THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Goals flow and entertainment is high whenever arch-rivals Perth SC and Western Knights (3.00pm) come face-to-face, which means Dorriens Gardens is the place to be come Saturday afternoon. Andreas Oliveira has been banging in the goals of late so his influence along with that of Dom De Felice and Shaun Kilkelly will be vital to how the Blues fare. The Knights have relied heavily on David Micevski and Simon Versaico for avenues to goal this season but just as much credit must go to captain David Annall, whose defensive contributions have been key to their successes. Make no bones about it - this will be one of the games of the season.
Third-placed Floreat Athena heads to Dalmatinac Park where they take on a resurgent Cockburn City (3.00pm). Scott Miller is hopeful of his team continuing the form that’s seen them pick up points from the last three league outings. David Tarka’s central defensive partnership with Shane Nunes will be vital along with the midfield muscle of Anthony Perriera. The service from Adam Bachiller and Branimir Mikulic will go a long way to helping Johnny Mirco achieve his goal of putting a couple past his former club.
Armadale can make it three wins on the trot when they host Inglewood United (3.00pm). James Robinson has been creating as well as scoring goals for the Reds, who’ve been well served defensively by captain Andy Bowyer and Matt Bennion. The mid-week capture of Steve Porter adds to their options, however, Garrin St Vall misses this week through suspension. Unbeaten in five trips to Alfred Skeet Oval, Inglewood are confident of making that six with Michael Baczynski back in midfield to partner Alex Stamatiadis and Dannie Richman.
At Macedonia Park its Stirling Lions verses ECU Joondalup (3.00pm). Paul Lincoln has endured a difficult first few weeks in the top job at Stirling so will be thankful for the return of Michael Pugliese, Dean Evans and Tom Ingram to his match day squad. Joondalup have not won at Stirling since 2004 but with Dale McCulloch's experience and Scott Bushby's attacking flair, not to mention the talent John Thornley has of turning chances into goals, they have very good reason to be confident of ending that unwanted run.
A positive result away at Sorrento will go a long way to getting Balcatta’s season back on track (3.00pm). Balcatta have failed to collect so much as a point from their last two outings and in order for that to end Ashley Rosendale will have to rediscover his goal scoring touch, and Anthony Jones and Andy O’Neill must win the battle in the centre of the park. Sorrento’s hopes of registering their first league win at Percy Doyle Reserve this season have been setback with both Daryl Platten and Jared Love set to miss the game.
The fact Swan United and Mandurah City have so far failed to ignite make their showdown at the Swan Italian Club (3.00pm) a six pointer. The black and whites coach Jamie Goodman could be tempted to hand new signing Michael Van Dongen a starting debut as he sweats on the availability of Darragh Kenevey and Tom Shepheard. Jordan Rhodes and Craig Young pull the string in midfield for Mandurah with team captain Andy Brown enjoying his new role as an out-and-out striker. Ivan Zuvela has put his hand up for his first game having joined the Dolphins in mid-week.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
The highlight of Round Five of the Division One season is the derby showdown between second-plced Dianella White Eagles and third-placed Bayswater City at Dianella Reserve. The teams have already met once this year with Bayswater claiming a 3-1 Night Series win, however, Dianella are a much-changed side to that of three months ago. Renato Jelen is in line for his Dianella debut having moved across from Cockburn City, while the return from injury of Stefan Smiljanic as well as veteran Dale Wingell provides the sides with a few extra options when going forward.
There’s another big derby at Walter Padbury Reserve with Gosnells City hosting Forrestfield United. Gosnells have surprised many with their strong start of the year and want to rebound quickly having dropped points away at Bayswater last week. Forrestfield defeated Gosnells in pre-season and overcame Canning City last time out, however, they will need to be in tip-top form to pick up their first away point of the campaign. Victory to either eastern corridor rival will keep them within touching distance of the leaders, whereas a loss will drop them into a rapidly congesting mid-table.
Its bottom verses top at Wotton Reserve where Morley Windmills are in for a long afternoon against free-scoring Bunbury Forum Force. Ian McKean is expected to have his first run in Ashfield colours when struggling Rockingham City comes visiting Ashfield Reserve. Not a lot has been gone right so far this season for Wanneroo City, who rank their home fixture against Fremantle Spirit a must-win. Both Canning City and Queens Park are confident of emerging from their important meeting at Burrendah Reserve with all three points.
PERTH V KNIGHTS PROMISES EVERYTHING
One of the most anticipated games of the 2010 takes place at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon when State champions Perth SC take on long-time rivals Western Knights. It’s been a superb start to the home and away series by the top of the table Knights, who are unbeaten after six games, but they have Perth breathing down their neck in second place, just one point adrift. The State League scene has been dominated by these clubs for much of the part of a decade and, with both recording victories last time out, this meeting could well provide an early glimpse of September’s Grand Final.
Goals from Andreas Oliveira and Dom De Felice enabled Perth to come from behind and beat Mandurah City 2-1 in their last league outing. “It was a good, hard fought win for us (at Mandurah),” Perth sctriker Ian McMurray said. “Although we were a goal down we equalised soon after and were playing well, if it wasn’t for Phil Straker being in top form we could have gone in at half-time two or three goals up. We continued playing well after the break - so did Phil - but eventually we got the second goal were pretty comfortable for the remainder of the game.”
The Knights go into the game on the back of five consecutive league wins, the most recent being 2-0 against newly promoted Balcatta. “They have shown from the start of the Night Series that they’re not just making up the numbers after coming up from the First Division,” said David Annall, captain of the Knights. “We finally chalked up our first clean sheet for the season - that was a well overdue bonus. But the biggest positive was the fact that we were consistent for the entire 90 minutes, from the lads at the back all the way to up front. It was good to watch from where I was.”
McMurray knows how difficult it will be to get the better of the Knights on Saturday. “They are a very strong team who’ve been playing well and deserve to be on top (of the table),” said the striker. “But we’ve also been getting results and our game is improving. With us winning the Grand Final and more recently the Night Series final, I’m sure they’ll be out to try and get one up on us. Matches between the teams are always exciting, physical encounters and with the winner going top of the league it’s going to be a cracker.”
Annall is determined for the Knights to come home with all three points, especially as they’ve won just once in five visits to Dorrien Gardens. “The games between us and Perth are becoming classic encounters,” Annall said. “Normo’s always got the Perth boys fired up for our games so we have to be sharp from the start and get on top early. We haven’t had trouble scoring this year and hopefully Monty (Stuart Montgomery) and (Anthony) Campbell can keep buzzing up-front for us. The two of them have been working well together and seem to complimenting each other as the season progresses.”
COYNE PUSHES FOR WORLD CUP SPOT (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Perth Glory defender Chris Coyne is desperate to return to the Liaoning Hongyun line-up for tomorrow's game with Changsha Ginde and convince Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek that he's worthy of a place in Australia's squad for South Africa. 31-year old Coyne played in Liaoning's first four games of the season before a clash of heads against Qingdao Jonoon left him requiring a dozen stitches and on the sidelines. "I had a shiner, the stitches were still in and it was weeping and puffy so the coach said it wasn't worth the risk in case I clashed heads again or got an elbow," said Coyne, who missed last week's game as a precaution.
Although the former Luton Town captain played an important role in Australia's World Cup qualification, he has not featured for the national team since returning home to join Glory last July. But with injury and form clouds hovering over a number of World Cup hopefuls, Coyne has boosted his selection chances by heading overseas rather than enjoying a post-season rest. "The biggest thing for me was fitness after having a few lapses last season with my back," he said. "It's been important that I've kept playing and got myself super-fit, which was the thing Pim made clear he was looking for from players."
Since moving to China, Coyne's only contact with Australian team officials has been via a member of the conditioning staff, who called to check on his fitness. "All I know is I've done the right thing for myself," Coyne said. "I've had to sacrifice not living in Perth after I'd just started to enjoy being home. If I don't get picked, I can look at myself in the mirror later on in life and know I've done everything I can do. I'm fit and playing well and if I don't get selected I've got no problem."
POTENTIAL NOT REFLECTED IN RESULTS SAYS QUEENS PARK’S ULLBRICHT
Queens Park are preparing to move up the Division One table having put a tough couple of days behind them. Attacker Matt Ullbricht says the club has consigned weekend losses to Bunbury Forum Force and Stirling Lions to history as the focus moves to Saturday’s game at Canning City. “The boys are confident of bouncing back from the weekend by getting a good result against Canning, but we know that it won’t be a walk in the park,” said 22-year old Ullbricht. “To take three points home with us would be massive, it’ll push us up the ladder a fair bit and give us the confidence to play with the freedom we would like to.”
An injury suffered a month ago forced Ullbricht out of Saturday’s six-goal defeat in Bunbury early, leading him to miss the 10-1 Cup loss at Stirling on Monday. “I was always going to be under a cloud to play both games. I got a couple of knocks early against Bunbury game and that was the end of my weekend,” explained Ullbricht, who is far from down heartened by the weekend results. “We didn’t implement our game plan against Bunbury but, apart from conceding in the opening minute, we were still in the match until the last twenty minutes. And the boys were competitive for the first half against Stirling, who found another gear in the second half.”
Ullbricht admits to being impressed by the quality of football played by Queens Park since his off-season transfer from Armadale in pursuit of a regular first team spot. “The strength of the squad we have has definitely not been reflected in the results so far this year,” commented Ullbricht, whose team are one of three sitting near the foot of the table with three points. “We have quality players all over the park, so with time the group will learn more about each other and the results should come … all the boys at the club know what we are capable of achieving.”
That strong sense of self-belief was on show when Queens Park registered their first win of the season by downing eastern corridor rivals Forrestfield United 3-2 a fortnight ago. Ullbricht, scorer of two of his teams three goals, is adamant they can use that performance to kick-start their winter. “It was a big result for the club, first wins are always good but for it to be against such a big rival was great,” he said. “I think it clicked that if we stick to our game plans and the majority of players win, or at least compete well in their personal battles out on the park then things will go our way.”
UWA-NEDLANDS - A NEW POWER IN THE WOMEN'S GAME (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
The past five years has seen some significant changes at UWA-Nedlands, change which could well see the club emerge as a major player in the women's game in this state. Senior coach Conrad McKelvie's imprint can be found all over the clubs women's program, transforming them into a competitive unit that play an attractive brand of football. "We have the goal to eventually be the best club in the state but we're happy to take a slow and measured approach to building up our club," McKelvie said.
The UWA-Nedlands coach is quick to dispel the generally held perception UWA-Nedlands is a student only club. "Five years ago it may have been the case of seeing huge numbers going in and out the door of University teams each year in the old Division One." said McKelvie. "But since I've taken over we've taken our time to build our squad up. Each year has been a better squad than the previous year and this year is no exception."
UWA-Nedlands are certainly developing into a more than competitive team with stability being one of the strengths. The departure of four players has been offset for the coming season by the recruitment of Jamie Blake, Kim Sedgwick, Ailee Taggart and goalkeeper Linda Kavumbura along with the return of Stephanie Graskoski and Claire Meaton. "We have only recruited three girls from UWA this year into our premier squad," said the coach. "The majority of our players have joined either from our Division Two team or from other clubs."
The future of the club looks to be solid ground as a result of the summers joining of forces between the UWA senior and Nedlands junior clubs. "We've now had a merger and we have juniors which we hope will stem the past flow of players to clubs like Subiaco," said McKelvie. "There are already a number of promising juniors in the U13s, U15s and U17s teams that we hope will step up to the Premier team in a few years time." Now one of the largest women's clubs with six senior teams, UWA-Nedlands looks set to challenge the traditional powers not just this year but also beyond.
VAN DONGEN FLIES WITH THE SWANS
Swan United has added experience to their young squad by bringing in midfielder Michael Van Dongen. The timing of Van Dongen's recruitment could not have been better with Swan preparing for Saturday's vital clash with Mandurah City. "I'm really looking forward to the next chapter in my football and a good season at Swan," said the former Canning City and Armadale player. "I'm feeling fitter then ever and I've definitely got the passion back to get out there and play some good football."
Van Dongen began the year with Armadale but, unhappy with his form, opted to move on. "After a few discussions with Copper (Swan coach Jamie Goodman) I decided to pull the plug at Armadale and after a few training sessions felt Swan would be a great team to be a part of," he explained. "I've been good mates with Rory Mouttet for some time and I was excited at the prospect of rejoining forces with him. To add to that I'm also good mates with Robert Monterosso, I've enjoyed playing alongside him in the State futsal games."
Van Dongen likes what has seen of Swan having watched their last three games frm the sidelines. "I was very impressed with the team's performance against ECU Joondalup and thought they definitely deserved more from that game," he said. "Similarly, they played some very nice football against Stirling Panthers in the Cup. I think it's fantastic having such a young team with so much talent and look forward to filling a senior role on the pitch."
Swan boss Goodman is delighted to have Van Dongen on board for the rest of the season. "He's a versatile player who can play in an attacking or defensive role, has a great work ethic and always looks to play football," commented Goodman. "Michael has been loyal player for Canning City prior to his move to Armadale. He trained very well with us last week and he feels comfortable amongst the Swan United surroundings. He will provide a lot more flexibility for the side and provides me with a lot more options."
There's a good chance Van Dongen will come up against twin brother Paul when Swan takes on Western Knights next weekend. "After being team mates our entire lives, this will be the first time in nine years of State League football that we play off against each other," he said. "Paul is a hardworking midfielder and in my opinion a fantastic footballer who took his opportunity last year when Canning City got promoted to Premier League. The Knights also have three other of my former team mates playing with them so that will make the clash even more exciting ... I'll be extremely fired up for that challenge."
MANDURAH SNAPS UP ZUVELA
Ivan Zuvela isn’t looking back after making one of the toughest decisions of his football career. A Western Knights player for over a decade, 28-year old Zuvela has taken the plunge by joining Mandurah City for the remainder of 2010. “It was very hard to leave, and to be honest I didn’t want to leave. But for a few reasons I feel like I had to move on,” said Zuvela. “I’d thought about moving for a while but never actually did. I wasn’t really in the mix at Knights, it felt that no matter what I did I just couldn’t break into the team.”
Once word got out that Zuvela was contemplating a move he very quickly found himself being courted by a couple of Premier League clubs, including State champions Perth SC. “It was nice to be wanted by a team like Perth, I trained with them and they were really good to me, both the players and the coaching staff,” Zuvela explained. “But Mandurah contacted me first and I feel they are a better fit for me. They have some excellent things happening off-field, a great coach and good quality players … I’m looking forward to be part of the club and the challenges ahead.”
Having played for the Knights for so long, it’s hardly surprising there are a lot of things Zuvela will miss about the club. “There’s something about the club that drags you in and makes you never want to leave,” he stated. “The supporters and committee are unbelievable, I’ll miss the interaction with all of them. Nash Field may not be the prettiest of grounds but it’s a brilliant place to be a part. And of course there’s the players, I’ve made many lifelong friends at the clubs - Dave Annall, Stuart Montgomery, Daniel Trim are just a few - and will miss seeing them every week.”
Zuvela has set himself the target of playing every game Mandurah is involved in for the remainder of this season, beginning on Saturday against Swan United. “Mandurah are on the bottom at the moment but we still want to make the top five and I want to help them get there,” he said. “(Coach) Stuart Young has put together a quality squad. They signed Jordan Rhodes a couple of weeks ago and with Ryan Townsend at the back, Andy Brown in midfield and Phil Straker between the posts the potential is there for Mandurah to get to where they want to be.”
WILLIAMS WORLD CUP DECISION
Rhys Williams' World Cup availability will be decided soon when Australia and Middlesbrough medical staff get together to assess the condition of his troublesome pelvic injury. The 21-year old utility has been playing through pain for the last few weeks at Boro, having missed two months earlier in the year due to the pelvic problem. "Our medical staff have to get together with Australia's medical staff and say, 'This is the condition he's in' and then decide what happens," Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan told the club's official website. Those talks are expected to take place before Australia boss Pim Verbeek makes the final call on his Socceroos squad for the South Africa tournament. Since arriving at the Riverside in October, the Boro boss has been impressed with Williams, even offering the young Aussie a three-and-a-half-year contract extension in February.
GLORY SECURE LIVERPOOL ACE FOWLER
Perth Glory’s three-week pursuit of Robbie Fowler has paid off handsomely with the club receiving confirmation the Liverpool legend has agreed to a one-year deal. Club owner Tony Sage and deputy chairman Lui Giuliani pulled out all stops to out-bid A-League rival Sydney FC and several cashed-up Middle East clubs to win the race to sign Fowler on a deal believed to be worth around $600,000. “Our offer wasn’t the highest. There were two or three other offers, especially from a mid east club, that were higher,” insisted owner Tony Sage. “So why did he decide to come to Perth? We convinced him that the lifestyle here (was excellent), the way the club’s going, the direction we’re heading.”
Fowler scored nine goals in 26 appearances last season for North Queensland Fury, who were coached by new Glory assistant Ian Ferguson. Glory’s ability to deliver a home final next season will determine whether not it is a success according for Sage. “We want to win and if Robbie was just going to be an ornament we wouldn’t be interested,” he said. “The aim again is top four. We missed out by one point last year and that was very disappointing. But we want to have a home final. I would be disappointed if we didn’t finish top two, obviously, but top four is the aim initially.” Glory have now finalised its 23-player roster for next season and Fowler will join his new team mates for pre-season training in June.
ARMADALE’S ROBINSON IS THE ONE
The local football community has voted James Robinson as the best import in the top flight. The first footballwa.net poll of 2010 'Which import will have the greatest impact this winter?' with the Armadale striker trumping by a country mile. Robinson registered a staggering 53% of the count to finish well clear of Western Knights target man Anthony Campbell (14%) and midfielder Shane Robinson (11%) of Stirling Lions. Sorrento’s Adam Hayton (9%) was in fourth spot and closely followed by Charlie Coymn-Platt (8%) from ECU Joondalup with Stirling’s Bobby Wilson (6%) completing the field. 183 votes were cast in the 15-day voting period.
GLORY DUO BOOST WORLD CUP CLAIMS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
England-based Perth Glory duo Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski could profit from the high number of Socceroos struggling for game time in Europe as the countdown continues to the World Cup in South Africa. Burns and Sterjovski stepped up their personal claims for places in Pim Verbeek's 23-man squad when they chose to train with English Premier League clubs upon completion of A-League commitments. And both are convinced they now find themselves in a similar situation to the likes of Harry Kewell (Galatasaray), Vince Grella, Brett Emerton (both Blackburn Rovers), Mark Bresciano (Palermo) Carl Valeri (Sassuolo) who have not made the impact they would have liked at club level recently.
Burns, who is training with Fulham, and Sterjovski, who spent time with the Cottagers before moving to Blackburn, are not allowed to play in competitive matches but have been making the most of the rigorous training. "There aren't that many (Socceroos) players playing regularly, so surely we are in as good a position as any of them," Burns told the 'West Australian'. "It isn't a great position for the (Australian) team but players like Mile and I have been there from the start and Pim knows what we are capable of and how much experience we have. The more players he has to pick from the better. It's no secret that Pim rates training in Europe higher than actually playing in the A-League."
Mark Schwarzer had no hesitation telling Fulham boss Roy Hodgson his two Socceroo team mates would blend in perfectly in a training-only spell at the English Premier League club. Burns and Sterjovski now hope the word of Schwarzer and Hodgson could tip the scales in their favour when Verbeek names his initial squad. "A lot of other Australians are training every day with their clubs but they don't get game time at the weekend, so they are in the same boat as us," said Sterjovski, who has made a steady recovery after a back problem. "I definitely think my chances have improved. I already feel sharper and stronger."
ASHFIELD PREVAIL IN SHOOT-OUT
Penalties were needed at Harold Rossiter Reserve where Ashfield held their nerve to out-shoot Shamrock Rovers 5-3 in front of a big crowd. The lead changed hands five times in regulation time, which finished 3-3, before Ashfield prevailed in the shoot-out. Shamrock's slick movement of the ball had the visitors under pressure early, Nick Carroll and Damien Smyth linking to great effect down the left. By contrast Ashfield rarely looked like getting an early goal, although they were presented a couple of half chances courtesy of Shamrock's failure make some standard clearances. Robbie Fanning was on the receiving end of three crosses before the Shamrock striker finally found his measure, leaping high to head in a Nick Carroll cross after 16 minutes.
The teams were left soon enough as Gareth Lloyd took a couple of touches wide on the left before swinging a cross to the far post where Mitch Castrilli's downward header was on target. Shamrock weren't about to be put off by this setback and five minutes later James Kilbee restored their lead with a classy lob after being set-up by Fanning. However, Ashfield were just as determined and Jon Greenwood restored parity in the 37th minute by heading into the net after Joe Woodin's chip shot came back off the post. A rash challenge on 16-year old Jake Cornell resulted in a penalty that Greenwood duly converted to give Ashfield the lead. There'd be further disappointment for Shamrock before the half was out, striker Kilbee forced out of the game with a suspected fractured cheekbone following an accidental clash with Todd Busby.
The second half was a much tighter affair with the standard of football dropping away but not the intensity with which it was played. With the visitors showing signs of tiring, Shamrock increased the tempo but could only manage to create on a couple of genuine chances, the best of which was a Fanning header that Busby pushed away. A couple of swift counterattacks almost conjured Ashfield what would have been a sealing goal, however, just ten minutes from the end Sean Brooks fired into the bottom corner after some fine lead-up play to make it three-all. Shamrock enjoyed the better of the first period of extra-time with Ashfield controlling the second, but with neither able to score the game was sent to a shoot-out.
GREEN MACHINE KICKS INTO GEAR
Olympic Kingsway became the only team from the Sunday League to make the last sixteen of the State League Cup after downing Murdoch University 3-1 at Len Shearer Reserve. The ball had been in motion less than a minute when Josh Rolls beat his marker to cross to the far post where Jono Doherty was lining up target when Kudzi Chigwanda intervened. Lee Sheppard was the architect of the visitors’ next chance, whipping the ball into the path of Doherty but he was unable to get enough power on his header to trouble goalkeeper Andy Barrett.
Kingsway’s persistence paid off in the 25th minute when Sheppard’s free-kick from the halfway line sat perfectly for Danny Taylor to volley in from an acute angle. Murdoch stepped up a gear in the hope of going into the break on level terms with John Brennan and Daniele U’Llisse calling the ‘keeper into action. But otherwise the closing stages of the half were dominated by solid defending, Kingsway being well served by Daniel Cuticone and Taylor while at the opposite end it was Jacob King and Mark Kendall that stood tall.
The second stanza opened with Murdoch in control and five minutes in were handsomely rewarded as U’Llisse hit the back of the net at the third attempt after ‘keeper Daniel Armitage had blocked both previous efforts. Murdoch should have gone ahead on 55 minutes Kendall put a free header over the top having been picked out at by Shae Watmore’s corner. With chances coming the way of both sides, it was Kingsway that got all-important breakthrough in the 80th minute with substitute Sal Marrapodi volleying in from 9-metres a partially cleared corner. The game was put to bed seven minutes later when Cuticone clicked the ball on to Rolls who ran it to the edge of the 18-yard box before calmly slotting past Barrett.
BALCATTA TIP OUT INGLEWOOD
Inglewood United’s early season woes continued with elimination from the State League Cup at the hands of Balcatta, who claimed a 3-1 victory this afternoon at Clipsal Stadium. Geneveo Human created the first real chance of the afternoon by playing wide to the left where Andy O’Neill charged forward before crossing into the 6-yard box where Matt Wardle cleared the danger. The resulting corner saw O’Neill send the ball to the edge of the 18-yard box from where Matt Italiano’s rocket was fantastically tipped away by goalkeeper Oliver Taseski. The closest Inglewood came to scoring was when Igor Arsovski found Jason Colli but his shot crashed into the side netting. Julian Piromalli’s run out of defence brought about the opening goal on 37 minutes, the defender playing a tidy one-two with Italiano before thundering into the net from inside the area.
The second half was only minutes old when Aaron Colli found substitute Michael Baczynski but his shot from the edge of the area lacked the power to beat ‘keeper Bobson Koroma. The hosts were level soon enough, Karl O’Reilly crossing into the danger zone where an unmarked Baczynski headed past the ‘keeper with 51 minutes on the clock. But just as Inglewood looked like reversing Balcatta’s early dominance, Muhamed Komaderic headed powerfully in from an O’Neill corner to restore the visitors’ advantage. Komaderic blasted high as he sought to add to the tally, while late in the half O’Neill’s delicate chip crept over the crossbar. Adam Stillitano hadn’t been on the pitch long when he volleyed in Balcatta’s third and final goal after an 85th minute corner spilled to him at the back post.
SUPER MARIO BAGS FOUR AS STIRLING ROMP IT IN (courtesy Stirling Lions)
Mario Marcinko announced his arrival at Stirling Lions by putting away four quality goals in today's 10-1 Cup rout of Division One opponent Queens Park at Macedonia Park. Stirling opened the game in an attacking frame of mind as Ndumba Makeche squared perfectly for Ludovic Boi whose shot fell comfortably into the hands of the goalkeeper. The home fans need wait only until the 5th minute for their team to take the lead when Paul Dickson's solid work in midfield sent Marcinko on his way through to slot past the 'keeper. Two minutes later Marcinko turned provider by slipping a delightful pass through for Boi to net at close-range.
Stirling posted their third goal only 10 minutes after kick-off as Clayton Arnez supplied an inch perfect cross onto the head of Marcinko, who glanced into the top corner. Queens Park were doing all they could to stop the landslide and seven minutes later grabbed a surprise goal when Josh Gowland got his angles right having pounced on Matthew Stares' failure to clear the danger. Marcinko sent a long-range shot into the post as he sought to complete a quick hat-trick, while down the other end Wazingwa Magala should have done better than head wide at a corner. Arnez and Jamie De Abreu combined to find Stares on top of the 18-yard box from where he blasted in goal number four. Half-time was looming when Marcinko headed in after Arnez's deep cross from the right was nodded into the goalmouth by Ndumba Makeche.
The second half was more like a training run for the home team, who extended their lead five minutes in when De Abreu netted from a tight angle after being set-up by Boi. Jason Feather found the back of the net on 65 minutes but Queens Park's hopes of reducing the deficit were snuffed out by an offside flag. A minute it was Bobby Wilson's turn to get amongst the goals, the defender latching onto a deep free-kick from Stares which he converted from 5-meters out. The introduction of Jake Geddes came with immediate impact, the youngster sent tumbling to the ground to earn Stirling a penalty but his spot kick was palmed away from the net by the 'keeper.
Stuart Long, who'd also come off the bench, scored his first league goal for Stirling after Arnez combined with Dickson. The scoring was not yet over, 85th minutes were on the clock when De Abreu's deep cross was powerfully by defender Daniel Stoitis, who got his name on the score sheet with the home teams' ninth goal. The final nail in the coffin came via a lovely piece of play in which Geddes sent Marcinko through on goal with the striker cleverly chipping the 'keeper from 30-metres, the ball hitting the underside of the bar before bouncing over the line. The Queens Park lads were glad when the referee brought the game to a close by signalling full-time soon after.
MIRCO MAGIC GIVES FLOREAT VICTORY
Floreat Athena commenced their State League Cup defence by dumping Division One opponent Gosnells City 8-0 at Litis Stadium. Johnny Mirco was the star of the show with four goals on an afternoon Branimir Mikulic, James Isaia, Adam Bachiler and substitute Saul Contera also hit the target. It took both teams a good twenty minutes to settle into the game, possibly due to having played league games just 48-hours earlier. Floreat opened their account after 24 minutes when Mirco’s rasping drive snuck inside the far post. It wasn’t until two minutes before the break that the home side added to their lead, Jason Barrera threading a pinpoint pass to the overlapping Julian Madaschi whose cutback was lobbed over the stranded ‘keeper by Isaia. However, Gosnells were unfortunate not to have pegged a goal back before half-time when Sam Maguire’s shot was cleared off the line after Alex Dunn failed to take the ball clearly on top of his area.
The second half had been underway seven minutes when Bachiller’s good work on the left allowed him to deliver a far post cross which Mikulic slammed into the net, but only after wrong-footing the ‘keeper with a clever dummy. Isaia played through four minutes later for Mirco, who took a couple of touches before unleashing an explosive drive across Alan Dunlop which hit the back of the net. The introduction of Miki Vujacic and Contera paid immediate dividends with the latter chasing down a back pass and dispossessing Dunlop before slotting in goal number five from a metre. A failed clearance in the 77th minute paved the way for Mirco to secure his hat-trick with a superb strike from an acute angle. Dunlop made a good save to thwarted Bachiller in a one-on-one, however, the Floreat player had the last laugh by clipping the loose ball into the net. The scoring was completed in the last minute when Contera put through Mirco who made no mistake in finding the target for a fourth time.
COCKING DOUBLE SEES SWAN THROUGH
A first half double by Alex Cocking has put Swan United into the next round of the State League Cup, the black and whites defeating Stirling Panthers this afternoon at the Swan Italian Club. Cocking’s brace was compliment by a late John Hunter strike which secured Jamie Goodman his first win as senior coach of Swan. “It’s always a difficult game in the Cup against lower opposition but I thought we were good today,” said Goodman. “We controlled the game and should have won by more. I told the players before the game to go out and express themselves and I thought they did just that, which was pleasing.”
Stirling, last year’s Sunday League champions, headed in to the game full of confidence but it was the home side that was the more threatening. David McNally flashed an early header over the crossbar having beaten goalkeeper Simon Madaschi to the ball while Cocking’s first time strike was also narrowly high. This pressure was rewarded on 11 minutes as Rory Mouttet played into the centre where James Sammut sent an inch-perfect ball onto the head of Cocking, who wasn’t going to miss from 6-metres. The visitors’ desire for a quick response forced Mouttet to head away under pressure from Anthony Arnold. Brendan Craig fired wide of the target and a few minutes later Darragh Keveney played out of midfield to Liam Boland but his shot was also past the post.
Chances were increasingly presenting at both ends of the park in a fast-paced contest. Arnold hit a long-range attempt straight at Corey Hugo, then Craig’s powerful shot had Madaschi at full-length in saving. Swan increased their hold on the game in the 34th minute when Keveney provided a terrific through ball for Cocking, who remained composed as he fired low past Madaschi from 4-metres. The home team suffered a setback shortly after with the highly influential Kenevey sustaining an injury and replaced by John Mansaray. The half-time margin would have been greater had Cocking not sprayed wide after being found by Mansaray and, not long after, Boland fired the wrong side of the near post.
Stirling was taking the game up to their hosts only for poor delivery into the final third to continually let them down. Madaschi was doing his utmost to keep his team in the game, the ‘keeper twice keeping out shots by Sammut while attempts by Christian Lopez and Nick Joshi missed the target. The game was put to bed on 84 minutes when a handball decision went against Paul Da San Martino with Hunter tucking away Swan’s third from the spot. Hussein Awada showed great skill in skipping past three Swan players but his dangerous cross was cleared by Mouttet as Stirling sought a late consolation. Madaschi prevented the home from adding a fourth in stoppage time by saving from Hunter after he’d been played in by Sammut.
DOLPHINS TOO GOOD FOR CANNING (with Andrew Harris, Football West)
Mandurah City saw off determined Division One opponent Canning City 3-0 in today’s State League Cup match at Hyundai Stadium. Canning had all the early chances and with a little more luck would have had a 7th minute lead after Solomon Onyuku’s threatening shot was scrambled away by the home defence. Mandurah responded with a speculative effort from Jordan Rhodes that rose just over the bar. But it was Canning the were the more creative, Billy Rickman exchanged quick passes with Jack Richardson to put the ball into the path of Simon El Chami, and while his shot was harmless enough a defender’s mis-kick whizzed the ball past goalkeeper and narrowly missing the net.
17 minutes were on the clock when Andy Brown reversed the pattern by striking low into the net to put Mandurah one-nil up. Almost immediately Canning created a chance to equalise with Onyuku bending over backwards to head the ball mightily close to the goal. Luke Bower then fed through to Brown whose delightful shot with the outside of his foot went over the bar. Mandurah finally went two-up when Robbie Hamm passed to Darren Broxton, he whipped in a cross from the left to the head of Luke Bower who looping it over the stranded ‘keeper from close-range just after the half hour. James Partridge parried away a Rhodes free-kick shortly before the break to keep Canning in the game.
The introduction of Michael Bobridge at the break came with an immediate reward, the Mandurah striker smashing past a hapless ‘keeper just two minutes after the restart. Bobridge had another opportunity minutes later but after rounding Partridge he placed wide. Canning refused to give up hope of a comeback and thought they had a penalty moments later when Richardson went under a tackle from behind with the referee calling for play to continue. Andrew Keary’s 20-metres grass-cutter forced Mike Green to get down smartly near his post and fling the ball round for a corner. A couple of well-calculated changes by Canning coach Billy Russell resulted in a couple of significant attacks in the final ten minutes but, unfortunately, neither produced the consolation goal they sought.
SORRENTO ADVANCE AFTER FOSTER HAT-TRICK (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
A hat-trick by David Foster secured Sorrento safe passage into the second round of the State League Cup with a 7-1 whipping of Spearwood Dalmatinac at Percy Doyle Reserve. Spearwood held its own in the first half only to be blown away by the Gulls in a second half romp. Despite the heavy loss, Spearwood coach Steve Mirco was happy with how his team stuck to their game plan, and he was pleased with the early results. “We knew they would be using Jason Mirco down the left side, so we put an extra man out there to cover him,” he said. “It worked out, we kept him quiet and created a few chances for ourselves. If we can play with that intesity in our league games, we should do very well.”
James Morgan put the home side ahead after 24 minutes, volleying from close-range after Ryan Sheppard’s cross was deflected into him. Spearwood almost equalised immediately with veteran striker Peter Petkovich shooting just over the top following a defensive error by Kris Dennis. The visitors did draw level on 37 minutes via a wonderful long-strike by Johannes Kresling that beat Tom Woodhead, hit the underside of the crossbar and dropped into the net. But Sorrento regained the upper hand just on half-time when the referee awarded a penalty for handball which Foster converted.
Sorrento played with much more swagger after the break but despite numerous chances was unable to increase their lead. Amongst those who couldn’t find the net were captain Todd Harnwell, but on 67 minutes he made amends by putting away a Glen Thomas cross to make it three-one. This broke Spearwood’s resistance and from here on Sorrento continually exploited their visitors diminishing energy levels to close out the game. Foster grabbed two goals in seven minutes to complete his hat-trick before import Adam Hayton and Jared Love scored in the final eight minutes to blow the final margin out to six goals.
KNIGHTS SIZZLE IN SECOND HALF (by Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Western Knights went on a second half scoring spree to begin their State League Cup quest with an 8-0 dismantling of a hapless Fremantle Spirit at Wauhop Park. Hat-trick hero Anthony Campbell said the Knights wore down Fremantle with their superior fitness and believed his side still had scope to improve in an ominous warning ahead of next weeks top-of-the-table showdown with Perth SC. “Fremantle were good early and it was a tight first half but we ran really hard in the second half and that was probably the difference,” he said. “We played well in the second half but I think we can get even better and next week’s match against Perth will be tough and a big test.”
Campbell played a role in the visitors’ goal of the first half when his dangerous cross was volleyed in by Shintaro Ito. The Knights second half opened with a piece of individual brilliance by Campbell who, having received possession from Banic Trim, weaved his way around three defenders before strike past goalkeeper Jake Sacco. Stuart Ferguson effectively sealed victory with the Knights’ third goal, Campbell adding his second on the hour before substitutes Stuart Montgomery and Simon Versaico added their names to the scoresheet. The Knights were simply too fast, skilful, and fit for their opponents and fittingly it was Campbell that had the final say by heading in a terrific Versaico cross to complete a deserved hat-trick.
ARMADALE CRUISE INTO SECOND ROUND (by Geoff Mason, Football West)
There were no surprises at Alfred Skeet Oval as Armadale ran out convincing 6-0 winners against Sunday League side UWA-Nedlands in the first round of the State League Cup. A hat-trick from English import James Robinson and individuals to Lewis Flatt, Garren St Vall and Ben Kelly were enough for an experimental Armadale to win easily. "It was a great win for the boys, we started with a great tempo and we are really happy with the result", said Armadale assistant coach Steve Robinson, who was happy with his fringe first team players performances. "It's quite a nice position we are in at the moment, we are in the position to give the reserve team players a game today and hopefully they took a lot away from the fixture".
With just 8 minutes on the clock a dangerous Neil Muckles corner produced a goal for Armadale with Garren St Vall heading in from inside the 6-yard box. Five minutes later Daniel Paredes’ cross led to a mix-up in the visiting defender with James Robinson tapping in from a couple of metres. Paredes was again involved not long after, forcing a great save from UWA goalkeeper Tristan Scott from distance. On 26 minutes Paredes further showed his class after his great ball put Robinson through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, who was unable to prevent it from becoming three-nil.
Lewis Flatt, who had been on the ground for just three minutes after replacing Tom Robinson, latched onto a great through ball from Muckles and added his teams fourth goal by applying a great finish with the outside of his foot. Two minutes later UWA had their best opportunity of the half, a through ball from Demotheres Georgious split the Armadale defence and put Richard Barry one-on-one with Cyril Sharrock, who made the save. Robinson's hat-trick was completed in the 35th minute when he converted from the penalty spot following a handball inside the area.
Armadale started after the break the more positive of the two teams and were unlucky not to have scored on 56 minutes when Steve Porter's free-kick forced an acrobatic save from Scott. Nine minutes later another dangerous corner from Muckles resulted in Armadale's sixth after a powerful header from defender Ben Kelly left Scott with no chance. With ten minutes left on the clock UWA had their best opportunity of the game, Ian Stack’s cross should have been turned in by substitute Pat Anderson but his weak effort was comfortably saved by Sharrock. Scott denied Armadale a seventh goal in the closing minutes by saving well from St Vall after he’d got on the end of a long ball from Lewis Flatt.
FILICAMO GIVES THE REDBACKS A FLYING START
An opening round hat-trick by Lara Filicamo earned Northern Redbacks a 3-1 win against Queens Park in the Women’s Premier League game at Rickman Delawney Reserve. Following a minute silence in observance of ANZAC Day, the game got under way with neither side able to find any early rhythm, much to the frustration of their coaches. Queens Park fashioned a half chance on 7 seven with Lindsay Easton finding the side netting after good lead up play between midfielders Gemma Langley and Tisha Bohne. It took until midway through the half for the home team to seriously threaten, Jade Willis linking with Lauren Rilly on top of the 18-yard box to set up Nicola Williams whose shot was smothered by Kylie Woodhouse.
The Redbacks were soon enough rewarded with the lead, Willis playing out of midfield to Rilly whose blocked shot ricocheted to Lara Filicamo with the attacker slotting past goalkeeper Maya Diederichsen. Filicamo’s diagonal pass almost produced a second goal nine minutes later but Diederichsen blocked Williams attempt. Under pressure and conceding the midfield battle, Queens Park created a couple of good chances to restore parity with the best falling to Ellis Glanfield, whose shot from 15-metres lacked the power to trouble Jennifer Jobling. Diederichsen ensured there’d be no addition to the scoreline when her brilliant fingertip save kept out Carol Howes effort.
The home team doubled their lead just minutes after the break, Jess Byrne releasing Filicamo who cut in from the left before lobbing the ‘keeper from 9-metres. Queens Park were no about to give up hope and if not for Shaun Billiam’s goal line clearance then Brittany Woodfin would have found the net, while Clare Dunn was denied from distance by Jobling’s diving save. The visitors persistence paid off on 79 minutes when an exchange of passes between Langley and Gordon finished with the latter’s chip entering the net. The game now opened up and in the minutes that followed both teams went within inches of adding to their respective tallies. The outcome was settled by a swift counterattack in the final minute that ended with Filicamo deservedly completing her hat-trick.
WILLIAMS FACING WORLD CUP FITNESS BATTLE
A troublesome pelvic injury could put Rhys Williams’ place in the Australia World Cup squad at risk. 21-year old Williams has been playing with pain from the injury recently, having missed two months of football earlier in the year due to the pelvic problem. “It feels like it’s going to snap everytime I run,” said the Middlesbrough player. “I’m not really training. I’m getting through games with injections, it’s not ideal but I’m getting through it. Maybe in the summer I’ll get it fixed, if there’s time. I’ll do what I need to do to be fit next season.”
Williams admits the situation is far from ideal with the World Cup less than two months away. “It’s obviously hard, the Australian manager needs us to train. I’m lucky that (Boro boss Gordon) Strachan is letting me play and recover myself, guess I’ll have to see. But I’ve got time to get myself fit, I’ll get a rest and hopefully I’ll be on the plane,” said Williams before stopping short of saying he won’t play in Boro’s last two Championship fixtures after bowing out of the play-offs race. “Obviously I want to play every game we have to keep myself in. It was hard the way we went out, we have got to go out and show what we can do.”
WEST WELL REPRESENTED IN MATILDAS
There's a strong West Australian flavour to the Australia squad named today for next months AFC Women's Asian Cup. Four of last seasons Perth Glory squad, Collette McCallum, Samantha Kerr, Lisa De Vanna and Katie Gill along with Canberra United custodian Lydia Williams are amongst 23-players selected by Matildas coach Tom Sermanni for the tournament being played in China. The squad will assemble on the Gold Coast on 4 May to begin final preparations before their departure for China on 11 May.
Next month's Women's Asian Cup, which is being played between 19-30 May, features eight nations, the top three of which gain entry to the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany. Australia, world ranked at 14 by FIFA, have been allocated a place in Group A where they face Vietnam (19 May), South Korea (21 May) and host nation China (23 May). Asia's two highest ranked nations, DPR Korea and Japan, are expected to progress out of Group A at the expense of Myanmar and Thailand.
Sermanni knows World Cup qualification through Asia is tough but nonetheless the coach remains confident his side can make an impact. "First and foremost, we would like to make it to the last four. If we can make it, we will try our best to make it to the final," he said. "The squad we have assembled continues to surprise me with how well they have gelled and I'm sure they will cause some surprises next month in China."
The Australia squad for the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2010 is Sarah Walsh (Boston Breakers), Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Lauren Colthorpe, Casey Dumont, Elise Kellond-Knight, Aivi Luik, Clare Polkinghorne, Karla Reuter (Brisbane Roar), Sally Shipard, Thea Slatyer, Lydia Williams (Canberra United), Heather Garriock (Fortuna Hjørring), Kate Gill (LdB Malmö), Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne Victory), Collette McCallum, Samantha Kerr (Perth Glory), Teigen Allen, Leena Kharmis, Kylie Ledbrook, Kyah Simon, Servet Unzular (Sydney FC) and Lisa De Vanna (Washington Freedom).
KNIGHTS STAY TOP WITH CRUISY WIN (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Western Knights stretched their unbeaten start to the season to six games with a comfortable 2-0 win over newcomers Balcatta at Grindleford Reserve. Anthony Campbell broke the deadlock early in the second half with David Micevski netting with a brilliant stoppage time free-kick to get the Knights over the line in a game coach Paul Price rated as his team’s “best performance of the season.” “I thought we were totally dominant from start to finish today,” said Price, whose team remains two points clear of Perth SC at the top of the table. “I’m very happy to come here and win by two goals, and very happy that we kept a clean sheet in the process.”
Balcatta threatened to be the first team on the scoreboard when Adam Tong rose highest to meet an Andy O’Neill corner, but a sharp goal line clearance by David Price kept the scores level after 7 minutes. The Knights first chance arrived not long after with Simon Versaico’s volley blocked by goalkeeper Bobson Koroma, who got to the loose ball ahead of Paul Van Dongen. Ashley Rosindale had a free-kick well saved by Frazer Siddall, the Knights’ custodian getting down well to push the ball away with his left hand. But the best chance of the half fell came on 32 minutes when David Micevski slid the ball through to Stuart Montgomery whose fierce swerving shot wrong-footed Koroma, who somehow managed to deflecting the shot onto the underside of the crossbar before collecting the rebound.
Just two minutes after the restart Montgomery was again causing Koroma problems, this time forcing the ‘keeper to tip over with a powerful 22-metre strike. The visitors finally had the goal they deserved in the 50th minute, Versaico’s shot from a tight angle was parried away by Koroma with ball falling into the path of Campbell who tucked it in from 5-metres. Campbell could have had a second ten minutes later when he ran onto David Micevski’s through ball but his low effort was too close to Koroma. Balcatta’s best chance to equalised came via an O’Neill corner but the unmarked Mohammed Komaredic failed to connect with the ball. Victory was secured in the fourth minute of injury time when Micevski picked himself after being fouled just outside the 18-yard box to send his free-kick into the net off the upright.
DOLPHINS NO MATCH FOR PERTH (by Andrew Harris, Football West)
Perth SC was forced to grind out a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Mandurah City in the evening encounter at Hyundai Stadium. Andreas Oliveira and Dom De Felice were on-target for the visitors after Jordan Rhodes had put Mandurah ahead, but it was the heroics of home custodian Phil Straker that was the main talking point. “After starting the game ever so well and getting a nice goal I was thinking we were looking likely today,” said Mandurah coach Stuart Young. “We put ourselves in a lot of difficult situations for the rest of the first half by defending too deep and giving Perth far too much respect and if it wasn’t for our goalkeeper the game would have been beyond us at half time. We needed half time more than any other team I’ve seen for a while.”
Mandurah’s decision to start with Andy Brown up front worked well, the team captain beating the offside trap after 3 minutes to earn a corner from which Darren Broxton’s header was agonisingly close. The early pressure came from the home team and with just 9 minutes on the clock Rhodes put them in front with a fine shot after some good build-up play down the left. Hayden Doyle featured prominently as Perth sought to equalise and on the half hour he stole possession and quickly fed the ball through to Oliveira, who punished a defensive error by slotting into the net. The final minutes of the half belonged to the visitors and had it not been for Straker’s handy work then Mandurah would have been at least a few down at half-time.
Perth spent the ten minutes after the break waiting to how Mandurah would approach the half. Having sized up the situation, the Blues lifted the tempo and starting to play wide with Greg Sharland taking up a roving role in attack. Mandurah didn’t threatened until the final twenty minutes when Rafael Insurralde broke inside the 18-yard box only to be denied by a Matt Danskin’s well-timed tackle. Perth were rewarded for their pressure on 73 minutes when a Oliveira’s cheeky back heel was collected by De Felice who made no mistake firing past Straker. An entertaining overhead kick by Insurralde in stoppage time went well over the bar, and with it Mandurah’s last hope of salvaging something from the game.
MIKULIC DOUBLE WINS IT FOR FLOREAT (by Chris Correia, Football West)
A brace from Branimir Mikulic got Floreat Athena home against rivals Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium which finished 2-1 in favour of the home team. Mikulic’s stoppage time header secured victory but only after Jamie De Abreu had looked to have snatched a point in the closing stages of a memorable contest. An errant back pass by Clayton Arnez lad to the games first opening , James Isaia intercepting the ball only to have Kevin Miller block his shot with Mikulic putting the follow-up just high of the crossbar. Minutes later another pass by Arnez was intercepted by John Migas, who sprayed his low drive wide of the target. Floreat’s attacking dominance was rewarded with a goal on 12 minutes, Paul Vatistas’ delightful through ball allowing Mikulic to slot into the bottom left of the net.
Shane Robinson tried to lift the visitors with a long-rang effort that rose narrowly high of the bar. Some great work by Paul Dickson put him inside the 18-yard box before passing to Roberto Lujan, whose attempt to equalise crashed into the post. Stirling were throwing everything into getting back on level terms, a cross from the left found Robinson unmarked at the back post with Alex Dunn’s diving save preventing the ball from entering the net. Moments later, Lujan found new signing Mario Marcinko whose effort was also saved by Dunn. Lujan could have scored in the minutes before the break but his initial effort was blocked by the defence and the follow-up travelled just over the crossbar.
With the front pairing of Lujan and Marcinko lively and Ludovic Boi dominating the left wing, Stirling had all the second half possession but wasted most of their opportunities in the final third. That changed in the 83rd minute when substitute Jamie De Abreu chipped Dunn from a near-impossible angle with a dipping effort which rebounded over the line off the far post to silence the boisterous home crowd. Stirling pushed into the final staging determined to find a winner but it wasn’t to be their day. Two minutes into stoppage time Mikulic’s angled downward header snuck into the corner with Miller too slow to react. Adding to the visitors’ woes was the dismissal of Jason Gavin for a second bookable offence in the final seconds.
JOONDALUP, ARMADALE SHARE SIX GOALS (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Substitute Jamie Watt converted a late penalty to earn ECU Joondalup a point from a see-sawing encounter with Armadale at Edith Cowan University that finished 3-3. Marlon Ramirez cancelled out Scott Bushby’s early strike for the hosts, then the impressive James Robinson put Armadale in front only for Phil O’Callaghan to level. Substitute Michael Ord gave the advantage back to Armadale before Watt ensured both teams left with a share of the spoils. Despite dropping points at home Joondalup boss Steve Amphlett was pleased with his side’s second half performance. “I’m quite pleased, the lads played well. We worked hard and showed great attitude,” he said. “We played some great football and so did Armadale as well, it was a good game.”
Joondalup made a dream start by going ahead after only 4 minutes, John Thornley distracting the defence at a Jake Benson-Cooper cross which fell for Bushby to tap in from just a few metres. Parity was restored on the quarter hour, Lewis Flatt working his way into the 18-yard box before slipping the ball to Ramirez who coolly side-footed in from 10-metres. Armadale were nearly caught on the break after 32 minutes but John Higgins blazed wildly over from 16 yards after O'Callaghan had played him through. James Robinson’s clever curling effort from the edge of the area didn’t clear the bar by much, then O’Callaghan headed Higgins’ centre wide as the teams traded attacks. Armadale took the lead five minutes before half-time with James Robinson twisting and turning past a couple of defenders before beating Andy Petterson with a clinical finish.
The visitors had the first chance after the break, Tom Robinson’s free-kick was flicked on by Ryan Pearson with goalkeeper Andy Petterson doing well to tip James Robinson’s effort behind for a corner. Thornley then forced Cyril Sharrock into a smart block low down at his near post. However, there was nothing the visiting ‘keeper could do on 52 minutes when O’Callaghan was on hand to tap in from point-blank range after Benson-Cooper had done brilliantly to break down the right and drive along the goalline before rolling the ball into the path of his team-mate. Armadale regained the lead ten minutes later though, Steve McDonald heaping a deep free-kick back across the face of goal for Ord to nod in from couple of metres. Higgins forced Sharrock into a smart save while, at the other end, Petterson did well to parry Pearson’s powerful drive. The final goal arrived on 77 minutes with Watt scoring from the spot after Dale McCulloch had been up-ended by Andy Bowyer.
SORRENTO, COCKBURN GO SCORELESS (by Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
There may have been no goals scored at Percy Doyle Reserve but the game between Cockburn City and Sorrento was enthralling nonetheless. Both teams would rue missed opportunities in a tight match between a couple of mid-table opponents. Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan disagreed with counterpart Scott Miller’s assessment that Cockburn were the dominant side. “I didn’t think we were outplayed at all, Cockburn looked dangerous from their set pieces but I thought we had our opportunities,” Morgan said. “We opened them up from good play but just picked the wrong option in the final ball.”
After reigniting their season with a memorable comeback last week against Balcatta, Cockburn started confidently and dictated possession for the majority of the first half. David Dugdale was regularly be in the thick of the action but could not find the back of the net despite several chances, including a 7th minute header that grazed the crossbar. Sorrento found their groove towards the end of the half with some precision ball movement catching the visiting side napping and were unlucky not to open their account with near misses by Todd Harnwell and Glen Thomas.
The second half resembled an arm wrestle with neither team giving so much as an inch. The period was highlighted by a gritty midfield battle that pitted Anthony Pereira and Nunes against Jason Mirco and Thomas. Cockburn appeared to have the confidence and the legs to finish stronger, particularly through the running ability of Nunes who had a shot blocked by a scrambling defence in the dying minutes. Both sides refused to wilt and the draw was a fitting result to a tight encounter between two desperate teams. The shared points left Sorrento in sixth place, three points ahead of Cockburn in eighth.
INGLEWOOD MOVES OFF THE BOTTOM, SORT OF
The point gained from Inglewood United’s 0-0 draw with Swan United has moved them off the bottom of the Premier League table, albeit only by goal difference. It really was a game of few clear-cut chances with neither team able to dominate, instead, both cancelled the other out. “It’s been a tough start to the season for us and we’ve got to turn things around and the attitude of the players has to change,” said Pryce, who recalled Jason Colli, Albert Osei-Tutu and Matt Wardle to his starting line-up. “Today we had a few more chances in the game but lacked a bit of quality with the final ball and finishing. It was two evenly matched sides and it shows you where we’re both at.”
The opening exchanges were tight with Inglewood fashioning an early chance through an Alex Stamatiadis cross which Ryan Clarke sent wide. Moments later it was Swans’ turn, Liam Boland’s flick releasing Trent Wood whose shot drifted past the far post after beating Oliver Taseski. The Inglewood custodian tipped over a Boland header on 14 minutes, play then quickly switched to the other end where Dannie Richman flashed narrowly wide from the top of the 18-yard box. The home side were by now asserting the greater authority as Richman and Osei-Tutu combined to set-up Clarke, who hadn’t time to get off a shot when Corey Hugo was at his feet. Sandi Loncar hit a long-range effort just past the post before Matt Wardle volleyed high after being found by Jason Colli’s corner to the back post.
It was more of the same after the break with Osei-Tutu shooting wide from the edge of the area. The hosts best chance of the afternoon arrived soon after when Stamatiadis’ lob over the on-coming ‘keeper was cleared off the line by Wood with Clarke heading the loose ball over the top at close-range. With Darragh Kenevey instrumental in the middle of the park, Swan settled before James Sammut’s header was saved by Taseski on the hour. Ten minutes later Clarke’s attempt was wide from 15-metres, and in quick succession Richman headed wide and Osei-Tutu was thwarted by Hugo. Having soaked up the pressure, Swan responded on 76 minutes via a Sammut corner that was met by McNally but he was denied by Taseski’s stunning one-handed save. Inglewood almost nicked the game in stoppage time when Jason Colli’s in-swinging corner flicked the top of the bar.
BUNBURY LASH SIX PAST QUEENS PARK (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Division One leaders Bunbury Forum Force showed no mercy in inflicting a 6-0 thrashing on Queens Park in this afternoon’s game at WesTrac Stadium. The crowd was still settling into their seats when Kieran Kavanagh’s shot bounced over goalkeeper Brad Eiffe and was ruled to have crossed the line to give the home side a dream start. That set the tone for a half that Queens Park spend mostly on the defensive as Jarred Mort and Ryan Risdon provided Bunbury with terrific width as captain Patrick Quinn ran the show from the centre. James Bergin and Kavanagh should have gone into the break with a few each while a smashing drive from Oliver McGee slammed against the crossbar.
The gap was finally increased eight minutes after the restart, Lee Stewart rounding the ‘keeper before slotting into the net. A 72nd minute foul on Neil Chappell left the referee with no choice but to award a penalty which David Rodgers rammed past the ‘keeper to make it three-nil. There would be no let from the home side with Quinn putting away the their fourth goal before Chappell added his name to the scoresheet. There were only a couple of minutes left when Rodgers completed the rout by rounding the ‘keeper to slot in Bunbury’s sixth and final goal. The results leaves Bunbury as the only team with a 100% win record after four games, while Queens Park slump to second from bottom.
SIX OF THE BEST FROM DIANELLA
Dianella White Eagles maintained their unbeaten start to the home and away season by thrashing Rockingham City 6-0 at Lark Hill Sports Complex. The result keeps Dianella just two points behind Division One pacesetter Bunbury Forum Force, whereas Rockingham remain third from bottom at the completion of Round Four. It was clear from the outset that this was going to be a long day for the home team, who spent much of the first half on the back foot with Paul Hickey, Nick Davies and Wes Ryder continually driving Dianella forward. The breakthrough arrived six minutes from half-time, Hickey flicking on a near post corner for Tommy Straker to head in from 7-metres. Rockingham were left with a second half mountain to climb after a couple of quick bookings left them with ten players.
Ryder doubled the visitors lead a minute after the restart by drilling into the bottom corner from 19-metres on the end of a superb build-up stemming from the middle of the park. Dianella’s third arrived a few minutes later, Ian Griffiths playing a short free-kick to Ravi Kuppasammy whose 18-metre shot was parried by the ‘keeper with Nick Davies netting the rebound in from a tight angle. The margin only really blew out in the closing stages with Renato Jelen scoring twice after coming off the bench, his second a simple tap-in courtesy of Ryder’s unselfish play-off. The game had entered stoppage time when Jelen floated the ball in from the right to Ryder, who tamed it on his thigh before half-volleying just inside the post from 18-metres.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
There are six very important and intriguing games in this weekend’s sixth round of the Premier League. The pick of the game has to be the traditional derby between Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions at Litis Stadium where three points vital to both if they’re to stay in touch with the early pacesetters. There was some good news during the week for Floreat with Julian Madaschi’s five-game suspension downgraded to a single week, while John Migas will be pushing for a start after coming off the bench last week. Unfortunately for Stirling the recruitment of Perth Glory Youth striker Mario Marcinko is offset by injury to Dean Evans, Michael Pugliese and Tom Ingram.
Floreat midfielder James Isaia says his team have moved on from going down to a late goal at Armadale last time out. “The boys were all gutted by that result, but it makes more determined for the rest of the season,” he said. “This weeks match against Stirling promises to be a big one. They are always passionate encounters, and last year we lost at the Lions dens and received a very hostile reception. This weekend is payback and the boys will give it everything to get the three points.”
The importance of a Stirling win is not lost on goalkeeper Kevin Miller, who wants to quickly move on from last weeks home loss to Sorrento. “Saturday was very disappointing. Yes, we were unfortunate to have a few late call-offs but we didn’t really perform on the day,” said Miller. “Floreat are the traditional rivals and the games against them are always great to be involved in. We have a squad capable of getting the result, and hopefully we can get on a good run. We have set ourselves high standards this year and if we are to achieve them, we need to be winning these games.”
Balcatta are unbeaten at home so far this season but will have to be at their best to keep out a free-scoring Western Knights when they visit Grindleford Reserve (3.00pm). Balcatta went down to Cockburn last time out and head into the weekend without Lucas Whitehouse and Bobby Klenkoski, however, livewire winger Nicholas Tatasciore is back in contention. A knee ligament injury prevents Daniel Micevski turning out for the Knights but otherwise coach Paul Price has a full compliment to select from. With the striker partnership of Stuart Montgomery and Anthony Campbell developing nicely it’s the Knights who are tipped to win.
A resurgent Armadale are on the road to play ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University campus (3.00pm). Defender Ryan Pearson was outstanding on his Reds return in the win over Floreat, while import Garrin St Vall is sure to be pushing for a start having grabbed the winner in that game. A knee injury keeps Garin Collins on the sidelines for Joondalup, who were held 2-2 at Swan United last Saturday. New signing Andy Brown, who moves over from Stirling Lions, goes straight into the match day squad along with youngsters Ryan McDarby and Jake Benson-Cooper, both who return from injury.
Scott Miller takes Cockburn City to Percy Doyle Reserve for a showdown with his former club, Sorrento (3.00pm). With Jared Love and Jason Mirco back from injury and David Foster in fine touch in attack, the Gulls are confident of picking up their first home win of the year. However, Cockburn wil be now pushover and no doubt want to back-up their come from behind win against Balcatta with another three points. Dejan Aleksic saved two penalties on that game and if strikers Rory Feely and David Dugdale can get into rhythm the visitors should score the win.
Clipsal Stadium hosts the cellar-dweller contest between Inglewood United and Swan United (3.00pm). The form of Oliver Taseski, Sandi Loncar and Matt Worton will be vital to the home side, who are coming off loss to Perth SC and will be without Simon Falcone (suspended) and Danny Kovacevic (injury). Striker Liam Boland is likely o be promoted to the starting eleven having scored off the bench in Swan’s home draw with ECU Joondalup. James Sammut and Darragh Kenevey were solid in the middle in that game but will need to be their best for Swan to take out the points.
This weeks late game has Perth SC travelling south to play Mandurah City at the Hyundai Stadium (6.00pm). The midfield partnership of Jordan Rhodes, who found the net against the Knights last week, and Craig Young will need close attention from the Perth backline. Graham Normanton’s side, who have won on both visits to Mandurah, welcome Trent Kay back to the squad while Greg Sharland and David Onoforo will want starting berths after playing off the bench in last week’s win against Inglewood.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
If you're undecided what to do on Saturday afternoon then head to Frank Drago Reserve for the Division One match of the week between Bayswater City and Gosnells City. With a line-up modelled around Gustava Marulanda, Okwy Diamondstar and captain Anthony McStea it's Bayswater that start the day as favourites. However, Gosnells are so far unbeaten and you can be assured that the likes of goalkeeper Alan Dunlop, Andy Pomfret and Darren Francis will be giving their all to ensure that record remains intact.
Queens Park caused a major upset by toppling Forrestfield United last time out but its difficult seeing them repeating that away at Bunbury Forum Force. Forrestfield United have no intention of letting their twelve-month plus unbeaten home run ending at the hands of Canning City. The return of Natapong Narraphunt, David Gordon and Jake Harman has strengthened Ashfield's line-up leading into the trip to Fremantle Spirit. Morley Windmills will be without captain Ibnen Charming and Blaz Radonovic, both due to suspension, for the visit of Wanneroo City. Rockingham City are home to Dianella White Eagles in the twilight fixture which gets commences at 5.00pm.
THE CUP RUNNETH OVER…
The 2010 association Cup kicks off on Monday afternoon with a full complement of games across the metropolitan area. The Cup provides an opportunity for Sunday League teams to show their State League counterparts just what they are made of. Last year Shamrock Rovers went all the way through to the quarter-finals and to enjoy similar Cup run they first need to get past Ashfield at Harold Rossiter Reserve.
Sorrento are going to have to be on their game to get the better of Sunday League side Spearwood Dalmatinac at Percy Doyle Reserve. UWA-Nedlands will fancy their chances of claiming the scalp of home team Armadale, while a Stirling Panthers win at Swan United would undoubtedly be the shock of the day. Murdoch University square off with Sunday League rival Olympic Kingsway at Len Shearer Reserve.
A home date with First Division leaders Gosnells City is how Floreat Athena begins their Cup defence. Inglewood United and Balcatta locks horns in the solitary all-Premier League tie at Clipsal Stadium. Forrestfield United will be confident of causing an upset when ECU Joondalup swing by Hartfield Park. Perth SC should progress at the expense of Wanneroo City, likewise Cockburn City who travel to Dianella White Eagles.
It looks like being a long afternoon for Subiaco AFC when Bayswater City visits Rosalie Park. Mandurah City are home to Canning City, while further south it's Bunbury Forum Force verses Fremantle United. Two of Division One's strugglers, Rockingham City and Morley Windmills, come face-to-face at Lark Hill Sports Complex. Stirling Lions shouldn't have too many problems getting the better of visiting Queens Park, likewise Western Knights when they travel to Fremantle Spirit. All games kick off at 3.00pm.
WEST HAM AND STIRLING JOIN FORCES
Stirling Lions are pleased to announce a new partnership with the West Ham United International Academy. Don Evans is over the moon with the agreement which makes Stirling the Hammers' first partner club in the Oceania/Asia region. "This relationship with one of the best Academy systems in the world is a massive boost for young Australian footballers who wish to play football in the best league in the world," said Evans, who is busy organising a series of coaching clinics to be jointly run by West Ham and Stirling later this year.
Western Australia's most capped footballer, Stan Lazaridis, played for Stirling as a teenager, and by forging ties with one of the English Premier League mainstays Evans hopes his club can one day play their part in the development of another future Socceroo. "It would be a dream for another Stan Lazaridis to make the trek to the Boleyn Ground and make a career out of football," commented Evans. Another former Stirling junior, 16-year old Dylan Tombides, is currently part of the Hammers' youth set-up where his development is overseen by academy director Tony Carr.
GOSNELLS RIDE THE CREST OF A WAVE
A hat-trick of wins has put Gosnells City sitting alongside Division One title favourites Bunbury Forum Force after three games. It's exactly the sort of start to the season coach Tony Maguire had hoped for from his second season in charge. "We aimed to have nine points after three games because after that we have a few really tough weeks, so to have achieved this is very pleasing," the Gosnells coach said. "The fact we have defended well and that our midfielders are scoring goals has made a big difference."
Maguire took Gosnells to mid-table last season and in attempting to better that the coach has brought only a select handful of newcomers to Gosnells. "The addition of the McBride brothers (Adrian and Dane), Andy Pomfret and Tom Kennedy have added a bit more composure to the team," explained Maguire. "I've shown faith in the existing players that took us to sixth last season. As a coach I get more pleasure out of improving players rather than splashing the cash to buy a team."
It's shaping up to be a very tight Division One season with any one of about five teams having the quality and depth to win promotion. "Big money spenders Bunbury and Bayswater City must fancy their chances, but I'm sure the other ten teams in the league will have something to say about that," Maguire commented. "Wanneroo City and Forrestfield United will be thereabouts come round twenty-two, and hopefully we'll have a say in who wins the league."
Gosnells face their toughest test yet on Saturday when they visit Bayswater. "Both sides play attractive football so it should be a very entertaining game watch with plenty of goals," said Maguire. "Mauro Marchione has assembled a very fine side with quality in most positions and it will be a big test for us to see how far we've come. We go into every game with nothing to fear and our recent record against Bayswater is quite impressive ... we can only hope our good form continues, however, a defeat wouldn't be disastrous at this early stage of the season."
GALEKSIC PLAYS LEADING HAND IN COCKBURN WIN
Last weekend’s dramatic come-from-behind win against Balcatta is the turning point in Cockburn City’s season according to goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. With ten minutes to go Cockburn were starring defeat in the face when rapid fire goals by Rory Feely, Jason Dos Santos and Josh Findlater turned the game on it’s head. “Saturday’s win was definitely a turning point for us,” said Aleksic. “We’ve been struggling to score goals, although I’ve always thought if we just scored one from open play then we would go on to score a few more. All we needed was a bit of confidence up front and after Rory Feely scored our first I knew we were going on to win it.”
Aleksic played a key role in Cockburn’s late revival, keeping out a 65th minute Ashley Rosindale penalty then repeating that feat later the game. That second save provided particularly decisive as just two minutes later Feely sent the equalising goal past the Balcatta ‘keeper. “It was the first time I’ve saved two penalties in one game; I guess it was just one of those days that everything goes right for you,” said 18-year old Aleksic, who played the summer with Perth Glory Youth. “I was really glad to have contributed to the win because I know it meant a lot to all the boys and the supporters.”
Taking all three points against Balcatta could not have come at a better time for Cockburn, where pressure has been building against the coaching team of Scott Miller and Michael Mirco. “I think Scotty and Michael have got us playing really good football, we just haven’t been getting the results we wanted,” explained Aleksic. “We’ve been really unlucky in front of goal which has really hurt us up to this point, although the boys showed everyone on the weekend that all it needed was a bit of confidence. Hopefully this confidence up front continues this week at Sorrento.”
The addition of one-time Perth Glory player of the year David Tarka and Shane Nunes’ return from a couple of seasons in Victoria with South Melbourne has given Cockburn’s rearguard some much needed depth and experience. “Playing with the likes of Tarks and Shane at the back is a real confidence booster for me. They’re both really experienced defenders and have helped me concentrate and improve on my game,” said Aleksic, before praising two more summer signings, Adrian Webster and Marc Anthony. “Webby and Marc have set and raised the standard at training with their quality.”
Aleksic is thankful to have played under some top coaches at Cockburn, the National Training Centre and Glory Youth. “Paul Turvill was a great goalkeeping coach that I had while I was at the NTC. As a youngster I relied mostly on natural ability although he taught me the proper techniques of goalkeeping,” he said. “The techniques he taught me as a youngster are still with me today and have definitely help me progress to the next level. Gareth Naven and Scotty Miller have both helped me realise the attitude it takes to succeed in football.”
Aleksic will look back on 2009 as his coming of age, the ‘keeper playing his part for Glory Youth and gaining Australian selection for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. “Playing for your country is amazing, that was a great period for me,” commented Aleksic, who is determined that he will one day again wear the green and gold. “It’s definitely a goal I’ve set for myself, being Youth League or A-League. Hopefully I can just keep putting in good performances and see if I can get any luck … all I can do is keep playing well and you never know what might happen.”
LINCOLN READIES THE LIONS TO ROAR
Stirling Lions coach Paul Lincoln says the club have moved on from recent upheavals and are now ready to move up the Premier League standings. Since Lincoln took over a few weeks back Stirling have lost team captain Jordan Rhodes and star import David Dugdale to rival clubs, not that that is of concern to the new coach. “The decision for players to leave does not worry me personally because if they don’t want to be at the club it’s best for all parties that they move on,” said Lincoln. “I know that there are many players who would welcome the opportunity to play for Stirling Lions and in the coming weeks we will have added to the squad.”
In staying true to his word, Lincoln this week strengthened the Lions artillery by bringing in young striker Mario Marcinko. “We are struggling in front of goal and in five games we have scored six goals - one of those goals have come from a recognised striker,” commented Lincoln as what he perceives to be Stirling’s problem area. A product of Western Knights, Marcinko is fresh from playing the summer with Perth Glory Youth where his team mates included Lions trio Ludovic Boi, Dean Evans and Steve Hesketh.
Stirling marked Lincoln’s time in charge by defeating Cockburn City but went down to Sorrento in his second game at the helm. “Every loss is disappointing and last weekend was no exception,” said the coach. “Having lost Dean Evans through the week and Ludovic Boi 20 minutes before kick-off didn’t help the cause but that’s no excuse for our poor defensive performance. We created enough chances and if some penalty decisions went our way the result may have been different, but that game has gone now and we go to Floreat looking for three points.”
Saturday’s trip to Floreat is a must-win affair for Stirling if they are serious about being one of this seasons’ contenders. “As a past player for the club I understand the rivalry that exists between the two clubs and I’m looking forward to the atmosphere,” said Lincoln. “Floreat are a very good team averaging three goals a game so we will need to play at our very best to get a win. We will be treating the game as a Cup final, we need the three points and need to start stringing wins together.” Stirling and Floreat lock horns from 3.00pm on Saturday at Litis Stadium.
FONDYKE HOPING FOR GLORY
Australian Institute of Sport graduate Howard Fondyke is focusing on the future having endured a frustrating twelve months. Having signed professional papers with Perth Glory last May, 20-year old Fondyke was looking forward to making an impact at senior level last summer but instead spent 2009/10 plying his trade for the club’s youth side. “It was great to sign as a professional at the Glory but it was a little frustrating not to be given a go, but that’s football,” he said. “All I can do is keep training and playing hard to get in the team this year and hopefully the gaffer will play me.”
Going all the way through to the Grand Final with Glory Youth then to be beaten in the season finale was heartbreaking for Fondyke and his team mates. “It was a great season for the youth team, I enjoyed my role in the side but not winning was hard to take. I’m sure next year the lads will have the same desire to bring the trophy back to Perth,” said Fondyke, who feels his career may be at the crossroads. “I would love to stay on at Perth and play in the first team, as I’ve supported them my whole life. But I’m a footballer and I have to be playing games, hopefully that’s here in Perth, only time will tell.”
Fondyke thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent honing his game in Canberra but rates a home grown coach as the one who has he the greatest influence on his career. “Being at the AIS was brilliant for me, mentally and physically I became a better footballer. Training close to twice a day four times a week got me prepared for becoming a pro footballer,” he said. “My coaches at the AIS were excellent, but I would say Gareth Naven has been my most influential coach. I’ve had him for two years now and I’ve learnt a lot about the winning mentality you should have as a footballer which is very important.”
WORLD CUP COMES TO NORTHBRIDGE
The 2010 World Cup will be shown on the big screen in the Northbridge Piazza this winter. After months of debate and deferrals, City of Perth councillors recently voted to screen the tournament, with Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi saying it would add a great deal of vibrancy to the area. "The restaurants can do their bit during the event and add colour to the area and really get behind it, we are part of a bid to host the World Cup itself, I don't see what is not to support on this," said Scaffidi. Seven group games - including Australia's 19 June showdown with Ghana - will be screened along with the entire round of sixteen and finals.
COYNE GIVES WORLD CUP HIS BEST SHOT
Chris Coyne is doing everything in his power to remain in the thoughts of Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek. Every week Coyne gets a DVD of his latest game for Chinese Super League outfit Liaoning Hongyun and mails it to Verbeek, who is shortly to announce his preliminary 30-player squad for the World Cup. Since moving to the industrial city of Shenyang in north-east China last month, Coyne has overcome numerous obstacle, including not speaking the language and the country’s notorious red tape - even having his boots taken into quarantine by the authorities - to play a big role in his club’s strong start to the season.
The strong centre-half has been a popular addition at Liaoning, where he plays under Chinese coach Ma Lin and in a squad that bar three players is entirely Chinese. “It’s definitely colder than Europe, so it’s a big change from sunny Perth but you get used to it,” said Coyne, who made his debut three weeks ago in -7C. “After the first game I’ve felt like I’ve really come into my own and really been enjoying it. The A-League’s obviously a lot more physical, but technically the Chinese are very gifted footballers.”
Where players such as Jason Culina, Mile Sterjovski and Jacob Burns have elected to train with overseas clubs to stay fit in order to enhance their World Cup prospects, Coyne is thrilled to playing meaningful games. And while he could cope with missing out on selection for South Africa, he says he wouldn’t be able to live with himself for not giving it his best shot. “I’ve sort of got a philosophy: if it’s out of your hands then don’t worry about it, just do what you can do,” he said. “Coming over here I’ve given myself every opportunity to maybe get to the World Cup.”
Coyne is the first to admit there were times last season when he should have watched from the sidelines as a combination of injury and illness prevented him from putting his best foot forward for Glory. “I’ve got no qualms at all about coming back to Perth. It was a dream move for me,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate that I had a couple of small niggle injuries when (Socceroos) squads were picked. I didn’t do myself any favours in playing in them - maybe I should have been old enough and wise enough to put my hand up and say that I wasn’t fit for games.”
I’M STILL A CONTENDER INSISTS GARCIA
Richard Garcia insists his World Cup dream is still alive after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on an injured knee which will rule him out for the rest of the English Premier League season. Hull City’s attacking midfielder refuses to even consider the possibility that his World Cup prospects have dimmed as he battles with the likes of Dario Vidosic and Nicky Carle for a spot on the plane to South Africa. With five caps for his country, Garcia expects to fully fit within four weeks - just at the time coach Pim Verbeek names his preliminary squad for the World Cup in June. “The operation was pretty basic. It was just a clean up job and I’m still sure I’ll be ready for play in South Africa if I get the call,” he said.
That was a month before 28-year old Garcia broke down with serious knee injury which ruled him out of action for relegation battlers Hull until mid-October. “This new operation was a bit of legacy from the last one,” he added. “It needed to be taken care of and of course it’s a big blow that’s come at a bad time. But I’m certainly not giving up hope of being selected for Australia at all. I feel confident I can put myself forward and that I can make an impression. My dream is still alive. It’s something I have thought about all my life and I’m not even imagining missing out.”
Reduced to 19 appearances for Hull this season because of his injuries, Garcia is distraught at not being able to play is part in the Yorkshire club’s fight for Premier League survival. The Tigers are three points from safely in the drop zone but can draw level with fellow strugglers West Ham United on points if they beat Aston Villa at home on Thursday morning. “We have four games left and it’s not done and dusted yet,” added Garcia, who started his English career with the Hammers before spells with Colchester United and Hull. “Missing will hurt because there’s so much you want to do in playing your part and you really feel for the boys. But it’s not to be. The silver lining for me will hopefully be the World Cup.”
HENDERSON SCORES NATIONAL CALL-UP
Young starlet Emily Henderson has been selected for the Australian Under-13 Girls training squad on the back of some eye-catching displays at the recent National Junior Championships for Girls. Henderson was West Australia’s top scorer at the tournament, netting four goals in five game, and gained selection in the Group B All-Stars along with teammates Gabrielle Dal Basco, Maddison Schofield and Emma Leaning. The 30-player Australian Under-13 training squad will be trimmed to a final team of 22 who’ll wear the green and gold at June’s AFC Under-13 Girls Festival of Football.
Erin Stinton, assistant coach of the State team, is thrilled with Henderson’s selection. “It’s terrific that Emily has been selected to attend the upcoming national camp and is a credit to both herself and her support group,” she said. “Whilst we would have liked to have more girls selected in the squad, the standard of player was extremely high and our girls now know what it takes to reach the top level of their sport and will be able to work towards that in future tournaments. We wish Emily the very best at the camp and will be watching her development with eager eyes.” The training camp will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra during mid-May.
AUSSIES ABROAD TARGETED FOR A-LEAGUE
Football Federation Australia has moved to bring more overseas-based Socceroos back to the A-League by introducing an Australian Marquee Player option. From next season A-League clubs will be permitted to sign a top Australian player in addition to the current Marquee Player system, enabling them to carry two players outside the salary cap. “There is a wealth of Australian talent overseas with over 140 players currently playing in fifteen of the top leagues in world football,” FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said. “Australian players are competing at a high level in Europe, Asia and America and what we have created is a viable option for these players to return to the Hyundai A-League and compete in what is becoming a very strong and competitive league.”
DINGLE INSPIRES BALCATTA TO PRE-SEASON GLORY (by Ann Odong)
Balcatta claimed the Women’s Night Series trophy with a dramatic 4-3 win over Northern Redbacks in this evening’s final at Coker Park. A goal three minutes from the end by Caitlin Dingle completed the striker’s hat-trick and secured her team a pulsating victory. The stage was sent for a thrilling finale to the pre-season tournament as the teams entered the game in excellent form, and the opening minutes didn’t disappoint. Prue Cormie and Dingle fashioned the first chance on 13 minutes with the former playing in her strike partner whose shot flashed narrowly wide. The Redbacks first meaningful attack eight minutes produced the lead, Sarah Carroll’s driving run down the right taking her past two opponents before crossing for Lara Filicamo to send the ball into Jamie Carley’s net.
Cormie then teed up Hazel Barton but her shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was high. That warning was not heeded and on 25 minutes an exchange of passes through midfield ended at the feet of Dingle, who slipped in behind the defence to fire in the equaliser. The Redbacks continued to prod and probe at their opponents defences and on 33 minutes Filicamo streamed down the left and cut inside before blasting in from an acute angle to give her side the lead. Dingle went close again within minutes, forcing Jobling to dive right and parry her shot away for a corner. Jobling put her body on the line not long after to prevent Dingle getting off a shot from close-range.
Balcatta picked up after the break where they’d left off with Cormie’s long-range attempt dipping over the crossbar. Their persistence was rewarded on 62 minutes when midfielder Sarah Clapham curled the ball past the diving ‘keeper from distance to being the teams level. Two minutes later Clapham’s perfectly weighted pass put Dingle into space with the striker slotting in to put Balcatta in front for the first time. Although stunned by this turn of events, the Redbacks stepped things up a notch through Sarah Carroll, Jess Byrne and captain Rebecca Dudek.
Parity was restored for the first time on 65 minutes, newcomer Lauren Rilly picking out Carroll who struck truly to set up an exhilarating finale. Carroll’s audacious attempt from 18-metres looked to have put the Redbacks back in front, however, it was only the side netting that was disturbed. Entering the final minutes it was Balcatta who took control as Dingle headed high Sarah Merek’s 77th minute free-kick. Six minutes later Jobling forced Ashley Panaia to strike wide. The deadlock was broken three minutes from full-time when Dingle stuck her foot out to meet a back post cross and send the Balcatta supporters into raptures.
SAGE CONFIDENT IN FOWLER PURSUIT
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage claims his club are leading the race to secure the signature of Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. Sage revealed he had spent over an hour speaking with Fowler in England this week about the possibility of joining Glory and expects an answer from the 35-year old striker by Wednesday. “I think we’ve got the best chance. We’re the first club to actually speak to him,” Sage told the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper. “He’s very interested, he’s just got to make a decision with his family and whether he’s going to come out to Australia to spend another year.” Fowler scored nine goals in 26 appearances for North Queensland Fury last season but was released from his contract due to the club’s off-field issues.
FIVE-STAR KNIGHTS CONTINUE WINNING RUN (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Western Knights hit five goals for the second time in eight day to see off struggling Mandurah City 5-3 at Nash Field. Duncan Hind, Simon Versaico, Daniel Micevski and Stuart Montgomery found the net in the opening forty minutes to have the Knights cruising before new Mandurah singing Jordan Rhodes reduced the deficit just before the interval. Paul Van Dongen restored the Knight's four-goal buffer before Andy Brown and Ryan Townsend made the scoreline a little more respectable for the visitors.
With coach Paul Price forced to watch from the stands due to suspension, the Knights ripped their opponents to shreds in the opening half. Montgomery and David Micevski each had good chances to score, but it took something special to finally break the deadlock on 22 minutes. Having picked the ball up in midfield, Hind ran it forward 10-metres before unleashing an unstoppable strike from 30-metres that gave goalkeeper Phil Straker not chance as it thundered into the top corner.
By the time the half hour mark arrived the Knights lead had blown out to two-goals. On 28 minutes Anthony Campbell headed a Stuart Ferguson free-kick down to Versaico, who made no mistake with his volley. A minute later Montgomery played a sublime through ball with the outside of his foot to leave Daniel Micevski with a simple one-on-one chance that the midfielder converted. Montgomery had a goal of his own when he latched onto Hind's header straight through the heart of the Dolphins defence which he slotted past Straker. Rhodes gave Mandurah the a glimmer of hope by running onto Townsend's ball in behind the defence and firing past Frazer Siddall in the 44th minute.
Mandurah had a couple of decent chances to cut the Knight's lead early in the second half, the best of which fell to Brown but his scrambled attempt was blocked by Ferguson. The hosts four-goal lead was restored in the 52nd minute when Van Dongen volleyed in from just inside the area, and although it looked a Mandurah defender had made a desperate goal line clearance referee Steven Gregory ruled the shot had crossed the line. As the half wore on the Knight's seemed to switch off, allowing Mandurah to play their way back into the game. Brown capped a fine move down the right involving Jared Loreto and Luke Bower by heading home the latter's cross. And with the final whistle only moments away Townsend grabbed a late goal by converting a simple header from Rafael Insaurralde's corner.
PERTH CLIMB UP TO SECOND (by Chris Correia, Football West)
Ian McMurray scored twice to guide Perth SC to a 3-1 win over Inglewood United at Dorrien Gardens. The results jumps Perth into second on the Premier League table, just one point behind long-time rivals Western Knights. Following a four-goal hiding from the Knights last week, Inglewood came out firing for the first half and held their own against the reigning champions. However, it would be Perth that found the net after 12 minutes when Robert Sciascia beat two defenders before delivering a cross that was met by McMurray's superb overhead kick that flashed into the top corner.
However, home team celebrations were cut short a minute later when goalkeeper Jason Saldaris uncharacteristically spilt the ball with Ryan Clarke pouncing to out away the equaliser. Clarke had another shot moments later but this time it travelled just wide of the target. In the meantime, the experienced Perth bench of Robert Puca, Greg Sharland and David Onoforo were itching to get onto the park and make an impact. Matt Danskin played brilliantly on the right for Perth, setting up a good chance for McMurray and then having his own effort go begging not long after following a surging run into the penalty area. Inglewood were denied the lead just before the break when Lee Carr's effort was kept out by an amazing reflex save from Saldaris.
Whatever Graham Normanton said at the break worked a treat as Perth came out firing for the second half. Midfielder Hayden Doyle let loose a long-range bomb which cannoned into the post in a sign of what was to come. A pass out of midfield to McMurray allowed the towering striker to slot in his second of the afternoon at the near post after 50 minutes. Only a couple more minutes had passed when Antonio Naglieri delivered an inch-perfect pass which Andreas Oliveira converted with a neat finish past 'keeper Oliver Taseski. The day then got worse for Inglewood with defender Simon Falcone sent off for his involvement in a heated clash with Sciascia. Perth's failed to make the most of the extra player was almost punished in the closing stages when substitute Karl O'Reilly and Mladen Kovacevic each had golden opportunities to score Inglewood a late second.
COURAGEOUS COCKBURN COMEBACK (with Tristan Lavalette, Football West)
Cockburn City scored three times in the last eight minutes to come from behind and snatch a 3-1 win against Balcatta at Dalmatinic Park. Trailing for the majority of the afternoon due to a first half headed goal by Michael Black, Cockburn mounted a gritty late revival in which Rory Feely, Jason Dos Santos and Josh Findlater found the net to clinch their teams first win of the season. "We knew we were getting closer to a win and it really came together in the last fifteen minutes," said Feely, who believes the result will kick-start Cockburn's season. "We probably left it a bit late but it was a great team effort and should give us confidence."
Second-placed Balcatta entered the afternoon as raging favourites against an opponent that was languishing at the bottom of the table with one point from four games. There was some early controversy when a scorching shot by Feely hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the line with match officials ruling that it did not cross over. Balcatta would then be aggrieved when a sizzling long-range strike by Julian Piromalli likewise and was also disallowed. But the visitors' disappointment was brief, a brilliant cross from Ashley Rosindale found the head of Black who nodded in the games opening goal after 32 minutes.
The second period opened with Cockburn on the attack, Jason Dos Santos driving them forward from the middle of the park and Feely causing the visitors all sorts of problems in the final third. Although they spent the majority of the half on the back foot, Balcatta twice wasted golden opportunities to seal the win. A brilliant 65th minute diving save by Dejan Aleksic denied Rosindale after he'd been brought down by Jason Godfrey. There were further heroics from Aleksic ten minutes from full-time, this time the goalkeeper keeping out another Rosindale penalty attempt following a foul against David Tarka.
That second penalty save by Aleksic would be the catalyst for Cockburn's late revival. Two minutes later a scintillating long ball by Anthony Pereira found a surging Feely, who despatched the equalising goal past David Khuen. Jason Dos Santos's stand-out performance was rewarded three minutes later when he weaved through the opposition defence before rocketing the ball past the 'keeper to turn the game on its head. The Cockerels could not be stopped and just before full-time Findlater put the icing on the cake to send the home crowd into raptures.
ARMADALE GRAB LATE WINNER (with Geoff Mason, Football West)
Substitute Garin St Vall popped up four minutes from the end to steal Armadale a 1-0 win over Floreat Athena under lights at Alfred Skeet Oval. It was fitting that English import James Robinson, who turned in a best on ground display, provided the assist for St Vall's winner. "I'm obviously very happy with the result, the boys worked their socks off and we got the due result for it. When you defend well and the players work hard to get forward you're always in with a chance," said Armadale coach Brad Hassell, whose team leaps up the table into fifth position. "I think it was a pretty even game, I don't think either team threatened the goal too much. I would have been happy with the draw, but delighted we have won."
It was an encouraging start from Floreat with Johnny Mirco firing wide after getting on the end of Alex Dunn's booming goal kick in the 5th minute. Moments later a Floreat corner was cleared only as far as the lively Jason Barrera, whose close-range attempt was saved by Cyril Sharrock. This spurred Armadale onto the attack where James Robinson created an opportunity for his brother Tom Robinson but his shot from distance was saved easily by Dunn. A fine run by James Robinson was cleared by the visiting defence before he could get a shot off, while Ben Kelly should have done much better than fire weakly at the goalkeeper from 6-metres.
Either team could have broken the deadlock in the early minutes of the second half. Ryan Pearson played through for Marlon Ramirez but he shot high from 18-metres, then down the other end it was Mirco that fired wide after a great through ball by Daniel Neiderberger. James Robinson was instrumental in Armadale's attacking presence and on the hour his clever play again led to a shot from Tom Robinson which was kept out by Dunn. Substitute John Migas powered over the bar from 20-metres, then Pearson's superb pass sent in Kelly whose shot was narrowly wide. The game looked destine to finish scoreless when, in the 86 minute, James Robinson's cross provided an easy tap in from substitute St Vall from only a few metres to determine the outcome.
FOSTER TIMES TWO (courtesy Sorrento)
David Foster re-discovered his goal scoring touch by netting twice in Sorrento’s impressive 3-1 away win against Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Foster’s brace, which came after Glen Thomas had given the visitors the lead, moves the Gulls up to seventh place at the end of the fifth round of Premier League fixtures. There were few early highlights for the healthy sized crowd with both Kevin Miller and Tom Woodhead comfortable in dealing with what came their way. The first real opening came on 13 minutes when Foster fired over the crossbar after Miller had blocked his initial attempt. That warning wasn’t sufficiently heeded by the home side who found themselves a goal down two minutes when Adam Hayton fed in Thomas, whose curling effort from just inside the 18-yard box beat Miller to creep inside the post.
The game now opened up with play streaming from one end of the park to the other. Shane Robinson flashed across the face of goal for Stirling’s first chance of the afternoon. James Morgan volleyed wide of target, then striker Ndumba Makeche squared into the path of Shane Robinson but he blasted well high. The home fans felt further frustration when Bobby Wilson’s under hit back pass was pounced on by Foster, who strode forward and side stepped the advancing ‘keeper before rolling the ball into a unguarded net after 29 minutes. Stirling could have pulled one back ten minutes later but Stef Frost’s overhead was high from Roberto Lujan’s lob into the area. There were better luck for the hosts in the 43rd minute when Daniel Stoitis turned the ball over in midfield and played down the right to Makeche whose far post cross was fired into the bottom corner by Robinson.
Morgan should have restored Sorrento’s two-goal lead early in the second half but somehow pulled wide when well positioned. That miss was forgotten on 65 minutes when Adam Hayton’s high ball in from the left allowed Foster to sneak between two defenders and fire high into the net to make it three-one. But Stirling weren’t in any mood to concede the game just yet. Paul Dickson’s shot was blocked by Kris Dennis, four minutes later Wilson’s a curling effort was tipped over by Woodhead and from the resulting corner Stoitis’s downward header flashed wide. The visitors final chance arrived in stoppage time when a free-kick from the right by Wilson was met by the head of Jason Gavin, who forced Woodhead to touch the ball away with Cameron Yorke clearing the danger.
The points were shared at the Swan Italian Club where Swan United and ECU Joondalup played out a dour 2-2 draw. Tom Shepheard and John Thornley made the most of first half defensive lapses to send the teams into the break at one each. It appeared as though Dale McCulloch had earned Joondalup all three points by netting with five minutes remaining, however, Swan substitute Liam Boland struck in stoppage time to grab his team a point. A lacklustre first half was notable for the frequency with which passes failed to find their target and the absence of any genuine scoring opportunities.
However, the main talking point at the end of 45 minutes was the calamitous defending which allowed each team to score once. Shepheard watched in astonishment as his weak 35th minute header bounced a couple of times on the metre of turf between goalkeeper Andy Petterson and Jon Higgins before hitting the base of the post and deflecting into the net, giving Swan a 35th minute lead. That error was matched six minutes later when schoolyard defending at a Michael Currie permitted a totally unmarked Thornley to lash in from inside the 6-yard box.
There was of a more entertaining second half when Rory Mouttet created an opening for the home side by crossing to Alex Cocking but his header was straight at Petterson. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the game to settle back into its familiar pattern. Phil O'Callaghan blasted high from distance as Joondalup enjoyed some good possession, then Mouttet's last-gasp tackle robbed Scott Bushby of a shot. Swan came back into the game late on but their only real chance came arrived on 80 minutes when Brendan Craig's cross from the left deflected off Charlie Comyn-Platt and evaded an unmarked Boland at the back post by the narrowest of margins.
The game was in desperate need of a goal to spark it into life, and with five minutes to go McCulloch's low 18-metre shot evaded 'keeper Cory Hugo after he'd been afforded far too much space motoring out of midfield. Thornley stung the gloves of Hugo as Joondalup attempted to add another, and a few minutes after Jamie Watt blazed high from just in front of the penalty spot. The game had just entered stoppage time when Boland kept his nerve to slot past Petterson after being sent clear by Shepheard's flick from a long Hugo clearance. Swan almost nicked all three points when new recruit Nick Joshi crossed for , Darragh Kenevey, whose header was just wide.
THREE IN A ROW FOR BUNBURY (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force stretched their winning start to the new Division One season to three games by outshooting Wanneroo City 2-0 at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The visitors made a strong start to the game with Neill Chappell powering in a cross that just evaded the head of Lee Stewart. But Bunbury needed to wait only 9 minutes before Stewart danced around two defenders before calmly slotting in the opening goal. Stewart was unlucky not to have his second midway through the half when he did everything but put the ball in the net amid some desperate defending by Wanneroo. Bunbury strengthened their hold on the game in the 34th minute when James Bergin slammed in from close-range to double the margin.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, Bunbury controlling play but unable to created a great deal in the way of genuine chances. Stewart worked tirelessly throughout while second half substitute Kieran Kavanaugh made his presence known with several storming runs down the right. English import Warren Howes put a header wide and later on his chip drifted past the post. Wanneroo played for the majority on the counterattack and had they snatched a goal back then it would have been a very interesting match. But that didn’t happen and at the end of 90 minutes Bunbury were the deserved recipients of three points.
ASHFIELD ON THE BOARD (courtesy Ashfield)
Ashfield kick started their season by trouncing neighbours Morley Windmills 5-1 when they met under lights at Ashfield Reserve. Only a couple of minutes had passed when Morley took a surprise lead through Blaz Radonovic, who tapped in from close-range to punish Ashfield's inability to clear from deep inside the 18-yard box. The home team regrouped quickly and in the 17th minute were back on level terms, Gary Murdoch running the ball deep before crossing beyond the far post where Gareth Lloyd half-volleyed into the back of the net. The remainder of the half saw both sides create some good chances without adding to the scoreline.
The second half had been under way only minutes when Morley captain Ibnen Charming was sent from the field for uncharacteristically lashing out at Scott McIlroy's clumsy challenge. The dust from that incident was still settling when Radonovic over-reacted to Micth Castrilli's challenge, leaving the referee no choice but to issue the Morley player his second yellow card. Playing with only nine, the odds were now stacked firmly against Morley who worked tirelessly to stay in the game with Maidan Yimer and Eddy Walsh forcing some good saves from Matt Battigelli on the counterattack.
Ashfield were well in control and on 74 minutes were rewarded as McIlroy showed great skill to tame a cross from the left which he then struck past the goalkeeper to put the hosts ahead. From this point there was no going back and eight minutes later Jon Greenwood widened the gap, with Andy Griffiths adding a fourth soon after. But the best was saved for last, veteran Trevor Hatton dribbling half the length of the pitch before glancing up and hitting a stunning 35-metre shot that Daniel Morgan could only get his fingertips to as the ball soared into his net. Ashfield's first win of the season moves them up to sixth, while Morley slump to last place with three successive losses.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Tomorrow’s visit of ECU Joondalup to Swan United (3.00pm) is the pick of this week’s Premier League action. Joondalup have picked up one win from their first four games and striker John Thornley, scorer of five goals in last two games, is hopeful results will starts going his teams way. “It’s a big game this week. We know we can win and we go there expecting to take all three points,” he said. “We have been unlucky this year and should have more points, and I know Swan have had a few decent results and are always a tough side to beat at home. So we will have to at our best if we want to win this weekend.”
James Sammut would like to continue Swan’s good home record against Joondalup, who’ve managed to take home maximum points just once in five trips to the Swan Valley. “Saturday is a big game and we need to get a win. We need to take points from all our home games which we haven’t been able to do this season,” said Sammut, who transferred to Swan during the summer from Joondalup. “The lads have looked sharp at training and I’m sure we will take that out on the park on Saturday and get a needed three points.”
Premier League leaders Western Knights welcome Mandurah City to Nash Field (3.00pm). Paul Price’s team are yet to be beaten this season and are no doubt buoyed by last week’s big win at Inglewood United. Stuart Ferguson has settled in well since returning from a spell in New Zealand while Mario Marcinko and David Price provide the coach a few extra options having completed Perth Glory Youth duties. Mandurah goalkeeper Phil Straker has been in great form and his influence along with that of Ryan Townsend and Nicky Platt will go along way to the Dolphins building on last week’s draw at Balcatta.
Cockburn City continues to search for their first win of the campaign when Balcatta journeys to Dalmatinac Park (3.00pm). It’s been a disastrous start for Scott Miller’s side, who’ll need big performances from defensive partners David Tarka and Shane Nunes to end their run. Hard-working midfielder Adrian Webster is again out through suspension, however, Jon Davite comes back in having served his. Balcatta are yet to lose and so understandably have been installed as pre-game favourites. Adam Tong and Igor Ilikj have been outstanding at the back with Matthew Italiano and Anthony Jones flexing their muscle across the midfield.
Perth SC has home ground advantage against inner city rivals Inglewood United (3.00pm). Former Stoke City youth player Hayden Doyle made his starting debut last week for the Blues and his defensive partnership with Shaun Kilkelly will be vital, especially as Aaron Cole and Craig Simpson are struggling with injury. There weren’t too many highlights for Shane Pryce’s team last time out and the coach Shane will be looking for a massive improvement when Inglewood visit Dorrien Gardens, where they last won in 2004. Dannie Richman has been impressing since returning to the line-up and his delivery into the final third is going to be crucial if the likes of Mladen Kovacevic are to find the net.
Paul Lincoln’s first home game with Stirling Lions brings them up against Sorrento (3.00pm). The coach is hopeful of having Michael Pugliese back from injury, however, captain Jordan Rhodes has left the club and import striker David Dugdale is rumoured to have followed suit. Sorrento head to Macedonia Park with a good record, winning on three of the last five visits, and coach Trevor Morgan will his players revved up for another strong showing. Callum O’Connell, back from his spell with A-League side Brisbane Roar, will be a key figure for the Gulls along with Danny Cain and Adam Hayton.
The round concludes at Alfred Skeet Oval where Armadale hosts Floreat Athena under lights from 6.00pm. Tom Robinson, Lewis Flatt and Marlon Ramirez have been solid across the middle for the Reds, whose defensive stocks are boosted with the return of Michael Ord from suspension. Floreat head south needing maximum points to stay in touch with the early leaders. Johnny Mirco was on fire last week and his partnership with Daniel Neiderberger will need close attention, likewise lively wide players James Isaia and Adam Bachiller.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Wanneroo City will need all the powers of a Jedi master if they’re to get the better of Bunbury Forum Force in the Division One match of the week at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Roos coach Gerry McEwan has this week contemplated coming out of retirement with eight senior players unavailable through injury while late fitness tests are required on Chris Pugh, Rowdy Yates, Brad McDonald and Brian Cairney. Nine goals in two games shows just how serious Bunbury are about finishing on top of the table and with Warren Howes, Oliver McGee and David Rodgers firing on all cylinders they enter the afternoon as favourites.
Gosnells City shouldn’t have too many problems making it three wins in a row when Rockingham City swings by Walter Padbury Reserve. Tom Kennedy should make his Gosnells debut having transferred in during the week from Stirling Lions, however, goalkeeper Dane McBride will be missing for the home team while Darren Francis and Daley Rothwell are doubtful due to injury. Luka Ivancic comes into the Rockingham side having missed last week, Peter Kuzet remains unavailable, and Adam Bremner returns to Gosnells for the first time since leaving in the off-season.
Marc Wingell is no doubt looking forward to Dianella White Eagles’s first home game of the winter that brings Fremantle Spirit to Dianella Reserve. Dejan Djukanovic and Wes Ryder are back from injury, but late fitness tests await Dale Wingell and Stefan Smiljanic. It’ll be a serious test of the new-look Canning City’s mettle when Bayswater City, who smacked in six goals last time out, visits Willetton Sportsman Club. Not a lot has gone right in the past fortnight for Queens Park and, unfortunately, another hiding looks to be on the cards, this one from Forrestfield United. Ashfield will pick up their long-overdue first points of the season when they host Morley Windmills.
GLORY REVEAL FIVE SIGNINGS
The Perth Glory playing roster for next summer is nearing completion with five players committing to the club for 2010/11. Local products Jamie Coyne, Todd Howarth and Tommy Amphlett have signed new deals while Michael Baird and Josh Mitchell will return from playing in Romania to wear the purple and orange. The signings take Glory's squad for next season to twenty-two players.
Glory deputy chairman Lui Giuliani is delighted to have all five players on board for next season. "We now have twelve local players in our squad and we have also added to the quality of our list with Josh Mitchell and Michael Baird," he said. "To have twenty-two players already signed is pleasing and shows that players want to play for Perth Glory."
Next season will be Coyne's eighth at Glory, the former club captain having featured in all five A-League campaigns and also part of the side which won the 2003/04 National Soccer League championship. New contracts for Howarth and Amphlett are a reward for some impressive performances in their debut A-League seasons. Howarth missed just one game while Amphlett made five appearances off the bench.
Baird, 26, will add to Glory's options in the attacking third of the pitch having played the last four seasons in Romania's top flight with Universitatea Craiova. Mitchell, 25, has also been playing with Universitatea Craiova for whom he's made over 100 appearances since 2005. Glory also confirmed midfielder Adriano Pellegrino is currently attending trials with Scottish club Motherwell.
RIGHT ATTITUDE CAN RIGHT INGLEWOOD
Three successive losses have plunged Inglewood United down the Premier League table and withn touching distance of last place. Not that defender Danny Kovacevic, who is yet to make a league appear due to a pre-season hamstring tear, is overly concerned by his teams' predicament. "We were in a similar position a couple years ago when we were one win, one draw and six losses after the first eight games. We turned that around with ten wins, two draws and two losses in the last part of the season to finish fourth, then we qualified for the Top Four final," he said.
If you ask Kovacevic it's attitude not ability that's Inglewood's main problem. "We have a decent squad with some good players but as a team we need to learn our limitations and strengths," the defender added. "In the eight years I've been at the 'wood, team work and camaraderie are the things that have got us through the times when a lot of people wrote us off. Having players unavailable through injuries etc - myself, Bazza (Michael Baczynski), Clarkey (Ryan Clarke) - certainly hasn't helped but if we start working together and focus on what were good at, I'm sure we can turn it around."
It has been a "extremely difficult" period for Kovacevic as he's watched Inglewood go pointless from their last three outings. "You feel helpless on the sidelines, not being able to help when the chips are down is really frustrating. You try and stay positive and pitch in where you can, but it's not the same as being out there," he said. "We don't have a great deal of experience on the field at the moment, especially at the back ... it doesn't help but you try to be a leader off the field."
Kovacevic returned to the training track last week but withdrew halfway through the session after feeling some tightness in his hamstring. "It responded well to treatment so I started to do more last week, but during some sprints it didn't feel right so I told Prycey I was no good," he explained. "I'll get back into training this week and see how I go. Realistically I'm aiming for the game against Swan United, and I'm definately putting my hand up for the Cup match against Balcatta because we owe them one - or should I say five!"
Everyone at Inglewood will have to pulling in the same direction if they're to take home so much as a point from Saturday's game at Perth SC. "No matter how good or bad you've been playing, Perth is always a tough game," Kovacevic said. "The important thing is for us to play like we know we can and work as a team because that will give us the best chance of coming away from the game with some sort of result. Of course getting a point or three is the ultimate goal, but at the moment it's really important that we start working properly as a unit."
GARCIA SUFFERS KNEE INJURY
Richard Garcia's World Cup hopes have received another setback with a knee injury ruling him out of Hull City's next few games. The winger underwent an arthroscopy earlier today to determine the extent of the damage and the best course of rehabilitation. "It is a blow," said club official Iain Dowie. "Richard's knee locked in training and it is a problem he has had before. As a result, he's had an arthroscopy this morning to see how we're going to unlock it." Garcia is expected to miss upcoming games against Birmingham City, Aston Villa and Sunderland.
NATIONAL CALL-UP FOR FIVE TEENAGERS
Five State players have been invited to attend an upcoming Under-13 national team training camp in Canberra. Daniel De Silva (Stirling Lions), Jordan Pokler (Perth SC), Luke Vittiglia (Sorrento) along with ECU Joondalup pair Benjamin Johns and Ross Millard are amongst 30 players selected by coach Ante Juric for the four-day camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, commencing 29 April.
Football West official Andrew Bettell is over the moon about the national players' call-up. "It's fantastic that we've had five players selected to train with the national team after a string of great performances," he said. "Outside of New South Wales we were the next-best selected state which is fantastic for football in WA and is a big thumbs-up for the work that our development team and state coaches are doing with our programs."
STIRLING CAPTAIN QUITS
Stirling Lions captain Jordan Rhodes has walked out on the club as the fallout from week's sacking of coaches Mike Lyons and Gary Williams continues. Rhodes, a youth team player with Charlton Athletic, admits it wasn't easy leaving the club for which he's played three of the last four years. "It was a very difficult decision to make. I had been at Stirling for a number of years, made many great friends and thoroughly enjoyed my time," Rhodes said. "I definitely didn't take the decision lightly and it is never easy to leave a group of lads, particularly the great bunch at Stirling."
Ultimately, it was change directed by the Stirling committee that led Rhodes to re-evaluate where he would play in 2010. "There were a number of decisions I disagreed with, one of them being to sack Mike and Gary, and I could no longer see myself being passionate about the club and enjoying my football with the Lions," explained Rhodes. "I spoke to (coach) Paul Lincoln and (president) Don Evans after training last Thursday night and wished them the best for the season."
It wasn't only Rhodes that was caught off-guard by the coaching change three games into the new season. "The initial reaction was one of shock, given the timing and speed with which it happened," the midfielder explained. "For the players who'd played for Mike and Gary for a number of years there was definitely some disappointment, particularly after the very trying season we had last year where we went from being relegation candidates to reaching the finals. That said, the bulk of the current squad have been brought in from overseas so their feelings probably weren't as strong as they've not known Mike and Gary for long."
Having closed the door on one chapter of his career, Rhodes has signed on the dotted line with Mandurah City, the club he played for as a junior and who in 2007 he helped gain promotion to the Premier League. "A number of clubs contacted me during the week and I considered all the offers put before me," commented Rhodes. "I signed for Mandurah last night and will hopefully line up for them this week against the Western Knights. I'm really looking forward to again being involved with the club where I grew up and I hope I can make a positive contribution."
ROSINDALE SENDS BALCATTA TO THE TOP
Top flight football seems to suit Balcatta who, four games into their inaugural Premier League campaign, sit jointly atop the table with Western Knights. And although delight with his team’s flying start, striker Ashley Rosindale stresses there is no room for complacency in the Balcatta camp. “It has been a great start for us in our first ever Premier League campaign, taking ten points out of a possible twelve,” he said. “However, we were left feeling disappointed not to take all three points against Mandurah City at home last week. This has given us a wake up call ahead of our trip to Cockburn City, and we will have to continue improving and working hard as a unit if we are going to reach the targets we have set ourselves this season.”
A large slice of Balcatta’s early season success is down to Ashley Rosindale’s knack for putting the ball in the back of the net, the 24-year old bagging seven goals in the first four games. “As a team we are always going to create lots of goal scoring opportunities due to our style of play and it is my job to get myself into positions where I can capitalise on them,” said Rosindale, winner of last year’s Division One Golden Boot award. “From a personal point of view I am happy with the start I have made in front of goal, but I know that a huge amount of credit has to go my team mates, whose contribution is just as important.”
Balcatta recruited wisely after edging out Wanneroo City to win promotion to the Premier League last season, and Rosindale tips is hat to coach Salv Todaro on a job well done. “Salv is a great believer in playing football the way it should be played - a free flowing, passing game. The results and some of the football we have played so far this year reflect this,” said Rosindale. “The club has done a good job recruiting and I believe a large part of this is that players can see that there is a great philosophy and atmosphere at Balcatta, both on and off the pitch. I really have been impressed with our recruits defensively - Adam Tong, Igor Iljic and Mark Walsh and goalkeeper David Khuen.”
Rosindale got his first taste of Premier League football with Stirling Lions in 2008. “When I first arrived in Australia halfway through the 2008 season I was lucky enough to be put in contact with Mick Lyons at Stirling where I played out the remainder of the season. I was very happy at Stirling but I got offered an exciting opportunity at Balcatta and I’ve not looked back,” said Rosindale, who scored in Balcatta’s round three win over Stirling. “It was nice to return to Macedonia Park but the goal gave me no more satisfaction the any other I have scored this season … and I hope there are plenty more to come.”
Rosindale began his football career as a 7-year old with English village side Wilsden Juniors and was later signed by Bradford City. He moved on at the age of 17 having received a scholarship offer from America, where he played for four years. “I played for Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and had a fantastic experience playing football and enjoying the American college life - parties, girls, and of course, studying,” he said. “It provides a great opportunity for young sportsmen and women to participate in their sport at a high level at the same time as gaining a degree. I would not hesitate in recommending it to other young players in WA.”
HERD'S SEASON CUT SHORT
Australian youth international Chris Herd is out for the rest of the English season with a knee injury. The 21-year old Aston Villa midfielder had been enjoying an excellent loan spell with Lincoln City before coming off second-best in a challenge in Tuesday's loss to Notts County. "He picked up the injury in a tackle and the initial prognosis is not good with the injury looking quite bad," said Lincoln physio Michael Wait. "He has returned to Villa this morning (on Wednesday) where he will have a scan and be assessed by their medical team." Herd, a member of Australia's squad at last year's Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, had scored four goals during his 19-game spell with the Imps.
WORLD CUP WONDERS TO GO ON SHOW AT TOWN HALL
The Football Hall of Fame WA will stage a FIFA World Cup exhibition - ‘World Cup Wonders’ - at the historic Perth Town Hall during May to celebrate Australia’s involvement in the greatest show on earth. When Australia takes their place in South African this June it’ll be the Socceroos third World Cup finals appearance but the first time they’ve qualified back-to-back, having played four years ago in Germany when they proved the surprise packets by reaching the second round before losing to eventual champions Italy.
Many West Australian’s have been associated with the Socceroos’ since their first bid for World Cup glory in 1965, and the Football Hall of Fame will salute them at a cocktail reception on 22 May at the Perth Town Hall. Presentations will be made to Stan Lazaridis, WA’s most capped player, Robbie Dunn, Robbie Zabica, Shaun Murphy, Alistair Edwards, Tony Franken and Gary Marocchi among many other West Australians who pulled on Australia colours. Presentations will also be made to the WA women players who have competed for Australia, including current Matildas’ Lisa De Vanna and Collette McCallum.
The ‘World Cup Wonders’ exhibition will focus heavily on Australia’s involvement with photographs, match reports, posters and other memorabilia on display. There will also be a special section on the World Cup History, and patrons will have a chance to be photographed holding a replica of the World Cup trophy. The Committee of the Football Hall of Fame WA thanks the City of Perth for its support in this venture, and also that of Football West. The ‘World Cup Wonders’ exhibition runs from 17 to 25 May - for more information contact Football Hall of Fame WA chairman Louis Prospero on 9237 9205.
HEALTHY BOOST FOR CLUBS
Healthway are pleased to announce that nearly thirty football clubs have been successful in gaining Healthy Club sponsorships for this winter. The program provides an incentive for clubs to identify health and safety issues and address them and is managed by Sports Medicine Australia. Successful applicants were provided with up to $2500 to implement a range of health, safety, education and participation initiatives. In return for sponsorship, clubs must develop a Healthy Club policy which covers smoking, alcohol, drugs, sun protection and healthy catering to name a few. For more information on the program visit Sports Medicine Australia, WA Branch website.
JONES GAINS STRENGTH FROM BORO BOO-BOYS
Brad Jones has emerged a stronger character having endured more than his fair share of criticism from Middlesbrough’s boo-boys in the last few years. The one-time Australian international has struggled to win over supporters after succeeding compatriot Mark Schwarzer at the start of last season and even had to contend with jeers when his name was read out in a pre-match warm-up. It was a situation that culminated in Gordon Strachan’s decision to drop him in the aftermath of late December’s loss to Newcastle United, after which veteran Danny Coyne was the manager’s preferred goalkeeper.
However, despite knowing the vast majority of Middlesbrough fans would have been happy to see him move on, Jones has returned to action with some of his best displays for the club. The 28-year old has tried to blot out the knocks he has received from the stands, but it has saddened him because he only ever wanted to success with Middlesbrough. “It’s football, you have a couple of good games and you are everyone’s hero,” said Jones leading into Saturday’s game with Sheffield Wednesday. “You have a couple of bad games and then everyone hates you. That’s the way it goes.”
Despite feeling harshly treated by sections of the Riverside Stadium support, Jones says he has no intention of leaving the club. “Sometimes it’s disappointing and it does make you question your future, where you want to go,” he said. “I have been here twelve years now, I came when I was 16 and I’m still seen as the foreigner. But I have lived in the area for that long. All of my mates are Middlesbrough supporters, from the area. I have stayed at the club throughout that time and I have enjoyed being here. I’m not going to leave for a couple of boos, but it can hurt.”
Jones revival began with a number of important saves to help Middlesbrough claim a 1-1 draw with Reading on 9 February, a performance he followed with a penalty save at Plymouth on Easter Monday. “I have probably played my best few games in the last few weeks,” he said. “There are certain things that you have to get on with, blank it out or struggle. I had a few people saying to me ‘don’t worry about this, don’t worry about that’. It wasn’t a case of that - it was just that I wanted to play. My game is always on an edge. I always come out for crosses and I will get hit now and again and drop a ball.”
Only time will tell whether Jones’ recall will lead to his selection as one of three goalkeepers in Australia’s World Cup squad. “It’s been a while since I was in a squad but there has not been too many camps either,” said Jones. “I’m just happy to be back in the team having a run and hopefully I can impress the national team manager enough to go to the World Cup. The national manager has said that if you’re not playing ‘you won’t be going.’ Straight forward, I knew I wasn’t going then (when he wasn’t playing), now I’m in the team and I think I’m doing enough to prove I am good enough to go.”
THREE BOYS IN ALL-STAR TEAM
Three West Australia youngsters were selected in the All-Stars squad following the 2010 National Junior Championships for Boys, which concluded on the weekend in Canberra. Ben Johns, Ross Millard and Jordan Pokler - the latter's string of impressive performances being rewarded with the Player of the Tournament - were named in the Group A All-Stars which defeated group winners New South Wales Metropolitan in a final day exhibition match.
State coach Dave Butterfield was pleased with how Western Australia, who finished in fifth place, played during the three-day event. "Having three players identified in Ross Millard, Ben Johns and Jordan Pokler identified is fantastic news with obviously Jordan the MVP of the tournament," he said. "From our standpoint I thought we played good at times, especially in the game against Victoria. We were unlucky not to have one or two more players identified, but overall I was really happy with how we played."
Western Australia commenced their campaign on Thursday with a 2-1 loss to Queensland, against whom Brandon Wilson scored after 21 minutes. And there was little joy to be had from the afternoon game which NSW Metropolitan took out 4-1, Milan Ognjenovic getting the west's solitary goal. The following day produced a 3-0 win against South Australia, Damien Simic scoring twice with the other coming via Alex Tanevski, followed by a scoreless draw with Victoria Metropolitan.
Western Australia went down 3-0 to Northern NSW in Saturday's last group game, a result that left them in fifth with one win and a draw from five games. NSW Metropolitan claimed the Group A title after being awarded enough Technical Performance Points to leapfrog the unbeaten Victoria Metropolitan side. The National Junior Championships serves as a talent identification tournament where national coaches from all levels identify future national team players.
A-LEAGUE IN CRISIS
The A-League faces the biggest crisis in its five-year history with glamour club Gold Coast United on death row and Football Federation Australia unable to guarantee its survival. Gold Coast’s future is under a huge cloud after just one season as benefactor Clive Palmer considers whether to withdraw his financial backing from the club. It comes just days after the FFA bailed out fellow expansion club North Queensland Fury when owner Don Matheson decided to walk away, unable to afford to keep the club going. And A-League boss Archie Fraser has also resigned from his job overseeing the troubled competition, which now has all three Queensland-based sides either under FFA control or facing uncertain futures.
WILLIAMS EXITS STIRLING WITH HIS HEAD HELD HIGH
Last week’s decision by Stirling Lions to sack dual Cup winning coaches Mick Lyons and Gary Williams just three games into the new league sent ripples of surprise through the football community. However, despite such a sudden departure from the Stirling camp, Williams is adamant the hard work he and Lyons put in during pre-season will pay off for the club in 2010. “I am sure the club will get success this year with the players they have,” said Williams. “The team this year is very strong and whilst we did not win every game I do not consider our start disastrous enough to warrant a change of personnel.”
Williams has good reason to hold his head high at the end of his time with the Lions. “There have been numerous highlights at the club such as the Cup wins, but I also get satisfaction from seeing the kids mature into good senior players,” he explained. “I was initially asked by Mick to assist with the Reserves whilst he and Geordie (Paul Simmons) ran the first team. From the outset Mick put his trust and belief in youth which has paid dividends since. I have worked with a great bunch of guys on the coaching side where we have collectively contributed in a successful period for the club (which) includes two Cup wins, two State League runner-up spots, one Reserve championship, one Under-18 championship and a runners-up spot.”
Even though he is no longer part of the senior coaching set-up, Williams remains committed to seeing the year out as a junior coach at Stirling. “I will remain at the club this year and will continue with the under-14 team which will keep me involved with football. And I would love to get involved at a senior level in the near future,” said Williams, who is understood to have already spoken with a number of State League clubs about his coaching future. “I have made a commitment to the players and to withdraw now would be the wrong thing to do. I currently have eleven of my players involved with Football West at State level and I have been extremely proud of our achievements over the last three years.”
GLORY SHOW INTEREST IN FOWLER, VIDUKA
Perth Glory have joined the race to sign former Liverpool star Robbie Fowler at the same time they’re attempting to lure ex-Socceroo Mark Viduka. Glory are set to hold talks with Fowler in England later this month following his expected move from the troubled North Queensland Fury. Although Sydney FC are expected to pick up Fowler, Glory’s recruitment of former Fury coach Ian Ferguson as assistant to David Mitchell has helped their bid to sign Fowler.
Glory chairman Tony Sage said Viduka’s friendship with Jacob Burns could open up the door for the club to make an offer to Viduka, who last year announced his retirement from the game before relocating to Melbourne. However, it is still unclear whether Viduka wants to pull the boots out of mothballs. “We think an offer from Perth would be great for him,” Sage told radio station 6PR. “And Jacob Burns is a very good friend of his. Informal talks have gone on, and if he wants to play, we will make an offer to him.”
KNIGHTS RUN THROUGH HAPLESS INGLEWOOD
Western Knights were a classy above as they humiliated Inglewood United 5-1 on a sunny afternoon a Clipsal Stadium. Stuart Montgomery’s first half brace put the Knights on the road to victory but it was after the turnaround that they excelled with unanswered goals from Paul Van Dongen, substitute Mario Marcinko and David Micevski. Other than a sublime headed goal by Mladen Kovacevic, it was a totally forgettable performance from Inglewood who had struggled to match their opponents free-flowing, attacking style of play that was deserving of a few more goals.
The Knights were given the best possible start when, in the 6th minute, Daniel Micevski’s near post corner was flicked on by Van Dongen and steered into the net by Montgomery. Inglewood responded with a period of prolonged possession, however, genuine goal scoring opportunities were virtually non-existent against a well-drilled defence under the command of David Annall. Dannie Richman managed to find a way through on 24 minutes but his shot from an angled had the pace taken off it by Fraser Siddall with Stuart Ferguson happy to concede a corner. A minute later Richman turned provider, his exquisite cross from the left allowing Kovacevic to rise majestically and head in the equaliser.
Just four minutes later Inglewood shot themselves in the foot when James Duncan’s attempt to clear striking Montgomery and ricocheting into Taseski’s net to put the Knights back in charge. With this Inglewood heads dropped, allowing the visiting team to totally dominate the remainder of the afternoon. Simon Versaico’s pace was causing a lot of problems down the left and on 33 minutes he rifled high on the end of a good move through the middle. David Micevski’s thunderbolt from the top of the 18-yard box crashed into the underside of the bar and bounced on the line before Montgomery headed in, but that was disallowed for offside. And five minutes from the break Montgomery stretched Taseski from 15-metres.
Montgomery should have completed his hat-trick less than a minute into the second half but failed to connect with the ball, which trickled through to Taseski, after a defensive lapse by Matt Worton. The margin was increased on 59 minutes by Van Dongen, who nodded over Taseski after getting on the end of a long diagonal ball by Ferguson. Two minutes later Anthony Campbell fended off Worton deep inside the area before his close-range strike was saved by Taseski, who soon was thankful Van Dongen’s attempt from all of 3-metres lacked power of any sort. Worton made a timely intercept which prevented Campbell meeting a Van Dongen centre, then Montgomery pulled just wide under pressure from Rikki Smith.
As the game entered the closing stages it seemed only a matter of time before the Knights would add to their tally. And that’s exactly what happened on 85 minutes when Van Dongen’s centre found substitute Mario Marcinko totally unmarking, allowing him time to pick his spot past the oncoming ‘keeper. The Knights were by no means finished and Daniel Micevski curled a free-kick just the wrong side of the near post. The final whistle was just seconds away when Marcinko played a short pass to David Micevski who jinxed his way into space before angling the ball into the net from a narrowing angle.
PERTH TRIUMPH IN TOPSY-TURVY THRILLER (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Andreas Oliveira scored twice to inspire Perth SC to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University campus. Perth were made to sweat right up until the final whistle with John Thornley's third goal giving the hosts a late chance of a stealing point. "Some of the goals we scored were a lot of fun but when you concede with two minutes to go and the pressure's on a bit. We gave them three of their goals, sloppy goals, so from our point of view it was a bit disappointing but we scored some great ones. I'd rather win 5-4 than 1-0 and give the spectators something," said Perth coach Graham Normanton, who admitted concern at his teams leaky defence. "Eight goals in two weeks is a lot. We normally concede eight goals in half a season. It's a concern but you can't coach for errors and they were basic errors as well."
It took only 5 minutes for the scoring to commence, Hayden Doyle's superb pass down the right finding Matt Danksin who took the ball in his stride before beating veteran goalkeeper Andy Petterson with a brilliant angled finish from the edge of the area. The home side responded quickly with Scott Bushby's close-range effort blocked by Jason Saldaris after the ball had somehow found its way across the face of goal. Shaun Kilkelly headed a corner wide, then Andreas Oliveira forced Petterson into a fine save as Perth looked to increase their advantage. But it was the home side that hit the back of the net after 19 minutes when Michael Currie's free-kick was glanced on by Charlie Comyn-Platt and Thornley couldn't miss from point-blank range.
Joondalup had a strong claim for a penalty after 28 minutes when Thornley looked to have been fouled by Kilkelly, however, referee Dave Scragg waved play on. Perth immediately won a corner which the home side only half-cleared before Petterson was forced to make a spectacular save to keep out Oliveira's 30-metre rocket. Oliveira went close again moments later with a low drive that fizzled narrowly wide of the taget. Joondalup hit the front seven minutes later with a bizarre goal, Saldaris blasting his clearance into Thornley then watching in despair as it looped back behind him and into the net.
A lightning counter-attack put Perth back on equal terms eight minutes into the second half, Oliveira and Doyle combining to play on Danskin who gave Petterson no chance with an exquisite chip over the 'keeper. But just two minutes later Joondalup wrestled back control when Thornley pounced from close-range after the Perth defence had failed to clear a corner. It became three-each two minutes later with Robert Sciascia's long-range effort deflecting off a defender and looping up over a helpless Petterson. And second later Perth were in front when Antonio Naglieri flicked on Sciascia's low cross and Oliveira was placed at the far post to poke the ball over the line.
Oliveira had caused the Joondalup defence problems all afternoon and he was only centimetres from increasing his side's lead after wriggling his way past a couple of opponents and creating an opening for himself. However, there was nothing Petterson could do to prevent Oliveira putting away Perth's fifth goal in the 75th minutes, the livewire playing a wonderful one-two on the edge of the area with Ian McMurray before delightfully steering the ball past the 'keeper with the outside of his boot. It may have looked as though the game was now over but Thornley grabbed his team a stoppage time life-line by completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot after he'd been brought down by Saldaris. The home side pressed for an equaliser in the remaining seconds but Perth held on for a remarkable victory.
EASY WIN FOR FLOREAT
Floreat Athena continued their good start to the Premier League by comfortably seeing off Swan United 4-1 at Litis Stadium. A brace by stand-in captain Branimir Mikulic and singles to Johnny Mirco and Daniel Neiderberger gave the home side all three points with Swan’s consolation goal coming via Alex Cocking. “We played well today, Swan defended well early but we got one of at least three penalty claims in the first half, and it was a good time to score with four minutes to go before the break,” said Floreat’s assistant coach Taki Nicolaidis. “We put the game beyond doubt scoring two goals early in the second half. We played some good one touch football and it was a good all-round team performance.”
Both team had early chances before Floreat asserted control over proceedings. Daniel Agudelo kept out shots from Jarrad Smith and Mikulic before referee Steve Gregory dismissed a strong penalty appeal despite Brendan Craig’s blatant body check on Mirco, who on the half hour tested the ‘keeper. A rare Swan attack ended with James Sammut’s lob being tipped over by Alex Dunn, who two minutes later did likewise to Darragh Kinnevey’s long-range attempt. But with half-time just four minutes away Floreat broke the deadlock as good approach work by Neiderberger allowed Mirco to burst inside the box where he was felled as he rounded Agudelo, referee Gregory pointed straight to the spot from where Mikulic converted.
The game was ultimately decided in a six-minute spell at the start of the second half which started when Neiderberger played through to Mirco, who went past Craig before beating Agudelo with a low shot. Then in the 53rd minute Adam Bachiller’s superb through ball was touched past Robert Monterosso by Mikulic, who then clinically beat the ‘keeper for a second time. Neiderberger should have sealed victory after going past a static defence and rounding Agudelo but his shot was into the side netting. Swan found a lifeline three minutes later when Bachiller’s sliced clearance was headed by Cocking over a stranded ‘keeper and into the net. But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished in the 83rd minute when substitute Modric Sims put the ball with Neiderberger, who picked his spot beyond Agudelo for Floreat’s fourth of the afternoon.
LINCOLN GUIDES STIRLING TO VICTORY (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Stirling Lions marked the arrival of new coach Paul Lincoln by scoring a deserved 1-0 win over struggling Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. Import Bobby Wilson grabbed the only goal of the game midway through the first half to ensure maximum points were taken from Lincoln’s first visit to the Stirling dugout. “I thought we played well in patches today - we defended very well and did enough to get the win,” said Lincoln after the game. “Obviously it was tough to come in and assess our options after just one night of training with the lads, but I picked a side who I thought could do the job and they did it for us today.” Cockburn coach Scott Miller, on the other hand, endured a frustrating afternoon as he watched from the stands because of a touchline ban.
A mix-up between Dejan Aleksic and his defence led to the afternoon’s first chance as Roberto Lujan snuck in to let fly from 6-metres, however, the Cockburn goalkeeper atoned for his lack of communication with a brilliant one-handed save. Ludovic Boi, making his first appearance returning from Perth Glory youth’s side, was next to go close with a long-range effort. The deadlock was broken in the 21st minute, referee Michael Tolmie awarding the visitors a free-kick which Wilson drove low and hard into the far corner of the net from 25-metres. Cockburn should have equalised just before the interval when Rory Feely crossed to Renato Jelen but the striker took too long to shoot and Jason Garvin got across and make a vital block.
Boi continued to torment the home defence after the break with his pace and intelligent movement, both on and off the ball. The young winger was the instigator of a golden opportunity for Stirling when his delivery from the left landed on the head of Stef Frost, whose effort was instinctively kept out by Aleksic. As the half progressed, Cockburn began to take control of possession but always seemed to lack a decisive ball into the final third. Their best chance came when Devon Gibson found himself in behind the defence but his shot did little to trouble Kevin Miller’s goal. Midfielder Anthony Pereira also saw a couple of efforts go close, but in the end it was a comfortable victory for the Lions, who are positioned fifth after the first month of home and away competition.
RED HOT ROBINSONS SUBDUE SORRENTO (with Ann Odong, Football West)
Three goals in a stunning nine-minute burst has allowed Armadale to rout Sorrento 4-0 in this afternoon's game at Percy Doyle Reserve. With the two teams exchanging several players in the off-season, this was always going to be a fiercely competitive game which, ultimately, was decided by James Robinson's double and further goals from Jack Goodwin and Tom Robinson to earn Armadale their first win of the season. "We came here to get the points. We matched them in spirit and played some good football," he Reds boss Brad Hassell. "The first three games we had chances to get maximum points. We just kept on trying and with a little bit of luck, the rewards came our way."
Sorrento fashioned the first real chance just 6 minutes when David Foster let fly from just inside the 18-yard box only to see his shot cleared off the line by Andy Bowyer. That early chance was followed by twenty minutes of frantic high-pressure football in which neither team was permitted time to settle on the ball. The visitors played on the counter-attack through Ben Kelly, Tom Robinson and Lewis Flatt. Although the Gulls were the more dominant side Foster, James Morgan and Glen Thomas were unable to convert possession into shots on goal. Foster should have done better on 27 minutes when presented with a free header which he sent skyward.
The scoring drought ended on the half hour when James Robinson's perfectly timed pass put Goodwin through with only goalkeeper Todd Woodhead to beat with the striker side-footing Armadale into the lead. Barely two minutes had passed before the visitors were on the attack again, Tom Robinson running the ball down the right before cutting back into the path of James Robinson who had no problem doubling the teams lead. Flatt looked to add another on 38 minute but his 15-metre strike was blocked. But just a minute later Ben Kelly pulled the ball to the top of the 6-yard box where Tom Robinson slammed into the roof of the net.
The interval didn't dull Armadale's productivity and James Robinson got off an early strike but Woodhead really wasn't troubled in saving. With Todd Harnwell adopting an attacking role in midfield, the Gulls carved out their best opportunity off the half in the 50th minute with Foster's strike bringing about a goalmouth from which the Reds emerged unscathed. Unfortunately, Sorrento's hard work was undone in the 77th minute as Flatt's perfectly weighted ball put in the clear James Robinson, who was brought down by Danny Cain with referee Hugh Best quick to award the penalty which Armadale's number one striker sent into the net to seal a memorable victory.
RODGERS GUIDES BUNBURY TO VICTORY (courtesy Bunbury Forum Force)
Bunbury Forum Force’s plans to go all the way this year were underscored by this afternoon’s resounding 4-1 win against Forrestfield United at WesTrac Stadium. Forrestfield may have held sway during the opening passages but, faced by an experienced home back four, genuine chances on goal was few. Bunbury eventually got into rhythm and on 26 minutes had the lead after the referee awarded a penalty for Grant Learmont’s foul on David Rodgers, who stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way. Just six minutes had passed before the hosts lead was doubled by Rodgers powerful diving header after, Oliver McGee found himself in space on the left to whip in a cross. Forrestfield went close to grabbing one back just before the break by the Bunbury defence scrambled the ball away from their goal mouth.
The second half began much like the first, Forrestfield pushing determinedly I search of a goal but unable to penetrate the home defence. The game was effectively put to rest six minutes in when Rodgers crossed into the path of Neil Chappell, who didn’t break stride in heading in from 5-metres. Matt Harold took it upon himself to rally the visitors, the Forrestfield captain’s charging run out of midfield took him past three opponents before rounding the ‘keeper and slotting in with 59 minutes gone. But hopes of a Forrestfield comeback were snuffed out two minutes later when Chappell’s cross was slipped into the net by DJ Mayers, returning the difference to three goals. A cheeky long-range shot by Patrick Quinn which drifted wide showed Bunbury wanted a few more goals but it wasn’t to be despite late attempts by Mayers, Lee Stewart and James Bergin.
WANNEROO GET OFF THE MARK
Craig Bowman’s stoppage time strike earned Wanneroo City a thrilling 3-2 win against Ashfield at Kingsway Sporting Complex. The game had been underway just 9 minutes when goalkeeper Todd Busby spilled the ball to Tom Orme, who made no mistake giving Wanneroo the lead. The home side went on to dominate the half, Chris McQuade and Jimmy Rowland repeatedly driving into the final third where Ashfield’s defence coped well under pressure. On another day Orme would have completed his hat-trick, while Brian Cairney hesitated just long enough for Busby to make a crucial save after the Wanneroo attacker recieving a beautiful 4-metre pass from Chris Pugh.
The second half was only a few minutes old when Jon Greenwood found the net after fending off his marker and angling past ‘keeper Sam Cornwell. Wanneroo hit back three minutes later, Rowdy Yates crisp shot from the top of the 18-yard box flew snuck just inside the upright. It looked as though Ashfield had stolen a point when in the final minute of regulation time substitute Andy Griffiths slammed into the roof of the net after Gary Murdoch’s cross was cleared only as far as the top of the area. However, Wanneroo had no intention of throwing the game away and in stoppage time Bowman secured victory by punished some poor defending.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The pick of this weeks Premier League action takes place at Percy Doyle Reserve where Sorrento comes up against with Armadale (3.00pm). It’s been a tough start to the season for the Reds, who have taken just two points from the first three games, but captain Andy Boyer believes their first win is just around the corner. “Our side is the strongest we have had in the Premier League and all the boys are really confident that we can come away with a victory against the new look Sorrento,” said Bowyer, one of six former Gulls now with Armadale. “I’ve only ventured once to Windy Hill since leaving - which is due to a bar tab still owing (only joking!!!) - but I love playing on that pitch and there is a few of us at Army who know it better than the new lads there.”
One Gulls player that is no stranger to Percy Doyle Reserve is central midfielder Glen Thomas, who has played for the northern suburbs club since the age of 14. This years league is expected to be the closest in a long time, hence Thomas rates Saturday’s game with Armadale as a must-win for his club. “This season will be quite tight from top to bottom so every game will be a big game, and with the amount of former team mates involved with Armadale it will add an extra dimension,” said Thomas, who turns 31 today. “They have also brought in a few imports who seem to be firing already which is great for the league in general, and in Brad Hassell they have a fantastic coach so we’ll have our work cut out for us again - but we are up to the challenge.”
Top of the table Balcatta welcomes Mandurah City to Grindleford Reserve (3.00pm). It really has been a dream start to life in the Premier League for Balcatta who enter the round shooting for a fourth straight win. Igor Ilikj and Mark Walsh were outstanding at the back last week against Stirling Lions, and with Ashley Rosindale firing on all cylinders and Andy O’Neil and Nicholas Tatasciore providing the ammunition you have to rate highly their chances. The Dolphins opened their season account by downing Inglewood United last time out when Andy Brown bagged the games only goal. Rafael Insaurralde and Nicky Platt are shaping up key figures this season, which looks to be over for Danny Dyson after the defender suffered a broken leg last week.
Paul Lincoln begins his coaching reign at Stirling Lions by travelling south to Cockburn City (3.00pm). Jamie DeAbreu returns to the match day squad following time out through injury and Roberto Lujan is expected to make his Stirling debut having following Lincoln over from Swan United. On the flip side, Tom Ingram is likely to miss the game due to injury while a number of others will face late fitness tests. Cockburn are yet take maximum points this season and head into the game without suspended pair Adrian Webster and Jon Davite, whose absences place greater emphasis on contributions of Anthony Pereira and David Tarka.
New Swan United coach Jamie Goodman takes his side to Floreat Athena (3.00pm). Litis Stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for the Swans, who have to look back to 2004 for the last time they claimed victory at the venue. Rory Mouttet goes straight into the squad following his transfer from Armadale, while Brendan Craig’s return from suspension gives the black and whites further hope. Floreat, fresh from defeating Perth SC 4-2, are yet to be beaten this season and it’s hard to see that ending on Saturday. James Isaia and Jason Barrera have been impressive in the engine room with veteran Ante Kovacevic marshalling the defence.
Perth SC are determined to rebound from last weeks loss by taking home all three points from ECU Joondalup (3.00pm). Aaron Cole’s absence due to injury is a big blow for Graham Normanton, who’ll be thankful Craig Simpson and Antonio Naglieri have put their hands up for selection following time on the sidelines. State player Garin Collins is booked in for a knee operation on Monday so his Joondalup team mates no doubt want to send him off with a win. John Thornley is fresh from bagging a double against Western Knights, while dual Golden Boot winner Phil O’Callaghan is hopeful of putting away his first league goal of 2010.
The undefeated Western Knights journey to Inglewood United (3.00pm). Stuart Ferguson returned to the Knights last week and his partnership at the back with David Annall is going to be vital this year. Anthony Campbell and Stuart Montgomery are sure to cause Inglewood a lot problems, and with Simon Versaico’s service from the flanks the Knights will fancy their chances at a ground they’ve won on three of their last four league visits. The absence of on-field leaders Danny Kovacevic (injury) and Michael Baczynski (overseas) has been noticeable in Inglewood’s games to date. Long-time Inglewood trio Oliver Taseski, Jason Colli and Mladen Kovacevic will be the ones that determine Inglewood’s fate this week.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
Three valuable points are on the line when Wanneroo City and Ashfield square off in the Division One match of the week at Kingsway Sporting Complex. Both teams head into the game looking to kick start their respective seasons after been upset in round one, Wanneroo by Dianella White Eagles and Ashfield by Bunbury Forum Force. “Winning is a habit and we want to get in that habit early in the season,” said Ashfield assistant coach Matt Carruthers. “Of course it’s always harder playing away, however, at the end of the day it’s eleven versus eleven and I would back our players man-for-man on any given day at any ground … the Ashfield faithful also travels well!”
Another blockbuster takes place at WesTrac Stadium where Bunbury Forum Force takes on Forrestfield United. Bayswater City should bounce from their opening round loss by tallying up a good few goals when Queens Park call by Frank Drago Reserve. Gosnells City was impressive against Morley Windmills and should back that win up by taking home another three points from Fremantle Spirit. Rockingham City scored an morale boosting win against Queens Park last weekend but will face a much stiffer challenge this time out when they host Canning City. The derby between Morley Windmills and Dianella White Eagles at Wotton Reserve (5.00pm) is expected to finish in favour of the visiting team.
JEFF’S BRIGHT START FOR DANDENONG
Jeff Bright could not be happier about his first month in the Victorian Premier League. The nuggetty wing-back linked up with Dandenong Thunder last November and, with a full pre-season under his belt, has made an instant impact at his new club. "I was man-of-the-match twice in our first four games," enthused Bright. "The only down side is I fractured my right foot in the early in our third game, I've played the last couple of games without training, partly because I don't use my right foot!"
He may have played only a few games for Dandenong but Bright has already noticed some significant differences between State League football in Victoria and West Australia. "The standard here is a step up from WA. There are a lot of ex-national league players still playing over here and the game is a lot quicker," said the former Perth SC and Mandurah City player. "One aspect I really enjoy is that you need to concentrate 100% for the full ninety minutes - if you don't you will get punished."
After starring on the local stage for Armadale, Bright joined Perth Glory last September as an injury replacement player. And although he played only two games for Glory, the hard-working left-back got enough of a taste to know he wants another go in the A-League. "I initially wanted to get some consistency into my football, gel into the team and get fit again," Bright said of his move to Victoria. "So far I've achieved those and now I'm looking at trying to give myself the best opportunity of getting in the window for an A-League contract."
Dandenong coach Stuart Munro has dipped into the transfer marker over the past few weeks in an attempt to add depth to his side, which is currently placed third from bottom. "Dandenong is a pretty demanding club, the fans are great but they want results," commented Bright. "We are in the middle of signing a few more players - Scott Bulloch has just joined us - and we really needed the break over Easter to re-shape and re-focus. A few more experienced players will really bring some freshness to the squad."
Next on the agenda for Bright is an away game with Altona Magic, who defeated Dandenong in a penalty shoot-out to win last year's VPL Grand Final. "It's going to be a massive game on the weekend. Not only is it a Grand Final replay but Scott and myself will are coming up against Tommi Tomich, so we're looking forward to the challenge," said Bright. "I don't know a lot about Altona other than they are struggling like us so a win will certainly get our season back on track, which is what we need."
URUGUAY TOO GOOD FOR YOUNG SOCCEROOS
The Young Socceroos have found the going tough in the opening leg of their South American tour, going down twice in three days to the Paraguay Under-20 national team. Coach Jan Versleijen says the successive 2-0 losses will serve as a wake-up call to the Australian side leading into next weeks friendly series with Argentina. "In some areas we really improved and a lot of other areas we need to continue to work on like the speed in which we make decisions and our pressing," he said. "The challenge now is for these players to realise what you need to become a high quality international footballer and put in the work that may allow this to happen."
In front of a small crowd, Australia went a goal down 3 minutes into the opening game after Trent Sainsbury's errant pass was intercepted by Diego Benítez, who struck cleanly past goalkeeper Alex Pearson. Paraguay's dominance was capped five minutes before the break with Ivan Torres doubling his teams' lead after expertly taming a cross with his chest. Australia didn't seriously threaten until the closing stages of the game when Ben Halloran and Kerem Bulut placed wide of the target. Pearson and Sainsbury each played the full 90 minutes.
Australia began the second match well only to fall behind on 12 minute after Steve Lustica lost possession to Alberto Contrera, who capitalised by firing past 'keeper Matt Acton. The second half was only a few minutes old when Miguel Medina's stinging strike from just inside the 18-yard box doubled the hosts lead. The Young Socceroos played the final twenty minutes with ten men after Marc Warren was red carded for a dangerous two-footed dangerous tackle. Bulut went close to scoring a late consolation but his 16-metre shot hit the post. Sainsbury came off the bench on the hour with Pearson an unused substitute.
SWAN BRING MOUTTET BACK HOME
Defender Rory Mouttet will be a Swan United player for the remainder of the season having this agreed terms with the club. Mouttet,, winner of Swan’s Fairest and Best award in 2000, is thrilled to be back at the club for whom he first played as a teenager. “I’m excited to be back at the club where it all started for me,” 31-year old Mouttet said. “There is always a great feel around the place, the same old faces are around off the field and it looks like we have a quality young side that will surprise a lot of teams this year.”
Mouttet is the first to admit that his summer move to Armadale, from demoted Canning City, wasn’t a good fit for the defender. “It didn’t work out for me at Armadale, the simple fact was that I wanted to play first team football. I worked hard in pre-season and had set my heart on playing every game this year,” he said. “I felt like I was good enough to be in the starting eleven down there but wasn’t in the squad and was playing reserves. (Coach) Paul Lincoln offered me the opportunity to come to United in the off-season and so I gave him a call to see if the offer was still open - after some consideration he said yes!”
Lincoln has since accepted the coaching gig at Stirling Lions but Mouttet has every confidence in his replacement Jamie Goodman. “I played for three years with ‘Copper’ down at Inglewood so he knows my game. I hope I can now make a positive contribution to him and to the team this season,” he said. “Personally, I would hope to have the opportunity to play a big part as long as my performance on the field is deserving of it. We are a very young team which makes us unpredictable so our attitude will be extremely important. As long we are confident, our work rate at training is intense and the lads are focused 100% on football, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be in the top five come the end of the season.”
Mouttet’s desire to play at the highest possible level saw him knock back an offer to return to Canning. “I considered going back, Canning really is a fantastic club, but I have my heart set on playing at the highest level for as long as I can before I hang up the boots,” said Mouttet, who liked what he saw of Swan against Sorrento last weekend. “It was a very good performance from the lads and the game should have been all over at half-time. But it’s the same old cliché, if you don’t finish your chances you usually end up paying dearly for it and that’s what happened. The important thing is that we were creating chances and as long as we do that we will win games.”
FERGUSON ADDS FLAVOUR TO THE GLORY BLEND
New Perth Glory assistant coach Ian Ferguson has been welcomed with open arms by boss David Mitchell. The former Rangers player was unveiled yesterday as the latest addition to a coaching team that also includes former Birmingham City midfielder Kenny Lowe. "I just think if we want to compete with your Melbournes and Sydneys and be at the right end of the table, we had to boost the coaching staff," Mitchell said. "We're going to bolster it and there's certain situations where we can manipulate what we're going to do, where Kenny can work on the defence and we can get Fergie working on the attack and I can work in between and put it all together. So there's going to be a real good blend."
HESKETH FLIES INTO THE OWLS NEST
Perth Glory Youth captain Steve Hesketh hopes to make enough of an impact during trials with English Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to earn his first professional contract. Hesketh came up through the ranks at Stirling Lions where he was mentored by ex-Everton captain Mick Lyons, who organised the defender’s trip abroad. “It’s a great opportunity for me, it will be hard work but we’ll see what happens,” said Hesketh. “Glory hasn’t spoken with me as yet but I have heard through a few players that no youth players are being picked up on senior contracts from last season. My next step is securing a pro-contract and it wouldn’t bother me where it is, I just need the opportunity.”
The Glory youth team completed the season in second spot before going through to the Grand Final where a last minute goal by Tahj Minniecon snatched Gold Coast United victory by 2-1. “It was a very even final, but I believe we played the better football but they got the goals in the end, and that’s football,” said Hesketh, who rates the recent summer a massive success. “I thought we had a good group of lads this season and we where a good team. We achieved our success through working hard for each other on the pitch and for the coaches. I think all the lads played well and we never took our foot of the gas all season, it’s just a shame we don’t have the silver wear to show for it.”
MASON FORCED INTO EARLY RETIREMENT
Chronic back problems have lead one-time Swan United striker Geoff Mason to hang up his boots at the age of 21. Having battled the injury for the best part of three years, Mason says he’s had enough and it’s now time to get on with the rest of his life. “I’ve got a back condition called spondylosis, which is basically where my discs slide along each other,” explained Mason. “After a year of rehabilitation, I made my return in 2008 but unfortunately suffered the same problems. It was really frustrating for me and when the doctor told me of the problems I could do if I played on, basically he told me its quit now or risk doing further damage to my back.”
Mason first played football as a 4-year old with Swan Districts and such was his rapid rise that just twelve years later he’d made his State League debut for Bayswater City. So being told retirement at 21 was his best option was a bitter pill for Mason to swallow. “To be told you can’t play the game you’ve loved since you were about four years old is pretty heartbreaking,” said Mason. “I was carving out a pretty good career with Swan and, who knows, if I hadn’t got the back injury what could have happened. But in saying that I’m pretty honoured and lucky to have played a few seasons at top level in the state and have many happy memories.”
WA GIRLS PLACE SECOND
The future of women's football in this state is in safe hands following a strong performance by the West Australian Under-13 team at this week's National Junior Championships for Girls in Canberra. The State juniors completed the three-day tournament in second place, bettered only by Group B winners New South Wales Metropolitan, with four WA girls gaining selection in the All-Stars team.
NSW Metropolitan grabbed a 2-0 win over WA in Monday's opening game, but the girls from the west bounced straight back by holding NSW Country to a 1-1 draw, Charlee McPherson giving NSW an early lead with Emily Henderson equalising on 25 minutes. Day Two commenced with WA thrashing the Northern Territory 4-1, Henderson netting twice along with Sarah Kenny and Maddison Schofield. A goal after 20 minutes earned WA a tight 1-0 afternoon win against Victoria Country.
WA's final game produced a 4-0 win against Tasmania, Henderson netting for a fourth time in five games to which an own goal and subsequent strikes by Monique Godding and Emma Leaning were added. The win came with a bonus point, which lifted WA into second ahead of NSW Country. Schofield, Henderson, Leaning and Gabrielle Dal Basso gained selection in the Group B All-Stars that went down 1-0 to NSW Metropolitan, who took out the group without loss, in Wednesday's final game.
The 2010 State Under-13 Girls squad featured Gabrielle Dal Busco (Balcatta), Courtney Hall (Bayswater City), Steffi Nadilo (Cockburn City), Leah Fitzpatrick, Monique Godding, Pippa King, Hope Shepherd (Heathridge), Maddison Schofield (Kingsway), Leniana Masibaka (Kwinana), Melis Yildirim (Lynwood), Sarah Kenny, Stephanie Simmonds (Melville), Emily Henderson, Emma Leaning, Rachel Sands (Perth Hills) and Melissa Shepherd (Rockingham City). Team officials are Jessine Bonzas (coach) and Erin Stinton (assistant coach)
YEARBOOK IN DOUBT
A lack of support from the State League clubs has thrown into doubt the publication of the 2010 State League Yearbook. Football West, in conjunction with Ashley Morrison Media, engaged with all twenty-four clubs in February on the production of a yearbook. Each club was asked to provide information for the publication, however, with less than one third of the clubs having responded the Yearbook is now well behind schedule. Clubs and stakeholders made it clear at Football West's Annual General Meeting last December that a Yearbook was wanted - it's now up to those same groups to work cooperatively and make this come to fruition.
SWAN NAME GOODMAN AS SUCCESSOR
The sudden departure of head coach Paul Lincoln has thrust assistant Jamie Goodman into the lead role at Swan United. Goodman, a two-time Player of the Year for Inglewood United in a career that saw him also turn out for Kingsway Olympic, is looking forward to the challenge of stepping up. “Linc’s moving on has come of a bit of a shock to the club but it has provided an opportunity for me to have another crack in the Premier League,” he said. “The club have moved swiftly to make the change over as smooth as possible and I am grateful for the chance and am relishing the challenge that lies ahead.”
Although Swan have collected just three points from their opening three games of the new Premier League season, Goodman says there are strong indications results will soon start going their way. “We have strung three good performances together although the results have not reflected what we have deserved,” said the Swan coach. “We need to take our chances to turn the performances into results. The squad is young but the attitude and work rate has been very pleasing. If we can continue the intensity and with a bit of luck, there is no reason why we can not surprise a few teams out there.”
JONES AT BORO FOR THE LONG-TERM
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones has revealed he’s never considered leaving the club and insists he's got a long-term future on Teesside. The Socceroos hopeful served notice that he’s back in form by denying Plymouth Argyle a first-half penalty, then pulling off a late stunning save from Reda Johnson. The 93rd minute save proved crucial because, seconds later, the visitors broke away to double their lead as Jonathan Franks added to Stephen McManus’ first half opener.
Jones, out of favour with Gordon Strachan for much of the year to date, admits he found life on the bench tough - but insists he never considered his long-term future at Boro. “I never said I wanted to leave. I always just wanted to play and the gaffer and the coaches know that. I get my head down and work but at the same time I’m not happy if I’m not playing,” he told the ‘Evening Gazette’. “I’ve got plenty of time left on my contract and I’ve got no issues about staying … Obviously I had a disappointing time but now I'm definitely happy to be back, hoping to see the season out and get the right results.”
GLORY GO WITH EXPERIENCE
Perth Glory has pulled off a double recruitment coup with Jamie Harnwell's re-signing and the coaching appointment of one-time Scotland international Ian Ferguson. Harnwell, a Glory veteran of 235 games, has signed a one-year contract extension while Ferguson, who enjoyed a stellar playing career with Glasgow giants Rangers, comes on board as assistant coach to David Mitchell. Unfortunately Wayne Srhoj has decided against remaining with Glory and is expected to join A-League newcomers Melbourne Heart.
Harnwell, 32, needs only another seven appearances to overtake Bobby Despotovski's club record of 241 games. "It will be a huge thing for me. Bobby is a good friend of mine, a fantastic player and if I get the record it will be a real treat," said Harnwell. "I didn't want to end up the way I finished this season. I was very disappointed in how my body went and how we exited the finals. I've got some big goals for next season. I want to finish top goal scorer again and try and get a hat-trick of those and obviously win the Hyundai A-League."
Ferguson, a ten-time Scottish Premier League champion with Rangers, joins Glory after guiding North Queensland Fury to seventh place last season. "He's a good professional and he's got good contacts. He was a champion over there, a cult hero at Rangers. Ian is a big name in Scottish football who is very passionate and it’s great to have him on board," Glory coach David Mitchell said. Ferguson won four FA Cups and five League Cups during a 350-game career for Rangers in which he represented Scotland on nine occasions.
LINCOLN TAKES OVER AT STIRLING
Stirling Lions have moved swiftly to arrest a poor start to the Premier League season by installing Paul Lincoln as first team coach. Club president Don Evans is delighted to have secured the services of Lincoln, who was part of the Stirling side that won a trio of State League crowns during the mid-1990s. “Paul has proven himself as a winner as a player for us and other Premier League clubs in Perth and we had watched what great inroads he had made at Swan United with limited resources,” commented Evans. “We are sure he will be able to unite and direct a very talented group together and see us in the fight for finals football at the end of the season. It is truly a homecoming for a player who was loved and respected by all our fans who watched him play in the 90s.”
Lincoln says the opportunity to coach at Stirling was too good to refuse. “It was a big decision to leave Swan, (they) gave me the opportunity to coach initially and that is something I will be forever grateful. I have to thank Swan and especially Cos Coniglio and Tony Trusso,” said Lincoln, 40. “Stirling promises a different challenge for me and its obvious with the players they have introduced this season success is paramount. It’s important the right balance is reached and that everyone is on the same page. Team spirit is important, so I need to ensure it’s strong and that the players are proud when they put on the team shirt, that they have togetherness to work for each other.”
Evans thanked out-going coaches Mick Lyons and Gary Williams, who guided the club to back-to-back Cups during their five years at the helm. “It is never easy parting company with gentlemen like Mick and Gary as they have been and are such an important fabric of the new look Lions,” said Evans. “This year is a year of high expectation and the board of management felt the time was right for a fresh outlook after the indifferent start to the year by an almost new side. The target was three wins from three games and after careful thought and deliberation we felt it was time for a change, considering the large investment made in player stocks.” Lincoln, who’ll have Ian Cowan as his assistant, will lead Stirling for the first time this Saturday against Cockburn City.
ROSINDALE MAGIC UNLOCKS STIRLING (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Premier League newcomers Balcatta became the competitions outright leader following a 2-1 victory over local rivals Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park. Ashley Rosindale, scorer of four goals last week, broke the deadlock with a spectacular second half scissor-kick with Mark Walsh’s last finish securing Balcatta a third win from as many games. “It’s great, we’re very happy to win again,” said victorious coach Salv Todaro. “It was a woeful first half from us really but after half-time we were a lot better and I think we deserved it.” Todaro added his disappointment at not keeping a clean sheet - Stef Frost grabbed Stirling a consolation with four minutes left - and suggested that was something they’d be working on in training during the week.
Neither team created much in a largely uninspiring opening period but it was the Lions who had the first clear opening after 16 minutes when Jordan Rhodes’ first time shot from 9-metres flew wide. Geneveo Human responded for the visitors, glancing wide from a short corner on the left, then at the other end David Dugdale couldn’t keep his header down from Matthew Stares’ centre. After 37 minutes Shane Robinson’s low 22-metre strike caused goalkeeper Dave Khuen to fumble but he was able to gather before Dugdale could get to the loose ball. Rosindale found some space two minutes later with a clever turn inside the 18-yard box but his mis-kick rolled harmlessly past the post. Ndumba Makeche had two opportunities to send Stirling into the break ahead but the striker scooped one high from close-range and soon after fired straight at Khuen from 7-metres.
Rhodes had the first effort of the second period but his ambitious long-range effort was off-target. The Stirling captain started the next attacking play by threading down the left for Makeche, whose clever ball into the area found Robinson but his dinked effort from an angle failed to trouble the ‘keeper. The game was in desperate need of goal and on 62 minutes that’s what it got when Matt Italiano’s cross from the right was met by Roseindale, who launched into a spectacular scissor-kick that rocketed past Kevin Miller from 10-metres. Substitute Julian Piromalli hit a scorching half-volley a whisker off-target as Balcatta sought to double their lead. Lady luck smiled on the visitors soon after when Jason Gavin’s header rolled across the face of goal, needing only the slightest touch to send it into the net.
Balcatta heeded this warning and in the 81 minutes secured all three points. Again, it was a ball in from the flanks that caused problems and when it fell at the feet of Walsh the big defender could hardly miss from point-blank range. To their credit, Stirling refused to concede and with four minutes remaining Frost halved the deficit with a thumping header from near the penalty spot. The home side showed great urgency during the closing stages, but were unable to conjure the equalising goal they sought. Indeed, it was Balcatta who should have added another when substitute Ian McKean chose to go solo on a counter-attack and ended up shooting tamely at Miller when the better option would have been to tee-up free team mate Rosindale.
KNIGHTS MARCH ON (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Four different players were on the scoreboard when Western Knights ran out comfortable 4-2 winners over ECU Joondalup at Nash Field. Stuart Montgomery, Simon Versaico and brother Daniel and David Micevski all found the net for the home team who remain undefeated three games into the 2010 Premier League season. John Thornley managed a brace for the visitors and saw another effort hit the post in what proved a frustrating outing for Steve Amphlett’s side.
Things looked ominous for Joondalup when Montgomery unleashed the first shot on target after just 52 seconds. It was only 9 minutes later then Montgomery opened the scoring with a tap-in after Paul Van Dongen’s long throw caused confusion in the visiting team’s 6-yard box. Daniel Micevski put his side two-up in the 23rd minute, sliding the ball into the far corner of Andy Petterson’s goal after showing great skill to cut in from the left and beat an opposing defender. The Knights’ dominance saw Anthony Campbell, Montgomery and Van Dongen all go close to putting the game to bed before half-time.
Joondalup fashioned their first chance on 34 minute when Thornley latched onto a ball over the top and held off David Annall but his effort hit the post and was gathered by a grateful Frazer Siddall. However, Thornley wasn’t to be denied and just four minutes into the second half he nodded in a Scott Bushby cross from the left to give his side a glimmer of hope. A defensive mix-up in the 67th minutes allowed the Knights to restore their two-goal buffer, the ball falling kindly for Versaico whose initial effort was blocked by Petterson with the attacker calmly slotting in the rebound.
To their credit, Joondalup refused to give up the chase and started to turn the heat up on the home defence, Jamie Watt hitting the crossbar after being played in by a clever ball from Thornley. Four minutes later Thornley had his second, squeezing Phil O’Callaghan’s cross past Siddall at the near post. But it was the Knights’ talisman David Micevski who would have the final say as just seconds later he tucked into the net after being set-up by substitute Vinny Harbibs. There was still time for Joondalup to threaten once more only for Stuart Ferguson to make a fantastic last ditch sliding clearance and send the ball just wide of his own net.
FLOREAT DOMINATE REIGNING CHAMPS (by Chris Correia, Football West)
Floreat Athena backed up their dominant Charity Shield performance by inflicting a 4-2 defeat on Perth SC at Dorrien Gardens. The win sees Floreat leap over Perth on the league table and into third place, clear of their inner city neighbours on goal difference. The day began in the best possible fashion for Perth, a fantastic 5th minute through-ball from Andreas Oliveira to David Onoforo allowing the striker to slot past goalkeeper Alex Dunn with ease. However, goal celebrations had just settled down when Branimir Mikulic drove into the net from the edge of the 18-yard box having only moments earlier headed against the crossbar from a delightful Jarrad Smith cross.
Great teamwork between Daniel Neiderberger and Johnny Mirco saw the latter’s precision finish give Floreat a 12th minute lead. Some sustained pressure inside the Perth penalty area failed to reap reward as two penalty appeals for handball were dismissed by referee Mathew Cheeseman. Floreat wanted to extend their lead but Mikulic’s looping header was tipped away from the net by young goalkeeper Luke Martino. Perth’s defensive stocks were hurt when Aaron Cole limped off, and in the re-shuffle Hayden Doyle came off the bench for his Perth debut. The visitors found the net for a third time as the half came to a close with defender Jovo Pavlovic scrambling the ball in following a corner.
Perth tried to respond early in the second half through Ian McMurray, but the towering Scot missed his header from close-range. Floreat’s fourth came through the lively Neiderberger, who found the net with a wonderful volley after linking up well again with Mirco on 66 minutes. The home side pulled one back through Oliveira in the closing quarter hour with a mesmerising strike from 27-metres which rocketed into the top corner, catching Dunn by surprise. Floreat had one final chance to grab another through star midfielder Jason Barrera but his cracking effort from the edge of the penalty area rocketed off the woodwork.
GULLS FLY HOME WITH THE POINTS
Sorrento collected maximum points for the first time this season by downing Swan United 3-1 at the Swan Italian Club. Billy Quinncroft’s first half strike was cancelled out by Roberto Lujan, however, Jared Love’s second half penalty conversion and an own goal secured Trevor Morgan’s side victory. “We defended well in the second half and after we took the lead and were pegged back we were happy to come in at half time 1-1,” said Sorrento boss Trevor Morgan. “It’s a difficult place to come too with the slope but we made our pressure count in the second half. I’m sure Paul (Lincoln) will be disappointed, they will probably play worse than that this season and win, but it was our day today and I’m glad we got the three points.”
A beautiful day in the Swan Valley began with Sorrento on the attack inside a minute when goalkeeper Cory Hugo thwarted Adam Hayton in a one-on-one. Having survived that scare and settled into the game, Swan went close on 8 minutes when Tom Shepheard’s effort was kept out by a diving Tom Woodhead. Swan were now in top gear, Alex Cocking placed high of the crossbar, Shepheard’s header was saved low at the near post by Woodhead who, on the quarter-hour, tipped a James Sammut shot around the post. The importance of that save was underlined five minutes later when Todd Harnwell’s cross from the right was headed back across goal by David Foster and Quinncroft swivelled to fire low past Hugo from 3-metres.
Although going a goal down was a bitter pill to swallow, Swan continued to push forward and on 32 minutes Chris Marshall’s ball into the area picked out Cocking, whose shot was saved low by Woodhead. Their reward came five minutes later, a great ball from defender Darragh Kenevey found Lujan, who used his pace to cut past Love and restore parity from 7-metres. Either team could have gone into the break with the upper hand. Harnwell was sent down the right on 40 minutes but his low shot was well saved by Hugo. And in stoppage time Swan went even closer after Hugo’s clearance was headed on by Shepheard to John Hunter, whose 17-metre volley beat Woodhead but hit the bar.
This same pattern continued into the second half, Lujan’s shot was tipped onto the post by Woodhead before Harnwell had a goalbound volley deflected wide by Robert Monterosso. Sorrento was now dominating play and on 73 minutes Jeans fired them into the lead from the penalty spot following Kenevey’s found on Ryan Jeans which left referee Paul Anderson no choice but to point to the spot. This seemed to spark Swan back into life, in quick succession David McNally was denied by Woodhead and substitute Liam Boland flashed narrowly wide. But the outcome was soon decided as Marshall had the misfortune of heading Jason Mirco’s free-kick into his own net. In fact Sorrento could have added another when Foster stroke against the post after pouncing on a poor back pass.
THREE OFF IN STALEMATE (with Ann Odong, Football West)
Armadale and Cockburn City played out a 1-1 draw in a occasionally fiery encounter at Alfred Skeet Oval. Paul Natale put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot only for James Robinson to restored parity shortly before half-time from the same place. The dismissal of Jonathon Davite left Cockburn with ten men, then Michael Ord and Adrian Webster were issued their marching orders following an on-the-ball tussle. Although the draw leaves Cockburn winless after three games, coach Scott Miller was pleased with the day's efforts. "They played really well. When it were eleven verses eleven we probably should have taken a couple of chances, unfortunately, when you don't take your chances they can come back to bite you," said Miller.
Cockburn began the match strongly with summer signing Adrian Webster in the thick of the action. The first opportunity on goal came after 14 minutes when Jason Dos Santos beat the offside trap and fired past goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock only for his shot to come back off the upright. Heeding the warning, Armadale picked up the pace through Tony Hunt and Lewis Flatt and soon after the home team fashioned a chance of their own as James Robinson turned his marker and raced into space but his strike was unconvincingly parried away by Dejan Aleksic. Robinson then turned provider with a low cross in from the left which was just out of Ord's reach.
Despite losing the ascendancy, the visitors had the ball in the net after 27 minute but Rory Feely back post effort was disallowed for offside. Less than a minute later Feely was the architect of Cockburn's breakthrough when he was brought down just inside the 18-yard box, and with the resultant penalty Natale made no mistake. Cockburn's day took a turn for the worse on 39 minutes when Davite clumsily brought Tom Robinson inside the area, leaving the referee no choice but to red card the defender before James Robinson levelled the scores from the spot.
Armadale increased their intensity after the break but their only real opportunity came on 57 minutes when Aleksic was called on to parry a James Robinson header. Cockburn's Shane Nunes ventured up the pitch two minutes later, picking up the ball in the midfield and weaving his way through middle before letting fly with an 18-metre shot that almost dropping into the net with Sharrock caught out of position. Just over the hour the game opened up when a tangle between Webster and Ord escalated quickly, the former losing his cool and the latter retaliating with the end result being red cards for both players.
Running out of time, James Robinson took matters into his own hands with a dipping shot from 18-metres that slammed into the inside of the upright and rebound harmlessly away. Dos Santos upped his work rate, the left winger causing numerous problems for Andy Bowyer with his pace unsettling the Reds veteran. In the 78th minute Natale played in Dos Santos but he misjudged the cross and flashed a shot across the face of goal. The final minutes saw Armadale strive for the winner, Bowyer chanced his luck from distance while Marlon Ramirez headed high from 8-metres.
CANNING STEALS A POINT (by Phil Unsworth)
A goal at the death has snatched Canning City a 1-1 draw with Fremantle Spirit in the Division One game at Willetton Sportsman Club. The opening half hour was dominated by the port side with Anthony Fearon and Lance Lowie sending the ball wide from Declan Clark’s delivery before Michael De Souza fired high of the crossbar. Canning didn’t construct much until the 35th minute when Prav Guanasagarin latched onto a long ball only to be denied by quick-thinking goalkeeper Alex Sutton. The deadlock was eventually broken three minutes from half-time, De Souza dazzling his way past three opponents before driving low into the net.
Canning emerged for the second half with greater resolve, Shane Walters calling Sutton into action with a well-struck free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box. The game took a dramatic turn on 58 minute with Fremantle going down to ten men after Lowie was issued his second yellow card of the day. However, it was only after the introduction of Simon El Chami and Emlyn Whetnall that Canning began to seriously threaten the Fremantle goal. The visitors were rewarded on 84 minutes when Whetnall rose above his marker to send a downward header into the net following a short corner move played in by Andrew Keary.
THE FORCE IS WITH BUNBURY
A late goal spree has seen Bunbury Forum Force sweep past Ashfield 5-1 in the opening round Division One game at Ashfield Reserve. Bunbury settled the quicker with DJ Mayers and David Rodgers finding the net inside half an hour to giving the visiting team a handy two-goal buffer. However, Ashfield were brought back into the game on 37 minutes when Joe Woodin expertly lobbed the goalkeeper. With the game in the balance, Bunbury asserted themselves and on 64 minutes Oliver McGee’s speculative shot from 35-metres came to rest in the net. Ashfield now had no option but to push men forward in the hope of salvaging something from the afternoon, however, Bunbury substitute Lee Stewart had other plans and added two further goals to the margin.
GOSNELLS TROUNCE MORLEY (courtesy Gosnells City)
Gosnells City kicked off the new season with a resounding 3-0 win over Morley Windmills as Walter Padbury Reserve. It took the home team only a few minutes to threaten for the first time, Adrian McBride heading Daley Rothwell’s long throw past the post. A number of other chances came and went before Salvador Chavez converted good lead-up play between Daiten Twyman and Andy Pomfret in the 40th minute. Three minutes later Rothwell fired Gosnells’ second into the bottom corner after controlling a cross from the right. Morley enjoyed their best period of the game after the break but the closest they came to scoring was a Mohammed Komaderic shot that Adrian McBride cleared off the line. With ten minutes to go Chavez put the icing on the cake with a stunning 25-metre volley into the top corner.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
The local derby between Stirling Lions and Balcatta at Macedonia Park (3.00pm) is the pick of tomorrow's round three Premier League fixtures. Balcatta have taken to life in the top flight like a duck to water, much to the delight of coach Salv Todaro. "To use an old cliché, we are taking it one week at a time and look forward to every game," he said. "We come up against our neighbours this week and it is shaping up to be an exciting game. Stirling have virtually a brand new team with all their additions, I've heard a lot about their midfield maestro in Shane Robinson and are looking forward to seeing how my boys go against him."
English import Bobby Wilson has been in great touch at the back for Stirling and is looking forward to the derby. "It's a big game for us with Balcatta starting the season so well. I know the players can't wait to put things right after our last two games, and we will be looking for the three points and a clean sheet," said Wilson, whose team was held to a draw at Armadale last time out. "We've trained well this week and are all looking to improve as we haven't been anywhere near like we were in pre-season - the Lions faithful have only seen 60% of our potential."
Dorrien Gardens is the venue for another big game, this between inner-city rivals Perth SC and Floreat Athena (3.00pm). Floreat player/coach Ante Kovacevic is likely to make his first start of the season in place of Julian Madaschi, who has been slapped with a five-game suspension. James Isaia continues to impress for the visits while Adam Bachiller and Jovo Pavlovic are set for a busy day, up against Greg Sharland and Robert Sciascia. Trent Kay's return from injury creates a selection headache for Graham Normanton, who'll need big efforts from central partners Andreas Oliviera and Dom De Felice if Perth are to come out on top.
Western Knights home game with ECU Joondalup (3.00pm) promises to be a bruising, no-holds barred encounter. Nash Field has not been a happy haunting ground for Joondalup, winners just once in five visits, but with experienced midfielder Dale McCulloch back from suspension and Charlie Comyn-Platt in tip-top form they'll fancy their chances of squirreling away the three points. The Knights downed Floreat last time out, and with Simon Versaico fitting in well and Mario Marcinko back from Perth Glory Youth duty they head into the game full of confidence.
Mandurah City go in search of their first point of the season when Inglewood United swing by the Hyundai Stadium (3.00pm). The midfield contributions of Andy Brown and Darren Broxton will be vital to the Dolphins chances as import striker Nicky Platt attempts to open his season account. Inglewood coach Shane Pryce may be tempted to include Alex Stamatiadis from the opening kick, the midfielder playing off the bench last week, while Michael Baczynski could return after missing the loss at Balcatta.
Sorrento head to Swan United (3.00pm) desperately needing three points to kick-start their campaign. Import striker Adam Hayton has found the net three times in two games for the Gulls so clearly he poses a significant danger to a Swan defence which is missing Brendan Craig, who was sent off in last weeks outing at Cockburn. The game will be won and lost in the middle of the park where Brendan Knox and James Sammut match skills with Glen Thomas and James Morgan.
Home ground advantage is like to count for nothing when Armadale welcome Cockburn City to Alfred Skeet Oval (3.00pm). The Cockerels have won on their last four visits to Armadale and coach Scott Miller is hopeful of extending that run, and at the same time getting one over his former Perth Glory team mate Brad Hassell. Adrian Webster runs the Cockburn engine room with David Tarka and Shane Nunes in charge at the back. That pair are sure to be kept on their toes by James Robinson, while down the other end Matt Bennion and Andrew Bowyer will give their all to keep the visitors scoreless.
DIVISION ONE IN PREVIEW
The 2010 Division One seasons opens tomorrow with the blockbuster showdown of Forrestfield United and Bayswater City at Hartfield Park. It's shaping to be a big season for both clubs with many tipping them for the title. "The group of players we've got play some great, entertaining football, and so far that's been productive in terms of results," said Mauro Marchione, who guided Bayswater to Night Series glory last weekend. "But the journey is still very long and we have to improve many aspects of our game if we really want to finish on top."
Also touted as championship material are Wanneroo City who start their campaign away at Dianella White Eagles. Very little will separate Ashfield and Bunbury Forum Force at the end of the 90 minute meeting at Ashfield Reserve. A tough year awaits Queens Park and Rockingham City which his why their opening round showdown at Coker Park a must-win affair for both. There aren't expected to be too many problems for Gosnells City when Morley Windmills visit Walter Padbury Reserve, likewise Canning City who take on a fresh-faced Fremantle Spirit on their return to the second tier.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, THE DIVISION ONE SEASON PREVIEW
Promotion and relegation between the Premier League and Division One remains one-up one-down as has been the case for the past few years. Bayswater City and Wanneroo City are already being talked up in terms of going all the way and gaining promotion to the top flight. However, a revitalised Ashfield, Bunbury Forum Force and Forrestfield United have their own title aspirations and will be ready to pounce should any of the frontrunners stumble and fall.
The battle to remain in semi-professional football is promises to be similarly intriguing following confirmation Football West will offer promotion to the Sunday Premier League champions, runner-up or third-place getter. That puts added pressure on the likes of Morley Windmills, Queens Park and Rockingham City, who find themselves very much in the relegation mix. This week Brett Klucznik takes an in-depth look at each of the twelve clubs, assesses their strengths and weaknesses before the footballwa.net team make some bold predictions as to how the new Division One season will pan out...
MADNESS FOR MADASCHI (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
In last weekend’s Premier League clash between Floreat Athena and Western Knights, Julian Madaschi was shown a straight red card by referee Michael Jasinski. There is no doubt the referee would have seen the Floreat defender launch himself into the tackle - footage of the incident is available at www.footballwest.tv - hence the straight red card, however, the five-week ban meted out against Madaschi does seem ridiculous. The decision we believe was based on the referees report - a one match ban received for the straight red card and four weeks for the ‘severity’ of the offence. This offence has occurred two games into a 22-game season which means the powers that be have rubbed out a player for a quarter of the season. This is plain crazy.
If clubs are to try and attract crowds they need to have their best players on the park. If a player starts a fight and punches are thrown, or the referee is threatened then that is a different matter and long-term suspensions should be given. But for an overzealous tackle to suspend someone for a quarter of the season is detrimental to the game as a whole. Last season saw one of the states better players turn his back on the game after copping a long suspension. We cannot afford more players to follow that lead, if we do then football in the state will suffer dramatically as sponsors will withdraw and Perth Glory will have a smaller talent pool on which to draw. Time for some commonsense, please.
HUMAN SETS SIGHTS ON GETTING BALCATTA TO THE TOP
Geneveo Human has absolutely no regrets about joining newly promoted Balcatta just days after helping Perth SC get their hands on this year’s Night Series trophy. The pacy 20-year old has settled quickly into life at Grindleford Reserve and is looking forward to establishing the club as a Premier League mainstay. “This is only my second club since I’ve been in WA and so far it’s been going really well for me,” he said. “Obviously it’s a bit different to Perth because it’s our first year in Premier League but I’m confident in a few years time that Balcatta can become a real force in the top flight. The set-up and support is there for the club to do that and so far the results have proven that also.”
Recognising that he faced an uphill battle to break into Perth’s starting eleven, Human jumped at the opportunity to join Balcatta when it arose. “Salv gave me a call and told me what the club had to offer and it seemed like the right move for me. Yes it was a difficult decision as Perth is the benchmark in this state and it was always going to be a difficult decision walking away from a club like that,” he said. “But I had come to the point where I wanted to be playing first team football regularly. I have nothing against Perth and I understand there is a plethora of talent in the team and it can be difficult to fit all that talent into eleven spots every week. When interest developed from other clubs for my services I saw the chance to play first team every week and Balcatta seemed to be the most promising and logical decision.”
Todaro could not be happier about signing Human, a player the coach feels can be a key member of the Balcatta team not only this season but also beyond. “Veo has settled in well and gets on well with all the boys and has a good sense of humour which is important as we have a few characters within our squad,” said Todaro, who managed to also tempt young guns Jack Clisby and Nicholas Tatasciore away from Dorrien Gardens. “Veo is a very talented young man who is eager to listen and learn which is great for any coach. He has quick feet, is extremely skilful and has an eye for goal and is developing a good understanding with Ashley Rosendale. I envisage that he will score goals for many years to come.”
Back-to-back wins over Armadale and Inglewood United have given Balcatta a dream start to their inaugural Premier League season. “At Armadale it was a good result for the club. Not only did we take the cake but all the three teams did which was great,” Human commented. “It has been good for me and Ashley (Rosindale) to develop our partnership together and hopefully establish ourselves as a feared partnership up front. He’s a fantastic player and I’m sure he will play an integral role in a successful campaign for the club this year. Not only have we looked good in the final third but we looked solid all over the pitch, which is a very encouraging sign.”
Human, who played his junior football in South Africa and New Zealand, has every confidence that Balcatta can achieve a top five finish under the guidance of Todaro. “Salv is a great coach, he’s put together a good squad this year and not only that he seems to be managing the squad really well. It takes a quality manager to get a club promoted and it seems that quality is shining through in the top flight this year also,” said Human. “I’ve been lucky in WA to have good coaches. Coyney (John Coyne) and Normo (Graham Normanton) are fantastic coaches too, their record speaks for itself. They played a pivotal role in my development as a player and person and I thank them a great deal for that.”
LAZARIDIS BACKS COYNE FOR WORLD CUP
A season-ending injury to Patrick Kisnorbo has reignited the fading World Cup hopes of Perth Glory defender Chris Coyne. Kisnorbo, who was virtually assured a spot on the plane to South Africa, ruptured his Achilles tendon while playing for Leeds United last week. That injury opens the door for Coyne, currently on loan with Chinese Super League club Liaoning Hongyun, to come back into contention after being overlooked by Socceroos boss Pim Verbeek since last June. "It's unfortunate for Patrick but Chris Coyne, through his tenacity of saying 'stuff it, I'm going to go to China', has in the end given himself the best shot," said ex-Socceroo Stan Lazaridis. "My hat goes off to Chris because, where a lot of other players would have been off on a summer holiday in Fiji or somewhere, he's said he's going to fight right to the end and he's now back in with a shot."
Lazaridis, who played alongside Coyne at West Ham United in the late 1990s, believes there is very little difference between the playing styles of Coyne and Kisnorbo. "They're both no nonsense, hard players," Lazaridis said. "Why I like Chris is, regardless of the position he's playing, he can step up to a challenge. I've played with the guy, I know what his makeup is like and I know, if asked to play against Brazil I know he'd just take it on his shoulders. Many other players would say they would, but all of a sudden when you mark a Brazilian forward, a few things start twitching. Chris, on the other hand, is commanding enough and if he's got someone like Craig Moore or Lucas Neil next to him, he's more than capable."
AUSTRALIA CALL UP GLORY YOUTH KEEPER
Rising star Alex Pearson has been named in the Young Socceroos squad which will spent two weeks on tour in Paraguay and Argentina next month. Person, who was outstanding between the posts for Perth Glory Youth last season, is honoured to be selected in the national squad which features some of the best young talent Australia has to offer. “I was really grateful when I found out I was selected for the squad,” he said. “It’s always great news to hear that you’re going to represent your country. It will be a great experience to play with some of the best young footballers in the country and I’m really looking forward to playing at the next level.”
Pearson, 18, says his form at club level has helped him earn the opportunity to be selected for the national squad and is thrilled to be recognised for his efforts this season. “I’ve been working really hard with the youth team goal keeping coaches and Gareth Naven all year,” Pearson added. “We’ve had a really tough season so that’s definitely prepared me for this. Playing in front of a good defence with Steve Hesketh, Ryan Pearson, Sam Mitchinson and Josh Risdon has helped me a lot as well. We’ve worked together as a unit this season and that’s allowed us all have a great year.”
This is the second time Pearson has been in the mix with the national squad, having been selected to attend a Young Socceroos camp in July last year. And while unsure whether he’ll be coach Jan Versleijen’s preferred ‘keeper, Pearson is determined to prove his worth to the coaching staff. “I’m not sure whether I’m going to be playing first goalkeeper or not but I’ll get the chance to impress the coach at training and see who gets the number one shirt there. It should be a good trip; I’m very excited and really looking forward to it,” Pearson said. The Young Socceroos play the Paraguay Under-20 team on 6 and 8 April before squaring off the the Argenina Under-20 side on 13 and 15 April.
The Young Socceroos squad to tour Paraguay and Argentina features Francesco Monterosso (Adelaide United), Matthew Acton, Daniel Bowles, Tom Oar (Brisbane Roar), Mustafa Amini, Sam Gallagher, Trent Sainsbury, Marc Warren (Central Coast Mariners), Ben Halloran, Chris Harold, Steven Lustica (Gold Coast United), Kliment Taseski (Melbourne Heart), Petar Franjic (Melbourne Victory), Kerem Bulut (Mlada Boleslav), Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets), Alex Pearson (Perth Glory), Theo Markelis (Valencia) and uncontracted trio Chris Bush, Stephen Domenici and Nikola Stanojevic.
SOCCEROOS BACK IN TOP TWENTY
Australia have climbed back into the top twenty in the latest FIFA world rankings. The Socceroos moved up four spots to nineteen following their 1-0 win over Indonesia which clinched Asian Cup qualification. European champions Spain retained top spot, ahead of Brazil and Netherlands. Portugal improved their position to fourth, to sit ahead of Italy, Germany and England, who traded places with seventh-placed France. Australia remain by far the highest-ranked Asian team, with Japan at 45 and South Korea 49.
STATE LEAGUE REVAMP GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT
The top flights of West Australian football are set to undergo a major transformation following Football West's acceptance of recommendations put forward by the State League Standing Committee. Following extensive discussion and consultation, the eight-person standing committee recently recommended a number of changes to the competition from 2012.
The existing two-tier State League will be split into three divisions. The Premier Division is to be trimmed to a ten-team competition under which sits the First Division (minimum of ten-teams) and the Second Division (minimum ten-teams). It is proposed that a two-year moratorium be placed on teams being relegation from the Premier Division.
Additionally, the number of State League teams fielded by each club is to be cut from three to two - seniors (first team) and under-21's (with a maximum of three overage players). There is the possibility of the creation of an elite under-18 competition, which will form part of the brief for the Project Team.
Promotion and relegation link between the State League and the Sunday League (formerly the Amateurs) will be removed from 2012. Entry into the State League will be by application only, and dependant upon the club meeting the minimum venue requirements.
All Premier Division venues must have a minimum venue capacity of 1000 spectators, of which at last 300 must be able to stand under cover and 100 be seated. There must be a minimum of four designated parking spaces for match officials, and a public address system installed which can be heard in all areas of the venue.
The field of play must be in the range of 100-110m long and 65-70m wide and surrounded by a perimeter fence at least one-metre high. There must be a covered players' race, or some other secure area by which players and match officials may enter and exit the field of play.
The requirements for State League Division One and Division Two venues will be more closely aligned with the current standards for Sunday League teams. Some requirements must be met by 1 January 2012, whereas others may be met at a later date on assessment by Football West and on application by a club seeking to be admitted to the league.
Football West will consider a moratorium based on merit on the implementation of some venue standards. The full State League Review (pdf, 141kb) document is available from the Football West website. The implementation of these changes will form the next phase of the State League Review Project.
YOUNG FIGHTING BACK AFTER EXTENDED HOSPITAL STAY
Neil Young has finally been released from hospital after spending the past two months battling a debilitating illness. In that time the Newcastle Jets goalkeeper has endured three operations, spent two weeks in intensive care and seen more than 20 kilograms - nearly 25 per cent of his body weight - stripped off his already wiry frame. Young’s journey to hell started when he was kicked in the face while saving bravely at the feet of Gold Coast United striker Shane Smeltz in mid-January. A routine operation to repair a broken nose turned into a potentially life-threatening situation when Young suffered an adverse reaction to antibiotics he was prescribed following surgery.
Though out of hospital, the journey back has only just begun for 30-year old Young who faces at least one more operation and then has to regain his size and strength. “I feel like I have been in a POW camp for eight weeks. There is not much of me - I have no muscle left, I’m completely different to what I used to look like. I just want to get to the stage where I can go for a jog,” he said. “I walk around the house and I’m buggered … I have spoken to the club and am meeting next week with a personal trainer and nutritionist. My aim is to be fit and ready to go by August. It is going to be a long road back.”
Young, whose weight has plummeted from 88kg to 68kg, resumed eating solids a week ago and remains on a restricted diet. “I didn’t eat for four weeks and then they fed me vitamins through a drip. Obviously, now I have to be careful what I eat. No real spicy food or anything like corn or nuts, stuff you can’t break down. I’m starting to put a bit of weight on but it’s hard. I have to eat steadily,” said the former Sorrento player. “I had a prior illness before, which I maintained. Then this flared up out of control. It was pretty scary, losing all the weight.”
With his wife, Lauren, and sons, Owen and Mitchell, moving to Newcastle from Perth only last week, Young has endured this ordeal for the most part on his own. “I didn’t want many visitors, to be honest, because I felt so bad. Bridgey (team mates Michael Bridges) was a lot of help and through him I met some really nice people, Sam and Andy Piggott. Without them I would have been screwed,” said Young, who’s delighted at being reunited with his family. “They are here for good … That has probably been the hardest part, being away from my family.”
LONG TERM OR SHORT TERM? THAT IS THE QUESTION (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
Perth Glory Youth had an outstanding season built on consistency and team work. After finishing second on the league ladder they beat Adelaide United in the semi-finals but, sadly, lost the Grand Final after taking the lead through a Dean Evans thunderbolt that is increasing in range every week. It took a piece of magic from Gold Coast United’s special talent Tahj Minnecon, who incidentally already has a first team contract. Gold Coast in fact fielded two players from their first team squad while Perth had none.
Glory Youth captain Steve Hesketh stated on ‘Not The Footy Show’ recently that he believes last season’s squad contained more individual talent with the likes of Andrija Jukic and Anthony Skorich, but this summer the team gelled and played as a unit. Those two players moved up to the first team and picked up two year contracts along with Brent Griffiths and Howard Fondyke. Jukic played first team football this season while Skorich spent time on the sidelines with injuries. Fondyke and Griffiths failed to make the breakthrough to the first team bench.
Which raises the question ‘Should A-League clubs be signing youth team players on two-year contracts, or should they sign them to one-year deals with a rolling option for two’? Obviously, parents and players alike are going to want their the best possible deal that they can get, but sometimes a two-year deal can be more like a prison sentence. Fondyke and Griffiths are going to struggle to improve their standing at the club in the next year, so are their careers going to benefit from being a squad player, or would they benefit from playing elsewhere, even if the league may not be of the same standard? After all if you are a professional in any sport, you need to be playing your sport.
Signing three or four players to two-year deals also means, as is the case this year, that there are no positions for the next year’s talent to make the step up to the first team, if any are perceived good enough. It is often a game of roulette, a player who is outstanding at 17 can be finished at 20, whereas often there are late bloomers. The coach is on a hiding to nothing, but surely the one-year option is a better one for both the club and the player? It may even help in Perth’s case see more Western Australian players make the grade in the A-League with Perth Glory. There is no definitive answer, but both parties need to show caution before committing.
FINALS FADE-OUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR SAGE
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage used last week's club's awards ceremony to demand a new culture that accepts nothing less than the ultimate prize. In contrast to coach David Mitchell and marquee player Mile Sterjovski - who rated the recent season a success - Sage said Glory should have done better than bomb out in the first week of the A-League finals. "I have a winning, take-no-prisoners mentality in all my business dealings," he said. "I strongly believe that we should have gone further this year, and seeing the players' reaction in Wellington (Phoenix) after the game I know they do too. So I make this promise - I'll do everything in my power to achieve the ultimate goal of bringing the premiership in 2011 and therefore reaching our goal of playing in the Asian Champions League."
WILLIAMS LOOKS TOWARDS SOUTH AFRICA
Young defender Rhys Williams is hopeful of being one of four Middlesbrough players heading for South Africa this June. It really has been a breakthrough year for Williams, who was regarded a fringe player at the start of the season but is now targeting glory at club and international level. “On a personal level, the season’s been a huge success, beyond my wildest dreams,” said Williams. “In pre-season, I wasn’t considered anything more than a back-up player for my club but here I am with the possibility of the play-offs and a Wembley appearance and on the verge of the biggest sporting event in the world.”
Williams’ current focus is on helping put Middlesbrough in promotion contention from the Championship. But he readily admits he’s got one eye on the prospect of lining up alongside Scott McDonald and Brad Jones for the Socceroos at the World Cup, while club mate Chris Killen is likely to lead the New Zealand attack. “Having four Boro players up there with the best in the world can only help when we try to recruit players in the summer,” said 21-year old Williams. “There can’t be another Championship club with four players in the World Cup. It will certainly lift our profile.”
STIRLING, ARMADALE SHARE THE POINTS (by Chris Leitch, Football West)
Armadale picked up their first point of the 2010 league season by drawing 1-1 draw with Stirling Lions on a sunny afternon at Macedonia Park. In a match notable for its attractive, attacking play, Tom Robinson put the visitors on the board after just 3 minutes but that was son cancelled out by a classy Shane Robinson free-kick. "I was happy with the commitment and effort shown, a little disappointed with the result but we've come here and we'll take the point," said Reds boss Brad Hassell, who feels his team should have scored a few more times. "In the first half we created probably three or four good (chances) and look, if one or two of them went in, I think we would have got three or four. (Stirling) did press us back in the second half, their guys like to play the ball along the deck and quite quickly they counter-attack, but credit to the back four, they stood their ground."
Jack Goodwin set-up Armadale's dream start by chipping a ball wide to Tom Robinson, who cut inside the 18-yard box before slamming it low past goalkeeper James Turvill. Stirling's first opening came not long after with Jordan Rhodes just failing to get his boot on a Daniel Stoitis free-kick. Shane Robinson gave the visitors a much-needed boost on 20 minutes by steering a free-kick around the defensive wall and into the net via the underside of the crossbar. There was controversy sixteen minutes into the second half when Shane Robinson's initial shot appeared to hit the hand of Tom Robinson, the striker rocketed the follow-up against the upright before being cleared which was when Stirling's players vented their fury at the referee. Despite numerous fast breaks and counter attacks neither side was able to conjure a second goal that would have secured all three points.
SHARPEN YOUR SKILLZ WITH PRO FOOTBALL TRAINING
Pro Football Training is excited to announce they have once again teamed up with Canning City and Lords Sports Club FOR the Easter School Holiday Skillz Clinic. Open to players in the 6-16 age bracket, the three-day clinics focuses on preparing players for the coming winter season with the technical and tactical aspects of football incorporated skills challenges, SAQ (Speed Agility and Quickness), small sided games, football tennis and street football. For more information on the Easter School Holiday Skillz Clinics, which commence on 12 April at Burrendah Reserve in Willetton and on 15 April at Lords Sports Club in Subiaco, visit www.profootballtraining.com.au.
CACERES LINKED WITH ADELAIDE
Wellington Phoenix winger Adrian Caceres has been linked with a move to A-League rival Adelaide United. The 28-year old former Perth SC midfielder comes out of contract at the end of next month with reports suggesting the Reds are keen on snapping him up. Caceres joined Phoenix last August after ending his contract with Central Coast Mariners by mutual consent and played a key role in his club's qualification for the end of season play-offs. Phoenix have confirmed that discussions with Caceres, who professional career includes stints at Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory, were ongoing.
BAYSWATER ADD NIGHT SERIES TO THE CABINET
Bayswater City picked up the Division One Night Series trophy by inflicting a 6-0 thrashing on neighbours Ashfield in this evening's final at Hartfield Park. Gustavo Marulanda scored a hat-trick, Kailo Karpeh grabbed two and Joseph Wilonja one as Bayswater romped to victory after Ashfield had goalkeeper Todd Busby sent off in the first half. "I'm happy for the boys and for the club that we have won a trophy after a long period of time," said Bayswater coach Mauro Marchione. "If they didn't have the 'keeper sent off it would have been a very different game but I think we deserved the win for all we have done during the tournament."
It was clear from the outset that it was going to be a very long an difficult 90 minutes for Ashfield. Alex Caniglia was causing no end of problems down the right flank, likewise the pace of Marulanda and striker partner Karpeh. Bayswater got their just reward when Karpeh slipped the ball past 'keeper Busby after being played through by Marulanda. The game defining moment arrived midway through the first half when Busby was sent off after bringing down Marulanda, who rubbed salt into the wound by sending the resultant penalty kick past replacement 'keeper Matt Battigelli.
Substitute Gary Murdoch forced an excellent save from Francis Allen then Mitch Castrilli got in behind the defence but lifted his shot just high as Ashfield came out from the break focused on pulling a goal back quickly. But Bayswater soon regained control as Marulanda applied a tidy finish to extend the gap to three-goals. A swift exchange of passes between Karpeh and Marulanda ended with the former putting his second past Battigelli. Wilonja came off the bench to weave his way around three opponents before lashing into the net from close-range. Maralunda put the icing on the cake when he skipped past Battigelli to tuck his third of the game into an empty net.
ROSINDALE SHINES BRIGHT FOR FIVE-STAR BALCATTA
Balcatta moved to the top of the Premier League table with a pulsating 5-3 defeat of Inglewood United at Grindleford Reserve. Ashley Rosindale was the star of the afternoon with a remarkable four-goal haul to which Lucas Whitehouse added the teams fifth late on. Despite playing against a very strong wind, Inglewood showed early promise as Ryan Clarke streamed out of midfield to sting the gloves of goalkeeper David Khuen inside 2 minutes. But that would be the only chance of any note of an otherwise dour opening 30 minutes in which both teams struggled to adapt to the blustery conditions.
Balcatta eventually found their measure and twice Andy O’Neill delviered low centres into the 18-yard box but on both occasions Inglewood players beat his team mates to the ball. The game finally sparked to life in the 32nd minute when Inglewood’s failure to properly deal with a Geneveo Human cross allowed the attacker to play into the path of Rosindale, who slid the ball into the net from 6-metres. Balcatta waited just six minutes before adding a second, Corey Wiltshire’s throw to the near post was flicked on by Adam Tong to an unmarked Rosindale, who had the simple task of picking his spot in Oliver Taseski’s net.
There was a fair degree of luck involved in Balcatta’s next goal that arrived on 55 minutes when Rosindale stuck out a boot out to deflect Wiltshire’s swinging ball in from the right over Taseski and into the far top corner. Inglewood pegged one back on the hour, Mladen Kovacevic getting deep down the left before pulling the ball across the top of the 6-yard box from where Albert Osei-Tutu wasn’t going to miss. Tong rifled a free-kick well over the crossbar, then Anthony Jones’ drive from 20-metres fizzled high as Balcatta showed they were by no means finished scoring.
Rosindale grabbed his fourth in the 70th minute, slipping the ball under the advancing ‘keeper after expertly shrugging off his marker to race clear. Inglewood responded in kind five minutes later with Clarke going through the middle to make it four-two. A delightful exchange in the 77th minute produced Balcatta’s fifth goal, Rosindale floating the ball out wide to Matt Italiano, he brilliantly went past his man only to have Taseski block the shot and Whitehouse steered the rebounded into an empty net from 14-metre. There were only three minutes left on the clock when Matt Wardle’s crisp low drive from 16-metres flew past Khuen for Inglewood’s third.
GULLS WINGED AS PERTH FIGHT BACK (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Perth SC made it two out of two with an impressive 3-1 victory over Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve. Dom De Felice and Robbie Sciascia were on-target within minutes of each other visitors just before the interval with captain David Onoforo netting their third on the hour mark, but all that was only after Adam Hayton had fired the Gulls into an early lead. “On a day like this, with the wind howling down the pitch, it’s a nightmare but you’ve got to come here and get points and we did that so I’m happy,” said Graham Normanton, coach of Perth. “The first fifteen minutes we were a bit off the pace … but we really started to play well and play the ball around, get our passing game together. Second half was a matter of really doing the same again and at times they couldn’t get near us.”
Sorrento started the better with David Foster firing over from 18-metres after Glen Thomas’ free-kick had rebounded off the Perth wall. James Morgan and Hayton were also off-target for the home side, while Sciascia forced Sorrento goalkeeper Tom Woodhead into a smart save low down. However, Trevor Morgan’s team were rewarded for their early pressure when Hayton was played through the middle and coolly slotted beyond ‘keeper Luke Martino and into the bottom corner in the 18th minute. Martino keep out Thomas’ long-range free-kick that had the assistance of a very strong wind, then paddled Foster’s far post header out for a corner.
A close-range Onoforo effort was blocked as visitors worked themselves back into the game. Perth got the equaliser they’d been threatening in the 40th minute, Aaron Cole’s far-post header from an in-swinging Sharland corner was only half-cleared, and when Onoforo’s mis-hit dropped kindly to De Felice the midfielder slammed the ball into the roof of the net from 5-metres. Five minutes later Perth had the lead as Sharland cut inside from the right to hit a stinging shot from the edge of the box that Woodhead did superb to parry, unfortunately for the Gulls ‘keeper the ball fell to Sciascia who drove in from 10-metres.
Perth hit the ground running after the break with Cole and Onoforo bringing Woodhead into the action. At the other end Ryan Jeans’ weak effort didn’t trouble Martino, and on the hour a back post header by Foster was also captured by the Perth ‘keeper. The hosts paid dearly for that miss within seconds as Onoforo was played through and brilliantly lobbed the advancing Woodhead to make it 3-1. Martino preserved his side’s two-goal buffer with a brave smother to deny Foster, then Onoforo had two chances but was unable to convert substitute Tristan Bekkuche’s low centre. Onoforo was guilty of another glaring miss, dragging wide with only Woodhead to beat, while De Felice could have bagged his second but was denied by the Sorrento ‘keeper at point-blank range.
KNIGHTS TOO STRONG FOR FLOREAT (with Chris Correia, Football West)
A couple of memorable strikes in the first twenty minutes gave Western Knights a solid 2-1 victory over Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium. Garth Lecky put the Knights ahead early with an early goal of the season contender before Stuart Montgomery doubled the lead, albeit with a touch of good fortune. Branimir Mikulic put Floreat back in the game midway through the second half, but the hosts hopes of grabbing a point were extinguished with the sending off of Julian Madaschi six minutes later.
It only took the Knights just five minutes to find the net and Lecky's first ever goal could not have been better, the unmarked defender flashing an amazing overhead past Alex Dunn from inside the 18-yard box. Midfield maestro David Micevski nearly doubled his side's lead minutes later but his shot scrambled past the far post. With 19 minutes on the clock Montgomery widened the gap when his miss-hit cross from wide on the right drifted over Dunn and into the far top corner. Floreat were in no mood to let their visitors run away with the game and James Isaia's curling free-kick had Frazer Siddall scrambling to keep the ball out of his net. Paul Van Dongen could have sealed a Knights victory before half-time but the midfielder blasted over the crossbar at close-range.
The second half was only minutes old when Van Dongen looped a header over a backtracking Dunn, who breathed a sigh of relief when the ball came off the upright. New life was breathed into the game after Mikulic converted a 67th minute penalty awarded after Siddall had felled Johnny Mirco inside the area. But Floreat soon found themselves in trouble with referee Michael Jasinski issuing Madaschi a straight red card for his challenge on David Micevski. Isaia went within inches of equalising with a stunning free-kick from 27-metres which crashed into the bar, but that would be closest Floreat came to snaring a point. Mario Marcinko had a shot deflected out for a corner as the Knights sought to capitalise on the extra player, while closer to the final whistle Simon Versaico's long-range volley flew past of the top corner.
JOONDALUP BLOW AWAY MANDURAH (with Michael Bate, Football West)
ECU Joondalup bounced back from their disappointing opening round loss at Inglewood to beat Mandurah City 3-0 at the Edit Cowan University campus. An own goal early in the second half by James Hesketh put the home side ahead with substitute Garin Collins adding a second just minutes after coming on. “The wind made it difficult to play today, but I thought in the second half we got the ball down and tried to pass it and we were rewarded for that,” said Joondalup coach Syd Amphlett. “We’ve got Western Knights next week, and though they’re one of the best three teams in the competition, I believe every game is there to be won.”
A strong wind blew from left to right for the entire game, and with the players failing to adjust to the conditions many passes went astray and lofted balls were either held up or carried by the wind. Despite this, the home side dominated proceedings and carved out some good chances while limiting Mandurah to not much in the way of scoring opportunities. John Thornley went close with an early, Charlie Comyn-Platt’s attempt at a corner was saved and Jamie Watt forced a fine save from Phil Straker with a flicked header. A lovely flowing move involving Jason Marsden, Michael Currie and Watt ended with Jon Higgins volleying high, and shortly before the break Currie hit the crossbar with a blistering free-kick late.
Joondalup finally got their reward three minutes into the second half when Mandurah should have easily dealt with a cross in the 18-yard box, however, a mix-up between Hesketh and Straker led to the centre half wrong-footing his ‘keeper as he tried to guide the ball back to him. The game effectively put to bed twelve minutes later when Collins fired past Straker with virtually his first touch of the game. There was still plenty of life in Joondalup and, although Phil O’Callaghan hit the outside of the post after 70 minutes, there would not be a third goal this afternoon for the hosts.
SWAN ESCAPE WITH THE POINTS
Swan United returned from Dalmatinac Park with all three points courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 win against Cockburn City. A 25th minute penalty converted by captain Brendan Knox was enough to give Swan their first points of the winter, that despite the visitors playing the closing stages with ten men after the dismissal of Brendan Craig. “I’m really proud of the boys today, we had a game plan today and the lads stuck to it,” said Swan boss Paul Lincoln after the game. “We had to reshuffle after Brendan was sent off but the character shown by my players was outstanding and the work rate from every one of them was pleasing.”
The strong swirling around the ground at kick-off favoured Cockburn. So it came as no surprise when, in the 1st minute, goalkeeper Cory Hugo was called upon to snuff out a chance for Adrian Webster after a Jason Dos Santos’ cross. Ten minutes later Marc Anthony’s corner from the right found an unmarked Anthony Pereira but his first time shot from the edge of the 18-yard box curled around the post. The onslaught continued with Renato Jelen flashing wide from 9-metres, then the same player fired straight at Hugo after being set-up by Anthony.
It was therefore completely against the run of play at Swan grabbed the lead midway through the half. A superb through ball from James Sammut put John Hunter in the clear only for the young attacker to be brought down by David Tarka, referee Josh Mihevc pointed straight to the spot and Knox did the rest by sending Dejan Aleksic the wrong way. Cockburn went close to hitting back just two minutes later through Jelen’s snap shot which was again too close to the ‘keeper. The wind was causing problems for both teams with Cockburn coping the better, Paul Natale playing in for Anthony but his long-range attempt was off-target.
The second half saw Swan playing with the benefit of the breeze and six minutes in Knox floated a free-kick to the back post where Tom Shepheard’s header forced Aleksic into saving down low. A long clearance by Hugo caught Cockburn flat at the back, allowing in Shepheard but just as he was about to pull the trigger Tarka applied a last-gasp tackle. Craig sent in the resulting corner which was cleared as far as Sammut, who from the edge of the area crashed a shot into the crossbar. A number of over-enthusiastic challenges began to creep into the game, and after a melee involving both players and coaching staff referee Mihevc asserted control with several bookings.
It was inevitable that someone was going to receive an early shower on 62 minutes it was Craig that picked up a second yellow card. Cockburn were quick to make the most of the numerical advantage, Tarka unleashing a fierce 22-metre shot destined for the top corner until Hugo brilliantly tipped it away at full stretch. Jason Godfrey’s long-range shot was also kept out by Hugo, albeit at the second attempt, then in the 88th minute Nunes fired into the net from 6-metres only for it to be ruled out for handball. The game was well into stoppage time when Jelen’s free-kick was held by Hugo to sound victory for the away team.
TODD SWEEPS GLORY AWARDS
No-nonsense defender Andy Todd capped off an impressive debut season with Perth Glory by winning the 'Most Glorious Player' award alongside three further club honours. In front of more than 650 guests at the Burswood Grand Ballroom, the English import polled 34 votes to run away with the count from captain Jacob Burns (23 votes) and Naum Sekulovski (13). "I'd just like to thank all my team mates and everyone connected to the club, all the lads have made me feel really welcome," said 35-year old Todd. "I just wanted to come here and enjoy myself and to try and help the players reach bigger and better things. I'll be back next season and hopefully we can go one or two steps better."
Todd, who joined Glory from Derby County last May, collected six best on grounds and polled in ten other games to win the main award, to which he added the Volunteers' Player of the Year, Supporters' Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year trophies. He predicted Glory would move forward next season, after the 2009/10 campaign came to an abrupt halt with a semi-final loss to Wellington Phoenix. "I think we slightly underachieved with the squad we've got," Todd said. "You look at our team and we have a decent team on paper. I think next season we will look to go a lot better than this season for sure." Defender Naum Sekulovski won Best Clubman while Mile Sterjovski was awarded the Golden Boot. Midfielder Dean Evans capped off an impressive with the youth team by taking home the Most Glorious Youth player.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN PREVIEW
Highlighting round two of the Premier League season is tomorrow’s showdown of Cup holders Floreat Athena and reigning premiers Western Knights at Litis Stadium (3.00pm). The teams lasting saw the Knights triumph 2-1 only a few weeks ago, and this promises to be another close encounter packed with some great match-ups. David Annall verses Johnny Mirco will be worth the price of the admission alone, not to mention Dean Apelgren against Stuart Montgomery down the other end. Paul Van Dongen and Daniel Micevski are back in contention to partner David Price for the midfield battle with James Isaia, John Migas and Paul Vatistas.
Defender Shaun Kilkelly comes up against last years team mates when Perth SC journey north to play Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve (3.00pm). English import Adam Hayton was sensational on debut for the Gulls last week, scoring twice to earn a point against the Knights and, along with Glen Thomas, Todd Harnwell and Danny Cain, will have a big say in the outcome. Perth go into the game minus Trent Kay and team captain Robbie Puca, both through injury, so the influence of Aaron Cole, Dom De Felice and Greg Sharland will be vital.
Mandurah City makes the long trip north to take on ECU Joondalup at the Edith Cowan University campus (3.00pm). The Dolphins have been successful on both occasions they’ve ventured to Joondalup, and Stuart Young’s team will want to quickly bounce back from last weeks thrashing at Floreat. Phil O’Callaghan will be wanting to score a few against his former club as Joondalup attempt to make amends for shooting themselves in the foot at Inglewood seven days ago. Unfortunately the home side will be minus midfield general Dale McCulloch due to suspension.
It’ll be a big day at Grindleford Reserve where Balcatta SC takes on Inglewood United (3.00pm) in their first-ever home game as a Premier League club. Ashley Rosindale and David Khuen hold the key at opposite ends of the park for Balcatta, where coach Salv Todaro may be tempted to hand young midfielder Michael Black, signed in mid-week from Perth, his debut. Long-serving goalkeeper Oliver Taseski is sure to find himself under fire as Inglewood attempt to back up last weeks win over Joondalup with another three points. Danny Kovacevic remains absent through injury with a cloud of doubt hanging over striker Rory Grant.
Cockburn City have home ground advantage over Swan United (3.00pm). Dalmatinac Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Swan, winning only once in their last six visits, with the most recent trip ending in a six-goal thrashing. But things remain upbeat in the black and whites camp with Roberto Lujan and Irish midfielder Dara Kanevey back from injury, and David McNally and Darko Ilomanoski running a tight defensive ship. One of Cockburn’s strengths this year is a muscular midfield composed of Anthony Perriera, Adrian Webster and Marc Anthony, who between them provide plenty for teenager attacker Rory Feely to work with.
This week’s Sunday fixture takes us to Macedonia Park where Stirling Lions host Armadale (3.00pm). David Dugdale, winner of the 2006 Golden Boot, goes straight into the Stirling squad having returned to the club this week, while Irish defender Jason Gavin is expected to make his State League debut after serving suspension. Armadale coach Brad Hassell is hopeful his new-look team gels sooner rather than later. English striker James Robinson arrived in Perth just days prior to playing Balcatta last week and his influence, as well as that of Andy Bowyer and goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock is going to be vital as the Reds seek to open their season account.
NEIGHBOURS FIGHT IT OUT FOR SILVERWARE
The Division One Night Series trophy is up for grabs on Saturday evening when Bayswater City and Ashfield go head-to-head in what promises to be cracking finale at Hartfield Park from 8.00pm. It’s the second time the near-neighbours have met in a month and while Ashfield won the group stage encounter 1-0 the smart money this time around is on a strong Bayswater line-up that wants to make an early statement under coach Mauro Marchione.
Goalkeeper Todd Busby was the star attraction of Ashfield’s penalty shoot-out semi-final win over Forrestfield United, and it’s going to take something special to get past him. Veteran midfielder Scott McIlory has been in good pre-season form, teenager sensation Jake Cornell provides the team with pace and width while Jon Greenwood has re-discovered the form which made him the second tier’s top goal scorer three years back.
It’s been seven years since Bayswater last got their hands on a trophy and everyone at the club is hopeful that drought is about to break. Their key strength is an imposing defensive line in which Okwy Diamondstar and Cesar Gonzales stand tall. Vice-captain Damien Catalano provides the vital link between defence and attack where Colombian import Gustavo Maralunda is already been talked up as a Golden Boot candidate.
PHOENIX BECOMES A FORCE
Bunbury Forum Force is the moniker by which South West Phoenix will play under for the next three years. The new name reflects the clubs sponsorship agreement with Bunbury Forum shopping complex. "We've entered into the agreement for a number of reasons," explained Bunbury president John McCleary. "Financially it makes sense for us, but we also wanted 'Bunbury' to be recognised as that is who we are, the majority of our players are from here and it better reflects what this club is about."
The City of Bunbury's commitment to a new $7 million facility that has everyone at the club excited. "They have committed to building the same sort of facility as at Lark Hill Sporting Complex," added McCleary. "It'll be a three-stage project. The pitch is first, that is now complete, then the building and new stadia followed by car park and lighting facilities." While no time frame has been finalised, Bunbury are hopeful of opening their new state-of-the-art complex in time for season 2012.
Bunbury may have exited the Night Series at the group stage but McCleary remains confident they won't be far from the top of the Division One table come seasons end. "We're pretty happy with how the Night Series went. For a variety of reasons we didn't field the full first team in any of the game and did quite well," said McCleary, who watched Bunbury thrash Murdoch University 7-0 last weekend. "We lost to Bayswater by the odd goal and won the last game 3-0 verses Ashfield, that was a pretty comprehensive result and it could have been greater. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when we get the first eleven settled."
THE GODDESS AWAKENS (by Ann Odong, footballwa.net Women's section)
State League clubs have often been criticised for their lack of development in women's football. Thankfully, Floreat Athena have recognised the growing interest in this area by fielding a team the 2010 Women's League. "FAFC has always wanted women's football to be part of our great club. Unfortunately the drive to get it up and running and maintained was perhaps not there - but that is no longer the case," explained Floreat board member Luke Tsakisiris. "The club has gone through major transformations for the better in the last 5 years largely to efforts of the board namely (president) Con Poulios, (vice-president) Jim Karikis and (secretary) Paul Katris."
With significant support from the committee Floreat have recruit an experienced coaching team headed by former Floreat player Michael Kagiorgis, who'll be assisted by Harry Navrozidis and Tsakisiris. "The goal this season is simply to play good, attractive football," said Tsakisiris. "The style of football that is synonymous with the Floreat Athena name. As this is a clean slate for us, a new era at the club we are not gunning for league glory in our first season. At this stage the team is just interested in playing football and having fun along the way."
This is not the first time Floreat have had a women's team, in fact they even won a trophy back in 2002. However, this time around it appears that there is better backing and support for the concept. "The club has pulled out all the stops this year to get the team up and running," added Tsakisiris. "We have even been able to recruit a new sponsor for the women's team, Michael Demarte owner of Well Hung Carpentry. He has shared our vision and has so much belief in the team that he has put his company name on the playing strip."
Pre-season training commenced weeks ago at Floreat and with it came a group of women with a mixture of skill levels and experience. According to Tsakisiris, the girls are responding well to the drills and gelling together. "Nothing is too simple or hard for the Athena Goddesses, we have focused on all facets of football from basic skills to crosser over and offside drills, he explained. "By the time the season kicks off the Athena Goddesses will be marching onto that pitch as a well oiled football machine!"
Floreat have been training at Britannia Reserve but come game day don't be surprised to the see the side stepping out onto Litis Stadium. And who knows, this could lead to something bigger. "FAFC has been famous for producing some of the best male talent in the state and producing undefeated premiership winning teams. We want this success to be transferred to women's football as well," said Tsakisiris. "We want to help raise the profile of women's football in WA as much as we can, FAFC want to produce players like Collette McCallum and win a few trophies along the way."
JONES HAS A POINT TO PROVE
There were a few eyebrows raised when Brad Jones was named in Middlesbrough's starting line-up to face Reading last weekend, not least from the player himself. What could have been a very difficult return from the wilderness worked well and Jones followed up an accomplished performance with an even better one against Preston North End in mid-week. "It was a surprise to me as much as anyone," Coyne, 28, told his clubs website. "It was a nice surprise, but Coyney (Danny Coyne) has been working hard and hasn't done too much wrong, so I don't know the reason behind it. I've been working hard too in training and I was just pleased to get a chance."
Jones hadn't played in the first team since a defeat at Newcastle United just before Christmas and had only played in one reserve team game during that period. He started the season as Boro's preferred 'keeper only for injury to hand a chance and such was the form of the 36-year old that Jones had to wait until September before coming back in. Coyne returned for the Boxing Day game against Scunthorpe, Jones having been dropped after the St James' Park defeat, and he was soon taken out of the firing line altogether as Jason Steele was named on the bench for several matches. But when Steele went on loan to Northampton Town, Jones was back on the bench and in the familiar if unwelcome position of hearing a few boos from the crowd when his name was read out.
With that in mind, the Reading game brought extra pressure. "I just wanted to get out, play well and prove I'm worthy of a place because there area fair few people who doubt me and I just want to show them what I can do," says Jones, who looks to what a compatriot went through for an example of overcoming such a reaction. "It's not easy, but one thing I look at is that Mark Schwarzer always had the same. I don't know why that is, but he moved away and got even better. He got Premier League Player of the Month last month, so that puts it in perspective. It's disappointing to hear, but there have been a fair few backers as well and I'm thick skinned enough not to let it get to me."
When it was clear that his handling, shot stopping, kicking and blocking were all in working order, Jones began to get a lot more cheers than boos. "That was nice, maybe it has come to the point that people have noticed it more. It's nice to get that kind of backing, it makes you more confident. On occasions we could do with having a bit more, but we have to prove that we are worth it," he said. "It's a difficult time for fans and they need to take their frustration out on someone I suppose. I can understand their thoughts that the play-offs are slipping away, we feel the same, the gaffer has said little things have cost a lot. But we're not giving up, that result against Preston kept us going."
Jones return to first team football could not have been better timed with Australia's goalkeeping coach Tony Franken watching both of this week's games. "That's good news," said Boro boss Gordon Strachan. "The more players the club has at the World Cup, the better. It's good profile for the club. Brad was very good on Tuesday. I like what I see there so that's encouraging. He's had two games now and he has to keep that going." With Schwarzer certain to be part of the World Cup squad, Jones wil be fighting it out with Adam Federici, Michael Petkovic, Ante Covic, Eugene Galekovic, Danny Vukovic and Clint Bolton for the two other 'keeper spots.
INGRAM OFF WITH A BANG
New Stirling Lions recruit Tom Ingram marked last week’s State League debut by scoring one of the goals of the season. The 23-year old midfielder hit a stunning shot from 18-metres into the top corner to earn his new club an opening round victory over Swan United. “I’m delighted to get off the mark with a goal like that. I enjoyed the strike and our basketball celebration after was interesting,” said Ingram. “I thought the game was very poor all round - it’s a tough place to go and get a win with the small dark changing rooms, a small pitch on a hill and their direct play. The boys did well to grind it out and we were just happy to get the points. If we can play like that, and win it proves were going to have a good season.”
Moving halfway around the world to play football is never an easy decision, and for Ingram it was made all the more difficult by the fact he’d be leaving his long-time girlfriend, Louise, back in England. “It was a difficult decision as I had good coaching job at Nottingham Forest,” said Ingram, who worked by day as a community coach with Forest’s juniors. “But the lure of the hot weather, non-muddy pitches and the lifestyle was too good to miss out on. Obviously leaving your family is not something you want to do but I know my parents and girlfriend Louise will be over to visit soon.”
The opportunity to play for Stirling came about through the oz soccer experience website. “We put our profiles on the site and within a few weeks had received interest from Stirling Lions and a few other clubs. Within about a month everything was sorted and I moved out here with Bobby Wilson and Stef Frost. Everything so far has been really good, we’ve have been made to feel very welcome, and have settled in well on and off the field,” said Ingram. “Originally it was originally just me coming over but the boys (Bobby and Stef) realised they didn’t want to miss the opportunity of a lifetime. Obviously I was very happy about this, moving to the other side of the world on my own would have been tough.”
A youth team footballer with Peterborough United, Ingram turned out for Reading and Notts County before moving in 2007 to English Conference side Stafford Rangers, from who he joined Stirling. “I have two favourite moments,” said Ingram of playing in England. “I played in a Reserve game for Reading when I was 18 at the Madejski Stadium and I scored the equaliser against Queens Park Rangers. The other is when I made my debut for Stafford away at Burton Albion. My whole family was there and it was just a great day all round, big crowd, good football, and it just showed me the reason why I play football.”
Ingram has been impressed by the quality of football played by Stirling, where he’s coached by Mick Lyons and Gary Williams. “Mick obviously has a great football background, and we’re all enjoying playing under him and Gary. The squad is coming together very well, we have a top bunch of lads who I truly believe will push for title this year. If we can keep players fit we have a great chance,” said Ingram, who admits to having one eye on the A-League. “Of course I would love a move to Perth Glory or any A-League team, who wouldn’t? But this year I’m concentrating on winning the league with Stirling Lions and having a great year in Oz … and who knows what the future holds”
LOWRY SET TO HEAD BACK TO LEEDS
Aston Villa's Shane Lowry is set to re-sign for Leeds United on loan for the remainder of the English season. Leeds boss Simon Grayson is keen to recapture the 20-year old defender, who made eight appearances for the Whites earlier in the season before a knee injury forced him to return to Villa Park somewhat prematurely. Lowry is expected back in Leeds on Thursday when the formalities of the deal, that will run until the end of the season, should be sorted out.
TRIALS COMMENCE SOON FOR STATE SCHOOLS TEAMS
Preparations for the 2010 Schools National Championship will ramp up next month with the commencement of trials for the Schoolboys and Schoolgirls squad. Both teams have a strong history at the tournament, the Schoolboys finishing third and the Schoolgirls second last year, and coaches Alf Debono and Nicola Williams have plans to finish at least one rung higher in 2010. Trials for this year's Schools National Championship, which will be played in Victoria during July/August, start on Wednesday 21st April (5.45pm) at Langley Crescent, Innaloo (home of Stirling Panthers). To be eligible players must either be a full-time TAFE or secondary school student, and be aged 19 or under as of 31st December 2010 - further information is available via the School Sport WA website.
GRIFFITHS SIGNS WITH CENTRAL COAST
Central Coast Mariners have secured midfielder Rostyn Griffiths on a two-year deal from North Queensland Fury. Griffiths, 22, liked what he saw of the club during a brief pre-season stint last July enough to rekindle the association with the Mariners. “It’s a really well run club, and being around the boys on trial last year was a great experience so it'll be nice to go back there,” commented Griffiths, who joins fellow west Australian’s Nik Mrdja and Trent Sainsbury at the Mariners. “I’m thankful to Fury for my time there, but this is a good opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to working under Graham Arnold and hopefully helping the Mariners to some silverware.”
Former Socceroo Arnold has been watching Griffiths for some time and considers his versatility his major asset. “Lawrie and I both watched him closely throughout the season and he's been very impressive. He’s tall, he’s strong, and he can play in a number of positions,” said Arnold. “I was impressed with him at North Queensland Fury, especially as a central defender. He can also play defensive midfield but every time he has played central defence they have kept a clean sheet. He’s a natural defensive midfielder so he’s very good on the ball but his positioning we will work on him tactically, but I think Mariners supporters will see a lot from him.”
Griffiths was born in England’s industrial north but raised in Perth where he turned out for ECU Joondalup. His professional career started in 2006 when he signed for English giant Blackburn Rovers before stints with Gretna (Scotland) and Accrington Stanley (England). He joined Adelaide United as an injury replacement played in early 2009 and by July has linked up with North Queensland, scoring their first ever competitive goal and playing 23 games by seasons’ end. An Australia Under-17 international, Griffiths has been courted by Wales for the past few years due to a Welsh link on his grandfather’s side but is yet to decide on his international future.
WORLD CUP HOPEFULS HEAD ABROAD
Perth Glory duo Mile Sterjovski and Jacob Burns will train alongside Socceroos teammates in England as they attempt to remain in contention for World Cup selection. The pair will spend time at English Premier League club Fulham, home of Mark Schwarzer, with Sterjovski also planning on training with Blackburn Rovers, where Vince Grella and Brett Emerton play. Australia coach Pim Verbeek is aware of the switch, as well as that of Glory defender Chris Coyne who recently joined Liaoning Hong- yung (China), which should enhance their prospects of inclusion in the Socceroos squad for South Africa.
STATE LEAGUE CUP DRAWN
There'll be plenty of giant-killing opportunities in the opening round of the 2010 State League Cup, which was drawn on Friday at the Football West offices. Amongst the highlights of round one are Wanneroo City's home clash with Perth SC, Shamrock Rovers against Ashfield at Rossiter Reserve, and ECU Joondalup's trip to Forrestfield United. Sparks will fly when Dianella White Eagles hosts Cockburn City, while the only all-Premier League tie brings together Inglewood United and Balcatta.
Sorrento have home ground advantage against Sunday League side Spearwood Dalmatinac, likewise Armadale who come up against the new UWA-Nedlands amalgamation. Subiaco AFC takes on Bayswater City, Bunbury Forum Force welcome Fremantle United to the south west, and Mandurah City meet Canning City at Hyundai Stadium. Rockingham City are up against Morley Windmills, while Stirling Lions are home to Queens Park.
Fremantle Spirit have a tough assignment when they host Western Knights, while Stirling Panthers head to the Swan Valley hopeful of knocking over Swan United. Gosnells City are on the road to Floreat Athena, and Murdoch University square off with fellow Sunday Leaguers Olympic Kingsway at Len Shearer Reserve. All Round One State League Cup games are scheduled for the afternoon of Monday 26 April - the 2010 Cup final is pencilled in for Saturday 21 August.
JUNIOR TEAMS SELECTED FOR NATIONALS
The State Under-13 girls and boys squads for next months National Junior Championships have been announced by Football West. The two squads, which were selected from trials held last November, have been training for the past four months in preparation for the tournament, which begins on 4 April in Canberra. The Championships serves as a talent identification tournament where national coaches from all levels identify players with the potential to one day wear the green and gold of Australia.
Erin Stinson, Game Development Officer at Football West, is pleased with the progress of both teams. "The players have been training extremely hard the last few months and are really starting to work together well within their teams," Stinson said. "The Championships will be a great chance for both teams to test themselves against the best that Australia has to offer within the under 13 age group, and I am looking forward to seeing the players step it up a notch for the tournament."
The 2010 State Under-13 Girls squad is Gabrielle Dal Busco (Balcatta), Courtney Hall (Bayswater City), Steffi Nadilo (Cockburn City), Leah Fitzpatrick, Monique Godding, Pippa King, Hope Shepherd (Heathridge), Maddison Schofield (Kingsway), Leniana Masibaka (Kwinana), Melis Yildirim (Lynwood), Sarah Kenny, Stephanie Simmonds (Melville), Emily Henderson, Emma Leaning, Rachel Sands (Perth Hills) and Melissa Shepherd (Rockingham City). Team officials are Jessine Bonzas (coach) and Erin Stinton (assistant coach)
The 2010 State Under-13 Boys squad features Thomas Bayes, Milan Ognjenovic (Cockburn City), Syakir Shariff (Floreat Athena), Ben Johns, Ross Millard, Scott Robertson, Damien Simic, Brandon Wilson (ECU Joondalup), Joel Driscoll, David Molinari, Jordan Pokler (Perth SC), Luke Vittiglia (Sorrento), Callum Dobbs, Callum Simmonds, Alex Tanevski and Ryan Williams (Stirling Lions). Team officials are Dave Butterfield (coach) and Darren Young (assistant coach).
JONES SILENCES BOO BOYS
Brad Jones showed he is back in business with a strong performance in Middlesbrough's weekend draw with Reading. Manager Gordon Strachan's decision to recall Jones, who'd been hounded out of the side by Boro's supporters, from a 15-game absence was justified with the one-time Socceroo making several important saves. "Brad has done well today. It's not easy for him as he's had a bit of stick from our fans. The manager took the decision to put him back in and he has justified it," commented coach Colin Cooper.
Unfortunately, the shared point effectively ended any lingering play-off hopes for Middlesbrough, who have won just six times in 24 league outings under Strachan. "We're gutted. We're at the stage now where we must our games. We're three unbeaten but it doesn't mask the disappointment," added Cooper. "If we are to have a play-off chance we have to start winning now. The game was flat. We hoped someone would give us a spark but it didn't happen." Chris Killen struck a minute into the second half for Middlesbrough but that was cancelled out by a 63rd minute own goal by David Wheater.
MITCHELL GETS THE BOSS’ BACKING
Tony Sage has confirmed David Mitchell will continue as coach of Perth Glory next season after taking the club to its first A-League finals appearance. Despite being halfway through a two-year contract, reports had indicated Mitchell was preparing to step out of the hot seat and into a football director's role with Glory, allowing another coach to take his place. But Sage has dismissed such suggestions, saying the club was already in preparation mode for next season with Mitchell at the helm. "There's been a lot of talk about him changing role, but I decided against that," Sage said. "That's my call and any of the fans out there who want to have a go, have a go at me and not the rest of the club."
SCIASCIA GETS PERTH OVER THE LINE
Perth SC opened the new Premier League season with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Cockburn City this afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. Robert Sciascia completed a lovely counter-attack twelve minutes from the end to settle a game in which Greg Sharland had given Perth a first half lead that was cancelled out by Paul Natale's penalty conversion. "It was a hard fought win, but we didn't expect anything else after the Night Series," said Perth coach Graham Normanton. "I was pleased to get away with the win, but at times we didn't play that well. I thought we were good defensively today, the whole backline were good and that was pleasing, Cockburn pressed all game but they didn't create that many chances."
Cockburn were the first to threaten on 2 minutes when Jason Dos Santos' shot from the edge of the 18-yard box flew high. The visitors continued to apply the pressure with David Tarka heading just high an Adrian Webster corner from the left. Perth suffered a setback just after the quarter hour with captain Robbie Puca limping from the field with a calf injury, his place taken by Andreas Oliviera. Two minutes later the hosts fashioned their first opening as Sciascia and Sharland combined to tee-up Ian McMurray, who was thwarted by the quick thinking of goalkeeper Dejan Aleksic. Jason Dos Santos went close to putting his team ahead on 25 minutes with a fine volley that Shaun Kilkelly managed to block. Five minutes later Perth hit the front as Simon Wilson moved possession on to Sharland, he played in to McMurray who returned the ball for the former Perth Glory attacker to fire low past Aleksic.
The second half had been under way less than a minute when Craig Simpson cleaned the ball off the line after Webster's shot had much of the pace taken off it by Luke Martino. McMurray found the net on 55 minutes only to turn to see a raised offside flag. Three minutes later Cockburn drew level, Natale sending Martino the wrong way from the spot following a handball decision against Simon Wilson. The Cockerels had the wind in their sails with Webster then substitute Rory Feely going close. Sciascia's long-range strike was parried by Aleksic with McMurray hitting wide the follow-up, then Feely's powerful effort was kept out by Martino. The winner arrived on 78 minutes when Cockburn were caught out by a quick break, Matt Danskin and Oliviera combining in the lead up with the latter feeding Sciascia who made no mistake from 5-metres.
MARINERS HOOK SAINSBURY
Young Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury will enter the national league arena next summer after signing a two-year contract with Central Coast Mariners. Sainsbury has been a standout for the Australian Institute of Sport in this season's National Youth League, having made his debut in 2008/09 with Perth Glory. "Trent is a very promising talent out of the AIS, he's a central defender who is very good on the ball and in the air, and it's a great addition for the Mariners," said Mariners coach Graham Arnold. "He's a youngster, only 18 years of age so he's got a bit more development to do but I see a really bright future for him here at the Mariners." The Mariners double acquisition of Sainsbury and fellow Young Socceroo Sam Gallagher brings their squad for next season to seventeen players.
ASHFIELD AND BAYSWATER THROUGH TO FINAL
Ashfield remain on course to claim their second Division One Night Series trophy in four years after out-shooting Forrestfield United 3-0 on penalties in last nights semi-finals at Hartfield Park. Todd Busby's trio of penalty saves proved decisive following a physical encounter that was locked up at 1-1 after regulation time. Either side could have taken the lead in a tight first half in which missed opportunities seemed to be the order of the day.
It took until the 66th minute for the deadlock to be broken, Scott McIlroy playing out wide where 16-year old Jake Cornell ran the ball into the corner before cutting it back for Jon Greenwood, who lashed into the net. Forrestfield replied with a period of sustained pressure at the end of which Matt Harold's shot from 17-metres flew past an out-stretched Bushby and into top corner. Busby kept out Forrestfield's first three penalties as McIlroy, Greenwood then Joe Woodin converted to send Ashfield through to the tournament decider.
Colombian import Gustavo Maralunda scored twice as an under-strength Bayswater City defeated Wanneroo City 2-1. With Bayswater missing five starters, Wanneroo dominated the opening exchanges but were unable to penetrate a defence under the command of Okwy Diamondstar and Cesar Gonzales. Bayswater eventually got into gear and against the run of play took the lead through a superb solo goal by Maralunda. The margin was doubled ten minutes later, Rodrigo Aguirre's long-ball down the left released Kailo Karpeh whose first time cross was sent into the net by Maralunda.
Wanneroo pulled a goal back right on the stroke of half-time when Nathan Diaz pushed the ball into the net during a goalmouth scramble following a corner. Some tactical and positional chances saw Bayswater adopt a more defensive approach for the second stanza as Wanneroo turned up the heat with one attack after the other. But the closest they would come to drawing level was Josh Booysen's 81st minute shot which beat goalkeeper Frankie Ternel, who turned to see the ball hit the post and deflect to safety.
TOMBIDES SCORES AS HAMMERS HOLD FOXES
Former Stirling Lions junior Dylan Tombides was on target as West Ham United's youngsters extended their unbeaten FA Premier Academy League run to four matches with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Leicester City. Tombides opening the scoring early on against before the Foxes battled back to earn a share of the spoils with a second-half equaliser. Academy Director Tony Carr was pleased wit the efforts of his young team, which included four played under the age of 16s - one being Tombides - in his starting line-up and another three on the bench. "We did well considering they are unbeaten all season in the Academy League," said Carr. "We took the lead and might even have won the game, but it wasn't to be."
FLOREAT A CLASS ABOVE (with Chris Correia, Football West)
Floreat Athena began the new season by thumping Mandurah City 6-1 in the opening round Premier League fixture at Litis Stadium. Veteran midfielder Branimir Mikulic led the way with a double for the Cup holders, taking Floreat's tally to 13 goals in eight days following last week's 7-0 Charity Shield thrashing of Perth SC. It didn't take long for the home team to open their account with John Migas' 3td minute volley from outside the 18-yard box catching goalkeeper Phil Straker by surprise. The Dolphins attempt at a quick response had Alex Dunn at full-stretch to keep out Craig Young's low drive.
Ante Kovacevic must have been loving every moment of his second game in charge of Floreat as referee Michael Tolmie awarded the hosts a penalty for handball against Ryan Townsend, Mikulic stepped up to blasted beyond Straker's reach. A poor defensive pass by Jovo Pavlovic allowed in Rafa Insaurralde but the midfielder curled just wide of the far post. Darren Broxton put his body on the line to save a certain goal moments later when Mikulic's through-ball for Daniel Neiderberger was headed onto Adam Bachiller, whose close-range effort was blocked on the last line of defence. Neiderberger made amends after some lovely link-up play with Johnny Mirco permitted the striker to slot in from a tight angle.
Nicky Platt looked to inspire Mandurah with a mazy run at the start of the second half but his shot from 16-metres was narrowly off-target. Floreat's dominance was too much for Mandurah to match, and on the hour dead ball specialist James Isaia picked out Mikulic at the back post to volley in the team's fourth from the tightest of angles. Mandurah still tried hard and the unusually subdued Andy Brown had a goal-bound header cleared off the line by substitute Jason Barrera. Isaia got himself on the scoresheet with three minutes to go, then Luke Bower scored Mandurah a late consolation after great work from Platt on the right. But Floreat would have the final say as substitute Miki Vujacic showed some silky skills in finding the net from the top of the area in stoppage time.
INGLEWOOD MAKE JOONDALUP PAY THE PENALTY (by Michael Bate, Football West)
Goals from Mladen Kovacevic and Albert Osei-Tutu led Inglewood United to a 2-0 opening round victory over ECU Joondalup at Clipsal Stadium. But the game could have ended so much differently had Joondalup, who played the majority of the game with ten men following the first half red carding of midfield general Dale McCulloch, twice failed twice to convert from the penalty. Joondalup's woes began as early as the 8th minute when Michael Baczynski slid an exquisite pass into the path of Kovacevic, who reached the ball just ahead of Andy Petterson and poked it past the despairing goalkeeper.
Joondalup thought they'd equalised just two minutes later when Jamie Watt tapped into the net after John Thornley's effort rebounded off the post, however, the linesman's flag was raised for offside and the striker's effort was disallowed. It was a push on Watt that earned the northerner's their first penalty, McCulloch striking the ball low but too close to Oliver Taseski who kept his side in front with a fine save. The day went from bad to worse for Joondalup when, in the 39th minute, McCulloch received a straight red card for a reckless studs-up lunge on Ryan Clarke.
Inglewood were quick out of the blocks for the second half. 51 minutes were on the clock when Clarke made an excellent run down the right before crossing beautifully for an unmarked Osei-Tutu to head in. Garin Collins' set-pieces looked the most likely avenue to goal for the ten-man visitors as Charlie Comyn-Platt flashed a near post header just wide from a corner. Joondalup were seeing plenty of the ball by this stage but opportunities in open play were far and few between. Their only meaningful shot on goal came via a Collins free-kick from 23-metres that forced Taseski into a smart save.
Clarke was never far from the action, making a number of powerful forward runs to set up opportunities for himself and his teammates. After exchanging passes with Osei-Tutu on the edge of the 18-yard box, Clarke was robbed of a shot as Petterson dove courageously at his feet. And just minutes later Clarke got deep on the left before squaring to substitute Costas Socratous whose blast on goal cannoned back off the post. Joondalup should have grabbed themselves a stoppage time consolation after James Duncan was deemed to have impeded a run into the box by Phil O'Callaghan, but he somehow managed to fire the resultant penalty well over the bar.
BALCATTA ON THE BOARD (by Ann Odong, Football West)
Ashley Rosendale scored twice in quick succession to help Balcatta register their first Premier League win, defeating Armadale 2-1 at Alfred Skeet Oval. The home side settled the better with English imports Tom Robinson and James Robinson featuring prominently. Their first opening came in the 8th minute, a long thrown from Michael Van Dongen found Steve McDonald but the big defender headed wide of the target. Four minutes later Balcatta foiled another Reds attack when Garrin St Vall's scrambled shot was cleared off the line.
That clearance released Ashley Rosendale and with Balcatta's first serious attacking foray the striker cut in behind two defenders before slotting past the right glove of a diving Cyril Sharrock. Rosendale was again released three minutes later only to be felled by Sharrock, referee Joe Fusari had no hesitation in pointing to the spot from where the Balcatta striker put away his and the teams second. A rattled Armadale could have pegged a goal back on 28 minutes but Tony Hunt's back post strike was kept out bythe feet of custodian David Khuen. Sharrock's brilliance leading into the break kept his side in the game, the 'keeper thwarting Rosendale and Nicholas Tatasciore in the space of a few minutes.
The second half started evenly with neither side looking too threatening. An intriguing wing battle was developing between Matt Bennion and Andy O'Neil as the teams worked their attacks through the midfield pair. Through good possession, Armadale steadily began to get on top and on the hour St Vall slid a ball through to Hunt but he was only able to hot the shot straight at Khuen. Nine minutes later another opportunity went begging, James Robinson heading Andrew Bowyer's cross to Lewis Flatt whose volley was blocked by the body of Igor Ilikj.
New life was breathed into Armadale ten minutes from time when James Robinson was awarded a penalty which the English import duly converted past Khuen. Pinned down in their half, Balcatta were now attacking on the counter and in the 84th minute Lucas Whitehouse tapped Andy O'Neill's ball into the net, however, celebrations were cut short by an offside flag. Granted a reprieve, Brad Hassell's men went looking to equalise. McDonald's 90th minute strike was tipped over the cross bar by Khuen, and from the resultant corner both James Robinson and Hunt had opportunities to steal a point but the Balcatta custodian capped a fine second half with two quality stops.
INGRAM STUNNER WINS IT FOR STIRLING
A brilliant strike by English import Tom Ingram has given Stirling Lions a 1-0 victory against Swan United today's Premier League game at Francis Street. Ingram, a former professional with Notts County, was just 5 minutes into his State League debut when he fired into the top corner from 18-metres to give his new club a perfect start to the new season. "It's the first game of the season and it's always nice to start off with a victory and we ground out the win today," said Ingram. "The goal was good for us early. I don't mind hitting them on my left foot, I just cut inside and it's a goal I'll remember for a long time."
Stirling opened well with Ingram whistling the ball just over the crossbar from distance after 3 minutes. It was a warning Swan failed to heed as a couple of minutes later the midfielder gathered a poor clearance and, after cutting inside, drilled into the top corner to give goalkeeper Cory Hugo no chance. Swan's desire for a quick response had Tom Shepheard head wide from Rob Monterosso's cross, and shortly after the big striker's and got on the end of a Shane Webb cross which he placed too close to 'keeper James Turvill saved. The home side was by now dictating terms with James Sammut, Brendan Knox and Trent Wood all a cause of concern for Turvill.
Having soaked up the pressure, Stirling began to work their way back into the game. On the half hour Matt Stares' shot high from the edge of the 18-yard box and shortly after teenager Ndumba Makeche danced around three defenders only to have Hugo push his shot onto the post. Swans ended the half strongly and on 41 minutes should have equalised after Monterosso's great ball found Shepheard, his cross found Webb unmarked at the back post but the teenager somehow shot wide with the goal at his mercy. And on the stroke of half-time Hugo almost restored parity with an audacious long-range effort which cleared the out of position Turvill but landed on the top netting.
Swan picked up where they'd lift off and Liam Boland's free-kick was tipped over Turvill who, two minutes later, was had the bar to thank after being beaten by Brendan Craig. It was a hard-fought game with neither team taking a back step as chances flowed at both ends of the park. On 57 minutes Daniel Stoitis' first time shot was saved low by Hugo following a corner, the ball was relayed straight to the opposite end when Craig's long-range shot drifted narrowly wide. Stirling could have made the game safe on 65 minutes when Bobby Wilson's swerving free-kick was parried by Hugo, the rebound fell for Jordan Rhodes but he fired high at close-range. The game was by now nearing boiling point, leading referee Hugh Best to issue no less than eight yellow cards.
Shepheard was denied at from 5-metres by Turvill as Swan pushed for an equaliser. The home team was throwing everything at a Stirling defence in which Michael Pugliese and Wilson stood tall to. Alex Cocking made an almost immediate impact after coming off the bench by meeting a back post cross from Craig which Turvill did well to save. With time running out, Swans final chance to salvage a point came via another Craig cross from the left, Cocking's header went under Turvill but the big 'keeper managed to recover and prevent the ball from entering the net. Robinson almost doubled Stirling's lead in stoppage time but the midfielder's low shot was saved low by Hugo after being set-up by Rhodes.
HAYTON MAKES INSTANT IMPACT (by Tim Lefort, Football West)
Two goals on debut from new signing Adam Hayton earned Sorrento a well-deserved point in a 2-2 draw with Western Knights at Nash Field. Twice the home side went in front - through Anthony Campbell and Simon Versaico - but on both occasions the Gulls hit back through Hayton, who only arrived from England a couple of days prior to the game. "We've lost eight or nine players in the off-season so to come to the champions and get a point is a great result for us," said Sorrento boss Trevor Morgan, who rued a late decision which could have seen his side take home all three points. "I think we were a bit unlucky at the end with the linesman's (offside) decision that could have won us the game but he chose to give a decision that we thought wasn't right - but of course we would."
Sorrento created the games first chance on 7 minutes when Jason Mirco's shot was parried by goalkeeper Frazer Siddall. His opposite number, Tom Woodhead, was called into action not long after to deny Campbell, while David Micevski was just off-target after Stuart Montgomery's free-kick came back off the defensive wall. But the home side need wait only 13 minutes before going ahead, Campbell pouncing on a loose ball 22-metres out which he lashed into the net via the underside of the crossbar. The Knights clearly were not happy with a single goal lead as Montgomery flashed a shot narrowly past the far post before an unmarked Campbell sliced his volley wide. But such wastefulness was punished on 28 minutes when Hayton gained possession and from 23-metres his a sweet left-footer into the top corner.
The second period was only five minutes old when Versaico got on the end of a deep cross which he powerfully headed past Woodhead to restore the Knights advantage. However, the hosts had barely finished celebrating when Sorrento equalised, Hayton beating Siddall with a powerful low drive from 22-metres. Micevski's close-range effort was blocked, Duncan Hind volleyed wide and Campbell chanced his luck from the edge of the 18-yard box as the home team attempted to claim the lead for a third time. Sorrento thought they had gone in front with thirteen minutes remaining but substitute Jared Love's effort was controversially ruled offside. Woodhead was forced into a smart save by Versaico, before Micevski wasted a great chance to give the Knights a winning start to the season by blazing high with just the 'keeper to beat.
BOLTON THE HERO AS SYDNEY WIN A-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
Sydney FC are the new A-League champions after they defeated Melbourne Victory 4-2 on penalties this evening at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. Goalkeeper Clint Bolton emerged the hero, saving Marvin Angulo's penalty to secure Sydney their second A-League title in the competition's five-year history. The match had ended 1-1 after extra time, with Mark Bridge giving Sydney the lead on 62 minutes before Adrian Leijer equalised 19 minutes later.
The game didn't spark into life until just after the hour when Rodrigo Vargas had the ball in the net but the Melbourne midfielder's effort was disallowed for offside. Sydney landed a sucker punch with the very next play, Alex Brosque getting in behind the defence to deliver a cross that Bridge headed in close-range. With nine minutes left Leijer rose to head in a Kevin Muscat free-kick and salvage Melbourne title hopes. The home team could have won the game in normal time but substitute Aziz Behich fell over a metre from goal as the ball came towards him.
Langerak and Bolton produced important saves to keep their sides afloat in extra-time, the Melbourne 'keeper from Bridge and his Sydney counterpart from a Carlos Hernandez free-kick. Melbourne were chasing the shoot-out from the moment Muscat missed the teams first attempt. Langerak produced a remarkable diving save to turn away Shannon Cole's spot-kick, with Grant Brebner then putting his chance away. Hayden Foxe struck his penalty successfully for Sydney, before Bolton kept out Angulo's attempt. Then Karol Kisel and Byun Sung-Hwan converted their chances to ensure Sydney victory.
HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory saw victory snatched from their grasp in the National Youth League grand final at Etihad Stadium today when Gold Coast United scored twice in the last eight minutes for a 2-1 win. Gareth Naven's side looked on course for success when midfielder Dean Evans fired home a cracker from long-range to give Glory Youth the lead with just 16 minutes remaining. But WA-born striker Chris Harold headed an equaliser eight minutes from time before Tahj Minniecon struck a last-minute winner. Defeat was harsh on Glory Youth, particularly goalkeeper Alex Pearson who had kept Gold Coast at bay for large parts of the game.
The game was full of drama from start to finish with the goal-less first half proving an injustice to both sides. The game exploded into life with Ludovic Boi's first shot in anger inside five minutes, and from that moment on both teams created chance after chance. The interplay between Mario Marcinko and the Glory Youth midfield, especially wide players Boi and Reece Vittiglia, led to some promising early openings. After 20 minutes there was more drama with referee Jarred Gillett dismissing a Glory Youth penalty appeal for handball inside the 18-yard box.
It was only following this that Gold Coast began to mark its mark, Benjamin Wearing heading wide from a corner soon after. Ben Halloran's powerful shot took a deflection and looped over goalkeeper Alex Peason, who not long after palmed away a curling effort from the same player. It was by no means one-way traffic and Boi's scissor kick from the top of the 6-yard box was saved by Jerrad Tyson. But the best chance of the half fell to Harold moments before the break, the teenager tricking his way in behind the defence only for his shot to ricochet off the 'keeper, back off his own chest and finally trickle just centimetres wide of the left post.
Gold Coast went close again early in the second half when Harold's shot on the turn from 6-metres was blocked by Alex Pearson, who completed a sensational double save by keeping out the teenager's follow-up. Alex Pearson was at it again not long after in pushing Zac Anderson's goal bound header away for a corner. After all that huffing and puffing both sides seemed to have run out of answers as the game looked headed for extra-time. But that changed on 75 minutes when Evans break the deadlock with a goal of the highest calibre, the midfielder curling the ball into the top left corner from 25-metres.
But Gold Coast don't boast the meanest attack in the league for nothing and Harold's work was far from done. The young star got his reward in the 82nd minute by heading in at close-range from Minniecon's cross to bring the teams level. The game appeared destine for extra-time when Minniecon twisted and turned his way past substitute Howard Fondyke and fired into the bottom right corner. Result aside, the game was a tremendous advert not only for the National Youth League but an indicator of the giant strides the game has taken in Australia.
Perth Glory Youth: Alex Pearson, Ryan Pearson, Steve Hesketh, Sam Mitchinson, Joshua Risdon (Howard Fondyke 58), Dean Evans, Mario Marcinko, Glen Trifiro, Ludovic Boi, Reece Vittiglia (Tommy Amphlett 73), Hayden Doyle (Sebit Oyet 92)
Gold Coast United Youth: Jerrad Tyson, Steven Topalovic, James Brown, Ben Wearing, Zac Anderson, Steven Lustica, Chris Harold, Koh Satake (Rueben Way 77), Ben Halloran (Mitchell Bevan 77), Tahj Minniecon, Josh Brillante
Bookings: Marcinko (17), Mitchinson (53), Brown (64)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
Perth SC made a mockery of the Charity Shield last weekend by not fielding a full-strength side against Floreat Athena, and deservedly ended up getting hammered 7-0. By playing their Reserve team Perth put the fixture and the chance for football to raise money for charity in jeopardy as many will think twice before attending the event next year. It smacked of Manchester United's withdrawal from the FA Cup to concentrate on the World Club Championship, a move that was not in the best interests of the game.
Being State Champions comes with a level of responsibility to the game itself - it is not just about trophies in a cabinet. It is very unusual that Perth should have taken this approach, as they have for many years been the benchmark club but on this occasion they would have been better off being left on the bench. Maybe the Charity Shield should in fact be a game for the Premier League Premiers and the Cup winners, rather than the Champions?
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, THE PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW
The fifty-first season of semi-professional football in Western Australia is shaping up to be one of the most compelling in memory. Premier League front-runners Perth SC, Western Knights and Floreat Athena will face strong challenges from a much-improved Cockburn City and import-laden Stirling Lions. The relegation battle is similarly difficult to predict with newcomers Balcatta achieving respectable pre-season results and no glaring weaknesses amongst the existing teams.
As was the case last year, the top five placed sides at the conclusion of the home and away season enter a play-off series which culminates in the Grand Final at the end of October to decide the State Champion. Tom Della Vedova takes a close look at each of the twelve clubs - in alphabetic order - including a summary of player movements and an assessment of squad strengths and weaknesses. The footballwa.net team then offer their thoughts on how the 2010 Premier League season will pan out...
GOING FOR GLORY!
Perth Glory Youth will leave no stone unturned as they attempt to win their first piece of silverware tomorrow in the 2009/10 National Youth League Grand Final against Gold Coast United. It’s already been a landmark season for both teams but only one can claim the league ultimate prize. The no-nonsense defensive styling of captain Steve Hesketh anchors the Glory Youth side, which as Australian youth international Alex Pearson between the posts. Glen Trifiro keeps the engine room ticking over while livewire attacker Tommy Amphlett provides flair down the flanks. Zac Cartwright and Steve Topalovic marshal a tight Gold Coast defence, with James Brown and Tahj Minniecon full of running going forward. Tune in to 990am Information Radio from 11:30am tomorrow for Ashley Morrison’s blow-by-blow account of the NYL Grand Final.
THE SEASON STARTS NOW!
The smoke and mirrors of pre-season football have been put away as the 2010 Premier League season bursts into life with games across the metropolitan area this weekend. Western Knights commence their title defence tomorrow when they welcome Sorrento to Nash Field (3.00pm). The Knights claimed victory in both Night Series meeting of the two clubs and the central ingenuity of David Micevski and Paul Van Dongen should provide Stuart Montgomery plenty of opportunities to put a few away against former team mates. The Gulls lost a lot of players over the off-season so it promises to be a busy afternoon for new goalkeeper Tom Woodhead and State defender Danny Cain.
Balcatta are on the road for their Premier League debut, against Armadale at Alfred Skeet Oval (3.00pm). Armadale are determined to start their home and away campaign with maximum points and what influence English import James Robinson, midfield tyro Lewis Flatt and goalkeeper Cyril Sharrock can have will go a long way to achieving that aim. Salv Todaro has been busy in the transfer market this week but it’ll be to the experienced heads of Ashley Rosindale, Andy O’Neill and Anthony Jones that the Balcatta coach will look for leadership this weekend.
Stirling Lions head off to Francis Street where Swan United (3.00pm) have hosting rights. Summer signings James Sammut and Roberto Lujan will have a big say in whether Swan can carry over last years strong home record into 2010, while Leo Harman, Darko Ilomanoski and Liam Boland are out to get one over their former club. A strong recruitment drive brought numerous import’s to Stirling over the summer months, highlighted by Bobby Wilson, Tom Ingram and Stef Frost, while rising stars Ndumba Makeche, Jamie De Abreu and Michael Pugliese are looking to build on their impressive pre-season form.
Mandurah City ventures north to tackle Floreat Athena at Litis Stadium (3.00pm). With his team fresh from winning the Charity Shield, Ante Kovacevic, the newly appointed coach of Floreat, will rely heavily on the know-how of Johnny Mirco, Branimir Mikulic, Dean Aplegren and John Migas to get them the points. The Dolphins, although quiet on the transfer front over the summer, are determined to make a big opening day splash with state midfielder Andy Brown, Craig Young and former Perth Glory defender Ryan Townsend ready to do their bit for coach Stuart Young.
The final Saturday game brings together Inglewood United and ECU Joondalup at Clipsal Stadium (3.00pm). Inglewood’s failure to ignite in pre-season has many tipping them for demotion, but you can be assured Shane Pryce wants nothing of the sort in his first season at the helm. Goalkeeper of the Year Oliver Taseski again has a big role to play for the club, likewise the seasoned heads of Daniel Kovacevic, Aaron Colli and Rory Grant. Dual Golden Boot winner Phil O’Callaghan is looking forward to getting back amongst the goal on his return to Joondalup, where Dale McCulloch, Scott Bushby and Jon Higgins are hopeful of remaining injury-free.
This week’s Sunday game pits State Champions Perth SC against Cockburn City at Dorrien Gardens (3.00pm). Perth may have won a fifth successive Night Series but fresh in their minds is the loss Cockburn inflicted on them in the opening game of the pre-season tournament. Ian McMurray and David Onoforo form a lethal attack for the Blues, who rely heavily on the midfield drive of Dom De Felice, Robbie Puca and Robert Sciascia. Cockburn added some much-needed experience over the off-season, coach Scott Miller bringing former Perth Glory players David Tarka, Adrian Webster and Marc Anthony, into a line-up which features the considerable talents of Aaron dos Santos and Paul Natale.
FOUR LEFT STANDING IN DIVISION ONE
Hartfield Park is the place to be on Saturday evening for the semi-finals of the Division One Night Series. An active recruitment campaign has reaped early rewards for Ashfield who must become the first team to beat Forrestfield United this year in order to qualify for the tournament decider. Forrestfield have found the net with great frequency throughout the pre-season tournament - Andy Harold has scored five times in three games - so it'll be interesting to see how they fare against the competition's tightest defensive unit.
It'll be all hands on deck for Bayswater City when they square off with Wanneroo City in the other round of four meeting. Bayswater have given a good account of themselves so far but with goalkeeper Gianni Papalia and vice-captain Damien Catalano missing this week it's likely their run is about to come to an end. Josh Booysen has consistently found the net and another goal or two from him can put Wanneroo just 90 minutes away from their first trophy under Gerry McEwan. Entry to the 2010 Division One Night Series is $6 for adults, $4 concession and under-15's are admitted free - both games kick-off at 8.00pm.
PEARSON BACKS GLORY YOUTH FOR VICTORY
Perth Glory Youth are determined to buck the odds by winning Saturday’s National Youth league Grand Final against Gold Coast United at Etihad Stadium. Gold Coast have claimed victory twice already this season over their opponent, but Glory Youth custodian Alex Pearson remains confident his team will return home from Melbourne with the trophy in their possession. “I think we need to start the game well, because finals are very unpredictable,” Pearson said. “If we get off to a good start then it will give us confidence to out the game, but we have to take chances when they come around, and we have to minimise our turn-overs.”
Midfielder Glen Trifiro booked Glory Youth’s spot in the season finale with his first half strike seeing off Adelaide United in the semi-final round. Pearson, who has been outstanding between the posts during the season, was delighted with the outcome of last week’s games and is now looking forward to a Grand Final appearance. “Last week was a tough game, as most finals are,” commented 17-year old Pearson. “We were fortunate enough to make our possession count after a nervy start and we found a deserved goal in the first half. Although we would have preferred to win in more style, there is a real determination and belief amongst the team that we can win against anyone.”
Qualifying for Saturday’s Grand Final is a massive achievement for the club, one that Pearson says is attributable to a well-honed squad and never-say-die team spirit. “I think that has been the key to our season - the team has such a high spirit and everyone is willing to work for one another,” said Pearson at the end of his second season in the Glory Youth set-up. “I know is sounds like a cliché but it is what have helped our team to this point. It’s not individuals that should be highlighted but the whole team as a unit, as (coach) Gareth (Naven) says - it’s about the sixteen not the eleven.”
Pearson had nothing but praise for coach Naven, who represented Australia at youth level in a distinguished playing career that included over 150 national league games for Adelaide City and Glory. “Gareth is an excellent coach to work with, he has done so much for the youth team and the detail in training and preparation that he provides us is top notch,” said Pearson, who has also played for Australia at Under-17 level. “Also the professionalism and standards set by him are a perfect example of how we need to operate as professional footballers.”
A former Cockburn City junior, Pearson is thankful for the experience he was afforded towards the tail end of last winter by State League club Armadale. “I was very grateful to Brad Hassell and the coaching staff at Armadale for giving me a chance to play first team football,” he said. “It was a good experience and one you don’t take for granted. The players acceptance, support and encouragement at having a young ‘keeper were a big factor also. These things all build to give you the confidence to take the next step and I’m thankful to the club for that.”
While Grand Final victory is foremost in his thoughts, Pearson admits he’s keeping his options beyond this weekend open. “After the finals I’ll be travelling to the UK to train with a few clubs over there. I’ve had great coaching over in WA, with Willie McNally being a great mentor to me, but I need to continue to work hard,” said Pearson. “I’ve had no discussions with the Glory so far but the senior Glory ‘keepers are mid-contract. My aim is to be a professional player so I believe you need to be open to move to another club if necessary, and my priority is to be at a club that offer the best development opportunities.”
GNS CHINA JOINS GLORY YOUTH
Corporate investment advisory company GNS China have been confirmed as major sponsor of Perth Glory Youth for the next two seasons. The deal, valued at A$1 million dollars, is a major coup for the club and will see the Glory Youth team visit China to play in a major international tournament. “This sponsorship will see the Perth Glory brand prominently positioned in China and amongst the Chinese community of Western Australia,” said Glory owner Tony Sage. “In addition, Perth Glory will actively embrace China, through participation in youth tournaments, pre-season and/or in-season tours.”
Glory Youth will participate in the China Weifang tournament, a week-long event at the beginning of August which features the Chinese national youth team and club side Shandong LuNeng as well as other teams from Asia. The senior Glory side is also looking to visit China either as part of preparations for the 2010/11 season or during the FIFA break in October/November. GNS China is a corporate and investment advisory company which over the past two decades has assisted organisations undertake business and investment between China, Australia and other Asian markets.
GARCIA FEARS WORLD CUP SNUB
Socceroos midfielder Richard Garcia has admitted he faces a tense few months to see whether he will be included in Australia coach Pim Verbeek's plans for the World Cup in South Africa. Garcia is sweating on his place in the Pim Verbeek's 23-man squad having endured an interrupted second season in the Premier League with Hull City, who languish second-bottom and this week sacked manager Phil Brown. "There will be a tense few months ahead to wait and see whether I'm in the squad or not," Garcia said. "I'm just trying to play as much here as I can and trying to concentrate on helping Hull get out of the predicament we're in. Hopefully that will be enough for me to get a place on the plane to South Africa."
With only nine Premier League games remaining, Garcia's window of opportunity to secure a spot on the plane to South Africa is drawing to a close. Knee ligament damage suffered in pre-season meant he missed the opening three months of the season, and Brown's dismissal on Monday has now thrown his position at Hull and, consequently, his chances of catching Verbeek's eye into uncertainty. "I haven't really had a chance since I got injured," conceded Garcia who has played only a dozen league games this season. "But I'm just hopeful that they've been watching me in the domestic league and also remember the times I have been with the squad and what they know I can do. I'm pretty confident they know what I've got available."
Although Hull are fighting desperately to maintain their top flight status, Garcia is mindful that playing in what's considered the strongest domestic competition in the world should count in his favour. "It's not as though I'm playing at a poor standard. Playing in this league prepares you well for playing in the World Cup because it is such a ruthless and high tempo league. It's one of the best leagues in the world and you're pitting yourself against some of the players that are going to be going to the World Cup," he said. "But at the same time you never want to tempt fate and I think as far as the Australia team goes we're all on even ground. At the moment, I'm pretty much concentrating on the job in hand here. I'm looking forward to that being over so I can concentrate on getting in the squad and hopefully going to the World Cup."
‘YOU’LL WIN NOTHING WITH KIDS’ – WELL, YOU MIGHT IN THE YOUTH LEAGUE! (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
Congratulations to the Perth Glory Youth team on booking their place in this year's National Youth League Grand Final, where they will meet Gold Coast United. It really is a fantastic achievement by Gareth Naven, the coach, who was assisted by Kenny Lowe, Scott Miller, Lee Bamber and Frank Juric. There are plenty who may say that the Glory Youth team is not the most talented individually; however the coaching staff have found the best players for key positions and made sure that they gel with those around them. The style of football that they tried to play all season has been a joy to watch. Some of the football has been superb and shows that there is definitely talent in Western Australia as well as over east.
Glory Youth's nine game unbeaten run in the middle of the season set up their push for the finals, and saw the players grow in their self-belief. What is worth considering with this run, and in fact their away form all season, is that their travel arrangements were a great deal more demanding than their first team colleagues. Early morning flights de rigeur due to many having to work or university commitments. Yet there was no need for excuses as they did their talking on the pitch. Credit must again go to Naven and his support team, who obviously prepared the team adequately within the limits that were placed on them.
I'm saddened by the scant regard with which the National Youth League is treated in some quarters. What is of a greater concern is that next season this is even more likely to be the case with club owners and first team coaches, as the age limit is to be lowered. With A-League clubs having to call up from the youth team if players are injured, this lowering of the age is of grave concern. One can't help but think that, although ultimately a good move, it is one that is being rushed through too quickly, before the league, the clubs and the players are ready.
At present players must be 16 on January 1 in year the Youth League commences, while the maximum age is 21. Next year the age limit will be reduced to 19 in the year the youth league commences. Some teenagers are ready to step up - as Tommy Oar has shown - but some take a little longer to mature physically. Could we risk destroying young players by either throwing them in when they are not ready or by preventing them from making that break through? It is a tough balancing act, which will be made harder with the drop in age. But let's worry about that next season - Perth has a team in a Grand Final so let's get behind them!
GLORY HAS MADE ME A BETTER PLAYER : TRIFIRO
Glen Trifiro says training alongside seasoned veterans like Mile Sterjovski and Jacob Burns have helped him take his game to a new level this summer. And another eye-catching display in this weekend's National Youth League grand final could go a long way to securing the hard-working midfielder his first professional contract. "It's pretty much full-time and even though we had a professional set up at (Sydney) United, at Glory it's definitely a step up," said Trifiro, who played in New South Wales prior to joining Glory. "Perth's been absolutely brilliant - I'm full-time, during the days I train with the first team and with the youth team."
Although only 20, Trifiro is already something of a journeyman. He played youth football at Bolton Wanderers and Empoli, turned out for NSW State League clubs Sydney and Marconi and last summer donned Central Coast Mariners colours. His coach at Sydney was former Socceroo and now Melbourne Heart assistant coach Ante Milicic, who Trifiro will be out to impress this weekend. "I speak to Tezza (Milicic) regularly but my main focus is Perth, but if options come in from somewhere else," commented Trifiro, who is keeping open his options for next season. "I'm sure there'll be a lot of opportunities for young boys in that (the Melbourne) squad."
GRIFFITHS TO JOIN CENTRAL COAST
Former Australian Youth international Rostyn Griffiths is poised to put pen to paper with Central Coast Mariners for the summer of 2010/11. The versatile 22-year old is understood to be on the verge of finalising a deal with the Mariners where he will join former Fury team mate Daniel McBreen. Griffiths, who made his State league debut for ECU Joondalup at the age of 15, spent close to four years with English club Blackburn Rovers during which he was loaned out to Gretna (Scotland) and Accrington Stanley (England). He joined Adelaide United as an injury replacement player in January 2009 and six months later linked up with North Queensland, playing 23 games last season and scorer of the clubs first goal in A-League competition.
GLORY BECKONS PERTH YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth are preparing to go head-to-head with Gold Coast United in the 2009/10 National Youth League Grand Final. Following the weekend’s hard-fought win over Adelaide United, the next generation of Glory stars guns have switched attention to Saturday’s season finale in Melbourne. “It was such a good feeling to win and I think we deserve to be here after the season we’ve had,” enthused attacker Tommy Amphlett. “After missing out on winning the league last week, this gave us the chance to make a mends and get into the grand final. At half time Gareth said ‘your 45 minutes away from the opportunity of a lifetime.’ A final like this doesn’t come around very often and with a majority of the A-League coaches watching us, it’s a good opportunity for a lot of the lads as well.”
Amphlett initially joined Glory as an injury replacement player from ECU Joondalup in November, but after a string of impressive performances he was asked to stay on at the national league club until the end of the season. His influence down the right flank was vital in Glory Youth defeating Adelaide on the weekend, a result Amphlett says the entire squad are extremely happy with. “Everyone was really chuffed after the game but there is still another hard week at training to come and another game to play,” Amphlett added. “It will be even better if we win next Saturday but as I said it’s just a great chance for everyone involved. There’s just one game left, in front of a really good crowd and at a great stadium so it’s all there for the taking.”
DE VANNA BANG ON TARGET
Lisa De Vanna has given Washington Freedom the best possible preparation for the coming Women’s Professional Soccer campaign by netting the deciding goal in a pre-season friendly with Chicago Red Stars. De Vanna finished off a speedy counterattack after 29 minutes by finding the net to add to Sarah Huffman’s opening goal for Washington. Chicago rallied after the break with Ella Masar’s reeling in the gap with a stunning 30-metre strike just after the hour, but the Washington defence held out for a first-up victory.
GLORY KIDS INTO GRAND FINAL
Glen Trifiro booked Perth Glory Youth a spot in the National Youth League grand final by snaring the only goal of this afternoon’s 1-0 semi-final win over Adelaide United. Glory Youth’s first half dominance on a hot and humid afternoon at Clipsal Stadium was rewarded by Trifiro’s close-range strike in the 23rd minute. “It was a tough game, we lost our way a little in the second half bit but it’s probably a natural transition when you are one nil up in a semi-final,” said coach Gareth Naven. “Congratulations to the players but obviously we’ve got another step to take next week. At the end of the day everyone wants to win things and we have the benefit where winning and development are tied in the same link at this age so I think the boys will look forward to next weeks game.”
Despite the trying conditions, the match started at a furious tempo with the host club taking control through the midfield efforts of Trifiro and Hayden Doyle. Adelaide goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was by far the busier and on 9 minutes he tipped over a fine Mario Marcinko header from Tommy Amphlett’s cross. Amphlett was proving a handful for the Adelaide defence and in quick succession he created two further chances for Marcinko but on both occasions Birighitti was there to deny him. The goal Glory Youth so desperately sought arrived soon after, Birighitti was unable to take cleanly Josh Risdon’s cross from the right with the ball falling to Trifiro. who made no mistake from close-range.
Glory Youth very nearly doubled their advantage a minute later when Adelaide’s attempt to clear deflected in favour of Amphlett, but again Birighitti came to his team’s rescue with a smothering save. The visitor’s best period if the half began just before the half-hour, Francesco Monterosso and Insheob Shin each firing wide of the upright. A long ball from Birighitti picked out Monterosso but his snap shot was sent over the bar by a fingertip save from Alex Pearson, who also tipped away Monterosso’s header a minute later. Adelaide’s reliance on long balls from the ‘keeper gave them a somewhat one-dimensional approach to attacking.
The introduction of Michael Doyle and Liam Wooding at the break had a rejuvenating effect on the Reds, who appeared a totally different outfit in the second half. Joseph Wright stole possession from the defence on 51 minutes and raced towards goal only to be denied by Pearson at the near post. Five minutes later Monterosso saw his header cleared off the line by Risdon. Monterosso mistimed his jump in the 64th minute to send a free header over the top, while Evan Kostopoulos fired wide just a minute later. Home captain Steve Steve Hesketh put his body on the line several times to repel one Adelaide attack after another as the game moved into the final twenty minutes. The final whistle signalled Glory Youth’s safe passage into next week’s season decider against Gold Coast United.
FLOREAT IN SEVENTH HEAVEN WITH SHIELD WIN
Floreat Athena smacked six unanswered second half goal to thump a young and inexperienced Perth SC 7-0 and lift the 2010 Charity Shield on a steamy afternoon at Dorrien Gardens. Johnny Mirco lead the way with a hat-trick while Branimr Mikulic, James Isaia, Daniel Neiderberger, substitute Jared Smith were also on the scoresheet in Ante Kovacevic’s first game at the helm of Floreat. Mikulic headed the games opening chance past the post after getting on the end of a deep 6th minute cross by Isaia. Perth mustered their first attack on 12 minutes when Tristan Bekkouche fired just wide of the target after cutting in from the left.
It took only a couple more minutes before Floreat hit the front, Adam Bachiller and Niederberger combined to terrific effect in the lead-up with Mirco converting the resulting cross from close-range. A rare Perth attack saw Andreas Oliviera put the ball with Michael Black whose low shot from the top of the 18-yard box was kept our by Alex Dunn. By contrast Jason Saldaris was in the thick of the action, pulling off a trio of saves to deny Niederberger and tipping a Mirco shot over the crossbar just before the interval.
Floreat were given a dream start to the second half as Mikulic blasted in from close-range after John Migas’ shot rebounded back off the post. Five minute later Niederberger delivered a cross from the right that an unmarked Mirco sent into the net at the back post. There was no let up as Floreat added their fourth in the 52nd minute, Isaia charging free of the defence before finished clinically past an exposed goalkeeper. The wind was well and truly in Floreat’s sails on the hour Bachiller’s close-range header was superbly saved by Saldaris.
To their credit, Perth continued to push forward and on 66 minutes Oliviera’s shot beat Dunn but not captain Dean Aplegren, who cleared off the line. Floreat upped the tempo over the closing stages, Jovo Pavlovic joined the attack on 80 minutes by playing in to Mirco, whose clever flicked allowed Niederberger to score with a low shot. Mirco wrapped up his hat-trick three minutes later after being sent clear by Mikulic. And the seven-goal scoreline was made complete in the 85th minutes when Smith tapped in a Jason Barrera cross from the right.
Floreat Athena: Alex Dunn, James Isaia (Miki Vujacic 60), Julian Madaschi, Johnny Mirco, Adam Bachiller (Jarad Smith 70), Daniel Niederberger, Branimir Mikulic, John Migas (Jason Barrera 60), Paul Vatistas, Jovo Pavlovic, Dean Aplegren
Perth SC: Jason Saldaris, Nathan Rawes, Aaron Cole (Matt Beyer 53), Daniel Colletta, Michael Black (Michael Rizedis 74), Rhys Loxley (Vlad Naumonski 46), Niall Shelly, Tristan Bekkouche, Andreas Oliveira, Alan Darlington, Simon Wilson
Referee: Hugh Best
AMPHLETT BUILDING A PROMISING CAREER
Tommy Amphlett is not getting rid of his tool belt just yet, but if the Perth Glory attacker continues his rapid rise from State League to A-League it will not be needed too much longer. 21-year old Amphlett, who recently completed a carpentry apprenticeship, seized an opportunity to impress Glory coach David Mitchell after a surprise call-up in November as an injury replacement player. And just last week a scout from English club Leeds United was an interested observer as Amphlett struck an impressive double in an otherwise disappointing 3-2 loss to Newcastle Jets for the Glory Youth team.
But Amphlett, who made five senior appearances for Glory this season, said his youth team mates were determined to make up for last week’s loss when they take on Adelaide United in a National Youth League semifinal at Clipsal Stadium tomorrow. “There are some fantastic players in this team and hopefully we can go out there and push on,” said Amphlett, who made his ECU Joondalup debut at the age of 16. Despite the temptation to ponder the prospect of securing a new senior deal with Glory, the speedy attacker remains focused on achieving success with the youth team.
THE NAME OF THE GAME IS CHARITY
The stars of West Australian football pull on their boots this weekend in aid of charity. Perth Glory attacker Scott Bulloch will be doing his bit as Scotland attempt to avenge last years loss to the Auld Enemy, England, in tomorrow's cancer research benefit match at Kingsway Reserve (2.00pm). A gold coin donation will get you entry to the ground where the off-field fundraising activities include face painting and a bouncy castle for the kids along with a raffle and post-game auction, where you could win a football autographed by the 2008/09 Glasgow Rangers double winning squad.
Telethon is the beneficiary the following afternoon when the fourth annual Football West Charity Shield is contested at Dorrien Gardens. State champions Perth SC square off with Cup holders Floreat Athena in the main attraction from 3.00pm, with the under-18 teams of those same clubs going head-to-head from 1.00pm in the curtain-raiser. Entry is by gold coin donation and continuous raffles will be held throughout the day with some exciting prizes up for grabs. The football community is encouraged to get to either or both events to support a couple of worthy causes while enjoying some great football entertainment.
TRIFIRO TIPS GLORY YOUTH IN FINAL PUSH
Perth Glory Youth commence their first National Youth League finals campaign by welcoming Adelaide United to Clipsal Stadium (3.00pm) on Saturday afternoon. Glen Trifiro was one of four regulars missing from the side that went down to Newcastle Jets last weekend, but the midfielder has his hand up for selection in the make-or-break semi-final. “I will be available for the weekend and I’m really looking forward to getting back out there,” said Trifiro, who has recovered from a knee problem. “I’m back in training and moving freely without pain which is great. I’ve played for a few seasons without a break so it (the injury) was getting worse. The bye and missing last week has helped me get over it.”
The ledger is evenly balanced between the youth teams from Perth and Adelaide, who’ll meet for the fourth time this season on Saturday. The sides first squared off in October when the points were shared at 1-1. Adelaide claimed January’s game 2-1, but Glory exacted revenge four weeks later when Anthony Skorich’s last minute goal earned a 1-0 win. “Adelaide is a tough side, we always have close games with them and it’s never easy,” said Trifiro. “Finals football is always a little bit different and for all of us this is our first finals series in the National Youth League and we’re all eager to get out there and work hard to progress one step further.”
Glory chief executive Paul Kelly has been delighted by the youth team have performed this season. “Our young players are the future of Perth Glory and the future of football in WA - it’s a real achievement and we’re really proud of them,” said Kelly on perthglory.com.au. “We’ve had a transient squad, first team players coming in and out but were confident the young lads will perform and hopefully we’ll get to the final. If we do qualify for the Grand Final, it’s the curtain raiser to the A-League decider. It’s the biggest event in on the national football calendar. What more incentive do they need?”
It’s been an outstanding summer for Trifiro, 20, who joined Glory Youth during the off-season from New South Wales Premier League side Sydney United. “I played regular first team football at United when coach Ante Millicic signed me and we won the minor premiership last season, and I was then picked up by the Glory,” explained Trifiro, an Australia youth international. The midfielder started out as a junior with Blacktown City and played five seasons with Marconi Stallions, where as a 16-year old he became a part of the senior set-up. He gained valuable fist team experience through a loan to Macarthur Rams and played the 2008/09 NYL season with Central Coast Mariners.
There’ll be no easy games in the play-off series with Glory Youth up against Central Coast, Adelaide and Gold Coast United. “It’s difficult to pinpoint one team who will be our biggest threat as every side grows and has a different mindset when it comes to the final series,” said Trifiro. “All teams are difficult and no one can be taken lightly. You see time and time again in the A-League, and other sports, that teams can perform completely different in finals, a loss and you’re eliminated … the whole squad has trained well this week and we’re all looking forward to the game this weekend. Whoever takes to the field will do their best for the team and themselves.”
FOOTBALL SALUTES ERNIE HANNIGAN
West Australian football will tip its hat to one of the all-time great players, Ernie Hannigan, at Macedonia Park on Saturday. The on-field action begins at 3.00pm with a pre-season friendly between Stirling Lions and ECU Joondalup, but that's only the opening act before Hannigan's friends pay tribute to his contribution to WA football. "We believe in honouring our past legends while they are with us and can appreciate all those who appreciated the great contribution made to our game in WA," said Stirling president Don Evans. "Everyone is welcome to what promises to be a great day of football and celebration."
Scotland-born Hannigan is one of the best outside-rights WA football fans have had the pleasure of watching. His professional career began with Scottish club Queen of the South at the age of 17, he enjoyed spells at English clubs Preston North End, Coventry City and Torquay United before returning north of the border to join Morton in 1970. A season with New York Cosmos preceded a second stint with Queen of the South and a five game stay at Raith Rovers, who were to be Hannigan's last British club.
Hannigan accepted an offer to play for Stirling City on the back of a handful of games in Hong Kong for Eastern. He was named best on ground when Morley Windmills won the 1975 D'Orsogna Cup, and that same year finished runner-up to David Jones in the Gold Medal count. In 1979 he moved to Stirling Macedonia and three years later linked up with Spearwood Dalmatinacs. Hannigan, who played for the State twelve times, retired in 1983 and went on to coach at Galeb and Yugal. In 2004 he was entered into the Hall of Fame's 'Century of Champions' as one of the top one hundred players of past Century.
MARTINO HAS PERTH IN SAFE HANDS
Outstanding young goalkeeper Luke Martino was a key figure in Perth SC lifting the Night Series trophy for a fifth successive year with last weekend's dramatic 2-1 win over Western Knights. Martino, 21, kept his side in the game with a string of important saves against a dominant Knights side which conceded twice in the last few minutes to see the trophy slip from their grasp. "The boys have done well in the Night Series over the past few seasons and I have been fortunate enough to be involved in the last two wins and the league win last season," said Martino. "I think Normo (coach Graham Normanton) summed the game up well in saying that you don't always need to play well to win a game of football. We didn't put in our best performance but we fought hard and got a result."
Perth rotated 'keepers throughout the pre-season tournament with Martino and Jason Saldaris spending time between the posts. "As far as everyone at the club is concerned Jason and I are on a level playing field, we will both be given an opportunity throughout the season to prove ourselves and work hard to earn the number one spot," explained Martino, who made his State league debut last year and is looking forward to vying with Saldaris for the gloves in 2010. "It's a challenge were both looking forward to and it will help us both improve as 'keepers."
Martino, who played juniors with Bayswater City, has come on in leaps and bounds since his relocation to Dorrien Gardens. "All the coaches at Perth have helped me along the way - Normo, Coyney (John Coyne), Aldo Trinca and Basil Lenzo have all given me the opportunity to play at some stage and kept the confidence in me even after long periods of time out with injury," he said. "As far as shaping me to become a better goalkeeper, I owe a lot to Glen Giudici, our goalkeeping coach, who I have trained with over the past seven years, and he has put a lot of hard work and effort in, to get me to where I am today."
Perth, Western Knights and Floreat Athena led the way last season and Martino expects that same trio of clubs to be there or thereabouts again in 2010. "I think the Knights and Floreat Athena are the obvious choice as our two biggest threats this year," said Martino, who feels there are a number of other clubs capable of mounting a strong title campaign. "I don't think it will be a three-horse race as some people are suggesting. Other teams have recruited well and would be disappointed not to be challenging for the title and the top five."
Western Australia has a reputation for producing top-notch 'keepers with Martino hoping to be the next that steps up to national league level. "We have produced some great young 'keepers recently, guys like Tando Velaphi, Mark Birighitti and Tim Doyle who are playing in the A-League/National Youth League. I think it's no coincidence that they have come thought the system at Perth and it's a good reflection of the level of training the 'keepers receive at our club," Martino said. "It's always been a dream for me to play my football at a higher level ... I just need to keep playing well for Perth and improve on some areas of my game, then grab the opportunity if it ever comes up."
LOWRY BACK AT VILLA
On-loan defender Shane Lowry has returned to Aston Villa for treatment and scans on the knee injury that has kept him out of Leeds United’s last two games. Lowry, 20, arrived at Elland Road at the end of January and became the club’s regular left back, making seven appearances before succumbing to injury at the end of February. He was due to return to Villa after this weekend’s game at Southampton with Leeds having open to them the option of extending his loan spell should he make a speedy recovery from the knee problem.
ARE YOU SUPERSTAR MATERIAL?
Do you have what it takes to be Australia's next 'Football Superstar'? The nation's most popular reality sports television program, 'Football Superstar', is set to commence trials for young hopefuls across the country as production gets underway on the hotly-anticipated third season of the Fox8 series. A-League club Brisbane Roar are on board as series partner, meaning former Australia youth coach Ange Postecoglou has the ultimate say in who stays and who goes as fifteen young hopefuls go through their paces to find Australia's next 'Football Superstar'. Perth trials will be held on Sunday 21st March at Litis Stadium - registrations commence at 7.30am with the action beginning at 9.00am.
HAWKINS ON THE RISE (by Ann Odong)
Welsh-born Carys Hawkins has been one of the success stories of the Perth Glory Women’s team. The talented 21-year old has came up through the local ranks with Northern Redbacks, represented the State at junior and senior levels before stepping onto the national stage with Glory Women. And like many female footballers, Hawkins story begins young and with the men in her family. “I started (playing) at 6 or 7, we moved to Australia and my dad started coaching at Wembley Downs. My brother started playing so I started doing it too,” Hawkins explained.
Although she spends most of her time in the back four alongside Glory Women captain Tanya Oxtoby, positionally that is not where Hawkins career started out. “I was a midfielder in high school, I’ve just found myself as a defender as there are so many young girls with a lot of skill,” said Hawkins, who recognises her limitations in the middle of the park. “It is so hard to finding yourself in a starting eleven spot if you are in the midfield unless you are really talented player.”
Hawkins is a major asset as a defender through her ability to accurately read play, attack the ball and -importantly for a defender - use her speed to her advantage. Even so Hawkins, an ever-present for Glory Women last season, is the first to admit she is still learning her craft. “I’m not as skilful as other players, especially the midfielders and strikers,” she said. “I rely on my physicality, aggression and I’m strong in the air.”
The jump from playing locally for coach Tim Hodgson at the Redbacks to the national arena with Glory Women was quite substantial for Hawkins. “Every single aspect of your game has to be so crisp,” she said of differences between the two levels of competition. “The standard of the W-League is that if you make a mistake you will be punished. I don’t usually find that in the State League, there you can usually chase down a player or some-one will cover for you.”
Making the Glory Women set-up was the culmination of years of hard work by Hawkins, who is grateful to her State Schoolgirls coach Wayne Baseden. “He was such a fantastic coach and you always learnt something from him,” said Hawkins, who is unsure if she’ll be wearing Redbacks colours this winter. “At the moment I don’t think I will be part of the Redbacks squad for 2010,” she added, “I’m not sure what sort of direction the WAIS squad is going in.”
FIT AGAIN WILLIAMS EYES BORO ROLE
Fit again defender Rhys Williams has made it his goal to play his way back into Middlesbrough’s first eleven having made returned on the weekend from a pelvic injury. Williams, 21, made his first appearance since January’s FA Cup loss to Manchester City by coming of the bench in Saturday’s loss to Cardiff City, and is now focusing on a breaking into his club’s starting line-up. “I feel good, I played half an hour and I feel better than I thought I would,” Williams said. “Hopefully with an intense week of training I’ll be in line for a start.”
Middlesbrough have struggled to match the results of Championship leader and northern rivals Newcastle United, they are hopeful of a late surge to the play-offs. “It’s been like that all season, we just can’t put our finger on why we keep losing,” said Williams, who recently agreed a contract extension that ties him to the club until mid-2013. “Maybe this season we’ve been unlucky, and we haven’t scored enough goals, but these are things we have to fix and we need to fix them soon. There’s not long left but still a lot of points to play for and in this league anything can happen, we’ll keep working away and hopefully we can get a few results to push us back up there.”
HETT BACK ON TRACK WITH SPIRIT
Inaugural ‘Football Superstar’ Adam Hett is ready to reignite his career following a lengthy break due to injury. Hett picked up a one-year contract with Sydney FC for wining the reality television program in 2008, but in a cruel twist of fate his dreams were shattered by torn knee ligaments on the eve of his A-League debut, ruling the midfielder out for 12-months. Having made a full recovery from a knee reconstruction, Hett is now back in training with New South Wales Super League club Spirit FC and preparing for the coming season.
It’s been a long road back for Hett, who can’t wait to step onto the park for his new club. “My knee is feeling really strong at the moment, but it’s been a long process especially with how the timing of the seasons worked out,” he explained. “By the time I came back from the injury and started playing again the 2009/10 A-League season had already started so I missed out on another contract at Sydney. I’ve had to wait for the State League season to start over here before I could get back playing again.”
Hett, 21, got his start in football through the specialist program at Forrestfield SHS which led to an apprenticeship at English club Coventry City. “My time at Coventry was also something I will never forget,” he said. “One game that sticks out was a reserves game for them against Chelsea in the English Premier League Reserves League. England international Joe Cole was coming back from injury and played so lining up against him in the middle of the park was a fantastic experience. Also playing in the FA Youth Cup against Reading at the Madjeski stadium was a another highlight of my time in the UK.”
After leaving Coventry, Hett returned home where Dorrien Gardens became his next port of call. “I enjoyed my time at Perth and all three coaches - John Coyne, Aldo Trinca and Graham Normanton - gave me good advice, he recalled. “Aldo helped me make the transition into youth football and I spent a few years with Coynie and he really helped me develop my game by making me go and get on the ball as much as possible. In my last year at Perth under Normo he encouraged me to try and add more toughness to my game and helped me a lot with my defensive game.”
Hett looks back on ‘Football Superstar’ as a valuable part of his football development and encourages others to try out for this year’s series. “I don’t have any regrets about the show. I think that with the National Youth League now up and running players should be trying to get into professional football through trialling with there A-League teams and playing well at state league level,” Hett said. “However, the show is also a great opportunity and is a great experience. It was a big achievement for me to win the show and it was very rewarding. I have had some great times in football and that was up there with them.”
Hett is the first to admit none of this would have happened had it not been for the support of his family. “My dad has definitely been my biggest influence on my football. Up until the age of seventeen when I went to England we spent endless hours at the park working on things, and I still call him for advice on my game even now,” he said. “I’ve had many good coaches in my football. John Coyne encouraged me to express myself and have confidence in my ability and obviously I also learnt a lot from people like Mickey Adams and Ian Dowie when I was at Coventry, and also John Kosmina and Steve O’Connor while I was at Sydney.”
With is focus now on the present, Hett wants to establish himself in the Spirit first eleven. “I’m training really hard at the moment trying to get super-fit again and keep injury-free and strong and hopefully I can make the transition back into A-League football,” he said. “This season my aim is to just get my confidence back playing again. After that my first goal is to try get back in the A-League as soon as possible. If that doesn’t happen then I’ll be looking at either staying in Sydney and playing in the NSW Premier League or returning to the Football West Premier League.”
DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR GLORY
Planning for next season is well under-way at Perth Glory with veteran defender Andy Todd and Scottish import Steven McGarry putting pen to paper on new contracts. Todd, who played at the highest levels in England with Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Derby County will remain with Glory for another season while attack-minded McGarry has agreed to a two-year deal. “We’re thrilled both players have committed to Perth Glory. Not only are they wonderful players but they are also are quality men,” said Glory chief executive Paul Kelly. “Getting Andy and Steven to re-sign with the club is proof that class players want to play for Perth Glory and that’s a real positive.”
Todd, 35, missed just two matches throughout the recently completed A-League season and quickly established himself as an uncompromising and accomplished competitor. “I’ve definitely got unfinished business. I think we slightly underachieved this season and hopefully next season we can go one or two better. I think we’ve got some very good players, may be a little bit of tweaking here and there (is needed),” said Todd, who hopes to finish his career in Perth. “There was no other interest (from other clubs) and I was solely only interested in staying with Perth and I’m really happy I’ve got that chance. I think Perth’s a great place to live - I’ve really enjoyed it from day one.”
McGarry, who played for St Mirren, Ross County and Motherwell in Scotland, joined Glory in January and featured in the club’s last six games of the season. His midfield influence was a key factor in the club’s push to a maiden A-League finals appearance. “I’m delighted to be part of it for the next two years. I’m really impressed with the set-up,” said 30-yar old McGarry, who expected coach David Mitchell to make additions to the squad. “Hopefully Mitch can bring in a couple of new faces next year to give us that extra dimension or match-winning players who can take us that extra step.”
FOUR LEFT STANDING IN DIVISION ONE PRE-SEASON
The Division One Night Series field is down to four teams upon completion of the qualifying rounds at Hartfield Park over the weekend. Bayswater City progressed to the knock-out stage from Group A along with a new-look Ashfield while emerging from Group B were Forrestfield United - who are the only unbeaten team after five games - and Wanneroo City. The semi-final draw has Ashfield against Forrestfield United, and Bayswater City taking on Wanneroo City. The final of the Division One Night Series will be played at Hartfield Park on Saturday 27 March.
Bayswater City finished the group stage with a narrow 1-0 win against Canning City on Friday evening. The games only goal arrived on 68 minutes when Gustavo Marulanda's free-kick ricocheted into the net via the upright. South West Phoenix gave themself a timely confidence boost in the form of a 3-0 trouncing of Ashfield on Saturday. David Rodgers opened the scoring early in the second half with English import Warren Howes and youngster Lee Stewart netting within minutes of each other to secure maximum points. Dianella White Eagles were all three points from Sunday's game on account of a forfeit by Morley Windmills.
Forrestfield United scored a comprehensive 3-1 win over neighbouring Gosnells City in Group B on Friday. Jordan Hart (2) and Andy Harold got the goals for Forrestfield with Daly Rothwell bagging Gosnells a consolation. Queens Park pulled off an early season upset by downing Wanneroo City 2-1 on Saturday. Summer recruit Jayden Drumond gave Wanneroo the early lead only for second half goals by Jason Feather and substitute L.Anquetil to steal Queens Park victory. Rockingham City ended their tournament on a positive and a 2-1 win against Fremantle Spirit in Sunday's final group game. Michael Vaz and Declan Clark scored inside ten minutes with the game decider being a 38th minute own goal.
RUKAVYTSYA PROVING HIS WORLD CUP CREDENTIALS
Nikita Rukavytsya has no complaints about his loan move to Belgian club KSV Roeselare. The former Perth Glory striker joined Dutch outfit FC Twente in mid-2009, but with the club chasing the championship manager Steve McLaren sent him out on loan to Roeselare in January in search of first team experience. "Of course I had hoped for more opportunities to play (in Holland), but Twente is a top club in the Netherlands," said Rukavytsya. "Competing with some great players, like Bryan Ruiz, I am just not ready, but I've learned a lot from training with them and my technical, tactical and mental level has improved."
At Roeselare, Rukavytsya is experiencing first hand the pressure of a relegation scrap and thriving in the situation. The maturity and character he has shown in Belgium has quickly established him as a firm favourite of the Roeselare faithful. And with four goals from his opening six games, he is showing no signs of wilting under the responsibility of firing his new club to safety. "I want to help save Roeselare," said Rukavytsya. "I knew when I came here we were in a relegation battle. It never concerned me. It is good for my development."
Rukavytsya's on the ball strength and explosive turn of pace were always going to be an asset for the 22-year old, and he is showing no signs of struggling in the rough and tumble world of Belgium's second tier. "I'm happy to just be playing regularly. I've scored a few goals, but it could have been more," commented Rukavytsya, winner of the 2008/09 PFA Harry Kewell as Australia's best under-23 player. "Compared to football in the Netherlands, Belgium is physically heavier and harder. In the Netherlands the emphasis is more on tactics and technique."
Rukavytsya joined Roeselare with one eye on Australia's World Cup squad. But with his club still three points away from moving out of the drop zone, the striker admits it is Roeselare's league survival that's dominating his thoughts. "Do I dream about the World Cup? I'm not really thinking about it at the moment. It is my job to give everything in every game while I'm here," said Rukavytsya. "I've been called twice into the Australia squad. But I know only by excelling with Roeselare can I get to the World Cup."
PERTH MAKE HISTORY WITH STUNNING COMEBACK
A goal three minutes from full-time by Ian McMurray has given Perth SC a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Western Knights in this evening’s Bam Creative Night Series final at Clipsal Stadium. Stuart Montgomery gave the Knights a first half lead but that was cancelled out by a Greg Sharland free-kick with six minutes with McMurray scrambling in the winner soon after at close-range to secure Perth a fifth consecutive Night Series crown. “We’re very happy with the win,” said McMurray after the game. “We started well but the Knights scored a good goal and we sat back and really didn’t play that well to be honest, we couldn’t get our game plan going. But Greg’s free-kick gave us confidence near the end and I was there to finish off his second free-kick late on.”
The first chance of the evening came after 7 minutes and via good work down the right by Robert Sciascia, whose back post cross was send wide by David Onoforo. Perth were on the attack again moment later, Dom De Felice’s quick free-kick releasing Sharland but his dangerous ball in from the left was claimed by goalkeeper Fraser Siddall as Onoforo readied to pounce. The Knights began to get their passing game going and on 18 minutes created their first real opportunity with Daniel Micevski’s shot on the run kept out of the near post by Luke Martino. It was the Knights who were now dictating terms five minutes later Simon Versaico send the ball into the 18-yard box where Daniel Trim chested down to Paul Van Dongen but his shot from 7-metres was saved by Martino.
The Knights persistence paid off in the 26 minutes when Trent Kay misjudged a long ball into the area, allowing Montgomery to beat an exposed Martino with a low shot. Few would argue that on the balance of play the Knights deserved their lead. And six minutes from half-time they very nearly doubled it when Daniel Micevski charged away to cross for Trim, whose header looped up over Martino only to land on top netting. Perth were struggling to get into rhythm but should have equalised soon after via a Sciascia corner to the back post that found Robbie Puca unmarked, however, the Blues captain headed wide at close-range.
The second half opened with the Knights again on the attack, Trim having a shot blocked with Montgomery’s follow-up saved by Martino. David Annall volleyed wide from Daniel Micevski’s corner as Paul Price’s team went looking for a second goal to kill off the game. Martino was Perth’s saviour on the hour by tipping a Trim header over the crossbar, and moments later David Price blazed high at close-range following a neat build-up featuring Versaico and Trim. It appeared only a matter of time before the Knights secured victory as Montgomery’s long-range effort flashed narrowly wide of the target on 80 minutes.
Perth refused to concede the game and in the 84th minute were awarded a free-kick on top of the area, up stepped Sharland who expertly curled his shot past the defensive wall and into the top corner to give Frazer Siddall no chance. The Blues comeback was made complete three minutes later when another Sharland free-kick bounced awkwardly in front of Siddall, the ball bouncing off the ‘keeper and into the path of McMurray who headed into the net much to the delight of his team mates. The Knights woes were compounded in stoppage time with the dismissal of Daniel Micevski for a second yellow card. There was still time for one final drama as Anthony Campbell rose well to meet a Price cross which he headed too close to Martino.
With the final whistle Perth celebrated capturing their eighth Night Series title under Graham Normanton. “We really didn’t come to the party tonight but we ground it out to the final whistle and we got the late goals and that’s football about I suppose,” said the long-serving coach. “Fair play to the Knights, they took the game at us and I thought they deserved to win the game. But at the end of the day it’s goals that count. They had seven or eight shots in the first fifteen minutes of the second half and didn’t convert - we had two at the end and scored from both of them.”
Perth SC: Luke Martino, Trent Kay, Michael Black (Andreas Oliviera 46), Shaun Kilkelly, Matt Danskin (Simon Wilson 72), Robbie Puca, David Onoforo (Genaveo Human 61), Ian McMurray, Dom De Felice, Greg Sharland, Robert Sciascia
Western Knights: Frazer Siddall, Garth Lecky, Duncan Hind, Paul Van Dongen, David Annall, David Price, Daniel Micevski, Daniel Trim (Anthony Campbell 73), Simon Versaico, David Micevski, Anthony Campbell, Stuart Montgomery
Bookings: Kilkelly (1), Price (35), Kay (41), Lecky (46), Oliviera (51), David Micevski (59), Daniel Micevski (86)
Dismissals: Daniel Micevski (92)
Referee: David Scragg
Crowd: 1,300 (approx.)
Referee - David Scragg
Assistants - Hugh Best and Josh Mihevic
MATILDA’S EDGE KOREA IN THRILLER
A stoppage time strike by substitute Kyah Simon gave the Matildas a thrilling 3-2 win over Asian heavyweights DPR Korea yesterday at Ballymore Stadium. Sarah Walsh and Katie Gill netted in the first half only for Australia to be pegged back on each occasion before Simon came off the bench to decide the outcome late. “I thought we defended exceptionally well and to beat a team of DPR Korea’s calibre I think shows great credit to our players ability and character,” said coach Tom Sermanni. “The players all did well and a result like that is another great step on our road to China.”
The Matildas first half dominance was rewarded on 25 minutes when Lauren Colthorpe’s free-kick was headed down by Gill for Walsh, who drove past goalkeeper Myong Hui Hong. Korea drew level on 33 minutes when Ye Gong Re’s cross was met by Yun Mi Jo’s diving header which came to rest it the net. Controversy erupted eleven minutes later when referee Sara Hodson awarded Australia a contentious penalty, to which Korea responded by walking off the pitch. Calm was restored after a five-minute delay and Gill slotted in from the spot to put Australia 2-1 up.
Parity was restored for a second time eight minutes into the second half when Yong Ae Kim’s explosive shot was beyond the out-stretched arms of Melissa Barbieri. Australia’s defence held firm for the remainder of the match as Korea mounted wave after wave of attack. The game looked destined to end in a draw until Gill touched possession to Collette McCallum who dinked it into the area where Simon arrived momentarily before her marker to guide the winner past the on-coming ‘keeper. Lisa De Vanna and Collette McCallum each played a full game with Lydia Williams an unused substitute.
HIDING BEHIND THE SHIELD (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
The Football West Shield, in which the team that finishes on top of the Premier League ladder faces the winner of the Soccer Pools Cup, was introduced a year ago. It’s a similar set-up to the Charity Shield in England and as both a game and an occasion it had great merit. But the body that runs football in Western Australia continues to complicate things and after one year of existence have altered the Football West Shield arrangement.
Next weekend Cup holders Floreat Athena take on Perth SC, the winners of last year’s finals series, for the 2010 Football West Shield. In 2008 Perth won the finals series and yet the following year’s Shield was contested between Sorrento, who topped the league ladder, and Western Knights as Cup winners. Football West are claiming that the clubs agreed to this change but have advised they cannot find documentation to support this. It is such a shame that in year two they have tarnished the event by causing sections in the game to be upset when there really was no need.
GLORY LADS SETTLE FOR SECOND PLACE
A second-half brace from Tommy Amphlett wasn’t enough as Perth Glory Youth missed out on claiming the National Youth League minor premiership in a 3-2 loss to Newcastle Jets at Clipsal Stadium. With Central Coast Mariners held to a scoreless draw by Sydney FC earlier in the afternoon, the door was ajar for the second-placed Glory youngsters to sneak into top spot ahead of the Mariners. But despite a positive start, Glory Youth found themselves three-down at the break before mounting a second second half revival with Amphlett netting twice and going close to a third in stoppage time. The result means Glory Youth finishes 2010/11 second, one point behind minor premiers Central Coast.
The home team producing some good movement coming through the middle in the opening stages but poor delivery into the final third resulted in scant chances for Glory Youth. So it was against the run of play that Newcastle hit the front on 17 minutes, Fabian Iacovelli’s cross into the 18-yard box picked out Jarrad Ross who made no mistake beating Alex Pearson. And two minutes later Josh Risdon’s mis-placed pass allowed Iacovelli to run through and bag the visitors a second. Glory Youth went close to replying when Hayden Doyle’s long ball found Amphlett, he cleverly evaded the defence to cross but Anthony Skorich’s header was wide. It would prove a costly miss as on the stroke of half time Howard Fondyke’s attempted clearance looped up over Alex Pearson and into his own net.
Newcastle came out for the second half firing on all cylinders and on 67 minute Alex Pearson’s smothering save denied Ross. This had a galvanising effect on the home team and just sixty seconds later Amphlett breathed new life into the game by finding the net from distance. Glory Youth now began to assert themselves and seven minutes substitute Sebit Oyet crossed to Mario Marcinko who teed the ball up for Amphlett to slam in his second from the edge of the area. Unfortunately the home side was unable to convert their dominance into any further goals, although Marcinko did head over when well-placed in the 83rd minute. With the clock ticking down Amphlett got on the end of a Ludovic Boi corner only for Robbie Kolak to save bravely at his feet.
GARCIA WANTS STARTING SPOT
Socceroo Richard Garcia has targeted a return to the Hull City side against Everton tomorrow as he looks to stake his claim for a place in Australia’s World Cup squad. The 28-year-old attacker could replace suspended Craig Fagan at Goodison Park as the Tigers go in search of their first away win of the season. Garcia, who has four caps for Australia, has found himself watching from the sidelines since the end of January, and he is desperate for a return to first-team action. “You never like being left out of the team and it’s another chance for me to get back and show what I can do,” he said. “It’s been very frustrating. From a personal point of view, you always want to be playing. But you just bide your time and wait for your chance again.”
Unlike last season when Tigers home form held them back, this time it has been on their travels where Hull have struggled, collecting only four points from their last 14 games to slip into the relegation zone. Garcia is optimistic they can match their rivals over the closing stages of the season and secure a third successive season of top-flight football. “It’s about playing the best that you can and going for that win. We’re all conscious of the fact there’s only a couple of months to go so we know what we have to do and we'll try and start that on Sunday,” he said. “As long as you’re not in bottom three come May 9, that’s the most important thing. The boys are high spirited and we’re all confident we can complete the task in hand.”
COYNE HEADS TO CHINA
Chris Coyne's hopes of representing Australia at this year's World Cup have received a major boost with the defender signing a loan deal with Chinese Super League club Liaoning Hongyun. Coyne flew out of Perth today to link up with his new team mates and play regular football in the lead up to the World Cup. "It's been well advertised that (Australia coach) Pim Verbeek wants us to go away and play football and I've had that in the back of my head," said Coyne, who has played seven times for Australia. "I spoke to Pim and going over there and playing games is important and the World Cup would be the icing on the cake."
Coyne thanked Perth Glory for agreeing to the loan deal, and his family for their understanding in his pursuit of a career dream. "It's been a drawn out process because there are so many different parties involved but it's worked out well. I wouldn't drag myself away from my wife and kids if it wasn't for a good reason and obviously the opportunity of getting a World Cup berth is a once in a life time opportunity so it had to be done," said Coyne, who will need to acclimatise quickly from Perth's scorching summer. "I think the temperatures range from minus 10 to minus 20 but what can you do? You take the rough with the smooth, I got used to it in Europe so I can get used to it there."
PLENTY OF GLORY ON THE LINE FOR YOUNGSTERS (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Perth Glory’s youngsters will know before kick-off in their final regular season match today if they remain in contention to claim the minor premiership. Glory Youth takes on Newcastle Jets at Clipsal Stadium this afternoon, just hours after National Youth League leaders Central Coast Mariners’ last game against Sydney FC. The Mariners are ahead of their Glory counterparts on goal difference and a win over Sydney would wrap up the minor title, however, should Central Coast fail to grab maximum points Glory can claim top spot by beating the Jets.
Glory Youth coach Gareth Naven says he will paying little attention to the result at Pluim Park in Sydney. “What happens in the other game won’t make us play better or make us do anything different,” said Naven, who admits finishing on top of the table would be the prefect end to a memorable home-and-away campaign. “It’s always nice to be first past the post and the players are fixed on what they want to achieve as a group,” added the coach. “The gauge is still to develop players and if that process happens and you are in a position where you can be top of the league that's an added bonus.”
FAMILIAR FOES SQUARE OFF IN PRE-SEASON FINALE
Perth SC and Western Knights will fight it out for the first silverware of 2010 when they meet in the Bam Creative Night Series final at Clipsal Stadium on Sunday evening (6.00pm). The long-time rivals suffered shock losses in the opening round of group games - Perth bowing to Cockburn City while the Knights went down to top flight newcomers Balcatta - but both put together back-to-back wins to progress to the knock-out stage. Perth then swept past Mandurah City and ECU Joondalup to earn their place in the tournament decider, while the Knights got the better of Floreat Athena and a ten-man Sorrento by the odd goal.
Attacker Greg Sharland has been in fine form for a Perth side gunning for a fifth straight pre-season crown. "A great rivalry has started to begin between the teams and I know we are all looking forward to a big game," he said. "They have acquired some quality players in the off-season, and with David and Daniel Micevski now back they have a lot of players that can win the game of their own boot. I feel we have a squad that is capable of anything this year and with more youngsters coming through the ranks spots will be hotly contested, which can only be good for the club."
David Micevski, winner of the 2009 Gold Medal, has had a massive impact on the Knights pre-season successes since coming back into the side for their final group game - a 5-1 whipping of Sorrento. "We have improved gradually through the group stages," said the Knights playmaker, himself a former Perth player. "It's nice that my brother and I have made such a positive influence to the side since we returned, the team is beginning to gel and will only get better the more games we play."
As far as Sharland is concerned, Micevski holds the key to the Knights success. "Obviously with Dave Micevski having the year he did last year we will need to watch him closely," said Sharland, who is also looking forward to coming up against former Canning City captain Paul Van Dongen. "I've known Paul all my life as he has been a neighbour since I was born. He had a great year in a struggling side last season and after scoring the winner against a very good Floreat side last week I know he is just as pumped as I am for another big game."
A Knights win on Sunday will go a long way to avenging last seasons' Grand Final loss to Perth. "After being the best team over 22 rounds it was disappointing not to win the Grand Final and be crowned champions. We owe them one and hopefully we can come away with the win on Sunday," said Micevski. "We know it will not be easy as they have some quality players. Dave Onoforo has a knack of scoring against us so we need to keep a close eye on him, and we can't allow players like Robbie Puca and Greg Sharland too much time on the ball as they can hurt us."
TOP HONOURS IN SIGHT OF GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth enter the final round of National Youth League fixtures knowing they’re just 90 minutes away from claiming the regular season title and a home game in the first round of the finals series. The importance of taking all three points from Saturday’s game with Newcastle Jets at Clipsal Stadium (5.00pm) is certainly not lost on midfielder Dean Evans, who has been one of the star players this season. “Results last week have ensured us of a home final but to take the minor premiership has been our goal this year,” said Evans. “We will be looking for a result on Saturday so we can put the pressure on the (Central Coast) Mariners and hopefully they can drop points in this final round.”
Glory Youth have already met the Jets twice this season and on both occasions claimed victory, most recently in late December when Glen Trifio (2), Ludovic Boi and Reece Vittiglia scored in a 4-0 mauling. But that result means little to Evans who says there’ll be no room of complacency on Saturday. “Definitely not - I’ve said to quite a few people there’s no easy game in this league and the Jets are no exception,” he said. “They’ve got some strong lads up front and they surprised Central Coast 4-1 a few weeks back so we will be definitely on our toes for the game this weekend.”
Evans is one of several Glory Youth players under an injury cloud leading into this weekend’s game. “It’s my hip joint, the pain has been ongoing for a few weeks and I’ll probably have to get an injection just to ease it a bit, but I’ll see how I pull up,” said Evans. Also in doubt are team captain Steve Hesketh (hip) and midfielder Glen Trifiro (knee) while the injury has brought the season to an early end for Cameron Edwards (foot) and Million Butshiire (knee). “It’s been a tough time with injuries but we have a strong squad and many players who can fill in and do a job for the team,” added Evans.
The Glory Youth side is likely to be bolstered this weekend and into the finals by the addition of several players from the club’s senior list who qualify for the youth set-up. “There will be a few players coming down from the senior squad I would imagine,” commented Evans, who made his A-League debut last January against Queensland Roar. “Andrija Jukic, Tommy Amphlett and maybe the likes of Alex Vrteski and Scott Bulloch, but at the moment I’m unsure which way Gareth (Naven) will go.”
The cut-throat world of finals football is an entirely new ball game and Evans is expecting a tough play-off series. “We have to get Saturday’s game out of the way first, but in the finals all the teams will be strong,” he said. “Central Coast (Mariners) will be our biggest threat, we always have a tough game with them and I think it will be no different if we face them again. Saying that, whoever finishes in the top four will be no push over. But I think our team has shown we fear no one and we all believe we have what it takes to go all the way.”
CHARITY GAME TO BENEFIT CANCER RESEARCH
Cancer research is the name of the game next weekend when the stars of State League football pull their boots on for a charity match at Kingsway Reserve. Premier League and Division One players will represent England and Scotland, under coaches Gerry McEwan and Jason Hope, on Saturday 13 March (2.00pm) with all proceeds going to cancer research. "We are running the event for the second year in a row to draw awareness to cancer research and all the good work that they do," said Blaine Slater, vice-president of host club Wanneroo City. "By running a charity game and involving football in our fundraising we can get everyone around the club and the local area involved."
Slater promises that next Sunday's event will be bigger and better than that of twelve months ago. "The club has put a lot of thought into how we can make this years event bigger and better and the early signs are that it should be a good crowd down at Kingsway Reserve," he said. "We will have face painting and a bouncy castle for the kids, and one of last years main attractions was the Scottish Tablet which tasted fantastic. The game itself should be a cracker if last years result is anything to go by - Scotland came from behind three times to draw 3-3 with England winning on penalties." The England-Scotland cancer research charity game takes place next Saturday, 13 March (2.00pm) and is preceded by a England-Scotland Masters fixture at 12.00noon.
CLUBS LINING UP FOR DICKSON
Former Ards FC midfielder Paul Dickson has been in much demand since his emigration to Perth a few weeks ago. Dickson recently brought the curtain down on a successful 18-month spell with Ards and is now being courted Inglewood United, Stirling Lions and Swan United for the coming season. Comfortable playing on the right side of midfield or defence, Dickson was one of three Irish imports on Stirling’s books for the winter of 2005. He joined third tier HW Welders upon returning to Northern Ireland and in July 2008 moved to Ards where he played 78 games, scoring seven goals.
WILLIAMS OUR MOST LIKELY SOCCEROO (courtesy the 'West Australian')
Promising youngster Rhys Williams has rapidly emerged as Western Australia's most likely candidate to be included in the Australia squad at this year's World Cup in South Africa. The Middlesbrough defender-cum-midfielder has played just three times for the Socceroos but his speedy rise from Boro's youth ranks to a regular place in the senior side has been perfectly timed for him to gatecrash the World Cup. A pelvic injury - the result of a non-stop program of duties for club and country - has stifled his recent progress but the 21-year old returned to first-team training this week and has his hand raised to play against Cardiff City on Saturday.
Williams, who recently signed a new deal that will keep him at the Riverside until 2013, had played 22 games for Boro before finally succumbing to the injury. Another string of appearances for Boro, where he has looked perfectly at home in a central midfield role after a switch from his more familiar right-back position, could catapult him into Verbeek's World Cup squad. "I just want to get back in the (Middlesbrough) team and if I play well hopefully they'll look at me for the World Cup," Williams told the 'West Australian'. "I'd be over the moon if I could get to the World Cup and if not I'd just keep working hard towards the next one."
Former West Ham and Birmingham City winger Stan Lazaridis was WA's sole representative at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but Williams is one of several contenders this time. Attacker Richard Garcia (Hull City) has played five times for Australia under Verbeek and can still force his way into the squad for South Africa, although he has not played since the end of January. Chris Coyne (Perth Glory) remains hopeful of returning to the Socceroos fold after being overlooked since leaving England to join the A-League, while goalkeepers Brad Jones (Middlesbrough) and Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor) are precariously placed having been out of action recently.
EDWARDS TO MISS GLORY YOUTH FINALS CAMPAIGN
Teenage midfielder Cameron Edwards has been ruled out of Perth Glory Youth’s inaugural finals campaign after breaking a bone in his foot playing against Brisbane Roar. The Young Socceroo admits to being devastated at missing the play-offs but will be lending his team mates support on from the stands. “I have a stress fracture in my right foot and I’m expected to be out for around three months,” said Edwards. “It happened about a month or so ago and has got worse over time. It started as a niggling injury and it wasn’t until I had scans which then showed the problem. At the moment the injury is going well, and all I can do now is keep of it and rest.”
Gareth Naven’s team have given a fantastic account of themselves this season and head into Saturday’s game with the knowledge a win can give them the regular season title and a home final. “This season the side has more depth and quality. Training is always intense and all the boys get along really well with each other,” said Edwards. “Also we are playing very well, playing good football which is attacking and aggressive. There have been a number of players who have stood up, especially the older boys like Stevie Hesketh our captain, Dean Evans, Ludovic Boi, Glen Trifiro and Ryan Pearson. They have all lead by example and played well consistently throughout the season. But all the players have played their part throughout the season to get us in the finals.”
MRDJA'S TWO GAME BAN STICKS
Melbourne Victory striker Nik Mrdja's appeal against a two-match ban has been dismissed by the A-League Disciplinary Committee. Melbourne were hoping to have Mrdja's ban reduced to one match after he punished for elbowing Sydney FC defender Shannon Cole in the major semi-final first leg two weeks ago. Mrdja will now miss Sunday's return match with Sydney and, if Melbourne progresses he will also miss the Grand Final. Melbourne have seven days to decide if they want to appeal the verdict.
MILLIGAN FIRES SOCCEROOS INTO ASIAN CUP
Australia have qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup following this evening’s 1-0 win over Indonesia on a wet evening at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Not even a second half drenching could dampen the 20422-strong crowd’s spirits after Mark Milligan’s first senior international goal secured a Socceroos victory. “I don’t mind how it comes, it’s my first goal for the national team,” said Milligan, who scrambled the ball over the line from a 43rd minute Luke Wilkshire free-kick. “I was lucky it fell nicely for me off the cross bar, it doesn’t happen often. We obviously would have liked a second. We were solid in defence as a team and as a unit so we’re happy to be in the Asian Cup and that’s all that matters.”
Simon Colosino and Josh Kennedy each sent the ball wide of the target inside the first ten minutes as the Socceroos came out firing on all cylinders. Having survived the initial onslaught, Indonesia settled and on 11 minutes Budi Sudarsono drove forward only to fire too close to goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic. But that was only a brief respite as Australia soon reasserted, Kennedy rising above the defence but heading straight at ‘keeper Markus Rihihina. The deadlock eventually was broken on 42 minutes when Wilkshire’s free-kick was headed against the bar by Milligan, who reacted quickest by blasting into the net at close-range. Australia almost got a second in stoppage time, Simon Colosimo meeting a Wilkshire’s corner but his powerful header from 5-metres was tipped over by Rihihina at full-stretch.
Australian continued their dominance after the break, Kennedy headed wide in the opening minutes and a snap-shot by Jason Culina was saved low by Rihihina. A rare Indonesian attacking foray ended with Ismed Sofyan’s shot on the run held by Galekovic. But otherwise it was the Indonesian defence that was under the pump as 18-year old debutant Tommy Oar and team captain Culina menacing across the centre of the park. On 75 minutes Culina chanced his luck from distance only to have Rihihina prevent the margin from doubling. It seemed only a matter of time before Australia would score again but Kennedy twice headed past the target and in the end the Socceroos were content to settle for a single-goal win.
LATE EQUALISER STINGS MATILDAS
The Matildas produced a stellar performance to earn a 2-2 draw with world powerhouse DPR Korea on a rain-sodden Spencer Park in Brisbane. Played in slippery conditions, the Australia women’s team fought back from conceding early to lead 2-1 through goals to Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna before Hyon Hi Yun snatched a late equaliser. “Over the 90 minutes, I was really pleased with how we played,” said coach Tom Sermanni. “We’re never quite sure at the moment when we put the team out how we’re going to gel but I thought we had some really good positive passages of play. To get a couple of goals was pleasing, to come back from behind was really pleasing. We switched off for a little minute and lost the equaliser which was a little bit disappointing, but overall I was happy with the way we played.”
The unpredictable wet weather made it difficult for both teams to get much fluency early on. However, Yun grabbed the visitors a 14th minute by prodding past stranded goalkeeper Lydia Williams following a half-cleared corner that was quickly returned into the 18-yard box. Korea were by starting to assert their dominance, Un Sim Ra drove just high off the crossbar and a minute later Yun wasted a great chance by passing across the face of goal when she should have taken the shot herself. De Vanna and Gill stung the hands of Myong Hui Hong as the Matildas looked to equalise before half-time. But it was Un Byol Ho who went closest when her shot took a wicked deflection and forced Williams to acrobatically tip the ball onto the upright.
The Matildas started the second half positively and on 50 minutes substitute Lauren Colthorpe broke free of her marker to deliver a directed a teasing cross which Gill finished with a well-directed header. Korea quickly hit back, Williams smothering a dangerous free-kick before watching Myong Hwa Jon send her shot over the bar. The balance of power swung in Australia's favour in the 68th minute when De Vanna robbed the defence of possession, sprinted into the box and coolly slotted past the 'keeper. Both teams created chances as the game started to get bogged down in a midfield battle. With four minutes to go the Korean's conjured a dramatic late equaliser, Yong Hui Kim's powerful whose header was spectacularly kept out by Williams and Yun made no mistake with the close-range follow-up. Collette McCallum and Williams played full games, Sam Kerr came off after 37 minutes and De Vanna was replaced on 73 minutes.
COYNE SET FOR CHINA SWITCH
World Cup hopeful Chris Coyne is poised to join Chinese Super League club Liaoning Hongyun according to reports from China. 31-year old Coyne, who recently saw a proposed move to Chinese giants Shandong Luneng collapse, is desperate to keep alive his hopes of making Australia’s World Cup squad. Liaoning, last year’s League One winners, are keen to bolster their foreign contingent as they try to secure their top flight status and are believed to have targeted the Perth Glory defender. Coyne, who has won seven international caps, has not played for Australia since a 2-0 win against Bahrain last June.
LINCOLN SET TO MISS OUT ON HERD
Attempts by Lincoln City to lure Chris Herd to Sincil Bank on a permanent basis appear doomed as the on-loan midfielder closes in on a new deal with Aston Villa. The talented 20-year old seemed set to leave the Villa during the northern summer - putting the Imps on red alert - but with a one-year contract extension now in the offering it seems unlikely he’ll move on from Villa Park. Herd is expected to put pen to paper and fight for a place in Martin O’Neill’s first-team squad in what is destined to be a make-or-break 12 months. Lincoln manager Chris Sutton had hoped Herd would be a key figure in their 2010/11 promotion-chasing campaign, with club vice-chairman Bob Dorrian saying on six weeks ago he would “move heaven and earth” to make his arrival happen.
GOALKEEPERS SCORE IN 2010 (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
Readers of the Not The Footy Show blog may recall it was highlighted several month ago that no goalkeeper had ever won the Gold Medal since the State League player of the year award was introduced in 1961. After talking to some of the referees they said it was because they had to vote every week for the Goalkeeper of the Year that they never thought to also allocate them votes for the game.
Football West have looked into this issue and advised that this year on the match cards there is a note to referees stating that they can vote for goalkeepers in their 3-2-1 votes, as well as indicating who they thought was the best ‘keeper on the day. It will be interesting to see if the goalkeepers poll better in the overall medal count this coming season - but well done the powers that be at Football West.
WELLINGTON LOSE CACERES FOR SEMI-FINAL
Attempts by Lincoln City to lure Chris Herd to Sincil Bank on a permanent basis appear doomed as the on-loan midfielder closes in on a new deal with Aston Villa. The talented 20-year old seemed set to leave the Villa during the northern summer - putting the Imps on red alert - but with a one-year contract extension now in the offering it seems unlikely he’ll move on from Villa Park. Herd is expected to put pen to paper and fight for a place in Martin O’Neill’s first-team squad in what is destined to be a make-or-break 12 months. Lincoln manager Chris Sutton had hoped Herd would be a key figure in their 2010/11 promotion-chasing campaign, with club vice-chairman Bob Dorrian saying on six weeks ago he would “move heaven and earth” to make his arrival happen.
Adrian Caceres will be missing from the Wellington Phoenix side which plays Newcastle Jets in Sunday's sudden-death A-League semi-final. The 28-year old midfielder has returned to Argentina to be with his wife, Romina, for the birth of their first child and is unlikely to be back in time to take part in Phoenix's biggest game of their short history. "At this stage it's touch and go," said assistant coach Luciano Trani of Caceres' availability. "It's unfortunate because Adrian Caceres has done a fantastic job when he's come onto the park and he's given us that extra injection of speed and quality that has just given the team the extra boost."
MCBREEN TO STAY WITH THE MARINERS
Daniel McBreen will remain a Central Coast Mariners player next season following a chat with coach Graham Arnold. McBreen signed a two-year contract with Mariners in December, however, the replacement of Lawrie McKinna with Arnold tempted the striker to throw his hat in with Perth Glory, for whom he scored five times in a seven-game loan spell. "The only way I was ever going to come (back) to Perth was if Arnie came in and said I wasn't wanted at Central Coast," McBreen said. "But we've sat down and had a chat and he said I'm definitely part of his plans so he wasn't getting rid of me."
The 32-year old striker said he was grateful for his time at Glory, which culminated in a Socceroos call-up for this week's Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia, but was looking forward to beating Perth next season. "If I hadn't gone there I don't think it would have happened (making the Socceroos) so I'll always look back on it fondly and I had a good time even though it was short and sweet," McBreen said. "I enjoyed my time over there and everyone was good to me so we'll just be good friends until we meet next year. Football's football and when that day comes obviously I'll be hoping that our team wins and the Glory doesn't."
RUKAVYTSYA NETS FOR ROESELARE
On loan striker Nikita Rukavytsya scored yet again for Belgian club KSV Roeselare. 22-year old Rukavytsya, currently under contract with Dutch outfit FC Twente, bagged his fourth goal in his sixth league outing for Roeselare in Sunday’s home game with Jupiler League leaders Anderlecht. Roeselare went ahead on 26 minutes through Rukavytsya only to be pegged back and eventually go down 2-1, a result which leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with just 17 points after 26 games.
NEW STADIUM PLANS STALL (courtesy the 'West Australian')
Plans for the State Government to build a 25,000-seat stadium in East Perth have hit a snag with the Town of Vincent refusing to sell the existing stadium, and rejecting the Government's subsequent bid to pay a peppercorn rent for the land. The delay could affect the Government's pledge to have final plans in place by July and slow the desperately needed rebuilding of the ageing facility at Perth Oval, which is jointly occupied by Perth Glory and Western Force.
Vincent mayor Nick Catania confirmed on Thursday that in an effort to break the deadlock the council had submitted an updated proposal to the Government. It included a substantial annual lease fee in recognition that the council would be giving up its management rights to the facility. The Government has demanded control over the existing stadium before proceeding with any redevelopment, possibly including scrapping the long-term management lease held by Allia Venue Management, arguing it was necessary to justify the estimated $160 million bill for the project.
LEE SETS PROFESSIONAL GOALS FOR WA KIDS
Former Perth Glory midfielder Mark Lee is pouring his vast experience of the professional game into a development project designed to prepare some of this state's brightest young talent for a career in the world game. Lee, who played three seasons for Glory in a career which also took in spells at Hibernian and Middlesbrough, has teamed with former Perth SC striker Barry Wood to kick-off Pro Football Training. "I've seen what the A-League is like, I've seen what the youth league is like and I've seen what the other States are doing," Lee said. "I know what's needed at the elite level but, more importantly, I know what's needed at the development level to raise the bar."
Lee spent two years working with Football West but has since branched out to form a partnership with Wood, who spent five years at Scottish club Livingston and eight years in Ireland before moving to Australia. Wood, a former Scotland youth international, said the program was aimed at all aspects of the professional game, including the importance of players' mental approach. "It's about educating players and parents and giving kids the opportunity to be the best they want to be, no matter what level they want to play at," Wood said. "We are trying to create an environment where kids are learning more about the intricacies of the game."
REFEREES TO TRAVEL TO CANBERRA
Referees Matthew Southern and Mathew Cheeseman have been selected to officiate at the 2010 FFA National Junior Championships being held in Canberra during April. “It will be a great experience for both of them to travel to the Championships in their different roles, both are talented referees and well worthy of their selection,” he said. “It is especially pleasing to see someone like Matthew (Southern) be selected as a referee, as it shows to our young officials that if you put in the hard work and dedication, the rewards are there.” 16-year old Southern has been a referee for only three seasons, the teenager rounding out an impressive 2009 by running the line in his maiden Premier League game. Cheeseman, 24, is widely regarded one of the state’s top match officials, refereeing at four previous Nationals tournaments and a member of the A-League Assistant Referee Panel.
MONTGOMERY SENDS KNIGHTS INTO FINAL (by Chris Correia, Football West)
Stuart Montgomery scored late to earn Western Knights a thrilling 4-3 win over Sorrento and book his team a place in next weekend’s Night Series final. The game looked to be heading for stoppage time when Montgomery fired into the net to complement earlier goals by David Price, Paul Van Dongen and Daniel Micevski, and in the process break the hearts of his former team mates. Despite the Knights having all the play in the opening quarter hour, it was Sorrento that found a 17th minute opener via a long ball out of midfield to David Foster, who lured Fraser Siddall off his line before firing into the bottom corner. The Knights twice in seconds went close to an immediate respond, Montgomery curling a free-kick into the upright with Anthony Campbell putting the follow-up wide of the far post.
Sorrento were reduced to ten men with attacker Billy Quinncroft shown a straight red card by referee Steve Gregory after a stray arm caught defender Garth Lecky in the 28th minute. It took the Knights only five minutes to capitalise with David Price, who last week quit the Perth Glory Youth set-up, neatly finishing past goalkeeper Tom Woodhead. The Knights synergy was soon on display as some lovely interplay saw Montgomery’s inch-perfect cross find Price on top of the 18-yard box, the midfielder chesting the ball down for Paul Van Dongen whose shot travelled just high. The pressure only intensified on Sorrento as half-time drew near with Daniel Micevski and Price continuing to batter shots at Woodhead. A stoppage time corner by Daniel Micevski resulted in the Knights taking the lead into the break, Campbell heading the ball back across the face of goal for Van Dongen to nod over the line.
The second half had barely started when Foster outpaced the defence and snuck a left-foot shot past Siddall to restore parity. With the Knights regrouping, Price tried his luck with a long-range lob that a hastily back-tracking Woodhead managed to top over the crossbar. The seesaw battle soon took another turn as Daniel Micevski applied a lovely finish into the bottom corner after being set-up by Simon Versaico just after the hour. Three minutes later and it was Sorrento’s fans who were celebrating as midfielder Jason Mirco brought his team back into the contest by beating Siddall. Trevor Morgan brought Jared Love and Todd Harnwell off the bench as Sorrento upped the tempo in search of a winner. But it would be the Knights that found the net on 85 minutes when Montgomery lashed in from 7-metres after Daniel Micevski’s back-heel had sent Van Dongen down the line.
PERTH SEE OFF JOONDALUP (by Chris Correia, Football West)
Perth SC cruised into their fifth successive Night Series Final with a comfortable 3-1 win over ECU Joondalup in this evening’s late game at Litis Stadium. Goals from Shaun Kilkelly, Ian McMurray and second half substitute Andreas Oliveira secured Perth victory in front of a crowd of 350. The reigning Night Series winners begun well with Dom De Felice denied the opener by Chris Wylie who was placed on the line to stop a certain goal. Geneveo Human was found unmarked inside the 18-yard box by shot wide of the near post as Perth attempted to capitalise on their early dominance.
Joondalup’s first opening came via striker John Thornley but his header lacked power and just past the post. A corner by Greg Sharland gave Perth the lead on 29 minutes, the ball drifting beyond the far post before Matt Danskin played it back into the danger zone where Kilkelly bundling into the net. Joondalup continued to drive into attack and three minutes out from half-time Phil O’Callaghan’s predatory instincts saw him equalise at close-range after following-up a Thornley header which rebounded off the crossbar. It looked like the teams would go into the break level but in stoppage time Perth struck again with Human’s shot deflecting off McMurray, bamboozling goalkeeper Andy Banks on its way into the net.
Syd Amphlett addressed Joondalup’s troops on the pitch at the interval in an effort to stir them into action. However, the northerners day got worse on 50 minutes when Aryn Williams was given his marching orders by referee Paul Anderson after causing a melee to break out in the middle of the park. Sharland wasted a valuable chance to extend Perth’s lead by passing across the face of goal when the better option was to take the shot himself. A mazy run by Scott Bushby saw him break free of the defence but he also wasted his chance to get on the scoreboard. Chances continued to present for both teams but David Onoforo mis-cued his volley while Thornley’s superb effort was saved brilliantly by Jason Saldaris. The game was in stoppage time when Onoforo broke into the box only to have his shot was saved on the line by a defender, however, Oliveira was placed to tuck in the rebound and secure victory.
MITCHELL SET FOR A MOVE UPSTAIRS? (courtesy the 'West Australian')
An extensive review of Perth Glory's football department next week is likely to include talks regarding the possibility of coach David Mitchell taking on a new role next season. Glory staff and officials will meet in Leederville on Tuesday to discuss the fallout from the club's first A-League finals appearance. Mitchell, who has ridden a roller-coaster since taking the coaching reins from Ron Smith in November 2007, has floated the idea of moving into a director of football role to oversee the team's performance, including the appointment of a new coach and player recruitment.
Club owner Tony Sage has backed Mitchell for another season in the coaching hot seat but said he was prepared to look at every proposal during the club's end-of-season review. He acknowledged informal discussions had already been held regarding a possible change. "Mitch assembled the squad, the squad plays for him and there's no dissension in the camp," Sage told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "My whole thing is about stability. We've had discussions about this but he's yet to formally put a proposal to me."
Glory deputy chairman Lui Giuliani said all aspects of the 2009/10 season would be under the microscope. "Our aim now is to see how we can best utilise the strengths of the people we've got," Giuliani said. "We would be remiss not to carry out such a review. Any dynamic organisation which is looking for success is constantly analysing performance and how to get the best out of its people. Mitch has a wealth of knowledge, experience and networks and that can't be underestimated. Along with the great investment Tony Sage has put into the club, Mitch's understanding of the industry is one of the reasons we've had an improved performance this season."
Decisions on retaining out-of-contract players - including Andy Todd, Jamie Coyne, Steven McGarry, Wayne Srhoj, Jamie Harnwell, Todd Howarth and Scott Bulloch - are expected to be made in the next two weeks. Sage said the vexed subject of Glory's administrative home would also be discussed this week, with Litis Stadium touted as a possible future base for the A-League club. Meanwhile, defender Chris Coyne has returned to China in a bid to nail down a loan deal, which could provide his ticket to the World Cup finals in South Africa this June.
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This page was last updated on the 25th February, 2010