OLYROOS CALL UP FOR O’NEILL
Former Perth Glory midfielder Brandon O’Neill has been called into Aurelio Vidmar’s Olyroos squad for the AFC U-23 Championship in Doha next month. O’Neill’s inclusion in the 23-man squad follows the refusal by Dutch Erevidisie side Roda JV Kerkrade to release Daniel De Silva for the Olympic qualifying tournament. It’s the first call up for Australia, for the 21-year-old, who started the season well for Sydney FC but has had to start from the bench for the past month, for the Sky Blues.
It brings to seven, the amount of players blocked from attending the tournament by their clubs, after Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Brad Smith (Liverpool), Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam), Milos Degenek (1860 Munich) Awer Mabil (Midtjylland) and Ryan Williams (Barnsley) were all told they couldn’t attend. Olyroos Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar said it’s disappointing but O’Neill deserves his chance. “It‘s unfortunate that Daniel wasn’t released by his club but Brandon showed some tremendous form in the opening rounds of the A-League and he will add to the quality of our squad,” he said. Sydney will lose three of its young stars for three weeks in January with Andrew Hoole and Alex Gersbach also called up. Brisbane Roar will be without Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello and James Donachie, while Victory will be missing five players including Jason Geria.
O’Neill has put his Olyroos call-up partly down to hard work, but also the opportunity and freedom given him at Sydney FC. The talented midfielder left Perth Glory to join the Sky Blues last season, and the 21-year-old hasn’t looked back. O’Neill has forced his way back into the Sydney FC starting line up in recent weeks and was man of the match in the Sky Blues big win against Central Coast Mariners last week. This after the talented midfielder was overlooked by Kenny Lowe last season in the west. “It’s a good time for me at the moment…. selection was a nice little Christmas present,” O’Neill said. “Every training session I just try and be the best I can be, and its credit to Arnie (Graham Arnold) and the coaching staff that they’ve been able to give me the opportunity to come in and try to do what they want and expect.”
The only concern for O’Neill is he will miss A-League games for the club while he’s away, which will be disappointing but he is looking forward to his first international call-up with the other Sky Blue youngsters in the squad. “I’m really devastated that I have to leave the lads in January, they’re like my family now pretty much because we are that close,” he said. “But I know when me and Hooly (Andrew Hoole) and Alex get away they’ll continue to do the work on the park.” The squad will head to Dubai for a seven day camp before travelling to Doha and the opening match in Group D against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on January 14 at the Grand Hamad Stadium. The Aussies will play Vietnam (January 17) and Jordan (January 20) with the top two teams progressing to the quarter finals. The top three teams from the tournament will qualify for the Olympics.
MIDDLESBROUGH CONSIDER LOAN FOR WILLIAMS
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka is set to send Rhys Williams out on loan to get him fully fit ready for the club’s promotion run in. The versatile defender is back in action after a year out following a second ruptured Achilles. Williams, 27, can play at centre-back, right-back and in midfield and would be a useful addition to Karanka’s squad in the second half of the campaign.
Now, after a string of games with Boro’s Under-21s, Karanka wants Williams to get some competitive action. “I am considering sending him out on loan,” said Karanka. “He is a very good player but he needs games to get back to his best potential. But it will be very difficult for him to play in this time at this minute so it may be that he needs to go out to another club to play.”
A string of Championship clubs, including Preston North End and Rotherham United, are believed to have inquired about Williams’ availability but no decision has been taken yet, said Karanka. “A couple of good clubs have expressed an interest and that doesn’t surprise me because he is a very good player. We will all sit down soon and talk about the options for Rhys. If he is playing and if he is fit he can be a good player for this team.”
GRANT SLOTS SEAMLESSLY INTO GLORY’S ELEVEN
If former Socceroos defender Dino Djulbic wants to slot straight back into Perth Glory’s line-up, he faces one hell of a fight. Djulbic is still at least four weeks away from a playing return after suffering a serious ankle injury in early November. In his absence, former Portsmouth defender Alex Grant has slotted seamlessly into the starting line-up, playing an important role in the club’s four-game unbeaten run.
And Grant has no plans on giving up his spot once Djulbic is ready to return. “They’re saying I’m filling his position. But I’d like to hope I can keep it now,” Grant said. “I’ve picked up a few starts now. I’m making the most of it. Every game I play I’m racking up the experience. I’m thoroughly enjoying it. It’s a great opportunity for myself.”
Grant, 21, was born in Manchester and spent his childhood playing for ECU Joondalup. He signed a two-year scholarship with Portsmouth in 2010 and two years later representing Australia at Under-17 level. Unable to break into Portsmouth’s first team, he spent time with Eastleigh, Havant and Waterlooville, and Macclesfield Town followed before returning home to sign with Glory in June.
Grant has adjusted well to the standard of the A-League, however, the defender says the stifling Perth heat is taking some getting used to. “Oh god, I can’t stand the heat,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not a massive fan. That’s something the league needs to look at (with its heat policy). It takes it out of you. Lads do struggle with it quite a lot.” Grant will make his seventh appearance in a Glory shirt on Saturday away at Brisbane Roar.
GRANT MAKING THE MOST OF HIS GLORY OPPORTUNITY
It’s been a solid start for Perth Glory’s Alex Grant’s A-League career, after the 21-year-old has shone in a Glory defence over the past month. The former ECU Joondalup and Portsmouth central defender has impressed in his five game stint in the starting side, and even if former Socceroos defender Dino Djulbic wants to slot straight back into the Glory line-up, he faces one hell of a fight from Grant.
Djulbic is still at least four weeks away from a playing return after suffering a serious ankle injury in early November, but in his absence, Grant has slotted seamlessly into the starting XI, playing an important role in the club’s four-game unbeaten run, and he has no plans on giving up his spot once Djulbic is ready to return. “They’re saying I’m filling his position. But I’d like to hope I can keep it now,” Grant said ahead of Saturday’s A-League clash with Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
The Glory are now within three points of sixth spot after snaring two wins and two draws from their past four games. But they face a tough task to topple the second-placed Roar, who dismantled fellow title contenders Melbourne City 3-1 on Sunday. Glory will again be without free kick specialist Nebojsa Marinkovic (hamstring) as they attempt to bank their first away win of the season, but confidence is high and Grant is enjoying the ride. “I’ve picked up a few starts now. I’m making the most of it,” he said. “Every game I play I’m racking up the experience, I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and it’s a great opportunity for myself.”
The Manchester-Born Grant left WA in 2009, and signed a two-year scholarship with Pompey, but failed to start a first team game for the club. He had loan spells at Eastleigh, Havant and Waterlooville FC, before signing for English Premier League side Stoke City in 2013. He was loaned out by the Potters to Macclesfield Town in 2014, but he returned to WA in June. He has adjusted well to standard of football in the A-League, but is still to come to terms with the warm weather in the West. “Oh god, I can’t stand the heat,” he joked. “I’m not a massive fan. That’s something the league needs to look at (with its heat policy). It takes it out of you and the lads do struggle with it quite a lot.”
O'NEILL RELISHES OLYMPICS SHOT
Brandon O'Neill has put his Olyroos call-up partly down to hard work, but also the opportunity and freedom awarded to him at Sydney FC. The 21-year-old was a late selection in coach Aurelio Vidmar's 23-man squad for next month's Olympic Games qualifiers, after Daniel De Silva was blocked from attending by Dutch outfit Roda JC.
Though O'Neill only learnt of his inclusion days ago, it should not perhaps have come as a complete surprise, given his immense form for Sydney this season. Since moving east from Perth Glory in near anonymity and with less than 15 A-League appearances over three years, O'Neill has burst onto the scene. The youngster has featured in 11 of the first 12 A-League rounds, including seven starts.
On Saturday he ran the midfield against Central Coast Mariners and hit the woodwork twice as the fourth-placed Sky Blues disposed of a ten-man opponent 4-1. O'Neill was quick to point out that he's certainly not bigger than his side, but was still thrilled to be joining club teammates Andrew Hoole and Alex Gersbach for the AFC U-23 championships in Qatar.
"It's a good time for me at the moment ... selection was a nice little Christmas present," said O'Neill, who played his junior days with ECU Joondlaup. "Every training session I just try and be the best I can be, and it's credit to Arnie (Graham Arnold) and the coaching staff that they've been able to give me the opportunity to come in and try to do what they want and expect."
"I'm devastated that I have to leave the Sydney FC lads (in January), they're like my family now pretty much because we're that close. But I know when me and Hooley and Gersbach get away they'll continue to do the work." The Olyroos begin their campaign against the United Arab Emirates on 14 January, before facing Vietnam (17 January) and Jordan (20 January).
CLISBY SAYS MELBOURNE CITY UNFAZED BY LOSS
Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen’s last-ditch attempt to rescue a point at Brisbane Roar reflects the bold new Melbourne City according to defender Jack Clisby. Trailing 2-1 deep into stoppage time on Sunday night, Sorensen went forward in search of an equaliser and won a header from Aaron Mooy’s corner, before Roar countered and Henrique fired into an empty net from halfway.
Clisby, who was lurking alongside Sorensen, said the players responded after a poor first half. “We were chasing the game. So, we brought Thomas up for the corner but the ball fell for them,” he said. “He got a touch on it, it went a bit to his right ... (but) if it was straight it would have fallen to me and I may have had my first A-League goal.”
“Our second-half performance shows good character, fight and togetherness. We were pretty slack the first half, we weren’t stringing passes together and gave away too many cheap balls and were lucky not to be down more. We turned it around and took the game to them, got an early goal and put a lot of pressure on them.’’
City hosts Sydney FC on Saturday night in a huge game, with the home team only ahead in third on goal difference. Clisby is confident City, with higher expectations all round, has built a solid foundation from which to progress. “Melbourne City is a club everyone recognises as part of the City Football Group; we’re growing and looking to push forward,’’ he said.
“We’re not halfway through (the season) and, while we could’ve leapfrogged Roar with a win, we’re six points off top and in a much better position than last year. We’ll keep kicking on, we can’t wait to get back out against Sydney, we want that winning feeling again. It’s another tough game. It’s good to be back at home and we’ll look to turn things around.”
COLLARD READY TO MAKE THE NEXT STEP (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
With Perth Glory’s long list of injuries this season, the opportunity for their younger players to make the next step has proved a positive for the club. Stefano Valentini made a huge impact coming off the bench in the FFA Cup, while Joe Knowles made his A-League debut against Melbourne City this season. Another player to join the first team training squad this season is Foxtel National Youth League skipper Jacob Collard.
The 20-year-old has led the Glory youngsters for the last two seasons, and he has won the clubs Youth Player MVP on both occasions. He has been training with the first team this season and all his hard work and dedication has been rewarded. “It’s been nice to have had the opportunity with the first team and show my worth,” he said. “I've just got to be patient, need to train hard and push myself to my limits. Then maybe I'll get the opportunity to play for the first team, but I'm just happy to be a part of it all and representing my team.”
Collard, who is an indigenous Australian, attended South Thornlie Primary School, and Lynwood Senior High School. He began his football at Gosnells SC, before moving to Perth SC. He was then chosen in the Football West National Training Centre and away from the game he likes spending time with his family and friends, playing golf, and enjoys the beach and boxing.
At the NTC Collard worked under the tutelage of Glory Coach Kenny Lowe, and he continues to influence the career of the defender. “I’ve worked with a number of fine coaches, and they have all helped my football. Kenny has been a huge influence on my football, likewise NYL Coach John Gibson,” Collard explained. “But it would be amiss of me not to mention the other coaches who I’ve worked with – Jacob Burns, Gareth Naven, Bobby Despotovski, Kenny Weston, Gavin Tait, Jim Tombides and Rob Eldridge have all had a hand in my football over the years.”
The defender was quick to thank his family for their help over the years to make his dream of becoming a professional football come true. He made his Glory debut off the bench in the FFA Cup this season, and has been on the bench for the A-League side, and he will be doing all he can to get his A-League debut. “My Nan and Pop have pushed me all my life, hoping one day I'd live the life of my dreams,” Collard said. “Without them I truly believe I wouldn't be where I am today, and for that I'm ever so grateful for everything they have done for me.”
The Glory youth side missed out on the NYL title in the final game last season, and Collard said it shows the good players we have in the state, and he said to win the Youth MYP once was an honour, but to go back-to-back was a real surprise, but he was quick to thank his fellow players. “I've had many good players around me and without them I wouldn't have received the MVP,” he said. “It's always exciting to see a youngster given such a great opportunity in the A-League, I think this is great not only for the Perth Glory but for Western Australian football.”
CASTRO EARNS GLORY A POINT
Perth Glory maintained their good run of form with a battling 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon, and continued the five game winless run for the Champions. The home side scored a controversial penalty midway through the first half through Besart Berisha, but the Glory hit back with a penalty of their own from Diego Castro fifteen minutes from time. "Very pleased, very pleased. We went 1-nil down through something that never should have been,” Glory keeper Ante Covic said. “We fought hard the whole game, we had a few chances, I’m very proud of the lads we came back into the game and had two or three chances of our own so coming here to Melbourne and putting a performance like that I’m very proud of the lads".
Kenny Lowe recovered from a bout of the flu to take his spot on the sidelines, and he made four changes to the side that drew with Western Sydney Wanderers last week, bringing in Marc Warren, skipper Richard Garcia, Chris Harold and teenage striker Jamel Reiners. It was nearly a disastrous start for the Glory, with Alex Grant’s back pass eluding Covic in the first minute, the ball rolling agonizingly past the post. The Glory went close two minutes later, Reiners raced onto a loose ball but his shot from the edge of the penalty area was straight at former Glory keeper Danny Vukovic.
The home side began to get on top and Reiners was alert to block Berisha’s goal bound shot, before Josh Risdon cleared the ball off his own line from Leigh Broxham’s close-range shot. There pressure was rewarded with the lead on 25 minutes. Fahid Ben Khalfallah sent Berisha into the box, and the Albanian striker fell under the challenge of Covic, and referee Shaun Evans pointed straight to the spot, although replays showed there was no contact. Berisha picked himself up and scored from the resulting penalty to put the home side ahead.
The Glory looked to hit back immediately, and moments later Warren’s cross from the bye-line picking out Garcia, but his header flashed wide of the near post. Covic then saved low to deny Jesse Makarounas as the game opened up, and Harold fired wide six minutes before the break. Then in first stoppage time Mitch Oxborrow’s corner was met by Michael Thwaite, but Vukovic tipped it away.
Glory were quick out of the blocks after half time and Gyorgy Sandor’s snap shot was straight at Vukovic. But on 51 minutes the home side should have doubled their lead. Kosta Barbarouses found space down the right and picked out Khalfallah, but with the goal at his mercy, somehow the Tunisian midfielder spooned the ball over the top. The Glory were giving as good as they got and the home supporters were getting restless and their mood didn’t get any better when the Glory levelled on 74 minutes.
Garcia sent Risdon away on the right of the box, but his run was ended by a lunge from French defender Matthieu Delpierre, and again Evans pointed to the spot. Castro stepped up score and bring the sides level. Victory went close to regaining the lead three minutes later, with Barbarouses’ shot on the run was well saved by Covic. The Veteran Glory custodian then saved well to thwart Berisha, as both sides looked for the winner.
Harold saw his shot flash just wide of the post for the visitors, while Barbarouses cross couldn’t pick out anyone in the area, before substitute Connor Pain and Barbarouses got their wires crossed in the area, and the chance was gone. Then on 87 minutes Harold had the chance to win it for the Glory, but his shot from the angle whistled over the top, but both sides shared the spoils.
WILLIAMS EXTENDS A-LEAGUE CONTRACT
After a good start to his A-League career with Perth Glory, Aryn Williams has been rewarded, after the club re-signed the defender four another two months. He originally signed with the club in November on a short-term deal as an injury-replacement, with the likes of Dino Djulbic and Josh Risdon unavailable. But Williams, who started his career at ECU Joondalup, and is the younger brother of Socceroo Rhys and twin of Barnsley midfielder Ryan, has made seven A-League appearances since his arrival.
He told FourFourTwo magazine, he would love to stay at the club in the long term. “I've just resigned a new deal which takes me to February and I'm extremely happy about that,” Williams said. “I would love to stay at Perth Glory for many years to come as I love playing for the club and the fan base is great. “I've always wanted to wear the Perth Glory jersey and especially as it is my hometown club. I used to come and watch when I was a lot younger with some big name players playing and I used to love coming down and watching and now I am wearing the jersey with my name on the back. It really is a boyhood dream come true.”
The defender spent four years at Burnley in the UK before returning to Australia in 2013. He played for Floreat Athena in the PS4 National Premier League WA before joining the Glory.
Williams said the transition from local football to the A-League has been relatively straightforward. “It is a lot different as the players are better, everyone is fitter and there is more at stake but I think I have adjusted accordingly to come into the Perth Glory set up and make a name for myself in the A-League,” the 22-year old said. “I'm really enjoying being a part of the set up at Perth Glory. I've worked extremely hard to get to where I have got so hopefully with more hard work I could become a more permanent name on the team sheet.”
Williams made his first-team debut in round four against Western Sydney off the bench and has so far featured at right back, left back and in central defence. He picked two yellow cards and a red in the 5-1 thumping by Melbourne City in round eight. “I thoroughly enjoyed making my debut against the Wanderers away from home as they have a very good following, and I just worked hard on the pitch,” he said. “Unfortunately we couldn't get the result we were searching for but I will definitely remember that moment for many years to come.”
It’s been an inconsistent 2015/2016 season for the Glory, and they currently sit in eighth spot on the ladder. But they are currently unbeaten in their past three games, with a draw and two wins, and Williams believes a place in the top six is not out of reach. “We all get along very well on and off the pitch and we are all working hard together to get the result we deserve,” the defender said. “It's been tough so far but with a lot of hard work we can get to where we want to be and that is in the finals where I think we definitely deserve to be. We have shown everyone what we can do and we are all excited for the future. “If we can continue to work our socks off then we never know where that could take us.”
Adelaide United’s Eli Babalj has been re-injured during his comeback campaign. Whether it’s due to misfortune or questionable management, injuries to Babalj and teammate Osama Malik leave coach Guillermo Amor pondering if he’ll ever be able to field a full-strength side this season.
Defender Michael Marrone revealed Babalj, on loan from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, has re-injured his foot. “We’ve got Ossie (Malik) and Eli (Babalj) out,” Marrone said. “He (Babalj) sort of had that foot thing (injury) again; he came back a little bit too early. It’s something do with his heel ... but it’s on the mend.”
Babalj has been suffering from a foot injury since mid-October, when he last just 45 minutes of Adelaide’s draw with Western Sydney Wanderers. The striker was promoted to the extended squad along with Malik for the Boxing Day clash with Wellington Phoenix but neither featured in the 3-0 home win.
SOCCEROO WILLIAMS AIMING TO PROVE HIS MIDDLESBROUGH CAREER IS NOT OVER
With five months left on his Middlesbrough contract, Socceroo Rhys Williams has shed the kilograms in a bid to prove that his career is not over. The Middlesbrough utility is on the verge of a miraculous recovery from two achilles tears on the same foot which sidelined him for 22 months and ruled him out of the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Asian Cup.
Williams, 27, has played two reserves games in recent weeks and hopes to force his way back into first team reckoning. "I made sure I did everything right because I need to prove myself again. It's down to me to fight for a new contract," Williams said. I've been out of the game for a long time and I need people to see that I can play and become even better than I was."
"We didn't leave any stone unturned, we checked everything and realised maybe my weight was a bit high last time. Now I'm the lightest I've ever been – I'm 78kg now and last time I came back I was 85kg. I can jump higher, I can run faster, I feel great. I've ran over the top of last time and feel like I'm not a million miles off."
Williams' injury curse played out in front of the world. He trudged away from Socceroos training in South Africa when a pelvic injury ruled him out of the squad a week before the opening 2010 World Cup game. His first achilles setback was in January 2014 when he was stretchered off in a Championship game against Wigan Athletic.
And 339 days later it was déjà vu, this time tearing the achilles off the bone just two minutes into the FA Cup clash against Barnsley. "It was a difficult time, I did fear for the worst, especially after being out for 11 months before it. I admit I looked into the insurance papers just to see," he said. "It was tough until I saw the surgeon, I didn't want to see him."
"I'm back and I need to stay fit now and prove a lot of people wrong. I was coming back and still had a lot of pain which we never got to the bottom of and maybe we had a few injections which I shouldn't have to get through training and games."
Williams said there was no point thinking about the Socceroos until breaking back into the Championship leading squad he once captained. "Two 90 minute games in five days, it's more than I've managed in two years," said Williams, who has 141 first team appearances for Middlesbrough to his credit. "Now I feel like it's my time to shine again."
"I need to be playing on the big stage and once I get playing for my club hopefully I can force my way back in (to the Socceroos) but I understand there's a lot of competition. I came back to training a few weeks ago fit and ready to play and the two games has firmly established the fact that I'm fit now and ready for selection and hopefully I'll be giving the gaffer a few headaches over the next couple of weeks."
GLORY LAUNCH FINALS PUSH IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory midfielder Diogo Ferreira believes tomorrow’s game at Melbourne Victory could be the start of a finals push from the revitalised A-League club. Staring down the barrel of a wooden spoon finish for the opening three months of the season, Glory have found a new lease on life in the past fortnight. Wins against Victory and Central Coast Mariners and a draw against the league-leading Western Sydney Wanderers from their past three games have the club within touching distance of the top six.
Those three results came at Perth Oval and Ferreira feels if Glory can take that form on the road they will quickly turn into finals contenders. “That’s something we did really well last year — we took a lot of points away from home,” he said. “We need to start doing that again. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves, at the end of the day we’re on 11 points. But if we can keep winning and keep picking up points at home and also pick up points away, then we’ll quickly climb up the ladder.”
Ferreira made 52 appearances for Victory and another 11 for Brisbane Roar before joining Glory last season. He said Glory would go into tomorrow’s match confident, but wouldn’t read anything into their opponents’ four-game losing streak. “We usually do quite well against them,” Ferreira said. “We played them last week and obviously that’s got to give us a little bit of an edge that we were able to beat them 1-0. But I don’t think it makes a difference. They’re a good team, they’ve got good players.”
Ferreira believes Glory’s improved results of the past fortnight could be attributed to the team’s growing familiarity with each other. “We’ve had a lot of new faces this year, a lot of new foreigners,” he said. “You need time, it’s a different league. They’re starting to hit their straps and we’ve got some good young boys coming through as well.” Glory coach Kenny Lowe has been battling illness this week, leaving assistant Andy Ord to take training.
RODA BLOCKS DE SILVA FROM OLYMPIC QUALIFIERS
The latest victim of the never-ending club-versus-country debate is Daniel De Silva, who has been denied a place in next month's Olympic qualification tournament. Football Federation Australia are furious that De Silva's club, Dutch side Roda JC, have taken the option of blocking the attacking midfielder from participating in the tournament, which will determine Australia's hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics.
FFA are especially angry because although De Silva has played in seven matches, only one has been a start. Coach Aurelio Vidmar released a short statement on the decision but declared himself happy with De Silva's replacement, Sydney FC's Brandon O'Neill. "It's unfortunate that Daniel de Silva wasn't released by his club but Brandon showed some tremendous form in the opening rounds of the A-League and he will add to the quality of our squad," Vidmar said.
GLORY COACH LAID LOWE BY ILLNESS
Perth Glory captain Richard Garcia is confident the possible absence of coach Kenny Lowe for Sunday's A-League clash with Melbourne Victory won't derail the team's unbeaten run. Lowe faces a race against time to make the flight to Melbourne on Saturday after falling ill this week. Several other players - including Garcia - have also been laid low by a bug this week, but none are expected to miss Sunday's match.
Assistant coach Andy Ord has taken charge of training this week in the absence of Lowe, and Garcia said it had been business as usual. "You never want to see someone ill, especially the man in charge," Garcia said after training on Thursday. "But if he is ill, we'll have to go over there and do the job without him. Ordy and Milo (goalkeeper coach Danny Milosevic) and the rest of the staff are quite capable of taking the side and laying out (Lowe's) instructions."
Glory are riding a wave of confidence after snaring two wins and a draw from their past three games. In contrast, Victory's title defence is hanging by a thread following a four-game losing streak. Ord said the pressure would be on Victory to rebound. "It's better to be playing them when they're losing, no doubt," Ord said. "They'll all be asking questions in their camp, 'What's going wrong?'. They're going to be very determined. But if you can get on top (of them), there's going to be some chinks in the armour."
WILLIAMS DELIGHTED TO EXTEND GLORY STAY
Aryn Williams has re-signed with Perth Glory and the defender is keen on a longer stint with the West Australian side. A Perth local, Williams signed with Glory in November on a short-term deal as an injury-replacement, with the likes of Dino Djulbic and Josh Risdon unavailable. The defender has made seven A-League appearances since his arrival and admits he would love to stay in the purple and white long-term.
“I've just resigned a new deal which takes me to February,” Williams said. “I would love to stay at Glory for many years to come as I love playing for the club and the fan base is great. I've always wanted to wear the Glory jersey and especially as it is my hometown club. I used to come and watch when I was a lot younger with some big name players playing and now I am wearing the jersey with my name on the back. It really is a boyhood dream come true.”
22-year old Williams started his career at ECU Joondalup followed by spells with English club Burnley and Floreat Athena. He said the transition from National Premier Leagues to A-League has been relatively straightforward. “It is a lot different as the players are better, everyone is fitter and there is more at stake but I think I have adjusted accordingly to come into the Glory set-up,” he said.
Williams made his first team debut off the bench against Western Sydney Wanderers and has so far featured at right back, left back and in central defence. “I thoroughly enjoyed making my debut against the Wanderers away from home as they have a very good following and I just worked hard on the pitch,” he said. “Unfortunately we couldn't get the result we were searching for but I will definitely remember that moment for many years to come.”
Glory are unbeaten in their past three games, with a draw and two wins, and Williams believes a place in the top six is not out of reach. “We all get along very well on and off the pitch and we are all working hard together to get the result we deserve,” the defender said. “It's been tough so far but with a lot of hard work we can get to where we want to be and that is in the finals where I think we definitely deserve to be. If we can continue to work our socks off then we never know where that could take us.”
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM FOOTBALLWA
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GLORY LOOKING FOR SOME CHRISTMAS CHEER IN MELBOURNE
Perth Glory are on the road this festive period, when they take on Melbourne Victory at AAMI Stadium on Sunday (2pm) Kenny Lowe’s side will be looking to make it four games without defeat, while the Victory will be looking to stop a four game losing streak, which included a 1-0 loss to the Glory at nib Stadium two weeks ago. Glory defender Michael Thwaite said they are ready to rumble in the Victorian Capital, as they look to add more misery on Kevin Muscat’s side. Seven points from the last three games has put the Glory back into finals contention, but they haven’t won on the road this season.
Victory midfielder Gui Finkler has called Sunday’s clash as a Grand Final for them, and Thwaite, who has been outstanding form at the heart of the back four along with Alex Grant, said they won’t shy away from the challenge. “They're going to be under a lot of pressure going on their run at the moment," Thwaite said. "We heard Fink say it's going to be like a grand final for them. But with that comes pressure. We're going to go there and hopefully take it to them. They're probably the biggest club in Australia; we have to be ready to rumble."
Glory have been getting a number of their injured players back in recent weeks, but the club has been hit by a virus this week. A number of players missed the session on Tuesday, including Coach Kenny Lowe and skipper Richard Garcia. The medical staff believe all the players will be ready for Sunday’s game, but Sidnei Sciola, Guyon Fernandez, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Marc Warren are still in doubt.
Thwaite said the players are looking forward to the challenge and changing their fortunes on the road, with a game against Brisbane Roar next week. He hopes everyone with the virus will play, and he is immune to it. “If you’re sick you have to stay at home. I must be immune to the virus, with the amount of sickness my kids have had,” Thwaite joked. “We're not really content in our away form, we need to improve that. Victory and Roar away - it doesn't get harder than that."
Victory are enduring their worst-ever run in 11 years of the A-League, and they will be hurting from four straight defeats. Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to bitter crosstown rivals Melbourne City has seen them side drop to fifth on the ladder, seven points behind league-leaders Western Sydney Wanderers. Finkler said the weekend’s game is vital against a resurgent Glory. “It’s going to be a grand final for us, we’ve been chasing three points in the last four games and we have to win, there can be no other result especially at home,” he said.
The Victory sat top of the table after taking out the FFA Cup Final, against the Glory in November, but since then they have been in free fall, although the performances have been good. “To be honest, before the four games we were on top with a game in hand, now we’ve lost four in a row and it’s something we didn’t expect,” Finkler said. “We’ve got an experienced squad and we know we haven’t been at our best. We’ve showed good signs and we have to pick ourselves up for Sunday’s game and train hard to ensure we get three points against Perth.” The Victory will be sweating on the fitness of midfielder Rashid Mahazi, who limped off in the second half against City with a knee problem. They can ill-afford to be without the youngster, with skipper Carl Valeri also side-lined at the moment.
WA PLAYERS SELECTED IN OLYROOS SQUAD
The Olyroos will head into the 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers with three WA players and three former Perth Glory players named in Aurelio Vidmar’s 23-man squad. WA-born Daniel da Silva, Adam Taggert and Scott Galloway will be joined by former Glory players Jamie Maclaren, Ryan Edwards and Jack Duncan, while former ECU Joondalup defender Cameron Burgess has also made the squad.
There is also 12 A-League player represented in the squad, who will take part in AFC U-23 Championship Doha 2016 in Qatar, from the 14th to 30th January, which is the final round of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics. “We have put together an exciting squad that includes some players with Socceroos experience and also illustrates the strength of the Hyundai A-League and its position as a true pathway for national team footballers, and the clubs should be congratulated for the part they play in developing these players,” Vidmar said.
“We have taken the group through an important journey with qualifying, camps and friendly matches, but this is a step up in class that they have to take in their development as international football players,” he added. “We head to Qatar for a tough tournament but we have a good group of players that and we’re confident we can qualify for the Olympics, which is a great opportunity for the players.”
One WA player who hasn’t been chosen is Ryan Williams, who has been told by his English League One club Barnsley, he wasn’t allowed to play in the tournament. With the AFC U-23 Championship tournament not being staged during a designated FIFA date, European clubs aren’t obligated to release their players for the national team. So it’s meant Vidmar will be without Williams and five other key players next month – Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Brad Smith (Liverpool), Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam), Milos Degenek (1860 Munich) Awer Mabil (Midtjylland).
“It’s always tough in non-FIFA windows but there’s not much we can do about it. It was the same for the last tournament and it’s been like that for a while,” Vidmar said. “It’s something that is out of our control so we just focus on what we can control. The guys I replaced them with I’m very excited about what they can offer.
The Olyroos will head to Dubai for a seven day camp before the opening match in Group D against the United Arab Emirates on 14 January at the Grand Hamad Stadium. The Olyroos also play Vietnam (17 January) and Jordan (20 January), with the top two teams progressing to the quarter finals, with the top three teams qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Full Squad - Mustafa AMINI (Randers FC, Denmark), Terry ANTONIS (PAOK, Greece), Brandon BORRELLO (Brisbane Roar), Josh BRILLANTE (Calcio Como, Italy), Cameron BURGESS (Fulham, England), Daniel DE SILVA (Roda JC Kerkrade, Holland), Thomas DENG (Melbourne Victory), James DONACHIE (Brisbane Roar), Jack DUNCAN (Randers FC, Denmark), Ryan EDWARDS (Partick Thistle, Scotland), Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (Melbourne Victory), Scott GALLOWAY (Melbourne Victory) Jason GERIA (Melbourne Victory), Alex GERSBACH (Sydney FC), Andrew HOOLE (Sydney FC), Chris IKONOMIDIS (SS Lazio, Italy), Paul IZZO (Central Coast Mariners), Aaron LENNOX (Kilmarnock FC, Scotland), Jamie MACLAREN (Brisbane Roar), Stefan MAUK (Melbourne City), Connor PAIN (Melbourne Victory), Adam TAGGART (Dundee United FC, Scotland), Steven UGARKOVIC (Uncontracted)
LOWRY TO ENTERTAIN ALL OPTIONS
Shane Lowry may have made his Birmingham City debut on the weekend but he’ll be assessing his options when the January transfer window opens. Lowry, 26, gained his first start at left-back in Birmingham’s 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the Championship on Saturday. The appearance had been a long time coming for the defender, who signed with the Blues in September following a twelve-month stint at Leyton Orient.
Lowry, who has played a handful of Birmingham reserves’ matches, said his promotion came out of the blue, but following a minor injury to regular left-back Jonathan Grounds. Despite the opportunity, the former ECU Joondalup junior said he will be keeping an open mind in January. “Obviously I haven’t played many games this season, so I’ll have to look at my options in January,” Lowry said.
“I only have a deal until the end of the season. You never know what’s going to happen in football. It came as a surprise that I was playing to begin with, because I haven’t really been involved this season … I’m not closing the door on anything. I don’t know what’s going to happen or what the club’s plans are in January, whether they want to bring more players in. I could have a run of games, so I wouldn’t have a clue. It changes very quickly.”
Lowry admits he did find the going difficult against Cardiff. “That was my first competitive game since April,” he said. “The last game I actually played was for Leyton Orient. In all the reserves games I’ve played, I’d been playing as a centre-half, so that was my first game at left-back and they had some tricky wingers. It was difficult but I enjoyed it at the same time.”
TAGGART REJECTS NEWCASTLE’S OVERTURES
Newcastle Jets coach Scott Miller has contacted Adam Taggart about a potential return to the A-League but the striker remains committed to Fulham for the time being. Miller, a former Under-21 coach Fulham, spoke to Taggart to determine the 22-year old's interest in returning to Newcastle for the second half of the 2015/16 season.
But Taggart told Miller he wants to work at breaking into Fulham's senior side after a frustrating year-and-a-half in the United Kingdom. With Fulham expected to unveil Slavisa Jokanovic as their new manager in the coming days, there could be opportunities for the likes of Taggart and fellow Aussie youngsters Ryan Williams and Cameron Burgess to prove themselves.
Taggart has been limited to just nine senior club appearances - all on loan at Dundee United - since joining Fulham in mid-2014. A long-term groin problem marred his debut season with the London club, who sent the striker on loan to Dundee in September, an agreement which came to an end this month.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT FOR ARMADALE
Armadale have struggled in the PS4 NPLWA for the past two season, but that all changed when Paul Price was appointed as senior coach early in 2015. The former Western Knights and Sorrento Coach has stabilised the club, and they were very competitive during the season, and although they only won the four games there were signs the club will be better in 2016. Ahead of the new season Price said the club are looking to improve both on and off the park and he hopes to continue their improvement.
Price said the Reds pre-season will start in the New Year and he is looking forward to the QBE Night Series late in January to continue their progress. “When Tony (Castello) and I arrived at the club they hadn’t won a game for a while, but we were confident we could improve them, and I think we did,” he explained. “We knew it was going to be difficult, but the players were really good they worked hard and they were far more competitive and that’s all we could have asked from them, and we will be looking for more of the same next season starting in the Night Series.”
The club have a number of players on their radar to join them, but Price was keeping his cards close to his chest. “We’ve spoken to a number of players regarding next season and we hope to bring in a few,” he said. “We have lost a few players from last season’s squad but we can’t stand on our laurels, and we need to bring in the right players, and hopefully we can secure these. The club have big plans off the park, improving the facilities at Alfred Skeet Reserve and it’s our job to improve on the pitch.” Armadale have been drawn in Group B alongside last season’s State League Cup winners Sorrento, Stirling Lions, Balcatta, ECU Joondalup and Perth SC
OLIVER LOOKING FOR A NEW TWIST AT CANNING
There was a huge turnover of players at Canning City last season, and they finished a disappointing10th position on the All Flags Division One table, eight points clear of the automatic relegation spot. But Coach Paul Oliver said there were positives to come out of the season. “We all knew 2015 was never going to be easy with the number of outgoings we had and we finished the season disappointingly,” he said. “There were positives to take out of most of our displays so we just have to make sure that we build on those and be more consistent over the course of 90 minutes.”
The club will look to consolidation in 2016 and Oliver, who was in his first season as a senior coach last year, said they head into the new campaign with a great deal of optimism. “This off season has been a lot more stable and I have certainly not had to make as many phone calls as I did last year. We are still a very young side but with huge raw potential,” he explained. “I am very confident that this group has the ability to do great things if they work hard and stay together long term, and we will look to improve in certain aspects of our game.”
Losing so many experience players gave Oliver the opportunity to look at the younger players in the group, and they performed well for him. “There is an upside to everything and the positive about losing a dozen senior first teamers from 2014 is that some players were fast tracked into regular first team football and that experience and responsibility will only benefit them long term,” he said. “It is very satisfying guiding young players, and watch them developing their games. They've all got at least a year under their belt now so I will be expecting them all to progress further in 2016.”
The coach knows he will have to add to his squad to push up the table, after conceding too many goals last season. They conceded 57 goals the fourth worst in the league, but he has already made some good signings to hopefully rectify this. “Our main problem in 2015 is that we conceded too many goals, so it will be a strong focus to sure up at the back,” Oliver said. “We have signed a couple of experienced defenders who will offer something a bit different and will add depth to the defence.”
The First Division is always tough, but it will more competitive this season with the possibility of promotion to the NPL, and Oliver say’s there are a number of clubs who would be very competitive in there in 2017 if promoted. “There is no doubting that the First Division will be the most competitive it has ever been with the two clubs coming up (Forrestfield United and Rockingham City) are very strong both on and off the field,” he said. “I think there are a number of clubs that if promoted wouldn't be out of place in the NPL, Mandurah and Ashfield are the two obvious ones that not only have the squad but also the off field attributes required.”
DAVIES MALAYSIA’S BEST YOUNG PLAYER
Matthew Davies brought a bit of sparkle to an otherwise disappointing season for Pahang by picking up the Young Player of the Year at Malaysia’s National Football Awards over the weekend. The 20-year old right-back flew from Perth to Malaysia to receive the award, the only one collected by a player from the east coast side.
“It’s great to be recognised by your peers and I’m honoured. I feel so happy to win this award,” Davies said. “I dedicate this award to all the Pahang fans. We were fighting for all the titles – Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup – but ended up empty-handed. I hope this award will placate our fans.”
Pahang made the semi-finals of both the Malaysia Cup and FA Cup, and also finished second in the Super League before dropping to third after being docked six points by the Football Association of Malaysia for failing to settle a former player’s salaries. This cost the club a place in next season’s AFC Cup.
Despite this, it has been a good year for Davies, who joined Pahang in April on a three-year contract after making scattered appearances for Perth Glory across two seasons. He was called up for Malaysia’s Under-23 team in June, and from there progressed to the senior national team, making five appearances to date.
W-LEAGUE LEADERS TO STRONG FOR GLORY
Melbourne City have edged closer to securing the W-League Premiership after a 4-0 win over Perth Glory at CB Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon. The hosts dominated from the first whistle but it took them until the second half to find their radar in front of goal, with Kim Little, Marianna Tabain, Larissa Crummer and Jess Fishlock netting after the break.
Former Glory midfielder Lisa De Vanna had the first attempt of the game when Rebekah Stott found her in the box with a cross, but the header missed wide. Moments later she then teed up Beattie Goad for a muffed shot that landed safely in the arms of Mackenzie Arnold. The Matildas captain then came close to opening the scoring in the 18th minute, cutting in from the right and curling a shot that whistled just wide of the post.
Glory keeper Arnold was keeping her side in the game pulling off a number of fine saves, and on the half hour she had to have extended treatment, but the Glory custodian was right to continue. With the Glory sitting back and inviting pressure, De Vanna had the opportunity to give her side the lead two minutes later, but somehow with the goal at her mercy she blazed wide.
Arnold was standing between a City blitz, and after a superb passing move between Stott, De Vanna and Goad saw the former test Arnold from distance, but the keeper was up to the task, tipping her shot over the bar. The Glory were struggling to create any clear cut chances, and the few forays forward resulted in the opportunity being cleared with relative ease.
Jess Fishlock was the next to have a chance on goal for the hosts, connecting with Amy Jackson’s cross but heading wide of the target. The Glory’s best chance of the half came in stoppage time, with Kim Carroll’s free kick picking out Carla Bennett, but her volley flashed just wide of the target.
The hosts again peppered the goals after the break, with Crummer and Little both unable to beat Arnold, but the deadlock was finally broken in the 62nd minute. Crummer and De Vanna combined to find Little, who took a couple of touches and blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Crummer almost made it two in quick succession after picking up Little’s cutback, but she fired wide of the target. But it was 2-0 on 68 minutes. Former Glory striker Tabain had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes, and with her first touch of the game, she pounced on a loose ball in the box and slotting it past Arnold.
With the Glory pushing forward looking for goals, City added a third, and Crummer finally had her goal in the 82nd minute following a game of frustrating near misses. She made no mistake from De Vanna’s cross to seal the contest. Jess Fishlock added the fourth in the final minute, although there was suspicions of off offside, but she finished well to seal a 4-0 win for the league leaders.
GLORY AND WANDERERS FIGHT OUT AN A-LEAGUE THRILLER
Perth Glory continued their three game unbeaten run after a thrilling 2-2 draw with top of the table Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium. The draw also ended the seven game winning streak of the visitors, who had to come from a goal behind on two occasions to earn the point. Diego Castro put the Glory ahead early from the penalty spot, before Brandon Santalab levelled. It looked like Mitch Oxborrow’s first A-League goal had won it for the home side, but former Glory midfielder Mitch Nichols earned his side a point nine minutes from time.
Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said it ends a perfect week for the club, who have secured seven points from a possible nine. “It’s been a good week for everyone, the lads seem happy and confident, it breeds a lot of togetherness as well,” he said. “They’re a super team, but you know what, on the night, we did ever so well. We caused them problems in the first half, and we changed our shape in the second half and we created chances. I'm so proud of the team.”
The Wanderers had four ex-Glory players in their starting eleven, while Lowe made five changes to the side that beat Melbourne Victory on Wednesday evening. Castro, Oxborrow, Aryn Williams, Hagi Gligor and Joe Knowles, who made his A-League debut, came in, with Nebojsa Marinkovic and Marc Warren out injured, and Richard Garcia, Chris Harold and Jamal Reiners dropped to the bench.
It was a perfect start for the home side and they were ahead after only two minutes. Castro was sent into the area by Gligor’s through ball and the Spaniard fell under the challenge of Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne, and referee Jarred Gillett pointed straight to the spot. Castro picked himself up and fired home the resulting penalty, low to the right of the Wanderers custodian.
The Wanderers hit back on 20 minutes, with a superb set piece. Dario Vidosic played a short corner to Nichols in the box, he played the ball out to Scott Jamieson at the top of the penalty area, and his low ball picked out the unmarked Santalab in the six-yard box, who finished from the close-range. It was a training ground routine, executed superbly, and even the Glory faithful applauded it.
The visitors were having plenty of possession and the Glory back four were working overtime to keep them at bay. Ante Covic denied his former team mates moments later, saving Alberto Aguilar free kick, while Gyorgy Sandor blocked the follow up shot. Dario Vidosic and Nichols were causing problems in the middle of the park, but Oxborow and Sandor, were giving as good as they got going the other way, and Sandor’s long-range shot whistled just wide just before the break.
The Glory made a double change at the break, bringing on Reiners and Harold, and the pair began to cause problems for the Wanderers defence. Reiners got in behind them on 54 minutes, but was crudely brought down. It was end-to-end football and the 7,049 crowd were on the edge of their seats. Nichols was a constant threat, and his snap shot from a tight angle was saved low by Covic.
But on the hour the Glory regained the lead. ?? was brought down 30-yards from goal, and Oxborrow superbly curled the free kick into the top-right corner, Redmayne did get a hand to it but couldn’t stop it giving the home side the lead and sending the Glory faithful into raptures. Nichols tried his luck again moments later, but Oxborrow got back with a superb last ditch tackle, before Jamieson shot straight at Covic as the Wanderers looked for an immediate response.
The Wanderers continue to press and Scott Neville headed over when well placed with ten minutes remaining, but two minutes later the Wanderers pressure told and they were level. Substitute Romeo Castelen spotted an unmarked Nichols at the top of the box, and the former Glory midfielder curled his shot wide of Covic to equaliser.
Both sides had chances to win all three points. Richard Garcia sent Harold racing clear on 84 minutes, with just Redmayne to beat. But Wanderers skipper Nikoai Topor-Stanley got back to get in a last ditch tackle and the chance was gone. Then four minutes later the Wanderers went close to the winner. Romeo Castelen shot was blocked, but the rebound falls to Federico Piovaccari, his shot beat Covic but Williams got back on the line to head clear and give both sides a share of the spoils.
MAKECHE JOINS SARAWAK
Former Stirling Lions, Inglewood United and Perth Glory striker Ndumba Makeche has left KL Felda United and has joined fellow Malaysian Super League club Sarawak FA for next season. The 23-year-old scored 15 goals in his 36 games for Felda last season, to help them to fifth on the table, but he hopes to help his new club improve on their tenth place finish last season.
He has joined the club with five other players as Sarawak look for a successful season, and he’s looking forward to the new challenge. “I’m very happy to be joining Sarawak, and I’m hoping to continue my goal scoring, and help the club climb the table next season,” Makeche said. “I know they have very passionate fans and I can’t wait to play in front of them.”
The striker had two successful seasons at the Selayang Stadium, but said he knew it was time for a change. “Yes I had two good years at the club, but I really thought it was time for a fresh challenge, and I’m happy with my new club,” Makeche said. “I wish them (Felda) all the best in future, except when we play them of course.”
He is joined at the club by Brazilian striker Gilmar Jose Da Silva Filho who has signed from Kelantan, as well as four local players. Head Coach Datuk Rajagopal said the signings will greatly improve his squad and they will pose a threat to other teams in the top tier of football in Malaysia. “What I want for the club is a long term development and bringing the team back to the era where the team very much feared by others in the league,” he said. “However my vision is not only for next season. We have until February for players’ registrations and we will take our time to select the best of the best.”
CLARKE BACK DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST
Former Inglewood United winger Ryan Clarke is back playing football again, after a one year ban given to him by the Macquarie Football Association was overturned on appeal. The 28-year-old was given the ban after playing for Adamstown Juniors, in a lower grade game, after the paper work from the club hadn’t been sent. Clarke said he’s just happy to put it all behind him and be back playing again. “I’m real happy it’s been resolved and I can start playing again,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard to stay fit and I’m looking forward to the new season with NPL Northern NSW side Maitland FC.”
Clarke was thankful for his solicitor’s work in the appeal and said it was frustrating to not be informed of the charge. “I was given a year ban with no trial and once I got a solicitor involved the case went on and on as they didn't know what I was actually charged for,” he explained. “It eventually got heard and when the lawyer showed them my charge, playing unregistered, which the fine is $100, they agreed, but still gave me a four week ban, so it ended up a little embarrassing for them.”
The speedy winger made the move to NSW last year and has settled in well and has now found himself a fantastic new job. “I made the move over from WA for work reasons, and I’m really enjoying it at the moment,” Clarke said. “I’m in real estate now and loving it, Reece Thompson has given me the best career opportunity at his company and I love it, and to get back playing football again is a real bonus.”
Clarke was touted as a new recruit for Perth Glory in 2014, after impressing the coaching staff, but he was left disappointed and let the club have it with both barrels when asked about the situation. “To say I was disappointed was an understatement,” he explained. “The Glory is just a boys club, and full of empty promises hence why they sit bottom of the ladder and have no supporters anymore.”
He still anchors thoughts of a return to Inglewood one day, and he still keeps tabs on the club and believes they have recruited well this season. “I couldn't be happier for Inglewood, the club stills means a great deal to me, and they have recruited well this season and I believe they will be strong next season,” Clarke said.
“There are quality players and people off the pitch at the club, and I hope they get what they deserve, some silverware. It’s a great family run club that I miss and as for coming back I would love to, but at this point in time I have to look at my future after football and Maitland FC is also a great club were I have settled in well.”
WANDERERS UP NEXT FOR LOWE’S CHARGERS
Perth Glory will be hoping to carry on their winning form into Saturday’s clash with league leaders Western Sydney Wanderers at nib Stadium(6.30pm) They will go in search of another three points, their third match in seven days. But Coach Kenny Lowe said his players had prepared for Wednesday night’s match against Victory like it was an FFA Cup fixture. “We seem to be good at them,” Lowe said, referring to Glory reaching the past two FFA Cup finals. “The players love this – play, recover, play, recover. They don’t train. They love this type of environment.”
Youth has been a key feature of Lowe’s team in recent weeks, as Glory looks to cover for several injured players. The likes of Joe Knowles, Stefan Valentini, Jacob Collard and Jamal Reiners have all contributed this season to date, but the coach denied he would blood more youngsters just for the sake of it. “There’s no promises for anybody, no one is promised anything,” Lowe said. “That’s the problem sometimes; people think we give promise, but you’ve got to earn it and Jamal earned it.”
There were some injury concerns coming out of the 1-0 win against the Victory, midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic (hamstring) and left back Marc Warren (foot), both are in doubt for the Wanderers clash, while Diego Castro and Chris Harold are also battling to overcome soreness from the quick turnaround in matches.
Western Sydney may have won seven straight in the A-League but one of their key recruits reckons they can get even better. Former Glory midfielder Mitch Nichols has warned the Glory that A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers are set to "punish a team soon”. "We're going to really punish a team soon," the attacking midfielder told reporters on Thursday. “You know, we've probably let a couple of teams off the hook and hopefully I can keep chipping in with a few goals. I feel like we can definitely improve from an attacking side. You know, we're creating a lot of chances but sometimes our finishing has been letting us down."
Western Sydney have scored 16 goals in 10 matches this term, level with Brisbane Roar as the second most prolific team in the A-League, and the 1-0 win against the Glory earlier in the season was their first, and they haven’t looked back since. Wanderers’ coach Tony Popovic hinted his team's winning streak was forged in the club's intense 2014-15 season. "Last year, we had in a six-month period probably an education as a club and - if we're talking about myself - as a coach that maybe you don't get in four or five years," Popovic said. "The amount of games, the amount of travel, the challenges that were put in front of us, you know, it's a quick-fire education and I believe we got a lot out of that. I certainly learnt a lot from that period."
Squads for Saturday’s game: Perth Glory: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11 Richard GARCIA (c), 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Hagi GLIGOR, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 23 Michael THWAITE, 24 Jamal REINERS, 28 Joe KNOWLES, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS - In’s: 5.Antony Golec (promoted), 15.Hagi GLIGOR (promoted)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, GK Dean BOUZANIS, 3 Scott JAMIESON, 4 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 6 Mitch NICHOLS, 7 Romeo CASTELEN, 8 DIMAS, 9 Federico PIOVACCARI, 10 Dario VIDOSIC, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 12 Scott NEVILLE, 14 Golgol MEBRAHTU, 16 Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17 ALBERTO, 18 ANDREU, 19 Mark BRIDGE, 21Jacob PEPPER, 22Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS - In’s: 9.Federico PIOVACCARI (promoted), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted)
GLORY READY TO TAKE ON W-LEAGUE LEADERS
Perth Glory W-League side will be looking to do something no one else in the league has achieved this season, and that is beat league leaders Melbourne City, when the pair meet at C.B. Smith Reserve, Fawkner on Sunday. The Glory had the perfect opportunity to move into the top four last week but they were beaten 2-4 at home by Sydney FC and Coach Bobby Despotovski said missed chances and their defensive vulnerabilities let them down last week. “Missed opportunities yes, but overall we let ourselves down defensively. We didn’t defend as a team and that was evident from the result and the goals we conceded,” he said. “We know going into the game the importance of it, and we were naïve at times. We did have good periods in the match, and we didn’t have much luck in front of goal.”
RISDON COMPLETES THE BAKERS DOZEN
When Josh Risdon walks out onto Perth Oval on Saturday night he will accomplish a feat only a dozen players have completed before him - 100 national league appearances for Perth Glory. It's an amazing tale for the 23-year old, who recently made his Socceroos debut against Bangladesh in a World Cup Qualifier last month.
Risdon will join former Glory players Jamie Harnwell (256), Bobby Despotovski (241), Scott Miller (227), Jason Petkovic (177), Jamie Coyne (152), Gareth Naven (143), Damien Mori (129), Edgar (116), Jacob Burns (116), Steven McGarry (115), Naum Sekulovski (108) and Danny Vukovic (106) in the prestigious 100-gamer club.
“It’s a great achievement for me and to join that list is an honour and it’s going to be a proud moment for myself and my family,” said Risdon, whose first Glory appearance came against North Queensland Fury in November 2010. “Hopefully we can cap off the night with a win over the Wanderers heading into Christmas.”
The boy from Gelorup, in Bunbury’s south, is set to play his 'century' against table topping Western Sydney Wanderers, one of only two teams he has scored against. His match winning strike against the Wanderers last season made national team selectors take notice of his versatility and goal scoring threat.
Risdon had been knocking on the Socceroos door for some time and was duly rewarded by coach Ange Postecoglou with a spot in the Socceroos squad for November's World Cup qualifiers. Risdon went on to make his international debut in against Bangladesh and played a critical role in helping Tim Cahill score his second goal of that match.
Risdon, who won the 2012 Most Glorious Player (MGP) award, said his goal was to always live his passion and dream to the fullest. “My football dream started when I was 7 years old playing for Bunbury United. I didn’t realise I wanted to play professionally until I was about 12 when I started travelling to Perth and was playing for ECU Joondalup” he said.
“From there I got selected to play for the NTC (National Training Centre) with Kenny Lowe as my mentor. He instilled in me some virtues that are with me to this very day. He used to say ‘Play with a smile and finish with a sweaty shirt’ and that has stuck with me since those days.” A Glory win on Saturday will edge them closer to the top six.
NPL-WA FINALS WILL BE A SEPARATE COMPETITION IN 2016
Football West confirmed that finals will return to the NPL-WA next season, however it will have no bearing on the state championship. The team that finishes top of the table will continue to be champions of the NPL-WA. There will however be a "Top Four Cup" competition, which will be regarded as a separate prize. The last time the finals were run separately was in 2007. Football West have pencilled in the semi-finals to be played under lights on Friday September 2nd, with the Preliminary Final being a mid-week game on Wednesday September 7th. The Top Four Grand Final is likely to be on Sunday September 11th.
NO COMPLACENCY FOR CHAMPIONS
Bayswater City’s 2015 season was one of great success, and Coach Chris Coyne said they are heading into the new campaign in great shape, but he said there will be know complacency. The Black and Blues won the PS4 NPLWA title for the third consecutive season, and reached the Grand Final of the National NPL competition before going down to Blacktown.
The club did WA proud and Coyne said it was a team effort. “I was immensely proud of all involved at the club. Obviously the players did all the talking on the pitch, but there was a lot happening behind the scenes to take the club to a new level and make another progression in terms of a professional environment,” he said. “Some of the football the boys played was fantastic and we were always a threat going forward but I think our all-round game developed and that was what pleased me the most.”
The club went through the league season unbeaten and although they fell at the final hurdle against Blacktown in the National Grand Final, Coyne said they are hoping to go one better next season. “Being unbeaten all year shows that we have acquired a resilience, both mentally and physically, and the fact that the boys were strong enough to maintain this all year was an amazing fete,” he said. “We fell one short with the NPL Australia final being well beaten by Blacktown, but that was a massive learning curve for everyone and given the chance will be better prepared moving forward.”
Bayswater will again be the hunted, with all clubs wanting to take their crown, but Coyne said the players and the coaching staff are relishing the challenge, and will be looking for four league titles on the bounce. “It is going to be tough, and since I have arrived at the club everyone has been trying to beat us,” Coyne explained. “I wouldn’t have it any other way as there is more pressure looking up than there is looking down. Our job is to keep improving, we don’t worry about anyone else, but we do respect them.”
The league is improving, and Coyne believes Bayswater will have some tough opposition in 2016, but he believes the new group of players will be well prepared for anything. “If clubs need to raise the bar 10% to challenge us I keep asking the playing group that they raise it again so that we can try to keep that divide,” he said. “It should mean that the league gets stronger if teams attempt to evolve and get better each year. If they don’t, it will not stop us from pushing ourselves harder and demanding more from each other as we will not accept the easy option.”
It’s been a busy off-season for the club and Coyne believes they have added quality on and off the park. “We have added some great young players to the group with Jack Allen, Nathan Costello, Fraser Greenwood and Jack Jones who has just returned from a spell with Stevenage FC,” he said. “With the experience and pedigree of a fit Andrija Jukic, I think it's going to be a great squad to work with and I will have a few headaches at the selection table that I am pleased about.”
“We have also added great depth into our coaching ranks with Gary Williams coming in to assist our team. It means that we have five first team coaches/managers at the club covering all levels so we are striving to push each other to get better as well as being sounding boards to various scenarios that come up.”
Coyne has been delighted with the fitness of his squad in pre-season, and shows the commitment they have. “We have come back and the boys are all in great shape and raring to go,” he said. “The level of intensity has been good and you can see that the players have come back hungry and determined to try and go one better than last year, and we will be working hard to try and better ourselves again.”
They will be looking for a solid QBE Night Series, after a disappointing 2015 pre-season tournament. Coyne said they were underdone last season, and that will not be the case this season. “Pre-season is going well and we are really looking forward to the start of the night series,” he said. “Last year we went in with the intention of being very under done in the night series and we were never going to be chance of winning it. This year however, the boys have come back fit and fresh and are determined to attempt to try and win everything that is put in front of them.”
CASTRO GRABS GLORY THE VICTORY
Perth Glory’s A-League resurgence continued on Wednesday night after a 1-0 win against Champions Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium. Spanish midfielder Diego Castro came off the bench to score the winner, tapping home debutant Jamal Reiners cross. It made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season and gain sweet revenge for the 2-0 lost to the Victory in the FFA Cup final last month.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe was full of praise for 17-year-old Reiners who made his starting debut for the club. “Jamal had a ball out there, it’s his debut and he can look back on it with fondness. He worked his socks off, he was a threat and he created the goal,” he said. “We worked ever so hard, we closed them down, and we created chances.”
Lowe made two changes to the side that beat Central Coast Mariners on Saturday, with Castro dropping to the bench for Reiners, while Socceroo defender Josh Risdon returned, with Aryn Williams making way. The Victory arrived in the West after back-to-back defeats, and it was the Glory who was out of the blocks early, and they went close after only two minutes. Reiners pace took him clear, his shot was blocked, the ball falling to Risdon, whose shot was saved low by Danny Vukovic.
Risdon and Chris Harold looked lively as the Glory took the game to the visitors, but Victory looked to lift the tempo. Glory custodian Ante Covic was off his line smartly to save at the feet of Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler, but Besart Berisha and Fahid Ben Khalfallah were struggling to get into the game. Clear cut chances for both sides were few and far between. Kosta Barbarouses low cross was well claimed by Covic, before Gyorgy Sandor long-range shot was saved by Vukovic. Then on the stroke of half time the Victory had a penalty claim turned down by referee Chris Beath. Berisha fell in the box, the official was well placed and waved away the Albanian’s angry protests.
The Glory also had a strong penalty claim just after half time. Harold raced clear, from Diogo Ferreira, and as the striker rounded Vukovic it looked like the former Glory custodian brought him down. But again the referee got the decision right with Vukovic getting a hand to the ball before Harold tumbled. The best chance of the game fell to Berisha on 66 minutes. The striker had been well held all game by the outstanding Michael Thwaite, but he found space on the edge of the penalty area and was picked out by Barbarouses with only Covic to beat, but with the goal at his mercy his shot crashed off the crossbar and Connor Pain’s follow up shot was blocked.
That miss came back to haunt Berisha and the Victory, and on 74 minutes the Glory scored the winner. Reiners raced onto a through ball from Thwaite, he outpaced his marker on the left and crossed low to Castro, who rammed the ball home from close-range and celebrated in front of the shed. The Spaniard almost added a second eight minutes later. With Nebo Marinkovic off the pitch with a hamstring injury, it was Castro taking the set pieces and his free kick from the edge of the box drifted just wide of the post.
The Glory was stifling the Victory midfield and the visitors couldn’t break through a tight defence, with Thwaite and Alex Grant outstanding at the heart of the back four. Castro had another opportunity to double the Glory’s advantage two minutes from time. This time his curling free kick was well saved by Vukovic at full stretch. There were three minutes of stoppage time to endure for the Glory faithful, but at the final whistle they were celebrating the three points.
NEXT TWO GAMES VITAL FOR JETS: BIRIGHITTI
Newcastle Jets are coming off their biggest A-League defeat yet, are winless in six rounds and facing a potential player exodus. But goalkeeper Mark Birighitti isn't about to lose focus, saying Friday night's clash with Adelaide United is a crucial time for his team to make a statement.
The next fortnight shapes as the biggest test of character yet for the embattled Jets, who are home to Adelaide this weekend before visiting high-flying Western Sydney on Christmas Eve. Leading into those game Newcastle are stranded in seventh place and sliding ever closer to the bottom of the A-League ladder.
"It's a big game," Birighitti said of Friday's outing with Adelaide. "We all know what it means this game and we'll be doing everything we can to not disappoint anyone. We set our goals on a six-game block, and we achieved in the first six games what we wanted to achieve. This six-game block we haven't reached what we wanted to achieve."
"It's still possible, it's two big games. It's still quite close from where we are to fourth or fifth so a couple of wins on the trot and we're back up there." But things have changed since the sides played out a goalless draw at Coopers Stadium four weeks ago, when Birighitti was outstanding.
Birighitti is reportedly being watched by English Premier League sides Newcastle United and Bournemouth. And with David Carney said to be in the sights of an unnamed Qatari club, there is concern Newcastle's already-thin roster could take a hit in the January transfer window. "It's just all rumours," Birighitti said of his situation. "I haven't heard anything about it."
CAHILL’S SHANGHAI EYES PRE-SEASON CAMP IN PERTH
Tim Cahill’s Shanghai Shenhua is in talks to bring its annual pre-season training camp to Perth in a potential boon for the sport in Western Australia. Representatives from the Chinese club toured several local facilities last week and spoke with Football West and Perth Glory about the possibility of bringing their entire squad to Perth for a two-week stay as early as next month.
Shanghai’s plans have yet to be finalised and it is believed Sydney is also being considered as a destination. But should a deal be reached it could open the gates for other Asian clubs to use Perth as a base for their off-season preparations. A Glory spokesman yesterday confirmed the club had been visited by Shanghai representatives last week, but described the meeting as “more of a meet and greet”.
Football West chief executive Peter Hugg was far more open regarding the likelihood of the camp. “There were representatives in the office last week looking to establish a relationship with Perth and WA,” he said. “When Tim Cahill came to Perth for the Socceroos match in September he proved very popular. Thousands of young kids turned out for his signature and to watch him train.”
“We’d been talking to him on a couple of other ideas and initiatives, then a couple of weeks ago Shanghai made contact with the city and Glory and so on and then turned up last week. They’re likely to be here in early January for a couple of weeks with their full complement.” Shanghai’s visit is likely to include a game against local opposition, with Glory and Football West understood to be at odds over who should host the match.
CLISBY KEEN TO HEAP MORE MISERY ON CROSS-TOWN RIVALS
Melbourne City defender Jack Clisby said the team was capable of adding to Melbourne Victory's woes after the A-League's defending champions slumped to a third straight loss mid-week. Clisby is keen to get another crack at Victory after the way their round-two clash ended, with Besart Berisha scoring a last-gasp minute winner for Victory after City had fought back to draw level from being two goals down.
"I played in that match early in the season and it was an unfortunate loss at the end there, which was pretty hard to take," said Clisby ahead of Saturday evening's clash at AAMI Park. "A bit of revenge, we're out to try and get back at them this weekend. We obviously have a score to settle with them."
"It was a disappointing end to the game the last time and that hurt a lot of the boys, especially after the way we had reacted in the second half. We came from two goals down to level it up and to lose that way in the end, you just want to get back out there and turn the tables and redeem that. I expect it's going to be a great game."
Left-back Clisby, who joined City from Perth Glory midway through last season, has faced Victory right-winger Kosta Barbarouses several times in his career and will no doubt do so again on Saturday. It is always a difficult challenge, but one Clisby said he relished.
"He's a very good player and a very tricky dribbler, so it's going to be a tough game," he said. "But I've got full confidence in my ability to mark him and I think it's the same for us across the whole spectrum of the pitch. I mean, I'd back every one of our players against theirs, so we're going to be rocking up on the day and we're going to give it a right go."
Clisby is unconcerned that Victory have won the last three derby games. "Anything can happen on derby day," he said. "Things can so quickly change on the day for either team. They're great games to be a part of and I can't wait for this next one ... We know we're good enough to win the game, so bring on Saturday."
Clisby said that while confidence in their ability as individual players and belief in the ability of the team as a whole was something the City players all had, they did not stray into the area of over-confidence and weren't getting carried away by their three-game winning streak.
"It's definitely good to be a part of it, there's no better feeling than winning," he said. "The momentum we're building up now is very good for the boys and hopefully we can keep going in that direction. But we haven't won anything yet, so we're not getting ahead of ourselves. We've just got to stay focused and keep pushing forward and trying to get more wins."
"Our big aim is obviously to win things at the end of the season, there are no trophies on offer now. We're a humble bunch of guys, we know we've got to stay focused. We've been able to string some consistency together and that's what (club owners) the City Football Group have been pushing for us to do. We were getting a good result and then following it with a bad result."
"Now we're starting to get some solid wins together and a lot of goals scored as well and not too many conceded recently. Our key players are really stepping up this season. We've got the top goal-scorer in Bruno Fornaroli and everyone knows how good Aaron Mooy has been for us, so our big players are really making their mark."
TAGGART RETURNS TO FULHAM
Dundee United have released striker Adam Taggart from his loan deal early but not to engineer a reported A-League switch. The 22-year old’s loan from Fulham was due to expire next month, but United opted to cut it short with Taggart only making nine appearances for the club without a goal. Taggart is yet to make a first team appearance for Fulham, who he joined 18 months ago. He has been linked with a return to Glory in recent weeks, although it is understood that is unlikely as he seeks to break through at Craven Cottage where his contract runs until 2017.
EPL CLUBS KEEP TABS ON BIRIGHITTI
Mark Birighitti could be the next Australian goalkeeper heading overseas with at least two Premier League clubs said to be monitoring the Newcastle Jets player. Newcastle United and Bournemouth are in the market for a back-up 'keeper and sources in England say they are both keeping tabs on the 24-year old Australia international.
Birighitti, who is contracted with the Jets until the end of the current A-League campaign, has been in outstanding form. The Perth SC product has been named three times in the league's team of the week despite having four teeth kicked out in an early season clash with Sydney FC's Shane Smeltz.
Birighitti had a loan spell in Italy's second division with AS Varese last season and caught the eye of some of the big guns of Serie A. He flew to Germany 18 months ago and trialled with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, but any chance of a deal was scuppered after the club axed coach Sami Hyypia.
Australia has a rich history when it comes to exporting goalkeepers, with current Socceroos number one Mat Ryan with Valencia in Spain's La Liga. Mitch Langerak is at VfB Stuttgart (Germany), Adam Federici plays for Bournemouth while Socceroos great Mark Schwarzer is still making the bench with Premier League leaders Leicester City at the age of 43.
Previously the likes of Mark Bosnich (Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea), Zeljko Kalac (Roda, Perugia, AC Milan) and West Australian Michael Petkovic (Trabzonspor, Sivasspor) have starred overseas. Now it could be another West Australian following in their footsteps, with Birighitti likely to draw further close attention if he can maintain his excellent start to the season.
GLORY IN THE CLEAR OVER PLAYER PAYMENTS
In reports on Wednesday it was stated that Perth Glory were under scrutiny regarding money owed to players. But that was put to bed today after a statement from the Professional Footballers Australia confirmed in a brief statement that the Glory has no outstanding obligations owing to players. But four other A-League clubs remain under pressure to pay what they owe to players by the end of the year or possibly face new sporting sanctions. Central Coast Mariners, Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United as the clubs in a race against the January 1 deadline.
The entitlements differ from club to club, but include superannuation, match payments, bonuses and transfer fees. This is agreed under the new collective bargaining agreement, A-League clubs have been given until the New Year to settle all player debts, or else the new sporting sanctions can be triggered if a player puts them on notice for non-payment. The sanctions, which include transfer embargoes and the potential loss of points, come in addition to a long-standing mechanism that allows players to leave their club after a certain period of non-payment - the same way Luke Brattan exited Brisbane Roar earlier this year.
The Mariners are PFA's biggest concern, but chief executive Shaun Mielekamp remains bullish and said the matter would be resolved in an interview with News Corp Australia. "As far as super is concerned, I don't hide from the fact that we have a bit of work to do by the end of the month to make sure things are cleared up, and we are not placed in this situation," Mielekamp said. "Are we going to get there? Absolutely I am positive we will get there." Brisbane Roar's superannuation payments are also up to date, but some match fees and player bonuses remain outstanding and the club's management and ownership are working feverishly to meet the deadline.
WILLIAMS GETS NINETY MINUTES UNDER HIS BELT AT BORO
Former ECU Joondalup academy player Rhys Williams has return to action for Middleborough after nearly two years out of the game with an Achilles problem. The Socceroo defender who headed to the UK from ECU in 2004, has featured in just two first-team games since he ruptured his Achilles against Wigan in January 2014. He made a comeback in January this year, but again broke down just minutes into an FA Cup tie at Barnsley, and only know is he nearing full fitness. But the 27-year-old former Boro skipper, believes he can deliver a huge boost to Aitor Karanka by pushing for a first-team place. He got through the full 90 minutes in his first match in over a year as Boro went down 3-2 in the Premier League under 21 fixture against Reading under-21s. “I am really good, I have become a lot stronger, slimmer, I can jump higher, run quicker and run further, I am in the best condition of my life,” Williams said.
If he pulls up well he will take part in the following game against Chelsea on December 21. Boro Coach Aitor Karanka has praised the strength of Williams’ character. “Rhys is training with the team, and we are thinking that he can play with the Under-21s next week, maybe one or two games,” he said. “He is really good, and feels better than last season. “We are all really pleased. It says a lot about his character that he has been able to come through this. He can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. He is pleased and excited, and hopefully next week he will get a good test if he is able to play with the Under-21s.” Everything has gone to plan so far, with Williams’ personal reports on the state of his Achilles providing further cause for optimism. “He has had to go through an awful lot, but the positive thing is that he feels a lot better than last year,” Karanka said. “The feelings and sensations that the player can feel are important. “He has been training really well, and he is confident. We are optimistic, but we can’t forget that he has really been out for two years.”
WANDERERS SURGE WAS 'JUST A MATTER OF TIME' SAYS NEVILLE
Western Sydney Wanderers will not underestimate Perth Glory, despite their opponent’s lowly position. Scott Neville, formerly with Glory and Newcastle Jets, knows only too well about the parochial home crowd, and is relishing this weekend’s return to familiar surrounds.
“Yeah you know it's back to where I started in the A-League - eight years ago now - and I can't wait to get back in front of the fans there,” Neville said. “Every game in the A-League's a tough game. The trip over to Perth will be a testing one for us but we're going to go over there and hopefully come back with the three points.”
Western Sydney head east looking to secure their eighth win in a row, a record which comes as no surprise to Neville. “We've improved a lot - even before in the early stages before we were getting results - we were playing pretty good football,” he said. “And we've still got a lot of room for improvement.”
LYDEN RELISHING FIRST TASTE OF EPL
Starlet Jordan Lyden was “speechless” after being named in the Aston Villa's squad for Sunday’s loss to Arsenal, but tongues are wagging over what the future might hold for the teenager. Lyden, 19, spent the afternoon warming up on the touchline as Villa’s nightmare season continued, the side going down 2-0 to Arsenal. While Villa are on a low, the midfielder was still buzzing 24 hours later as he savoured the experience of being involved with the first team for the first time.
“It’s a waiting game now again but I am in the right place and that’s the main thing,” Lyden said. “I was raring to go and get on. It’s just good the boss has taken a liking to me. I got called in for first team on Tuesday, and trained all week with them but I didn’t expect anything because there were still 20 players fit. There seemed no hope of me making the squad, then come Saturday morning we trained and then they put the sheet up for the Arsenal game and my name was on it. I was over the moon, I was actually speechless … It was a dream come true.”
Lyden has been on Villa's books since the age of 12, and coach Remi Grade called him into the first team after a standout display in the under-21s recent 2-1 defeat of Derby County. “I was there with first teamers Jack Grealish, Adama Traore and Libor Kozak, who scored both goals,” said Lyden. “I probably stood out in different way to them, they are flair players, but with a couple of chances I had and the discipline I showed, I think I did well. We were under pump in the last few minutes and as captain I had to get the boys going again.”
Despite Villa's perilous predicament, six points adrift of second-last Sunderland at the foot of the table after 15 games without a win, Lyden, like his teammates, is believing in miracles. “You have to believe, and we definitely have a squad good enough to get out of this situation,” he said. “I have been here so long now, I have grown to love the club and we have a good strong group mentally and technically they are great players. I have no doubt that we have what it takes it survive.”
“We are having no luck right now, and in football you need a bit of that to go along with ability and hard work. Football is all about momentum and when we get that first win, the confidence and belief will come flooding back. It’s a very psychological game. If we win one game, we’ll push on from there. I think that first win is coming.” Lyden will be hoping he retains his place in the Villa squad for their upcoming visit to Newcastle United.
BEADLING SCORES ON SUNDERLAND COMEBACK
Fit-again Tom Beadling marked his return to action by helping Sunderland maintain their lead at the top of the Under-21 Premier League with a 2-0 win at Norwich City. Beadling, who spent pre-season with the Sunderland first team squad, was sidelined in September with a broken ankle and only returned to full training at the Academy of Light last week. But the 19-year-old defender was back in the fold and on the scoresheet for the U21s in East Anglia, as Andy Welsh’s side made it four successive league wins.
WILLIAMS READY TO MAKE LONG-AWAITED MIDDLESBROUGH RETURN
Rhys Williams is set to make his eagerly-awaited comeback from injury in Middlesbrough’s development game at Reading on Wednesday. Williams has been sidelined for almost twelve months since rupturing his Achilles tendon in January’s FA Cup third-round win over Barnsley. That appearance, which followed a substitute role in the Boxing Day win over Nottingham Forest, was his first start since suffering a similar injury eleven months earlier.
Williams is now back in full training and coach Aitor Karanka is keen to see him a game situation. He has been pencilled in for Wednesday’s second-string game at Reading, and could also feature when the development team travel to Chelsea a week on Monday. “Rhys is training with the team, and we are thinking that he can play with the Under-21s next week, maybe one or two games,” Karanka said. “He is really good, and feels better than last season. We are all really pleased.”
SAINSBURY EYES NEXT BIG EUROPEAN MOVE
After a run of consecutive games, Socceroo Trent Sainsbury finally feels like he belongs in Europe and is eyeing a potential move to a bigger club. It’s been a big week for the former Perth Glory player. After opening his scoring account for his Dutch club side PEC Zwolle in the weekend’s draw with NEC Nijmegen, the classy defender was also nominated for 2014/15 PFA Footballer of the Year.
Sainsbury, 23, is in his third season playing in the Dutch Eredivisie and feels like he has now settled into life as a professional footballer in Europe. “I went to Holland totally in awe because of sides like Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV – the big three clubs – and it was hard for me to say that I was actually playing in that league,” he said. “But now I go there and I think I belong there and I see it as a stepping stone that will lead me going to a bigger club.”
After scoring his first ever goal in Holland, Sainsbury celebrated with a Kangaroo hop but his joy soon turned to despair as the centre back was forced off with an injury with 18 mins left to play. After the match Sainsbury tweeted he wasn’t “feeling the best” but added that he was “confident” he could play next week. Since returning back from an early season injury in round nine this season Sainsbury has played in seven out of the past eight club games.
Sainsbury said he now feels strong, mentally and physically. “My body is in a better place and I’m in a good space in my head and I’m trying to move forward,” he said. “Obviously coming back from injury it was tough trying to get back that spot in the team when they were doing so well … I think I’ve been performing well so far with the club and I’ve just got to keep that going and bring that into the Socceroo camps also.”
Sainsbury is in the final year of his contract and said that his future at the club is still uncertain. “It’s an awkward one,” he said. “This is the last year of my contract and the club has the option for another year. I’m not sure what they want to do with it. We’ll sit down and talk to them shortly with my agent and go over things.”
MIGAS COMMITS TO INGLEWOOD
New recruit John Migas is excited by the prospect of playing for Inglewood United, saying the club possesses all the hallmarks of being on the cusp of trophy success. Migas, 30, agreed terms with Inglewood earlier this week and immediately hit the training track with his teammates in preparation for the fast-approaching Night Series tournament.
“I’m very excited to be an Inglewood player,” Migas said. “After two years out of the Premier League I’m looking forward to making a comeback and couldn’t think of a better team to do that with than Inglewood United. It was great to meet and catch-up with the guys during the week in our first couple of pre-season sessions.”
Migas, who collected league winner’s medals with Floreat Athena and Balcatta, says there are some strong parallels between his new and former clubs. “Having a good group of guys - players and coaches - creates a good atmosphere, and that is very important in generating results and setting us up for a great year,” the former State team defender explained.
“In this league the most important thing is that you enjoy your football and play with a good bunch of guys. Winning the league undefeated with Floreat (in 2007) and topping the table with Balcatta (in 2011) were the two best years of my football career, not just because we finished first but because I did it with a great bunch of mates.”
“Inglewood has made some great signings and with the guys we have there is no reason why we can’t finish in the top three. I’m buzzing at the moment and are aiming to be a permanent fixture of a team that can challenge for top spot and cause a few upsets. Hopefully, I can cement a spot in the first eleven and help the club win some silverware.”
Migas started out as a teenager with Fremantle City but it was at Floreat that his career really took flight. A six-year spell at Litis Stadium was rewarded with League and Cup glory along with State team honours. He later helped Balcatta claim top spot in the first of three seasons with the club. Migas played 2015 with Division One club Western Knights.
DiBERNADO BRACE NOT ENOUGH FOR GLORY
Sydney FC consolidated third spot on the Westfield W-League ladder, and dented Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League Finals hopes after a 4-2 win at the Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday afternoon. Glory midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo and Sky Blues striker Kyah Simon both netted braces for their respective sides, but it was the visitors who controlled proceedings for the most of the entertaining contest. “We had a good start, we came out strong but I think once we gave up the first goal we kind of dropped a little bit and gave up another one,” DiBernardo said. “We’ve just got to learn from that. They are very similar goals that we are giving up so we can definitely go back and learn from it.”
It was a perfect start for Bobby Despotovski’s side and they were ahead on five minutes. DiBernardo firing home from a free kick, via the post, to make it three goals since arriving on-loan at the club from Chicago Red Stars last month. But the visitors levelled on 26 minutes through their American import. Princess Ibini-Isei crossed to Jasmyne Spencer, who made no mistake from close-range at the back post. The Sky Blues hit the front eight minutes from the break. Leena Khamis played a defence splitting through ball to Simon, who finished low past Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold.
The visitors added to their lead three minutes into the second half. Amy Harrison played the ball into the unmarked Khamis, who made no mistake. The Glory pressed, with Nikki Stanton, Caitlin Foord and Danielle Brogan working tirelessly, but they couldn’t turn their half chances into goals, and the points were made safe seven minutes from time, when Simon added her second to make it 4-1. To the Glory’s credit they continued to press and were rewarded with a consolation goal on 86 minutes.
DiBernardo was brought down in the box and the US international stepped up and sent Sky Blues goalkeeper Michelle Betos the wrong way to score the resulting penalty. Glory will look to bounce back against Melbourne City at C.B. Smith Reserve next Sunday and become the first team to claim points off the unbeaten league leaders. “Once we get a healthy squad and have a consistent line-up I think we’ll do well,” DiBernardo said. “City have some good players and I know some of them from the US league, so Nikki and I can share what we know of those players. We’ll come together this week, work hard at training and see what happens.”
GLORY YOUNGSTERS GO DOWN IN A FIVE GOAL THRILLER (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory has been edged out 2-3 by Melbourne Victory in a thrilling Foxtel National Youth League clash at the Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday morning, but they fought back from 0-3 down to almost snatch a point late. Mitch Oxborrow fired home from the edge of the box and Stefan Valentini added a second in first half stoppage time, but the damage had been done earlier with Victory skipper Joey Katebian bagging a brace and Stefan Nigro adding the other.
Glory defender Henry Durr said they were unlucky not to get something from the game. “We fought hard to get back into the game, and we were probably a little unlucky not to get anything out of the game, so we take positives out of the game, but we need to take our chances when we get them,” he said. “We pressed high in the second half and we pride ourselves on character and attitude coming into matches, and we’ve spoke about it at training this week about improving our quality, but there we’re some good signs today.”
Gibson had the services of Mitch Oxborrow, Hagi Gligor and Jamal Reiners in the starting line-up, but it was the visitors who stunned their hosts with three goals in as many minutes. Nigro fired home the first on 18 minutes, before Katebian scored a double; his second was a stunning volley that gave Glory keeper Jordan Thurtell no chance. It wasn’t the start the Glory youngsters were looking for but they were back in the game on 35 minutes. The victory failed to clear their lines and Oxborrow’s fired home from the edge of the penalty area. They reduced the margin again in first half stoppage time. A mix up between keeper Lucas Spinella and defender Callum Goulding let in Valentini, who made no mistake from six-yards, to end a thrilling first half of football.
Both sides had early chances after the break. Victory striker Katebian went within inches of his hat-trick seven minutes in, but his shot curled the wrong side of the post. Then second half Glory substitute Joe Knowles shot on the run was well saved by Spinella, low at his near post. The Glory thought they had levelled on the hour, but Valentini’s header was ruled out, with the offside flag raised. The Victory custodian was keeping his side in the game and he thwarted Knowles again on 75 minutes. Ross Millard sent the striker down the left, and he cut inside his marker, but his shot on the run was superbly saved by Spinella.
It was a frantic finish to the game and Victory should have wrapped up the game in the final minute, but Pierce Waring blazed over from close-range after good approach work from Christian Theoharous. But in the fourth minute of stoppage time the Glory almost snatched an equaliser. Jacob Collard’s free kick deflected into the path of Valentini, and it looked like the striker would score, but the ball bounced away from him and at full stretch he fired wide of the target.
BARNSLEY HOPE TO PREVENT WILLIAMS FROM PLAYING FOR AUSTRALIA
English club Barnsley are hopeful that they can block Ryan Williams playing at the Asian Under-23 Championships next month. The 22-year old midfielder has only recently returned from long-term injury but has done enough to be included in Australia's squad for the tournament in Qatar, which begins on 12 January.
"We are going to fight that because we could lose him for a full month," said Barnsley coach Lee Johnson. "We think we might have a case because I believe the competition is not an official FIFA date. If we do have that power, we will use it. You wonder why on Earth there is an under-23 tournament in the middle of January when most players will be playing at their clubs at their age."
MARINKOVIC AT THE DOUBLE FOR GLORY
Perth Glory ended their six game Hyundai A-League losing streak with a 2-1 win against Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium. Mariners’ Irish striker Roy O’Donovan opened the scoring for the visitors on the half hour, but Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic scored a brace in the space of three minutes in the second half to give Kenny Lowe’s side a much needed three points. "Everyone will be happy. Hopefully it’s the start of something moving forward. The application from the players, especially in the first half was excellent. We came out in the second half and I think we earned it, to be truthful,” Lowe said. “It’s not about now; it’s where we sit at the end of the season. But obviously this result gives us a bit of confidence and we move on from here.”
Marinkovic hopes the win can give the side confidence, especially with the club playing three home games in seven days. “Last few games we played, we created many chances, but we couldn’t score. Tonight we showed some character and in the second half we came back and I’m happy to score,” he said. “It’s very important for the confidence of the team and very important for our next game on Wednesday against Melbourne Victory.”
There was a small crowd on hand at kick off, but the 5,590 saw the Glory start brightly, and Chris Harold raced on to a Richard Garcia back-heel early, but his shot whistled inches over the top. Then five minutes later Marinkovic’s free kick was pushed around the post by the alert Paul Izzo, as the Glory pressed. The Mariners began to get into the game and Matthew Sim’s free kick flew over the top, before Ante Covic was called into action to tip away Nick Fitzgerald’s effort on 23 minutes.
But five minutes later the Mariners hit the front. Storm Roux won possession from Diego Castro in the middle of the park and raced towards goal, before playing in O’Donovan down the right channel and the striker broke a four-game scoring drought by firing home between the legs of Covic to give the visitors the lead. Castro looked to make emends for his turnover for the goal, but his shot was saved low by Izzo, before Alex Grant’s header from Marinkovic’s corner flashed over the top.
The Mariners went close to doubling their advantage early in the second half. O’Donovan found himself unmarked in the penalty area, but his glancing header went wide. Then Covic came to his sides rescue, saving smartly to deny Fitzgerald’s powerful shot. Grant was a constant threat from set-pieces and he head straight at Izzo on the hour. But two minutes later the Glory levelled. Marinkovic’s curled a free kick around the wall and giving Izzo no chance, the Mariners custodian motionless on his line.
It got better for the Glory two minutes later, when they hit the front. The Mariners defence opened up to let Marinkovic through after Chris Harold’s flicked on a clearance, and the Serbian coolly finished low past Izzo. The home fans were in full voice and Garcia’s headed flashed wide of the target, before Aryn Williams’ shot was saved low by Izzo. The Mariners went close to the equaliser in stoppage time, but to the relief of the Glory faithful, Harry Ascroft header went over the top.
KEOGH RETURNS FOR MORE GLORY
Perth Glory’s problems this season has been there for all to see, and that has been in front of goal. But they have decided to do something about by re-signing striker Andy Keogh on a two-year deal as the club looks to end its goal scoring woes. Keogh left the Glory at the end of last season in the wake of the clubs salary cap scandal, and joined Thai Premier League club Ratchaburi, but things haven’t worked out and he has been persistently linked with a return to Perth. The Irish international was the Glory's leading goalscorer last season, bagging 17 goals, of which 12 came in the A-League in in 32 games, and the 29-year-old, whose contract begins in January 2016 is happy to be back.
Keogh, who has family and friends in WA, said he hopes to end his football career at the club. “I'd like to see that happen,” the former Wolves and Millwall striker said. “I've had a few offers but there was only one offer that I wanted to make happen and I'm happy that we have. I’ve always said that I left Perth with a heavy heart.” The striker is delighted to be back but the club still verify the transfer with the FFA, and will need to free up one of its five foreign visa spots if the striker is to play this season. “My stint in Asia didn’t work out the way I intended, however I’m glad to have teamed up yet again with (coach) Kenny Lowe and the boys at Perth Glory,” Keogh said. “I am committed to helping Perth Glory become a powerhouse in the A-League and pledge to do my best to see it return to its glory days."
Perth Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos, seated alongside Lowe and Keogh for the announcement, acknowledged the difficulty of the situation, insisting that the club will be looking at all possible avenues. “We have not given up hope of Andrew playing for the club this season,” he said. “The January transfer window closes on February 2, 2016, and we as a club look forward and are excited to seeing Andy Keogh wearing the Perth Glory number nine jersey as soon as possible.” Lowe was delighted with the return of former striker, and he said his personality will boost morale at the club. “He brings a winning mentality into our work place,” Lowe said. “Good players and good characters around your place, it really picks up the players and gives everyone a buzz.”
GLORY NEED TO STOP THE ROT
It may only be round 10 of the Hyundai A-League this weekend, but the importance of Perth Glory’s game against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday at the nib Stadium is vital. It’s a real six pointer, with Kenny Lowe’s side starting to lose sight of the top six, but the visitors have also struggled this season. The Glory are now in the much undesired position of bottom of the table, but the Mariners only sit one point ahead of them, so the weekend provides them with an excellent opportunity to record an elusive win.
The defeat last week against Adelaide sent the Glory to the foot of the table and Lowe said they should have got something from the game, but the team was failing to take its opportunities in the final third. “We should have got something out of the game,” Lowe said. “We’ve got to take our opportunities and not be so charitable at the other end. We’ve got to grow up a little bit and be realistic. That’s where we’re at as a team. There’s no rocket science. It’s very straightforward what we need to do.”
The coach also defended Spanish import Diego Castro, who is now seven matches into his A-League career but still looks like he hasn’t come to term with the game down under, but he believes the best is not far away. “The only way that you can judge Castro is that he’s a magnificent footballer, full stop,” Lowe said. “If you judge him any other way, you’re cross-eyed ... sometimes the players around don’t maybe complement to a certain extent, are not on the same wavelength, but that takes time.”
The sides have got something in common, they have both been beaten 5-1 by the in-form Melbourne City in recent weeks but Lowe said his side have to focus, yes they have injuries but the players need to lift. Talking of injuries Glory striker Sidnei Sciola has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash with a leg injury after collapsing to the ground at training on Thursday morning. The 29-year-old grabbed at his right quad as he fell to the turf during routine match practice at UWA Sports Park and limped off the field.
The injury comes at the worst possible time for club, who are hosting three matches in the space of seven days and are already short on goal scoring options. Sciola is the club’s equal leading scorer, alongside midfielder Gyorgy Sandor, with two goals this A-League season. In better news Alex Grant returns from injury, to replace Jacob Collard in the squad, Aryn Williams returns from suspension, and with the injury to Sidnei, Youth team striker Joe Knowles has been added to the squad.
Mariners coach Tony Walmsley welcomes back skipper Nick Montgomery from suspension, while Antony Kalik and Jake Adelson have been added to the squad, but Fabio Ferreira, who scored a double in their only win this season, and that was a 3-2 win against the Glory in the opening game of the season in Gosford, will again miss out with a hamstring injury.
Perth Glory squad: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11 Richard GARCIA (c), 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Hagi GLIGOR, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 23 Michael THWAITE, 24 Jamal REINERS, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS
Central Coast Mariners squad: GK Paul IZZO, GK Tom HEWARD-BELLE, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Josh ROSE, 4 Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5 Harry ASCROFT, 6 Mitch AUSTIN, 8 Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9 Roy O’DONOVAN, 10 Anthony CACERES, 11 Nick FITZGERALD, 15 Matthew SIM, 16 Liam ROSE, 19 Josh BINGHAM, 20 Anthony KALIK, 22 Jake McGING, 23 Tomislav USKOK, 24 Jake ADELSON
GLORY NEED THE POINTS TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH LEADERS
Perth Glory will be looking for all three points on Sunday when they take on Sydney FC in Round eight of the Westfield W-League at Ashfield Sports Club. They only sit one point out of the top four, but a loss would put themselves five points behind Saturday’s opponents. They were beaten by the Sky Blues in round four and former Sydney defender Danielle Brogan is looking forward to reversing that score. “There’s added motivation playing them, added excitement as well. I’m a competitive person and I know my friends over there are as well. So once we cross the white lines, they’re the opponent. It will be my third time playing them, and I’ve yet to win so I really want to collect the three points this time,” said Brogan, who played for the Sky Blues from 2008 until 2014 before playing seven games for Adelaide prior to her arrival at Glory.”
Brogan said last time the two teams met, they were unlucky not to earn a point. “We’ve been working on defending their rotation. We need to concentrate on ourselves and not the opposition, we held up against them last time other than a scrappy penalty, and I think we can keep them quiet again.” Last week’s 1-1 draw in Adelaide was played in stifling conditions and Coach Bobby Despotovski said the side played well under the circumstances. “It was very hot conditions and the game was moved twice before we had to go to a different venue and play the game, so it was difficult to prepare the best, but I thought the side showed some great character,” he said. “We took the lead early and despite conceding the goal we increased our intensity and finished the game strongly and there were a lot of positives to take from the game. Collette and I were very impressed with the dedication and desire shown from the whole team, and we now look forward to Sunday’s home game against Sydney FC.” The game kick off at 4pm.
GLORY LOOKING FOR A VICTORY
Perth Glory Youth side are back in Foxtel National Youth League action on Sunday when they host Melbourne Victory at Ashfield Sports Club (10.30am). Missed chances came back to haunt them last week in their 0-3 loss against Adelaide United, and midfielder Calvin Whitney said they need to improve against a good Victory side this week. “We did have some opportunities last week and couldn’t finish them off, but overall we just didn’t play as good as we could have, and we’ll be looking to put that right on Sunday,” he said. “I think it will be close game, the last time we played them they had a number of A-League players in their side, but we are ready for a tough game and are determined to get our first three points of the season.”
The new look Glory youngsters are coming to terms with the pace of the competition, but not having a settled side hasn’t helped them, but Whitney said it gives other players the opportunity to impress the coaching staff. “We’ve had a lot of players playing in different positions than normal due to injuries, but it gives the younger players the chance to show that they deserve a spot in the side,” he said. “Again this week we will have a few new faces making their debuts, but we are all focused on the game and putting in a good shift and getting the three points.”
Skipper Jacob Collard returns to the side after travelling with the Hyundai A-League squad last week, while defender Alex Susnjar also returns from suspension. Coach John Gibson will hopefully regain the services of a number of he injured players, who have missed games in recent weeks. The match kicks-off at 10.30am on Sunday at Ashfield Sports Club. Entry is free for all Perth Glory members.
BOOYSEN RETURNS TO JOONDALUP
ECU Joondalup continue to build their squad for the 2016 PS4 National Premier League WA season by signing Josh Booysen from Subiaco AFC. The 23-year-old started his football at the ECU academy before moving to Wanneroo City for five years, and then had spells at Floreat Athena and Stirling Lions.
The winger was thinking about not playing next season, but after talking to ECU Coach Dale McCulloch and his assistant David Tough he jumped at the chance to return to the club. “I wasn't thinking about football or even where I was going to play next season,” Booysen explained. “But I bumped into a former Wanneroo teammate, who has moved to ECU, and I got a call from Toughie a couple hours later. We got to talking about an opportunity and I was really impressed with the clubs direction and ambition for next season, so I made the decision.”
McCulloch said he he’s delighted to have signed the attacking minded midfielder. “Josh brings us pace and quality and will add to our strike force,” he said. “We struggled in that area last season and with the signing of Steven McGarry and Josh will give us more going forward, and we have another striker in the pipeline as we press ahead towards the new season.”
The Coach said things are going well on and off the pitch as they look to rebound from last season’s disappointing season. “It is exciting times ahead for the club both on and off the field,” McCulloch said. “We’re in talks with an ex professional player from the UK, who is keen to head over, and some of our younger players have impressed in pre-season, so we’re heading in the right direction.”
Booysen, who played for the WA State Team last season, said the club have ambition and he is looking forward to next season and working with the new ECU Coaching panel of McCulloch, Tough and McGarry. “It is a very exciting coaching panel, and to see what brand of football comes from it. From what I have been told, they are aiming high this season and there is great structure and support throughout the club for them to achieve,” he said. “I have had success playing for Toughie and I'm hoping that there can be a spark there to bring some more success.”
The pacey winger played for new assistant Coach David Tough, when he was in charge of Wanneroo City and Tough said he is looking forward to working with him again. “Josh was with me at Wanneroo in my first season there, and he won the Football West Division One Player of the Year,” Tough said. “He is a good footballer and we’re looking forward to having him at the club, he will strengthen us going forward.”
Booysen had a successful season at Subiaco last season, and he enjoyed his time there, but thought it was time for a change. “The lads at Subiaco are great and I really enjoyed my short spell there, and I wish them all the best next season,” he said. “I truthfully did not think the style of football suited me, with all respect to Gerry McEwan who is a good coach, but I needed a change and the opportunity to head home to ECU is very exciting.”
The club have invested on new players for the upcoming season and Booysen said it’s a new look club and he can’t wait to get started. “They have done very well with their signings and it shows the clubs ambition. You can sign the best players in the state, but still have to get results,” he said. “So I think they have made the right steps for progression and to get results, but at the end of the day the results will speak loudest. I am excited to be involved at the club, and part of a new look ECU.”
MELBOURNE SET FOR VICTORY IN ASIA: MAKAROUNAS
Melbourne Victory have placed utmost importance on their upcoming Asian Champions League campaign. Tonight’s group stage draw in Kuala Lumpur will determine which Asian heavyweights Melbourne must get past in order to reach the knockout stages for the first time in the club’s 11-year history.
Melbourne and Sydney FC, the 2014-15 A-League grand finalists, are Australia’s two direct entrants with Adelaide United facing a sudden death play-off in February to qualify. As A-League champions, Melbourne will also avoid the champions of Japan (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), South Korea (Jeonbuk Motors) and China (Guangzhou Evergrande) in the group stage.
Midfielder Jesse Makarounas said he and his teammates are determined to emulate the feats of Western Sydney in 2014 become kings of Asia. “With the successful year we had last year, the only thing we haven’t ticked off with the team we’ve got is the Champions League,” Makarounas said.
“Now that we’ve won the FFA Cup as well, we want to be the first team to go out and win everything, but that’s just obvious isn’t it? Every competition, every game, as a player you want to go out and win. This is definitely a big one for us. It’s going to be hard, but we’re really looking forward to it.”
A highlight of Melbourne’s 2014 ACL campaign was the contributions made by youngsters such as Makarounas and Rashid Mahazi. Makarounas said, with back-to-back A-League titles also an ambition for the team, everyone in the squad is going to have to contribute if they are to go further this time around.
“It’s hard to back up from playing weekend games, to then flying 10-12 hours and playing mid-week and then flying back to play another game,” he said. “So definitely everyone is going to be used. It’s a big motivation for the guys who aren’t playing as much so far this year to prove they can play at a high level. It’s a massive competition with all the best teams in the region so it’s a great opportunity.”
GLORY BLOW AS SIDNEI SIDELINED
Perth Glory striker Sidnei Sciola has been ruled out of Saturday’s clash against Central Coast Mariners with a leg injury after collapsing to the ground at training this morning. The 29-year old grabbed at his right quad as he fell to the turf during routine match practice and limped off the field.
The injury comes at the worst possible time for Glory, who are hosting three games in the space of seven days and are already short on goal scoring options. Glory have found the net just once in their past six matches and will firm as wooden spoon favourites if they lose to the Mariners for the second time this season.
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES DRAW MADE
The QBE Night Series kicks off in late January at five venues across the metropolitan area, and the competition will consist of two groups of six NPL clubs. Group A consists of 2015 PS4NPL-WA Champions Bayswater City, last season’s Night Series winners Floreat Athena, a new look Inglewood United, Cockburn City, Subiaco AFC and Perth Glory. In Group B we have last season’s State League Cup winners Sorrento, Stirling Lions, Balcatta, ECU Joondalup, Perth SC and Armadale.
It’s the first season the QBE insurance have the naming rights for the pre-season competition, while a change in the National Youth League fixtures has allowed Perth Glory to join the competition for the first time. The first group games take place Friday 29th January and the venues for the group games are Inglewood Stadium, Dalmatinac Park, Macedonia Park and Percy Doyle Reserve, while Dorrien Gardens will host the finals.
TWENTY-FOUR TEAMS TO BATTLE OUT STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES
The 2016 State League night series will commence in February, with the twenty-four State League clubs divided into six groups. In Group A, hosts Wanneroo City will be up against fellow Division Two side Quinns FC, Joondalup United and UWA-Nedlands FC. Ashfield will be the home club in Group B, and they will come up against three Division Two teams in Kingsway Olympic, Balga and Joondalup City. The action turns to the southern suburbs in Group C, with Rockingham City playing host to Gosnells City, Fremantle City and Gosnells City. Newly promoted Forrestfield United will fancy themselves to progress when they play their Group D games at home against Swan United, Curtin University and last year's night series winners the Western Knights. Group E will see Second Division club Morley-Windmills, Ellenrbook United, Dianella White Eagles and Shamrock Rovers at Hartfield Park, while Group F will be played at Lark Hill and will include State League champions Mandurah City, Bunbury outfit South West Phoenix, Melville City and Kelmscott Roos.
All six group winners will advance to the quarter-finals, along with the two best runner-up teams.
COCHRANE HEADS HOME FROM THE UK
Former ECU Joondalup and Sorrento keeper Anthony Cochrane is heading home after a stint at English Premier League club Southampton FC academy. He is a qualified Secondary PE teacher and holds a Bachelor Degree in Exercise and Sports Science. He completed his coaching education under the FFA, with a FFA/AFC B license and also holds a FFA C license, and has continued to improve and develop his coaching skills with the FA and Southampton Football Club.
Cochrane is heading back to WA next year and is looking to land a coaching role in Perth. “I really want to coach, being on the field is the best part of the job, working with the group and helping them develop is extremely rewarding. As much as I have enjoyed working with the younger players, I am very eager to make the step up,” he said. “I would relish the chance to work with a first team in some capacity, even possibly taking on a technical director’s role. But, for now my sights are firmly set on improving as a coach and furthering my education at Southampton FC, and I’ll wait to the end of the season before making any decisions.”
An opportunity to coach in the UK was something Cochrane couldn’t turn down, and he hasn’t looked back. “I left Perth at the beginning of 2014, to pursue my coaching, and it was always an ambition to work in the UK and I’ve found it to be incredibly useful in regards to my development as a coach and a person,” he explained. “Not long after I arrived I started a job with the academy at Southampton Football Club. The opportunity to work within a Premier League academy has been insightful and the players’ technical ability is second to none, it is very enjoyable working with such a talented group week in and week out.”
Cochrane, who played in the ECU Joondalup and Sorrento under 18 sides, believes WA has some talented coaches and he is looking forward to a new challenge in the game in WA. “There are a number of good coaches and some talented players in Western Australia, so if the opportunity arose, I’d love to come back to Perth and work alongside them,” Cochrane said. “I’m looking forward to a new challenge, and I feel I have a lot to offer the game in WA, and if I can help a club improve by sharing my experiences and passing on my knowledge, that would be great.”
HERD TARGETS FA CUP RUN
Chesterfield’s Chris Herd says the attraction of the FA Cup is felt all over the world. The versatile 26-year old featured for the Spireites in the first round of the prestigious competition in a 4-1 win over FC United of Manchester. And, if Chesterfield can overcome Walsall in a second round replay next week, they will travel to Championship side Brentford in January.
“It’s a cup that is really held highly in people’s minds, in my mind and in Australia too. It’s a privilege to be able to play in it,” Herd said. “We’re looking to get a win against Walsall in the replay. We have the players to do so. We’re in the hat and you could feel the excitement around the ground. We’re concentrating on the next game and, who knows, with a bit of luck we might get through and get a run.”
Injury robbed Herd of the chance to play in his teams’ weekend draw with Walsall he is hopeful of being involved in the replay. “Injuries are just part and parcel of football. It’s just how you bounce back from them,” he said. “You have to look after your body and I wanted to get myself right. I’ve been in the side and played 14 games in a short space of time.”
Herd regularly appeared under previous Spireites boss, Dean Saunders, who brought the former Aston Villa man to the club in September. “I was disappointed to see him leave,” said Herd. “He obviously brought me to the club and I got on well with him.” Academy boss Mark Smith has taken the reins on a temporary basis and is expected to oversee Saturday’s trip to Bury, as the search for a new manager continues.
“I’ve not really had chance to train with him yet, as I’ve been looking after my knee,” said Herd. “Everyone’s in good spirits and we’ll hopefully get three points on Saturday. You have got to be consistent and get those narrow wins and ugly draws to pick up points - that’s League One football … The squad is a good one and we’re not far off from being up there challenging, which is where I think we’ll be at the end of the season.”
MILENKOVIC HEADS TO ROSALIE PARK
Teenager striker Matthew Milenkovic has joined the exodus from Perth Soccer Club and joined Subiaco AFC for the 2016 PS4 National Premier League WA season. The 19-year-old, who made his debut for the Dorrien Gardens club in 2014, said his time at club has shown him what it takes to play in the league. “My time at Perth was full of great experiences, mixing with some of the best players in the league who had experience playing all over the world,” Milenkovic said. “I absorbed as much of their advice as I could, which helped me develop as a player. When it came time to make the decision to leave, it was always going to be a difficult one, but at the end of the day I had to pick the option that was going to help my development the most.”
It was a fantastic season for the Azzuari, runners up in the league and the cup and Milenkovic said it was good to be part of it. “Perth had a season full of ups and downs, and to be fair I think the points dropped early on in the season were not a true reflection of the talent at Perth,” he said. “It was always going to be hard with a new squad of players and I think it took a few weeks for everyone to get used to the playing style, but by that stage Bayswater and already put one hand on the trophy. We fought to the end and probably deserved a bit more than what we accomplished but nonetheless it was a great season.”
Milenkovic is looking forward to the new challenge at Subiaco and can’t wait to get the pre-season started. “After not playing regularly last season, I knew it was time to move on, and Subiaco presented the perfect opportunity, and they proved last season that they are not going to be easy beats,” he explained. “The youth coming through has certainly showed that they are going to be a competitive side for years to come, and it's great that the youngsters are able to earn their spot in the side, no matter the circumstance. I think it’s an incredible opportunity for me to put my best foot forward and improve my game.”
He started playing football in Bunbury, before moving to Perth at the age of 13, and made his league debut for the club against Perth Glory in 2014. That part of his football is behind him, now he’s looking forward to the new challenge at Rosalie Park. “I've been made to feel very welcome by all the coaching staff and players and I'm really looking forward to working with them,” he said. “Both Gerry (McEwan) and Michael (Brazil) have a lot of experience and a lot to offer and I can't wait to learn from their coaching style. It’s a new challenge for me, but one I’m really looking forward too.”
GLORY DUO NOMINATED FOR PFA AWARD
Perth Glory W-League strikers Samantha Kerr and Caitlin Foord have both been nominated for the PFA Women's Footballer of the Year Award. They are joined by four other nominees, Elise Kellond-Knight, Emily van Egmond, Laura Alleway and Lydia Williams. Kerr and Foord were instrumental to the Matildas success at the 2015 Women's World Cup, with both playing all 90 minutes in each of the five Matildas matches at the tournament.
Kerr is the only current nominee to have previously won the award, collecting the honours in 2012/13 season, and as team mates on the national team and at the Glory, Foord and Kerr will be happy with whomever comes away with the medal. "There's nothing but good vibes. As team mates we're competitive in a sense, but not competitive on an unhealthy level. I would be over the moon for whoever won," Kerr said
The PFA Award is voted on by all of the PFA's female members, a fact that was not lost on Foord. "It's a big privilege being voted for by your peers, means more than any other award, I think anyway. It means the team, the players you play with value you and your contributions to the team," said Foord. In addition to their contributions to the Matildas success, Kerr and Foord were also key components for Glory Women as they lifted the Premiers’ plate in 2014. Kerr scored 11 goals, and Foord chipped in five.
This Westfield W-League season has presented challenges for both players, however Kerr injured her ankle in round 5 against Brisbane Roar and has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign, while Foord has only made three starts so far this season, missing time due to Matilda’s duty as well as a hamstring injury.
MORGAN BACK AT NASH FIELD
There will be a return of a former Western Knights treble winning side from 1998 next season, with Trim Morgan being appointed as Head Coach of the Nash Field club next season. Trim needs no introduction to many Knights’ supporters as he was a huge factor in the Knights treble winning team of 1998, being their leading goal scorer and Fairest and Best winner. Trim also represented Canberra Cosmos in the National Soccer League, as well as Fremantle City and Inglewood United in a stellar State League career.
Trim arrives at the club with a great CV in coaching. He holds a FFA B Class coaching badge and is currently the Academy Director of the Mercy College Soccer Academy, one of the largest soccer academies in Western Australia. With a keen eye on youth development, Trim has already begun to shape the future and the culture of the club beyond the upcoming season, whilst also ensuring the Knights will continue to be in the hunt for major silverware in 2016. The Knights get back into pre-season training in early January as they look to get promotion back to the NPL, after they were relegated in 2012.
ELENBROOK TURN TO HARTLEY FOR 2016
As part of Ellenbrook United’s restructure for the 2016 season the northern suburbs club have announced the appointment of Mike Hartley as senior coach for next season. Hartley will lead a new coaching structure at the club, with Brian Kane as the reserves coach and Paul Valerius continuing his role as the under 18’s coach, the trio are hoping to deliver better results for the club in 2016.
Hartley has a UEFA A license through the English FA, and a FFA B Coaching license. And he has 16 years coaching experience. There are exciting times ahead for the club, with their juniors competing in the NPL next season, and their women’s side now in the State League. So with the new look coaching staff across the board and moving to their new ground at the Ellenbrook District Open Space, the club are looking forward to a strong 2016. The club starts their pre-season on January 5th, and new players are welcome to attend.
O’NEILL, WOODCOCK ARE PROVING WINNING BEGINS AT HOME
Sydney FC have had some good form in the opening rounds of the 2015/2016 A-League competition, and three new players to the team say the secret to their success is changes they’ve made off the pitch. Brandon O’Neill, 21, said that his football had improved dramatically since moving in with housemates Riley Woodcock and Andrew Hoole.
“We’ve been living together about four months, and we really have a good laugh together,” O’Neill said. “Most things we do we do together, like cooking and cleaning, but we’ll also go get coffees and hang out too. For my football it’s been a really good thing, and its probably made me grow up very quickly. It’s definitely helped me adapt to the new club and situation very quickly, and it’s been easier as a result fitting in and getting the job done.”
O’Neill said that Woodcock was the best cook of the group, and said that the 20-year old squad fullback was a good influence on his diet and lifestyle. Woodcock said this wasn’t his first time living away from home, having previously trained at the Australian Institute of Sport. He, like O’Neill, said that he believed living with other athletes was a great way to bring out better training ethic and possibly improved performance.
“I think that living with other players you’re going through the same experiences, and leading the same lives and making the same sacrifices,” Woodcock said. “It’s a good immediate support network. I’ve known Brandon for about eight years, but I’ve only just met Hooley — but they are both really great guys, and that certainly helps.”
Woodcock was named by his two housemates as the one who keeps the household going, but he declined to comment on whether he thought this was true. “Brandon’s very organised around the house, and Hooley not so much — he’s very laid-back,” Woodcock said. “We all cater for ourselves and our own needs though, so it works out well.”
Hoole, 22, said he thinks that having friends on demand to hang-out with was great part of living with teammates. “Living with these two guys is great because they’re good fun and help to take your mind off football,” he said. “You can’t have football in your brain 24/7 or you’ll kill your mind, and it’s good we’ll get outdoors and do stuff, or go for a coffee and do a lot of non-football things together.”
LOWE TELLS GLORY TO GROW UP
Kenny Lowe has urged Perth Glory’s squad to “grow up” as he denied being under extra pressure following his side’s slump to last on the A-League table. Glory slid to bottom of the pack following Sunday’s away loss to Adelaide United and has just one draw to show from their past six matches. The torrid run that has produced only one goal is the worst spell since the initial weeks of Lowe’s coaching tenure.
Glory have little time to regroup, with three matches in eight days at home, starting with Saturday night’s match against fellow strugglers Central Coast Mariners. Lowe said Glory had players who could score, but the team was failing to take its opportunities up forward. “We’ve got to take our opportunities and not be so charitable at the other end,” Lowe said. “We’ve got to grow up a little bit and be realistic. That’s where we’re at as a team. There’s no rocket science. It’s very straightforward what we need to do.”
Lowe defended international signing Diego Castro, who is now seven matches into his A-League career but is yet to blossom as a creative outlet. “The only way that you can judge Castro is that he’s a magnificent footballer, full stop,” he said. “If you judge him any other way, you’re cross-eyed ... sometimes the players around don’t maybe complement to a certain extent, are not on the same wavelength, but that takes time.”
GLORY BOSS JOINS RANKS OF FFA FRUSTRATION
Perth Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos has bemoaned FFA's lack of a "strong and clear strategy" for the A-League and called for a national second division and big-name marquees. Filopoulos joined the ensemble of recent criticism levelled at the governing body, including that of Melbourne Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro, who last week said he was sick of its culture of "mediocrity".
In a lengthy blog post Filopoulos lamented that the A-League is underperforming and owners "bleeding money" as attendances fluctuate. While he observed the game has come a long way and is threatening rival codes, he argued FFA is simply not planning well enough to overcome roadblocks to further growth.
"What plagues the Hyundai A-League in my opinion is the absence of a strong and clear strategy for the competition ... this strategy and vision needs to be developed by all key stakeholders as a one united front," wrote Filopoulos, a former Swimming Australia, Hawthorn and North Melbourne employee.
Filopoulos listed a raft of improvements he felt were necessary for the longevity of Australia's top flight, including second tier national league. "In my opinion, we are not seeing the best of the next tier of talent," he continued. "A national second division (without promotion/relegation to the A-League for now) would capture our best talent across ten clubs, providing a national stage for them to shine and be identified."
Filopoulos also pushed the need to attract more MLS-type marquees, the latest crop of which includes former Chelsea greats Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, ex-Liverpool and England skipper Steven Gerrard and Italian legend Andrea Pirlo. He also urged FFA to mend their relationship with angry active supporter groups, and for those groups to halt their match boycotts.
DE VANNA READY FOR ‘BIGGEST CHALLENGE’
Matildas star Lisa De Vanna has described Australia’s qualification task for the 2016 Olympic Games as tougher than reaching the knock-out stage at this year’s Women’s World Cup. Like four years ago, Australia will face an arduous task to qualify for the Olympics, a hugely important tournament in women's football.
The Matildas travel to Osaka in late February where they’ll be pushed to the limit by playing five matches in the space of ten days. “It’s tough,” De Vanna said. “I think it’s tougher than the ‘Group of Death’ at the World Cup, purely because we’re playing four top teams in Asia, South Korea, North Korea, Japan and China.”
“They’re obviously good quality teams and they’re not teams that you can walk in and feel comfortable. You have to really work and earn a spot. We’re coming from W-League where it’s summer and then we’re going over to Japan where it’s winter, so the climate is going to be different for us."
The Matildas will open their qualification with a blockbuster against reigning AFC Women’s Asian Cup champions Japan (29 February) before facing Vietnam two days later. They then play Korea Republic, three time AFC Women’s Asian Cup winners DPR Korea before a final group stage clash with China.
“It’s a different challenge because there’s a lot at stake here. Only two spots and to do it in ten days is probably the biggest challenge this Matildas team has had to go through with the quality players that we have,” added De Vanna.
GLORY HIT ROCK BOTTOM
Perth Glory’s 2015-16 Hyundai A-League hit a new low, when they were beaten 1-0 by Adelaide United in the heat at Coopers Stadium. The win was the home sides first of the season, but the defeat sent Kenny Lowe’s side to the bottom of the table. An early strike from Pablo Sanchez proved to be enough to win the game for the Reds, in a game where both sides had good chances, but couldn’t convert. "I’m sick of answering the question,” a disappointing Lowe said. “We didn’t deserve anything out of the match because we haven't actually done the things to get something out of it. Don't get me wrong there was a performance in there but at the critical moment in the game we just didn't come to the party.”
The Glory brought back Hungarian midfielder Gyorgy Sandor to the starting line-up, with Michael Thwaite slotting back into the centre of defence to replace the suspended Aryn Williams. The game was put back two hour’s with the South Australian Capital sweltering in 40 plus degree temperatures. The visitors couldn’t have had a worse start, and conceded a sloppy goal after only two minutes. There looked little danger when Adelaide defender Michael Morrone sent a long ball down the right, but a misunderstanding between Glory defenders Marc Warren and Anthony Golec let Sanchez in on goal and he lobbed the on-coming Ante Covic to score.
Buoyed by the early goal Adelaide looked for a second and on ten minutes Bruce Djite crossed to Sanchez but the Spaniard’s shot was saved low by Glory custodian Covic. The Glory began to get in the game and they were finding holes in the Adelaide defence. On the half hour Diego Castro played in Sidnei Sciola, whose snap shot was saved low by Socceroo’s keeper Eugene Galekovic, and moments later The Adelaide shot stopper stood tall to deny Sidnei with a one-on-one. Adelaide also looked dangerous on the break as the game opened up. Marcelo Carrusca and Sergio Cirio both saw shots saved by Covic.
Covic kept his side in the game early in the second half, the veteran keeper saving superbly to deny Sanchez a second. The Glory were dangerous themselves on the counter attack and moments later Chris Harold raced clear and whipped in a cross to Glory skipper Richard Garcia, but his shot was well held by Galekovic. Djite’s long-range shot whistled inches past the post for the home side, before Galekovic again saved well to deny Warren on 76 minutes. Both sides had late chances in an entertaining encounter. Reds second half substitute Bruce Kamau lost his marker in the box, but his shot flashed the wrong side of the target. But in stoppage time the Glory had a chance to nick a late point, Garcia finding Chris Harold, who looked certain to score, but a last ditch tackle from Jordan Elsey denied him and win the points for the Reds.
POINTS SHARED IN THE HEAT IN ADELAIDE
Perth Glory and Adelaide United have fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw, in hot conditions at the Adelaide Shores Football Centre in Round 8 of the Westfield W-League. Shawn Billam gave the Glory the lead early, but The Lady Reds earned themselves a point with a goal from Alex Gummer 15 minutes from time. “It was a tough game, especially with the conditions and the late change of venue, but the girls worked extremely hard,” Glory assistant coach Collette McCallum said. “We made some great chances to kill the game off, but just couldn’t execute them.”
The game was scheduled for live TV coverage, but at the kick off time the temperature was too high and the decision was made to delay the game and move venues. But it didn’t stop the Glory from taking the lead after only six minutes. Billam rose highest to head home past Kaitlyn Savage from a Nicole Stanton’s corner. The home side settled and went close to an equaliser with Rosie Sutton shot bounced off the crossbar and away to safety. Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold, who was back from Matilda’s duties, was alert to save from Allira Toby and Sarah Killion, before the visitors looked for a second. Vanessa DiBernardo saw her shot on the half hour flash wide of the target, before another returning Matilda, Caitlin Foord shot wide of the target.
The Lady Reds lifted after the break, but Glory skipper Kim Carroll was outstanding at the back, to thwart them. Foord’s pace was a constant threat and ten minutes in her shot on the run drifted wide of the target, before the impressive DiBernardo fired wide on the hour. But it was the home side that levelled on 75 minutes. Glory keeper Arnold was beaten directly from a corner by Gummer, but the Glory’s protest for a foul on the keeper, fell deaf ears. It was a bitter blow for Bobby Despotovski side but four minutes later Adelaide custodian Savage pulled off a great save to deny Foord again. It was the Glory ending the game the better and DiBernardo blazed wide on 83 minutes, and in stoppage time Shannon May’s effort crashed off the crossbar, but the points were shared.
NEWCASTLE 'DIDN'T ROCK UP': BIRIGHITTI
A desperately disappointed Mark Birighitti said Newcastle Jets didn’t deserve to win last night’s derby with Sydney FC. “We were lucky to go into the sheds at half-time nil-all,” the Newcastle goalkeeper said after they succumbed to a second half goal from Alex Brosque. “Very frustrating. From the get-go we didn’t rock up. They were the better side.”
Birighitti twice denied Filip Holosko in the first half after the Slovakian international had also hit the post. “To go into the break 0-0 was a positive for us. We knew at half-time what was going wrong,” said Birighitti. “So the gaffer corrected us on that and we came out in the second half and had a good 10-15 minutes. But we didn’t really threaten much and were relying on set-pieces, and for a club like us, moving forward, it’s just not good enough.”
Newcastle missed Brazilian playmaker Leonardo but that was no excuse for the Jets who could have got on the scoresheet late in the second half with spurned chances to youngsters Braedyn Crowley and Nick Cowburn. “We didn’t create much going forward. And to be honest a fair result. We gifted them a goal," added Birighitti. “They didn’t really threaten our goal much and an individual error cost us in the end.”
GLORY YOUNGSTERS BEATEN BY REDS
Perth Glory Youth side were made to pay for missed opportunities after a 0-3 loss against Adelaide United, in week five of the Foxtel National Youth League at the Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday morning. The Glory youngster created a number of chances in the game, but goals to Antoni Trimboli and a brace from Adelaide skipper Dylan Smith, made them pay for their profligacy in front of goal. The score line could have been greater, but for the performance of Glory keeper Jordan Thurtell.
The skipper saved a first half penalty and made a number of fine saves, but despite the loss he said the in-experienced Glory side will get better. “I had to make a few saves today, but the goals we conceded are easily preventable, and we were punished for mistakes, maybe it is a little inexperience from us today,” he said. “It’s never good to lose games of football, but it’s great for the young guys to come into the side, and there was a few playing their first game at this level today. It’s a lot different to what they are used to, but they will learn from that.”
The Glory, who was still looking for their first win of the new season, started the brighter, and went close to the opener after only three minutes. Stefan Valentini made space down the left, cut inside his marker, but his low shot was well saved by Daniel Margush. But on 13 minutes it was Adelaide who had the perfect opportunity to take the lead, when Calvin Whitney brought down Jordan O’Doherty, and referee Zach Piccicacco pointed straight to the spot. Jordan Pudler stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but Thurtell guessed the right way and saved superbly low to his left.
After this let off the Glory had another good chance two minutes later, Joe Knowles darted past his marker and was one-on-one with Margush, but the Adelaide custodian stood tall to block his shot, while Sam McKearnen’s follow up shot flew over the top. Thurtell came to his sides rescue again on 24 minutes, saving superbly to deny O’Doherty’s shot, but there was little the Glory custodian could do when Adelaide hit the front on the half hour, Trimboli converting from close-range. The Glory went close to a leveller on the stroke of half time. Knowles cut in from the left, but his curling shot on the run whistled just past the far post.
It was Adelaide making the earlier running after the break, and Thurtell had to be alert to tip Trimboli’s shot around the post, before denying the impressive O’Doherty again on the hour. But the visitors doubled their advantage six minutes later. The Glory gave a way possession on the edge of the penalty area and Smith finished powerfully past Thurtell. It was 3-0 on 76 minutes, Smith wasn’t closed down in the penalty area, and his shot on the turn flew past Thurtell. The Glory pressed late, and went close to a consolation goal, but Knowles’ free kick dropped on the top of the net, before Valentini raced clear, but could only fire straight at Margush.
GLORY FACE BOTTOM OF THE TABLE CLASH IN ADELAIDE
Perth Glory hit the road again this weekend when they take on Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Sunday (2pm). Kenny Lowe’s side need to turn their season around sooner rather than later, and they know a defeat on Sunday will leave them bottom of the Hyundai A-League table. The club has had a horror run of injuries of late and key players have been sidelined, but former captain Michael Thwaite has dismissed suggestions the mood within the camp has been down. “We’re not deflated at all. We’ve had a lot of things go against us during the season but I think the success we’ve had with the FFA Cup and blooding young WA players has made a positive feel within the group," he said. "I think we had three WA players come off the bench and I don’t think we’ve seen that before in Perth Glory history. I’m really happy the direction the club is moving in – but again we need to win games.”
Thwaite said he was encouraged by the clubs attempts to blood young local talent, even though recent results hadn’t gone their way. “In the four years I’ve been at the club we haven’t seen enough WA players come through and I think Kenny in breeding the NTC program he’s probably the best person to know the next generation coming through," he said. "We already see a captain that’s from WA I’d love to see the core of the team from WA – why not! But at the end of the day it’s also about getting results.”
Glory keeper Ante Covic criticised his teammates after the match, describing the performance as having “more holes than Swiss cheese”, but Thwaite, who has played a defensive-midfield role in recent weeks, admitted that results had to improve. “There were a few holes but hopefully I can be the olive that goes into the Swiss cheese” he joked. “We really need to step up as players otherwise all our jobs are on the line. The coach, the players everyone because you want success at the club, that’s why we’re playing in the A-League, we want to do well.” In team news Hungarian midfielder Gyorgy Sandor and Josh Risdon return to the squad, but Dino Djulbic, Guyon Fernandez and Alex Grant will still be out injured, while Aryn Williams is suspended.
Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic, says his side must ensure they must capitalise upon the current slump in form the Glory is experiencing. The Reds are yet to win in the A-League this season and Coach Guillermo Amor is coming under pressure, but the Socceroos ‘keeper said it’s time for a change of fortunes for the club. “It’s been ideal to change our situation every week, and last week I said it was good because it was Melbourne Victory away from home and we really believed we could get something out of the game,” Galekovic said. “This week’s another chance because Perth is struggling a little bit as well and they’re in a very similar situation to us.”
Former Perth Glory youth striker Eli Babalj is back in full training and could come into the squad on Sunday, but Galekovic said they will make a decision closer to the game. “We’ve been focusing on (our play) and our shape to get everything right for the weekend,” he said. “Eli has been doing his rehab and it looks like he’s not completely ready to start playing again, but he might be able to come off the bench depending on how he feels. We need a change as quick as possible and we’ll fight and give everything we can on Sunday. We still want a big crowd to turn up on the weekend to help us too. We’re giving everything and we’re fighting and we want things to turn as much as the fans do.” The Reds loss Craig Goodwin through suspension and will still be without the injured Osama Malik and Lacopo La Rocca, but they regain the services of Babalj and Mate Dugandzic.
GLORY YOUNGSTERS LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory Youth side will be looking get their season started when they take on Adelaide United in Round Five of the Foxtel National Youth League at Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday morning. The Glory, who are coming off the bye, were beaten by Melbourne Victory last time out, and defender Ross Millard said it was a un-characteristic performance from the Glory youngsters. “We came into the game really confident about getting a positive result due to a solid performance the previous week against City, so it was disappointing to walk away with nothing,” the former West Ham United and Stevenage FC trainee said. “We just didn't turn up that day and you can't do that in this league especially with the reduced amount of games so every moment counts. The thing that's killing us at the moment is not capitalising on the chances we create, we're making it hard for ourselves.”
There has been a number of NYL players stepping up to the A-League side in recent weeks, and Millard believes it’s great for his teammates to make the step, but he says whoever plays on Saturday against Adelaide will be up for the game, and they are looking forward to the challenge. “It’s satisfying as a youth team to see fellow teammates make the step up and get given a chance and an experience in the first team, and it bodes well for the future,” the 18-year-old said. “The players that have come into our side have been very good, and it’s great to see these boys come in and get an opportunity to make a mark and work their way up for a place in the starting 11 or even the match day squad so it's just another opportunity for us put in a good performance and come away with a positive result.”
Glory head-coach John Gibson will also be looking for his players to lift against The Reds, after the disappointing result, but he is confident they will rebound this week. “We’ve analysed and reviewed the game against Melbourne Victory, and we’ve worked on specific facets of our game, and like always we will be positive on Saturday,” he said. “The group always has an outstanding attitude, our standards we drive are high, and we understand the Victory game was a sub-standard performance. The environment is always challenging the group to be better – and we always look forward to game day.”
Saturday’s visitors, Adelaide United sits second in Conference A, five points ahead of the Glory youngsters, and beat the top of the table Brisbane Roar last weekend. With the Glory Hyundai A-League sides’ injury crisis, Gibson will again have to go into the game with a number of new players, but he says it’s their chance to show him what they have got. “The HAL squad have several injuries, and it provides opportunities for others to play and train with the A-League squad,” he said. “But it also gives other players the chance to play in the NYL side, which is pleasing. As we constantly reinforce to the group, be prepared for something or anything is process driven.” The game kicks off at 10.30am at Ashfield Sports Club.
GLORY LOOK FOR MORE TV VICTORIES
Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League clash against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium will be shown live on Fox Sports and ABC this weekend, and it will be the first time Reds Coach Jamie Harnwell comes up against his former club, that he guided to last season’s league title. Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said it’s good to get the exposer on live TV, and he said it’s a massive game for both clubs. “It’s always good to be involved live on TV, especially for the teams so there families and friends, where ever they are can see their loved ones,” he said. “It’s a massive game for both clubs, and three points are crucial for both clubs aspirations to compete in the play-offs. We welcome back are Matildas’ players to our line up and hopefully we can produce another good performance in front of the cameras and come home with three points.”
No one knows the Glory better than Harnwell who led the club to a breakthrough premiership last term, so a tight intense contest is on offer with both teams struggling to find the net with any great consistency. The Glory will look to Caitlin Foord, who returns from international duty, for an avenue to goal, while Shannon May and Vanessa DiBernardo will also have huge roles to play. Adelaide striker Rosie Sutton will be one to watch, having scored the club’s only hat-trick this season and, like Harnwell, is facing her former side for the first time. Both sides are coming off defeats but victory would be a huge boost as the second half of the regular season gets underway.
The clubs are separated by just one point, and with the top of the table congested, Despotovski said they (Adelaide) will be a tough test. “I know every side Jamie Coaches will be well drilled, organised and with a lot of quality players in it,” he explained. “It will be hot conditions at game time, so it will be the elements and a good side that we have to overcome. So to go into their City and play at their home ground and try and win will be a big task, but it’s one we will except and do our best to accomplish.” The game kicks off at 11AM WA time.
GRIFFITHS MAKES MALAYSIAN MOVE
Former Perth Glory defender Brent Griffiths has signed with Malaysian Super League side Penang FA. 25-year old Griffiths has been without a club since being released by Central Coast Mariners at the end of the last season. The 25-year old, a junior with Blackburn Rovers, played A-League with Glory and Wellington Phoenix in addition to a spell at Victorian club Heidelberg United.
Penang FA will compete in the Malaysian Super League again in 2016 after securing promotion from the second division. “I was attracted to the growing league of Malaysia and felt I wanted to try and experience something new culturally,” he said. ““FA Penang was a no brainer for me also as they're coming back into the Super League this season and they're a club with a rich footballing history which want to challenge for everything.”
GARCIA UPBEAT DESPITE FOUR-GOAL LOSS
Team captain Richard Garcia denies Perth Glory has hit rock bottom, saying last week's 5-1 thrashing by Melbourne City could even prove to be a turning point. Glory are only one point above last-placed Adelaide after posting just one win and a draw from their first seven matches. The two struggling teams meet on Sunday in what some are already labelling an early wooden spoon battle.
A raft of injuries to key players has cruelled Glory's finals chances, but Garcia is adamant it's not all doom and gloom at the club. "Look, (it's) not rock bottom," Garcia said. "We weren't very good defensively (against City), but we created a lot, so we can take some positives out of the game. It definitely will be a turning point I think. After that result, there are a lot of players out there who need to prove their worth. I think we can do that in the coming weeks."
Goalkeeper Ante Covic claimed the team's defence had more holes than Swiss cheese after conceding five goals to Melbourne City. Garcia said it was up to the whole team to make sure that situation didn't occur again. "It's a collective effort. We defend as a team," he said. Glory will be forced to dig deep in Adelaide with Josh Risdon, Ruben Zadkovich, Dino Djulbic and Guyon Fernandez injured plus Aryn Williams suspended.
KAVANAGH JOINS BALCATTA
Balcatta have signed Cockburn City’s Irish midfielder Conor Kavanagh for the 2016 PS4 National Premier League WA season. The 25-year-old has followed former Cockerels Coach Marc Anthony to Grindleford Reserve, and he’s ready for a new challenge. “I’m really looking forward to next season, a fresh start with a new club, and I’m looking forward to meeting the new player group and hitting the ground running in pre-season,” he said. “It’s been a long couple of months off and I can’t wait to get back training and playing. They have a great squad down at Balcatta, and I’m hoping I can bring something different and help bring success to the club for the coming season.”
Kavanagh said last season at Cockburn was a disappointing one, and said the call to new coach Scott Miller to tell him he was leaving was hard. “I had a great time at Cockburn, and I made some great friends and some great memories that will stay with me forever,” he explained. “The hardest part was when I had to make that phone call to Scotty to tell him I wouldn’t be returning. But I just felt that it was the right time. I spent four seasons at the club, and I just felt it was time to move on and seek out a different challenge.”
Cockburn started the season well in 2015, but they slipped away and struggled late on and the midfielder said it was a disappointing way to end his tenure at the club. “Last season we started out great during the night series and first game of the season, but after that things didn’t go the way we would have liked,” he said. “We never really carried the form from the night series into the season and with the quality that is in the NPL you can’t afford to do that and we paid the price, so overall the 2015 season was a bit disappointing.”
The move to Balcatta was made easier with former Cockburn coaches Anthony and Lennie joining the club, but Kavanagh says they have a good squad and he’s looking forward to a strong season. “Joining Balcatta was made a hell of a lot easier knowing Marc and Lennie were going to be there, and also the fact I could walk to training if need be,” he said. “As I said I felt it was time to leave Cockburn, and when Marc got in contact with me and as soon as I knew they were interested my mind was made up. Marc a great coach to play for, he always gets his teams playing good attractive football and are always well drilled and the training is brilliant always enjoyable and tough.”
Anthony said the signing of Kavanagh is just the start of their recruitment for next season. “We’re delighted to be able to bring Conor to Balcatta, and having someone in your team with the ability he has will always improve your side,” he said. “Not only that he's a player who stands up when you need him to in my opinion he is without doubt one of the top midfielders in the league. Along with Conor we will hopefully announce more signings in the coming weeks.”
HESKETH BACK FOR ANOTHER SEASON AT THE DOLPHINS
After leading Mandurah City to the All Flags Division One title last season Doug Hesketh has committed to the club for next season. The 58-year-old was unsure of his future and had offers from other clubs but he said The Dolphins were his number one choice. “I put everything into it last season and I really wanted a break from the game, but if I was going to coach I was always going to give Mandurah first refusal, I think we have something special at the club,” Hesketh said. “We are aiming for the NPL next season and that was a significant pull towards me returning, but it was the players who contacted me which has inspired me to go on.”
The club have also added a new assistant coach, after securing the services of former Everton defender Mick Lyons, and Hesketh is looking forward to working with his mate. “We have recruited Mick Lyons to the coaching team for next season, with Steve Robinson unable to commit,” he said. “Steve will still be around the club during the year, but he has a busy schedule in 2016 which meant he could not commit. I know MCFC would officially like to thank Robbo for the commitment and the service which he gave the club it is much appreciated by all in helping us win the State League.”
Hesketh said Lyons will bring a wealth of experience to the club, as they look to repeat last season’s success. “Mick is a great asset, and I believe the game in WA needs people like Mick Lyons and with this opportunity coming up I thought I would ask and he agreed,” he said. “The knowledge he has is not in a text book it can only be acquired by doing it and being there. He has had success in WA coaching and has a great eye for talent I know players will be inspired and motivated to know he is working with us.”
New Mandurah City President Tony Dyson said its great news to have secured Hesketh for next season. “It took me a long time to get Doug to the club when I was Vice-President last season, I had been chasing him ever since he left Stirling Lions. He is meticulous in his preparation and how he manages players and gets the best out of them on the park,” he said. “When you appoint someone of Doug’s calibre you know as a President that players will want to play for him and give their all for the duration of the season. This has been proved correct when he won coach of the year, fully deserved, I can honestly say that I have been with MCFC for thirteen years and appointing Doug as head coach is the best bit of business I have done since I have been there, to get him to commit again for this season is the icing on the cake.”
The Dolphins will be the team to beat in 2016, and Hesketh said they are looking forward to the challenge ahead. “The playing group we have at the club are exceptional, and they are very motivated even after a difficult year in many ways,” he said. “Granted, it was mixed rewards for an exceptional job, but they wanted to work together again and that is a strong response. We head into the new season in good shape and focused to do our best again, and trying to strengthen the junior squads and we’ll see where it leads us. It will be another tough season, but that's the challenge”
OXBORROW BACK FIT AND READY FOR GLORY
It’s been a frustrating November for Perth Glory youngster Mitch Oxborrow, with injuries curtailing the 20-year old midfielder’s A-League season. Born in Dagenham in the UK, Oxborrow has overcome his set back and is looking forward to pushing for a starting role in Kenny Lowe’s side. “It’s been a bit disappointing for me to be honest. I’ve missed a few games with the knock so I’m only getting back into swing of things, so I’m looking to progress as best I can,” he said. “I want to cement a first team spot and contribute to as many goals as possible. I want to be involved in going forward and splitting defences and do what I feel I’m capable of doing.”
The Oxborrow family headed to Perth when the midfielder was 10, and five years later he headed to Canberra to take up a place at the Australian Institute of Sport. From there he spent two years at the Newcastle Jets under the stewardship of former coach Gary Van Egmond and made his A-League debut. But the move back to Western Australia has given his professional football career a massive boost, and he hopes to make the most of it. “I came back at the right time, it’s the right place I’m surrounded by the right people and it is the right club for me” he said. “But after a couple of years I got homesick and I wanted to come home. A lot’s changed for both clubs since I first got to the Jets but it was harder for me at Newcastle, I was only 16 and 17 whereas now I’m older and I know how to handle certain situations better.”
The Glory have given a number of the local players an opportunity in the side this season. The likes of Stefano Valentini, Joe Knowles, Jacob Collard and Aryn Williams have all featured in Kenny Lowe’s plans this season, and after playing in the National Youth League for most of last season, Oxborrow was rewarded in January with a senior contract, and he is happy to be back and fighting fit and is willing to play anywhere Lowe asks him too. “At the moment when I’ve been playing I’ve been in that number 6 role and holding back, but at times Kenny has asked me to push forward and admittedly I want to go forward rather than defend. It suits me better, but I’ll do whatever job Kenny asks me to do.”
THWAITE: WA YOUNG GUNS RIGHT MIX FOR GLORY (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory’s defensive stalwart Michael Thwaite, has praised the mix of WA youth being injected into the current squad by head coach Kenny Lowe. Glory has had a horror run of injuries of late and key players have been sidelined for several weeks, but the former captain has dismissed suggestions the mood within the camp has been down. “We’re not deflated at all. We’ve had a lot of things go against us during the season but I think the success we’ve had with the FFA Cup and blooding young WA players has made a positive feel within the group. I think we had three WA players come off the bench and I don’t think we’ve seen that before in Perth Glory history I think , so yeah I’m really happy the direction the club is moving in – but again we need to win games” he said.
Thwaite said he was encouraged by Coach Lowe’s attempts to blood young local talent, even though recent results hadn’t gone their way. “In the four years I’ve been here we haven’t seen enough WA players come through and I think Kenny in breeding the NTC program he’s probably the best person to know the next generation coming through. We already see a captain that’s from WA I’d love to see the core of the team from WA – why not! But at the end of the day it’s also about getting results.” Thwaite, who has been used in a defensive-midfield role by Lowe in recent weeks, admitted that results had to improve, particularly on the back of last Friday’s 5-1 loss to Melbourne City.
Glory keeper Ante Covic criticised his teammates after the match, describing the performance as having “more holes than Swiss cheese”. Thwaite stressed it wasn’t down to inexperience or individual error and emphasised the team defended as a whole. “There were a few holes but hopefully I can be the olive that goes into the Swiss cheese” he joked. “We really need to step up as players otherwise all our jobs are on the line. The coach, the players everyone because you want success at the club, that’s why we’re playing in the A-League, we want to do well.”
Glory will face off against last placed Adelaide United on Sunday at Coopers Stadium. “I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘must win’, I don’t agree with that game but we need to start moving up to be part of the top six” Thwaite said. The match kicks-off at 2pm WST and can be seen on Fox Sports 505 and listened to on ABC Grandstand. Glory returns to nib Stadium on December 12 for three home games in seven days in what will be a Festive Feast of Football.
MATILDA’S OUT-CLASS SOUTH KOREA
Kyah Simon's second half goal has given the Matildas a 1-0 victory over Korea Republic from today's international friendly in Incheon. Simon’s match-decider came in the 67th minute following some sustained pressure and a dominant opening first half by Australia. The result and performance gives the squad confidence ahead of next year’s qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games. West Australian-born Lydia Williams and Lisa De Vanna were both in the Matildas starting eleven.
NO W-LEAGUE HOME COMFORTS FOR GLORY
Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League campaign has hit a major stumbling block, after again failing to take three points at home. This time bottom of the table Melbourne Victory came away from Ashfield Sports Club with a 3-1 win, their first points of the season, leaving the Glory still searching for a home win this season. "We played really good possession and kept the ball well, but our final third needs some work," Glory captain Kim Carroll said. "We've worked on our passing and we got that right today. We've just got to fine-tune that final third and get a few shots on target."
The Glory were without the injured Sam Kerr, and keeper Mackenzie Arnold and striker Caitlin Foord, who are were on international duty, while Victory gave a debut to Liverpool and England striker Natasha Dowie, and the visitors were ahead on nine minutes. Hayley Raso pounced on a loose ball to fire past Gabby Dal Busco. American imports Vanessa DiBernardo and Nikki Stanton created chances, but failed to convert. Despite dominating possession the Glory failed to make any clear cut chances and went into the break one goal down.
The visitors doubled their lead seven minutes into the second half. Christine Nairn superbly curling home a free kick from the edge of the penalty area to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. The Glory were squandering chance after chance, Stanton, DiBernardo and Shannon May all went close but with six minutes remaining they managed to pull one back. Victory keeper Melissa Barbieri raced out of goal, but her clearance went straight to May, who fired the ball goalwards, and despite two Victory defenders gallant effort to clear it the ball dropped into the net. The Glory pressed looking for the equaliser, but once again they couldn’t find the way past a well-organized Victory defence.
With the Glory pushing players forward they were caught out again in the final minute. Victory substitute Whitney Knight combined with Dowie, to score a third and final goal for the visitors and seal the three points, and give them their first points of the season. Matildas pair Foord and Arnold will be back from international duty next week for the trip to Adelaide, while defender Danielle Brogan could return after missing Saturday's game with an ankle injury. "It's a tough competition this season and it's pretty even in that middle bit of the table so hopefully we're still in it with a few games to go," Carroll said. "We're obviously missing our big name players, but we did have some young girls step in and they did the job well."
GLORY CONTINUE SEARCH FOR GOALS
Perth Glory will step up their search for a new striker after Friday night’s drubbing at Melbourne City, with former striker Andy Keogh topping the wishlist. Sidnei Sciola’s first half consolation goal was just Glory’s seventh in as many games, a tally which has them hovering only one point above last position.
Glory’s usually resolute but undermanned defence was ruthlessly dismantled in the 5-1 loss, with coach Kenny Lowe declaring this a defining moment for his battling team. Glory have salary cap room but with all visa spots filled, a foreigner must depart to open up a spot for Keogh, with FFA already rejecting the club’s guest stint application.
Although the club is still looking at avenues that could bring Keogh back into the fray, Lowe dismissed any such suggestion and said improvement must come from within. “We’ve got five foreigners, so I can’t see that (Keogh signing) happening and they’ve kiboshed the guest player route,” Lowe said. “It’s not about who’s coming or who’s going, it’s about what we’ve got now.”
“Everyone’s just got to really dig in, a bit like the salary cap it’s a defining moment, you make choices now. This is an opportunity for people to either step up or step out, including myself. So I’m going to find out a lot about myself over the next few weeks, like the players. It’s going to be an interesting time.’’
The silver lining for Glory was a debut to youth team striker Joseph Knowles, and another appearance for fellow local product Jamal Reiners. “We’ve got Joe Knowles in for his first game, it’s difficult for him to come in and effect the game but it doesn’t matter, he’ll look back at it fondly,” Lowe said. “Maybe not the result, but he’s had a taste of the A-League.”
Glory’s depth will be tested for Sunday’s trip to Adelaide, with defender Aryn Williams, an injury-replacement for Ruben Zadkovich, suspended after copping a needless red card. Only Hungarian midfielder Gyorgy Sandor is a chance to return at this stage, with Josh Risdon and Alex Grant at least a week away. Guyon Fernandez and Dino Djulbic are longer-term absentees.
GLORY MAULED BY MOOY AND CITY
Perth Glory’s season has gone from bad to worse, after 5-1 defeat against Melbourne City on Friday evening at AAMI Park. The injury hit Glory side were overwhelmed by a rampant City side, lead superbly by Socceroo midfielder Arron Mooy, and to make matters worse defender Aryn Williams was sent off, and has added to the absentees for next week’s basement battle with Adelaide United. Despite the loss, Glory Coach Kenny Lowe remains optimistic. “We created a lot of chances we could have been up one or two but we contributed to the goals as well and you can’t do that,” he said. “We need to regroup. There’s enough character amongst our group for us to do well.”
The Glory went into the game without 11 first team squad members, and the latest injury concern was Josh Risdon and Alex Grant who both missed out from the side that draw 0-0 with Sydney FC last week, with Anthony Golec and Chris Harold coming into the starting lineup, and NYL striker Joe Knowles was on the bench. Many thought the Glory would struggled and it only took six minutes for the home side to hit the front. Mooy’s free kick found Eric Paartalu at the back post, who rose above Richard Garcia to head into the net, off the leg of Golec, which wrong-footed keeper Ante Covic.
Despite the set-back the Glory should have levelled two minutes later. Nebojsa Marinkovic’s cross picked out the unmarked Sidnei Sciola, but the Brazilian’s header was straight at City keeper Thomas Sorensen, he should have done better. Moments later the Glory had another opportunity to level, Harold raced clear from a great through ball from Marinkovic, but the Glory striker blazed wide of the target. But on 19 minutes City showed Glory how to do it, and it was the man Mooy again in the thick of the action. He eased past Marc Warren and picked out Connor Chapman who headed home from four meters.
Still the Glory pressed and were causing the City back four problems, but they couldn’t find the target. Garcia curling shot was well saved by Sorenson, and from the resulting corner the Glory skipper fired wide. But their profligacy came back to haunt them on 35 minutes when City added a third. Mooy’s cross field pass sent Corey Gameiro down the right, he picked out Bruno Fornaroli, who finished clinically from the edge of the penalty area. It looked like the Glory had themselves a lifeline two minutes before the break when Marinkovic’s free kick was headed home by Garcia, but the assistant’s flag was up for an infringement in the box. But in stoppage time the Glory did pull one back. Marinkovic’s in-swinging corner was headed home by Sidnei at the front post, to give them hope for the second half.
The Glory opened brightly after the break and created a number of half chances, but again they didn’t take them, and again City showed them how it was done. Mooy’s corner was cleared convincingly and Harry Novillo’s stunning low drive flew into the net. Lowe looked to his bench to find a solution bringing on former ECU Joondalup striker Knowles, for his A-League debut on the hour. But it was City who had the final word eight minutes from time. Mooy fed Stefan Mauk in the area, and he fell after Williams’ grabbed hold of his shirt, and the Glory defender was sent off for a second yellow card, Mooy converted the resulting penalty to give the home side a resounding victory.
GLORY HIT THE ROAD LOOKING TO END BARREN RUN
Perth Glory hit the road in week eight of the Hyundai A-League when they take on Melbourne City tonight at AAMI Park. Kenny Lowe’s side will be looking for their first win in five league games, that win was when they beat bottom of the table Adelaide United 3-1 at nib Stadium. Skipper Richard Garcia will lead the side against his former club, and the midfielder said some of the players might have to go in a little underdone. “We have a few players out injured, and a few coming back from injury, and that’s disappointing. A few might be a little under cooked, but all we can do is concentrate on whose playing and focus on the game on Friday,” he said. “It gives the youngsters in our squad the opportunity to come in and get some minutes under their belt as well.”
The Glory had Mitch Oxborrow and Chris Harold return from injury last week, the pair coming off the bench against Sydney FC, and they might get the nod to start this week. Aryn Williams and Alex Grant were solid last week at the heart of the defence, but Grant is out this week along with Josh Risdon, and Lowe has brought back Anthony Golec and added Jacob Collard to the squad. Michael Thwaite was outstanding in midfield last week, and Lowe will probably go the same this time around. Diogo Ferreira looks like the man to get Socceroos’ midfielder and City danger man Arron Mooy, while the coach will be looking for more from Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic, who has been a little down on his game in recent weeks. He has also added Glory Youth strikers Stefan Valentini and Joe Knowles to the travelling party.
City have slipped up in recent weeks, but came away with a point last week against Brisbane Roar, a game that saw the return of Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic off the bench. The 28-year-old came through the game well and is ready to start against the Glory. “I’ll put my hand up to start, but it’s up to the coaches and medical (staff) to see where I’m at. I believe I could last 90 minutes,” Franjic said. “I’ll go out there, I won’t put limits on, once you step over that white line, you’re fit and there are no excuses. I’m looking forward to it; Melbourne’s where I grew up.”
The right-back was lively in a 32-minute City debut after recovering from a quad injury that he aggravated when he was on the verge of returning in September, and was looking forward to a home debut in his home city. “The first game back you’re running on adrenaline so it’s not really there but coming through training there’s periods where you doubt yourself and think it might go again,” he said. “But you just have to push through it and it’s about knowing your body and knowing your limits, and I’m not getting any younger.”
GLORY HEAD HOME TO TAKE ON VICTORY IN W-LEAGUE
After back-to-back away trips, and a bye Perth Glory return home for week seven of the Westfield W-League, when they take on bottom of the table Melbourne Victory at the Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday afternoon. The last time out the Glory left the Suncorp Stadium with the three points after a 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar, and Coach Bobby Despotovski said it was a real good defensive performance from the side. “It was a great win against good Brisbane side away from home, and it was a really good defensive display from the team,” he said. “We were forced into making a few early substitutes due to injuries, but the players who come on did their job. Everybody stuck to the game plan and it was nice that game plan worked to the tee.”
There was good news and bad news coming out of the win, the bad was Sam Kerr's injury, which will see the Matildas’ striker out for the rest of the season. Despotovski wished Sam a speedy recovery. “Sam was unfortunate but that is football I guess, and we wish her all the best in her recovery,” he said. “But a pleasing side to the situation was the players that replaced injured players last week did they job to help the side, it was important for me and Collette (McCullum) to see what other players can bring to the side, and they all did at Brisbane.”
On the positive side was the debut for new import Vanessa DiBernardo. The American midfielder was a standout and capped her performance with a candidate for ‘Goal of the season’, and Despotovski believes DiBernardo quality will rub off on the younger players in the squad. “Vanessa was the one that stood out she was outstanding and she deserved all the accolades that she is getting at the moment,” he explained. “We knew she was quality player when we sign her and she didn’t disappoint. We just hope that her professionalism and her attitude toward training and games transfer to our local football players, and hopefully that would be enough for local players to thrive to improve at training and the games they are involved in.”
Glory beat the Victory 2-1 in the opening game of the season in Melbourne, but they head west on the bottom of the table and without a point, and Despotovski said it’s important they are on their game to take maximum points. “This is a very dangerous game for us this week, as we do not have our two internationals, who are in South Korea with national team and also Sam (Kerr) injured,” he said. “We again need to be at our best to be able to get anything from the game defensively and also going forward. Also we do not want to be the first side to lose against Melbourne this year, so we are expecting very hard contest and I hope it is great game for all involved and also great viewing for all spectators.”
SALDARIS BROTHERS SIGN FOR FLOREAT
Floreat Athena has signed Bayswater City pair Chris and Jason Saldaris for 2016. Chris (defender) and Jason (keeper) were part of Bayswater’s PS4 NPLWA winning side last season, but thought it was time to move on. “For me it was time for a change, it’s always tough when you have to leave a good bunch of boys,” Jason said. Chris also said the decision was tough. “2015 was a good year with a good bunch of boys, going undefeated and coming second in the NPL finals,” he said. “It was very difficult to leave because they gave me the opportunity when they were performing week in and week out. I was there for three years with nearly the same bunch of boys every year but it was time for a change and it had to happen.”
The pair are both looking forward to the new challenge at Floreat, who were the big improvers last season. “I thought they conceded too many goals last season so hopefully with a couple of new signings hopefully we can tighten up the defence and challenge for the title,” Jason said. Chris said there are exciting times ahead at the Litis Stadium. “I’m very exciting about signing for Athena, they were a good team last year and this year we are going to become better and improve every week and challenge for the title,” he said.
Jason had a few offers from other clubs in WA and Victoria, but believes Floreat was the best place to be next season. Under the tutelage of Glen Grostate, Floreat performed well in 2015 and both players are looking forward to 2016 and working with him and new assistant coach Steve Burton. “I had a couple of clubs in Melbourne call me and a few of the WA clubs call too, but I just thought Floreat had the best plan going forward,” Jason said. “But after speaking to Steve at the end of the season, I was then contacted by Glen and we hit it off, and I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”
Floreat have lost Aryn Williams to Perth Glory, the defender shining in his A-League debut against Sydney on Saturday, and keeper Fraser Greenwood to Bayswater City. Coach Glen Grostate says he’s delighted to have secured the Saldaris brothers for next season to fill the void. “After speaking to Chris and Jason their attitude was first class, and they were both excited about joining our programme,” he said. “We had a good season in 2015, but we slipped up late in the season to just miss out on the runners-up spot, and Chris and Jason will be great inclusions, and we have more in the pipeline as we try to put that right in 2016.”
Chris was also contacted by clubs in WA but like Jason believes Floreat are on the up. “There were a couple of clubs in the NPL that contacted me, but I thought Floreat was the best fit for me, after speaking to Glen and Steve,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with the pair, they had a lot of boys missing at times last year and he had to bring in younger boys and for him it worked. So I’m buzzing to see how he will bring this squad together with a lot of us fighting for positions at training.”
EDWARDS: ESTABLISHING MYSELF AT THISTLE WOULD CAP INTERNATIONAL HONOURS
Under-23 international Ryan Edwards says representing Australia has been a double-edged sword for him since signing for signing with Scottish club Partick Thistle. While honoured to represent his nation, the Olyroo's captain acknowledges that the trips have made it difficult for him to establish himself at Firhill.
With a glut of fixtures ahead as Scottish football prepares to enter its’ hectic festive period though, Edwards is hoping to show the Jags fans what he can do. “The trip (away with the Olyroos last month) was really good, we had two good games, one against Qatar and one against Iran,” he said. “We’re still in the friendly stage at the moment, the qualifiers aren’t until January.”
“I captained the team against Qatar and although we lost 3-1, it was never a 3-1 loss, then we drew 1-1 with Iran which was much better. It’s probably the biggest accolade you can get at any age-group to captain your country. It’s an amazing feeling wearing the armband and walking the boys out. Hearing the anthem, even though the crowds aren’t maybe the greatest in youth football, it’s still an unbelievable feeling.”
“There’s positives and negatives to it (playing for Australia) though. I signed for Partick in September, so in the last two or three months I’ve been coming and going with the international breaks, so I haven’t really got any momentum going club-wise, and that’s probably the negative for myself and the club. The positive side of it is that I’m playing international football and getting that exposure and experience.”
“I feel as if my Partick career so far has been a bit stop-start so far. I signed after the season had started and you try your best to get in the team straight away, but all of a sudden you’re off and when the team is training together as a group you’re missing out on a chance to impress and to get into the team … The Christmas period is very busy so there’s going to be chances there and it’s a long season so I’ll have chances to impress.”
Stop-start is probably an apt description for Partick Thistle’s season as a whole. Edwards is confident though they can maintain the form that has produced three wins, two draws and just a solitary defeat in their last six matches. “We’ve shown that when we can pick up a few points how quickly it can move you up the table,” he said.
“On the flip side of that we then had a couple of draws and a loss to Hearts, so we dropped right back down. We’re hoping that our good results over the last few weeks will help to push us back up. You can see how close the table is, but as long as we keep playing well and picking up points then it will be shown in the table. Our consistency has gotten better over the last few weeks.”
“The Hearts game was a bit of a blip, but apart from that our performances have been really good. We’ve had a few draws where we probably should have won, and in the game at the weekend the luck was on our side with the goal in the last minute. The points will come, I’m sure.”
OFF-CONTRACT BIRIGHITTI EARNING RAVE REVIEWS
One minute Mark Birighitti was collecting the Jets player of the year award, the next he was boarding a plane bound for a pre-World Cup training camp with the Socceroos in Brazil. Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen showed their interest in the 24-year old goalkeeper but that waned when they changed manager.
Next was an A-League All-Stars game against his childhood team, Juventus, and sharing cups of coffee with idol and Italian legend Gigi Buffon. It was the stuff of dreams. Then came the letdown. A dip in form was followed by demotion to the Jets bench. That led to an underwhelming loan move to Italian Serie B club Varese, and more frustration.
Despite the tough trot, Birighitti’s desire and appetite for work never diminished, and now he is reaping the rewards. The acrobatic shot-stopper was at his best in a second man-of-the-match performance to help snare the Jets a valuable point from a scoreless draw on the road against his old club Adelaide United on Sunday.
“I feel like I have taken my game to a whole new level,” Birighitti told the ‘Newcastle Herald’. “From back them to now, one word I use a lot with the coaching staff is maturity. I have matured a lot as a keeper and a person. I am going into games feeling very confident that I can play my part for the team.”
Birighitti has made 26 saves to date, three more than next best Thomas Sørensen (Melbourne City), despite missing the 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory in round three with a bad facial injury. He had four teeth dislodged and needed more than 40 stitches in his mouth and chin after being kicked flush in the face by Sydney FC striker Shane Smeltz.
The former Perth SC junior returned to action in round four and was quickly back diving at the feet of strikers. His heroics against Adelaide on Sunday earned a place in the A-League team of the week for a second time this campaign. “Massive credit has to go to goalkeeping coach Jess Vanstrattan and the rest of the coaching staff,” Birighitti said.
“Jess and I sat down at the start of the season and analysed my game. We worked out what areas I needed to improve and have been addressing them. We do a lot of reaction stuff at training and power work, the most important aspects of being a ‘keeper. We do a lot of plyometric hurdles and those type of exercises. You can see the outcome in games.”
Coach Ange Postecoglou has stuck mainly with Mat Ryan, Eugene Galekovic and Adam Federici for the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifying campaign. But with Ryan and Galekovic recovering from injury, Alex Cisak (Leyton Orient) was brought in on the bench as back-up for the past two games, and Birighitti may well be next in line.
“In regards to the Socceroos, last year was a write-off for me,” Birighitti said. “To start this season the way I have, I’m very happy with that. I’m focused purely on doing my thing for the club. The rest will take care of itself. If a Socceroos call-up does happen, it is a massive honour representing your country.”
Off contract at the end of the season, Birighitti harbours a desire to return to Europe but is not in a rush. “Every young footballer aspires to play in the big leagues in Europe,” he said. “But I’m really enjoying my football in Newcastle … In terms of contract talks, I’ll leave that to my manager, Vinnie Grella. My job is to stop balls from going into the back of the net.”
ROSINDALE AMONG FRIENDS AT INGLEWOOD (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
English striker Ashley Rosindale has revealed his decision to join Inglewood United was made easier knowing that his new teammates were also some of his best friends. Rosindale became the seventh and most recent addition to the playing roster late last week by agreeing terms for the coming National Premier Leagues season.
“I’m excited to be joining Inglewood,” 29-year old Rosindale said. “A few of my close friends have recently signed for the club and playing in a team with them was too much of a good opportunity to turn down. Inglewood has shown this summer how serious they are about achieving some success next year and I want to be a part of it.”
“(Coach) Michael Garcia told me he wanted a striker who could score goals, and I felt I could fit really well into his plans for 2016. Hopefully, I can assist the team in creating and scoring a few more goals over the season and use my experience and leadership to help support and develop some of the younger players at the club.”
Rosindale got his start at Bradford City, spending seven years in the club’s youth system before joining Lock Haven University. A successful four-year spell in the United States college system began with Rosindale picking up the Rookie of the Year award and included three successive All-Northeast Region team selections along with All-American honours in his final year.
On moving to Western Australia, Rosindale played a year with Stirling Lions before switching to Balcatta. His talent for finding the back of the net propelled that club to the top of Division One (2009) and the Premier League (2011), and were recognised with back-to-back Player of the Year awards (2009, 2010) along with State team honours(2012). He played the last two seasons with Perth SC.
After being restricted to just eight appearances last year by a foot injury, Rosindale is setting his targets modestly for the coming season. “My main goal is to get fit and stay injury-free,” he said. “Beyond that, I want to make Inglewood more of a threat in the final third of the pitch and I would love to see us break into the top four.”
COSTELLO TO WEAR THE BLACK AND BLUE IN 2016
After a stellar season at Perth Glory in the PS4 NPL-WA, defender Nathan Costello has spread his wings and joined Champions Bayswater City for 2016. In his first full season in the NPL Costello was outstanding at the heart of the back four for the Glory, but he thought it was time for a new start, and after talks with the club he said they parted ways amicably. “It was by mutual agreement, I’m now 21 and it was time to move on and get amongst the big boys,” he said. “There is plenty of good young talent players at the Glory NPL side, and I’m sure they will be a good young side next season.”
Costello, who made his NPLWA debut at Armadale in 2014, is excited about the new start at Bayswater and improving his game. “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge at Bayswater, and hopefully take my game to the next level,” he said. “It was good for me to get a full NPL season under my belt last season with the Glory, but I’m someone who will always work hard and look for an improvement in 2016.”
Bayswater City were the benchmark in WA football and took all before them last season, and Costello is under no illusions the challenge that is in front of him, but he’s ready for it. “I’m definitely excited to join Bayswater, and when they came knocking there was only place I wanted to be and I’m delighted to have signed for them,” he said. “They have been the benchmark in the league the last few years, and I’ve always loved playing against them because it was a massive challenge, so hopefully now I can be a part of such a quality team.”
City Coach Chris Coyne said Nathan has added quality to his squad. “It’s another great acquisition by the club in the off season. Nathan is a young reliable Defender who has high praise from those that have played with and against him as well as previous coaches,” Coyne said. “We have been keen on him for a while and kept an eye on him. As soon as we were aware he was available we were very excited for the opportunity to work with him.”
Coyne believes the defender has all the attributes to go to the next level. “Nathan is a young accomplished defender who is a leader, very composed on the ball and has bundles of pace,” he said. “I believe he will develop under the experience of Jamie Coyne and others at the back for Bayswater and we all hope that he is presented with opportunities to get to the next level.”
Costello said after talking to Coyne the decision to join was easy. “I was really surprised when assistant coach Stewart Moses rang me, to ask what I was doing next season. Then Chris (Coyne) rang me a couple of days later and had a chat about the club and where they were heading and it really impressed me, and it rolled on from there and the rest is history,” he said. “Chris has certainly just about done everything as a professional football, and I’m really looking forward to work with him and the other coaching staff at the club. If anyone can help me improve my game then it would certainly be Chris Coyne.”
The defender has a glimpse of the next level of football training at times with the Glory A-League squad and he said if the opportunity came about would you make the next step, and he believes there is more talent in the NPLWA. “I think a player would be silly not to step out of the NPL to the A-League if given the slightest chance, and I’m no different,” Costello explained. “Aryn Williams has done it recently, moving to the Glory from Floreat Athena, and he’s taken his chance with a few appearances to his name, but it shows there is talent in the local leagues.”
AMERICAN IMPORT A PERFECT FIT FOR GLORY
It’s been a perfect start in the W-League for Perth Glory midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, but then again the American arrived at the club with an impress CV, and has fitted in nicely. On her debut for the club against Brisbane Roar she bagged a brace, including a sensational long-range strike, which will go close to the goal of the season. “That was something I have definitely never done before,” DiBernardo said. “The ball was bouncing and I just volleyed it toward the goal and hoped for the best.”
DiBernardo said it’s always good to score early at a new club and it was more important after they lost Sam Kerr with injury early. “Just being able to help the team in any way was nice. I’m a possession orientated kind of player, so hopefully I can help keep the ball. Also help in attack, which might be more difficult for us after losing Sam (Kerr),” she said. “I’m still trying to get to the next level in terms of being dangerous from that position (as a goal scoring midfielder). It is a process for me, but I’m starting to figure it out a little bit more.”
The talented 23-year-old midfielder is yet to make her full debut with the USA Senior national team; though she has been called into camp under former Matildas coach Tom Sermanni. If that day ever comes DiBernardo would be the first US player to have a father who also represented the country at senior level. DiBernardo’s farther Angelo featured at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and also played for New York Cosmos. She was however a key member of the USA team which won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan.
The decision to move ’Down under’ came after DiBernardo finished a degree in Sports Management last year, and Australia was her preferred destination, and she came on loan from her American National Women’s Soccer League side Chicago Red Stars. “I talked with (former Sydney FC defender) Sam Johnson and others and they told me good things. They advised me to come here and I did,” she said. “I was surprised how physical it was, it was a very physical game. Every league is different. But it is a good level here, and the games are good for us players so I’m sure it will be a great experience.”
BURNLEY'S WILSON KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN
Young Socceroo Brandon Wilson is enjoying his time at Burnley but admits he could move away from the English Championship club next year in search of first team football. Wilson, who was born in Africa and spent his childhood in England and Western Australia, joined Burnley in 2013. The 19-year old midfielder has been playing for the Clarets Under-21s and is contracted to the club until the end of the 2015/2016 season.
“Things at Burnley are going decent,” Wilson said. “I have been playing a lot with the 21’s. As a team the under 21's have been doing really well, we went 11 games in a row without losing a game. I feel like my confidence is growing as each game goes on. I haven't had a chance yet with the first-team, but if the chance does come up I will be ready to give it my all.”
Wilson is hoping to go on loan at some point this season to gain more experience. “There have been conversations with my agent and some staff at Burnley that loan moves would be a good move for me to get first team football,” he said. “It looks promising that it would happen this season.”
Wilson is happy at Turf Moor but said he may have to leave the club next season to further his career. “It would be nice to get offered another contract with Burnley, at the same time I wouldn't mind moving clubs to hopefully learn more styles of play and develop more as a first team footballer,” he said.
Wilson has represented Australia at Under-20 level and was involved in the AFC Under-19 Championships held in Laos earlier this year. “Playing for the Young Socceroos was definitely my favourite footballing experience so far,” he said. “It was the proudest and most exiting moment of my life so far I would have to say.”
CARROLL TO LEAD THE GLORY IN KERR'S ABSENCE
When Sam Kerr limped off against Brisbane Roar, the club didn’t just lose a quality player, they also lost their leader. Kerr was appointed skipper by Glory coach Bobby Despotovski at the start of the season, and while the inspirational striker will be missed the club have moved quickly to appoint veteran defender Kim Carroll as skipper for the rest of the season. “She was always vice-captain, so it was just a natural progression. She’s a leader on the park, so she will be a natural at the position,” Despotovski said.
Carroll played over 100 games for Brisbane Roar before heading west, and has played over 50 games for the Matilda’s, and she has already worn the captain’s armband once during the Newcastle Jets match when Kerr was on Matilda’s duty. “She leads by example playing the game, and obviously she helps everyone being around by being a full international, and knows what’s required to be a successful footballer,” Despotovski said. “As a person, she’s willing to help anyone that’s around her. Both the leadership and the playing qualities are there.”
The 28-year-old defender said she is looking forward to the new challenge, and she admitted it was a key role to take on and it has extra pressure. “Maybe a little bit, you do feel the burden of helping the team and performing yourself, but it doesn’t really worry me that much,” she said. “I’m a bit of a talker on the field, so it doesn’t really change anything, and my experience helps as well,” she said. “I think there are leaders that aren’t recognized. They don’t have the title of captain or vice-captain, but they still lead by example and are important to this club.” Carroll will lead the team out onto the pitch on Saturday at Ashfield Sports Club against Melbourne Victory, kick off 4pm.
PICKERING RETURNS HOME FOR 2016
Former ECU Joondalup defender Shane Pickering has returned to the club from fellow NPLWA side Inglewood United for season 2016. The 21-year-old has spent three seasons at United, but said he is delighted to return and help ECU back up the table. “It's really exciting to come back to a club I was so fond of when I was with them four or five years ago. I feel like with new signings, new coaching staff and a new direction the club are heading in the right direction to become a strong side in the NPL. I believe the club has the quality both on and off the pitch to implement new techniques and strategies to create a side worthy of challenging higher up the table than previous seasons,” he said. “I have strong views on sports science within football so the appointment of having a high performance coach involved in the setup for 2016 is going to be highly beneficial in my eyes. It's not going to be easy and everyone at the club knows that but I believe everyone is going to be backing one another to produce something exciting here at ECU, so I'm anxious to get going.”
The defender, who was selected for the WA State team this season, said he thought long and hard about the return but is happy with his decision. “I had been at Inglewood for three years. I felt like it was the right time for me to move on and find a new start at a new club and Joondalup was the ideal move in my eyes. I'm excited to get underway with training and kick start a new era at ECU,” Pickering said. “I had a great time playing under David Tough when I was last at Joondalup and I believe he brought a lot out of me and developed me into a better footballer so I'm happy to be back playing under his guidance. I also know how highly valued Dale (McCulloch) is and obviously with his experience in the game I'm sure he can bring in the right quality and develop a strong side in the coming season.”
McCulloch said he’s happy with the return of the defender who made his state league first team debut for the club. “Shane was a promising defender when he was at the club and was rewarded with a first team debut and he never looked out of place,” he said. “He joined Inglewood and developed his football, but after talking to him he was keen to come back home and we’re delighted he has returned. The boy can play, and that showed this season when he was picked in the WA State side, he will add to our defensive stocks and he can also pop up with a goal or two, and I remember his screamer in the Cup Final for the Reserves side when they won it in 2011, so a couple more of them would be nice next season.”
Pickering looked on last season as ECU struggled in the league, and injuries and players leaving affected the side, but he believes that will change next season. “Joondalup have always had a side that are never easy to beat. You might be 2-0 up but the game is never secure because they've always got that fighting spirit right until the last minute,” he said. “They had good young quality in the side last year and with the addition of a few new signings including the high calibre of Steven McGarry I believe that the side is going to have that extra depth to challenge further up the table. There is going to be a real sense of professionalism about Joondalup going into 2016 and I know the professionalism and structure both on and off the field will benefit the club enormously.”
WILKINS HEADS EAST
Perth Soccer Club midfielder Josh Wilkins has headed to Melbourne to continue his football, after signing for NPLVIC side Heidelberg United. The 22-year-old said the move is something he needs to progress in his football career. “In the context of things I see Victoria as the prime spot to play in order to progress in my footballing career,” he said. “However, I have been at Perth for over 10 years from juniors to seniors, so it was hard saying goodbye to some people at the club, but it is the right move for me.”
Wilkins has some good memories in his time at Dorrien Gardens, and said they will always be in his thoughts. “There have been plenty of memories at Perth and the club have been fantastic to me,” he explained. “In recent events I would probably put us qualifying for the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32, whilst being a man down pretty memorable, while also, scoring in my first ever final, by chipping the keeper during a 7-0 win against Sorrento was up there as well.”
The midfielder could have moved to the Melbourne club last season but declined the offer, but when they asked again it was something he had to do. “I got a call from coach of Heidelberg George Katsakis asking me to come over during the mid-season transfer window, but I declined due to being committed to Perth and other complications,” he said. “We spoke of keeping in contact for this coming season and when he rang again I jumped at the chance. They had some great success in the FFA and VPL this year so I believe it is in my best interests to be at a club with a lot of success at the moment.”
Heidelberg United has had a busy off-season so far, the club has landed a number of key players, including Wilkins, former Sorrento defender Lewis Hall, Harry Noon, Emmanuel Tsakiris and Sean Ellis. “We’re delighted to have brought in Josh,” Coach Katsakis said. “He’s a wide defender and he has all the attributes going forward. He’s extremely good and from all reports from Perth, he’s probably next in line for an A-League gig very shortly.”
It’s been a huge football journey for Wilkins, and he starting playing the game very early, but he had a few stumbling blocks along the way. “My dad was a massive football fan and had me kicking a ball since day one, and I started my juniors at Kingsway and went to Perth in U10's,” he said. “I played for the WA state side from 12's to 15’s, then everyone grew and I remained short until I was 17, which left me with some catching up to do.”
The move to Melbourne and the NPLVIC is a huge challenge for Wilkins, but the midfielder has ambitions to play A-League football and he believes this move can help him do that. “Football is my love and that's the entire reason I am here,” he explained. “Of course a change of scenery is amazing, but I still have aspirations for the national stage and I believe I can continue to improve with the right guidance and enthusiasm.” Heildeberg’s pre-season started last week, with pre-season fixtures against the Adelaide Comets, Northcote, Oakleigh and one with Bentleigh already penciled in.
HERD WANTS EXTENDED SPIRITES STAY
Chesterfield midfielder Chris Herd is determined to extend his stay at the English League One club beyond January. The 26-year old signed a contract until January when joining the Spireites in September, a deal which contained the option of an extension until the end of the season, and the former Aston Villa player is keen to see that clause activated.
“I have a contract that runs to January with an option to extend that for the rest of the season, so I hope to stay at least until then,” Herd said. “I just want to play as many games as possible. I’m really enjoying it here, the manager is great, I love playing in the centre of midfield and I’m getting back into the rhythm of playing regularly again.”
Herd has formed a strong partnership in the heart of midfield with team captain Sam Morsy, earning a reputation as a pair of battlers. Herd, who has started every game this season, is one booking away from suspension while Morsy has already served one ban for five bookings and is just two yellow cards off a second enforced rest.
PRITCHARD TICKS ALL THE BOXES (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Inglewood United have pulled off a stunning recruitment coup with the capture of former Welsh youth international Mark Pritchard. A hard-working midfielder with a keen eye for goal, Pritchard will provide a focal point coming through the middle of the park and add bite the attack as Inglewood look to climb the National Premier Leagues ladder.
Pritchard joins the club with a wealth of knowledge and experience garnered from a playing career that started as a teenager with Swansea City and included representing Wales at Under-19, 21 and Semi-Professional levels. Not surprisingly, coach Michael Garcia is thrilled that the 29-year old has chosen to continue his career at Inglewood.
“Mark is a key signing for our club, and would be for any team in this league,” Garcia said. “He brings experience, composure, standards and goals to the side. His consistency since coming into the league has been exceptional and his ability to control a game is something which will add great value to us.”
“Mark’s signing should reassure people that top players believe in what we want to achieve, and that they are on board with it. I’m sure he had options to go elsewhere so it’s great for Inglewood United that we can attract and sign a player of his quality … it underlines the ambition we have as a club.”
Pritchard began his career with Swansea, making the first of his four appearances against Cambridge United in late 2003. After scoring twice in four outings for Wales’ Under-21 team, and following a loan to Merthyr Tydfil (4 games), Pritchard spent a season with Aldershot (23 games) for whom he scored his first senior career goal against Blackpool in the FA Cup.
A successful two-season spell with Llanelli followed in which Pritchard made 66 appearances and scored 17 goals. He helped Llanelli to their first league title, the 2007/08 Welsh Premier League, and in late 2008 was rewarded with his debut for Wales Semi-Professional team against Finland. Pritchard played the following season with local rivals Carmarthen Town, gaining 31 outings and scoring twice.
Brief spells with Goytre United and Oxford City preceded Pritchard’s move to Western Australia in 2011. Three seasons with Floreat Athena reaped two club Fairest and Best awards along with State team honours against Perth Glory. He played the two most recent seasons with Perth SC, making 42 appearances and scoring 17 goals.
A NEW ERA AT ASHFIELD
After back-to-back runners up placings in the All Flag Division One, Ashfield will start 2016 with a new man at the helm, after Tony Maguire was appointed as senior coach. The former Gosnells City Coach, who is overseas at the moment, has a wealth of experience in football and was a standout in the interview process and Football Operations Manager Phil Kelly, said they had a number of excellent candidates. “We certainly had no shortage of very strong applicants for the position, but the club had a very distinct idea of what was needed to fill the big shoes left by Paul Dundo,” Kelly said. “Our job was to find someone to fill those shoes, and hopefully go on and improve on what we have achieved to date.”
Kelly said Maguire scored very high on the criteria the club has in place and they are excited for the season ahead. “There were three critical criteria that were taken into consideration. The first was being able to work with our current player group, and we have an amazing and unique culture right through all three senior teams at the club and it is very important for us to maintain that,” he explained. “The second was an ability to attract new players to be club, and we know that we will need to improve our squad if we are to take the next step, and the third was knowing what it takes to be successful in this division, State League Division One is a tough league and to be successful you need to know what it takes. Tony scored very highly in each of our key criteria, he is highly experienced in this division, has a solid network and we are sure he has the capability to take us to the next level.”
The club believe last season was another successful one, despite losing a number of experience players due to injury, and Kelly said Dundo and Terry Goddard did a great job under the circumstances. “This year (2015) has probably been the most pleasing from the clubs perspective. The club suffered several season ending injuries to seven key first team players. Despite this we were still highly competitive and if not for a bit of bad luck here and there may have gone one better than season 2014,” he said. “Paul along with Terry have certainly done an incredible job the past two seasons and cemented ourselves as one of the big clubs in the State League.”
Ashfield have ambitions and Kelly said they are all pushing in the same direction and they are aiming high. “Our ambition has a huge motivating factor. Five years ago the club narrowly missed out on relegation from the State League by two points, Queens Park was relegated the year Shamrock Rovers were promoted. Popular opinion at the time was that we should have been relegated as we couldn't field an under 18's that season. At the time anyone saying this was absolutely right,” he explained. “We have done a lot of work on improving ourselves on and off the park since to take us to where we are today. Since then we have finished third in the consolidated night series 2012, runner up in the cup final 2013 and of course our back to back league runner up in 2014 & 2015. Our Reserves have also won the cup and league and all three teams have consistently been competitive.”
The club do have big ambitions, and have a strong squad, a talented coaching panel and a hard working committee, and Kelly said they are all pushing in the right direction and working hard to improve. “Contrary to what most people may think, our goal has only been to be competitive and strive to be the best club we can on and off the park, and all of that happened as a result,” he said. “That said the NPL is certainly well and truly in our sights and very much our target for 2017, but there is a lot of work to achieve for that to happen. We will continue to do a lot of work in preparation for an opportunity in the NPL if and when that comes and when we are ready on the park we will also be ready off it.”
FERNANDEZ MAY GO UNDER THE KNIFE?
Perth Glory have struggled in front of goal this season, and their top goalscorer is midfielder Gyorgy Sandor, who is missing due to injury. The club brought in Dutch striker Guyon Fernandez to fill the void left by Andy Keogh this season, but he has struggled with injury, and getting used to the A-League. But this week the club has said the 29-year-old has had to have injection just to play this season, but wouldn’t confirm the nature of the injury.
It’s been reported he may have damaged ligaments in his foot, and the club are tossing up weather to send him for surgery. Any operation would likely rule him out until at least Christmas, and with the Glory having not scored in the last four matches and the club are sitting second last on the A-League ladder, he needs to start finding the back of the net sooner rather than later. The big striker was rested over the weekend and missed Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Sydney.
He is very unlikely to take his place in the squad for Friday’s game against Melbourne City at AAMI Park. Sidnei Scole played a lone striker role last weekend, but Kenny Lowe has a few options. With the Glory Youth this week having the bye, youngsters Stefano Valentini and Joe Knowles could be looked at to travel, while Chris Harold and or Jamel Reiners could play up top. The club tried to bring in Keogh as a guest player, but were refused by FFA, but with Fernandez’s injury could they bring him in as an injury replacement, only time will tell.
HALL FLIES THE GULLS NEST
After a stellar first season for Sorrento Lewis Hall was voted as the clubs “Player of the Year” and stood out as the Gulls took on A-League side Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup. But the 24-year-old has had an offer to join NPLVIC club Heidelberg United, and has made the decision to head over to Melbourne next month to join up for pre-season training. “It was a huge decision for me because Sorrento and President Derek Harnwell really looked after me this season,” he said. “I felt at home since the first session, but after speaking to Heidelberg coach George Katsakis, I fell this move is the best for me, but I’ll always play for Sorrento when I’m in WA.”
The big defender was over the moon to win the clubs fairest and best trophy last season and he wishes them all the best next season. “It was a privilege winning the players of the year award, especially with the calibre of players down there,” he said. “It’s a tight bunch of lads, who work for each other on the pitch, with no egos or anything like that, and I think that’s why we did so well in 2015, and I’m sure they will have success next season.”
Heidelberg finished third in the NPLVIC this season, along with being quarter finalists in the FFA Cup, and Hall is looking forward to the new challenge. “I’m really excited for the season ahead,” he said. “Yes I know it’s a risk leaving such a good club and moving interstate, but at the same time it’s a good opportunity for me. The standard of the league is high and I’m aware you have to be at your best week in and week out, so we’ll see what happens.”
Hall played for ECU Joondalup, NTC, Perth Glory Youth and Sorrento in WA, and headed to the UK and trained with Portsmouth, Cardiff and West Bromwich Albion and also had a trial at VV Haaglandia in Holland for a month, but his football looked like it had ended after he suffered a serious injury. “I picked up a couple of injuries playing for Perth Glory and missed four years of football,” he said. “I had a hernia, a stress fracture in my back and osteitis pubis, so decided to travel around the world and enjoyed the break. But football is a passion of mine and headed back to WA in 2014 and joined Quinns, before heading to Sorrento in 2015.”
After playing against Sydney FC in the FFA Cup the defender said he would love to play at that level, but he knows he has to work hard at Heidelberg to show clubs his ability. “Anyone that loves the game wants to play at the highest level they can, and I’m no different,” he said. “I’m under no illusions it’s going to be tough season in the NPLVIC, but it’s up to me to impress. I’ll always dream of playing in the A-League, so hopefully the move to Heidelberg will help me possibly achieve that.”
GLORY SEARCHING FOR MISSING SPARK
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe admits his side need to find a touch of creativity if they are to end their worrying goal drought. Glory haven't notched a goal since their 3-1 win over Adelaide on October 25, with their six-hour scoreless run stretching over four matches. Injuries to imports Gyorgy Sandor (ankle) and Guyon Fernandez (foot) have hampered Glory's cause, with veterans Ruben Zadkovich and Dino Djulbic also grounded.
Lowe knows there's no instant fix for his injury-hit side, but he's urging his players to add some creativity to their play. "We've got certain cards that we've been dealt, and we deal with that," Lowe said. "We're very positive. We're not getting smashed. No one's playing us off the park. We're very well organised and very difficult to beat. We just need to add the other side to us. We need a little bit of creativity."
SAINSBURY HAILS SOCCEROOS' MASTER MOTIVATOR POSTECOGLOU
Australia's central defender Trent Sainsbury has paid tribute to Ange Postecoglou, describing the Socceroos coach as a master motivator and the perfect man to drag a team out of a crisis. Sainsbury, who earned his 13th cap when he played for Australia in the World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Canberra, is recovering from a bout of flu that kept him out of his club PEC Zwolle's 5-0 win at Roda JC Kerkrade on Sunday.
Sainsbury has worked very little with Postecoglou but has had enough time to observe the methods of a man with the big job of making the Socceroos a strong team capable of taking on the best. "As you can imagine Ange wasn't happy with our defeat in Jordan," Sainsbury said. "He fed us some harsh realities and really demanded more of the players and himself."
"He said after the 2-0 defeat that everything we do for the next camp must be done with 100 per cent conviction from the littlest detail like skin folds and hydration to the big things like intensity at training. It paid off and it gave the boys that little extra motivation and hunger to prove not only to the public but to ourselves that we are the real deal."
"Against Jordan our performance didn't resemble what we want to be known as and that's being Australian which translates into a never-say-die attitude and playing our game and not caring who we are facing. It all boils down to what Ange always tells us ... if the game you have just played in was to be the last for your country how would you want to be remembered after that performance?"
Sainsbury has established himself in the Netherlands and in the Socceroos team. He said he is happy to have Postecoglou as his national coach because the decorated mentor is the perfect man to give him the kick in the backside he sometimes needs. "I'm a very relaxed person so to have a winner like Ange who gives me a kick up the bum when I need it is good," he explained.
Australia are leading qualifying Group B with a two-point advantage over Jordan, who surprisingly lost 1-0 to Kyrgyzstan on the same day the Socceroos thrashed Bangladesh 4-0. But Sainsbury does not believe the current group situation has released any pressure on the Socceroos. "If we start taking our foot off the gas we start slipping back into old habits," he warned. "No game for Australia is less important than others just because of points or opponent."
Sainsbury missed the Bangladesh game through illness but hopes to recover in time to be selected in Zwolle's big match against Ajax next Monday. "I wasn't feeling 100 per cent leaving Singapore, but after the game in Dhaka, travelling home it hit hardest. Having eight flights plus training and games and having to listen to Massimo Luongo as a roommate have taken their toll on my health," he quipped.
SAGE HOT UNDER COLLAR
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has demanded a 7pm minimum kick-off time for the club’s future home matches to protect players and fans from severe heat. The club’s power broker yesterday wrote to Football Federation Australia calling for widespread fixture changes after Saturday’s scoreless draw with Sydney FC at Perth Oval started in stifling 34C heat.
A request from both clubs for the 4.30pm kick-off to be pushed back was refused, with FFA stating the hot conditions had not breached the A-League’s wet-bulb globe temperature threshold. But an angry Sage joined Sydney coach Graham Arnold in questioning whether a player had to collapse on the pitch before summer matches would be rescheduled.
“Five of our players are severely dehydrated, losing more than 2kg of body weight and Sydney have advised my staff that several of their players were also distressed,” Sage wrote. “The spectacle was also not a good image for the game. That was the lowest-ever crowd (6,976) we have had against Sydney FC in Perth.”
“You will again have excuses and blame us for that — a huge financial loss to the club through no fault of ours. It is impossible to sit in the eastern stand for two hours in 36C heat. When will the FFA confirm all games to be played at 7pm AWST? Protect the players, the fans and the quality of the game overall.”
Drinks breaks were held during Saturday’s match under the league’s heat policy. FFA have already scheduled kick-off times for all of Glory’s home matches for the height of summer from December to February to be 6pm or later in a bid to meet heat concerns. But it is understood Glory had asked for one game to be played in an earlier “prime-time” slot to suit the Eastern States market.
WILLIAMS MAKES CASE FOR GLORY
Recruit Aryn Williams is hoping he’s added one extra headache to those plaguing Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe. Glory are fast running out of time to kick start their A-League season, with only one win from their opening five matches and hosting high-flying Sydney FC tonight. Lowe will at least be buoyed by Josh Risdon’s return from Socceroos duties, however, the defenders availability will force a tough selection call on 22-year-old Williams and the make-up of Glory’s starting eleven.
Williams seized his chance with an accomplished performance at right-back in Risdon’s absence during last Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar. “It’s down to the gaffer and it’s always good to give him a headache with positions,” Williams said. “I’m capable of playing other positions, but I’m very comfortable playing at right-back.” Williams, the younger brother of Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams and twin of Barnsley winger Ryan, recently earned a short-term Glory contract.
O'NEILL HEADS HOME TO SHOW GLORY WHAT THEY'RE MISSING
Less than two months into his Sydney FC career, many in the A-League community have been asking themselves the same question: why on earth did Perth Glory let Brandon O'Neill go? Just 21, O'Neill has been a revelation for the Sky Blues in central midfield, starting five out of a possible six games and winning admirers everywhere for his passing, positioning and exquisite game sense. He returns to his old stomping ground for the first time on Saturday night.
Ironically, with Glory losing Rostyn Griffiths to Roda JC in the off-season, O'Neill would have been the perfect replacement. However, O'Neill decided it was best to change the scenery - a decision that has paid off handsomely. "It really was a life-changing decision. When I was making it, I sat back with my family and friends and I had to weigh up everything – five years of making inroads into the A-League at Perth Glory," he said.
"They gave me the opportunity to get to the A-League, but then I had to weigh that up against where I want to be in ten years, who I want to be playing for and where I want to go. Ultimately, big decisions like that come down to winning things. Moving to the biggest club in Australia and getting to work under Arnie (Sydney coach Graham Arnold) is a chance only afforded to a select few … I'm just loving my time in Sydney."
Despite joining Glory's youth team in 2010, and picking up a senior contract in 2012, he could never figure out why he didn't get more game time. "That's the question I've been asking myself for five years. I've always had a great open relationship with coaches and I've always had time to talk to them – whether it was Ian Ferguson, Alistair (Edwards) or Kenny Lowe," he said.
"I'd always get very, very good feedback but when it came to the weekend, I would be on the bench or not even in the squad. I was always doing well in training, and in the training games and I waited and waited for that opportunity. But the way football and life turned out, no opportunities arose. That's when I realised I needed to make a football decision and to challenge myself, which is why I'm at Sydney FC."
Such has been O'Neill's impact that when Mickael Tavares and Milos Dimitrijevic returned to the starting side last weekend, and O'Neill had to come off the bench, several eyebrows were raised. "Obviously Milos and Mickael are two fantastic players who've played in big leagues in Europe. I want to learn so much from them and hopefully kick on and try to emulate what they've done," O'Neill said.
"I thought I'd come in, bide my time and we'd see how we go. My expectations were blown away a bit at how much I've played. There's a long season ahead and I'm sure there will be times when I'm on the bench and they're playing, and vice versa, and I think as the season goes on, it will prove beneficial. It's a gruelling A-League season and there's also the Asian Champions League."
O'Neill may have been brought up in Perth and got his professional start with Glory, but there'll be no doubting the allegiance of his family this weekend. "My mum and dad were actually over in Sydney this past week and we sat down the night before they left and I asked them 'How many tickets do you reckon we need?' We did a list and worked out there will be 25 who want to come," he said.
"I told (Sydney chief executive) Tony Pignata, 'I don't know if you can get 25 tickets but see what you can do for me'. I'm looking forward to going back to Perth and seeing the rest of the family and some old friends and having a little O'Neill section there. A bit of a private cheer squad." Glory take on Sydney from 7pm tonight at Perth Oval.
GLORY YOUNGSTERS MADE TO PAY BY VICTORY (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory’s second trip to the Victorian capital in a week didn’t end in the right result, going down 3-0 in Sunday’s Foxtel National Youth League clash against Melbourne Victory at the Lakeside Stadium. An own goal from Glory defender Aleks Susjnar, and another from Joey Katebian put the home side in control before half time, and the Glory then had Susjmar sent off early in the second half and Jesse Makarounas added the third.
Glory skipper Jacob Collard said it wasn’t there day. “We never got started to be honest and you can’t do that in this competition,” a disappointed Collard said. “We have to re-group and look ahead to the next game against Adelaide United at home in two weeks’ time.”
The home side, which included A-League players Lawrence Thomas, Makarounas, Scott Galloway and Thomas Deng, were out of the blocks early and the Glory were on the back foot, and former Glory midfielder Makarounas’ free kick stung the palms of Thurtell after only ten minutes. But four minutes later the hosts hit the front. Pierce Waring’s cross into the penalty area was turned into his own net by Aleks Susjnar.
It wasn’t the start the Glory youngsters were looking for but they almost conceded a second on the half hour. Makarounas’ corner was met by Joey Katebian, but his header was well saved by Thurtell.
The Glory had a chance to level moments later, but Stefano Valentini’s chip went over the top of the crossbar. Victory continued to take the game to the Glory and it was all hands to the pump, but it looked like they would hold out to the break but in the final minute Victory added a second. John Maclean picking out Katebian who made no mistake to send the home side in at the break two to the good.
It was a bright start to the second half by the Glory and they went close five minutes in. Susjnar raced forward from a long ball and was one-on-one with Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas, but instead of shooting he tried to find Joe Knowles, and the chance was gone. Knowles then had a chance with a snap shot from a tight angle, but Thomas saved.
Glory keeper Thurtell did well to smoother Maclean’s shot on 51 minutes, after good work from Waring down the right. Then sixty seconds later the Glory were reduced to ten men, Susjnar brought down Katebian on the edge of the area and the referee sent the big defender off.
Things went from bad to worse for the Glory youngsters and five minutes later the Victory added a third. Maclean’s through ball sent Makarounas clear and he made no mistake. It wasn’t the result the youngsters were looking for but they have a break next week with the bye, and will be gearing for the next game against Adelaide United at the Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday December 5th – Kick off 10.30am
GLORY AND SYDNEY SWEAT IT OUT IN GOALLESS DRAW
Perth Glory and Sydney FC have fought out a 0-0 draw in hot and humid conditions at the nib Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It was 35 degrees at kickoff and the football was affected with clear cut chances few and far between, and Sky Blues Coach Graham Arnold was hot under the collar after the final whistle. "You may as well throw all tactics out the door,” he said. “It's a matter of just hoping the players can just get through the game - with no injuries, without dying, and without making mistakes. If you go and ask those 22 players if they enjoyed today's game, I think you'll find 22 players will say, 'I would have rather have been at the beach'.” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe thought his side deserved more from the game but again they struggled in the final third. “We had better chances, we probably should've got something out of the game," he said. "We were very well organised and difficult to beat, we just need a bit of creativity."
The home side gave a home A-League debuts to former Stoke City defender Alex Grant and Aryn Williams, who was with PS4 NPLWA side Floreat Athena last season, and Josh Risdon returned from Socceroos duty. The Sky Blues were without Frenchman Jacques Faty, while former Glory midfielder Brandon O’Neill had to be content with a place on the bench. The fans in the nib Stadium scrambled for some shade at kick off, and it was an even game early, but the first clear cut chance went to the home side on 22 minutes. Glory skipper Richard Garcia picked out Risdon, who’s shot on the run flew wide.
Referee Jarred Gillett called for a drinks break and both sets of players headed for the shaded part of the pitch for some rest bite from the heat, but it didn’t help the pace of the game with both sides struggling to create any clear cut chances, and both defenses on top. The Sky Blues did find a gap in the Glory back four on the half hour, Alex Gersbach’s cross picked out Slovak striker Filip Holosko, but his header was straight at Glory keeper Ante Covic.
The Glory ended the half the better and began to get on top and on created some of the best chances of the half. First Sidnei Sciola was sent down the right, beating the Sydney offside trap, before sending Garcia in on goal, but some desperate defending from the Sky Blues denied him. Moments later Diogo Ferreira headed Risdon cross wide of the target, but at the break it was scoreless and both sets of players headed for the air conditioning for some relief.
It was the home side who opened the brighter after the break, and Spanish midfielder Diego Castro sent Garcia down the right, he cut inside the box but Seb Ryall got back to block his shot. Two minutes later Garcia turned provider, picking out second half substitute Chris Harold, who cut inside Matt Jurman, but his curling shot was straight at Sky Blues keeper Vedran Janjetovic. Harold had brought some fresh legs and ideas to the Glory front line and he went close again on the hour. Garcia again was the provider, he sent Harold racing clear but his shot from the edge of the penalty area crashed into the side netting.
The visitors brought on Matt Simon for former Glory striker Shane Smeltz and the big striker had the best chance of the match on 68 minutes. Alex Gersbach cross from the left picked out the former Central Coast Mariners striker, but his glancing header drifted inches past the far post. Harold, who was back after injury, continued to cause the Sydney defenders problems, and his long-range shot on 74 minutes flashed over the top.
Sydney, who were beaten for the first time this season last week against Melbourne Victory, pressed late, and after good lead up play from Michael Tavares and Milos Dimitrijevic, sent Milos Ninkovic behind the Glory defence, but his shot whistled over the top. But time run out and both sides take a share of the spoils, but all the talk is about the weather and at the final whistle the nib Stadium is in full shade. So why didn’t the league just change the time of kick off until 6.30, a question that needs answering sooner rather than later.
O'NEILL HEADS HOME TO SHOW GLORY WHAT THEY'RE MISSING
Less than two months into his Sydney FC career, many in the A-League community have been asking themselves the same question: why on earth did Perth Glory let Brandon O'Neill go? Just 21, O'Neill has been a revelation for the Sky Blues in central midfield, starting five out of a possible six games and winning admirers everywhere for his passing, positioning and exquisite game sense. He returns to his old stomping ground for the first time on Saturday night.
Ironically, with Glory losing Rostyn Griffiths to Roda JC in the off-season, O'Neill would have been the perfect replacement. However, O'Neill decided it was best to change the scenery - a decision that has paid off handsomely. "It really was a life-changing decision. When I was making it, I sat back with my family and friends and I had to weigh up everything – five years of making inroads into the A-League at Perth Glory," he said.
"They gave me the opportunity to get to the A-League, but then I had to weigh that up against where I want to be in ten years, who I want to be playing for and where I want to go. Ultimately, big decisions like that come down to winning things. Moving to the biggest club in Australia and getting to work under Arnie (Sydney coach Graham Arnold) is a chance only afforded to a select few … I'm just loving my time in Sydney."
Despite joining Glory's youth team in 2010, and picking up a senior contract in 2012, he could never figure out why he didn't get more game time. "That's the question I've been asking myself for five years. I've always had a great open relationship with coaches and I've always had time to talk to them – whether it was Ian Ferguson, Alistair (Edwards) or Kenny Lowe," he said.
"I'd always get very, very good feedback but when it came to the weekend, I would be on the bench or not even in the squad. I was always doing well in training, and in the training games and I waited and waited for that opportunity. But the way football and life turned out, no opportunities arose. That's when I realised I needed to make a football decision and to challenge myself, which is why I'm at Sydney FC."
Such has been O'Neill's impact that when Mickael Tavares and Milos Dimitrijevic returned to the starting side last weekend, and O'Neill had to come off the bench, several eyebrows were raised. "Obviously Milos and Mickael are two fantastic players who've played in big leagues in Europe. I want to learn so much from them and hopefully kick on and try to emulate what they've done," O'Neill said.
"I thought I'd come in, bide my time and we'd see how we go. My expectations were blown away a bit at how much I've played. There's a long season ahead and I'm sure there will be times when I'm on the bench and they're playing, and vice versa, and I think as the season goes on, it will prove beneficial. It's a gruelling A-League season and there's also the Asian Champions League."
O'Neill may have been brought up in Perth and got his professional start with Glory, but there'll be no doubting the allegiance of his family this weekend. "My mum and dad were actually over in Sydney this past week and we sat down the night before they left and I asked them 'How many tickets do you reckon we need?' We did a list and worked out there will be 25 who want to come," he said.
"I told (Sydney chief executive) Tony Pignata, 'I don't know if you can get 25 tickets but see what you can do for me'. I'm looking forward to going back to Perth and seeing the rest of the family and some old friends and having a little O'Neill section there. A bit of a private cheer squad." Glory take on Sydney from 7pm tonight at Perth Oval.
PERTH GLORY V SYDNEY FC – PREVIEW
Perth Glory head back to home comforts this weekend, when they entertain Sydney FC in Week seven of the Hyundai A-League at nib Stadium on Saturday (4.30pm) The Glory have struggled on the road in recent weeks, losing the FFA Cup Final against Melbourne Victory, and narrow defeats against Western Sydney Wanders and Brisbane Roar in the league, but they need to turn the nib into a fortress and three points will be what is required against a Sydney side that have only lost once this season, that against Victory last weekend.
The Glory welcome back Josh Risdon from international duty, while Mitch Oxborrow and Chris Harold, are both available for selection, but Dino Djulbic will miss again due to injury, along with striker Guyon Fernandez. Aryn Williams made his A-League debut last week in Brisbane, and will continue to push for minutes in the side. The return of Socceroo Josh Risdon means Williams will have to push for a different spot in the side, but he is confident in his ability. “Obviously it’s down to the gaffer and it’s always good to give him a headache. I’m comfortable at other positions, but I’m most comfortable at right back,” Williams said. “I’ve got to this point now by working hard, so if I work even harder I don’t know where it can take me, but I just have to show everyone that I’m capable of playing in the A-League and the rest is in the club’s hands.”
Former Glory midfielder Brandon O’Neill will come up against his former teammates for the first time since he left the club last season. The 21-year-old couldn’t get regular first team football at the Glory, but has been an ever-present for the Sky Blues this season under the tutelage of Graham Arnold. The Sky Blues won both games in Perth last season, scoring three goals in both, and given the Glory haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last 21 games, and they will be looking for more of the same. Shane Smeltz also returns to his former club, and his partnership with skipper Alex Brosque will be one the Glory defence will need to keep quiet, but they will be missing French man Jacques Faty due to personal reasons.
But midfielder Milos Dimitrijevic says if there’s anything they learned from their defeat to Victory it’s that they need to be more ruthless in front of goal and that starts on Saturday. “You have to score when you a few chances, I think this is the most important,” he said. “If you play good or you create chances you have to score, this is the most important. I think in this game we didn’t score in a few chances and at the end of the season this is the difference. We have to move forward as quick as possible especially when you lose a game, so we are all focused on the game in Perth on Saturday and we have trained well. Of course we played very good against them last year, but this year it’s another year. We have to be focused and play our best football to win there, it will be a tough game.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Antony GOLEC, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11 Richard GARCIA (c), 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Hagi GLIGOR, 16 Sidnei SCIOLA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 23 Michael THWAITE, 24 Jamal REINERS, 25 Jacob COLLARD, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS
In’s: Chris HAROLD (return from injury), Mitch OXBORROW (return from injury), Josh RISDON (return from international duty)
Outs: Guyon FERNANDEZ (foot - 1 week), Dino DJULBIC (ankle – 6 weeks), Gyorgy SANDOR (ankle - 1 week) Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite)
Sydney FC Squad: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, GK Ivan NECEVSKI, 2 Seb RYALL, 3 Alex GERSBACH, 4 Zac ANDERSON, 5 Matt JURMAN, 7 Andrew HOOLE, 8 Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9 Shane SMELTZ, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Christopher NAUMOFF, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE, 18 Matt SIMON, 21Filip HOLOSKO, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 24 George BLACKWOOD, 27 Mickael TAVARES.
In’s: Zac ANDERSON (promoted), Andrew HOOLE (return from international duty), Christopher NAUMOFF (return from international duty)
Outs: Jacques FATY (personal reasons)
MELBOURNE VICTORY V PERTH GLORY – NYL PREVIEW (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory Foxtel National Youth League Team head back to Melbourne again this weekend when they take on Melbourne Victory in week three of the Foxtel National Youth League at Lakeside Stadium on Sunday (9am WA Time). The youngster will be buoyed by a 1-1 draw against City last week, and keeper Jordan Thurtell said the point was well deserved. “The boys were brilliant on the weekend against a very strong Melbourne City side,” he said. “Despite a slow start I thought we dominated the game and had plenty of opportunities to win the match. I was very proud of the boys and thought the effort was outstanding.”
The 19-year-old shot stopper is back to full fitness, after missing most of last season due to injury, and he hopes all goes well this campaign. “Towards the end of last Hyundai A-league season I tore the ligaments in my elbow which took a little bit of the bone away with it,” he explained. “It kept me out for around three months which was hard to deal with, but now I'm back, I still heavily strap it for training and games but it's feeling really good.” The young Socceroos custodian said they will be looking for three points against Victory, like they do every week. “I think you have to go into every match thinking you have a big chance of winning, and if we can recreate last week’s efforts I think we can bring the three points’ home.”
Coach John Gibson said they were positive signs from the performance last week against the Champions, and is looking for his players to continue on with it on Sunday. “They (City) are a very good side and we matched them in all areas on the pitch, and thoroughly deserved the point,” he said. “We created a host of good chances again, but we didn't take these opportunities and Tando (Velaphi) produced a number of fine saves to thwart us, were heading in the right direction but we need to be better.”
They went into last week’s game without skipper Jacob Collard and new signings Aryn Williams and Jamel Reiners, who were drafted into Kenny Lowe’s squad for the Hyundai A-League clash against Brisbane Roar and the coach said it is great opportunity for other youngsters to step up. “Jacob has been fantastic for us for the past two seasons and has an opportunity, but we have a group of players who are flexible and adaptable and enjoy the challenge that are put in front of them,” Gibson said. “We handed three NYL starting debuts to Waliedin Ismail, Henry Derr and Stef Valentini last weekend which is great - the group as a collective were outstanding - but many areas of our play require improvement including the regain as well as controlling tempo in possession. “There were many positives but if we can improve these key areas it will go a long way to bring us strong performance on Sunday.”
TONG HOPING FOR SUCCESS AT INGLEWOOD
WA state defender Adam Tong has signed for Inglewood United for season 2016. The big defender joined Bayswater City from Balcatta last season, but struggled to hold down a starting role at the Champions, and he said he’s looking forward to the new challenge at the Wood. “Obviously leaving the Champions and most dominant team in WA football at the moment was a hard decision, but I feel it’s the right one for me,” Tong said. “For footballing purposes, and wanting to have the chance of playing week in week out instead of battling against six other quality players who play in the same position as myself. I have enjoyed my short time at Bayswater and maybe I’ll return one day to help the coaching staff if needed. I would like to thank them for the opportunity and belief they had for me at the club, I played 10 games for them and I hopefully assisted them in some small way of winning the league and finals.”
The move to Inglewood Stadium came after the big defender sat down with City coach Chris Coyne to discuss next season. “After chatting with Coyney about my future, we discussed that I would probably get more game time somewhere else,” Tong explained. “I knew that Michael Garcia and the boys at Inglewood had lost a few players, so I spoke to assistant coach Saul Contera and it's all gone from there really. I know Michael, Saul and Taki Nicolaidis are trying to build a team that can maybe shock a few people this year and with David Cyrus, Alex Dunn, Jason Barrera and myself, plus a few more additions added to the quality of existing players I’m sure we can achieve something out of the season ahead but it all comes to how we gel together and how we can work as a squad to get the best results,”
The 33-year-old, who began his football as a youth player at English side Plymouth Argyle, before moving on to FC Manchester United, Fleetwood Town, Burscough and Bamber Bridge, said there were a few other clubs interested in his services but thought Inglewood was the best fit. “Yes there were a few clubs interested in the old man,” he joked. “But I made my decision purely on the lads that are there and the team that I could have good relationship with and to see my career out. I'm interested in seeing the coaching side and what all three coaches have planned for us pre-season and through the year.”
ALLEN EXCITED BY MOVE TO BAYSWATER
Floreat Athena's Jack Allen, who was selected in the WA State side last year, has signed for PS4 NPLWA Champions Bayswater City. The 21-Year-old is looking forward to the new challenge and pushing for a first team starting role. “Bayswater have an incredibly talented side, and I feel lucky to be joining them and working with such a strong team,” he said. “Chris Coyne approached me and was very keen for me to join them and after careful consideration I decided it was time for a change and a new challenge.”
Allen, who played his junior football at ECU Joondalup, before moving to Inglewood United and then to Floreat, is looking forward to working with former Socceroo defender Coyne, who has led the club to so much success in his time there. “Of course, just look at what he has achieved in the past few seasons at Bayswater,” he explained. “Having briefly worked with him as part of the state team in 2014 I am already aware of his professionalism and I look forward to working with him in 2016.”
Bayswater Coach Chris Coyne said the signing of Allen, will strength their squad, after losing a couple during the off-season. “It’s a great signing for the club, both present and future. He is a very good player already who will continue to improve, he is a good person who works hard and will bring an extra dynamic to the team,” he said. “He understands how hard it is to break into the team and keep his jersey, but we have no doubts with his tremendous ability and physical attributes he will bring a massive presence to the club. We all look forward to working with Jack to get him to the next level.”
Allen said it was a difficult decision to leave Floreat, where he has played for a number of seasons, and he wished them all the best next season. “It was a very difficult decision. I was at Floreat for a number of years where they treated me like family and I appreciate everything they have done for me whilst I was there,” he said. “Leaving Floreat was an incredibly hard choice to make, with all my close friends being a part of the club. However I felt it was time for me to move on, I needed a new challenge.”
The decision was made even harder after Floreat‘s successful 2015 season, and the defender said he was glad to have played his part in it. “We had an incredibly impressive season in 2015, winners of the Night Series and narrowly missing out on second spot in the last game of the season,” Allen explained. “This is all down to how well the boys gelled together, we were all good friends, Glen Grostate included and I think this was a major part of why it was such a good season.”
Grostate was given the Floreat job after a disappointing 2014 and Allen said he did a fantastic job to re-group the squad. “Through tough times during the season, Glen made sure we all stuck together and worked as a team, which was incredible,” he said. “We tried to express our football abilities through the way we played, expressing Glenn’s beliefs and we all bought into it, showing we believed in his coaching abilities. It was a very enjoyable season playing with all the Floreat boys and one I’ll always be glad I was a part of.”
JENNINGS APPOINTED AS JOONDALUP UNITED COACH
Joondalup United impressed in their first ever season in the Football West Division One and newly appointed Coach Nick Jennings is looking forward to helping them to more success in 2016. The 46-year-old moved to Perth from the UK 12-years ago, and said it’s a fantastic opportunity for him to coach United. “It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed first team coach at Joondalup United, this club is a huge part of my life and I look forward to the challenges ahead,” he said. “Having worked alongside Dan Smith and John Evans since returning to the club four years ago I've learnt a lot from them and owe them both a huge thank you, but it’s now my turn to make the tough decisions and put my head on the block. I know I have the support of the playing group and I aim to produce a brand of football that’s competitive, entertaining, but most importantly successful.”
The English-born coach is ready to put his mark down at the club and has a good pedigree in the UK. “In the UK you would describe me as a journeyman in the semi-professional league, playing over 500 games in the Southern and Isthmian Leagues for a variety of clubs, I think it was 15, which included Baldock Town, Ramsgate, Great Wakering Rovers and too many more too mention,” he explained.
Injury then cut short Jennings on-field activities and he moved into coaching. “I suffered my third ACL injury just before moving to Australia but following another rehab period I ended up signing for Joondalup United,” he said. “Promotions saw us rise up to the Sunday Premier unfortunately I suffered a horrific leg break away to Fremantle which ended my career. I then managed the Amateur Sunday Team for a year before leaving for a coaching role at Olympic Kingsway, then playing masters for a season before returning to Joondalup four years ago.”
Jennings knows next season will be tough, but said the club showed they can be competitive with a third place finish last season. “Last season was a case of so nearly, it was a great achievement to finish 3rd in our first season in Division one, however this was tinged with disappointment as after a flying start we suffered an indifferent spell and dropped points against two or three teams in the bottom half of the table,” he explained. “Having said that I'm a firm believer that over a season it's the best team that wins the league and in my opinion Mandurah City were by far the best team. We've learnt that there are no easy games in this Division, it's going to be even more competitive next season with two very good teams in Rockingham and Forrestfield coming up.”
BIRMINGHAM BOSS SAYS LOWRY IS READY FOR HIS CHANCE
Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett has praised Shane Lowry’s application, saying the versatile defender is ready to answer the call when it comes. Lowry joined Blues as a free agent in September but although he has been named in the match-day squad on a few occasions, he is yet to make his debut.
Lorwy arrived at Wast Hills needing to build his match fitness - and while he has done that, he is still waiting either for a chance at left back or centre half. However, even though he has hasn’t done so yet Rowett insists he will have no hesitation using the 26-year-old when he needs.
“Shane was brought in to add a little bit of depth behind the team,” Rowett said. “He knows that, every player we bring in knows what we expect of him. At the moment I have not seen Grounds (Jonathan Grounds) be especially poor and both left-sided centre backs Robbo (Paul Robinson) and Specs (Jonathan Spector) have both been in good form.
“So there’s not really been a desperate need for me to say we desperately need something in those positions. Shane is aware of that, he has worked incredibly hard and done well in the Under 21 games he has played in. If he gets his opportunity he is ready to step in.”
Lowry last played a competitive game in May, for Leyton Orient, and became a free agent after their relegation. He arrived on trial at Blues in the summer and signed on following the closure of the transfer window closed. He was on the bench at Fulham and last played in the behind-closed-doors friendly against Peterborough last Monday week.
SOCCEROO ORIGINAL JIMMY PEARSON RECOGNISED (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Former Inglewood United coach Jimmy Pearson and his 1965 Socceroo teammates were formally honoured at this week’s Football Federation Australia Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Sydney. Pearson, who guided Inglewood on four separate occasions between 1975 and 2003, was reunited with his history-making teammates who were the first Australian team to attempt to qualify for the World Cup.
FFA brought together the fourteen surviving members of the original 20-player Socceroos squad for their first official reunion and presented each with a commemorative shirt. In attendance alongside 77-year old Pearson were team captain Les Scheinflug, vice-captain Pat Hughes, Stan Ackerley, John Anderson, Roy Blitz, Archie Blue, Ron Giles, John Roberts, Bill Rorke, Nigel Shepherd, Geoff Sleight, David Todd and John Watkiss.
After preparing in the humidity of north Queensland, the part-time squad played two World Cup qualifiers against a battle hardened North Korean side in steamy Cambodia. The Socceroos were beaten 9-2 on aggregate across the two games, but those results were put in context when the North Koreans defeated a highly rated Italian side at the 1966 tournament in England.
Scottish-born Pearson played for Greenock Morton and Aberdeen before emigrating to Australia in 1962. His eye-catching efforts for Pan Hellenic (New South Wales) resulted in an international call-up, the winger going on to represent Australia eight times. Pearson later turned his hand to coaching, guiding Inglewood to the D’Orsogna Cup and Top Four Cup double in 1977.
HERD LOVING LIFE AT CHESTERFIELD
Fit-again Socceroo Chris Herd is enjoying his time at Chesterfield and wants to stay at the League One club through to the end of the season. The 26-year old, who left Aston Villa at the end of the 2014/2015 campaign, joined Chesterfield on a four-month deal in September and making nine appearances since.
“I’ve enjoyed it so far,” said the former ECU Joondalup junior. “My contract is, I have an option in January to extend till the end of the season, so I’m looking to stay till the end of my season and play as many games as I can. I’m enjoying it, the coach is really good. It’s a good group of players so it’s nice to be back on the pitch.”
Herd has battled a series of injuries in recent times, with an Achilles injury forcing him out of the Asian Cup in January. A knee ligament complaint in February then ended his time on loan at Wigan Athletic. He also had a spell out of the game in March 2014 for personal reasons. “I’ve had unfortunate injuries but it’s just part and parcel of football,” he said.
“I don’t really look into it too much, I don’t try and let it affect me, these injuries. People can give you a lot of criticism over injuries but you’ve just got to prove them wrong. Touch-wood, that’s why I’m trying to do. That’s my goal this season, to prove a lot of people wrong that I can play a full season of football without injuries.”
Chesterfield currently sit in 14th position in League One with seven wins, two draws and eight losses to be placed just four points off the play-off places. Herd has featured in every game but one in midfield, despite featuring as a right back for other clubs and for Australia. He said he prefers to play in a central midfield role.
“I’m just really enjoying playing back in that defensive midfield area, where I played at Villa, the season I played my most games,” he said. “I’m enjoying getting into a rhythm back in the middle. I prefer defensive mid. Obviously you play where you get told, pretty much, but I’m really enjoying playing in the middle. I’m happy to do what the manager wants me to do.”
Herd had ten years at Aston Villa, arriving there as 15-year old from Joondalup, but said it was the right time to leave in the summer. “It was just the way the football was going,” the Socceroo said. “It was the right time for me to part from Villa, and you could sort of say kick-start my career again. I’m feeling, touch-wood, quite good so hopefully I remain fit and play as many games as I can.”
Herd made his long-awaited debut for Australia in September last year against Belgium, after withdrawing from previous squads because of injury. He wants to play for Australia again but is firmly focused on his club Chesterfield and helping them go up to the Championship. “I enjoyed it, obviously it is great to represent your country,” he said.
“Hopefully I’ll do it again. At the moment I’m just concentrating on playing as many games as I can, racking up the numbers and we’re all working together to get promotion. “We’ve got a very talented team for the division. If we keep the formula right and the team spirit right, we’ll have a good chance of going up, we just have to remain positive.”
INJURY ENDS W-LEAGUE SEASON FOR GLORY STAR
Perth Glory and Matildas’ striker Sam Kerr will miss the rest of the W-League season after scans revealed she had ruptured a ligament in her foot, after limping off in the Glory’s 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar on Sunday. It was revealed Kerr will be out of the game for three months and she is gutted, but still hopes to be involved in the Rio Olympic.
“To say that I'm bitterly disappointed is an understatement,” she said. “I worked hard after undergoing surgery to my left knee at the end of last season and now this happens. I'm thankful however, that it's happened now and I have every chance to recover in time for the Rio Olympic qualifiers in March."
Kerr had started the W-League season on fire, and her loss will be a massive blow for the side but she wished them all the best for the rest of the season. “"I would like to wish my teammates all the best for the remainder of the season and hope they take the positive energy from Sunday's win into the rest of the season," she said.
Glory coach Bobby Despotovski wished Kerr a speedy recovery, and he said the club will be on the lookout for a replacement striker. "First of all my heart goes out to Sam. I can't believe this has happened to her but knowing the fighter that she is, she will bounce back,” he said. “We'll sit down and assess our options over the coming days and see if we can recruit a replacement striker.”
RISDON SOCCERROS DEBUT A DREAM COME TRUE
Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon won his first Socceroo’s cap, and the Bunbury-born Risdon said it was a dream come true. "Putting on that shirt was an amazing feeling and being out there with some great players, it was really good just to represent my country," Risdon said. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a young boy and I'm glad it's come true."
Ange Postecoglou handed Risdon his first international cap in Australia's 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against Bangladesh on Tuesday night. The 23-year-old produced a solid performance at right-back against the 180th-ranked South Asian nation. Not every aspects of the match at Bangabandhu National Stadium featured in Risdon's childhood dreams. "The pitch was a bit wobbly and it was very humid and hot," he said. "It was tough conditions for my first game. But you've got to put that aside at international level and just play your best."
Both full backs were inexperienced with Risdon gaining his first cap and Melbourne-born Bradford City defender James Meredith only making his second appearance, but Postecoglou said the pair did well. "You give them opportunities I guess. “Whether it creates depth is going to be up to those players, and whether they keep growing and developing," he said. "This phase of qualifying, I thought it was important to expose as many as we can to nights like tonight where you're going to face a team sitting back in difficult conditions, on a difficult pitch. "The more we do that, the more certain players will grow and they'll create some more depth."
CAHILL TO HOT FOR BANGLADESH
Australia moved to the top of Group B in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after Tim Cahill’s hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win against Bangladesh at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Tuesday evening. It was the first hat-trick for the former Everton striker since 2004, when he bagged a treble against Fiji at the Oceania Nations Cup. Skipper Mile Jedinak also got on the scoreboard, and despite not scoring in the second half the result was but to bed early. “Comments”
There were four changes to the side that beat Kyrgyzstan, most notably a debut for Perth Glory youngster Josh Risdon at right-back, while central defender Alex Wilkinson, midfielder Matt McKay and livewire Nathan Burns were the other additions. The Socceroos were on top from the first whistle with Aaron Mooy running the show in the middle of the park. The Melbourne City skipper was involved with the opening goal after only six minutes. His free kick picked out the unmarked Cahill, and the 35-year-old made no mistake heading past keeper Sahidul Alam.
The home keeper was in for a busy night, as the Socceroo’s played their passing game, despite the long grass on the pitch. Both James Meredith and Risdon were getting forward as the Socceroos held siege on the Bangladesh goal, and it was only a matter of time before they doubled their advantage. Mooy fed Risdon down the right and his cross caused panic in the home side defence and Cahill fired home from close-range at the second attempt.
It was one-way traffic, and on one occasion keeper Adam Federici came to the half way line after a long clearance, just to get a touch of the ball. It was 3-0 on 37 minutes. Mooy cross found Cahill, who nipped in before Alam, and fired home to complete his hat-trick. It was 4-0 before the break, this time Mooy’s free kick was headed back across goal by Bailey Wright and Jedinak ghosted into the back post to head home from close-range..
Ange Postecoglou made a double change at the break, with Tommy Oar and James Troisi replacing Mooy and Massimo Luongo, and they lost their way for a while, but there was no let up as they continued to push for more goals. Cahill almost had a fourth, but his header was well saved by Alam, and the Bangladeshi custodian was keeping the score respectable. First he saved well to thwart McKay’s volley, before producing a stunning save to deny Jedinak’s overhead kick.
With results elsewhere going their way, with Jordan losing 1-0 against Kygyzstan the Socceroos sit on top of their group, and now have just two qualifiers to come in this phase – both at home in March – against Tajikistan and a potentially defining fixture with Jordan.
LOWE RUES 'SCHOOLBOY ERROR'
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe lamented the “schoolboy error” which led to Brisbane Roar’s lone-goal winner at Suncorp Stadium yesterday. The visitors did much of the chasing throughout the first 45 minutes but were left to rue a self-inflicted defensive error for Henrique’s goal.
“Especially (disappointed) that we’ve gifted them a goal,” said Lowe, whose team have won just one of their opening five league games. “You don’t mind with the quality they have in their team if they work something and it’s a quality finish or a great move from them. But ultimately we’ve gifted that goal to them.”
Young prospects Hagi Gligor, Aryn Williams, Alex Grant and Jamal Reiners all received opportunities in search of an equaliser, but Lowe conceded his side missed a cutting edge. “They all did okay, they worked hard,” the Glory boss said. “They were genuine, honest. But we lacked a bit of creativity to tell the truth.”
BIRIGHITTI: I'VE SUFFERED WORSE
It looked ghastly but Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he has no mental demons after his horrific facial injury and admits he's “been through worse”. Birighitti has played twice since fracturing his cheekbone, having five teeth dislodged and requiring more than 40 stitches to his lip and chin from an ugly incident against Sydney FC last month.
The 24-year-old was so desperate to return to action that he declined getting teeth implants as it would have ruled him out for a month. “Going on social media that night, I was getting photos sent from everyone of the accident. It didn’t look too nice,” Birighitti said. “Getting the injury was pretty nasty. It was quite a bad one, but I’ve come back great.”
The fringe Socceroo only missed one game before returning to action. “I was back playing my normal game against Melbourne City,” Birighitti said. “I knew I was ready to play. People were saying ‘Is it a mental thing?’ And ‘You might not be able to get over it’, but I’ve been through worse. I didn’t want a few missing teeth and open wounds to keep me out for a long time.”
Coincidentally, Birighitti suffered a similar in November 2012 playing against Wellington Phoenix which kept him out for two months. “I went through a similar situation three years ago, breaking a cheekbone and a jaw,” he recalled. “This one wasn’t as bad. Obviously I lost some teeth and had some open wounds. I was in good hands. The club’s helped me out a lot.”
Birighitti has been seeing his dentist regularly and will have crowns on the two top teeth dislodged, while he’ll get temporary dentures for the three bottom teeth. He will wait until the end of the season to get implants. “I don’t want to miss out on too much football,” said Birighitti, who is in the final year of his Jets contract. “It’s a big year for me, so I didn’t want to miss a thing.”
Birighitti was full of praise for the new-look Jets, who under Scott Miller and his coaching staff have changed the culture at the club. The former Perth SC junior spend the tail end of last season on loan to Italian club Varese, an experience he says made him a more mature footballer and person. However, Birighitti admits he is not getting ahead of himself and would leave negotiations on his club future up to his agent.
LIONS TRIO RETURN HOME
The 2015 season began brightly for Stirling Lions, but a disappointing end saw them finish in ?th spot on the table. Lions coach Rob Milevski has acted quickly to strengthen the squad for the up-coming PS4 National Premier League WA season by signing former trio David Micevski, Jovo Pavlovic and David Sesay from Inglewood United. The coach said there is still a few more signings in the pipeline, but is delighted to have signed the trio. “I’m really pleased to have signed the trio, and I’m looking forward to working with them in 2016,” he said. “They are quality players and bring to the club experience and I’m sure will be a valuable addition to our squad. “Jovo will fill a very important role in our defensive line, likewise David (Micevski) in midfield and David (Sesay) in attack, and we are all delighted to have secured their services.”
Micevski returns to play alongside his brother Daniel again, and said leaving the club last season was a really difficult decision, but he’s happy to be home. “To leave the Lions at the start of the 2015 was difficult, but it’s good to be back at the club where I started playing as a five year old, and also to play alongside my brother again,” he explained. “As they say things change quickly in football and a few close mates also leaving the club, swayed me to head back to where my football career began. Having Jovo also back at the club will give the defense a big boost as I think it's an area where Stirling needs to improve on from last season. David will also provide quality to the side and hopefully with a few more additions we can have a successful year.”
For Sesay, who has also played at Bayswater City, Perth SC and Inglewood the decision to move home was something he has been pondering for a while and he is looking forward to playing alongside Micevski and Pavlovic. “I'm looking forward to what should be an exciting and successful 2016 season for the club and me, coming back to Stirling Lions was always at the back of my mind, so glad to be here,” he said. “Dave and Jovo are players every NPL team would like to have, there reputation in the league speaks for itself. Stirling has some good young players in their team and with the experience, so I’m looking forward to the new season.”
WA END TOUR WITH A DRAW
The WA Amateur team completed their Malaysian tour with a 1-1 draw against Felcra FC on a rain-drenched pitch in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Gwelup Croatia striker Dave Martins gave WA a 1-0 lead mid-way through the second half, in the third match of their KL tour, but Felcra grabbed a late equaliser to share the spoils. The WA side were beaten in their second game, 1-0 by PKNS FC, also in wet and windy conditions on Wednesday evening.
Wembley Downs’ midfielder Ian Cleary said the trip was outstanding and with a little more luck could have won all three games. “The trip was the most professional set up I have been on,” he said. “The managing panel gave us everything possible to try and help us compete at the top of our games. With a bit more luck we would have won some more games, but that's football. They were a great bunch of people and loved every second of it”
The game against Felcra went ahead, this after an afternoon of tropical storms. But before kick-off the rain eased, but the pitch was still heavy under foot. WA were in charge during the first half but were unable to make the most of their opportunities. Felcra made several half-time changes and were a much more mobile side after the break, but WA brought the deadlock. A quick counter attack by Nick Tatasciore ended with a pinpoint cross and Martins headed home. Coach Rob Pagnoni made several changes to try and close out the game but Felcra kept attacking and were rewarded with a late goal.
KEEPER ERROR GIFTS ROAR THE POINTS
A poor clearance from Perth Glory keeper Ante Covic has gifted Brisbane Roar the opportunity, which Brisbane Roar striker Henrique took with pleasure, to give them a 1-0 win and take them to the top of the Hyundai A-League table. The injury hit Glory were second best in the first half but got back into the game after the break, but again in the final third, and some disappointing offside flags, the Glory could convert. “Especially (disappointed) that we’ve gifted them a goal,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. “You don’t mind with the quality they have in their team if they work something and it’s a quality finish or a great move from them. But ultimately we’ve gifted that goal to them.”
Glory gave a starting debut to Floreat Athena defender Aryn Williams, and they were still without Gyorgy Sandor, Chris Harold and Mitch Oxborrow, while skipper Dino Djulbic also missed this week while Josh Risdon was away on Socceroos duty. Lowe also brought in National Youth League skipper Jacob Collard and 17-year old striker Jamal Reiners on to the bench.
It was a tentative Glory early, with the home side having plenty of possession and Dimitri Petratos tested Anti Covic in the third minute, but the keeper saved low. There was a slight delay after Marc Warren and Jake Hingert clashed heads, but both continued. Then on 19 minutes Fernandez beat the Roar offside trap, but Roar keeper Jamie Young was out and it looked like the Roar custodian had fouled the Dutch striker, but referee Shaun Evans waved away the Glory protests.
The Roar went close on 23 minutes, Steven Lustica wasn’t closed down on the edge of the box, his shot took a slight deflection but luckily for Covic the post came to his rescue. Next it was Petratos to try his luck from long-range, but again his shot struck the post, before Brandon Borrello shot flashed wide. But on the stroke of half time the best chance of the half fell to the Glory. Guyon Fernandez found space down the right and his cross picked out the unmarked Warren in the box, but the defenders first touch let him down Corona got back to block his effort.
Glory made a double change at the break bringing on Sidnei Sciola for the injured Fernandez, while Alex Grant replaced Hagi Gligor, with Michael Thwaite pushing into the midfielder. The Glory looked better after the break and on 56 minutes they went close to the opener. A poor header back was pounced upon by Glory skipper Richard Garcia, who went one-on-one with Roar keeper Young, and won the challenge, but the ball rolled agonizingly wide of the goal and the chance was gone.
Thwaite tried his luck from long-range on 70 minutes, but it was high, and moments later the stand in midfielder saw his shot well saved by Young. It was the best period of the game for the Glory and Diego Castro was then denied by Young. But on 74 minutes the home side hit the front. There looked little danger when Grant played the ball back to Covic, but the veteran keeper sliced his clearance straight to Roar substitute Javier Hervas, who played in another substitute Henrique, who raced into the box and cleverly chipped the on-coming Covic to score.
Glory introduced Reiners for A-League debit with 10 minutes remaining and the youngster looked lively. But with the Glory pushing men forward they were nearly picked off again two minutes from time, Petratos cutting in from the right, his curling effort crashed off the post and away to safety. Then in stoppage time the Glory won a free kick just outside the box, when the Reiners was brought down. It was in Nebojsa Marinkovic’s range, and the Serbian bent it around the wall but Young got down smartly to save and win all three points for the Roar.
DIBERNARDO AT THE DOUBLE FOR GLORY
Perth Glory new American midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo has started life in the Westfield W-League by bagging a brace as the Glory best Brisbane Roar 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday. The midfielder, who is on loan from Chicago Red Stars opened the scoring early and settled it late with a stunning shot from 25 meters. The win moved Bobby Despotovski’s side into joint second on the table but there was a down side with Matildas’ striker Sam Kerr limping off with a serious ankle injury. “It was a much needed three points and I was happy to get through the match with no injuries” Glory striker Caitlin Foord said. Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said Sam Kerr’s injury didn’t appear to be as bad as initially thought. “Our physio and doctor tell us that it’s not that serious. We’ll have scans when we get back to Perth but hopefully she’ll be ok for our next match in a couple of weeks,” he said.
The Glory opened brightly and they were ahead on eight minutes. There looked little danger when Roar keeper Hayley Kopmeyer received a back pass, but she was closed down by Kerr, who blocked the keeper clearance. It looked like Kerr would punish her, but she recovered superbly to save Kerr’s follow up shot, but the rebound fell to Di Bernardo who made no mistake with a clinically finish from the edge of the box.
It was almost 2-0 six minutes later, Foord was sent clear by Kerr, but her shot flashed over the top. Kerr was taken off after 21 minutes with a nasty ankle injury and she was replaced by Kathryn Schuburt. The home side were struggling in the final third, but they went close on the half hour. Katrina Gorry’s deep cross from the right was misjudged by Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold, but Courtney Vine wasn’t alert at the back post to capitalize.
The Glory then lost Carla Bennett though injury, she was replaced by Caitlin Doeglas, and the Roar looked to get back in the game. Gorry tried her look from long-range which flew well over the top. It was the Glory who finished the better and Foord low shot was saved low by Kopmeyer, before former Roar defender Sarah Carroll’s free kick was headed wide at the back post by Nikki Stanton.
Foord was leading the line on her own and went close on 56 minutes. Doeglas first time cross from the right picked out the Matildas’ striker, who skipped past the keeper, but Claire Polkinghorne got back to clear the danger. The home side began to take control of the game and Gorry’s shot on the run was saved low by Arnold.
The home side were making all the running and Arnold produced a great save to deny Emily Gielnik before the Glory custodian was down low to thwart the same player moments later. The Roar had a strong penalty claim turned down, after Tameka Butt fell under the challenge of Danielle Brogan, but referee Katie Paterson waved away their protests.
Arnold was at it again five minutes from time, Gielnik cross picked Kirsty Yallop, but her flick was superbly saved by the keeper. The Glory were hitting on the counter attack well as the Roar pressed, but on 88 minutes the Glory sealed the three points with a contender for ‘Goal of the Season’. DiBernardo picked the ball 25 meters from goal, and she spotted Kopmeyer off her line, and her long-range shot flew into the net to seal the win.
GLORY HIT BACK TO HOLD CHAMPIONS
Perth Glory have fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against last season’s Foxtel National Youth League Champions Melbourne City at the CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner on Saturday afternoon.
Chris Critaldo gave the home side the lead early, before Glory skipper Slobodan Vulin levelled just after half time. Both sides had chances to win it but had to settle for a share of the spoils. “It was a real positive performance from the team, we worked really hard and could have come home with the all three points,” Vulin said. “The boys had to dig deep after going down early but we produced number of good chances and deserved something from the game.”
It was the Glory who had the first opportunity, Valentini heading inches over the bar in the opening minute. But two minutes later the home side hit the front, Cristaldo firing home after a swift break. It was nearly 2-0 moments later with Mahmut Ali Eyigun free kick only inches over the bar. The home side were doing all the attacking and Cristaldo went close to his and City’s second on 10 minutes, after he headed Stefan Zinni’s cross just over the top.
The Glory settled and the lively Valentini burst clear on the half hour, but his effort was straight at former Glory custodian Tando Velaphi. Valentini was causing all sorts of problems for the City defence and six minutes later Tomislav Fadljevic got back with a great last ditch tackle to deny him. It was the boys from the West who ended the half the better and Dejan Spaseski saw his free kick well saved by Velaphi, before the City custodian spread himself to thwart Joe Knowles, but they went into the break 0-1 down.
It was a perfect start to the second half for the Glory and they were level on 49 minutes. Valentini was brought down on the edge of the penalty area and Vulin stepped up and curled the free kick around the wall and into the corner of the net. Both sides had chances as the game opened up. Zinni’s cross picked out Cristaldo at the back post, but he headed wide, before Nikola Talimdzioski’s shot was well saved by Velaphi.
Valentini continued to torment the City defence and he outpaced his marker on 72 minutes, but Velaphi was well placed to save. City had a penalty claim turned down by referee Adam Bavcar after Andrija Kecojevic was brought down in the area, but it was the Glory on top and they almost took all three points in the final minute. Valentini breaking clear, but Jordan Hall got back with a timely last ditch tackle.
GRANT IN MIX FOR GLORY
Perth Glory recruit Alex Grant will play through the pain of a knee injury in a bid to make a name for himself in the A-League. The 21-year old is in the mix for a starting role in Sunday’s match at Brisbane Roar as Glory shuffle their line-up to cope with a raft of injuries.
Grant returned to Perth in June after almost four years in England, which included a stint with English Premier League club Stoke City. He has needed to be patient after hurting a knee in the first week of pre-season training. The defender still has soreness from cartilage damage, but has recovered to the point where it will not hold him back on the pitch.
“It’s really been a challenge for me to be honest,” Grant said. “It’s not something I was expecting when I came in, to come out of the first week of training with a bad knee injury. But that’s all behind me now. I’m looking to get into the team, break in and get a bit of game time under my belt.”
BRISBANE ROAR V PERTH GLORY – PREVIEW
After last week’s FFA Cup Grand Final defeat, its back to A-League action for Perth Glory, when they travel to Suncorp Stadium to take on joint league leaders Brisbane Roar on Sunday. Although the result didn’t go the way of Kenny Lowe’s side the second half performance gives the coach some optimism as they look for their first away win of the season. Brisbane away has been a game the boys from the West has struggled in, but they have drawn the last two visits in the league.
It’s a return to his former club for Diogo Ferreira, and the 26-year old defensive midfielder has been in good form in the side, and he’s looking forward to cementing his spot in the starting side. “We’ve had a bad run of injuries at the moment but that’s when the squad has to step up and seize the moment,” he told the Glory website. “It’s a long season and we are aiming to make the finals so I’ll be doing my best to earn my spot.”
The former Olyroo has replaced Hungarian international Gyorgy Sandor in the side, but he has welcomed the challenge. “Juri (Gyorgy) is a great player and yes I do have big shoes to fill, but I’ve been part of a winning culture at Brisbane and it’s what I think I like to bring to the table” he said. "I had a great time at the Roar and made some lifelong friends. The success we had there is what drives me. I was really disappointed that we didn't get to feel that on Saturday night with the FFA Cup but I know I will be putting in my all at the Glory this year to get the success we deserve.”
The injury dramas that has hit the club in recent weeks looks like it’s clearing, with Diego Castro, Dino Djulbic and Guyon Fernandez all coming through the FFA Cup encounter all clear, but Sandor and Mitch Oxborrow are still in doubt. One player who will definite be missing is Josh Risdon, who is away on international duty with the Socceroos’, his spot in the side is likely to go to either Alex Grant or Aryn Williams.
Grant, who has returned to Perth after stints at Portsmouth and Stoke City in the UK for the past two years is looking forward to the trip. The 21-year old came on as a substitute in the FFA Cup final at the weekend and his A-League time has been limited, but he is hopefully in line for his full league debut. “We will be playing for the win and hopefully that will set us up in good stead from there on” Grant said. “That’s why I‘ve come back home. I want to contribute and be part of a successful team in my own home town.”
The Roar will face the Glory without former striker Jamie Maclaren and Corey Brown, who are with the Olyroos touring squad for friendlies against Qatar and Iran, and Matt McKay, who is on Socceroos duty. But Fullback Jack Hingert said they have the players to cover the loss. “There are boys on the bench who are definitely capable of being starting players. We got boys that will come in and I know will do a great job for us,” he said ahead of the Glory game. “"They will be extremely hungry. It is a great opportunity for them this week and it is good for us to have players like that to bring in."
The Roar will be ready for a Glory side looking to bounce back from their disappointing FFA Cup Final result, but Hingert said they won't be taking them lightly. “Every team in this competition is capable of causing damage and every game is a tough one," Hingert said. "We are confident within ourselves and are always positive going into game. We believe that any game we go into we are going to win."
CARROLL HEADS HOME IN SEARCH OF A WIN
The Perth Glory W-League season has not begun as they would have liked, but their performances haven’t been that bad, but they haven’t converted their chances. They head into Sunday’s game against Brisbane Roar, which will be played prior to the A-League clash, and live on TV, looking to kick start their season. There will be several players who will be taking on their former teammates in the game, most notably Kim Carroll, who will be visiting her home state for the first time since her move to the West.
On the other side Roar’s Gabrielle Marzano is tackling her former side for the first time since her breakthrough season last year at the Glory. The 0-1 loss against Sydney FC last week wasn’t the result they were looking for, but Carroll said it’s time to put that right on Sunday. “We lost 1-0 on the weekend which was from the penalty spot, but we need to take our chances when we get them,” she said. “Four games in now so a third of the way through the season, so it is time to turn that around.”
Carroll is one of Australia’s most experienced players earning 55 international caps over a ten-year period, said the game this weekend will be a strange feeling. “It will definitely be a weird one. I have never played with anyone else, and Brisbane will always be home,” she said. “I am still close to the girls, and (Roar coach) Belinda Wilson, and I worked in the office so I will know a lot of people working at the game. Suncorp provides a good atmosphere, and it will be an interesting one, but I’m actually looking forward to it. We need to start turning things around, and it just about a must-win this weekend.”
GLORY YOUTH TRAVEL TO TAKE ON CHAMPIONS
Perth Glory Youth side will be looking to kick start their Foxtel National Youth League season, but it doesn’t get any more difficult, as they take on last season Champions Melbourne City at CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner on Saturday. Last week they failed to convert the chances they created and Coach John Gibson said they will need to improve that side of the game to get the points on Saturday. “We should have been ahead, before we conceded, and in any game you need to capitalize on your the opportunities,” he said. “But saying that we were happy and positive with the performance, like always we will look for an improvement in all facets of the game, plus being more clinical and ruthless in the final third.”
Gibson said with the season being cut down to only eight games you have to hit the ground running. “This season is l a sprint and every minute of every match its game on,” he explained. “We handed a number of debuts and they will continue throughout the season which is healthy and everyone will be better for the 90 minutes last week. The group always works hard and always displays a wonderful attitude day- in day-out - and will be rewarded by quality performances. No different - it about 'us' and what we do - always being better at the process.”
Nikola Talimdzioski was an integral part of the PS4 National Premier League WA campaign for the club last season, and was a standout against Brisbane. “We fought the game out well and kept the pressure on them until the final whistle, unfortunately we couldn’t finish the chances we created,” Talimdzioski said. “But we will be looking to improve and hit back twice as hard this week.”
The lively striker believes the side is getting better and is looking forward to taking on the Champions. “We’re all looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead, and we will have to be on top of our game to take something out of the game,” Talimdzioski said. “They (Melbourne City) are a tough team particularly in their own backyard, but we definitely have the ability to come home with something.”
SOCCEROOS BACK ON TRACK
The Socceroos put their World Cup Final hopes back on track with a 3-0 win against Kygyzstan in Canberra on Thursday night. Goals from Mile Jedinak, Tim Cahill and an own goal sealed the win, but there were concerns with both Tomi Juric and Nathan Burns picking up injuries, this ahead of the clash against Bangladesh in another World Cup qualifier next week. In the end it was a comfortable night for the home side, with Aaron Mooy and Jedinak running the middle of the park, while debutant James Meredith impressed. "We weren't really happy with the way the last game went. We needed to look at some different options. We were very dominant right from the kick-off....the players made sure we played our game," Ange Postecoglou said. "I would prefer we won 10-0 which we should have done."
It was a lively opening from Postecoglou’s side but they failed to take the chances they were creating. Cahill volleyed straight at keeper Pavel Matiash from close-range, then Mooy’s shot was blocked by Matiash, with Cahill striking the loose ball against the bar. It was one-way traffic, and minutes later Mooy put Massimo Luongo away, only for Matiash to save again - and then repel Cahill’s follow-up effort for good measure. The visitors had a penalty claim turned down when it looked like Meredith pulled the shirt of Viktor Maier, but the referee waved away their protests.
With a half hour gone Juric limped off, with Burns immediately the action, Mooy sending him clear, but his shot was blocked by Matiash, the ball bouncing loose a metre out, but somehow Mark Milligan missed it completely. Finally, after 40 minutes the Socceroos’ found the opener. Burns was brought down by Islam Shamshiev and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Jedinak, put his injury concerns behind him, and stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty.
Kyrgyzstan needed a good start to the second half but four minutes in the Socceroos’ doubled their advantage. Jedinak began the move with an interception in midfield, freeing Mooy, and the Melbourne City man played in a defence splitting pass to send Cahill clear, and he made no mistake. The third goal came gift-wrapped on 68 minutes, Ildar Amirov heading Mooy’s corner into his own net, Cahill missed several golden chances to add to his tally, but the most important figure was the three points, in front of a good 19,412 crowd in the nation’s Capital.
Socceroos: GK Adam Federici, 20 Trent Sainsbury, 8 Bailey Wright, 19 Ryan McGowan, 2 James Meredith, 15 Mile Jedinak (10 Tommy Rogic 61’), 21 Massimo Luongo, 5 Mark Milligan, 13 Aaron Mooy, 4 Tim Cahill, 9 Tomi Juric (16 Nathan Burns 29’) (13 James Troisi 73’)
Subs not used: RGK Matt Ryan, 23 Josh Risdon, 17 Matt McKay, 22 Alex Wilkinson, 11 Tommy Oar, 3 Jason Davidson
Kyrgyzstan: GK Pavel Matiash, 4 Vikor Maier, 3 Talant Samsaliev, 2 Valeri Kichin, 7 Azamat Baimatov (13 Tamirlan Kozubaev 77’), 9 Islam Shamshiev (19 Vitalij Lux 59’), 20 Bakhtiyar Duyshobekov, 21 Farhat Musabekov, 23 Edgar Bernhardt, 18 Ivan Filatov (11 Kairat Jyralbek Uulu 47’), 17 Ildar Amirove
Subs not used: 15 Tursunali Rustamov, 16 Valery Kashuba, 5 Kursanbek Sheratov, 8 Aziz Sydykov
WA AMATEURS MAKE FLYING START ON MALAYSIAN TOUR
The WA State Amateur team started their Malaysian tour with a 2-1 win over the host’s national U19 side in Kuala Lumpur last night. Goals from Wembley Downs’ Steve Geoghegan and Gwelup Croatia winger Nick Tatasciore put the visitors 2-0 up but they were forced to withstand some late pressure after Malaysia scored from a free-kick with 10 minutes to play. “The game was fast paced and the conditions where not like anything we are used to playing in,” Tatasciore said. “But once we got settled and adapted to the pace and structure of their side we managed to play our game and held them out, and hit them on the counter attack, and we managed to create some good chances and luckily we took a couple to win the game.”.
It was a tightly contested first half with both sides having good chances but on the stroke of half time WA hit the front. Tatasciore beat two opponents and played the ball wide to Geoghegan, who cut inside the box and finished with aplomb into the bottom right hand corner of the net to complete a great move and send WA into the break with the lead.
The second half was again a tight affair, with both side’s battling for control before Tatasciore doubled WA’s lead. The Gwelup winger spotted the Malaysian keeper off his line and superbly chipped him from long-range. The home side laid siege to the WA goal, and were rewarded with 10 minutes remaining with a stunning free kick, but they were unable to complete the fightback despite the addition of six minutes stoppage time. “The tour is going really well and the team will get better when we get used to the conditions,” assistant Coach Jack Monoco said. “The game today was very competitive, fast paced, against a well drilled opposition and it’s always good to start the trip with a win.”
DE SILVA DREAMING OF RIO RUN
Daniel De Silva says it would a dream come true to play in the 2016 Olympic Games as preparations ramp up for the Australia’s Rio qualifiers. De Silva is in Doha with the Olyroos friendlies against Qatar and Iran over the next week. The team Olyroos will return to Qatar in January for the AFC Under-23 Championships, with the top three nations from that tournament booking a spot in Rio.
“It’s any professional athletes dream to go to an Olympics,” De Silva said. “It’s a fantastic achievement if you make it. I’m sure everyone else is just as excited as I am to get it started, the qualifiers, and I’m sure when it comes around we’ll all give 110% to make sure that we qualify. With the squad that we have I have no doubt we’ll give it a really good shot … it’s the home of football really, Brazil, so it would be fantastic to go there and play.”
The Olyroos will face United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Jordan in the Under-23 Championship in January, which features 16 teams from across Asia. Australia missed out on qualification for the last Summer Olympics in London in 2012. Of the 22-man squad selected for the two friendlies, 12 players are based overseas and two are currently uncontracted.
De Silva says the next two games will be an important chance for the Olyroos to get used to the local conditions. “This is where we’re playing, the qualifiers in this region, so it’s good that we can come here a little bit before and get a bit of a feel for the weather, the pitch, the stadium, the fans, all those sorts of things,” the midfielder said.
“It gives us a bit of familiarization of what to expect in January and it’s all preparation for the ultimate goal of qualifying for the Olympics. All the boys are getting really excited and it’s going to be a good time. It’s always great to come into camp and see all the boys again and get to play some international football. It’s always a great thing to play for your country and we always enjoy it when we come in. So far it’s been good and I’m sure it’ll just continue to stay like that.”
De Silva, who has made six appearances for Roda JC so far this season, is enjoying his time in the Dutch Eredivisie. “There’s been a lot of great players come from the Dutch league like Memphis Depay, even Suarez, all players like that,” De Silva said. “Of course it’s a really good league for development and fine-tuning your game. It was a good move for me to be able to go there and learn a bit about my trade.”
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL DIBERNARDO SIGNS WITH GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory Women has signed American midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo for the remainder of their 2015/16 campaign. The 23-year old joins the club on loan from her hometown team, the Chicago Red Stars who compete in the National Women's Soccer League.
"I'm really excited to be playing here in Perth,” DiBernardo said. “It's a great opportunity to continue to play in a competitive environment and grow as a player. The girls on the team have been nothing but welcoming, and I'm excited to get on the field wtih them.”
Originally from Naperville, Illinois, DiBernardo has been capped as a youth international for the United States. She was a key part of the United States championship winning side at the Under-20 World Cup in 2012, scoring a goal in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
DiBernardo’s father, Angelo, also played for the United States national team, earning 20 caps between 1979 and 1985 while playing for Los Angele Aztecs and New York Cosmos. She is the second player from the United States to join Glory Women this season, following on from former Sky Blue FC midfielder Nikki Stanton.
GLORY’S DEFENSIVE HEADACHE
Perth Glory could be forced to field an inexperienced defence against an in-form Brisbane Roar on Sunday, with Dino Djulbic the latest player to be struck down by injury. Djulbic is battling a leg knock and is in doubt for the away clash in a blow to Glory’s hopes of reviving their ailing A-League campaign.
32-year old Djulbic played in the FFA Cup Final defeat to Melbourne Victory last Saturday night despite being hurt in the first half. The central defender failed to train yesterday at a time when Josh Risdon is missing due to international duties, with the right back pressing to make his Socceroos debut against Kyrgyzstan in Canberra tonight.
Gyorgy Sandor (ankle) was also unsighted on the track, while midfielder Mitch Oxborrow (foot) will not return to A-League action until at least next week. The likely absence of two of Glory’s regular defenders will force coach Kenny Lowe to consider youngsters Aryn Williams, who only signed with the club a fortnight ago, and Alex Grant for starting duties.
Midfielder Diogo Ferreira has benefitted from Glory’s injury run, starting their past three games. “Unfortunately someone gets injured, someone has to step in and in this case it’s been myself getting some games under my belt now in my preferred position in the midfield, which is good,” Ferreira said. “Over the years I’ve been a bit of a utility - right back, left back - so it’s good to try and cement a spot.”
NICOLAIDIS RE-UNITED WITH INGLEWOOD
A new chapter has been opened in Taki Nicolaidis’ career with the Championship winning coach signing on with Inglewood United. Nicolaidis, one of the local scene’s most knowledgeable and experienced coaches, has taken on the role of assistant to Michael Garcia for the coming National Premier Leagues season.
“It’s really pleasing to be back at Inglewood, everyone has been very warm and welcoming,” said Nicolaidis, who lifted the State Cup as an Inglewood player in 1999. “After having a couple of meetings with Michael Garcia and then the board, to hear about their plans and the role they want me to play I felt that it was the right move for me.”
“I want to help the club improve in all areas and, ultimately, be amongst the top few clubs in the State and to be winning trophies. There is a lot of hard work ahead of us to get Inglewood to that point but we are all willing to roll up our sleeves to get the job done.”
Nicolaidis, 45, has been a long-time admirer of Garcia, so when the opportunity to work alongside the one-time Young Socceroo came up he admits he didn’t have to think long. “I’ve have had the highest respect for Michael for a long time, not just as a player but also as a coach,” he said.
“Michael and I have had a friendly rivalry coaching against each other over the years in the Under-20s and first team, and I value his philosophy for the game. Michael and (fellow assistant coach) Saul (Contera) are very passionate about their football and want to win trophies, and I believe we have the foundations to achieve that.”
Nicolaidis is no stranger to success. A glittering 17-year playing career reaped three League championships three State Cup, two Top Four and one Night Series winners medals plus four appearances for the State through spells with Floreat Athena, Perth Kangaroos, Western Knights and Inglewood, amongst others.
Upon hanging up his boots Nicolaidis turned his hand to coaching, helping Floreat to Premier League, State Cup and Night Series glory during an eight-year spell. He guided Perth SC’s Under-20 team to three trophies in two years before taking the helm of the first team, who he steered to second position in each of the two NPL seasons.
GLORY TRIO IN MATILDAS’ SQUAD
Perth Glory trio Mackenzie Arnold, Caitlin Foord and Samantha Kerr have all been selected as part of a 23-player Matildas’ squad, assembling at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic has selected the squad for the training camp, this after they returned from China where they drew 1-1 against the host nation, before losing 0-1 to England late last month. “Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said the three girls deserve to be in the squad. “All three players who were selected in the Matildas’ squad deserve to be in there as they are absolute quality players,” he said. “It’s fantastic that we have three players in the National side, and also that they are available for Sunday’s game in Brisbane, because the team looks different when they are in the team.”
The coach has brought in six players, who missed the trip to China, Canberra United trio Ellie Brush, Caitlin Munoz and Ashleigh Sykes, Sydney FC pair Leena Khamis and Teresa Polias, plus 15-year-old Western Sydney Wanderers FC defender Ellie Carpenter. “This camp is another great chance to get the players together and with the Olympic qualifiers just over three months away we need to make the most of every opportunity we get to train together and improve,” Stajcic said.
“A number of players have been impressive in the opening rounds of the Westfield W-League season and deserve their call up into camp, so it will give them a chance to come and be part of the national setup and put their best foot forward. We want to build greater depth in this team and have a range of options and players to choose from come the Olympic qualifying tournament, a tournament which we are under no illusions is going to be extremely difficult.”
Football Federation Australia has also announced that the Westfield Matildas have accepted an invitation to play an international match against the Korea Republic on Sunday 29 November 2015 at Incheon Stadium in Incheon. “There are limited opportunities to play matches against other countries before the Olympic qualifiers so we’re grateful to be able to have these games and this time over in Korea Republic,” Stajcic said. “Korea Republic are a high quality opponent and being able to go over there and play against them will be beneficial for our preparations."
ECU JOONDALUP SIGN MCGARRY FOR 2016
ECU Joondalup sign Steven McGarry for 2016 ECU Joondalup have signed former Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry for the 2016 PS4 National Premier League WA season. The 36-year-old, who retired from the A-League in 2014, before taking a role at the club in the coaching department, and continued playing for Sunday Amateur Premier League side Gwelup Croatia last season, is looking forward to the season ahead. “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and have been really impressed with the clubs ambition,” McGarry said. “The dual role of first team coach/player was a big reason why I came to the club, but the club is looking to make big strides forwards in different areas. It’s going to be a massive challenge but one Dale (McCulloch), David (Tough) and myself and the rest of the staff are ready for.”
ECU Coach Dale McCulloch said the signing of the Scotsman is vital for the club going forward, and he is looking forward to working with him. “We have lost a lot of experienced players from last season and the signing of Steven will give our squad a major boost,” he said. “We played a number of our younger players last season, but at times we lacked the experience, and with Steven coming in he will no doubt give us a lift, but he will also lead these youngsters on and off the pitch during the season, and Steven will also be part of the first team coaching line-up.”
McGarry had a successful season at Gwelup, and said it was a very difficult decision to leave to the amateur club. “Yes it was tough to leave, especially as there’s so some fantastic people at the club. Juri and Mike have done a great job and are very ambitious so I’m sure they will move into State League sooner rather than later,” he said. “What a fantastic season, to go 21 wins on the bounce and to score the amount of goals we did was something special. Winning the league, and also having a fantastic FFA cup run where we nearly made the last 38, only going down to Perth SC 4-3 was a massive achievement and also put Gwelup Croatia on the map.”
McCulloch said last year was difficult for the club and they have a number of players on their radar as they look to rebuild, this after last season, but the coach believes that isn’t the case in his eyes. “Many thought we under-performed, but I see it different,” McCulloch explained. “We blooded a number of teenage players and they never let me or the club down, and they will be better for it. We have spoken to a number of players regarding next season and we hope to reveal them in the coming weeks, including a player from overseas who we have been chasing for a while.”
McGarry, who holds a UEFA B Coaching license and coached Perth Glory Under 20’s to the league title last season with Bobby Despotovski, will also use his experience to nurture some of the talented youngster coming through the clubs successful academy. “The ECU Academy is one of the best in the state and these kids will be the future of the club,” he said. “It’s important to show the kids a pathway of progression within the club and also help nurture and develop them into good footballers to play in the ECU first team, and that's something the first team coaches will oversee, and hopefully onto a higher level which would be the most pleasing aspect.”
SAMMUT AND AMOSA SCOOP BALCATTA AWARDS
Balcatta midfielder James Sammut has won the clubs ‘Most Valuable Player’ for 2015. The former Perth Glory Youth player pipped defender Kieron Stallard to the award, while keeper Clint Davies won the Coaches Award. Sammut said to win the award was a real surprise and topped off a good season for him. “I’m honoured to win Balcatta's player of the year, and it tops a good season for me personally after being selected in the state team that played Perth Glory late in the season,” he said. “Hopefully I can have a good pre-season, get my body right and have an even better season next year and Balcatta can be back up there challenging for silverware.”
The 26-year-old said the 2015 season didn’t go to plan for the club but he is hoping for better times ahead. “We didn't have a great season this year, but losing a number of key players to other clubs as well as injuries and players going away didn't help,” he said. “We have a good young squad, hopefully add a few quality experienced players and 2016 will be more successful than the year just gone.”
In other awards on the night Jackson Amosa won the Luke Beyer Rising Star Award, as well as taking out the under 20’s Fairest and Best. Alec Femmia was the runner-up in the F&B, while Daniel Passarelli won the Coaches Award. In the under 18’s Kyle Jackson won the Fairest and Best Award, and also the Coaches Award, while Caleb Sheedy was the runner-up in the F&B.
Amosa, who played for Dianella White Eagles and Perth SC as a junior, before moving to Grindleford Reserve had a stellar season and the 17-year-old was delighted to win both awards. “I'm very pleased to win both of the awards, honestly I didn't expect winning it,” he said. “I thank my team mates because I couldn't have done it without my team mates and coaches.”
The striker, who has moved to Perth Glory for the National Youth League, will move back to Balcatta if things don’t work. “The club have been good to me and I was really happy we could reach the cup Final in the under 20’s, but unfortunately we lost the final,” Amosa explained. “I’m looking forward to the challenge at Perth Glory, but if it doesn't work out I'm going to try my hardest to impress new coach Marc Anthony and press for a first team spot.”
FORRESTFIELD BEGIN PREPARATION FOR NEXT SEASON
The 2015 All Flags Division Two Champions Forrestfield United have begun their preparation for next season by signing two youngsters from NPL side Inglewood United. Defender Mark Barnett and defensive midfielder Hayden Hodgson have joined the club as they look to hit the ground running in Division One next season. Forrestfield Coach Rod Banjac said the pair has come through the clubs junior set up and it’s great to have them back. “Both Mark and Hayden started their football journey at our club and we’re delighted to have them back under our wing,” he explained. “We are building our structures at the club to ultimately move into the NPL and last season’s Division Two title was just the beginning, and we are looking to start the new Division One season at full speed.”
Barnett, who had a season at Perth Glory in 2014, and last season at Inglewood, believes Forrestfield are ready to make a move to the NPL and wants to be part of it, and he said after talking to the coach he jumped at the chance to re-join. “The conversation I had with Rod was very in-depth and we talked about my situation and most importantly about the future of Forrestfield and where we want to be next season and beyond,’ he said. “The ultimate goal for Forrestfield United is to be pushing for promotion into the NPL 2017, and in my opinion this is completely achievable and a realistic goal. We have facilities and ground upgrades currently happening, we have a strong youth set up and we have a very strong, formidable 1st team squad raring to go off the back of a fantastic 2015 season.”
The defender said the spirit the club has is second to none and wanted to be part of it. “I started here as a youngster, and out of all the clubs I’ve been to so far, simply none can match the team spirit and club culture that Forrestfield can provide. I have faith in the clubs’ goals and plans for 2016 and beyond and I believe that I can contribute towards those goals,” Barnett explained. “I’m really excited and very happy to be coming back home and to help Forrestfield into the NPL where we should be.”
Hodgson came up through the Forrestfield academy, before joining Inglewood, and he is happy to return to the club were it all started for him. “Forrestfield was where it all started for me and where I learnt how to play the game,” he said. “Working with Steve Parry and Andy Burns helped develop my game and I’m looking forward to helping the club to promotion next season. Rod is great coach and he has done an amazing job for the club since his return and I will be doing my best to improve next season.”
The defender left Hartfield Park to play for Inglewood and has played four seasons at the club, and he thanked them for their help in his development, and believes it will help him next season for Forrestfield. “They (Inglewood) have been a great club to me and I’d like to thank all the coaches I’ve had along the way, which included travelling to Real Valladolid in Spain for a football tour, which was a great experience which further developed me as a player,” he said. “But Rod and the other players have made me feel so welcome, the coaching and training is first class and I can’t wait to help drive the club to further glory.”
Banjac said the club is looking to improve the professionalism at Hartfield Park, and is looking forward to next season. “We are building towards our final goal, which is the NPL, but we have put plans into place to show the other clubs we are to be considered a serious threat,” he said. “We are representing the Eastern corridor and have worked hard to lift the profile of the club on and off the field, with the full support from the Shire of Kalamunda, and after talks with the local Member of Parliament, there is a real positive vibe that we are heading in the right direction.”
GLORY BOLSTER W-LEAGUE SQUAD
Perth Glory has signed American midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo for the remainder of the Westfield W-League season. The 23-year-old joins the club on loan from Chicago Red Stars in the National Women's Soccer League. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, DiBernardo has been capped as a youth international for the United States, representing her country at the U-20 and U-23 levels. "I'm really excited to be playing here in Perth. It's a great opportunity to continue to play in a competitive environment and grow as a player,” DiBernardo told the Glory web site. “The girls on the team have been nothing but welcoming, and I'm excited to get on the field with them in the next match.”
The midfielder was a key part of the United States championship winning side at the U-20 World Cup in 2012, scoring a goal in the Quarter Finals of the tournament. Her father Angelo also played for the US National team, earning 20 caps from 1979-1985. She is the second player from the United States to join Perth Glory Women this season, after the club captured the signature of midfielder Nikki Stanton from Sky Blue FC earlier this year. DiBernado will join her new teammates this week, and should be ready for action against Melbourne Victory on 28 November.
KEOGH DEAL SCUPPERED
Football Federation Australia have blocked Perth Glory’s request to re-sign Irish striker Andy Keogh under the A-League’s guest player rule. The FFA decision on Keogh has all but ended Glory’s hopes of bringing the 29-year-old finisher back this season. Only a long-term injury to one of their five international signings, the maximum allowed, will open the door on Keogh’s return to the club. An FFA spokesman said Keogh’s playing career had not met the marquee standards required to qualify for a guest player slot.
GLORY FUME OVER CUP FINAL CROWD
Perth Glory have been left fuming over the disappointing crowd for Saturday night’s FFA Cup Final, with captain Richard Garcia declaring organisers got it wrong by holding the showpiece game in Melbourne. Only 15,098 spectators were at AAMI Park to watch Melbourne Victory’s 2-0 triumph over Glory, which consigned the visitors to successive runners-up honours.
Glory were forced to travel for a second straight year after unsuccessfully applying to host this year’s Cup decider. Captain Richard Garcia said the decision to hold the game in Melbourne hadn’t been justified. “With the numbers that were there, it would have been nice to have it in Perth, but the powers that be make those decisions and it was out of our hands,” Garcia said. “It is pretty disappointing.”
WILLIAMS ON THE VERGE OF TRAINING RETURN
Middlesbrough’s Rhys Williams could be back playing early next year as he returns from a long battle with injury. Williams looked to relaunch his career in January after almost a year on the treatment table but lasted less than a minute when he ruptured his Achilles in an FA Cup clash. The 27-year old Socceroo is one of three defenders who are long-term absentees on the Championship club’s roster, alongside Alex Baptiste and Damia Abella.
Boro boss Aitor Karanka said Williams could be back training with the team this month. “Rhys is better, I think he will train with the team soon,” Karanka said. “When I say soon, I mean three to four weeks. I am really pleased with all of them (Williams, Baptiste and Abella) because with those kind of injuries their heads are sometimes bad but all of them now can see the light at the end of the tunnel, as we say in Spain. So I am pleased for them.”
VICTORY TAKE OUT FFA CUP GLORY
Melbourne Victory have won the 2015 Westfield FFA Cup Final after a 2-0 win against Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Saturday. A scintillating first half performance, saw Oliver Bozanic and Besart Berisha scored the goals, and the home side had the Glory on the back foot for the whole 45 minutes. The Glory were gallant in the second half and dominant but couldn’t find a way back into the game and for the second consecutive season they were beaten in the Grand Final. “It feels just as bad as last year, but we had a go, 10 shots to one in the second half. At least we had a go second half,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. “We didn’t take responsibility for the two goals. You give someone like Berisha an opportunity and he’ll punish you. We needed a spark, we needed some to step up. We need people to take a grasp of the game, to stamp their quality on the game and they came out and did that.”
The home side were on the front foot early and where finding holes in the Glory defence at will, and they thought they had the lead on 16 minutes. Kosta Barbarouses’ volley from the edge of the box flew into the net, but the assistants’ linesman’s flag was up for Matthieu Delpierre who was in an offside possession and in the way of Glory keeper’s Anti Covic’s vision. The Glory defence were working overtime and Josh Risdon, who was under the watching eyes of Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, did superbly to block Fahild Ben Khalfallah’s goal-bound shot moments later.
The Glory first opportunity came on 25 minutes, with Sidnei Sciola racing down the right, his shot from the angle was saved by Danny Vukovic. But on 34 minutes the Victory dominance was rewarded with the lead. Jason Geria drifted into the box on the right, his low cross was turned onto the post by Ben Khalfallah, but the ball rolled into the path of Bozanic who finished from six meters. It was 2-0 three minutes before the break, Victory skipper Carl Valeri played a great through ball into the path of Berisha and the Albanian striker finished with aplomb.
With Kenny Lowe’s half time address still ringing in their ears the Glory opened the second half well and went close to reducing the deficit four minutes in. Diogo Ferreira’s shot from the edge of the penalty area beat Vukovic but the post came to the rescue of the former Glory custodian. The introduction of striker Guyon Fernandez gave the Glory a lift and they continued to take the game to Victory. Risdon’s cross found Dino Djulbic, but the big defenders header flashed wide of the target, before Richard Garcia’s long-range shot whistled wide of the post.
The Glory had a penalty shout turned down by referee Ben Williams on 73 minutes, when the ball looked to have struck the arm of Daniel Georgievski, but the Glory claims were waved away by the referee, who was well placed to call on it. Vukovic was earning his keep, as the Glory continued to press. First he saved well to deny Nebo Marinkovic, before tipping over Geria’s flick after Risdon’s cross looked to find Fernandez in the box. But with Glory pushing men forward the Victory were catching them on the break and they should have added a third on 81 minutes.
A long ball sent Victory forward and it was three on one, but they butchered the opportunity with Barbarouses’ cross picking out Georgievski who fired home, and he was off celebrating with the Victory supporters, but the flag was up for offside. The Victory then had skipper Valeri sent off with four minutes remaining, for a second yellow card for a crude tackle on Djulbic. The Glory continued in search of a consolation goal but they couldn’t find a way past Vukovic and at the final whistle it was the Victory celebrating their first FFA Cup Final win, with Barbarouses picking up the ‘Mark Viduka Medal’ as the best player in the game.
Melbourne Victory 2 Bozanic (34’) Berisha (42’)
Perth Glory 0
Melbourne Victory: GK Vukovic, Georgievski, Delpierre, Broxham, Geria, Bozanic, Finkler (Mahazi 84’) Valeri (C), Khalfallah (Pain 91’), Berisha (Deng 88’), Barbarouses
Subs not used: GK Thomas, Makarounas
Perth Glory: GK Covic, Warren (Golec 86’), Djulbic, Marinkovic, Garcia (C), Ferreira, Gligor (Fernandez 60’), Sciola (Grant 74’), Castro, Risdon, Thwaite
Subs not used: GK Tyson, Valentini
Referee: Ben Williams
GLORY EDGED OUT BY SKY BLUES IN W-LEAGUE
A first half goal from Sydney FC and Matildas’ striker Kyah Simon has given them a 1-0 win against Perth Glory, in a tight encounter in their Westfield W-League clash at Lambert Park. There were plenty of chances at both ends, with Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold and Sydney custodian Michelle Betos making some vital saves. Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said they have to start taking their chances. "We just couldn't convert chances in to a goals and we did have few of them," Glory coach Bobby Despotovski said. "Again we have played some great football at times but one silly mistake at a back cost us, but I'm very happy with the team application and dedication."
It was a bright start to the game with chances at both ends. In the opening minute Leena Khamis saw her shot drift over the top, before former Glory defender Alanna Kennedy got back with a last ditch tackle to thwart Sam Kerr moments later. The Sky Blues, who were looking for their first home win of the season went close again on four minutes, Amy Harrison shot whistled wide of the post. Shannon May was next to threaten for the Glory, she broke clear and went one-on-one with Sky Blues keeper Michelle Betos, but he keeper stood tall to save.
But on 13 minutes the home side took the lead, when Amy Harrison was brought down in the box and referee Kate Jacewicz pointed straight to the spot. Kyah Simon stepped up and sent Mackenzie Arnold the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Still the Glory pressed and Kerr was constant threat. First on the half hour her shot on the turn flashed over the top, before Ellyse Perry got back to clear her dangerous cross moments later.
Sydney ended the half the better Khamis low effort drifted wide, before Amy Harrison saw her long-range shot flash inches wide of the post. But in the shadows of half time the Glory almost levelled. Carla Bennett found space on the edge of the penalty area, and her lob beat Betos, but the ball crashed off the crossbar and away to safety, and the home side went into the break with the 1-0 lead.
The Sky Blues almost doubled their lead five minutes into the second half. Nicola Bolger was bundled down on the edge of the penalty area and Kennedy’s curling free kick crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. It was end to end football and May raced clear on the hour, but again Betos was alert to save. Kerr continued to cause havoc in the Sky Blues defence and Betos was down low to save the Matildas’ striker shot again six minutes later.
Sydney also looked dangerous going forward and Simon went close to her second on 70 minutes. Her deflected shot wrong footed Arnold but it went into the side netting. Arnold then produced a stunning save to tip Jasmyne Spencer’s shot onto the crossbar seven minutes later. Then four minutes before full time Bolger sent Khamis in on goal, but Arnold was out quick to smother her effort, and time ran out for the Glory, and it was the home side taking the points.
GLORY YOUTH BEATEN BY ROAR
Despite dominating early, a new look Perth Glory began their 2015 Foxtel National Youth League season with a 2-0 loss against Brisbane Roar at the Ashfield Sports Park on Saturday morning. A brace from Roar striker Nicholas D’Agostino was the difference between the two sides, but the Glory had their chances in an entertaining encounter. “We have to be more ruthless in front of goal, and could have been two or three up early,” he said. “But we gave them the lead with a silly error in the back third, but we will learn from that and move on to next week.”
The home side, who gave debuts to new signing Alex Williams, Jamal Reiners and Aleks Susjnar, started brightly and Roar keeper Tomislav Bilic had to be alert to push Joe Knowles shot around the post after only five minutes. Then from the resulting corner Williams’ header crashed off the crossbar. Knowles and Reiners looked lively up front and both had chances as the Glory made all the early running.
But on 11 minutes, and against the run of play. the Roar hit the front. Susjnar had his pocket pinched by D’Agostino who rounded Jordan Thurtell and rolled the ball into an empty net. The Glory thought they had levelled on 21 minutes, when Slobodan Vulin turned home Knowles’ cross but flag was up for offside. Both sides had good chances before the break the best falling to Knowles. The striker making his first start for six months, saw his shot on the turn crash off the crossbar.
It was a case of déjà vu after the break and 11 minutes in the Roar doubled their advantage with a stunning free kick from D’Agostino. The striker firing home an unstoppable free kick from 20-yards to give Thurtell no chance. The lively striker almost completed his hat trick late on but Thurtell stood tall to deny him. The Glory pressed to the end and Talimdzioski headed inches over the top, and Daniel Stynes shot drifted wide of the target but it was Roar who ran out winners.
TROPHY WOULD HEAL GLORY’S SCARS
Kenny Lowe lived through more emotional turmoil in his first full season at the helm of Perth Glory than some coaches experience in a lifetime. Now faced with the task of having to mastermind one of the game’s great upsets, the club’s figurehead views victory in tonight’s FFA Cup Final as the magic that will exorcise the demons of last season once and for all.
The 54-year-old Englishman was the toast of the A-League for reaching last year’s inaugural Cup decider against Adelaide United while in the midst of overseeing a record 14 regular season wins for Glory, less than 12 months into becoming the team’s senior coach. By season’s end, all his hard work was in tatters after the discovery of extensive salary cap breaches led to a finals ban and close season player exodus.
Lowe admitted he was still dealing with “legacy issues” linked to the mishandling of Glory’s financial affairs, but said the big game provided a chance to finally move on from one of the club’s darkest chapters. “What the win will do, it’ll exorcise anything from last season,” Lowe said. “We’ve all put a line in the sand and we’re all moving forward. It’ll just be an added polish to that if we could bring something back.”
“It’d be superb for everyone concerned, not just the players and the coaches, but everyone associated with the club — the owner, the admin, the fans, everyone in WA. It’d be a huge coup for us, especially against them because they’re a massive team. I think they’re the premier champions, the league champions. They’re a big, big side, a big, big scalp.”
Lowe spent four months holding together Glory’s momentum on the pitch in between allegations of salary cap infringements emerging and the club’s final acceptance of penalties determined by Football Federation Australia. Publicly he maintained his wry, witty sense of humour throughout. But away from the spotlight, Lowe admits the crisis took a toll on his family.
“That was the hardest part because I felt as though I was OK, but when I went behind my own doors I wasn’t OK,” Lowe said. “That’s where all the bad things came out. You’re a little bit down, you don’t mix with your missus or your kids, you cut yourself off. When you’re actually out among the players or the press or the owner, you don’t have that because you can’t show that.”
“Probably the hardest people who were hit were my family, not so much me, but I’m very lucky in that context that I’ve got a wonderful family. Sometimes you’ve just got to stop moping about, but at the end of the day you’re passionate about what you do and you just want it to work. You want to stay in it. It was a tough time and it’s still tough now.”
European imports Diego Castro and Guyon Fernandez were recruited to fill some of the holes left in a new-look Glory side and both are expected to play a role in tonight’s final. Lowe remains upbeat that his potential match winners can deliver when needed most. “It’s a unique environment, the A-League,” Lowe said. “It’s a tougher league than people give it credit for … everyone takes different times to settle in.”
Glory’s FFA Cup form has been in contrast to the A-League where untimely injuries to a thin 22-man roster have meant losing three of their first four games. Lowe is confident Glory’s quest for the club’s first piece of silverware since 2004 will end tonight. The club’s strong recent record against the A-League champions is cause for great hope, with Glory undefeated in their three meetings last season.
WESTFIELD FFA CUP GRAND-FINAL PREVIEW
Perth Glory will be looking for their first trophy since 2004, when they take on Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday in the FFA Cup Grand Final. (4.30pm WA Time) It will be back-to-back finals for the Glory, and having lost 1-0 to Adelaide United in last year’s Grand Final, they will be eager to get redemption this time around. The club were disappointed they couldn’t host the big clash, but the FFA have gone for the big crowd at AAMI Park, with the Victory having 26,000 members, although only 8,000 turned up for the Semi-Final win against Hume City, so only time will tell.
The Glory were beaten last week in the A-League at Western Sydney Wanderers, and coach Kenny Lowe said he will not risk players who aren’t 100% and he will only take players who can get through 90 minutes of football. It looks like Chris Harold will miss the final while the Glory are also sweating on the fitness of foreigners Diego Castro, Gyorgy Sandor, and Mitch Oxborrow. The trio missed Sunday’s loss, but Lowe is hopeful they will recover from there niggles in time to face Melbourne.
There are some intrigue match ups in the game with Besart Berisha going toe-toe with Michael Thwaite, while Tunisian Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Josh Risdon contest will be a highlight. But Glory defender Thwaite is confident his team can take out the game. “The way I see Melbourne Victory, they look very hungry for success. But we’re starving for success and a few of the players played in the cup last year, so it motivates us even more,” Thwaite said. “We were humble in defeat last year, but we need to be aggressive. We need to bring that winning belief back to the team. We need to come to the party and show what this club is about.”
Rosh Risdon is hoping to put last year’s sending off in the final behind him, and he is confident the boys from the west can get the job done. “It wasn’t the best for myself, obviously, getting sent off but that was last season. I’ve learned from that. I definitely won’t do it again,” he said. “Hopefully this weekend I can stay on the pitch for 90 minutes or even 120, however long it goes for. It wasn’t my finest moment, but I learned from that, and Kenny spoke to me after last year’s final and said to forget about it. Hopefully I don’t repeat it this weekend.”
The Victory will be coming off a 3-0 win against Wellington Phoenix on Monday at Etihad Stadium, with Berisha bagging a brace and an own goal. They are ticking along nicely, but they struggled against the Glory last season, and they didn’t beat the side from the rest in the league and cup during the season. Berisha, Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler and Oliver Bozanic have been in good form, while Matthieu Delpierre, Carl Valeri and former Glory man Danny Vukovic shows what a quality side they have.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat said it’s a trophy they were determined to win at the start of the season and will be doing all they can to win it come Saturday. “It's a trophy. Every team that went out, one by one, wanted to dismiss the cup, but make no mistake, everyone wanted to win it from the outset,” he said. “I went on record and said we wanted to win it, so I would have been disappointed if we went out."
GLORY LOOK FOR W-LEAGUE LIFT
Perth Glory will be looking to get their Westfield W-League season back on track when they meet Sydney FC at Lambert Park on Sunday. (1pm WA Time)) The Glory were beaten for the first time last week, 0-4 by league leaders Melbourne City, but having won their only other away trip this season, they will be confident off taking the points against a Sky Blues side who are coming off the bye.
Glory Coach Bobby Despotovski said it looks like they will go into the game unchanged, meaning Caitlin Foord will again miss. “We will most likely go into Saturday’s game with the same line up,” he said. “Obviously they (Sydney) have a quality side and there is no weak links in their squad, so we are expecting it to be a very hard game.”
Although the Glory went down to City last week, the Coach was happy with the performance, and he said they need to ready from the first whistle. “We have to be switched on for the whole 90 minutes, if we are not we will not get the result we’re after,” Despotovski explained. “They are coming of a very good result last week against their local rivals, while we are coming off a defeat against the league leaders. Even though we lost last week, the performance was good, and we will be looking to build on that.”
Sydney won their first game of the new season after 2-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers in the Sydney Derby. A Leena Khamis’ first half brace gave them bragging rights in the Harbour City. Daniel Barrett’s Sky Blue squad is strong, with American import Jasmyne Spencer a stand out, while Renne Rollason, skipper Teresa Polias, and Matildas’ trio Amy Harrison, Ellyse Perry and Casey Dumont will have a huge role to play in Saturday’s encounter.
GLORY TAKE ON THE ROAR IN NYL OPENER (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
The new Foxtel National Youth League kicks off this weekend, with Perth Glory entertaining Brisbane Roar at Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday morning (10.30am). The league has changed their format for 2015-16, with the ten teams being split into two conferences. The Glory has been placed in Conference A for the new season, along with the Roar, Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City.
All teams will play all other teams in their Conference home and away, and the Grand Final will be played between the top two teams from each Conference. The Glory youngsters went within one win of taking out last season’s title and coach John Gibson said they will be doing all they can to go one step further this campaign. “We were rewarded for our hard work last season, but that is in the past we are looking forward and preparing for another tough campaign,” he said. “We have a similar group of players, who are gelling well together, and were always searching to be better.”
Gibson said the potential that has emerged from the group this season is exciting and he will be looking for them to continue to work on improving their processes. “Each season represents a fresh challenge for all involved, but we have been really pleased with the attitude, positivity and application of the whole group,” Gibson said. “The squad is similar to PS4 National Premier League Squad just passed, the experience and lessons learnt from this competition will put us in a good space for the Foxtel National Youth League, and the group will be looking to continue on from where they left off, where they were rewarded for their performances and effort. ”
Saturday will be a return to football for striker Joe Knowles, who missed most of the PS4 NPLWA season due to injury, and he is looking forward to getting back on the park. “I can tell you being out for that long you definitely take what you’ve got for granted,” he said. “The injury is all good now, and I’ve worked hard to get back to match fitness and I can’t wait to get some game time if selected.”
WA STATE AMATEUR TEAM READY FOR MALAYSIA TRIP (courtesy footballwest.com.au)
The WA State Amateur team will fly out to Malaysia on Saturday in buoyant mood after completing their pre-tour program with a 1-0 win over a Perth Glory youth side. Coach Rob Pagnoni settled on a 16-man squad after a series of seven matches against local opposition, including games against Consolidated Energy Amateur League Premier Division champions Gwelup Croatia, runners up Wembley Downs and the WA State team. “We have seven players in the squad who travelled with us last year and I think we have a good blend of youth and experience,” Pagnoni said. “We try to arrange a series of tough games and this year was no different. We started a bit shakily but the boys have progressed well. “It always takes time for new players to gel but we steadily improved and we’re in a good position heading into the games in Malaysia.”
Eamonn Kelly will captain the side and Matt Bennion has been named vice-captain. The team will take on the Malaysia U19 Young Tigers on Monday, PKNS on Wednesday and FELCRA FC on Friday. Pagnoni hopes to improve on last year’s impressive three-match unbeaten tour. “We’ll try to stick to our game plan although it won’t be easy because we’ll be up against unpredictable opposition,” Pagnoni said. “They’re usually very quick and the conditions will suit them better than us. But our goal is to perform even better than last year, which won’t be easy but is definitely achievable.”
WA Amateur squad: Greg Montenegro, Juan Cabrera (Fremantle Croatia); Seb Munoz, Nick Tatasciore, David Martins (Gwelup Croatia); Declan Peters, Mark Moore (Hamersley Rovers); Daniel Dyson (Kwinana United); Eamonn Kelly, Ago Mujic, Kevin Flavin (North Perth); Dave Morris (Perth Royals); Matt Bennion (Southern Spirit); Steve Geoghegan, Jeremy Bill, Ian Cleary (Wembley Downs).
Coach: Rob Pagnoni
Assistant: Jack Monaco
Team Manager: Graeme Marinkovich
GARCIA KEEPS HANDS FREE
Perth Glory captain Richard Garcia may not be superstitious, but the same can’t be said for his teammates. On the eve of the FFA Cup Grand Final against Melbourne Victory the former Socceroo midfielder was told not to touch the trophy in the photo shoot on Thursday, this after former skipper Michael Thwaite and coach Kenny Lowe were photographed holding the FFA Cup trophy pre-match last year. That game didn’t produce any joy for Glory, with defender Josh Risdon being sent off and Adelaide United scoring the match winner at Coopers Stadium to claim the inaugural final 1-0.
At the request of the rest of the team, Garcia kept his hands away from a cup, as Glory hope to make theirs at the second attempt. “I’m actually not superstitious at all, but I think there’s a few players in the squad that are,” Garcia said. “After last year and touching it, I think it was a joint decision to not do it this year.”
This year Lowe also kept his hands to himself at the promotional event in Forrest Place. “It doesn’t matter to me – I’m not bothered,” Lowe said of the superstition. “I’m not a believer in things like that, but maybe some people are. But at the end of the day if we touch it after 90 minutes or 120, that’ll do me. I’m under orders not to (touch the cup). I’ll get fined by the lads.”
The coach is optimistic he will have a number of players back in the squad that lost to Western Sydney Wanderers last week, and will fly east tomorrow with a 17-man squad. He said he would give Spanish midfielder Diego Castro (calf), Gyorgy Sandor (ankle) and Mitch Oxborrow (leg) every chance to be declared fit for game, but Chris Harold is not expected to play due to a hamstring tear. “We’ll give them as long as we can,” Lowe said. “We’re taking a full squad over, so everyone will be at the training session the night before and see how we pull up. So we’ll give everyone the opportunity to be up for the game.”
GLORY NEMESIS TALKING THE TALK
Many Perth Glory fans remember that penalty, the last time the club reached a Major Grand Final, but that is in the past, but it will never be forgotten. But Glory nemesis and in-form striker Besart Berisha has backed Melbourne Victory to match Perth Glory's tough playing style in the FFA Cup final, as they look to add the FFA Cup to their trophy cabinet. They have struggled to beat the men from the West last season, but Berisha said Melbourne will handle the heat that Glory throw at them. "We are physical too - we are really strong in battles," he said. "We are the same level with physical football."
Berisha scored a brace last Monday night as Melbourne beat Wellington Phoenix, but he said home ground advantage meant nothing and Perth would be tough opponents. "We are not going to take it easy against Perth - we know they are a good team and they can be dangerous," he said. "We have to be 100 per cent (for) this game. I've said many times, 99 per cent in finals is not enough."
The Glory will have to stop the Albanian striker, who is in a reach vein of form, and he knows he will have some close attention. “It's going to be a difficult challenge for me, because they have a great defence," Berisha said. “They (Perth) are going to come here and try everything to win the trophy, and we need to be ready for that.
While it is only early in the 2015-16 A League season, Berisha added it would mean a lot to claim the Cup title to go with last season’s title. "Kevin (Muscat) is right - this is a great opportunity and a great moment," he said. "It doesn't come often, so you have to be ready and I think we are ready. We are here to win trophies. The FFA Cup is a special trophy - everyone wants this."
SUPERSTITIOUS GLORY REFUSE TO TOUCH CUP
Perth Glory players have placed a temporary ban on touching the FFA Cup trophy for fear of jinxing themselves ahead of Saturday night's Final against Melbourne Victory. Glory coach Kenny Lowe joined a group of his players in posing alongside the trophy in the Perth CBD today, but no one would dare touch it.
"I'm under orders not to. I'll get fined by the lads," Lowe replied when asked to lift the Cup. "I'm not a believer in things like that, but maybe some people are. At the end of the day, if we touch it after 90 minutes or 120 minutes (of Saturday's final), that will do me."
Glory players happily touched the FFA Cup trophy before last year's 1-0 loss to Adelaide United in the decider. But they've vowed not to do it this time around. "I'm actually not superstitious at all, but there's a few players in the squad who are," captain Richard Garcia said. "After last year touching it, it was a joint decision to not do it this year."
Glory haven't tasted title success since winning the 2003/04 National Soccer League title. Their hopes of breaking that 11-year title drought could hinge on their ability to curb the influence of Victory dangerman Besart Berisha, who scored two goals in Monday's 3-0 A-League win over Wellington.
Lowe has a sneaky plan up his sleeve to halt the fiery Albanian. "We are raiding him tonight, and then we're going to lock him up and keep him away from the game," Lowe joked. "Nah, he's a super player. We've got to cope with him. Dino Djulbic and Michael Thwaite always have a decent battle with him … he's due a quiet one."
Victory will start as hot favourites on their home turf against a Glory outfit that have struggled across the early stages of the league season. "In a Cup final, anything could happen," Lowe said. "The referee could give us two penalties and send a couple of their players off. We are going to the lion's den … but nothing fazes us, we've got good character in the team."
STARVING GLORY HUNGRY FOR TITLE SUCCESS
Perth Glory are "starving" for some long-overdue silverware, and they hope an aggressive approach will allow them to feast on Melbourne Victory in Saturday night's FFA Cup Final. Glory haven't won a title since triumphing during the 2003/04 National Soccer League campaign, and they will start as underdogs against a star-studded Victory outfit.
But Glory defender Michael Thwaite is confident his team can buck the odds and, in the process, erase the heartache of last year's 1-0 final loss to Adelaide United. "The way I see Melbourne Victory, they look very hungry for success. But we're starving for success," Thwaite said. "And a few of the players played in the Cup last year, so it motivates us even more … We need to come to the party and show what this club is about."
It’s the second year in a row that Glory have had to travel on Cup Final day, however, Thwaite isn’t one to complain. "It doesn't matter," Thwaite said. "Last year, we only lost one game away from home (during the A-League season). We need to take that mentality against Melbourne. We've beaten them before when everyone's written us off."
RISDON A YEAR OLDER AND A YEAR WISER
Josh Risdon says he has learned from his sending-off in last year’s FFA Cup Final that cost Perth Glory a chance of snatching victory. The 23-year old Socceroos hopeful will line-up in this year’s final against Melbourne Victory on Saturday desperate to make up for his mistake 12 months ago.
The right back received a second yellow card for a careless shirt tug on Adelaide United’s Marcelo Carrusca in the 58th minute of the 2014 cup final, reducing Glory to ten men. The tactical disadvantage came back to haunt Glory ten minutes later when Sergio Cirio scored the match winner to extend the Sandgroper’s silverware drought.
Risdon said he had moved on from the incident. “It wasn’t the best for myself, obviously, getting sent off in last year’s final,” Risdon said. “But that was last season. I’ve learned from that. I definitely won’t do it again. Hopefully this weekend I can stay on the pitch for 90 minutes or even 120, however long it goes for.
“It was just two silly mistakes that I made, just two error in judgments. It wasn’t my finest moment, but I learned from that. Kenny spoke to me after last year’s final and said to forget about it. Hopefully I don’t repeat it this weekend.”
The FFA Cup Final will be Risdon’s final appearance for Glory before he joins the Socceroos squad for World Cup qualifiers against Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh. “I’m going to do my best on Saturday to help my team win,” Risdon said. “If that comes with a chance to start for the Socceroos, then I’ll take that.”
WANDERERS REGAIN THEIR DEFENSIVE STEEL THROUGH NEVILLE
While the Western Sydney Wanderers' players were celebrating their first win of the season last week defender Scott Neville had his eye on another feat that he felt was just as important. Having failed to gain three points in their previous three games, the 1-0 win over Perth Glory provided a sense of relief for most of the squad, but for Neville the clean sheet was just as important.
Having joined from Newcastle Jets during the off-season, Neville was brought in with a simple task - to help stem their problematic defence which had failed to keep a clean sheet for the entire second half of last season. Western Sydney's defence have repelled fewer shots than all but one team this season, however, that impressive defensive statistic didn't translate to wins, until the weekend.
"It's great, all the boys were ecstatic to get the win and there's plenty more to come," Neville said. "The last three games we've conceded two shots on target and we've conceded two goals and against Perth they didn't even have a shot on target which is a huge result for the team. Not just the defenders but the midfielders and those up front."
Neville will come up against his former club on Saturday night when Western Sydney travel to Newcastle. The two clubs battled to avoid the wooden spoon last season but have showed glimpses of being contenders for the finals in the early stages of this season. While he doesn't feel any different facing his former employer, Neville is pleased to see his home of three years finally housing a competitive A-League side after player revolts marred last season.
"It was a tough time for everyone," he said. "Personally, it was my first season back after my ACL (knee reconstruction) so I was just enjoying playing football and putting it all in the back of my mind. (Last season) had a huge effect on everyone though and not just the players and how it was received in the public. It's good they're turning things around. It looks like they're all playing for the coach and they're enjoying their football. They're defensively set up well and they're hard to beat and the fans need a team there to support."
FINAL SERIES DO YOU WANT THEM?
Last season’s PS4 National Premier League WA season was the first since 2007 that didn’t have a top four/five Final series. Many in the game were disappointed with the decision, but it looks like the Finals may return in season 2016.
The matter was discussed at the last two NPL standing committee meetings, and most clubs seem to be in agreement to re-introduce it. However Football West has not received an official recommendation as yet. Once they do receive the recommendation from the standing committee, they would have to make a decision on the topic.
Football West have stated to the NPL clubs however, whatever the decision is on the finals moving forward it will be mandated for an agreed period of time, which is needed to avoid the changes of competition formats each year. What is surprising is that the 12 NPLWA clubs voted not to have NPL finals at the same time last year.
Coaches in the game are split on this. Some say the winners of the finals series are the Champions, while others say the first past the post after a 24 game season should be named the top side. Most leagues around the world have the latter, but Asian and America top leagues have the Finals series.
The National Final series took the limelight this season, and Bayswater City went close to taking out the competition, but if a final series in WA was on it would have hindered their progress. If the Finals are to be introduced the team that finishes top of the table will still represent WA in the National Finals. Watch this space!!
WA PLAYERS NAMED IN OLYROOS SQUAD
Olyroos Coach Aurelio Vidmar has named four WA players in his 22-man squad for the international friendlies against Qatar U23 (November 12) in Doha and Iran U23 (November 16) in Dubai. Former Perth Glory trio Adam Taggart, Ryan Edwards and Danny De Silva are joined by Scott Galloway in the squad, while former Glory keeper Jack Duncan and striker Jamie Maclaren are also included.
The squad is mostly made up of overseas-based players, including former Central Coast Mariners midfielder Mustafa Amini, with eight players from the A-League. Vidmar is excited about the upcoming tour as the countdown to the AFC U-23 Championship continues. “For us it is a fantastic opportunity to play two matches against quality opposition so close to January,” he said.
With the AFC Championship being held in Qatar in January the coach said it’s a good chance to get used to the conditions they will encounter. “It is an extra bonus to play in Qatar so we can familiarise ourselves with the city we will be playing the Championship in as well,” Vidmar said. “It was a good challenge for us to play two tough matches against South Korea last month and from those matches we know what we need to work on. This is the last chance for players to stake their claim and guarantee a place in the final squad with quality performances from this tour.”
The Olyroos begin their AFC U23 Championship Doha 2016 campaign against the United Arab Emirates on 14 January at the Grand Hamad Stadium, before taking on Vietnam at the same venue on 17 January, with their final group match against Jordan on 20 January at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium. There are 16 nations who have qualified for the AFC U23 Championship Doha 2016, with the top three (3) progressing to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
The Olyroos will assemble in Doha on Monday 10 November to begin their preparations for the matches, while Football West Club Relations Manager Alex Novatsis will also be in the party as the Olyroos Team Equipment Manager, his fourth trip away with the squad - The Full squad is: Mustafa AMINI (Randers FC, DENMARK); Joshua BRILLANTE (Calcio Como S.r.l, ITALY); Corey BROWN (Brisbane Roar); Daniel DE SILVA (Roda JC Kerkrade, NETHERLANDS); Milos DEGENEK (TSV 1860 Munchen, GERMANY); Kenneth DOUGALL (Sparta Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS); Jack DUNCAN (gk) (Randers FC, DENMARK); Ryan EDWARDS (Partick Thistle FC, SCOTLAND); Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (Melbourne Victory); Scott GALLOWAY (Melbourne Victory); Jason GERIA (Melbourne Victory); Andrew HOOLE (Sydney FC); Christopher IKONOMIDIS (SS Lazio, ITALY); Jackson IRVINE (Ross County FC, SCOTLAND); Aaron LENNOX (Uncontracted); Awer MABIL (FC Midtjylland, DENMARK); Jamie MACLAREN (Brisbane Roar); Christopher NAUMOFF (Sydney FC); Connor PAIN (Melbourne Victory); Bradley SMITH (Uncontracted); Adam TAGGART (Dundee United FC, SCOTLAND); Steven UGARKOVIC (gk) (NK Osijek, CROATIA).
WILLIAMS LOOKING FOR MORE GLORY
Floreat Athena defender Aryn Williams has been signed by A-League side Perth Glory on a short-term loan deal, after impressing the coaching staff over the past two months. Williams, who was voted the Floreat ‘Fairest and Best’ at the clubs end of season presentation night last month, has been signed as an injury replacement and travelled with the side for Sunday’s A-League clash against Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium and came off the bench to make his A-League debut.
The 22-year-old, who spent four years in England at Burnley, before returning to Perth and joining Floreat, where he has been a standout over the past two seasons, said it’s a huge thrill to sign an A-League contract “I'm extremely happy about signing with Perth Glory. I've worked really hard for some time now and I'm pleased I've been given an opportunity like this to show myself in the A League,” Williams said. “Glory has a great bunch of players and coaching staff that I get along very well with and I'm hoping to get some more minutes under my belt.”
Williams comes from a strong football pedigree. He is the younger brother of Socceroo Rhys Williams, and his father Eric is a former state team coach. The defender came off the bench on Sunday to make his debut and performed well, almost setting up a goal with his first touch. “I enjoyed every minute in my debut against Western Sydney Wanderers and I'm grateful I got given a run in the game,” he said. “I'm more excited now than ever to continue to improve and show Perth Glory that I am a good asset for the team and I'm looking forward to the future.”
Floreat Athena new President Stacy Pilkadaris said Williams was outstanding last season, both on and off the park, and the club is delighted for him. “Were over the moon for Aryn, he has worked extremely hard for the last two years and now he’s got his dream to be a full time professional,” he said. “He was an outstanding leader for our club last season, and is very mature for his age, and like I said we couldn’t be happier for him.”
Pilkadaris said the defender’s A-League debut couldn’t have gone any better, but he said his shoes in the blue and whites defence will take some filling. “He made a real impact off the bench last week, defended well and gave a couple of good through balls, so he slotted in really well,” he said. “As for next season Glenn (Grostate) has a hard job replacing Aryn in the back line, but we’re confident the good job he did last year and the football he had us playing will be repeated in 2016.”
KELTIE TAKES OUT A PERTH SC HAT-TRICK
Perth Soccer Club skipper Clark Keltie has become the clubs ‘Fairest and Best’ for the third time in as many seasons. The former Darlington and Rochdale professional has had a stellar time in Perth football, also winning the Football West McInerney Ford Gold Medal last season and third this season, and he pipped Mark Pritchard for the award.
The 32-year-old said he was delighted to win the award again. “Winning the award three years in a row is a proud achievement for me,” he said. “Obviously an individual has to win the award, but as we all know it's a team game, so I'd like to thank my team mates for their efforts too. This club has a great tradition in the game in WA and like I’ve said I’m honoured to be voted as their best player again.”
Perth finished runners-up in the league and Cup, and Keltie said he and the players are looking forward to 2016. “The season was a bit of a mixed bag for us, but we finished on more points than last year, along with a cup final appearance, so in many respects it was an improvement on the previous year,” he explained. “We’re all looking forward to getting back into things after the New Year and hopefully winning something as a team next season.”
Perth SC President Gary Marrochi said it’s a huge achievement for Keltie. “I’m not aware of any player in my time at Perth SC to have won the award over three consecutive seasons,” he said. “Clark has been an important player for the club over the past three years and thoroughly deserved the awards he has won. His playing experience has been valuable in guiding the younger players of the club.”
Marocchi said he is looking forward to next season as they stride to improve. “We had a successful season in 2015, without winning any trophies at first team level,” he said. “We were runners-up in the league and Cool Ridge Cup, and represented WA in the FFA Cup round of 32, so we will be looking to go that one step further next season,” he said.
The clubs junior ranks have also been outstanding and Marocchi believes the clubs future is in good hands. “Our under 20’s won the Cool Ridge Cup and were runners-up in the league, and all our eight NPL teams finished in the top four, with five teams finishing second,” he said. “It continues our success in the junior ranks, and we would have won the aggregate trophy when combining points for all eight NPL teams, so it bodes well for the future.”
BALCATTA A PERFECT FIT FOR ANTHONY
Balcatta Soccer Club has appointed former Celtic and Perth Glory midfielder Marc Anthony as senior coach for season 2016. The Scotsman had coached Cockburn City for the last three seasons, but the move to Grindleford Reserve is an opportunity to continue his NPLWA coaching career, and he’s looking forward to the challenge. “I’m very happy starting a new chapter with Balcatta, and hopefully my aspirations for the future come to fruition in the next few years,” he said. “Hopefully I can bring an attractive playing style that I think the club can generate success from, but what I do know is we will work extremely hard to get the club on the right track.”
He will be joined at the club with his long-term assistant Cathal Lennon, and Antony said it was important for him to have someone alongside you he has worked with him before. “Having Lennie with me is extremely important, I found it difficult to find the right number two or for the club to allow me someone they wanted therefore knowing Balcatta allowed me to have my own was vital,” he said.
It was a disappointing end to the season for Balcatta, but Anthony said the squad is talented but will need to bring a few players in to strengthen it. “I think without a doubt we will need to strengthen such is the strength of the teams in the top four,” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult to remove them but hopefully if we manage to get the right guys in we can give it a go.”
The 37-year-old said the decision to leave Cockburn was on the cards for the last months of the season, but he said it was tough decision. “It was very emotional and difficult to say goodbye to a club that looked after me for so many years,” Anthony explained. “But I have ambitions of my own and trying to assemble a squad to make the top four is one of them, could I achieve that at Cockburn....not really. The club has a few issues that need to be addressed before they can think about becoming a force in the NPL.”
SWAN BRING IN DEBARRO
Swan United has appointed Matt Debarro as senior coach for season 2015. The Black and White’s dropped to All Flags Division Two last season for the first time since 1991, and the club hope the appointment of the former player and Wanneroo City Coach will help them be in a good position for promotion this season.
Debarro, who played for the club in 2011, and was an assistant in 2012, said he is looking forward to the role and the challenge, after his first season as a senior coach at Wanneroo last season. “It’s nice to be back where it all began for me. Swan is a club I hold close to my heart and I'm excited to be back there,” he said. “It was a great season at Wanneroo considering we had no pre-season and a much disrupted year with players being away for weddings honeymoons as well as being a new squad, and I’ve learnt a lot.”
The decision to leave the Roos was a difficult one but he said when the United job came up he was determined to get it. “Yes it was a difficult decision, there are some great people there and you never like to part ways with good people, but it was a decision that was best and necessary for me,” Debarro said. “It’s about environment and atmosphere and I loved it at Swan when I was there previously, and I hope I can get it back to the club it was.”
The 26-year-old knows he has a hard job on his hands to turn the clubs fortunes around but it’s one he is looking forward too. “Rebuilding is hard and is a scary time for any club, players leave as do coaches but I feel I had success at Wanneroo in helping them stabilise and I'm sure they will keep moving forward I only hope I can do the same at Francis Street,” Debarro explained. “I have a few people in mind to help me with the squad at Swan, but if there's one thing I've learnt its finding people to work with that you can trust and depend on.”
Debarro said he learnt a great deal under the tutelage of former Swan Coach John O’Reilly and he said that was a motivation in him returning to the club. “Absolutely, I have been a part of four clubs as a player (Stirling, Perth, Balcatta and Swan), and Swan was where I finished playing and began learning off John O’Reilly, who is in my opinion one of the best coaches going round,” he said. “Swan definitely feels like home for me and I'm glad to be back there and I will do my best to get them back in the right direction.” Players are invited to attend Swan United trials for their 15 to 18's teams - Trials to be held on the follow dates: Wednesday 2nd, 9th and 16th and Friday 4th 11th and 18th December - Any queries email email@example.com
GROWING PAINS OVER FOR SYDNEY'S O'NEILL
For Sydney FC midfielder Brandon O'Neill, life is football. So for a while when he was a kid, it drove him crazy him that he could hardly walk, let alone play. During his primary school years in Perth, O'Neill developed the rare hip disorder Perthes' disease, which affects growing children. One of his hips was shaped differently to the other, causing pain every time he put weight on it.
Supported by his Irish-born parents through a heavy rehab program, and even confined to a wheelchair for a few months, O'Neill spent much of his time playing FIFA on Playstation in place of the real thing. "I had a hip condition which I had to do a couple of years of rehab with," O'Neill explained. "I saw my friends out there playing football and that's all I wanted to do as a kid, I just wanted to kick a ball around. It killed me being in a wheelchair for a little bit of the time - that was a massive turning point for me."
When Graham Arnold brought his new charge east from Perth Glory this season, having noted his potential at a youth game two years prior, Sydney's manager expected it would take him months to settle in and grow in confidence. Indeed, O'Neill's signing was so low key it went largely under the radar. Arnold gave him a start anyway, throwing the 21-year old on in the Sky Blues' opening 1-1 draw with Melbourne City.
O'Neill rewarded the faith with a sublime pass that set up the equaliser, finding Alex Brosque on the right wing with piercing accuracy and releasing the captain to drill a cross for Slovak marquee Filip Holosko to find the net. Two weeks later in a scoreless and lacklustre Sydney derby, he provided an exquisite overhead ball into the box where Serbian playmaker Milos Ninkovic was waiting to finish, securing a last-gasp 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.
In many ways O'Neill is the ideal student - and not just because he plays with his shirt neatly tucked into his shorts. "The kid's doing fantastic," Arnold said. "He seems really calm, especially that nice hairstyle he's got - it doesn't seem to change or move during the game. Nothing fazes him. He's thrilled to be out on the field, to be around these type of players, in front of a full house. Some young players can feel the pressure, but he doesn't."
The trust has run both ways for player and coach, after O'Neill laid his career on the line on a promise he'd get a gig with one of the A-League's biggest clubs. O'Neill still had more than a year to run on his contract with Glory when Arnold approached him last season. But, struggling for game time, he couldn't resist an opportunity to be mentored by a coach well known for fostering the talent of younger players.
At his request and with his family's backing the Glory released him early, leaving him unemployed for months and waiting on his gentlemen's agreement to come to fruition. "It was definitely one of them situations in your life where you make a drastic decision and just back yourself," said O’Neill, who made just 13 appearances for Glory between 2012 and 2015. "And thank God I did."
Now living in Sydney, O'Neill is on a seemingly upward trajectory, praised in A-League circles for his vision and skill. Sometimes the memory of being unable to play all those years ago motivates him. But mostly it's the people around him, and the realisation that the future holds many bright things. "Arnie (has) been brilliant for me, he's made me so relaxed and adapt so quickly to the Sydney FC playing style," he said. "I'm loving every minute of it, I just can't wait for every game."
QUARTET SELECTED IN OLYROOS
Four West Australians have been named in Aurelio Vidmar’s 22-man Olyroos squad for this month’s international friendlies with Qatar and Iran. Adam Taggart (Dundee United), Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle), Scott Galloway (Melbourne Victory) and Danny De Silva (Roda Kerkrade) will be giving their all to claim a spot in Vidmar’s final squad for the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championships, which take place in Doha next January.
Australia’s Under-23 Squad for games with Qatar (12 November) and Iran (16 November) is Mustafa Amini (Randers), Joshua Brillante (Calcio Como), Corey Brown (Brisbane Roar), Daniel De Silva (Roda JC Kerkrade), Milos Degenek (TSV 1860 Munchen), Kenneth Dougall (Sparta Rotterdam), Jack Duncan (Randers), Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle), Giancarlo Gallifuoco (Melbourne Victory), Scott Galloway (Melbourne Victory), Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory), Andrew Hoole (Sydney FC), Christopher Ikonomidis (SS Lazio), Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Aaron Lennox (uncontracted), Awer Mabil (FC Midtjylland), Jamie Maclaren (Brisbane Roar), Christopher Naumoff (Sydney FC), Connor Pain (Melbourne Victory), Bradley Smith (uncontracted), Adam Taggart (Dundee United) and Steven Ugarkovic (NK Osijek).
DAVIES REFLECTS ON WHIRLWIND RISE
Defender Matthew Davies has gone from being a fringe player at Perth Glory to a Malaysian international in the space of six months. Since switching to Malaysia Super League side Pahang in April, the career of 20-year old Davies has steadily been on the rise, highlighted by solid displays in recent World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Timor Leste.
Davies move to Malaysia was a surprise considering the bright start to his career, with time at the Australian Institute of Sport and Glory. He also represented the Malaysian Under-23 side at the SEA Games in Singapore and feels it was there that he earned the trust of Ong Kim Swee, who is now caretaker senior team coach following September’s resignation of Dollah Salleh.
Yet, walking into the national squad was not easy. He has not mastered the local language and this has proven to be a barrier in terms of feeling comfortable among his teammates in the Malaysian camp. “I’ll get better at it, obviously. I am paying for a tutor to teach me Bahasa Malaysia twice a week,” Davies said. “It is a lot easier settling at Pahang, perhaps because I am with the team more. Plus, it is very family-orientated there.”
“But the national team has been a bit difficult. I feel slightly ostracised but it’s purely because of language. The Pahang players help me settle in. I never expected to be in the national team so soon. It was something I hoped for but I was slightly surprised when that moment came. Ong taking over is probably a blessing in disguise for me. He gave me a chance and I must keep taking it.”
Davies explained he was enjoying life in Kuantan and the small-business orientated town reminds him of his time back in Australia. “I left Australia because I’m impatient in nature … and it is definitely not in the nature of a footballer not to play. I wanted playing time and I knew I wasn’t going to get much by staying in Australia,” he said.
“The opportunity to play international football for the country my mother was born in was too good to refuse. There are not many A-League regulars in the Socceroos (and) I wasn’t even a regular in the A-League! In terms of development, I could get 30-40 top flight games here and some action on the international scene. In Australia, I would probably get only 10 games a season and play youth football.”
“The opportunity to play at a higher level was tempting (and) I’ll be lying if I say I didn’t have ambitions to play away from the MSL. I want to try myself in Europe, Japan or even Australia again. My route is less conventional but I hope getting international caps under my belt will garner attention.”
GRIFFITHS READY FOR RODA RECOVERY
Australian midfielder Rostyn Griffiths says Roda JC are looking to bounce back quickly after being smashed 6-0 by Ajax on the weekend. Griffiths, along with fellow Australians Tomi Juric and Daniel De Silva, were handed the heavy defeat by the Dutch Eredivisie league leaders on Saturday. The loss leaves Roda in 13th place with three wins, four draws and four defeats.
“Ajax are a top quality side and there's a reason why they're at the top of the table,” Griffiths said. “I don't think anyone expected us to go there and win but we are disappointed in the manner in which we conceded some of the goals. We were 2-0 down after six minutes and that can't happen at any level. We gave them a goal off a set piece again and for me against the big teams at the very least they shouldn't score off a set play.”
“In open play if they work a bit of magic fair enough but not off a set play so from the perspective it's disappointing. Once you go down 2-0 so early it's always going to be difficult from there they grew in confidence and then yeah they scored some nice goals. We had a game plan that went straight out the window because within four minutes we had conceded and from there we never had a chance to really implement it.”
Griffiths has played every game this season for his new club but was forced from the field after 41 minutes with injury at the Amsterdam Arena. Juric meanwhile started up front in a 4-4-2 diamond, but was replaced after 77 minutes, while De Silva remained on the bench.
Roda face ADO Den Haag at home this week and Griffiths is keen to make amends after their heavy loss. “It's important for us to pick up some points at home because this is a team who we can compete with,” the 27-year old said. “The coach has laid down the gauntlet (and) we've worked hard until now to be where we are. Maybe this game was the wake up call we needed to realise we need to continue working hard to remain there.”
GLORY INJURIES MOUNT BEFORE CUP FINAL
Perth coach Kenny Lowe is in a race to get his big names back for this weekend's FFA Cup final, as he sweats on a number of injury headaches. An under-strength Glory outfit were beaten 1-0 by Western Sydney Wanderers yesterday, in their third loss in four A-League outings. The emphatic away defeat was hardly helped by several injuries to the squad, amongst them - some expected and others not so much.
Among those who did not travel east was Spanish marquee Diego Castro (calf), Hungarian international Gyorgy Sandor (ankle), winger Chris Harold (hamstring) and midfielder Mitch Oxborrow. The absentees forced Lowe to heavily reshuffle his team late in the week, and meant Dino Djulbic and Guyon Fernandez had to play despite carrying their own issues.
It's a worrying sign for the Glory, who are preparing to take on a full-strength Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup final on Saturday. "We actually prepared during the week with a game plan and we picked up injuries, and also lads coming of the bench were injured as well," Lowe said.
"Oxborrow and Sandor have got impact injuries from a tackle during the week. Castro's got a reaction to a calf just from the hard grounds, same as Guyon Fernandez. Djulbic got through the game, I didn't think he'd start but he got through the game. Chrissy Harold has got a hammy. So bring your boots and you'll get a game this week (at the FFA Cup final).
Lowe was unwilling to use the mounting injuries as an excuse for going down to the Wanderers, praising his young line-up which included 20-year old Hagi Gligor, who made his first start before being replaced by debutant Alex Grant. "We coped, we were competitive," said the coach. "And we didn't chuck it, which was a big thing."
GLORY DEAL FOR WILLIAMS
Perth Glory have announced the signing of Aryn Williams on a short-term injury replacement contract. Williams, twin of Ryan and younger brother of Socceroo Rhys, will join the Glory squad to face Western Sydney Wanderers today. The 22-year old played the winter with Floreat Athena and trained with Glory for two months before being rewarded with a short-term deal. Williams, a former ECU Joondalup junior, moved to England in 2009 following the offer of a place in Burnley’s academy and worked his way to a first team deal with the club.
WANDERERS EDGE OUT AN UNDERMANNED GLORY
Western Sydney Wanderers have won their first game of the Hyundai A-League season after a 1-0 win against an undermanned Perth Glory at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Wanderers new signing Dario Vidosic scored the only goal of the game, his first for the club to put an end to Glory’s back-to-back wins. “There was a lot of honest endeavour from us - we were in it till the death - but obviously they’ll have come for a result,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. “The last 10 minutes they got a little bit nervous and the game becomes a little spread and open, a little higgledy-piggledy.”
The Glory went in with Hungarian midfielder Gyorgy Sandor, Chris Harold, Mitch Oxborrow and Spanish midfielder Diego Castro all missing and defender Dino Djulbic struggling with an injury. But the big defender was passed fit to play, but on the bench new signing Aryn Williams was added to the bench as cover.
It was a case of déjà vu with the weather around the Stadium, and after last year’s game at the same venue was almost abandoned after a storm, the storm clouds were hovering around at kick off, but it was the Wanderers who made the better start, and Jaushua Sotirio had an early shot into the side-netting. Then on eight minutes former Glory defender Scott Jamieson cross found its way to another old boy in Mitch Nichols, his lob was tipped over by Ante Covic.
The Glory forced three quick corners, and from the third Michael Thwaite headed over from Nebo Marinkovic’s set piece. Then on the half hour Glory keeper Covic came to his sides rescue. Sotirio picked out Vidosic, who’s first time shot was superbly saved by the Glory custodian. He was at it again moments later, this time saving low from Federico Piovaccari’s shot. The Wanderers ended the half well and Neville’s cross was deflected onto the bar by Djulbic.
The expected rain hit just before half time and the Wanderers hit the front in the final minute. The Glory didn’t clear their lines from a corner and Marc Warren’s attempted clearance fell to Vidosic, and the former Socceroo stepped inside his marker and fired low through a crowd of players to give the home side the lead at the break.
Wanderers’ midfielder Nichols had an early chance after the break but his shot flashed over the top, but both sides were having trouble in the wind and rain. Glory brought on Alex Grant, for his A-League debut, before Covic saved low to deny Wanderers second half substitute Mark Bridge. The home side looked the more dangerous going forward and Vidosic fired wide on 67 minutes, and Dimas likewise moments later.
Guyon Fernandez was isolated up front for the Glory, and to be honest he didn’t get the service a target man needs. Williams was brought on for his A-League debut on 76 minutes and his first touch almost lead to a Glory goal. He won possession on the right and his cross field ball sent Fernandez clear on the left, he picked out Josh Risdon, but his shot flashed over the top.
The Glory where having their best period of the match and on 86 minutes Fernandez was brought down just outside the area. It was in Marinkovic’s range, but the Serbian’s free kick was just over the top. The Wanderers were running the clock down and after four minutes of stoppage time the referee called end to proceedings, giving Tony Popovic’s side their first three points of the season.
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This page was last updated on the 30th October, 2015