TEN-MAN GLORY FAIL TO HOLD OUT CENTRAL COAST
Michael McGlinchey struck deep in stoppage time to condemn Perth Glory to a 2-1 loss to Central Coast Mariners this evening at Bluetongue Stadium. Glory looked to have salvaged a point when Steven McGarry’s 84th minute spot kick had cancelled out Trent Sainsbury’s early opener. However, the away side were left to ponder what might have been after Jacob Burns was sent off for two bookable offences and McGlinchey lashed in a close-range decider just seconds from the final whistle. “What could’ve been a really good point on the road has turned out to be another hard-luck story,” said McGarry after his 100th A-League appearance. “We were probably a bit naïve. As soon as Burnsy got sent of (we) needed to get into shape as a team to defend those last few minutes.”
Having dominated the game early with plenty of crisp passing, Central Coast deservedly opened their account after 12 minutes with Sainsbury finishing into the net after Glory failed to clear a McGlinchey corner which Zachary Anderson squared to the former Glory Youth team defender. Glory came close to levelling minutes after via a quick McGarry free-kick which released Sidnei but the Brazilian’s shot sailed harmlessly across Liam Reddy’s goal. But it was the home side that was dominating possession and territory with Glory’s midfield sitting very deep for much of the first period. Mitchell Duke got a header on target but too close to Vukovic while Mile Sterjovski’s blast on goal appeared to be blocked by the arm of a defender.
It was a much more spirited Glory side that returned for the second half with Chris Harold bringing a low save out of Liam Reddy just after the hour. Central Coast were forced to re-shuffle their defensive line-up after Sainsbury then Anderson succumbed to injury within ten minutes of eachother. Harold was doing all he could to inspire the visitors and in the 84th minute was felled by Marcel Seip with McGarry putting away the equaliser from the spot. The drama was far from over with Burns picking up two yellow cards in five minutes to leave Glory with ten men. With 97 minutes on the clock McGlinchey volleyed in the winner after Daniel McBreen’s header came back off the post.
CLISBY “THRILLED” WITH TWO-YEAR EXTENSION
Young defender Jack Clisby will play for Perth Glory until 2016 after putting pen to paper on a new two-year deal. The talented 21-year old joined Glory following a breakthrough season with Inglewood United in 2012 and is understandably delighted to continue his development with the club he grew up supporting as a kid. “I’m thrilled to have signed an extension,” said Clisby, who has also turned out locally for Sorrento, Perth SC and Balcatta. “It’s been something I've really been pushing myself for. I love this club and to be on board for an extended two seasons is really exciting.”
Clisby has barely looked back since coming into the starting eleven in place of injured team mates Scott Jamieson and William Gallas a month ago. “I’m growing in confidence every game,” said Clisby, who has struck a solid partnership with Michael Thwaite. “Me and Thwaitey are getting more used to each other, he keeps me in place and I try to keep him in place if he is ever not doing what he’s meant to do. He’s a bit of a character. He certainly makes me know if I’m ever not doing the right thing, but he also gives good advice and is encouraging.”
In the past few years Glory have developed a very strong local focus, something Clisby says will serve them well down the track. “The likes of me and Rizzo (Josh Risdon), Cammy (Cameron Edwards), Brandon (Brandon O’Neill), Ryan (Ryan Edwards), we’ve all played at National Training Centre level together so we all know how each other plays, and to be playing here at this level together is brilliant,” he said. “You obviously need the older players as well (but) that young group that we’ve got coming through is great, got great talent and come a few years (Glory) is going to be a team to watch out for.”
The recent appointment of coach Kenny Lowe and his assistant Andrew Ord has furthered Clisby’s belief the club are heading in the right direction. “They’re talking to the players and the boys are really taking note of what they’re saying,” said Clisby, who has noticed a change on the tracking track since Lowe and Ord came on board. “The intensity is certainly up. It’s a new coach with new things to prove to the coach. Players are fighting for positions but I’m sure Kenny and Andy will give opportunities to those who work the hardest and those that want it the most.”
Clisby is likely to gain his fifth successive start when Glory take on Central Coast Mariners this evening. And although he is relishing the chance to play first team football, Clisby knows he has a lot of hard work ahead of him before he’s a Glory regular. “As a young defender, it’s harder to get in the team with the likes of Thwaite and Gallas and all these types of players, but I’m looking at making myself a regular first team player,” he said. “That’s what I would like to do the most and get a lot more regular A-League games under my belt.”
HAROLD SETS NEW YEAR GOALS
Attacker Chris Harold recognises he needs to start finding the back of the net if Perth Glory are to move into finals contention. Goals have been hard to come by this season for Glory – they’ve scored just ten times in eleven games – and Harold says he has a big role to role to play in turning that around. “I’d like to get a few more assists and a couple more goals,” said the 21-year old, who has one goal to his name. “At the end of the day football is about scoring goals (and) as an attacking player that’s one of my key roles in the team and that’s an area I want to improve in.”
Harold began the year playing off the bench but after putting in the hard years has been rewarded with four straight starts. “It’s nice to get a string of starts together now,” he said. “I’m working very hard this year. I wasn’t getting in the squad, so I had to work my way back into the team and I’ve done that now, but you can’t rest on your laurels. I want to progress further now. I want to keep my spot and show people in the league what I can actually do and prove to people that I’m capable of doing a really good job for Perth Glory.”
THWAITE RE-COMMITS TO GLORY
Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite has rejected offers from rival A-League clubs to sign a new two-year contract extension. The 30-year old Australia international is the fifth player to re-commit to Glory after Danny Vukovic, Scott Jamieson, Brandon O’Neill and Brazilian attacker Sidnei by signing a new deal. “I consider myself very lucky to sign another two years at probably the most traditional clubs in the A-League, so it’s an honour to extend my stay here,” said Thwaite, who was due to be out of contract at season’s end. “My family obviously enjoys the Perth lifestyle which is a big part of any footballers’ career, but on the pitch it’s business as usual.”
Thwaite said the opportunity to aid the development of the many talented youngsters coming through Glory’s ranks played a big part is his decision. “We do have a lot of young players coming through and it’s vital that I help nurture those players coming through,” commented Thwaite, who has seen first-hand the rapid development of local products Jack Clisby, Matt Davies and Riley Woodcock this season. “I really do get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing the next generation develop their A-League careers at Perth Glory and it’s something the club wants to keep on supporting in the coming years.”
With the season mid-point approaching Glory are positioned seventh, 14 points adrift of A-League pacesetter Brisbane Roar. Thwaite, who helped Melbourne Victory to the Championship/Premiership double in 2008/09, believes Glory have it in them to move a few rungs higher up the table. “I’ve always believed that Perth should be a top four team,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more to achieve this year. I have great faith in this playing group and believe we should be aiming to finish the season as a top four side.” Young defender Jack Clisby and forward Chris Harold are also believed to be close to recommitting to the club.
GLORY CENTURY AWAITS MCGARRY
Midfielder Steve McGarry will make his 100th A-League appearance when Perth Glory takes on Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday. McGarry, who played over 300 games in the Scottish Premier League prior to joining Glory in 2010, admits the last four years have passed in something of a blur. “It’s gone really fast. I’ve enjoy it so much but it’s passed so quickly,” he said. “You only play 27 games in the A-League and then you’ve got the finals so it’s not very many games in the season. Hopefully I’m selected for these games on the road (Central Coast Mariners on 31 December and Newcastle Jets on 4 January) and get the 100th under my belt.”
Through clever link-up play and a never-say-die attitude, McGarry is firmly established as a favourite with the Glory faithful. “Ever since I’ve got here, they’ve made me feel welcome and that’s the great thing about playing for Glory … it makes it even more special when you’ve got that rapport with the fans and they appreciate what you do on the pitch,” he said. “I’m not your typical number ten, skilful, South American – I’m Scottish and I work hard. I’ve got decent technical ability but not what you would call a natural number ten so I think they appreciate my work ethic. Whenever I’ve met fans out and about, I’ve got on great with them.”
McGarry, last seasons’ Most Glorious Player, rates the home game against Wellington Phoenix in 2011/12 as one of his best in Glory colours. “I’d never experienced an atmosphere like the last home final against Wellington Phoenix before,” recalled the 34-year old. “The whole place was packed, we were 2-1 down (when) I came on and big Billy (Mehmet) scored a cracking goal to make it to two each to take it into extra-time, and then big Todd Howarth scored the extra-time winner. The atmosphere that night was crazy – I can still feel it. When you think about it, you get shivers on you.”
McGarry has no doubt the A-League has improved during his time in Australia. “You can see the interest is definitely getting bigger and I think that comes with the standard as well,” said the former St Mirren, Ross County and Motherwell player. “The amount of players who have contacted me and my agent who want to come out and play in the A-League because it’s a growing league and it’s getting better every year. You play in the beautiful conditions and you play in all these nice stadiums, so I think the structures are in place and this league could be phenomenal.”
Glory has run hot and cold over the early stages of the 2013/14 season, and McGarry believes back-to-back wins on the east coast could be just the ticket to get things back on track. “We’ve played well in patches, we’ve let ourselves down in patches,” he said. “With Kenny (Lowe) and Andy (Andrew Ord) coming in, everything is positive, everything is geared towards getting us back on track. It’s good for us getting away together as a team. Getting away from the media, getting a hotel, spending some time together, focussing on what we’re good at, and that’s playing football and winning games.”
GRIFFITHS ON SYDNEY’S RADAR
Frank Farina will consider bringing Rostyn Griffiths into his Sydney FC squad when the January transfer window opens. Farina has set his sights on making several signings as way of revitalising his line-up with holding midfielder Griffiths, fresh from a two-year spell at Chinese side Guangzhou R&F, one of those on the radar. Griffiths could turn out to be a dream signing for a Sydney side that has lacked a quality defensive midfielder capable of breaking down opposition attacks while creating forward momentum. The 25-year old would have to take a sizeable pay cut to slot into Sydney’s salary cap, but such a move could put him in contention for a Socceroos spot in the lead-up to next year’s World Cup.
JONES CONTENT WITH BEING LIVERPOOL’S NUMBER TWO
Liverpoool goalkeeper Brad Jones says he places personal achievement ahead of playing regular first team football. Jones has not featured once in a campaign that has Liverpool at the top of the English Premier League but if the occasional Socceroo is converned then he is certainly not showing it. “I would rather push myself at the top and see how far I get than go somewhere else,” Jones told dailymail.co.uk. “I’m always trying to better myself rather than sit somewhere where it’s easy. I’d rather be here challenging Simon (Mignolet) every day for a place at a club like Liverpool than be somewhere where I know I’m going to be playing every week but it’s not at the same level.”
Jones, who also played second fiddle to Mark Schwarzer during his eight seasons with Middlesbrough, concedes his lack of senior football has hampered his international prospects. “If I’d played more games or become a regular first choice then maybe I could have (played more internationals). But at the same time I was first choice for Middlesbrough in my last couple of years and I still wasn’t first-choice for Australia because of Mark Schwarzer,” he explained. “The hardest thing is that international games come every couple of months, and tournaments every couple of years. It’s too sporadic to worry about that over something you have to do every day.”
Liverpool’s decision to sign Mignolet during the off-season, after loaning Spanish international Pepe Reina to Napoli, cemented Jones place in his clubs’ pecking order. “Not a lot changed for me really when Pepe went out and Simon came in. It’s not something I was too worried about,” he said. “The manager spoke to me and you just crack on. You always want to play but my position within the team is to play when called upon. Simon has been fantastic since he’s come in and we’ve had no injuries, so I know that chances are only going to come in that situation. I just keep working hard and make sure I’m ready if I’m needed.”
It’s much the same role Jones played with Middlesbrough. “Mark Schwarzer was there and he was a rock at the club, he was Mr Consistent,” commented Jones, who was just 16 when he moved to the Riverside Stadium in 1999. “I learned a lot and then had a couple of years where I was playing before the move to Liverpool. It’s something where you need to have in your head that you understand what’s needed of you. You have to be professional and do your job properly, and make sure you’re ready should anything happen. When it does happen there is no hiding place.”
Jones learned that when he was called upon to save a penalty with his first touch on his Premier League debut for Liverpool. Since relocating to Anfield Park in mid-2010 Jones has gained just 19 oputing for the Reds but, at the age of 31, he knows there is still plenty of time left in his career. “Last season was good and I had a decent group of games together, that’s what you play for,” he said. “Like I said, it’s too hard to look in to the future and there are too many factors that come into it – fitness, whether the club want you, what direction they’re going in … when I was 16 I didn’t expect to be where I am today so I just carry on.”
Jones’s patience could yet be rewarded with the prospect of European Champions League football next season after Liverpool’s flying start to the current campaign. “We want top four,” he commented. “The way we finished last season and the way we’ve started this season, we’re in good form. It’s tough for us to compete with the other clubs around us spending so much money and having been at the top for the last few years whereas we’ve been in a bit of a transition. But I definitely think this season is a big one for us and hopefully if we keep playing the way we have been then we’ll be up there.”
A-LEAGUE BOSS DE BOHUN SUPPORTS GLORY
A-League boss Damien De Bohun has backed the course being plotted by Perth Glory following their recent off-field turmoil. Glory’s football department was split by last week’s feud between coaching staff and senior players, which led to a wide-ranging review and culminated in the sacking of coach Alistair Edwards. De Bohun was in regular contact with Glory owner Tony Sage and chief executive Jason Brewer throughout the upheaval and said the club was on the right track despite sacking their second coach this year.
De Bohun singled out Glory’s attempt to reconnect with the games’ stakeholders as proof it was committed to growing the code in WA. “It’s always a challenging time when there’s a change of coach, but overall everything we’re seeing is the club is on track in terms of its financial approach, its commitment to people in the west and its commitment to youth,” he said. “It’s obviously never ideal when a club and their coach decide to go their separate ways. But I would say overall that we’re pleased with where football in Western Australia is heading and where Perth Glory is heading.”
Sage has gone on record as saying the club hierarchy should have stepped in to resolve the feud between coaches and players before it erupted following Glory’s recent loss to Melbourne Victory. But De Bohun commended Brewer for his handling of a tricky situation. “People on the outside maybe make assumptions that it’s a reasonably straightforward business but it’s actually an incredibly complex business and stakeholder management is the biggest challenge for anyone new to it,” de Bohun said. “I think he (Brewer) is settling in well and I’ve seen the way he dealt with a difficult circumstance.”
NEWCASTLE “BUZZING” AFTER BEATING LEAGUE LEADERS: BIRIGHITTI
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says his teams victory over A-League leaders Brisbane Roar was just what the doctor ordered heading into the New Year. Goals late in each half gave Newcastle a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Brisbane and moved the team to equal third on the table. “It was a fantastic result to go to Brisbane, we’ve got up a good record up there, to get three points on their home patch was definitely a good effort by the boys,” Birighitti said. “It brings a good atmosphere in the group, the boys are buzzing, you can see out there the boys are in a good mood and a good mindset.”
Given Newcastle were pretty much written off before the game, to take home all the points from Brisbane was particularly satisfying for Newcastle. “Especially when everyone underestimates us, we were happy with a point but to get three points was definitely a real bonus,” said Birighitti, who was pleased to keep a clean sheet against arguably the best attacking team in the competition. “You go into every game trying to keep a clean sheet, not only on my behalf but the defence’s and midfield’s behalf as well. Everyone just had a solid effort all round, so the boys should be proud of themselves.”
Birighitti is confident his team can come up with the goods again this weekend when they travel to Adelaide United. “We’ve got a good record there as well and I don’t see why we can’t go there and get three points as well,” he commented. “At the start of the season they liked to try and play out from the back, watching the last couple weeks they’ve definitely started to play a few long balls. We’ve worked on it at training, we’re going to have to adapt to it like we do with any other game but I’m confident in the boys that we can go over there and do the job.”
SACKED EDWARDS REMAINS TIGHT-LIPPED
Coach Alistair Edwards is refusing to become embroiled in a war of words following his axing by Perth Glory. Edwards is preparing to launch legal action against his former club following owner and chairman Tony Sage’s decision to terminate his coaching contract just nine months into a three-year deal. “(I am) not minded to engage in a public war of words with the chairman or the representatives of the club,” Edwards said in a statement to au.fourfourtwo.com. “The current practicalities of the situation are in the hands of my agent, Daniel Berman. I remain concerned about the standing and reputation of the club, and West Australian football.”
Edwards made clear his intention is to walk away from Glory with his reputation in tact. “I am confident that the people who know me, and those who have followed my career, will know that I am committed to the development of the sport in our country,” he added. “I have had strong messages of support from A-League colleagues and other important figures in the Australian football establishment, for which I am grateful. I appreciate the kindness of well-wishers, and it means a great deal to me that my integrity has been recognised by many people in football and the fans alike.”
WILLIAMS EXTENDS OXFORD LOAN
Young Socceroo Ryan Williams has extended his loan deal with top of League Two club Oxford United until the end of the season. Williams, who is on loan to Oxford from Fulham, has been in impressive form since joining the U’s in August, scoring four goals in 20 appearances for manager Chris Wilder. “Myself and Fulham think it’s the right thing to do at the moment as I’m getting good exposure, getting good game-time,” Williams said of his loan extension. “It’s the not best level but you have to start somewhere, I have to get the appearances to then go on to bigger and better things.”
Williams, a formerly ECU Joondalup junior who initially moved to England to join Portsmouth in 2010, has been pleased with his touchin front of goal since going on loan to Oxford. “That’s something that I always thought I could do but I never really got the chance to,” Williams said. “Then I started to get chances and create chances for myself. I’ve just been composed enough to put them away. I’m just really happy here at the moment, I’m really confident and all the boys and the manager and the fans give me confidence.”
Oxford lead League Two having lost just three of their opening 20 games and, should Williams has his way they’ll finish the job by winning promotion. “It’s good because we have some good players and we really know how to grind out results now,” Williams said. “We haven’t lost away from home since the start of the season. It’s looking good for automatic promotion. At the start it was quite hard coming to the team because we were winning and obviously I had just gotten there. I knew when I got my chance I had to take it, and I haven’t looked back since.”
Williams, 19, makes no secret of his desire to represent Australia at senior level, possibly older alongside brother Rhys Williams. “Every Australian footballer wants to play for the Socceroos, especially when their older brother is starting every week for them,” said Williams, whose international experience has so far been limited to the Under-20 side. “That’s something that I really, really want to do but at the moment I just need to concentrate on my club football and obviously playing well at club football will get you a call-up. Whether it’s now or in five years or ten year times, I just want to play for them.”
VUKOVIC BLAMES “TOUGH WEEK” FOR ADELAIDE PERFORMANCE
Perth Glory custodian Danny Vukovic concedes the events of last week took its toll on the players going into yesterday’s scoreless draw with Adelaide United. A bitter feud between Glory’s coaching team and senior players split the club and culminated in the sacking of Alistair Edwards as coach. The effect this had on the players was evident yesterday when Glory laboured without creating a lot in the final third of the pitch. “It was a long, tough week for everyone and I think that showed in our performance,” said Vukovic. “Just to get through it (the week) and come away with a good point I think people were pretty happy with it.”
Vukovic says the players were mentally drained by the events which lead to Edwards departure. “It was certainly mentally draining, it was tough on everyone. The events that transpired, no one really wanted to happen, but they did. The club made the decision that they did and now we just need to move on,” said Vukovic, who saw positives in the point gained against Adelaide. “It was the first time we’d kept a clean sheet in two months and we came up against an in-form team, so we’ll build on that. We know we need to create more chances and hopefully we can work on that this week.”
Glory have a short break over Christmas before heading east for games against Central Coast Mariners (31 December 31) and Newcastle Jets (4 January). “We’re coming up to an important period of the competition where some good results will propel us into that top six, and obviously if we don’t play well then we’ll lose touch,” Vukovic said. “So it’s an important time for us, two tough games but two games we believe we can do well in so it can really set our season up … we’re very confident, we’re certainly united and we do believe that we can play finals football.”
STALEMATE AT PERTH OVAL
There were few highlights this afternoon at Perth Oval where Perth Glory and Adelaide United played out an uninspired scoreless draw. Neither Danny Vukovic nor his opposite number Eugene Galekovic were seriously troubled across the 90 minutes of a dull encounter witnessed by 9,436 people. Despite the outcome, interim coach Kenny Lowe was pleased with his players response to a turbulent week in which coach Alistair Edwards was sacked. “I enjoyed myself actually and I’m proud of my players,” commented Lowe. “I think for them to show the character and the attitude after what’s gone on. They worked ever so hard and even though the quality may not have been the best, they’ve been top class all week after a very difficult one.”
The opening stanza began slowly and it wasn’t until the 22nd minute Marcelo Carrusca unleashed the first shot on goal but Vukovic was up to the task. The Glory custodian pulled off a brilliant reflex save with his legs five minutes from half-time to deny Jeronimo Nuemann. Adelaide continued to dictate terms into the second half. Nuemann’s speculative curling effort passed out beyond the top corner, while Jacob Burn’s last-ditch tackle robbed Carrusca of close-range shot. Glory’s solitary shot on target came from an unmarked Sidnei who should have done better than stroke straight to Galekovic. The final chance of the afternoon had Jake Barker-Daish force a sharp response from Vukovic, who collected the ball at the second attempt as Awer Mabil closed in.
NEWCASTLE BRINGS WARD BACK TO THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
Midfielder Nick Ward has returned to the A-League with Newcastle Jets after signing on as an injury replacement player for the remainder of the season. Ward joins Newcastle as cover for defender Scott Neville, whose season was recently ended by a torn anterior cruciate ligament. “This offer from the Jets came up and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to get back playing in the A-League at a club that’s heading in a promising direction,” said Ward, who has 135 national appearances to his name for Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix. “Hopefully I can bring some of my experience into the mix and help the team do well for the rest of the season.”
Ward, 28, is ready to do the job for Newcastle despite not playing a competitive game in nine months. “I’ve been keeping myself fit training at Sydney FC for the past month, so I would say the only thing missing at the moment is my match fitness, but you can only really get that from playing games,” said Ward, who turned out locally for ECU Joondalup and Stirling Lions. “Knowing that I’ve signed until the end of the season gives me a chance not to have to rush things, so I can get my match fitness up and hopefully get some good form going.” Ward, the A-League’s inaugural Young Player of the Year, also counts Queens Park Rangers plus Brighton and Hove Albion amongst his former clubs.
CANBERRA HAVE TOO MUCH QUALITY FOR INEXPERIENCED GLORY WOMEN
A gallant performance by Perth Glory Women has gone unrewarded with second-placed Canberra United claiming a 2-0 win from this afternoon’s W-League clash at Percy Doyle Reserve. Ashleigh Sykes and Stephanie Ochs struck at either end of the second half gain maximum points for the away team against an opponent missing star trio Collette McCallum, Katie Gill and Sasha Andrews. “We set out to frustrate Canberra given the players we are missing,” said coach Jamie Harnwell, who was happy with his team efforts. “In the first half the game plan worked perfectly. In the second half we copped one from a set piece that had undone our hard work, but I can’t fault the girls’ enthusiasm and quality.”
Glory was on the back foot from the outset with goalkeeper Chantel Jones saving well from Ochs. Kendall Fletcher was denied the breakthrough when her long-range strike crashed off the post, then Jones was called upon to thwart Lori Lindsey. Canberra’s quest for a breakthrough was answered six minutes into the second half, Sykes firing in at close-range after reacting quickest to an Ellie Brush header which came back off the upright. Michelle Heyman was unlucky not to double the visiting advantage, lobbing one shot into the post and later denied by a desperate Thia Eastman. The game was in stoppage time when Ochs cut in from the left and fired Canberra’s second goal into Jones’ net.
LUCKLESS GLORY YOUTH PUT TO THE SWORD BY ADELAIDE
A string of injuries ruined Perth Glory Youth’s chances of taking anything from their National Youth League meeting with Adelaide United, who triumphed 4-1 under lights at Intiga Stadium. Aleks Jovic suffered a broken leg half an hour into the contest by which time Glory had already lost Joshua Tucker, who withdrew prior to kick-off with a quadricep strain, while his replacement David Stokoe succumbed to an ankle problem after only 20 minutes. First half goals from Antony Golec and Anthony Costa were complimented after the break by Dion Kirk and Bruce Kamau finishes for Adelaide, with Glory’s solitary goal arriving just before the break via Harry O’Brien.
It took Adelaide only 4 minutes to open their account with Golec making no mistake in beating goalkeeper Luke Radonich. Play was halted in the 29th minute while Jovic was treated for a broken leg, the attacker taken to hospital by ambulance. Within six minutes of play resuming Costa doubled the visitors lead at close-range, however, O’Brien grabbed Glory a lifeline by punishing Paul Izzo’s failure to clear a back pass. Borbor Sambindi twice went close to bringing the teams level before the game was put beyond Glory’s reach. Kirk was allowed far too much space in the 73rd minute to lash past Radonich from the edge of the 18-yard box. And sixty seconds later Kamau headed in from close-range to secure victory for Adelaide.
INTERIM COACH LOWE WANTS FULL-TIME GIG
Interim Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has set his sights on the position full-time after being cleared to take charge of the club for the first time tomorrow. Lowe was suspended In August for using discriminatory language towards a female official while coaching the National Training Centre in the State League. And while he served only half the ban, the former England semi-professional international has been cleared by Football Federation Australia to lead Glory tomorrow against Adelaide United. Lowe will coached glory through until the end of the season, unless a permanent replacement if found beforehand, following last week’s surprise sacking of Alistair Edwards.
Lowe said he would use the interim position as an audition for the job on a permanent basis. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want it,” Lowe said. “It’s a waste of time just coming for a giggle, isn’t it? Obviously I want to stay as long as I possibly can.” Lowe has brought in his own assistant, Andrew Ord, and has retained assistant coaches Gareth Naven, Scott Miller and Neil Young. “Whatever’s gone on, we’re just moving forward now,” Lowe added. “Hopefully we’ll have a little bit of fun and play some good football. You just move forward and get down into your football structures, make sure all the players are okay, set it up professionally. They’ll respond. Football is football and they’re professionals.”
Club owner Tony Sage said Glory has already received around 50 expressions of interest for the head coach role, which will be advertised next month. Agents representing ex-Italian internationals Gianfranco Zola and Marco Tardelli along with former Liverpool reserve team coach Rodolfo Borrell are amongst those to have made contact with Glory. Sage has also moved to address the issues with internal and external communication, which contributed to the events of the past week, by appointing board member Declan Kelly to the director of football operations. In the role Kelly will provide a link between the coach, players and chief executive as well as handle player contracts and oversee the club’s media department.
TIME FOR GLORY’S FOCUS TO RETURN TO THE FIELD OF PLAY
Perth Glory and Adelaide United will both be looking to get the job done on the pitch when they meet at Perth Oval on Sunday afternoon (4.30pm). The shock sacking of coach Alistair Edwards has made for a tumultuous week in the home camp, but a win here will bring some of the focus back to the on-field talent. Captain Jacob Burns and Adrian Zahra are likely to come into the starting line-up for a Glory side which has won only once in six games, and are in danger of losing touch with the top six. Unfortunately, marquee players Shane Smeltz and Williams Gallas continued to be sidelined by injury along with Brazilian attacker Sidnei, who this week signed a two-year contract extension.
Not a lot has gone right for Adelaide so far this season but defender Jon McKain views last week’s 4-0 dismissal of Central Coast Mariners as a potential turning point. “We’ve been playing okay in patches and really well at other times, just not getting the results or the ball to fall our way,” said McKain. “So it’s a good start 4-0, from my point of view the three points and the clean sheet were the most important things, and we go to Perth with a bit of confidence.” The absence of Brazilian livewire Cassio (hamstring) and Portuguese midfielder Fabio Ferreira (abductor) has opened the door for Antony Golec, Cameron Watson and Awer Mabil to re-join the travelling party.
MCCALLUM, ANDREWS OUT AS GLORY WOMEN PREPARE FOR CANBERRA
Perth Glory Women’s injury woes have worsened with captain Collette McCallum ruled out for the rest of the season and vice-captain Sasha Andrews facing an extended stay on the sidelines. McCallum will fly to Adelaide early next week to remedy a meniscus tear in her knee while Andrews is awaiting an MRI on the ankle injury she suffered in last weekend’s loss to Western Sydney Wanderers. “It’s a huge blow,” said coach Jamie Harnwell, who is also without the services of Katie Gill (long-term illness) and Bronwyn Studman (suspension). “You miss players of that sort of quality. It’s going to affect you but we’ve got to find solutions to work around it.”
But where one door closes another opens and this weekend that means 18-year old defender Thia Eastman is likely to make her starting debut against Canberra United. “Thia did well when she came on against Melbourne and deserves her chance,” Harnwell said. “It’s an opportunity for a few of those girls that have been on the fringes to step up and show they are capable of playing in the W-League.” Opportunities also open up for Amy Knights, Jess Dillon and Emily Henderson, the latter signed this week as an injury replacement player. Perth Women take on their counterparts from Canberra at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday, kick-off at 5.00pm.
WAITING FOR GLORY YEARS (by Michael Lynch, courtesy theage.com.au)
Perth Glory is not quite an A-League byword for dysfunctionality: after all, the club has never gone bust and folded, unlike those ultimate dysfunctional entities Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury. But it has earned for itself an unenviable reputation as a club where strange things happen, odd decisions are made and instability seems to be the default setting, even though it has a cashed-up owner in Tony Sage who appears to be passionately committed to the club and no rival who can tug at supporters' affections within thousands of kilometres.
Glory should be an A-League powerhouse. Fervent local support and what should be a significant home-ground advantage - for eastern states teams the equivalent of travelling to Nib Stadium for a league game is a little like Arsenal flying to Moscow for a Sunday afternoon clash - ought to make the West Australians almost unbeatable at home, especially in a competition where no team can spend up big to stockpile its squad with star players.
They were in the old days of the National Soccer League, when players of rival teams looked forward to games against the Glory as they knew they would play in front of big crowds generating the sort of atmospheres that they had more usually seen only on television. Glory was always a title contender, with then owner Nick Tana happy to open his wallet and splurge on the best players in the competition to ensure they were among the front-runners.
In a salary-capped league, success cannot be bought, and Glory has come back to the field. But those inherent advantages of distance and local support still exist, so the question has to be asked: Why are the men from the west among the A-League's biggest underachievers? Is it because the players are not up to it, or because the flipside to its home advantage, the lengthy travel to away games, wears them down? Or is it because a revolving door of coaches and administrators has prevented the development of a proper club culture and a sense of continuity, usually a key feature of successful clubs.
The A-League is in its ninth season and Glory is one of only two of the seven original clubs still in existence not to have won a championship (the other is Adelaide). Having sacked Alistair Edwards less than halfway through this season, Sage will be appointing Glory's seventh coach in nine campaigns. David Mitchell is the longest serving, and his period in charge took in some two-and-a-half seasons - half the time that the man who can still claim to be the A-League's most successful coach, Ernie Merrick, was in the driving seat at Melbourne Victory, where he won two championships and lost a third grand final. Glory has also had a number of administrators and executives who have come and gone, which cannot make things easier.
Results, of course, drive everything and no coach can expect to survive if results are poor: even though there is no relegation and thus no ultimate penalty for failure, the A-League is not some development competition where performances and outcomes don't matter. Until Ian Ferguson and Stuart Munro took charge early in the 2010/11 season, Glory never looked likely to trouble the post-season finals scorers much. But the duo took Perth to the Grand Final in 2011/12, losing at Suncorp Stadium to a late Brisbane winner. Yet within nine months the pair was sacked as the team floundered, and Edwards was brought in.
Edwards, a local, was ostensibly hired to drive a youth policy and make Glory the club where all talented West Australian youngsters wanted to go. After only ten games he is gone, having lost a power struggle with his senior players and been accused of favouring his two sons, whom he brought to the club. That duo, Cameron and Ryan Edwards, are now in an unenviable position, not unlike Glory itself. It may be a captive marketplace, but if the natives get restless, who could blame them?
LYONS TAKES THE HELM OF UWA
Division One club UWA-Nedlands have confirmed the appointment of former Everton captain Mick Lyons as first team coach. Lyons, who made in excess of 700 appearances during a lengthy professional playing career with Everton, Sheffield Wednesday and Grimsby Town, is keenly anticipating getting down to work with UWA. “I am excited about this opportunity and looking forward to getting started,” said Lyons, whose knowledge and experience of the game will be vital as UWA rebound from a disappointing 2013 campaign.
UWA club president Tony Stewart is understandably thrilled to have a coach of Lyons’ calibre at the helm of his club. “Mick is a real football man, who has had a fantastic playing career with clubs like Everton and Sheffield Wednesday,” Stewart said in confirming Lyons appointment. “Mick epitomises the spirit of UWA-Nedlands (to) ‘be the best you can’. His appointment is a major coup for the committee and all of our players, who will benefit from his vast football experience and knowledge.”
Lyons, 62, began his playing days as an apprentice with Everton where over eleven seasons – eight as captain – he played 462 games and gained selection for the England ‘B’ team. He moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 1982 and three years later signed for Grimsby Town, where he was player/manager for two seasons. After coaching spells with Nova Scotia Clippers (Canada), Brunei (Malaysia) and Canberra Cosmos (Australia) he relocated to Perth where he’s coached Stirling Lions, ECU Joondalup and Cockburn City.
NEWCASTLE SECURE NEVILLE UNTIL 2016
Injured defender Scott Neville has signed a two-year contract extension with Newcastle Jets, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2015/16 season. 24-year old Neville has made 27 A-League appearances at right back for Newcastle since moving across from Perth Glory last season. “I’m really enjoying my time here in Newcastle,” Neville said. “Everything from the city itself to the football, the fans and playing under Gary (Van Egmond) and the coaching staff here. I think we’ve got something special going on here with so many talented young players coming through at the same time and a few more experienced older players who are giving them good habits and teaching them well.”
Neville has been a standout over the opening eight games of the season but will miss the remainder of the campaign with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. “I’ve been in talks with the Jets for a little while now and I’m very grateful the club has decided to show that kind of faith in me,” Neville said. “I’m already looking forward to pre-season next year so I can start playing games again. It’s a bit of a drainer that I can’t play at the moment, but it’s good to know that the same players will still be at the club when I get back to fitness and that’s a big bonus.”
Newcastle chief executive Robbie Middleby is pleased Neville, whose career began locally at Sorrento, had re-signed with the club. “Scott has been one of our best and most consistent performers in the early part of the season and is an integral part of our current squad,” Middleby said. “We believe Scott’s best football is still ahead of him and we know he’ll only come back stronger from this injury because of his work ethic and the character he has. Scott is the type of player and the type of individual everyone wants at their club, so to have secured his services for another two seasons is fantastic for the Jets."
AUSTRALIA’S OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN BEGINS IN OMAN
West Australian trio Ryan Edwards, Scott Galloway and Dylan Tombides have gained selection in Australia’s squad for next month’s AFC Under-22 Championships in Oman. Coach Aurelio Vidmar has selected a predominantly A-League based squad for the tournament, in which Australia have been grouped with Kuwait, Iran and Japan. “We have selected players who will be eligible for the 2016 Olympics and start exposing them to international competition in the lead up to the qualifiers,” explained Vidmar. “We are excited about the squad we’ve put together (and) it will be good to get them together in a string group at what will be a good competition.”
The Australia squad for the AFC Under-22 Championship is Jake Barker-Daish, John Hall (Adelaide United), Corey Brown, James Donachie, Kwame Yeboah (Brisbane Roar), Chris Ikonomidis (Lazio), David Vrankovic (Melbourne Heart), Nicholas Ansell, Scott Galloway, Jason Geria, Connor Pain (Melbourne Victory), Josh Brilliante, Connor Chapman, Andrew Hoole (Newcastle Jets), Jack Duncan, Ryan Edwards, Jamie Maclaren (Perth Glory), Aaron Lennox, Peter Skapetis (Queens Park Rangers), Hagi Gligor (Sydney FC), Travis Cooper (VVV Venlo), Reece Caira (Wellington Phoenix) and Dylan Tombides (West Ham United).
MRCELA CAPTURING ATTENTION IN CROATIA
He may be largely unknown in his homeland but Perth-born Tomislav Mrcela is making quiet a name for himself in Croatia. A string of solid performances for newly-promoted Hrvatski Dragovoljac has earned 23-year old Mrcela rave reviews and prompted interest from abroad. “I have put in a lot of hard work in the past two seasons working on my game, especially on my fitness,” commented Mrcela when asked the secret of his success. “My main aim is to continue playing well and improving my game. Long-term, I hope to sign for a bigger club in one of the top leagues in Europe and hopefully get called up for a national team.”
Mrcela was only six when his family moved from Perth back to Croatia. “When we arrived in Croatia I got my dad to sign me up for the local team RNK Split,” he explained to footballcentral.com.au. “I spent my whole youth career at the club as the captain of my generation, the highlight being captaining the team in the top youth league and scoring nine goals as a defender in my final season.” The towering defender then played two seasons with Primorac 1929 and was halfway through a year-long deal with Imotski when Split came knocking with a two-year professional contract.
Unfortunately, re-joining Split didn’t work out as Mrcela planned. “I never got a real chance at Split so I asked for my release and signed for Mosor, also in the second division. I had a good season and gained valuable experience before being offered a contract with Hrvatski Dragovoljac in the first division,” explained Mrcela, whose influence was vital in the Blacks finishing top of the table. “We finished with the best defence in the league and that season I was named man of the match in at least six games. This is our first season back in the top division so the main goal is to avoid relegation.”
Mrcela, a regular member of his teams’ first eleven this season, feels comfortable playing in Croatia’s top flight. “It took me a few rounds to adapt to the quicker pace and quality of football but I feel I am settled now, high in confidence and playing good football at the moment,” said Mrcela, who is understandably hedging his bets when it comes to an international career. “I’m really strong in the air but also with good technique on the ground, and tactically I read the game well. I haven’t been in touch with the Croatian FA so far, or the Australian FA, but it would be an honour to play for the Aussies.”
SAINSBURY EXPECTS REACTION AGAINST WELLINGTON
Central Coast Mariners are eager to make amends for a disappointing weekend performance when they face Wellington Phoenix tomorrow evening according to defender Trent Sainsbury. Still smarting from a four goal humiliation away at Adelaide United, Sainsbury says Central Coast will need a marked improvement if they are to take anything away from the men from the land of the long white cloud. “We came off the pitch (against Adelaide) and we were very disappointed with ourselves, not only with the scoreline but with the way we performed on the pitch,” Sainsbury said. “We’re going to go out there against Wellington on Thursday to try and rectify what happened in Adelaide.”
Sainsbury, 21, is looking forward to being part of the first A-League game to be played at the historic North Sydney Oval. “It will be nice to play at a pitch that I’ve never played at before. It’s going to be a good test for us and hopefully we’ll see some different fans down there,” said Sainsbury, whose team will be minus Zac Anderson (injury) and Brent Griffiths (suspension) for the occasion. “We’ve got a great bunch of boys here and we’ve got good depth in the squad. Anyone that comes in to fill the void will do the job to the best of their ability – we have the greatest confidence in everyone.”
Wellington may be winless nine games into the season but Sainsbury expects tomorrow’s game to be a tough one. “Wellington have a lot of great talent across the pitch,” he said. “They’ve got some danger men so we’ve got to keep an eye on them and be on our toes for ninety plus minutes. At the moment I’d say they (Wellington) are a very unlucky club. They’ve been playing some decent football and the results just haven’t been going their way. We’re hoping that on Thursday the results still won’t go their way and we can get the three points.”
SIDNEI EXTENDS GLORY STAY
Brazilian winger Sidnei Sciola has pledged his future to Perth Glory by signing a new two-year contract. The 27-year old, one the A-League’s star performers, is delighted he will call Perth home for the foreseeable future. “I’m enjoying it here at Perth Glory, it’s a good professional organisation (and) I have a good relationship with the people here,” said Sidnei, who has been impressed by the competition standard in Australia. ”It’s very strong and it’s very quick. You have to be physical otherwise you can’t fit in the league, it’s not an easy league.” Sidnei came through the ranks at Brazilian club Noroeste and subsequently played for Boavista, Rio Ave (Portugal), Enosis Neon Paralimni (Greece) and Alki Larnaca (Cyprus).
GLORY SACK EDWARDS
Perth Glory are looking for their third coach in less than a year after Alistair Edwards was sacked this afternoon following a bitter feud with the clubs’ senior players. Edwards was axed after refusing to accept conditions the club wanted to impose upon him as a result of a review led by chief executive Jason Brewer. It is understood these included being forced to attend weekly meetings to justify his team selection and strategy to the club hierarchy, which would also have the final say on transfers. Edwards was also opposed to Jacob Burns retaining the captaincy following his falling out with the former Socceroos midfielder.
Glory owner Tony Sage says he was left with little option after Edwards refused to accept the clubs conditions and demanded Burns be stripped of the captaincy. “We are not in the business of switching captains mid-season, especially when the two names put forward by Alistair to replace Jacob would not have taken the job because they support Jacob’s position at the club,” Sage told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “We were left with no option as a result of the coach’s demands to terminate his contract. It’s a shame it has come to this (but) Alistair was not willing to compromise when it was him who sanctioned Jacob as captain in the first place.”
It is understood had Edwards stayed on, then several senior players would have sought release from their Glory contracts during next month’s transfer window. Their grievances against Edwards include his man-management style, team selections and perceived favouritism towards his sons, Ryan and Cameron. “People have said it’s been all about him signing and picking his sons ahead of others but it’s also been about how he relates to the players, and yes, the fact that he has consistently used Cameron off the bench ahead of others,” added Sage. “It’s also been why certain players have been taken off in matches. There has been significant disharmony there and questions asked.”
WILLIAMS WANTS CENTRE BACK ROLE, FOR CLUB AND COUNTRY
Australia defender Rhys Williams is hoping a positional switch at club level will not damage his chances of playing at next year’s World Cup. Williams has featured regularly at centre-back for Middlesbrough this season and occupied the same role in the Socceroos recent outings with France and Costa Rica. However, the versatile 25-year has been used at right back in his club’s last three games and looks set to remain there under new manager Aitor Karank. “There is a spot up for grabs at centre back with the national team and ideally that’s where I would love to be playing for my club,” said Williams. “I have told the boss my preference and we will see what happens.”
Williams, who has also operated in midfield during his five seasons with Middlesbrough, feels the time is right for him to make one a position his own. “There comes a time when every player wants to nail down a set position and stick with it and I’m at that point,” the former ECU Joondalup junior commented. “Of course I am happy to play anywhere for my club and country ... ultimately, it’s always a matter of doing a job for your club no matter what and you play where the boss wants you to. The good thing is that I am playing regularly and (Australian coach) Ange (Postecoglou) wants that from his players, so I fit that criteria.”
Williams is determined to earn place on the plan for Brazil after being forced out of the World Cup by a groin injury. “It has given me that little bit more determination to show what I can do,” Williams said. “I don’t like reading programs saying ‘he missed the World Cup through injury’. It’s not a nice stat to have against my name. I travelled to South Africa and I worked hard to get fit but it wasn’t meant to be. So, I want to make this one extra special. I don’t want to go to Brazil as just a squad player – I want to be a player fighting for starting spot.”
Australia will have nothing to fear when they take their place alongside Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B next year in Brazil according to Williams. “Football is a strange game and I feel we have a great chance of proving a lot of people wrong,” he commented. “While Chile are a great team, they are not a favourite to go through to the next stage (and) we will be looking to catch them on a bad day. Holland are a force to be reckoned with and it goes without saying so are Spain, and we know we will need to step things up to compete with these types of teams.”
EDWARDS PUSHED TO THE BRINK
The turmoil engulfing Perth Glory took a dramatic turn late this afternoon with the club imposing a series of conditions on coach Alistair Edwards that will compromise his ability to do the job. Edwards’ is understood to be considering his position carefully after Glory failed to find a resolution to his feud with captain Jacob Burns. It is understood Edwards will be required to attend weekly meetings to justify his team selection and strategy to the club hierarchy, which would also have the final say on transfers. Burns, in his fifth year at the club, appears set to remain as captain, which Edwards opposes following his falling-out with the former Socceroos midfielder.
The latest developments came after the club sanctioned Edwards, Burns, assistant coach Gareth Naven and goalkeeper Danny Vukovic for making public comments which inflamed the situation. Club owner Tony Sage said the quartet had been told they would face financial penalties, the severity of which would be determined by the board. He could not guarantee both Edwards and Burns would remain at the club. “I will find that out (tomorrow),” Sage said. “Both of them are entrenched in their positions at the moment. But after the letter that we sent them all, if they're still in those same positions, obviously more drastic actions will need to be taken.”
Tensions have risen in recent weeks between coaching staff and senior players, that latter who are concerned with Edwards’ team selection and tactics as well as his decision to move daily training sessions to an evening timeslot. “This shouldn’t have been played out in public,” Sage said. “It could’ve been much better handled outside of the public domain, but for various reasons they decided to make it public. Even if the stoush in the dressing room was well known, no one needed to say what it was about. That’s only caused a bit of embarrassment to the club, which I’m furious at.”
NEVILLE STAYS POSITIVE DESPITE SEASON-ENDING INJURY
Scott Neville is refusing to let the knee injury which ruined his season get him down. The Newcastle Jets defender is facing a surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, and suffering medial ligament damage last week against Melbourne Victory. “There's no point in getting too down about it or it’ll just make me feel worse and worse,” said Neville, who must wait for his medial ligament to heal prior to surgery on his ACL. “The most annoying part is having to wait to have the op and then the rehab.”
By his own admission, Neville was in the best form of his two-years with Newcastle when he was struck down by injury. “Even in pre-season I just felt really sharp,” the former Sorrento defender commented. “I think a player knows deep inside how they truthfully feel, and I was enjoying my football more than ever. I felt confident, whereas last season there was a series of niggling knocks that meant I was never near my best … our physio reckons that if everything goes well I’ll be ready to play in our (2014/15) pre-season games.”
DRESSING ROOM REVOLT PUTS GLORY IN CRISIS MODE
Perth Glory’s season appears to be on the verge of imploding with the club launching crisis talks after the escalation of a bitter player-driven revolt against coach Alistair Edwards. It’s understood several senior players directly challenged Edwards in a heated behind closed doors exchange which lasted more than an hour immediately after Friday night’s loss at Melbourne Victory. Some players have stated off the record that the Glory coach has “lost almost the entire dressing room”, but a defiant Edwards painted the turmoil as purely a personal falling out between himself and captain Jacob Burns. What is becoming increasingly clear is that only Edwards or Burns will remain at the club.
Edwards believes the drama stems from a discussion he had with Burns several weeks ago. “There’s definitely a rift between Jacob Burns and myself,” Edwards confirmed yesterday. “It stems from the fact we had a discussion a few weeks ago about his future at the club. I couldn’t give him any assurances about what’s happening going forward. Since then it’s been a bit testy the relationship. And because he wasn’t re-introduced into the team after winning last week, it sort of caused a bit of a problem.” Edwards said he could not guarantee Burns a place in the starting eleven, or that he would play for Glory again. “That’s something that depends on performance and attitude going forward,” he commented.
Tensions within the Glory camp have been simmering for some time with players’ concerns revolving around favouritism shown by Edwards towards his, Ryan and Cameron, over other players. There is a belief the tactical balance of Glory’s match-day squad has been compromised by Edwards’ desire to include both of his sons. Inconsistencies in team selections, Edwards’ man-management style and the circumstances surrounding defender Steve Pantelidis’ departure to Malaysia have also raised the ire of the player group. Glory chief executive Jason Brewer held an emergency meeting with Glory’s coaching staff as well as one-on-one meetings with players in an attempt gain a fuller understanding of the issues.
MIDDLESBROUGH SLIDE NO REASON FOR PANIC SAYS WILLIAMS
Defender Rhys Williams insists there is no need to panic despite Middlesbrough’s slide down the English Championship table. Middlesbrough dropped to 19th in the standings after Saturday’s disappointing home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion with the gap separating them and last placed only five points. “Right now the table doesn’t look good, but everyone knows this league and knows any team is capable of going on a run,” said Williams. “No one has opened up a gap in the last two seasons. It’s interesting for people looking in but for us it’s work as usual and we need to start climbing the league.”
Middlesbrough’s chances of making the play-offs appear to be getting slimmer by the week but Williams believes anything could happen in the second half of the season. “Everyone says there is a long way to go. If you look at Reading a couple of seasons ago they went on a mega run and I think we are capable of doing that,” he said. “We need to get results soon. We know we are good enough to be a force in this league and I think everyone else knows that and will be looking in and thinking, ‘what are they doing down there’.”
It’s shaping up to be a difficult festive season for new manager Aitor Karanka, who has tasted victory only once since taking the helm a month ago. With the January transfer window only a matter of weeks away, Williams expects a few newcomers will come on board to give the squad a boost for the second half of the season. “January is just around the corner and the boss will bring in some of his own faces maybe and strengthen us with some new players,” he said. “Increasing competition in the squad would give us a big boost and would only benefit us.”
GLORY YOUTH COME UP SHORT
Melbourne Victory recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Perth Glory Youth from this afternoon’s National Youth League encounter at Lakeside Stadium, South Melbourne. Andrew Nabbout put away a second half double with Christopher Cristaldo and Damien Miskulin also on target for the home side with Brandon O’Neill getting Glory’s lone goal. Jesse Makarounas figured prominently early on by playing in Nabbout and Cristaldo on several occasions, however, neither was able to take their chances. Borbor Sambindi was twice thwarted at the other end, first by Nicholas Ansell and later by goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas. The goal Melbourne deserved arrived in the 32nd minute, Cristaldo twisting and turning before crashing the ball in from 5-metres.
Glory started the second half strongly only to concede twice in rapid succession. In the 62nd minute Miskulin had little difficulty finding the back of the net from 9-metres after meeting a squared pass from Jimmy Jeggo. A speedy counterattack two minutes later made it three-nil, a quick throw from Thomas and a couple of passes put Nabbout in the clear to finish across ‘keeper Jack Duncan in a one-on-one. Glory were given a glimmer of hope in the 72nd minute when O’Neill finished powerfully from the edge of the 18-yard box after being set-up by Isaka Cernak. But it was Nabbout who had the final say by netting at close-range with the last play of the game.
GLORY WOMEN POWERLESS TO STOP WESTERN SYDNEY
Western Sydney Wanderers scored maximum points for the first time this summer courtesy of a commanding 3-0 defeat of Perth Glory at Marconi Stadium. Helen Petinos netted just before half-time with Heather Garriock and Jenna Kingsley securing the win before Glory defender Bronwyn Studman received a late red card. The opening half was an even contest with both teams getting within sight of goal. The best came the way of Western Sydney with Petinos and Kingsley calling goalkeeper Chantel Jones into action on a couple of occasions. Glory, too, looked dangerous going forward but lacked quality in the finishing department. The teams seemed set to go into the break level when Petinos converted at the far post from Jenna Kingsley’s cross.
Veteran midfielder Garriock entered the action early in the second half and within minutes swooped on a loose ball and deftly chipped Jones for a goal of rare quality. Western Sydney were presenting an increasing threat to Jones’ goal and with fifteen minutes to go the Glory custodian was beaten again, Kingsley applying a cool finish at the back post following a precision cross by substitute Michelle Carney. Glory substitute Shannon May spurned a good opportunity by firing over, while the ever-dangerous Collette McCallum forced Arnold into a sharp stop. Studman was issued her marching orders with five minutes remaining, then Catherine Cannuli flashed narrowly over the crossbar as the home side threatened to add a fourth goal.
UNREST BEHIND EDWARDS NO SHOW
A major dressing room argument is being touted as the reason behind Alistair Edwards’ refusal to attend the post-match media conference following Perth Glory’s lacklustre loss at Melbourne Victory. Glory veterans Jacob Burns and Michael Thwaite were visibly distressed at the sounding of the final whistle last night at AAMI Park, with Edwards keeping his players in the change room for a lengthy team meeting. It has been reported defender Thwaite expressed his disgust with the result by saying ‘that’s a f...ing disgrace’ while club captain Burns is understood to have been fuming with his coach’s decision to keep him on the bench. Edwards decision to reject repeated requests by Football Federation Australia’s match commissioner to attend the mandatory press briefing is sure to raise the ire of the peak body.
GLORY CHASE SHADOWS IN MELBOURNE
A young and inexperienced Perth Glory fought valiantly but, ultimately, were outclassed 2-0 by Melbourne Victory in front of a bumper crowd of 17,001 at AAMI Park tonight. Adam Traore lashed in from distance leading into half-time with substitute Gui Finkler sealing the win late on to give Melbourne maximum points for the first time in three games. Not for the first time this season, Glory custodian Danny Vukovic kept his side in the contest with several important saves throughout the match. “We hung in there as long as we could but they were just the better team on the day,” Vukovic said. “We can’t be chasing games and that just seems to be what we’ve been doing lately.”
After a cagey start it was Melbourne that gradually gained the upper hand with Mitch Nichols firing a shot across Vukovic’s goal in the 16th minute. The hosts continued to attack and a minute later Connor Pain set-up Nichols, who this time placed straight into the arms of Vukovic. That attempt was followed by a James Troisi strike which Vukovic managed to palm away. Melbourne’s dominance was rewarded in the 34th minute when Nichols laid the ball back for advancing full-back Traore whose vicious dipping shot from outside the 18-yard box was too good for Vukovic. Glory’s solitary chance of the period came soon after, Ryo Nagai holding off Jason Geria but unable to get his shot on target.
Glory gave a much better account of themselves at the start of the second half with Jamie Maclaren firing past the target after 51 minutes. Maclaren looked to have broken the offside trap shortly after but Pablo Contreras’ perfectly executed sliding tackle robbed the striker of an opportunity to equalise. Melbourne then slowly regained the ascendency, however, Vukovic stood firm in repelling Nichols, Kosta Barbarouses and Troisi. An unmarked Ryan Edwards squandered a chance for put Glory level by lifting over from 9-metres after meeting Chris Harold’s cut back. Minutes later Maclaren’s excellent volley was brilliantly turned over by ‘keeper Nathan Coe. Glory’s hopes of salvaging the game were ended in the 89th minute when Finkler dispatched a low shot past Vukovic.
INS AND OUTS AS GLORY HEAD TO MELBOURNE
Perth Glory go in search of their first away win of the season when they take on Melbourne Victory this evening at AAMI Park. Injury has been unkind to coach Alistair Edwards over the past month with Brazilian import Sidnei the latest caualty, a hamstring complaint forcing the attacker to cool his heels alongside marquee pair William Gallas and Shane Smeltz. On a positive note Edwards’ welcomes captain Jacob Burns back into the fray after serving suspension along with Ryo Nagai, who has recovered from a calf niggle.
Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat is looking for a reaction from his side following last week’s loss to Newcastle Jets. “There was a number of errors made and hence we conceded two goals,” the former Socceroo said. “I’m looking for a reaction from the whole squad. We defend as a team, as a unit, whenever you concede a goal you can point the finger at an individual if you want but that's not something we do internally.” Veteran striker Thompson comes back in from injury while Perth-born defender Scott Galloway has been promoted to the senior list.
MASTRANTONIO PLANS FOR VICTORY FROM MILESTONE GAME
There wil be no room for complacency when Perth Glory Women travel to Western Sydney Wanderers this weekend. Western Sydney have just one point from three games and didn’t feature last weekend due to the rescheduling of their fixture with Sydney FC. Those statistics tend to suggest an easy win for the team in purple, however, midfielder Ella Mastrantonio knows just how difficult the challenge will on Saturday. “They are up there with Brisbane in terms of having one of the strongest squads in the league, stacked with internationals,” said Mastrantonio. “But we have the players that can do it and it’s going to be another important match for us.”
The game has special significance for 21-year old Mastrantonio who will chalk up her 50th W-League appearance. “I’ve really enjoyed it – you can’t ask for much more than playing for your home town and it is something that I’m very proud to be able to do,” said Mastrantonio. “Playing with the likes of Marianna (Tabain), Shannon (May), and growing up alongside them has helped me create lifetime bonds through football. But at the end of the day it’s all about success as a team rather than personally and we will be out to make the most of what is a very short season.” Youngster Jess Dillon is the only addition to Jamie Harnwell’s squad, which flew out of Perth this morning.
EDWARDS HANDS MAKECHE STARTING ROLE
Young striker Ndumba Makeche will make his first A-League start when Perth Glory ventures to Melbourne Victory tomorrow night. It’s a just reward for 21-year old Makeche after showing his class with a first half hat-trick in Glory’s 9-0 friendly demolishion of Malaysian Premier League outfit Felda United in mid-week. “Ndumba Makeche will start against Melbourne Victory because he’s performing well and his part of a squad that we believe in,” confirmed coach Alistair Edwards, who’ll partner Makeche with Jamie Maclaren. “The whole forward area linked up very well (against Felda). Jamie can play as a number nine or in behind the striker.”
Edwards says that versatility flows through his young squad. “We have got a lot of pace out wide but we also have a lot of mobility in the centre of the park,” said Edwards, who fielded ten players under the age of 22 in last week’s 4-2 defeat of Wellington Phoenix. “The modern game is moving towards the pace and mobility and you’ll find with a lot of players coming through, they’re first and foremost very good footballers, but they’ve also got the ability to get around the park very well. That helps with the style of play we want to play. We believe in the squad but we also know the importance of the experienced players.”
Tomorrow’s game at AAMI Park is likely to attract a crowd in the vacinity of 17,000, by far the largest Glory have played in front of this season. “A lot of teams might get intimidated by that but it’s quite the opposite for us,” Edwards commented. “Everyone is really looking forward to it … that has been mentioned about four or five times amongst the different players during the week, they are looking forward to playing at what is probably the best boutique stadium in the country. It will be one of the biggest crowds they would’ve played in front of this year and it’s a challenge they are really looking forward to.”
IN-FORM WILLIAMS WANTS TO STAY AT OXFORD
Ryan Williams thinks it would be foolish to look elsewhere as Oxford United close in on extending his loan from Fulham until the end of the League Two season. The 20-year old right winger has become a key player for the U’s in recent months, featuring in ten of their last eleven games and scoring four goals, including the winner in Monday’s 2-1 FA Cup triumph at Wrexham United. Manager Chris Wilder is optimistic Williams will remain with Oxford beyond its current term, which expires on 1 January.
There is a possibility Fulham may want to loan Williams out to a club at a higher level, however, the attacking midfielder has made clear his preference is to stay at Oxford. “I think it would be quite stupid for me to go elsewhere at this point in time,” he said. “I’m enjoying my football here. I’ve had to wait for my chance and I’ve taken it and proved I should be playing every week. I’m having fun, we’re getting results and scoring goals, I could not really be happier.”
SIDNEI JOINS GLORY’S WALKING WOUNDED
Brazilian import Sidnei has become the latest Perth Glory star to be struck down by injury. Sidnei was outstanding last week against Wellington Phoenix, scoring twice and setting up a third goal in Glory’s 4-2 home win, before pulling up late in the game with a hamstring injury. The winger, who sat out yesterday’s training session, joins an injury list that already contained the names of marquee players Shane Smeltz (ankle) and William Gallas (calf), Socceroo hopeful Scott Jamieson (Achilles), Travis Dodd (knee) and Josh Risdon (knee).
Coach Alistair Edwards is hopeful of regaining Gallas for next week’s home game with Adelaide United. “From a physiotherapy point of view he’s fit, so it’s just a matter of us trying to get him on the park,” Edwards said. “He’s training and we’ve got training today, but it’s very doubtful he'll be travelling at all (to play Melbourne Victory tomorrow).” Gallas has made just two appearances for Glory since joining the club last month. The French international made a late substitute appearance against Adelaide United and a week later lasted succumbed to a calf injury 31 minutes into the game with Central Coast Mariners.
KNEE SURGERY FOR NEVILLE
Newcastle Jets have been dealt a blow with news defender Scott Neville will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Neville was forced off in the first half of Sunday’s upset 2-1 win at Melbourne Victory, with scans revealing the 24-year old has torn his anterior cruciate ligament. The in-form right-back ‘heard something click’ as he fell to the ground in the 26th minute at AAMI Park and, despite the need for surgery, is staying up-beat. “I’ve just been trying to stay positive and that’s the only way you can go about it really,” he said. “I’ll be working as hard as I can to get back as soon as I can.”
Neville is hopeful of going in for surgery before the New Year to ensure he can get back on the park as soon as possible. “I’ve already started the first part of the rehab and we have a great physio and medical staff here at the Jets, so I’ve just got to take their advice and stick to the tasks they give me,” he said. “With most ACL injuries you have to strengthen the other ligaments around it before you get the surgery just to make sure it’s nice and strong going into it. I’ll do a bit of rehab for two or three weeks beforehand and get the operation around Christmas or just after the New Year.”
Assistant coach Craig Deans is confident Newcastle has the depth to cover for Neville’s absence. “It’s really disappointing for Scott because he’s worked really hard during the off-season to get himself to where he is. We’ve all seen how well he’s played during the first third of the season,” said Deans. “On the weekend we saw Jacob Pepper come in at right-back and he did a really good job. Josh Brillante has played there and young Andrew Hoole has played there in the past. We’ve said all along this year that our squad depth is quite good and I don’t think we lost too much from when Scott went off to the end of the game, which was pleasing.”
BURNS CALLS FOR CONSISTENCY
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns hopes some good can come of his latest suspension, which brought to light what he felt were inconsistencies in the workings of the A-League match review panel. Burns will return to action at Melbourne Victory on Friday night after serving a two-game ban for standing on opponent John Hutchinson’s leg. The incident initially went unpunished by referee Adam Kersey, who gave Hutchinson a yellow card for lashing out at Burns, but the match review panel took a different view by ruling against Burns for “assault on a player”. Glory were denied the chance to appeal the ban and threatened to take legal action before later opting against going down that path.
Burns said his spell on the sidelines had been frustrating, but hoped A-League officials would review the system and make it more transparent. “Hopefully they can have a good look at it in the off-season and make some adjustments for the benefit of the game moving forward,” Burns said. “That’s in terms of an appeal process, the way the MRP looks at games and who’s looking at the games. It’s almost like a secretive thing of who’s on the panel and how they actually go and review the games. That all has to come out and be apparent to clubs and fans alike because the consistency needs to be there.”
MAKECHE BAGS THREE AS GLORY DUMP FELDA
A first half Ndumba Makeche hat-trick was the highlight of Perth Glory’s 9-0 thrashing of Malaysian side Felda United this evening at Dorrien Gardens. Around 300 supporters turned out for what was effectively a training game for a youthful Glory side in which defender Michael Thwaite was the only started over the age of 22. The home side went ahead on 16 minutes through Makeche, who cleverly skipped past his marker and curled beyond advancing goalkeeper Farizal Harun. Makeche doubled Glory’s lead just after the half by latching onto a Jamie Maclaren through-ball and rounding the ‘keeper, then two minutes later the striker completed his haul with a near identical finish. Maclaren added his name to the scoresheet with a curling shot into the top corner after 39 minutes.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards made wholesale changes at the break with eleven new faces returning to the field. Despite this, Felda’s struggle for meaningful possession continued and by the time the final whistle sounded they’d failed to register a shot on goal. There was no such trouble for the hosts with teenager Borbor Sam Bindi putting away the fifth goal with a neat angled shot across the ‘keeper in the 64th minute. Jacob Burns converted from the penalty spot soon after following a foul on Sam Bindi, then Adrian Zahra extended the difference to seven goals. Brandon O’Neill made no mistake from the spot with six minutes to go with Sam Bindi punishing a goalkeeping error to seal a comfortable win.
CHINESE SOJOURN LEAVES GRIFFITHS IN LIMBO
Defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths is unsure where and when he’ll next step onto a football field. Out of contract with Guangzhou R&F, where he featured regularly during the past couple of seasons, Griffiths would ideally like to try his luck in Europe but concedes the Chinese Super League’s low standing may make that difficult. “I’m still trying to work out whether it is going to make it more difficult to maybe go to Europe,” out-of-contract Griffiths told pfa.net.au. “You don’t see players making the move from there to Europe but I don’t think it will be too far away before that becomes more common.”
Griffiths made his first team debut for ECU Joondalup at the age of 15 and not long after entered the academy at Blackburn Rovers. First team opportunities may have been hard to come by at the English Premier League club but Griffiths gained valuable experience through loans to Gretna and Accrington Stanley. He returned to Australia in 2009 and, after a brief spell with Adelaide United, spent a season with North Queensland Fury and two at Central Coast Mariners when the chance to move to China came up. “It felt a little too good to turn down at the time,” he said of joining Guangzhou.
Griffiths has seen little of Chinese football and there was no time for research. An offer was made and the next day he was heading to Guangzhou for a medical and to take a look at his new club. “It all happened in the space of two days, there was not a lot of time to weigh things up,” he recalls. “I went to China signed the contract and the next day I was living there. It was all unknown, you are not really sure what the level of football is going to be like or the standard of living or whether it is going to be a bad move for your career or a good move.”
There were hurdles to overcome but, at the end of the day, life in China exceeded Griffiths’ expectations. “It’s a much better standard then people give it credit for,” he said. “There are very good technical players, the crowds are big and I have played with top players like Yakubu (Aiyegbeni), I worked under a top manager in Sven (Goran Eriksson) and played against the likes of (Nicolas) Anelka and (Didier) Drogba. Off the pitch I enjoyed life in China, especially once I found my way round the city and made friends and finally tracked down a golf course.”
While Griffiths thoroughly enjoyed his time in China he urged any young footballers considering following in his footsteps to give it plenty of consideration before doing so. “I would ask them first about their own ambition and what they are trying to achieve,” Griffiths said. “If they are going there with the hope of bouncing to Europe I would say it could make it a little harder. But if they are keen to go I would say you need to consider what the city is like, who the manager is and also how are you going to get paid. They are the big things to consider.”
With his career in limbo, Griffiths is keen to continue his development as a player and, hopefully, catch the eye of Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou. “I just want to play football where I am going to get better and also if you look at the national team anybody who is playing at a good level and is playing well has pretty much got a shot,” said Griffiths, who was robbed of a Socceroos debut twelve months ago by injury. “Already Ange has shown that with his team selection and if I could be part of the squad in the years to come I would be a very happy man.”
DAVIES PREPARED FOR “BIG TEST” IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory teenager Matt Davies is expecting one of the biggest challenges of his short career when he lines up against a star-studded Melbourne Victory attack on Friday night. Melbourne boasts an abundance of attacking talents, including the A-League joint top scorer James Troisi, and ranks equal second for the number of goals scored so far this summer. “It’s always a good test and a little bit nerve-racking,” 18-year old Davies said. “They’ve got some quality players in their front line in Kosta Barbarouses, Connor Pain and James Troisi, so there’s no break really. They like to attack the full-back regions so it will be a big test.”
Davies has made six appearances to date for Glory but admits there are still a few nerves each times to steps onto the park. “I might not look (nervous), but I feel it,” Davies said. “I’ve slotted in okay, I suppose, but I’m just trying to do my role for the team. There’s no doubt it’s quicker (than the youth league) but it wasn’t as big a step up as I thought it would be and it hasn’t been as hard to handle as I thought it was going to be either. It definitely hasn’t been getting easier. It’s been on the same level, but I think I just know what to expect now.”
GLORY KEEN ON EXTENDING SIDNEI’S STAY
Alistair Edwards has confirmed Perth Glory are in negotiations for Brazilian attacker Sidnei to remain with the club beyond the current season. Sidnei, scorer of two goals in Friday night’s win over Wellington Phoenix, has consistently entertained crowds across the country with his fancy footwork and explosive speed so far this summer. He signed a one-season deal with Glory earlier this year after paying his own way to Australia to complete a week-long trial with the club. “I’ve never signed anyone from a YouTube video, or any video, so we brought him over and you could tell straight away he was quite good,” Edwards said.
Sidnei came through the ranks at Brazilian club Noroeste and has played in Europe since 2008 for Boavista, Rio Ave (Portugal), Enosis Neon Paralimni (Greece) and Alki Larnaca (Cyprus). “He fits in extremely well and he’s already one of those players in the A-League we love,” Edwards added. “We always talk about the Del Pieros and the Heskeys and the Onos, but I think we can almost add Sidnei close by in that (category). He doesn’t have the pedigree of the other three, but his performances have been fantastic.” Sidnei’s wife recently gave birth to the couple’s first child and it is understood he wants to raise his young family in Australia.
MANAGER PLEASED TO HAVE HERD BACK
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert singled returning defender Chris Herd out for praise following his club’s weekend loss at Fulham. Herd had missed the season to date through a series of niggling injuries but came straight into the starting line-up to partner Ciaran Clark in the centre of defence after Ron Vlaar was ruled out with a calf problem. “Chris did well,” Lambert told avfc.co.uk. “I can’t argue with that performance, his game was good, he never missed a header, he was always up for the challenge. I am really pleased he’s back.” One of two Australian’s in the English Premier League, Herd is hoping a strong second half to the season can propel him to reckoning for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
ROCKINGHAM “AN EXCITING CHALLENGE” SAYS NEW COACH CRERAR
Rockingham City stalwart Rob Crerar has opened a new chapter in his career as coach of the south of the river club. Crerar, 32, was appointed first team coach at Lark Hill Sportsplex last week and can not wait to get down to business. “It’s an exciting challenge and one which I am looking forward to,” said Crerar of his move into coaching. “I've always been interested in that side of the game and this felt like a natural progression once I had decided to hang up my boots. Over the last few years I’ve been talking a lot with Billy Russell about tactics, opposition players/sides and how they line-up, which has helped me whilst playing for Rockingham.”
Crerar played much of his career with Rockingham and, not surprisingly, believes the club have what it takes to take their place in the National Premier League. “I’d like nothing more to get the club back to winning ways and on a pathway to NPL League status,” he commented. “There will be a lot of improvement from Rockingham next year, our squad is still young and developing all the time. We are hopeful of retaining most of last season’s players – we are excited about some of our Under-18s progressing through – and we know we must strengthen so there will be new players coming in also. Division Two will be very competitive but our goal in 2014 will be winning promotion to Division One.”
Last season was nothing short of a disaster for Rockingham, who finished bottom of Division One after scrapping together just four wins from 22 starts. “The table ever lies, if you look at our results they were very disappointing,” concedes Crerar, who feels the club was on the back foot from the outset. “We were under prepared from the start and, unfortunately, our discipline let us down also. It’s obviously disappointing being relegated but there is a determination amongst the committee, coaching staff and playing group to work hard and improve so that we can be really competitive this year and, hopefully, give ourselves a chance at promotion.”
GLORY YOUTH STUMBLE
The Australian Institute of Sport ended a two-game losing streak by claiming victory by 4-2 over Perth Glory Youth this morning at Percy Doyle Reserve. A high intensity start had Marc Marino thwarted after only 8 minutes by home goalkeeper Jack Duncan, whose clearance over the AIS defensive line was finished into the net by Ndumba Makeche. The AIS’s frustration grew when Matthew Schmidt hit the right post and Mark Ochieng was unable to convert the rebound just after the half hour. However, they were celebrating five minutes later when Anthony Kalik slammed the ball in at close-range.
The second half had barely begun when Dylan Smith stunned the home side by weaving through their defences and firing past Duncan to give the AIS the lead. An away win was all but assured after substitute Bai Antoniou knocked a brilliant cross from Ochieng into the back of the net after 67 minutes. Schmidt then rubbed salt to Glory’s wounds three minutes later with a neat volley following a corner. Aleks Jovic gave the scoreline a modicum of respectability by putting away a perfectly weighted cross from Harry O’Brien two minutes from the end of regulation time.
SUTTON STEALS DRAMATIC WIN
A last gasp Rosie Sutton header snatched Perth Glory Women their first home win of the season, 1-0 over Adelaide United at Percy Doyle Reserve. The game appeared destined to end scoreless when Sutton converted a brilliant 89th minute cross from captain Collette McCallum, whose team dominated possession from the first whistle until the last. “The way we started the game and the way we continued the game was fantastic,” coach Jamie Harnwell said. “We needed the result and we got it ... they busted their guts out there today. A draw wouldn’t have been good enough today ... I said to the girls that this is the sort of result that can kick start a season.”
It was a frustrating first half for Glory who struggled to break down a sturdy defensive line under the command of goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. The best chance of the half came on 42 minutes when Sutton created space only to scuff her initial shot, and the follow-up effort was into Barbieri’s body. Adelaide didn’t get into gear until after the break but Lisa-Marie Woods’ long-range strike was acrobatically saved by Chantel Jones. Tiarn Powell should have done much better than rush her shot wide in the 83rd minute after being gifted possession by Browyn Studman’s error. Glory were rewarded for their dominance when McCallum weaved her way around the defence and crossed for Sutton to glance in with just minutes to go.
HORROR DRAW FOR SOCCEROOS
Australia’s worst nightmares have been confirmed with the Socceroos drawn to play reigning world champions Spain and 2010 runners-up the Netherlands at next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The Socceroos’ opening game of the tournament pits them against highly-ranked South American side Chile (13 June) before taking on the Netherlands (18 June) and current world number one Spain (23 June). Spain have dominated world football in recent years, winning the past two editions of the European Championship, while the Netherlands cruised through qualifying. Chile may be ranked fifteenth in the world but are still well above Australia, who are placed 59th on FIFA’s table.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said he was looking forward to the challenge of meeting such high quality opponents. “We’re going to see some good football in our group, that’s for sure,” Postecoglou said. “We know what Spain are like and the Dutch have always played good football and in this qualifying campaign Chile have been outstanding. So there’s going to be some real footballing challenges ahead of us … Everyone will be writing us off in this group, which is I think is logical. But from our perspective we’ve some great opportunities to show the world we can play some good football against the best nations in the world.”
SIDNEI STARS IN TRIUMPH OVER WELLINGTON
A youthful Perth Glory scored twice in the final eight minutes to snatch a thrilling 4-2 win over Wellington Phoenix at Perth Oval tonight. A stunning strike by Brazilian winger Sidnei had the home team in front only to have Stein Huysegems and Paul Ifill swing the ledger in Wellington’s with goals either side of half-time. Michael Thwaite brought the game level with late finishes from Adrian Zahra and Sidnei deciding the outcome. “I really enjoyed the first half an hour of the game, didn’t enjoy the next 30 minutes of it but then the last half an hour was very pleasing,” said Glory boss Alistair Edwards. “The game was a real roller coaster and the crowd was fantastic (they) really were the 12th man tonight.”
Glory, whose first eleven featured seven players aged 21 or under, made much of the early running. Jamie Maclaren and Danny De Silva got shots on target but goalkeeper Glenn Moss comfortably dealt with both efforts. However, Moss was powerless to halt Sidnei’s stunning long-range shot after 16 minutes. The home side continued to build momentum and twice went close to doubling their lead with De Silva volleying wide and Chris Harold forcing a great save from Moss. Wellington first attacking venture had Danny Vukovic comfortably deal with an effort from Paul Ifill. The game was now beginning to change and on 35 minutes Huysegems threaded through the narrowest of gaps between Danny Vukovic and the upright to level the score.
It took just three second half minutes for Wellington to grab the lead when some sloppy defending allowed Ifill to effortlessly head in from Vince Lia’s short corner. The home side would have had hit back immediately but Moss produced a classy save to deny Sidnei. The equalising goal did arrive on the hour via a powerful Thwaite header from a free-kick delivered by Sidnei. Substitute Zahra was in the right place to slot in Glory’s third goal after McGarry opened up the Wellington defence eight minutes from the final whistle. Moss gifted Sidnei his second of the night by letting the attacker’s 90th minute shot squirm under his body.
THWAITE VOWS, GLORY WILL ATTACK
Perth Glory’s makeshift defence will be put to the test when they go head-to-head with Wellington Phoenix this evening at Perth Oval 6.45pm). Injury has not been kind to the home team with William Gallas (calf), Josh Risdon (knee) and Scott Jamieson (Achilles tendon) all sidelined while Steve Pantelidis’ move to Malaysia has left Michael Thwaite is the only first-choice defender still standing. Even so, Thwaite said anything less than three points will be unacceptable for Glory. “Our mindset will never change, especially at home," Thwaite said. “We’ve got to be smart, but why not attack? We definitely have to be playing for the three points.”
Wellington, who are winless after seven games, make the long journey to Perth without several experienced players. Costa Rican midfielder Carlos Hernandez (quadricep) and defender Manny Muscat (suspension) are out and Albert Riera Vidal may also be absent after limping out of last week’s scoreless draw with Western Sydney Wanderers. “I feel that we’re playing good football and that we’re improving in a range of areas,” said coach Ernie Merrick, who is hopeful returning striker Jeremy Brockie can end their goal scoring woes. “The bottom line is you’ve got to score goals to win games and at the moment we’re not doing that.”
GLORY WOMEN READY FOR ADELAIDE: MCCALLUM
Captain Collette McCallum knows Perth Glory Women cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to qualify for their second successive finals series. An opening round win at Newcastle Jets was followed by back-to-back losses to Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory for Glory, however, McCallum is confident her team will turn things around when they host Adelaide United this weekend. “We’ve had a kick up the backside and we are sure we will be ready come Saturday,” she said. “We’ve been working hard at training, are in the right mindset and know what to expect from them.”
Adelaide have failed to ignite during the W-League’s five and a bit seasons – they’ve won only six times from 55 starts – but that does not mean Glory will be taking them lightly. “We definitely won’t be complacent against them,” McCallum stated. “They are coming off a win and drew with Western Sydney in the opening game. If we want to play finals we need to perform week in, week out and that is going to start with Saturday against Adelaide.” Glory Women taken on their Adealide counterparts from 5.00pm on Saturday at Percy Doyle Reserve.
THREE WEST AUSSIES CALLED INTO UNDER-20S CAMP
Perth Glory pair Daniel De Silva and Riley Woodcock along with Scott Galloway of Melbourne Victory have been invited to attend next week’s Young Socceroos training camp in Canberra. National youth team coach Paul Okon has selected 23 players for the three-day camp, which signals the start of preparations for next October’s AFC Under-19 Championship. “Over the coming months we will be running a number of these camps that will allow me to see the quality of these players,” said Okon. “This is a great opportunity for these players to come into a national team camp environment and see how they adapt both on and off the field.”
TAGGART SCORES YOUNG FOOTBALLER AWARD
Adam Taggart’s stocks continue to rise with the Newcastle Jets striker today revealed as the November nominee for the Young Footballer of the Year. A rich vein of form that reaped six goals in three games and jumped Taggart to the top of the A-League goal scorers chart was at the heart of the fringe Socceroo being voted the competition’s most outstanding under-21 player of the month. “It’s been a good month for me personally, but the most important thing is that the team has been doing really well,” said Taggart, a former ECU Joondalup junior. “A lot of the credit has to go to the players around me who have provided me with good service and great support throughout this month.”
Taggart scored in Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Adelaide United, bagged a brace as in a 2-1 defeat of Brisbane Roar then capped off a stellar month with a hat-trick of sublime goals in his clubs’ 3-1 win over Melbourne Heart. “I think scoring goals has a lot to do with your mindset,” Taggart said. “After I scored the first one I was able to get on a nice little roll and like all strikers I want to try and continue that for as long as I can.” Taggart joins fellow West Australia as the first two nominees for the annual award. The Young Footballer of the Year Award sponsor, National Australia Bank, will donated a $1,500 equipment pack and $1,000 in a Community Saver Account to Taggart’s chosen junior club.
AFTERNOON GAMES NEED TO BE SCRAPPED SAYS VUKOVIC
Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has called on Football Federation Australia to fixture future season Perth Glory home games with evening starts. Glory and Adelaide United were forced to compete in stifling conditions of 32C heat last month at Perth Oval, when the game kicked-off at 2.30pm. Both clubs and Professional Footballers Australia had agreed to delay kick-off by a few hours, however, it was blocked by Football Federation Australia and Fox Sports. “They need to scrap afternoon games completely,” said Vukovic. “Especially in Perth, our summer is very hot and we rarely get a cool day. If they are scheduling games in summer in 2pm there’s a good chance it’s gonna be in the 30s. Next season they have a real good look at that and change that.”
Vukovic questioned FFA’s scheduling of A-League games which had Glory’s first three home games played in the heat of the day. “It’s true both teams have to play in it but we played three home games in a row in some very tough conditions and over time that takes its toll,” he said. “I know the club was working with the PFA to change that game (against Adelaide). They did their best but for whatever reason the FFA and Fox Sports weren’t able to change it. Thankfully for us we don’t have any more afternoon games in the foreseeable future at home which is a positive. But at the end of the day the games are scheduled when they are scheduled and we just have to do our best.”
SAINSBURY READY FOR WHATEVER SYDNEY THROW AT HIM
In-form defender Trent Sainsbury expect to be put under the pump when Central Coast Mariners host Sydney FC on Saturday, even if Italian superstar Alessandro Del Piero is ruled out with injury. Sydney are running hot with four wins on the trot and Sainsbury, who was outstanding in last week’s draw with Melbourne Victory, is relishing the chance to bring the visitors run to an end. “They’ll be confident after four wins in a row, it’ll be a tough match,'' said Sainsbury. “With Del Piero they’re obviously dangerous, but they showed last week that they can win without him. We can’t worry too much about that, we’ve got to get ourselves ready.”
SMELTZ OUT UNTIL CHRISTMAS
Perth Glory’s injury woes have deepened with news Shane Smeltz could be sidelined for up to a month with torn ankle ligaments. Smeltz suffered the injury while challenging Brisbane Roar’s Matt Smith on the weekend, with post-game scans revealing the full extent of the damage. Glory captain Jacob Burns (suspension), Scott Jamieson (Achilles tendon), William Gallas (calf), Josh Risdon (knee) and Travis Dodd (knee) missed the game in Brisbane, while Steve Pantelidis’ move to Malaysian side Selangor FC lessens their stocks ahead of Friday’s home clash with Wellington Phoenix.
It has been a frustrating year for Smeltz, who has only managed four A-League appearances this season. In March the 32-year old suffered a horrific injury playing for New Zealand against New Caledonia when he was kicked in the face. He missed the first three games of the new A-League season while recovering from hip surgery, and another due to international duty during New Zealand’s World Cup qualifying campaign. Smeltz, the A-League’s all-time leading goal scorer, is yet to find the back of the net this season but, nonetheless, remains one of Glory’s most potent attacking weapons.
WOODCOCK STOKED WITH GLORY DEBUT
Perth Glory left back Riley Woodcock could not be happier about gaining his first senior appearance for the club he grew up supporting. Woodcock, 18, became the fifth Glory player under the age of 22 to make his A-League debut this season when he came off the bench late last weekend’s home loss to Brisbane Roar. “It’s good to get your debut out of the way because the more the season goes on, you keep itching to get a game,” Woodcock said. “It was a great feeling to debut for the club that I supported growing up as a kid and to get a professional debut is something you always dream about.”
Woodcock, who played juniors with Gosnells City, Forrestfield United and Cockburn City, was ready to do his bit when coach Alistair Edwards turned to him as a 76th minute replacement for Jack Clisby. “It looked like the game was being played at very quick tempo and Brisbane are a team who like to play football so we weren’t having much joy with the ball,” he said. “We were defending a lot so I was thinking ‘if I’m coming on here, it’s going to be a very hard game to come into’, but I was just itching to get on. It’s a shame about the loss but it was a good game to come into because you want to be tested at the highest level.”
PANTELIDIS SPLITS FROM GLORY
Perth Glory’s defensive stocks have taken another massive hit with Steve Pantelidis quitting the club to link up with Malaysian Super League outfit Selangor FC. The departure of Pantelidis, a veteran of over 140 A-League games, leaves Glory light on for options at the back leading into Friday night’s home date with Wellington Phoenix. Injuries to Scott Jamieson (Achilles tendon), William Gallas (calf), Josh Risdon (knee) injury means Michael Thwaite is the only first-choice defender available for selection this week. Youngsters Matt Davies (18), Riley Woodcock (18) and Jack Clisby (21) are all likely to start against Wellington.
Pantelidis, 30, donned Glory colours on 49 occasions during his two and a half seasons with the club. “Steve has been a great servant to Perth Glory over the past two years," coach Alistair Edwards said. “We were in talks to extend his contract further, however, we had also received significant interest from a number of clubs in Asia for him. There is increasing money going into football in Asia and the Malaysian league is fast attracting a number of overseas players. As a club we do not want to stand in the way of (a) player seeking to pursue overseas aspirations. We thank Steve for his commitment and professionalism at Perth Glory (and) wish him well in his future endeavours.”
TAGGART-HESKEY PARTNERSHIP TO BLOSSOM
Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart is confident his strike partnership with former England international Emile Heskey will come on in leaps and bounds over the next few weeks. Heskey gained his first start of the campaign last weekend and Taggart, who has already netted six times this season, says it won’t be long before the pair click. “He’s a great player and he brings a whole different game to the team and we’ve got to be able to utilise that a bit better,” Taggart said. “As the weeks go on its obviously going to come together more as a whole team and the partnership between me and Emile will get better … there’s only good to come.”
Newcastle’s six-game unbeaten run came to an end with last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Sydney FC, a result Taggart says his team have moved on from. “It wasn’t the best result but it’s something that we’ve put behind us now,” said Taggart, 20, whose attention has switched to Sunday’s outing with Melbourne Victory. “Looking on our recent performances we’ve lost two games the whole season, the rest we’ve been unbeaten and put in some really good performances. For us were looking at all the positives and how we’ve been performing in the recent month or so, we’re looking to carry that confidence into the game (against Melbourne).”
WILLIAMS STAKES HIS CLAIM ON A FLIGHT TO BRAZIL
Socceroo Rhys Williams is aiming to make the centre-back role alongside captain Lucas Neill his in the lead-up to next year’s World Cup in Brazil. The 25-year old frequently found himself on the periphery of national team selection under former coach Holger Osieck but, fresh from a solid workout against Costa Rica last week, the Middlesbrough defender is brimming with self-belief and determined to show new coach Ange Postecoglou his value. “Football is all about confidence and the new boss allowed me to play my game, to step out a little and express myself,” Williams said.
Williams looked calm and assured alongside Neill against Costa Rica before being replaced early in the second half due to a groin niggle. “Ange knows my game is built on stepping out from the back (and) it’s my aim now to keep the spot and fend off any competition from the rest of the boys,” commented Williams, who bears no ill-feeling towards Osieck. “He had his centre back pairing of Lucas and Sasa Ognenovski and to be fair they did really well for him. But I feel I could have given him a lot more had I been given the opportunity but it never really came.”
Williams is hoping the partnership with Neill carries him all the way to Brazil. “It always helps when you play alongside somebody of his quality and experience,” he said of partnering Neill, Australia’s most-capped captain. “I think we struck up a decent understanding and I really enjoyed playing to next to him … hopefully I can keep the spot. You are always learning as a player and the game against Costa Rica was no different. I think the fact we kept a clean sheet and limited them to just a couple shots and was a positive sign looking ahead.”
Postecoglou has been quick to instil a ‘no fear’ policy in the Socceroos as they attempt to shake off the often stifling approach deployed by Osieck. “I felt we played with freedom against Costa Rica and that has set the tone,” he added. “That belief was instilled in us by Ange before the game (and) that showed in the style we played. The boss tried a few things and his confidence and attitude rubbed off on the players who all knew it was a fresh chance for them also. He knows what it means to play for the country and having an Australian in charge adds an extra dimension.”
“SIMPLE ERRORS” COSTING GLORY WOMEN SAYS HARNWELL
Perth Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell says more work needs to be done on the training ground after his team suffered a 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory this afternoon at Perth Oval. Jessica Fishlock and Caitlin Friend had the away team in a comfortable position before Lisa De Vanna extended their advantage to three goals, however, a late Glory rally was rewarded with a consolation from Christina Julien. “We’ve been working a lot but clearly not enough,” said Harnwell. “It was simple errors that cost us. When we were able to string some passes together we looked quite good (and) I feel we dominated the last half an hour but we just couldn’t convert our chances.”
Fishlock honoured her first appearance of the season with the opening goal after 24 minutes, the attacker unleashing a 25-metre strike which beat the dive of goalkeeper Chantel Jones and ricocheted in via the far post. Glory threatened to cancel out the early advantage by gaining three successive corners, however, Collette McCallum’s header on one of them was met by the gloves of Cassandra Dimovski. Melbourne doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when, against the run of play, Friend pounced on a cheeky flick from Ella Barilla and wrong-footed Sasha Andrews before effortlessly placing the ball beyond Jones. Friend twice went close to another but both close-range volleys went over the crossbar.
Glory lifted their intensity after the break with Rosie Sutton, Cecilie Sandvej and McCallum worked tirelessly. On 56 minutes Sutton forced a diving save from Dimovski after getting in behind the defence. Jones was called into action at the other end to deny Friend and De Vanna as they ran rings around the home defence. De Vanna’s efforts were eventually rewarded in the 82nd minute when he rode the challenge of Andrews and tucked the ball into the net. The hosts solitary finish came two minutes after, Canadian import Julien playing a smart one-two before slotting in her second goal of the campaign.
DE SILVA INSPIRES GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth backed up last week’s first win of the season by thrashing Brisbane Roar 7-2 this morning at Goodwin Park. The home defence was under pressure for the duration as Daniel De Silva, Borbor Sambindi and Ndumba Makeche spearheaded Glory’s goal search. The away team held a three-goal buffer at the break courtesy of Makeche, Harry O’Brien and Isaka Cernak. Patrick Theodore and Brandon Borrello gave the hosts hope of a second half comeback only for Adrian Zahra to strike twice, Makeche grabbed his second of the day before the scoring was rounded out by Brandon O’Neill.
It took Glory only seconds to carve out their first opening on goal, De Silva slicing through the midfield to cross for Makeche whose header flashed over the top. That miss was forgotten minutes after when De Silva again pierced the home defence to find Makeche, who this time fired truly and into the bottom corner. Sambindi placed too close to Denver Crickmore as the pressure on Brisbane mounted. Crickmore was beaten for a second time midway through the half when O’Brien’s deflected shot from outside the 18-yard box found the net. Glory struck for a third time in the shadows of half-time, Cernak letting fly with a low shot from 18-metres.
Brisbane gained themself a lifeline soon after the restart with Theodore curling a superb effort into the top corner. It got even better for the home side when Borrello beat the offside trap and coolly rounded the goalkeeper before slotting into the net. Glory’s advantage returned to two goals a minute later with Zahra putting away their fourth. De Silva nearly got the goal he deserved but Crcikmore tipped away his shot after dancing through the defence. Zahra and Makeche get their second goals of the afternoon before O’Neill completed the drubbing with a sublime free-kick in stoppage time.
GLORY LACKING SPARK IN BRISBANE
Brisbane Roar recorded their sixth straight win at Suncorp Stadium by downing Perth Glory 1-0 this afternoon. The Glory defence took some breaking down before Brisbane’s attacking pressure eventually paid off just before the hour with Besart Berisha’s angled finish extending their lead at the top of the A-League table. Glory created a handful of opportunities but was outplayed over the course of the match, the home side enjoying 65 per cent possession and notching 22 shots on goal to the visitor’s five. “The midfield movement of the Brisbane Roar is pretty good, it’s probably the best in the country, so it was a good challenge for the boys,” said coach Alistair Edwards.
Glory was on the back foot from the outset with attempts on goal from Berisha and Henrique going wide inside 10 minutes. Thomas Broich found space after but his curling effort from the edge of the 18-yard box failed to beat goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. The away team suffered a major blow on 33 minutes when striker Shane Smeltz was forced off with an ankle injury sustained after challenging Matt Smith. Vukovic was called upon again soon after, keeping out Berisha’s shot on the turn after the attacker expertly controlled a corner. Glory’s only chance of the period came in stoppage time when Luke Brattan’s goal line clearance thwarted Michael Thwaite.
Brisbane were on the back foot after the break before Broich stroked into the area where Berisha created space for himself before angling low across Vukovic and inside the far upright. Berisha nearly had another minutes later when he swerved past three defenders and fired on goal only to have Vukovic athletically pushed the effort wide. Brattan’s desperate 70th minute block prevented Jamie Maclaren from equalising after receiving a Chris Harold back heel. Kwame Yeboah came off the bench and with one of his first touches headed narrowly high from a pinpoint Broich cross. Brisbane’s dominance continued through to the closing minutes, with Glory unable to find any spark in attack.
GALLAS OUT FOR THREE WEEKS
A calf injury will force French defender William Gallas to miss Perth Glory’s next three games. Gallas, who has a history of calf issues, suffered his latest setback during the opening half of last weekend’s home loss to Central Coast Mariners. “I’ve got a little problem with my calf. I did an MRI, so I think I would be injured for up to three weeks,” Gallas told SBS football show ‘Thursday FC’. Steve Pantelidis will likely to take Gallas’ place in the heart of Glory’s defence when they take on Brisbane Roar this afternoon.
GLORY WOMEN FACE RIVALS IN BREAST CANCER FUNDRAISER
Perth Glory Women will be without co-captain Kate Gill when they take on Melbourne Victory at Perth Oval in Sunday’s re-match of last season’s controversial W-League semi-final. Gill was forced to withdraw from the Matildas squad last week after tests revealed she had low iron levels, which caused her to feel fatigued even during light exercise. She has since received medication and will have further tests before she returns to Glory training. “It’s been a ridiculous year for me,” said Gill, who has also been sidelined by a hamstring injury which was the result of complications from knee surgery. “But hopefully I won’t miss too many W-League games.”
Coach Jamie Harnwell acknowledged the impact of Gill’s absence and revealed his intention to change the team’s approach against Melbourne. “Kate’s a huge loss for us … you’re always to going to miss someone of her ability,” said Harnwell. “It will alter the way we’re going to play because she brings a different skill set to any other player we have and probably any other player in the league.” Harnwell expects midfielder Collette McCallum to be raring to go after her recent outings for the Matildas against China. “Collette will be buzzing after being involved again in the national team,” the coach added.
Sunday’s game, which kicks off at 12midday, will be Glory’s sixth annual National Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser. The game match has been played each W-League season since Teresa Calautti, mother of foundation player Danielle, passed away from breast cancer in 2008. Part proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the NBCF and volunteers will also be out in force collecting donations. Additionally, Football West will donate $500 for each goal Glory Women score against Melbourne. A limited edition inaugural playing shirt signed by the original squad will be auctioned online with all proceeds going directly to NBCF.
UNDERMANNED GLORY VOW TO MAKE A MARK IN BRISBANE
With a host of first team players unavailable for duty, Perth Glory really could not have picked a worse time to take on A-League pacesetter Brisbane Roar. Captain Jacob Burns (suspension) along with defensive pair Scott Jamison (Achilles) and William Gallas (calf) have joined Josh Risdon (knee) on the absentee list for tomorrow’s game at Suncorp Stadium. But despite these losses, Michael Thwaite has every confidence in Glory going home with a result they’re after. “We had a great win there last time, and we were basically defending the whole time but we’re going to take a real pro-active approach,” he said.
Brisbane are near to full-strength and, backed by a parochial home crowd, captain Matt Smith believes his team have the advantage. “We have some great supporters at Suncorp and our fans come out and cheer us on and of course, we love playing at home,” Smith said. “It’s our stadium, we’re trying to make it our fortress and it’s the same as every other A-League team. We’re used to the dimensions, we’re used to the feel of the pitch and the ground and that certainly helps us going in mentally.” Injury prevents Liam Miller and Shane Stefanutto from taking to the field for the home side.
ELLENBROOK “A GENUINE TITLE CONTENDER”: TENAGLIA
Club president Fonz Tenaglia asserts Ellenbrook United have not joined the State League simply to make up the numbers. Ellenbrook were earlier this week revealed as one of four new clubs to enter Division Two next year and, while the clubs inclusion has raised more than a few eyebrows, Tenaglia is in no doubt his club have what it takes to be a success. “I’m confident that we will be very competitive,” said Tengalia, whose club competed in the sixth tier of amateur football last season. “We will be a genuine challenger for the title, and show that we deserve to be in the league.”
Entering the State League is the end result of years of planning for Ellenbrook. “This is something we’ve been working on since we started in 2008,” explained Tenaglia. “We have always strived to be the best we can and be a ‘football for all’ club. We want to have paths for our juniors to have the opportunity to play the highest level of football we can provide, or choose to play socially or at amateur level. The grand vision is that we have a path from juniors to seniors, and if we’re good enough in what we do then hopefully we’ll have players move onto A-League or tier one leagues.”
Tenaglia views a strong level of engagement with the local community as being one of the keys to Ellenbrook’s long-term success. “Off the field, we’re very busy,” he said. “Our committee are finalising sponsorship contracts now that we know we are in the league. What we want to do is add atmosphere to the game days, so we’re busy working on marketing and promotion to get our community behind our club. The people of Ellenbrook feel very communal and neighbourly and we want to leverage on that by getting our community and our junior members to our games … we want to make it an attraction.”
For their first venture into the State League Ellenbrook have put their faith in coach Paul Vallerius, who guided the young club to second spot in Division Five of the Sunday League earlier this year. “Paul is thrilled with his core group of boys to which he’ll add to strengthen our depth,” Tenaglia commented. “We’ve been grooming our younger players the last few years – the average of our players is 23 – and they are as keen and confident as ever to make Ellenbrook a success. We’ve got youth, experience and time to grow and develop for the next few years.”
Like any club, Ellenbrook has clear aspirations to be playing in the top flight but, for the time being, Tenaglia is setting the club some modest goals. “Respect from our peers, that’s what we want to achieve next year,” said the president. “It’s no secret there is some scepticism that a club in its first year in the amateur league, and from Division Five, should get a shot at the State League … if I was on the outside looking in I’d think much the same. However, we’ve been working toward this for six years and I believe Ellenbrook will achieve respect and a new dynamic as a club and a brand.”
NEWCASTLE SECURE TAGGART FOR ANOTHER SUMMER
Adam Taggart has signed a one-year contract extension with Newcastle Jets which keeps the in-form striker at Hunter Stadium until the end of next season. Fresh from a sensational hat-trick against Melbourne Heart which took him to the top of the A-League’s goal scorer chart, Taggart says he is thrilled to commit to Newcastle for another season. “It’s fantastic to re-sign at a great club like Newcastle,” Taggart said. “We are all going in the right direction here, so it’s an exciting time and I’m really pleased. We’ve been talking for quite a while and it’s great that we’ve come to an agreement.”
Taggart, a former ECU Joondalup junior, reserved special praise for Newcastle’s supporters, crediting them for playing a crucial role in his re-signing. “A massive thing for me was just coming off the field last week and having that standing ovation,” added 20-year old Taggart. “That made me really feel a massive part of Newcastle in me, so the deal was definitely something I couldn’t say no to. The thought in my head was that it would be great to experience that week-in and week-out now, so the fans played a massive part in me re-signing."
Capped four times by Australia, Taggart joined Newcastle last year following a frustrating two-year spell at Perth Glory where he was limited to just ten appearances. “The club (Newcastle) has been magnificent since I’ve come here,” he said. “They’ve shown the belief in me. I think throughout my whole time here I’ve been made to feel very welcome. And the ongoing talks I’ve had with the Club have been nothing, but absolute support. I think for all us young players they just want the best for us and to help us make a great career just as much as we do.”
MOMENTUM IS BUILDING AT CURTIN
Curtin University are a step closer to making their football picture complete after being granted entry into the State League. Club president Campbell Ballantyne received the good news earlier this week that Curtin’s application to move into Saturday football had been successful, meaning the 22-year old club will take their place in next year’s expanded 12-team Division Two competition as well as the amatuer and social leagues. “We have always aspired to providing a football pathway for players of all levels,” said Ballantyne. “And we feel we’ve achieved that now with teams in the State League, Sunday League, Metropolitan League and Hub Football League.”
Curtin finished top of the Sunday League Division One this year and will take pretty much the same team into the State League. “All but one player has committed to staying and the two coaches, Daniel Jones and myself, are both confirmed for 2014 with David Cantoni appointed to take the reserves,” said Campbell. “We have built a very strong group of young footballers on the basis that Curtin is where they want to play. Every year that group grows and strengthens organically with the South-West leagues being a very fruitful area for player recruitment.”
Off the field of play, Campbell says there are a few minor projects which require attention, one of which is the scheduling of Friday night games. “We have some planning work to do regarding fixturing,” the Curtin president explained. “Part of our application to join the State League was hosting home games on Friday nights. Curtin’s Bentley campus has a week-day population over 20,000 and we are looking to bring them an entertainment option post work/study on Fridays. This is the group we need to market our product to.”
Campbell has set his sights on taking Curtin to the top of Division Two at the first attempt. “We plan to achieve the league title and win promotion to Division One. That is our goal in 2014 but if it takes a year or two we could accept that,” he said. “We will be competitive as our playing group are constantly improving. All the players are chomping at the bit to get stuck into the State League. They won a league title last year and will come into the new season more motivated, with better knowledge as a team and further developed as footballers.”
GLORY THE “PERFECT FIT”: O’NEILL
Midfielder Brandon O’Neill has committed his future to Perth Glory by signing a new two-year deal with his hometown club. O’Neill, 19, is expected to add signifcantly to the two starts he’s made already this season and had no hesitation extending his stay at Glory. “The first year I signed here I thought, I want to stay here, I don't want to go anywhere else,” said O’Neill, who initially joined the club on a youth contact in 2010. “It's another dream come true, for me personally to grow up supporting the Glory and now to sign my second contract extension is brilliant, I don't want to go anywhere else and Glory is the perfect fit for me.”
A former ECU Joondalup junior, O’Neill could not be happier than fine-tuning his game under coach Coach Alistair Edward and the experienced members of Glory’s squad. “The philosophy that we have in place with Alistair and the type of football we play, not for my benefit as well but for most of the young lads coming through, that’s the way we want to play. It’s the brand of football we want to produce in Perth,” said O’Neill, an Australia youth international. “I think learning off the likes of (Steve) McGarry, (Jacob) Burns and even (Shane) Smeltz and these types of guys, my career will go from strength to strength and I can make a good stint of it.”
MATILDAS MAKE CLEAN SWEEP OF CHINA SERIES
The Australia women’s national team wrapped up their two-match friendly series with China with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Parramatta Stadium. The Matilda’s looked in complete control as goals in each half by Lisa De Vanna and Emily Van Egmond secured coach Hesterine De Reus victory over China for the second time in four days. “We didn’t play well but we won,” said De Reus. “The positive for me is that we still won a poor game. I thought we had some poor defending and poor passing but despite that winning is a positive. We still have a lot of players out (and) we are still on track for the Asian Women’s Cup.”
The first half was one of very few clear-cut chances for either team to score. Australia got the breakthrough on the half hour when Michelle Heyman rose highest to divert Katrina-Lee Gorry’s corner towards De Vanna, whose close-range header left Chinese goalkeeper Yue Zhang stranded. The difference was increased just before the hour, Van Egmond tidily side-footing in Heyman’s wayward shot. China striker Ying Li had two opportunities to score in the second period but failed to truly test goalkeeper Lydia Williams on either occasion as the Australia defence remained solid. Li eventually pulled a goal back from the penalty spot on 73 minutes after a handball decision went against Australia captain Clare Polkinghorne.
ROUX PLEASED WITH FIRST UP OUTING FOR NEW ZEALAND
Central Coast Mariners defender Storm Roux is still buzzing from his senior international debut for New Zealand. Roux stepped out for the All Whites in last week’s World Cup qualifier against Mexico and, although the result went against the Kiwis 4-2, the 20-year old right back was delighted to have played his part. “It was amazing to play, a massive honour to get my first cap” Roux said. “I was pretty happy with my game, for playing such a good side and on my debut, I was pleased with myself. Of course we were all very disappointed and upset not to qualify because everyone dream of playing at a World Cup.”
Roux returned to club duty last weekend with a full stint in Central Coasts’ dramatic 2-1 win over his former club, Perth Glory. The game was the Mariners’ first under new coach Phil Moss, who stepped into the role following Graham Arnold’s departure for Japan. “I think the boys have taken it well,” Roux said of the coaching transition. “Coaches move on and you have to deal with it. Mossy’s a very good coach and has been at Mariners a long time so it’s not hard to adjust. The boys have all reacted well.”
BURNS SLAPPED WITH TWO-MATCH BAN
Perth Glory chairman Tony Sage is preparing to fight the two-game ban Jacob Burns copped for an off-the-ball incident in Saturday’s clash with Central Coast Mariners. Burns was found guilty of “violent conduct when not challenging for the ball” by the A-League’s match review panel after reviewing footage of the late first half incident involving John Hutchinson. “It’s an absolute disgrace,” Sage said in a club statement. “We will take all legal avenues open to us to ensure that Jacob plays this weekend.” Glory will be without Burns for this weekend’s trip to Brisbane Roar as well as the home date with Wellington Phoenix.
BIRIGHITTI SEES NO PROBLEM WITH CONCEDING GOALS
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti is content to concede goals as long as his team mates continue putting the ball away at the opposite end of the park. Newcastle are unbeaten in their last six games but have failed to keep a clean sheet since drawing with Wellington Phoenix in round three, not that Birighitti is bothered. “As long as the boys are winning and each week we keep performing and getting better a team, if I concede one or two goals and we’re still winning games I don’t see any problems in that,” he said.
Birighitti turned in his best performance of the season so far in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat of Melbourne Heart. The former Perth SC junior came up with a sharp reflex save to deny David Williams only to be left stranded when team mate Josh Mitchell deflected a free-kick into the net. “I go into every game trying to keep a clean sheet and to concede a goal like that was pretty disappointing, but overall happy with the performance,” said Birighitti. “Things are going well, the team’s confidence is sky high at the minute and so it should, undefeated in six games.”
Sydney FC are the only team to better Newcastle this season and Birighitti says his team are primed to avenge that loss on Saturday. “We had a very disappointing start to the season but slowly we’ve got better and better as a side, and we’re definitely looking to get one on them this weekend,” he said. “We know it’s going to be a tough ask as they’re on a bit of a roll as well. We’re going to have to be on our toes and I’m sure the boys can go out there and get another three points.”
MELBOURNE HERALDS A NEW CHAPTER IN DE VANNA’S CAREER
A desire to prepare for life beyond football, be reunited with family and work with young talent all factored into Lisa De Vanna’s decision to call Melbourne Victory home for the 2013/14 W-League season. One of the most lethal players in the women’s game, De Vanna has played the past few years on and off with Perth Glory Women and, although happy at home, Melbourne ticked too many boxes for the newly turned 29-year old to resist the temptation to cross the Nullarbor. “I wanted to start developing a life outside football and Melbourne is the place to do it,” De Vanna told heraldsun.com.au. “I have a sister in Melbourne and we’re really close.”
But, ultimately, it was the opportunity to take on a mentoring role with a young Melbourne squad this summer that proved the deciding factor in De Vanna’s move to Victoria. “In Steph (Steph Catley), Ash (Ashley Brown) and Bri (Brianna Davey), they’ve got some quality girls and they’ve got really good heads on their shoulders,” said De Vanna. “The good thing is that they’re willing to learn, if I suggest something they listen. I don’t think I want to be like that nagging mum. I think they respect what I have done and what I have done as a player, I’ve walked the talk.”
It’s been a memorable few weeks for De Vanna, who was named Australia’s Female Footballer of the Year just days after being shortlisted for FIFA’s Goal of the Year. “It’s a great honour to get footballer of the year. It’s probably reward for my career as a whole,” commented De Vanna, whose spectacular bicycle kick for Sky Blue FC put alongside Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Brazil’s Neymar and Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale as nominees for the FIFA award. “I’m just honoured to be nominated,” she said. “As one of the finalists if I can get into the last three I’ll be happy. I don't have to win, just get in the last three.”
PROGRESS THE KEY FOR GLORY YOUTH COACH MILLER
Coach Scott Miller has no concerns that his new-look Perth Glory Youth outfit are taking time to find their feet. The youngsters came away from their first four games of the new season empty-handed before finally putting some points on the board with Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Central Coast Mariners. And even though early results didn’t go their way, Miller is confident his players are learning. “A lot of the goals we’ve given away have been when boys were doing what we’re asking them to do so that will take time before it becomes a bit natural,” he said. “You don’t want those results but as long as we’re progressing, especially in the first half of the season, we’ll be happy.”
Miller’s sole focus is on the development of his squad, however, the Glory legend also has one eye on Glory Youth’s entry into next year’s National Premier League. “We’re building towards the NPL, but a big part of the National Youth League is to facilitate as many of the young first team players as we can,” Miller said. “We’ve had to start again, so we have got a mix of National Training Centre boys, State League boys and lots more at different levels. We want to make sure by the time the NPL starts or even halfway through the NYL season, we can start being competitive with results, although we are just trying to progress ourselves.”
BRISTOL’S KING CLOSE TO RETURNING FROM INJURY
Bristol City defender Tom King has set his sights on a December return after enduring a torrid time with injury. An Australia youth international, King looked on the verge of a first team breakthrough only a few months back when a series of niggling injuries brought his progress to a crashing halt. “I went to Spain on the pre-season tour with the first team and as soon as the season started I tore my groin, so I was out for eight weeks,” explained King, whose comeback last all of two weeks. “The left one (groin) went then the right one went … it hasn’t been a smooth ship with injuries to be honest.”
Now nearing full fitness, King’s focus is on breaking into manager Sean O’Driscoll’s line-up. “He’s not scared to play young players at all, there’s a couple of other players who have had a chance and a couple of young ones who play regularly. It’s just about getting back fit and then proving you’re better than what he’s got at the moment,” said King, whose contract at Ashton Gate expires in June. “The manager changed quite late last year, so he hadn’t had a chance to look at everyone but he saw me for a few months and decided he’d give me a year. I’m hoping I’ve done enough to earn a longer contract.”
Born in Norway and raised in Perth, King turned out for the National Training Centre before attending trials with Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool, joining the latter at the age of 15. His star appeared to be on the rise after gaining selection in Australia’s 2011 Under-17 World Cup squad, however, the teenager’s release by Liverpool soon after came as a blow. “It was difficult,” he admitted. “With anything like that when you’re not playing regularly, then you can see it coming.” A short injury-interrupted spell at Stoke City preceded his move to Bristol in mid-2012.
QUARTET JOINS EXPANDED STATE LEAGUE
The State League has been expanded to 24-clubs with the addition of Balga, Curtin University, Ellenbrook United and Joondalup United for the 2014 season. The four newcomers will compete line-up in a 12-team Division Two alongside last seasons’ to seven clubs – Forrestfield United, Fremantle United, Joondalup City, Kingsway Olympic, Maddington White City, Melville City, Quinns – plus Rockingham City, who drop down from Division One. Earlier this year, Football West received Expressions of Interest from seven clubs to join the State League and, following analysis of the applications, the top four ranked clubs were granted entry.
JAMIESON’S SEASON OVER
Perth Glory left back Scott Jamieson will miss the rest of the summer following surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in Saturday’s loss to Central Coast Mariners. Jamieson landed awkwardly after an aerial challenge midway through the second half and had to be stretchered off the pitch. “I’m not sure how long it takes for an Achilles rupture, but he will be out for a considerable amount of time,” said coach Alistair Edwards. Jamieson joins first-choice right back Josh Risdon (knee) on Glory’s long-term injury list.
Marquee signing William Gallas also made an early exit on Saturday night but the news on the former France international isn’t anywhere near as bad. Gallas, 36, was just 31 minutes into his first start for Glory when he limping from the field with a calf niggle. “William trained extremely well during the week and I think he was probably erring on the side of caution,” Edwards said. “He felt something and wanted to come off. We got a good 30 minutes for him, but I think with him being the professional that he is, he wanted to make sure he didn’t do anything that would be too long standing.”
RED-HOT TAGGART BREAKS MELBOURNE HEARTS
Young striker Adam Taggart has soared to the top of the A-League goalscorer’s list with a spectacular hat-trick in Newcastle Jets’ 3-1 victory over Melbourne Heart. Taggarts’ haul came on the back of both goals in a 2-1 defeat of Brisbane Roar and his match-winning strike against Adelaide United the previous week. Newcastle’s account this afternoon was opening after 38 minutes when Taggart drilled in from the top of the 18-yard box. The second half was ten minutes old when the 20-year old expertly curled beyond Andrew Redmayne’s reach from 17-metres for a two-nil lead. Melbourne pegged a goal back only to have Taggart return Newcastle’s two-goal buffer by lashing into the bottom corner from just outside the box.
Newcastle coach Gary Van Egmond lauded Taggart’s rise. “He’s worked very hard physically in the off-season and he’s always been one to look to score goals in youth competitions,” Van Egmond said. “To make that transition from a promising youth player to a senior player is not always so easy especially for strikers and today he really took his chances well. What was so pleasing was they weren’t just easy goals, he’s getting more types of finishes, we saw last week with his left foot, he’s getting goals from outside the box now. He’s very good within the box with one-touch finishing, he’s got a few other area to keep on improving but nice to see him developing.”
MATILDA’S TOO GOOD FOR CHINA
A couple of rapid-fire first half goals earned the Matildas to a 2-0 win over China from the opening game of a two-match series with China in Wollongong. Katrina Gorry and Tameka Butt hit the back of the net within five minutes of each other and, down the opposite end, goalkeeper Lydia Williams pulled off a string of saves to keep China scoreless. “We created some fantastic opportunities, scored two great goals and were really effective in the way we played,” said coach Hesterine said De Reus. “China were great in their short combination play which gave us some trouble. We kept our areas well and were really good in our counter-attack.”
Michelle Heyman narrowly failed to connect with a couple of early chances onto two half openings, while an athletic Williams save kept out Shanshan Wang’s cross which threatened to drop under the crossbar. Australia then took the game by the scruff of the neck with Gorry evading two challenges to finish into the roof of the net with 34 minutes on the clock. China were barely had time to react when Claire Polkinghorne headed the ball to Laura Alleway whose flick was volleyed in at the back post by Butt. The away team began the second half with renewed vigour but, despite seeing plenty of the ball, they struggled to get in behind Australia's back four.
GLORY YOUTH GET OFF THE MARK
Perth Glory Youth registered their first win of the season with this morning’s 2-0 triumph over Central Coast Mariners at Percy Doyle Reserve. First half goals from Brandon O’Neill and Harry O’Brien ensured the hosts collected maximum points and moved off the bottom of the National Youth League ladder. A standout performance by O’Neill is sure to put into first team reckoning while Riley Woodcock also staked his claim to promotion with a similarly solid display. However, not all the news was good for the home side with exciting teenager Daniel Da Silva forced out early in the second half by an ankle injury.
Attacking raids were frequent early on but neither side was able to break through their opponents tight defences. That changed on 23 minutes when O’Neill converted from the penalty spot after Ndumbe Makeche was brought down by Zac Anderson. Quick thinking by Isaka Cernak prevented Nick Fitzgerald from bringing the sides level, and a few minutes later Adam Kwasnik was thwarted by goalkeeper Jack Duncan. O’Brien doubled Glory’s lead eight minutes from the break by latching onto Makeche’s flick and out-pacing the defence before converting past David Bradasevic. Despite chances continuing after the break there was no further addition to the scoreline.
CENTRAL COAST STRIKE LATE TO SINK GLORY
Perth Glory were left cursing their luck as Central Coast Mariners scored deep in stoppage time to steal a 2-1 win from this evening’s encounter at Perth Oval. Mitchell Duke’s late strike added to Michael McGlinchey first half equaliser, which itself came in response to an exquisite opening goal scored by Jamie Maclaren. But Glory have more to worry about than the loss of three points with marquee player William Gallas (calf) and fellow defender Scott Jamieson (Achilles) exiting the action through injury. It was a painful blow to Glory who, although a man down for the final twenty minutes, turned in their best performance of the season to date.
Gallas came within inches of marking his starting debut with a goal after 17 minutes but his bicycle kick from Maclaren’s cross sailed narrowly over the top. Glory custodian Danny Vukovic was in the thick of the action minutes later by blocking McGlinchey’s shot and deflecting wide the follow-up attempt by Simon. The breakthrough came via Jamieson’s long ball from the back which allowed Maclaren to out-pace Trent Sainsbury and effortlessly dink over stranded goalkeeper Liam Reddy in the 24th minute. A few minutes later Gallas was forced out of the game with a calf injury. The news got worse for the home side when Michael McGlinchey calmly drove into the back of the net after Michael Thwaite failed to make an effective clearance.
Glory came out for the second half determined to reclaim the lead. Maclaren’s follow-up from a parried Thwaite shot was tipped away by Reddy who, minutes after, touched over Ryan Edwards’ stinging long-range strike. Central Coast’s first opportunity of the new period was a close-range Duke volley which passed harmlessly over the crossbar. Jamieson was stretchered off with a ruptured achilles tendon after landing awkwardly from a 73rd minute aerial contest, leaving Glory to see out the game with ten men having already used their three allotted substitutes. Central Coast spent much of the closing stages on the defensive but on 93 minutes Josh Rose crossed from the left for a totally unmarked Duke to volley the deciding goal into Vukovic’s net.
WILLIAMS INTENT ON GETTING FULL MARKS AT OXFORD
Winger Ryan Williams is hopeful a rich run of form has proven his value to Oxford United. Williams took time to find his feet upon joining Oxford in August, on a loan agreement from Fulham, but is increasingly asserting his influence at the English League Two club. A fortnight ago he came off the bench to inspire his team to come from two goals down and earn a draw with Gateshead in the FA Cup. He topped that last weekend with his best performance to date in Oxford colours by scoring once and setting up another in a 3-1 win at Mansfield Town.
Williams, a former ECU Joondalup junior, is delighted with the progress he’s made in the past few weeks. “For sure, not only fitness but obviously experience at a first-team level,” 20-year old Williams told bicesteradvertiser.net. “It’s hard being at a Premier League club to just jump into the first team. We just have to work our way up slowly and I’m still quite young, so there is no rush really. I just need to try and play as best I can, improve myself and see what happens from there. It shows I’m not here just to make up the numbers.”
Williams will retain his place in the line-up for today’s visit of Morecambe and, with Alfie Potter recovering from knee surgery, his run of form could not have arrived at a better time. Potter is expected to be out until well into the new year, giving Williams ample opportunity to establish himself before his loan expires on 1 January. The 20-year old, who is open to staying at the Kassam Stadium, had never started a senior game before this season but has now played more competitive football for Oxford than any of his former sides.
BURNS CHALKS UP 100
Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns hopes to celebrate his 100th A-League game with victory over Central Coast Mariners at Perth Oval tomorrow (6.30pm). The veteran midfielder, whose career includes spells at Leeds United and Barnsley, says his passion for success remains as strong as the day he first stepped out with Sydney United in 1996. “At 35 I feel as good as I ever have,” Burns commented. “I’m still very much driven to put some silverware in the cupboard … to be able to lift that trophy would be the most satisfying thing for me.”
Saturday marks the start of a new chapter for Central Coast with Phil Moss in charge for the first time following title-winning coach Graham Arnold’s switch to Japanese club Vegalta Sendai. “Taking over from someone like Graham can be seen as massive shoes to fill but when he sets such good structures in place it really is a seamless transition,” said Central Coasts’ new coach. “I worked under him (Arnold) for a long time and we have very similar philosophies and principles on football, but obviously I will do things a little differently.”
Glory, who dropped their first home points of the season last time out, welcome New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz back into the fold while marquee player William Galles is expected to be handed his first A-League start. Injured attacker Adam Kwasnik in the only notable absence in a visiting camp which regains the services of Michael McGlinchey and Storm Roux. Central Coast have a good record against Glory, claiming victory from eight of their last eleven meetings, but they’ll need to be on top of their game against Glory side wanting to commemorate Burns’ centenary.
SAINSBURY EXTENDS TIME ON THE CENTRAL COAST
Central Coast Mariners have secured Socceroo-in-waiting Trent Sainsbury until the end of the 2005/16 season. Sainsbury, a former Armadale junior, cemented his place in the Central Coast line-up last season and ignoired interest from elsehwere to remain in Gosford. “I have a burning desire to go overseas,” said 21-year old Sainsbury. “But I don’t want to go over there with nothing behind me - I want to arrive at a club and be very well respected for what I have achieved in Australia.” Sainsbury, who has yet to miss a minute in 2013/14, made 26 appearances in Central Coast’s championship winnig campaign last season.
TONG WINS BALCATTA’S TOP GONG
State defender Adam Tong has created history by becoming the first player to win Balcatta’s top prize, the Most Valuable Player, three times. Tong, who was also voted Balcatta’s best player in 2010 and 2011, has been a pillar of strength at the back since joining the club from FC of Manchester four years ago. “To go down in Balcatta’s as winning the award three times, and within four seasons, is a great honour,” commented Tong. “To win the Most Valuable Player again was a surprise, Alex Dunn kept six clean sheets and I thought he would go home with the trophy.”
A constantly evolving line-up made for a difficult year at Balcatta, however, Tong says there were positives to come out of 2013 for his club. “We had a lot of people away during the season, I think for one game we had nine senior players out, but that opened the door for youngsters to have a chance,” said Tong, who is already looking forward to next season. “It’s a new season, a new competition and a new coach so he will bring in the players and develop a squad which has enough depth to cover for any injuries and suspensions.”
Tong finished top of counting in the Most Valuable Player ahead of fellow defender Adam Bachiller. The Coaches Award was presented to goalkeeper Alex Dunn. The Under-23s Most Valuable Player trophy went home with Joel Gillespie with the runner-up spot taken by Carmello Giuffre. Marc DeFrancesh, who make scattered appearances for the first team, was presented with the Coaches Award. The Luke Beyer Rising Star Award was won by Patrick Sara.
TAGGART REVEALS COMPETITION TO BE THE KEY TO NEWCASTLE’S REVIVAL
A healthy competition for places at Newcastle Jets’ is behind the clubs rise up the A-League standings according to young attacker Adam Taggart. Newcastle were without a win after four games but back-to-back triumphs, over Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar, have propelled them into the top three. Taggart has been a major factor in his teams’ rise, the 20-year old scoring both goals in the 2-1 weekend defeat of Brisbane. With his current contract due to expire at the end of the season, Newcastle will no doubt be keen to retain Taggart’s services as their A-League rivals keep a close eye on the rising star.
Taggart, a former ECU Joondalup junior, downplayed his role in Newcastle’s return to form, instead attributing it to the rivalry between teammates. “It’s very competitive for starting spots,” Taggart told au.fourfourtwo.com. “Especially in the forward areas with myself, Emile (Heskey), Bridgey (Mark Bridge), Craig Goodwin and Nathan Burns all working hard at training to try and push our way into Gary’s (coach Gary Van Egmond) plans. But it’s a healthy rivalry, we’re all mates, and it can only be a good thing to keep us all on our toes, knowing that there are several other guys trying to take your spot.”
A graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport, Taggart signed his first professional contract in 2010 with Perth Glory. “Obviously, being a WA boy, Glory was the obvious choice for me to sign with when I left the AIS,” said Taggart. “Guys like Kenny Lowe had been really important to me from my time at the National Training Centre programme and WA felt like the natural place for me to be. It didn’t work out though with the likes of Shane Smeltz, Billy Mehmet and Travis Dodd in the squad, it made it quite hard for me to get a look in.”
It was that lack of opportunity and his relationship with former AIS coach Van Egmond that led Taggart to join Newcastle in mid-2012. “It would’ve been the easy decision to just extend my contract at Glory, and hope for the best,” he said. “But I thought I needed a change to grow as a person as well as a footballer, and I haven’t regretted my decision. I’ve got nothing but kind words for Glory though, as they will always be my hometown club who gave me my first pro opportunity.” And grow Taggart has, the young striker scoring three goals in four appearances for the Socceroos since debuting late last year.
ROUX TO DEBUT FOR KIWIS
Former Sorrento junior Storm Roux is on the cusp of his senior international debut as New Zealand look to turn around a daunting four-goal deficit against Mexico. The South American’s thrashed New Zealand 5-1 in last week’s first leg of the World Cup play-off, meaning the All Whites need to win tonight’s game by more than four goals to advance to Brazil 2014. Coach Ricki Herbert has been impressed by the efforts of Roux, 20, and Bill Tuiloma, 18, on the training track and it appears he will throw both players into the mix in the All Whites quest for goals. “It’ll be a big occasion for them but that could be the opportunity to set both those players off on their international careers,” commented Herbert.
Roux has certainly looked the part with is club, Central Coast Mariners, and showed no signs of nerves ahead of the biggest game of his young career. “Unfortunately Leo’s (Leo Bertos) out for the game but I think it’s time for me to step in and do a job … If you can’t do that you shouldn’t be in the squad,” said Roux, who represented New Zealand at the Under-20 World Cup in Turkey earlier this year. “There’s a lot of young, good players coming through New Zealand football and if I do well there’s every chance that that could be my spot. I think I’ll be asked to get forward and obviously we’re going for the win, we need to win four-nil. I think I can bring that to the team.”
CAHILL HEADS SOCCEROOS TO VICTORY
A trademark Tim Cahill header has ensured the Socceroos made a winning start to the Ange Postecoglou era with a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Cahill came off the bench to decide the game midway through the second half and in the process equalled Damian Mori’s all-time Socceroos record of 29 goals. “I couldn’t fault the players’ endeavour and their willingness to embrace what we’re trying to do – they were fantastic,” Postecoglou said post-game. “It was our first time together and we’re trying to adjust how we do things, so full credit to them and that goal gives them that reward and hopefully some belief moving forward.”
Australia narrowly avoided disaster in just the 5th minute with after Ivan Franjic’s desperate goal line clearance preventing Jason Davidson from putting the ball in his own net. The hosts then settled but their only real opening came just before half-time, Mark Milligan and Kruse combining to tee-up Mathew Leckie who skied over with an open goal at his mercy. Mile Jedinak looked like breaking the deadlock soon after the restart but his powerful strike flashed wide. The games’ only goal finally arrived after 69 minutes when Thomas Oar’s curling corner to the back post was met by a towering Cahill header that deflected off a defender on its way into the net.
GILL DEMANDS TEAM MATES TAKE A LONG, HARD LOOK
Perth Glory Women need to take a good look at themselves before their next competitive outing according to Matilda’s striker Katie Gill. Glory Women lost at home for the first time in ten months on the weekend to a star-studded Brisbane Roar outfit which claimed victory by 3-0, a result from which Gill is still smarting. “No team should come here and walk away with three points,” stated Gill, who was critical of the way the team approached the game. “In my opinion, this game was reflective of our preparation. The girls really need to look at the way they approached training and how they physically and mentally turned up to the game on Saturday night.”
Gill feels the three-goal margin in favour of Brisbane somewhat exaggerated the visiting team. “Defensive mishaps and an overall poor performance cost us three points … we did not deserve to win the game,” said Gill. “However, to say that we were well and truly outplayed is a pretty inaccurate account of the game. Given the Roar’s big names, I felt that minus gifting them two goals, we still managed to create chances, string passes together and dominate at times throughout the match. Coach Jamie Harnwell was fairly blunt in his assessment, his main message was that if we deliver performances like that each week, we have no chance of playing finals football.
Glory’s Women spluttering start to the season has something of a familiar ring to it. “The exact same thing happened last season,” Gill recalls. “We had six points in the bag from two wins at home and expected to turn up and take the points away from home (but) were beaten convincingly by Western Sydney Wanderers in what was to be our wake-up call for the season. I am just hoping that this rings true in relation to the game just gone. We really do need to wake up, assess why we performed so poorly and turn it around so we are ready to go when we face Melbourne Victory on 1 December.”
HEAT TOO MUCH FOR VUKOVIC
Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has spoken out over Football Federation Australia’s decision to allow Saturday’s game with Adelaide United to be played in the heat of the afternoon. Glory last week made repeated requests to push the game back to an evening start, a move which had the support of Adelaide and Professional Footballers Australia. But after discussions with broadcasters FFA decided the game would kick-off as scheduled at 2.30pm, when the temperature was a touch over 32C.
Vukovic said he lost 2.5kg of body weight in the heat, while Glory fitness staff confirmed several outfield players lost more than 3kg during the match. “The FFA really need to have a look at it, but unfortunately they’re probably going to do what they do best and sweep it under the carpet,” said a clearly frustrated Vukovic yesterday. “We just have to keep going on with it. Both teams had to endure that (on Saturday) but I think it wasn’t fair on anyone involved.”
The impact was also felt off the field with only 8,574 spectators in attenadnce. “You feel sorry for everyone. The fans have to sit in that (heat) and our owner (Tony Sage) loses out on thousands of people coming,” Vukovic said. “Who wants to sit in 35C heat and watch a game? I’m sure the people that make the decisions to put the game on at that time wouldn’t sit for 90 minutes in that heat, yet they expect us to play for 90 minutes … It leaves a bad taste in all our mouths.”
SOCCEROOS REMAIN THWAITE’S GOAL
Michael Thwaite may have been overlooked for the Socceroos for game under Ange Postecoglou but he hasn’t given up on making it to next year’s World Cup. The Perth Glory defender, who has made 13 appearances since gaining his senior debut for Australian in 2005, aims to put together a strong season in the hope it will propel him into reckoning for Brazil. “I certainly haven’t given up hope of getting back into the squad for the World Cup,” Thwaite told theworldgame.sbs.com.au. “There’s still a whole season in front of us in the A-League, so you’ve just got to keep working hard and playing well and see what happens.”
Thwaite played under Postecoglou when he was coach of Australia’s Under-20 team and the defender recognises he will need to rise to the top in order to return to the national set-up. “I would think there are a number of players he is going to be keeping an eye on, in the A-League and wherever else they may be playing,” added Thwaite, who is expected to be partnered by marquee player William Gallas next time he steps out at club level. “If you look at the squad he picked only a few are playing in the A-League, and you need to be among the best performers in the A-League if you want to be included from there.”
EDWARDS TAKES AIM AT FFA
Coach Alistair Edwards has launched a scathing attack on Football Federation Australia after Perth Glory and Adelaide United played out a 1-1 draw yesterday in sweltering conditions. Glory formally requested the game be pushed back to a 6.45pm start last week on account of the high temperatures forecast for the Perth metropolitan area. But despite having the support of Adelaide, FFA refused the request and the game went ahead as scheduled at 2.30pm with the temperature hovering around 32 degrees Celsius after peaking only hours earlier at 37 degrees Celsius.
Edwards suggested whoever decided the game had to be played at 2.30pm had no interest in the safety of players. “We ask for a simple request to have the game at a reasonable time so that it doesn’t affect the players’ welfare and they still don’t listen so it’s very frustrating from that point of view,” Edwards said. “Whoever made the decision that it had to be played at this time is clearly not acting in the best interests of the players. I thought that surely sanity and common sense would prevail but it’s just wrong. I hope we don’t ever have to put our elite athletes under that duress ever again.”
Edwards confirmed marquee signing William Gallas defender would have started had it not been so hot. “There is no way that we can play a player like that, who just hopped off the plane, and it ruins it for everyone,” Edwards said. “He was set to start and we still hoped the fixture would be changed so he could, but there’s no way that I’m going to do that to a player like Gallas. He would have started and everyone has missed out. We are trying to grow the game in this country by bringing world-class players here, but the timing of the game meant he couldn’t start.”
WILLIAMS OUT TO MAKE HIS MARK
Friendly is the wrong word for this week’s outing with Costa Rica according to Socceroos defender Rhys Williams. Given players want to prove their worth and get a first-up win for new Australia coach Ange Postecoglou, Williams believes Tuesday’s game will be a high-stakes affair. “Friendly is just a word - everyone wants to win the game,” 25-year old Williams said. “Ange is really well-driven and it’s what a lot of players like to see from the manager because we get the confidence from that. He’s getting his picture across ... everyone is working extremely hard because everyone knows there are spots up for grabs.”
Williams, whose versatility has made him one of the first on Middlesbrough’s team sheet, says the possession-based game favoured by Postecoglou is the perfect fit for him. “That is what the modern game expects of people now, the way a lot of centre-halves play, they have got to be good with the ball,” commented Williams, who has been used in the centre of defence and midfield as well as at right back by his club. “And that will benefit me because I’m more of a ball player than a tough tackler, so I think it will suit me nicely.”
Who will wear the captain’s armband against Costa Rica has been the topic of much speculation but, for Williams, there is only one option. “Lucas (Neill) is still our captain,” Williams said. “He has been one of the best captains I have played with. He is a role model to not only myself but to a lot of players. I have been privileged to know him for a good few years now and he has helped me along the way. Everyone has got a personal preference (for captain) but, at the end of the day, it’s down to the boss and the boss’ decision is final and we all support that.”
TAGGART AT THE DOUBLE FOR NEWCASTLE
Young striker Adam Taggart continued his impressive early season form by scoring both goals in Newcastle Jets’ 2-1 come-from-behind win over Brisbane Roar. Taggart, 20, helped himself to a second half brace to negate Luke Brattan’s first half strike and put Newcastle into third position, five points behind A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers. “I was really pleased with him, the first one was a lovely little dink, look he’s a very clever player in the box,” coach Gary Van Egmond said. “What was really pleasing was the fight and the want to run and press the opposition and scoring with his left foot which is something he’s been working on, full credit to him he gets the rewards.”
GALLAS HOPES TO FEATURE AGAINST ADELAIDE
Perth Glory’s new marquee man William Gallas is expected to make his A-League debut in tomorrow’s showdown with Adelaide United at Perth Oval (2.30pm). Although Gallas, who arrived from Europe last weekend, has looked sharp in training it remains to be seen if coach Alistair Edwards will start the French defender or introduce him off the bench. “Every day the coach asks me how I feel and I’m very honest with him. I said ‘I’m getting better’, but the training is not the game because you have to play for 90 minutes,” said Gallas.
Adelaide defeated Glory in the opening round of the season but a three-game losing streak has slipped them down to eighth position. Despite this, Sergio Cirio denies the Reds are under pressure to get a result in Perth. “Personally I haven’t seen any (tension). We’re training hard and there is intensity but I think the team is working like normal,” said Cirio, who is unconcerned about playing in the 32 degree heat. “It will be hot but hot for everybody the team is training good and we have to get used to playing in any circumstances.”
50-UP FOR GLORY WOMEN’S MAY
Midfielder Shannon May will make her 50th W-League appearance when she steps out for Perth Glory Women tomorrow evening against Brisbane Roar. May, 22, has experienced all the highs and lows football has to offer having ben part of the Glory Women set-up since their inaugural campaign. “We’ve had lots of ups and downs but I’ve enjoyed the whole experience, especially playing for my home town,” May said. “Last year making the semi-finals has been the highlight. It was pretty disappointing in the result but it’s given myself and the team motivation to go one better.”
May, Most Glorious Player in 2009/10, is ready to pitch in and help Glory Women back-up last week’s opening round victory over Newcastle Jets with another three points. “Brisbane are always a tough challenge so we know what we’re in for,” said May. “We don’t have to travel over east (and) we’ve trained here all week so hopefully we adjust well.” With Intiga Stadium unavailable due to pitch repairs, the game has been switched to Percy Doyle Reserve, home of Sorrento. Admission is free – the action gets underway at 6.00pm.
SHAMROCK ON THE MOVE
Division One club Shamrock Rovers have taken their first steps towards a permanent relocation to Grimrey Park in Lockridge. Shamrock recently signed a twelve-month agreement with the City of Swan on the venue, which will serve as the clubs home ground for season 2014. Discussions between the two parties are continuing with the club keen on securing Grimrey Park as their long-term playing, training and administrative base. “The club is delighted about the positive support it has received from the Council and excited about this opportunity,” said Shamrock spokesman Bill Byrne.
Plans to upgrade the facilities at Grimrey Park in time for the 2014 State League season are well underway. “Some initial works will be done next year and the Council has also agreed to the clubrooms being painted in the club colours,” Byrne commented. “Long-term, the clubhouse and change rooms will require an upgrade, including extensions, and these will be part of the on-going lease agreement with the Council.” The move to Grimrey Park will end a nomadic period for Shamrock who, in the past couple of years, have use Harold Rossiter Reserve and Ashfield Reserve as their home ground.
DE VANNA IS OFFICIALLY AUSTRALIA’S BEST PLAYER
Striker Lisa De Vanna could not have wished for a better birthday present than being named the Female Footballer of the Year at the fifth annual Australian Football Awards last night in Sydney. De Vanna, who turned 29 today, enjoyed a stellar season in the United States with Sky Blue FC, making 17 appearances and scoring a memorable bicycle kick against Boston Breakers which earlier this week was nominated for FIFA’s goal of the year. And in more good news for West Australian football, Samantha Kerr was named Professional Footballers Australia Women's Footballer of the Year after starring for Sydney last season.
Socceroo Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) scooped the Male Footballer of the Year prize with fellow national team member Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen) taking out Professional Footballers Australia Footballer of the Year award. Josh Brillante (Newcastle Jets) was presented the Male Under-20 Footballer of the Year and for the second year in a row Stephanie Catley (Melbourne Victory) collected the Female Under-20 Footballer of the Year. The non-professional trophies were won by Alain Pace (Male Coach of the Year), Michelle Aurousseau (Female Coach of the Year), Katherine Jacewicz (referee of the Year) and the husband and wife team of Alex and Alexandra Threadgat split the Volunteer of the Year award.
MARTIN SETS INGLEWOOD ON COURSE FOR THE TOP
Club president Luke Martin intends taking Inglewood United to the next level by benefitting from his rivals experiences. Martin, speaking on the ‘World Football Programme’, made it clear he wants at the top of local football’s pecking order and to achieve this he’ll explore every avenue possible. “We want Inglewood to be a powerhouse club in the state, both on and off the field,” commented Martin. “We’ll look towards clubs like Perth SC, Stirling Lions and Perth Glory to see how they run things, and how we can emulate that to move us forward.”
The impending inaugural National Premier Leagues season has given Martin plenty of food for thought. “There are challenges everywhere we look,” said Martin who succeeded long-time Inglewood mentor Siggy Kramer in August. “We are having a look at what we are doing as a club and how we want to operate, on the field and off the field. The technical direction we want to follow is probably a little bit different to what has been happening in the past (so) it a case of understanding what the NPL is all about, what we have to do and then making sure we have got the processes and protocols in order to do so.”
To achieve this there has been considerable change within Inglewood’s administrative team with the addition of Cesare Colli (treasurer), Leah Stinson (secretary), Declan Kelly (football operations), Mark Marazis (sponsorship) and Paul Kelly (constitutional and government liaison). “The people we’ve brought in have a true business acumen which aligns with what we want to achieve,” Martin explained. “We’re addressing issues of sponsorship, money in and money out, and making sure off-field we stay as strong as possible so we don’t end up in the situation whereby there is not enough money to go around … and we all know that occurs from time to time.”
In terms of on-field change, Martin says there is a very real need for Inglewood to provide young players a pathway all the way through to first team level. “We’ve had discussions with the technical directors and the coaches and, as far as the executive committee is concerned, by 2015 and 2016 we want homegrown players – Inglewood developed players – pushing through into the under-20s and seniors,” he said. “It comes down to the coaches to understand when a player is ready to move up to the next level. It’s all about consolidation and seeing where we want to end up.”
Martin recognises that getting Inglewood to where he wants won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. “We’ve got a little way to go,” he readily concedes. “Our crowd numbers aren’t the best and we’ve probably disenfranchised a number of people over a period of time. That’s no disrespect to our predecessors, it’s the way the club was run then, but now we’re taking a very different view now. From our perspective it’s more about gaining an understanding of how we want to move forward … it’s starting to look pretty rosy for 2014.”
DE REUS NAMES MATILDA’S FOR CHINA
Matildas coach Hesterine De Reus has named a strong squad to play China in a two-game friendly series later this month. De Reus is looking forward to the opportunity of testing her side against a traditional powerhouse of Asian women’s football. “Playing an Asian opponent is a good challenge for us,” said De Reus. “We lost to China last November which adds just a little bit of extra incentive for the players.” West Australia is represented in the 20-player squad by Lisa De Vanna, Samantha Kerr and Lydia Williams.
The Australia Women’s squad to play China (24 and 27 November) features Laura Alleway, Tameka Butt, Kim Carroll, Amy Chapman, Katrina Gorry, Elise Kellond-Knight, Clare Polkinghorne, Vedrana Popovic, Hayley Raso (Brisbane Roar), Michelle Heyman, Ashleigh Sykes, Nicole Sykes, Lydia Williams (Canberra United), Stephanie Catley, Brianna Davey, Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne Victory), Katie Gill (Perth Glory), Nicola Bolger, Samantha Kerr (Sydney FC), Teigen Allen and Emily Van Egmond (Western Sydney Wanderers)
WHY THE NPL IS NOT RIGHT FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA (by Robbie Dunn)
I have had a real good think about what I think the National Premier League is all about. Whilst I am all for any football improvements and branding improvements in our code, I just can’t see past the alarming path which I believe West Australian local football will go down in the next four to five years with the NPL. If we are to have a league which will penalise clubs with older players , visa players and players who move between clubs then I have to ask myself who will benefit from this? There is one obvious answer – the Perth Glory NPL team.
I do not blame any young player joining the Glory NPL team as is comes with the lure of the A-League beckoning at your doorstep, so to speak, and any quality young player will want this. What will happen in time is that these players will get older but the majority of these elite youth players playing in the NPL will unfortunately not get the contracts they seek to play in Glory’s A-League side. Given the NPL rules, it will be hard for these now not so young players to move to another NPL side, so Glory NPL will by default become the best local side in the competition, with the best middle-aged players.
All other local clubs will have only those young players snubbed by Glory NPL, or who do not wish to progress to the A-League, to play with. These clubs will try and strengthen their clubs by signing experienced players or A-League players, but will be penalised severely for doing so. So Glory NPL will stay strong and will have little or very limited quality opposition as local NPL clubs slowly become totally disillusioned and ask themselves why should I bother? This creates a league where the very youth players which we want in the A-League and national teams will, eventually, have sub-quality opposition teams to try and improve their skills against.
Football clubs need to be left to their own devices and make decisions on how to run themselves, without interference from a governing body whose rules and regulations which will stifle our game. Whilst the clubs do need guidance, support and media representation, they really have done a great job to date in keeping our local game alive and giving some talented players a pathway to success. Didn’t our league and clubs help create the likes of Stan Lazaridis, Shaun Murphy, Rhys Williams, Gary Marocchi, Robbie Zabica, Chris Herd, Jason and Michael Petkovic, Alistair Edwards, Tony Franken, Bobby Despotovski, Scott Miller and so on?
If the NPL, in time, becomes a one-team pony then where will the progress be? How can these quality junior players progress if they do not play against older, experienced local and overseas players? Personally, I made my senior State League team debut for Kwinana United at the age of 15 against the mighty Azzurri of old, and I am sure that helped my development. The NPL will obviously go ahead but has it actually been 100% thought through for the next ten years as an absolute minimum where the powers to be are happy with the potential outcome? I could have got this totally wrong but I have really thought long and hard before I put this in a written format and I can only hope that I am wrong for the sake of the game.
* Robbie Dunn is one of West Australia’s most capped Socceroos, and one of the Australia’s most outstanding defenders. Dunn played 168 national league games for West Adelaide, Preston Makedonia and Melbourne Croatia and gained 25 ‘A’ appearances for Australia. In 2005 he joined Ron Adair, John McInroy and Gary Marocchi as the inaugural inductees into the Hall of Legends category of the Football Hall of Fame, WA.
A-LEAGUE IS WILLIAMS’ GOAL
Defender Aryn Williams has set his sights on breaking into the A-League after being released by English Championship club Burnley. Williams worked his way up through the Clarets ranks to sign a one-year deal with the club last May, however, a lack of first team opportunities have prompted the 20-year old to seek playing options elsewhere. “I was told at the end of my contract that I was good enough to sign on but the gaffer already had enough cover for the position I was playing in, which was right back,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com.
Williams, who played the tail end of the State League season with Floreat Athena, trialled with several English clubs upon being released by Burnley. “I went to Sheffield Wednesday for a week on trial but I didn't particularly enjoy it there and they weren’t currently looking for a right back within the first team or the reserves set-up,” he said. “I then went to Swindon Town for a game and they really liked me and invited me back for pre-season 2013/14, but I had my sights set on playing in Australia and turned down the invitation.”
Since his return to Australia, Williams has tried out for two A-League clubs. “I have been on a couple of trials to Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers,” he said. “Unfortunately they had already filled their salary caps and the number of players that could be registered for the season had already been reached. It was a minor setback for me but I'm always ready for any offers thrown my way … If any opportunity was to arise within Asia I would definitely consider it as I want to further my professional football career where ever it takes me.”
THE WAITING GAME (with Ashley Morrison, Not the Footy Show")
With the new season fast approaching it appears those clubs selected for the National Premier Leagues WA as well as their State League counterparts are hanging in limbo. Delays with Football West providing the twelve NPL clubs the participation agreements they were promised at the end of last month has had a bump on effect to those in the State League, where seven clubs are waiting to hear if they have been accepted into Division Two. All this puts added and significant pressure on the clubs in the lead-up to the new season.
Why, with the expected start of the 2014 Night Series just two months away, are all these clubs standing around scratching their heads in wonder? At the beginning of this month Keith Wood, Football Wests’ general manager, explained the reasons behind the delays. “Our original intention is to have the recommendation ready for the October board meeting for endorsement,” wrote Wood. “Unfortunately, the October Board meeting was postponed a couple of times due to the unavailability of several Board members, and this meeting has still not taken place.”
Wood’s email continued; “We’re acutely aware that your club is desperate to know the outcome of its application and to that end, the CEO has requested that the Board endorse the recommendation by circular email. Obviously this takes a bit longer as questions that would normally be asked and answered in a board meeting and further discussed as a group, now have to be asked individually, copied in to all Board members and then discussed via email. (This) does delay the process. Nevertheless, we are committed to get the endorsement of the Board as quickly as possible.” A fortnight later and the clubs still have not heard.
Board members do have work commitments that are unavoidable, but with meetings held on the same day in the same week of every month it is very rare to not be able to achieve a quorum in order to make such important decisions. Clubs at all levels are still waiting to hear their fate and this puts each and every one of them in an awkward position in terms of attracting sponsorship, attracting players and planning for next season. Significant progress will need to be made in coming weeks if the NPL is to start, as scheduled, at the beginning of March and the State league soon after.
“COMMITMENT, CHARACTER AND PROFESSIONALISM” THE CORNERSTONES OF AMATEURS TOUR SAYS DIMITROVICH
State Amateurs coach Steve Dimitrovich could not be happier with his players’ efforts, both on and off the field of play, during last week’s three-game tour of Malaysia. The State team claimed victory from their opening two outings, against Malaysian Under-19 and Kuala Lumpur POS Malaysia, but were denied a perfect win record by Putrajaya SPA. “The results were very reflective of the teams’ performances,” said coach Steve Dimitrovich. “Across the week the players showed a lot of commitment, character and professionalism in everything they did, whether it be in training or on game day.”
The State Amateurs opened their visit with a 3-2 win over the Malaysian Under-19, but only after the initial fixture was abandoned and a replay scheduled for the following afternoon. “The original game was called off at half-time due to inclement weather with the score tied at nil-all,” Dimitrovich said. “We found ourselves 2-0 down after only 7 minutes but the lads found that little bit extra in stifling conditions to pull off a great win.” Eamonn Kelly scored twice with John Cafferkey getting the remainder on a synthetic turf pitch at the National Training Centre.
That win was backed up twenty-four hours later with a 4-1 defeat of Kuala Lumpur 4-1. “After a slow start we hit our straps with three quick goals from Lee Jones, Asa Nicholson and Steven Henry for a comfortable half-time lead,” commented Dimitrovich. “In the second half we were pushed by the opposition but held our nerve to get a four goal on a quick break with Henry pressuring the home team into scoring an own goal.” Kuala Lumpur refused to give up the chase was rewarded with a late penalty conversion.
Dimitrivich made several changes to his team for their final game against Putrajaya, who ran out 3-0 winners. “A week of football in stifling conditions took its toll on the boy, who had very heavy legs,” said the coach. The hosts went ahead through a stunning volley after only a few minutes but were fortunate to retain their lead when Muhammad Komadaric’s header flashed over the crossbar. Putrajaya doubled their lead just before the break and added a third on the hour, however, it was far from one-way traffic with Jones and Nicholson both threatening to score.
The benefits of the State Amateurs annual end-of-season trip, which last year took them to Singapore, are many according to Dimitrivich. “It gives the players something to strive for during the season, knowing that a consistent year on the park could get them rewarded with selection and a trip away,” the coach said. “It is fantastic that we continue to go to Malaysia as it benefits both their football and ours. We have an opportunity to expand our brand into Asia and vice versa with Malaysian teams getting down to Perth to play our local sides.”
DE VANNA NOMINATED FOR FIFA GOAL OF THE YEAR
Matilda’s striker Lisa De Vanna is one of ten candidates for FIFA’s goal of the year, the Puskas Award. De Vanna’s spectacular bicycle kick for Sky Blue FC against Boston Breakers put her in elite company alongside Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Brazil’s Neymar and Udinese forward Antonio Di Natale as nominees for the award. “I’m very honoured to have made FIFA’s shortlist of ten candidates for goal of the year,” said De Vanna. “Some amazing and incredible goals and it’s a privilege to be on the list as the other nine players.”
De Vanna admits to thinking she’d missed her chance to score against Boston. “I thought I’m going to run into space, but I didn’t expect (teammate Katy Freels) to flick the ball up as she did,” recalled the 28-year old. “I ran past it and I actually thought, you know what, I’m going to swing my boot at this. I better make sure I get some sort of connection or I’ll look like an idiot. In the air - it felt like the longest second of my life. Then as I landed, I looked up at one of my teammates, saw her reaction and it was a million dollars.”
Back in Australia to play the summer with Melbourne Victory, De Vanna is keeping her feet on the ground about the prospect of winning FIFA’s goal of the year. “I’ve got to be a little bit realistic here, I’m not Zlatan with millions of followers,” she said. “But if I could make the top three, it’d be a big dream.” Online voting for the Puskas Award closes 9 December when a short list of three finalists will be announced, with the winner revealed on 13 January at the the Ballon d’Or 2013 ceremony.
TAGGART BACKS COACH AFTER BREAKTHROUGH WIN
Striker Adam Taggart has backed under pressure coach Gary Van Egmond following Newcastle Jets weekend defeat of Adelaide United. Newcastle had high expectations for season 2013/14 but a poor start, which saw them taken only three points from four games, has thrust Van Egmond into the spotlight. “It’s easy for people on the outside to say things when things aren’t going the best,” Taggart told theherald.com.au. “None of us as players have ever questioned Gary as a coach … we have been playing well and now we finally have the win. It was important for us as a whole, a whole club, to get the three points and get the confidence going.”
Taggart had the honour of scoring the deciding goal in Saturday’s 2-1 triumph with a clever chip over advancing goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic. “It was a tight angle, and when Eugene came rushing out I had that in my mind. Wait for him to come and go down, and then dink it over him. If your technique is right you won’t miss, I didn’t even watch it go in the back of the net. I knew it was going in,” said Taggart, who was robbed of an earlier finish by a last gaps tackle. “Once a chance is gone you can’t look back on it. It is like missing a bus. There is always going to be another bus and you have to make sure you are on it.”
Taggart’s first goal of the campaign took his A-League tally to four, one more than his haul for the Socceroos. “I’m on top of that now,” said Taggart, who is acutely aware his position in the starting eleven is under threat as former England striker Emile Heskey nears being back on deck for Newcastle. “It was always going to be a challenge for myself and the whole front three when Emile returned. There is obviously a lot of competition. Whether I play alongside Emile or have to bide my time, I just want to progress as a player and do what I can for the team.”
GALLAS SIGNS ON FOR GLORY
France international William Gallas is officially a Perth Glory’s international marquee player for the remainder of the 2013/14 season. 36-year old Gallas agreed terms with Glory last month but it was only after passing a medical assessment yesterday that the former Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender signed on the dotted line. “I have a new challenge and that is to win trophies with Perth Glory. That is very important to me because I think everyone knows I’m a player who likes to win,” said Gallas, who is believed to be on a deal worth about $700,000.
Gallas has not played professionally since leaving Tottenham in April and in unsure if he’ll be ready to face Adelaide United this weekend. “I’m very excited to train tomorrow with my new teammates and we’ll see how we go,” he said. “It’s very hot so I know it’s not easy to play or train in that weather. But I don’t complain because I have come from London and the weather was completely different, so I’m very happy to see the sky blue, and every morning when I wake up I will have a smile on my face. For me everything is on the pitch so when we start to play, it will be the same as if I was in France or London.”
STIRLING PUT WILLIAMS IN CHARGE
Gary Williams has stepped into the head coach role at Stirling Lions following the surprise retirement Doug Hesketh. Williams, assistant to Hesketh for the past few seasons, will guide Stirling into the inaugural National Premier League with former State youth team defender Daniel Stoitis by his side. “Gary is a true professional in every sense of the word and we are confident that he will fill the position capably and guide the club to success,” said Stirling’s football operations manager Don Evans. “Gary has proven success as a junior development coach and as an assistant in our senior system.”
Hesketh, who guided Stirling to the top of the Premier Division this year, leaves Macedonia Park on good terms. “The decision by Doug to retire caught us off-guard,” admits Evans. “But once he explained his family and work commitments to us we understood he needed time out. Doug has given our club seven years of totally dedicated, passionate and humble service where he has personally developed as a coach from our Under-18s all the way to the top job, taking our club to the top of the Premier Division in the process. His contribution to our emergence from the football wilderness is massive.”
GLORY YOUTH SLUMP TO THIRD LOSS
A late charge was not enough to prevent Perth Glory Youth from suffering a third straight loss, going down 5-2 to the Australian Institute of Sport on a wet afternoon in Canberra. The AIS were ruthless in front of goal as Anthony Kalik, Matthew Schmidt and Ben Warland each found the target for a three-goal half-time lead. Substitute Marc Marino added two more following the turnaround while an own goal and Darcy Cosgrove’s finish little consolation for a Glory side which is rooted to the foot of the national Youth League table, pointless after three games.
It took the home side just 11 minutes to stamp their authority over proceedings, Kalik placing firmly into the bottom corner from the penalty spot after being bundled over by a defender as the pair contested the follow-up to a Schmidt shot. A terrific in-swinging corner seven minutes later was met at the near post by Schmidt whose flicked header looped over goalkeeper Luke Radonich and into the far corner for a two-goal advantage. Glory went close to cutting the deficit through Harry O’Brien but his header was met by a sharp Jordan Thurtell save. Warland added another to the AIS’s tally with a glancing header just before the half hour.
Glory returned for the second half determined to find a way back into the game. However, it was the AIS that netted on 63 minutes when Marino closed down Radonich, whose hesitancy to make a regulation clearance saw the ball ricochet off his opponent and ing into an empty net. The visitors pegged a unlucky goal back six minutes later, AIS defender Jordan Pudler deflecting a corner past his own ‘keeper at the near post. Shortly after Cosgrove reacted quickest to his own header, which crashed back off the upright, to nod in at close-range. The game was deep in stoppage time when Marino threaded a low shot between Radonich’s legs for the final goal.
RAMPAGING GLORY WOMEN THUMP JETS
Perth Glory Women opened their 2013/14 campaign with a strong 5-2 defeat of Newcastle Jets on a sweltering afternoon at Wanderers Oval in Newcastle. Katie Gill hit the back of the net inside a minute with Collette McCallum netting soon after only for Hannah Beard and Tara Andrews to send the teams into the break on level terms. Newcastle looked likely to go on with the job until a lovely strike from Christina Julien put Glory back in front just after the hour. The result wasn’t made safe until the last ten minutes when substitute Rosie Sutton and Marianna Tabain blew out the margin which, in all fairness to Newcastle, didn’t reflect the hard-fought nature of the game.
Three goals in ten minutes ensured a crackerjack start to proceedings. Glory was first on the board when Tabain found space down the left to deliver a lovely cross which Gill volleyed in. Parity was restored four minutes later with Andrews was allowed time to slide a pass to an unmarked Beard, who make no mistake from the edge of the 6-yard box. McCallum then put Glory back in front with a crisp strike from 10-metres that flashed past goalkeeper Eliza Campbell and skimmed the underside of the crossbar. The visitors continued to fashion chances but it was Newcastle that was on target ten minutes from half-time, Andrews converting a penalty awarded for Chantel Jones’ foul on Beard.
Storm clouds greeted the players as they emerged for the second half. Newcastle were unlucky not to go in front when Andrews rounded Jones but chipped over from a tight angle, while Jasmine Courtney’s volley whistle just past the post. Those misses were compounded in the 66th minute when Julien unleashed a superb long-range effort which slipped from Campbell’s grasp as the ball soared into the top corner. Sutton had been on the park just six minutes when she slotted in on the end of a lovely piece of team play which involved Tabain and Julien. The final whistle was only moments away when Tabain stroked goal number five into an empty net.
GLORY TAKE A POINT FROM WELLINGTON
Perth Glory stretched their unbeaten run to four games by coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at AMI Stadium in Christchurch. The early signs were not good for Glory after home captain Andrew Durante bundled the ball over the line with just minutes on the clock, but the visitors regrouped and deservedly equaliser midway through the half via Ryo Nagai. Both teams had their chances to claim all three points in the second half but each lacked the poise and finish required in front of goal.
It took just 4 minutes for Wellington to go ahead, Durante nudging the ball in with his knee after Carlos Hernandez’s free-kick was miss-judged by goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. Glory held their focus to slowly work their way into the game. A Nagai overhead kick passed out beyond the post from Scott’s Jamieson delivery, and Michael Thwaite’s header sailed high of the crossbar following a Stephen McGarry corner. Glory’s rewarded arrived after 29 minutes when Sidnei, whose pace down the right was causing the hosts no end of problems, wrong-footed Ben Sigmund and drew ‘keeper Glen Moss before slipping the ball across for Nagai to tuck in.
The second half was a tight affair with few genuine chances on goal. That said, Wellington substitute Jason Hicks squandered a golden opportunity on 63 minutes by blasting wide after Hernandez and Jeremy Brockie combined to open up the away defence. Sigmund also went close eight minutes later but misguided his diving header following another dangerous Hernandez dead ball. Glory’s best chance came the way of substitute Jamie Maclaren who latched onto Ryan Edwards through ball and rounding Moss only to place wide from an acute angle. The final opening of the game was met by Moss, who saved well to deny substitute Brandon O’Neill and ensure Wellington an important point.
GLORY “IN A GOOD POSITION TO GET A GOOD RESULT” SAYS JAMIESON
Perth Glory will be out to make history by keeping a fourth successive clean sheet when they take on Wellington Phoenix this weekend. Glory has not previously achieved four straight A-League shut-outs but after holding Newcastle Jets, Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC scoreless spirits are high within the camp. “We had two tough away trips but coming home and getting two wins has really set us up well,” defender Scott Jamieson said of Glory’s start to the season. “It’s important now to go to Wellington and get a good result and then we really will be in a strong position.”
Wellington has had contend with external distractions in the lead-up to tomorrow’s game with six players initially in doubt due to New Zealand’s World Cup qualifier with Mexico. “Some players are in the national team and hopefully will be thinking about the national game rather than the Saturday game, so it’s about trying to capitalize on that,” Jamieson commented ahead of Glory’s 5,053 kilometres round trip. “It’s a long trip but we feel with the right preparation and the way we go about our bodies and we feel we are in a good position to get a good result.”
DAVIES AIMS TO BENEFIT FROM GALLAS’ EXPERIENCE
Young defender Matthew Davies plans to “pick the brains” of French international William Gallas. A veteran of almost 600 games with Marseille, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Gallas arrives in Perth over the weekend and Davies cannot wait to begin learning the games finer points from his new teammate. “It’s incredible a player of Gallas’ calibre is joining the league and it’s a massive coup for the Glory as well,” said 18-year old Davies. “To learn from him at training, pick his brain and see what he has to say about certain footballing things … it’s a massive opportunity and I’m looking forward to that.”
Davies turned professional earlier this year after honing his talents at the Australia Institute of Sport and in the National Training Centre. He had expected to spend much of this season watching from the sidelines with the occasional appearance off the bench, but found himself thrust into the first eleven when regular right-back Josh Risdon came down injured. “Ris is such a good player,” said Davies, a former Perth SC junior. “The only reason I’m playing right now is because he’s injured. My role is just to fill in for him as well as possible until he’s fit and ready and back to play.”
Davies followed a sparkling performance on debut a fortnight ago against Melbourne Heart by again catching the eye in last weekend’s win over Sydney FC. “The whole thing was a little bit surreal,” Davies admits of his rapid rise to A-League football. “It was a lot to take in but after the first 30 seconds (against Melbourne) it just seemed like a normal game. I was happy enough with the way I played. I could’ve gotten forward a little more. Obviously I did enough to hold down my position in the team so got the opportunity against Sydney FC as well.”
Coach Alistair Edwards has made no secret of his desire to promote West Australian talent and Davies could not be happier. “It’s really good what Alistair and Gareth (assistant coach Gareth Naven) have managed to come in and do,” commented Davies, who was added to the senior list this year along with Daniel De Silva (16), Riley Woodock (18), Cameron Edwards (18) and Harry O’Brien (19). “They’ve created a really good environment at the club and a really good atmosphere for us to come in and train and learn every day … I couldn’t be happier to be there.”
BIRIGHITTI READIES FOR ADELAIDE RETURN
Newcastle Jets custodian Mark Birighitti is looking forward to taking on his former club, Adelaide United. Birighitti played four summers with Adelaide, where he was understudy to Eugene Galekovic, before switching to Newcastle at the beginning of last season in pursuit of regular first team football. The former Perth SC junior gained 22 appearances and won Newcastle’s Player of the Year award last season, but he remains thankful for the opportunity he was provided in Adelaide. “It’s going to be a tough game, they’re a good outfit with a new coach and playing some good football,” he said. “To go back there and to get three points with the Jets would be a massive boost.”
Birighitti has been pleased with his performances across the opening four games of the new season, but feels he can still improve as a player. “Keeping two clean sheets this season has been a pretty good start,” said Birighitti, who draws inspiration from an off-season Socceroos debut against China. “It’s a massive season, there’s a lot of expectation. Coming back from the Socceroos when I was in China definitely gave me a real buzz and I came back a totally different person. I was just more confident and it felt like inside me I wasn’t going to be beaten in training and in games. So it’s a big year and, hopefully, I can continue this form.”
Newcastle three away three points last weekend by allowing Central Coast to come back from two goals down, but Birighitti is confident his team are moving in the right direction. “It was a disappointing result in the end to be two-nil up and to concede two goals late in the game was definitely disappointing,” Birighitti added. “In saying that, we didn’t lose the game and there were a lot of positives to take out of the game, scoring at home in front of our fantastic supporters, it was good to get that duck of our back. Hopefully we can build on that and take that confidence into the game this weekend against Adelaide.”
BREWER KEEN ON LOCAL SCENE
New Perth Glory chief executive Jason Brewer is a man that lives and breathes football. A life-long Plymouth Argyle fan, Brewer joined Glory three months ago but already some great strides have been made in returning the club not only to the pinnacle of the national league, but also into the hearts and minds of the West Australia football community. In the second part of an exclusive interview with footballwa.net’s Peter Simcox, Brewer discusses his involvement in the local game, his belief in the National Premier League, youth development and why it’s time for football to capture the attention of mainstream media…
For Brewer, a former president of Subiaco AFC and an ECU Joondalup committee member, football is much more a job. “Over the past season have been to most Premier League grounds with Joondalup, watching games from 18s all the way through to first team,” he said. “Have also travelled to most other grounds with my sons on a Sunday morning, supporting them as a parent, running the line, putting up nets, manning the BBQ, refereeing games when the ref doesn’t show up and basically doing what every other parent does in supporting there football mad children.”
Through his involvement with the grassroots, Brewer recognises the need for the National Premier League, which from next year replaces the State League as the top tier of football in Western Australia. “The league is tired and the game needs something to get the spark back,” he commented. “You can’t deny the passion of the supporters or the hard work of the club presidents, committees or volunteers. But for some reason the game is not getting the recognition it deserves from the local media and, more importantly, the government in terms of investment into our grounds or game as a whole.”
Joondalup have long been at the forefront of youth development in WA, with Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Shane Lowry (Millwall) and Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough) all starting out at the club. “I couldn’t be more positive for what clubs like Joondalup are doing for the international reputation of WA football,” Brewer commented. “Through their academy structure they have had a number of young players go to England and be successful in the Premier League and Championship. And we are now seeing their young academy players coming through to Glory with the very exciting Joe Knowles and Scott Robinson in our youth squad.”
Brewer says the youth development programs in WA compare favourably with those abroad. “Clubs in England have all made major investments into their academies because they all see the benefits of having a clear pathway for elite player development,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to see the Aston Villa, Everton and Fulham academies, and to see some of Joondalup’s young players more than compete with English and European youngsters on trial has been pleasing. It demonstrates that we have the talent, and with more investment in academies and even a ‘Home of Football’ then we will go from strength-to-strength.”
Perth Glory’s on-field success combined with the rise of the local game, through both the NPL and youth development, and the Socceroos qualification for next year’s World Cup has the potential to propel football into the local mainstream media. “We all like to support winners and WA, more than many places, demands a very successful sporting team,” said Brewer. “It’s been great to see football make the back pages of the ‘West Australian’ recently and hit the headlines on television for all the right reasons. The game is growing, it’s the world game and it’s time now football to get the attention and coverage it deserves.”
SCHWARZER’S RETIREMENT OVERSHADOWS SOCCEROOS OMISSIONS
Coach Ange Postecoglou has taken his first tentative steps towards regenerating an aging Socceroos squad by overlooking several veterans for this month’s friendly with Costa Rica. But it was the retirement of long-time Australia’s most-capped player, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, that came as the biggest surprise with the 41-year old ending his international career on 109 Socceroo appearances. Luke Wilkshire, Archie Thompson, Brett Holman and David Carney, who have an accumulated tally of almost 250 games for Australia, all face pressure to extend their international careers to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Australia’s squad to play Costa Rica on 19 November is Michael Zullo (Adelaide United), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Ivan Franjic, Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Lucas Neill (Omiya Ardija), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng Taishan) and Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht).
NEVILLE GETS THE MONKEY OFF NEWCASTLE’S BACK
Defender Scott Neville has expressed his relief after scoring Newcastle Jets’ first goal of the season in Saturday’s home draw with Central Coast Mariners. Neville poked into the net from close-range to bring to an end a frustrating fortnight of missed opportunities for Newcastle. “It was long overdue, the ball just popped up and I just tapped it in,” Neville said. “You could see by all the emotions in every players face and even Gary (Van Egmond) and the coaching staff. It was good to get the monkey off the back, just disappointed we didn’t carry on and get the three points.”
After a difficult debut season with Newcastle, Neville has been Van Egmond’s first choice at right fullback after a strong pre-season. The one-time Perth Glory captain has been impressive in the opening four rounds and has looked dangerous when pushing forward into attack. “It’s not something I’ve worked on, it’s part of my game usually, I just think last year it didn’t quite happen for me,” he said. “I always seem to get in those situations, so if I can convert a couple more I’d be pretty happy or even if I could get a couple more assists as well.”
LONG SEASON HAS EDWARDS CONSIDERING CHANGES
Alistair Edwards will consider making changes to a winning Perth Glory line-up in a bid to keep his players fresh. Glory have taken maximum points from their last two games with the same starting eleven but, with a long season ahead, Edwards stressed the importance making use of his full playing roster. “A lot of the teams have got a problem with the 20-odd player squad and match fitness,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to make sure that we rotate the players through the National Youth League and other means to get their match fitness coming in. That’s why we’re making sure that we’re adding game time to the players. We can’t play this whole season with all the travel that we do with just eleven players – we have to have a whole squad.”
GLORY WOMEN’S JULIEN OUT TO IMPRESS
Canada striker Christina Julien has been impressed by the quality of her new Perth Glory Women teammates. Julien, who has made in excess of 50 appearances for Canada, is one of a growing number of overseas players to join the W-League which this summer will feature European player of the year Nadine Angerer (Brisbane Roar), United States midfielder Lori Lindsey and fellow Canada internationals Stephanie Ochs and Kendall Fletcher (Canberra United). The 25-year old is expected to make her Glory Women debut this weekend away at Newcastle Jets after signing a short-term deal with the club last month.
Having played professionally for Jitex BK (Sweden) and Rossiyanka (Russia), Julien is hoping to make such an impact during her seven-week guest spell that Glory coach Jamie Harnwell will have little option but to offer her a more permanent contract next season. “Hopefully Jamie gets to know me as a player more and really likes what he sees and gives me a chance to get back out here,” she said. “Since I was 12 going to Australia has been on my bucket list so I’m super excited to be here, I feel like a kid in a candy store with everything and it’s just an amazing experience.”
Julien’s chance to play in Australia came about on the recommendation of Canada coach John Herdman, who was in previously charge of the New Zealand women’s team. “I was talking with John Herdman, the head coach of the national team, and he recommended coming over to Australia because he knows it’s great soccer and a great league,” she explained, who is grateful to the opportunity offered by Harnwell. “I got in contact with Jamie and he decided to give me a look and gave me a guest pass and next thing I know I was in Australia.”
Julien, who scored four times in last month’s 8-0 friendly defeat of the State team, has been blown away by the standard of football played by Glory Women. “Our team plays quality soccer,” she said. “Just from the way our team connects and the connection we’ve made on the field and the style of play and the quality of play you can see that it’s a very good league and everyone on our team can play a great game of soccer. I honestly came in with no expectations and I’ve been amazed and I think it’s a great league and I’m excited to get started.”
NEW ZEALAND COACH TALKS UP ROUX
Defender Storm Roux’s form for Central Coast Mariners has earned him a spot in New Zealand’s squad for their upcoming World Cup play-off series with Mexico. Coach Ricki Herbert says the inclusion of Roux, a former Sorrento junior, is a fitting reward for the uncapped 20-year old, who has featured in each of his club’s four games so far this season. “Storm is playing in the A-League for a side that has done exceptionally well in the competition,” Herbert said. “He’s come into the team who are the competition champions and secured a starting spot.”
Herbert says Roux’s individual strengths will serve the All Whites well in several areas. “He’s athletically a player who can get forward and he will put pressure on the likes of Tony Lochhead and Leo Bertos because he’s able to play down both sides,” Herbert said. “I’ve also been impressed with his one-on-one defending as well.” The All Whites travel to Mexico for the first leg meeting on 14 November before hosting the Central America’s nation on 20 November, with the winner of the tie progressing to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
MANAGER CHALLENGES WILLIAMS AFTER LOSING CAPTAINCY
Interim manager Mark Venus is backing Rhys Williams to bounce back strongly from losing the Middlesbrough captaincy and book his spot in Australia’s World Cup squad for Brazil. Former England defender Jonathan Woodgate has been handed the captain’s armband by Venus, who feels 25-year old Williams will use next year’s World Cup to inspire him to a positive response. “Rhys is working hard,” Venus told thenorthernecho.co.uk. “His country are going to Rio and he should be performing to his very best to try to get in that team so he can go and enjoy the spectacle of a World Cup. He’s got some things to think about and a lot of hard work in front of him. He should be wanting to cement his place in that squad and play in that tournament.”
GALLAS EXCITED BY GLORY MOVE
A half hour chat with Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards was all it took to convince French star William Gallas to join the A-League club. Gallas, a former Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur player, will link up with Glory as their international marquee next month after agreeing to a one-year deal last week. “I feel good, I feel very excited to be in Australia,” Gallas, who turned to Edwards after August talks with Melbourne Victory broke down. “(Edwards and I) spoke for maybe 30 minutes and after what he said to me, I decided with my agent to go to Australia. For me, it was very important to have a new challenge.”
Gallas, capped 84 times by France, hasn’t played a competitive game since April but the 36-year old insists he is fit and looking forward to the opportunity to take on a leadership role at his new club. “I trained for almost four months by myself, so I’m very happy because now I’m ready,” he said. “I prefer to speak on the pitch – that is my job. It’s very important to bring that mentality of the warrior (and make sure) the guys would like to win every game. If the players can respond to that, I think it would be good for the team and for the club.” Gallas is expected to play his first game for Glory on home soil against Adelaide United on 16 November.
PLAYERS FRUSTRATED BY REFEREE’S INCONSISTENCY SAYS MCGARRY
The A-League season may be just a month old but already players have become frustrated with the standard of refereeing according to Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry. Glory were on the right side of a controversial decision yesterday when match officials awarded a penalty for Sydney FC goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic’s challenge on Ryo Nagai, who was clearly offside in the lead-up. McGarry, who converted from the spot to get Glory a 1-0 win, said a lack of consistency by match officials this season has been the major cause of angst amongst players. “The players are pretty frustrated,” McGarry said. “It’s a tough gig and I don’t know who would want to be a referee (but) the players are just looking for that bit more consistency from them.”
The decision not to call Nagai offside prompted under-pressure Sydney coach Frank Farina to call for video technology to be introduced, something McGarry does not agree with. “I think that would take away the essence of the game itself. You’ve got three officials there and they make the call,” McGarry said. “If you start bringing in the video technology, you’re stopping the game and waiting for the decision to happen. That could take a couple of minutes and who knows how that would work out. We’ve got enough officials on the pitch. Luckily enough it went for us (yesterday), but in the past it’s for us and went against us … It’s just one of these things.”
SYDNEY OUTGUN GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth slumped to the foot of the National Youth League table following a humbling 3-0 loss to Sydney FC this morning at Intiga Stadium. Mitchell Malia broke the deadlock in the shadows of half time before Blake Powell and Alex Urosevski punished a leaky home defence in the second stanza. It was an impressive performance by Sydney against a Glory side that featured seven players with A-League experience. Glory’s second loss from as many starts drops them to the foot of the table as the competitions’ only pointless team.
Chris Harold, Adrian Zahra and Jacob Collard each found space early on for Glory but all three lacked composure in front of goal. Jack Duncan was busy between the posts at the opposite end, saving strong attempts on goal from Powell and Aaron Calver in quick succession. Riley Woodcock was giving the Sky Blues defence no end of trouble and twice forced goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis into diving saves. But it was Mallia who got the breakthrough two minutes before the break after wrong-footing David Stokoe and easily slotting past Duncan.
A lapse in concentration eight minutes into the second cost Glory any chance of victory, Powell pouncing on a loose ball following a corner to score easily into Duncan’s net. The hosts responded with a barrage of attacks but failed to get the better of centre-back pairing Aaron Calver and Themba Muata-Marlow, who formed an impregnable wall in front of Bouzanis. Urosevski completed his team’s haul in the 73rd minute with an impressive finish against the run of play. Ndumba Makeche, Jack Clisby and Brandon O'Neill all had chances to snare Glory a late consolation.
TOMBIDES MAKING GREAT STRIDES
West Ham United attacker Dylan Tombides believes sharpness is the only difference between now and 2011 when he was rated Australia’s brightest young star. Tombides was pushing for a spot in the Hammers line-up and on duty for Australia at the Under-17 World Cup when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in June 2011. Chemotherapy led the then 17-year old to drop 16kg and left him bedridden for months but the courageous teen has fought back and remains as ambitious as ever for club and country.
Tombides made the bench for his clubs League Cup defeat of Burnley last week, and on Saturday set-up a goal during a 90-minute outing in West Ham’s 3-3 draw with Chelsea’s development squad. “Physically I’m back up to where I was at the World Cup in 2011,” Tombides told www.news.com.au. “I knew I’d get through it eventually, but it made me realise how helpless I was – I needed mum, dad and my brother (Taylor). But I’m ready to play now and I want to look at things as though nothing has changed, I want to push for the first team. I’m not as sharp as I was, but I’m not far off."
A former Stirling Lion junior, Tombides entered West Ham’s academy system aged 14 and has developed into one of their best current products. He made the first team bench in the 2010/11 season and gained his debut in a League Cup game with Wigan Athletic last season. Although he’s knocking on the selection door, Tombides recognises he may need to seek a loan move to gain the first team football experience he requires to continue to progress. “We’ve spoken about that,” he said. “Andy Carroll’s on his way back, Carlton Cole, Mladen Petric, so it may be a case of going out on loan and getting experience.”
Tombides admits his disappointment that Football Federation Australia haven’t been keeping close tabs on him, saying team officials were surprised by the state he was in when he visited the Socceroos squad during last month’s training camp in London. “They didn’t know I was back playing, which was upsetting because they were in my backyard and it would’ve been nice to be a part of it and even to get a run out against Canada,” he said. “It would be nice to get into the Socceroos. I’ve had a such a detrimental time and the fact that I had such a big reputation would be nice to be out there and get a game for Australia."
MCGARRY SPOT ON FOR PLUCKY GLORY
Perth Glory capitalised on a botched offside decision to defeat a luckless Sydney FC 1-0 on a sunny afternoon at Perth Oval. The Sky Blues dominated the match, holding the bulk of possession and getting double the shots on goal as their opponent, but it was Glory that came away with the win after Steven McGarry tucked in disputed penalty. “On the positive side we come away with the three points but on a performance side the boys know that it wasn’t great,” coach Alistair Edwards said. “In saying that, a lot of that was to do with how well Sydney FC approached the game and they played with a lot of desperation, and really took the game to us and unsettled us particularly in the first half.”
Only 9 minutes were on the clock when McGarry made no mistake from the spot after referee Ben Williams awarded a penalty when goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic clattered into Ryo Nagai, who was clearly offside when Jamie Maclaren crossed the ball. The away team squandered several golden chances to bring the game level with Nicky Carle and Mark Warren testing Danny Vukovic, while Ali Abbas failed to capitalise when presented with an open goal. Sydney continued to attack after break, Richard Garcia heading just over the crossbar in the 56th minute. McGarry should have done better than place wide after running rings around Tiago Calvano. With seven minutes to go Matt Thompson was unlucky not to bring the sides level with a low strike that Vukovic deflected onto the upright.
SMELTZ BACK FOR GLORY, SYDNEY’S DEL PIERO IN DOUBT
Perth Glory is on home soil for the second time in seven days tomorrow when they face Sydney FC. The game will mark Shane Smeltz’s first appearance of the campaign after missing the previous three rounds following off-season surgery to remedy an on-going hip problem. “Rehab has been going really well (and) I’m looking forward to getting out there now,” said Smeltz. “I’ve put in the hard work to get back and it’s paid off.” Young defender Jack Clisby has been added to the Glory squad but injury keeps Josh Risdon and Adrian Zahra on the sidelines.
Sydney are coming back-to-back losses and have not scored in their last two games but coach Frank Farina will resist the temptation to rush Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero, who has been sidelined with a calf injury, back into the line-up. “We’re in a situation now where we’re fighting for points like everybody else,” said Farina, who rates Del Piero an outside chance of starting. “I’d say at this stage 60 per cent, 70 per cent. We’ll assess that at the end of today but we’ll give him a chance to play, or take part.” Glory takes on Sydney from 2.30pm tomorrow at Perth Oval.
SAINSBURY LANDS YOUNG FOOTBALLER AWARD
Trent Sainsbury’s hopes of a Socceroos call-up for next month’s friendly with Costa Rica received a boost with his nomination for the Young Footballer of the Year Award. Stand-out performances across the opening three games of the new A-League season lead to Sainsbury being voted the competitions best under-21 player for the month of October. “Obviously it’s great to be recognised for my performances, and to carry over my form from last season into this one,” Sainsbury said of his nomination. “Being acknowledged by media and other football experts as one of the top young players in the A-League is something I am extremely proud of.”.
Sainsbury, a former Armadale junior, expects to be joined by fellow West Australian Storm Roux, also on Central Coast’s books, as a contender for the Young Footballer of the Year Award. “Storm Roux is going to be one of our biggest assets this year and I am very surprised he hasn’t been nominated himself,” he commented. Sainsbury is the first nominee for the annual award and will be joined by five other nominees before the season is out. Young Footballer of the Year Award sponsor, National Australia Bank, will donated a $1,500 equipment pack and $1,000 in a Community Saver Account to Sainsbury’s chosen junior club.
WILLIAMS READY TO BRING FINALS FOOTBALL BACK TO CANBERRA
Lydia Williams has made a full recovery from knee surgery and ready to lead Canberra United’s chase for a second W-League championship. The Katanning-born goalkeeper missed last summer’s competition after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and, fresh from a season with Swedish side Pitea IF, is focused on clinching another title with Canberra. “This is an important season for me just to feel more confident in myself,” Williams told ‘the Canberra Times’. “I just want to prove to everyone that I can come back as good as before. We want to start with a bang in round one. I think we can pull it off, we just have that mentality as a team.”
Williams missed eleven-months of football after damaging her knee in May 2012, just two games into a spell with Pitea. Having made a full recovery, which included gaining her 31st Matilda’s cap last month, the 25-year old was hot property leading into the coming W-League season, turning down offers from several rivals clubs in order to remain with Canberra. “There were offers from other clubs this year, but Canberra is my home. This is the best place for me,” said the 25-year old. “I was tempted, but it was more flattery than anything. I do feel like I’m coming back a better player so hopefully I’ve got a bit of an edge over the other ‘keepers.”
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This page was last updated on the 27th October, 2013