GREEN AND GOLD HONOURS FOR BUTSHIIRE AND SAINSBURY
Million Butshiire and Trent Sainsbury have been selected in the Australian Under-16 team for next weeks Asean Football Federation Youth Championship in Jakarta. The tournament, which commences on 9th July, will see the Joeys play Bahrain, Malaysia, Singapore and host nation Indonesia in the space of six days with the final scheduled for 19th July. National youth coach Martyn Crook named an 18-player squad for the championship which serves as preparation for October’s Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championships in Uzbekistan.
Crook is looking forward to seeing how his side scrubs up against Bahrain, Malaysia, Singapore and host nation Indonesia. “It gives me a good opportunity to see the boys in action in conditions different from those they’re used to at home,” said the Joeys coach. “It is also the first time this group of players has played in a tournament against players of their own age. Past tournaments have been against older players, so this will be a very good test of just how we’re doing at this age group.”
The Australian Under-16 squad for the Asean Football Federation Youth Championship is Christopher Bush, Benjamin Harrington (Australian Capital Territory), Kerem Bulut, Brendan Hamill, Benjamin Kantarovski, Robert Kolak, Jared Lum, Nikola Stanojevic, Lawrence Thomas, Marc Warren (New South Wales), Joseph Costa, Nathan Farrell, Chahine Noujaim (South Australia), Petar Franjic, Kamal Ibrahim, Tedros Yabio (Victoria), Million Butshiire and Trent Sainsbury (Western Australia).
FIRST UP WIN FOR GLORY IN INDONESIA
Perth Glory opened their pre-season tour of Indonesia with a 2-1 victory against dual Super League champion Persik Kediri. James Robinson and young trialist Anthony Skorich hit the back of the net in the second half to give the visitors a deserved win in front of a crowd of more than 15,000 at the Brawaijaya Stadium. "It's great to have the bulk of our squad together and the way the lads are combining on the pitch in a short time has really impressed me," Mitchell said. "It was a very entertaining match, end to end stuff, and great quality from both sides."
Robinson opened the scoring with a superbly long-range strike that skimmed the underside of the crossbar in the 54th minute. The injection of fresh legs off the bench initially benefited the hosts whose equaliser arrived via Sinaga on 72 minutes. Six minites later Skorich again showed his value to Glory by smashing in the winner just minutes after coming off the bench. Glory's second and final game of their Indonesian adventure takes place in East Java on Friday when Deltras Sidoarjo provide the opposition.
HARNWELL OUT FOR PRE-SEASON CUP
Perth Glory stalwart Jamie Harnwell will miss the pre-season Cup to rectify a minor hip problem. The decision to go under the knife now should provide Harnwell ample time to recover for the start of the regular season, and ensure a clean bill of health during the upcoming campaign. Harnwell has been on light duties at training in the past few weeks and was restricted in his movement during the club’s recent practice matches.
Harnwell will undergo the procedure early this week and is already mapping out his rehabilitation to ensure he is ready for Perth’s first match of the season against Adelaide on Sunday 17th August. “I’ve been told that this is something that could have been around for a few years and unfortunately it has been irritated somehow and now we need to address it,” Harnwell said. “The decision was made to get it done as soon as possible and I’d rather it happen now than midway through the year and try to manage it for six months.”
Despite this slight setback Harnwell is genuinely excited about the upcoming season. “The atmosphere around the club has been terrific and the new training ground is great, everyone is keen to be at training and we’ve got a great group of lads that all want to play consistent, winning football,” he said. “I’d expect to be back playing at full pace within five to six weeks and my aim is definitely to be ready for the start of the season. I’m determined to be out there doing everything I can for the team from round one onwards.”
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TEN (E.C.U. Joondalup v Cockburn City courtesy E.C.U. Joondalup; Swan I.C. v Inglewood United by Peter Simcox; Perth S.C. v Floreat Athena courtesy Floreat Athena)
Sorrento re-asserted themselves as championship material by spanking Mandurah City 5-1 in wet and windy circumstances at the Hyundai Stadium. Scott Bulloch and Todd Harnwell each scored a brace with Stuart Montgomery also finding the net to lead the Gulls back to the top of the Premier League table. The early pace was quick with Mike Green’s reflexes sending wide a Bulloch shot, then down the other end Jeff Bright was denied by a top notch save from Neil Young. 25 minutes were on the clock when Glen Thomas’ precise through ball gave Bulloch time to drill into the top corner. Keith Brown could have equalised soon after but his goalbound free-kick was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Young. Mandurah’s defensive frailties were exposed by Stuart Banks in the 38th minute by sending Harnwell free to clip over the advancing ‘keeper and doubled the margin. Young made sure the visitors retained the lead early in the second half by keeping out Phil O’Callaghan’s shot. The addition of Stuart Crampton had the desired effect for Mandurah when the striker expertly lobbed into the net from the edge of the 18-yard box. However, Sorrento weren’t about to let their good work unravel and through a couple of quick goals ended the game as a contest. Scott Neville showed his class in the 65th minute by delivering a far post cross which Harnwell slid into the net. Two minutes passed before Neville threaded the ball to an unmarked Bulloch who raced clear to power a low shot into Green’s net. Crampton was doing his best to bring Mandurah back into the game but no matter what he tried Young was there to foil. The final whistle was just minutes away when Bulloch turned provider for Montgomery who put the icing on the cake with a crisp finish at the far post that gave Green no chance.
A dominant opening 45 minutes laid the foundations for E.C.U. Joondalup’s 6-2 triumph over Cockburn City at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. It was a day when little went right for the visitors who ended with nine players following red cards to Jason Godfrey and Adam Surjan. Less than a minute was on the clock when the visitors were caught out for the first time as McMurray intercepted a poor back header and coolly stroked his shot under goalkeeper Nick Feely’s body. The visitors suffered a further blow after 8 minutes with the dismissal of Godfrey for a foul on McMurray, who made no mistake converting the resultant penalty. A Tommy Amphlett pass on the half hour put the ball at the feet of John Thornley who turned his marker before despatching his shot into the net. A fingertip save by Feely denied Amphlett the hosts’ fourth goal, then minutes later Surjan saved the ‘keepers blushes after his poor clearance presented Garin Collins with a shot on goal. The second half commenced with Josh Kamasz, Johnny Mirco and Michael Mirco prominent as Cockburn sought for a way back into the game. However, it was Joondalup that found the net on 52 minutes via a fine counterattack that saw the ball channelled through Anthony Jones, McMurray and Darren Broxton whose superb cross was finished off by Amphlett. Cockburn were by no means out and nine minutes later reduced the deficit through De Felice who netted following a good exchange on the right between Marko Aleksic and Giovanni De Bartolo. A rare error in the Joondalup defence open the door on a comeback as Kamasz fired past Bobson Koroma. But that ended when Surjan was issued his marching orders for a needless foul on McMurray, who converted from the spot with ten minuets to go. There was still time for Cockburn to concede once more with McMurray netting his third penalty following Michael Mirco’s infringement on Amphlett.
Inglewood United stretched their winning run to four games by dumping host club Swan I.C. 3-1 on a chilly afternoon in the Swan Valley. James Sammut scored twice and Mladen Kovacevic once as Inglewood continued their climb up the Premier League ladder. The reward for a bright start by Swan was a 9th minute lead via David Perich who fired low past the goalkeeper after receiving a Damien Scali cross. A brave smothering save by Oliver Taseski prevented Alex Cocking increasing the hosts' advantage minutes later. Robert Monterosso's goal line clearance kept Sammut from bringing the sides level as Inglewood slowly began to find their feet. Andy O'Neill hit the underside of the crossbar from distance as Swan pressed for a second, then Taseski made another crucial save to deny Cocking. The visitors were by this stage seeing more of the ball as Kevin Griffiths and Jason Colli forced good saves from Daniel Agudelo. Their persistence paid dividends in the form of a soft penalty for Aaron Cole's push on Mladen Kovacevic, who netted at the second opportunity after Agudelo blocked his 38th minute spot kick. The second half opened with Inglewood in an attacking frame of mind and neither Shane Pryce nor Michael Baczynski would have been happy with their finishing from Sammut corners. Sandwiched between these was a terrific shot on the run by O'Neill which elicited a fine save from Taseski. A quick break just after the hour put the ball at the feet of Sammut who, afforded time and space, applied a low finish from 15-metres which put the visitors ahead. Swan looked for a quick response and Cocking nearly obliged with a cracking first time strike that beat Taseski but grazed the outside of the post. Displaying a maturity beyond his teenage years, Sammut secured victory in the 77th minute with a perfectly placed shot which went in off the post after being set-up by Matt Wardle.
An inspired two-goal performance from rising star Dean Evans helped Stirling Lions to a 5-0 mauling of Fremantle Spirit at Macedonia Park. With six senior players absent, Stirling's young cubs gave a great account of themselves with Rory Feely bagging two and Phil Arnold one in a one-sided contest. Spectators were still settling into their seats when Ludovic Boi's blistering drive was parried by Steve Grant, but fell into the path of Feely who tapped in after a minute. With Evans and Matthew Italiano controlling play through the centre of the park, and Boi and Arnold providing width, Stirling set about adding to their tally. Mark Redshaw's 12 minutes corner was met by Arnold who glided his header just wide of the mark. Four minutes more had passed when Evans crashed a free-kick through the defensive wall, past the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner. Simon Elton-Bott and Tom Straker defended bravely for Fremantle who battled hard against the constant onslaught. Their only genuine chance of the half came after 27 minutes when Jason Pottier's long-range effort rose high of the crossbar. Redshaw should have done better than shoot into the side netting with only the 'keeper to beat after receiving an exquisite pass from Italiano. Stirling registered their third moments before half-time when Leo Harman's through ball allowed Feely to waltz around the advancing 'keeper and blast into the empty net. It didn't get any better for Fremantle after the break as Boi set-up Evans whose left foot drive from 25-metres ricocheted into the net off the inside of the post. An in-swinging Redshaw corner on 55 minutes saw Arnold rise to the occasion and angle his header in for Stirling’s fifth of the afternoon. Although the game was effectively over, Fremantle never gave up hope but were simply no match for this inspired group of Stirling youngsters who could well have added a few more before the final whistle sounded.
An inventive late 'strike' by Mario Marcinko earned Western Knights a dramatic 3-2 win against Armadale in cold and wet conditions at Nash Field. Armadale flexed their muscle early as an unmarked James Robsinson headed in at the far post from an in-swinging Gary Faria corner with 5 minutes gone. It took only a couple of minutes for the hosts to reply through David Micevski who turned his marker and from an acute angle rifled into the top corner from 15-metres. With Scott Devine, Kodi Madeley and Ryan Pearson running the midfield, Armadale would go on to enjoy the better of the first half possession. A Faria cross was headed over the crossbar by Pearson, who may have been better leaving it for Robinson who was unmarked behind him. In the 26th minute David Annall's attempted back header caught goalkeeper Kevin Miller by surprise, permitting Robinson to nip in and send the bouncing ball into the net. The Knights thought they'd equalised just before the break but referee J.Taran disallowed Rory Grant's effort for offside. The game could very well have been ended early in the second half as Armadale carved out a trio of openings. Faria's cross grazed the bar before going out for a goal kick, Miller used his legs to thwart Robinson in a one-on-one, and Scott Devine headed wide from close-range on the counterattack. It wasn't until midway through the half that the Knights awoke from their slumbers with Grant and substitute Mario Marcinko testing Beau Geerlings. But an error by the teenage 'keeper brought the sides level in the 83rd minute when Barry Devlin's soft shot squirmed under Geerlings' body. At this point Armadale would have settled for a draw but it wasn’t to be as with the final whistle drawing near Macinko caught a Josip Peran with his heel and looped the ball over the Geerlings to steal a home victory.
Perth S.C. returned to the winner’s circle by defeating Floreat Athena 2-1 under lights on a chilly evening at Dorrien Gardens. Strike partners David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera earned Perth the points from a tight derby contest which never really reached any great heights. Oliviera created an early half chance out of nothing with a cross that drifted over the goalkeeper and bounced off the far post. Perth’s ever-creative midfield gave them control of the game with Antonio Naglieri prominent in the centre and Greg Sharland and Matthew Danskin driving them forward down out wide. A finely struck Naglieri shot was acrobatically tipped over the crossbar by Vas Vujacic as the hosts sough the lead. Floreat weren’t without their chances as Branimir Mikulic poked wide from a Miki Vujacic free-kick, and Brad Scott’s jinxing run was deserving of a better finish from the striker. The breakthrough came right on the stroke of half-time when Onoforo wriggled free of the defence and from an acute angle clipped into the net over Vujacic. The second half was just as tight with coaches Graham Normanton and Michael Roki both looking to the bench for a way to crack open the game. Floreat substitute Daniel Neiderberger showed terrific control but lacked a quality execution as his lob cleared the bar. The equaliser came via Ante Kovacevic whose searching free-kick was spilled by Gareth Deeg to present Mikulic with an easy tap in from all of a metre with 61 minutes played. The teams were level just six minutes before Sharland’s centring pass picked out Onoforo who laid the ball back for Oliviera to hammer into the net from 16-metres. Floreat threw caution to the wind in an attempt to snatch a late point. But the closest they came was an explosive Scott drive that Deeg brilliantly blocked and Michael Icanovski thwarted John Migas at the follow-up.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TEN (Canning City v Dianella White Eagles by Phil Unsworth; Forrestfield United v South West Phoenix courtesy South West Phoenix; Bayswater City v Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City; Balcatta v Ashfield courtesy Balcatta)
Canning City stretched their unbeaten run to ten games by despatching Dianella White Eagles 4-1 at Willetton Sports Club. After a fairly even opening Canning went ahead in the 17th minute when Paul Harvey rose to power in Mick Van Dongen's deep corner from the right. Harvey almost had his second shortly after by getting on the end of a Rory Moutett cross but the big strikers diving head was just wide. Dianella's first real threat came after 25 minutes when Steve Cowbrough's shot from 25-metres flashed wide. Just a couple of minutes later Harvey drove a fierce shot into the roof of the net after a scramble for possession on top of the 18-yard box. The deficit was reduced just before the break when Devon Spence spilt Jon Greenwood's powerful drive and Cowbrough rifled in the loose ball. The second half commenced with Canning well in control so it came as no surprise when Harvey completed his hat-trick by receiving a pass from Duncan Hind, turning his marker and rounding Matt Battigelli before netting. The result was put beyond doubt after 72 minutes when Rory Mouttet's long ball was misjudged by Battigelli allowing Paul Van Dongen a simple tap in. Canning could have ended a couple more to the better but Harvey hit the base of upright and Battigelli kept out a Duuane Hepburn penalty.
South West Phoenix moved into second place with a come from behind 2-1 defeat of Forrestfield United on a rain-soaked Hartfield Park. Both teams spent the early part of the match getting accustomed to a heavy pitch far that was from conducive to playing quality football. The best of the early chances came the way of the visitors as James Bergin hit the post and Patrick Quinn volleyed wide. Forrestfield, too, created some good openings and late in the half were denied a penalty when Jonathon Krawec handled the ball while defending a corner. Gary Mayers and Suttie sent efforts past the target as Phoenix enjoyed the majority of possession. So it was against the run of play that Forrestfield went ahead on 69 minutes when Jordan Hart’s powerful downward header from a John Hunter corner was too good for goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. But that lead lasted all of two minutes before a partially cleared corner bounce in front of Binnie who lashed in his shot from 15-metres via the underside of the bar. Forrestfield, however, continued to cause problems with Ahsley Otte and Matt Harold delivering some telling crosses into the area where Montgomery was under pressure. Phoenix snatched the points with nine minutes remaining as Suttie guided the ball into the net after ‘keeper Brad Eiffe parried Mayers’ shot from an acute angle.
Bayswater City lost ground on the leaders when held to a 1-1 draw by Gosnells City at Frank Drago Reserve. Through good movement of the ball Bayswater dominated the early exchanges through Paul Hickey, Adrian Sutton and Tony Cumace but created surprisingly few chances. It took a good fifteen minutes for Gosnells to find their feet and Allan Claxton’s snap on goal was well saved by goalkeeper Gianni Papalia. In the 25th minute the home side won a corner which Cumace flighted brilliantly over a crowded goalmouth and inside the far post to break the deadlock. This failed to spark life into Gosnells who had Alan Dunlop to thank that the half-time margin wasn’t greater when he saved brilliantly from Costa Socratous. Fired up by the word of coach Tony Campbell, Gosnells emerged after the break a stronger proposition, stroking the ball about with growing confidence and creating some attacking moves. The teams were brought level on the hour when Ian Maguire flicked the ball wide to Graham Herd whose cross into the 18-yard box was nodded in by Ciaran Allen. Both teams had their chances to steal ahead in the final half hour but with neither able to convert chances into goals they’d have to settle for shared points.
Balcatta collected maximum points for the first time in a month by edging out Ashfield 1-0 at Graham Burkett Reserve. A bright start by the home side resulted in a 7th minute as Adam Purcell released Bobbi Klenkoski who calmly slotted past advancing goalkeeper Matt Darling. Igor Novakovic was presented with a golden opportunity to increase the difference but faced with an open goal skied his close-range shot against the crossbar and Darling punched clear the loose ball. Ashfield were finding it difficult to keep tabs on Klenkoski who was unlucky not to bag his second with a clever dink that was just beyond the post. The second half followed the same pattern with Balcatta doing all the attacking but unable to find the back of the net. Mark Purcell rolled his shot wide after a mazy run, and Novakovic should have done better than head straight at the 'keeper. Igor Novakovic sent a cross on to the head of Mark Purcell who somehow ballooned the ball high from a couple of metres. Klenkoski could have twice made the game safe late on but failed to capitalise on either opportunity. Ashfield went within inches of punishing their hosts wastefulness with Michael D'Silva's vicious strike from distance cannoned against the upright with Kenny Ftynogiannis well beaten.
Wanneroo City ended their five game winless streak by defeating Rockingham City 3-1 at Lark Hill Sporting Complex. Brian Cairney scored twice and Rowdy Yates once for the visitors with C.McCreery netting for Rockingham. The upset of the round came from Wotton Reserve where Queens Park toppled Morley Windmills 1-0. The late red carding of Farrell Hedges opened the door for R.Brittain to snatch all three points for Queens Park deep in stoppage time. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
SOCCEROOS PITTED AGAINST JAPAN
Australia will face Japan, Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Qatar in the final stage of World Cup qualifying for South Africa 2010. The draw will see Pim Verbeek’s side renewing their rivalry with Japan, the side they defeated in their opening game at the 2006 World Cup with the Japanese gaining revenge at last year’s Asian Cup. Group B is made up of South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and the United Arab Emirates. The top two Group A nations gain automatic qualification for South Africa with the third placed team playing their Group B counterpart over two legs for the right to play the top placed Oceania team the final World Cup spot.
MCNALLY TAKES UP POST WITH GLORY
Perth Glory have appointed former national league goalkeeper Willie McNally as assistant coach for the 2008/09 campaign. McNally complements an already strong coaching line-up headed by one-time Socceroo David Mitchell and includes part-time assistants Robbie Dunn and Kenny Lowe. Fresh from a spell as senior coach at E.C.U. Joondalup, McNally takes on the role having been a goalkeeping coach for the past few seasons with Glory. “It’s great to have Willie on board, he has been around football all of his life and brings some great ideas and experience to the table,” Mitchell said. “The team we have been able to assemble this season will greatly enhance the amount of time we can put into developing our squad and I’m sure it will benefit Perth Glory this season and into the future.”
Currently in Indonesia as part of Glory’s pre-season tour, McNally is delighted to take on an increased role at the club this season and is looking forward to working closely with Mitchell. “I played against Mitch in the old days and I know he is a good lad and I’m very happy to be on board,” McNally said. “I have been involved in football for a long time and to get an opportunity like this is a big thrill and I jumped at the chance to join the professional environment at the Glory. We are all determined to do our bit to make this a positive season for the club and are extremely optimistic about what we can achieve.”
A legend of every sense of the word, McNally was playing up until his 48th birthday. Born in Northern Ireland, he arrived in Perth via New Zealand and initially played for Olympic before figuring in Azzurri’s remarkable unbeaten championship side of 1981. Seven seasons at Adelaide City returned the national league crown in 1986, after which he headed back to Olympic where he won another league title. At club level he also wore Macedonia, Athena, Sorrento, Wanneroo, Swan I.C. and Bassendean Caledonian colours before retiring in 2003. He represented Western Australian on 19 occasions, captaining the State at the Marah Halim Cup and was a key figure in the famous 3-2 victory over European kingpins Werder Bremen in 1992, aged 37.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Neutral supporters are best advised to head north this weekend for the all-important showdown between E.C.U. Joondalup and table topping Cockburn City (3.00pm). Joondalup have plummeted from first to eight with a hat-trick of league losses, however, last week’s Cup defeat of Floreat Athena will have provided a timely and much boost of confidence. Coach Chris Nicholson will hope Garin Collins, Ian McMurray and Tommy Amphlett return from State duty fit and ready for action. Just a single loss in nine starts has Cockburn rightfully installed as pre-match favourite. Johnny Mirco has been in fantastic touch down he left and together with seasoned midfielder Dom De Felice and young striker Aaron Dos Santos form an imposing attacking axis.
Only goal difference separates Mandurah City from Sorrento in second place which is why their meeting at Hyundai Stadium (aka Peelwood Parade) is vital to both clubs. Stuart Currie’s side is yet to lose on home soil and will rely heavily on State trio Andy Brown, Jeff Bright and Keith Brown along with Phil O’Callaghan, who’s already netted a dozen goals this year. Sorrento goalkeeper Neil Young was nothing less than sensational in mid-week for the State side and his contribution along with those of Todd Harnwell, Glen Thomas and Scott Neville will be crucial as the Gulls seek out their first away win of the campaign. Kick-off is 3.00pm.
The lights will be at full beam when Perth S.C. welcomes Floreat Athena to Dorrien Gardens for the late fixture (7.30pm). Coaches Graham Normanton and Michael Roki entered the season with high hopes but neither would be totally happy with how their team has so far performed. Andreas Oliviera comes back into contention for Perth and looms as a key figure along with Antonio Naglieri, Scottish import Steve Campbell and goalkeeper Gareth Deeg. Floreat will be hoping strike partners Daniel Niederberger and Brad Scott pack their scoring boots, while the job of keeping the hosts goalless falls to John Migas and Julian Madaschi.
Inglewood United are the competitions form side and go in search of their fourth straight win when they visit Swan I.C. (3.00pm). Paul Lincoln is hopeful of having David Perich available after injury, but will be without the services of former State goalkeeper Cory Hugo, who is unavailable. Inglewood haven’t lost in the Swan Valley in seven seasons and coach Lee Bamber will no doubt be looking to extend that record. Long-serving goalkeeper and new father Oliver Taseski is enjoying some of the best form of his career, while Michael Baczynski and Jamie Mitsopoulos have been outstanding in midfield.
Western Knights take on fellow struggler Armadale at Nash Field (3.00pm). The Knights are coming off a stunning Cup defeat of Perth in which Anthony Skorich, David Micevski and Cormac Dawson starred. Gary Faria returns to an Armadale line-up that has been bolstered by the arrival of English striker James Robinson and Andy Pomfret. Stirling Lions will be without influential duo Alan Muir (suspended) and Marc Anthony (away with Perth Glory) for their home fixture with Fremantle Spirit (3.00pm). Goalkeeper Steve Grant, Lee Hallums and Simon Elton-Bott hold the key for Fremantle who are in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of the table.
First Division leader Canning City welcome Dianella White Eagles to Willetton Sportsman Club in what promises to be a cracking encounter. The chasing pack is led by Bayswater City who have home ground advantage when Gosnells City call in at Frank Drago Reserve. Level on points with Bayswater are South West Phoenix who are tipped to pick up all three points when they visit Forrestfield United. A form slump has dropped Balcatta down to fourth but they’re expected to be too good for Ashfield at Graham Burkett Reserve. Morley Windmills meet Queens Park at Wotton Reserve, and Rockingham City take on Wanneroo City under lights at Lark Hill Sporting Complex.
MANDURAH READY FOR THE CHALLENGE SAYS BRIGHT
For Jeff Bright there is no greater honour than donning the black and gold of Western Australia. Bright has long been recognised one of the best left-sided players on the local scene and the 23-year old carried his superb early season form with Mandurah City over into recent State team friendlies against Perth Glory and the East Java Under-23 team. “I’m incredibly honoured to be selected to play for Western Australia,” enthused Bright, who made his senior State debut in 2003. “It’s been a few years since I put on the jersey … I love representing the State and any chance to better yourself is worth taking.”
Mandurah could not have dreamed of a better start to their inaugural Premier League season. After nine games they are positioned joint second, having already claimed the scalps of some of the local scenes biggest clubs. “Our goal this year was simply not to get relegated and we were quietly confident that we would be able to achieve that,” he explained. “We have started a lot better then expected but we’re not about to get ahead of ourselves … it’s still one game at a time for us.”
Bright is not surprised one iota by Mandurah’s early success. “I remember chatting with footballwa.net before the Night Series saying we wouldn’t be afraid of anyone or anything put in front of us - that was our attitude then and it still is,” he said. “We have really gelled together as a team we got the players in after the Night Series that we needed to strengthen the line-up, no more so than Phil O’Callaghan who really has added something special to the attack.”
There’s still a lot of football to be played this year and although Mandurah have performed well so far Bright isn’t about to tip them to complete the job and claim the Premier League title. “It’s going to be a tough second half of the season and we’re prepared for whatever challenges lie ahead,” said Bright. “We know what we are capable of but to win the league at our first attempt would take something special and quite a bit luck. We’ll be happy to just continue playing entertaining football which keeps the crowds coming back.”
This years competition is the tightest in years - just seven points separate first and ninth - but over coming weeks Bright expects to see the pretenders fall away as Cockburn City take pole position. “No one should underestimate Cockburn - they are in red-hot form,” he said. “Mirko Jelicic has moulded them into a well-drilled unit that is very difficult to break down and will run for 90 minutes. Inglewood United and Stirling Lions are in the same boat, both are very fit and well-organised so they’d be my top three.”
Next up for Mandurah is a home date with Sorrento, who share second, on Saturday evening. “We’ve been attracting massive crowds down here in the Peel and they just seem to be getting bigger so hopefully they’ll act as an extra player for us this weekend,” said Bright. “Sorrento are a physical side who like to stuck in, but they also come with a game plan which they stick to. Todd Harnwell is always a difficult player to play against as is Scotty Bulloch, but hopefully we can get them under control early.”
ROBINSON AIMS TO BRING GOALS TO ARMADALE
Armadale's latest addition, Englishman James Robinson, has finally caught his breathe after a whirlwind couple of weeks. A fortnight ago the 24-year old striker was enjoying the English summer, savouring the achievements of his first season with Ryman North Division outfit Maldon Town. Days later he was on a jet bound for Perth where, 24 hours after touching down, Robinson played his part in Armadale defeating Fremantle Spirit to move off the foot of the Premier League table.
Robinson impressed greatly during his 86 minutes on the park against Fremantle and following a weeks' break is keenly anticipating getting amongst the goals for his new club. "The pace of the game over here is slower than it is back in the UK, which helped me last week as I probably had jet leg," he said. "But the game is more like a passing game here in Perth, it will take me a little time to get use to it but I'm looking forward to the challenge - and I hope I can contribute on the score board for the club."
Armadale have found goals hard to come by this year and Robinson has been brought into alleviate that problem. "The side has struggled to score goals this season, I think they had only scored three goals in the first eight games, and when you join a struggling club it can be difficult," he commented. "They've had a lot of injury problems this season but it seems to be clearing up. We've got a couple of other signings and Gary Faria has returned from overseas so it's looking up for the club."
Robinson initially made his mark with amatuer outfit Priory Sports by scoring 137 goals in just 102 appearances. He moved into semi-professional ranks by joining Heybridge Swifts in 2004 which preceded stays at Tiptree United and Maldon Town, where last season he was named the 'Managers Player of the Year'. "It was great to win the award but I think I was given it me more out of sympathy because I was played out of position for most of the season. The manager used me as a left wing back, not a striker, but I still scored a few a goals from there which was pleasing for me."
Brad Hassell is delighted to have Robinson on board for the Reds. "He did well on his debut considering he got off the plane on Friday morning and he'll be better for the run," commented the Armadale coach. "He's looked good in training. He's got two great feet and has added a little bit of quality to the squad. He created a number of great chances for himself out of nothing against Fremantle and was unlucky on a couple of occasions so the early signs are all good."
LOCAL AUTHOR NEEDS YOUR ASSISTANCE
There’s an old proverb that says “Every time an old person, dies a library burns to the ground” - and never has this rung truer than when attempting to piece together the history of players, clubs and games within the context of West Australian football. Luckily, Richard Kreider is doing his bit to document the games rich history through his forthcoming publication, ‘Paddocks to pitches : a history of Western Australian football’.
Kreider, a long-serving committee member of the Football Hall of Fame, is seeking the input of local clubs and associations to ensure his third book is the most comprehensive history of Western Australian football ever attempted. Information is sought concerning the history of your club, the people who formed it and the names of those who have kept it going until now - both on the field and behind the scenes. All honours the club has won are also required.
Information is also sought regarding the history of your Association and the people involved in forming the body and those who have been running it since. Names of clubs/regions within your body are also necessary. Remember, although there is never too much information when it comes to a project such as this - any contribution, no matter how small, is better than nothing at all. Likewise, print-quality photographs will be greatly appreciated.
Contributions cane either be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted by regular mail to SportsWest Media, c/o Richard Kreider, PO Box 11, Leederville, WA 6902. Kreider has been involved in the local game for 36 years. A former State and National Select Amateur goalkeeper, he has the honour of reporting on every first class Perth Glory home game since the club’s inception. He is the author of two self-published books, ‘A Soccer Century’ and ‘The Soccerites’, both which are still available through http://www.soccerites.com/.
MELBOURNE OFFERS TOMICH A NEW BEGINNING
Tommi Tomich is hopeful his joining South Melbourne can kick-start his A-League career. The strongly built goalkeeper was cast aside by Perth Glory during the off-season leading 28-year old Tomich to search out greener pastures. “The chances of being picked up by an A-League club is greater if you’re playing in the east so moving to Melbourne is the best option for me,” he explained. “I’d been playing State League for a decade and there was nothing on offer from Glory so I felt needed to get out of my comfort zone and give myself a new challenge.”
It’s not difficult to understand why Tomich has given up hope of earning a full-time national league contract with his hometown club. When first choice custodian Jason Petkovic broke his leg in late 2006 it was to Tomich that Glory immediately turned. But despite impressing greatly in his 18 appearances Tomich has not heard a peep from the club since the 2007/08 season came to a close. “Honestly, I was really disappointed I wasn’t offered something long-term by the club,” he said. “Considering the job I did for Glory, I feel I deserved a contract.”
Tomich made a dream start to his time with South Melbourne by keeping Western Suburbs scoreless only days after arriving in Victoria. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start at the club than to keep a clean sheet on debut,” Tomich commented. “And it was good to see a familiar face with Vas Kalogeracos on the pitch and I got to catch up with him after the game.” In fact, Tomich is yet to experience defeat at South Melbourne who defeated Western Suburbs and Oakleigh Cannons before drawing with the Australian Institute of Sport last weekend.
Prior to linking up with South Melbourne at the start of June, Tomich had been busying himself between the posts for E.C.U. Joondalup. “I enjoyed my time with ECU, they’re strong going forward and have the ability to create lots of scoring opportunity, they also have good young players coming through,” Tomich commented. “It’s pretty much anyone’s game as to who’ll win the league at the moment but you’d have to say Cockburn City, Floreat Athena and Sorrento have the depth to go all the way with Mandurah City and Joondalup the dark horses.”
STATE TEAM GOES DOWN FIGHTING IN INDONESIA
Western Australia’s first foray overseas in thirteen years ended in disappointment as East Java All-Province Under-23's won the inaugural Friendship Cup 2-0 this evening at Gelora Deltras Sidoargo Stadium in Surabaya, Indonesia. The State side battled hard in stifling humidity only to fall behind to superb second half strike from Wahyu Gunawan with Jaya Teguh Angga sealing victory with the last passage of the night. "Obviously it was very disappointing to lose, but I am sure that the boys will learn from the experience," commented coach Robbie Dunn after the game. "Tonight we only started to play the way I knew we could after we conceded, and in the heat it was always going to make it difficult to get back in the game."
The first half was memorable only for its' lack of highlights as the two teams wrestled for control. Goalkeeper Neil Young was quick off his line in the 18th minute to rob Dede Hugo as he attempted to be first to a long ball. The offside trap was beaten again four minutes later when Rendi Irwan went one on one with Young who battered away the shot and John Migas put the loose ball out for a corner. WA's first opening came shortly after through Andy Brown who drove into the 18-yard box only to be thwarted by quick thinking goalkeeper Heri Prasetyo. Half-time was only minutes away when Ian McMurray headed over the crossbar after a good exchange on the left between Johnny Mirco and Scott Bulloch.
A rash of substitutions at the start of the second half had the desired effect for East Java as in quick succession Munhar forced a near post save from Young and captain Juan Revi fired high. The deadlock was broken in the 58th minute when Gunawan curled a superb free-kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner, giving Young no chance. WA worked hard to get back on level terms as McMurray fired across the face of goal, and Andy Brown sent a free header wide from 6-metres. Andy Brown turned provider in the 89th minute with a terrific cross in behind the defence which substitute Paul Harvey narrowly failed to connect with. East Java counterattacked through Feri Ariawan who lured Young off his line before slipping the ball to a suspiciously offside looking Angga who tapped in at close-range.
Western Australia (squad): Neil Young, Jeff Bright, Keith Brown, Andy Brown, Scott Bulloch, John Migas, Dean Evans, Marc Anthony, Johnny Mirco, Andrija Jukic, Ian McMurray, Kenny Ftynogiannis, Paul Harvey, Garin Collins, Tommy Amphlett
East Java All-Province Under-23 (squad): Heri Prasetyo, Wahyu Gunawan, Beny Wahyudi, Munhar, Ari Noviga, Juan Revi, Andik Vermansyah, Rendi Irwan, Dede Hugo, Hendro Siswanto, Harmoko, Juni Irawan, Sunaji, Roni Nurdiansyah, Saikhu, Feri Ariawan, Yandri Nirahua, Jaya Teguh Angga, Andul Rochim, Agung Dwi
Bookings: Bulloch (17)
DESIRE FOR SUCCESS KEPT COYNE AT GLORY
Jamie Coyne knocked back approaches from five clubs to help Perth Glory reclaim their place as a major power in Australian football. As Glory prepare for a two-game tour of Indonesia, 27-year old Coyne said his desire to be part of the club's resurrection lead to him rejecting offer from several A-League rivals. "I had four or five other A-League options to look at and while it's really flattering to have that kind of interest, I desperately want to be part of a Perth Glory side that has some success," explained Coyne. "This is a club with a strong history and being from Perth you really don't want your team to be doing badly."
The regeneration of Glory under David Mitchell has instilled a new sense of confidence and optimism at the club. "When the club's in your heart, it hurts a lot when it's not where you want it to be. The last two years have been disappointing but everyone's looking forward now and I really believe we can have a top four finish this year," said Coyne. "Dave Mitchell has taken over and I think it's helped revitalise some of the players. It was a case of everyone having to prove themselves again, proving that they deserve to be at this club. Training is going well, there's a few new faces and there's a good spirit about things."
ON THIS DAY ... 1981
Following time in national competition with Newcastle KB United former England international Mick Channon guested for Gosnells City in their home fixture with Kingsway Olympic on Sunday 24th June 1981. Playing in midfield, Channon demonstrated exquisite touch and inch-prefect distribution throughout the State League fixture witnessed by a crowd of around 2,000. In the 22nd minute he showed his danger in front of goal with a dipping free-kick destined for the top corner before goalkeeper Paul Drury spectacularly tipped it over the crossbar. And four minutes from half-time Channon turned two defenders only to be brought down inside the area, the guest player picking himself up to convert from the spot and give Gosnells the lead.
The second half belonged almost entirely to Olympic with captain Stephen Sceats the mastermind behind their relentless forays into attack. Yet was Gosnells that should have wrapped up the game after 51 minutes when Andy Godfrey stabbed the ball wide following a flying run down the left by Brian McGovern. Under pressure for much of the remainder Gosnells looked shaky at the back but goalkeeper Malcolm Vickery was in superb form and continually denied the visitors an equaliser. Just as it appeared as though Gosnells would hold on, Olympic conjured up a goal though unmarked striker Len Dundo who guided past the defence and slipped the ball beyond Vickery.
Channon began his professional career in late 1965 with Southampton for whom he’d make 391 appearances and won the first of his 46 international caps for England. In mid-1977 he transferred to Manchester City (72 games) but after two seasons returned to the Dell where he added a further 119 games to his tally. Short spells with Caroline Hills (Hong Kong) and Newcastle United preceded his signing for Norwich City in 1982 where in three seasons he played 112 times which included the 1985 League Cup Final victory over Sunderland. After stays with Portsmouth and Irish side Finn Harps, Channon called to an end a twenty-year career in which he made 718 senior appearances, scoring 233 goals.
COACH DEFENDS STATE SELECTIONS
Robbie Dunn has been a man under fire since the State squad was named a fortnight ago. It seems every man and his dog has taken a shot at the State coach with much of the criticisms targeted at the selection process, specifically a lack of defensive muscle and the inclusion of two players from the First Division. What few have taken into account is the far from ideal circumstances Dunn was presented with in which to assemble his team.
Officially appointed State coach early in May, Dunn was given just a few weeks in which to select the 15-players who'd represent Western Australia in Indonesia this week. "On my behalf Football West contacted all clubs and asked that players be nominated for State duty - unfortunately, not all and not nearly enough clubs replied," he explained. "Football West needed time to organise visa's, etc so I had only three sessions in which to select a squad. I reduced the numbers after one internal trial match and then added other players after watching games on subsequent weekends."
As part of the process Dunn sought counsel from a number of prominent and respected members of the coaching fraternity. "I asked several coaches and past players for their thoughts and recommendations of players as trusted references for my selections," commented Dunn. "Amongst those I spoke with were David Mitchell, Kenny Lowe, Willie MacNally, Graham Normanton, Ronnie Campbell, Stuart Currie, Robbie Zabica, who took the goalkeeper sessions for me, and Scott Miller, who was my unofficial assistant."
Dunn was given an unexpected selection headache by the withdrawal of several high profile players from those he'd short-listed. "I contacted all potential candidates to inform them of my interest but some could not make themselves available for the trip for a variety of reasons. Amongst them were Tommi Tomich, Aaron Cole, Ante Kovacevic, Gianfranco Circati, Matty Danskin and Andreas Oliveira," Dunn continued. "And then there were several other players who I asked to attend training but never turned up." Following a whirlwind few weeks, Dunn's State team came up trumps by defeating Perth Glory 3-2 in their first challenge. "My role as State coach is to select players who can play a certain way and to the style I want, which is what I did," Dunn said. "Against Glory we attacked confidently as a team and our defence was pretty sound. We weren't perfect by a long shot but no one who saw the game can say the players didn't give their all or that they didn't put on a very good display."
Nothing would give Dunn greater pleasure than leading WA to victory in Indonesia, but regardless of the outcome the former Socceroo considers the standard of the local game to be great. "WA football is better than what we think and some of the players are quality," commented Dunn. "I know our great game is all about opinions, but it would be really great to one day see our fans get really behind this group of unpaid individuals who give all they have for the black and gold."
GIRLS READY FOR NATIONAL STAGE
The State Under-15 and Under-17 Girls teams are hard at work in preparation for the forthcoming National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour. The girls have come through an arduous selection process and will be handed the honour of representing Western Australia against some of the best young players in the country and under the watchful eyes of national team selectors.
Tanya Oxtoby and Coach Nicola Williams have assembled their squads from some of the finest young female players in the State with over eighty players taking part in the trials. The coaches, who head up Football West's National Training Centre Girls Program, have been impressed with the quality of players at their disposal and are confident they both have put together squads that can compete with the best that the rest of Australia has to offer.
The Nationals provide a unique opportunity for young players to prove themselves on the big stage and put themselves in the frame for national team honours. "This is a fantastic opportunity for our girls to go over and show the rest of the country how good they are," said Oxtoby. "To compete against the best players in the country in their own age group allows them to challenge themselves to be better players, which is what it's all about."
The 2008 State Under-15 Girls squad consists of Becky Bennett, Ashley Byrne, Caitlin Coyles, Ebony Drane, Thia Eastman, Domenique Fedele, Jaymee Gibbons, Stephanie Goadsby, Annique Keisler, Sadie Lawrence, Courtney Omodei, Nadine Rechichi, Tash Rigby, Rebecca Salsano, Krystle Spanos, Sarah Van Noort. Travelling with the team are Tanya Oxtoby (coach), Amanada Tana (assistant coach) and Stacey Learmont (manager).
The 2008 State Under-17 Girls squad consists of Carla Bennett, Danielle Calautti, Nicole Campbell, Chloe Coghlan, Rebecca Davies, Ellis Glanfield, Samantha Kerr, Ella Mastrantonio, Shannon May, Elle Semmens, Rachael Smith, Mariana Tabain, Corrin Walmsley, Kathleen Waycott, Casey Webb and Emily Williams. Team officials are Nicola Williams (coach), Ciara Conway (assistant) and Amanda Mattiaccio (manager).
INEXPERIENCED SOCCEROOS GUNNED DOWN BY CHINA
A young and inexperienced Australia suffered a 1-0 loss to China in front of more than 70,000 fans at Sydney's ANZ Stadium this evening. Sun Xiang's wonder strike after 12 minutes inflicted upon Australia their first home loss in a World Cup qualifier since 1981. With the Socceroos assured of a place in the next phase of qualifiers, coach Pim Verbeek rested a number of key players in preference for providing much need experience to several international rookies. Australia re-commence their qualifying campaign in September when Asia's top ten nations battle it out for four automatic berths to South Africa 2010.
After a cagey opening devoid of any real attacking threats, China snatched the lead when a partial clearance sat at the feet of Xiang whose blistering strike from 25-metres was too good for goalkeeper Michael Petkovic. Australia's first real opportunity came after 20 minutes when Bruce Djite just failed to get his head on a Harry Kewell cross. As the game started to warm up Mile Jedinak went close with a header while on the half hour Xiang blasted high of the crossbar. Australia continued to press and Carl Valeri stung the hands of Song Zhan-yu with a long-range bomb after 42 minutes.
Australia began the second half with a lot more urgency, but it was China who went closest when Qu Bo latched on to a long ball but blasted high with only Petkovic to beat. The Socceroos were let off the hook in the 58th minute when Wang Dong's floated shot hit the bar following another Chinese counterattack. Despite dominating possession, Australia's attack lacked the creativity and sharpness required to open up the visiting side. In the 76th minute Rueben Zadkovich up-ended Gao Lin for a Chinese penalty, and although Zheng Zhi beat Petkovic from the spot the referee ordered the kick be re-taken and Zhi dragged his second attempt wide.
ASSOCIATION CUP, ROUND THREE
Ian McMurray’s late penalty conversion earned E.C.U. Joondalup a 1-0 win over Floreat Athena at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. The host club were quickly into stride as just 7 minutes were on the clock when Alex Dunn was called upon to deny Tommy Amphlett after he latched on to a neat flick by McMurray. The opening goal should have arrived not long after when Darren Broxton picked out McMurray at a free-kick but the Joondalup captain crashed the ball narrowly high from close-range. This seemed to wake Floreat from their slumber and in quick succession Raphael Insurralde crashed a 20-metres against the crossbar, then from an Adam Bachillor cross James Isaia headed just wide. On the half hour Dean Apelgren sent Brad Scott clear but goalkeeper Bobson Koroma was out quick to eliminate the danger. Six minutes later the visitors thought they had the lead when Paul Vastistas’ back post cross found Insurralde who cheekily back heeled the ball past Koroma only to have Craig Simpson clear from on the line. Joondalup lifted following this let off with McMurray heading straight at Dunn while in stoppage time John Thornley clipped a shot just past the post. The start of the second half continued in much the same fashion with Thornley again placing wide, a low strike by McMurray was too close to the ‘keeper, and Jason Mirco fired straight at Dunn. The game opened up as it entered the final twenty minutes and Koroma was called upon to save from Scott, while Dunn kept out another McMurray header. Just five minutes were remaining when substitute Andrew Durkan’s drive into the 18-yard box was illegally halted by Jovo Pavlovic, leaving referee David Costello no choice but to award a penalty which McMurray confidently stroked into the net. Floreat worked hard to send the game into extra-time but with the central pairing of Simpson and Scott Blackmore in superb touch there was simply no way Joondalup were going to remain on the park even a minute longer than required.
Western Knights kept their Cup dream alive inflicting a surprise 3-0 loss on Perth S.C. at Dorrien Gardens. Rory Grant got the ball rolling when he gave the Knights an early lead with teenage sensation Anthony Skorich netting twice after the break to secure Ronnie Campbell’s team a place in the semi-finals. A cautious opening was brought to an abrupt end on 16 minutes when Grant ghosted in behind the home defence to volley in from 6-metres a perfectly flighted Cormac Dawson cross. The margin should have been increased after Grant and David Micevski combined to tee-up Skorich who scuffed his shot harmlessly wide with only Gareth Deeg to beat. Perth’s first clear-cut opportunity came via a free-kick which Todd Howarth sent past the defensive wall but straight into the arms of goalkeeper Kevin Miller. This sparked some life into the home team and Miller did well to parry an explosive Andrija Jukic drive after 27 minutes. The action switched quickly to the opposite end where Dawson delivered a cross which saw Deeg collide with Gianfranco Circati and allowed Grant to fire into an empty net, however, referee Paul Anderson disallowed the effort by ruling Skorich to have impeded Deeg. The second half was five minutes old when Daniel Micevski charged down the right and slip the ball through to David Micevski whose shot from 15-metres rebounded off the post and in the blink of an eye Skorich stretched the Knights lead to two-goals. Perth again went in search of a response but Brendan Ross and Antonio Naglieri had shots blocked in a goalmouth scramble, Miller pushed wide a Naglieri drive and Howarth could only find the side netting with an angled shot. The result was put beyond doubt on 72 minutes when David Micevski hooked the ball in from the left to Skorich who made no mistake from 10-metres. Skorich was unlucky not to complete what would have been a deserving hat-trick but after rounding Deeg the teenager’s deft lob hit the crossbar.
A rash of late goals flattered Sorrento who cruised through to the semi-finals with a 6-0 defeat of Forrestfield United at Percy Doyle Reserve. Forrestfield had come looking for a fairytale win against their classier opposition but soon found themselves on the back foot as Todd Harnwell made no mistake with a simple header courtesy of Steve McDonald's nod down. The Gulls could have had their second with ten minutes elapsed but Glen Thomas' header from Harnwell's delivery came back off the crossbar. A slip by Stuart Banks presented a great chance for Jordan Hart to equalise after 20 minutes but the young striker rolled his effort wide with only Neil Young to beat. It was a miss that would prove costly as a minute later Thomas completed a sublime passage of play by coolly slotted under Brad Eiffe to make it two-nil. Despite dominating possession and creating by far the greater chances, the home side failed to beat Eiffe for a third time before the half-time whistle sounded. After the break was a similar story although Harnwell should have done better than sent a free header wide from Danny Cain's superb cross from the left. It was only when the full effects of a difficult game began to take their toll on Forrestfield's youngsters that Sorrento racked up four further goals. A long up-field punt from Young was flicked on by MacDonald to Harnwell who held off his marker to smartly finish low into the net after 80 minutes. McDonald added himself to the scoresheet by volleying in a Harnwell cross as Forrestfield were caught out at the back. Harnwell brought up his hat-trick in the 88th minute after nipping in front of the 'keeper to divert in a Thomas cross. The Gulls quickly turned the ball over after the re-start and Thomas' cross field pass fell kindly to MacDonald who lashed in goal number six from 10-metres.
A dominant Hamersley Rovers produced the upset of the round with a 1-0 defeat of Fremantle Spirit at Kingsway Reserve. Daniel Partington-Smith's goal midway through the first half was all that was required to send the amateur club into the last four. Hamersley cast aside some early to create a number of good half chances as Cieran Hughes made his presence felt with some penetrating runs out of midfield. The deciding goal arrived in the 28th minute when Hughes broke away down the left and whipped a cross into the 18-yard box where an unmarked Partington-Smith looped a neat left-footer past goalkeeper Steve Grant. Hamersley went close to adding a second to their tally ten minutes later though Ian Bunton whose fierce drive from 20-metres sailed narrowly high of the crossbar. Fremantle looked anything but the pre-match favourite as they struggled against a well-organised opponent who had clearly done their homework. Bunton lead by example in the middle of the park where he effectively tamed Fremantle's attacking desires, and on those occasions the port side did get going Stuart Brett and Craig Rogers were quick to snuff out the danger. It took until the 70th minute for Fremantle to finally threaten when Raveshian Kuppusamy was sent one-on-one with goalkeeper Michael Lawson who blocked the shot, then watched as the striker put the rebound wide of the upright. The port side attacked in numbers as the minutes ticked down and only through a combination of dogged defending and pure luck was it that a fast-tiring Hamersley held on. Tom Straker found himself within sight of goals only to have his shot block by Craig’s desperate lunge. Fremantle's best chance came in the 90th minute when Lee Hallums headed over the bar from all of 2-metres from a Simon Elton-Bott cross. The final whistle of referee Steven Gregory shortly after signalled the commencement of celebrations amongst the Hamersley faithful which continued well into the night.
STATE OF CONFUSION
When Football West made the recent announcement that the State team was back on the football calendar you could feel the excitement within the local football community. At last, the best players Western Australia has to offer would be given the opportunity to pit their skills against teams from interstate and overseas. And the buzz grew even louder when former Socceroos defender Robbie Dunn was installed as State coach, fresh from a stint as assistant with Perth Glory.
The calibre of players in the Premier League is high, some would say the best it's been for some time, and there was much debate around which players were in line-up a call-up. A decision to invite the State League coaches to nominate players for State team duty was a bit unusual but generally embraced by the football community. Dunn then conducted trials and visited local grounds to get a first hand look at those who'd been earmarked for selection.
All was finally revealed late last week with the announcement of a 15-player State squad to play Perth Glory and the Indonesian Olympic team. Public response to the squad has been mixed and lead to a deluge of messages flooding into the footballwa.net 'office'. And there was one common question being asked - 'How could so many exciting, talented and experienced players be overlooked?'
The State team represents the cream of West Australian football. And yet there is no place for Goalkeeper of the Year Phil Straker, Oliver Taseski, Ante Kovacevic, Aaron Cole, Liam Lilly, Shane Pryce, Matt Danksin, Andreas Oliviera, Phil O'Callaghan or Todd Harnwell. Each has a proven track record and has begun the 2008 Premier League campaign with flying colours.
Opinions will always vary greatly whenever a representative side of any kind is selected. Nothing against any of the 15 players who made the cut on this occasion, but when you consider the wealth of experience and talent which was omitted then questions need be asked. Regardless, we do wish Dunn and his entire squad all the best in Indonesia where we're sure they'll do Western Australia proud!
MATILDAS PERFORM STRONGLY IN SOUTH KOREA
Australia have given a good account of themselves at this weeks Peace Cup tournament in Suwon, Korea Republic. The Matilda's bounced back from an opening game loss to the United States by defeating Italy and Brazil to finish the group phase in second place. The eight-nation Peace Cup was won by the United States who defeated Canada 1-0 in the final on Saturday 21st June. Flying the flag in South Korea for the west coast were Lisa De Vanna, Collette McCallum and Lydia Williams.
Abby Wambach's late goal earned the United States a 2-1 victory over the Matildas on the opening day of competition. A tight first half closed with Natasha Kai firing the United States in the lead from close-range. Parity was restored after 58 minutes when Heather Garriock converted from 10-metres an Amy Chapman cross. The decider arrived in the 77th minute when Wambach's powerful near post header trickled over the line despite Melissa Barbieri getting a glove on the ball. Lisa De Vanna played a full game, Collette McCallum came off with 85 minutes gone and Lydia Williams was an unused substitute.
The Matildas bounced back two days later with a trio of second half goals to rout Italy 3-0. Heather Garriock gave Australia the upper hand after 66 minutes by converting a cross from Kyah Simon. The ball was turned over almost immediately from the re-start and Garriock was again in the right place at the right time to tap in. Amy Chapman added the third after 89 minutes by capitalizing on good the lead-up work of Amber Neilson, Caitlin Munoz and Karla Reuter. Lisa De Vanna and Lydia Williams both saw out the full 90 minutes with Collette McCallum an unused substitute.
An injury time strike from 16-year old Kyah Simon scored the Matildas a memorable 1-0 win against 2007 World Cup runners-up Brazil in their final match of the tournament. Brazil hit the crossbar via de Farias in the first half with Cheryl Salisbury doing likewise for the Matildas on the hour in what was a tight but entertaining contest. Australia stepped up a gear late on with Lisa De Vanna forcing a good save from the goalkeeper. Regulation time had elapsed when Simon had time and space to fire into the net from the edge of the 18-yard box. Lisa De Vanna played a full game, Collette McCallum came off in the 92nd minute and Lydia Williams was an unused substitute.
DOYLE SIGNS ON FOR GLORY
Perth Glory has added talented young utility Hayden Doyle to its roster for the 2008/09 A-League campaign. 19-year old Doyle has already experienced football in Europe, serving a two-year apprenticeship at English club Stoke City and a further season in Greece with Niki Volou. "Hayden brings some quality experience for a young man, creative footwork and a good understanding of the game," coach David Mitchell said. "Hayden has a real enthusiasm and hunger to be playing in the A-League and has shown in games and at training that he can match that enthusiasm with ability."
Born in South Australia, Doyle first played football at the age of six following a move to Bunbury. While his family have since returned to Adelaide, Doyle has always maintained his support of Glory and recalls many visits to Members Equity Stadium. "It is fantastic to have the opportunity to play for the club that you supported as a kid and I'm looking forward to being part of the squad which is focused on achieving big things this season," said Doyle, whose signed a one-year deal with Glory.
Doyle will fly out with his new team mates to East Java on Wednesday as Glory embark on a two match pre-season tour. They take on Indonesian Super League side Persik Kediri on Sunday 29th June and back this up with a clash against Deltras Sidoarjo on Friday 4th July. Glory has nineteen contracted players for the coming season and is locked in discussions with a number of players as Mitchell seek to finalise his squad.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Soccer Pools Cup takes centre stage this weekend with four intriguing ties, highlighted by the northern suburbs meeting of E.C.U. Joondalup and Floreat Athena. Joondalup eliminated Cup holder Stirling Lions from the competition in the last round but have since been hampered by injury to a number of key players. Captain Ian McMurray has led by example up-front, Tommy Amphlett provides a never-ending avenue to goals and it’s been difficult to find fault with Craig Simpson’s defensive contributions. Not a great deal has gone according to plan this season for Floreat who earned their place in the quarter-finals by downing Mandurah City. John Migas and Ante Kovacevic have been outstanding at the back for Michael Roki’s team while at the opposite end of the park Brad Scott is in terrific goalscoring touch.
Dorrien Gardens hosts the other all Premier League clash in which Perth S.C. square of with Western Knights. Perth are the undisputed Cup kings with ten trophies to their credit, a far cry from the Knights single success in 2002. Graham Normanton’s team were pushed all the way by Inglewood United in the last round before a couple of late goals booked their place in the last eight. They may lean heavily on strike partners Andreas Oliviera and David Onoforo but the pair are by no means the Blues only avenue to goal with the likes of Antonio Naglieri and Andrija Jukic also capable of inflicting damage given the opportunity. The Knights swept past Morley Windmills last time out but this time face a much more difficult task. How much influence David Micevski, Daniel Micevski and Barry Devlin can have across the centre of the park will determine their fate.
Flying the flag for the First Division are Forrestfield United who have the daunting task of meeting Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Forrestfield have been well served by a dedicated group of youngsters this season and the contributions of John Hunter, Kyle Melling, Ashley Otte and Jason Feather will have a major bearing on whether they can upset the Gulls. Todd Harnwell has been on fire up front for Sorrento but it was towering defender Steve McDonald who scored twice when they saw off Wanneroo City in the last round. Scott Bulloch was outstanding for the State team against Perth Glory in midweek and is sure to be a key figure along with no-nonsense defender Shaun Kilkelly.
The only remaining amateur team, Hamersley Rovers, welcomes Fremantle Spirit to Kingsway Reserve. Hamersley have already claimed the scalp of Bayswater City and will no doubt be pumped up come the mid-afternoon kick-off. The central quartet of Ian Bunton, Jesse Higgins, Martin Sherwin and Paul Bunton will have a big say in whether the home side progress to the last four. There’s not been a lot to smile about so far this season for Fremantle who needed a stoppage penalty conversion to get past Armadale in the last round. Callum Roberts and Jason Barrera have been in fine form for the port side and will feature prominently alongside Smon Elton-Bott and goalkeeper Steve Grant. All four Cup games commence at 2.30pm.
PETKOVIC AIMS TO MAKE MOST OF BIG CHANCE
Michael Petkovic has a golden opportunity to cement his place as Australia's second choice goalkeeper but isn't expecting to dislodge Mark Schwarzer just yet. The Sivasspor custodian is the strong favourite to be handed the gloves ahead of Ante Covic for Sunday's World Cup qualifier with China after being most of the month on the bench. "As you know, Schwarzer's been there so many years and he's done a great job for the country," he said. "Everyone else just has to wait their time."
China's visit provides fresh chance for coach Pim Verbeek to assess who is best placed to eventually replace the long-serving Socceroo. "It's just lucky that Schwarzy's got a couple of yellow cards," said Petkovic, who is hoping to capitalise on Schwarzer's one-game suspension. "I'm looking forward to it, if the coach gives me the nod. Hopefully he goes with me. I've had a few injuries in the last couple of years that's set me back so it's good to be back in the squad. I haven't felt this good for a while."
Defenders take time to get used to a new goalkeeper but Petkovic says he won't be afraid to bark out the orders against the Chinese. "It's important to speak to your defenders and hopefully my voice can be heard to organise the defence on Sunday," he commented. Petkovic hopes to have a quiet 90 minutes on Sunday but knows China will coming out with all guns ablaze. "China will be coming here wanting to win but so do we," he said. "We're expecting a big crowd there and we want to finish off on a good note and continue it on for the next stage."
With their place in the next stage of qualifiers already assured, Australia have opted to rest some big name players from Saunday's game. And while this has caused a few grumblings among Socceroo supporters, Petkovic doesn't believe the fans have cause for disappointment. "There's some great, talented players here and it's a good future for the Socceroos for the next couple of World Cups," he explained. "This is a chance to show the Australian public there are good signs ahead for the national team. We've a lot of players getting their first opportunity, they've a lot to prove and they'll be all fired up."
GOOD HIT-OUT FOR TARKA
Perth Glory defender David Tarka made a successful return to football on Wednesday evening with an encouraging contribution in the club’s friendly with the State team. Tarka stepped out for his first competitive outing in more than ten months following hamstring surgery and was delighted to again take part in match action. “Everything went according to plan for me and it was really nice to be out there again with the lads,” he said. “I was going to play the first half and then take a rest but my leg felt strong and I was happy to get a bit more time on the pitch. It’s the first small step in getting back to full match fitness and I’m looking forward to building on that in the weeks to come.” Tarka, the clubs ‘Most Glorious Player’ in 2006/07, forced to watch last season from the sidelines after injuring his hamstring on the opening day of the campaign.
STATE TEAM STUNS GLORY
The West Australian State team scored a historic 3-2 victory against Perth Glory last night at Litis Stadium. Two goals from Scott Bulloch and a single by Andrija Jukic earned the State team their first win against Glory since their inaugural meeting in 1998. "The boys played really well tonight, they were really disciplined and we scored some great goals," State coach Robbie Dunn said after the game. "Scotty Bulloch did a great job tonight at both ends of the pitch. He scored two goals but near the end went back for us when Jeff Bright got injured, he's a good player and the Glory should do well to watch him." Triallists Anthony Skorich and Brent Griffiths did their chances of landing a Glory deal no harm by netting for the A-League outfit.
Glory looked dangerous early with Eugene Dadi foiled by quick-thinking goalkeeper Neil Young, and Jamie Coyne's strike from 18-metres crashed into the upright. The State team threatened for the first time through Jukic who fired into the side-netting on the quarter hour, and minutes later the same player volleyed narrowly wide from Hayden Foxe's partial clearance. The opener came after 25 minutes when a Marc Anthony free-kick was nodded back across goal by Ian McMurray to Bulloch who was well positioned to head in at close-range. Glory should have drawn level three minutes from the break after fine work on the right by Dino Djulbic but Dadi's shot was blocked and Jamie Harnwell sent the follow-up wide.
The second half began much like the first with Magdic shooting high and Skorich heading straight at the 'keeper. The paid off came on 54 minutes when Adrian Pellegrino supplied a cross from the right which was tapped in by Skorich from a few metres. Aleks Vrteski, making a guest appearance between the posts for Glory, was at his best in denying Jukic with a long-range attempt. Next it was Paul Harvey's shot that Vrteski pushed around the post as the State side sought to regain the lead. But there was little the 'keeper could do on 65 minutes when Jeff Bright threaded a pass to Bulloch whose first time shot from the edge of the 18-yard box and soared into the net.
Bulloch turned provider shortly after for Harvey who shot too close to Vrteski. A deflected Skorich shot earned Glory a corner after 73 minutes, James Robinson swung the ball in for Griffiths to rise and head in the equaliser. The crowd were on their feet again within sixty seconds as Anthony's pass was flicked on by McMurray for Jukic who fended off Foxe before clipping over the advancing 'keeper to make it three-two. Glory suffered a setback when Dadi limped off injured, but Pellegrino showed there was still plenty of life left in the side by forcing a fine save from Young. McMurray should have made the game safe when found unmarked at a Jukic corner but Vrteski was alert to save.
Western Australia: Neil Young, Jeff Bright, Keith Brown, Andy
Brown, Scott Bulloch, John Migas, Dean Evans, Marc Anthony, Johnny
Mirco (Paul Harvey 58), Andrija Jukic, Ian McMurray
Perth Glory: Aleks Vrteski, Dino Djulbic, Mark Lee, David Tarka (Brent Griffiths 52), Hayden Foxe, Josip Magdic, James Downey, James Robinson, Jamie Coyne (Adriano Pellegrino 30), Eugene Dadi, Jamie Harnwell (Anthony Skorich 45)
Referee: Stephen Gregory Bookings: Bright (35), Robinson (89) Explusions: Nil
REFEREE COSTELLO PICKS UP HIGH PERFORMANCE SCHOLARSHIP
Western Australian referee David Costello has been awarded a high performance officiating scholarship from the Department of Sport and Recreation. Applicants were required to create a two-year personal development plan that addressed relevant education, training and practical experience. Costello was one of only eight applicants to be granted a scholarship which will open up opportunities for him to expand his refereeing horizons by paying for flights and accommodation so he can travel interstate to referee in all top flight competitions in Australia.
Eddie Lennie, Referees Development Manager at Football West, is delighted Costello has secured one of much-sought after scholarships. “This funding, which will be administered by Football West, will provide David the opportunity to travel to other States and be by other members of the National Referees Technical Committee in order to further his development,” said Lennie. “I hope that other referees will see that there are now more opportunities available through scholarships both at State and Federal level and encouraged all to consider applying for them.”
COYNE FAMILY HAT-TRICK IN JAMIE’S SIGHTS
Jamie Coyne has his sights set on joining sibling Chris Coyne in the Socceroo ranks and completing what would be a remarkable family achievement. The Perth Glory defender was thrilled to see older brother Chris make his senior international debut in the recent World Cup qualifier loss to Iraq, and admits he’s now even hungrier to pull on the green and gold himself. Chris Coyne was a late addition to Pim Verbeek’s squad and his call-up ensured he followed in the footsteps of father John Coyne, who played for the Socceroos in the late 1970s.
Glory boy Jamie was part of an A-League training camp in March but is yet to be called into the full squad. “Obviously my dad played for the Socceroos quite a while back and now Chris has got in there and done really well,” he said. “He’s really grasped the opportunity with both hands, an opportunity he thought had slipped away. He did his back in a warm up before a Colchester match, a match Australia were watching … Fortunately they didn’t forget about him and I’m very proud to see him out there. I think his move from Luton to Colchester came at the right time for him and his name suddenly popped up (to Australian coaching staff). Hopefully he can establish himself in there now.”
The Coyne boys enjoyed a brief spell together at English Premier League side West Ham United and Jamie would relished the opportunity of playing alongside his sibling at international level. “It’s encouraging when you see some of the A-League boys getting their chance under Pim Verbeek,” said Jamie. “I enjoyed my time in camp and now I just have to keep working hard for Perth Glory and hope that I can do enough to get involved myself. It would be great to be in there with Chris. I think it would certainly give the media a few stories to write wouldn’t it?”
PORT VALE MAY TABLE NEW BID FOR HERD
Port Vale are considering a bid to bring young Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd back to the club as they draw up a hit-list of loan targets for the new season. The 19-year old West Australian netted twice in eleven starts during a two-month loan spell at Vale during the second half of last season. The club have put money aside to dip into the loan market, and club scout Steve Joesbury has been set the task of identifying targets.
Joesbury has kept in touch with Herd since his departure in March and says the club will be keeping tabs on him. "I know Chris very well and he's one of a number of lads we're looking at," said Joesbury. "At this stage, it's about looking at players who may be looking to go out on loan and it's important to register your interest early. Villa may want him to step it up a little, and I know a Championship side is interested in him. But Chris enjoyed his time here and if we had the option to take him, we would be silly not to be interested."
AMPHLETT STUNNED BY STATE CALL-UP
E.C.U. Joondalup teenage sensational Tommy Amphlett could not believe his ears when told of his inclusion in the State squad that heads to Indonesia late this month. Amphlett, 19, is joined by team mate Ian McMurray in the 15-man squad selected by new State coach Robbie Dunn. “I was really surprised when Robbie rang me to tell me I’d been selected, it’s all players’ ambition to be selected in the State team and it’s a great honour for me,” said Amphlett. “My season has been a little up and down and if the selection was made on the Mandurah game I wouldn’t have been selected. But I’m happy to have contributed to the side and we must be doing something right as we have a couple of players selected in the squad.” The State side takes on the Indonesian Olympic team in a one-off friendly on 25th June.
AUSTRALIA ONE STEP CLOSER TO WORLD CUP
The Socceroos are through to the final round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals following a 3-1 victory over Qatar at Al Sadd Stadium. Brett Emerton grabbed a brace with Harry Kewell also finding the back of the net before Khalfan Ibrahim claimed a late consolation for the hosts. Pim Verbeek's side went in front after 17 minutes when Kewell fed Mark Bresciano on the left wing who low cross was over-run by Kewell but not Emerton who side-footed in at the back post. Bresciano got in behind the defence and rounded goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr but the Qatar defence cut out his cross intended for Brett Holman as Australia sought to extend their lead. Sebastian Quintana then almost produced a spectacular equaliser for Qatar in the 38th minute with an improvised back heel flew just wide with Mark Schwarzer stranded.
Australia established a two-goal cushion after 55 minutes when Holman lifted the ball into the path of Emerton who took one touch to control before slotting it past the onrushing Saqr. The Socceroos thought they had a third three minutes later Bresciano's pull back for Kewell was sent into net, but the effort was disallowed for a foul by Emerton. Kewell did get on the scoresheet after 74 minutes when Meesad Al Hamad made a complete hash of Holman's cross from the left which the 29-year old blasted past Saqr at the back post. Qatar breached the Australian defence in the final minute when Magid Mohamad turned an opponent to race clear and although Schwarzer parried his shot, a stretching Ibrahim knocked in the rebound.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND NINE
A couple of rapid fire goals early in the second half took Cockburn City past Perth S.C. 2-0 at Dalmatinac Park. Johnny Mirco and Adam Surjan netted within three minutes of eachother to Cockburn move three points clear at the top of the table with nine games played. It took a good fifteen minutes for the game to be brought to life by Antonio Naglieri whose through ball put David Onoforo in behind the defence but the livewire attacker placed his shot too close to goalkeeper Nick Feely. With Naglieri influential in the middle and Steve Campbell and Bolivian import Roberto Lohan full of running out wide Perth now took control of the game. Feely did well to keep out a stinging drive from the top of the 18-yard box by Andreas Oliviera as the visitors set about finding an avenue to goal. For their part, Cockburn were limited to only scattered chances, the most promising of which came via Josh Kamasz who fired wide after linking up with Johnny Mirco just outside the area. With half-time approaching Oliviera evaded his marker with a sharp turn only to fire into the side-netting from 9-metres. The game was turned on its' head six minutes into the second half when Johnny Mirco converted a penalty awarded for Michael Icanovski's dubious foul on Dom De Felice. Surjan delivered the sucker-punch three minutes later when allowed to take the ball down the left, play a neat one-two with Michael Mirco and send a sweet left-footer into the bottom corner. Although stunned, Perth pushed on desperately for a way back into the game only to be turned away time and time again by a defence in which Liam Lilly and Jason Godfrey played the anchoring roles. But as the clock ticked down and legs tired Perth became increasingly vulnerable to being caught short at the back. Deeg prevented the margin from blowing out by denying Michael Mirco, while substitute Shane McNally's long-range chip was just over the crossbar.
Lewis Flatt’s late winner earned Sorrento victory 3-2 from a tense derby encounter with E.C.U. Joondalup at Percy Doyle Reserve. Scott Bulloch and Steve MacDonald put the Gulls in a commanding position, however, they were far from safe with John Thornley scoring twice off the bench to set up a grandstand finish. Spectators were still finding their vantage points when Neil Young paddled an in-swinging Jon Higgins onto the crossbar. Sorrento went on to have the better of the opening exchanges but took until the 21st minute to threaten through Todd Harnwell whose low blast was blocked by Bobson Koroma. A poor clearance ten minutes later was all the invitation Bulloch needed to accelerate towards goal and angle a neat shot past Koroma at his near post. Joondalup almost drew level when Higgins’ shot struck Brodie Martin to wrong-foot Young, who was relieved to see the ball bounce off the bar. MacDonald’s 36th minute penalty conversion strengthened the Gulls hold after referee Michael Tolmie was given no option by Tom Nicholson’s foul on Martin. Harnwell could have further increased the gap but fired just wide of the far post early in the second half. Thornley pounced on Scott Neville’s inattentiveness deep inside the 18-yard box to lash the ball between Young and his near post with 67 minutes gone. This breathed new life into the visitors and in quick succession Scott Bushby and Tommy Amphlett threatened to level. With nine minutes to go Nicholson played a searching ball into the area where Thornley showed great skill and composure to lash his shot into the net under pressure from MacDonald. But within four minutes the Gulls had regained the advantage through Flatt who made no mistake at close-range after Koroma had his gloves stung by Bulloch. The final drama of the afternoon came a minutes from the end when Ian McMurray went down after having his heels clipped by Shaun Kilkelly, but the referee saw it otherwise and dismissed the visitors’ penalty claims.
Inglewood United extended their winning streak to three games by toppling leaders Mandurah City 2-1 at the Kiev Sports Ground. A final minute effort by Michael Baczynski secured the points which elevate Inglewood into the top four for the first time this season. The home side were out of the blocks fast with Baczynski heading narrowly high from amongst a static defence. Their early dominance paid dividends after 23 minutes when Jamie Mitsopolous' precise pass out of midfield put Mladen Kovacevic in time and space to coolly place between the legs of goalkeeper Mike Green. The margin should perhaps been increased five minutes later when Chris Wylie was ruled to have handled the ball, but Green came to Mandurah's rescue by saving Kevin Griffiths' penalty. The visitors' best chance of the period came via Phil O'Callaghan who latched on to a long ball to go one-on-one with Oliver Taseski who was quick off his line to deny the striker a clean shot. The second half picked up where the first left off and Mladen Kovacevic driving the ball against the crossbar from 25-metres. With half an hour to go Keith Brown and Dale McCulloch finally began to unlock what had been a watertight home defence. The scores were levelled after 78 minutes when Michael Currie's cross was nodded down by Keith Brown to O'Callaghan who blasted into the net from 6-metres. Substitute Christian Paschkewitz sent a header against the car as the sides traded attacks in search of a winner. A Mladen Kovacevic free-kick met with the same end result, then Taseski stood up to deny O'Callaghan when he was put clean through. The final whistle was just moments away when a partially cleared corner was sent back in by James Sammut and in a grounded goalmouth Baczynski got the final touch under pressure from Gary Collins.
There was no shortage of goals at Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions and Swan I.C. grabbed a share of the points at 3-3. The visitors announced their intentions straight from kick-off with Brendan Knox playing through for Alex Cocking who's shot from 10-metres flashed just wide. Steve Porter came to Stirling's rescue shortly after by clearing off the line a Knox corner which goalkeeper Phil Straker failed to deal with. Swan got the reward they were seeking on the quarter hour as John Mansaray's defence splitting pass allowed Geoff Mason in to fire beyond Straker's reach from 15-metres. Four short minutes later Mark Redshaw found space on the left to pull the ball back for Alan Muir to rifle into the top corner from 22-metres and level the game. Redshaw and Ludovic Boi each sent shots past the post as Stirling picked up the pace to dominate the closing stages of the half. Swan were now playing on the counterattack and a terrific pass from Andy O'Neill sat nicely for Cocking whose half volley flew just high. Muir gave Stirling reason to celebrate in the 42nd minute by converted at close-range after Cory Hugo parried successive shots from Arnold and Redshaw. The game was into stoppage time when Cocking combined with Mansaray who released Damian Scali to slide the ball past Straker. Sixty seconds later Stirling were back on front through Dean Evans' shot from 15-metres after he was picked out by Boi. Straker made a brave save at the feet of Cocking three minutes into the second half as Swan sought to equalise. Redshaw should have done better on the hour than sky his close-range shot which came about through the ever-creative Boi. The game took another twist on 68 minutes when Straker's soft foul on Knox produced a Swan penalty which Scali converted to make it three-each. The pace was frenetic towards the end with Andy Brown denying O'Neill a winner, while Cole came to Swan's rescue with a goalline clearance to thwart Phil Arnold.
Brad Scott and John Migas were the goalscoring heroes in Floreat Athena's 2-1 defeat of Western Knights under lights at Litis Stadium on Sunday. Only the most ardent supporters braved the wet and blustery conditions as the mercury dipped under 15 degrees Celcuis just prior to kick-off. David Micevski could have given the Knights dream start but after seizing upon a defensive error the midfielder shot straight at Vas Vujacic. Floreat soon enough gained the initiative through Scott who converted at point-blank range after the Knights were pulled out of position by a well-executed move down the left between Rafael Insaurralde, Daniel Neiderberger and Migas. Scott could have increased the hosts lead shortly after but could only find the side netting. It wasn't until Barry Devlin's rasping strike flashed over the crossbar late in the half that the Knights began to seriously concern the home side. A couple of counterattacking raids lead by Daniel Micevski and Devlin may not have lead to shots on goal but did serve a warning that the hosts failed to heed. Parity was restored four minutes from the break when David Annall pumped the ball over the defence for Anthony Skorich to battle past Ante Kovacevic before squaring to an unmarked Rory Grant who tucked the equaliser past an exposed goalkeeper. The Knights opened the new half full of enthusiasm as Luka Jukic and David Micevski drove them into attack at every opportunity. Shots from Devlin and Daniel Micevski sent shots fractionally wide while Cormac Dawson crashed a free-kick through the defensive wall only to find Vas Vujacic positioned on the line to save comfortably. Floreat weren't without their chances and twice Kevin Miller moved smartly to save from Insaurralde. The introduction of Miki Vujacic's fresh legs would prove decisive as, with seven minutes remaining, the midfielder speared in a dangerous cross which the Knights were slow to deal with as Migas cleverly nodded in the winner.
Armadale registered maximum points for the first time this season by edging past Fremantle Spirit 1-0 at Alfred Skeet Oval. Daryl Platten's goal after 79 minutes was enough to earn a home victory and move Armadale off the foot of the table. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the two participating clubs.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND NINE (Wanneroo City v Canning City by Phil Unsworth; Gosnells City v Morley Windmills courtesy Gosnells City)
Canning City remains at the top of the First Division pile after grinding out a 3-2 victory over Wanneroo City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The ball had been in motion 14 minutes when Daniel Trevisiol worked his way around the defence to cross from the right for Simon Versaico who headed the visitors into the lead. Ten minutes later Versiaco again found space to deliver the ball to the far post where Trevisiol slid goal number two into the net from 5-metres. The game was seemingly put beyond Wanneroo’s reach on the half hour when Rory Moutett started a slick exchange of passes featuring Mick Van Dongen and Dave Mickler which allowed Paul Van Dongen to race through and drill his shot past goalkeeper Daniel Holgate. But Wanneroo found a way back into the game as Ben yates’ cross from deep on the right found Cesar Meylan who crashed his front post header into the roof of the net. Brian Cairney was within inches of further reducing midway through the second half as the home team stepped up a gear. Fifteen minutes were left when Wanneroo edged closer with a nicely worked move which was finished by Cairney. Cairney fired in the hosts second following some neat lead-up play. The closing stages produced several nervous moments for Canning who breathed a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle sounded.
A couple of late goals saw South West Phoenix edge past Rockingham City 4-2 in an error-riddled game at the Soccerdrome in Bunbury. Phoenix started the better of the teams and could have gone ahead through Steve Suttie whose vicious strike from 15-metres was narrowly wide. A neat exchange between David Murphy and Ryan Risdon was the catalyst for the opening goal scored by Suttie who netted at close-range after nutmegging 16-year old goalkeeper Tm Smith. Rockingham weren’t about to surrender the game and ten minutes later drew level as Stuart McCall was brought down by Greg Hayes for a penalty which John McCreary sent into the net despite Ryan Montgomery getting a glove on the ball. A moment of pure brilliance put Phoenix back in control when Suttie’s shot from long-range caught the ‘keeper off-guard as it soared into the top corner. The teams were level again on the hour when an incisive pass from Fraser Marr was clinically finished by Craig Howard at close-range. The next twist came with four minutes to go when Andy Cowley was needlessly hauled down inside the 18-yard box and Suttie confidently converted to complete his hat-trick. The sealer arrived shortly after as Suttie drew the ‘keeper out of position before squaring to Lee Stewart who finished into the empty net.
Gosnells City put some distance between themselves and the drop zone by sweeping past Morley Windmills 3-2 at Walter Padbury Reserve. It was a positive start from the home team who went ahead on 2 minutes through a well worked counter-attack in which Sam Maguire’s pass across the face of goal was converted by Darren Francis at close-range. Ian Maguire featured heavily as Gosnells sought for a way to double their advantage before Morley kicked into rhythm with Gary Murdoch and Simon El Chami leading the way. Parity was restored after 21 minutes when Edward Walsh’s throw-in was met by Noong Naraphont whose shot on the turn flashed into the net as goalkeeper Alan Dunlop grasped at air. It was pretty much one-way traffic after the break with Gosnells holding the ascendancy thanks largely to the central midfield command Salvi Chavez. The hosts regained the lead just after the hour when Alan Claxton’s attempted chip caught the fingertips of goalkeeper Chris Ramsey to fall to Ian Maguire who tapped into the net amid justified calls for offside. The game looked over when Trevor Hatton and Ramsey collided when attempting to clear the danger only to leave Darren Francis with the simple task of putting his second into the net. But Naraphont ensured the tension would continue through to the end by netting from a Murdoch cross with just eight minutes left.
Bayswater City downed Ashfield 3-0 on Friday evening under lights at Frank Drago Reserve. Adrian Sutton got the ball rolling two minutes into the second half, the margin was doubled by an own goal before Ryan Frisina made the points safe after 63 minutes. Dianella White Eagles extended their unbeaten home record by inflicting a 2-1 loss on Balcatta. Goals by Jon Greenwood and Alan Crofts after the break cancelled out Mark Purcell’s 33rd minute strike. Queens Park climbed off the bottom of the table after defeating Forrestfield United 2-1 at Coker Park. T.Omeniha and Tom Cullen found the net for the hosts with Forrestfield’s response coming via J.Cole. Further details of these three games were not forthcoming from any of their six participating clubs.
TIME FOR JONES TO EARN HIS KEEP
Brad Jones and Ross Turnbull will battle it out for the Middlesbrough goalkeeping jersey next season after manager Gareth Southgate confirmed he would not be signing a replacement for Mark Schwarzer. With Schwarzer having joined Fulham last month, it had been expected that Boro would sign an experienced shot-stopper to go straight into their first team. But despite having been linked with the likes of Paul Robinson and Jussi Jaaskelainen, Southgate has opted to put his faith in Jones and Turnbull, the two senior goalkeepers currently on Boro's books.
Southgate will allow Jones and Turnbull to stake their claim for an extended run in the side during next month's pre-season schedule. "I feel that Brad and Ross need to be given a chance," said Southgate. "They'll have to embrace that challenge but, as long as they do, I think the time is right to provide them with an opportunity. Unless we're going to pay an awful lot of money, I don't see anyone around who is proven at this level. And if we're going to sign an unproven goalkeeper, I don't think we'd get anyone who would be better than either of the two goalkeepers we already have."
Both Jones and Turnbull featured in Boro's first team in the final month of last season, but neither boasts extensive experience at Premier League level. Jones, 26, has made 30 senior appearances for Boro since joining the club as a trainee in 2000 and agreed to a new two-year deal in March. He is frontrunner to start the season between the posts but Turnbull, who has made six senior Boro appearances, is regarded by a number of senior figures within the club as the better long-term bet. Turnbull, 23, has spent time on loan at Darlington, Barnsley, Bradford, Crewe and Cardiff since joining Boro as a trainee in 2002.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Heading into Round Nine of the Premier League season only five points separate first from ninth, however, the big game this weekend of the bottom of the table clash between Armadale and Fremantle Spirit at Alfred Skeet Oval. It really has been a horror run for Reds coach Brad Hassell who’s been denied his preferred first eleven by a succession of absences. Big roles await Cyril Sharrock, Shannon Dally, Daryl Platten and Scott Devine as Armadale attempt to register their first point of the season. Fremantle showed great character in earning a draw at Western Knights last week and are confident of better that performance tomorrow. Jason Barrera, Simon Elton-Bott and Cisco Jorquiera were influential against the Knights and the return of Callum Roberts only strengthens their claim as pre-match favourite.
Table-topping Mandurah City make the trip to Kiev Sports Ground (aka Clipsal Stadium) where they meet an in-form Inglewood United. Team captain Shane Pryce and goalkeeper Oliver Taseski have been inspirational in leading Lee Bamber’s side to successive wins over Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup. The pair will once again have important roles to play along with the central pairing of Michael Baczynski and James Sammut. Only the very brave would have predicted pre-season that after two months of competition Mandurah would be topping the table. Stuart Currie has his team playing some very fine attacking football that is producing goals seemingly at will. Phil O’Callaghan has been in white-hot form in attack thanks to the supply of captain Andy Brown, Jeff Bright and Patrick Quinn.
Cockburn City are level on points with Mandurah and have every reason to be confident of beating Perth S.C. when they visit Dalmatinac Park. Johnny Mirco took his season tally to seven goals with a double in last weeks thumping of Floreat Athena where Giovanni De Bartolo also bagged a brace. Captain Dom De Felice is in the best form of his career while it’s a rare day when defensive partners Liam Lilly and Jason Godfrey put a foot wrong. Perth should be sitting a lot higher than fourth but in recent weeks have let slip what could prove to be some vital points come seasons end. The attacking impulses of Andreas Oliviera and Antonio Naglieri are never easy to tame and hold the key to the Blues performance along with Michael Icanovski and Todd Howarth.
There’s a difficult road trip for Swan I.C. who tackle Stirling Lions in front of what is sure to be a parochial home crowd. A Marc Anthony goal last weekend earned Stirling a deserved draw at Mandurah and keen to built on that result is coach Michael Lyons. Versatile teenager Dean Evans has come on in leaps and bounds since being added to the senior list while in Phil Straker they have one of the state’s best shot-stoppers. Paul Lincoln has his fingers crossed Swan can repeat last seasons’ performance at Macedonia Park when the black and whites ran out 4-1 winners. Aaron Cole and new signing Andy O’Neill stood out last week against Armadale where a Damian Scali hat-trick laid the foundations for a comfortable 5-1 win.
Percy Doyle Reserve hosts the northern suburbs derby between Sorrento and E.C.U. Joondalup. Both teams have had their ups and downs across the opening months of the season and with only one point between them this promises to be another exciting contest. Todd Harnwell, Shaun Kilkelly and Neil Young will be pulling out all the stops to ensure a home win in which Stuart Montgomery and Scott Bulloch come against former team mates for the first time. A fortnight ago Joondalup were top of the table but a couple of losses later they've slipped down to sixth. Craig Simpson is likely to be re-acquainted with defensive partner Scott Blackmore, who's been suffering tonsillitis, while Scott Bushby, Tommy Amphlett and captain Ian McMurray lead the quest for goals.
The round comes to a close on Sunday when Floreat Athena welcomes Western Knights to Litis Stadium (6.00pm). Michael Roki’s side were humbled at home last time out by Cockburn City so anything less than three points this week will be deemed unacceptable. Brad Scott returns to the starting line-up where he's sure to capitalise on the hard work of Garin Collins, Paul Vatistas and Dean Apelgren. The Knights have just two wins from eight starts but the return of Daniel Micevski and Paul Cooke improves their prospects considerably. Rory Grant and Anthony Skorich have formed a good partnership up-front and its only a matter of time before they start returning a bagful of goals.
The ninth round of First Division games open this evening with Ashfield hosting high-flying Bayswater City from 7.30pm. Wanneroo City will be without suspended goalkeeper Fraser Siddall for their home clash with leader Canning City on Saturday. Third-placed South West Phoenix have home ground advantage over eleventh-placed Rockingham City, while Balcatta will attempt to become the first team to defeat Dianella White Eagles at home this year. Gosnells City will be confident of getting a positive result when Morley Windmills venture to Walter Padbury Reserve. Coker Park is the venue for the eastern corridor derby between bottom of the table Queens Park and a luckless Forrestfield United. All five Saturday games commence at 3.00pm.
STATE TEAM NAMED FOR ASIAN ADVENTURE
Some of the local scene's most talented and promising players have been handed the opportunity to represent Western Australia through selection in the State team. Coach Robbie Dunn has selected a 15-player squad which will travel to Java later this month for a friendly against the Indonesian under-23 team. Prior to heading overseas the State team meets hometown heroes Perth Glory under lights at Litis Stadium on Wednesday 18th June.
The re-introduction of the State team provides the local game a timely boost according to Football West chief executive Garry Chandler. "The upcoming inaugural match against Perth Glory should provide a terrific showcase for the sport, pitching the best players in the State League against their professional counterparts," he commented. "The match in Indonesia will not only be an incredible experience for the squad against quality international opposition, but will also provide us with a great opportunity to further develop our footballing relationships in the region."
The West Australian squad to play Perth Glory and the Indonesian Under-23 team consists of Kenny Ftynogiannis (Balcatta), Paul Harvey (Canning City), John Mirco (Cockburn City), Garin Collins, John Migas (Floreat Athena), Tommy Amphlett, Ian McMurray (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jeff Bright, Andy Brown, Keith Brown (Mandurah City), Andrija Jukic (Perth S.C.), Scott Bulloch, Neil Young (Sorrento), Marc Anthony and Dean Evans (Stirling Lions).
HASSELL BATTLES ODDS TO TURN ARMADALE AROUND
The importance of tomorrow's home meeting with Fremantle Spirit is not lost on anyone associated with Armadale, least of all coach Brad Hassell. Eight games into the season the Reds find themselves rock-solid last, winless and with only three goals to their name. But with Fremantle not fairing a great deal better, the opportunity exists for Armadale to finally open their account. "It's a game that's more important than I ever thought it was going to be at this stage of the season," commented Hassell, who took over the coaching reins last summer.
The two clubs last met a month ago when Fremantle ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of an extra-time penalty converted by Cisco Jorquiera. "They're a skilful young side who have a great deal of potential," said Hassell. "They have a few players who are dangerous on the ball, but overall they're not a tall team or overly strong so maybe we need to approach this game with a bit of aggression. We didn't have our strongest side out against them last time so, hopefully, this time round we'll have a healthy squad to choose from."
Injury, suspension and other absences have been far from kind to Armadale this year. "We've been without Gary Faria for eight weeks as he's been in Europe, Jason Goodwin's missed most of season with a knee complaint, and Shannon Dally's been out for about a month with a rib injury," explained Hassell. "Steve Skilandis won't play this year because of osteitis pubis, Mark Darby's been playing on borrowed time as he needs an operation on an ankle problem and Darren Kingston has played on once due to a couple of different injuries."
The lack of numbers brought on by so many absences has only further deepened the clubs plight. "When you constantly have only eleven or twelve first team players available it doesn't always make players push as hard as they should," added Hassell. "Ideally you want sixteen players on a Thursday night to be really pushing themselves to get into that first eleven. I'm hoping that Gary (Faria)'s impending return from holiday will coincide with the return to full fitness of several other players will increase competition for spots."
With Armadale in desperate need of an experienced goalscorer, Hassell admits he's considered coming out of retirement. "It has crossed my mind, and it seems almost everyone else at the club," said Hassell, who played over 250 national league games as an attacking midfielder for Perth Glory and Adelaide City. "But, if I'm to be honest, I don't enjoy playing like I used to. I really enjoy the coaching side of the game which takes up an awful lot of my day - and even more when things aren't going well!"
There is light at the end of the tunnel for Hassell who has been encouraged by some of his teams' performances this year. "We've actually done quite well against the bigger clubs - Perth, Sorrento, Cockburn and Floreat," said the Reds coach. "Against each of those teams we showed we're no pushover as we refused to give in and made them work hard for a result. If we can display that sort of character week in, week out then it'll only be a matter of time before results start going our way."
COLLINS ON SONG FOR FLOREAT
A move to Floreat Athena midway through last season has re-ignited Garin Collins' passion for football. Collins played a key role in Floreat taking out last years' championship without loss and although this season hasn't gone exactly gone to plan for the club the versatile attacker is still enjoying his game. "It's not as good a start as we would have liked but we are still only four points off the top and still in the Cup," said the quietly spoken 28-year old. "They're a great bunch of lads at Floreat, it's a really close knit club and they have really made me welcome."
The decision to end a decade-long association with E.C.U. Joondalup wasn't taken lightly by Collins. "The decision to leave Joondalup was extremely difficult," he explained. "I still miss Joondalup - I spent ten years there and watched the team, the club and myself change dramatically. I moved because for the first time in my life I wasn't enjoying my football. And luckily for me Floreat gave me a chance and it's worked out for both us."
Relocating to Litis Stadium has not only given Collins a whole new lease on life but also provided the opportunity to work under former State player Michael Roki. "Michael is tough task master and very a good coach," said Collins. "He is the ultimate professional and not only knows the game very well but still has as much ability, if not more, than most of the players in the team. He sets very high standards and demands intensity as well as improvement, and this ultimately leads to rewards for the team on the pitch as well as your development as a player."
Roki had been chasing Collins for a good twelve months before finally securing his signture last August. "Garin's speed and work rate quickly earnt him a spot as a support striker and was important player in our undefeated 2007 season," said the coach. "He is a passionate and sometimes fiery player who leaves everything out on the park. Garin's is a tidy receiver and holder of the ball up front, but can also finish clinically and will always be a troublesome player for any defence to mark."
Floreat suffered their first home loss in 21 months last weekend when humiliated 4-0 by Cockburn City, a result which surprised many around the traps. "Sometimes you have days like that, and yes it was a bad day at the office for us," said Collins of a game of two contrasting halves. "We were probably slightly on top in the first half but we didn't take our chances and were made to pay. Cockburn were excellent in the second half and picked us off with some great passing and movement, but we also contributed by making some rare costly errors."
Collins' form this year has been rewarded with a place in the State squad for the forthcoming trip to Indonesia. "It's a great honour to represent you State and I can't wait," he enthused. "The team is full of quality, which goes to show the ability in the league at the moment; especially considering a second squad of players just as good could be picked. Fortunately, football is a game of opinions and coach Robbie Dunn has picked his squad based on what he wants. It's still early days but he has put on good sessions and seems to have us clicking early which is normally the hardest thing to achieve."
Goalkeeper Tommi Tomich has joined Victorian State League giants South Melbourne for the remainder of the 2008 season. Tomich is hoping a stint in Victoria can keep him in the shop window as Football Federation Australia considers increasing the number of teams in the A-League. Tomich, who spent last season with Perth Glory and most recently kept goal for E.C.U. Joondalup, made his South Melbourne debut in Sunday’s scoreless draw with Western Suburbs.
Ian Griffiths has made a dream return to first team football with Inglewood United. The hard-working attacker was brought off the bench midway through the second half of Inglewood’s clash with E.C.U. Joondalup and eleven minutes later settled the game by scoring his sides’ second goal. It’s been close to twelve months since Griffiths, 26, underwent surgery for a shoulder injury which forced him onto the sidelines and threatened his career.
Attempts by Inglewood United and Armadale to sign striker Paul Harvey from table-topping Canning City have failed. Harvey has been in sensational touch for the First Division side with his eleven goals in eight games earning the Scot a State team call-up. Harvey wouldn’t look out of place in the top flight but plans to lure him away from Canning have been scuttled by a short spell with Gosnells at the beginning of the year which makes him ineligible to play for a third club in 2008.
The fourth Football Hall of Fame Western Australia induction ceremony will be held at the Novotel Langley Hotel on 26th July. The event promises to be a high-profile affair with the achievements of several former Australian internationals being recognised along with the first round of inductions into the newly created Hall of Merit for Players. The Hall of Fame was established in 1996 in honour of a century of the West Australian football.
Bayswater City has strengthened their defensive stocks with the acquisition of 21-year old Danyal Bennett. Having missed much of the past few seasons through work and injury, the no-nonsense centre-half agreed to a short-term loan with Bayswater from Swan I.C. The move gives Bennett the opportunity to become re-acquainted with his former Swan team mates Tony Cumace, Scott Campbell and Damien Todorovic along with coach Michael Di Fulvio.
Former State goalkeeper Alan Dunlop has been lured out of retirement. A degenerative hip condition diagnosed early last year forced the 26-year old to a premature end his playing days that included spells at Bassendean Caledonian, Fremantle City and Cockburn City. However, Dunlop, who was a member of the State squad which played the Iraq national team in late 2003, has chosen to strap on the boots again and do his bit to help Gosnells City climb away from the foot of the First Division table.
GLORY COMMENCE PRE-SEASON WITH BIG WIN
A crowd of around 1,500 braved a damp, chilly night to watch Perth Glory defeat Rockingham City 8-0 in their first hit out of the pre-season at Lark Hill Sportsplex last night. "It is early stages of pre-season and we still have a lot of work to get through but I'm delighted with the application and attitude of the players," said Glory boss David Mitchell. "The fans turned out to support both teams and enjoyed a great game. It is a fantastic set-up down here and we were very happy to be involved in the game."
Glory dominated from the outset but waited until the 34th minute for James Downey to open their account. Nikita Rukavytsya and Eugene Dadi added themselves to the scoresheet as the margin was taken to three goals before the break. Goals flowed after the break as Jamie Harnwell found the net and Dadi completed his hat-trick just after the hour. Trialist Anthony Skorich, who plays for Western Knights, boosted his chances of a contract by scoring twice in six minutes late in the game. Glory's next outing is under lights at Litis Stadium against the State team next Wednesday, 18th June.
COLE REFLECTS ON PAST GLORIES
There were a lot of quizzical looks exchanged when long-serving Perth S.C. defender Aaron Cole chose to leave the glamour club for perennial struggler Swan I.C. a few years back. But Cole’s decision has provided him with exactly the change of scenery he was seeking. Across the past eighteen months the towering centre-half has been one of the first names on the Swan team sheet. His form this season has been nothing less than sensational with Cole’s on-field leadership a major factor in Swan occupying third place after eight games.
A product of Perth’s ever-fertile youth system, Cole played fifteen seasons for the Blues before switching to Swan at the start of 2007. “I’d been at Perth since I was 11-years old and had won everything I could at the club,” explained Cole, winner of the 1999 Gold Medal. “I was looking for a new challenge and the move to Swan was something I’ve really enjoyed to date. We struggled last season but we’ve worked hard on the track and we’re fitter and stronger as a team and it’s showed in our results this season.”
In 2001 Cole played national league football for Perth Glory but today has mixed feeling about his stay with the club. “It was a good experience at Glory, training full-time and working with Bernd Stange definitely made me a better player,” said Cole, who was at the time being courted by a number of national league clubs. “I spoke to a couple of clubs and they were keen to sign me, but all my family and friends are here in the west. In hindsight, it was properly the wrong decision for me.”
State representative honours may pepper Cole’s playing days but it’s the 2001 meeting with Red Star Belgrade, where he marked Goran Drulic, that he remembers most fondly. “To play for your State is the highest honour you can achieve in local football,” he commented. “I played with so many good players but when we played Belgrade. I marked a guy who would be sold for millions and I was on $20 a week, we got beat 0-2 but it was a great experience.”
In a glittering career Cole has played alongside and against some of the best players Western Australia has ever produced. “I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve played in this game, and to play against Bobby Despotovski, who is the best player I’ve played against, and the Naven brothers Craig and Gareth, the best two team mates I’ve had, is something I’ll cherish for a long time,” he said. “But I’ve still got some unfinished business at Swan before I even contemplate hanging up the boots.”
TOP HONOUR FOR LENNIE
Eddie Lennie has added another award to the many he picked up as a referee by being honoured with Order of Australia for his tireless efforts to enhance and develop refereeing both at state and national level. “I am delighted by the award and I hope that this award encourages those already refereeing to keep going and assists us with the recruitment of referees, especially through the club courses that we are currently running,” commented Lennie. “This award shows that you do get recognition for your efforts”
Born in Scotland, Lennie emigrated to Australia in 1991 and quickly became established as one of the nations most respected and decorated referees. Between 1993 and 2004 he officiated a total of 195 national league games, a tally that includes four Grand Finals, and was three times named the Australian Referee of the Year. Lennie refereed 27 FIFA ‘A’ internationals and was the first Australian to officiate at both the Olympic Games (1996) and World Cup (1998) tournaments. Since retiring at the age of 45 Lennie has served as FIFA Referees Instructor for Oceania and the State Director of Coaching before being appointed Referee Development Manager with Football West earlier this year.
GLORY COACH BANKS ON DADI
David Mitchell believes Ivory Coast striker Eugene Dadi can provide the spark Perth Glory needs to secure a maiden A-League finals berth. With Dadi, 34, vying for a spot in attack with Nikita Rukavytsya, Jamie Harnwell and James Robinson, Mitchell is confident of a top four placing. "I think it's very important all over the park to have competition for places and that's what we've certainly got up front," Mitchell said. "We've got four to five players who can play two roles. It's a position we haven't been in before and it's good for the club."
Mitchell hoped Dadi, whose career has included stints at Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen and English outfits Nottingham Forest and Tranmere Rovers, would add a touch of class to Glory. "Eugene's technically very good," Mitchell said. "He can score goals, he reads the game well, brings other people into the game and creates chances for other people. And he's a big threat in the air as well. He's experienced and he will work well with Nikita.''
Glory is on the verge of signing at least two more players, including one from overseas, within the next week according to Mitchell. "They've agreed but they haven't signed, so it's a situation where that will be happening over the next week," said the coach. Mitchell, who took over from Ron Smith midway through last season, conceded anything short of a finals finish this season would be a failure. "We want top four and hopefully we can get into the top two," he said. "But the bare minimum is top four because you can challenge from there."
COYNE HAPPY WITH FIRST UP PERFORMANCE
Colchester United defender Chris Coyne made his long-awaited international debut in Australia's World Cup qualifier loss to Iraq on the weekend. Having watched the Socceroos two most recent outings from the sidelines, Coyne came into the starting line-up on Saturday to partner Michael Beauchamp in the centre of defence. He shifted to a more unfamiliar role at left-back for the start of the second-half before making way for striker Josh Kennedy in the 65th minute as Australia chased a point. "On a personal note, I was pleased to make my debut. It's something I have always wanted to do, and I have done it now," Coyne said.
Coyne admits the warm and humid conditions in Dubai were a challenge but that at the end of the day he was happy with his contribution against Iraq. "It was difficult to come into, in terms of the heat and the circumstances with the weather, but as far as acquitting myself, I was quite pleased," he commented. "I didn't give anyone a chance and didn't have a lot to do to be honest, but hopefully I have done enough to impress the manager and push my case for selection next week. I just have to worry about the Qatar game and making sure I get selected for that."
Next on the agenda for the Socceroos is a trip to Qatar this weekend when victory by either nation can secure their place in the next phase of qualifiers. "It's imperative we get a result next week; we don't want it to go to the wire and give people chances against you, so if we can get the job done next week, we'll do it," explained Coyne. "But it's 90 minutes of hot football against a side that's in form, so we'll just work hard this week and make sure we are at our best for the Qatar game." Australia and Qatar sit jointly at the top of the group table with 7 points, three ahead of Iraq and four more than China with two games to play.
MATILDAS TAKE FOURTH AT ASIAN CUP
Australia have taken fourth place at the 2008 Women's Asian Cup after going down to Japan in the third place play-off match in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Back-to-back wins over Chinese Taipei and (South) Korea Republic saw the Matildas progress from the group phase despite a final game loss to Japan. DPR (North) Korea defeated Australia in the semi-finals before going on to claim their third title in four attempts with a 2-1 win over China in Sunday's decider.
Coach Tom Sermanni said the tournament highlighted a number of aspects of the Australian game requiring attention. "We have achieved out initial goal which was to qualify for the semi finals, and the tournament has also provided us with an opportunity to blood some young players in tough international competition," he said. "This tournament has shown us the level we need to reach in Asia which is very strong and continually improving."
Australia made a flying start to their tournament by whipping Chinese Taipei 4-0 on a rain-sodden pitch last Thursday, 29th May. Heather Garriock set the Matildas on their way by sweeping the ball into the net from close-range after 18 minutes. With half-time looming Lauren Colthorpe played a smart pass in behind the defence for Garriock to double the lead. Jenna Tristram slotted goal number three past Feng-Chiu Huang in the 52nd minute, then with eight minutes to go turned provider for substitute Lisa De Vanna.
A 2-0 defeat of Korea Republic three days later appeared to have all but booked the Matildas a semi-final appearance. Defender Ellyse Perry deservedly opened Australia's account on the half hour with a spectacular low drive from 26-metres. The gap was increased midway through the second half with Lisa De Vanna racing onto a Heather Garriock pass to outpace the defence and finish past an exposed Korean goalkeeper. Melissa Barbieri was rarely troubled in the Australian goal such was the sides' dominance.
Australia snuck into the last four on goal difference ahead of Korea Republic after going down 3-1 to Japan on Monday, 2nd June. Japan coped better with the humid condition to hold a two-goal half-time lead courtesy of Kozue Ando and Yuki Nagasato. And the game was as good as over when Aya Miyama put away Japan's third after 50 minutes. Clare Polkinghorne's strike twenty minutes from the end proved decisive in Australia progressing to the next stage.
The Matildas' Asian Cup dream was left in tatters by tournament favourite DPR Korea who ran out 3-0 winners in the round of four. With the temperature hovering around 35 degrees Celcuis, the Koreans made a dream start with captain Ri Kum Suk netting after only a couple of minutes. Kum Suk doubled the margin by converting a low centre from Ri Un-suk just before the break. Australia showed greater composure in the second half but couldn't prevent Kum Suk from completing her hat-trick on the hour.
A 3-0 loss to world number ten Japan denied Australia third place at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday. The Matildas commenced brightly with Collette McCallum hitting the post with a free-kick only for Japan to go ahead on 16 minutes through Youki Nagasato. It wasn't until the final ten minutes that the result was put beyond doubt with Aya Miyama netting a long-range free-kick before Homare Sawa completed the scoreline with a fine first time strike from 15-metres.
West Australian striker Lisa De Vanna featured in all five of the Matilda's games. Collette McCallum added another four appearances to her international tally, and Lydia Williams was between the posts on three occasions. 16-year old Ella Mastrantonio became the State's newest senior international when she came on late in the play-off match with Japan.
The Australian squad for the 2008 Women's Asian Cup was Di Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Amy Chapman, Lauren Colthorpe, Lisa De Vanna, Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Collette McCallum, Kate McShea, Ella Mastrantonio, Caitlin Munoz, Amber Neilson, Ellyse Perry, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury, Kyah Simon, Jenna Tristram and Lydia Williams.
SOCCEROOS STAY TOP DESPITE LOSS
Australia have been defeated 1-0 by Iraq in their World Cup qualifier at the Al Ahli Stadium in Dubai. The only goal of the match arrived midway through the first half when Emad Mohamed's speculative shot from distance squeezed under the crossbar with Mark Schwarzer caught off his line. Despite the loss, Australia remain on top of the Group One table courtesy of a superior goal difference over Qatar, who defeated China 1-0, to join the Socceroos on seven points. Australia must now win one of its final two games, against Qatar and China, to progress to the next stage of qualification.
There were few chances created in a subdued start to the game which only sparked into life when Jason Culina was denied a penalty after a crude tackle by Basem Abbas Gatea. The first genuine shot at goal arrived shortly after with Schwarzer tipping a long-range shot by Gatea over the crossbar, then Emad headed wide when left unchecked. Emad's decision to chance his luck in the 27th minute proved right as his shot from some 26-metres drifted over Schwarzer to go into the net off the underside of the bar. Australia's best chance of the period came just before the break when Luke Wilkshire's free-kick sailed over the bar of Noor Abbas Sabri.
Australia dominated the second half but created little that seriously worried the home defence. Substitute Brett Holman could have levelled the game on the hour after playing a clever one-two with Harry Kewell but his tame shot failed to trouble the 'keeper. Josh Kennedy failed to connect with a delightful cross from Holman who, shortly after, provided a low centre to Scott McDonald who scuffed his shot to the 'keeper. Iraq went close to securing victory in the 82nd minute when Younes Mahmoud Khalaf was play through with only Schwarzer to beat but the Socceroo custodian was equal to the task. The final play was a stoppage time corner which eventually put the ball at the feet of David Carney but his effort was cleared by Gatea.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND EIGHT
Table topping Mandurah City were held to a 1-1 draw by Stirling Lions before a large crowd under lights at the Hyundai Stadium on Saturday evening. Andy Brown gave Mandurah the lead again the run of play shortly before half-time with Marc Anthony earning the visitors a point from a pulsating encounter. Stirling came out of the blocks full of running and through Ludovic Boi, Steve Porter and Phil Arnold seized the midfield ascendancy. Their first chance came with just 7 minutes on the clock when Rory Feely forced a fine save from Michael Green. Mandurah thought they’d gone ahead against the run of play but Andy Brown’s effort was disallowed for offside, much to the dismay of the crowd. Jordan Rhodes fired past Green only to have Chris Wylie clear off the line as Stirling stepped up the pressure and search for the lead. Dean Evans driving run was halted by Ryan Townsend, an Arnold rocket cleared the crossbar then Muir was denied the opening goal by Green. With 40 minutes elapsed Phil O’Callaghan threaded a pass out of midfield for Andy Brown whose blistering 30-metre drive skidded into the bottom corner to give the hosts the advantage going into half-time. Stirling started the second period as they had the first and a scorching Rhodes shot which skimmed the crossbar. Phil Straker kept the visitors in the hunt with a terrific reflex save to keep out Patrick Quinn’s side-foot from an O’Callaghan cross. The equaliser arrived on the hour when Boi played out wide to Feely whose inch-perfect delivery was slotted into the net by Anthony. There were plenty of dramas as both sides went in search of a potential winner. Evans’ powerful drive struck Townsend to deflect for a corner, and O’Callaghan flashed just wide with a shot that was simply too good for Straker. Boi was denied by Green with four minutes left, but it was Straker who emerged the hero with a fantastic double save to deny Michael Currie then Jeff Bright.
A rampant second half display has seen Cockburn City cast aside champions Floreat Athena 4-0 in an at times spiteful game at Litis Stadium. Johnny Mirco and substitute Giovanni De Bartolo each scored twice as Cockburn joined Mandurah City at the head of the Premier League table. The first half was dominated by a couple of well-organised defences who were quick to shut down their opponents attacking thrusts. Mileta Miletic squandered a great early chance by side-footing over the crossbar from close-in, while midway through the half Daniel Neiderberger headed high from an Adam Bachillor corner. A dubious foul by goalkeeper Nick Feely on Neiderberger resulted in a Floreat penalty after 36 minutes, but justice was seen to be done with the Floreat attacker firing against the post. Jason Godfrey stole the ball off Garin Collins’ boot as he lined up the target, and late in the half Johnny Mirco’s rasping strike was just the wrong side of the post. The deadlock was eventually broken in the 65th minute when Aaron Dos Santos’ clipped pass into the 18-yard box caught the home side ball-watching and Giovanni De Bartolo angled an explosive shot past a badly exposed goalkeeper. It took only another three minutes for Cockburn to add their second through Johnny Mirco who rifled into the bottom corner after being found unmarked by De Bartolo. Floreat were by no means down with Collins stinging the gloves of Feely, then Bachillor found his way into the area where he was robbed of a shot by Aleksic and Feely. But the result was soon put beyond doubt as Dos Santos laid the ball into the path of Johnny Mirco who was allowed to advanced down the left and drill his shot under the advancing ‘keeper after 72 minutes. The icing was put on the cake shortly before the final whistle when Johnny Mirco skipped clear of the defence and centred to De Bartolo who was afforded time and space to pick his spot past Vas Vujacic.
Evergreen striker Damien Scali has inspired Swan I.C. to a 5-1 mauling of Armadale at the Swan Italian Club. Scali, now in his thirteenth season with Swan, bagged a match-winning hat-trick as youngsters Alex Cocking and Geoff Mason also found the back of the net. Thirteen minutes were on the clock when the hosts were awarded a soft penalty when Geoff Mason fell under an Andy Bowyer tackle, and Scali made no mistake from the spot by sending goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock the wrong way. Not a long was going Armadale’s way as a long-range strike by Andy O’Neill struck defender Shannon Dally and fell kindly for Cocking who blasted past Sharrock from close-in. Oliver Hilton should have pegged a goal back on the half-hour after latching on to booming Sharrock clearance but steered the ball wide from 9-metres. It would prove a costly miss for the visitors who, three minutes later, conceded for a third time as Mason lashed the ball in from close-range after Sharrock parried a David Perich shot. The Reds were unlucky not to open their account late in the half but Joseph Brunetto’s shot was held by Cory Hugo who, on the stroke of half-time, denied Hilton after he was played through by Ryan Pearson. Marlon Ramirez continued the theme after the turnaround by forcing another good save from Hugo, and a just a couple of minutes later the youngster flashed a shot narrowly wide of the post. Any hopes of a comeback were ended in the 70th minute when John Mansaray clipped the ball to the far post where Scali nodded beyond the reach of Sharrock. Goal number five arrived just two minutes later courtesy of Perich who charged down the right before crossing for Scali to headed in his third of the afternoon. Armadale snared a consolation goal shortly afterwards with Pearson’s cross picking out Daryl Platten who netted at close-range. The same two players combined again a few minutes later but on this occasion Platten’s header crashed off the crossbar.
The points were shared between Perth S.C. and Sorrento who played out a tactic laden 1-1 draw at Dorrien Gardens. Sorrento found themselves on the back foot for much of the opening half as Antonio Naglieri and Greg Sharland stamped their class over proceedings. Naglieri played a terrific pass in behind the defence for Steve Campbell but his cut back was intercepted before Andreas Oliviera could arrive. The battle in midfield was worth the price of entry alone as Naglieri and Peter Lord pitted skills and creativity Glen Thomas and James Morgan. David Onoforo was unlucky not to bring up the first goal when his glancing header from a Lord cross passed wide of the far post. For their part, Sorrento were forced to play on the counterattack and although Scott Bulloch worked hard the visitors rarely looked like scoring. Naglieri again opened up the Gulls defence by playing a neat one-two with Oliviera before slipping a pass to Onoforo who was denied by Neil Young’s instinctive save. The second half second half was just a couple of minutes old when Stuart Montgomery turned the ball over and squared to an unmarked Todd Harnwell who had little difficulty slotting under the advancing goalkeeper from 15-metres. A flowing move started by Trent Kay and channelled through Naglieri put the ball at the feet of Onoforo who from a tight angled fired across the face of goal. Perth got back on level terms through an explosive Todd Howarth free-kick in the 73rd minute awarded for Steve McDonald’s foul on Onoforo. Just a few minutes later Young’s poor clearance was pounced upon by Oliviera who’s clipped shot drifted narrowly wide. Sorrento almost stole the lead when Scott Neville weaved past several opponents only to miss-kick with just Gareth Deeg to beat. And in stoppage time Oliviera could have settled the game when released by Howarth but watched his shot skim the outside of the post after lobbing Young.
Inglewood United upset E.C.U. Joondalup’s apple cart by registering a 2-0 win in the northern suburbs. Young midfielder James Sammut got the ball rolling by netting at close-range after 6 minutes with substitute Ian Griffiths making the game safe with a late strike. It was the first time in almost three years that Joondalup were held scoreless on home turf. Western Knights and Fremantle Spirit played out an entertaining but ultimately scoreless draw at Nash Field. The small, appreciative crowd were kept on the edge of their seats for the duration as the teams created an abundance of chances without ever opening up an avenue to goal. Further details of these two games were not forthcoming from any of the four participating clubs.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND EIGHT (South West Phoenix v Balcatta courtesy South West Phoenix)
South West Phoenix leapt into third place after coming from behind to inflict a 3-2 loss on Balcatta at the Soccerdrome. Ian McKean and Bobby Klenkoski made their presence known as Balcatta enjoyed the major of early possession but were held at bay by a stubborn defence underpinned by Gareth Johnson and Chase Parker. The visitors eventually found a way through after 33 minutes when Igor Novakovic’s long ball caught Phoenix by surprise and Klenkoski unleashed a blistering shot which gave young goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery no chance. Balcatta would continue to dominate and were unfortunate not to add a few more to their tally but the finishing did not complement some neat lead-up work. Kenny Ftynogiannis was lucky to remain on the park after taking the feet from under Andy Cowley, referee David Costello pointed immediately to the spot from where Steve Suttie tucked away the equaliser. Phoenix emerged for the second half with renewed determination and just after the hour were rewarded as Suttie fired through a congested goalmouth after receiving Cowley’s cutback. The points were made safe with ten minutes remaining when substitute Lee Stewart latched on to a Ryan Risdon through ball which he placed past the ‘keeper. Klenkoski made the most of sloppy defending to snare Balcatta a consolation with the last kick of the game.
Morley Windmills stormed their way to victory 4-1 against Forrestfield United in a one-sided game at Wotton Reserve. The game started at a frenetic pace and several unconverted half chances by the home side. Their dominance was rewarded in the 25th minute when Bobby Irving played a quick one-two with Scott McIlroy before crossing for Farrell Hedges to net. McIlroy went close to adding a second with a firece strike from the edge of the 18-yard box which was saved by Brad Eiffe, who soon after came up trumps in a one-on-one with Noong Naraphont. Hedges increased Morley's lead on the stroke of half-time by weaving around two defenders and lashing past the goalkeeper. The result was put beyond doubt twelve minutes into the second half when Paul Dundo played out wide to McIlroy whose incisive ball in behind the defence allowed Hedges to complete his hat-trick. Irish import Edward Walsh completed the route just after the hour with a simple tap-in after Naraphont's lofted shot cleared the 'keeper. Morley then squandered a succession of gilt-edged chances with Dundo, Gary Murdoch and substitute Michael McGrath the guilty parties. Forrestfield grabbed a late consolation through M.Kamara whose cracking shot from 17-metres was out Chris Ramsey's reach.
Gosnells City picked up their first home win of the campaign by out-shooting Rockingham City 4-2 at Walter Padbury Reserve. The avalanche of goals commenced in the 4th minute when Graham Herd’s in-swinging corner drifted over goalkeeper Tom Smith and inside the far post. Salvi Chavez doubled the margin twenty minutes later by crashing a free-kick through the defensive wall from just outside the 18-yard box. Half-time wasn’t far away when Ian Maguire delivered a cross to Darren Francis whose looping header from 8-metres came to rest in the back of the net. This same pattern carried over into the second half which was three minutes old when Sam Maguire whipped a loose ball into the net after Smith spilled a Chavez free-kick. Things appeared to go from bad to worse for Rockingham with Richard Lacey issued his marching orders after raising an elbow to Sam Maguire. But going down to ten men had a galvanising effect on the visitors and in quick succession Michael Vaz hit the post then Andrew Keary volleyed just wide. With 67 minutes gone Craig Howard beat a couple of opponents before crossing from the left for Vaz to head past Alan Dunlop. A foul on Stuart McCall produced a Rockingham penalty nine minutes later that Craig McCreery converted to bring some respectability to the scoreline.
Canning City moved two points clear at the top of the First Division table after defeating Queens Park 2-0 at Coker Park. A couple of goals late in the second half by Paul Oliver got Canning over the line before they went down to ten men with the dismissal of star striker Paul Harvey. Bayswater City left it late to snatch a 1-1 draw with Dianella White Eagles from the derby meeting at Dianella Reserve. Ryan Frisina’s final minute strike cancelled out Jon Greenwood’s goal midway through the first half. The upset of round eight came from Kingsway Sporting Complex where Ashfield moved off the bottom of the table by inflicting a 1-0 loss on Wanneroo City. The task looked beyond Ashfield when Brad Harris was issued his marching orders after 17 minutes, however, the visitors dug deep and eleven minutes from the end I.Charming found the net to earn their first win of the campaign. Further details of these three games were not forthcoming from any of their six participating clubs.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The pick of round eight Premier League games is the top four meeting of Floreat Athena and Cockburn City at Litis Stadium. Floreat have in recent weeks reproduced the sort of form which saw them crowned champions last season with coach Michael Roki keen to see his side continue their climb up the table. A watertight defence that features John Migas, Julian Madaschi and Vas Vujaicic has played as big a part in their successes as the goalscoring instincts of Garin Collins and Brad Scott. Cockburn boss Mirko Jelicic has been well served by attack-focused trio Johnny Mirco, Mileta Miletic and Giovanni de Bartolo along with the defensive know-how of Jason Godfrey and Paul Natale.
Dorrien Gardens hosts the blockbuster meeting of Perth S.C. and Sorrento. Inconsistency has been the only constant during the opening months of the season for Perth who have at times looked anything but champions in waiting. Michael Icanovski, Antonio Naglieri, Andrija Jukic and Andreas Oliviera are just a few of the immense talents who’ll proudly don the blue of Perth on Saturday. Successive losses have seen the Gulls tumble down the table to sixth and coach Steve Neville goes into the game determined to end their slide. Neil Young and Shaun Kilkelly have important roles to play in plugging a leaky defence, while at the other end it’s Scott Bulloch and Todd Harnwell who pose the greatest danger.
Inglewood United can leap up the table from ninth into as high as third should they defeat E.C.U. Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University ground. Swan I.C. have home ground advantage against a heavy depleted Armadale side still smarting from an eight goals thrashing last week. It’s going to be another difficult day at the office for Reds boss who’ll be without eight players due to injury, suspensions and other absences. Western Knights welcome an as yet pointless Fremantle Spirit to Nash Field where a desperate struggle for maximum points will commence with the opening whistle. Both sides have leaked goals this year and want to put some daylight between themselves and the drop zone.
Peelwood Parade, aka Hyundai Stadium, hosts Saturday’s late game in which surprise leader Mandurah City take on Stirling Lions (7.30pm kick-off). Confidence is sky high in the home camp following last weeks massive win at Armadale where Phil O’Callaghan notched up his tenth goal of the campaign. Keith Brown comes face-to-face with former team mates for the first time in a midfield that includes Andy Brown and Jeff Bright. Stirling has run hot and cold this season but last week returned to the winner’s list by coming from behind to defeat E.C.U. Joondalup. Marc Anthony and Dean Evans were in terrific touch on that occasion but to collect another three points they’ll need to have imports Steve Porter and Mark Redshaw available for duty.
Bayswater City, Canning City and Balcatta sit jointly atop the First Division table and for round eight all three are on the road. The journey for Bayswater is short with Dianella White Eagles the destination. Canning also don’t have far to go for the derby meeting with struggling Queens Park. Balcatta make the long trip to Bunbury where they face fifth-placed South West Phoenix. Wanneroo City have slipped off the pace a little of late but are expected to take the points when they host bottom side Ashfield. Morley Windmills are home to Forrestfield United in an important mid-table clash. Rockingham City, fresh from their first win of the winter, will be confident when they visit Gosnells City who’ve collected just one point from their three home games.
COYNE CLOSES IN ON AUSTRALIA DEBUT
Perth-raised defender Chris Coyne is set to go from making up training numbers to Socceroo in the space of three weeks as coach Pim Verbeek toys with the biggest selection stunner of his reign. Verbeek is considering including Coyne, whose club Colchester United plays in the third tier of English football, in his starting side for the weekend World Cup qualifier against Iraq in Dubai. Concerned about his defence's organisation, Verbeek used Coyne in a back three during a training match, then spoke glowingly of a player with leadership and other qualities he's been seeking.
Coyne looked totally at home barking out orders to much higher profile teammates at training - something which automatically endeared him to Verbeek and could earn him an international debut this weekend. "His personality - he's a leader. He's a tough defender, he's a very good header, he's never in panic, somebody we don't have so far in the backline," Verbeek said. "I think he's one of the best headers we have in the squad, and he's not afraid to go into duels. I think he can do a job for us." Coyne was only added to the Socceroos squad as a train-on player only a few weeks ago but impressed Verbeek so much he was named in the squad for last weekend's Iraq game in Brisbane.
For 29-year old Coyne, a senior international debut would cap a remarkable three weeks and provide an opportunity he thought had passed him by. A junior international at all levels, Coyne narrowly missed selection for Australia's 2000 Olympic Games team. His professional career never really got going at West Ham United, with whom he spent five years from the age of 17 for one substitute's appearance before a journey mainly through England's lower leagues. Loan stints at Brentford and Southend while at the Hammers culminated in a permanent move to Scottish club Dundee, then back to England to Luton Town and now Colchester United.
Verbeek sent assistant coach Henk Duut to watch Coyne two months ago, but the defender broke down in the pre-match warm-up with back spasms. "When my back went, I thought 'well that's done and dusted'. I was aware Henk was coming over. At the time I thought it wasn't meant to be," Coyne said. "You set goals and it's something I always wanted to achieve - the honour of representing my country. If this is my time, it's my time. It's not something that's going to daunt me, the fact it's an international. Given that opportunity, I'd like to grab it with both hands if it comes. If it doesn't, I'll keep trying. I'll keep grafting away because that's the sort of person I am."
NTC GETS BIG TICK OF APPROVAL
Playing in the Premier League Reserves competition has been the perfect tonic for the National Training Centre squad who sit comfortably at the top of the table after eight games. After a tentative start, the team is now playing some quality football and their recent 6-0 thrashing of 2007 champions Inglewood United has shown once and for all the immense potential of Kenny Lowe’s young team. “I think we caught them on a good day, or we caught them on a bad day, I’m not sure,” said Lowe. “At the moment the lads are doing fantastic, and that is the whole squad. We’ve had injuries like all teams in the league and international call-ups but the squad has played some really good football.”
The NTC commenced their league campaign with a solid 2-0 win at Armadale, then drew 2-2 with Cockburn City before succumbing 5-2 to Sorrento. But since that loss they’ve really found their rhythm with defeats of Fremantle Spirit, Perth S.C., Inglewood, Western Knights and on the weekend Stirling Lions. “The boy’s have real passed my expectations - I thought it would be a lot more difficult for them,” said Lowe, who has been impressed by the players’ application against older and often far more experienced opponents. “I don’t know if that’s an inditement of the league being so poor or us being exceptional, maybe it’s a little bit of both?”
The NTC program has come under criticism from some sectors of the football family but as far as Lowe is concerned it’s what football in this state has been lacking for years. “In the squad we have had twelve players identified for the Australian Under-17 team and two offered scholarships at the Australian Institute of Sport, which is fantastic for WA football,” he said. “Out of the twelve identified players, nine have attend national team camps and six have represented their country in games. All this in a year and half of the program and it’s testament to all the hard work that’s been put in by the lads.”
Like all coaches, Lowe was hesitant when asked to name stand out players from what has very much been a team effort this year. “If I pick a best player I’d be here for an hour as everyone as stepped up and played their part in the season to date,” he explained. “The African boys - Eli Babalj and Milljon Butshiire - provide some excitement on the ball, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury continue to impress and grow along with Reece Vittiglia and Liam Harvey, who’ve pushed it on as the older boys. But there are also younger boys like Ryan Edwards, Adam Taggert, Steven Walmsley, Ryan Williams who are going to be super players one day, and I don’t think football has been in a better state in WA as it is at the moment.”
There were concerns raised about entering the NTC squad, which consists of players aged 17 and under, in the physical environs of the Reserves league which, for all intense and purposes, is an under-23 competition. Amongst those was Lowe who, having seen the boys in action, has been convinced that pitting skills against players much their senior has benefitted the youngsters. “I was concerned at first but they are moving the ball very quickly and teams are struggling to get the ball off us at the moment,” explained Lowe. “All the boys have gone out there and are mixing it with big guy’s and are learning from this which again only helps these players in there development.”
The NTC full-time scholarship holders for 2008 are Clayton Arnez, Eli Babalj, Sean Browne, Milljon Butshiire, Jack Clisby, Julius Davies, Cameron Edwards, Nick Feely, Lewis Hall, Liam Harvey, Emmanuel Linga, Adam Luca, Sam Mitchinson, Alexander Pearson, Joshua Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, John Tancredi and Reece Vittiglia. Associate scholarships, which facilitate players’ to be involved at club level and turn out for the NTC when required, have been taken up by Tim Doyle, Ryan Edwards, Devon Gibson, Scott Mellish, Mondrick Sims, Francis Soale, Samuel Sonpon, Adam Taggert, Steven Walmsley and Ryan Williams.
WE CAN DO IT : MCCALLUM
Australia will leave no stone unturned in their quest to upset women's Asian Cup favourite DPR (North) Korea in tomorrow's semi-final according to midfielder Collette McCalum. The Matildas go into the game as underdog having claimed just a single win from eight meetings with DPR Korea, whose back-to-back successes twelve months ago ended Australia's 2008 Olympic Games dream. "We've got a chance of winning it, definitely," said a cautiously optimistic McCallum. "It'll be a tough game. North Korea are probably the best team in Asia at the moment ... we know about the Olympic games, so we'll be going out there looking for revenge."
The Matildas defeated Chinese Taipei (4-0) and Korea Republic (2-0) in their opening games of the tournament but snuck into the last four on goal difference after losing their third group fixture to Japan (3-1). "It was a bit of a shock to us. The goals we conceded were from our mistakes but that's football, we've got to move on, we're a better team than that. The conditions are still hitting us a bit so we have to make sure our recovery is right. But we kept fighting and luckily we got that goal that put us through," commented McCallum.
After the Asian Cup, the Matildas travel to Korea Republic for the Peace Cup where they meet the likes of Brazil and Italy. McCallum then heads back to Los Angeles to complete her stint with W-League outfit Pali Blues. "It's very different to what I get back in Australia," McCallum said. "It's a quicker game, they do a lot of high pressure play and it's physically tougher ... I'd like to go to Sweden I think, that league would suit my type of game. But I wanted to see how it would go for me in America."
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS FOR SWAN'S MCNALLY
David McNally is living the dream at Swan I.C. where he’s being mentored by one of the local scenes true greats. The promising young centre-half is absolutely chuffed to have been taken under the wing of one-time State representative Aaron Cole whose guided McNally’s graduation from youth team footballer to first team regular in the space of a couple of seasons. “I’ve learnt heaps - it’s been great playing alongside Coley. He’s a great leader on and off the pitch and everyone in the team looks up to him,” said McNally of his team mate. “So far this season I think he’s been our best player because he consistently performs well every week.”
A strong pre-season and a good start to the home and away series has Swan positioned in seventh place after seven games. “Everyone has worked hard over pre-season to get themselves fit and it is really showing in our performance so far this season,” said McNally. “Everyone in the squad wants to make the starting eleven and is fighting for their position on the park. All the boys take training seriously which helps everyone to get focused for every game. All games in this league are tough but I think that we are up to the challenge. Hopefully we can keep getting results and work our way to top end of the table.”
While his immediate focus is on consistently producing the goods for Swan, McNally admits to occasionally letting his mind drift to later this month and trials in England. “The club has organised for me to try out for a few teams in England while I’m over there,” explained McNally, who’ll squeeze in trials as part of a family holiday. “I don’t really know what to expect but I guess I can only try my best and see what happens. Hopefully things will work out but it will be a good experience none the less.” But until then McNally is determined to do his bot in helping Swan climb the Premier League table.
SOCCEROOS NAMED FOR MIDDLE EAST ADVENTURE
Pim Verbeek will take a twenty-six man squad to the Middle East for Australia's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and Qatar. The Socceroos coach named a bigger squad than expected, admitting he was concerned with five players - Vince Grella, Luke Wilkshire, Brett Holman, David Cairney and Mark Schwarzer - who are walking a suspension tightrope. The door has been left open for soon to be fathers Lucas Neill and Mile Sterjovski to join the squad along with striker Josh Kennedy, who is recovering from injury. Australia take on Iraq in Dubai on 7th June, travel to Doha where they face Qatar on 14th June and then return to Australia for a meeting with China on 22nd June in Sydney
The Australian squad for this moths three World Cup qualifiers is Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Nick Carle (Bristol City), Mile Jedinak (Central Coast Mariners), Scott McDonald (Celtic), Chris Coyne (Colchester United), Ruben Zadkovich (Derby County), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Carl Valeri (Grosseto), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Archie Thompson, Rodrigo Vargas (Melbourne Victory), James Troisi (Newcastle United), Ante Covic, James Holland, Jade North (Newcastle United Jets), Brett Holman (NEC Nijmegen), Michael Beauchamp, Matthew Spiranovic (Nurnberg), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Perth Glory), David Carney (Sheffield United), Vincenzo Grella (Torino), Luke Wilkshire (FC Twente) and Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor).
GARCIA LOOKING FORWARD TO WEST HAM RETURN
Richard Garcia is on top of the world and back in the top flight after helping Hull City win promotion to the English Premier League. Hull recently defeated Bristol City in the Championship play-off final to reach the top tier of English football for the first time in their 104-year history. Garcia, who collected a FA Youth Cup winners medal with West Ham United in 1999, has revealed he’s excited about the prospect of returning to Upton Park next season. “I am looking forward to it and it will be fantastic to come and play at West Ham again,” said Garcia. “I only have good memories of my time there. Sure it was disappointing not to have gone further there, but I was certainly given the best start to my career in England.”
Garcia was one of the key performers in the Hammers run to the Youth Cup final, setting a record by scoring in every round up to and including the final and finishing the competition with eight goals. He signed professional forms in 1999 and enjoyed successful loan to Leyton Orient before suffering a knee ligament injury and being released in mid-2004. “I spent my growing-up years at West Ham, a very important time in anyone’s life, and I won’t ever forget it,” said Garcia, who played alongside Joe Cole and Michael Carrick while at the club. “There is that fine line [between success and failure] but at the same time you’ve just got to keep reaching for your goals. It’s been my dream to play in the Premier League and my quest to get there I suppose is complete.”
Garcia’s determination to return to the pinnacle of the English game was rewarded when Hull capped a remarkable season by winning promotion through the play-offs. And the attack-minded midfielder revealed his delight at finally achieving something as a senior player to rank alongside his feats as a trainee at West Ham. “I remember when I first arrived in London I flew over the old Twin Towers and that was the first sight I had of the city,” said Garcia. “Playing at Wembley is up there with anything I’ve achieved in my career, and that includes my first appearance [for West Ham at Leeds United] in the Premier League.” Garcia played 16 times for West Ham during his stay at Upton Park.
AUSTRALIA EDGES CLOSER TO WORLD CUP
The Socceroos took another step towards the 2010 World Cup finals with a shaky 1-0 win over Iraq at Suncorp Stadium this evening. Harry Kewell’s goal early in the second half proved the difference in an entertaining and at times fiery contest in front of 48,678 fans. Post-game, coach Pim Verbeek admitted luck was on the side of the Socceroos. “I am very happy with my three points but not with the performance. We were lucky at the start of the game, and that was the story of the game,” Verbeek said. “I am sure we can play much, much better.” Australia have seven points from three games and victory in Dubai next Saturday against Iraq could well secure the top two finish required to advance to the next phase of qualification.
Iraq went close after just 4 minutes with Emad Mohammed Ridha hitting the crossbar. Australia’s first opening came the way of Kewell who forced a good save from Sabri after getting on the end of a David Carney cross. Schwarzer spread himself to deny Ridha at close-range after 27 minutes, while just before the break Younis Mahmoud Khalef headed disappointingly wide from the edge of 6-yard box. Two minutes after the turnaround Kewell rose above Abdul Amir to guide Brett Emerton’s pinpoint header past ‘keeper Noor Sabri Abbas and Australia into the lead. Kewell should have put the issue beyond doubt in the 66th minute but was too casual with his finish after running on to a delightful ball from Luke Wilkshire. As Australia moved into defensive mode, Iraq lifted a gear as both Khalef and Ridha went close to snatching a late point.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SEVEN (Sorrento v Floreat Athena courtesy Floreat Athena; Fremantle Spirit v Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
The Premier League has a new leader in Mandurah City who mauled an impotent Armadale 9-1 at Alfred Skeet Oval. There was no indication of the magnitude of disaster that was about to engulf Armadale during the opening passages in which neither side looking particularly dangerous. But that scene was turn on its head by a stunning five minute burst in which the visitors hit three unanswered goals beginning with Keith Brown's bullet-like header at a Bright corner. The margin became two when Bright nipped ahead of his man to turn in Patrick Quinn's low centre at the front post. The scoreboard attendant was up on his feet again as Bright lashed a bouncing ball past the advancing 'keeper after being set-up by O'Callaghan. The goal avalanche continued on the half hour when O'Callaghan pushed a Bright cross past Sharrock. Poor defending was at fault eleven minutes later as Bright angled a low pass through a crowded 6-yard box for O'Callaghan to tuck in his second of the game. Andy Brown's lung-bursting run shortly before half-time saw him slice through the heart of the home defence before deftly placing the ball over the advancing 'keeper. Armadale finally got on the scoresheet ten minutes after the re-start with Marlon Ramirez prodding the ball in at close-range from Shane Walters' delivery. The visitors re-asserted themselves midway through the half as Bright broke free down the left and squared for substitute Robbie Cuthbert to bag his first senior goal. A terrific diving header by Quinn from Chris Wylie's cross took the difference to seven goals with 70 minutes gone. Soon after, O'Callaghan was impeded by Sharrock leaving referee Hugh Best with no option but to award a Mandurah penalty, however, the Armadale 'keeper made amends with a fine save from the spot. O'Callaghan completed a deserved hat-trick in the final minutes by firing past Sharrock to secure Mandurah a historic victory.
Another two goals from Brad Scott has inspired Floreat Athena to a 6-3 win over Sorrento in blustery conditions at Percy Doyle Reserve. Just 6 minutes had gone when Scott opened his account with a savage blast from 23-metres which rocketed past Neil Young after being set-up by Dean Apelgren. There was better to come on 27 minutes when Adam Bachiller’s searching long ball cleared the home defence and sat nicely for Scott to volley across the goalkeeper and inside the far post. Young was beaten for a third time in the 33rd minute when a clever dummy by Scott caught by surprise and permitted Garin Collins to race clear and slot in from a tight angle after rounding the ‘keeper. Sorrento, while stunned, rallied and three minutes later pegged a goal back through Scott Bulloch who squeezed the advancing Vas Vujacic from a Stuart Montgomery centre. A change of strategy which saw Danny Hill and Steve McDonald join the attack for the second half reaped rewards within three minutes of the re-start when Todd Harnwell’s dipping volley was too simply good for the Floreat ‘keeper. But by pushing their big men forward Sorrento ran the risk of exposing themselves defensively and in the 70th minute they paid the ultimate price when Miki Vujacic’s speculative curling shot from distance crashed into the net via the far post. Rafeal Insurralde entered the fray on 77 minutes and almost immediately dazzled his way through the home defence before poking the ball under Young. Although the game was pretty much out of reach, Sorrento continued to fight and just a minute later Harnwell put away his second of the day by converting at close-range. But Insurralde would have the final say and, after combining brilliantly with Apelgren, the big striker slotted into the net Floreat’s sixth goal of the afternoon.
Inglewood United made their long-awaited return to the winners circle with a couple of late strikes to see off Perth S.C. 4-2 at the Kiev Sports Ground. The teams looked destined to collect a point each before Jonathon Davite and Michael Baczynski netted inside the last three minutes to earn Inglewood victory. The games first opening came courtesy of Greg Sharland who found space down the left to deliver a far post cross which Antonio Naglieri glanced wide of the upright. Having sized up their opponent, Inglewood struck with 7 minutes on the clock through Jamie Mitsopolous whose shot on the bounce from 15-metres took a slight deflection off Brendan Ross on its way into the net. A massive downpour made life difficult for both teams and permitted neither to control the game for any considerable period of time. But Perth’s persistence paid off when awarded a controversial penalty for Shane Pryce’s foul on Andreas Oliviera, who shot truly from the spot eleven minutes out from the break. Mitsopolous put the ball back in Inglewood’s court on the hour by beating Gareth Deeg for a second time following terrific lead-up work from Kevin Griffiths. This forced the visiting side to step up a gear and eight minutes later Matthew Worton’s nudge on Oliviera resulted in another penalty for the visitors which the Perth striker again converted to make it two-all. Sensing the game was theirs for the taking, Naglieri and David Onoforo drove Perth forward at every opportunity in search of a winner. Oliver Taseski kept the hosts in the hunt with a great save to frustrate Onoforo who was played through with only the goalkeeper to beat. With 88 minutes gone substitute Davite was in the right place at the right time to head in from close-range a well-placed cross from Pryce. Shortly after Baczynski capped a commanding performance with a scorching drive from 30-metres which flew well beyond the reach of Deeg and secured a deserved home victory.
A healthy sized crowd witnessed Cockburn City overturn a one-goal deficit to defeat arch-rival Western Knights 3-1 in wet and windy conditions at Dalmatinac Park. Josh Kamasz, Mileta Miletic and Giovanni DeBartolo found the net to cancel out Matt Allen’s opener which arrived just after half-time. Wide players Johnny Mirco and Miletic were quick to make their mark by leading on a series of raids on the visiting goal. Their best chance fell to Johnny Mirco whose shot was deflected off the boot and crashed into the crossbar. The Knights slowly worked their way into the game and through central midfielder David Micevski began to take control of proceedings. David Micevski went agonisingly close with a neat lob which came down off the bar to Anthony Skorich who was thwarted by Jason Godfrey’s desperate last gasp tackle. The visitors enjoyed the better of openings but a combination of poor finishing and terrific work by 16-year old goalkeeper Nick Feely kept the score level. With half time approaching Cockburn almost stole ahead through Kamasz’ spectacular volley from the edge of the 18-yard box which fizzled just past the post. The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Allen’s long-range free-kick squirmed through the gloves of Feely and rolled into the net to give the Knights the lead. But it was to be short-lived as eight minutes later Kamasz got on the end of a Daniel Palermo cross to send a well-placed header beyond the reach of Kevin Miller. This swung the game in Cockburn’s favour and in the 62nd minute Mileta Miletic created space for himself with a charging run which ended with a blistering shot into the net. Mario Marcinko went close to putting the Knights back on level terms with a cheeky back heel that went wide. In the 87th minute Kamasz latched on to a pass out of midfield and was forced wide by Miller before squaring for Giovanni DeBartolo to wrap up the game by side-footing into an empty net from 10-metres.
Swan I.C. picked up their first win in a month by inflicting a 2-0 loss on Fremantle Spirit at the Swan Italian Club. It was with a crackle of thunder amid a torrential downpour that veteran referee Ton Klaver signalled the start of the on-field activity. And just two minutes had elapsed when Geoff Mason played the ball right to Alex Cocking whose hopeful shot from 15-metres deflected off Adrian McBride and looped over goalkeeper Steve Grant to put Swan ahead. Spurred on by their good fortune, Swan went in search of a quick second goal but neither Mason, Damian Scali nor John Mansaray could capitalise when the opportunity presented. Fremantle’s first opening came after 16 minutes when Cisco Jorquiera put the ball at the feet of Jason Barerra whose shot from the edge of the area flashed wide. Lady luck was clearly smiling on Swan who double their lead three minutes later when Mason’s cross was met by Cocking whose header from 7-metres struck Straker and wrong-footed Grant to find the net. Fremantle finally flickered into life late in the half with Barerra forcing a save from Cory Hugo, who shortly after was quick off his line to deny Raveshian Kuppusamy. McBride had a shot blocked on the line, and with the follow-up George Tsiaplas thundered the ball into the crossbar. But Fremantle’s hopes of a comeback were dented on the hour with Llewellyn Bake issued his second yellow card following an all-in melee stemming from a bone-jarring clash between Cocking and Grant. Neither team covered themselves in glory as the weather worsened, although Simon Elton-Bott almost lifted the gloom with a fine shot from distance which just cleared the bar. Grant made a instinctive save to keep out a Brendan Knox header, then just sixty seconds after Barerra crashed the ball into the base of the post. A pool of water robbed Mansaray the hosts third after he round Grant, and late on Scali somehow lift his shot high from 4-metres.
A stunning second half performance by Stirling Lions allowed them to come from behind and defeat E.C.U. Joondalup 3-1 in Sunday’s clash at Macedonia Park. Marc Anthony should have given the hosts the early lead but headed high at close-range from a Phil Arnold cross. Phil Straker was quick to smother Tommy Jones’ effort after being played in by Tommy Amphlett as Joondalup began to find their rhythm. A few more minutes passed before Amphlett again created space to cross to the far post where Jon Higgins was also denied by Straker. A long-range strike by Amphlett was parried by Straker on the half hour, Tommy Jones headed the loose ball goalward only to have Dean Evans clear the danger. The breakthrough finally arrived after 34 minutes when John Walmsley’s superb cross from the left was headed into the net by Ian McMurray from 7-metres. A foul by Craig Simpson on Evans resulted in a Stirling penalty after 43 minutes, but Tommi Tomich ensured the visitors retained the advantage by saving Anthony’s spot kick. A half-time spray from coach Mick Lyons had a galvanising effect on the home side who, within a minute of the re-start, drew level through Rory Feely whose first time strike ballooned over Tomich and into the net after coming off defender Craig Simpson. With Anthony, Alan Muir and Ludovic Boi pulling the strings, Stirling now put their foot on the accelerator and dominated the remainder of the game. So it came as no surprise when the home team grabbed the lead after 64 minutes via an Evans free-kick which curled into the top corner. Only the narrowest of margins prevented Joondalup from equalising shortly after with Craig Young’s low cross into the 6-yard box evading McMurray. Feely put the result beyond doubt by latching onto an Muir long ball which the young attacker slotted under Tomich with quarter of an hour remaining.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SEVEN (Rockingham City v Queens Park courtesy Rockingham City; Canning City v South West Phoenix by Phil Unsworth)
There was little change in the First Division standing’s with four of the five games played drawn. The only decisive result came from Lark Hill Sportsplex where Rockingham City defeated Queens Park 2-1 to register maximum points for the first time this winter. The early exchanges were devoid of any genuine chances on goal as the two sides combated driving rain and strong winds. Rockingham adapted better to the conditions by opening up a two-goal lead inside half an hour. The opener came after 14 minutes when Michael Vaz picked out Craig McCreery who pivoted sharply before lashing his shot past goalkeeper Robbie Easton. Ten minutes later Craig Howard doubled the margin with a superb solo effort in which he twisted and turned past a couple of opponents then rifled past the advancing ‘keeper. It wasn’t until the second half that Queens Park really found their rhythm and began to threaten, however, clear-cut openings were rare with the home defence repelling their best efforts. The pressure eventually proved too great as the home side conceded a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box from where Grant Learmont sent the ball into the net with just seven minutes remaining. Having come this far Rockingham were in no mood to throw the game away and defended staunchly to hold on for victory.
South West Phoenix came away from Willetton Sportsman Club with a deserved 1-1 draw against Canning City. The visitors made a bright start by taking the lead after 12 minutes when Gary Mayers latched on to a pass out of midfield and rounded one defender before hitting a fierce low shot to the right of goalkeeper Devon Spence. This lead to Canning stepping up a gear and Daniel Trevisiol could have equalised shortly after when he sliced through the visiting defence only to be denied by Ryan Montgomery’s smothering save. Parity was restored ten minutes from the break when Simon Versiaco’s shot was parried by the Phoenix ‘keeper who could only watch as Dave Mickler rammed in the follow-up from a metre. Mickler then spurned a great chance to put the hosts ahead by nodding high after being set-up by Versaico. Phoenix played the better football in the second half and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when the ball stuck an opponents hand in a goalmouth scramble. Mayers found a way through on several occasions but each time was unable to complete the move to his satisfaction. Canning almost stole a late victory with Duncan Hind heading against the upright from a Garth Lecky free-kick.
Bayswater City remains top of the pile after behind held 1-1 at home by Morley Windmills. Noong Naraphont put the visitors ahead just before interval with Adrian Sutton equalising on 59 minutes. Balcatta and Wanneroo City played out a tight 2-2 draw at Graham Burkett Reserve. Bobby Klenkoski and Igor Novakovic were on target for Balcatta with Wanneroo's goals coming from Brian Cairney and David Wimbridge. The derby meeting of Forrestfield United and Gosnells City ended with honours shared at 1-1. Ian Maguire gave Gosnells a 47th minute lead which was negated with thirteen minutes to go by an own goal. A waterlogged pitch caused the postponement of Ashfield's home date with Dianella White Eagles.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The highlight of week seven of the 2008 Premier League season is the clash between past champions Sorrento and Floreat Athena at Percy Doyle Reserve. Stuart Montgomery will be itching for a starting role after coming off the bench in the Gulls surprise loss to Cockburn City last week. Danny Cain made a strong return from injury in that game and is sure to figure prominently along with experienced duo Steve McDonald and Shaun Kilkelly. New Zealand import Brad Scott has been a revelation since joining Floreat, Vas Vujacic continues to impress between the posts, while John Migas and Adam Bachiller have given tremendous support from the midfield.
High-flying Mandurah City are expected to collect another three points from their trip to Armadale. Injury has ravaged Brad Hassell’s team this year with the coach unable to field the same line-up in successive weeks. Scott Devine and Oliver Hilton pull the strings in midfield but it’s in the final third where they’re really struggling. Mandurah head north brimming with of confidence, and none more so than Phil O’Callaghan who put away a hat-trick in last weekend’s Cup defeat of Fremantle Spirit. Captain Andy Brown has been an inspiration in the middle of the park with defensive muscle provided by Ryan Townsend and Chris Currie.
Inglewood United have home ground advantage against Perth S.C. in what is always a highly competitive meeting. Michael Baczynski, Matthew Wardle and Jason Colli have been in terrific touch of recent weeks for the home side who’ll be anchored by long-time defensive partners Shane Pryce and Danny Kovacevic. Graham Normanton’s team have worked hard to get their season back on track and head to Inglewood with maximum points the goal. Andreas Oliviera and David Onoforo have so far shared in excess of twenty goals this year and are looking to add a few more to their respective tallies. Scottish defender Steven Campbell was impressive on debut last week and could partner club stalwart Michael Icanovski, who comes back into contention having served suspension.
Dalmatinac Park hosts the blockbuster showdown between Cockburn City and Western Knights. The sensational form of Johnny Mirco has catapulted Mirko Jelicic’s team up the Premier League standings and another three points could add them to the leading pack. Dom De Felice and Michael Mirco lend experience to a young side that features the defensive brilliance of Liam Lilly, Paul Natale and Jason Godfrey. Ronnie Campbell could not have asked for more from young gun Anthony Skorich who has really stepped up to the mark this year. Rory Grant is scoring goals seemingly at will at the moment thanks largely to the creative influence of Luka Jukic and Daniel Micevski.
Fremantle Spirit’s clash with Swan I.C. has been switched to the Swan Italian Club. The port side earned themselves a great deal of praise from last week’s game in Mandurah and, although the scoreline wasn’t in their favour, Marc Wingell still had plenty of reasons to be positive. The creativity of Jason Barrera and Callum Roberts is sure to start paying dividends for the port club, while the return of Steve Grant brings some much-needed experience to a young line-up. Swan are unbeaten on home soil this season and are eager to keep that record intact. Aaron Cole and Cory Hugo have both been in good form this season and youngster Michael Tronchin has impressed since being promoted to senior ranks.
Macedonia Park is the place to be on Sunday afternoon for the derby between Stirling Lions and E.C.U. Joondalup. The two clubs played out a pulsating Cup tie two weeks ago with Willie McNally’s side pinching the game in a penalty shoot-out. Jon Higgins and Craig Simpson have served joint-leader Joondalup well this year along with livewire midfielder Tommy Amphlett and captain Ian McMurray. Stirling are in fear of losing pace with the leading pack. Playing against their former club is all the motivation Marc Anthony and Steve Porter will need, while club legend Darko Ilmanoski and rising star Dean Evans have forged an impressive partnership at the back. All six Premier League games kick-off at 3.00pm.
The pick of the First Division games takes place at Graham Burkett Reserve where joint leader Balcatta pit skills with early pacesetter Wanneroo City. Just a single points separates the two teams after six games and both will consider victory essential in their quest for ending the year on top of the pile. Bayswater City are being tipped to take the points when they host neighbouring Morley Windmills, whereas there won’t be a lot between Canning City and South West Phoenix when they meet at Willetton Sportsman Club. Ashfield may have home ground advantage but will struggle against Dianella White Eagles, and Hartfield Park is the venue for the derby meeting of Forrestfield United and Gosnells City. These five games get underway at 3.00pm. The late game takes place at Lark Hill Sporting Complex where bottom of the table Rockingham City takes on fellow struggler Queens Park (7.00pm).
BIRIGHITTI JOINS ADELAIDE
Adelaide United have snapped up Joeys custodian Mark Birighitti for the next two seasons. Birighitti complements the Reds’ already strong goalkeeping stocks of Daniel Beltrame and Eugene Galekovic for the 2008/09 A-League season. Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar is thrilled to have secured Birighitti, saying he is one of Australia’s most promising young ‘keepers. “He’s a pretty big boy for 17-years old, he’s a very agile keeper, he commands his box extremely well and he’s very impressive. We’re really thrilled to have him on our books.”
Birighitti played locally for E.C.U. Joondalup and Perth S.C., and captained the Australian Under-17 team, prior to accepting an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship late last year. South Australian football has a lengthy history of signing exceptional ‘keepers from the west coast and Vidmar says Birighitti has the ability to continue the trend. “You can go back to Willie McNally, Robert Zabica and Jason Petkovic, who were all outstanding goalkeepers for this State having originated from Western Australia and we believe Mark has got that potential to rise to the top,” said the Adelaide coach.
FORRESTFIELD EYE KANGA CUP
The black and gold of Forrestfield United will fly the flag for Western Australia this years edition of the Kanga Cup. The tournament, held annually in Canberra and now in its eighteenth year, is the largest youth tournament in the southern hemisphere and the fifth largest of its kind in the world. "This represents an opportunity for us to represent not only Forrestfield United and the local community, but also a team from Western Australia," said Elvis Bird, coach of Forrestfield's under-16 team. "Over the past two years there have been no teams from WA participate in the event, so to be confirmed as the only WA team at the tournament is exciting for the players involved."
Forrestfield are currently seeking sponsorship for their trip to Canberra in July. "We'd like to send a squad of fifteen players to Canberra and to make that happen we've been hard at work fundraising," explained Elvis. "At present we have raised $15000 from donations and fundraising such as chocolate sales - our aim is to raise another $4000 to cover flights, nomination and accommodation fees. We have a number of businesses from across the metropolitan area confirmed as sponsors but are after a few more." Anyone interested in assisting the Forrestfield youngsters achieve their goal of playing in Canberra is invited to contact Elvis Bird (0431 361 345), Carolyn Taylor (0417 097 229), Michelle Catchpole (0410 336 464) or club secretary Sue Treacey (9453 6211).
SWAN SIGN O’NEILL
Paul Lincoln has added to his options going forward with the recruitment of Andy O’Neill. The 26-year old hooked up with his new team mates for the first time during the week and is looking forward to playing again in the top flight. “There is a big difference between the First Division and the Premier League and that’s no detriment to the First Division but the, skill, pace and intensity hits another level and that’s what I’ve got to try and achieve here. I have played at this level before and I believe I can do it again,” commented O’Neill, who counts Bayswater City and Floreat Athena amongst his former clubs.
O’Neill has spent much of the past decade playing under respected coach Salv Todaro and admits his leaving Balcatta, where he was team captain, was a difficult decision to make. “I’ve played under Sal Todaro for the last seven years and he has been a big influence in my career,” explained O’Neill. “But the drive to play Premier League football was still burning in me and when Paul (Lincoln) got in touch with me and spoke of his plans at the club I jumped at the chance to join the Swans.”
The signing of O’Neill has delighted Lincoln who views the attacking midfielder as a key figure in his long-term plans for Swan. “It’s a terrific signing for the club; he’s a left-sided player and gives us experience and most of all he’s a quality player,” said the Swan coach. “We have a long-term plan at the club with a number of youngsters in the squad a quality player like Andy will add greatly to that.” O’Neill played youth and reserve team football at Floreat Athena before switching to Bayswater City in 2002 where he quickly became a regular fixture of the starting eleven. He played the past two seasons with Ashfield and moved to Balcatta during the summer.
GLORY YOUTH SQUAD TAKES SHAPE
Perth Glory’s National Youth League team is taking shape following three weeks of trials at Beale Park. The coaching team, headed by former Glory captain Gareth Naven, has selected an initial squad of 25 players in the build up to the final squad announcement. “With almost 200 talented youngsters from WA taking part in the open trial process the job of getting down to a final squad of 25 was extremely difficult” said Naven. “All the participants showed a very high level of commitment, skill and fitness to battle through, most of whom will have played local club games the previous day. It shows the desire and hunger of the WA community to be part of this great club.”
After testing the players skills and abilities in various game scenarios, the coaches will now monitor the selected squad as they train together over the coming months before settling on a final representative team. “This is just the beginning of a long journey for some of the players. The final squad will contain only ten of these players so they all need to keep working hard and keep proving themselves, but for those who do, the rewards will be there” commented Naven. “I am happy with the group of players we now have to work with and am confident that we can put together a competitive and talented squad to represent the club and WA football in the upcoming National Youth League.”
IRAQ BAN DENTS COYNE’S GREEN AND GOLD DREAM
Defender Chris Coyne’s long wait to make his Socceroos debut is not over yet after FIFA provisionally suspended Iraq from international competition for a year. The Socceroos were scheduled to face Iraq in a World Cup qualifier in Brisbane on Sunday but the match is in doubt because the Iraqi Government disbanded it football association. FIFA’s executive committee met yesterday in Sydney and decided to suspend Iraq, although it is prepared to revoke the suspension if it receives by Thursday “written confirmation from the Iraqi Government that the decree has been annulled.”
Coyne was called into camp in the lead-up to the Socceroos friendly against Ghana last Friday and impressed coach Pim Verbeek during training. He flew to Brisbane yesterday after being named in an extended 35-player squad for the Iraq match and has an outside chance of taking part. Coyne admitted he had given up hope of playing for the Socceroos before Verbeek’s surprise inquiry. “I’ve always had that ambition and desire to play and when Pim said ‘your holiday will be cut short but you’ll be involved with the national team’, the decision was made for me,” said Coyne, who returned to Perth for the English off-season.
Coyne has forged a considerable reputation in England which began at West Ham United’s youth academy in 1996. Loan spells at Brentford and Southend United preceded an 18-month stay with Dundee in the Scottish Premier League. Coyne returned to England in 2001 to sign with Luton Town where he’d spend six and half seasons before his move to Colchester in January of this year. Although a senior call-up seemed increasingly unlikely, he twice rejected interest from the Republic of Ireland. “I was flattered but it just wouldn’t have been right for me,” he said. “I couldn’t see myself going out in the green shirt (of Ireland). It’s got to be green and gold.”
Should Coyne gain his first senior international cap he’ll complete a rare father-son Socceroos double – his dad, John, played nine times for Australia n 1979 and 1980. Coyne believes his move to Colchester from financially stricken Luton, who he captained, was the catalyst for his Socceroos invitation. “It has been a long time coming – seven, eight years now – but I have been pushing and working hard in Europe to try and get some sort of recognition and I am now fortunate enough that my transfer to Colchester seemed to give me that back over here in Australia,” he said of his switch from League One to the higher profile Championship.
Coyne still harbours the dream to play in the English Premier League and hopes he continues impress while in camp with Australia and perhaps get a game or two with the Socceroos over the next month. “It’s an opportunity to realise an ambition; it’s an opportunity to further my career and show people what I am capable of. It’s just making the most of the experience and making sure I put my best foot forward,” he said. “I have been given an opportunity by the management to stake a claim and it’s up to me as an individual as well as a squad member to show that I have something to give back to the Socceroos.”
Another of his other footballing ambition is to one day play alongside younger brother Jamie, not just for a club but hopefully for the national team as well. “It would be nice to play local football with him and go on and play national football with him. I don’t know how many brothers have done that, but the first thing I did when I heard (about this camp) was call Jamo (Jamie), because I am very close with him,” he said. “I was surprised he didn’t get picked, because I know he was in the last squad and by all accounts he’s had an excellent season. He is coming into his peak now, he’s 25, injury free now and hopefully he can get a call up as well.”
Coyne, who turned 29 in December, has every confidence that his best playing days are just around the corner. “Everyone’s says you reach your peak at around 27, 28 but I certainly feel that I am coming to a good age. I think you get a bit wiser as you get older and you know more about your game and body as well,” he said. “I have come into a bit of form recently, but I was unfortunate about eighteen months ago, I went through, as everyone does, an eight-month spell of injury and touchwood for me I have been twelve months virtually injury free and really enjoying my football again.”
CUP QUARTER-FINALS DRAWN
There will be plenty of interest when the Soccer Pools Cup quarter-finals are played on the weekend of Saturday 21st June. The pick of the four games has Premier League heavyweights E.C.U. Joondalup and Floreat Athena going head-to-head at the Edith Cowan University ground. There’ll be plenty of intrigue at Dorrien Gardens when Night Series winners Perth S.C. take on long-time rival Western Knights. Premier League high-flyer Sorrento hosts First Division outfit Forrestfield United. The only surviving Amateur team, Hamersley Rovers, will fancy their chances when they host Fremantle Spirit. The Cup quarter-final draw was conducted live to air on the World Football Program, Radio Fremantle 107.9fm, on Saturday morning.
GARCIA HELPS HULL INTO ENGLAND’S TOP FLIGHT
Richard Garcia will swell the ranks of Australians in the English Premier League after helping Hull City win promotion to the top flight. Hull defeated Bristol City 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium to move into England’s top flight for the first time in its 104-year history. 26-year old Garcia, who played locally for Perth S.C. as a teenager, went head-to-head with Socceroo midfielder Nick Carle with both Australians creating numerous opportunities in front of goal. But it was veteran striker Dean Windass who scored the crucial goal for the Tigers, firing home a brilliant right-foot volley seven minutes from half-time. Hull joins West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City, who gained automatic promotion, in the 2008/09 Premier League.
MANAGER THROWS DOWN CHALLENGE TO BORO’S JONES
Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has put goalkeepers Brad Jones and Ross Turnbull on red alert following Mark Schwarzer's departure for Fulham. Jones, 26, and Turnbull, 23, have had to be content with playing second fiddle to Schwarzer in the past but the challenge is now on to fill the Socceroos shoes. "I have wanted to see what Brad and Ross are capable of and they will now get the opportunity to show me," said Southgate. "They will come back for pre-season training on an equal footing with the first-choice goalkeeper's shirt up for grabs. It's up to them to take that opportunity." Schwarzer made 446 appearances for Middlesbrough across eleven seasons and was in the side that lifted the Carling Cup in 2004.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND SIX (Mandurah City v Fremantle Spirit courtesy Mandurah City; Cockburn City v Sorrento by Kerry Slater; Floreat Athena v Inglewood United courtesy Floreat Athena; Western Knights v Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox)
E.C.U. Joondalup moved to the top of a very congested Premier League table after humiliating strugglers Armadale 5-0 at the Edith Cowan University ground. At the completion of round six its Joondalup’s superior goal difference that has them in poll position ahead of Mandurah City, Perth S.C. and Sorrento who are all grouped together on thirteen points. There were few real chances in a scrappy opening spell that had the ball turned over with frequency as the sides cautiously made their way forward. The game sparked into life after 27 minutes when a good move which featured Oliver Hilton and Ryan Pearson was met by Stefan Smiljanic whose header kissed the outside of the post. Four minutes later matters took a turn for the worse for Armadale with Andy Bowyer red carded for a foul on Tommy Jones inside the 18-yard box, and with the resulting spot-kick Ian McMurray fired his side into the lead. Despite playing with an extra man, the home side struggled to create much in the way of clear cut chances as Armadale bunkered down at the back. It took until five minutes into the second half for Joondalup to strengthen their hold over the game as Jon Higgins’ free-kick into the area was met at the far post by Craig Simpson who pushed the ball over the line. Armadale should have pulled a goal back just after the hour but Joseph Brunetto skied high from a couple of metres from Kodi Madeley’s low centre. With the clock ticking down the home team increased the tempo by hitting three rapid-fire goals. Their third arrived in the 78th minute when McMurray sent a neat pass through for Higgins to expertly lob goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock. Teenager Adam Taggart honoured his team debut by punishing sloppy defending at a Darren Broxton to head in and further widen the gap. The visitors misery was made complete on 81 minutes when Tommy Jones fired in a low cross which defender Daryl Platten had the misfortune of helping into the net.
Mandurah City whipped Fremantle Spirit 5-2 when they met under lights at Peelwood Parade. It took until midway through the first half for the game to spring into life with Phil O’Callahgan putting Mandurah ahead after Ryan Townsend nodded down a Keith Brown free-kick. Fremantle were full of life and with 27 minutes gone drew level through Cisco Jorquiera who placed his shot wide of goalkeeper Mike Green from Jason Barerra’s neat right wing cross. The port side could have taken a shock lead soon after when David Araya was put through only for his delicate chip over the advancing goalkeeper to fall just wide of the mark. Mandurah had their chances as the half wore on with the best falling to Jeff Bright who blasted narrowly past the post from an acute angle. The second half had only been under way a few moments when Mandurah restored their lead with Bright getting in behind the defence to square to O’Callaghan who made no mistake beating Steve Grant. The hosts strengthened their hold nine minutes later as Michael Currie fended off Llewellyn Bake and centred into the path of O’Callaghan who benefited from a static defence to slot in his hat-trick. The game was as good as over when a fast flowing move put the ball at the feet of Patrick Quinn whose dangerous low cross was turned in for an own goal by Bake after 56 minutes. Even so, Fremantle rallied and were given a glimmer of hope when Raveshian Kuppusamy found space on the right to unleash a stinging shot that gave Green no chance. Araya and Barerra then went close to further reducing the margin as the visiting team attacked with growing confidence. But their hopes were dashed with ten minutes to go when Peter Vukmirovic was dismissed for a second yellow card, and from the resulting free-kick Andy Brown’s shot deflected off the defensive wall and squirmed through the hands of Grant before finding the net.
Cockburn City struck a last gasp winner to topple Sorrento 4-3 on a dramatic afternoon at Dalmatinac Park. The match was well into stoppage time when Johnny Mirco pounced to inflict on Sorrento their first loss of the season. Only four minutes were on the clock when Todd Harnwell steered a high ball past goalkeeper Nick Freely at the far post after Scott Bulloch’s cross from the left skimmed the head of defender Jason Godfrey. But Sorrento’s lead was short-lived as three minutes later Johnny Mirco turned over possession and slipped the ball left to Aaron Dos Santos who dispatched a neat shot past Anthony Cochrane. Chances came and went for both teams before Cockburn took the lead on 31 minutes as a rasping Johnny Mirco strike was parried by Cochrane and in a flash Aaron Dos Santos had tucked in the loose ball. Like earlier, parity was soon restored with Harnwell’s shot on the turn creeping inside the upright following neat lead-up play that featured James Morgan, Stuart Banks and Bulloch. The end-to-end nature of the game carried over in the second half and Bulloch thought he’d put the visitors ahead by nodding in a Danny Hill cross but, after consulting with his assistant on the line, referee Stephen Gregory disallowed the Gulls effort. With twenty-three minutes left Cockburn won the ball in midfield and a quick interchange of passes between Johnny Mirco and substitute Mileta Miletic put the former in space to pick his place beyond the reach of Cochrane. Sorrento didn’t let their host saviour the lead for any more than three minutes before Thomas delivered a corner from the right which Danny Cain slammed into the net at close-range to bring the teams level for a fourth time. The game was two minutes into stoppage time when Dos Santos was gifted possession and slid the ball through for Johnny Mirco to drill the winner into the bottom corner from 15-metres.
Floreat Athena re-affirmed their intention of winning back-to-back Premier League titles with a comfortable 3-1 defeat of Inglewood United at Litis Stadium. Recent arrival Brad Scott took his tally to five goals in four outings with a sensational hat-trick as Floreat moved to within three points of top spot. Adam Bachiller set the scene for a dominant display by the home side by crashing a shot from 13-metres into the upright with just 3 minutes on the clock. A delightful passing exchange gave Floreat the lead six minutes later Bachiller’s through ball assisted Scott in going past one defender before slotting clinically into the bottom corner. Floreat continued to apply the pressure and it was the ever-alert Scott who, spotting young goalkeeper Luke Italiano off his line, sent a blistering shot into the top corner from some 35-metres to double the lead. Floreat custodian Vas Vujacic had little to do until a poor clearance put the ball at the feet of Michael Bazcynski whose vicious shot soared into the top corner with 34 minutes played. The addition of influential striker Bobby Despotovski at the break gave Inglewood renewed hope for the second half, however, their hopes of drawing level were continually undone by a combination of poor decision making and rock-solid defending. The visitor’s best opening of the period came via a free-kick which Despotovski fired past the defensive wall only to have it clear the crossbar by a matter of centimetres. Late in the half Despotovski found himself through with only the ‘keeper to beat and on this occasion Vas Vujacic forced him wide and the chance was lost. Floreat waited until the final minute of regulation time to match the points safe as Jovo Pavlovic’s long ball was chased down by Scott who won possession from Inglewood’s defence before twisting his way free and sliding the ball past the ‘keeper to complete his hat-trick.
A second half brace by Anthony Skorich earned Western Knights a 5-3 victory over Swan I.C. in wintry conditions at Nash Field. The Knights were simply a class above their visitors following the turnaround as Ronnie Campbell's men breathed new life into the season. It took only a couple of minutes from the home team to go ahead as Daniel Micevski's corner was headed back across goal by Cormac Dawson, Skorich's shot crashed back off the crossbar and Rory Grant was placed to poke the ball in at close-range. Keith Butler's clearance out of defence was all the invitation Skorich needed in the 23rd minute as he drove forward from the halfway line, beating Swan captain Aaron Cole in the process before sending a delicate chip shot over the on-coming goalkeeper to double the tally. A change of formation had the desired effect for Swan as Damien Scali slid a terrific pass through for John Mansaray who converted at the second opportunity after Kevin Miller blocked his initial shot. The equaliser arrived on 32 minutes when a Dom Ando free-kick was flicked on by Cole and at close-range Alex Cocking made no mistake. Daniel Micevski should had restored the hosts lead right on half-time when he avoided the offside trap but fired wide with only Cory Hugo to beat. A rare error by David McNally early in the second half was pounced on by Skorich whose first time shot from just outside the 18-yard box came to rest in the bottom corner of the net. In the 56th minute Luka Jukic provided the ball to Daniel Micevski who charged past two opponents before cutting in from the right and firing low past Cory Hugo to make it four-two. The points were secured with ten minutes to go as Swan were caught napping at the back by Barry Devlin who crashed his shot in from 8-metres. Swan grabbed a consolation goal three minutes later when Brendan Knox fired into the net off the rebound from a block shot by Cocking.
Perth S.C. ran out convincing 3-0 winners in Sunday’s clash with Stirling Lions at Dorrien Gardens. A second half double from Andreas Oliviera and a David Onoforo strike was enough to see off Stirling and move the Blues to joint top spot. The visitors opened brightly and were close on 6 minutes when a Steve Porter corner found Jordan Rhodes whose crisp volley was tipped over by Gareth Deeg. Perth countered five minutes later on 11 minutes through an Oliviera shot from 15-metres that was saved low by Phil Straker. A slippery pitch made the going difficult for both sides but Perth adapted better to conditions as Antonio Naglieri and Andrija Jukic flashed long-range shots wide. Steven Campbell came to Perth’s rescue after 20 minutes by blocking Phil Arnold’s goalbound strike. Either team could have taken the lead in the minutes before the break with Deeg saving a shot on the turn from Michael Pugliese, while Straker was well placed to deny Jukic. David Onoforo was played clear of the defence twice in the opening minutes of the second half but on both occasions he placed wide. A Stirling counterattack caused the home defence a few problems as Marc Anthony laid the ball into the path of Porter who’s shot was saved by Deeg. The breakthrough came with a touch of controversy when Onoforo fell under Darko Ilomanoski’s challenge, referee Hugh Best pointed straight to the spot from where Oliviera kept his nerve to Perth in front with an hour played. It took all of three minutes for Perth to add their second as Greg Sharland sent in a free-kick from the left which found Onoforo unmarked to head in at 5-metres. The game was made safe in the 74th minute when Oliviera stroked the ball past Straker from 9-metres folowing a flowing move that featured Peter Lord and Sharland. Stirling should have bagged a late consolation when David Price sloppily conceded a penalty for his push on Mark Redshaw, but Deeg moved sharply to his left to thwart Porter.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND SIX
It's tight at the top of the First Division table where just a couple of points separates the top five after six games. Bayswater City scored a 2-0 win when they hosted Forrestfield United courtesy of goals by Ryan Frisina and C.White. Free-scoring Canning City were always in control as they accounted for Gosnells City at Willeton at Willetton Sportsman Club. Paul Harvey lead the way with a hat-trick as D.Evans also found the net for the hosts, while on target for Gosnells were Graham Herd and Darren Francis. Balcatta romped past Queens Park 4-0 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Bobby Klenkoski netted twice with Adriano D'Adamo and an own goal completing the scoreline.
Dianella White Eagles maintained perfect home record by dismissing Wanneroo City 3-2. Jon Greenwood scored twice and Dragan Njegic once for the hosts with Wanneroo's goals coming from Brian Cairney and Ben Yates. South West Phoenix were rarely troubled in downing Ashfield 2-0 through first half goals from Steve Suttie and Ryan Binnie. Morley Windmills registered their second win of the campaign by out-shooting Rockingham City 4-1 at Lark Hill Sporting Complex. Michael Vaz put the host club ahead after 36 minutes but that was soon cancelled out by Bobby Irving before Paul Dundo, Gary Murdoch and Noong Naraphont steered the game in Morley's favour.
STERJOVSKI STRIKE SEES AUSTRALIA PAST GHANA
Australia warmed up for a crucial round of World Cup qualifiers by downing Ghana 1-0 in an uninspiring friendly at Sydney Football Stadium last night. Mile Sterjovski produced a fine solo effort just after half-time to give the Socceroos the lead only to be sent off in the closing stages on a mixed evening in front of almost 30,000 Sydneysiders. An otherwise indifferent performance from Australia provided coach Pim Verbeek with a lot of food for thought ahead of June’s packed schedule of four qualifiers. “The result is nice, especially for the fans and for the organisation … but it’s more learning from this game than looking for the result,” Verbeek said.
Jacob Burns had the first genuine shot on goal after 14 minutes but his effort from outside the 18-yard box sailed harmlessly over the crossbar. Ghana found the back of the net two minutes later through Manuel Agogo only to have his strike ruled out for offside. Sterjovski sent a long-range volley straight at the goalkeeper, while late in the half Laryea Kingston rocketed the ball high from distance. The second half had only just begun when Sterjovski robbed defender John Mensah to drill a low, hard shot from the edge of the box into the net. Ghana pushed in search of a late equaliser with Haminu and Agogo both forcing save from Mark Schwarzer in stoppage time.
MATILDAS UPSET CANADA
The Matildas finalised preparations for the upcoming women’s Asian Cup by upsetting Canada 2-1 at the Sydney Football Stadium last night. Goals to midfielders Amy Chapman and Caitlan Munoz in the first half set up the win as Australia dished out a repeat dose of their upset win over the North Americans at the 2007 Women’s World Cup. The Matildas dominated Canada in the first half and held on to record victory despite Canadian striker Kara Lang getting a goal back just after half-time. Collette McCallum played a full game, Katanning-born Lydia Williams was between the posts for the second half, while Ella Mastrantino was an unused substitute.
Chapman snatched the opener after 22 minutes by firing in home from a sharp angle after Munoz had forced a good save from Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod. Munoz squandered a golden opportunity to double the advantage just a minute later when she flashed a header wide from an Ellyse Perry cross. Munoz wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice and five minutes from half-time headed past the ‘keeper from Perry’s delivery. Lang put the visitors back in the game in the 56th minute and, despite piling on the pressure, Canada were unable to conjure up an equaliser.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Dorrien Gardens is the place to be on Sunday when Perth S.C. and Stirling Lions square off in the footballwa.net Match of the Week. Neither side would be happy with the way they’ve started the season but with a top three place within reach both are sure to coming out firing. In David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera Perth possess arguably the best attack in the competition which benefits greatly from the supply of Andrija Jukic and Greg Sharland amongst others. Stirling are no slouches in the goalscoring department with Mark Redshaw, Phil Arnold, Marc Anthony and Jordan Rhodes all capable of putting the ball way when called upon.
Table-stopping Sorrento are away for just the second time this year when they venture to Dalmatinac Park, home of Cockburn City. Johnny Mirco and Dom De Felice will make sure there’s not a dull moment for the Gulls rearguard while at the opposite end Jason Godfrey and Liam Lilly form an imposing defensive line in front of rising star Dejan Aleksic. The absence of suspended goalkeeper Neil Young is of major concern for Sorrento boss Steve Neville who’ll need Michael Ord, Shaun Kilkelly, Glen Thomas and Stuart Montgomery in peak form if they want to take even a point from the game. Kick-off is 3.00pm.
Armadale go seeking first points of the campaign when they head north to E.C.U. Joondalup (3.00pm). Scott Blackmore and Craig Simpson underpin one of the tightest defences in the game, Craig Young has been terrific touch coming through the middle with captain Ian McMurray scoring just as many as he creates. By complete contrast, goals have been hard to come by for Armadale who have netted just once over seven hours of football. Jason Goodwin’s absence through injury will hurt their chances and only intensifies their reliance on veteran Scott Devine, defensive partners Daryl Platten and Andy Bowyer along with goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock.
It’s been a difficult start to the year for Western Knights who have every right to be confident of picking up the points on home turf against Swan I.C. (3.00pm). Ronnie Campbell’s side has shown considerable improvement in recent outings thanks largely to the inspiration efforts of Luka Jukic and six goals in two games from Scottish striker Rory Grant. But for things to continue the Knights desperately need to stem the flow of goals against. Swan captain Aaron Cole has lead by example at the back this year with exciting midfielder David Perich providing plenty of ammunition for those in the attacking third.
Litis Stadium hosts the inner city derby between Floreat Athena and Inglewood United (3.00pm). Floreat have looked anything but champions during the opening weeks of the season although their Cup defeat of Mandurah City last weekend was a positive sign. Garin Collins and Brad Scott have been in terrific form while Vas Vujacic has shown in recent outings why he’s one of the best ‘keepers in the competition. Inglewood have surprisingly conceded goals at an alarming rate this year and a lot will be expected from seasoned campaigner Shane Pryce and ‘keeper Oliver Taseski as they attempt to end that annoying habit.
Fremantle Spirit’s miserable start to the season is expected to continue when they face Mandurah City in Saturday nights game at Peelwood Parade, aka the Hyundai Stadium (7.30pm). Mandurah’s superb start to their first season in the top flight is attributable to the non-stop efforts of central trio Keith Brown, Jeff Bright and captain Andy Brown. Highlights have so far been few and far between for Marc Wingell whose team are still seeking their first points after five games. Goalkeeper Steve Grant along with defensive pair Lee Hallums and Llewelyn Bake are in for a very busy night.
There’s a bottleneck developing at the top of the First Division where four clubs are separated by just a couple of points. Dianella White Eagles have won both their home games this year making the visit by an as yet undefeated Wanneroo City all the more interesting. Bayswater City bowed out of the Cup last weekend but are tipped to rebound with a win on home soil against Forrestfield United. But its not going to be an easy ride for Bayswater who could be without as many as five regulars, including Adrian Sutton and Tony Cumace.
Scottish striker Paul Harvey will be looking to be amongst the goals and lead Canning City to another three points when they host Gosnells City. Queens Park’s leaky defence will be their undoing when they take on Balcatta at Graham Burkett Reserve. There will be no easy games this year for struggling Ashfield who on Saturday have home ground advantage against South West Phoenix. These five games get underway at 3.00pm. Rockingham City have slipped to the foot of the table but are in with a chance of picking up some much-needed points when they host Morley Windmills under lights at 7.00pm.
GARCIA AND CARLE FACE OFF ON BIGGEST STAGE
Fate will bring Australians Richard Garcia and Nick Carle together on Sunday when they oppose each other in front of a sell-out crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium. Playing at the stunning stadium in front of such a massive crowd is a huge prize in itself, but the stakes are going to be considerably higher than prestige alone. For Garcia’s Hull City and Carle’s Bristol City, winning the Championship promotion play-off will send them into one of the greatest sporting competitions in the world - the English Premiership.
Garcia, 26, has already had a small, teasing taste of what it is like in the top echelon. He started his career with West Ham United, playing a pivotal role when the club’s youth team won the Junior FA Cup-Premier League double in 1998/99. Unfortunately, injury restricted the attacker to just sixteen first team appearances before he moved to third tier outfit Colchester United in 2004. Garcia’s six goals in 30 games helped the U’s climb to the Championship. Handed a free transfer last July, he joined Hull and has been a regular member of the side with his form bringing him to the attention of Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek.
Sydney-born Carle starred in the national league with Sydney Olympic, Marconi Stallions and Newcastle Jets, winning the 2006/07 A-League player of the year, before chasing his dreams of playing overseas. He initially linked up with Turkish club Genclerbirligi but, after 16 games, decided to move on for family reasons. The 26-year old joined Bristol in January and made 17 appearances as the Robins pushed towards England’s top flight. Carle, whose been capped seven times for Australia, withdrew from this evenings friendly with Ghana to held Bristol make history this weekend.
SCALI SPURRED ON BY YOUNG GUNS
An influx of youth has given Damian Scali a new lease on life. The Swan I.C. veteran has found the back of the net on five occasions in as many weeks to sit jointly with David Onoforo of Perth S.C. as the Premier League leading goalscorer. Scali attributes his superb early season form to the numerous youngsters who’ve risen up through the ranks to simplify his life in the forward line. “Its great to have the young guys buzzing all around me,” enthused the 32-year old. “To be honest, I wish I had this amount of young guns with me at the club when I was twenty.”
When he’s not scoring goal Scali is hard at work creating opportunities for those around him. “I’ve played up front in most games where my role includes taking the physical focus of opposition teams away from Alex Cocking, David Perich, Johnny Mansaray and Geoff Mason so they can play the football they are capable of,” explained Scali, whose clearly enjoying the mantle of elder statesman. “I hope I can contribute to the team by just making sure I always make the correct decisions out on the park, and that I talk to and encourage the younger players through the game.”
The past few years have been hard on Swan who’ve struggled to live up to expectations. But the coaching appointment of Paul Lincoln over the summer appears to have shaken the complacency out of the club and after five games the sit a very respectable fifth. “Lincs has been great, I guess the difference is he has a different sort of passion for the game,” commented Scali. “Training is very similar to last season, so is team selection. The biggest difference is we have a much younger and passionate team this year, everyone playing wants to play for Swan, which makes a huge difference.”
While he would much rather have played last week, Scali says the enforced bye brought on by Swan’s early Cup exit turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “In the last five years we’ve been in the Cup final three times and made the semi-finals on another occasion so it’s very disappointing that we’re out so early,” said Scali, who missed the pre-season due to injury and travel commitments. “But for me having the week off was excellent, I am no doubt going to need some breaks during the season and having last week off gave me that opportunity.”
This weekend Swan make the trip to Nash Field where they face a Western Knights side which has so far failed to excite. “This game is very important to us - we need to win it otherwise we’re in danger of losing any momentum we had from our great start to the season,” stated Scali. “A bunch of the boys watched the Knights in the Cup against Morley and returned quite impressive with what they saw. We know we’re in for a real hard battle, they are very capable of scoring goals and have very attack-minded wing backs who get forward a lot.”
PERTH SIGN SCOTTISH DEFENDER
Graham Normanton has added former Glasgow Rangers youth team defender Steven Campbell to his playing roster at Dorrien Gardens. Campbell, 21, joins Perth S.C. fresh from a five-month spell at Airdrie United and will train with his new team mates for the time this evening. "He's a quality player so, hopefully, he'll improve not only the quality of our team but also that of the league," commented Normanton. Campbell's most recent outing for Airdrie was the First Division play-off final loss to Clyde less than a fortnight ago.
It was at Ibrox Park that Campbell played regular youth team football as a teenager alongside now Scotland international Charlie Adam. Loaned out to Partick Thistle at the start of 2005/06 to gain first team experience, he played 15 times for the Jags and scored his first senior goal against Livingston. Released after being unable to break into Rangers' first team, Campbell spent six months without a club before joining Airdrie United in January 2008. Injury limited him to just nine appearances for promotion chasing Airdrie.
58-year old Derek Harnwell was Sorrento's unlikely hero in their second round Reserves Cup ties with Wanneroo City. The veteran goalkeeper signed with the Gulls on Friday afternoon amid a mini-crisis that left them without Neil Young (suspension) and Anthony Cochrane (unavailable). Harnwell lived the fairytale with a controlled performance which culminated in two penalty saves in a dramatic shoot-out which ended 5-3 in Sorrento's favour.
A lengthy list of absences has left Perth S.C. threadbare leading into Sunday's home meeting with Stirling Lions. A knee complaint will prevent influential captain Robbie Puca from playing again this season, deputy Michael Icanovski and midfielder Peter Lord are absent this week through suspension along with David Price, who is in Sydney. Graham Normanton will rely on late fitness tests before deciding whether Matt Danskin (hamstring) and Todd Howarth (groin) take part in the game.
There's a very good chance Jerry 'Boima' Karpeh will be wearing Floreat Athena colours again before the year is out. Karpeh, who's been playing in Victoria for Whittlesea Zebras, trained with Floreat in between catching up with family and friends while visiting Perth this week. While in town the 23-year old striker expressed a strong desire to play for Floreat when his Zebras' contract expires.
Work is progressing according to schedule on the redevelopment of Frank Drago Reserve. The new sponsors’ lounge and corporate facilities attached to the grandstand are nearing completion and expected to be open within a month. Planning is well under way for stage two, due to commence mid-2009, which will see the main pitch relocated, an upgrade of floodlights, and the creation of a new pitch at the northern end of the venue
COYNE JOINS SOCCEROOS
Colchester United centre-half Chris Coyne has interrupted an off-season holiday in Perth to train with the Socceroos. Coyne, who returned to Perth last week after a gruelling season with the U's, seized upon an invitation from Pim Verbeek to join the Australian squad as a train-on player as they prepare for Friday's friendly against Ghana in Sydney. Despite accumulating over 300 appearances for Dundee, Luton Town and Colchester, it's the first time Coyne has been called into camp with the senior Australian set-up.
JURIC LURED BACK TO DOWN UNDER BY GLORY
Perth Glory has bolstered their goalkeeping stocks with the signature of one-time Socceroo Frank Juric on a two-year deal. The veteran 'keeper brings with him a wealth of experience accumulated from a decade in the German Bundesliga with Fortuna Dusseldorf, Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover 96. "Frank is still very much a sought after player in Europe and had several offers to remain overseas," explained Perth Glory coach David Mitchell. "We're delighted that he has chosen to come to Perth and I believe he will be one of the key recruits to enter the league this season."
Juric will compete with Australian youth international Tando Velahpi for the spot between the posts this season with Mitchell still considering a third 'keeper for his squad. "Frank has a wonderful pedigree and will complement our current goalkeeping line-up," Mitchell said. "I want to have 'keepers all capable of playing in the first team and all pushing each other to perform, I think it's a healthy situation to be in and I'm sure it will drive them all to be on top of their game week in and week out."
Juric began his career with Melbourne Knights, where he won two National Soccer League titles, and Collingwood Warriors before departing for Europe. After a couple of seasons at Fortuna Dusseldorf he signed with Bayer Leverkusen where he played Champions League football against Olympiacos and Manchester United in 2002/03. In June 2004, he moved to Hannover 96 but rarely featured over the next three seasons due to persistent knee problems. Juric represented Australia at the 1996 Olympic Games and has two senior appearances to his credit.
PETKOVIC WANTS SOCCEROOS JERSEY
Michael Petkovic has staked his claim to being Pim Verbeek’s first choice goalkeeper for the 2010 World Cup. But the former Cockburn City custodian has some way to go before he can claim the jersey from long-serving Socceroo Mark Schwarzer. “As it stands, Schwarzer and I are the only two Australian goalkeepers playing regular first-team football in an elite European league,” Petkovic said. “I’m not young myself, but I’d love to be playing for Australia and to be the ‘keeper to take over from Schwarzer … I wouldn’t think I’d be selected for the Socceroos in six years’ time, so this is my time.”
Fresh from helping Sivasspor to third place in a tough Turkish Super League, Petkovic is one of four goalkeepers named in the Australian squad for Friday evenings friendly with Ghana. Schwarzer is expedt to start the game leaving Petkovic jostling with Newcastle Jets’ Ante Covic and Reading’s Adam Federici for the back-up position. “I don’t look at myself as being second choice, third choice or fourth choice - I don’t think you can,” Petkovic said. “I think the order can change and it’s up to me to prove that I can do a job if I’m called upon.”
Something that’s not going to do Petkovic any favours is the chronic the lack of exposure of Turkish football. “There are some really big clubs (in Turkey). There’s Galatasaray, Besiktas, and just look at how Fenerbahce went in Europe, so the competition is definitely strong, and we’re right up there even though we’re not the biggest club,” Petkovic said. “But since it isn’t televised here or much outside of Turkey, we don’t get seen very often, and it’s the same with a few other leagues as well. That recognition factor just isn’t as strong.”
When his career does eventually wind down, Petkovic would like to end his days playing for his home town club. “I haven’t played for Perth (Glory), but I would love to come back and play there and finish my career there - if they’ll have me,” he said. Petkovic started out at Spearwood Dalmatinac and helped Perth Kangaroos to S-league glory in 19994 before stepping onto the national league stage. During six seasons with South Melbourne he played 157 games, won three Goalkeeper of the Year awards and made his Socceroos debut. In 2002 he signed with Turkish side Tranbzonspor, playing 85 times across two seasons, before joining Sivasspor where he’s made a further 64 appearances.
SWISS BLISS FOR HARNWELL
Jamie Harnwell will return to Perth Glory a champion at the end of the month after celebrating success in the Swiss Challenge League. It was just like the good old Glory days for Harnwell, who was reminded of the winning feeling he enjoyed so often during his days in the National Soccer League. The 30-year old played an important role during a three-month loan spell at F.C. Vaduz, helping Liechtenstein’s only professional club win promotion to the Swiss top flight.
Although he ad been Glory’s top scorer in the past two seasons, after a successful conversion from centre back to striker, Harnwell found himself filling various positions at Vaduz before finishing the season in a familiar role. Vaduz needed at least a point from their final match of the campaign last week and, with Harnwell in defence, they held Chiasso to a goalless draw to top the standings. “We were under a bit of pressure, but we drew 0-0 and it was great to be involved,” said Harnwell, who played the entire match.
After featuring in Vaduz’s final fifteen games, Harnwell had considered staying with the club for a crack in the top flight. But he will not get the opportunity to line-up against former Glory teammate Ivan Ergic, now captain of Swiss champions F.C. Basel, after opting to return to Perth. With a local population of just over 5000, Vaduz is set to be one of the smallest towns to every play in a top European league.
MASTRANTONIO CALLED INTO MATILDAS SQUAD
Ella Mastrantonio has come out of the blue to get into the green and gold. The Beaconsfield teenager’s rapid rise has hit top gear with a call-up to Australia’s senior national women’s team following her performances during a recent camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Matilda’s coach Tom Sermanni has named 16-year old Mastrantonio in his squad for Friday’s friendly against Canada, which is the curtain raise for the Socceroos clash with Ghana in Sydney.
Although the central midfielder has already made a dramatic rise into the Young Matildas team, she was stunned when she heard she had been elevated to the senior side. “It’s a little bit to believe,” she said. “It’s a good feeling but was a big surprise for me.” Mastrantonio hopes to follow in the footsteps of local products Collette McCallum and Lisa De Vanna who both displayed their talents at the Women’s World Cup in China last year and were subsequently offered professional contracts in United States and Sweden.
Australian youth team coach Alistair Edwards says the selection of Mastrantonio, McCallum and De Vanna in recent Matildas squads should serve as inspiration to aspiring young players. “Ella’s inclusion in the squad is a fantastic personal achievement and represents a terrific milestone in her footballing career,” he said. “The high level of Western Australian representation in the squad is great news for our local players and should serve as an inspiration to all those with ambitions to follow in their footsteps.”
The Matildas squad for the international friendly against Canada in Sydney is Di Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Joanne Burgess, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Amy Chapman, Lauren Colthorpe, Collette McCallum, Kate McShea, Ella Mastrantonio, Caitlin Munoz, Amber Neilson, Ellyse Perry, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury, Kyah Simon, Jenna Tristram, Sarah Walsh and Lydia Williams.
MARQUEE GLEE FOR VICTORY'S WARD
Olyroo midfielder Nick Ward will be Melbourne Victory's inaugural under-23 marquee player. Recent confirmation from Football Federation Australia that each A-League club is permitted one under-23 player exempt from the salary cap has allowed Ward to remain in Melbourne. "The way it's structured, with clubs being able to spend up to $150,000 outside of the salary cap, gives you an opportunity to keep players in the country, albeit for maybe only another year or two, and establish them," said Victory spokesman Gary Cole.
Staying in Melbourne was made easier for Ward by the medical treatment he's received since joining Victory in December. "The treatment I've got down here has been first class and I haven't missed a game, so they've monitored it and taken me out of training when they've had to and I get treatment everyday," he said. "That played a massive part (in me staying) because I didn’t want to head overseas not fit and Melbourne's been great. You get the lifestyle back in Australia and also, in my case, better treatment than what I was getting in the UK."
Ward was pivotal role in Australia's qualification for the 2008 Olympics Games and has set his sights on securing a place in the final squad for Beijing. "That's the plan for me, the Olympics is a massive thing," he said. "I didn't go to the last camp because of my injury and I wanted to be fit, so I took six weeks off from training, just working in the gym so I could be ready for the AFC Champions League. It's going to be a tough time because I'm not going to get an off-season, but the Olympics only come around once in a lifetime."
ON THIS DAY ... 1983
London-based club Queens Park Rangers thrashed West Australia 6-1 in front of a full house at the Lake Monger Velodrome on the evening of Wednesday 18th May, 1983. Rangers arrived in Perth just week after being crowned English Second Division champions for season 1982/83, and little over twelve months after their appearance in the prestigious F.A. Cup Final. Amongst their number were soon to be England internationals Clive Allen and Terry Fenwick along with Glenn Roeder who would make close to 600 appearances for Q.P.R., Notts County, Newcastle United and Watford before turning his hand to management. By contrast State coach Mike Leigh named a young squad for the friendly which included debut senior honours for eight players.
Interest in the match by far exceeded the expectations of the West Australian Soccer Federation who were forced to close the gates early as over 9,000 people crammed in to watch the game. WA started positively by forcing a corner inside the opening minute, but it was Rangers that took the lead when Frank Farone accidentally knocked the ball past State custodian Glen Giudici for an own goal in the 9th minute. Giudici made several impressive saves before being beaten for a second time when Warren Neill hooked into the top corner after 31 minutes. Moments before half-time WA pulled a goal back as Paul Tombides fierce free-kick from 25-metres deflected off a defender on it’s way past Peter Hucker.
In the second half Rangers ran rings around the State team who could muster little in the way of a response. In the 52nd minute defender Steve Micklewhite pushed forward and capitalised on a loose ball to send a scorching low drive into the net. Despite making several substitutions WA were unable to break down their opponents in which Steve Wicks shone, while going the other way Rangers’ superior pace and skill came to the fore over the closing stages. Wayne Fereday added to the scoreline with a fine shot on the run with twenty minutes remaining. The margin blew out in the final minutes of play as Simon Stainrod and Alan Sealy put the icing on the cake for the visitors who’d arrived from England on the day of the match.
Western Australia: Glen Giudici, Ricky
Davis, Steve Tombides, Frank Farone, Steve Green,
Matt Person, Ronnie Campbell, Norrie Sutton,
David Kamasz, Paul Tombides, Mick O’Donoghue,
Jeff Lewis, Mike Fenton, Alan Pottier, David Vaughan, Dave Roxby
Queens Park Rangers: Peter Hucker, John Gregory, Ian Dawes, Steve Wicks, Rob Hazell, Terry Fenwick, Alan Sealy, Glenn Roeder, Clive Allen, Simon Stainrod, Warren Neill, Gary Benstead, Wayne Fereday, Steve Burke, Gary Micklewhite, Mark O’Connor, Martin Duffield, Alan MacDonald
AUSTRALIA WANTS WORLD CLUB CUP
Football Federation Australia have put their hand up to host the 2009 and 2010 FIFA Club World Cup. The tournament, which was won last year by Italian giants AC Milan with Argentina's Boca Juniors second, features the champion club from each FIFA Confederation. "It's a very exciting competition, with the best team from each of the six FIFA Confederations and a team from the host nation participating," said Ben Buckley, chief executive of FFA. Australia faces stiff competition from Japan and the United Arab Emirates to host the World Cup Club, which will be voted on when the FIFA Executive meets in Sydney next week.
ASSOCIATION CUP, ROUND TWO (Floreat Athena v Mandurah City courtesy Floreat Athena; Hamersley Rovers v Bayswater City courtesy amersley Rovers; Stirling Lions v E.C.U. Joondalup by Don Evans)
Floreat Athena booked their place in the Cup quarter-finals by defeating a well-organised Mandurah City 2-1 at Litis Stadium. It was a hard-fought win for the home side who had John Migas and Garin Collins to thank for keeping their Cup dream alive. A reserved start from both teams led to minimal opportunities on goal across the opening half hour. Brad Scott could have put the hosts ahead with a more accurate header, and Adam Bachiller drilled high and wide from 10-metres with goalkeeper Mike Green at his mercy. Mandurah were struggling to make an impact and their only genuine shot was a long-range effort from Keith Brown which drifted past the post. The game was turned on its head in the 37th minute when Andy Brown charged down the right to deliver an inch-perfect cross which Phil O’Callaghan steered into the net at close-range. Floreat carried their dominance into the second half but struggled to create many chances, whereas Mandurah appeared content to sit back and defend their lead. The hosts persistence paid dividends in the 65th minute in the form of a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box from where Migas curled his shot beyond Green and high into the top corner. The momentum remained with Floreat but very few holes appeared in a Mandurah rearguard marshalled superbly by Keith Brown and Chris Currie. That was until the 77th minute when Dean Apelgren classily won possession and manoeuvred down the left before sending in an inviting cross which Collins drilled low into the corner of Green’s net. With no choice but to attack, Mandurah threw caution to the wind by adopting a three-man attack. Vas Vujacic, who had little to do until this stage, palmed away a Shane Crampton free-kick and minutes later made instinctive reflex save from O’Callaghan to further add to the visitors’ frustration.
Dalmatinac Park witnessed a battle of attrition in which Fremantle Spirit eventually triumphed 1-0 over Armadale. A game of few chances was finally put out of its misery by an extra-time penalty conversion from Cisco Jorquiera. The early signs were positive for Fremantle as Callum Roberts twice tested goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock inside 20 minutes, while Ben Kelly’s rising shot cleared the crossbar by the narrowest of margins. Having weathered the storm, Armadale began asserting themselves with veteran Scott Devine leading the way in the centre of the park. However, their only decent opening of the half came the way of Oliver Hilton whose shot from just outside the 18-yard box flashed not far wide of the upright. The Reds were unfortunate not to take the lead on 57 minute when Marlon Ramirez’s close control allowed him to tee-up Ryan Pearson whose goal bound shot from 7-metres was deflected wide by a defender. Three minutes later Kodi Madeley delivered a cross on to the head of Joseph Brunetto whose effort was paddled away by Steve Grant. Fremantle’s day took a turn for the worse with ten minutes remaining when Roberts was issued his marching orders for retaliating to a challenge by Hilton. Brunetto and substitute Darren Kingston were both presented with good chances to put Armadale into the next round but each placed the ball too close to ‘keeper Grant. Next it was the visitors turn to go down to ten men as substitute Aaron Plaatjies was sent off for lashing out at an opponent early in the first period of extra-time. The game would be settled in the 102nd minute when Jorquiera sent Sharrock the wrong way from the penalty spot following Ramirez’ foul on Jason Barrera. Fremantle went close to securing victory after the turnaround as Barrera sent Jorquiera clear but Sharrock this time proved his foil.
Hamersley Rovers emerged as the only amateur side through to the last eight by coming from behind to upset Bayswater City 3-2 at Carine Open Space. The absence of several key players in both camps made for a disjointed opening in which Bayswater showed the greater desire thanks largely to central midfielder Paul Hickey. Their persistence finally reaped rewards on the half-hour when Tony Cumace swung in a corner that Hickey nodded down and Daniel Cagorski made no mistake with his header from 5-metres. This seemed to jolt Hamersley into action and Paul Bunton was unfortunate not to bring the teams level with a blistering shot from distance which clipped the crossbar. The loss of Cumace then Costa Socratous early in the second half had a destabilising effect on Bayswater and provided just the opportunity Hamersley had been waiting for. Luck played a big role in the equaliser with Ryan Day’s shot crashing into the net after deflecting off Mark Donnelly and wrong-footing goalkeeper Gianni Papalia. In inability to clear an in-swinging Bunton corner had dire consequences for Bayswater in the 68th minute as Brett nodded the hosts into the lead following a scramble close to the goal line. The momentum was by this stage well and truly with the home side as captain Ian Bunton and Jesse Higgins speared them into attack at every opportunity. Victory was secured by a superb flowing move out of midfield that featured four players before making its way to Sean McDaid whose shot across the face of goal was tucked in at the back post by Day on 72 minutes. Bayswater’s task of clawing their way back into the game was made all the more difficult with the dismissal of Cagorski, and minutes later compounded when Kev Clifford kept out a penalty taken by Damien Todorovic. Nick Paone did reduce the deficit with a deflected shot in the 89th minute but was simply a case of too little too late for Bayswater.
Western Knights were rarely troubled as they swept aside Morley Windmills 4-1 under sunny skies at Wotton Reserve. Rory Grant's second hat-trick in eight days was the inspiration behind the visitors win and keeps alive their hopes of ending the season with silverware. It didn't take long for the Knights to show their hand as Barry Devlin volleyed just high of the crossbar from David Micevski's cross after 7 minutes. Morley were equally as determined to score the opening goal which almost came when Scott McIlroy and Gareth Lloyd combined with great effect to set up Farrell Hedges who fired narrowly wide. A blistering Micevski shot which flashed over the bar provided the impetus for the Knights to take things up a notch and seize control of the game. The pressure paid off in the 32nd minute when Luka Jukic's cross was flicked on at the near post for Grant to nod in at close-range. Six minutes later the margin was doubled with Matt Allen this time the provider for Grant whose neat shot on the turn from 9-metres came to rest in the bottom corner of Chris Ramsey's net. Anthony Skorich almost added a third early in the second half when played through one-on-one with Ramsey but could only watch as his low shot hit the inside of the post then bounced away to safety. A swift counterattack shortly after looked to have put the result beyond doubt with Anthony Fearon's superb cross picking out an unmarked Skorich who headed past Ramsey. Complacency on the Knights behalf allowed Lloyd to unleash an optimistic long-range shot which, after deflecting off a defender, looped over Kevin Miller to give the host side a glimmer of hope. Noong Naraphont should have further reduced the gap but instead flicked the ball high from 5-metres after being found by Paul Dundo. With ten minutes remaining Grant completed his hat-trick by converting Allen's precise cross to ensure the Knights of a place in the Cup's last eight.
Perth S.C. staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Inglewood United 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Both teams were reduced to nine men before Andrija Jukic struck the decider after almost two hours of football. The opening exchanges were fairly even as the two long-time foes prodded forward with caution the utmost thought in their minds. The first chance was the result of good work by Jason Colli whose cross narrowly evaded the head of Kevin Griffiths. David Onoforo and Andreas Oliviera each tested the reflexes of Oliver Taseski midway through the half as Perth went searching for the lead. Next to threaten was Gianfranco Circati whose header at point blank range was brilliantly palmed away by the Inglewood custodian. Perth commenced the second period with a series of attacking raids that had Todd Howarth hit the crossbar, while Oliviera and Onoforo also sent shots just past the target. Peter Lord became the first player to exit the game early when booked for the second time after 68 minutes. Inglewood wasted no time in capitalising with James Sammut drilling them into the lead following Danny Kovacevic’s driving run down the right. Things went from bad to worse for Perth as defender Michael Icanovski received his marching orders for an accumulation of yellow cards with ten minutes to remaining. Inglewood could have wrapped the game up at this stage but Rodrigo Aguirre twice placed wide after good lead-up work featuring Kovacevic, Colli and Sammut. They were misses that would prove decisive as three minutes into stoppage time Brendan Ross latched on to a Gareth Deeg’s clearance and drove forward to fire in the equaliser from 18-metres. Inglewood’s two-man advantage was eroded in extra-time with Kovacevic then Sammut dismissed by referee Steven Gregory within minutes of eachother. Both sides had their chances to win the game before Greg Sharland played the ball in from the left for Jukic to volley Perth into the next round with 119 minutes played.
Steve MacDonald scored twice and Scott Bulloch once to guide Sorrento into the quarter-finals 3-0 at the expense of northern neighbour Wanneroo City at Percy Doyle Reserve. Sorrento enjoyed the better of early possession but were prevented from creating any genuine chances until the 24th minute when Glen Thomas’ corner picked out MacDonald whose powerful header was well saved by Fraser Siddall. The physical approach employed by Wanneroo clearly had an unsettling effect on the Gulls who struggled to break down a stubborn defence. That said, they should have gone ahead shortly before half-time when a foul by Nathan Diaz on Harnwell resulted in a penalty, but Siddall ensured the sides went into the break on level terms by keeping out Bulloch’s spot kick. In the 58th minute Siddall moved sharply to keep out Bulloch’s rasping drive through a crowded area as Wanneroo began to show signs of tiring. The breakthrough arrived eleven minutes later when referee Paul Anderson pointed to the spot for after Ben Yates handled the ball, and on this occasion MacDonald stepped up to beat the goalkeeper. Two more minutes elapsed before Bulloch weaved his way through the middle of the park and cracked a stunning left-footer into the bottom corner. Wanneroo’s best and only real chance of the afternoon didn’t arrive until the 83rd minute when Rowdy Yates looped a free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box onto the crossbar. Fraser Siddall’s day came to a sour end five minutes into stoppage time when issued his marching orders for bringing down Thomas. Stuart Siddall took over between the posts and his first task was to pick MacDonald’s second penalty conversion out of the net. Moments later Paul Anderson’s final whistle brought to a close what had been a dull, one-sided game that would have left the football purists scratching their heads.
E.C.U. Joondalup have tipped Cup holder Stirling Lions out of this years' competition in a drama-filled contest at Macedonia Park. With the score deadlocked at 1-1 upon completion of regulation time, both teams then scored twice in extra-time before Joondalup out-shot their opponents 3-0 on penalties. A big crowd were treated to an entertaining tussle in which Joondalup struck first through Tommy Jones who benefited from poor communication between Darko Ilmanoski and goalkeeper Phil Straker. Only a few more minutes passed before Straker put his body on the line to keep out Jon Higgins' dipping free-kick. Stirling came to life late in the half with Mark Redshaw, Marc Anthony and Phil Arnold each forcing Tommi Tomich into action. The Lions rewarded came in the 53rd minute when Ludovic Boi's rasping low shot was the perfect complement to some neat lead-up work by Arnold. What ensued was a thrilling, end-to-end contest in which Higgins and Boi could both have won the game for their respective teams. The late dismissal of John Thornley meant Joondalup entered extra-time with only ten men on the field. Unperturbed, the northerners went ahead in the 110th minute when Ian McMurray drilled in Tommy Amphlett's cross from close-range. But the sides were level two minutes later thanks to the magic of Arnold who weaved around four opponents before lashing the ball past Tomich. The second extra-time period had just begun when Martin Ashworth received his second yellow card, reducing Joondalup to nine players. Stirling thought they'd bagged the decider when Andy Brown pushed the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble. However, with two minutes left Young latched onto a hopeful long ball and rifled past Straker to send the game to penalties. Young, Anthony Jones and Scott Blackmore made no mistake from the spot but Joondalup's real hero was Tomich who twice kept out spot-kicks to secure the side a spot in the last eight.
Forrestfield United accounted for amateur outfit Southern Spirit 4-1 when they came face to face at Watson’s Reserve. John Hunter scored twice with Kyle Melling and substitute J.Feather grabbing one each for the visitors, while Spirit’s goal arrived via D.Palin after 36 minutes. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
IRELAND UNDER-21 HONOURS FOR LOWRY
Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry has been included in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad for this weeks Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia. Lowry, whose career began at E.C.U. Joondalup, featured regularly for Villa's Under-18 and Reserves teams last season and will be looking to impress national coach Don Givens in up-coming games against Iraq, host nation Malaysia and Nigeria. "For Shane to get an Under-21 call up for the Republic of Ireland at the tender age of 18 is a great achievement," said Academy director Bryan Jones. "He ended the season well after a spell out through injury and I'm sure he'll do himself and the club proud out in Malaysia."
MRDJA RETURNS TO THE FOLD
Socceroo striker Nik Mrdja has returned to training preparations for the coming A-League season heat up at Central Coast Mariners. Mrdja missed the lions share of last season with a recurring cartilage problem in his right knee, which was corrected by surgery late last year. A series of knee and heel injuries has restricted the 29-year old to just nine games, for a return of three goals, across his three seasons at the Mariners.
As the Mariners ready themselves for their season four assault, Mrdja is well advanced down the road to recovery and has set his sights on playing some part in the clubs' pre-season Cup campaign. "I'm feeling great, I've had a long time off, I'm going through the whole process again and definitely looking to get out there and have a kick with the boys," said Mrdja, who played 73 games and scored 25 goals for Perth Glory in their National Soccer League days.
Mrdja is halfway through a three-month rehabilitation program following surgery and hopes to resume full training around this time next month. "This time has been an entirely different approach, last time I had surgery it was a six week break before I started running, this time it has been four months," he explained. "It definitely feels good, it feels right, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and hopefully it all comes good."
GARCIA MAKES WEMBLEY HIS NEXT STOP
Que sera sera, he’s going to Wembley and possibly into the English Premier League. Perth-born attacker Richard Garcia was on target to help Championship side hull City secure a 4-1 win over Watford on Wednesday evening, setting up a AU$128 million play-off final against Bristol City at one of the world’s most famous stadiums tomorrow week. The winner will be rewarded with a place in England’s top flight and the prospect of trips to Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge, as well as the lucrative financial spin-off.
But despite the emphatic nature of the Tigers victory 6-1 on aggregate after downing Watford 2-0 inj the first leg 26-year old Garcia said his team mates are acutely aware of the work still to be done against a Bristol City side buoyed by their 4-2 aggregate win over Crystal Palace. “We’re only halfway there,” he told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper on Thursday. “It’s a fantastic achievement so far. We enjoyed last night and we’ll enjoy the fact that we are going to Wembley. But you don’t want to go to Wembley and lose.”
Hull, who have never appeared in England’s top flight in their 104 year history, fell behind to a Darius Henderson after 12 minutes. But former England international Nicky Barmby brought the sides level on 43 minutes by heading in from-range as Garcia’s header looped goalward. Caleb Folan put the Tigers ahead on 70 minutes before Garcia sparked frenzied celebrations with a scything run and an unerring finish in the 88th minute. “I’d had a few shots during the game and I just thought I’ll have a run at them and have a go. Fortunately, it went in,” said Garcia. Nathan Doyle completed the scoring in the final minutes with a deflect shot.
The victory was particularly sweet for Hull manager Phil Brown, who took over in December 2006 and steered to second-tier survival a club which seemed destined for relegation. Garcia said brown was quick to remind the player of the difficulties they face at Wembley. “The manager just said congratulations and well done but we’ve still got another game and it’s going to be the toughest of all,” he said. Neither Hull or Bristol have played in the Premier League, although City did appear in the old First Division, mostly recently as 1981.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The glitz and glamour that is knock-out football takes centre stage tomorrow in the form of the Soccer Pools Cup round of sixteen. Neutral supporters are best advised to get themselves to Macedonia Park for the blockbuster derby clash between Cup holder Stirling Lions and high-flying E.C.U. Joondalup. Stirling saw off Gosnells City in their opening round tie but the task this time is a lot more difficult with Joondalup riding on high from recent League outings. Both teams possess an abundance of attacking options but the deciding factor is likely to be which defence makes the fewest mistakes on the day.
Litis Stadium hosts the mouth-watering contest between Premier League champion Floreat Athena and top flight newcomer Mandurah City. Floreat need only look back to the opening day of the season for motivation when Mandurah claim victory by 2-1 at Peelwood Parade. A lack of consistency has hampered Floreat's title defence and a strong Cup run could be their only chance of ending the year with silverware. By contrast, Stuart Currie's side have gone from strength to strength since their first Premier league outing and coming off a trio of wins will be confident of progressing to the Cup quarter-finals.
Perth S.C. welcome Inglewood United to Dorrien Gardens in another tantalising all-Premier League fixture. Graham Normanton's team will be keen to maintain their unbeaten home record in 2008 and should the like of Antonio Naglieri, Andrija Jukic and Andreas Oliviera be firing you have to fancy their chances. Veteran attacker Bobby Despotovski has been a key figure Inglewood this year and his influence along with that of Jason Colli and Kevin Griffiths can not be underestimated. A big crowd is expected at this inner-city derby so be sure to get to the ground early.
Premier League cellar dwellers Fremantle Spirit and Armadale come face to face to Dalmatinac Park. The port side has been well served by midfield maestro Jason Barerra and teenage attacker Callum Roberts, but it'll be a defence that features Simon Elton-Bott, Cisco Jorquiera and goalkeeper Dane McBride that will determine whether they go through. Injury has not been kind to Armadale in the past month and coach Brad Hassell has his fingers crossed that more bodies don't go down before matchday. Scott Devine has led by example in the centre of the park alongside Marlon Ramirez while at the back Daryl Platten, Andy Bowyer and goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock have been outstanding.
Although heavily depleted, Sorrento are tipped to account for First Division leader Wanneroo City when they square off at Percy Doyle Reserve. The absence of suspended quartet Neil Young, Michael Ord, James Morgan and Stuart Montgomery will test the Gulls resources but they are still expected to have too much firepower for their First Division opponent. Wanneroo captain Brad McDonald and Rowdy Yates have been in terrific touch in the middle of the park and should they be allowed to assert any authority you can be assured of seeing Brian Cairney's name on the scoresheet.
Morley Windmills will fancy their chances when Western Knights journey to Wotton Reserve. Neither side has been in particularly impressive form but Tom Kilkelly is sure to have the First Division side motivated to cause an upset. Amateur outfit Hamersley Rovers welcomes Bayswater City to Carine Open Space where Michael Di Fulvio's team is tipped to claim victory. The other remaining amateur team, Southern Spirit, have already accounted for semi-professional side Queens Park and will be looking to add the scalp of Forrestfield United when they meet at Watson's Reserve. All eight second round Cup games start at 3.00pm.
STIRLING HAVE VERY FEW WEAKNESSES SAYS JOONDALUP’S JONES
New dad Anthony Jones knows E.C.U. Joondalup are in for a torrid time when they venture to Macedaonia Park for a classic Cup showdown trophy holder Stirling Lions tomorrow. "Stirling are a team with very few weaknesses, are well-organised and have of the most creative players in the League, including Marc Anthony and Stevie Porter, in their line-up," said Jones, who became a first-time father with the arrival of son Cooper on Monday. "It's going to be a very difficult task to beat Stirling on their pitch, and with a lot of players who know each other very well in both teams I think it's going to be a fiery, no-holds barred encounter."
A strong start to the regular season has Joondalup in joint-second place after two games but Jones is well aware a lot more hard work lies ahead for the club to achieve their target of a top four finish. "Four out of the five games have been good solid performances by the majority of the team, and apart from the Mandurah game we're relatively pleased with our start," commented the defender. "With Floreat not looking as strong as last year and no really weak teams in the competition anyone can turn over anyone on the day. In the next few weeks the contenders will separate themselves from the pretenders and we need to be among them to achieve our goals for the year."
At the heart of Joondalup's early success have been some superb defensive performances from the Craig Simpson, Scott Blackmore, Martin Ashworth, Jones and goalkeeper Tommi Tomich. "Since Willie McNally switched Blacky to the back he's like a new player. He's still learning the position but he's tall, quick and can pass a ball accurately over large distances so what more can you want from a centre half," questioned Jones. "Simmo has settled in nicely since joining us from Floreat Athena, he's also a very strong lad who is no mug with the ball at his feet. Martin and I have played at the club for years now and we both know our jobs and with man-mountain Tommi Tomich behind us we'll hopefully keep a few clean sheets this year."
And it's not only Joondalup's form that's got Jones smiling - he's also pleased younger brother Tommy is back at the club following a difficult season with Stirling. "It's good to have him back where he belongs," said Jones. "Tommy and I get on as most brothers do - we argue often and enjoy kicking lumps out of each other. He didn't really suit Stirling's game plan, and he and Mickey Lyons didn't have a healthy coach-player relationship so I talked him into coming back. Tommy likes to think he is the boss but as the older brother you always keep an eye on them and let them think they are in charge!"
DUNN PLEASED WITH FIRST STATE TEAM SESSION
Robbie Dunn cast a watchful eye over the best the local scene has to offer last night as preparations for next months' visit by the State team to Indonesia gathers momentum. Around three dozen players were invited to trial for Dunn and his assistant Scott Miller under lights at Dorrien Gardens. "Last nights session went well, it was good to see quality players pitted against each other and observe how they reacted to a number of situations," said Dunn, who's anticipating a busy year. "Football West are also looking at other games so there could be quite a lot of activity for the State side coming up over the next twelve months.
Dunn was happy with the application shown by the player group during their first session together. "I was really impressed by how they responded when I asked them to do something," he said. "With regard to our planned launch match at the end of June, which will see us take on a strong international team, time is against us, so it's very important that I have players who are willing to follow instructions. From what I saw last night I believe Western Australian will acquit themselves well against what will be tough opposition."
The process of bringing together the first State squad in close to five years has seen Dunn cast his net far and wide. "It's important that I consider as many players as I can for the squad and last night gave me the opportunity to see a few more players in action," explained Dunn. "The majority of the players are from the Premier League but we also had some players attend from outside that competition, players that are very good and who I wanted to make sure could step up, and they showed that they can."
While still in the planning stage, it's hoped the State team will meet Perth Glory later in the year. "Negotiations are underway for us to play two games against Glory as way of showcasing the quality that exists in the State League. It'll also give us a good gauge on where the WA boys are in relation to the A-League," said Dunn. "It was great to see Dave Mitchell watching last night's session, he's a big advocate of the local players so he'll see first hand what some of the boys can do when and if these games eventuate."
Invited to last night's training session were Daryl Platten (Armadale), Kenny Ftynogiannis (Balcatta), Paul Harvey (Canning City), Scott Blackmore, John Higgins, Ian McMurray (E.C.U. Joondalup), Garin Collins, Rafeal Insurralde, John Migas (Floreat Athena), Jason Barrera, Callum Roberts (Fremantle Spirit), Jeff Bright, Andy Brown, Keith Brown (Mandurah City), Matt Danskin, Gianfranco Circati, Todd Howarth, Michael Icanovski, Andreas Oliviera, Greg Sharland (Perth S.C.), Scott Bulloch, Shaun Kilkelly, Steve MacDonald, Scott Neville, Neil Young (Sorrento), Marc Anthony, Phil Arnold, Dean Evans, Mark Redshaw, Phil Straker (Stirling Lions), David Perich (Swan I.C.) and Luka Jukic (Western Knights).
Stirling Lions new recruit Mark Redshaw could be moving on sooner rather than later. The 23-year old arrived at Macedonia Park last month and has already attracted the attention of Perth Glory, at least one of their A-League rivals along with several clubs in Asia. Redshaw, who played in England with Wrexham United and Manchester City, has scored four goals in five outings for Stirling.
Chris Nicholson is poised to step up and take the reins of E.C.U. Joondalup following Willie McNally’s acceptance of a full-time position with Perth Glory. The transition to a Nicholson-lead coaching team will be a smooth one with McNally remaining with the club until such time his Glory commitments commence. Nicholson and McNally will work closely in the interim assessing a number of candidates for the assistant coach role.
Football West has confirmed the appointment of respected media personality Ashley Morrison to the position of Marketing and Communications Manager. Morrison, who takes up his new new role early next month, is no stranger to the local scene having played over 300 games for Subiaco United and Western Knights, and covered the world game on radio stations 6PR and 90.5 SportFM.
Perth Glory hopeful Steve Hesketh will be out of action for at least six weeks after fracturing his leg on the weekend. Branimir Mikulic landed heavily on the young defenders right leg after contesting a header late in Stirling Lions' 2-0 defeat of Floreat Athena. The injury is a cruel setback for 19-year old Hesketh who was invited by Glory to tour China in March.
Tony Sage and Brett McKeon have welcomed Primewest Capital director Lui Giuliani on to the board of Perth Glory. John Spence's recent decision to relinquish his one-third share in the club, which has been split between Sage and McKeon, paved the way for Giuliani's addition. The four-member board now consists of co-owners Sage and McKeon plus Giuliani and former former Glory striker Alistair Edwards.
Perth Glory’s proposed pre-season Cup match at the Soccerdrome in Bunbury will not go ahead because the facility does not meet the A-League’s minimum standards. Glory was scheduled to take on Melbourne Victory in Bunbury on 26th July as part of Football Federation Australia’s push into regional areas, however, the match is now likely to be played in Perth.
GLORY SWITCH FOR THAI INTERNATIONAL?
Perth Glory could provide Manchester City right-back Suree Sukha with a fresh challenge as part of the partnership deal between the two clubs. The Thai international joined City late last year but has been playing on loan with Swiss outfit Grasshopper Zurich after being denied an English work permit. Indications are Sukha will join one of City's affiliate clubs, most likely Glory and Shanghai Shen Hua (China). He is expected to link up with City on their Asian tour before joining the Thailand national team for June's World Cup qualifiers.
MATILDAS SQUAD TO FACE ASIA'S FINEST ANNOUNCED
The Matilda’s will be aiming to become the first Australian team to be crowned Asian champions when they compete at the 2008 Women’s Asian Cup in Vietnam later this month. “This tournament will really test the depth and experience of the squad with a number of players going into a major tournament for the first time,” said coach, Tom Sermanni. “There is a genuine belief amongst the squad that we can match any opponent and that was reinforced with the team's performances against the USA recently.”
The squad is led by long-serving captain Cheryl Salisbury and includes Heather Garriock, Melissa Barbieri, Di Alagich, Asian Women’s Player of the Year runner-up Collette McCallum, Sarah Walsh and Lisa De Vanna from the side which participated in last years FIFA Women’s World Cup. Amongst those missing from that team are injured pair Joanne Peters and Sally Shipard while Thea Slatyer and Alicia Ferguson were unavailable for selection.
The twenty-player Matildas squad for the 2008 Women’s Asian Cup is Di Alagich, Melissa Barbieri, Joanne Burgess, Kim Carroll, Amy Chapman, Lauren Colthorpe, Lisa DeVanna, Heather Garriock, Kate Gill, Collette McCallum, Kate McShea, Caitlin Munoz, Amber Neilson, Ellyse Perry, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter, Cheryl Salisbury, Kyah Simon, Sarah Walsh and Lydia Williams.
VERBEEK PLANS FOR WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Places in Australia’s squad for next months World Cup qualifiers will be on the line following the announcement of Pim Verbeek’s squad to play Ghana on 23rd May at the Sydney Football Stadium. Verbeek has added several fresh faces to his squad for the friendly, sending a clear message that he’s still undecided on who to use in Australia’s four World Cup qualifiers during June. Uncapped duo Matthew Spiranovic and Adam Federici will take part in the training camp along with Perth-born goalkeeper Michael Petkovic, whose last appearance in the green and gold was against Denmark in February 2007.
The Australian squad to play Ghana is Joel Griffiths (Avispa Fukuoka), Nick Carle (Bristol City), Mile Jedinak (Central Coast Mariners), Mile Sterjovski (Derby County), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Carl Valeri (Grosseto), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Daniel Allsopp, Leigh Broxham, Rodrigo Vargas (Melbourne Victory), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Ante Covic, Adam Griffiths, James Holland, Jade North (Newcastle Jets), James Troisi (Newcastle United), Michael Beauchamp, Matthew Spiranovic (Nuremburg), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Perth Glory), Adam Federici (Reading), David Carney (Sheffield United), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor), Mark Bridge (Sydney F.C.) and Jacob Burns (Unirea Valahorum).
GARCIA HELPS TIGERS MAUL HORNETS
Socceroo hopeful Richard Garcia suffered a painful afternoon but ended the day smiling as Hull City earned a 2-0 win at Watford in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final. Garcia was on the receiving end of Richard Eustace's brutal tackle from behind on the hour which earned the Watford captain a red card. But by that stage the result was already in the bag thanks to an 8th minute strike from Nicky Barmby and Dean Windass' 200th goal in English football. The win puts Hull just 90 minutes away from a Wembley final appearance against Bristol City or Crystal Palace where a spot in next seasons Premier League is up for grabs.
CLUB SEEKS GLORIOUS REVIVAL (courtesy ‘the West Australian’)
The anticipation of another A-League season has already sparked familiar rhetoric from Perth Glory officials. But the latest suggestions that the team is poised to crash into a top four place will be taken seriously only by the most optimistic of fans. They’ve heard it all before - and still the disappointment lingers. Glory face a monumental task of turning the dismal results of two previous seasons – when the team finished second bottom – into an instant shot of success. Crowds have waned, generally the football has been staid, the personnel are unfamiliar and the results have been painful.
Coach David Mitchell, though, is sipping from a glass half full. Though the former Socceroos striker acknowledges the opportunity exists to write a fresh chapter, he is quick to point out that the work has started halfway through last season when he took over the reins from sacked boss Ron Smith. “From when I took over last year, we had a go, we took teams on,” said Mitchell after taking the teams; first training session of the new season last week. “That will continue this season, we will have a go at teams.”
But even Mitchell knows his side is already being written off in some quarters for the coming campaign, particularly given the lack of star quality contained in pre-season acquisitions. The coach has discarded WA’s all-time great Stan Lazaridis and brought in Argentinian attacking midfielder Adrian Trinidad, former Adelaide United midfielder Adrian Pelligrino and 34-year old fomer Aberdeen striker Eugene Dadi. They are hardly appointments to stir the fans, but Mitchell is quick to defend his recruitment. “If people in the east think we’re not up to it, that’s good,” he said. “At the end of the day we’ll prove them wrong.”
Chief executive Scott Gooch has backed Mitchell to turn around Glory’s on-field fortunes. It is Gooch’s job – and that of ownership duo Tony Sage and Brett McKeon, directors Lui Giuliani and Alistair Edwards as well as the office staff – to ensure things run just as smoothly away from the cut and thrust of sporting battle. The continued spiral of failure, which started a long time before Gooch walked into the Members Equity Stadium hot seat in March last year, is threatening ever more to have a long-lasting, negative effect on the club. Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley has concerns about Glory, who average attendance of 7606 last season was around half that of the league average.
Sage and McKeon have expressed their commitment to the club, but even they can not be expected to continually support a failing project. Gooch sees engagement with the local football community, whose participation once packed into the old Perth Oval, as a key to future success. “Our biggest challenge is trying to encourage the huge participation in the sport to follow Perth Glory,” he said. “There’s a lot of support for football in WA and we need to turn some of that towards our team. It’s exceptionally important for the long term viability of the club that the people of Perth and the business community get behind us.”
To that aim, the club has been working closely with Football West. Although the game has exploded at grassroots level in recent years, Football West chief executive Garry Chandler said Glory’s success was crucial to the game’s continued wellbeing. “I think it’s going to be a pivotal year for us,” he commented. “Everyone in the game needs to recognise the relative importance of the professional ranks, of the Premier League and A-League and the role that we as a community need to play in terms of supporting Glory. For the greater good of the game, we all need to get on board and support Glory as well as our own competitions.”
EMBRACE THE PAST, LEFORT TELLS GLORY (courtesy ‘the West Australian’)
Former Perth Glory general manager Roger Lefort has urged the A-League club to embrace its rich, if short, history in an effort to revitalise the fallen giant. Lefort was there from the day Glory were hurried into the National Soccer League in 1996 until his untimely departure in mid-2001. No single person is better qualified than Lefort to comment on the difficulties of turning ideas of how to improve the club into reality. Owners Nick Tana and Paul Afkos, who bravely committed the funds to what was then considered a risky venture, were passionate about making Glory successful and they were crucial to the club’s success. But Lefort was at the coal face every day.
So when Lefort emphasises the need for Glory to return to basics, it is worth listening. “There’s definitely something missing when you go to games these days,” said Lefort, who still attends Glory matches. “It lacks atmosphere, which is hard to repeat because at the beginning it was absolutely fantastic. We had no national league and everyone wanted to be part of it. When it came, the whole soccer community surged together and built Perth Glory. Nick Tana and Paul Akfos had so much passion for the game and that rubbed f on everyone. Some of the original players had to forgo their work wages for a day so they could go to the away games - they were so committed.”
Although Glory’s attendances were helped in the early days by the fascination of the sporting public for a new product, Lefort is more inclined to think the passion, commitment and winning culture has most impact on the bulging crowds. “I think it was the novelty in the first few games but after that it was about being part of a successful team,” said the former general manager. Lefort has no doubt the current owners, Tony Sage and Brett McKeon, can find a way to a prosperous future by examining the success of the past. “I would say ‘don’t write off the past’ … They’ve got to look at what was good about the past. It was too good to ignore.”
Glory has started that process by appointing former captain Gareth Naven as youth team coach and taking on ex-striker Alistair Edwards as director of football. The club are also keen to re-engage with local fans, however, Lefort is inclined to consider Glory’s sliding attendances as a positive sign, rather than one of doom and gloom. “I think Perth Glory are very fortunate to be getting 7000 people to their games and I think it shows the depth of loyalty to soccer in WA,” he said. “If other teams finished second-bottom twice in a row the crowds would be down a lot more than that. Results will make a huge difference. But they’ve still got to get a bit more creative in what they might do inside the club.”
VELAPHI FACES FIGHT FOR OLYROOS SPOT
Perth Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi faces an increasingly tough fight to represent Australia at the Olympic Games after coach Graham Arnold selected Dean Bouzanis in the Olyroos squad for this months Intercontinental Cup in Malaysia. Velaphi remains in reach of a Beijing berth - particularly after hs impressive showing in the 1-1 draw with the United States in March - but Bouzanis' inclusion in the pre-Olympic tournament has certainly turned up the heat. Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners) and Adam Federici (Reading) are also in contention while Arnold has hinted he may bring in Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough) as one of three overage players.
The Australian Under-23 squad for the Intercontinental Cup is Nigel Boogaard, Matt Simon (Central Coast Mariners), Aaron Downes (Chesterfield), Ruben Zadkovich (Derby County), Adrian Leijer (Fulham), Trent McClenahan (Hereford United), Dean Bouzanis (Liverpool), Adam D’Apuzzo, Tarek Elrich, Jason Hoffman, James Holland (Newcastle Jets), Nikita Rukavysta, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Tando Velaphi (Perth Glory), Michael Zullo (Queensland Roar), Mark Bridge, Stuart Musialik (Sydney F.C.), Spase Dilevski (Universitatae Craiova), Troy Hearfield (Wellington Phoenix) and out of contract pair Mark Milligan and James Troisi.
WOMEN’S CUP, ROUND TWO
Northern Redbacks booked a place in the last sixteen of the Women's Cup by out-shooting University of W.A. 8-7 on penalties at Rickman Delawney Reserve. A pulsating first half produced four goals with J.Nellany and Rebecca Davies putting the Redbacks ahead only for F.Simmons and Canadian import Magalie Kolker to reply for the visitors. A neat volley midway through the second half by Kolker put University in the box seat, but with nine minutes left Lindsay Jobling brought the sides level for a third time. 14-year old Davies put the Redbacks into the lead but that last just six minutes before H.Knudsen netted to send the game to penalties.
Premier League struggler Nedlands worked hard to overcome Curtin University 3-2 at Paul Hasluck Reserve. Nedlands held much of the early possession but it was Curtin that went ahead on the half hour through a stunning strike from 17-metres by M.Liddicoat. With three minutes Elizabeth Dorman had restored parity with an explosive drive from distance. It took until the second half for Nedlands to assert really their authority through goals by A.Harling and A.Bennett. Bran Morgen set up a trense finish by outpacing the defence to rifle into the corner of the net after 85 minutes.
A late goalscoring spree saw Mandurah City knock out Northern Redbacks B 6-1 at Peelwood Parade. It took an own goal seven minutes from the end of regulation time for Mandurah to cancel out J.Pilcher’s early finish and send the game into extra-time. E.Glanfield and N.Pritchett then put the home side in a commanding position before Melissa Spillman made the game safe with a trio of goals inside eight minutes. Penalties were required at Grindleford Reserve where Balcatta eventually out-shot East Fremantle 4-2. An 11th minute goal from K.Jukic looked to have been enough to send the port side through before Kylie Chatto equalised with ten minutes left on the clock.
Cockburn City showed no mercy in steamrolling Port Kennedy 8-1 at Beale Park. K.Antonic (4), G.Richards, R.Richards, N.Steer and R.De Lello got the goals for the home side with Port Kennedy’s response arriving on the stroke of half-time through N.Fogg. Balcatta B defeated Queens Park B 5-3 on penalties at Coker Park. The game was level at 2-2 at the completion of extra-time with I.Arapovic and Kate Reynolds scoring twice for Balcatta and Queens Park, respectively.
Subiaco United booked their participation in the next round by downing Beeliar 5-3 at Rosalie Park. Subiaco’s goals came via B.Tillemans, J.Wiegl, K.Moczydlowski, S.Felderhof and L.McCreary on a day when J.Hunter (2) and S.Brentnall netted for the visitors. R.Netherwood scored twice as Subiaco United B defeated Melville City 2-0 in the other game played at Rosalie Park. C.Jackson’s hat-trick enabled Wembley Downs to see off Fremantle United 3-0 at Butlers Reserve.
The Jacks showed great character in overturning a three-goal deficit to defeat Gosnells City 4-3 at Walter Padbury Reserve. Gosnells looked set for victory when D.Douglas completed her hat-trick in the 49th minutes, however the Jacks had other ideas as K.Cornell, S.Brunton and H.Barton levelled the game before T.Jakobson bagged a final minute winner. E.Arnold, C.Deards and C.Graneri were amongst the goals when Noranda disposed of Lynwood 3-1 when they squared off at Noranda Sporting Complex. Lynwood’s solitary goal came five minutes after the break through L.Tomnay.
East Fremantle B registered a narrow 3-2 win over Queens Park C at Coker Park. V.Bahbah, G.Walker and T.Lewin found the target for East Fremantle, with Queens Park’s goals arriving via K.Menon-Hall and C.King. Ballajura inflicted an 8-1 thrashing on Perth Royals at J.A. Lee Reserve. Netting for Ballajura were S.Collister (3), K.Shearman (2), A.Normanton and L.Wisby, while Royals solitary strike came on the hour from A.Curtin. Beckenham Angels A and B forfeited their games, giving Queens Park A and Noranda automatic entry into the next phase, while Maccabi were given a free pass into the last sixteen courtesy of a second round bye.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FIVE (Stirling Lions v Floreat Athena by Don Evans; Armadale v Perth S.C. by Peter Simcox)
Sorrento cemented their place at the top of the Premier league pile by dumping a gallant Western Knights line-up 5-3 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Scattered amongst the eight goals were a litany of talking points that included a couple of contentious penalties and red cards to Neil Young and Keith Butler. The game didn’t spark into life until Scott Bulloch put the home side ahead on 11 minutes after goalkeeper Kevin Miller parried the initial shot from Todd Harnwell. The Knights quickly regrouped with Daniel Micevski, Barry Devlin and captain Luka Jukic caused all sorts of problems for the Sorrento backline. Referee Michael Tolmie had little choice but to issue Young his marching orders in the 36th minute for a late and unnecessary challenge on Anthony Fearon, Anthony Cochrane took over between the posts and his first job was to pick Rory Grant’s spot kick out of the net. Five minutes from the break Harnwell acrobatically poked a loose ball past Miller from 7-metres to give the hots an unlikely advantage at the break. The second half was eight minutes old when Grant brought the terms back on level terms by converting from the spot for a second time following Michael Ord’s foul on Anthony Skorich. However, the Knights were soon down to ten men as Butler was sent from the field following a sloppy tackle on Scott Neville that produced his second booking of the day. The Gulls capitalised on the hour when Miller was caught out of position by Neville who skilfully chipped into an empty net. A neat 63rd minute move involving Stuart Montgomery and James Morgan ended with the latter stroking the ball into the net from 15-metres as Sorrento established control. The result was put beyond doubt four minutes later by Harnwell who tapped in his second after from a Bulloch’s cross. Grant completed his hat-trick with seven minutes remaining by sliding the bal in at the near post after being set up by Skorich.
A good-sized crowd was treated to a thrilling, high tempto 1-1 draw between Inglewood United and Cockburn City at the Kiev Sports Ground. The first opening of a cautious start resulted from good lead-up work from Matt Wardle and Bobby Despotovski but Michael Baczynski's shot flashed fractionally wide. A raid down the right lead by Aaron De Santos produced the visitors first chance for Giovanni De Bartolo who failed to capitalise with only the goalkeeper to beat. A Despotovski free-kick from 20-metres was too good for Dejan Aleksic who was glad to see the shot rebound off his crossbar. Oliver Taseski was a little too hasty in charging out of his area on the hour to halt Dos Santos who dribbled around the 'keeper to slot into the net, however, referee John Taran disallowed the goal amid much protest from the Cockburn players. An all-action half closed with Aleskic making a vital save to deny Kevin Griffiths to send the sides to the dressing rooms at nil-all. Despotovski made his presence felt upon the resumption of play as Inglewood threw everything into cracking the game open. Against the run of play Cockburn went ahead in the 61st minute through substitute Mileta Miletic who was presented with the simple task of tapping in from a couple of metres after some fine work down the left by Johnny Mirco and Daniel Palermo. Inglewood's equaliser arrived ten minutes later when Johnathon Davite charged down the left, Griffiths flicked on his cross and Despotovski completed the move with a neat header. There was still plenty left in the tank for Inglewood who dominated the closing stages. Griffiths was prevented the winner by Aleskic, Ashley Picker fired high and Rodrigo Aguirre found a way around the 'keeper but sent his shot against the upright. In a last gasp attempt to snatch victory substitute Jamie Mitsopoulos went past Aleksic only to have Jason Godfrey clear his shot from on the line.
A large crowd was treated to some quality football as Stirling Lions roared to a 2-0 victory over Floreat Athena at Macedonia Park. It didn’t take long for Stirling to get into top gear with Alan Muir, Steve Porter and Jordan Rhodes stringing together some delightful passes through midfield. Their early enterprise produced the lead after 12 minutes when Floreat defender Jovo Pavlovic had the misfortune of deflecting Phil Arnold’s dangerous cross from the left into his own net. Vas Vujacic was quick off his line to prevent Mark Redshaw from increasing the margin after being released by Marc Anthony’s superb through ball. A rash challenge by Ante Kovacevic on Redshaw after 25 minutes resulted in a Stirling free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Porter curled into an empty net while Vujacic was still setting up his defensive wall. Redshaw could have added a third but slewed the ball just wide of the post after being sent clear by Muir. Floreat conjured up their only chance of the period just before the break when good lead-up work by John Migas and Garin Collins ended with Paul Vatistas’ effort drifting wide. Stirling were content to defend their lead upon the resumption of play but despite Floreat’s increased possession they failed to create any genuine chances. In the 53rd minute Anthony’s cross fell into the path of Redshaw whose scuffed shot at point blank range was into the arms of Vujacic. Phil Straker was called upon for the first time on 58 minutes when Adam Bachiller’s fine cross picked out Brad Scott who’s fierce strike was brilliantly kept out by the Stirling custodian. Steve Hesketh’s day came to a disappointing end when carried from the field suffering a fractured leg after tangling with Branimir Mikulic in the 68th minute. Floreat threw caution to the wind as the clock ticked down but the closest they came to a consolation was a Kovacevic header that grazed the crossbar.
Swan I.C. and Mandurah City collected a point each from a dull, uninspired 2-2 draw at the Swan Italian Club. The home side twice had the lead via Damian Scali and Aaron Cole only for Mandurah to pull level thanks to a stunning Michael Currie strike and a goal after the break from substitute Shane Crampton. There were 6 minutes on the clock when David Perich’s corner was nodded down by Aaron Cole to Michael Tronchin who’s shot was blocked by the defence and Scali whipped in the follow-up from 7-metres. Driving rain made conditions unsettling for players and spectators alike as both teams struggled to come up with the creativity required to unlock the opposition defence. This was punctuated midway through the period when, from an acute angle, Michael Currie’s rasping volley flashed across goalkeeper Cory Hugo and into the top corner from Andy Brown’s delivery. But the visitors barely had time to catch their breath before Cole put Swan back in the lead with a free-kick from 17-metres which deflected off the defensive wall and wrong-footed Michael Green. Mandurah’s greater composure and desire allowed them to dominate a second half that was played by and large in their attacking zone. O’Callaghan had Cory Hugo at full-stretch as Keith Brown, Jeff Bright and captain Andy Brown flexed their midfield muscle. A rare Swan attack saw Knox cut past Ryan Townsend but the youngster lifted his shot high with only Green to beat. Otherwise it was all one-way traffic which saw Andy Brown head high from Chris Wylie’s cross, and a miscued Cory Hugo clearance landed at the feet of Crampton who was denied by Cole’s superb last gasp tackle. Mandurah’s persistence was rewarded on 79 minutes when Crampton seized on a poorly defended corner and waltzed past three defenders before coolly angling his shot from 6-metres past the ‘keeper to earn a deserved point.
Goals in each half from Andrija Jukic and Peter Lord earned Perth S.C. a 2-0 win over struggling Armadale under lights at Alfred Skeet Oval. The host club could have had the lead after 5 minutes but Gareth Deeg tipped Ryan Pearson’s back post header over the crossbar following Scott Devine’s free-kick. Perth gradually worked their way into the game but Jukic and Antonio Naglieri were both denied by goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock. Stefan Smiljanic smacked a close-range effort into the crossbar as Armadale sought the lead, while a 20th minute free-kick by Devine crashed down off the bar and bounced on the line before being hooked to safety. Within sixty seconds Perth snatched the lead through a superb counterattack that ended with Jukic forcing the ball over the line at close-range range after Sharrock parried a David Onoforo shot. There were further chances for both teams leading into the break with Joseph Brunneto’s curling effort going just the wrong side of the post, while Sharrock was called upon to keep out goalbound shots from Jukic and Onoforo. The new half began with Perth in full flight and a Jukic shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that rose high. Sharrock came to his sides’ rescue twice in quick succession on 55 minutes by pushing Trent Kay’s header onto the bar which he followed by blocking Oliviera at follow-up. Calls for an Armadale penalty were turned down by referee Mathew Cheeseman after Smiljanic went down under the challenge of Gianfranco Circati on 67 minutes. The game was very much up for grabs as Onoforo hit the bar, Deeg kept out a fine shot from Smiljanic, and Jukic miscued from only a few metres. The points were finally made safe with two minutes to go when Lord converted from 9-metres.
E.C.U. Joondalup moved up the table into joint second position by humbling Fremantle City 5-0 at Dalmatinac Park. Craig Young’s goal shortly before half-time was all that separated the teams at the end of 45 minutes, however, the margin quickly blew out as Jon Higgins and Ian McMurray found the net within twelve minutes of the restart. Young added his second after 74 minutes before Tom Jones completed the route. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the two participating clubs.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FIVE
Canning City overcame a well-organised Morley Windmills defence to register a 1-0 victory from a dour struggle at Wotton Reserve. The win moves Canning into joint second position with Bayswater City and Balcatta, and just two behind early pacesetter Wanneroo City, after five games. A lack of penetration made for a quite opening half for goalkeepers Chris Ramsey and Devon Spence. The best opening came when David Gordon won possession and combined with Farrell Hedges and Scott McIlroy to set up Noong Naraphont who wasted the chance. Daniel Trevisiol had a great to put Canning ahead but Ramsey was quick off his line to smother the shot. A tight second half was dominated by the respective defences who worked tirelessly to keep genuine opportunities to a minimum. Hedges sprayed the ball high from 6-metres after being found unmarked by Paul Dundo, but his effort would have been disallowed in any case for offside. It was a miss that would prove costly as four minutes later Paul Harvey sent Ramsey the wrong way from the penalty spot after the striker was felled by Naraphont. Canning suffered a late blow when Paul Oliver was dismissed by referee Greg Birch for a second yellow card.
South West Phoenix consolidated their place in the top half of the table by smashing Dianella White Eagles 9-2 on a very wet afternoon at the Soccerdrome. Ten minutes had elapsed when veteran Gary Mayers headed in a Ryan Risdon cross from the right. Dianella hit back just two minutes later when Dimce Taneski's shot was deflected to Alan Croft who made no mistake from close-range. Gareth Johnston provided the ammunition for Rory Binnie to head Phoenix back in front, but fifteen minutes later Taneski played through for Jon Greenwood to fire the equaliser past goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. With half-time looming Steve Suttie cut the ball back for Binnie to put away his second of the day from 7-metres. Both sides emerged from the break displaying greater caution and it looked as though there'd be no further scoring. However, the floodgates were prised open on 53 minutes when Binnie completed his hat-trick after combining brilliantly with Suttie. There was only one team in the game for the final half hour in which Mayers and Suttie each found the net before substitute Lee Stewart rubbed salt into the wound with a late double.
There was no change at the top of the First Division table with leader Wanneroo City drawing 1-1 at home with second-placed Bayswater City. Wanneroo took the lead after half an hour when Damir Kudozovic sent the ball into his own net, but Ahmed Hafez’s goal six minutes after the break earned the visitors a deserved point. Balcatta overran Gosnells City 3-0 at Walter Padbury Reserve. David Moschilla bagged a first half double with Adriano D’Adamo adding the third just a minute after coming off the bench. Forrestfield United claimed a 2-1 win over visiting Rockingham City, who slip to the foot of the table. Rhys Loxley and captain Ashley Otte were on target for the host club with John McCreey getting Rockingham’s reply. Queens Park picked up three much need points by defeating Ashfield 3-1 at Coker Park. Michael Jennings, Tom Cullen and Kalid Karpeh scored for the home team with Ashfield’s goals coming via Zac Jones and I.Charming. Further details of these four games were not forthcoming from any of the eight participating clubs.
FRESH START FOR GLORY
Perth Glory coach David Mitchell made an impassioned plea to a dozen players yesterday as the A-League club kicked off pre-season training at picturesque Tomkins Park in Alfred Cove. Mitchell hopes the change of venue - Glory spent much of last season at McGilvray Oval - will prove to be symbolic of a new start that will lead to success after a trio of disappointing campaigns. "I just said to the players 'this is a big season for the club, it's a big season for you guys personally and it's a big year for me as a coach and for (assistants) Robbie Dunn and Kenny Lowe," said Mitchell. "If we all work together we can get the club playing finals football."
There is little confidence amongst Perth's sporting community that Glory will be transformed into a contender so son after such a pitiful previous seasons. "Last year was a false dawn. When everybody had big expectations, we flopped," said Mitchell, who was appointed coach halfway through the 2007/08 season. But despite being some way from finalising his squad, the Glory coach is adamant his side will be much improved in 2008/09. "I don't expect effort and commitment from the players - I demand it," said Mitchell. "And if everyone at the club is focused on getting in the top four then I'm sure we can achieve that."
Just twelve players took part in yesterday's fitness session which included Mark Lee, who is close to completeing a deal, and teenage striker Anthony Skorich of Western Knights. Eugene Dadi took part in his first session with his his team mates. New recruits Adrian Trinidad and Adriano Pellegrino are expected to arrive in Perth within the next few weeks. Absent due to international commitments were Olyroo trio Tando Velaphi, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Nikita Rukavytsya along with Jamie Harnwell, who is currently on loan to Swiss club F.C. Vaduz. Glory has 16 contracted players for the 2008/09 season including one remaining international position.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Traditional rivals Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena will accept nothing less than maximum points from the footballwa.net Match of the week at Macedonia Park. It’s been an indifferent start to the season from Stirling who have just a single win from four starts. Mark Redshaw, Alan Muir and Jordan Rhodes are in terrific touch at the moment as youngsters Steven Hesketh and Dean Evans impress at the back. Floreat may have begun their title defence slowly but back-to-back victories indicate the pieces are now falling into place for Michael Roki’s side. Imports Brad Smith and Rafael Insurralde have been key figures in both recent successes and are again expected to feature prominently alongside Ante Kovacevic, Adam Bachiller and Garin Collins. The game kicks-off at 3.00pm.
The Swan Italian Club is the venue for the intriguing meeting of third-placed Swan I.C. and second-placed Mandurah City. Paul Lincoln’s team is determined to preserve their unbeaten home record, and with Damien Scali firing up front who have to fancy their chances. David Perich and John Mansaray point to the clubs future along with David McNally who has been outstanding alongside seasoned campaigners Aaron Cole and Corey Hugo. Mandurah have exceeded early expectations in their first season as a Premier League club. A muscular midfield composed of Andy Brown, Keith Brown and Jeff Bright has given them the edge and provided Phil O’Callaghan with plenty of ammunition. Ryan Townsend, Chris Currie and goalkeeper Michael Green form an imposing defensive line that has proved difficult to breach in recent weeks. The game kicks-off at 3.00pm
Table topping Sorrento welcome a luckless Western Knights combination to Percy Doyle Reserve. The Gulls are the competitions’ only unbeaten team after four games, something only the very brave would have predicted after a truly disastrous 2007 campaign. Todd Harnwell and former Knight Stuart Montgomery have formed a terrific partnership and are sure to be amongst the goals should Scott Neville and Scott Bulloch be allowed to establish themselves down the flanks. Not a lot has gone right for Ronnie Campbell’s team this year and with a number of key players absent through injury it’s difficult seeing them taking much away from their trip north. Luka Jukic has been a shining light in the middle of the park and his efforts along with those of Paul Cooke, Anthony Fearon and Barry Devlin will be crucial. The game kicks-off at 3.00pm
The meeting of Fremantle Spirit and E.C.U. Joondalup has been moved to Dalmatinac Park. Young guns Callum Roberts and Jason Barrera will be pulling out all the stops to earn the port side their first win of the campaign. The defensive combination of Simon Elton-Bott, Cisco Jorquiera and Tom Straker will need to be on their toes to keep at bay a very dangerous attack. Ian McMurray has been in terrific form for Willie McNally’s side and given even the faintest whiff of goal will punish the home team. Darren Broxton and Scott Bushby pull the strings in the middle of the park with Scott Blackmore and recent signing Craig Simpson forming a great partnership at the back. The game kicks-off at 3.00pm
Inglewood United have home ground advantage against Cockburn City in a key mid-table fixture. The attacking instincts of Kevin Griffiths, Bobby Despotovski and Jason Colli are vital in coach Lee Bamber’s game plan. Doing their utmost to prevent Cockburn from finding the net are the familiar trio of Shane Pryce, Daniel Kovacevic and goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. But rest assured Michael Mirco, Johnny Mirco and Giovanni De Bartolo will use every trick in their book to unlock the hosts and make sure they go home with the points. Young shot-stopper Dejan Aleksic has been in outstanding form of late and with Liam Lilly and Jason Godfrey also on song it’s going to take some special to breach their defences. The game kicks-off at 3.00pm
The lights will be at full beam when Armadale and Perth S.C. square off at Alfred Skeet Oval in the late fixture. The Reds are still searching for their first point of the season but with Scott Devine back to full fitness and Jason Goodwin firing on all cylinders they’ll go into this game full of confidence. Daryl Platten and Andy Bower stood out last week coach Brad Hassell’s fingers will be crossed for a repeat performance from his defensive anchors. Graham Normanton’s team have run hot and cold since winning the Night Series and will be without influential midfielder and team captain Robbie Puca due to injury. Todd Howarth and Antonio Naglieri continue to impress with David Onoforo leading the way in the final third. The game kicks-off at 7.00pm.
It’s one verses two in the First Division when Wanneroo City and Bayswater City square off at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Home ground advantage will count for little when Morley Windmills welcome Canning City to Wotton Reserve. Gosnells City are likely to find their resources stretched to the limit when Balcatta call in at Walter Padbury Reserve. There won’t be a great deal that separates South West Phoenix and Dianella White Eagles when they come face-to-face at the Soccerdrome in Bunbury. Hartfield Park is the venue for the vital meeting of a young Forrestfield United and a new-look Rockingham City. Cellar dwellers Queens Park and Ashfield are pitted against at Coker Park in a game likely to have a major bearing on who ends the year in the drop zone. All games kick-off at 3.00pm
BIG YEAR AHEAD FOR HESKETH
Steve Hesketh is slowly coming to terms with a frantic couple of months in which he wore Perth Glory colours then returned to club duty at Stirling Lions. It all began in early March when the 19-year old defender accepted an invitation to join Glory on their three-game trip to China. "The tour of China went really well for me; I played in two out of the three games," said Hesketh. "Many people have asked me what my favourite moment on tour was but the whole experience of the tour was the highlight for me. To play against the Chinese Super League sides in big stadiums was amazing and something I'll never forget."
Although defeated in all three games, Hesketh says Glory side performed well against Changsha Ginde, Guangzhou and Chinese champions Changchun Yatai. "The standard over there was of a very high level and a fast pace," explained Hesketh, who visited Malaysia with Glory last year. "The teams we played against had been together for a long time, while we were a mix of Glory players and State League players and we competed very well in my opinion. All the State League lads played their part and the comradeship amongst all the players was brilliant ... everyone on the tour got on well together."
Once back on home soil Hesketh was thrust straight back into the fray with a Stirling line-up that made the last four of the Night Series. Now in his third season at Macedonia Park, the teenager believes Stirling has the right mix of youth and experience. "We have excellent young players at Stirling and the coaches, Michael Lyons and Paul Simmons, back them all the way," he said. "Our older players are very experienced and great role models on the pitch for us younger lads. We learn from them each week at training and the tips we pick up can only make us a better team."
After four rounds Stirling are placed ninth with just five points to their credit. It's a position few would have predicted prior to the start of home and away festivities, and one Hesketh says the Lions are keen to improve on. "Our season has got off to a slow start, we are working hard and trying to win every game," said Hesketh. "I think we have played some excellent football at times but results are what count and there's no doubt we can do much better."
Reigning champions Floreat Athena provide Stirling with their next big challenge at Macedonia Park on Saturday afternoon. "Floreat are a good team and tomorrow's game will be the most important game for us so far, then the next game we play will be the most important," commented Hesketh of the rescheduled fixture. "I believe you make your own luck and if we keep working hard for each other the results will come. It will be an entertaining game, Floreat are a good team with good players - and so is Stirling."
INDONESIAN VISIT ON THE RADAR
Robbie Dunn's first task as State team coach will be to assemble a squad to play a one-off game in Indonesia at the end of June. A number of Premier League players have received a friendly tap on the shoulder from Dunn, who is expected to announce a preliminary training squad shortly. "The reintroduction of the Men's State team is a great initiative aimed not only at raising the profile of the game but will also give our best players the honour of wearing the State colours to showcase their skills," said Football West chief executive Garry Chandler.
Negotiations are in the advance stages for the State team to head to Indonesia for the first time under the Football West banner. "We hope to be able to confirm details soon," commented Chandler. "Everyone I speak to is extremely excited at the thought of the re-establishment of the State team, none more so than me. We are working on a calendar of matches over the coming twelve months that will provide us with great opportunities to promote the sport to the WA public." Western Australia has a long and successful history of playing in Indonesia where the State team has on three occasions won the Marah Halim tournament.
HALF A CENTURY OF RICHES
‘The Fame Game’ is the official newsletter of the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia. In each issue profile one of the games greats, and in ‘the Fame Game, Issue Six' (pdf, 538kb) it’s one-time Australian international Doug Stewart that the spotlight falls on. Stewart won numerous trophies and awards during spells at North Perth and Tricolore during the 1950s and 1960s. He turned his hand to coaching uppn hanging up his playing boots and half a century later is still aiding the development of football in Australia.
Stewart has been coaching for 50 years - and is still having a ball. He first dabbled in coaching with East Fremantle Tricolore in 1958, and later with the WA State team, and is now passing on his extensive knowledge of the game to primary school kids in Rockhampton in Queensland. Stewart, who was born in Burma and played at international level for the country in the Asian Games, arrived in Perth in 1955. He was a key forward when North Perth won the State League title in 1955 and 1956 before joining Tricolore and helping them to a championship in 1958. He would later coach Azzurri to State League success, and was in charge of the State team on seven occasions.
Stewart played eleven times for WA and became one of the first players in this part of the world to turn out at international level for two countries when he represented Australia in games against Blackpool and Hearts in 1958. The legendary Stanley Matthews, although 43, played for Blackpool in the game, which was held in Adelaide. "Despite his age, he was still very good," recalls Stewart. One of his big successes with the State team was leading them to a 1-1 draw with a star-studded Manchester City team in 1970. "Actually, we should have won but big John van Oosten, who never missed, hit a post with the goal wide open," he said.
Stewart moved to Canberra in 1970 and coached the Canberra Arrows Under-18 team and also the Australian Capital Territory Under-16 team, which included a young Frank Farina, who was quickly elevated to the senior ranks. He had a spell in tennis coaching in the ACT before heading to Brunei where he worked for the Government as an assistant chief youth and sports coach and also helped organised disabled sports. The widely-travelled Doug then moved to the Northern Territory and led Under-21, Under-15 and amateur teams to success in football competitions.
In 1998 he turned up in Queensland and steered the Rockhampton Under-19 team to victory in the South Qld league and has since won many more titles. "I have now gone back to my love of teaching Years 1 to 3 the techniques of the game," said Stewart. "I have great support from the schools, the parents and the kids and I am having a ball." Stewart returned briefly to WA in 2004 when the Hall of Fame Committee selected him as one of a galaxy of stars to be included in a Century of Champions, which recognised the best 100 players in the State over 100 years.
GARCIA ON VERGE OF LIVING THE DREAM
After toiling away in England’s lower levels for a number of years, Richard Garcia is on the cusp of realising a life-long dream. Hull City commence their Championship play-off this weekend against Watford and 26-year old Garcia says the Tigers are more than ready to take their place amongst England’s elite. “There’s no apprehension, we’re confident we can go ahead and do the job,” he added. “I think it’s important just approach it as another league game and play your normal game. It’s home and away so I’m sure there’ll be tactics during the week as to how we approach it. It’s been my dream to play in the Premier League and my battle, my quest to get there I suppose is on the brink.” By seeing off Watford Hull will progress to the Wembley final on Saturday 24th May where they’ll meet either Bristol City or Crystal Palace for a spot in the 2008/09 Premier League.
KARPEH TO GET PHOENIX TRIAL
Wellington Phoenix will hand former Perth Glory striker Jerry Karpeh a chance to impress in trials next week. Karpeh shot to prominence last year at Floreat Athena where his 25 goals from just 20 outings earned the 23-year old the Premier League Golden Boot. That form was rewarded with a short-term contract with Glory for whom he made seven appearances without finding the net. Karpeh currently plays in the Victorian Premier League with Whittlesea Zebras where he’s bagged four goals in eleven games for the mid-table club.
HIGHLIGHTS APLENTY IN ROUND TWO OF CUP
The draw for Round Two of the Soccer Pools Cup was made over the weekend with some big games being pulled out of the hat. All eyes will be on Dorrien Gardens for the inner city derby between Perth S.C. and Inglewood United. Cup holder Stirling Lions have a home date with E.C.U. Joondalup. Mandurah City will be full of confidence for their trip to Litis Stadium to take on Floreat Athena. Two of the top flights strugglers, Fremantle Spirit and Armadale, are pitted against eachother.
Sorrento have home ground advantage against northern neighbour and First Division leader Wanneroo City. Morley Windmills will be hoping to upset Western Knights when they visit Wotton Reserve. Amateur outfit Hammersley Rovers will fancy their chances at home to Bayswater City. It's a similar story for fellow-Amateurs Southern Spirit who welcome Forrestfield United to Watsons Reserve. All eight games Second Round fixtures are scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday 17 May.
SENSATIONAL START BY SWAN’S COCKING
The emergence of teenager striker Alex Cocking at Swan I.C. is one of the early success stories of 2008. Cocking burst onto the scene by scoring four times in five Night Series outings and has since been keeping defences on their toes with his neat footwork and bursts of pace. “I’m enjoying my time at the club, they’ve made me really welcome,” said Cocking. “I love the club - it’s not filled with politics like some other clubs and the boys are only interested in one thing and that’s playing football. We’ve started well but its early day’s we just have to take one game at a time.”
Coach Paul Lincoln wasn’t having a great deal of success in finding a goalscorer to replace David Foster when Cocking fronted for pre-season training in the Swan Valley. “Alex is a terrific kid, he his very mature for his age and has a lot of potential,” said Lincoln, who immediately saw something special in the youngster. “He has a lot to learn about playing at this level and his willingness to learn will help fast track his progress. The key ingredient for any good striker is how to score goals and Alex has certainly shown us that.”
Cocking commemorated his Premier League debut by scoring in the opening day win against Cockburn City and has set his sights on finding the net a regular occurrence. “It’s always a great feeling to score but scoring my first League goal for the club on my debut made it that much better,” he said, still clearly chuffed with the achievement. “The boys are playing really well and that’s given us confidence for the rest of the season. It’s great for me and it’s the best feeling to walk off the Francis Street pitch on a Saturday with a win under our belt and, hopefully, for me a few more goals.”
DUNN NAMED NEW STATE COACH
One of the true legends of West Australian football, Robbie Dunn, has been appointed coach of the State team. Dunn, who represented Australia on 44 occasions, is thrilled with his new role and the challenges it brings. "I see the job as a very exciting challenge and accept the appointment with a great deal of pride," he said. "Hopefully the quality players that I know we have in WA can once again set their sights on playing for their state and be proud to pull on the WA State shirt whenever called upon."
The appointment of Dunn is the final piece in Football West's resurrection of the State team. "Football West should be commended for putting the State team back on the agenda and it shows to the football public that truly they see a great future for our code and I hope that when the State team plays that the WA public get right behind them," said Dunn, who's solitary appearance for WA arrived in 1989 against touring English side Milwall.
Football West chief executive Garry Chandler has every confidence Dunn, who is assistant coach to David Mitchell at Perth Glory, will lead the State into a bright era. "Robbie's appointment and the re-establishment of our senior men's State team is a great step forwards for the game in WA," said Chandler. "In Robbie we have someone that not only has extensive playing and coaching experience, but also someone with intimate knowledge of the game in Asia, which is an important strategic initiative for us in lifting the profile of the sport in WA."
Dunn has spent the past few weeks busily planning for his first game at the helm. "I am working with Football West on developing a program of matches which will enable our players to showcase their abilities," explained Dunn, who's been casting a watchful eye over the Premier League's top players in recent weeks. "With Australia now in the AFC, games will become increasingly available and it's an important avenue for us to explore."
Born in Scotland, Dunn's 44 games for Australia makes in the WA's second most capped player. He started out with Kwinana United and North Perth Croatia before travelling joining West Adelaide at the age of 17. Spells at Preston Makedonia and Melbourne Croatia took his national league tally to 168 games and 54 goals - quite an achievement for a centre-half. Dunn returned home in 1989 to play for Perth Italia followed by two seasons with South China (Hong Kong) and another with Sarawak (Malaysia). In November 2005 Dunn was one of four inaugural inductees into the Hall of Legends category of the West Australian Football Fall of Fame.
NEW YOUTH LEAGUE GIVES YOUNGSTERS A FIGHTING CHANCE
Perth Glory’s youth team coach Gareth Naven wants to see a greater number of West Australians playing for the A-League club - but not just for the sake of it. Naven, who captained the club for six seasons from its inception in 1996, is set to go about the job of moulding teenage prospects into first team regulars with the same vigour and enthusiasm he showed as a combative on-field leader during his playing days.
The aim of the National Youth League, set to kick-off in August, is to provide more opportunities for local players to be groomed into A-League material. Naven is quick to point out that ability is the first criteria for inclusion. “If local players are good enough, then give them a go,” said Naven, who is also the State under-14 coach. “But if you aren’t, you can’t. Hopefully by bridging this gap with the youth league, we can provide some quality, intense training and given them an opportunity. All the player in the Football West and the national training centre (program) have got a stepping stone to the A-League now.”
Mitchell has already indicated his desire to increase the number of local players, while the club will be forced to rely on Premier League players to provide the majority of their youth squad. “I think the A-League clubs have a responsibility to develop youth. It’s their duty,” said Naven, who is confident Football West are also on the right track with youth development. “Kids have now got to understand that at a certain age you’ve got to take football seriously. If they don’t, they’ll fall behind and never catch up.”
Naven points to France as an example of how seriously players need to approach the game. “Kids over there at 13 are training a minimum of three times a week and playing a game. At 14 it’s four and one (game), and at 15 it’s five and one. That’s taking it seriously,” he said. “The NTC kids are taking it very seriously. The 14’s we’ve got have two sessions with their club and two with me, so that’s four and one. Obviously there’s education, homework and their bodies and minds to take into consideration. But they are making a choice to be serious about football, which is great.”
Naven will switch his attention to players aged 16 to 21 when trials for Glory’s youth team kick-off at Beale Park, Spearwood, next weekend. The club is holding open trials in an effort to ensure all potential local youngsters are considered for inclusion. If you think you have what it takes, or are a coach and would like to recommend a player visit the Perth Glory website and complete the expression of interest form by 12.00pm Friday 9th May.
MATILDAS EDGED OUT BY UNITED STATES – TWICE!
Australia have twice been denied a deserved draw with world number two the United States on their two-game visit to America. The United States grabbed a dramatic late winner to record a 3-2 win in the opening match of the series, and a few days later struck a stoppage time winner to steal a 5-4 victory from a pulsating match. "Overall I am very pleased with the trip," said coach Tom Sermanni. "We showed that we can go 90 minutes with the best in the world and it holds us in good stead ahead of the Asian Cup." The friendly series served as preparation for Asian Women's Cup being held in Vietnam later this month.
The opening match of the series was delayed by close to an hour because of a torrential downpour at the WakeMed Stadium in North Carolina on Monday. Natasha Kai put the host nation ahead after 35 minutes and looked to be cruising when Amy Rodriguez doubled the margin early in the second half. However, Australia had other ideas and on 86 minutes Kate Gill reduced the deficit with captain Cheryl Salisbury levelling the game just two minutes later. The final drama played out in stoppage time when Carli Lloyd headed the ball into the back of the net to secure the U.S. a dramatic win. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams and midfielder Collette McCallum, who hail from West Australia, both played the full 90 minutes.
There was a strong sense of deja Vu in the second meeting at Legion Field in Alabama which the United State claimed 5-4 courtesy of a stoppage time winner. An early own goal put Australia ahead only for the United States to hit four unanswered goals to open up a sizeable lead by the break. The Matildas staged a remarkable comeback as Sarah Walsh, Lauren Colthorpe and another own goal brought the sides level with twenty minutes to go. It looked as though the game would ended 4-4 when Angela Hucles touched in the decider at close-range with 94 minutes on the clock. McCallum played a full game with Williams an unused substitute.
TRINIDAD ADDED TO GLORY
Perth Glory has added Argentinean Adrian Trinidad to its revamped forward line for the coming A-League season. Trinidad, an attacking midfielder, will link-up with Ivory Coast striker Eugene Dadi, Englishman James Robinson and local product Nikita Rukavytsya in a new-look attack that David Mitchell is confident will find the back of the net on a regular basis. “Adrian has great touch and loves to score goals, in every match I’ve seen he has been very dangerous in the front third,” Mitchell said. “He is also a very clever player who can see things in the game that not a lot of people can and will certainly bring his team mates into the match.”
Trinidad has most recently plied his trade in Indonesia and Malaysia and was recommended to Mitchell by several of his recruiting contacts in the region. “The owners have given me the resources to go and see first hand the players I’ve identified as key targets this season and we’re seeing that pay dividends with many exciting signings that might not have happened otherwise,” said the Glory coach. “It is vital when you’re using one of the four foreign player positions that each team are allowed that you get the right person and I think that Adrian will more than justify his position this season. Argentinean players have great flair but also the solid work ethic to back that up. He is a team player and I know that the lads will enjoy playing with him as much as our fans will enjoy watching him play.”
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND FOUR (Sorrento v Inglewood United by Kerry Slater; Western Knights v Mandurah City courtesy Mandurah City; E.C.U. Joondalup v Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox Cockburn City v Stirling Lions by Don Evans; Floreat Athena v Armadale courtesy Floreat Athena)
Sorrento moved clear at the top of the Premier League table by dismissing Inglewood United 3-2 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Todd Harnwell (2) and Stuart Montgomery shared the goals as the Gulls emerged as the competition’s only unbeaten team after four games. Inglewood came out firing and with 3 minutes on the clock Kevin Griffiths delivered a cross which Bobby Despotovski headed superbly beyond the reach of Neil Young to put the visitors one-nil up. This only served to further fire up the visitors who had Jason Colli, James Sammut and Michael Baczynski to thank for the early ascendancy. Harnwell brought sides level after 19 minutes by taming a Stuart Banks cross with his thigh before firing past Oliver Taseski from 12-metres as the defence were caught ball watching. Six minutes later Sorrento went ahead courtesy of a terrific team move in which Michael Ord threaded a pass down the flank to Scott Neville whose cross was swept into the net at close-range by Montgomery. Scott Bulloch brought a diving save out of Taseski and Neville fired marginally wide as the Gulls sought to increase their lead after the break. Lee Bamber’s decision to bring on the fresh legs of Mladen Kovacevic worked a treat with the young attacker producing a low centre to Jason Colli who was denied at point blank range by Young. With two minutes of regulation left the team in yellow drew level through Mladen Kovcevic who blasted the ball into the top corner from 8-metres following a miscued clearance by Callum O’Connell. Three minutes later Lewis Flatt slid the ball out left to Bulloch who tricked his way around one opponent before angling a low shot which Taseski parried and an the blink of an eye Harnwell had poked the follow up into the net.
Mandurah City piled on four unanswered goals to hand Western Knights a 5-1 thrashing in front of a small but boisterous crowd at Nash Field. Phil O’Callaghan and Andy Brown scored two apiece with Shane Crampton getting the remainder to leapfrog Mandurah into second place after a month of competition. It took only 5 minutes for the visitors to open their account courtesy of a booming clearance by Chris Currie that found O’Callaghan who went inside the 18-yard box with his first touch and deftly placed the ball wide of goalkeeper Kevin Miller with his second. The Knights responded in kind and deservedly drew level eleven minutes later when Anthony Fearon seized upon a wayward pass and successfully fended off Ryan Townsend before sending his shot wide of Mike Green in the Mandurah goal. Midway through the period Jeff Bright played a long ball over the defence that O’Callaghan latched on to and coolly lobbed into the net with just Miller to beat. The game was effectively ended as a contest within a minute of the restart when Andy Brown was afforded time and space to cut in from the right and fire past an exposed ‘keeper to make it three-one. Mandurah were far from done and on 63 minutes more sloppy defensive work permitted Andy Brown time to tame a bouncing ball which he slammed into the net from 9-metres. With twenty minutes remaining Crampton entered the fray and almost immediately turned Jon Mathers inside out before angling a vicious shot across Miller and inside the far post. Crampton should have added a sixth to Mandurah’s tally after out-foxing his marker only to shoot narrowly wide of the target. The closing stages resulted in both sides carving a handful of half chances before referee Troy Miller brought proceedings to a close.
A dominant first half performance laid the foundations for E.C.U. Joondalup to inflict a 3-2 loss on Swan I.C. in sunny conditions at the Edith Cowan University ground. The home side raced to a three-goal lead courtesy of Ian McMurray, Tommy Amphlett and Scott Bushby before Damian Scali brought the visitors back into the contest. Joondalup created their first chances after just 4 minutes when Craig Simpson headed narrowly wide a Darren Broxton free-kick. This set the tone for the hosts to launch a barrage of attacks orchestrated by Amphlett, Bushby, Broxton and Jon Higgins. The breakthrough arrived after 28 minutes when Higgins cleverly clipped the ball to the top of the 6-yard box where an unmarked McMurray headed into the top corner. Sixty seconds later Joondalup registered their second through a scorching volley from 18-metres by Amphlett that found the gap between ‘keeper and post. Swan worked hard to reduce the deficit but Anthony Jones’ superb covering tackle robbed Alex Cocking of a shot on goal, while appeals for a penalty were dismissed after David Perich went down under Simpson’s challenge. Amphlett sliced his way between two defenders in the 41st minute before crossing for Bushby to slam in goal number three from close-range. Scali reeled in the gap a minute later by converting a penalty awarded for Tommi Tomich’s foul on Cocking. Swan were unfortunate not to score another in stoppage time when Perich crashed his shot off the underside of the crossbar before Martin Ashworth cleared the danger. The second half commenced with Higgins and Perich firing wide as both teams made clear their intentions. Brendan Knox created the visitors second on 71 minutes with a terrific run down the left before crossing Scali who made no mistake when found unmarked at close-range. Chances came and went in the closing stages as the teams went shot for shot and with neither side able to add to the tally Joondalup happily claimed the points.
A ten-man Cockburn City staged a dramatic comeback to steal a 2-2 draw with Stirling Lions from their encounter at Dalmatinac Park. Stirling were only minutes from claiming al three points when Dom De Felice and Giovanni De Bartolo found the net in quick succession to leave the visitors red faced. The ball had been in motion just 3 minutes when Jason Godfrey had the misfortune of deflecting an Alan Muir cross past his own goalkeeper to hand Stirling the lead. With Steve Porter, Mark Anthony, Muir and Jordan Rhodes piecing together some exquisite moves coming out of midfield Stirling didn’t wait long before celebrating their second. With 10 minutes on the clock Porter cut the ball back to young striker Phil Arnold who poked past Dejan Aleksic and into the net from close-range. Arnold could have killed the game off on 21 minutes when played through by Anthony but blazed disappointingly wide. Cockburn’s day took a turn for the worse ten minutes later when referee Jeremy Oliphant red carded veteran midfielder Shane McNally for foul language. A vicious free-kick by Porter rattled the crossbar as Stirling carried on with their assault, while Aleksic was at full-stretch in tipping over Arnold’s blistering volley. The second half opened in much the same fashion with Arnold again thwarted by the ‘keeper, and Mark Redshaw hitting the bar at close-range from a Rhodes cross. Stirling custodian Phil Straker was called into action for the first time just after the hour when he pushed away a John Mirco free-kick. This sparked Cockburn into action and in the 78th minute Aaron Dos Santos played through for De Felice to neatly tucked the ball past Straker’s out-stretched arms and inside the bottom corner. The momentum swung in the hosts favour and four minutes later Dos Santos again laid the ball on for De Bartolo to precisely slot the ball under a diving ‘keeper. Aleksic secured his team a point with an instinctive save to deny Anthony at point blank range.
Perth S.C. returned to the winners’ circle by spanking Fremantle Spirit 5-2 in glorious sunshine at Dorrien Gardens. David Onoforo was twice on the scoresheet along with Andreas Oliviera, Andrija Jukic and Matt Danskin as the home side re-affirmed their title credentials. Perth could not have imagined a worse start as influential captain Robbie Puca was carried from the field suffering a serious knee injury after only a couple of minutes. Andrija Jukic came off the bench and minutes later rifled just past the target from 17-metres after good work down the left by Todd Howarth. From that moment on Perth dictated the flow of play thanks largely to the creative talents of Antonio Naglieri, David Price, Greg Sharland and Howarth. However, the home team lacked the decisive touch in the final third that would have given them a deserved lead. Seven minutes from the break they paid the ultimate price as Cisco Jorquiera put Fremantle one-nil up by converting from the penalty spot after being fouled by Michael Icanovski. But the sides went into the break level after Matt Danskin’s run was illegally halted by Simon Elton-Bott and led referee Joe Fusari to point to the spot from where Andreas Oliveira made no mistake. Fremantle reclaimed the upper hand on the hour when Callum Roberts scrambled the ball into the net from David Araya’s in-swinging corner. It was now that Perth kicked into gear and six minutes later Onoforo headed in unmarked an Antonio Naglieri corner. Inside a minute Jukic had stolen possession from the defence and coolly chipped young ‘keeper Dane McBride to put Perth ahead for the first time. Matt Danskin added a fourth in the 88th minute by slotting under McBride following good lead-up work involving Naglieri and Onoforo. Onoforo put the icing on the cake in stoppage time by unleashing a stunning drive from 25-metres which cannoned in off the crossbar to leave the spectators with a goal to savour.
Floreat Athena chalked up their second win of the campaign by seeing off a resilient Armadale 1-0 under lights at Litis Stadium. A sensational late goal from Brad Scott was all that separated the sides on the on a night when the single goal margin in no way reflected Floreat’s dominance. Armadale attempted to unsettle their hosts with a typically physical approach, however, Floreat weren’t about to be persuaded from playing controlled, attacking football. Good lead-up work produced chances on goal for Scott, Adam Bachiller, Garrin Collins and Rafeal Insurralde but all went unconverted. Perhaps the best opening came the way of Mikulic who latched on to Insurralde’s brilliant diagonal pass only to send his first time shot wide with Cyril Sharrock exposed. Armadale’s solitary opportunity came on the counter attack when Stefan Smiljanic’s cross was met by a diving Jason Goodwin header which was expertly tipped around the post by Vas Vujacic. There was barely a moments rest for Andy Bowyer and Daryl Platten who worked overtime as Floreat desperately sought the lead after the turnaround. Mikulic thought he’d got the breakthrough by volleying into the top corner from 12-metres but celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. John Migas clipped a free-kick just high of the crossbar after being felled on the top of the 18-yard box. Their persistence was finally rewarded in the 75th minute when substitute Miki Vujacic sent in a firm cross that was met by a classy volley by Scott which curled inside the far post. There was still plenty of time for Floreat to make the game safe but neither Collins, Scott nor Mikulic could benefit from a handful of late chances.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND FOUR (Bayswater City v Rockingham City by Adam Rucci; Canning City v Forrestfield United by Phil Unsworth; Dianella White Eagles v Queens Park courtesy Dianella White Eagles; Ashfield v Gosnells City courtesy Gosnells City)
Wanneroo City extended their perfect win record to four games by dismissing South West Phoenix 2-1 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The afternoons first opening resulted from a terrific move channelled through five players before Gary Mayers’ shot from an acute angle cleared the crossbar by the narrowest of margins. With 25 minutes played Brian Cairney fired Wanneroo into the lead by converting a penalty awarded for a foul by goalkeeper Ryan Montgomery. Wanneroo had good reason to feel hard done by when referee Michael Frost dismissed appeals for a second penalty after Alex Dawson brought down an opponent. The second half brought little relief for Phoenix as Ben Yates, Danny Glasspool and Brad McDonald applied increasing pressure to the defence. The pay off came just inside the hour when a clash of bodies while contesting a long ball spilled to Cesar Meylan who had the simple task of slotting into an unguarded net from 15-metres. Steve Suttie twice went close to bringing Phoenix back into the game but Daniel Holgate parried his long-range shot, while a speculative strike drifted wide of the far corner. It wasn’t until the closing stages that Phoenix found an avenue to goal when through Mayers acrobatic overhead kick. But the visitors joy was short-lived Andy Cowley was issued his second yellow card just minutes later.
Bayswater City kept their unbeaten start of the year intact with a 5-1 defeat of Rockingham City at Frank Drago Reserve. There were very few highlights in the opening twenty minutes as the two sides made a cautious start. After 18 minutes the game finally sparked into life courtesy of a Costa Socratous cross from the left which Ryan Frisina headed powerfully past goalkeeper Craig Olenjik. Bayswater would go on to dominate the remainder of the half and were unlucky not to add a second through Damir Kudozovic who hit the crossbar from distance. With half-time approaching the visitors were reduced to ten men following the contentious dismissal of Michael Vaz for a harsh second yellow card. Tony Cumace rubbed salt into the wound by firing the resulting free-kick into the top corner from 22-metres. Rockingham pulled a goal back on 75 minutes when Ryan Stewart tucked the ball in from 6-metres following a corner by Craig Howard. But the visitors hopes were effectively dashed just six minutes later Adrian Mulholland with Adrian Mulholand’s dismissal for a second bookable offence. This only spurred Bayswater on and in quick succession Frisina and Ahmed Hafez sent the ball past Olenjik as the margin threatened to really blow out. Substitute Scott Campbell rounded off proceedings with a clinical finish after receiving the ball from Socratous.
Scottish import Paul Harvey was the five-goal hero in Canning City’s 7-1 hiding of Forrestfield United at Willetton Sports Club. Forrestfield’s defensive frailties were exposed as early as the 1st minute when Daniel Trevisiol made his way down the left and drove a powerful left inside the far post from an acute angle. Harvey opened his account fifteen minutes later by running on to Simon Versaico lofted pass over the defence and driving the ball past goalkeeper Jason O’Byrne. The game had barely re-started when Harvey chipped the ball over an oncoming ‘keeper and at close-range Dave Mickler did the rest. The game was effectively ended leading into half-time when O’Byrne received a sloppy back-pass only to be dispossessed by Harvey who netted Canning’s fourth of the day. Matters then worsened for Forrestfield who had Matt Harold dismissed for kicking out at Trevisiol. There was still enough time for Canning to score another as Paul Oliver set-up Harvey to complete his hat-trick. The second half was only a few minutes old when Harvey’s volley from a Mick Van Dongen throw-in found the net off the inside of the upright. The icing was put on the cake ten minutes from the end when Harvey rose unchallenged to head in a Mick Van Dongen free-kick to the far post. Forrestfield’s struck a consolation through John Hunter’s free-kick from 20-metres.
Dianella White Eagles brushed off Queens Park 6-2 when they met in sunny conditions at Dianella Reserve. The flood of goals started after 10 minutes when Miladin Gligoroski was fouled on the edge of the 18-yard box, and Matt Butler guided the resultant free-kick into the net. The margin was doubled on 28 minutes by Peter Vukmirovic who volleyed in after an initial shot by Dragan Njegic rebounded off a defender. Njegic was on target two minutes later with a neatly struck free-kick which resulted from another driving run by Gligoroski. The visitors hit back in the 35th minute through teenager Tom Cullen who avoid the offside trap to unleash a blistering shot that gave goalkeeper Matt Butingelli no chance. But their day took a turn for the worse five minutes later when defender Grant Learmont was red carded for handling a goalbound strike from Dimce Taneski. Just before the break Taneski charged down the left before crossing for Gavin Oakes to slam in goal number four for Dianella from 6-metres. Fine lead-up work by Mohamed Bangura and Njegic allowed Butler to head in ten minutes into the second half. Queen Parks second arrived through Tyrone Woodfin who tapped in at close-range after Battigelli parried a shot from Reuben Karpeh. Taneski got the goal he deserved shortly after following another thrilling run down the left.
Gosnells City collected maximum points for the first time this season by defeating Ashfield 2-1 in a scrappy encounter at Ashfield Reserve. The visitors came out firing and gain the upper hand with only a minute on the clock when Darren Francis’ shot was by parried by goalkeeper Aaron Hollaway and on hand to net the follow-up was Ian Maguire. However, parity was soon restored as Daniel Grosso whipped a free-kick to the back post where I.Charming headed past Jade Thorpe. Tempers flared with an off the ball tangle between Alan Claxton and Zac Jones that resulted in the Gosnells player being red carded after 22 minutes. Going down to ten men only galvanised the visitors and with 36 minutes gone fine work down the left allowed Luke Woodward to put away his first senior goal. Some good passing kept the momentum in Gosnells’ favour after the break and although Aaron Nadin found the net his header was disallowed for offside. And penalty appeals for a seemingly blatant foul on Ian Maguire were dismissed by the match referee. Ashfield threw caution to the wind by pushing an extra man into attack for the closing stages but despite the best efforts of Jamie Kumkar and Martin Kelly they were unable to draw level.
Balcatta picked up their second win in as many weeks by knocking over Morley Windmills 2-0 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Andy O’Neill and Julian Piromalli scored either side of the break to secure victory a home win. Further details of this game were not forthcoming from either of the participating clubs.
PELLEGRINO HEADS WEST
Attacking midfielder Adriano Pellegrino has signed on with Perth Glory for the 2008/09 A-League season. Pellegrino has consistently produced the good in the South Australian Super-League and impressed Glory’s coaching staff after being invited on the club’s three-match tour of China in March. “Adriano is one of the most talented players in this country outside of the A-League and I think he will be a great acquisition for Perth this season,” coach Dave Mitchell said. “He didn’t put a foot wrong during our time in China and mixed well with the rest of the team which is vital if you want to build a cohesive team.” The 24-year old brings added versatility to Glory’s squad and can be deployed behind the strikers or in a wider midfield role.
NEW SEASON OF GLORY
The 2008/09 A-League season draw has produced Perth Glory a challenge they are more than eager to face. The clubs’ chief executive, Scott Gooch, said that despite several short turn around times of just five days there was a huge amount of optimism that the new look squad could achieve the club’s goals of finals football this season. “We are confident that coach Dave Mitchell has put together a group of players who are capable of handling and overcoming any challenges thrown at them,” commented Gooch.
There are plenty of positives for Glory supporters who will be able to enjoy matches at earlier kick-off times this season. “We listened to what our members and fans have been saying about match times and are pleased that our requests to the FFA have been taken into account,” said Gooch. “The mid-afternoon and the early evening time slot is a perfect opportunity for families to be able to enjoy a great game of football.” Glory will play ten games at Members Equity Stadium with six falling on a Sunday, two on Saturday night and two Friday night fixtures.
Local supporters will be able to check the progress of the new look Perth Glory side when they meet Newcastle Jets in Mandurah and Melbourne Victory in Bunbury as part of the pre-season Cup. “We’re committed to taking football throughout the state and we are pleased that as part of the 2008 pre-season competition we’ll be able to bring A-League football to Mandurah and Bunbury,” said Gooch. “We have a huge supporter base in both regions and look forward to playing in their back-yard as part of the Cup competition.”
A-LEAGUE MOVES TO PLUG PLAYER DRAIN
Australian football prodigies such as Perth Glory striker Nikita Rukavytsya could be convinced to postpone moves to rich overseas clubs after the announcement of a marquee system for A-League under-23 players. The initiative, designed to stem Australia's player drain, will grant A-League's clubs a salary cap exemption of $150,000 for outstanding young talent. Rukavytsya is considered one of the league's best young attackers and last month attended trials with German club Hannover 96.
The youth 'marquee' concept was among a raft of changes announced by Football Federation Australia at yesterday's release of the 2008/09 draw. A-League squads will be increased from 30 to 35 to help accommodate the national youth league, and the salary cap for each of the A-League franchises has been increased to $1.9 million. The fourth A-league season will be aligned with FIFA's international match dates, while car manufacturer Hyundai have agreed to a four-year extension to the compeitions' naming rights.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Joint Premier League leader Sorrento meet high-flying Inglewood United in the footballwa.net Match of the Week at Percy Doyle Reserve tomorrow. A second half goal from Stuart Montgomery maintained the Gulls unbeaten start to the winter and earned a hard-earned point at Macedonia Park last week. Glen Thomas and Scott Neville have been in superb touch across the middle of the park with defensive muscle coming in the form of Michael Ord and Shaun Kilkelly. Inglewood is coming off a confidence building home win against Western Knights which was orchestrated by veteran attacker Bobby Depotovski. The contributions of Shane Pryce and James Duncan are crucial in Inglewood’s plans of collecting another three points on a day when Kevin Griffiths and Jason Colli provide the drive coming out of midfield.
E.C.U. Joondalup has home ground advantage against early pacesetter Swan I.C., who makes their first road visit of the year. Joondalup have run hot and cold in their three outings to date and coach Willie McNally will be looking for a more consistent display this weekend. Craig Simpson, Scott Blackmore and Anthony Jones have been strong at the back with Scott Bushby and Tommy Amphlett linking well in the final third with captain Ian McMurray. Spirits are sky-high at Swan where Paul Lincoln appears to have struck the perfect balance between youth and experience. Players such as David Perich, David McNally and John Mansaray are the future of the club but for the time being will learn all they can from the likes of Cory Hugo, Aaron Cole and Dom Ando.
Back-to-back wins have provided Cockburn City a timely boost ahead of what looms as a difficult meeting with Stirling Lions at Dalmatinac Park. Western Knights have home ground advantage against top-flight debutant Mandurah City. Stuart Currie’s side has already claimed the scalps of Floreat Athena and E.C.U. Joondalup courtesy of the tireless efforts of veteran Gary Collins, Andy Brown and Jeff Bright. The Knights are down on luck at the moment so coach Ronnie Campbell will be wanting Cormac Dawson, Paul Cooke and Andrija Jukic to lead by example as they attempt to rebound from last weeks flat performance. A star-studded Perth S.C. is expected to take the points from Fremantle Spirit’s young line-up when they visit Dorrien Gardens.
Litis Stadium hosts the Saturday night game between Floreat Athena and Armadale, kick-off at 7.30pm. Floreat have started their title defence slowly although last weeks resounding defeat of Fremantle Spirit suggests they’ve turned a corner. One-time New Zealand international Brad Scott made his Floreat debut in that game and is sure to figure prominently this weekend along with Ante Kovacevic, Paul Vatistas and Garin Collins. Armadale are still searching for their first point the campaign, a job that’s been made all the more difficult by the absence of Gary Faria (overseas), Stephen Skilandis and Mark Darby (both injured). The performance of goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock, Daryl Platten, Scott Devine and former Floreat striker Stefan Smiljanic are sure to prove vital in deciding this game.
Highlighting the fourth round of First Division fixtures is Wanneroo City against South West Phoenix at Kingsway Reserve. Wanneroo sit atop the table courtesy of a trio of victories but will need to be on their guard against third-place Phoenix. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for Bayswater City who welcomes Rockingham City to Frank Drago Reserve. Canning City’s experience is tipped to get them over the line against Forrestfield United at Willetton Sports Club. Balcatta will be looking to open up all the holes in a leaky Morley Windmills defence when they meet at Graham Burkett Reserve. Dianella White Eagles are expected to account for Queens Park by a substantial margin, while Ashfield and Gosnells City are both searching for their first win of the campaign when they square off at Ashfield Reserve.
SORRENTO SAIL STEADY COURSE : THOMAS
Long-serving midfielder Glen Thomas isn't at all surprised by Sorrento's impressive start to the home and away series. The Gulls are unbeaten and sit jointly atop the Premier league table with Swan I.C. after three games. "We were definitely confident of making a good start," explained Thomas. "We were happy with how we performed in the Night Series, and after further strengthening the squad before the start of the season we felt we could take ten points from our opening four fixtures, so if we manage to beat Inglewood United this week we will have achieved that."
Sorrento head into round four refreshed following a deserved if hard-earned draw with Stirling Lions. "We knew Stirling would be our first real test of the season," said Thomas, who helped the Gulls to victory in earlier fixtures with Fremantle Spirit and Armadale. "In a way we're fortunate to have met them while they had key players missing and/or just returning - once Stevie Porter and Mark Anthony are fit and playing regularly they will be very hard to beat. Stirling are amongst the title favourite with Floreat Athena and Perth S.C., and it won't be long before those two teams get their seasons back on track."
Thomas says it'll be a couple of familiar faces that the Gulls will have to pay particular attention to when a new-look Inglewood ventures north on Saturday. "Bobby Despotovski will the one we have to watch out for if he plays, likewise Kevin Griffiths who's always a tough competitor. Inglewood has lost a number of players from last season so to a large degree they are a bit of an unknown quantity," said Thomas. "Our games with Inglewood are usually open, attack-minded affairs and this weekend will be no different with plenty of scoring opportunities - hopefully, the majority coming our way!"
The Gulls trio of strong performances which have greeted the new season have tempted some to suggest Sorrento will go on to claim their second Premier League title in three years. "I think we now have a squad capable of going close, there's strong competition for all positions which can only be good for the club," commented Thomas, who already collected two championship meals with Sorrento. "To use the old cliché, we'll take it one game at a time and try to defend our unbeaten run for as long as possible. And hopefully we'll still be in a position to challenge for the title come the end of the season."
Swan I.C. attacker Tom Shepheard may miss the first half of the season with a serious knee injury. The highly-rated 24-year old damaged his knee in a collision with Inglewood United goalkeeper Oliver Taseski during Swan’s opening round Cup loss at the beginning of the month. If all goes well for Shepheard he should be back in contention for a first team spot around mid-June.
A cruel ligament injury has forced Daniel Neiderberger on to the sidelines just days after joining Floreat Athena. Seeking a new challenge after three seasons with Inglewood United, Neiderberger made the move to Litis Stadium late last Thursday and two days later was in the starting line-up against Fremantle Spirit. Unfortunately, he lasted just 15 minutes before succumbing to a ligament injury that is likely to keep him out of the game for up to a month.
Ivan Zuvela is champing at the bit to get back out on the park following a lengthy absence due to injury. The Western Knights defender has not played in nine months after being diagnosed with Achilles Tendonitis. Zuvela went under the surgeon’s knife last August to correct the problem and recently commenced his recovery with some light running under the guidance of Mirko Jelicic.
Queens Park’s chances of remaining in semi-professional football beyond the winter suffered another blow this week with three of the clubs senior players moving on in search of greener pastures. The departure of last years’ captain Ian McKean, veteran defender Brian Kinson and Scottish import Stephen Cowborough leaves the struggling First Division club decidedly light in the experience department
A double break to his arm sustained on the opening day of the season is to keep Cockburn City's reserves goalkeeper Keegan Savage out of action until mid-season. In finding cover for Savage Cockburn approached Football West who've granted permission for the club to use National Training Centre pair Nicholas Feely and Alex Pearson on rotational basis.
Please contact ‘The Insider’ via email@example.com if you have any club news or gossip, transfer rumours or general scuttlebutt for inclusion in future editions of Short Passes.
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This page was last updated on the 30th June, 2008