MORGAN IS QUITE A CATCH IN INDIA (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
He smiled through the shower of paint, powder and flowers that greeted him at Calcutta Airport - but Trevor Morgan wasn't prepared for the fish. Morgan, the former Sorrento coach who last year was an assistant to Phil Brown at then English Premier League club Hull City, had just led East Bengal FC to success in the Federation Cup less than two months after his appointment to the Indian club's top job.
Morgan had been warned to expect the colourful and appreciative fans but the slippery gift was something else. "We flew back to Calcutta and I've never seen anything like it. The supporters that we had there were unbelievable," Morgan said. "I was standing at the airport covered in this paint dust, flowers around my neck; it was hot, I was struggling with my luggage and somebody just thrust a big fish into my hands."
The sign of appreciation was just another of the quirks of Indian football, in which Morgan has made quite an impression during just five months in charge of East Bengal. The club won its first 18 matches and went on to clinch the Calcutta League title with a 2-0 win over local rivals Mohun Bagan in front of almost 100,000 fans at Salt Lake Stadium. "The stadium is unbelievable and it's a massive rivalry," Morgan said. "It's on par with anything you get anywhere else in the world."
The Calcutta League title brought Morgan a third trophy after he had already steered East Bengal to success in the Federation Cup and the Mohammedan Sporting Platinum Jubilee Cup. That good form has continued in the national I-League with East Bengal winning their first five matches, including a victory over defending champions Dempo. It has been a dream start for Morgan and one far removed from his last appointment on Humberside where life was not easy at Hull, who were relegated to the Championship last season.
Morgan returned to Perth briefly where he hoped his experience would help land an A-League position, before accepting a new and very different challenge in frenetic Calcutta. "Everything is 100 miles an hour. Calcutta is a mad city," Morgan said. "There's so much poverty and there's so much wealth and they are side by side. People live on the kerb and 100 yards up the road there's a Mercedes in the garage. But India is an amazing place and I'd like to see more of it so I can form a better opinion."
Spare time, though, has not exactly been in abundance as Morgan has plotted his way through a host of competitions. "Because I've had such a good start it's made my introduction to India a lot easier," Morgan said. "But so many things happen here that you just accept it because that's the way it is. Nothing is ever on time. The games don't kick off on time. They change fixtures at 24 hours notice. You might think you are playing one team and then you play another instead. But you just let it ride."
Morgan played over 400 games as a professional football in England with the likes of Bournemouth, Bristol City and Bolton Wanderers. He also played and coached in Malaysia and Singapore, so wasn't daunted by returning to the region. "Asia is a big place and East Bengal is a big club and we are going to be playing in the AFC Cup next year, so a lot of doors could open," he said.
Morgan's great start in India has prompted speculation that he could be in line to replace national team boss Bob Houghton after next month's Asian Cup in Qatar. The job would interest Morgan, who was coach of the WA Institute of Sport's short-lived football program in 1998, but he is also keen to work in the A-League so he could be closer to his wife and two children, who live in Perth. "It's been good and Calcutta is really a hotbed of football. It's just a shame it's so far away from my family," Morgan said.
SOCCEROOS SELECTED FOR ASIA CUP
Holger Osieck has named a strong 23-player squad for the upcoming Asia Cup in Qatar. A dozen players who were part of Australia’s 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa made the cut, including big guns Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer and captain Lucas Neill for whom next months tournament could provide their international swan songs. Perth-born goalkeeper Brad Jones returns to the fray after he withdrew from the World Cup squad due to a serious illness within his family with fellow West Australian Richard Garcia also gaining selection.
The Australia squad for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar is Jon McKain (Al Nassr), Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Nathan Burns (AEK Athens), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), David Carney (Blackpool), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi), Jason Culina (Gold Coast United), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Neil Kilkenny (Leeds United), Brad Jones (Liverpool), Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory), Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongnam Ilhwa), Nathan Coe (Sønderjysk Elitesport), Matthew Spiranovic (Urawa Red Diamonds) and Jade North (Wellington Phoenix).
COYNE SAYS GOODBYE TO NATIONAL TEAM
Defender Chris Coyne concedes his international career is all but over as he embarks on an ambitious mission to re-boot Perth Glory’s flailing A-League finals hopes. It’s been a frustrating six months for Coyne, 32, who he missed out on selection for Australia’s World Cup campaign before a transfer blunder ruled him out of Glory’s first 22 games of the season. Those were compounded by his recent omission from the Socceroos’ preliminary 50-player squad for next year’s Asian Cup.
Although he played seven times under Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek, Coyne has had no contact with Holger Osieck and says a dream recall to the green and gold is unlikely. “That was one of the proudest days of my life finally pulling on that shirt,” said Coyne of his June 2008 debut against Iraq. “So I’d never say never but I think the old green and gold might be hung up for me. I’ll just concentrate on getting back and playing for Perth Glory and pushing for the finals.”
In a last-ditch bid to impress Verbeek ahead of the World Cup, Coyne agreed to a loan move with Chinese club Liaoning Hongyu. After missing the final cut he extended his loan in an attempt to be in peak shape for the start of the A-League season. However, unbeknown to Coyne, his management and Glory, the extension meant he could not play again in the A-League until the January transfer window opens, a frustrating oversight that left the central defender in limbo.
“I was under the assumption I could play maybe two or three (more) games up there and come back two or three weeks before the start of the season so I was match fit,” said Coyne, who returned from China eight weeks ago. “We weren’t aware of the FIFA regulations and the red tape it was bound by, league laws and what not. As a footballer I think I should have maybe looked into it more and not left it to other people. I don’t regret being up there, I enjoyed it immensely, but I do regret the fact I haven’t been able to pull on the Perth Glory shirt this year.”
With Glory seven points adrift of sixth spot and just eight games left to play, their chances of reaching the finals are remote. But Coyne says there is still time to launch one final charge up the table. “Never say never,” said Coyne, who is finally eligible to play again when Glory visits Gold Coast United on 3 January. “You can always hang your boots up and say ‘I’m finished now’, but you don’t say that, you may as well finish playing. So we are going for three points every game. The manager said that it’s a Cup final every game now.”
LITTLE BOYS MAY NO LONGER BE SEEN OR HEARD (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
Worrying times lie ahead for those around the country who are fans of the National Youth League which us looking like being laid to rest at the end of this season. It was a good - yet ill-conceived - concept by Football Federation Australia, who did not sit down and discuss with the clubs how best to structure the competition and how it should be used so that all levels of the game benefit.
As the A-League’s new team, Gold Coast United decided they wanted to attract the best players in the country, and continue to do so by signing more youth players on A-League contracts than any other club. Melbourne Victory chose a three-year development model by which predetermined numbers of players are selected in each age group. Any players that drop out are replaced by others of an equivalent age. These are two examples of how you can make the youth league system work.
Sadly at Perth Glory - where they could do with a strong youth development system - there seems to be a distinct lack of structure. For a start Glory Youth plays a completely different style of football to that of the first team. Additionally, the current crop of Glory Youth players are, in a lot of cases, too physically small due to their ages. And yet Gareth Naven has again shown that he can put out a team that is competitive and disciplined.
This year the scant regard given to the NYL by certain quarters in the game has left those interested in the development of players gravely concerned. FFA no longer sends out a preview/review of the fixtures, and some weeks they do not even update the league table. The clubs have been told that they no longer have to circulate information to the media, and many have taken that at face value. A number of club websites have all players with the same squad number and the only background information being their name and date of birth.
Is it a coincidence that the clubs that have continued to send out information on their youth teams, and whose websites are up to date are the ones who are performing the best in the A-League? We think not - it comes down to professionalism and leadership. With these two qualities you instil a pride in donning the team shirt, and that is evident this season.
If the NYL is to close down what will replace it? It should not be shut down without another development path being set up. With the Australian Institute of Sport supposedly closing in the next eighteen months and this latest intake possibly being the last, to shut the NYL down now would be committing development suicide. FFA need to be paying more attention to this vital part of the game and working with the clubs to ensure that it is a benefit to them rather than a hindrance and an extra financial burden.
ROAR'S UNBEATEN RUN IS SET TO END: DJULBIC
Gold Coast United's Dino Djulbic believes his team can end Brisbane Roar's impressive 17-game unbeaten run by taking all three points from the Boxing Day derby. Confidence is high in the Gold Coast camp that they can maintain their unbeaten record against their local rivals and add a little more spice to the title race by snatching the three points on offer. "Ange (Postecoglou) has coached them a little differently this season and it's worked well for them; they're playing great football," Djulbic said. "Roar's unbeaten run will have bred a lot of confidence in their players, but they've already had a couple of lucky breaks in some matches with some late goals, etc, so I'm actually surprised their undefeated run hasn't come to an end before now. We're all confident that this weekend is when their winning and drawing streak will be broken."
Gold Coast won all three games against Brisbane last season while the most recent encounter was a scoreless draw in round one of the current campaign. "We're still unbeaten against them which is a good thing for us and does provide a slight psychological advantage," commented Djulbic. "We want to keep that record intact of course, but the most important thing from our perspective is to win the game so we get the three points we need to keep in touch with the top two spots on the table. "Maybe for Brisbane it's more about beating their rivals, but for us it's the points that count. Brisbane are getting further and further away from the rest and we need to reduce their lead at the top."
A Gold Coast win is vital if they are to leapfrog third-placed Central Coast Mariners and eventually overhaul second-placed Adelaide United. "We've been talking about this game for quite a while now and the boys just can't wait to get out there. It has all the elements of a great match and these are the games you want to be involved in," Djulbic said. "Our goal from the start of the season was to finish in the top two. We have the players, and the points on the board, to achieve that and there is plenty of talk in the dressing room about reaching our target ... In terms of securing second place at the end of the season then a draw would be a decent result, but none of the players or coaches are talking about drawing this match. We're going up there to win - it's as simple as that."
GLORY WANT FOWLER TO STAY
Perth Glory are prepared to offer marquee man Robbie Fowler an extension of his lucrative contract despite the A-League club bracing itself for a loss of about $3 million this season. Fowler, believed to be earning about $600,000 this campaign, has regained his magic touch in recent weeks with his double last night against Adelaide United taking his season goal tally to nine. It was rumoured last month that Fowler, who represented England 26 times, would take on a coaching role at English second tier club MK Dons at the end of his Glory contract
While Fowler is yet to make a decision on his future, Glory chief executive Paul Kelly says the striker is leaning towards staying in Perth. "Robbie has indicated he wants to stay," Kelly told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australia'. "He's got a few personal things he's got to get through. He's got to speak to his wife and kids for a start. He heads to Dubai for a few days to spend some time with his family. Let's see what happens after that. Robbie loves this place, he enjoys the team, he enjoys the boys … We as a club would no doubt want him to stay."
Glory have endured a disastrous season on the field and it hasn't been much better off it with owner Tony Sage is set to be left with another sizeable bill. "We lost three or four million dollars last season and we'll possibly lose three million dollars this year," said Kelly, who confirmed Sage has committed to stay on next season. "He's a man that's pretty true and loyal to his word and he's proven that in the past. He's very passionate about the club, very passionate about the supporters and looking forward to next season."
GLORY WIN SIX-GOAL THRILLER
A second-half brace from Robbie Fowler has helped re-ignite Perth Glory’s faint finals hopes as they posted a thrilling 4-2 win over high-flying Adelaide United at Perth Oval this evening. Jamie Coyne bagged his first goal of the campaign and Mile Sterjovski celebrated his return to the starting line-up by also netting in a see-sawing encounter that had Joe Keenan and Sergio Van Dijk on the scoreboard for the visitors.
It was a blistering start by Glory with Scott Neville twice going close to opening the scoring inside 4 minutes. The home side were not to be denied for long as in the 6th minute Sterjovski’s in-swinging corner from the left picked out Coyne to head powerfully past Eugene Galekovic. Adelaide were fortunate not to be a few more goals behind as Sterjovski fire wide from a tight angle and moments later an unmarked Adriano Pellegrino steered a header past the post
So it was totally against the run of play that Adelaide equalised with their first meaningful attack on 17 minutes, Tando Velaphi colliding with Josh Mitchell as they attempted to deal with an Iain Ramsey cross and Keenan was on hand to gleefully sweep in the loose ball. Glory continued to dominate and on 35 minutes regained the lead with Mitchell lifting the ball over the defence for Sterjovski, who rounded Galekovic before calmly side-footing into an empty net.
The visitors found the net again five minutes into the second half when Travis Dodd and Marcos Flores combined to set up Sergio Van Dijk, who lashed an unstoppable half-volley past Velaphi from just inside the 18-yard box. Glory regrouped and on 67 minutes Pellegrino’s precision through ball allowed Fowler to race clear and beat Galekovic with a low shot. Play was end-to-end with both sides committed to attack. A Neville drive was pushed wide by Galekovic before then Ramsey squandered a golden opportunity by skying high after rounding Velaphi.
In the 77th minute Sterjovski bundled over inside the box by Robert Cornthwaite, who was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Beath after pointing to the spot. Fowler stepped up and made no mistake with a clinical penalty kick to make it four-two to Glory. Adelaide was by no means beaten at this stage and only a spectacular finger-tip save from Velaphi prevented Dodd’s long-range attempt from reducing the deficit. In the closing moments Van Dijk wasted two gilt-edged chances before the final whistle signalled Glory’s second win in 17 games.
FOWLER GLAD TO GET WIN ON THE BOARD
Robbie Fowler admits it will be a 'tall challenge' for Perth Glory to reach the A-League finals but says last night's 4-2 home win over second-placed Adelaide United has shown what the team are capable of. Fowler, who scored a second-half brace to clinch victory, told Fox Sports after the game it was an important result for the club. "We've been unfortunate the past couple of weeks, results have just gone against us," he said. "But it was a must-win game, to get to the finals will be a tall challenge but we've just got to try and win as many games as we can. It was important that we got that win."
Glory twice went ahead against Adelaide but on both occasions allowed Adelaide to equalise and get back into the game. "That's probably been the story of our season, we get into good positions and then we give silly goals away," Fowler said. "Regardless of what level you play you can't afford to give goals away because you're always fighting an uphill battle. But we managed to score more than them." The result lifts Glory into ninth position, two points ahead of Sydney FC and North Queensland Fury who share last spot. Glory's next game isn't until 3rd January when they visit Gold Coast United.
SWAN FIRED UP FOR NIGHT SERIES
The next few weeks can’t go by fast enough for new Swan United coach John O’Reilly. Swan begin their 2011 season with a Night Series outing with newly promoted Bayswater City and O’Reilly can’t wait to see how his side performs. “We have an eager squad who have already started training and are champing at the bit to be given a chance to see how much the new-look team player together,” said O’Reilly, who replaced Jamie Goodman as first team coach in September. “The group we are in will be tough, but there aren’t any easy groups in the premier series.”
Swan are one of four Division One sides in this year’s Premier League Night Series, joining Bunbury Forum Force, Wanneroo City and Forrestfield United. O’Reilly will use the tournament to identify potential first team players for the coming home and away campaign. “We will be using the games to have a look at new players and also to work on s me partnership pairing within the units of the team structure,” he said. “The players have a strong spirit so the expectation this season to do well is very high.” Swan are confident of placing high on the 2011 Division One table after being relegated from the top flight last season.
STERJOVSKI BACK IN THE FRAME
Mile Sterjovski could return to the Perth Glory starting eleven after a three-game absence when the A-League’s cellar-dwellers take on second-placed Adelaide United at Perth Oval tomorrow. Coach Ian Ferguson is considering restoring Sterjovski to the team after his 25-minute contribution off the bench in last weekend’s loss at Melbourne Victory. “We can use him in different positions,” said Ferguson, who admits to be undecided as to what position the former Socceroo would play. “He can either play wide, he can play up front or he can play the top of the diamond. So, yes, we’ll be thinking of using Mile.”
Ferguson has been impressed by the efforts of youngsters Josh Risdon and Anthony Skorich in recent weeks but has hinted he’s favouring a more experienced line-up against Adelaide. “He’s come in and done well for us,” Ferguson said of Skorich. “I’ve been pleased with a lot of the young lads, to be honest. I think young Risdon has come in and done a fantastic job. And then you’ve had (Brent) Griffiths and you’ve had (Howard) Fondyke and Tommy Amphlett. They’ve all come in and done a great job for us at certain times. But they are not the sort of players who will carry you through the season at this moment in time.”
Glory must beat Adelaide to remain a realistic chance of making the finals, as Ferguson well knows. “We’ve got to keep positive. We’ve got to keep going. We can’t put our heads down all the time and be doom and gloom,” said the coach. “It’s something hard work and determination is going to get us out of. It’s not been an easy time for anybody here at this club. It’s been a horrendous run and it would be nice to get three points on the board before the break. It’s our cup final - I will say that. It’s a massive, massive game for us on Wednesday… and it’s got to be a win.”
RUKAVYTSYA BOOSTS ASIAN CUP CLAIM
Striker Nikita Rukavytsya enhanced his claim to a spot in Australia's Asian Cup squad by finding the net in Hertha Berlin's top of the table draw with FC Augsburg. Rukavytsya, who made two appearances off the bench at this year's World Cup, showed an excellent sense of timing by scoring from the centre of the 18-yard box to put his side one-nil up after 28 minutes. The game ended with plenty of drama with Nando Rafael converting a 71st minute penalty, after which both teams were reduced to nine men. The Socceroos squad for next month's Asian Cup is due to be trimmed to 23 players on 28 December.
GLORY AGREE TERMS WITH BERGER
One-time Australia Under-20 defender Evan Berger has agreed a two-year deal with Perth Glory from next season. The recruitment of Berger, a Melbourne Victory player for the past four seasons, comes just days after Wellington Phoenix goalkeeper Danny Vukovic confirmed he’d agreed to a three-year contract with Glory. Berger, 23, started the first four games of the season for Victory but has since been largely overlooked by coach Ernie Merrick with his last appearance being off the bench against Newcastle Jets in September. A regular for the Young Socceroos across 2005 and 2006, Berger has so far chalked up 38 games with Victory.
HESKETH AT HOME IN INDONESIA (courtesy the ‘West Austalian’)
Former Perth Glory Youth captain Steve Hesketh wasted no time planing ahead when he realised a senior contract would not be forthcoming. Just three days after the teams’ Grand Final loss to Gold Coast United in March, Hesketh set off on a journey that took him to English club Sheffield Wednesday and to the United States, where he was a substitute for Portland Timbers in a pre-season friendly with Manchester City. “I had the best seat in the house,” joked the one-time Stirling Lions defender.
Hesketh’s pursuit of a contract led him to Indonesia where he now plays for Delta Putra Sidoarjo. “I was definitely hoping (for a senior contract with Glory) because all my mates and family are here,” said Hesketh. “But the way it was towards the end of the season, I knew I wasn’t going to get anything so I started looking around. It’s hard moving somewhere else but football is my priority and I’ve always wanted to play professionally. There are hundreds of league in hundreds of countries, so there are opportunities everywhere if you go looking for them.”
Robbie Gaspar, who played locally for Perth SC and has been based in Indonesia since 2005, steered Hesketh towards Australia’s near neighbour. “I got there on a Monday morning and that night I played the last fifteen minutes of a pre-season cup match,” Hesketh explained. “There were about 40,000 people there - it was nuts. There were people in the trees trying to watch from outside the ground. It really opened my eyes to how much it means to them because they don’t have anything else.” Hesketh has enjoyed his first taste of Indonesian football and plans on going back for seconds when the season ends.
NTC NOT WANTED IN PREMIER LEAGUE
Last week’s footballwa.net poll has confirmed the vast majority of the West Australia football community are against having the National Training Centre compete at the highest level of State League football. A staggering seven out of every ten votes submitted in response to the question ‘How do you feel about the NTC entering next years Premier League?’ selected ‘The NTC are out of their depth, the integrity of the Premier League has been compromised’ (70%). A quarter of respondents opted for ‘It’s a great move that will benefit immensely the next generation of WA football stars’ (23%), with ‘Who cares, six of one and half a dozen of the other’ (75) receiving the remainder. 152 votes were cast during the twelve days of polling.
NO GLORY IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory remains rooted to the bottom of the A-League table after going down 2-0 to Melbourne Victory this afternoon at AAMI Park. Unfortunately, the loss came at a cost for the hosts with Socceroos striker Archie Thompson limping out of the game after opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time. Defender Rodrigo Vargas headed in following a corner midway through the second period to seal all three points for Victory. Despite the loss, Glory boss Ian Ferguson saw positives in his team performance, especially in the first half. “Overall I thought the boys competed well and it’s probably the best we’ve played for a long, long time,” Ferguson said. “If we can play the way we played in the first half hopefully we can pick up some points.”
The visitors had much of the early possession and were unlucky not to go ahead in the 16th minute when Adriano Pellegrino fierce strike from 22-metres smashed into the upright. Glory went close again on 38 minutes when Scott Neville’s shot was battered away by Michael Petkovic and the rebound was cleared just ahead of Anthony Skorich. A well-crafted move started by Kevin Muscat deep in stoppage time culminated in a moment of brilliance by Robbie Kruse, whose clever back-heel unlocked the Glory defence with Thompson racing through to net past Tando Velaphi. It was the final action for Thompson who immediately grabbed his hamstring after leaping over Velaphi.
Victory had the momentum following the turnaround and in the 63rd minute Carlos Hernandez’s corner to the front post was met by substitute Vargas, who headed into the net despite Todd Howarth’s best attempts. Mile Sterjovski had been on the park only a few minutes when he finished a sweeping counter-attack by drawing a fine save from Petkovic. But that was the closest Glory would come to scoring as the home defence, led by Muscat and Surat Sukha, locked down their third of the park. The result leaves Glory, who have now won once in 16 games, in last place and one point below Sydney FC.
KOFOED SINKS VICTORY
New Perth Glory Women signing Monnique Kofoed came off the bench to score the winner on debut against former club Melbourne Victory this afternoon at AAMI Park. Kofoed fired into the net seven minutes from the end of regular time to keep Glory Women on track for a second successive W-League finals appearance. The started promisingly with striker Kate Gill shooting just wide of the target. Gill later found the woodwork while strike partner Sam Kerr was denied by 15-year old goalkeeper Brianna Davey.
Victory should have taken an early second half lead but Jodie Taylor squandered a one-on-one opportunity with Tine Cederkvist after being getting on the end of Ashley Browne’s magnificent through ball. Collette McCallum called Davey into action in between providing the ammunition for Gill and Kerr, who were closely monitored by Maika Rutyer-Hooley and Marlies Oostdam. The game’s only goal arrived on 83 minutes when substitute Kofoed found a way past Davey, consolidating Glory Women’s place in the top four.
GLORY YOUTH STUMBLE IN CANBERRA
The Australian Institute of Sport scored in stoppage time to steal a 4-3 win over the Perth Glory Youth from this afternoon’s entertaining contest at the AIS Athletics Track in Canberra. The visitors were first on the scoreboard through an own goal by AIS captain Connor Chapman, Anthony Proia scored twice leading into the break to put the hosts in front only to have Brent Griffiths equalise shortly after the restart. The final minutes produced three goals with Aaron Peterson putting the hosts in front, Branko Jelic restored parity before Chapman redeemed himself by bagging the winner.
The AIS, playing with a strong wind, nearly had a goal after only 2minutes when Brodie Paterson’s powerful shot hit the crossbar. The heavens opened up soon after and although the downpour lasted just ten minutes it left the playing surface very slippery. Against the run of play Glory Youth went ahead with Chapman’s attempt to clear from a Storm Roux cross clashing past his goalkeeper Paul Izzo after 16 minutes.
The visitors, now full of confidence, almost doubled their advantage through Cameron Edwards, whose free-kick from distance somehow bounced through a crowded goal area and just wide of the post. The AIS equalised in the 41st minute when Proia tucked the ball into an open goal after Peterson had surged inside the 18-yard box. In the shadows of half time AIS grabbed the lead, Milos Degenek’s near post cross being tapped in by Proia.
The second half opened with Proia squandering a great chance to complete his hat-trick after getting on the end of Ryan Edwards’ cross. Glory Youth hit back in the 52nd minute, defender Griffiths powerfully heading into the top corner from Cameron Edwards’ curling delivery. The visitors were making good use of the ball coming through midfield and should have scored a third goal in the 76th minute but Jelic headed against the post and his follow-up was too close to Izzo.
With six minutes of regulation time left Peterson took possession inside the area, turned sharply and drilled his left foot shot into the net for what looked to be the deciding goal. However, Glory Youth had other ideas and four minutes later Sahr Musa darted down the flank before crossing to Jelic, who this time made no mistake with his header. 91 minutes were on the clock when Chapman fired in a dramatic winner during a goal mouth scramble.
GLORY CONFIDENT OF GETTING A RESULT IN MELBOURNE
Midfielder Adriano Pellegrino believes Perth Glory has to be wary of a Melbourne Victory backlash when the two sides meet on Saturday night at AAMI Park. Despite slumping to last on the A-League table, Glory have posted two of this seasons four wins over fifth-placed Victory. But Pellegrino, 26, says his team cannot rest on their laurels and rely on their good record against Victory. "We've had a good result against Melbourne last time when we played there, so we're going to go in very confident we can play well," Pellegrino said, referring to an early season 2-0 win. "(But) they've hit some really good form ... they're playing well and they're a good side, so you can't take that (good form) for granted."
Controversial refereeing decisions have cost the Glory dearly in the last few weeks but Pellegrino believes that with everyone pulling in the right direction they can turn their season around. "Over the last two weeks we've put in good performances and I think we've been robbed of our points," Pellegrino said. "(We've) done well against North Queensland and I think we should have had the points there and again on the weekend as well ... the last two weeks has been good in regards to playing as a unit. So (to get some wins), it's just a matter of getting back to what we've been doing in the last few weeks on consistency and just working on it at training."
YOUTH GO FOR GLORY AGAINST AIS
Perth Glory Youth are eager to bounce back and secure a top three spot by getting the better of the Australian Institute of Sport this weekend. Following a disappointing lose to Central Coast Mariners the Glory boys are hungry to put another win on the board and challenge league leaders Gold Coast United and Brisbane Roar. The last time the two teams met it was the AIS that came out on top 3-0, however, that was the first time Glory Youth had been beaten in four meetings with the Canberra youngsters.
The AIS is home to two Western Australian’s this season in Jesse Makarounas and Ryan Edwards, both of whom spent time with Perth Glory earlier in the year. Makarounas, 16, was part of Glory’s squad in pre-season when he scored three times in two games, including a brace against Rockingham City. Edwards, the son of former Socceroo Alistair Edwards, enjoyed a stint with the youth team last season and was part of the squad that won the Weifang Cup tournament in China during August.
Across the middle of the park of where Cameron Edwards, the elder brother of Ryan Edwards, team captain Dean Evans and livewire Sam Mitchinson operate with menace for Glory Youth. The promotion of goalkeeper Alex Pearson to the senior squad means Tim Doyle has the gloves for the remainder of the season, with former Cockburn City junior Francis Soale stepping up as his deputy. Glory Youth and the AIS go head-to-head in Canberra on Saturday.
JONES KEEPS IT CLEAN
Goalkeeper Brad Jones admitted he was delighted to finally get his Liverpool career up and running in the mid-week Europa League clash with FC Utrecht. Having already booked their place in the last 32 already assured, the Reds played out an uninspiring scoreless draw with the Dutch side with Jones making only his second appearance since transferring from Middlesbrough in August. “It was great to play,” he said. “It’s always difficult when you haven’t played for a while to come into the side and maybe that showed a couple of times ... but I’m happy with the clean sheet and happy just to get an opportunity to play.”
Jones got his chance after Hodgson opted to rest regular ’keeper Pepe Reina and Jones knows he faces a stiff test getting the nod ahead of the Spaniard in future. “I knew from the off here that Pepe is a brilliant ’keeper,” he added. “I’ve watched him play for years and I knew what I was getting myself into. It was nice for Pepe to let me get in there and play tonight. I doubt he will let me have many more chances this season! I really enjoyed it and I’ve just got to keep working hard at my game.”
In a game of few clear cut chances the Reds desperately lacked a cutting edge but the Australian insisted a largely second string side could be proud of their display. “I thought it was a professional performance,” he said. “In the first half we played well and were solid and then in the second half the play was more spread out. It would have been nice to get a win in front of our home fans but we didn’t lose and we kept a clean sheet. We had already won the group and that’s a good achievement. For me personally I’ll take a clean sheet all day.”
YOUNG TARGETS A NEW YEAR RETURN
Neil Young has completed his first full training session since suffering a broken nose almost twelve months ago. The Newcastle Jets goalkeeper is delighted to be back amongst his team mates and is hopeful of being fit enough to resume playing within six weeks. "It's good to be back out with the boys again," said Young, 31, who played over 200 games on the local scene for Sorrento. "From where I was, to where I am now, it's taken a long time but it's good to be training and I'm looking forward to playing again."
Young's nightmare began last January when his nose was broken while playing Gold Coast United. An adverse reaction to antibiotics following surgery resulted in a bowel infection and time in intensive care. As things spiralled perilously close to out of control, his liver shut down, his body stopped producing white blood cells and his bone marrow failed to function. By the time Young was allowed home to convalesce he'd endured five bouts of surgery and lost 25% of his body weight.
Newcastle coach Branko Culina is pleased with the progress Young has made but says he won't be rushing the goalkeeper back into the matchday squad. "I think we've always said about Neil the most important thing was that he gets back to full health and he takes it from there," said Culina, who has selection dilemma on the horizon. Matthew Nash, signed originally as an injury waiver for Young, has been impressive since taking over from injured glovesman Ben Kennedy last month. But with Kennedy close to returning and Young back in training, Nash could find himself out of a job through no fault of his own.
CAMPBELL RELINQUISHES THE CHAIR
Football West chairman Kevin Campbell has stepped down from the Board, effective immediately, following last night’s Annual General Meeting. Chief executive Peter Hugg thanked Campbell for his efforts as chairman during Football West’s first six years. “He is to be congratulated for his many achievements over the last six years, none less so than his efforts in implementing the recommendations of the Crawford Report and the establishment of Football West as the one peak body for the sport in the state,” said Hugg.
Bob Kucera and Rob MacKay were re-elected to the board with Henry Atturo also voted in. “I congratulate the three newly elected Directors and look forward to working with them and the new Board in the future,” Hugg commented. “I also commend all the members for the manner in which the AGM was carried out, as well as the two unsuccessful nominees who put themselves forward as candidates and expressed an interest in progressing the sport at board level.” A new chairman will be decided at the board’s next meeting in the near future.
SPASOJEVIC OFF TO EUROPE TO PURSUE HIS DREAM
Teenager Danilo Spasojevic will continue his football education in Europe after being offered a spot in the youth academy of Serbian soccer club FK Sloga. After inviting for trials in August, Sloga signed the promising 15-year old on a three-year deal commencing next year. “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it, I will have lots of support there and here,” said Spasojevic, who recognised the support of his family. “I am grateful for the support, I could not have got there without it.” Spasojevic intends to make the most of his opportunity but plans to continue his Australian education by correspondence, with exams and assignments sent to him by mail and email.
FIVE STAKE CLAIM TO ASIAN CUP
National coached Holger Osieck has named a preliminary squad of fifty players for Australia’s Asian Cup campaign next month. Richard Garcia and Nikita Rukavytsya, both part of Australia’s squad at the 2010 World Cup in Germany, head up a West Australian contingent that also features promising youngster Chris Herd, Italy-based defender Adrian Madaschi and goalkeeper Brad Jones. The preliminary squad will be trimmed to twenty-three players on 28 December with the Asian Cup beginning ten-days later in Qatar.
Garcia is nursing a minor knee injury suffered in Hull City’s weekend draw with Crystal Palace but is expected to make the final cut. Likewise Rukavytsya, who has featured regularly this season for German second tier leaders Hertha Berlin. Fresh from making his English Premier League debut for Aston Villa, Herd is one of several new faces in the squad. Liverpool reserves ‘keeper Brad Jones faces an uphill battle to secure a spot in the squad, as does Portosummaga’s Madaschi whose last cap was against the Republic of Ireland fifteen months ago.
AUSTRALIA KEY TO PORTSMOUTH’S FUTURE
No less than six Australian teenagers are learning the finer points of the game with English club Portsmouth, with half the number hailing from Perth. Local trio Alex Grant (16), Andrew Higgins (17) and Ryan Williams (17) recently signed two-year scholarships with the Pompey academy along with Patrick Antelmi (16) and Jordon Fitzharris (16) to join Billy Tsovolos (17), who joined the south coast club in 2009. All six are playing regularly for the youth team and benefitting from their clubs decision not to enter a side in this seasons’ Reserves competition.
New director of youth operations Paul Smalley has been pleased with the results of a scouting program in Australia. “Some of the boys’ families emigrated (from England) a few years ago and they have carried on with some of the good elite programs that they have in Australia and we’ve developed the relationship over the past couple of years and kept the link,” new director of youth operations Paul Smalley said. “It’s quite a high intake compared to a lot of clubs but we felt that all the players were good quality and we didn't want to let any of them go.”
Pompey’s newest recruits from down under have hit the ground running with Williams, Grant, Fitzharris and Antelmi each finding the net in the youth teams’ opening thirteen games of the season while Grant, who has already represented Australia ay Under-17 level, has garnered rave reviews for his efforts in the centre of defence. At their end of their two-year deals all five hope to sign professional contracts with Pompey, as Tsovolos did in August.
VUKOVIC CONFIRMS WEST COAST MOVE
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will head west at the end of the A-League season to take up a three-year contract with Perth Glory. Vukovic, 25, has made scattered appearances for Wellington Phoenix this season but says the security of a long-term deal and a chance to move back to Australia made Glory's offer was too good to turn down. "They've offered me a good contract over there for three years. There's a bit of security there and I can go over there and settle down with my girlfriend," he said. "I know the coach well. He's a good coach and ready to do some good things with the club. It's an exciting time for me when I go over there but I'm just focusing on Wellington Phoenix at the moment."
Vukovic endured a tough time after being dumped by Turkish side Konyaspor in August because they had too many overseas players on their books. Wellington came to the rescue with a one-year deal but the former Australian youth international has spent the majority of his time on the bench behind Mark Paston. "I was thrown a lifeline to come here (Wellington) and I'll be forever grateful for that," Vukovic said. "You can't really expect to play week in week out. You have to be performing. It was more just an opportunity for a change and a chance to get back to Australia."
Vukovic played a handful of national league games for Parramatta Power as a teenager but it was with Central Coast Mariners that he made his name. Across the five A-League seasons he played 104 games, a tally that would have been much greater had his career not been put on hold for slapping referee Mark Shield in the 2008 Grand Final against Newcastle Jets. The 15-month ban Vukovic received extended to the international arena, ruling him out of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In June of this year he signed a two-year deal with Konyaspor, however, that contract was torn up within months and Vukovic signed a one-year deal with Wellington.
DIVISION ONE MAPPED OUT
The 2011 Division One season is slowly taking shape with the release of the Night Series draw and draft league fixtures. The new lights at Wotton Reserve, home of Morley Windmills, will be shining brightly when the Night Series kicks off on Friday 18 February. The twelve competing teams have been split into two qualifying groups of six with Sunday League side Belmont Villa taking the place of Bunbury Forum Force, who have opted to will field a team in the Premier League Night Series only.
Swan United's return to the second tier has them up against Wanneroo City, Gosnells City, Dianella White Eagles, Fremantle Spirit and Ashfield in Group A. Sunday League champions Shamrock Rovers have been allocated a spot in Group B alongside Forrestfield United, Morley Windmills, Canning City, Rockingham City and Belmont Villa, although the latter may be replaced by Olympic Kingsway or Whitford City. The top two sides from each qualifying group progress to the semi-finals with the Division One Night Series Final booked for Sunday 10 April.
All Division One sides will have their mettle tested a few weeks prior to that when the opening round of the State League Cup is contested on Monday 7 March (Labour Day holiday). The home and away season commences on Saturday 16 April with all games tentatively scheduled for Saturday afternoon starts. The Division One regular season concludes on Saturday 24 September and, as it stands currently, the league champions will not be offered promotion to the Premier League for season 2012.
SAGE BLOWS WHISTLE ON REFEREES
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has called for poorly performing referees to be made accountable for their actions and suspended from A-League duty. Glory was victim to another blunder by match officials on Sunday when Gerard Parsons failed to spot Daniel McBreen's foul on Josh Risdon in the lead-up to Central Coast Mariners' late goal which earned a 1-1 draw. Parsons' error came hot on the heels of Kris Griffiths-Jones' failure to award Glory two clear penalties at North Queensland Fury.
Sage, who has clashed with FFA over a number of issues since taking on Glory ownership in 2007, called for referees and their assistants to be subject to a disciplinary system which would punish mistakes with bans. "The referee ruined the game for us again," Sage said. "That's four points we've missed out on in the last two weeks and we are desperate for points. They need to drop the referees if they are not performing. We've dropped senior players when they are not performing ... The referees, because of FFA, seem to have a free pass. They don't get criticised."
CAREERS ON THE LINE
The futures of a dozen Perth Glory players will come under scrutiny over coming months as the club starts the arduous task of returning to the summit of the Australian game. Goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski was late last week released from the final three months of his contract to pursue playing options in Indonesia, and with a further twelve players out of contract at the end of March the club is braced for a turbulent off-season.
English veterans Robbie Fowler and Andy Todd as well as former captains Jamie Harnwell and Jamie Coyne are the big names approaching the end of current terms. Also out of contract at seasons' end are Naum Sekulovski, who recently made his 100th appearance for the club, third-year player Adriano Pellegrino, underperforming striker Michael Baird, Josh Mitchell and youngsters Howard Fondyke, Anthony Skorich, Brent Griffiths and Andrija Jukic.
Coyne, who is just three games off his 150th for Glory, said the player are aware of the need to press their personal claims. "Quite a few boys are out of contract and they want to stay here and they want to prove to the coach that they are good enough to be part of his plans for the future," said Coyne. "If they are not wanted here then obviously they want to prove they are good enough for someone else to take on."
Despite winning once in 15 games, Glory are still in finals contention and will not enter into contract discussions with players until the new year. "We are still trying to win games and we don't want distractions, so nothing will be done until January," said chief executive Paul Kelly. There's a very good chances Glory's final hopes will be either snuffed out or re-ignited by results against Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United leading into Christmas.
GLORY FUME AS MARINERS STEAL A DRAW
A controversial late equaliser has stolen Central Coast Mariners a 1-1 draw from this afternoon's game with Perth Glory at Perth Oval. The home team looked to have the game in the bag after Josh Mitchell's early opener but Patrick Zwaanswijk headed in at close-range three minutes from the end of regulation time ensure a share of the spoils. Glory were left fuming that referee Gerard Parsons allowed the equaliser to stand, adamant that young defender Josh Risdon was fouled by Daniel McBreen in the lead-up to the goal.
Coach Ian Ferguson pulled no punches in his post-game assessment of the match officials. "I'm sick and tired of the inconsistency of these referees. Something's got to be done," said Ferguson, whose team was denied two clear-cut penalties in their last outing with North Queensland Fury. "This is our livelihood and we're playing for three points here and unfortunately we've lost two points with five minutes to go because I thought it was a blatant free-kick for us. Unfortunately it doesn't go our way. I think some of the decisions today were dreadful."
Suspensions and injuries forced Ferguson to reshuffle his pack once again, the coach making five changes to his starting line-up that drew in North Queensland. Glory were quickly into stride and asking questions of the visiting defence in opening minute, Steven McGarry half-volleying narrowly high from Risdon's deep cross from the right. It proved to be the briefest of reprieves as, with 4 minutes on the clock, Robbie Fowler's near post corner was met by Mitchell whose low shot deflected off a defender and eluded Josh Rose's desperate attempt to clear on the line, falling gently into the back of the net.
Taking such an early lead gave Glory added attacking confidence as Anthony Skorich and Adriano Pellegrino each sent long-range shots narrowly high. The hosts were dealt a blow on 20 minutes when captain Scott Neville succumbed to injury, however, it did little to disrupt their rhythm as Tommy Amphlett swung in a fine cross that Robbie Fowler headed just wide of the far post. The hosts survived a rare scare when Matt Simon sprayed wide after pouncing on a slip by Risdon to go through one-on-one with Tando Velaphi.
Skorich had an effort ruled out for off-side barely a minute into the second-half as Glory continued the dictate terms. Fowler headed narrowly over after being picked out superbly by Pellegrino, then Jamie Coyne stung Mathew Ryan's gloves with a low shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. A double substitution on 52 minutes by Mariners coach Graham Arnold had the desired effect. Daniel McBreen had been on the park seven minutes when his shot fizzed past Velaphi's post.
As the Mariners pushed forward in numbers, they inevitably left gaps in the back and Skorich, McGarry and Fowler each had chances to seal the win. Then, with 87 minutes gone, Brian McGlinchey's deep cross met by McBreen, who appeared to push Risdon to the ground before heading across goal where Zwaanswijk nodded in from close-range. Glory's loud appeals were dismissed by Parsons in the final minutes Fowler could twice have regain his team the lead, firing a free-kick over the bar before shooting powerfully but straight at Ryan.
TOMBIDES MAKING HIS MARK
It has been a fortnight to remember for West Ham United's teenage striker Dylan Tombides. An Australia Under-17 international, Tombides made his Reserve team debut two weeks ago against Chelsea just days after scoring the only goal in the Under-18's 1-0 win over Arsenal. He then followed that up with a superb strike in the Academy's 5-0 defeat of Aldershot Town as the young Hammers marched into the FA Youth Cup fourth round. "The Youth Cup is what it is all about, winning the league is good but here is where you show your true colours," said Tombides.
Tombides' 70th minute strike against Aldershot was of the highest quality, the teenager cutting in from the left before curling into the top corner from the edge of the 18-yard box. "I am happy with the goal, it took a while to come but I am happy with it. It was a good performance from the lads and it was thoroughly deserved," he said. "It was my first time playing at Upton Park and nothing compares. This is where you want to be in the future, even though this was just my first experience, it was different quality."
Should he carry on his bright progress, Tombides would relish the chance of more game time in the Reserves. He knows he has to be patient, especially with competition for places, but will keep working hard. "Just to get my first start with the Reserves would be nice but you've got to take your chances when they come," he commented. "There are lot of good players up there, like (England Under-21 striker) Zavon Hines who just came back from an injury, and (England Under-19 striker) Frank Nouble. I just need to take my time."
SYDNEY A CLASS ABOVE PERTH WOMEN
Sydney FC re-entered the winners' circle after a commanding 2-0 defeat of Perth Glory Women at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. An even first half saw the teams enter the break scoreless but it took only ten minutes of the second period for Leena Khamis to fire Sydney into he lead. The hosts side went on to dominate the half and with 71 minutes gone Kyah Simon wrapped up the win, sending Sydney second behind Brisbane Roar. Despite the loss, Glory Women remains fourth in a very congested mid-table.
The early signs were promising for Glory Women as Alex Singer continually got down the right, however, her crosses on each occasion evaded team mates inside the 18-yard box. Shannon May unleashed the game's first shot but couldn't find the target from 15-metres. Sydney took over around the quarter hour mark with Kylie Ledbrook and Simon forcing good saves from Tine Cederkvist. Sam Kerr sliced through the middle before finding Singer, whose cross was headed high by Kate Gill. Sydney mounted a late surge in which Ledbrook and Teigen Allen threatened to break the deadlock.
Sydney asserted their dominance in the second half and on 55 minutes Lydia Vandenbergh put Khamis into space at the top of the area from where the striker headed beyond the reach of Cederkvist to make it one-nil. The hosts could have had a second moments later but Simon was thwarted by Tanya Oxtoby's desperate block. A driving run by Kerr was deserving of a better finish on 70 minutes, the striker firing straight at Dimi Poulos in goal. The game was ended a minute later when Allen caught the visiting defence off guard, linking to terrific effect with Simon who finished neatly from 5-metres.
MARINERS DENY GLORY YOUTH TOP SPOT
Perth Glory Youth missed out on going top of the Y-League table after going down 4-2 to Central Coast Mariners this afternoon at 6PR Stadium. The Mariners raced to a two-nil lead thanks to goals from James Oates and Marc Warren before the hosts answered just on half-time through Billy Quinncroft. Sam Mitchinson put the teams level six minutes into the second period only to have the Mariners hit back through Bernie Ibini-Isei and Mitchell Duke to secure the win.
The Mariners began the scoring after 18 minutes when Oates was allowed to run unchallenged into the attacking from where his scorching struck shot gave goalkeeper Tim Doyle no chance. The remainder of the half was controlled by the visitors and on 36 minutes their advantage was doubled, a well directed corner finding Warren whose precision header hit the net before Doyle could respond. Quinncroft pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time, the striker heading in at close-range after an initial attempt came back off the post.
It took only six minutes of the second half for parity to be restored, Mitchinson sliding in to meet a cross which he steered past 'keeper David Bradasevic. The Mariners weren't about to let their hosts off the hook and on 58 minutes they regained the lead through a good strike by Ibini-Isei. Duke ensured all three points would go to the visitors when he scored their fourth goal in the 76th minute. Glory Youth toiled without success in the final minutes to add to their tally but the Mariners held out for an emphatic victory.
NTC SHINE AT INSTITUTE CHALLENGE
One goal is all that stood between the National Training Centre and top spot at this week's State Institute Challenge in Canberra. Although unbeaten over the week-long tournament, the young West Australian's had to settle for second place behind the South Australian Sports Institute, who scored one more goal across their seven games to finish top of the table. That disappointment was eased by the selection of Mohamed Beyan, Jacob Collard, Mitchell Oxborough, Lawrence Shuruma, Jeremy Tshongo, Slobodan Vulin and Riley Woodcock in the tournament All-Star squad.
The NTC opened their campaign by drawing 2-2 with the Northern New South Wales Institute of Sport on Monday morning, which was followed by a 1-0 afternoon defeat of Football Federation Victoria. Day two bore further fruit in the form of wins against the Tasmanian Institute of Sport and the Queensland Academy of Sport, both by 2-0 margins. Nicholas Ambrogio bagged all three goals in a 3-1 win over the New South Wales Institute of Sport on Thursday morning,, with the NTC scoring a fourth straight win by inflicting a 2-0 loss on the Northern Territory.
The final match of the tournament saw the NTC and the South Australian Sports Institute play out a thrilling 3-3 draw. That result meant the teams finished on equal points and goal difference, however, the South Australian Sports Institute ended top due to scoring one more goal than the NTC. "It just shows how good Football West's programs are," said NTC coach Kenny Lowe. "I would put us up there with SASI in being the national leaders for development." The tournament closed out with a friendly between the All-Stars and the South Australian Sports Institute which produced a 4-4 draw.
The National Training Centre squad which competed in the 2010 State Institute Challenge was Nicholas Ambrogio, Mohamed Beyan, Boima Ballah, Jacob Collard, Kieran Colwell, Matthew Davies, Daniel DeSilva, Jordan Franken, Scott Galloway, Jack Iredale, Guy Kalma, Pearse McKee, Joseph Moseray, Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Harry O'Brien, Mitchell Oxborough, Luke Radonich, Callum Richardson, Lawrence Shuruma, Jeremy Tshongo, Joshua Tucker, Slobodan Vulin and Riley Woodcock. The NTC team officials were Kenny Lowe (coach) and David Butterfield (assistant coach).
WOODCOCK NAMED PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT
Riley Woodcock's outstanding performances at the State Institute Challenge has been rewarded with the Player of the Tournament award. Woodcock was the tournament's shining light and a worthy winner of the award according to Football West Game Development Manager Andrew Bettell. "Riley was the standout and he deserved the Player of the Tournament as he was clouds above the rest and dominated in the left full-back position," Bettell said.
Woodcock was one of seven West Australian's identified by selectors as potential national team players of the future. "We could have had a few more boys identified; there is absolutely no doubt about it," added Bettell. "Five years ago we would have had almost nobody selected in the All-Star team, and would have been finishing at the bottom of the table. So credit must be given to all of the Football West team in how our underpinning, development and NTC programs have grown - it is just outstanding."
Goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski has been released from the final months of his Perth Glory contract to sign with Indonesian Premier League club Solo FC. Vrteski, who had featured just twice this season for Glory, thanked the club for allowing him the chance to pursue regular first team football. "I'd like to thank everyone at Perth Glory especially the chairman Tony Sage for his support," said Vrteski. "I've loved my time with the club and wish Ian Ferguson and the players every success in the future." Alex Pearson, 18, has been promoted from the Glory youth team and will be second choice to Tando Velaphi for Sunday's home fixture with Central Coast Mariners.
ALL-STARS SQUAD ANNOUNCED
Each year footballwa.net honours those players who consistently captured our attention during the winter months with inclusion in the unofficial footballwa.net All-Stars. Four of last seasons All-Stars retain their places in the starting line-up, while ten players make their first ever appearances in the squad, which was selected with the assistance of non-playing representatives of the Premier League clubs. With another year about to tick over the time is ripe to pay tribute to the twenty-two players selected in the 2010 footballwa.net Premier League All-Stars team and shadow squad.
GLORY WOMEN AIM TO BRING DOWN CHAMPIONS
This weekend's clash with reigning W-League champions Sydney FC in Wollongong will be the biggest test so far this season for Perth Glory Women. Solid performances in the past few weeks have elevated Glory Women to fourth position and assistant coach Shaun Murphy is hopeful the team can continue that moment into Saturday's game. "It's important we grab a result though because next week we will be away to Melbourne (Victory), but if we play the way we have been I've got no doubt we can stay within the top four," said Murphy.
Sydney suffered a shock loss to Newcastle Jets last time out and didn't play last weekend due to the bye. "This match is going to be tough, there's no doubt about it as they will want to come out firing after their loss to Newcastle," commented Murphy. "After losing 5-2 away to Sydney last season, I think the way we've been going shows a lot of promise ... we've been really strong defensively and I think the acquisition of Tine (Cederkvist) and Alexandra (Nilsson) has boosted our defensive stocks and Tine is a class above as a goalkeeper."
Lara Filocamo's omission due to injury is the only change to the Glory Women squad which defeated Newcastle Jets last weekend. The striker rolled her ankle in the team's final training session before departure to New South Wales and has been replaced by Sadie Lawrence. Heather Garriock, one of Australia's most capped players, leads a Sydney team brimming with experience and talent. In Danielle Brogan and Teigen Allen they have two of the nation's best young defenders, American import Lydia Vandenbergh partners Garriock in midfield with Kyah Simon leading the way in attack.
BALCATTA PROVIDE MIGAS A FRESH START
State player John Migas is hopeful his summer transfer to Balcatta will provide the impetus for a return to form. Migas, 25, recently ended a successful six-year stay at Floreat Athena to throw his hat in with Balcatta, who next season will be under guidance of championship winning coach Michael Roki. “After not having the best of years in 2010 I felt as if a change of clubs could be the best thing for me,” he commented. “With a new club brings about new challenges and new people to prove myself to, which hopefully will bring the best out of me.”
Migas concedes leaving Floreat was difficult but the temptation to be reunited with Roki, who brought the defensive midfielder to Litis Stadium in the first place, was simply too great. “Michael being at Balcatta was definitely one of the deciding factors in my decision to join them. He is one of the best coaches in the state and it was always a pleasure to play under him,” said Migas. “Leaving Floreat would have to be the hardest decision of my playing career so far. Having made so many lifelong friends at the club it was never going to be easy for me to leave. Floreat is a great club with many great people and I wish them the best for the future.”
There are many happy memories from Migas’s time with Floreat, including wearing the black and gold of Western Australia in 2008 and 2009. “I had a successful time at Floreat but the highlight which stands out more than any other would have to be going undefeated and winning the Premier League in 2007,”he said. “It’s hard enough winning the league but going undefeated just made it that little bit more special. Being able to share that moment with your best mates was something I’ll never forget.”
Balcatta finished their Premier League debut in eight place, and Migas has set his sights on helping the top flights newest addition move up a few rungs in 2011. “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and I’m more then confident that Rox will put together a team that is capable of challenging the likes of Perth, Western Knights and Floreat,” Migas said with great confidence. “I can’t wait to begin the new season with Balcatta and hopefully we can surprise a few people … and win a trophy or two.”
GLORY YOUTH TACKLE THE MARINERS
Perth Glory Youth have their sights set on forcing their way into the top two as they prepare to tackle Central Coast Mariners on Saturday afternoon at 6PR Stadium. The first meeting of these sides this season promises to be a thriller with both coming off good win and determined to continue their run of good form. Glory Youth have the upper hand over this weekend's opponent, winning four of their six previous meetings, although the most recent of those saw the Mariners triumph 3-2 in Perth late in January.
Sebit Oyet looms as the player most likely to lead Glory Youth to victory, the striker's recent return from injury giving his team some extra firepower in the final third. Defender Josh Risdon could miss the game after being named in the senior squad to play North Queensland Fury. Bernie Ibini-Isei, scorer of four of the Mariners five goals last week against Adelaide United, will need watching closely while defensively Jimmy Oates run a very tight ship. The Glory-Mariners National Youth League game starts at 5.00pm on Saturday at 6PR Stadium in Inglewood.
MCNALLY HEADS TO INGLEWOOD
Central defender David McNally will spent next season wearing the colours of Inglewood United. McNally, who has played much of his career with Swan United, is hoping to take his game to the next level under the tutelage of former national league player Shane Pryce. “Having Prycey as a coach influenced me to make the move to Inglewood,” 23-year old McNally admitted. “He has played at a high level as a central defender and I think I will be able to learn a lot from him. Hopefully, he can help me improve my game and help me reach the next level.”
Pryce was surprised more clubs hadn’t targeted McNally following Swan’s relegation from the Premier League. “I think he snuck under the radar of a lot of clubs,” said the Inglewood coach. “I’ve always rated David as a defender, he goes quietly about his business and leads by example but is still in his early twenties so will continue to improve. He’s a great marker and rarely gets beat in the air. With his height he will be difficult to match up against some teams and he will get the defensive duties on their dangerous attackers … he’s the type of character I want at the club and I’m glad he decided to join Inglewood.”
2010 was a bittersweet year for McNally who collected Swan’s Fairest and Best award shortly after relegation thrust upon them. “It was a great honour to be awarded the Fairest and Best, however, I would of much preferred to have had an average season and for the club to have stayed in the Premier League,” McNally said. “I really enjoyed my time there and a highlight for me was playing at Members Equity Stadium in the under-23’s cup final in 2006, ironically against Inglewood, and even though we got thumped 5-2 it was still an awesome experience.”
McNally broke into Swan’s senior ranks as a teenager and quickly became an established part of the first eleven. He admits it was difficult to leave the club that showed great faith in his abilities. “Yes, it was a very difficult decision to leave Swan. I spent five good years at the club, from under-18’s to the league team and probably wouldn’t be playing in the Premier League if it wasn’t for the club,” McNally said. “It was also hard to leave my team mates because they are a great bunch of blokes, but I want to play at the highest level I can and I’m looking forward to the new challenge at the 6PR Stadium.”
LAZARIDIS OFFICIALLY OUR CHAMPION
Socceroo legend Stan Lazaridis has received Australian football's highest accolade - entry into the national Hall of Fame. Lazaridis, one of Australia's most capped players, was added to the Hall of Champions category along with Joanne Peters and Ned Zelic at today's Hall of Fame induction in Sydney. Lazaridis, who played professionally for 16-seasons and featured in four World Cup campaigns, was overwhelmed by the acknowledgement. "It's an incredible feeling, and part of me isn't sure I'm worthy of the accolade," he said. "But I love the game and I gave everything to the game and my country."
Lazaridis is arguably Western Australia's greatest football export. He started locally with Kingsway Olympic, Stirling Macedonia and Floreat Athena before three seasons in the national league with West Adelaide. In mid-1995 he agreed terms with English club West Ham United, where he'd played four seasons, followed by a seven-season stay at Birmingham City. Lazaridis ended a 395-game club career in 2008 after a couple of seasons at Perth Glory. On the international stage he made 60 'A' appearances for Australia and represented the nation at the 2000 Olympic Games.
Since hanging up his boots Lazaridis has kept a relatively low profile football-wise but admits his desire to become actively involved once again. "I've still got huge passion for it and maybe in the next few years I can be involved in some way - especially helping coaches out, spotting talent, that's the direction I'd like to take," he said. "Lots of the guys in there (the FFA) are very talented but maybe I could offer something different. It's just a thought about trying to make the game grow."
Hall of Champions recognition was also bestowed on Peters and Zelic. Peters, one of Australia's first female players to play overseas, represented the Matildas on 109 occasions before retiring last year. Zelic, capped 33 times at 'A' level by Australia, played most of his club football in Germany for Borussia Dortmund and 1860 Munchen. 2002 and 2006 World Cup finals referee Mark Shield entered into the Hall of Honour with former Socceroo Martyn Crook recognised for his work in youth development.
KNEE INJURY PUTS WARD OUT
Injury has thrown Wellington Phoenix midfielder Nick Ward back onto the sidelines just as he was coming back into form. Scans have revealed Ward will miss up to six weeks after he sustained a knee injury in Sunday's 2-1 win over Adelaide United, for who the midfielder was a constant menace as part of Wellington's three-man attack. "It's not the news we wanted to hear but unfortunately that (four to six weeks) is probably the time frame," Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said. "He's been playing well, that's why we signed him. He'll be immensely disappointed and I thought he had a great game on the weekend. Hopefully we get him back soon after Christmas."
TAGGART RETURNS TO GLORY
Perth Glory has welcomed talented youngster Adam Taggart back from a year with the Australian Institute of Sport. Taggart, who played juniors for ECU Joondalup, is thrilled to join his home town club following twelve months at the nation’s elite football program. “It’s great; I can’t wait to start playing,” said Taggart, who played the opening months of last summer with Perth Glory Youth. “I’ve been a supporter of the club since I was a little kid, growing up and watching them. It’s fantastic now to finally be playing for Perth Glory.” Taggart, 17, becomes the second player to sign a semi-professional contract deal with Glory. The striker will train full-time with the senior squad and be considered a first team player while remaining on the youth team roster.
NEVILLE READY FOR THE NEXT CHALLENGE
Perth Glory defender Scott Neville says the squad is refreshed and fired up for the upcoming home meeting with Central Coast Mariners. Neville, one of Glory’s most consistent performers this season, said the bye weekend had been a good opportunity for the players to get their mental approach right for the Mariners game following a crowded match schedule. “Last week was a really good chance to recap on where we are and really give the next eight or nine weeks a real go,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of meetings about setting goals, play your positions and shape.”
Glory, although second from last on the table, haven’t given up on making the play-offs as those teams immediately above them struggle to produce consistent results. “With the way we’ve played and the results that we got, we didn’t expect to be still in the situation where we could make finals,” commented Neville. “I think now that we’ve had a really good, hard look at ourselves we need to start picking up points to reach our goal of making the finals. Hopefully we can get into that last finals’ spot and that’s what we’re all aiming towards, so that’s where we’ll hopefully take the ship.”
PERTH’S DOUBLE THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF 2010
Perth SC collecting silverware at both ends of 2010 has been voted the greatest achievement of the past twelve months by the West Australian football community. Last weeks footballwa.net poll asked 'What was greatest achievement of 2010?' with one third of votes cast selecting 'Perth SC winning a fifth straight Night Series and back-to-back Grand Finals' (33%). 'Western Knights finishing top of the Premier League for the second year in a row' (21%) was the second most popular choice.
In third place was 'Bayswater City being crowned Division One champions' (12%), which finished just ahead of 'James Robinson claiming the Golden Boot with 21 goals from 20 games' (11%). Locked together with equal votes were 'Perth Glory Youth qualifying for the Y-League Grand Final' and 'Marc Anthony picking up the Gold Medal' (8%), followed by 'Stirling Lions' Cup Final defeat of Floreat Athena' (6%). Only a couple of people rated 'Perth Glory's maiden A-League finals appearance' (1%). 194 responses were received during the thirteen day polling period.
A-LEAGUE SET FOR FACELIFT
The ailing A-League is set to undergo a facelift, with a later start to the season and less midweek games to be scheduled in a bid to ‘refresh and reignite’ the competition. Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley emphasised the need to address the challenges facing the domestic league ahead of this week’s board meeting to discuss a strategic review paper containing feedback from the game’s stakeholders. “That will make a series of recommendations about some changes we need to make within the A-League to reignite it and to refresh it, to kick-start it and to build attendances,” Buckley said.
There’s a good chance future A-League seasons will start a later than early August, as has been the tradition. “I think there’s a strong view from all quarters of football that we need to start the season later, whether that is the middle of September or the middle of October. We’re still working through some final models but most likely it will be the start of October going through to April,” said Buckley, who hinted the number of mid-week games would be cut. “I think what we’re seeing at the moment is probably too many mid-week games in particular - they work in some cities - they don’t work in others.”
KERR NOMINATED FOR SPORTS STAR
Perth Glory Women striker Sam Kerr has topped off a year filled of accolades by being nominated for the ANZ Junior Sports Star of the Year. A remarkable twelve months for Kerr opened with a national team debut against New Zealand and selection in the Matilda’s squad for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, the teenager scoring the opening goal of the final win over Korea DPR. In October Kerr was named the Under-20 Women’s Footballer of the Year at the Australian Football Awards, and last month she was named one of six nominees for the Australian Institute of Sport Junior Athlete of the Year award. The ANZ Junior Sports Star of the Year will be announced next Thursday, 16 December.
PREMIER DOWNSIZES, DELAYS STADIUM
Western Australia’s chances of enjoying a 60,000-seat stadium suffered a serious body blow after State premier Colin Barnett said Australia’s failure to land the 2022 World Cup would mean a smaller facility, delivered later. Qatar were awarded hosting rights of the 2022 tournament by FIFA late last week after Australians big gathered just one out of 22 votes. That means the $250 million in Federal funding promised for a new stadium in Perth is now off the table.
Barnett revealing that funding loss would affect State Government decisions on the project. “It will have some impact on both the size of the stadium and the timing,” he said. However, Barnett said he hoped the Federal Government would still chip in to build the stadium, which is estimated to cost between $700 million and $1 billion. “That deal is now gone but I would still hope the Commonwealth would make some contribution to a stadium.” he added. Barnett refused to commit to starting construction during his term, raising further questions over the timing of the project.
GLORY CALLS IN THE DOCTOR
Sports performance specialist Ric Charlesworth will review Perth Glory's football department in the wake of the team's dramatic collapse. Charlesworth has been asked to provide an assessment of Glory's football structure as part of a whole-of-club analysis overseen by David Hatt, chief executive of AFL club Fremantle Dockers. Hatt's brief includes examining Glory's relationship with Football Federation Australia, the club's arrangement with Perth Oval and its administrative and football bases. Aside from slumping to second bottom in the A-League, Glory also has off-field concerns about coach Ian Ferguson and other staff being based in Mt Claremont while the club's administration is housed in East Perth.
Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said the club regularly conducted reviews of its operations but acknowledged this season's on-field performances prompted the latest examination. "It's a season where we've underperformed. We've not reached expectations. So the question that is being asked is why," said Kelly, who remains positive about the future despite the team's predicament. "What happens on the park affects the whole club (but) we are still better off than most A-League clubs. The appetite is there if we can deliver a product on the park. Sponsorship is good, the corporates are sold out, and the membership is up 37 per cent. All of those things are the ingredients for a successful club."
GIBBONS MOVES GLORY WOMEN TO THIRD
An early strike by defender Jaymee Gibbons was enough to give Perth Glory Women a 1-0 win over their Newcastle Jets counterparts this afternoon at 6PR Stadium. The home team moved up to third - and only three points off top - thanks to Gibbons’ 4th minute effort which secured a much needed win. “It’s great to get on the score sheet, I don’t really score a lot of goals,” Gibbons said. “The important thing is the result after dropping a point against Brisbane last week, so the girls played really well and it was a deserved win … (My confidence) is great at the moment, I’ve been playing a lot more than I have in the past and hopefully it continues in the future.”
Glory Women enjoyed a fast start to the game with Sam Kerr’s low cross from the right punched away by goalkeeper Allison Lipsher, however, the ball feel invitingly for Gibbons to rifle in from 15-metres. Newcastle responded a few minutes later with Hayley Crawford threatening with a glancing header, but this was the closest the visitors would come to equalising in an increasingly scrappy first half. Katie Gill was prevented doubling the hosts lead by some desperate defending after Lipsher dropped a corner under pressure.
The pace quickened for the second half which opened with Gill having a header cleared off the line by Gema Simon. Newcastle finally found a way past the home defence on 55 minutes but Melissa Feuerriegel shot wide from 5-metres with the goal at her mercy. This stung Glory Women into action and in the 63rd minute Collette McCallum’s cross from the right was met by Gill, who saw her header come off the underside of the crossbar. In quick succession Shannon May crashed into the bar from distance with Elisa D’Ovidio forcing a wonderful diving save from Lipsher with the follow-up
With D’Ovidio and May crafting some quality moves coming out of midfield, Newcastle was a team very much on the back foot. Kerr, who was having an uncharacteristically quiet day, was released on goal only to have Lispher courageously dive at her feet to smother the shot. The visitors almost snatched a share of the points late, Kate Hensman getting into a dangerous position at the edge of the 18-yard box where Tine Cederkvist bravely threw herself on the ball to ensure a home win.
STIRLING SWOOP FOR WATT
Stirling Lions have strengthened their goal scoring options by agreeing terms with Scottish striker Jamie Watt for the coming season. Watt, who put away 22 goals last season for ECU Joondalup, is excited to be joining a club with clear aspirations of finishing top of the Premier League. "The fact they won the Cup and just missed out on the league was a big reason to go there," he said. "At ECU we were used to just aiming for the finals, so I really want to go step further next season and try and win the league and retain Cup. It's a challenge I'm relishing."
Watt says his decision to transfer to Stirling was made easier by the fact his strike partner at ECU Joondalup, Phil O'Callaghan, had made the very same move only a fortnight ago. "It's great to be teaming up with Phil again, it made the decision easier to go to the Lions" commented Watt, who shared 39 goals with O'Callaghan last season. "We had a good understanding and scored a lot of goals between us so I'm obviously hopeful we can carry it into next season and continue the same form."
Stirling coach Paul Lincoln is thrilled to have secured a strike of Watt's calibre. "Jamie will be a great asset to the team, he'll bring much needed experience in our attacking third," commented Lincoln. "The squad is slowly taking shape but its early days yet and we are still in negotiations with players. But to have both Phil O'Callaghan and Jamie Watt commit is really pleasing, not only for me but for everyone involved with the club."
The prospect of being coached by Lincoln, whose goal scoring exploits landed him the Gold Medal in 1997, has Watt eagerly awaiting the coming season. "I'm looking forward to working with Paul, the fact that he used to be a striker is good for Phil and I as I'm sure he will have some good advice to pass on," he commented. "Although I'm sure he will also be quick to point out our bad faults, so maybe it's not so good that he used to play up front."
Leaving Joondalup after two seasons was one of the toughest decisions Watt has had to make in his football career. "When I arrived in Australia I just turned up at their ground and they gave me the chance to play State League football. I will always be grateful for that," said Watt, who played with success in Scotland for Deveronvale, Montrose, Inverurie Locos and Cove Rangers prior to joining Joondalup. "Obviously I've made some good friends at Joondalup and enjoyed my time, so it was really hard to leave."
Watt had no trouble finding the back of the net last season and for 2011 the striker is focused on doing it all over again. "I set a high standard last season with ECU so this season my goal is continue on with that and help the Lions to reach the heights they achieved last season," he said. "On a personal level I would just like to pass last season's tally on the goal charts." Stirling supporters will get an early look at their new strike forced when Macedonia Park hosts Bayswater City, Joondalup and Swan United in Night Series competition next month.
GLORY YOUTH HANG ON
Perth Glory Youth moved to within a few points of the National Youth League leadership by toppling Brisbane Roar 2-1 this afternoon at 6PR Stadium. Tommy Amphlett fired the home team into the lead midway through the first half before Anthony Skoich doubled their advantage ten minutes later. Brisbane hit back a minute into the second half through substitute Matthew Thurtell, however, all attempts to draw level were thwarted by a composed if tiring Glory Youth defence.
The game was given a crackerjack start with Andrija Jukic firing narrowly wide before Aleks Vrteski was called up on to keep out James Meyer’s 7th minute effort. With both teams creating chances it was Glory Youth that found the net after 27 minutes when Howard Fondyke’s delightful through ball released Amphlett who had little difficulty slotting in. A similar move eight minutes later provided Amphlett a good opportunity to double the lead but on this occasion goalkeeper Matthew Acton did well to block his shot.
Glory Youth didn’t need long to score their second, Skoirch blasting in from the penalty spot after Cameron Edwards dinked cross appeared to have been handled by Dane Milovanovic. The half-time margin could have been three goals but Edwards low shot ricochet off the inside of the post after beating the ‘keeper, while Fondyke had a succession of shots on goal blocked by a desperate Brisbane defence from a 44th minute corner.
Those misses was punished a minutes after the break when the alert Thurtell produced a great overlapping run before cutting inside the defence and firing past Vrteski. Brisbane were stepping up the attack, Vrteski palming around the post an in-swinging free-kick from Kenneth Dougall, who on 58 minutes slammed the ball into the upright. Glory Youth’s best chance of the period saw Edwards lift high of the crossbar after being teed up by Skorich. Brisbane controlled the final quarter-hour was controlled but the closest they came to equalising was a powerful Rocky Visconte drive that smacked against the crossbar.
STILL A LONG WAY TO DJULBIC
Despite suffering back-to-back defeats, Gold Coast United defender Dino Djulbic says his side is still very much in the hunt for A-League silverware. Djulbic, absent for the mid-week loss to North Queensland Fury through suspension, can't wait to get back on the field for tomorrow afternoon's game with Melbourne Heart as his team looks to snap out of their malaise. "I'm really looking forward to getting back out there, I'm not a good spectator at the best of times, but I found it particularly hard on Wednesday," Djulbic said.
Djulbic was amongst a host of first team regulars that missed out on playing North Queensland, who claimed a 2-1 victory. "Any team would struggle with the sheer number of first team players we had missing against the Fury," said Djulbic. "I felt sorry for (coach) Miron (Bleiberg) because the backbone of the team was absent, along with several others; that's never going to be easy to deal with and he had to bring youngsters in and play people in unfamiliar positions."
Leading into the round Gold Coast are placed third, seven points behind Adelaide United and thirteen adrift of leaders Brisbane Roar. "This season is far from a foregone conclusion - we're only just over half way through and nobody here thinks the title is a two-horse race," added Djulbic. "There are a lot of points to play for and anything can happen from here. To assume that the top two will keep winning every week until the end of the season is a big call to make. Injuries happen, suspensions happen, form can dip – all sorts of things."
GLORY WOMEN STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
Perth Glory Women’s third home game of the season has them up against Newcastle Jets on Sunday afternoon at 6PR Stadium (5.00pm start). Last weekend saw Glory Women leave Queensland heartbroken after former player Lisa De Vanna stole Brisbane Roar victory with virtually the last kick of the game. By contrast, Newcastle are fresh from an upset 2-1 win over W-League champions Sydney FC, who had gone the previous fifteen games without loss.
Newly crowned AFC Women’s Player of the Year Kate Gill has been averaging a goal a game for Glory and comes up against her former club for the first time. Midfielder Collette McCallum struck an early winner when the teams last met and will be hoping to jump Glory Women into the top four with an encore performance. However, the young Jets head west full of confidence following last week’s result, safe in the knowledge their opponents are still licking their wounds from a devastating loss.
GLORY YOUTH READY TO CONSOLIDATE
Two of the Y-League’s strongest teams, Perth Glory Youth and Brisbane Roar, will be in full flight at 6PR Stadium on tomorrow afternoon (5.00pm start). The teams played out a thrilling scoreless draw when they met in early October and both are eager to take all three points this weekend. Glory Youth currently occupy third spot and are fresh from a week’s break, whereas top of the table Brisbane suffered just their second loss of the season when out-shot by eight-placed Adelaide United.
Dean Evans and Cameron Edwards have consistently come up with the good this season for the hosts while defenders Ryan Pearson and Josh Risdon will draw on their recent first team experiences to get Glory Youth over the line. Australia under-20 goalkeeper Matt Acton marshals a tight Brisbane defence alongside international team mate Daniel Bowles, with the task of creating and finishing chances filled by Jake McLean and over age attacker James Meyer.
THE DREAM IS OVER AS QATAR AWARDED 2022 WORLD CUP
Australia missed out on hosting the 2022 World Cup with FIFA's executive committee awarding the tournament to Qatar. Cash-rich Qatar defied a damning FIFA report on the oppressive mid-year heat in the tiny nation, as well as survived a FIFA investigation into claims of vote swapping to hold off the United States of America in the fourth round of voting to become the first Middle East nation to host the World Cup. The 2018 tournament will be held in Russia after they received an absolute majority in the second round of ballots.
Australian bid chief Frank Lowy said he was shattered by the nation's first exit in the first round of voting. "Australia, what can I say? I can only say that I am bitterly disappointed," he said. "I am disappointed for you that we could not deliver the 2022 World Cup, but what can you do. We did our best and I know we could not have done anything better." The billionaire has made it his personal quest to bring the World Cup to Australia and promised to keep fighting for the sport.
SAINSBURY REFLECTS ON BREAKTHROUGH
Teenager defender Trent Sainsbury has very good reason to look back on 2010 with immense pride. In the past ten months the 18-year old defender has signed his first professional contract with Central Coast Mariners, squeezed in trips to South America and England and most recently made his A-League debut. "It's been a hectic time for me," admitted Sainsbury, a former Armadale junior. "I've worked hard and tried to achieve some of my short-term goals, one of which is playing first team for the Mariners and keeping my spot in the squad."
The foundations of Sainsbury's landmark year were laid during his two years under Kenny Lowe in the National Training Centre program, according to the defender himself. "The NTC was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time," said Sainsbury, who was an NTC player in 2007 and 2008. "To this day Kenny Lowe is the best coach I've had, he told me to express myself on the field and to love the game again. Without the NTC I would most likely be a tradie playing in the State League."
2010 opened with Sainsbury on tour in South America with the Young Socceroos, who played friendlies against Paraguay and Argentina. "South America was a trip with mixed emotions for me. It was a great experience to play against top players on their home turf but I didn't play my best football over there," commented Sainsbury, who had spent the summer prior at the Australian Institute of Sport. "One highlight was the magic show that was put on for the team on our last night, had us all gobsmacked with the tricks that guy could do."
Sainsbury signed with the Mariners in March and soon after was whisked off to England with new team mate Marc Warren for a two week stay in Sheffield United's Academy. "Going to Sheffield was another trip which I learnt so much and received great advice on how to further my career," said Sainsbury. "The set up was very professional and showed with the players being very competitive during training. The intensity is a big factor why the English game is such step above other leagues."
Selected in the Australia squad for the AFC Under-19 Championship in October, Sainsbury was forced to miss the tournament at the final hour by a knee injury. "It was very unfortunate and upsetting to pick up an injury so close to a very important tournament but that's football, it happens," he said. "I'm still not sure how I hurt my knee, it just seemed to happen slowly over a couple hours. I had keyhole surgery a week later to remove some cartilage and went through eight weeks of boring rehab before playing again."
Sainsbury's hard work on the training track was rewarded with his first A-League start in the late November draw with Newcastle. "To finally play in the A-League, let alone start, was a big achievement," said Sainsbury. "I was nervous before the match but had a few old heads next to me to coach me and keep me calm. After the game I had heaps of messages congratulating me on how well I done but I was just happy that I had a good debut."
With two national league starts now under his belt - Sainsbury also last weekend's home game with Brisbane Roar - the young defender is well aware there's still plenty of work to be done. "I know that I have to continue working hard and hopefully stay injury-free and in contention for starting spot every game," said Sainsbury, who is thankful for the support he has received from family, as well as those inside the game. "I'm truly grateful to have a loving family support me, and to have had opportunities to showcase my abilities which have got me to where I am today."
‘HOME OF FOOTBALL’ NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT
The residents around Litis Stadium/Britannia Reserve have been vocal in making their strong objections to the proposed redevelopment of the venue known to the Town of Vincent. It is now the turn of the WA football community to voice their support for Litis Stadium to become the new 'Home of Football' and bring Football West, Perth Glory and the WA Hall of Fame together under one roof.
Football West have identified Litis Stadium as the preferred site for their new headquarters, centralising all aspects of the game's administration and coaching. In addition to office space, the redevelopment would see the existing pitch replaced by a FIFA approved artificial surface, the construction of four new dressing rooms, new match official rooms, a lighting upgrade and improved spectator facilities.
If you are in favour of the redevelopment please visit the Town of Vincent's public consultation website and make some positive comment about the need for football to have a new centralised administrative home. You don't have to be a Town of Vincent resident to comment - they are just as keen to hear from non-residents and other football stakeholders as they are from their ratepayers. footballwa.net encourages all our readers to submit their views before the community consultation period closes on 27 January 2011.
PLENTY OF TALENT IN GLORY'S BACKYARD
If Perth Glory is serious about arresting their form slump then perhaps they could take a close look at the wealth of talent on show in the State League. Despite boasting an array of established players and overseas stars, Glory have spend recent months sliding slowly down the table with just one win from their last fourteen outings. Although they are only three points outside the top six, Glory are second from bottom and have played as many as four games more than teams in their vicinity.
The local competition has long been a source of inspiration for Glory with Scott Neville (21), Tommy Amphlett (22), Anthony Skorich (20), Brent Griffiths (20) and Josh Risdon (18) showing what they can do in recent times. Eli Babalj (18) and Trent Sainsbury (18) have done likewise with Melbourne Heart and Central Coast Mariners respectively, and local coaches feel a number of others are positioned to make the step up to national league football.
Western Knights playmaker David Micevski (24) is a player Perth SC boss Ronnie Campbell says is better suited to the national competition. "In my opinion the best player in the Premier League by a country mile is David Micevski," he said. "To me he's got everything, he's got power, he's got pace and he's strong with both his right and left foot. He's a central midfield player obviously capable of scoring goals and making goals, so to me he is an athlete."
Perth midfielder Antonio Naglieri (27), who was on Glory's books as a teenager, is worthy of playing A-League according to Knights coach Carl Medica. "He's a good player on the ball, has good vision and is a quality passer," said Medica, who led his club to the top of the Premier League table this year. "He's played at the Glory before but he's still quality. There's some good players in the State League and it would be good to see them get an opportunity."
Paul Lincoln, coach of Stirling Lions, was happy to spruik the credentials of some of his players, including centre-half Bobby Wilson (21) who played his development years with English clubs with Arsenal, Southend United and Nott County. "Bobby Wilson can easily play in the A-League, he's got some trials in China in January so he might be lost to Stirling," Lincoln said. "He has a great free-kick and he's quite solid all-round."
Stirling captain Shane Robinson (29) and former Middlesbrough defender Jason Gavin (30) are two others Lincoln was more than willing to put forward. "Shane Robinson is one that would easily, if given the opportunity, be able to hold his own at that level after being a full-time professional player in Ireland," said Lincoln. "Jason Gavin, his age is probably against him, but with the Glory's players that they've got there, it doesn't seem to be a factor."
Armadale coach Brad Hassell said English striker James Robinson (27) could progress through the ranks, and judging by his appetite for goals, could be a welcome addition to Glory's artillery. "He's a natural goalscorer," commented Hassell on Robinson, who has put away a staggering 45 goals from 47 league games in his three spells with Armadale since 2008. "He can kick with either foot and his goal-to-game ratio is enough to give him a chance at least."
GLORY PAY THE PRICE FOR LACK OF DISCIPLINE
Coach Ian Ferguson has vowed to clamp down on the poor discipline that has plagued Perth Glory for much of the season. One win in fourteen games has plunged Glory to the foot of the A-League table with their cause certainly not helped by eight sending offs, and a further 43 cautions, so far this season. Glory's next game isn't until 12 December against Central Coast Mariners when they'll be without Naum Sekulovski and Brent Griffiths, who were issued their marching orders on the weekend, along with Mile Sterjovski for an accumulation of yellow cards.
Although some of the yellow cards have been harsh, Ferguson said he was sick of seeing his players booked for frivolous, undisciplined offences. "It's something that I'm going to address today with them," said Ferguson, who has guided Glory to a single win and two draws from his ten games in charge. "Kicking balls away, talking back to referees, it's unacceptable now. I'm going to make sure that that doesn't happen again. If they get bookings then I'll be dealing with them personally."
Ferguson implored referees to show some leniency too. "I think some of them, the decisions are pretty poor," he said. "Surely you're allowed to talk to the referee and try and get some common sense on the decision, but if you're not allowed to do that and he's just pulling out cards 'cause you've just spoken to him, then that's crazy. The referees have got to try and talk to the players when they're on the park so they know what's going on."
While Sekulovski, Griffiths and Sterjovski are out for the Mariners game, the team will be boosted by the returns of Scott Neville and Josh Mitchell from suspension. However, Ferguson has some injury concerns as well that he hopes the extended rest will rectify, namely defenders Jamie Harnwell (calf) and Andy Todd (hip). Skipper Jacob Burns is also having treatment to a hip injury, while midfielder Adriano Pellegrino may also be a concern after receiving some physio work by the sidelines during Wednesday's light training session.
NTC A ‘CAPACITY BUILDING INVESTMENT’: KATRIS
The National Training Centre's entry into the 2011 Premier League is a step in the right direction for Paul Katris of the State League Standing Committee (SLSC). An agreement reached by the Premier League clubs recently will see the development of Western Australia's best young footballers fast-tracked courtesy of the NTC's participation in all three tiers of Premier League competition next winter. "The NTC is an elite football talent development program," Katris said. "In the absence of an established local 'Institute of Sport' equivalent, it behoves the WA football family to back the NTC's entry into the league."
"A capacity building investment in youth" is how Katris views the move. "It's goal is to fast track the development of the State's promising young footballers and give them an option of a free, nationally endorsed training and development model," he said. "We hope to see more young WA footballers playing at the highest level. The ultimate prize is a Socceroo cap and/or playing for high profile clubs overseas or in the A-League. If that doesn't happen then we will have some better developed talent to fill local club stocks."
Discussions for the NTC to come into the Premier League commenced shortly after the 2010 season came to a close. "The SLSC was asked by Football West to consider the inclusion of NTC sides in all three tiers of the Premier League in season 2011," he commented. "The NTC was involved in the 2010 Victorian Premier League in a similar format to what will be implemented here, and Queensland's eight club Super League included a development squad playing for points where they finished a respectable fifth."
A number of concerns were raised by the Premier League clubs as discussions around the NTC progressed. "These primarily surrounded the view of player drain on clubs, loss of revenue due to expected lower crowds, clarity on the status of dual registration and 'player ownership', whether matches with the NTC would result in the allocation of points, two extra fixtures to budget for in terms of ground preparation and player wages, potential transfer fee royalties and the watering down of current talent development academies," Katris explained.
Concerns were addressed and consensus eventually reached through a series of meetings over a two month period. "We met, we talked, argued a bit, disagreed a bit more and then repeated it all few more times at further meetings and via phone and email conversations until there was a majority view that we had a mutually acceptable format," explained Katris. "Lets face it - this is a just a start and no doubt the format will be modified."
Katris makes no secret that a number of clubs opposed bringing the NTC into the league next year. "The reality is that if it went to a vote there would not have been unanimous support for the concept – but a majority support would still have resulted," he said. "What happened was that the dissenting clubs dropped their vehemence out of the argument to put us in a position to take a 'leap of faith' for the sake of football talent development."
The support of those clubs with strong track records in the area of youth development was crucial in this process. "When the clubs with well established and recognised development academies swung their support behind this initiative the momentum towards the start-up model certainly increased," Katris explained. "Since these clubs potentially had the 'most to lose' their support, I feel, was crucial to the format getting up."
Fixtures with the NTC will be considered 'development rounds' with no league points on offer and clubs encouraged not to pay their players. "It is certainly a possibility that some clubs may send out less than their best eleven, and in 2011 it will be their prerogative to field whatever sides they wish as they do for every other fixture," said Katris. "But it won't be in the spirit of the initiative if very second rate teams are fielded against the NTC."
Katris is aware of unrest from Division One were the clubs were not directly part of the discussion. "The NTC will field teams in the Premier League so the debate was between the twelve clubs the reform would impact on most in 2011," he said. "Having said that, it is important to note that Division One is represented on the SLSC membership but we appreciate that extensive division-wide, club-by-club consultation was not undertaken."
The NTC model goes well beyond any youth development program previously attempted in WA according to Katris. "I don't think any of the local clubs can lay reliable claim to having a football elite development program under their auspices to the extent of what is being provided by the NTC," he said. "However, we need to acknowledge that many clubs and individual coaching regimes have been very successful in talent spotting and developing players who have moved on to higher stages."
The way by which various elements of the WA football community pulled together for the betterment of a strong future drew Katris' praise. "The passion for youth development shown by people like (NTC coach) Kenny Lowe and (Perth Glory Youth coach) Gareth Naven, the desire of the governing body and, ultimately, the support of the majority of the Premier League has given our young players the best chance possible of developing a high level of skill and game intelligence," he said.
MATILDA’S GROUPED WITH NORWAY, BRAZIL
Australia has landed a tricky draw for next year's Women's World Cup with former trophy winner Norway and football powerhouse Brazil among their opponents. Tom Sermanni's side will also play African newcomers Equatorial Guinea after being allocated a spot in Group D at last nights draw for the 16-nation event in Frankfurt. "I think we've drawn a tough group but I think Group A, C and D are all tough groups," said Sermanni, who led Australia to Asian Cup victory earlier this year. "If you look purely at the rankings Group B is probably the easier group on paper but at a World Cup all teams are difficult."
The Matildas faced drew with Norway in the group phase of the 2007 Women's World Cup before being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Brazil, who went on to win the tournament. "We've been competitive against both teams (Brazil and Norway) in the past but ultimately we were always going to have two tough teams in any group we were drawn in," added Sermanni. "We don't know a great deal about Equatorial Guinea but we don't play them until the second match so we've got time to have a look at them." The 2011 Women's World Cup will be played between 26 June and 17 July in Germany.
GLORY HOPEFUL OF KEEPING FOWLER
Perth Glory boss Tony Sage is hoping he can persuade veteran marksman Robbie Fowler to extend his contract for another season. Fowler has found the net seven times so far this season to sit jointly atop the A-League’s scorers table with Jean Carlos Solorzano (Brisbane Roar) and Paul Ifill (Wellington Phoenix), and Sage is keen on keeping him in Perth. “Robbie wants to keep playing for another year and the determining factor for in will be his family and where they want to be,” Sage told ‘The World Game’ website. “He wants to stay with us on personal level, however family considerations will come first and no decision has been made yet on that score.”
Fowler was recently linked with a player-coach role with English club MK Dons, who are coached by his friend Karl Robinson. The former England international is likely to decide his future when he heads back to England for a ten-day break following Glory’s home fixture with Adelaide United on 22 December. “He has done his job for us with seven goals and he’s also set up five. The fact that seven goals makes him joint top scorer is more an indictment on the A-League than it is on Robbie,” added Sage. “We’re not saying we will re-sign him but we certainly haven’t given up on achieving that outcome. He will talk to his family in January and a decision will be made.”
TWO SEE RED AS GLORY EARN A POINT
Perth Glory survived the second half dismissal of two players to eke out a 1-1 draw with North Queensland Fury this afternoon at Dairy Farmers Stadium. A crowd of 4,491 braved wet conditions to see former Liverpool player Robbie Fowler put Glory in front after 23 minutes, however, the visitors would play much of the second period with nine men following the dismissal of Naum Sekulovski then Brent Griffiths within minutes of each other. North Queensland made good use of their numerical advantage and with ten minutes remaining Mark Hughes secured a share of the points.
Fowler, playing against his former club for the first time, was denied what appeared to be a legitimate penalty after clumsily being brought to ground by Hughes in just the 6th minute. Shortly after it was Michael Baird that was taken down by Hughes, referee Kris Griffiths-Jones awarding a free-kick just outside the 18-yard box which Fowler curled past goalkeeper Justin Pasfield only for his effort to ricochet off the crossbar. Fowler got his just reward on 23 minutes by brilliantly heading in via the underside of the bar from a Baird cross.
North Queensland responded four minutes later, Tando Velpahi unable to take cleanly a Simon Storey cross which Gareth Edds flicked goalward where teenage debutant Josh Risdon cleared off the line. Fowler was denied moments later when he slammed a powerful, close-range shot straight into Pasfield’s stomach. David Williams narrowly missed the target at the opposite end on 31 minutes, while Dyron Daal blazed high under pressure from Jamie Coyne. Glory took the momentum into the break with Baird placing narrowly wide.
The second half opened with Glory on the attack and Fowler again having a penalty appeal dismissed despite being bowled over by Hughes. The games complexion was altered with the 50th minute red carding of Sekulovski for a second yellow card. North Queensland attempted to capitalise but Osama Malik nodded high before Velaphi was forced into a superb diving save to tip away a goalbound free-kick by Ufuk Talay. Glory found themselves another man down after 64 minutes with Griffiths was also issued a second booking.
Todd Howarth moved into the unfamiliar role of central defender as Glory gritted their teeth and set their defensive wall, placing everyone behind the ball as they attempted to hold on. The home side stepped up the tempo but Chris Payne’s effort was deflected wide while Edds and Williams both also missed the target. However, the sheer weight of numbers eventually overwhelmed the Glory defence nine minutes from time as Talay sent a corner to the far post where a totally unmarked Hughes nodded the past Velaphi.
GLORY FUMING AT REFEREE'S DECISIONS
Ian Ferguson and Robbie Fowler have blasted referee Kris Griffiths-Jones after his performance denied Perth Glory victory at North Queensland Fury. Fowler was lost for words after having two decent penalty shouts waved away by Griffiths-Jones during the 1-1 draw. "We had two blatant penalties," Fowler told Fox Sports. "The referee sometimes has to be held accountable and some of decisions at times were wrong … I think there were two stonewall penalties, I don't know what else to say. The referee is there to make a decision."
Ferguson was also disappointed by Griffith-Jones' decision to send off defender Brent Griffiths after he received a second booking for kicking the ball away after the whistle had been blown. "I think the sendings off, a bit of common sense here. Red cards are getting thrown about here," the coach said. "The boys showed a lot of bottle tonight … There's always been good spirit there, it's just the results have not been there. We'll take the point, not happy, but I thought the referee spoiled the game, we were one up and looking very comfortable."
DE VANNA INFLICTS INJURY-TIME HEARTBREAK
Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna grabbed a last-gasp winner to secure Brisbane Roar a 1-0 win against her former club, Perth Glory, in this afternoon’s W-league encounter at Perry Park. The match looked destined to end scoreless as Brisbane struggled to break down a disciplined visiting side, however, a moment of magic by substitute De Vanna just one minutes from the end was enough send the home fans into raptures. The result pushes Brisbane to within touching distance of league leaders Sydney FC, whereas Glory slip to second from bottom but only two points outside the top four.
An end-to-end first half had both teams battling hard without success to gain the upper hand in midfield. On 16 minutes Lana Harch had the crowd on the edge of their seats with a curling shot on the turn that went just wide. A partial clearance out of the Glory defence went only as far as Aivi Luik whose fierce low strike was straight at goalkeeper Tine Cederkvist. Glory’s first chance was a dipping Collette McCallum free-kick which Casey Dumont did well to gather. Clare Polkinghorne flashed a header across the face of goal on the half hour as Brisbane stepped up the search for the opening goal, however, the teams would enter the break locked at nil-all.
Glory coach John Gibson was forced to shuffle his line-up six minutes into the second half with Jaymee Gibbons suffering a serious ankle injury and replaced by Marianna Tabain. Harch looked to break the deadlock but Cederkvist smothered the danger, while a cheeky back-heel by Elise Kellond-Knight was also saved by the Glory custodian as Brisbane poured on the pressure. Jo Burgess’s shot from distance was well dealt with by Cederkvist before Sam Kerr’s attempt was comfortably saved by Dumont at the other end. De Vanna was not to be denied on her home debut, latching on to a Kellond-Knight through ball which she coolly slotted into the bottom corner to secure Brisbane the three points.
DON'T GIVE UP: SAGE
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has refused to write off the 2010/11 season despite the team’s dramatic spiral from early leadership to ninth place on the table. Sage said he had been bitterly disappointed with the turn of events over the past ten weeks as Glory lost eleven of thirteen games during the worst period in the club's history. But as coach Ian Ferguson prepared to lead the team against North Queensland Fury tomorrow, Sage said he would continue to back plans to bring in fresh faces to reinvigorate the campaign.
Ferguson is already looking at a possible replacement for injured Victor Sikora, while the club are also considering signing a guest player. The problem for Glory is the transfer window doesn’t open until January, by which stage their season could have only eight games left, although Sage remains positive about the team's finals prospects. "We've got five of the last seven games at home," Sage told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "Last season we lost only one game at home and if we get everyone firing and we can regain that form, we can still make it (into the finals)."
Ferguson moved from assistant to head coach just before Glory's last trip to Townsville, where they were beaten 2-1. That bad start has turned into a nightmare with Glory claiming just four points from Ferguson's nine games in charge to date. Making matters worse, the coach faces a player shortage as injuries and suspensions take their toll at the end of a gruelling period on which they've played eight times in 30 days. "Brisbane have been through the same sort of period and they are top of the league, so I'm not going to make excuses," Ferguson said.
NEW-LOOK NIGHT SERIES TO SHAKE THINGS UP
The Bam Creative Night Series is back and bigger than ever with more teams entering the fray to stop Perth SC's dominance of the pre-season tournament. 2011 will see an Nights Series with Division One sides Bunbury Forum Force, Forrestfield United, Wanneroo City and Swan United joining the twelve Premier League clubs. "The Night Series format has been altered to include Division One clubs to give their Premier League rivals a huge pre-season test," enthused Peter Hugg, chief executive of Football West.
The sixteen teams have been drawn into four qualifying groups with the opening round of games fixtured across the weekend of 14/15/16 January 2011. Group games will be played at Alfred Skeet Reserve, Hyundai Stadium (Mandurah), Macedonia Park and Percy Doyle Reserve. The quarter-finals have been split between Litis Stadium and 6PR Stadium (Inglewood), with the latter also host venue for the semi-finals. The tournament finale and minor place play-off will take place on Saturday 19 February at Dorrien Gardens.
GILL NAMED ASIA’S TOP PLAYER
Katie Gill has capped a superb twelve months for club and country by being crowned the AFC Women’s Player of the Year. The Perth Glory Women striker was a key figure in Australia’s successful Women’s Asian Cup campaign, scoring the goal which booked the Matilda’s place at next year’s Women’s World Cup, before putting taking out the Golden Boot at the recent Peace Queen Cup. “I am very humbled. It’s great just to be nominated but to win is, yeah, very humbling,” said 25-yeatr old Gill.
Gill, who international scoring spree has been matched at club level with Malmo (Sweden) and Perth Glory, paid tribute to the Matildas’ long-serving coach Tom Sermanni. “It has been a great 2010 for the Matildas - winning the Asian Cup and of course qualifying for the World Cup next year,” comment Gill. “As players we have grown with Tom as Tom has grown as a coach. He respects the players and in turn the players respect him. He knows how to bring out the best in the players.”
Australia made a clean sweep of the major individuals awards with newly capped Socceroo Sasa Ognenovski named the Player of the Year, while the Matilda’s were installed as the Women’s National Team of the Year. Additionally, Australia’s commitment to social development through football was recognised with the inaugural Dream Asia Award. The Men’s National Team of the Year was taken out by Japan, while South Korea’s Seongnam Ilhwa picked up the Club of the Year.
WILCOX TO LEAD BUNBURY INTO 2011
Division One club Bunbury Forum Force has shown their faith in Welshman Nigel Wilcox by handing him the coaching reins for season 2011. The first week in the job has been extremely busy for Wilcox, a former East Fremantle Tricolore player, as he prepares to take Bunbury one place higher than runners-up gained last season. “I’m extremely pleased on my appointment as senior coach,” said Wilcox, who picks up from where Gary Mayers left off. “The first week has been a busy one contacting players, and organising interviews with prospective assistant coaching staff.”
Wilcox believes Bunbury can once again be in the promotion mix despite the absence of some of last seasons’ key players. “I am still confident we have enough talent to have a real crack at it,” Wilcox said. “It will be a difficult task, especially with the loss of Paddy Quinn (overseas) and Dave Rodgers, who is hinting at retirement. But this league is so tight it should make for an interesting season. I believe the English lads - Jordan Rispon, Neil Chappell and Oliver McGee - will stay on board, they gave us a great lift last season.”
Under Wilcox’s guidance Bunbury’s Under-18 side claimed second in their league last season and the new senior coach feels several of those youngsters have what it takes to be first team players in the not too distant future. “I had a talented group of players in the 18’s last season, and I was very pleased with their performance level,” commented Wilcox. “A couple of players have the potential to play league in the future. They will get their chance in 2011 if they continue to improve.” Wilcox moved to Western Australia in 1990 and since hanging up his playing boots has coached south west club Eaton and with the South West Phoenix academy.
FERGUSON STRUGGLING FOR NUMBERS
A gruelling schedule continues to take its toll on Perth Glory with coach Ian Ferguson struggling to field a team for Sunday's game against North Queensland Fury. Andy Todd (hip), Jamie Harnwell (calf), Scott Neville (suspended), Josh Mitchell (suspended), Chris Coyne (on loan) and Victor Sikora (hip) are already confirmed as missing the trip to Townsville, while Naum Sekulovski (groin), Jamie Coyne (hip) and Mile Sterjovski (flu) are in a race against time to prove their fitness. The past month has been demanding on Glory, who has played eight times with visits to Sydney (twice), Adelaide, Brisbane and now Townsville.
Ian Ferguson, coach of the A-League's most travelled team, concedes his players are feeling the pinch. "It's not been easy on the lads," Ferguson said. "Other clubs are in a similar position with games played but the extra distance we have to travel makes it extremely difficult on the players. We have a lot of very tired bodies and the Fury game will be another big challenge because right now I'm sure if we'll have enough fit players." One positive Glory can take from their season to date is that Robbie Fowler's six goals have him on top of the A-League goal scorers leader board.
LOWRY ON THE CUSP OF BREAKING THROUGH
Aston Villa reserves captain Shane Lowry feels he is on the brink of a first team breakthrough. A string of injuries in the side ranks opened the door for Lowry, 21, to be called up for recent Premier League games against Manchester United and Blackpool. “It has been really good,” Lowry told avfc.co.uk. “I started the season being completely out of the picture, training with the reserves and I was thinking I need a loan move and I need games under my belt. But there has been a backlog of injuries (and) I am delighted to get an opportunity to get on the bench and get in and around the first team. Hopefully I can stay in there, training with them and catching the manager’s eye.”
GLORY COME UP SHORT IN BRISBANE
Perth Glory’s season of woe continued this evening with a 3-2 loss at Brisbane Roar where the visitors finished with only nine men on the park. In an excitement-filled contest, Brisbane’s dominance saw Jean Carlos Solorzano score once in each half with Matthew Smith grabbing the remainder. Glory’s two goals were very much against the run of play with Robbie Fowler and Adrian Pellegrino the scorers. The late dismissals of Scott Neville and Josh Mitchell for crude tackles as the last line of defence served to rub salt into the wound as Glory slumped to their eleventh loss in thirteen games.
The opening passages were poor with Brisbane’s hurried approach falling apart in the final third, whereas Glory failed to initiate any meaningful attacks of their own. Glory was dealt an early blow with Naum Sekulovski limping out of the game injured after only 13 minute. As Thomas Broich and Massimo Murdocca began to spark, Brisbane’s slick passing put them in control. The breakthrough arrived on 41 minutes when a superb interchange between had Murdocca find the feet of Broich, he played to Kosta Barbarouses whose through ball allowed Solorzano who put away his fourth goal of the season.
Tando Velaphi prevented Brisbane from doubling their advantage in the 50th minute, the Glory custodian blocking a Matt McKay shot then coming up with an even better save to deny Murdocca’s follow-up. But the home fans had to wait only another eight minutes before Smith put a powerful header past Velaphi from a Broich corner. Brisbane looked set to run away with the game, however, the introduction of Fowler and Pellegrino breathed new life into the visitors. 66 minutes were on the clock when Fowler slotted in a penalty awarded for handball against Luke DeVere.
Neville received his marching orders with fourteen minutes to go for a crude foul from behind on Solorzano, who dusted himself off to make no mistake with the resultant penalty kick. Down to ten and with Brisbane turning up the heat, Glory defied the momentum for the second time with Pellegrino’s stunning shot from 25-metres flying into the top corner. The action kept coming and in stoppage time referee Matthew Gillett had absolutely no choice but to send off Mitchell after deliberately taking Reinaldo down on the edge of the area.
‘HOME OF FOOTBALL’ IN JEOPARDY
A small group of Mount Hawthorn residents are threatening to derail the redevelopment of Litis Stadium. In late August Football West submitted a proposal to the Town of Vincent to upgrade facilities at Litis Stadium with the goal of centralising all aspects of the game's administration and coaching as well as provide a quality venue for major games. However, a local resident’s group with a core membership of about one dozen are opposing the proposal on the basis of increased traffic and ‘rowdy’ behaviour.
Although the Town of Vincent have clearly stated the redevelopment will not increase Litis Stadium’s capacity from its existing 4,000 limit, residents group representative Graham Lantzke is unconvinced. “They are saying there will be no increase in usage but no one is going to invest $15 million in new facilities and then not use them,” Lantzke told ‘the Voice’ newspaper. “They haven’t even done a traffic impact statement … that would be a matter of course for any proposal like this.”
John Giorgi, chief executive for the Town of Vincent, said there’s very good reason for that. “No studies have been carried out until the council considers the submissions from the community consultation,” Giorgi commented, who emphasised the project would gain his backing only if there is no extra costs to ratepayers. “If the council resolves to progress the master plans, all the necessary studies will be carried out before any works are undertaken.”
Suggestions more games would be played at a redeveloped Litis Stadium were quickly shot down by Football West chief executive Peter Hugg. “It’s not envisioned that they’ll be competitive games,” said Hugg, who feels there is a lot of misinformation about what his organisation have planned. “The Litis Stadium will be used by our junior representative teams/squads for training under our high performance program and as part of our National Training Centre commitment to the FFA.”
The Litis Stadium redevelopment proposes a new ‘Home of Football’ complex that brings together Football West, Perth Glory and the WA Football Hall of Fame. It’s proposed the playing arena be replaced by a FIFA approved artificial surface, four new dressing rooms constructed along with match official rooms and other competition management offices. A lighting upgrade and improved spectator facilities complete the redevelopment of the main arena.
SIKORA OUT FOR THE SEASON
Perth Glory midfielder Victor Sikora will miss the remainder of the season after being forced to undergo further surgery on a chronic hip injury. Sikora hasn't played since injuring his hip last December, and although he returned to training last month the former Dutch international succumbed to some minor problems necessitating surgery last Friday. Glory are hoping to bring in an injury replacement for Sikora but coach Ian Ferguson concedes that is easier said than done. "It's very difficult to get somebody in just now 'cause the FFA won't allow you to get somebody who's with another club, they'll only allow you, if the player is out of contract and at the moment it's very difficult to try (and find someone like) that," Ferguson commented.
FFA TO CONDUCT NATIONAL COMPETITION REVIEW
Football Federation Australia has launched a National Competition Review aimed at aligning all levels of competition for the first time. The review will look at all aspects of the competitions conducted by FFA, the Member Federations and State League clubs around Australia. "This is a great opportunity to get the entire competitive football community working together for the best outcome for all," said ben Buckley, chief executive of FFA. "We have a huge number of participants in so many fantastic competitions and the challenge for us is to get them structured so that there are defined pathways for junior and senior footballers of all levels."
Buckley said the National Competition Review would be a forum to push greater co-operation among all stakeholders for the betterment of competitive football and football development. "Football will only reach its full potential when all of the stakeholders in the game are pushing in the same direction," he added. "Once we get it right we will be able to better underpin the Hyundai A-League, lay the foundation for a National Cup Competition and potentially for a future second tier competition framework below the Hyundai A-League."
Representatives of the Member Federations, State League clubs and the FFA football development and A-League departments will be involved in the review. The terms of reference includes reviewing the Member Federation competition structures from the top State League competition to the Under 12 level; proposal preferred models from Member Federations covering competition, development, financial aspects, to seek the best option for a second tier national competition and include criteria for leagues to adopt; and financial analysis of models. The NCR will report on the current structure, produce a discussion paper and recommendations by late February 2011.
GLORY’S LACK OF DEFENSIVE DEPTH EXPOSED
Perth Glory's has season lurched towards a new crisis with coach Ian Ferguson strapped for defensive options ahead of this weeks games at Brisbane Roar and North Queensland Fury. The late red carding of 20-year old Brent Griffiths in yesterday's 2-0 loss to Sydney FC has compounded the absence of veteran pair Andy Todd and Jamie Harnwell, who both missed the game through injury. Todd remained in Perth after suffering a small tear in his upper thigh at training on Friday, while Harnwell made the trip east despite aggravating a calf in that same session. The only bright spot on the horizon for Ferguson is the return from suspension of right back Scott Neville for Wednesday's game in Brisbane.
GILL NOMINATED FOR ASIA’S TOP PRIZE
Perth Glory Women striker Katie Gill is in the running for the AFC Women's Player of the Year. Gill, who also short-listed for the award in 2007, will go head-to-head with trophy holder Homare Sawa (Japan) and DPR Korea midfielder Jo Yun-mi for this year's award. "I just think that whole year has been quite successful to the say the least and I have just really enjoyed my football this year," said Gill, who was surprised to be nominated for the award. "It's all just seem to come at once and everything has just clicked and worked for me, I am just hoping to stay at the top and just keep improving."
I’M NOT LEAVING: FOWLER
Marquee signing Robbie Fowler denies he is set to leave Perth Glory early in the new year after reports in the English press linked him with a coaching role at second tier club MK Dons. Karl Robinson, Dons manager, said Fowler work with his club as a forwards coach from February before suggesting the 35-year-old striker would hang up his boots to take on the coaching role. "That's obviously a load of tosh," responded Fowler. "My contracts not over until March anyway so whatever happens after that doesn't really concern anyone. I'm in Perth until the end of my contract."
Fowler said he was not planning to call an end to his glittering playing career just yet, but did not rule out taking on a coaching role in the near future. "I'm dreading the day I've got to retire," the one-time England international added. "Football's the only thing I've ever done and I want to play for as long as I can. Coaching or managing is probably the next step. You're still in and around the club environment, still around the players. When you're with a load of lads and players every day for twenty years, to just suddenly stop would be a nightmare."
PREMIER LEAGUE GROWS TO THIRTEEN WITH INCLUSION OF NTC
The National Training Centre has been given the green light to compete in an expanded thirteen-team Premier League next season. A meeting of Premier League club presidents on Wednesday agreed to bring the NTC into the all three tiers of competition - first team, reserves and youth - on a one-year trial basis. It's a move that aligns the local game with the National Curriculum, which highlights the need for identified players to be in professional, high intensity playing and training environments for eleven or twelve months of the year in order to maximise their potential.
Don Evans, spokesperson for the presidents, said the decision was the end result of extensive discussion between the stakeholders and Football West. "After two months of constructive and, at times, robust debate by the eleven member working party it was decided that for the progress of the code, and in particular the development of the talented youth in our state, that the NTC would be welcomed into the league," Evans said. "We had our concerns but when looking at the bigger picture the president's realised it was time to put the progress of the code before the progress of their clubs."
Players in the NTC program and the State League clubs will see benefits from this move according to Evans. "We see a win-win here as Kenny Lowe and Gareth Naven have proven that the boys and girls they have had under their wing do become better equipped semi-professional footballers in the intensive training environment they provide," added Evans. "The clubs will benefit with the NTC looking to assist clubs in developing their coaching staff and passing on programs which will help clubs better develop their home grown players. This leap of faith is being done for the good of the game and every president that was in attendance supported the plan for implementation in 2011."
The NTC's admission in the 2011 Premier League makes it a thirteen team competition, necessitating each club have two byes in the home and away series. It's proposed NTC games will be promoted as development rounds and that no league points will be on offer for either team, and therefore the NTC will be ineligible for relegation. As the NTC is a representative side and dual registration applies, players will be available for their parent club when not required by the NTC. A mid-year review will be held to assess any amendments put forward by the clubs, FW or FFA in regards to the NTC's future in the State League.
BROSQUE LATE SHOW TOO GOOD FOR GLORY
A couple of goals in the closing stages clinched a valuable 2-0 win for Sydney FC over a ten-man Perth Glory in this afternoon's A-League contest at Parramatta Stadium. A lacklustre game appeared headed towards a scoreless draw until Shannon Cole fired the home side ahead after being set-up by Alex Brosque, who a few minutes later sealed victory. Adding to Glory's woes was a final minute red card to defender Brent Griffiths for his lunging tackle on Brosque.
The ball hadn't been in motion a minute when Jacob Burns' free-kick was met by an unmarked Baird, whose header appeared to have crossed the line before Sydney captain Terry McFlynn hooked it to safety and play was allowed to continue. A few minutes later McFlynn let fly a thunderous drive that Tando Velaphi did well to punch away. This end-to-end football was never going to last in the energy-sapping conditions and the game slowly degenerated into a long ball contest with quality going out the window and creativity taking a back seat.
Glory enjoyed the better of second half possession but struggled to create much in the final third. Hayden Foxe blocked Naum Sekulovski's goalbound shot, and later Baird wasted a good opportunity after intercepting a poor pass by Cole. Sydney's perseverance was rewarded when they exposed a tired Glory defence twice in the space of six minutes. Brosque orchestrated the breakthrough on 75 minutes by sliding a superb pass through the visiting defence for Cole to send into the net. Soon after Japanese import Hirofumi Moriyasu released Brosque, who casually skipped past the advancing Velaphi before firing into an empty net.
DE VANNA BACK AMONGST THE GOAL
Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna scored on her return from a broken leg as Brisbane Roar kick-started their W-League campaign with a 4-0 win away at Newcastle Jets. De Vanna, scorer of four goals at the 2007 Women's World Cup, had been out of action for six months with the broken leg she sustained in Australia's successful run to the Asian crown. Lana Harch fired Brisbane into an early lead with Tameka Butt doubling their advantage midway through half. Harch took the margin to three goals before De Vanna came of the bench to earn, then convert a 72nd minute penalty in front of national coach Tom Sermanni.
TOMBIDES SHOOTS DOWN GUNNERS
Australia youth international Dylan Tombides scored the only goal of the game as West Ham United defeated Arsenal 1-0 this evening in the FA Premier Academy League. Tombides, a former junior of Stirling Lions, finished a flowing move down the right flank to earn the young Hammers their third win of the season. "It was our best performance of the season," said academy director Tony Carr. "Our goal was superb. It was a good move down the right-hand side, George Moncur played in Blair Turgott and he squared for Dylan, who controlled and drilled a right-foot shot into the net." West Ham are placed eighth in the ten-team FA Premier Academy League Group A led by Norwich City.
WALMSLEY STRIKE SEES OFF SKY BLUES
Perth Glory Youth held on to record a gritty 1-0 victory over Sydney FC this afternoon at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. Sydney controlled the tempo for much of the game but their failure to convert was punished shortly before half-time when Stephen Walmsley found the back of the net. The opening chance came the way of the home side with Joel Chianese's cross finding Kofi Danning bit his header fell harmlessly into the hands of Alex Pearson. Sydney's high tempo play and swift movement continually had the Glory defence stretched and Chianese was unlucky not to give them the lead when his shot rifled into the post.
Pearson made a fine save to keep out shot on the run by Blake Powell, who followed this by spraying a couple of efforts wide of the target. The tide began to turn as the half came to a close with a Dean Evans header diffused by Sydney goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell. Glory grabbed the lead on 41 minutes when Anthony Skorich linked to terrific effect with Walmsley who, unmarked and deep inside the 18-yard box, had little trouble hitting the back of the net. There was still time for the visitors to threaten again with Skorich's first time shot rattling the crossbar, much to the relief of Mitchell.
Sydney created the first chance of the second period but replacement 'keeper Tim Doyle calmly claimed a Powell header. Sebit Oyet had a golden opportunity to extend Glory's lead on 54 minutes when his angled strike stretched Mitchell. Substitute Justin Hayward should have equalised but instead scuffed a close-range effort wide, then not long after his powerful header forced a world-class save from Doyle. Both sides went close in the final minutes, Chianese thwarted by Doyle before Billy Quinncroft stroked agonisingly wide after getting on the end of a ball over the defence.
GLORY NAME EXPANDED SQUAD THREE-GAME ROAD TRIP
Ian Ferguson will take an expanded twenty-player squad to Sydney tomorrow as Perth Glory embarks on a three-game spell that could determine their finals hopes. Glory plays Sydney FC on Sunday before venturing to Brisbane Roar on Wednesday and North Queensland Fury next Sunday. Ferguson is mindful of the impact three games in eight days will have on his players and expects to draw on all members of the travelling party. "It's a gruelling time for us," said the coach. "We've got to go there and try and pick up points and be positive. And I think we have been positive in the last three of four games and it's been very noticeable."
LIONS BRING O'CALLAGHAN BACK TO THE DEN
Stirling Lions have made their first signing for season 2011 with State striker Phil O'Callaghan returning to Macedonia Park after a years absence. O'Callaghan's knack for putting the ball in the back of the net earned the 23-year old back-to-back Golden Boot awards in 2008 and 2009, the later as a Stirling player. He rejoins the club after a year with ECU Joondalup for whom he bagged 17 goals in all competitions.
Paul Lincoln, coach of Stirling, is thrilled to have a scorer of O'Callaghan's calibre on board. "Phil is an out an out and out striker who knows how to finish and we could have done with him last year," said Lincoln, who took Stirling to second in the league and victory on Cup Final day in his first season at the helm. "His work rate is first class and he is deadly when it most counts."
Stirling president Don Evans welcomed O'Callaghan, scorer of seven goals in eight appearance during his previous stint at the club, back to the Lions' den. "Phil saved our bacon is 2009 and the fans loved him as he knew how to finish from limited opportunities," commented Evans. "His return is a massive boost to our clubs aspirations to win the league title as he joins a squad brimming with quality and talent."
O'Callaghan's signing comes as Ludovic Boi, Phil Arnold, Mario Marcinko and team captain Shane Robinson consider playing options elsewhere in Australia and Asia. "Phil is the first of a number of talented local players we are targeting in the hope that we can go one better next season," explained Evans. "The fans and board have a taste for success and we won't let our supporters' expectations down."
Like last season, Stirling's key strength will be in the defensive third with confirmation imports Jason Gavin, Bobby Wilson and Scott Muirhead along with home grown product Michael Pugliese have committed to basing themselves at Macedonia Park to 2011. Stirling Lions have applied to be host venue for part of the new season Night Series scheduled to begin in mid-January.
DREAM COMES TRUE FOR VILLA'S HERD
Aston Villa's Chris Herd has described his English Premier League debut as "a dream come true". Herd, 21, was handed his first top flight appearance last weekend when he came off the bench late against in his clubs draw with Manchester United. "It was five minutes of just running around really," joked the 21-year old. "But to be involved was unbelievable. It has always been my dream to play in the Premier League, so it was a dream come true. It was a good result - 2-2 against Man United. We'd have taken that before the game. The guys did brilliantly."
This brief taste of senior action has left Herd wanting more. He admits the success of Marc Albrighton, Barry Bannan and Ciaran Clark - who he has played alongside on many occasions at reserve and youth level - has offered great inspiration. "When you see that it kicks you on even more," Herd said. "You see players you play with day in, day out with playing well in the Premier League. You just want to go in there yourself and do it as well. It is a bonus to see that and then come out and show them what you can do."
Herd was back on reserve duty in Monday night's goalless draw against West Ham United. He was pleased to get 90 minutes under his belt after missing the first three months of the season through injury. "I was loving it," added Herd. "It is hard when you are out watching the games. You just want to get out there but you can't. You've just got to be patient and when you get your chance to play again, you've got to give everything you've got and appreciate it. I think it was a tough game for both teams. It was a bit scrappy and the pitch didn't help but it was a good result."
WARD READY TO SPARK
Attacking midfielder Nick Ward is hoping to provide the spark needed to get Wellington Phoenix's season back on track. With Tim Brown missing this weekend's game with Newcastle Jets due to suspension, coach Rikki Herbert is likely to inject Ward, who has rarely been sighted in the past month, into Phoenix's first eleven. Ward was taken off just after half-time in last months draw with Melbourne Heart, made brief appearances off the bench Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar before an off-field issue saw him left behind for the clubs' last two outings.
Ward, 25, believes his performances earlier in the season, which included scoring a stunning long-range winner on debut against Sydney FC, prove he has what it takes to lift a team that has scored just twice in four games. "I think I did that when I played in the other games. There is no reason why I couldn't bring that to the team again," Ward said. "I will definitely be going out there to feed the strikers and get forward myself as well. I'm just looking forward to having a good game."
Ward refused to go into details of why Herbert dropped him for the recent trip to Perth Glory, confirming only that his absence was not due to injury. "I don't want to go into it. He made the decision not to take me. He decided he didn't need me for that trip," said Ward, who also missed last weekend match with Central Coast Mariners. "I've been disappointed to be left out the last few weeks. I'm ready for anything. I came over here to play. I didn't come over here to sit around so I'm ready to get on there and help us get three points."
SOCCEROOS FAIL TO IMPRESS IN EGYPT
A lacklustre Australia surrendered 3-0 to Egypt on their first visit to Cairo overnight. Strikes from Ahmed Abdul-Zaher, Mohamed Nagy and Mohamed Zidan extended the African champions unbeaten home run to fifteen games, and condemned the Socceroos to their first loss under coach Holger Osieck. "When you have a negative experience you cannot be too happy," said Osieck. "We did not find our game, the way we wanted to play and some players, probably the travel, the short notice, the last players arrived 24 hours before the game. It is normal there is a lack of freshness and it should not be an excuse but circumstances were not ideal."
The Socceroos held a slight advantage early on, however, they the lacked energy and inventiveness required to seriously test the home defence. Tim Cahill failed to make the most of a golden opportunity on 25 minutes, sprayed wide after being played in by Brett Holman. That miss was punished four minutes later when Ahmed Abdul Zaher latched onto a blocked shot and steered the ball past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. With this the momentum swung in Egypt's favour and Australia were effectively put out of the hunt.
Egypt's domination was reaped a second goal just before the hour when substitute Mohamed Nagy drilled in a fine cross from the right by Ahmed Elmehamady. The game then fizzled out somewhat and the Socceroos were fairly unimpressive through the remainder of the match. Salt was rubbed into Australia's wound in the final minute when Lucas Neill was harshly ruled to have fouled Nagy inside the penalty box, and from the spot Mohamed Zidan made it three-nil. Richard Garcia came off the bench in the 34th minute as replacement for an injured Brett Emerton.
BURNS A FAN OF NEVILLE
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns rates team mate Scott Neville one of the A-League's rising stars. Neville, a former Sorrento player, has been one of few Glory players who've stood up to be counted during what has been a very tough couple of months for the club, leading Burns to sing his praises. "Scott Neville has impressed me the most at Perth Glory," said Burns. "I really think Scott has come of age this season, especially since he was picked in the Australian under-23 team. He is a confident young player who gives us great energy and definitely one of the league's young stars."
GARCIA SAYS IT’S TIME FOR HULL TO BUILD
Hull City must use an uplifting run as their platform for an overdue push up the Championship table according to attacker Richard Garcia. The Tiger’s bleak season has been given a timely injection of optimism in the past week with encouraging news on and off the pitch. An impending takeover by millionaire Assem Allam, who is expected to take control of the club before the end of the month, has been followed by a share of the points away at Leeds United and the weekend’s defeat of Preston North End, where Garcia scored one and set up another in a 2-0 win..
Friday’s victory over Preston ended a run of eight games without a win and helped Hull clamber out of the bottom three. “We can’t just say we’ve had two good results and leave it at that,” said Garcia. “We have to keep striving to be better every game. We’re a fairly new bunch of guys and we’re still feeling each other out in the way we play. I’m sure we’ll keep improving week-in and week-out. Preston was a positive for us and now it’s about building on it and putting a run together.”
A power switch from current owner Russell Bartlett to Allam will provide the club the stability to rebuild back towards the Premier League. “It’s always hard when there’s big upheaval at a club,” said Garcia, who watched as Hull dumped manager Phil Brown before selling off players to reduce club debts. “There was a lot of changes here over the summer. It’s taken us a bit longer than we’d have liked to find the form we’re after but if we keep working hard, we’ll keep progressing.”
CLUBS TO DECIDE NTC FUTURE
The National Training Centre's entry into next seasons' State League will be the topic of hot debate when the Premier League club presidents meet tomorrow evening at Dorrien Gardens. In line with Football Federation Australia's National Curriculum, its been proposed the NTC squads compete in the 2011 Premier League season at first team, reserves and youth levels.
The idea of having a youth development squad playing in the state's top flight isn't anything new. "It's been on the agenda for the past two or three years and presented to the clubs but little has progressed," said Football West chief executive Peter Hugg. "FFA wrote to us, in fact they wrote to every state federation and mandated they we bring the NTC into the Premier League next year."
In response to this, Football West called together the Premier League club presidents to discuss the national directive, possible solutions and to hear from everyone the various implications of implementation. "We said 'this is what is happening' and they, quite understandably reacted negatively," said Hugg, whose organisation also had its concerns. "We said to the clubs that whilst the FFA was telling us that we needed to do it, it was up to us to come up with our own solution as to how to achieve this."
That solution will be revealed on Wednesday. "The club presidents will be presented a proposal that has been developed by their representatives, that reflects and hopefully addresses many of the club's concerns from an implementation perspective," Hugg commented. "It covers who can play including selection, release and substitution of players, where and when games will be played, whether its two or three teams, training compensation from future transfers, will they play for points, whether relegation will apply and so forth."
The National Curriculum highlights the need for identified players to be experiencing first team football by their late teens. "For players to fully develop they need to be in a high intensity and highly professional playing and training environment eleven to twelve months of the year," said Hugg. "It is the FFA's strong view that we can achieve that with the NTC in the State League during winter, with the appropriately aged players continuing their development over summer with Perth Glory in the National Youth League. We currently have them training together, this next step is to provide a competitive match on the weekend."
Ultimately, the National Curriculum exists to provide identified players a clear pathway to professional football, which includes representing Australia at the highest levels. "The World Cup in 2022 is where everyone is looking at the moment and the players representing Australia at that time will be in their mid-to-late 20s," explained Hugg. "If you take twelve years from that date then those players are now 14 to 19 years of age and in the NTC programs around the country. Hopefully in 2022, we will see the fruits of this work and watch with pride as a number of WA boys represent Australia in a World Cup on home soil."
MUNRO CONFIRMED AS GLORY ASSISTANT
Former Glasgow Rangers defender Stuart Munro has accepted the assistant coach role at Perth Glory. Munro joined former team mate and Ian Ferguson on the sidelines for the first time on Sunday when Glory ended a ten-game winless run by downing Melbourne Victory 3-1. "I wish I could say I was the lucky charm but maybe in ten games time if we can still say it, that would be great," said Munro, who feels the tide has slowly been turning Glory's favour. "Results hadn't improved but you could see more from the players recently ... they had that little bit of lady luck on their shoulders to give them a kick start (against Melbourne)."
Munro, who coached Gippsland, Carlton and South Melbourne in the old National Soccer League, has taken temporary leave from his job as head of Rowville Sports Academy's soccer department in Victoria to fill the Glory post until the end of the season. Glory Youth coach Gareth Naven turned down an opportunity to join the senior team while former Australian Institute of Sport head Steve O'Connor and local trio Graham Normanton, Trevor Morgan and Julio Moreno were also in the mix. However, A-League regulations stipulate that the assistant must have an 'A' coaching licence.
LAZARIDIS WANTS GLORY JOB
Western Australia's most successful footballer, Stan Lazaridis, says he is willing to do his bit to get Perth Glory back to the pinnacle of the Australian league. Lazaridis, capped 60 times by Australia at 'A' level, recognises he is not qualified to coach Glory but has put his hand up nonetheless help rebuild his former club. "I'd love to be involved with the club in some sort of role," said Lazaridis, who played his final two seasons with Glory. "Helping the club, working in the background with (owner) Tony Sage, is something I'd be keen to do if Glory wanted me to."
In a professional career that spanned 16-seasons Lazaridis played over 400 senior games in England and Australia. He makes no secret that he would like the director of football role that former coach David Mitchell was recently moved into. "Getting involved in the backroom and with the team is something that I'd definitely look to, but obviously, this year Dave Mitchell is in that role that I would like to do," said Lazaridis. "There are people here in WA, and a lot of past players, who are hurting and the bridge at the moment, I can't see the other side."
HERD MAKES PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT
Chris Herd became just the fourth West Australian to play in England's top flight by turning out overnight for Aston Villa. Herd, 21, made his Premier League debut as an 89th minute replacement for Jonathan Hogg in his clubs 2-2 home draw with Manchester United. He joins Stan Lazaridis, Richard Garcia and Brad Jones as the only local products to reach England’s highest stage. Villa's other West Australian, 21-year old Shane Lowry, was an unused substitute for the game.
Herd played locally for ECU Joondalup and Bayswater City prior to taking up a Youth Training Scheme deal with Villa in February 2005. In the past two years he has enjoyed loan spells with Port Vale, where his English league debut arrived against Millwall in January 2008, Wycombe Wanderers and Lincoln City for a combined total of 37 appearances. Herd represented Australia at last year's FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt.
FOWLER HAT-TRICK REVIVES GLORY
Robbie Fowler lifted the gloom around Perth Glory with a hat-trick to help his team to a 3-1 win against Melbourne Victory this afternoon at Perth Oval. Fowler opened the scoring early in the first half then added two more goals in the space of seven minutes after the break to end Glory's ten-game run without victory. "Its nice scoring goals but the most important thing is the three points," said Fowler after the game. "As the gaffer said, we've been a lot better in the last few weeks but I think today we've taken it to Melbourne and deserved the win." Despite the win Glory remain in eighth position on the A-League table, but now only a couple of points outside the top six.
There were chances at both ends of the park in a lively opening. Glory went first with Fowler's first time effort superbly saved by goalkeeper Michael Petkovic, and soon after Archie Thompson's angled strike was taken at the second attempt by Tando Velaphi. With 13 minutes on the clock referee Chris Beeth has no hesitation pointing to the penalty spot after Fowler was bundled over by Rodrigo Vargas. Petkovic guessed correctly to block the spot kick by Fowler but was unable to prevent the former England international from firing in the rebound, much to the relief of the Glory faithful.
Melbourne would have been back on level terms after 34 minutes if not for Velaphi who was at full-stretch in keeping out Marvin Angulo's shot after meeting a Thompson cross. A few minute minutes passed before the visitors threatened again, this time Carlos Hernandez sent clear Angulo who, after getting the better of Jamie Harnwell, blasted narrowly wide. Glory ended the half strongly and Jacob Burns sent a 20-metre half-volley narrowly wide. Shortly after Fowler's through ball released Scott Neville who cut past Kevin Muscat only to have Petkovic block his shot.
Glory carried on where they had left off after the break and deservedly grabbed their second goal nine minutes in, Neville drilling in a low cross from the right which Fowler swept first time past Petkovic at the near post. The small crowd of 6, 217 were back on their feet on the hour when Fowler completed his hat-trick by racing onto Adriano Pellegrino's superb pass out of midfield which he they despatched into the net from 6-metres. Glory could have been forgiven for then going into their shell and defending the two-goal lead, however, they entertained no such thoughts and continued the search for goals.
Fowler and Pellegrino combined to set-up Neville but his shot from 10-metres was tipped over the crossbar by Petkovic. Jamie Coyne then joined the attack by playing a neat one-two with Fowler, but failed to make a decent connection with the return pass with only Petkovic to beat. Melbourne, to their credit, refused to concede the game and with eleven minutes to go claimed a consolation goal when Diogo Ferreira picked out substitute Mate Dugandzic, who made no mistake with a close-range finish at the far post. Fowler could have ended with another goal but dragged just wide after fine approach work by Tommy Amphlett.
GLORY YOUTH GO DOWN IN A SEVEN-GOAL THRILLER
A controversial late goal has seen Melbourne Victory come from behind to win a thrilling National Youth League clash 4-3 against home team Perth Glory Youth. In a topsy-turvy affair, Glory were stunned after just a minute by a David Stirton goal, however, quick replies from Storm Roux and Harry O'Brien had the home team in front inside twenty minutes. Melbourne levelled through Damir Lokvancic but it was Glory that went into the break with the advantage with first team player Branko Jelic the scorer. Second half finishes by James Ricciuti and Luke O'Dea ensured victory for the visitors, who leapfrogged Glory into second on the National Youth League table.
In a thrilling opening, Andrija Jukic forced visiting goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei into a smart save just seconds after kick-off. The ball was quickly relayed to the other end where Stirton ran through a static defence and onto the ball that he drilled past Alex Pearson. Perth responded with intent and on 6 minutes Roux levelled the affair with a lofted cross/shot from distance which the back-tracking 'keeper captured but carried over the line and into the net. Sahr Musa celebrated his promotion to the starting line-up by creating Glory's second goal on 17 minutes when a scuffed clearance fell perfectly for O'Brien to curl in from 14-metres.
Melbourne hit back five minutes later, James Kalifatidis nodding a long-range free kick onto the post with Lokvancic sending the rebound into the net. The visitors almost took the lead again nine minutes from the break as Pearson was forced to palm around the post a powerful strike by Stirton. But it was Glory who went into half-time with the lead as Musa raided down the left once again before slipping the ball to Jelic, who nonchalantly flicked it into the back of the net from only a few metres. Glory could have even been even further ahead but a diving Mattei did well to beat away a stoppage time effort by Jukic, before blocking O'Brien's follow-up.
Parity was restored three minutes after the re-start when Ricciuti calmly slotted into an empty net after a collision between Dean Evans and Pearson, who'd come of his line to smother at the attacker's feet. Glory squandered a couple of chances to level the game for a fourth time with Jelic firing over and Evans shooting wide. There appeared more than a hint offside in the 78th minute as Anthony Selemidis backheel was run on to by O'Dea who fired in the winner as Glory waited for a flag that never came. Glory pressed late to equalise but Billy Quinncroft's shot was blocked by Stephen Hatzikostas, and Jelic fired straight at replacement 'keeper Rani Dowisha in stoppage time.
GILL SPOT ON FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women have announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with by thrashing Adelaide United 4-0 on a sunny afternoon at Perth Oval. Matildas striker Kate Gill converted two penalties in quick succession with Shannon May taking the gap to three goals before half-time, and Sam Kerr completed the route late on. "The girls were outstanding today, particularly in the first half," coach John Gibson said. "All we wanted was a solid performance and our defence was fantastic in particular. Having Collette (McCallum) back was great for us, she's a quality player and we missed her last week."
Adelaide settled quickly but it didn't take long for the home side to establish control through the central partnership of McCallum and May. The first shot in anger was fired by May whose 9th minute attempt was just high of the crossbar. Shortly after Elisa D'Ovidio's effort was palmed over by Sian McLaren following a tidy one-two with Kerr. Glory deservedly went ahead on 27 minutes when, following a sensational series of passes, Kerr was felled inside the penalty area by Ruth Blackburn and up stepped Gill who made no mistake from the spot.
It then only five minutes for Glory to double their lead, Gill again scoring from the penalty spot after Kerr was fouled by goalkeeper McLaren, who was lucky to remain on the park. Glory was by this stage in complete control so it was no surprise when goal number three arrived in the 35th minute. McLaren did well to punch clear an in-swinging Carys Hawkins cross, however, the goalkeeper was helpless as May lashed in from 14-metres after receiving a lay-off from Gill. Glory went looking for further goals upon the resumption, whereas Adelaide's only relief was the sound of the half-time whistle.
Adelaide began the second period strongly, continually probing for holes the home defence but unable to trouble Tine Cederkvist in goal. Their best opening came on 73 minutes when Donna Cockayne centred into the path of substitute Victoria Balomenos, who was thwarted by Cederkvist as she raced off her line. Having sat deep and defended for much of the half, Glory sparked back into life over the closing stages and Gill fired high from a Kerr cutback. In the 80th minute Kerr put the icing on the cake by side-footing in at close-range Elissa D'Ovidio's cross from the right.
GARCIA ENDS HIS GOAL DROUGHT
Richard Garcia hoisted Hull City out of the English Championship relegation zone by scoring one goal and creating the other in last night's 2-0 victory over Preston North End. Garcia ended a 27-month goal drought with the Tigers' opening goal after 20 minutes, diving to head in Robert Koren's pinpoint cross to the back post. Then on 72 minutes Garcia created his teams' second by dispossessing Sean St Ledger and driving inside the 18-yard box where he teed-up Nick Barmby to score from close-range. The result moves Hull out of the bottom three and into nineteenth, while Preston remains second from bottom.
"WE WON'T MAKE THE FINALS": FOWLER
Perth Glory should forget about playing finals football this season according to star recruit Robbie Fowler. Glory's 2010/11 campaign has been brought to a crashing halt by a dismal ten-game run in which they've collected just one point from the 30 on offer. "On current form, we won't make the A-League finals," Fowler wrote in this morning's column for the 'West Australian' newspaper. "That doesn't mean we can't turn things around (but) at the moment the long-term goal is not the most important thing. What matters now is getting out of this horrible run of results."
Fowler stressed is was vital for Glory to get a result from Sunday afternoon's game with Melbourne Victory at Perth Oval. "There's not much point in looking past Sunday's game against Victory," he stated. "I'm sure there isn't a player at Perth Glory who has suffered through a period quite as bad as what we're in." Defenders Ryan Pearson and Josh Mitchell have been promoted to the senior squad for the weekend's game while captain Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski also come in from injury. Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory lock horns from 4.00pm on Sunday at Perth Oval.
MCCALLUM COMES IN FOR GLORY
Australia vice-captain Collette McCallum will make her first appearance of the new W-League season when Perth Glory Women takes on Adelaide United this weekend at Perth Oval. McCallum was overseas when her team went down to Canberra United in the opening round but is likely to partner Shannon May, last season's Most Glorious Player, in the engine room against Adelaide on Saturday (12.00noon).
May highlighted the importance of moving on from last weekend's result and focusing solely on the Lady Reds. "If we go out and play like we know we can play, keeping the ball and creating lots of scoring chances, then I believe we will walk away with the three points at the end," May said. "Just like all the other teams in the W-League this year, Adelaide is going to be a really strong and competitive team - we can't take any game lightly."
YOUNGSTERS OUT FOR VICTORY
Perth Glory Youth lock horns with Melbourne Victory in Saturday's National Youth League clash at 6PR stadium. With the opening round 5-0 thrashing of Victory still fresh and following last weeks defeat of Adelaide United, the Glory youngsters will be full of confidence in front of their home crowd. However, Victory will be no pushover having fought their way back into the top four since being humbled by Glory in round one.
There’s a good chance versatile defender Ryan Pearson will miss the game following his inclusion in the senior squad for their match on Sunday against Melbourne Victory. In his absence the midfield leadership of captain Dean Evans will be invaluable while another strong performance from goalkeeper Alex Pearson will go a long way towards a home win. Should that eventuate, Glory Youth may find themselves sitting at the top of the table come the end of round eight. Glory Youth take on their counterparts from Melbourne from 3.00pm on Saturday at 6PR Stadium.
MIKULIC GOES HOME
State striker Branimir Mikulic has gone full circle with his move to Western Knights. Mikulic played juniors for the Knights and following a highly successful six-year spell with Floreat Athena has decided to go back to where his football career began. "I've always wanted to return to the club, I have a lot of good memories and friendships from when I played juniors for the Knights," explained Mikulic, 31. "Playing for a Croatian club is very important to me and I hope we can achieve something special."
It's not the first time the Knights have attempted to lure Mikulic to Nash Field, however, until now the attacker's ties to Floreat have kept him with that club. "The Knights have asked me to come down for a number of seasons now. I have always wanted to go but I was always drawn to staying at Floreat," commented Mikulic, who is looking forward to being under the tutelage of Carl Medica and Alex Christie. "I have played with both Carl and Alex, they were great players and will be great coaches as well."
Making the decision to move on from Floreat wasn't one Mikulic made lightly. "It was very difficult leaving Floreat. It's such a wonderful club, the players, coaches, supporters and facilities are great. But sometimes a fresh start is good for a player," said Mikulic, who admits there's a lot he'll miss about the club. "The friendships with the players both on and off the field are what I'll miss most. All of the players are unique in their own way and yet all of us bonded so well together."
Mikulic has many fond memories from the role he played in one of the most successful era's in Floreat history. "Going undefeated in 2007 to win the Championship was fantastic and something I'll never forget," said the striker. "Winning Fairest and Best and Top Goalscorer awards are always special, as was scoring two goals in the Cup Final against Inglewood United last year. And playing with many great players and coaches over the years is another highlight."
Having opened a new chapter in his career, Mikulic intends helping the Knights make a clean sweep of the trophies in 2011. "I'm hoping the Knights can win the Cup, finish top of the Premier League and go on to win the State Championship next season," commented Mikulic, who has set his sights on the Knights going the regular season without a loss. "When we accomplished that with Floreat in 2007 it was a great feeling and I wouldn't mind experiencing it again."
DJULBIC DARES TO DREAM
Gold Coast United defender Dino Djulbic hopes his stellar A-League form will lead to an international call-up for Australia. Arguably the league's form central defender, Djulbic's physical presence and organisation have helped transform Gold Coast's rearguard into the competition's tightest defensive unit, conceding just seven goals in a dozen games. That record has been instrumental in Gold Coast climbing to fourth on the table and unbeaten in their last nine games.
Djulbic was heavily courted by his native Bosnia and Herzegovina when playing at Perth Glory two years ago, and then after he joined German club Rot Weiss Ahlen. But a serious Achilles tendon injury shattered his hopes of a call-up, sidelining him for six months and eventually ending his stay in Germany. Now back in Australia and in the best form of his career, the 27-year old admits to dreaming of a possible international cap.
Playing for the country which gave his family sanctuary after they fled the Bosnian War holds huge appeal for Djublic. "You've always got dreams of playing internationally," said the former Perth SC player. "I've been living for a long time in Australia - half my life - and that would be a dream come true to play for Australia. We've been living here for twelve years so I've spent so much of my life now in Australia and I feel like an Australian."
Djulbic believes Gold Coast have "got smarter" this season, with coaching staff and players putting all-out attacking football on the backburner when they need to in order to eke out results. "We all sat down when last season finished and said some things have to change, because we're going away to play great football and win, and instead cop a goal and lose," Djulbic said. "Everyone can see those changes this year."
NATIONAL CUP A STEP CLOSER
Australian football’s dream of having an FA Cup-type competition has moved a step closer to reality with the A-League saying it was keen to start the national competition as early as next season. An annual FFA Cup involving A-League and State clubs is expected to kick off with a group phase featuring 32 teams and become a straight knockout from the last sixteen onwards. The A-League will meet with clubs owners and chief executives and member federations shortly to work out the best format for a competition that has long been eagerly awaited by fans across the country.
KERR NOMINATED FOR JUNIOR ATHLETE
Perth Glory Women striker Samantha Kerr is one of six contenders for the Australian Institute of Sport Junior Athlete of the Year award. It's been a memorable twelve months for 17-year old Kerr, who starred in the Matildas triumphant Women's Asian Cup campaign as well as the recent Peace Queen Cup and friendly against world champions Germany. Kerr was also named the Under-20 Footballer of the Year at October's Australian Football Awards.
Kerr, who has her sights set on team success with Perth Glory, was surprised to learn she was in the running for the AIS Junior Athlete of the Year. "I had no idea about these awards so I'm in shock about it all," she said. "I guess I've had a good year, but my total focus is now just on the W-League and having success with the Glory. I knew the Matildas had been nominated and I think it's fantastic because we've had a fantastic season; the Asian Cup has made a lot more people take notice of women's football."
Women's football was well recognised throughout the AIS awards with the Matildas a contender for Team of the Year, and national team coach Tom Sermanni nominated for Coach of the Year. "It's great for Tommy to be nominated too and I think more recognition with awards like this will make people see how much the sport is growing," added Kerr. After an opening round loss to Canberra United, Kerr and her Glory team mates will be looking to take all three points from Saturday's game with Adelaide United at Perth Oval.
DOYLE HONOURED TO BE PERTH’S BEST
Versatile youngster Hayden Doyle is honoured to have his name added to the winners of Perth SC's Fairest and Best award. Doyle, 22, picked up the trophy as his club's best player in their State Championship winning season at Friday evening's presentation ceremony. "I'm very honoured to win the award," said Doyle. "Perth is a big club with a very big history and I was lucky to play alongside some very good players. I read the list of players who had won the award and I was very proud to be added to that list of greats."
Doyle says everyone associated with Perth should feel immensely proud of what was achieved this year. "We had a belief from day one that we could win the Championship," Doyle commented. "We showed exactly why Perth is regarded the best club in the state by winning the Championship against the odds and proving quite a few people wrong. Everyone around the club wants to win - they won't accept anything less - and I believe this showed out on the pitch."
After playing the majority of the past few seasons in defence for Perth Glory, Doyle admits it took him time to find his feet in a more attacking role with Perth. "It was difficult at times playing out of position but I knew I had to do a job for the team," commented Doyle, who spent much of the season operating down the left side of midfield. "As the season went on I felt more comfortable playing out wide and started to really enjoy it."
Midfielder Antonio Naglieri may have made only sixteen league appearances but that was enough to secure him the Runner-Up Fairest and Best trophy. For the second year running it was Nathan Rawes that was named Fairest and Best in the reserves. Joshua Pereira came in as runner-up and also collected the Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy. Chris Rizidis went home with the Youth Development Player award. The under-18's Fairest and Best was presented to Chris Saldaris with Michael Rizidis runner-up.
RED NIGHT IN ADELAIDE
Perth Glory's horror run has stretched to two months with last nights 2-0 loss to Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium. Iain Fyfe and Sergio Van Dijk comdemned the visitors' to their ninth loss in ten games, both goals coming after Naum Sekulovski was issued his marching orders. However, it wasn't all doom and gloom for Glory whose spirited first-half performance saw them create eight shots on goal to Adelaide's two.
In an attempt to keep his side fresh through a hectic match schedule, coach Ian Ferguson made five changes to his first eleven. The move paid dividends with Glory producing an intense first half, constantly pressuring the home team who were allowed not a moment's rest. Steven McGarry's early effort was deflected over the crossbar, and home goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was quick off his line to take the ball ahead of Jamie Coyne, who'd been intelligently set-up by Robbie Fowler.
In the 26th minute, Fowler had more time than he realised and opted to pass instead of shoot, then captain Scott Neville went close with a 40-metre attempt. Adelaide, having weathered the storm, only now began to get involved with Cassio inspired his side on with several raids down the left. In the 38th minute Paul Reid's shot took a slight deflection off Todd Howarth's shoulder and went narrowly over the bar. And seconds before the break Tando Velaphi was forced to beat away an excellent cross by Cassio.
Adelaide were immediately on the back foot with the re-start. Coyne nodded over from a free-kick by Fowler, who soon after forced Galekovic to palm around the post. The hosts heeded the warning and on 54 minutes substitute Travis Dodd headed just high before Van Dijk glanced wide moments later. The momentum swung in Adelaide's favour on 63 minutes when Naum Sekulovski was sent off for handling the ball after being found the wrong side of Dodd.
Adding insult to injury, Lucas Pantelis' perfectly flighted free-kick saw Fyfe rise between Howarth and Jamie Harnwell to put Adelaide one-nil up. Glory worked hard for an equaliser but Adriano Pellegrino placed too close to Galekovic and Howarth curled narrowly wide. The game just entered stoppage time when Cassio supplied a pinpoint cross from the left which Van Dijk headed in powerfully for Adelaide's second goal.
Despite the final outcome, Ferguson was proud of his players' effort. "Another defeat, which is not great, but I think the effort and the commitment the boys showed was fantastic," Ferguson said. "I couldn't say a bad word against the boys, they went out there and showed a lot more desire, a lot more commitment than what they have showed in the last five, six weeks. I know it's a defeat but the signs were positive, we're heading in the right direction."
RANGERS UNITE IN SEARCH FOR GLORY (by Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show)
In a move that is bound to see the club suffer further criticism, Stuart Munro will be Perth Glory's assistant coach until the end of the A-League season. There will undoubtedly be comments that the Scottish mafia have infiltrated the club, however, finding a suitable candidate was not an easy task. As published in the 'West Australian' this week, youth team coach Gareth Naven opted to stay in his current position, and who can blame him when he's doing such a good job with the youngsters.
The assistant coaching position is only until the end of the current season so it is a big ask for someone to leave their job and take up the role. With only five people in Western Australia having the required 'A' Licence - Dave Mitchell, Kenny Lowe, Gareth Naven, Andy Ord, who is Naven's assistant, and ex-England international Peter Withe - the search had to go east. It is believed former Australian Institute of Sport coach Steve O'Connor was approached, but it was Munro who was prepared to move west between Victorian Premier League seasons to assist his former Rangers colleague.
GLORY GIRLS BACK BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Perth Glory Women will continue its support of breast cancer awareness this weekend with the National Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser match. Both Perth Glory and their opponent Adelaide United will wear pink armbands for Saturday’s second round W-League fixture at Perth Oval. It will be the third time the match has been staged, after the team pledged its support to the charity following the passing of inaugural player Dani Calautti’s mother in season one.
Midfielder Elisa D’Ovidio says the issue of breast cancer is one that is close to her heart. “It is very important for all females, no matter what age, to get checked regularly,” she said. “When Dani’s mum passed away from breast cancer that hit us pretty hard. Ever since, we have been big supporters of raising funds and awareness about breast cancer, so we encourage everyone to get behind the issue, especially this Saturday at our match against Adelaide United.”
NAVEN TURNS DOWN CALL-UP
Perth Glory legend Gareth Naven has turned down an opportunity to assist Ian Ferguson with the senior team. Naven, who played 143 games for Glory and was the club's inaugural captain, said he had considered the proposition but decided to continue as coach of the youth team. "It was nice that Ian thought of me and, of course, I was interested but the timing is not right at the moment," he said. "There's a lot to think about and I've got work commitments that you can't just drop and away you go. And I still have unfinished business with the youth team in terms of philosophy and what we are trying to achieve."
Paul Kelly, the club's chief executive, said the club urgently needed to appoint an assistant to Ferguson, who has been without support since moving into the top job a month ago. "It's a matter of urgency because Fergie needs some help," Kelly said. "We need to give him assistance. We are in a rut and we've got to get out of this somehow ... if we keep going the way we are going we are not going to make finals, without a doubt. But I still think with 16 games to go, if we get our act together we can make it." Glory has not won since the first weekend in September when they downed Wellington Phoenix 2-1.
WATT POWERS AWAY TO WIN JOONDALUP’S TOP PRIZE
Aberdeen-born striker Jamie Watt has been voted ECU Joondalup's top player. Watt, 32, was a happy to pick up the Players Player of the Year at the end of his second season with the northern suburbs club. "It was a bit of a suprise to get the award, I've had a pretty decent season but so have a few of the other boys," said Watt, who feels Charlie Comyn-Platt, Chris Wylie, Jon Higgins or Phil O'Callaghan would also have made worthy recipients. "It was good to get recognised from the lads for my performances over the season."
Watt, who was also Joondalup's Top Scorer, worked hard last summer to make sure he was in peak condition for 2010. "Joondalup saw some of my best form this season but I know I've got more to give," he said. "It was hard last year, I'd just arrived and had to settle and get my fitness up. I went away over the pre-season and was pretty eager for the season to start. It actually didn't start well. I didn't score for the first six games but once my first went in it just went from there."
Joondalup finished the season in fifth place but could have been placed much higher as Watt explained. ""We struggled badly against the teams at the bottom end but seemed to have no problems against the teams higher than us," he said. "We did well to make the finals and it would have been interesting if we had managed to scrape by Floreat Athena, we had no fears playing against any of the top teams as we beat them all in the run up to the finals. The objective this season was to make the finals so it was 'job done'."
Comyn-Platt, a former Swindon Town player, was first team Coaches Player of the Year. Shane Doyle picked up the Players Player of the Year in the reserves for the second time in three years. The Coaches Player of the Year went home with Andy Banks while Carlo Coelho was the teams Top Scorer. The youth awards were taken out by Lee Thomson (Players Player of the Year), Jamal West (Coaches Player of the Year) and Mitchell Oxborrow (Top Scorer). Long Services awards were presented to Steve Amphlett, John Higgins and Myles O'Neill.
GARCIA IN LINE FOR EGYPT
Holger Osieck has included Hull City attacker Richard Garcia in his twenty-player Australia squad for next weeks friendly with Egypt. Garcia has started each of the Socceroos four post-World Cup friendlies and will be desperately keen to continue that run when the national team fronts to play Egypt, the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions, at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday 17 November. Osieck said Hertha Berlin striker Nikita Rukavytsya was not considered as he is yet to regain full fitness following injury.
The Australia squad to play Egypt on 17 November is Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow), Tim Cahill (Everton), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham), Harry Kewell, Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Mile Jedinak (Genclerbirligi), Jason Culina, Michael Thwaite (Gold Coast United), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Dario Vidosic (Nurnberg), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo Calcio), Sasa Ognenovski (Seongnam Ilhwa), David Carney (FC Twente), Nathan Coe (Sønderjysk Elitesport) and Jade North (Wellington Phoenix).
HARNWELL ADMITS THE PRESSURE IS INCREASING
Veteran Jamie Harnwell laments Perth Glory’s inability to convert chances into goals. Glory’s winless run was extended to nine games with yesterday’s home loss to Wellington Phoenix, a result which leaves them five points adrift of the top six. The club has struggled to score during that sequence, posting just two goals in the past nine outings and goalless in their last four. “We dominated, but we just can’t seem to score at the moment,” commented Harnwell of his teams’ weekend loss. “When one goes in we’ll get a bag-full, but until that one does go in it puts us under a lot of pressure each week.”
Even though they’ve slipped off the pace, Harnwell is encouraged by the way Glory have been playing. “We’re still creating chances and you can take (plenty of) positives out of that. We just switch off for that split second and we nearly gave away another one or two in the first half from our own doing,” he added. “If we want to be a good team, we can’t afford to do that. We didn’t do that in the first five games and for some reason we’re doing it now. We’ve just got to get back to safety first by letting things bounce, be first to the ball and worry about playing the football a little bit later.”
MCSTEA CAUGHT OFF GUARD BY TROPHY WIN
No one was more surprised that Anthony McStea when the midfielder was announced Bayswater City' player of the year. McStea's efforts in spearheading Bayswater back into the Premier League were recognised with the club's Fairest and Best award on the weekend. "I was surprised, I missed a fair chunk of the season when I went to Europe to get married," said McStea, who was absent for a month in mid-season. "I was happy with my year. I had a couple of seasons out so it was good to get the drive back and enjoy Saturday afternoons again."
McStea, who enjoyed stints with Middlesbrough and Wolverhampton Wanderers as a youth, says Bayswater have no intention of being in the Premier League just to make up the numbers. "I'm looking forward to getting going again," said McStea, who turned out for Swan United after arriving from England in 2006. "I think Bayswater will do well. The players and the style of football we play is probably more suited to the Premier League than Division One."
Teenager Alex Caniglia was runner-up Fairest and Best, Gustavo Marulanda went home with Coaches Award and Kailo Karpeh the club Top Goal Scorer trophy. Service Awards were presented to goalkeeper Gianni Papalia and midfielder Damien Catalano. The Reserve team awards were shared by Sebastian Munoz (Fairest and Best), John Tancredi (Fairest and Best Runner-up) and Joseph Wilonja (Coaches Award). Daniel Hortense won the Youth team Fairest and Best ahead of Gianni Mammone, who also collected the Coaches Award.
EARLY GOAL SINKS GLORY
Wellington Phoenix scored inside the first minute to beat Perth Glory 1-0 and record their first away win of the season this afternoon at Perth Oval. Tim Brown’s strike after 42 seconds consigned Glory to their eighth loss in nine games with the team from the west scoreless in their last four outings. Ian Ferguson admitted Brown’s early goal knocked the stuffing out of his side but the Glory coach was far from downhearted. “We lost an early goal and you start to see a little bit of confidence come down,” said Glory boss Ian Ferguson. “We tried to come back into the game, we did have a couple of one-on-ones and a couple of good chances but it’s not to be our day.”
Many of the 6,676 spectators were still finding their seats when Chris Greenacre laid the ball into the path of Brown who from the top of the 18-yard box crashed an unstoppable pile-driver past a helpless Tando Velaphi. Glory immediately set about finding a way back into the contest and three minutes later Howard Fondyke’s defence-splitting pass released Michael Baird who was denied an equaliser by Mark Paston’s quick-thinking. Velaphi came to Glory’s rescue not long after by keeping out a Simon Elliott free-kick after it had deflected off defender Scott Neville.
Paul Ifill wasted a chance to double Phoenix’s advantage on 23 minutes, the striker taking his shot too early after latching onto an under-hit back pass from Brent Griffiths. Glory was dealt a massive blow on 33 minutes with Neville forced out of the game with a thigh injury, the result of a clash with Vince Lia. Both teams had their chances late in the half, Vince Lia lashing just high from the edge of the area after a tidy move involving Leo Bertos and Greenacre while at the other end Baird headed over a deep cross from the right by Fondyke.
The second half was barely two minutes old when Velaphi pulled off a fine reflex save to deny Ifill after he’d out-muscled Andy Todd. The Glory faithful were getting restless as Mile Sterjovski fired over from just inside the area, and Baird’s goal-bound effort blocked by Ben Sigmund. A neat exchange of passes culminated in Jacob Burns playing in Jamie Coyne, however, Paston was out smartly to make a brave block. Glory played the final ten minutes a man down after Burns was issued his marching orders following a tangle with Daniel.
CANBERRA TOO STRONG FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women have gone down 4-1 to Canberra United in the opening game of the 2010 W-League season. The star of the show was Canberra striker Michelle Heyman who bagged a hat-trick on an afternoon home coach John Gibson said his team was simply not up to the challenge. “It just wasn’t good enough at the end of the day,” Gibson said. “Most of their players were better than our players all over the park … There’s a lot to improve on, we have to be looking a whole lot of things for the Adelaide game next week.”
The first shot on goal in a fairly even opening stanza was a long-range Sally Shipard effort that sailed not to far high of the crossbar. The hosts responded with Katie Gill forcing a brilliant diving save from Lydia Williams, who tipped the shot onto the post, before Sam Kerr flashed just wide of the target after a driving run into attack. Canberra got the opening goal on 33 minutes when a defensive lapse allowed Caitlin Munoz to find the Heyman, who made no mistake from close-range. Half-time was just minutes away when Gill touched in the equaliser after Kerr touched down Marianna Tabain’s in-swinging corner.
Canberra began the second half started positively with Emily Van Egmond, Shipard and Munoz causing the home side a lot of problems. Lovely interplay produced their second goal on 57 minutes, Shipard playing down the right to Van Egmond whose delightful cross to the back post was headed in by Cian Maciejewski. Undeterred, Glory pressed for a quick reply and midfielder Shannon May went close with a blistering shot from distance that kissed the top of the crossbar.
The game was very much under the control of the visitors with Shipard pulling the midfield strings and Van Egmond using her pace to great effect down the right. Canberra’s inevitable third goal arrived on 70 minutes when Van Egmond’s cross-come-shot smacked into the upright and rebounded to the feet of Heyman, who was never going to miss from so close. Glory’s miserable day out was made complete three minutes from the end when Heyman notched her third goal past ‘keeper Tine Cederkvist.
GLORY YOUTH EDGE OUT REDS
Perth Glory Youth ended a four-game winless run by sneaking past visiting Adelaide United 2-1 this afternoon. Ryan Pearson opened the scoring midway through the first half with a cracking strike before Cameron Edwards doubled the lead shortly before half-time. An entertaining second half had Adelaide pulled a goal back through Matt Mullen but the home side held on to record a much-needed win. The result temporarily put Glory on top of the National Youth league table, however, they’d slipped to fourth with completion of the round.
The early signs were promising for Adelaide with Joe Costa causing all sorts of problems down the right. Led by first team regular Steve McGarry, the hosts lifted their game and proceeded to attack the Adelaide goal. That approach paid off in the 19th minute when a miscued defensive clearance end with Ryan Pearson who, 30-metres from goal, buried a sparkling strike that gave goalkeeper Luke Ostbye no chance. Eight minutes from the break, that lead was doubled as Anthony Skorich flicked the ball over two defenders before squaring for Edwards to slam into the net.
Adelaide came out firing for the second half, Kym Harris’ searing long-range effort narrowly cleared the crossbar and not long after Glory custodian Alex Pearson came off his line to thwart Francesco Monterosso. Pearson went from hero to villain when his clumsy challenge inside the box gave Adelaide a penalty that captain Mullen blasted in. But that was the cue for Glory to regain control and Pearson combined brilliantly with Sahr Musa, whose cross was nodded over by Billy Quinncroft.
Midfielder Storm Roux stamped his authority on the games closing stages. A goalbound Roux shot appeared to be strike the arm of an Adelaide defender, however, referee Josh Mihevc was unsighted and play was allowed to continue. Two minutes later Roux created a great chance for Quinncroft but ‘keeper Ostbye was able to clear the danger. Another Roux cross found Branko Jelic but his glancing effort was centimetres wide of the target. The final action was a lobbed shot by Quinncroft that defender Alan Welsh cleared desperately off the line.
RUKAVYTSYA IN THE RIGHT PLACE
Former Perth SC striker Nikita Rukavytsya is positioned perfectly to ensure he plays a key role as the Socceroos push towards the 2014 World Cup according to national team coach Holger Osieck. Rukavytsya, 23, played locally for Perth and Perth Glory before joining Dutch club FC Twente, from where he was loaned out to Roeselare (Belgium). In July Rukavytsya transferred to German second tier club Hertha Berlin where he was a regular until picking up a recent leg injury.
The bonus for Rukavytsya is that Osieck has a close association with Hertha boss Markus Babbel. "I talked to the coach, who was my ex-player in the youth national team, so therefore I have a very close contact," Osieck told Jonathon Cook of the 'West Australian' newspaper. "He was full of praise and said he's doing well. Unfortunately he is out due to a muscle injury right now. But he's definitely one of the young players who will be in the future Socceroos team."
Rukavytsya, who made two substitute appearances at the 2010 World Cup, has played his part in leading Hertha to the top of the second division and on track for a return to the Bundesliga. "To go to Berlin, it's not really a second division team because it's a big club with big history and the environment is very specific and very demanding," Osieck said. "If he goes through that experience and really can establish himself at that level and probably play next year in the top flight, then for his personal development he would be in an excellent position."
GOALS PROMISED IN W-LEAGUE OPENER
Two of the W-League's best attacking sides, Perth Glory and Canberra United, go head-to-head on Sunday in what promises to be a cracking opener to the new season. Canberra's defensive unit will have to be on high alert with Katie Gill and Sam Kerr fresh from scoring for the Matilda's. Shannon May and Elisa D'Ovidio have key roles to play in midfield in Collette McCallum's absence, while the experience of new goalkeeper Tine Cederkvist, a Danish international, and team captain Tanya Oxtoby provide the team with solid defensive foundations.
It's been a busy off-season at Canberra where coach Ray Juna has added last seasons' W-League Golden Boot winner Michelle Heyman to partner Matildas markswoman Caitlin Munoz. Sally Shipard and Chinese Taipei international Tseng Shu-o provide the drive going forward, while at the other end of the park it's co-captain's Lydia Williams and Ellie Brush that have the job of keeping the home team scoreless. Perth Glory Women and Canberra United step out at 6PR Stadium, home of Inglewood United, from 3.00pm on Sunday.
BALCATTA CONFIRM ROKI
The worst kept secret of West Australian football has been confirmed - Michael Roki is the new coach of Balcatta. Roki, who guided Floreat to the top of the Premier League in 2007, is looking forward with excitement to stepping back into coaching spotlight with Balcatta. "I didn't think that I would be back involved in local football so soon but Balcatta's ambitious plans for 2011 and onwards sparked my interest," said Roki, who stepped down from his role with Floreat in February for work reasons.
Next season may only be Balcatta's second in the top flight but already they are preparing to take on the long established giants. "Balcatta have worked hard over the years and are in a genuine position to attempt the difficult challenge of 'cracking open' the monopoly held by the top four clubs that have dominated football," said Roki. "The Balcatta board and former coach Sal Todaro deserve a lot of credit for bringing this club to where it is currently, and I hope I can do justice to the boards decision to give me the chance at the next phase."
Balcatta board member Gabriele Valentini is delighted with the coaching appointment. "Michael has a proven record at this level and we are delighted and privileged that we were able to secure his services for 2011 and beyond," said Valentini. "The club would like to extend their appreciation to Salv Todaro for the all the hard work and commitment that he put in over his three year tenure at our club. Salv created history by gaining Balcatta promotion to the Premier League after 32 years."
The appointment of Roki will take Balcatta into the next phase of their long-term goals. "We hope to establish ourselves as legitimate challengers and we are confident that Michael, ably assisted by Peter Vatistas, can mould together a team that is up to the task," Valentini added. "Michael shares the board's vision on the future of the club - to be a force in the State Premier League for years to come - and this is the first step towards achieving that goal."
Roki had no intention of coaching when the Balcatta club expressed interest earlier this year. "A return to coaching in 2011 was well outside my original timeframe, I needed to be sure I could contribute 100% before taking any football role on," he explained. "I have to thank the board for the invitation to be part of their plans and for their continuing patience in allowing me to sort out a number of personal issues that I needed to clear before being able to make a commitment to coaching again."
The next course of action for Roki is to assemble a squad that will take Balcatta closer to the top of the Premier League. "2010 was a successful year for the club but eight wins just won't cut it in 2011," said Roki. "The team performance has to step up and that will obviously involve adding some more quality players to the existing squad. For the start of the season I'm aiming to have a team in place that can take Balcatta from being a survivor to becoming a contender - not just in 2011, but on the club's long journey forward in the Premier League."
THOMAS JOINS THE KNIGHTS CRUSADE
Former State midfielder Glen Thomas has opened a new chapter in his career by agreeing to play for Western Knights for season 2011. Thomas cited the need for a new challenge brought on by recent coaching changes at Sorrento as the primary reason for his ending a fifteen-year association with the northern suburbs club. "Trevor Morgan left to coach in India during the season and Steve Neville had stepped aside to allow the club to find a new head coach, so when the Knights approached me I just felt the time was right for a fresh challenge," he said.
Thomas, 31, has come up against Knights coaches Carl Medica and Alex Christie on many occasions over the years, and is now looking forward to playing for the club legends. "I've played against Carl and Alex many times so I know they are both fierce competitors, but also great guys," Thomas commented. "They are both young and very enthusiastic about the coaching challenge that lies ahead and I'm really looking forward to being part of it."
The opportunity to join the Knights came via Thomas' former Sorrento team mate, Stuart Montgomery. "Stuart told me the Knights coaching staff had mentioned my name when discussing potential signings, so I gave him permission to give them my phone number," explained Thomas, who played alongside Montgomery during his two seasons at Percy Doyle Reserve. "I spoke with Alex over the phone and then set up a meeting with Alex and Carl Medica and that was that."
Having played at Sorrento since a teenager, Thomas admits bringing his time with the club to a close wasn't a decision he made lightly. "It was a very difficult decision. I have spent half my life at Sorrento and with the club having so many dedicated players, coaches and support staff I have grown up around the same people year after year," he said. "So it has been a long hard decision but now that it's made I'm looking forward to playing a part at the Knights."
Thomas rates the 2006 Premier League as the pick of the numerous trophies he helped Sorrento win. "There are so many happy memories from my days at Sorrento, I especially enjoyed the 2006 league winning year," he commented. "We had players like Brad Hassell, Scotty Miller and Danny Hill in the squad and felt unbeatable every week that season. And on a personal level I finished that year as runner-up in the Gold Medal count."
Playing alongside Morgan, who played over 400 games as a professional in England, and former State striker Ross Greer had a lasting effect on Thomas. "My best memory as a player though was playing alongside Trevor Morgan and Ross Greer," he said. "They were both seasoned pros and I was only 17 so I learnt a hell of a lot from them. They instilled a winning mentality in those early years which us younger lads carried with us throughout out careers."
JOEYS BOOK WORLD CUP DATE
Australia has qualified for next year's Under-17 World Cup by making the semi-final stage of the AFC Under-16 Championship. The Joeys came through the group phase unscathed, seeing off Timor Leste (5-0) and Vietnam (3-1) then drawing with Japan (0-0). A come from behind win over the United Arab Emirates (3-2) took Australia into the last four where their run came to a halt last night at the hands of host nation Uzbekistan (2-1). Jesse Makarounas started all five games, scoring four goals, with Riley Woodcock netting once in four appearances.
Makarounas and Luke Remington hit the net twice along with Woodcock in the Joeys' opening round 5-0 thrashing of Timor Leste. Makarounas headed in a Corey Brown cross just before the quarter hour, then eight minutes later chipped goalkeeper Ramos Maxanches from inside the 18-yard box to double the lead. Remington scored either side of the break before Woodcock completed the route by tucking in after Milos Degenek's effort came back off the post. Makarounas played the full game with Woodcock coming off the bench on 90 minutes.
In a spiteful match, the Joeys came from behind to defeat Vietnam 3-1. Xuan Nam put Vietnam in front early in the second half only for Makarounas to equalise soon after from the penalty spot. Both nations had a player sent off before Conor Chapman fired Australia in front in the 90th minute. The game then descended into farce with Vietnam having two additional players red carded before Makarounas sealed victory with a second penalty. Makarounas played a full game with Woodcock an unused substitute.
The Joeys finished top of Group after recording a scoreless draw with Japan in their final qualifying game. Japan settled quickly and dominated possession throughout the first half, troubling the Joeys midfield and defence in the process. Australia came into the game more following the turnaround but it was Japan that came closest to scoring then Keishi Kusumi's shot from 16-metres was tipped over the crossbar by Paul Izzo. Makarounas and Woodcock both played a full game.
A dramatic 3-2 extra-time win over the United Arab Emirates earned Australia a place in the last four. It was looking as though the UAE were through after first half strikes by Yousif Saeed and Abdulla Moosa. However, Brown pulled a goal back on 82 minutes before, just seconds from the end, Giancarlo Gallifuoco's looping header found the bottom corner. The momentum was now with Australia and in the 99th minute Gallifuoco's low shot snuck over the line to win the game. Makarounas played a full game with Woodcock coming on at half-time.
Australia bowed of the tournament 2-1 to Uzbekistan, whose winner arrived in the final minute of regulation time. The hosts struck after 17 minutes with Abbosbek Makhstaliev curling a free-kick beyond the reach of Izzo, however, the teams went into the break level after Ganisher Kholmurodov pushed Woodcock's in-swinging corner into his own net. Both sides had their chances to win before Makhstaliev slotted past Izzo after he'd blocked Asiljon Mansuirov's long-range attempt. Makarounas, wearing the captain's armband, and Woodcock played full games.
Coach Jan Versleijen was proud of his team's effort during the tournament and acknowledged the performance of Uzbekistan. "Although the result didn't go our way tonight, I am very proud of what we have achieved throughout this tournament," Versleijen said. "If Uzbekistan play like they did today in front of the same crowd, which will probably be even bigger for the final, then they have a very good chance to win this championship. We will now learn from this experience and start our preparations for the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico."
PANAIA ADDED TO GLORY WOMEN
Teenage striker Ashleigh Panaia has signed on as the final piece on in John Gibson's Perth Glory Women squad for the new season. The Glory Women coach says the recruitment of 17-year old Panaia, fresh from helping Balcatta to back-to-back Championships, reflects his long-term plans for the squad. "With the future in my mind, Ash is a young player who demonstrates many good qualities," he said. "It's a great training environment to be involved in and a fantastic learning opportunity for Ash." Glory Women begin the 2010/11 season with a home game against Canberra United on Sunday at 6PR Stadium (3.00pm start).
COACHES CRUCIAL TO BAYSWATER’S SUCCESS: MARCHIONE
Mauro Marchione is confident a trio of coaching appointments will give newly promoted Bayswater City the best possible chance of consolidating their place in the Premier League. Marchione, who won the Division One Coach of the Year after guiding Bayswater to the top of the table, has brought in John Castrilli as his assistant and Tony Cumace as trainer with Peter Johnston accepting a development role. “Having a highly qualified team of coaches at Bayswater is crucial to face the reality of the Premier League, and I believe that we made the right choices,” commented Marchione,
Fresh from a two-year stint with Ashfield, Castrilli moved down the road to Bayswater shortly after the recent season came to a close. “John is one of the coaches who has impressed me the most in the last couple of years,” explained Marchione. “It’s always hard to play against him, he knows how to organize his teams. I was surprised to hear he was dismissed by Ashfield, but that turned good for Bayswater as he was my first choice for the position.”
Cumace first caught Marchione’s eye when the pair were at Swan IC in 2004. “I always noticed Tony’s ability to coach while he was playing so when (Bayswater president) Gerry Maio told me that Tony was looking to help at the club, I didn’t wait a minute longer,” said Marchione. “He’ll be involved with training sessions, in particular the warm-up and warm-down, and will also be the man in between the players, the coaching staff and the club.”
The addition of Johnston, who was in charge of Morley Windmills last season, is the final piece in Marchione’s puzzle. “I already had a coach for the 18’s - Zoran Barovic - and I was doing the reserves and first team next season as I did this year,” Marchione explained. “I was looking for someone to help me with the reserves and offered Peter the position. He will be focused on the development of the reserves’ team and a consultant in our coaching staff. Peter will be crucial in developing the young players and will sit on the bench on Saturday with me.”
CANBERRA WANT EARLY RESULTS: WILLIAMS
Lydia Williams is hoping Canberra United can make an ideal start to the new W-League season when they travel west to play Perth Glory this weekend. Williams, who was born in Katanning, says Canberra's pre-season has them positioned well for the coming summer. "Our preparation has been going well," said Williams, who recently returned from international duty with the Matilda's. "Caitlin (Munoz), Sally (Shipard) and myself have just returned from our overseas tour but have fitted back into Australian time pretty well and all's looking good on that front. Everyone is looking sharp."
In a short ten-game season the onus is on racking up points early to give the team the best possible base for a finals assault. "We definitely need to get the ball rolling and get some early results under our belts, especially in the opening three matches, and that would be a real boost for us and put us on the front foot," said Williams, who will share the captains armband this season with centre-half Elle Brush. "We don't want to be over-confident as we don't know what the other teams have in terms of recruitment yet from other countries. Last year you could predict who was going to be the top teams whilst this year it's anyone's game."
YOUNGSTERS MAKE A POINT
Ian Ferguson's decision to give youth a chance had a positive outcome with Perth Glory grinding out a scoreless draw last night with Melbourne Heart. The Glory boss praised Tommy Amphlett, 21, Howard Fondyke, 20, and Brent Griffiths, 20, after the trio contributed strongly on their starting A-League debuts. "Every one of them deserves a special mention," said Ferguson when asked about the impact his youngsters had on the contest. "I thought they gave us energy and pace and it was really pleasing. We basically had nothing to lose tonight and I felt I should give the youth a chance and I thought they paid us back handsomely."
Ferguson is hopeful his team has turned the corner with last nights draw, which snaps a seven-game losing streak. "The players knew how important it was to try and stop the rot tonight and I could feel that," Ferguson said. "It was just getting that little bit of energy back in there, a little bit of bounce in the place again and I think tonight, I see a lot of happy boys in there, even though it was a draw ... We've stopped another defeat, which was good and it gave the boys confidence. There were massive positives to come out of it." Glory can build on the performance when they take on Wellington Phoenix on Sunday afternoon at Perth Oval.
FINALS IS THE AIM FOR GILL
Star striker Katie Gill says the time has come for Perth Glory Women to sample finals football. Gill, capped over 60 times by Australia, says the acquisition of Denmark international Tine Cederkvist and Sweden’s Alexandra Nilsson will boost Glory’s chances of finishing in the top half of this seasons W-League table. “We’ve got quite a good squad and then obviously the West Australian girls that play in the league are more than capable,” she said. “I’m definitely thinking top four and then we’ll see what happens. This year is probably going to be its most competitive year which I think is a great thing, obviously for the general public watching it and for the game itself within Australia.”
GLORY FINALLY SHOW SOME HEART
Perth Glory brought their seven-game losing run to an end by claiming a point from this evening’s 0-0 draw with Melbourne Heart at Perth Oval. Coach Ian Ferguson took plenty of positives from his teams’ performance after promoting youngsters Tommy Amphlett, Howard Fondyke and Brent Griffiths to the starting line-up. “It was a far better performance, a more positive performance and I think the young kids we played tonight were fantastic,” said Ferguson. “We basically had nothing to lose tonight and I felt I should give the youth a chance and I thought they paid us back handsomely.”
The rash changes - which included Jacob Burns and Michael Baird coming back into the first eleven - seemed to have the desired effect on Glory. Their first meaningful chance came on 12 minutes when Andy Todd laid the ball off for Amphlett but his angled shot lacked the power to beat Clint Bolton. Although the visitors were sitting deep, Glory continued to find holes and only Michael Beauchamp’s last-ditch intervention prevented Baird from connecting with Mile Sterjovski’s cross into the 6-yard box.
Melbourne’s main threat was coming from set-pieces with Beauchamp and Nick Kalmar both going close to converting perfectly-delivered Aziz Behich corners in the space of a few minutes. In open play, however, Glory were in the ascendancy with Fondyke and Burns winning the battle in the engine-room and Amphlett a constant threat down the right. Scott Neville should have put the hosts one-nil up on 41 minutes but sent a free header just wide of the target from a dinked Sterjovski free-kick.
A rare error by Neville early in the second half let in Kalmar before Tando Velaphi’s swift intervention snuffed out the danger. Glory quickly regrouped and just before the hour Fondyke dragged his shot wide after a tidy lead-up involving Amphlett and Todd Howarth. Six minutes later Kalmar fired wildly over after a Josip Skoko corner had only been cleared as far as the edge of the 18-yard box. Again Glory hit back, this time through Sterjovski who blazed over after being picked out by Baird.
As the game moved into its final quarter the visitors took their game up a notch with Kalmar and Eli Babalj both sending headers the wrong side of the target. With seven minutes to go Glory substitute Adriano Pellegrino’s clever pass released Neville, but his cross-shot was scrambled away with the Heart defence at panic stations. In a thrilling finale the visitors almost stole victory as Babalj crashed a powerful header against the post and seconds later was denied by Velaphi, who made a smart stop low to his right.
BALCATTA SALUTE TONG
Manchester-born defender Adam Tong was thrilled to pick up the Player of the Year award at Balcatta’s annual trophy ceremony on the weekend. Tong was a deserved recipient of his clubs top prize from a season in which he was a mainstay of Balcatta’s rearguard. “It’s a great honour to win this award in my first season of State League football,” said Tong. “I had a good season finishing joint tenth in the Gold Medal and the footballwa.net Player of the Year, and came in second to David Micevski in the ‘Lets Talk Football’ award by one point.”
Tong, 27, is pleased with what Balcatta achieved in their first ever Premier League campaign. “We set ourselves the target of staying up and we did that with three games to go. We beat Perth SC three times - that shows we have the talent to beat the best team in the league,” Tong commented. “What I wasn’t happy about is that we lost so many games and conceded so many goals, especially as it was my job to stop the other teams from scoring.”
Tong was voted Balcatta’s Fairest and Best player for 2010 ahead of fellow defender Mark Walsh. Journeyman goalkeeper Bobson Koroma went home with the Coaches Award. Andrew Kiir collected the reserves Player of the Year with Guilian Zacconi runner-up. Attacker Kevin Carmona was presented the Coaches Award. Teenager Luke Beyer went home the club Rising Star and youth team Player of the Year trophies. Jalil Ahmad was runner-up in the main award, and David Martins picked up the Coaches Award.
NEVILLE RAY OF HOPE AMID GLORY GLOOM (courtesy the ‘West Australian’)
Perth Glory have received a much needed boost for this evenings’ game against Melbourne Heart with defender Scott Neville declaring himself fit to play. Glory have been clutching at straws to find even a glimmer of optimism after their season crashed from a table-topping high to seven successive defeats. Neville’s declaration will give new coach Ian Ferguson at least some hope that Glory can salvage something from tonight’s match at Perth Oval. It will also give 21-year old Neville a chance to impress new Socceroos coach Holger Osieck, who has made the trip to Perth for the first time.
Neville, who has been Glory’s brightest performer this season, admits the seven-game losing streak has taken it’s toll. “Wherever I’ve played in my career, even in the State League, I’ve never been through a losing streak quite like this,” said the former Sorrento defender. “The confidence drains from everyone and it’s hard to get that winning feeling back. At the moment, it’s not good enough as a team and not fair on the fans; the loyal supporters. When confidence is down, players do stuff they wouldn’t normally do and it can come across as if some players are not trying. But everyone is putting in 100%.”
Neville was forced off at half-time during last weekend’s five-goal thrashing at Central Coast Mariners - the heaviest defeat in the club’s A-League history. “It was a bad cork and it seized up and I couldn’t continue,” said Neville, who is desperate to right the wrongs of recent weeks. “We’ve got to put pressure on all over the pitch and maintain the pressure all through the game. We can’t afford to concede cheap goals and we’ve got to have the mentality that even if we do go a goal down we still have the ability to get something out of the game.” Ferguson has promised to make changes to the team beaten by the Mariners and the club had a closed session yesterday.
EIFFE SCOOPS THE POOL
Goalkeeper Brad Eiffe celebrated his first season at Queens Park by winning the clubs’ two top awards. Signed last summer from Forrestfield United, Eiffe’s performances between the posts were recognised with the Fairest and Best trophy along with the Players Player of the Year. “Queens Park are one of the pioneer clubs and I’m honoured to receive their Fairest and Best,” commented Eiffe. “Wining the Players Player is always special, its one of the greatest individual awards a player can receive.”
Had it not been for a lack of consistency then Queens Park’s season would have turned out much differently according to Eiffe. “I honestly felt we had a good squad but couldn’t put things together on the field,” he said. “We showed glimpses of what might have been - we beat a well-drilled Forrestfield side and came from behind to draw with Dianella White Eagles - but in this league you have to play 90 minutes every game for the whole season.”
The Fairest and Best runner-up trophy was presented to attacker Henry Chikombe, while Clint Brown went home with the Most Consistent player award. The Reserve team Fairest and Best was taken out by Daniel Brown with Josh Gowland in the runner-up spot. Moses Carlos collected the Fairest and Best at youth level where Matt Cave was runner-up and Zac Redwood collected the Coaches Award. Joey Greenwood’s 15 goals earned him the clubs Golden Boot trophy.
FERGUSON CONTEMPLATES REBUILD
Ian Ferguson admits it might take time for Perth Glory rejuvenate its playing roster following a demoralising seven-game losing streak. Despite wielding the axe heavily since taking over three weeks ago Ferguson has been seen little change in his fortunes, leading the coach to consider a complete rebuild of his squad. "I think we have to have a look at that," Ferguson said. "We'll have to have a sit down and talk with (owner) Tony (Sage) and (deputy chairman) Lui Giuliani and (chief executive) Paul Kelly. We have got quite a high profile here but that doesn't guarantee anything. You've got no divine right to win."
The likes of Tommy Amphlett, Andrija Jukic, Anthony Skorich, Brent Griffiths and Howard Fondyke could come into the line-up as Ferguson looks to youth for energy and enthusiasm. "It could be unsettling but we've lost the last seven so we've got to do something," said the coach. "I can't sit on my backside and do nothing and keep going the way we're going. I've got to make a statement that what's happening is not good enough. It could get a lot worse believe me. There's still 18 games to go so there's a long way to go in this season."
Ferguson feels Wednesday's home clash with Melbourne Heart could make or break his team's season. "We've got nothing to lose basically," Ferguson said. "It's a night where we've got to be positive, we've got to keep going in the right direction and that's forward. At the end of the day the buck stops with me and it's something we've go to try. I've got a contingency plan as you would say and hopefully we can try and get ourselves out (of this rut). I know Perth Glory fans are hurting and there's no one hurting more than me at this moment in time."
ON THIS DAY … 1934
Victoria Park's brilliant inside-left Jack Conduit was given a rousing send-off on the eve of his departure to join English Division Two club Blackpool on the evening of Friday 2nd November, 1934. Representatives from the Metropolitan-Suburban League clubs, the Western Australian Soccer Football Association along with members of the wider sporting community gathered at the Victoria Park Hotel to salute Conduit becoming the first West Australian to sign with an English club.
Conduit is regarded as possibly the most lethal finisher of the post-World War Two period. Born in England, he was selected to play internationally at Schoolboys level before moving to Perth in 1919. Within days of arriving he'd played his first game for Perth City, a club for which he'd play 80 games. It was with Victoria Park that Conduit had his greatest impact, scoring a remarkable 421 goals in 262 games as the club claimed nine First Division championships, six of which were in succession.
In a remarkable twenty year career Conduit gained State selection on ten occasions, playing against between the wars touring sides such as China, Czechoslovakia, India and Palestine. While his stay with Blackpool lasted only six months, Conduit's technique stamped him as a player of outstanding ability on the local scene, while his determination and boundless energy rendered him a match-winning forward. He was also handy at the opposite end of the field as a full-back, a position he filled while a junior.
AMATEURS SHINE IN MALAYSIA
The State Amateur team have returned from a successful three-game tour of Malaysia. The week-long tour has been hailed a success by coach Rob Pagnoni, who was pleased with how his players responded to trying conditions and strong opposition. “I’m pretty happy overall with how the boys performed,” said Pagnoni, whose team won two of their three games. “To get a couple of wins against the type of opposition we played is a real credit to the players and they’ve really put in the hard yards to mix it with the best in Malaysia.”
Gavin Knight scored four times as the State Amateurs routed the Malaysian Police Academy 5-1 in hot and humid conditions. Only 5 minutes had gone when Knight converted a Hussein Awada centre, and midway through the half the striker completed a neat move by chipping the goalkeeper. MPA pulled a goal back in the second half only for Felim Rugel to make it three-one soon after. Knight completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, and close to the end slotted in the teams fifth goal.
Kuala Lumpur proved a much tougher test a few days later with the M-League club running out 4-1 winners. In a game of few opportunities, Kuala Lumpar hit the front midway through the first half with a quickly taken free-kick before doubling their lead moments from the break via a well worked move. Although the State Amateurs looked a lot more settled in the second half, the hosts struck twice more before Rugel set-up Francois Du Plessis to score a consolation.
The State Amateurs rebounded just 24 hours later by defeating the University Technology Institute of Malaysia 2-0 under lights. The game moved from end-to-end without much real authority until Rugel slotted in from the penalty spot after being fouled entering the 18-yard box. The University side were reduced to ten men early in the second following a late tackle on Johnny Ferreira, and on the hour Rugel rubbed salt into the wound by beating his marker and finding the gap between goalkeeper and post.
OXTOBY READY FOR ACTION
The third installment of the W-League is just days away and Perth Glory Women captain Tanya Oxtoby can’t wait to get the ball rolling. Glory hosts last seasons’ semi-finalists Canberra United in this weekend’s opening round with Oxtoby saying the game will provide be a good indication of where they are at as a team. “I’m really looking forward to this season, probably more so that the other two actually,” said Oxtoby. “It’s been really good preparations so far so I can’t wait for it to start so we can get a really good idea of where we’re at.”
Glory finished last season just a point outside the play-offs with Oxtoby tipping another closely run race this time around. “It’s gonna be really tough this season especially with Central Coast pulling out. The talent pool has kind of been spread out a little bit more now,” Oxtoby said. “You still got your Sydney’s and Brisbane’s who will do really well and you’ve got Canberra who have picked up a few of the Central Coast girls so they are definitely in with a shot ... and of course ourselves will be up there.”
RECRUITMENT HAS FAILED GLORY
Perth Glory's player recruitment has been brought into question after a sequence of seven successive defeats that culminated in Saturday's record loss to Central Coast Mariners. The 5-0 thrashing - Glory's heaviest defeat since the formation of the A-League in 2005 - has left the club in eighth position and without an answer to the current on-field crisis. The likes of Robbie Fowler, Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns and Andy Todd, who were recruited by former coach and current director of football David Mitchell, have failed to inspire a revival.
Glory deputy chairman Lui Giuliani said the club will analyse every aspect of on-field performance to revive their season but warned against a swift turnaround. "There isn't a silver bullet solution," Giuliani said. "We had a strategy in place where we would recruit senior players and complement them with youth and clearly it isn't working. The best plans in the world are subject to change." Giuliani also acknowledged the need to better use Western Australia's young players in future seasons.
Few would argue that Glory is in need of a mass injection of new blood, however, that's not going to happen this season due to the A-League's strict regulations. At best, the club might be able to recruit two players as they're yet to make use of the guest player provision this season. There is also the possibility of bringing in a replacement for injured midfielder Victor Sikora. In any case, none of that is going to be in place before Glory hosts Melbourne Heart at Perth Oval on Wednesday evening.
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This page was last updated on the 4th November, 2010