GLORY SUNK BY HUTCHINSON STUNNER
John Hutchinson has ended Perth Glory’s hopes of a debut A-League finals appearance by snatching Central Coast Mariners a 1-0 win in this evening’s encounter at Bluetongue Stadium. The Glory defence had held firm against a rampaging home side before the 15,546 strong crowd rose as one to applaud Hutchinson’s swirling 25-metre strike ten minutes from full-time. David Mitchell’s team must now win all of their three remaining games and rely on other results to go their way if they’re to qualify for the play-offs. “We’ve just run out of games which is disappointing because I think because the way we’ve been playing we would have been a threat. If we had sorted ourselves out earlier we’d still be in it but it’s not to be,” said the Glory boss.
The Mariners enjoyed the better of the early chances with Sasho Petrovski hitting the post, Nik Mrdja fired just high of the crossbar from distance and a speculative effort from Adrian Caceres flew wide of the upright. Having weathered the storm, Glory created their first opening on 21 minutes with Nikita Rukavytsya playing through to Victor Sikora who evaded one defender before forcing goalkeeper Danny Vukovic into a save. Jamie Harnwell’s played a pivotal role in the centre of the Glory rearguard as the home team turned the screws with wave after wave of attack. Adriano Pellegrino temporarily relieved the pressure with a fine shot at the end of his surging run through the middle of the park. Mile Jedinak presented a great chance for Mrdja just before the break but the striker was thwarted by a low save from Tando Velaphi.
Jedinak, in his final Mariners appearance before joining Turkish club Genclerbirligi, continued to control the flow through midfield upon the resumption of play. The opening chance of the second half came from Jedinak when he headed powerfully over the bar from a corner. With Glory struggling to find holes in a strong home defence, Sikora tried his luck on 58 minutes but his explosive shot from just inside the 18-yard box failed to trouble Vukovic. The Mariners frustrating night in front of goal continued six minutes later when Petrovski squandered a golden opportunity by scuffing his shot when well placed. The game appeared to be heading for a draw when Caceres supplied the final pass to midfield partner Hutchinson who expertly controlled with his first touch and then launched a speculative effort that dipped and swerved before hitting one post then the other before resting in the net.
MOMENT OF BRILLIANCE LIGHTS UP TOUGH YEAR FOR WARD
Melbourne Victory's Nick Ward is the first to admit that not a lot went according to plan for him during the past twelve months, but the midfielder is hopeful his cracking goal against Sydney F.C. last week can provide the launch pad to a memorable 2009. Deflated after being omitted from the Beijing Olympic Games squad, Ward then missed the first six games of the 2008/09 season with a calf injury. He's made just one start since and, although used off the bench nine times, concedes he's not made the contribution he had hoped. But Ward's stunning strike against Sydney has boosted the midfielder's confidence of a big finish to the season.
Ward had been on the park only a minute when he launched a long-range thunderbolt which inspired Melbourne to a comeback 3-2 win, breaking a run of three losses, and providing much-needed impetus in the run towards the finals. "It was good for me, it hasn't been the greatest season for me, just with injuries and stuff like that, it's topped off a bad 2008," Ward said of his first goal of the season. "It gives you confidence and also makes you feel you're contributing. It was just such an important win for us on the weekend, it puts us back in the top (three) and we can push on for the finals."
With games against Queensland Roar on Friday and Adelaide United four days later, the time is right for Victory to make the most of their newfound momentum. They are currently level on points with Roar and trail top of the table Adelaide by one, meaning wins in those two games will put them in the box seat for regular season honours. "A lot of the games that we're playing at the end are all the teams around the top four," Ward said. "This one on the weekend against Queensland is massive for us, we've got to win and then it puts a little buffer between us two, we're all aware of it."
GLORY GOING ALL TO PLAY FINALS FOOTBALL
Jamie Coyne will line-up against Central Coast Mariners tomorrow evening as Perth Glory look to keep alive their faint finals hopes. Coyne has made a speedy recovery from a calf injury and is all too well aware Glory must win their remaining four games to qualify for the A-League finals for the first time. “My injury has come up good and I’m back a week earlier than expected, so I’m very happy with that,” Coyne said. “If we were to win the last four that would definitely put us in the top four and that’s what we are aiming to do. It’s going to be very hard and we haven’t won four straight games in a long time, but we are taking each game as it comes and focusing on trying to get a win over Central Coast at the moment.”
The Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on New Year’s Eve poses as a huge challenge for Glory, but it’s one the captain is relishing. “Central Coast are one of those teams on the cusp of the top-four and we’d like to be on the other side of it. It’s a hard game for us, but one that we have to win as well,” Coyne said. “If they won, they’d be quite a few points away from us and make things very difficult. Hopefully we can win and have some other results go our way. We are pretty confident going in, the boys have been playing well and we give ourselves a good chance.”
Glory would be closer to the top four if not for late fade-outs against Newcastle in Round 2 and Mariners in 13 which costs them valuable points. “A couple of those games we didn’t deserve anything, but in some others we definitely deserved more than we got, especially the draws right at the end against Newcastle early on and Central Coast about a month ago,” Coyne said. “They are two games where we dropped four points in and that’d make a huge difference now. It is hard to look back on our start but all the teams have gone through a bad run now, ours was at the start, and hopefully we can continue our good form.”
NEVILLE ELEVATED TO FIRST TEAM
Young defender Scott Neville has been rewarded for an impressive season with Perth Glory Youth with promotion to the senior squad for tomorrow’s must-win fixture at Central Coast Mariners. The teenagers’ inclusion in the 15-man travelling party provides him an opportunity to cap a stellar 2008 with his A-League debut. “I have tried to learn as much as I can while training with the A-League team over the past few months and now to be given the opportunity to be part of the side is fantastic,” 17-year old Neville said. “I’ve worked hard to reach the highest level possible and with this being such an important game for the club I’m really proud to be included. I’ll do everything I can for the team if I get a chance on the pitch.” Neville was a key member of Sorrento’s championship winning side earlier in the year and has been a stand-out during Glory Youth’s inaugural summer.
GARCIA FIGHTING TO COME IN FROM THE COLD
Richard Garcia could be forgiven for feeling homesick considering he’s thousands of miles away from home, braving his ninth English winter and currently out of favour at Hull City. But the 27-year old is made of stern stuff and admits to having got used to being busy when the rest of the country is enjoying a few days break. “It is always nice to get up on Christmas Day and watch the kids open their presents, but as far as letting your hair down and chilling out like everyone else then footballers don’t get much of a chance of that,” he told the ‘Yorkshire Post’. “I was used to the sunshine and barbies at Christmas when I was younger … it’s not the same but I have been here for a while now so have got used to it.”
With three games in nine days Hull are in the midst of their busiest period of the season. But just how much Garcia will be involved remains to be seen, with the winger being a victim of both a change of formation and untimely injury. “It is one of those things as a footballer that you don’t like doing, sitting on the sidelines biding your time. But it is something most players have to do at times,” he explained. “It has been frustrating but at the same time it has been positive as the team is doing so well. A lot of players have found it difficult but we have got through it as a team and everyone is in jovial spirits, which is helpful.”
Although he’s featured only ten times for Hull this season Garcia is not complaining. “I am not one to necessarily bang on the manager’s door. If I do my best in training and I am happy with my performances in training and in the games I do play, then it is out of my hands. It is what the manager wants to do and how he sees me as a player,” he said. “It is an old cliche but it is a squad game. You want to play in as many games as you can, but you also want to be supportive of the players who are playing and the team that are out there.”
There is little doubt manager Phil Brown’s preferred 4-3-1-2 formation has contributed to Garcia’s time on the sidelines. But he’s encouraged by how Bernard Mendy has forced his way into the team in recent weeks as an example to follow. “Everyone is champing at the bit to do something like that,” said Garcia. “Bernard has really made an impact when he has come on and that is something we all have to do when we get our chance to impress. We have to play within our abilities because there is a big competition for places here. Those of us not in the side just have to be patient.”
SIKORA TO START MUST-WIN ENCOUNTER
David Mitchell will turn to new signing Victor Sikora in a bid to keep Perth Glory’s slender finals chances alive. The Glory coach declared Sikora a certain starter for the mid-week clash at Central Coast Mariners after the former Netherlands international came off the bench to spark several attacking raids in Glory’s home loss to Adelaide United on Friday. Sikora, who entered the fray as a substitute for Nick Rizzo with half an hour to play, could partner Nikita Rukavytsya in attack following Eugene Dadi’s suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards. “Sikora will start next week for sure. We’ve got him there so we want to see him playing from the start,” said Mitchell. “Eugene’s suspended so he might play up front or whatever, so I’ll have to look at that.” Club captain Jamie Coyne is expected to shake off a calf injury and comes into contention for the Mariners game, while Wayne Srhoj is struggling to overcome a corked thigh.
HARVEY ON THE ROAD TO NATIONAL GLORY
Perth Glory Youth defender Liam Harvey was convinced an untimely injury had robbed him of his place in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival tournament, which kicks off in Sydney on 14 January. The 17-year old was nursing a quadriceps strain when he got the call to attend a selection camp but was unable to attend. “I was asked to go to a camp but I was injured at the time and I couldn’t go - I thought that was it,” explained Harvey of the injury that kept him sidelined for five weeks. “It was a massive surprise when I got the phone call to tell me I was in.”
Harvey’s selection is confirmation of his continued development after stepping up to the National Training Centre program following a solid grounding with Armadale. The emergence of the National Youth League this season provided the teenager with the platform to showcase his talent and earn national selection. Harvey says playing under the tutelage of former Glory captain Gareth Naven, who also represented Australian at youth level, has played a significant part in his improvement. “Every coach has a different way of playing and you learn different things. I’ve learnt a lot playing in the youth league under Gareth,” he said.
Harvey, who flies to Sydney to attend a three-day camp that starts on Sunday, is prepared to bide his time as he strives to make his mark. “I want to be a professional footballer but it doesn’t matter how long it takes to achieve that goal,” he said. “I’m only 17 so I’ve got a few years left in the youth league.” The AYOF has been running since 2001 following the success of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Australia open the tournament against China on 15 January, face off with Chile the following day before playing the United States of America in the final game on 18 January.
HONOURS EVEN AS GLORY WOMEN TAKE SEVENTH
Perth Glory completed their inaugural W-League campaign by playing out an entertaining 0-0 draw with finals bound Newcastle Jets at Members Equity Stadium this afternoon. The point earned means Glory finish the season in seventh place but only three points outside the top four. “Being a few points away it shows that the homes games that were close (earlier in the season), we needed to get those points to make sure we were in contention for finals,” said coach Nicola Williams, who was pleased with her teams’ progress during the ten game season. “It’s very exciting moving forward, we have a young group of players getting better with every match they play and the experience they are getting is invaluable. If we can keep the group together then the sky is the limit really” she said.
Despite the warm conditions, both sides started the search for goal early in an open first half. The best chance of the period came on 21 minutes when of Lisa De Vanna got in behind the visiting defence only to roll her shot just wide with goalkeeper Alison Logue to beat. Although shots rained down on goal most were either wide or high while those that were on target failed to seriously test either ‘keeper. The second half continued in much the same fashion with Newcastle looking the more likely to score as the half progressed. Kate Gill and Joanne Peters both tested Luisa Marzatto in the Glory goal, while at the opposite end De Vanna’s vicious effort whistled the wrong side of the upright. Late openings presented for both teams to snatch victory but Stacey Learmont fired too close to ‘keeper Logue, while in stoppage time Emily Van Egmond unleashed the games 28th and final shot.
HARNWELL PRAISES HOME TOWN SUPPORTERS
Stand-in Perth Glory captain Jamie Harnwell has saluted the club’s loyal supporters who turned out in number for Friday evening’s clash with top of the table Adelaide United. With their finals hopes on the line Glory attracted their highest crowd since January 2006 to the Boxing Day blockbuster against the Asian Champions League finalists. “The boys were geed up in the warm-up, you could see 30 minutes before kick-off that the crowd was coming in and the feeling amongst the boys just starts rising and rising,” Harnwell said. “When they were getting behind us … It’s a great feeling and it’s something we haven’t had out here for a while. It’s something I hope we’ll replicate because apart from a goal I think we’ve given the fans just about everything else that we possibly could.”
The crowd of 12,581 were kept on the edge of their seats right up to the end with goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic denying Harnwell a late equaliser. “How he’s got down to that one I don’t know, I was almost starting to turn away and celebrate,” Harnwell said of Galekovic’s low save. “He’s probably one of the most consistent ‘keepers in the league and he’s one of the main reasons why Adelaide are top of the league. You can’t just look back at that one chance though, we’ve had a number of chances throughout the game. Adelaide really made us pay off one bad mistake, so apart from that we’ve definitely had the better chances. We’ve just got to do better in actually hitting the target and making the ‘keeper work.”
FINALS HOPES FADE FOR WASTEFUL GLORY
Adelaide United consolidated their place at the top of the A-League ladder with a 1-0 defeat of Perth Glory last night at Members Equity Stadium. A bumper crowd of 12,581 witnessed Glory created the better chances only for Kristian Sarkies 40th minute goal to send Adelaide home with maximum points. While the loss leaves Glory’s finals hopes hanging by a thread - they are four points behind third and fourth-placed Queensland Roar and Melbourne Victory, who are yet to play this round - coach David Mitchell remains optimistic about a top four finish. “It’s going to be very difficult, we are running out of games but it is a challenge we’re ready to take,” Mitchell said. “We’re still a chance but we’ve got to win next week, and the week after and the week after that and so on.”
An electric atmosphere was matched by the on-field action that opened with Fabian Barbiero shooting just wide. Eugene Dadi should have put the hosts ahead on 6 minutes when his free header drifted across the face of goal from Adriano Pellegrino’s superb cross. This signalled a period of Glory dominance with Nick Rizzo delivering a string of dangerous crosses from the left, and Pellegrino ws ally as prominent on the right. The pair combined to terrific effect in the 31st minute when Pellegrino drilled a low ball to Rizzo whose fierce strike was held by Eugene Galekovic at the second attempt. Although shots on goal were few and far between for Adelaide, wide players Travis Dodd and Cassio made sure there was little rest for the home defence. With half-time just minutes away, Eugene Dadi coughed the ball up to Paul Reid who played down the right for Cristiano, his cross was only partially cleared by Jamie Harnwell and Sarkies lashed the loose ball past goalkeeper Tando Velaphi from 7-metres.
Barbiero flashed a shot well wide as Adelaide made clear their intentions just minutes after the interval. Urged on by the big crowd, Glory responded with a barrage of attacks that saw Dadi head wide a Rizzo cross, while Nikita Rukavytsya and Harnwell were both thwarted by desperate defending. But their best chance to level came on the hour when Marc Anthony’s quick free-kick was nodded down by Rukavytsya into the path of Dadi who fired high when well placed. Adelaide blew a terrific chance to secure a win when Reid’s free-kick found Dodd and Robert Younis in perfect position, but both got in each other’s way and the opportunity was lost. Harnwell joined the attack as the clock ticked down and the move almost paid dividends with the big defender meeting Naum Sekulovski’s cross powerfully only to see a full-stretch Galekovic turn the ball around the post.
HESKETH AND SAMMUT KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE
Perth Glory Youth remain in the hunt for a grand final appearance after defeating Adelaide United 2-0 at Members Equity Stadium yesterday. Steven Hesketh and James Summut got in behind the visiting defence after the break to score the goals in a spirited game that had both teams end with ten men on the park. “It was nice to score my first goal for the team and it made sure all the points came our way. There was terrific support out there for us tonight and it was great to be part of a really good win for the Glory,” said Sammut after the game. “It was a big occasion and we needed a win, Adelaide is third and this keeps us right up there with them. The boys were up-beat all week and coming into the change rooms today there was a good vibe and we definitely brought that out onto the pitch.”
The best chances of a relatively even first half came from the home side. Mark Lee couldn’t capitalise on a great opportunity midway through the period and ten minutes later Andrija Jukic was disappointed when he rifled well over the crossbar. Joel Allwright got in behind the Glory defence on the hour to force Dejan Aleksic into his first meaningful save. The breakthrough arrived in the 64th minute when Hesketh made no mistake after being played through one-on-one with goalkeeper Lucas Andreucci. But the joy was short lived as two minutes later Ludovic Boi was sent off by referee Steven Gregory for a crude tackle. The ledger was balanced in the 79th minute when Shane Tobias was issued two yellow cards s in quick succession for disputing a throw-in. Sammut secured the win in stoppage time by calmly slotting past Andreucci after breaking clear of the defence.
SIKORA SET FOR GLORY DEBUT
Dutch international Victor Sikora will make his first A-League appearance when Perth Glory take on league leaders Adelaide United this evening at Members Equity Stadium. Sikora has trained twice daily in the Nertherlands since completing a stint with United States outfit FC Dallas and is ready to make an immediate impact with a long-term contract at the Glory firmly in his sights. “It (the A-League) is similar to the MLS and maybe a little tougher. As a club, we are still a chance to get to the playoffs and I want to give my 110 per cent to see if I can help it get there,” Sikora said. “I feel fit, maybe not for 90 minutes, but I feel good and might need one or two games to settle in.”
Coach David Mitchell has been impresed by Sikora’s application in training and must now decide whether to bring the Dutchman into his starting line-up or use him off the bench. “He’ll definitely be in the squad to take on Adelaide,” Mitchell said. “You can see that he understands the game very well and I have no doubt that he will quickly adapt and gel with the lads. We have to win this game and I need to work out if the best chance of doing that will be with him starting or coming off the bench.” With the ability to fill a variety of roles, either in midfield or attack, Sikora will be more than a handy inclusion for Glory who sit just three points from a finals spot with five matches remaining.
GLORY GIRLS RAISE CANCER AWARENESS
Perth Glory Women will do their bit to raise awareness of Breast Cancer when they tackle Newcastle Jets in the final round of W-League matches this Sunday. It’s a cause close to the hearts of the Glory players, with midfield dynamo Dani Calautti seeing her mother Teresa pass away after a protracted battle with the illness last month. Glory, in conjunction with Football West, has teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to raise awareness and money in the fight to combat the most common cancer among women in Australia.
Glory players and volunteers will sell pink ribbons, wristbands and shoelaces before Sunday’s home game, for which both teams will wear pink armbands. “It’s great that the team and all the supporters will be supporting the foundation for our last match, and hopefully we can help to raise a lot of money and awareness for Breast Cancer,” said midfielder Calautti. “Breast Cancer has affected my family personally, as it has many other families, and the NBCF needs all the support it can get. I hope all the football family can come out on the 28th (December) to not only watch the Glory girls have a win over the Jets but also support the foundation.”
GRAND FINAL SPOT WITHIN REACH FOR GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth can firm up their play-off ambitions with a home win against Adelaide United on Friday evening. Gareth Naven's young chargers currently occupy fourth on the National Youth league table, three points clear of Newcastle Jets, and fancy their chances of knocking over an Adelaide side that has not played in close to a month. "Every game in this league is a big game," said coach Naven. "It will be another tough game against Adelaide and we will be looking to get some points on the board. Scotty (Miller) and I believe things in the side are starting to click in what we're trying to achieve."
Hard-working goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic earned Naven's priase for his stand out role in last weekend's narrow loss to Sydney F.C. "The boys showed good team work and balance (against Sydney) and are heading in the right direction which is good for the club," said Naven. "Dejan was fantastic and made a number of vital saves for us, including a penalty save late in the first half. We defended well as a team - Scott Neville, Dean Evans, Ludovic Boi and a young lad from the National Training Center squad, Joshua Risdon, were fantastic." Glory Youth take on their Adelaide counterparts from 5.15pm at Members Equity Stadium this Friday.
TOMICH JOINS ADELAIDE
Adelaide United has signed one-time Perth Glory goalkeeper Tommi Tomich on the eve of their trip west. Tomich, who played 18 times for Glory, has joined the A-League leaders on a short-term contract to replace injured teenager Mark Birighitti. It’s unlikely Tomich, signed on loan from Victorian club South Melbourne, will feature against his former club with Adelaide regular Eugene Galekovic expected to get the nod from coach Aurelio Vidmar for Friday nights fixture.
FOXE GETS REALISITIC ABOUT GLORY FUTURE
Injury-plagued defender Hayden Foxe is prepared to sign a pay-as-you-play deal in order to stay with Perth Glory. Foxe will watch from the grandstand as Glory attempt to continue their charge towards the A-League play-offs by claiming victory over leaders Adelaide United on Friday at Members Equity Stadium. “I want to stay in Perth but I’ve got to be honest. I’ve come back and I’ve played six games last year and two games this year so I can’t argue with whatever the club says,” he said. “I could be on a pay-as-you-play contract. It depends how they structure it, but I’d be willing to do that.”
Foxe, who has played professionally in the Netherlands, Japan, Belgium and England, is banking on his teammates defying the odds by reaching the end of season finals. The 31-year old has been out with a hamstring problem since October and knows he needs to be playing to be offered a new deal. Foxe has been encouraged by Glory’s recent improvement, which has taken them to just outside the top four with five games to play. “After the first round, the season was written off - we were getting turned over,” he said. “But the boys have responded and turned it around remarkably. We’re a chance for the finals especially with the form we’re in.”
GLORY YOUNGSTERS SELECTED FOR AUSTRALIA
Teenage pair Dejan Aleksic and Liam Harvey have been selected to represent Australia at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney early next year. Coach Paul Okon, a former Socceroo captain, has selected an 18-man squad for the tournament in which Australia takes on China, Chile and the United States of America in a round robin format. Harvey and Aleksic have been key players in Perth Glory Youth’s inaugural season and are amongst nine players drawn from the National Youth League.
Okon, who played for Australia on 37 occasions, believes the tournament will enhance the players’ development at a crucial stage in their careers. “This tournament is a good opportunity for the younger guys to get some international experience,” said Okon. “We are playing three strong teams over an intensive period of just four days so it will be a good test for them. It’s the type of opportunity that some players really make the most of, and I look forward to seeing how they go.”
The Australian Youth Olympic squad consists of Lucas Andreucci (Adelaide United), Dylan De Montis (Australian Institute of Sport), Kearyn Baccus, Jacob Borg, James Virgili (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Dejan Aleksic, Liam Harvey (Perth Glory), Koh Satake, Neko Vujevich (Queensland Academy of Sport), Mitchell Bevan, Daniel Bowles, Tyler Thurtell (Queensland Roar), Kofi Danning, Rhyan Grant, Steve Lustica (Sydney FC), Petar Franjic, Joshua Groenewald and Kliment Taseski (Victorian institute of Sport).
MITCHELL WANTS RUKAVYTSYA TO STAY
Perth Glory coach David Mitchell has urged Australian youth international Nikita Rukavytsya to remain in the A-League for another season before pursuing options abroad. Rukavytsya is one of the league’s shining lights and has long been tipped for a move to Europe, but after setting up two goals in the weekend defeat of Sydney F.C. Mitchell made clear his belief the young striker would benefit from another season in Australia. “You can see he’s a quality young player but you’ve got to be wary if he goes overseas and doesn’t play,” said Mitchell. “Here’s better playing here and learning the game and fine-tuning certain aspects of his game. You might have a bit more tempo in training (in Europe) but if you’re not playing, you’re not learning.”
Rukavytsya, Glory’s leading scorer this season with eight goals, could be on his way to Europe as early as next month. And although the 21-year old signed a new contract in August that effectively ties him to Glory until the end of next season, he may be allowed to leave on a free transfer. “If the chance came up I definitely would love to go and I will try to do well at the trial,” said the 21-year old, who expressed an interest to play in the Netherlands or Germany. “Nothing is definite yet. There’s been a few interests but I’m just concentrating on my game ... and hopefully something will work out in the future. I’m just taking it day by day and just worrying about winning games with Perth.”
ADELAIDE “A MASSIVE TEST” SAYS HARNWELL
A remarkable reversal of fortunes has put Perth Glory without reach of a maiden A-League finals appearance. One loss in seven games has propelled the club to just three points adrift of fourth place, and only five points behind table-topping Adelaide United, whom Glory host on Friday evening. Jamie Harnwell, captain in the absence of an injured Jamie Coyne, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground and says the sides needs to remain focused on the job at hand. “Three points outside the top four, our home game to come, it’s all there for us,” he said. “It’s going to be a massive test for us against Adelaide this week ‘cause they’re top of the league with still a couple of games in hand, so they’ve obviously proven themselves here and abroad and we’re going to have to get ourselves up for that.”
GLORY THUMP FORMER CHAMPIONS
Perth Glory breathed new life into their quest for a first A-League finals appearances by thrashing inaugural champions Sydney F.C. 4-1 at the Sydney Football Stadium. Adriano Pellegrino and Wayne Srhoj found the net early in each half with own goals by Antony Golec and Robbie Middleby helping Glory to the first away win of the season, and move the club to within three points of the top four. “We rode our luck a couple of times in the first half but we defended very well. We’ve played some great games on the road but not got our just rewards so I think this result has been coming for a while,” coach David Mitchell said. “The result today really puts us back in the frame and we have Adelaide coming up, who are the top team in the league at the moment, so it’ll be a tough game. But we’re playing at home and we will be out to extend our excellent record there this season.”
Although Sydney dominated early possession, Glory took an 11th minute lead when Nikita Rukavytsya cut a fine low ball in from the left to Pellegrino who got just enough of a touch to trickle the ball into the net. Sydney pair Brendan Gan and John Aloisi both squandered golden opportunities to equalise, while at the other end Eugene Dadi flashed a header wide as Glory went looking for their second. That arrived in the 34th minute when Golec helped the ball into the net with his thigh when attempting to keep put Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s header from a corner. Sydney should have pulled one back on the stroke of halftime but Aloisi unbelievably failed to connect with the ball when presented with an open goal at 2-metres.
Glory emerged from the break determined to go on with the job and inside three minutes had restored their two-goal buffer. Rukavytsya was again provider, this time by rolling the ball into the path of midfielder Wayne Srhoj whose blistering 17-metre strike crashed into the top corner before goalkeeper Clint Bolton had a chance to react. There was still plenty of fight in the hosts and on the hour they were finally rewarded through a stunning volley from the edge of the 18-yard box by Stuart Musialik flashed into the net, sparking hopes of a remarkable comeback. But the result would be put beyond doubt nine minutes later as Pellegrino’s superb cross intended for Dadi was met by Middleby who powerfully headed past Bolton to rub salt into Sydney’s wound. The final margin would have been greater had Rukavytsya’s late effort not skimmed narrowly wide of the post.
BIRIGHITTI OUT FOR SIX WEEKS
An ankle injury suffered while training has ruled Adelaide United Mark Birighitti out for six weeks. The 17-year old goalkeeper has torn ligaments in his right ankle and although x-rays ruled out a fracture, Birighitti is likely to be unavailable for the remainder of the regular A-League season. The injury occurred after Birighitti fell awkwardly just minutes from the end of his team's training session in Yokohama in the lead up to Thursday's FIFA Club World Cup fifth/sixth play-off against African champions Al Ahly.
STOPPAGE TIME HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY YOUTH
Robbie Mileski struck deep in stoppage time to snatch Sydney F.C. a hard-fought 1-0 win over Perth Glory in today’s National Youth League encounter at Cromer Park, Sydney. The star of the show was 17-year old Dejan Aleksic who made a string of fine saves and marshalled a defence that was under red-hot pressure from the home side. Aleksic’s heroics almost earned Glory a deserved point but the youngster could only watch from the bench as Sydney stole all three points with Mileski’s last gasp winner. “Everyone worked hard for each other, you can’t fault that from anyone, but obviously it was very disappointing to concede in the last minute,” Aleksic said. “Our team motto is passion, determination and dedication and I think everyone had that out there today.”
Kofi Danning was outstanding for the home side whose dominance of the opening exchanges would go without reward. Chris Payne’s header was off-target and Danning flashed the ball just wide as Glory worked overtime at the back. Adam Biddle forced a near-post save from Aleksic who, minutes later, again denied the Sydney attacker. The Glory custodian was beaten ten minutes before the break but Payne’s shot from an angle cannoned back off the post. Dino Djulbic’s foul on Payne three minutes from the break left referee Gary Vandeburgt no option but to awarded a home penalty, however, Payne’s poorly struck shot was saved easily by Aleksic. There was still time for one more chance with Aleksic smothering Payne’s close-range shot.
Sydney continued to ply the pressure after the break with Payne thwarted twice in quick succession by Aleksic. There was good news for the hosts on 57 minutes when Aleksic was replaced to provide Alex Pearson some game time. Having been on the back foot for so long, Glory now finally began to assert themselves on the game with Ludovic Boi sending their first real chance narrowly wide. Next it was the turn of Australian youth international Eli Babalj who forced goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic into a good save. Kerim Bulut could have won Sydney the game but Pearson produced an excellent save that appeared to have earnt his side a share of the points. But with 94 minutes on the clock Mileski was fortunately placed to head in after Bulet’s shot deflected off Djulbic..
GLORY WOMEN KEEP FINALS HOPES ALIVE
Perth Glory Women has kept its play-off hopes alive by defeating Adelaide United 3-1 in convincing fashion last night at Hindmarsh Stadium. The win, which came about through goals by Marianna Tabain, Collette McCallum and Elisa D’Ovidio, moves Glory to within two points of fourth place and a berth in the inaugural W-League final’s series. It wasn’t the most attractive opening to the game with both sides struggling to maintain possession as they pushed out of midfield. The Reds settled the quicker but the greater attacking threat came from Glory with McCallum dragging her shot wide after finding space midway through the period. Sian McLaren did well to hold a low shot from Lisa De Vanna, who had the home goalkeeper at full-length to stop her 45th minute strike.
The breakthrough came six minutes into the second half when Tabain worked her way between a couple of before expertly placing the ball inside the right upright. The Reds worked hard to get back on level terms with Donna Cockayne calling Luisa Marzotto into action on a number of occasions. McCallum added her name to the scoresheet in the 71st minute by sweeping the ball into an open net after pressuring McLaren into conceding possession inside the 18-yard box. The icing was put on Glory’s cake by D’Ovidio who made no mistake lashing past McLaren from 8-metres after receiving a smart cross from McCallum. The home side chalked up a late consolation through Sandra Scalzi who pushed the ball past Marzotto after swooping on Cockayne’s pass.
FOOTBALL WEST GET TWO NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Liam Twigger and Janette Spencer have been voted onto the Football West board at Wednesday evening’s Annual General Meeting. Existing directors Kevin Campbell and Paul Kelly were reappointed to the board of six which also includes Rob McKay and Luke Martin, who were not up for re-election. Twigger, a former State representative, has a strong corporate finance background having worked for Macquarie Bank, Bankers Trust Investment Bank and PCF Capital. Spencer is former president of Women’s Soccer WA and has worked as project manager for Volunteering WA and the Department of Sport and Recreation.
MITCHELL WON’T BE RUSHED ON DADI
Perth Glory coach David Mitchell is prepared to live with the consequences of delaying a decision on whether to pursue striker Eugene Dadi for another season. Newcastle Jets have confirmed an interest in Dadi to boost their Asian Champions League campaign next year, while the former Ivory Coast international recently told a Scottish newspaper he would be keen to return to former club Aberdeen. It’s clear Dadi, whose scored eight goals in 13 appearances, will not be short of offers should Glory fail to offer a contract extension. “I would like my position to be clarified,” said Dadi, whose preference is to stay in Perth. “I love Perth Glory. The people are great to me and I’m enjoying my time here. But I’m just concentrating on doing my job for the team and the club.”
Glory are also bracing got the prospect of losing local products Nikita Rukavytsya and Dino Djulbic along with Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Rukavytsya is expected to attend trials in Europe next month, Djulbic’s representative is negoitating with Glory over a contract to join German club Greuther Furth, while Topor-Stanley is understood to have told the club he wants to leave at the end of the season. Even so, Mitchell won’t be rushed into extending a new deal to Dadi and remains confident of building a better squad for 2009/10. “It’s disappointing to think we could lose some good players but there’s a whole world of talent out there,” he said. “If we look early enough, long enough and hard enough, and given the right resources, I think we can ger some good talent in both Australia and overseas for next season.”
NEVILLE’S A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK
19-year old Scott Neville is doing his utmost to follow in his father's footsteps and play professional football. The promising defender has of late been making his mark with Perth Glory Youth just months after featuring prominently in Sorrento's 2008 Premier League championship winning side. It bodes well for Neville emulate the achievements of his father, Steve, who played close to 500 senior games for Sheffield United, Exeter City and Bristol City. "Things are going really well, on a personal level I'm loving every minute of it," he said of playing for Glory Youth.
Neville is one of a handful of young players who've grabbed the opportunity of playing National Youth League with both hands. He's encouraged by team mate Andrija Jukic who last weekend went to the next level by making his A-League debut for Glory against Wellington Phoenix. "All the boys have done well and I think that anyone in the squad could make the step up," he said. "They are all good players and we are all willing to learn and it will just be a matter of time before some of the boys follow Andrija and make the step up."
Brushing shoulders with players from the senior Glory line-up has clear benefits for the games future stars with Neville determined to soak up as much as he can from his more experienced counterparts. "Every one of the over-age players that have came in for us have showed great professionalism and a great desire to win," he said. "I would have to say that I have learnt a lot from David Tarka, seeing he plays the same position as me it is good to talk to him and get advice from someone that has played at a high level with Nottingham Forest in the UK."
Glory legends Gareth Naven and Scott Miller, who played a combined total of over 350 games for the club, have done a terrific job with the youth set-up according to Neville. "They are both great to play for as they are two different types of coaches but compliment each other really well," he said. "They are very effective as they both have had many years of experience at a high level and have been involved in the game for along time. The best thing about the pair is that they are always trying to improve us as players individually and as a team and that they are interested in the progress of each player and their development."
Neville has been impressed by the standard of football played in the first Y-League season with two teams in particular standing out. "Sydney has impressed me, they've beaten us twice and are a well-structured unit and are a very big side. But saying that they are definitely beatable as we showed in the first game," he said, referring to Glory's 5-3 loss in Round Four. "Another club that has impressed me is Queensland Roar as they are all quick and dynamic and that makes them hard to play against."
REFRESHED GLORY READY FOR SYDNEY
A week in Sydney is exactly what the Perth Glory doctor ordered as they prepare for Sunday’s vital A-League clash with Sydney F.C. Jamie Harnwell, the club’s longest serving player, said the decision to remain on the east coast following last weekend’s draw at Wellington Phoenix has re-energised the entire squad. “Not having to spend an extra two days travelling will definitely help,” said Harnwell. “The trip to Wellington is tough, it’s a long way and the four hour time difference is difficult to come to terms with in a short space of time. Going back to Sydney is a two our time difference and with several days here it becomes part of you routine. You can see the boys are feeling much fresher as the week has gone on and by the weekend they’ll all be desperate to get out there and get a result.”
The players enjoyed a light session on the track and in the pool on Monday at their training base at Sydney University before stepping up the intensity the following day. Wednesday served as a rest day before heading back to the training pitch in preparation for Sunday’s big match. “We have been training hard but there has also been plenty of good times following the sessions with more than a few practical jokes being played on everyone,” Harnwell said. “It’s a bit bitter sweet being away, it’s fantastic because the boys really bond together but it’s difficult not having your family around, particularly leading up to Christmas, but we know we have a job to do any that is our focus.”
LONGSTAFF EXCITED BY WHAT’S AROUND THE CORNER
First Division Coach of the Year Frank Longstaff is looking forward to a fresh challenge offered by the Premier League after guiding Canning City to the title without defeat last term. Longstaff admits the transition to the top flight won’t be easy but is confident he has the team to make it a success. “It is a massive challenge for the club next season but everyone is looking forward to it. We’ve worked hard to establish a good foundation to keep us in the Premier League,” stated Longstaff.
Longstaff has every confidence that the players who won promotion are capable to now asserting themselves in the Premier League. Even so, he has safeguarded himself with a few select recruits who know what top flight football is all about. “I’m confident the players from last season can establish us in the Premier League and we’ve so far agreed terms with four new players,” said Longstaff. “The four are Jonathan Mathers and Anthony Feraon from Western Knights, Darren Kingston from Armadale and Adam Thurston from the UK.”
Each of Canning’s new recruits not only have something unique to offer the club but will also increase competition for spots on match day. “Mathers is a left sided player who provides us pace and some quality service to the front players, while Fearon is a young forward who gives us strength and pace up front,” explained the coach. “Kingston is another strong and pacy forward, while Thurston is a tough tackling midfielder with good range of passing. We have agreed terms with all the players, and we will have a look at how we go in the Night Series and assess it from there.”
Trophy wins for Daniel Trevisiol (Player of the Year), Paul Harvey (Golden Boot) and Longstaff were a fair indication of Canning’s total dominance of the 2008 First Division. Unfortunately, they’ll head into the new season without English striker Harvey whose return of 23 goals was instrumental in their gaining promotion. “Paul was big asset for us last season but in the current economic climate it is probably not financially feasible to bring Paul back. That said, I certainly would not rule out an overseas player if it is right for the club.”
Longstaff, who’ll enter his sixth season in charge of Canning when 2009 kicks off, has also added some experience to his off-field team with the recruit of former English professional Roy Hogan. “We’ve strengthened the coaching staff with Roy Hogan joining Steve Walker, Billy Watson, Nigel Mann and myself in the first team,” explained the senior coach. “Roy has a wealth of experience having played almost 400 games for Hartlepool United in English and then spent time in the Premier League here with Spearwood Dalmatinac, Perth Italia and Kelmscott Roos.”
GLORY LAND DUTCH INTERNATIONAL SIKORA
Perth Glory have signed former Dutch international winger Victor Sikora until the end of the season as an injury replacement for Brazilian import Amaral. Sikora is expected to arrive in Perth this weekend and could make his A-League debut in the home fixture with Adelaide United on Boxing Day. "We have been proactive in our efforts to find quality players and there was an opportunity to bring Victor over and we're delighted that it has worked out for everyone involved," Mitchell said. "It is disappointing that Amaral is sidelined but we haven't just sat on our hands, Victor is someone who will definitely bring something to our squad."
Mitchell said he would press to keep the former Ajax attacker for next season if he lived up to expectations. He had looked into signing the 30-year old before the start of this season but the deal fell through and Sikora signed for United States Major League side FC Dallas. "If he comes in and he's a revelation, we'll snap him up for next year," Mitchell asserted. "He's the right age, he's enthusiastic and hungry and I think we’ve got a player who will excite the crowd."
Sikora had no hesitation in joining Glory according to Mitchell. "Victor is eager to get straight into action and with a home game on Boxing Day and a big crowd expected at Members Equity Stadium it could be a great opportunity to expose him to the A-League and the Perth Glory fans," Mitchell added. "He is a very versatile player and can fill a few holes if needs be. He's played as a striker, in midfield and also out wide and brings experience from the highest levels in Europe."
Sikora began his career with Go Ahead Eagles before joining Vitesse Arnhem in 1999. His form attracted the attention of the Netherlands national team and in 2001 he earned the first of six international cap in a friendly against Turkey. A big-money move to Ajax saw him play European Champions League before being loaned out to Heerenveen. He took his career tally to over 300 senior games through subsequent spells with NAC Breda and Dallas.
EVANS PRIMED FOR YOUTH LEAGUE ACTION
Dean Evans is hoping to cast aside a frustrating ankle injury and force his way back into the Perth Glory Youth line-up for this weekend’s game at Sydney F.C. Strained ankle tendons have prevented the versatile teenager from taking his place in the first eleven since mid-November, however, a solid run off the bench against Melbourne Victory suggest he’s back to full fitness. “I was happy to get 30 minutes under my belt against Melbourne Victory and be back in the team,” Evans said. “The recovery has strengthened the tendons around the injured area … it’s still a bit sore but it’s going to be like that for a while as ankles always take a bit longer to fully recover.”
A couple of late goals earned Glory Youth a hard fought 3-1 win against Melbourne in their last outing, snapping a three-game winless streak for the side. Evans is confident they will continue putting the ball in the back of the net and cement a place in the end of season play-offs. “We’re going alright and it was good to get a result against Melbourne after a few disappointing results,” he said of successive loss to Sydney F.C., Queensland Roar and Central Coast Mariners. “We’re getting our season back on track and pushing towards a top two finish. The training is intense, the lads all get on well and we all share a good bond with each other.”
The young Glory side has given a very good account of themselves throughout the first half of the season with Evans singling out team mates Andrjia Jukic and Scott Neville for special praise. “Andrija has proved if you play well in the youth side you will get a chance in the first team. He can turn a game on its head, he has that individual skill which could surprise any team and get a goal from nowhere,’ Evans said. “Scotty has been playing in an unfamiliar role at centre back and I think he has been our most consistent player … I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a look in with the first team soon.”
Although a regular fixture of Gareth Naven’s team when available for selection, Evans isn’t ruling out a return to the State League at the expiration of his current one-year Glory contract. “When the youth league season is over I will probably have a few weeks off to let my body recover as we’ve played two seasons on the run,” he explained. “If nothing eventuates after that and we have to go back to play for our clubs I’ll be more than ready to wear the Lions colours for the 2009 season and hopefully win a bit of silverware.”
This weekend Glory Youth come up against Sydney with the away side seeking to avenge a pair earlier season losses to the runaway leaders. “I missed games against the top two teams in Sydney and Queensland Roar, and they were the two games I didn’t want to miss,” said Evans. “I don’t believe there’s an easy team in this league. All the players that we’ve come up against are good footballers so we expect a hard game against any team we play. We always have to work hard for a win and Sydney on Saturday will be no exception.”
LOYALTY KEEPS COLE A SWAN
Swan United defender Aaron Cole will wear the captain’s armband next season after agreeing a new contract with the club. The 29-year old has been in much demand with a number of rival clubs, including his former club Perth S.C., tabling offers in an attempt to lure him away from Swan. “I spoke at length to Perth S.C. but I want to see Swan do well and feel we are very close to doing that,” said Cole, who played a decade at Perth before joining Swan in 2007. “I’m happy to lead the club next season. We need to keep a strong home record, improve our away record and keep blooding the younger players.”
Cole has been pleasantly surprised by the quality of young players who’ve emerged from Swan’s youth ranks during the past few seasons and hopes the production line keeps on rolling on in 2009. “Overall, the club blooded a number of juniors and that’s great for the club and league,” he said in reference to the likes of Alex Cocking, Michael Tronchin and Chris Marshall. “I can see boys in the reserves and 18’s pushing the older blokes this coming year. David McNally showed how consistent he is and a player who’s always willing to learn, it’s really sad to see him go to Sorrento.”
Football in the Swan region was recently given a massive boost with the establishment of Swan United. A result of a merger between Swan I.C. and Swan Districts, the new club provides young players a clear pathway from juniors all the way through to the highest level of semi-professional football offered in this state. “The new name change is great for the club and the whole Swan/Midland area. It brings the two clubs together which will show the strength of future junior players becoming senior players and creating an identity which has been lacking,” commented Cole.
MANDURAH BOSS HAS SILVERWARE IN HIS EYES
Stuart Currie has no doubts Mandurah City will improve on last seasons fifth placing when the new Premier League season kicks off next year. The Dolphins took the top flight by storm in 2008, winning ten and drawing six of the 22 games to go within touching distance of a top four finals appearance at their first attempt. Currie, never one to rest on his laurels, has been plotting busily during the off-season with bigger and better things planned for the club in 2009, starting with an all-out assault on bringing the State League championship to the Peel region.
Although happy with how last season panned out for Mandurah, Currie says his team didn't quite reach their full potential. "We feel we underachieved as, apart from Sorrento, nobody beat us easily and the only teams we lost to were those that finished above us - Sorrento, Perth S.C., Floreat Athena and Inglewood United," stated Currie. "We drew six games and know that if we'd been able to convert half of these into wins then we would have finished in second place. That said, we really enjoyed the season and are looking to 2009 rolling around."
A lot was gained from Mandurah's first ever Premier League campaign with Currie eager to put into practice what he learnt. "We had a very small squad last season and in the end that took its toll so we've taken steps to remedy that by adding depth to the squad," explained the coach. "We learnt that concentration levels are higher in the Premier League and as soon as you switch off you will get punished. You also have to be more aware of how other teams play and sometimes you have to adjust your tactics to suit, it is important to keep to the shape and game plan you set out with."
Amongst Mandurah's greatest assets during last season was a terrific home record that had them collect 21 points from the 33 on offer. "Most teams that come to the Hyundai Stadium will know that they will have to work very hard to take points home with them," said Currie, who is determined to make the venue into more of a fortress in 2009. "Last season we lost some very soft goals, this was due to inexperience and a lack of concentration at certain times in the game, and we are working hard to fix this for next season."
In strengthening Mandurah for 2009 Currie has brought in a number of choice recruits, with the promise of a few more in the pipeline. "Pre-season has already begun and the boys are working hard at the gym on Tuesday and Thursday nights," he explained. "We have a lot of new faces down at training at the moment, but players that we have signed so far are Craig Young, Phil Straker, Marko Aleksic and Rafael Insaurralde. We also hope to have a few new signings very soon, so watch this space!"
It's not just on the field that Mandurah have added to their options with former E.C.U. Joondalup boss joining their ranks. "Chris Nicholson will be in charge of our reserves and help out with some training drills with the first team. My able assistants Ron Harrison and Billy Russell will still be with me this season, as I'm the only one who can understand Billy," quipped Currie. "I'm really looking forward to this season, with the new players on board and the lessons we all learned from last season I think we should be able to push on for a place in the top four."
WORK COMMENCES ON REFURBISHMENT OF THE LIONS DEN
It's been all systems go at Stirling Lions since a major works program to upgrade the facilities at Macedonia Park commenced last week. A $1 million grant promised by now Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the lead up to last years Federal election will be put to good use with new turf being laid and reticulation installed on the main playing arena, lighting and seating upgrades along with improvements to the clubhouse and function facilities planned at the aging venue.
For Lions president Don Evans the redevelopment is the realisation of a long-held dream. "It's a proud day for our club and the many young footballers who play at Stirling Lions who'll finally get to play on a first class surface," he said. "The once proud complex, built in 1986 by the hard working volunteer members of the Macedonian Community, has faded with time. We are very grateful to Kevin Rudd and Peter Tinley, the Labor candidate for Stirling, as they have given the park a new lease of life that will benefit all young footballers in the Stirling and Balcatta region."
Also included in the works program, funded by under the Sport and Recreation Facilities section of the Department of Health and Ageing, is the development of new pitches on the front block of Macedonia Park to accommodate the ever-growing interest in rooball. The Macedonian Community is in discussion with the City of Stirling to provide a much-needed boost to recreational space needs in the area with further expansion of the Macedonia Park facilities. Plans are afoot for the rear playing fields to be opened up as a public open space that would also serve the Lions juniors.
A.I.S. COMES CALLING ON MELLISH
Teenager Scott Mellish is bound for Canberra after being awarded a scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. The 15-year old caught the eye of selectors while on State team duty at the National Youth Championships in October and following trials last month was offered an initial one-year football scholarship. Mellish, who played juniors at Canning City before moving into youth ranks with Cockburn City, will get a taste for life as a professional footballer at the A.I.S. where he'll train five nights a week under national youth coach Jan Versleijen. Amongst those who've gone on to bigger and better things after attending the A.I.S. are Perth Glory trio Tando Velaphi, Nikita Rukavytsya and David Tarka, Melbourne Victory midfielder Nick Ward and goalkeepers Mark Birighitti (Adelaide United) and Aleks Vrteski (FK Pobeda, Macedonia).
JOONDALUP ARE BACK ON TRACK
E.C.U. Joondalup head into 2009 with a steelier resolve following the off-season appointment of former Perth Glory coach Alan Vest. Club president Steve Amphlett is confident they’ve got the right balance in Vest, arguably one of West Australia’s most knowledgeable and experienced coaches, and assistant Willie McNally. “This is a massive boost for us to get one present and one past Glory coach,” enthused Amphlett. “ECU will be organised, professional and ready for each game, we cannot ask for more than that. The players will be required to put 100% in every week for the shirt - do that and the results and performance will follow.”
Amphlett can’t wait for the new campaign to get under way and erase the memory of his club’s dramatic slide of last season that took them from title contender to second from bottom in the space of a few months. “Disappointment was an understatement. We were top of the league after eight games, but the team was decimated by various factors which cannot be used as an excuse,” he said. “Yes, Willie McNally left to join Glory but too many players went overseas during the season and a lack of professionalism from part of the playing group contributed to our downfall. Everything the club was striving for was de-stabilised over a very short space of time.”
A constant criticism of the State League is the standard of football played. Amphlett, however, isn’t one of the knockers and points to programs such as the National Training Centre and Perth Glory Youth as indication football is on the improve. “This League is competitive but the standard needs to keep improving. The quality of young players coming through is exceptional and this can be seen through the NTC and Glory Youth,” he said. “The future for Glory looks bright, yet they can’t all play for an A-League team or go overseas so as they come back into the League, so I expect the standard to keep improving.
The summer months are a hive of activity on the transfer front as clubs jockey to secure players who’ll help achieve the goals they’ve set for the coming year. While he readily concedes Joondalup have lost Craig Young and John Thornley to Mandurah City and Armadale, respectively, Amphlett is remaining tight-lipped as to who’ll be joining the club. “We have agreed with certain players but a lot can happen between now and when they are officially signed as amateurs they are always free to move to a better offer. I am quietly confident that the players we have signed will add to what is already a very competitive squad.”
NIGHT SERIES SKETCHED OUT
The traditional seasoner opener, the McInerney Ford Night Series, has been tentatively timetabled to commence on the evening of Friday 30th January. As was the case last year, both Premier League and First Division tournaments will be played with each featuring two groups of six teams in a round robin format. Litis Stadium, Dorrien Gardens, Alfred Skeet Oval and Lark Hill Sporting Complex will host double headers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings with the top two sides from each group progressing to the semi-finals. The Night Series final will be held on Sunday 15th March, most likely at Dorrien Gardens.
COACH TIPPING CACERES FOR SOCCEROO DUTY
Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna believes former Perth S.C, attacker Adrian Caceres’ commitment to defending could tip the scales in his favour to an Australian call-up for next months Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia. McKinna, who signed Caceres from Melbourne Victory before the start of the season, described the midfielder as one of the league’s most dangerous players with the ball at his feet following the Mariners’ weekend defeat of Sydney F.C.
That performance is sure to have brought Caceres to the attention of national coach Pim Verbeek, who watched the 2-1 win from the stands, as he considers players for what is expected to be a largely A-League based squad for the upcoming game in Indonesia. “Pim like players who can do a defensive job as well and I think Adrian playing in a team like ours, where he works hard, is going to benefit him,” said McKinna. “I think with his hard work and his ability and skill – and he can score goals from midfield – I’m sure Pim will be having a look.”
McKinna has long admired the ability of Caceres, who was developing something of a reputation for being a 60-minute player in Melbourne. “The main reason we signed him was because every time he played against us he was hard to deal with,” said McKinna. “He’s probably one of the most exciting players in the A-League when he’s running at people with the ball … We play a high work-rate kind of game with everyone defending. We don’t want Adrian to run about putting in last minute tackles or anything like that. We just want him to come back into midfield and be another number. Some people said he couldn’t do that but he can and he’s proved that for us this season.”
SCHOOLS PROGRAM A BIG HIT (courtesy Football West)
A joint initiative between Football West and Football Federation Australia is proving a big hit with primary school children in the metropolitan area this summer. Optus Small Sided Football is a pilot program being co-ordinated and rolled out between the two governing bodies to introduce pre-primary, Year 1 and Year 2 students to the world game. FFA Regional Participation Manager for WA, Ann Gourley, is thrilled to the response of the program which has so far been implemented at three primary schools. "The program has been developed to introduce the kids to the game by using an expressive, learning environment, playing fun games and activities and learning to play football via specifically developed and modified games," said Gourley.
At a recent clinic at Campbell Primary School in Canning Vale, over 100 children tried the Optus Small Sided Football experience and came away wanting to be the next Harry Kewell or Mark Viduka. "We want to see maximum participation and involvement in sport from our students and to get the expertise of FFA and Football West is a huge bonus for us," said Darryn Fy, psycial education specialist at Campbell Primary School. "Programs like these get the kids active and it provides great links to community based sport." Football West in conjunction with FFA will continue to roll out the Optus Small Sided Football program into the 2009 season and beyond.
BORO CLOSE TO KEEPING JONES
Goalkeeper Brad Jones is close to committing his long-term future with English Premier League club Middlesbrough. Out of contract at the end of the season, Jones would be free to sign pre-contact agreements with rival clubs from January but Boro manager Gareth Southgate is keen to circumvent that with a new deal. "We'd hope to have something to announce formally in the next couple of weeks," said Southgate, who is keen to retain both Jones and his goalkeeping rival Ross Turnbull. "Brad's pretty much done, he realises what I think of him as a keeper."
26-year old Jones has played second fiddle to Turnbull this season but Southgate insists the competition to become Boro's first choice 'keeper is far from over. "Ross has been fantastic but I picked Brad on the opening day and that was for a reason, so the challenge will go on between them," said the manager. "If he (Brad) goes somewhere else he's probably not going to go as first choice because people are going to want to see him play. So he would face the same battle as he's got here and he maybe thinks that rather than taking on an experienced number one, there's still a very level fight on his hands here."
POINTS GO BEGGING IN WELLINGTON
The path to the A-League finals became rockier for Perth Glory following this evening’s 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium. Eugene Dadi’s goal after 76 minutes was cancelled out by midfielder Tim Brown with seven minutes remaining to spark an attacking frenzy from the hosts, who were denied a late winner by the brilliance of goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. “I thought we had done enough to win the game after we scored. The Phoenix had put us under pressure, but I felt that once we got that goal, we’d be able to hold on. Ultimately, it spurred them into action and Tando made some good saves to keep us in the game,” said coach David Mitchell, who isn’t giving up hope of Glory making the last four. “While there’s still a chance mathematically … Obviously, today was not the result that either side wanted, but I still have belief in the side.”
The early exchanges were tentative with both teams knowing full that well their play-off hopes were riding on the outcome. An Andrew Durante header sailed wide after 8 minutes and shortly after Dadi fired the wrong side of the post as the two combatants slowly settled in. Leo Bertos was proving a handful for his former team mates and after turning Naum Sekulovski inside out he unleashed a fierce drive from the edge of the 18-yard box which Velaphi did well to hold. The best chance of the period came after 31 minutes when Shane Smeltz evaded several tackles before blasting just past the post from 18-metres with Velaphi at full stretch. For their part, Glory struggled to put a serious challenge on Phoenix custodian Glen Moss during a half notable for it’s lack of clear cut opportunities.
Whatever was said at the break had the desire effect as both teams came out firing for the second half. Nikita Rukavytsya volleyed against the crossbar on 51 minutes. Play switched to the other end where Sekulovski’s poor back pass let in Smeltz who amazingly hit the bar when presented with an open goal from 7-metres. Phoenix had another good chance on 63 minutes when Michael Ferrante’s shot was saved by Velaphi. The deadlock was broken thirteen minutes later as poor defending put the ball with Dadi who opportunistically volleyed in at close-range. Brazilian import Daniel had been only the park only minutes when his curling shot was brilliantly palmed away by Velaphi, who was helpless as Brown reacted by nodding in the equaliser. Jamie Harnwell blocked a goalbound shot from Jon MacKain, while a curling Bertos effort was superbly saved by Velaphi to earn the visitors a point.
GLORY WOMEN UPSET SYDNEY
Perth Glory Women upset Sydney F.C. 1-0 as all seven teams remain in the running for a W-League semi-finals appearance. Marianna Tabain’s strike against the run of play midway through the second period was enough to earn Glory their first away points of the campaign. “It was a very competitive game, we managed to hang in there at the end after taking the lead,” said Glory coach Nicola Williams. “We played really well, but it was just a matter of grinding it out at the end to hold onto the points. The team are very happy, the spirit and bond between the girls is very strong at the moment and the win has drawn them together even closer. They had the carrot dangled in front of them today and they took it which was very pleasing.”
The opening stanza was one-way traffic as Leena Khamis and Danielle Small both had efforts saved by Luisa Marzotto, Nicola Bolger shot narrowly wide while Kylie Ledbrook hit the side netting. The intensity dropped away for the second half as the heat began to take its toll on players from both teams. 64 minutes had passed when a defensive error put the ball with Tabain who made no mistake in hitting the target. Sam Kerr wasted a good chance to extend the lead after being set-up by McCallum as the game opened up. Glory defender Katy Coghlan breathed a sigh of relief when her attempted clearance skewed just past the post as Sydney mounted a late assault. Joanne Burgess was denied an equaliser for a foul committed by Ledbrook as she battled her way into the 18-yard box.
MITCHELL ISSUES ANTHONY A CHALLENGE
Marc Anthony is ready to seize a carer lifeline with Perth Glory by proving to coach David Mitchell he has the dedication to warrant a contract extension beyond his current short-term deal. Anthony, who made three appearances for Scottish giants Celtic where he trained alongside Paolo Di Canio and Pierre van Hooijdonk, is expected to take his place in the Glory midfield in place of injured captain Jamie Coyne in today’s match at Wellington Phoenix. A visa hitch prevented
Anthony, who played for E.C.U. Joondalup last year before a summer switch to Stirling Lions, acknowledged the opportunity was too good to let slip. “I’m 30 now and I think over here I could play until I'm’34 or 35, but this is a last chance for me,” he said. “Mitch hasn’t said that to me but I know myself if I don’t get a contract for next year then it will be back to the State League and I don’t think I’d get another chance in the A-League.”
Mitchell as no doubt Anthony is good enough to play in the A-League but said he still had to prove he could commitment to the rigours of a full-time environment. “Technically, he’s a very good player and you can see he’s played at a very high level in his younger days,” said the Glory boss. “He’s got until the end of the season to prove to me that he can lose a bit of weight, maintain his fitness and look after himself. If he can do that, he’ll be with us next season.”
STADIUM MAY COST WORLD CUP GAMES
Perth face missing out on hosting World Cup games because it does not have a venue capable of meeting requirements set by the sport's governing body, FIFA. Football Federation Australia recently announced plans to bid to host the 2018 World Cup, however, the chances of games being played in Perth hinge on building a suitable venue. The previous State government’s commitment to a new stadium at Kitchener Park would have been sufficient to host matches but there are doubts a revamped Subiaco Oval, which now appears to be preferred by premier Colin Barnett, will fall short of the mark.
Garry Chandler, chief executive of Football West, has serious concerns about plans to patch up Subiaco Oval rather than build a new stadium. “Having a fully reconfigurable 60,000-seat world class stadium is really most likely the only way we’d get a chance of hosting,” Chandler said. Although the 43,000-capacity Subiaco Oval surpasses FIFA’s 40,000 minimum requirement for group games, the venue provides a poor spectator experience for devotees of the world game because of its oval configuration.
Barnett has all but ruled out building a new stadium in favour of rebuilding Subiaco Oval. He said that Australia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup would not influence the Government’s decision on whether to replace the stadium at Subiaco Oval, progressively rebuild it or delay the project. But shadow sport and recreation minister Ken Travers says the Government’s indecision over the new multipurpose stadium could damage the World Cup bid. “Any delays will damage not only WA’s chances of being involved but also Australia’s bid for the World Cup in general,” Travers said.
ALL-STARS SQUAD ANNOUNCED
Each year footballwa.net honours those players who captured the attention during the winter months with inclusion in our unofficial All-Stars squad. This year’s squad includes twelve players making their first All-Stars appearance while only five of those selected last year have retained their places. With another year about to tick over the time is right to pay tribute to the twenty-two players selected in the 2008 footballwa.net Premier League All-Stars team and shadow squad.
MITCHELL PLOTTING PHOENIX DOWNFALL
Perth Glory will take an extended 18-player squad to Wellington Phoenix as coach David Mitchell attempts to guide the club to the A-League finals for the first time. Nikita Rukavytsya, David Tarka and Mark Lee have been included in the travelling party along with classy young midfielder Andrija Jukic, who steps up after some standout performances for Glory Youth. “It’s great that we’ve been able to take a few extra players, it will give us a few options in the way we could line-up,” said Mitchell.
Marc Anthony, signed on loan from Stirling Lions, could be handed his first A-League start after several appearances off the bench as replacement for injured captain Jamie Coyne. “It’s really unfortunate for Coyney and it’s a big loss for us because he’s really competitive and he’s been playing well,” Mitchell said. “But it give Marc a chance now and I have no hesitation playing him. I know it’ll be hard for him to maintain the intensity but I expect 60 or 70 minutes of quality from him.”
Mitchell is preparing his players for a fired up Phoenix outfit who will have a point to prove after being thumped 6-1 by Adelaide United on Friday. “They’ll no doubt want to rebound from last weekend and they’re in front of their home fans and have a top four position in their sights, as do we, so it’s a big game for both clubs and I’m sure you’ll see that played out on the pitch,” said Mitchell. “At home they’ve been very strong and we’re expecting a tough match but looking forward to taking up the challenge.”
SWAN UNITED IN FOOTBALL
Two of the biggest football clubs in the eastern suburbs have joined forced to form Swan United. Having spoken for many years about the prospect of merging, Premier League outfit Swan I.C. and juniors club Swan Districts have finally come to an agreement that will see them play from next season under the Swan United banner. The agreement between the two clubs will be of enormous benefit to football in the Swan region, providing players with a pathway all the way from grassroots level to senior State League football.
Cosmo Coniglio, president of Swan I.C., is thrilled the two clubs have struck a deal of mutual benefit. “It’s a huge decision for our club, but saying that we’ve been trying to merge for the last seven years,” he said. “It’s for the benefit of the kids in the Swan area and they now have the pathway to senior football which is tremendous. It gives the opportunity to the local boys to play Premier League football instead of travelling a long distance to do so.”
Swan Districts president Peter Johns says the agreement will only strengthen football in the region. “Any change that you make of this magnitude is a big one that takes a lot of consideration and deliberation. We see it as being in the long term benefit for the club, the sport and the players in our area,” said Johns, whose club is home to over 250 players. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the players, giving them a set path from the age of four all the way through to the senior teams.”
SCOTT COMMITS TO PLAYING ON WITH FLOREAT
Floreat Athena’s title aspirations have received a major boost with confirmation former New Zealand international Brad Scott has delay retirement to play on in 2009. Scott, scorer of 19 goals from 18 games, announced he was hanging up his boots at the Floreat’s presentation evening in late October, however, the 31-year old has subsequently reassessed his position and decided to extend his stay at Litis Stadium. “Brad is as good as any other striker in the league and it’s a great boost for the squad to know that he’ll be with us again next year,” said coach Michael Roki. “He’s an achiever who sets high standards for himself and I’m sure we’ll see another great contribution from him next season.” Scott’s return to the fold comes just days after Jason Barerra and Callum Roberts agreed to play for Floreat in 2009.
MCNALLY FLIES THE COOP
Premier League champions Sorrento have added promising youngster David McNally to their playing roster. The towering defender was a regular fixture alongside Aaron Cole in the Swan I.C. last season but felt the time was right to seek greener pastures. “It was a very difficult decision, probably the hardest decision I have had to make with regards to my football,” said 21-year old McNally. “I love Swan but I just felt that it was time for me to move on, hopefully it will all work out for the best.”
McNally will have his work cut out breaking into the Sorrento line-up where he faces stiff competition from the likes of State players Shaun Kilkelly and Danny Cain, former Motherwell stopper Steve McDonald and Australian Schoolboys representative Calum O’Connell. “It’s a huge challenge for me but one I’m looking forward too,” he said. “Hopefully I will be able to prove myself at Sorrento and cement a spot in the starting line up each week. Sorrento has a lot of good defenders and I know the competition for spots in the team will be high, but hopefully I can stay injury free and get a lot of game time next season.”
Sorrento coach Steve Neville is thrilled to have lured McNally to the northern suburbs. “I’d heard he was looking for a move and was delighted when he agreed to join us,” he said. “He’s only a young kid and really impressed me last season when was played Swan, and it’s hard to believe he’s only been playing football for a couple of years in the Premier League, he is very ambitious and he could be a great signing for us in 2009. Living in Kalamunda, we thought the travel would be a concern for David but after meeting with him he was really keen to future his football career and we’re delighted to give him the opportunity.”
McNally, who was forced to call off trials in England earlier in the year, is hoping his move to Sorrento can provide a springboard to bigger and better things. “I have set my sights on the A-League at the moment, and my goal is to be playing for the Glory Youth squad by the end of next year,” he explained. “Hopefully, I can be spotted at Sorrento and I will be able to achieve this goal. If I play football professionally in Australia then the next step for me would be to look at playing overseas.”
Nikita Rukavytsya is ready to resume his goal scoring role for Perth Glory. A calf problem ruled the Ukrainian born striker out of last week’s win against Melbourne Victory and Rukavytsya admits he’s itching to get back out on the park. “I was really happy that the boys won, it was a very important three points for us and gets us back on track for the finals,” Rukavytsya said. “I’m buzzing to get back onto the field and help the team get the points this week. I was disappointed that the injury kept me out but every day it is feeling better and I’m happy to be back training and it feels really good now.”
Rukavytsya scored twice against Phoenix in Round Ten and is expected to slot straight back into Glory’s starting line-up. “I’ve been happy with my form but I think that also comes from the team playing better. We’ve all worked hard and it is a real team effort and I’ll just continue to do my job for the team and hopefully the rest will take care of itself,” Rukavytsya said. “It’s a very important game, we need to start getting points away from home and if we win we’ll be right on the doorstep of the top four.”
COYNE INJURY SETS GLORY BACK
Perth Glory have been dealt a savage blow to their finals hopes with captain Jamie Coyne set to miss the next three games due to a calf injury. Coyne, who has been a standout in the Glory midfield, is bitterly disappointed to be sidelined during a crucial run of games for the club. “The whole team has hit some form and we have a lot of confidence at the moment and to miss out for the next few games is disappointing,” he said. “It’s a waiting game for me now to see how it pulls up. I can’t put too much load on the leg at the moment and will do some cross-training and pool work to keep my fitness up.”
Coyne will be absent for Glory’s away meetings with Wellington Phoenix and Sydney F.C. as well as the Boxing Day clash with Adelaide United. “We had a great result on the weekend and need to back it up away from home. It’s on us to take our home form and turn that into results when we’re on the road,” he said. “As captain I desperately want to be there to help the boys, unfortunately I won’t be able to do that but I know the lads will step-up and get the wins we’re looking for. Even if I’m not playing I can still hopefully have a positive influence on the team and will be doing all that I can to ensure we keep pushing towards a finals spot.”
DJULBIC LOOKS TO GERMANY
Perth Glory face losing the services of defender Dino Djulbic when the European transfer window opens next month. Djulbic, who played locally with Perth S.C. before stepping onto the A-League stage, is currently trialling with German second division outfit SpVgg Greuther Fürth, who’ve expressed an interest in the big defender. “With the European transfer window not far off they wanted to have a closer look at Dino before making a decision on securing his services in January,” coach David Mitchell said. “Dino is out of contract with Glory after this season but if this opportunity works out then it will not only be good for him but Perth Glory will benefit by colleting a transfer fee. We have three matches in 13 days to finish off this month and we all agreed that this was the only time Dino could complete the trial before the January window.” Djulbic is expected to join his Glory team mates in New Zealand for their clash with Wellington Phoenix on Saturday evening.
GOVERNMENT BANKROLL WORLD CUP BID
Australia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup received a major boost with the Federal Government pledging $45.6 million to help the campaign. The Commonwealth says the money will be spent over three years in an effort to focus the eyes of the football world down under. “Today’s announcement sends a clear message to the football world that Australia is serious about hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The government will work in partnership with the Football Federation Australia along with state and territory governments in a united approach to building the strongest bid possible for the 2018 event. FFA will formally lodge Australia’s bid by the end of 2010.
EARLY FINISH TO AMARAL’S SEASON
Brazilian import Amaral appears to have played his last game for Perth Glory after succumbing to a hamstring injury that has ended his A-League season. The midfielder will have an operation to repair his right hamstring tendon this week, ruling him out of Glory's last seven games of the season. Amaral, who played with Palmeiras, Benfica and Fiorentina and earned 31 caps for Brazil, managed just seven Glory appearances as a result of an injury that first surfaced in September.
Coach David Mitchell said the injury did not entirely rule out re-signing Amaral for next season but discussions about extending his time in Perth were now on hold. The club would have to be convinced he had made a full recovery and that there is little risk of further injury. "It's very disappointing because he is a quality player and his experience and professionalism has been a big boost for the club on the park," Mitchell said. "He's a big game player, the sort of player that can make things happen and turn a game. He'll be missed but it gives other players the opportunity to step-up and since Amaral has been out we've been able to cover for him and create a midfield combination that is working well."
JOEYS PLAY ON DESPITE COACHES DEATH
The sudden death of coach Martyn Crook has overshadowed Australia's participation in the Nike International Friendlies tournament in Lancaster County, Los Angeles. Crook, 52, is believed to have suffered a heart attack in his sleep while the national Under-17 team was preparing for the tri-nation tournament which also features Brazil and the United States. Australia donned black armbands in a mark of respect to Crook when they drew 3-3 with the United States on Sunday, and completed their campaign 24 hours with a 4-1 loss to a strong Brazilian line-up.
Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley said Crook would be greatly missed. "Martyn was a terrific coach and mentor to the Qantas Joeys, and he was highly respected by the players and his professional colleagues alike," Buckley commented. "Martyn will be remembered by many people in the football community, because he was a long time contributor to the game in many capacities." Crook played 192 games for West Adelaide and was capped 14 times for Australia between 1979 and 1983. He was appointed Joeys coach in 2007.
The Joeys drew 3-3 with the United States in Sunday’s opening game. Joseph Costa 7th minute shot was parried by the goalkeeper and Nikola Stanojevic made no mistake with a crisp follow-up. Two minutes later Costa scored after turning his defender and firing in following terrific lead up work by Kamal Ibrahim, Jared Lum and Stanojevic. The USA weren’t to be outdone and goals from Dominick Sarle (2) and Joseph Gyau put the hosts head by the hour mark. But Australia had no intention of letting the game slip away and in the 67th minute equalised through Kerim Bulut, who converted from the penalty spot.
Australia was outclassed 4-1 by Brazil in the final match of their two-game trip to Los Angeles. The South Americans dominated possession from the outset and not surprisingly were two goals the better after 20 minutes. The Joeys pegged one back just before the break when Marc Warren’s free-kick was helped on by Brendan Hamill before deflecting into the net off a defender. A goal seven minutes after the interval put the Brazilians back in control before adding their fourth midway through the half. West Australian trio Trent Sainsbury, Alex Pearson and Julius Davies featured in both games.
STANLEY WANT TO KEEP GRIFFITHS
Accrington Stanley are keen to sign on-loan midfielder Rostyn Griffiths on a permanent basis. Griffiths' three-month loan with Stanley came to an end on the weekend but it's believed Blackburn Rovers may be willing to let the former E.C.U. Joondalup player make a permanent return to the Fraser Eagle Stadium. "I'd like to extend it (Griffiths' loan) from January with him," said Stanley manager John Coleman. "There's maybe a chance we might be able to take him permanently rather than as a loan. I don't know if Blackburn will want a fee - if they do it rules us out!"
The 20-year old has added a new dimension to the Stanley midfield since being plucked from the Rovers' reserves in September. "He's a good player," added Coleman of Griffiths, who'll return to Perth to visit family this week before heading back to England in time for January. "He's an elegant player and he's difficult to play against in training as well. He glides past you as if you're not there. He's another one who wouldn't have played a lot of competitive games, so to play so many in a short space of time will only aid his experience and his development."
A-LEAGUE IS JUKIC’S GOAL
Andrija Jukic is leaving nothing to chance as he presses for an A-League contract that would bring his days of juggling football and work to an end. At 21, Jukic will be too old to sign a youth contract with Perth Glory next season so it determined to make a lasting impression on head coach David Mitchell. “This is my last youth league season and I’m hoping for an A-League contract … but if it doesn’t come, I’ll keep working for it,” said Jukic, who works as a trades assistant in a family mining business. The clock is ticking but so, too, is Jukic who bagged his fourth goal of the season in the Youth team’s 3-1 defeat of Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
A product of Western Knights youth system, Jukic made his senior debut for the club as a 17-year old before heading overseas to Croatia for a year. While on holiday, the attacking midfielder sampled life as a professional footballer by training with Third Division NK Junak. “They train twice a day and don’t have time for part-time jobs,” he said of the experience, which put him in good stead when Glory Youth came on the scene. He returned home with an increased desire for success and after another spell with the Knights moved to Perth S.C. where, after taking time to settle, his vision, exquisite touch and close control soon came shining through.
Mitchell has been impressed by Jukic’s application and is paying close attention to the starlet’s progress. “Andrija has done well and someone I’ve kept an eye on for a while. We invited him to be part of the club’s tour of China earlier this year and he did well and has continued his progression in the youth team,” Mitchell said. “If Andrija continues to play at a consistently high level then we’ll definitely look to give him a chance in the first team … He is technically good, can drift forward and score goals and also has excellent awareness.” But Glory may have to act fast if they want to secure the Youth team captain who has also attracted attention from a number of the club’s A-League rivals.
ROAR COME FROM BEHIND TO DUMP GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women surrendered a two-goal lead to go down to champions elect Queensland Roar 5-3 this afternoon at Members Equity Stadium. It took the visitors just 2 minutes to breakthrough as Claire Polkinghorne delivered a low cross which goalkeeper Luisa Marzotto was unable to hold and Lauren Colthorpe was positioned to head in. However, parity was soon restored through Samantha Kerr who flicked the ball over the defence and raced through to angle into the net. Glory carved out by far the better chances with Lisa De Vanna lifting high on the counter-attack, while Olivia D’Ovidio sliced wide with only goalkeeper Casey Dumont to beat. Five minutes out from the break De Vanna spotted Dumont well off her line and expertly chipped over the out of position ‘keeper and into an empty net. In stoppage time Marianna Tabain extended their advantage by bundling the ball in after Dumont couldn’t control a cutback by Kerr.
Having conceded more goals in that one half than they had for the entire season up until then, Roar emerged from the break a much different proposition. In the 49th minute Lana Harch released a spectacular long-range shot which curled beyond the gloves of Luisa Marzotto and into the net. Collette McCallum sent a free kick from distance over the crossbar as Glory attempted to regain control. But it was the visitors who netted on 57 minutes when Elise Kellond-Knight ran onto a well-flighted pass and drilled into the top corner to level the game. The pendulum swung back in Glory’s favour with the 82nd minute dismissal of Roar defender Kate McShea for a second yellow card. However, the visiting team were having none of it and gained the lead seven minutes later when substitute Stephanie Latham blasted in at the near post after Marzotto blocked her first effort. The points were made safe in stoppage time by Courtney Beutel who arrowed a neat shot between ‘keeper and post.
‘A’ CLASS GLORY DOWN LEAGUE LEADERS
Perth Glory kept alive their play-off dream with a stylish 3-1 defeat of A-League leader Melbourne Victory at Members Equity Stadium this afternoon. A first half brace from Eugene Dadi and a stunning long-range strike by Adriano Pellegrino secured a resounding victory for Glory, who are now four points outside the top-four. “I would have been happy to play an ugly game and get the win but we played exceptionally well for the most part and got the result which was very pleasing,” said coach David Mitchell, after Glory extended their unbeaten run at home to six games. “It was a fantastic effort by the players. I think we’ve been playing well enough the past month but haven’t got the rewards for our efforts. We rode our luck this time and came out on top and thoroughly deserved to win. It’s a massive lift, a massive boost… it was a joy to watch the way we played and the goals we scored were great.”
Tando Velaphi was the first goalkeeper called into action when he pushed around the post a snap shot from Danny Allsopp after 8 minutes. Glory threatened two minutes after through an unmarked Adrian Trinidad who fired just wide from a Nikolai Topor-Stanley cross. There was no such wastage in the 18th minute as Trindad played a superb centring pass for Dadi whose explosive effort hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the goal line. It was exactly what the doctor had ordered for Glory and five minutes after their lead was doubled as Dino Djulbic headed down a Pelligrino corner for Dadi who fended off Michael Thwaite before careening his shot on the turn past ‘keeper Michael Theoklitos. For their part, the visitors were struggling against a well-drilled Glory rearguard and their only opening came on 39 minutes when Tom Pondeljak fired high at close-range from Allsopp’s delivery. Djulbic was unlucky not to add third just before the break when he fired narrowly wide as the defence stood appealing for the defenders challenge on Theokitos.
Jamie Harnwell was alert in nipping the ball off the toe of Allsopp as Victory opened the new half full of purpose. Their reward came on 55 minutes when Ney Fabiano finished low past Velaphi at his near post after receiving Billy Celeski’s neat flock on. The Glory faithful were getting restless as play streamed from one end to the other. A terrific Pellegrino cross from the right picked out Dadi who was denied a clear shot by team mate Naum Sekulovski. Allsopp headed high from Pondeljak, and less than a minute later substitute Carlos Hernandez put a free-kick on the head of Rodrigo Vargos who also placed high. A tactical switch that brought Marc Anthony into the Glory midfield had the desired effect on the home team. With 78 minutes gone Harnwell launched a long free-kick from the centre of the park which Dadi chested into the path of Pellegino who skipped past two opponents before unleashing an bullet-like shot from 22-metres which was well of Theoklitos’ reach. The goal effectively killed the game off and condemned Victory to their second successive defeat as Glory stay within reach of the top half of the table.
LATE DOUBLE GIVES GLORY YOUTH THE POINTS
A clinical Perth Glory Youth side defeated Melbourne Victory 3-1 today at Members Equity Stadium. Eli Babalj put the hosts ahead midway through the first half and, while Victory did equalise after the interval, Glory’s endless drive paid dividends in the form of late goals to Andrija Jukic and Reece Vittiglia. “We played some of the best football we’ve played all year,” said assistant coach Scott Miller following the game. “Guys like Andrija Jukic and Scotty Neville have been great throughout the season, and were again today, but we also had plenty of other boys that stood up and that’s really pleasing as we develop these young players.”
Victory’s inability to hold onto possession through the middle was compounded by the loss of first team regular Evan Berger to injury after 10 minutes. It took Glory just a further eight minutes to take the lead with Ryan Pearson driving inside the 18-yard box to sneak a low cross past the defence which Babalj slotted in at the near post. Minutes later, Babalj forced Mitch Langerak into a reflex save at close-range but the danger wasn’t yet over for the visiting goalkeeper who beating away the follow-up effort from Jukic. Just after the half-hour Babalj did well to hold the ball up before laying it off for Howard Fondyke to force another fine save from Langerak.
The second half was five minutes old when Aziz Behich swung in a corner which fell perfectly for an unmarked Nathan Elasi to slot in from 3-metres. Mathew Theodore flashed a long-range strike past the post before Dimitri Hatzimouratis was thwarted by Scott Neville as he attempted to go inside the box. With 13 minutes to go Jukic brilliantly curled a free-kick into the top corner from 15-metres after Sebastian Matteii was ruled to have taken longer than the allotted six seconds to take a goal kick. Glory added gloss to the scoreline three minutes from the end when Jukic was dispossessed just outside the area and Vittglia drilled in the loose ball. There was still time for further drama with Behich issued a straight red in stoppage time for his crude challenge on Jukic.
RUKAVYTSYA IN DOUBT FOR VICTORY ENCOUNTER
Perth Glory's leading scorer Nikita Rukavytsya is a doubt for tomorrow's must-win A-League clash against Melbourne Victory at Members Equity Stadium. 21-year old Rukavytsya not train today because of a calf injury and will undergo a late fitness test before coach David Mitchell settles on his starting eleven for the match. "It's disappointing, it's just sort of come out of the blue really and that's unfortunate," he said. "But we've got other players to come in and they're looking for a chance as well."
Rukavytsya scored both goals in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Central Coast Mariners, whose late equaliser delivered a hammer blow to Glory's slender finals hopes. The result left Glory needing to beat Victory to have any hope of a top-four finish. "If we win tomorrow, we'll be a couple of wins out of the top four and we're playing well enough to beat teams," Mitchell said. "We've just got to be a bit more lethal. It's going to be very, very difficult (to make the finals), very difficult, but we can do it ... it will be a challenge for us and one we are relishing."
GLORY BANKING ON HOME COMFORTS
Perth Glory Women will be hoping the home comforts of Members Equity Stadium can inspire them to victory against the W-League leaders Queensland Roar on Sunday afternoon. Glory are unbeaten in their last two home games, however, coach Nicola Williams is hopeful of a stronger performance than last week when they conceded two late goals to draw 2-2 with Canberra United. "It was a disappointing home game last week, we really wanted the three points and deserved them up until the last 15 minutes of the match," said Williams. "We have a great supporting crowd at home, the girls love playing at Members Equity Stadium [and] we think we can match any team on our own pitch."
Unfortunately, Glory go into the game without classy midfielder Ella Mastrantonio, who is suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Lisa De Vanna leads the attack with midfield support coming from Elisa D'Ovidio and Collette McCallum. Stacey Learmont, Ciara Conway and captain Tanya Oxtoby have the difficult task of stopping an attack that's scored 16 goals in six games. Roar boasts a wealth of international talent which includes Matildas Kate McShea, Clare Polkinghorne, Alicia Ferguson and Lauren Colthorpe. Glory take on Roar from 4.00pm on Sunday at Members Equity Stadium, entry is $5.00 with under-16's admitted free.
PACELLA TO ROAR FOR THE LIONS
Stirling Lions will have Dino Pacella between the posts when the 2009 season gets under way. Pacella, one of the most highly respected shot-stoppers on the local scene, agreed terms on a one-year contract with the Lions last week following talks with the club. "I met with (president) Don Evans and (coach) Mick Lyons and I was quickly impressed with the clubs set-up and how professionally run they are," said Pacella. "The playing group has a very nice mixture of youth and experience which should see us challenge for top honours this season, and there's also a wonderful character and bond between all the players, coaches and committee members."
Pacella, 31, represented the State at junior level while with Perth S.C. and for much of the past decade has been Cockburn City's first choice goalkeeper. Unfortunately, he missed 2008 in its entirety due to an ankle injury suffered while playing in 2007. "I had an operation early last year that took longer than expected to heal and as a result I missed the season," he explained. "I love playing our great game and had no desire for my career to be ended by injury and am looking forward to being part of a winning team again. It'll be good to catch up with all the good friends I've made throughout the last fifteen or so years and having a couple of beers with them after the games."
Ambition burns bright at Stirling and their new 'keeper has high expectations for next year. "I think I speak for the entire club when I say I'd like nothing more than to win the League and Cup double in my first season at Stirling - and the Night Series and Top Four would also be nice," Pacella half-joked. "On a personal level, I hope I can return to the game and play to the best of my ability and bring a trophy or two to the club. I'd also like to help out as many junior 'keepers at the club as I can, I know there are some great young players coming through the ranks and that can only be a good thing for the future of the Lions."
FLOREAT SNARE FREMANTLE STARS
Plans for bringing the Premier League trophy back to Floreat Athena have gathered momentum following the recruitment of Jason Barrera and Callum Roberts from Fremantle Spirit. Coach Michael Roki has long admired the exciting youngsters and is confident they’ll offset the departure of Brad Scott and Rafael Insaurralde. "Those losses opened the door for two new players at the club and with both Jason and Callum almost joining Floreat last year, the invitations were sent out again," explained Roki. "Both players have plenty of ability and we believe they can both make an even bigger impact next year than they did in 2008."
Soon to be 21-year old Barrera burst into senior ranks with Fremantle in 2005 and two years ago revealed his true potential when named runner-up to team mate Dale Wingell in the Gold Medal. "Jason is a player of immense creativity and has the ability to 'go past' players, and is also known to score the odd goal," said Roki of his new central midfielder. "He's a player I tried to bring to Floreat earlier this year, and while it wasn't to be on that occasion I'm now pleased that Jason will wear our blue and white stripes in 2009."
Roberts, 18, played for the State at junior level before emerging from Fremantle's youth ranks in 2006. His versatility down the right and in attack will offer Floreat endless options when pushing into the final third of the park. "Callum's speed can be a danger to any defence but he can still be more effective as a forward than he has shown to date," commented Roki. "He's still young and we believe both Floreat and Callum will benefit as he continues to learn and grow as a player in the next few years."
Although the new season is still some months away from kicking off, Roki is pleased with the way his team is coming together. "All the existing players have committed to us in 2009 and there's the possibly of a few returning players who'll add further quality to the squad," said Roki, who steered Floreat to second last year after capturing the Premier League trophy twelve months earlier. "The pre-season won't start for us until after New Year and every single member of the club is focused on us being first across the line - second will not be good enough for us next year."
TANA HAS ROLE TO PLAY GLORY REVIVAL
Football Federation Australia want former Perth Glory owner Nick Tana to return to the game amid concerns over the long-term future of the club. It’s understood the governing body has spoken with Tana, who transformed the domestic football scene when he and business partner Paul Afkos entered Glory in the 1996/97 National Soccer League. Tana , who severed ties with the club in 2006, refused to be drawn as to whether or not he had spoken with FFA but confirmed his undimmed passion for the sport. “I’m very, very interested in Perth Glory and what happens with football in Australia – always have been, always will be,” he told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’.
FFA head of corporate and public affairs, Bonita Mersiades, said Tana’s experience could help turn Glory around. “He was instrumental in the rise of Perth Glory into such a successful club and he clearly has a love for the game,” Mersiades said. It’s understood the discussion between Tana and FFA did not relate specifically to the prospect of his taking a stake in the club, which is co-owned by Tony Sage and Brett McKeon, but was part of the governing body’s nationwide strategy to re-engage with former football identities. Glory officials have already sought Tana’s advice on a number of issues as the A-League prepares to expand to ten clubs.
COYNE STILL EYEING TOP FOUR
Perth Glory captain Jamie Coyne concedes his team's season is hanging by a thread. Saturday's draw with Central Coast Mariners has left Glory needing to claim maximum points against top of the table Melbourne Victory this weekend to have any chance of making the end of season play-offs. Coyne believes the team are capable of beating Victory and that the key will be winning individual battles all over the park. "We're playing well at the moment (but) we're just not getting the wins. So we've just got to keep on doing what we're doing and the points should come," said Coyne. "If we can get a good result against Melbourne that should push us up against the top four and hopefully we can get a bit of a roll going on."
They key to Glory securing a much needed win will be taming their visitors dangerous attack. "They're very strong through the midfield and they've got a good work ethic as well, so it is going to be a hard game and I think whoever can control the midfield will control the game," he said. "The thing with Melbourne is they've got the ability with a couple of players to just snatch the game from nowhere, so it does mean you have to concentrate for 90 minutes. You can be controlling the game and from nowhere they can create something, so we have to be wary of that. But it's also our home game, so we're going to have to make sure we take the game to them and score a few goals."
NATIONAL HONOURS FOR TEENAGE TRIO
Julius Davies, Alex Pearson and Trent Sainsbury will match skills with the best young players from Brazil and the United States at the upcoming Nike International Friendlies tournament. The Perth-based trio are amongst 18-players selected by national youth coach Martyn Crook for the three-nation tournament which commences this Friday in California. "The opportunity to play matches against the USA and Brazil will give the players a taste of two very different styles of football to what we they have experienced in Asia recently," said Crook, whose team recently made the quarter-final stage of the AFC Under-16 Championships.
The Australian Under-17 squad for the Nike International Friendlies is Chris Bush, Stephen Domenici (Australian Capital Territory), Kerim Bulut, Brendan Hamill, Jared Lum, Nikola Stanojevic, David Talevski, Lawrence Thomas, Marc Warren (New South Wales), Joseph Costa, Joel Miller, Chahine Noujaim (South Australia), Petar Franjic, Kamal Ibrahim, Bailey Wright (Victoria), Julius Davies, Alex Pearson and Trent Sainsbury (West Australia). The Nike International Friendlies is an annual under-17 competition held by U.S. Soccer.
RED STAR KEEN ON ERGIC
Former Perth Glory midfielder Ivan Ergic in the sights of Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade. Ergic, 27, comes out of contract with Swiss champions F.C. Basel in June and could be tempted to move on from the club after nine seasons. During that time he's made in excess of 200 appearances for Basel, captaining the club to League and Cup glory and representing Serbia on ten occasions, including at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
Ergic rose to prominence with Glory in 1999/2000 when his drive from midfield was rewarded with the national league Under-21 Player of the Year award and a contract at Italian club Juventus. After an initial loan period with Basel, he signed outright for the Swiss club in 2001 and has since collected four Swiss Super League and four Swiss Cup winner's medals. But it's not all been rosy for Ergic who missed the better part of two seasons battling injury and depression.
GLORY RUNNING OUT OF GAMES : MITCHELL
A home loss to Melbourne Victory next weekend will spell the end of Perth Glory's season according to coach David Mitchell. Saturday's draw with Central Coast Mariners left Glory six points outside the top four and in desperate need of stringing a few wins together. "It's gut-wrenching really,'' he said. "We play Melbourne next week, the best team in the competition, and we have to get the win. If we don't then the season is over. It's still do-able but it is becoming harder because we are running out of games."
A couple of second half strikes by Nikita Rukavytsya and the red carding of Mariners defender Nigel Boogaard had Glory on the cusp of their fourth win of the season. However, Sasha Petrovski grabbed an opportunistic late equaliser to foil the home side. "The first 25 minutes we looked great when we were knocking the ball around confidently, but they got the break to score the goal and we stopped," said Mitchell. "We went into our shell, but we had a go at them at halftime, saying that we have to lift, and credit to them they did."
POINTS SLIP AWAY FROM GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women let slip a two-goal lead to 2-2 with Canberra United in today’s W-League outing at Members Equity Stadium. Canberra earned a point by scoring twice in the last nine minutes and rob Glory of what would have been a deserved second win of the season. Glory started the game full of life with Collette McCallum firing an early free-kick just over the crossbar. Ciara Conway had a low drive cleared off the line while Lisa De Vanna crashed the ball into the upright as the hosts applied the pressure. They were rewarded in the 34th minute through Elisa D’Ovidio who jinxed her way through the defence and fired beyond goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
Sam Kerr created Glory’s second goal nine minutes after the break when her angled shot was superbly blocked by Williams, who was helpless as De Vanna stabbed the rebound in at close-range. But when scorers De Vanna and D’Ovidio were substituted with twenty minutes remaining, Glory began to lose their way and Canberra sensed the game was there for the taking. Caitlin Munoz reduced the deficit after ‘keeper Luisa Marzotto was unable to keep out her powerful 81st minute strike. The home crowd was then silenced by Ashleigh Sykes who finished clinically after out-pacing Stacey Learmont in the 89th minute.
MARINERS GRAB DRAMTIC DRAW WITH GLORY
A ten-man Central Coast Mariners has snatched a controversial 2-2 with Perth Glory in today’s A-League encounter at Members Equity Stadium. Glory looked on course for their fourth win of the campaign courtesy of Nikita Rukavytsya’s double inly to fall at the final hurdle to a contentious stoppage time goal by Sasho Petrovski. “We came back well in the second half, played some good football and our second goal was a classic,” coach David Mitchell said. “That’s why it is so disappointing for the club, the owners, the fans and the coaches and players that we haven’t been able to shut them out. It is gut-wrenching for the players, we’ve been playing well but just can’t hold onto a lead and in the end it’s not good enough.”
Clear-cut chances were at a premium during the opening exchanges with Glory looking the more likely to break the deadlock. Playing a little deeper than usual, Rukavytsya made sure the defence was kept on high alert while Adrian Trinidid continually probed for openings down the left. But the best of the early chances came at the other end where Adrian Caceras crashed a shot into the frame of the goal. It was the Mariner’s who struck on 31 minutes when, following a handball against Jamie Harnwell, Mile Jedinak spectacularly curled his free-kick over the defensive wall and into the far corner of the net with goalkeeper Tando Velaphi given no chance.
Glory emerged for the second half purposefully and deservedly drew level on 54 minutes when Rukavytsya accelerated clear of the defence to rifle the equaliser past goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. Eight minutes later Adrian Trinidad and Eugene Dadi combined cleverly to tee up Rukavytsya who crisply drive low into the net. Mariner’s defender Nigel Boogaard was given his marching orders for a poorly-timed challenge on Trinidad in the 90th minute, leaving Glory with the seemingly simple tasking of defending the final minutes to ensure maximum points. However, it wasn’t to be as Dylan MacAllister’s miss-hit shot fell kindly for Petrovski to opportunistically turn the ball past Velaphi amid calls for offside.
GLORY YOUTH UNDONE BY LATE STRIKE
Glen Trifiro scored late to give Central Coast Mariners a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Perth Glory in this afternoon’s National Youth League contest at Members Equity Stadium. Both teams were guilty of giving possession away too easily during a lacklustre opening in which Glory held the upper hand. Their first opening came on 19 minutes when Adam Luca fired directly at Andrew Redmayne, and just minute later the midfielder had another effort smothered by the Mariners goalkeeper. A fierce Hayden Doyle strike was too close to Redmayne, Eli Bablj forced a reaction save out of the ‘keeper while Ludovic Boi scuffed his effort when well placed. The Mariner’s didn’t assert much authority until late in the half and Lauren Braude fired directly at Jason Petkovic.
The breakthrough came thirteen minutes after the interval when Doyle’s cross from the right was glanced into the net off the head of Vittiglia. Scott Bulloch missed a great opportunity to double their lead by lifting high of the crossbar when found free inside the 18-yard box. The Mariners hit back with 70 minutes played when Darko Vidovic expertly lobbed goal over second half ‘keeper Dejan Aleksic after latching on to a long ball down the left. Trifiro snatched an away win by curling his 86th minute free-kick around the defensive wall and beyond the reach of an unsighted Aleksic. The result takes the Mariners off the bottom of the National Youth League table and into sixth position, while the Glory maintains fourth spot.
MARZOTTO HANDED THE GLOVES AT GLORY
Perth Glory Women have reinforced their goalkeeping stocks by recruiting former Young Matilda Luisa Marzotto. The experienced 'keeper joins as an injury replacement for Kate Stewart, who’s season has been ended by a recurring knee complaint. Marzotto represented Australia in the 2002 Under-19 World Cup and will go straight into the squad for tomorrow's must-win clash with Canberra United. "I'm very excited about being given the opportunity to play in the W-League, even though I'm coming in midway through the season, I still feel that I can make an impact for Perth Glory," said Marzotto. "The second half of the season is always unpredictable, I feel that the girls are ready for the challenge and this week's game against Canberra will be the first step in the direction of a finals birth."
Marzotto will be based in Canberra and fly to meet her Glory team mates for match days. "Without an experienced 'keeper since Kate (Stewart) got injured, it has been hard to dominate this area (defending), but she will be thrown into the starting line up, which is the whole reason we signed her," said coach Nicola Williams, who does not believe having her 'keeper based in the east will affect the Glory defence. "Luisa is getting 'keeper training with the Australian coach Paul Jones and we speak a number of times a week on the phone so we are on the same page. Many teams have field players fly in fly out in the W-League so we don't expect any problems."
CACERAS PLOTS GLORY DOWNFALL
Adrian Caceras has admits he has a soft spot for his home town club as A-League title-chasers Central Coast Mariners prepare to visit bottom of the table Perth Glory. After making 61 appearances across two stints with Glory, Caceras headed for the bright lights of Melbourne where he helped Victory claim the A-League double before moving on to Central Coast at the start of this season. Described as the Mariners' "most significant recruiting coup" of the off-season, Caceras is enjoying his time in Gosford but concedes he loves coming home to Perth.
Caceras' family moved to the West Australian capital soon after his birth in Argentina and still lives in WA, but it is not just his family and the city itself that he is fond of. "Of course, I'm from Perth," Caceras said when asked if he likes coming home. "I grew up here so I love Perth very much and I still talk to a few of the boys here. Hopefully they can get their season going again, it's sad to see them struggle, like any team really. But I think they'll do alright and they just need a few wins, but hopefully not (against) us."
Having played at Members Equity Stadium many times, both as a home and away player, Caceras knows what to expect from the parochial Perth crowd. "I've got a lot of respect for the (Perth) crowd, they're a great bunch of people who support their team and I expect them to be cheering for Glory," Caceras said. "So I don't expect much support." He certainly won't earn too many cheers if he repeats his previous performances at the ground where he's scored twice in three games for Victory.
MRDJA CROSSES FINGERS FOR A TRIP HOME
Central Coast Mariners striker Nik Mrdja will have to pass a fitness test today if he is to break a frustrating four-year run of missing out on playing against his former club, Perth Glory. Mrdja, who scored the decisive goal in Glory's 2003/04 Grand Final win against Parramatta Power, hasn't played at Members Equity Stadium since joining the Mariners in 2005. He is hopeful of making the Mariner's squad for tomorrow's game but concedes a minor quadriceps injury may rule him out. "It's just a slight twinge, nothing serious, but it's happened at the worst time possible," Mrdja told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian'. "There's something about playing over there in Perth. It's crazy the way things happen."
Mrdja, who has been plagued by injury at the Mariners, joked that it felt like a gypsy curse stopped him playing in front of family and friends in Perth. The striker made more than 70 appearances in four seasons with Glory after making his debut in 2000/01. And although he has fond memories of playing in front of packed houses at Perth Oval, his finest moment was the last ever National Soccer League Grand Final. "I've still got a soft spot for Perth," he said. "It's my home town and I've always looked forward to coming back and playing there. I would hope I'd get a good reception from the fans because I had some great years there and I left on good terms." Mrdja said he was sad Glory had struggled since the demise of the NSL and hoped the club turned things around.
SIMMONS SACKED BY DIANELLA
Dianella White Eagles have sensationally sacked Paul Simmons just three weeks after he was appointed first team coach for 2009. Simmons, whose coaching resume includes E.C.U. Joondalup, Stirling Lions and the West Australian State team, had no idea his tenure was about to end when contacted by the club late last week. "I must admit it came as a shock but not as a surprise," said Simmons, who, in late October, signed a three-year contract with Dianella. "I'd heard all about the political wrangling's that go on at the club and had been warned by a few good people to be very careful. I have never been one for getting into the political side, so I was very enthused at the prospect of coaching at Dianella. The meetings I had were all positive and focused on attaining promotion for the club."
Simmons became aware there was some unrest at the club last Wednesday when introduced to the new president, who was voted in at the AGM only days earlier. "I made it clear to the club president and football manager I'm not interested in the political side of things, I want to get on with coaching the team and asked them to let me know what was happening when it was decided. Apparently there was a meeting two days later where the president said he did not want me as coach and that he'd asked Peter Drca to be coach, which is his prerogative as the president. So from discussions then negotiations that were handled with the utmost professionalism by the club it turned overnight into an absolute debacle which I believe has made this club the laughing stock of the football code here in WA."
Although he'd been in the job only weeks, Simmons was already well into putting together a squad he felt capable of winning the First Division next year. "I had worked for four weeks on meeting the existing crop of players and securing the services of some six quality recruits, all of whom have played for the State in recent years," he explained. "I was quite confident we would of won promotion but that will never be known. I've been overwhelmed by the number of Dianella players who've contacted me to express their anger at the club. I have also received a helluva lot of emails saying "I told you so" - one in particular from someone at a rival club who said 'I'm pleased you're not there as we might now have a chance!'"
VELAPHI COMMITS TO GLORY
Australian youth international Tando Velaphi has agreed to a new two-year contract with Perth Glory. The 21-year old goalkeeper realised a dream by joining his home town club two seasons ago and is keen to return Glory to the pinnacle of football in Australia. "The club definitely has a bright future and there is a lot more to achieve here and I want to be around during that period," Velaphi said. "I grew up supporting the Glory and to be part of it has been fantastic and I'm looking forward to continuing to develop my game and contributing to the success of the club into the future."
Coach David Mitchell said Velaphi's signature is a significant step for Perth that will provide a foundation from which the club can build a successful team. "It's great to have Tando at the club for another two years. He is one of the young goalkeepers in the league that has produced and is gaining more and more confidence as the weeks go by," said Mitchell. "I've always been of the opinion that you build from the back so we've secured a great young goalkeeper and now we look across the defence, midfield and up front as we retain and recruit players for success in the years ahead."
Velaphi said the decision to extend Mitchell's contract for two more seasons gave the club stability and direction. "We have a great coaching team at the club that is stable and can offer plenty to the team. Willie (McNally) is a great 'keeper coach and I'm learning a lot while Mitch has put his faith in me and I want to reward that," Velaphi said. "It's important for the club to have a stable base and I have seen some great signs at training and during games that indicate we are on the right path to take the club back to the levels we were at during the NSL."
Although he's started in Glory's past five matches, Velaphi is well aware that to remain between the posts he must continue to perform with the experienced pair of Frank Juric and Jason Petkovic nipping at his heels. "I've got a lot to improve on and work on but I'm enjoying my opportunity to play and I'll push myself to get better and I know the other guys are doing the same and that will only benefit the team," said Velaphi. "I aspire to play at the highest level I can and there is no better place to be developing my game than here in Australia with the Glory."
STEWART INJURY OPENS DOOR FOR NEW 'KEEPER
Nicola Williams is scouring the local and interstate talent pool in search of a replacement for injured goalkeeper Kate Stewart. Recruited from regional Queensland team Bayside Strikers, Stewart will miss the remainder of the W-League season with a knee problem first noticed after the opening round loss to Sydney F.C. "I'm not exactly sure how I did it, but it first started to hurt after the first game and then it has just got progressively worse since then," said Stewart from her home in Queensland. "It is an injury that can just happen when crouching and twisting so sometimes you don't even notice when it first happens until you train or play on it."
Stewart is booked in for arthroscopic surgery tomorrow to clean up a torn lateral meniscus in her right knee. "I am so disappointed to be missing the rest of the season, I was really looking forward to the match experience as well as the travel and getting to know the girls," said Stewart. "I found it pretty hard to watch the match against Melbourne on TV knowing that I should have been there." Glory will place Stewart on the long-term injury list, allowing the club to recruit a replacement who'll challenge Maya Diederichsen for a place in between the posts in the remaining five games of the season.
HARNWELL PROMISES ATTACK
Perth Glory fans are in for a frenzy of attacking football when Central Coast Mariners swing by Members Equity Stadium this weekend. Glory have lost only once in six home games this season and need to continue that good form on Saturday in order to stay in the mix for the top-four series. "We've got two home games now to start making up some more points before going away again, so the focus is winning the game this week and getting ourselves that bit closer to the top four again," said Jamie Harnwell. "We need to get on a good roll of three, four, five wins in a row that'll really put you into contention, hopefully we can start that roll this week."
But Harnwell knows picking up another three points won't be easy against a Mariners outfit boasting some of the best attacking players in the competition, including current top scorer Matt Simon. "With their front three you can pick any of them (to score)," said Harnwell, Glory's longest serving player. "Sasho Petrovski, Dylan Macallister, Matt Simon, if they come over with that sort of mindset again it's going to be a fantastic game. We're not going to sit back and defend. It's our home ground and we're going to go out and attack.
Despite going down to Queensland Roar by three goals last time out, Glory head into this weekend's fixture full of confidence. "You look at your score line at the end of the game, and you think, 'geeze, was it really a 4-1 game?'," said Harnwell. "That's sort of reminiscent of back to where we were at the start of the season but we've been pretty good the last few weeks and it (wins) hasn't happened but obviously we've got to pick ourselves off and work hard again."
Glory had little to show for a commanding first half at Suncorp Stadium where their failure to convert several opportunities proved their undoing. "We knocked the ball around well on a pretty dodgy pitch, we kept it well, we created chances and we limited them to pretty much nothing until one minute before half-time," commented Harnwell. "We were very confident about the way we played, even in the second half we went out and had a go and created some chances as well. So we're happy with the way we played, just not how we defended at times."
AUSTRALIA, WALES IN TUG-OF-WAR OVER GRIFFITHS
Rostyn Griffiths will soon have a big decision on his hands with both Australia and Wales keen to secure his services on the international stage. Griffiths has impressed since joining Accrington Stanley in September on loan from Blackburn Rovers and struck his first senior goal in last week's 3-0 win over Bournemouth. The 20-year old represented Australia at youth level but hasn't been consistently overlooked since breaking his leg while on Joeys duty in 2005. Eligible for Wales because of a Welsh grandfather, the Dragons under-21 boss Brian Flynn recently made Griffiths aware his progress was being tracked - leading Australia to re-ignited their interest in the midfielder.
That leave Griffiths with a difficult decision to make because after he's played internationally at under-21's he will not be able to switch nationalities. "I'm having a bit of a think at the moment about what to do but we'll have to see ... no-one's made a definite move for me yet," he told the 'Lancashire Telegraph'. "I know that Wales haven't got any more serious games until next year, March time I think, but Australia have got friendlies all the time with the Under-23s and the first team. The problem, obviously, is with Australia being so far away. So unless they're playing over in Europe the difficulty is getting there. But I've got a meeting with them soon so we'll see what happens."
COYNE RULES HIMSELF OUT OF ASIAN CUP
Chris Coyne wants to bed down a spot in Colchester United's line-up and help the League One club make their way up the table. Coyne, who made his fifth appearance for Australia in last week's win against Bahrain, has played nearly as many games for his country as he has for his club in recent months. But with a lengthy break before the Socceroos next World Cup qualifier, the U's captain wants to get down to business with his club. "It's about three months before the next World Cup qualifier, so now I've got a chance to cement my position in the team," Coyne told the 'Evening Star'. "I want to start helping Colchester to climb the table."
Australia commences their qualifying campaign for the 2111 Asian Cup early in the new year, however, for Coyne it's time to focus on bringing some semblance of consistency into his club career. "I've tended to play a couple of games, then go away for a couple of games, play once more and then miss three on the trot," he commented. "You need to be playing continually so that it becomes second nature. You need to be in the team week in, week out. But the club have been very supportive, and that goes for all three managers we've had this season!"
Even though the U's are currently just one place above the relegation zone, Coyne draws a lot of inspiration from Blackpool who stormed up the table during the second half of the 2006/07 season to clinch promotion. "We have three games over the next week, and the Christmas period is always very busy, so it's possible to pick up about a third of the points that you need to get promoted during this period," he said. "To do that, we must sort out our home form ... We thought at first that it was an initial bedding in period, and we should have pushed on after the Carlisle result (5-0 win). I reckon we need a few ugly 1-0 wins!"
MACEDONIA BRINGS THE BEST OUT OF VRTESKI
Former Australian youth goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski is a different player in body and mind since leaving Perth Glory to join little known Macedonian outfit Pobeda fourteen months ago. And he might soon be a different player as far as his international status is concerned, having broken into Macedonia’s national team ranks. The 20-year old was one of several new faces in the Macedonian under-21 side that lost 3-0 in a friendly to Albania last week. And while it may have been a far cry from representing Australia at the 2005 Under-17 World Championship, but it held its own significance for Vrteski.
Vrteski has embraced Macedonia - his parents’ birth country - because it has embraced him. “When things weren’t going that well for me, Pobeda gave me the chance,” said Vrteski, who felt his chances of playing for Australia were slim when he was suddenly on the outer of the under-20 set-up. “I felt I possibly wasn’t going to get another opportunity with Australia - I felt like I was frozen out by Australia. When Macedonia came knocking on the door I felt like it was another opportunity. Being an international helps your profile and clubs take more notice. What happened led me this way and it’s turned out well. Because of what happened, I’m a better goalkeeper.”
The friendly appearance against Albania does not tie Vrteski to Macedonia but he will have no hesitation to make permanent his loyalty by playing in a senior fixture. International recognition, which has come about since Vrteski started playing regularly for Pobeda, he also coincided with interest from rival European clubs. “The fitter you are, the more mentally sharp you are,’ he said of his improvement. “You can read things better and you are a lot more confident.” After sitting out Pobeda’s first five games of the season, Vrteski got his chance against Pelister and has since accumulated more than a dozen first team appearances.
POOR FINISHING COSTLY FOR GLORY
Perth Glory were left to rue missed opportunities as Queensland Roar claimed maximum points by a 4-1 score line in today's A-League encounter at Suncorp Stadium. After dominating the first half and creating a swag of chances, Glory fell apart in stoppage time as Roar netted twice to take an undeserved lead into the break. It was a frustrating end to the half for coach David Mitchell who lamented his teams inability to put the ball in the back of the net. "They say goals change games and that's exactly what happened to us," said the Glory coach. "We dominated the first half, created some really good chances to score and if we had capitalised on them we could have gone on and win the game. People that weren't at the game might say we got battered 4-1 by Queensland but it certainly wasn't the case but (the result) was disappointing obviously."
Adriano Pellegrino and Adrian Trinidad featured prominently as dictated the opening exchanges. An awkward bounce prevented Jamie Harnwell from putting the visitors ahead after 7 minutes, while a Luke DeVere's lunging tackle thwarted Nikita Rukavytsya after he was found in space by Pellegrino. A great move in the 38th minute ended with an explosive shot by Trinidad which had goalkeeper Liam Reddy at full stretch to push the ball wide of the upright. With the half looking likely to end scoreless, Sergio Van Dijk fired the hosts in front from the penalty spot after Tahj Minniecon had been felled by Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Two minutes later Van Dijk spun away from Dino Djulbic and sent the ball across goal where Minniecon blasted in at close-range.
The margin became three goals when Michael Zullo swung in a cross which Charlie Miller volleyed brilliantly past a stunned Tando Velaphi just ten minutes after the turnaround Glory responded in kind and soon after Rukavytsya burst past De Vere to deliver a far post cross that Harnwell slammed into the net. But Glory's hopes of a second half comeback were stifled by a resolute defence under the comand of captain Craig Moore, who just twelve days earlier underwent surgery for cancer. Youngster Mitch Nicholls put the icing on the hosts' cake in the 82nd minute by expertly lobbing Velaphi after some good build-up play from Michael Zullo and Van Dijk. The loss leaves Glory in joint last position on the ladder, and six points outside the top four.
GLORY YOUTH STUMBLE IN QUEENSLAND
Perth Glory Youth have succumbed to a fired-up and vastly more experienced Queensland Roar side 5-1 Suncorp Stadium this afternoon. The game was turned on its head by a dominant second half from Roar who piled on four goals and give Glory coach Gareth Naven plenty to think about. "Our first half was competitive but we lost our way in the second half and it wasn't acceptable," Naven said. "This is a development league and we have identified a lot of things out of this game that we have to improve." Eli Babalj, playing just his second game, was Glory's lone scorer as Chris Grossman (3), Thomas Oar and Josh McVey earned Roar their third win in a row and second on the table.
The early signs were positive for Glory who carved out a number of good openings as new signing Babalj made his presence known in the final third. Adam Luca thought he'd put Glory ahead with a taken free-kick that hit the net, however, referee Nathan MacDonald demanded it be retaken and second time around Luca curled into the side netting. Glory's next opening came via Ludovic Boi who worked his way inside the 18-yard box but was unable to get off a decent shot under pressure. Against the run of play the hosts took the lead when Oar's goal bound shot was brilliantly blocked by Frank Juric who was left helpless as Grossman stroked in the rebound.
The game was decided by a twelve spell early in the second half in which Roar netted three times. Oar began the goal avalanche with a shot that rebounded in off the post, Grossman added his second by converting in a crowded area before Joshua McVey capitalised after Scott Neville was deceived by an awkward bounce on 59 minutes. Eli Babalj reduced the deficit eight minutes later by driving forward to let loose a stinging shot from 17-metres flew past the outstretched gloves of Matthew Acton. Glory had a late opportunity to pull another back when Anthony Skorich found space but his shot was desperately cleared by the defence. Grossman notched his hat-trick two minutes from the end after being set up by Oar.
JETS OVERPOWER GLORY WOMEN
The finals hopes of Perth Glory Women have suffered a major setback with today's 4-1 loss to Newcastle Jets at Wanderers Oval. While Newcastle climbed from seventh to joint third with the win, Glory remains at the foot of the W-League table with just a single win from five starts. Marianna Tabian gave the visitors an early lead but goals from Kirstyn Pearce, Katie Gill and Nicole Jones swung the game in the Jets' favour before half-time and Amber Nielson's late penalty conversion sealed the game.
It all started so positively for Glory with Samantha Kerr weaving her way inside the penalty area before squaring for Marianna Tabian to poke in at close-range after 6 minutes. But Kirstyn Pearce restored parity eleven minutes later when her dangerous cross from the right beat everyone to end in the back of the net. Newcastle then took hold of the game and Katie Gill headed them in front following a well-worked 24th minute corner. A goal line clearance by Emily Dunn denied Gill a second, but from the resulting corner Nicole Jones nodded the host's three-one up after 27 minutes.
Fired up by coach Nicola Williams, Glory came out after the break with renewed enthusiasm to mount a concerted assault on the hosts goal. Substitute Elisa D'Ovidio showed some spark in the final third, while Collette McCallum's curling free-kick forced a good save from goalkeeper Alison Logue. But Newcastle weathered the storm and slowly regained the ascendency through a hard-working midfield complemented by an ever-threatening attack lead by Gill. Victory was secured fourteen minutes from the end when Amber Neilson converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Sanna Frostevall.
MAKE OR BREAK FOR GLORY
David Mitchell says the lead-up to Christmas will define Perth Glory’s season. Glory are last on the eight-team table with ten games to play, however, Mitchell is refusing to concede his team are out of the finals race. “We are still in the play-off hunt but we have to start producing results away from home,” he said. “If we can get a couple of wins on the road and keep doing well at home, we’ll be up there.” Glory’s run in to the Christmas period includes home matches against Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory before away tests against Wellington Phoenix and Sydney F.C.
JOEYS TEAM MATES JOIN GLORY YOUTH
Gareth Naven has added two of Western Australia’s emerging stars to the Perth Glory Youth squad as he plans to take down Queensland Roar tomorrow. A number of injuries within the Glory set-up has left Naven unable to call on senior players this weekend, prompting the coach to include Australian Under-17 internationals Eli Babalj and Trent Sainsbury in his travelling party. “Injuries are something the team has to deal with and it opens the door for some of the young players we’re looking at in the coming years to experience and learn about the National Youth League,” Naven said.
Glory’s attack had several near misses in front of goal last weekend, leading Naven to focus in on their finishing skills at training during the week. For many of the young Glory line-up it will be the first time they’ve stepped foot inside Suncorp Stadium but Naven says they have nothing to fear and is looking forward to an entertaining match. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have played there and it’s a great surface and a great environment,” said Naven. “Each week we’ve been faced with new challenges and the boys have risen to meet them head on. I wouldn’t expect anything different on Sunday.”
MATILDAS FUTURE SUCCESS IS SAFE : DE VANNA
Lisa De Vanna is tipping a bright future for Australian football following the establishment of the women's national league. The Matildas qualified for the quarter finals at last year's Women's World Cup and De Vanna says the new W-League will help the national team improve on that performance. "I've just spent the last seven months in Sweden where it's more professional and higher intensity but I'm very impressed," she told au.fourfourtwo.com. "The W-League is a major boost for the national team. It builds confidence and composure for three years from now ... I honestly feel that if we continue to have the W-League, I'm sure we will do very, very well at the World Cup."
De Vanna is one of the hottest commodities in the women's game with clubs from the United States and Sweden tracking her progress. But for now, De Vanna says she's just happy playing for her hometown club Perth Glory in the W-League. "I'm still indecisive," she said of her future plans. "I have to find a way that's going to benefit me and make me happy. I'm catching up with Tommy [national coach Tom Sermanni] this weekend to talk about it. I'm really stuck. It's always nice when people scream your name because that means they still remember me and I'm someone who's done a lot for the country."
This weekend Glory head to Newcastle where De Vanna is focused on bringing home all three points. The showdown between De Vanna and Matildas great Cheryl Salisbury promises to be one of the more intriguing match-ups. "Cheryl and Katie Gill are like my best friends in the Matildas because we all want the three points, so it's hard," she said. "But we're very confident and with players like Collette [McCallum], Tanya [Oxtoby] and myself who are supposed to be the big players – if we can keep everyone's heads up, we can do some damage. I just go out and play every game with heart and soul. What you see is what you get from me."
HALL OF FAME HONOURS WHEELER
One of Western Australia's most decorated female players, goalkeeper Tracey Wheeler, has been inducted into the Football Australia Hall Of Fame. Wheeler, who played in two World Cups for Australia, was one of three recipients of the Award of Distinction at a Football Federation Australia function in Melbourne last Friday. "I'm very proud to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Wheeler. "Many of the female players previously inducted I either played against and looked up to as a youngster or were teammates in the national team over many years. There isn't a lot of females in the Hall of Fame so I feel very chuffed to be included in such an elite group."
Wheeler scales the heights of the women's game during an eleven-year career with the national team. Between 1989 and 2000 she wore the green and gold of Australia on 49 occasions with appearances at the 1995 and 1999 World Cups, and the 2000 Olympic Games. "The Sydney Olympics was the highlight of my Matildas career," commented Wheeler. "I was picking up some good form after my second knee reconstruction and went into the tournament as the number one goalkeeper. For me it was a great personal triumph and signalled the end of a couple of very frustrating years."
Born in Sydney, Wheeler played juniors as an outfield player and made the switch to goalkeeping at the age of 20. Shortly after making her national team debut in 1989, Wheeler moved to Perth and would represent Western Australia at four national championships, adding to the three at which she appeared for New South Wales. Wheeler played three seasons of national league football for Adelaide, while on the local front turned out for Morley, Forrestfield, Fremantle United and Murdoch University, amongst others. A serious knee injury brought her glittering career to a close in 2002.
In all, eleven former players, referees, administrators and journalists were welcomed into the Hall of Fame at last week's ceremony. Former Socceroos captain Aurelio Vidmar, capped 53 times by Australia, became the 21st induction into the Hall Of Champions. Julie Murray, one-time captain of the Matildas, received the Medal of Excellence for her services to women's football. Ex-Socceroos Cliff Almond and George Keith joined Wheeler in the Award of Distinction category. Non-playing inductees were former referee John De Witt, journalist Peter Desira, administrators John Thomson, George Dick and Don Di Fabrizio and former national coaching director Mike Wells.
GRIFFITHS FANCIES STANLEY FOR PLAY-OFFS
Rostyn Griffiths is backing Accrington Stanley to make the League Two play-offs. Griffiths, who has just three matches remaining on his loan deal from Blackburn Rovers, has enjoyed playing for the Reds and may be tempted to return to the Fraser Eagle Stadium on a long-term loan or even a permanent basis when the transfer window opens in January. Whatever happens, the 20-year old has every confidence Stanley are capable of making up a nine-point deficit to reach the play-offs. "I've said all along that we've played against a lot of teams and I've not seen many teams better than us," he told the 'Lancashire Telegraph'. "I think play-offs should be a target for us and then see what happens from there."
Saturday's 3-0 victory over Bournemouth, in which Griffiths scored a stunning third goal, elevated Accrington to 16th in League Two. Despite their lowly position on the league table, the club are placed sit sixth on the form table having taken eleven points from their last six outings. "If we play like we have done in the last few weeks, there won't be many teams in the league that can compete with us. It will be just a matter of scoring our goals, which we did on Saturday and hopefully we can do again. Now surely our confidence has got to be flying and there's quality on the bench as well to come on."
NAGLIERI ADDED TO PERTH HONOUR ROLL
Antonio Naglieri has joined an illustrious group of players to have won the prestigious Fairest and Best award at Perth S.C. The silky skilled midfielder picked up his first ever club Fairest and Best at Perth's annual ball on Saturday evening, adding to the Gold Medal he won last month as the top player in the Premier League. David Onoforo, scorer of 21 goals this year, came in as runner-up to Naglieri. The Reserves Fairest and Best trophy was taken out by attack-minded Geneveo Human ahead of Michael Black. Striker Niall Shelley received the Youth Fairest and Best with team vice-captain Nathan Rawes in second place. The Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy, presented to the clubs' most outstanding young player, went home with Michael Black with Jared Brooks collecting the Youth Development Player of the Year.
GOSNELLS REVEAL NEW COACHING TEAM
Gosnells City have appointed Tony Maguire and Alan Dunlop as joint first team coaches for the 2009 First Division season. "Between them Tony and Alan have an immeasurable amount of coaching and playing experience at many levels, and both have the drive and determination to progress our club forward to greater things in 2009 and beyond," said club president Tony Pritchard. Maguire and Dunlop take up the reins from Tony Campbell, who took Gosnells to ninth place last season.
Maguire will draw upon a range of coaching experiences built through spells at Swan I.C., Ferndale United and Gosnells City. Last season he guided Gosnells' Masters to a historic League and Cup double, just twelve months after gaining promotion from the First Division. Dunlop, a former State team player, will continue his role between the posts for Gosnells and provide the club with additional on-field leadership. It will be his first senior coaching appointment having previously coached at junior and youth levels.
SOCCEROOS SNEAK WIN IN BAHRAIN
Mark Bresciano snatched Australia a last-gasp 1-0 victory over Bahrain in this evening's World Cup Qualifier in Manama. The all-important goal came three minutes into stoppage time, and very much against the run of play, when Bresciano thundered a shot past goalkeeper Sayed Jaffer after pouncing on a defensive error. Post-match, Pim Verbeek admitted the result flattered the Socceroos. "Bahrain played very well and we didn't but we were lucky to get these three points," he said. "We did not deserve it. We would have been happy with one point. It was a top game but we never really had any control over this game." The win consolidates Australia's position at the top of Group A with nine points, two ahead of second-placed Japan and five clear of Qatar.
Australia was on the back foot early with goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer pushing away Abdulla Fatadi's angled strike after 10 minutes. The Socceroos custodian came up trumps again nine minutes later by blocking Jaycee John's effort after he went around David Carney. Mohamed Hubail's acrobat overhead failed to trouble Schwarzer, likewise Mahmood Abdulrahman's shot from an acute angle. Australia didn't threaten until the 39th minute when Harry Kewell glanced wide from a Carney cross. The half closed with Salman Isa pulling the ball across the face of goal as the hosts searched for what would have been a deserved lead.
Bahrain continued to look the more likely to score after the turnaround as Isa hit into the side-netting and John headed wide at a corner. Carney had a golden opportunity to put Australia ahead but blasted into the side-netting from 5-metres after receiving josh Kennedy's cutback in the 59th minute. Isa's cross was narrowly beyond the reach of John, while Fatadi's shot was deflected for a corner as the hosts sought to capitalise on their dominance. And there were less than two minutes to go when substitute Abdulla Dakeel snapped wide. Deep in stoppage time Schwarzer launched a booming clearance which skimmed heads and a moments hestiation by Mohamed Husain was enough for Bresciano to through and place wide of the 'keeper to steal an unlikely victory.
TARKA BACK IN THE MIX
David Tarka regrets attempting to play on through the pain of a quadricep injury received during the opening match of the A-League season. The 25-year old defender played just once last season due to a badly torn hamstring and pushed himself too hard to play five matches earlier in the current campaign as he struggled to overcome injury. “My performances at the start of the year weren’t to the level that I would like,” Tarka said. “I know the potential that I’ve got and the capacity that I can play at and I wasn’t reaching that. I missed a year of football and you think, ‘What do you do?’. Well, you want to play, you put your hand up, your team needs you. I guess I was letting myself down and letting the team down.”
Having taken a month off to get his body right, Tarka feels he is now ready to contribute to the Glory line-up as the club pushes towards their first ever finals appearance over the remaining ten rounds of fixtures. His availability for this weekend’s clash with Queensland Roar provided some positive news for coach David Mitchell, whose teams defensive problems have been exposed all too regularly this season. Another central defender, former Socceroo Hayden Foxe, remains sidelined indefinitely with a hamstring problem, while Dino Djulbic only recently returned from a lengthy suspension.
As is the case with so many A-League players as the competition readies itself to welcome new clubs Gold Coast United and North Queensland, Tarka is unsure as to what the future holds for his football career. “That’s another thing that’s too early to tell,” Tarka said. “First and foremost from the club’s perspective is that I need to be playing consistently every week. It would be silly for the club to enter into a contract negotiation with me in the state that I’ve been in. I’ve got to get myself fit and I’m sure (the contract negotiations) will come further down the track.”
FUTURE MATILDA’S MAKES A CLEAN SWEEP OF QUALIFIERS
Australia has qualified for the AFC Under-16 Women's Championships after completing the qualifying tournament without loss. The national youth team chalked up a staggering 43 goals without conceding once in cruising past Singapore, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. "The team's style of play has earned much praise from the spectators, and I am sure this young team can develop further into a unit which will be feared by the other finalists," said coach Gary Phillips. Representing Western Australia in Kuala Lumpar were Samanatha Kerr and Jaymee Gibbons.
Australia commenced the qualification phase with a 17-0 troucing of Singapore. Caitlin Foord lead the way with six goals, Mikaela Hatz and Ruth Wallace each bagged hat-tricks with the remainder coming from Tiegan Allen (2), Rebekah Stott, Madeline Searl and an own goal. Myanmar provided the future Matildas a sterner test three days later before surrendering 4-0 in hot and humid conditions. Samantha Kerr got the ball rolling after 2 minutes before Teigen Allen netted twice and Nicola Bolger once in the second half.
A place at the Under-16 Women’s Championships was secured with Saturday's 20-0 humbling of the Philippines. Michaela Hatzirodos, Caitlin Foord and Tara Andrews bagged three apiece, Rebekah Stott, Ruth Wallace, Alanna Kennedy, Jaymee Gibbons and Brittany Whitfield each got two with Madeline Searl getting the other. Australia completed the qualifiers with a dominance display against Thailand, who went down 2-0. Emily Van Egmond opened the scoring four minutes after half-time with Tara Andrews sealing victory in the 79th minute.
The Australian squad for the AFC Under-16 Women's Championships qualifiers was Kahlia Hogg (Australian Capital Territory), Teigen Allen, Caitlin Foord, Alexandra Huynh, Alanna Kennedy, Jessie Wharepouri (New South Wales), Hannah Brewer, Emily Van Egmond (Newcastle Jets), Tara Andrews, Madeline Searl (Northern New South Wales), Samantha Kerr (Perth Glory), Erika Elze, Mikaela Hatzirodos, Amy Higgins, Courtney Holmwood, Rebekah Stott, Brittany Whitfield (Queensland), Ruth Wallace (South Australia), Nicola Bolger (Sydney FC), Ashley Brown, Stephanie Catley, Brianna Davey (Victoria) and Jaymee Gibbons (West Australia).
RUKAVYTSYA LANDS MARQUEE STATUS
Perth Glory has confirmed Nikita Rukavytsya as the club’s under-23 marquee player for the 2008/09 A-League season. Rukavytsya, Glory’s leading scorer with six goals, has experienced a rapid rise through the ranks of Australian football including an important role in the 2008 Olympic Games campaign. “Nikita is a very exciting young prospect and has a bright future in the game,” coach David Mitchell said of his 21-year old striker. “He’s level headed and desperate to continue to improve himself as a player and is adding to his game all the time. Nikita is not only scoring goals but also contributing to the team when he doesn’t have the ball. He works hard to apply pressure on defenders and is setting up his team mates in good positions for us to attack.”
Football Federation Australia unveiled the under-23 marquee initiative prior to the start of the season as way of encouraging the nation’s emerging stars to remain in the A-League. “It’s important to keep these players in Australia as they’re developing. We have a quality league and it is a terrific grounding for any player with aspirations of playing at the highest levels in Europe,” said Mitchell. “It can be very difficult if they try to make their way over there at a young age because there is a lot of competition and they may not end up playing many games which can be detrimental to their long term development. I think the system could be expanded to incorporate two under-23 players at each club because we have so many quality kids coming through the system and I can only see benefits for the A-League and Australian football.”
O’CONNELL INSPIRED BY TELEVISION APPEARANCE
Teenager Calum O’Connell hopes the valuable lessons he learnt during a stint on the reality television Football Superstar will helped propel him into professionalism. And the improvement he showed after three weeks under the tutelage of Sydney F.C. coach John Kosmina during filming for the show will be put to the test when he plays for the Australian Schoolboys on their tour of Japan and South Korea at the end of the month. 18-year old TAFE students O’Connell (Sorrento), Ryan Pretorious (Cockburn City) and Kynon Melling (Forrestfield United) have been selected to represent Australia on the eight-game trip.
O’Connell was blown away by the way the players were treated on the television show and found Kosmina’s frank assessments refreshing. “It was all a bit surreal in how we were treated,” he said. “We were treated like professionals with the food, the training, recovery, everything. It was a big jump coming from the State League into that.” There was one particular piece of advice which struck a chord with O’Connell, who is using the coach’s criticism to improve his game. “Kossie said to me ‘you’re probably not going to make it because you’re too slow’,” O’Connell admitted. “I don’t think anyone here in WA would have said that to me. So I’m working on that now, I’m trying to improve me speed.”
The Australian Schoolboys depart on 27th November and return on 11th December. They play two games against J-League youth teams before heading to Korea where they have six games lined up, including two against the national under-19 team. “This will be my first time playing overseas and to be playing for Australia is a big honour,” said O’Connell. “It’s going to be hard playing against teams in Japan because they are technically some of the best players in the world. But these are the sort of things that put you on the right path.”
GLORY DEBUT NEARS FOR ANTHONY
Marc Anthony is expected to put his hand up for an A-League debut when Perth Glory plays Queensland Roar this weekend. The former Celtic midfielder has responded well to treatment for an ankle injury suffered in the Youth team’s loss to Sydney F.C. on the weekend. “We’re looking to having Marc back on the track later this week which is good news for him. He has been working with the squad for some time and just when he gets the all clear to play he rolled his ankle,” said assistant coach Kenny Lowe. “He’s recovered well and is keen to get back out with the lads so hopefully he can push for a place this week.” Glory’s attempt to sign Anthony on a short-term deal was held by several weeks of red tape delays before finally being cleared to play on Friday.
WILLIAMS CONCERNED BY LATE LAPSES
Perth Glory Women coach Nicola Williams is concerned by her teams late fade-out during the 3-2 win over Adelaide United on the weekend. Glory’s dominance was rewarded with a three-goal buffer before conceding twice in the final four minutes to give Adelaide a glimmer of hope. With first choice goalkeeper Kate Stewart out for the season through injury, Williams put the lapses down to a lack of experience. “Of course there’s always concern (with a late lapse),” Williams said. “It’s a big loss to us losing Kate Stewart, so we’ve got to work around that and see how we go.”
Williams admitted she has had to readjust her targets for the team after a poor start to the campaign, which yielded three successive losses. Glory went down to Sydney F.C., Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory before the history-making win over Adelaide. Although Glory stump up the W-League at the conclusion of Round Four Williams remains confident they can bridge the gap between themselves and the top four to qualify for the play-offs. “We’re still happy with how we’re going and I guess it’s the next three or four games that’ll really answer that question,” she said.
While youngsters Marianna Tabain and Ella Mastrantonio starred in midfield, Glory were still without Australian Under-16 international Samantha Kerr. “Ella and Marianna are sensational, they’re very skilful and talented players and allow us to play a more attacking style of football and keep the ball,” Williams said. “We say that they’re young players, but they are most vital to us these ones and with Sam coming back next week we should see even more (positive) things.” Glory women take on Newcastle Jets away this Sunday in a clash they must win to remain in touch with the top four.
VRTESKI CALLED UP BY MACEDONIA
One-time Australian youth international Aleks Vrteski is on the brink of a debut for the Macedonia Under-21 team. Vrteski, who kept goal for Perth Glory prior to joining Pobeda Prilep in Macedonia's top flight, has been called into the squad for the 19th November clash with Albania. The former Sorrento and Stirling Lions player represented Australia at Under-17 and Under-20 levels but has been continually overlooked by national selectors since moving to Europe in mid-2007.
GRIFFITHS SCORCHER STUNS BOURNEMOUTH
Rostyn Griffiths helped Accrington Stanley to just their fifth win of the season with a sensational long-range strike in the 3-0 weekend defeat of Bournemouth. Goals inside ten minutes by Paul Mullin and Terry Gornell gave Stanley a dream start before 20-year old Griffiths stepped up with his first ever senior goal. A partially cleared cross was enough invitation for Griffiths to lash a sweet half volley into the top corner from 22-metres and stun the Fraser Eagle Stadium crowd. The win lifts Stanley to 16th on the League Two table.
FREMANTLE’S TOP AWARDS WON BY STRAKER
Reliable defender Tom Straker made a clean sweep of the awards when Fremantle Spirit honoured their best with a gala function at the Fremantle Sailing Club recently. The trophies as Club Champion and Coaches Award were presented to 23-year old Straker who worked tirelessly in a Fremantle defence was under pressure more often than not during the winter months. Jason Barerra, winner of the top award last year, was runner-up this time around. Cameron Hayes picked up the Reserve Club Champion award ahead of goalkeeper Dan McBride, who was honoured with the Coaches Award. Sam Carello went home with the Youth Club Champion, Wesley Britz was runner-up and Corey Muirhead received the Coaches Award.
SYDNEY OUT-CLASS GLORY YOUTH
Sydney F.C. Youth extended its unbeaten run to six games with today’s 3-0 win over Perth Glory on the artificial surface at Seymour Shaw Park. Sean Rooney scored twice with Anthony Golec putting the icing on the cake for the home side whose ambition completing the season undefeated gathers momentum. It took just 4 minutes for the Youth League leaders to take control as Chris Payne linked with Brendan Gan whose centring pass was calmly knocked past oncoming goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic by Rooney. Glory weathered the early storm to create a chance for Reece Vittaglia who blasted just high from the top of the 18-yard box. Sydney would have been two-up if not for Aleksic who came off his line to smother at the feet of Kofi Danning just before the interval.
The second half began in much the same way as Danning fired past the post. Sydney piled on the pressure and a powerful Rooney shot was palmed away by Aleksic, who was relived to see Gan’s follow-up hit the post. Glory worked their way back into the game and from a set piece Hayden Doyle headed wide. Home custodian Vedran Janjetovic hooked the ball away with his legs to deny Anthony Skoric at close-range on the hour. But the result was soon put beyond doubt as Nick Tsattalios got in behind the defence and cut the ball back for Rooney whose low shot went in off the post after 72 minutes. Sydney continued to press and deep in stoppage time Sam Munro fed the ball across for Golec to drive in goal number three.
GLORY WOMEN OPEN THEIR ACCOUNT
Perth Glory Women have registered their first ever W-League win by dismissing Adelaide United 3-2 at Members Equity Stadium. The win was far easier than suggested by the score, with Collette McCallum, Lisa De Vanna and an own goal putting the home side on track for their maiden victory before Adelaide scored a couple of late consolations. Glory coach Nicola Williams said there was a feeling of relief amongst the team after they claimed their first points of the season. “It’s good to get off the zero points and have a win,” Williams said. “It’s really good for the team, rewarding for all the work they’ve put in - we knew we could do it.” The win moves Glory level with Canberra United at the bottom of the table.
An enterprising Glory were rewarded in the 25th minute when Marianna Tabain fended off several challenges to tee-up midfield partner McCallum, whose dipping first-time shot from 20-metres hit the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar. Half-time was only minutes away when De Vanna’s surging run out of midfield ended with the Matildas striker to coolly slotting past Emma Wirkus at close-range. An chance Adelaide held of a second half revival were laid to rest on 56 minutes as Reds captain Di Alagich deflected Elisa D’Ovidio’s cross into her own net. Adelaide grabbed one back in the final minute of regulation time when Sharon Black lobbed over an out of position Maya Diedrichsen. And with the last kick of the game Victoria Balomenos bundled the visitors second over the line.
YOUNG SOCCEROOS BOOK EGYPT TRIP
The Young Socceroos will be going to Egypt next year after progressing to the semi-finals of last week's AFC Under-19 Championships. Australia successfully negotiating their way through the initial group phase of the tournament without loss before a quarter-final win over DPR Korea booked their place in the last four and a spot in next years FIFA Under-20 World Cup. Unfortunately, the Young Socceroos then bowed out of the tournament to United Arab Emirates, who went on to defeat Uzbekistan 2-1 in the final. National youth coach Jan Versleijen will spend the next eleven months fine-tuning his squad leading into the World Cup in Egypt.
Australian gave themselves the best possible start to the tournament by defeating Thailand 1-0 on match day one. The decisive goal came in the 20th minute when Sam Munro stepped past the last defender to send a sweet shot into the bottom corner. Two days later the Young Socceroos were forced to come from behind to grab a 1-1 draw with Uzbekistan. Karimov Sherzodbek put the Uzbeks in front after 37 minutes with Tahj Minniecon equalising shortly after the interval. Milos Lujic and Sebastian Ryall got the goals which sealed a 2-1 victory against Jordan to send Australia through to the last eight.
A spectacular extra-time goal by Mitch Nichols secured the Young Socceroos a pulsating 2-1 win against DPR Korea along with passage to the tournament semi-finals and the under-20 World Cup. Nichols opened the scoring after 11 minutes with a curling shot into the top corner only for DPR Korea to equalise early in the second half following a goal mouth scramble. With the match looking destined for penalties, Ryan McGowan launched a long throw which Luke DeVere headed on for Nichols who produced an acrobatic overhead kick which left the goalkeeper stranded. Australia exited from the Championship after suffering a 3-0 loss to the United Arab Emirates for whom Ahmed Khalil, Rashed Essa and Abdulaziz Hussain scored.
The Young Socceroos squad for the AFC Under-19 Championships was Daniel Mullen (Adelaide United), James Brown (Australian Institute of Sport), Peter Cvetanovski (Borussia Monchengladbach), Andrew Redmayne (Central Coast Mariners), Daniel Ireland (Coventry City), Oliver Bozanic (Reading), Ryan McGowan (Hearts), Nathan Elasi, Milos Lujic, Sebastian Ryall (Melbourne Victory), James Holland, Marko Jesic, Ben Kantarovski, Jason Naidovski (Newcastle Jets), Isaka Cernak, Luke DeVere, Tahj Minniecon, Mitchell Nichols, Thomas Oar (Queensland Roar), Matthew Jurman, Sam Munro, Nikolas Tsattalios (Sydney F.C.) and Michael McEntagert (uncontracted).
DE VANNA LENDS EXPERIENCE TO GLORY WOMEN
Matildas goal scorer Lisa De Vanna is ready to produce a hot streak for Perth Glory women after a freezing season in Sweden. De Vanna, who made her Glory debut in last Saturday's loss to Melbourne Victory, will line-up in her first home game against Adelaide United at Members Equity Stadium today. Glory are coming off a trio of losses and De Vanna said the onus was on her, fellow World Cup star Collette McCallum and team captain Tanya Oxtoby to bring the best out of a young squad. "I'm trying to teach the young players what I've learnt from being away," she said. "In Sweden, it's so professional and I'm trying to bring those standards to Perth Glory."
Despite the sometimes sub-zero temperatures in Sweden, De Vanna piled on an incredible 15 goals in 19 games to lift AIK to fourth place. Her scoring feats would have been no surprise to AIK bosses, who learned of her pace and poise after she scored four goals in last year's Women's World Cup. "The hardest thing for me, besides adapting to the culture, was the weather. I've never known cold like that," she said. "When you train, you can't stop for 30 seconds because you get so cold. One of our training games was cancelled because of snow." De Vanna's inclusion is a major boost for last placed Glory, who are the only team without a point in the W-League.
YOUNG MATILDAS BOLSTER GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women welcome the added firepower of teenagers Ella Mastrantonio and Marianna Tabain when Adelaide United journey across the Nullabor this weekend. Mastrantonio and Tabain return from Australian Under-19 duty to partner dynamic striker Lisa De Vanna as Glory go seeking their first win of the season and commence their climb up the W-League ladder. Adelaide head to Perth on a high after inflicting a 3-2 loss on high-flying Sydney F.C. and no doubt have their sights trained on another three points. Perth Glory Women take on Adelaide United at Members Equity Stadium from 4.00pm on Saturday.
HARVEY SHOOTS FOR THE STARS
Teenage defender Liam Harvey is absolutely over the moon at wearing Perth Glory colours. Harvey has long held the ambition of making a career in football and after being selected for Glory Youth feels he is on the right path to achieving that goal. “From an early age I knew that what I wanted was to be a professional footballer,” explained Harvey. “It was such a relief when I found out I made the final squad because everything that I had worked for over the past few years was geared towards something like this … it feels as though this is finally the start of my career as a footballer.”
Harvey, a former junior with Armadale, played the recent winter with the National Training Centre side and feels that experience positioned him well for the step up to Glory. However, he admits the gap between State League reserves and national Youth League football has taken some getting used to. “It is a massive step when compared to the reserves league,” he admitted. “You don’t have that much time on the ball so you have to know what you are going to do before you receive the ball. And the intensity is much higher in the Youth League, which should be expected.”
The NTC, which operates under the guidance of Football West, completed their debut Premier League reserves campaign just a single point away from the championship. Harvey says he did not expect the predominantly under-16 team to be so competitive in such a tough competition. “It was terrific that our season was such a success and to have people say we played some good football throughout the year was also pleasing,” he said. “I thought that we were going to go into the Reserves league and struggle to compete because of our size and age. But half way through the season we realised that we could have a good chance at winning the league.”
Harvey has matured greatly as a footballer under the tutelage of NTC coaches Kenny Lowe and Paul Wonzy, and that development will now continue with Gareth Naven at Glory Youth. “In the three years I’ve been involved with Kenny and Paul my game has improved heaps. They’ve given me greater confidence in my own ability to be comfortable and relaxed on the ball,” Harvey enthused. “Gareth has helped my development by introducing me to some different methods of defending and a variety of on the ball skills.”
After six rounds of Youth League fixtures Glory are safely ensconced in the top four, six points clear of fifth-placed Newcastle Jets, who they defeated 2-1 last weekend. Their next outing is on Saturday when Glory attempt to become the first team to take a point - or three - away from top of the table Sydney F.C. “It’s very important to us that we win this game, especially as they beat us at home and we need to continue our 100% unbeaten record away from home,” said Harvey. “Every one of us now understands the pace and quality of the players that we are playing against every week, and we’ll be going all out to become the first team to beat Sydney this season.”
DE FELICE MOVES TO PERTH
Perth S.C. have lured hard-working midfielder Dom De Felice away from Cockburn City with a offer simply too good to refuse. De Felice, who recently celebrated his 26th birthday, was convinced after speaking with Perth coach Graham Normanton that Dorrien Gardens is where he wants to be in 2009. “Everyone knows Perth has got a very serious and professional set-up, want to win all the time and expect nothing less than 100% commitment from all their players,” De Felice commented. “So when I was approached by Graham and heard his plans it was very hard for me to pass up this opportunity.”
De Felice joined Cockburn as a teenager in 1998 and quickly progressed up the ranks to wear the captain’s armband last season. And while there are things he will miss about being a Cockburn player, De Felice feels the time is right for a change of scenery. “It always hurts when you leave a club that you’ve been at for such a long time, however, at the end of the day I must do what’s best for my playing career,” he said. “This move will allow me to grow as a player and become more disciplined on the field. I’m looking forward to playing defensive midfield with Perth and providing greater freedom to the attacking midfielders.”
No one joins Perth and walks straight into the starting eleven and competition for places in the middle of the park is especially intense. De Felice knows he’ll have to first prove himself before being rewarded with a spot in Normanton’s star-studded line-up. “I’m gonna have to work very hard to cement a spot in the first team, and then hopefully do something I’ve never been able to do before and that is to win the League,” he explained. “It’s gonna be hard because there will be the usual contenders pushing for the title but I think we’ll be up there come end of the season, and to help Perth win a couple of other trophies would also be nice.”
INGLEWOOD PLACE FAITH IN BAMBER
Lee Bamber has been rewarded for a stellar year at the helm of Inglewood United with a contract extension. The local scene has been abuzz with suggestions Bamber was on the verge of being shown the door by Inglewood, however, the 39-year old is pleased to be able to end the rumour mongering. "Rumours are great aren't they?," commented Bamber, who guided Inglewood to fourth place last winter. "I can confirm that have been re-appointed for next season and I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead."
Inglewood enjoyed much success last season and Bamber, formerly a coach with Preston North End's Centre of Excellence, has set his sights on further improvement. "We know it will be tougher next season because the expectations are higher and the surprise element has gone," he commented. "We're looking to bring in four or five new players to enhance the squad and increase competition for places. And we'll be using the Night Series to blood some of our younger players with the view to gradually integrating them into the first team."
Having taking up the coaching reins on the verge of the home and away series, Bamber did a sterling job with a young Inglewood line-up that many had tipped to struggle. "I always thought we would finish in the top four and that was our aim," he said. "The boys surpassed my expectations in some games but then fell well below the standards we had set in others. Overall I was happy with the season and I'm expecting more of the same intensity but with greater consistency in 2009."
A goalkeeper for much of his playing career, 39-year old Bamber has successfully made the transtion to goal scorer with Gosnells City's masters, who he this year helped to the League and Cup double. "I was always told you're a long time not playing and to keep playing for as long as you can at whatever level," Bamber explained. "I'm enjoying having a run up front nowadays as oppose to playing in goal, but we've got a great bunch of lads at Gossies and to achieve the double this season was superb."
PRICE IS RIGHT FOR KNIGHTS
One-time Welsh international Paul Price has been confirmed coach of Western Knights for the coming season. Capped 25 times by Wales in a lengthy playing career that included stints at Tottenham Hotspur and Luton Town, Price was formally introduced as senior coach to the Knights players on Saturday afternoon, when he outlined plans for returning the club to the top half of the table. Price is no stranger to the club having guided an Under-18 side that featured Anthony Skorich, Matt Allen, Josip Peran and Michael De Souza to the League and Cup double in 2007.
It was as a 17-year old that Price started his senior career by joining Luton where he made 207 league appearances over ten seasons. He transferred to Tottenham in mid-1981 and inside a year was at Wembley Stadium collecting a F.A. Cup winner’s medal for his role in the final defeat of Queens Park Rangers. Price played a total of 62 games for the London club, including ten in European competition, before moving to Swansea City for whom he played 61 times. A stint with Minnesota Strikers in the United States preceded Price making a further 86 appearances for Peterborough United.
THE DREAM IS OVER FOR ADELAIDE
Adelaide United has fallen at the final hurdle in their brave bid to become Asia's number one club. Instead, it's Japanese club Gamba Osaka who can claim that tag after winning the two leg Asian Champions League final 5-0 on aggregate. Adelaide, however, can hold their heads high having pioneered a new chapter in Australian football history. In their twelve-match Champions League campaign Adelaide covered 100,900km in aerial travel and played teams from South Korea, Vietnam, China, Japan and Uzbekistan to be recognised as the second best club in the region.
COLCHESTER MOVE BOOSTED COYNE’S INTERNATIONAL PROFILE
Socceroo Chris Coyne has confessed his move to Colchester United provided a massive boost to his international career. Snapped up from trouble-torn Luton Town for a then U's record transfer fee of £350,000 in January, Coyne hasn't looked back on the international scene since. "Coming to Colchester has defintely raised my profile," he told the 'Gazette' online newspaper. "When the club shelled out the equivalent of one million Australian dollers to buy me it was splashed all over the papers back home. Colchester were playing in the Coca-Cola Championship at the time and my transfer was big news across the entire Aussie media at the time. It was a huge fee and a very fortunate move for me because I had fallen out of favour after representing my country at Under-14 and Under-17 levels." Coyne is in the running to make his sixth full Australian cap when the Socceroos meet Bahrain next week.
WILLIAMS COMMITTED TO MIDDLESBROUGH
Despite attracting the attention of several clubs, Rhys Williams’ has made playing for Middlesbrough his number one priority according to the young defenders’ agent. Speculation has been rife that Williams, a Welsh Under-21 international, could be tempted to leave Riverside Stadium when his contract expires at the end of the season. And while his agent, Gary Williams, confirmed there is Premier League interest in his charge, he insists staying with Boro remains the 20-year old’s priority. “There are teams interested, a couple of Premier League terms, but he is happy at Middlesbrough. He made the first team before he got injured and is pleased with how it is going,” explained Williams, before revealing Middlesbrough prevented the young defender going out on loan earlier in the campaign. “Burnley wanted him on loan, Owen Coyle said he would take him for as long as he could get him. But Boro said no as they wanted him for the first team and he was getting very close before he got injured.”
WEST AUSSIE TRIO IN LINE FOR SOCCEROOS HONOURS
Australia has been boosted for the upcoming 2010 World Cup qualifier against Bahrain by the return from injury of senior players Harry Kewell and Mark Bresciano. The duo join start quartet Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer, Brett Emerton and Lucas Neill in a 24-player squad named earlier this week by coach Pim Verbeek for next Wednesday's qualifier in Manama. Flying the West Australian flag are goalkeeper Michael Petkovic, defender Chris Coyne and attack-minded Richard Garcia. Successive wins over Uzbekistan and Qatar have the Socceroos at the head of the Group A table with six points, two ahead of Japan and Qatar, and on course for a top two finish.
The Australian squad to play Bahrain is Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Scott McDonald (Celtic), Mile Jedinak (Central Coast Mariners), Chris Coyne (Colchester United), Mile Sterjovski (Derby County), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Tim Cahill (Everton), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray), Bruce Djite (Genclerbirligi), Carl Valeri (Grosseto), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Josh Kennedy (Karlsruher), Shane Stefanutto (Lyn Oslo), Mark Milligan, Jade North (Newcastle Jets), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Craig Moore (Queensland Roar), Adam Federici (Reading), David Carney (Sheffield United), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor), Jacob Burns (Unirea Valahorum) and Lucas Neill (West Ham United).
I'M NO DIVER SAYS TRINIDAD
Perth Glory import Adrian Trinidad has pleaded his innocence after being caught up in a second ‘diving’ controversy in just three weeks. Referee Matthew Breeze awarded Glory a late penalty on Sunday after Trinidad and Newcastle Jets captain Jade North collided inside the 18-yard box, and Eugene Dadi kept his cool to fire home the penalty to snatch a 2-2 draw. The drama continued after the match when Jets coach Gary Van Egmond, furious at the penalty decision, stormed on to the pitch and exchanged heated words with the Glory striker.
Trinidad, who came off the bench to spark Glory’s fight-back, yesterday defended his on-field actions by insisting he had been fouled by North. “I’m a professional and I try to do my best for the team. I play the game fairly and I’m disappointed if people think of me in another way,” he told Jonathon Cook of the ‘West Australian’ newspaper. “I haven’t watched the replay but I know that I was focused on the ball and I felt that I was fouled. It was in the penalty area and the referee made his decision and that was the end of it for me.”
But as soon as Breeze blew the final whistle, Van Egmond let his feelings be known, gesticulating wildly in Trinidad’s direction, and the striker responded before players from both sides joined the fracas. “I didn’t think it was right for the Jets coach to come out on to the ground. He was saying a few things, and there were other players saying a few things but I didn’t understand too much,” said Trinidad, who speaks limited English.
Sydney coach John Kosmina first shone the spotlight on Trinidad when the 26-year old fell to the ground theatrically after being hit on the back of the head by defender Iain Fyfe in Glory’s 2-1 mid-October win. Kosmina accused Trinidad of being “soft and cheap” for the stoppage time tumble, sparking a nationwide call to stamp out diving. The heat was turned up late last month when Adelaide United’s Cristiano conned Breeze into giving a penalty against Melbourne Victory – when television replays showed that Rodrigo Vargas had not made any contact with the Reds striker.
COYNE ESCAPES BAN
Perth Glory captain Jamie Coyne has avoided suspension after the club successfully appealed against his dismissal in yesterday’s controversial 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets. Coyne was baffled by referee Matthew Breeze’s decision to produce a red card for his second half tackle on Jin-hyung Song. Glory’s appeal against the send off was supported by the Match Review Panel which, after viewing television footage of the incident, ruled no red card or yellow card was warranted. “We felt as though we had a very strong case and we’re thankful that the Match Review Panel shared our view that the tackle did not warrant an infringement,” said Glory chief executive Scott Gooch. “The footage shows quite clearly that Jamie cleared the ball and any contact was incidental.” Coyne is now available for selection when Glory takes on fourth-placed Queensland Roar on Sunday 23rd November.
HISTORY BECKONS FOR BIRIGHITTI
Adelaide United teenager Mark Birighitti will make history this week by becoming the youngest goalkeeper to contest a FIFA confederations international club final. 17-year old Birighitti assumes the spot between the posts from suspended 'keeper Eugene Galekovic when Adelaide attempt to overturn a 3-0 deficit and claim victory over Japan's Gamba Osaka in the Asian Champions League final second leg at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday evening. And in doing so he'll eclipse the achievements of Iker Casillas, who was aged 19 when he helped Real Madrid win the UEFA Champions League final against Valencia in 2000.
Although Birighitti will be playing the biggest game in his short career, coach Aurelio Vidmar is confident the former Perth S.C. junior can hold his own on the big stage. "He's done exceptionally well for us in the games that he's played in the A-League and once again as it was in the A-League, I had no hesitation in putting him in when the opportunity arose and now he's got another opportunity," Vidmar said. "For a 17-year old playing in an Asian Champions League Final, in most cases I would say that is a baptism of fire but he's a confident kid and I know that he will handle the situation very well."
DADI MAKES HIS POINT IN INJURY TIME
Perth Glory extended their unbeaten home run to four games when substitute Eugene Dadi secured a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets at Members Equity Stadium. The Jets looked ready to push away from the bottom of the table thanks to first half goals from Joel Griffiths and Tarek Elrich, which cancelled out a 27th minute finish by Nikita Rukavytsya. The game was in stoppage time when Dadi brought the teams level by netting a penalty controversially awarded for Jade North's foul on Adrian Trinidad which left the visiting team fuming. Jets coach Gary Van Egmond engaged in a fierce war of words with Trinidad following the final whistle and, although neither made physical contact with the other, the incident is sure to come under close scrutiny from Football Federation Australia.
The first shot in anger came after 4 minutes from Naum Sekulovski whose long-range effort drifted wide as Glory signalled their intention. However, it was the visitors who found the net after 17 minutes when Jobe Wheelhouse threaded a pass out of midfield which Joel Griffiths angled into the corner of Tando Velaphi's net from 20-metres. A stunned Glory was now on the back foot and Velaphi moved sharply to get down to Elrich's grasscutter, while Wheelhouse blasted just wide from the edge of the 18-yeard box. An Ante Covic clearance in the 27th minute went only as far as Jamie Coyne whose crisp pass allowed Rukavytsya to shrug off his marker and fire into the top corner. Half-time was just minute away when a spectacular 30-metre pass by Milligan sent clear Elrich who fended off Scott Bulloch before rifling in the visitors second.
Glory clearly wanted a quick reply after the turnaround as Nick Rizzo's low shot was saved by Covic, who soon after pushed Jamie Harnwell's effort over the bar. Coyne's 100th Glory appearance came to an end on the hour when red carded for a seemingly innocuous tangle with Jin-Hyung Song. But the ledger was balanced eight minutes later when referee Matthew Breeze dismissed Wheelhouse for his heavy challenge on Bulloch. The Jets went close to securing all three points in the 73rd minute but Joel Griffiths' snap shot hit Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Wayne Srhoj fired straight at the 'keeper and Trinidad flashed wide as Glory desperately sought their second of the afternoon. 92 minutes had been played when Jade North's body check on Trinidad lead referee Breeze to point straight to the spot, from where Dadi tucked away the equaliser.
JETS GUNNED DOWN BY GLORY YOUTH
The finals aspirations of Perth Glory Youth have taken a major leap forward with this afternoon's impressive 2-1 win against Newcastle Jets at Members Equity Stadium. The home town supporters were given plenty to cheer about as goals from Reece Vittiglia and Anthony Skorich earned all three points from an entertaining game. "The result is nice for the players while for us as coaches it's another opportunity to see them in a match environment and then focus on trying to get the individual performances up week in and week out," said coach Gareth Naven. The win consolidates fourth spot for Glory, who now sit six points clear of fifth-placed Newcastle.
Despite the warm condition, the first half pace was frenetic with Glory gradually asserting control through a series of penetrating raids. Captain Andrija Jukic snapped just wide of the upright after 28 minutes after seizing possession of the ball as it pinged around the 18-yard box. Ryan Pearson missed a good chance soon after and eight minutes from the break striker Eli Babalj sent a powerful header over the crossbar. Visiting goalkeeper Jordan Griffiths assured the teams went into the break level by turning around the post Vittiglia's free-kick from the top of the area.
The Jets began the second half strongly with Bradie Mooy drawing a good save from Dejan Aleksic, while Jesper Hakansson half-volleyed high of the bar. The opening goal came at the other end on 54 minutes when Pearson held the ball up before playing it into the path of Vittiglia to lash under the 'keeper. But the lead lasted only two minutes before James Virgili raced onto a through ball and lobbed clinically over Aleksic. The game swung firmly back in favour of Glory when Taylor Regan deliberately handled the ball inside the area after 76 minutes, leaving referee Troy Miller no option but to dismiss the defender and from the spot Skorich confidently converted his first goal of the season.
GLORY WOMEN SUFFER THIRD SUCCESSIVE LOSS
Perth Glory Women remain the W-League's only team yet to register a point following today's 3-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory at a rain-drenched Bob Jane Stadium. Perth-born midfielder Tal Karp got the ball rolling for the hosts before an own goal and Louisa Bisby's late strike condemned Glory to their third straight loss. "We have a young side and are very inexperienced which was again the difference today," said Matilda's striker Lisa De Vanna, who made her Glory debut after playing in Sweden. "The team is disappointed about the result, the challenge now is to keep focused and get a win next week against Adelaide. It's nice to be home and I am very excited about next week, I get to play at home in front of my mum and sister which I am really looking forward to."
Tanya Oxtoby and Carys Hawkins had little time to settle into the game as Victory's total dominance resulted in an eight to two shot count by the break. Even so, Stacey Learmont was presented with a chance to put the visitors ahead on 24 minutes but was narrowly beaten to a through ball by goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. Victory were left to wonder how they didn't take the lead eight minutes later when Sarah Groenewald's free-kick into the 18-yard box produced a goalmouth scramble in which Emily Dunn cleared off the line. The deadlock was broken in stoppage time by Karp who converted from the penalty spot after Dunn's foul on Rebecca Tegg.
Although Glory showed more composure after the break, they were fortunate not to concede again through Marlies Oostdam's stunning long-range attempt in the 52nd minute. It wasn't until fifteen minutes from the end that Victory doubled their advantage as Hawkins had the misfortune of heading into her own net when defending a Groenewald corner. Glory had a chance to get back into the match soon after when awarded a penalty, however, Barbieri won the battle of wits against Matildas team mate Collette McCallum. Bisby put the icing on the cake after 82 minutes by heading in another well flighted corner from Groenewald past an out of position Maya Diederichsen.
TWO MORE YEARS FOR MITCHELL
David Mitchell will remain in the coaching hot seat at Perth Glory after agreeing to a two-year contract extension with the club. Mitchell, who’ll be with Glory until the end of 2010/11 season, is well aware of the mammoth task he faces in returning the club to the top of the national league pile. “I’m under no illusions about what is required of me and the amount of hard work ahead,” he said. “This is a great club and there is a strong will that flows from the board through to the management, players, members and supporters to see Perth Glory return to the pinnacle of football in this country. We have made steady progress and I’m looking forward to continuing to meet the challenge head on. I’m confident that I can deliver on the promise of exciting, winning football at Perth Glory.”
Mitchell’s tenure was on rocky ground as recently as a month ago with Glory lagging in last place after a humiliating 4-0 away defeat to Melbourne Victory. However, a run of two wins in three games has helped swing things in favour of the coach. “Dave has the vision and coaching nous to take Perth Glory back to the top of Australian football and we have enormous faith in his ability to achieve our lofty goals,” co-owner Tony Sage said. “A key element that has been missing at our club since the establishment of the Hyundai A-League has been stability. Dave’s appointment for the next two seasons, coupled with our long term commitment as owners, ensures that Perth Glory now has the right mix to provide sustained success on and off the pitch.”
The reappointment of Mitchell was a key factor in Adriano Pellegrino’s decision to re-sign for a further two seasons this week, while promising young goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has indicated his desire to remain with the club after hearing the news. Co-owner Brett McKeon said the club was keen to re-engage itself with the local community both on and off the field, with West Australian products like Velaphi a priority.
“We do want West Australian players in our list. If there’s a talent in WA we want him to play with Perth Glory, that’s our commitment, in part, to the community,” he said. “Next year we’ll have five international (players) and they’ll be five good players. But hopefully the majority of the balance of the squad will be from WA.”
YOUNG MATILDAS QUALIFY FOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Australia is through to the AFC Under-19 Women’s Championships. The Young Matildas were rarely troubled in finishing second in their five-nation group to qualify for next October's tournament in Malaysia. A comfortable opening day defeat of Chinese Taipei proved to be just a warm-up for a massive 18-0 thrashing of India. Australia secured a final’s appearance by whipping India before easing off the pace in their final match when beaten by Thailand. The West Australia trio of Ella Mastrantonio, Marianna Tabain and Samantha Kerr featured prominently throughout the series.
The Young Matildas opened by brushing aside Chinese Taipei 3-0 thanks to goals from Kyah Simon (2) and Ella Mastrantonio. India provided little resistance as Sophie Hogben (4), Ashleigh Sykes (4), Rachel Quigley (3), Samantha Kerr (2), Teresa Polias, Bronwyn Studman, Kyah Simon, Karina Roweth and Emily Van Egmond netted in an 18-0 win. Kyah Simon (2), Marianna Tabain, Emily van Egmond, Tameka Butt and Samantha Kerr got the goals in the 6-0 defeat of Iran. Rachael Quigley put Australia in front against Thailand who rallied to claim a 2-1 victory.
The Australian squad for the AFC Under-19 Women’s Championship qualifiers featured Angela Fimmano, Sian McLaren, Rachel Quigley (Adelaide United), Bronwyn Studman, Ashleigh Sykes, Christine Walters (Canberra United), Teresa Polias, Karina Roweth, Kyah Simon (Central Coast Mariners), Sophie Hogben (Melbourne Victory), Emily Van Egmond (Newcastle Jets), Samantha Kerr, Ella Mastrantonio, Marianna Tabain (Perth Glory), Ruth Blackburn, Tameka Butt , Casey Dumont, Elise Kellond-Knight (Queensland Roar), Alesha Clifford, Nikki Deiter, Linda O’Neill, Jessica Seaman and Samantha Spackman (Sydney FC).
CAMPBELL SHOWN THE DOOR BY KNIGHTS
Western Knights have sacked the most successful coaching partnership in the clubs’ 40-year history. An unrivalled eight trophies were captured during the eleven season rein of Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly, which came to an unexpected end when informed their services were no longer required. "I was shocked and disappointed to be told over the phone by (club president) Luke Jurcevic on Saturday night that Willie and myself had been sacked only four weeks after winning the Cup Final against league champions Sorrento," said Campbell. "I thought that we deserved better treatment and should have been told face-to-face after eleven years good service."
Although disappointed, Campbell is ready to move on and bears no grudge towards his former employer. "We accept the decision made by the new committee and have no hard feelings towards the club," he said. "Western Knights gave me my first coaching opportunity at senior level and for that I will always be grateful. Previous committees have been great over the years and always gave Willie and myself full control over team matters, total support and maximum respect. The players have been brilliant, we won eight trophies and were runners-up on another eight occasions - that's a record I'm extremely proud of and which is bettered only by Graham Normanton at Perth S.C."
Campbell and Kelly took up the reins from Paul Wormley in 1998 and inside six months guided the Knights to their first ever Premier League championship along with victory in the Top Five Series and West Ham League Cup. John Nicolaou's brace brought Cup glory to the club in 2000, and three years later they landed the Night Series thanks to Stuart Montgomery's only goal of the final. The Knights finished a massive nine points clear of their nearest rival to lift the 2004 Premier League championship, and weeks later added a second Top Five Series crown. Paul Cooke and Rory Grant secured the 2008 Cup Final in what would turn out to be Campbell and Kelly's final game in charge.
And it's not only the team successes that Campbell recalls with great fondness. "Winning all eight trophies were highlights but we've also had plenty of other successes," he explained. "In 2006 Paul Cooke became the first Knights player to win the Gold Medal and both Trim Morgan and John Nicolaou won the Golden Boot as the league's top goal scorer. A lot of players have represented the State while playing for the Knights, and we've also developed some great players of which Tommi Tomich, Craig Deans and Anthony Skorich have progressed to play in the national league."
Some of the biggest names in Knights history have had the honour of playing under Campbell, who thought long and hard before selecting his best eleven. "I could easily pick twenty-players and still miss some very talented players," Campbell said. "The best goalkeeper we've had at the club is Tommi Tomich, no one comes close to him, and in front of Tommi I'd have David Annall, Evan Wallace, Craig Deans and Ivan Zuvela. Daniel Trim and Carl Medica get the spots out wide with Scott Devine and Paul McVittie in the middle of the park. And it's hard to go past Trim Morgan and Stuart Montgomery when it comes to scoring the goals."
After over a decade on the sidelines Campbell is pursuing interests other than football, however, the knowledgeable coach remains open to offers. "It is really hard leaving the Knights after so much success, so many great memories and making so many great friends," commented Campbell. "As for the future, I may take a break and spend more time with my wife, Kim, and the family dog, Ruby, and focus on my job at Ontera Modular Carpets where I have just been promoted to state manager," explained Campbell. "I'd like to coach again but it would need to be at the right club ... there is a rumour going around that Hibs could be interested - I heard that rumour as I was the one who started it!"
POINTS VITAL TO GLORY WOMEN
It's make or break time for Perth Glory Women who must beat Melbourne Victory tomorrow to remain in the running for a top four finish. Successive losses have made for a difficult start to life in the W-League for Glory, but with six teams level on three points Nicola's Williams side will be pulling out all the stops to open their account. The arrival of Matilda's striker Lisa De vanna, fresh from a stint playing in Sweden, bolsters the attack and offsets the absence of attackers Marianna Tabain and Samantha Kerr, who are in Malaysia with the Young Matildas. Equally important to Glory's hopes will be the big game experience of star midfielder Collette McCallum, team captain Tanya Oxtoby and goalkeeper Kate Stewart. The game will be broadcast live from Bob Jane Stadium on ABC TV from 4.00pm (Perth time) on Saturday.
AUSTRALIAN CALL-UP FOR KERR AND GIBBONS
Samantha Kerr and Jaymee Gibbons, of Perth Glory and the National Training Centre respectively, will represent Australian at next week's AFC Under-16 Women's Championship qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur. The pair has been included in Gary Phillips' 23-player squad for the tournament in which Australia have been grouped alongside Singapore, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand. "These players have the potential to be our next Young Matildas and Matildas so it will be great to build their experience by competing at this level," said Phillips. "It is an exciting time, both internationally and at home, with these girls having something to aspire to in the new W-League."
FOUR ON THE TROT IN MITCHELL’S SIGHTS
David Mitchell has flagged the possibility of making several changes to his team as Perth Glory attempt to register their fourth successive home win of the season. “Our home form has been very good and we want to continue that,” said Mitchell, who’ll be without injured defender Dino Djulbic, while a cloud hangs heavy over Hayden Foxe’s availability. “There will be a few changes this week, some are forced and some will be tactical. We have a great feeling around the club and everyone wants to be part of that. We’ll be going all out to win the match and I have the utmost confidence that each and every player will be busting a gut to keep our form on the up.”
The last meeting of the team in Perth produced a heart stopping 3-3 draw, and with Glory and the Jets locked together just outside the top four Sunday’s game promises to be another tight affair. “Let’s not forget they’re the reigning A-League Champions. They’ve had some movement in their squad and brought in some excellent young players and as a team they’re showing signs of finding their feet so it’ll be a difficult game,” Mitchell said. “It’s a big game for both clubs, a win will take us above them and that’s the direction we want to be heading.” Glory takes on the Jets at Members Equity Stadium from 5.00pm on Sunday.
NATALE REAPS THE REWARDS
Classy defender Paul Natale was honoured as Cockburn City’s Fairest and Best player when their annual awards ceremony was held at Spearwood Dalmatinac Function Centre. Ntale, 24, featured prominently during his second season with the Cockerels to pip teenage striker Aaron Dos Santos for the clubs highest award. The Players’ Player of the Year went to Johnny Mirco, whose 13 goals earned him the Top Goal Scorer prise for the fourth time in six years.
The reserves’ Fairest and Best was presented to Josh Findlater who had Paul Underwood as runner-up. Underwood also collected the Players’ Player of the Year, while the Top Goal Scorer went to Jamie De Abreu. Pavle Biserko, who gained State Schoolboys honours during the year, dominated the youth awards by picking up both the Fairest and Best and Players’ Player of the Year. Luke Zagami was runner-up Fairest and Best, while Guiseppe Agnello took out Top Goal Scorer honours.
PELLEGRINO COMMITS TO GLORY
Midfielder Adriano Pellegrino has agreed to a contract extension that ensures he’ll wear Perth Glory colours until the end of the 2010/11 campaign. The 24-year-old has played all ten A-League games this season and rejected offers from several clubs, including his home town of Adelaide, to stay with a Glory player. “I have been very happy in Perth and I see a great future for the club and wanted to be part of that,” Pellegrino said. “We’re definitely on the improve, you know it’s always difficult when a new squad of players come in but we’re working well now and hopefully we can keep the group together and continue to build on what we’ve started. I had a great feeling from the first moment I joined the club and set myself to be here for the long haul. We have plenty of good things to look forward to and who knows I might even be able to play out the rest of my career here.”
BIRIGHITTI IN THE FRAME FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Adelaide United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has been put on red alert for tomorrow’s Asian Champions League final against Japanese powerhouse Gamba Osaka. Despite keeping goal in Adelaide’s three most recent A-League encounters, 17-year old Birighitti was expecting to start on the bench tomorrow with coach Aurelio Vidmar gambling on the fitness of first choice custodian Eugene Galekovic. However, those plans were turned on their head when Galekovic limped out of yesterday’s training session in Osaka with what appears to be a recurrence of the groin strain that’s sidelined him since October’s semi-final defeat of Uzbekistan outfit Bunyodkor. There is now a very strong likelihood Birighitti, a product of Perth S.C., will take his place in goal in the opening leg of Asia’s biggest club game.
PRESSURE EASES OFF OUR DEFENCE : TOPOR-STANLEY
Nikolai Topor-Stanley says Perth Glory’s second clean sheet of the season has taken some of the pressure off the club’s under-fire defence. Glory have conceded 23 goals in their opening nine regular season games, however, following the 2-0 weekend defeat of Wellington Phoenix Topor-Stanley is hopeful they’ve turned the corner. “It was a solid performance by the boys,” said the defender. “It wasn’t really the prettiest football we’ve played, but at the end of the day it’s about results and we’re pretty happy with it. As a team we haven’t performed defensively as well as we’d like to, (but) it’s (the clean sheet) taken a bit of pressure off our shoulders.”
Topor-Stanley is the first to admit an ever-changing defensive line-up hasn’t helped Glory’s poor defensive record, with injury and suspension leading coach David Mitchell to experiment with various combinations of Jamie Harnwell, captain Jamie Coyne, Dino Djulbic, Hayden Foxe, David Tarka and Topor-Stanley in the centre. “You’ve just got to concentrate on staying solid,” Topor-Stanley said when asked how difficult it was to adjust to numerous selection changes. “It’s not ideal but we’re not professional footballers for nothing and we have to deal with it.”
Their next test comes in the form of Newcastle Jets on Sunday as Glory look to establish a club A-League record of four wins from as many home matches. “I think we’re equal on points now with Newcastle, we’ve jut got to take what we’ve been doing over the last few weeks into this game and hopefully we’ll win again,” said Topor-Stanley. “We’re not trying to make it easy for anyone who makes the trip over and that’s what we’re really concentrating on, keeping the home record and making it as difficult as possible for travelling teams to come here.”
DJULBIC CLEARED OF SERIOUS INJURY
Dino Djulbic is likely to be sidelined for two weeks after injuring his ankle during Perth Glory’s home win against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. It was initially thought Djulbic had seriously damaged his ankle after landing awkwardly midway through the second half, however, tests yesterday confirmed the injury to be not as bad as first thought. “The pain was excruciating when I first did it but with treatment the ankle has responded really well overnight and it was nice to get some good news today,” said Djulbic, who’ll miss Glory’s home clash against Newcastle Jets this Sunday. “I never like being in the stands just watching but the diagnosis is as good as I could have hoped and I’ll just concentrate now on my rehab and getting back out there as soon as I can.” With a FIFA break scheduled the following week, Djulbic should be back in time for Glory’s road trip to Queensland in late November.
SMITH URGES GLORY TO STICK WITH MITCHELL
Axing coach David Mitchell after just a year in the job could be fatal for Perth Glory according to the man he replaced, Ron Smith. Having gone through five coaches in four-and-a-half seasons, Smith says Glory must seek stability if they are serious about becoming re-established as a major force on the national stage. "If a club keeps making changes it's constantly in a position where it needs to start all over again," Smith said. "It makes it very difficult for the team. At some stage the club has actually got to bite the bullet and give someone an extended run. Then, after something like three years if the team is still not performing, then it could be time for change." Glory's ownership team are due to meet in a fortnight to review the coaching position.
LOWE SIGNS ON FOR GLORY
Perth Glory has strengthened its off-field team with the full-time appointment of Kenny Lowe as assistant coach to David Mitchell. A review of the club’s coaching structure identified the need for additional resources and Lowe, who joined Glory midway through last season on a part-time basis, was seen as the ideal candidate. “It’s great that the club has made the position available because they have identified a need and done something about it,” Lowe said. “Progressive people, progressive clubs, are always self-referencing and looking to see where they’re at, if you can improve something then go ahead and do it.”
Lowe is looking forward to playing an expanded in Glory’s revival. “The club has seen this as a step forward, it has given me a wonderful opportunity and I’ll do everything I can to ensure this is a positive move for Perth Glory,” he said. “There is a good dynamic at the club. We’ve had some tough times but it is a vibrant dressing room,” Lowe said. “There are good people involved on the football side and good people involved off the field, so I think there are all the triggers and drivers for success and we’re all committed to achieve that.”
Lowe twice represented England at semi-professional level during a fifteen year playing career in which he turned out Hartlepool United, Barnet, Stoke City and Birmingham City amongst others. He also played at season with Spearwood Dalmatinac with whom he won the Gold Medal in 1986. After ending his playing days at the age of 39, Lowe moved into management with English non-League clubs Gateshead and Barrow before moving back to West Australia. Lowe has successfully coached at State junior level and was in charge of the National Training Centre squad this year.
RUKAVYTSYA AT THE DOUBLE
Perth Glory moved off the bottom of the A-League table following today’s 2-0 win against Wellington Phoenix at Members Equity Stadium. Nikita Rukavytsya did the damage with a goal in each half as Glory’s defence held firm to register their first clean sheet of the campaign. “It was a very important game and it showed with the players being very nervous in the first half,” said coach David Mitchell, who was particularly delighted with his sides second-half display. “We couldn't string too many passes together even though we went 1-0 up. I had a few stern words with them at half-time and the second half was a much better performance. We are just above Wellington now and hopefully we can get a couple of more results, particularly at home. I don’t think they will be as nervous next week as this was such a critical game to give ourselves a chance to climb the ladder.”
Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston was called into action after just 3 minutes when he thwarted Rukavytsya after being sent clear by Jamie Coyne’s through ball. Leilei Gao cut in from the left and curled the ball beyond the far post after 11 minutes, then Andrew Durante headed wide a Ben Sigmund cross as the visitors began to spark. Against the run of play Glory went ahead on the quarter hour as Tando Velaphi's long clearance was flicked on by Jamie Harnwell for Rukavytsya who beat Andrew Durante and angled his low shot across the 'keeper. This made little difference to Phoenix who continued to dominate possession but struggled to break down a well-organised defence marshalled by Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Dino Djulbic. Their best chance came via Leo Bertos, whose shot in a crowded 18-yard box was blocked by a lunging Topor-Stanley.
It looked as though the home fans were in for a long second half as Sigmund headed wide from Tim Brown’s delivery a couple of minutes in. However, Glory soon regained their composure as Adrian Pellegrino and Rukavytsya teamed to set-up Jamie Harnwell whose attempted lob was captured by Paston. Mitchell was forced to reshuffle his deck on 65 minutes when Djulbic succumbed to injury, Harnwell dropping back into defence as Eugene Dadi came on to partner Rukavytsya. The switch paid dividends in the 70th minute when Naum Sekulovski relayed possession to Dadi whose first time ball from the halfway line released Rukavytsya who outpaced Tony Lochhead and stroked past Paston for a second time. Velaphi did well to push wide Michael Ferrante’s long-range shot as Phoenix sought a way back into the game, while Dadi almost added Glory’s third but his shot on the turn flashed wide.
NO GLORY FOR WOMEN ON CENTRAL COAST
Perth Glory Women have slipped to last on the table after going down 3-1 to Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium. Renee Rollason (2) and Trudy Camilleri netted for the hosts as Shannon May entered Glory history by scoring their first ever W-League goal. First half possession was evenly shared although the Mariners were beginning to get on top as the interval approached. Home goalkeeper Lisa Hartley and her counterpart at the opposite end, Kate Stewart, were kept busy throughout the half as the sides traded attacks. Glory were denied the lead when Collette McCallum's deflected free-kick was bundled into the net by Ciara Conway whose effort was disallowed by an offside flag.
The deadlock looked sure to be broken just after the hour when several Mariners players put their bodies on the line to deny Glory in a dramatic goalmouth scramble. The Mariners' dominance was rewarded in the 69th minute when Camilleri forced the ball in at close-range after fine work down the left by young gun Stephanie Haim. Rollason doubled the margin when her low corner caught the Glory defence napping and snuck inside the far corner. Glory pulled one back soon after through May who converted at point-blank range. But it was Rollason who'd have the last say by converting a stoppage time penalty awarded for handball.
COYNE READY TO LEAD
Captain Jamie Coyne has declared himself fit for Perth Glory’s bottom of the table showdown with Wellington Phoenix tomorrow, despite reduced training this week because of a heel problem. Coyne, who was rested from training yesterday, had no doubt he would be ready to take on Phoenix, who are two points above last-placed Glory. “The cut is just in an awkward spot, right in the base of the heel, so putting a boot on aggravates it,” Coyne said of a cut that required four stitches. “I haven’t been training with the team but I’ve still been working on my own. I’ll be ready to play – 100%.”
Coyne’s recent switch from defence to the centre of midfield has coincided with a marked improvement in Glory’s fortunes, while Nikolai Topor-Stanley has benefited greatly from his move from left back to centre-half. Coach David Mitchell’s changes produced immediate dividends with a 2-1 win against Sydney F.C. two weeks ago before a loss by the same margin to Adelaide United last week. “We had to re-shuffle things and the way Mitch has done that so fat has been good. I think we’ve looked a lot more solid,” Coyne said. A hamstring injury is likely to keep defender Hayden Foxe on the sidelines for at least another week.
MUST-WIN GAME FOR MITCHELL
Three points from tomorrow’s home game with Wellington Phoenix will move Perth Glory a step closer to extending David Mitchell’s coaching contract as the club looks increasingly likely to opt for stability over change. And club officials have also looked to football’s successful past in search of a brighter future by holding talks with club founder Nick Tana, who relinquished control of Glory in 2006 after more than a decade at the helm.
Although Glory are rock bottom on the A-League table, the club’s owners seem set to put their faith in Mitchell for another season. A planned mid-season review of the coaching position will go ahead according to Tony Sage, who indicated the owners were satisfied that the club was moving in the right direction. “On balance, we are unlucky to be in the position we are but fate has put us there and ultimately it’s the coach’s responsibility,” said co-owner Sage. “The review is not going to be based solely on the points we have. There are a lot of things to consider but I think we are on the right track.”
Glory director Lui Giuliani said the club was working hard off the field to improve attendances and he confirmed that discussions had been held with Tana. “He’s very passionate about the club and he’s very keen to support us,” said Giuliani, who was quick to rule out Tana returning to the club in a formal role. “He’s not looking for a board role or anything of that nature. He’s keen to talk and chat and he is a supporter of the club. We shouldn’t forget that it’s because of him that we have an A-League today.”
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This page was last updated on the 31st December, 2008