MAROCCHI THRILLED BY WIN (courtesy www.swanic.com)
Gary Marocchi was pleased as punch with Swan I.C’s win over Western Knights in the Night Series last night. Swan recovered from being a goal down midway through the first half to upset the Premier League champion 2-1 through goals from young striker Tom Shepheard and new signing Scott Campbell. “We deserved to win and we now only need a draw or victory against Armadale next week to ensure Swan qualify for the semi-finals,” said Marocchi.
“We played excellent football at times and we were able to break down their defence,” added the Swan coach. “Tom paved the way to our victory, he had a good game and caused the tough Knights defence all kinds of problems, and there were also encouraging performances from newcomers Jonathon Mathers and Michael Bushby. It was good all round performance and one we must build for the season ahead. That said, the players mustn't get carried away with one good performance, they need to knuckle down at training and play consistent football every time they go on the park.”
NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND TWO (Sorrento vs Stirling Lions courtesy Stirling Lions; Bassendean Caledonian vs Cockburn City by Lennie Bavich; Swan I.C. vs Western Knights by Peter Simcox)
Stirling Lion’s attempt to qualify for the Night Series semi-finals suffered a crippling blow when they went down 2-4 to Sorrento in the early Group A match at Dorrien Gardens this evening. Within 3 minutes of the opening the kick the Lions had gained the lead as Rob Milevski’s header was parried by goalkeeper Neil Young and on hand was Muhamed Komandaric who slotted into an open goal from close-range. Unperturbed by this setback, Sorrento hit back just four minutes later as Todd Harnwell swung the ball into the box where Steve McDonald powered his header past Jordan Conti. Ten minutes later MacDonald turned provider, receiving possession from Andrew Bowyer and playing in a cross from the right that Danny Hill nodded beyond the reach of Conti. Simon Harland stretched Sorrento’s lead on 27 minutes by holding off his marker and slotting inside the upright following a high cross from Bowyer. The Lions were still very much in the game and in the 40th minute Komandaric was brought down inside the box by Young and from the penalty spot Milevski sent the Sorrento ‘keeper the wrong way to breathe new life into the game. The second half started with both sides unable to make the most of their opportunities, Komandaric shooting wide after being played through by Rob Crerar while down the opposite end Harland headed against the post. The outcome was assured with ten minutes remaining when Jared Love beat two defenders and pulled the ball back from the by-line and Hill netted from a narrow angle. In the final minute Sorrento’s Danny Cain received his marching orders for a late challenge on Steven Hicks.
Perth S.C. were forced to come from behind in defeating Wanneroo City 3-1 and keep alive their chances of a spot in the last four. Wanneroo were out of the box early and with just 3 minutes played went ahead as Stuart Collins’ superb cross was nodded back by Brian Robertson and into the path of Paul Byrne who drilled his shot past the goalkeeper. Jon Greenwood came close to adding the Roos second goal, but as the half wore on Perth’s quality began to shine through and they gained control of proceedings. Gary Kent kept the Blues attackers at bay by denying Andreas Oliviera but it was only a matter of time before the floodgates opened. Nine minutes from the break Perth turned the ball over in midfield and pushed forward with David Micevski getting on the end of the move to bag the equaliser. Oliviera again went close to opening his season account when his shot was cleared off the line early in the new half. At the other end Scott Bulloch was played through on goal but placed his shot just wide of the upright. It seemed as though Wanneroo would hold on for a share of the points when Perth failed to hit the target when presented with an open goal. But it wasn’t to be and in the 58th minute Antonio Naglieri glanced a cross from wide oast Kent to give Perth a deserved lead. Maximum points were wrapped up eight minutes from the final whistle by Robbie Puca who made no mistake from the penalty spot.
In an entertaining game of football, Dianella White Eagles pulled off the upset of the round by coming from behind to topple top flight opponent Floreat Athena 3-2 in the evening’s opening Group B match at Litis Stadium. It was evident from the early exchanges that Floreat were in for a difficult time as Dianella soaked up the pressure then exposed the host club on the counter-attack. With this pattern of play established, Mario Lucic toe-poked in the opening goal to give Dianella the advantage after 10 minutes. In the 18th minute Floreat were presented a golden opportunity to even the ledger when Eugene Singeorzan was tackled from behind and awarded a penalty, but the big striker failed to convert from the spot much to the delight of the Dianella supporters. Floreat’s Bajo Savic was unlucky not to convert in the 20th minute when he found himself one-on-one in the penalty area with the goalkeeper Anthony Mori who nipped in to rob the midfielder. With Savic pulling the strings in midfield, the hosts created by far the better of many first half chances but time and time again were held at bay by a well-organised rearguard marshalled by Mori and veteran defender Zoran Barovic. Four minutes after the break Singeorzan made amends for his earlier miss by equalising from a Fernando Coran long ball. And eight minutes later Floreat looked set to run away with the game as talented young midfielder Paul Vlachou dribbled into the penalty area to net from a tight angle. But Dianella had other ideas and on 75 minutes Miladin Gurovski and Barovic combined to put the ball at the feet of Dragan Radojevic who blasted past Vas Vujacic and into the roof of the net. Five minutes later Luke Croxall needlessly brought down Gurovski from behind inside the 18-yard box, and from the resultant penalty Zoran Barovic slammed in the deciding goal.
Inglewood United took maximum points over Bayswater City by 2-1 at Litis Stadium. Bayswater started with a flurry of activity which kept both sets of supporters on the edge of their seats. Boima Karpeh snuck in between two defenders but took too long to get his shot off and was dispossessed, and a minute later Bobby Klenkovski carved the Inglewood defence open with an inch-perfect pass to Ross Barnes whose chip cleared the advancing goalkeeper only to end narrowly high of the crossbar. Having weathered the early storm Inglewood established control of the game in the 7th minute when Michael Baczynski who got on the end of a Darren Broxton cross to loop a header over Steve Grant and into the net. By far the dominant side, Inglewood's lead could have beenmuch greater as Kevin Griffiths narrowly missed with a long-range volley and Broxton went close after breaking away down the left. Their persistance was rewarded two minutes from the break when an unchallenged Shaun Kilkelly headed down to Albert Osei-Tutu who blasted in their teams second goal from 2-metres. Bayswater came out for the new half determined to get back in the game. Barnes and Karpeh were allowed a little more room to manoeuvre but against a well-organised defence found genuine openings scarce. Their breakthrough finally arrived in the 57th minute when a deep cross from the right by Igor Novakovic was met by Andy O'Neill whose diving header closed the gap to a single goal. With this Inglewood re-grouped and worked hard to hold on for victory.
In the early Group C match E.C.U. Joondalup proved too strong for Fremantle City at the Edith Cowan University campus in Joondalup. While the 3-1 scoreline suggests a comfortable win for the team from the north it was far from smooth sailing as Fremantle clawed their way back into the game only to concede two late goals. The opening quarter hour was all one-way traffic as Joondalup launched a barrage of attacks through wingers Oliver Hilton (left) and Anthony Jones (right) who between them delivered numerous quality crosses into the area which went unconverted. The inevitable breakthrough took place midway through the period when Anthony Jones tucked the ball away after Bobson Koroma parried an initial shot. This pattern continued for the remainder of the half with Joondalup unfortunate not to be further ahead at the interval. Fremantle made several positional changes at the break and brought Jason Godfrey and Luke Eoanidis off the bench to great effect. Kevin Corriea shot wide and Craig Surtees was thwarted by teenage goalkeeper Jakub Chudy before Jason Godfrey rose highest at a corner to nod in the equaliser. Fremantle continued to throw the pressure on their opponent but were held at bay by Joondalup's well-marshalled rearguard. The introduction of youngsters Stuart Hartman, Darryl Platten and Paul Wigley swung the game back in Joondalup's favour with the latter restoring their lead after being set-up by Garin Collins in the 67th minute. Six minutes later the game was put beyond Fremantle's reach as Hilton rounded one defender to deliver a fine cross to the near post where Tom Jones' glancing header left the 'keeper with no chance.
Cockburn City all but assured themselves of a place in the semi-finals with a come from behind 3-1 defeat of Bassendean Caledonian in the late Group C match. The win leaves Cockburn as the only undefeated side in their pool and with a sizeable goal advantage over their rivals ahead of next weekend's final round of group games. Cockburn started dangerously enough with only rusty finishing preventing John Mirco from bagging the early breakthrough. Caledonian stunned their more fancied opponent by taking the lead a 19th minute lead through Dom Ando's vicious strike from 25-meters which flew past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop and kissed the inside of the left upright before hitting the net. Cockburn's response was swift as Gary Faria, Domenic De Felice and Shane McNally combined with great effect through the centre of the park to the benefit of Michael Mirco who timed his run to perfection and tucked away the equaliser from close-range. It took until midway through the second half for Cockburn to net for a second time, Anthony Pereira penetrating down the right flank before centring to where McNally crashed his shot past towering Caledonian 'keeper Sam Scutti. The result was sealed nine minutes from the end when clever lead-up work by McNally and Pereira was finished off by John Mirco whose daisy-cutter gave the 'keeper no chance. The result leaves Cockburn requiring only a single point from next weekend’s clash with neighbour Fremantle City in order to book the place in the semi-finals.
Swan I.C. maintained their perfect win record by triumphing 2-1 over tournament favourite Western Knights in the early Group D match at Alfred Skeet Oval. It was an all action start as the two sides traded attacks in search of the opening goal. David Foster who shot wide then Michael Bushby’s header met with eh same fate for Swan, while Knights striker Stuart Montgomery fired disappointingly high when sent through by Andrija Jukic. Tom Shepheard worked hard to set-up Foster whose effort flew high, and John Thornley kept his nerve only to have Trevor Hatton steal the ball off his boot. The Knights were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Montgomery’s cross hit the arm of Damian Scali but referee Leon Markich waved play on. Seb Trim combined with great effect with Thornley but could find no way past an alert Corey Hugo. The deadlock was finally broken by Montgomery who pounced on an under-hit back pass and lobbed over Hugo after 16 minutes. Swan continued to attack as Bushby was thwarted by Tommi Tomich. Six minutes from the interval Jonathon Mathers, who was proving a handful down the left, was fouled and from Tony Cumace’s free-kick Shepheard buddled in the equaliser in a goalmouth scramble. Thornley rose highest to meet a Mark Lee free-kick early in the second half but headed over, and David Annall did likewise from a Jon Higgins cross. Mathers’ centre found Foster whose volley was off-target, and Miki Vujacic’s curling free-kick found Tomich as the end-to-end action continued. The deciding goal arrived three minutes from full-time, Shepheard out-pacing the defence to cut the ball back to Scott Campbell who drilled it past Tomich at the far post. Montgomery almost snatched the Knights a draw in the final minute with a rasping shot that flew narrowly high.
Balcatta picked up their first points of the Night Series by defeating Armadale 2-0 in the late Group D fixture at Alfred Skeet Oval. Balcatta made a positive start and could have been several goals the better inside twenty minutes but neither Danny Carlino nor Nigel Comito was able to make the most of their opportunities. The breakthrough came when a corner went to feet and Keegan Ashley scrambled the ball over the line from close-range. The margin was doubled on the half hour as Ashley's free-kick found Joe Cinquina at the far post who headed down for Carlino to net. Armadale had several chances of their own but could find no way past former Reds shot-stopper Ken Fytengenious who was in sensational form. Although the second half began with some end-to-end action neither side really looked all that dangerous in the final third of the park. As the minutes ticked by Armadale gained the ascendency as they threw everything forward in the hope of pegging back the gap, but no matter how hard they tried the Reds were continually left frustrated by their opponents defence. Towards the end the pendulum swung back in Balcatta's favour with Toby Wright and Anthony Di Loretto both denied their sides’ third goal by the hosts 'keeper.
WOMEN'S NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND TWO (Northern Redbacks vs Subiaco United courtesy Northern Redbacks; Mandurah vs Murdoch courtesy Mandurah; Balcatta vs Kingsley courtesy Balcatta)
A strong first half performance set-up Northern Redbacks' 4-0 win over Subiaco United. The games opening goal resulted from some exquisite passing which started at the back and was channelled through midfield before promising youngster Stephanie Grant completed the move. Two further goals opened up a sizeable gap for the Premier League champion by half-time. Subiaco tightened things up after the turnaround, their game plan stifling the Redbacks creativity and limiting them to just one more goal before the final whistle sounded.
Mandurah picked up their first win in metropolitan competition by hitting Murdoch 4-1 in the late Group A fixture at George Burnett Park. 14-year old Jiame Carley consolidated Mandurah's early dominance by scoring the games opening goal on 10 minutes. The young midfielder then doubled her sides lead with a well placed chip over the goalkeeper from the top of the 18-yard box. A centring pass from the right by Yana Moss was put away by ace striker Melanie Loreto for Mandurah's third goal. The scoreline was made complete by Loretto when she converted a cross by teenager Harriet Talbot.
A second half landslide enabled Balcatta to hit ten goals without reply past Kingsley to maintained their perfect start in the 2005 Night Series. The only goal of the opening half came shortly before the break via Kylie Chatto. The floodgates were prised open eight minutes into the new half with Chatto converting a pass from Ashley Kane. Laura Turnbull made it three-nil, and Chatto bagged three in quick succession to take her tally to five. Debbie Gordon netted after a surging run, then youngster Katie Coghlan took the difference to eight. Chatto added another as did Coghlan to complete a memorable night for Balcatta.
The late Group B match provided plenty of entertainment as Queens Park and East Fremantle shared twelve goals with the former running out victors by 8-4. The results sets up a top of the table clash next Sunday between Group B's two undefeated sides, Balcatta and Queens Park.
GLORY FACES GOALKEEPER SHORTAGE
Contractual wrangles look likely to rob Perth Glory of Belgium-based goalkeeper Michael Turnbull. The former Marconi Stallions player has expressed a desire to sign with Glory but his club Standard Liege are reluctant to release him until his contract expires at the end of June. Glory are due to compete in the qualifying series for the World Club Championship in May, but Standard's stance effectively rules Turnbull out of the tournament should he head to Perth. Complicating matters is Glory’s other goalkeeper, Serbia and Montenegro youth international Milan Jovanic is still awaiting visa approval before arriving in Australia.
In confirming his interest in turning out for Glory Turnbull said the situation was in the hands of his manager and the two clubs. "(Standard) has proposed a new three-year contract (but) I want to be playing football and not sitting on the bench, so going back to Perth would be a good opportunity," said the shot-stopper. "My manager is speaking to the club and seeing what my options are (but) Perth is obviously very keen. Europe is my number one priority and if l went back to Perth for a year of so, I'd still be looking at going back overseas - it would be a stepping stone. I'm almost 24, I think that I need to be playing games to be getting experience."
FRIENDLY FIRE (Rockingham City vs Canning City courtesy Canning City; Kingsway Olympic vs Shamrock Rovers courtesy Shamrock Rovers)
Canning City came away from Dowling Street Reserve victorious by 5-3 over Rockingham City. The match got off to a slow start due in large to the hot and humid conditions. Daniel Trevisiol opened Canning's account by firing home from 16-metres and Butler double not long after. Early in the second half poor defending allowed Glenn Hallums to pull one back for the hosts, but Rockingham hit back with Paul Van Dongen scoring with a terrific strike from 26-metres. Daniel Turner fired in Rockingham's second before Hallums put away the equaliser. Canning re-established control and through goals from Butler and Mick Van Dongen ran out comfortable winners.
Shamrock Rovers turned in solid display to beat Kingsway Olympic 2-0 at Olympic Reserve this afternoon. Rovers went ahead early through Patrick O'Boyle who crashed the ball home from just inside the 18-yard box following great lead-up work from Mark Kelly and Flavio L'Abbate. The gap was widened not long after when L'Abbate was fouled inside the box and O'Boyle notched up his second by converting from the spot. L'Abbate came within inches of making it 3-0 by rouding three players and chipping over the 'keeper from long-range only to see his shot drift narrowly over the crossbar.
NO HURRY FOR GLORY TO COMPLETE SQUAD
Having initially questioned whether twenty players would be a big enough squad to cope with the demands of the new A-League competition, Perth Glory are now contemplating going into the campaign with less than its full quota. Glory has lined up 15 players and expect to make at least three more additions before the World Club Championship qualifiers in May. The club remains interested in Hartlepool United forward Joel Porter, Belgian-based goalkeeper Michael Turnbull and former Glory defender Jamie Coyne whose currently with Dutch club Den Haag.
But chairman Nick Tana revealed yesterday that Glory were in no hurry to complete their squad and might even leave open one spot as a contingency plan. "That's possible but it will be the coaching staff's call," Tana said. "I believe they could go with nineteen players and leave an emergency spot for whatever position." Under the regulation of the new national competition clubs are restricted to having only twenty players under the $1.5 million salary cap, although players with long-term injuries can be replaced.
CACERES FAVOURS SOUTH COAST (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Caceres is in talks with English Conference club Aldershot Town just days after being released by Yeovil Town. The former Perth Glory player was released from his Glovers contract this week by mutual consent and received an offer from Boston United boss Steve Evans. But Caceres is reluctant to move from the south coast and would prefer to drop down a division to play with Aldershot. The Argentine born attacker has been offered an 18-month deal by the Conference club, but is leaning towards a shorter term contract.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The second round of group matches in the 2005 Night Series take place this Sunday. Group A remains evenly poised after each team gained a point from last weekend's games. Kicking off the action at Dorrien Gardens are Stirling Lions and Sorrento (6.15pm) with the evenings entertained completed by Perth S.C. against Wanneroo City (8.00pm). At Litis Stadium it's Dianella White Eagles verses Floreat Athena (6.15pm) followed by Bayswater City against near neighbour Inglewood United (8.00pm).
Group C activity commences with Fremantle City up against E.C.U. Joondalup (6.15pm) in what promises to be a top match at the Edith Cowan University campus in Joondalup. Cockburn City are tipped to take the points over Bassendean (8.00pm) in the late game. Swan I.C. must beat tournament favourite Western Knights (6.15pm) to keep alive their chances of progressing from Group D. The late game at Alfred Skeet Oval pits host club Armadale against First Division side Balcatta (8.00pm).
COACH RATES FREMANTLE SQUAD HIGHLY
Steve Parkinson rates the current Fremantle City squad as amongst the best he has ever coached - this despite the departure of several high-profile players over the summer months. "I feel the players we now have at Fremantle is possibly the best balanced group that I have ever had the pleasure of coaching," Parkinson commented this week. "We've made a number of strategic signings to complement the excellent group of young players coming through the ranks and I'm really looking forward to an enjoyable season."
Heading the list of newcomers in the Fremantle camp are Paul Robinson, a former English League defender, and inaugural Perth Glory attacker Dale Wingell who joins his brother Marc at the club. "Paul played youth team football at Nottingham Forest and gained senior experience with Doncaster Rovers. He's certainly a player to watch for ," commented Parkinson. "Dale has national league experience and brings to the club a very good attitude which will show our younger players what is needed to be successful in the state league."
Attacking midfielder David Rodgers rejoins the club fresh from a starring role at South West Phoenix. "Dave returns after a couple of years in Bunbury and adds a new dimension to our game coming through the middle of the park," commented Parkinson. The 27-year old was runaway winner of the both the First Division Player of the Year and Leading Goalscorer awards last year. Former Sunderland academy player Phil Straker moves south following a year at Sorrento and will vie with Bobson Koroma for the spot between the posts.
Complementing this quartet are up-and-comers Roberto Colalillo, Tom Straker and Wesley Ryder. A livewire attacker, Colallio has opted for a change of scenery following a number of years on the books of Cockburn City. Adding steel to the midfield is Straker who completes the second of two pairs of brothers in the senior squad. 17-year old Ryder, who earned State Schoolboy honours last year, is widely considered one of West Australia's brightest young prospects and joins the club via Forrestfield United.
And it's not on the field of play that Fremantle have strengthened their stocks. Parkinson, holder of a UEFA A Licence and with twenty-six years coaching experience to his credit, will be assisted in first team duties by Bob Braid. The pair previously worked together in 2002 while at Inglewood United. The Under-21's have a new team in charge with Peter Rickers and John Tarka sharing the coaching responsibilities. Doug Hesketh continues to nurture Fremantle's youth as coach of the Under-18's.
ARMADALE-GOSNELLS FRIENDLY AIDS TSUNAMI
The annual charity match between Armadale and eastern corridor neighbour Gosnells City this year raised $3,000 towards the Tsunami appeal. The match, played under lights at Alfred Skeet Oval on 12th February, was taken out 3-0 by Armadale courtesy of goals from Jason Goodwin, Greg Newcombe and Dennis Lee. Armadale wishes to thank Alannah McTiernan MLA for her continued support, all those who participated in the events organised and in particular the players, staff and members of Gosnells City in making sure this event was a successful one. A cheque for the above amount will be presented to the Red Cross during the final round of Night Series games at Alfred Skeet Oval on Sunday 6th March.
YEOVIL RELEASE CACERES
Adrian Caceres has parted company with English club Yeovil Town by mutual consent. First team opportunities have been restricted for the former Perth Glory player whose most often been used off the bench for the League Two leader. "It's a disappointing situation because we felt he had tremendous potential but unfortunately he wasn't able to show that consistently in the first team," said Yeovil boss Gary Johnson. "With other players also playing well in his positions and with results meaning I was unable to change a winning side, his opportunities were minimal."
"With his chances limited in the remaining part of this season it was only fair to release him now and give him the chance to find a new club as soon as possible," added Johnson. "It was all very amicable and Adi and I shook hands before he left Yeovil. I'm sure that everybody at Huish Park will wish Adrian all the best in the future." Since joining Yeovil last July Caceres has featured in the starting line-up on just ten occasions with a further sixteen appearances being made off the bench for four goals.
A-LEAGUE TEAMS KEEP WATCH ON LOCAL TALENT
Perth Glory's A-League rivals are ready to move on any local players who slip under the clubs recruitment radar. Representatives of New Zealand Knights, Queensland Roar and Melbourne Victory are expected to run the rule over Perth's local competition as they seek to unearth a gem or two in the build-up to Australia's new domestic competition. Knights boss John Adshead, the State's coaching director in the 1970's, will travel to Perth in May, while Roar assistant John Stewart is expected to visit next month. Victory coach Ernie Merrick, who was in charge of the Victoria Institute of Sport side which played in Perth last year, is also keeping track of WA's talent.
Western Knights dual championship winning coach Ronnie Campbell, has known Merrick and Stewart since the trio were involved at national league club Preston in the 1980's. Campbell believes there are several local players who could step up to the next level given the opportunity and guidance. "Full-time training and a positive coach is all some of the boys need to succeed at the highest level in Australia," he said. And while former Glory coach Gary Marocchi, currently in charge of Swan I.C., agrees there is a lot of potential in Perth he cautions that there are not too many players ready to immediately progress to the A-League. "I don't think there's anyone capable of walking straight into a team," Marocchi. "There's potential here but players have to do a lot of hard work."
A quick whip around the clubs reveals several candidates for national league duty. Goalkeeper Tommi Tomich (25), defenders Aaron Cole (24) and Jason Williams (24), and attacker Greg Sharland (22) would prove more than competitive at the next level. Louis Parkinson (21), Miki Vujacic (21), Antonio Naglieri (21) David Foster (21) and Shaun Kilkelly (20) have previously caught the eye of clubs from the east. Twelve months with Bristol City has sharpened the shot-stopping abilities of Jordan Conti (20), while Matt Danskin (20) and Liam Lilly (19) both gained Australian youth honours last year. Dean Apelgren (19) and Jon Higgins (18) are rated as amongst the west's best up and coming defenders, while other youngsters with bright prospects include Michael Baczynski (18), David Micevski (18) and Andrija Jukic (17).
COONEY TOYS WITH TWO CAMPS (by Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian")
Sean Cooney chose to represent the Republic of Ireland rather than wearing the green and gold of Australia - but he will always have Perth at heart. The Coventry City defender, who is back in action after an ankle injury, is even willing to consider returning to Australia to advance his career. Cooney, who was born and raised in WA, said he would always be drawn to Perth even though his parents had since returned to Ireland. "I love it there and I'll be coming back for a couple of weeks at the end of the season," Cooney said. His Coventry contract expires in June and though he hopes his return to full fitness might prompt an offer of a new deal from the Sky Blues, he would not rule out a return to Australia. "I'd listen to clubs in Australia if they wanted to talk. I'll look at all my options," he said.
Cooney has spent more than four years in England with Coventry where his form for the reserves earned him an Ireland call-up last year after Australia had shown an earlier interest in him. The postponement of the 2003 World Youth Championship because of the military build-up in the Middle East and then an injury thwarted his Australian debut. But when Ireland came knocking a year later, Cooney leapt at the chance to represent the country of his parents' birth. He made his debut for the under-21 team in the 1-0 friendly defeat of Italy in February of last year.
Since then, though, Cooney has spent a frustrating and painful 10-month period out of action because of injury and is now more concerned with pressing for a place in Coventry's first team. The initial diagnosis after he fell and twisted an ankle was for a reasonably quick recovery. But weeks turned into months as Cooney under went an operation to repair ligament damage. "It's been a nightmare," he said. "I was just trying to get fit, and then breaking down again. I saw about three different specialists. But I'm right now so that's the main thing." He has been back in full training for about a month and is already back in the reserve set-up. He expects to be pressing for a first team place soon but Coventry's efforts to avoid the Championship relegation battle will determine whether he gets his chance.
GLORY OFFER TRIAL TO COACHES SON
Stephen McMahon looks likely to become Perth Glory's fifteenth player after being offered trials by the club. McMahon, the son of Glory coach Steve McMahon, arrived in Perth late last week and is keen to show he's not another footballer living in his father's shadow. "My ambition is to just start well and try and establish myself, and prove to a few people that I was worth bringing here," said the 20-year old midfielder. "I'm used to criticism - everyone's got their opinion and I've had it all my life, so I take it on the chin and get on with it. Fitness is what my game is based around, really. I'm a busy player and I get up and down, from box to box."
Coach McMahon said his son would bring a different dimension to the Glory following periods in England's lower divisions. "He'll offer his English mentality. He's very tenacious, very fit and enthusiastic, and he's still young and still learning," said the Glory coach. "He will certainly know the way it is done, professionally, the demands of day-to-day training and the methods." Glory are believed to be negotiating with two more overseas-based players while locally based Young Socceroo Matt Danskin today begins a two-week trial with the club.
NIGHT SERIES GROUP STAGE, WEEKEND ONE (Sorrento vs Wanneroo City by Kerry Slater; Bassendean Caledonian vs Fremantle City courtesy Fremantle City; Cockburn City vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Lennie Bavich; Balcatta vs Swan I.C. by Peer Simcox)
Stirling Lions twice came from behind to grab a point in a pulsating 2-2 draw with Perth S.C. in the opening Group A fixture at Dorrien Gardens this evening. Perth went on the offensive early and with only a few minutes played Andres Oliveira crashed a stinging shot into the crossbar. However, it wasn't long before the Blues dominance was rewarded with Jeff Bright heading in a deep cross from the right by Matt Danskin on 11 minutes. Robbie Puca went close to doubling the margin midway through the half with a fine shot but goalkeeper Jordan Conti proved up to the task. The Lion's only genuine opportunity of the half came the way of Rob Milevski who barged his way into the penalty area only to shoot wide from 9-metres. Perth continued to assert their influence into the second half. A long-range effort from Dino Djulbic crashed into the post, Matt Danskin netted but had the goal disallowed for offside, then Oliveira shot wide when well placed. With 63 minutes gone Leo Harman played a dangerous ball into the area where Lions summer recruit Ian Griffiths rose above the defence to head in the equaliser. But things didn't remain that way for long as Danskin sped down the left flank and centred to Oliveira who slid the ball past Conti to restore Perth's advantage. Shortly after Conti kept out a powerful shot from David Micevski as Perth upped the pace. With seven minutes to go Bright was brought down inside the box by Darko Ilomanoski for what appeared a certain penalty but the referee disagreed. The Lions leveler came in the final minute of play as Griffiths' free-kick into the dangerzone found Stefan Stoleski who poked the in at close-range.
Wanneroo City were within minutes of producing an upset when Sorrento grabbed a 2-2 draw from the late Group A match. Wanneroo started strongly but were unable to capitalise on their possession before their top flight opponent kicked into gear. Todd Harnwell was denied the Gulls opening goal of the season by an alert Gary Kent after 11 minutes. Simon Harland's determined run into the 18-yard box nine minutes later drew a foul from Kent and the referee hesitated not a moment in pointing to the spot from where Jared Love expertly stroked home the penalty to put the Gulls one-nil up. It wasn't until late in the half that Wanneroo began to really threaten, Scott Bulloch engineering their best opportunity via a free-kick which Ben Yates sent unfortunately wide. Six minutes into the second half Wanneroo found a gap in the Gull's rearguard and substitute Brian Robinson was free to head a cross from Scott Bullock across goal and past veteran goalkeeper Willy McNally. Buoyed on by the goal, Wanneroo quickly went in search of a second which arrived just ten minutes later. Again it was Bulloch who provided the ammunition, playing in to Scott Bushby who combined with Stuart Collins to set up Paul Byrne to strike. McNally had his reflexes tested soon afterwards when Bulloch unleashed a fierce drive. With is side struggling to re-discover their rhythm, Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan looked to his bench and brought on Chris Smith and Daniel Cain to great effect. Four minutes from the end the Gulls were gifted a chance to get something from the match when Todd Harnwell was fouled outside the box but the match official was convinced otherwise and awarded a penalty which Danny Hill slammed past Kent to snatch a his side a share of the points.
Inglewood United cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win in their opening Group B fixture over Dianella White Eagles at Litis Stadium. 32 minutes into an entertaining first half both teams went down to ten men with Rory Mouttet and David Mrdja receiving their marching orders from referee Steven Gregory. It wasn't until right on the stroke of half-time that the appreciative crowd was treated to a goal, Andre Sarpe rewarding Inglewood's increased possession by slotting past goalkeeper Anthony Mori. Just two minutes had been played in the second half when Sarpe again found a way past the 'keeper. Danny Kovacevic netted for the first time in Inglewood colours as the margin blew out to three goals with 71 minutes played. And just a minute later summer signing Albert Osei-Tutu completed the route by scoring on debut for this new club.
Bayswater City and Floreat Athena were still blowing out the summer cobwebs when they shared the points at 2-2 in the late Group B at Litis Stadium. Steve Grant had his reflexes tested inside the opening minutes by a bullet-like downward header from Bajo Savic which the Bayswater goalkeeper brilliantly pushed wide for a corner. Down the other end Andrew O'Neill should have made the most of a golden opportunity when sent clear with only Vas Vujacic to beat but the attacker finished disappointingly wide. The host club were the first to draw blood in 25 minutes when Julian Madaschi's long ball from the right released Peter Coci who came out the better in a one-on-one by chipping over Grant. But Bayswater were having none of it and four minutes later parity was restored via a terrific goal from Ross Barnes, the Scotsman weaving between three opponents wide on the right before curling an amazing shot with the outside of his boot into the top corner. Thirteen minutes into the second half Bayswater went ahead through Boima Karpeh who raced onto a well-weighted pass which he slotted past the advancing 'keeper. Eugene Singeorzan created a great chance for himself not long after only to let himself down by finishing poorly. With five minutes to go a dreadful defensive mix-up between Grant and his defender Michael Filipou was pounced upon by substitute Saul Contera who threaded in the equalizer from a tight angle and set-up a tense finish. However, there was still time for one more drama. In the final minute Bayswater attacker Luke O'Neill made his way inside the 18-yard box where he was brought down for what appeared a certain penalty by Adrian Sutton but referee Angelo Nardi saw it otherwise and signaled play to continue.
Bassendean Caledonian proved no match for Fremantle City who emerged 3-1 victors in the opening Group C match at the Edith Cowan University campus in Joondalup. The late withdrawal of Kevin Corriea (illness) and Jason Godfrey (injury) opened the door for Mark Darby and Jason Barrera, two of six players in the Fremantle line-up under the age of eighteen, to make their senior debuts. The port side started strongly and held much of the early possession without really causing the opposing defence too much trouble. Caledonian, playing with the breeze at their backs, slowly found their rhythm and began to make inroads of their own. But for the better part their attacks were comfortably dealt with by Fremantle's new signing Paul Robinson and his central defensive partner Darby, while on the occasions Caledonian did open up a passage to goal Bobson Koroma proved up to the task. The introduction of Roberto Colalillo and Wes Ryder for the second half swung the balance of play back in Fremantle's favour. So it surprised few when a cross from Ryder found the head of former Perth Glory player Dale Wingell who made no mistake in putting the port side ahead on 53 minutes. This gave Fremantle the buffer they needed to really settle down and knock the ball around the park with confidence. Andy Pomfret doubled the margin in the 75th minute, and with the games very next attack the 17-year old striker steered the ball past goalkeeper Vince Matteo to ensure Fremantle maximum points. In the final minute of play Caledonian bagged a consolation goal when Ryan Jeans beat Koroma from the penalty spot.
Cockburn City got their Night Series campaign off to a flying start by dumping E.C.U. Joondalup 3-1 in the late Group C fixture. A long ball played forward by Michael Mirco in the 17th minute was headed on by Dean Gartside for John Mirco whose low shot found the back of the net for the game opening goal. Fifteen minutes later Joondalup were dealt a blow from which they'd not recover as goalkeeper Peter Stewart was issued his marching orders for a reckless challenge on John Mirco. Gartside effectively wrapped up the game for Cockburn three minutes from half-time by rifling past replacement 'keeper Jakub Chudy following neat build-up work from midfielders Michael Mirco and Shane McNally. Joondalup began the new half full of running, pushing forward in numbers but finding few ways past the defensive wall formed by Dusan Macura and Dean Wallace. The northerner's persistence was finally rewarded when Martin Ashworth pierced the Cockburn rearguard to send a cross from the left to the near post where Tom Jones nipped in ahead of Alan Dunlop to reduce the difference. Simon El Chami made an auspicious start to the season when, just five minutes after coming off the bench, he was red carded for a poorly timed tackle on Ashworth with three minutes remaining. Cockburn weren't done yet, however, and shortly before the whistle for full-time substitute Anthony Pereira flew horizontally to head in their third goal after another well conceived attack orchestrated by McNally and Michael Mirco.
Swan I.C. began kicked off the Night Series by downing First Division outfit Balcatta 2-1 in the early game at Alfred Skeet Oval. It was a good opening by the black and whites with Tom Shepheard heading just high and goalkeeper Ken Fytengenious tipping a Miki Vujacic free-kick over the top. Swan deservedly went ahead after 17 minutes when Vujacic curled another free-kick into the top right corner following a foul on Shepheard. Balcatta were working overtime at the back to soak up the constant pressure as Swan launched wave after wave of attack. A superb move started by Tony Cumace saw the ball channeled through midfield by Vujacic and Michael Bushby with the latter teeing up David Foster whose low shot was smoothed well by Fytengenious. Just before the half hour Vujacic broke through for a second time from a dead ball situation, this time the 21-year old swinging the ball around the defensive wall and beyond the reach of the 'keeper. Swan very nearly added a third to their tally right on the stroke of half-time as Tony Cumace's long-range thunderbolt crashed into the crossbar. The second half began where the first left off, Fytengenious making good saves to deny Shepheard and Foster. Balcatta got themselves back in the game in the 53rd minute when David Moschilla ran on to a long pass out of defence which he lobbed over an advancing Cory Hugo. Not long after Moschilla again beat the offside trap and on this occasion Danyal Bennett saved the day for Swan was a superb tackle. With just seconds left on the clock Balcatta came within inches of snatching a point as Moschilla beat two defenders only to have his shot come back off the bar and from the follow-up Nigel Comito headed disappointingly wide.
Western Knights rarely looked in danger as the Night Series favourite wept aside Armadale 3-0 in the late game at Alfred Skeet Oval. The match started at a frenetic pace and the Knights well on top. The first opening of the night came the way of Stuart Montgomery who should have done much better in the 5th minute, and shortly after the Knights striker got on the end of a superb Paul Cooke cross from the right only to send his header high. Midway through the period Seb Trim made his way past three opponents down the right flank before playing a neat one-two with Barry Wood to go inside the box where he was brought down for a penalty which was duly converted by Montgomery. Armadale's first chance came after 24 minutes and following some good play down the right but Knights custodian Tommi Tomich wasn't troubled in keeping out the resultant header. Five minutes later Andrjia Jukic won the ball in midfield and quickly relayed possession to Montgomery who raced goalward and from 15-metres drilled it past the on-coming Nick Stone to put the Knights two-up. The last attack of the half came from Armadale who should have scored when a quickly taken free-kick caught out the opposing defence for whom Tomich came to the rescue. Armadale forced the pace in the second half but for all their enterprise could find now way through an watertight Knights rearguard. The outcome was put beyond in the 61st minute as Jon Higgins weaved his was around several opponents to drill a low cross into the centre where Montgomery slid the ball into the post but recovered in time to complete his hat-trick.
WOMEN'S NIGHT SERIES, WEEKEND ONE (Balcatta vs East Fremantle courtesy East Fremantle; Kingsley vs Queens Park courtesy Kingsley)
Northern Redbacks showed they'll be the team to beat this season by thrashing Murdoch in the opening game of the Women's Night Series. The Redbacks took control early and didn't look back as they hit twelve unanswered goals to take maximum points from their Premier A Division fixture. The massive winning margin should act as a warning to the Redbacks top flight opponents. There was also a good start to the new season for Subiaco United who proved too strong for competition newcomer Mandurah by a 3-1 scoreline.
Balcatta romped home 5-1 over East Fremantle in the opening Premier B Division clash at George Burnett Park. Having created a slew of early opportunities without success Balcatta finally broke through on the quarter hour with Lindsey Jobling the scorer. But within minutes East Fremantle hit back against the run of play with a goal of their own. Unperturbed, Balcatta continued to push forward and went into the interval with the advantage courtesy of Elisa D'Ovidio's strike. It was more of the same in the second half as Balcatta ran away with the game with Kylie Chatto, Brid Dawson and debutant Katie Coglhan each getting on the scoresheet.
Queens Park triumphed 4-0 over Kingsley in the late Premier B Division fixture. The Kingsley camp were thrown into disarray after 5 minutes when livewire striker Jo Oliver was forced from the ground with an ankle injury. The opening goal resulted from a speculative shot from distance by Queens Park which was carried over the head of goalkeeper Kate Burns with the aid of the breeze. Queens Park's second came shortly before the break via the penalty spot. A defensive lapse allowed Kylie Woodfin to further increased the margin, and Queens Park's fourth arrived shortly before the final whistle.
EVENING STARTS MEET WITH GLORY APPROVAL
Night football will continue in Perth when the new national league season kicks off in August. Although competition fixtures won't be officially released under early next month it is understood the majority of Perth Glory's eleven home A-League game will be played under lights at Members Equity Stadium with most games on Friday and Saturday evenings. Glory had requested all home games be played on Saturday nights but are satisfied with the match schedule which has been driven by Fox Sports' commitment to live coverage of the A-League.
"We have worked pretty closely with Fox Sports on when the times and dates will be set and, as we understand it, it will be a reasonable spread of Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoons," Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis told the "Sunday Times." "Our request was for Saturday evening 7.00pm, but we said if there are more games we can pick up on TV we would be happy. So for the first time we are working around the TV schedule." Under an agreement with Football Federation Australia, Fox Sports will broadcast live a minimum of two A-League games each weekend with the network hoping to show about 70% of games live.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Ashfield vs Perth S.C. courtesy Ashfield)
Swan I.C. reserves defeated an experimental Morley Windmills side 2-1 at Wotton Reserve. With Justin Jensen pulling the strings in midfield it was the host club which dominated the opening exchanges, twice hitting the frame of the goal with a further two shots cleared off the line. Swan settled and claimed the opening goal on the hour when Matt Ullbricht rounded the last defender to rifle past goalkeeper Matt Darling. Within three minutes Windmills hit back as Swan failed to clear the danger and Andrew Everley netted from a tight angle. There were further chances at both ends before Marco Taglioretti tapped in the decider from close range after darling parried a Radi Pelemis shot.
Ashfield twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Perth S.C. reserves at Ashfield Reserve. The Blues made good use of the ball early on and not surprisingly took the lead through a stunning volley into the top corner. Within three minutes Ashfield had their response as Dave Gordon sent Peter Noiszewski through and the young striker no mistake in slotting past the on-coming goalkeeper. Just after the hour Perth bagged their second goal after Ashfield custodian Maekol Taseski parried a shot but was unable to keep out the follow-up. Minutes from the end substitute Ben Kelly got on the end of a long ball played by Wayne Culverwell and muscled his way past the Perth sweeper to level the match.
A one-all draw was the outcome of the friendly between Kingway Olympic and E.C.U. Joondalup reserves at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Both teams took considerable time to settle resulting in an understandably scrappy opening period. With the respective defences dominating the match there were few genuine chances on goal until midway through the game. The opening goal resulted from some neat passing by Sota Iwasaki and John Doherty with the latter putting Olympic ahead. The was seemingly in the bag when Joondalup equalised in the final minute following a defensive error.
COACH PLANS BUSY PRE-SEASON FOR GLORY
Perth Glory players face a tough pre-season in preparation for the Australian qualifying series of the World Club Championship. Coach Steve McMahon, whose been working with nine players for the past few weeks, wants to play as many as eight friendlies before the qualifiers in May. The club are currently finalising their pre-season program which could include games against Singapore and an S-League All-Stars team. "I'll be trying to get games as soon as I can, even if it's just to assess players," said McMahon. "I'd like to have had seven or eight games before the first game in May." Glory have been seeded in the semi-finals of the Australian qualifiers where they'll play the winner of Sydney and Queensland Roar for a spot in the series final. The tournament winner will take their place at the Oceania Football Confederation Club World Championship Qualifying Tournament between 30th May and 10th June in Tahiti.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The group phase of the Night Series kicks-off on Sunday with eight games scattered across the metropolitan area. In Group A, played at Dorrien Gardens, trophy holder Perth S.C. take on Stirling Lions (6.15pm) with a northern suburbs derby between Sorrento and Wanneroo City (8.00pm) as the late game. At Litis Stadium Group B kicks off with Inglewood United against Dianella White Eagles (6.15pm) followed by host club Floreat Athena and Bayswater City (8.00pm).
Bassendean Caledonian and Fremantle City (6.15pm) meet in the opening Group C game at the Edith Cowan University Campus in Joondalup. The late fixture throws together group heavyweights E.C.U. Joondalup and Cockburn City (8.00pm). Alfred Skeet Oval is the venue for Group D which commences with First Division outfit Balcatta against Swan IC (6.45pm). It's the battle of the champions in the late game as Premier League title holder Western Knights take on recently promoted Armadale (8.20pm).
START TIME FOR WOMEN'S NIGHT SERIES
The new season kicks-off this weekend for the 'fairer sex' with the opening games in the Women's Night Series at George Burnett Park in Manning. The annual pre-season competition will be contested over the next five weeks culminating in the series decider and minor place play-offs on the weekend of 18th/20th March.
The eight Premier League teams have been split into two pools who'll play each Sunday evening. Group A kicks-off at 6.45pm when Murdoch come up against reigning champion Northern Redbacks (6.45pm). This is followed by Subiaco United and competition newcomer Mandurah (8.15pm). A 6.45pm meeting of Balcatta and East Fremantle commences Group B activity with this weeks late game featuring Kingsley and Queens Park (8.15pm).
In competition on Friday evenings are the social teams. Group A consists of Swan I.C., Cockburn City, Ashfield and Queens Park, while pooled in Group B are Ballajura, Meville City, University of WA and Subiaco United B. North Beach, Balcatta B, Kingsley B and Beckenham Angels make up Group C, with Gosnells City, Northern Redbacks B, East Fremantle B and Fremantle United in Group D. For more details on the Women's Night Series, including all competition fixtures, visit the Football West website.
FIVE NOMINATED AS OUR GREATEST EVER
Robbie Dunn, Stan Lazaridis, Gary Marocchi, Tracey Wheeler and Robert Zabica have been nominated for the honour of West Australia's greatest ever soccer player. The quintet were yesterday announced as being in contention for the award which will be presented at a black tie event next month. The Night of Stars, at the Perth Convention Centre on Thursday March 10th, will acknowledge the achievements of the state's best sports men and women in eighteen categories. Judging just who will be the state's greatest ever soccer player are sports commentators Dennis Cometti and Peter Vlahos, journalist Mark Duffield,. former director of the Western Australia Institute of Sport Wally Foreman and Sue Taylor, vice-president of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.
Dunn is the state's second most capped international players with 44 appearances for Australia. He started out with Kwinana United and North Perth Croatia before stepping up to the national league at the age of 17 with West Adelaide. Through spells at Preston Makedonia and Melbourne Croatia his national league tally rose to 168 games and 54 goals - not bad for a central defender. In a three year period Dunn represented Australia on 44 occasions including the 1986 World Cup Qualifiers and the 1988 Olympic Games. The following year he turned out for Perth Italia and made his only appearance for the State team, before time South China (Hong Kong) and Sarawak (Malaysia). He ended his playing career at North Perth Croatia in 1992.
Lazaridis is arguably West Australia's greatest football export. Through time at Kingsway Olympic and Floreat Athena the fleet-footed midfielder gained Australia Under-17 honours at the 1989 World Youth Championship, which was followed a year later by his senior State call-up. In 1992 he joined West Adelaide for whom he'd make 73 national league appearances over three seasons. Lazaridis signed for English club West Ham United in mid-1995 and over four season played 87 times for the Londoners. He transferred to Birmingham City in 1999 and to date has made 193 outings for the Blues. A regular for the senior national team since 1993 Lazaridis has played 65 times for Australia, a tally which includes three World Cup qualifying campaigns and the 2000 Olympic Games.
Marocchi is one of the true icons of the game in this state and in 1996 became the first player inducted into the West Australia Sporting Hall of Champions. In a twelve year State League career he was an integral part of the Azzurri side during the 1970's and 1980's when he helped the club to three regular season championships, three Night Series titles, three play-off crowns and two D'Orsogna Cups. During this period he was selected for the State team on 22 occasions. Marocchi's time on the local scene was punctuated by six years in South Australia with Adelaide City. Between 1975 and 1978 he played for Australia on 14 occasions and captained the nation in the 1978 home series against Greece.
Born in Sydney, Wheeler headed west at the age of 23 and went on to forge a career that makes her West Australia's most decorated female player. As fist choice goalkeeper for Australia she played in two World Cup Finals tournaments as well as the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. In total Wheeler made 49 appearances for Australia, a tally that would have been much greater if not to for knee reconstructions in 1993 and 1996. A regular member of the State squad, Wheeler played on the local scene for Morley Windmills, Forrestfield United, Fremantle United and Murdoch University in addition to three years in the national competition with the South Australian Sports Institute.
One of Australia's greatest goalkeepers, Robert Zabica played 42 times for the national team between 1990 and 1994. He turned out for Spearwood Dalmatinac and Stirling Macedonia before a seven year spell in the national league with Adelaide City for whom he played 195 times and twice won the championship. A serious knee injury interrupted his career in the mid-1990's, but Zabica made a successful return to the game with Dalmatinac before making the first of six appearances for the State team at the age of 31. He returned to the national league with seven outings for Perth Glory and played three games for English side Bradford City in late 1997. Bayswater City, Inglewood United and Fremantle City also benefitted from Zabica's skills before he hung up the playing boots age 35.
NIGHT SERIES HOTS UP
Balcatta, Bassendean Caledonian, Dianella White Eagles, Wanneroo City are joined this weekend by the twelve Premier League clubs in the group phase of the Night Series. The sixteen teams have been drawn in four pools of four teams with the winner of each group qualifying for the semi-finals on early next month. In a change with tradition, the pre-season competition will be played at a number of venues north, east and central of the metropolitan area.
Trophy holder Perth S.C., Sorrento, Stirling Lions and Wanneroo City have been pooled in Group A which has suitably been dubbed the 'group of death'. A number of quality new signings have made Perth, a fourteen times winner of the event, the popular choice to take out the group. Sorrento pose their greatest threat while the Lions and Wanneroo, who've already been installed as favourite for the First Division title, will also be no pushover. Group A is based at Dorrien Gardens.
Group B will be hosted at Litis Stadium where Bayswater City, Dianella White Eagles, Floreat Athena and Inglewood United go to battle. A young squad brimful of talent makes Inglewood the clear favourite to go through to the next round. Athena and Bayswater have each made some good signings over the summer but neither have the depth to seriously challenge Inglewood. The surprise packet of the qualifying rounds was Dianella and the outcome of games involving them could have a big effect on the final group placings.
Bassendean Caledonian, Cockburn City, Fremantle City, E.C.U. Joondalup make up Group C which is based at Joondalup's Edith Cowan University campus. It's widely expected the group winner will be either Cockburn or Joondalup with the outcome of their opening round clash vital to the chances of both. Make no mistake about it, Fremantle are set for a strong showing this year but they'll need more time to gel and settle before emerging as a serious threat. Caledonian are in for a very tough three weeks.
Pooled together in Group D are Armadale, Balcatta, Swan I.C. and Western Knights. With what is undoubtedly the strongest squad in the league the Knights are red-hot favourite to not only win the group but also to go on and claim just their second ever Night Series title. Swan I.C. will have no trouble in putting the ball away but a suspect defence is expected to be their downfall. Armadale and Balcatta are both capable of springing a surprise or two but they'll need a miracle in order to go through to the next round. Group D is based at Alfred Skeet Oval.
FOOTBALL WEST CALLS ON THE FOOTBALL FAMILY
The equipment room at the Gosnells City was recently vandalized and destroyed by fire, ruining valuable property and gear. With the 2005 season fast approaching, the Gosnells committee and members remain committed to participating in an exciting competition. Football West are calling on the football family to assist the club by lending or providing Rooball nets for 6-8 and 9-10 year olds, as well as senior nets. In addition, if a club has an old or a second line marker or knows of one, then Gosnells would appreciate being able to borrow it. Clubs able to provide assistance are asked to contact David (9459 8686) or Jenny (9459 6992).
BIG YEAR FOR WARD
Perth Glory's Nick Ward is gearing up for the biggest year of his young career. The 20-year old midfielder is expected to warm up for the inaugural A-League season by turning out for the Young Socceroos at the FIFA World Youth Championship in the Netherlands in June-July. And while Australian Under-20 duties will keep him out of Glory training for about a month, Ward will pull out all the stops to convince coach Steve McMahon of his value. "We've got quite a bit of time before I go away anyway," Ward told "West Australian" reporter Jonathon Cook. "We've got the club world championship tournament. There are going to be games for him to see me in."
Ward is hopeful of becoming a regular starter for Glory when the new national competition kicks-off in August. "I've signed for a year and if I have a good season I might stay here again or go overseas. I've just got to make sure I can cement a spot in the team," he said. The extreme conditions in the Solomon Islands, where the Young Socceroo's took out the Oceania qualifiers, have helped Ward cope with Perth's summer heat. "It was the toughest conditions I've ever played in," Ward said of the qualifying series. "After training you needed towels that had been in ice. The temperature was in the 30s but it was really humid as well. The sun was beating down and there was no sea breeze, so it was really tough."
ARMADALE GETS HOSTING RIGHTS
The eastern corridor will host Night Series games for the first time after Alfred Skeet Oval was today confirmed as the venue for all Group D fixtures. Armadale's home ground replaces Stirling Lions' home Macedonia Park which was ruled unavailable for safety reasons. "Our pitch was deemed not ready for action as the newly laid turf has not knitted sufficiently to be safe for play," explained Lions president Don Evans. "Full credit to Armadale for offering their facilities and being able to step in and fill the breach at the eleventh hour."
As a result of this venue switch the Lions have relinquished their 'host club' status which now transfers to Armadale. It's the perfect opportunity for the Reds to showcase their wares on the eve of their debut season in the state's top flight. In accordance with this change Armadale have been shifted into Group D alongside western Knights, Swan I.C. and Balcatta. The Lions will spend the group stage based at Dorrien Gardens where they'll meet host club and trophy holder Perth S.C., Sorrento and Wanneroo City.
NATIONAL LEAGUE KNOCKS FOR DANSKIN
Australian youth international Matt Danskin has his sights on a place in Perth Glory's squad after being offered trials with the A-League club. But Glory are not the only one who've been attracted by the 20-year old midfielder with New Zealand Knights also expressing their interest. Glory coach Steve McMahon said he would spend about a week assessing Danskin's qualities. "With the numbers we've got, you can't have an 11-a-side game but we'll have a look at him", McMahon said. "We've got to be fair to him and we'll get a feel for what he's all about."
Danskin, who spent eighteen months in the youth ranks of German club Werder Bremen, trained with Glory for a month last year. He completed the winter of 2004 with Fremantle City and recently completed a transfer to Perth S.C. for whose Night Series campaign commences this weekend. Danskin represented Australia at Under-20 level on several occasions last year and was a standby player for the recent Oceania qualifiers. The midfielder remains in contention for a place in the Young Socceroo squad for the World Youth Championship, to be played in the Netherlands, this June/July.
JONES PUTS HIMSELF IN THE FRAME
Regular games for English League One outfit Blackpool could earn goalkeeper Brad Jones a new contract with Premier League club Middlesbrough. With Socceroo custodian Mark Schwarzer and Carlo Nash ahead of him in the Boro pecking order and his contract due to expire at the end of the season, Jones agreed to a loan arrangement with Blackpool late last year with the aim of playing regular first team football. That's a goal he has now achieved, Jones chalking up eleven outings for Blackpool, and the former Bayswater City player hopes he's done enough to convince Middlesbrough of his worth.
"I'm just waiting for the phone call to say that negotiations with Middlesbrough have started)," Jones told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian". "I know I'm not going to push Schwarzy out of the team that easily. It's just a case of me getting games and proving I can play league football and then, hopefully, the club will have more confidence in me. Hopefully, next season I'll be number two and then if anything happens to Schwarzy, they'd have to put me in."
Jones has come a long way since starting out as a junior with Sutherlands Park and Lynwood. A graduate of the John Curtin Soccer Excellence, Jones spent a couple of seasons playing youth team football at Bayswater before trying his luck in England where the then 16-year olds signed trainee papers with Middlesbrough. In 2001 he represented Austrlaia at Under-20 level, and successful loan spells with Stockport County and Blackpool lead to Jones' first team debut for 'Boro in January 2004. Later that same year he was a member of the Australia squad which competed at the Athens Olympic Games.
NIGHTMARE TWO YEARS OVER FOR ERGIC
Ivan Ergic's career is back on track following over two years out through injury and illness. The former Perth Glory star has featured prominently in FC Basel's mid-season friendly schedule having been kept out of the game by a troublesome groin injury followed by a nasty bout of glandular fever. The talented 22-year old made his long awaited comeback for his Swiss club by coming off the bench 70 minutes into the 4-1 defeat of FC Wil. Three days later the attacking midfielder was a 66th minute introduction in the 1-0 win over Partizan Belgrad, and against Torpedo Moscow he came on after 70 minutes as the Russia side won 4-2. Ergic was a 64th minute substitute in the 2-0 defeat of Yverdon Sports, while in last week he came on in the 61st minute of Basel's 0-1 loss to SC Kriens.
NIGHT SERIES PRELIMINARY ROUND TWO (Ashfield vs Wanneroo City courtesy Ashfield)
Bassendean Caledonian progressed to the group phase of the Night Series with a dramatic 5-4 defeat of Spearwood Dalmatinac at Frank Drago Reserve. Played in hot and humid conditions, Dalmatinac drew first blood when Darryn Rich netted after 17 minutes. Caledonian's response was near immediate and had a fair degree of luck attached as goalkeeper James Milne's clearance struck the chest of Ryan Jeans who was presented with a simple tap-in to restore parity. On 21 minutes Craig Wells pushed forward down the left and blasted the ball past the goalkeeper to put Caledonian ahead. Rich was proving a handful for the opposing defence and on 32 minutes he combined with Martin Mirco who made it two-all with a fierce shot from 30-metres. A dreadful error in the Caledonian defence six minutes later was seized upon by Damian Pescud and he made no mistake in putting Dalmatinac back in the box seat. The see-sawing nature of the game continued with Jason Van Rooy hitting an amazing equaliser from 35-metres, then just sixty second later Darren Pesich netted with a well-placed header to have Dalmatinac ahead at the break. Midway through the second half Jeans' shot cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar to Van Rooy who drilled it into the back of the net for four-each. With the match looking destined for extra-time Jeans found himself in the right place at the right time to bag the deciding goal in an amazing game.
In a proverbial game of two halves, Balcatta came from behind to eliminate Rockingham City by a 4-2 scoreline at Frank Drago Reserve. Rockingham settled the better and dominated the opening half over a Balcatta line-up who found it difficult to find their rhythm. The southerner's went into the break with a deserved one-goal buffer thanks to Elvis Visic who converted a contentious penalty awarded for handball. With the words of assistant coach Pat Strano still ringing in their ears, Balcatta came out firing on all cylinders for the second period. The game was turned on its head in the early stages of the second half when Jim Vasilou was forced from the ground after receiving a cut above the eye, making way for substitutes Keegan Ashley and David Moschilla to take the game by the scruff of the beck. Within minutes Moschilla got the sides back on level terms by scoring from the penalty spot. Rockingham got one back when Visic raced through to lob over 'keeper Ken Fytengenious in a one-on-one. But any hopes Rockingham of a comeback were quickly laid to rest by as a series of wall passes between Moschilla and Wilson lead to the latter completely his hat-trick.
Ashfield's Night Series campaign came to a crashing halt at the hands of Wanneroo City who triumphed 3-0 at Dalmatinac Park. Ashfield settled the quicker and showed the greater early desire without ever really threatening on goal. Eventually Wanneroo found their rhythm and began to confidently knock the ball around the full length and breadth of the park. It was at this point that Ashfield seemed to lose their way and, on 22 minutes, Wanneroo went ahead through Scott Bulloch who tapped in from close-range. With Ashfield content to let their opponent maintain possession for long periods much of the play took place in Wanneroo's attacking half but they could find few ways past a watertight defence. The second half saw Tom Gaca join Matt Pochroj and Wayne Culverwell in attack for Ashfield who only now sparked into life. But having soaked up the pressure Wanneroo sprung a lightning fast counter-attack in which Stuart Collins benefitted from a dubious referee's call to double the northerner's advantage. Ashfield weren't about to give up, however, and with fourteen minutes to go substitute Peter Noiszewski had a fine shot tipped wide by goalkeeper Gary Kent. Shortly after the result was put beyond doubt by Brian Robertson who managed to touch a cross past Maekol Taseski and into the net.
Dianella White Eagles were taken to extra-time by Canning City before merging 2-1 victors in the late game at Dalmatinac Park. A penalty late in extra-time enabled Dianella White Eagles to into the next stage of the Night Series by 2-1 over Canning City this afternoon. In a hard fought contest that could have gone either way at Dalmatinac Park, both regulation time goals came within minutes of eachother midway through the opening half. Canning were first to get on the score sheet after 19 minutes when Daniel Butler chipped into the dangerzone and Alex Seed headed firmly past Drazen Saric and into the roof of the goal. Six minutes later Canning failed to clear the danger following a corner and Jimmy Stoicev forced the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble. Ten minutes from full-time Canning were reduced to ten men after Daniel Laing was issued a second yellow card, and Frank Longstaff was sent from the bench by the match official for dissent. Even so, Canning continued to threaten and could have snatched victory with better finishing, while at the opposite end the sharp reflexes of Adam Horsely kept the game balanced on a knives edge. The match headed into extra-time and with just three minutes to go Dianella were awarded a penalty which substitute Zoran Barovic converted much to the delight of the loyal Dianella supporters.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Floreat Athena vs Swan I.C. courtesy Swan I.C.; Inglewood United vs E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup; Sorrento vs Cockburn City courtesy Sorrento)
An early goal earned Floreat Athena a 1-0 win over Swan I.C. at Ashfield Reserve this morning. It took Athena just 5 minutes to go-ahead as Saul Contera's cross was knocked in at close-range by Paul Vlachou. It was nearly two-nil when Bajo Savic long range bomb crashed into the underside of the crossbar much to the relief of Cory Hugo. Miki Vujacic twice went close to leveling for Swan, first shooting narrowly wide then having a long-range strike tipped over the bar by brother Vas Vujacic. The pace slowed considerably in the second half which produced few genuine chances on goal. Contera and Adrian Sutton had the best chances for Athena while at the opposite end it was Rodrigo Aguirre and Damien Todorovic.
Bayswater City and Kingsway Olympic played out a 2-2 draw in hot and humid conditions. Having soaked up the early pressure Bayswater began to get deep in their opponents half and should have gone ahead through Andrew O'Neill and Luke O'Neill who both squandered golden opportunities when well placed. Sal Marrapodi, back from an eighteen month lay off, marked his return by netting the opening goal just after the hour following a booming clearance by goalkeeper Steve Grant. A superb weaving run into attack ended with Olympic scoring their opener, the Sota Iwasaki guided his header past replacement 'keeper Francis Allen to put Olympic ahead. With five minutes to go Ross Barnes curled in Bayswater's leveler.
The annual Stephanie Aldous Trophy charity match was taken out 3-0 by Armadale over eastern corridor rival Gosnells City on Saturday. Played under lights at Alfred Skeet Oval, the home team went ahead through Jason Goodwin who was successful from the penalty spot. And when Greg Newcombe benefited from static defending to bag his sides second it was looking as though Armadale would run away with the game. But Gosnells regrouped at the back and increasingly began to make inroads of their own. The second half began with a bang when Armadale defender Peter Vukmirovic was red carded for a foul on Darren Ingham. With Gosnells unable to take full advantage of the extra man, Dennis Lee completed the scoreline by glancing in a superb cross from Peter Taylor.
Both Inglewood United and E.C.U. Joondalup had their new recruits on show when they met in the northern suburbs. Joondalup dominated the opening half with some neat movement of the ball with former Liverpool trainee Steve Porter pulling the strings in midfield. However, a combination of rusty finishing and desperate defending presented the northern suburbs side from opening their account. The only goal of the half came from Inglewood after a quickly taken free-kick put Michael Baczynski through one-on-one with goalkeeper Peter Stewart. Shortly after the start of the second half the temperature rose steeply and the pace of the game slowly dramatically. Even so, chances continued to be created at both ends sides but with no addition to the score it was Inglewood who ran out 1-0 victors.
Western Knights completed their preparations for the Night Series with a 6-1 thrashing of Queens Park at Coker Park on Saturday afternoon. The Knights were quick to asserted their authority with John Thornley and Stuart Montgomery guilty of missing good early chances on goal. Even so, it took only until the 14th minute to breakthrough when Thornley nodded in a deep corner by Mark Lee. Playing the counter-attack game, Queens Park hit back through an unstoppable shot from distance by Glenn Noblet. Just before the interval the Knights reclaimed the lead with Montgomery successful in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It was all one way traffic in the second half as the Knights ran rampant. With ten minutes of the re-start they'd wracked up four goal as Greg Montenegro, Montgomery, Thornley and Barry Wood put the result beyond doubt.
Sorrento produced a 'Jekyll and Hyde' performance in overcoming a strong Cockburn City line-up 3-2 at Percy Doyle Reserve. The only goal of the first half arrived on 28 minutes when defender Richard Watson turned the ball past his own goalkeeper to give Cockburn a deserved lead at the break. Twelve minutes into the new half Gary Faria increased the doubled the margin by firing past Gulls custodian Neil Young. Sorrento rallied after a series of attacks found the target through a scorching shot by Danny Hill from 20-metres in the 67th minute. Not long after Hill again beat Jeff Cargill to bring the sides back on level terms. With their confidence up, Sorrento grabbed an 86th minute winner with Simon Harland the scorer.
TOWNSEND BOUNCES BACK AT BURNLEY
Ryan Townsend is back in the swing of things at Burnley. The teenage defender ended a frustrating couple of months which saw him sidelined by a serious leg injury but featuring twice in the space of a couple of days for the Clarets. "Ryan also did okay and was obviously a little ring-rusty after a few months out, but he had a game on Saturday and then again today, so that will do him good," said Reserve team manager Mark Yates. Last Saturday Townsend made his first appearance since late September by being part of the Burley Youth team which went down 0-3 to Oldham Athletic. And on Wednesday he played a full game for the reserves who drew 0-0 with Macclesfield in the Pontin's Holiday League.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The four qualifying teams who'll compete in the group phase of the 2005 Night Series will be decided this Sunday. The action gets underway from 2.00pm at Frank Drago Reserve with Bassendean Caledonian up against amateur Cup holder Spearwood Dalmatinac. Big winners last weekend, Balcatta take on a re-energised Rockingham City from 4.00pm. There's another double-header at Dalmatinac Park which kicks-off off with Wanneroo City against Ashfield at 2.00pm. Canning City and Dianella White Eagles go head-to-head from 4.00pm in the remaining game. The winners of all four games progress to the group phase of the tournament where they'll battle it out with teams from the state's top flight.
MANDURAH'S BATTLE OF THE CODES TO AID TSUNAMI VICTIMS
No matter which form of football you support, Mandurah is the place to be tonight. From 6.15pm at Rushton Park North, Mandurah City (association football) and Mandurah Mustangs (Australian rules football) met in an charity International Rules match. Last year's match between the two club was a resounding success with close to 1,000 spectators witnessing a City win by 19 points. Both teams will have a number of celebrity guests which include new Perth Glory signings Stuart Young and Naum Sekulovski as well as AFL legend Gary Hocking. Entry is by donation with all proceeds going towards helping the victims of the recent tsunami in South Asia.
CAMPBELL ARRIVES AS MAROCCHI DEPARTS SWAN
The arrival of Scott Campbell at Swan I.C. could not have been better timed. Just days after Campbell agreed terms with the black and whites came news they'll have to do without Christian Marocchi for the coming season. Following four seasons at Inglewood United Campbell will be looking to regain the form that earned the 24-year old State representative honours a few back. "Scott is a very good signing for us and he will definitely bolster up the midfield," said Swan assistant coach Carlo Scali. "He's a hard working, quality player who fits in very well with the rest of the guys and will help bring other players around him into the game."
At the same time as they welcome Campbell, Swan bid farewell to Christian Marocchi who'll miss the upcoming campaign due to overseas work commitments. The versatile 24-year old was looking forward to making his comeback from a serious knee injury kept him on the sideline since late 2003. "It's a shame as it would have been a bonus for the club if Christian was available." commented Scali. "He's not played for over a year but was looking good in pre-season and seemed to have recovered from his knee reconstruction. Christian has the ability to play in midfield or as sweeper and would have added to our options for the coming season. Losing him unfortunate as he add something to the side, be it on or off the park."
YOUR CHANCE TO TAKE THE WHISTLE
If you've ever had a burning desire to be the man in the middle with the whistle then listen up! MetroWest Referees are looking for motivated individuals to officiate men's and women's games at junior, youth, schools and senior levels for this and future seasons. "We're always looking for new and enthusiastic referees who want to put something back into the game," said MetroWest referees president Nigel Selwyn.
"Later this year we'll be conducting the referees entrance exam which looks closely at the Laws of the Game," Selwyn added. "Those who are successive will go into the entrance course which is theory-based with an exam at the end. Practical sessions are carried out on training nights and there's also a monthly law lecture. The courses are usually an all day event on a Saturday but we're flexible and can organise the course for weeknights if necessary."
"There's a very clear career path available to referees," explained Selwyn. "You start with juniors as a cadet referee which includes running the line for senior games, and progress up through the ranks to the higher levels which includes the national league. Typically you could be refereeing in the top level of the State League within five years, and exceptional referees can be fast-tracked through the Talent Acceleration Program."
MetroWest Referee's are calling for expressions of interest for new referee from ages 16 to 50. "Once we've got eight to ten people we'll be conducting the referees entrance exam, which tests an individuals knowledge of the Laws of the Game, and set dates for the course," explained Selwyn. Anyone who feels they have what it takes to be a match official is invited to contact Dave Collier, MetroWest Referee's branch coach, on 9342 3232 after 5.00pm to obtain a course application form.
SOCCEROOS HOLD SOUTH AFRICA
A superb Scott Chipperfield goal earned Australia a 1-1 draw with South Africa in a lively friendly encounter in Durban this morning. The hosts took an 11th minute lead through a Benni McCarthy half-volley resulting from brilliant lead-up work in midfield. South Africa, cheered on by a crowd of 20,000, would have gone further ahead if not for Mark Schwarzer who kept out Steve Pienaar's close-range effort. Australia's Brett Emerton twice forced sharp responses from South Afrian custodian Calvin Marlin before the break.
Benedict Vilakazi twice squandered good opportunities early in the second half, while Sibusiso Zuma had a shot knocked out for a corner by Tony Popovic, as the home nation went in search of a second goal. Chipperfield's memorable equaliser arrived in the 70th minute, the second half substitute pouncing on an attempted headed clearance by Quinton Fortune and drilling past goalkeeper Calvin Marlin from 22-metres. Debutant Sandile Ndlovu almost snatched a stoppage-time winner but his near post header flashed wide. West Australian Stan Lazaridis, a Socceroo regular for the past decade, missed the game through injury.
MIKULIC JOINS SARAWAK PUSH
Dual Golden Boot winner Branimir Mikulic will spend the coming season plying his trade in Malaysia. The 25-year old striker is the second Australian to join Sarawak in recent weeks, joining one-time Brisbane Strikers stalwart Stuart McLaren at the club. Sarawak, coached by former Australian international David Mitchell, are one of the pre-season favourites to gained promotion to the Super League. Mikulic established himself as a first team regular at Cockburn City for whom he topped the Premier League goalscoring tables in 2001 and 2002 and gained senior State honours. After a short spell with Woodlands Wellington in Singapore he returned to Perth to play the past two seasons with Fremantle City.
SPECIALIST COACHING FOR GOALKEEPERS
Former State goalkeeper Martin Vogt is committed to putting something back into the game he loves. Vogt, whose playing career spanned fifteen seasons, is offering players of all ages the opportunity of personalised goalkeeping and fitness coaching. "Having played at a reasonable level ensures that what I pass on is based on first hand knowledge and tried and true methods," Vogt explained. "My knowledge and understanding of the game allows me to bring to the training track a number of things that players may not have previously experienced."
"Some players are natural footballers while others have to work hard at developing their skills, but either way focus and an understanding of body mechanics can ensure longevity in the sport," Vogt added. "Training and exercise doesn't have to be monotonous and the methods I employ are results focused, involve thinking outside the square, and minimise the risk of injury through effective body movement. Football is as much about positioning and communication as it is about physical fitness so all aspects are critical in the coaching process."
Vogt offers junior and senior goalkeepers, both male and female, specialist training on a one-on-one or small group basis. The cost for individual goalkeeping and fitness coaching is $30.00 for a one hour session, while for groups of up to four players the cost is $60.00. "I'm currently available some weeknights and Saturday/Sunday mornings, by prior arrangement," Vogt said. Goalkeepers keen to benefit from Vogt's considerable experience in the world game are invited to contact him direct by telephoning 0417 273 117.
Vogt made a name for himself during the 1980's in spells with Gosnells City, North Perth Croatia and Osborne Park Galeb. He represented the State at the Thailand's Kings Cup in 1983, and two years later was named the State League Players' Player of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year while playing for North Perth. Vogt went on to play in Hong Kong and England before ending his playing days wearing the colours of Bassendean Caledonian in 1995. He was recently appointed goalkeeper coach at Cockburn City.
FREMANTLE WELCOMES NEW APPOINTMENTS
Premier League side Fremantle City are pleased to announce three new coaching appointments for the coming season. Joining the club as assistant first team coach to Steve Parkinson is Bob Braid. The pair previously worked successfully together a few years back while in charge of Inglewood United. Greg Thornton, who's coached the clubs Under-14 Junior Champions League side for the past couple of seasons, has taken on the role of director of juniors. And Fremantle's director of women's position has been filled by Anna Menedez.
LOCAL TEENAGER IS GLORY'S FOCUS
Former Liverpool and England star Steve McMahon has vowed to stop the flow of Australian youngsters heading overseas - and those on the local scene are his first priority. Glory's new coaching team of McMahon, Alan Vest and Mich d'Avray will focus on the local scene after chairman Nick Tana made it a priority the club sign a West Australian teenager for the coming A-League season. "I'm looking for a bright, enthusiastic youngster who wants to learn ... and be dedicated to the cause," said McMahon. Competition regulations require A-League squads feature at least three players under the age of twenty with Glory's quota currently two-thirds filled by local product Nick Ward and European import Milan Jovanic.
McMahon believes strongly that Australian youngsters will be more likely to succeed abroad if they have a solid grounding in the national league under their belt. "It's vital for this new competition - and for Australian football in general - to persuade the country's best kids to stay here and help the game flourish," he said. "That's one of my primary aims, along with making sure this club continues to be the country's top team. The best kids will always seek fame and fortune overseas, that's not something you can change. But the aim is to make sure they stay a little longer and contribute to the growth of the league ... it will also benefit them as players."
NIGHT SERIES PRELIMINARY ROUND ONE (Ashfield vs Kingsway Olympic courtesy Ashfield; Gosnells City vs Rockingham City courtesy Gosnells City; Balcatta vs South Perth United courtesy Balcatta; Canning City vs Queens Park by Phil Unsworth; Dianella White Eagles vs South West Phoenix courtesy Dianella White Eagles; Shamrock Rovers vs Spearwood Dalmatinac courtesy Shamrock Rovers)
Extra-time was required to separate Wanneroo City and University of WA with the former emerging 2-1 victors in the weekend's opening Night Series clash at Frank Drago Reserve on Saturday. University came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and within minutes struck the lead through David Berg who benefited from some comical defending. Scrappy play dominated the remainder of what was a generally uneventful first half that produced few genuine chances on goal. Scott Bulloch went close to leveling the game early in the second period with a neat chip that was cleared off the line by a defender. As if trying to outdo their opponent, a calamitous mix-up in the University defence presented Scott Bushby with the simple task of tapping the equaliser into an open goal from 3-metres. Chances came and went for Wanneroo as Bulloch, Phil O'Callaghan, Craig Cheesman and Paul Byrne all failed to find the target before University were reduced to ten men with the red carding of Robert Benkovic. Despite their numerical advantage the northern suburbs side were unable to capitalise until well into the first period of extra time when substitute Jon Greenwood put away a cross from Cheesman.
Ashfield got their Night Series campaign underway with a convincing 3-0 defeat of Kingsway Olympic in Saturday's late game. The opening ten minutes was all one way traffic with Olympic turning the screws on the opposing defence. So it was completely against the run of play that Ashfield went ahead, John Monterosso's chip paddled away from goal by the goalkeeper but only as far as new signing Doug Grant who netted from 4-metres. Ten minutes later the gap was doubled as Monterosso's free-kick found the head of Grant who did the rest. Olympic responded with a series of attacking raids but Ashfield's back three of Daniel Taylor, Mark Davies and Kristian Novatsis, along with goalkeeper Maekol Taseski, proved up to the task. There were chances at both ends in the second half as the respectively coaches looked to their benches for fresh legs. Fifteen minutes from the end the result was put beyond doubt as Monterosso slotted to Wayne Culverwell who waltzed the ball into the area and past the 'keeper to make it three-nil.
On Sunday afternoon at Frank Drago Reserve, Rockingham City made their way into the next round of knock-out games by eliminating Gosnells City 3-1. With the two teams missing a host of regulars due to other commitments it came as no surprise it took both some time to find a rhythm in their first serious hit out of the year. Gosnells had the benefit of playing with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half but it wasn't until shortly before the break that they claimed the lead through a scrappy goal from Andrew Daffin. Rockingham emerged for the second half full of fight and on 44 minutes defensive error allowed Olly Aleman to equalise with a fine strike that gave teenage goalkeeper Carlo Giancola no chance. Gosnells chances took a turn for the worst when Mark Ronald was given his marching orders following two bookings in quick succession. Making the most of their numerical advantage Rockingham now took the game by the scruff of the neck. Carlos Almeida put the southerners ahead with a 67th minute free-kick that bamboozalled the Gosnells custodian and squirmed under his body. And nine minutes later Fraser Brown added a third to Rockingham's tally to put them one win from a spot on the group phase.
First Division side Balcatta racked up five goals without reply against amateur team South Perth United in the late game at Frank Drago Reserve. It took just 7 minutes for Balcatta to break through as new signing Adam Rains capitalised on a loose ball inside the box following a long throw-in by Alley Di Nuzzo. To their credit South Perth remained focused and kept it tight at the back despite being the increasing pressure. With half-time looming the match really came to life. Balcatta doubled their advantage when Chris Melo scrambled the ball home from close-range in the 37th minute. South Perth were then denied a goal of their own by Ken Ftynohiannis, while David Moschilla was thwarted from the penalty spot by a brilliant save from Todd Busby. Twelve minutes into the half and South Perth's slim hopes of a fightback were dashed when a defender turned the ball past his own 'keeper. With shots raining down on the South Perth goal Moschilla added his teams fourth on the hour when sent through with only the 'keeper to beat. The final nail was driven into the coffin by substitute Carmelo Gumina who was the beneficiary of some unselfish lead-up play by Moschilla five minutes from the end.
Canning City ran out 2-0 winners over Queens Park in a scrappy encounter at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday. With several players absent through a variety of reasons Canning handed debuts to new recruits Jamie Bell and Adam Horsley. Following a fairly even Canning's midfield trio of Paul Oliver, Paul Van Dongen and Patrick Fitzgerald took control of proceedings. A series of corners resulted in Canning going ahead on 6 minutes through a well-timed volley from Stephen Cole, and Paul Van Dongen beat the offside trap to coolly slot under the body of on-coming goalkeeper Mark Wiseman with 31 minutes gone. Queens Park then suffered another set back when captain Grant Learmont was forced out of the game suffering a hamstring injury. The introduction of Glenn Noblett to partner Ray Rose in attack rejuvenated Queens Park as Horlsey made a crucial save in a one-on-one with Rose. Queens Park began the second half positively but as the game wore on the pendulum swung back in Canning's favour with Fitzgerald, Alex Seed and Mick Van Dongen each striking the frame of the goal in quick succession. Both sides saw out the game with ten men following the harsh red carding of Rose and Daniel Trevisiol in the closing minutes.
Dianella White Eagles came from behind to defeated South West Phoenix 2-1 in the late fixture at Percy Doyle Reserve. The All First Division clash proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend with both sides even matched and maintaining the tempo right up until the final whistle. The ball had been in play 25 minutes when Phoenix went ahead through Vion Garic who converted following a corner. Further chances were created at both ends of the park in the lead-up to half-time but the sides went into the break with no addition to the score. Twelve minutes into the new half Dragan Njegic was brought down inside the 18-yard box for a Dianella penalty which was coolly dispatched by Milorad Gligorovski. The two sides continued to string together their passes and create opportunities on goal but with neither goalkeeper breached the match was forced into extra-time. Twelve minutes had been played when the decider finally arrived as Gligorovski netted for the second time.
Spearwood Dalmatinac got 2005 off to a flying by defeating amateur league champion Shamrock Rovers 2-1 in the solitary Night Series clash at Dalmatinac Park on Sunday. Playing with the benefit of the breeze Spearwood established control early and on several occasions went close to opening their new years' account. With just 19 minutes gone midfielder Robbie Santich unleashed a scorching long-range drive which gave the goalkeeper little chance to put Spearwood one-up. Having been limited to defensive duties up until now, Shamrock responded by forcing the pace. Sean Brooks went within inches of equalising with a fine strike that crashed into the upright, and shortly after Flavio L'abbate forced a good save with a vicious free-kick from 22-metres. Shamrock benefited from the breeze in the second half and not surprisingly got back on level terms as Keith Roche's through ball found Sean Brooks who made no mistake on the hour. Just as it seemed Shamrock would go on with the job Spearwood's Darryn Rich poked the ball home following a defensive lapse with ten minutes to go. This set up a tense finishing in which both teams carved out had further opportunities but neither was able to capitalize on.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Sorrento vs Bayswater City by Kerry Slater; Floreat Athena vs Stirling Lions courtesy Stirling Lions)
Sorrento and Bayswater City fought out a dull 1-1 draw in the northern suburbs this afternoon. The match started promisingly enough with both teams creative and able to maintain possession for substantial periods. It was the visitors who produced the games one moment of greatness when Ross Barnes' brilliant first time effort looped over goalkeeper Neil Young from 20-metres after 16 minutes. Spectators had to wait until the final minute of play for the equaliser in which Todd Harnwell stabbed past a wrong-footed goalkeeper Steve Grant after Stuart Banks free-kick came back off the defensive wall.
Inglewood United swept aside an under-manned Bassendean Caledonian 3-1 in a hastily arranged friendly at Jubilee Reserve this afternoon. The match, which came about after Leeming Strikers forfeited their Night Series Preliminary Round fixture with Caledonian, caught the team from Bassendean on the hop with coach Jimmy Pearson having only eleven players at his disposal. Inglewood dominated the first half and went into the break two goals the better courtesy of Rory Mouttet and Jason Colli. Caledonian's day went from bad to worse when Joe Marrapodi came off injured at the interval, leading Inglewood to lend the home side a player for the second half in which both teams netted one apiece.
Coker Park was the venue for Floreat Athena's 3-1 defeat of top flight rival Stirling Lions. Athena began the game in an attacking frame of mind and after several close calls hit the target twice in the space of ten minutes. The Lions didn't come to life until the closing stages of the half when Jake Harman made it 2-1, and shortly after hit the crossbar with a scorching shot as his side looked to level. There were chances at both ends during the second half with Athena not securing victory until five minutes from full-time.
First Division champion Armadale ran out deserved and comfortable winners over Swan I.C. by a 5-2 scoreline under lights at Alfred Skeet Oval on Friday. Both Swan's goals resulted from corners, the first scored by David Foster with Tom Shepheard heading in the black and whites second.
FOOTBALL WEST ARRIVES
Football West is the new name for the Western Australia Soccer Association. In a move away from the use of 'soccer', the name by which the round ball game has traditionally been known, the local association unveiled their new moniker and logo at a launch event attended by 200 club officials and other dignitaries at Members Equity Stadium this morning. The spherical design of the Football West logo represents not only the shape of the ball but also reflects the global nature of the game. The yellow and black colour scheme signifies Western Australia, and the ribbon effect celebrates the stylish, free-spirited nature of the game, of the players and the fans.
FOOTBALL FAMILY DISPLAYS ITS UNITY
Local clubs, players and supporters will reap the benefits of a historic tripartite agreement between the Western Australian Soccer Association (aka Football West), Perth Glory and Football Federation Australia. The three organisations today made a public commitment to working towards the common goal of building a better future for the world game. In heralding a new era for the game in Western Australia a series of announcements were made this morning.
Symbolising the new presence of football WASA chairman Kevin Campbell launched the associations new name - Football West - and accompanying logo. Nick Tana, chairman of Glory, used the occasion to announce a number of initiatives for local clubs. And FFA head of operations Matt Carroll spoke on the national body's strategies in relation to World Cup qualification, the new A-League, the relationship with Asia, and the concept of a 'football family'.
The football family encompasses players, coaches, referees, club administrators and others involved in the game who are working together for the good of the game. In the west the football family consists of those affiliated with Football West clubs and/or Glory. Initiated and driven by FFA, the goal of the football family is to develop programs which will benefit players, administrators and followers of the world game on a local scale.
WASA and Glory got the ball rolling by launching joint initiatives on several fronts. The green light has been given for Football West games to be played as curtain-raisers to A-League fixtures at Members Equity Stadium. Sixty tickets will be distributed to the football family for each Glory home game via Football West, and Glory players will conduct training sessions for Football West junior teams who'll share 600 soccer balls donated by the national league outfit.
Football West's new education and development manager, Andrew Bettell, will work closely with Glory's Mich d'Avray, Steve McMahon and Alan Vest to develop education courses for local coaches. FFA are to provide free CD-ROM's containing information on coaching and skills training along with the Socceroos 'Road to Germany'. And members of the football family will be eligible for special ticket offers for international games and Australian football merchandise.
TARKA BACK HOME
The addition of locally produced defender David Tarka has taken Perth Glory's inaugural A-League squad to fourteen players. The Australian international has agreed terms on a three-year deal with Glory, a move which signals the end of a frustrating eighteen months in England. A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, Tarka made 28 appearances for Glory in season 2001/02 by helping the club to their second regular season title. He joined Nottingham Forest shortly after but was thwarted in his attempts to break into the senior side by injury and international duty.
DAWNING OF NEW ERA FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have embraced a new era in the clubs history by re-energising its effort to establish a strong 'world game' culture in Western Australia. "For too long football has only been a game played and viewed because of circumstance," said chairman Nick Tana. "Our commitment is to change this perception by creating the football culture that exists all over the world so that everyone can feel the passion and live the beautiful game."
At a gala club launch attended by over 1,000 supporters, Glory unveiled several changes aimed at creating a fresh new start for the club in an exciting era for Australian football. The most significant of these changes is the amendment of their name to Perth Glory Football Club. The addition of 'football' to the club name reflects moves by Football Federation Australia to bring Australia into the line with the rest of the world where the round ball code is firmly established as football.
A dynamic, contemporary new club logo was also unveiled and which was developed in conjunction with FFA. Whilst the name and colours remain unchanged, the logo is no longer contained within any boundaries giving it a more contemporary look. Radiating from the ball are highlight lines which gives the logo warmth and energy, while the overall look is symbolically suggestive of the sun rising over a new era for the club, and the game in Australia.
Glory supporters will notice further changes once the A-League kicks-off this August. "The match day experience is essential for sports fans," said Glory chief executive officer Jeff Dennis. "We have always tried to deliver an exciting, colourful memorable experience for our supporters - for us it is much more than just a game of football. Everyone who attends must feel that they received value for money from the time they decide to attend a game until they arrive home."
INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL RETURNS TO PERTH
West Australia will host its first senior international fixture in close to a decade following confirmation of Australia's friendly with Indonesia in Perth on 29th March. All proceeds from the game, announced today by Football Federation Australia chief executive officer John O'Neill, will go towards victims of the Asian Tsunami disaster. "Indonesia was heavily affected by the tsunami," said O'Neill. "There was a huge loss of life and we are pleased that we can follow the lead of the federal government by supporting our neighbours. Perth was seen as the ideal choice to host the match considering their close proximity to Indonesia."
The last time senior international to be staged in Perth was June 1995 when 11,634 spectators turned out to watch Ghana defeat Australia 1-0 at the WACA Ground. "It's been a decade since the Australian team has played in Perth and we are certain there will be a big appetite for international football in Western Australia," added O'Neill. Monies raised from the match will go into the FIFA/AFC solidarity fund created to concentrate on reconstructing the footballing infrastructure in the areas affected by the tsunami. It will be the second friendly in the space of a few days for the Socceroos who are scheduled to play Iraq in Sydney on 26th March.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The qualifying phase of the Night Series continues with eight games at venues north, south and central to the city this weekend. The action gets underway at 2.00pm on Saturday with University of WA up against Wanneroo City at Frank Drago Reserve, followed by Kingsway Olympic and Ashfield (4.00pm). Frank Drago Reserve is also venue on Sunday as Gosnells City meet Rockingham City (2.00pm), and Balcatta square off with ambitious amateur club South Perth United (4.00pm). The pick of the round takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve where Queens Park lock horns with Canning City (3.45pm), which is followed by Dianella White Eagles against South West Phoenix (5.30pm). Bassendean Caledonian are through to the next round following Leeming Strikers' forfeiting of their clash, while the weekend concludes with Spearwood Dalmatinac verses Shamrock Rovers (4.30pm) at Dalmatinac Park.
GRIFFITHS CHOOSES INGLEWOOD OVER RIVALS
Inglewood United will be a force to be reckoned with in 2005 according to new recruit Kevin Griffiths. The gritty midfielder recently agreed terms with Inglewood and is confident they have what it takes to mount a serious challenger on the regular season title. "I really feel that we will give the League a bit of a shake-up this year," he said. "Our goal is to finish in the top three or four, and as anyone will tell you once you're in the finals you never know what can happen. The core of our side features some of the best young players in the state including Greg Sharland, Mike Baczynski and Louis Parkinson, and they're balanced with the experience of players such as Daniel Stoitis, Rory Moutett and Olly Taseski."
After being courted by several top flight clubs Griffiths says his reasons for signing on with Inglewood were many. "Eddie Hodgkinson as coach was a major factor in my decision, his experience and leadership qualities have rarely been matched in this state," explained the former Bassendean Caledonian player. "The club have some fantastic training and playing facilities which were certainly an attraction for me also. But the biggest reason was the direction that Inglewood are going in, they've got a great young squad who have the ambitious and desire to success ... we're looking forward to a very successful year."
WANNEROO THE 'TEAM MOST LIKELY TO'
There were a few surprises produced by the latest www.soccerwa.com poll that asked 'Which non-Premier League clubs will go furthest in the Night Series?' Well in excess of 200 votes were cast in the fortnight long poll that saw Wanneroo City (31.5%) installed as the most popular choice over amateur league champion Shamrock Rovers (20.3%). The top flight experience of Bassendean Caledonian (17.9%) enabled them to claim third place with Balcatta (14.9%) breathing down their neck. Completing the field were Canning City (10.6%) and amateur side University of W.A. (4.8%).
JONES IS PREMIERSHIP CLASS SAYS SOCCEROO NO.1 (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Middlesbrough shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer believes teammate and goalkeeping rival Brad Jones has the talent to be a Premiership regular. Jones, part of Australia's squad at the 2004 Olympic Games, has spent the past few months on loan to Blackpool where he's been a regular fixture of the first eleven. "Brad's a great keeper, I definitely think he's good enough to play in the Premier League but I don't know what he'll want to do," said Schwarzer. "His contract is up at the end of the season and I'd be surprised if the club didn't want to keep him. But it will depend on whether he wants to leave - he might think his chances of playing regularly are better somewhere else."
WA GETS STATE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (courtesy www.wasa.org.au)
The Western Australian Soccer Association has appointed Andrew Bettell to the position of state education and development manager. Bettell, who takes up the reigns in March, has been handed the task of creating, managing and delivering a statewide development plan that enhances player, coach and referee pathways. His brief also includes club development at the grass roots level reflecting local needs, and also aligned to opportunities at the elite level.
In taking up his new role Bettell leaves Soccer Queensland where he has been the state technical director since 2000. With a background in physical education teaching and coaching development, Bettnell is well credentialed for his role with WASA. His education and qualifications include Soccer Australia Level 4, Soccer Australia National Licence, NCAS Level 3 Coach, Soccer Australia Staff Coach (State Licence Instructor) and Oceania Instructor.
THREE SHAPE UP AS THOSE TO BEAT
The new First Division season is still some way from commencing in earnest but already three clubs are shaping up as championship material. Astute recruitment has allowed Wanneroo City, Canning City and Balcatta to considerably added to their playing stocks over the summer months while retaining the major of last years players. With each club eager to build upon their successes of last year there is little doubt Wanneroo, Canning and Balcatta will be the teams to beat in 2005.
Stuart Currie has given some stability to the Wanneroo defence with the addition of veteran goalkeeper Darren Williams and his former Queens Park teammate Paul Dundo. Recruited from E.C.U. Joondalup are lively attacker John Greenwood and promising teenager Daniel Glasspool, while returning to Wanneroo following a years absence are the trio of Richard Mills, Steve Mills and Aaron Cowdrey. Moving on from the club are Mark Wiseman, Luke Croxall and striker John Dixon.
Canning coach Frank Longstaff has also added depth to the ranks while retaining the bulk of last seasons squad. He's offset the club's only major loss, that of ever reliable goalkeeper Robbie Meyer, by promoting Dan Purcell from the clubs amateur ranks and the addition of Adam Horsley from Leeming Strikers. Also leaving the Strikers camp for their near neighbour are Shane Laing and well-traveled defender Jamie Bell, while Daniel Butler has signed on following a year at Western Knights.
At Balcatta coach Basil Lenzo has brought together a squad which should make the club one of this years big improvers. 20-year old shot-stopper Ken Ftynohiannis will spent the year on loan from Stirling Lions from where experienced midfielders Toby Wright and Adam Rains along with attack minded Keegan Ashley also hail. Jim Vassiliou and Nigel Comito arrive via Kingsway Olympic, and Joe Comitto moves on after a lengthy spell with South West Phoenix. The clubs departures include Scott Broadley (retired) and Adrian Zonato (work comittments).
BALCATTA TOPPLE SWAN (courtesy Swan I.C.)
Balcatta beat Swan I.C. 2-1 on a bumpy and narrow pitch in Mundaring last night. The First Division side made their intentions clear from the outset by forcing Swan to defend for lengthy periods. The black and whites eventually settled and went ahead on 28 minutes when Trevor Hatton and David Perich combined for David Foster to net. Balcatta were level four minutes later as David Moschilla slotted through to Anthony Di Loretto who confidently beat Cory Hugo. Two minutes later and Balcatta had the lead, Christian Melo's terrific pass setting up Di Loretto who netted after Hugo blocked his initial effort. There were further chances after the break but neither side was able to make the most of their opportunities.
MATILDA'S GO CLOSE IN CHINA
The Matildas came within a whisker of winning the Four Nation's Women's Tournament in Quanzhou, China, this week. Australia ended the round-robin competition on equal points and with an identical goal record with China. But the host nation were awarded the trophy courtesy of victory over Australia when those sides met over the weekend. The Matilda's opened their campaign with one of the national teams greatest ever victories - 1-0 over world champion Germany last Friday. The games only goal came after 53 minutes and via Perth-born striker Lisa De Vanna who played a full game while the wests other representative, midfielder Collette McCallum was an unused substitute.
Four minutes of madness second half cost the Matildas dearly against China who netted three times in quick succession to take out Sunday's fixture 3-0. The match marked the senior international debut of McCallum who made the starting eleven along with De Vanna. Australia ended the tournament on a high by trouncing Russia 5-0 on Tuesday. The Matildas completely dominated play and took a deserved two-goal lead into the break courtesy of Heather Garriock and De Vanna. The flow continued after the interval as Kate Gill netted twice and Cheryl Salisbury converted from the penalty spot to complete the win. De Vanna scored after 37 minutes and was replaced in the 83rd minute, while McCallum came off the bench in the 78th minute.
GLORY DELAYS FLOAT
Perth Glory today called off a planned sharemarket float and the club is likely to wait until at least the end of its first season in the A-League to try selling shares. The clubs board decided to postpone the float after discussing the risks with advisers from Ernst and Young. "There is significant exciting change taking place to football in this country at the moment and after careful consideration we believe the timing is not right to proceed with the float", he said. "With the A-League yet to commence we are moving into unknown territory and everybody involved is taking a leap of faith."
"The club feels that it is important for the A-League to be more established with the new A-League clubs to develop their respective markets and the older clubs to further strengthen theirs," Tana added. "We are confident it will be a success and there are also new opportunities being identified through Football Australia's recent intention to further integrate into Asia. This is intended to deliver increased number of home games, increased sponsorship opportunities, and considerably increased television exposure."
The float was to have included the 19-year management rights which Alia Holdings, a subsidiary company of Glory, holds over Members Equity Stadium. The potential value of the management rights received a major boost in December when WA Rugby Union won a place in the Super 14s competition, and the State Government confirmed a $25 million upgrade of the stadium. However, the Super 14 team will not play at Members Equity Stadium until February 2007 and it is not known when the upgrade will start. Glory expect to run at a loss this financial year but are confident of being profitable at the end of 2005/06 from A-League and stadium revenue.
WARD SEES AUSTRALIA INTO WORLD CUP
New Perth Glory recruit Nick Ward has played his part in the Young Socceroo's qualifying for this years World Youth Championships. The skillful midfielder featured in all each of Australia's games at the Oceania Youth Championships played in the Soloman Islands over the past ten days. The reward for a successful campaign by the national Under-20 squad is a spot in the World Youth Championships which are being staged in the Netherlands this June.
Australia's qualifying campaign kicked-off last Saturday with a 12-1 brushing aside of New Caledonia against whom Ward came off the bench after 71 minutes. Promoted to the starting eleven for the Tonga clash three days later, the teenager played a full game and scored in the 84th minute as Australia's 19-0 win was their greatest ever at Under-20 level. In the 9-2 defeat of Vanuatu Ward again played a full game and netted on 49 minutes with a terrific strike from the top of the 18-yard box.
The Young Socceroo's left it until the very last minute to claim a 3-2 victory over a determined Fiji in on Saturday's semi-finals. Fiji twice came from behind before bowing to a 90th minute goal from Kristian Sarkies. Two days later an incident marred final was abandoned on 77 minutes with Australia leading the Soloman Islands 3-0. Mark Bridge, Vince Lia and David Williams each found the target before match and tournament officials agreed to bring the game to an early close. Ward, a second half substitute, was on the park for just fifteen minutes before play was called off.
OLD SOCCER TO BECOME NEW FOOTBALL (courtesy www.wasa.org.au)
Kevin Campbell, chairman of the Western Australian Soccer Association, today acknowledged the support of local clubs that have affiliated with the WASA to create a unified structure to take the 'world game' forward in this state. "While the majority of clubs have affiliated with WASA for the approaching competition season, I encourage all clubs to throw their support behind WASA for the good of the game," Campbell said. "It is time to take soccer into the new era of football, and the essential foundation for this is a strong and unified sport, right here at home at the grass roots. You can't argue with that."
"New football will have a foundation in community and in unity, and our commitment to help establish a strong soccer presence in WA is undiminished," added the WASA chairman. "Soccer is in a much better position in WA thanks to the creation of WASA, the support of the local clubs, and the establishment of new links with Glory and Football Federation Australia. A strong association is crucial to ongoing financial and infrastructure support from the government." Campbell's comments come ahead of launch activities and announcements by WASA, Football Federation Australia and Perth Glory scheduled for Members Equity Stadium this weekend.
NIGHT SERIES QUALIFYING ROUND (Wanneroo City vs Fremantle United courtesy Wanneroo City)
Wanneroo City manoeuvered their way through the Qualifying Round of the 2005 Night Series by accounting for a resilient Fremantle United 2-1 at Dalmatinac Park this evening. The northern suburbs side should have gone ahead inside the opening minute through Brian Robertson who somehow scooped his effort over the crossbar. A dreadful mix-up in the Wanneroo presented Fremantle with a great opportunity to open their account on the quarter hour but Fabio Fusari's shot edged just the wrong side of the upright. By far the dominant team Wanneroo had to be content to go into the break on level terms despite going close to breaking through on several occasions. Wanneroo's persistence was rewarded ten minutes into the second half when neat lead-up play saw Stuart Collins cross into the box where Robertson's header came back off the post and Phil O'Callaghan was positioned to tuck away the rebound. Within minutes parity has been restored as Rocco Vasile swapped possession with Fusari who sliced through the defence before slotting it neatly past the goalkeeper. O'Callaghan and Collins both nodded the ball wide of the target before Chris Currie rose to power a corner into the back of the net with twenty minutes remaining. This set up a tense finish in which Fremantle fought doggedly for a second goal but could find no way past a determined Wanneroo backline.
Queens Park booked themselves a place in the next round of Night Series fixtures by defeating a young Morley Windmills line-up 2-1 in energy sapping conditions. The opening half belonged to Queens Park who opened up a two-goal buffer courtesy of goals from Bobby Perrott and Adrian McBride in the 12th and 36th minutes respectively. Two minutes from the break Simon Messenger beat goalkeeper Mark Wiseman to reduce the gap and set up an exciting second half. Windmills took the game right up to their opponent in the second half, forcing Queens Park on the defensive for long periods. Under pressure, Queens Park defended resolutely right up until the final whistle to claim victory and a place in the next round of qualifiers.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Rockingham City vs Stirling Lions courtesy Stirling Lions; Floreat Athena vs Kingsway Olympic courtesy Kingsway Olympic; Perth S.C. vs Selangor courtesy Perth S.C.; Swan I.C. vs Shamrock Rovers courtesy Swan I.C.)
Stirling Lions returned home from Dowling Street Reserve with a 2-1 win over a youthful and determined Rockingham City on Saturday. Playing with the aid of a strong breeze, the home team tested teenage goalkeeper Mark Bentley on several occasions before getting the go-ahead goal through a fine move down the left which was neatly tucked away by Glen Hallums. With this the Lions stepped up a gear and following near misses by Muhammad Komaderic and Jake Harman the latter restored parity just before the interval. The second half was dominated by the visiting side whose winner resulted from some wizardry on the right by young Nigerian Amare whose set up Harman for a simple tap-in.
Floreat Athena started their year with a 3-1 victory over Kingsway Olympic on Sunday morning. Both teams made a positive start with some neat exchanges leading to good opportunities on goal despite the oppressive heat. Athena slowed gained the ascendancy and on 28 minutes went ahead through Eugene Singeorzan who made the most of hesitant defending. The games second goal didn't arrive until the 66th minute when a superb cross from the left was again put away by the ever alert Singeorzan. Olympic pulled one back ten minutes later as Jason Stern distracted the opposing defence to allow Bobby Irving to nod in a Scott Evans cross. But Athena were to have the final say and close to the end the visitors added a third through Adam Bachillor.
Malaysian side Selangor completed their whirlwind visit to Perth with a 3-0 defeat of Perth S.C. at Coker Park on Saturday. Despite the warm conditions Perth made a positive start with Antonio Naglieri and Robbie Puca, who had a goal disallowed for handball, pulling the strings from midfield. The deadlock wasn't broken until the second half when a booming clearance by the Selangor goalkeeper caught Perth napping at the back as a visiting striker raced in to score. The goal boosted the visitors confidence and not long after the margin was doubled via a swift counter-attack. With Perth unable to make the most of several opportunities Selangor added a third a minute from full-time with a cool chip over the 'keeper.
Honours were shared between Fremantle City and Armadale who ended 1-1 on Friday evening. In a match which saw the ball turned over with regularity Fremantle showed the greater composure when going forward as Robert Gaspar and Wesley Ryder tested the goalkeeper early on. But luck would have it, it was Armadale who drew blood with a blistering shot from 22-metres which took a deflection on it way into the net. Going into the final half hour Fremantle's continual appliance of pressure was rewarded with the equalising goal which arrived via a well planned set-piece. With the warm conditions taking its toll the intensity dropped off with both sides seemingly content with a draw.
The hectic pre-season of Swan I.C. under-21's continued on Thursday evening when they accounted for a youthful Shamrock Rovers side 3-1 at Elstead Reserve. Matt Ullbricht gave the black and whites the upper hand midway through the first half, but a terrific strike by Mick Murray saw the two teams go into the break on level terms. There were good chances at both ends in the second period, Kyle Greenaway shooting wide for Swan while Murray was thwarted by goalkeeper Chris Ramsey. Eventually it was down to Conor Mahady to restored Swans lead with a simple tap-in, and only a few minutes later the outcome was put beyond doubt by Marco Taglioretti who netted from close range.
A Jared Love double gave Sorrento a 2-1 win over Malaysian side Selangor at Percy Doyle Reserve on Thursday evening. The home team got off to a terrific start as Glen Thomas' defence splitting pass was run on to by Love who expertly dinked the ball over diving goalkeeper Jamsari after 3 minutes. Gulls custodian Neil Young was tested on several occasions before being beaten midway through the half by Elie Aliboy who converted a cross from the left by Brain Fuentes. Two minutes later Sorrento were back in front when David Houston was fouled inside the box and from the spot Love made no mistake. The match fizzled out after the break with the only talking point being the dismissal of Nazrulerwan for dissent.
COURTS TO SETTLE MURPHY-GLORY DISPUTE
Shaun Murphy will meet Perth Glory in court after receiving strong legal advice in favour of his $1 million claim against the national league club. The former Glory captain has his two season deal with the club terminated after just twelve months when the struggling National Soccer League was brought to an end. Murphy claims his contract included a clause relating to a new national league competition and that he would not have ended an eleven-year professional career in England without the security of a two-year deal with Glory. "I'm disappointed in the way it's all been handled," said Murphy, whose preference is to settle the issue without legal action. He is claiming around $850,000 for money he would have received had he stayed at Sheffield United as well as around $150,000 for the remainder of his Glory contract.
NIGHT SERIES QUALIFIERS COMMENCE
The first games under the Western Australian Soccer Association banner take place this Sunday with two Night Series qualifying fixtures at Dalmatinac Park. The opening match pits highly rated First Division outfit Wanneroo City against amateur side Fremantle United from 3.45pm. This is followed at 5.30pm by the all First Division clash between Queens Park and a revitalised Morley Windmills.
NEW WOMEN'S STATE COACHES ANNOUNCED
Respected coaches Ron Tindall and Tony Carvajal have been selected to coach the State women's youth and junior teams in 2005. Between them Tindall and Carvajal possess a wealth of playing and coaching knowledge and experience which they're eager to pass on to West Australia's best young, up and coming female players. Tindall will prepare and lead the State Under-18 team, and Carvajal the Under-16's, into the national championship which is being staged later this year at Valentine Park in Sydney's western suburbs.
London-born Tindall is well known in local soccer circles. He played professionally in England where he made over 400 League and Cup appearances wearing the colours of Chelsea, West Ham United, Reading and Portsmouth in a twelve year career at the top. In 1977 Tindall headed 'down under' where he held the position of development officer with the Soccer Federation of WA for ten years, followed by a successful stint at the Ministry (now Department) of Sport and Recreation. A recipient of the Eunice Gill Award for outstanding service to coach education, Tindall has been a instrumental in the establishment of various junior development programs and has taken numerous State junior and youth teams to the national championships.
Carvajal is looking forward to the challenge ahead. "The opportunity to coach the State women's youth team is a dream fulfilled," he said. "Now comes the hard work which is to make the girls the best team possible." In an eighteen year playing career he experienced all the highs and lows of the game with the likes of North Perth Croatia (nee Western Knights), Fremantle Benfica (nee City) and North Lake Espanol amongst others. Upon hanging up his boots Carvajal coached roo ball, junior and school teams and spent the past two seasons as Under-18 coach for the Knights. During this period he has been instrumental in setting up development programs and State championships through Schools Sports WA.
VEST TO CONTINUE WITH GLORY
Perth Glory has slotted into place the final piece of its coaching jigsaw by securing the services of Alan Vest for a second stint as assistant coach. "Alan is a fantastic acquisition for the club and will complement the club's technical manager, Mich d'Avray, and new head coach Steve McMahon," said Jeff Dennis, Glory's chief executive officer. "He was a key part of the club's on-field success in the old NSL and his experience and knowledge of Australian and Asian football will stand us in good stead." Vest, a former New Zealand captain, has been assistant at Glory for the past three seasons during which time the club were twice crowned regular seasons champions, and twice won the National Soccer League grand final.
FRIENDLY FIRE (Stirling Lions vs Selangor courtesy Stirling Lions; Balcatta vs Swan I.C. courtesy Balcatta; Swan I.C. vs Lynwood Colts courtesy Swan I.C.)
Stirling Lions had their first competitive hit-out of the new year at Coker Park last night against visiting Malaysian side Selangor who ran out 3-1 winners. A week out from their season opener, Selangor did all the early attacking and took a deserved, if fortunate, lead on 10 minutes when Lions defender Rob Crerar steered a cross past his own goalkeeper. With this the Lions buckled down and midway through the half a blistering strike by Jake Harman restored parity. Selangor upped the pace in the second half and on the hour regained the lead, and fifteen minutes later the result was put beyond with the visitors bagging their third of the night.
It was an experimental Balcatta side that ran out victors by 2-0 over Swan I.C. under-21's at Elstead Reserve on Tuesday evening. In a disjointed opening period Balcatta carved out the better of opportunities with Keegan Ashley, playing for the first time in over a year, hitting the crossbar and going close on several other occasions. Second half goals from Anthony Diloretto and Mark Wilson handed victory to Balcatta who controlled play right up to the final whistle. Swan's youngsters showed tremendous spirit by digging deep and fighting hard for every ball but against a more experienced opponent found the going tough.
Ashfield proved 3-1 too strong for home side Morley Windmills in both teams first outing of the pre-season. The opening period was a tight affair in which neither team was able to get on top despite some good exchanges. Ashfield gained the upper hand after 49 minutes through Peter Noizsewski who weaved past a couple of defenders before netting, and the margin was doubled twenty minutes later by Noizsewski who half-volleyed in Martin Kelly's deep cross. Windmills, however, refused to give up and shortly after forced an error upon their opponent to deduce the difference. Within five minutes Ashfield secured victory as Noiszweski completed his hat-trick by finishing off a superb pass from Dave Gordan.
Last Sunday at Elstead Reserve, Swan I.C. reserves played out a scoreless draw with a highly rated Lynwood side. The black and whites created the better of opportunities as Kyle Greenaway's was cleared off the line, and Matt Ullbricht shot wide following a scramble in the box. Just before the break Adam Landsdale waltzed past the Swan defence only to see his shot go wide, and a few minutes later the Lywood attacker was denied by the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Chris Ramsey. The best chance of second period came the way of Jovo Pavolvic whose 20-meter strike cannoned back of the right upright with the Lynwood 'keeper well beaten.
Fremantle City were held to a 1-1 by newly promoted Armadale last Friday night. Neither side was able to have much impact during the opening exchanges with a difficult playing surface and smoky air limiting players ability of attractive football. Robbie Gaspar began to get on top in the middle for Fremantle and together with Kevin Corriea created some good opportunities without success, while going the other way Dennis Lee was lively in attack for the Reds. The breakthrough goal came when Wesley Rider's run and cross from the right was put away by Correia. With five minutes remaining a defensive mix-up allowed an Armadale forward to curl a well angled shot past the goalkeeper to level the game.
LIVERPOOL GREAT SNARED BY GLORY
One-time England international and Liverpool legend Steve McMahon is the man to lead Perth Glory into the inaugural season of A-League competition. In what Glory chairman Nick Tana described as a "fantastic coup", the 43-year old was today announced as the reigning national champions head coach for the 2005/06 campaign. "Steve will bring a wealth of international coaching exposure to the club from an illustrious and long playing career," commented Tana. "He has an extensive global network of football contacts of the highest pedigree. Steve's energy, enthusiasm and hunger to be successful in his coaching career played an important part in our decision making."
McMahon chose to continue his coaching career in the A-League because of the exciting news coming from Australian football. "I just think this is a fantastic opportunity," he said. "I see a move to Australia as a tremendous challenge for me. Australia is highly regarded around the world in so many different sports, and I have no doubt that this can also be achieved in football. The potential is limitless and I'm confident I can play a role in this." McMahon has joined Glory on an incentive based one-year deal with an option of a further year's extention.
In an illustrious playing career McMahon made over 600 appearances in central midfield for Everton, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Manchester City. In six seasons at Liverpool he played a key role in three League Championship and two F.A. Cup triumphs. Additionally, McMahon played 17 times for England which included outings at the 1988 European Championship and 1990 World Cup. As a coach McMahon was in charge of Swindon Town for four season and was named the 1995/96 Manager of the Year after the club took out the Second Division title. This followed a four season spell as manager at Blackpool who he guided the club to LDV Vans Trophy final victory in 2001/02 and 2003/04.
TARKA KEEN ON GLORY COMEBACK
Socceroo David Tarka looks set to rejoin Perth Glory after being released by English club Nottingham Forest late last week. A string of injuries combined with the frustration of working under four different managers, none of whom were interested in giving him a chance, made for a difficult 18-months at Forest for Tarka. It finally came to an end last Friday when the 21-year old defender was granted his wish and released by the club. Glory, who Tarka left to join Forest in August 2003, are now ready to pounce when the formalities of the contract termination are completed.
"I've finally got out of jail and I'm thrilled to bits," Tarka told Jonathon Cook of the "west Australian" newspaper. "It's been an absolute nightmare. If you're playing you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'd lost the light, I was blinded." By Tarka's own estimations, he's spent five months on the sidelines at Forest due to a heart infection, a bleeding eye sustained in training and hamstring problems. He's spent around an additonal five months on international duty with the Australian Under-20, Olympic and senior teams. It was this regularity in being called up for Australia that resulted in Tarka sliding down the pecking order at Forest.
HARD LINE TAKEN WITH MURPHY
Perth Glory are not willing to enter into negotiations with Shaun Murphy who's considering launching a $1 million lawsuit against his former club. This is despite Football Federation Australia offering up Matt Carroll, the body's head of operations, to mediate the dispute relating to Murphy's contract termination. Australia's governing body want to avert the matter ending up in the courts and potentially tarnishing the game in West Australia.
Jeff Dennis, Glory's chief executive officer, said the club are confident they'd done nothing wrong. "We have strong legal advice that says the claim has no strength or merit at all," he commented. "It is well known that there wasn't a 2004/05 national league season in whatever form, old or new. Soccer Australia at the time advised that all NSL player contracts that extended past the 2003/04 season would be frustrated as neither the player or the club could perform ... We're surprised at Shaun's position given the tremendous move forward the code has taken across the country."
However, Murphy, who had a year to run on his contract with English club Sheffield United when he returned to Perth in 2003, claims to have a clause in his deal with Glory relating specifically to a new competition. He said he would not have returned to Perth for anything less than a two-year contract and had hoped to settle the matter without taking it to court. "I made it clear that I would stay in the UK if they were only offering a one-year deal," he said. "I think it's unfortunate that they're taking this course of action and they appear to be backing themselves into a corner."
JONES ON TOP AT BLACKPOOL (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Blackpool goalkeeper Brad Jones is back in top form after recovering from a thigh injury. The 22-year old shot-stopper was the Seasiders best on ground in the 1-0 win over Milton Keynes Dons on the weekend. After a nervous start the Australian youth international made a number of crucial saves to keep a clean-sheet. Jones is on-loan from Middlesbrough until the end of the season following limited chances with Mark Schwarzer and Carlo Nash ahead of him in the 'Boro pecking order.
ENGLAND NEXT STOP FOR COYNE
Jamie Coyne will pursue a dream move to England when the Dutch season comes to an end in May. The versatile 24-year old has come to a mutual understanding with ADO Den Haag officials who've agreed to release Coyne from the second year of his contract. An English club are believed to be keen in having a closer look at Coyne, who helped Perth Glory to Grand Final success last year.
Coyne has found first team opportunities limited at Den Haag where former Feyenoord player Gill Swerts has kept him out of starting line-up. Although targeted by Glory for the inaugural A-League season, Coyne is enthusiastic about remaining in Europe where the financial benefits were a factor for a player approaching the best years of his career. "I'm not being greedy or anything but when you're earning pounds or euros, it's good money," he said. "You want to be paid what you're worth."
MCCALLUM AND DEVANNA OFF TO CHINA
Collette McCallum is in line-up for her senior Australian debut after her inclusion in the 18-player Matildas squad selected to compete in the up-coming Four Nations Tournament in China. This weeks training camp in Canberra was McCallum's first with the senior national team, and her selection completes the 18-year olds graduation from the national youth ranks. Western Waves striker Lisa DeVanna, who has already played for Australia on ten occasions, is also in the young squad which features nine players aged 21or under.
The full Australian women's squad is Rhian Davis, Gill Foster, (Canberra Eclipse), Cassandra Kell, Sally Shiphard (New South Wales Sapphires), Kate Gill, Joanne Peters, Cheryl Salisbury (Northern New South Wales Pride), Kim Carroll, Alicia Ferguson, Heather Garriock, Lana Harch, Selin Kuralay, Kate McShea, Karla Reuter (Queensland Sting), Melissa Barbieri (Victoria Vision), Lisa DeVanna, Collette McCallum(Western Waves) and Amy Taylor.
WASA CONFIRM NEW APPOINTMENT
The Western Australian Soccer Association have confirmed the appointment of Laura Ryan to their administrative team. "I am pleased to announce Laura joins the WASA team at the end of January," said Rob MacKay, a director with the association. "Laura has administered the WAASSA competitions for the last two years and will be the WASA competition administrator to ensure that clubs have one point of contact and continuity of customer service."
WASA plan to provide details of their amateur competitions to clubs by Friday 18th February. However, for five amateur teams the season will commence early next month with their participation in the Night Series. The teams who've entered the traditional pre-season competition are Shamrock Rovers, University of WA, Spearwood Dalmatinac, Fremantle United and South Perth United.
MURPHY CONSIDERS LEGAL ACTION
National league champion Perth Glory are facing a potential lawsuit from championship winning captain Shaun Murphy. It is believed Murphy, who was informed late last year he did not feature in Glory's A-League plans, will make a decision soon on whether to file a $1 million lawsuit against his former club. Glory's chief executive officer Jeff Dennis has confirmed the club received a letter earlier this month from the Professional Footballers Association on behalf of Murphy stating "the player intends to commence proceedings against the club."
Mindful of the court costs associated with a lengthy legal battle, Murphy told the "Sunday Times" he would weigh up further legal advice before deciding whether to proceed. "It's a position I've been forced into but one I didn't want to take," said Murphy. The 34-year-old defender is understood to be seeking $850,000 compensation in wages he forfeited from Sheffield United in order to return home and more than $150,000 from the second year of his Glory contract which would have run over the 2004/05 season had the National Soccer League not ended in April 2004.
PETKOVIC OFF THE SHOPPING LIST
Perth Glory are on the look out for a new goalkeeper after conceding Jason Petkovic will not be re-joining the club this coming season. Glory had been negotiating with Petkovic in the hope he would return to Perth at the end of a year long stint in Turkey with Konyaspor. But chief executive officer Jeff Dennis confirmed last night the club would now pursue other options after being informed the Australian international was looking to continue his career elsewhere. Petkovic was a regular between the posts for Glory during his five seasons at the club in which he made 146 appearances.
CALLIES STILL ALIVE AND KICKING
Contrary to rumour, Bassendean Caledonian are still open for business. There has been much speculation of late that Caledonian, the state's oldest continuously serving club, are no more. But the clubs football manager Neil Ross says that is far from being the truth. "Callies are still a going concern", he said this week. "Jimmy Pearson recently took the senior squad through their first training session of the year and we're now looking forward to the challenges that a new season brings."
With much of last seasons squad returning to Jubilee Reserve, Ross says Caledonian are focusing on youth development to add depth to their ranks. "We're wanting all the boys who played for our Under-18 team last season to get in touch," he said. "And any players from last seasons JCL teams who'd like to continue their development with Caledonian are also welcome to join us for training." Interested players can contact Ross (0414 377 536) for more information, or simply front for training at Jubilee Reserve on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm.
KNIGHTS HAVE WOOD ON OPPOSITION
State champion Western Knights have made well-credentialed Scotsman Barry Wood their first major signing of the summer. The 27-year old has played professionally across Britain and made an immediate impression on Knights coach Ronnie Campbell. "Barry is an exciting signing for us," said Campbell. "He's strong, quick and has a supremely professional attitude which means he always gives 100%." Wood played several years in the Republic of Ireland's top flight with Kilkenny City and Waterford United. He also counts Darlington (England) and Livingstone (Scotland) amongst his former clubs.
Wood, one of Ireland's leading goalscorers last season at Kilkenny, is expected to slot neatly into the Knights line-up in place of former captain and retired club favourite Carl Medica. "He is an ideal replacement for Carl and, going on what we've already seen, we expect Barry to score a lot of goals for us," added Campbell. "We know from experience that your two key strikers need to score around 15 goals each in order to win the League. Our aim this year is to again take out the regular season title and we are confident Barry will compliment Stuart Montgomery, John Thornley and Josh Kamasz in attack."
The Western Australian Soccer Association is co-ordinating the collection of football and sporting equipment to provide to the young victims of the Boxing Day tsunami across South Asia. The association are seeking donations of football and sporting equipment in good condition. Equipment can be dropped at the WASA and Junior Soccer Association offices at Gibbney Reserve, Maylands during office hours until Friday 4th February. In addition, a special collection point has been organised for JSA clubs at the up-coming Extraordinary General Meeting.
WASA is pleased to assist Crisis Care in their efforts to support the Tsunami appeal through the collection of equipment. After the WASA collection closes on 4 February Crisis Care will arrange for transportation and dispatch to those in need. Crisis Care will distribute equipment to communities in the countries affected by the tsunami and where the need is greatest. The equipment is being air freighted as space becomes available. Please help support Western Australian efforts to provide support to the tsunami victims.
GREENER PASTURES LURE ROBERTS
E.C.U. Joondalup Player of the Year Peter Roberts is looking forward to testing himself against Victoria's best. The 24-year old defender recently agreed terms on a one-year deal with Premier League side Heidelburg United where he joins former teammate Scott Bulloch. "It'll be a great opportunity for me to play at a higher level," commented Roberts this week. "There are a number of former national league clubs playing in the league this year so it will be a big test for Heidelburg and hopefully I'll be able to cement my place in the starting line-up."
"The chance to join Heidelburg came about via team manager Phil Stubbins who invited me to spend a week trialling with them. I enjoyed it and did enough for them to offer me a contract," explained Roberts. While excited about his move to the eastern seaboard, the big defender admits to being saddened at leaving his teammates in Perth's northern suburbs. "It was very hard to leave Joondalup, they're a terrific bunch of boys who are not just teammates but also best friends. I wish the club and its players all the best this year."
WASA GUNS FOR THE TOP
Soccer will become one of the state's most popular sports if the game's new peak body, the Western Australia Soccer Association, have their way. Speaking at the launch of the Night Series yesterday, WASA chairman Kevin Campbell re-stated his desire to take the round ball game to the top of WA's sporting tree. "Our vision and mission is for the game to become one of the leading sports in Western Australia," commented Campbell. "This is attainable but can only be achieved in the long term when all sections of soccer are working together for the same goal."
"WASA was established to represent the combined interests of all levels of competition and aspects of the game in WA," Campbell continued. "It is recognised by the state and federal governments, Football Federation Australia and FIFA, and we look to their continued moral as well as financial support. There is plenty to do to organise soccer under the WASA umbrella, and now more than ever we need people who can remain positive and focused on the way forward."
NEW-LOOK NIGHT SERIES LAUNCHED
The focus of the Western Australian Soccer Association has turned to the playing arena with the official launching of the 2005 Night Series. Close to one hundred players, coaches, club officials and various dignitaries gathered at the Morley offices of tournament sponsor McInerney Ford where Bob Kucera, Minister for Sport and Recreation, drew the fixtures of the traditional season opener. The Night Series, the first competition under the WASA umbrella, takes on a new look this year with First Division and amateur clubs invited to battle it with those from the state's top flight.
The pre-season competition kicks-off on Sunday 30th January with two qualifying games - Wanneroo City verses Fremantle United and Queens Park against Morley Windmills - at Dalmatinac Park. The Preliminary Round commences the following weekend with the winner of Wanneroo/Fremantle squaring off against University of W.A., Kingsway Olympic take on Ashfield, and Dianella White Eagles come up against South West Phoenix. The victor of the Queens Park/Morley faces Canning City, Bassendean Caledonian meet Leeming Strikers, and Spearwood Dalmatinac go head-to-head with Shamrock Rovers. Concluding the weekend is Gosnells City against Rockingham City, and Balcatta verses South Perth United.
The winners from this stage advance to the round of eight on Sunday 13th February when the field will again be halved. These four remaining clubs then join the twelve Premier League sides in the Group Stage to be played over three successive Sunday's from 20th February. Progressing to the semi-finals on Sunday 13th March are the four group winners, with the tournament decider scheduled for Litis Stadium on the evening of Sunday 20th March. The full draw, including venues and kick-off times, can be found on the 2005 McInerney Ford Night Series pages.
YEOVIL'S CACERES LOOKING FORWARD TO CHARLTON CLASH (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Yeovil Town winger Adrian Caceres admits this month's FA Cup tie with Charlton Athletic is one everyone at the club is looking forward to. The Glovers eliminated Championship club Rotherham United from the knock-out competition to set up the fourth round clash at The Valley later this month. "It's another great night for the Yeovil fans to look forward to," Caceres commented. "We've had some big success in the Cups this season. We knocked out Plymouth Argyle in the Carling Cup and ran Bolton Wanderers very close at Huish Park. Now in the FA Cup we've beaten Rotherham and are looking forward to Charlton."
Yeovil are regarded as one of the Football League's best teams, though Caceres admits he's found it frustrating not maintaining a starting place ahead of Latvian international Andreij Stolcers. "I want to play," insisted the ex-Perth Glory star. "And its frustrating being used as an impact player at the moment. But the team has so many good, experienced players that it's very difficult to complain. Andreij is a superb player and like Phil Jevons has played in the Premiership."
Caceres shook off an ankle injury to have almost half-an-hour as a second-half substitute in the 0-1 defeat at Oxford United on Saturday. "It's so competitive here, you can't allow a knock to keep you out of the line-up," the attacker added. "Everyone was shocked by the defeat at Oxford and we're determined to make that just a blip. The Charlton tie is not on our minds. We had a team meeting last week and agreed that the league was what we had to focus on." Used mostly off the bench, Caceres has made 23 appearances and scored four goals since joining the Glovers last July.
STATE TRIO JOIN JOONDLAUP
E.C.U. Joondalup have made their intentions for 2005 clear with the recruitment of State representatives Ryan Newhill, Anthony Jones and Matt Donlevy. "These lads will bring experience and depth to our squad," commented coach Paul Simmons this week. "Newhill and Jones are both tough tackling, no-nonsense players very much in the Joondalup mould. Newhill will be a force in opponents 18-yard boxes, and Jones a deterrent in ours. Donlevy is a silken player who will compete hard in the midfield and keep the pressure on the current pairing to perform."
Newhill heads north following a less than successful season with Perth S.C. The 26-year old established a reputation as one of the game's most feared strikers in spells at Inglewood United and Floreat Athena for whom he gained State honours. Versatile 23-year old Jones leaves Athena after three productive years during which he was an important feature of the starting eleven and made his senior State debut. A former State Schoolboys representative, Donlevy, 20, joins Joondalup at the end of successive seasons at Inglewood, Bassendean Caledonian and Sorrento.
GLORY BY ANY NAME
Perth Glory are prepared to change their name in order to distinguish between its history in the defunct National Soccer League and a future in the new A-League. Although a change to include the word football was expected, club officials have revealed they are also considering dropping Perth from the moniker to adopt the name Western Glory.
Justin Everley, Glory's commercial manager, said the club would also modernise its logo and make other modifications in recognition of the game's new era. "The rationale behind the change is that we see the launch of the Hyundai A-League as providing the club with a chance to make a clear break from the past," Everley told Jonathon Cook of the "West Australian".
"We believe we need to make a symbolic break," added Everley. "Even if it's a small change, it needs to be a symbolic shift that says this is the start of something new." He said Western Glory and Glory Football Club were among the names under consideration, though the change might be as simple as replacing the word soccer with football. "The question is how far we will go," Everley pondered.
DANZE FOCUSED DESPITE SETBACK
Australian youth international Anthony Danze is doing all he can to be in the running for the Milton Keynes Dons' side which take on Blackpool this weekend. The talented midfielder had hoped a four-week loan spell with the Dons would be the springboard to success at top flight outfit Crystal Palace. But a hamstring injury suffered in his second outing for the side disrupted that plan. Danze has spent the past few weeks on the treatment table and hopes to be involved in this Saturday's away meeting with Blackpool.
With his loan period almost up, Danze is unsure whether he'll be staying on with the Dons. "I'm not exactly sure whether I'll go for another month loan or stay at Crystal Palace," he said. "Palace have had a lot of games and there's been a lot of injuries and suspensions, so I'm not sure what will happen." Wherever his immediate future lies, Danze is well aware he must start getting among the goals. "I need to get my name on the scoresheet. That's one thing that can make me stand out," he said.
PERTH SNAP UP LORD
Another piece of the puzzle is in place for Perth S.C. with the signing of talented midfielder Peter Lord. "He is quality player and will be a great addition to our squad," said coach Graham Normanton of his latest recruit. The 21-year old has agreed terms on a two-year contract with the Blues who've considerably strengthened their stocks with recent additions Antonio Naglieri, Matt Danskin and Jeff Bright. Lord came to prominence while playing in the First Division for Armadale, and a season with Future Glory only further enhanced his reputation. For the past two seasons he has run the rule over the centre of the park for Fremantle City.
ASIA IN GLORY'S SIGHTS
Perth Glory's preparations for the new A-League season will have a distinct Asian flavour under proposals being considered by the reigning national champions. The club are understood to be in discussions with representatives from Singapore regarding a home-and-away series against an S-League All-Stars team in June. Also under consideration by Glory are friendlies against the national teams of Singapore and Malaysia.
In related news, Glory are attempting to lure several Australians back from overseas. Amongst those targeted are former Glory players goalkeeper Jason Petkovic, currently playing in Turkey for Konyaspor, and defender David Tarka whose with Nottingham Forest. Also being sought are attacker Joel Griffiths (Neuchatel Xamax), and midfielders Joel Porter (Hartlepool United) and Travis Dodd (Panionios).
LOCAL LADS OFF TO ITALY
Three of the state’s hottest young prospects have accepted an invitation to play at the prestigious Viareggio Tournament in Italy. Perth S.C. duo David Micevski and Damian Catalano along with Scott Patterson of E.C.U. Joondalup will wear the colours of New South Wales outfit Leichhardt Tigers at the annual youth event. “There’s a link between Leichhardt and Perth who were asked to recommend some players,” explained Micevski. “The next thing I knew the Leichhardt coach was on the phone asking me to join them in Italy.”
Tigers Under-20 and Australian Schoolboys coach John Romeo feels the inclusion of the local trio will add to his options in Italy. “I’m confident I have secured some very good young players from Perth,” commented the coach. “Micevski is highly rated and Catalano played well for us two years ago. They will both bolster our team.” Micevski, 18, progressed rapidly through the youth ranks at Perth to enjoy a terrific rookie season at senior level in which he gained State Under-19 honours and won his clubs Fairest and Best award. Catalano, a hard-working midfielder, is another product of Perth’s ever-fertile youth system and spent last year on loan to Bayswater City.
Patterson, who fills a defensive midfield role at Joondalup, represented the State at Under-19 and Schoolboy levels last year and was part of the successful Australian Schoolboys side which toured New Zealand in October. “Scott is a wonderful player whom I got to monitor in New Zealand a few months ago,” said Romeo of the 18-year old. “I was so impressed that I invited him to Viareggio. He is only young but is certainly a player to look out for in the future.” Leichhardt have been drawn to play Juventus (Italy), winners of the past two years, Partizan Belgrade (Yugoslavia) and Catanzaro (Italy) in the preliminary stage of the tournament which commences on 24 January.
CALLING PAST SWAN PLAYERS
Premier League outfit Swan I.C. are wanting to hear from all players, past and present, in their twentieth anniversary year. In celebration of the occasion the Swan Valley club are planning a reunion and commemorate booklet for later in the year. If you've pulled on Swan's black-and-white strip at any stage between 1985 and 2005 then please contact the club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM THE RUMOUR FILE
Rumour has it the Western Australian Soccer Association will shortly announce another addition to their already impressive administrative team. It is understood WASA's new 'signing' has considerable experience in competition fixturing and liason with amateur clubs in this state. The appointment will ensure continuity for all mens semi-professional, amateur and social teams going into the new season. Expect an official announcement from WASA in the not too distant future ...
‘FOOTBALL’ MEETS WITH APPROVAL
The vast majority of the local soccer community are in favour of a change of name for the Western Australian Soccer Association. The latest www.soccerwa.com poll posed the question ‘Should the WASA change their name to incorporate the word ‘football’?’ with a something of a landslide result for the affirmative. 90.7% of respondents cast their vote for ‘Yes, let’s bring the game into line with the rest of the world’. By contrast just 9.3% went for the ‘No, in Australia the game should remain known as ‘soccer’’ option.
HARNWELL HELPS TOMORROW’S STARS
Jamie Harnwell is looking towards a successful future in the world game. Late last year he signed on for a seventh season with Perth Glory as the club embarks upon their inaugural A-League campaign. Keen to help the stars of tomorrow improve their skills and learn what is needed to make it to the top, the 27-year old defender this week announced details of Jamie Harnwell’s Soccer Academy. “Having grown up in Perth, I know what is needed to progress in this town,” he explained. “Having gained so much from my career so far I want to help more Perth youngsters improve their game and realise their goals.”
Jamie Harnwell’s Soccer Academy is a mobile service which travels to the customers with minimal disruption to the players. Programmes are tailored to each player and cover every aspect of the game, from technique and skills through tactics and physical aspects such as conditioning and nutrition. Possessing a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Human Movement along with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game, Harnwell has plenty to offer all junior and youth players. With prices starting from as low as $30 per player for an hour session (conditions apply), this represents great value for money as well as an opportunity for players to develop their skills in a fun atmosphere. For more details please contact Jamie Harnwell on 0404178067 or email email@example.com
One of the state’s most experienced players at national league level, Harnwell started out with Sorrento and Kingsway Olympic before turning professional with Glory in 1998. The big defender has been an integral part of the Glory side that established itself as one of the greatest teams the National Soccer League. In making 146 appearances for the club Harnwell helped Glory to back-to-back Grand Final successes in 2002/03 and 2003/04 as well as being part of three Premiership winning squads. Punctuating this was a stint with London club Leyton Orient for whom he made a handful of appearances before having his time abroad cut short by injury.
LAZARIDIS DEFENDS 'AGING' SOCCEROO'S
Age and experience will be more help than hindrance when Australian faces its moment of truth in the World Cup play-offs this year according to Stan Lazaridis. Responding to growing criticism of a ‘Dad’s Army’ Socceroo backline, the Birmingham City player is confident Australia’s rearguard will rise to the occasion when World Cup hopes go on the line in November. “If Frank [Farina] can get the back four fit and well, then as far as I’m concerned that makes us pretty sound,” Lazaridis told Michael Cockerill of the “Sydney Morning Herald.” Australia’s ageing defence includes four players over 30 - Lazaridis (32), Tony Popovic (31), Tony Vidmar (34) and Kevin Muscat (31) - as well as team captain Craig Moore (29).
“My view is simple,” added Lazaridis. “At the moment we’re all still playing at the highest level, and until someone comes along who’s also playing at that level week in and week out, then who can you put in? I’m all for younger guys getting their chance, but give me some names who should replace us. To be fair, I haven’t seen anyone who’s ready to come up yet. As for age and experience, don’t you want that when you’re going somewhere like South America? I think if Frank wanted to bring in some younger guys he would have done it a year ago. Throw someone in now and you might be taking a big risk.”
NIGHT SERIES DRAWN NEXT WEEK
The fixtures for the 2005 Night Series will be finalised at a special qualifying round draw event on Wednesday 19 January at the premises of series sponsor McInerney Ford. The new format for the pre-season tournament opens the up competition to Saturday First Division and top flight amateur teams who'll pit their skills against the might of Saturday Premier League teams. We'll have full details of the draw in next weeks update.
GLORY LAUNCH ON HORIZON
All eyes will be on Members Equity Stadium early next month as Perth Glory welcome in the new season. First on the agenda is Glory’s 2005 club launch which is scheduled for the afternoon of Friday 4th February. “We want our fans to join us as we embark on a new and exciting journey into the A-League,” said Jeff Dennis, chief executive officer of the reigning national champion. “We’ll be making several major announcements at the function which will be the first time supporters can meet our new head coach and players. As keynote speaker we’ll have a high-profile international football personality - we are currently speaking with Sir Bobby Robson, Kenny Dalglish, John Barnes and Gianluca Vialli.” Tickets for the event are $80.00 which includes a three course meal and drinks under a marquee on the playing surface.
CLUBS SOUGHT FOR SEVENS TOURNAMENT
Clubs are invited to enter teams in the inaugural Sevens Tournament being hosting by social and masters outfit Perth Saints in early March. Participants will be treated to world class facilities in the picturesque setting of Tompkins Park, located on the Swan River in Alfred Cove, over the weekend of 12th and 13th March. The Saints home is a $3 million clubhouse with high standard, professional pitches which make them the envy of all that visit Tompkins Park.
The Sevens Tournament is open to all teams with the group stage taking place on Saturday 12th March and the finals the following day. There are two categories - open and masters - with teams competing for $1,000 prize money ($600 for each category winner, $300 to the runners-up and $100 for the third place getter). Seven-a-side games will be contested on a three-quarter sized pitch with no off-side rule, and full bar and canteen facilities will be available throughout the weekend.
The cost of nominating a team is $300 for which sides are guaranteed a minimum of five games with the possibility of additional outings dependant upon progress in the play-offs. Interested teams are encouraged to register their interest immediately as numbers are limited and expected to be filled quickly. For more information, or to book your team in for the inaugural Sevens Tournament, please contact Saints secretary Ben Fitzpatrick via 0439 902 001 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.perthsaints.com
MATILDA'S GO INTO CAMP FOR CHINA
Thirty-one players have been called up for the first training camp under newly-appointed women's national team coach Tom Sermanni. The Matilda's go into camp at the Australian Institute of Sport later this week to vie for places in the Australian squad for the up-coming four nations tournament in China. Included in the preliminary Australian squad are Western Waves pair Lisa DeVanna and Collette McCallum. Australia meet the world number one Germany, and big names China and Russia in the tournament which starts on 28th January in Quanzhou.
FOUR VIE FOR GLORY’S TOP JOB
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana will depart for London within the next fortnight to interview candidates for the role of Glory coach. "The short-list has been worked down to four, all of whom are European based," said Tana. "Securing a top-class coach will be a crucial step in the development of Perth Glory as a force to be reckoned with in the A-League. We have already secured some top class players and we need the coach on board so he can complete the playing roster."
The high standard of applications from English, French, Serbian, Croatian and German coaches came as a pleasing surprise for the Glory chairman. "We had about 60 or 70 applicants in terms of interested parties, and we are down to a short-list," Tana commented. Although Glory plan to keep the names of its coaching contenders under wraps for the time being it is understood former England professionals John Hollins, Terry Fenwick, Ian Porterfield, Steve McMahon and Peter Withe had applied for the position.
While he has great respect for Australian coaches, Tana feels Glory needed a European name to put the club in a strong position for the start of the new national competition. "I have committed Perth Glory to a long-term plan which looks ahead to the eventual big matches against teams from Asia and which enables to grow the club's popularity beyond Australian shores," he added. "A European coach will be the best person to assist in that process." An announcement regarding the appointment of the coach will be made at the end of the month.
MADASCHI EARNS BEST ON GROUND (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Adrian Madaschi continued his outstanding recent form with a man-of-the-match performance for Partick Thistle in yesterday’s nil-all Scottish FA Cup draw with Hearts. The Australia international blunted Hearts’ attack in a powerful display at centre-half and carried off the sponsors’ best on ground award for his efforts. “It was a good result today,” said Madaschi. “We’ve had some decent results over the past couple of weeks and today’s draw proves we’re back on track. I heard their manager say we deserved the draw for sheer guts and determination - I reckon he’s right. Hearts had most of the game, but we’re playing with a lot more steel now and it’s going to be tough for teams - even from the SPL - to break us down from now on.”
PERTH IN RUNNING FOR TSUNAMI FUNDRAISER
Perth could host a benefit match to aid survivors of Asia’s tsunami between a full-strength Socceroo line-up and a high-profile Asian team. In announcing plans for the friendly today John O’Neill, chief executive officer of Football Federation Australia, promised to put the nations “best possible team on the paddock”. Subiaco Oval and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane have been short-listed as possible venues, with Australia’s opponent likely to be China or an Asian Presidents’ XI.
CHASING THE ELUSIVE GOAL (by Jonathon Cook of the “West Australian”)
Not every Australian soccer hopeful becomes an overseas star. The likes of Mark Viduka and Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), and our very own Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham City) and their achievements in battling to the heights of the English Premier League are well known. But most Australian exports never reach the spotlight. Forget the glamour, the expensive cars, the mansions in the countryside, the million-pound endorsement deals and the adulation of infatuated fans. Beneath the stars, success is measured in small doses and failure waits to pounce. Jonathon Cook talks to West Australians seeking fame and fortune on English soccer fields.
Shaun Murphy had been in England barely two weeks and had hardly shaken off the jet lag when he was abruptly preparing for his English League debut for struggling Notts County. Millwall’s old Den, a ground known for its violent episodes, was to provide the canvas for his first brush with the English game. Snarling faces peered from behind the cages erected to keep rival fans apart and Murphy, whose early days were spent playing in the WA State league before a few hundred fans, was justly apprehensive. But this was what he had been aiming for since he first started kicking a ball as a five-year-old for Sorrento.
Less than two hours later his picture-perfect world had been shattered - smashed to pieces by a rampaging Millwall outfit and six goals which had flashed into Notts County’s net. The visiting team had no reply and to make matters even worse, Murphy himself had been responsible for two of the goals. After the match, manager Neil Warnock delivered a withering assessment of his team’s shortcomings. “And you,” Warnock screamed, finally getting to Murphy, “I have no idea why we signed you!”
That was September 1992 and it could have been the end for Murphy and his aspirations. “I sort of thought they’d invest some time in me and give me a chance to find my feet. But after my debut I was ready to pack my bags and go home.” In fact, his shaky premiere at the Den, which came after an impressive showing for Australia at the 1992 Olympics, turned out to be the start to a successful eleven-year career on the professional merry-go-round in England. Murphy’s law is that Australian players hoping to break into one of the world’s most competitive and ruthless sporting environments must learn to live with adversity or perish.
More than 100 Australians now play in Europe, of whom about a dozen are from WA. And while many players have opted for Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and more recently Romania to launch or further their careers, England continues to draw the majority of Australian exports. Most can only dream of the promised land, the lucrative Premier League where weekly wages of £15,000 ($33,000) for a player of average (by Premiership standards) ability are not uncommon, and the very best can command upwards of £60,000 a week.
Instead, they will toil in the lower divisions, or in reserve and youth teams higher up the food chain and yet still well adrift of the superstar status enjoyed by Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Wayne Rooney (Mahcester United) and Arjen Robben (Chelsea). That some are on miserable wages - Perth Glory defender Jamie Harnwell’s Football League dream at Leyton Orient was worth just £400 a week, despite initial talks hovering around the £1000 mark - does not seem to have been a deterrent. As long as images of Henry and company, celebrating outrageous goals with the nonchalant raising of a gloved finger, are beamed into Australian homes, the number of hopefuls will continue to grow.
Murphy, who played for Australia in its ill-fated World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay in 2001, survived and thrived. He played over 400 games for Notts County, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, where he enjoyed most success - famously helping the Blades beat then Premier League side Leeds United in the League and FA Cups in the 2002-03 season. But it took a lot of work, and a lot of self-belief to get there. “As a young player you don’t realise how serious it is over there,” admitted Murphy, who returned to WA to captain Perth Glory to last season’s National Soccer League championship.
“In Australia, it’s more of a hobby really, especially having such short seasons,” said Murphy who played 28 games for Glory last season. The previous two seasons he had played more than fifty matches for Sheffield United. “Over there it’s a lifestyle. You live and breathe it for ten months, you have a break then you start again. It’s a massive business and it’s almost life and death for the managers. They just can’t afford to take chances on young players. And there are two or three players for every position. They will all be as nice as pie to your face but they’ll be scheming behind your back.”
Jamie Harnwell considers his short stay at Leyton Orient, where he made just three appearances, an accomplishment in itself - and with some justification. “Not every player can say they played in the English Football League,” he reasons. The Orient experience was Harnwell’s third attempt to break into the British professional set-up. His first taste of the ruthlessness of British football was at Glasgow Rangers. “I was only 19 and I was scared of what was going on. I was training with some of the best young players in Scotland and I knew I wasn’t going to make it at that level,” he said.
He moved on to trials at Ipswich Town and then Cambridge United where he was hardly noticed by the club staff. He has unhappy memories of the experience, particularly the time he was told to sleep on the floor of the club’s Youth Training Scheme accommodation because the staff had not arranged transport for Harnwell to return to Peterborough, where he was staying, after a late night game. “It’s pretty lonely and at times you’ve got players who are resentful at you being there,” he said. “When you are younger you can feel uncomfortable sitting in a dressing- room where no one will talk to you. And you haven’t got a support network to fall back on. You can’t get a day off to visit your family.”
Harnwell was not deterred and his second attempt almost paid off at Stockport County before injury struck. It was a harsh lesson. “I wasn’t really fit when I went there and if you’ve got any weakness it will be found out. You can’t mask any problem,” he said. Finally, at the third time of asking, Harnwell signed for Orient before injury again forced him out. “It was the realisation of a dream. No matter how short it was and how it ended. It’s something I’ll always be proud of,” he said. Harnwell’s breakthrough did not come till he was 26, and those who get into the system earlier naturally have more time to adapt.
At just 15, back in 1997, Richard Garcia set off for the glamour of then Premier League outfit West Ham United. Though now at Colchester United, he has no regrets about making the move at such a young age. “It’s difficult just coping on your own. You’ve got to grow up a bit faster and you don’t have your family to turn to,” he said. “Football becomes your life. But I think it’s made me a stronger person.” The attacking midfielder has twice had to battle his way back from the brink of disaster, a knee injury cutting short a successful loan to Leyton Orient at the tail end of 2000 and a similar problem ruling him out of the Australian squad for the Athens Olympic Games.
Though it was always going to be a battle to break into the Hammers first team, he said just being so close to the Premier League players he watched on TV made the dream feel closer than perhaps it really was. “If you start at a lower league club, the Premiership just seems farther away,” he said. Garcia still aims to reach the Premier League, where the standard is exceptional and the rewards - financially and otherwise - just as impressive. Below the riches of the Premier League, and a sprinkling of stars in the Championship, reasonable players can expect to earn around £ 1000 a week in League One and about £500 in League Two.
Rostyn Griffiths does not have to concern himself with finances just yet. At Blackburn Rovers, where he has a two-year scholarship, he has excellent facilities, good coaching and accommodation at the Academy grounds. He lives and breathes the game he loves. He trains twice almost every day, goes to college on Monday, where he studies business, and plays at weekends in Blackburn’s youth team. For now, it is an ideal environment for a player aiming for the top. “Every training session you’ve got to give it your maximum, otherwise you won’t get picked to play. And if you don’t play...” He doesn’t need to finish the sentence. Playing is everything.
When Shaun Murphy was not picked in the Sheffield United team to take on Arsenal in an FA Cup match in 2003 it virtually signalled the end of his career with the Blades. A couple of weeks later his wife Alison had a cancer scare and he decided it was time to return home. Eleven years and over 400 games after the roasting he had received on that grim night in London on his English league debut, the Australian international was ready to put away his boots, pack up his life and say goodbye to England.
However, before he left, he travelled to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium as a fan to watch Sheffield United in a Premier League play-off against Wolves. And though his team would lose, it was not all gloom for Murphy. He had tried, succeeded, conquered even, where many had failed and where many more would continue to fall short. Before the game, he had joined the same supporters who had chanted his name from the terraces for a pre-match pint. In a crowded Cardiff pub, they had belted out “Murphy” songs and cheered their hero. “It was almost like idol worship,” he said.
Every time Chris Coyne returns to Perth he laps up the relaxed lifestyle, soaks up the sun and thinks of the day he will return for good. But it might not be some day soon. The former Perth defender has made a career of the game, starting out at West Ham United, heading briefly to Scotland with Dundee before settling at Luton Town in England’s League One. He has now played more than 150 games in Britain, and this season has been an ever- present in the Hatters first team. Though Coyne has not achieved the Premier League prosperity enjoyed by Stan Lazaridis, his reward has been longevity in a fiercely competitive environment.
Australian youth international goalkeeper Brad Jones has also stood the test of time, though appearances have been limited by the presence of Socceroos ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer, who sits ahead of Jones in the pecking order at Premiership club Middlesborough. Instead, Jones has picked up first- team experience in a loan move to League One Blackpool. Former Perth Glory defender David Tarka, who played for Australia at the 2004 Olympics, is still pushing for a first-team breakthrough at English Championship outfit Nottingham Forest after joining the club in August, 2003. Adrian Caceres is another recent export, who after playing for Perth Glory chose Yeovil Town in League Two.
Anthony Danze might yet be the next big thing from Australia after his recent move to Crystal Palace. The energetic midfielder, currently on loan with Milton Keynes Dons in League One, made his Palace debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford in a League Cup match and hopes to get more match experience as the season progresses. “You don’t get chance to have a breather,” Danze remarked of the difference between English professionalism and Australia’s old National Soccer League. There are other WA players giving it their all, too, like Sean Cooney (Coventry City), Clint Davies (Bristol City), Ryan Townsend (Burnley) and Fred Wilson (Charlton Athletic).
RECORD YEAR FOR WWW.SOCCERWA.COM
The West Australian Soccer Website continues to go from strength to strength with last year being our most successful to date. A grand total of 224,418 hits were registered on the website for the twelve month period commencing 1st January 2004. That figure by far eclipses the previous 'yearly' record of 160,055 hits which was scored in 2003.
Several other record highs were achieved over the course of 2004. A new 'monthly' best was registered in May with 27,737 visitors to the website. 6,933 hits were recorded for the week-ending 12th June to set a new 'weekly' high. And the 'daily' record was broken on several occasions with the most successful single day being Monday 31st May when 1,349 visitors called by. We would like to thank all readers www.soccerwa.com for making 2004 such a smashing success.
With the countdown to season 2005 well underway we ask and encourage all clubs to regularly contribute news and information to the website. www.soccerwa.com is the only totally independent soccer website in Western Australia and as such we rely heavily upon the input of local clubs, coaches, players and supporters. Whether it be general club news - including player signings and departures - details of events and functions, match reports or whatever, we would like to hear from you in 2005. All contributions can be sent to Brett via email@example.com.
MAJOR SIGNING FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have pulled off a major recruiting coup with the signing of Australian international Simon Colosimo on a three-year deal. Rated one of the best players in Australia, Colosimo's signature is a massive boost for Glory who've been criticised for not attracting star players back tot he club for the up-coming A-League season. Colosimo has played over 100 times in the domestic competition in spells at Carlton, South Melbourne, Perth Glory and Parramatta. He's also played abroad with Manchester City (England), Royal Antwerp (Belgium) and Pahang (Malaysia), and has 20 appearances for the Socceroos to his name.
Colosimo, part of Glory's 2002/03 Grand Final winning side, is a key signing according to technical manager Mich d'Avray. "Simon's impact with Perth Glory during his previous spell speaks volumes. He was an essential part of the club winning the Championship in 2003 and he won the Marston Medal for best player in the Grand Final," commented d'Avray, who speculated there may even be a leadership role at the club for their star recruit. Colosimo, who turns 25 tomorrow, is expected to adopt the playmaker role in the centre of the park for Glory whose squad now stands at thirteen players.
TANA UPBEAT ON SHARE FLOAT
Perth Glory chairman Nick Tana is confident of a positive response to his club's planned stockmarket float. Tana and business partner David Rodwell are expected to downsize their share in the club to 15% each come March when another three or four 'cornerstone investors' will take on upwards of 40% between them. The remaining shares will be offered to a public which has made Glory the best supported team in the country with an average home crowd of 12,410 over eight seasons in the National Soccer League.
SUPER-SUB CACERES SENDS YEOVIL TOP (courtesy www.tribalfootball.com)
Winger Adrian Caceres turned the game for Yeovil Town in Monday night's 4-2 win over English League Two rival Shrewsbury Town. With scores locked at two-all and thirteen minutes remaining, Caceres was pitched into the fray by manager Gary Johnson and soon put the Glovers back in front on 84 minutes. The former Perth Glory attacker then set-up teammate Kevin Gall with a minute remaining to give Yeovil their seventh successive victory, and first place on the table.
"Hopefully the New Year has brought me a fresh chance," Caceres told tribalfootball.com. "It's been a frustrating couple of months for myself. Andrej Stolcers has come from Fulham and is in front of me at the moment. It's tough, but I was delighted to play a part in taking us top of the league. I just have to keep plugging away. Sitting on the bench is tough, but I can't complain as the team has been winning and playing well. I just hope that my form last night has made the boss sit up and take notice."
ERGIC ON FANS MIND
He may not have turned out for F.C. Basel in over two years but Ivan Ergic is still very much in the hearts and minds of the clubs loyal supporters. The clubs official website recently asked fans what topped their 'wish list' for 2005 with many opting for success in the Swiss league and cup competitions as well as in Europe. However, the surprise response was the large number of fans who wanted to see the return of 22-year old Ergic from long-term injury and illness.
It's been a nightmare past couple of years for the talented midfielder. Shortly after featuring in the November 2002 Champions League clash with Manchester United Ergic was sidelined by a troublesome groin injury which required two operations to rectify. Then, just as he was nearing full fitness, Ergic was struck down by glandular fever which further delayed his comeback plans. He returned to light training in the middle of last year but is yet to pull on Basel colours in a competitive setting.
Born in Yugoslavia, Ergic gained West Australian Under-16 representative honours before accepting a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. Upon graduating he signed with Perth Glory and would make 32 appearances and score ten goals during the 1999/2000 season in which he was crowned the national league's Under-21 Player of the Year. Ergic joined Italian giants Juventus in June 2000 and was immediately loaned to Basel where he quickly established himself as a first team regular, playing 65 times and netting twelve goals before being struck down.
INJURY DOWNS DANZE
A hamstring injury looks likely to bring to a premature end Anthony Danze's time with Milton Keynes Dons. The Australian youth international joined the club last week on a one month loan arrangement from top flight outfit Crystal Palace. He played a full game on debut against Doncaster Rovers on Boxing Day and, just three days later, was replaced due to injury 56 minutes into the win over Blackpool. Danze is expected to undergo scan on the injury shortly but Dons manager Danny Wilson is facing the prospect of being without the midfielder for some time. "Anthony has a hamstring problem and it looks as though he'll be out for a couple of weeks at least. I'm not too hopeful at this stage that he'll be fit for the rest of his loan period, but we'll look at the results of the scan he's having on Friday and maybe it won't be as bad as we first thought. It's typical because you could sense that he was just starting to find his feet in the team when the injury struck. He did what I wanted against Blackpool, got box to box and put himself about."
GARCIA HELPS COLCHESTER BREAK HOODOO
It's been a positive start to 2005 for Richard Garcia who played his part in Colchester United's rare away victory over Swindon Town on New Years Day. The 23-year old attacker bagged his sixth goal of the season as Colchester stretched their winning run to four games with a 3-0 defeat of Swindon. Gavin Johnson headed the U's in front after 31 minutes, and that lead was extended seven minutes later when Neil Danns fired home from close-range. The second half was two minutes old when Garcia put the game beyond Swindon's reach with a venomous strike into the bottom left hand corner from just inside the 18-yard box. It was the first time in twenty-three years that Colchester had taken beaten Swindon away from home.
Our thoughts are with the people of South Asia who have been killed and injured or lost family and friends as a result of the Tsumani which devastated the region on 26th December. www.soccerwa.com is supporting the Australian Red Cross's Asian Quake and Tsunami Appeal to help the relief and reconstruction effort in the countries affected by this disaster. We encourage all visitors of our pages to visit the Australian Red Cross website and make a donation to the appeal from your savings, cheque or transaction account. All donations of more than $2.00 are tax deductible.
GLORY SET SAIL ON GREAT ADVENTURE
2005 will be the start of a great adventure for everyone associated with Perth Glory according to chairman Nick Tana. In his New Year's address, Tana assured the club's fans that plans for the inaugural A-League competition were on track and that there was even a few surprises in store. "2005 is going to be the start of a great adventure and as usual Perth Glory will do things a little differently," said Tana. "We are on the verge of some very exciting announcements. There has been an enormous amount of work done since we won the last ever NSL Grand Final. This work is aimed at putting in place a strong base from which this club can launch a challenge not only against other Australian clubs but eventually against the best teams in Asia."
"Perth Glory gained a reputation as breaking the mould as far as the old NSL went and now we intend to do the same in the A-League," continued the Glory chairman . "I am not promising the fans instant success as that is not our main aim. What we are looking to do is to establish a club where the community has a real sense of ownership and involvement, where local players know they will get a chance and where we build the foundations of a club which will one day be recognised as a benchmark not just in Australia but right across the region. I know eyebrows have been raised at our decision not to chase a marquee player or to fight out a battle of the cheque books with other clubs but we want long-term success not a quick fix."
"Long-term planning is the Perth Glory way and when we announce some of the developments we have been working on I am sure people will be very excited by what lies ahead," added Tana. "I have a vision where Perth Glory is playing regularly in games that are shown on television across Asia and Australasia, and where people watching will be able to say they know the guy who just scored or played football with him when he was a junior. Obviously we will always seek out the best players possible to complement local talent but I do not see it as a pipe dream to have a team of predominantly local players. I know we can set in place the foundations for that to happen."
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This page was last updated on the 28th February, 2005