ZABICA ADDED TO NATIONAL HALL OF FAME
One-time Socceroo Robert Zabica was amongst nine inductees into the Australian Football Hall of Fame announced in Sydney this morning. The former Adelaide City and Perth Glory goalkeeper was entered into the Medal of Excellence category for distinguished service or contributions to football in Australia. Zabica is the sixth West Australia to be recognised by the national Hall of Fame, joining players Ron Adair, Robbie Dunn and Gary Marocchi along with administrators Julius Re and Bob McShane.
Born in Spearwood in 1964, Zabica mark his mark on the local scene through spells with Dalmatinac and Macedonia. He stepped up to national league ranks in 1988 and over the seven seasons which followed would play 195 games for Adelaide. Along the way he helped the Zebra's to two National Soccer League crowns and one national Cup as well as taking out the Goalkeeper of the Year award in 1991/92.
Zabica made his 'A' international debut for Australia in August 1990 against Indonesia. He played in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, which Australia lost narrowly to Argentina, and was also between the posts for the Socceroos meetings with Russia, New Zealand, England, Sweden, Croatia and Canada. His final appearance in national colours was against Japan in May 1994 after which a persistent knee injury forced him into retirement. In total Zabica played 42 times for Australia, 27 of those being 'A' internationals.
After a year on the sidelines Zabica began his comeback by helping Dalmatinac to Cup victory in 1995, and that same year made the first of six appearances for the State. His career tally was elevated to 202 national league games with seven outings with Perth Glory in early 1997. A brief stay with English side Bradford City followed before Zabica saw out his playing days with Bayswater City, Inglewood United and Fremantle City.
Inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame along with Zabica were former long-serving Socceroo David Mitchell, 1974 World Cup player Ernie Campbell, winger Peter Sharne and Charlie Stewart, goal scoring ace of the 1940s and 1950s. Added to the non-playing category are long-serving administrator and journalist Fred Villiers, one-time Socceroo coach Raul Blanco, referee Ray Sandell and football historian Andre Kruger.
DALMATINAC TO DEFEND AMATEUR TITLE
Spearwood Dalmatinac have declined the opportunity to take their place in next seasons' State League First Division. The Amateur champions earned the right to join the semi-professional ranks after defeating Stirling Panthers earlier this month. However, the club notified Football West last week of their decision to remain in the Amateur Premier League for the 2007 season. Football West will announce in the next few weeks which club fills the bye position in the State League Division One.
SMITH CALLS FOR VIDEO REPLAYS
Ron Smith renewed the issue of video replay in the A-League after a contentious offside call cost his side victory over Sydney F.C. The Glory coach was upset a seemingly legitimate goal to veteran Bobby Despotovski was disallowed early in the second half. "I thought it was a perfectly good goal to be honest with you because Bob ran ten yards to get on the end of it so I don't see how he could possibly been offside," he said. "Mistakes happen in football ... but that's why I'm a big advocate of having the replay. Whenever the goal's scored I would advocate using technology to get the right decision. I always have done, and I always will do."
Glory were also unhappy they weren't awarded a 43rd minute penalty when Naum Sekulovski went down inside the area under pressure from Nikolai Topor-Stanley. But after two tough losses, Smith admitted he was pleased to bring home a point and stay within striking distance of fourth-placed Sydney. "Under the circumstances, yes I'm happy to get a point," Smith said. "The boys are adamant we should have had a penalty in the first half, Naum said he could hear one of their players telling his own teammate get your hands off him so that was a pretty good clue. But when you're battling a little bit in football everything seems to go against you."
GLAVAS SNATCHES GLORY A POINT
Luka Glavas' first A-League goal earned Perth Glory a hard fought 1-1 draw with Sydney F.C. at Aussie Stadium this afternoon. The young striker brought the teams level with fifteen minutes remaining but it could have easily been the winner for Glory who were earlier denied a goal when Bobby Despotovski's effort early in the second half was disallowed for offside.
It was a defensive start by Glory who were happy to sit back and frustrate the home side over the opening exchanges. Sydney were finding it difficult to find any rhythm although a long-range shot from Robbie Middleby did bring goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski into the action. However, with 15 minutes gone, Sydney were gifted the lead after an error by Naum Sekulovski allowed Sasho Petrovski to get down the right and send in a cross which an unmarked David Zdrilic headed past Aleks Vrteski from inside the 6-yard box.
The goal lifted Sydney and Zdrilic fired high from 16-metres after he was again set up by Petrovski. And Alex Brosque's effort from 20-metres was comfortably held by Vrteski after good lead-up play between Ufuk Talay and Iain Fyfe. Glory's best chance of the period came just before half-time when Glavas' volley was parried by Clint Bolton and both Bobby Despotovski and Jamie Harnwell were denied at close-range before Sydney cleared the danger.
Despotovski thought he'd equalised just three minutes after the restart but the veteran striker's tap-in was controversially ruled out for offside. Sydney responded through Petrovski who shot narrowly wide, while Vrteski was called upon to tip Ruben Zadkovich header over the crossbar. The unmarked Topor-Stanley headed wide from the resultant corner, and in the 61st minute Zadkovich's stinging drive was palmed away by Vrteski in the 61st minute.
Glory, too, looked dangerous and on 74 minutes Despotovski had clear sight of goal only to shoot straight at Clint Bolton. Despotovski made amends a minute later by making his way past several defenders before placing the ball into the path of Glavas who fired it across Bolton and inside the far post. Zadkovich and Petrovski had late chances to win it for Sydney but were unable to get a clear shot on goal thanks to come stubborn defending. At the conclusion of round ten Glory are placed seventh but just three points behind fourth-placed Sydney.
HARNWELL CONFIDENT OF GETTING RESULT A IN SYDNEY
Perth Glory captain Jamie Harnwell believes the three points are there for the taking from this afternoon's encounter with a Sydney F.C. side in turmoil. Sydney officials have failed to guarantee the tenure of coach Terry Butcher beyond today's game and is believed to have lost the support of many of his players. Butcher's plight is almost a carbon copy of last year's situation at Glory which led to the sacking of Steve McMahon.
"Usually a draw away from home against Sydney wouldn't be a bad thing, but we think we're a good chance to take the three points this weekend," said Harnwell. "You'd think we're a pretty good chance as there's a lot going on at Sydney. But I don't think Butcher's done too much wrong. They've had lot of injuries and Socceroos missing from the team but, regardless, the events of the past week won't help their cohesion as a team."
Harnwell remains confident a top four spot is still within Glory's reach. "We're not far out of it at all and our performances haven't been too bad, so if we can string a couple of wins together we could jump into the four because finals is still the aim. We've just got to stop giving up cheap mistakes. Teams make us work hard for our goals and at times we let teams off the hook with mistakes. If we can cut that out we'll be alright."
COOKE “DELIGHTED AND HONOURED” WITH MEDAL WIN
It was difficult to find a man happier that Paul Cooke on Friday night. The 27-year old was a popular winner of the 2006 Gold Medal and was not surprisingly swamped by well wishers after collecting the State’s most prestigious individual award. "I'm absolutely delighted and honoured to win the Gold Medal," he commented. "It was nice to string a full season together because over the past three or four years I've been dogged by injuries. Getting a good pre-season helped me, I put the runs on the board and to win the Gold Medal is amazing."
Cooke provided a lot of the forward momentum for a young and, at times, inexperienced Knights side that completed the home and away series in fifth position. "It's been a tough year at the Knights with some of the senior boys suffering serious injuries, " explained Cooke. "But full credit to the young boys who stepped up and performed well on the park, and they helped the club hold a pretty reasonable position on the ladder this year."
After accepting the award Cooke was quick to pay tribute to his clubs long-serving and successful coaching team of Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly. "Ronnie and Willie have stood by me despite the injuries and gave given me the chance to prove myself," he said. "They do a job at our club, they're fantastic coaches and have held the club together under tough conditions this year. They are form a terrific partnership and I hope they stay around the Knights for a while."
Campbell, who recruited Cooke from Cockburn City in 2003, was over the moon when the midfielder's name was read from the podium. "I'm really pleased for Paul, he's been at the club a while now and has had a number of injuries and over the years has missed a lot of games," said Campbell, who won the Gold Medal in 1985 while playing for West Perth Macedonia. "He has been very consistent this season and has shown what he can do and I'm so pleased for him winning this award."
Stuart Montgomery, the Knights leading goal scorer for the past four seasons, had nothing but praise for his Gold Medal winning team mate. "It's unreal for Paul," said Montgomery. "This was his first full season in about four years, and it's a great credit to him to put it all together and win the Gold Medal. We (the Knights) thought he had a chance but in our last four games Paul played up front due to injuries and didn't have the best of times. We thought he might struggle as a result but in the end he came through with flying colours."
ZOLA IN GLORY’S SIGHTS
Perth Glory are targeting former Italian international Gianfranco Zola for a guest player role that could send the club's flagging attendances through the roof. Coach Ron Smith revealed yesterday he was keen to sign Zola, whose glittering career included spells at Napoli, Parma and Chelsea, after Glory's interest in Duncan Ferguson fizzled out. But Glory must act quickly if they are to sign the diminutive 40-year old who is also attracting interest from Melbourne Victory and Malaysia. "All I can say is we've been made aware of his availability and I would be extremely keen to see someone of his calibre and quality in Perth," Smith said. Ideally for Glory, Zola would sign for a three-match period commencing 28th December to make the most of home games against Adelaide United, Victory and Newcastle Jets.
MRDJA'S LONG WAIT IS ALMOST OVER
Nick Mrdja will finally make his A-League debut in Central Coast Mariners' away clash with Queensland Roar this Saturday. The strongly built striker's last competitive match was on 20th August, 2005, when the Mariners defeated Perth Glory in the pre-season Cup final. Mrdja was replaced by fellow striker Stewart Petrie 17 minutes into the match after suffering an ultimately season ending injury. Bone bruising to his right knee kept Mrdja out of the inaugural A-League season in which he was expected to shine after wowing audiences with some dominant pre-season performances highlighted by a pair of hat-tricks.
Although expected to be used only sparingly from the bench by Lawrie McKinna, the presence of Mrdja amongst the Mariners' frontline has provided the club a timely boost. "Nik has been through a lot the last fourteen months and I'm as delighted as he is to see him back and available for selection," said McKinna. "I have no doubt that if Nik was fit last season, he would have been one of the top goal scorers in the Hyundai A-League. His finishing and nose for goal is among the best in the Hyundai A-League and, although we can’t expect him to be firing from his first minute tomorrow, we know that in time he will recapture the form that made him such a tough opponent in our first pre-season."
GLORY SNAP UP TOMICH
Perth Glory have recruited Tommi Tomich as replacement for regular goalkeeper Jason Petkovic whose season was brought to a premature end last weekend by a broken leg. Tomich, fresh from playing the winter at Western Knights, has signed an initial four-week contract and goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s away game with Sydney F.C. 26-year old Tomich is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished ‘keepers in the State League and has already experienced life at national league level through spells at Glory and Melbourne Knights. Australian youth international Aleks Vrtseski, who was between the posts for Glory’s opening five games of the A-League season, is expected to remain coach Ron Smith’s first choice ‘keeper.
‘THE FAME GAME’ GOLDEN OLDIES : BERT ROBERTSON
‘The Fame Game’ is the newly launched official newsletter of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. Each issue profiles a player from the State’s glorious past and in ‘The Fame Game’, Issue One (pdf, 680kb) that spotlight is turned on Bert Robertson, the oldest of the living Hall of Fame inductees. The amazing Robertson has led a varied and exciting life, experienced World War Two action and played football in many places around the world. He will be 89 on 7th October - and is still as sharp as a tack.
Born in Dundee in Scotland in 1917, Robertson was a forward with Dundee United before the outbreak of war in 1939 interrupted what had been regarded as a promising football career. He served in the navy during the war and spent some time in submarines. “We had a naval representative team and I got the chance to play in places like Newfoundland, Ceylon and in Perth when we came to WA in 1944,” he recalled. “I met my future wife Betty in WA and when she came to Scotland after the war we got married in Dundee. We recently celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary.”
Robertson returned to WA in 1947, got a job as a fitter at Fremantle Power Station and played for a string of clubs, including Spearwood Rovers, North Perth and Fremantle City before joining Perth City. He was the league’s top scorer with twenty goals in 1954 when one of his Perth City team mates was inside forward Stan Eastham, who had played for Great Britain in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and also had a spell with Liverpool.
Robertson went on to coach Perth Azzurri, leading them to a League and Cup double success in 1960. His son Graham, a Rhodes Scholar who is now a university professor, once played for East Fremantle Tricolore. Bert doesn’t get to many games these days after injuring a hip when he fell while on holidays in Albany. “I had to give up playing golf, so the only exercise I get is when the wife chases me around,” he joked. Robertson was inducted into the Hall of Champions in 1996 and was included in the Century of Champions line-up in 2004.
RODGERS AT THE DOUBLE
No one was more surprised on Friday evening than David Rodgers when the winner of the 2006 First Division Player of the Year was announced. A best on ground performance in Fremantle Spirit’s final game of the season took Rodgers to one vote ahead of Ashfield attacker Andy O’Neill and added the Player of the Year to the Golden Boot award he collected earlier in the evening. “The referee’s must like strikers,” joked a stunned Rodgers minutes after returning from the podium. “I had a good season and scored a lot of goals but I never thought I’d be going home as the Player of the Year.”
It’s the second time in three years that Rodgers has made a clean sweep of the First Division awards. “To win the Player of the Year once is an achievement in itself, so to win it twice is just incredible,” said the quietly spoken 28-year old. Rodgers took out the best and fairest trophy along with the leading goalscorer award while with South West Phoenix in 2004. Rodgers found the back of the net twenty times during the winter months, once more than Ray Rose of Morley Windmills, to spearhead Fremantle’s return to top flight football next season.
Rodgers first taste of State League football came as a teenager at Ashfield/Bunbury in 1998. When that alliance came to an end he represented South West Phoenix in their debut season before a year at Fremantle. Rodgers headed back to Phoenix for the winter of 2003 and the following year wrote himself into West Australian football history with his first Player of the Year/Leading Goalscorer ‘double’. He made a promising start on his return to Fremantle last season but, unable to rediscover his goalscoring touch, ended the campaign on loan to Dianella Whites Eagles.
COOKE SIZZLES TO GOLD MEDAL VICTORY
Paul Cooke assured himself of a spot in the history books on Friday evening by taking out this years' Gold Medal. The Western Knights midfielder edged out Sorrento's Glen Thomas in being named the Premier League's best and fairest player for 2006. It was a full house at Grand Ballroom of the Burswood International Resort Casino where in excess of 500 people celebrated the achievements of the recent State League season. "Tonight was a fantastic way to end the 2006 season," said Garry Chandler, chief executive officer of Football West. "All award winners were worthy recipients and the night was enjoyed by all involved."
With four games remaining Thomas, who’d just returned from a month in England, was in poll position with 18 votes. Cooke was just one behind, and gathered on 14 votes were Gary Faria (Perth S.C.), Darryl Platten (Armadale) and Jason Godfrey (Cockburn City). A best on ground performance in the Knights Round Nineteen draw with Sorrento took Cooke to the top of the leader board by one, while Branimir Mikulic (Floreat Athena) came into contention by upping his tally to 15 votes. The stage was set for a tense finale as Platten moved to 17 votes and Scott Bulloch (Perth) to 16 votes at the completion of Round Twenty. Three players were in contention for the prestigious award going into the final round but, with all failing to poll, it was Cooke who was invited up on to the stage.
In the end twenty votes was enough to secure Cooke the 2006 Gold Medal and pip Thomas by just two votes. Mikulic, Godfrey and Platten shared third place with 17 votes each. One more off the pace in joint sixth were Sorrento striker Simon Harland, hard-working midfielder Bulloch and last years Gold Medalist Mark Lee (E.C.U. Joondalup). Perth teamates Faria and Barry Wood were grouped together on 14 votes alongside strikers David Foster (Swan I.C.) and David Dugdale (Stirling Lions). Download all the Premier League Gold Medal votes (pdf, 31kb).
Sorrento's Neil Young was the recipient of the Goalkeeper of the Year award. The long-serving Gulls custodian was a key figure for the northern suburbs club who sat atop the Premier League table for the duration of the 2006 season. English import David Dugdale won the Golden Boot with a remarkable nineteen goals from just twelve games for Stirling Lions. Association Cup final referee Angelo Nardi went home with the Golden Whistle Award for the second time in three years.
Swan I.C. striker Geoff Mason collected the trophy as the Youth Best and Fairest player. The 18-year old settled quickly at Swan following his mid-season arrival from Bayswater City and best on ground performances against Wanneroo City, Bayswater City and Cockburn City in the final month of the season took him to first place. Mason ended the year with 20 votes, two more than runner-up Darren Lawler of Perth S.C. 17 votes earned Matt Italiano (Stirling Lions) third place, and one behind him was Ryan McDarby (E.C.U. Joondalup). Download all the Premier League Youth Best and Fairest votes (pdf, 29kb). The Youth Golden Boot award went home with Western Knights' sharp-shooter Anthony Skoric whose winter tally stood at seventeen goals, one more than Mason.
It was a night to remember for David Rodgers who made a clean sweep of the First Division awards. The 28-year old Fremantle Spirit attacker collected the competition's Player of the Year and Golden Boot trophies. A best on ground performance in the final game of the season saw Rodgers overtake Andy O’Neill for the Player of the Year award. Rodgers' winning tally was 21 votes, one more that O'Neill. Third was shared by Christian Pascherwitz (Mandurah City), Jason Barerra (Fremantle) and Phil Bell (Forrestfield United) who each tallied 18 votes. Download all the First Division Player of the Year votes (pdf, 29kb). Rodgers' twenty goal winter earned him the Golden Boot by a single strike from Morley Windmills' attacker Ray Rose.
Forrestfield United's Trent Wood will also look back on 2006 with great fondness after taking home the First Division Youth Fairest and Best, and Golden Boot awards. The diminutive attacker was the runaway winner of the Fairest and Best with an astonishing seven best on ground performances. Thirty votes earned Wood top honours with Rockingham City's Darren Mathurine a distant second on 17 votes. David Gee (Morley Windmills) picked up 14 votes and was followed by Balcatta pair Julian Colletta (12 votes) and Anthony Mirabile (11 votes). Download all the First Division Youth Best and Fairest votes (pdf, 25kb). A twenty-one goal winter saw Wood take out the the Golden Boot by five over Gee.
SMITH COOL IN FACE OF CRISIS
Ron Smith will resist the temptation to rush David Tarka and Naum Sekulovski back into Perth Glory's line-up for this weekend's crucial A-League meeting with Sydney FC, despite a mounting injury list. Tarka (calf) and Sekulovski (hamstring) missed Friday's loss at Central Coast Mariners in which goalkeeper Jason Petkovic suffered a broken leg and influential midfielder Simon Colosimo pulled a hamstring.
But the Glory coach said he would not risk bringing Tarka or Sekulovski back unless they were 100% fit. "With a bit of luck over the next week, Tarks and Naum will be back in the frame. But what we don't want is to be trying to bring them in at the last minute," Smith said. "The important thing is they are working and training with the team (in the build-up to the Sydney match)."
One player who may benefit from the current situation is budding Olympian David Micevski. The 20-year old was a revelation when he signed for Glory from local side Perth S.C. last season but has so far made only five substitute appearances and one start this term. "Obviously, when a new coach comes in you have to impress again," said the midfielder. "I've just got to keep working at my game and hopefully I'll get my chance again."
2006 IN REVIEW : SWAN, PERTH, JOONDALUP AND THE KNIGHTS
The last nine months produced plenty of thrills and spills as the twelve Premier League clubs pitted themselves against each other. While some clubs battled it out for the three trophies on offer, others fought tooth and nail for their top flight survival. Last week footballwa.net cast a watchful eye over the fortunes of the Premier League’s bottom four clubs in 2006. Our review continues today with the quartet of club’s which finished mid-table - Swan I.C., Perth S.C., E.C.U. Joondalup and Western Knights.
If it wasn't for a good run of mid-season results Swan I.C. would have found themselves in the mix for relegation. The black and whites tentative start to the year earned them just a single win from six starts. By Round Seven they'd got into gear and a 4-1 win over Wanneroo City heralded the start of a six week run that produced thirteen points and back-to-back defeats of traditional rival Perth S.C. With a top four placing a very real possibility, Swan fell away with just one win from their final ten games to end the regular season in eighth place. Along the way the foundations for a bright future were laid with the likes of David Foster, Jon Mathers, Rob Monterosso and Brendan Knox now firmly entrenched in the starting line-up. Swan's season was probably best summed up by their appearance in a dramatic Cup final which ended in heartbreak as Stirling Lions claimed the trophy on a penalty shoot-out.
'Frustrating' best describes how 2006 panned out for Perth S.C. Victory in the final of the Night Series gave the Blues a dream start to the year, however, their title ambitions would soon come unstuck. One loss in ten regular season games is an impressive enough record, however, the fact five of those were draws reveals an inability to finish opponents off. Perth's season then took a turn for the worse with successive mid-season defeats at the hands of Swan I.C. and for the remaining months they seemed to lack confidence. Losses on the trot to Sorrento, Stirling Lions and Western Knights condemned Perth to a place in the lower half of the table - territory unfamiliar to a club who've lifted thirteen trophies since 2000. There were some terrific performances over the winter from Gianfranco Circati, Michael Icanovski, Scott Bulloch and Matt Danskin, however, there's no getting away from the fact Perth under achieved in 2006, and big time at that.
A late season surge salvaged E.C.U. Joondalup some pride from another winter that was over shadowed by off-field turmoil. It all started so well for the northern suburbs club who sat in poll position after a month of competition. However, their season took a dramatic turn for the worse with a shock loss to Wanneroo City sparked an eleven-week run which returned just a single win. In the midst of that coach Stuart Currie was relieved of duty and John Brown appointed his successor. Things looked on the up when they out-shot Floreat Athena 3-2, but that result was overturned when it was revealed Joondalup had fielded an ineligible player. This setback only galvanised the side and six wins from their last seven games elevated Joondalup to sixth on the final placings. Jamie Kuzmanovich, Scott Bushby, Garin Collins, Martin Ashworth and Mark Lee form the basis of a side who have the potential to be a top three proposition this time next year.
A poor Night Series coupled with a slow start to the regular season had some asking whether Western Knights days as a major force were over. But with the league’s longest serving coach, Ronnie Campbell, at the helm and the likes of Tommi Tomich, Ivan Zuvela, Paul Cooke and Stuart Montgomery amongst their number it was only ever going to be a matter of time before they found top gear. A Round Eight defeat of Stirling Lions kicked off a twelve-game unbeaten run which included back-to-back wins over the high-flying Floreat Athena. With four games remaining they'd moved within striking distance of the leaders. However, it was at this stage that a lengthening injury list and the absence of key players due to work commitments took its toll and brought to an end their push for top honours and a final day win at Armadale ensured them of fifth position.
GAMBLERS DEFEND THEIR FIVE-A-SIDE TITLE
For the second successive year Johnny Casino and the Gamblers have taken out the West Australian leg of the 2005 Vodafone Shield. The all-star team, which featured players from Perth S.C., Swan I.C., Balcatta and Stirling Panthers, booked their place in the national finals by winning a tough qualifying series at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday. The Gamblers - Damien Catalano, Tony Cumace, Michael Di Fulvio, Michael Icanovski, Perry Ielati, Nick Paone and Gianni Papalia - fly to Sydney to represent the State at the national finals on 25th November.
Icanovski, voted the teams’ player of the tournament Gamblers was thrilled with the Gamblers success. “The feeling is amazing. To win any competition is great but to do so with such a close group of friends makes it more special.” Those sentiments were echoed by Ielati, who said, “Winning back-to-back competitions is the most unforgettable thing for me. But sharing something like this with good mates is what it’s all about.”
Sixty-four teams took part in the local qualifying series of the 2006 Vodafone Shield. The Gamblers campaign opened with a confident 2-0 win over the Seven Stars which came about through goals from Paone and Catalano. In a tight second round fixture the Gamblers edged out Brasil 1-0 with Cumace bagging the games’ solitary goal. Paone (2), Cumace, Di Fulvio and Icanovski were on target in the 5-0 win over Futbol Stars.
The Gamblers were given a major scare in the quarter-finals by Resies Finest. With the game scoreless at full-time, goalkeeper Papalia emerged hero of the penalty shoot-out with the Gamblers triumphing 3-0. The semi-finals pitted them against North Beach Boys and Catalano, Paone and Cumace found the target in a 3-0 win. Papalia and Icanovski were outstanding in the series finale against Woftam which was decided by a strike from Ielati.
Di Fulvio was over the moon with the sides win. “It was a really great feeling winning the tournament two years in a row. We went in without too many expectations and were lucky enough to play consistent enough throughout the whole competition.” Catalano is already looking forward to the national play-offs. “It was a tremendous effort by the boys to go back- to-back. To go through without conceding is extraordinary, especially in a five-a-side tournament … and hopefully we can take that form to Sydney.”
NTC COACHES ANNOUNCED
Football West have appointed an experienced quartet of coaches to lead their National Training Centre program. Heading up the team is Paul Wozny who’ll be assisted by former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven, Kenny Lowe and goalkeeper coach Paul Turvill. “I am confident the combination of increased financial support from Football Federation Australia and the Department of Sport and Recreation, together with the expertise of the team being appointed will have a great impact on the quality of the NTC program moving forwards and will stand us in good stead for inclusion as a WAIS program in 2008,” said Garry Chandler, chief executive officer of Football West.
Wozny is no stranger to youth development in Western Australia through his work with the Junior Soccer Association and Football West. He holds a UEFA ‘A’ Licence, the FFA National Licence and a FA Academy Manager’s Licence. Naven, holder of an FFA State Licence, brings a wealth of playing experience to the table as a former Australian youth international and national league player. Lowe has played and coached at professional levels in England and is working towards his UEFA ‘A’ Licence. Turvill also holds the FFA Senior Goalkeeper Licence and is an FFA Goalkeeper Instructor for Football West.
PETKOVIC’S CAREER HANGS IN THE BALANCE
The playing career of goalkeeper Jason Petkovic may be over after breaking his left leg in Perth Glory’s loss to Central Coast Mariners on Friday night. Petkovic had surgery yesterday to insert a pin into his tibia and is expected to miss around nine months after a sickening collision with close friend Damien Mori and team mate Simon Colosimo. Glory officials have concerns as to whether the former Socceroo will be able to honour the final year of his A-League contract in 2007/08. Petkovic, who turns 34 in December, was plagued by hip and back problems last season and only recently returned to duty after six weeks out with an ankle complaint.
NEW PLAYER IN GLORY FIELD
Football Federation Australia has revealed a Melbourne-based party is showing fresh interest in taking on Perth Glory’s A-League license. FFA operations chief Matt Carroll will next week meet with the group, one of three parties interested in taking up the challenge of revitalising the club. WA mining entrepreneur Tony Sage said he and property developer John Spence would expedite their formal joint application, while FFA are also in the early stages of discussions with a multinational sports marketing company.
GLORY LEFT COUNTING THE COST
Serious injuries to Jason Petkovic and Simon Colosimo have compounded Perth Glory’s 1-2 loss to Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium this evening. The disappointment of missing out on the three points was overshadowed by news Petkovic would miss the rest of the season after breaking his leg, while a hamstring injury is likely to sideline Colosimo for up to two months. Petkovic and Colosimo collided with Damien Mori as they contested possession on 75 minutes and it was immediately apparent that both Glory players were in real trouble. The pair were carried the ground on stretchers with Petkovic taken to a Gosford hospital where x-rays confirmed that he has broken his left tibia.
A vocal crowd of 8,496 braved an overcast evening to watch an open, end-to-end encounter. The game was just 90 seconds old when Adam Kwasnik made an incisive run down the right and delivered an inch perfect pass to the front post where an unmarked Tom Pondeljak deftly flicked the ball between goalkeeper and post to put the Mariners one up. After recovering from the initial shock, Glory started to find their rhythm and Bobby Despotovski forced a good save from Danny Vukovic. There was plenty of ammunition coming in from the flanks where Jamie Coyne and Stan Lazaridis operated with menace, however, solid defending meant the Mariners took the advantage into half-time.
The second half opened brightly for Glory who were rewarded with an equaliser on 58 minutes as Colosimo's goalbound smash was parried by Vukovic and Despotovski tapped in the loose ball. Two minutes later Despotovski could have given his side the lead but his header was well saved by the goalkeeper. Stuart Young was presented with a golden chance in the 65th minute but his volley went high and wide after a great cross from the right by Coyne, who clearly relished the opportunity of playing a more attacking role for the side.
Play was held up for nine minutes as Petkovic and Colisimo received treatment. The Mariners regrouped the better and regained the lead when Wayne O'Sullivan's cross into the area deflected off Leo bertos and Pondeljak swept the ball into the net from 5-metres. Young should have equalised just a minute later but he fired his point-blank shot straight at Vukovic. The visitors went on a late attacking blitz but were unable to find the back of the net as Adrian Webster put the ball over the crossbar and Despotovski twice fired wide allowing the Mariners to hold on to take maximum points.
COOKE TAKES HOME GOLD MEDAL
Western Knights midfielder Paul Cooke has been awarded the state's highest individual honour - the Gold Medal - at a gala event held at the Burswood International Resort Casino this evening. Cooke collected the Premier League's best and fairest award with 20 votes, two ahead of runner-up Glen Thomas from Sorrento. Third place was shared by Branimir Mikulic (Floreat Athena), Jason Godfrey (Cockburn City) and Darryl Platten (Armadale) who each tallied 17 votes.
Neil Young (Sorrento) went home as Goalkeeper of the Year, and the Golden Boot as the Premier League's highest goalscorer was awarded to David Dugdale (Stirling Lions). Cup final referee Angelo Nardi was a popular choice for the Golden Whistle Award. Geoff Mason (Swan I.C.) was named the Youth Fairest and Best, with the Youth Golden Boot going to Anthony Skoric (Western Knights).
It was a night to remember for Fremantle Spirit striker David Rodgers who scooped the First Division's Fairest and Best, and Golden Boot awards. Rodgers' double celebration was a repeat of his 2004 wins when wearing South West Phoenix colours. There was also double the reason for Trent Wood (Forrestfield United) to celebrate after receiving the Youth Fairest and Best, and Golden Boot trophies. We hope to carry a more comprehensive round-up of all the awards next Friday.
YEARS BEST HONOURED ON FOOTBALLS NIGHT OF NIGHTS
The 2006 season officially comes to a close this evening with the 45th Gold Medal Awards ceremony. Early indications are there'll be a bumper turnout for the gala event which is being held in the Grand Ballroom of the Burswood International Resort Casino. The centrepiece of the evening will be the local games' top individual honour, the Gold Medal.
Amongst the favourites for top honours are Paul Cooke (Western Knights), David Foster (Swan I.C.), Branimir Mikulic (Floreat Athena) and English import Robbie Miller who played the winter months at Stirling Lions. Simon Harland (Sorrento), Scott Bulloch (Perth S.C.) and Darryl Platten (Armadale) are also tipped to poll strongly with Glen Thomas (Sorrento) and Jason Godfrey (Cockburn City) considered outside chances.
And it's not only the Gold Medal that's being awarded this evening. Phil Straker of Cup winners Stirling is favoured to land the Goalkeeper of the Year but in order to do so will need to fend off Alan Dunlop (Cockburn), State custodian Cory Hugo (Swan), Peter Stewart (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Neil Young (Sorrento). The Golden Whistle Award is likely to go home with Ton Klaver, Steve Muldoon, Cup Final referee Angelo Nardi or Jeremy Oliphant.
The Youth Best and Fairest features a field brimming full of talent. The highly sought after award is expected to be taken out by either Stirling's goalscoring midfielder Matthew Italiano or Knights striker Anthony Skorich. Former State junior representative Darren Lawler of champions Perth is also in the running along with Jeff Mason, who joined Swan mid-season from Bayswater City, and Joondalup attacker Ryan McDarby.
There should be little separating the leaders when the final round of votes are counted in the First Division Best and Fairest. Fremantle Spirit team mates David Rodgers and Jason Barrera are expected to the amongst the leaders in a highly competitive field which includes Andy O'Neill (Ashfield), Christian Paschkewitz (Mandurah City) and Phil Bell (Forrestfield United).
The First Division Youth Best and Fairest Player award is expected to be fought out by Darren Mathurine (Rockingham City), David Gee (Morley Windmills), Balcatta pair Julian Colletta and Anthony Mirabile and Trent Wood of runaway champion Forrestfield. We hope to carry a complete review of the awards ceremony as part of next Friday's update.
IS THERE A CHANGE IN THE WINDS FOR GLORY?
Perth Glory may be consigned to history following a radical suggestion by Football Federation Australia to attract the club a new owner. FFA operations chief Matt Carroll confirmed the association might allow potential Glory owners to change the club's name and colours. Carroll said FFA would insist on the word 'Perth' being retained but otherwise would listen to name change suggestions. "New owners have new ideas and we would welcome new innovations," he said. "If they wanted to vary the colours then we'd look at it." It's understood FFA would be favourable to incorporating the State colours into Glory's playing strip. "It's not about disenfranchising the existing support, but we'd like to broaden the support base," Carroll said. Such a move is likely to be unpopular with Glory's long-time supporter base who last weekend celebrated the club's tenth anniversary.
FOSTER AMONGST GOLD MEDAL FAVOURITES
A sensational season in front of goal has made David Foster one of the frontrunners for the 2006 Gold Medal. The 22-year old was a key figure in the Swan I.C. forward line over the winter months and his return of 22 goals makes Foster the years highest 'all competitions' goalscorer. The Gold Medal, which goes to the Premier League's best and fairest player, will be awarded at a gala function on Friday night and Foster is sure to finish high in the count.
Foster, a former State Schoolboys and Under-19 representative, is pleased with how his fourth year at Swan panned out. "I've had a consistent season not missing a game and keeping injury free," said Foster. "It's always good when you're scoring and 22 goals is quite an achievement, but it would have been nice to have got all 22 goals in only the League. Congratulations to David Dugdale for winning the Golden Boot, he's been very consistent for the Lions this year."
While happy with his performances, Foster is quick to play down his chances of taking out the prestigious award. "Not missing a game will undoubtedly help, and to win the Gold Medal would be a great honour," he said. "There are a few players which have to be up there this year such as Jason Dos Santos from Cockburn, David Annall from the Knights and Sorrento pair Simon Harland and Todd Harnwell. There are some quality players in the Premier League this season and I'd be happy just to finish amongst the top ten."
2006 IN REVIEW : BAYSWATER, ARMADALE, WANNEROO AND INGLEWOOD
The last nine months produced plenty of thrills and spills as the twelve Premier League clubs pitted themselves against each other. While some clubs battled it out for the three trophies on offer, others fought tooth and nail for their top flight survival. Over the next three weeks footballwa.net will look back on the season that was by casting a watchful eye each club's fortunes during the winter. Our review begins today with the bottom four - Bayswater City, Armadale, Wanneroo City and Inglewood United.
The season began full of optimism for Bayswater who had Frank Farone at the helm and 2005 Gold Medalist Mark Lee lending his experience to the side. But it didn't take long for the cracks to start appearing with Farone resigning after the first game of the home and away series and Lee moving on in search of greener pastures shortly after. Eric Bambaci took over but he lasted just eight games, and it wasn't until the appointment of Petar Drca that things started to go right for Bayswater. Their first win came in Round Ten against Inglewood United and was backed up a week later with victory over fellow struggler Armadale. Paul Natale was outstanding in the middle of defence for a Bayswater side that featured the attacking impetus of Daniel Micevski and Jared Smith. A late season attempt to avoid the drop saw Bayswater defeat Wanneroo City and Western Knights but in the end the hurdle was too great and a final day thrashing by Inglewood sealed their fate.
The relief was audible as news filtered through to Armadale that they'd escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth on the final day of the season. Peter Murphy's side made an awful start to the season with their biggest problem being an inability for anyone to find the net on a regular basis. It wasn't until Round Ten that the Reds registered their first point of the campaign, and following that they embarked on a six game unbeaten run which coincided with the arrival of Scotsman Alex Williams. The talented striker bagged six goals in as many outings and, in combination with Nick Stone, Darryl Platten, Jason Goodwin and James Isaia, the Reds slowly clawed away from the drop zone. However, Williams return to Scotland saw the wobbles return and it's only through sheer luck that they'll remain in the top flight next year.
It was with great optimism and confidence that Wanneroo City began their inaugural season as a Premier League club. But it took just ninety minutes and an 8-1 thrashing from Stirling Lions for the reality of how cut-throat life in the top flight is. Their first win came against Armadale in Round Three and a fortnight later they dumped local rival E.C.U. Joondalup 4-0. However, it was too late to save coach Gerry McEwan who was shown the door after eight games, and precocious talent Phil O'Callaghan walked out shortly after. Jamie Goodman was handed the reigns and although Kevin Miller, Morgan Dendle, Danny Taylor and Craig Bowman performed admirably, Wanneroo failed to win in their last thirteen games. If the club is serious about staying in the Premier League they have a mountain of work to do over the summer.
Season 2006 is one best forgotten by those at Inglewood United who, despite a squad brimming with talent, remainder in the relegation mix until very late in the year. They looked to have shrugged aside a poor start with successive wins over Western Knights, Armadale and Wanneroo City. However, it was then all downhill and a nine game winless streak resulted in the departure of Eddie Hodgkinson. The arrival of former Perth Glory coach Alan Vest reversed their fortunes and Inglewood scrambled their way clear of the drop zone over the final month of competition. Louis Parkinson, Shane Pryce, Danny Kovacevic and Jason Colli were the stand out quartet in a season of indifference for Inglewood. And it has to be said the appointment of an untried coach in Bobby Despotovski for next season is a risky move.
FERGUSON LINKED WITH GLORY MOVE
Perth Glory are set to relaunch the career of one-time Scottish international Duncan Ferguson. The 'Daily Mirror' newspaper reports the Everton striker has been offered a move to the Western Australian outfit and could sign as early as next month. The 34-year old has rejected offers from English and Scottish sides since quitting Everton at the end of last season and is reportedly prepared to sign for Glory when the transfer window opens in November. It's is understood Ferguson is happy to bring his family to Perth to start a new life, or split the year between bases in England and Australia.
Glory coach Ron Smith confirmed he's spoken to Ferguson's management about a possible short-term move to Perth for their run of home games in December and January. "I was asked whether we'd be interested in looking at Duncan as a guest player and I said 'yes I would' if it was right for both parties," Smith said, who was quick to point out a deal has not yet been made. "All of a sudden that has turned into him being signed, sealed and delivered - someone has got it wrong somewhere." Asked if he may be a longer-term proposition Smith commented "Only time will tell." Smith said Football Federation Australia, which currently runs Glory, was not aware of the negotiations.
If the signing comes to fruition Glory will be hoping Ferguson proves a greater success than their last import, Brian Deane, who arrived to much fanfare only to leave after just a handful of games. Not considered a prolific goalscorer, Ferguson's strength is his ability to hold the ball up and bring team mates into the attack. Ferguson began his professional career in 1990 at Dundee United and spent time with Glasgow Rangers before heading south of the border where he turned out for Newcastle United and Everton. In total he's made in well excess of 400 senior appearances, won an FA Cup winners medal with Everton in 1995, and was been capped on seven occasions by Scotland.
OWLS FORCED TO GIVE UP JONES
Goalkeeper Brad Jones will return to Middlesbrough at the end of this month. The Australian youth international played ten of Sheffield Wednesday's eleven League Championship games during his three-month loan which finishes at the end of October. And new loan rules mean the Owls are unable to extend Jones' time with the club, leaving them with just one first team goalkeeper. Jones, who played junior football at Armadale, joined Middlesbrough as a trainee in mid-2000 and, although understudy to Mark Schwarzer, has made 23 first team appearances. He's played an additional 30 games through loans at Blackpool, Rotherham United, Stockport County and Wednesday.
POINTS HUNT BEGINS FOR GLORY
Perth Glory will be desperate to take all three points from their visit to Central Coast Mariners on Friday evening. Last Sunday's loss to Queensland Roar left Glory two points outside the top four and faced with the daunting prospects of four consecutive away games. "We play four away and there are a possible twelve points, so if we can get eight or nine points out of those twelve it will be extremely good for the club," club veteran Bobby Despotovski said.
Despotovski is yet to register a goal his four A-League appearances this season, however, the 35-year old says he's under no pressure to end his scoring drought. "I'm happy to play and I never relied on my goals to get me where I am," he said. "I think I have something else to offer the team and that's to set up goals and things like that. If I can get on the scoresheet it's a bonus but at the end of the day if we get a good result and we can play well as a team then I'm happy with that."
MADASCHI POPS UP AT PORTOSUMMAGA
Former Perth S.C. junior Adrian Madaschi is working at getting his career back on track with Italian Serie C2 outfit Portosummaga. The strongly built 24-year old has put behind an injury interrupted year by starting six of Portosummaga's opening seven games of the new season. It's Madaschi's second spell in Italy having served his apprenticeship with Atalanta, and tasted first team football at Monza and Pistoiese. He played regularly for Partick Thistle during a 19-month spell with the Scottish club, but an Achilles injury suffered while at Dundee this time last year brought his career to a sudden halt. Madaschi represented Australia at youth and Olympic levels and stepped up to senior international ranks in mid-2004.
VELAPHI NAMED IN YOUNG SOCCEROOS SQUAD
Former State youth goalkeeper Tando Velaphi will represent Australia in the upcoming FIFA World Youth Cup Asian qualifying tournament. The 19-year old goalkeeper, a product of the fertile Perth S.C. youth system, is part of Ange Postecoglou's twenty player Young Socceroo squad for the tournament in India at the end of this month. Perth Glory shot-stopper Aleksander Vrteski has been named amongst a group of nine stand-by players. Australia will meet China, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates in the group stage of the tournament from which the top four nations qualify for the 2007 FIFA World Youth Cup in Canada.
The twenty player Australian squad is Nathan Burns, Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Evan Berger, Jimmy Downey, Peter Eleftherakis, Greg King, Mitchell Langerak, Michael Marrone, Steven O'Dor, Shaun Ontong, Matthew Spiranovic, Tando Velaphi (Australian Institute of Sport), Kaz Patafta (Benfica), David Williams (Brondby), Brad Porter (Central Coast Mariners), Sebastian Ryall (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), Dario Vidosic (Queensland Roar) and uncontracted pair Chris Grossman and Troy Hearfield.
GARCIA CHASING NATIONAL CALL-UP
Richard Garcia of hopeful a good season with Colchester United will bring him into contention for a senior international call-up. The 25-year old striker has represented Australia at youth level but is yet to make his senior international debut. "At the moment I want to get my club career back on track and if that's all going well then internationals could come with it," he told BBC Essex. "I've probably got a better chance of being noticed now I'm playing at Championship level."
ROAR SPOILS GLORY'S PARTY
Queensland Roar gatecrashed Perth Glory's tenth anniversary celebrations by taking out this evenings' A-League clash 2-1 at Members Equity Stadium. Glory made an ideal start by going ahead inside a minute as goalkeeper Tom Willis failed to hold a low shot from Bobby Despotovski and Stuart Young pounced to fire the rebound into the net from close-range. Parity was restored on 14 minutes when Matthew MacKay's superb pass sent Ante Milicic down the right from where he cut inside Jamie Coyne and coolly fired across Jason Petkovic and inside the far post. A corner Dario Vidosic provided the visitors a great chance to go ahead three minutes later but Reinaldo's shot was cleared off the line by Simon Colosimo and with the follow-up Milicic hit the outside of the post from only a few metres. Glory had a great chance to reclaim the lead just before the break but Colosimo's effort was parried by Willis and Josh McCloughlan thwarted Despotovski at the follow-up.
Early in the second half referee Ben Williams dismissed strong claims for a Glory penalty when Stan Lazaridis' cross struck the arm of Stuart McLaren. On 53 minutes Roar went ahead as Reinaldo's cross from the right was met by Vidosic whose instinctive flick caught the hand of Petkovic before making its' way into the net. Willis ensured the visitors remained ahead by tipping a Despotovski free-kick around the post on 65 minutes. Glory then had another strong penalty appeal dismissed as Lazaridis' shot was blocked by the arm of Andrew Packer and the vocal Shed let referee Williams know exactly what they thought. Hyuk-Su-Seo almost secured an away victory via a speculative long-range strike that cannoned off the crossbar with Petkovic flat-footed. In the final minute Glory opened up the opposing defence one last time through Coyne whose cross found Harnwell but his close-range header was narrowly high. A great victory for the Roar who close the gap on Melbourne Victory at the top, while the Glory remain in fifth place.
MORE SURGERY FOR COYNE
Luton Town captain Chris Coyne is likely to remained sidelined for another month after being forced to undergo further knee surgery. The 27-year old centre back had operations on both knees during the off-season but, with the problem flaring up again, has been restricted to just four League appearances so far this season. "Chris has had to have another operation," confirmed Hatters boss Mike Newell. "We were hoping he wouldn't need it, but the knee had to be cleaned out. It will probably be another three or four weeks before he is back."
SPEARWOOD ARE AMATEUR CHAMPIONS
Spearwood Dalmatinac have been crowned amateur Premier League Champions for 2006 after brushing side Stirling Panthers 6-0 this evening. A crowd in excess of 500 converged on Litis Stadium to watch Spearwood take out the finale to the amateur Premier League season and earn the right to be promoted to the State League First Division. The Championship was the icing on the cake of a superb season by Spearwood who ended top of Conference A losing just twice in twenty-two home and away games.
Spearwood dominated the match from start to finish and rarely allowed Stirling to create any fluent attacking moves. The opening goal arrived on 28 minutes when David Palin converted from the penalty spot after a handball decision against a Stirling defender after fine exchange down the right between Damien Pescud and Morgan Fielding. Fourteen minutes later Stirling goalkeeper Carlo Stavaggi failed to claim a high ball pumped into the area and Palin was placed nicely to put goal number two in the net.
The second half was seven minutes old when Pescud but put the result beyond doubt by tapping in Spearwood's third after the opposing defence failed to deal with a long ball into the area from Spearwood's defensive midfielder Robbie Santich. Any faint hopes Stirling held of fighting their way back into the game were extinguished in the 58th minute when Simon Da San Martino was sent off for a second yellow card after bringing down Pescud on the edge of the 18-yard box.
The floodgates opened up in the final ten minutes as Spearwood added three more unanswered goals, starting with a fantastic low finish from Chris Piotrowski who ran on to a delicate through ball from by Jason Faria. Five minutes later Spearwood's attackers were queuing up as the Stirling defence were all at sea and Faria capped off a superb counter-attacking move. Goal number six arrived a minute later as Glenn Pesich set-up Andrew Santich who made no mistake in spearing the ball into the bottom corner.
"The boys proved tonight what they can achieve," said Spearwood coach Steven Mirco following the final whistle. "We did finish on top of the league and under normal circumstances we would have won the league, but we've had to it the hard way but it was great all-round team performance tonight." Stirling coach Bruno Serra was gracious in defeat. "Spearwood were on top all game," he said. "The scoreline was a little a bit far fetched for us, the sending off didn't help, but they deserved victory tonight. We thought we put on a show, and tonight were beaten by a far better team."
GLORY KICK-OFF AN INSTANT HIT (by Jonathon Cook)
Perth Glory will parade some of the club's pioneering star at half-time tomorrow. A decade after the club's inaugural match, the memories haven't faded. For Glory's inaugural captain Gareth Naven, who epitomised the character and spirit of the fledgling team, the day he led his teammates on to Perth Oval to an unexpected and exuberant reception of 9,639 fans is a distant but vivid memory. "It seems like forever ago. It was a hot day and in the end we were outclassed but we had a lot to learn," Naven said of Glory's 4-1 loss to Sydney Olympic in their first game ten years ago.
Aside from the result, though, this team of semi-professionals was an instant hit. These were men who juggled work with the demands of five training sessions a week, and who relied on their employers to be sympathetic to their plight. Back then, the players received an average $250 a match, and though they also received bonuses for winning, they were not the sums of money to make the difference between driving a BMW and a Barina. These days, A-League clubs are restricted to splashing out $1.6 million on the salaries of their twenty players.
Inaugural coach Gary Marocchi, who was ably assisted by Micky Brennan, said the team was as competitive and determined as any he had seen, despite the hurdles it had to clear. "That original team, made up of a lot of locals, played some good football and they played with a lot of passion," Marocchi said. "I still don't think the players from that first year got the credit they deserved. They made a lot of sacrifices to play for that team."
Marocchi believes that even the first game, in which Alan MacKenzie headed home Glory's historic first goal - a late consolation that had the crowd in a spin - had been there for the taking. "On reflection, I think we could've got something out of the game. We missed a penalty and hit a post at 1-0, then they scored three quick goals," Marocchi said. "But I was proud as a West Australian to take the team out there."
The general manager in those days, Roger Lefort, remembers the sense of anticipation leading up to that first game. "We were all down there, sweeping and cleaning. It was so exciting seeing it all come to fruition," he told the 'West Australian' newspaper. "Even now, ten years later, you still feel you were part of something that was very special."
Paul Afkos, then a co-owner of the club, described the turnout and atmosphere of the first game as "an achievement beyond our wildest expectations." "When I looked in our grandstand at the old Perth Oval, there were people from so many different ethnic backgrounds," he said. "We managed to unite the ethnic groups. We had the formula."
Former Socceroo Alistair Edwards, who was raised in Perth, had mixed feelings of that day after playing his part in Olympic's success. "It was a massive buzz," Edwards said. "You could sense it was the dawning of a new era. But it was bittersweet for me." Naven said the old East Perth ground, complete with weathered wooden benches, helped generate a match-day experience unlike anything else in the country. "There was a makeshift Shed, and old bench seats around the ground," he said. "The fans were right there; they could see you sweat and hear you swear. That's what made the atmosphere."
Despite the odds stacked against them, Glory fell agonisingly short of a finals appearance in their first season, losing to Melbourne Knights on the final day of the season when a draw would have been enough to create another piece of history. What was left, though, were some wonderful memories - such as Scott Miller's dramatic late winner against the Knights earlier in the season - and the foundation of a club that was to become the benchmark of the Australian game.
Though Glory would later suffer the agony of losing the 2000 grand final, when a 3-0 half-time lead slipped away and Wollongong won on penalties, they also hit many highs. Charismatic coach Bernd Stange worked wonders for the club's profile before Mich d'Avray and Alan Vest found the formula for success on the field, with grand final victories in 2003 and 2004.
Naven believes the glory days will return to the club, which has been forced to make major adjustments since the A-League was formed last season - though he concedes there will be no quick fix. "The A-League is getting there but for Glory it's going to take time," Naven said. "I think they need to recognise some more home-grown players, not just because they are locals but because they recognise they are good enough." Just like the old days.
PEZOS JOINS GLORY
Perth Glory have drafted in Paul Pezos as a four-week replacement for injured midfielder Mark Robertson. The 27-year old defender comes on the recommendation of former Glory striker Damian Mori who has coached Pezos for the past two seasons at Adelaide City. "I was pretty rapt to be given the opportunity with Perth," said Pezos, who played more than 50 games for West Adelaide in the old national league. "I've worked hard for a couple of years to get into the A-League and it's good to get a chance." Pezos will be available for tomorrow's A-league clash with Queensland Roar at Member Equity Stadium.
Ron Smith, coach of Glory, defended the decision to sign a short-term replacement player from outside the WA State League, saying he had had limited time to look at local players. "I haven't had an opportunity to watch many State League games because the first month I was here I was away almost every weekend," Smith said. "But at the start of next season, I'll have quite a bit of an opportunity to see (local) people play. But Paul has been one of the outstanding players in the South Australian State League for some time."
Glory has boosted their training numbers in recent weeks with the inclusion of players from around the country. Jimmy Downey and Greg King from the Australian Institute of Sport, Western Knights pair Tommi Tomich and Ivan Zuvela along with local products Robbie Gaspar and Igor Arsovski, who've both returned to Perth after playing in Indonesia and Victoria, respectively, have all trained with Glory under Smith.
ON THIS DAY ... 1996
It was a true baptism of fire for a fledgling Perth Glory side which crashed 1-4 to UTS Olympic on its National Soccer League debut at Perth Oval on this day in 1996. Despite the result, the bumper crowd of 9,639 gave the new kids on the block a standing ovation following the final whistle. "It was first class support," said Alan MacKenzie, Glory's first ever goalscorer. "Even when we were three or four down, the crowd kept singing and kept trying to lift us."
Glory made a strong start to life in the national league with Olympic goalkeeper George Bouhoutsos moving smartly to block a shot at the feet of Bobby Despotovski after 9 minutes. And not long after Paul Strudwick rattled the crossbar with a cracking strike from 16-metres. However, slack marking on 22 minutes allowed Socceroo's striker Kris Trajanovski to put the visitors ahead. The Sydney siders then underlined the difference in class, strength and finesse between the sides by dominating the remainder of the half.
A goal down at the break, Glory threw everything at their opponent in the second half. Strudwick shoting just wide of the target, Gareth Naven was denied by a spectacular save from Bouhoutsos and Despotovski hit the post from the penalty spot. Olympic's response was to pile on three goals in a match-turning nine minute burst. Norman Tome increased the visitors' advantage and Trajanovski added his second before Doug Ithier had the misfortune of deflecting a shot from Tome past his own 'keeper on 72 minutes.
The hometown fans were finally given reason for celebration two minutes into stoppage time when a cross from Dale Wingell was brilliantly header into the net by a diving MacKenzie. Although the scoreline wasn't in their favour there were still plenty of positives to come out of the game for Glory, in particular the performances of attackers MacKenzie and Despotovski as well as team captain Gareth Naven.
Perth Glory: Tommy Maras, Craig Naven, Gavin Wilkinson (Dale
Wingell 67), Vinko Buljubasic, Doug Ithier, Scott Miller, Gareth
Naven, Paul McVittie, Paul Strudwick (Vlad Beretovac 70), Alan
MacKenzie, Bobby Despotovski
UTS Olympic: George Bouhoutsos, David Barrett, Adam Ciantar, Scott Baillie, Peter Tsekenis, Norman Tome (George Sorras 64), Alistair Edwards (Elias Augerinos 84), Walter Ardone, Kris Trajanovski, Derek Poimer (Nick Meredith 57), Milan Blagojevic
FALL OF FAME SALUTE HISTORY MAKING QUARTET
A tribute to four West Australian history-makers will take place when the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia holds its 10h Anniversary celebration on Friday, 17th November. The quartet Stan Lazaridis, Tony Franken, Alistair Edwards and Con Purser will all be honoured on the night for achievements that have added significant chapters to the rich history of the game in the State.
Special presentations will be made to Lazaridis and Franken, who became the first West Australians to be involved in a World Cup finals tournament in Germany this year. Lazaridis recently retired from international duty after 60 'A' appearances for the Socceroos, a record for a West Australian. Franken, a former international, was Australia's goalkeeper coach in Germany.
Edwards became the first West Australian to coach a team into world championship finals by leading the Young Matildas into the Women's Under-19 World Cup titles in Russia. And 2006 marks the 50th anniversary of Purser's selection in an Olympic Games football squad when he was called up by Australia for the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
It will be anniversary time also on the night for the members of the State teams who won the Marah Halim Cup tournament in Indonesia in 1975 and 1976. Their double success was the first time a team from Western Australia had won an overseas tournament.
Tributes will be paid to Lazaridis, Franken, Edwards, Purser and the State teams of 1975 and 1976 at what promises to be a memorable Hall of Fame birthday bash at Dorrien Gardens, home of Perth S.C., next month. Tickets, which cost $60 and include a three-course meal and beer, wine, soft drinks and entertainment, are available by contacting John O'Connell (0413 973 846), Bob Brown (9446 3338) or Barbara Gibson (9526 0330).
SUPER SUB ARNOLD TURNS CUP FINAL
The turning point in last weekend's association Cup Final came on the hour when Mike Lyons brought teenager striker Phil Arnold off the bench. With the match tied up at one each, the 17-year old lashed the ball into the net with is first touch to sent Stirling Lions into the lead, and four minutes later set-up team mate Jordan Rhodes for the sides third goal. Swan clawed their way back into the game and with only minutes left in extra-time went ahead. But Arnold was having none of it and equalised in the 120th minute to send the game to penalties where he held his nerve in putting away the decisive spot kick.
Every player dreams of scoring the winning goal in a Cup Final and for Arnold, a former State junior representative, that is now a reality. "I felt very relieved and I was very excited all at the same time," he said of walking up to take Stirling's match winning penalty. "As a striker you always love scoring goals but that night was extra special. It was the best feeling in the world when the third penalty went in it earned us the Cup. I got the chance to do that because our goalkeeper, Phil Straker, is unbelievable at saving penalties."
Arnold feels Stirling's Cup Final success is a justified reward for season of hard work. "I thought the game was ours after we were 3-1 up and we were dominating play at that stage, but Swan hit back and scored late on in normal time," he said. "At extra time the coaches said that this is where all the hard work we have put into training will pay off. They said our fitness will get us over the line, but it looked like it wasn't going to be our night when Swan went 4-3 up. But I was luckily enough to score late on and sent the game to penalties, and the rest is history."
His man of the match Cup Final performance was the perfect way for Arnold to complete a memorable debut season at Stirling. The teenager set the Night Series alight before suffering an ankle injury that threatened to curtail his season. "I had a good, strong pre-season and was confident I could do well this year," he said. "I was just enjoying my football at the time and that was the main thing. The injury was a major setback as not only did I not get to play in the Night Series final, but I had to do everything again. I lost all my fitness and confidence too."
Upon recovering from injury and regaining his fitness, Arnold headed overseas for trials and was unlucky not to land a contract. "I got asked to go over and trial with Cardiff City and Birmingham City," he explained. "The trials went great; I played a game for each club and did alright. I scored in the game for Birmingham but nothing came of it. It's difficult to get a contract overseas, I was told I was as good as what they had got at the club but not better." Arnold returned home from trials determined more than ever to make his mark on the local scene. "I want to play at the highest possible level that I can and I'll train hard to achieve that goal."
WOODARD FOLLOWS HIS DREAM
It's been an eventful season for 17-year old Luke Woodard. The young defender began the year as part of Cockburn City's youth team, was quickly promoted to the reserves and by seasons' end was part of the senior list. Woodard, a key member of his club's reserve team which ended the League season in third place, this week followed his dream of playing professionally in England by heading abroad for trials.
"It's going to be hard over there, but hopefully they will see something in me and offer me a contract, which would be great," said Woodard who'll try out with Premier League club Middlesborough and League Two outfit Accrington Stanley. "I'd like to thank Kenny Lowe for teeing up a few trials for me. I've got two clubs lined up and there are a couple more which will be arranged when I get over to England. It's a dream of mine to play football at the highest level and I'm determined to go as far as I can in the game. I'll just try my best and see what happens."
Frank Da Silva, Cockburn's vice president, wished Woodard all the best on behalf of the club. "Luke has been at our club for a few years and last year he was introduced to the Under-18 side as a 15-year old and performed very well. At the beginning of this year he was given the opportunity to be part of our first team squad and remained there all year, making his debit off the bench in mid-season. Luke is a very dedicated and hardworking player who can play defence or midfield and is capable of playing first team football for a number of years."
SOCCEROOS OF THE FUTURE IN OUR MIDST?
A staggering seventeen West Australian's have been identified as potential future national team players following last weeks National Youth Championship in Coffs Harbour. Ten members of the State Under-15 squad have been tagged for Young Socceroos duty with seven players from the Under-14 side lined-up for possible Joey's selection.
"This is a fantastic achievement for our boys and we wish them the best of luck for future trials and in their endeavour to be selected in their respective teams," said Garry Chandler, chief executive officer of Football West. The players were identified by the directors of coaching from the State Institutes of sport, the director of coaching from the AIS, and the Under-17 and Under-20 national team coaches.
The ten Under-15 players who've been short-listed for the 2008/09 Australian Institute of Sport intake, and are working towards selection for the 2011 Young Socceroos, are Liam Harvey (Armadale), Dejan Aleksic (Cockburn City), Jake Geddes (Inglewood United), Jarrad Bracewell, Michael Currie, Lewis Hall (E.C.U. Joondalup), Mark Birighitti, Paul Rechichi, Oliver Swords (Perth S.C.), Reece Vittiglia (Sorrento).
The seven members of the Under-14's who've been selected for possible inclusion in the Australian Under-17 squad for the 2009 World Cup are Cameron Edwards, Ryan Edwards (Cockburn City), Emmanuel Linga (Floreat Athena), Eli Babalj, Milljon Butshire (Perth S.C.), Jack Clisby (Sorrento) and Josh Risdon (E.C.U. Joondalup).
BAHRAIN NO MATCH FOR AUSTRALIA
The Socceroos concluded their Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Bahrain at Aussie Stadium this evening. But while Australia domintaed from the outset there were clear signs there is room for significant improvement prior to next year's Asian Cup finals tournament. The Socceroos went ahead on 17 minutes when Scott Chipperfield and Mark Bresciano combined to set-up John Aloisi who poked a low shot past goalkeeper S.Mohamed. Al Chuben went down the right for Bahrain but his shot from an acute angle was pushed away by Mark Schwarzer. A raking pass by Chipperfield on 24 minutes found Mile Sterjovski whose cross into the box was spectacularly volleyed in by Bresicinao. Aloisi thought he'd added a third to Australia's tally six minutes later but a lineball offside decision disallowed his effort.
The second half continued in much the same fashion with Australia well on top of their young opponent. Tim Cahill headed narrowly high from a Bresciano cross, and Chipperfield squandered a golden opportunity after meeting a ball into the area by Sterjovski. A superb pass by Vince Grella on the hour was into the path of Sterjovski whose half-volley crashed off the underside of the crossbar with the goalkeeper well beaten. Play was very stop-start during the final half hour as both coaches looked to the bench for inspiration. Aloisi and Archie Thompson were presented with half chances to put away another Australian goal without success. For their part, Bahrain rarely looked like scoring with their best chance coming the way of Abdul Rahman who flashed a late shot across the face of goal.
MCNALLY HANDED THE REIGNS AT JOONDALUP
One-time captain of the State, Willie McNally, has been appointed senior coach of E.C.U. Joondalup for 2007. McNally will be assisted in his new role by the club's veteran defender Gerry McEwan. Born in Northern Ireland, McNally enjoyed a successful career that included a seven year spell in the national league for Adelaide City and nineteen appearances for western Australia. On the local front he turned out for Olympic, Azzurri, Macedonia, Athena, Sorrento, Wanneroo, Swan I.C. and Bassendean Caledonian before retiring from State League football in 2003 at the age of 48.
LAZARIDIS' EMOTIONAL GOODBYE
Speaking publicly for the first time as an ex-Socceroo, Stan Lazaridis has described his emotional farewell as akin to leaving a family. Lazaridis, replaced five minutes in to the second half of Saturday's friendly with Paraguay, was descended on by team-mates as he left the international stage for the final time to a deserved standing ovation from the Suncorp Stadium crowd.
"Fourteen years with the team - I've grown up with all these boys so they know me inside out," said a reflective Lazaridis following his 60th 'A' appearance for Australia. "You're leaving a family and that's difficult but the team's got to move forward. From my point of view, I've done my time and I'll sit back and watch the new guys now."
Lazaridis made his full international debut for Australia against Kuwait in 1993. In the years that followed he's be part of three World Cup campaigns (1998, 2002, and 2006), feature in two Confederations Cups (1997 and 2005) and represent Australia at the 2000 Olympic Games. Lazaridis first stepped on to the international arena for Australia in 1989 when part of the Under-17 World Youth Championship squad.
MEDAL JUST OUT OF REACH FOR UNDER-15'S
The West Australian Under-15 squad went within a hairs width of qualifying for the medal round at last weeks National Youth Championship in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. The State team earned themselves fifth place after being edged out of the semi-finals by New South Wales Metropolitan. "We played very well and with great discipline throughout the week," said coach Peter Bliss. "Our defence were never troubled and we deserved better than fifth place." The Under-15's event was taken out by New South Wales Metropolitan who defeated South Australia 1-0 in Sunday's final.
Day One of the Under-15's tournament saw Western Australia draw 0-0 with a strong Capital Football (Australian Capital Territory) side, who would go on to top the Group A standings. "Both sides were very organised and a draw was a fitting result," said Bliss. "We got behind their defence on numerous occasions and made plenty of chance's but failed to score." New South Wales Metropolitan went down 0-1 to Queensland Metropolitan, and New South Wales Country announced themselves by thrashing the Northern Territory 4-0.
The boys from the west were still searching for their first goal at the completion of Day Two which produced a 0-0 draw with New South Wales Metropolitan. "It was a similar game to the previous day with both teams cancelling each other out in all areas," commented Bliss. "It was a personal success for me as I'd never got so much as a point off New South Wales in my past five years as coach!" Queensland Metropolitan made it back-to-back wins by downing the Northern Territory 3-0, while Capital Football picked up maximum points by out-scoring New South Wales Country 1-0.
A goal after two minutes earned New South Wales Country a 1-0 win over Western Australia on Monday. "We made our first defensive mistake of the tournament and it cost us," said the State coach. "The next 58 minutes we hammered them, creating over twenty-two chances in and around the box but failed to put any of them away." New South Wales Metropolitan registered the weeks' biggest win by hammering the Northern Territory 10-0, while the day came to a close with Capital Football edging out Queensland Metropolitan 1-0.
Western Australia picked up all three points courtesy of a 1-0 defeat of Queensland Metropolitan. "We changed things a little against Queenland by playing a five man midfield and dominated from the start," said Bliss. "A spectacular goal from David Screaigh late in the first half earned us our first win." Elsewhere, New South Wales Metropolitan beat their Country counterparts 3-1, and Capital Football eased their way to a 5-0 win over the Northern Territory.
Goals from Reece Vittiglia (3) and Karl Breen earned Western Australia a 4-0 win over the Northern Territory in their final group fixture. "We had to score twelve goals to make the semi-finals and had four after 15 minutes," explained Bliss. "We then got carried away and I've never seen a more disappointed group of players after a 4-0 win." The west were pipped for a semi-finals berth by New South Wales Metropolitan who drew 0-0 with Capital Football. The points were also shared between New South Wales Country and Queensland Metropolitan at 1-1.
Western Australia finished in fifth position courtesy of a 1-0 win over Queensland Country 1-0 in the minor place play-off on Friday. "Queensland never looked like scoring and we got a deserved goal after sustained pressure with Lewis Hall being in the right place to tap in our winner," Bliss said. Capital Football suffered their first loss of the week when they went down 0-2 to South Australia in the semi-finals. New South Wales Metropolitan booked their place in the age group decider by easing past Victoria Metropolitan 3-0.
UNDER-14'S TAKE SEVENTH AT NATIONALS
The State Under-14's have claimed seventh place at last weeks National Youth Championship in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. It was a tremendous effort from the West Australian junior team who were in competition for a semi-final berth heading into the final round of group games. South Australia was crowned Under-14 champions after defeating Northern New South Wales 1-0 in Sunday's final.
The State Under-14's went down 1-3 to Queensland Metropolitan in their opening Group B fixture. The west we brought level midway through the first half by Eli Babalj but a couple of goals in quick succession early in the second half earned Queensland the points. New South Wales Country beat Tasmania 1-0, and South Australia drew 2-2 with Northern New South Wales.
Western Australia were out-scored 3-4 by New South Wales Country on Day Two of competition. Babalj bagged all three goals for the west who gallantly fought their way back into the match after being three down at the break. In other games, South Australia defeated Queensland Metropolitan 2-1, and Tasmania bowed 0-2 to Northern New South Wales.
Maximum points came the way of Western Australia for the first time when they thumped Tasmania 5-1 on Monday. All six goals came in the first half with Emmanuel Linga and Babalj each scoring twice and Andrew Emsavana once for the west. Northern New South Wales accounted for Queensland Metropolitan 1-0, and the day came to a close with South Australia's 3-1 win over New South Wales Country.
The Under-14's put themselves in the running for a semi-finals berth by defeating South Australia 3-2 on Day Five. Babalj added two more goals to his tournament tally with the deciding goal coming from Samuel Mitchison midway through the second half. Queensland Metropolitan beat Tasmania 2-0, and Northern New South Wales accounted for New South Wales Country by the same scoreline.
A final round 2-2 draw with group winner Northern New South Wales ended Western Australia's hopes of progressing to the medal play-offs. Jack Cattrall and Milljon Butshiire found the back of the net for the west. South Australia claimed second spot courtesy of a 4-0 win over Tasmania, and New South Wales took third place after beating Queensland Metropolitan 2-0.
Western Australia ended the tournament on a high and a 4-0 thrashing of Victoria Country in the play-off for seventh and eighth. Another hat-trick from Bablj took his haul to eleven goals from six games while Butshiire also got himself on the scoresheet. In the semi-finals, South Australia defeated New South Wales Metropolitan 3-2, and Northern New South Wales toppled Victoria Metropolitan 2-0.
GLORY TRIO IN SOCCEROOS FRAME
Three Perth Glory players are on the verge of breaking into the Socceroos. Local products David Tarka and Jamie Coyne along with 'import' Simon Colosimo are on the radar of national coach Graham Arnold as the Socceroos head into a new era. Socceroo stalwart Stan Lazaridis, who retired from international football on the weekend along with fellow veterans Zelkjo Kalac, Tony Popovic and Tony Vidmar, says the Glory trio are well and truly in the mix for national team honours.
Tarka has played every minute of Glory's opening seven games of the new A-League campaign and only recently returned to his preferred position in the centre of defence. "I've been seriously impressed with David Tarka in defence this season," commented Lazaridis. "He was in the mix a few years ago and speaking to Arnold 'Tarks' is back in his sights after overcoming chronic hamstring problems. If he keeps his performances up he's in line for a recall."
Coyne has been one of the most consistent national league players over the past few years. "Coyne isn't all that well known on the east coast but he's as good as any right-back in Australia," Lazaridis said of the 25-year old. "He's been making waves since coming into the side and Australian officials can't help but notice. Uncapped at Socceroo level, he's a good size, works hard and gives us a good attacking weapon down the right side."
Melbourne born Colosimo has worked hard to get himself back in the national team frame. "Colosimo's performances have also been outstanding this season," added Lazaridis. "He was disappointed with his own form last season, and with the whole Socceroo mess-up last season with him trying to ger overseas, mentally, he was all over the place. His application has been superb, likewise his performances and if he keeps going it'll be no time at all before he gets called up again."
Lazaridis says a bright future also awaits attack-minded midfielder David Micevski who has so far this season been used sparingly off the bench. "Another player I expect to be knocking on the Socceroo door once he establishes himself is David Micevski," said Lazaridis of his 20-year old teammate. "He's a player fans haven't seen the best of. He's been on an A-League list for less than twelve months and once he gets a run at it I'm sure he'll be pushing for a Socceroo call-up."
STIRLING WIN EPIC CUP FINAL IN PENALTY SHOOT-OUT (by Brett Klucznik)
Stirling Lions lifted their first major trophy in a decade by out-shooting Swan I.C. from the penalty spot in this evenings' association Cup Final. At the completion of regulation time the teams were deadlocked at 3-3, and with each netting once more during the additional thirty minutes the game was sent to penalties where Stirling emerged victorious by 3-0. But while the game produced eight goals and a bucket load of drama, the football itself was far from impressive with both teams struggling to adapt to the unfamiliar surrounds of Members Equity Stadium.
Swan made a dream start by going ahead in the 4th minute as Miki Vujacic swung a corner into a crowded area where David Foster arrowed a precision header across the goalkeeper and into the far top corner. Stunned at behind behind so early, Stirling slowly regained their composure and confidently went about the task of getting back on level terms. The equaliser arrived on the quarter hour when Cory Hugo, under pressure from Andy Brown, spilled Steven Hesketh's cross and the ball bounced over the line despite Rob Monterosso's desperate attempt to clear. Unperturbed, Swan went straight back into attack where Thomas Shepheard nodded just over the crossbar from a Damien Catalano cross.
Alert defending at both ends of the park prevented any further addition to the score as Stirling and Swan wrestled for control. Damien Scali deflected wide Kevin Henderson's shot from 7-metres following a corner in the 24th minute. Next it was Monterosso's turn to come to Swan's rescue by intercepting Jordan Rhodes' low centring pass into the path of Andy Brown. Rory Mouttet twisted and turned his way inside the 18-yard box before rifling off a shot which Darko Ilmanoski blocked. And the final opportunity of the period had Andy Brown go down the left and cut the ball back into the area where the only player in sight was Scali who was in no hurry to defuse what should have been a dangerous situation.
The second half got underway with Mouttet finding Shepheard whose angled shot was touched around the post by Phil Straker. As the minutes went by Stirling began to display greater conviction and only a last gasp tackle by Monterosso thwarted Andy Brown and at the follow-up Hesketh shot disappointingly high. With an hour played Stirling brought teenager Phil Arnold off the bench with devastating effect. Just moments after stepping on to the park Arnold received a pass from Keith Brown and from just outside the 18-yard box lashed the ball beyond Cory Hugo and into the net. Four minutes later the gap was widened as Rhodes' shot from 22-metres bounced awkwardly in front of the 'keeper and crept inside the far post.
It was now Swan's turn to be shell-shocked but with the clock against them there was no time for complacency. Shepheard should have done better than shoot weakly at the 'keeper in a one-on-one, and a viciously swinging free-kick by Vujacic was kept out of the top corner by Straker. Cory Hugo produced similar heroics with reflex saves at close-range from Rob Miller and Andy Brown within seconds of each other. Swan were back in the game with ten minutes left when Shepheard rammed the ball in from a couple of metres after Foster's shot had the pace taken off of it by an opponent. The black and whites were on a roll and in the 88th minute Vujacic sent in a corner which Stirling failed to deal with and Shepheard headed in to make it three each.
Extra-time opened with Stirling searching relentlessly for a golden goal. Appeals for a penalty was rightly dismissed after Andy Brown went down when contesting possession with Cory Hugo. Swan came back into the game towards end of the first period when Foster tore down the right but his poor finish failed to test Straker. The game opened up more in the second period and on 112 minutes Catalano fed a short pass to his right where Knox rifled low past the 'keeper and substitute Michael Pugliese was unable to prevent it from crossing the line. With the very last play of the game Arnold latched on to a hopeful long ball that he touched past the defence and slotted under Hugo to sent the game into penalties.
Having already been runner-up twice this season, Stirling were determined to make this trophy theirs. And that is exactly what they did as Henderson, then Andy Brown then Arnold successfully scored from the spot as Swan's three takers - Mouttet, Knox and Foster - failed to net. "Tonight was a great game for W.A. football," said Stirling coach Mike Lyons amid the post-match celebrations. "When we were 3-1 up and I thought we were home. Swan made a fantastic come back, and when they scored in extra-time I had a feeling it wasn't going to be our night. But we showed great character to score late and go on to win on penalties."
Stirling Lions: Phil Straker, Riste Stefoski, Darko Ilmanoski
(Michael Pugliese 62), Kevin Henderson, Luke Pavlos, Steven Hesketh
(Phil Arnold 59), Keith Brown, Rob Miller, Ludovic Boi (Peter Koidis
98 ), Jordan Rhodes, Andy Brown
Swan I.C.: Cory Hugo, Damien Scali, Paul Baczynski, Robert Monterosso (Jonathon Mathers 68), Rory Mouttet, Miki Vujacic (Justin Hugo 119), Anthony McStea, Brendan Knox, Thomas Shepheard (David Perich 119), David Foster, Damien Catalano
Referee: Angelo Nardi
INGLEWOOD SECURE RESERVES 'DOUBLE' (by Peter Simcox)
Inglewood United put the icing on the memorable season by defeating Swan I.C. 5-2 in the Reserves Cup Final to complete the League and Cup double. It was a tight opening as both sides found their feet on the wide expanses of Members Equity Stadium. The first shot in anger came on 16 minutes when Michael Baczynski's long-range strike hit the post, much to the relief of goalkeeper Daniel Agudelo. It was a warning Swan failed to heed and two minutes later untidy defending was punished by an unmarked Ryan Frisina who fired in Inglewood's opener. Frisina very nearly increased the gap with a close-range volley that went over the crossbar. Swan eventually settled and Scott Campbell's through ball sent John Monterosso clear but the striker's low shot was too close to Jason Razmovski who made the save. Further sloppiness at the back by Swan produced allowed Mladen Kovacevic to clinically beat Agudelo on 37 minutes. Just before the break Alex Stamatiadis was unlucky not to add to the tally by firing just past the post from a Baczynski cross.
With the address of Paul Lincoln still ringing in their ears, Swan made a positive start to the second half as Michael Tronchin's long-range shot forced a response from Razmovski. Their reward arrived ten minutes in through a terrific strike by Campbell who curled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box. The momentum was now with Swan and an alert Razmovski brilliantly tipped away a shot from Monterosso, from the resulting corner John Mansaray somehow headed wide from point blank range. That miss would prove costly as Inglewood immediately streamed forward and Stephen Worthy powered the ball past Agudelo for goal number three. Not long after David Paone brought Joseph Davis down inside the area and referee Michael Divers pointed straight to the spot from where Kovacevic converted to put the result beyond doubt. Inglewood were going forward in waves and with ten minutes remaining on the clock Davis put away their fifth and final goal. To their credit Swan continued to pushed forward and Tronchin bagged a deserved late consolation goal.
Inglewood United: Jason Razmovski, David Whiteside (Shaun
Kilkelly 80), James Duncan, Simon Woolley, Alex Stamatiadis, Michael
Baczynski, Aaron Colli, James Sammut, Stephen Worthy (David Taneski
73), Mladen Kovacevic, Ryan Frisina (Joseph Davis 73)
Swan I.C.: Daniel Agudelo, David Paone, Chris Marshall, Justin Hugo (John Mansaray 55), David McNally, Michael Tronchin, John Monterosso, Daniel Grosso, Marco Taglioretti (Paul Lincoln 61), Scott Campbell (Andrea Terni 77), David Perich
Referee: Michael Divers
PEARSON STARS AS ARMADALE CLAIM YOUTH CUP (by Steve McGregor)
A Ryan Pearson hat-trick has guided Armadale to victory by 4-1 over Stirling Lions in this mornings Youth Cup Final at Members Equity Stadium. The quicker team to settle was Stirling who were within inches of going ahead through Cameron Caruthers whose lob of the goalkeeper came back off the underside of the crossbar. However, the Lions dominance was rewarded on 8 minutes when Carruthers robbed Ben Harvey of possession and sent a low cross into the area which Mathew Italiano pushed past Matthew Johnson from 7-metres. After weathering the early storm Armadale started to have greater influence with Pearson and Kodi Madeley pressuring the opposing defence. Armadale went close to equalising twice in the space of a few seconds as Pearson's header was parried by Tristan Scott and Jamie De Abreu's follow-up shot was blocked by a defender. Pearson looked increasingly dangerous in attack and seven minutes from the break justly brought the teams level by running on to wonderful pass played through the defence by Joel Baptist and expertly firing past the on-coming 'keeper.
Alex Preece took over between the posts for Armadale in the second half and had the post to thanks after John Walmsley's shot slipped from his grip. Another half-time addition, Ben Howe, was linking up well with Pearson to create no end of trouble for the Stirling defence. So it came as no surprise when Armadale went ahead in the 50th minute when Stirling failed to clear a corner and Pearson crashed his shot into the top corner from 13-metres. Shortly after Sean Doyle made his way down the right and crossed into the area where the ball deflected off defender Mathew Italiano and looped over the 'keeper and into the net for Armadale's third. Realising the game was slipping away, Stirling took things up a notch but found few ways to prise open a well organised defence. The sealer arrived on 72 minutes when a charging run by Pearson ended in him being brought down inside the box, and the lively youngster picked himself up to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
Armadale: Matthew Johnson (Alex Preece 40), Joel Baptist, Kurt
De Souza, Gareth Chellin, Nicki Ions, Sam Keary, Ryan Pearson, Sean
Doyle, Ben Harvey (Max Elliott 70), Kodi Madeley, Jamie De Abreu (Ben
Stirling Lions: Tristan Scott, Goce Spiroski, Dean Evans, Chris Rutherford, Ramon Amorganda, Mathew Italiano, Patrick Le (Adam Luca 72), Ricky Filocamo, John Walmsley (Keith Clevenger 70), Dannie Richman, Cameron Carruthers
Referee: Leon Markich
SOCCEROOS QUARTET FAREWELLED WITH DRAW
A bumper crowd of 47,609 gave Zelkjo Kalac, Stan Lazaridis, Tony Popovic and Tony Vidmar an international send off to remember as Australia drew 1-1 with Paraguay at Suncorp Stadium this evening. It was almost a perfect farewell for the retiring quartet, and in particular Popovic who headed Australia into the lead with two minutes remaining, but an unfortunate own goal by Michael Beauchamp in stoppage time allowed Paraguay end level. No matter the result, the match proved a fitting finale to the international careers of Kalac, Lazaridis, Popovic and Vidmar who each received a rousing ovation from the crowd and an embrace from team mates as they walked off the field for the last time.
The game opened dramatically as Vidmar's neat pass put Josip Skoko inside the penalty area where he was shoved off the ball by an opponnent and referee Joji Kashihara turned away appeals for a spot kick. John Aloisi burst into the box but his first touch put the ball too close to goalkeeper Justo Villar who gathered. Tim Cahill made a late run into the box to meet a Lazaridis' cross which he headed over the crossbar. The best opportunity of the half came the way of Paraguay on 41 minutes when Carlos Bonet's cross was misjudged by Kalac and Oscar Cardozo's header sailed high. A minute later Brett Emerton had a shot from close range blocked and scrambled away by the defence.
Paraguay came out with more urgency in the second half and inside a minute Nelson Cuevas shot across the face of goal. With chances at a premium, Marco Bresciano had a good chance to break the deadlock with an open shot at goal but hit his shot straight at the 'keeper. As the corner count for Australia climbed so did the chances and Jason Culina forced a save from Villar, while Grella hit a drive past teh far post. A foul on Archie Thompson in the 88th minute resulted in an Australian free-kick which was sent into the area by Bresciano for Popovic to guide the ball in from 5-metres. Four minutes later Salvador Cabanas delivered a dangerous cross which Beauchamp, under pressure from Cardozo, diverted past a stranded Mark Schwarzer.
KNIGHTS LACK FIREPOWER AS YOUNG WINS IT FOR GLORY (by Peter Simcox)
Perth Glory overcame a gallant New Zealand Knights in recording a 1-0 victory at Members Equity Stadium this evening. It was an exciting opening in which Bobby Despotovski's long-range strike was tipped away by Michael Turnbull, then at the other end a back post header by Noah Hickey was cleared by an alert Jamie Harnwell. The game was being run from midfield with clear-cut opportunities hard to come by for both teams. A mix-up between Neil Emblen and his 'keeper almost provided Glory the lead but Simon Colosimo's long pass into the box came back off the base of the upright. The breakthrough came on 37 minutes when a foul by Despotovski on Frank van Eijs was ignored by referee Craig Zetter and the veteran striker's cross was headed in by Young. This lifted the home side as Mimi Saric combined with Naum Sekolovski but the latter's shot was saved by Turnbull at full stretch.
The second half opened brightly for the Knights with Emblen driving forward to set up Dani Rodrigues who fired over the crossbar. Moments later Despotovski was brought down insdie the box by Sime Kovacevic but Zetter dismissed strong claims for a penalty. The Knights were dominating and Richard Johnson's curling free-kick was kept out of the bottom corner by Jason Petkovic. Jonti Richter and Hickey were causing Glory problems down the right and left respectively, and by the time Bertos left the park with an ankle injury on 72 minutes Glory had lost their way. Sensing this, the visitors increasingly pushed forward and Petkovic saved from Gemmill, while Colosimo cleared off the line after Johnson's corner came off defender David Tarka. Glory could have made the points safe in injury time but Colosimo was denied in a one-on-one with the 'keeper and Despotovski blazed high with the rebound.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Stirling Lions won the 2006 association Cup Final by defeating Swan I.C. in a penalty shoot-out this evening at Members Equity Stadium. The game was deadlocked at 3-3 at the completion of ninety minutes, each side found the net once in extra-time before Stirling emerged victorious by 3-0 on spot kicks. The Reserves Cup Final was won by Inglewood United 5-2 over Swan. Armadale claimed the Youth Cup courtesy of a commanding 4-1 scoreline against Stirling Lions.
Swan made a dream start to the afternoon as David Foster headed them in front after just 4 minutes. That lead lasted only nine minutes before Andy Brown bundled the ball over the line after Cory Hugo spilt a cross. The game swung in Stirling's midway through the second half with goals within minutes of each other from Phil Arnold and Jordan Rhodes made it 3-1. Thomas Shepheard reduced the deficit with ten minutes remaining, then struck again on 88 minutes to force the match into extra-time.
Although the additional period provided some terrific end-to-end football, rock solid defending from both teams meant there were few genuine goalscoring opportunities. Brendan Knox put Swan back in front on 112 minutes with a powerful low shot. And with the final touch of the period the teams were brought level as Arnold fired in from 15-metres. Kevin Henderson, Andy Brown and Arnold were successful from the spot to earn Stirling a 3-0 win and the club's first major trophy in over a decade.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The showcase event of the local season takes place tomorrow, Saturday 7th October, with Stirling Lions and Swan I.C. meeting in the 2006 association Cup Final. Stirling are the form side heading in the game with eleven wins from their past twelve starts and not surprisingly they've been installed as pre-match favourite. And while Swan's recent form has been patchy, they are known to save their best for when it counts most and should not be underestimated. For a full and comprehensive preview of the 2006 Cup Final visit the footballwa.net Match of the Week.
The main game is just one of five being played at Members Equity Stadium tomorrow. The day opens with the Youth Cup Final between Armadale and Stirling at 9.30am. Shamrock Rovers and the University of WA square off in the amateur Reserves Cup Final from 11.45am. This is followed at 2.00pm by the Reserves showdown in which regular season champion Inglewood United pit skills against runner-up Swan I.C. Next on the agenda is Stirling and Swan at 4.15pm. And rounding out the entertainment at 7.00pm is the decider of the amateurs Cup between Spearwood Dalmatinac and Fremantle United.
RESERVES CUP FINAL PROMISES TO BE A CRACKER
The Reserves Cup Final brings together the home and away series’ top two sides. League champion Inglewood United go face-to-face with runner-up Swan I.C. in what promises to be a fiercely competitive and highly entertaining encounter between a couple of very evenly match opponents. Members Equity Stadium is the venue for the showdown tomorrow commencing at 2.00pm.
The cornerstone of Inglewood’s regular season success was a watertight defence that conceded just sixteen goals in twenty-two games. At the heart of that record is the central pairing of team captain James Duncan and Simon Woolley who, along with goalkeeper Jason Razmovski, made life incredibly difficult for opposition forwards. David Tanevski anchored the centre of midfield with aplomb, while Michael Baczynski showed his versatility by occupying almost every position with the exception of ‘keeper.
Granted a first round bye, Inglewood kicked their Cup campaign off at Floreat Athena where they snatched victory by 2-1. Stirling Lions were brushed aside 3-1 in Round Three to set up a semi-final meeting with the giant killers of Ashfield. Despite having Maladen Kovacevic sent off early in the second half, Inglewood accounted for Ashfield 2-0 thanks to goals either side of the break from Steve Worthy and Ryan Frisina.
After all the hard work they’ve out in this year Swan are determined not to end it without a trophy. Daniel Agudelo has been in superb form between the sticks and his recent inclusion in the Australia Schoolboys squad show just how highly he’s rated. Defensive partners David Paone and Daniel Grosso consistently produced the goods throughout the winter months, while pulling the strings from the middle of the park are John Mansarey and Michael Tronchin. John Monterosso hasn’t missed a game this season only needs a sniff of goal to get on the scoresheet.
Swan’s quest for Cup glory commenced at Wotton Reserve and a comfortable 4-0 defeat of Morley Windmills. The Black and Whites were again on the round in Round Two when they knocked over Mandurah City 3-1, then qualified for the round of four by beating E.C.U. Joondalup 2-0. Swan’s place in the final was booked by a 3-1 win over Perth S.C. courtesy of first half goals from John Monterosso, Marco Taglieretti and Mansaray.
TEAMS GO FOR BROKE IN YOUTH CUP FINAL
Armadale and Stirling Lions will be giving their all tomorrow when the Youth Cup Final takes place from 9.30am at Members Equity Stadium. The youngsters of Armadale ended the regular season in third place and are determined to bring home the trophy from the club’s first ever Cup Final appearance. Although they completed the home and away series in seventh position, Stirling go into the game as favourite on the back of a 4-0 walloping of the Reds only a few weeks back.
Armadale's includes a number of players who have the ability to become household names. In centre back Ben Harvey they have one of the local scenes best young defenders, while thoughtful use of the ball by central partners Steven Skilandis and Joel Baptist is sure to lead to a rash of goalscoring opportunities. Ryan Pearson made a number of first team appearances this year and that experience will serve him well in unlocking what is a very tight Stirling defence.
Armadale were gifted a free pass into Round Two where they defeated league leader and eventual Under-18 champion Perth S.C. 2-0. A month later they travelled to Wanneroo City to book a spot in the last four with a hard fought 2-1 win. Armadale regrouped following the early dismissal of Kodi Madeley to defeat Balcatta 2-1 in the semi-finals. Goals either side of the break from Jamie De Abreu and Sean Doyle sent the Reds youngsters into their club’s first ever appearance in a Cup Final.
Stirling's strength this season has been one of the meanest defensive combinations in the youth game, and at the heart of that are team captain Dean Evans and Chris Rutherford. Dannie Richman and Matthew Italiano provide the drive coming out of midfield and between them have scored some important goals for the side. Their attack is spearheaded by Keith Clevenger whose goal tally for the year currently stands at fifteen.
An 8-0 thrashing of Bayswater City opened Stirling's Cup campaign. Fremantle Spirit provided the opposition in Round Two and the First Division side pushed Stirling all the way only to go down 2-1. A 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Inglewood United took them into the last four and a date with Cockburn City. Although reduced to ten men in the first half, Stirling prevailed 3-2 on an afternoon when Ricky Filicamo, John Walmsley and Rutherford found the net.
RHODES CONFIDENT OF STIRLING VICTORY
There is little doubt that Jordan Rhodes has been one of Stirling Lions' stand-out players in 2006, and victory in this weekend's Cup Final would be the icing on the cake. A graduate of Charlton Athletic's youth academy, Rhodes played a number of seasons at Mandurah City before embarking on a sensational and thoroughly enjoyable top flight debut. "They are a great bunch of lads at Stirling and have made my first season with the club enjoyable both on and off the park," said the left-sided midfielder.
It's very much been business as usual in the Stirling camp since the regular season came to a close a fortnight ago. "The atmosphere leading up to the Cup Final has been brilliant and everyone is looking forward to Saturday," Rhodes explained. "Everyone has been working hard for each other and pulling together at training. Mick Lyons and Geordie definitely haven't let us take the foot of the pedal since the end of the regular season. The last two weeks of training have felt like pre-season all over again!"
With Stirling and Swan currently trophyless in 2006, Rhodes is confident Saturday's game will live up to it's 'biggest game of the year' tag. "I expect the game to be very free flowing with a lot of end to end football," he said. "Both times we played Swan this year there were plenty of chances created and goals scored. Playing at Members Equity Stadium will also give both teams plenty of space to exploit on a nice surface, so I think it will be a high quality and exciting game of football."
Although well aware Swan can create and score, Rhodes remains firm in his belief that the ribbons hanging from the trophy on Saturday evening will be the red and gold of Stirling. "Swan are a very creative side and always pose a threat on goal," he said. "Their players have a never say die attitude and run tirelessly for the full ninety minutes which makes for a competitive game. We know if we work hard and play our brand of football then we will come away with the result, and we'll be giving our all to bring home the trophy."
FIRST TROPHY WITHIN REACH FOR SWAN COACH
If there’s one person who embodies Swan I.C. then it has to be Carlo Scali. In a playing career that spanned eighteen seasons Scali made in excess of 450 senior appearances, won the Gold Medal in 2001, claimed back-to-back First Division Player of the Year awards, and twice helped the Black and Whites to Cup Final victory. Not even retirement could prise Scali away from his beloved club and in 2005 he opened a new chapter on a glittering career by becoming first team coach of Swan. This weekend he’ll be seeking his first piece as silverware as a coach when Swan take on Stirling Lions in the 2006 association Cup Final.
It was an odd season for Swan who began the year strongly only to slip off the pace over the latter stages of the winter to take eighth spot on the Premier League table. “We have performed well for most of the season although our points tally don’t show that,” Scali commented. “We drew too many games that we should have won, and lost games we should have got results in. As a team we are developing well with a number of younger players stepping up and performed extremely well this season, but we missed a lot of senior players through injuries. Overall we’re a bit disappointed at how we finished the season off but we know we’ve taken right steps as a club to build something for the next couple of years.”
Scali is the first to admit Swan lacked consistency during the second half of the season. “Our second half of the season did not go according to script,” Scali said. “It’s hard to know exactly why things turned out how they did but I feel injuries, work commitments and a few player departures reduced our depth and hurt our ability to put the same side out on the park two weeks in a row. I think we are a hard side to beat and going into the final we’ve lost only one of our last four games. Conceding goals is a concern but we have not been able to keep the same back four every week and this continual changing does come with a price.”
On Cup Final day it’ll be Stirling that go in as favourite and Scali has been doing his homework. “Stirling’s strength is their midfield and also their ability to score goals. They are a very mobile side that play an attacking brand of football and we will need to match them in the midfield and be disciplined at the back,” he said. “By all accounts young Ludovic Boi has hit some good form and has been supplying and scoring goals, so he will be one that we will keep a close eye on along with most of their midfield who are effective at getting forward and back. Andy Brown is a big target up front for them, he sets up a lot if their plays and has the ability to change a game.”
Swan may have been installed as underdogs but they’ve set their sights only on leaving Members Equity Stadium with the trophy decked out in black and white ribbons. “We would love to bring the cup back to the Valley,” he said. “We will go into the game knowing that the Lions were the form side during the second half of the Premier League season and that our record against them has not been great this year, we’ve drawn once and lost to them twice. But in Cup Finals form does not count and it comes down to the team who wants it the most and the team that produces the performance that is required. We are confident in our own abilities and will be prepared and ready for the challenge.”
FINALISTS SET TO MAKE HISTORY
Neither of Saturday's association Cup finalists are strangers to the big occasion. Stirling, formed in 1958 and one of the State League's oldest clubs, have won the knock-out competition three times from seven final appearances. Swan have twice qualified for the Cup Final and on both occasions came away with the trophy, and victory this weekend would be the ideal way to celebrate their 21st birthday. History notes that of the six Cup Finals since 2000, five have been decided by a 2-1 scoreline.
Stirling's first Cup Final appearance ended in glory and a 6-1 thrashing of Perth Azzurri in 1980. West Perth Macedonia, as they were then known, were lead from the front that afternoon by Paul Middleton and Neil Blunt who each contributed two goals with Gordon McCulloch and man of the match Chris Proctor also on the scoresheet. The club next qualified for the decider of the knock-out competition in 1987 when they went down 2-3 to Floreat Athena.
In a six year period Stirling turned out in five Cup finals. In 1992 they thumped North Perth Croatia 4-0 through goals from Norrie Sutton, Trim Morgan, Alan Armstrong, Gerry Christie. This was followed by losses in 1992 and 1993 to Perth Italia and Spearwood Dalmatinac, respectively. Peter Murphy was the goalscoring hero in 1996 when his double produced a 2-1 victory over Sorrento and brought the Cup back to Macedonia Park for a third time. Unfortunately, they were unable to back this up and were defeated by Floreat the next year.
The 2003 Cup Final is widely considered one of the best ever with Swan claiming the silverware 2-1 over Premier League champion and traditional rival Perth S.C. Goals within thirteen minutes of each other by Paul Lincoln and Elton Holmes gave Swan a two-goal buffer at the break. The game was turned on its head early in the second half when Damien Scali was sent off, and although Gareth Naven reduced the deficit Swan held on for victory.
Twelve months later Swan were back to do it all again, this time by out-gunning Fremantle City 2-1. The match was just 6 minutes old when David Foster put the black and whites ahead. And when Miki Vujacic crashed the ball in from close-range midway through the half it looked as though Swan would run away with the game. However, Fremantle stemmed the tide and pulled a goal back on 58 minutes through Jeff Bright. This set up a tense final half hour but with neither side able to add to their tally Swan who lifted the trophy.
PLAYERS TIP STIRLING …
The upcoming association Cup Final has been discussed all over town this week and everyone has an opinion on how the game will pan out. During the week footballwa.net caught up with several of the Premier League's star attractions to get their thoughts of the two finalists, Stirling Lions and Swan I.C. Sharing their impressions with us are Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights), Todd Harnwell (Sorrento), Michael Icanovski (Perth S.C.) and Daniel Micevski (Bayswater City) who, by three to one, are tipping Stirling to be covered in Cup victory.
Montgomery says the battle between Kevin Henderson and David Foster will decide the game. "Kevin Henderson is one of the best defenders in the State League, he's very strong in the air and just as comfortable with the ball on the deck. I'm looking forward to Henderson against David Foster who was one of the League's form strikers this year. The middle of the park is going to be tight and the supply provided by Rob Miller and Keith Brown will lead to Stirling creating more chances to score. I'm predicting a Stirling win by 3-2."
The performances of Rob Miller and David Foster are vital to their teams chances according to Harnwell. "The key player is Robbie Miller, if he's firing the whole Stirling team lifts. For Swan it's David Foster and if he can get them off to a good start then they'll be in with a real chance. Stirling are a solid all round unit, the boys work hard for each other and they have the capacity not only to score goals but also to make scoring very difficult for the opposition. I think they'll win comfortably, probably by a 3-1 scoreline."
Going against the tide is Icanovski who's tipping a Swan win. "Swan play well together as a team have a knack of taking it up a notch for big occasions, and it doesn't get much bigger than a Cup Final. The experience of Damien Scali and Rory Mouttet will be vital for Swan to succeed, and Dave Foster and Damien Catalano have agreat understanding which makes it difficult for opposing defenders. I'd say Paul Baczynski will play on Andy Brown in a battle of the giants and whoever wins that contest will win the game for their teams. I'm going for Swan 2-1."
Micevski considers Stirling's free-running midfield to be the key to the game. "Stirling play really well as a unit and are strong all the way across midfield. Keith Brown and Robbie Miller can open up defences with their passing, and the pace and skill of Ludovic Boi and Jordan Rhodes will cause Swan problems out wide. Swan need to be wary of Stirlings set pieces as they are well organised in that area and score a lot of goals from them. Based on current form Stirling will win the Cup Final 3-1, but Swan will give them a good fight."
… AND COACHES FAVOUR SWAN
For seven months of the year football coaches across the state are plotting how to get the edge over next weekend's opposition. With season 2006 almost over, footballwa.net managed to pin down Floreat Athena's Michael Roki, Tom Kilkelly from Cockburn City and Western Knights' long-serving boss Ronnie Campbell to get 'the good oil' on Cup finalists Stirling Lions and Swan I.C. And between the consensus was in favour of Swan taking out the final trophy of the year by two to one.
Roki expects Swan will end an otherwise disappointing season on a high by claiming the knock-out trophy. "Stirling have fantastic determination and you can't write them off easily. But saying that, they are missing a few key players and that will make their job just that little bit more difficult. Swan have a great Cup record and I think will be the hungrier team that needs to add some credibility to an average season. The game will be won in the final third - Swan have the goalscorers on the park and the Lions may be a little toothless without David Dugdale and Ryan Jeans. 2-1 to Swan."
The key to the game is Stirling's midfield for Kilkelly. "You really can't go past Stirling's midfield, they work hard to create and also support both their forwards and defence. They will miss David Dugdale and Ryan Jeans but Andy Brown is more than capable of unsettling the defence. Swan are good going forward and the front two are quality finishers. Whoever wins the battle in midfield will take out the cup and on current form the Lions four of Rob Miller, Jordan Rhodes, Luovic Boi and Keith Brown already have one hand on the Cup. I'm going for the Lions by 3-1."
Campbell says Swan's stability will get them over the line. "Stirling are coming off a fantastic run of results, have an outstanding goalkeeper in Phil Straker and overall are very well balanced. But Swan know what it takes to win this Cup and have a great team and spirit. Corey Hugo is a tremendous 'keeper and in Miki Vujacic and David Foster they have two of the most talented players in the State. The absence of David Dugdale and Ryan Jeans will be great for Stirling and the difference will be Vujacic's class and Foster's ability to convert chances into goal. Swan to win 2-1."
MONTEROSSO EYES MEDAL
Collecting a Cup winners' medal this weekend would be the perfect way for Rob Monterosso to end to a superb few months for Swan I.C. The tough tackling defender spent the early part of the season on the fringe of first team selection and since forcing his way into the starting eleven in early June hasn't put a foot wrong. "This is the first season I've stayed injury free and once I got my chance there was no way I was going to let it slip away," he said.
Swan are buzzing ahead of their third Cup Final appearance in the space of four years according to Monterosso. "There's been a very good feeling at Swan leading up to the Cup Final," explained the 23-year old. "Our confidence is high with all the boys putting in some very good training sessions in weeks gone by. The intensity has definitely gone up a notch with everyone staking a claim to be included in the line-up. Come kick-off I guarantee we'll be pumped and primed."
Monterosso feels the large playing surface at Members Equity Stadium will put to the test the stamina of both Swan and Stirling. "The pitch there is a lot bigger than most, if not all of those in the State League so fitness is going to be a determining factor in who wins," he commented. "There's not been a lot between Stirling and us this year, they beat us at our place and we drew the game at Macedonia Park, and I really can't see Saturday being that much different. Both teams like to attack and neither will be content to sit back and defend a lead."
The side which can assert more control over the centre of the park will lift the trophy. "The danger man for us is Andy Brown, he holds the ball up well and is also good in the air. It's likely Bazza (Paul Baczynski) will mark him and that would probably be the games most important match-up," Monterosso said. "That said, I think the game will be won in the midfield. Stirling are very strong and mobile across the middle, however, Swan also have a solid midfield and Miki Vujacic, Anthony McStea and Scott Campbell will create a lot of chances for us ... it should be a very good game to watch!"
STIRLING REVIVAL ALMOST COMPLETE
Stirling Lions will be looking to confirm their re-emergence as a major force on the local scene tomorrow when the face Swan I.C. in the 2006 association Cup Final. The club dominated West Australian football in the early to mid 1990’s, winning four Night Series titles, two Premier League crowns, and two Cup Finals in the space of a few years, but since those glory days silverware has rarely graced the cabinet at Macedonia Park. Over the past few years there’s been a lot of hard work put in behind the scenes at Stirling and last summers appointment of Mike Lyons and Paul Simmons as coach and director of football, respectively, has renewed optimism around the club. And victory this weekend could spur the club on to bigger and better things in the years ahead.
Stirling go into tomorrow’s the Cup Final full of confidence after a barnstorming second half to the regular season. “To finish second in the League is a fantastic achievement,” commented Simmons. “We had hopes at the beginning of the year to finish in the top half and that was it. Mick and I spoke to the players early on and it soon became evident to both of us that what we had was a squad of not the best players, but a squad of the best characters in the League. We made the final of the Night Series but then seemed to drop off and draw too many games that we should of won. We picked up Dave Dugdale, who found the net with regularity for us, and I believe in Phil Straker we have the best ‘keeper in the League.”
Although Stirling have won eleven of their past twelve outings, Simmons says it’s Swan who should be considered favourites for the Cup. “They will be looking at the results and believing we, Stirling, are the form side,” said Simmons. “This may be true but Swan are the side to beat, they’ve won two out of the last three Cup finals and must be favourites to make it a hat-trick. Our run of results hasn’t gone to our heads, the lads really do enjoy every game they play in and even in small-sided games at training they’re all very competitive. Our biggest concern has been the week’s break. We’ll have a hard week on the track, not much in the way of ball work but just topping up fitness and hopefully this will keep their hunger for success.”
While well aware of the danger Swan pose as they attempt to win the knockout competition for a third time in four years, Simmons says it’s business as usual for Stirling. “Swan’s greatest danger has to be their never say die attitude and their persistence to keep plugging away. They are a very fit side and, as I said before, the motivation of winning the Cup for a third time will be great,” said Simmons. “We never worry about other teams we are totally focused on our game plan and our lads doing what we expect of them when we want it. If we play to or methodology then we will win the game, if we don’t then Swan will be one lifting the Cup at the end of the day.”
2006 has been Stirling’s most successful year in some time and, win or lose tomorrow, the foundations are now in place for the club to re-establish themselves as a major player on the local scene. “All credit to (club president) Don Evans and his team,” said Simmons. “It was hard for me going to Stirling and to a club with a different culture, so when the winning run started to have people come up to you and pat you on the back was tremendous. It was explained that some of these guys have followed Stirling since it’s inception, became despondent when things went down hill and now are returning in droves. So making the Cup Final is massive for the club.”
DESPOTOVSKI TO COACH INGLEWOOD
Bobby Despotovski will turn his attention to coaching next season after more than a decade of national league football. Perth Glory’s most recognisable player has agreed to take over the reigns at Inglewood United, and is determined to finish his stint in the A-League with a finals appearance. Despotovski, a veteran of 214 games for Glory, confirmed the current national league season will be his last. “Definitely, 100%,” said the 35-year old. “I have to see if I’m going to be a player-coach but I will definitely be coaching and I’ll be registered to play.”
Despotovski’s first port of call upon national league retirement will be Inglewood, who completed the recent Premier League season under the guidance of former Glory coach Alan Vest. The striker recently agreed a deal with long-time club president Siggy Kramer and admits to having higher ambitions that may one day lead him back to Glory. “I wouldn’t be pushing myself to be first team coach but I’d like to be involved as some kind of assistant because I think I’ve got something to give to the younger generation … I’ve got a lot of experience.”
LAZARIDIS' GREEN AND GOLD SWANSONG
Perth Glory midfielder Stan Lazaridis will farewell international football on Sunday when the Socceroos take on South American giants Paraguay in Brisbane. After fifteen years wearing the green and gold Lazaridis feels the time is right to move on. "I've had a chat with Graham Arnold (Socceroos coach) and this will be my final game with the Aussie team," Lazaridis said. "It's now time for me to move on from the Socceroos and it's time to let the new players come through."
With several members of the Socceroos World Cup side making their way back to Australia for the friendly, Lazaridis felt it was the appropriate time to hang up his Socceroos boots. "I'm really looking forward to playing alongside the guys and it will be a fantastic to say goodbye to all the Australian fans that have supported me for so long wearing the green and gold," commented Lazaridis. Through spells with West Adelaide, West Ham United, Birmingham City and Glory Lazaridis has so far made 59 'A' appearances for the Socceroos.
JETS DOWNED BY GLORY
Perth Glory secured their first away win of the A-League season with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at Energy Australia Stadium last night. A delightful double from striker Stuart Young and a scorching header from skipper Jamie Harnwell ensured Glory took all three points home to Perth. After scrappy opening it was Stan Lazaridis who swayed the momentum in Glory’s favour with a series of raids down the left that caused Newcastle all sorts of problems. The visitors dominance was rewarded in the 44th minute when Young volleyed past goalkeeper Ben Kennedy after Bobby Despotovski’s effort deflected into his path.
The second held pick up where the first left off and Glory always looking the more likely to score. Young was left scratching his head after failing to put away a golden opportunity at close range, while Leo Bertos also lofted a clear chance over the crossbar. The margin was doubled on 83 minutes when Harnwell headed powerfully into the net from a Lazaridis corner. Glory continued their search for further goals and only the upright prevented Bertos’ curling free kick from distance from going in. The icing was put on the cake three minutes into stoppage time when Young converted following a driving run by Bertos.
HARLAND IS YOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The West Australian football community have installed Sorrento striker Simon Harland as www.footballwa.net 2006 Premier League Player of the Year. Harland won the award, which is voted for by the players, coaches and supporters of the local game, ahead of Stirling Lions import Rob Miller and Paul Cooke of the Western Knights. He becomes the sixth player to win the award which in previous years has gone to Antonio Naglieri (2005), Australian international Nick Ward (2004), Shane Crampton (2003), Jamie Coyne (2002) and Branimir Mikulic (2001).
Being voted www.footballwa.net 2006 Premier League Player of the Year by his contemporaries is a fitting way for Harland to end his West Australian career. Harland, who debuted for Sorrento in 1995, tallied up 43 votes during the four-week polling period to finish top of the pile. In second place was Stirling's tireless midfielder Miller on 38 votes, and a further five votes behind him was versatile Knight Paul Cooke. Fourth with 26 votes each were Cockburn City's creative midfielder Jason Dos Santos and Stirling goal sneak David Dugdale. 22 votes earned Scott Bushby of E.C.U. Joondalup fifth place.
19 votes went to Daniel Micevski who was the stand out player at Bayswater City in 2006. Swan I.C. sharp-shooter David Foster and Ivan Zuvela of the Knights finished level on 18 votes. Another Knights defender, David Annall, received 17 votes to sit alongside Floreat Athena trio Boima Karpeh, Branimir Mikulic and John Migas. Three votes but that group were Michael Icanovski and Gary Faria of Perth S.C. and Swan attacker Damien Catalano. The www.footballwa.net 'staff' would like to thank everyone who voted in this year's award.
RODGERS TOP OF THE FIRST DIVISION POPS
David Rodgers has capped a sensational season for Fremantle Spirit by being voted the www.footballwa.net 2006 First Division Player of the Year by the players, coaches and supporters of the local game. Rodgers broke away early in the annual award and never really looked like being caught during the four-week voting period. Fremantle dominated this years award with five of the top ten players drawn from the port side. Rodgers is the fourth recipient of the www.footballwa.net First Division Player of the Year which has previously gone to Adam Raines (2005), Scott Bulloch (2004) and Boima Karpeh (2003).
Rodgers, who was also the competition's leading goalscorer, ran away with the award by tallying up 42 votes. A distant second on 33 votes was Ashfield livewire Andy O'Neill. Fremantle playmaker Jason Barerra was next on 27 votes to be one ahead of Morley Windmills striker Ray Rose. Exciting Fremantle teenager Callum Roberts finished level on 23 votes with Christian Pascherwitz of Mandurah City. 19 votes went to Balcatta's Perry Ielati. Dale Wingell received 16 votes which was two more than Mandurah defender Damien Condo and seasoned campaigner Alex Christie of Fremantle. The 'staff' of www.footballwa.net would like to thank everyone who voted in this year's award.
TALENTED UNDER-15'S GIVE BLISS REASON FOR OPTIMISM
The State Under-15 squad jets east to the New South Wales coastal resort town of Coffs Harbour tomorrow for the 2006 National Youth Championships. The tournament brings together the pick of the nations emerging footballing talent with the aim of identifying potential future national team players. It also provides players a chance to display their wares in front of scouts from Australia and overseas along with those from the Australian Institute of Sport.
Peter Bliss, coach of the Under-15's, is confident his side will be very competitive on the east coast. "The boys know what is expected off them over in Coffs Harbour as most of them were involved in last years campaign in Sydney," he said. "We know we'll have to be fit, strong and play good football to compete with the other states but the squad I've selected is very talented - I'd go as far to say the most talented squad I've ever taken to the Nationals, there's a greater depth than any other squad I've had in the past.”
Preparations for the Nationals have been far from ideal for Bliss who admits his side really haven't been stretched by local teams. "The problem I've had is the quality of opposition in the age group is just not present in Western Australia at the moment," he explained. "The boys need to play quality opposition of the calibre they'll face in Coffs Harbour and, unfortunately, we haven't been able to find that opponent and consequently haven't been seriously tested."
Any coach will tell you that selecting a flexible and adaptable squad is never a simple task but Bliss feels he's got the right mix. "The boys that tried out this campaign showed the quality and depth that is in Western Australian football," said Bliss, who'll take a team to the Nationals for a fourth successive year. "I've again selected the squad with players who can play in a number of positions giving me the options to change formations when needs be, which is very important in the Nationals."
Bliss believes the appointment of a director of football, a position the West Australian football community have been calling for for some time now, will eventuate. "We have a director of football but with a different title at the moment." said Bliss. "Andrew Bettall is the education manager and he's doing a great job at present. What we now need is more full-time coaches so we can work with the boy's more regularly."
"If the coaches are not working full-time the job simply isn't getting done properly in my opinion," added Bliss. "A number of the other States have full-time programs and the likes of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have the advantage over us because of this. They train four or five nights a week and play together as a team every week. We have to look down that path or we will be left behind."
An early afternoon meeting with the Australian Capital Territory on Saturday kicks off the Under-15's Group A campaign. New South Wales Metropolitan provide the opposition the following afternoon, with Day Three pitting West Australia against New South Wales Country. On Wednesday they take on Queensland Metropolitan before completing the group phase against the Northern Territory.
The 2006 West Australian Under-15 squad consists of Liam Harvey (Armadale), Dejan Aleksic (Cockburn City), Jake Geddes, Anes Kuneric (Inglewood United), Jarrad Bracewell, Michael Currie, Lewis Hall (E.C.U. Joondalup), Mark Birighitti, Karl Breen, James Davies, Paul Rechichi, Oliver Swords (Perth S.C.), Jaydn Bruce, Daniel Giuffre, David Screaigh and Reece Vittiglia (Sorrento). Traveling with the side are Peter Bliss (coach), Paul Turvill (manager), Andy Ross (trainer) and Steve Coppack (tour leader).
THE WINNER OF THE MILO FOOTWORX CLINIC COMPETITION IS …
Kinross resident Rory Jackson has won a free spot in Football West's Milo Footworx Clinic later this month. "Rory will get twelve hours of non-stop football fun at the clinic," explained Mark Lee, youth development officer at Football West. "Each day will be based around small sided games, skills and most importantly of all fun. Rory will receive a Kelme football shirt and loads of prizes from our sponsors Milo and Four Four Two. As well as all of this, children will be identified for Football West programs such as Fivez and Development Squads." Rory won his place in the upcoming clinic by correctly answering 'Which former Perth Glory player is currently playing professional football in England for Queens Park Rangers?' The answer, of course, was Nick Ward.
PLAYERS EAGERLY AWAIT NATIONALS
The National Youth Championships offers young players from across the country a springboard to furthering their career. The annual event, the 2006 edition of which takes place next week in New South Wales, is attended by national selectors, coaches from the Australian Institute of Sport and talent scouts from overseas. Western Australia will compete in both the Under-14 and Under-15 age groups with all thirty players making the trip part of Football West's interim National Training Centre.
Liam Harvey is looking forward to captaining the State Under-15's into the week-long event. "It's my second time at the Nationals and the whole squad is looking forward to the trip," said the Armadale defender, whose father, Terry, was a teenage apprentice at English club Brighton and Hove Albion. Harvey has the utmost respect for coach Peter Bliss. "I've been training under Peter at the NTC for a while and he's been great, I've learnt a heap about my game and hopefully I can take it out on the park in Coffs."
It'll be Reece Vittiglia's third time away with a State team. "We're really looking forward to the challenge," commented the Sorrento striker. "All the boys get on really well and Peter is a great coach, he knows what he's talking about and we hope we can do him and WA proud." Vittiglia feels confident that a season playing football in the under-18 competition will serve him well at the Nationals. "The under-18 game is a lot quicker and more physical, I've adapted well and it will only help me in Coffs Harbour."
Wearing State colours will be something new for Sorrento's Daniel Giuffre. "I haven't represented the State before and I'm really looking forward to it," said the midfielder. "Peter is a great coach, I've learnt a lot from him and he makes it fun which means come game time you feel relaxed and ready to play." Giuffre is another youngster to benefit from Sorrento's youth set-up. "All the coaches are great at the club, they instil confidence in you and give the opportunity to play at a higher level if they believe you are good enough."
Playing for the State Under-14's will be Zoran Vrtseki, brother of Perth Glory goalkeeper Aleks. "We hope we can over there and be competitive," said the Stirling Lions defender. "We hope to learn more about our game against quality opposition." Vrteski has enjoyed working with coach Kenny Lowe and feels he'll get the best of the plays in Coffs Harbour. "Kenny has been fantastic. He's has been working on us holding up the ball and moving into position to receive it, also to play the ball to feet when ever possible which will help us in the tournament."
Jack Clisby, who plays for Sorrento, is another who can't wait for the Nationals to kick off. "It's going to be a great experience playing against the best players in the country, I'm sure it will be very intense over there but we're ready," said the midfielder, who has previously donned State colours in Malaysia and Canberra. "Playing against international teams has given us a confidence that we'll take into our games. Kenny and Callum Salmon have worked hard getting our fitness and team play together and we hope to be successful in the Nationals."
DUGDALE CLAIMS GOLDEN BOOT
David Dugdale has taken out the 2006 Golden Boot as the Premier League’s highest goalscorer. The Liverpool-born striker found the net an astonishing nineteen times in only twelve outings for Stirling Lions to claim the trophy. Dugdale joined Stirling mid-season and had immediate impact by scoring on debut against E.C.U. Joondalup. From that moment on Dugdale tormented opposing defences with his pace and keen eye for goal which produced hat-tricks against Wanneroo City, Inglewood United and Bayswater City, and two-goal hauls verses Swan I.C., Armadale and Floreat Athena.
A late charge from Perth S.C. marksman Barry Wood took him to sixteen goals for the winter. Wood began the year slowly before piling on eleven goals in the final ten games of the season. In third place, one behind Wood, was Western Knights’ Stuart Montgomery whose hopes of winning award were once again soured by injury. David Foster of Swan I.C. scored the full length of the season to end with fifteen goals. A remarkable four-goal haul on the final day of the campaign took Inglewood United’s Louis Parkinson to fourteen goals. Todd Harnwell (Sorrento) and Branimir Mikulic (Floreat Athena) each tallied up twelve goals for the year.
The trophy for the First Division’s leading goalscorer will be shared by David Rodgers and Ray Rose, who play for Fremantle Spirit and Morley Windmills respectively, after they completed the winter with twenty goals apiece. Rodgers lead the way for much of the season and it was only during the final rounds that the difference was reduced by Rose whose late strike at Mandurah City on the weekend brought the pair level. There was a big gap to third place which was jointly occupied by Christian Paschewitz (Mandurah City) and Rydeen Botha (Dianella White Eagles) whose tallies stood at fourteen goals. Mohammad Komaderic (Ashfield) had twelve goals to his name with Callum Roberts (Fremantle) completing the leaderboard on eleven goals.
LOWE EXCITED ABOUT NATIONALS DEBUT
The past few months have been a busy time for Kenny Lowe who's been working tirelessly with the State Under-14 side ahead of this weekend's 2006 National Youth Championship. Lowe is eagerly awaiting the trip to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales which will be the first time he's taken a State side to the annual tournament. "It's an exciting time for me, but most off all for the boys," said the Under-14's coach. "They are great bunch and as long as they enjoy it and do themselves justice I'll be very happy."
Lowe, who is assistant first team coach at Perth S.C., says the task of selecting the State junior squad was a difficult one for him and Callum Salmon, who is Football West's scholarship coach. "We had around one hundred and fifty boys down for trails and there were a lot of talented players to choose from," he explained. "We've whittled it down to sixteen, and they are the best players in W.A. in their age group and I hope they perform in Coffs Harbour."
In picking the squad Lowe and Salmon looked for players who they believed could play a variety of roles and give them the flexibility to change formations during the tournament. "We're going to have to be flexible over there," said Lowe. "We don't know what formations the other sides will use but we have a talented squad who can adapt to different scenarios which we come up against. The other sides are going to be well drilled as they have been together for a long time."
Lowe only recently returned from overseas where he completed a FIFA coaching license. He plans to pass on the knowledge and skills gained by attending that course to the local boys. "It was enjoyable sitting for the FIFA coaching license, but at the end of the day I do it for the love of the game," he said. "I work in engineering at the moment, and if I can use my knowledge to help the boys improve their game then it's been worth while for me."
The State Under-14 side has been allocated a spot in Group B where their opening round opponents are Queensland Metropolitan. On Sunday the side faces the might of New South Wales Country, and the next afternoon it's Tasmania against whom they'll pit skills. Tuesday's rest day is followed by games against South Australia (Wednesday) and Northern New South Wales (Thursday).
The 2006 West Australian Under-14 squad is Cameron Edwards, Ryan Edwards, Andrew Emsavana, Samuel Mitchison, Alexander Pearson (Cockburn City), Emmanuel Linga (Floreat Athena), Cameron Sutton (Inglewood United), Jack Cattrall, Joshua Risdon (E.C.U. Joondalup), Eli Bablj, Milljon Butshiire (Perth S.C.), Jack Clisby (Sorrento), Clayton Arnez, Zoran Vrteski (Stirling Lions), Adam Bowers and Tom Lawrence (Wanneroo City). Traveling with the side are Kenny Lowe (coach), Mitch Doherty (manager), Andy Ross (trainer) and Steve Coppack (tour leader).
MCSTEA HAPPY IN BLACK AND WHITE
English import Anthony McStea wasted little time in getting down to business after joining Swan I.C. just before the transfer deadline. Through a handful of reserves team appearances the former Newcastle Blue Star midfielder regained his sharpness and hasn’t looked back since being called into senior ranks. "There's a nice family atmosphere at the club, everyone has made me feel very welcome and that has made it easy for me to settle in quickly," said McStea, who is clearly enjoying his time with Swan.
McStea was grateful to 2006 Gold Medal winner Mark Lee and Swan teammate Trevor Hatton on his arrival in town. "I didn't know many people in Perth. My girlfriend is from here so I knew here parents, but I also knew Mark and Trevor who helped me settle into the Perth football scene," he said. "The difference in the standards of football, between here and what I was used to in the UK is not too much. It's a lot more physical in England and you get a bit more time on the ball here in WA, but I'm not complaining about that."
Swan coach Carlo Scali has been pleased with McStea's contribution for the black and whites. "Anthony has fitted into the team really well and provides us with versatility out wide or in the middle of the park," commented Scali. McStea is expected to turn out for Swan in the upcoming association Cup final and plans to continue with the club next season. "I hope to help the club to Cup success and we'll sit down next season to talk about the future, although I'm very happy here at present."
GOALKEEPER WILLIAMS WINS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD
Australian international Lydia Williams won the prestigious title of Female Sportsperson of the Year at the 2006 Deadly Awards late last week. The Deadlys are the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards, celebrating Indigenous excellence in music, sport, the arts, entertainment and community achievement.
Lydia became the latest recipient of the award which has Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman as a previous winner. "I'm very proud and honoured to have won the award especially considering all the great names that have won an award in the sporting category over the years," said Williams in collecting the award. "I would also like to say a big thank you to all the people that have assisted me over the years. There are too many people to mention but special thanks to my family and all the coaches that have been so supportive."
Born in Katanning, Williams who grew up in various parts of rural Western Australia, including Kalgoorlie, and now lives in Canberra. Although just 18 years of age, she has already represented Australia on four occasions at senior international level and was part of the side that qualified for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. She also recently returned from Russia having help the Young Matildas negotiate their path through the qualifying series for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship.
INGLEWOOD COME UP TRUMPS IN RESERVES
A season of consistency has earned Inglewood United's under-23's the title of Premier League Reserve champions for 2006. Inglewood secured silverware last weekend when held to a 1-1 by second placed Swan I.C., the single point putting the trophy out of reach for the black and whites. On Saturday the newly crowned champions completed a memorable season by thrashing Bayswater City 7-0 in the final round of home and away fixtures.
According to coach Kevin Brophy, Inglewood's win is testament to the ability of all those who played for the side this season. "It's been a real club effort to get in this position, we've probably used twenty-five to thirty players week in and week out, so we haven't had a core group," he commented. "I believe there are only five first team players who haven't played their part in the season, and we've also promoted some of the talented under-18 side."
The signs were there from day one that this would be Inglewood's year. Wins over Sorrento and Perth S.C., who finished one and two in 2005, opened Inglewood's account and gave them the self-belief they could go all the way. Along the way there were some big wins for the inner city club, amongst them four goals margins over Armadale and Perth. Underpinning Inglewood's success was an undebeaten away record and a rock solid defence that conceded just 16 goals in twenty-two outings.
Brophy took over the under-23 reins in late May following Jamie Goodman's appointment as first team coach of Wanneroo City. "They are a great bunch of players at the club, that's first team and under-23's - there isn't a 'them and us' attitude between the two teams. All the players who have come down from the first team have given 100% for me and I can't ask anymore than that."
The departure of senior coach Eddy Hodgkinson in August may have thrown Inglewood into a tailspin, but Brophy feels this strengthened the resolve of the players. "It was very sad when Eddie went, the players were given a bit of a wake up call when he left and they have picked things up," said Brophy. "With Alan Vest coming in there they have had to toe the line and hopefully our success can lead to a spring board for the whole club next season."
Inglewood will be looking to bring another piece of silverware to the club when they line-up against Swan in the final of the association Cup next month. "We still owe Swan one, they beat us 2-1 at our place and we draw last week so we haven't beaten them yet this season," commented Brophy. "It will be a big game and if we get the result it will be double celebration after the game bringing success to the club after a disappointing season for the first team."
CACERES INSPIRES MELBOURNE TO VICTORY
Adrian Caceres came off the bench inspire Melbourne Victory to a 2-1 win over his former club Perth Glory at Members Equity Stadium this afternoon. Caceres opened the scoring in the 54th minute, and twenty minutes later Victory captain Kevin Muscat doubled their advantage. Glory defender David Tarka pulled one back much to the delight of the 7,983 strong crowd but with only minutes remaining Glory couldn't find the equalizer they were desperately searching for.
There were chances at both ends of the ground in a lively opening spell that started with Jamie Harnwell clearing a dangerous Archie Thompson cross intended for Danny Allsopp. Shortly after Tarka flicked the ball narrowly past the far upright from a Leo Bertos corner. Simon Colosimo and Adrian Webster combined to send Stan Lazaridis' through on goal but the midfielder's low effort was saved by Michael Theoklitos. On 22 minutes Colosimo's long-range strike skidded just past the post as Glory pressed for the opening goal.
The visitors made a tactical change on 35 minutes with Caceres replacing Alessandro as the warm conditions started to take it's toll on the players. And a few minutes later they should have taken the lead but Daniel Piorkowski headed weakly and at Aleks Vrteski from a Kristian Sarkies' corner. Thompson was a constant threat and a jinxing run down the right took him past three opponents only to have Ante Kovacevic clear his pull back into the box.
The visitors began the second half strongly and ten minutes went ahead as Muscat fed Caceres whose first time shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was beyond the reach of Vrteski. Glory almost hit back immediately through Bertos but his shot was deflected into the side netting. Victory were unlucky not to extend their lead when Archie Thompson was ruled offside after being put through one-on-one with Vrteski.
But that disappointment was soon forgotten as on 71 minutes they were awarded a penalty for Webster's accidental handling of a Thompson cross, and Muscat made no mistake in doubling the margin from the spot. Allsopp went within inches of adding a third to the visitors tally after finding space on the right. A lack of quality delivery and some dogged defending frustrated Glory as they attempted to work their way back into the game. They had to wait until the final minute to bag a consolation goal through Tarka who rose highest to head in Bertos' corner.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO (Western Knights vs Armadale by Steve McGregor; Sorrento vs E.C.U. Joondalup by Brett Klucznik; Stirling Lions vs Floreat Athena by Don Evans; Cockburn City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
Inglewood United hammered in the final nail on a miserable season for Bayswater City by running out 4-0 winners at Kiev Sports Ground. The star of the afternoon for Inglewood was Louis Parkinson whose four goal haul sent Bayswater tumbling down into the First Division for the winter of 2007. Prior to kick off the equation was straight forward for Bayswater - in order to avoid the drop they had to win and keep their fingers crossed fellow strugglers Armadale and Wanneroo City would both to lose their games. But play had been under way only 5 minutes when the home side went ahead through Parkinson who found himself in the right place at the right time to steer the ball into the net after goalkeeper Alex Dunn parried Greg Sharland’s initial shot. Bayswater’s day went from bad to worse on 23 minutes when referee Michael Nugus pointed to the spot following Damir Kuduzovic’s push on Daniel Niederberger, and up stepped Parkinson to coolly convert from the spot. Kamikaze defending seven minutes later saw Neiderberger gifted possession near the edge of the 18-yard box, and although his shot was blocked the ball fell to the feet of Parkinson who side-footed it inside the far corner. Every Inglewood player involved was involved in an exquisite exchange of passes that ended with Jason Colli’s being flicked on by Sharland to Parkinson whose effort was pushed away by the ‘keeper. Chances were few and far between for Bayswater with the closest they came being just before half-time when Kuduzovic skied a good opportunity from 7 metres. The second half was largely uneventful as the two sides went through the motions knowing the result was beyond doubt. Inglewood’s fourth goal arrived on 75 minutes as Jovo Pavlovic conceded possession to Sharland and while his shot was saved by Dunn an absent defence permitted an unmarked Parkinson to gleefully tap in to the net.
Armadale escaped relegation despite going down 0-2 to Western Knights in the final game of the season at Alfred Skeet Oval. The Reds ended the season on level points with Bayswater but survived the drop by the skin of their teeth courtesy of a better goal difference. All the early running came from the Knights who peppered crosses into the area to have the home side under the pump. The Knights persistence was rewarded 8 minutes in when Darryl Platten's poor clearance was to the feet of Stuart Montgomery who in a flash had the ball in the net from 7-metres. The opening goal had a settling effect on both teams with Armadale having a greater share of play. Jason Goodwin and Scott Devine were able to make their presence felt in the centre of the park as James Isaia and Scott Paterson provided the ammunition from out wide. Paterson should have done better on 25 minutes when he rose unchallenged to nod Goodwin's cross narrowly wide. Next it was the turn of Kodi Madeley to spurn a golden opportunity by firing high from all of 5-metres after a neat cut-back by Kevin Bisset. The second half continued in much the same fashion with Armadale enjoying the bulk of possession but unable to convert that into goals. Appeals for a penalty following a foul on Goodwin was dismissed, Tommi Tomich made a terrific close-range save from Madely, and Bisset shot past the post within minutes of eachother. As the game came to a close the Knights picked up the pace and Nick Stone had to move sharply to keep out Montgomery's header, and shortly after Montgomery again stretched the goalkeeper with a curling free-kick that found the side netting. Sloppy defending in the 88th minute permitted Anthony Fearon to steel the ball from a badly exposed Stone and knock the Knights second goal into an empty net.
Perth S.C. brought their disappointing season to a close by thrashing Wanneroo City 4-0 at Dorrien Gardens. It proved to be a nervous afternoon for relegation threatened Wanneroo who were relieved when news filtered through of Bayswater City’s loss at Inglewood United. Wanneroo got off to a flying start with Morgan Dendle unleashing a vicious shot that was only narrowly wide of the target. It didn’t take long for Perth to counter through Jeff Bright whose neat one-two with Scott Bulloch opened up the defence and put him one-on-one with goalkeeper Kevin Miller who was quick to close down the opportunity. Matt Danskin’s effort from 10-metres was just off-target as the home side began to take hold of the game. The Perth faithful must have been wondering where the first goal would come from as Bulloch and David Onoforo each put chances high of the crossbar. The breakthrough arrived four minutes before half-time when Barry Wood curled the ball into the far corner after his initial effort was blocked by a defender. The second half was only a few minutes old when Bright increased the difference with a stunning strike from 25-metres that gave the young ‘keeper no chance. The game was getting away from Wanneroo whose were finding it increasingly difficult to match their opponents across the park as Peter Lord, Oliver Hilton and Danskin stamped their authority over proceedings. Wood shot straight at the ‘keeper in a one-on-one, then at a corner Onoforo headed into the crossbar. Danskin made it three-nil with a terrific finish from a tight angle after receiving possession from Lord and cutting past his man. Perth’s final goal of the afternoon came in the 64th minute when Wood beat Miller for a second time. The closing stages had Wanneroo doing all the defending and Onoforo was disappointed to blaze high from Danskin’s low ball into the area.
Sorrento celebrated their Premier League championship by defeating northern rival E.C.U. Joondalup 2-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. It was the perfect way to send off Simon Harland, Brad Hassell and Scott Miller who wore Gulls colours for the final time. Play see-sawed from one end to the other early on as neither sides was able to assert any control. An in-swinging corner by Glen Thomas was met by Danny Hill whose header crashed into the junction of crossbar and post. Hesitant defending allowed Garin Collins to advance out of midfield and unleash a fierce shot that Neil Young was at full stretch to tip away. By the quarter hour mark Joondalup had gained the upper hand through crisp passing and good use of the flanks. Only through Jared Love's intervention did Collins' shot go wide, Scott Bushby lifted over the bar and Tom Jones should have done much better than blaze high after being set up by Ian McMurray. So it was very much against the run of play when the home side went ahead on 31 minutes when Stewart failed to hold a Harnwell cross which spilled to Simon Harland who instinctively lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net from 7-metres. The rest of the half was played out pretty much without incident and neither 'keeper tested. Joondalup began the second half with renewed vigour and Collins' diagonal strike drifted past the top corner. But four minutes after the restart Brad Hassell ghosted in unmarked to head Thomas' cross in at the front post much to the delight of the big home crowd. From here on in it was all one-way traffic with Sorrento carving out chance after chance with Todd Harnwell, Daniel Cagorski and Thomas all going close to adding to the tally. In the 90th minute Miller was given a standing ovation by players and spectators alike as he left the playing arena for the last time.
Stirling Lions have come from behind to beat Floreat Athena 3-2 at Macedonia Park. The win was the perfect end to a sensational second half of the season for the Stirling club who deservedly ended the winter as runner-up to Sorrento. The derby atmosphere was evident from the start with the midfield tussle between Bajo Savic and Rob Miller was highlight thoughout the afternoon. Floreat created the first chance on goal when a cross from Paul Vatistas was headed just wide by Okwy Diamondstar on 15 minutes. Branimir Mikulic was tormenting the home defence and his 20th minute shot was blocked by goalkeeper Phil Straker who was helpless as Diamondstar slammed the loose ball into the net. Successive errors by Straker and Michael Pugliese, who both miscued attempts to clear, were pounced upon by Diamondstar who crossed for Mikulic to tap in the visitors second goal after 30 minutes. And only a brilliant reflex save by Straker to thwart Diamondstar prevented the margin from being greater at the interval. The first half may have belonged to Floreat but it would be Stirling who dominated the second period. Livewire midfielder Ludovic Boi combined with Jordan Rhodes down the right to send an inch-perfect ball to David Dugdale who slotted in from a few metres five minutes after the re-start. Mikulic spurned a golden opportunity to regain control for Floreat when, against the run of play, he was thwarted by the 'keeper in a one-on-one. There was a similar let off at the other end shortly after when a Dugdale shot was desperately cleared off the line by Adam Bachiller. The equaliser came in the 70th minute when Pugliese's long throw was flicked on Andy Brown and Boi headed into the net after his initial attempt came back off the crossbar. With 83 minutes left Boi played through to Dugdale who calmly slotted past Vas Vujacic and into the bottom corner to decide the game.
Swan I.C. ended their League season with a disappointing 1-3 loss to Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The home side settled the better and Corey Hugo was called into action early to keep out Dom De Felice's low shot. Swans thought they had the lead in the 5th minute when Tom Shepheard netted but referee Hugh Best disallowed his effort for a push on an opponent. Good work from Shepheard put McStea in the clear but before he could get a shot off Dean Wallace applied a superb tackle to eliminate the danger. In the 15th minute De Felice's cross was mis-judged by Paul Baczynski and Anthony Pereira punished him by stroking the ball past Hugo to open Cockburn's account. The teams were back on level terms on the half hour as David Foster headed past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop at a free-kick from Anthony McStea. Cockburn had the better of the time that remained and Michael Mirco found the net but had the effort disallowed for offside, while Shane Nunes headed into the side netting from a Paul Oliver cross. The second half began disastrously for Swan who fell a goal behind when Periera's cross was deflected into the net by Baczynski. And it only got worse for the visitors as Nunes' long throw was helped on by Kamasz to De Felice who rifled in from close-range just five minutes after the interval. Swan were lucky not to be further behind when they failed to deal with another long throw from Nunes but breathed a sign of relief as Mirco crashed his shot the wrong side of the post. Appeals for a Swan penalty were dismissed by the referee after Jason Godrey made contact with Foster. The visitors continued to chase and inside the final ten minutes David Perich and McStea went close to trimming the deficit. Cockburn, too, weren't without their chances and De Felice shot wide from 16-metres while Mirco was denied by Hugo.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO (Canning City vs Balcatta by Phil Unsworth)
The points were shared at Peelwood Parade where Mandurah City and Morley Windmills played out an entertaining 1-1 draw. The game opened with opportunities at both ends but neither side able to find a way past Mike Green and Dusan Martinovich. As the half progressed Morley gained the upper hand with good chances presenting for Ray Rose and Scott McIlroy to put the visitors ahead. Against the run of play and 25 minutes after kick-off Mandurah went ahead through Michael Bobridge who drilled the ball in from 15-metres after an attempted clearance ricocheted off a defender. The second half was more balanced with John Transfield and Andy Brown bringing Mandurah more into the game with the end result being Martinovic was the far busier goalkeeper. But Morley refused to give up hope and with three minutes left on the clock equalised when Rose pushed the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble after a corner went to feet. This sparked wave after wave of attack from both teams, but neither defence was in any mood to concede for a second time as the final game of the season petered out in a draw.
Canning City finished the season in fine style by beating Balcatta 3-1 at Willetton Sports Club. The early running may have come from the home team but it was Balcatta who went ahead on 12 minutes when Rob Giorgi’s short pass found John Nicolaou who cut across the edge of 18-yard box and drove a low right foot shot past goalkeeper Alan Matteucci. The game then took a turn for the worst for the visitors as Christian Debarro, Vic Bogos and Steve Corica were all forced from the field in quick succession due to injury. Not surprisingly, this had an unsettling effect on Balcatta and allowed Canning to re-impose themselves on the game. A fiercely struck free-kick from Mick Van Dongen was tipped over by ‘keeper Ben De Guara. Then, with half-time looming, Julio Barrendilla sped past the defence and sent a powerful drive across goal which Mark Sim threw himself at to head the teams level. Fifteen minutes into the second half Ryan Allomes drove the ball towards Mick Van Dongen whose first time shot from 20-metres skidded past the ‘keeper to put Canning ahead. The points were made safe when Paul Van Dongen’s well weighted through ball allowed Barrendilla to out pace the defence and shoot past De Guara.
South West Phoenix closed out a miserable season by defeating Gosnells City 3-1 in Bunbury. The game itself was a typical end of season meeting between two sides with absolutely nothing to play for other than bragging rights. It opened scrappily with the majority of play taking place in the middle of the park and neither team offering much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. As the half came to a close Phoenix began to get on top and David Murphy sent Steve Suttie through to round the goalkeeper and slot into the net from a tight angle. Gosnells came out of the blocks fast for the new period and within minutes equalised through Brian Cairney who lifted the ball over 'keeper Marc Cavanagh after surging out of midfield. The following fifteen minutes was all Gosnells but the pendulmn slowly swung back in Phoenix' favour. The hosts regained the lead Pat Quinn's cross was courageously headed in by veteran Gary Mayers. And maximum points were secured Quinn bagged his first goal of the campaign. Only the late dismissal of Mark Edwards soured what had been an otherwise good spirited match.
The top of the table showdown between Ashfield and Fremantle Spirit ended in a scoreless draw. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Dianella White Eagles drew 4-4 with Forrestfield United at Dianella Reserve. M.Gugoroski bagged a hat-trick with Rydeen Botha also found the net for the home team, while teenager Jordan Hart scored three on debut for Forrestfield whose remaining goal came from John Hunter. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Bayswater City have been relegated to the second tier after failing to pull a rabbit out of the hat at Inglewood United on the final day for the Premier League season. Louis Parkinson was the hero of the hour for Inglewood by scoring all the goals in their 4-0 win. Only by having a superior goal difference did Armadale escape the drop, the Reds going down 0-2 at Western Knights whose goals came via Stuart Montgomery and Anthony Fearon. Wanneroo City will also remain in the top flight for next season despite a 0-4 dubbing at Perth S.C. where Barry Wood (2), Matt Danskin and Jeff Bright found the net.
A big crowd was on hand to see Sorrento take possession of the Premier League trophy following a 2-0 home defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup. Simon Harland and Brad Hassell were the scorers in what was Scott Miller's final ever game of competitive football. Stirling Lions snuck into second place by coming from behind to beat Floreat Athena 3-2. David Dugdale scored twice to secure the Golden Boot, while teenager Ludovic Boi was also on the scoresheet. Cockburn City bounced Swan I.C. through goals from Anthony Periera (2) and Dom De Felice.
Honours were even in the top of the table First Division clash between Ashfield and Fremantle Spirit which ended scoreless. Mandurah City surrendered the lead to draw 1-1 with Morley Windmills. The days surprise result came from Canning City who toppled Balcatta 3-1. There was no shortage of goals at Dianella Reserve where Dianella White Eagles and Forrestfield United each netted four times. South West Phoenix ended am otherwise disappointing campaign on a high by downing Gosnells City 3-1 in Bunbury.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
This week's footballwa.net Match of the Week is the all important relegation clash at the Kiev Sports Ground between Inglewood United and Bayswater City. It's one of three games this weekend which will determined who spends next season in the First Division, and Bayswater are all too well aware that anything less than victory will see that spot go to them. Similarly, Inglewood will be wanting to end what has been a season to forgot for them on a high and have their sights set on claiming all three points.
Relegation threatened Armadale journey to Nash Field where they’ll encounter a youthful Western Knights line-up. Wanneroo City are also by no means safe and will need to collect points from their visit to Perth S.C. There’s another crackerjack derby at Percy Doyle Reserve where Premier League champion Sorrento come face to face with an E.C.U. Joondalup that is unbeaten in their past six starts. Second place is up for grabs at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions take on Floreat Athena. Dependant upon other results, Cockburn City may sneak into second spot should they take the points over Swan I.C.
First Division season ends on a high note with a meeting of the top two teams, Ashfield and Fremantle Spirit, at Ashfield Reserve. Mandurah City are expected to account for a Morley Windmills side whose last win was over a month ago. Confidence will be sky high in the Canning City camp for their home meeting with Balcatta. Dianella White Eagles’ home form has left a lot to be desired this year and on Saturday it’s Forrestfield United who ventured to Dianella Reserve. South West Phoenix bring their season to a close with a home fixture against Gosnells City. Rockingham City have the bye.
CHAMPIONSHIP ‘THE SWEETEST’ FOR HARNWELL
Sorrento bring their championship winning season to a close tomorrow by hosting the northern suburbs derby with E.C.U. Joondalup. The final whistle will no doubt trigger scenes of wild celebration for the Gulls who’ve sat atop the Premier League table since April’s opening round to the season. In claiming the regular season title Sorrento saw off challenges from Floreat Athena and Cockburn City and few would deny them if the partying continues well into Sunday morning.
Sorrento have accumulated quite a few pieces of silverware over the past few years and for long serving attacker Todd Harnwell this season’s championship by far the most memorable. “Winning this trophy is better than any other I have won at Sorrento,” said Harnwell, who has called Percy Doyle Reserve home for over a decade. “We were bitterly disappointed last year when we went so close to winning the league, so to bounce back in the manner we have just makes success taste that much sweeter.”
Harnwell says Sorrento’s fourteen game unbeaten start to the season laid the foundations for the side to go all the way. “It was crucial that we got off to a good start,” he said. “Winning is a habit and if you get the confidence from those wins you realise you are capable of beating anyone. In saying that, Sorrento has always had a great team morale and the boys stick together no matter what, which I’m sure helped us when we occasionally dropped points and people started to question whether or not we would stumble.”
It was early in the season when Harnwell got the feeling Sorrento version 2006 had that added something that previous squads lacked. “It was probably about five games into our run, when we were scoring plenty and defending very well, that I thought ‘this is going to be our season’,” he said. “I think it just finally came together for the boys. We have been there or thereabouts for many years and this season everything clicked. The experience of Scotty Miller and Brad Hassell was invaluable but we also had a good young squad who all did a brilliant job whenever they were called in.”
This season Sorrento have been lead from the front by the free-scoring trio of Simon Harland, Jared Love and Harnwell who, between them, account for over half the sides goals. “To win games you have to score goals and fortunately for us this year the 4-3-3 formation gave Simon, Jared and myself plenty of chances to score from,” explained Harnwell, who has so far personally contributed 12 goals. “For me, Simon is the best all round striker in the League and with Jared and myself working off him goals generally came pretty easily.”
Harnwell scoffs at the suggestion Sorrento were not the best team in the league this season, rather their success was down to them being the most consistent. “Sorrento are renowned for being overlooked and underrated,” he said. “The players generally don’t receive the recognition they deserve for their ability or achievements. To many we’re still viewed as ‘long ball’ merchants but this season we’ve proven that to be false by beating the supposed ‘best’ teams in the league - Perth, Floreat and Stirling. We may not have a team of superstar players at Sorrento but we certainly are deserving of the ‘best in the league’ title.”
THE FINAL WORD
The final ninety minutes of season 2006 will determined the fate of Armadale, Bayswater City and Wanneroo City. The trio of clubs are separated by just a single point at the foot of the Premier League table heading into final round of fixtures. For two of those clubs there'll be cause for celebration come 4.45pm, but for the third the reality that they'll be in the First Division next year will just be sinking in.
Making the trip to Dorrien Gardens are Wanneroo who face a Perth S.C. side that has run hot and cold this year. "I'll be saying to the boys before the game that we can't rely on other results," said coach Jamie Goodman. "They have to go out there and battle like they have done for the last four or five weeks. It's as simple as we need to win if we want to stay in the Premier League."
Armadale have the a difficult job of taking on Western Knights at Nash Field. "This is a huge game for our club," said coach Peter Murphy. "I'm going to ask my players how much they want to stay in the Premier League, and if they want to stay in the Premier League they will get the result. There are a lot of factors involved on Saturday but I believe the side is capable of getting the result required."
Boris Atamasovski will be taking Bayswater down the road to meet Inglewood United. "Our season is on the line, that all I've got to say to the boys," he commented. "They will have to give 100% for ninety minutes and we will get the rewards. The boys have played really well for the past four weeks, only the Lions game was a poor performance. I believe they will come ready play and we'll see what happens."
ON THIS DAY … 1990
The name John Hunter was written into West Australian history on the evening of 21st September, 1990, when he received the local game’s highest individual award, the Gold Medal. Hunter received a standing ovation as he collected the award as the state’s best and fairest player from a full house at the Langley Plaza Hotel. The big Floreat Athena forward polled 19 votes to win by four over Kingsway Olympic defender Graham Normanton. In third place with 14 votes was talented Floreat utility Michael Roki.
It capped a remarkable year for Hunter who joined Floreat from Stirling Macedonia in 1988. He scored a staggering 31 goals in just 17 appearances and also picked up the Golden Boot award as the seasons’ leading scorer. “This is special,” Hunter said after collecting the medal from John Constantine, the then chairman of the Australia Soccer Federation. “I though I had a chance of winning in 1987 when I was also the leading scorer, but I ended up finishing third behind Francis Cole. But it’s been worth the wait.”
Others who figured prominently in counting were Stirling striker Frank Bate, winner of the award in 1987, and North Perth Croatia sweeper Ricky Davis who shared 13 votes to finish joint fourth. Jeff Curran (Floreat), winner of the previous two Gold Medals, was next on 11 votes alongside Chris Marustik (Spearwood Dalmatinac). Four players were grouped together with 10 votes, namely Ian Cornthwaite (Kelmscott Roos), Alan Hercher, Ross McGinn (Stirling) and Peter Murphy (Perth Italia).
STARS RETURN FOR GLORY
Perth Glory have received a massive boost ahead of Sunday's home game against Melbourne Victory with star duo Bobby Despotovski and Stan Lazaridis given the green light to play. Despotovski has not played a competitive match since July and recently resumed training following a procedure on a persistent back complaint. Lazaridis missed the Glory's loss to Adelaide United last weekend after jarring his knee against Sydney the week before.
Coach Ron Smith said he was yet to decide whether to start Despotovski on the pitch, but revealed the 35-year old would not play a full match. "I don't want to go crazy and push him straight back into a full 90 minutes, I don't think that will be in his interest or ours," Smith commented. "There's a big difference in coming in when you haven't played a game for a while, but I would like to see him take part in the game this weekend for sure."
The returning stars face a baptism of fire against a Victory outfit brimming with confidence after successive wins. "It's going to be a tough game. Melbourne are on top of the league, undefeated and they're well organised," Smith said. "You can see by their performances that they've worked at their game and their shape and tried to get the best out of their players. They've also got some dangerous forwards so we've got to be on our toes on the weekend."
GOLD MEDAL CEREMONY APPROACHES
Pencil Friday 20th October into your diary as that’s the evening Football West will honour the State’s best players and teams. The Gold Medal night celebrates the achievements of our flagship competition, the State League, in which over three hundred players participate from as far south as Bunbury to Joondalup in the north. Taking top ranking is the prestigious Gold Medal awarded to the Premier League’s top player as determined by match officials. Also up for grabs are the Gold Whistle Award, which goes to the best referee, and divisional Best and Fairest Awards will all be presented at football’s night of nights. There’s already been much discussion as to who the frontrunners are in this year’s awards which will be attended by over 500 people at the Burswood International Resort Casino.
COYNE ON TRACK TO BEAT INJURY
Jamie Coyne has revealed he had up to four injections a match as he battled through the pain of a groin injury in the A-League last season. But the Perth Glory defender Coyne says he’s approaching full fitness after a ten-month battle to overcome the injury. “I was running around at about 70% and every time I kicked the ball I was getting a sharp pain in my groin and stomach,” Coyne said. “I was happy to put up with it for a while and I suppose realistically I shouldn’t have carried on playing because I made the injury a lot worse. I was playing on pain-killing injections - three or four a game. Sometimes I’d have two before the game and two at half-time.”
Coyne went under the surgeon’s knife in March after the problem was finally diagnosed as osteitis pubis and has been working himself back into form. “I’ve been back training for four weeks so I’m nowhere near full fitness and that’s probably going to take another two or three games before I get close,” he explained. “But it’s good being able to go out and concentrate on the game. When you’re running around with an injury, that’s what’s on your mind. So far I haven’t been having any pain.” Coyne, though, has felt two very different emotions in recent weeks after scoring the equaliser in a draw with Sydney F.C. before putting the ball past his own goalkeeper for Adelaide United’s final goal in a 3-0 loss on the weekend.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS TRIUMPH IN MALAYSIA
Australia has won the four-nation South-east Asian youth tournament by completing a clean sweep of its three games in Kuantan, Malaysia. The Young Socceroos didn't conceded a goal to Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia in winning the ASEAN Under-20 Football Federation Championship. The tournament served as preparation for the Asian Football Confederation Under-20 Championship which will take place in India during October and November. Goalkeeper Tando Velaphi, who hails from Perth, made one appearance during the tournament, that being against Vietnam.
The Young Socceroos opened their campaign with a solid 3-0 win over Thailand. A goal after just 35 seconds from Bruce Djite gave Australia a perfect start to the game played in high humidity. Jimmy Downey doubled the margin with eleven minutes remaining with Nathan Burns putting the icing on the cake close to the end by converting a penalty at the second attempt after Troy Hearfield had been fouled in the penalty area.
A comprehensive 4-0 defeat of Vietnam put Australia in th ebox seat to take out the tournament. The Young Socceroos led at half-time courtesy of Evan Berger's stunning 25-metre strike in the 10th minute, though the Vietnamese should have equalized when awarded a penlaty which was struck against the post. Hearfield and Burns netted early in the second half with Tarek Elrich completing the scoring on 76 minutes. Velaphi played a full game between the posts.
Australia chalked up a third successive victory by downing Malaysia 1-0 in driving rain overnight. The first half was dominated by the Young Socceroos who deservedly went ahead on 29 minutes when Tarek Elrich was played in behind the defence down the left and his inch perfect cross was headed in by Dario Vidosic. It was a different Malaysia that came out in the second half and continually put the Australian defence under pressure. But the Young Socceroos held firm to take out the game, and the five-day tournament.
GLORY CRASH IN ADELAIDE
Adelaide United out-played and out-classed Perth Glory 3-0 in this afternoon's A-league encounter at Hindmarsh Stadium. First half strikes from Fernando and Travis Dodd put the hosts in the box seat before an unlucky own goal by Jamie Coyne sealed Glory's fate shortly after the break. After a promising start to the game Ron Smith said Glory 'lost their way' after Adelaide's went ahead. "Adelaide played well, we had a few structural changes to try and combat them tonight and it didn't quite work in the first half," said the Glory coach. "The second half performance, I was a lot happier with, in terms of our structure. And usually, when you are losing, the game tends to become a bit end to end which it did."
Adelaide, cheered on by a passionate 11,474 strong crowd, looked dangerous from the outset with Dodd and Greg Owens threatening on the counter. Jamie Harnwell could have silenced the home town fans in the 13th minute but his powerful header in was denied by the woodwork. A minute later Adelaide had the lead when Greg Owens delivered a deep cross which Jason Spagnuolo headed back to Fernando who struck the ball past a diving Aleks Vrteski. Glory almost drew level soon after but Simon Colosimo's long range effort was kept out by Robert Bajic. Adelaide stepped up the pressure and on 33 minutes Dodd extended his sides lead with a powerful drive.
The game was put beyond Glory's reach four minutes into the second half when Fernando's shot cannoned off defender Coyne and sailed into the net past a stranded Vrteski. The young 'keeper kept his composure and single handedly prevented the margin from blowing out by thwarting Aaron Goulding and Owens with two remarkable saves as the game became an end to end battle. Glory tried valiantly in their search to reduce the deficit but clear cut chances were few and far between against a well disciplined backline led by seasoned campaigner Angelo Costanzo.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Floreat Athens vs Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Armadale vs Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Bayswater City vs Western Knights courtesy Bayswater City; Swan I.C. vs Inglewood United by Peter Simcox)
Sorrento confirmed themselves as Premier League champion for 2006 after overcoming nearest rival Floreat Athena 2-1 at Litis Stadium. Both sides started tentatively with the first threat on goal coming after 11 minutes when Adam Bachiller's run into attack was brought to an end by Neil Young's smothering save. It took 29 minutes for Sorrento to create their first decent opportunity which saw Todd Harnwell's volley tipped wide by Vas Vujacic. The resulting corner was only partially cleared and Vujacic battered away Glen Thomas' strike from the edge of the 18-yard box. A poor clearance by the Floreat goalkeeper presented Thomas with a great chance to break the deadlock but instead he placed wide of the post. Thomas was enjoying running at the home defence and in the 42nd minute was bundled over inside the box for a penalty that Jared Love stroked confidently past Vujacic to open Sorrento's account. However, there was still plenty of life in the game and Young kept the visitors ahead when he produced a sharp response to deny Paul Vatistas just before the break. An under-hit back pass fifteen minutes into the second half put the pressure on Young whose attempted clearance smacked into the legs of Stefan Smiljanic and ricocheted past the 'keeper and into the net to bring the sides level. The final half hour was played at a frantic pace as both teams went searching for further goals. Harnwell and Thomas were both thwarted by the reflexes of Vujacic, while at the other end Boima Karpeh sent a free-kick past the defensive wall but over the crossbar. It was in stoppage time that the game was decided by Simon Harland who latched onto a long ball which he clipped over the oncoming 'keeper and secure Sorrento their second title win in five years.
Stirling Lions climbed into second position after despatching relegation threatened Armadale 4-0 in blustery conditions at Alfred Skeet Reserve. The visitors received an early scare when a seemingly innocent long throw from Darren Kingston was headed on to the crossbar by Jason Goodwin. This kicked Stirling into gear and through the central pairing of Rob Miller and Keith Brown they took charge of the game. The opening goal arrived after 6 minutes via a brilliant exchange involving Keith Brown, Andy Brown and Miller who laid the ball off for David Dugdale to tap into the net. Goodwin and Scott Devine battled hard to get Armadale back in the game but there was little they could to do stem the flow as good openings came the way of Jordan Rhodes, Andy Brown and Rob Miller. Frustration got the better of Darren Kingston in the 42nd minute when referee Jeremy Oliphant flashed him a red card following a crude challenge on Ludovic Boi. Stirling got a deserved second goal just before the break when Keith Brown released Rhodes who unselfishly nipped the ball back for Andy Brown to slot in. Armadale bravely lifted themselves back into the game after the break and a scramble inside the area resulting from a corner had Kevin Bissett's effort come back off the crossbar. Youngsters Ben Howe and Ryan Pearson were proving a handful for the visiting defence and a shot from the later was cleared off the line by Michael Pugliese. In throwing caution to the wind Armadale left themselves exposed at the back and in the 71st minute Rhodes' inch perfect through ball was run on to by Dugdale whose low drive from 16-metres took the difference to three goals. Rhodes completed the scoring two minutes later with a cracking free-kick from just outside the area which went in off the far post.
A sensational second half performance by Bayswater City earned them maximum points by 4-3 at the expense of Western Knights at Frank Drago Reserve. The win keeps alive Bayswater’s hopes of avoiding relegation going into the final round of the 2006 season. Bayswater opened the scoring on 18 minutes through a swift counter attack lead by Jared Smith whose cross from the left was expertly touched in at the near post by Bobby Klenkoski. And it would have been two-nil just minutes later had Tommi Tomich not produced a stunning reflex save from Klenkoski at point blank range. This seemed to kick the Knights into gear and for the remainder of the half they would be the dominant team. Stuart Montgomery headed narrowly wide from an Aaron Badahori cross, while David Price thundered the ball into the underside of the crossbar from 20-metres. Their persistence paid off nine minutes from half-time when Stuart Mongomery sent Alex Dunn the wrong from the penalty spot after Paul Natale impeded Bahahori’s run into the area. Daniel Micevski’s quickly taken free-kick early in the second half was pushed wide by Tomich, and from the corner that resulted Wes Rider headed Bayswater back into the lead. The home supporters were celebrating again just five minutes later after Smith came out on top of a one-on-one with Tomich after receiving a pass from Klenkoski. The momentum was well and truly with Bayswater and Ryder sent in a delightful cross which Sal Marrapodi put away at close-range after 62nd minutes. But the Knights aren’t a side you should take lightly and Montgomery reduced the deficit after being set-up by Jon Higgins Luka Jukic then unleashed a long-range bomb which gave Dunn no chance as it soared into the top corner and set up a tense final twelve minutes. With their season now on the line, Bayswater tightened up at the back and held on to claim three vital points.
Wanneroo City picked up a valuable point in their attempt to scramble clear of the drop zone by drawing 1-1 with Cockburn City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. With their place in next seasons top flight at stake, Wanneroo came out of the blocks firing and could have had an early penalty, however, referee Stephen Gregory dismissed the calls after Jake Harman went down inside the area. Unperturbed, the home side continued to apply the pressure and Ben Yates shaved the crossbar with a fine strike from distance. Wanneroo’s persistence paid off in the 15thminute when David Houston’s shot from 20-metres out took a deflection off Paul Oliver and flashed past goalkeeper Alan Dunlop before he had time to react. This shook Cockburn out of their slumber and as the half progressed Kevin Miller was increasing called upon between the posts for Wanneroo. Josh Kamasz was twice sent through one-on-one but on both occasions Miller came out on top, while Michael Mirco and Jason Dos Santos were also left frustrated by the reflexes of the ‘keeper. Late in the half Harman could have increased the hosts advantage when he had only Dunlop to beat but the striker’s deft lob unfortunately cleared the crossbar. Cockburn may have picked up the pace in the second half but it was Wanneroo who created the better scoring opportunities. Houston got himself in a good position to head goalward only for Daniel Palermo to clear from on the line, and a goalbound strike from Harman was desperately blocked by Shane Nunes Cockburn again worked their way back into the game on with minutes minutes to go equalised when Michael Mirco flicked into the net from a corner played to the near post. Wanneroo almost snatched the game in the closing moments as Jason Godfrey blocked a shot from Harman close to the line and Dimi Arslanoski sent the rebound just over the bar.
E.C.U. Joondalup extended their unbeaten run to six games by coming from behind to topple Perth S.C. 3-2 in an entertaining match at the Edith Cowan University campus in Joondalup. Both sides stepped on to the park coming off good wins last weekend and a fine afternoon attracted a large crowd for Joondalup's final home game of 2006. Perth made the better start with Scott Bulloch and Matt Danskin seeing a great deal of the ball in taking their side into attack down the flanks. A suspect foul by Jamie Kuzmanovich on Bulloch lead to a Perth free-kick which Danskin swung into the danger zone and Michael Icanovski rose to powerfully head past goalkeeper Peter Stewart. This sparked a near immediate response from the hosts who equalised as Mark Lee's cross was to the feet of Ian McMurray who expertly clipped his shot over Gianni Papalia. The balance of power then swung back in favour of Perth who produced a series of raids on goal. They were rewarded when Danskin went past Martin Ashworth to deliver a deep cross to Bulloch whose shot was parried by Peter Stewart and in a flash Barry Wood whipped it into the net from 7-metres. Parity was restored when Scott Blackmore transferred possession to Tom Jones who brilliantly tamed the ball with his chest before volleying crisply into the top corner from 15-metres. There was still time for one more drama before the interval with a seemingly legitimate goal by Wood disallowed for offside. The second half saw chances come and go at both ends as Joondalup and Perth wrestled for control. The deciding goal came via a curling free-kick from Mark Lee that came back off the crossbar and Jamie Gibb instinctively crashed the ball past Papalia amid claims for offside.
Swan I.C. blew a two-goal lead to share the points at 2-2 with Inglewood United in their final home game for 2006. Played in blustery conditions, the early exchanges were dominated by Inglewood for whom Jason Colli was in the thick of the action. A Colli cross from the right found Greg Sharland whose deflected shot tested the reflexes of Cory Hugo, and not long after a booming clearance was latched on to by Colli who was also denied by the Swan goalkeeper. Slow to settle, Swan’s first attempt came via Anthony McStea’s free-kick which Oliver Taseski did well to keep out. The home fans were celebrating six minutes from half-time when Rory Mouttet’s cross from the right was nodded back across goal by David Perich for David Foster to head into the net. An even start to the second half saw newly introduced Louis Parkinson shoot straight at the ‘keeper, while at the other end Danny Kovacevic put his body on the line to block Damien Catalano’s effort. Swan extended their advantage on 54 minutes as Scott Campbell delivered the ball into the area were Tom Shepheard unselfishly tapped it back for Catalano to fire in at close-range. And the margin could have been three goals had Shepheard or Campbell been able to capitalise when separate opportunities presented. Inglewood needed a goal to re-ignite their chances and in the 65th minute a long clearance by Taseski caught the home defence napping as Parkinson finished low past Hugo. Not long after James Sammut sent Parkinson clear but on this occasion he fired wide of the target. However, Parkinson made amends in the 77th minute by firing past Hugo to bring the teams level after being played down the right by Colli. There were late chances for both teams to snatch victory but inaccurate finishing and desperate defending meant it would be one point apiece.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Fremantle Spirit v Morley Windmills courtesy Morley Windmills; South West Phoenix vs Ashfield courtesy Ashfield; Canning City vs Dianella White Eagles by Phil Unsworth)
Morley Windmills threw away a three goal lead to share the points at 3-3 with First Division champion Fremantle Spirit. The ball had been in motion just 8 minutes when Ray Rose rounded a couple of defenders and rifled into the roof of the net from 6-metres. Eleven minutes later the margin became two goals as Paul Dundo rose highest to powerfully head in from a corner. Fremantle responded with a series of attacks and Grant Learmont twice cleared off the line to prevent David Rodgers from netting. Callum Roberts jinxed his way past three opponents but was let down by a poor finish with only the 'keeper to beat early in the second half. Scott McIlroy threaded in Morley's third of the afternoon from a narrow angle on 57th minutes to put them in the box seat. However, Fremantle had plenty left in the tank and on 74 minute Callum Roberts converted from close-range after Martinovich spilled a cross. The gap was back to a single goal ten minutes later when Roberto Colalillo waltzed past his marker and beat the 'keeper. Fremantle's comeback was made complete four minutes into stoppage time as Allan Pottier's cross to the far post was half-volleyed in by Tom Straker.
Ashfield's 3-1 away win over South West Phoenix allowed them to close the gap on Fremantle to seven points. All the early running was made by the visitors who should have gone ahead but neither Mohammad Komaderic nor Andy O'Neill could capitalise when the opportunity arose. Phoenix very nearly made the visitors pay when Pat Quinn's shot was parried by Francis Allen but Steve Suttie disappointingly sent the follow-up wide. Ashfield piled on the pressure and finally opened their account when Mark Purcell's thunderbolt from 25-metres was beyond the reach of Mark Cavanagh. The same pattern continued into the second half with Komaderic sliding the ball under the 'keepers body only for it to roll narrowly wide, and an explosive strike by Novakovic grazed the top of the crossbar. Ashfield's nerves were settled by O'Neill whose powerful drive found the net by going under a diving Cavanagh. Bobby Golub made his presence felt after coming off the bench by stealing possession from an opponent and slotting in Ashfield's third. The final act of the day had Phoenix gain a penalty for a seemingly innocuous challenge on Greg Hayes who stepped up to put away his first goal in close to two years.
Honours were shared at Walter Padbury Reserve where Gosnells City and Mandurah City played out a 0-0 draw. It was clear from the outset that Gosnells weren't intimidated by their opponents lofty placing on the First Division table and accordingly launched a series of raids which resulted in openings for Brian Cairney and Andy Daffin but neither was able to capitalise. Mandurah were taken by surprise by their hosts attacking approach and spent the better part of the half on the back foot with Damien Condo and goalkeeper Mike Green working overtime in their defensive third. The onslaught continued into the second half with Gosnells doing all the running and peppering their opponents' goal. But despite carving out the better of opportunities the hosts could find no way through as a last ditch tackle thwarted Ian Maguire, Alex Grindley's goalbound header was cleared off the line and Cairney placed narrowly wide following a corner. By contrast, Mandurah lacked spark and only sporadically ventured forward where they were met by a well drilled back four. When the final whistle sounded neither team had managed to post a score and the points were distributed accordingly.
Canning City trounced Dianella White Eagles 6-2 in windy conditions at Willetton Sports Club. Much of the opening half hour was played in the middle third of the park with few scoring opportunities created by either team. The all important breakthrough arrived in the 28th minute when Mick Van Dongen delivered a corner to the far post where Paul Van Dongen’s close-range gave Ramadan Lebib no time to react. Four minutes later an unmarked Dejan Djukanovic restored parity by drilling past Alan Matteucci at the far post. Dianella briefly had the lead after Miladin Gligoroski headed into the net after Nik Culum's shot came back off the crossbar. Simon Versaico levelled the scores with a lofted shot from 40-metres that gave goalkeeper George Ramadan no chance. Three minutes later Versaico turned provider when his cross was nodded in by Julio Barrendilla. The day went from bad to worse for Dianella who were reduced to ten men after the dismissal of Jimmy Christopoulous. Canning went on a scoring spree in the remaining minutes as Daniel Trevisiol and Mark Sim added to the tally before Ross Posthuma's wind assisted effort from 50-metres sailed over Lebib and dropped into the net.
Rockingham City bade farewell to Dowling Street Reserve by going down 3-4 to Forrestfield United in their final game of 2006. The quicker to settle were Forrestfield who looked most dangerous down the left where Lucas Whitehouse operated with menace. There was a degree of luck in the visitors first goal which came about through a Justin Mansfield cross that deceived goalkeeper Craig Olenjik and floated into the far corner. Rockingham then picked up the pace and a surging run by Bryan Hastie saw him cross from Luka Ivanovic to head in at close-range. Wasteful finishing would come back to bite the hosts as Whitehouse restored Forrestfield's lead after shrugging off Luke Rennie to net from close-range. The gap was increased on 63 minutes when Jon Greenwood converted from the penalty spot after a handball against Jason Peacock. Four minutes later Trent Wood embarked on a mazy solo run that came to an end with the ball nestling in the back of the net and Forrestfield holding a three goal advantage. Rockingham clawed their wayback into the game with goals from Steve Cramphorn and Glen Smith but time was against them and Forrestfield took out the points.
LAZARIDIS AND DESPOTOVSKI STAY HOME
Stan Lazaridis and Bobby Despotovski will miss this afternoon’s A-League encounter with Adelaide United through injury. Perth Glory occupy fourth spot on the table after three games and the absence of the star pair of a blow for a team aiming to continue their promising start to the new season. Lazaridis picked up a knee injury in last Sunday’s draw with Sydney F.C. and has not trained this week, while Despotovski has been given another week in which to recover from a back complaint.
Lazaridis was keen to play in the city where his national league career started at West Adelaide in the early 1990’s, but will now concentrate on the up-coming home clash with Melbourne Victory. “I would’ve loved to play against Adelaide because I’ve been looking forward to this game for such a long time,” said the long-time Socceroo. “But we did it as a precaution so I’m bang on for next week. And I respect the decision.”
Coach Ron Smith said he had been considering using Lazaridis for a brief spell off the bench at Hindmarsh Stadium before a decision was made to leave him in Perth. “He hasn’t trained all week and when you look at the pros and cons of then spending three days away and the risk of the soft tissue injury becoming a bit worse with the flying, it was better that we didn’t take him,” said Smith, whose policy is not to use players who have not been in full training.
“He looks a hell of a lot better than he was a few weeks back and he’s doing a running program, so it’s promising, it’s looking good,” explained Smith. “But this weekend is a bit premature.” Despotovski says get feels ready to play a role against Adelaide but understood his coach’s cautiousness. “I’m ready to go but if I’m not in the plans then so be it,” commented the striker, who spent four weeks on the injured list after an epidural to alleviate back pain. “I need to have that rest and I feel good now.”
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento have been crowned Premier League champion for the second time in five years. The Gulls secured top honours by defeating Floreat Athena 2-1 through goals by Jared Love and Simon Harland. Stirling Lions jumped into second place after a 4-0 thrashing of Armadale who ended the game with ten men. David Dugdale bagged two, taking his season tally to seventeen goals, on a day which Andy Brown and Jordan Rhodes also found the net. Cockburn City moved up one to fourth after being held 1-1 away at Wanneroo City.
Bayswater City's late bid to avoid relegation saw them down a young Western Knights outfit 4-3. Who ends the season in last place will now be determined in the final ninety minutes of the season with Bayswater, Armadale and Wanneroo all in contention. E.C.U. Joondalup produced the goods to defeat Perth S.C. 3-2 on home soil. Honours were even between Swan I.C. and Inglewood United at 2-2. David Foster and Damien Catalano were on target for the home side with Louis Parkinson netting a double for Inglewood.
Fremantle Spirit, who are already assured a spot in next year's top flight, came from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Morley Windmills. Ashfield returned home from their trip to South West Phoenix with all three points courtesy of a 3-1 scoreline. Mandurah City were held to a scoreless draw at Gosnells City. Canning City thumped Dianella White Eagles 6-2 in a high scoring, if one-sided, encounter. Forrestfield United won their first game in a month by out-scoring Rockingham City 4-3.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The footballwa.net Match of the Week is the top of the table showdown between Sorrento and Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Sorrento head into the game as the Premier League's highest scoring side and requiring just a single point to secure the championship. However, standing in their way is a Floreat side eager to spoil the party and keep alive their own faint claiming top honours. The sides have already met on three occasions this year with the ledger firmly in favour of Floreat who've won twice with the third match ending level. So the question on everyone's lips is 'Will the title race be decided on the final day of the season?'
There's equally as much interest at the other end of the table where three teams are fighting for their top flight survival. The pressure is really on Bayswater City who must gain at least a point from their home meeting with Western Knights in order to remain an outside chance of avoiding the drop. Armadale have a difficult home date with an in-form Stirling Lions, while Wanneroo City's third game in seven days is at home to Cockburn City. Elsewhere, Swan I.C. welcomes Inglewood United to the Swan Valley, and Perth S.C. head north to play E.C.U. Joondalup.
The final weeks of the First Division season will be played out with promotion already decided and relegation no longer an issue. Champion Fremantle Spirit has home ground advantage against Morley Windmills. There's a derby of sorts in Bunbury as cellar dweller South West Phoenix take on second placed Ashfield. Boosted by a good win last weekend, Gosnells City will be brimming with confidence when Mandurah City visits Walter Padbury Reserve. Canning City and Dianella White Eagles meet at Willetton Sports Club, while Rockingham City takes on Forrestfield United at Dowling Street Reserve. Balcatta have the bye.
NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR VODAFONE SHIELD
The cream of Western Australia's football talent will pit skills against teams from around the nation in the 2006 Vodafone Shield. Nominations open today for the West Australian leg of the five-a-side tournament which will be contested on Saturday 21st October at Dorrien Gardens. The winner of the WA series will qualify for the nation final, with the winner of that event taking part in the international Vodafone Cup in Athens next May.
"A national five-a-side tournament is a great concept," said Michael Di Fulvio whose team, Johnny Casino and the Gamblers, represented WA at the national finals last year. "We expected to be knocked out in the first couple of rounds in Perth, so to make the finals was a huge bonus. Playing in Sydney against teams from across Australia, all with different footballing backgrounds, was an experience I'll never forget."
Entry in the Vodafone Shield is open to all amateur players, male and female, aged eighteen and over by logging on to www.5-a-side.com.au. The WA winner will be invited to the Australian grand final in Sydney on Saturday 25th November. The national winner will head to Athens in May 2007 when they'll take part in the Vodafone Cup, a global five-a-side tournament featuring teams from eight countries, where tickets to the UEFA Champions League final are part of the prize.
DUGDALE IN GOAL-DEN FORM
The goalscoring touch of David Dugdale has been a major factor in Stirling Lions climb up the Premier League table over the past few months. Since his mid-season arrival Dugdale has found the back of the net with remarkable regularity for Stirling to emerge as the red-hot favourite for this years' Golden Boot award. The lively 23-year old may have played only ten games for Stirling but his goal tally already stands at fifteen - two more than nearest rivals David Foster, Boima Karpeh, Todd Harnwell and Barry Wood who have only 180 minutes of football in which to catch Dugdale.
Born in Liverpool, Dugdale played semi-professionally for Burscough, Skelmersdale United and Maghull before heading to Perth. "I spent time here with relatives during a holiday visit last Christmas and the idea of spending a further twelve months working and playing football was really appealing," he explained. "I started the season with Cockburn but it was a very brief stay and, as it turns out, an expensive one as I'm now Cup-tied to them and will miss out on playing in the Cup final."
Dugdale moved to Stirling in June and had immediate impact when he scored on debut in their 2-0 home defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup. "It's always a big boost for a striker to score so soon after joining a new club, and things couldn't have gone any better for me with the Lions," he explained. "We have a very creative midfield in Jordan Rhodes, Robbie Miller, Keith Brown and Ludo Boi, and our style of play means we are always going to create plenty of chances. I've just been lucky enough to benefit from the good form the team has been in."
Since donning Stirling colours for the first time Dugdale has not looked back. A Round Thirteen hat-trick helped sink Wanneroo City, and seven days later he scored both goals in the 2-1 away win at Swan I.C. Dugdale got another three-goal haul as Stirling mauled Inglewood United 5-2, and this was followed with further goals against Cockburn City, Perth S.C. and Sorrento. At Bayswater City in Round Nineteen Dugdale couldn't help himself and completed a memorable day out with three more goals.
After an amazing few months it's not surprising Dugdale is keen to extend his time in Perth. "I have until April 2007 on my present Visa, so once the season is over I'll be able to concentrate on reducing my golf handicap," he joked. "Seriously though, I'm looking forward to next years Night Series, and would really like to help Stirling challenge for the Premier League title next year, the squad we have now could go close. I'm thoroughly enjoying my stay and have been impressed with everything WA has to offer, so at the moment I have no plans to return home."
CLUBS UNITE ON HOUSING VENTURE
Local clubs are continually facing the forlorn task of attracting, and retaining, sponsors to Western Australian football. But a joint venture between Swan I.C .and Inglewood United has swelled the coffers of both clubs following the completion of the Charity House built in conjunction with the BCG Group. The timing could not have been better for the clubs who on Saturday undertake a new venture together when they meet in the inaugural 'McInerney Ford Cup' in the Swan Valley.
Jerry Forde from BCG this morning handed over the keys to the property to club representative Tony Scali and Siggy Kramer. "It's probably a corporate duty at this stage to try and support local communities, and community sporting organizations," commented Forde. "But Swan IC and Inglewood United have been great community supports of their own, they have good juniors, and this is just our contribution to them. It's been a great project for everyone involved and we at BGC are delighted to be part of it."
Scali, a committee member at Swan, is delighted with the finished four bedroom, two bathroom house located on lot 256 Gracelands Avenue, Landsdale. "It's a beautiful home," he commented. "This project will mean both clubs will be financially sound for the next couple of years, and as you know it's pretty hard to raise money and sponsorship in the local game. It's difficult for small clubs like Swan to do this on our own and I'm delighted to unite with Inglewood United, who we have had great relationship over the years."
Inglewood president Kramer was also glowing of the venture. "BGC is a very good supporter of both Inglewood and Swan," he said. "The whole group of companies is great supporters of the community, and you can see today the final product is fantastic." Kramer feels the partnership with Swan is one that will grow stronger with time. "I wouldn't have gone into the venture with any other club. Swan and particularly Tony Scali are people you can trust and I'm delighted to see all our hard work comes to fruition today."
BGC building site manager Daniel Ryan is happy that both clubs will benefit from the sale of the house. "It's great for local soccer and the community's involved." said Ryan. "The house took ten months to build and is complete down to landscaping front and back, it's complete package included fittings, floor covering, painted and it's really nice house and it has nothing left to do but move in. If it wasn't ready for the hand over today I would have got shot!"
JOONDALUP DOWN WANNEROO IN REPLAY
E.C.U. Joondalup stretched their unbeaten run to five games by accounting for Wanneroo City 2-1 under lights at the Edith Cowan University campus in Joondalup this evening. A good sized crowd was on hand for the local derby, a replay of the Round Seventeen fixture which was abandoned at half-time due to a waterlogged pitch. Joondalup controlled much of the first half, forcing a number of corner but unable to convert chances into goals. Wanneroo should have taken the lead through Craig Bowman who somehow lifted high of the crossbar from close-range after Peter Stewart parried Matt Donlevy's fierce strike. Just when it seemed the sides would go into the break as they started, Joondalup claimed the lead when Mark Lee played a free-kick to Tom Jones whose shot took a deflection off Scott Bushby before finding the net with goalkeeper Kevin Miller wrong-footed. The second half was a lot more balanced although Joondalup still retained the upper hand with Lee and Bushby having a significant influence in the middle of the park. Joondalup increased their grip over the game in the 70th minute by adding to their tally when Jamie Kuzmanovich's shot from 20-metres found the far corner after a fine exchange involving Lee, Ian McMurray and Martin Ashworth. The visitors responded with a series of long balls into attack and were unfortunate not to reduce the deficit as Brad MacDonald seized upon a defensive mix-up but couldn't capitalise from 9-metres. With eight minutes remaining Wanneroo were put back in the game as David Houston forced a lose ball over the line, via Ashworth, in a goalmouth scramble. Wanneroo went within inches of stealing a share of the points but Morgan Dendle just failed to connect with a Houston cross close to the final whistle.
CATCH LES MURRAY 'BY THE BALLS'
SBS TV's long-serving football analyst Les Murray will be at Members Equity Stadium next month to promote his new book "By the balls : memoirs of a football tragic". You can join Murray at Members Equity Stadium on Thursday 5th October (11.30am to 3.00pm) where he'll talk of his struggles with life in a country that did not embrace the beautiful game, and detail his rise to the top of football media and commentary. Murray will be joined on the day by a panel of national and international sporting personalities from Australian representative sport to talk about football. Ticket prices are $110 per person, or $1000 for a table of ten which gets you a three course lunch and drinks.
PHOENIX SAFE FOR ANOTHER YEAR
South West Phoenix have been granted a stay of execution and will remain a First Division club next season despite finishing the current campaign at the foot of the table. Football West have confirmed Phoenix' status as a semi-professional club next year in accordance with the '2006 Rules of Competition' which state the eleventh placed First Division club will not be relegated should Queens Park and Kingsway Olympic, who dropped down at the end of 2005, not gain a top three placing in their respective amateur Premier League conference.
The ruling brought a smile to the face of Phoenix' striker Steve Suttie at the end of what has been a disappointing season for the club. "It's absolutely vital for football in the South West that Phoenix remain in the semi-professional league," he explained. "It provides the best players from the region to showcase their talents to teams from the metropolitan area and continue to develop their game. The club provides a pathway for our young players to progress to the next level while being able to stay in the South West. It would be a disaster for players of the current and next generations if this pathway didn't exist."
NATIONAL TRAINING CENTRE EDGES NEARER
Discussions are well advanced between Football West and the Department of Sport and Recreation regarding the establishment of National Training Centre programs in Western Australia. The National Training Centre program has the support of Football Federation Australia with their view to better develop those players eligible for national youth team selection. The programs, for male (aged 15 to 17) and female players (open age), will build on the work undertaken by the interim National Training Centre program which has been in operation for the last few years. Football West anticipate they'll have the National Training Centre programs up and running during October.
ATTEND THE MILO FOOTWORX HOLIDAY CLINICS AT NO COST!
Football West proudly introduces the Milo Footworx Clinics for children aged seven to fourteen. All clinics will be held at four superb venues throughout metropolitan Perth and will enable children to learn new exciting skills whilst at the same time having fun playing the world game. All clinics are managed and directed by 2005 Gold Medal winner Mark Lee and will cost just $99.
Players will be grouped according to their age at a ratio of fifteen children to one coach. All coaches are police cleared and have many years experience in running highly successful clinics. The Milo Footworx Clinics are twelve hours of action packed, fun filled football and will teach you to 'Go The Extra Milo' with the ball at your feet!
To win a free place at the Milo Footworx Clinics simply answer the following question - Which former Perth Glory player is currently playing professional football in England for Queens Park Rangers?. All responses should be sent to Mark Lee via firstname.lastname@example.org For further information on the Milo Footworx Clinics, including clinic venues and enrollment details, visit the Football West website.
GLORY FIGHT BACK TO SHARE THE SPOILS (by Peter Simcox)
This afternoon's A-League meeting of Perth Glory and Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium was a typical 'game of two halves' that ended with honours even at 1-1. A point apiece was a fair reflection of an entertaining game, although Sydney weren't too please about having a late goal incorrectly disallowed for offside. Post-match, Ron Smith said he was happy with the result and praised his team for a solid second half performance. "We talked about things at half-time, made some changes and it made quite a difference to us in the second half," he said. "I think anyone that gets points off Sydney, home or away, will be happy with it ... they're a tough team to beat."
Sydney opened the brighter with Steve Corica controlling the midfield and Iain Fyfe and Alvin Ceccoli causing problems out wide. Their first strike on goal came after 10 minutes when Corcia played in Ceccoli whose powerful shot was pushed away by Aleks Vrteski. It was a tentative opening from Glory who threatened five minutes later but Leo Bertos' shot weakly and wide of the post. As the minutes ticked by the visitors confidence grew and on 33 minutes Sasho Petrovski headed against the crossbar from a Ufuk Talay. Six minute later Sydney got a deserved reward as Corica's intelligent cross found an unmarked Petrovski who powerfully headed in at the back post. They were unfortunate not to double their lead on the stroke of half- time when Fyfe delivered a cross to David Zdrillic who was robbed by an alert Jamie Coyne.
With the words of Ron Smith still ringing in their ears, Glory went on the attack straight from the re-start with Bertos goal bound strike cleared by Matthew Bingley. Jamie Harnwell was felled inside the 18-yard box by Nikolai Topor-Stanley but referee Simon Przydacz waved away appeals for a penalty. On the hour Stan Lazaridis cut inside Fyfe and sent a perfectly weighted cross to the back post where Coyne headed narrowly high. It was a sign of things to come as eleven minutes later Bertos swung a corner into a crowded area where Coyne rose highest to head in the equaliser. An incorrect offside call in the 82 minute denied Sydney the lead as Corica tapped in from close-range after Vrteski parried a shot from Mark Milligan. Stuart Young almost stole victory in the final minutes when he met a Bertos cross but volleyed just past the bottom corner.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY (Sorrento vs Armadale by Steve McGregor; Perth S.C. vs Floreat Athena courtesy Perth S.C.; Inglewood United vs Wanneroo City by Brett Klucznik; Stirling Lions vs Western Knights by Don Evans; Swan I.C. vs Bayswater City by Peter Simcox)
Sorrento moved within hair's width of securing the Premier League championship after drawing 2-2 with Armadale at Percy Doyle Reserve. The northern suburbs side now require just a single point from their remaining two games to claim regular season honours for the second time in six years. With the threat of relegation hovering over them, Armadale's early focus was on defence and keeping the competition's most lethal strike force at bay. But seven minutes out from the break they were breached as Brad Hassell's exquisite shot on the turn struck a defender and looped into the net beyond the out-stretched gloves of Nick Stone. The hosts best effort of the period came via a Scott Devine free-kick that forced a sharp response from Neil Young. The addition of Kevin Bissett added bite to Armadale's attack for the second half which commenced with Sorrento on the back foot. It was a move that paid dividends 54 minutes after the re-start as James Isaia combined down the left with Scott Paterson who laid the ball into the path of Bissett to drill in the equaliser form 9-metres. However, an uncharacteristic slip by Darryl Platten on the hour allowed Todd Harnwell a clear run at goal and in an attempt to clear Craig Anderson poked the ball past his own goalkeeper. Play see-sawed from one end to the other with Michael Johnson rifling just over the crossbar for the Gulls, and Armadale midfielder Jason Goodwin grazed the outside of the post with Young well beaten. The Red's dogged approach was rewarded with ten minutes to go when Goodwin converted from the penalty spot after he was bundled over by Dejan Gurovski. Sorrento upped the tempo in the minutes that remained with a succession of crosses into the area that Stone confidently dealt with. Frustration's got the better of Cagorski who was sent off for a second yellow card close to the final whistle.
Floreat Athena's title aspirations look to have crumbled to dust after being thrashed 1-6 by Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. It was a welcome return to form for Perth who dominated from the outset and were lead from the front by four-goal hero Barry Wood. The architect of the opening goal was Matt Danskin who drove down the right before cutting the ball back to Wood who thrashed it goalkeeper Vas Vujacic. Scott Bulloch turned over possession at the re-start and released David Onoforo who drew the defence then slipped a pass through to Wood who made no mistake in doubling the margin. Four short minutes after netting his first, Wood completed a remarkable hat-trick when confusion in the Floreat defence allowed him to rifle into the far corner from 16-metres. The visitors were still trying to comprehend what was going on when Onoforo's strike came back off the underside of the crossbar. The onslaught continued with Danskin playing a great through ball to the feet of Peter Lord who expertly lofted his shot over the advancing 'keeper and into the net. There was still time for Perth to add another to their tally as Onoforo delivered a cross to Wood who turned it in from an acute angle. Although the game was well beyond their reach, Floreat showed terrific character in the second half and on 63 minutes reduced the deficit through Boima Karpeh who slotted in from a tight angle. Not long after the visitors were awarded a penalty for Trent Kay's foul on Okwy Diamondstar, however, Karpeh blasted wide from the spot. A second yellow card to Adrian Sutton resulted in Floreat being reduced to ten men after 83 minutes. And with just minutes left Bulloch capped a sparkling display by heading in an Onoforo cross at the back post.
E.C.U. Joondalup claimed maximum points by downing Cockburn City 1-0 in hot and humid conditions at Dalmatanic Park. And while the single goal margin suggests a close game, it was anything but with Joondalup well on top and the creators of the better opportunities throughout the afternoon. The team from the north made a bright start with many of their attacks stemming from the left where Martin Ashworth was making life difficult for the Cockburn defence. A mazy run down took Ashworth inside the 18-yard box but the teenager let himself down with a tame shot that didn't cause goalkeeper Alan Dunlop too much trouble. Tom Jones was unable to make the most of his opportunity when played in by Ian McMurray and shot wide. In the minutes before half-time Mark Lee shaved the outside of the post with a free-kick, and Scott Bushby had a shot tipped away by Dunlop. The second half opened with Garin Collins teeing-up Lee whose effort from 15-metres was kept out by Dunlop at the near post. There wasn't a great deal to excite the home supporters whose team pushed forward occasionally only to be repelled by a solid defensive unit that had Jamie Kuzmanovich at its' heart. Cockburn briefly sparked into life following the introduction of Josh Kamasz whose volley was well saved by Peter Stewart. Joondalup got the goal they were after in the 58th minute when intelligent play by Collins released Ashworth whose inch perfect cross was nodded in at the near post by McMurray. A case of mistaken identity resulted in Ashworth being issued a second yellow card late in the game.
Inglewood United took out an uninspiring match at Kiev Sports Ground 3-1 over Wanneroo City. There was very little for either group of spectators to get excited about during a first half of poor standard and littered with unnecessary errors. The tedium was punctuated only by a short spell that commenced on 25 minutes with a cracking strike from the top of the 18-yard box by Daniel Neiderberger which soared into the far top corner to put Inglewood one-nil up. Neiderberger then went within inches of doubling the margin with a shot that dipped over the crossbar. Wanneroo equalised on 32 minutes through Derek Cooke who tapped into an unguarded net after Oliver Taseski made a hash of attempting to clear a cross played into the heart of the are by Danny Taylor. A golden chance to put the visitors head was wasted by Brad MacDonald who shot across the face of goal from a couple of metres when it seemed easier to hit the target. All the play was with Inglewood after the break and Shane Pryce was twice denied by the sharp reflexes of goalkeeper Kevin Miller, while a clearance off the line by MacDonald kept out Neiderberger's effort at a corner. The pressure finally paid off on 64 minutes when Danny Kovacevic clipped a neat ball to the back post which Greg Sharland nodded down and Jason Colli whipped it into the net from 4-metres. The result was put beyond doubt eight minutes later as Neiderberger and Sharland exchanged passes down the left to open up the defence and allow the latter to shoot past Miller in a one-on-one situation. Just moments after coming off the bench David Whiteside thundered the ball against the crossbar from 18-metres. The closing stages were largely uneventful with neither 'keeper required to make anything so much as resembling a save before the referee brought proceedings to a close.
Stirling Lions continued their climb up the Premier League table by downing Western Knights 1-0 at Macedonia Park. The hosts were quickly into stride as Rob Miller neatly laid a pass off to Ludovic Boi whose shot on the run whizzed past the post. The next opening came the way of the Knights who should had gone ahead when Seb Trim breezed past his marker and sent a wonderful cross to the near post where Stuart Montgomery's header flashed the wrong side of the upright. With 25 minutes gone Stirling grabbed the advantage when Rob Miller's explosive effort was superbly blocked by Tommi Tomich who got a glove on Ludovic Boi's follow-up shot from 16-metres but couldn't keep it out of the net. Miller and Keith Brown were controlling the centre of the park and making life difficult for the Knights to provide lone striker Montgomery with any meaningful supply. A minute from the break Jordan Rhodes went close to adding a second for Stirling with a jinxing run which ended with a shot that was just wide of goal. A scorching free-kick by Riste Stefoski scraped the top of the crossbar on the hour as Stirling attempted to give themselves some breathing space. Not long after Montgomery beat the offside trap but placed wide with only goalkeeper Phil Straker standing in his way. A thrilling contest produced good opportunities for both teams as Tomich blocked a Boi's shot on the run, and Montgomery hit the side netting with a free-kick. As the game came to a close it was Stirling who had more left in the tank as Stefoski and Miller sailed shots high of the bar, while David Dugdale placed just wide.
Swan I.C. recovered from being a goal down with three minutes remaining to beat relegation threatened Bayswater City 4-3 at the Swan Italian Club. The visitors were unfortunate not to go ahead early through Wesley Ryder who rounded goalkeeper Cory Hugo only for his shot to be cleared by a covering Rory Mouttet. Swan were slow to settle but once they did the home crowds were given plenty of reason for optimism as Paul Baczynski and David Foster sent headers over the crossbar at deadball situations. The breakthrough arrived on the half hour when Anthony McStea's cross from the right was deflected to Brendan Knox who finished well from the edge of the 18-yard box. Five minutes out from the break Hugo failed to cleanly take a high ball which spilled to Paul Natale who fired past the post at close-range. It would prove a costly miss as, a couple of minutes after, Hugo's boming clearance caught the visiting defence by surprise and Foster lobbed an advancing 'keeper to widen the gap. The second half began with Bayswater firing on all cylinders and good opportunities for Daniel Naumoski, Sal Marrapodi and Daniel Micevski. The pressure paid off in the 76th minute when the ever impressive Micevski half-volleyed in from close-range. Four minutes later the teams were level with Micevski this time the provider for Naumoski who netted at close-range. It looked as though Bayswater would take all three points when Bobby Klenoski out them ahead with only minutes remaining. However, joy soon turned to heartbreak as Foster rose highest to powerfully head a McStea cross past Alex Dunn. The game was decided in injury time when Jovo Pavlovic handled inside the box and Foster put away his third of the afternoon from the spot.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY (Ashfield vs Morley Windmills courtesy Ashfield; Forrestfield United vs Balcatta by Silke Losch)
On a sunny spring day, Ashfield convincingly dealt with neighbouring Morley Windmills 5-2 when they met at Wotton Reserve. The boys from Ashfield enjoyed all the early possession and should have gone ahead through Andy O'Neill who smashed the ball against the upright. However, it was the home fans who were celebrating on 10 minutes when a lightning fast counter attack produced a stunning opener for Damien Todorovic. Stung by this unexpected setback, Ashfield worked some space for Mohammad Komaderic who brought the teams level from the edge of the penalty area. Five minutes later the visitors had the lead when O'Neill stroked in at the far post following a raid down the right. O'Neill then turned provider for Komaderic who made no mistake from in front after 33 minutes. Morley stepped up to the challenge and were rewarded with a second goal when Ray Rose, the smallest man in the box, nodded in from a throw in. The second half was all one-way traffic with Ashfield well in control and Igor Novakovic unlucky not to extend their advantage which his effort hit the crossbar. The points were made safe as Komaderic completed his hat-trick and Michael Filippou added himself to the scoresheet.
Mandurah City twice recovered from being a goal down to defeat a gallant South West Phoenix 3-2 at Peelwood Parade. A fine exchange of passes lead to Phoenix' going ahead inside ten minutes as David Murphy chipped through to Steve Suttie who beat the offside trap and calmly lifted his shot over the advancing goalkeeper. Following this Mandurah upped their workrate and began to find ways to get in behind the visiting defence. The teams were brought level on the half hour when Michael Bobridge slipped a pass to John Tranfield who finished sweetly from 16-metres. However, Phoenix were soon back in front as Pat Quinn released Suttie who raced through and slotted into the far corner past Mike Green. The second half opened with Phoenix determined to extend their advantage and Suttie was twice sent clear only to be thwarted on both occasions by Green. Parity was restored for a second time by Christian Paschewitz who headed in Jake Loreto's cross after 54 minutes. This provide Mandurah with the lift they needed and not long after a great move involving Sean Dash and Bobridge enabled Paschkewitz to put away his second goal of the day and earn his side maximum points.
Balcatta defeated Forrestfield 4-2 in a thrilling contest at Hartfield Park. The first half was very even as the ball was moved swiftly from one end of the field to the other and neither side able to make the most of their chances. The dismissal of Leith Hinds dented Forrestfield's chances, and provided spectators something to talk about during the interval. Although a man down, the hosts who went into the break with the lead after Joe Healy crossed for Jason Kindon to slam into the top corner. Balcatta returned for the second half with a renewed determination which was rewarded on 58 minutes when Victor Bogos tore down the right and lured Atekhis Elhossain out of his territory before shooting into the net. Three minutes later Adrian Caloiero doubled the visitors tally then, with 67 minutes played, John Nicolaou placed into the net with the goalkeeper no where to be seen. The points were made safe by Marco Gentile who headed in Balcatta's fourth of the afternoon. To their credit, Forrestfield refused to give up hope and late in the piece bagged a consolation goal through Trent Wood.
Gosnells City became the first side to beat First Division champion Fremantle Spirit when they took the points by a 2-1 scoreline at Walter Padbury Reserve. Ian Maguire and Brian Cairney struck late for Gosnells to cancel out Roberto Colalillo's strike early in the second half. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
Rockingham City returned home with maximum points after defeating Dianella White Eagles 3-2 at Dianella Reserve. Luke Rennie, Shane Cramphorn and L.Ivancic found the net for Rockingham with the hosts goals coming via N.Culum and Petar Mrdja. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
PETKOVIC DECLARES HIMSELF READY
Jason Petkovic will make a welcome return to Perth Glory's line-up for their A-League clash with reigning champions Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday. The former Socceroo is the only change to the squad that defeated Central Coast Mariners a Glory's first home game of the new season last weekend. Petkovic has been sidelined for six weeks after injuring his ankle in the clubs pre-season Cup draw with Melbourne Victory. It's been a new experience for the veteran goalkeeper who has missed few games during his career. "I don't think I've missed too many games through injury, this would have to be one of the first times I've been out with injury in thirteen or fourteen years," he said.
However, Petkovic may still find himself on the bench this weekend with coach Ron Smith yet to decided whether he'll recall the former Socceroo or stick with teenager Aleks Vrteski who's impressed in his first two A-League outings. "I've had a ball the past two weeks, I feel I've played really well and Ron has been happy with my performance," Vrteski said. The youngster has displayed a maturity beyond his years and feels that he has taken his game to another level and identified working closely with Petkovic has been a huge benefit. "Since I've arrived here a few months ago from the Australian Institute of Sport I feel my game has taken the next step but there is still much for me to learn and having a guy like Jason around is fantastic."
FANS WILL RETURN SAYS FOR FORMER GLORY CAPTAIN
Shaun Murphy is tipping Perth Glory to shake off the turnstile blues and for crowds to roll back into Members Equity Stadium after witnessing a marked improvement under the new regime. The former Glory captain was a guest of coach Ron Smith at last Sunday's 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners. And although a club record low A-League crowd of 7,229 attended the game, Murphy believes Glory are doing al the right things to turn their fortunes around.
"The crowd was just a reflection of what happened last year, so I wouldn't read too much into that," Murphy said. During the off-season Glory appointed a new coach and chief executive officer, and have come under the guidance of Football Federation Australia. "I'd like to think that once it filters through that there's a new set-up, a new coach in and the players are giving 100%, that the crowds will pick up," commented Murphy.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
Sorrento has all but secured the Premier League championship. The Gulls, held to a 2-2 draw by Armadale, hold a six-point advantage over Floreat Athena with just two rounds remaining. Floreat's chances of catching the leader suffered a major setback when they were thumped 6-1 by Perth S.C. Cockburn City remain in third place despite suffering their second loss in as many weeks, this time going down 1-0 to E.C.U. Joondalup.
A first half strike from Ludovic Boi takes Stirling Lions to fourth on the table courtesy of their 1-0 defeat of Western Knights. David Foster bagged a hat-trick as Swan I.C. snatched a dramatic stoppage time winner to take the points over cellar dweller Bayswater City 4-3. Inglewood United defeated Wanneroo City 3-1 in a lacklustre match at the Kiev Sport Ground where Daniel Niederberger, Jason Colli and Greg Sharland each found the back of the net.
Gosnells City became the first side to beat First Division champion Fremantle Spirit when they triumphed 2-1 at Walter Padbury Reserve. Although the title race is over, Ashfield managed to close the gap with a convincing 5-2 defeat of Morley Windmills. Mandurah City scrapped home 3-2 when they hosted last placed South West Phoenix. Forrestfield United went down 4-2 at home to Balcatta, and Rockingham City surprised Dianella White Eagles 3-2.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Just who are crowned 2006 champion, and who will spend next season in the First Division, could be determined when the twentieth round of Premier League fixtures are contested on Saturday. The footballwa.net Match of the Week is the Macedonia Park meeting of two of the competitions' form sides, Stirling Lions and Western Knights. Mike Lyons' side are priming themselves for next months' association Cup Final and although Ronnie Campbell's Knights have struggled with injury this year they remain a force to be reckoned with.
Sorrento can put one hand on the trophy with victory over relegation threatened Armadale who make the trip to Percy Doyle Reserve. The other teams in the relegation mix are also on their travels as Bayswater City visit Swan I.C., and Jamie Goodman takes Wanneroo City to his former club Inglewood United in a real six pointer. Second placed Floreat Athena head to Dorrien Gardens where Perth S.C. are hosts in the inner city derby. Cockburn City will be looking to bounce back from a heavy loss last Saturday when they welcome E.C.U. Joondalup to Dalmatinac Park.
The First Division relegation battle could also be decided this weekend as both the bottom teams face difficult tests. South West Phoenix, who currently occupy the drop spot, travel to Peelwood Parade where they meet Mandurah City. Gosnells City have a tough match with champion Fremantle Sprit calling in at Walter Padbury Reserve. Morley Windmills take on neighbouring Ashfield at Wotton Reserve, while Rockingham City are away to Dianella White Eagles. Forrestfield United have home ground advantage over a Balcatta side that's struggled for consistency this season. Canning City has the bye.
GOODMAN BACK ON FAMILIAR GROUND
This weekends clash between Inglewood United and Wanneroo City is sure to have a significant bearing on who spends next season in the First Division. Inglewood and Wanneroo are a mathematical chance of going down and whoever collects the points on Saturday will ensure their top flight survival for at least another year. Wanneroo coach Jamie Goodman is looking forward to the game which pits his youngsters against the club had played for six seasons. "It will feel a bit strange being in the away change rooms but I'll be pulling out all the stops to get a result," he said. "I enjoyed my time at Inglewood, we won the Boral Cup in 1999 and I twice received the clubs' Fairest and Best award."
Goodman was delighted with the Roos performance last weekend when they carved out a hard fought 2-2 draw with Swan I.C. "We battled for the full ninety minutes against Swan and deserved to get a point from the game, and with a bit of luck might have got all three but that's football," said the coach. "It's not been easy trying to put a settled line-up out on the park. I've had to play players in unfamiliar positions and this has opened up opportunities for young players to prove themselves at this level. At this point of the season I know I have a group of players who want to be here and want to give everything they have for Wanneroo. Everyone at the club has been great, stayed positive and is 100% behind this team."
Although 2006 is only their first season in the top flight, Wanneroo have already laid out some impressive long term plans which includes redeveloping the facilities at Kingsway Sporting Complex. "Wanneroo City is an ambitious club and has set some positive goals," said Goodman, who is looking forward to being part of the clubs future success. "Part of their plans are obviously to stay in the Premier League and to continue to improve and become a contender ... and I have to admit that I'm looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead."
Confident that Wanneroo can avoid the drop, 34-year old Goodman is already busying himself in preparation for next season. "We are a very young, inexperienced side. There are only a couple of players that have played at this level regularly in previous seasons," he explained. "The experience our young squad has gained this season, combined with the addition of a few experienced recruits, will put us in a good position for next season. I think the squad needs to be a little bit bigger than it is currently in order to provide more competition for places."
Saying that, Goodman believes there are several very talented players in the current Wanneroo team. "I don't like singling players out as football is a team game, but Morgan Dendle has been great for me this season. He's a very under-rated player who is a reliable, hard working utility that can play in a variety of positions through the midfield and defence. Craig Bowman has a never say die approach to his game that all coaches like to see. He works well with Derek Cooke who has a great touch and can deliver some quality service. Kevin Miller has been great all season and showed against Swan why he's a highly rated shot-stopper."
RUSSELL VOTED THE NUMBER ONE COACH
Cockburn City's Billy Russell has been voted the Premier League's top coach for 2006 by the West Australian football community. Close to 225 votes were received in response to last week's footballwa.net poll that posed the question 'Which coach has made best use of the resources available to him this season?' Only a handful of votes separated the top three with Russell, who's taken Cockburn to a top five placing in his first season with the club, claiming top spot with 23.0% of the vote. He edged out Mike Lyons (21.1%) of association Cup finalists Stirling Lions, and Western Knights boss Ronnie Campbell (20.3%). A distant third was Steve Neville (12.5%) whose Sorrento side are red-hot favourite to lift the regular season trophy. Rounding out the field were Carlo Scali (11.7%) of Swan I.C. and Floreat Athena's Michael Roki (11.3%).
COLOSIMO WARNS AGAINST TAKING SYDNEY LIGHTLY
It'll be an under-strength Sydney F.C. which heads west for Sunday's A-League clash with Perth Glory at Members Equity Stadium. Hot on the heels of Dwight Yorke's return to England, the reigning champion will be without Mark Rudan, Robbie Middleby, Alex Brosque and David Carney through injury. But Glory midfielder Simon Colosimo warned against the dangers of taking lightly a wounded Sydney line-up which he believes has the quality to cope with the absences. "They probably have the most depth of any team in the league and this gives some of their younger guys an opportunity," he said. "The thing about this season is that there'll be no gimmes. (Last season's wooden spooner) New Zealand are competitive. We're competitive. Queensland are scoring goals, so are Melbourne. Every week is a big game."
SOCCEROOS STUMBLE TO KUWAIT
A couple of quick second half goals has secured Kuwait a 2-0 win over Australia in the Asian Cup qualifier played in Kuwait City overnight. The win now moves Kuwait to within two points of Australia, who've already qualified for the tournament, and puts them into prime position to go through to the finals as one of the top two teams. Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was disappointed with the result but believes the experience will be a benefit for the team. "You're always disappointed when you lose," said Arnold. "We tried our hardest; we had a good chance to go one up before the break and if that goes in it changes the complexion of the game." West Australian midfielder Nick Ward was an unused substitute for the outing.
Australia started the match slowly and could quite easily have found themselves down after 9 minutes when they survived a confident penalty appeal after Al Mutairi went down under a challenge from Mark Schwarzer. Following a lacklustre opening quarter hour the game sparked into life with Michael Beauchamp and John Aloisi going close for the Socceroo while Schwarzer kept out efforts by Al Mutwa and Al Mutairi. Ryan Griffiths should have put Australia ahead two minutes before half-time but sliced his close-range shot onto the post from a Mile Sterjovski cross.
The second half had Kuwait on top and getting in behind the defence down the flanks. They made a breakthrough in the 56th minute, when Jaraq Al Ataiqi spotted the run of Al Mutairi in behind the defence and he dived to head past Schwarzer. Kuwait continued their attack and four minutes later Al Mutwa doubled their lead by lashing his shot inside the far post after playing a one-two with Faraq Saeed. Australia stepped up as Kuwait adopted a more cautious approach but struggled to break down a stacked defence. It was only in the last ten minutes that they found a way through and even then Griffiths placed narrowly wide from the edge of the box, while Aloisi did likewise after pouncing an a defensive error.
BAN SCRAPPED FOR OWLS 'KEEPER JONES
Sheffield Wednesday have won their appeal against Brad Jones' dismissal in the Yorkshire derby defeat to Leeds United. The goalkeeper, on-loan from Middlesbrough, had his automatic one game ban rescinded by the English FA. Jones was issued a straight red card for felling David Healy inside the penalty area, referee Steve Bennett deeming the challenge to have denied the Leeds striker of a goalscoring opportunity. But the Owls contested Bennett's decision, claiming it had not been a clear goalscoring chance and their appeal has been upheld with the FA agreeing Jones had been "wrongfully dismissed".
JEANS’ YEAR TO REMEMBER
In year to come, Stirling Lions’ Ryan Jeans will look back on 2006 with great fondness. Signed in pre-season from Bassendean Caledonian, the 27-year old striker has been given a new lease on life by coach Mike Lyons and the Stirling club, and has repaid both parties with some of the best form of his career. Jeans has found the net with regularity throughout this season with his all competitions tally of seventeen goals giving the highest aggregate of any player in the top flight.
Jeans says he’s thrilled with how his season has panned put. “At the start of the year I just wanted to be playing in this Stirling team regularly,” he said. “We knew we could create and score goals and I wanted to get my share. When you’re getting top quality service from the likes of Jordan Rhodes, Robbie Miller and young Ludovic Boi, chances are going to come your way. I hadn’t had a good goalscoring year for a while so I set myself a couple of targets at the start of the season and which I’m glad to say I have just about reached.”
Stirling began the year in blistering form by qualifying for the Night Series final without loss, only to go down to Perth S.C. in a pulsating match. But having announced themselves as a serious contender for regular season honours Stirling slipped off the pace and after ten games were sitting towards the foot of the table. “I think we maybe peaked a little early with our excellent Night Series performance,” Jeans commented. “Most teams use the Night Series as a warm-up for the coming season, but our intensity was much higher than most as we had a squad filled with so many new players all trying to get a spot in the team.”
“The only reason we were near the bottom of the table for so long was, after beating Wanneroo 8-1 on the opening day of the season, we then drew five of our next six games,” Jeans continued. “But we didn’t panic, we knew that if we kept going about our football the way we were then those draws would turn into wins. Mick Lyons and Geordie (Paul Simmons) always had faith in the squad and told us they knew the results would come. As for the Cup run, we have beaten a couple of good teams in Cockburn and Floreat to get to the final and we deserve to be there.”
Unfortunately, Stirling will have to do without Jeans for the biggest game of the year. “When the Cup final is being played I’ll be in Europe,” he said. “It’s disappointing to miss that game, especially as I missed the 1996 final when I was with Sorrento, and because it’s the only winners medal I haven’t yet collected. Hopefully it’ll be a great day for the boys and they’ll win Stirling’s first major trophy in a decade. I’ve played in a couple of finals before and they’re great games to be a part of, especially when you have a winners medal at the end of it! It’s not just been a team effort but a club effort to get to the final and I’m sure everyone at Stirling will enjoy the day.”
Although only 27 years of age, Jeans is contemplating retirement when the 2006 season comes to an end. “It’s a young age to consider giving it away but my work commitments have increased over the last year and I also have a young family who I’d like to spend more time with,” he explained. “I’ve been happy with what I’ve been able to achieve in eleven years of senior football, I’ve won nearly every trophy at some stage and also represented WA in 2002. I’ve got plenty of great memories from the years and I’d like to give the game away when I’m enjoying it rather than get to a stage when I’m not.”
VELAPHI CALLED UP BY YOUNG SOCCEROOS
West Australian goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has been named in the eighteen-player Young Socceroo squad which will compete in a four-nation tournament in Malaysia next week. Currently a scholarship holder at the Australian Institute of Sport, Velaphi made his mark on the local scene with Perth S.C. and represented the State at Under-16 level. Australian will meet Thailand, Vietnam and host nation Malaysia during the tournament which serves as final preparation for next month's Asian qualifiers for the 2007 FIFA World Youth Cup.
The Australian Under-20 squad is Nathan Burns (Adelaide United),Evan Berger, Bruce Djite, Jimmy Downey, Peter Eleftherakis, Steven O'Dor, Shaun Ontong, Mitchell Langerak, Matthew Spiranovic, Tando Velaphi (Australian Institute of Sport), Oliver Bozanic, Brad Porter (Central Coast Mariners), Sebastian Ryall (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), Dario Vidosic (Queensland Roar), and uncontracted trio Chris Grossman, Robbie Kruse and Troy Hearfield.
GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!
Tension continues to build as players jostle for the 2006 Golden Boot award. There’s been change at the top of the Premier League leaderboard with Stirling Lions sharp shooter David Dugdale moving into poll position with three games remaining. There's been no shortage of goals scored in the top flight over the winter months with the net being found on average 3.7 times a game. David Rodgers remains the front runner for the First Division award, the Fremantle Spirit marksman holding a three goal advantage over his closest rival as the season fast comes to a close.
There's little doubt that Dugdale is the Premier League's form players at the moment, his 15 goal haul coming from just nine outings for Stirling Lions. Level with 12 goals each are Todd Harnwell (Sorrento), Boima Karpeh (Floreat Athena) and Stuart Montgomery (Western Knights), while Floreat's Branimir Mikulic is a further strike off the pace. Four goals in five games has elevated David Foster (Swan I.C.) to 10 goals for the season and level with Paul Devlin (Knights). Currently on 9 goals are Jared Love (Sorrento), Ryan Jeans (Stirling), Scott Bushby (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Barry Wood (Perth S.C.).
The honour of First Division leading goalscorer looks like going to David Rodgers whose 20 goals spearheaded Fremantle Spirit to the championship. If successful, it'll be the second time in three years that Rodgers has taken out the trophy. The only player capable of overhauling Rodgers is Ray Rose of Morley Windmills whose winter tally currently stands at 17 goals. Rydeen Botha (Dianella White Eagles) has netted on 13 occasions, and one behind him is Christian Paschewitz (Mandurah City). Fremantle teenager Callum Roberts has scored 10 times which is once more than Mohammad Komaderic (Ashfield).
VRTESKI DELIGHTED WITH HOME DEBUT
Sunday 3rd September, 2006, has taken on new significance for Aleks Vrteski for that was the date he kept a clean sheet on his home league debut for Perth Glory. It was a joyous occasion for all in the Vrteski household, and especially dad Chris who was over the moon with his sons' performance in the 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners. "What a day, Aleks played well and it's the best Father's Day present I could have expected," beamed Chris. "I'm a real proud father today."
'Big Alex' was equally delighted in keeping the Mariner's attack at bay. "It's great to have a clean sheet on my home debut. It was great experience for me," said the 17-year old. "Jamie Harnwell told me in the rooms after the game that I owe him one after he cleared off the line twice but I've gained a great deal of confidence over past two games. I'm enjoying working with Ron Smith again, I worked with him at the AIS and he has worked wonders on the young lads at the Glory."
Glory captain Harnwell praised Vrteski at the post-match press conference. "He's a great talent," he commented. "He's obviously going to make mistakes at times because he's a young 'keeper, I helped him out a couple of times today, and he owes me. Keepers don't mature for a long time but he's come in and really helped out at the back. He's a good talker for a young kid and his presence is fantastic. When he comes for the ball you don't want to get in the way of him."
MCCALLUM IN FIFA ALL-STARS
Young Matilda's midfielder Collette McCallum capped off a terrific performances at the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championships last month by being named in the tournaments' All-Star squad. McCallum, the only Australian to make the twenty-one player list, scored twice in the Young Matilda's defeat of New Zealand and played a starring role in their draw with Russia.
GLORY OPEN SEASON ACCOUNT (by Jack Warner)
Perth Glory recorded their historic first ever win over Central Coast Mariners under sunny skies at Members Equity Stadium this afternoon. Possessing a greater desire to take out the points, Glory produced one of their best performances for a long time in emerging victorious by 2-0. Their first opportunity came after 2 minutes when Stan Lazaridis' tame header was held by Danny Vukovic. Simon Colosimo and Stuart Young had clearly put the disappointment of last season behind them and featured prominently every time Glory went forward. Similarly, Leo Bertos was making his presence known and on 29 minutes his cross found an unmarked Lazaridis whose shot was scrambled off the line by Tony Vidmar.
Bertos was again instrumental as Colosimo tested Danny Vukovic, then Jamie Harnwell headed straight at the 'keeper from a corner. However, it was far from one-way traffic and in the 38th minute Adam Kwasnik brought a fine save out of Aleks Vrteski who tipped the goalbound shot over the crossbar. The resulting cross found Noel Spencer in space but his effort from 15-metres was comfortably held by Vrteski. Glory then upped the ante and just before half-time Lazaridis stroked the ball across the face of goal and Naum Sekulovski knocked it wide at the far post.
The Mariners started the new half in a more attacking frame of mind and almost went ahead just four minutes in when Matthew Osman's header cleared from under the bar by a combination of Vrteski and Harnwell. Crowd favourite Lazaridis earned Glory a free-kick just outside the area on 52 minutes and, as Vukovic organised his wall, Colosimo placed the ball side the right post with the 'keeper totally stranded by the left upright. Mayhem ensued as referee Craig Zetter was surrounded by furious Mariners' players and, once the dust had settled, Vukovic was booked for his protests.
Lazaridis was determined to put on a show for the home fans and his cross from the left looked destined for the net before Vukovic stuck out a glove on the hour to push it around the post. Glory went for the kill and in the space of a few minutes Young headed over the bar, then shot into the side netting with only the 'keeper to beat. The game was made safe with ten minutes to go as Bertos sprung the offside trap after receiving a pass from Colosimo and his centring pass was superbly drilled under the advancing 'keeper by Young.
WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY
Queens Park snatched the women's Premier League title from Balcatta by scoring a comprehensive 5-1 victory in the final game of the season at Coker Park. Prior to the game Balcatta were in poll position, sitting atop the table with a three point break on Queens Park. The two sides ended the season with near identical records - both won fifteen, drew two and lost three of their twenty games - with Queens Park lifting the trophy courtesy of a superior goal difference.
In perfect conditions, the home side struck with just 5 minutes gone as a pass out of midfield found Lisa Higgins whose shot was too good for goalkeeper Chloe Coghlan. On the half hour Coghlan failed to hold on to the ball inside the 6-yard box and Debbie Gorton had the misfortune of turning it into her own net under pressure from Helen Bremer. And Balcatta had one hand on the trophy four minutes when Temira Rowatt netted to take the difference to three goals.
Balcatta came out for the second half firing on all cylinders but were unable to open up a path to goal. Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished in the 78th minute when an unmarked Higgins tucked Queens Parks' fourth past a badly exposed 'keeper. Balcatta grabbed a consolation goal shortly after with Elisa D'Ovidio scrambling the ball into the net. The icing on the hosts cake came four minutes from the end when Rowatt added her second, and the teams fifth of the afternoon.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINETEEN (Floreat Athena vs Cockburn City courtesy Floreat Athena; Bayswater City vs Stirling Lions by Brett Klucznik; Armadale vs Perth S.C. by Steve McGregor; Wanneroo City vs Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
The points were shared at Nash Field where Western Knights and Sorrento contested an entertaining 0-0 draw. The match had a liberal dose of everything - expect goals - as Sorrento edged closer to claiming the Premier League trophy. The opening exchanges provided plenty of thrills and spills for those on the sidelines while sending ripples of panic through both benches. The best chance of the half came on the half hour when Todd Harnwell lined up with Scott Miller whose thunderbolt crashed into the crossbar. Shortly after Harnwell shot into the side netting, then a low drive by Miller was deflected wide by teammate Jared Love. The Knights threatened leading into the break as Luka Jukic's free-kick was touched over the top by goalkeeper Neil Young. A fierce strike from David Price hit the bar, and in the final minute of the half Ivan Zuvela's curling effort was narrowly high. The Knights were quickly into stride for the second half as Daniel Trim and Paul Cooke each flashed shots across the face of goal. They were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty with twenty minutes remaining after an over-zealous Michael Ord floored Stuart Montgomery with a raised elbow, the Knights striker being forced from the field for treatment with blood streaming from his mouth. Shortly after Sorrento thought they had the lead when Simon Harland found the net, however, a foul by Brodie Martin in the build up ruled out the effort. Play swung to the other end where a groggy Montgomery pounced on a defensive error only to have Danny Hill instinctively deflect it wide. The only opening in a tense final fifteen minutes had Love get in between two defenders to head goalward from a Harnwell cross but Tomich was well placed to make the save.
Floreat Athena kept their very slim title hopes alive with a stylish 4-0 demolition of Cockburn City at Litis Stadium. Having gone off the boil in recent weeks, the Floreat strikeforce returned to form with masterful display which is sure to have table-topper Sorrento looking over their shoulder. Costa Socratous was a creative influence early in the game and on 23 minutes his clever chip enabled Boima Karpeh to open the scoring at close-range with the visiting defence stretched. Having gone ahead Floreat then pressed their advantage and would have increase their advantage if not for a resilient Cockburn defence. One of the games’ highlights was the duel between Jason Godfrey and Branimir Mikulic with the Cockburn defender just shading his opponent on the day. Going the other way, Cockburn were limited to only the occasional shot from distance, none of which required a response from goalkeeper vas Vujacic. Josh Kamasz worked hard in getting Cockburn back in the hunt but he lacked meaningful support up front when it mattered most. The game was effectively put beyond Cockburn's reach in the 63rd minute when a superb long throw from Adam Bachiller reached Adrian Sutton who rose highest to nod in from the top of the 6-yard box. Vujacic was called upon for the first time on 69 minutes to smother at the feet of an opponent in a one-on-one situation. Three minutes later John Migas' cracking drive from 23-metres beat Alan Dunlop at his near post. Karpeh went within inches of bagging his second with a fine strike that smacked into the crossbar. The final blow was delivered by the hard working Mikulic whose glancing header from a Migas cross sailed into the far corner giving the 'keeper no chance. The result elevates Floreat back into second position, five points behind Sorrento who they meet in a potential championship decider in a fortnight at Litis Stadium.
A goal hungry Stirling Lions belted cellar-dwellar Bayswater City 6-1 in a one-sided contest at Frank Drago Reserve. The ball rarely left Stirling’s attacking half during the opening fifteen minutes in which Andy Brown blazed high when it seemed easier to hit the target, and appeals for a penalty were denied when Rob Miller’s run into the area was unceremoniously blocked by Jovo Pavlovic. Bayswater were slow in settling and just as they were increasing their share of possession disaster struck as, with 23 minutes elapsed, Miller threaded his low shot through a sea of legs and past a diving goalkeeper from 11-metres. The margin was increased just three minutes later as David Dugdale’s cross was nodded down by Andy Brown and Jordan Rhodes made the most of hesitant defending to whip the ball over a badly exposed Alex Dunn. Stirling added a third right on the stroke of half time as Andy Brown’s low cross from the left was stepped over by Miller allowing an unmarked Dugdale to blast into the roof of the net. The same pattern continued into the second half as Pavlovic deflected wide a close-range effort from Dugdale who, minutes later, was denied by a brilliant save from point blank range by Dunn. Dugdale got his reward on 56 minutes by powerfully heading in unchallenged a Riste Stefoski’s corner at the back post. The margin blew out to five goals not long after as Miller’s superb pass out of midfield found Dugdale who, spotting Dunn off his line, expertly chipped the ‘keeper from 22-metres. A dip in Stirling’s intensity allowed Bayswater into the game and on 77 minutes a terrific solo run by Daniel Micevski produced a hard earned consolation goal. Stirling still had enough left in the tank for one more which arrived in the 88th minute through an in-swinging corner by Stefoski which drifted into the far top corner.
Perth S.C. picked up maximum points courtesy of a 3-0 defeat of Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval. However, the three goal margin didn't do justice the closeness of a match in which Perth scored twice in the final few minutes. Armadale soaked up the early pressure and were fortunate not to go behind on 9 minutes when only a last gasp tackle by Scott Paterson prevented David Onoforo from having a free shot on goal. Scott Bulloch and Matt Danskin made sure there was little respite for the home defence as Perth continually streamed into attack in search of the games' opening goal. The visitors carved out several good chances to go ahead with the best falling to Onoforo, Bulloch and Oliver Hilton who were all unable to capitalise. There was no such urgency from the home side who had to wait until the 35th minute for their first shot on goal which Darren Kingston lifted over the crossbar. Two minutes later Jason Goodwin created space on the left only to skew his shot wide from 12-metres. Just as the half looked destined to end scoreless Perth gained a penalty as Onoforo was brought down by Darryl Platten and with the resultant spot kick Bulloch put Perth one-nil up. The visitors continued to dominate play after the break and should have killed the game off well before Armadale brought Ben Howe and Ryan Pearson off the bench. It was only now that the Reds began to test the opposing defence and Pearson's strike on goal was blocked by Gianfranco Circati, while a Kingston shot was pushed wide by the goalkeeper. But with five minutes to play Onoforo increased the margin by firing past Nick Stone from the edge of the area after received a pass from Hilton. Shortly after Onoforo combined with Barry Wood who slammed an unstoppable volley passed the 'keeper to secure the points.
Swan I.C. ended their losing streak with a hard fought 2-2 draw at Wanneroo City. The blacks and whites were into stride quickly and Damien Scali’s header after only a few minutes was cleared off the line, and a superb save by goalkeeper Kevin Miller denied Tom Shepheard. The hosts weathered the early storm before Craig Bowman surged down the right and centred to Derek Cooke who blazed high. A mistake in the middle of the park by Scali allowed Bowman to advance on goal only to have Cory Hugo block his shot. Bowman was causing Swan’s rearguard all sorts of problems and in the 28th minute he was again thwarted by Hugo after latching on to a long clearance by Miller. Swan snatched the lead on 37 minutes when a teasing Miki Vujacic cross was flicked on by Rory Mouttet to David Foster who fired in from close quarters. However, the lead would last just six minutes before David Houston played Bowman down the left channel to send the equaliser past Hugo. Shortly after Swan were caught napping as Bowman turned provider by going down the right to tee up Cooke who found the net at the second attempt after Hugo parried the initial shot. The sides should have been level at the break but an unmarked Shepheard headed wide from a Vujacic cross. Swan dominated the second period for long periods as Brendan Knox fired high and Damien Catalano wide, while Miller kept out goalbound efforts from Catalano and Shepheard. But there was little the ‘keeper could do on 72 minutes when Wanneroo failed to deal with a Mouttet cross and Knox rifled in from the top edge of the 18-yard box. There were chances at both ends in a tense closing spell in which Miller saved from Catalano and Shepheard, while appeals for a Wanneroo penalty were waved away after Matt Donlevy was brought down by Tony Cumace.
E.C.U. Joondalup took the points over Inglewood United by 3-2 on a picture perfect day for football in the northern suburbs. Both teams started the game positively by going in search of an early goal and it was the hosts that went closest through Garin Collins who was unable to capitalise after being set up by Tom Jones. After a period of sustained pressure, Inglewood took the lead on 10 minutes when a cross from the right was superbly chested down by Greg Sharland and into the path of Dean Apelgren who fired in from the edge of the 18-yard box. That lead would last until seven minutes from the break when a harsh hand ball decision against Shaun Kilkelly resulted in a Joondalup penalty which Scott Bushby stroked past Oliver Taseski. Joondalup looked a lot sharper than their opponents as the second half got underway and through the combined efforts of Mark Lee and Bushby controlled the flow of play through midfield. Now it was Inglewood’s turn to be out under the pump and long-range strikes by Bushby and Scott Blackmore forced smart responses from Taseski. The hosts’ reward for their endeavours came midway through the half when, in the space of a few minutes, they opened up a two-goal buffer. Following some fantastic work down the right by Collins, the ball sat nicely for Lee who hammered it past Taseski from 15-metres. Minutes later a similar move had Lee rolled the ball into the path of Martin Ashworth whose powerful shot cannoned off Tom Jones and somehow found its way into the net. Greg Sharland ensured the closing stages would be tense when he pulled a goal back for Inglewood with nine minutes left on the clock. But try as they might the visitors were unable to conjure up a third goal add and Joondalup held on to register their third success win.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINETEEN (Fremantle Spirit vs Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City; Balcatta vs Dianella White Eagles by Leo Mannella; Canning City vs Rockingham City by Phil Unsworth)
Fremantle Spirit were held to a 1-1 by Mandurah City in a physical encounter at Watson’s Reserve. The first strike on goal came via Roberto Colalillo who rifled high of the crossbar as the home side asserted the early pressure. Mandurah, however, were in no mood to concede and through the defensive efforts of David Dawson and Steven Rhodes made sure their would be no easy chances for the opposition. With 40 minutes gone Fremantle eventually found a way through as Jason Barrera tucked the ball into the bottom corner after the goalkeeper parried Callum Roberts’ shot. Following this Mandurah got more involved in the game with Christian Pascherwitz and Andy Brown providing much of the drive from midfield. The second period picked up where the first had ended as Mandurah began to take hold of the game. Much to the enjoyment of the large crowd, the action was end-to-end and intense, leading to players from both teams having their names taken by the referee. Parity was restored on 66 minutes when John Tranfield played the ball forward for teenager Sean Dash to crash in the equaliser. Mandurah upped the tempo as they went in search of a winner but they would find few ways past a defence in which Alex Christie and Tom Straker stood firm.
Balcatta defeated Dianella White Eagles 3-0 in the local derby at Grindleford Reserve. Played in glorious sunshine before a vocal crowd, Balcatta were the first to threaten through John Nicolaou whose shot was too close to the goalkeeper. Not long after it was Nicolaou who again went close with a header that cannoned off the crossbar. With the game being played at a frenetic pace, Balcatta broke through on 8 minutes when Adrian Caloiero played the ball into the path of Michael LaCava who raced through to fire past Ramadan Lebib. This spurred Dianella into action and they very nearly drew level three minutes later when Dejan Djukanovic’s shot brought a good save out of Jordan Conti. The remainder of the half followed in the same pattern with open, end-to-end play giving the spectators plenty to get excited about. The second period began with Dianella forcing a string of corners and putting the Balcatta defence under red-hot pressure. Balcatta worked their way back into the game and on 61 minutes their lead was doubled as David Moschilla beat two defenders and hit a low shot which the ‘keeper could only bundle into the net. It wasn’t until the final minute of the afternoon that Balcatta added a third through Nicolaou who pounced on to a loose ball which he rocketed into the net from just outside the penalty area.
Morley Windmills drew 3-3 with South West Phoenix in a game of high drama at Wotton Reserve. It was evident from early on that this wasn’t going to be a game for the football purists with the choppy, soft surface playing havoc with the ball. The visitors struck first through a fine move that took Sean O’Gorman past two opponents and angle his shot into the net on 16 minutes. Morley drew level just after the half hour through Damien Todorovic who made no mistake after Ray Rose’s shot was blocked by Mark Cavanagh. Ten minutes into the second half Morley went ahead as Rose got the slightest of touches to deflect in a shot by Todorovic. Phoenix equalised on 59 minutes when an excellent cross from Quinn was put away at the near post by Steve Suttie. Six minutes later Cavanagh denied the hosts a third goal by keeping out a spot kick from Scott McIlroy. This galvanised Phoenix and in the 68th minute Gary Mayers passed down the line to Suttie who cut inside and gave Dusan Martinovic no chances with a powerful low strike from 20-metres. Disaster struck shortly after when Greg Hayes was dismissed for a second yellow card offence. And with nine minutes left a terrific diving header by Rose earned Morley a share of the points.
Canning City defended the ‘River to the Sea Shield’ by outscoring an injury ravaged Rockingham City 3-1 at Willetton Sports Club. The game was 16 minutes old when Simon Versaico’s pace allowed him to get in behind the defence and deliver a pass to the feet of Marc Sim who neatly tucked the ball into the net from 6-metres. Rockingham went to levelling when Steve Cramphorn sent in a cross which Terry Flynn met unchallenged but headed high. It was a miss that would prove costly as with 34 minutes gone the margin was widened by Sim who reacted quickest to a bouncing ball inside the area which he lobbed over the advancing goalkeeper and into an unguarded net. Early in the second half Rockingham managed to half the deficit as Flynn’s through ball found an unmarked Glenn Smith who drove a low shot to the right of ‘keeper Alan Mattecucci from 15-metres. However, 63 minutes had been played when the hosts restored their two-goal buffer when Mick Van Dongen’s long throw was headed from the grasping hands of Craig Olenjik into the net by Julio Barrendilla. There were further chances for both sides but it wold be Canning who’d claim victory and the Shield for the fifth consecutive season.
Ashfield extended their unbeaten run on home soil by trumping Gosnells City 2-0. Muhammed Komaderic and Jason Van Rooy found the net for Ashfield. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
GLORY RETURN HOME … FINALLY
Ron Smith may have moved to Perth less than two months ago but he’s already saying there is no place like home. Smith’s new-look Perth Glory outfit will be unveiled to home fans for the first time tomorrow and they could hardly have a tougher test than facing last season’s grand finalists Central Coast Mariners. But the fact Smith and his squad have not had to endure hours on a plane is enough to give the team grounds for optimism. Glory coped well with a tough pre-season that included trips to Auckland, Wollongong and Melbourne before last week’s opening round A-League fixture in Brisbane.
All that travel contributed to Glory’s three goal loss in Brisbane last week, and Smith is confident they can turn that result around on Sunday. “It has been great not having to get on airplane after four days … this is the longest I have actually been in Perth in one stretch,” Smith said. “I have been here for a whole five days. And the lads have been really pleased that they haven’t had to fly again, and have actually had a day off. Despite the fact that we lost the game 3-0 there has been so much positive feedback about how we tried to play the game. I have taken a lot of heart from that, and I know the players will as well.”
WARD DELIGHTED WITH SOCCEROOS CALL UP
Former Perth Glory midfielder Nick Ward he has been called into the Socceroos squad for Wednesday’s Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait in the Middle East. Ward, who expressed his disappointment when he missed out on Australia’s post-World Cup squad, has quickly established himself at English Championship side Queens Park Rangers where he’s played all five matches this season. His form had attracted the attention of rival clubs, including Premier League side Fulham, and coach Graham Arnold has now included the energetic midfielder for the up-coming international.
After the dejection of missing out on the Socceroos’ World Cup squad, Ward says he’s thrilled with the opportunity. “I’m delighted with the call-up,” Ward told qpr.co.uk. “It’s a strong squad and it’s always a huge honour to represent your country. You don’t want to be forgotten when you leave your home country to play somewhere else, so it’s nice to know that Australia are still watching me. I haven’t seen the full squad yet so I don’t know who else is playing, but I know a few of the lads who played in the last game, so if they get called up there will be a few familiar faces.”
The complete Australia squad for the clash with Kuwait is John Aloisi (Alaves), Scott Chipperfield, Mile Sterjovski (FC Basel), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Ahmad Elrich (Fulham), Ante Covic (Hammarby), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leicester City), Brett Holman (NEC Nijmegen), Michael Beauchamp (FC Nurnberg), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Scott McDonald (Motherwell), Jonathan McKain (FC Politechnica AEK Timisoara), Nick Ward (Queens Park Rangers), Ryan Griffiths (AFC Rapid Bucuresti), Luke Wilkshire (FC Twente), Josip Skoko (Wigan Athletic), Jacob Burns (TS Wisla Krakow) and Ljubo Milicevic (BSC Young Boys).
ROSS COUNTY SNAP UP WILLIAMS
After a handful of stand-out appearances for Armadale, Alex Williams has returned to Scotland where he’s signed on with First Division outfit Ross County. The hard working striker, scorer of six goals in as many outings for Armadale, was a key figure in the reds recent five game unbeaten run which lifted them off the bottom of the Premier League table. Williams, who played last season for Queen of the South, had hoped to continue his career in Australia but opted to return home after being denied a contract by Perth Glory.
WEEKEND IN SUMMARY
There was minimal movement on the Premier League table at the completion of Round Nineteen. Sorrento remains on top, five points clear of their nearest rival, despite drawing 0-0 at Western Knights. Boima Karpeh, Adrain Sutton, John Migas and Branimir Mikulic were the scorers in Floreat Athena's 4-0 thumping of Cockburn City. Bayswater City were on the receiving end of a 6-1 mauling from Stirling Lions. David Dugdale lead the way with a hat-trick - his third of the season - with Rob Miller, Jordan Rhodes and Riste Stefoski finding the net.
Second half goals from Scott Bulloch, David Onoforo and Barry Wood earned Perth S.C. a 3-0 win from their visit to Armadale. E.C.U. Joondalup trumped Inglewood United 3-2 courtesy of goals from Scott Bushby, Mark Lee and Tom Jones. The points were shared between Wanneroo City and Swan I.C. at 2-2. Craig Bowman and Derek Cooke netted for the home side with the black and whites goals coming via David Foster and Brendan Knox.
Mandurah City gained a deserved point by drawing 1-1 with First Division champion Fremantle Spirit. Ashfield continued their superb home form by accounting for strugglers Gosnells City 2-0. Balcatta ran out 3-0 winners over neighbouring Dianella White Eagles. South West Phoenix picked up a valuable point from a pulsating 3-3 draw at Morley Windmills. Canning City registered their seventh win of the campaign by outscoring Rockingham City 3-1.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Round 19 footballwa.net Match of the Week is the Litis Stadium meeting of high flyers Floreat Athena and Cockburn City. The two combatants are separated on the table by only two points and it’ll be a case of ‘winner takes all’ with the victor continuing their push for top honours while for the vanquished it’ll be time to start planning for next season in earnest. With Floreat having the best defensive record in the league and Cockburn one of the competition’s highest goalscorers, this promises to be an absolute cracker of a game.
The days other big game takes place at Nash Field where a Western Knights side undefeated in eleven outings come face to face with Premier League leader Sorrento. The battle to avoid relegation continues with the bottom three sides all having home ground advantage. Bayswater City welcome an in form Stirling Lions to Frank Drago Reserve, Armadale host an injury depleted Perth S.C. at Alfred Skeet Oval, and Wanneroo City meet Swan I.C. at Kingsway Reserve. Inglewood United, who are a mathematical change of going down, head north to play E.C.U. Joondalup.
South West Phoenix, currently sitting in last place on the First Division table, will be confident of getting a result from their visit to Wotton Reserve when the opposition is a hit and miss Morley Windmills side. Also well and truly in the relegation mix are Gosnells City who have a difficult away game at second placed Ashfield. Two of the seasons under-achievers, Canning City and Rockingham City, square off at Willetton Sportsman Club. Fremantle Spirit, who’ve already been crowned champions, host Mandurah City. Graham Burkett Reserve is the venue for the meeting of neighbours Balcatta and Dianella White Eagles. Forrestfield United have the bye.
VOTE FOR THE FOOTBALLWA.NET PLAYER OF THE YEAR!
With the Premier League and First Division seasons just weeks from completion, voting has opened in the www.footballwa.net 2006 Player of the Year awards. As in previous years, there are two awards up for grabs - the Premier League Player of the Year and the First Division Player of the Year - with website visitors encouraged to vote in either, or both, categories.
The footballwa.net Player of the Year is the only award voted for by the players, coaches and supporters of the local game. Some notable players have taken out the Premier League award, amongst them Gold Medalists Nick Ward and Jamie Coyne. Other previous winners are Antonio Naglieri, Shane Crampton and Branimir Mikulic. The First Division Player of the Year has been running only three years with Adam Raines, Scott Bulloch and Boima Karpeh the recipients.
On a 3-2-1 basis - where three is your preferred player of the season - we invite all our readers to submit their votes in either category as soon as possible. These will be tallied off-line with the winner and minor place getters revealed on Friday 29th September. With only three weeks in which to have your say, send your votes as soon as possible to Brett via email@example.com
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This page was last updated on the 31st October, 2006