL YOUNGSTERS STAKE NATIONAL CLAIM
There were mixed results for the Young Socceroos on their European tour which wound up today. The Australian Under-20 squad, which included local products Nick Ward and Liam Lilly, spent two-weeks in France where they played four games in the first steps to qualifying for the 2005 World Youth Championships. The tour began with Blagoja Celeski giving Australia an early lead over French Fourth Division side Armentieres who responded with two second half goals to win 2-1. Lilly played a full game as part of the Australian defence while midfielder Ward was replaced at half-time.
Two days later the Young Socceroos outplayed UNFP Belgium, a select team of out of contract professionals, only to go down 0-1 despite dominating over their far more experienced opponent. Lilly saw out the full 90 minutes with Ward again substituted after 45 minutes. The national youth squad registered their first win of the tour by defeating RC Lens Reserves 2-0 with Kristian Sarkies and Keegan Wolfenden the scorers. Ward featured in the opening half while Lilly was rested. The trip ended with a 2-1 win over the Paris St Germain reserve team, goals from Celeski and Mark Bridge enough to see off their celebrated opponents. Both WA representatives started on the bench for the final tour match, Ward coming on after 67 minutes and Lilly five minutes later.
BOBBY DAZZLES ONE MORE TIME
Bobby Despotovski went home from Perth Glory's annual awards night on Saturday with the clubs two top honours. The 32-year old striker added a third Most Glorious Player award to his resume, complementing those won in 1999/2000 and 2001/2002, as well as taking out the Supporters' Player of the Year. Despotovski recently announced his retirement from the National Soccer League and will spend the coming winter with Inglewood United. But Glory chairman Nick Tana is understood to be working hard on luring the former Australian international to return when the new national league kicks of in 2005.
The Players' Player of the Year went to midfield ace Tom Pondeljak who also took out the Mel Moffat Medal which is decided on media votes at home games. Off-season signing from Newcastle United Matt Bingley won the Coaches Player of the Year Award. Nick Mrdja, who scored 14 times over the summer months including the Grand Final winner against Parramatta Power, was the worthy recipient of the Clubman Award. There was also a special presentation made to Glory's inaugural captain Gareth Naven who received life membership of the club.
DUTCH TREAT FOR LIONS/KINGS ACADEMY
The Stirling Lions/Kings Academy Under-15 squad have commenced the second leg of their European tour to moving on to the Netherlands. The traveling party began their time in the lowlands with a visit to the Amsterdam Arena, home of world famous Ajax. Having watched the Ajax first team be put through their paces by Dutch legend Ronald Koeman, the party were whisked away on a guided tour of the enormous space-age stadium. There were photo opportunities at every turn for the Lions/Kings party as the youngsters clicked off shots on the pitch, from the stands, in the press box and even from the control tower. And while all this was going on former Holland captain Johann Cruyff was being interviewed for television nearby!
This was followed by the Lions/Kings first meeting with Dutch opposition in the firm of F.C. Pumerand, a side placed at the top of the their league. Pumped up by their experience of early in the day, the West Australian side played some superb football and took a deserved lead through Dean Evan who rose above the defence to head in the opening goal. Several further chances went begging as the Lions/Kings side strung together their passes to leave their opponents chasing shadows. Stung at being behind, Pumerand made a number of changes to their line-up at the break and turned in a much stronger second half performance which resulted in the equalising late in the piece.
WAASSA, ROUND TWO
Murdoch University jumped to the top of the WAASSA Premier Division table on Sunday, after a strong 3-0 win at home to Kwinana United. Spearwood Dalmatinac joined Murdoch as the only club with a 100% record after their 3-2 win in a thriller over Perth Azzurri. Newly promoted Stirling Panthers were too good for Shamrock Rovers in a 2-1 victory, while Forrestfield United and Fremanlte United played out a goal-less draw. The big derby game between traditional rivals, Colo Colo and CN Canning International had plenty of goals, with the teams sharing the points in a 3-3 draw. The Hamersley Rovers vs University of WA fixture is currently unknown.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND ONE (Swan I.C. vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Bayswater City vs Stirling Lions by Adam Rucci; Sorrento vs Bassendean Caledonian by Bill McAlister)
Perth S.C. began the defence of their Premier League title with a commanding 5-1 opening round defeat of Fremantle City at Ken Allen Reserve. Played in breezy conditions, Fremantle attacked from the outset and had the ball in the net after 4 minutes when Kevin Corriea headed in Gary Faria's cross from the right only to have the goal ruled out for offside following a lengthy consultation between referee and assistant. Stung into action the Blues opened their account through teenager Daniel Micevski who headed in after 11 minutes following some hesitant Fremantle defending. Three minutes later David Onoforo increased the lead when he tapped into an empty net following a mix-up between Shane Nunes and goalkeeper Michael Basilio. Fremantle looked to have reduced the margin when Faria converted Anthony Pereira's quickly taken free-kick, but having signaled a goal referee Derek Minet again consulted his assistant on the line and reversed his decision much to the disapproval of the home fans. Early in the second half Robbie Puca made it three-nil by knocking a superb cross from Mark Pottier. To their credit Fremantle refused to concede that all was lost and carved out numerous promising passages only to find no way past a rock solid backline. Eventually through the host side rewarded when Peter Lord's great weaving run took him past three opponents before netting. But Perth were having none of it and Puca grabbed his second of the day before David Micevski joined his brother on the scoresheet to complete the final four-goal margin. Another positive for Perth coach Graham Normanton was the return to senior ranks of long-serving defender Perry Ielati who appears to gave made a full recovery from an off-season ankle operation.
Cockburn City traveled to the Swan Valley on Saturday and came home with all three points from their clash with Swan I.C. courtesy of a 3-2 scoreline. There was an early scare for the visitors who fell a goal behind when Brendan Knox' cross from the left was met by Tom Shepheard who fired past Dino Pacella after 18 minutes. However, Swan's lead was short lived with Anthony Naglieri restoring the balance eight minutes later from the penalty spot after a surging run from the halfway line by Jason Dos Santos ended with the midfielder being knocked off his feet by a defender. There were scattered chances on goal over the rest of the half but with neither side able to find the target they went into the break at one-all. Four minutes into the second half Cockburn launched an all-out assault on the opposing goal, three shots in quick succession being blocked before Simon Jonas pounced to slam the ball into the back of the net and put the visitors in front. David Foster spurned a good chances to put Swan back on a level footing twice in the space of four minutes but on both occasions placed his shot wide of the target. The home side searched continually for a second goal and in the 82nd minute it arrived via Tom Shepheard who rose high above the defence to head past Pacella. But any hopes Swan had on stealing a point from the game were put to rest just three minutes later when Shane McNally and Dos Santos combined to open up the defence and Naglieri was on hand to knock in the deciding goal.
A young Western Knights side commenced the new season with a 2-1 victory over Inglewood United at the National Stadium. The game was 6 minutes old Greg Montenegro's clever flick set-up Stuart Montgomery who drilled his first time shot across goalkeeper Nick Stone and into the far top corner of the goal. But the lead last all of four minutes with Ryan Newhill equalising from the spot after Michael Baczynski was judged to have been impeded by Tommi Tomich. There were few clear cut chances over the remainder of the half as needless errors saw the ball turned over with alarming regularity. Inglewood midfielder Scott Campbell forced a great close-range save from Tomich after 31 minutes, and shortly before the break Montgomery side-stepped the 'keeper only to shoot wide from a narrowing angle. Early in the second half Josh Kamasz looked certain to restore the visitors lead but scooped over the crossbar when well placed. Inglewood applied the pressure but were twice thwarted by Tomich who plucked a cross off the head of Baczynski and, seven minutes later, saved at close-range from Anthony Danze. Montgomery showed his class with a wonder goal after 71 minutes, receiving a pass from Seb Trim and in one fluid movement turning his marker and blasting into the net from the top of the 18-yard box. The closing stages belonged to Inglewood who were held at bay by Tomich in a man-of-the-match performance. The Knights 'keeper battered away shots from Danze and Jason Colli, while in a goalmouth scramble Jason Williams showed tremendous commitment in blocking Farrell Hedges' powerful strike close to the final whistle.
Three players received their marching orders in the scrappy 1-1 draw between Floreat Athena and E.C.U. Joondalup at Litis Stadium. Although missing Costa Socratous, Adrian Sutton and Andreas Oliviera it was Athena that created the majority of chances over the opening half in which both teams stroked the ball around confidently but rarely called either goalkeeper into action. However, Joondalup should have gone into the break a goal the better but midfielder Keith Brown somehow headed wide from point blank range in the best chance of the period. Athena upped their workrate after the break with Peter Coci and Anthony Jones coming into the game more. In the 66th minute James Afkos was sent clear only to be hauled down inside the area by Peter Roberts, who was subsequently red carded, and Coci tucked away the penalty for a 1-0 lead. Joondalup responded with a barrage of attacks and won several corners from which two great chances to level went begging, Jamie Kuzmanovich and Andy Brown the guilty parties. Midway through the half the northerners determination was rewarded as Garin Collins floated another corner into the far top corner to equalise. With the match in the balance Joondalup went down to nine players with the dismissal of Keith Brown following a challenge on Coci. Two minutes later an innocuous tussle between Jones and Andy Brown resulted in the Athena midfielder shown a straight red card, much to the disbelief of both teams. Following this the game drifted from end to end with neither side able to add to their tally.
Bayswater City celebrated their first top flight outing in three years with a 5-0 thrashing of Stirling Lions at Frank Drago Reserve. With light rain falling the host club were quick to assert their authority and force the Lions into performing primarily defensive duties. Boima Karpeh tried his luck from 30-metres to which goalkeeper Gareth Deeg responded with a fine save. From an Andy O'Neill corner Kevin Henderson tested the Lions 'keeper only to have Deeg once again come out on top. For their part the Lions found it difficult to break down their opponents defence with only the lively Andre Sarpe showing the creativity needed. Bayswater continued to pressure and were rewarded four minutes from the break when Karpeh darted down the left to deliver an inch perfect cross to Scottish import Ross Barnes who found the back of the net on debut. With their confidence boosted by the goal Bayswater went on with the job in the second half as Gareth Healy, Kevin Henderson and Cormac Dawson hit their stride. Healy won possession in midfield and slipped the ball through to Karpeh who beat his marker to score, and not long after Henderson converted after a good exchange between Karpeh and Barnes. Cormac Dawson got in on the act two late goals, the first a stunning long-range drive which was is an early contender for the goal of the season, and the second taking a deflection off Bobby Klenkoski on its way into the net.
Sorrento were quick to apply the pressure to Bassendean Caledonian when they met at Percy Doyle Reserve. Visiting goalkeeper Steve Grant was called upon to make a couple of early saves while a header from Dejan Gurovski flashed wide and Brad Hassell's close-range shot also ended the wrong side of the upright. Sorrento's persistence eventually paid off when Hassell pushed forward from the halfway line, crashing his way between two defenders on top of the area before smacking the ball past Grant after 20 minutes. Caledonian were by no means out of the contest and responded through a series of promising raids on goal of their own. On the half hour Glen McCormick's cross into the area was cleared only as far as Kevin Griffiths but he was unable to make the most of a great opportunity to equalise. A powerful shot by Craig Wells was deflected for a corner, and not long after Kevin Griffiths and Jonathon Mathers combined but Xavier's effort was cut out by Steve McDonald. Sorrento immediately went on the counter-attack with Jared Love heading wide a cross from Todd Harnwell. On the stroke of half-time Love turned the ball over in midfield and found Harnwell whose volley from 10-metres went over the crossbar. Midway through the second period Sorrento increased their lead through McDonald who rose high to a Matt Donlevy corner and send a bullet-like header past Grant. The visitors refused to give up with McCormick having a fine shot kept out by Phil Straker, but six minutes from the end Hassell secured the points and a 3-0 victory for the Gulls.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND THREE (Wanneroo City vs Armadale courtesy Armadale; Ashfield vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City; Kinsgway Olympic vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Stirling Suns vs Rockingham City courtesy Stirling Suns)
Armadale maintained their 100% win record with a hard-fought 4-3 away win over Wanneroo City in Round Three of the First Division. Having thrashed their opponents just a week earlier in the Boral Cup, Wanneroo went into the game as red-hot favourite. However it was the Reds who started the better with some great use of the ball down the flanks which was rewarded after 17 minutes when Luke Morris' cross from the right was headed on by Dean Gartside and Jason Goodwin stroked the ball into the net. This spurred Wanneroo into life and following a prolonged period in attack the hosts did get back on level terms through Phil O'Callaghan who converted from close-range. Armadale's response was swift, Dennis Lee going past four defenders on a diagonal run into attack before slotting to Morris who placed his shot beyond the reach of the goalkeeper. After the break Armadale increased their advantage as Gartside edged past his marker to find the net, and when Goodwin added the sides fourth the game looked over. With little option but to attack Wanneroo threw everything forward and pegged back the margin gap via veteran Nigel Aubin after 69 minutes. The home side continued to press and when Andy Taylor found target there was still a glimmer of hope that they'd snatch a point. But time was not on their side and shortly after the final whistle signalled an Armadale victory.
South West Phoenix continued their magnificent start to the season with a 2-1 home defeat of Gosnells City. In an entertaining match it was Gosnells that started the brighter, penning the hosts club in their final third of the park for long periods. Fifteen minutes in Darren Ingham started and finished a sweeping move through the middle of the park to put Gosnells in front. The visitors continued to dominate for the remainder of the half with Ingham, Adam Bremner and Brian Kierney keeping the Phoenix backline busy. A half-time blast from coach Jimmy Mayers resulted in Phoenix leveling within minutes of the re-start, Steve Suttie combining with David Rodgers who made no mistake with his finish. Shortly after Rodgers came close to adding his second when he burst a free-kick through the defensive wall but some sharp defending saw the danger cleared. As the rain began to fall Phoenix were well on top. The introduction of substitute David Mayers proved a masterstroke for Phoenix, the attacker chasing down a through ball from Andy Cowley which he then played into the area where Rodgers rammed his shot in from 10-metres with 86 minutes gone. In a frantic last few minutes Gosnells were unable to convert a handful of half-chance as Phoenix claimed their third successive win.
An injury riddled Mandurah City made the trip to Ashfield and went home with maximum points from a physical encounter. Missing Steve Rhodes, Andrew Rennie and Mike Green due to injury, the visitors got off to the worst possible start when club captain Gary Collins was red carded after just 2 minutes for an off the ball incident. Within minutes Mandurah were dealt a further blow with goalkeeper Paul Dixon forced from the field by injury, the spot between the posts taken by 16-year old Nathan Hodgkinson. Although a man down, Mandurah had the better of possession in the first half but were unable to convert their chances into goals. With half-time approaching Ashfield also went down to ten with the dismissal of Ben Harris. Mandurah began the second half with a flurry of opportunities as Michael Bobridge, Christian Paschewitz and Jordan Rhodes all went close. The deadlock was finally broken after 69 minutes when Neil Connors caught goalkeeper Adam Ashworth off his line with a looping header. Four minutes later Mandurah secured maximum points when Ashworth, under pressure from Bobridge, hesitated to claim a Fitzmaurice cross and the ball crept over the line at the far post. Mandurah took out both the earlier games also, 4-0 in the Reserves and 8-1 in the Under-18's.
Queens Park may have ended up running out comfortable winners over Morley Windmills but it wasn't all clear sailing at Coker Park. The opening period brought some good opportunities at both ends of the park with perhaps the better coming the way of the home side, but with neither side able to convert the first half looked destined to finished scoreless. All that changed however after 40 minutes when Glenn Noblet stuck a fantastic shot from 25-metres which went on off the upright to put Queens Park in the driving seat. After the break Queens Park dominated play and in a stunning fifteen minutes period the host club conjured up three goals. Brian Robertson doubled the lead after 63 minutes, Noblet added his second not long after and when Robertson put away his second of the day the a competitive game had turned into an easy win. On the day there were solid performances from Queens Park's defensive combination of Paul Baczynski and Nathan Watkins, while Paul Dundo and Grant Learmont won the battle for midfield. Damian Feszur, Ray Rose and attacker Rydeen Botha worked tirelessly for Windmills. The win, Queens Park's first of the season, completed a good day at the office for the club who won the Reserves 3-1 and the Under-18's 3-0 on forfeit.
Although missing three key players through injury and suspension Leeming Strikers came back from the dead to snatch a share of the points from their home meeting with Dianella White Eagles on Saturday. Settling the quicker, the visitors made all the early running and after 18 minutes took the lead when Zelko Savic snuck away from his marker to net. Bot content to ease off the pace and hold their lead, Dianella went continually forward and added a couple more goals via Dragan Njegic who scored in the 25th and 37th minutes. Some tactical changes coupled with the introduction of Gordon Hind and Leroy Goodwin saw the Strikers rebound from a dreadful first forty-five minutes. The hosts seized control of the game and reduced the gap when pressure on a Dianella defender saw him turn the ball past his own goalkeeper on the hour. Six minutes from the end the score became 3-2 as Michael Vaz' free-kick found the back of the net, and in the final minute Phil Bell delivered a cross into the heart of the 18-yard box which was met sweetly by Dale Wingell who leveled the game. Deep in injury time Dean Goodfellow failed to convert from close-range on a day when honours were even at 3-3.
Canning City registered their second successive win by accounting for Kingsway Olympic 2-1. Four minutes after kick-off Canning gave the home team an early wake-up call when Jeremy Herbert rattled the frame of the goal with a fierce drive from the edge of the penalty box. However, Canning weren't rewarded for their majority possession until almost half-time when a Julio Barrendilla shot cannoned off of goalkeeper Matt Battigelli and David Mahon drilled the rebound into the net. A minute earlier Olympic almost took the lead as the Canning defence frantically blocked several attempts on goal before Jix Loong headed off the goalline to release the pressure. Two minutes into the second half Canning went further ahead when a long throw-in from Mick Van Dongen found defender Stephen Cole who scored from the edge of 18-yard box. Midway through the half Olympic reduced the deficit with Nigel Comito heading in after some good work down the right wing by Sota Iwasaki. The remaining twenty minutes was a nervous and at times acrimonious affair for Canning as the host's pressured to equalise. However, Canning held on to take out the points and moved to fourth on the table. In all it was a good day for Canning who won the Reserves and Under-18 games 2-0 and 2-1 respectively.
Rockingham City proved no match for Stirling Suns who ran out comfortable winners by 3-0 at Robinson Reserve. With much talked about goalkeeper Jason Razmovski absent due to illness, Franky Ternel took his place between the posts for a Suns side looking for their first win of the season. Both teams started confidently, showing no shyness in pushing forward but unable to get the breakthrough. Following a stern half-time talk the home side emerged for the second period a completely different proposition and proceeded to outplay Rockingham. The opening goal arrived five minutes after the re-start with Billi Ristevski the scorer, and some ten more minutes had elapsed before Ristevski increased the gap by pouncing on a defensive error from which he made no mistake. Shortly after a foul on Desimir Tosevski resulted in a penalty which the Suns attacker disappointingly sprayed wide of the target. Rockingham threw everything into getting back into the match but couldn't find a way past Ternel and the home defence. Ristevski looked to have completed his hat-trick only for teammate Sveto Njirich to finish off the move by blasting in from close-range seven minutes from the final whistle. There was more success for Rockingham in the earlier games, taking out the Reserves 6-4 and the Under-18's 5-0.
GLORY FLOAT STOCK IDEA (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory have actively begun plans to list the club on the Australian Stock Exchange. A questionnaire has gone out to 1000 club members seeking their views on the radical step, which is seen as a way to attract further investment ahead of the new Australian domestic competition. "We are examining a number a different options," chief executive officer Jeff Dennis told the "West Australian" newspaper. "This is one. This is an exercise in seeking I ways of fundraising so we can make the club bigger and better." Glory owner Nick Tana added, "At this stage all we are doing is putting it out among our own people. We want to talk to our fans, our sponsors etc." The new Australian Soccer Association has not yet issued criteria for clubs to join the new league, which is planned to start by July 2005 after a shortened competition, probably from January to March.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Bayswater City marked their return to the top flight by thrashing Stirling Lions 5-0 in the opening round of the 2004 Premier League season. Reigning champions Perth S.C. were also big winners, hitting Fremantle City 5-1 at Ken Allen Field. Cockburn City dug deep to get past Swan I.C. by 3-2. A Stuart Montgomery double gave Western Knights victory at Inglewood United where it ended 2-1. Aided by two goal from Brad Hassell, Sorrento took maximum points over Bassendean Caledonian by 3-0. And at Litis Stadium Floreat Athena drew 1-1 with E.C.U. Joondalup.
South West Phoenix and Armadale continue to go neck and neck at the head of the First Division table. Phoenix won 2-1 at home over Gosnells City to stay top on goal difference over Armadale who defeated Wanneroo City 4-3. Ashfield went down 0-2 at home to Mandurah City, while Canning City shocked Kingsway Olympic by 2-1. Queens Park thumped Morley Windmills 4-0, Stirling Suns had a comfortable 3-0 win over Rockingham City, and the points were shared between Leeming Strikers and Dianella White Eagles where it ended 3-3.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The 2004 First Division season finally gets underway on Saturday with a full round of fixtures. In possibly the game of the weekend a free-scoring Fremantle City side meet Night Series winners Perth S.C. at Ken Allen Field. Inglewood United host Western Knights in what is sure to be a tight encounter, likewise Floreat Athena verses E.C.U. Joondalup at Litis Stadium. Bayswater City's return to the top flight commences with a home clash with Stirling Lions. Swan I.C. are expected to go down to a strong Cockburn City line-up, and at Percy Doyle Reserve its Sorrento against Bassendean Caledonian.
After a two week recess the First Division gets back in full swing with Wanneroo City taking on Armadale at Kingsway Sporting Complex in the match of the round. Another tempting proposition comes from Ashfield Reserve where a young Ashfield line-up squares off against Mandurah City. South West Phoenix should continue their fantastic start to the season by gaining maximum points from their home meeting with Gosnells City. Canning City have home ground advantage over Kingsway Olympic, and Queens Park welcome Morley Windmills to Coker Park. Leeming Strikers come up against Dianella White Eagles, Stirling Suns host Rockingham City, and Balcatta are out of action due to the bye.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL ... PART TWO
In the past decade no less than eight different clubs have raised the Premier League trophy come seasons' end. The forty-fourth season of professional football in Western Australia sees Perth S.C. gunning for a hat-trick of championships, but there are plenty of sides waiting to trip them up and topple the pre-season favourite. On the eve of the new season we take a critical look at the top flight, assess each clubs strengths and weaknesses, and go out on a limb with a few predictions as to how we see season 2004 panning out ...
BETTER NEWS FOR LAZARIDIS
The season of Birmingham City's Stan Lazaridis may not be over after all. The Australian international was carried off in the Blues 1-2 loss to Manchester United on the weekend amid fears his season had been ended by a groin injury. "Stan is due to have all sorts of tests on his injury but the indications are that it's not as bad as we feared," said Birmingham manager Steve Bruce. "There are five games to go and with any luck, he could be back before the end of the season." That's good news also for Socceroos coach Frank Farina ahead of a two-match friendly series on home soil against Turkey next month.
BIG FUTURE TIPPED FOR SUNS 'KEEPER
Jason Razmovski is fast emerging as a goalkeeper of great potential. The 18-year old shot-stopper has made a sensational start to his first season at senior level for Stirling Suns, leading coach Rodney Njrich to speculate on just how far Razmovski can go in the game. "He's dedicated and certainly has the talent, I think that with a bit of hard work he could well turn out to be one of the best goalkeepers in the state," said the Suns coach. "His reflexes are razor sharp and no matter what distance the shot comes in from he always gets in good position to make the save."
"At training Jason is like most 'keepers," added Njrich. "When it comes to hard running and sprinting with the rest of the squad he finds the going tough, but when I tell Jason to get his gloves he switches on immediately and does not disappoint. As soon as he gets between the posts he's like a man possessed, his hands are like glue - he'll make the save when the ball is driven in, pluck shots and crosses out of the air seemingly with ease, and at ground level he's down in a flash."
"We're fortunate enough to have five good goalkeepers this season," added the Suns coach. "Franky Ternel, whose just turned 19, joined us over the off-season and has already proved an invaluable back-up. Jason missed the Mandurah City game through injury and Franky stepped up by playing an absolute blinder, Mandurah throwing everything at us but only able to get one past us." The other members of the Suns goalkeeping fraternity are Aleksandar Jandrioski (21), Dylan Prunster (17) and Dennis Mitrevski (16).
CLUBS COME SNIFFING FOR MADASCHI
Australian Olympic hopeful Adrian Madaschi has come to the attention of Scottish Premier League side Dundee. It is understood Dundee boss Jim Duffy recently watched Madaschi turn out for the Partick Thistle Under-21 side and has subsequently expressed an interest in the defender. Further to this are strong rumours that Motherwell manager Terry Butcher is also keeping tabs on the former Perth S.C. junior. The news comes less than a fortnight after Madaschi agreed terms on a new 12-month contract with the Jags, and a few days after he played a starring role in the clubs 1-0 defeat of Hearts.
REFORM UPDATE FOR APRIL
The reform of soccer throughout Australia is progressing well. Robin Graham, project manager for the Australian Soccer Association, is said to be delighted with the progress being made in Western Australia. The Constitution for the new controlling body, tentatively named the Soccer Western Australia Limited, along with its By-Laws have been drafted and made publicly available via the Soccer Restructure section of the Department of Sport and Recreation website since January.
WA project manager Kevin Watts recently invited all current associations to provide representatives to form a working party whose task it will be to address all of the issues and logistics involved in transferring their operations to the new association. It is anticipated that the chairman of the Soccer Western Australia board will be appointed by early May 2004. The other director positions will follow once the chairman has been confirmed.
To date three associations - Soccer Canberra, the Queensland Soccer Federation and Soccer Tasmania - have adopted new constitutions in accordance with ASA guidelines. Discussions are continuing between the two New South Wales associations and the ASA, while the new constitution was a key element of a recently review of soccer in the Northern Territory. The Victorian Soccer Federation are addressing issues relating to the structure of its current membership, and in South Australia a new company is in the process of being formed to manage soccer.
LIONS/KINGS START EUROPEAN TRIP WITH WIN
The Stirling Lions/Kings Academy Under-15 squad have started their European adventure on the right note by defeating German youth team TSV Erding. But before pulling on their playing boots the travelling party visited Munich's Olympic Stadium where they were amongst an enthusiastic crowd of 63,000 who watched Bayern Munich down FC Schalke 2-1. The following day the Lions/Kings pulled on their playing boots and came out on top over Erding by 3-1. The tourists were slow to settle but once they found their rhythm surprised the Germans with some excellent movement of the ball. Having forced the home goalkeeper into a couple of good saves and hit the upright once, the deadlock was finally broken by Scott Patterson who rocketed the ball into the roof of the net from 17-metres.
The German side reorganised themselves for the second half only to find few avenues to goal against a well-organised Lions/Kings defence. Defender Damien Houston prodded the ball cross the line following a corner to increase the tourists lead, but Erding replied almost immediately with an explosive shot that gave goalkeeper Lee Mackie little chance of saving. The match was settled two minutes from the end through a sweeping move started by Dean Evans who switched play to Jerome Vallet and Lewis Teagle drilled the resulting cross past the goalkeeper. "Having know this team for three seasons I can honestly say I have never seen a more determined display from the lads," said tour organiser Mitch Doherty. "After 15 minutes of allowing Erding to play we put them on the backfoot and they certainly did not enjoy the pressure."
GRIFFITHS TRAVELS TO AMERICA WITH BLACKBURN
West Australian teenager Rostyn Griffiths was part of Blackburn Rovers' Academy squad which competed in the 25th Dallas Cup in the United States last week. The 16-year old midfielder is widely regarded as one of the state's brightest prospects and has had his progress closely monitored by the English club over the past twelve months. Rovers began the group phase of the Under-19 tournament with a 1-0 win over the Costa Rican Under-20 side which was followed by a 3-0 loss to Mexican side Tigres. Needing to win to advance to the semi-finals, Rovers knocked Dallas Texans with a 4-1 victory. In the round of four they suffered a 0-1 loss to eventual winners Clube Atletico Paranaense (Brazil), and two days later they went down 0-4 to Tigres in the play-off for third place.
MADASCHI SUPERB IN RARE PARTICK WIN (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi returned to Partick Thistle's starting line-up yesterday and helped the Jags to their first win in two months over Hearts at Firhill. "It was a fantastic performance by the lads," Madaschi told tribalfootball.com. "It wasn't a matter of us nicking a goal and holding on, we really had a go at Hearts and deserved the win. I was delighted to get back into the starting XI after a couple of weeks out and Derek (Whyte) and Gerry (Britton) was pleased with how I played. It was one the best performances we've put in this season and for once, we actually got the result we deserved. Hearts are the third best team in Scotland, there's no doubt about that, so this victory just gives our supporters something to look forward to next season."
LOCAL ACADEMY HEAD TO EUROPE FOR PRE-SEASON
The football tour of a lifetime took flight late last week for the Stirling Lions/Kings Academy Under-15 squad. Leaving Perth airport on Friday night, the travelling party headed to Europe for a 17-day tour in which they'll be based in three of Europe's biggest football markets - Munich, Amsterdam and Manchester. While abroad the youngsters are scheduled to watch some of the world's best club teams in match action in addition to playing six games of their own against local youth academy teams. The 16-player squad consists of Lee Mackie, Troy Tobin, Damien Houston, Sam Doherty, Sean O'Neill, Matt Italiano, Chris Rutherford, Ramon Armogando, Dean Evans, Lewis Teagle, Adam Luc, Scott Patterson, Kieron Glenn, Jerome Vallet and Chris Pugh.
BORAL CUP, ROUND TWO (Bassendean Caledonian vs Western Knights courtesy Western Knights; Cockburn City vs Inglewood United by Lennie Bavich; Kingsway Olympic vs Fremantle City courtesy Fremantle City; Stirling Lions vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Swan I.C. vs Queens Park courtesy Swan I.C.)
Wanneroo City are the only First Division side to make the last eight of the Boral Cup after Round Two of the knock-out competition this afternoon. Despite going behind early on, Wanneroo proved too strong for Armadale by 5-1 when they met at Alfred Skeet Oval. The Reds home supporters were given some early cheer when a partially cleared corner was backed back into the dangerzone where Dean Gartside tapped in after 20 minutes. Following the goal Wanneroo kicked up a gear and took control of the game. A great exchange between Scott Bulloch and Sam Miller sent Stuart Collins down the wing to deliver an inch-perfect cross into the area where Bulloch headed in the equaliser from 6-metres. A minute from half-time the visitors took the lead when Bulloch's cracking shot was parried by the goalkeeper as far as Stuart Collins who make no mistake from close range. The second half was only five minutes old when Wanneroo struck again, this time Phil O'Callaghan doing the hard work before playing through to Bulloch who made the most of a one-on-one with the advancing goalkeeper. Ten minutes later Sam Miller combined with Bulloch who raced down the left before crossing into the area for Jason Hope to knock in Wanneroo's fourth of the afternoon. Their final goal came midway through the half as Bulloch danced past a defender only to be brought down inside the box, the midfielder picking himself up to complete his hat-trick and a 5-1 scoreline from the spot.
The big surprise result of the round came from Jubilee Reserve where Western Knights were delivered a knock-out blow by Bassendean Caledonian. The Knights' worst performance of the season was in stark contrast to a determined and hard-working Caledonian outfit who were justified in booking a place in the quarter-finals. Carl Medica should have given the visitors the lead early on but volleyed wide from 8-metres with just the goalkeeper to beat. Caledonian grew in confidence as the match progressed, testing Tommi Tomich on several occasions and unlucky not to go in front through a tremendous strike from Kevin Griffiths which beat the goalkeeper only to cannon back off the crossbar. Much of their attacking drive came from midfielder Daniel Harrop who worked tirelessly for the duration. It was more of the same after the break with Caledonian quick to get numbers behind the ball and attacking quickly when the chance arose, while the Knights struggled to exert any influence over proceedings. The match didn't open up until midway through the second half when Craig Wells robbed Leon Russell of possession to advance on goal and send his shot past Tomich. Realising time was running out, the Knights launched several attacking raids with teenager Seb Trim coming closest to leveling with a header that was cleared off the line in the final stages.
Three first half goals set Cockburn City up for a comfortable 3-1 win over Inglewood United at Dalmatinac Park. The home side waited just 7 minutes before opening their account through Simon Jonas who, unmarked and just 3 metres from goal, made no mistake with John Mirco's pass. Seven more minutes has elapsed before John Mirco stripped possession from an Inglewood defender and before goalkeeper Nick Stone could react the nippy attacker had drilled his shot from the edge of the penalty area into the back of the net. Inglewood went in search of a goal of their own but could find no way through as the home side defended as a unit and allowed them little time or space to maneuver. On the half hour Cockburn launched a swift counter-attack in which Peter Petkovich was sent clear with only Stone to beat, the Inglewood 'keeper blocking his first attempt but unable to prevent Petkovich from increasing the margin with his second opportunity. Inglewood went close to reducing the ledger after the break with substitute Bryan Hedges shooting past Dino Pacella but just wide of the upright. It took the visitors until three minutes in stoppage time to get on the scoreboard as Michael Baczinsky raced onto a long ball over the defence to place a low shot past the advancing 'keeper.
For the second successive week Fremantle City have had little trouble in finding the net, this time sweeping aside First Division opponent Kingsway Olympic 6-2 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The port side dominated from the outset through crisp movement of the ball and an overall greater workrate. A stunning strike from 18-metres by Anthony Pereira put Fremantle in the box seat with just 11 minutes gone. Four minutes later Pereira played a neat one-two with Branimir Mikulic on edge of box to go past the defence and slot in his sides second from 9-metres. Fremantle added their third after 38 minutes when a miscued clearance came the way of Kevin Correia who showed great skill in bringing down a high ball before sending the ball past 16-year old goalkeeper Matt Battigelli. Seven minutes after the interval the visitors were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Jeff Bright for challenge from behind. But that didn't stop a rampant Fremantle line-up and a surging run from the back by Dean Aplegren ended with his cross into the area being forced over the line by Correia. Midway through the half Olympic struck back, firstly through Nigel Comito who stabbed home in a goalmouth scramble and three minutes later Steve Bretti headed in to make it 4-2. Correia completed his hat-trick in the 85th minute when he put away a fine pass from Shane Nunes, and three minutes later Jordan Andrews picked out Mikulic who weaved past three defenders to score.
Perth S.C. were rarely threatened in their meeting with Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. The Blues were quick to stamp their authority over proceedings and went in front after 10 minutes when Dino Djulbic rose unchallenged at the back post to head in a corner from David Micevski. Eleven minutes later Robbie Puca's superb in-swinging corner from the right found the far top corner of the goal to increase Perth's advantage. The score at half time could have been much greater as Perth piled on the pressure. A glancing header from David Onoforo grazed the outside of the post, John Nicolaou had a close-range shot cleared off the line by a defender, and Onoforo was denied by the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Matt Darling. It was more of the same after the break with Darling denying Onoforo and Nicolaou in quick succession. An inch-perfect cross by Paul Natale picked out Nicolaou whose header crashed into the upright after 72 minutes. Ben Rogers weaved some magic inside the penalty area to tee-up Onoforo but his goalbound effort was brilliantly blocked by Ryan Martins. Windmills only genuine chance of the match came when Naeim Rhazi beat Robert Scaraparolo to a long ball into attack but his toe-poke past the advancing 'keeper found only the side-netting. With twelve minutes to go Rob Giorgi completed the 3-0 scoreline by drilling his shot from the top of the area past Darling's reach.
Warm sunny conditions greeted Sorrento and Stirling Lions as they made their way on to the playing arena at Percy Doyle Reserve. Settling quickly, the visitors wasted no time in attacking and after 7 minutes found themselves in the lead as Alen Zilic's cross to the back post was met by Adam Rains whose volley flew into the back of the Gulls net. Sorrento's first opening came after 18 minutes when Glen Thomas few a pass to Jared Love who fired from just inside the 18-yard box only to have Gareth Deeg keep out the effort with his legs. Three minutes later Jeans was again well placed but hesitated just long enough to have the ball taken off his boot be Riste Stefoski. With his back to goal Todd Harnwell skillfully flicked the ball over his head and the 'keeper but could only watch on as Rob Monterosso cleared the danger off the line. After the break Harnwell and James Morgan tested Deeg before the hosts chances nose dived with the dismissals of Andrew Bowyer, after 62 minutes, and not long after Morgan, both for second bookable offences. From here on the Lions dominated what had deteriorated into a scrappy affair but it wasn't until the 85th minute that they secured their safe passage into the next round via a penalty converted by Rob Crerar. Throwing everything forward, Sorrento bagged a consolation goal through Steve McDonald in the final minutes of play.
Swan I.C. progressed to the quarter final stage of the Cup with a 4-2 win over Queens Park at the Swan Italian Club. The opening twenty minutes was an even affair in which both sides made moved cautiously into attack while sizing up their opponent. Slowly but surely the home side gained the ascendancy, forcing Queens park goalkeeper Darren Williams into a number of good saves which kept the ledger even. However, with 30 minutes gone, Swan broke through via a free-kick from Tony Cumace which was ht beyond the outstretched arms of the 'keeper much to the delight of the home crowd. The second half began a much more confident approach displayed by Queens Park who called Corey Hugo into action on several occasions before Paul Dundo equalised following a corner. The pendulum had now swung in Queens Park's favour and shortly after they took a deserved lead when Dundo found the back of the net for a second time. Staring defeat in the face, Swan pushed forward at every opportunity and on the hour Tom Shepheard's great cross from the right found youngster Brendan Knox who leveled from close-range. Shortly after Dave Foster put Swan in front for the second time today, and when new signing Renato Rechichi knocked in their fourth the match was effectively over as a contest.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Bassendean Caledonian have pulled off a major upset in eliminating Western Knights 1-0 in Round Two of the Boral Cup. The only goal of a classic end-to-end Cup tie came close to the end via Caldonian midfielder Craig Wells. Cockburn City advanced to the last eight with a 3-1 win over Inglewood United, while Sorrento crashed out of the Cup 1-2 at home to Stirling Lions. Kevin Correia (3), Anthony Perriea (2) and Branimir Mikulic were the scorers in Fremantle City's 6-2 away win over Kingsway Olympic. Wanneroo City remain as the only First Division still in the knock-out competition courtesy of a 5-1 mauling of Armadale. A defensive Morley Windmills proved no match in going down 0-3 at home to Perth S.C., and Swan I.C. overpowered Queens Park by 4-2.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The field will be slimmed to eight following the completion of Round Two of the Boral Cup on Saturday afternoon. Inglewood United will need to make the most of their chances ion front of goal if they expect to get past Cockburn City when they square off at Dalmatinac Park. Whoever settles the quicker between Sorrento and Stirling Lions will be the one that advances to the quarter-finals from the match at Percy Doyle Reserve. The pick of the action takes place at Alfred Skeet Oval where Armadale and Wanneroo City, arguably the First Divisions strongest sides, battle out what should be a classic Cup encounter.
Bassendean Caledonian face the very daunting task of welcoming Western Knights to Jubilee Reserve. Queens Park will be looking to produce their second 'Cupset' in as many weeks when they travel to Swan I.C. who were anything but convincing in Round One. Although they have home ground advantage, Kingsway Olympic will be put to the test by a Fremantle City side for whom Branimir Mikulic and Kevin Correia shared eight goals last weekend. And the odds are firmly stacked against Morley Windmills who welcome Night Series winners Perth S.C. to Wotton Reserve.
CACERAS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE (courtesy tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory midfielder Adrian Caceras is one of a handful of players from the national scene taking part in fitness tests at the Australian Institute of Sport under the watchful eye of national team coach Frank Farina. Fellow newcomers Fred Agius (Adelaide United), Iain Fyfe (Sydney Olympic) and Scott Tunbridge (South Melbourne) have also been invited to the trials in which Farina ran the rule over Australia-based players under consideration for the Athens Olympic Game squad.
HUGE WELCOME FOR DOUBLE WINNERS
A crowd estimated at close to 3,000 packed Forrest Place in the centre of Perth to welcome the double winners home this afternoon. In a mass showing of support, the likes of which have never been seen or heard in Western Australia before, Glory's loyal supporters sang and cheered the Glory squad which only days earlier became just the fourth in National Soccer League history to win the Premiership/Championship double. In confirming that the club's name and colours would not be changed, chairman Nick Tana announced that Glory would commence preparations for the new national competition, dubbed the Australian Premier League, as early as September.
UNCERTAINTY FOR GLORY COACH
He may have lead Perth Glory to back-to back-championships but Mich d'Avray admits he may not be around to lead the club into next year's revamped national competition. "There are no guarantees in life," the South African born coach told the "West Australian". "I think what's got to happen now is I sit down with the chairman, directors, with the board, and find out what their objectives are for the next season. What are the goals? What are the plans? What does Perth Glory want to achieve next year and the year after?" D'Avray, named National Soccer League Coach of the Year just last week, has a verbal agreement with chairman and majority shareholder Nick Tana to lead Glory for another season. However, it is understood Tana has concerns over d'Avray's reluctance to warm to corporate circles and promote junior development.
MADASCHI THRILLED WITH NATIONAL RETURN
Partick Thistle defender Adrian Madaschi is delighted to be back in the frame for Australia's Olympic squad. Madaschi was outstanding in the Under-23's scoreless draw with Greece last week and told the "Evening Times" that a place in the squad for Athens would be a dream come true. "I would love to be involved in the Olympic Games," he said. "It's the pinnacle of everyone's career and I would love to be a part of it. But we will have to wait and see if the coach has me involved in the final countdown."
DESPOTOVSKI MAY PLAY ON
Bobby Despotovski's National Soccer League may not be over after all. Following Perth Glory's grand final win over Parramatta Power the star striker has hinted he may make himself available for the new national competition when its launched next year. "I will see how I feel in the morning," Despotovski commented. "We'll see in the next couple of months what lies ahead. I will decide if I'm going to come back in the next couple of months." Just two weeks ago Despotovski announced plans to retired from the national league at the end of the 2003/04 campaign.
GLORY REFLECT ON GRAND FINAL SUCCESS
Perth Glory became only the fourth club in seventeen years to win the premiership and championship double when they defeated Parramatta Power at a waterlogged Parramatta Stadium on the weekend. With the match scoreless at the end of ninety minutes, it took a brilliant strike from Nick Mrdja to separate the teams nine minutes into extra-time. "It's probably the biggest buzz I've ever had in my career so far," commented the 25-year old. "We came in as underdogs and came away winning it ... you can't ask for much more than that."
An exhausted Despotovski, who made way for Mrdja after 82 minutes, said he would never forget the words of coach Mich d'Avray as he was called from the field. "I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life. Mich said 'we are going to win this, we are going to win this - Mrdja coming on'," said tyher Glory stalwart. "He's a good finisher and has a good left-foot ... we expected great things from Nicky and today he delivered for us once again."
"Sunday's win was possibly a sweeter victory than last seasons at Subiaco Oval," commented Jamie Harnwell. "The Sydney media had all but written us off but we showed them that to be a championship winning team you need character and determination. After we missed some great chances I started wondering whether it would be our day. Then Nicky unleashed an absolute bullet and it took a second or two after it went in before I realised that was it - we had won. By then I was already sprinting down with the other players to congratulate him and start the celebrations."
Without a doubt one of the teams stand-out players in the grand final, central defender and team captain Shaun Murphy rejected claims that the rain washed away Power's title aspirations. "I hope we are not going to parade all the excuses that it [the weather] was a great leveller of the teams," he stated. "I thought we were more determined today. We copped a lot of stick over the past few weeks and it's a tribute to this side to be one of only four teams in the National Soccer League to win the League and then the Championship ... it's a fantastic job."
D'Avray said his players had responded brilliantly to claim back-to-back championships. "We were written off by a lot of people this season and we were criticised - and I think unjustly so because the players did ever so well all season," said the coach. "Even this week we were underdogs and no one gave us much of a chance outside Western Australia. I thought the players showed a lot of determination and a lot of commitment today. Not only did we win the game, but I thought we deserved to win the game."
GASPAR RIFLES SABAH TO TOP
Sabah have moved to the head of the Malaysian Super League standings thanks to Robbie Gaspar. Called up to the starting eleven for the first time season, Gaspar didn't let his coach down by playing a key midfield role for the Rhino's who ran out 2-1 winners over Kedah. The match started disappointingly for the former Perth S.C. midfielder who had a penalty saved after 24 minutes. Within a minute Kedah went in front through Akmal Rizal Rakhli, but the Rhinos hit back almost immediately with Mazinho heading in Gaspar's free-kick. The deciding goal arrived eleven minutes into the second half when Gaspar made amends for his earlier miss by firing a free-kick past the opposing goalkeeper.
Not for the first time this season, Nick Mrdja has come off the bench to score for Perth Glory. The difference this time, however, is that the 25-year old with the lethal left-foot not only won the game but also the National Soccer League grand final. With the scores tied at nil-all after regulation time, Mrdja struck nine minutes into extra-time to earn Glory a 1-0 win over title favorite Parramatta Power at a rain-sodden at Parramatta Stadium this afternoon.
The game was only three minutes old when the heavens opened up, flooding the pitch in no time and leaving large pools of water scattered across the playing surface. Pre-match plans and tactics were instantly made irrelevant as players on both teams struggled to predict the bounce and run of the ball. The games' first opening came after 14 minutes when Bobby Despotovski delivered a low cross into the 6-yard box where Damian Mori edged in front of Paul O'Grady but goalkeeper Clint Bolton parried the effort. Nine minutes later Jason Petkovic spilled an Ahmad Elrich cross from the right and the ball fell to the feet of Ante Milicic who failed to connect and Shaun Murphy cleared the danger.
Chances were limited at either end but Glory were unlucky not to net in a furious goalmouth scramble after 29 minutes. Bobby Despotovski fired a free-kick into the heart of the 18-yard box where Adrian Caceras' shot was halted close to the goal line and in ensuing scramble Power were awarded a free kick. In the 45th minute Milicic attempted a long-range chip of Petkovic who back-tracked to catch the ball at the far post. And in stoppage time Caceras got clear of Andre Gumprecht and, despite losing his footing, forced Bolton into saving down low.
Conditions improved after the break and the players responded accordingly. Simon Colosimo was beginning to assert his influence on midfield as Power started confidently. The hosts were the first to threaten as Milicic's powerful header went agonisingly wide of the far post from an brilliant Elrich cross. Ten minutes in and Tom Pondeljak played a low cross to Caceras but the ball span away from him and to Damian Mori who, amazingly, ballooned his shot over the crossbar from 5-metres and with only Bolton to beat. Pondeljak won possession from Peter Zorbas in the middle of the park and send a speculative long-range shot goalward and into the waiting arms of Bolton.
Midway through the half an elegant pass from Zorbas found Saso Petrovski who weaving his way past Jade North and into the area only to flash his low shot across the face of goal. Bolton was lucky not to be booked after 79 minutes for flattening Mori just outside the area after the Glory striker had made his way past the last defencder, but referee Mark Shield waved play on. The closing stages saw the respective defences hold firm in the difficult conditions, forcing the opposing attackers into trying their luck from distance. But neither side were able to break the deadlock before the end of 90 minutes and the match went into extra-time.
The match should have been over five minutes into the golden-goal period. From wide on the left Nick Mrdja played an innocuous cross to the top of the 18-yard box where Zorba lost his footing in the mud and the ball came to Mori but, despite having time to pick his spot, the striker blazed wide and high. Three minutes later Mrdja settled the match with the last-ever goal in the National Soccer League. The big striker started and finished the move, passing to Mori who rode the challenge of Michael Beauchamp and as he cut back past another defender the ball rolled invitingly to Mrdja who lashed it into the from 14-metres.
"We beat a very good team today, there is no about it, but I also think we are also a very good team," commented Glory coach Mich d'Avray before lavishing hero of the moment Mrdja. "I said to him 'go win it for us' because he had a habit of doing that for us this season, coming off the bench and scoring vital goals. I tell you, there was no sweeter moment than the ball hitting the net." The Marston Medal, awarded to the best player in the grand final was taken out by Elrich, although it could just as well gone to Glory captain Shaun Murphy who worked tirelessly in the centre of defence all afternoon.
Perth Glory : Jason Petkovic, Jade North, Shaun Murphy, Jamie Harnwell,
Mark Byrnes, Jamie Coyne Brad Hassell 95), Adrian Caceras, Mathew Bingley,
Bobby Despotovski (Nick Mrdja 82), Damian Mori
Parramatta Power : Clint Bolton, Alvin Ceccoli, Paul O'Grady, Michael Beauchamp, Ahmad Elrich, Travis Dodd, Peter Zorbas (Matthew Thompson 97), Simon Colosimo, Andre Gumprecht, Ante Milicic (Fernando Rech 68), Sasho Petrovski
Cautions : Byrnes (62), Gumprecht (86)
Dismissals : None
Referee : Mark Shield
Attendance : 9,630
SWEET VICTORY FOR TANA
"Sugar is sweet, honey is sweet, but this is much sweeter," beamed chairman Nick Tana minutes after Perth Glory won their second National Soccer League championship in as many years. Eight years after entering the national league and with two Grand Final victories as well as three regular season titles to their credit, Tana said the club had by far exceeded what he though they would achieve in such a short time. "It's beyond our expectations, it's been an absolute glory ride - pardon the pun - all the way though."
"Eight years ago we came in, we set the benchmark and we're going out of the national league as the benchmark again," he added. For Glory and Tana, the driving force behind the club since their inception, the future is bright with promises of further success. "We're moving forward as fast as we can. We're in the process of getting ready to re-energise ourselves and re-launch everything. We'll stick with the name and stick with the colours but only do it much stronger and much better than we are now."
WAASSA, ROUND ONE
Newly promoted Colo Colo caused shock waves in the opening round of the WAASSA Premier Division on Sunday, as they thumped Fremantle United 12-0. Forrestfield United, who are strong favourites to take out the title this season, were held to a 0-0 away draw to Kwinana United. The surprise results kept on coming, with University of WA losing 4-1 to Murdoch University and Hamersley Rovers going down in a 5-4 classic away to Spearwood Dalmatinc. While Shamrock Rovers defeated Perth Azzurri 3-1, as did CN Canning International over the Stirling Panthers.
BORAL CUP, ROUND ONE (Sorrento vs Ashfield by Kerry Slater; Mandurah City vs Bassendean Caledonian courtesy Mandurah City; South West Phoenix vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup; Stirling Lions vs Leeming Strikers by Don Evans; Western Knights vs Canning City courtesy Western Knights)
On a day when the conditions were better suited to cricket rather than soccer, Ashfield played host to Sorrento in the First Round of the 2004 Boral Cup. The visitors attacked from the outset and took a deserved lead after 10 minutes through Scott McIlroy whop finished a great move following a crisp one-two with Todd Harnwell which opened up the Ashfield defence. Alex Crookes called Gulls goalkeeper Phil Straker into action after 23 minutes, but nine minutes later all eyes were on the opposite end where Jared Love picked out McIlroy who crashed the ball into the roof of the net. By this stage Sorrento were on top and shortly before the break they were able to add a third goal via Todd Harnwell. Ashfield started the new half strongly but, just as they looked to be getting on top, Sorrento struck again as McIlroy found Love who calmly rounded goalkeeper Adam Ashworth before netting. Crookes reeled in the gap after 62 minutes by steering in Peter Noizsewski's cross, but not long after Love restored his teams three-goal buffer with a jinxing run past a couple of defenders and the goalkeeper. Eight minutes from the end Crookes pounced on some hesitant defending to complete a 5-2 scoreline.
First Division side Queens Park progressed to the next stage of the Boral Cup at the expense of Bayswater City at Frank Drago. Going into the match as underdogs, few gave Queens Park much hope of defeating their top flight opponent, but the visiting team had other thoughts on the matter. Queen Park started positively and were rewarded after 11 minutes when Grant Learmont put Brian Robertson through and the attacker coolly slotted past Francis Allan for what would be the games only goal. Going behind had a settling effect on Bayswater who only now began to create some good chances of their own. In quick succession Bayswater they hit the frame of the goal on three occasions as Cormac Dawson, Gareth Healy and Bobby Klenkoski applied the pressure. But with veteran Darren Williams in brilliant form between the posts it was going to take something pretty special to level the match. The second half was a mirror image of the first with Bayswater pressing forward only to be caught short on the counter-attack as Paul Dundo, Glenn Noblett, Learmont and Shiraz Sasikumar all came close to adding to Queens Park's tally before the referee called an end to the game. Bayswater took out both the earlier games, the Reserves 7-5 in a penalty shoot-out and the Under-18's 4-2 courtesy of a hat-trick from Luke O'Neill.
The biggest surprise of the round took place at Litis Stadium where an under-strength Kingsway Olympic defeated Premier League outfit Floreat Athena 1-0. Olympic had a youthful look to themselves for the match and were without the regular defensive combination of Alan Nanini and Jason Stern (both injured) along with suspended midfielder Danny Trandos. From the opening kick it was the visitors that looked the committed side with some probing attacks down both flanks. And it didn't take long for Olympic to benefit as Sota Iwasaki darting between the defenders to deliver a pinpoint cross to Nigel Comito who confidently made it one-nil. Although Jamie Trandos worked tirelessly in midfield, Athena could find few avenues to goal over the opening period and went in at the break wondering where a goal would come from. Lacking penetration, Athena's frustrations only grew upon the resumption of play as Olympic grew in stature. Liam Moorhouse, Steve Bretti and Iwasaki could each have secured the match during the second half but were unable to make the most of their opportunities. Olympic also claimed victory in the Reserves meeting which ended 3-1, while the Under-18 match was won 4-2 by Athena.
A stunning five-goal haul from State striker Branimir Mikulic fired Fremantle City into the Second Round with a 9-0 mauling of Dianella White Eagles at Ken Allen Reserve Field. Amazingly, it was Dianella that started the better of the sides and in truth were unlucky no to go in front with a well hit shot that flew narrowly wide. Ten minutes in Kevin Correia broke through by heading in a cross from the right, and a minute later Mikulic drilled home the first of his match-winning quintet. With Fremantle running rampant Mikulic again found the target midway through the half, then Correia completed his hat-trick with strikes after 33 and 38 minutes. With half-time approaching the margin blew out to six goals with off-season Jason Godfrey recruit bagging his first goal at senior level. To their credit Dianella came out for the new half in a positive frame of mind only to be overwhelmed by a far more composed opponent. Although they eased off to a degree, Fremantle added another three to their tally with Mikulic netting in the 47th, 52nd and 71st minutes. "To win nine-nil is very pleasing," coach Greg Kazmer said. "After a reasonable night series, this performance was a morale booster for the team." The was the perfect end to a memorable day for Fremantle who took out the reserves 5-0 and the Under-18's 8-0.
Only the brilliance of goalkeeper Jason Razmovski prevented Inglewood United from hitting double figures against Stirling Suns at the National Stadium. Quick to assert their dominance, Ryan Newhill and Michael Baczynski both made the most of some hesitant defending to open up a two-goal buffer after just 4 minutes. Relief came six minutes later for the Suns when Billy Ristevski ghosted in behind the defence to cleverly flick Sveto Velkovski's probing free-kick past a stunned Nick Stone. Razmovski single-handedly kept his side in the match by turning away a torrent of shots as Inglewood peppered the goal. But there was only so much the young 'keeper could do and in the 27th minute his defences were breached by Baczynski who headed in a corner from Jason Colli. Inglewood's onslaught continued after the break with a succession of shots denied by either Razmovski or the frame of his goal. With 67 minutes expired Billi Ristevski opted for route one to goal and superbly played the ball into the path of Jamie Divjkovski who darted past the last defender and rolled his shot past Stone from 16-metres to make it 3-2. A minute later the pressure on Inglewood intensified with the harsh dismissal of Shaun Kilkelly dissent. Following a period of readjustment in which Razmovski thwarted Farrell Hedges twice in as many minutes, Colli sealed victory in the final minute by side-stepping a defender before threading his shot between 'keeper and post from a narrow angle.
The City of Mandurah was treated to a footballing spectacle when Bassendean Caledonian ventured south to take on local heroes Mandurah City. Some fantastic movement of the ball saw the hosts go close to taking an early lead with Michael Bobridge hitting the upright and opposing goalkeeper Steve Grant making a number of impressive saves. However, it was Caledonian who would get on the scoresheet first with Graeme Matthews benefitting from a defensive error to score the match opener on the half hour. Mandurah were quickly back on level terms with Adam Parmenter finishing well from just inside the 18-yard box. The second half began with Caledonian in devastating touch, racing to a 3-1 lead as Graeme Matthews and Daniel Harrop found the target in quick succession. With the clock fast ticking down Mandurah produced a remarkable comeback to resuscitate their Cup dream. Jordan Rhodes drilled a vicious corner to the far post where Christian Paschewitz out-jumped the defence to power the ball into the back of the net. Minutes later Mandurah drew level via another corner with Paschewicz again the scorer. Four minutes into extra-time Michael Green deflected wide a shot from Matthews, and from the resultant Peter Vukmirovic netted in a goalmouth scramble to give Caledonian victory by 4-3. Goals from Gary Attrill, Adam Boone and Mikel Sesma gave Mandurah's reserves a 3-0 win, while the Under-18 game ended 0-3 in favour of Caledonian for whom James Warner, Josh Waterhouse and Corey Bessant were the scorers.
Despite taking an early lead, Balcatta proved no match for the silky skills of traditional rival Perth S.C. who ran out 7-1 winners in a match switched to Percy Doyle Reserve without explanation. It was a dream start for Balcatta with Victor Bogus playing the ball over the opposing defence for David Moschilla who out ran his marker and chipped the advancing goalkeeper on the quarter hour. It took Perth just two minutes to find an equaliser via John Nicolaou, and not long after Robbie Puca added a second at close-range to put them in front. Aleandro Di Nuzzo came agonisingly close to putting Balcatta back on level terms but his free-kick from 18-metres crashed into the crossbar. Perth's advantage was increased as David Onoforo headed in a superb cross from Daniel Micevski. Balcatta showed their never-say-die attitude by continually applying the pressure to Perth's rearguard as the half came to a close but they must have sensed it just wasn't going to be their day when Adrian Caloiero beat the 'keeper only to for his shot to hit the base of the upright. In the second half Perth simply ran away with the match. Nicolaou headed in a corner after 57 minutes to kill off Balcatta's hopes of a what would have been remarkable fightback. Ben Rogers made it 5-1 after 62 minutes, Puca rifled home from just outside the penalty area, and Onoforo completed the route in stoppage time by rounding the goalkeeper to convert.
E.C.U. Joondalup made the long trip to Bunbury worthwhile by taking out their Cup clash with South West Phoenix 4-0 in a Second Round match brought from next weekend. Within two minutes of kick-off Joondalup had taken the lead through a tremendous shot from new signing Gareth Phillips who drove the ball into the bottom corner from 23-metres. Not long after the usually reliable Garin Collins was presented with a good opportunity to increase the margin only to stray the shot wide. Joondalup didn't have to wait long, however, for their second which Dale McCulloch side-footed following some fine lead-up play down the right by Peter Roberts and Alan Henderson after 25 minutes. The match was effectively ended as a contest shortly after as a great cross-field pass from John Higgin's picked out Henderson who made his way into the area and drew the defence before knocking on to Phillips who tapped into an open goal. Early in the second half the visitors made a number of changes as youngsters Daryl Platten, Craig Cheeseman and Daniel Waind were given a taste of senior football. In the 88th minute Collins capped off a workman-like performance by scoring Joondalup's fourth and final goal.
Striker Rob Milevski scored twice to give Stirling Lions a nail-biting 3-2 victory over Leeming Strikers at Macedonia Park. The match opened with the home side applying a choker hold on the Strikers defence, attacking at will and earning four corners in the first 5 minutes. After absorbing the early pressure the Strikers then went on the attack and forced a couple of good saves from debutant goalkeeper Paul Larkin. But with Leo Harman, Rob Monterossi and Rob Milevski running the midfield it was the Lions that creating the better of chances in the first half only to go without reward. The second half was twelve minutes old when the Strikers took the lead via Michael Vaz who scored from the penalty spot. A back pass error after 74 minutes resulted in a Lions free-kick from 7-metres from which Mohammad Komaderic found the gap in the defensive wall to equalise. Three minutes later though the visitors were back in front as Vaz added to the tally via a swift counter-attacking move. The Lions drew level in the very last minute of regulation time as Rob Milevski cool slotted home from close range. The match wasn't decided until the 109 minute when Milevski made the most of a one-on-one with the Strikers goalkeeper.
Swan I.C. began their defence of the Boral Cup with a hard fought 3-1 win over First Division side Gosnells City at the Swan Italian Club. The visitors pulled off an early surprise by taking the lead after 9 minutes when a defensive mix-up between Tony Cumace and Corey Hugo saw Adam Bremner lip in and lift the bobbling ball over the advancing goalkeeper. Swan waited just five minutes before hitting back through a cracking strike from Damian Scali which rocketed past Jason Mehnert and into the net. The pace and skills of Brian Cairney and Bremner caused the Swan defence several nervous moments as Gosnells looked to restore their lead. In the final minute of the half Paul Lincoln made a surging run into the box only to be brought down, the referee wasting no time in pointing to the spot from where Elton Holmes made it 2-1. After the break the match belonged to Swan who controlled play for long periods but were restricted to shooting from distance thanks to a well-drilled opposing backline. The tie was eventually settled with two minutes remaining when Cumace produced a spectacular overhead kick to finally finish off a brave Gosnells line-up. The win complete Swan's clean sweep of the day following the Reserves 3-1 win and a 4-0 scoreline in favour of the black and whites Under-18 side.
Wanneroo City scrambled their way into the next round by knocking off Rockingham City 2-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Although they enjoyed the lions share of possession, Wanneroo struggled to find their rhythm against a Rockingham side which allowed them little time on the ball. Even so, Wanneroo took the lead after 17 minutes when Scott Bulloch tried his luck from distance with a powerful strike which wrong footed the Rockingham goalkeeper. With a goal to their credit as a settler, the home side began to put together good moves and started to hit their stride. Midway though the half and against the run of play Rockingham equalised through a free-kick which Glenn Hallums drilled low through the defensive wall and into the net from 17-metres. Putting the goal quickly behind them Wanneroo seized control of the match through a hard working midfield which carved out numerous opportunities to add to the tally without success. All that changed, however, a minutes from half-time when a cross into the 18-yard box went to feet and in the ensuing melee Stuart Collins was able to knock the ball over the line from close-range. Neither side showed much inventiveness after the interval, both resorting to a long ball game which lead to few chances on goal and even fewer highlights for the spectators who were glad to hear the final whistle.
Western Knights advanced to the Second Round of the Cup with a convincing 5-1 win over Canning City at Nash Field. On a bright, sunny day in Mosman Park it was Canning who got off to a dream with Julio Barrendilla grasped an early opportunity to put his team in front after 8 minutes. Canning sensed their chance and fought valiantly to increase their lead only to have the home side draw level in the 40th minute as Claus Nielsen headed in a corner played to the near post by Mark Lee. Right on the stroke of half time Alex Christie found himself with time and space beat the goalkeeper to give the Knights a 2-1 lead. The Knights commenced the new half determined to kill of the match - which is exactly what they did. Lee got the ball rolling by sending a free-kick into the back of the net four minutes after the re-start. Four minuets later Luka Jukic got himself on the scoresheet by finishing off a neat exchange of passes and tapping in Nielsen's excellent cross from the right. Having come off the bench, Andrija Jukic beat several defenders before firing into the roof of the net with his left foot after 69 minutes for his first goal at senior level. The Reserves match was won 3-0 by the Knights whose day was started with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out win in the Under-18's.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Kingsway Olympic and Queens Park are though to the next stage of the Boral Cup after claiming the scalps of top flight clubs in the First Round of the prestigious knock-out competition on Saturday. Nigel Comito was on target for Olympic in their surprise 1-0 defeat of Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. And at Frank Drago Reserve Bayswater City's early exit came at the hands of Queens Park for whom Brian Robertson was the scorer of the games only goal.
A number of other Premier League clubs struggled against lower ranked opponents. Swan I.C. were far from convincing in defeating Gosnells City 3-1. It took a golden goal for Bassendean Caledonian to get past Mandurah City 4-3. Extra-time was also needed at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions fell over the line by a 3-2 scoreline at the expense of Leeming Strikers. Inglewood United may have dominated over Stirling Suns but were unable to secure a 4-2 win until late in the game.
Branimir Mikulic and Kevin Correia did much of the damage as Fremantle City hit nine past Dianella White Eagles without reply. Balcatta took a shock 1-0 lead and hit the woodwork twice before Perth S.C. ran riot to win 7-1 at Percy Doyle Reserve, Western Knights cruised to a 5-1 win over Canning City, and Sorrento accounted for Ashfield 5-2. Wanneroo City found the going tough before emerging 2-1 winners over Rockingham City. In a Round Two fixture brought forward, South West Phoenix succumbed 0-4 at home to E.C.U. Joondalup.
THE POWER OR THE GLORY - WHO'S IT TO BE?
The nations top two clubs - Parramatta Power and Perth Glory - meet on Sunday afternoon to decide the last ever champion of the National Soccer League. The match has all the makings to be an absolute classic with plenty of goals assured, Power finding the net 64 times (in 26 games) so far this season to Glory's 63 (27 games), and of those 19 goals have been produced in the four meetings between the two teams.
Power's go into the match as red-hot favourite, undefeated in their past nine outings (which includes two wins over Glory) and cheered on by what is expected to be a capacity crowd at Parrmatta Stadium. The club have on their books some of the biggest names in the Australian game including Goalkeeper of the Year nominee Clint Bolton, Australian internationals Simon Colosimo and Ahmad Elrich, German import Andre Gumprecht and strike partners Saso Petrovski and Ante Milicic, this seasons leading goalscorer.
This is Glory's fourth grand final appearance since entering the N.S.L. eight years ago, but it's also their first on away soil and their first as underdogs. The side have relied heavily on Damian Mori and Bobby Despotovski for their goals this season but with the likes of Tom Pondeljak and Jamie Coyne coming through midfield their options are plenty. In Jason Petkovic they have some of the safest hands in the goalkeeping business, while the central pairing of Shaun Murphy and Jamie Harnwell provide Glory the with one of the league's best defences.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
All the glitz and glamour of knock-out football comes to town this weekend with the First Round of the Boral Cup. Several First Division sides will be out to cause an upset, none more so than Mandurah City who welcome Bassendean Caledonian to Peelwood Parade. Fremantle City will also need to be on their guard when they host Dianella White Eagles, while Queens Park will be aiming to topple bayswater City when they meet at Frank Drago Reserve. Ashfield take on an injury ravaged Sorrento, and Kingsway Olympic meet Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium.
Swan I.C. are tipped to progress at the expense of Gosnells City, while old friendships will be re-kindled when traditional rivals Perth S.C. and Balcatta meet at Percy Doyle Reserve. Western Knights host Canning City, Inglewood United have home ground advantage over Stirling Suns, and at Macedonia Park Stirling Lions take on Leeming Strikers. Wanneroo City are expected to be too strong for Rockingham City in the weekends only all First Division clash. In a match brought forward from the Second Round, South West Phoenix host E.C.U. Joondalup at Bunbury’s Soccerdrome.
LOCAL DUO NAMED IN NATIONAL YOUTH SQUAD
Nick Ward and Liam Liam, of Perth Glory and Cockburn City respectively, have been called into camp for the Young Socceroo's, Australia's national Under-20 team. Both players spent last year at the Australian Institute of Sport where they came to the attention of national coach Ange Postecoglou. Ward and Lilly will attend a two-week training camp in France commencing next Monday, 5th April, as Australia commence preparations for the 2005 World Youth Championships in the Netherlands. While in camp the Young Socceroo's are expected to play a number of friendlies against the youth teams of Lille, Belgium, Lens and which include Paris St Germain.
The full training squad is Kaz Patafata (Australian Institute of Sport), Mark Milligan (Blacktown City), Marinos Gasparis (Bulleen), Nikolai Tapor-Stanley (Canberra Deakin), Liam Lilly (Cockburn City), Nick Stavroulakis (Empoli), Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Knights), Stuart Musialik, Keegan Wolfenden (Newcastle United), Mark Bridge, Danny Vukovic (Parramatta Power), Nick Ward (Perth Glory), Adam Federeci (Sardinia), Kristian Sarkies, Vince Lia (South Melbourne), Jay Lucas (Southampton), Jacob Timpano (Wollongong Wolves), Trent McClenahan (West Ham United) Christopher Tadrosse and Billy Celeski (both uncontracted).
ON THIS DAY … 1955
An imposing central defender, Dave Jones (born 1st April, 1955) made a significant contribution to soccer at both the local and national scenes. Recipient of State representative honours as a junior, Jones stepped up to the senior ranks for Kwinana United while still a teenager. It was clear from early on that the young defender was destined for bigger and better things and it wasn’t long before he earned a call-up to the senior State team. Over the course of the next few years Jones would turn out for Western Australia on numerous occasions against the likes of Chelsea, Glasgow Rangers, Middlesbrough, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland, amongst others.
In June 1975 Jones, Gary Marocchi and Steve Iozzelli were part of the Australian youth squad which played South Korea and Burma in the 6th Jakarta Anniversary Cup Tournament in Indonesia. That same years, and despite missing seven games due to State duty, the 20-year old Kwinana United defender became the first Australian-born player to win the Rothmans Gold Medal. Two years later he joined West Adelaide and missed just one game of the inaugural National Soccer League season. Possessing a no-nonsense approach to defending Jones successful year was made memorable with his first ‘A’ appearances for Australia in the end of year friendlies with Singapore and Kuwait.
The following season Jones scored some valuable goals for West Adelaide who took out the N.S.L. championship by a single point over Sydney-based side Eastern Suburbs. Further international honours followed with appearances in the home series with Greece. Jones was an ever-present in his third and final season with West Adelaide who ended the 1979 campaign in a disappointing sixth place. During the off-season he joined Adelaide City and over the next two years was rarely out of the starting line-up. It was during his time with the Zebra’s that Jones made the last of his five appearance for the Socceroos in the 2-2 draw with visiting Czechoslavakia.
Jones commenced 1982 with South Melburne but after a handful of outings transferred to Preston Makedonia. The following season he was an ever-present for the Preston side that competed all season for top honours only to finish third, just three points behind champions St George. After 185 games and 11 goals Jones brought to a close his career in the N.S.L. He returned to Perth in 1984 and over the next three years wore the colours of Perth Azzurri until his retirement, aged just 31. Jones’ contribution to the round ball game in Western Australia was officially recognised in 1996 when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
BALGA SEEK PLAYERS
Former Soccer West Coast club, Balga, are on the lookout to strengthen their WAASSA First Division squad. The club head into the 2004 season with an all new coaching staff who are confident of a successful campaign. Interested players are asked to attend training at Brian Burke Reserve (on Princess Road, Balga) on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6.30pm. Alternatively, visit the club's website at http://balgasc.tripod.com or phone the clubrooms on 9342 9587 during training nights.
BIRMINGHAM BOSS HAILS LAZARIDIS
Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce has praised Stan Lazaridis for turning himself into a 'complete' player. The versatile left-sided player, who featured prominently in the Socceroo's defeat of South Africa this week, has been one of the Blues star performers as they've emerged as a credible force in the English Premier League. "For me, Stan has been a revelation since we've come into the Premiership," said Bruce of the 31-year-old. "He wasn't an automatic choice when we were in the First Division but he's knuckled down and done what's been required of him."
"When I first came he just wanted to play as an out-and-out left-winger, he didn't want to have any defensive responsibilities," added the Birmingham boss. "But over the last 18 months or so, he's done the lot, he's become a complete player. He covers ground, tackles, works back and has shown us his heading ability. On top of that, he's still a big threat going forward and gets crosses in. When he plays as he has done recently, like he did against Leeds United (on the weekend), he's as good as anybody in this league."
DESPOTOVSKI TO MAKE RECORD APPEARANCE
Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski will set a new club appearance record when he steps out for Sunday's National Soccer League Grand Final. The outing will be the 32-year olds 212th in Glory colours, surpassing the previous record of 211 games played by Scott Miller whose season was cut short in January by an achilles injury. The scorer of 102 goals for Glory, Despotovski is hoping to end his professional career with another championship winner's medal to accompany the one he won last season. Joint third with 145 games apiece for Glory are Jamie Harnwell and goalkeeper Jason Petkovic, with retired great Gareth Naven closely behind on 143 games.
FA CUP EXTRAVAGANZA
Frontier Sport and Forrestfield United will join forces with the stars of Perth Glory and local media identities to bring to the soccer fans of Perth all the tradition, excitement and atmosphere of the English FA Cup Final in a panel show and live telecast extravaganza. Please email or phone (9388 1567) Justin at Frontier Sport for more details.
INJURY CLAIMS DI FULVIO
For the second time this month Swan I.C. have had their numbers trimmed by retirement. Towering centre half Michael Di Fulvio has called it quits from the game at the age of 23 due to an on-going back complaint. “About three and a half years ago I had a bad fall in which I damaged the sciatic nerve, split a disc and twisted my pelvis,” Di Fulvio explained. “I was given the choice of having synthetic discs put in my back and a metal plate on the lower part of my spine which would mean I’d no longer be able to play, or try continuous treatment with a therapist in the hope it would improve. I ended up having about twenty months of treatment and had to wear a back brace to support myself through the recovery process.”
“I played for another two years but recently had a minor relapse in a different part in my back. Making matters worse was that I also strained some back muscles early in the pre-season and was told that I’m starting to develop arthritis in my lower back, where the original injury occurred,” the defender added. “The decision was made for me when the specialist explained the consequences of playing on and the strain that would put on my body. By stopping playing now I’ll be able to limit the degree of soreness that I have in five to ten years time and still be able to run around pain free. Gary Marocchi and all the guys at Swan have been really supportive, and prior to that Steve Parkinson and Inglewood allowed me time to get back into the first team and supported me through the whole recovery which I really appreciate.”
Having spent this junior years with Bayswater Inter/City, Di Fulvio joined Inglewood in 1998 and established himself as a player for the future when named the clubs Under-18 Player of the Year. The following season he graduated to the senior ranks, helping the club to victory in the Final of the Boral Cup and recipient of Inglewood’s Under-21 Player of the Year and Rising Star awards. Early last year Di Fulvio went out on loan to Swan and in no time found himself a regular fixture of the defence alongside veteran Carlo Scali. Di Fulvio ended his career on a high by playing a leading hand in Swan’s 1-0 Boral Cup final defeat of Perth S.C. last October.
UNDERDOG TAG SITS WELL WITH HARNWELL
Jamie Harnwell has no problems with Perth Glory being labelled underdogs for this weekend's National Soccer League Grand Final against Parramatta Power. "We are going in as underdogs, which is something we haven't experienced before," Harnwell told the "West Australian" newspaper. "There's still pressure on us but on the day Parramatta will have their support and they'll be anxious to try to do things early to get their fans in the game. We'll be trying to do the opposite. Some people will say we've got nothing to lose over there. But we are still going over there to win. There's a Grand Final to win or lose."
GLORYZONE CALLS FOR COACHES
As the GloryZone continues to expand into new areas, opportunities have opened up for suitably experienced and/or qualified coaches with a passion for youth development to become involved. All positions are paid and the hours vary. The GloryZone is a skill development program aimed at boys and girls, aged six to fifteen, with the focus on helping young players reach their potential. The GloryZone has been operating since January 2002 and now has over 550 members throughout Perth, Mandurah and rural Western Australia. If you are interested in becoming involved in this exciting development program please send your coaching resume to the Glory Zone, PO Box 185, Wembley 6913. For more details contact Mark Lee at the GloryZone office by phoning 9383 9911, or send an email to email@example.com
SOCCEROOS DOWN BAFANA BAFANA
Australia defeated South Africa 1-0 in a tightly-contested friendly international at Loftus Road, London, in front of 16,108 spectators. Although on the back foot for much of the opening period Australia went in front after 19 minutes when Mark Viduka cleverly flicked the ball over his head to Marco Bresciano who volleyed home. A minute later Scott Chipperfield almost increased the Socceroos lead with a lob over goalkeeper Hans Vonk what was cleared off the line by Bradley Carnell. Shaun Bartlett should have levelled after 37 minutes but he overran the ball after going around Schwarzer. Australia rode their luck after the break with Siyabanga Nomvete forcing a great save from Schwarzer, and shortly after Thabang Molefe blasted narrowly wide. Perth-born Stan Lazaridis, who continued his usual attacking forays down the left flank, played a full game for the Socceroos.
JONES AND MADASCHI STAR FOR UNDER-23’S
On their return to international duty, West Australians Brad Jones and Adrian Madaschi were key performers when the Australian Under-23 side held Greece to a scoreless draw at Panthessaliko Stadium in Volos. The host nation pressure Australia over the opening period but were unable to penetrate the defensive pairing of Madaschi and Patrick Kisnorbo. With goalkeeper Brad Jones marshalling the defense, Australia held firm and created several chances on the counter-attack but were unable to make the most of their chances. Australia’s composure grew as the game wore on with Carl Valeri influential in midfield. Greece enjoyed their best passage of the match during the closing stages but a tiring Australia held on to draw. Suffering from a virus, David Tarka was declared unfit to play on the eve of the friendly.
D’AVRAY PUZZLED BY GRAND FINAL VENUE
Parramatta Power have everything in their favour for Sunday’s National Soccer League Grand Final according to Mich d’Avray. The Perth Gory coach believes the game should be played at a neutral venue in Sydney and not Parramatta Stadium. “I just find it strange that for the last few Grand Finals we’ve had to move from our home ground and Wollongong Wolves had to do the same when they reached the Grand Final,” commented d’Avray. “And all of a sudden the rules change and Parramatta get to play at home. I find it quite odd.” It’s the first time in seven seasons that a club have been granted the right to play the championship decider at the same venue they used throughout the home and away season.
SWC CLOSE TO DEAL WITH BIRMINGHAM (courtesy Soccer West Coast)
Soccer West Coast are poised to forge an exciting link with English club Birmingham City. Negotiations are currently taking place for the Premier League club to offer trials to two players from the ranks of the 2004 Junior Champions League with the possibility of the youngsters joining the Blues playing staff on apprenticeship terms. Paul Tombides, general manager of SWC, flew to England last night to meet with Birmingham manager Steve Bruce and other club officials tie up any loose ends on the deal. “This will be a fantastic opportunity for our best players from the Junior Champions League and a terrific incentive for the youngsters who will be coming through the championship in later years ,” said Tombides.
During his two and a half week stay in England, Tombides will also meet with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Blackburn Rovers boss Graeme Souness. “I will be discussing matters of mutual interest with both managers and who knows where that might lead,” said Tombides. The SWC general manager will watch Manchester United go through their paces at their training ground and will be a guest of the club at their FA Cup semi-final clash with Arsenal. He will be a guest of Birmingham when they host Manchester United at St Andrews. Tombides will also be having talks with at least two Premier League clubs regarding possible tours to Western Australia to take on the State team in high-profile challenge matches either later this year or in 2005.
MADASCHI INKS NEW DEAL
Australian defender Adrian Madaschi celebrated his recall to the Under-23 squad by signing a new 12-month contract with Partick Thistle. The towering centre-half has improved markedly with each outing for the Scottish Premier league club since joining them late last year. “Adrian has come on a lot over the past few months and we feel he is a player that we can get a lot more out of next season,” Partick co-manager Derek Whyte told ptfc.co.uk. “He is talented, willing to learn [and] his improvement over the season as a whole suggests he is one who can take his game on to the next level.”
FOCUS NOW ON GRAND FINAL SAYS GLORYS’ CACERAS
Adrian Caceres was delighted to help Perth Glory in their five-goal thrashing of Adelaide United yesterday. “It’s a job well done, everyone’s delighted,” said the former Southampton players told www.tribalfootball.com. “There were no celebrations in the dressing room afterwards. We know we have a job to do and are staying focused for Parramatta next week. Mich d’Avray sent us out with our ears burning. He got us all fired up after the problems against Parramatta and all the boys are delighted to have met his challenge.”
With Brad Hassell ruled out of the Adelaide clash due to suspension, Caceras took over on the left side of midfield where he played a key role for Glory with several penetrating runs into attacks. “I was pleased with how it went, particularly in the first-half,” commented the popular Caceras. “I was able to get past their fullback a few times and put in some crosses. I got inside a few times as well and gave them some problems. I hope I’ve given Mich something to think about because it would be a dream come true to start next week.”
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
The first trophy of 2004 has gone to Perth S.C. who demolished Western Knights 3-1 to claim the Night Series title at Litis Stadium. From the opening minute until the final whistle Perth looked every bit like the champion side they are with some great movement, elegant touches and pinpoint passes that caused their opponent all sort of troubles. The dismissal after 23 minutes of Stuart Montgomery made the Knights task near impossible, and when David Onoforo netted shortly before the break there was only going to be one outcome. Rob Giorgi added Perth’s second five minutes into the second half and the icing was put on the cake by Todd Howarth after 58 minutes. Daniel Trim bagged a late consolation for the Knights.
Perth Glory progressed to the National Soccer League Grand Final with a 5-0 trashing of Adelaide United at Subiaco Oval on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Adelaide were lucky not to go into half down more than one goal down, that goal being a superb Bobby Despotovski free-kick in the 10th minute. The floodgates were prised open six minutes into the second half by Damian Mori who added his second and the teams third in the 69th minute. Despotovski completed a sweeping attack by tucking the ball under goalkeeper David Scarsella after 81 minutes. And the route was completed by Nick Mrdja who finished brilliantly two minutes from full-time. Glory meet Parramatta Power next weekend in the season finale at Parramatta Stadium.
Armadale and South West Phoenix remain as the only teams with a perfect win record after the completion of Round Two of the First Division season. At Alfred Skeet Oval Armadale brushed aside Dianella White Eagles 3-1, while home side Rockingham City proved no match for Phoenix who ran out 3-0 winners. Wanneroo City were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Morley Windmills, Gosnells City thumped Balcatta 4-2, and Canning City downed Leeming Strikers 2-1. Mandurah City got their season back on track with a 1-0 defeat of Stirling Suns, and Kingsway Olympic shared the points with Ashfield 2-2. Queens Park had the bye.
NIGHT SERIES, FINAL
Perth S.C. have claimed the first trophy of 2004 with a 3-1 demolition of Western Knights in the final of the Night Series at Litis Stadium. From the opening kick Perth went on the attack to establish a pattern of play that would dominate this match. Much of their drive came from an electrifying performance by central midfielder Rob Giorgi along with Todd Howarth and Daniel Micevski who were dominant on their respective flanks. The Blues first chance on goal came via David Onoforo who was quickly on to a ball played over the Knights defence only to toe-poke his shot just wide as Tommi Tomich narrowed the angle. A few minutes later Onoforo collected a Howarth throw-in to wriggle between two defenders but on this occasion his shot was straight at the goalkeeper. With little opportunity to play the game on their terms the Knights were forced to spent the opening exchanges on the defensive.
If the Knights thought the going was tough then their task was made all the more difficult after 23 minutes when Stuart Montgomery received his marching orders for lashing out at David Micevski in full view of the fourth official. Six minutes later Mark Pottier caught Tomich unsighted with a powerful drive from 18-metres that crashed into the base of the upright. Through some sublime passing, deft touches and great movement Perth went forward time and time again before being rewarded three minutes from the interval. From wide on the right Pottier floated the ball into the heart of the 18-yard box where David Annal and Jason Williams succeeded only in putting the ball at the feet of Onoforo who rounded Tomich to score the crucial opening goal.
Any hopes the Knights had of getting back in the match were dashed five minutes into the second half when Daniel Micevski’s cross from the right was nodded down by Aaron Cole and into the path of Giorgi who volleyed in from 6-metres. For the next fifteen minutes Perth took up camp in the Knights half to which they had no response. Howarth swung a low free-kick around the defensive wall but found Tomich well positioned to save at the near post. A few minutes later Daniel Micevski brilliantly brought under control a high ball from Howarth before turning his marker only to shoot over the crossbar. The outcome was assured by Howarth who waltzed past three challenges inside the box then side-stepped Tomich to net after 58 minutes.
With their hands on the trophy Perth eased off the intensity and allowed their opponents some shooting practice. It took until the 70th minute for Robert Scarparolo to be called into action but he wasn’t troubled by Lukic Jukic’s volley from 17-metres. Substitute Greg Montenegro stretched Scarparolo not long after when he found space in the area, then a powerful shot on the turn from Daniel Trim which the Perth ‘keeper deflected wide for a corner. Three minutes from full-time the Knights bagged a classy consolation goal with Claus Nielsen slotting to Trim who controlled with his first touch and blasted beyond Scarparolo with his second from just inside the box. Perth were in red-hot form this evening, totally dominating play from the opening minutes and with contributors in every position. “My boys worked hard and trained for this,” commented Graham Normanton who’s lead Perth to three Night Series titles in the past four years. “Their application was terrific.”
Perth S.C. : Robert Scarparolo, Dino Djulbic, Aaron Cole, Michael Icanovski
(Damian Catalano 75), Todd Howarth, Daniel Micevski (Ben Rogers 69), Mark
Pottier, David Micevski, Rob Giorgi (John Nicolaou 49), Robbie Puca, David
Western Knights : Tommi Tomich, Leon Russell, Claus Nielsen, Jason Williams, David Annall (Ivan Zuvela 53), Carl Medica (Greg Montenegro 53), Juka Jukic, Daniel Trim, Mark Lee, Stuart Montgomery, Josh Kamasz (Alex Christie 62)
Bookings : Trim (60), Williams (78), Cole (80+)
Dismissals : Montgomery (23)
Referee: Jeremy Oliphant
Attendance : 800 (approx.)
FIVE STAR GLORY INTO GRAND FINAL
Perth Glory produced one of their best performances of the season to sweep aside Adelaide United 5-0 in this afternoon’s National Soccer League preliminary final at Subiaco Oval. Glory’s intentions were clear from early on as a close-range header from Damian Mori forced a great reflex save from David Scarsella. But there was no such luck for the Adelaide goalkeeper who was caught flat-footed as Bobby Despotovki’s curling free-kick from 20-metres found a gap in the defensive wall and crept in at the far post with 10 minutes elapsed. The hosts next opening came via Adrian Caceras who rocketed the ball over the crossbar after a jinxing run into attack. Adelaide created a couple of half chances midway through the half but Aaron Goulding’s low cross into the area was intercepted by Jason Petkovic who shortly after wasn’t troubled by a weak shot from Ross Aloisi. The remainder of the half belonged to Glory with Tom Pondeljak, Mori and Despotovski all went close to adding to their teams tally.
The visitors luck ran out six minutes into the second as Mori swooped on an attempted back pass by Matthew Kemp and slid the ball under the advancing goalkeeper. Adelaide refused to give up but must have realised it just wasn’t going to be their day when Carl Veart found the net ten minutes later only to have incorrectly disallowed for offside. The match was all but over after 69 minutes as Despotovski send Pondeljak down the right and the midfielder played a perfect cross to the feet of Mori who made no mistake from 15-metres. Glory continued on their merry, mounting wave after wave of attack. The margin blew out to four goals in the 81st minute as Pondeljak unselfishly drew Scarsella out of position then squared to Despotovski to complete the move. With two minutes remaining Wayne Srhoj worked a neat one-two with Pondeljak before releasing Nick Mrdja who kept his cool and rifled home with his right-foot from the edge of the box.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWO (South West Phoenix vs Rockingham City courtesy South West Phoenix; Morley Windmills vs Wanneroo City courtesy www.wanneroocity.com ; Gosnells City vs Balcatta courtesy Gosnells City; Leeming Strikers vs Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Mandurah City vs Stirling Suns courtesy Mandurah City)
South West Phoenix have gone to the top of the First Division standings following a 3-0 away defeat of Rockingham City on Saturday afternoon. With the aid of a strong wind Rockingham dominated the opening half but were unable to break down their opponents well-drilled defence that was marshaled superbly by 21-year old Aaron Cowley. A minute from the break Phoenix broke the deadlock through a fantastic diving header from Jamies Bergin following Greg Hayes’ cross. With the breeze now in their favour Phoenix took charge in the second half. Steve Suttie hit the post and David Rodgers pounced on the rebound to make it 2-0 with 55 minutes gones, and in stoppage time the same two players combined with Suttie this time the scorer. “Never have we won two matches without reply,” said an ecstatic Phoenix coach Jimmy Mayers after the game. “Never have we beaten Rockingham on their own turf and for the first time we have won two matches in succession without conceding a goal. It was a great team effort.”
In a match that had a dash of everything some great play, a bagful of goals and more than a dash of controversy home team Armadale took out with maximum points over Dianella White Eagles by 3-1. The visitors enjoyed the better of possession in the first half and could twice have taken the lead but on both occasions Zelko Savic missed the target from close range. Savic finally put the ball in the back of the net only to have his effort controversially disallowed for offside. Things just weren’t going Dianella’s way and just minutes from the interval they were reduced to ten men after Petar Mrdja was dismissed for his second bookable offence in the space of a minute. It was a surprise then that the visitors went in front on the hour when Dancho Jovanoski converted from the penalty spot. But celebrations were cut short as Armadale pressed forward soon after and Luke Morris equalised following a goalmouth scramble. With the player advantage, Armadale seized control of the match and created numerous chances before Morris again found the net to put the Reds 2-1 up. Any hope Dianella had of getting back on level terms evaporated when Jovan Djukanovic was red carded for a deliberate handball on the goalline nine minutes from full-time. Although Armadale failed to convert from the spot they were able to secure the points with Morris completing his hat-trick after a superb throughball from Aaron Beattie.
Spectators who turned up to Wotton Reserve for the Morley Windmills-Wanneroo City clash could only have gone home satisfied with a fine afternoon’s entertainment. The hosts were first to strike when Rydeen Botha nodded in a free-kick played to the far post after 9 minutes. Unperterbed at being a goal down the visitors continued to play their natural attacking game only to be stung once again when a misunderstanding at the back allowed Ray Rose to snatch Windmills second. Wanneroo’s persistence was rewarded in the 16th minute when they earned a penalty which Scott Wyeth converted to reduce the gap. But Windmills weren’t finished and seven minutes from the break Rose made it 3-1. The second half was all one way traffic with Wanneroo doing all of the attacking but finding it difficult to break down a well-organised defence. Having had several penalties appeals turned down, Wanneroo were eventually successful and Scott Wyeth scored from the spot after 73 minutes to set up a grandstand finish. The equalising goal arrived four minutes from the end when Sam Miller’s long-range shot deceived the goalkeeper after taking a deflection off a defender.
Out of action last week with the bye, Gosnells City were confident of making a good start to their season when they welcomed Balcatta at Walter Padbury Reserve. With some crunching challenges put in that would have tested even the most hardened player, some early chances presented themselves at both ends of the ground but rusty finishing meant neither goalkeeper was really called into action. But that changed on 14 minutes when Jamie Grindley lifted his shot from distance over the ‘keeper and under the crossbar to give the hosts the lead. Right on the stroke of half-time that margin became two goals as Brian Cairney wriggled free from his marker and lobbed the ‘keeper. The physical nature of the match continued after the break and when Adam Bremner added Gosnells third in the 64th minute it appeared the game was done and dusted. Balcatta, however, had other ideas and following a period of prolonged attacking they reduced the margin in the 82nd minute through Joe Cinquina and were back in the game four minutes later when Aleandro Di Nuzzo headed in their second. But Gosnells rebounded and deep in stoppage time Brian Cairny made the points save by tapping in from close-range for a 4-2 scoreline.
Canning City were keen a mustard to take maximum points over neighbouring Leeming Strikers in today’s local derby. Played in sunny but windy conditions, it took Canning just 16 minutes to find the net through Jeremy Herbert who beat goalkeeper Phil De Souza at the near post to score with a wind assisted corner. Although playing a neat passing game the Strikers were finding it difficult to penetrating their opponents resolute defence and only called Canning custodian Robbie Meyer into action on two occasions over the first half. Canning were having no such problems in getting behind the opposing defence with speedy left-sided player Julio Barrendilla creating numerous opportunities. Just before half-time Canning’s dominance was rewarded with a second goal, the Strikers failing to deal with a Gerard O’Brien corner and Alex Seed drove into the roof net from close-range. Aided by a strong breeze the Strikers piled on the pressure after the break but were unable to hit the target until 80 minutes when Greg Newcombe ran onto a loose ball to reduce the deficit.
Mandurah City have responded to their shock opening round loss by defeating Stirling Suns 1-0 at Peelwood Parade. The home side were dominant from the opening whistle with the evergreen Gary Collins and new signing Stuart Francis behind most of their drives into attack. But a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping prevented Mandurah from going into the break a goal the better. The second half saw Mandurah working hard to contain the Suns who constantly looked dangerous through some fantastic displays of individual skill. The breakthrough came after 73 minutes when Neil Connors’ probing pass found Andrew Rennie who sped through the middle of the Suns defence to rifle in from 16-metres. The final minutes saw some frantic defending from the hosts as the Suns threw everything into finding an equalising goal without success. In the Reserves, Mandurah ran out winners by a massive 10-0 margin through goals from Michael Bobridge (4), Michael Charlesworth (2), Mikel Sesma, Adam Parmenter, Adam Boone and John E. Platt. The Suns took out the Under-18 meeting 1-0.
Honours were even at Kingsway Sporting Complex where Kingsway Olympic and Ashfield played out a physical 2-2 draw. Olympic came out determined to be the first on the scoreboard as Sota Iwasaki made a number of penetrating runs into attack. And it wasn’t long before the hosts were rewarded with Ashfield defender Alex Novatsis heading past his own goalkeeper when under pressure from Jason Stern and Phil Russie. The margin was increased not long after, Iwasaki hauled down inside the box and Russie stepped up to convert the spot kick with 19 minutes gone. Olympic could have put the game beyond doubt before the break but squandered several goalscoring opportunities. Ashfield emerged for the second half a totally different proposition and quickly seized control of midfield. Hesitation to shoot cost Peter Noiszewski a goal early on, but the visitors reduced the gap shortly after from Alex Crookes’ free-kick which went in after deflecting off Stern. Ashfield earned themselves a share of the points when Olympic goalkeeper Nikolas Christos failed to hold a cross and Matt Pochroj was on hand to tap in after 71 minutes. The match ended on a sour note for Olympic who had Danny Trandos sent off for complaining about a dreadful foul on Iwasaki which, amazingly, was unpunished by the referee.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Bassendean Caledonian vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Sorrento vs Floreat Athena by Kerry Slater)
With nine first team regulars out of action it was a youthful Swan I.C. which met Bassendean Caledonian at Jubilee Reserve in their final hit out of the pre-season. In a bright opening it was Caledonian that struck first with Daniel Harrop giving them the early advantage. Swan responded swiftly but Tom Shepheard’s header hit the woodwork and Matt Ullbricht was twice denied in a goalmouth scramble. The home side increased the margin through a great shot from 18-metres by Craig Wells. Swans pulled a goal back just before half-time with Tom Shepheard knocking in a cross from Elton Holmes. The game exploded into life after the break with three goals in two minutes. Kevin Griffiths netted for the hosts, Holmes replied almost immediately, then Caledonian were awarded a penalty which McCormick converted. Tom Shepheard made it 4-3 ten minutes from the end but despite several late chances Swan were unable to level.
Bayswater City ended their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 defeat of Inglewood United at Frank Drago Reserve. The hosts made their intentions clear from kick-off and were rewarded for their attacking approach when a rocket from Andrew O’Neill found the bottom corner to the goal. Neither side were able to take hold of midfield where Kevin Henderson and Alan MacKenzie worked hard for their respective team. After the break Bayswater reshuffled their line-up due but were still unable to gain the upper hand. But through sheer persistence they were able to increase the margin following an Inglewood error in midfield which lead top Gareth Healy slotting home. It wasn’t until the closing stages that Inglewood got themselves on the scoreboard after turning the ball over in midfield and launching a quick counter-attack that newcomer Jason Colli tucked into the net.
Sorrento brushed aside Floreat Athena 3-0 in their friendly meeting at Percy Doyle Reserve. The Gulls dominated the opening period and took a deserved lead after 17th minute through Scott McIlroy who intercepted a clearance and belted the ball past goalkeeper Anthony Mori. Three minutes later Sorrento increased the margin when Jared Love made no mistake from 11 metres following good lead-up play from Todd Harnwell. The second half saw a much improved performance from Athena but poor finishing diminished their hopes of getting back into the match. The result was put beyond doubt on 72 minutes when a good move through the centre involving Love and Harnwell ended with James Morgan expertly slotted home from an angle. In an entertaining Reserves clash Sorrento ran out 3-2 winners, while the Under-18 fixture went 3-1 in favour of Athena.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Perth S.C. and Western Knights, the state's two most successful clubs in recent years, square off this weekend in the final of the Night Series. Games between these two old foes always provide spectators with plenty of entertainment, not to mention the occasional side serve of controversy. Many were quick to write Perth off following the summer departures of numerous first team players, but coach Graham Normanton has proved the detractors wrong by assembling a quality squad with a strong emphasis on youth. Seeking back-to-back Night Series titles, the Knights go into the match as underdogs by the slightest of margins. Ronnie Campbell's team have timed their run brilliantly and in recent outings been in red-hot form. The action gets underway at Litis Stadium on Sunday from 7.00pm.
The pick of Round Two action in the First Division takes place at Alfred Skeet Oval where last weekend's big scorers Armadale take on a rejuvenated Dianella White Eagles. South West Phoenix are tipped make it two wins from as many starts when they travel to play Rockingham City, likewise Balcatta who are away to Gosnells City. Leeming Strikers have home ground advantage over neighbours Canning City, and Kingsway Olympic welcome Ashfield to Kingsway Sporting Complex. Mandurah City will be eager to erase the memory of last weekend's shock loss when they host Stirling Suns, and at Wotton Reserve it's Morley Windmills against Wanneroo City. Out of action due to the bye are Queens Park.
ADELAIDE STAND BETWEEN GLORY AND GRAND FINAL
National Soccer League champions Perth Glory meet Adelaide United in the make-or-break preliminary final at Subiaco Oval on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 1.45pm). Glory are coming off successive losses to Parramatta Power and will be without Brad Hassell who was red cared in last week's encounter. On the plus side though is the return of Bobby Despotovski who should come straight back into the starting line-up to partner Damian Mori in attack. Adelaide have been the success story of 2003/04 and will be looking for a fairytale finish by qualifying for the season finale. But they will have to be at their best to defeat the trophy holders in front of a parochial Perth crowd. Both previous meetings between the sides have ended in Glory's favour, 4-1 in Adelaide last November and 2-0 at Members Equity Stadium two months ago. Sunday's winner goes through to the Grand Final against Power next weekend in Sydney.
STRIKERS WANT GOALKEEPER
Having commenced the season with maximum points last weekend, Leeming Strikers are on the lookout for an experienced first team goalkeeper. The First Division club recruited well over the summer months and, in combination with a strong youth policy, are widely tipped to end the coming winter season amongst the frontrunners. Players interested in joining the club outright, or on loan, are asked to contact coach Mike Brazil (041 8959 201) or club vice-president David Anderson (040 7456 162) for further details.
FIVE IN RUNNING FOR NSL AWARDS
Western Australia is well represented in the annual National Soccer League awards. Perth Glory trio Tom Pondeljak, Jason Petkovic and Mich d'Avray have been nominated for the Warren Medal (aka Players Player of the Year), Goalkeeper of the Year and Coach of the Year awards respectively. This is in addition to the club winning the N.S.L. Premiership as well as the Fair Play Award for season 2003/04. Eddie Lennie is in the running for the Referee of the Year, while Australian youth international Lisa De Vanna is one of three nominees for the Julie Dolan Medal (aka Women's N.S.L. Player of the Year).
LAZARIDIS TO FACE SOUTH AFRICA
Stan Lazaridis will get the opportunity to add to his international experience when Australia take on South Africa in London next week. The Birmingham City midfielder is the only West Australian in Frank Farina's 22-player Socceroo squad for the friendly being played Loftus Road on Tuesday 30th March. Part of the Australian squad for last month's clash with Venezuela, Michael Petkovic is widely considered unfortunate to be omitted following some shining performances between the posts for Turkish club Trabzonspor.
The full Australian squad is David Zdrilic (Aberdeen), John Aloisi (Athletico Osasuna), Scott Chipperfield (FC Basel), Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City), Brett Emerton, Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Tony Vidmar (Cardiff City), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Paul Agostino (1860 Munchen), Josip Skoko (Genclerbirligi), Mark Viduka (Leeds United), Mile Sterjovski (Lille), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Tim Cahill, Kevin Muscat (Millwall), Max Vieri (Napoli), Paul Okon (KV Oostende), Marco Bresciano (Parma), Zeljko Kalac (Perugia), Craig Moore (Rangers) and Steve Laybutt (Royal Excelsior Mouscron).
GLORY ZONE SCHOOL HOLIDAY CLINICS
Go for Glory over the April school holidays. The Glory Zone are giving young players the opportunity to experience the type of training required to make you the best player possible. If you are aged between seven and sixteen and want four days of non-stop soccer action these April holidays, there is only one place to be - the Glory Zone Soccer Clinic. As well as mixing with the best coaches and fellow junior players in a structured environment, you'll also receive a Soccer Clinic pack which will make you the envy of all your friends. For more information on the up-coming Glory Zone Soccer Clinics, including enrolment forms and venue locations, visit www.perthglory.com.au and follow the Glory Zone link on the left of the screen.
WINDMILLS SHOW SOLIDARITY
The players and coaching staff of Morley Windmills have shown what they are made of by agreeing to see out the coming season without financial recompense. "This year is a time for the club to take stock and begin rebuilding for the future," said first team coach James Herbert. "The cupboard has been left bare by previous administrators and, as a result, no player or coach of Windmills will be paid this year. Everyone at the club has been made aware of the situation and all are prepared to make a short-term sacrifice to secure the future of the club."
"There is a real feeling of mutual respect between the club, who've been open and honest in their assessments, and the players that have opted to go without payment," added Herbert. "In fact the player body have taken things one step further and financed the purchase of a new playing strip, club shirts and other equipment. The new president and committee are working tirelessly to get things back on track and sponsors are slowly coming on board. It's a great feeling to be at the club at the moment with each and every person rallying behind and supporting the other."
The off-season departure, for a variety of reasons, of fifteen players from the Windmills senior list has left the club looking decidedly threadbare for 2004. "Many of last years reserve players have been asked to step up a level and play for the first team. However, we can ill afford the inevitable player drop-off due to injury, work and so forth that plagues every club at some point during the season. From the experience of last years' thirty-game season it's clear that a strong squad of about twenty-eight players is what is required. We have a group of genuinely dedicated players who will fight for every minute, week in and week out. I'm very proud of our entire squad who are developing a great team spirit through a positive attitude."
MIXED DAY FOR COYNE
There were mixed emotions for Luton Town captain Chris Coyne in the weekend clash with Plymouth Argyle. Stooping to meet a Steve Robinson free-kick, Coyne headed in his first home goal of the season to put the Hatters in front shortly before half-time. "I was pleased with it," he told www.lutontown.co.uk "It was a late run and I managed to get a good header on it." But just two minutes after the interval Coyne's game came to an end when he was forced from the field by an ankle injury. The 25-year old then watched on nervously as his teammates defended resolutely for the remainder of the match only to have Plymouth bag a late equaliser. "Watching from the sidelines is not something I want to make a habit of. It was excruciating, especially after playing a part in it."
GLORY ACE ON VERGE OF RETIRING
The curtain is coming down on the National Soccer League career of Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski. The man who has worn the No.10 shirt since the club's first ever appearance in the national competition says he will retire at the end of this season after confirmation that the new league will not start until 2005. "I definitely will be retiring," he said yesterday. "I don't think - and this is a personal view - anybody who is above the age of 32 years of age can afford fourteen months off. I am only being realistic. I am not pushing anyone to retire, I am just saying that realistically it is impossible to be on the sidelines for fourteen months and come back." Despotovski, whose scored 100 goals in 211 games for Glory, now has just one thing on his mind - another championship. "We don't want to end up third after being the best team in the league," added the striker.
PERTH TRIO CALLED UP FOR OLYMPIC TEAM
Brad Jones, Adrian Madaschi and David Tarka have been called up to for the Australian Olympic squad that takes on Greece in a friendly next week. Jones comes into the squad after withdrawing from the Olyroos' Oceania qualifiers for personal reasons. Over-looked for the Oceania series, Madaschi's inclusion is reward for some fine performances in Partick Thistle's defence. The friendly, the first between Australia and Greece at Under-23 level, takes place at the Panthessaliko Stadium, Volos, on Tuesday 30th March.
The Australian Under-23 squad consists of Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (AGF Aarhus), Gareth Edds (Bradford City), Dylan Macallister (SK Brann), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Strikers), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City), Brett Holman (Excelsior), Patrick Kisnorbo (Hearts), Carl Valeri (Inter Milan), Alex Brosque, Nick Carle, Michael Thwaite (Marconi Stallions), Anthony Pelikan (Melbourne Knights), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough), Scott McDonald (Motherwell), Jonathan McKain (National Bucharest), Ryan Griffiths (Newcastle United), David Tarka (Nottingham Forest), Adrian Madaschi (Partick Thistle), Spase Dilevski (Rot Weiss Essen) and Eugene Galekovic (South Melbourne)
GLORY WILL BOUNCE BACK SAYS D'AVRAY
Mich d'Avray is counting on the professionalism and personal pride of his players to get Perth Glory to the National Soccer League grand final. Following the 6-2 aggregate loss to Parramatta Power, the Glory coach is busily preparing his side for Sunday's sudden-death clash with Adelaide United at Subiaco Oval. "It is part of my job to lift them," he said. "I shouldn't have to try too hard. It is also their responsibility as professionals. They know as well as anyone what is needed and they have lots of professional pride."
It was more than professional pride that has been hurt over the past fortnight. Red cards to Bobby Despotovski and Brad Hassell against Power has wounded the team's reputation as the fairest side in the NSL. "We have needed more discipline over the last two weekends," said d'Avray. "It comes from frustration, I assume. Part of it is because we have been so successful, we have not been in this position at any time. It has been a bit different recently and my message to the players is 'get used to it, and show your strength of character'."
D'Avray will be looking for improved performances from some of Glory's senior players who have been far from their best in recent outings. "I don't want to name names," said the coach, "but there is no doubt that some big names, in big games the last few weeks, have not stepped up. These players are the ones you look to lift the team. I feel they have been down the last few weeks, which is very unfortunate. They have been good all season and choose now to go off the boil ... But I believe that although they have been below their best, you cannot keep good men down."
POWER RETHINK GRAND FINAL
The National Soccer League have confirmed that the 2003/04 grand final will be held at Parramatta Stadium. The move comes after an about face by the Power board who withdrew a request that the season decider be staged in the west should Perth Glory qualify for it. As a consequence, this Sunday's preliminary final showdown between Glory and Adelaide United at Subiaco Oval will be the last opportunity for Perth-based supporters to see Glory in action this season.
ON THIS DAY ... 1902 (courtesy "A Soccer Century" By Richard Krieder)
The first three recorded games played by a Western Australian representative side were against visiting England cricket teams. It would transpire that these players were as skilled in association football as they were in cricket, even at international level. On Monday 24th March, 1902, at Fremantle Oval a record crowd of 4,000 witnessed the A.C. MacLaren XI beat the locals 4-0 in a game of two thirty-minute halves. The short halves were unavoidable because the English visitors were sailing out that afternoon - and a lengthy pre-match reception and photographic session wouldn't have helped matters either! It was not classified a true State match because of the unexplained late withdrawal of the Fremantle Wanderers players. The local line-up consisted of George Barton, S. Williams (Civic Service), J. Gorton, G. McKenzie (Corinthians), Bert Fletcher, T. O'Nurse (Olympic), Fred Burt, Reg Burt, G.Field, Arthur Rardwick (Perth) and A. Goad (Southern Cross). Notts County player J. Gunn scored twice for the visitors, while A.O. Jones and G.L. Jessop also found the back of the net.
MANDURAH THE UNDISPUTED FAVOURITE
If the local soccer community know anything about the game then Mandurah City will win this years First Division championship. The club from the Peel region were the runway winner of the latest www.soccerwa.com poll in which over 400 votes were cast in response to the question 'Which club will be crowned First Division champion for 2004?' Mandurah, who joined the professional ranks only two years ago, gathered an astonishing 24.8% of the vote to emerge as the clear favourite to win a place in the top flight for 2005. A distant second in the poll which ran for two weeks were Wanneroo City (10.3%) with Dianella White Eagles and Ashfield (8.8%) tied for third. Leeming Strikers (6.8%) weren't far behind with Armadale and Queens Park (both 6.6%) nipping at their heels.
MILESTONE ON HORIZON FOR GLORY 'KEEPER
Jason Petkovic will make his 300th National Soccer League appearance when he turns out in Perth Glory's preliminary final clash with Adelaide United on Sunday. Petkovic's professional career began with Adelaide City for whom he played on 155 occasions before joining Glory in 1999. Capped 15 times by Australia, he becomes only the third NSL goalkeeper to reach the 300 game milestone, joining Bob Catlin (345 games) and Jeff Olver (300 games). Earlier this season Petkovic created a new record for the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in the national competition. As of today's date he has kept the opposition scoreless on 114 occasions.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
The Australian Soccer Association have unveiled plans for a revamped, eight-team domestic league. The new competition has been modeled upon state lines with one team from each New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Newcastle and New Zealand with the remaining place yet to be determined. "The league has to be of a higher quality of soccer than the National Soccer League is and to achieve that, we think the best chance of achievement is by consolidation into seven Australian teams and one in New Zealand," said ASA chief executive officer John O'Neill in making the announcement. "We are attracted to the one team per city configuration. We have seen the success of Perth Glory and more recently Adelaide United. It is a configuration that makes sense." The league is expected to start in July/August 2005 and run for 25-weeks, straddling winter, spring and summer. An interim, a shortened version of the league will kick-off in early 2005, O'Neill describing it as "a bit of an appetiser".
MADASCHI DELIGHTED WITH CALL-UP
Adrian Madaschi's decision to join Scottish Premier League club Partick Thistle has paid off with the young defender called up for the Olympic teams' friendly with Greece next week. Although the Australian Under-23 squad is yet to be formally announced, the official Partick website confirmed Madaschi's selection for the game to be played in Volos, Greece, on Tuesday 30th March. "It is always nice to be selected to represent your country and I am very pleased to have this opportunity to play and give myself the chance of playing in the Olympic tournament as well," commented Madaschi. "My move here has been very good and hopefully I can continue to impress the International manager and then get to go to Athens for the finals. I hope that I can get there without missing any matches for Thistle as I know I need to keep playing to stay in contention for the first team."
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Long-time rivals Western Knights and Perth S.C. have successfully navigated their way past Floreat Athena and Fremantle City and into the Final of the 2004 Night Series. Carl Medica gave the Knights the advantage over Athena by netting from long-range late in the first half, and Daniel Trim sealed victory with a goal four minutes from the end. In the late game at Litis Stadium, Todd Howarth struck twice for Perth S.C. in Perth's defeat of Fremantle for whom Peter Lord converted from the penalty spot. The Knights and Perth will meet in the series decider next Sunday evening.
Wanneroo City confirmed that they'll be one of this years danger teams after thrashing Queens Park 5-1 on the opening weekend of the First Division season. The surprise of the round took place in Bunbury where South West Phoenix defeated title favourite Mandurah City 2-0. Balcatta had little trouble in sweeping aside Rockingham City 3-0, while Armadale and Canning City produced an eight-goal thriller in which the Reds claimed victory 5-3. Ashfield lost to Leeming Strikers by 0-1, and it was 3-3 when Stirling Suns faced off with Kingsway Olympic. The Morley Windmills-Dianella White Eagles game was postponed, and Gosnells City had the bye.
NIGHT SERIES, SEMI-FINALS
Western Knights became the first team to qualify for the Night Series final by defeating Floreat Athena 2-0 under lights at Litis Stadium this evening. With Troy Bernard making his first start of the season, Athena looked promising early on but found it difficult to break down their opponents defence. Their best chance came through Costa Socratous who evaded Jason Williams' tackle to zero in on goal only to have tommi Tomich come off his line to smother at the midfielder's feet. As the half progressed the Knights seized control of proceedings with some lovely movement of the ball resulting in several half chances. Daniel Trim made a great run into attack down the left before sending the ball into the area where Adrian Sutton happily conceded a corner under pressure. Two minutes from half-time up stepped veteran attacker Carl Medica who cut inside his marker to unleash a blistering shot from 25-metres which flew over goalkeeper Vas Vujacic and into the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 to the Knights.
After the break Josip Madgic and Socratous seized control of midfield to bring Athena back into the game, but with only Peter Coci in attack there was little which caused Tomich much of concern. Adam Bachillor should have levelled the game when and a defensive mix-up between Tomich and Claus Nielsen presented him with an open goal only for the teenager to squandered the chance from 16-metres. Relying chiefly on counter-attacking moves, the Knights could have wrapped up the game through Josh Kamasz who was through with only the goalkeeper to beat but placed his shot wide of the target. Not long after Stuart Montgomery found himself in an almost identical situation and on this occasion Vujacic thwarted his opponent. The Knights had to wait until seven minutes from full-time to seal victory as Mark Lee's free-kick was headed on to the crossbar by Kamasz and Daniel Trim pounced to score at close-range in a congested goalmouth.
Perth S.C. booked their place in the decider of the pre-season tournament with a 2-1 win over Fremantle City. The opening half was played at a cracking pace with both teams seeking an early goal but rarely were goalkeepers Robert Scarparolo and Bobson Koroma put to the test. The first genuine opening came after 11 minutes when Kevin Correira curled the ball just wide of Scarparolo's upright. Perth pushed forward almost immediately through Howarth whose ball into the area from the left evaded teammate and opponent alike. Not long after Jeff Bright was unlucky not to connect with a cross played in by Craig Surtees. Fremantle looked to have taken the lead when Correira slid in a pass from Anthony Pereira only to have his effort ruled out for offside. Just as it seemed that the half would end scoreless Todd Howarth swung in a corner that caused confusion in the Fremantle defence and was touched over the line by a defender in a crowded goalmouth to break the deadlock.
Fired up by the words of coach Graham Normanton, Perth began the new period in blistering form. A Howarth cross found Shane Crampton in front of goal but the striker crashing his shot into the crossbar from 9-metres. But the Blues didn't have to wait too long before doubling their advantage, Howarth's rasping shot from the top of the area leaving Koroma with no chance. Fremantle's Night Series appeared all but over until Jeff Bright was upended by Michael Icanovski inside the box and Peter Lord made no mistake from the spot on the hour. The port side controlled the remainder of the match, throwing players forward in a desperate search for an equaliser only to find no way past a Perth defence featuring State players Aaron Cole and Dino Djulbic. Playing chiefly on the counter-attack Perth could have secured victory in the close stages but David Onoforo was denied by Koroma, Crampton hit the post and Damien Catalano couldn't find the target from close-range.
BIRMINGHAM FOR EUROPE SAYS LAZARIDIS
Stan Lazaridis believes Birmingham City can qualifying for Europe next season. With only a handful of games remaining in the English Premier League season, the Australian international says good results against Leeds United, Portsmouth, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham and Charlton Athletic will position the Blues well for a place in Europe. "We feel with the teams coming up in the next five or six games that there is a great opportunity for us to finish in the top six," said Lazaridis. "I know we've got Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal in the last three or four weeks but we may have already established ourselves by then."
"I think we have exceeded what a lot of people thought we would achieve but now we want to keep things going for the final part of the season. We are aware that if you lose three or four games, you take yourself out of the running and at best you will finish mid-table - and we don't really want that," Lazaridis added. "Things are still very much in our own hands and we don't want to let the season fizzle out just because we've got to 40 points and achieved safety. Last season we had a very good finish and there is no reason why we can't do that again. We had an eight-game unbeaten run before we lost to Leicester City and if we can repeat that kind of run it will really help us."
GLORY NO MATCH FOR RAMPANT POWER
Parramatta Power became the first team to qualify for the National Soccer League Grand Final after brushing aside a flat Perth Glory this evening at Members Equity Stadium. While Power dominated from the outset and thoroughly deserved the 2-0 win, the home side had reason to feel aggrieved by a controversial performance from referee Matthew Breeze. The match was only 10 minutes old when Nick Mrdja had his legs taken from under him by Michael Beauchamp, but instead of awarding what was a clear penalty Breeze gave a free-kick to Power after the ball struck Mrdja's hand as he went down. Five minutes later Glory were caught ball watching at the back when Travis Dodd's cross from the left was flicked on by Saso Petrovski and into the path of the unmarked Ahmad Elrich whose perfectly struck volley dealt the home side a major blow. With flank players Elrich and Travis Dodd asserting their influence Power control the remainder of the half. The closest Glory came to scoring was in the 25th minute when Tom Pondeljak shot high from just outside the box after a surging run into attack.
The second half started with Glory in attack in mode. Straight from the re-start Brad Hassell's pinpoint cross found Mrdja but he sliced wide with only goalkeeper Clint Bolton to beat. Shortly after Glory got the ball in the net when Damian Mori pressured Bolton into spilling a high cross and Adrian Caceres was on hand to tap into an unguarded net. But although Breeze signaled a goal and there was no flag from his assistant on the line, the two deliberated for several minutes before disallowing the goal somewhat dubiously for offside. With the wind taken out of their sails for a second time, Glory failed to create many more chances and spend much of the remaining time on the defensive. The final nail in Glory's coffin came in the 65th minute as Elrich carried the ball to the edge of the 18-yard box before laying off to Petrovski who gave Jason Petkovic no chance with a superb first-time shot. Glory's woeful night was compounded by the dismissal of Hassell six minutes from the end after inexplicably lashing out at Petrovski.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND ONE (Wanneroo City vs Queens Park courtesy Wanneroo City; Rockingham City vs Balcatta courtesy Balcatta; Armadale vs Canning City by Michael Di Pietro; South West Phoenix vs Mandurah City courtesy South West Phoenix)
There was a decent sized crowd on hand to watch Wanneroo City open the First Division season with a 5-1 thrashing of Queens Park at Kingsway Sporting Complex. In a tight opening period it was the visitors that struck first with Nathan Watkins finding the net after 29 minutes. Sparked into life, Phillip O'Callaghan and Ben Yates both hit the woodwork for Wanneroo before O'Callaghan hit the target to send the teams into the break on level terms. Wanneroo's superior fitness saw them run away with the match in the second half. O'Callaghan gave the hosts the lead three minutes after the re-start, then completed his hat-trick with a superb shot from just outside the 18-yard box following a lovely exchange between Chris Currie, Stuart Collins and Sam Miller. Gareth Davies had his effort parried by the visiting goalkeeper as far as Scott Bulloch who drilled in Wanneroo's fourth on the hour. Veteran striker Nigel Aubin completed the route when he pounced upon a sloppy back pass and round the 'keeper before slotting in seven minutes from the end.
Rockingham City found themselves under siege as Balcatta dominated the opening exchanges of their meeting at Dowling Street Reserve. Aleandro Di Nuzzo scuffed his shot wide inside the first minute, while David Moschilla's pace was causing the home defence all sorts of problems. Having weathered the early storm, Rockingham squandered a golden opportunity to go in front midway through the half when awarded a penalty which Glen Hallums hit wide. Chances continued to flow at the opposite end as Di Nuzzo, Moschilla and Joe Cinquina all went close before Antoine Aquilia swung a free-kick around the defensive wall and inside the bottom left hand corner after 28 minutes. Despite some tactical and positional changes at the break Rockingham were unable to swing the match their way. But it wasn't until the closing stages that Balcatta wrapped up maximum points. Moschilla made the most of a poor clearance and slotted past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one with eight minutes remaining. And shortly after Mark Wilson got on the end of a flowing move involving Moschilla and Adrian Zonato to complete the 3-0 scoreline.
Armadale and Canning City commenced the new season with an eight-goal thriller at Alfred Skeet in which the Reds emerged triumphant 5-3. The crowd hardly had time to settle into the seats when Dennis Lee opened the scoring with little over 15 seconds gone. Seven minutes later Lee added his second and Paul Colkin put Armadale in a commanding position when he found the target to make it 3-0. Canning pegged one back after 28 minutes via Patrick Fitzgerald, only to have Jodie Henderson restore the Reds three-goal buffer shortly after. Luke Morris was in superb form in attack, playing a hand in a couple of the earlier goals before netting himself in the 36th minute. But Canning weren't done yet and went into the break 5-2 down after Alex Seed hit the target. Both teams created some good chances in the second half but with the heat taking its toll the vast majority went unconverted. The only goal of the half came after 61 minutes with Seed netting his second which reeled the final margin in to 5-3.
South West Phoenix made a dream start to the season by upsetting title favourite Mandurah City 2-0 at Bunbury's Soccerdrome. Lead by Christian Pascherwitz, Andrew Rennie and Jordan Rhodes, Mandurah attacked from the outset but met stiff resistance from a Phoenix rearguard marshaled by Damian Trim and goalkeeper Reece Braithwaite. But against the run of play Phoenix took the lead after 14 minutes when James Bergin got in behind the defence to cross for David Rodgers who made no mistake. The second half was a carbon copy of the first with Mandurah doing much of the attacking and the home side focusing on defensive duties. But eight minutes after the re-start Phoenix launched a devastating counter-attack in which Andy Cowley powered the ball home after Steve Suttie drew the defence out of position. "Not only am I thrilled with the rare win over Mandurah, I'm also thrilled with the way the players did it," said coach Jimmy Mayers. "I don't remember when last we finished with a clean sheet on our side. We always allowed at least one goal no matter how many we scored."
Michael Brazil started his reign as coach of Leeming Strikers with a hard fought 1-0 win over home team Ashfield. Having enjoyed the better of the early play Ashfield should have gone in front after 15 minutes when Matt Pochroj's cross beat the defence but Wayne Culverwell was unable to direct the ball into the net from close-range. Shortly after there was more heartache for the home side as Matt Pochroj had a shot cleared off the goal line. Ten minutes from the break the Strikers capitalised upon some sloppy defending as Michael Vaz and Greg Newcombe combined with the later finding the net in the 23rd minute. The second half saw both goalkeeper made some important saves as the teams traded attacks. The final drama unfolded three minutes from full-time when Culverwell chipped the 'keeper from 20-metres only for the goal to be disallowed following a lengthy consultation between the referee and his assistant on the line.
A late goal earned Stirling Suns a share of the points from their home clash with Kingsway Olympic. Billy Ristevski gave the Suns the lead after 5 minutes by pouncing on a defensive error to poke the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper. The visitors responded by upping the pace and soon after drew level through lively attacker Sota Iwasaki. Nigel Comito's long throw was flicked on at the front post by Jason Stern and Iswasaki slid in to tap home and put Olympic in the driving seat, then three minutes later Iwasaki made it 3-1 with a classy finish. Olympic would have added more to their tally if not for the superb efforts of the Suns goalkeeper who made numerous crucial saves to keep his side in the match. Just before the break the Suns pegged back the gap as Desimir Tosevski weaved his way past several opponents before shooting into the net. The only goal of the half came in after 84 minutes when Olympic were slow to respond and Bobby Risteski made it 3-3.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Bassendean Caledonian vs Inglewood United by Bill McAllister)
On an afternoon when the mercury nudged 37 degrees celcius, Bassendean Caledonian succumbed 1-2 to near neighbour Inglewood United in a pre-season friendly at Jubilee Reserve. Inglewood got off to a flying start when, after 6 minutes, Alan MacKenzie's cross caught out the home defence and Farrell Hedges tapped in at the far post. On the hour Inglewood's advantage was doubled with MacKenzie finding Scott Campbell who cleverly beat his marker to send a superb shot past Steve Grant. Caledonian responded after 37 minutes through Graeme Matthews who made no mistake after Oliver Taseski failed to clear the danger. MacKenzie and Bryan Hedges went close for Inglewood in the second half, while close to full-time the home team were denied an equaliser by Taseski who thwarted Matthews with a fingertip save.
Bayswater City came from behind to defeat E.C.U. Joondalup 2-1 in the northern suburbs. Joondalup were the dominant side over the opening twenty minutes and took a deserved lead when Keith Brown headed in. Having gone in front the home side then eased off in the heat to which Bayswater responded by steering control of the match their way. A stunning left-foot strike by Gareth Healy from 20-metres flew past goalkeeper Peter Stewart to level before the break. Bayswater went on with the job in the second half, showing more desire for the ball and making better use of it. The match was decided from the penalty spot by Kevin Henderson who made no mistake following a foul on Bobby Klenkoski.
HISTORY STANDS IN GLORYS' WAY
Perth Glory will be seeking to deny history on Saturday night as the attempt to bounce back from last week's 2-4 loss to Parramatta Power. Only once in National Soccer League history has a team overturned a major semi-final first leg defeat and still made the season decider. And that team was - who else - Glory who recovered from a 0-1 loss at Wollongong Wolves to host the 1999/2000 Grand Final. In Glory's favour is a fine home record against the Sydney-based club. From six meetings in the west Glory have claimed victory on five occasions to Power's one, scoring 16 goals while conceding six. The equation for Glory to host the Grand Final in their own right is simple - they must win on Saturday by two or more goals while keeping Power to one goal or less. The action gets underway from 7.00pm at Member's Equity Stadium.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Litis Stadium hosts the semi-finals of the Night Series on Sunday with Floreat Athena and Western Knights getting the ball rolling from 6.15pm. Both sides have improved enormously over the past few weeks and there won’t be more than a single goal separating them after 80 minutes. Peter Coci and Anthony Jones are the players to watch for Athena, while for the Knights it’s the midfield combination of Daniel Trim and Luka Jukic. At 8.00pm Perth S.C. go head-to-head with Fremantle City. The Blues big game experience should tips the scales in their favour but Fremantle are a tough proposition and will fight it out until the very end. Todd Howarth and David Micevski been in fine form for the Blues, while the port sides charge has been lead by Peter Lord and Kevin Correia.
Reputations will mean little with the commencement of the new First Division season on Saturday. The pick of the round takes place in the northern suburbs where Wanneroo City host Queens Park. Ashfield meet Leeming Strikers in another tantalising fixture, while South West Phoenix welcome title favourite Mandurah City to Bunbury. Canning City are home to Armadale, Stirling Suns have a difficult opening round fixture with Kingsway Olympic, and Balcatta are tipped to take maximum points from their trip to Rockingham City. The Morley Windmills-Dianella White Eagles meeting scheduled for Wotton Reserve has been postponed, while Gosnells City are thankful to have the bye.
MRDJA CONFIDENT OF VICTORY
Two months ago Nick Mrdja struck twice as Perth Glory brushed aside Parramatta Power 4-1 in what many rate as their best performance of the season. Tomorrow night the 25-year old striker is wanting to reproduce that scoring touch when Glory attempt to overturn a two-goal deficit and defeat Power in the major semi-final second-leg match at Members Equity Stadium. "We've got to go out there and score two goals and I can't see why we can't do it," Mrdja said. "We need to start in a positive frame of mind. If we can keep them under pressure and not give them time on the ball, we can do it." Mrdja, whose netted twelve goals in twenty appearances this season, has replaced Bobby Despotovski in the starting line-up.
SCHOOLBOYS SPOTS STILL UP FOR GRABS
Training for the State Schoolboys moves next week to Parnham Reserve with opportunities still existing for players to join the squad. “Trials have gone well so far but we’re always looking to add strength and depth to the squad. Anyone interested in trying out for the Schoolboys is welcome to join us for training,” said coach Damon Atthowe. The squad assembles every Wednesday for an hour-long session commencing 4.15pm at Parnham Reserve (Oats Street, Carlisle). To be eligible for the Schoolboys side you must be under the age of nineteen and studying at high school or enrolled on a full-time basis at TAFE. The 2004 Schools National Championship are being held in Adelaide during August.
In recent years several players have used the Schoolboys as a springboard to a professional career. David Tarka and Robbie Gaspar were selected for Australian representative honours in 1999 and are now plying their trade with Nottingham Forest (England) and Sabah (Malaysia) respectively. Another to move abroad after gaining a Schoolboys call-up is midfielder James Hesketh whose on the books of Welsh league leader Total Network Solutions. In addition four of the current Perth Glory squad - Gary Faria, Anthony Danze, Nick Ward and Dean Apelgren - represented West Australia at Schoolboys level. Players at the 2004 tournament could trial with Italian club Napoli who are expected to send a talent scout to Adelaide.
INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL … PART ONE
The new First Division season kicks-off this weekend with games as far north as Wanneroo and south as Bunbury, not to mention almost everywhere in-between. A seven-month campaign will test even the strongest of clubs, and with only one promotion spot up for grabs it’s going to be a very tight competition. While Mandurah City have been firmly installed as championship material with many pundits, there are a plenty of challengers waiting to pounce should the southerners slip up. Brett Klucznik takes a close look at each of the First Division clubs, assesses their stocks and makes some predictions as to how season 2004 will pan out ...
PERTH TO STAGE NSL FINALE?
Regardless of whether they win, lose or draw with Parramata Power this weekend, should Perth Glory qualify for the National Soccer League Grand Final it is likely to be played at Subiaco Oval. Parramatta Leagues Club, who own Power, have made a formal request to the Australian Soccer Association to stage the season finale in Perth - even if they earn the right to host the match.
The move has received a chilly reception from Power hierarchy including general manager Angela Travis. "The players are shattered ... If we get there the Grand Final will be our last match and while we don't have the support Perth has, they are very loyal fans and will feel totally isolated by this decision." Denis Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Leagues Club, said the decision is purely economic with the club wanting to recoup some of the $14 million it had pumped into Power during their five-year stay in the competition. Power have already stated they will fold at the end of the season and not be part of the revamped league.
Glory owner Nick Tana has queried the motives behind the decision. "It doesn't make sense," he told the "West Australian". "If we have to play this Saturday then a preliminary final at Subiaco Oval, what is the prediction for a grand final crowd if we get there? We are struggling with numbers for this week's match. Parramatta are the glamour team of the competition [yet] they could pull only 6,000 to Sunday's game. Money might be their motivation for the move but it might also be embarrassment - and not necessarily in that order."
Swan I.C. midfielder Dean Nicolaou has hung up his playing boots for the last time. The recently turned 34-year old stunned teammates at the Swan Valley club recently by announcing his retirement, citing a combination of work and family commitments, and niggling injury for his decision. "It is with regret that Dean has played his last game for the Swan," said coach Gary Marocchi. "His long career in West Australian soccer at the highest level has come to an end and we wish him well in his future work and family commitments."
"Dean has been well respected at Swan following his transfer from the Western Knights two seasons ago," added Marocchi who had nothing but praise for the midfielder. "He overcame injury problems to figure prominently in Swan's revival last year which culminated in winning a Boral Cup winners medal." A skillful left-sided player, Nicolaou played for Floreat Athena, Kingsway Olympic, Stirling Macedonia, Western Knights and Swan in a lengthy career that also saw him gain State representative honurs.
PHOENIX READY FOR ACTION
A solid pre-season has put South West Phoenix in a confident frame of mind just days out from the start of a new campaign. "Things are looking good at this stage of the season," said coach Jimmy Mayers. "I am optimistic. In fact it is looking better than at the same time last year." As in previous seasons Phoenix will be captain by Greg Hayes who, along with Steve Suttie and proven goalscoring genius David Rodgers, will be key figures this winter. Phoenix have been added some much needed depth to their ranks during the off-season by luring defender Trent Hathway back to the Soccerdrome while a number of youth team players, including highly rated Shane Russell, are pushing for a berth in the senior line-up.
Phoenix' pre-season commenced with a 3-2 defeat of South West champions Bunbury United at the start of the month. Two down at the break, Dave Murphy turned around his sides fortunes with two goals in quick succession before James Bergin netted a late penalty to decide the game. This was followed a week later by a 5-1 demolition of WAASSA side Spearwood Dalmatinac. Having conceded early Phoenix ran out comfortable winners courtesy of a David Rodgers hat-trick with Greg Hayes and Steve Suttie also getting on the scoresheet. The south-west club ended preparations for the new season with a 3-2 win over WAASSA side Azzurri on the weekend.
BUSY TIME FOR BURNLEY’S TOWNSEND
It's been a whirlwind few days for Burnley's Ryan Townsend. The teenage defender made his senior debut for the Clarets on Saturday, and 48-hours later played a leading role in the Youth Teams' progression to the final of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup. Wearing the No.24 shirt, Townsend replaced Dean West after 80 minutes to make his English League debut in the 0-4 loss to Coventry. An unused substitute for his clubs two previous First Division fixtures, Townsend performed admirably on debut against the Sky Blues and made several timely interception to prevent the margin from being greater.
Two days later Townsend, captain of the Burnley Youth Team, lead by example to score the winning goal in the Lancashire FA Youth Cup clash with Tranmere Rovers at Turf Moor. The only goal of the game arrived in the 58th minute when a corner was cleared as far as Townsend who drilled the ball home from just inside the 18-yard box. With the possibility of taking the game into extra-time, Rovers threw everything forward in the dying minutes but Townsend and his defensive colleagues remained solid to see the Clarets through to the decider.
Born in England but raised in West Australia, Townsend started out as a junior for Kingsley and spent time in the youth ranks of Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup for whom he collected State Under-15 honours. He headed to England for trials in mid-2002 and caught the eye of Burnley soon after. A committed and determined defender, Townsend has had an impressive second season with Burnley in which he’s been a key figure in central defence for both the Reserve and Youth teams. With a further year to run on his scholarship it is understood the teenager is being closely monitored by a number of English clubs.
RECORD SPONSORSHIP FOR ARMADALE
Armadale have received a major cash injection on the eve of the First Division season. The club, who are widely tipped to compete with Mandurah City for the championship this winter, have received sponsorship and donations from their local community totalling in excess of $30,000. “We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of the Armadale business community,” commented Anton Coates, who is responsible for development and sponsorship at Armadale. “The sum and support is great reward for the effort put in by the committee to lift the profile of soccer in the area over the past two years.”
OLYMPIC COACH UNSETTLED ON SEASONS’ EVE
His side may be undefeated in their past six outings, but Sean Lynch is still no closer to knowing who’ll begin in Kingsway Olympic’s season opener with Stirling Suns on Saturday. “Our pre-season has gone well but it hasn’t resulted in a settled side just yet,” said the Olympic coach this week. “The reason for that is I’ve tried many of our promising young players and haven’t really focused on settling our first eleven. That said, I’ve been able to get a good look at our youngsters who’ve benefited from competitive game time at a higher level and I now have a fair idea of which players I will promote to the senior team as the season progresses.”
“We have a lot of talented young players at the club which is one of our biggest strengths at the moment, but whether that translates into quality senior players is very much up to those players concerned,” commented Lynch. “The first team is capable of playing good football and scoring goals so we have no problems in going forward. However, defensively we have a tendency to concede soft goals and it is in this area that I will be concentrating my efforts in the opening weeks of the season. The players are a close knit group and when they pull together and put their mind to it they can match any team … but doing this over twenty-eight games is the hard part.”
The summer brought about a number of changes to the Olympic squad. Andy Brown, Alan Henderson, Bryan Hedges and John Higgins have all moved on, each joining the ranks of the Premier League. In addition the club lost a host of players to work and other commitments including one-time State Schoolboys representative Louis Elliott and goalkeeper Kalon Tenakov. While keen to promote players from the youth ranks, Lynch has also dipped into the transfer market to make up for lost experience. English import Chris Tinker will add to their options in midfield while Nigel Comito and Phil Russie have been signed from Morley Windmills and Dianella White Eagles respectively.
Lynch also questioned the motives of those who recently rejected Forrestfield United’s application to re-join the professional ranks. “I find it incredible that Soccer West Coast can reject the entry of Forrestfield into our league. And while I don’t have the full details, it’s my understanding that some of the eastern corridor teams fear the increased competition for players. And to top it all off the main protagonist - Inglewood United - don’t even play in the First Division! As a consequence we have the ridiculous situation of a thirty-week season with each club getting two byes. All I can say is when are the much-needed reforms going to happen?”
I LET US DOWN SAYS DESPOTOVSKI (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski admitted he let his team down after being sent-off in Sunday’s major semifinal against Parramatta Power. Two down at the break, Despotovski inspired Glory to a second-half revival but, with the score at 3-2, the attacker was dismissed for dragging back Power striker Ante Milicic. “It’s very disappointing that I let the boys down and the club,” Despotovski said. “It’s disappointing that we scored two goals and had them on the back foot when I was sent off. I think if I’d stayed on the park it would’ve been different.”
NIGHT SERIES, QUARTER-FINALS
Western Knights plans for back-to-back Night Series' remains on track following a 2-1 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup at Litis Stadium this evening. Twice in quick succession Stuart Montgomery was put through but on both occasions the Knights striker failed to hit the target as the Knights sought an early lead. A powerful strike from David Annall had much of the pace taken off it by goalkeeper Peter Stewart but as the ball headed for the net Jamie Kuzmanovich slid in to clear the danger. With Daniel Trim and Luka Jukic pulling the midfield strings the Knights produced a polished first half performance in which they spurned numerous opportunities before finally going in front after 38 minutes. A sweeping move down the left was crossed in by Mark Lee who found Montgomery and on this occasion the striker made no mistake.
The Knights started the second half positively, carving out several chances to kill off the game all of which went unconverted. More involved in the match, Joondalup got themselves back on level terms in the 54th minute as Andy Brown rose highest to head in an Andre Sarpe corner. The goal acted to spur the northerners into action as a Scott Broadley header was cleared off the line, then Dale McCulloch was thwarted by goalkeeper Tommi Tomich in a one-on-one. But any hopes Joondalup had of making the semi-final were snuffed out by Jukic who stole possession from Keith Brown and poked his shot past Stewart with 62 minutes gone. The closing stages were played at a furious pace as both sides looked to added to their tally, however, resolute defending by the Knights ensured it would be them that progressed to the round of four.
Perth S.C. started the late game against Sorrento full of steam and twice went close in the first five minutes only to be denied by the agility of goalkeeper Phillip Straker. Sorrento eventually found their rhythm but just as the Gulls started to look dangerous Dino Djulbic rose to head in a Robbie Puca cross and hand Perth the lead after 19 minutes. Twelve minutes later Sorrento were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Robert Scarparolo took Steven MacDonald down inside the area but the referee signalled for play to continue. In the 35th minute Sorrento were awarded a spot kick following a foul on Todd Harnwell and Jared Love converted to send the teams into half-time on level terms. Perth began the second half in the same manner as the first and restored the lead after 54 minutes through 18-year old David Micevski whose explosive shot went in off the upright. On the back foot for much of the half, Sorrento mounted a late charge but found Scarparolo up to the task as Perth ran out 2-1 victors.
GLORY POWERLESS IN PARRAMATA
Parramatta Power have stunned Perth Glory with a 4-2 victory in their Major Semi-Final clash at Parramatta Stadium. In front of their biggest home crowd of the season Power took the lead after 9 minutes when captain Alvin Ceccoli rocketed his free-kick from 25-metres past Jason Petkovic who could only push the ball into the roof of the net. Six minutes later Tom Pondeljak set up Damian Mori but his disappointing shot was straight at goalkeeper Clint Bolton. Mori was again put through shortly after only to hesitate with just Bolton to beat, and Michael Beauchamp slid in to dispossess the striker. Substitute Saso Petrovski increased the gap after 41 minutes when he cut inside from the left, throwing off Jade North in the process, to drill past Petkovic at the near post. A minute before half-time midfielder Peter Zorbas unleashed a sizzling 30-metre drive as the margin became three goals.
Some tactical and positional changes at half-time by Glory coach Mich d'Avray brought reward upon the resumption of play. The half was less than 30 seconds old when Bobby Despotovski pulled a goal back after Power failed to clear a telling ball into the area from Mori. Within a minute Nick Mrdja almost bagged Glory's second with a volley that took a slight deflection and cleared the crossbar. The visitors were back in the contest when defender Jamie Harnwell rose to glance in Despotovski's 56th minute free-kick. Despotovski then saw his powerful drive from 25-metres spilled by Bolton and Mrdja’s follow-up was blocked for a corner. But on the hour Glory's chances nose-dived when Despotovski's challenge from behind on Ante Milicic earned the striker his marching orders for a second yellow card offence. Milicic sealed victory for Power with a stunning 30-metre volley into the top corner after 71 minutes.
Inglewood United downed top flight rival Swan I.C. 5-2 in sweltering conditions at the Swan Italian Club this afternoon. Swan began brightly with Paul Lincoln scoring after 10 minutes, but the lead was short-lived as Farrell Hedges was allowed time to pick his spot to the right of goalkeeper Chris Ramsey from the top of the penalty area. Ryan Newhill put Inglewood in front shortly before the break after Swan were caught flat-footed at the back. With Oliver Hilton and Hedges controlling the midfield the visitors increased their lead through Newhill who, in the 75th minute, completed his hat-trick in making it 4-1. Swan attacker Elton Holmes converted from the spot in an action-packed finale, but almost immediately Inglewood replied to secure a 5-2 victory.
Wanneroo City completed their pre-season with a convincing 3-0 defeat of top flight opponent Bassendean Caledonian. Phil O’Callaghan should have given Wanneroo the lead after 15 minutes but his shot from the penalty spot was saved by goalkeeper Steve Grant. Five minutes later Ben Yates sent Scott Bulloch through on goal and he made no mistake with a hard, low shot from the edge of the area. Just before the interval the home side increased their advantage after a partially cleared corner fell to Sam Miller who drilled the ball under Grant from 14-metres. The second half saw Wanneroo dominant but, despite numerous opportunities, they were until to add to the tally until the 74th minute when Bulloch teed-up Gareth Davies who rolled the ball under Grant for the games’ final goal.
Bayswater City accounted for a determined Canning City by 3-0 at Frank Drago Reserve. The only talking pointy of an uneventful opening half was a Bayswater penalty which Kevin Henderson failed to convert. After the break the pace picked up with both teams stringing together some nice exchanges when going forward. As the match progressed Bayswater got on top as Bobby Klenkoski twice found the back of the net with an own goal rounding out the scoreline. Canning created several good opportunities of their own but were unable to find a way past promising young goalkeeper Francis Allen. The reserve fixture was won 4-2 by Canning, while in the under-18’s it was Bayswater that claimed victory by the same scoreline.
At Macedonia Park, a Stirling Lions side missing Adam Rains and Toby Wright through injury defeated First Division favourite Mandurah City by a single goal. With the warm conditions making play sluggish, there were some good opportunities created at both ends of the park which went unconverted before the Lions took the lead. A clever flick-on from Jake Harman put new signing Mohamed Komaderic through on goal and the young striker made no mistake in smashing his first-time volley into the roof of the net. Following the goal Mandurah threw everything into getting back on level terms only to be denied time and time again by goalkeeeper Gareth Deeg.
Armadale’s pre-season came to a close with a 4-1 defeat of Morley Windmills at Alfred Skeet Oval. The Reds controlled the opening half in which several opportunities went amiss before Jason Goodwin converted a low centring pass from Paul Colkin. Within five minutes Windmills responded with a swift counter-attack to equalise and send the teams into the break on level terms. Dean Gartside was moved from midfield to attack for the second half and immediately caused problems for the visiting defence. Armadale retook the lead when Gartside turned in Gary Murdoch’s cross from the left, and the match was made safe when Jodie Henderson headed in the reds third. Youngster Michael Bushby completed the 4-1 scoreline with a superb long-range volley.
At Ashfield Reserve the home squandered a hatful of chances but still easily accounted for Rockingham City. In dominating the first half Ashfield created chance after chance only to be let down by some woeful finishing. Five minutes from half-time the hosts finally found the target through Ben Harris who knocked in an inch-perfect back post cross from midfielder Alex Crookes. With Glen Hallums switching from attack to midfield for the second half Rockingham were a more competitive proposition. The visitors created several nervous moments on the opposing defence, none more so than a long-range volley by Hallums which crashed into the crossbar. Victory was secured by Ashfield midway through the second half by David Mayers who got on the end of an Alex Novatsis corner.
Leeming Strikers came from two-goals down to draw 3-3 with Balcatta. All the early running was with Balcatta and they took a deserved lead through a superb diving header by David Moschilla from a Oriano La Palombara cross. The margin was doubled before the break by Mark Wilson who, having thrown off his man, beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle. The Strikers clawed there way back into the match with two goals in quick succession shortly after the re-start, Michael Vaz and Lucas Whitehouse the scorers. An own goal put Balcatta back in front midway through the half, and Wilson could have sealed victory but scuffed his shot wide. With five minutes to go the Strikers leveled through Leroy Goodwin who pounced on an error by the opposing ‘keeper.
Kingsway Olympic and Dianella White Eagles fought out an eight-goal thriller in their final hit-out of the pre-season. Sota Iwasaki benefited from some defensive hesitancy to put Olympic in front only to have Dianella respond in style. A cracking shot by Zelko Savic put the teams back on level terms, then Dragan Radojevic gave Dianella the upper hand when his sweetly struck right-footer found the back of the net. Dianella made numerous changes to the line-up at the interval which was to prove their downfall as goals by Steve Dimitrovich and Phil Russie swung the game back in Olympic’s favour. A classy goal from Dragan Njegic tied things up at 3-3, but some poor defending allowed Russie and Steve Bretti in to score and hand Olympic a 5-3 win.
TWO SET TO DEPART FROM NIGHT SERIES
Four teams will remain in the Night Series following the conclusion of the quarter-final stage on Sunday evening at Litis Stadium. In what is likely to be a physical game with no quarter given, trophy holder Western Knights meet a focused E.C.U. Joondalup side from 6.15pm. Ronnie Campbell's side appear to have timed their run to perfection and are showing the sort of form that could see them go all the way to back-to-back titles. With the likes of Claus Nielsen, Leon Russell and Luka Jukic producing the goods, the Knights stocks have been bolstered this week with Stuart Montgomery back from long-term injury. But Joondalup aren't to be taken lightly and are wanting to mark the return of Paul Simmons with their first Night Series crown. Midfielders Keith Brown and Scott Patterson have both made great starts to their time with the club, while striker Garin Collins is bound to keep the opposing backline on their guard.
At 8.00pm reigning Premier League champions Perth S.C. take on an injury riddled Sorrento. Many were quick to write Perth off following the summer departure of several star players, but the team have proven their detractors wrong with some sparkling performances in taking out Group A. Todd Howarth can turn a game in the blink of an eye, while the ever-dangerous Robbie Puca along with young gun David Micevski have been key figures in the Blues undefeated, high-scoring campaign. With no less than five players missing the Night Series through injury the Gulls are yet to produce their best form. On the plus side though has been 15-year old Alex Vrteski whose shown great promise since taking over between the posts. Jared Love has lead the way in attack with three goals in as many outings, and new signing Scott McIlroy has quickly made the attacking role wide on the left his own.
GOALKEEPER NEEDED BY ROCKINGHAM
Just days before the start of the new season Rockingham City have found themselves with a goalkeeper crisis. Last seasons' No.1 James Mills has moved to Sydney for work reasons, and on the weekend 17-year old back-up Chris Pope suffered an injury in the friendly with Bassendean Caledonian that could see him out of action for up to two months. With the new season commencing in little over a week the club are in desperate need for a quality shot-stopper. Anyone fitting the bill is asked to contact the club after 3.00pm weekdays on 9527 5813.
PITCH CAUSES WINDMILLS TO POSTPONE
Morley Windmills have been forced to postpone their opening game of the First Division season. Windmills were scheduled to play neighbouring Dianella White Eagles at home on Saturday 20th March but that fixture will now be played later in the season due to safety concerns over the state of the Wootton Reserve pitch. Ironically, the match was originally to be played at Dianella who asked for the game to be switched due to the unavailability of their ground on that date. It is understood Windmills' home clash with Wanneroo City, on Saturday 27th March, is also in doubt.
KINGS PLAN EUROPEAN ADVENTURE
An under-15 squad representing the Kings Stirling Academy are heading to Europe next month for a eighteen-day trip of a lifetime. Departing Perth on 8th April, the sixteen-player squad will hone their skills with games in Munich, Amsterdam and Manchester where they'll also watch some of the world's best club sides in action. Along with enhancing the playing side of their game the squad will broaden their cultural horizons and develop their psychological skills. "This tour has been planned since the inception of the academy, and this is only a starting point for future Kings Academy tours," explained Mitch Doherty, director of coaching with the academy.
"In Australia soccer still does not achieve the recognition it deserves due to major competition from the more established sports," Doherty added. "Nevertheless soccer is renowned as 'the world game' and, with this in mind, a club strategy was formed which included taking our players to the rest of the world so that they can see first hand how other countries develop and train their players. Our options were open ended and we still have invitations from clubs in the United States and Africa on the table. But it was agreed that Europe's player quality, its' history and cultural mix would be our destination and a perfect place to benchmark our progress as individual players and coaches."
When not playing, the travelling party will make the most of their time abroad by taking in games by some of Europe's biggest clubs, namely Bayern Munich, Ajax Amsterdam, Manchester United and Liverpool. "If we were going on this tour for the sole purpose of watching games of this magnitude then that itself would represent an enormous leap forward in the education of our players," added Doherty. "However the learning experience does not stop there. We have matches in each of Germany, the Netherlands and England and this is where I believe our players will reap the greatest benefit. To watch players from these countries training, see how they prepare for games, how they eat, drink and talk soccer, and then to match techniques and skill with them on their own soil can only have a positive impact." For further information about the tour, or the Kings Stirling Academy, contact Doherty on 9300 8654 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
SWC SEEK JUGGLERS
Do you have good ball juggling skills and are aged between six and fifteen? Then Soccer West Coast would like to hear from you. At half-time in Sunday's Night Series quarter-finals, talented young players are invited to display their juggling skills in front of the assembled crowd. For those presenting with the best skills a range of prizes are on offer. The competition will continue next weekend, Sunday 28th March, also at Litis Stadium.
D'AVRAY GETS THE NOD
South African-born Mich d'Avray has edged out Bernd Stange and Gary Marocchi in being voted Perth Glory's best coach by the readers of www.soccerwa.com . Over the past fortnight close to 250 votes were cast in response to our online poll which asked 'Who do you rate as Perth Glory's best ever coach?' D'Avray accumulated 38.7% of the vote to narrowly beat his predecessor Stange (26.2%) with local legend Marocchi (25.1%) a distant third.
D'Avray took over the coaching reigns in mid-2001. In his first season Glory won the regular season crown by a record 13-point margin only to lose the Grand Final 1-0 to Sydney Olympic. Twelve months later d'Avray became the first Glory coach to taste Grand Final success when his side defeat the Sharks 2-0 at Subiaco Oval. Glory won their third trophy in as many seasons under d'Avray when they lifted the home-and-away title last month. In 86 games under d'Avray Glory have won on 60 occasions, 12 games have ended with honours shared and there have been just 12 losses.
The arrival of former East German national coach Stange in August 1998 was greeted by a flood of publicity. Having taken Glory to third on the table in his first season, Stange really produced the goods in 1999/2000 when the club won the regular season title only to lose the Grand Final in front of a record National Soccer League crowd of 43,242. For his effort Stange was named N.S.L. Coach of the Year. In his final season with the club Glory finished third and made an early exit from the finals series. In Stange's three seasons at the helm Glory played 99 times, winning 54, drawing on 23 occasions and lost 22 games.
Marocchi, the only West Australian to coach Glory, had the difficult task of building the inaugural squad from scratch and with a minimum of resources. In 1996/97 they finished seventh, missing out on a finals berth by just a single point, and collected their first piece of silverware - the Fair Play Award - at seasons' end. Despite a club record average home attendance of 14,972, internal bickering overshadowed Marocchi's second season when the side, placed third at Christmas, end the campaign placed eighth. In his two seasons in charge Marocchi's record reads played 52, won 21, drew 11 and lost 20.
WOMEN'S DEVELOPMENT SQUAD ANNOUNCED
Following a month a and half of intense trials and match practice, State junior coach Salv Todaro has announced a strong women's development squad to compete in the Under-14 Friendship Games next month. Held at Valentine Park in Sydney, the tournament has the backing of the Australian Soccer Association and is aimed at introducing young players to interstate competition in a non-competitive setting. "There is no designated winner of the tournament," commented Todaro. "It is all geared around participation and development by playing against squads from other states."
"I've have gone for a mixture of twelve, thirteen and fourteen year old players as this tournament will be used to gauge how our younger girls perform against physically stronger and more mature players from other states," said Todaro. "It also gives us an opportunity to see if our development strategies are on the right track. Over the next four weeks we'll be training very hard to try and get our match fitness up to standard, it's still pre-season for our girls and very few of the squad have started playing club games this year, some haven't even commenced their club training."
The sixteen player West Australian development squad heading to Valentine Park features the playing talents of Lillie Bilson, Jiame Carly, Danielle Calutti, Chloe Coghlan, Nicola Diamond, Leigh Kelly, Coral Lapsley, Jennifer Chantler, Shani Lynch, Shannon May, Ella Mastrontino, Alycia Panayotou, Elise O'Sullivan, Rebecca Tittering, Lyndsay Valentine and Emilie Williams. "There's a real buzz amongst the players at the moment, they're really looking forward to playing in Sydney," said Todaro who is being accompanied east by team manager Anna Buckley.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Healthway's, and particularly their Smarter Than Smoking program, for their continued sponsorship of the Womens Soccer WA development activities," commented Todaro. "It is down to this sponsorship that WSWA is able to send a development squad to the Friendship Games." The second annual Friendship Games will be staged over five-days commencing 12th April. In competition with West Australia are representative sides from New South Wales Metro, New South Wales Country, Northern New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia along with visiting American team the Sacremento Spitfires.
UNCERTAINTY OVER NEW LEAGUE
Australia's revamped national competition may commence with only eight clubs and might not begin until 2005 - that is the frank and honest assessment of John O'Neill who yesterday took charge of the Australian Soccer Association. "There's still a possibility that it could be this year, but I err on the side of caution that it's more likely to be next year," commented the ASA's new chief executive officer. "I am not sure that it's going to be ten (teams) ... it could be eight, it could be twelve. There are reputable parties around Australia keen to put their hands up to fund a team." O'Neill is expected to meet with the ASA board later this week to discuss the radical overhaul of Australia's domestic competition.
SUNS SWITCH TRAINING VENUE
As of Tuesday 16th March, First Division club Stirling Suns will be training at Robinson Reserve (corner of Royal and Park Streets) in Tuart Hill. With the club looking to strengthen their playing stocks for the coming winter, interested players are invited to join the Suns for training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6.30pm. Alternatively, contact Suns president John Miloseski on 0408 927 515.
TANA DELIGHTED WITH ASA APPOINTMENT (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana is delighted that John O'Neill has been appointed chief executive officer of the Australian Soccer Association. "He is the one who is going to make the difference," Tana told the "West Australian". The Glory owner is pleased that O'Neill will be involved in the forming of a new Premier League competition and consider new franchise applications. "I would like to think he would deliberate on it very quickly and hand it down with or without any modifications," Tana said. "Hopefully it will be handed down with a number of things, including the issue of sponsorship and television rights, having been resolved or very firmly addressed."
NIGHT SERIES, QUARTER-FINALS (Fremantle City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
Fremantle City are through to the last four of the Night Series after toppling Swan I.C. 2-0 under lights at Litis Stadium this evening. Both sides started positively and with eleven minutes gone the port side went in front as Peter Lord's superb pass from midfield found Kevin Correira whose cross from wide on the left was nodded home by recent signing Albert Osei-Tutu. Not long after youngster Chris Ramsey, making his first appearance of the year in the absence of regular custodian Cory Hugo, came to Swan's rescue by smothering at the feet of Correia. Swan twice came close to equalising but Bobson Koroma denied David Foster, then Jeff Bright cleared off the goal line after creative midfielder Miki Vujacic cleverly chipped the Fremantle goalkeeper. The margin was doubled after 35 minutes as John Migas and Anthony Pereira played a one-two after which the latter teed-up Correira who finished well from 12-metres.
Two-down, Swan threw everything at their opponents at the start of the second half, winning two corners in quick succession but unable to convert either as Dean Nicolaou and Foster went close. Fremantle almost wrapped up the game when Branimir Mikulic picked out the speedy Correira whose shot was well saved by Ramsey. The black and whites were by this stage pushing forward at every opportunity and following a lung-bursting run in to attack Tony Cumace slotted to Paul Lincoln who in turn laid it off to Elton Holmes but his strike on goal was kept out by the ever-alert Karoma. Swan appeals for a late penalty were turned down by both referee and assistant ruled that Nicolaou was brought down outside the area, and the resultant free-kick caused little of concern for Fremantle who progressed courtesy of a deserved two-goal margin. For Swan it was a disappointing end to what had been a promising pre-season campaign.
A small crowd witnessed Floreat Athena defeat Cockburn City who mounted a late comeback in a pulsating seven-goal thriller in Sunday's late fixture. Cockburn came out firing on all cylinders and were denied an early breakthrough on three occasions by Vas Vujacic and the frame of his goal. In the 22 minute Cockburn finally got the result they were after when Marko Aleksic netted from a well taken corner. The goal sparked Athena into life and within minute had equalised as Anthony Jones clipped a pass to Adam Bachiller who found the target from just outside the 18-yard box. A swift counterattacking move a few minutes later saw Jones thread the ball through the defence to Peter Coci who beat Dino Pacella before slotting home. The remainder of the half belonged to Athena who went in at the break 3-1 up after Coci tapped in from close-range following an inch-perfect cross from the right by Jones.
Marko Aleksic and Simon Jonas made way for the more experienced Shane McNally and John Mirco at the break. The move paid immediate dividends for the southerners who moved the ball around well and created some spritely forward drives only to meet strong resistance from the opposing backline. With play flowing from end to end it was Athena that scored after 65 minutes when Bachiller played through to Jones who confidently rounded Pacella before stroking the ball into the net to make it 4-1. To their credit Cockburn refused to concede defeat and with three minutes left were awarded a penalty following a handball by Andrew Afkos who was subsequently dismissed for his second yellow card offence. Mirco made no mistake from the spot, and a minute later the gap became a single goal when Peter Petkovich bundled the ball over the line following some poor work at the back by Athena. In a tense finish Cockburn earned several corners which went unconverted as Athena hung on to move into the semi-finals.
MATILDA'S BOOK PLACE IN ATHENS
Australia have continued their dominance of women's soccer in Oceania by taking out the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Fiji. The Matilda's commenced their campaign by brushing aside Papua New Guinea in energy sapping heat and extreme humidity on Thursday afternoon. Two goals inside the opening 6 minutes from Kathryn Gill set Australia on their way to a 10-0 mauling. Gill ended the game with a hat-trick, April Mann and Lisa De Vanna snared two each with the remaining goals shared between Sarah Walsh, Joanne Peters and Selin Kuralay. Australia's safe passage to the Olympic Games was secured by a 7-0 thumping of Fiji on Saturday afternoon when the goals came from Lana Harch (3), Mann (2), Gillian Foster and Gill. West Australians' De Vanna and Tal Karp both saw out the full 90 minutes of the win over Papua New Guinea, and two days later were rested against Fiji. Australia became the seventh team to confirm their place at the ten-nation women's Olympic soccer tournament in Greece this August.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Ashfield vs Albany courtesy www.ashfieldsc.com.)
Stuart Montgomery made a sensational return from injury by scoring four goals in Western Knights 7-0 demolition of Armadale on Saturday. Leon Russell and Daniel Trim combined down the left with the latter's cross converted from close-range by Montgomery to open the floodgates. The Knights striker added his second after Armadale failed to clear a corner, and a few minutes later he netted again following a quick counter-attack orchestrated by Carl Medica. Early in the second Medica tapped in from 7-metres, then Montgomery completed his haul thanks to a fine through ball from David Annall. Armadale created several opportunities but were unable to find a way past Tommi Tomich on his return from National Soccer League duty. Further goals from Trim and Luka Jukic, who scored with a with a stunning long-range volley, completed the scoreline. The Knights also won both the earlier games, 3-0 in the reserves and 4-1 in the under-18's.
Bassendean Caledonian had little trouble in sweeping aside First Division opponent Rockingham City when those sides met at Jubilee Reserve. Graeme Matthews completed his hat-trick inside the opening 45 minutes to set up the win. Following the interval Caledonian continued on with the job as former Rockingham player Andy Cornmell netted twice to complete the 5-0 scoreline. The win made it a clean sweep for Caledonian who comfortably won the reserve match 5-0, and got home by 4-2 in the under-18's.
E.C.U. Joondalup cruised to a 13-1 victory over Stirling Suns who had only thirteen players available for the match due to work and other commitments. With nine teenagers in their starting line-up and regular goalkeeper Jason Ramovski playing in attack the Suns were never in the running. Dominating play Joondalup found themselves four goals the better after just 12 minutes and, with the result already beyond doubt, shortly after brought off the bench several of their youth brigade who continued on in a similar goalscoring fashion. Andre Sarpe ended the game with four goals, Garin Collins with three and teenager Scott Bushby hit the target twice. There were also singles from Jamie Kuzmanovich, Dale McCulloch, Peter Roberts and John Higgins, while the Suns lone goal came from make-shift striker Ramovski.
At Elstead Reserve, Balcatta hosted the Perth S.C. under-21 side who came from behind to claim a 4-3 victory. In an entertaining first half Vic Bogos and David Moschilla lead the way for Balcatta who went into the interval with a 3-1 lead courtesy of a Moschilla hat-trick. Perth lifted in the second half with a strong midfield performance which produced the ammunition for three second half goals. "It was a great hit out for our boys who played some excellent soccer only to let themselves down in the second half," said Balcatta coach Basil Lenzo. "We're well on track for the opening game of the season, the players have adapted well to a number of system changes and, more importantly, we've seen some solid performances from a young squad."
Six second half goals enabled Wanneroo City to down Swan I.C. reserves 7-1 in a very physical game in the northern suburbs. New signing Phil O'Callaghan scored the only goal of the first half to put Wanneroo in the driving seat after 45 minutes. Young striker Gareth Davies found the target four times after the break as the host club ran away with the match, O'Callaghan added to his personal tally with Scott Bulloch also getting on the scoresheet. Swans lone goal resulted from good lead-up work by Renato Rechichi with Brendan Knox converting. In the earlier game Wanneroo reserves were held to a fighting 1-1 draw by Swan's under-18 side for whom Ben Anderton found the target.
A young Kingsway Olympic line-up were involved in a feisty friendly with E.C.U. Joondalup amateurs. Although they struggled to match the muscle of their opponents, Olympic were able to create a mountain of chances as Chris Tinker, Sota Iwasaki and Scott Evans all came within inches of the opening goal. The game should have been well and truly over by the time Liam Moorhouse's cracking strike from 20-metres flew into the back of the net. But after going in front Olympic failed to continue on with the job as Oli Foster squandered a chance to seal victory. With Danny Dimitrovich creating endless problem down the right flank Joondalup snatched a draw late in the game following an error by the opposing goalkeeper.
It took Ashfield just 10 minutes to open their account against visiting Albany with Wayne Culverwell drilling in Matt Pochroj's deep cross. A few more minutes elapsed before the gap widened as Culverwell lost his marker to volley in a perfectly delivered cross by Dion Florias. With Albany on the back foot the host club piled on the pressure and went into the break three-goals up after Matt Pochroj's shot from distance flew into the bottom corner. With on loan goalkeeper Adam Ashworth having little to do, Ashfield bagged their fourth via Alex Novatsis who converted from the penalty spot following a foul on Culverwell. Albany's determination to get back in the game was rewarded midway through the half, but Ashfield responded shortly after as Peter Noiszewski blasted into the roof of the net to complete the 5-1 scoreline.
Leeming Strikers took on Fremantle United, WAASSA Premier Division runner-up last season, at Hilton Reserve on Sunday. Playing with the wind at their backs the Strikers went into the break one-nil up thanks to a goal from midfielder Phil Bell. After the turnaround Fremantle came back into the match and equalised following a defensive mix-up. Sensing the game was the for the taking Fremantle then threw everything at their opponents for a prolonged period but were unable to find a path to goal. Midway through the period Lucas Whitehouse restored the Strikers advantage, and shortly after snared his second of the day to ensure a 3-1 victory. "It was a good work out for us," commented Strikers coach Mike Brazil. "We had three new faces in the starting eleven and are looking forward to the arrival of Scotsman Dean Goodfellow who is starting with us this week."
On Thursday night Queens Park played out a very competitive match with WAASSA Premier Division stalwarts Shamrock Rovers under lights at Coker Park. Rovers took the lead after catching out their opponents offside trap, but shortly after the match was back on level terms with Queens Park finding the net in a goalmouth scramble. The winner came via new signing Shirash Sakimura who ran onto a superb pass played in behind the defence and drilled an angled shot past the goalkeeper to make it 2-1 to Queens Park. "Shamrock made us work hard for our win and we will need to show more attacking savvy if we are to beat the better sides in this year's league," said Queens Park coach Bob Braid. The reserve team clash ended level at 3-3 with Queens Park scoring twice in the closing stages to earn themselves a draw.
KNOCK-OUT TIME IN NIGHT SERIES
The knock-out stage of the Night Series commences on Sunday evening with a 6.15pm quarter-final meeting between Fremantle City and Swan I.C. at Litis Stadium. Both teams have shown their attacking instincts in the qualifying rounds which saw Fremantle finish undefeated and Swan score five goals in three outings. Creative midfielders Peter Lord and Jeff Bright hold the key for the port side and if Kevin Correia can continue his fine form in front of goal it will take a mighty effort to stop the Fremantle juggernaut. Summer recruits Miki Vujacic and Tony Cumace have already proven to be valuable additions to the Swan camp but the black-and-whites hopes lay to a large degree with their defence and particularly the ever-reliable hands of State custodian Cory Hugo
>From 8.00pm free-scoring Floreat Athena lock horns with Group B winner Cockburn City. Under new coach Michael Roki Athena are once again working as a cohesive unit with Josip Magdic and Anthony Jones providing plenty of ammunition for the forwards to operate with. After a year out Peter Coci has been in dazzling form and his knack of finding the net is sure to provide plenty of headaches in the opposing defence. The goals have been spread around at Cockburn who’ve also impressed their new coach, Kevin Elliott. Peter Petkovich and skilful young midfielder Simon Jonas have been the form players in recent weeks along with Jeff Cargill whose form between the posts could well see him keep first regular goalkeeper Dino Pacella out of the side once he becomes available.
COONEY DEBUTS FOR IRELAND
Former Inglewood United player Sean Cooney has committed his international future to the Republic of Ireland. The 20-year old defender pulled on national colours for the first time in last weeks 1-0 defeat of Italy, and two day later featured again as Ireland accounted for host Madeira Islands 4-0. Twice thwarted in his attempts to play for Australia, Cooney jumped at the opportunity to represent Ireland. "It wasn't really a hard decision because I couldn't really turn down the chance to play internationally against some good teams," he said. "And I haven't heard anything from Australia lately."
Twelve months ago he was named in the Young Socceroo squad for the Under-20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates but the tournament was postponed due to military build-up in the Middle East. When short-listed for the Under-20's later in the year Cooney was forced to withdraw from the squad having only recently had a hernia operation. Born and raised in Perth, Cooney joined English club Coventry City at the age of sixteen and qualifies to play for Ireland through his parentage.
GLORY FANS CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
According to coach Mich d'Avray Perth Glory's fans can make a world of difference when the side meet Parramatta Power in the National Soccer League finals series later this month. "I think a full house at Members Equity Stadium would have a major impact on the game," d'Avray said of the game on Saturday 20th March. "The closeness of the fans to the action would mean a very intimidating atmosphere. We almost lost a three goal lead when we visited Newcastle a couple of seasons back - there was no doubt the hostile crowd played its part and it will be great to have the same backing at Members Equity Stadium."
"Subiaco has been good for us, but there is no doubt the crowd noise does get lost a little because the ground is so open," added d'Avray. "At Members Equity Stadium the noise stays in and there is a real buzz around the place. The game against Marconi was a good example of that, with the crowd really helping to lift us back into the game when we were 2-0 down. That is the sort of atmosphere we will need for the second leg of the Major Semi-Final against Parramatta and we are hoping West Australian soccer fans will turn out in force."
THUMBS UP FOR FINAL AT MEMBERS EQUITY STADIUM
Perth Glory have been given the go-ahead to play their Major Semi Final meeting with Parramatta Power at Members Equity Stadium on 20th March. But the clubs future use of Members Equity Stadium is not so clear with Allia Holdings, the Glory subsidiary set-up to manage the venue, still at odds with the Town of Vincent over their long-term commitment to the stadium. With the agreement between Allia and the local council yet to be resolved there were concerns that the Glory-Power game would be switched to Subiaco Oval at short notice. But Town of Vincent mayor Nick Catania has allayed those fears, saying he and chief executive officer John Giorgi would advise the council that the game proceed as planned. “We are not going to upset the soccer public of Western Australia. They deserve better treatment than saying we are going to cut the strings on you,” Catania told Jonathan Cook of the “West Australian”.
Although Allia and the Town of Vincent have reached a temporary resolution, relations between the two remain strained in relation to a 20-year agreement for Allia to manage Members Equity Stadium. Allia are understood to be reluctant to commit to the deal until it is satisfied with all the detail in mortgage, lease and licence agreements. The council believes the heads of agreement document already in place is legally binding and has indicated it would be prepared to take court action should Allia not sign the deal and pay all outstanding monies by early next month. “I think both parties want to avoid going to court,” said Giorgi. “We want to resolve this by the first week in April.” Representatives of Allia and the Town of Vincent are expected to meet over the next few days.
CUP DRAW CONFIRMED
The draw for the First Round of the Boral Cup has been made with all games scheduled to be played on the afternoon of Saturday 3rd April. Swan I.C. start their defence of the Cup with a home clash with Gosnells City, Perth S.C. welcome traditional rivals Balcatta to Dorrien Gardens, and Western Knights meet Canning City at Nash Field. Floreat Athena have a potentially tricky home fixture with Kingsway Olympic, while Bassendean Caledonian will be put to the test when they travel to Peelwood Reserve and play Mandurah City.
First Division champions Bayswater City are up against Queens Park, Inglewood United take on a new look Stirling Suns outfit, and Sorrento travel to Ashfield. For the second time in as many years Stirling Lions play Leeming Strikers at Macedonia Park, Fremantle City are home to Dianella White Eagles, and in the rounds only all First Division clash Wanneroo City meet Rockingham City in the northern suburbs. Armadale, Cockburn City, E.C.U. Joondalup, Morley Windmills and South West Phoenix were all allocated a free pass into the Second Round of the prestigious knock-out competition.
WINDMILLS PLAY AWAY FROM HOME
Morley Windmills look likely to spend the opening month of the First Division season without a home ground. Over the summer the Wotton Reserve pitch required a major overhaul in which the City of Bayswater laid new turf on much of the playing arena. While the unexpected re-surfacing has gone as planned the club are now in a race with time to have the ground ready for the commencement of the 2004 campaign. “After the season finished last year in late September the pitch was in a pretty bad state,” said first team coach James Herbert recently. “It was a particularly long season and I think it just took its toll … The council is working at it every day, it’s just a matter of waiting,” added Herbert. Windmills have held their pre-season at nearby Houghton Park and are understood to be considering making a request for Soccer West Coast to switch their early season home games to later in the year.
LOCAL TRIO PUT HANDS UP FOR GLORY ELEVEN
Perth Glory coach Mich d'Avray faces a selection dilemma as the club attempts to win back-to-back National Soccer League championships. Places in Glory's starting line-up for the Major Semi-Final meeting with Parramatta Power will be up for grabs after substitutes Nick Mrdja, Jamie Coyne and Adrian Caceras inspired the side to come from two-goals down to draw with Marconi Stallions on the weekend. "Now it gives me something to think about with the finals looming," commented d'Avray. Having come on early in the second half Mrdja bagged Glory's late equaliser to take his season tally to twelve goals in 19 appearances. Caceres added to his claim for more game time with a solid showing on the left after being introduced in the 57th minute. Coyne replaced Mark Byrnes after 70 minutes and wasted no time in embarking on several penetrating runs down the right which culminated in Damian Mori netting after 83 minutes.
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This page was last updated on the 30th April, 2004