WILLIAMS WILL NOT BE RUSHED: KARANKA
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has admitted that it is important long-term injury victim Rhys Williams is eased back into action following eleven months on the sidelines. Williams ruptured an Achilles tendon last January while on club duty against Wigan Athletic, the injury ruling him out of the Socceroos World Cup squad. He returned to first team action on Boxing Day by playing the final few minutes of his team's win over Nottingham Forest.
However, Karanka says that he has no intention of rushing Williams back into the starting line-up. "It was very important for him to play again," he said. "He's been out for eleven months and I put him in the squad on Boxing Day thinking about bringing him on if we were in a good position. He was on the bench and we had an opportunity to give him five minutes. He's working really well on the training ground but he can't forget he has been out for eleven months."
RESTED KEOGH WILL BE FIT FOR VICTORY
Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh has declared himself fit for Friday's top-of-the-table clash against Melbourne Victory in Geelong despite sitting out this morning's training session. The 28-year-old walked slow laps at McGillivray Oval this morning alongside captain Michael Thwaite as their teammates trained in sapping heat.
Keogh, who has scored seven goals so far in his first A League season, said he was only experiencing general muscle soreness and would be right to face the title favourites.
"It's just we've played a lot of minutes recently and there's a lot of minutes to play in the coming days," Keogh said. "It's just a precaution and a couple of us just getting our bodies right. I'm all good. The lads know how to manage their bodies here. If we need to tell the physio and manager that we need a little bit of extra time to recover, then that's what we do." Midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic trained strongly in signs that he had overcome the illness that forced him out of the Boxing Day draw with Melbourne City.
CANVEY COMPLETE LOAN SIGNING OF TOMBIDES
English non-League side Canvey Island have added West Ham United youngster Taylor Tombides to their ranks as they bid to get over a mid-season slump. Tombides, 18, has been learning the finer points of his trade with the Hammers development squad where he’s featured primarily as an attacking midfielder. An Australian youth international, Tombides is in line to make his Gulls debut on New Year’s Day against Bury Town. Canvey are positioned fifteenth at the Isthmian Premier League season mid-point.
JONES BOWS OUT WITH INJURY
Brad Jones return to Liverpool’s first eleven was short-lived with the shot-stopper exiting his teams’ Boxing Day clash with Burnley after just 16 minutes due to injury. Speaking after the game, Reds’ manager Brendan Rodgers revealed 32-year old Jones suffered a thigh injury following his first kick in during the 1-0 win. “Brad Jones got a knock on his thigh and he felt it with his first kick and couldn’t continue,” said Rodgers, who immediately brought Belgium international Simon Mignolet off the bench. Jones was promoted to the starting line-up for the recent game with Manchester United and also started against Bournemouth and Arsenal.
ASIAN CUP SNUB HAS DE SILVA LINING
Perth Glory sensation Daniel De Silva will feature for the Socceroos in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, according to the man in charge. And Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said it was pointless putting a lid on the hype, with De Silva widely regarded as Australia’s best product since Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell. De Silva narrowly missed out on the 23-man Asian Cup squad that starts with their preparations this week.
But Postecoglou revealed that De Silva, who turns 18 in March, was firmly on the radar with the Russia 2018 qualifying campaign kicking off in June. “Daniel was close, he’s definitely one we’re looking at,’’ Postecoglou said. “Through a four-year cycle, if he continues, he’ll definitely get an opportunity (in the qualifying campaign) … He’s one of a number on the radar.’’ De Silva made his ninth start - and twelfth appearance - of the summer in last week’s draw at Melbourne City.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe has cautioned against over-hyping De Silva, however, Postecoglou has no issue talking up the young attacker. “Age is absolutely no lonely factor, maturity is but Danny hasn’t had it easy,” he said. “Yes he’s talented and he plays, but he’s earning his spot where he’s playing, he’s in the top team in the league and he’s making an impact. He had a quiet FFA Cup final, got left out, came back and scored. That shows me that he’s mature enough to handle it and he understands.’’
JONES STEPS UP FOR LIVERPOOL
Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones insists he is ready for the scrutiny which will inevitably come his way after taking over from the under-fire Simon Mignolet. Jones was thrust into the spotlight at Old Trafford just over a week ago after manager Brendan Rodgers dropped Mignolet indefinitely following a number of indifferent performances. Former Socceroo Jones has been the Reds’ back-up ‘keeper since he signing in August 2010 and, although he has featured in various Cup games, he made only eight Premier League appearances prior to this season.
Jones is now the one in the sights of the critics but the 32-year-old is unconcerned. "I have had it before and I'll get it again," Jones said. "There is pressure on every player in every position. You are expected to win every week and when you don't you get criticised. At smaller clubs you get away with certain things. The magnifying glass isn't as big, if you like. But if you are here you have obviously done something right to be here in the first place, and when you are here you have to deal with it as best you can."
Jones insists the relationship between him and Mignolet has not changed, but he feels some of the criticism of the Belgian international was unwarranted. "That is what TV pundits do, isn't it? They pick holes in people. They pick holes in teams and point out things," he said. "A lot of the time it can be unjustified. Sometimes it is justified." Jones will add to his Premier League game tally on Boxing Day when tenth-placed Liverpool make the trip to Turf Moor to play third-from-bottom Burnley.
In recent weeks former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes and more recently Chelsea's out-of-favour Petr Cech have been linked with a move to Liverpool. Jones is out of contract in the summer but insists neither speculation about rivals nor his unexpected chance will change his approach. "I signed my first contract (to try and win another one) and I have been playing that way since," Jones said. "Everyone wants to link other players with us and that is probably not going to change. We will get linked with another twenty goalkeepers now but I won't let it affect me."
WILLIAMS TOLD TO BIDE HIS TIME
Rhys Williams has been told to enjoy Christmas after it was decided not to rush the Middlesbrough defender back in to first team action. Middlesbrough are looking for an immediate boost after the frustration of losing 2-0 to Ipswich Town but manager Aitor Karanka is keen for that to come from players in his squad other than Williams. Although fit enough to play in the Championship after recovering from a serious Achilles problem, Williams has not figured in the first team picture with Karanka keen to ensure that everything is in place for the 26-year old when he does eventually compete for a starting spot.
SAINSBURY AND HERD MAKE ASIAN CUP SQUAD
Defensive pair Trent Sainsbury and Chris Herd have been named in Ange Postecoglou’s final 23-man Socceroos squad for next year’s Asian Cup campaign. Sainsbury, who played juniors at Armadale, has been a regular fixture of the Socceroos defensive make-up in recent months and with 15 appearances for Zwolle to his name the 22-year old was pretty much an automatic selection. However, the inclusion of Herd is something of a surprise, the 25-year old making just five appearances in eighteen months for Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers. The former ECU Joondalup junior’s ability to play in defence and midfield seemingly convinced Postecoglou he was worthy of selection.
The Socceroos boss is confident his squad will deliver at the Asian Cup. “It’s been almost six months in the making since the World Cup,” Postecoglou said. “We’ve had a series of games where there have been some pretty clear objectives, particularly in terms of broadening the pool and seeing whether we could get some better balance in the squad and more depth. In the end, I’m pretty pleased with the 23 we’ve ended up with. There’s a good combination of the core of the group that went to the World Cup (and) also a sprinkling of guys who will enhance the squad we took to the (2018) World Cup.”
Australia’s squad for the Asian Cup is Terry Antonis (Sydney FC), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Jason Davidson (West Bromwich Albion), Ivan Franjic (Torpedo Moskva), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Mike Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Tom Juric (Western Sydney Wanderers), Robbie Kruse (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia 09 Dortmund), Matthew Leckie (Ingolstadt 04), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), Mat Ryan Club Brugge), Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), James Troisi (Zulte Waregem) and Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai).
GLORY ON TRACK TO WIN PREMIERS' PLATE
They're sitting pretty on top of the A-League table, but Perth Glory know their upcoming trek to Melbourne could either make or break their Premiers' Plate hopes. After eleven games, Glory have tallied 28 points - the same number they accumulated in 27 rounds last season - but all at the club are well aware a possible banana skin looms just around the corner. Glory's hot form will be put to the test when they take on a rejuvenated Melbourne City on Friday night, with a tough match against second-placed Melbourne Victory coming just a week later.
The importance of those two games is not lost on striker Chris Harold. "We've got a tough couple of weeks away in Melbourne over Christmas and New Year," he said. "But if we can get some results away from home, we are setting ourselves up for that Premiers' Plate. At the start of the season we were hoping to make the top four, but now it looks very realistic we can finish first. We've now gone six points clear, which is a substantial gap in a tight league."
Harold has found chances hard to come by since tearing his quad during the warm-up of the season-opening win over Wellington Phoenix. The 22-year old law student was forced to bide his time in the youth ranks after recovering from the injury, but his two-goal performance against Central Coast showcased Glory's depth. With Youssouf Hersi (hamstring) out for the season and star midfielder Mitch Nichols not set to return until February, Harold knows he has a golden chance to cement his spot in the starting side. Off the field, Glory will be sweating on Football Federation Australia's investigation into alleged salary cap breaches by the club.
TABAIN INVITED TO MATILDA’S CAMP
Perth Glory Women foundation player Marianna Tabain has received her first national team call-up as Matilda’s coach Alen Stajcic looks ahead to next year’s Women’s World Cup. Tabain, who has played 78 games for Glory since debuting in 2008, is joined in Stajcic’s preliminary 32-player training squad for the June tournament by fellow West Australian Lisa De Vanna and Glory teammates Caitlin Foord, Kate Gill and Alanna Kennedy. The squad will assemble at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for a three-day camp commencing 12 January.
Knee injuries ruled Samantha Kerr, Lydia Williams and Collette McCallum out of next month’s training camp, however, Stajcic says all players remain in World Cup contention. “This is by no means a final squad as there are number of players returning from injury that are still in contention for selection,” he said. “I’ve had a good look at all the players throughout the W-League season and I am happy with the group of players that I have selected for this camp. There is a balance of youth and experience in the squad and it will be a good starting point for our intense preparation period.”
DE SILVA STUNNER
Teenager Danny De Silva scored a stunning long-range goal to ensure Perth Glory defied a week of heartbreak and turmoil to go to Christmas six points clear on top of the A-League table. Glory maintained its perfect home record by destroying struggling Central Coast Mariners 4-1 on Saturday night. The highlight of the night was De Silva’s solo effort in the 71st minute, the pint-sized 17-year old winning a physical battle with Storm Roux, before flicking the ball up with his back to goal and turning to unleash an instinctive volley from 25-metres.
It was the combination of audacity and flawless technique from De Silva that made it a moment to savour. “I got the ball and I saw there was nobody in front of me and nowhere to go, so I thought I may as well take the shot,” said De Silva, who will join Italian club AS Roma at the end of the season. Chris Harold and prolific striker Andy Keogh put Glory two-nil up at the break before Matt Simon gave Central Coast a lifeline shortly after the resumption. De Silva and Harold then completed the goal rush to extend Glory’s unbeaten home run to eight games.
PERTH FOOTBALL COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER FOR THE HARMONY CUP
The WA amateur football community has come together to stage the Perth Harmony Cup in early January. Organisers Chris Brady, Kelechi Osunwa and John Sabetta invited clubs to join the carnival to show their support for inclusiveness in local soccer, and with sixteen teams taking part in the charity event, a massive day is expected.
“It’s been a whirlwind few days,” said Brady. “We came up with the idea last Thursday , and within 24 hours we had secured a venue, 16 teams, volunteer referees, sponsors and had the carnival fully sanctioned by Football West. We’ve been astounded and very proud of the way the local football community has embraced the initiative.” All profits made from the day will go the United Maylands Junior Football Club. This is an organisation that has fully accredited coaches from non-Australian backgrounds working with migrant and refugee children, using the world game as a tool to build harmony in the Western Australian community and is supported by Football West.
The Harmony Cup will take place on Sunday 4th January at the Cracovia Sporting Complex on Marshall Road in Beechboro from 12noon to 6pm. The sixteen teams were recently drawn out of the hat and into the following groups:
Group A: Ahly Perth, Derry Bhoys, Celtic Australis, Cracovia White
Group B: Hamersley Rovers, Caversham AFC, Cracovia Red, Subiaco
Group C: Ballajura, Wales Masters, Liberties FC, Balga
Group D: Backpackers FC, Ellenbrook FC, Sutherlands Park, WA Police
Organisers encourage the public to get out on the 4th January to support the event, and also extend their sincere thanks to the hosts, the Cracovia Club, and to the sponsors Veto Perth North and West Coast Marble and Granite for their support of the event.
CANBERRA TAKES THE GLORY IN W-LEAGUE GRAND FINAL
Canberra United is the 2014 Westfield W-League champions after a 3-1 win against Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday. The league winners, who had taken all before them going into the game were never allowed to settle and United were deserved winners. But Glory coach Jamie Harnwell was still proud of his sides’ achievements during the season. “They’ve had an incredible season,” he said. “They’ve been the best team in the league all season by far but on the day we were beaten. That can happen on any day in football. “I’m so proud of the girls. We’ve broken records and no-one can deny who the best team is, we just couldn’t be the best team in the Grand Final.”
The visitors opened brightly and were ahead on 21 minutes. Stephanie Ochs cut in from the right and superbly curled her shot in off the far post. The Glory almost hit back immediately, Collette McCallum’s ball over the top sent Caitlin Foord in on goal, but a stunning save from former Glory custodian Chantel Jones denied her. Both sides had half chances before the break but Jones and Mackenzie Arnold were in good form and it was 1-0 at the break.
The home side needed a good start to the second half and their skipper delivered just after the hour. McCallum’s stunning long-range free kick flew into the top corner of the net giving Jones no chance. The Glory was now on top but they were hit on a quick counter attack on 75 minutes. A long ball over the top sent Ashleigh Sykes racing clear; see held off Shelina Zadorsky and finished low past Arnold. But moments later the Glory had a great opportunity to level when Marianna Tabain was brought down in the area and referee Kate Jacewicz pointed straight to the spot. The league’s leading goalscorer Kate Gill stepped up but Jones guessed the right way and saved. That miss came back to haunt the home side as two minutes later United scored their third. A cross from the right was headed down by Michelle Heyman ahead of Arnold and Sykes headed home from close-range.
It could have been worse for the glory when deep in to stoppage time the lively Sykes raced clear again but she was brought down by Zadorsky and the referee pointed straight to the spot, the Glory defender was lucky not to be sent off. But Grace Gill saw her spot kick well saved by Arnold but the damage had already been done. “It wasn’t our best performance by any means,” Harnwell said. “I don’t think it was a 3-1 game and we had the opportunity to go back 2-all and I think it would’ve broken their backs.” “We played about 30 minutes of real football, which wasn’t enough for a good Canberra side.”
Perth Glory Women: GK Mackenzie ARNOLD, 2 Sarah CARROLL (3 Carys HAWKINS 62’), 4 Bronwyn STUDMAN, 5 Shannon MAY, 6 Alanna KENNEDY, 9 Caitlin FOORD, 12 Kate GILL, 13 Elisia D’OVIDO (7 Gabrielle MARZANO 73’), 14 Colette MCCALLUM, 15 Sheilna ZADORSKY, 17 Marianna TABAIN
Subs not used: RGK Gabrielle DAL BUSCO, 8 Shawn BILLAM, 16 Thio EASTMAN
Yellow Cards: Foord 37’, Carroll 49’, Zadorsky 93’
Canberra United: GK Chantel JONES, 2 Catherine BROWN, 6 Caitlin MUNOZ, 7 Ellie BRUSH, 10 Grace MAHER (3 Julia DE ANGELIS 54’), 11 Michelle HEYMAN, 12 Sally ROJAHN, 13 Nicole BEGG, 14 Ashlieigh SYKES, 16 Lori LINDSEY (9 Grace GILL 91’), 22 Stephanie OCHS
Subs not used: RGK Melissa MAIZELS, 5 Grace FIELD15 Tegan RIDING
Yellow Cards: Brown 64’, Munoz 86’
Referee: Kate JACEWICZ
Assistants: Tanya DE BOER and Renae GOGHILL
Fourth Official: Casey REIBELT
LOWE HAILS 'BLUE COLLAR' GLORY
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has refused to take credit for the club’s remarkable turnaround in fortunes. Lowe celebrated one year in the job this week, successfully guiding Glory from competition strugglers to A-League leaders in that time. The English-born manager did not have it all his own way at first, enduring a ten-game winless run soon after stepping into the role of caretaker coach following the sacking of Alistair Edwards. But a solid finish to last season saw Lowe win a two-year contract and he has justified the club’s decision to back him over more credentialed candidates for the position with a remarkable start to the new campaign.
52-year old Lowe is quick to deflect the praise being heaped on him by happy pundits. “It’s not me, it’s everybody,” Lowe said. “We’re a close group and from day one we went out with a mantra of that blue collar work ethic, a lot of honesty, a lot of integrity, and that’s what you’re seeing because that’s the people we’ve got behind the scenes in the office, on the bench and then on the pitch. If it goes wrong I get sacked … that’s the way it goes. If it goes well, maybe I get the credit, but it’s not down to me.”
When asked what he would have said if someone had told him his side would be two games clear at top of the table before Christmas, Lowe said he would have questioned if that person had been “sectioned”. “Everyone predicted us to be ninth in the league, but it doesn’t matter what people say,” he said. “I’ve got no interest where we are in the league. We’ve just got to get better … better than we were last year.” Glory will take on Melbourne rivals City on Boxing Day and Victory on 2 January before returning to Perth looking to avenge the FFA Cup final defeat to Adelaide on 5 January.
ADSHEAD AND PETKOVIC JOIN FOOTBALL WEST BOARD
Journalist Gary Adshead and former Socceroos goalkeeper Jason Petkovic have been elected unopposed to the Football West Board. In a major boost for the West Australian game, the two respected local figures were accepted as Football West directors at last week’s AGM. Adshead, a 6PR radio presenter who also works for The West Australian and Channel Seven, adds considerable media knowledge to the Board, while Petkovic brings valuable football expertise as a former player at the game’s highest level.
Adshead’s father, John, has a long association with WA football and led New Zealand to the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Petkovic played junior football at Spearwood Dalmatinac (Cockburn City) and had a successful domestic career with Perth Glory and Adelaide City and also played in Turkey. Rob MacKay has retired from the Board as required by the Constitution after serving two terms. Henry Atturo was elected unopposed for a second term and former Perth Glory advisory board member Lui Giuliani was elected to continue on the Board.
GLORY HAS THE MARINERS ALL AT SEA
Perth Glory put last week’s FFA Cup Final defeat behind them to move six points clear on top of the Hyundai A-League table after thrashing Central Coast Mariners 4-1 at NIB Stadium. A brace from Chris Harold, Andy Keogh’s seventh goal of the season and stunning strike from Serie A bound Danny De Silva, put the doubters in the media back in their place. Matt Simon had given the visitors hope with a goal just after the break but it was the home side that went on with it to take the points.
The Mariners had opened brightly and Simons was a constant threat and he went close to the opener on 22 minutes. The striker was sent clear on goal, but Danny Vukovic was out quick to save. The Glory custodian then denied Nick Fitzgerald with a save down to his left as the Mariners looked to kick start their season. But in their first meaningful attack on 33 minutes the Glory hit the front. A sublime back heel from Keogh sent Sidnei Sciola racing down the left, his cross to the back post found Harold who fired home from close-range.
That goal raised the Glory from their slumber and they doubled their advantage two minutes later. A clearance from Mariners keeper Liam Reddy went straight to Harold on the edge of the penalty area, and he found Keogh who finished from close-range. Things went from bad to worse for the Mariners when defender Michael Neil limped off moments later, replaced by Matthew Sim. It was nearly 3-0 to the hosts on the stroke of half time. Richard Garcia’s cross was volleyed by Keogh, but Reddy made up for his mistake with a stunning save to deny the Irish striker.
The visitors made a perfect start to the second half when they reduced the margin four minutes in. Simons eased past Dino Djulbic before firing low past Vukovic to put the Mariners back in the game. It was game on and both sides pressed, but clear cut chances were few and far between. The home side lost Sidnei, with a recurrence of his calf injury, but his replacement De Silva took the game by the horns and scored the third on 71 minutes. Harold found the teenage midfielder, who flicked the ball into the air and volleyed home past a stunned Reddy.
With the two goal buffer the Glory faithful were in party mode and the best was yet to come when Harold added his second and the Glory’s fourth. The striker, whose performance has given the Glory coach some room for thought, curled in his shot from the left of the penalty area, giving Reddy no chance. The win equaled Melbourne Victory’s record of eight consecutive home wins from the 2008-09 season, as Kenny Lowe’s side moved six points clear at the top, following Victory’s 1-0 defeat to arch-rivals Melbourne City earlier in the evening.
GLORY WOMEN AIM TO BREAK DROUGHT
A decade on from Western Australia’s last national league Grand Final success, Perth Glory Women are aiming to claim their first W-League championship when they take on Canberra United at Perth Oval tomorrow. Glory Women coach Jamie Harnwell knows how it feels to win a title as a player, having been involved in Glory men's 2003/04 National Soccer League triumph. Since then, the club has reached just one Grand Final, which the men's side lost in heartbreaking circumstances in 2012.
Harnwell's team claimed the regular season premiership with a record points haul and swept aside Sydney FC in the semi-final to reach its first decider. "Our confidence is good," Harnwell said. "It's a one-off, it's a grand final, so no one knows what's going to happen. But all I've asked our players is to make sure they've got no regrets when they walk off the ground on Sunday. They're going to try and take it on themselves to bring some silverware back to Glory."
But to do so, Glory women will have to knock off a Canberra side which beat them 2-1 in the final game of the regular season. It was one of just two defeats all year for Glory women. "They're probably the team that I knew we'd have to beat if we wanted to lift the trophy," Harnwell said. "They're very well organised and structured, and they've got three or four attacking players that can really hurt you."
Harnwell hurt an ankle early in that 2004 NSL Grand Final, but battled through to the end as Glory claimed a famous extra-time win over Parramatta Power. Having turned his hand to coaching, Harnwell is as determined as ever to achieve success and felt a W-League championship could help drive his new career forward. "To achieve something like that in my fourth year of coaching would be huge," he said.
CASH ROW WON'T STOP GLORY
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe has dismissed suggestions a salary cap investigation into the club will have an impact on the team's performances. Glory's attention returns to the A-League tonight after their FFA Cup final loss to Adelaide United in mid-week, their first defeat in nine games in all competitions. Lowe said his players were not bothered by allegations of salary cap irregularities and would instead focus on their home date with Central Coast Mariners. "We concentrate on football, that's what we'll always do," Lowe said. "Footballers are footballers, they focus on themselves a lot of the time so I'm sure they'll do that this week and we'll be OK."
Glory have been this season's surprise packets, storming to the top of the A-League ladder after ten rounds and enjoying a strong run to the FFA Cup Final. But reports this week revealed allegations the club had failed to declare player-agent fees, player accommodation and motor vehicle allowances in salary cap reports submitted to the FFA over the past three seasons. The investigation into the alleged irregularities, confirmed by the FFA this week, has cast a shadow over the positive start. "At the end of the day, we do what we do. We focus on our football and we keep letting the boys over east moan like hell," Lowe said.
GLORY WOMEN SET FOR FIRST GRAND FINAL
Assistant coach Tanya Oxtoby will urge Perth Glory Women players to make the most of the club’s historic first W-League Grand Final appearance when they take on Canberra United at Perth Oval on Sunday. Oxtoby experienced some lean times as a Glory player having spent the first four W-League seasons with the club before heading overseas to pursue her coaching career. Her return as an assistant to Jamie Harnwell has coincided with the club’s most successful period, Glory having been transformed from easy beats to the competition benchmark.
“I’m just really excited for the players because when I was playing I would’ve given absolutely everything to have experienced a Grand Final,” Oxtoby said. “It’s been a great season and hopefully we can keep the squad together and progress again next year but the girls will approach this game like it’s their last. We really don’t know when we’re going to get a home Grand Final in Perth again, so they’ll be going out there to give everything they’ve got. Without disrespecting the other clubs, I think the two best teams have reached the Grand Final and it’s going to be a cracker.”
The match will be the last for Glory midfielder Elisa D’Ovidio, who will hang up her boots having played in all seven seasons for the club. “It feels surreal to be in the Grand Final in my last game and it would be a dream to win it,” D’Ovidio said. “We’ve got a strong squad and we’ll have to make sure we’re all switched on and we don’t make mistakes.” D’Ovidio replaced the injured Samantha Kerr in the starting line-up for last weekend’s semi-final win over Sydney FC and marked her appearance with a goal. She is expected to start again against Canberra, who beat Glory 2-1 in the final regular game of the season.
GLORY GIRLS CHERISH MAKESHIFT SILVERWARE
Perth Glory Women have the chance to win their second piece of silverware this Sunday - and this time they won't have to buy it themselves. Glory hasn't tasted title success since the men's team won the last National Soccer League Grand Final in 2003/04. That ten-year silverware drought ended last month when Glory Women wrapped up the W-League premiership with a thumping 5-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers. It was a perfect occasion except for one important detail – Football Federation Australia doesn't provide a trophy to the premiership winners in the women's game.
Glory coach Jamie Harnwell was too superstitious to organise one himself for fear it could jinx their Championship bid. So instead, an employee from Football West spent around $100 on a makeshift Premiers' Plate for the girls to parade on the day. "There was just a simple engraving on it, but it was a nice touch," Harnwell said. "If you had won it and there was no physical thing, it would have taken a bit of a gloss off it. Those photos we had that day of the girls holding it were fantastic, and they are among the most well liked and shared photos of the W-League season."
As proud as Harnwell is of the achievement, he knows the ultimate prize will be on offer this Sunday when Glory hosts Canberra United in the Championship decider at Perth Oval. Glory progressed through to the Grand Final with a convincing 3-0 win over Sydney FC last week, while Canberra qualified with a thrilling penalty shootout triumph over Melbourne Victory. Glory will start as hot favourites in the Grand Final and Harnwell would love nothing more than to see his girls lift the trophy in front of their home fans. "A trophy that's not bought by ourselves would be good," Harnwell said with a chuckle.
GLORY READY FOR THE MARINERS
Perth Glory will look to put the FFA Cup Final defeat against Adelaide United behind them when they take on Central Coast Mariners at NIB Stadium on Saturday evening at 6.30pm. Glory coach Kenny Lowe praised the efforts and character of his boys and has rejected the notion his side will falter in the A-League because of their Cup Final loss, and is confident the team would quickly bounce back against the Mariners. “We'll grieve for 24 hours and then we'll move on" he said. "I'm extremely proud of the people that were on the park in the final. They're good footballers and that will take us a long way at this club."
Glory sits three points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League table, and they will be looking to make it six home wins to start a season, and with the improved form away from home things are looking bright in the West, but the Glory are now the hunted and not the hunter as in previous seasons. The loss Josh Risdon (suspended) and Mitch Nicholas (hamstring) will be a huge blow, but the timely return of Sidnei Scoila and Ruben Zadzovich, and the form of Chris Harold and Jamie Maclaren will give the Coaching staff some selection headaches.
The Mariners were unlucky not to take all three points against Wellington Phoenix last week, but a late goal from Roy Krishna meant they had to take a share of the spoils. Matt Simon was on the scoreboard last week, and the striker is getting fitter after missing the opening part of the season due to injury. Coach Glen Moss will be sweating on the fitness of Zac Anderson and Nick Montgomery who both limped off last week, as they look to continue their good recent form in the West. They have not won since round one. Saturday’s draw was the club’s fourth from five away matches, but draws are no longer good enough. But Coach Phil Moss believes the draw last week could mark a turning point in his side’s disappointing season to date. “We’re probably lacking a bit of confidence at the moment, but we’ve got a lot of belief,” he said. “You only get confidence out of performance and results and that performance – and the fact we’ve scored another goal – will give us a lot of confidence to go with our belief heading into the Perth game.”
GLORY IN SPOTLIGHT WITH SALARY CAP WOES
Perth Glory is facing the prospect of being fined or stripped of competition points if an expected Football Federation Australia investigation into salary cap irregularities shows anything untoward. FFA is set to look into Glory's accounts after it was reported the club failed to declare player-agent fees, player accommodation allowances and motor vehicle costs in salary cap reports provided to the competition's watchdog.
Fairfax Media claims it has obtained documents showing Glory failed to disclose a host of expenditures in its salary cap from 2011/2014. The report claims a $50,602 sum paid to player agents for various services in 2012/13 wasn't listed in Glory's final yearly report. It is also alleged Glory provided striker Jamie Maclaren with accommodation but failed to include the costs in the salary cap. The club also reportedly failed to declare hire car costs.
Glory released a brief statement late yesterday fending off the claims. "The club is compliant with the Hyundai A-League cap," chief executive Jason Brewer said. "Furthermore, Perth Glory FC has not received any notice from Football Federation Australia in relation to any inquiry involving the club." The initially planned not to fill their marquee positions this season but moved Nebojsa Marinkovic and Michael Thwaite onto marquee contracts after realising they would overshoot the salary cap if they failed to act.
FFA released a statement confirming it was looking into the matter. "FFA has noted the allegations raised about Perth Glory and we've spoken to the club today," head of A-League Damien de Bohun said. "FFA is looking into these matters in line with the usual salary cap compliance practices." The salary cap allegations have overshadowed Glory's dream start to the season. Although they fell 1-0 to Adelaide in the FFA Cup Final, Glory sit on top of the A-League with eight wins, a draw and a loss after ten games.
INJURY RULES NICHOLS OUT OF ASIAN CUP
Mitch Nichols’ Asian Cup dream is over after he was ruled out for up to two months with a hamstring injury. Nichols, who named in the Socceroos’ preliminary 46-man squad last week, damaged his left hamstring in Perth Glory’s weekend win over Newcastle Jets. “The medical team has assured me I should be back on my feet soon after the January break,” said Nichols. The midfielder is the second Glory player to suffer a serious hamstring injury this season with Youssouf Hersi ruled out for the rest of the campaign after tearing his right hamstring off the bone.
FOOTBALL WEST COMMENTS ON RECENT SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS (courtesy footballwest.com.au)
Football West is aware of recent comments on social media attributed to a local club president and will take action. Football Federation Australia has been informed of the comments and Football West Chairman Liam Twigger has spoken to the individual responsible to express disappointment.
Mr Twigger also made this statement to members: “Soccer is the world’s most inclusive sport and Football West is appalled by these derogatory comments. The sport does not tolerate prejudice towards any race, religion or culture. “Football West embraces all cultures and works closely with the State Government to deliver positive outcomes to all communities. “Through the Outreach for Diversity Program, Football West assists those from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) backgrounds, including those from the Muslim community, to play, coach, referee and administer the game in WA. “Football West will not tolerate comments or actions of any individual or group that are contrary to the sport’s inclusive and harmonious community standing and the expectations of Australian society.”
Kelechi Osunwa has written an opinion piece on this that can be seen here
LOWE BACKS GLORY TO BOUNCE BACK
Perth Glory manager Kenny Lowe has rejected the notion his side will falter in the A-League because of their FFA Cup Final loss. Glory were beaten 1-0 in the final of the inaugural competition to Adelaide United yesterday and while Lowe suggested he might need "a carton of something" to come to terms with the loss, any hangover he might feel would be tempered by holding top spot in the A-League. There's certainly no time for indulgence, with Glory resuming in the league against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
As the near-capacity crowd at Coopers Stadium watched Adelaide celebrate their first trophy in eight years yesterday, Lowe was busy watching his own team's reaction. Despite feeling the pain of losing a cup final, what he saw only affirmed his belief success was coming for his club. "They've got themselves in a huddle, they've had a few words together," he said. "They're driven and they care and they're passionate. They're good people and good footballers and that will take us a long way at this club."
That huddle was missing a man - Josh Risdon after his 57th minute red card. The right back, who was enjoying a decent game, earned his second yellow for a tug on Marcelo Carrusca's shirt. Lowe lamented the timing of the dismissal, coming just as Glory started to fight back. "We were getting it back, we were quite structured, really well organised," he said. "We were just getting a little bit of momentum and then the change happened. That's the way it works in cup games."
Lowe said 22-year old Risdon was gutted by his dismissal, but is confident the defender would move on. "He ain't doing backflips, he's been sent off in the FFA Cup final," he said. "It's part of football, good things happen, bad things happen." Glory certainly missed midfielder Mitch Nichols who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Lowe suggested he wasn't risked because of a busy upcoming schedule which includes A-League matches and a potential part in the Socceroos' Asian Cup.
But for those that played, Lowe had nothing but praise. "We've come to a cauldron here ... and put a performance in, our players have been magnificent," he said. "I'm extremely proud of the people that have been on the park." The Glory coach has emerged as a fan of the FFA Cup, calling it a fantastic spectacle. "I've certainly enjoyed the journey, the players have enjoyed the journey, they probably won't feel that at the moment."
RIDSON OFF AS GLORY LOSE FFA CUP FINAL
A smart finish from Spanish striker Sergio Cirio has given Adelaide United a 1-0 victory against Perth Glory in the Westfield FFA Cup Final, at a sold out Coopers Stadium. The Glory was punished on 67 minutes, only eight minutes after defender Josh Risdon was sent off, and the goal winning the inaugural FFA Cup trophy, and Cirio was awarded the ‘Mark Viduka Medal’ as best a field. Glory Coach Kenny Lowe lamented the timing of the dismissal, coming just as Glory started to fight back. "We were getting it back, we were quite structured, really well organised," he said. "We were just getting a little bit of momentum and then the change happened. That's the way it works in cup games."
Both sides had early chances, the first falling to the home side on five minutes. Cirio was sent down the left by Nigel Boogaard, his deep cross picked out Awer Mabil at the back post, but the Young Socceroo failed to make contact with it with the goal at his mercy. Moments later Ruben Zadkovich, who was making his first start for the Glory, found space 25-yards from goal, the ball bounced nicely for the midfielder but his shot was high over the crossbar.
Chances were few and far between in a tight contest, with both defence’s on top, but on 25 minutes the Glory almost hit the front. A slide rule pass from Nebojsa Marinkovic sent Richard Garcia clear, but Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic stood tall to block the former Hull City striker’s shot, the rebound falling to Andy Keogh, whose shot was cleared. Then on the stroke of half time the home side had the best chance of the match, and should have taken the lead. Rostyn Griffiths was caught in possession, and Bruce Djite raced clear and slid Mabel in one-on-one with Danny Vukovic, but the 19-year-old blazed over from 10-yards.
The Reds were quick out of the blocks after the break and Mabil went close again 10 minutes in. Great work on the left by Cirio set up the chance, cutting inside Risdon, before finding the Kenyan-Born winger, but again he wasted the opportunity. Moments later Djite’s snap shot was well blocked by Vukovic, and then just before the hour the visitors were reduced to ten men. A needless pull back by Risdon earned the defender a second yellow card from referee Chris Beath, and the Glory were now on the back foot. Adelaide were now well on top and five minutes later Tarek Elrich through ball sent Djite clear but Vukovic was out quick to save.
But on 67 minutes Adelaide made the most of their numerical advantage, taking the lead. Djite picked out Marcelo Carrusca, whose perfectly weighted pass sent Cirio clear, who fired home from the angle, despite Dino Dujbic attempted goal line clearance. It was more than the home side deserved and they looked to ram home their advantage. Vukovic had to be alert to deny James Jeggo and Isaias, before Cirio’s deflected shot dropped inches over the top. The Glory couldn’t get back into the game, despite the efforts of Keogh, who was outstanding. Their best chance fell to substitute Jamie Maclaren in the last minutes of stoppage time, but the young striker fired well over from the edge of the box. But at the final whistle it was the home fans and players celebrating a famous win.
Adelaide United 1 (Cirio 67’)
Perth Glory 0
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Referee: Chris Beath
ADELAIDE UNITED: GK Eugene GALEKOVIC, 2 Michael MARRONE, 3 Nigel BOOGAARD, 4 Dylan MCGOWAN, 8 ISAIAS, 9 Sergio CIRIO, 10 Marcelo CARRUSCA (7 Pablo SANCHEZ 80’), 11 Bruce DJITE (14 Cameron WATSON 85’), 17 Awer MABIL (22 Fabio FERREIRA 59’), 19 James JEGGO, 21 Tarek ELRICH
SUBS NOT USED: RGK JOHN HALL, 24 Bruce KAMAU
Yellow Cards: Isaias 69’
PERTH GLORY: GK Danny VUKOVIC, 5 Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 8 Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (15 Jamie MACLAREN 79’), 11 Richard GARCIA, 19 Josh RISDON, 20 Danny DE SILVA (16 Sidnei SCIOLA 45’), 21 Scott JAMIESON, 23 Michael THWAITE
SUBS NOT USED: RGK Jack DUNCAN, 3 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Chris HAROLD
Yellow Cards: Garcia 32’, Risdon 42’ and 59’
Red Cards: Risdon 59’
BRENTNALL INDUCTED INTO NATIONAL HALL OF FAME
Sandra Brentnall’s contribution to Australian football has been recognised with induction into Football Federation Australia’s Hall of Fame. Brentnall, who has the honour of scoring the first international goal for the Australian women’s team, was added to the Hall of Fame this afternoon along with Socceroos Mark Viduka and Damian Mori, former Matilda’s coach Tom Sermanni and long-time administrator Stefan Kamasz. “We honour the meritorious service to the game of five people who made a substantial and sustained contribution at the national and international level,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said. “Without the contributions of people like this in our sport, we would not be where we are today.”
Born in Nottingham, England, Brentnall arrived in Perth in 1974 at the age of 12 and within three years was representing Western Australia at senior level. A versatile, highly mobile and hungry forward who had the ability to elude the defence, Brentnall was gained national selection for the first time in 1976 and held her place in the squad for eight years. She scored Australia’s first international goal on her debut, against New Zealand in 1979, and the following year netted the teams’ first hat-trick, also against New Zealand. She played in the first Oceania Cup, in 1983, and represented Australia in 11 ‘A’ internationals, scoring 8 goals.
Viduka played for Melbourne Croatia, Dinamo Zagreb, Celtic, Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United during a stellar club career. Australia captain at the 2006 World Cup, he wore the green and gold 45 times. Mori was Australia’s leading international goal scorer, with 29 goals in 49 games, when he retired from the game in 2008. Domestically he played for South Melbourne, Sunshine George Cross, Bulleen, Melbourne Croatia, Adelaide City, Perth Glory, Central Coast Mariners and Queensland Roar. Sermanni coached the Matildas to the 2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, and Kamasz administered the sport for close to four decades.
WILLIAMS RULES HIMSELF OUT OF ASIAN CUP
Socceroo Rhys Williams has effectively ruled himself out of the Asian Cup despite making a successful return from long-term injury. Williams’ first appearance in eleven months was a run-out with Middlesbrough’s under-21 side on Monday and, although in Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou’s provisional 46-man Asian Cup squad, the defender says he is not ready to part of the tournament. “I could nearly rule myself out,” he said. “I feel like I need some time, I need to get back into the team here before I consider playing for my country again. After such a long injury it wouldn’t be fair playing for my country when I’ve not played a competitive game.”
Williams offers Postecoglou versatility in defence, given he can play centrally and as a full-back, while he can also perform in midfield. “I’ve played no competitive football for the first team and there’s a lot of players ahead of me who are playing week-in week-out and performing well,” added Williams. “I don’t have my hopes up but you never know.” Williams is working his way back to fitness after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in January. He returned to full training last week but still appears a few weeks away from returning to Middlesbrough’s first team, which is currently pushing for promotion.
CUP TRIUMPH WOULD GALVANISE GLORY PROGRESS
What a difference a year has made for Perth Glory. Twelve months ago, almost to the day, the club was a mess. Alistair Edwards had been sacked as coach after a bitter dispute within the football department and the club limped through the rest of the season, finishing eighth. The current campaign could hardly be more different. Glory, with a revamped squad under new coach Kenny Lowe, have lost just once in 14 matches in all competitions this season and sit three points clear on top of the A-League.
In tonight's inaugural FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United at a sold out Coopers Stadium, Glory have the chance to create history and break a decade-long trophy drought. "It feels a lot better than it did last year," owner Tony Sage said. "We did have a few issues. They're all gone now, it's all behind us. We're still only a third of a way through the season, but the FFA Cup final for us is a big moment."
Lowe had limited success in the league as interim coach in the second half of last season, but did enough away from the pitch to impress Glory management. He won the full-time role in April and immediately set about rebuilding the squad with a string of high quality recruits. "With Kenny's CV and what he's done with juniors in WA is second to none in this country," Sage said. "We had to give him a go. He's picked the squad that he wanted this year and with the eight new signings you can see the difference that it's made."
Glory have endured plenty of hard times since the A-League era began in 2005. The former National Soccer League powerhouses have reached just one Grand Final in nine seasons and never finished an A-League regular season higher than third place. But the good times might be on their way back. Winning the inaugural FFA Cup would be a massive boost for the club. "It's very important," Sage said. "We were bitterly disappointed after the Grand Final in 2012, we couldn't bring it home. I think winning the cup would do really well for Perth as a city and for Perth football."
FFA CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The first silverware of the season is up for grabs on Tuesday evening when Adelaide United and Perth Glory meet in the inaugural FFA Cup Final at Coopers Stadium. All available tickets for the Final were sold within three days of going on sale, so a capacity crowd of over 16,000 is expected for the decider – (kick off 7.30pm EST). FFA CEO David Gallop is over the moon with the success of the competition decider. “The inaugural Westfield FFA Cup Final has become the hottest ticket in town in its debut year,” Gallop said. “It’s an amazing story for a competition that has captured the imagination of football fans everywhere. The atmosphere at the Final will be fantastic and I thank the fans of Adelaide United and Perth Glory for embracing the big game.”
Both sides have been potent in front of goal with Andy Keogh scoring five and Nebojsa Marinkovic four for the Glory, while Sergio Cirio has bagged five and Bruce Djite three for The Reds. The road to final started in June when Adelaide edged out Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in the round of 32, thanks to a Cirio goal, while Keogh’s brace gave the Glory a 2-0 win at Newcastle Jets. Adelaide met A-League opponents again in the Round of 16, and Djite and Cirio gave them a 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar. The Glory met Victorian State League side St Albans Saints and won 4-1, Marinkovic scoring a double, with Jamie Maclaren and Keogh added the others.
In the quarter finals both sides needed extra time against A-League opposition. Adelaide travelled to the Allianz Stadium and two strikes from Djite in extra time gave them a 3-1 win against Sydney FC, while the Glory became the first club to beat Melbourne Victory this season, winning 4-2 at nib Stadium. Keogh scored twice, while teenager midfielder Danny De Silva scored his first senior goal for the club. That set up two intriguing Semi-Finals where Adelaide beat Central Coast Mariners 3-2, with another double to Spanish striker Cirio. The Glory ended the dream run of NPL Victorian side Bentleigh Greens, with Marinkovic bagging a brace in the 3-0 win.
Both sides have started the A-League season well, only losing once. The only Glory loss came against the Reds at Coopers Stadium in round 2, with Cirio and Awer Mabil scoring, and that win will give Josep Gombau’s side a vital edge going into the final. The Reds passing game has been outstanding, with their Spanish and Argentinian brigade shining, while Djite and Jason Goodwin give them pace in the final third. The Glory has been led superbly by skipper Michael Thwaite and defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths, while the pace down the flanks from Josh Risdon and Scott Jamieson is a great weapon for Kenny Lowe’s side, but Keogh is the key if they are to head back with the trophy. It has all the hallmarks of being a classic Cup Final, and the winner will go into the history book as the first ever winner of the competition.
GLORY KEEN TO UPSTAGE REDS
A-League leaders Perth Glory are claiming underdog status for tomorrow night’s FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United. Sensational early season form has traditional strugglers Glory sitting on top of the league ahead of the inaugural Cup Final. But coach Kenny Lowe says travelling to Adelaide - the site of their only A-League loss of the season - gives the Reds a "huge advantage". "They're a super team," he said. "They play the game the right way and everyone should take their hats off to the way they play because you've got to be brave the way they play. We're coming into a cauldron here... but we want to try and spoil their party."
Coopers Stadium will be a sea of red after a full sell-out declared last week. But there will at least be one pocket of purple with Glory flying their entire playing and backroom staff to Adelaide for the match. The FFA Cup has been a tremendous success story for the sport, connecting the grassroots of the game with A-League professionals. The knockout competition that began with more than 600 clubs is down to just two; meaning either Adelaide or Glory will end a title drought. Perth haven't claimed a trophy since the 2004 National Soccer League whereas Adelaide's lean streak extends to 2006 when they topped the A-League ladder.
Two painful A-League Grand Final losses to Melbourne Victory on either side of an Asian Champions League Final defeat means Tuesday night's match is the chance for coach Josep Gombau to end Adelaide's finals hoodoo. "For us as a club it's very important. Not every year you can win a trophy," he said. "I wish the people from Adelaide can enjoy this and we can win this game." Both coaches have one key selection issue after Gombau confirmed Argentine whiz Marcel Carrusco would start but defender Nigel Boogaard remains in the balance. For Lowe it's whether to pick Mitch Nichols., who is struggling with a hamstring injury.
CUP FINAL SHOULD STAND ALONE: GARCIA
Perth Glory veteran Richard Garcia cannot wait for his maiden Cup Final but says he would have loved tomorrow’s FFA Cup decider to be played as a stand-alone fixture on the weekend. The Perth-born 33-year old spent 15 years in England where the closest he came to playing in a Cup Final was the 2008 Championship promotion play-off.
Back then, Garcia played a full game as Hull City defeated Bristol City 1-0 to earn promotion to the Premier League at Wembley. The 2010 World Cup Socceroo remembers that day fondly and would love to one day see the FFA Cup Final become such an occasion. “That was a fantastic feeling and when we got promoted to the Premier League it was an even better feeling,” Garcia said. “But just the atmosphere of the day and everything which comes with it is unbeatable.”
Garcia admitted some disappointment at the fact the inaugural FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United will be played on a weeknight. The game is sold out, but Garcia felt the occasion as a whole wouldn’t be the same as he’s experienced in England. “We’ll be focusing on the game and it’ll be such a great event,” he said. “But it’s a bit of a pity it’s on a Tuesday night. I’m sure it’ll still be great, but it would’ve been nice to have stopped the whole league and had a special weekend just for the FFA Cup.”
Nonetheless, Garcia admits after a long career in England it was a dream to be playing for his hometown club in his maiden Cup Final. Garcia left Perth for West Ham United in 1997 - in Glory’s infant years - but said he always planned to return to the club. “When Glory came about, I was just about to leave for England but it was always my plan to come back and play for my hometown club,” Garcia said. “To be doing so well and have a cup final it’s fantastic. I couldn’t have dreamed of having a better start to my Perth Glory career.”
Glory haven’t won silverware since their 2003/04 National Soccer League title and Garcia said it would mean so much to the club if they ended the drought. “It’s the first FFA Cup. It’s like a quiz question, so we want to be the first winners,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to keep the momentum going and get some silverware. I’m sure it’ll mean a lot. The way we’re going in the league means a lot as well. We’ve got momentum. As a club we’re feeling good about ourselves and where we are.”
JONES ENDS PREMIER LEAGUE EXILE IN TOUGH LOSS
Goalkeeper Brad Jones has ended a 21-month wait for an English Premier League start - but the good news ended there. The 32-year-old shot-stopper was called upon by under-pressure Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to face Manchester United, who ran riot with a 3-0 win. Despite some errors, Jones still has the backing of Rodgers, who says he will continue to be Liverpool's first choice, with regular ‘keeper Simon Mignolet dropped indefinitely.
Jones was not helped by some woeful defending, and bounced back with a strong save late in the game. "Simon has been fine, he's a good professional. I spoke to him the other day and he accepted it (being dropped)," Rodgers said after the loss. "I don't think Brad Jones had much to do today, other than for the goals. The change is for an indefinite period. I felt Brad did very well for me last year when I needed him - he's a very capable keeper. We have to find solutions all over the squad to be better."
WILLIAMS BACK ON TRACK
Middlesbrough’s Rhys Williams has come through his first competitive game in eleven months with a clean bill of health. Williams played the opening 66 minutes of the goalless draw between the under-21 sides of Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, his first appearance since tearing his Achilles tendon while on duty against Wigan Athletic in late January. That injury ruined the former ECU Joondalup’s hopes of representing Australia at this year’s World Cup in Brazil, and has the defender in doubt for next month’s Asian Cup.
W-LEAGUE TITLE IN GLORY'S SIGHTS
Perth Glory secured their first Westfield W-League Grand Final appearance after a 3-0 win against Sydney FC at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon. First half goals from Elisa D’Ovidio and Kate Gill, and a first W-League goalfor the club from Gabrille Marzano in the second half won the game for Jamie Harnwell’s side and booked a home Grand Final next weekend against Canberra United. “I’m delighted with not only the result but the performance,” Glory Coach Jamie Harnwell said. “The girls were outstanding and I can’t praise them highly enough.” The former Perth Glory defender is now looking forward to next week’s final, but knows that Canberra will be tough. “We know what to expect, and it will be a tough game. They are a very strong unit with creative individuals that can cause us problems,” Harnwell said. “However, if we play to the level we are capable of, we will cause them a lot of problems as well.”
Without Matilda’s striker Sam Kerr, the Glory were on the front foot early and her replacement D’Ovidio put them ahead on 10 minutes. Gill played the ball out to the striker on the left of the penalty area and she fired low past Casey Dumont, to have the big crowd on its feet. Sydney, who was thrashed 5-0 by the Glory a fortnight ago, looked to get back into the game but they found Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold in stunning form. The Glory custodian, who was in doubt before the game with a damaged cheekbone, produced a number of stunning saves, the best a one-handed effort to tip Amy Harrison long-range shot over the crossbar from. The Glory doubled their advantage eight minutes before half time. Gill found space on the edge of the penalty area and here superb lob hit the top corner of the net giving Dumont no chance.
Sydney opened the second half well with American striker Jasmyne Spencer a constant threat and Arnold had to be alert to save the diminutive striker’s shot on the hour. But the Glory lead by a great defensive display from Alanna Kenndy and Shelina Zadorsky, were not going to give up their advantage, and the game was made safe ten minutes later. Dumont’s clearance went straight into defender Renee Rollason, the ball spilling to Gill in the penalty area. The W-League top goalscorer unselfishly laid the ball off to substitute Gabe Marzano, who slotted her first Glory goal from close range. Both sides had late chances Harrison’s long-range shot drifted inches wide, after Arnold was caught off her line, while Dumont produced a stunning save to deny the Glory a fourth in a goalmouth scramble.
Harnwell’s chargers have dominated the regular season, setting new records for most goals scored (39), most points accumulated (30) and best start to the season (six straight wins) on the way to winning the league premiership, and will be looking to add a Grand Final victory next week. “I couldn’t be more proud of the girls for the way we played against Sydney,” Glory striker Elisa D’Ovidio said. “We had a few players missing, but I thought we played some great football and everyone gave it their all.” The 25-year-old, who announced her retirement at the end of the season is hoping to end her career with a W-League title. “Canberra is a strong side, so we know it will be a tough game,” she said. “But if we play the football we have been playing all season, then I’m sure we will get the reward we deserve, and win our first ever Grand Final, which will be a great end to my time in the game.”
GLORY YOUNGSTER PUT ON A FIVE STAR SHOW
Perth Glory maintained their lead at the top of Foxtel National Youth League after a 5-3 win against Central Coast Mariners at Ashfield Sports Complex on Saturday. Doubles from Joe Knowles and Chris Harold and an own goal saw the Glory home, while goals from Anthony Kalik and Sam Perre, plus a late strike from substitute Trent Buhagiar were the scorers for the visitors.
The home side made the perfect start, and hit the front after just one minute. A slide rule pass from Cameron Edwards sent Harold racing clear, and the striker finished clinically past Adam Pearce. Kalik was a constant threat for the Mariners and his shot from the edge of the penalty area whistled over the crossbar moments later. But on ten minutes the Glory doubled their advantage. Brandon O’Neill’s teasing free kick into the area was headed into his own net by Brian Jamba.
Knowles was causing havoc down the right and on 33 minutes he raced past his marker and delivered a perfect cross to Harold, whose header flashed wide of the target. The Mariners began to get into the game, and five minutes before the break they were back in the game. O’Neill stuck out a leg and the Mariners winger fell in the box and referee Niko Hoyle pointed straight to the spot, Kalik stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty. Jack Clisby almost made it 3-1 just before the break, but his long-range shot flew over the top and at the break the Glory held a narrow advantage.
The Glory pressed after the restart and O’Neill free kick was only inches over the crossbar, but on 51 minutes the Glory restored their two goal advantage. O’Neill’s in-swinging free kick picked out Harold, whose bullet like header flew past Pearce. The home side began to get on top and added a fourth moments later. Harold was given far too much space on the edge of the box, his shot was saved by Pearce, but the rebound was headed home by the alert Knowles.
It looked game over but the Mariners hit back on the hour, Sam Perre was sent down the left, and he cut in and slide the ball past Jordan Thurtell. But the result was made safe five minutes later, with a superb team goal. Some neat one touch football ended with Borbor Sam racing down the left, his perfect cross found Knowles, who made no mistake from close-range for his 7th goal in eight games. The Mariners scored a late consolation goal through a long-range shot from Buhagiar, but at the final whistle it was the Glory running out winners and maintaining their lead at the top of the table.
NICHOLS IN DOUBT FOR CUP FINAL
Socceroo Mitch Nichols is in doubt for this week’s FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United as Perth Glory attempt to end a decade-long trophy drought. Nichols limped off with a left hamstring problem in the second half of Friday night’s league win over Newcastle Jets. Nursing an iced hamstring after being substituted midway through the second half, Nichols cast a disconsolate figure on the final whistle, remaining in his chair before limping into the rooms rather than celebrate with teammates.
Nichols received treatment over the weekend and the club maintain their playmaker hasn’t been ruled out of the Cup Final. The 25-year old is no guarantee to board the flight to Adelaide with his teammates and, should he be cleared to play, is likely to be left out of the starting eleven given the potential for the match to go to extra-time. Nichols will be keen not to further aggravate the problem as he looms as a strong chance of selection in Ange Postecoglou’s 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup. Ruben Zadkovich shapes as an inclusion for Glory’ with Brazilian attacker Sidnei set to remain on the bench.
GARCIA OPENS HIS GLORY ACCOUNT TO DOWN THE JETS
Perth Glory continued their great start to the A-League season after a 2-0 win against Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium on Friday night and in doing so moved four points clear at the top of the table. An early strike from Richard Garcia his first for the club, and a stunner from Nebojsa Marinkovic sealed the win, and the Jets ended the game with ten men when skipper Kew Jaliens was sent off for a crude tackle on Scott Jamieson. “I've thought about that goal for a long time, ever since Glory came about, so for me to get one tonight is fantastic,” Garcia said. “We've got a great bunch of guys who work hard for each other, we don't know when we're beat. That team spirit that we've got is taking us a long way.”
The home side was out of the blocks early and deservedly went in front after only 11 minutes. Josh Risdon played the ball into Garcia, who looked to play in Daniel De Silva, but Scott Neville’s attempted clearance fell back into the path of Garcia who finished low past Ben Kennedy. It was nearly 2-0 moments later. Garcia made the most of a mistake from Jets defender Sam Gallagher, racing down the right, his cross to Andy Keogh at the back post was almost turned into his own net by Jaliens.
After the goal both sides struggled to create any decent chances, the best for the home side fell to Keogh, who couldn’t find the target after a low cross from Risdon on the half hour. The Jets ended the half well and on 37 minutes David Carney’s cross found Joel Griffiths at the back post, but the striker fired wide. Then before the break Carney’s long-range shot whistled just wide of the target.
Newcastle, who were still looking for their first win of the season, should have levelled eight minutes into the second half. Ben Kantarovski found Joel Griffiths who played in Carney, but the former Socceroo blazed over from the edge of the box. Marinkovic tried his luck from long-range on the hour but failed to test Kennedy. Keogh was really handful for the Jets and he went close to the second on 76 minutes. Scott Jamieson’s racking ball found the Irishman on the right, who took on Adrian Madaschi before unleashing a shot which flashed wide of the target.
The Jets were then reduced to 10 men on 82 minutes when Jaliens lunged in on Jamieson and referee Kris Griffiths-Jones showed the Dutch defender a straight red card. The Glory made their one-man advantage count and wrapped up the points four minutes later. Keogh playing the ball into the path of Marinkovic on the edge of the penalty area, and the Serbian midfielder drilled his shot in off the post. The home side almost added a third late, but Kennedy produced a stunning save to deny Keogh’s long-range shot. But at the final whistle it was the Glory faithful celebrating another three points.
GROUNDING JETS THE MAIN FOCUS FOR GRIFFITHS
Perth Glory are on the verge of ending a decade-long trophy drought in next week's FFA Cup final, but the A-League remains the priority for Rostyn Griffiths. Glory will be out to extend their lead at the top of the league ladder when they host winless Newcastle Jets at Perth Oval tonight. It is one of three big games in the next eight days, with the Cup Final away to Adelaide United and another home league match against Central Coast Mariners before Christmas.
Describing himself as a traditionalist, Griffiths said the true marker of a team was its league form. The midfielder said six points from games with Newcastle and Central Coast would be crucial to Glory's chances of setting up a top-two spot. "This next week is really big," Griffiths said. "The two home games for me are the most crucial. The FFA Cup final obviously is massive and everybody wants to win it, but for me, I'm all about the league. We've got a chance to get six points at home before a tough Christmas and New Year period, so we need the points now."
Glory's brilliant start to the campaign has forced them to re-evaluate their targets for the season. "At the beginning of the season we just said we wanted to make finals, but now you get to Christmas and we're at the top, so we want to be pushing top-two," Griffiths said. "That's what we want to achieve. We want to get as far up the ladder as possible and definitely getting a home grand final I think is most important now." Second from bottom Newcastle have endured a week of turmoil, with player bust-ups at training and increasing pressure on coach Phil Stubbins.
EMOTIONS RUN HIGH FOR SEMI CLASH
Perth Glory Women’s W-League semi-final will take on special significance for Elisa D’Ovidio after her decision to hang up her boots at the end of the season. Table-topping Glory take on Sydney FC in Sunday’s Pink Ribbon semi-final at Perth Oval aiming for a victory that would seal the club’s first Grand Final appearance. There will be no second chance with the losing team’s season over.
D’Ovidio has been part of the Glory squad since foundation in 2008 and is determined to end her playing days as a winner. “To be able to walk away as a winner would be amazing and obviously it would be very emotional for me,” D’Ovidio said. “It’s been a fantastic season so far and we want to go all the way. For me to have been part of the Perth Glory journey and how great this season has been has just been incredible. But it’s not finished yet and we all known we have to be switched on against Sydney to make it to the Grand Final.”
Glory coach Jamie Harnwell said he would have a “quiet word” with D’Ovidio before the game to ensure she does not allow emotions to get the better of her. “It can be quite emotional and you do have to settle yourself down,” said Harnwell, who made a record 256 Glory appearances before retiring in 2011. “Vids has been a huge part of Perth Glory both on and off the field and she has given so much to the club. She’s played a few roles as a player, development officer and as a girls coach and she’s shown great professionalism to juggle all that.”
D’Ovidio and Gabe Marzano are front runners to replace Matilda’s striker Samantha Kerr, whose knee injury last weekend cruelly robbed her of a place in the finals. Harnwell is confident the team, which won the premiership with a record number of points, can overcome Sydney. “It’s a one-off game and you’ve got to be aware that any team can take the chocolates on the day,” he said. “It’s about rocking up on the day and having the same level of performance that has been so successful to this point.”
TAGGART CLOSING IN ON FULHAM DEBUT
Striker Adam Taggart has revealed that he is closing in on his debut for English Championship club Fulham. The Socceroo joined Fulham in June from Newcastle Jets but has been sidelined since the pre-season by a groin injury. After playing for the Cottagers' Under-21s earlier this week, Taggart is hopeful that his senior bow is around the corner. "Now it's just about pushing forward and getting the sharpness back to really push for some more game time," he said. "I've been training hard every day but games are obviously very different so it was good personally to get out there for a run and get used to match situations again."
LORY CLOSER TO NEW HOME
Perth Glory have taken a major step towards developing a long-awaited high-performance training and administration base. The club today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Joondalup to explore the possibility of building facilities at Percy Doyle Reserve. Glory’s administration, first team and junior, youth and women’s programs currently operate out of separate venues. The new facilities at Percy Doyle Reserve would be part of a redeveloped southern end of the sporting precinct, separate to those of National Premier Leagues club Sorrento.
Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said the move was a major step in the right direction for the growth of West Australian football. “We are thankful to the people and council from the City of Joondalup for embracing our vision to promote and help grow the game in a corridor of Perth’s northern suburbs which already has a huge following for the world game.” he said. Glory and Football West have long campaigned for government funding to build soccer-specific facilities, highlighting public money spent on other sports such as basketball, rugby union and netball.
GLORY HAVE POINT TO PROVE IN FINAL
Kenny Lowe hopes next week's inaugural FFA Cup final will be a "line-in-the-sand" moment for a resurgent Perth Glory. After a barren ten-years without a trophy, the former powerhouse of Australian football is starting to win back respect on the back of a brilliant start to the 2014/15 campaign. Glory have surprised by reaching the inaugural FFA Cup Final and storming to the top of the A-League ladder with 11 wins in 13 matches in all competitions this season. They meet Adelaide United in the Cup Final at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday night, but must first negotiate Friday's A-League clash with Newcastle at home.
Lowe felt lifting the Cup would be the ideal way to silence Glory's critics and steer the club back towards the top of the domestic game. "The professionalism of the team, they've all got their own personal pride in the way they want to go about their business," Lowe said. "They're really fired up and it (winning the Cup) will be a little marker in the sand for everybody over east to say that we're maybe the real deal … we're at a little crossroads (and) if we can add a little bit of silverware to it then it all adds to the kudos."
Lowe overhauled Glory's squad this year, bringing in a string of proven A-League players and a sprinkling of international stars in a bid to turn around the club's fortunes. Captain Michael Thwaite said the recruiting campaign and changes within the football department had been the main reasons behind Glory's success. "It comes down to recruiting good players and having a good staff around you," Thwaite said. "There's a good link between the administration and football department now with (former captain) Jacob Burns filling in that role. The club in general is taking the right steps, right from under-12s right through to the A-League team."
RISDON SALUTES PARENTS FOLLOWING SOCCEROO SELECTION
Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon was straight on the phone upon finding out of his inclusion in the Socceroos extended squad for next year’s Asian Cup. Risdon, one of four uncapped players named by coach Ange Postecoglou, wasted no time in conveying the news to the two people who did everything they could to help him realise his dream, his parents, Ray and Leanne. "I've never been so proud and happy to make a phone call," said Risdon. "Mum and dad used to drive me five times a week from Bunbury to Perth so I could train with junior rep teams. It was two hours each way in the car, but they never hesitated, they were always happy to do it."
Whether 22-year old Risdon makes the cut when it is reduced from 46 players to 23 remains to be seen, but even if he doesn't the defender says he'll take consolation from the fact he has arrived on Postecoglou's radar. "I'll just keep trying to perform well for Perth and give myself the best chance of making it," he said. "You never know what might happen." Risdon played juniors with ECU Joondalup and spent several years in the National Training Centre prior to being picked up by the Glory Youth team. He gained an A-League debut in late 2010 and has gone on to make 79 appearances for Glory.
KERR RULED OUT OF FINALS
The season of Samantha Kerr has come to a bitter end with a knee injury ruling the Perth Glory Women attacker out of the W-League finals. Kerr, 21, has been a key player in Glory’s historic first premiership success this season, scoring 11 goals in a record-breaking campaign. She was on target in last weekend’s final regular season match away to Canberra United before limping off with a knee injury. Despite early optimism she should be fit to play in Sunday’s W-League semi-final against Sydney FC, scans have revealed damage to the joint surface cartilage of her left knee, which requires surgery.
Coach Jamie Harnwell was bitterly disappointed for Kerr and acknowledged the blow to the team. “She’s been exceptional for us this year, not just with the goals she’s scored but her overall commitment to helping drive Perth Glory to the top of the W-League,” Harnwell said. “Obviously, you will always miss a player of her calibre. It’s awful for her and it’s a blow to us as a club but I’m confident we have the quality in the squad to cope. We’ll keep pushing towards our goal and whatever we achieve will be down to the contribution of every player in the squad.”
Kerr, who will be sidelined for three months, has her fingers crossed her teammates can secure Glory’s first W-League semi-final win, which would in turn ensure the team hosted the Grand Final at Perth Oval on 21 December. “I’m devastated to miss the finals series but I have 100% belief in Jamie and the girls to go all the way,” she said. “Hopefully, this year is our year.” Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was also injured against Canberra when she received a heavy knock to the face. Scans cleared her of serious injury and she is expected to be fit to take on Sydney.
GLORY’S DE SILVA A SOCCEROOS BOLTER
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe wants to wait until Danny De Silva is 35 before talking about the midfielder's feats on the football field. De Silva is a surprise inclusion in the extended Socceroos squad for next year’s Asian Cup, but Lowe is doing his best to protect the 17-year old starlet from the growing hype. "He's just a kid. I keep saying to come back when he's 35 and we'll talk about him them," Lowe said of De Silva, who will join Italian giants AS Roma at the end of the A-League season. "He's got potential, but he's not finished now. It's nice that he's getting the accolades but just let him play, let him play and be a kid."
WILLIAMS HOPING AUSTRALIA CAN STUN WORLD CUP RIVALS
It's been dubbed the group of death, but Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is pleased to be facing two of the leading contenders for the Women's World Cup straight away. Australia were handed a difficult draw for next year's tournament in Canada by being grouped alongside world number one the United States, European powerhouse Sweden and nine-time African champions Nigeria. The top two teams from each group progress to the round of 16, with the six best, third-placed teams also qualifying.
Williams believes having seven Australians playing in the American professional league – the National Women's Soccer League – will be an advantage against the United States. "It's probably the most entertaining group out of the whole competition, but of all those teams I'd rather see them all in a group game than in a play-off," Williams said. "They have an X-factor in a play-off and maybe we can catch them out in a group stage. We've played with and against these players for the last three years. We know these players a lot that we're going to be versing, so it's probably easier in that way than the unknown."
Williams has missed the entire W-League season recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but is confident of returning in time for the World Cup. "Do all my rehab correctly and get ticked off in the right areas and it should be all right," Williams said. "I'm at the AIS five or six times a week with my rehab. I have someone looking after me in everything I do, from running, to gym, to goalkeeping, to physio and probably the best support I can have in Australia. It's definitely a month by month, week by week monitoring, but I'm riding on as much luck as I can to get back for it."
EIGHT WEST AUSTRALIAN’S IN PROVISIONAL SOCCEROOS SQUAD
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has rewarded the A-League’s best performers with inclusion in his extended 46-man squad for January's Asian Cup. In total 16 A-League players have been named in the squad, the youngest of which is 17-year old Perth Glory starlet Daniel De Silva. The teenage midfielder is joined in the squad by fellow West Australian’s Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Brad Jones (Liverpool), Josh Risdon (Perth Glory), Nikita Rukavytsya (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle), Adam Taggart (Fulham), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough).
Postecoglou said he was very happy with the extended group, a month out from the Asian Cup. “I’m happy with the depth of squad … it is now up to these 46 guys to ensure they rise to the challenge ahead,” commented the Australian coach. “We have set about trying to broaden the depth of players and I’m happy with how that has transpired over the last five matches since the World Cup. We have a good group of players to choose from for what will be an exciting time for Australian football.”
GLORY LET IT SLIP IN CANBERRA
Perth Glory Women will be waiting on scans after both Sam Kerr (Knee) and keeper Mackenzie Arnold (Face) were forced off in their 2-1 defeat against Canberra United in the final round of the Westfield W-League at Viking Park on Sunday. It isn’t an ideal situation for the Glory, ahead of next week’s Semi-Final against Sydney FC at nib Stadium, but Coach Jamie Harnwell is confident they will be prepared for the clash with the Sky Blues. “We’ve been preparing for this semi-final for three weeks really,” he said. “Everyone knows their roles if they’re called upon. Hopefully Sam and Macca will be fine but I’m confident we’ve still got the team and quality even if they’re not.”
Canberra knew a point would see them into the Semi-Finals, at Newcastle Jets expense, and it was a cautious start to the game with chances few and far between. Kerr was a constant threat and her deep cross on 23 minutes was only inches away from Kate Gill in the area. The home side had the best chance 15 minutes later, American midfielder Lori Lindsey’s long-range shot whistled inches over the bar. The Glory, who was looking to add to their record season with an 11th win, went close just before the break.
Gill was alert to pounce on a poor pass from Sally Rojahn, but former Matilda’s defender Ellie Brush got back with a superb last-ditch tackle to save the day. Then Kerr raced clear from Collette McCallum’s ball over the top but the lively striker dragged her shot wide of the target. The Glory lost keeper Arnold to a facial injury in stoppage time, she was replaced by Gabrielle Dal Busco, for her A-League debut, but it was all-square at the break.
The change didn’t affect the Glory, and they hit the front seven minutes into the second half. Gill was the provider, sending Kerr into the area with a perfectly-weighted pass, and the Glory striker finished with aplomb past former Glory custodian Chantel Jones. But ten minutes later Kerr limped off and was replaced by Gabrielle Marzano, and Canberra were back on level terms moments later. Caitlin Munoz header found Michelle Heyman, whose close-range shot flew past Dal Busco.
That goal meant Canberra was now in the finals, but the home side wanted more. Heyman cut in from the flank and her shot was heading for the top corner, but Dal Busco produced a stunning save to deny her. Glory, were also not settling for a point and Gill headed inches wide, from McCallum’s corner moments later. But roared on by a vocal crowd Canberra sealed the win and a Semi-Final trip to Simmonds Stadium in Geelong next week to take on Melbourne Victory, four minutes from time. Heyman crossed to Ashleigh Sykes, whose stunning striker flew into the net giving Dal Busco no chance.
GLORY GIRLS RISE FROM THE ASHES
On the edge of extinction just two years ago, Perth Glory Women have risen into a league of their own. It is almost three years to the day since the team suffered an 11-0 drubbing by Sydney, a devastating result that remains the biggest domestic defeat at the elite level of either the men's or the women's game. But they have already secured this year's W-League premiership and their 5-0 win over Sydney last weekend also set a new mark for the biggest number of league points earnt in a single season.
It has been a stunning transformation under Glory playing legend Jamie Harnwell, who says he never lost belief in the program during his four years at the helm. But he admits the Sydney flogging had him asking questions. "In your first year as coach, something like that hits you and you wonder whether you're cut out for it and whether it's all it's cracked up to be," Harnwell said. "To sit here this length of time at the top of the league and looking to finals is pretty rewarding. But I always believed we'd find a way somehow."
Such was Glory Women’s dominance this season that they secured the league premiership with three regular fixtures still to play. Their season includes a 10-1 win over Newcastle Jets, where Kate Gill's five goals were the most in a match by any player in W-League history. The team's Twitter tag theme before the season even started was set as #ALLTHEWAY. That premonition now looks like coming true just two years after funding for the $240,000-a-year program looked as good as gone.
Fortunately, Football West had the courage to persist with finding new funding options and Harnwell, a two-time championship winner with Glory's men, openly says this year's rise of his team is one of the highlights of his stellar career. He takes equal satisfaction out of the game's unprecedented recent growth among WA girls and women. Participation in women's football increased 8 per cent this year to almost 6600 registered players, not including thousands of girls who play in indoor centres and at schools. Registrations have risen 14 per cent in the past five years and 76 per cent in the past decade.
While a clever recruiting drive has given the Glory team impetus, it has also been serviced by a strong theme of persistence and development. Six players who were in the record loss to Sydney are still in the squad, including goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, who was just 17 and in goal that day. One of the star recent recruits is Samantha Kerr. She is one of six Australian internationals in the team and is embracing the growing support for her from younger players, in similar fashion to that she had afforded to athletics great Cathy Freeman and her brother Daniel Kerr, formerly of AFL side West Coast eagles.
"I was in the Eagles cheer squad banging on the fence for him and a big fan," Kerr said, admitting she also wore her brother's No. 4 on her back on a guernsey that still fitted. "I went to every game and always wore his number and I'm proud of what he achieved, but you don't just want to be known for your brother. You find it a bit weird that people from all over the world are coming out and wanting to buy jerseys with our names on them and it's still pretty crazy because I'm only 21. But it's super-cool and I'm embracing it."
Kerr took up football when her brother and their father Roger took offence to the rough treatment she was copping from boys playing AFL. She has since travelled the world with the game and also won a grand final with Sydney in 2012. "I've been in the middle of New York, by myself with no family and no friends, walking through Times Square and wondering, 'How did I get here?'," she said. "My mum would probably be freaking out if she knew I was walking in Times Square by myself. I've travelled a lot of the world, but there's still no place like home. I love Perth."
The exploding popularity of Football West's Skill Acquisition Program for nine to 13-year olds is a prime example of where the women's game is heading in WA, with more than 60 girls registering for next year's program, up 20 on last year. The youngsters' love for the Glory women is obvious, with 10-year old twins such as Tiahna and Madelyn Atkins quick to name their favourite players. "Gabe (Marzano) taught me how to juggle the ball and whenever I see her, she practises with me," Tiahna said. "She's my favourite Glory player - we both play in attack and like to shoot goals."
The Glory Women are an eclectic bunch comprising university students, teachers, soccer promoters and even an army work diver. Harnwell said he realised he had a tight-knit and talented group during a pre-season team trip to Broome. "They did some school clinics, some training sessions and had the camel ride on the beach and I think it was a pretty big driving force for them," he said. "They are a lot of fun. I really enjoy the relationship I've got with them."
THURTELL THE HERO AS GLORY YOUNGSTERS EARN A POINT
A man of the match performance from keeper Jordan Thurtell has helped Perth Glory Youth to secure a 1-1 draw in Saturday morning’s Foxtel National Youth League clash against Sydney FC at Lambert Park. The young Socceroos heroic’s looked in vain with minutes to go, with Sydney leading by Jordan Tsekenis’ first half goal, but a last gasp Chris Harold goal earned them a share of the spoils.
The home side were out of the blocks early and Thurtell had to be alert after only ten minutes, tipping away Max Burgess’ powerful header. It was one-way traffic and Cristian Gonzalez dangerous cross moments later was only inches away from George Blackwood at the far post. The Glory settled but were struggled to break down a tight Sydney defence. Still the home side pressed and Blackwood burst into the area, rounded Thurtell but took the ball too wide, but his cross from the bye-line found Daniel Araujo who blazed wide. But on 36 minutes Sydney pressure was rewarded with the opening goal. Burgess picked the ball in the middle of the park, and sent a perfectly weighted through ball into Tsekenis who finished clinically past Thurtell. They hadn’t finished yet, and Thurtell saved well to deny Blackwood two minutes later.
Glory head coach John Gibson made a change at the break bringing on Borbor Sam to replace Cameron Edwards, and they opened brightly and were having more of the ball, but it was still the home side that were creating the best chances. On the hour Burgess played in Charles Lokolingoy, but he fired wide. Then eight minutes later Thurtell produced a stunning save to thwart Gonzalez’s free kick. The Glory settled and began to get on top, and went close to the equaliser on 72 minutes. Jack Clisby run into penalty area ended with a low shot that beat Anthony Bouzanis, but crashed off the post.
It was the visitors now on top and pressing for the leveller, and Harold and Joe Knowles’ pace was causing problems for the Sky Blues defence. But it looked like time was against them, but in the last minute they got their rewards. Mitchell Oxborrow made space down the right, his inch perfect cross found Harold who headed home past Bouzanis to level. There was still five minutes of stoppage time, and both had late chances to win it. First on 92 minutes Burgess raced clear and played Gonzalez in down the channel, but instead of shooting he cut the ball back to Burgess and the chance was gone. Then in the final minute, Glory almost won it. They won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and skipper Jacob Collards’ set piece curled over the wall, but crashed off the crossbar, and the points were shared.
HERSI'S SEASON IS OVER
Perth Glory winger Youssouf Hersi has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a hamstring injury against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium last weekend. Scans have revealed a tear to the Ethiopian-Dutchman's hamstring and as a result, Hersi will undergo surgery in Perth later this week and is not expected to take any further part in season 10 of the Hyundai A-League.
Perth Glory FC Chief Executive Jason Brewer said the club was focused on helping Hersi make a full recovery as quickly as possible. "We're disappointed to lose the services of such a valuable player from our line-up early on in the season. The club is now working with Youssouf to ensure the road to recovery for him, is effective and smooth as possible and that he receives all the support required" he said.
Hersi, who is also a Foxtel A-League All Star, said he too was bitterly disappointed his season had come to an end. "I would like to thank my teammates, the club and fans for all their ongoing support and well wishes I have received over the past week. I would like to wish the boys all the best for the rest of the season and most importantly good luck in the FFA Cup final against Adelaide in just over a week" Hersi said.
GLORY GIVES SYDNEY THE BLUES
Perth Glory moved four points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League after a come-from-behind 2-1 against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night. The home side hit the front with a controversial penalty from former Glory striker Shane Smeltz early in the second half, before Rostyn Griffiths equalised eight minutes from time and Andy Keogh’s penalty five minutes later won the points. "The boys have dug deep tonight, I think everyone was on their last legs,” Griffiths said. “The boys are buzzing off that, we've worked so hard for it. The Club's done well, everyone's done well in the off-season to recruit the players we've got and now we're top of the table”.
The visitors started brightly and within minutes Nebosja Marinkovic’s corner found the unmarked Griffiths, but his downward header bounced wide of the target. Moments later Mitch Nichols found himself one-on-one with Vedran Janjetovic, but the Sydney keeper stood tall to deny the Socceroos midfielder. The Glory was well on top and Scott Jamieson shot on the run drifted wide of the target. The best chance of the half fell to Keogh on the half hour, the Irish striker raced clear but a superb last ditch tackle from Matt Jurman denied him. Sydney was struggling to get into the game, but on 37 minutes they created their first opportunity. The lively Bernie Ibini found space, but his shot was saved low by Danny Vukovic.
The home side started the second half the better and hit the front 10 minutes in. Ibini played the ball back to Smeltz, whose shot hit Dino Djulbic on the shoulder, but referee Alan Miliner pointed straight to the spot, and Smeltz stepped up and sent Vukovic the wrong way to score. The goal spurred on the Sky Blues and Vukovic came to the Glory’s rescue with a great one handed saved to deny Terry Antonis’ shot from the edge of the penalty area. But with Sydney dropping deeper the Glory began to get back in the game, and Keogh’s low cross was only inches away from Nichols in the six-yard box, before Janjetovic saved low from Keogh’s long-range shot. But on 83 minutes the Glory levelled.
Sydney switched off at a Marinkovic free kick; the Serbian’s in-swinging set piece found the unmarked Griffiths who headed home powerfully from six-yards. It was their just rewards and they looked the likelier to take all three points, and three minutes from time they did. Jamieson cut in from the left, played a one-two with Keogh, and was felled in the box by a clumsy challenge by substitute Chris Naumoff, and Miliner awarded a second spot kick. Keogh kept his nerve to score, despite Janjetovic getting a boot to it. Glory coach Kenny Lowe described the penalty awarded to Sydney as a "poor decision" but praised the 'character' of the team to claw its way back and grab the three points. “I thought we bossed the first half, but fair play to them they made it hard for us in the second half and asked questions but the character of the team shone through, it was top notch tonight,” Lowe said.
WA YOUNGSTERS MAKE A GOOD START TO LIFE IN THE UK
The journey to become a professional football is a long one, but two WA youngsters have made a good start in their career in the UK. Former Stirling Lions’ academy player Jack Jones and ECU Joondalup’s Ross Millard made a huge impact in English football, and last weekend both helped their club Stevenage FC Youth side into the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup. The pair, who are on a two-year scholarship at the Broadhall Way club played in their 6-0 win against Wealdstone Town, and they now take on Premier League side Everton in the next round.
Millard, who has represented the Australian Under 13’s, 16’s and 17’s, moved to the UK in 2011 after five years at ECU Joondalup, and he has made great strides. “Things are going well for me at the moment, and I have been playing both left back and left wing, which has given me great exposure to show my attacking and defensive qualities,” Millard said. “I have been involved in first team fixtures which have included two friendlies as well as a couple of Herts Senior Cup appearances, and I have been on the score sheet a couple times which is always nice and I hope to kick on and keep improving as the season goes on and be in the frame to secure a professional contract come seasons end.”
The 17-year-old played at Joondalup between 2007-2011, and represented Western Australia at the Under 13 and Under 14 National State Championships in both Canberra (2010) and Coffs Harbour (2011) respectively. He also represented WA at the NTC challenge in December 2011 which was again in Canberra, and was selected in the Australian Under 13 (2010), Under 16 (2011) and Under 17 (2012) level in Malaysia, Thailand and Saudi Arabia respectively. He moved to England at the age of 14 and spent a year at West Ham in the academy before signing for Stevenage prior to the 2013/14 season. ECU academy coach John Higgins believes Millard can make the next level. “He’s a top lad and his parents are from Birmingham, so what more can I say,” said Brummie Higgins. “Ross was a gifted player, with pace to burn and I always thought he would make the next step in the game.”
Millard said the win against Wealdstone was a great performance, and the whole side knew the rewards if they won the game. “Everyone played their part and contributed well which is a follow on from a really good couple of weeks we’ve had,” said Millard, who is looking forward to taking on The Toffees in the next round. “Knowing we had Everton waiting for us in the next round gave us a real good incentive. We know that game will see us play a very good opposition and really test ourselves against a good group of players. We are all really looking forward to this opportunity and that was felt as soon as the final whistle went against Wealdstone, all the boys were talking about was this game which shows the excitement and eagerness to go out against a big Premier League club.”
VITTIGLIA MOVES TO PERTH
Perth SC is excited to announce the key signing of attacking midfielder Reece Vittiglia for the 2015 National Premier Leagues season. Vittiglia, 23, is coming off a superb winter with Sorrento which includes scoring 15 goals and winning the club’s best player award. “Reece is a very clever player who scores goals and also brings other players into the game,” coach Taki Nicolaidis said. “His winning mentality will fit in well with us at Perth, and I expect him to further improve his reputation as one of the State’s best players.”
Vittiglia said he was excited to join Perth and was looking forward to bringing some silverware back to Dorrien Gardens. “I have signed for Perth to win trophies – it’s as simple as that. I want to win as many trophies as possible,” he said. “In saying that, what makes Perth different from any other club, I believe, is the way that they want to win games. They want to play an entertaining attacking brand of football, which is easy on the eye. Every club wants to win, but this club wants to win in a certain way, which suits me as a player.”
Having played for Sorrento since the age of 5, Vittiglia admits leaving the northern suburbs club was out a tough decision to make. “It was a very difficult decision to leave a club which has had such a big impact on my life,” he said. “I’ve got some great memories and friends at the club and will always hold them close to my heart.” His background also includes spells with Perth Glory Youth and Victorian club Oakleigh Cannons, as well as State representative honours at various levels.
Vittiglia said his role at Dorrien Gardens is relatively straight forward. “My job description is to create and score goals. So if I can help the club win games, then I'm a happy man,” he said. “Collectively, if everyone at the club is willing to have a growth-mindset and work hard for each other I have no doubt it will be a successful year. I believe we need to set our goals as high as possible – reaching the NPL final, reaching the FFA Cup final. These may seem like unrealistic goals at the moment, but if we don't set our goals high we will never reach them.”
GILSENAN CLOSE TO JOINING LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have reportedly beaten a host of European clubs to the signing of Barcelona youngster Zak Gilsenan. Hailed as the ‘the next Lionel Messi’, 11-year old Gilsenan has spent the last two years impressing at Barcelona while attracting the interest of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Gilsenan’s family are understood to have chosen Liverpool as the club to refine their son’s talent going forwards, following their decision to move to England. Gilsenan was born in Ireland but grew up in Perth. He entered Barcelona’s academy set-up two years ago and has filled a variety of roles for the club, including as a striker, a midfielder and a full-back.
PAVLOVIC SIGNS ON WITH INGLEWOOD
Defender Jovo Pavlovic says he could not have received a warmer welcome than that he’s experienced on joining Inglewood United. 25-year old Pavlovic has spent the past few weeks getting to know his new team mates after agreeing terms with the club for 2015. He is Inglewood’s third major signing in four weeks, following on from goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski and defender Rikki Smith.
“The club has been great, the welcome I’ve received at Inglewood could not have been better,” Pavlovic commented. “The players have been very friendly, I’m really looking forward to getting to know them and to work with (coaches) Michael Garcia and Victor Sikora … I’m excited at being part of Inglewood and the new challenges which lie ahead.”
The opportunity to join Inglewood came about through the club’s technical director Goran Stajic, who Pavlovic knew from his days at Balcatta. “Goran asked if I would be interested in joining Inglewood, he had already spoken to Michael and Victor and they were keen to get me to the club,” he explained. “The deal was sealed when I heard where Inglewood want to be and how they’re planning to get there.”
Pavlovic has seen enough in his first few weeks at the club to know they are serious about their football, and making a mark in 2015. “Inglewood has impressed me on a number of different levels,” he said. “The interest the club showed in me is what initially got my attention, and they’ve followed that through with a quality training set-up and a high level of professionalism.”
The recruitment of Pavlovic adds to the international flavour of Inglewood’s defence. The strongly built centre-back spent the last few years abroad, playing for FK Borac Banja Luka (Bosnia), Mitra Kukar (Indonesia) and South China (Hong Kong). The experience gleamed from those clubs position him well to partner Scott Blackmore and Aleks Vrteski in the heart of the Inglewood backline.
Given the calibre of that central defensive pairing, and the line-up in general, Pavlovic can see no reason why 2015 won’t be a success. “I’ll be setting out to be part of a solid backline and concede as few goals as I can,” he said of his personal goals for next season. “As a team we’ll be aiming to play attractive football – we have the players to do so – and make the top four.”
GRIFFITHS FIRES OMINOUS WARNING
Perth Glory midfielder Rostyn Griffiths said there is 'more to come' from Kenny Lowe’s side ahead of its clash against AN unbeaten Sydney FC. In a stark reminder to those who feel Glory is one loss away from a downward spiral, Griffiths said the team which has taken the A-League - and even itself – has a few more surprise up their sleeve this season. "I feel we have a lot more to give," declared Griffiths. "We are playing well enough but as individuals we have another 30 or 40 per cent to go … from our perspective that’s pretty exciting."
Griffiths, 25, admitted that even in his wildest dreams, he didn’t expect such a blistering start from Glory. "We had a good pre-season but I think its fair to say we probably didn't expect to be sitting a point clear at the top after eight rounds and to be in the final of the FFA Cup," he said. "But, the way things are now, we feel we can win every game, no matter whether it's home or away or who we are up against. Success breeds confidence and that’s the mindset we have right now."
Sydney will be without striker Corey Gameiro and midfielder Ali Abbas for Thursday’s game with Glory but Griffiths knows coach Graham Arnold well enough to know his team should not be underestimated. "I know what Arnie is about and though they have lost key players he always has two top players for every position," commented Griffiths, who played two seasons under Arnold at Central Coast Mariners. "For him, it’s all about structure and Sydney will still be strong against us … He’s doing a great job and on top of his proven tactics he also has a very good squad."
Griffiths believes the off-season arrival of Youssouf Hersi, Andy Keogh, Mitch Nichols, Richard Garcia and Dino Djulbic has brought a "winning mentality" to the club. "It's not just their ability, it’s also a different mindset," he added. "Last season we'd have been happy with a 1-1 draw in Brisbane (Roar) – but the other day we came off deflated (having been pegged back by a late Henrique equaliser). That shows our thinking right now. We felt pretty comfortable throughout and the thing is we think we can win all our games – whether it's home or away."
HERSI INJURY A LOWE BLOW
Exciting Perth Glory winger Youssouf Hersi could be out of action until the new year after sustaining what looked to be a serious hamstring injury. Hersi went down clutching his right hamstring during the first half of Saturday’s draw with Brisbane Roar and was taken from the field on a stretcher. "Looking at it on the TV, it looks a bad one," said Glory coach Kenny Lowe, who fears the injury could sideline Hersi for an extended period. "We're hoping it's a two or three-week injury. If it's anything less than that, it will be a real positive. I just hope it's not a six or eight-week thing."
Socceroos midfielder Mitch Nichols is the most likely candidate to replace Hersi, but Lowe has options with Sidnei Sciola (calf) and Ruben Zadkovich (suspension) now available. "He's (Nichols) a proper player. Unfortunately we're winning games and we've got more proper players in midfield as well," said Lowe, whose team have surprised many with their brilliant start to this season. "It shows how far we've come that we're in the dressing room and we're disappointed with drawing at Brisbane," Lowe said. "The scary thing is there's so much more left in this team."
KERR'S TRIPLE TREAT
Samantha Kerr bagged a hat-trick as Westfield W-League leaders Perth Glory thrashed Sydney FC 5-0 at WIN Stadium. The Matildas star took her tally for the season to 10 goals and put a massive dent on the Finals hopes of the Sky Blues. “We knew Sydney would come out firing and we came out and matched them and I’m pretty stoked as this is my first hat-trick, but it was an awesome team performance today,” Glory striker Samantha Kerr said.
It was bright opening in the wet conditions, and Renee Rollason saw her shot blocked on the line, before Sydney custodian Casey Dumont made a good save to deny Kate Gill. But the deadlock was broken seven minutes in. Former Sydney duo Caitlin Foord and Kerr combined the later firing low past Rollason. Sydney was desperate for the win, and looked to hit back and Amy Harrison’s long-range shot crashed off the crossbar. But on 25 minutes the Glory doubled their advantage. Kerr’s ball into the penalty area caused problems and Alesha Clifford barged Gill in the penalty area and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Gill stepped up and fired home her 12th goal of the season.
Kerr was causing havoc down the right and on 41 minutes her pace took her clear again, and her cross from the bye-line picked out Foord, but her shot was cleared off the line by Teigen Allen. Sydney still looked dangerous and American striker Jasmyne Spencer was a constant threat, and in 44 minutes they almost pulled one back, Rollison’s free kick flashed inches the post. But Glory had the final word in the half making it 3-0 sixty seconds later. Collette McCallum found Gill, who played the ball back to Foord, who firied low past Dumont from 25-yards to give the Glory a three goal advantage at the break.
Kerr continued her ‘Player of the Match’ performance heading over on 52 minutes, but made it 4-0 three minutes later. Foord broke down the middle of the park, and picked out Kerr on the right. The striker cut inside the penalty area, and held off Teresa Polias before firing into the corner of the net. Sydney brought on Kyah Simon in the 66th minute, for her first competitive game since her ACL injury, but it was Harrison who went close to pulling a goal back on 67 minutes, but Mackenzie Arnold was alert to save. The visitors put the icing on the cake with a fifth on 75 minutes. Substitute Elisa D’Ovidio found Kerr on the right of the penalty area and her delicate chip beat Dumont to give the visitors a 5-0 victory.
GLORY YOUTH MADE TO WORK FOR VICTORY
Perth Glory maintained their lead at the top of the Foxtel National Youth League ladder after a hard fought 2-1 win against Melbourne Victory at Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday morning. In hot conditions the Glory dominated the first half and goals from Todd Norris and Joe Knowles had them in a great position. But after the break Melbourne took the game to Perth and scored early through George Howard, and they were unlucky not to take at least a point, but the Glory defended well to hold out. “We switched off a little in the second half, but I thought we fought the game out well to hang on to the three points,” Glory skipper Jacob Collard said. “We kept the ball well on were in total control before half time, but their early goal in the second half gave them some momentum, and we had to dig deep in the trying conditions to keep our spot at the top of the table.”
It was a bright opening with both sides going close. Matthew Davies’ long-range shot on the quarter hour was only parried by Lucas Spinella, and Knowles’ follow up shot was deflected wide. Moment later Melbourne striker Howard burst clear and was one-on-one with Jordan Thurtell, but the Glory custodian stood tall to deny the striker. It was the home side hit that hit the front on 27 minutes. Riley Woodcock’s shot from the edge of the penalty area crashed off the base of the post, but Norris was on hand to fire home the rebound from six-yards. Brandon O’Neill tested Spinella again moments later with a long-range shot, before Thurtell came to his sides rescue again on the half hour, tipping Jordan O’Doherty’s free kick around the post. But on 34 minutes the Glory doubled their advantage. Norris made space down the right, before crossing to Knowles at the back post, the striker made no mistake from close-range to send them to the sheds two to the good.
Melbourne opened the second half the better and they were back in the game on 51 minutes. Some great lead up play ended with a neat one two in the penalty area, when John Maclean sent Howard clear and he finished with aplomb past Thurtell. The visitors were on top and Maclean’s shot on the hour whistled inches wide of the target. The Glory almost added a third on 68 minutes, but Lucas Spinella produced a superb one-handed save to deny Woodcock. Melbourne had plenty of the possession, but they were struggling to break down a defence superbly led by skipper Jacob Collard, and at the final whistle it was the Glory celebrating another win maintain their two point lead at the top of the table. In good news for the Glory first team, Sidnei Sciola returned from his injury, playing for 30 minutes off the bench.
GLORY LET IT SLIP LATE IN BRISBANE
Perth Glory maintained their lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League, despite a 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. The Glory grabbed the lead on 20 minutes with a stunning volley from central defender Dino Djulbic, and despite keeping the Roar quite for most of the match they equalised five minutes from time through Brazilian striker Henrique. “I think that shows how far we've come. We’re in the dressing room disappointed with a draw with Brisbane,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. “A few years ago you were lucky if you got out with (losing by) four. That shows how far we’ve come. There’s a long way to go with us, but things are going well.”
Like all of the Australian sporting communities over the weekend, a minutes silence was held for test cricketer Phil Hughes, who tragically passed away last week. After the sombre moment the game started at a frenetic pace with both sides going close early. Henrique cut in from the left and his shot from the edge of the penalty area crashed off the crossbar. Then on 10 minutes Danny De Silva played in Andy Keogh in the left channel, his shot from 10-meters was pushed around the post by Jamie Young. The Glory suffered a major blow on 17 minutes; when Dutch winger Youssouf Hersi was stretchered off with a torn hamstring. That was forgotten three minutes later when the Glory hit the front. Nebosja Marinkovic’s corner picked out Djulbic, and the big defender volleyed home superbly from 6-meters. The Roar had plenty of possession late on in the half, but they were struggling to break down a tight Glory defence. The visitors almost doubled their lead on the stroke of half time; Rostyn Griffiths’ long-range shot was paddled around the post, unconvincingly by Young.
Keogh went close with a header just after the break and should have doubled their advantage on 63 minutes. It was poignant moment in the match with the crowd standing as one for one minute’s applause for Phil Hughes, but Scott Jamieson’s corner picked out the unmarked Keogh at the back post, but the Irish striker headed wide. Still the Roar was struggling in the final third and it looked like the Glory would add another and take the points, when De Silva raced clear from Keogh’s pass, but the teenagers shot flashed inches wide of the target. Glory’s defence, coupled with an inspirational man-of-the-match performance by Rostyn Griffiths, was resilient and withstood some heavy pressure from the Roar in the closing minutes, and their pressure was rewarded with the equaliser three minutes from time. Corey Brown found space on the left and slipped the ball into the path of Henrique, the striker held off Jamieson before finishing clinically past Danny Vukovic.
BRISBANE ROAR V PERTH GLORY - PREVIEW
Perth Glory embarks on a tough double road trip over the next fortnight, taking on Brisbane Roar this week before Sydney FC next week. The squad will stay in the Eastern States, with the Sydney game next Thursday, but it all starts on Saturday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium (2pm), when they meet last season Champions. The Roar hasn’t started the season well. It came to a head on Sunday when Mike Mulvey was sacked, and the club has appointed interim coach Frans Thjisson, who will be in charge this week.
Kenny Lowe is looking forward to the challenge, but is wary of a club who has replaced their coach. “It can work both ways, but really that's not a concern of ours. We've just got to focus on ourselves; it's an uncontrollable on our part," Lowe said. “We can't control that, so we're not interested. We're just really focused on ourselves and hopefully we can keep moving forward." But Lowe is wary of a Roar side that is better value than its record this season suggests. "They're still playing great football, they just probably haven't finished opportunities," he said. "They've always been in games and against us (in round two) they were very dangerous. They're still a dangerous side with some very good players."
The trip to Brisbane hasn’t been the most successful for the Glory, and the Grand Final loss in 2012 comes to mind. They have only won twice at the venue, losing nine and drawing three, their last win was in 2013 when a Steven McGarry goal on the stroke of half time gave them a 1-0 win. The Glory will be without the suspended Ruban Zadvovich for the trip, after his sending off last week, but apart from that Lowe has a full squad to choose from, with Brazilian winger Sidnei Sciola fit and rearing to go.
The Roar languishes in 8th spot on the table, and will be desperate for the three points. They will still be without keeper Michael Theo and Carlos Solorzano, and defender Shane Stefanutto with a groin injury. Interim coach Thjissen believes they can turn it around, despite the off-field distractions. “It's for me maybe a little bit of a difficult start (with) what happened this week," he said. “Everybody has to defend themselves at the moment and that makes it a lot more difficult for me - and Saturday we have a game (against Perth Glory). "Hopefully we can turn it around. When you work in a different country, there's a lot of homework, but you don't have to know the players to make players better, I'm here to improve things."
WANDERERS SPIRIT STILL GOOD SAYS RUKAVYTSYA
Nikita Rukavytsya maintains morale is still high in the Western Sydney dressing room despite the side's woeful start to the A-League season. Rukavytsya is yet to taste victory for his new club, who sit last on the ladder, since arriving from German side Mainz 05 last month. But he claimed team spirit hasn't wavered despite disappointing home draws with lowly Newcastle Jets and the Central Coast Mariners that came on the back of four straight away defeats. "It's great, nothing has changed," Rukavytsya said. "Performances are there, we're playing some good football and improving. It will not take long before the ball starts going into the back of the net and we'll get a few points."
The Asian champions face Sydney FC this weekend and Rukavytsya is relishing a first opportunity to play in the A-League's biggest derby. The former Perth Glory star is expecting a fast-paced encounter in front of a hostile home crowd, and is hopeful his team's luck will change. "I've played in some big derbies before, it's a special game and I'm looking forward to it," he said. "We're creating a lot of chances, especially the last few games unfortunately the ball doesn't want to go in. We're hitting the post, the keeper pulls off some incredible saves but if we keep creating then the goals will come."
MITCHINSON TAKES OUT THE CHAMPIONS FAIREST AND BEST
Bayswater City defender Sam Mitchinson was crowned the clubs Fairest and Best, at their presentation night at the Rendezvous Observation City. The former Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart player, who pipped Jamie Coyne to the trophy, was a vital part of the Frank Drago Reserve club that won the league and cup double for the first time in their history.
Mitchinson was delighted to have taken out the awards, and said the whole squad played their part in a fantastic season. “There are many talented players in our squad so to win clubs player of the year was very special and a great honour,” he said. “It was a fantastic season obviously winning four trophies was amazing and Coyney is a great coach and really had me playing to my potential. The club as a whole was great to be a part of, we worked hard and got our rewards.” In other first team awards keeper Devon Spence was voted the Players’ Player of the Year, while striker David Heagney won the Golden Boot, with midfielder Declan Hargreaves winning the Goal of the season.
City Coach Chris Coyne was full of praise for the 22-year-old, and said he was a part of a great effort from the whole squad. “Sam was consistent all season for us and played to a high standard, and he was one of many of my players who were outstanding last season,” Coyne said. “To win that accolade in a season when the club won everything on offer outlines how well Sam did for us. He was pushed hard by Jamie Coyne, Chris Saldaris and David Heagney, and I’d like to say to all of my players, thanks for a good season and we are now looking forward to repeat our success in 2015.”
In other awards on the night Aaron Delaney won the under 20’s Player of the Year, with David Molinari the runner up. Molinari was voted the Players’ Player of the Year, while Harry Bissett won the Golden Boot. In the under 18’s George Driscoll took out the Fairest and Best, with Steven Ingram the runner-up. Liam Driscoll won the Players’ Player of the Year, with Simon Lopez taking out the Golden Boot. The ‘Gerry Maio’ Club Person of the Year trophy was won by club photographer Vince Caratozzolo.
GIBSON FLYING HIGH FOR THE COCKERELS
Cockburn City may have missed out on the NPL-WA Finals series by only two points, but injuries and players unavailable hit them hard during the season, but a player who was a standout was Devon Gibson. The 22-year-old was rewarded for a stellar season by taking out the clubs Fairest and Best award at the Presentation Night at their Beale Park clubrooms. Gibson held of midfielder David Araya, who had the honour of scoring the first ever goal in the NPL-WA, in their 2-2 draw with ECU Joondalup on the opening day of the season, in a close fought contest. “I was really happy on winning the award, I’ve played for Cockburn since under 14's,” said Gibson. “It's been good for me to go through the youth teams here, and I’m really looking forward to next season and press for a finals spot.”
The midfielder impressed for the WA state side in the 2-1 win against Perth Glory earlier in the season, and he is hoping a good season next year with the Cockerels can propel him to a professional contract. “I hope to carry my form into next season, and hope it will be the game changer, and I can make the next step in my football career,” he said. “I have big ambitions and will be doing my best for Cockburn next season, and if I can get the opportunity to step up to the next level I will jump at the chance.”
Cockburn Coach Marc Anthony was delighted for the midfielder, who he said could make it to the next level. “Devon had a fantastic season especially the last 7-8 games where he really lifted his standards to a different level this deservedly earned him a call up to the state squad,” he said. “If he can maintain these levels for next year not only will it benefit Cockburn City Football Club, but could even see Devon reach the next level.”
In other first team awards, striker Liam Murray took out the top goalscorer, while defender Alan Carroll was voted the Players’ Player of the Year. In the under 20 awards Alex Gamble won the fairest and best, with Michael Grigo as the runner-up. Ryan Hasslett was their leading goalscorer, while Gamble was also voted the Players’Player of the Year. In the under 18’s Daniel Smith was voted the fairest and best, ahead of Daniel Robinson. Daniel Catalano was the top goalscorer and Daniel Santich was the Players’ Player of the year.
SMITH AIMS FOR THE TOP
Former club captain Rikki Smith has some big expectations of his return to Inglewood United. The versatile defender has put his hand up to wear the gold and blue next season having already gained over 100 outings for the club during a previous spell. Smith’s addition comes hot on the heels of Aleks Vrteski’s signing, and further signals the club’s intention to challenge for top honours in the National Premier Leagues.
“I’m really excited to be joining Inglewood in 2015,” said Smith. “(Head coach) Michael Garcia contacted me to see what my plans were and, following a number of conversations, it was clear that Inglewood was the best option for me. Inglewood has always been a great club to play for, they really look after their players and are building a very strong squad which is something I want to be part of.”
It’s no secret that a lack of defensive depth hindered Inglewood last season. In addressing this Garcia, who will guide the club for the first time in 2015, has focused his recruitment on the back third of the park. Smith says the signing of Vrteski and Jovo Pavlovic to compliment Scott Blackmore, Shane Pickering and club stalwart Jason Colli played a big role in his move to Inglewood.
“The club has some big plans and the defensive unit they are putting together is impressive … that was a big factor in my decision to join the club,” he said. “The defensive players at Inglewood aren’t just good players, they’re also good characters. That sort of mix isn’t easy to find and it certainly made the move to Inglewood more attractive.”
Smith, the cousin of Brisbane Roar captain Matt Smith, is no stranger to Inglewood. Born in England, he initially joined the club in 2009 and quickly became an establish part of the first eleven. Across five seasons he wore club colours on 126 occasions and collected a State Cup runners-up medal, in 2009, prior to switching to Stirling Lions last winter.
Now back at the club he loves, Smith has high hopes of personal and team success in 2015. “I’ll be aiming to be part of a defensive unit that has the best record in the league,” he said. “Given the attacking quality we have in the squad - scoring goals won’t be an issue - so if we can complement this with a strong defensive record then team success will follow.”
WILLIAMS STILL HOPEFUL FOR ASIAN CUP
Injury-ravaged West Australian Rhys Williams is refusing to give up on playing in January's Asian Cup. The Socceroos defender has yet to appear for English Championship side Middlesbrough this season after suffering a run of injuries, including a ruptured Achilles, which ruled him out of this year's World Cup finals in Brazil in June. The 26-year old hopes to be back in contention for promotion-chasing Boro before Christmas and is still hoping to squeeze into Ange Postecoglou's squad for the tournament, which will be held in Australia. “I have pencilled in a reserve game in mid-December and after that anything is possible. If the coach (Aitor Karanka) wants me, then I will be available," Williams said.
On selection for the Asian Cup, he said: "That’s something I need to talk to Ange about. Ultimately it's his decision. I haven't spoken with him for a little while. I do talk to the Socceroos physios from time to time and I will have to call them and give them an update. I have missed a lot of football and I will be nowhere near the stage all the other boys will be at and that has to come into consideration. My game time over the last ten months has been nothing, so time will tell and we will see what happens. The first thing I need to do is force my back in for Middlesbrough."
VUKOVIC ON ALERT FOR ROAR BACKLASH
A-League leaders Perth Glory are wary of a wounded and unpredictable Brisbane Roar ahead of Saturday's eight meeting at Suncorp Stadium. Brisbane, reeling from a poor start to their title defence, sacked coach Mike Mulvey last Sunday, replacing the highly-acclaimed mentor with former Dutch international Frans Thijssen on an interim basis a day later. Glory are no strangers to the sort of turmoil facing Brisbane having gone through their own rough patch last season, with former striker Alistair Edwards sacked in December and replaced by Kenny Lowe.
Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic was unsure what tactics Brisbane would employ under Thijssen, but expected to face a fired-up Roar outfit. "We know they're going to come out firing," Vukovic said. "They're desperate to get points and now they're all on a level playing field. They want to impress the new coach, so we need to be really up for it on Saturday. We don't know what this coach (Thijssen) is about. In terms of formations, he may change the team completely. That's why we really need to worry about ourselves because we don't know what's coming from them."
Vukovic said adapting to a new coach's tactics mid-season was a difficult process. "It's not easy. A new coach brings different ideas and different philosophies," he said. "When you're used to playing a certain way, that can disrupt things. But they (Brisbane) are playing for positions now. The new coach has got new ideas and I'm sure they're going to be firing on Saturday." Brazilian winger Sidnei Sciola completed a full training session today and is a chance to return for Glory after overcoming a calf injury. Jamie Maclaren returns from international duty, while attacking midfielder Mitch Nichols is pushing to start against his old side.
SKY BLUE SNAP UP KERR
Perth Glory Women striker Samantha Kerr will wear the colours of Sky Blue in next year’s Women’s National Soccer League. Kerr, who played with Western New York Flash last season, is over the moon with the deal. “I am super excited to join Sky Blue FC because I have always gotten along really well with the players there,” Kerr said. “New Jersey is a great state, and the club has always been a tough competitor. I look forward to joining the team and working together to have a very successful season.”
Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra could not be happier about having 21-year old Kerr in his squad. “This is a huge acquisition for Sky Blue,” Gabarra said. “Sam is one of the most promising young players in the world and has been at the top of our list of players we have attempted to acquire. She has great pace combined with incredible and versatile attacking qualities that make her one of the elite forwards in our league … Sky Blue, like every club in the world, is looking for goal scorers.”
O'CONNELL RETURNS TO DORRIEN GARDENS
Perth SC is proud to announce that former junior Calum O’Connell will return to Dorrien Gardens for the 2015 season. O’Connell, an Australian Schoolboys international, has signed for Perth after a year out of the game to recover from injury and focus on work. The 24-year old full-back won two trophies with Sydney United in 2013 and also played A-League with Brisbane Roar in the 2009/10, making two first team appearances.
O’Connell, who played juniors at Perth, said it was great to be back at Dorrien Gardens. “After really enjoying my break from the game, I decided to come back home and I wanted to get back involved playing,” he said. “Perth was my first choice, and having worked with Taki (Nicolaidis) and AK (Ante Kovacevic) before, I knew straight away what their expectations would be. For me, Perth is the most professional club in the league and the history and environment here made the decision an easy one.”
O’Connell said he was looking forward to a successful 2015 season with the Azzurri. “I want to win everything on offer this year, and I don't see why not with the squad that's being assembled and the environment that here at Perth,” he said. “The opportunity to play against the best around the country is another incentive to be successful this year. But most importantly for me it's to enjoy the game and play with no fear and hopefully have a few medals around my neck at the end of the season.”
Perth boss Nicolaidis said he was delighted to have signed O’Connell for the 2015 National Premier Leagues campaign. “Calum is a welcomed addition and will add some valuable experience and professionalism to our squad,” Nicolaidis said. “His discipline and work ethic is of a high standard, he has a good winning mentality and I look forward to working with him again during the upcoming season.”
LOWRY ON TOP AT JOONDALUP
ECU Joondalup defender Ryan Lowry has capped off a good season by taking out the clubs Player of the Year at the end of season Presentation Night at the ECU Clubrooms. The 21-Year-old, who joined from Inglewood United two seasons ago, beat skipper Jon Higgins to the award, and he was outstanding all season, and due to injuries played at both centre back and right back. Coach Dale McCulloch said he was a deserved winner. “Paddy, which is Lowry’s nickname at the club, had a great season, he played in various positions and did a great job in all of them,” McCulloch said. “He is one of the best trainers at the club and it showed through his consistent performances during the year. He shows a great deal of maturity on the pitch for a 21-year-old, and I can only see him getting better.”
Lowry also took out the Players’ Player of the Year and the former Perth Glory Youth player was over the moon to win both awards. ““It’s been a good season for me and I’ve managed to keep injury free, which is important for all players,” said Lowry. “Playing alongside experience players like Charlie Comyn-Platt and Ryan Townsend was invaluable for me and it’s been great to learn of the pair. I’m learning each week, and it’s made me a better player, and I’m looking forward to next season, and helping the club to reach the Finals.”
In other awards from the night, Tommy Amphlett won the Golden boot, while keeper Andy Banks was recognized for winning the Football West – NPL-WA Goalkeeper of the Year. In the under 20’s striker Daniel Hepworth took out the Player of the Year and the top goal scorer, while central midfielder Zwadi Tsongo won the Coaches Award. In the under 18’s striker Callum Bochell also took out the Player of the Year and top goal scorer, while midfielder Ollie won the coaches award. The ECU Club person of the year was won by Diane Amphlett.
DANNY DE SILVA LINING FOR THE GLORY
Perth Glory teenager midfielder Danny De Silva scored his first ever A-League goal to help his side to a hard fought 2-1 win against Wellington Phoenix at the NIB Stadium on Friday evening. The 17-year-old struck after only two minutes, before Andy Keogh added his fifth of the season midway through the second half, and it looked like the points were safe. But Ruben Zadkovich, who had only been on the pitch for 17 seconds, was sent off and it was game on. Phoenix pulled one back on 84 minutes, when Fijian international striker Roy Krishna converted from the spot, but despite dominating late the Phoenix couldn’t find the equaliser, the three points keeping the Glory top of the table. "Ruben came on and got the red card, it was very difficult after that,” Glory winger Youssouf Hersi said. “Sometimes you have games like that; you have to deal with it. To keep the points here and win at home...we're building to something."
It was a perfect start for the home side and they were ahead after only two minutes. Youssef Hersi was sent down the right by Dino Djulbic, and skipped past Tom Doyle, before crossing to De Silva who bundled the ball home from close-range. The Phoenix looked to hit back and Roly Bonevacia’s long-range shot on 20 minutes whistled inches past the post. It was nearly 2-0 to the hosts on 27 minutes; Nebosja Marinovic’s long-range shot was superbly tipped over by Glen Moss. The Phoenix was struggling in the final third, and was missing the influential midfielder Michael McGlinchey, but with Glory skipper Michael Thwaite, Djulbic and Rostyn Griffiths outstanding at the back, the Glory led at the break
After the break the Phoenix came out determined to get back into the game and went close to the equaliser on 55 minutes. Tom Doyle made space down the left and his curling cross picked out Krisnha, but he couldn’t keep his shot down and blazed over from four-yards. But it was the home side who doubled their advantage on the hour. Marinkovic fed Josh Risdon on the right, his cross to the back post found Keogh, who got ahead of Manny Muscat and fired home from six-yards.
It looked game over, but moments after coming on to replace Griffiths, Zadkovich went into a tackle on Vince Lia, and after consulting with his assistant, referee Lucien Laverdure showed the former Newcastle Jets skipper a straight red card. Despite going down to ten men the Glory almost added a third on 75 minutes, Risdon eased his way past Andrew Durante on the right and picked out Marinkovic on the edge of the penalty area, his shot beat Moss, but the ball crashed off the crossbar, and Keogh headed the rebound over the top.
The Phoenix received a lifeline on 83 minutes, when Albert Riera played substitute Tyler Boyd in to the penalty area, who fell under a challenge from Risdon, and the referee pointed to the spot. Krishna kept his nerve and sent Danny Vukovic the wrong way from the resulting penalty to make it 2-1. The home side were hanging on desperately, and deep into stoppage time the Phoenix almost nicked a point. Nathan Burns, who had been well held by Thwaite all game, lost his marker in the 94th minute, and his shot flashed inches past the post.
GLORY ROAR TO VICTORY AT GOODWIN PARK
Perth Glory has continued their great start to the Foxtel National Youth League after a 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar at Goodwin Park on Sunday morning. Chris Harold continued his return from injury, bagging the first on the quarter hour, and three minutes later they doubled their lead through an own goal, the win maintaining their lead at the top of the table.
The home side opened brightly, knowing a win would take them over the Glory to the top of the table, and they went close to the opener on 14 minutes. Mitchell Hore’s through ball sent Abrahim Yango down the flank, his cross was met by Hore, but Glory custodian Jordan Thurtell blocked his effort and reacted even better to deny Sam Sibatuara follow up shot.
Thurtell’s heroics were reward sixty seconds later as the Glory hit the front. Harold was sent clear by Brandon O’Neill’s through ball, sending him one-on-one with keeper Fraser Chambers. The striker took the ball around the Roar custodian, and fired home despite the tight angle. It was 2-0 three minutes later. Matt Davies found space down the right, and his low cross was deflected past Chambers by an unfortunate Roar defender.
The Glory, looking for their fifth win of the season, pressed in the second half and went close to a third on the hour. Borbor Sam showed lightning pace to go one-on-one with Chambers, but the Roar custodian saved. O’Neill almost capped another fine performance late in the game, beating two Roar defenders, before his shot from the edge of the penalty area crashed off the far post.
GLORY V PHOENIX - PREVIEW
Perth Glory will be looking to defend their 100% home record this season in A-League league and FFA Cup games when they take on Wellington Phoenix at nib Stadium Friday evening, (6.45pm). The league leaders continue to defy the critics, but Coach Kenny Lowe is expecting another tough game against Ernie Merrick’s side. “They are a dangerous side,” he said. “When you have the likes of Roly Bonevacia, Michael McGlinchey, Alex Rodriguez, and of course Nathan Burns, you have a real threat up top also in terms of carving out chances and taking them. “I have no doubt it will be a huge test for us and you can see from our results while we’ve been winning, the margins have been tight, and Friday will be no different.”
The Glory beat the Phoenix in the opening game of the season in Wellington, Andy Keogh scored that day, and the Irish striker has been in good form along with youngster Jamie Maclaren. The Olyroos striker returns to the squad after missing the last two games due to international duty, likewise Mitch Nichols, who returns after the Socceroos game against Japan in the week. Ruban Zadzovich made his league debut for the club, off the bench last week and the former Newcastle Jets skipper will be pushing for a starting role, but a spot on the bench is the likely outcome.
Wellington Phoenix will be playing the second part of their long road trip, after they left the Hindmarsh Stadium last week with nothing, after a last minute goal from Adelaide United’s Sergio Cirio gave the home side a 2-1. But they head West looking to bounce back, and they sit in 5th spot on the table, six points behind their hosts. They do regain the services of New Zealand internationals Michael McGlinchey, Jeremy Brookie, Michael Boxall and Tyler Boyd, after the games for the All Whites against China and Thailand in midweek. The form of striker Nathan Burns is a huge positive for the Phoenix, the former Socceroo has scored four this season, while the service from the middle of the park from Spanish midfielder Albert Riera, will need to be watched closely go the home side.
Manny Muscat will celebrate his 150th A-League game on Friday, the Maltese international defender has been a stalwart for the club and the Phoenix will be doing all they can to make it one to celebrate, and keep in touch with the leaders. The last time the two teams met in Perth, the Glory ran out 4-2 winners. A stunner from Sidnei opened the scoring, before the Phoenix hit back with goals from Stein Huysegems and Paul Ifill. But goals from skipper Michael Thwaite, Adrian Zahra and another to Sidnei, gave the Glory all three points.
WA AMATEUR TEAM UNDEFEATED IN MALAYSIA (by Graeme Marinkovich, footballwest.com.au)
The WA State Amateur team returned from a successful trip to Malaysia without defeat in their three matches against local opposition. Eamonn Kelly was named Most Valuable Player on the tour and Dave Morris was top scorer.
Game 1: Kuala Lumpur FA (U21) 0-1 WA
After heavy rain and thunder storms, WA came up against a KLFA team, which was full of young and eager players. The home side dominated early possession without creating chances, while the State team took time to settle in humid conditions. But with almost the first good chance of the match Dave Morris hit the target to break the deadlock. KLFA continued to attack but when they were unable to find a way through they relied on shooting from long range without reward.
Game 2: Felda United 1-1 WA
WA dominated early and scored first through a solo effort from captain Eamonn Kelly, who calmly put the ball away. Several scoring opportunities then went begging, a penalty was turned down and a succession of offside calls went against the visitors. Felda changed their entire team at half-time to increase the pressure on WA and they found an equaliser. WA had several chances to get in front again, including twice hitting a post, but had to settle for a draw.
Game 3: ATM Malaysian Armed Forces 2-2 WA
The Armed Forces team were the best organised and most professional of WA’s three opponents. With several international players in their ranks, the Malaysia Super League side hit the front in the first five minutes. The goal shook WA into action and the visitors soon created opportunities of their own without finding the net. But the equaliser came just before half-time when Clint Brown crossed for Morris, who finished clinically. Both teams made changes at the break and the second half was end-to-end football. WA were rewarded for their endeavours when Adrian Rockett’s free-kick was headed home at the back post by Michael Garcia. The Malaysian team kept applying pressure and as WA players started to tire the home side found an equaliser. The Armed Forces almost won it but goalkeeper Steve Main pulled off a great save to deflect the ball onto a post and preserve WA’s unbeaten tour record.
Squad: Adrian Rockett, Eamonn Kelly, Kevin Flavin (North Perth United); David Morris, Darryl Gregory, Steven Main (Perth Royals); Matt Bennion, Juan Cabrera (Queens Park); Royce Heaperman (Southern Spirit); Greg Montenegro (Fremantle Croatia); Jayden Drummond (Kingsley); Michael Garcia (Hamersley; Samim Rohani, Ago Mujic (BB United); Clint Brown (Kwinana); Mark Staunton (Wembley Downs).
Coach: Rob Pagnoni.
Assistant: Jack Monaco.
Team manager: Graeme Marinkovich.
GLORY AIMS TO CLIP PHOENIX WINGS
It may not be the Bledisloe Cup but another important Trans-Tasman rivalry is slowly building as Perth Glory prepares to host fifth-placed Wellington Phoenix tomorrow night at Perth Oval. Glory will be looking to continue its best start to an A-League season, aiming for its sixth win, vying a fourth straight A-League triumph and, more importantly, holding on to top spot on the table. "The lads deserve all the accolades they're getting at the moment," said coach Kenny Lowe in praising his players. "I've just sat in the chair on the sidelines doing nothing" he said.
Accused of being one dimensional in attack at the start of the season, Glory has proven it has an abundance of goal scorers through defenders Dino Djulbic and Scott Jamieson, coupled with the talented exploits of dead ball specialist Nebojsa Marinkovic. The latter currently leads the A-League in goal scoring opportunities and tomorrow night the 28-year old may be joined in midfield by a fit and firing Ruben Zadkovich. Lowe was quick to confirm the former Newcastle Jets captain was putting his hand up for starting selection, along with classy winger Sidnei Sciola who returned to training this week.
While Glory disposed of Wellington on the opening day of the season, Lowe cautioned that Ernie Merrick’s side loomed as a major threat. "It’s going to be a very, very, very difficult game. They've got a very dangerous front six. They play very good football, they're very organised and they've got a spring in their step" he said. “I can't see it being a quiet, shy, closed game. I think it'll be like the other 3 (home games) we've had. I think it'll be open, I think there will be goals. Hopefully, one more for us than them."
EVANS HAPPY TO CALL PERTH SC HOME FOR 2015
Dean Evans will be playing in sky blue in 2015, after joining Perth SC from Stirling Lions. The 24-year-old who helped the Lions to the league title in 2013, and the State League Cup Final last season, made the difficult decision to leave the only state league club he has played for in WA. “Stirling have been the only team since I was six-years-old, so it was never going to be easy,” Evans said. “I’d like to thank everyone throughout the club that has helped me develop throughout the years. Micky Lyons especially, he was a huge part in developing me as a footballer, but a person too. “But I’ve now got a new challenge, and I can’t wait to be tested in a different environment, different set of lads and different goals to achieve throughout the year.”
Perth were the big improvers last season, after a disappointing 10th place in 2013, they reached the Grand Final, before losing to Champions Bayswater City. Evans is looking forward to joining a squad, which already boost Gold Medal winner Clark Keltie and Ashley Rosindale, to name a few, and they also signed Balcatta midfielder Carlo Coelho and former Brisbane Roar and Sydney United defender Calum O’Connell this week. “The squad the club has assembled is really exciting, lots of youth, but also a number experienced players to make sure we have the right mix,” he said. “Most of the squad has stayed on next season, so it’s good to have stability. We have some other signings and the squad is stronger and we hopefully can push for silverware next season.” Perth Coach Taki Nicolaidis believes Evans is a great pick up, and is looking forward to working with him. “It’s very pleasing to have secured the services of Dean, for next season,” he said. He is an exceptional football talent, who will add quality to our current squad. With his experience, winning mentality and team values, he will fit in very well with us.”
The former Perth Glory midfielder has had a busy off-season, travelling to the UK and Europe with Pro Football training squad, a trip he enjoyed both on and off the pitch. “It was unbelievable tour, obviously for me it was a great insight to be on the other side of things in coaching, so it was a real eye opener how they run their academies over there,” Evans explained. “The facilities they had were some of the best I have seen around the world. Mark (Lee) and Barry (Wood) have done a fantastic job with Pro Football Training, and nurturing kids to be the best they can be, and I was happy to be a part of it.”
Evans has had the support of his family during his time in football, especially his father Don, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Lions at the end of last season, and the midfielder said that was one of the reasons why he left the club. “I’ve always supported my dad, and he has done a great job for that club in becoming what it is today,” Evans explained. “For me personally it’s a massive loss to WA football, he wants the best for the game and he was planning some good great things at Macedonia Park, but these things happen in football, so we all move on and now he can have a well-earned rest. “That decision did play some part in my move, but like I’ve said that’s forgotten, I wish them all the best for the season and I look forward to the new challenge at Dorrein Gardens.”
A chance to play overseas came the way of Evans, and he spent time at Kitchee and Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong and really enjoyed his time there, and played against EPL side Chelsea while at Kitchee, and if the opportunity came up again to play overseas he would jump at the chance. “Of course every footballer wants to play at the highest level they can play at, and I still have aspirations to play at the professional level, so if the chance came up obviously I’d have to consider it,” Evans said. “But for now I’m happy with working for Pro Football Training, and calling Perth Soccer Club my new home for 2015.”
GLORY PRIMED TO BREAK TITLE HOODOO
They've already left the experts with egg on their face, but Perth Glory won't be satisfied until they secure some long-overdue silverware. Glory atop the A-League after snaring five wins from the opening six rounds and have also made it through to the final of the inaugural FFA Cup, where they'll meet Adelaide next month. Before the season started, Glory were tipped by many to finish near the foot of the table but at the moment they’re in prime position to end a title drought dating back to 2004.
Defender Scott Jamieson said the players were proud of their early efforts, but aren't getting carried away just yet. "You don't win the Championship in November," Jamieson said. "We like the weather at the top of the table. It's very nice. We don't want to go down the bottom where it's a bit doom and gloomy. A lot of people are surprised, most notably a lot of the experts. But we demand a lot from each other. That's the main thing driving this group on. The inner belief is there."
Glory's players have been eased into training this week after coming off a period where they were forced to play three games in the space of seven days. Perth won all three matches, but Jamieson said the decision to schedule Glory's FFA Cup semi-final against Bentleigh just 48 hours after an A-League encounter was dangerous. "I don't think it was right," Jamieson said. "The chance of an injury was so high. Especially the demands and the level of this league now - it'll have injuries written all over it next time I think. I don't think it should happen again."
JOONDALUP ADD TO THEIR COACHING ROSTER
ECU Joondalup have appointed recently retired Western Knights defender David Annall to their coaching structure for season 2015. The 33-year-old, who only hung up the boots at the end of last season after 15 years at Nash Field, was appointed as assistant first team coach at the club, and is looking forward to working with head coach Dale McCulloch. “It's certainly going to be a lot different from the past 15 years. The new environment, new people and the new job are somewhat intimidating, but I'm definitely excited about the opportunity,” Annall explained. “From what I've seen, the club and Dale have what it takes to put pressure on the top clubs of the past few years, so I'm hoping we can build some success together. After meeting some of the committee recently I can instantly tell there are some great people behind the scenes as well.”
After his retirement from the game last season, many thought he would have a few years away from the game, but it’s out of the frying pan into the fire for Annall, but he is looking forward to the new challenge. “Dale and I have been good mates for years and throughout we've talked about coaching further down the track together, so in a sense it was unavoidable,” he said. “Perhaps the ideal situation may have been to take a year off, get some badges and observe the leagues but the opportunity was just too good to pass up. A lot of people often said don't leave the game for too long or you'll never come back, so maybe I've listened to them as well, but it was probably team manager Craig Stephenson getting in my ear every time I saw him that's got me down there.”
McCulloch is delighted with the appointment, and the pair has already begun work ahead of the new season. “The appointment of Dave is a real positive move, as he brings a lot of knowledge of the local game and a very well respected person as well,” McCulloch said. “We have grown up together and always talked about teaming up at some stage and with Dave announcing his retirement we thought this would be a great time to do so.”
LIONS' MIDFIELDER ROARS HOME
Stirling Lions midfielder David Micevski made a perfect start to life at Macedonia Park, helping the club to the final of the State Cup, and a tie against A-League Champions Brisbane Roar in the FFA Cup, and the former Perth Glory player was a popular winner of the clubs player of the year award at Lions’ clubrooms.
The 28-year-old joined the club from Perth SC at the start of the season and had a stellar season, picking up the club and the NPL golden boot award. “It’s always an honour to win individual awards and I was fortunate to win both awards on the night,” Micevski said. “With such good players in our squad to come out on top of both is a real achievement for me, and it meant a great deal, especially after missing the opening six games of the season, and all of last season due to injury.”
Micevski won the award ahead of Hayden Doyle, while the Coaches award was won by Rikki Smith. In the under 20’s awards, Robert Petkov won the fairest and best, and like Micevski took out the Golden Boot. Robert Mariano was the runner-up in the vote, while Liam Kessel won the Coaches Award. In the under 18’s Mo Sulaimon won the fairest and best, Adrian Vacca the runner-up, while William Oldfield won the Golden Boot and Matthew Sutcliffe won the Coaches award.
SOCCEROOS GO DOWN IN JAPAN
Australia will head into the Asian Cup on the back of a 2-1 loss to Japan, who have reinforced their status as tournament favourites. Poor defending was to blame for Yasuyuki Konno's opener just after the hour but it was Shinji Okazaki's individual brilliance that earned the second moments later. Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill headed home a consolation goal in extra-time. Coach Ange Postecoglou has now guided Australian to eighth losses from his twelve games in charge, and while he can take something from the Socceroos spirited first half performance, the second half shows he still has work to do to bridge the gap with Asia's best teams.
In what was a lively start to the match, Australia showed their attacking intent with James Troisi shooting wide in the 1st minute. Japan returned fire on 16 minutes when Yoshinori Muto hit the crossbar when faced by only goalkeeper Mat Ryan. A minute later, Mathew Leckie stung the gloves of Eiji Kawashima palms with a powerful header after getting on the end of a Robbie Kruse cross. Keisuke Honda struck from long-range halfway through the opening stanza, but the weak shot was light work for Ryan. Honda and Shinji Kagawa combined just before the break to test the Socceroos defence, who managed to scramble the ball clear.
Japan continued to ask questions of their opponents backline in the second half. Kagawa got free to put Ryan to work, the ‘keeper back that up with another great save to deny Okazaki moments later. But it was substitute Konno who broke the deadlock on 61 minutes when found unmarked at a corner played to the back post. Japan doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Masato Morishige laid off a pass to Okazaki, who showed class to score with a cheeky back-heel flick. The introduction of Cahill paid off with the striker displaying the aerial brilliance he's renowned for to nod in a Leckie cross in the closing minutes.
BEADLING PENS THREE-YEAR SUNDERLAND DEAL
Teenager Tom Beadling has taken a step closer to the English Premier League after signing a new three-year deal with Sunderland. The 18-year-old defender has extended his stay at the Stadium of Light until 2017 after impressing at youth level. He joined the Sunderland Academy at the age of eight and remained part of the club set-up even during a three year stay in Perth, during which he captained Australia at under-13 level.
Now he has impressed another set of coaches in the North East, with first-team boss Gus Poyet’s regime following those of previous managers Steve Bruce and Martin O’Neill in offering the Furness-born ace a new deal. “I’m delighted to have the contract,” said Beadling. “I’ve been here a long time and it has been hard work, but it’s been worth it. The contract wasn’t really something I was thinking about. I just wanted to play football.”
“I’ve had a few injuries in the past, so I was just enjoying myself and playing, rather than thinking about a contract,” Beadling continued. “Nothing really changes for me now. I’m really happy to have the contract, but I’ve got to keep doing what I have been doing. I want to keep progressing, keep learning and work hard in training and in every game and we’ll see what happens – I don’t want to make any concrete goals.”
Beadling now divides his time between training with the Black Cats under-21s side and the first team – having been given a squad number, 31, for the Premier League. That brings him into contact with internationals such as John O’Shea and Wes Brown, giving him a first-hand look at the level he needs to reach to achieve his longer-term goals. He played several games with the first-team squad in pre-season, taking on Carlisle United and Hartlepool United, giving him valuable experience.
For the moment, Beadling is working on establishing himself at under-21s, having moved up this season from under-18s, though he knows what he needs to do to go even further. “This year it’s been a big step up moving the under-21s from the under-18s, but I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s been hard work, especially in pre-season, but I’ve really enjoyed the step up and the challenge is to work hard now and keep progressing.”
“At under-21s, they coach you a lot quicker and when you’re playing games, you’re against teams who have players who are dropping down and they have more experience. It’s another step for me to take climbing up the ladder towards the first team,” added Beadling. “I’ve still got a lot of hard work to do. I know the areas I’ve got to improve on and I’m working on them every day. It’s a position where you need a lot of experience, so I’m just looking to gain that and improve.”
“Now and again I train with the first team, but mostly it’s with the under-21s. It’s great to be able learn off the first team players. They’re role models for you, so you want to keep working hard and learning from them. I think I’ve come a long way, especially since I was at under-18s – that’s a big step. I have progressed, but I know I need to progress more to be where I want to be.”
KILKELLY TAKES THE REINS AT KINGSWAY
It’s been a long time between drinks for Kingsway Olympic, and after nine years in the wilderness the club have turned to a past player to turn their fortunes around. The club won the Premier League Top Four Cup winners title three years on the trot from 1978 to 1980, under the tutelage of John Ward, and after a disappointing 8th place finish in the Second Division last season, the club have appointed Tom Kilkelly to replace Mike Hartley for season 2015.
Kilkelly was brought over to Perth from New South Wales by the club, and now they are hoping Kilkelly can have the same affect he had then. “Tom and Mark will work closely with the Board and the player’s leadership group to ensure that the club is heading in the right direction to attain NPL status by 2019,” a club spokesman said. “Now that the club has its plans in place to improve the clubhouse and build new dressing rooms close to the pitch, as well as providing cover and seating for its spectators, the next five years are exciting times for the club.”
The Irish-born coach, was a player coach at the club in 1987, before joining Sorrento as a coach, then joining Stirling Lions in 1996, before coaching spells at Dianella, Ashfield, Armadale, Morley-Windmills, Canning and Mandurah City, but he said it’s great to back where it all started. “It’s nice to go back home,” Kilkelly said. “The club is special to me, they gave the opportunity to play in WA in 1984, and I hope I can repay some of the faith they had in me.”
The 59-year-old knows it will be a tough job, but he and assistant Mark Culverwell, are ready for the challenge. “The club has struggled in recent years and they seem to have the mentality from when they slipped back in to the amateurs in 2006, and have struggled since returning to the Saturday competition,” Kilkelly said. “I got the call from the club two weeks ago asking where I was at, and after leaving Mandurah City, I jumped at the chance to start to help them climb up the leagues.”
Kilkelly, who is a life member of the club, has big plans, and he has laid down plans to see the club back where they belong. “There is a long way to go but we will be implementing a number of plans, which we hope will see us back in the NPL,” he said. “The club and I are on the same page, and we believe if we get it right we can be successful and I will be doing everything I can to make that happen.”
The club is also looking for experienced coaches to fill the vacant roles as under 20’s and under 18’s coach for next season and anyone interested in the position to contact Kilkelly on 0412 417 572.
SAGE CONSIDERS DUNDEE LINK
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has met with representatives of Scottish side Dundee United to discuss a potential relationship between the two clubs. Dundee chairman Stephen Thompson has been in Australia with an eye towards convincing rising Australian players to use his club as a launch pad to careers in Europe. He met with representatives of Adelaide United, Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Glory over the past week. Several Australian players have made names for themselves in Scotland, including former Socceroos stars Mark Viduka, Craig Moore and Tony Vidmar.
JAMIESON'S GEM KEEPS GLORY AT THE SUMMIT
A stunning free kick from defender Scott Jamieson has helped Perth Glory to maintain their lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League, after a 2-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. Fellow defender Dino Djulbic opened the scoring with his first goal for the club since returning from Asia, and despite a late goal from Wanderers midfielder Jaushua Sotirio, the Glory held on for their first ever win against the Asian Champions in the A-League. "We ran out of petrol a bit in the last 10 or 15, which was to be expected because they had a fairly fresh side, but I would have taken that before the game started," Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. "We went for it in the first half and we said we would go out and do that from the start. It was a real open game, end to end, plenty of chances and good football from both teams."
It was a great opening to the game with chances at both ends, the first falling to the visitors on six minutes. Labinot Halti raced clear on a quick counter attack, he found the overlapping Alusine Fofanah, who crossed to Halti, who had continued his run, but Danny Vukovic stood tall to save from the Wanderers striker. The Glory pre4ssed and forced two consecutive corners and from the second they hit the front. Nebosja Marinkovic’s corner picked out Djulbic, who rose over Daniel Mullen and headed home powerfully past debutant keeper Dean Bouzanis.
The big crowd were on the edge of their seats with the action fast and furious. Richard Garcia’s long-range shot on 12 minutes was tipped around the post by Bouzanis, and five minutes later Vukovic came to the Glory’s rescue, denying Jason Trifiro, after the midfielder was sent clear by a sublime through ball from Halti. The Glory began to take control and Youssouf Hersi’s cross shot whistled inches past the post on 18 minutes and sixty seconds later the former Wanderers winger headed inches wide after Jamieson’s deep cross, before Marinkovic’s deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area crashed off the post, just before the break.
It was another good start from the Glory after the break and Djulbic should have added a second four minutes in. Marinkovic’s free kick picking out the unmarked defender, but he headed wide from six-yards. The Wanderers were still in the game and Mark Bridges’ half volley slide just past the post on the hour, but on 78 minutes the Glory scored the all-important second. Anthony Golec brought down Chris Harold 20-yards from goal, Jamieson stepped up curled the ball up and over the wall and into the top corner of the net. The Wanderers who are still looking for their first point of the season were back in the game four minutes from time. Substitute Vitor Saba’s free kick caused panic in the Glory defence and Vukovic missed his punch, the ball hit Sotirio and went into the net, despite Jamieson valiant attempt to clear it. It set up a tense finale, but the Glory defended well to deny their host a real opportunity, and at the final whistle it was the Glory faithful celebrating their first ever A-League win against the Wanderers.
GLORY WOMEN PREMIERS FOR 2014
Perth Glory Women’s side have won the 2014 Westfield W-League Premiership after a 5-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday afternoon. The title was these before the game had kicked off, after Canberra and Newcastle Jets drew 3-3. A brace from Sam Kerr, and singles to Kate Gill, Marianna Tabain and a stunner from skipper Collette McCallum, sealed the comfortable win.
Coach Jamie Harnwell was full of praise for his players, but warned them there is still work to be done. “It’s a great moment for Perth Glory Women but there’s still a job to be done,” he said of his team’s quest to win the Grand Final. “Over the next couple of weeks we want to keep the momentum going and maintain this form into the finals. “I’m very proud of the girls and the way they have gone about things so far. They’ve worked hard and being crowned premiers is a great achievement for them and for everyone associated with the club.
With news of the result in the east filtering through, the Glory started the game slowly, but normal service was resumed on 17 minutes when they hit the front. Kerr raced clear from a long ball out of defence, and the pacey striker finished clinically past Trudy Burke. The Matildas striker was on fire and almost doubled the lead on the half hour, rounded Wanderers keeper Burke, but the angle was too tight and she fired into the side netting.
But seven minutes later she did add the Glory’s second, losing her marker in the penalty area and firing low past Burke. It was 3-0 four minutes later, skipper McCallum picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area and her shot flew into the top corner of the net. The Wanderers were struggled to get in to the game their best chance of the first half came from striker Keelin Winters, her cross shot was claimed well by Mackenzie Arnold under her crossbar.
The Glory opened the second half well, and Kerr found herself, one-on-one with Burke again, but the striker fired wide of the target. But on the hour it was 4-0, Kerr was the provider this time picking out Tabain, who made no mistake with her shot. The home supporters wanted more, and the Glory delivered the fifth goal three minutes from time, Gill heading home at the back post, to give them a comfortable victory.
O'NEIL DOUBLE SENDS GLORY YOUTH TOP
Perth Glory Youth moved to the top of the Foxtel National Youth League table after a 3-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday morning. A brace from midfielder Brandon O’Neill and another from Joe Knowles had given the Glory a 3-0 lead before an own goal in the last minute of the game was the Wanderers only consolation.
At the start of the game the Wanderers lead the table on goal difference from their host but Gibson’s side made a perfect start and were ahead after only nine minutes. Jack Clisby made space down the left and cut the ball back to the penalty area, and O’Neill placed it in the bottom corner of the net giving Wanderers keeper Tom Heward-Belle no chance.
The Glory doubled their advantage just after the half hour, and it was O’Neill again. The midfielder, who has been pressing for a spot in the senior side, picked the ball up on the half way line, ran at the Wanderers defence, before unleashing a powerful shot that flew past Heward-Belle to double the Glory’s lead at the break.
Both sides had good chances in the second half but it was the Glory who added a third 12 minutes from time. Calvin Whitney played the ball over the top to Knowles, who brought the ball down, and his volley flew into the net. The Wanderers reduced the margin in the 90th minute, Steve Kuzmanovski shot was deflected off a Glory defender, wrong footing Jordan Thurtell, but the three points takes the Glory to the top of the table, two points clear of Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar.
GLORY HOPE TO END THE WANDERERS' DOMINANCE
Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory go head-to-head with Asian Champions League winners Western Sydney Wanderers at the nib Stadium on Saturday night (6.45pm), and the home side will be looking for their first ever victory against the visitors.
Since joining the competition the Wanderers have had the wood on the Glory winning all but two games, the others were draws. The Glory however have made a good start to the season, but Glory coach Kenny Lowe is playing down his side’s early season run of form. “It is early days for us, we’ve got a new squad, new coaches, but one thing that’s part of the club is everyone’s hungry. Coaches are hungry, players are hungry. Everyone’s in it for each other. Hopefully we can maximise that and have half a decent year,” he said.
The Glory will be without four squad members for the game with Mitch Nichols joining the Socceroos squad for the game in Japan, while Jamie Maclaren, Riley Woodcock and keeper Jack Duncan away with the Olyroos. But there is good news for the Glory, with the return of Chris Harold from injury, and he will be pressing for a spot in the squad, along with Brandon O’Neill.
The Wanderers have continued their Champions League hangover, losing their opening three games to the new season, but Tony Popovic will have a full squad to choose from after their tough travel schedule in recent weeks. The Coach rested a number of players last week in their 1-0 defeat against Wellington Phoenix, but he was happy with the performance, and he will likely go back to the tried and tested players for the trip to the West. “We’re quite positive. If we can build on that performance we’ve got a great chance of getting something in Perth. There are no excuses in that (changing) room. We move forward. Of course you want the result but you can take the positives from a good performance,” he said.
Youssouf Hersi comes up against his former club for the first time, the Dutch midfielder, has taken time to settle in at the nib Stadium, but the Wanderers players know what he can do. On the other hand Wanderers skipper Nicola Toper-Stanley returns to his former club; the 29-Year-old had a two year spell in the West, while Nikita Rukavytsya meets his former club for the first time since the club sold him to FC Twente in 2009. The last time the two sides met in the West was in round 20 last season the Wanderers winning 2-0, with Mateo Poljak and Tomi Juric on target.
GLORY WOMEN CHASE HISTORY
Perth Glory Women are aiming to become the first West Australian team in more than a decade to achieve national success when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Ashfield Sports Club tomorrow. Glory goes into the afternoon with an eight-point lead over second-placed Canberra United, who face Newcastle Jets tomorrow. Should Canberra fail to take maximum points then Glory will be crowned W-League Premiers prior to their game with Western Sydney. But even if Canberra beat Newcastle, a Glory win will secure the league title.
Glory coach Jamie Harnwell said the aim at the start of the season had simply been to qualify for the semi-finals. “This week the aim is to win the league,” said Harnwell, who was part of the Glory side which won the 2004 National Soccer League Grand Final. “(Western Sydney) have clawed themselves into finals contention and I’m expecting them to come out all guns blazing to avenge their defeat earlier in the season.” Glory scored a club record 10-1 win over Western Sydney when they met last month, striker Kate Gill scoring a league record five goals in that game.
GLORY MUST TRAVEL FOR FFA CUP FINAL
WA football fans will be forced to travel across the Nullarbor to see Perth Glory stake its claim for the club’s first piece of silverware in 10 years, when it clashes against Adelaide United in the first Westfield FFA Cup Final next month. Glory qualified for the Cup Final, after travelling to Melbourne this week, defeating Bentleigh Greens in the semi-final. Adelaide United last night defeated Central Coast Mariners 3-2 in the other semi-final clash at Coopers Stadium, the same venue where the Cup Final will be played on December 16. Only 4,500 fans were at the game, which goes against one of the reasons why the game is to played in Adelaide.
Hyundai A-League Chief Executive Damien de Bohun said the decision to award the Cup Final to Coopers Stadium was based on stronger home crowds, but only 600 more supporters were at the Coopers Stadium, to that which watched the Glory beat Melbourne Victory in the quarter final at the nib Stadium. “The selection of the Westfield FFA Cup final venue was based on the objective of maximising the attendance and the TV audience. It’s a cup final and we want as many Australians engaged as possible” he s aid. “In relation to crowds, Adelaide United set a new A-League city record of 33,000 in round 2 and filled Coopers Stadium with 16,000 last weekend” he added.
Mr de Bohun also said there were Fox Sports broadcast commitments to satisfy. “The time zone was also a factor is this decision, as were the requirements of our broadcast partner Fox Sports, and the overall desire to make this a great event. We had pencil bookings at all four venues going into the semi-finals, but Adelaide is the right choice on all the objective measures. “Naturally, fans in Perth are disappointed and we respect their views as passionate supporters. Of course, every fan would want to have the FFA Cup final on home turf, so we understand the reaction. It’s another sign that in its first year the FFA Cup has become an instant classic on the football calendar. ”
Perth Glory FC Chief Executive Jason Brewer said it was disappointing WA and the fans wouldn’t be hosting a historic home Cup Final. “It’s a blow to us, the players, everyone involved, and we are disappointed with the decision,” Brewer told the clubs website. “The team has worked hard throughout the pre-season; we’re on top of the ladder and now into the first FFA Cup Final. We are answering the call by fans to lift our game and we are doing that, unfortunately it seems TV broadcast commitments come first.”
Mr Brewer urged the FFA and the A-League to re-assess the criteria and how the Cup venue was decided in future years, but he said Perth Glory was focused on winning the final and etching the team’s name on the Cup trophy. “It’s not every year you get to be part of the magic associated with a Cup Final, especially in the inaugural season so we as a club are going to do our bit , despite the odds to bring that silverware home” he said. Perth Glory fans and the entire West Australian football public were being urged to vote with their feet and support the team’s bid for a third consecutive home win when Glory hosts the Asian Champions, Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium on Saturday night.
GLORY COUNT THE COST AFTER CUP WIN
Perth Glory may pay a heavy price for their mid-week FFA Cup semi-final win over Bentleigh Greens. Coach Kenny Lowe is preparing to be without up to four players for this weekend’s home clash with West Sydney Wanderers after feeling the strain of playing twice in three days. “They're in bits in there," said Lowe, whose team backed up Sunday’s league win over with Central Coast Mariners by downing Bentleigh in the Cup on Tuesday.
“The 48-hour turnaround wasn't a good thing for us,” Lowe continued. “We've got four players that probably won't play at the weekend. We've got four lads away with the national team, we've got another four lads that are injured. I think FFA probably need to have a little bit of a look at the way they structured it. I know it's hard for them at times, probably there needs to be a little bit more common sense in that field. We've got through without any major injuries, but we've got people maybe who won't play Saturday.”
Selection concerns aside, Lowe acknowledged Glory’s Cup run could help to restore Glory to their former status as one of Australian football's powerhouse clubs. "We've got a lot of fans that have drifted away from the club over the years," he said. "If we can bring some element of success, whether that be winning the Cup or getting to finals or whatever, that creates an ambience within your club, hopefully more people want to come back, you get bigger crowds. You win stuff, people want to be associated with you."
MADASCHI PRIMED TO LIFT JETS
Former Socceroo Adrian Madaschi is confident his presence can reinforce Newcastle Jets but insists any defensive transformation will require a team effort. Capped by Australia five times, the towering central defender has declared himself available for his Newcastle debut against Brisbane on Friday night after missing the first five rounds with calf and thigh injuries. In his absence, Newcastle have conceded ten goals and are yet to register a clean sheet in their three losses and two draws.
Madaschi, 32, believes he can enhance Newcastle’s defensive structure with his experience but said it would be up to coach Phil Stubbins whether he was selected. “You’ve always got to back yourself to make an input but the important thing is the team isn’t about an individual,” Madaschi said. “It’s about taking on the ideas of the 14 players available and putting them together with what the coach is wanting, to make that work as best as possible. Football is a game about who makes the least mistakes ... defending is a collective idea – 11 players defend and 11 players attack.”
Having played in Italy, Scotland and South Korea, Madaschi’s only A-League experience was a nine-game stint with Melbourne Heart in 2011/12. He was starting to find his feet in Newcastle’s pre-season trials but has spent almost three months working his way back to full fitness. “It has been very frustrating,” he said. “I’ve had these little niggles in my calf and my quad, unfortunately when I was pretty much one week out from the start of the season. That was a big setback because I really wanted to get going and give what I could to the team ... but I really hope that’s the end of it and I can make my contribution.”
Newcastle’s results have added to his frustration but Madaschi was realistic about the slow start to the season. “We’re a new group, as Phil’s already stated,” he said. “There are a lot of new players, new coach, new coaching methods, new mentality. We’re still putting pieces together and it’s going to take time. We’re working on it. We’re aware of the mistakes we’re making and we’re trying to correct them. As we go forward in the competition, things will keep gelling and we’ll be able to hold onto leads and see where we’ve made the mistakes in the past and definitely rectify them.”
ENGLISH DEFENDER WINS BALCATTA'S MVP
Balcatta defender David Cyrus capped off a staller first season in the NPL-WA by taking out the Balcatta Most Valuable Player award in the clubs Presentation night at the WA Italian Club. The English-born, Grenadian international defender was outstanding, as the Grindleford Reserve club put an indifferent 2013 behind them to surge up the NPL-WA table in 2014, and a spot in the finals was their reward under the tutelage of new coach Ramon Falzon. “I was overwhelmed when I won the award. We have some great players with some amazing ability, and to be the pick of the bunch is a great feeling,” Cyrus said.
The defender missed the finals due to his international call-up but thought the clubs season was a real success. “We have a great bunch of lads, and being able to finish third was an excellent achievement,” he said. “I was really disappointed that I wasn’t there to help the lads through the finals campaign, but on all reports they put in a great shift and were unlucky not to reach the Grand Final. It would be great to see the boys back together again next year, and go on to achieve what we set out to do and win the NPL.”
His good form in the NPL didn’t go unnoticed and he was called up for the Grenada’s 2014 Caribbean Cup campaign. “I feel real privileged to have been called up to represent the Grenada National Team. It’s always nice to represent my country, making my parents and family proud of my achievements. All being well I will continue my form into next season and do Balcatta and Grenada proud.”
Scottish defender Keiron Stallard was the runner-up in the first team count, with skipper Adam Tong taking out the Coaches award. In other awards on the night Josh Marocchi won the under 20’s Most Valuable Player, with Stefan Valentini the runner up, while Jackson Amosa won the Coaches award. Liam Haughey took out the under 18’s Most Valuable Player, with Alec Ferria was the runners up, and the winner of the coaches award. The winner of the Luke Beyer Rising Star Award was Kieran Colwell, who impressed in the first team during the season.
BEALEY A SHINING LIGHT FOR REDS
It was a season of consolidation for Armadale in 2014, the club giving their younger players an opportunity to impress in the first season of the NPL. Midfielder Jackson Bealey took his opportunity well and deservedly won the clubs Player’s Player of the Year in the clubs end of season presentation night at the Armadale SC clubrooms.
Bealey won the award ahead of defender Nathan Costello in a closely fought contest. Bamber thought the pair was outstanding in a tough season for the Alfred Skeet Oval club. “Jackson was a standout for us this season, his energy and work rate was second to none, and he took his opportunity in the first team, and came through with flying colours, and he will be vital for us next season,” he said. “Nathan’s form was recognised by being selected for the Perth Glory Youth side for the up-coming National Youth League, which is a great achievement for him.”
The Reds struggled in the league, but Bealey was a standing out and he also won the Coaches Player of the Year award on the night, and Coach Lee Bamber is hoping some of the younger players can continue their improvement. “As a club we made the decision not to bring in import players, as over the years it’s taken its toll on the finance, but the club has used the money saved in other areas in the organisation,” said Bamber. “The players we brought in will learn from the experience and it will only make them better players, and we are looking forward to a strong pre-season and an improved 2015.”
In other awards on the night skipper Billy Quinncroft was voted the Supporters Player of the Year, while keeper Jordan Howell won the under 20’s Player’s Player of the Year, with Dylan Eastleigh won the player of the Year and Lyon Varney won the coaches award. In the under 18’s Jake Sardelic won the Player’s Player of the Year, with Ryan James winning the Player of the Year, and Beau Rahim winning the clubs Rising Star award. “The younger age group were fantastic last season and to see Dylan (EastLeigh), Jake (Sardelic) and Lyon (Varney) all play first team football bodes well for the club in the future,” Bamber said.
GLORY EDGE OUT THE GALLANT BENTLEIGH
Perth Glory became the first club to reach the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup Final after a hard fought 3-0 win against Victorian NPL side Bentleigh Green at a sold-out Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Tuesday evening. A double from Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic, including another trademark free kick, set the Glory on their way, and substitute Chris Harold added a third late. “It was a difficult game for us after playing only 48 hours ago, but we played well and deserved the win,” Marinkovic said. “The cup is very special all over the world and this is the first one in Australia, and we’ve made the Final and hope to win it.”
With the smell of their famous souvlaki’s drifting across the ground, the A-League side made the better start. Skipper Michael Thwaite headed wide early, Youssouf Hersi blasted over on the quarter hour, before a last ditch tackle from Tom Matthews thwarted Hersi on 21 minutes. After the early onslaught Bentleigh created their best chance five minutes later. Matthews sent WA-born Jamie De Abreu down the right, his cross picked out the unmarked Luke Pilkington, whose shot flashed wide.
But the Glory’s dominance was rewarded on 28 minutes. Bentleigh skipper Wayne Wallace brought down Richard Garcia, 20-yards from goal. Marinkovic stepped up, and superbly curled his free kick over the wall and into the net off the crossbar, giving Bentleigh keeper Alistair Bray no chance. They almost added a second before the break. Hersi cut in from the left, but his powerful shot was well saved by Bray. Bentleigh looked to get back into the game early in the second half, but their plans were left in tatters five minutes in, when the Glory doubled their advantage. A long clearance from Thwaite sent Andy Keogh racing clear. The Irish striker picked out Marinkovic on the edge of the penalty area, the midfielder eased past Jack Webster, before finishing clinically past Bray.
That didn’t stop the home side, and roared on by the locals they continued to take the game to the Glory. On the hour De Abreu’s shot from the edge of the penalty area flashed just past the post, and moments later De Abreu found Pilkington, who’s shot whistled inches past the post with Glory custodian Danny Vukovic at full stretch. It was the best period of the game for the home side and they were well on top, with the Glory guilty of giving the ball away cheaply, which didn’t please Coach Kenny Lowe. But the tie was put beyond Bentleigh, when the Glory added a third six minutes from time. Josh Risdon and Marinkovic combined to find Harold, and striker finished low past Bray from six-yards, to send the Glory into the FFA Cup, where they will play either Adelaide United or Central Coast Mariners who meet in the other Semi-Final on December 16th.
WE'RE NOT GETTING CARRIED AWAY: LOWE
Perth Glory boss Kenny Lowe is playing down his side’s early season run of form. Glory shot to the top of the A-League ladder with yesterday’s win at Central Coast Mariners but Lowe stresses there is still a long way to go in the season. “It’s early days for us, we’ve got a new squad, new coaches,” Lowe said his team’s fourth win from five games. “One thing that’s part of the club is everyone’s hungry. Coaches are hungry, players are hungry. Everyone’s in it for each other. Hopefully we can maximise that and have half a decent year.”
Asked when he’ll start to feel comfortable, Lowe was quick to respond. “After 27 games and I’ve got the thing (trophy) in my hand and (Glory owner Tony Sage) gives me my big fat bonus - that’s when I’ll go happy as Larry,” he quipped. “(We’re) three games away from a crisis. That’s the nature of the game. You can’t get carried away. We’re doing well. Everyone’s working really hard everyone’s in with each other. It’s no different to last year except we’re winning games (and) we’ve got a couple of guys who can score goals.”
HERD'S ASIAN CUP IN JEOPARDY
Chris Herd’s bid to be part of Australia’s 2015 Asian Cup squad has been thrown into jeopardy with English club Bolton Wanderers unlikely to extend his loan deal. The 25-year old defender has been playing on loan with Bolton but that agreement expired on the weekend and it seems likely he will return Aston Villa, where he was out of favourite prior to his switch. Herd has been sidelined for the past three weeks and a further lack of game time will damage his bid to be part of the Asian Cup squad.
MARINKOVIC PUTS GLORY TOP OF THE LEAGUE
Perth Glory moved to the top of the Hyundai A-League table after a 1-0 win against Central Coast Mariners at Gosford. Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic’s stunning free kick just before half time gave Kenny Lowe’s side their first league win at the Stadium, while the Mariners slipped to a third consecutive defeat. “We were very determined at the start of the year, and we’ve had a strong 16 week pre-season, and we set our goals. Yes we are top of the league, but we are still a work in progress,” skipper Michael Thwaite said.
It was an even opening to the game, the first real chance fell to Marinkovic on the quarter hour, but his long-range shot whistled the wrong side of the post. The Glory were beginning to get on top, and on 24 minutes Andy Keogh was sent clear by Scott Jamieson, he expertly controlled the ball, and the goals were in his sights, but the Mariners got back to clear the danger. The home crowd were getting restless, but their team did threaten on the half hour. Former Glory midfielder Isaka Cernak wasn’t tracked at the back post from Nick Fitzgerald cross, but sprayed his shot wide.
The best chance for Glory came in the 33rd minute. Marinkovic in-swinging corner, found the unmarked Rostyn Griffiths, but the former Mariner blazed wide from point blank range. Then moments later Glory keeper Danny Vukovic had to be alert to block Anthony Caceres’ long range shot, before the Glory custodian reacted well to push Mitch Duke’s powerful shot around the post. But two minutes before half time the Glory hit the front. Mitch Nichols was brought down by Mariners skipper John Hutchinson, and Marinkovic stepped up and curled the ball up and over the wall and into the corner of the net, giving Liam Reddy no chance.
The visitors came out in the second half, like they finished the first, and three minutes in Keogh was sent racing clear one-on-one with Reddy, but the Mariners keeper stood tall to deny the Irishman. Marinkovic had another set piece moments later, but Reddy saved low. Then on the hour Jamie Maclaren was picked out by Jamieson, and his volley across his body flashed wide of the target. The Mariners were struggled in the final third and chances were few and far between, and the Glory should have doubled their lead on 70 minutes.
Again it was Keogh, the striker, who was in doubt before the game, went one-on-one with Reddy again, but the keeper pushed his shot around the post. From the resulting corner Griffiths fired wide when well placed. The Glory should have doubled their advantage in stoppage time. With the Mariners pushing men forward they were caught out at the back, the Glory finding themselves four on two, but substitute Danny de Silva fired wide.
GLORY WOMEN BOOK A HOME SEMI-FINAL
Perth Glory assured they will host a home Semi-Final in the Westfield W-League Finals series after a 4-2 win against Newcastle Jets at the Ashfield Sports Club. A first half double from Sam Kerr, and another to Caitlin Foord, cancelled out Jets skipper Emily van Egmond early strike. Substitute Elisa D’Ovidio added a fourth in the second half, while the Jets scoring a late consolation goal through Tara Andrews. “It wasn’t our best performance of the season, which is disappointing, but a win is good for us, and to earn the home semi-final, but we can’t keep playing like that or we last very long,” Coach Jamie Harnwell said.
The visitors made a perfect start and were ahead after only seven minutes. Van Egmond saw Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold off her line and her magnificent chip gave the visitors the early lead. Van Egmond was running the show and five minutes later the Matilda midfielder’s lob was tipped over the top by Arnold at full stretch. The Glory settled and on 21 minutes they levelled. A ball into the box by Sarah Carroll found Kerr, who challenged Jets keeper Claire Coelho, the keepers punch only went as far as Foord who fired home from 18 meters.
The goal lifted the league leaders and three minutes later they hit the front, the pacey Kerr raced clear, she held off Cassidy Davies and finished clinically past Coelho. The Jets keeper was then felled after a clash with Kate Gill, but after a lengthy break, she continued. But on the stroke of half time the Glory added a third. The Jets hadn’t learnt their lesson and another long ball sent Kerr racing clear, and she lobbed the on-coming Coelho to give the home side a 3-1 lead at the break.
After the break the Jets took the game to the lead leaders and Alanna Kennedy and Shelina Zadorsky were working overtime, but the Jets couldn’t find a way through. The Glory showed them how to do it and added a fourth on 84 minutes, substitute D’Olvido pouncing on a mistake from Jets defender Sophie Nenadovic to fire home. To the Jets credit they continued to press and were rewarded with a consolation goal from Andrews in the final minutes. Victoria Huster sending the lively striker clear, and with the Glory defenders looking for the offside flag, that never came, Andrews lobbed Arnold.
GLORY YOUTH HAVE MARINIERS ALL AT SEA
Perth Glory Youth side moved to the top of the Foxtel National Youth League table after Chris Harold scored a late goal to give them a 2-1 win against Central Coast Mariners in Tuggerah. A first half strike from Slobodan Vulin had given the youngster the lead at the break before Sam Perre levelled for the Mariners four minutes into the second half. But Harold, who started on the bench after recovering from injury, won it. The Glory ended the game with ten men when Vulin was sent off for a second yellow card. “We defended very well today, and hit them on the counter attack. We showed an awful lot of character and put in a lot of hard work, and it’s good to do so well away from home,” Glory Coach John Gibson said. “It was a great to see Chris back. He got a good 25 minutes under his belt today, and got the goal that gave us all three points.”
The home side were on top early and Anthony Kalik forced a good save from Jack Duncan, before Jake McGing header flashed wide of the target. Joe Knowles and Borbor Sam were constant threat for the Mariners defence, but it was still the home side that were creating the better chances. On 38 minutes former Socceroo striker Matt Simon’s shot crashed of the post before Kalik fired the rebound over the top. But on the stroke of half time the Glory made the break through. Vulin firing home from close-range, giving keeper Nicholas Sorras no chance, after the Mariners failed to clear their lines.
The Mariners, who were looking for their first win of the season, started the second half well and half time substitute Josh Bingham saw his header crash off the crossbar early, and on 49 minutes they levelled. Perre was picked out with a great ball in from the left; the youngster lost his marker before finishing low past Duncan. It looked like the points would be shared but on 75 minutes the Glory won it. Harold, who had only been on the pitch for seven minutes, spotted the keeper slightly off his line and his exquisite lob beat Sorras to give them the lead. The game ended on a sour note when Vulin was sent off for a second yellow card, but the ten men hung on for all three points, and moving them to the top of the table on goal difference from Western Sydney Wanderers, who they meet next Sunday at Intiga Stadium
DJUBLIC NOT BOTHERED BY TOUGH SCHEDULE
Perth Glory defender Dino Djulbic is adamant the club won’t be dwelling on the negatives despite being handed a brutal schedule ahead of Tuesday night’s FFA Cup semi-final against Bentleigh Greens. Searching for their first piece of silverware since their National Soccer League ‘glory’ days, Kenny Lowe’s side have just 48 hours to recover from today’s clash on the Central Coast before facing Victorian National Premier Leagues side Bentleigh.
Djulbic, though, was determined to see a silver lining in it all. “Listen, I think for me personally I took a positive out of it,” said Djulbic. “We were supposed to play on Wednesday, so we know we’re playing Tuesday and now we have a bit more rest for the Western Sydney game (the next weekend). I’ll take it that way. I mean it is a tough schedule again for us but we’ve just got to go and roll with it and us as players, we just have to focus on the game and try to eat healthy and get the massages in and just go through this week again.”
Last Saturday Glory had to rely on a late double from Maclaren to edge out Newcastle Jets after star recruit Andy Keogh was kept in check by the visiting defence. Djulbic, though, believes the Irishman’s influence still played a part in Maclaren’s late heroics. “I think Andy has been a massive influence on him,” said Djulbic. “I spoke to Jamie just before the season started and he said he’s been watching him (Keogh) at training and all the games and how he works and how he finishes and he’s been such a big influence … last Saturday Kenny was keeping an eye out for him and it paid off.”
TAGGART SUFFERS INJURY SETBACK
Fulham striker Adam Taggart has suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin injury. Taggart, who is yet to make his competitive debut for Fulham following a summer move from Newcastle Jets, returned to light training recently and was included in some sessions alongside his teammates. However, boss Kit Symons revealed the 21-year old felt a niggle and has been put back. “He joined in with the warm-up and a bit of passing, but then he had a little slip and felt his adductor again,” said Symons. “It’s put him back a bit, but the physio’s not worried. It’s a minor tweak.”
GLORY HAVE ROOM TO ZOOM
Perth Glory are flying high in both the league and cup this season, but captain Michael Thwaite believes his side is still a long way from hitting top form. A revitalised Glory sit in the top half of the A-League table with three wins from four matches and have reached the semi-finals of the FFA Cup. The West Australian side has the chance to extend a club-best start to the A-League campaign away to Central Coast Mariners in Gosford tomorrow.
Defender Thwaite has been through plenty of ups and downs since joining Glory in 2012 and felt the best was yet to come. "We're winning games, but we're still not hitting our peak," Thwaite said. "There's probably only one team that's hitting their peak at the moment and it took them probably a year to do that - in my opinion that's Adelaide United. I think we've got a long way to go. We're looking to progress and learn from every week, but we're happy with where we're at."
ZADORSKY TIPS HOME GLORY
Canadian international Shelina Zadorsky expects Perth Glory Women to seal a home semi-final by claiming their eighth win of the season this weekend. Zadorsky, one of the shining lights in Glory’s defence, will have extra incentive to perform well on Saturday against Newcastle Jets with her mother, Mary, having arrived in Perth from Canada this morning. “I’m so excited for my mum to be here to share this amazing experience with me,” Zadorsky said. “It’s been three months since I’ve seen her, so it’ll be really special to spend time together and show her how beautiful Perth is.”
League leading Glory, who made a best-ever start to a campaign with six successive wins, will head into the match with a seven-point buffer over second-placed Sydney FC. Victory tomorrow will earn Glory a home final for just the second time in W-League history but 22-year-Zadorsky knows it will not be easy against Newcastle. “We will need to be organised defensively and continue to create good scoring chances like we did against Melbourne,” the defender said. “We’re all excited to be playing at home again and if we perform the way we have been then we should come away with the three points.”
MARINERS VS GLORY PREVIEW
It’s a busy week for Kenny Lowe and his players, and it all starts at Gosford on Sunday afternoon when they take on Central Coast Mariners in week five of the Hyundai A-League (2.00pm (WA Time). The Glory head east full of confidence after their come-from-behind win against Newcastle Jets last week at nib Stadium, but Irish striker Andy Keogh sustained an injury in the 2-1 win, and has been on light duties at training this week, but should be fit to take his place.
Along with Keogh, midfielder Rostyn Griffiths was also on light duties, but Lowe says it was merely a precaution following their recent stretch in which Glory play three games within the space of seven days. "Some of the lads just pulled up a bit tight," Lowe said. "You've got to have the players' welfare at heart, especially people like Griffo and Andy; you want to make sure they play games."
Lowe rested a number of players against the Jets, and Josh Risdon, Scott Jamieson and Richard Garcia will be pushing for a starting role on Sunday, although Jack Clisby, Diogo Ferreira and Danny de Silva all performed well, and it gives Lowe some selection headaches ahead of the game.
Perth sits just one point adrift of top spot in the A-League, while the Mariners have only won one game this season and were beaten 2-0 against Sydney last week, the first time they had played against former Coach Graham Arnold, and Phil Moss’s side will be desperate to get back in the winner’s circle. Veteran keeper Liam Reddy returns from injury for the Mariners, while Michael Neill and former Glory midfielder Isaka Cernak have been promoted to the squad.
The Glory has never beaten the Mariners in the regular A-League season, although they did beat them on penalties in the 2012 Preliminary Final. Glory will stay on the east coast following the game in order to prepare for their FFA Cup semi-final against Bentleigh Greens in Melbourne. Jamie Maclaren and Mitch Nichols’ good form has been rewarded with the pair selected for international duty next week, meaning they and Jack Duncan and Riley Woodcock will not be available for the FFA Cup Semi-Final against Bentleigh Green on Tuesday.
RISING STAR GALLOWAY EYES BRAZIL TEST
Perth Glory have been handed the unenviable task of playing two games in three days as their FFA Cup run begins to take its toll. Glory and Football Federation Australia have been at odds over the scheduling of the FFA Cup semi-finals after the West Australian side was drawn to meet second-tier Bentleigh Greens in Melbourne. FFA confirmed this morning that the semi-final will be played next Tuesday, little more than 48 hours after the side's A-League fixture at Central Coast Mariners. The following Saturday Glory host newly-crowned Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers.
Glory are furious that FFA have not given more consideration to their heavy travel burden, which is by far the worst in Australian gootball. And, to make matters worse, Glory will lose four players to international duty next week. Mitch Nichols has been called up for the Socceroos friendly against Japan while Jamie Maclaren, Riley Woodcock and Jack Duncan have been named in the Olyroos squad for a tournament with Brazil, China and Korea Republic in Wuhan. All four internationals will miss the matches against Bentleigh and Western Sydney.
Young defender Scott Galloway is looking forward to locking horns with the best up-and-coming talent Brazil has to offer after being named in the latest Olyroo squad. Galloway, 19, will be out to put the disappointment of the Young Socceroos failure to qualify for next year's Under-20 World Cup behind him when he travels to China with the Under-23s for an invitational tournament involving the host nation, South Korea and Brazil. “It's an honour to play for your country, it's going to be a fantastic tournament as well, especially the likes of Brazil,” Galloway said of gaining Olyroos selection.
Australia’s Under-23 squad for the Chinese International Friendly Tournament is John Hall (Adelaide United), Ryan Williams (Barnsley), Mustafa Amini (Borussia Dortmund), Kwame Yeboah (Borussia Monchengladbach), Corey Brown, James Donachie (Brisbane Roar), Cameron Burgess (Fulham), Stefan Mauk (Melbourne City), Jason Geria, Scott Galloway, Connor Pain (Melbourne Victory), Andrew Hoole (Newcastle Jets), Steven Ugarkovic (NK Osijek), Jack Duncan, Jamie Maclaren, Riley Woodcock (Perth Glory), Aaron Lennox (Queens Park Rangers), Ryan Edwards (Reading), Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Swansea), Corey Gameiro (Sydney FC) and Travis Cooper (VVV Venlo).
RISING STAR GALLOWAY EYES BRAZIL TEST
Perth Glory Women will be out to seal a home final to reward the club’s loyal fans when they take on Newcastle Jets at Ashfield Sports Clubs on Saturday. Last weekend’s 3-1 win away to Melbourne Victory secured Glory’s place in the W-League finals for just the second time in the club’s history but striker Kate Gill says the team is hungry for more. “There’s a little bit of relief because there’s that security of knowing we’re in the finals,” Gill said. “But we still have to keep our mind on the job because we want to finish up top so we can have a home semi-final. To go undefeated at home would be great.”
Glory is unbeaten at home so far this season and, should results elsewhere go in their favour, victory this weekend may just book a home final. Gill is confident that making the finals so soon will not lead the team to taking their foot off the accelerator, especially given coach Jamie Harnwell’s determination to push all the way. “I think the quality within the team won’t allow us to and Jamie will make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Gill, admitted being a little surprised at how quickly the team has established such a dominant lead. “Our performances have spoken for themselves. We had a little bit of a lapse against Adelaide and that might’ve been a blessing in disguise.”
KEOGH CALLS ON GLORY FRINGE
Perth Glory will rotate an undermanned squad next week in an attempt to negotiate their challenging travel and match schedule. Football Federation Australia yesterday confirmed Glory would meet second-tier Bentleigh Greens in their FFA Cup semi-final in Melbourne on Tuesday. It means the West Australian side must play two matches in three days and, for the second time this season, three matches in a week. Glory travel to Central Coast Mariners on Sunday and host Western Sydney Wanderers at home six days later, with the Cup date sandwiched in between.
Star striker Andy Keogh, who has scored nine goals in seven matches, said the Glory players were feeling the strain of a busy schedule. "The body took a bit of a battering last week but we dug in together, capped off a tough week with the three points (against Newcastle)," Keogh said. "We're in a good position on the table with the (FFA Cup) semi- final to come, so it's all positive. If we had have lost after tough games then I think the body would've been feeling just that bit worse."
Despite the tough schedule, Keogh said Glory had the tools to continue their strong start to the season after winning six of their seven league and cup matches. "It's going to be all about recovery, utilising our squad and everyone being professional and ready to take their chances," Keogh said. "Times like this is when players who haven't been playing as much are going to get their chance and it's up to them to do what Jamie Maclaren's done when he's come on and make a name for themselves."
GALLOWAY SEES DEPTH AS MELBOURNE KEY ASSET
Melbourne Victory youngster Scott Galloway believes the club’s depth this season will be a driving force behind their title challenge. A number of injuries and suspensions forced Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat into a raft of changes for their clash against Wellington Phoenix on Monday night. Despite being without three key defenders – Matthieu Delpierre (injury), Adrian Leijer (suspension) and Daniel Georgievski (suspension) – Melbourne kept their first clean sheet in 22 games thanks to the efforts of makeshift back-men Mark Milligan, Leigh Broxham and Dylan Murnane.
Galloway believes the win shows the quality of depth Melbourne possesses. “The quality of the squad – anyone can step into any position when need be,” Galloway said. “This week we had to do that with suspension and injuries so credit to all the boys that have been played out of position. They did fantastic and they kept a clean sheet and that’s what we wanted. It shows how good all the players are in this team and it shows that we are going to be a team to watch this year.”
Melbourne’s depth will be tested once again next week when Mark Milligan joins the Socceroos for a friendly against Japan. Muscat will also be without Galloway, Jason Geria and Connor Pain who were called up for a three-game tournament in China with the Olyroos. “It is tough, especially at a club like Victory where we have so many internationals,” commented Galloway. “But that’s a credit to the club to have so many good young and senior players coming through. It definitely takes its toll but with our depth in the squad we can make do when players are away like on the weekend.”
CUP SCHEDULE TO STRETCH GLORY
Perth Glory have been handed the unenviable task of playing two games in three days as their FFA Cup run begins to take its toll. Glory and Football Federation Australia have been at odds over the scheduling of the FFA Cup semi-finals after the West Australian side was drawn to meet second-tier Bentleigh Greens in Melbourne. FFA confirmed this morning that the semi-final will be played next Tuesday, little more than 48 hours after the side's A-League fixture at Central Coast Mariners. The following Saturday Glory host newly-crowned Asian champions Western Sydney Wanderers.
Glory are furious that FFA have not given more consideration to their heavy travel burden, which is by far the worst in Australian gootball. And, to make matters worse, Glory will lose four players to international duty next week. Mitch Nichols has been called up for the Socceroos friendly against Japan while Jamie Maclaren, Riley Woodcock and Jack Duncan have been named in the Olyroos squad for a tournament with Brazil, China and Korea Republic in Wuhan. All four internationals will miss the matches against Bentleigh and Western Sydney.
BIRIGHITTI EYES EUROPEAN SWITCH
Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has moved management teams as he looks to become the next Australian player to secure a move to Europe. Birighitti has signed with Italian-based Vince Grella, at the Base Soccer agency, which helped with moves into Europe for Josh Brillante (Fiorentina), Adam Taggart (Fulham) and Daniel De Silva (Roma). Birighitti was part of Ange Postecoglou's preliminary World Cup squad and, although he missed the final cut for Brazil, the 23-year old did get a taste for the big time when he turned out for the A-League All-Stars against Juventus in August.
Birighitti was linked with a move to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen earlier this year, when he was represented by John Grimaud, but that move fell through after the German club sacked coach Sami Hyypia. “Going over to the World Cup in Brazil and being picked in the All Stars to play Juventus, I’ve come out of these experiences a totally different person," Birighitti said at the time. “Every young footballer I speak to has an ambition to play at the highest level possible. I was lucky to experience that when I went to Bayer Leverkusen. Unfortunately it didn’t end up working out, which was pretty disappointing.”
VITTIGLIA TOPS THE POLLS FOR THE GULLS
Sorrento striker Reece Vittiglia has been voted as the clubs fairest and best, in their awards presentation night at a gala function at Marmion Angling and Aquatic Club. The former Perth Glory and Oakleigh Cannons player polled five more votes than skipper Todd Harnwell to take out the award in his first season at Percy Doyle Reserve. The talent striker also took out the top goalscorer award, bagging 15 goals in the NPL.
The rest of the top five vote getters were keeper Curtis Aspden on 69, midfielder Chris Reid on 53 and striker Sean Canham on 43. Sorrento coach Jamie Harnwell was happy with the season, and is looking forward to 2015. “Looking at the season as a whole there were certainly some bright moments but to go out in the first round of the finals was very disappointing,” he said. “We showed we could match it against the best teams in the competition but dropped silly points which lead to our 4th place finish.”
The coach thought Vittiglia was outstanding last season and believes he will be a vital cog in next season’s title push. “Reece was magnificent for us all year and should really be playing at a higher level. He always demands the ball and has got great feet and ability,” Harnwell said. “I'm looking forward to working with him and the rest of the squad next year to challenge for the title.”
In other awards on the night Zac Edwards won the most improved young player of the season, while Scott Hoyle was crowned under 20’s fairest and best, with Ryan McLaughlin as runners up. Ben Cross was the under 18’s fairest and best with Jaxon Temata as runners up. Club stalwart Kerry Slater won the unenvious award of ‘Brush of the Year’, for the club person who does the stupidest thing during the year, only Kerry knows why he won the award but it must have been a beauty. The club person of the year went to Albert Sugrue, for his work around the club.
KELTIE TAKES OUT PERTH FAIREST AND BEST
Perth SC skipper Clark Keltie has ended his season with another honour taking out the clubs Fairest and Best trophy in front of over 450 people at the clubs presentation night at the Perth Italian Club.
The English midfielder, who also won the Gold Medal as best player in the NPL-WA last month, pipped Josh Wilkins to the award, as the Dorrien Gardens club bounced back from an indifferent 2013. Coach Taki Nicolaidis, who took over the club in the middle of 2013, has overseen the resurgence, and believes the club are on the right track. “2014 was an extra ordinary season from what was experienced in 2013, when we finished 10th,” Nicolaidis said. “It was very rewarding for our re-building plans to fall into place and go so close to winning the title.
The Coach was quick to praise the effort of the many people at the club that has turned the clubs fortunes around. “There are many people that played a big role in our success last season, starting with my assistants AK and Robbie Puca, all the players that either remained at the club or joined the club believing in our vision,” he said.
“The support of the football operations department for ensuring that all things run smoothly with the team and also the whole Perth board, because without their support we wouldn’t be able to achieve what we did this year, it truly was a team effort!!.”
In other awards on the night midfielder Nathan de Abreu won the under 20’s fairest and best, with striker Joel Bayubahe the runner up. In the under 18’s striker Adam Carlino was the fairest and best with winger Luke Garas the runner up. The perpetual ‘Robert Giorgi Memorial Trophy’ was also taken out by Wilkins, the wing back having a stellar season, while the ‘Youth Development Award’ was won by Matt Milenkovic, whose good performances saw him make his league debut during the season.
GLORY BUTT HEADS WITH FFA ON CUP SCHEDULE
A row is brewing between Perth Glory and Football Federation Australia over the scheduling of the club's FFA Cup semi-final with second-tier Victorian outfit Bentleigh Greens. Glory were draw away to Bentleigh last week and it is understood FFA are planning for the four of four fixture to be played on Tuesday, just two days after the club’s A-League game at Central Coast Mariners. The busy schedule comes not long after Glory finished a tough run of three matches in seven days, culminating in the 2-1 A-League win over Newcastle Jets last Sunday.
Glory are privately seething that FFA has not given more consideration to their heavy travel burden, which is by far the worst in Australian football. To ease the burden, coach Kenny Lowe has been forced to rotate his squad and several players have been on light duties at training. Andy Keogh and Rostyn Griffiths were restricted to minimal work at training this morning, while Youssouf Hersi and Richard Garcia were among those rested on the weekend. Ruben Zadkovich (back) is a chance to return against Bentleigh, while Chris Harold (quad) will likely line-up in the youth team.
Lowe said his side would stay on the east coast after Sunday’s game and indicated his preference for at least a three-day break between matches. “Really you need a good three-day turnaround before you play another game to make sure everybody’s safe and well,” Lowe said. “If you don't do that, maybe you leave the guys open to injury. We’ve got to have a good recovery period to make sure that everyone can play again safely. That’s the main thing and I'm sure the FFA are looking at that with all the expertise they've got. I’m sure they're going to do the right thing by everybody.”
TAGGART TARGETS ASIAN CUP SPOT
Fulham striker Adam Taggart is aiming to make his return within a fortnight as he attempts to reclaim his Socceroos spot for the Asian Cup. Taggart will return to full-scale training this week after recovering from adductor release surgery in September. His last competitive game was the World Cup loss to Spain while, more recently, he featured in a pre-season friendly for Fulham before going under the knife.
“I’m targeting the Asian Cup and it’s been a huge motivation to come back fit, hosting such a big tournament in your own backyard,’’ Taggart said. “After tasting the World Cup and being around the national team setup, it makes you hungrier. Physically I’m in good shape. I’m extremely fit, now it’s just about getting games under my belt, challenge. I started jogging ten days after the operation, so I’ve actually been back on the pitch for a while but it’s been a slow build.”
Taggart, 21, said his adductor issues started earlier this year when he was on his way to winning the A-League Golden Boot with Newcastle Jets. Now the former ECU Joondalup junior faces a challenge working his way into the Championship side’s squad with the manager who signed him – Felix Magath – replaced last week by caretaker Kit Symons. “The new manager has been around the club for a long time and I think it’s a good choice, the players like him,’’ he said. “For me it’s someone new to impress.”
“Coming here off the back of the best six months of my life football wise, it was topped off by signing for Fulham. There was so much buzz and excitement,” Taggart continued. “It all went to a standstill after getting inured. It seems forever since I played a game, now I have to get myself back to the standard. I’m extremely excited coming off an extremely frustrating few months. It was a challenge coming, now it’s an extra challenge getting into the team.’’
GLORY WOMEN SECURE FINALS PLACE (courtesy www.footballwest.com.au)
Perth Glory secured a place in only their second Westfield W-League finals campaign with a stirring 3-1 comeback win over Melbourne Victory at Lakeside Stadium today. Glory sit seven points clear at the top of the table and are 10 points clear of fifth-placed Victory, who have only three regular games left to play.
The WA side, who had won their first six games of the season before defeat to Adelaide United last week, were on the back foot early when Rachael Quigley opened the scoring for the home side after just three minutes. But defender Alanna Kennedy equalised five minutes before the break and the comeback was complete when substitute Elisa D’Ovidio scored in the 80th minute and Caitlin Foord made sure of the points eight minutes later.
Coach Jamie Harnwell was delighted with his team’s performance, which has secured finals football for Glory with four matches to play. “The girls showed great character and responded well to going behind early, to put in a dominant performance,” he said. “It’s fantastic to have secured a finals berth but we need to set our sights on bigger things and keep pushing on to secure a home semi-final.”
After two successive away matches, Glory return to Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday to take on Newcastle Jets. Harnwell will be looking for another impressive performance after watching his side dominate Victory. Quigley’s stunning early volley had prompted a vigorous response from Glory who laid siege to Melbourne’s goal. Victory’s heroine of the afternoon, Cassandra Dimovski, was in stunning form between the posts, most notably producing two world-class saves to maintain her side’s lead. The 20-year-old could do nothing though as Kennedy found the equaliser five minutes before the break, rising to convert Collette McCallum’s corner.
Dimovski was called upon numerous times in the second half, pulling off another two sensational saves to deny Kate Gill from point-blank range before tipping Shelina Zadorsky’s goal-bound effort onto an upright. Samantha Kerr, who returned to the side after a recent injury, then came agonisingly close to Perth’s second, lobbing Dimovski only for defender Lauren Barnes to intervene with a goal-line clearance. Victory captain Catley found the back of the net from the resulting counter attack, but was deemed offside. Perth were rewarded for their persistence as D’Ovidio handed her side the advantage in the 81st minute, only moments after her introduction. Australia international Foord then capped off Perth’s afternoon in memorable fashion, firing in Glory’s third into the top corner following an excellent run into the penalty area.
LOWE SINGS PRAISES OF GAME TURNER MACLAREN
Manager Kenny Lowe has hailed the improvement from Young Socceroos striker Jamie Mclaren after Perth Glory's come-from-behind 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets. The former Blackburn Rovers player came off the bench to score twice in three minutes late in the game to secure the Glory's third comeback win of the season last night. "I can't praise the kid enough. Macca has come back lighter, he's worked ever so hard. He's a super character," said Lowe. "He's doing everything that he should be doing right in his game. He's living right, he's working hard, he's enjoying his football."
Lowe admitted there was a sense of relief among the group, having dominated the match before Newcastle took a shock lead thanks to Jeronimo Neumann's 74th minute strike. The Glory boss said his first reaction after Jeronimo's goal was to get Maclaren off the bench and on to the pitch, admitting with a laugh he told him to score three, not two, goals. "We dictated the tempo, we weren't exactly Brazil," Lowe said. "I thought if we could get a goal it would settle things down. Unfortunately they scored first. I don't know how we managed to pull it out of the fire. Fair play to the guys."
SOCCEROOS WANT FIRST DIBS ON NEW STADIUM
Football Federation Australia is lobbying for the Socceroos to be the opening act at the new Perth Stadium. FFA chief executive David Gallop was in Perth this week for a series of meetings on a range of topics with local football stakeholders and the State Government. Gallop indicated a strong desire for the Socceroos to feature when the multipurpose Burswood stadium opens in 2018. FFA will no doubt face opposition to their plans from the AFL, which will be Perth Stadium's major tenant when West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers move their home games from Subiaco Oval to Burswood.
"We've obviously got an eye on the new stadium and the potential to be heavily involved in the kick-off of that facility with the team that we say best represents the country and the diverse background of the country and its people," Gallop said. "We already had a meeting last time I was here (last year) with the new stadium people and we're really hopeful that we can be a big part of getting that stadium up and running. In terms of national teams, we believe the Socceroos would be the appropriate team to start that stadium's life."
The Socceroos have not played in Perth since a second-string outfit beat Indonesia 3-0 at Subiaco Oval in 2005. The national team has played the majority of home fixtures over the past decade in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. FFA would only schedule a Socceroos match in Perth with considerable financial support from the State Government. "We unashamedly regard the Socceroos as a lucrative event for State governments," Gallop said. "We need to make sure that wherever the Socceroos play, the code is appropriately compensated financially. With all the will in the world, it's still going to need a significant dollar conversation to happen."
FFA could attract a regional powerhouse, such as Japan, China or South Korea, to play a friendly match at Perth Stadium in the build-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Australia has also lured international powers Argentina, Uruguay, Greece and the Netherlands for home friendly matches in recent years. "The Socceroos have not been to Perth for a long time and we need to rectify that," Gallop said. "We probably would've been here in November if the matches against Iran had gone ahead, but that hit a last-minute hiccup."
WILLIAMS EXTENDS BARNSLEY LOAN
Fulham have extended the loan of midfielder Ryan Williams to League One club Barnsley for another month. Williams joined Barnsley at the start of October and in his five appearances has “done really well” according to manager Danny Wilson. “He’s given us a different dimension to our game and has enjoyed himself,” Wilson said. “He’s slotted in very well. He’s got better in every game he’s played and he is a constant threat. He works very hard for the team.” An attacking midfielder or winger, Williams made three appearances for Championship outfit Fulham this season before joining Barnsley.
MACLAREN'S DOUNGE BRINGS DOWN JETS
Perth Glory striker Jamie Maclaren came off the bench to score twice to help beat Newcastle Jets 2-1 at the nib Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The former young Socceroo made an immediate impact scoring sixty seconds after replacing Daniel de Silva, and he bagged the winner two minutes later, this after Argentinian striker Jeronimo Neumann had given the Jets the lead on 74 minutes. “They (Newcastle) came with a game plan and they executed it very well,” Maclaren said. “They went 1-0 up and they probably thought the game was over. But we stuck at it and thankfully we got the three points. Now we're sitting on nine points, it's a great start for us and we'll take it to Central Coast next week."
The home side dominated from the offset and went close to the opener after only eight minutes. Nebojsa Marinkovic’s corner was only cleared as far as De Silva on the edge of the box, his powerful shot was well blocked by Mark Birighitti, and the ricochet was cleared off the line by the alert Andrew Hoole. Glory skipper Michael Thwaite made a marauding charge up the park and was brought down on the edge of the penalty area by Jacob Pepper. Marinkovic saw his curling free kick flash inches past the post. Then on the half hour Thwaite was picked out by Marinkovic’s corner, but the defender blazed over from six-yards. The Jets were defending in numbers, their best chance of the opening half came moments later, Hoole’s long-range shot whistled just the wrong side of the post.
The Glory started the second half as they finished the first, and it looked only a matter of time before they would open the scoring. Mitch Nichols burst clear three minutes in, but Jets skipper Kew Jaliens got back with a timely last ditch tackle. The Jets began to get in the game and on the hour David Carney’s cross from the bye-line ended up at the feet of Pepper, whose effort was cleared off the line by Thwaite.
But the Jets silenced the Glory crowd on 74 minutes, when they hit the front. A great through ball from Pepper sent Jeronimo clear and the striker finished powerfully past Vukovic at his near post. It was a huge blow for the home side, but three minutes later parity was restored. Youssouf Hersi made space down the left, before picking out another second half substitute Scott Jamieson, his low cross was turned home by Maclaren from eight-yards. It was game on, and the Glory faithful were on their feet again two minutes later, as Maclaren struck again. Marinkovic’s curling corner was headed back across goal by Rostyn Griffiths and Maclaren headed home from close-range to seal the victory.
PERTH GLORY TO MEET BENTLEIGH GREENS IN FFA CUP SEMI-FINAL
Perth Glory has been drawn away to Victorian NPL side Bentleigh Greens in the Semi-Final of the Westfield FFA Cup. The draw was made on Fox Sports on Friday afternoon, but the date and venue of the game is to be confirmed by Football Federation Australia, but the tie is likely to be their Kingston Heath ground in Melbourne. In the other semi-final Adelaide United will host Central Coast Mariners at Hindmarsh Stadium.
The Glory moved into the semi-final after a 4-2 win against Melbourne Victory, while The Greens advanced to the semis with a come-from-behind extra-time win over Adelaide City. Glory coach Kenny Lowe said travelling away and playing in Melbourne will prove to be a tough battle. “If you can make it to the semi-finals of a cup you’re obviously doing something right,” he said. “They will be at home and are flying the flag for Victoria as we are for WA, so it will be a difficult match, there is no such thing as an easy game” Lowe said.
WA-born and former Cockburn City, Armadale and Stirling Lions midfielder Jamie de Abreu scored the winner for Bentleigh in the semi-final and he is looking forward to taking on the Glory. “Obviously honoured and privileged to be the last state league team in the FFA cup and I’m really looking forward to playing against the team I grew up supporting as a kid,” de Abreu said. “I was hoping to get them before the draw and looking forward to the challenge of trying to beat a professional team with so many dangerous players. “But for the moment just want to enjoy the build up to what will be a massive game for our club and hopefully seeing a few people down there.”
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This page was last updated on the 31st October, 2014