ICANOVSKI CALLS TIME
The final curtain has come down on the glittering career of Perth S.C. captain Michael Icanovski. The tough tackling defender decided last months Top Four Series final would be his last competitive appearance due to work and family commitments. "Retiring was something that was in the back of my mind for much of the season and I kept putting off making a final decision," admitted the 28-year old. "There is a lot I am going to miss about playing and I've made a lot of good friends through football, but the time has come for me to move on."
A desire to spend more time with his wife, Lisa, and children, Jesse and Lilly, was decisive in Icanovski hanging up his boots for the final time. "In between building a house, starting a new job and playing football I just wasn't getting the time I wanted with my kids. Something had to give and that was my mistress, football," explained the hard working defender. "I want to spend as much time as possible with my kids before the day comes when dad is no longer cool to hang around."
Every player dreams of ending his career on a high and for Icanovski that became reality when he captained Perth to victory against Inglewood United in the Top Four play-offs last month. "Winning the Top Four Series was a great way to end my last season," commented Icanovski, who began the year by lifting the Night Series trophy. "People are always quick to dismiss the Top Four Series by saying it's not a big trophy. But I don't see it that was - this is where the best four teams in the state fight it out for one last reward at the end of a long season."
For Icanovski, each of the many trophies, awards and medals he's won is of special significance. "You can't take them for granted and I'm very lucky to have been part of a very successful period with Perth S.C.," reflected Icanovski, who picked up no fewer than seventeen winner's medals while wearing the azure of Perth. That's in addition to collecting numerous club awards, representing the State at junior, youth and senior levels, and claiming back-to-back Vodafone Shields with Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.
Icanovski feels privileged to have been under the tutelage of Graham Normanton throughout his career. "Normo's been a coach of mine since I was in the I.T.C. squad back in 1996," said Icanovski, referring to the Intentive Training Centre program that was affiliated with the West Australian Institute of Sport. "He's been a huge influence on my game and the level of success he has brought to Perth is unprecedented. If everyone had the same passion that Normo has, then football would be at a better place in this country."
Perth is widely recognised as the benchmark when it comes to youth development and Icanovski is proud to have been part of that success. "Perth are known for producing some of the best talent in the state and you only have to look at how many former Perth players there are in the Premier League and the A-League to see how just successful the club has been," he said. "And there are a lot of young players in the system who'll make their mark in the next few years."
Speculation has been rife that the Icanovski may yet be tempted to play on for another year, however, he was quick to point out that this is definitely the end of the road. "Right now, that's it, I've finished," he said. "I'll still go and watch Perth whenever I can, but when I wake up on Saturday morning I won't be thinking about someone I'm going to be playing against that day. Now, if I want to go to the shop for a coffee I'll be able to do it anytime of the day."
STRAKER SWIMS WITH THE DOLPHINS
Mandurah City will have dual Goalkeeper of the Year Phil Straker between the posts when the 2009 season kicks off. Straker, who replaces recently retired custodian Mike Green, admits leaving Stirling Lions after three successful seasons wasn't easy. "It was definitely one of the biggest and hardest decisions of my football career," explained Straker, who lives in Secret Harbour. "But I'm getting married soon and we've got plans to start a family so playing football close to home was always going to be high on the list and when the opportunity came up I found it hard to turn down."
With a new deal signed, sealed and delivered, Straker now can't wait to begin a new chapter in his career that started with youth team football at English club Sunderland. "I'm looking forward to the new challenge with Mandurah and meeting up with the team for pre-season training, although it will be a bit strange at first not being around familiar faces I have come used to over the past three years," he commented. "Mandurah were very solid last season and I think this gave teams a surprise how well they performed and if I can help keep that run of form going for the team next season then that would be a dream come true."
Straker leaves Macedonia Park with many fond memories and strong friendships. "Everyone at Stirling have been really good to me over the last three years, especially Don Evans, Mick Lyons and Paul Simmons, which made the decision all that harder to make," he said, before singling out the clubs' back-to-back Cup wins as the on-field highlights. "The 2006 Cup Final win against Swan I.C. was fantastic, we grabbed the equaliser with seconds to go in extra-time and went on to win the penalty shoot-out. And a year later we beat a very strong and experienced Cockburn, again on penalties, with Darko (Ilmanoski) sending the winner into the top right hand corner."
KOVACEVIC HONOURED WITH FLOREAT WIN
Veteran defender Ante Kovacevic collected his second Fairest and Best award in as many years when Floreat Athena celebrated their season successes at the Oceanus Restaurant on Saturday evening. Kovacevic was thrilled to win the trophy outright after last year sharing it with Jerry Karpeh and Paul vatistas. "It's an absolute honour to be Floreat's Fairest and Best two years in a row as we have a number of talented players at the club who've won us an undefeated championship and a runners-up spot in that time," he said. "Last year the whole team deserved the award, so I'm ecstatic at winning it by myself this time around - although I was disappointed we didn't win any silverware as a team."
Runner-up Fairest and Best was New Zealand import Brad Scott, whose 19-goal haul was rewarded with the Golden Boot. Jovo Pavlovic was presented with the Most Improved trophy, and brothers Vas and Miki Vujacic shared the Clubman Award. Goalkeeper Alex Dunn made a clean sweep of the reserves prizes with wins in the Fairest and Best, and Coaches Award categories. Milan Boganovic was both runner-up Fairest and Best as well as Most Improved, while the Golden Boot went to Saul Contera. Andreas Theodosiades collected the Troy Bernard Rising Star Award and the youth Fairest and Best, pipping Josh Marocchi in the latter. The Most Improved was won by Alex Lalovic, and Luka Marjanovic shared the Golden Boot with Dhamon Kalamaras.
HULL ARE BUZZING : GARCIA
The continuing rise of Premier League debutants Hull City has been the success story of the new English season. Widely tipped to make an instant return to the Championship, Hull have proved the critics wrong with a succession of wins against Arsenal, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur that has propelled them to third place after nine games. Perth-born attacker Richard Garcia attributes the team's flying start to a combination of hunger and fearlessness.
Garcia is confident Hull can continue their giant-killing ways. "There's a great buzz around the place," he commented. "It's one of those things where victories breed confidence and the confidence has done us well. The secret has been everyone's attitude, everyone's will to win and desire to succeed. People wrote us off, so proving people wrong comes into it as well. Hopefully that continues, but we have to be wary of becoming complacent and losing that hunger."
Hull manager Phil Brown has made it clear to his players that there is still plenty of hard work ahead. "You have to keep your feet on the ground and not get carried away with yourself, and the manager is wary of it," said Garcia. "People here are mentioning a third-place finish but ... it is still really, really, early days. Okay, we've caused some upsets but the Premier League is a long-haul race and it is about being consistent."
Even so, Garcia admits Hull can now afford to dream a little. "We would take 16th place [and survival], but the way we have started I don't think we would be happy with that," he said. "The high you get when you take a big scalp like Arsenal is such a good feeling - you want to mimic that every week. I'm sure that we're also catching a lot of teams cold because they haven't done their homework on us and they're taking us for granted ... it's good to see a team like us go up and compete and not fall prey to the usual happenings."
DADI BACK FOR GLORY
Jamie Harnwell and Eugene Dadi may spearhead the Perth Glory attack for first time in attack when they host Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. It’s a tempting proposition for coach David Mitchell who has been without Dadi for the past fortnight due to a niggling groin injury. And while the combination of Harnwell and Nikita Rukavytsya has been fruitful, Mitchell could take a different approach this weekend. “Eugene has been moving well at training this week so it’s just a matter of seeing how he pulls up after our last session on Saturday and I’ll make my decision from there,” Mitchell said. “If you wanted to put a lot of crosses into the box you could definitely play two big men up there. Nikita and Jamie have developed a good partnership and are scoring goals, so we have a few options which is great.” Glory takes on Phoenix at Members Equity Stadium from 5.00pm on Sunday.
ARNOLD JOINS PERTH
Perth S.C. has added to their attacking options by securing Phil Arnold from Stirling Lions. Graham Normanton is thrilled at signing the exciting young attacker, who he feels is ready to take his game to the next level. “Phil is quick, strong and has an ability to score goals that, in my opinion, has been under-utilised at Stirling Lions,” said the Perth coach. “I believe he can improve as a player and signing for Perth will help Phil achieve his target in terms of his development. There are parts of his game that are excellent and other parts that I am going to make him work at so he becomes a more complete player.”
Normanton was tempted to dip into the transfer market upon confirmation one-time State striker Andreas Oliviera will miss the entire 2009 campaign. “Andreas will not be playing at all next season as he’s just undergone surgery for an injured right knee. I don’t think that it was a total reconstruction but it’s just as severe in terms of the recovery,” explained Normanton, who was without Oliviera for the second half of the season. “On hearing the news that he was going to miss the whole of next season it was obvious that we needed to bolster our goal scoring stocks.”
It’s unlikely Arnold will be the only new face when Perth commence their pre-season early in the New Year. “There are other players that I’m looking at but there is nothing set in stone as yet,” explained Normanton. “We have some vacancies at Perth which will need to be filled but I’m looking for quality players so I won’t be rushing to sign just anyone. There are also some very promising youngsters at Perth whom I am looking to promote to the senior squad. They will be given every opportunity to reach the required standard so they can cement their place amongst the Premier League players.”
SIMMONS EYES PROMOTION WITH DIANELLA
Dianella White Eagles have taken another important step towards regaining their Premier League status by appointing one-time State team coach Paul Simmons to the helm for 2009. Simmons, who in the space of a few years steered E.C.U. Joondalup out of the amateurs and into the top flight during the late 1990’s, is looking forward to a similar challenge with Dianella. “I want to have only two seasons in the First Division - one was with Joondalup and the other is with the mighty White Eagles,” enthused Simmons. “Our goal for next season is simple - to fight for promotion, and to achieve that we’ll be treating each and every game like it’s a Cup final.”
Simmons says the clubs ambition of ending a decade long absence from the top flight influenced his decision to accept the coaching position. “A former president of the club outlined the direction Dianella were wanting to take and asked if I would be interested in meeting with them to discuss it further,” Simmons explained. “I met with their director of football operations, Mal Mackie, and a couple of the committee members and was taken back by their professionalism and focus. The plans for Dianella are very exciting, not only for the club but the community in general, with the end goal being to secure a Premier League spot within three years. This club is a sleeping giant and it's time it woke up.”
By his own admission, Simmons is a little rusty when it comes to the second tier but if he has his way he’ll soon be back in more familiar territory. “To the best of my recollection it was 1996 when Joondalup won the First Division championship at the first attempt so fingers crossed that history will repeat itself,” he said. “To be honest, other than one or two of the lads, I don’t know anything about the players at Dianella but I am hoping to bring in some new players to strengthen the squad. The guys down there might be apprehensive as all players are when a new coach comes on the scene but if they do what they are asked and train hard there will be no problems.”
KARP LEADS MELBOURNE TO VICTORY
Melbourne Victory captain Tal Karp is thrilled with her team's historic 2-0 win against Central Coast Mariners which opened their inaugural W-League campaign. Karp, who was pivotal in the win, said the side clicked quicker than expected on the big stage. "To perform the way we did in front of what we thought was a pretty good crowd, and at a great stadium, was terrific," she said. "We still think we could have played better and we have some things to work on during the week, but the result is what was important and we got it. Let's hope this is the start of something special."
There were several strong candidates for the captain's armband at Victory with coach Matt Shepherd opting for Karp on account of her exceptional leadership qualities in the lead up to the new national competition. "I feel honoured to have the opportunity to captain such a great team," said the 26-year old midfielder. "Our squad is made up of a fantastic bunch of girls along with the coaching and support staff. Working with them, in what is perhaps a new era of women's soccer in this country, is very exciting."
Perth-born Karp played juniors at Inglewood United and Perth S.C. before stepping on to the national stage with Canberra Eclipse. An Australian youth international, her senior debut arrived in 2002 and over the next three years she'd play 27 times for the Matildas, including appearances at the 2003 Women's World Cup and the 2004 Olympic Games. Spells with Adelaide Sensation, Western Waves and a return to Eclipse only enhanced her reputation. For the past two seasons Karp has worn the colours of Victorian club Ashburton.
JONES SET FOR NEW BORO DEAL
Australian international Brad Jones is on the verge of being offered a contract extension by Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate. The Armadale-born goalkeeper has been battling out with Ross Turnbull to fill the boots of long-time custodian Mark Schwarzer, who left the club during the off-season for Fulham. "I’d like them both here," said Southgate this week. "We feel they’re going to be top goalkeepers. They know that there’s no guaranteed number one and it’s developing into a great battle between them." Since joining moving to the Riverside Stadium as a 16-year old, Jones has made 52 first team appearances - 19 of those for Boro and the remainder while on loan to Stockport County, Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday.
BALCATTA’S TOP PRIZE WON BY NOVAKOVIC
Livewire midfielder Igor Novakovic has won Balcatta’s Player of the Year at the first attempt. An off-season signing from Ashfield, Novakovic’s driving runs through the centre of midfield and superb distribution were an important part of Balcatta’s artillery during the winter months. Adam Purcell condemned an injury ruined 2007 to history by collecting the runner-up Player of the Year. Tony Fazari received the Coaches Award, and Tom Gaca the Players’ Player of the Year.
A year playing socially clearly did Ally Di Nuzzo the world of good with the returning defender named the reserves Player of the Year. Alex Billi was runner-up in the main category, Matt Debarro picked up the Coaches Award, and Rob Hough was voted the Players’ Player of the Year. Michael Italiano won the youth Fairest and Best with striker Cory Wiltshire in second place. The Coaches Award went to Daniel Caccamo, with Jordan Valentini gathered up the Players’ Player of the Year.
COUNTRY BEFORE CLUB FOR COYNE
Chris Coyne admits his new found international career has affected his season at Colchester United, but he wouldn’t change it for the world. A recent addition to the Socceroo squad, 29-year old Coyne is loving every minute of his time in the green and gold which he wants to wear more often before the year is out. “Playing for Australia has been a bit of a hindrance for me this season, there’s no doubt about that, in terms of club football,” admitted Coyne. “I seem to play one game, and then go away for an international. I come back and I’m not in the side, but it’s a good situation to have four good centre-halves at the club. There’s four of us going for just two spots.”
Coyne has no complains about flying halfway around the world to sit on the bench as Australia dumped Qatar 4-0 earlier this month. “It’s an exciting time for me to play for Australia. It’s something that I have always wanted to do, ever since I represented Australia Under-17s as a 15-year-old,” he said. “I didn’t get on in the last World Cup Qualifier against Qatar. I had played in the previous four games, but Craig Moore came out of international retirement and the manager (Pim Verbeek) chose him instead. You might think that it’s a long way to go, to sit on the bench, but I was still representing my country, which is always a great honour.”
On the horizon for Australia are crucial World Cup qualifiers against Bahrain and Japan, and Coyne is determined to make himself available for both fixtures regardless of what the cost might be at club level. “We have another match away in Bahrain in a few weeks time and then a game against Japan in Tokyo,” he said. “I’m hoping to be involved in both these matches, after which there’s a three-month break. There’s a real buzz back home in Australia, following the last World Cup. And we all have big aspirations to 2010 - we want to qualify again.”
To date, Coyne has featured in just three of his clubs twelve league games this season. He was on international duty when Paul Lambert succeeded Geraint Williams as manager earlier this month, and after a handful of sessions under the one-time Scotland midfielder Coyne is impressed. “So far, so good. He’s clearly a manager who knows what he wants - he is a strong, driven and determined character,” he said. “I know what sort of character he is in terms of his playing career and he seems to have taken that into his management career. He is a good young manager that wants to do well. Every manager is different and have different ideas to put across.”
GLORY SEE RED OVER REFEREE’S ERROR
Perth Glory has been left seething by an incorrect referee decision that cost them a point from yesterday's game at Adelaide United. Referee Strebre Delovski awarded the home team an 82nd minute penalty that replays showed should have been a free-kick, at best. Jamie Coyne connected with the ball as well as Lucas Pantelis just outside the box, but Delovski pointed straight to the spot from where Travis Dodd struck the winner. "I think the referee had a good game today and I think he's had one bad decision that has cost us and cost the club," said Glory coach David Mitchell. "Maybe he should just consult the linesman and he didn't. He pointed to the spot straight away."
Tony Sage, Glory co-owner, was more direct in his assessment, claiming coaches should be allowed to speak openly about crucial decisions made by referees. "We'll write to FFA just to let them know we're not happy about it," Sage said. "We slag off the players, we slag off the coach, so why can't we slag off someone who gets wrong a crucial decision? He should be dropped - he should not get a game. It was two steps outside the box. It wasn't even close. I thought Jamie got his foot there first. You can argue whether it was a free-kick but it was not a penalty and it changes the course of the game."
SAMMUT SIGNS OFF WITH TOP HONOURS
A sensational year in the middle of the park earned teenager James Sammut top honours at Inglewood United’s end of season awards ceremony on the weekend. 18-year old Sammut, who’ll hone his considerable skills during the summer months with Perth Glory Youth, was honoured with Inglewood’s Player of the Year ahead of team captain Shane Pryce. Goalkeeper Oliver Taseski was voted the Players’ Player of the Year with Mladen Kovacevic’s ability to net regularly rewarded with the Golden Boot.
Versatile midfielder Alex Stamatiadis was presented with the reserves Player of the Year trophy for the second time in three years. Teenager goalkeeper Lewis Italiano was runner-up and also recipient of the club’s Rising Star Award. Wes Ryder received the Golden Boot for his 9 goals in home and away competition. The youth team Player of the Year went home with Joel Van De Meer, who had Dylan Stuart as runner-up. Philip Rajakovic picked up the Golden Boot having netted 9 times across the regular season.
GLORY WOMEN FAR FROM DOWNHEARTED
Tanya Oxtoby has gone from kicking up the red dust of the Pilbara to captain Perth Glory’s women’s team, which started life in the W-League with a disappointing 4-0 loss to Sydney F.C. yesterday. Glory were outclassed by the visitors who raced to a three-goal half-time lead courtesy of Leena Khamis’ double and a goal from Danielle Small. The rout was complete on the hour by Heather Garriock, however, Oxtoby is adamant Glory were better than the score suggests. “I don’t think the score really reflected the game but the girls are definitely ready to get back into it for next week,” said the Glory captain. “We played a lot of good football out there, so confidence isn’t destroyed. The girls just need to go back and work on moving the ball a little bit quicker and things like that, but the confidence is still there.”
A lot has happened since Oxtoby kicked her first football in the Pilbara town of Wickham at the age of eight. Back then, she made the simple choice of participating rather than sitting around and waiting for the dad to finish coaching the local boys’ team. Oxtoby, who captained Western Waves in 2005, is even better suited to the skipper’s role since completing her psychology degree at the University of Western Australia. She said her preference was for leading by example rather than through cajoling, although she admits her professional background could be useful off the field. “Knowing how to handle delicate situations is a bonus,” said the 26-year old. “Women tend to be a lot more emotionally involved, they are doing it for the love it. It’s very difficult when you are not being paid as much as the men but you’re expected to train as much.”
GLORY ROBBED AS ADELAIDE TAKE POINTS
A controversial penalty decision has cost Perth Glory a share of the points from today's A-League fixture with Adelaide City at Hindmarsh Stadium. Travis Todd made no mistake from the spot to score a late winner, however, television replays show Jamie Coyne's tackle on Lucas Pantelis as being clean and taking place well outside the 18-yard box. The result takes Adelaide to the top of the eight-team competition, and leaves Glory rooted to the foot of the table and six points adrift of a finals place.
While Adelaide enjoyed slightly the better of early play they found it difficult prise open a water-tight Glory defence. Tando Velaphi was called upon to save a long-range 5th minute free-kick from Kristian Sarkies who, midway through the half, was touched a terrific ball from Alemao wide. Coyne had the visitors only real chance of the half but his sharp attempt was well beyond the target. Alameo's stinging shot from 20-metres flew wide, while just before the break Scott Jamieson's in-swinging corner narrowly evaded the head of a diving Michael Valkanis.
Coyne came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock with a crisp low drive that beat 'keeper Mark Birighitti only to crash into the base of the post. Glory went ahead in the 55th minute through Nikita Rukavytsa's wonderful strike that silenced the home crowd. Adelaide emptied their bench in a bid to find new avenues to goal, and that ploy was rewarded after 80 minutes when substitute Robert Younis crossed to Alemao, who swept in the equaliser at close-range. Two minutes later Dodd completed Adelaide's revival by tucking away the controversial penalty kick awarded for Coyne's supposed trip on Pantelis.
HARD-EARNT POINT FOR GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth moved into third place with a hard-fought scoreless draw with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium. The fact neither side could muster any real advantage was a testament to the work ethic and resolve of both club's defensive units in what was a scrappy encounter. "We worked on our defensive shape during the week and they really showed great character when we went down to ten men," said Glory coach Gareth Naven, who had Howard Fondyke sent off after 70 minutes. "We said to the boys to go out and express themselves and they've played good football and taken risks at the right times and we're very pleased with all of their efforts."
The first shot on goal came in the 18th minute when home goalkeeper Lucas Andreucci punched clear Nick Rizzo's effort. Two minutes later Francesco Monterosso almost snared Adelaide the lead but his header was athletically kept out by Dejan Aleksic. Ludovic Boi's close-range attempt was saved by Andreucci on 28 minutes, and soon after Andrija Jukic fired just wide. Ryan Pearson blazed across the face of goal ten minutes into a second half stalemate. Glory went down to ten men when Fondyke was sent off for his second yellow card in minutes. Adelaide could have snatched a winner through Andrew Ciarli whose bullet-like strike flashed the wrong side of the upright after 79 minutes.
SYDNEY CRUSH GLORY IN W-LEAGUE OPENER
Perth Glory Women have gone down fighting in a 4-0 loss to championship contenders Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium. In their first outing of the newly established W-League, Glory never recovered from conceding twice in 8 minutes against a far superior Sydney line-up. “The difference was they kept the ball better, and played the ball around the park much better than us” said Glory midfielder Collette McCallum following the final whistle. “It’s an experience and a challenge, but hopefully it’s a good learning curve for us as we head into the next game.”
It took the visitors just 6 minutes to find a way through via an unmarked Leena Khamis who tapped in at the near post from Servet Uzunlar’s low corner. Two minutes later Danielle Brogan whipped in a corner to which Khamis rose high above the defence to nod in her second. The game was effectively ended as a contest in the 39th minute when Danielle Small outfoxed a sleepy home defence to guide Heather Garriock’s pull-back into the net with her instep.
Glory went close to pulling a goal back ten minutes after the restart when substitute Sam Kerr’s inch-perfecr cross picked out Ciara Conway who beat the oncoming goalkeeper to the ball but headed just wide. Garriock added herself to the score sheet on the hour by smashing a brilliant half volley into the top corner after initially hitting her free-kick from 25-metres into the wall. Glory custodian Kate Stewart prevented the margin from blowing out even further with a couple of quality second half saves, while there were other strong contributions from Ella Mastrantonio, Collette McCallum and Marianna Tabain.
COACHES CHALLENGE ACCEPTED BY GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth will look to continue their unbeaten run on the road this season when they tackle Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium tomorrow. The team is keen to move on from last week’s 5-3 home loss to Sydney F.C. and build upon the previous wins at Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United. “The competition is about improving individual performance and we’ve looked at our last match and worked on things we can do to achieve that,” coach Gareth Naven said. “We’ve challenged our players to take on each match, each training session, with an enthusiasm that reflects the opportunity they’ve been given and they’ve always responded very well.”
Glory will take plenty of firepower into the match as Anthony Skorich and Ludovic Boi rejoin the fray to accompany last week’s three-goal hero Andrija Jukic. “I’ve only scored a hat-trick once before and that was when I was really young, in a junior competition,” Jukic said. “To be able to do it in front of the home supporters was fantastic but I’m just concentrating on our next match now. It will be tough coming up against Adelaide on their home ground but we’ve shown we can win away from home so we just need to take that confidence into this game and we’ll have a good crack at it.”
GARCIA THRIVES ON SOCCEROOS EXPERIENCE
Being part of the Socceroos squad has furthered Richard Garcia’s football education. The Hull City midfielder feels the cosmopolitan make-up of the Australian national team – with players based at clubs in England, Scotland, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Germany, and Turkey – made for an encyclopedia of football know-how. “There are guys playing all over the world and have different styles so it is good to get away from club football and see how everyone’s game is different,” Garcia said. “You are constantly learning from the players around you. I find it good to go to the Australian camp and keep learning. It has been a good experience.”
Garcia made a belated international debut for Australia against South Africa in August having caught the attention of coach Pim Verbeek during Hull’s drive towards gaining promotion to the English Premier League. The 27-year old said the welcome offered by his new international team mates demonstrated the strong spirit within the Socceroos squad. “The players are very welcoming and I never felt out of place,” Garcia said. “The lads are very quick to invite you to sit with them and have a chat. They are very welcoming, which is fantastic for someone who has never been in the squad. It is such a great atmosphere to go into. There are no cliques – it is just a good atmosphere. It is also a taste of home for everyone as well.”
Hull have made a dream start to life in England’s top flight by claiming victories over established sides Arsenal, West Ham United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. Garcia said part of the Tigers early success has been the team’s ability to make a smooth transition from Championship-style football to the Premier League’s more sophisticated approach. “There has been a big change in the mentality for the team, and also in the way we play,” he explained. “We have changed our game to suit the Premier League and at the moment it is working. We have mixed what we are good at – which is putting a lot of pressure on teams and really defending well as a team – and added a little bit of quality [players] that we need in the Premier League.”
Hull have also been reminded of just how tough life can be in the top flight. “The Premier League is a big step up,” Garcia conceded. “When you make mistakes you get punished for them. We got beaten 5-0 by Wigan on a day when the majority of us didn’t turn up. On those days in the Championship you might get away with a 1-0 win or you might get a draw but you learn from those mistakes very quickly … The EPL is actually slower than the Championship, you have a little more time on the ball. The Championship is really, really, quick and it is up and down and up and down without any break. In the Premier League, the teams keep the ball and keep possession a lot better. It is a little bit slower in build up but it is a lot more lethal.”
SECOND BEST PLAYER WIN 'BLOWS AWAY' HARNWELL
Todd Harnwell has joined an elite group of players to win Sorrento's Best Player award for a second time. The Gulls championship winning captain collected the clubs highest award for a second time on Saturday evening to moved alongside side previous dual recipients B.Lee, Brian Sweeney, Joe Kelly, John Peacock, Jamie Harnwell and Simon Harland. "It's a great honour to win the award as the captain of a championship team," said Harnwell, who also received Sorrento's Golden Boot. "It's always been my ambition to captain Sorrento and win the Best Player award, so to do it twice has completely blown me away. There are only a few Sorrento players to win the award twice, including Simon Harland who was a great role model for me, so this to me is pretty special."
A strong debut season with Sorrento earned Shaun Kilkelly runner-up Best Player. Young defender Jason Trpevski was voted the reserves Best Player with English youngster Glenn Campbell in second place. The youth team Best Player trophy was taken out by Callum Gibson ahead of Keegan Loraine, who was also named the club's Most Improved Young Player. Neil Young's heroics away at E.C.U. Joondalup earned him the Best Goal/Save trophy, while Kerry Slater's brave confrontations with vandals saw him collect the Brush of the Year. Ten-year's loyal service by Neil Young, Glen Thomas and Todd Harnwell was honoured with a special presentation by Sorrento president Tom Bartlett.
NAGLIERI DRIVES AWAY WITH GOLD
Winning the 2008 Gold Medal last Friday evening was a fitting way for Antonio Naglieri to end a sensational season for Perth S.C. The 25-year old midfielder dominated the vote count to finish a staggering ten clear of his nearest rivals and collect the much sought after award presented to the Premier League’s player of the year. “I’m speechless with this honour, I can’t ask for anymore,” said Naglieri, whose prize included a new Ford Fiesta courtesy of sponsor McInerney Ford. “I just won the Gold Medal as the best player in the league which is amazing but picking up a car is an unbelievable feeling.”
Perth coach Graham Normanton turned to his star midfielder as the team’s injury toll began to mount during the recently completed season. Never one to shirk his responsibilities, Naglieri stepped up to the mark with a series of eye catching displays in the middle of the park and guide Perth to third on the table and glory in the Top Four play-offs. “At the end of the day we finished third but we still won two out of the four trophies on offer so it really wasn’t a disappointing season,” he said. “We did have injuries and Normo told the leadership group to step up and I did when I was needed.
There’s no doubt the absence of team captain Robbie Puca and influential striker Andreas Oliviera, both to long-term injury, had an unsettling effect on Perth. However, the Blues were quick to regroup with Naglieri and summer recruit Greg Sharland leading by example in the final third during the second half of the season. “I believe Greg was the signing of the season for us, I can’t believe he didn’t get more votes,” commented Naglieri. “He was outstanding each week, whether playing as a forward or in left midfield he always did a great job for us.”
Coach Graham Normanton was delighted for Naglieri, who recently represented the State against South Australia. “I picked it early in the count but I didn’t think he would win it be ten,” said Normanton. “His second half of the season was awesome and for me to watch him was a privilege, he deserves it. He’s matured into a great player and you wouldn’t meet a better gentleman than Antonio.” In winning the 2008 Gold Medal, Naglieri polled 31 votes that were spread across twelve games and against ten of Perth’s top flight rivals.
DJULBIC RETURNS TO THE FRAY
Dino Djulbic could make an instant return to the Perth Glory line-up having completed a lengthy suspension. Although he's not played competitively since late August, the big defender has been included in an extended 16-player squad which is away to Adelaide United on Sunday. "Dino and the club were dealt a harsh blow with his suspension and he has been missed," coach David Mitchell said. "He'll come back into calculations, however, I'm still to decide on my final line-up. Regardless of whether he plays or not it's nice to have him available again." Djulbic, 25, was suspended for five games after being given his marching orders for unsporting conduct towards a match official in the Round Three loss at Sydney F.C.
MCCALLUM SET FOR AMERICAN LEAGUE
Matildas maestro Collette McCallum will line up for this weekend’s opening round of the W-League relieved that her place in the inaugural American league is secure. The 22-year old midfielder is one of four Australians to be drafted by an American club for the inaugural season of their new women’s league. However, unlike Sarah Walsh, Heather Garriock and Lisa De Vanna, McCallum wasn’t selected in the competition’s initial international draft. Instead, she was picked up by New Jersey-based Sky Blue through the competition’s post-draft discovery process.
Renowned for her precise passing, McCallum was much less organised when it came to securing a place in the international draft. “Three teams were interested in me but of course me being the smart one, I didn’t get back to them,” said McCallum, fresh from helping Pali Blues win the American championship. “I left it too late, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. They did the draft and then one of the coaches asked me again and I said I was interested and they took me as a discovery player. I could have got drafted earlier, but at least it’s all worked out at the end.”
Of more immediate interest to McCallum is the opening round of Australia’s new women’s competition - the W-League. The midfielder will don the colours of Perth Glory tomorrow when they face Sydney F.C. in the first game of the eight-team league competition. Installed as vice-captain to Tanya Oxtoby during the week, McCallum expects Sydney and Queensland Roar to be the teams to beat and is optimistic the fledging competition can attract some high profile imports down the track.
COERVER COACHING ACCREDITATION
Coerver are holding their Level 1 Coaching Course in Perth on the first weekend in December. Jason Lancsar, Coerver's new Australian director, will visit Perth to conduct the two-day course which introduces particpants to the Coerver methodology and provides the skills and knowledge to deliver training to young players.
Widely regarded as the number one coaching program for male and female players aged 5 to 15 years, Coerver aims to improve an individual's skills and technique through small-sided games and 'football homework'. Endorsed by FIFA, Coerver is recommended by the likes of Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson, Gerard Houllier, Carlos Parriera and the legendary Franz Beckenbauer.
The Level 1 Coaching Course will be held over the weekend of 6th/7th December at Litis Stadium, home of Floreat Athena. In addition to ten hours of coaching, participants receive a complete set of course notes, a Rebel Sport discount voucher and the opportunity to be a Coerver instructor. Further details on Coerver WA and the upcoming course, including a downloadable registration form, are available from www.coerverwa.com.au.
STRAKER GOES BACK-TO-BACK
Phil Straker admits he’s humbled to win the Goalkeeper of the Year two years in a row. The Stirling Lions custodian was the stand-out performer in a strong field which included Neil Young (Sorrento) and Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United). “To win last season was amazing and to be voted the best in the league was the best award in my football career,” Straker said. “This season there has been some outstanding ‘keepers in the league and for me it’s been a pleasure to be amongst all of them. When my name was read out I was speechless, but saying that I’m wrapped to win the award and it gives you the incentive to go training each week and put in the hard yards.”
If ever there was a time for Straker to stand up and be counted then 2008 was that time. The loss of key defenders Kevin Henderson and Darko Ilmanoski through injury could have totally devastated Stirling, however, into the breech came outstanding out pair Michael Pugliese and Dean Evans who Straker has nothing but praise and the upmost respect for. “I had to guide the young lads on occasions but, to be fair to Michael and Dean, they have been outstanding this season and I couldn’t have come anywhere near this trophy without them,” acknowledged Straker. “They have been the backbone of our defence and I’ve relied on them many times this season.”
OXTOBY TO CAPTAIN GLORY
Tanya Oxtoby will wear the captain’s armbands when Perth Glory step out for the inaugural W-League season. A State representative, Oxtoby is no stranger to the national arena having played for Northern New South Wales Pride and Western Waves, whom she captained in 2004. “It’s a privilege to represent the Perth Glory and especially when you look at how many Australian representatives we have in the squad, it’s a great honour for me” said Oxtoby, who’ll have Collette McCallum as vice-captain. “My captaincy style is to lead by example, it’s about what you do, not what you say and I will go out there and try to perform to a level that inspires the other girls”.
Oxtoby echoed the sentiment of coach Nicola Williams who feels strongly that the team from the west will be a contender for the end of season play-offs. “We can definitely make the top four, and anything can happen from there once you’re in it. If you’re not aiming for the top four, then you’re in the wrong business” she said. “The W-League has been a long time coming, and I think this finishes off the pathway for women’s football from state representation at juniors and now through to the national team.” Perth Glory commences their W-League campaign on Saturday by hosting Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium from 1.00pm. Entry is $5 with under-16’s free.
PUGLIESE’S STAR RISES AT STIRLING
Young defender Michael Pugliese made a clean sweep of the trophies at Stirling Lions' annual presentation ceremony at Macedonia Park on Saturday. Pugliese, a product of the clubs' successful youth development program, was honoured the prestigious Players' Player of the Year trophy along with the Fairest and Best award. Perth Glory Youth player Dean Evans was runner-up Fairest and Best and shared the Top Goalscorer with midfielder Jordan Rhodes. Chris Harlond collected the Rookie of the Year, Ludovic Boi the Coaches Award and goalkeeper Phil Straker the Erin Debarro Courage Award. The Presidents Award was taken home by Alan Muir, with Gary Williams recipient of the Clubman Award.
Reserves captain Damian Houston picked up both the Players' Player of the Year and Coaches Award. Defender Matthew Italiano was named Fairest and Best with Keith Clevenger runner-up. The Rookie of the Year went to Jake Geddes, whose 14 goals also earned him the Golden Boot. Rick Delbasso went home with the Erin Debarro Courage Award, defender Chris Harlond claimed the Presidents Award and goalkeeper Mark Bentley received the Clubman Award.
Stirling's Outstanding Young Player was Ben Senior, who capped a sensational year when announced as winner of the under-18's Players' Player of the Year along with Fairest and Best. 15-year old midfielder Thomas Kennedy was runner-up Fairest and Best, exciting striker Ndumba Makeche received the Rookie of the Year with the Golden Boot taken out by Chris Zito. Other winners were Cameron Sutton (Coaches Award), John Omeedzadeh (Erin Debarro Courage Award), Matthew Hill (Presidents Award) and Matthew Hill and Tom Senior (Clubman Award).
CURRIE VOTED THE BEST MAN IN THE MIDDLE
David Currie has been honoured with the 2008 Golden Whistle as the number one referee in State league football. The 51-year old Scotsman was a popular winner of the award following an outstanding debut season on the ‘A’ Panel. “I’ve enjoyed this season, and to get the opportunity to referee in the ‘A’ Panel was great,” commented Currie, who officiated over the Cup Final between western Knights and Sorrento. “I think I’ve used common sense this season and hopefully this is a reward for me doing that.”
Currie says his experiences as a player have had a major influence on his approach to refereeing and the mutual respect that is required between the two parties. “I played football at a good level and you realise that players have to be treated with respect as well,” said Currie. “If you treat them with respect and respond in the right manner then you have a good understanding on the park. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the season, and I’ve had very few conflicts over the year which is pleasing.”
Former World Cup referee and now referees development manager at Football West, Eddie Lennie, says Currie is a worthy recipient of the Golden Whistle. “It’s David’s first season on the top panel and he has performed consistently throughout the season and deserves the adulations of being recognised as the referee of the year,” said Lennie. “He has worked hard at keeping his fitness level up which is a requirement at this level and this should give inspiration to some of the younger referees in order that they keep fit also.”
IT’S A GOOD TIME TO PLAY ADELAIDE SAYS FOXE
Hayden Foxe believes Perth Glory need to quickly move on from the weekend win over Sydney F.C. in order to keep the momentum going. Glory's next assignment is away at Adelaide United on Sunday - just days after the Reds gruelling mid-week road trip to Uzbekistan for the Asian Champions League semi-final with Bunyodkor. But for Glory to take advantage of Adelaide's crowded schedule and secure the points for a second week in a row, Foxe knows they will have to re-focus quickly after upsetting Sydney. "It's a good time to play Adelaide to be honest," Foxe said. "They've got to come back and play a game, so it's going to be difficult … hopefully, we can just continue what we did over the weekend."
Since joining Glory in 2007 Foxe has been restricted to just seven appearances, with Sunday's outing his first of the new season. After making it through the full 90 minutes against Sydney, Foxe is keen to look forward. "It's the best it's felt actually all season, so just got to keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully I can play the rest of the season," Foxe said. "It's hard when you're injured because it's your job, it's all I want to do, is play football. "(But) seeing the smile on everyone's face, not just the fans but the ball boys and everyone, the staff (was great), so hopefully we can continue on this run and see more smiling faces."
KOVACEVIC STUNNER NETS GOAL OF THE SEASON
A stunning half-volley scored at home against Floreat Athena earned Inglewood United striker Mladen Kovacevic the 2008 Goal of the Season trophy. Kovacevic, a product of his club’s youth system, was delighted that his Round Seventeen strike was voted the best of the season by an expert panel at Football West. “This makes it all worth while for me this season, it’s always great to win team trophies, but for me to win this award is for the team and the good season that not many people thought we would have,” said Kovacevic.
Written off by many in pre-season, Inglewood denied the critic’s with a superb year that took them to fourth on Premier League table and an appearance in the final of the Top Four ply-off series. “Many people wrote us off when Bobby (Despotovski) and a number of experienced players left,” commented Kovacevic, who’s called Inglewood home since he played youth team football in 2002. “But we knew we had depth, especially after winning the under-23’s last season and with Lee Bamber being around the club the whole time he was confident in our ability and it proved with us making the Top Four finals.”
ARMADALE’S NUMBER ONE IS SHARROCK
Englishman Cyril Sharrock has celebrated an outstanding year between the posts for Armadale by claiming his clubs' most prestigious award. It's the second year in a row that Sharrock's left Alfred Skeet Oval with the Fairest and Best trophy. Exciting young midfielder Kodi Madeley was voted the Players' Player of the Year, while veteran defender Andrew Bowyer marked his first season at the club with the Coaches Award.
Reserve team goalkeeper Alex Preece was voted the Players' Player of the Year. The Fairest and Best trophy was won by striker Joe Brunetto, with Adam Galvin picking up the Coaches Award. Ali Paredes showed himself to be someone to watch for in the future by winning both the Players' Player of the Year as well as the Fairest and Best. The Coaches Award was presented to attacker Daniel Bowes.
MATILDAS WIN ASEAN CHAMPIONSHIP
The new generation of Matildas stars have won the ASEAN Football Federation Championships in Vietnam. A young and relatively inexperienced Australia swept past Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore in the qualifying rounds before comfortably accounting for Myanmar (Burma) in the semi-finals. A tense final showdown with host nation Vietnam was decided by an own goal minutes from the end of regulation time. "We are thrilled to have won here; it was an amazing experience for us playing teams with different styles," said Australian assistant coach Alistair Edwards.
A 2-0 win against Thailand gave Australia the best possible start. Played in warm and humid conditions, it took until the 71st minute for Victoria Balomenos to tap in the opener after Amy Chapman's attempt was fumbled by the goalkeeper. The sealer came with six minutes remaining and courtesy of Ashleigh Sykes' defence splitting pass that Balomenos angled low into the net from 15-metres. Local product Ella Mastrantonio and Katanning-born Lydia Williams each played the full 90 minutes.
The Matildas thrashed the Philippines 7-0 on match day two. Renne Rollason lobbed in the opening after 34 minutes, and soon after Jenna Tristram capitalised on an error by the 'keeper to add a second. Rollason fired goal number three into the top corner shortly after the break, Ashleigh Sykes bagged her first international goal and Tristram grabbed her second before Victoria Balomenos piled on a couple of late goals to seal an emphatic victory. Mastrantonio played a full game in midfield.
It became three from three as Australia dumped Singapore 6-0 on last Monday. Lauren Colthorpe put the Matildas first goal on the board after 6 minutes, then midway through the half doubled the margin. Ashleigh Sykes touched in at close-range after the break, before Jenna Tristram and Victoria Balomenos took the gap to five goals. Ella Mastrantonio's superb drive from 35-metres completed the rout. Williams played a full game in goal with Mastrantonio coming off the bench at half-time.
Australia advanced to the final with a thrilling 5-1 win over Myanmar (Burma). Goals to Amy Chapman, Servet Uzunlar, Lauren Colthorpe and Jenna Tristram effectively decided the outcome by half-time. Carroll netted her second penalty midway through the second half before Claire Polkinghorne was sent off for a second yellow card and Myanmar pulled one back from the spot. Australia ended with nine players following a second bookable offence against Chapman. Mastrantonio played a full game.
The Matildas triumphed 1-0 over Vietnam in a thrilling decider at the Thang Long Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City this evening. Vietnam took the fight to their physically larger opponents and went close after 24 minutes when Tran Thi Kim Hong's shot was brilliantly kept out of the top corner by Lydia Williams. The two sides then traded attempts on until, with 79th minutes on the clock, Do Thi Ngoc Cham inadvertently turned the ball into her own net to snatch an Australia win. Mastrantonio and Williams each played the full game.
The 18-player Australian squad for the 2008 ASEAN Football Federation Championships featured Victoria Balomenos, Melissa Barbieri, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Amy Chapman, Lauren Colthorpe, Lyndsay Glohe, Elise Kellond-Knight, Leena Khamis, Ella Mastrantonio, Clare Polkinghorne, Renee Rollason, Brooke Spence, Ashleigh Sykes, Jenna Tristram, Servet Uzunlar, Christine Walters and Lydia Williams. The side was coached by Tom Sermani with Alistair Edwards assistant.
BOOT FITS O’CALLAGHAN PERFECTLY
A rich vein of form earned Mandurah City striker Phil O'Callaghan the 2008 Golden Boot trophy as the highest goal scorer in the Premier League. O'Callaghan's 25-goals were a key component of the Dolphins inaugural top flight campaign, and were rewarded by a call-up to the senior State team for the recent friendly with South Australia. "It was a good season for the club, as it was for me on the pitch in front of goal," he commented. "We proved that Mandurah has what it takes to play in the Premier League."
Not surprisingly, O'Callaghan has absolutely no regrets about leaving E.C.U. Joondalup at the start of the year to join Mandurah for their first Premier League outing. "I'd played all my junior days at Joondalup and got on well with the players and coaches but I wasn't getting game time," he explained. "Mandurah coach Stuart Currie told me he had faith in my ability and was willing to go me a start so I took up his offer and I haven't looked back."
Quality service in the final third of the park is the key to any goal scorer's game. O'Callaghan was quick to pay tribute to team captain Andy Brown, whose work rate and distribution made his job a pleasure. "He is a great player and a great leader of our club," said 21-year old O'Callaghan. "You now if you make the run he is going to find you, which is fantastic for any striker. I've enjoyed my first season at the club and I'm now looking forward to next season."
HULL IN FOR THE LONG HAUL : GARCIA
Hull City are not getting carried away by a superb start to their debut season in the English Premier League. The Tigers had been favourites for an instant return to the Championship after winning promotion last season, however, they have so far defied the critics and after eight games are placed third behind Chelsea and Liverpool. "We've got one eye on the league table, it's hard not to," said Perth-born Richard Garcia. "It's good to see Hull in third position but we haven't got carried away with ourselves. That's the main thing, we've got to keep doing the same things that have got us this far. It's still very, very early."
Having not featured in the staring eleven since August, Garcia is determined to win back his place in the Hull line-up. "I feel as though I've been in good form when I've played," said Garcia, an 82nd minute substitute in the weekend defeat of West Ham United. "But the team is doing pretty well at the moment, so it's just a case of playing as well as I can when I get the chance and training as best as I can. I need to do as much as I can to get back into the team and then it's down to the gaffer. There's a big squad here and there's lots of competition for places, but that is a good thing because it makes players stay on top of their game."
HARNWELL'S DOUBLE BRINGS PERTH GLORY
Long-serving Perth Glory defender Jamie Harnwell made a welcome return to the strike force by scoring in each half of this afternoon's 2-1 defeat of Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium. Coach David Mitchell made a staggering five changes to his starting line-up but it was the decision to partner Harnwell with Nikita Rukavytsya that proved decisive. "That's what your paid for, to make the tough decisions," said Mitchell. "And it was a tough decision, but I just had a gut feeling that Mr. Harnwell up front would cause problems. Last year, him and Nikita did really well together, they struck up a great partnership (and) he's been the top scorer for the last couple of years in the role."
The temperature was nudging 33 degrees Celcius when Brazilain midfielder Amaral and Rukavytsya combined to create the games' first chance which Harnwell flashed past the far post. Sydney failed to heed the warning and in the 5th minute Rukavytsya touched the ball clear of Tony Popovic before centring for an unmarked Harnwell to finish low past goalkeeper Ivan Necevski. But the home supporters were silenced six minutes later when Sydney's first opening had Brendon Santalab cut inside James Downey and fired under the body of 'keeper Tando Velaphi. Wayne Bridge threatened to put Sydney ahead but was thwarted by a stunning save from Velaphi, who just after the half hour brilliantly tipped over Steve Corica's header. Rukavytsya wasted a great chance by rifling wide after outpacing the defence, and on 42 minutes Adriano Pellegrino's shot was blocked by Necevski and Harnwell put the rebound just wide.
Glory made the perfect start to the second half which was two minutes old when Rukavytsya got in front of Iain Fyfe and found the overlapping Pellegrino whose superb cross was powerfully headed in by Harnwell from 7-metres. It was now that Glory began to dominate and Jamie Coyne fired narrowly wide while Harnwell went within centimetres of netting his third. The points should have been made safe when Amaral's perfectly weighted pass put Rukavytsya in the clear but the striker's low effort was well saved by Necevski. Glory's increasingly cautious approach as the game entered the closing stages should have been punished by an unmarked Santalab whose goalbound header was captured by Velaphi. The visitors went down to ten men with Fyfe red carded for violent conduct towards Adrian Trinidad on 91 minutes. Deep in stoppage time Santalab fired high from 9-metres, and soon after Shannon Cole's speculative free-kick from distance whistled past the post.
GLORY YOUTH PAY THE PRICE FOR LAPSES
A sensational Andrija Jukic hat-trick wasn’t enough to save Perth Glory Youth who’s unbeaten start to the season ended with a 5-3 loss to Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium this morning. A couple of defensive lapses late in the first half from which Sean Rooney capitalised cost Glory the momentum, and ultimately a third straight win. “Sydney put away their chances and I think it’s another good learning curve for our boys,” said coach Gareth Naven. “We’ve had two games away where they did really well and it just shows us as a group where we have to work to be better and I think that is a good thing.”
Sydney hit the front after 13 minutes when an opportunistic Anthony Golec poked the ball in from a couple of metres after on loan goalkeeper Devon Spence failed to hold a corner. Nine minutes later Howard Fondyke pulled the ball back to an unmarked Jukic to equalise at close-range. Jukic then put Glory in the box seat with a sublime curling shot from outside the area which gave the ‘keeper no chance after 26 minutes. Rooney put Sydney back in the game by lashing in a perfectly weighted Nik Tsattalios pass after 43 minutes, and less than a minute later the striker brilliantly volleyed in the teams third.
Scott Neville was impressive after the break by applying a number of well-timed challenges to foil an attack minded Sydney. Unfortunately, the visitors found a way through on 68 minute when Matthew Jurman’s bullet-like header was too good for Spence. Jukic appeared to have the ball on a string at the other end and on 72 minutes completed a classy hat-trick to bring the margin back to a single goal. But Sydney’s two-goal buffer was restored nine minutes late when Brendan Gan nodded in to end Glory’s unbeaten start to the season.
JOONDALUP’S TOP AWARD WON BY SIMPSON
Classy defender Craig Simpson entered E.C.U. Joondalup history when revealed as the 2008 Players’ Player of the Year last night. It was a remarkable win for Simpson who missed the final five rounds of the season due to study commitments in the United States. Scottish import Craig Young picked up the Coaches Player of the Year, while 15 regular season goals netted team captain Ian McMurray his second Leading Goalscorer trophy in as many years.
Former State junior representative Shane Doyle was voted the Players’ Player of the Year at reserve team level. The Coaches Player of the Year was awarded to John Walmsley, while Carlo Coelho’s 8 goals in home and away competition earned him the Leading Goalscorer. Max Pope went home with the under-18 Players’ Player of the Year and Leading Goalscorer awards. The Coaches Player of the Year was won by Jake Benson-Cooper.
NAGLIERI STORMS HOME TO WIN GOLD MEDAL
Antoni Naglieri wrote himself into West Australian football history on Friday evening by taking out this year's Gold Medal. A superb season in the middle of the park for Perth S.C. earned Naglieri the prestigious award as the Premier League's best and fairest player for 2008. It was a full house at Grand Ballroom of the Burswood International Resort Casino where in excess of 650 people celebrated the achievements of the recently completely State League season.
It was a congested leaderboard at the seasons' middle point. Sorrento midfielder Scott Bulloch, who was to soon join Perth Glory, shared first place with Naglieri on 13 votes. But just two behind and in hot pursuit were Mandurah City captain Andy Brown, Ian McMurray (E.C.U. Joondalup), David Perich (Swan I.C.) and Cockburn City team mates Johnny Mirco Mirco and Dom De Felice. Swan captain Damian Scali had 10 votes, one more than Shane Pryce (Inglewood United) and Phil O'Callaghan (Mandurah City).
Naglieri put his foot down in the second part of the winter to break free of the chasing pack. A scintillating five-week spell reaped best on grounds against Swan, Armadale and Inglewood plus further votes at Fremantle Spirit and Stirling to effectively wrap up the Gold Medal by the end of Round 18. At that stage Naglieri's tally stood at 26 votes, a massive eight more than his nearest rival Mirco and a staggering ten ahead of third placed Scali, Scott and McMurray.
By the end of counting Naglieri's 31 votes had gained him the biggest Gold Medal winning margin in over a decade. A late surge took Ante Kovacevic (Floreat) to 21 votes where he joined Mirco and Scott as runners-up. Joondalup captain McMurray split third with Shaun Kilkelly (Sorrento) on 20 votes, one more than De Felice. Following closely on 18 votes were Scali, O'Callaghan, Western Knights midfielder David Micevski. View the 2008 Gold Medal vote tallies (xls, 154kb)
Goalkeeper of the Year honours went to Phil Straker for the second successive time. The Stirling custodian conceded the second fewest goals in a season when his experience was vital behind one of the youngest defences in the competition. A stunning 25-goals in his first season with Mandurah earned O'Callaghan the Golden Boot. The 21-year olds season tally included two hat-trick's against each Fremantle Spirit and Armadale.
Guiding Sorrento to the championship without defeat earned Steve Neville the Premier League Coach of the Year. Mladen Kovacevic’s cracking half volley in Inglewood’s home meeting with Floreat earned him the Goal of the Season trophy. Popular referee David Currie was a deserved recipient of the Golden Whistle Award. The David Schrandt Memorial Award, which recognises club volunteers, was taken home by Heinz Luik from Forrestfield United.
The Youth Best and Fairest trophy was collected by Andreas Theodosiades, who ended on 28 votes for Floreat. Theodosiades' superb late season form had the youngster voted best on ground six times in nine weeks. Stirling attacker Ndumba Makeche ended the year strongly to finish runner-up with 17 votes. A further four off the pace were Matthew Izzo (Perth) and Wesley Britz (Fremantle). The Youth Golden Boot award went home with D.Kalamaras (Floreat) whose winter tally stood at 23 goals.
The First Division Fairest and Best award was taken out by Daniel Trevisiol of champions Canning City. Trevisiol polled 20 votes to collect the trophy by two ahead of joint runners-up Rory Binnie (South West Phoenix), Dragan Njegic (Dianella White Eagles) and Ibnen Charming (Ashfield). Strikers Brian Cairney and Steve Suttie, of Wanneroo City and Phoenix respectively, shared third by collecting 17 votes, one more than Bayswater City midfielder Paul Hickey.
A 23-goal winter earned Canning's Paul Harvey the First Division Golden Boot. His season was highlighted by a stunning five-goal haul at home to Forrestfield, and hat-tricks against Gosnells City and Dianella White Eagles. Frank Longstaff was named the First Division Coach of the Year for guiding Canning through the 22-game home and away season, and into next years top flight, without loss.
Wanneroo's David Moore will also look back on 2008 with great fondness after taking home the First Division Youth Fairest and Best trophy. 18 votes were enough to land Moore the award by one from Anthony Cunningham of Cup winners Forrestfield. Mark McAllister (Bayswater) came in third with 16 votes, which was one more than Thomas Gooding (Dianella). First Division Youth Golden Boot was split between Cunningham and Matt Spurling (Phoenix) who each netted 24 times during the winter months.
VELAPHI A FUTURE SOCCEROO : ARNOLD
Olyroos coach Graham Arnold considers Tando Velaphi as the likely successor to Mark Schwarzer as Australia's first choice goalkeeper. Velaphi will tomorrow make his first appearance of the season for Perth Glory after biding his time behind veterans Frank Juric and Jason Petkovic. "He's one of our prized future goalkeepers and from what I've seen throughout the Olyroos campaign, a future Socceroo," said Arnold of Perth-born and bred Velaphi. "Australia has an ageing goalkeeping department at the moment but Tando is definitely up there with Danny Vukovic and Adam Federici as three young guns who are world class."
BOI EXCITED ABOUT MAKING HOME DEBUT
Perth Glory Youth are eager to show local fans the form that’s taken them to the top of the table when they make their long awaited home debut. After two wins on the road, Glory makes their first appearance at Members Equity Stadium tomorrow where they face off with a Sydney F.C. side that is also unbeaten. “It will be great to be out there and have the home fans behind us,” said Ludovic Boi, whose opening round strike at Central Coast Mariners earned him the honour of scoring the fist ever goal for Glory Youth. “There haven’t been many cheers when we’ve scored away from home so hopefully we can get some goals and the supporters can enjoy the game.”
Boi, who was born in Mauritius but now calls Western Australia home, has been impressed with the level of competition the Youth League has produced in its infancy. “They’re all good players and it has been a fantastic experience so far,” said the 19-year old. “Not only are you playing against the best young players in the country you are also challenging yourself against guys with experience from the A-League and that definitely has helped in our development. We’ve got a really great bunch of boys, very strong, they’re all good players. The team bonding has been really terrific and we all got on very well from the very first training session.”
IS AFKOS GLORY’S SAVIOUR?
Former Perth Glory co-owner Paul Afkos has emerged as a potential antidote to the embattled A-league club’s ills after expressing an interest in returning to the national scene. Afkos knows well the dynamics of running a national league club having been instrumental in building Glory, alongside then business partner Nick Tana, into the most successful club in the country. A bitter falling out with Tana precipitated Afkos selling his stake in the club in 2002 but he has retained a keen interest in the game at both local and national levels.
Afkos, who was part of a consortium that wanted to but the club in 2005, was not prepared to comment on the possibility of returning to Glory in some capacity. But it is understood he has had initial talks with at least one club official about the prospect of investing in the club as well as adding a different perspective in he boardroom. Tana relinquished control of he club to Football Federation Australia in 2006 before Tony Sage, Brett McKeown and John Spence took on the A-League licence eighteen months ago. Spence has since pulled out and Lui Giuliano, who does not hold a share in the club, has joined the board.
McKeown said yesterday the club had received numerous offers of support, which were likely to be acted on in coming weeks. “With all the negative publicity that’s been going on over the last three or four weeks, we’ve had a lot of feedback from people in the business community who love the sport and want to help,” he said. “The interest has not necessarily been financially. It’s been more that they are prepared to give their time or with a view to coming on the board in an advisory capacity. We want to work with these people because a lot of them are well credentialled.”
YEARS' BEST HONOURED ON FOOTBALLS NIGHT OF NIGHTS
The 2008 State League season officially comes to a close this evening with the 47th annual Gold Medal Awards ceremony. Early indications are there’ll be a bumper turnout for the gala event in the Grand Ballroom of the Burswood International Resort Casino. The evenings’ centrepiece will be the awarding of the 2008 Gold Medal, Western Australia’s highest individual honour.
Amongst the favourites for the award are Mandurah City and State captain Andy Brown, Perth S.C. playmaker Antonio Naglieri, former national league defender Ante Kovacevic of Floreat Athena and Cockburn City livewire Johnny Mirco. One-time New Zealand striker Brad Scott (Floreat) is also expected to poll strongly along with David Micevski (Western Knights), Ian McMurray (E.C.U. Joondalup) and Sorrento pair Shaun Kilkelly and Todd Harnwell.
Sorrento boss Steve Neville is favoured to land the Premier League Coach of the Year ahead of Stuart Currie (Mandurah), and Lee Bamber (Inglewood United). Oliver Taseski (Inglewood), Phil Straker (Stirling Lions) and State custodian Neil Young (Sorrento) are tipped to battle it out for Goalkeeper of the Year honours. Wesley Britz (Fremantle Spirit), Ndumba Makeche (Stirling), Matthew Izzo (Perth) and Andreas Theodosiades (Floreat) head a competitive field for the Youth Best and Fairest.
There’ll be little separating the leaders when the final rounds of votes are counted in the First Division Best and Fairest. South West Phoenix pair Rory Binnie and Steve Suttie will finish high on the tally board along with Dianella White Eagles stalwart Dragan Njegic and Daniel Trevisiol of champions Canning City. Brian Cairney (Wanneroo City), Paul Hickey (Bayswater City) and Ashfield’s Sierra Leone-born striker Ibnen Charming are also expected to poll strongly.
After guiding Canning to the championship without loss, Frank Longstaff is red hot favourite to land the Coach of the Year where Mickie Cairns (Phoenix) and Gerry McEwan (Wanneroo) are his main rivals. The First Division Youth Best and Fairest will be fought out between Anthony Cunningham (Forrestfield United), Thomas Gooding (Dianella), Mark McAllister (Bayswater) and David Moore (Wanneroo).
GLORY WOMEN ARE GO!
Perth Glory is one step closer to kick off in the W-League season opener after finalising their 19-player roster. Coach Nicola Williams had no hesitation in claiming her team is capable of upsetting some of the traditional powerhouses from the eastern seaboard. “We would like to reach the semi-finals in our inaugural season,” said Williams. “The squad has worked extremely hard in the past few months leading up to our first match. We have the best talent that Western Australia has to offer and we are extremely proud to wear the Perth Glory colours.”
Matildas international Collette McCallum spearheads the Glory Women’s team which features exciting 16-year old Ella Mastrantonio, who former Glory player Alistair Edwards rates as one of the most gifted young footballers he has ever seen. Sam Kerr and Marianna Tabain are touted as key players for the new generation of Matildas, while experienced defender Tanya Oxtoby marshals the defence together with State player Carys Hawkins and Queensland goalkeeper Kate Stewart. The final spot in the squad has been reserved for Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna, who is currently playing for Swedish club AIK.
The nineteen-player Perth Glory Women’s squad is Dani Calautti, Katy Coghlan, Ciara Conway, Elisa D’Ovidio, Maya Diederichsen, Emily Dunn, Carys Hawkins, Katrina Jukic, Sam Kerr, Shiya Lim, Collette McCallum, Ella Mastrantonio, Tanya Oxtoby, Stacey Learmont, Shannon May, Elle Semmens, Rachel Smith, Kate Stewart and Marianna Tabain. The inaugural W-League season commences for Glory with an afternoon start against Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium on Saturday 25th October.
HUGO CALLS IT A DAY
After a dozen years wearing the black and white stripes of Swan I.C., defender Justin Hugo has decided it’s time to hang up his playing boots. While the 32-year old admits he’ll miss the camaraderie of team mates, he feels it’s the right time to retire from the game. “It was a difficult decision to retire, especially after playing for so long at the club,” he explained. “But at the end of the day my body was not holding up, I had work commitments which were interfering with playing and I also want to spend more time with my family, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve loved every minute at Swan and hope I’ve given something back to the loyal black and white supporters.”
Hugo has stuck with Swan through thick and thin since moving from Bassendean Caledonian in 1997. He rates the Cup successes of 2003 and 2004 as the peak experience of his career. “The Boral Cup Final win against Perth S.C. was a great day for me and the club,” he explained. “We were underdogs going into the game and we played them at their place. Paul Lincoln and Elton Holmes scored and despite having Damian Scali sent off we held on to win 2-1 and the feeling after the game was fantastic. We went back-to-back the following season against Fremantle City … both victories were well celebrated.”
Hugo plans to make the most of retirement by spending more time with wife Kyle and children Zac and Neve. However, having made over 200 appearances for Swan, it’s going to be difficult keeping Hugo away from the club. “I’ll be down the club watching the guy’s and having a few beers,” he said of his plans for next April. “And I’ll be able to tell the referee’s what I think of them without getting booked!” Swan will honour Hugo this Sunday with a testimonial game between his All-Stars and a Swan XI, kick-off at 10.30am. The club is putting on a barbecue lunch for a nominal fee from midday.
KNIGHTS’ MICEVSKI THRILLED WITH DOUBLE
David Micevski has topped a stellar debut season with Western Knights by taking out the club’s two most prized awards. Wins in the Fairest and Best as well as Players’ Player of the Year categories were the icing on the cake for 22-year old Micevski, who missed the presentation ceremony due to being on State team duty in Adelaide. “After winning the Cup Final and playing for the State team I didn’t think it could get any better - but it has,” Micevski enthused. “Daniel, my brother, phoned me on Saturday night to tell me I’d won. It’s always great for your efforts to be recognised and I’ll especially cherish the Players’ Player as it shows how highly your team mates regard you.”
Knights captain, David Annall, had to settle for runner-up Fairest and Best. Luka Jukic added a second Most Improved trophy to the one he collected as a teenager in 2003. Scottish import Rory Grant took out the Leading Goalscorer award thanks to his 15 League and Cup goals. Special presentations were made to coaches Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly for eleven years of loyalty to the club. Ryan Shackleton was named Fairest and Best for the reserves were Alan Galic claimed the runner-up spot along with the Most Improved. Phil Galipo’s efforts in the youth team earned him the Best and Fairest. Goalkeeper Andrew Larkin came in as runners-up, with Michael Masterton awarded the Most Improved.
YOUR PREFERRED MASTER OF CEREMONIES IS MORRISON
The football community want Ashley Morrison to host the 2009 end of season awards evening. Over a third of responses in our latest poll - ‘Who would you like to host the Gold Medal ceremony?’ - nominated Morrison for the job. Morrison, a former goalkeeper with Subiaco United and Western Knights and the current ‘Not the Footy Show’ host, was by far and away the most popular choice with 36% of the vote. Channel 10 sports anchor Tim Gossage (29%) gained second place with 6PR presenter Peter Vlahos (19%) a distance third. John O’Connell (10%), one-time State captain and long-time host of the ‘International Football Show’, was next with Channel 10 sports reporter Lachy Reid (6%) completing the field. A total of 186 votes were cast during the seven-day polling period.
AUSTRALIA DEMOLISH QATAR
Australia powered to the top of the World Cup qualifying group by demolishing Qatar 4-0 this evening at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Brett Emerton's double along with goals from Tim Cahill and Josh Kennedy sealed a comfortable win on a pitch left drenched by a torrential thunderstorm an hour before kick-off. "Two games, six points, five goals and none against - not too bad," said a smiling Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek after the game. "We made it easy for ourselves. We did exactly what we had to do and score an early goal. The goals were fantastic and we controlled the game." Japan's 1-1 home draw with Uzbekistan leaves Australia two points clear at the top of Group A.
The ball had been in motion 9 minutes when David Carney crossed for Kennedy, whose intelligent nod on to Cahill was complimented by an excellent finish across the 'keeper from 15-metres. Eight minutes later it became two-nil as Abdulla Obeid Koni' foul on Cahill resulted in a penalty kick that Emerton struck powerfully past Abdul Aziz. A dreadful defensive error presented Cahill with an opening which the striker volleyed narrowly wide. Qatar's first shot came soon after when Sebastian Quintana's effort was wide and high. The visitors ended the half positively and in the 42nd minute Magid Mohemaed got in behind the defence but his low centring pass skidded across the face of goal.
The Socceroos continued to press after the break and a Scott McDonald's angled strike gathered by Aziz, at the second attempt. Any hopes Qatar held of a revival were extinguished when Emerton finished a sweeping move on the left that involved Kennedy and McDonald after 59 minutes. Kennedy was inches from adding a fourth with a header from Lucas Neill’s deft ball into the area. On 76 minutes Luke Wilkshire delivered the ball deep into the 18-yard box where Kennedy climbed highest to head powerfully past the 'keeper. Quintana should have put the visitors on the board with ten minutes left but lifted his shot high when presented with an open goal. West Australian pair Michael Petkovic and Chris Coyne were unused substitutes.
ANTHONY IN LINE FOR GLORY
Stirling Lions midfielder Marc Anthony is back in Perth Glory’s sights. Coach David Mitchell has invited the former Celtic player to training with the Glory squad as he looks to fill the gap created James Robinson’s absence through injury. Anthony, fresh from a best on ground performance for the State team against South Australia, impressed Mitchell during pre-season trips to China and Indonesia and wants to take another look at the hard working midfielder. “I want to have a look at him this week and see what his fitness levels are like,” said the coach. “He’s a quality player and when he comes into our squad and trains he doesn’t look out of place at all. It could be an ideal opportunity for someone like him to come in and do a job.” Also training with Glory this week is former Grimsby Town midfielder Graham Hockless, who played the winter with Victoria club Heidelberg United. Either Anthony or Hockless could be signed in time to line-up against Sydney F.C. at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday.
COLE IS FAIREST AND BEST AT SWAN
One-time State player Aaron Cole collected his first club Fairest and Best award when Swan I.C. held their annual awards night at the Swan Italian Club. Cole, winner of the Gold Medal in 1999 and a former captain of Perth S.C., marshalled the black and white defence with aplomb during a long winter for the club. “Aaron led by example all season and he thoroughly deserves the award,” said coach Paul Lincoln. “He’s a great team leader, has been a model of consistency and his experience has been fantastic for the younger players around him.”
David McNally, who partnered Cole in defence, was runner-up in the main award with Damian Scali going home with Leading Goalscorer trophy. The Fairest and Best at reserve team level went to Connor Mahady, who was a tower of strengths in defence. Shane Webb came in as runner-up, while Matthew Webb was Leading Goalscorer. Simon Williams scooped the youth awards by collecting the Fairest and Best as well as Leading Goalscorer trophies. Versatile defender Stephen Hardie finished Fairest and Best runner-up for the under-18 team. Hard working committee member Enio Paolone was named Clubman of the Year.
GLORY YOUTH COME HOME
Perth Glory Youth will be out to make it three from three when they play at home for the first time this weekend. Gareth Naven's team have made a sensation start to the season with back-to-back wins against Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory taking them to the top of the table. "These players are the future of the club and they're here to learn and develop and hopefully make an impression with their A-League team watching on," said Naven. Australian Under-17 international Liam Harvey, Stirling Lions pair Dean Evans and Ludovic Boi and Perth S.C. playmaker Andrija Jukic are amongst the dozen strong Youth squad, which is supplemented each week by up to four over-age players. Glory Youth play Sydney F.C. this Sunday, 19th October, at Members Equity Stadium (11.00am).
VELAPHI RELISHES THE PRESSURE
Tando Velaphi insists he will handle the pressure when he makes his first A-League start of the season against Sydney F.C. on Sunday. The 21-year old will become the third goalkeeper used this term by Perth Glory, who've leaked 20 goals in the seven games shared by veterans Jason Petkovic and Frank Juric. Bottom of the table Glory are in desperate need of a win and Velaphi says he is play his part. "I think there's pressure every week at this club, no matter where you go to or who you're playing," he said. "You've just got to step into it as another game and do your best and enjoy the experience."
It has been a long wait for Velaphi, who is yet to play at the top-level of Australian football since returning from Olyroos duty in Beijing in August. But two clean sheets in as many starts for Glory's Youth team has turned the spotlight on Velaphi for this weekend's home clash with second-placed Sydney, who've lost once in seven outings. "They are another quality outfit," Velaphi said. "I think we'll just work it out in training, get some tactics that will help minimise their impact. We've just got to concentrate on our game as well, which is the main thing at home."
COACHING OPTIONS OPEN UP FOR DESPOTOVSKI
A coaching career in Asia is an option for Bobby Despotovski after the former Perth Glory star recently completed his UEFA 'A' coaching licence. However, Despotovski is likely to continue working in the State League before seriously weighting up his coaching options. "I've done my coaching degrees - I could coach A-League with a 'B' licence but I have 'A'. It was all done in Belgrade so I'm just waiting for my paperwork to come through," said Despotovski, who last season coached at Inglewood United. "If I can go to the A-League and work full-time I'd prefer that but I have to weigh up my options. I have a few options in Singapore as well. I'll sit down and talk with the family about these options." Despotovski scored 114 goals in a glittering 240 game career with Glory, which included 4 games for Australia in which he netted 5 times.
COWLEY PICKS UP PHOENIX’ TOP HONOUR
Andrew Cowley commemorated a terrific season by winning his first Fairest and Best award for South West Phoenix. A veteran of close to 150 games for the club, defensive minded Cowley polled strongly to edge out striker Steve Suttie, a two-time recipient of the award. Cowley also claimed an equal share in the Players' Player of the Year with 17-year old sensation Ryan Risdon. Another of the clubs' future stars, exciting midfielder Rory Binnie, went home with the Coaches Award. Suttie's 20-goal winter earned him the Leading Goalscorer award for a fourth successive time.
The reserves Fairest and Best went to Aidan Young ahead of Albert Bucchino. Jacob Whiteaker was voted the Players' Player of the Year, Chris Gaynor picked up the Coaches Award and Lee Stewart earned the teams' Leading Goalscorer trophy. Dylan Stevens won the youth Fairest and Best with Graham Millington in second place. Antony Russo gathered up the Players' Player of the Year and Coaches Award, with the Leading Goalscorer going to Matt Spurling.
The clubs' volunteers were acknowledged with Michaela Hough and Sharon Busquets named Club Person of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, respectively. Ron Moss was honoured with the Phoenix' first ever Life Membership for 35-years dedication and loyalty to football in the South West region. After a successful playing and coaching career, Moss turned his hand to administration with the South West Association and in 2005 was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.
WILLIAMS’ CAREER AT THE CROSSROADS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Middlesbrough’s Perth-born defender Rhys Williams has arrived at the international crossroads - and very soon he will make a decision from which there will be no turning back. Williams, who played juniors for Kingsley and Sorrento before progressing to the E.C.U. Joondalup first team, is on the cusp of playing for the Wales senior team. If not for a knee injury, which brought him back to Perth to recuperate, Williams might already have committed his international future to Wales and their manager John Toshack.
The moment Williams plays for Wales at senior international level - he has already played eight times for the Under-21 team - his undoubted talent will be lost to the Socceroos. “If Australia came knocking I’d obviously think about it but they haven’t made an approach,” said the 20-year old who qualifies for Wales through his grandparents. “I just feel wanted by Wales. They’ve given me a chance. I’ve played through the 21’s and I’ve started every game.”
His last outing for the Wales Under-21 indirectly and unexpectedly put him on a flight back to Perth. Williams scored his first goal at international level in a 3-0 win over Romania last month but after the match complained of a dull ache in a knee. It turned out to be a ligament tear. Suddenly, from being on the brink of an English Premier League debut as well as a senior Welsh call-up, he was on the way to hospital for surgery. Recognising the implications of Williams’ lay-off, Middlesbrough sent him home to recover where his mum Audrey, twin brothers Ryan and Aryn and sister Abby have been good company.
Williams left Perth in 2004 to join Middlesbrough after trials at five clubs. Aston Villa were also interested but Williams opted for a club that already had a strong Australian flavour with Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer and West Australia goalkeeper Brad Jones were all earning their keep. “I chose Middlesbrough because they’ve got good facilities and coaches and it’s a good club to be at really,” said Williams, who now counts Jones as a close friend.
After developing through the club’s youth system, and fighting off knee and ankle injuries, Williams made a giant leap this season. After featuring in Middlesbrough’s pre-season campaign, and playing against the likes of Scottish giants Celtic, he made his senior debut in the League Cup win against Yeovil Town in August. “It was good to finally make my debut,” said Williams, who’s not expected to play against until December. “We’ve got a small squad this year and that was to give some of the young lads a chance. I might have played the last few games because we had injuries and suspensions. It’s frustrating looking at the team sheet thinking I should’ve been there.”
GLORY WANT AMARAL TO STAY
Perth Glory have started inquiries about re-signing Brazilian midfielder Amaral, whose impressive early A-League contribution was curtailed by a hamstring injury. Coach David Mitchell confirmed he had already spoken to Amaral's manager about extending his stay in Perth. "I've spoken to his agent and he said Amaral likes Perth, he wants to stay and he wants to talk about a new contract. He's keen to stay," Mitchell said. "He wants to help the club. He's a winner who's played at the highest level and his enthusiasm is infectious." Amaral impressed sufficiently in his first four Glory appearances for the club to begin the process of extending his one-year deal.
FRANCIS HONOURED BY GOSNELLS
Striker Darren Francis left Gosnells City's awards ceremony with the trophy as their Fairest and Best player for 2008. Lively midfielder Ian Maguire was voted the Players' Player of the Year, and Mark Edwards picked up the Coaches Player of the Year at the end of his sixth season with the club. Luke Wilkinson received the reserve team Fairest and Best, David Firth went home with the Players' Player of the Year trophy and Okie Driadikarta the Coaches Award. The youths Fairest and Best was Craig Van De Moosdyk, Blayne Upton collected the Players' Player of the Year with the Coaches Award going to Shaun Hughes.
QUEENS PARK SALUTE LEARMONT
The trophies were shared around at Queens Park where veteran defender Grant Learmont won the Fairest and Best award. Dan Evans was runner-up with third spot occupied by teenager Tom Cullen, who collected the Top Goalscorer trophy. The Coaches Award went home with Tyrone Woodfin. The reserve team Fairest and Best was taken out by Phil De Sousa ahead of Scott Reinsma with Z.Angelo the Top Goalscorer. Josh Marr picked up the Fairest and Best at youth level where Hassan Karim was both runner-up and Top Goalscorer.
JOEYS MISS OUT ON WORLD CUP
Australia has made an early exit from the AFC Under-16 Championships, and in the process missed out on qualifying for the 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. A trio of group wins against Saudi Arabia, China and Turkmenistan accounted for little as the Joeys fell 3-2 to the United Arab Emirates at the quarter-final stage of the tournament being played in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Australia's opponent in the round of eight was changed only hours before kick-off after Yemen, who topped group D, were disqualified for fielding an overage player. Flying the flag for West Australia at the tournament were Trent Sainsbury, Cameron Edwards, Eli Babalj and Julius Davies.
The tournament began brightly for the Joeys and a 3-1 victory over Saudi Arabia last Sunday. The opening goal resulted from Robert Kolac's booming goal kick which Eli Babalj flicked on for Stephen Domenici to neatly place past the goalkeeper in a one-on-one opportunity after 14 minutes. Domenici added his second on the half hour mark by beating two defenders and blasting inside the near post from 13-metres. A Jared Lum corner early in the second half was helped on by Trent Sainsbury to Brendan Hamill who volleyed in goal number three. Faisal Al Ghamdi scored a consolation goal for Saudi Arabia late in the match. Sainsbury was replaced after 61 minutes, and Babalj in the 70th minute when Cameron Edwards came off the bench.
The Joeys qualified for the quarter-finals two days later by securing a 2-1 win over China. Lum put Australia ahead on the quarter hour by converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Nikola Stanojevic. In first half stoppage time Jin Jingdao fired in from the spot after he'd been felled by Kolak. The decisive goal came via Kamal Ibrahim on 50 minutes when he beat two defenders and unleashed a fierce shot into the top corner from just outside the box. Unfortunately the win came at a cost with Hamill and Babalj both suffering serious ankle injuries. Babalj came off at half-time with Sainsbury entering the fray in the 70th minute.
A 6-0 thrashing of Turkmenistan rounded out the group phase for Australia. Only 7 minutes were gone when Ben Kantarovski finished from close-range after Sainsbury flicked on a near post corner. Teddy Yabio doubled the lead just after the half hour, and Danai Gapre put away the third shortly before the interval. Gapare scored his second early in the second half, Dimitrios Petratos added to the tally in the 63rd minute with Marc Warren completed the scoring two minutes later with a stunning long-range effort. Sainsbury played a full game whereas Cameron Edwards came off in the 57th minute.
Australia's campaign was brought to an abrupt end when beaten 3-2 by the United Arab Emirates in the round of eight. The UAE took a 7th minute lead through Fahad Salam who made no mistake from close-range. Kantarovski equalised early in the second half, and on 57 minutes Australia had the lead courtesy of Sainsbury who benefitted from Hamill's flick from a Lum free-kick. Salem notched up his second in the 64th minute with Abdulla Mohammad heading in the winner deep in stoppage time. Sainsbury played a full game.
GOLD COAST SEEK COYNE
Gold Coast United have targeted Socceroos defender Chris Coyne as their preferred defensive linchpin when they enter the A-League next year. Although the 29-year old stopper still has two years left on his deal with English club Colchester United, Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg is confident Brisbane-born Coyne can be lured back to Queensland to finish his career. Coyne, who’ll meet with Gold Coast assistant coach Paul Okon while in camp with the Socceroos this week, joins Scott Chipperfield and Shane Stefanutto as prime target of the new franchise.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA TOO STRONG FOR WEST AUSTRALIA
South Australia claimed the inaugural Stratco Cup with a 3-0 victory over Western Australia at the Marden Sports Complex. Fred Agius was inspirational for the hosts, setting up two goals and scoring the third, but it was Western Australia’s Marc Anthony who earned the man of the match award for a tireless performance in the centre of the park. Andy Brown caused no end of problems for the South Australian defence as the visitors hit the ground running. Kristian Rees prevented the west from taking an early lead by intercepting a Brown cross intended for David Micevski, who was free inside the 18-yard box.
South Australia grabbed the lead against the run of play when Agius turned the ball over in midfield and found Chad Bugeja free who slotted calmly past Neil Young after 19 minutes. It was almost two-nil as Agius crashed the ball against the crossbar after again weaving his magic to open up the defence. A low cross from the right by Brown provided a chance for Jeff Bright who was unable to keep his header down but after nipping in front of goalkeeper Ben Moore. The margin was increased on 36 minutes when poor marking at Agius’ corner allowed an unchallenged Ivan Karlovic header to beat Young.
Agius put the icing was put on the cake by cleverly flicking the ball over Young to all but secure a home win thirteen minutes after the break. Anthony worked hard to create openings for the visitors in the second half but genuine opportunities on goal were few and far between. With the temperate hovering around 30 degrees, both coaches made use of their full complement of substitutes. West Australia’s best chances came late when substitute Brad Scott tamed Ian McMurray’s flick but with only Moore to beat the striker sliced disappointingly wide.
South Australia: Ben Moore (Daniel Godley 68), Richie Alagich, Kristian Rees, Michael D’Aloisio, Ivan Karlovic, Aaron Goulding (Kim Stavrides 68), Simon Catanzaro (Michael Lastella 81), Chad Bugeja (Mimi Saric 73), Fred Aguis, Scott Tunbridge
West Australia: Neil Young (Gareth Deeg 79), Danny Cain, Ante Kovacevic, Shaun Kilkelly (Daryl Platten 71), Jeff Bright, John Migas (Craig Young 67), Andy Brown, Marc Anthony, David Micevski (Ian McMurray 45), Antonio Naglieri, Phil O’Callaghan (Brad Scott 67)
Bookings: Aguis (76), Brown (86)
Referee: Regis Queffelc
HARNWELL CELEBRATES IN STYLE
Jamie Harnwell commemorated his testimonial game by scoring Perth Glory's final goal in a 4-1 win against State League champions Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Glory were forced to come from behind to secure the win in front an adoring crowd eager to celebrate Harnwell's 10-years service to the national league club. Hamersley Rovers striker Ciaran Hughes, making a guest appearance for the Gulls, put the hosts ahead before defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley brought the game back on level terms. Topor-Stanley then put Glory in front with a scrappy second at close-range, and shortly before half-time young gun Nikita Rukavytsya extended Glory's lead with a clinical header. Eugene Dadi laid the ball on for Harnwell to tap in at close-range the final goal after 79 minutes.
MORLEY’S TOP PRIZE WON BY GORDON
It was a night to remember for David Gordon who took out top honours at Morley Windmills' annual awards night. 23-year old Gordon picked up the Fairest and Best trophy ahead of joint runners-up Chris McCullough and veteran defender Trevor Hatton. McCullough was voted the Players' Player of the Year with the Coaches Award taken out by Paul Dundo. The Club Person of the Year went to life member Wally Moesker who, although now in his 80's, continues to pour his heart and soul into helping the club.
Mick McGrath scooped the Fairest and Best as well as Players' Player of the Year trophies at reserve team level. Paul Featonby was runner-up Fairest and Best, and Jamal Banvait went home with the Coaches Award. Alex Green dominated the youth team awards when named both the Fairest and Best and Players' Player of the Year. Sam Macrou was runner-up Fairest and Best with Tas Ventouras receiving the Coaches Award.
KEARY IS NUMBER ONE AT ROCKINGHAM
Promising young midfielder Andrew Keary has been named Rockingham City's 2008 Fairest and Best. It was a packed house at Lark Hill Sports Complex where 20-year old Keary, who last year sampled Premier League football with Cockburn City, was a popular recipient of Rockingham's top prize. Defender Stuart McCall, 20, was runner-up in the main award. Craig McCreery completed his first season with Rockingham by being voted the Players' Player of the Year.
Former Arbroath youth team player David Nairn collected the Peter Howe Shield, awarded to the best upcoming under-21 player. The reserve team fairest and Best was won by Cameron Lord ahead of David Clark. Erik Kuzmar went home with the Players' Player of the Year. It was a night to remember for Tom Downes who won both the Fairest and Best and Players' Player of the Year for the youth team. Tom Walsh was runner-up in the main award.
AUSTRALIA WINS ASEAN TOURNAMENT
The Young Socceroos won the ASEAN Football Federation Under-19 Championship by beating Korea Republic in a tense penalty shoot-out. With the teams level at the end of regulation time, Sebastian Ryall, Jason Naidovski and captain James Holland held their nerve to earn Australia a 3-1 win on penalties at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. Winning the four-nation tournament provides Australia a timely morale boost ahead of the AFC Under-19 Youth Championships later this month.
Milos Lujic scored twice and Mitch Nichols once in Australia 3-1 opening round win against China. Piao Cheng gave China a dream start by netting after just 4 minutes, however, Lujic brought the teams level by firing in a Holland pass then put the Young Socceroos on top by heading in a Tahj Minniecon cross in the 18th minute. Both sides kept up the attacking play and with sixteen minutes left Nichols grabbed Australia’s third goal heading home a cross from Peter Cvetanovski. The Korea Republic defeated Thailand 1-0 in the other game.
The Young Socceroos played out a tight scoreless draw with the Korea Republic on Tuesday. A confident Korean side took the game up to Australia in the first half with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne blocking Choi Young-Dong’s shot after 13 minutes, and shortly before the break he again saved well to deny Jung-Han. Australia upped their tempo in the second half but the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was a Naidovski shot on the turn that flew past the frame of the goal. In the other match, Thailand defeated China 3-0.
Australia’s place in the tournament decider was secured by a 2-1 win against Thailand in the third and final group fixture. There were very few genuine openings during a first half which Australia controlled but were stifled the Thai defence. Mitch Nichols broke the deadlock soon after the break with a stunning strike from 25-metres that gave the goalkeeper no chance. Nathan Elasi doubled the lead nine minutes later when he headed home a Tahj Minniecon cross, before Thailand, grabbed a late consolation. Korea Republic disposed of China 1-0 in the early game.
Penalties were required to separate Australia from the Korea Republic in Sunday’s tournament final. The first half was an even affair with both goalkeepers called upon to keep the score level. Torrential rain that began after the interval and continued for the remainder of the match severely restricted the number of scoring opportunities for either side. Due to the extreme weather, both teams and tournament organisers agreed to determine the result by a penalty shoot-out in which Redmayne made three saves to earned Australia victory 3-1.
The Young Socceroos squad for the Championship was Andreas Govas (Apollon Kalamarias), James Brown, Dane Milovanovic (Australian Institute of Sport), Peter Cvetanovski (Borussia Monchenlabach), Andrew Redmayne (Central Coast Mariners), Ryan McGowan (Hearts), Alex Cisak (Leicester City), Milos Lujic, Sebastian Ryall (Melbourne Victory), James Holland, Jason Naidovski (Newcastle Jets), Luke De Vere, Tahj Minniecon, Mitchell Nichols, Thomas Oar (Queensland Roar), Scott Balderson (Stevenage Borough), Matthew Jurman, Sam Munro and Nikolas Tsattalios (Sydney).
BIG DAY OUT FOR HARNWELL
Jamie Harnwell's ten-years of loyal services to Perth Glory is commemorated tomorrow with a testimonial match between the A-League side and Sorrento's 2008 championship winning team. A true legend of West Australian football, Harnwell is one of only three Glory players to play over 200 games for the club in a career that's been rewarded by two national league championships. What promises to be an entertaining afternoon at Percy Doyle Reserve kicks off at 1.00pm when 'Former Glory' takes on 'Old WA' followed by the feature match between Glory and Sorrento at 3.00pm.
When Harnwell put pen to paper with Glory in mid-1998 the farthest thing from his mind was he'd stil be playng for the club a decade later. "Glory wasn't really on my radar when I signed as I was looking to go to England at the end of that State League season," he explained. "But when Bernd Stange came to town and offered me a contract that changed everything. Glory had a strong squad at the time and all I was hoping for was to get the occasional game let alone anything else."
There have been many highs during Harnwell's Glory years with the National Soccer League Grand Final wins of 2002/03 and 2003/04 topping his list. "The game against Sydney Olympic was the most special because we rose above the pressure in front of our home fans and I scored in that game," he said. "Beating Parramatta Power the following year was also satisfying as the eastern states media had written us off before the game so it was great to put one over them."
Harnwell thought long and hard when asked which Glory team mates had made the greatest impression on him. "I've played with some of the greatest players in Australia so to mention just a few is difficult," he said. "Bobby Despotovski, Damian Mori and Con Boutsianis were great attackers and we've had top-class midfielders like Matt Horsley, Brad Hassell and Andre Gumprecht," he commented. "But what I remember most fondly is our back four from the first championship - Shane Pryce, Scott Miller, David Tarka and myself set the stall for our attacking players to go do their thing."
Having played his juniors days at Percy Doyle Reserve, Harnwell remains a keen follower of and regular visitor to the club. "I still get down and watch Sorrento as much as possible," said Harnwell, who played for Sorrento in 2004 during a break in national league competition. "Obviously my brother, Todd, is still playing there and so are a lot of mates I grew up with. My mum and dad are always at the games and there are so many good friends down there its almost like a second family."
Past and present Glory and State League stars will strap on the boots in this weekend's testimonial game but there's one player Harnwell is looking forward to meeting more than any other. "I haven't played against Todd too many times so that will be great fun," he said with a smile. "Sorrento will come out with a lot to prove. They had a great season winning the League and making the Cup Final so will be looking to impress against Glory. I am expecting a pretty competitive game and, hopefully, there will be a few goals for the fans."
The 'Old WA' squad consists of Mike Harkness, Taki Nicolaidis, Andy Bowyer, Jamie Goodwin, Duncan Hill, former Australian youth international Marc Wingell, Alex Christie, Scott McIlroy, Charly Jensen, Andrew Chapman, Gold Medal winners Alan McKenzie and Norrie Sutton, Alan Pottier, Carl McDarby, Peter Coci, Peter Murphy and Michael Roki. Team officials are Ernie Hannigan (coach) and Vince Radcliffe (manager).
'Former Glory' is drawn chiefly from what many consider to be the club's peak era under German coach Bernd Stange. Donning 'Former Glory' colours will be Danny Milosevic, Shane Pryce, Scott Miller, Ryan Townsend, Shaun Murphy, Gianfranco Circati, Craig Naven, John Carbone, Brad Hassell, Matt Horsley, James Afkos, Michael Garcia, Gareth Naven, Bobby Despotovski, Stuart Young and Paul Strudwick with Alan Vest as coach. Entry to the day is $10 with all proceeds going to Harnwell.
BEST FROM THE WEST READY FOR THE CROWEATERS
The State team are primed and ready to battle South Australia for the Stratco Cup in Adelaide tomorrow. It's been a demanding few days for the sixteen-player squad which was put through their paces on Tuesday before squaring off against the Perth Glory Youth team the following evening. "We have had two good sessions this week and a tough game against the Glory Youth," said State coach Robbie Dunn. "We are ready for action and I am confident that we will give a good account of ourselves in Adelaide."
Mandurah City midfielder Andy Brown, who captained the State against East Java Under-23's in June, will again lead the team. Neil Young, Shaun Kilkelly and Ante Kovacevic anchor a finely tuned line-up which features the silky skills of Antonio Naglieri and David Micevski along with Golden Boot winner Phil O'Callaghan. South Australian coach Airton Andrioli has named defender Richie Alagich captain of a squad that includes no less than eleven players with national league experience.
In twenty previous meetings between the state South Australia have claimed victory ten times to West Australia's four, with six ending level. Their most recent clash was at Hindmarsh Stadium in March 2002 when a tight scoreless draw was played out in front of an appreciative home crowd. Tomorrow's game, played at the Marden Sports Complex, will be broadcast live and exclusively on Radio 990am from 12.00noon.
The West Australian squad consists of Daryl Platten (Armadale), Ante Kovacevic, John Migas, Brad Scott (Floreat Athena), Ian McMurray, Craig Young (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jeff Bright, Andy Brown, Phil O'Callaghan (Mandurah City), Gareth Deeg, Antonio Naglieri (Perth S.C.), Danny Cain, Shaun Kilkelly, Neil Young (Sorrento), Marc Anthony (Stirling Lions) and David Micevski (Western Knights).
The South Australian squad is Fred Agius, Nick Budin, Ben Moore, Paul Pezos, Kristian Rees (Adelaide City), Steven Grelli (Adelaide Galaxy), Simon Catanzaro, Michael D'Aloisio (Campbelltown City), Louis Brain, Daniel Godley, Ivan Karlovic, Michelle Lastella, Jim Stavrides, Scott Tunbridge, James Yong (MetroStars), Aaron Goulding (Para Hills), Richie Alagich, Mimi Saric (Raiders) and Chad Bugeja (White City Woodville).
LAZARIDIS WANTED FOR GLORY BOARD
Perth Glory are hopeful of enticing Stan Lazaridis to join the club's board. While co-owner Tony Sage dismissed reports claiming Lazaridis had been sounded out to oversee the club's football department, he did confirm the former Socceroo has been offered an honorary board position. And although a day of discussions involving co-owners Sage and Brett McKeon, chief executive Scott Gooch and the former Socceroo failed to reach agreement on the board position, the club have not given up hope of bringing Lazaridis back to the club.
Lazaridis confirmed last night he would not be taking up any role with the club in the near future. "It's not going to go ahead. I'm going to back off and maybe I'll look at it again further down the track," he said of the board position offer. "It's just not right at the moment. I don't see it changing in a week or even a month. I have a few ideas I wanted to put forward to the club but I wasn't going to say 'this is how things have to be done'. It's not happening at the moment but who knows what might happen in the next three, four or five months."
Sage said Lazaridis had never been offered a position that would interfere with coach David Mitchell's day-to-day running of football matters. "The parameters we gave Stan did not include looking at the coach's position," Sage said. "We are not asking Stan to review the club. If he had an opinion, as a board member, on the way Mitch coaches that's fine ... But he wouldn't oversee the football department." Mitchell, backed by the Glory board, refused to offer a new contract to Lazaridis at the end of last season, effectively bringing the curtain came down on his illustrious playing career.
MOUTTET IS CANNING’S TOP PLAYER
Rory Mouttet has iced a superb return to Canning City by being named their Players’ Player of the Year. The hard-working midfielder was instrumental in Canning running away with the First Division title and a worthy recipient of their top individual award. “Being chosen the best player by your team mates is probably the greatest honour you can get at club level - it’s their opinions you respect the most,” said Mouttet, who played juniors for Canning. “I played from under 9’s until 16’s at Canning Corinthians and returning to the club has re-united me with old friends and made me some new ones. To be named the Players’ Player award by such a fantastic group of blokes, at the twilight of my career, was very special for me … it’s something I will never forget and will always hold close to my heart.”
Defender Duncan Hind returned home as runner-up in the main award and collected the club Player of the Year trophy ahead of Daniel Trevisoil. Emlyn Whetnall was Players’ Player of the Year at reserve team level with Daniel McCurdy runner-up. McCurdy was named club Player of the Year with John Pougher in second spot. The youth team trophies went to Sam Ainscough (Players’ Player of the Year), Nathan Hubbard (runner-up), Mark Hocek (Player of the Year) and Blake Readwin (runner-up). Rising star Mark Walkey scooped the Mitchell Allomes Memorial Award, and social team coach Keith Critchett was honoured with the President’s Trophy. Paul Oliver’s goal away at South West Phoenix which effectively secured Canning promotion to the Premier League was nominated Goal of the Season.
WE KNEW WE COULD DO IT : ZUVELA
Long-serving defender Ivan Zuvela was determined not to let the association Cup slip from Western Knights as last weekend's pulsating season finale came to a close. A masterful all-round team performance highlighted by Paul Cooke and Rory Grant goals secured the trophy for the Knights courtesy of a 2-1 win against a strong finishing Sorrento. "It was such a relief to hear the whistle, those last few minutes were intense," said Zuvela. "We had a bad season and Sorrento was the best team this season but Cup finals are all about the day and we performed well and thoroughly deserved this win."
Zuvela rates Saturday's win against Sorrento as one of the best while wearing Knights colours. "This was easily the most satisfying of all the Knights trophy wins I've been a part of, including the 2004 title," said the 26-year old. "We weren't expected to win but we knew we could do it - there's a strong sense of self-belief in the side. As a team we stayed on at Dorrien Gardens and shared the win with a lot of our supporters, past committee members and presidents along with former players Carl Medica, Alex Christie and Evan Wallace, who joined us in the change rooms."
Sorrento was left reeling as the Knights went on the attack from the outset. "Sorrento are the best team in the state and have quality players all over the park so we knew we couldn't sit back and let them dictate play," explained Zuvela, a former State representative. "We went with one in attack and pushed as many players forward when the chance arose, which is exactly what Paul Cooke and Daniel Micevski did out wide, along with David Micevski coming through in the middle."
After 25 minutes of sustained pressure Paul Cooke headed the Knights in front from a Daniel Micevski cross, and soon after Rory Grant strengthened their gip on the game by nodding in from a well-flighted Luka Jukic corner. "We were pumped and came out firing - I think that caught Sorrento by surprise a little. We know we are a good team and this was our day to show that," explained Zuvela. "We were dangerous going forward and defensively held them well … at the break the coaching staff said it was the best 45 minutes of football we had played all year."
Half-time was only minutes away when Sorrento pulled a goal back through a well-struck Stuart Montgomery free-kick. The message delivered by coaches Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly in the changerooms was short and to the point. "They said if we don't concede a goal we will win the Cup - it was as simple as that," commented Zuvela. "We knew that if Monty got the chance he was going to score, he's a class act. He played a long time with the Knights and scored some quality goals for us so we know exactly what he's capable of."
Sorrento began the second half determined to level the game but were continually thwarted by a defensive unit focused on preserving the Knights slender lead. "We knew they were going to come at us and the fact we managed to hold them out showed how much we wanted the win. Our defence on the day was quality. Jon Mathers and big Stuart Ferguson did a great job marking Monty and McDonald, and that gave David Annall the chance to push into the middle," said Zuvela, who played down his own contribution of anchoring the defence.
Panic rippled through the Knights camp when injury forced Ferguson off midway through the second period. Daniel Trim dropped back in defence as part of the reshuffle with substitute Barry Devlin joining the midfield. "The last thing you want to do when the opposition are chasing is change the team, but we knew Daniel could do the job," said Zuvela. "Stuart thought he'd broken his leg but it turned out he'd sprained it very badly - still, it didn't stop him joining in the celebrations!"
Cup success could mark the end of an era at Nash Field where there's growing uncertainty as to who'll lead the club into 2009 as a couple of key players consider retirement. "It was extra special to win the Cup for Ronnie and Willie, there are rumours going around that they may not be at the club next year," Zuvela commented. "Also Daniel Trim and Paul (Cooke) have indicated it may have been their last games - Daniel was quality in the middle and it was awesome to see Cookie back to his best and amongst the scorers. It'll be a sad day should any of those guys leave but way a way to go out!"
VELAPHI SET TO START
Tando Velaphi will be handed the goalkeeping gloves when Perth Glory host Sydney F.C. on Sunday week. Jason Petkovic and Frank Juric have conceded twenty goals between them in just seven games while Velaphi, a member of Australia's Olympic Games squad in August, has impressed with two clean sheets in the National Youth League. "Tando's going to start the next game. He's been patient in waiting for his time. He's the future of the club and he's a good 'keeper," said coach David Mitchell.
While there have been calls for Glory to blood more of their young players, Mitchell won't be rushing anyone into the first team. "There's always a couple of players that you maybe want to bring through but you just have to make sure you don't put them into an environment where they feel nervous themselves because the team is nervous and makes them play bad," he said. "You've got to be cautious that you don't bring them into an environment where they play bad because of the situation."
GRIFFITHS EXTENDS STANLEY STAY
Rostyn Griffiths isn't ruling out a permanent move to Accrington Stanley after extending his loan from Blackburn Rovers by another month. The 20-year old midfielder has so far enjoyed his time at the Fraser Eagle Stadium and knows that first team football is the order of the day after a period in Blackburn's reserve set-up. "The experience has been vital for me and I've been quite surprised," he said. "Obviously, they've not got the facilities that Blackburn have but it's been really good and the level of football has been a decent standard, better than I'd anticipated. The boys and the manager have been great too. I've got a year left at Blackburn and my future's a bit up in the air. I'll consider all opportunities that come my way, whether that's Accrington or another club, just as long as I'm playing games."
It was after playing first team at E.C.U. Joondalup and donning senior State team colours at the age of 14 that Griffiths accepted an offer to join Blackburn's youth academy in 2003. "It was pretty hard to move over here at first because I was moving away from my mum and dad, although I have some family over here – grandparents and uncles in Stoke-on-Trent – so that was quite good," he explained. "But a lot of the boys at Blackburn are in the same situation because they've come over from Europe. The only difference was that I couldn't go home on long weekends! Lucas Neill was at Blackburn when I was younger and I had chats with him and Brett Emerton, about things back home as much as anything, so that helped."
A dozen appearances while on loan to Scottish club Gretna last season quenched Griffiths' desire to be playing regular first team football. Unfortunately, the club won only twice during his stay which coincided with Gretna's decent into financial chaos, which ended with the club being dissolved in the summer. "It started off really well but then they went through all their troubles, which were well publicised," he said. "It was probably not the preferred loan move but not many people go through that sort of experience when they are young. I played in some big games and it was good experience for me."
Griffiths has impressed the Stanley faithful with his range of passing and work rate during four appearances for the club. And as he works to develop his game Griffiths draws inspiration from French international Patrick Viera. "I always liked Vieira - he was quite tall like me and he passed the ball well," said Griffiths, who stands at 1.87 metres. "I just need to get on the ball a bit more at Stanley and use my passing, but it's off the ball I need to work on. As the games go on I’m getting better at the horrible stuff, though. I just want to play at the highest level possible. I'll be happy if I can make a living playing football but obviously I want to play at as high a level as possible."
CHARMING WAY TO END THE SEASON
Sierra Leone-born striker Ibnen Charming was named Ashfield’s Fairest and Best player of 2008 at a strongly attended function at the Ashfield Reserve clubrooms. Charming, 25, worked tirelessly in the final third during this first season at Ashfield in which he scored close to half his team’s goals. Former State junior representative Ben Harris was runner-up in the main award and also claimed the Players' Player of the Year. Defender Jake Watson picked up the Coaches Award, and long-serving attacker Martin Kelly the Clubman Award. Jamie Maguire was named Fairest and Best for the reserves with Ben Kelly as runner-up. The trophy as Coaches Player of the Year went to Chris Ferguson, while goalkeeper Peter Treeby was the Players' Player of the Year. The youth team awards were won by Micah Farorisson (Fairest and Best), Brodie Wickstien (runner-up and Players' Player of the Year) and Jayden Vefeefcu (Coaches Player of the Year).
NAVEN URGES GLORY TO TAKE A CHANCE ON YOUTH
Former Perth Glory captain Gareth Naven is convinced the time is right for some of the club’s youth team to be thrown into the deep end after a woeful run of results has left the club propping up the A-League ladder. As chief executive Scott Gooch scouts potential recruits on the east coast, Naven, coach of Glory’s youth team, says the answer to their problems could be right here in Perth. “Sometimes you’ve got to see if people sink or swim when things aren’t all that positive,” Naven said. “It’s important to show that you are willing to give young players an opportunity and there’s no better time.”
Youth team captain Tando Velaphi has kept two clean sheets in as many games and is odds-on to be given his chance by senior coach David Mitchell when Glory resume A-League action home to Sydney F.C. on Sunday week. Naven gave former Blackburn Rovers youth team defender Brent Griffiths his seal of approval, and feels former Stliring Lions midfielder Dean Evans has shown the potential to step up. “Every player has strengths and weaknesses and they need to train with the first team players to understand the intensity,” said Naven. “It takes time to get up to the pace and the thinking. But we’ve got twelve youth players there who want to put pressure on first team players.”
SKY BLUES SHORTLIST MCCALLUM
Australian midfielder Collette McCallum could find herself rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s greatest players on a weekly basis after being selected by American outfit Sky Blue F.C. The New Jersey-based entry in the Women's Professional Soccer league, which starts next year, acquired the right to enter into negotiations with McCallum through the post-draft discovery process. McCallum joins Matilda’s team mate Sarah Walsh, Rosana and Ester (Brazil), Kelly Parker (Canada) and United States internationals Christie Rampone, Heather O’Reilly and Natasha Kai as potential Sky Blue players. The WPS commences in April and runs until approximately October meaning little overlap with the newly-announced Australian W-League, which commences later this month.
ANNALL WANTS TO USE CUP WIN SPRINGBOARD TO THE FUTURE
Western Knights overcame a disappointing League campaign by toppling Cup favourite Sorrento in a thrilling end to the 2008 season on Saturday. At the heart of a superb all-round team effort was a near-faultless defensive display by captain David Annall, Ivan Zuvela, Jon Mathers and Scottish import Stuart Ferguson. Lifting the Cup trophy was just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate the Knights at the end of a long and trying year. "It finished our season off well, I'm absolutely over the moon with the win," said Annall. "To get up in the end against the League champions capped our season and, hopefully, we can use it as a spring board for next year."
Annall, 27, said the Knights drew enormous inspiration from terrier-like left-back Jon Mathers, who made a miracle recovery from injury to take his place in the side. "To see Johnny in the rooms before the game gave everyone a lift," said Annall. "He suffered a torn quad muscle in training a week before the game but was determined to play. (Coach) Ronnie Campbell took a gamble on Johnny's fitness and he returned the favour with a sterling job marking Stuart Montgomery. But saying that I don't think there was a single player who let the club down on Saturday."
While the Knights home and away season was seriously hampered by injury, it did serve to expose several young players from within the club to life in the first team. "We had a number of long-term injuries to our senior players this season which didn't help our league form," said Annall. "Having so many players absent during the season has opened the door for some young guys to come in and show what they are capable of, which will undoubtedly help us in the future. How we played the Cup final will show them the level of consistency needed to play senior football."
SOCCEROOS WITHOUT STAR TRIO FOR QUALIFIER
Pim Verbeek will be without three key players for next week's World Cup qualifier against Qatar. The Australia coach today cut his squad to 28-players with star trio Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella and Harry Kewell omitted due to injury concerns. Having rescinded his international retirement, Craig Moore returns to a squad that boasts Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Brett Emerton, Mark Schwarzer, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina, Josh Kennedy and Scott McDonald. Western Australia is well represented with goalkeeper Michael Petkovic, defender Chris Coyne and attack-minded Richard Garcia making the cut. The Socceroos are scheduled to play Qatar at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, on Wednesday 15th October.
The Australia squad which meets Qatar is Robert Cornthwaite, Eugene Galekovic, Scott Jamieson, Paul Reid (Adelaide United), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Scott Chipperfield (Basel), 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), Bruce Djite (Genclerbirligi), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Josh Kennedy (Karlsruher), Shane Stefanutto (Lyn Oslo), Archie Thompson (Melbourne Victory), Jade North (Newcastle Jets), Matthew Spiranovic (Nurnberg), Craig Moore (Queensland Roar), David Carney (Sheffield United), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor), Jacob Burns (Unirea Valahorum), Stuart Musialik (Sydney) and Lucas Neill (West Ham United).
BATTIGELLI MAKES HIS MARK AT DIANELLA
Matt Battigelli’s superb season between the posts has been recognised with the Player of the Year award at Dianella White Eagles. Widely regarded as one of the best young goalkeepers in the state, 21-year old Battigelli delivered on his promise of ending the season with a trophy by edging out versatile journeyman Aaron Moschopoulos for the clubs top prize. Dianella stalwart Dragan Njegic was voted Fairest and Best player ahead of veteran defender Riste Stefoski. 13 goals earned Jon Greenwood the Golden Boot, while Laze Taneski collected the Coach’s Most Improved trophy.
The reserves Players Player of the Year went to Drago Balic who had Gorgi Kacurkov in second place. Mario Lucic was announced winner of the Fairest and Best award with Victor Bogos in the runner-up spot. The remaining trophies were awarded to Stephan Bettella (Golden Boot) and Chris Triplett (Coach’s Most Improved). Youth team honours went to Thomas Gooding (Players' Player of the Year), Mellad Sakhie (runner-up), Alex Opacic (Fairest and Best), Jack Wiliams (runner-up), Dejan Spiroski (Golden Boot) and Yousef Khadembashi (Coaches Most Improved).
GLORY TO DIP INTO TRANSFER MARKET
Perth Glory chief executive Scott Gooch has met Melbourne-based agents as the struggling club steps up its pursuit of a high-quality player to help salvage an A-League season teetering on the brink of disaster. Gooch stayed in Melbourne after Glory’s four-goal thumping on the weekend to discuss the availability of players to fill in for attacker James Robinson, who’ll be out for up to ten weeks with an abdominal injury. “There are still discussions around a number of players and something could be sorted by the end of the week, but it could also take a couple of weeks,” said Gooch. “The way the market is for players you’ve got to have a number of options on the table.”
MITCHELL IS NOT TO BLAME : HARNWELL
Veteran defender Jamie Harnwell can not understand why some are blaming coach David Mitchell for Perth Glory's poor run of form. Glory have won once in seven outings to sit at the bottom of the A-League table and Harnwell feels strongly that it's the players who need to accept responsibility. "Mitch has assembled a good squad on paper [but] for whatever reasons, we're not doing it and it's the player's responsibility," Harnwell said after the 4-0 thrashing from Melbourne Victory. "He went out with a good formation and a good way of approaching the match tonight with the confidence of getting something out of it. Out on the pitch we didn't deliver - how that can be blamed on Mitch?"
However, Harnwell said the club's form slump is certainly nothing to do with a lack of passion and he would not tolerate any sense of that in the dressing room. "Everyone is giving 100% out there, whether they've shown passion, everyone shows it in different ways," said the former Glory captain. "I don't think we played well and there was a lot of mistakes made, and we've got to look at that. But if I thought anyone out there wasn't giving 100 per cent, I'd knock their bloody block off. I wouldn't accept that, I know Mitch wouldn't either."
Mitchell said the players' confidence was at a low and he would use the week off for the FIFA break to address that. "I think when your confidence is down, the individual errors seem to happen. Some of them are not good enough, and sometimes the opposition make the most of that," he said. But the coach still has faith in his players and believes their game in a fortnight against Sydney F.C. could be a chance to restore the team's confidence. "I think if we got our best players on the park I think we can compete and I think particularly at home, maybe not so much away, we are set up to be competitive," he said.
MEDAL JUST OUT OF UNDER-15’S REACH
The State Under-15 team has been pipped for the second year in a row to a medal at the National Youth Championship. A narrow loss to the Australian Capital Territory robbed the West Australian youngster’s of third place at the end of a long week that began with a trio of promising wins. The nationals bring together the pick of the nations emerging footballing talent with the aim of identifying potential future national team players.
An 8-2 thrashing of Tasmania gave the West Australian Under-15 side a dream start in Group B. Adam Taggart and Samuel Sonpon each scored three with Blake Sokolowski and Terrance Conner sharing the remainder to cancel out first half goals from Sam McIntyre and Braydon Mann. New South Wales Metro spanked the Northern Territory 5-0, and New South Wales Country edged out Northern New South Wales 2-1.
A blistering start by Western Australia the following day produced a 2-1 defeat of Northern New South Wales. Taggart fired the west into an early lead before Andrew Higgins doubled the margin in the 10th minute. Northern New South Wales rallied with H.Maguire netting but were unable to conjure of an equaliser. New South Wales Metro defeated New South Wales Country 2-1, and Tasmania had six scorers in their 7-0 win against the Northern Territory.
Western Australian sat on top of the group table by the end of Day Three, which produced a 10-0 defeat of the Northern Territory. Taggart lead the way with a four-goal haul, Higgins and Sabit Oyet netted two apiece with Hanafi Ghazali and an own goal completing the margin. Tasmania kept alive their play-off dream with a 3-2 win against New South Wales Country, and New South Wales Metro toppled their Northern counterparts 2-1.
New South Wales Metro out-classed Western Australia 4-0 to move to the top of the group. Corey Gameiro bagged a hat-trick with Simon Valastro getting the remainder. New South Wales Country hit nine goals without answer past a luckless Northern Territory. The day’s final result saw Tasmania come from behind to inflict a 2-1 loss on Northern New South Wales.
A final round 1-1 draw with New South Wales Country was enough to secure Western Australia a place in the semi-finals. Jacob Harris put Country ahead after 25 minutes with star striker Taggart levelling the game midway through the second half. New South Wales Metro’s 3-0 defeat of Tasmania earned them top spot. Northern New South Wales collected their first points by defeating the Northern Territory 3-0.
Western Australia were defeated 3-1 to South Australia in a thrilling semi-final encounter on Friday. The ball had been in motion 9 minute when Dario Staka fired South Australia into the lead, but Sonpon ensured that would be short-lived by netting seven minutes later. Staka restored his sides lead just before the break with Patrick Miranda securing a final appearance on 69 minutes. New South Wales Metro defeated the Australian Capital Territory 1-0 in the days other game.
A goal after 59 minutes from D.Sparrow earned the Australian Capital Territory a 1-0 win over Western Australia, and third on the final standings. New South Wales Metro showed no mercy in thrashing South Australia 6-0 in the Under-15 Final on Saturday morning. Justin Wolstenholme broke the deadlock minutes from the end of a tight first half, then doubled the margin minutes after the re-start. The floodgates now opened as Gameiro completed his hat-trick inside fifteen minutes before Patirck Dixon put the icing on the cake in the 69th minute.
The State Under-15 squad at the 2008 National Youth Championship featured Terrence Conner, Ryan Edwards, Hanafi Ghazali, Andrew Higgins, James Marocchi, James Marsden, Scott Mellish, Sabit Oyet, Storm Roux, Francis Soale, Blake Sokolowski, Samuel Sonpon, Adam Taggart, Steven Walmsley, Aryn Williams and Ryan Williams. Kenny Lowe, National Training Centre coach and assistant at Perth Glory, was in charge of the side.
STATE UNDER-14'S TAKE FIFTH
Western Australia's football future looks bright after the State Under-14's claimed fifth place at the 2008 National Youth Championship. The result continues the upward rise of the State Under-14 side who finished seventh in 2006 and sixth last year before taking fifth last week in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. It was a tremendous effort from the local youngsters who were in contention for an appearance in the medal rounds leading into the final day of group fixtures.
Western Australian made a sensational start to the tournament by dumping Victoria Country 4-0. A blistering thirteen-minute spell produced two goals for Sahr Musa and singles by Jesse Makarounas and Joseph Moseray to effectively settle the game by half-time. It was a big day for goals as New South Wales Metro thumped the Australian Capital Territory 5-1, and Queensland Metro trounced Northern Territory 4-0.
A strong New South Wales Metro showed no mercy in humbling Western Australia 6-1 the following afternoon. Goals from Joshua Da Silva (2), Sstevan Ilic (2), Giancarlo Gallifuoco and Michael Neill did the damage against the solitary 55th minute finish by Moseray. The points were shared in both the other games as Queensland Metro and the Australian Capital Territory, as well as Northern Territory and Victoria Country drew 1-1.
At the completion of Day Three, Western Australia had moved into second place in their group. A goal early in the second half by Alex Grant was complemented nine minutes by Musa to secure the boys from the west a 2-0 win against Capital Football. Dasilva rammed in five goals for New South Wales Metro who maintained their unbeaten status with an 8-1 thrashing of the Northern Territory. Victoria Country played out a scoreless draw with Queensland Metro.
The Northern Territory was on the receiving end of another hiding on Wednesday, this time at the hands of Western Australian who ran out 7-0 winners. Daniel Dols got the show on the road inside a minute before Shane Pickering (2), Moseray (2), Tom King and A.Jovic added to their tally. New South Wales Metro were held 2-2 by Queensland Metro, and the Australian Capital Territory drew 1-1 with Victoria Country in the day other games.
Western Australia missed out on the semi-finals after going down 2-0 to Queensland Metro in the final round of group fixtures. Although the sides finished level on points, Queensland progressed based on the head-to-head result. Lochlan Reus put Queensland ahead after 25 minutes with Rhys Lambert making the game safe just before half-time. New South Wales Metro defeated Victoria Country 1-0 to finish on top of Group A, while the Australian Capital Territory scored a 10-1 win against the Northern Territory.
In Friday’s minor place play-off’s, Western Australia scored a comprehensive 3-0 win over Northern New South Wales to take fifth spot. All three goals came in the first half through Jesse Makarounas, Harry O’Brien and Nathan De Abreu. The Under-14 Final was won by New South Wales who out-shot Victoria Metro 12-11 on penalties after the teams finished level at 1-1. Queensland Metro took third by beating Queensland Country 2-0.
The Western Australian Under-14 squad for the 2008 National Youth Championship consists of Brendan Catalano, Nathan De Abreu, Daniel Dols, Jimmy Fenlon, Scott Galloway, Alex Grant, Tom King, Jesse Makarounas, Joseph Moseray, Sahr Musa, Harry O’Brien, Brandon O’Neil, Jo Page, Adrian Petroski, Shane Pickering and Riley Woodcock. The team is under the guidance of former Perth Glory captain and current Glory Youth coach Gareth Naven.
HICKEY POPULAR WINNER AT BAYSWATER
Bayswater City celebrated the achievements of 2008 with a big turn out at the Rendezvous Observation City Hotel on Friday. The evening’s centrepiece was the awarding of the Fairest and Best trophy to midfield maestro Paul Hickey. Lively attacker Ahmed Hafez finished runner-up, Ryan Frisina collected the Golden Boot and teenager Pavel Rzybinski was named the clubs Most Improved Player. Sal Marrapodi will long remember the occasion after winning the reserve team Fairest and Best as well as Golden Boot trophies. Frank Madafferi was runner-up in the main award, while Nick Paone collected the Coaches Award. Youth team honours went to Mark McAllister (Fairest and Best, Golden Boot), Trent Jones (runner-up) and Amer Kujovic (Coaches Award).
SAGE DEMANDS ANSWERS
Perth Glory co-owner Tony Sage has vowed to “cut the cancer” from the club’s playing group after another woeful performance ended in a 4-0 loss to Melbourne Victory. Sage, who shares ownership with Brett McKeon, said the club would hold an emergency meeting this week to weed out players who were no longer interested in playing for the club. He said only import striker Eugene Dadi, club stalwart Jamie Harnwell and industrious midfielders Wayne Srhoj and Adriano Pellegrino deserved to be paid for their efforts on Saturday night. “If the PFA (players’ union) would let us, I just wouldn’t pay them,” he said of the majority of the players. “We might do something radical and cut the cancer out of the player group rather than (sacking) the coach. I’m pretty hurt after that performance. It was a debacle.”
VICTORY THRASH LACKLUSTRE GLORY
An out-of-sorts Perth Glory has been thrashed 4-0 by Melbourne Victory last night at the Telstra Dome. The A-League leaders were in superb touch as Glory conceded four goals for the second time in seven days. "We've got to pick ourselves us and get some confidence back in the team," coach David Mitchell said following the match. "As a club and as a team we all take responsibility, we can do better. "We'll keep working hard and searching for that formula that can win us games. It has proved to be elusive so far this season but it's not mission impossible." The loss leaves Glory languishing in last place with only four points from seven games, and with some catching-up to do.
Glory made a positive start and 6 minutes in Naum Sekulovski's deflected header elicited a reflex save from Mitch Langerak. The hosts soon established control and on 25 minutes claimed the lead when Jeff Bright's poor clearance went as far as Grant Brebner who threaded his shot into the net through a crowded 18-yard box. Wayne Srhoj could have brought the visitors level after being set-up by Eugene Dadi but the midfielders volley failed to test Langerak. In the 40th minute Tom Pondeljak provided the ball for an unmarked Danny Allsopp to net at the second chance after Frank Juric blocked his initial shot. Glory could have been three down at the break after Juric gifted the ball to Archie Thompson whose first effort was blocked and the follow-up struck Pondeljak.
Victory took no time making amends for that miss with Evan Berger sending a long free-kick into the box where Roddy Vargas kneed it into the net after 46 minutes. Thompson went close to adding another soon after by seizing on a poor backpass which put Juric under pressure. The host's dominance was rewarded on 71 minutes as Pondeljak threaded through to Allsopp who beat the offside trap and chipped an advancing 'keeper. Glory's only bright spot came following the introduction of Nikita Rukavytsya whose shot was pushed over the crossbar after he linked well with Jimmy Downey. The resultant corner fell to another substitute, Nicky Rizzo, but his half volley was just a touch high. However, Victory were in no mood to offer consolation and held firm at the back to maintain the margin.
GLORY YOUTH GO TOP
Perth Glory's moved two points clear at the top of the Youth League after downing Melbourne Victory 2-0 away Green Gully Reserve yesterday. A goal in each half from Adrian Trinidad gave Glory a deserved win after controlling play for the majority of the 90 minutes. "The Victory came at us, started taking risks with three or four up front but we handled it well," said Youth team coach Gareth Naven. "It's a long trip from Perth and something pretty new for most of these boys so it is credit to them the way they've gone about it today and the past couple of weeks. Everyone likes to win - it's always a better flight home."
Victory threatened to snare the opening goal on several occasions but was thwarted by Glory goalkeeper Tando Velaphi. Trinidad put the visitors ahead after 34 minutes by tapping in at the back post after goalkeeper Mijo Marinovic misjudged the flight of Mark Lee's corner. Aziz Behich went close to equalising in the opening minute of the second half but couldn't beat Velaphi from a tight angle. Glory controlled the final half hour after Victory lost Steve Pantelidis to a red card following an altercation with Trinidad. Ludovic Boi could have put the result beyond doubt when played into space by Trinidad but pulled his shot across the face of goal. A late flurry had Victory twice hit the post before Trinidad sealed the points in stoppage time by slamming the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Team captain Velaphi made several impressive saves and marshalled the defence with authority to press his claim for first team selection. "I think all our players, not only the over age boys, should be pushing for first team places, it is one of the great opportunities of this national youth league set-up," said Youth team coach Gareth Naven. "They're here to learn and develop and hopefully make an impression with their A-League team watching on. I certainly say to my players that this is their chance to put pressure on first team players."
KNIGHTS CLAIM CUP IN A THRILLER
Western Knights are the 2008 Cup winners after a dominant display against regular season champions Sorrento in today’s final at Dorrien Gardens. Paul Cooke and Rory Grant were the goalscoring heroes in a superb team performance that reaped a 2-1 victory and returns the prestigious trophy to the Knights after an eight-year absence. Referee David Currie issued a number of early yellow cards as the two teams attempted to stamp their authority on a playing surface made slippery by light yet persistent drizzle. The first genuine chance didn’t arrive until the 13th minute when Stuart Montgomery’s shot from 7-metres whizzed past the post. With David Micevski ever-dangerous coming through the middle and the run out wide provided by Daniel Micevski and Paul Cooke, the Knights now took their game up a notch. Cooke skipped past Jason Trpevski only to be cynically brought down by the young defender, who was lucky to escape a booking, then Luka Jukic forced his way past Brodie Martin but fired wide of the target.
The Knights got the goal they deserved on 25 minutes when Daniel Trim threaded a pass down the right for Daniel Micevski whose cross to the far post was met by a superb diving header from Cooke which Neil Young absolutely no chance. Sorrento went in search of an immediate response but could find very few holes in a resolute defence under the command of Ivan Zuvela and captain David Annall. With 34 minutes on the clock the Knights doubled the lead through Rory Grant whose rose unchallenged to meet a Jukic corner which he headed powerfully past the goalkeeper. But celebrations were to be short-lived as five minutes later Montgomery curled a superb free-kick from 17-metres around the defensive wall and into the net with Jakub Chudy rooted to the spot. Montgomery almost brought the teams level on the stroke of half-time with an audacious long-range volley that was narrowly wide of the far post.
The second half opened with Sorrento on top as James Morgan released Montgomery who was thwarted by a courageous smothering save by the quick thinking Chudy. Morgan provided the ammunition again six minute later with a free-kick which Shaun Kilkelly got his head to but was claimed by Chudy. A swift counterattack on the hour orchestrated by Daniel Micevski forced Young into saving a low David Micevski shot. The Knights were forced into a defensive reshuffle after 67th minute when Stuart Ferguson was carried from the field with a suspected broken ankle, Daniel Trim dropped back into defence with Barry Devlin joining the midfield. Minutes after coming off the bench Devlin tried his luck from distance but was denied by Young who, three minutes after, did well to push David Micevski’s shot against the post. Going the other way, Annall was alert to clear a Montgomery shot following a well-worked move by the Gulls.
Annall and Devlin combined to rob possession from Danny Hill as he attempted to burst into the final third, and James Morgan should consider himself fortunate not to be booked for diving after going past Zuvela. With the clocking fast ticking down, Sorrento resorted to pumping the ball long into their 18-yard box and at such a move Chudy plucked the ball off the head of McDonald. Lewis Flatt then shot straight the ‘keeper from 10-metres as the Knights soaked up the pressure. Another Kilkelly long ball in stoppage time was nodded down by Hill to substitute Calum O’Connell who somehow placed just wide at close-range. Sorrento were reduced to ten men sixty seconds later with Michael Ord issued a straight red card for a hand ball that denied Daniel Micevski a goal scoring opportunity. But it mattered little as the whistle was blown moments later to give the Knights a deserved victory.
Speaking immediately after the game, Knights coach Ronnie Campbell was over the moon with his team’s performance. “We changed the tactics slightly and I think it worked well,” said a beaming Campbell. “The first half we were the better team and should have been in front by 2-0 but they scored late. The boy’s showed a great deal of character today and we got the result, I’m delighted. The experienced players stood up today - Ivan Zuvela, David Annall, Paul Cooke and Daniel Trim - but it was a fantastic team performance.” For Sorrento boss Steve Neville it was a disappointing end to a good season. “We had too many players off their game today, they weren’t at the races,” he said. “Overall I think it was a fair result, we had plenty of the ball in the second half but we didn’t really test them which was disappointing. The players have had a good season but they are hurting now.”
Sorrento: Neil Young, Jason Trpevski (Calum O’Connell 77), Danny Cain, Shaun Kilkelly, Stuart Banks (Dejan Gurovski 77), Michael Ord, Lewis Flatt, James Morgan, Brodie Martin (Danny Hill 54), Steve McDonald, Stuart Montgomery
Western Knights: Jakub Chudy, Stuart Ferguson (Barry Devlin 67), David Annall, Ivan Zuvela, Jon Mathers, Paul Cooke, Luka Jukic, David Micevski, Daniel Micevski (George Tchami 85), Daniel Trim, Rory Grant
Bookings: Montgomery (5), Mathers (8), Cain (11), Cooke (30), David Micevski (32), Ord (77), Kilkelly (94)
Dismissals: Ord (92)
Referee: David Currie
UNDERDOGS FORRESTFIELD LIFT YOUTH CUP
Forrestfield United have bucked the odds to defeat Stirling Lions in the final of the 2008 Youth Cup. With the teams deadlocked at 1-1 after regulation time, Forrestfield held their nerve to triumph 5-3 in a tense penalty shoot-out. Kynon Melling and Jarryd Campbell each fired high as Forrestfield hit the ground running. Stirling were working overtime at the back where John Omeedzadeh and Adrian Diloritto stood firm to the challenge. Their first opening came on 33 minutes when a quickly taken free-kick by Cameron Sutton whizzed past the defensive wall before being scooped up by captain Joel Zappacosta at the second attempt. But by far the better options were created by Forrestfield as John Hunter forced a good save from 'keeper Matt Hill, and a shot on the turn by Andrew Harold flashed just high.
The deadlock should have been broken six minutes into the second half when Hill failed to take a Melling cross which fell invitingly for James Burns who blazed over when presented with an open goal. Zappacosta kept his team in the game on the hour by keeping out Sutton's penalty which was awarded for Harold's foul on Ndumba Makeche. Forrestfield's dominance was rewarded in the 86th minute when Loxley found Melling whose shot from 22-metres rocketed into the top corner. The game was deep in stoppage time when Stirling levelled via a Thomas Kennedy free-kick which Omeedzadeh headed in at the back post. There wasn't even time for the game to re-commence when referee David Scragg blew for full-time and a shoot-out in which Forrestfield's 100% conversion rate earned they the much sought after trophy.
Forrestfield United: Joel Zappacosta, Alex Hall (Jarryd Campbell 18), Warrick Bates, Josh Barnes, James Burns, Anthony Cunningham, Kynon Melling, Matt Harold, Rhys Loxley (Mitchell Crocker 88), Jonathon Cole, John Hunter
Stirling Lions: Matt Hill, Remo Venditti, Cameron Sutton, Adrian Diloritto, John Omeedzadeh, David Hunt (Del Bilson 79), Thomas Kennedy, Chris Zito, Dave Sesay, Brendan Divjakoski, Ndumba Makeche
Bookings: Zito (20), Venditti (29), Barnes (47), Omeedzadeh (51), Harold (60), Sesay (84)
Referee: David Scragg
NELLANY STEERS REDBACKS TO GLORY
A hat-trick by Jacqui Nellany has orchestrated Northern Redbacks a thrilling 5-3 Cup Final win against Balcatta at Dorrien Gardens. The Redbacks showed terrific character in coming from behind three times to edge out their rivals in a high-quality encounter between two of the local scene's heavyweights. Renee Forth gave Balcatta a dream start when she broke clear of two defenders and rounding goalkeeper Jennifer Jobling to stroke the ball into an empty net after just 2 minutes. The Redbacks responded with a series of attacking raids that paid dividends on 27 minutes when Lara Filicamo sliced her way inside the 18-yard box before delivered a low cross which Nellany tapped in from a couple of metres. Three minutes later Balcatta were back in front with Jiami Carley making no mistake from the spot following a foul on Prue Cormie by Rowena Caswell. The Redbacks hit back almost immediately Nellany rifled into the bottom corner from 18-metres.
The second half began just like the first as Brook Fletcher lashed Balcatta into the lead after Jennifer Jobling parried Laura Turnbull's powerful strike then blocked Forth's follow-up. Filicamo was in the right place at the right time to net a 65th minute equaliser from Caswell's centring pass. Four minutes later the Redbacks went in front for the first time when Nellany turned provider for Carys Hawkins to finish clinically. Forth forced a smart save from a tight angle, and Cormie blazed high at close-range as Balcatta sought to make it four-all. Filicamo's blistering low drive was superbly parried by Kate Burns after good work from Nicola Williams. The result was put beyond doubt in the final minute when Filicamo burst down the left and cutback the ball back for Nellany to blast in from point-blank range.
Balcatta: Kate Burns, Lindsey Kenyon, Renee Forth, Amanda Tana, Jessica Byrne, Lauren Bushby, Domenica Carbone, Prue Cormie, Jessine Bonzas, Laura Turnbull, Jaime Carley, Hollie Farrell, Brook Fletcher, Nel Clayton, Chloe Whiteman, Lisa Tana
Northern Redbacks: Jennifer Jobling, Stephanie Grant, Rebecca Dudek, Rowena Caswell, Nicola Williams, Carla Bennett, Carys Hawkins, Michaela Lawton, Jacqui Nellany, Lyndsay Jobling, Elisabeth Maeland, Rebecca Davies, Monica Debono, Lara Filicamo, Allan Dickie, Lorian Woolgar
Bookings: Fletcher (44)
Referee: Hugh Best
GLORY AT THE CROSSROADS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Perth Glory coach David Mitchell has already started planning for next season on the assumption he will remain coach of the ailing A-League club. But there are no guarantees. Mitchell, who took over the reins midway through last season, wants to stay beyond the terms of his current agreement, which expires at the end of the season. But with the team floundering at the bottom of the eight-team competition, Glory officials are reluctant to make the plunge just yet.
A dramatic change in on-field fortunes over the next month or so might prompt owners Tony Sage and Brett McKeon to table a fresh offer to Mitchell rather than delve into the swag of resumes that continue to arrive on a weekly basis. More of the same, ponderous, passionless football, that has produced just four points from a possible eitheen, would almost certainly be terminal to the Mitchell-Glory relationship. But unlike Mitchell, who is only approaching a potentially pot-holed junction in his A-League career, Glory have been stalled at the crossroads almost since the new competition emerged from the ashes of the old National Soccer League in 2005.
The club has gone from success under the ownership of Nick Tana and Paul Afkos in the National Soccer League, through the turbulent formative A-League months to a club battling to register on the radar of public interest. Glory no longer need to quench controversy, such as the fires which blazed through the corridors of Members Equity Stadium when the abrasive former Liverpool manager Steve McMahon was in charge. The issue now is how to reignite interest in a club that does not look like striking success any time soon.
Two weeks ago, Glory drew a record low crowd of just 4,433 for an insipid 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at MES. Eight years ago, Glory drew more than 43,000 fans to Subiaco Oval for an unforgettable grand final against Wollongong Wolves. Chief executive Scott Gooch acknowledges the fall from grace but like Sage and McKeon, refuses to believe there is no way back. “There’s been three changes in ownership in three years, so there’s been no stability and consistency,” Gooch said. “There hasn’t been stability off the field and that obviously affects everything from administration to playing. But now there’s some consistency with the ownership.”
The fact the team has struggled to repeat the levels of success it enjoyed in the NSL has directly impacted on attendances. But so many other factors have also contributed to the decline. When Glory were the big ticket in town, there was no TV coverage to keep fans in their lounge rooms - these days, every match is live on Fox Sports. Tana spent millions to entice the country’s best players to Perth - the introduction of a salary cap has brought Glory back to the field. And although the club’s popularity ballooned on the back of NSL success it was also built on curiosity, a commodity that can no longer be relied on.
When almost 10,000 fans wandered down to Perth Oval in October 1996, they did so with little expectation. By the end of the season the average attendance had rocketed to almost 12,000. That then coach Gary Marocchi’s team, made up largely of West Australian players, went within a whisker of making the finals at the first attempt ensured that the average crowd rose to 14,972 the next season. That figure, despite the arrival of the charismatic Bernd Stange, never been surpassed. The recent all-time low crowd prompted Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley to suggest that the governing body’s commitment to retaining a team in Perth could change without an attendance reversal.
In the short term, Glory needs on-field results - and fast. They also need that improvement to extend into next season when new teams on the Gold Coast and in Townsville enter the competition. Mitchell admitted that building towards next season was not easy given the lack of certainty over his own position. “On a professional level, I’m planning to bring in players and I’m looking at (offering new contracts to) some of the players we have here now,” he said. “If we have a bit of stability and I have another year or two here, there are changes that I can make to the structure of how we do things that will benefit the club.”
Off the field, Glory want financial assistance from the governing body to alleviate accommodation costs of around $250,000 a season - far more than any other team in the competition. After recent discussions with Buckley, Sage was confident the peak body would come to the club’s aid. “It’s not a level playing field for Perth … our number one issue was to get FFA to recognise that and they have now,” he said following talks this week. Despite the hardship, the mining entrepreneur vowed to continue to put his financial muscle into the club. “My heart is in the club and as long as I can afford to do it, I will.”
Any cash Glory can save in the form of FFA assistance must be spent elsewhere - specifically on players. They desperately need a marquee player to spark renewed interest, but they must do better than previous big-money import Brian Deane and Mate Dragicevic, who were failures of the highest calibre. Amid a gloomy forecast though, Glory have suddenly been handed an unexpected opportunity to test the waters for next season with injury to James Robinson opening up an import spot that could be filled in the short term. “There are a number of CVs we are looking at and we are talking to player agents about the possibility of getting an overseas replacement,” Gooch said.
SORRENTO OUT TO END KNIGHTS CUP CHARGE
The season comes to a close tomorrow with Sorrento pitting skills against Western Knights in what promises to be a captivating Cup Final at Dorrien Gardens (kick-off 3.00pm). Sorrento already has the Premier League trophy in their possession and would love nothing more than to make history and covering themselves in double glory. The Knights last collected silverware when they topped the table in 2004 but should long-serving coach Ronnie Campbell have his way all that will end this weekend.
Sorrento, the pre-game favourite, have twice hit five goals past the Knights this year, however, coach Steve Neville knows this means nothing in the context of a Cup Final. "Our victories against the Knights in the League counts for nothing - today it's a clean slate," Neville commented. "They had a number of players missing when we beat them at Nash Field so we are under no illusions it's going to be a difficult game, and we all know Cup games are great levellers."
A superb defensive unit which features State team trio Shaun Kilkelly, Danny Cain and Neil Young anchored their regular season success. Glen Thomas, Brodie Martin and James Morgan pull the strings in midfield where the loss of Scott Neville (Perth Glory Youth) down the right is of concern. The absence of leading goal scorer Todd Harnwell (work commitments) will be noticeable but the Gulls still possess in Stuart Montgomery one of the local scene's most lethal finishers.
Campbell, who guided the Knights to victory over Sorrento in the 2000 Cup Final, is looking forward to the occasion. "Our League form this season has been poor but we've performed well in the Cup with two great victories against Perth S.C. and E.C.U. Joondalup," said Campbell, nearing the end of his eleventh season with the club. "We need to defend well and hopefully our Cup form will continue in the Final. Around the world, Cup ties are won on the day and this game will be no exception."
The Knights dreadful run with injury has ruled goalkeeper Kevin Miller (broken wrist) and Jon Mathers (torn quadricep) out of tomorrow's game. How seasoned campaigners Ivan Zuvela and David Annall marshal a youthful backline is likely to determine their fate. David Micevski, Luka Jukic and Paul Cooke are potential match winners across the middle with Daniel Trim capable of converting even the slightest of chances into goals on his day. Unfortunately, their attack is dulled by an ankle injury to Scottish import Rory Grant and Anthony Skorich's commitments with the Perth Glory Youth team.
The sides have already met twice this year with the balance firmly in the Gulls' favour. Sorrento carved out a 5-3 win in Round Five when Scott Bulloch, Harnwell (2), Neville and Morgan combined to negate Grant's hat-trick. The return fixture had Sorrento recover from conceding early to run out triumphant 5-1 at Nash Field. McDonald (2), Martin, Neville and Marco Murray-Warmt's own goal made a miserable day for the Knights who'd gone ahead after 2 minutes when Kilkelly sent the ball past his own 'keeper.
‘DAVID VERSES GOLIATH’ IN YOUTH CUP
Stirling Lions and Forrestfield United lock horns in the 2008 Youth Cup Final tomorrow afternoon at Dorrien Gardens (kick-off 12.45pm). Having already captured the Premier League Youth title, Stirling have deserved been installed as pre-game favourite to lift the trophy and complete a memorable double. However, first they'll have to get past a focused Forrestfield side which has already claimed a couple of top flight scalps and were pipped to the First Division Youth championship by Canning City.
Anthony Cunningham's 24 regular season goals for Forrestfield make him a player to watch in the final third along with similarly attack-minded Andrew Harold and John Hunter. Kynon Melling and Rhys Loxley, who represented the State at Schoolboys level this year, will have a significant great bearing on the sides chances of achieving Cup glory. Granted a first round bye, Forrestfield spanked Queens Park 12-3 and toppled Cockburn City 6-1 to qualify for the last four. Their giant-killing run was extended by Mitchell Crocker, Warrick Bates and Cunningham who contributed to the 3-1 defeat of Fremantle Spirit.
Stirling's passage to the season finale began with a comfortable 5-1 win against Gosnells City. They scrapped past E.C.U. Joondalup 3-1 then edged out Floreat Athena 2-1 in a tight quarter-final encounter. A pulsating round of four show down with Perth S.C. was taken to penalties where Stirling eventually triumphed 4-2. Goalkeeper Matt Hill commands the league's meanest defence with support from centre-back Ben Senior. Thomas Kennedy and Cameron Sutton hold the key in the middle of the park and should Ndumba Makeche get even the faintest whiff of goal Forrestfield will pay dearly.
BALCATTA, REDBACKS MEET IN BLOCKBUSTER END TO WOMEN’S SEASON
The 2008 Women's Cup Final pits Northern Redbacks against Balcatta tomorrow morning at Dorrien Gardens (kick-off 10.00am). Pipped for the championship by Queens Park on goal difference, you can be guaranteed the Redbacks will be pulling out all the stops to get their hands on the knock-out trophy. However, Balcatta are just as focused after completing the regular season in third, only two points behind the leaders, and fresh from defeating Queens Park 2-0 to capture the Top Four title.
Goals have flowed freely for Rebecca Davies in 2008 thanks to the creative efforts of Stephanie Grant and captain Carys Hawkins. Given a first round bye, the Redbacks edged past University of W.A. 8-7 on penalties before registering big wins over East Fremantle (9-0) and Nedlands (7-0) in the early rounds. Their second final clash with Queens Park was an absolute classic and again required a penalty shoot-out as the Redbacks ran out 8-7.
Balcatta's Cup quest opened with a 5-3 defeat of East Fremantle which was followed by an easy win against second tier outfit The Jacks (12-0). Division Two side Ballajura didn't provide much more resistance in Round Three as Balcatta returned home 8-0 victors. An opportunity to lift the Cup was secured by a 5-1 round of four defeat of Subiaco United. Experienced defender Jessine Bonzas, midfield maestro Prue Cormie and club leading goalscorer Jaimi Carley each have important key roles in achieving their Cup dream tomorrow.
ONE MORE TO GO SAYS SORRENTO’S MONTGOMERY
A unique chapter in Sorrento history will be written tomorrow if, as widely expected, the Gulls take out the 2008 Cup Final at Dorrien Gardens. Never before have the northern suburbs club lifted the prestigious knock-out trophy, and if there was need for further motivation then securing the second part of the League and Cup double should provide it. “To be the first Sorrento team to win the Cup and do the double would be a great achievement,” said striker Stuart Montgomery. “The season has been great so far but there is still more trophy we want and to win it will show that we are the best side in the state this year.”
The foundation of the Gulls regular season success was strong sense of purpose and unity among the playing staff according to Montgomery. “We’re a hard working team where everyone knows what their job is, and that makes it very hard for opponents to break down and score,” he said. “The closeness of the players has been a big factor in our success this year, it’s a very close knit group at Sorrento, and I think we had luck on our side in terms of injuries which meant we had a very settled side for most of the year. It also helped that we had a guy up-front like Todd Harnwell - if you give him a chance he’ll the ball in the net.”
Although he personally contributed eleven goals to the Gulls championship win, Montgomery has not entirely happy with his season. “I wasn’t overly happy with my season as I feel that as a striker I should have scored a few more,” he explained. “I wasn’t happy with my consistency, I had some good games but I also struggled through games and that’s one part of my game that I am hard on myself about. But I can’t really complain - football is a team game and as long as the team was winning I was happy, and if I can have an average year again next year and still win the League then I’ll take that right now.”
Sorrento enters the Cup Final minus inspirational captain Todd Harnwell (work commitments) and exciting teenager Scott Neville (Perth Glory Youth team). “Todd’s absence can’t be understated - he’s been our main avenue to goal this season but it’s not just his scoring ability that we’ll miss as his overall work rate has a big effect on the team and it’s going to be tough replacing that,” said Montgomery. “Being without Scott is another blow because he’s been outstanding at right back for us. Having said that, we have enough depth in the squad to cover for both players as we showed in the last few games of the season we had a few players out with suspension and injury.”
Having played the previous six seasons with the Knights, Montgomery knows the club’s lowly placing this year belies the capabilities of a truly talented side. “Midfield is where their major strength lies, Dave Micevski and Luka Jukic are quality players, work hard and provide a lot of drive going forward,” said Montgomery. “Someone else to watch for is Daniel Trim, he’s one of the best players in the league and on his day can make a goal out of nothing. But we’ll have to pay close attention to all eleven players because you can’t let anyone slip under the radar in a game as big as a Cup Final.”
Sorrento may have twice spanked the Knights already this season but Montgomery isn’t expecting another one-sided scoreline. “We’re under no illusion that the game is going to be easy. They were missing some experienced players when we met them earlier in the season and I know Ronnie (Campbell) and Willie (Kelly) will be up for this game big time,” said Montgomery. “It’s going to be a a very open game s both teams play attacking football and have players who can score goals. I think it will also be very physical as both games this year like that with no love lost between the sides.”
KNIGHTS HUNGRY FOR CUP GLORY : MICEVSKI
Victory in tomorrow’s Cup Final would be the perfect way to bring some gloss to what has been an otherwise forgettable season for Western Knights. Star midfielder David Micevski says beating Sorrento to claim the year’s final piece of silverware is important to everyone associated with the club and would be a just reward for the team’s efforts this season. “It’s important not only to the players and coaches but also for the club to take away some silverware at the end of the year,” said the former Perth Glory player. “Our form in the Cup has been good, we deserve our spot in the final and we’re all looking forward to a big game against Sorrento.”
It really has been a tough year for the Knights who scraped together seven wins and three draws from twenty-two outsing to end the home and away series in ninth place. “Injuries and work commitments certainly didn’t help us but we have shown that with a full strength team we are capable of beating anyone in the League,” said Micevski. “Daniel Trim, Paul Cooke, Ivan Zuvela, Dave Annall, Daniel Micevski, Tonchi Skorich and myself all missed considerable parts of the season which accounts for our lack of consistency. The good news is all these players have put their hands up for Cup Final selection.”
Micevski missed two months of competition due to a serious ankle injury sustained just days out from the start of the regular season. “The season could not have start worse for me - I suffered torn ankle ligaments after a late tackle in a friendly a week before the season proper and ended up missing nine weeks,” he explained. “It was an extremely frustrating time because I hadn’t seen regular match time for quite a while and it took me a few games to get back into the swing of things. I started hitting some good form in the second half of the season and, hopefully, that will continue into tomorrow afternoon.”
Unfortunately, preparations for tomorrow have been far from ideal with Jon Mathers, goalkeeper Kevin Miller, Rory Grant and Anthony Skorich all ruled out. “Jon tore his quadricep and Kevin broke his wrist at training last week and definitely won’t play, whereas Rory is a 50-50 chance but hasn’t played for a while because of an ankle problem,” explained Micevski. “Tonchi is away with the Glory Youth team which is a real shame as is a major threat in front of goal. But where one door closes another opens and it gives young Anthony Fearon chance to step up, and having Daniel Trim back to full fitness will soften the losses.”
Sorrento may be without leading goal scorer Todd Harnwell and teenage sensation Scott Neville tomorrow but that doesn’t mean the Knights will be taking a relaxed approach to the game. “The players are all close on and off the pitch and that is reflected in their success this season,” commented Micevski. “They are a strong team in every position and having Neil Young and Shaun Kilkelly leading from the back is always going to be a plus for the rest of the team. In the front third one player we have to keep a close eye on is former Knights striker Stuart Montgomery, he’s capable of scoring as well as creating goals for his teams mates.”
The Knights track record against Sorrento this season has not been good - the Gulls won the regular season encounters 5-3 and 5-1 - but that matter’s little to Micevski. “After losing convincingly to them twice this season the players are looking forward to finishing the season on a high,” he said. “Sorrento are deserving champions but we also have a point to prove this weekend and want the trophy just as much as they do. I expect it’s going to be a very tough, competitive game and, hopefully, a good crowd will get down at Dorrien Gardens for what is sure to be an entertaining finish to the season.”
MITCHELL TINKERS FOR THE RIGHT FORMULA (courtesy Perth Glory)
David Mitchell had brought a number of fresh faces into the Perth Glory squad for Saturday’s away clash with Melbourne Victory. The coach has added speed in the form of Nick Rizzo and Jimmy Downey while hard running defender Jeff Bright has also been included in the travelling party. Australian youth international goalkeeper Tando Velaphi has stepped into the senior line-up after impressing for the youth team last week. “I have reviewed the footage from the youth match and he played very well,” Mitchell said of Velaphi. “I haven’t decided what I’m doing in the ‘keeper stakes, but he’s looking very good.” Long time custodian Jason Petkovic won’t make the trip while James Robinson is the other exclusion at this point after suffering an abdominal injury.
Glory and Victory are eager to secure all three points after both lost last time out. “It’s an important game for us and after last weeks performance we want to go and put in a good performance,” Mitchell said. “Melbourne has depth in their squad and several players that haven’t played a lot as yet so I’m sure they’ll be keen to get in and show they deserve a spot. They probably have the strongest strike force in the league and it’ll be a massive job to handle them. If we can do that then we’ve got a good chance of getting something from the match. It has been tough dealing with injuries and suspensions but our boys who are coming into the side will put in a good effort and I’m sure they’ll show plenty of spirit this week.”
FANS TIP A GULLS WIN
Sorrento are the hands-down Cup favourites. This weeks footballwa.net poll asked 'What will be the outcome of the 2008 Cup Final?' with the northern suburbs outfit collecting a massive 63% of vote. By far the most likely result is for 'Sorrento to win by two or more goals' (51%). 'Western Knights to win by one goal' (27%) was way back in second, followed by a one-goal winning margin in favour of Sorrento (12%). A Knights win on penalties (7%), and by two or more goals (6%) completed the tally board. Only 147 votes were received during the nine-day polling period.
CUP FINAL HAS EVERYONE TALKING!
This weekend’s Cup Final has been the talk of the town this week and it appears every man and his dog has an opinion as to how the game will pan out. During the week footballwa.net caught up with several of the Premier League’s star attractions to get their thoughts on where the strengths lie for Sorrento and Western Knights. Swan I.C. stalwart Damian Scali, club captains Dom De Felice and Michael Icanovski of Cockburn City and Perth S.C., respectively, promising young defender Dean Evans from Stirling Lions and Floreat Athena’s championship wining coach Michael Roki took the time to share their impressions of the two camps …
While both finalists have impressive defences, Scali feels it’s Sorrento’s that offers greater stability. “Sorrento have a very strong defensive unit - they are excellent in the air, confident with the ball at the feet and will dominate the game if you let them,” said Scali, who won back-to-back Cups with Swan in 2003 and 2004. “The Knights don’t have the same aerial ability but are quick at turning defence into attack, and that unfortunately does leave them open conceding goals. It’s hard to go past Sorrento as they were the best team we played this year - and on their day are one of the best overall teams I have ever played against.”
De Felice is well placed to compare the two finalists having met both in the space of eight days late in the season. “It’s going to be a pretty tight game and for the Knights to have any chance they need David Micevski and Luka Jukic to have big games in the middle along with Daniel Trim,” said the Cockburn midfielder. “Everyone knows Glen Thomas is the key midfielder at Sorrento but if you focus too much on shutting him down then you run the risk of letting Lewis Flatt and Brodie Martin taking control. I’m tipping a Sorrento win, for me they have the edge in terms of firepower and experience.”
For Icanovski, a strong midfield will swing the game in the Knights favour. “Sorrento are a no-nonsense side that hits the ground running from the first whistle and are going to be hard to beat. Not having Todd Harnwell is a huge blow but Stuart Montgomery, Glen Thomas and James Morgan provide them plenty of options and in Neil Young they have a terrific goalkeeper,” he said. “Midfield is the key for the Knights with Dave Micevski and Luka Jukic strong in the centre and Paul Cooke and Daniel Micevski giving them plenty of pace and football smarts out wide. It’s hard to pick a winner but I think the Knights midfield will get them over the line.”
Sorrento bagged almost twice the number of goals the Knights did this year, which is why Evans considers what happens in the final third to be the key difference between the teams. “The Knights have had a inconsistent year and will need something special from the likes of Rory Grant, David Micevski, Daniel Micevski and Barry Devlin,” said Evans. “For Sorrento, Stuart Montgomery is difficult for any defence to cope with, Glen Thomas and Brodie Martin can score goals from midfield and Steve McDonald is always a threat in the air. Sorrento are going to be very hard to beat as they have experience all over the pitch and will want to finish the season by winning the double.”
Even though Floreat dumped Sorrento 3-0 in Round Eighteen and two weeks later went down 3-2 to the Knights, coach Roki to favour the Gulls. “Sorrento are full of drive from the backs right through to the forward line. Todd Harnwell was the focal point in attack this year but even without him they have several other players who can inflict serious damage,” commented Roki. “The Knights have balanced up their line-up of late with some much needed experience and Daniel Micevski and Luka Jukic are going to be the key. They will need to score first and then defend strongly to steal a win, but I’m not sure if they are going to be able to contain Sorrento for 90 minutes.”
KNIGHTS DRAW INSPIRATION FROM THE PAST
Western Knights will be hoping to prove history can be repeated when they take on Sorrento this weekend at Dorrien Gardens. For it was at the end of season 2000 that the Knights defeated Sorrento 2-1 to collect the knock-out trophy for the only time in their 40-year history. John Nicolaou was the two-goal hero on that day, however, it was veteran goalkeeper Darren Williams, who played through the pain of a broken foot to earn the man of the match accolade. “I’ve had the injury for over a month and the only way to cure it is rest, but I’ll do that in the close season for there was no way I was going to miss finals time,” said Williams after the win. “It was a great contest and Sorrento pushed us all the way, but I think we just about deserved our victory and it was nice to put one over my old club.”
Gulls custodian Mike Harkness had his reflexes tested twice by Eugene Singeorzan during a physical opening spell. The Knights got the goal they were after on 22 minutes as Ray Marinovic released Scott Devine whose cross from the right was headed goalward by Nicolaou, Harkness brilliantly parried the strikers initial effort but was helpless as he lashed the follow-up in from close-range. It took only a few more minutes before the gap was widened courtesy of an Ivan Ljubicic pass which made its way to Nicolaou who made no mistake from a couple of metres. Sorrento controlled the latter stages of the half but for all their possession didn’t create a great deal of chances. The closest they came to equalising was a fierce Trevor Morgan drive that forced a sharp response out of Williams.
Within a minute of the second half getting under way Sorrento had a penalty turned down after Todd Harnwell was sent sprawling by Carl Medica. The Gulls continually applied the pressure as Stuart Banks rifled into the side netting, Morgan was thwarted at close-range by Williams, who only minutes later foiled Ryan Jeans. Their reward came after 69 minutes when Harnwell’s low ball in from the right was fumbled by Williams under pressure from Love and provided the opportunity for Jeans to bundle it over the line. Content to soak up the pressure and play on the counter-attack, Nicolaou shot wide as he searched to complete his hat-trick while Singeorzan was again denied by Harkness. Sorrento dominated the closing stages in which Williams saved superbly from Jeans, a minute later the ‘keeper pushed Morgan’s shot around the post while just before the final whistle Harnwell lifted high at close- range.
Sorrento: Mike Harkness, Tony Cumace, Kevin Murphy (Richard Turnbull 46), Scott McLeod, Stuart Banks, Todd Harnwell, Glenn Thomas, Andrew Chapman (Jared Love 46), Sean Bowyer, Ryan Jeans, Trevor Morgan
Western Knights: Darren Williams, Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Wright, Alex Christie, Carl Medica, Shane McNally, Ray Marinovic (Dean Nicolaou 82), Scott Devine, Joe Vaz, Eugene Singeorzan, John Nicolaou
Bookings: Morgan (2), Medica (33), Wright (37), Harnwell (52)
Referee: Angelo Nardi
KICK-OFF TIME FOR KARAGEORGE CUP
The 20th edition of the Karageorge Cup is being staged this weekend at the weekend at the Serbian Community Centre in Maddington. An annual tournament, the Karageorge Cup brings together teams of Serbian origin from across the country with this years event including international visitors F.K. Slavija (Sarajevo). Dianella White Eagles, Maddington Eagles and Hamilton Hill Krajina are amongst the fourteen teams competing in this years tournament which commences on Friday 3rd October and continues over following two days. Visit the Karadjordjev Cup website for further details.
GLORY CAPTAIN CASTS DOUBT ON MELBOURNE DEFENCE
Having conceded sixteen goals in just six games, it may seem a bit rich to highlight the opposition's defensive frailties. However, Perth Glory captain Jamie Coyne believes his team can upset the form guide and put a few past top of the table Melbourne Victory on Saturday. "I know they haven't conceded too many goals but that (their defence) probably is their weakest area," Coyne said. "Obviously their midfield and attack is so strong that their defence isn't put under too much pressure. We feel with Eugene (Dadi) playing quite well and with Nikita Rukavytsya's pace we might be able to expose them at the back."
Glory were woeful in defence against Central Coast Mariners on the weekend with Coyne the first to admit that performance wasn't up to standard. "We had a couple of defensive mix-ups and they capitalised on them," Coyne said. "It's just the little things we have to tweak. We are not that far off the pace but if you make mistakes people are going to punish you for it. As an individual you've got to hold your hand up if you make a mistake and try to correct the mistakes you are making. The coaches have been working on individual, one-on-one training, just trying to make players accountable for their own man."
With Hayden Foxe (knee) and Dino Djulbic (suspended) still unavailable, Coyne along with David Tarka, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Jamie Harnwell will have their hands full keeping out Victory attackers Archie Thompson and Danny Allsopp. "They are two very good players, probably the best combination in the league ... and if you can play well against them you know you are doing quite well," Coyne said. "They are two totally opposite types of players. Archie's very small, quick and agile, and Danny's 6ft two (188cm) and built like a horse, so he's very athletic."
THE ROAD TO THE CUP FINAL
The biggest game on the local football calendar - the association Cup Final - takes place this weekend to officially close the on-field activities for 2008. Regular season champions Sorrento have been installed as red-hot favourite to lift the seasons’ final piece of silverware, however, first they must first find a way past a Western Knights outfit giving their all to make up for a disappointing year. Both clubs worked hard in negotiating their way through to the Final and who goes that one step further will be decided tomorrow at Dorrien Gardens.
Ironically, it was at Dorrien Gardens where the Knights kicked off their Cup campaign with a 7-0 thrashing of amateur side Perth Azzurri. Australian schoolboys international Anthony Fearon and Rory Grant each scored a brace with the remainder coming via Matt Allen, Keith Butler and Cormac Dawson. A pulsating match at Dalmatinac Park produced some terrific football before Todd Harnwell’s stoppage time strike earned Sorrento a 3-2 win against Cockburn City. Harnwell complemented earlier finishes by Stuart Montgomery and substitute Danny Hill that cancelled out goals from Michael Mirco and Johnny Mirco.
Round Two was a little easier on Sorrento as they eased past northern rival Wanneroo City 3-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. A stubborn Wanneroo defence held the Gulls at bay until the 69th minute when Steve McDonald converted a penalty. Scott Bulloch added a second soon after with McDonald netted from the spot again shortly before the final whistle. The Knights cruised into the last eight by way of a 4-1 win at Morley Windmills. Scottish import Grant turned in a match-winning hat-trick with Anthony Skorich bagging the other on a day when Gareth Lloyd got the hosts solitary reply.
The Knights humbled long-time rival Perth S.C. 3-0 at Dorrien Gardens in Round Three. Grant got the ball rolling when he netted after 16 minutes and teenage sensation Skorich completed the rout with a couple of second half strikes. Sorrento rarely looked in danger when they thumped Forrestfield United 6-0 on home soil. Harnwell lead the way with a deserved three-goal haul as McDonald (2) and Glen Thomas found the target. The other quarter-finals had E.C.U. Joondalup surprise reigning champions Floreat Athena 1-0, while amateur side Hamersley Rovers upset Fremantle Spirit 1-0.
Sorrento kept alive their hopes of achieving a historic League and Cup double by scrapping past Hamersley Rovers 1-0 in the semi-finals at Litis Stadium. The games only goal arrived two minutes from the break when Stuart Banks fired in from 22-metres after being teed-up by Brodie Martin. The Knights place in the season finale came courtesy of a 2-0 defeat of E.C.U. Joondalup. A tight game was unlocked two minutes into the second half when Grant stroked into the net after receiving a Daniel Trim throw-in. Victory wasn’t secured until the 74th minute when Luka Jukic found the net with a well struck free-kick.
VERBEEK WANTS COYNE TO LEAVE COLCHESTER
Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek believes Chris Coyne could hold his own in the English Premier League and has indicated the former Perth S.C. defender should move on from lowly Colchester United. Coyne, who made his Australian debut in June, is expected to continue his international rise to prominence this week when Verbeek names his squad for the World Cup qualifier against Bahrain. And the 29-year old is in line to retain his spot alongside west Ham United’s Lucas Neill after the pair performed well in the 1-0 defeat of Uzbekistan.
Verbeek has been delighted with Coyne’s response since being called into camp for the first time in May, but admits a move away from League One would be beneficial to the defender. “I think for him to stay motivated he should leave Colchester,” said the Socceroos boss. “He’s a very good central defender … there are probably some players at the top who are better players but there are others who are good players but not better than Chris. It’s all about getting the chances. In football sometimes you need coaches or managers who believe in you and give you the chance.”
Coyne represented Australia at under-17 and under-23 levels before slipping off the international radar. Years of hard work at Dundee, Luton Town and Colchester paid off when Verbeek invited him into camp. “We invited Chris into camp in May to show himself and we were all impressed,” said the coach. “He has personality, which means he’s a leader type and he tells other players what to do. He a typical winner – he’s winning every duel, he’s not afraid to make tackles, he’s a great header, he’s a left and right footed-player and together with Lucas Neil he’s done well.”
PERTH TRIUMPHANT IN PLAY-OFF FINAL
Popular captain of Perth S.C., Michael Icanovski, has bowed out of football by holding aloft the 2008 Top Four Series trophy. Todd Howarth, Geneveo Human, Trent Kay and substitute Michael Black found the net as Perth thumped Inglewood United 4-0 in today's one-sided play-off final at Litis Stadium. Gareth Deeg turned a Jason Colli shot around the post and Danny Kovacevic headed high as Inglewood started with a bang. Perth's first chance was a speculative effort from Steven Campbell that bounced off the crossbar. A long-range strike by Michael Baczynski flew wide in an open, free flowing game before Human just failed to connect with a David Onoforo cross. The breakthrough came in the 22nd minute when Human cut the ball back for Antonio Naglieri to thread a sublime pass which Howarth finished low past Oliver Taseski. It was two-nil six minutes later as Human latched on to a long ball down the right, went past James Duncan and neatly slotted under the oncoming goalkeeper. Inglewood twice threatened to open their account before the break but both Wardle's long-range effort and Baczynski's back post header were wide of the target.
Perth increased their lead five minutes after the re-start through a Howarth corner which an unchallenged Kay headed powerfully past Taseski. As Inglewood went looking for a way back into the game, Kevin Griffiths was denied by a superb diving save from Deeg. Onoforo went close to delivering the knock-out blow with a cracking volley that cannoned back off the bar from Greg Sharland's delivery. Taseski came the rescue in the 78th minute by blocking a close-range shot by Onoforo, whose frustrations were compounded when he sent the follow-up high. The result was soon put beyond doubt as Onoforo and Sharland combined to release Black who motored down the right before sliding a clinical shot past Taseski from 9-metres. To their credit, Inglewood continued to push forward and David Houston flicked just wide from Wardle's free-kick. And in the final minute of regulation time Colli crossed from the right to Griffiths who head just high the games last chance.
The final whistle was warmly greeted by Perth as Graham Normanton captured the play-off title for a fifth time. "We outplayed Inglewood today, we set out our stall early and we stuck to it and thoroughly deserved the win," said the jubilant coach. "We had a set plan today and it worked, our midfield was great and all played their parts in the win." Lee Bamber, coach of Inglewood, felt his side's big game inexperience contributed to their downfall. "I think the occasion today got to a few of the players and they've not been able to handle it. We went one down and lost a little discipline and our shape and we were punished by Perth," he said Bamber. "But when you look at the overall season, if someone said at the start of the season we'd finish fourth and reach the Top Four final then I would have taken it."
Perth S.C.: Gareth Deeg, Trent Kay, Gianfranco Circati, Michael Icanovski, Jared Brooks (Nicholas Tatasciore 87), Todd Howarth, Steven Campbell (Oliver Swords 80), Antonio Naglieri, Greg Sharland, David Onoforo, Geneveo Human (Michael Black 75)
Inglewood United: Oliver Taseski, Shane Pryce, James Duncan, Danny Kovacevic, Matt Wardle, Jamie Mitsopoulus (David Whiteside 75), Michael Baczynski, Kevin Griffiths, Jason Colli, Mladen Kovacevic (Ashley Picker 61), Rodrigo Aguirre (David Houston 56)
Bookings: M.Kovacevic (10), Campbell (37), Baczynski (41), Black (87)
Referee: Mathew Cheeseman
JOEYS TOO GOOD FOR UZBEKISTAN
The Australian Under-17 team has recorded a confidence boosting 3-0 friendly win over Uzbekistan at the Pakhtakor Stadium in Tashkent. Stephen Domenici opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark and five minutes later Eli Babalj doubled the lead with a well-finished goal. Ben Kantarovski completed the scoring late in the match by heading in a far post free-kick from Marc Warren. Trent Sainsbury, Cameron Edwards and Eli Babalj all saw match time with Julius Davies an unused substitute. The game provided coach Martyn Crrok and opportunity to fine tune his side ahead of Australia’s Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championships opener against Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
COACH SHELTERS VELAPHI FROM THE STORM
Perth Glory will resist the temptation of calling up young goalkeeper Tando Velaphi over fears his confidence could be shattered as the A-League outfit continues to leak goals with alarming frequency. Glory have conceded sixteen goals in six games having used veterans Frank Juric and Jason Petkovic in three games each, while 21-year old Velaphi, a member of the Australian Olympic squad, has been a frustrated observer. The Perth club slipped to last place following Friday’s 4-1 loss at Central Coast Mariners, and Wellington Phoenix’ upset 2-1 win over Sydney F.C.
Petkovic’s position in the line-up is sure to come under review this week, but Glory goalkeeping coach Willie McNally said Velaphi would not be thrown into the cauldron when Glory take on Melbourne Victory on Saturday. “Our concern is that Tando hasn’t played that many games in the last two years, even though he’s been overseas with the Olympic team,” explained McNally. “And we think to stick him in there now when we are leaking goal might do more harm than good.”
McNally indicated the National Youth League, which kicked off in terrific fashion for Velaphi when he kept a clean sheet as captain in Glory’s 1-0 win against the Mariners on Friday, would catapult the youngster into the senior side. “He probably needs four or five games in the youth league just to get him playing again,” said McNally. “It’s not a big step up for him but every time the ball goes into our box it looks as if the opposition is going to score and I don’t think that will be good for him mentally.”
Velaphi has nine A-League appearances to his credit for Glory and Queensland Roar, and represented Australia on thirteen occasions at Under-20 and Under-23 levels. Of major concern to Glory, though, is that with the A-League expanding to ten teams next season, Velaphi will soon join a rival club unless he is convinced staying in Perth will translate to a regular place in the line-up. As of 1st October, clubs are entitled to open negotiations with players coming out of contract at the end of the season.
ICANOVSKI DREAMS OF FAIRYTALE FINALE
Michael Icanovski has his heart set on writing a glorious final chapter to his relatively short career. At just 28, the Perth S.C. defender has decided tomorrow’s Top Four Series final will be his last competitive game due to work and family commitments. And the Perth captain is desperate to end his playing days on a high note against a fired-up Inglewood United. “It would be a fantastic way to finish but Inglewood have a really well balanced side and they will be tough to beat,” said Icanovski, who joined Perth club as an under-13 player in 1993. “It was a very hard decision to make … I’ll definitely be in and out of the club at Perth, lending some kind of support but in terms of playing, that’s it.”
The opposite can be said of 35-year old Inglewood captain Shane Pryce who could still slot in at Perth Glory where he played 79 games and collected a national league Grand Final winners medal in 2002/03. But Pryce’s immediate concern is helping Inglewood buck the odds and beat pre-match favourite Perth. “They’ve beaten us twice this season and we’ve beaten them once. It’s usually end-to-end stuff so I think it will be a good spectacle,” said Pryce, who played 129 games for Newcastle Breakers prior to joining Glory. “It would be great for the club if we could win it because they’ve had a few lean years. There’s a lot of tradition at the club and it would be great to bring some silverware back.”
OLYMPIC WIN AMATEUR CUP
Olympic Kingsway have lifted the 2008 Amateur Cup after out-shooting Beldon in a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Litis Stadium. Ryan Newhill, Derek Cooke and Keith Roche made no mistake from the spot to claim the trophy for Kingsway 3-0 after the teams were deadlocked 2-2 after extra-time time. In a true 'David and Goliath' meeting, Kingsway created by far the better chances to completely dominate the first half against their Third Division opponent. Sota Iwasaki and Aaron Lickiss made their mark on the game by driving the green machine into attack at every opportunity. The only goal of the period arrived after 18 minutes when Ryan Newhill glanced a near post corner from the right past goalkeeper Liam McNally. Kingsway continued to press but the closest they came to increasing their lead was through a half-voley from Cooke and Andrew Rowlands’ header, both of which flashed over the crossbar.
The second period was only a couple of minutes old when Iwasaki and Talent Machakaike tangled legs when contesting possession, leaving the Beldon player with a broken leg. Beldon gave a much stronger account of themselves when play resumed after a half-hour delay. Substitute Ian Moore had a shot deflected wide while hard-working midfielder Paul Townson headed past the post when found unmarked. Content to soak up the pressure, Kingsway always looked threatening on the counter-attack as Iwasaki went past a couple of opponents only to be robbed of a shot by Stephen McDowall. McNally came to the rescue as the clock ticked down with an acrobatic save to keep out Cooke’s header from an Iwasaki free-kick. With Kingsway seemingly destined for victory, Graeme Reid lashed in a deserved equaliser after Paul Townson’s audacious long-range shot bounced off the crossbar in the 87th minute.
Ashley Peat should have made himself Beldon’s hero early in stoppage time but after receiving Jamieson Quick’s centre he blasted high of the crossbar. A swift counter attack in the 98th minute put Kingsway back in front as Newhill charged down the right to deliver a low centre that evaded the defence and Cooke was placed to fire into the bottom corner. Cooke should have added another moments later but blazed high and wide after McNally was put under pressure by Angus Richardson’s poor defensive header. Parity was restored in the 108th minute when John Nanini failed to take cleanly a long throw-in which squirted to Peat who sent the ball across goal for Quick to rifle high into the net. To the shoot-out, Nanini saved Townson’s weak effort before Peat and Kelvin Doherty fired high as conversions by Newhill, Cooke and Roche secured Kingsway their first major trophy in almost three decades.
Beldon: Liam McNally, Angus Richardson, Chris Brain, Stephen McDowall, Graeme Reid, Allan Brown, Martin Dryburgh (Kelvin Doherty 72), Paul Townson, Jamieson Quick, Talent Machakaire (Ian Moore 48), Ashley Peat
Olympic Kingsway: John Nanani, Graeme Wiles, Aaron Lickiss, Keith Roche, Jason Stern (Peter Dimitrovich 70), Danny Trandos (Daniel Cuticone 77), Steven Beesley, Sota Iwasaki, Andrew Rowlands (Neil Horgan 105), Ryan Newhill, Derek Cooke
Bookings: Trandos (15), Beesley (17), Brown (62), Rowland (86), Reid (87), Newhill (93)
SAME OLD STORY FOR GLORY
Perth Glory's defensive frailties were exposed last night as Central Coast Mariners comfortably took the points 4-1 at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. Nikita Rukavytsya's goal midway through the second half was the visitors only answer to finishes by Sasho Petrovski, Adrian Caceres, Mile Jedinak and Matthew Osman. David Mitchell must have felt like a broken record in lamenting another dreadful defensive performance by his team. "The defending hasn't been good but we have to defend as a team," said the coach. "I think before they scored we did well, we created a chance and if we had buried that then the confidence would have been there, instead the first time they attacked us they scored and then we've capitulated. We had a few shots and created a few chances but every time we did something good we'd then go and shoot ourselves in the foot."
Eugene Dadi wasted a golden chance after only 4 minutes by blazing high and wide with the goalkeeper well beaten. The Mariners were on the back foot for a difference reason three minutes later as Andrew Redmayne took over between the posts for an injured Mark Bosnich. But the change of 'keeper made little difference to the hosts as Caceres caught Glory flat-footed at the back with a neat past that Petrovski tucked into the net after his initial shot rebounded off the upright with 9 minutes on the clock. The Mariners relentless pressure produced a second goal twenty minutes later when Jedinak curled a superb free-kick around the defensive wall and into the top corner with Jason Petkovic rooted to his line. It only worse for Glory with Caceres allowed to run unchallenged out of midfield to angle a low shot beyond Petkovic.
A defensive re-shuffle at the break which had Nikolai Topor-Stanley partner Jamie Harnwell in the centre gave the visitors greater stability for the second half. Adrian Pellegrino should have reduced the deficit on 59 minutes but his shot fizzed past the post from 10-metres. Glory got the result they were after four minutes later as excellent work by Pellegrino and Wayne Srhoj saw the latter play in a low centre which Rukavytsya pushed into the net at the back post. Unfortunately, celebrations were short-lived as Matthew Osman restored the Mariners three-goal buffer by netting from 7-metres after combining with Matt Simon. Dadi volleyed wide from 6-metres as Glory ended the game as they'd started it. Scott Bulloch was impressive on the left wing while a tireless display in the middle of the park by Srhoj showed he's not far from full fitness.
BOISTEROUS START BY GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory made dream start to the inaugural National Youth League with Ludovic Boi earning a 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners last night at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. It was a night to remember for 18-year old Boi who benefited from sloppy defending to convert Anthony Skorich's 57th minute centre. Both sides came out firing with Laurence Braude and Sean Mitchell each failing to hit the target for the hosts inside ten minutes. Glory settled into the game and Adam Luca placed wide from a free-kick while Nick Rizzo called goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne into action for the first time. Tando Velaphi showed his quality in the 31st minute with a stunning double save that frustrated Darko Vidovic, and in the ensuing scramble Brady Smith was red carded for his crude challenge on Dean Evans. Not surprisingly, Glory seized the initiative with Skorich's clever flick deflected wide and a long-range drive by Hayden Doyle was just outside the bottom corner.
The second half opened with the Glory boys determined to take full advantage of their extra player. Their reward came just before the hour when Skorich went past two opponents wide on the right before playing a low centring pass into the path of Boi whose precision finish gave Redmayne no chance. Gareth Naven brought on the fresh legs of Howard Fondyke, Reece Vittiglia and James Sammut as the Glory coach sought to end the game as a contest. In the 67th minute Sammut delivered an inch-perfect cross to Brent Griffiths which was nodded just high, and soon after Sammut combined well with Evans who squared perfectly to Fondyke but his goal bound shot was saved by Redmayne. The Glory rampage continued right up to the final whistle with Sammut and Fondyke creating further chances which could well have increased the visitors lead if not for stout defending from the Mariners.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
Inner-city neighbours Perth S.C. and Inglewood United meet in a tantalising finale to the Top Four Series at Litis Stadium on Monday afternoon (3.00pm). The sides have already met three times this year with Perth wining twice to Inglewood’s one, the most recent meeting being in late August when the Blues triumphed 2-1 at Dorrien Gardens. Both were pushed all the way in Wednesday’s semi-finals that had Perth out-shoot Floreat Athena on penalties, while Inglewood edged past regular season champions Sorrento 1-0.
Perth’s big game experience has earned them pre-game favourites status. Goalkeeper Gareth Deeg was outstanding in mid-week anchoring a terrific defensive unit that features captain Michael Icanovski and homegrown star Trent Kay. Todd Howarth, Antonio Naglieri and Greg Sharland provide the ammunition going forward for striker David Onoforo, whose already bagged 21 goals this year. Unfortunately, key midfielders Andrija Jukic (Perth Glory Youth) and David Price (overseas) are unavailable.
Lee Bamber will no doubt be pleased with the underdog tag that has been placed on Inglewood. Central defensive pair Shane Pryce and James Duncan as well as long-serving custodian Oliver Taseski have enjoyed superb seasons and their contributions on Monday will be crucial to Inglewood’s chances of success. Jason Colli, Michael Baczynski, Mladen Kovacevic and veteran Kevin Griffiths have their work cut out covering for the absence of playmaker James Sammut (Perth Glory Youth).
BROWN IS YOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Midfield general Any Brown has been voted the footballwa.net 2008 Premier League Player of the Year. The 26-year old captain of Mandurah City staved off the strong challenges of Inglewood United’s Shane Pryce and Todd Harnwell of champions Sorrento to win the award voted for by the players, coaches and supporters of the local game. Taking out the footballwa.net 2008 Premier League Player of the Year completes a remarkable double for Brown who last year collected our First Division award.
Stuart Currie, coach of Mandurah, said Brown’s contributions were invaluable throughout the clubs’ introductory season to the top flight. “Andy has been a major part of our success in our first season in the Premier League. Nobody to date has been able to keep him quiet on the park and he’s scored some great goals,” said Currie. “Andy he leads by example, always gives 100% and hates to lose. He’s got a great attitude towards the game and if I tell Andy what I need from the lads I know he’ll get the message across out on the pitch.”
Brown led voting in the footballwa.net 2008 Premier League Player of the Year from day one of polling and ended on top of the pile with 60 votes. Veteran defender Pryce, a two-time Inglewood player of the year, came in runner-up on 52 votes. Close behind with 49 votes was Harnwell, fresh from spearheading the Gulls to championship glory. The season’s highest goalscorer, Phil O’Callaghan of Mandurah, placed next with 47 votes.
A distant fifth on 34 votes was New Zealand import Brad Scott, who played the winter at Floreat Athena. Perth S.C. playmaker Antonio Naglieri collected 31 votes to be one ahead of goalkeeper Oliver Taseski (Inglewood United) and David Micevski (Western Knights). Gary Faria (Armadale) received 26 votes, State defender John Migas (Floreat) 25, and level on 23 were Johnny Mirco (Cockburn City) and Scott Bulloch (Sorrento).
Brown becomes the seventh player to be named footballwa.net Premier League Player of the Year, and only to second to win both that and the First Division award. Previous recipients of our Premier League Player of the Year are Boima Karpeh (2007), Simon Harland (2006), Antonio Naglieri (2005), Nick Ward (2004), Shane Crampton (2003), Jamie Coyne (2002) and Branimir Mikulic (2001). The footballwa.net ‘staff’ would like to thank everyone who voted in year’s award.
HARVEY TOPS THE POPS
Canning City marksman Paul Harvey has been voted the footballwa.net 2008 First Division Player of the Year. Not a lot separated the leaders going into the final week of counting when Harvey broke clear from the rest of the field to claim the award. Steve Suttie, loyal servant of South West Phoenix, came in as runner-up for the second successive year with Canning pair Rory Mouttet and Duncan Hind close behind. Harvey's consistency in finding the net over the winter months ultimately tipped the scales in his favour.
Frank Longstaff, coach of Canning, has nothing but praise for his championship winning striker. "It's a well-deserved honour for Paul as he's a tremendous player," said Longstaff of Harvey, whose twenty-three goals spearheaded Canning into next season's top flight. "Paul made an immense contribution to us winning the league, his on the ball skill and ability as well as an eye for goal made all the difference. Even in games where he was below par he had the uncanny knack of pulling a goal from nowhere."
Harvey ended the four-week polling period with 51 votes to take out the footballwa.net 2008 First Division Player of the Year. Suttie had to settle for runner-up for the second time in as many years after tallying 49 votes. Mouttet collected 43 votes to finish two ahead of Hind. Not far behind was Dianella White Eagles captain Dragan Njegic on 38 votes, with Balcatta’s Igor Novakovic picking up 35 votes to occupy sixth spot.
Phoenix youngster Rory Binnie ended with 22 votes and level with Rockingham City's Andrew Keary. Patrick Quinn (Phoenix) registered 21 votes to place alongside Bayswater City team mates Paul Hickey and Adrian Sutton. Matthew Battigelli (Dianella), Grant Learmont (Queens Park) and Brian Cairney (Wanneroo City) rounded out the leader board with 16 votes each.
Harvey is the sixth recipient of the footballwa.net First Division Player of the Year. The previous winners of our annual award are Andy Brown (2007), David Rodgers (2006), Adam Raines (2005), then Wanneroo City and now Perth Glory midfielder Scott Bulloch (2004) and Boima Karpeh (2003). The footballwa.net 'staff' would like to thank everyone who took the time to cast a vote in this year's award.
WE'VE SURPASSED OUR EXPECTATIONS SAYS GULLS’ MORGAN
Returning Sorrento to the top of the Premier League pile was the only way for James Morgan to erase the bitter memories of 2007. The Gulls midfielder spent Saturday night celebrating with team mates after a 2-1 win at Swan I.C. secured the championship. "Last season was a massive disappointment for everyone at the club, especially as we'd won the league the year before," explained Morgan, who's played at Sorrento since 1997. "We knew that this time we had to do better and having a top four competition at the end of the season gave us something to aim for - as it turned out we surpassed that expectations to be crowned champions."
Although Sorrento hovered around the top of the table all season it wasn't until late in the piece that Morgan seriously began to contemplate getting his hands on the trophy. "At the start of the year our aim was to win the league and although we were top for most of the season I never once took for granted that we were going to win," said the nuggetty 25-year old midfielder. "It wasn't until we beat Perth at the end of August and that Floreat Athena got done at Western Knight that I started to think 'you know what, we're gonna win this' - and that was a good feeling!"
Victory against Mandurah City a fortnight ago gave Sorrento one hand on the trophy, and the weekend defeat of Swan began a night of partying for the Gulls. "The club was abuzz after we beat Mandurah, and although Perth could mathematically still catch us we all knew that realistically we had it in the bag," commented Morgan. "It's moments like that that you play football for and it's one that won't be forgotten for a long time. We all celebrated that night, and we pretty much did the same after beating Swan with a lot of the lads and their girlfriends heading to Subiaco for a night which lasted well into the morning."
It's the second time in three years Sorrento have claimed top honours with Morgan, who played his part in both triumphs, identifying one significant difference between the two teams. "In 2006 we had an older and far more experienced squad which included players like Scott Miller, Richard Watson, Andy Bowyer, Brad Hassell and Simon Harland, who were all in their 30's and some nearing the end of their playing careers," he said. "This year, with the exception of probably Stuart Montgomery and Stuart Banks, the majority of the players are quite young by comparison."
When asked which of the two championship squads was the stronger, Morgan thought long and hard. "That's a tough one - both the current side and the 2006 one are very strong teams with some great individual talent," said the midfielder. "But because of the age of the side I'm going to pick this years team as being the better. Also, a lot of people had written us off before a ball was even kicked because of a terrible 2007, and we've bounced back by winning the league when no-one thought we would whereas in 2006 we were probably one of the early title favourites."
Sandwiched in between their successes, however, was a truly disastrous campaign in which the Gulls won only four games to finish second from bottom. "It's no secret we were crap last year but after losing six important players we were always going to struggle - you can't lose half your team and expect to win the league," said Morgan. "But we're a pretty tight knit group at Sorrento and around a core groups of players that includes Neil Young, Todd Harnwell, Glen Thomas, Steve McDonald and myself we've rebuilt as a team. One of our strength's is the fact that we're all such good friends off the pitch - we're all in this together, on or off the pitch."
The recruitment of Shaun Kilkelly, Stuart Montgomery, Scott Bulloch and Danny Cain last summer played an important role in turning things around at Sorrento according to Morgan. "Those four signing's added much needed quality, depth and balance to our side," he commented. "Cainy and Shaun have formed a formidable partnership at the back which has been recognised by their selection in the State squad to play South Australia. Scotty's pace and two good feet caused teams a lot of trouble, and Monty has been scoring goals against us for years so we knew what we were getting a quality player when we signed him."
Sorrento have a lengthy track record of unearthing future stars and this year it was 19-year old Scott Neville and 20-year old Lewis Flatt that stepped up to the mark. "We've always had good kids come through and that's a credit to the youth and reserve team coaches who are obviously doing things right," commented Morgan. "Scotty Nevs has had a brilliant season, he's really come on leaps and bounds and we'll miss him when he plays for Glory next year. Lewy has also had a great year, he was rarely out of the side and managed to score a couple of crucial goals fur us."
And there's plenty more talent bubbling under the surface at Sorrento with Calum O'Connell, Jason Trpevski and Glen Campbell all knocking on the door of first team selection. "It's vital to any club that they have quality young lads coming through as they are going to form the basis of the first team somewhere down the track," said Morgan. "The likes of Jason, Callum and Glen have got some important game time under their belts this year and that's going to position us well for next season and beyond as there are going to be ready to step up when the opportunity arises."
All attention at Sorrento has been turned on defeating Western Knights in the Cup Final on 4th October. "Doing the double would certainly be the icing on the cake of an amazing season for us, and being the first Sorrento team to do that would be a massive achievement," said Morgan. "No doubt the Knights will be up for it just as much as we are, maybe even more after the two heavy defeats we inflicted on them this season. They were missing a few key players when we played them in the league so will be a different team on Cup Final day but, hopefully, we'll have enough in our squad to deal with whatever they throw at us."
CACERES BOUND FOR GLORY
Fresh from a standout performance against Melbourne Victory, Central Coast Mariners attacker Adrian Caceres is hoping to continue his fine form against another former employer, Perth Glory, on Friday. After missing the previous two games with a back injury, a fully fit Caceres chimed in with a telling 89 minute contribution against Victory. "It's been good for me, coming back from my injury and I'm looking forward to the next few games and hopefully I can build on the performance against Melbourne," said Caceres.
Matt Simon's doubled looked to have earned the Mariners victory last weekend before Archie Thompson put away his second of the game deep in stoppage time to snatch a 2-2 draw. "I think the team played very well at the weekend, we were quite happy with the way we played, just disappointed to lose it in the last ten seconds of the game," said Caceres. "It's good to be passing the ball around and playing good football, we thought we were going to sneak away with the win but right at the end they got their goal."
Caceres made 61 appearances in two spells with Glory where he played alongside current captain Jamie Coyne, Jamie Harnwell, Jason Petkovic and David Tarka. "It's always good playing against former clubs, obviously at the weekend it was Melbourne and now it’s Perth," commented Caceres, whose senior career began at Perth S.C. "They're going to be tough to beat, they're coming back from a good win against Wellington, but we're looking forward to the challenge and we'll be up for it."
Be part of the build-up to the 2008 season finale by attending a Cup Final breakfast at the Duxton Hotel on Friday 3rd October (7.30am-9.00am). Enjoy a buffet breakfast and mingle with Sorrento and Western Knights players and coaches as they prepare for the biggest day on the West Australian football calendar. Tickets to this exclusive 'Not The Footy Show' event are just $40.00 and can be reserved by emailing email@example.com
The Perth S.C. youth team will play in an exhibition game against the visiting Serbian Under-18 team at Dorrien Gardens from 6.30pm on Wednesday 1st October. The friendly will act as a curtainraiser to the 20th Karadjordjev Cup, an annual tournament that brings together teams of Serbian origin from across the country. Fourteen local, interstate and international teams will take part in this year?s event which kicks off on Friday 3rd October at the Serbian Community Centre in Maddington.
Lisa De Vanna has been selected by Washington Freedom in the draft for next year's inaugural Women's Professional Soccer in the United States. De Vanna and Matildas team mates Sarah Walsh and Heather Garriock are among 28 players selected by the seven WPS clubs as part of the league's international draft conducted. The league starts in April and runs until approximately October meaning little overlap with the newly-announced Australian W-League, which commences late next month.
Alistair Edwards has severed ties with Perth Glory just six months after accepting a director position on the club’s board. The former Socceroo helped set-up Glory’s Youth team and had expected to play a greater role in the club’s football matters. Edwards was asked to remain on board as an occasional consultant but he decided to resign from the board.
Fremantle United have been crowned 2008 Amateur Premier League champions. The port side lost only twice in twenty-two games to finish a staggering nine points clear of runners-up Hamersley Rovers. Fremantle have until the close of business on Wednesday 1st October to notify Football West whether or not they intend accepting a place in next years semi-professional ranks.
INGLEWOOD KEEP THE DREAM ALIVE
Jamie Mitsopoulos booked Inglewood United's spot in the final of the Top Four play-offs by scoring the only goal of this evening's semi-final showdown with regular season champions Sorrento. The better of early chances came from the Gulls, who entered the game without regulars Glen Thomas, Scott Neville, Stuart Banks and Danny Cain. A 3rd minute james Morgan was met by Todd Harnwell whose downward header bounced against the crossbar before being tipped over by Oliver Taseski. Ten minutes later Brodie Martin pushed a Harnwell cross past Taseski who turned to see Danny Kovacevic clear the attempt. Inglewood threatened for the first time soon after with Matt Wardle's deflected shot testing Neil Young's agility. A thumping Wardle drive from 32-metres came back off the post, and Stuart Montgomery had a low shot tipped wide by Taseski. The deadlock was broken in the 44th minute when Mitsopoulos volleyed a bouncing ball into the top corner after Sorrento failed to clear from inside their 18-yard box.
Sorrento came out firing in the second half which opened with James Morgan getting behind the defence and centring for Harnwell whose shot was battered away by Taseski. Referee Joe Fusari dismissed a penalty claim by Montgomery after he appeared to have been checked by an opponent. A Morgan corner after 65 minutes found the head of Jason Trpevski but his attempt was cleared from on the line by Danny Kovacevic. Inglewood provided little in the way of forward drive and were seemingly content to defend their slender lead. There was a touch of controversy in the 82nd minute when Montgomery's lob was fumbled by Taseski who looked to have taken the ball over the line, however, neither Fusari nor his linesman were convinced and play was waved on. This effectively was the final chance of the night as Shane Pryce, James Duncan and Danny Kovacevic applied a 'no risks' policy which kept alive Inglewood's hopes of seeing out the season with a trophy in their hands.
PERTH THROUGH TO PLAY-OFF FINAL
Perth S.C. emerged triumphant from a nail-biting penalty shoot-out with Floreat Athena to qualify for the Top Four Series final. The Blues' hero was Greg Sharland who converted past goalkeeper Alex Dunn to make it 4-2 on penalties on a balmy evening at Clipsal Stadium. The match began at a blistering pace and a sublime Antonio Naglieri pass created an opening which Steven Campbell clipped over the advancing 'keeper but just high of the crossbar. Floreat worked tirelessly to create space in the final third only to be continually stifled as Perth quickly got numbers behind the ball. Gareth Deeg pounced on the ball in a goalmouth scramble as Miki Vujacic lined-up the target. Their best opening came via a Vujacic cross from the right which Daniel Neiderberger headed high under pressure from Kay. Floreat were paying close attention to David Onoforo who just before the break snuck in front of his marker to head narrowly wide a near post cross from Roberto Lujan after he'd gone past two defenders.
The second half had been underway twelve minutes when Dunn spilled a Todd Howarth corner and Kay struck the loose ball over the line to make it advantage Perth. This opened the game up and soon after Sharland wasted a one-on-one by shooting straight at Dunn. The Floreat 'keeper later turned away an Onoforo shot as the game opened up, while at the other end Ante Kovacevic was quickly shut down by Deeg after playing a neat one-two with Adam Bachiller to get inside the area. As the minutes ticked down, Michael Roki brought Rafael Insaurralde off the bench to replace an unusually quiet Neiderberger in an attempt to salvage the game. The move paid dividends on 82 minutes as Insaurralde latched onto a long ball, cut past Kay then angled a low shot across Deeg and inside the far post to send the visiting supporters into a frenzy. Deeg did well to recover after he uncharacteristically dropped a cross which fell agonisingly out of reach for Vujacic. Dunn then foiled Onoforo before the referee signalled time for penalties.
Perth's success from the spot was 100% with Naglieri, Onoforo, Howarth and Sharland coming up with the goods when called upon. Vujacic and Brad Scott did likewise for Floreat, however, it would ultimately be misses by Ante Kovacevic and Julian Madaschi that decided the outcome. Graham Normanton was thrilled with Perth's qualification for the final. "It was always going to be a tough match against Floreat, so we half expected to go to penalties. Had we taken our chances in the second half, the match wouldn't have had to go that far and we should have won it well before the end of the game," said the Perth coach. Floreat boss Roki was disappointed to bow of out the play-offs on penalties, especially after losing the Night Series final to Perth by the same fashion. "Losing twice on the lottery shoot-out is a bit of an injustice to the way the boys have played this year but it'll instil the need for us to wrap up games inside normal time like next."
STIRLING'S UNITED NATIONS LAND CHAMPIONSHIPS (courtesy Stirling Lions)
When it comes to football being the world game there is no better example than Stirling Lions' Reserves. Gary Williams' team captured the Reserve league championship by defeating Armadale 3-0 on Saturday to pip Inglewood United at the post by benefit of superior goal difference. There was a true international flavour to the young Lions side with no less than ten nationalities represented - Australia, Macedonia, Italy, England, Scotland, France, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Vietnam and Portugal.
Stirling have come on in leaps and bounds over the last five years as their focus has sharpened on youth development under Mike Lyons expert eye. The clubs director of coaching has assembled a top-notch team in which Alex Olejnik and Micky Quayle nurture the 11 to 15 year olds who then progress to the youth team under Doug Hesketh and Joe Pugliese. The entire coaching staff have worked wonders in shaping the club's young talent into skilled and disciplined footballers ready for life in the first team.
Lyons, former captain of Everton, is widely regarded as the Pied Piper of youth football and over the years has enjoyed many successes in the coaching arena. Perth Glory Youth team recruits Dean Evans and Ludovic Boi have benefitted Lyons' master touch in helping them achieve their dreams of one day playing professionally. And you need look no further that the exciting potential in Steve Hesketh, Michael Pugliese, Phil Arnold, Rory Feely, Chis Rutherford, Chris Harlond to understand why Stirling are confident of future title success at senior level.
Club president Don Evans is genuinely excited about Stirling's future prospects. "Our club has a family warmth like no other, the diverse cultural groups represented all have one thing in mind and that is to be given an opportunity to learn and play the game they love - football!," he said. "To understate the fantastic job the coaching team have done at our club in the last four years in particular would not reflect where the hard work ethos has been born from. Mick Lyons has respect from every member at our club and is encouraged by a positive and hard working back room committee at the Lions who thrive on the football family environment."
STARS OF TOMORROW GET NATIONAL CALL-UP
Eli Babalj, Julius Davies, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury will represent Australia at next month's Asian Football Confederation Under-16 Championships in Uzbekistan. The National Training Centre quartet were included in the twenty-three player squad for the tournament which commences on 4th October. "It’s a great result for Western Australian football," said Football West development manager Andrew Bettell. "Having so many players selected at this level is a great reflection on the recent quality of our state and NTC Programs and the tremendous work undertaken by the coach Kenny Lowe. "
Martyn Crook is confident of a strong showing by Australia in Uzbekistan. "We have been working hard for the past 18 months to prepare for this tournament and our performances at the ASEAN Cup and recent European tour have been promising," said the Joeys coach. "This tournament is extremely important for us as it serves as the qualifier for FIFA Under-17 World Cup. We have very good information on our opposition and a quality group of players. On this basis, I am confident that we can do the job in Tashkent."
The Joeys have been allocated a place in Group C where they'll meet Saudi Arabia (5th October), China PR (7th October) and Turkmenistan (9 October). The top two teams from each of the four groups advance to the knock-out stage, with the tournament decider scheduled for Saturday 18th October. The winner, runner-up, third and fourth placed teams all qualify for the 2009 Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria. Earlier this year, the Joeys won the ASEAN Football Federation Under-16 Youth Championships in a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Bahrain.
The Australian squad for the Under-16 Championships is Chris Bush, Stephen Domenici, Danai Gapare (Australian Capital Territory Academy of Sport), Brendan Hamill, Robert Kolac, Aaron Lennox, Jared Lum, Dimitrios Petratos, Nikola Stanojevic, Marc Warren (New South Wales Institute of Sport), Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle United Jets), Nicholas Tubbs (Queensland Academy of Sport), Nathan Farrell, Chahine Noujaim, Mark Perrone (South Australian Sports Institute), Petar Franjic, Kamal Ibrahim, Bailey Wright (Victorian Institute of Sport), Teddy Yabio (Victorian Institute of Sport), Eli Babalj, Julius Davies, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury (West Australian National Training Centre).
FANS WANT TO SEE MORE OF VELAPHI
The West Australian football community would like to see young Tando Velaphi between the posts for Perth Glory. The 21-year old Australian youth international collected a mammoth 60% of the vote in the recent footballwa.net poll which queried 'Who should Perth Glory play in goal?' Club veteran Jason Petkovic (23%) came in second ahead of summer signing Frank Juric (17%). 257 votes were cast during the ten-day polling period.
O’CALLAGHAN GETS THE BOOT
A rich vein of form has singled Phil O'Callaghan out as the premier goalscorer of 2008. The Mandurah City attacker wrapped up the Golden Boot award on Saturday by netting twice in his teams home win against Cockburn City to take his season tally to 25 goals. O'Callaghan, 21, was amongst the Golden Boot favourites from early on as back-to-back hat-tricks against Fremantle Spirit and Armadale took him to ten goals from seven games. Todd Harnwell (Sorrento) went goal-for-goal with O'Callaghan who broke away after another three-goal haul at Fremantle, and two the following week on home soil to Armadale late in the season.
O'Callaghan netted on 25 occasions during the winter months to take out the prestigious award. Harnwell's 23 goals earned him the runner-up spot ahead of Brad Scott (Floreat Athena), who bagged 19 goals in 18 appearances. Swan I.C. veteran Damien Scali netted 17 times, once more than 2005 Golden Boot recipient David Onoforo (Perth S.C.). E.C.U. Joondalup captain Ian McMurray came in next with 15 goals to be two ahead of Johnny Mirco (Cockburn City), and three clear of Perth marksman Andreas Oliveira. Jointly on 11 goals were Stuart Montgomery (Sorrento) and Armadale's English import James Robinson.
Despite being absent for the last three games of the season, Paul Harvey of Canning City took out the First Division leading goalscorer award. Harvey's 23-goal winter was highlighted by a stunning five-goal display at home to Forrestfield United and hat-tricks against Gosnells City and Dianella White Eagles. Lurking three goals behind was Steve Suttie of South West Phoenix and Wanneroo City marksman Brian Cairney. Last year's trophy winner, Jon Greenwood, bagged 13 goals to finish third. Level with 12 goals were Rory Binnie (Phoenix) and Danny Trevisiol (Canning), who both netted once more than Ryan Frisina (Bayswater City) and Bobby Klenkoski (Balcatta).
GLORY UNCONCERNED BY SMALLEST EVER HOME CROWD
Perth Glory are not about to reach for the panic button despite a record low 4,433 fans turning up to Members Equity Stadium for Sunday's clash with Wellington Phoenix. It was the smallest crowd in Glory's twelve-year history, and a far cry from the 14,972 average that streamed through the gates in 1997/98. Glory chief executive Scott Gooch attributed the poor turnout to a combination of factors - a cold, blustery day, Glory's poor display against Queensland Roar the previous week and the WAFL grand final.
Despite the embarrassingly low attendance, Gooch says the club are still targeting an average home crowd of 10,000 this season. "We are certainly not panicking. Our first two games were well up on the average from last year," Gooch said. "We've had one really poor attendance, which is disappointing, but we'll bounce back. We think it's probably just a one-off. We would love to get to that elusive 10,000 ... Last year we got close to it on a couple of occasions. We'd love to get over the 10,000 and then grow it from there."
Glory face an uphill battle to achieve that goal after attracting crowds of 8,876 8,203 to their games against Newcastle United Jets and Queensland, respectively. It's a familiar story for a club whose home crowds have dwindled since the inception of the A-League. After regularly attracting figures of more than 10,000 in the now-defunct National Soccer League, Glory managed an average of just 9,734 during their inaugural A-League campaign, 7,671 in season two and 7,606 in 2007/08.
VEST TO REVITALISE JOONDALUP
Former Perth Glory and State team coach Alan Vest has been revealed as the man to lead E.C.U. Joondalup into next season. The respected and well credentialled coach can’t wait to begin work on reviving the clubs fortunes after their 2008 campaign ended flatly. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge,’ he said. “I’ve watched them a few times and earlier in the season they were the best team in the league and they played some good football. In the recent games I’ve watched against Sorrento and Inglewood United they were in the game for long periods of the game and were unlucky to lose. If we can hang on to most of the players and bring a few more during the off-season it looks quite promising.”
An opportunity to work side by side with Willie McNally had a big bearing on Vest accepting the post at Joondalup. “It was one of the reasons why I decided to take the job here. I thought Willie did an excellent job early this season but it’s fantastic for him to work at (Perth) Glory. I’ve known Willie a long time - in fact he was in my State side in Adelaide twenty years ago,” said Vest, who is also looking to get a first hand look at Joondalup’s successful youth system. “I’ve heard a great deal about the youth development at the club, and I know a couple of people who have been involved and they tell me it’s been a great success. We hope a few of them can filter though to the senior sides next season.”
Born in Yorkshire, Vest cut his coaching teeth at South Rugby Town and Rochdale United during the 1960’s before relocating to Australia. Between 1974 and 1976 he coach the State team to victory on sixteen occasions from twenty-one games, capturing back-to-back Marah Halim Cups. He progressed to the national league with then powerhouse clubs West Adelaide and Newcastle KB United. Stints in New Zealand and Singapore preceded a return to Perth in 2001 as assistant to Mich d’Avray, and later Steve McMahon at Glory. He took over as caretaker coach following the latter’s sacking in 2005 and the following year looked after Inglewood United.
BROWN HONOURED TO LEAD WA
Mandurah City midfielder Andy Brown has gone from English backpacker to proud captain of the State team in just two years. After leading Western Australia into battle against Perth Glory and the East Java Under-23’s in June, the former Middlesbrough junior will again be handed the captain’s armband for next month’s Stratco Cup clash against South Australia in Adelaide. Coach Robbie Dunn said 26-year old Brown was the obvious choice the lead the side, although he admitted cutting the squad down to a travelling party of sixteen players was difficult. “To me he epitomises the type of player you want to lead a team,” he said. “As long as I’m there (as coach) and he’s available, he’ll be the first player I pick as captain.”
Brown, who is from Guisborough in north-east England, was in Glory’s sights before his A-League hopes were dashed by competition rules what restrict clubs to four foreign players. “At the time I didn’t think much about it because I was concentrating on playing for Mandurah but I would’ve liked the have been involved,” said Brown, who has to wait until December next year before he is eligible to apply for Australian citizenship. In the meantime, Brown is delighted to be able to represent the State that he and wife Emily decided to make home two years ago. “It’s a great honour and I don’t think I’ve upset too many people by not being a West Australia,” joked Brown, who played briefly for Canning City before guiding Mandurah to the First Division title last year.
DUNN SETTLES ON STATE SIXTEEN
State coach Robbie Dunn has finalised his squad of sixteen to take on South Australia for the Stratco Cup next month. The former Socceroo has been running his eye over a group of thirty State team potentials and after three training sessions, has settled on his travelling party for the 11th October friendly. “I have selected the best available players that can travel to South Australia and win the game” said Dunn. “Make no mistake, we are taking the game seriously as are South Australia, and both teams will be going all out to win.”
The Stratco Cup, to be played at Marsden Sports Complex, will give the Premier League’s elite an opportunity to compare their talents against what will no doubt be a strong home line-up. “South Australia have tough and competitive leagues, they will be assembling a formidable line up that is sure to contain a lot of experience and skill, however I have no doubt our boys will be up for the task and can do our state proud” said Dunn. Only six players who made the trip to Indonesia in June, when the State team went down 2-0 to the East Java Under-23’s, have made the cut with ten set to don the black and gold for the first time.
The State squad to play South Australia next month is Daryl Platten (Armadale), Ante Kovacevic, John Migas, Brad Scott (Floreat Athena), Ian McMurray, Craig Young (E.C.U. Joondalup), Jeff Bright, Andy Brown, Phil O’Callaghan (Mandurah City), Gareth Deeg, Antonio Naglieri (Perth S.C.), Danny Cain, Shaun Kilkelly, Neil Young (Sorrento), Marc Anthony (Stirling Lions) and David Micevski (Western Knights). The team officials are Robbie Dunn (coach), Willie McNally (assistant coach) and Brett Lambert (manager).
TIGHT TURNAROUND FOR BRUISED GLORY
The monkey is off Perth Glory's back but this morning's recovery session at City Beach resembled a gathering of the walking wounded rather than a side who sit just outside the top four. Eugene Dadi's late penalty conversion against Wellington Phoenix earned Glory their first win of the season yesterday, however, a bruised and battered line-up have just four days to prepare for a trip to Central Coast Mariners. "Everyone's a bit sore actually," utility Jamie Harnwell said. "It was a pretty committed performance so we're just making sure that we're ready for Central Coast on Friday because it's a pretty short turnaround ... us older boys just need a bit of cotton wool to get through the week."
Despite a scrappy performance, the win against Phoenix moved Glory away from last place and within touching distance of the top four. The mood in the camp is a far cry from the disappointment that surrounded the round four thrashing from Queensland Roar. "It probably wasn't the best performance from a football point of view," Harnwell said. "We got three points, we knew we had to be committed and get the win and that's what we did. We can obviously play a lot better but if we get a win like that every week I couldn't really care. It was all doom and gloom last week and we were getting written off. That's fine but we knew inside the camp that we're a good side and we can beat teams. We had to come out and show it last night and we did."
LOCAL REFEREES HEAD TO NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (by Peter Simcox)
Up and coming referees Robert Hall and David Johnson have been called-up to officiate at the Australian National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour at the end of September. The selection of Hall and Johnson, both 19, is recognition of their strong recent performances according to former World Cup referee Eddie Lennie. "This is a great opportunity for both these young men to show our other FFA coaches the high standard that Football West Referees have obtained during their development," said Lennie, Referee Development Manager with Football West. "With the increased opportunities such as the new National Youth League and W-League, these two officials will be going all out to impress."
Hall started refereeing at junior and amateur levels in the South West and continued his progress by moving into State league ranks after relocating to Perth for study reasons. "It will give me a chance to receive some expert coaching from some of Australia's best refereeing minds," explained Hall, who will officiate in the Under-15 tournament. "It's been great working with the referees here in Perth. I had a taste of refereeing in the State League last season, and officiating at the higher level has just been fantastic. I've learnt a lot from other referees this season and the games have been more enjoyable."
Johnson, who will officiate in the Under-14 age group, refereed for five years in the junior and youth leagues before and stepping up to the State League in 2007. "I took up refereeing because I really enjoyed the game. Unfortunately, I wasn't much of a player, refereeing gives me the opportunity to still be involved in the game at probably a higher level than I ever would have got to as a player," commented Johnson. "The step-up to the semi-pro State League has been a really enjoyable experience. The chance to referee at a higher level is always a challenge but has been a really exciting challenge."
GLORY FINALLY GET OFF THE GROUND
Eugene Dadi's late goal earned Perth Glory their long awaited first win of the new season as Wellington Phoenix tumbled 1-0 at Members Equity Stadium. Not only did Glory collect all three points, but a strong defensive display allowed Jason Petkovic to keep a clean sheet in a team effort that clearly pleased the coach. "We look solid in defence, the midfield worked hard and Eugene was excellent up front, it was a full team performance and the result was positive," said David Mitchell. "We've got the monkey off the back now so it is important that we steady things from here on in." Unfortunately, not everything is coming up roses for Glory with a record low crowd of just 4,433 going through the turn styles.
Brazilian import Daniel fired wide and Troy Hearfield straight at Petkovic as Phoenix came out with all guns ablaze. Glory threatened after 10 minutes through Nikita Rukavytsya whose on the turn shot from 13-metres flew wide. Rukavytsya then turned provider by playing Scott Bulloch in down the left but his 7-metre effort flashed across the face of goal. With passes often going astray, this certainly wasn't a game for the football purists. Glory were presented with a great chance on 27 minutes when goalkeeper to Glen Moss picked up Richard Johnson's pass back, however, Wayne Srhoj's free-kick was blocked then cleared by the defence. The only other chance of the period came in stoppage time when James Robinson nodded across goal to Nikolai Topor-Stanley whose header was cleared off the line by Jon Makain.
Both teams emerged for the second half determined to be first on the scoreboard. Shane Smeltz fired high at close-range for the visitors, and seven minutes later Dadi's header was saved by Moss. Richard slammed narrowly wide after Glory defended poorly at a 67th minute corner, then Dadi was denied by a terrific reflex save by Moss. Naum Sekulovski stretched the 'keeper with a curling shot just minutes after coming off the bench as Glory began to take control. The breakthrough came after 78 minutes when Dadi sent the 'keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot after being felled by Jon McKain. Phoenix tried desperately to find a way back into the game which was deep in stoppage time when Leilei Gao sent in a dangerous cross which Petkovic captured, much to the relief of the Glory faithful.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-TWO (Swan I.C. v Sorrento by Peter Simcox; Mandurah City v Cockburn City by Kirk O’Connor; Armadale v Stirling Lions by Scoop Rafferty)
Sorrento celebrated capturing the 2008 Premier League trophy with a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Swan I.C. at the Swan Italian Club. Todd Harnwell and an own goal within minutes of each other earned the Gulls a hard-earned victory, and made redundant Andy O'Neill's sensational volley earlier in the second half. There were few genuine chances created a tight opeing period in which the two defences stood tall. Cory Hugo guessed right in keeping out a 7th minute penalty taken by Harnwell, who'd been felled when attempting to round the Swan custodian. Stuart Montgomery's attempt was straight at Hugo as the Gulls sought the lead, while Harnwell was denied what appeared a clear second penalty when pulled down by Aaron Cole. Although slow to get going, Swan did assert themself late in the half with Dom Ando's curling free-kick which whistled past the post their best chance. It was a different story after the break as Damian Scali headed too close to Neil Young, then minutes later referee Troy Miller dismissed a penalty appeal from Cole despite the Swan captain going down under a combined effort by Neville and Jason Trpevski. In the 53rd minute Alex Cocking combined down the right with Ando who delivered a far post cross which O'Neill brilliantly volleyed into the net from an angle at 6-metres. This caused the Gulls to lift their game and debutant Keegan Loreine surged forward to put the ball with Harnwell whose superb shot on the turn soared into the top corner from 15-metres to bring the sides level. Sorrento claimed the lead on 67 minutes when Hugo failed to claim a Lewis Flatt cross and in attempting to clear Ando headed into his own net under pressure from Shaun Kilkelly. The game really came to life in the closing stages with Trent forcing a good save from Young, and with the very next play Harnwell was thwarted with only Hugo to beat. Swan's quest for an equaliser had substitute Dejan Djukanovic fire straight at the 'keeper when well placed, and in stoppage time Geoff Mason's header flashed wide from Wood's delivery.
Floreat Athena ended the regular season as runners-up by snatching a 3-1 victory over E.C.U. Joondalup in the northern suburbs. With the game seemingly destined to end level, Brad Scott and Rafael Insurralde added to John Migas' crisp first half finish and send the home side tumbling to second last on the final table. The opening minutes were scrappy with both sides working hard to stamp their mark on procedings. Floreat settled the sooner and on 14 minutes Dean Apelgren rifled high after driving his way out of midfield. Martin Ashworth fed a superb pass to Scott Blackmore who shot straight at Vas Vujacic as Joondalup replied in kind. Miki Vujacic swung in a seemingly harmless corner which caught the breeze and required the quick thinking of goalkeeper Chris McCrone to turn the ball over the crossbar. Floreat hit the front right on half-time when Migas fired a low shot past McCrone from just inside the 18-yard box. The game opened up in the second half which began with Scott Bushby playing through to Tommy Jones who lifted high of the bar. Going the other way, Apelgren combined with Daniel Niederberger to release Miki Vujacic but the midfielder was unable to finish the exquisite move. The home crowd were celebrating after captain Ian McMurray found himself with time to get his angles right with a fine shot from 22-metres which came to rest in the net. Floreat responded by taking their game up a notch and dominated the final twenty minutes. Apelgren almost got the goal he so richly deserved but after turning past one opponent his delightful shot from the edge of the box curled just high. Floreat's lead was restored in the 76th minute by Scott who volleyed past McCrone after receiving a Migas cross from the left. Insurralde looked dangerous after coming off the bench and with five minutes left sealed the win by somehow finding a way through the home defence before slotting past the 'keeper.
Antonio Naglieri was the two-goal hero when Perth S.C. downed Cup finalists Western Knights 2-0 in a competitive encounter at Dorrien Gardens. Much of the early possession was with the visitors for whom Daniel Micevski was particularly effective down the right flank and Anthony Skorich the target man in the final third. Their first opportunity came via David Micevski's superb corner which landed on the head of Daniel Trim who nodded wide of the target. Next to go close was David Micevski who, after receiving a great pass from Skorich, blazed disappointingly wide. Perth slowly got into rhythm with Greg Sharland playing through for David Price whose explosive shot was kept out by Kevin Miller. The Knights custodian faced a barrage of attacks as the home team now pressed hard for the all-important go-ahead goal. David Onoforo edged in front of his marker to meet a cutback by Geneveo Human which the striker flicked agonisingly wide of the post. Andrija Jukic jinxed past a couple of defenders before squaring to Human who pulled his shot across the face of goal. Miller was finally beaten with 38 minutes on the clock when Sharland delivered the far post cross which Naglieri headed neatly into the bottom corner of the net. Skorich nearly grabbed an immediate equaliser by forcing a rushed clearance from goalkeeper Simon Madaschi, who cleared the rebound in the nick of time. The sting was taken out of the game thirteen minutes into the second half when an unmarked Naglieri slotted in Perth's second after being picked out by Price. The home side clearly wanted to add a few more to their tally but found it difficult to break down the Knights stubborn defence under the command of Ivan Zuvela and Stuart Ferguson. Onoforo and captain Michael Icanovski both went close to stretching their lead, while the closest the Knights came to grabbing a consolation was a back post Trim header that went wide.
Inglewood United booked a top four finals appearance by inflicting a 2-1 loss on Fremantle Spirit at Wauhop Park. Mladen Kovacevic and Kevin Griffiths netted in each half to extend the season of Lee Bamber's team. The visitors were given the ideal start by Mladen Kovacevic who drove an unstoppable 5th minute free-kick into the top corner after a handball decision went against Sam Carrello on the edge of the 18-yard box. Griffiths twice went close to adding to the tally, and sandwiched between these was Fremantle's first opening that had Callum Roberts force a smart low save from Lewis Italiano. Inglewood were well on top and Matt Wardle's cross was just beyond the reach of two unmarked team mates at the far post, then Rodrigo Aguirre squandered a golden opportunity by blazing high at 9-metres. Tom Straker put his body on the line to deflect wide Aguirre's close-range effort, and James Duncan's bullet-like header at the resulting corner was pushed over by goalkeeper Steve Grant. This same pattern flowed through into the second half with Griffiths shooting too close to the 'keeper from just a few metres. The introduction of Llewelyn Bake almost paid instant dividends for Fremantle but his diving header from Roberts' delivery flashed wide. Play was otherwise one-way as Grant's stunning double-save frustrated Griffiths, and Jason Colli's attempt from distance was pushed wide by the 'keeper. The pay-off came with eighteen minutes remaining when Aguirre pounced on a defensive lapse by crossing to the far post where Griffiths headed across Grant and inside the far netting. It was only now that Fremantle began to threaten and Italiano turned away Simon Elton-Bott's long-range bomb, then from the corner that followed held a glancing header from Joe Moffat. Bake put the hosts back in the game by redirecting a low Roberts cross past the 'keeper from close-range and set-up a tense finish. Roberts' angled drive hit the upright but that would be the closest Fremantle came to grabbing a point as Inglewood locked down their defence to secure victory.
Two goals from Phil O'Callaghan guided Mandurah City to a 3-2 win against Cockburn City at Hyundai Stadium. O'Callaghan's double secured the 21-year old this season's Golden Boot award and was the perfect way for the Dolphins to complete a memorable top flight debut. A tight battle for control of midfield dominated the first half with neither team able to create much more than scattered half chances. Half-time was looking when Mandurah stole the lead courtesy of poor defending which allowed Gary Attrill to head across the face of goal where O'Callaghan lashed his shot into the bottom corner. However, it would be a short-lived lead as Cockburn drew level minutes after the re-start through a sweetly struck Johnny Mirco free-kick that curled past the defensive wall and just beyond the outstretched gloves of Gezza Bloor. Mandurah responded with their best spell of the afternoon in which Attrill made sure there was no let up for the visiting team. Paul Underwood turned away an Attrill cross that was heading for the net, and the livewire attacker soon after had a second goal bound effort blocked on the line by Jason Godfrey. Cockburn were still well in the hunt and unlucky not to add a second when Bloor failed to hold a shot by Mirco and De Bartolo touched the follow-up wide. A lack of support foiled the visitors soon after when Jamie De Abreu's low centre met by a sea of defenders inside the penalty area. Substitute Jake Loreto wasted little time making his presence known by rising highest to head past 'keeper Nick Feely and O'Callaghan was there to turn the ball into the net. Cockburn piled on the pressure as the clock ticked down before grabbing a deserved equaliser when Giovanni De Bartolo's mis-kick skewed across for De Abreu to tap into the net. However, it was to be Mandurah's day and a speculative long ball by Gary Collins was touched on to Attrill who outpaced the defence and placed over the advancing 'keeper to settled the game.
Exciting midfielder Ryan Pearson netted late to earn Armadale a 2-2 draw with Stirling Lions from a spirited encounter at Alfred Skeet Oval. The game began controversially with referee Jeremy Oliphant giving Phil Straker the benefit of the doubt after appearing to handle the ball outside his area. Stirling went on to dominate the early passages and if not for the heroics of Cyril Sharrock could have been a few goals the better as Jordan Rhodes and Phil Arnold were both denied by the Reds custodian. Against the run of play Armadale claimed a 14th minute lead through John Lund who was given space to launch a long-range shot which evaded Straker and found the net via the upright. Play then became end to end with Arnold firing just wide after a dazzling run, and Straker was at his best in tipping away a sizzling strike from distance by Daryl Platten. Parity was restored in the 32nd minute when Kodi Madeley's trip on Steve Hesketh resulted in a penalty kick which was coolly converted by Dean Evans. A clever Alan Muir flick to Rhodes was sent into the side netting, while at the other end Gary Faria's curling effort bounced off the crossbar. In the 43rd minute Ludovic Boi who took advantage after a defensive mix-up between Shannon Dally and Matt Bennion to fire Stirling ahead from the edge of the 18-yard box. Bennion's acrobatic goal line clearance prevented Hesketh from increasing the difference just before half-time, and following the turnaround Madeley put his body on the line to deflect away Hesketh's shot. James Robinson squirted the ball wide under the combined pressure of Evans and Michael Pugliese as Armadale went looking for their second. It arrived in the 80th minute courtesy of Faria's sublime pass that put Pearson inside the box where his deft touch and clinical finish brought the teams level for a third time. Both sides went chasing the winner with Rhodes blasting high from close in and Straker making a remarkable save to keep out Joseph Brunetto's effort from a few metres.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-TWO
Canning City made sure they’d complete the season without loss by thumping Ashfield 4-0 at Willetton Sportsman Club. Daniel Trevisiol scored twice with Duncan Hind and Rory Mouttet also finding the net for the newly crowned First Division champions. South West Phoenix were held to a 1-1 draw by mid-table Morley Windmills at Wotton Reserve. Rory Binnie put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes only to have Bobby Irving snatch a point with twelve minutes remaining. Wanneroo City took third on the final placings after downing Forrestfield United 2-0 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Brian Cairney’s twentieth goal of the season was complemented by Michael McEwan’s second half finish.
Bayswater City leapt up into fourth with a surprise 3-0 defeat of Balcatta at Graham Burkett Reserve. All three goals came inside the opening quarter hour with Steve Worthy netting twice and Ahmed Hafez once. Rockingham City completed their season on a high by defeating Dianella White Eagles 3-1. Craig McCreery (2) and John Creery got the hosts goals with Aaron Moschopolous responsible for Dianella’s reply. A last minute goal by captain Aaron Nadin earned Gosnells City a 1-0 win against Queens Park at Walter Padbury Reserve. Further details of all six games were not forthcoming from any of the twelve participating clubs.
GLORY COACH WANTS GREATER COHESION
David Mitchell has urged his charges to play more as a team rather than individuals following last week’s shambolic 3-0 loss to Queensland Roar. The Perth Glory coach launched an internal review after the Glory’s embarrassing display last Sunday, which left Perth propping up the table with just one point to their name. Mitchell said an in-depth meeting with his players and a chat with the club’s owners had given everyone a chance to voice their opinions. “It was a good response from the players and the coaching staff,” Mitchell said.
The main talking point amongst the player group was a lack of unity on the park. “We talked about the game (against Queensland) and about moving forward and we’ve done that so it was a good outcome,” said Mitchell. “The findings were we won’t play as bad as that again, everyone was bitterly disappointed. It just felt like the same things were happening - because the results hadn’t gone our way in the early part of the season, when the (first) goal went in they did drop the bundle. They responded to that in this week’s training and I’m looking forward to the team getting out on the park and rectifying that.”
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The final spot in the top four play-offs is up for grabs when the Premier League season comes to a close tomorrow afternoon. An away win by Inglewood United against last-placed Fremantle Spirit can secure their place as the fourth team in the end of season finals series. However, the task isn't as simple as it appears for Inglewood who travels to Wauhop Park minus first choice goalkeeper Oliver Taseski and attack-minded pair Michael Baczynski and David Houston due to suspension. Their task is going to made all the more difficult by a Fremantle side which is desperate not to end the season without tasting victory.
Mandurah City were deducted six points last week but that could be overturned on appeal, and a home win against Cockburn City could just sneak them into the top four - providing Inglewood go down at Fremantle. Unfortunately, the Dolphins will be without the services of midfield general Andy Brown, long-time goalkeeper Mike Green and rising star Michael Currie, who are all suspended, for this important clash. It’s been over two months since Cockburn last collected maximum points and strong performances from Jason Godfrey, Dom De Felice and Johnny Mirco will be required to end that horror run.
Stirling Lions’ slim play-off hopes rely on a win against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval and other results going in their favour. However, Armadale have been one of the form teams of late with just a single loss in nine outings. James Robinson, who’s bagged nine goals in eight weeks, makes his final appearance for the club and together with midfield maestro Gary Faria holds the key to their success. Marc Anthony’s return to form has been the catalyst for Stirling to come into final’s contention with four successive wins. Stars of tomorrow Dean Evans and Michael Pugliese have done a superb job anchoring an young and inexperienced defence this season.
The remaining three games feature the top three teams of 2008. Win, lose or draw, Sorrento will be presented with the Premier League trophy at the completion of their away clash with seventh-placed Swan I.C. Floreat Athena is expected to wrap up second on the final table by claiming all three points from their trip to E.C.U. Joondalup, who last experienced victory some two months ago. Perth S.C. will finish the year unbeaten on home soil, and sneak into the runners-up spot should Floreat slip up, if they can outscore Cup finalists and long-time rival Western Knights when they call in at Dorrien Gardens.
Ashfield need to produce one of the surprises of the century and upset newly crowned champions Canning City to escape relegation from the First Division. Second-placed South West Phoenix complete their most successful season to date with a trip to Morley Windmills. Wanneroo City should claim third pace by knocking over Forrestfield United. Dianella White Eagles are expected to beat Rockingham City at Lark Hill Sports Complex, but the task is much more difficult for Balcatta who are home to sixth-placed Bayswater City. The final game pits Gosnells City against second from bottom Queens Park at Walter Padbury Reserve.
THREE POINTS ESSENTIAL FOR GLORY, PHOENIX
If Perth Glory or Wellington Phoenix are to seriously challenge for the top four then a win at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday afternoon is essential. Both teams have failed to ignite - or excite - during the opening rounds of the 2008/09 season, Glory eeking out just a single point from four starts whereas Phoenix are only one better with a couple of draws. The sides have met on three previous occasions with Phoenix claiming victory each time, the most recent a 3-0 home win last December.
It's been an intense week of questioning at Glory after last weeks capitulation to Queensland Roar. It was the team's second three-goal defeat in as many games and raised serious concerns about the amount of pressure the defence has been put under. A major shake-up appears likely as coach David Mitchell considers Jamie Harnwell, Nick Rizzo, Mark Lee, Hayden Doyle, Wayne Srhoj and Naum Sekulovski for the starting eleven.
Wellington head to Perth full confidence after holding reigning premiers Central Coast Mariners to a scoreless draw. Two draws from four games hasn't been the ideal start but coach Ricki Herbert isn't the sort of coach to get too flustered. The team from across the Tasman have strength in every position with goalkeeper Glen Moss, captain Andrew Durrante, hard-working midfielder Richard Johnson and New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz the pick of the bunch.
MANDURAH SALUTE RETIRING GREATS
This weekend marks the end of an era at Mandurah City with the retirement of club legends Gary Collins and Mike Green from semi-professional football. The veteran pair have etched their names in Mandurah history down the years and a home win against Inglewood United would be a fitting farewell to two stellar careers. Collins, 39, has collected numerous awards and trophies during his years of service to the club for whom he represented the State at amateur level while Green, 36, has long been Manudrah's preferred custodian.
Collins has been part of the furniture at Mandurah for well over a decade and overcame a career threatening injury to take part in his clubs historic Premier League debut. "Gary has been a credit to himself and the club, any young player wishing to go further in this game should watch how Gary handles himself during the week and on matchday, he always gives 100%," said coach Stuart Currie. "He didn't play last season as because of a knee operation, so to come back and play most games this year is a fantastic achievement. He will be sorely missed in the dressing room as he's quite the character."
Unfortunately, the gloss has been taken off this tomorrow's game for Green who was sent off last week at Sorrento. "He is going to be a big loss for us as he's a very hard worker and takes his game very serious, he hates to lose and unfortunately when he makes a mistake he takes it very personally," said Currie. "On a personal front, we get on very well together, have a good bit of banter with each other and I for one will be very sad to see him retire. Hopefully I can convince Mike to stick around and get him on the goalkeeping coaching staff next season."
Currie is hoping his side can overcome Inglewood and other results go their way this weekend. "We need to win and hope Inglewood drop some points at Fremantle so we can make the top four play-off," commented the Mandurah coach. "It's going to be a tough game for us as, in addition to being without our regular ‘keeper, Michael Currie and Andy Brown are both suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards. However, we will put a few of the young kids in and see how we go."
COYNE TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED
Chris Coyne thought a Socceroos call would never come as he toiled away in England's lower leagues, shrouded by a veil of anonymity. But when Craig Moore announced his international retirement Australia coach Pim Verbeek began the search for someone to partner Lucas Neill in the heart of the Socceroos defence. Michael Beauchamp and Jade North didn't quiet fit the bill, leading Verbeek bring 29-year old Coyne into the international set-up for the first time.
Coyne and Neill stood tall against a second half barrage from Uzbekistan in last week's World Cup qualifier to ensure an Australia win. "I played with Lucas when I was a 19-year old with the Olympic team and we had a good understanding then," explained Coyne, who'll have to keep performing at that level to retain his spot in the side. "I'm taking nothing for granted ... there's lots of competition with Jade North and Michael Beauchamp sitting there waiting there chance and then you have Craig Moore coming back and Matthew Spiranovic coming through the ranks."
With seven qualifying games left, there are many potential pitfalls ahead for the Socceroos en route to South Africa 2010, beginning with next months clash with Qatar in Brisbane. "They've got a lot of confidence from beating Uzbekistan 3-0 the other week and will pose us more problems this time," Coyne predicted. "After that we have tricky away games against Bahrain and Japan, so it's not going to get any easier. All we have so far is a platform to build on."
Coyne, who plays his club football for English League One outfit Colchester United, has been given a new lease on life by his experiences in the international arena this year. "It just shows it's never too late - I was even contemplating handing in my international retirement without playing a game!," he said. "I think I'm at my peak right now. I'm mentally at the top of my game and physically I'm feeling good too. I believe I've played some of the best football of my career in the past twelve months."
With another two-years left on his Colchester contract, Coyne has every intention of seeing out his days in the A-League. "I left Australia at sixteen and I'd love to come back and experience the A-League before I retire," explained Coyne, who played for Kingsway Olympic and Perth Italia before embarking on a professional career that's taken him to West Ham United, Dundee, Luton Town and now Colchester. "My wife has been nagging me for a while to come home, I have three kids and I have to start thinking about the family. I don't see it as a backward step coming home to play at all."
FOUR MONTHS OUT FOR BORO'S WILLIAMS
Highly-rated Middlesbrough centre-back Rhys Williams has been ruled out for up to four months with a knee injury. The 20-year old requires surgery to repair a damaged lateral knee ligament - a setback to his hopes of making a first-team breakthrough and a blow to Wales Under-21 European Championship chances. Williams suffered the injury during the Under-21's 3-0 defeat of Romania earlier this month, just days after coming off the bench in Boro's 5-1 Carling Cup win aganist Yeovil Town.
It’s a very strong possibility Sorrento and Western Knights will be without the services of Scott Neville and Anthony Skorich, respectively, on Cup Final day. The talented pair recently secured one-year contracts with the Perth Glory Youth team and are expected to be part of the side which plays Melbourne Victory on Sunday 5th October - the day after the Cup Final. Neville has been an ever-present down the right for the Gulls this year, while Skorich’s contributions in attack have been invaluable to the Knights.
E.C.U. Joondalup will have their eighth coach in just over three years by the time next season rolls around. Chris Nicholson was replaced by caretaker coach Willie Mcnally late last week after being told he would not be retained beyond the current season. Nicholson battled an ever-growing list of player absences brought on by injury, suspension and trips aboard during his five-month tenure with Joondalup, who will end the season in the bottom third of the Premier League table.
Loyal clubman and respected member of the football community, Peter Koulizos, has relinquished the presidency of Floreat Athena. It’s understood a Koulizos agreed to stand aside after being approached by a number of members of the Floreat board who had expressed a desire for the club to take a new direction. Koulizos was appointed president of Floreat in 2004 and held a variety of positions with Football West and its predecessors Soccer Administration of Western Australia and Soccer West Coast.
Over 700 players, supporters, officials and members of the football community are expected to attend the centrepiece event of the post-season, the 2008 Gold Medal Dinner. This year’s Gold Medal winner will drive away with a brand new Ford Fiesta courtesy of sponsor McInerney Ford. The 2008 Gold Medal Dinner will take place at Burswood International Resort Casino on Friday 17th October with tickets available through your club or Football West.
Perth has no chance of hosting a high-profile international fixture featuring the Socceroos as long as Subiaco Oval remains the only venue option. That was the glum news delivered by Football Federation Australia officials during their recent trip to Perth to discuss sponsorship possibilities at the national level and the associated potential benefits to the local game. The last senior international played in Perth was the friendly between the Socceroos and Indonesia in March 2005.
SWAN HAS THE WOOD OVER OPPONENTS
A mid-season switch to Swan I.C. has done teenage prospect Trent Wood the world of good. The attack minded midfielder arrived from Forrestfield United with elder brother Matt in June and is relishing the opportunity of playing Premier League football. “I’ve always had a desire to play at top state level and could not see me achieving this if I remained at Forrestfield,” said 18-year old Wood, who burst onto the scene in 2006 by winning the First Division Under-18 player of the year and leading goalscorer awards.
A series of strong performances for Swan’s second string lead Wood into the senior line-up and a Premier League debut against Stirling Lions in Round Nine. “I’ve really enjoyed the step up to first team, the pace of the game is a lot faster than I have ever played before and it presents me a new challenge,” explained Wood. “Since moving from Forrestfield my goal for this season was to prove myself to the coach that I could play at this level. So every time I get the opportunity I strive to play the best I can. Hopefully, I can continue to perform for the remainder of the season and hold a place in the first team.”
Senior coach Paul Lincoln has been impressed by Wood’s application during his first few months in the Swan Valley and has no doubt the teenager will only get better. “Trent is a great lad and is willing to learn,” commented Lincoln. “He’s still coming to grips with the pace of the game at this level and his recent performances have been mixed. His game against Fremantle Spirit was excellent and was a deserved winner of the man of the match award, with more matches under his belt his game will improve.”
Wood has shown versatility by occupying several roles for Swan and is happy to play where the coach needs him most. “My favourite position would have to be centre midfield because I’m always on the ball creating things, but I’ll pay anywhere Linc’s tells me,” he said. “He’s done a tremendous job in his first year as a senior coach, which is evident by the respect all the players have for him. It’s great that he has given the young players the opportunity to gain experience which can only help the club in years to come.” Swan’s final game of the season is at home to champions elect Sorrento on Saturday afternoon.
CUP FINAL AWARDED TO KNIGHTS
Western Knights have been declared winners of the Reserve Cup Final without a ball being kicked. The Knights were awarded the trophy on forfeit after the National Training Centre was caught short of players on account of other commitments. Four NTC players will be away with the Perth Glory Youth team on Cup Final day, up to another five will be unavailable due to their selection in the Australian Under-17 team, and five members of the Under-15 team are on State team duty at the National Youth Championships. Football West had been working frantically with the Knights in the hope of rescheduling the fixture, however, the two parties were unable to agree upon a new date. The trophy presentation will be made to prior to the senior Cup final between Western Knights and Sorrento on Saturday 4th October.
CUP FINAL AWARDED TO KNIGHTS
There was good news for Perth Glory yesterday with Brazilian import Amaral cleared of a serious hamstring injury. The club had feared the worst for the diminutive midfielder when he was stretchered off 74 minutes into Sunday’s loss to Queensland Roar, coach David Mitchell initially expecting his star recruit to be out of action for up to six weeks. However, scans revealed the injury to be a hamstring strain, not a tear, meaning Amaral will spend a maximum of three weeks out of action. “To find out that it’s not as bad as first thought is great news because straight after the game we were concerned that he could be out for quite some time,” Mitchell said. “Amaral has shown in these early games that he is a quality player. He’ll be missed in the next few weeks however it gives other players the opportunity to step-up and I’m confident they’ll be able to do that.” Amaral, 35, has been Perth’s best player in four appearances for his new club this season, pulling the strings in midfield and setting up several goals.
PHOENIX LURE RODGERS HOME
South West Phoenix hopes of winning promotion to the top flight have been given a major boost with striker David Rodgers agreeing to return to the club for season 2009. For the two-time First Division Player of the Year it’s a return to the club where he bagged a staggering 52 goals from 60 starts, and was one half of the league’s most feared strike combination alongside Steve Suttie. In 2004, Rodgers final season at Phoenix he chimed in with 35 goals to take out the competition’s Leading Goalscorer and Player of the Year awards. The following year he moved to Fremantle Spirit and in 2006 spearheaded their charge to the First Division championship and again collected the Leading Goalscorer and Player of the Year trophies. With Phoenix certain to finish this season as runners-up to Canning City, one can only wonder if the addition of Rodgers can take the club from bridesmaids and champions in 2009.
HARNWELL HONOURED WITH TESTIMONIAL GAME
Jamie Harnwell wants no favours from a club he holds dear to his heart when he lines up for Perth Glory against newly crowned Premier League champions Sorrento in a testimonial match next month. Harnwell’s 10-year service to Glory will be recognised with a game on 11th October at Percy Doyle Reserve - the home of a club that played such a prominent role in his progression from a raw junior to a national league professional. Although the feature game will be preceded by a exhibition match featuring former State League and Glory stars, amongst them Scott Miller, Bobby Despotovski, Matt Horsley and Shaun Murphy, Harnwell said the testimonial would be a whole-hearted, competitive clash.
31-year old Harnwell, who made his Glory debut in the 1998/99 National Soccer League season, said the scheduling of the testimonial during a break in the A-League, which falls just a week after Sorrento meets Western Knights in the Cup Final, ensured both sides would be fully committed. “I just think it’s a great chance for (Glory) players who haven’t been playing to have a game and, hopefully, by then Sorrento be either double or treble champions and they can go out with a point to prove as well,” said Harnwell. “I don’t want to have a walk around the park - I want to have a good proper game. I’ve got a lot of mates who are still playing there, people who I grew up with and who helped me through the first couple of seasons when I was playing State League.”
Gulls coach Steve Neville said Harnwell was an inspiration to young players throughout the State League, but particularly at Sorrento. “He’s been a great role pro and he’s a very good role model for the kids,” commented Neville, who played over 400 games as a striker for English clubs Sheffield United, Exeter City and Bristol City. “Being at Glory hasn’t changed Jamie at all. He’s still a level-headed kid who works very hard.” Neville agreed that the match would be competitive, with some Sorrento players keen to show they can complete at A-League level. “There are a couple of players in our side who will want to show what they can do,” said the coach.
HGLORY SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
David Mitchell will this week launch a full-scale internal investigation to find a way of salvaging Perth Glory’s season. The club’s 2008/09 campaign went from bad to worse yesterday when first-half strikes by Craig Moore, Matt McKay and Charlie Miller sealed all three points for Queensland Roar. The 3-0 loss leaves Glory with one point from four games and at the foot of the A-League table after being leapfrogged by Wellington Phoenix, who drew 0-0 draw with Central Coast Mariners.
Mitchell has vowed to put his players, and himself, under the microscope as the club looks for a solution to their disappointing start to the season. “It was discouraging for us so we are going to have an internal review this week and if there’s any problem there we will get it out,” Mitchell said. “We are going to put everything on the table and we are going to have a look at it and see what the outcome is. If we can rectify it we will do - if it’s a thing where players just keep switching off it’s something you can’t coach. We’ll look at everything and see what we can come up with.”
Glory have a chance to make amends next Sunday when they meet seventh-placed Phoenix in a must-win encounter at Members Equity Stadium. Phoenix sit a point above Glory and a win will move the West Australian back into contention of the top four. “We have to win next week, no doubt about it, by hook or crook we have to win and from there we can build on what we’ve got left in the season,” Mitchell said. “Mathematically it is still possible to get into the top four but we need to start performing consistently.”
POINTS REMOVED FROM MANDURAH’S TALLYS
Mandurah City's debut Premier League season has been soured by the deduction of six-points for a breach of competition rules by their Masters team. Football West's Disciplinary and Grievance Committee found the club guilty of "acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the game" over an incident which lead to the abandonment of last month's Masters fixture at South Perth United. The Committee enacted a suspended six-point deduction applied for Mandurah fielding ineligible players the pre-season Night Series. Not surprisingly, Mandurah have appealed the decision to remove the six points from their semi-professional team.
GLORY IN TATTERS AFTER LOSS NUMBER THREE (by Peter Simcox)
Perth Glory's season is in disarray following one of their worst ever home performances from which Queensland Roar claimed a 3-0 win. A trio of first-half goals, all the result of defensive lapses, continued Glory's poor start to the season and left coach David Mitchell wondering when things are going to turn around. "It was a free kick, they got behind us and we all switched off - and that is just soul destroying, it just took the wind out of our sails and then it gave them confidence," Mitchell said. "I just feel we are not switched on, we are worried about so many other things they have taken a quick one and caught us on the hop." The loss of star signing Amaral to a hamstring injury late in the game completed a miserable day for Glory, who slumped to the bottom of the A-League table.
A charging run down the right by Jamie Coyne took the Glory captain past veteran defender Craig Moore only to be thwarted by Liam Reddy with 3 minutes on the clock. Charlie Miller fired wide the visitors first shot at goal, then Amaral curled a free-kick just wide at the other end. Glory was napping at Matt McKay's 14th minute free-kick which released Massimo Murdocca whose cross was slammed into the net by Moore from 13-metres. Adrian Trinidad headed wide from a Coyne cross as the home team went looking for a quick response. However, Roar increased their advantage after 23 minutes as Sergio van Dijk's superb pass found McKay who finished clinically past Petkovic. Hyuk-Su-Seo and Van Dijk went close to adding the visitors third as Glory struggled to make an impact in the final third. The half was in stoppage time when Reinaldo's cross from the right was sent low past Petkovic by Miller to effectively kill off the game.
Good work by Scott Bulloch down the right led to him crossing for Nikolai Topor-Stanley who headed wide at the far post. The Queenslanders continued to provide the greater threat as Reinaldo's shot flashed wide on the hour. It was next the turn of Van Dijk whose close-range effort struck the crossbar after a good interchange of passes between Miller and Murdocca. The day only got worse for Glory when Amaral was carried off injured, and having already made their three substitutions they were froced to play the final quarter hour with ten men. With Members Equity Stadium emptying rapidly, Roar should have increased their lead with Van Dyke firing wide on 85 minutes while in stoppage time McKay headed into the bar. Roar's first win of the campaign leaps them up into fourth place as Glory continue remain winless after four games.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Sorrento v Mandurah City by Kirk O’Connor; Inglewood United v Swan I.C. by Peter Simcox; Armadale v Western Knights by Scoop Rafferty)
Sorrento clinched their second Premier League championship in three years by knocking over Mandurah City 2-0 at Percy Doyle Reserve. Goals either side of the break by Todd Harnwell and Scott Neville sent the Gulls four points clear at the top of the table with one round remaining. Sorrento were given the ideal start by Harnwell who benefited on hesitant defending to head in at point-blank range after Michael Ord cleverly flicked on a Stuart Banks corner. Banks was provider again on the half hour when his well flighted free-kick was onto the head of Ord who nodded the wrong side of the upright. Mandurah got into rhythm as the half progressed came to a close and captain Andy Brown had home nerves jaggling when his stinging shot rose over the crossbar he drove out of midfield. The second half began with a couple of quick chances for the hosts but Harnwell volleyed wide from Scott Neville's delivery, and Brodie Martin curled the ball past the post after also being teed-up by Neville. Having weathered the storm, Mandurah started coming at their hosts and a glancing Jay Bonser header cleared the bar from a Michael Currie free-kick. A shot on the turn by substitute Robbie Cuthbert was just wide, then Shaun Kilkelly's interception prevented a dangerous Brown cross from meeting its intended target. But all that hard work was undone on 78 minutes when Green allowed Neville's seemingly harmless free-kick to squirm from his grasp and roll into the net. Green's day worsened five minutes later when issued his marching orders for handling the ball outside his 18-yard box. There was still time for the Gulls to add a bit more gloss to their victory but James Morgan hit the post at close-range and a cheeky backheel by Harnwell rolled agonisingly wide of the upright. But in the end it mattered little as the final whistle was greeted by wild celebrations from the home camp.
Floreat Athena earned themselves a 3-1 victory against neighbouring Perth S.C. in the evening fixture at Litis Stadium. The result returned Floreat to second on the table and extinguished Perth's faint title hopes. The opening period lacked any significant highlights to the extent that the main talking point at half-time was a heated pre-match argument that ended with the home team having to change the colour of their socks. It wasn't until six minutes after the turnaround that the boredom was snapped by Daniel Neiderberger who jinxing his way inside the 18-yard box before unleashing a fierce shot that deflected off Scott Campbell's back and wrong-footed goalkeeper Gareth Deeg to put Floreat one-nil up. Awoken from their slumber, Perth went close shortly after through David Onoforo who turned smartly but angled his shot wide after Alex Dunn spilled a Todd Howarth cross. A flowing move involving Andrija Jukic and David Price again put the ball at Onoforo's feet and on this occasion the striker crashed his shot high under pressure from Ante Kovacevic. A deserved equaliser arrived in the 65th minute when Trent Kay headed in via the underside of the bar after Floreat were caught ball-watching at another Howarth corner. This opened the game up and two minutes later Perth were given a scare when the ball deflected off Michael Icanovski in a goalmouth scramble and Deeg reacted smartly by stopping it on the line. Dunn came to the rescue with twenty minutes remaining with a brilliant save to keep out an Onoforo header. Icanovski's superb through ball put Onoforo one-on-one with Dunn but the striker pulled his shot wide of the target. The all important go-head goal was posted inside a minute when Adam Bachillor gained possession on the left and went past a trio of challenges before slamming his shot across Deeg and inside the far post. The sealer came on 89 minutes when Brad Scott rose to meet an inch-perfect Neiderberger cross which was headed powerfully into the net.
Teenage striker Alex Cocking scored twice and Dom Ando once to lead Swan I.C. to an upset 3-0 win against top four contenders Inglewood United at Clipsal Stadium. The dismissal of Inglewood goalkeeper Oliver Taseski midway through the second half changed the complexion of the game and provided the visitors just the opening they were seeking. With Swan benefiting from a strong wind, Dom Ando fashioned the first chance when he crossed to Cocking who headed wide after 16 minutes. Taseski was called into action soon after to paddle over the crossbar an in-swinging Brendan Knox corner. Inglewood didn't spark until midway through the period when Danny Kovacevic's cross was flashed over the crossbar by David Whiteside who, eight minutes later, provided the ball which Shane Pryce fired high. Swan hit back and in the space of a few minutes Cocking, Andy O'Neill and Chris Marshall were each denied by Taseski who was determined to keep a clean sheet. Appeals for a home penalty were dismissed close to half-time despite David Houston being held back by David McNally. Inglewood should have gone ahead two minutes after the interval but James Sammut's curling free-kick passed through the penalty area and beyond the far post. The turning point came on 66 minutes when Dejan Djukanovic touched the ball clear of Taseski who clipped the striker, leaving referee David Currie with no choice but to red card the 'keeper. Lewis Italiano did well to block the resultant penalty kick by Brendan Knox but was helpless as Ando lashed in the rebound. Nine minutes later Cocking doubled the margin by converting from the spot after he'd been felled by Italiano. The result was soon put beyond doubt as Wood combined with Cocking who raced past the defence and slotted under the body of the advancing 'keeper. Cocking was presented with a great chance to grab his hat-trick on 85 minutes when played through by substitute Simon Williams but Italiano spotted danger early and smothered his shot.
A play-off appearance remains within sight for Stirling Lions after they over-ran Fremantle Spirit 1-0 at Wauhop Park. The history books will show Cameron Hayes' first half own goal as being all that separated the sides, however, the final margin should have been much greater such was Stirling's dominance. The port side were on the defensive early as Keith Clevenger fired into the side netting from an angle, and Jordan Rhodes long-range drive called goalkeeper Steve Grant into action for the first time. In the 14th minute, Clevenger combined brilliantly on top of the 18-yard box with Phil Arnold whose shot was blocked and in the ensuing scramble Hayes turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Rhodes. Joe Maffatt glanced just wide from a Simon Elton-Bott free-kick as Fremantle sought a response, while Cisco Jorquiera's low volley flashed across the face of goal. Stirling was within inches of doubling their lead when Ashley Rosindale's glancing header flew wide from Rhodes' delivery. Peter Vukmirovic spurned a great chance to equalise just before the break when he nodded Jason Barerra's near post cross high of the crossbar. A snap shot by Rosindale that flew narrowly high laid out Stirling's plans for the second half. Fremantle hit back through Vukmirovic whose effort from 17-metres was deflected high. Marc Anthony placed agonisingly wide of the upright as the visitors began to turn the screws, then Jorquiera's goal line prevented Steve Hesketh's superb in-swinging corner from going in. Desperate defending denied Rosindale twice in quick succession, while Anthony's shot was deflected for a corner after latching on to Michael Pugliese's long cross-field ball. Rhodes' effort at point-blank range was charged down by the defence, and Clevenger should have done better than head high when unchallenged. Stirling maintained the pressure right up to the end but a second goal was forthcoming as Anthony sliced wide from and Arnold pull back close to the final whistle.
A couple of stunning Gary Faria strikes guided Armadale to a 4-0 demolition of Western Knights under cloudy skies at Alfred Skeet Oval. The win was a perfect way for Reds custodian Cyril Sharrock to celebrate his birthday, and gave the club hope of ending the season outside the bottom two. Faria rifled high and Ryan Pearson wide as Armadale came out full of running. Kevin Miller kept the teams level by saving an Andy Pomfret penalty kick, as well as his follow-up, after Marco Warmt-Murray clipped the heels of James Robinson. It took the visitors 17 minutes to fashion their first opening which George Tchami blasted high from distance. Miller again came to the rescue by diving at the feet of Robinson after 22 minutes, play soon moved to the opposite end where Daniel Trim headed a Luka Jukic free-kick at Sharrock. Armadale took a deserved lead in the 35th minute when Faria played through to Pearson who zeroed in on goal before unselfishly laying the ball off for Robinson to net at close-range. Matt Allen squandered a good chance to bring the Knights level two minutes into the second half, and soon after Paul Cooke's drive just clear the crossbar. Faria doubled the Reds lead on 57 minutes by curling a superb shot into the top corner from 19-metres after receiving possession from Nao Oishi. A red card to Allen for his 70th minute foul on John Lund put the game well and truly in Armadale's favour. The resulting free-kick was swung by Faria around the defensive wall and into the bottom corner to blow the difference out to three goals. The home side then went down to ten men with the dismissal of Andy Bowyer for a second yellow card offence. The icing was put on Sharrock's birthday cake by Kodi Madeley who showed composure well beyond his years to fire a low shot wide of Miller after getting on the end of Mo Atak's cross. Substitute Daniel Micevski went close to scoring the Knights a late equaliser but could only find the side netting with a fierce shot.
Honours were shared at Dalmatinac Park where Cockburn City and E.C.U. Joondalup played out a seesawing 4-4 draw. Aaron Dos Santos, Josh Kamasz, Liam Lilly and an own goal accounted for the hosts haul with Garin Collins, Tommy Amphlett, Ian McMurray and Scott Blackmore netting for Joondalup.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY-ONE (Dianella White Eagles v Canning City by Phil Unsworth; South West Phoenix v Forrestfield United courtesy South West Phoenix)
Rory Mouttet kept Canning City’s plan to finish the season without loss on track by scoring late to earn a 1-1 draw with home team Dianella White Eagles. In a mark of respect to the newly crowned champions, Dianella provided a guard of honour as Canning entered the playing arena, however, once the whistle blew it was straight down to business. Jon Greenwood gave the home crowd good reason to celebrate after 3 minutes when his speculative drive caught goalkeeper Michael Smerilli by surprised and bounced inside the far post. Having come from behind several times already this year, Canning seemed unworried by the early setback but despite some carefully crafted moves were unable to convert chances into goals. The second half continued in a similar fashion and James McPhail’s drive forced a sharp response from Smerilli midway through the period. Paul Van Dongen went close to equalising with a header that struck the base of the upright from Michael Klaver’s cross, and five minutes later Mouttet had a shot cleared from on the line. Canning were building in intensity and with just four minutes left Garth Lecky chipped the ball into the 18-yard box where Moutett rose well to head over advancing ‘keeper Matt Battigelli and preserve his sides unbeaten record.
Second spot on the final table was secured by South West Phoenix with an uninspiring 1-0 home win against Forrestfield United. Phoenix looked the far more comfortable side from the outset but for all their dominance created few clear chances on goal. The best opening came to Jonathon Krawec who was through one-on-one with goalkeeper Brad Eiffe who parried the youngsters angled strike. Steve Suttie looked likely to put the hosts ahead when he unselfishly cut the ball back for Kieran Kavanagh to crash into the net with a terrific first time shot. Ryan Binnie’s effort from 15-metres flashed past the ‘keeper only to come back off the post, much to Eiffe’s relief. The second half began as the first had ended and Binnie found the post with a header, while a Kavanagh shot appeared to hit the arm of an opponent but penalty claims were quickly dismissed. As the half progressed Forrestfield’s direct approach started to cause Phoenix some problems and a defensive mix-up allowed in Andy Harold who dinked the ball over ‘keeper Ryan Montgomery only to have Risdon cleared the danger. A diving header by James Bergin would have put the result beyond doubt had it not been for Effie late in the piece.
Wanneroo City reclaimed third spot with a 1-0 defeat of Rockingham City at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The only goal of a tight game came via substitute Sam Doherty after 64 minutes. Balcatta edged past relegation threatened Ashfield 1-0 courtesy of Bobby Klenkoski’s finish in the 70th minute. Gosnells City produced a surprise 1-0 win when Bayswater City visited Walter Padbury Reserve. A goal after 56 minutes by Ian Maguire was all that separated the teams. A couple of own goals and Julio Barendilla’s second half finish made the world of difference when Morley Windmills dumped Queens Park 3-0 at Coker Park. Further details of these four games were not forthcoming from any of the eight participating clubs.
MCLAREN IN THE MIX
Perth Glory has added to their defensive muscle with the recruitment of Stuart McLaren on a short-term contract. McLaren arrived in Perth on Wednesday for an initial four-week stint as cover for the injured midfielder Josip Magdic and is expected to go straight into the line-up for Sunday’s clash against his former club Queensland Roar. The experienced defender joins local product Jeff Bright, signed from Mandurah City in mid-week, in Glory’s match day squad for this weekend’s encounter. “We have a few options at the moment but I’m looking at both Stuart and Jeff playing some part in the game,” said coach Dave Mitchell. “They’ve fitted in with the boys and the way we want to play. I’m confident that if either was given their opportunity this weekend that they’d do the job for us.” McLaren has made over 200 first team appearances for Wollongong Wolves, Scottish club Stirling Albion, Brisbane Striker and Roar.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
The Premier League title will be ended tomorrow should leader Sorrento defeat fifth-placed Mandurah City at Percy Doyle Reserve (3.00pm). Steve Neville’s team has lost only once in thirteen outings and three more points tomorrow will secure their second title in three years. Neil Young has had a tremendous year between the posts while at the opposite end of the park goals have flowed freely for Todd Harnwell. It’s also a must-win game for Mandurah who are within touching distance of the top four after last week’s home win against Inglewood United. The Dolphins will lean heavily on Golden Boot favourite Phil O’Callaghan and captain Andy Brown for inspiration.
Litis Stadium is the place to be tomorrow evening for the second verses third derby meeting of Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena (5.00pm). A pulsating 90 minutes of entertainment is assured with both teams needing victory to keep alive their chances of overhauling Sorrento, should they go down to Mandurah. Floreat are looking to rebound after a surprise loss to Western Knights last time out and will look to big efforts from star striker Brad Scott along with defensive mainstays John Migas and Ante Kovacevic. Perth have proved their critics wrong with a late surge up the table thanks largely to the terrific central combination of Antonio Naglieri, David Price and Andrija Jukic.
Inglewood United can take a giant step towards booking a finals berth with a home victory over Swan I.C., who’ve won just once in ten road trips. Stirling Lions boast one of the competitions’ best away record’s which they’ll be aiming to better when they travel to Wauhop Park to play on already relegated Fremantle Spirit (3.00pm). Armadale have lost once in their last eight games and tomorrow come face-to-face with Cup finalists Western Knights at Alfred Skeet Oval (3.00pm). Cockburn City and E.C.U. Joondalup were both once considered top five contenders but there’ll be little more than pride on the line when they meet at Dalmatinac Park (3.00pm).
With Canning City securing promotion last weekend, the focus remains on the relegation battle between Ashfield and Queens Park. If truth be told, it’s nigh on impossible to see bottom side Ashfield collecting anything from their home clash with Balcatta. Queens Park, on the other hand, have no reason not to be confident of getting a positive result when Morley Windmills visit Coker Park. Canning’s attempt to completed the season without loss takes them to Dianella White Eagles this weekend. South West Phoenix are tipped to account for Forrestfield United in Bunbury, Gosnells City welcome Bayswater City to Frank Drago Reserve, while at Kingsway Sporting Complex it’s Wanneroo City against Rockingham City.
CHAMPIONSHIP WAS YEARS IN THE MAKING SAYS CANNING’S VAN DONGEN
Canning City’s championship winning captain Paul Van Dongen had a feeling at the start of this year that the time had come for his club to stand in the spotlight. Van Dongen, Canning’s longest serving player, isn’t surprised in the slightest with the way his team has brushed aside all-comers to lift the First Division crown and a spot in the 2009 Premier League. “We’ve been building towards this season since our entry into the league a few years back,” he said. “The squad of players has been very similar over the past few years and this season it was strengthened by the arrival of couple more experienced players.”
Rival clubs can certainly learn a thing or two from the way Canning have patiently built towards championship glory. “We’re a fine tuned unit these days - no amount of money can buy that,” Van Dongen commented. “We play as a team for the team, but more than that, we’re also good mates off the park and that’s helped build a good rapport throughout the club and drive us to succeed. We’ve shown it is possible to achieve your long-term goals, as long as you have the right foundations in place and background personal with a passion to achieve results.”
Top five finishes in three of the previous four seasons were a strong indication everything was simmering along well at Canning. “The injection of some experience into what has always been a young squad was the vital difference in us going all the way this year,” Van Dongen said. “In saying that, the attitude of the players and the coaching staff this year has been more centred on discipline and results then previous years. And we’ve benefited enormously from having a strength and conditioning coach on board, if you look at our results you’ll see we’ve shown the ability to run over teams in the later stages of a game.”
Canning have slowly built momentum over the past few seasons with their greatest asset being a stable roster in which everyone know the groups strengths and weaknesses inside out. “Paul Oliver, Daniel Trevisoil, Michael Van Dongen and Simon Versaico as well as the defensive pair Garth Lecky and Duncan Hind provided us with very strong foundations this year,” said Van Dongen, who modestly omitted himself. “We’ve all played together for a few years now and seem to have streamlined the style of football that we play allowing us to play to each other’s strengths.”
The final piece in Canning’s championship puzzle was the recruitment of Scottish striker Paul Harvey and experienced midfielder Rory Mouttet. “They are both quality footballers in their own right and they’ve had a big effect on our success,” he explained. “Paul’s ability to find the net, even on a bad day, is something we’ve been missing for all these years. And Rory’s do-or-die attitude, dedication to his team mates and his on-field leadership has been invaluable. I can’t think of a more deserving player for the Canning City, and perhaps even Division One, Fairest and Best this year.”
Van Dongen also tipped his hat to senior coach Frank Longstaff, whose job it’s been to bring together a squad capable of finishing on top of the First Division pile. “Frank’s been around the club for a few years now and that’s allowed him to develop and polish up the squad into what we are today,” said Van Dongen. “Being in a position where he has had a stable squad for a few years now, Frank has definitely got the best out of the players at the club. He has an uncanny knack of making you know what he expects from you without actually drilling you verbally, and his football connections have brought some quality signing’s to Canning.”
Van Dongen joined Canning in 2002 and has been pleased with how the club has evolved and matured over the years. “We have a fantastic junior set-up that feeds boundless support into the senior side, something that takes years to develop,” he said. “Our young playing group, over the years, has grown into the strong squad that we are now and we pride ourselves on the fact we didn’t use a cheque book to win the title. Behind the scenes at any good club there are people that work tirelessly trying to build a foundation on which the club can grow - and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that we are very grateful for all their hard work!”
While there have been plenty of bumps along the road for Canning down the years, Van Dongen can’t imagine playing for another club. “All clubs go through their ups and downs but for me it’s been easy to be loyal to Canning,” he explained. “The best thing about playing for Canning is definitely that we have a great group of guys who show a lot of respect for each other, both on and off the pitch. The club has given me many opportunities over the years, from the chance to play first team football at 17 to the chance to captain a league winning side. I’ll be forever grateful for that and I hope to be involved with the club for many years to come.”
Promotion was a mere formality after Canning defeated nearest rival South West Phoenix the weekend before last, and Saturday’s dramatic draw with Wanneroo City gave them the point needed to confirm their move to the top flight. “It was pure jubilation when the final whistle blew against Wanneroo,” said Van Dongen. “We’d come back from 5-2 down with the equaliser coming in the last minute of extra time - to wrap up the league with a comeback like that, in my opinion, was more rewarding then if we’d won the game 5-0. The boys showed on Saturday that we have the heart and the passion that you need in a team to be able to win the league.”
Victory in the final two games of the season will complete a remarkable year for Canning, who are on the cusp of becoming just the second team in State league history to gain top flight promotion without loss. “The championship may be ours but we won’t be relaxing until after the last game. I can guarantee it will be training as usual over the next few weeks, with plenty of kilometres to be covered in the fitness sessions,” said Van Dongen. “The last two games we’ve played have tested us as a unit but we’ve got a new goal now we want to go undefeated, and make history. What better to drive a team then to be part of history?”
STRAKER BOYS PITTED IN BATTLE
The Straker household will be divided for 90 minutes on Saturday afternoon when brothers Tom and Phil don the colours of Fremantle Spirit and Stirling Lions, respectively. It's been a difficult winter for Fremantle, who've been rooted to the foot of the table since day one, and younger sibling Tom would love nothing more than to get the wood over his brother. "There's a bit of pride at stake, even more so when your brother is on the opposite side," said the Fremantle defender. "Phil is having a superb season so there may have to be some serious sabotage to throw him off his game."
However, Phil Straker is determined not to let Tom get the better of him come match time. "I'm definitely looking forward to playing my brothers team, although I don't really get chance to come up against Tom much in the game," said the Stirling goalkeeper. "I'm still waiting for the day when Tom pops up and shanks one past me into the top corner - I know I'd never live it down and fingers crossed that won't happen this weekend and we take all three points."
A late season charge has brought Stirling into finals contention and a win tomorrow can keep that dream alive, pending the results of other games. "If we win our last two games and other results go our way then we could make the top four," he said. "At the beginning of the season I always said that we would finish strongly. Hopefully, this will be the case and sneak into the top four to give us something to play for, especially after the disappointing Cup loss to E.C.U. Joondalup."
Phil Straker is hopeful Stirling can extend their good run and finish the season on a high. "We've been a little inconsistent this season but the young lads have come of age for us especially towards the later part of the season," he said. "Dean Evans and Ludovic Boi making the Glory youth side is just a taste of the young boys coming through the Lions youth system and we're hopeful this group of players can bring back the winning days of the past."
While the winter of 2008 has been a disaster First Division bound Fremantle, Tom Straker stresses there have been positives to emerge from a trying campaign. "It has still being an enjoyable season and the younger players, including myself, have learnt some valuable lessons and I'm sure we'll all be the better for the experience," he said. "I'm confident we can bounce back - we did it two years ago so we can certainly do it again."
Granted, the port side have played some good football, however, they are just 180 minutes from ending the season without tasting victory in home and away competition. "I think if you asked any of the teams we've played this year we've been extremely unlucky," said Tom Straker. "I'm not really one for excuses but we've played some fantastic football in patches. Unfortunately, that does not win you games - hard work and consistency wins matches and we've been found wanting in those areas this year."
It's the 92nd minute and Fremantle are level 1-1 with Stirling when the port side are awarded a penalty - will Tom be putting his hand up to test his brother from the spot? "Mate, I couldn't hit a cows arse with a sledgehammer at the moment so I'll leave that to one of the forwards," he exclaimed. "I will, however, be barnstorming a few corners and trying my best to keep the goals at the other end to zero." Fremantle host Stirling tomorrow afternoon at Wauhop Park, kick-off at 3.00pm.
MANDURAH MOVE JUST THE TONIC FOR O’CALLAGHAN
A pre-season decision to join Mandurah City has paid big dividends for striker Phil O'Callaghan. Starved off first team opportunities at E.C.U. Joondalup during the Night Series, the 21-year old striker jumped at the chance to become reacquainted with former coach Stuart Currie, form whom O'Callaghan has so far netted 23 times this year. "The set-up at the club is one of the best in the league," said O'Callaghan. "Everyone puts in a lot of effort to keep the club running so professionally, and the players all get on well which shows each week on the pitch."
While admitting moving away from Joondalup was difficult, O'Callaghan says he has absolutely no regrets. "I played there all through my juniors and got on well with the players and coaches but I needed first team football and at the time I wasn't guaranteed that at Joondalup," said O'Callaghan. "I'd played under Stuart and Ron (Harrison) before so I knew what quality coaches they are, while Billy Russell has brought his own ideas to help the team this season which has been fantastic."
O'Callaghan is backing himself to finish the season as the Premier league's highest goal scorer. "Of course I believe in myself and knew I would score goals," he commented. "I always set myself targets before a season starts and hopefully I can finish top goal scorer. It helps when you have the service of someone like Andy Brown - he's a player you want to have on your side with his great passing, leadership and his ability also score goals."
Robbie Dunn has been sufficiently impressed by O'Callaghan's ability to find the net this year that he included the young gun in his preliminary State squad for the upcoming friendly with South Australia. "It's a great honour for me to be selected in the squad and if I make the final team I will be proud to wear State colours," said O'Callaghan, who attended Perth Glory Youth team trials. "I really enjoyed the training and noticed an improvement in my game and fitness which has helped me keep my sharpness in the Premier League with Mandurah," he added.
CACERES BACK IN THE FRAME
Central Coast Mariners attacker Adrian Caceres has targeted Sunday’s A-League fixture across the Tasman to make his comeback from a minor back strain that forced him to miss the clubs first win of the season. The exciting 26-year old was a late withdrawal from the Mariners’ 4-2 triumph over Queensland Roar after suffering a back injury during the teams’ final training session before departing for Brisbane. Although the Mariners were victorious, Caceres’ absence down the left was noteworthy, with the Buenos Aires-born midfielder resuming light training this week in a bid to return against Wellington Phoenix.
With fellow wide player Ahmad Elrich confirmed to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of the 2008/09 season, Caceres’ inclusion against Phoenix would be a major boost to the Mariners’ chances of back-to-back wins. “It’s been a bit difficult in terms of breaking through the pain barrier from last week, but the pain is going away so hopefully this week I can get back on the training ground and get going,” said Caceres. “I was devastated that I couldn’t be in Queensland, but really happy for the boys that they got the three points, that’s what really mattered and hopefully I can be part of the team in Wellington and contribute to another three points.”
Caceres made his competitive debut for the Mariners against Phoenix in the opening round of the pre-season Cup and says the team are determined to return from New Zealand with all three points. “We’ve always been confident and we’ve always been buzzing, it’s just disappointing that we couldn’t get the wins earlier on,” said Caceres. “Nothing has really changed following the Queensland win because the boys are still buzzing and doing really well. It’s always tough going to Wellington, it’s always a hard trip and they’re going to want to bounce back from a loss so it’s going to be tricky, but as long as we stay professional and do our jobs, hopefully we take three points and come away winners.”
NEILL-COYNE COMBINATION DELIGHTS VERBEEK
Australia's search for a central defensive pairing may have come to an end with the mid-week World Cup qualifier victory in Uzbekistan. Captain Lucas Neill and international newcomer Chris Coyne were immaculate in the centre of defence all night for the Socceroos, repelling anything and everything the Uzbeks threw at them. Verbeek has tinkered with his defence for several months in a bid to find the perfect combination, but after the game at Pakhtakor Stadium he might not need to experiment any more. "They have played the last three games together now and they did a very good job today, they have a very good feeling," Verbeek said. "It was an ideal game for them, many high balls and a lot of pressure."
Coyne, who plays his club football for Colchester United, caught the eye with another top-class performance. The 29-year old was just about unbeatable in the air, the timing of his tackling was impeccable and his positional play belied his international inexperience. "Pim and Henk (Duut) have given me an opportunity and now it is up to me to grasp it with both arms," Coyne said. "They pick the team and it is up to me to be in the team sheet. Apart from a few blips I thought I had a good game. It's easy to play with Lucas - I've known him since we were young boys in the Olympic side and the more games we play together our partnership will get better." Australia's next game is against Qatar on 15th October in Brisbane.
MITCHELL WANTS GREATER EMPHASIS ON DEFENCE
David Mitchell has put his entire team on notice, saying poor defensive pressure on every line has led Perth Glory to concede nine goals in the first three matches of the new A-League season. After a 1-0 loss to Adelaide United in the first round, Glory have stumbled to a 3-3 draw with Newcastle United Jets and a 5-2 loss to Sydney, leaving them seventh on the table with just a single point.
While conceding goalkeeper Frank Juric hadn't been at his best in those three matches, Mitchell said he alone wasn't responsible for all the goals scored. "It's not just one man," said the coach. "He hasn't let nine goals in himself. I don't think our defenders have been defending well enough, haven't been putting their body on the line (and) midfielders have been watching runners go through."
Not one to pull his punches, Mitchell made it clear his considers the performances of David Tarka, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and captain Jamie Coyne below par. "I don't think Nikolai's been playing as well as he can, I don't think David Tarka's been playing as well as he can. I don't think Jamie Coyne's been playing as well as he can. So we've got to look at a situation to shore up the defence," commented Mitchell.
Mitchell is hoping a more cohesive effort from his side can result in Glory registering their first win of the campaign this weekend against Queensland Roar. "It's a team effort - we defend from the front and score goals from the back so it's a concerted effort, we're in this together," he said. "I can't pick my team because I'm waiting to see who's going to be ready and willing to put their body on the line this week to stop the goals going in."
SOCCEROOS GRAB CRUCIAL AWAY VICTORY
Australia grabbed a vital advantage in the race to the 2010 World Cup finals by defeating Uzbekistan 1-0 in Tashkent overnight. Scott Chipperfield's 26th minute goal proved the difference as Australia silenced a 35,000-strong crowd at the Pakhtakor Stadium with a dominant opening half. Centre-halves Chris Coyne and Lucas Neill were outstanding after the break as Australian weathered an extended blitz from the Uzbeks. "It was a great performance. Obviously the first game of qualifying, you want to get off to a great start which we did," said Chipperfield. "We're going to be confident going to the next few games now."
The Sococeroos threatened first through Brett Emerton whose first-time shot dipped narrowly over the crossbar. The breakthrough came midway through the half as Luke Wilkshire rode a challenge down before crossing from the right for an unmarked Chipperfield, whose downward header beat the scrambling Ignatiy Nesterov. Uzbekistan almost hit back after 42 minutes when Emerton blocked a goalbound header by Ulugbek Bakaev who fired the follow-up high from close-range. Mark Bresciano raced clear on the stroke of half-time but with just the 'keeper to beat he lashed the ball wide with his left foot.
Appeals for an Uzbek penalty were dismissed by referee Saad Al-Faadlhi despite Bresciano appearing to clip Maksim Shatskikh inside the box as the hosts began the second half with a bang. Wilkshire cleared off to thwart Jasur Hasanov, and Schwarzer was well placed to keep out an effort by Shatskikh. Australia's only chance came on 75 minutes when David Carney and Brett Holman failed to make the most of a two-against-one situation. Uzbekistan nearly snatched an injury-time equaliser but substitute Timur Kapadze's flick-on eluded Shatskikh's outstretched leg. West Australian Coyne saw out the full 90 minutes, while Richard Garcia and Jason Petkovic watched the entire game from the bench.
SPOTLIGHT FALLS ON BRIGHT
New recruit Jeff Bright could be thrust straight into the A-League spotlight against Queensland Roar on Saturday after jumping at the chance to replace defender Hayden Foxe in the Perth Glory squad. Bright, who played the winter months with Mandurah City, has joined Glory as an injury replacement for Foxe, who will be sidelined for at least another month with a foot complaint. The club’s stocks, already weakened by the absence of Foxe, Dino Djulbic (suspended) and Josip Magdic (ankle), were dealt a further blow on Monday when Jimmy Downey limped out of training with a calf problem.
Coach David Mitchell knows all about Bright’s potential, having assisted the then 17-year old in trials with Dutch club Feyenoord in 2002, and he believes his attack-minded recruit can step up to national league standard. “There’s a chance that he’ll come straight in and play this weekend,” Mitchell said of Bright, now 23. “If he gets a gig, I don’t think he’ll let us down. There are some very good players in the State League and some players will perform even better when there are better players around them. As long as Jeff and every other player gives everything, that’s all that I can ask for.”
GRIFFITHS LOANED TO ACCRINGTON
Blackburn Rovers loaned out young midfielder Rostyn Griffiths to Accrington Stanley. Griffiths, 20, is capable of operating on can operate on the right side or centre of midfield and join League Two Stanley on one-month loan. A product of the Blackburn academy, Griffiths spent the second half of last season on loan at Scottish side Gretna where he made 12 first team appearances.
O’CALLAGHAN VOTED BEST RECRUIT OF 2008
Mandurah City striker Phil O’Callaghan has been voted the pick-up of the season by the readers of footballwa.net. Our most recent poll asked ‘Which recruit had the biggest impact in 2008?’ with 21-year old O’Callaghan picking up 29% of the vote to emerge as the most popular choice. Not far behind in second place was Armadale midfielder Gary Faria (23%), who benefited from a late rush of votes. There wasn’t a great deal between David Micevski (13%) from Western Knights, Floreat Athena attacker Brad Scott (11%) and Sorrento’s no-nonsense defender Shaun Kilkelly (10%). The field was completed by Perth S.C. attacker Greg Sharland (7%), with Stirling Lions’ Jordan Rhodes and Craig Simpson of E.C.U. Joondalup (both 3%). 410 votes were received during the ten-day polling period.
COYNE READY FOR SOCCEROO DUTY
Australia's oldest rookie, Chris Coyne, is prepared to do whatever it takes to subdue Uzbekistan's all-time leading scorer, Maksim Shatskikh, if he gets the chance to play in the biggest game of his career. Having figured prominently in the Socceroos recently friendlies with South Africa and the Netherlands, Coyne could be handed a starting role in Australia's World Cup qualifier in Tashkent on Wednesday. The 29-year old central defender only made his senior international debut three months ago but coach Pim Verbeek is leaning towards giving him his fourth cap against the Uzbeks, largely to combat the physical presence of Shatskikh.
Coyne has spent his career playing against old-fashioned target men in Scotland and the lower leagues of English football, and he is up for the challenge. "You get the silky players you've got to be wary of when the ball is on the floor, you also get the physical challenge when you have to stick the crash helmet on and get on with it," he said. "I don't know a lot about this bloke, we'll just have to see how big he is on the night. If you hit them hard enough they fall over. It's just a matter of rolling up the sleeves and getting on with it."
Coyne, playing in England's third tier with Colchester United, is the selection bolter of Verbeek's World Cup squad, but while he sees the early signs of his international career as encouraging, he's not getting carried away with his belated recognition. "It's still early days; there's a lot of good centre-halves who could step in," he said. "It's up to me to keep pushing away, which is what I said when I first came in. It's nice when the manager has something good to say about you, but football is a fickle game - you're in one minute and out the next. I'm old enough to realise and respect that."
There's a world of difference between the international game and what Coyne is used to in the hustle and bustle of English football. "At international level it's more of a mental game than a physical game; you don't walk off physically exhausted like you do in England," he said. "Instead you find yourself lying there after a game, thinking about all the things that went on, and mentally you're exhausted. You certainly appreciate you have to keep the ball a lot more - if you give it away, you'll be chasing it for 20 minutes, and that's not something you want to be doing."
If Coyne's learning curve has been a steep one, it's about to get a whole lot steeper inside the hostile atmosphere of the Pakhtakor Stadium. "After watching the last World Cup from the sidelines, I deeply, deeply, want to be involved in the next one," he said. "It's exciting to think that the end product of all this is a place in the World Cup. And it all starts here." Between now and next June, Australia play Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Japan on a home and away basis with the top two placed teams advancing to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
DUAL ROLE KEEPS DUNN ON HIS TOES
Robbie Dunn must feel a little like a circus sideshow performer at times. When not addressing the daily demands of running his own business, Dunn juggles the task of assessing players for State duty with his commitments to national league outfit Perth Glory. "It's lucky that I own my own business, Nobel Appliances, so I can take as much time off as needed," he half joked. "Glory is only morning training, so evening time with the State team fits in well. It's good for the State players though as they now have a direct conduit with Glory if they're good enough they'll get their opportunity, as Scott Bulloch and Jeff Bright have shown."
There's no doubt the preliminary West Australian squad announced last week for the upcoming friendly with South Australia is blessed with quality and depth. But the selection of players involved in the title race and subsequent top four series has presented Dunn with an unexpected challenge. "Having players unavailable as their clubs are in the running for honours has played havoc with my schedule," Dunn explained. "For our first session we had five players from one club not available due to training. That makes it difficult to put in place a proper training schedule for players leading up to the South Australia match, but we'll work closely with the clubs and coaches to get through it."
A regular schedule of games for the State team would have enormous benefits to football in Western Australia according to Dunn, who represented Australia on 36 occasions. "Hopefully, this game is only the start of the inter-state games," he said. "We need more games and dates set in concrete to give players something to aim for. Once you've got that then players know they need to be playing well and consistently so as to stay under notice. It's a win-win situation for the players and their clubs as well as the local competition as a whole."
Dunn, an assistant coach with Glory, has been impressed with what he's so far seen of summer imports Amaral, Eugene Dadi and Adrian Trinidad. "Amaral is pure quality and I only hope that the referees look after him," commented Dunn. "People aren't aware Dadi was really unwell in pre-season and he's only now getting back to match fitness. He has a lot of goals in him and Glory needs him to play as much as possible. Trinidad has lots of tricks in his bag and is quite a clinical finisher when he gets in front of the goals - the Glory fans are going to love this guy."
YOUNG GUNS READY TO FIRE
Senior squad members Brent Griffiths and Anthony Skorich head the Perth Glory side that kicks off the new National Youth League against Central Coast Mariners next Friday night. The seven Australian-based A-League clubs will each field a youth team in the 21-round competition, in which the top two will contest the final in mid-February next year. Youth players must be aged from 16 to 21 and play a minimum 30 minutes a match. Clubs can also supplement their sides with as many as four over-age players.
Coach Gareth Naven, Glory’s inaugural captain, has worked tirelessly for the past four months to finalise his twelve man squad. “It’s a great opportunity for the players. Our game is all about the players,” said Naven, who’s assisted by another Glory legend, Scott Miller. “We had a huge response during trials and the young men we have selected are exceptionally talented footballers who have been given this wonderful opportunity and we’ll give them every chance to make the most of that. “It is everyone’s hope that this group of players will be the next generation for Perth Glory.”
Striker Skorich has twice played for the Glory first team this season while defender Griffiths returned from English club Blackburn Rovers to play in the National Youth League. Three players from the National Training Centre program and another returning from the Australian Institute of Sport feature in the squad which is drawn largely from the local leagues. “The State League presidents and coaches have been terrific and are enthusiastic about the new competition. They should be commended on their willingness to allow players to train with us over the last few months,” Naven said.
The Perth Glory Youth squad features Ryan Pearson (Armadale), Howard Fondyke (Australian Institute of Sport), Brent Griffiths (Blackburn Rovers), James Sammut (Inglewood United), Liam Harvey, Adam Luca, Reece Vittiglia (National Training Centre), Andrija Jukic (Perth S.C.), Ludo Boi, Dean Evans (Stirling Lions), Scott Neville (Sorrento) and Anthony Skorich (Western Knights). Local fans will have to wait until 19th October to see the side in action against Sydney F.C. in the curtain-raiser to the A-league encounter between the same two clubs.
TETLOW NAMED STATE AMATEUR COACH
Football West have appointed Mike Tetlow as State Amateur team coach until the end of next year. Tetlow has had a lengthy association with the local game through coaching spells at Stirling Lions, Rockingham City, Mandurah City and Fremantle Spirit. “I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead,” said Tetlow following his appointment. “It’s always an honour to represent your state as a coach or player and I am delighted to have received the opportunity. I hope the players who end up pulling on the WA shirt will do so with pride as they will be representing thousands of local players, supporters and officials from our Amateur game.”
Andrew Bettwell, development manager at Football West, said Tetlow had beaten a field of high calibre applicants. “It has been a difficult selection process, however Mike has a wealth of experience in the local game and will represent an independent view of the amateur competitions that we will be sourcing players from,” said Bettell. “We are pleased that Mike has accepted the position and look forward to working closely with him to help set up the State Amateur program after its lengthy absence.” Tetlow’s first duty as coach is to select a preliminary squad of players from which the State Amateur team will emerge.
DJULBIC ASKS FOR FORGIVENESS
Dino Djulbic has vowed to become a more disciplined player upon his return from a five-game suspension. A remorseful Djulbic has pleaded for team mates and fans’ forgiveness after going “overboard” in protest at a penalty decision against Sydney F.C. last Sunday. Djulbic was cleared of spitting in the direction of referee Peter Green but was found guilty of the lesser charge of unsporting conduct. “I set my targets high to win every game and I’m obviously a very passionate person but on this occasion things got a little bit out of control,” said the tough tackling defender.
Djulbic, 25, said he was embarrassed by the whole affair and vowed to shower greater restraint upon his return. “First and foremost I let myself down, but I also let a lot of other people down. I want to say sorry to everyone, to all the fans, all the sponsors and the owners, I went overboard and I know it was the wrong thing to do. I’ve got five games to think about that now and make sure I learn my lesson so that I can move on and come back better and stronger. It’s not going to happen again, I can promise that to everyone.”
WILLIAMS RIDES THE CREST OF A WAVE
Rhys Williams has revealed how life on Perth’s beaches almost led him to quitting football. But the Welsh youth international has admitted his rapid rise to prominence has made him glad he ditched the surf for football. The former E.C.U. Joondalup centre-back was an avid surfer before his football ability caught the eye of Middlesbrough. Since moving to Riverside Williams has slowly risen up through the ranks and appears on the cusp of his first team debut after being named on the bench several times already this season.
Thanks to his grandfather from Pontypridd, Williams is now one of the most highly-rated youngsters in the Welsh set-up and was recently added to the senior squad to play Azerbaijan. “Looking where I am now I’m just really glad I decided to give my football career a go,” said the 20-year old. “I always fancied being a surfer and used to love messing around with it back home in Australia. At one stage I came very close to ending my football and just hanging around the beach, doing what I wanted. But being part of all this and getting close to the first-team at Boro shows I made the right decision and hopefully this is all just the start for me.”
The ball-playing centre-back is confident he has what it takes to be a major player with Wales soon enough after getting tips from the top at the Riverside. “I’m lucky because the gaffer (Gareth Southgate) wasn’t a bad defender in his day and he has been superb with me,” explained Williams. “He has helped me a lot in training with my positioning and movement, which will only benefit me in the long run, for both club and country … I’ve loved being involved with the senior squad but I’ve also loved every time I’ve pulled on a red shirt for the Under-21s.”
SOCCEROOS STUN THE NETHERLANDS
Josh Kennedy's fourth international goal earned Australia a 2-1 friendly victory over world number four the Netherlands in Eindhoven tonight. A trademark header by Kennedy late the first half sealed victory after Harry Kewell's penalty conversion cancelled out Klaas Jan Huntelaar's goal after 6 minutes. Captain Lucas Neill described the win as fantastic but stressed Australia were focused on Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Uzbekistan. "It's never easy to come away to the fourth-best team in the world and win, so it's a great credit to the boys," commented Neill. "It's a great boost but we've got to remain very level-headed because this was only a friendly game ... our feet are well and truly on the ground, we'll make sure of that."
The home crowd had to wait only 5 minutes before being given something to cheer about with Huntelaar drilling his left-footed shot past the despairing dive of Mark Schwarzer. However, Australia showed they were not about to be overawed by the situation as Jason Culina's diving header flashed just wide. Schwarzer made a courageous save at the feet of John Heitinga after 20 minutes, while at the other end Maarten Stekelenberg was quick off his line to deflect wide Brett Holman's shot. Half-time was looming large when Stekenlenberg was red carded for clipping the heels of Kennedy, and Kewell made no mistake with the resultant penalty which he blasted past replacement 'keeper Henk Timmer.
Openings were few and far between in the second half as the Dutch sat deep and Australia waiting patiently for their chance. Schwarzer was forced to save a Rafael van der Vaart free-kick, while Kennedy shot tamely at Timmer. Australia's patience was rewarded on 76 minutes when Wilkshire supplied a terrific cross to Kennedy, who guided his header past Timmer. As expected, the Netherlands responded strongly with Jan Vennegor of Hesselink heading wide, while Schwarzer's close-range save denied Dirk Kuyt a last gasp equaliser. Western Australia was well represented with Chris Coyne playing the first 70 minutes, Richard Garcia came off the bench six minutes later, while Jason Petkovic was an unused substitute.
PREMIER LEAGUE, ROUND TWENTY (Swan I.C. v Stirling Lions by Peter Simcox; Fremantle Spirit v Armadale by Scoop Rafferty)
Sorrento closed in on their second Premier League crown in three years with a 3-2 victory over northern neighbour and home side E.C.U. Joondalup. Todd Harnwell scored twice from the penalty spot to take his season tally to twenty-two goals and move the Gulls to within three points of top honours. Both teams struggled to make an impression during the opening exchanges leading to very few goal-scoring opportunities. Tommy Amphlett’s rising shot from the edge of the 18-yard box just before the half hour sparked the game into life. Scott Blackmore got himself between Harnwell and the goal soon after, and just a few minutes more passed before the Gulls striker shot powerfully but too close to goalkeeper Bobson Koroma. Ian McMurray should have put the visitors ahead three minutes from half-time but fired straight at Neil Young from the spot following a foul on Amphlett by Shaun Kilkelly. It took only a minute for McMurray to make amends by clipping over Young and under the bar after being found in space by livewire Amphlett from 14-metres. But the sides went into the break level thanks to Harnwell who confidently stroked past Koroma from the spot after Garin Collins was deemed to have handled a Lewis Flatt shot. Sorrento added a second two minutes into the second half when Scott Neville’s shot deflected off Darren Broxton to Steve McDonald, who was afforded plenty of time and space to pick his spot in the net at close-range. The game looked to be over as a contest when Harnwell put away his second from the spot after 55 minutes following a foul on Brodie Martin by Craig Young. However, Joondalup had other ideas and after a flying run down the right Amphlett delivered a cross which Neil Young pushed into the path of Collins whose sweet finish was into the top corner. Joondalup were close on several occasions to drawing level in the final half hour but were unable to find a way past the ‘keeper for a third time.
Perth S.C. climbed into second place and kept their slim title hopes alive by thrashing Cockburn City 4-1 at Dorrien Gardens. The Blues remain only three points behind leader Sorrento but must rely on the Gulls dropping their final two outings of the campaign to snatch the trophy. Andrija Jukic made his presence felt early on with some neat touches that continually drove the hosts into attack and forced Cockburn onto the back foot. Perth should have gone ahead after 28 minutes when David Onoforo’s effort rebound off the post to Jukic who tamely placed the ball into the gloves of goalkeeper Nick Feely. The breakthrough arrived soon after Jukic’s shot from distance was blocked and bobbled up near Steven Campbell whose spectacular overhead gave Feely no chance. Cockburn’s day soured when Shane McNally’s reckless challenge on Campbell lead referee Steven Gregory no option but to issue the veteran midfielder a second yellow card. It was only when down to ten men that Cockburn began seriously threatening their hosts and a sharp shot on the turn by Johnny Mirco showed there was still plenty of life in the game. The equaliser they sought arrived just before half-time when teenager Jamie De Abreu capitalised on Michael Icanovski’s slip by rounding ‘keeper Gareth Deeg and convert at close-range. Perth emerged from the break with renewed enthusiasm and Jukic placed just past the post after being sent through by Antonio Naglieri. The margin was doubled in the 51st minute when Todd Howarth’s seemingly harmless shot was inadvertently deflected by Liam Lilly past his own ‘keeper, who had the initial shot covered. Twelve minutes later Onoforo made no mistake from the penalty spot after Greg Sharland elicited a foul from Paul Natale. Man-of-the-match Jukic completed the rout in the 78th minute by lashing the ball in from 5-metres after Feely somehow managed to parry a close-range effort by substitute Roberto Lujan.
David Micevski shredded Floreat Athena dreams of back-to-back titles by scoring twice in Western Knights 3-2 victory at Nash Field. The Knights third win in a row moves them out of the bottom three for the first time in five months, while dashing the hopes of Floreat retaining the Premier League championship. The day started out encouragingly for the away team who posted the first goal after 12 minutes when Brad Scott ran on to Daniel Neiderberger’s through pass and slotted past goalkeeper Kevin Miller in a one-on-one to complete a neat counterattacking play. Six minutes later the sides were level again after Daniel Trim’s stab at goal was deflected into the net by defender Julian Madaschi. The remainder of the period was dominated by the respective defences who worked hard to ensure there would be no further addition to the scoreline before the interval. The game really came to life in a second half that opened with Scott crashing the ball narrowly wide. Hearts were in mouths on 50 minutes when the Knights broke quickly to be three against two, however, Micevski chose to go it alone and blasted high when the better option would have been to lay the ball off to a team mate. In the 67th minute Matt Allen centred from the right for Micevski who sized up the situation before sending his 16-metre shot into the bottom corner. The next twist arrived nine minutes later when Anthony Skorich was issued his marching orders for a second yellow card, leaving the Knights a player short. Micevski made the game safe by adding the hosts third after Vas Vujacic rushed off his line but failed to take the ball, leaving the Knights midfielder with the all-too-easy task of slotting into an unguarded net. There was still plenty of fight in Floreat who reduced the game two minutes later through Scott’s long-range effort but up against a stubborn defence and with time fast running out there was just no way back into this contest.
An under strength Mandurah City overcame the odds to defeat visiting Inglewood United 2-1 and revive their top four aspirations. Gary Attrill and Phil O’Callaghan were amongst the goals as Mandurah narrowed the gap to a single point on fourth-placed Inglewood. Half-chances were aplenty early on as Michael Baczynski’s inviting pass along the top of the 6-yard box evaded team mates, and Christian Paschkewitz blazed high when allowed more time than he knew. James Duncan’s chip over goalkeeper Mike Green was athletically plucked out of the air, while late in the half Shane Pryce’s error let in O’Callaghan who zeroed in on goal only to lose control of the ball at the crucial time. The ball had been in play just two minutes after the break when O’Callaghan lobbed a pass to Attrill whose initial instinct was to tuck his shot under on-coming ‘keeper Oliver Taseski and put Mandurah ahead. The visitors had Taseski to thank that the margin wasn’t increased soon after when Andy Brown drove a low cross into the area which the Inglewood custodian turned away from Paschkewitz. The sides should have been equal on the hour but Mladen Kovacevic skied well over the crossbar from Danny Kovacevic’s delivery. That miss was compounded seven minutes later when Paschkewitz found O’Callaghan who took the ball wide of the advancing ‘keeper and from an acute angled threaded in Mandurah’s second of the day. Realising the seriousness of the situation, Baczynski and Jason Colli inspired the visitors to seize control of the game and throw the pressure on the Mandurah defence. The game was in stoppage time when the ball came to James Sammut who, 20-metres from goal, unleashed a rocket that gave Green absolutely no chance. Inglewood turned the ball over soon after the re-start with Sammut finding substitute Wes Ryder who was thwarted by a courageous smothering save from Green to secure three points for Mandurah.
Jordan Rhodes and Ashley Rosindale found the target as Stirling Lions headed home from the Swan Italian Club with a 2-0 win over hosts Swan I.C. Rhodes’ in-swinging corner forced an early save out of Cory Hugo as the ball threatened to curl inside the back post. Swan’s eventually settled and in an eventuful eight minutes bust Alex Cocking blazed high from close-range and Damian Scali fired wide from distance while Phil Straker was out quick to snaffle Brendan Knox’s through ball intended for Cocking. Keith Clevenger’s goalbound effort was blocked by Chris Marshall after poor defending at Rosindale’s cross from the right. Both teams had their chances late in the half as David McNally volleyed straight at Straker from 14-metres, while Stirling failed to capitalise after Cory Hugo was left writhing on the ground following a collision with Phil Arnold. Stirling shrugged off a slow start to the second half by taking control of the game through the combined efforts of Rhodes, Rosindale and Anthony. Dean Evans’ curling free-kick was well saved by Cory Hugo on the hour, then minutes later Rosindale delivered the ball to Rhodes but he fired wide from 5-metres. Their pressure paid off on 69 minutes when Steven Hesketh slotted in to Anthony whose shot from 15-metres deflected for Rhodes to blast into the net through a crowded penalty area. With this the visitors lifted and a next exchange between Ludovic Boi and Anthony set-up Rosindale who placed wide from close-range. Swan almost equalised when Dom Ando’s cross picked out an unmarked McNally but Straker was alert to save and Michael Pugliese put his body on the line to repel Scali’s follow-up. Rhodes fired high as Stirling looked to seal the game, while Scali sent his shot past the upright in a pulsating final ten minutes. The tipping point came when Justin Hugo was issued his second yellow card by referee Kevin Taylor in the 84th minute. Stirling made the most of the extra man seven minutes later as Boi’s cross from the right was spectacularly volleyed past the ‘keeper by Rosindale from 8-metres.
A moment’s indecision in the Fremantle Spirit defence allowed Armadale to leave Wauhop Park with all three points after a thrilling 5-4 victory. Armadale struck with only 3 minutes on the clock when fine work between Matt Bennion and Nao Oishi put the ball with Ryan Pearson who stormed down the left before sending in a low cross into a crowded goalmouth that was bundled over the line by Oishi. Parity was restored nine minutes later as Jason Barerra’s fierce drive came back off the post and Vukmirovic smashed the lose ball past Beau Geerlings in the Armadale goal. With Gary Faria and Kodi Madeley stamping their authority on the game, the Reds retook the lead when Mo Atak’s long throw-in was met unchallenged by James Robinson who rose to guide the ball beyond the despairing dive of Steve Grant. Elton-Bott fired high from 18-metres as Fremantle sought a quick response. But it would be the visitors who added to their tally on 32 minutes when Cameron Hayes had the misfortune of heading an Oishi cross into this own net. Sloppy defending allowed Fremantle to reduce the gap soon after as Elton-Bott beat two opponents before finding Vukmirovic to fire in his second of the afternoon. The teams were brought level on 42 minutes when Elton-Bott again opened up a hole in the visiting defence to release Cameron MacLean who showed his class by confidently stroking past Geerlings. Referee David Costello had no choice but to point to the spot five minutes into the second half after Llewellyn Bake fouled Atak, and with the penalty kick Andy Pomfret sent Grant the wrong way. Fremantle made it four-each after 57 minutes when replacement ‘keeper Alex Preece parried Callum Roberts’ long-range drive and MacLean was on hand to tap in the rebound. Atak and Robinson were denied by Grant, penalty appeals for a foul on Vukmirovic were waved away and Roberts forced Preece to save low down as the clock ticked down. Everything unravelled for Fremantle with only five minutes when Daryl Platten’s harmless cross struck the leg of Joseph Moffat and trickled over the line past a stunned ‘keeper.
FIRST DIVISION, ROUND TWENTY (Canning City v Wanneroo City by Phil Unsworth; Rockingham City v South West Phoenix courtesy South West Phoenix)
Canning City got the point they needed to secure promotion by drawing 5-5 with Wanneroo City at Willetton Sports Club. Josh Booysen got the show on the road with a looping header from a speculative long ball to give Wanneroo a surprise lead after only 4 minutes. The margin was increased after 19 minutes when sloppy defending benefited Brian Cairney who drilled past goalkeeper Devon Spence from 10-metres. Canning clawed a goal back four minutes later as Rory Mouttet’s low drive slipped under the body of ‘keeper Fraser Siddall. However, the visitors two-goal buffer was soon restored through Cairney who converted from the penalty spot. A minute from the break Daniel Trevisoil also tucked the ball in from the spot to keep Canning in the hunt. Booysen rifled low into the net for Wanneroo’s fourth early in the second half, and the striker completed his hat-trick by netting the rebound from Cairney’s shot which struck the upright on the hour. Canning’s fight back began when Paul Van Dongen found the net after receiving a throw-in from brother Paul Van Dongen, and in the 65th minute Trevisiol brought the deficit back to a single goal. The final play of the afternoon brought the teams level as Moutett intercepting a partial clearance which he drove a low through a crowded goalmouth to trigger scenes of wild jubilation from the home camp.
Rockingham City and South West Phoenix played out a tight 0-0 draw in cold and blustery conditions at Lark Hill Sports Complex on Saturday evening. Phoenix looked the more likely to score in the opening period as Gary Mayers and David Murphy teamed well to cause problems down the right for the home side. The first genuine chance on goal came when Mayers through ball released Murphy who screwed his shot wide. Murphy stretched Craig Olenjik with an attempted chip, Mayers was also denied by the goalkeeper while Steve Suttie pulled the ball wide after going past a couple defenders as Phoenix stepped up the pace. Rockingham should have gone ahead on the half hour Craig McCreery lifted high from inside the 6-yard box. McCreery’s decision to kick the ball away in frustration on 43 minutes earned the attacker a second yellow card and an early shower. Rockingham’s self-preservation instincts kicked in after the break as the home side made sure they had the numbers in defence to stifle Phoenix. Patrick Quinn went close with a long-range effort, while the introduction of Kieran Kavanagh and Rory Binnie on the hour added fresh legs and added bite to the Phoenix attack. The only other opening of note came about through Murphy who weaved past three players before Olenjik smothered his shot.
Queens Park lifted themselves off the bottom of the table by defeating Forrestfield United 4-2 at Hartfield Park. Scott Reinsma (2), Toby Omeniha and Tom Cullen netted for the visitors with young guns John Hunter and Jordan Hart getting Forrestfield’s goals. Ashfield slipped into the drop zone despite a fighting 1-1 draw with Bayswater City at Frank Drago Reserve. Ian Charming brought the team’s level five minutes from the final whistle to cancel out debutant Westley Rouge’s finish on the stroke of half-time. Balcatta are only three points away from third place after dumping Dianella White Eagles 5-1 at Graham Burkett Reserve. Bobby Klenkoski scored a hat-trick on a day Igor Novakovic and D.Franklin were also on the scoresheet. Dianella’s consolation came midway through the second half via Aaron Moschopolous. Morley Windmills scored just their fifth win of the campaign by overcoming Gosnells Cot 3-2 at Wotton Reserve. Noong Narongphunt bagged the decider with eleven minutes remaining to add to Farrell Hedges 66th minute finish and an own goal shortly after the interval. Gosnells’ goals came from Jimmy Capewell and Ian Maguire. Further details of these four games were not forthcoming from any of the eight participating clubs.
WILLIAMS GETS GLORY JOB
Perth Glory will be lead into the inaugural W-League by former Western Waves player Nicola Williams. Currently head coach of the National Training Centre and the State Under-17’s girls teams, Williams has signed a one-year agreement to lead Western Australia’s newest national team. The W-League, which commence on 25th October, sees eight teams taking part in a ten-match round robin series with the top four progressing to the finals next January.
Williams, 26, is thrilled with her new role and can’t wait to start assembling a competitive squad for the coming season. “I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Williams. “The Westfield W-League is definitely a step forward for the women’s game in WA and also at a national level. I am confident that we will be able to assemble a very competitive squad and I’ll be speaking with Matilda’s players Collette McCalllum and Lisa De Vanna to get them on board for kick-off.”
Football West and Perth Glory have worked together to bring the Perth Glory Women’s team to fruition and will ensure the side has the resources and expertise to excel in the new competition. “Nicola is an accomplished young coach, she has great experience at state and NTC level and she recently led our under-17 girls to the final of the National Youth Championships,” said Football West chief executive Garry Chandler. “Western Australia has a fantastic pool of talented players including several girls who have represented the Matilda’s on a national level.”
AXE HANGS OVER JURIC
Perth Glory veteran Jason Petkovic is poised to take over between the posts as pressure mounts on coach David Mitchell to dump new international custodian Frank Juric. The Hannover 96 goalkeeper was hailed as a prized off-season signing by Glory, but has so far conceded nine goals in his first three A-League games. Juric has often appeared slow to move and been caught out of position in his four appearances in purple, the most recent being last weekend’s 5-2 loss to Sunday F.C. It is understood Mitchell’s faith in his overseas recruit has fuelled increasing unease among the playing ranks as momentum builds for Glory to reintroduce Petkovic. The veteran is considered frontrunner to replace Juric, though highly rated Olyroos ‘keeper Tando Velaphi is also an option.
WEEKEND IN PREVIEW
This week's big game is the derby between E.C.U. Joondalup and Sorrento at the Joondalup campus of Edith Cowan University. The form guide goes out the window when these two northern giants meet with victory this week vital to both, if for very different reasons. Not a lot has gone in Joondalup's favour of late but to have bragging rights over their long-time rival would be the perfect way to kick-start a late season revival. The Gulls, on the other hand, are acutely aware that Floreat Athena can leapfrog into top spot should they slip up. The early season meeting ended 3-2 to Sorrento and tomorrow's game will be just as tight.
Western Knights will need to find something a bit special to continue their winning run when second-placed Floreat Athena visits Nash Field. A nine-game unbeaten streak has positioned Floreat well to become just the fourth club to win back-to-back championships. Adam Bachillor and Miki Vujacic provide the pace from out wide with former State Youth representative Dean Apelgren and the much underrated Paul Vatistas controlling things in the centre. The Knights key strength is an equally impressive midfield unit in which David Micevski, who was outstanding at Fremantle last week, Luka Jukic, George Tchami and Paul Cooke operate with menace.
Superior firepower should give Perth S.C. the edge when they host Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens. Greg Sharland and Todd Howarth will make sure there's little time to rest for the visiting defence as David Onoforo sets about adding to the 15 goals he's already scored this year. Five straight losses have done nothing for the confidence of Cockburn, who threw away a two-goal lead to go down at home to Floreat Athena last time out. Aaron Dos Santos scored twice in that game and will again be looking to capitalise on the supply of long-serving pair Johnny Mirco and Dom De Felice.
Inglewood United should cement fourth place when they travel south to play Mandurah City at Hyundai Stadium. Even though hat-trick hero Kevin Griffiths is out due to an accumulation of yellow cards, the non-stop contributions of Jason Colli, James Sammut, Michael Baczynski and Shane Pryce are expected to earn them maximum points. This is a must-win game for Mandurah who sit four points beyond Inglewood and a historic finals appearance at the end of their first ever Premier League campaign. But with Jeff Bright and Chris Currie suspended and Phil O’Callaghan under an injury cloud, the odds seem to be firmly stacked against the hosts.
Fremantle Spirit’s second successive home game pits them against an Armadale side that has improved in leaps and bounds over the second half of the season. The midfield battle is likely to determine the outcome as Llewelyn Bake and Jason Bake go up against Gary Faria and Kidi Madeley. Stirling Lions have been travelling well of late and are expected to give home team Swan I.C. a good run for their money. Exciting youngsters Phil Arnold and Ludovic Boi, Geoff Mason and Alex Cocking are amongst the drawcards in what promises to be an entertaining contest.
The struggle to avoid relegation from the First Division comes under the spotlight this weekend with key games for both Ashfield and Queens Park. Last-placed Queens Park stand a very good chance of collecting points when they venture to Hartfield Park for a derby meeting against Forrestfield United, who last tasted victory almost two months ago. Ashfield may be placed one point above Queens Park but face the prospect of a difficult afternoon at Frank Drago Reserve where Bayswater have lost only twice this season.
Canning City effectively secured promotion last weekend and a home win against Wanneroo City will take them one step closer to completing the winter without loss. Planning for next season has already commenced at South West Phoenix who have an evening kick-off at Rockingham City tomorrow. Dianella White Eagles have quietly risen into third and victory away at Balcatta should position the club for their highest placing in almost a decade. Morley Windmills and Gosnells City will both be looking to add a few more points in their disappointing season tallies when they meet at Wotton Reserve.
DARBY BACK IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY
When Armadale came knocking on the door of Mark Darby earlier this year they didn’t have to wait long for an answer. The strongly built central defender played his junior days at Armadale, who were then based at Morgan Park, and a return to the club where he started was just what Darby was seeking after five years with Fremantle Spirit. “Coming back to the Army has been really good; even with a slow start our fans keep coming and showing support,” he commented. “There is nothing to dislike about this club on or off the pitch, especially when you’re playing with a quality group of players.”
The Reds have put a poor start to the season behind them by slowly climb clear of the drop zone. Darby considers the return of Gary Faria, who was overseas for the first part of the season, and the arrival of imports James Robinson and John Lund played a major role in their turnaround. “I would say both Gary and the new imports have had a decent impact towards the way we have been playing in the second half of the season,” said Darby, before tipping his hat to coach Brad Hassell. “Some tactical changes by Brad to formations and positions have also helped, and we hope to have a strong finish to the season.”
Darby, 21, has particularly been impressed with the wealth of experience and high level of professionalism Hassell has brought to Armadale this year. “Brad has been good, there’s a good interaction between him and the players,” Darby said of Hassell, a veteran of 283 national league games and an Australian Under-23 international. “With the experience he has got as a footballer himself, he knows if players are in form or not and he varies training sessions week to week which makes it enjoyable for all of us.”
An ankle injury may have hampered Darby’s pre-season but the defender has played through the pain to be one of the first names on the teamsheet. Nonetheless, Hassell has been pleased with his contribution this season and considers Darby to have added stability to the Reds rearguard. “Mark has done well since joining us,” said the coach. “He’s played through injuries this season which is a credit to him and he has been solid in the back line. The club are more than happy with his return home after a couple of years at Fremantle.”
Darby has been a pillar of strength in the Reds back line where he partners Matt Bennion, Shannon Dally and Andy Bowyer. And while he’s formed a solid bond with each of those players, it is goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock that holds everything together. “Cyril is a great character to have around the club,” Darby said. “He’s a good laugh and when serious he’s a top ‘keeper as you know. He’s very vocal at keeping the back line organised and he’s definitely made some great saves to keep us in the game.”
ADAM HAS FOND RECOLLECTIONS OF INGLEWOOD
It’s nearing almost a quarter of a century since Lee Adam last strapped on his boots at Inglewood Kiev (now United) but the Englishman still remembers fondly his time down under. Adam played seven seasons at Inglewood, twice winning the Gold Medal as the top flights best player, and a further three with Wollongong City on the national stage. “I had a fantastic time in Australia, both from a football and social point of view,” he reminisced. “I’ve many happy memories of the sun, the sand, the ocean and the barbecues … and I quite fondly remember singing ‘The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen’ with John Davidson after a few beers!”
Born in Leicester in 1957, Adam was turned on to football while at primary school and as a teenager spent three years as an apprentice with Derby County. He was approached by Inglewood Kiev in 1976 for what was initially planned to be a two-year stay, but which blew out to nine enjoyable years in Australia. “I received an offer to play for Inglewood and as I wanted to experience another country I jumped at the chance,” Adam said. “The way the game was played in Perth was very different to what I was used to back home as the heat and hard pitches meant players had to have good technique and stamina.”
Adam commenced a productive four-year stay with Kiev in 1976 and the following year picked up D’Orsogna Cup and Night Series winner medals. “The 5-1 demolition of Spearwood in the D’Orsogna Cup Final at Perry Lakes is one game that really stands out for me - we played magnificently that day and our supporters were in great voice,” he said. The tall midfielder earned his first Gold Medal in 1978 and then completed his double two years later. “Those two Gold Medal wins will always be amongst the highlights of my time in football,” Adam commented.
It was as a central defender that Adam made his State team debut against English club Norwich City in 1979. Amongst his six outings in West Australian colours were games against Yugoslav giants Red Star Belgrade and Skopje Vardar, with his only representative goal coming against the Combined Australia Croatian touring side in 1979. “Playing for WA against Red Star Belgrade was football education - I don’t think we had possession of the ball for 88 of the 90 minutes,” he recalled of the day West Australia were humbled 5-0 by a far more experienced opponent.
In 1981 Adam ventured east to join national league newcomer Wollongong City, for whom he’d play 80 times across three seasons. “The experience of playing in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra was unforgettable,” Adam commented. “There was a great togetherness among the players as it was a brand new club. Our first league game was at home to Sydney Olympic whose manager, Tommy Docherty, said that we would be like ‘lambs to the slaughter’ - and we beat them 3-1. Then we went to Heidelberg who were the League champions and won 3-0. We had announced our arrival in great style.”
Adam returned to the west coast in 1984 and played a couple more seasons at Inglewood before heading back to England. “I had thought I would remain in Perth but a family situation meant I had to return to the UK,” he said. Adam continued his playing days with non-League clubs Leicester United and Bedworth before hanging up his boots in 1990. He spent three seasons as manager of Corby Town and another six at Oadby Town, where he captured the Leicestershire Challenge Cup and Rolleston Charity Cup twice each. Adam retired from management in May 2008.
Fremantle Spirit boasts the best disciplinary record in the Premier League heading into the final three rounds of the season. Using the A-League fair play methodology, Fremantle have 39 points for the 24 yellow cards, three second yellow cards and three straight red cards collected this winter. Perth S.C. and Floreat Athena are level with 41 points, three less than Cockburn City and Inglewood United. Those with the worst discipline records are Armadale (58 points) and E.C.U. Joondalup (56).
Canning City is just three games away from becoming the first team in over four decades to win promotion to the top flight with an unbeaten season. The only team in State League history to achieve this was Kiev who, in 1967, won ten and drew six games to pip Athena for the then Second Division trophy by a single point. Wanneroo City and Mandurah City went close to emulating Kiev in 2005 and 2007, respectively, but were undone by losses on the final day of competition.
Former State Youth team player Damien Catalano has decided to seek greener pastures after four enjoyable years at Swan I.C. The 24-year old striker has been sidelined for the majority of the Premier League season due to a lingering groin complaint, which was originally diagnosed last year. Although now on the mend, Catalano would like to take the remainder of the year easy and prepared for this successful returned to football in 2008.
Football West staff are calling out for an internal review of the organisation’s structure and processes. Established in 2004 to oversee all aspects of the game in Western Australia, there is no doubt Football West has made great strides in brining together the football community. But, unfortunately, the organisation’s failure to evolve along with game has resulted in a rash of departures during the last twelve months and a fair degree of cynicism and disillusionment amongst those who remain.
A frustrated Perth Glory have asked A-League authorities for a ‘please explain’ over a perceived bias in refereeing. The club are seething over two questionable penalties awarded to opponents in their last two matches, plus an unusually long period of stoppage time in the round two contest against Newcastle United Jets. Glory yesterday fired off a strongly worded letter to newly appointed referee assessor Mario van der Ende asking for an explanation.
GLORY SECURE SRHOJ
Perth Glory has rounded out their playing roster by signing experienced midfielder Wayne Srhoj to a one-year deal. It'll be the 26-year olds second stint with Glory having previously been part of the 2003/04 National Soccer League championship winning side. "When I was last here Perth Glory was the stand-out team in Australian football and I see no reason why they can't be again," said Srhoj, whose played the last five years plying his trade in Romania. "I'm happy to be back and looking forward to getting onto the pitch in the near future."
Srhoj has been training with Glory for the past fortnight and will continue to build his fitness in a bid to press for selection as soon as possible. "I'm feeling fitter and fitter with every session and I'll continue to work overtime to show the coach I'm ready to go," he said. "It has been a while since I last played in Australia and I'm really looking forward to putting the Glory shirt back on and getting out there with the boys." Glory now has the maximum 23 contracted players allowed under A-League regulations, however, the club has the option to bring a guest player into the squad for seven matches during the season.
NATIONALS BECKON FOR THIRTY-TWO YOUNGSTERS
The pick of Western Australia's up-and-coming footballers have been selected for duty at the National Youth Championship in Coffs Harbour come the end of September. The week-long event is a key part of Football Federation Australia's junior development program and provides players an opportunity to showcase their wares to scouts from Australia and overseas. Thirty-two teenagers from the west will line-up at the Nationals where they'll be hoping to follow Eli Babalj, Milljon Butshiire, Cameron Edwards and Trent Sainsbury by gaining Australian Under-17 honours.
The State Under-15's qualified for the semi-finals last year and expectations are high that this can be matched or bettered by the current crop of players. "We have over the last few years implemented the process of creating a valuable player pathway starting with our academy structure and moving through representative State teams and on to National Training Centre and national team selection," said Andrew Bettell, Football West's development manager. "We are confident that the 2008 crop will continue the trend and all at Football West wish them well."
The State Under-15 squad for the 2008 National Youth Championship features Terrence Conner, Ryan Edwards, Hanafi Ghazali, Andrew Higgins, James Marocchi, James Marsden, Scott Mellish, Sabit Oyet, Storm Roux, Francis Soale, Blake Sokolowski, Samuel Sonpon, Jo Page, Adam Taggart, Steven Walmsley, Aryn Williams and Ryan Williams. Kenny Lowe, National Training Centre coach and assistant at Perth Glory, is in charge of the side.
The State Under-14 squad for the 2008 National Youth Championship consists of Brendan Catalano, Nathan De Abreu, Daniel Dols, Jimmy Fenlon, Scott Galloway, Alex Grant, Tom King, Jesse Makarounas, Sahr Musa, Harry O'Brien, Brandon O'Neil, Jo Page, Adrian Petroski, Shane Pickering, Riley Woodcock and Joseph Moseray. The team is under the guidance of former Perth Glory captain and current Glory Youth coach Gareth Naven.
MARSHALL EARNS HIS STRIPES
Chris Marshall has given the strongest possible indication that he’ll be a key figure at Swan I.C. in coming years. The young centre-back celebrated his first team debut with a goal against Western Knights and underlined his value to the side with a couple of commanding performances in more recent outings with Fremantle Spirit and Armadale. “It’s been great playing in the senior side and to have won two of the three games I’ve played is a bonus,” said 21-year old Marshall, who’d been buzzing in the reserves until his call-up. “It’s definitely quicker and more physical than the reserves and I’m finding myself being sorer after games with the first team, and there is also that step up in quality too.”
Lining up with the likes of Aaron Cole, Dom Ando and David McNally has provided Marshall a solid grounding as to what is expected at senior level. “Playing alongside Aaron at the back definitely makes your job easier. When you have players around you that have that experience and skill like most of our team does, you can just focus on your own game and you know everyone will do their bit and help you out,” Marshall said. “The coaches worked hard on the defence this season and they have had a really good year so far, and hopefully we can finish it off in the last few weeks.”
Marshall is one of several youngsters to successfully transition to first team football this year. He acknowledges a huge debt of gratitude to coach Paul Lincoln, who prior to this season was in charge of the black and whites second string. “I enjoyed working with Paul in the reserves and we had a lot of success there, I hope I can continue to work with him and the boys,” commented Marshall. “Paul has achieved a lot already in his first year as coach, giving the younger guys a chance and they have gone on to become better players and regular first team starters, and this will be beneficial for the club in the long term.”
Having made his mark as a junior with Swan Districts, Marshall moved to Swan four years ago and has made a swift rise up through the clubs ranks. Now in the first team, the only thing he wants is to continue bettering himself as a player and enjoy his football. “I just want to continue playing with the first team and become as good as I can,” he commented. “Obviously, I want to get as far as possible with my football career and take any chances that come my way, but for now all I’m thinking about is the present and this weekend’s game.” Swan welcome Stirling Lions to Francis Street on Saturday.
MCMURRAY REMAINS COMMITTED TO THE CAUSE
Their play-off dreams may have ended some time ago but that doesn’t mean E.C.U. Joondalup captain Ian McMurray had dropped his head. The northern suburb’s side sat proudly at the top of the table after half a dozen games and seemingly set to challenge for regular season honours, however, things soon began to unravel for the club. “With the start we had and the way we were playing, it looked as though we could be up there challenging for a top four finish,” said McMurray. “Then we hit a bad patch and our poor League form has ended up with us in the bottom four. Then came the semi-final Cup loss to Western Knights, which was very disappointing to all of us as it was our only chance of silverware this season.”
McMurray attributes Joondalup’s slide down the table - they’ve managed just two wins in thirteen games - to a horrid injury run, suspension and players going overseas. But at the end of the day he’s not making excuses. “Yes, we have had players away, injuries and suspensions but so has every other team,” said McMurray, now in his third season with Joondalup. “The fact of the matter is at the moment we aren’t playing well and confidence and morale is low. But the team are working hard in training and who knows, with a little bit of luck on Saturday it could lift us and get us back on track.”
Joondalup will have a bearing on who does lift the Premier League trophy with games against top two Sorrento and Floreat Athena in the closing weeks of 2008. While under no illusion as to the difficult task facing his team, McMurray hopes Joondalup can pick themselves up and finish the season with a late flourish. “We have some hard games remaining, two of which are against top four teams,” said 31-year old McMurray. “If we play to our ability and win we could still potentially have a big say in who are champions but more importantly would let us climb the ladder and finish our season on a high.”
In addition to his role as a Joondalup player, McMurray steps in to assist senior coach Chris Nicholson when Willie McNally, Perth Glory’s goalkeeper coach, is on A-League duty. Nicholson is pleased to have someone as knowledgeable about the game as McMurray is liaising between the coaching and playing staff. “Ian is as frustrated as all of us with recent results - but has showed his leadership on the park tremendously well,” commented Nicholson. “He has never lost his belief, nor shirked his responsibility - which sometimes he will be the first to admit has cost his game a little at times - but he has skippered the side with integrity all season.”
Earlier this year McMurray had the honour of playing for the State in friendlies with Perth Glory and the East Java Under-23 team. “It was a fantastic honour to be selected for the State team which I thoroughly enjoyed and it has been one of the highlights of my soccer career,” he enthused. “Playing against Glory was great, the guys are full-time professionals so it was a good challenge for me personally and as a team to see how we would perform - and we won the game. In Indonesia we were treated like professionals. The game itself was very hard; the conditions, temperature and surface were against us and although the result was bad for us I’m sure everyone loved the experience.”
Playing representative football is not new to McMurray who gained Under-18 honours with Scotland. The big striker was on the books of First Division side Dunfermline Athletic and spent time in the non-League with Linglithgow Rose, Dunnipace Juniors, Fauldhouse United and Shotts Bon Accord prior to moving to Perth a few years ago. He’s been playing as a visa player for Joondalup since but has recently taken steps to make Australia his permanent home by becoming a resident. “I’m still a visa player but I’m in the process of becoming a resident and hopefully all being well this will be through early next year,” said McMurray, a former Scotland youth international.
The season may be drawing to a close but the next few months will be busy for McMurray who is planing to wed his fiance. “It’s a big year personally next year for me, in February I get married in Scotland to my fiancee, wee Kirsty, which will be very special,” said McMurray, who will no doubt the centre of attention for a number of clubs as they prepare for 2009. “It is always flattering to hear that teams are interested in your services, but I am an ECU player at the moment and my main focus is collecting maximum points from our remaining games and scoring to add to my goal tally this season,” McMurray asserted.
DUNN ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY STATE SQUAD
Western Australia coach Robbie Dunn has selected a 32-man squad in preparation for the Stratco Cup clash against South Australia on 11th October. Dunn has been delighted at the response from the players so far in making themselves available for selection. “The players can now see that Football West are serious about the State team and have been brilliant in making themselves available” said Dunn. “It is a great honour to play for your State and we had Scott Bulloch sign with the Perth Glory on the back of his performance for the state side against them in June. I am confident that we will have our A-team available and primed for action come October 11 to knock off the ‘croweaters’ and bring the Stratco Cup back to WA.”
Those invited to train for the State team are John Lund, Darryl Platten (Armadale), Liam Lilly, Johnny Mirco (Cockburn City), Adam Bachillor, Ante Kovacevic, John Migas, Daniel Niederberger, Brad Scott (Floreat Athena), Jason Barrera, Callum Roberts (Fremantle Spirit), Jason Colli, Shayne Pryce (Inglewood United), Ian McMurray, Craig Young (E.C.U. Joondalup), Andy Brown, Phil O'Callaghan (Mandurah City), Matt Danskin, Gareth Deeg, Todd Howarth, Antonio Naglieri, David Onoforo, Greg Sharland (Perth S.C.), Todd Harnwell, Stuart Montgomery, Neil Young (Sorrento), Marc Anthony, Phil Straker (Stirling Lions), Aaron Cole, Damian Scali (Swan I.C.), Luka Jukic and David Micevski (Western Knights).
SPOTLIGHT SHINES ON DUNDEE’S HINDLEY
Goalkeeper Bryn Hindley has made a strong start to his time at Scottish Premier League club Dundee United. The one-time State junior representative played the starring role in the Under-19’s 4-2 win away at Motherwell on Saturday. Having conceded after only two minutes, Hindley pulled off a couple of terrific saves to prevent Motherwell from running away with the game. The Tannadice teenagers equalised before the break, then piled on three goals in a pulsating second half highlighted by Hindley’s superb fingertip save as Motherwell sought a way back in. This just days after the teenager saved a penalty from Northern Ireland youth international Declan Bunting in the 2-1 loss to Celtic. Hindley, who played the last eighteen months with E.C.U. Joondalup, headed overseas to commence a two-year contract with Dundee United in early July.
DJULBIC OUT FOR FIVEY
Dino Djulbic has been handed a five-game suspension after being found guilty of unsporting conduct toward a match official. The Perth Glory defender was facing a possible 18-month ban for allegedly spitting in the direction of referee Peter Green during Sunday’s 5-2 loss at Sydney F.C. After viewing footage of the incident, Football Federation Australia’s match review panel downgraded the offence from an R3 - spitting at a match official, as alleged by Green - to an R6 one of showing dissent. The panel added an extra four weeks to the automatic one match suspension Djulibic received for behind shown a straight red card. Djulbic won’t be available until Glory’s round-nine trip to Adelaide United in late October.
RUTHERFORD EARNS HIS PLACE IN THE DEN
Stirling Lions have unearthed some immensely talented players in recent times with Chris Rutherford being the latest to make his impression. The 18-year old defender has slotted neatly into coach Mike Lyons’ starting eleven at right-back this season, having made his way up through the ranks at Macedonia Park over the past few years. “I’ve really enjoyed it to date, it’s a lot more physical than I’ve been used to but I’m getting used to it now,” Rutherford said of life as a first team player. “You don’t have much time on the ball and it’s something I’ve worked hard on this season.”
The absence of Darko Ilmanoski, Kevin Henderson and Steven Hesketh provided just the opportunity the young defender was looking for to step into the senior line-up this year. Rutherford was pleased to be given a chance by coaches Lyons and Paul Simmons, who he is absolutely thrilled to be working with. “Mike and Geordie have really worked hard on the little things that you need to make it to the next level in the game,” he commented. “They’ve both been great for me, especially Geordie who has taken me aside after training and told me what I can improve on … he’s always in my ear telling me what to do which has been great.”
After a handful of appearances as an unused substitute, Rutherford made his senior debut in late June’s 5-0 demolition of Fremantle Spirit. Such has been his impact that Rutherford has played every minute of the nine subsequent games for Stirling, who have slowly moved their way up to sixth on the table. “Chris has done all right, his only a young lad and he’s keen as mustard,” commented Simmons. “He’s got a great leap on him and he has no fear of putting the hard tackles in - we’re really pleased with him as he’s come on in leaps and bounds this season.”
Rutherford played juniors for Hamersley Rovers and E.C.U. Joondalup before relocating to Stirling at the age of 13. And while he’s hardly looked back since, Rutherford says he wasn’t tempted to try his luck in trials for the Perth Glory Youth side when held a few months back. “Me and Matt Italiano decided it wasn’t going to be the best thing for us at this moment in time,” Rutherford said, before tipping his hat to team mates Dean Evans and Ludovic Boi who made the final cut. “It’s great for Deano and Ludo making the squad and I wish therm all the best.”
COMMUNITY EVENLY SPLIT ON SUNDAY GAME
The votes were evenly distributed in last weeks' football.net poll which asked 'Should the semi-professional Premier League match of the week be played on Sunday?' 51% of the vote was cast in favour of moving the pick of the weekend's action to a Sunday afternoon, whereas the remaining 49% prefer to keep the status quo have Sunday set aside for the amateur leagues. 207 votes were received during the nine-day polling period.
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This page was last updated on the 31st October, 2008