MATILDAS CAN TAKE THE GAMES BRAGGING RIGHTS
A place at the Olympic Games this August is not the only thing up for grabs for the Matildas this week when the qualifying tournament begins in Japan. National pride is on the line for our top women footballers after their male counterparts, the Olyroos, failed to qualify for Olympics for the second time running.
The Matildas also have another chance to raise the profile of the women's game following on from their exploits at the World Cup in Canada last year where they were knocked out 1-0 in the quarter-finals by Japan. That tournament was shown live on SBS, and with Channel Seven broadcasting all the games involving the Australian girls in Japan the whole country will have another chance to get behind them.
The Matildas kick off a gruelling ten-days with a game against the hosts in Osaka tonight. They follow that up with a game against Vietnam on Wednesday before taking on South Korea on Friday, North Korea next Monday, and finishing off with what could be a crucial clash against China next Wednesday.
Lisa De Vanna, who will co-captain the team with Brisbane Roar's Clare Polkinghorne, knows just how important qualification is. " We haven't had any football teams qualify in a long time," De Vanna said. "This is a chance to make a statement after doing so well at the World Cup … once we get through we can get a medal at the Olympic Games."
That is a bold statement from De Vanna, who won a W-League title with Melbourne City this season. But with the likes of Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond, who both ply their trade in Germany, the Matildas have players who can match it with the best in the world. There’s quality also in the W-League with Katrina Gorry, Kyah Simon and Tameka all capable of helping the women get to Rio.
GLORY BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
Perth Glory education advisor Tony Hughes says the club is rising to the youth structure challenge identified by Football Federation Australia Technical Director Eric Abrams. Hughes previously worked as a Development Officer at English club Oldham Athletic and has been living in Australia for 27 years before he was hired by current Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos six months ago for his experience in education and football.
Hughes says that he respected Abrams comments were valid when he said that "...coming out of a European football environment, I was very disappointed we have an A-League competition and these A-League clubs have no youth structure." But he says A-League clubs' progress must be considered in the context of the many decades of European academy development, and that the local competition is still in its infancy.
“At Perth Glory FC, we acknowledge that challenges need to be met face on, in order to achieve our medium and long-term targets,” he said. “We require suitable training and playing facilities and make this a priority of moving forward. Unlike most of our European counterparts, budget constraints in A-League clubs mean that academy development requires resourceful planning and long-tern partners to ensure sustainability.”
Hughes comments coincide with Glory’s release of their strategic plan that aims to see the club win the A- League within four years, and the AFC Champions League within six. Regarding youth football, Glory aim to develop an academy for WA players and retain them, something the club has struggled to achieve in recent times.
Scott Neville, Mark Birighitti, Trent Sainsbury, Eli Babalj, Storm Roux, Jesse Makarounas, Brandon O’Neill, Jack Clisby and Scott Galloway are amongst the growing number of local products to have come up through Glory’s youth ranks and played A-League, only to move on and make their mark at rival clubs.
“Our aim is to produce an A-League team that is made up of up to 75% local West Australian talent,” Hughes said. “We require an academy base that all levels of the club can call home. We are currently in discussion regarding options for a central headquarters that our National Premier League, National Youth, A-League and W-League teams can call home. Ideally, this will also house a training base for all our junior teams.”
Like other A-League clubs around the country, Glory is involved in the NPL competition. Besides the NPL first team squad which draws on players from the National Youth League squad and younger contracted A-League first team players, Glory have a further eight teams in competition, ranging from Under-12s to Under-20s.
With his background in education Hughes also revealed that Glory are currently working with tertiary institutions and schools to build educational pathways that will offer academy players the opportunity to gain elite athlete qualifications. “We hope to have the program up and running in 2017,” he said.
“Currently we are working on accredited educational pathways that will offer qualifications and further education opportunities to our academy players in Year 11 and 12 and an articulation pathway with a university. This process will promote the development of football skills to the highest level and encourage academy players to be socially and intellectually astute.”
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND FIVE, SUNDAY REVIEW
The Group A final spot was up for grabs on Sunday evening and Inglewood United knew a point would be enough to see them through, but they were well beaten 5-2 by Perth Glory in the early game. The Glory opened well and on the quarter hour Daniel Stynes sent Sean Troup down the wing and his cross picked out Hagi Gligor, but the midfielder fired just wide of the target. But on 36 minutes the Glory’s early dominance was rewarded with the lead. Mitch Oxborrow wasn’t closed down and his long-range shot beat Alex Dunn but crashed off the crossbar, but Nikola Talimdzioski was quickest to react to score from the rebound. Then in the final minute of the half it was 2-0. Daniel Stynes forced the Inglewood defender to turn the ball over and Talimdzioski pounced to score, to send the Glory into the break with a two goal lead. Inglewood knew they needed a good start to the second half but it was the Glory youngsters who started the better and increased their lead on 53 minutes. It was Stynes again who was in the thick of the action. The midfielder played in Joe Knowles, whose low cross was turned home by Sam McKearnen. The Glory added a fourth on 65 minutes, Gligor ending a great team move to score. Inglewood looked to get back into the game, but they found Glory keeper Jordan Thurtell in superb form to deny them. But Inglewood weren’t finished and pulled two goals back quickly through second half substitute Ashley Rosindale, but the Glory youngsters settled and scored a fifth to complete the win three minutes from time, Joe Knowles racing clear and finishing clinically. Glory defender Calvin Whitney said it was a great performance from the side. “It was a well-deserved win, and we out played them and scored some very good goals,” he said. “I just wish we could have kept a clean sheet, but it was good to get the win and go into the new league season on a high.”
That result opened the door for current holders Floreat Athena to sneak into the Semi-Finals, when they took on Subiaco in the late game. It was a tight opening but on 36 minutes Floreat hit the front. A cross from the right picked out Phil Arnold, who out-jumped the keeper to head home. It was 2-0 six minutes into the second half, Bobby Wilson headed a corner back across goal and Chris Saldaris headed home at the back post. Floreat still needed another goal to go through, but three minutes later Kevin White scored for Subiaco to put the cat amongst the pigeons. But ten minutes from time, Floreat scored a third to seal a Semi-Final spot. Skipper Ludovic Boi’s long-range shot was turned home by Blair Govan. “After hearing of the Inglewood result we knew we needed to score three goals in order to go through so we set up very attacking. Although it was nervy we could have scored many more and it paid off in the end,” Jon Stynes said. “The boys are all really excited about the semi-final and know we have the quality to beat anyone on our day.” Govan, who scored the decisive third goal, said it was a great performance from the side. “Tonight was a massive night for the club it meant so much to us all to get the result for Glen,” he said. “The boys played with a lot of heart and never stopped. Credit to a young Subiaco team who always make it a tough game they never give up. We did our job tonight and the boys are buzzing to play in another night series semi-final especially against Stirling it’s a massive game for everyone at the club and one were looking forward to now.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - QUARTER FINALS, SUNDAY REVIEW
Shamrock Rovers moved into the Semi-Finals of the State League Night Series after a heart stopping penalty 6-5 shoot-out win against Division Two side Balga at Hartfield Park. Rovers were ahead when Paul Concannon was brought down in the box by the Balga keeper and Dinko Ahmetanovic scored from the spot. Balga were level before the break, from a penalty of their own, Daniel Nalat scoring to send the sides in level at the break. The underdogs (Balga) hit the front with 10 minutes remaining, Jimmy Taneski sending the Balga supporters into raptures, lobbing Rovers keeper Justin Scarvaci from the edge of the box. But five minutes later Rovers levelled, when second half substitute Paddy Montgomery nicked in at the back post to head home and send the game to penalties. In the shoot-out both side missed two from five and in the sudden death Stephen O’Leary stepped up to secure the win. “Balga worked really hard all game and it was a tight game and they pushed us all the way,” Rovers Coach John O’Reilly said. “We are delighted to go through to the semi-final and look forward to the next challenge.”
In the late game hosts Forrestfield United overcame Rockingham City 5-3, also on penalties, after the sides fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw in normal time. The visitors hit the front when a good move down the right caught Forrestfield napping and the ball was squared to the back post and Shane Boyle was on hand to score low past Brad Eiffe. But the home side levelled just before the break, Liam Merrigan cut in from the right and fired low past Cyril Sharrock. After the break it was Rob Crerar’s side that began to dictate terms and their pressure was rewarded with two quick goals. It was 2-1 when a long ball over the top sent Boyle clear and he finished clinically past Eiffe. Rockingham looked in total control when they added a third. Forrestfield gave the ball away in the middle of the park and Boyle made them pay, racing clear and scoring low past the advancing Eiffe to complete his hat-trick. But Forrestfield were back in the game on 75 minutes, Matt Harold’s cross was fired home by Rhys Loxley. But Rockingham were then reduced to nine men when Alex Grayson was sent off and 10 minutes later Sharrock followed him, both with two yellow cards. But Rockingham defended gallantly and it looked like they had done enough, but late the home side levelled, with second half substitute Jordan Hart heading home. Forrestfield had a late chance to win it in stoppage time, but in goalmouth scramble Merrigan’s toe-poke went agonisingly wide of the post. So it was off to penalties and Eiffe was the hero saving well to his right, and Hart hit the winning penalty to send them through to the Semi-Finals. “The game was a great spectacle for the neutral supporters,” Forrestfield keeper Brad Eiffe said. “I don’t think we played our best but the whole team showed a fight and desire to get us over the line. Full credit to Rockingham, they were superb on the night and it’s always hard to lose and important game on penalties. I would also like to put a shout out to the Forry Army, who didn’t stop singing and backing he team all night, they were like our 12th man, and we look forward to seeing them again next week in the Semi-finals.”
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND FIVE, SATURDAY REVIEW
Armadale moved into the Semi-Finals of the QBE Night Series with a stunning 5-3 win against previously unbeaten Group B leaders Stirling Lions at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday evening. Paul Price’s side knew a win was a must, and if results elsewhere went their way a spot in the last four was there’s. “I told the players before game that we had played well enough in first four games to qualify but you need a bit of luck sometimes and we got that by winning the last game and Perth not getting the points from their game,” Price said. “Like most teams we have tried out different players and have picked up a few injuries so have not put out the same team twice. We have scored the most goals in the competition, (14) and we deserve to be in semis.” They started well and were ahead on 20 minutes, Raveshian Kuppusamy racing clear and firing high into the top corner giving keeper Connor Campbell no chance. Armadale doubled their advantage five minutes later. Jesse Fuller’s ball sent English midfielder Alex Salmon clear, and he finished with aplomb to send the Reds in with a 2-0 lead. The Lions pressed after half time but couldn’t find a way through a well organised Armadale back-four, and on the hour Armadale added a third. Fuller was involved again, the former Sorrento midfielder cut the ball back from the bye-line and Trevor Laure fired home past new keeper Lance Alavakis. Then four minutes later it was 4-0 with Jake Sardelic getting on the scoresheet. Stirling pulled one back through Teeboy Kamara on 67 minutes, but their mini revival was ended on 75 minutes when Salmon raced clear rounded Alavakis to add Armadale’s fifth. To the Lions’ credit they continued to press forward and Jason Rubidge pulled on back with two minutes remaining and Kamara added his second to make the final score 5-3 to Armadale, the win enough to send them into the Semi-Finals. “It was another good win against a decent side and results elsewhere went our way,” Salmon said. “We played well in the tournament and I think over the games we deserve to go through.”
In the early game in Group B Sorrento won the Northern derby 3-2 against ECU Joondalup. The Gulls dominated the early exchanges and were ahead on the quarter hour. Jason Mirco’s shot on the run beat David Keenan to score. It was 2-0 on 32 minutes, Mirco and Niccolo Sabatini combined, and the Italian midfielders’ low cross was turned home by Jordan Dodd. It was nearly 3-0 in the first minutes of the second half. Ryan Pearson made space on the left and his cross picked out Mirco in the six-yard box, but his first time shot produced a stunning reaction save from Keenan. That save became more important as sixty seconds later ECU reduced the margin. Tommy Amphlett’s through ball sent Gordon Smith clear, and the Scottish striker finished clinically past Sam Herbison. The Sorrento custodian was local to stay on the pitch on 76 minutes, when Amphlett was sent clear on goal and Herbison, who was the last man, brought him down outside the penalty area but referee Joshua Nixon only showed him a yellow card. But from the resulting free kick Steven McGarry curled home the free kick into the top corner to level. Both sides had chances late. Smith smacked his shot on the turn against the post for Joondalup, while Alan Patrov’s long-range shot whistled inches over the top. But the winner came three minutes from time. A long ball over the top sent Mirco clear, and he made no mistake from the edge of the penalty area to win it. Sabatini was a real handful all game and he said they deserved the win. “It was a local derby and all games are tight and the never give up attitude of Joondalup made it difficult for us in the second half,” Italian midfielder Niccolo Sabatini said. “But instead of shutting the game up we gave them an early goal and handed them a good position for a free kick too. It took us a while to get back into the game but we hit back to win, but it took a lot of effort from the side against a good Joondalup side, but overall I thought we deserved the win.”
Also on Saturday Night in Group A at Dalmatinac Park, Bayswater City scored late in the early game to beat Cockburn City 1-0 and book a place in the Semi-Finals. It looked like Cockburn City had gained the point that would have seen them progress to the next stage, but in the second minute of stoppage time a ball into area found Trent Kay, and he was brought down in the box and referee David Bruce pointed straight to the spot, despite the Cockburn players’ protests. David Heagney kept his nerve to score from the resulting penalty to win the game and send the PS4 NPLWA Champions through. “Overall we weren't happy with our performance, but we can walk away with three points and have booked ourselves a semi-final spot,” skipper Kay said. “We lost the first game in competition so we made it hard for ourselves, and we had to grind out wins to go through to the next stage.” In the late game Balcatta beat Perth SC 2-0 in the Italian derby, the result was Balcatta’s first win in the competition and the loss meant Perth can’t qualify for the Semi-Finals. Marc Anthony’s side were ahead on ten minutes, Patrick Zara played in Zelphy Nazary and he fired low past Francis Soale. The points were made safe on 72 minutes, when second half substitute James Gordon was brought down by Solae and referee Nico Hoyle pointed straight to the spot, and Nazary made no mistake to give Balcatta a 2-0 win. Perth Coach Gareth Naven was disappointed with the result and believes Perth has more work to do in preparation for the NPL season ahead. “Balcatta were better tonight, they wanted it more than us,” he told the Perth SC web site. “Every game is going to be competitive, all I ask of the squad is that they have a good attitude and run as hard as they can. Really disappointed with the result tonight, we’ve got to work harder.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - QUARTER FINALS, SATURDAY REVIEW
The first two Semi-Finalist in the State League Night Series were confirmed on Saturday evening at Hartfield Park. In the early game Western Knights hold on the trophy was dislodged after last season winners were beaten 3-2 by Joondalup United. United were in debt to keeper James Bosdet early, the custodian making a number of fine saves to thwart the Knights. But United hit the front on 20 minutes. Some great lead up play ended with Callum Stock’s, who beat his marker and crossed to Lee Jones who made no mistake, heading home from six-yards. It was 2-0 on the half hour. Robbie Bain made space and whipped in a low cross to Stock, and with some quick feet the striker made mistake. It looked like the game was over just after the hour when United added a third. Arran Maplestone was brought down 25-yards from goal, and he picked himself up and curled the ball around the wall and into the top corner of the net. But the game was far from over and but with fifteen minutes remaining the Knights pulled one back. Paul Lloyd was sent down the left and beat his marker and hung the ball up to the back post and Jeffery Judge headed home. They added another late. Lloyd heading home an in-swinging corner, and it was game on. The Knights should have levelled in stoppage time, a corner caused problems in the box and the ball fell to defender Sam Hutchings, but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over the top. “It was a great start to the game for us and we were really happy to go 3-0 up but some brilliant keeping from James Bosdet kept us in the lead,” Arron Maplestone said. “But credit to the Knights they came back very strong and could of got something out of it late, but we battled until the very end and was so good to get the result to move onto the semis.”
In the late game Mandurah City also progressed to the Semi-Finals after a clinically 5-0 win against Dianella White Eagles. The Dolphins, who were without influential skipper Andy Brown dominated from the outset. They were ahead when Jon Brooks volley home superbly, before Jordan Rhodes produced another stunning free kick. Mandurah continued to dictate terms after the break and Rhodes added another, before Abe Tchoma added a brace, including a sublimed chip for the fifth. Mandurah Coach Doug Hesketh was delighted with his side, especially without their skipper. “Mick (Lyons) and I were delighted with the performance we were superb as a team from the first minute to the 95th,” he said. “We were missing some players tonight but the attitude and application throughout the squad was brilliant, and it bodes well for the season ahead.” Craig Young said it could have been more. “We put in a really strong performance, and should have been 8 or 9 with the chances that were created and the goalkeeper had a few good saves,” he said. “I think we're looking better and stronger every game we have played, but it will be a tough game next week but think we will be right up for it and gets us with confidence for the start of the season.”
MIFFED LOWE ARGUES SANTALAB WINNER NO GOAL
That Perth Glory are dissatisfied to have taken nothing against the A-League's best team shows just how far they've come. But coach Kenny Lowe is adamant his side should at least have drawn with competition leaders Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday, arguing Brendon Santalab's 85th minute winner should not have been allowed.
Santalab came off the bench for Western Sydney to nip an acrobatic lob over Ante Covic's head and seal the game 2-1 in his team's favour. Lowe made his feelings clear on what he saw as an invalid goal due to Santalab's high boot to left-back Marc Warren, first to referee Strebre Delovski and then in his post-match press conference.
"I'd like to see it, but it's above Warren's head," Lowe said. "He's going for a header, he's pulled back out, and anywhere on the park, that's a free kick all day long. That's what hurts me more than anything, to lose to a goal like that. I just feel for the people in our changing room."
Santalab's goal aside, Perth arguably could have taken all three points. Fresh from their five-match winning streak, Glory were buoyant, pressed high and stopped Western Sydney playing through, and had they converted their myriad chances may have moved into the top six by the end of Saturday night.
"They probably controlled the ball, but I thought we had the better chances up until they scored the second goal, then we started to chase and they had a few," Lowe said. "It's just one of those days - I think Chris (Harold) had a couple of headers and we had a few other opportunities."
But we're coming away from here gutted that we haven't got something against the best side in the league, so I guess it shows how far we've come. But it doesn't make it any easier. It doesn't make it feel any nicer. I'd much rather get a goal where it's come off someone's backside and win 1-0, but that's the way it works."
GLORY LOSE LATE IN WANDERLAND
A goal five minutes from time from Western Sydney Wanderers substitute Brendon Santalab has given the league leaders a hard fought 2-1 win against Perth Glory at Pirtek Stadium on Friday evening. The loss ended the Glory’s five game winning streak but they had the chances to win the game, and were left to rue missed opportunities. Romeo Castelen had given the home side the lead just after the hour, but Andy Keogh levelled from the penalty spot moments later, before super sub Santalab won the game late.
The goal was controversial as the striker’s foot was high, but Coach Kenny Lowe said he couldn’t have been prouder of his side’s performance. “They (Wanderers) probably controlled the ball but I thought we had the better chances up until they scored the second goal then we started to chase and they had a few,” he said. “It’s just one of those days. I think Chris (Harold) has had a couple of headers; we had a few other opportunities as well but I think they (Wanderers) are the best side in the league. “We’re coming away from here gutted that we haven’t got something against the best side in the league so I guess it shows how far we’ve come.”
Lowe brought back Marc Warren to the starting line-up, with Aryn Williams dropping out of the squad, and it was the visitors who were on top early, Nebojsa Marinkovic’s long-range shot whistling wide of the target. It was the Glory dictating terms and Chris Harold burst into the area on the quarter hour, but his lob drifted wide. Harold was on fire and he had the best chance of the half on 20 minutes, again bursting into the box, but he got an unkind bounce and with only Liam Reddy to beat the chance was gone. The Wanderers started to get into the game and begun to dominate possession and former Glory defender Scott Neville found space in the box, but his shot was well blocked by Alex Grant. Keogh was working well with Diego Castro and Harold, and the Irish striker low shot through a crowded area on 33 minutes failed to trouble Reddy. The former Wolves striker went close again two minutes later, sent clear by Castro, but his chip drifted just wide of the far post.
The Glory began the second half like they finished the first, and Marinkovic cut inside Neville early, but his shot flashed wide of the upright. Castro was again dominating and he burst clear down the left and his cross found Harold, whose header whistled wide of the target. The Wanderers were dangerous going forward and Mitch Nicolas combined with Mark Bridge, but the former Glory midfielder dragged his shot wide of the target, before Marinkovic’s teasing free kick picked out Keogh, but the striker spooned his shot over the top.
But on 62 minutes, and against the run of play, the Wanderers hit the front. Reddy started a lightning counter attack, releasing Bridge near the halfway line, who in turn found Nichols in space. Nichols fed Castelen to the left of the box, and the Dutch winger cut inside and fired low past Ante Covic and went into the net via the post. But to the Glory’s credit they hit back immediately and were level two minutes later. Harold raced into the box and was brought down by Nikolai Topor-Stanley, and Keogh sent Reddy the wrong way from the resulting penalty. The Glory should have hit the front moments later, Castro showed his magic again, wriggling past his marker on the left, before crossing to Harold at the back post, but with the goal at his mercy, the striker headed over the top.
That miss came back to haunt Lowe’s side, and five minutes from time the Wanderers won it. Bridge played a delicate chip over the top of the Glory back four, with Santalab timing his run brilliantly to get in front of Warren, and chip the ball up over Covic and into the net. It looked like a high foot from Santalab, but the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge, much to displeasure of the Glory coaching staff.
Glory stays in seventh spot, only two points from the top six and with a two point buffer from eighth placed Newcastle Jets, who they meet next week at nib Stadium on the March 7, Labour Day long weekend.
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND FIVE PREVIEW
The final group games of the QBE NPL Night Series takes place this weekend with a number of clubs still in contention for a spot in next week’s Semi-Final’s. In the early game in Group A, its winner takes all when Cockburn City hosts Bayswater City at Dalmatinac Park. (6.00pm) The Cockerels are in pole position, and are one point ahead of Bayswater and Floreat Athena going into the game, so a win would see Scott Miller’s side into the next stage. Cockburn missed out on the opportunity to wrap up a spot in the Semi-Final’s last week after a 2-2 draw against Perth Glory, but Miller didn’t see it that way. “I don’t really see it as a lost opportunity, I thought it was a good test for us,” Miller said. “Glory kept the ball well, especially in the first half; with Mitch Oxborrow and Costa Petratos were very good. I was real happy how my boys stuck to their defensive duties and second half I thought we played well and missed a penalty, and in the wend we got the goal we probably deserved.” Miller believes Saturday’s game is big test but they will see where they are at. “It’s a great opportunity for our lads to see how the pre-season is going, by playing the best team in the league,” he said. “It’s a fantastic challenge and one we’re looking forward too.” Bayswater have a five goal break on Floreat, so a win would almost certainly put Chris Coyne’s side through. They had to come from behind last week, against Floreat, to keep their hopes alive and Coyne said it was a pleasing performance. “I thought we started really slowly against Floreat, and didn’t deal with the long ball, and could have been 2-0 down after ten minutes, but Fraser Greenwood pulled off a couple of great saves,” Coyne explained. “However once we got the ball down and started our passing game there was only really one team in it, and some of the movement and build up play was pleasing.” We are conscious that we have brought in new players who are adapting to the team and realising that everyone wants to beat them week in and week out. We still have four first team players out at the moment and we still have a couple of new signing to come in, I believe we are in a better shape as a squad this year.” Coyne knows Cockburn have brought in some good players and he’s expecting a tough encounter. “I’m looking forward to the game as always there is something on the line, and that is usually when we are at our best. Scott has brought in some new faces and they are very mobile and quick in wide areas so it will be a tough game,” he said. “We will change the formation around again and tinker with players in different roles. As although we are pushing hard to win the Night Series we also realise that we are working towards the NPL and I’m learning more about the new boys in the squad and how they interact and work together.”
In the late Group B game at Dalmatinac Park Perth SC need a win against Italian rivals Balcatta to reach the Semi-final (8.00pm) Reece Vittiglia was on target last week in the win against Sorrento, and he said the young team performed well. “It is always a tough game when you play Sorrento and this time was no different. We conceded a cheap goal early but full credit to our young team to come back and hold onto win,” he said. “It’s pleasing to see that we are still getting the right result even when our overall performance isn't quite there yet.” The games against Balcatta and Perth are always tough encounters and Vittiglia said if they stick to their game plan they will come out on top. “We will be approaching Balcatta like any other game, it’s another opportunity to get game time under our belts ahead of the league season, and to play our style of football,” he said. “Individually and collectively if we deliver our game plan I’m full of confidence that we will take all three points and reach the Semi-Finals.” Also on Saturday there is a double-header in Group B at Percy Doyle Reserve. In the early game ECU Joondalup take on hosts Sorrento in the Northern Derby. Both sides can’t make the finals but any games between the two sides are competitive, and this one will be no different. In the late game Armadale need a win against the league leaders Stirling Lions and other results to go their way to keep their Semi-Finals hopes alive. Armadale have been impressive in the group games, and UK import Ellis Healing bagged four against ECU Joondalup, while Alex Salmon scored a hat trick last week against Balcatta. Salmon, who played for Whitton Albion last season in the Northern Premier League, said they did it the hard way. “We defiantly made it hard for ourselves by conceded two early goals, but we fought back and it was a good win in the end,” the 21-year-old said. “We have done well over the four games in the Night Series and I believe we deserved more than six points, and we will be looking to end the competition on a high against Stirling.” The UK midfielder said they will go into Sunday’s game the same and if results go their way it will be a bonus. “We go into Saturday’s game with the same attitude to continue our improvement and I’m sure Pricey will have a game plan to play them,” he said. “We will just worry about our performance and result and it the others go our way it will be a bonus.”
On Sunday it’s off to Inglewood Stadium and in the early game the home side need a point to make sure of their place in the Semi-Final, when they host Perth Glory (5.00pm) Glory striker Joe Knowles said he is hoping they can finish off the competition with a win. “We will always play to win no matter who we are playing. They (Inglewood) are a good side but on our day we can beat anyone in the league,” the striker said. “We are determined to end the competition with a win and we will be doing all we can to get the win and finish the Night Series off on a high.” Inglewood have won the last three games to be in pole position for a spot in the next stage, and midfielder John Migas said they go into the game full of confidence, but knows it will be a tough game against a good Glory side. “Every game so far has been tough and we’re expecting it to be like that throughout the year. We were very happy to come away with the 3 points on Sunday but we need to back it up again this weekend against a tough opposition in Glory,” he said. “I’ve watched them play a couple times and they look very sharp and skillful so we know that we are going to have our hands full come Sunday.” Migas, who joined Inglewood from Western Knights this season, said there is a good vibe around the club, and to qualify for the next phase would be a great result for the club. “We’re very hopeful to clinch a spot in the top two so we can get through to the semi-finals and continue our winning run. There’s a good feeling around the club at the moment, not only with the results but with the way we’re playing week in and week out,” he explained. “We’ve got a good squad with a great bunch of blokes and plenty of depth so we’re hoping we can make a good impression in the night series and continue our good form when the season starts.” In the late game Floreat Athena meet Subiaco AFC. Floreat, who still have a chance of progressing, will know their fate by kick off, and if results go their way will need to win.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - QUARTER FINALS PREVIEW
All roads lead to Hartfield Park this weekend, with all the State League Night Series Quarter-Finals game being played at the home of Forrestfield United. It all starts on Saturday evening with Joondalup United taking on reigning Night Series winners Western Knights. (5.00pm) Joondalup went through the group phase undefeated, and Coach Nick Jennings said last week’s game showed the depth of their squad with many players away in Bali. “The boys who stepped in last week certainly stepped up to the plate and continued our momentum from the previous two games, and from the first minute attitudes were spot on and the result was never in doubt,” he said. “This week myself and the 8 first team boys who were away are back and competition for places in the starting 11 is red hot. The coaching team have some big decisions to make on whom to leave out. We’ve trained well this week and I won't be picking my match day squad until after training.” Jennings knows the Knights will be up for the game as they look to hold on to the trophy. “Very much looking forward to it, now its knockout football you will find the pace and tempo of the game will increase, with that added edge of if you lose your out,” he said. “We lost in the semi-final last year and are looking to go one step further this year, but having said that I really respect Western Knights and as the holders they will be determined to retain the trophy. I really believe it will be an entertaining game this week with plenty of goals.” The Knights beat Swan 5-2 to go through, with Jeff Judge and Paul Lloyd in good form. New Coach Trim Morgan will be looking for big games from Shaun French, Jonty Turner and keeper Sam Stone. In the late game Dianella White Eagles and Mandurah City go head-to-head (7.00pm). Both teams were impressive in their respective groups, and Mandurah Coach Doug Hesketh said his side have been outstanding, as they tried new formations and players. “We’ve really pleased to still be in the competition and it’s good to get another competitive game in before the new season,” he said. “The lads are really applying themselves to the different ideas we’ve been working on. We’ve had three tough games and utilised a lot of players. Mick (Lyons) and I are very pleased with the high standards the players are setting, and it bodes well for the club as we look for another successful season.” Hesketh said Dianella made the final of the competition last season and they will be another stern test for his side. “They (Dianella) will be another good test as for us, and they were last year’s finalists, so I’m sure they will be up for it, but so are we,” he said. “We will give it our best shot and focus on playing good football, and I’m expecting a good game.” Mauro Marchione’s side drew against Morley last week to qualify for the next stage, with Alexsandar Miladinovic and Junior Vandy on target. It’s a new look Eagles side, but Camilo Garcia continues to impress, while Musa Kamara and keeper Franceso Capra have also been impressive to date.
The final two games are on Sunday and in the opening game Balga SC will be flying the flag for Division Two when they meet Shamrock Rovers (5.00pm). Rovers’ Coach John O’Reilly said his side have gradually improved during the group phase and was delighted the way they responded to their only defeat. “It was a good group phase from the lads, the only downside was the game against Dianella, which was a ‘bad day at the office’, but I was pleased the way we responded to that defeat,” he said. “We scored eight goals in three games we were the best second placed team. We now have the opportunity to kick on and do our best to get to a final.” O’Reilly said they will not be taking Sunday’s opponents Balga lightly. “They are still very new to the state league, but they definitely improved last season and were good enough to get out of their group,” he said. “We will approach the game with the same preparation as we always do.” Balga stunned Ashfield last week to edge through, with Dimce Taneski bagging a brace, with Daniel Halet and Hubert Hakizimana scoring the other goals. They go into the game as underdogs, but if Ogjen Radovic and Hubert Hakizimana can fire they might cause another upset. In the final game hosts Forrestfield United and Rockingham City meet in a replay of last season’s Division Two title decider (7.00pm) Forrestfield went through the group stage undefeated, and Coach Rod Banjac said they have played some good football and given the opportunity to some of their younger players. “We have embraced The Night Series as it provides a fantastic avenue towards the season opener in April. Although we managed to get some good results, it definitely hasn't been at the expense of development, as we ensure that youngsters are exposed to this level of competition at every opportunity,” Banjac said. “Obviously, like everyone else, we are experimenting while finalising our senior squad and giving a glimpse of "Forry style of football" to our loyal supporters, but not losing focus from maintaining the competitive edge.” Over 1,000 fans watched the title decider between the two teams last season, and Banjac said games against Rockingham are always tight and he’s expecting another good crowd on Sunday. “Last time we met was the biggest spectacle during the ‘WA Football Season’, and for all the right reasons,’ he explained. “Not much different to all previous encounters against Rocky, where football was an outright winner, closely followed by a fantastic vocal support from both sides. Quality football, the banter, cheering, singing, and all in true spirit of the game while covered in respective club colours, it was brilliant. If this game was played on a Saturday night, there is no doubt that attendance would surpass the 2000 mark and both clubs need to be commended for a fantastic effort while tirelessly working behind the scenes.” Rockingham Coach Rob Crerar said he was delighted to reach the quarter-final and he said it was a good effort to get out of a tough group. “I’m delighted to progress through a difficult group against two other Division One sides and one of better Division Two sides Fremantle,” he said. “We gave debuts to 4 or 5 teenagers throughout the group stages and got game time into others so it's been a worthwhile exercise.” Crerar believes Sunday’s game will again be a spectacle, but he will be looking for a different result. “We’re looking forward to the fixture on Sunday, we have had some great battles over the last two years and I am sure this week will be no different, but we will be looking for a better result than the last one,” he said. “They are a great side with some exceptional individuals, I'm sure their vocal home crowd will be out in big numbers this weekend, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
GLORY EYING SIX ON THE BOUNCE
Perth Glory will go into another game against the league leaders when they travel to the Pirtek Stadium to take on Western Sydney Wanderers (4.40pm) After thrashing the then league leaders Brisbane Roar 6-3 last week, Kenny Lowe’s side have their sights on toppling the Wanderers and a win could take them into the top six for the first time this season. Their form has been outstanding, winning the last five games and scoring 18 goals. After the introduction of new signings Shane Lowry, Alex Grant, Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Vadoc and the return of Andy Keogh, the Glory have played some good football and Keogh said they go into Friday’s game full of confidence.
Keogh has been part of a solid attacking trio with Diego Castro and Chris Harold. The Irishman was quick to praise his attacking partners, while also giving due credit to the defensive unit. “We’ve got a good blend of different players, we seem to be working well. Castro’s doing great, Chrissy (Harold) is coming on leaps and bounds now. We’ve got a solid defensive unit behind us, which gives a bit more freedom as well,” he said. “We work hard for each other. You can’t have all that freedom going forward without defensive duties, we work hard together and it’s paying off at the minute. We’re just going about our business as usual, getting closer as a group, new faces coming in, integrating together, but we’re happy and I think it shows on the pitch as well.”
There is some great match up’s in the game, Mark Bridge is in great form up top for the Wanderers, but Lowry and Grant have steadied the Glory defence, while Josh Risdon’s recent performances will give Socceroos Coach Ange Postecoglou something to think about with the squad for the World Cup qualifies to be announced shortly. The battle in the midfield will go a long way to produce the winner in this one. Former Glory’s Mitch Nichols, Dario Vidosic and Romeo Castelen are in fantastic form for the Wanderers, but likewise Hungarian due Gyorgy Sandor and Vadoc, along with Nebojsa Marinkovic are running the show for the Glory. Diego Castro, Chris Harold and Keogh continue to threaten defences, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Alberto will need to be on their toes to stop the deadly trio. In team news for the Glory Marc Warren is back in the squad after missing last week, while Dino Djulbic has also been added to the squad after recovering from his long-term injury.
Former Glory defender Scott Jamieson said it will be a tough battle, and he’s delighted the Glory have turned their fortunes around, but hopes they have a day off on Friday. “"They're flying aren't they? Five wins in a row now, scoring a lot of goals and entertaining the good people of Perth. They're on a good run and good on them," Jamieson said. "It does [surprise] how well they are doing, but in saying that they signed some very good players in January and have built on what they had in the early few rounds of the season. They're starting to score goals, but they conceded three, which is something they'd want to fix, but they are scoring goals and winning games."
While Glory are in on a good run of form, the Wanderers haven't won in their last three matches, but Jamieson said it's far from panic stations. "There's no pressure, it would be pressure if we were sixth or seventh," the left-back said. “If you ask me whether I'd rather be first or seventh with seven games to go, I'd be first, so there's no pressure. The expectation from within is bigger or scarier than what media can put on us. We embrace it." In team news for the Wanderers Spanish defender Alberto returns from suspension, while Jacob Pepper has been added.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, GK Liam REDDY, 2 Shannon COLE, 3 Scott JAMIESON, 4 Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5 Brendan HAMILL, 6 Mitch NICHOLS, 7 Romeo CASTELEN, 8 DIMAS, 10 Dario VIDOSIC, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 12 Scott NEVILLE, 15 Kearyn BACCUS,16 Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17 ALBERTO, 18 ANDREU, 19 Mark BRIDGE, 21 Jacob PEPPER **two to be omitted** - Ins: ALBERTO (returns from suspension), Jacob PEPPER (promoted) - Outs: nil
Perth Glory squad: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11 Richard GARCIA, 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 21 Kosta PETRATOS, 23 Krisztian VADOCZ, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS - **two to be omitted** - Ins: Marc WARREN, Dino DJULBIC - Outs: nil
ROUX RECOVERING AFTER SUCCESSFUL SURGERY
Full-back Storm Roux has returned to the Central Coast after undergoing successful surgery on his fractured fibula. Roux, who also sustained an ankle ligament disruption and dislocated shoulder during the club’s A-League game with Melbourne City, will remain on crutches for the next eight weeks. he 23-year-old will then commence rehab with an aim to return to full team training in five months ahead of the 2016/17 pre-season.
The injury comes as a blow to Roux’s hopes of being involved in New Zealand’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which take place over the A-League off-season. “I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone for the messages and support I have received,” Roux said. “The support means a lot to me and has really helped over the last few days. My focus now turns to recovery and rehab so that I can get back out onto the pitch as soon as possible.”
LOWE PUTS GLORY ON WINNING PATH
Kenny Lowe understands the buck ultimately stops with him to deliver Perth Glory’s bold ambition to win their maiden A-League title within four years. And despite the added pressure, Glory’s senior coach has welcomed the bar being set high in a new club master plan that has also targeted Perth being crowned Asian Champions League victors by 2022.
Lowe is happy with Glory’s cards being laid out on the table for coming seasons. “You’ve got to have aspirations,” Lowe said. “If you’ve got no aspirations, you might as well roll everything up and go home and cease to exist. There’s been strategic plans before. I’ve been in Perth now maybe 12 years and I’ve seen things like this come out before. The big thing is implementing it … we’ve just got to put those plans in place.”
Glory’s dramatic 6-3 victory over Brisbane Roar last Saturday - their fifth win in succession - has guaranteed they can no longer fly under the radar. Lowe said there had been no need to bring his team “back to earth” during the week. “We’re a fairly balanced group,” Lowe said. “A lot of people have played at a very good level and they understand what it is.”
“They want to go to a certain place by the end of the year and to do that they’ve got to make choices and at the moment they’re making those choices - the work ethic, the adherence to a game plan. They’re really working hard and they’re getting the just rewards.” Lowe will attempt to guide Glory into the top six for the first time this season when they face A-League leaders Western Sydney Wanderers tonight..
“IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK” SAYS BLACKMORE (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Central defender Scott Blackmore is enjoying his football more than ever following a lengthy, self-imposed break from the game. Blackmore has been a key figure throughout Inglewood United’s pre-season campaign, the 29-year old playing the anchoring role to superb effect in Night Series outings with Floreat Athena, Cockburn City and Subiaco AFC.
Those appearances were Blackmore’s first since May last year when increased work commitments prompted him to temporarily put away his playing boots. “It’s great to be back out there with the boys,” Blackmore said. “I really missed not playing last season, it was the first time since I started playing as a child that I wasn’t involved or with a team on game days.”
It is a very different Inglewood that Blackmore comes back to. The playing squad has been refreshed by an active close season recruitment drive and more recently Taki Nicolaidis was appointed head coach. “Taki’s good with player management and we are all aware of what he expects of us every time we take the pitch,” Blackmore commented.
“As a squad, we have more quality and depth this year than in previous seasons and as we play more games together we’re seeing a greater cohesion and understanding on the pitch. We’ve played some lovely football this year, especially against Floreat Athena, where we deserved to win, and Bayswater City. We weren’t so good in the other games but still got a result.”
“All good teams have the ability to back-up big performances and also find a way of winning when they don’t play so well – that is a habit we are keen to develop. Everyone at the club is hopeful for the season ahead, we feel we have a squad that is capable of being up there challenging for the league.”
Inglewood heads into the final round of Night Series qualifiers on top of Pool A, while opposing team Perth Glory languish in fifth spot and out of play-off contention. But none of that will mean anything come kick-off on Sunday evening. “Glory have had a bit of an up and down pre-season but we know they’ll be tough to beat,” said Blackmore.
“Everyone at Inglewood wants to play in finals and win silverware, no matter what competition. This week there’s a play-off spot on the line for some extra motivation … it’s all there for the taking at the moment. We can beat anyone on our day and we’re looking forward to pressing on toward the Night Series final and, after that, the home and away season.”
BALCATTA YOUNGSTER SET FOR BIG SEASON
The move of Cameron Teece from the Perth Glory Youth side back to Balcatta surprised many, but the 16-year-old believes it’s a move in the best interest of his football. The teenager made his National Youth League debut last season and scored twice for the Glory, but after weighing up everything he thought Grindleford Reserve was the place to be in the NPL this season.
He has hit the ground running at the club and has been a pivotal player in the Night Series, and he says he is happy, to be back home. “Obviously I already had connections with the club having played their before joining the Glory, and they asked to meet up, and I thought moving back was in the best interest of my football development,” he explained. “There is a great atmosphere at Balcatta, and they are a great bunch of lads and so easily to get along with, and I don't fell under any pressure at all.”
Teece enjoyed his time with John Gibson at the Glory Youth, but he just didn’t fit in and wasn’t enjoying his football. “When I signed for the Glory it was a real buzz, and it was a great experience to play with some really talented players, but I wasn’t happy and really didn’t fit in,” he said. “When you play a team sport you have to be happy and feel a part of it, unfortunately I didn’t and when Marc Anthony contacted me I jumped at the chance to return home.”
The teenage striker has bagged two goals in the QBE Night Series for far, and he said with the club having new coaches and a number of new players there is a good vibe around the club. “It was great to score wearing the Balcatta jersey again, and Marc and Lennie are great coaches to work with, and they seem to bring the best out of everyone,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with them, and the new recruits we’ve signed, and once we gel we will have a good side and will be very competitive next season in the PS4 NPLWA.”
RAMLEE HEADS TO MALAYSIA IN 2016
Former Perth Glory Youth and Balcatta midfielder Shaz Ramlee has become the latest WA player to head to Malaysia to ply his trade, after he signed a professional contract with Malaysian Premier League side Johor Darul Ta'zim II for 2016. The 21-year-old said it’s a fantastic move for him and he is looking forward to the new challenge. “To be honest it feels a bit surreal at times but at the moment I'm just taking it as it comes and enjoying every moment,” he explained. “I'm just extremely grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity to pursue a career in football, and I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”
The talented midfielder was at Balcatta last season and was a first team member and a chance meeting at Grindleford Reserve made the move happen. “During last season at one of my games for Balcatta, I had someone, who now is a good friend, approach my father who was watching my game and asked if I may be interested in pursuing a career in Malaysia,” Ramlee explained. “He gave me advice on how I can go about achieving this, and from there, basically I got in contact with the right people, met my agent and here I am today, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds though.”
Ramlee said the move overseas is exciting, but to leave Perth, family and friends was difficult. “In terms of football, I think it was a no brainer. Every player looks for that opportunity where ever it is to pursue a career in professional football. In Perth I was only at a semi-professional level and found it tough for opportunities to arise at the next level, so the move had no hesitation whatsoever,’ he said. “On a personal level however, it was quite difficult leaving a place I was born and raised in, leaving family and friends behind and relocating to a foreign environment. But as they say, sacrifices do need to be made.”
Football in Malaysia is huge and Johor Darul Ta'zim II finished fifth last season. They have recruited a number of players for this season, including four Australians which will make it easier for Ramlee to settle in. “Yes having other boys from Australia and elsewhere does make it a little easier to settle in given we're all in the same sort of situation and trying to achieve the same sort of goal,” he said. “But to be fair, the local lads here have also made us feel extremely welcome making the adjustment fairly smooth. I've played my football in Australia for about 15 years now and to come elsewhere and experience a different footballing atmosphere will be amazing, and I've heard that the supporters here are amazing.”
Off the pitch Ramlee has also aiming high, after passing his Bachelor of Commerce degree two months ago, so he will be set up for life after football. “As a footballer I've always wanted to look overseas and try my football elsewhere for greater opportunities. However I was always aware that a long football career is never a guarantee and made sure that I would have a backup for life after football,” he explained. “My intention was to always give it a go overseas but I was adamant to complete my studies first before leaving Perth, so luckily for me it's all timed itself perfectly.”
It’s a long road to success for Ramlee, and he knows that, but he is hoping to impress and establish himself in the first team. “At the moment my main focus is developing my game to a higher level and whatever plans the club has to assist me in achieving that I'm happy with,” he said. “Essentially in the next three years I would like to see myself somewhat established in the team and even in the league itself. I'm not one to think so far into the future but I definitely aim to see myself develop and progress to another level in the coming years. In saying that however, I'm well aware that there is plenty of hard work and dedication required.”
GLORY UNVEILS MASTER PLAN
Perth Glory will target a move to a new training base and achieving 10,000 members within two years under a new masterplan designed to re-establish the club as an A-League giant. Dubbed ‘The Perth Glory Way’, the club will release a four-year strategic plan this morning aimed at restoring the brand to the lofty heights of more than a decade ago.
The vision, spearheaded by club chief executive Peter Filopoulos, will be built around seven key pillars, with key goals including winning the Asian Champions League within six years; achieving the club's first A-League title by the 2020/21 season; staging an A-League match in South-East Asia within four years and maintaining at least three players across the Socceroos, Matildas and Olyroos teams by 2019.
The club are also striving for average home attendances of 12,500 by 2018; developing an academy for WA players; increasing club revenue by a minimum $3 million each year by 2018 and becoming a profitable club within three years. The club's plans have the full backing of Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop.
One of Glory's principle ambitions will be identifying a new administrative and training headquarters within the next 12 months before completing the move the following year. The club's existing base in West Leederville is restricted in terms of space, with Glory players forced to train away from the venue at UWA Sports Park in Mount Claremont.
The strategic plan is part of a concerted bid to overhaul Glory's image following the salary cap breaches that ruined the 2014/15 season. The release of the list of ambitions has been timed with Perth making a late charge for finals, with the club coming off five successive wins and a boom recruiting spree during last month's transfer window.
VICTORY’S MAKAROUNAS READY TO SEIZE OPPORTUNITY
Jesse Makarounas knows the opportunities are coming and reckons Melbourne Victory’s fringe players will grab them with both hands. The club is about to embark on a gruelling fixture, starting in Wednesday night’s Asian Champions League opener against Shanghai SIPG. Then there’s the Big Blue against Sydney FC on Saturday, a trip to Japan to play Gamba Osaka next Wednesday and a date at Central Coast Mariners four days later.
As was the case when Melbourne played in the ACL in 2014, when youngsters such as Makarounas, Rashid Mahazi and Jimmy Jeggo performed with aplomb, coach Kevin Muscat will have to dig deep into his trick bag in the coming months. Archie Thompson or Ollie Bozanic could also occupy the attacking midfield role left vacant by the omission of Gui Finkler from the ACL squad, but even if it’s not him on Wednesday night Makarounas is ready to take his chance.
“It’s going to be hard for boys to back up three times in a week, especially with the long travel — it’s a tough schedule,” he said. “There’s going to be lots of players used, if not the whole squad. For us boys on the fringe looking for an opportunity, it’s not just being able to play, but playing in big games in a big competition. You look at Shanghai and there’s some of the highest-paid players in the world in the team, so it’s going to be a big challenge for everyone — but it’s exciting as well.”
The Chinese Super League season doesn’t start until next weekend, giving Melbourne an edge in match fitness over Shanghai. It’s an early advantage Makarounas said Victory needed to make the most of. “They played the qualifying game against Muangthong to get in, but other than that they haven’t played a competitive game yet,” he said. “So we’re going to be in much better condition than they are, being in mid-season, I think they’ll find it hard coming here and keeping up with the pace for the whole game.”
SIX-GOAL GLORY CAN DO BETTER: LOWRY
Perth Glory hammered home six goals against Brisbane Roar in Saturday night’s A-League clash, but at the other end of the field defender Shane Lowry was far from satisfied. Lowry, who scored his first goal for the club since signing from Birmingham City last month, was not happy Glory let the visitors score three times.
“I was disappointed from the aspect of being a defender and conceding three goals. The number one thing is to keep clean sheets,” the former ECU Joondalup junior said. “After the game I was a bit mad. Ideally you like to keep clean sheets, but you’ve got to take the win.”
Lowry’s goal, Glory’s fourth, a crashing header from a Nebojsa Marinkovic corner, had been rehearsed before the game. “We worked on the set piece at training on Friday. I was just delighted to get my first goal,” he said. “It’s all about delivery and Nebo whipped in a beautiful delivery. All I had to do was get contact.”
Glory are one point from a top-six spot and Lowry said the side was quietly confident ahead of Friday’s night clash with table-topping Western Sydney Wanderers. “Our performances over the past few weeks show we are the form team and we’ll keep kicking on,” he said.
“We have been the underdog and I love being the underdog. When I knew I was going to sign I got the table up on the internet, looked at the fixtures and thought ‘if we put a few wins together why can’t we make the finals?’ We’ve still got a long way to go but we’ve put ourselves in a great position, confidence is sky high.”
Records tumbled as Glory recorded five consecutive wins for the first time in their A-League history and the nine goals equalled the most ever scored in a game. A win on Friday will put Glory inside the top six going into the last six rounds of the regular season because fifth-placed Melbourne Victory host sixth side Sydney FC on Saturday.
MARINERS' ROUX FOR BROKEN LEG SURGERY
Central Coast Mariners defender Storm Roux has suffered a fractured fibula and ligament disruption as a result of the horrific leg injury incurred during Sunday's 4-1 loss to Melbourne City. Roux, a New Zealand international and former Sorrento junior, travels to Sydney this morning for surgery on his right leg.
Roux went down awkwardly without contact in his own penalty box midway through the second half during a frantic passage of play that ended with Melbourne being awarded a penalty. The injury initially went unnoticed by players from both sides, however, it quickly became apparent that Roux was in serious trouble.
The 23-year old midfielder was then attended to by a number of paramedics in a delay lasting nearly ten minutes before he was able to be safely taken away from the ground and taken to hospital, where he stayed overnight. Speaking after the game, Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley said Roux was “not in a good way”.
LOWE: 'I DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING'
Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe is looking no further ahead than Friday’s blockbuster clash with Western Sydney Wanderers despite his side’s red-hot form. Glory moved within one point of the A-League’s top six after stunning Brisbane Roar 6-3 on Saturday night. It was the club’s fifth straight win, prompting some pundits to declare Lowe’s side a genuine championship contender.
But Lowe has maintained his “wait until after 27 games” mindset despite Glory’s late season charge and refused to buy into the hype surrounding his team. “We’ve got a game next week against Western Sydney Wanderers, we’ll see how we go after that,” Lowe said. “No one at the club will get too far ahead of themselves, it’s not the type of club we are.”
Lowe was at his theatrical best on the sidelines as Glory netted six goals against the league-leading Roar, equalling the mark set against the Newcastle Jets only four weeks ago. “I didn’t see that coming, I thought it would be a really tight game,” Lowe said. “Fair play to (Brisbane), they asked a lot of questions, but you’ve got to take your hat off to our guys.”
“We’ve gone behind, but we just kept at it and scored some excellent goals. Two of the set plays we worked on this week we got goals off. We play in an unpredictable way, there’s a lot of freedom in the team. You throw in a few (winning) results and a bit of confidence and things happen. That’s football … I’m chuffed to bits and really pleased for the players. They’ve earned all the plaudits they’re getting at the moment.”
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND FOUR REVIEW
The QBE Night Series continues to showcase some great football and week four started on Friday Night at Inglewood Stadium. In the early game Perth SC bounced back from last week’s loss to Stirling with a hard fought 2-1 win against Sorrento in Group B. With Perth missing a number of first team players it was a battling performance from Gareth Naven’s young side and they had to come from behind. The Gulls hit the front after only seven minutes, Jason Mirco making no mistake. But Perth hit back on 23 minutes, with former Sorrento striker Reece Vittiglia scoring from the penalty spot, after Steve McDonald had brought down Hayley Orr. Perth went into the break with the lead, Orr scoring in first half stoppage time, nipped in front of his marker to fire low past James Morgan. Both sides had chances after the break but it was Perth holding on to take the points, and keep their finals hopes alive. “I thought our young boys did very well against a Sorrento side which has a lot of experience at this level,” skipper Clark Keltie said. “They ran all night and caused Sorrento all sorts of problems. I'm just trying to help them play with no fear and go express themselves, which they did well. There's a lot of energy in our team and it showed tonight, and it’s taken us a big step forward towards the semi-final.” In the late game hosts Inglewood United maintained their good form with a 3-1 win against Subiaco AFC in Group A. Brian Woodall gave the home side the lead on 23 minutes, the striker controlling Jason Barrera’s chipped pass and firing past Ryan Montgomery. Subiaco levelled three minutes later, a long ball over the top caught keeper Mitch Papas in two minds and Rory Feely finished with aplomb. But the home side took control after half time and they regained the lead five minutes in, Aleks Jovic ended off a flowing United move to score. The points were made safe ten minutes from time when Barrera showed good feet to waltz past three Subiaco defenders before rifling home from the edge of the box. It was the first game back since Jovic broke his leg playing for Perth Glory Youth and he was happy to contribute to the win. “The first half wasn't our best performance as a team, however with a change to the formation in the second half and our determination and desire to come out with the three points, we started to move the ball around and dictate play from the get go,” he said. “We have great depth in our squad as a few key players were out this week and each week we are getting stronger and stronger as team, our next thought is getting the three points against Glory and hopefully finishing first in the group.” Coach Taki Nicolaidis said there squad was tested in the game but he was happy to get the win. “Whilst it wasn't our best 90 minute performance it was pleasing to see Alex Jovic playing his first game in two years and scoring plus young 17 year old Cameron Pique making his first team debut. The win puts us a step closer to a possible semi-final spot, but we a have tough game against Glory next week, but on the plus side we get Alex Dunn, Mark Pritchard, Ashley Rosindale and Adam Tong back next week.”
On Sunday it was off to Dalmatinac Park and in the first Group A game, hosts Cockburn City came from behind to draw 2-2 with Perth Glory. New Cockburn striker Angel Andres put them ahead from the penalty spot on the half hour, but the Glory hit back nine minutes later. Mitch Oxborrow’s in-swinging corner was headed home by Joe Knowles. The Glory youngster hit the front in the last minute of the half in identical circumstances. Oxborrow again the supplier and Knowles ghosted in at the near post to head home. It was almost 3-1 in the first minute of the second half, Kosta Petratos’ thunderbolt crashed off the crossbar from 25-yards. But sixty seconds later Cockburn received another penalty, when referee Joshua Nixon adjudged Sam Mckearnan had brought down his opponent. Andres stepped up, but his spot kick hit the crossbar and away to safety. It looked like the Glory would hang on for the win but seven minutes from time City levelled, Ruben Tristao scoring from close-range to give both sides a share of the spoils. In the late game Night Series holders Floreat Athena were beaten 3-1 by NPL Champions Bayswater City. Floreat did take the lead early, Jon Stynes on target after only 12 minutes, but City hit back on 33 minutes, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda turning home Todd Howarth’s cross. Bayswater hit the front three minutes into the second half, skipper Trent Kay heading home Howarth’s corner. The result was put beyond doubt seven minutes later, with former Floreat striker David Heagney racing clear, rounded the keeper to score. “It was a great win by the boys. Floreat are always a hard task and knew they'd be up for it,” Kay said. “If we had lost the game it would’ve been impossible to qualify for the semis of the night series so I'm extremely proud of the boys for stepping up, we will now have to beat Cockburn to get through.”
Also on Sunday there was a double-header in Group B at Macedonia Park. In the early game Armadale came from two-goals down to beat Balcatta 3-2. Conor Kavanagh gave Marc Antony’s side the perfect start scoring twice inside the first fifteen minutes, but Armadale hit back and a hat trick from Alex Salmon, including two penalties that gave Armadale the win and boosted their chances of a Semi-Final spot. They must beat Stirling next week and hope Balcatta can beat Perth. “We started off very poorly concerning two early goals, however we turned it around creating a number of clear cut chances,” Armadale defender Sam Loveless said. “I felt on another day we could have scored a lot more than three, but we’re happy with the win and it keeps in the hunt.” In the late game Stirling Lions continued their perfect start to the competition with a 3-1 win against ECU Joondalup. The Lions made a great start and they were ahead after only two minutes. A corner wasn’t cleared and it fell to Steve Purton who curled home off the post. But ECU hit back on the quarter hour. A long clearance from keeper David Keenan wasn’t dealt with and Tommy Amphlett raced on to it fired low past Johnny Perkins. The home side regained the lead on 26 minutes. David Micevski sent Robert Petkov clear, and the youngster finished clinically. ECU were giving as good as they got and Amphlett went close before half time, but his shot crashed off the post and away to safety. The Lions wrapped up the points on 57 minutes. Daniel Micevski sent David Micevski down the right, he cut inside the box and fired home, but referee Michal Jasinski had a spotted a foul on the edge of the box and brought play back. David Micevski took the resulting free kick and curled it around the wall giving Keenan no chance. “I didn't think it was our best performance but we did enough to get the three points and qualify through to the Semi-Final's,” Lions midfielder David Micevski said. “The night series is the first chance of silverware and we have put ourselves in a good position to achieve that.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - ROUND THREE REVIEW
The State League Night Series has reached the quarter finals stage, and the Group stages were completed this weekend. It all started on Friday evening in Group A at Wanneroo Reserve. In the early game hosts Wanneroo City were beaten 4-2 by Quinns FC. In the late game an undermanned Joondalup United beat UWA Nedlands 2-0. With a number of players and the senior coach in Bali it was left to Tony Taylor to score both goals, which maintain United’s unbeaten start to the competition and a quarter final spot. Also on Friday there was a double header in Group D at Hartfield Park. Forrestfield United qualified for the Quarter Finals after a 9-0 thrashing of Curtin University. On target for Rod Banjac’s side were Liam Merrigan (4), Ben Rogers (2), with Matt Harold, Jimmy Duncan and Ben Fraser scoring the others. “After a disappointing display last week against Swan, we freshened up the squad and brought in players that had been rested the week before,” explained Forrestfield keeper Brad Eiffe. “The side put on a real class and professional 90 minutes of football. Playing some free flowing attractive attacking football, and Curtin simply didn't have the answers and were outplayed all over the park.” In the late game defending Night Series winners Western Knights booked their place in the quarter-finals after Jeffrey Judge bagged a brace in a 5-2 win against Swan United at Hartfield Park. Paul Lloyd was also on target for the Knights while John Monterosso and Cameron Anderson were on target for Unted.
In Group C, Rockingham booked a place in the next phase with a hard fought 2-1 win against Fremantle City. Ryan Kennedy and Brian Gwataringa were on target for Rockingham, while Danny Clapham scored for Fremantle. Gosnells missed out on a spot in the quarter finals after losing 2-1 to Canning City in the late game. Canning were ahead early, great work on the right by Mark Trevisiol, who beat two players before crossing to the back post for Darren Gamble to nod home. They made it 2-0 with some individual brilliance from Gamble. He received the ball to his feet with his back to goal 25 yards out, but his clever turn and unstoppable shot flew into the roof of the net. Wade Farmer pulled one back for Gosnells but they couldn’t find the equaliser. “Beating a local rival no matter the circumstance is a good feeling and It was pleasing to finish the competition on a high after a disappointing opening fixture,” Caning Coach Paul Oliver said. “Definite positives from the last two weeks but plenty to work on. We had 7-8 missing from the first team squad last night so hoping that we can build on the last two weeks and improve further.”
On Sunday it was off to the Ashfield Sports Club for Group B, and Balga moved into the quarter finals with an upset 4-2 win against host Ashfield in the early game. Daniel Nalat put Balga ahead, but Alex Stamatiadis levelled for the hosts before half time. After the break Hubert Hakizimana made it 2-1 to Balga, before Jimmy Taneski saw his penalty saved, but was quickest to react to fire home the rebound to make it 3-1. With five minutes remaining Jay Lang scored a great free kick to give Ashfield hope, but in stoppage time Taneski bagged his second to give Balga the win and the two goal advantage they needed to get a spot in the Quarter finals. In the late game Joondalup City beat Olympic Kingsway 2-1.
In Group E, both Shamrock Rovers and Dianella White Eagles have moved into the quarter-finals. In the early game the Eagles drew 2-2 with Morley Windmills, the point enough to see them through, while in the late game Shamrock Rovers beat Ellenbrook United 4-0, to also go through. Ben Reynolds scoring a brace, with Jimmy McPhail and Dinko Ahmetanovic on target for John O’Reilly’s side.
Group F saw Mandurah City booked a spot in the next phase with a 7-0 thrashing off Kelmscott Roos. Craig'Tone opened the scoring, before Joe Obrien got the second before half time. Second half goals Obrien, Matt Stares, Andy Brown, Abe Tucoma and Jack Eades saw the Dolphins home. “Robbie Hamm got back on the pitch after almost 2 years injured so was great to see him back and playing a part in a good performance, he is a quality player,” Mandurah Coach Doug Hesketh said. “Mick and I thought the lads did very well looked balanced and we are pleased we have a forth game guaranteed in the competition next week.” In the early game South West Phoenix beat Melville City 2-0. The quarter final draw is as follows: Saturday 27 February - 6pm - Joondalup United vs Western Knights, 8pm - Dianella White Eagles vs Mandurah City. On Sunday 28 February - 5pm - Balga vs Shamrock Rovers, 7pm - Rockingham City vs Forrestfield United - All games at Hartfield Park, Forrestfield.
GLORY RIP ROAR APART
Perth Glory continued their outstanding Hyundai A-League form with a stunning 6-3 win against league leaders Brisbane Roar at nib Stadium on Saturday night. In front of their biggest crowd of the season (12,156), Kenny Lowe’s side moved within one point of the top six, and won their fifth consecutive game, a club record in the A-League.
Andy Keogh found the back of the net after just five minutes and the goals flowed from there, with the lead changing three times in an astonishing first half. Jamie Maclaren levelled against his former club and Dimi Petratos but the Roar ahead on the half hour. Chris Harold pulled the Glory level, only for Jade North to regain the lead for the visitors. Nebojsa Marinkovic’s stunning free kick leveled it up again, before Shane Lowry headed the Glory into the lead at the break, before second half goals to Diego Castro, from the spot and substitute Richard Garcia gave the Glory an astonishing victory.
“I didn’t see that coming, I thought it would be a really tight game,” Lowe said. “Fair play to (Brisbane), they asked a lot of questions, but you’ve got to take your hat off to our guys. We’ve gone behind, but we just kept at it and scored some excellent goals. Two of the set plays we worked on this week we got goals off. We play in an unpredictable way, there’s a lot of freedom in the team. You throw in a few (winning) results and a bit of confidence and things happen. That’s football.”
It was an explosive start for the home side, and they were ahead after only five minutes. Gyorgy Sandor and Josh Risdon combined to feed Keogh, and the Irish striker’s shot on the turn flew low into the corner of the net. They continued to threaten and Harold’s shot flashed wide of the target. The Roar lifted and Corona’s long-range shot whistled over the top, but on 17 minutes they levelled, in controversial circumstances. Corona picked out Matt McKay on the left, and the Roar skipper picked out an unmarked Maclaren in the box, and striker made no mistake from six-yards, although replays suggested he was marginally offside.
The Roar hit the front on 27 minutes, Aryn Williams was adjudged to have brought down Maclaren by referee Strebre Delovski and Petratos sent Ante Covic the wrong way to give the Roar the lead. But five minutes later it was all-square again. Risdon’s cross found the Harold in a crowded penalty area and the striker gave Michael Theo no chance with a smart header. But the Roar hit back and on 36 minutes Corono’s corner picked out North, unmarked at the back post, and he made no mistake from close-range.
The goal action wasn’t over, and two minutes later the Glory levelled again. Marinkovic’s long-range free kick took a slight deflection off the wall and flew into the corner of the net via the post. The home sides supporters had only just back in their seats when the Glory hit the front. Marinkovic’s corner was headed home powerfully by Lowry, the former Millwall defenders first A-League goal, to send the home side in front 4-3, after a stunning first half of football.
The Glory were at it again three minutes after half time, when North brought down Keogh, and Delovski pointed to the spot again. Castro stepped up, and despite Theo going the right way the Spaniard buried the ball into the bottom corner of the net. On the hour Theo pulled off a good save to deny Keogh, before the Roar custodian got down well to deny Risdon moments later.
Theo was keeping his side in the game and he produced one of the saves of the season, a superb one-handed save to deny Alex Grant on 85 minutes. But from the resulting corner the Glory added a sixth. Garcia had only been on the pitch for two minutes, when he turned Castro’s low cross home from six-yards, to end a magnificent game of football, and the big crowd went home happy.
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND FOUR PREVIEW
The QBE Night Series reaches Week 4 this weekend, and it all kicks off on Friday evening at the Inglewood Stadium. In the early game Perth SC take on Sorrento in Group B (6.30pm). Perth suffered their first loss in the tournament last week, and coach Gareth Naven will be looking for a response from his players this week. The Gulls have become the comeback kings, after fighting from 0-2 down in the last two weeks to win both games, and both sides know a win is vital if they are to stay in contention for the Semi-Finals. In the late game Subiaco take on hosts Inglewood United in Group A at 8.30pm. Inglewood have won back-to-back games and need a win to stay in contention, while Subiaco won for the first time last week against Perth Glory. Subiaco defender Nathan Diaz said it was tough game against the Glory youngsters, but thought they deserved the win. “I think we did really well focused on closing them down early and not allowing them to play. It was hard work but worked well, and we were happy to come away with the points,” Diaz said. The defender knows Inglewood will be another huge test. “It will be a very difficult game for us, but I’m sure if we put the same amount of effort into this game as we did against Glory we will match them.”
With Perth Glory in action in the A-League on Saturday there is no Night Series games, but it’s off to Macedonia Park for the Group A games on Sunday. In the early game in Group A, Armadale take on the winless Balcatta (5.00pm). Marc Anthony’s side have been very competitive but haven’t got the right result, and they will be hoping that can change on Sunday. They will come up against a side, and a striker bang in-form. Ellis Healing bagged four goals last week when the Reds thrashed Joondalup, and keeper Alfie Brincat said it was a great team performance. “What a great win for the boys, we finally got our first points which was fully deserved. We played really well and controlled the game from the start,” he said. “We have been disappointed about our results from the last two games and feel we fully deserved points in both. Hopefully we take the same performance into our next game Balcatta and come away with another victory.” In the late game the unbeaten Stirling Lions take on ECU Joondalup (7.00pm) Joondalup have suffered two disappointing results in recent weeks, but knowing Dale McCulloch he will have his players ready for a big game. The Lions sit top of the group and striker Robert Petkov said they will be looking for more of the same, as they produced last week against Perth. “I think it was solid performance by the guys and we should all be really happy with the result even though Perth fielded a younger side, a 3-0 win against them is always good,” the striker said. “Sunday will be a tough and close game as Joondalup try to get back to winning ways. They are always a tough team to play, regardless of form, but hopefully we'll put in a good performance and walk away with the three points.”
To complete the round, it’s off to Dalmatinac Park in Group A. In the early game Scott Miller’s Cockburn City host Perth Glory. The Cockerels stunned Floreat Athena last week, with Spanish striker Angel Andres celebrating his birthday early by bagging a brace in the 3-1 win. The Glory were narrowly edged out by Subiaco and Hagi Gligor believes their performances have deserved more. “The past two games have been very tight and we were unfortunate to not get a result in both games,” he said. “We've been playing good football and creating a lot of chances which is a positive. If we continue to play the way we've been playing the results will change for us.” In the late game Floreat will be looking to rebound from the defeat to Cockburn when they meet Bayswater City (7.00pm). Bayswater have dropped two of their three games in the competition and need to win this one if they are to make it to the semi-finals. Floreat midfielder Jon Stynes said last week result was a kick up the behind for them. “We had a strong first half where we probably thought we had the game wrapped up, but Cockburn came out in the second half strong and took their chances when we didn't. We'll need a big effort from the lads to bounce back and really push for the finals,” he said. “Despite them losing two games we know they have the players to hurt teams so we need to perform if we're going to get anything from the game.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - ROUND THREE PREVIEW
The State League Night Series reaches its third week and we’re off to the Wanneroo Reserve on Friday for Group A games. In the early game the two teams not to win meet, with Quinns taking on hosts Wanneroo City, both desperate for the three points (6.30pm). In the late game Joondalup United meet UWA Nedlands (8.30pm). United’s Arron Maplestone bagged a brace last week, and he said it’s been a good start to the series for the club. “It has been a great start to the night series for us so far with two convincing wins in the end but the real challenges are yet to come. It's only going to get more difficult as the tournament goes on,” he said. “It’s always nice to get on the score sheet but the good thing is that we are not just relying on just the strikers, there are goals coming from all positions of the park.” Maplestone said he said they will have to be at their best this week to get the points. “UWA are always going to be difficult this week, always a very fit team and they will definitely not be a push over. Especially when we are missing eight regular first team players, who are overseas, but it's a good chance for a few boys to step up and put their names forward for a regular first team spot.”
Also on Friday there are Group C games at Lark Hill. First up hosts Rockingham City meet Fremantle City, knowing a win is vital to stay in touch with the leaders, while in the late game the unbeaten Gosnells City take on Canning City. Jacob Aquino said a half time talk from the coach turned things around last week. “We knew it would be a tough contest as they had a great result the week before against Canning with 10 men. First half we were nowhere near to what we know we can play and Coach Wally Aquino let us know that at half time and it got us back to our game plan,” he said. “In the second half we only took five minutes to get going then we just clicked and started to play the football that we know we can play, and it was good to get the points,” he said. Aquino said Friday’s game will be tough, as Canning look for back-to-back wins. “We know we will always get a tough game from canning as it’s a local derby. They had a win for the first time in the night series which would give them confidence after the poor first game,” he explained. “We have a good deep squad and we are going to give a few new players a run to get some match fitness. We are looking forward to the game and hopefully can get the three points and progress further in the competition.”
The final Friday games are in Group D at Hartfield Park, and in the early game Curtin University take on hosts Forrestfield United. Curtin were edged out by Western Knights last week, while Forrestfield were held to a draw by Swan United, so both will be looking to get back in the winner’s circle. In the late game Swan meet the Knights. Dom Ando scored from the spot last week on his return to the Black and Whites and he said they are improving each week. “It was a much better performance on our behalf against one of the better teams in the competition, but in the end is wasn’t the result we wanted, however, we take the positives out of the game and build from here,” he said. The defender knows the Knights, who are the reigning Night Series winners, will be another tough test. “We’re all looking forward to the challenge for what will be a tough physical game,” Ando said. “I believe that we can do the job and bring home maximum points.”
Like the NPL Night Series there are no games on Saturday as Perth Glory are at home in the A-League but on Sunday there are Group B games at Ashfield Sports Club. In the early game Balga take on hosts Ashfield (5.00pm), while in the late game Kingsway Olympic meet Joondalup City (7.00pm) In Group E, at Hartfield Park, Morley Windmills and Dianella White Eagles will go in search of back-to-back wins when they meet in the early game. In the late game Shamrock Rovers will be looking to bounce back from last week’s 3-1 loss to the Eagles when they take on Ellenbrook United. Also on Sunday there are Group E games at Lark Hill. First up Melville City meet South West Phoenix. City coach Gavin Brown said he was pleased with the win last week in difficult conditions. “It was very windy and it made playing football very difficult, but I was pleased because again a very youthful line up played well, winning fairly comfortably and keeping a clean sheet,” he said. Brown knows Phoenix will be a difficult test but it’s one they are ready for. “We targeted 4 points from the 3 games in a tough group, but having already achieved that this weekend is a bonus. We would be delighted to come out of the group unbeaten but realise that they are a good side with a lot of talented players. We will give it our all and try to cause another upset.”
In the late game Mandurah City and Kelmscott Roos meet. The Roos were very competitive last week for long periods of the game and new coach Chris Bates was happy with the performance. “I feel last week’s performance was a small improvement, and the result could have gone either way. But some good goal keeping from Melville prevented a different result, and a bad injury to our keeper didn't help he's now on a slow recovery,” he explained. “This week will be a difficult game for us as Mandurah are a well drilled squad but this is a building year for Kelmscott. We have only had 7 training sessions since I took over I'm very pleased with the lads on their efforts this far.” Mandurah skipper Andy Brown scored the winner last week and he said it was a good move to send him up top. “It was a good win, in difficult conditions. It was a great piece of management by Doug and Mick by putting me up forward 30 minutes into game, it paying off by me grabbing the winner,” he said. “Phoenix were a very mobile/youthful side and very fit for so early in the season. So it really was a decent hit out for us. Like I say it's only early on and we are still getting our legs and lungs going. It was important to win, we want to stay in the competition for as long as possible, having as many competitive matches to play before the start of the season proper.” The former Stirling Lions and WA state midfielder said the Roos have improved from last season and they will give them the respect they deserve. “I actually watched Kelmscott play Melville last weekend, and they had definitely improved from the last time we met, when we won 10-0, “Brown said. “We will go into the game full of confidence having had another good week of training under our belts, plus almost a full strength squad to choose from, things are tracking well and should be a good game.”
GLORY LOOK TO QUELL BRISBANE’S ROAR
Perth Glory will go into Saturday Hyundai A-League game against league leaders Brisbane Roar, full of confidence. Glory have emerged as a real finals threat thanks to a four-game winning streak that has them within striking distance of the top six. The first-placed Roar are aiming for a clean sweep of the Glory, having already beaten them twice this season, but Shane Lowry has other ideas. Lowry, who is yet to experience a loss as a Glory player since joining the A-League club during last month’s transfer period, can see no reason that Glory’s winning run can’t continue.
The defender said sides directly above them on the ladder, including Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, had every reason to be worried. “I’d rather be us right now than be in the sixth position, with eight games to go,” Lowry said. “I’d rather be trying to catch people because people look over their shoulder and that’s when they slip up. I’d prefer to be the underdog really, but obviously I don’t know if we’ll be underdogs now. A lot of people are starting to take notice of us. We’ve flown under the radar a little bit.” In team news defender Dino Djulbic came through training this week and has been named in the 22 man squad for the game along with Mitch Oxborrow, while skipper Richard Garcia also trained strongly with the squad’s younger players as he tries to force his way back into the senior line-up after a knee injury.
Two key players on Saturday will be Glory Spanish striker Diego Castro and Roar’s German striker Thomas Broich. After a slow start to life in the A-League, Castro has taken the league by storm, scoring nine times and proving a handful for defense’s on a weekly basis. He has linked up well with Chris Harold and Andy Keogh and he will again be pivotal in the Glory’s chances of taking the points. Broich was one of Brisbane’s best as they worked their way to a 2-2 draw last week against Newcastle, having fallen behind. He can turn again on his own and has done it on many occasions in his time at the Roar, and it’s his supply to Maclaren and Co, which will be vital.
Roar coach John Aloisi has dismissed fitness concerns over former Glory striker Jamie Maclaren, saying his star striker will be fit for Saturday night. There were fears on Tuesday that Maclaren could miss the match after he failed to finish training and had his hamstring heavily strapped.
But Aloisi believed too much had been made of the matter and had no doubt Maclaren, the scorer of 11 goals this season, would start this weekend’s game. “He’s been managing his hamstring since his return from the Olyroos’ games in Qatar last month and has played every game for us since he’s been back,” Aloisi said. “It’s part of his loading in training. Each player has different loadings as we manage them through the week. Jamie will be right to play.”
WINGMAN HAROLD HAPPY TO DODGE SCRUTINY
Chris Harold is more than happy to keep flying under the radar at Perth Glory. Harold’s personal run of form has coincided with Glory’s on-field resurrection, the 23-year old scoring five goals in his past five outings to spearhead his team’s surge towards the A-League’s top six.
Fresh from signing a two-year contract, Harold said the presence of star duo Andy Keogh and Diego Castro in the forward half had helped bring out his best. “Keogh is one of the best, if not the best, striker in the league and Castro has proven himself to be the best import,” Harold said.
“When teams play against us, they’re two players that I’m sure opposition coaches and players are going to be wary of and worried about shutting them down. For someone like me, if I can fly under the radar then that works perfectly for me.”
NEW LOOK COCKBURN A CHALLENGE MILLER IS RELISHING
Scott Miller has returned to the Cockburn City for the PS4 National Premier League WA 2016 season, and he has taken over a squad which has been completely depleted. Miller, who returns to the club that he helped to the First Division Championship in 2012, took over the reins at Dalmatinac Park from Marc Anthony, who has joined Balcatta. Anthony has taken a number of players with him, and Miller said 2016 will be a challenge, but he’s looking forward to it. “It should be an interesting year, we have a young squad, but the potential is there,” he said. “We have lost nine of the starting eleven from last season, so it will be trial and error in the pre-season, but we are working really hard.”
The loss of Eamon McNelis, Conor Kavanagh, Feisal Zaw, Jonathan Corness, to Balcatta, leading goalscorer Rory Patterson heading back to the UK and keeper Curtis Aspden moving on, to name a few, the squad has been decimated, but Miller said it gives the opportunity to the younger players at the club to stand up. “With so many players moving in it’s all about giving the opportunities to our reserve players,” he explained. “It’s their time to show me what they’ve got, but I’m confident we have the quality to be competitive this season.”
The 43-year-old former Perth Glory and Socceroo defender said they have had a number of players at the club trialing, and he likes the look of a few, and he has had a look at the them in the QBE Night Series. “We have had some good lads down at training and were giving them the opportunity to impress in the night series,” he said. “Honesty we’re a work in progress at the moment, but expect us to be very competitive in every game, like we’ve shown in the Night series to date. Yes we will have our up’s and down’s along the way, but we are ready for the challenge.”
Miller is delighted to have signed last season’s Division One Golden Boot winner Angel Andres, who will fill the void left by last season’s top goalscorer Patterson, and he said the Spanish striker has impressed at training, and he bagged a brace last week in the win against Floreat Athena. “Angel is a very good player in and around the box, but he’s good to have around the group because he is an experienced player, which will only help the young lads around him,” he explained. “He has very good skills and a good football brain, so we’re delighted to have secured his services for next season.”
LOWRY RECKONS GLORY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES
Defender Shane Lowry prefers Perth Glory being the hunter rather than the hunted. Glory have emerged as a finals threat thanks to a four-game winning streak that has them within striking distance of the top six. No one is enjoying the chase more than Lowry, who is yet to experience a loss as a Glory player since joining the A-League club during last month’s transfer period.
And Lowry can see no reason that Glory’s winning run can’t continue, the defender saying teams directly above them on the ladder have every reason to be worried. “I’d rather be us right now than be in the sixth position, with eight games to go,” Lowry said. “I’d rather be trying to catch people because people look over their shoulder and that’s when they slip up. I’d prefer to be the underdog really, but obviously I don’t know if we’ll be underdogs now. A lot of people are starting to take notice of us.”
Seventh-placed Glory hosts league leaders Brisbane Roar on Saturday night in the match of the round. Former Glory striker Jamie Maclaren, who has scored 11 goals in his first season for Brisbane, is in doubt after pulling out of training yesterday with hamstring tightness. His likely omission would only add to the sky-high confidence at Glory, who were further buoyed by the return of Richard Garcia (knee) and Dino Djulbic (ankle) following injury.
GLORY OFFER $20 TICKETS TO LURE CROWD
Perth Glory are targeting their biggest home crowd of the season for Saturday night’s clash with league leaders Brisbane Roar after registering the largest club membership since the A-League began in 2005. The club’s membership hit a record 7009 late yesterday on the back of a four-game winning streak that has pushed Glory back into finals contention.
Glory officials are confident of topping the season-high home attendance of 10,501 achieved in their 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory a fortnight ago. As way of achieving that, the club is offering discounted $20 game-day tickets in the hope it reaches the milestone.
“It’s a real test for the team,” chief executive Peter Filopoulos said. “We want to get our biggest attendance (of the year) on Saturday night. Our ambition is to not rest at 7000 members. We want to get over 10,000 members. I’ve never shied away from saying that.”
“Whilst we’ve had some great achievement, we’ve still got a long, long way to go. If we can make this year’s finals, it’s been a major turnaround for the season. The boys have now got belief in the squad, I think our fans have got belief. They like what they see on the field, but it doesn’t stop there.”
Glory players will wear a specially designed cyan-coloured strip against Brisbane as a one-off to recognise the club’s 20-year partnership with major sponsor QBE Insurance Australia. Glory are just three points outside the top six with eight rounds to play, with half of those games against the competition’s bottom three clubs.
SOCCEROO WILLIAMS OPEN TO HOMECOMING
Fit-again Socceroos defender Rhys Williams has sparked a scramble between A-League clubs after revealing his willingness to return to Australia to rekindle his career. Williams is on a comeback quest after being sidelined for almost two years with a double Achilles rupture, an injury which placed serious question marks over his future.
The 27-year old has just returned to Middlesbrough after a four-week loan spell with Championship strugglers Charlton Athletic. He came through unscathed after making four appearances for the London side and is now casting his gaze beyond Middlesbrough, his home for the past eleven years, with his contract up at the end of the season.
Another loan spell, possibly at a League One club, is beckoning before his likely exit from the Riverside at the end of the season - and Perth-raised Williams has the A-League seriously in his sights. A product of the ECU Joondalup academy, Williams initially left Australia in 2005 to enter Middlesbrough's youth ranks.
"Sometimes you need to start again and it might be a good option. If somebody wanted to take me there and it would be good for my future and my family, I’d definitely look at it," Williams said. “The league is growing and going there is something I've been discussing with my agent ... the thought appeals to me.”
“Sometimes in life, you have to take a different route to go where you ultimately want to go - and if I were to go back to Australia and be a big part of a team there, then why not? Come the (northern) summer I would be able to head back home, so if anybody is interested they should give me a call!”
Under Football Federation Australia rules Williams would not be able to join an A-League club this season, even as a free agent, because he’s also featured for two teams this season. It is the same situation faced by fellow forgotten Socceroo Adam Taggart, who has signed for Perth Glory but can't actually play for them until next season.
Williams is also targeting a national team recall for next month’s qualifiers against Tajikistan and Jordan on home soil. But he admitted he has much to do to merit being considered for a squad where his name was inked into the starting eleven before his injury woes took hold.
“The main thing for me now is to be playing games, and with the national team camps coming up now, there’s an opportunity there to try and force my way back in," Williams said. “But I need to stay fit, play regularly and get out on loan and do well, and take it from there. Hopefully a loan can be sorted in the next few days.”
Williams's injury issues have rubbed him out of the last two World Cup squads and kept his tally down to just 14 caps. While the A-League is looming large, Williams would also be interested in an Asian adventure if offers are forthcoming. “Back playing after so long, I am pretty much open to anything,” he said.
“The boys have done so well this year that the manager has kept faith with his team and I can have no complaints that I’m not playing (at Middlesbrough). Maybe it is time for a fresh challenge - maybe I’m labelled as an injury risk at this club and perhaps a fresh start elsewhere night be the best thing. I feel like there’s still a lot to achieve in my career.”
LOWE REVEALS KEY TO HAROLD'S GOAL STREAK
Coach Kenny Lowe has revealed how a little help from a former Perth Glory striker has helped unlock Chris Harold's ruthlessness in front of goal. Having rarely hit the back of the net throughout his six-year A-League career, Harold has suddenly found a rich vein of form.
The 23-year old striker made it a stunning five goals in as many games in Saturday's on-the-road win against a lethargic Sydney FC. Lowe divulged afterwards that Harold has been reaping the benefits of tutoring from Serbian marksman Branko Jelic, who played for Glory between 2009 and 2011.
"We were speaking with Chris (earlier this season) and he was getting a little bit upset (about not scoring)," Lowe said. "We were saying to him, 'look, to score a goal you've got to do 10 things. You're doing nine things fantastic, and the final little bit at the finish is the only thing that's missing."
"His movement, his desire to get in the box, his ethic, his quality. And he's worked on it. We've actually brought someone in (Jelic) to work with him on a one-on-one basis. Since the guy's been in he's scored five in five, so I think we'll keep doing that."
With a club record-equalling four consecutive wins, in-form Glory have scratched their way back into the finals race. They now sit only two points shy of sixth-placed Adelaide United, and three behind Sydney. "We've got a good group," Lowe said. "I've said it for the last 12 games - I've become a bit repetitive and boring."
"We were putting performances in but weren't quite getting the things we deserved. But now we're getting what we deserve. We had a tough time last year with who we lost. I look at every player that's left, and they're all in the top three teams."
"They're all top players, and we've lost them. But we're starting to slowly replace and build again, so it's an exciting time at our club at the moment. Hopefully we can keep it exciting and kick on, and maybe surprise a few people."
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND THREE REVIEW
The QBE Night Series kicked off with a bang on Friday night and in the Group A game at Macedonia Park Subiaco AFC won for the first time in the competition after a hard fought 2-1 win against Perth Glory. Subiaco were ahead after only three minutes, midfielder Kevin White made space on the left and whipped in a perfect cross for Rory Feely to head home past Jordon Thurtell from eight-yards. Then five minutes into the second half the Glory youngsters levelled. Alex Tanevski played a great ball into the box to Nikola Talimdzioski, who ran on to it and finished clinically past Ryan Montgomery. But the winner came 16 minutes from time, a shot was deflected into the path of Carlin Feely and despite the last ditch tackle from Henry Durr, the 16-year-old finished past Thurtell to win it. “We have worked hard in training the last couple of weeks on a few things and it was nice to see the results of that in the game,” Rory Felly said. “We still have things to improve on but that is what the night series is for. We have a young squad and some very talented under 20s coming through so hopefully come the first game of the season comes around we will ready.” In the late game on Friday night it was the battle of the two unbeaten sides in Group B, and Stirling Lions ran out 3-0 winners against Perth SC. The home side hit the front on 14 minutes, Daniel Micevski crossed it from the right and Brodie Martin turned and finished low from inside the box. It was 2-0 in the shadows of half time. Blamo Quaqua won possession in midfield and fed Robert Petkov who fired a great strike from outside the box that flew into the bottom corner. The points were wrapped up six minutes from time, David Micevski sent Daniel Micevski clear, and he made no mistake rounding the keeper to fire into an empty net. “I thought we but in a solid performance and scored our goals at the right times to set up a convincing win in the end,” David Micevski said. “It's good for the boy’s confidence to be winning games and hopefully we can keep improving as a team.”
On Saturday evening there was a double header in Group A at Dalmatinac Park. In the early game hosts Cockburn City came from behind to stun Night Series holders Floreat Athena 3-1. Phil Arnold gave Floreat the lead on 24 minutes, and they kept the lead until 65 minutes, when Ruben Tristao headed home from a corner. City hit the front on 72 minutes, Angel Andres was sent clear and he slotted low past Jason Saldaris. Andres wrapped up the points five minutes from time. The Spanish striker was played in by Ali Gholami and he made mistake to seal the win. “I was really happy with our second half and great for some more of our young boys to get a chance to play a really good team,” City coach Scott Miller said.
In the late game Inglewood United continued their resurgent’s under new coach Taki Nicolaidis with a 1-0 win against League Champions Bayswater City. Alex Dunn was busy in the first half keeping out attempts from Brian Farrell and Gustavo Giron-Marulanda while Fraser Greenwood twice denied Brian Woodall. Dunn again found himself in the thick of the action after the break, the home custodian brilliantly denying Giron-Marulanda and Andrija Jukic in quick succession. But 12 minutes from time Inglewood scored the only game. Jason Colli’s long ball found Woodall whose long-range shot went in via the crossbar. Bayswater pressed late looking for the equaliser but United held firm to take the points. “Beating Bayswater was very important for us,” Inglewood coach Taki Nicolaidis told the Inglewood web site. “It gives the playing group that little more self-belief that we can mix it with the best in this league, and it puts us in a much better position to qualify for the semi-finals.”
On Sunday it was off to Percy Doyle Reserve for the Group B games and in the early game Armadale thrashed ECU Joondalup 4-1. The Reds were ahead on seven minutes, Jesse Fuller’s cross was turned home by Ellis Healing. The former Tranmere Rovers Youth striker added his second ten minutes later, curling a corner from the right directly into the net. Healing completed his hat-trick seven minutes before half time, firing home Jake Sardelic’s cross at the back post. Healing wasn’t finished there and he added his and Armadale’s fourth three minutes into the second half with a stunning shot from the edge of the penalty area. ECU scored a consolation goal from Joshua Booysen, while Gordon Smith and Ollie Annis went close late on but it was Armadale’s night. “We dominated the game in the first half and the lads played to the game plan really well,” Armadale coach Paul Price said. “It’s great for Ellis to get all the headlines scoring four goals, but it was a very pleasing performance from the whole squad tonight.” In the late game it was a case of déjà vu in the second game with hosts Sorrento coming back from 2-0 down for the second week running to beat Balcatta 3-2. Debaba Mtwale and Patrick Sara put Marc Anthony’s in total control at the break, but the Gulls fight back started eight minutes in, with Jordan Brown scoring. They levelled on 72 minutes through speedy winger Jason Mirco, and the comeback was complete nine minutes from time when Alex Morgan scored. “I was delighted with the character of the players in the second half,” Sorrento Coach Jamie Harnwell said. “Some of the football we played was superb and to come back from 2-0 for the second week running speaks volumes of the group that we have.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - ROUND TWO REVIEW
It was another exciting weekend of football in the State League Night Series. I started on Friday night, and in the early game at Wanneroo Reserve in Group A Quinns FC and UWA Nedlands fought out a 3-3 draw. UWA were ahead after only five minutes. Federico was allowed far too much time on the left and his cross picked out Lloyd Prout in the box to score. It was 2-0 on the quarter hour Alex Kretowicz was played into space on the right and he crossed Andrew Xydas for the easiest of finishes from close-range. It could have been worse for Quinns just before half time, but Kretowicz saw his penalty saved by the keeper. Quinns hit back after the break and scored two quick goals to bring the sides level. Kretowicz made up for his penalty miss picking out Robbie Black to regain the lead for Nedlands. But the points were shared when Quinns converted a penalty of their own late. UWA coach Michael Janssen wasn’t content with the performance, but believes the team will bounce back in time for their decisive clash with Joondalup United next week. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to play the football we are focusing on,” Janssen told the UWA website. “Dropping our match plan brought Quinns back into the game. Even having a lot of opportunities to decide the match right to the end did not work out tonight. We will look forward and learn from this to be much stronger next week.”
In the late game Joondalup United continued their perfect start to the competition with goals from Callum Stocks (2), Arran Maplestone (2) and Adam Buckley giving them a 5-0 win against hosts Wanneroo City. Also on Friday in Group F at Lark Hill, Melville City beat Kelmscott Roos 2-0 in the early game, with Ian Coffey scoring a brace, while Mandurah City beat South West Phoenix 1-0 in the late game. Skipper Andy Brown scored the decisive goal in this local derby, and Coach Doug Hesketh said it was a good work out. “We shuffled the team again and tried a couple of players in different positions and the lads played very well,” he said. “We controlled the game, hit the bar a couple of times and forced 3 or 4 excellent saves from the Bunbury keeper, so it was a good 3 points and a solid performance.”
On Saturday night Joondalup City edged out Balga 2-1 in the early game of Group B at Ashfield Reserve, while hosts Ashfield beat Olympic Kingsway 2-1. Dan Corbett scored a header for the hosts after only five minutes, but Craig Hollingsworth levelled for Olympic just before half-time. But the home side won it on the hour, with Ross Cosgrove scoring. In Group E games on Saturday night at Hartfield Park Shamrock Rovers were beaten 3-1 by Dianella White Eagles, while in the late game Morley Windmills beat Ellenbrook United 1-0. The goalscorer for Morley was Fabio Renna, but they lost defender Mitch Castrilli with a serious knee injury after only ten minutes.
On Sunday night it was off to Lark Hill for the Group C games and in the early game Canning City bounced back from lasts heavy defeat to beat Fremantle City 2-0. It wasn’t a good stat for Paul Oliver’s side with Charlie Parry missing from the spot, but he made for the miss by putting them ahead, before Daniel Trevisiol scored the points. In the late game Gosnell City came from behind to beat hosts Rockingham City 3-2.
Shane Boyle capitaised on a defensive mistake to give Rockingham the lead on 20 minute mark, but five minutes after the break Jason Pottier levelled with a cheeky lob over the keeper to then tap it in. Caleb Aquino then scored after nice work on the wing from Aaron Coslani, but the hosts levelled three minutes from time with a free kick from Ryan Kennedy. It looked like the points would be shared but it was Gosnells who won it in stoppage time, Sean Taylor firing home from 12 yards after good lead up play work from Matt Lynch.
Also on Sunday there were Group D games at Hartfield Park. Western Knights bounced back from last week’s defeat to beat a gritty Curtin University 2-1, while in the late game Swan United and hosts Forrestfield United fought out a thrilling 2-2 draw. Swan were ahead when Tom Black found himself unmarked in the box, and he finished clinically. The home levelled moments later, Jordan Hart volleying home from the edge of the penalty area. Swan thought they had regained the lead, after Luke Woodard’s cross found John Monterosso who powered his header home but the assistant’s flag was up for offside. But Swan did take the lead on 40 minutes. Tom Black was brought down in the area and Mark Barnett, who was sent off. Dom Ando stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty. Both sides had chances in second half, however ten minutes from time Forrestfield levelled. Swan turned the ball over in the middle of the park and former Swan midfielder Trent wood earned the ten man a point, turning home Hart’s cross. “The game was a great contest very even I'd say first half we were better second half they were better was great to watch and the game showed us some positive signs,” Swan coach Matt Debarro said. “They (Forrestfield) are a good team they will be up there in Division One, and I wish the players and coach Rod Banjac the very best for the season.”
GLORY EDGE CLOSER TO A FINALS BERTH
Perth Glory’s charge towards the Hyundai A-League top six has gained further momentum after a 2-1 win over Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday. Andy Keogh struck in the first half after a shocking Vedran Janjetovic mistake, before Chris Harold doubled the lead with 25 minutes left. Former Glory striker Shane Smeltz pulled one back for the Sky Blues with 11 minutes left to set up a grandstand finish but Glory held on for a well-deserved and vital three points with Alex Grant and Shane Lowey outstanding. “We had a tough time last year with who we lost,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. “I look at every player that's left, and they're all in the top three teams. They're all top players, fantastic players and we've lost them. But we're starting to slowly replace and build again, so it's an exciting time at our club at the moment. Hopefully we can keep it exciting and kick on, and maybe surprise a few people. You never know, you never say never do you.”
The Glory headed East on a three game winning streak and Lowe brought in Spanish maestro Diego Castro to the starting line up with Diogo Ferreira dropping to the bench, while Richard Garcia and Aryn Williams returned from injury on the bench. The Glory opened brightly and from Nebojsa Marinkovic’s corner fell to Keogh, whose header drifted wide of the target. But on 23 minutes the Glory hit the front. There looked little danger when Gyorgy Sandor crossed from the right, but the Sydney custodian Janjetovic spilled the ball and Keogh pounced to tap the ball into open net. Sydney almost hit back five minutes later, George Blackwood header was deflected onto his own bar by Lowry.
Both sides had chances late in the half, Alex Brosque beat the offside trap but Ante Covic stood tall and the striker fired wide, before Marc Warren was beaten by Milos Ninkovic, but Grant got back with a superb last ditch tackle. Marinkovic’s free kick whistled wide of the post, before Blackwood headed wide of the post in stoppage time.
Castro had an early chance for the Glory, his shot on the run was blocked by the alert Matthew Jurman. Harold was a constant threat, and he raced clear of the offside trap on 52 minutes, his low cross was only inches away from Keogh, sliding in at the back post. It was Perth who were dictating terms and Marinkovic’s free kick flashed over the top and their pressure was rewared with a second goal on 65 minutes. Sandor was involved again, the Hungarian shot was parried by Janjetovic, but the ball rebounded to Harold who guided the ball low into the corner of the net from 12-yards.
Sydney were struggling to breakdown the Glory and Coach Graham Arnold brought on Smeltz to help find a goal and the New Zealand delivered on 79 minutes. Nikovic ball got behind the Glory defence and Smeltz fired low past Covic into the far corner of the net. Sydney huffed and puffed, but with skipper Josh Risdon and Grant outstanding they couldn’t find a way through and after three minutes of stoppage time the whistle blew and it was the Glory players celebrating with the Glory supporters, who had made the ‘Tour of Duty’ and the win taking them closer to the top six.
TES ELECTRICAL EXTENDS SPONSORSHIP WITH PERTH
Perth SC is delighted to announce that TES Electrical (Tailored Engineering Solutions) has committed to a three-year extension on their contract as major sponsor of the club. The original three-year deal, set to expire at the end of 2016, will now extend until the end of the 2019 season, making it the biggest sponsorship deal in the WA NPL. Perth SC president Gary Marocchi said he was looking forward to continuing the club’s relationship with TES Electrical for a further three years. “We are extremely fortunate to have their ongoing support,” he said. “This sponsorship really means a lot to the club, and we are incredibly grateful for the significant contributions made by TES Electrical since they came on board in early 2014.”
Tailored Engineering Solutions (TES Electrical) founder and managing director Ernie Eolini said the company was proud to continue supporting a community club with an emphasis on promoting youth development in sport. “The ongoing relationship between TES Electrical and Perth Soccer Club has been welcomed not only by myself, but by all the staff at TES Electrical, whom have enjoyed the hospitality received during last season’s campaign and we look forward to another exciting season” Mr Eolini said. “We are very proud to be linked with Perth SC, a club with such a strong history in WA, and we look forward to sharing in the successes of the years to come.” Tailored Engineering Solutions (TES Electrical) has strived to establish itself as a preferred Electrical Contractor to many of WA’s leading contractors and developers, providing a first class service tailor made to suit specific project requirements.
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND THREE PREVIEW
The temperature has risen in Perth this week, and the temperature is also rising in the QBE Night Series and week 3 kicks off on Friday night at Macedonia Park. First up Subiaco AFC will be looking for their first points in the tournament when they take on Perth Glory in Group A (6.30pm) Subiaco have lost both of their group games, but they have been in their games for long periods, while the Glory youngsters have been impressive so far and will fancy their chances of another victory. In the late game the two unbeaten teams in Group B meet, with Stirling Lions hosting Perth SC (8.30pm) The Lions have beaten Sorrento and Balcatta so far, while Perth have done the same against Armadale and ECU Joondalup. Perth midfielder Dean Evans comes up against his former club in this one and he said it should be a good test for the young Perth side. “The night series is a great chance for the younger boys at the club to show there ready to play at senior level and I thought all the boys that got a chance showed that they're ready,” he said. “Age is never an indication whether you’re ready to play first team or not, if you’re good enough you will get your chance and that’s what Gareth Naven has said since day one. We know spots are up for grabs and we've been working extremely hard as a playing group to be ready for the upcoming games.” The midfielder said Stirling have started the competition well and will be a big challenge. “I haven't seen much of Stirling this year yet but from what I’ve heard and the group they've assembled it should be another good test for us,” he explained. “Robbie and Dejan will have them playing a good brand of football so it should be an entertaining game. We have a few injury problems but it’s another good opportunity for the younger players to cement there spot in the team. I look forward to playing against some familiar faces and hopefully come away with another positive result.”
It’s off to the Inglewood Stadium on Saturday night in Group A. In the early game, the unbeaten Floreat Athena take on Cockburn City (6.00pm). City are still looking for their first points in the competition, but they do have a new look squad under new coach Scott Miller, and are taking time to gel. Floreat have continued on their good league form from last season, and new keeper Jason Saldaris said it’s still early days but the squad is improving with every game, and both games so far have been tough. “The first two games have been tough. Inglewood looked very impressive with players to slot in, and the Glory Youth were the best I have seen them perform,” he said. “We made a lot of changes in the Glory game and tried a few different things and it’s pleasing to see it worked. It’s still early and the boys are getting used to each other on the pitch, but each week is looking better.” Saldaris said even though Cockburn have started the night series with two defeats, they will be another tough challenge for them. “They (Cockburn) are always a tough game home or away, and I’m sure Scotty will have a well drilled team set up making it a massive test for us, but one we’re looking forward too.” In the late game Inglewood United meet Bayswater City (8.00pm). A win for both sides is vital to stay in touch with the leaders, and both bounced back from week one losses with wins last week. It will be the first game in charge for new Inglewood Coach Taki Nicolaidis. He was appointed first team coach this week as a replacement for Michael Garcia who resigned last week.
On Sunday we travel to Percy Doyle Reserve for the completion of the Group B games. The early game sees ECU Joondalup and Armadale do battle (5.00pm) Paul Price’s side have had two close defeats to date, but have been very competitive in both, and will be looking to bounce back from last week, where they throw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Sorrento. ECU Joondalup were brought back down to earth losing 4-2 to Perth, this after beating Balcatta 5-2 in week one. They will be without Ryan Lowry this week after the defender was sent off last week, but coach Dale McCulloch will be hoping for an improved performance from his players this week. In the late game hosts Sorrento takes on Balcatta. Marc Anthony’s side are yet to earn any points, and have conceded seven goals in the two games, he will be looking to turn that form around on Sunday. The Gulls opened their account in the competition last week, and defender Shaun Kilkelly said they can’t start like they did last week, if they are going to win on Sunday. “It was not the start we were looking for, but as they say goals change games and getting two quick goals before half time gave us the upper hand in the second,” he said. “I thought we played some good football in parts of the second half and getting the win will hopefully give us some confidence going into the game against Balcatta.” Kilkelly said Balcatta are a completely new look side and he believes they will be strong once they click. “I watched them (Balcatta) the other week and I think Marc is trying to build a team with experience and young talent,” he explained. “It will be a test for us as I know he will want them to play attacking football, but as long as we continue from our second half performance last week we should get a result.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - ROUND TWO PREVIEW
The State League Night Series continues on Friday night and in Group A the opening game sees UWA Nedlands and Quinns FC doing battle at Wanneroo Reserve (6.30pm) In the late game Joondalup United takes on hosts Wanneroo City (8.30pm) United hit seven last week with new striker Stuart Montgomery bagging a brace, while the Roos were edged out in week one, so the Division Two side will be looking for some home ground advantage. Also on Friday night Group F games are held at Lark Hill. Melville City takes on Kelmscott Roos in the early game, while the last game Mandurah City and South West Phoenix meet. Jordan Rhodes scored a stunning free kick last week, but it wasn’t enough to beat Melville City, and the midfielder said they will need to improve against the local rivals. “Last week was our first hit out and we lacked some sharpness and quality in the final third to finish the game, but I expect that to come as we get some more games under our belt,” he said. “You have to give credit to them (Melville), they were hard to break down and also tried to play some football when they had possession, so I think they will pick up a few other results in the group along the way.” Rhodes said games between themselves and Phoenix are always exciting and he’s looking forward to another tough test. “We definitely have a healthy rivalry with Phoenix, and more often than not they produce really exciting games to watch,” he explained. “At this stage of pre-season we are just looking to improve on our performance from last week and get some more match sharpness.”
On Saturday evening we head to Ashfield Sports Club for the Group B games. First up Balga will be looking to continue their good start to the tournament, when they meet Joondalup City (6.30pm). The late game sees Olympic Kingsway meet hosts Ashfield (8.30pm). Ashfield won convincingly last week, while Olympic lost to Balga, but Olympic defender Wayne Culverwell said they were unlucky not to get anything from last week, but they will be up for it on Saturday. “It wasn’t the result we would have hoped for but we had eight debutants in the squad, and a number of boys sitting on the sidelines or not started full training yet. The positives definitely outweighed the negatives throughout the 90 minutes, and we could have won it in the end. It's all about match fitness for us in readiness for the season proper,” he said. “Ashfield will be a tough test for us... I think if the boys go out with the same endeavour as they did against Balga, we should cause them a few problems.”
On Sunday its Group C games at Lark Hill. Canning City will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance last week, when they take on Fremantle City (5.00pm). Despite losing to Gosnells in week one, Fremantle City played some good football and they will fancy their chances of causing an upset against Paul Oliver’s side. In the late game the two winners from week one meet, with Rockingham City hosting Gosnells City (7.00pm) Rocky coach Rob Creaer was happy with his side performance last week and will be looking for more of the same against a good Gosnells side. “It's always pleasing to get the win, we had good energy and to perform how we did with ten men was really pleasing,” he explained. “It will be another big test for us this week, I watched a bit of the Gosnells game and they looked a very good side who thoroughly deserved their win. We will make some changes and get game time into our squad; we are fit and healthy so confidence is high going into the game.” Also on Sunday it’s the Group D games at Hartfield Park. The early game pits Western Knights and Curtin University. Curtin came from behind to win last week, while the Knights let a lead slip, and will be desperate to pick up three points this week. In the late game Swan United take on hosts Forrestfield United. Rod Banjac’s side performed well in the second half last week, to overrun the Knights, and he will be looking for a 90 minute performance this week. New Swan coach Matt Debarro was left to ponder what could have been last week after letting a lead slip, but the new look side will take time to gel.
GLORY HEAD TO SYDNEY
Perth Glory end their road trip on Saturday, when they meet Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium (2.00pm WA time) Kenny Lowe’s side have stayed in New Zealand for four days after beating Wellington Phoenix 1-0 last weekend. Chris Harold scored the winner and his rich vein of form is a huge boost for the club, scoring four goals in the last four games, and he has been rewarded with a two-year extension of his Glory contract. “I didn’t really think about it that much, it just fell into place, but if you look at it that way I had better find something to celebrate,” Harold said. “It does happen to players, when you have a milestone or something that you’ve achieved, you get a little more up for the game than you usually would. I’m a bit of an introvert so I like to think about things a lot, and tend to sometimes overthink them, so when you are coming off contract it is an added stress in your life. To have that security and stability makes me a lot more comfortable.”
The Glory squad is the best it’s been all season and competition for places is high. New Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Vadocz fitted in well last week, and will be better for the run, while Nebojsa Marinkovic and Gyorgy Sandor continue to impress. At the back Shane Lowry, Alex Grant, skipper Josh Risdon and Marc Warren have formed a solid defensive unit, while Ante Covic continues to show his experience. Spanish striker Diego Castro was carrying an injury last week and came off the bench, but Lowe will be hoping he if fit for the Sydney clash, and the coach will have a few selection headaches when he names his side, but it’s a good headache to have. “We have a few players with niggling injuries, but nobody wants to loss their place in the side, because we have players ready and waiting to take their spots,” Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said. In team news for the Sydney game Aryn Williams and Richard Garcia have been added to the squad
Sydney FC skipper Alex Brosque is in line to make a comeback to the side against the Glory, the striker has been hampered by a hamstring injury this season, he returned on Boxing day from the original injury, but re-injured it again and has been out ever since. The Sky Blues have struggled in front of goal, scoring just 24 goals in 18 games which is the lowest of the top seven teams in the league this season, so the return of the Marquee player is a huge boost to Graham Arnold’s side. “I’m defiantly ready now, and I’ve been as careful as I could possibly be this time around,” Brosque said. “I’ve been back in full training for a few weeks now and have cleared every hurdle and I’ll definitely be putting my hand up to start against the Glory, but it’s Arnie’s call.”
Sydney FC squad: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, GK Ivan NECEVSKI, 2 Seb RYALL, 5 Matt JURMAN, 6 Robert STAMBOLZIEV, 8 Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9 Shane SMELTZ, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Christopher NAUMOFF, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE, 17 David CARNEY, 18 Matt SIMON, 19 Jacques FATY, 21 Filip HOLOSKO, 22 Ali ABBAS, 23 Rhyan GRANT, 27 Mickael TAVARES - **two to be omitted** - Ins: STAMBOLZIEV (promoted), BROSQUE (return from injury),
Perth Glory squad: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11 Richard GARCIA, 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 17 Diego CASTRO, 19 Josh RISDON, 21 Kosta PETRATOS, 23 Krisztian VADOCZ, 28 Joe KNOWLES, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS, 31 Ross MILLARD - **two to be omitted** - Ins: GARCIA (returns from injury), WILLIAMS (returns from injury)
BARRERA CONFIDENT AHEAD OF MUST-WIN GAME
The importance of taking all three points from this weekend’s Night Series round is not lost on Jason Barrera. Inglewood United have home ground advantage over and Bayswater City on Saturday evening in a game both must win or face the very real prospect of making an early exit from the tournament.
“We have to get a win this week,” Barrera explained. “A loss or a draw would more than likely put us out of contention to proceed to the finals. It’s not going to be an easy task, Bayswater have been the team to beat over the last few years, but I’m confident that our team has the quality and workrate to get a positive result.”
Inglewood enters round three with three points, level with Bayswater, Perth Glory and Cockburn City but one less than group leader Floreat Athena. Barrera says the team are unlucky not to have a few more points on the board after strong performances against Floreat, who scored late to claim a 2-1 victory, and Cockburn, where Brian Woodall earned a 1-0 win.
“We played well against Floreat and Cockburn,” the midfielder said. More so Floreat, we dominated that game and created quite a few chances which on any other day we would have turned into goals. We were very unlucky to come away without the three points but, credit to Floreat, they made the most of their chances with two screamers.”
“We also dominated the majority of the Cockburn game, especially in the second half. We didn’t have as many clear cut chances as the previous week and we were fortunate with the goal, which Cockburn’s goalkeeper gifted us. Overall, we are looking good. The more games we play together, the better we will get … I’m confident we are going to do well this year.”
BIRIGHITTI UNSURE OVER NEXT MOVE
Off-contract Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says he is leaning towards staying with the A-League club rather than trying his luck in Europe again next season. Birighitti will sit down with his management at the end of the current campaign to make a firm decision, but said it was thanks to Newcastle's coaching staff that he is in what he believes to be career-best form.
"To be honest with you, I'm really enjoying my football at the moment," said the 24-year old. "It's the best I've felt physically and mentally and full credit has to go to the coaching staff, they have me in really good condition. I'm very lucky with the coaches we've got here, they're fantastic and just give me so much confidence."
"I'm very grateful I have a very good goalkeeping coach who helps me a lot and keeps me on the right track. I'll think about it (the future) when the season finishes, at the moment I'm just focused on doing well with the club. Hopefully, that can continue."
Birighitti spent part of last season on loan to Italian Serie B club Varese but he is in no hurry to repeat that. "I did come back a mature person, on and off the field," he said. "I will sit down with my management at the end of the season and go from there. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, I've done that in the past and it's backfired on me."
MANAGER MAPS OUT WILLIAMS RETURN
Rhys Williams could be set for another loan move away from Middlesbrough this month says manager Aitor Karanka. The 27-year-old defender has recovered from a two-year injury ordeal and spent the last four weeks on loan at Championship strugglers Charlton Athletic. However, making four appearances in total for the Addicks, Williams time in south London proved a tough one - playing in the heavy 5-0 drubbing at Huddersfield before Jose Riga’s side were hit for six by Hull City.
After his loan at the Valley came to an end last week, versatile Williams has returned to the Riverside - and Karanka has revealed another loan move could be in the offing. “When he was (at Charlton) the team lost both games and both were quite big defeats,” Karanka said. “It was bad for him but he is back with us and he is another alternative. Maybe he can go out on loan again because he has had a lot of time without playing. But we have to choose the best place for him to play.”
GLORY BOYS HEAD TO CANBERRA
Three Perth Glory youngsters are among the nation's best after landing a two year contract at the FFA Centre of Excellence in Canberra Teenagers Jacob Italiano, Jaiden Seldon and Bryce Bafford were playing in Glory's Under-18 team last year – now they'll be spending the next two years in the nation's capital honing their craft and skill under the watchful eyes of Australia's best youth coaches.
"I'm extremely proud" said Glory Under-18 coach Callum Salmon. "It's fantastic that Perth Glory has produced three players who will be in a professional full -time environment with the best coaches and access to the best facilities the country can offer." The trio follow in the footsteps of Glory young gun Jamal Reiners and returned striker Adam Taggart, who both spent time at the Centre of Excellence.
NICOLAIDIS “HONOURED” TO LEAD INGLEWOOD
New coach Taki Nicolaidis has vowed to guide Inglewood United into the upper reaches of the National Premier Leagues. Nicolaidis, 45, was formally revealed as first team coach yesterday, a week after the sudden resignation of Michael Garcia and only three months after accepting an assistant coach role with Inglewood.
“This is a club with tremendous history and I am honoured to have played and now coached Inglewood,” said Nicolaidis, who gained a State Cup winners medal with the club in 1999. “There is an abundance of talent at the club and we are determined to play an attacking style of football and bring to the club the success that it deserves.”
Nicolaidis admits he has been caught off-guard somewhat by his rapid ascension to head coach. “Michael’s resignation came as a real surprise,” he said. “I’m personally disappointed to see him resign, however, I also understand the commitment that is needed to be a head coach at this level and respect his decision and honesty.”
Nicolaidis, who’ll be assisted by Saul Contera, intends to build on the foundations laid by his predecessor. “At this stage I won’t be making any changes to our squad,” he said. “All the players will be given an opportunity to prove themselves during the Night Series and we will assess what areas we may need to strengthen before the season starts.”
“Michael has assembled a top-class squad and whilst I feel it is a stronger and more balanced squad on paper that last year, we still need to put it together on match day. I’m looking to improve in all areas and, with everything going plan during the league campaign, we will be playing finals football come the end of the season.”
GRIFFITHS VOWS TO REMAIN IN EUROPE
Netherlands-based Rostyn Griffiths is resisting strong A-League interest and has vowed to remain in Europe beyond this season after an impressive six months with Eredivisie outfit Roda JC. While fellow Australian Tomi Juric has battled injuries and rookie playmaker Daniel De Silva has remained largely on the fringes Griffiths, with 19 appearances in all competitions, has been thus far proved the most dependable of Roda’s Australian contingent.
It's unlikely Griffiths will remain at newly promoted Roda, where budgets are tight and expectations modest. His form has not gone unnoticed, with Perth Glory dangling an open invitation for his return along with several other A-League clubs. But the midfielder, who was on the books of Blackburn Rovers as a teenager, will spread the net in search of other opportunities beyond his one-season deal in the Netherlands.
“The goal was to come back to Europe and play at the highest level possible, get my foot in the door and prove myself,” he said. “I am not getting any younger, if the right opportunity comes along elsewhere, or if the club makes my situation good enough, then I will definitely stay. You have to weigh up the longevity of your career and where that will take you financially. It was hard to get back here, and I want to make the most of it.”
Griffiths confirmed that the A-League interest has been strong, but it didn’t distract him from his main purpose. "I am not looking to move back there right now, and I am working towards maybe a move elsewhere in Europe in the (northern) summer," he said. "I haven't put myself in this situation for some time. It was a bit of a gamble - a last chance to make an impression before I get too old. Every game, as it should always be, is really important."
Griffiths is nearing fitness again after a hamstring strain and should be pushing strongly for a recall for the visit of FC Twente on Saturday week as Roda look to continue to distance between themselves from the bottom three. They currently sit in 13th spot with 23 points from 21 games. “Our coach (Darij Kalezic) is very tactically aware, and plays a different way to a lot of teams in Holland, and that’s probably a good thing because that probably keeps the opposition guessing," he said.
Griffiths has been impressed with the Dutch devotion to playing out from the back, but said many Eredivisie teams lack toughness. “The nice thing is that even the bottom teams try and play the right way, but they can be a soft in their approach at times. It’s different to Britain or Australia. Physically soft, and maybe a bit mentally too," Griffiths said. “But technically they are more advanced than what I have been used to. There’s a big gap between the top five and the rest.”
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND TWO REVIEW
Perth SC maintained their perfect start to the QBE Night Series after a 4-2 win against ECU Joondalup in Group B at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening. The 19 times Night Series winners scored early through new signing Gustavo Catarcione, but Shane Pickering levelled on eight minutes for the Jacks. Catarcione regained the lead for Perth on the quarter hour, but then limped off with a hamstring injury moments later. Ayden Dragun made it 3-1, before Josh Booysen pulled one back on the stroke of half time. The second half was only two minutes old when ECU skipper Ryan Lowry was sent off, and it was backs to the wall for The Jacks. Perth dominated possession, but had to wait to the final minute to wrap up the points, when man of the match Clark Keltie sent Harley Orr clear to score. “Perth SC coach Gareth Naven was pleased to see his young recruits keep up the pace throughout the match. “We gave opportunities to some of our younger players today to show they can cope with the state league level,” he told the Perth SC website. “I think it was all positives for the club that those players did well tonight.”
In the late game in Group B Sorrento hit back from 2-0 down to beat Armadale 3-2. James Atkins gave the Reds the lead on 24 minutes, after good approach work from Ellis Healing and Alex Salmon. They doubled their advantage five minutes later, with Salmon scoring this time. But Sorrento hit back with two goals in the final three minutes of the half. Danny Cain scored directly from a corner on 42 minutes, and in stoppage time former Reds defender Billy Quinncroft was brought down on the edge of the box and Sean Canham drilled home the resulting free kick. The win was secured for the Gulls on the hour. Alex Morgan dinked the ball over the top for Canham, and the English striker’s first time lob looped over Alfie Brincat and into the net.
Inglewood United won for the first time in the completion after a hard fought 1-0 win against Cockburn City in Group A at Dalmatinac Park on Saturday night. The only goal of the game came on 70 minutes. Cockburn keeper Dominic Savoldelli’s clearance went straight to striker Brian Goodall, who scored into an empty net. New Inglewood signing John Migas said they deserved the win. “It’s been a little hectic at the club this week so it was good to get the three points,” he said. “It was a game of few chances but I felt we had majority of the possession throughout the game and deserved the win.” In the late game a late goal from Floreat Athena’s Jon Stynes gave them a 1-0 win against Perth Glory. It was a tight encounter with both sides having good chances but the decisive goal came on 82 minutes. Blair Govan’s long ball sent Nathan Scully racing clear; he squared the ball to Jon Stynes who made no mistake from close-range.
On Sunday it was off to Macedonia Park and in the early game Stirling Lions edged out Balcatta 2-1 in the local derby. The Lions opened the scoring on 12 minutes, David Micevski played a ball into Daniel Micevski and he fired it low into the bottom corner of the net. It was 2-0 on 24 minutes, again the Micevski brothers combined and this time Daniel finished superbly into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area. Balcatta hit back two minutes before half time through Cameron Teece, but they couldn’t find the equaliser in the second half. “It was an even game, and Balcatta had the better of the second half, but it was good to get another win,” Daniel Micevski said. “It’s great to have Dave back at the club, and we worked really well together, and as a team we have shown some good signs. I feel there is more to come.” In the late game Bayswater City bounced back from last week’s loss to Perth Glory by beating Subiaco AFC 3-0. City opened the scoring after only five minutes; Sam Mitchinson’s low cross was turned into his own net by a Subiaco defender. They doubled their lead on 35 minutes, new signing Jack Allen raced through the middle of the park and fired low into the corner of the net. The win was wrapped up on 56 minutes, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda got on the end of Brian Farrell’s cross. “It was a good performance, but unfortunately I had to come off with an injury in the first half,” City striker David Heagney said. “The boys put in a good shift and could have won by more goals, but it was a solid team performance.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - ROUND ONE REVIEW
In Friday night’s opening State League Night Series, Rockingham City opened their Group C games with a stunning 5-1 win against Canning City at Lark Hill. Shane Boyle gave the newly promoted side the lead after only five minutes. Canning hit back through Callum Roberts, but the home side dominated from there. Ryan Kennedy scored the second from the spot, before Kennedy added his second with a free kick. A double from Alex Grayson after the break sealed a good first up win for Rob Crerar’s side. In the earlier game Gosnells City ran out 2-0 winners against Fremantle City. Jason Pottier gave Gosnells the lead after good work from Aaron Coslani. Fremantle pressed and put Gosnells under pressure but couldn’t find the equaliser and Gosnells wrapped up the points when Coslani cut the ball back to Wade Farmer to score from close-range.
In group D at Hartfield Park Curtin University opened its campaign with a 3-1 win against Swan United. John Monterosso put United ahead from the penalty spot early, with Curtin struggling to keep possession and United went into the break with the lead. Khaled Salhah levelled for Curtin with a stunning free kick early in the second half, and they began to get on top. Curtin went in front when Dilip Thapa cross flew into the top corner of the net, and Salhah added his second to seal the win. Curtin gave a first team debut to 17-year old Trent Piccicacco off the bench. In the early game hosts Forrestfield United beat the reigning Night Series Champions 2-1. It was the Knights who opened the scoring on 17 minutes, Dean Thurston capitalising on a defensive error and chipping Brad Eiffie. The home side hit back early after the break. Jimmy Duncan took on several players before being brought down in the box for a penalty in the 48th minute, and new signing Milan Vulin converted the penalty with ease. Moments later Andy Harold received his second yellow card on 54 minutes, but the ten men scored the winner on 72 minutes. Duncan eased past three Knights defenders before unleashing a curling strike from 18 yards which flew into the net.
On Saturday night Joondalup United opened their Group A games with a 7-0 win against local rivals Quinns FC at Wanneroo Reserve. New signing Stuart Montgomery bagged a brace, with other goals to Jacob Shore, Callum Stocks, Lee Jones, Greg Pellow and Joel Ledsham. In the late game hosts Wanneroo City were beaten 2-1 by UWA-Nedlands. In Group E, at Hartfield Park Shamrock Rovers beat Morley Windmills 4-0. Mwansa Masonda, Sean Browne and Paul Concannon were on target and Coach John O’Reilly was pleased with the performance. “Yes I was pretty happy with the performance, and I thought the new players fitted in well,” he said. “The old players continued to do for me what is required, so for a first up game we’re just happy to take all three points.” In the early game Dianella White Eagles beat Ellenbrook United 3-2.
On Sunday night Balga won their first Group B game after a 2-1 win against Kingsway Olympic at the Ashfield Sports Club, with Jono McGahern putting Balga ahead with a close range strike after eight minutes. Olympic hit back just before the half when Mark McAllister scored well from a deep cross. Balga started to control the game in the second half, and it was new signing Hubert Hakizimana who put Balga back in front. In the final five minutes Olympic had a number of chances, but could not find the equaliser. In the late game Ashfield overcame a gritty Joondalup City 4-2. On target for the home side were Alan Carrol, Ross Cosgrove, Dan Corbett and a Jay Lang penalty. In Group F First Division Champions Mandurah City were held to a 1-1 draw against a ten man Melville City in steamy conditions. Jordan Rhodes gave Mandurah the lead from a free kick, and they were totally dominating. Gavin Brown’s side began the second half well but then had Daragh Lindsay sent off, but the ten men hit back and Ian Coffey equalised 15 minutes from time, and they almost won it late.
HAROLD HEADS GLORY HOME
A bullet like header from Chris Harold on 21 minutes has given Perth Glory a 1-0 victory against Wellington Phoenix at the Westpac Stadium on Sunday. The 23-year-old celebrated the signing of a new two-year extension of his A-League contract with the Glory, by scoring his fourth goal of the season. The win over the ditch extended the Glory’s unbeaten run to four games and keeps their finals hopes alive. “It was a good win for us and a clean sheet to boot, so I can’t ask for anything more,” Glory coach Kenny Lowe said. “I thought the Phoenix came out of the blocks really sharp and asked a lot of questions, but we weathered that, changed it around in the second half and got into the game a lot more.”
Lowe gave a starting debut to new Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Vadocz, but it was the home side that were on top early. The first chance fell to the lively Joel Stevens, who found space on the right of the penalty area, but his shot was superbly tipped over by Ante Covic at full stretch. The Glory settled and on 21 minutes they hit the front. Nebojsa Marinkovic whipped in a curling free kick, and the unmarked Harold rose highest to head past Phoenix keeper Glen Moss. The home side, which are in free fall on the A-League table, went close to the equaliser seven minutes later, Blake Powell’s long-range shot was saved by Covic.
The Glory had the ball in the net again on 34 minutes, with Gyorgy Sandor heading home Marinkovic’s free kick, but the assistants flag was raised for offside. The Phoenix began to take control of the game, and Stevens’ shot flashed wide of the post, but in stoppage time they had their best chance. Louis Fenton sent in a brilliant ball across the six yard box which fell kindly to the onrushing Michael McGlinchey, but with the goal at his mercy the midfielder shot straight at Covic who saved well.
It was a good start from the team from the West and Marinkovic lost his marker and his shot was heading for the top corner of the net, but moss produced a stunning save to deny him. Andy Keogh had struggled all afternoon to stay on side, but on the hour he beat the offside trap and raced one-on-one with Moss, he rounded the Phoenix keeper, but the angle was tight and his shot crashed off the post.
The Phoenix weren’t giving up without a fight, but they were finding it difficult to get past the Glory back four, with Shane Lowry and Alex Grant outstanding at the heart of the defence. The home side did rally late, and Roly Bonevacia flashed a free kick over the top, before Fenton’s header looped over the top. But at the final whistle it was the Glory celebrating with their supporters, it was the first part of the Shed’s ‘Tour of Duty’
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND TWO PREVIEW
It’s week two of the QBE Night Series and it kicks off on Friday evening in Group B, with the surprise package of the first round ECU Joondalup taking on Perth SC at Percy Doyle Reserve (6.30pm) The northern suburbs club hit five against Balcatta, with new Scottish import Gordon Smith scoring and impressing on his debut. The former Hearts striker said they hope to kick on against a good Perth side. “We played well last week, especially in the first half, and yes I’m delighted with the goal but the win is more important,” he said. “The lads have told me Perth is one of the top sides, but if we play like we did Sunday and how we’ve been training, I believe we can get another win.” Perth edged out Armadale in week one, with Reece Vittiglia on target, and with Adrian Madaschi, Dean Evans and Clark Keltie in their side it will be a great encounter to open the second round. In the late game Sorrento host Armadale, both sides looking to bounce back from first up defeats. Armadale keeper Alfie Brincat made his debut for the reds last week and he thought they deserved something from the match. “We had chances to get a draw, and could have won it. I thought we were all over them in the last fifteen minutes, but we didn’t have much luck in front of goal,” he said. “They are a big physical team, but if we play like we did last week I’m sure we are than capable to get all three points. We will take a lot of confidence from the performance against Perth, and with the new squad only having been training since early January we will take time to get used to each other, but the signs are good.”
On Saturday night Dalmatinac Park is the venue for Group A games, and first up hosts Cockburn City meet Inglewood United (6.00pm). The big news in the week was the resignation of Inglewood Coach Michael Garcia for family reasons (Everyone at Footballwa wishes Michael all the best in the future). Taki Nicolaidis takes control of the side with Saul Contera for the game, and they will be hoping to kick start the tournament after losing 2-1 to Floreat Athena last week. Cockburn edged out Subiaco AFC last week, and Cockerels’ defender Euen Grant, who is back after missing most of last season with a knee injury, said it was good to start the competition off with a win. “It’s always good to start of these sorts of competitions off with a win, and a clean sheet,” he said. “They (Subiaco) made it hard for us; they are direct and didn’t stop until the final whistle, but we were happy to run jelling out winners.” There has been a huge turnover of players at Cockburn, but Grant said they are well, and they are looking forward to taking on Inglewood. “We have signed a few good players, and it does take a while to get used to each other’s game, but the signs so far are positive,” he explained. “Inglewood has signed a few big name players, but we will treat it like any other game, and focus on our game.” In the late game the two winners of week One meet, with Perth Glory taking on the holders of the Night Series Floreat Athena (8.00pm) The Glory youngsters beat Bayswater for the first time in their NPL history, but their squad may be depleted this week, with some players pushing for A-League selection. Floreat came from behind to beat Inglewood, and new recruit Declan Hargreaves scoring a stunner to get the sides level. It should be another blockbuster and it should be a good Saturday night of football in Spearwood.
On Sunday it’s off to Macedonia Park, and the early Group B game sees hosts Stirling Lions and Balcatta doing battle in the local derby (5.00pm). Stirling came from behind to beat Sorrento last week, with striker Robert Petkov bagging a double, while new keeper John Perkins impressed on his debut. Balcatta skipper James Sammut said they will be looking to put last week’s heavy defeat behind them and get their campaign started. “First half we didn't come to play, our pressure wasn't good enough and we made too many mistakes. Second half we come out and were better all around the park but unfortunately you can’t play a half of football and expect to win,” he said. “Stirling will be another tough game, they have made some good signings in the off season to strengthen their squad and came away with three points against Sorrento last week. They will be looking to make it two from two but hopefully we can string a good 90 minutes of football together and get the win. It's still early days, so hopefully the more we play together we will start to get a better understanding of how we play.” In the late game Bayswater City meet Subiaco AFC in Group A (7.00pm). Both sides will be aiming to win their first game in the tournament, after both were edged out last week. Jack Jones scored his first goal for City last week, but they lost to Perth Glory, while Subiaco were beaten 1-0, with the unfortunate David Stokoe scoring an own goal.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - ROUND ONE PREVIEW
The Football West State League Night series kicks off this weekend, and it all starts at Hartfield Park in Forrestfield in Group D. The opening game sees Division Two sides Curtin University and Swan United doing battle (6.30pm). In the late game hosts Forrestfield United entertain last season’s night Series winners Western Knights (8.30pm) United, who were last season’s Division Two Champions, have worked really hard in the off-season, and new signing Mark Barnett said there is exciting times ahead for the club. “The squad this year is a force to be reckoned with. We have quality in all areas of the park and players with cool heads and bags full of experience,” he said. ‘We have already proven we can compete with the best even after such a short period of time together as a group. Once we grow as a unit this squad has the potential to really do some damage this year.” The defender said the Knights will be a huge challenge but they are confident they can get a result. “We have played a number of strong NPL teams over the past few weeks, which has prepared us for the night series and beyond,’ Barnett explained. “Western Knights won the night series last year so they will be raring to go. We need play our football that we have done already against the likes of Inglewood and Bayswater and I’m positive we will get the right result, and we’re all looking forward to kick starting our 2016 season.”
Also on Friday, Group C games take place at Lark Hill. In the early game Fremantle City take on Gosnells City (6.30pm), while the later game sees host Rockingham City entertain Canning City. (8.30pm). Canning Coach Paul Oliver is happy with the pre-season so far and is looking for a strong performance in the Night Series. “We have managed to keep hold of the bulk of the squad and added some real quality, mainly defensively. I think one of the most important signings we have made this season is Paul McCue who has come on board as a senior coach and has made an immediate impact on the lads,” he said. “It is early days and we are happy with the way the squad is tracking and will use the Night Series to try a few things and identify if and where we need to improve before the season starts. We are confident of making solid improvements from last season.” Rockingham gained promotion to Division One last season in the play-offs and Oliver knows they will be up for the challenge. “Rockingham is a very well structured side with a lot of talent. Rob (Crerar) will have them well drilled and they will want to make a statement as they enter Division one,” he said. “Canning and Rockingham have always had good rivalry and Friday night will be no different. We obviously both want to get the desired result but what is most important for me is that my lads get used to the system that we want to play and the brand of football that I know we are capable of.”
On Saturday night it’s off to Wanneroo Reserve and the opening Group A game is a local derby, with Quinns FC taking on Joondalup United (6.30pm) United Coach Nick Jennings said it’s a good first up test for his side. “Night series games particularly the first fixture are a bit of a step into the unknown, both teams have new Head Coaches so both sets of players will be trying hard to impress,” he said. “Games between the two sides tend be tight affairs and we'll have to be up for the physical chalk, however we won't underestimate them.” Jennings said he’s delighted to have kept the full squad from last season and added quality too. “The boys are all looking fit and are all eager to start playing competitive matches which is how we view the Night Series. We have retained all the players from last season’s first team squad and have promoted Joel Ledsham and Jacob Shore from last year’s successful reserve team,” he said. “In addition we have a few guys who I'll refer as trialists at this stage striving for a place in the squad and with Robbie Bain returning to the fold after a year playing for our Sunday team due to work commitments, we are looking stronger than this time last year.” In the late game Wanneroo City under new coach Lee Ryan host UWA-Nedlands (8.30pm) Also on Saturday Hartfield Park will be holding a double header in Group E. First up Dianella White Eagles will play Ellenbrook United (6.30pm), while in the last game Morley Windmills take on Shamrock Rovers (8.30pm). Despite the relegation of Morley last season Rovers’ coach John O’Reilly is expecting a tough game. “Morley has always had a good work ethic and John Castrilli will continue to promote that,” he said. “We have recruited well in some key areas and I’m looking forward to see how we gel the group from last season. This game will be a good starting point to gage where we are.”
Final games are on Sunday at Ashfield Reserve (Group B) and Lark Hill (Group F). In the early game at Ashfield, Balga and Kingsway Olympic meet (5.00pm), while the late game Ashfield hosts Joondalup City (7.00pm) Ashfield defender Tom Kennedy said new Coach Tony Maguire has them ready for another Night Series challenge. “The squad is looking good, couple of new boys but still majority of the lads from last year so not too much has changed. Tony has us working hard in training so will be good to get a couple of games under the belt in night series and see where we are at,” he said. “We know Joondalup City are a strong side having faced them in last year’s night series, so we are prepared for a tough, physical match but hoping our hard work in the past few weeks at training will pay off and we can get the three points.” The final Sunday games are in Group F at Lark Hill. First up South West Phoenix and Kelmscott Roos meet at 5,00pm, while in the late game last season’s Division One Champions Mandurah City take on Melville City (7.00pm) Mandurah Coach Doug Hesketh said they haven’t had much time to celebrate last season’s success, and they are looking forward to the season ahead. “Yes the season came around very quickly, but we’ve been working with the group a while now and trying to gel some of our younger players prior to the season as back up and future league players at MCFC and it's looking OK to be honest,” he said. “The squad is looking solid and the new president and committee have been very busy setting the scene for 2016 aligning our junior club which is closer than ever now I think !and we are all on the same page and working hard together. We are looking forward to the game Sunday I know Melville is a great club they will be tough and organised team but we will need to be on our game early and give it our best shot.”
GLORY SET FOR LONG-DISTANCE DERBY
It’s the long distance derby on Sunday with Perth Glory travelling to the Westpac Stadium to play Wellington Phoenix (12 noon WA Time), and the Glory supporters will be there in numbers as the Shed Boys take off on their ‘Tour of Duty’. Perth Glory boss Kenny Lowe says form away from home will dictate whether or not they can take part in the Hyundai A-League finals series in April, and they will be aiming for its third win on the trot across the ditch. They head there without Captain Richard Garcia and defender Aryn Williams, who are injured, but new Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Vadocz is in line to make his club debut.
Lowe said the players and coaching staff have had a talk to the playing group and told them we need to get points on the road. “We’ve had a little in-house chat and we’ve said if we want to do anything we’ve got to win games away from home, touch wood our home form’s been ok," Lowe explained. “It’s like I said when I came into the club if we change our away form, we’ll be a finals team and I think we only lost one game away last year. Between now and then if we change the away form, we’ve got a chance, but let’s see how we go this weekend."
Perth remain seven points behind sixth-placed Adelaide United, but back-to-back wins, and defender Marc Warren said the players’ confidence is high. “The feeling among all the players is good, but the wins obviously help,” Warren said. “With all the new players coming in, the confidence is great. “Training has got better. I think competition for spots has boosted everyone’s will to win. “At this point of the season I don’t think there’s any time for the new players to come in and get used to everyone. They have to come in firing, which they have.”
Last time the two teams met was back in Round 2 at nib Stadium. When the Phoenix won 2-1 against a ten-man Glory side with a last minutes winner from Vince Lia. New English striker Alex Jones is unavailable for Sunday’s game, and Albert Riera is suspended. Skipper Andrew Durante and Matthew Ridenton return to the squad from suspension and injury respectively. Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said they need to start taking their chances. "I just don't think we have quality strikers up front," he said. "The service is good - I think it could improve - but I just don't think we've got the experience up front."
Wellington Phoenix squad: GK Glen MOSS, GK Lewis ITALIANO, 2 Manny MUSCAT, 3 Justin GULLEY, 4 Roly BONEVACIA, 5 Troy DANASKOS, 6 Dylan FOX, 8 Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10 Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11 Kwabena APPIAH, 12 Blake POWELL, 15 James MCGARRY, 16 Louis FENTON, 19 Tom DOYLE, 22 Andrew DURANTE (c), 23 Matthew RIDENTON, 28 Joel STEVENS - **one to be omitted** - Ins: Andrew DURANTE (returns from suspension), Matthew RIDENTON (returns from injury) - Outs: 13.Albert RIERA (suspended)
Perth Glory squad: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 4 Shane LOWRY, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 9 Andy KEOGH, 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Hagi GLIGOR, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 23 Krisztian VADOCZ, 24 Jamal REINERS, 25 Jacob COLLARD, 28 Joe KNOWLES - **two to be omitted** - Ins: Hagi GLIGOR (promoted), Krisztian VADOCZ (pending sports visa), Jacob COLLARD (promoted), Joe KNOWLES (promoted) - Outs: Richard Garcia (knee – 1 week), Aryn WILLIAMS (hamstring – 1 week)
HAROLD RE-SIGNS FOR MORE GLORY (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory FC is excited to announce speedy winger Chris Harold has signed on with the club for a further two years. It means the Perth born 23-year old, now in his fourth year at Glory will stay at the club until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season. Harold recently notched up his 100th Hyundai A-League match and is approaching his 78th match in the Glory jersey after first joining the club in 2012/13.
"I'm very excited and I’m very much looking forward to the next couple of years in Perth. It's become my home now. Finals are not out of the question the way we've been playing and I think the teams above us are worried we're going to catch them" he said. Since heading west from the now defunct Gold Coast United, Harold has scored 14 goals for Glory. Three of them have come in the past month, including a double against Newcastle Jets and a vital equalizer against Melbourne City. "I think I've been playing well and getting into good goal scoring positions, it's just a matter of me doing that and I'm sure the goals will follow".
He also said the vibe in the camp was upbeat and positive on the back of five new player recruits in the transfer window and successive back to back wins. "Looking forward everyone can see the club is taking positive steps and I think with the players we've brought in everyone can see a lot of quality and not for just the rest of this season but for the next couple of seasons" he said. Harold and his teammates travel to New Zealand today to take on Wellington Phoenix in the Long Distance Derby Cup.
2016 NIGHT SERIES HANDBOOK NOW AVAILABLE (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Enjoy the traditional pre-season tournament with the 2016 Night Series Handbook (Round 2). Available exclusively from www.inglewoodunitedfc.com.au, the Handbook has been designed for download to your mobile device and viewing at the game of your choice this weekend.
GLORY PLAYERS HEAD HOME TO JOONDALUP (courtesy ecujoondalup.com.au)
It was a home coming of sorts at the ECU Football Stadium on Tuesday evening, with Perth Glory players Josh Risdon, Aryn Williams, Adam Taggart, Shane Lowry, Alex Grant, Mitch Oxborrow and Joe Knowles heading back to their former club as part of the ‘Play Football Campaign’. The Glory players, who are preparing for the long trip to Wellington to take on the Phoenix this weekend, mixed with the ECU Joondalup players, coaches and committee members, and many reminisced on their time at the Northern Suburbs club.
Joe Knowles made his debut for ECU under current Coach Dale McCulloch and he said it was a great to come back and catch up with his friends. “It was good going back there, it brought back lots of memories for me, all good ones,” he said. “I played my whole junior career there so it’s always good to see coaches and former team mates. I like the way ECU have developed and changed these last few months, things are looking really professional and positive and it’s great to see the club moving forward.”
The PS4 National Premier League WA club have former Glory midfielder Steven McGarry in their side this season and he said it was great to see the lads at the club, and he said the ECU juniors enjoyed seeing their hero’s and took part in a question and answer section after their training session. “What a great night,” he said. “The club are really proud of the players, and we hope ECU have helped them in a small way along the road to becoming a professional football. “The juniors enjoyed talking to the players and although they were a little shy, some of the questions made the Glory lads laugh, especially the young lad who asked Shane Lowry about Fahid Ben Khalfallah sending off on Saturday.”
Steve Amphlett has been at the club for 16 years and he said to see the players go on to play at a higher level is fantastic for the club, and WA football. “The lads left here as juniors, but they have all returned to the A-League with Perth Glory as men,” he said. “They say you never forget your roots and talking to them tonight showed that. We’re all proud of the seven players, and we also had Ross Millard with us too, who has been on the bench for the A-League side this season, and it would be amiss of me to forget him. “We’d like to thank the Glory for bringing them up to the club tonight and we hope they can return again one day, and we wish them all the best for the rest of the A-League season.”
GARCIA RESIGNS FOR FAMILY REASONS (courtesy inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
It is with great reluctance that Inglewood United announces the resignation of coach Michael Garcia, effective immediately. Garcia, a former Australian youth international, cited work and family commitments as being behind his decision to relinquish the coaching reins after 18-months at the helm.
“While we are obviously disappointed Michael has stepped down as coach of Inglewood United, we fully respected his decision” said club president Ces Colli. “Michael advised me yesterday that his work load and Inglewood commitments were affecting time with his family, and that this had left him feeling mentally fatigued.”
“Michael is a person of great integrity and, as such, he did not wish to let the club, its players or himself down. He felt it best to step aside at this early stage of the season to allow the club to build on what has been an exciting and promising start. As a club we will move swiftly to minimise the impact of Michael’s departure.”
“On behalf of the Executive, I thank Michael for his contribution to Inglewood United and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.” Assistant coach Taki Nicolaidis will oversee preparations for this weekend’s Night Series game at Cockburn City.
TAGGART THRILLED WITH GLORIOUS PERTH
New recruit Adam Taggart says a resurgent Perth Glory are playing some of the best football he's seen at the club. The former A-League Golden Boot winner was on the sidelines as Glory defeated Melbourne Victory 3-2 in front of over 10,000 fans on Saturday night.
Glory sit seven points outside the top six but notched back-to-back wins for the first time this season, following on from last week's 6-1 hammering of Newcastle Jets. "This is fantastic, this is the best I've seen Perth play in a long time and it's great to now be involved and see them doing so well," Taggart said.
The 22-year old re-joined his former club following a frustrating 18-month spell with London side Fulham. Having already represented Fulham and gone on loan to Dundee United this season, FIFA regulations prevent Taggart from turning out for a third side.
Despite the enforced hiatus, Taggart was optimistic about his footballing future. "I can't wait ... it's going to be an exciting time next season," said Taggart. "My job at the moment is to support the boys here and try help them to make the finals this year."
"It's a unique opportunity the next few months and it's something I really need to utilise," said Taggart. "It's not an opportunity many footballers would get so I'm going to make the most of it and make sure my body and everything else is ready for the start of next season."
MATILDAS CAPTAIN DE VANNA'S CLUB FUTURE UP IN AIR
Australia international Lisa De Vanna is clubless in the wake of Melbourne City's W-League triumph, with no plans to sign up anywhere soon. De Vanna, 31, has not committed to Melbourne for the club's title defence and the striker has yet to decide whether to submit her body to the rigours of a National Women's Soccer League season in the United States.
De Vanna performed heroics at the World Cup in Canada last June, captaining Australia in each match despite an ankle injury so severe she could barely train between matches. The mercurial forward has not enjoyed an injury-free W-League campaign and it's those issues that are front of mind when considering her playing future.
"I haven't decided where I want to go," said De Vanna, who has representated Australia on 106 occasions. "Am I interested (in playing in America)? Yes and no. My concern is that I'm not 21 and they play on (artificial) turf. I have to think of a club where I'm going to get good football and they care about my body."
De Vanna's potential departure is a headache for Melbourne coach Joe Montemurro, who has already lost Scottish international Kim Little for next season. De Vanna is open to staying within the club's football family, and spending a season in the English Women's Super League. But it's this months Olympic Games qualifiers that are occupying her mind.
"For me, there is nothing more important than qualifying for a major event like the Olympics," said De Vanna. "It'd be nice to go to Manchester City and stay with an ally. I'm going to talk to Staj and he can tell me what he thinks because my priority is my country."
De Vanna played a devastating hand in Melbourne City's 4-1 Grand Final win over Sydney FC on Sunday. "We talk about Grand Finals and winning it, of course that's big," she said. "The biggest thing is that we went through the season undefeated. The Grand Final was the icing on the cake. To finally be W-League champions is a great feeling."
GLORY SET OFF ON THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION
Perth Glory can prove their form slump is over in a critical two weeks ahead — but they will have to confirm it on the road where their record is poor. Glory have just one win and one draw in eight away attempts and travel to New Zealand to face Wellington Phoenix on Sunday before tackling Sydney six days later.
Coach Kenny Lowe says away form is key to pushing for a finals place after his side’s 3-2 win over defending champions Melbourne Victory on Saturday night. Glory are seven points off the finals places with ten games left to play after sixth-placed Adelaide United beat Newcastle Jets yesterday.
“If we want to go where we want to go, we’ve got to come to the party with an away record. It’s that simple,” Lowe said. “There’s the gauntlet. It’s been thrown down. I’m sure the guys will grasp it and the guys will kick on.” Lowe said players had increased their own workload in recent weeks.
TAGGART WANTS TO BECOME THE NEW DESPOTOVSKI
Socceroos striker Adam Taggart wants to become Perth Glory’s new Bobby Despotovski, but he’ll have to wait until next season to strut his stuff. Taggart has signed on with Glory until mid-2018 but, under FIFA rules, is ineligible to play this season because he has already been registered for two clubs in the one year — Fulham and Dundee United.
Taggart grew up idolising Glory, and he made ten appearances for his hometown club over two seasons before moving to Newcastle Jets for more game time. Now 22 and considered one of the brightest young strikers in Australia, Taggart wants Glory to replicate their golden era of the now-defunct national Soccer League.
Glory were the NSL’s powerhouse club, winning three league Premierships and two Championships before the competition made way for the A-League more than a decade ago. Despotovski played a key role in that success, scoring a club record 113 goals in 241 appearances.
Taggart would love nothing more than to emulate Despotovski's feats, and his priority remains firmly fixed on leading the Glory to A-League title success. “I don’t have an emotional connection to any other club other than Perth,” Taggart said. “It was what I grew up doing. You go to the game with your dad watching Bobby Despotovski putting away goals every week.
“Now it’s my opportunity to do that. After being a supporter as a kid and the buzz I used to get coming to the games, it’s important to me as a person to try to do something really great here. “Not just have a good year or not just make the finals — I want to win the league with this team and this coaching staff.”
Taggart shot to prominence at Newcastle in 2013/14, scoring 16 goals to win the Golden Boot and Young Footballer of the Year awards. But an ongoing groin issue turned his dream move to Fulham into a nightmare, with the striker failing to play for the English Premier League club before being loaned to Scottish club Dundee United.
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND ONE, SUNDAY REVIEW
The QBE Night Series continued on Sunday, and Perth Glory started their first ever game in this competition, with a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Bayswater City in Group A at Dalmatinac Park. Jack Jones had given the League Champions the lead four minutes into the second half, heading home Todd Howarth’s corner, but the Glory levelled on 72 minutes. Joe Knowles was bundled over in the box and Hagi Gligor fired home the resulting penalty. It looked like the points would be shared but five minutes from time the Glory youngsters won it. Some great approach work ended with Kosta Petratos, who fired home his first goal for the club, after signing last month. “I thought it was a great game, it’s always hard when you play against Bayswater,” Knowles said. “But I thought we showed the character and the desire to win that we had at the end of the NYL season, and I think we got what we deserve in the end.”
In the late game and own goal from David Stokoe, nineteen minutes from time has gave Cockburn City a 1-0 win against Subiaco AFC. “Great start for the season ahead, played some good football at times,” Cockburn midfielder Cameron Edwards said. “We created chances and dealt with the pressure from Subiaco, and we are also pleasing to keep a clean sheet.”
In Group A Stirling Lions came from behind to beat hosts Sorrento 3-2 in the early game at Percy Doyle Reserve. The home side were ahead on 13 minutes, Billy Quinncroft was sent clear one-on-one with new Lions keeper John Perkins, and the striker made no mistake against his former club. The Lions hit back and were level seven minutes later. David Micevski’s deep cross found Robert Petkov who headed home via the post. But three minutes before half time Sorrento regained the lead, good approach work ended with Scott Bulloch, who finished clinically past Perkins. Stirling hit back just after the hour. David Micevski waltzed past three Sorrento players and cut the ball back to Petkov who finished low past James Morgan. David Micevski and Miki Vujacic both hit the cross bar as the Lions looked to find the winner, and in the first minute of stoppage time they found it. Vujacic’s free kick took a deflection off the wall and into the top corner of the net to win it. “It was great to get the three points in the end because I felt we were the better side on the day,” David Micevski said. “Hopefully we can build on the win and improve on certain areas next week.”
In the late game ECU Joondalup beat Balcatta 5-2. First half goals to new Scottish striker Gordon Smith, Paul Miller and Oliver Annis, put The Jacks in control. Zelfy Nazary pulled one back for Balcatta just after the hour from the penalty spot, but Steven McGarry added another for ECU moments later. Debaba Mtwale scored Balcatta’s second late on but Annis added his second to finish off the scoring eight minutes from time. “We’ve worked hard in the pre-season and it was nice to get a first win tonight,” two goalscorer Annis said. “I was happy with my performance and of course the two goals, it shows the good squad we have at the club at the moment but like the gaffer said it’s still early days and we need to keep improving.”
GLORY VICTOROUS IN A FIVE GOAL THRILLER
Perth Glory FC extended its unbeaten Hyundai A-League run against Melbourne Victory to six games after a hard fought 3-2 win at nib Stadium on Saturday night. Andy Keogh opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a lob from the edge of the box, before Diego Castro doubled the lead two minutes later. Besart Berisha cut the lead at the break, and the visitors were reduced to ten men when Fahid Ben Khalfallah was sent off on 68 minutes. But the ten men levelled ten minutes later, again through Berisha. But the Glory won all three points when Castro converted a penalty eight minutes from time to send the 10,501 crowd home happy. “It was a good performance. They’re a super team. They ask some massive questions, even at 10 men,” Kenny Lowe said. “When we had to step up again, we stepped up again. I thought the first half, I’m not sure you’ll see a better game, end to end really.”
Lowe lost defender Aryn Williams in the warm up, and he was replaced in the starting line up by new signing Shane Lowry. Andy Keogh also came into the side as the home side looked to continue their good form. Nebojsa Marinkovic tried his luck early, but his shot flashed wide of the target, before Oliver Bozanic’s free kick whistled just wide of the post. But on 27 minutes the Glory hit the front. A long clearance from Glory goalkeeper Covic was misjudged by Victory defender Thomas Deng, and Keogh nipped in and lobbed Vukovic, for his first goal since returning to the club last month. The crowd hardly had to get back in their seats when the Glory doubled their advantage.
Nebojsa Marinkovic’s powerful strike was only parried by Vukovic, and Keogh’s follow-up shot crashed off the post, but he rebound fell to Castro who drilled the ball home from eight-yards. The Glory went close to a third five minutes from time, but Vukovic produced a stunning one-handed save to touch Marinkovic’s powerful free kick onto the bar and away to safety. But in the shadows of the break the Victory reduced the margin. Berisha, who had been closely marked by Glory centre backs Alex Grant and Lowry all night was found by Ben Khalfallah just inside the box, he superbly held off his marker and dragged the ball back, and finished with aplomb past Covic. A stunning individual goal and it had the Victory back in the game.
The game took another twist on 68 minutes. Ben Khalfallah and Lowry tangled in the area and the Tunisian midfielder kicked out at the Glory defender and after consulting with his assistant referee Kris Griffiths-Jones showed him a red card, this after he had shown him a yellow in the first instance. But the ten men hit back and they levelled ten minutes later. Kosta Barbarouses’ corner picked out Berisha at the back post and he headed his side level. But the Glory weren’t to be outdone and Grant header crashed off the crossbar on 71 minutes and ten minutes later they got the winner. Josh Risdon’s cross from the left was heading for Keogh, but he nudged in the back by Matthieu Delpierre, and the referee pointed to the spot. Castro stepped up and sent Vukovic the wrong way, to send the Shed into delirium and claim a vital three points.
GLORY SIGN FORMER HUNGARIAN INTERNATIONAL
Perth Glory continue to bolster their squad in the January transfer window with the signing of former Hungarian international midfielder Krisztian Vadocz for the remainder of the 2015/16 campaign. The 30-year-old completed his medical on Saturday and has been brought in as an injury replacement. Vadocz has played across Europe, including time in France with AJ Auxerre, the Netherlands with NEC, Scotland with Motherwell, Swiss side Grasshopper, Spanish La Liga side Osasuna, and most recently with Spanish second division side Deportivo Alaves.
The experienced midfielder, who joins compatriot and Glory star Gyorgy Sandor, made his international debut for Hungary in 2004, and scored his first international goal in a friendly game against Antigua and Barbuda a year later. He earned 39 caps between 2004–2011for his Country, scoring twice. Vadocz becomes the fifth addition to the squad during a busy transfer period for the club, following the signings of Andy Keogh, Adam Taggart, Shane Lowry and Kosta Petratos. The midfielder could be available for selection next Sunday against Wellington Phoenix.
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND ONE, FRIDAY REVIEW
Perth SC started life under the tutelage of Gareth Naven with a hard fought 1-0 win against Armadale to start the QBE Night Series at Inglewood Stadium on Friday evening. A penalty from Reece Vittiglia on 54 minutes secured the win, but it was a close encounter, with Armadale striker Anthony Skorich missing a penalty moments after Perth had taken the lead. The goal came after midfielder Andreas Theodosiades was brought down in the box by Caleb Dixon, and Vittiglia beat Alfie Brincat from the spot. The Reds should have levelled moments later Benin Hashem was brought down by Adrian Madaschi, but Skorich saw his penalty well saved by Francis Soale. Paul Price’s side pressed late and Soale and the Perth defence stood tall to hold out for the win. “It’s nice to get off to a winning start, and put three points on the board. Credit to Armadale who made it difficult for us at times, however I feel if we'd taken our chances in the first half, we could have made the evening a lot easier for ourselves,” Perth skipper Clark Keltie said. “On the plus side, it was the first time a lot of our players had played together, so we've taken some positives from the game.”
In the late game the current holders of the Night Series Floreat Athena started their defence with a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Inglewood United. The home side hit the front after 20 minutes, Brian Woodall’s looping header beat Jason Saldaris. The visitors were level on the half hour, Ludovic Boi picked out the unmarked Declan Hargreaves 25 yards from goal, and the former Bayswater City players’ shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Alex Dunn no chance. But it wasn’t until stoppage time in the second half that Floreat secured the points. A corner was only cleared to the edge of the box, and second half substitute Andrew Scaldaferro volleyed home superbly to seal the win. Hargreaves was pleased with his debut for the club but said it wasn’t their best performance. “We weren’t at our best if I was honest,” he said. “But the sign of good team is you can win even when you don’t play your best, I’m just happy to get on the scoresheet and help the side to the win.”
QBE NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - ROUND ONE PREVIEW
The first round of the QBE NPLWA Night Series kicks off this weekend with games on Friday and Sunday evening. The opening game of the tournament is in Group B when Perth SC meets Armadale at Inglewood Stadium (6.30pm) The game will be former Perth Glory skipper Gareth Naven first game in charge of Perth SC, and they will looking to add to their 19 Night Series titles, while Armadale Coach Paul Price will be looking for a continuation of their improved form from last season. The late game in Group A see’s the current holders of the Night Series trophy Floreat Athena taking on the new look Inglewood United at the Inglewood Stadium (8.30pm) Inglewood are coming off a 3-2 win against Joondalup United in a friendly last week, and new defender Adam Tong said the workout was good ahead of this weekend. “They (Joondalup) gave us a good run out, we won but at half time we were 2-0 down, so it was a good comeback and a learning curve for some players in how to adapt to conditions and positions in games,” he said. “The team has changed a lot from last year with players moving on or retiring, so everybody is getting familiar with what styles they play and positions, and what the coaching staff have planned for us. The squad is looking healthy a good brand of senior and young players.”
Tong said it’s a big first up test against Floreat, but one they are all looking forward too. “What a really tough game to start with, with Floreat being last season’s winners of the competition, and they have a talented squad so it's going to be a good contest for both teams,” the former Balcatta and Bayswater defender said. “It’s a good chance for all clubs to showcase there squads and use all there depth for the series, and give youngsters a chance as that's the only way they will improve. We have had some good pre-season friendlies, which have been very competitive and enjoyable.” Floreat coach Glen Grostate said his new-look side will go into the latest campaign, just as determined as last year. “When we brought silverware back to the club last year it was fantastic,” he told the NPLWA website. “If you’re going into a cup competition you want to win it and that’s what we’ll be trying to do. You go into it and have a crack.” Grostate was given the coaching role at the club full time last season and they had a good campaign finishing third and he believes they can have another successful season. “The club put their trust in me (last season) and there’s no pressure on me, even now,” he said. “I feel like we’ve got some very good players in and there’s no reason why we can’t have another good year.”
On Sunday games are played at Dalmatinac Park and Percy Doyle Reserve. At the home of Cockburn City the early game in Group A sees PS4 NPLWA Champions Bayswater City meet Perth Glory (5pm). With the new format of the Foxtel National Youth League, it’s the first season the Glory have entered the Night Series, and they will be coming up one of their former players. Nathan Costello was a shining light last season for the Glory youngsters but he moved to Bayswater in the summer, and has fitted in well at Frank Drago Reserve and is knows it will be a tough game against his former team mates. “I’ve settled in really well, everyone has been great down at the club and all the new boys are gelling nicely and we all can't wait to get into some games and improve as a squad,” Costello said. “The game on Sunday will be tough, but I’m looking forward to the game. I’ve still got some good mates at the Glory, but I’ll have to put that aside for 90 minutes and catch up with them once the games done, hopefully after a Bayswater win.” The Glory are fresh of the NYL season and ended the season with a morale boosting win against Melbourne City, and will be hoping to take that form in the Night Series. In the late game Cockburn City hosts Subiaco (7pm) Both sides have been quiet on the transfer front, but new Cockerels striker Angel Andreas will have to watched closely, while Matthew Milenkovic will be hoping to start his first game for Subiaco.
At Percy Doyle Reserve the early game sees hosts Sorrento and Stirling Lions do battle. (5pm) The Gulls beat Joondalup City 6-0 last week in preparation for the night series and Scott Bulloch said they have lost a number of players but are hoping to have a good night series. “Pre-season has started well, we've lost a few players from last season’s squad, with the likes of Todd Harnwell (retiring) and Jack Salter and Tom Boss (returning to New Zealand),” the former Perth Glory midfielder explained. “We still have the same core players we have had for a few years now so we are confident in what we have got.” Bulloch knows his former club will have a strong side, with a number of new faces at Macedonian Park. “They (Stirling) are always a tough game as they are a fit side with a bit of pace,” he said. “They have Dave Micevski returning and the likes of Brodie Martin and Miki Vujacic in the team, it will definitely be a battle, but it’s one were looking forward too.” In the late game ECU Joondalup meet Balcatta (7pm). Both sides have brought in quality players. Balcatta new coach Marc Anthony has signed Eamon McNelis, Conor Kavanagh and Jonathan Corness from his former club, while ECU have signed former Swansea defender Joseph Jones, former Hearts striker Gordon Smith and former Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry. Both sides prepared for the game with wins last weekend, Balcatta beat Swan United, while ECU beat Ashfield 5-0.
GLORY LOOKING FOR MORE VICTORIES
After last week’s big win against Newcastle Jets on the road, Perth Glory return home for week 17 of the A-League when they take on last season’s Champions Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium (6.40PM) It was a good all-round performance from the side at Newcastle, with Spanish midfielder Diego Castro shining. The maestro was threatening each time he got the ball and he continued to find pockets of space in and around the box, and scored two and set up another two. Alex Grant was colossal at the back along with Marc Warren, Josh Risdon and Aryn Williams, while Chris Harold and Gyorgy Sandor also put in good shifts. Diogo Ferreira looked solid in the defensive midfielder’s role, and after a shaky start to the game, Mitch Oxborrow was also good.
They will need another good performance against the League Champions on Saturday, but the Glory boys do have a good record against the Victory in WA, and they were beat them 1-0 last time they headed west earlier in the season. Andy Keogh and Richard Garcia were on the bench last week, both carrying injuries, but both should be available for selection, but it will be tough for Coach Kenny Lowe to change a winning side. Jacob Collard also returns to the squad from suspension, while new signing Shane Lowry is available after signing from English Championship side Birmingham City this week.
"I can't see any reason why we can't make the top six. If you put a couple of wins together everything can change, but I'm here to win the league as well,” Lowry said. “"I've signed a long term deal so I'm committed to being here and ideally that's what you want to win. It's the pinnacle of everything you can do in sport and in football." A bumper crowd is expected for the game, after Perth Glory and Football West teamed up to offer an exciting ticket deal to West Australian registered footballers. Any registered junior, senior or amateur player in the 2015 season will be entitled to two FREE general admission tickets
The Victory will have a short turn around after edging out Sydney FC 1-0 on Australia Day, but Coach Kevin Muscat’s side know they have to keep winning to keep in touch of the top two. Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler said the players must adapt to the short turnaround. “Shorter time for us, we have to recover ourselves for Saturday and make sure we prepare as much as we can for this tough trip,” he said. “It’ll be a tough match again but we going to go there to win and hopefully we can do it.”
2016 NIGHT SERIES HANDBOOK NOW AVAILABLE (courtesy www.inglewoodunitedfc.com.au)
Enhance your enjoyment of the traditional pre-season tournament with the 2016 Night Series Handbook (Round 1) (pdf, 1,461kb). An exclusive publication of Inglewood United, the Handbook has been designed for download to your mobile device and viewing at the game of your choice this weekend.
NIGHT SERIES FINAL TO BE HELD AS DOUBLE HEADERS WITH A-LEAGUE
The NPL-WA QBE Night Series Final will be played at WA’s premier football venue after an agreement between Football West, Perth Glory and nib Stadium. The final of WA’s top-flight pre-season competition, which kicks off tomorrow night, will take place as part of a double header after Glory’s Hyundai A-League match against Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium on March 12.
In a first for the NPL-WA, Football West has secured an official naming rights sponsor thanks to the support of QBE Insurance. Football West Chief Executive Peter Hugg said moving the QBE Night Series Final to nib Stadium had great benefits for players, officials and fans of the local game. “This will give some of our top players an opportunity to experience just what it’s like to play under lights at nib Stadium,” Hugg said. “The venue is recognised as the very best in WA for our sport and also provides fans with a great viewing experience in a first-class sporting environment.”
Glory Chief Executive Peter Filopoulos urged the club’s supporters and fans of the local game to take advantage of a feast of football and come along and watch both games. “The calendar has aligned perfectly to allow us to work with Football West to bring the QBE Night Series Final to nib Stadium,” Filopoulos said. “This will give our fans an opportunity to support the local game, while we hope those fans heading to nib Stadium for the Night Series Final will come down early to support our boys against Central Coast Mariners.”
Hyundai A-League pricing applies for the double header but football fans can take advantage of an exclusive discounted price via a pre-sale opportunity in March. The Night Series Final will kick-off at the conclusion of Perth Glory’s match against Central Coast Mariners, which starts at 6.40pm.
GLORY SIGN TAGGART AND LOWRY
Perth Glory have continued to give their A-League a side a healthy number of West Australian products, after they signed Socceroo striker Adam Taggart and former Aston Villa midfielder Shane Lowry. The pair came through the ECU Joondalup academy, and while Taggart is unavailable till next season, Lowey is available for Saturday’s blockbuster with Melbourne Victory at nib Stadium. Lowry has arrived back in WA after spending the past 11 years in England, with stints at Aston Villa, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Millwall and most recently Birmingham City. Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said Lowry will be a huge inclusion to the side. "Shane is a quality defender and we know what he can do after he trained with us for several weeks in the pre-season last year” he said. “He’s another WA boy who has come home. We hope he and Adam (Taggart) are two of many local boys who are keen to come home as part of our long term strategy.”
ECU Joondalup’s Director of Football Steve (Syd) Amphlett said it’s great to see the lads back playing for their home town, and out of the 12 WA players in the Glory squad, seven have come through the ECU Joondalup Academy. “As a club we’re delighted for both Adam and Shane to join the Glory and with them being homegrown talent it’s also good for WA football,” he said. “Both players left our academy to play football in the UK, and both have learnt a great deal from the experience and it has made them better players. It's fantastic to see seven of our players are now in the Glory squad, and we we hope their time at the ECU Joondalup Academy helped them along the way, and we all hope they find some success in the A-League with Perth Glory.”
The 26-year-old thought it was time for a return home after more than a decade in the UK and away from his family, and he said it was time for a new adventure. “I’ve really enjoyed my time in England and it’s been pivotal in shaping my football. The time was right to come to Perth and play with Glory, which has been a goal of mine in more recent years,” he said. “As a Perth boy I’m keen to do my bit and steer the club to its first A-League championship, but more importantly help the team make the finals this current season". He has represented the Republic of Ireland at Under17 and Under 21 levels, but Lowry opted to represent Australia at senior level, and was part of the 30-man preliminary squad at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The pair brings to 12, West Australian born or raised players in the current Glory squad.
Taggart, has re-joined his home town club for the next two and a half years, and the 22-year old striker had 18-months at English Championship side Fulham and Scottish Premier League club Dundee United. Taggart was at the Glory from 2010-2012 before moving to Newcastle Jets, where he won the ‘Golden Boot’ and ‘Young Player of the Year’ in the A-League in 2013-14. He was included in the Socceroos squad at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and took part in the recent Olyroos campaign for Rio 2016.
Lowe said he knows the striker well and is delighted to have signed him. “Adam is a quality player and person, who can add value to what we are trying to build at Perth Glory" he said. “I've known him for many years and I think being at home around his family, will help re-invigorate his focus on his game.” Under FIFA rules, Taggart will not be eligible to play for Glory in the remainder of this current season because he has already played for two clubs in the one year. However he can be registered with up to three clubs in the same time-frame.
Perth Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos said Taggart's signing was part of the club's four year strategy. "All our decisions during the January transfer window have been consistent with our strategy to build a squad for success over the coming years" he said. "We are excited to land the signature of Adam Taggart who has attracted interest around the globe and we have beaten several Australian and overseas clubs for his signature.”
CHINA BECKONS SAINSBURY
Australia international Trent Sainsbury has confirmed his move from PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands to Chinese Super League outfit Jiangsu Suning. The 24-year old defender had been playing in the Eredivisie since 2014 after being signed from A-League side Central Coast Mariners. Sainsbury, who played a big part in Australia's 2015 Asian Cup triumph, said he could not turn down a move to the "ambitious" club.
"Chinese football is growing fast," Sainsbury said. "Clubs are paying big money for exceptional players and to help grow the league, making the local players step up their own game. It's only going to get better year by year. From what I've seen in the transfer market they are targeting big name players like Gervinho of Roma, (Freddy) Guarin of Inter Milan, Ramires of Chelsea and the signing of Luiz Adriano fell through at the last step."
"They've tried to tempt Manchester City's Yaya Toure into a deal so they are very ambitious and want to become a force in Chinese football. They also have very high attendances for every game and have a great stadium. There were a lot of positives for me and the list of players they are trying to sign shows Jiangsu Suning's ambition."
Sainsbury revealed it was a difficult decision to quit Europe but said he sought advice from several Australian's who have played in China's top-tier. "I don't know if going to China will be a good move for my career or not," he said. "The same as I don't know if staying in Europe would have benefitted me in the long run. "I got a very useful insight and information but I've also been to China a few times for the (AFC) Champions League so I have some first-hand experience. I'm up for the challenge."
JOONDALUP LAND EX-SWANSEA DEFENDER
ECU Joondalup continue their rebuilding for 2016 with the signing of former Swansea City defender Joseph Jones. The 19-year-old landed in Perth on Sunday and trained for the first time with his new teammates on Monday, as they prepare for the QBE NPLWA Night Series. Jones, who played his junior football at Cardiff City, before joining the Swans in 2012 on a football Scholarship, and played in the FA Premier League under 21’s at the club, and also represented Wales at youth level.
Jones said the move to ECU came after speaking to players who have played in Australia before, and he believes the fresh challenge is just what he’s looking for. “I spoke to a few of the boys back home who had previously played football in the state leagues over in Melbourne they told me how good it was to play out here and how high the standard is and how much you can learn from it,” he explained. “I started to get in contact with Pete Roberts who introduced me to Syd Amphlett and it started from there on.”
The club have recruited well ahead of the new season, with striker Gordon Smith heading to the club from Scotland and former St Mirren and Perth Glory midfielder Steven McGarry also joining the club. Jones said the club are very ambitious and that’s what impressed him during the conversations with head coach Dale McCulloch. “It was one of the main attractions towards coming to the club. The aims of the club are visible this season, we want to progress and do well and the signings have shown the clubs intention this year,” he said. “The club are making a big statement this year and it's exciting to be a part of it and help the club achieve those targets.”
McCulloch said Jones is a great inclusion to the side, and will give his young side more experience. “After losing a number of experienced players, the likes of Charlie Comyn-Platt, Carl Rodgers and Jon Higgins from last season, the signing of Joseph, Gordon Smith and Steven McGarry is vital,” he said. “Our defence is very young and Joseph will bring a vast amount of experience at the back. He is only young himself, but he’s played at a good level in the FA Premier League under 21’s at Swansea. He’s fitted in immediately and looks good on the ball and we are happy to have secured his services for next season.”
The defenders first training session on Monday was certainly an eye opener and he said he’s been told about the warm weather in Perth, and knows it will be tough in the first few weeks but he said he will get used to it. “The heat is something that I wasn't used to coming from Wales we never see this kind of weather. Coming from winter in Wales to summer in Perth does take getting used too but that isn't a negative,” he joked. “The first session was very good getting to know the boys and the way in which ECU like to play football and is a big plus because it suits me that passing style. Also the way the club looks after the players and how the manager and staff conduct themselves and go about the sessions in a professional way is a massive positive as they have been brilliant in helping me to settle in.”
Jones joined Cardiff City at a young age and played there until he was 16, before moving onto Swansea in 2012, and earned himself a professional contract at the Swans. The first part of this season in the UK he played for Welsh Premier League side Port Talbot, before heading down under and he said he will do all he can to help the club to success. “I'll bring a lot of hard work and a winning mentality to ECU and hopefully a bit of experience playing in competitive football with me,” Jones said. “It's a chance to make a big impression on the NPLWA and the club who have put a lot of faith in me by bringing me over. It's a very exciting challenge for me and I can't wait for the season to start.”
The teenager’s decision to leave Swansea was a difficult one, but along with a number of his team mates, it had to be done. “It was difficult leaving Swansea after three years at the club but that's football, it has its ups and downs. I enjoyed my time there and I learnt a lot in that period. However there wasn't any progression at the club for myself and a lot of other players and it was for the best that I moved on,” he explained. “It was great playing at the highest standard as a young kid and playing at the highest level is something you always dream of doing and playing against all the top clubs across Europe helps you develop quickly as a young player.”
He represented Wales at Youth level, playing six times against England, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Switzerland and Mexico, and he said to wear the red shirt of his Country was a great memory. “Ask any player and they will tell you representing your Country, is always a massive honour and it's something that I'm very proud of,” Jones said. “I played at both u16/17 and once and u19 levels. I played against a lot of international teams and it was great experience and one I won’t forget.”
COLLARD’S DEBUT A GLORY FIRST
Perth Glory youngster Jacob Collard says it was a dream come true when he made his debut as the first home-grown indigenous player at the club. Collard said he had always wanted to play football at A-League level ever since he was a four-year-old playing for the Gosnells City. He made his national league debut on 9 January against Adelaide United and was handed another start a week later against Melbourne City.
Collard, 20, has always had ambitions to play for Glory, but he also wants to inspire young kids and encourage indigenous kids to give soccer a go. “I have done some mentoring sessions with Aboriginal kids and coached some of the kids at the Save the Children around Armadale,” he said. “For me, the bigger picture is to give indigenous kids more confidence to try new things, even it is a sport like badminton or soccer.”
Collard has put his plumbing career on hold for the time-being and is hoping to win a full-time Glory contract for next season. “Ever since I was a kid I used to watch Perth Glory back in the NSL (National Soccer League) days and to actually be on the stage showing what you are worth is an absolute dream come true,” he said. “I have goals and aspirations to be the best I can be,” he said.
BABALJ OUT FOR SEASON WITH ACL RUPTURE
Adelaide United forward Eli Babalj will miss the rest of the A-League season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament. The 23-year old striker crumpled to the turf in agony just minutes after coming on as a substitute in the Reds' 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Friday night. A scan on Saturday confirmed the worst, meaning Babalj will need to have surgery next week and begin the long road to recovery.
Babalj joined Adelaide on loan from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar before the start of the season to build up his fitness and get more game time. However, having already been plagued by injuries throughout his career, he spent a long period on the sidelines with a foot problem. He has managed a total of nine senior matches over the past three seasons, with various injuries keeping him sidelined for long periods at Adelaide, on loan at PEC Zwolle last term, and with parent club AZ.
DIXON JOINS BENTLEIGH GREEN FOR 2016
Bayswater City winger Danny Dixon is the latest PS4 NPLWA player to head to Victoria, after signed a one-year deal with NPLVIC Champions Bentleigh Green. The 21-year-old, who joined the Frank Drago Reserve club from ECU Joondalup last season, and earned his first start in the WA state team, said the move is one he had to do to further his football career.
But it was a tough decision to leave Bayswater, a side who won the league title and went close to winning the National NPL Final, but Dixon believes it’s the best for his football future. “It was a very hard decision to leave Baysie, but as much as I wanted to come across to Melbourne to try my luck, I will miss everything about the club,” he said. “All the lads where class, and the club and coaches helped me out a lot.”
The English-born winger said we wished the Black and Blues all the best for next season and he hopes they go on to take the title out again. “My time at Bayswater was one of the best parts of my football career, and something I won’t forget,” he explained. “To go the whole season unbeaten and to do so well in the NPL finals was a great achievement for the players and the club, and hopefully then can gain a 4th title this year, and knowing Chris Coyne he will doing all he can to do so.”
Dixon did have a great deal of interest from WA clubs, but knew he had to try his luck in Victoria and he’s looking forward to the new challenge. “I had quite a bit of interest from other clubs in WA, but like I said to them all, I wouldn't leave Bayswater if I was going to stay in Perth,’ he said. “Bentleigh is a massive club in Victoria and everyone I tell I've signed for Bentleigh who know the NPLVIC says how good of a club they. Obviously this year we will be trying to hold on to the title from last year and I'm just hoping I can help do that.”
The lively winger played for Sorrento, Floreat Athena, ECU Joondalup and Bayswater in WA, is relishing the challenge and said the league is strong and they need to be at their best to go back-to-back. “To be honest I don't think you can take any teams for granted in this league, if you do you will get beaten,” Dixon said. “We all know South Melbourne and Heidelberg will be there or there about at the top of the table but even against the newly promoted teams it's going to be a tough challenge.”
A spot an A-League list is something else that has made Dixon head East. He has played with a number of players at Bayswater who have been there and he is hoping to impress next season and put himself in the shop window. “To play in the A-League is something I’m striving for, but I know I have to keep improving my game,” he explained. “It’s harder to do so at the moment as I’m not an Australian citizen yet, but I'll have that in August.”
LYDEN “BUZZING” AFTER PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT
Teenager Jordan Lyden revealed he “was still buzzing” after making a dream first start for Aston Villa at the ground he’s called home since he was a kid. After being on the bench for several games, Lyden came on for the final seven minutes of the FA Cup draw at Wycombe Wanderers a fortnight ago before starting in Thursday’s second leg win at Villa Park.
Lyden, who was in the extended squad for last night’s local derby at West Bromwich Albion, said the feedback had been positive. “I was involved on the bench against Arsenal, Norwich and Crystal Palace then to debut in the FA topped it off,” said Lyden, who played at youth level for ECU Joondalup before moving to England to play for Villa in 2012.
“Coming on against Wycombe was a taste but to start at Villa Park has been a dream since I was nine. All week I’ve been buzzing, it’s a few days later and I’m still buzzing. All the boys said I did really well and there on merit, which is a massive help. Sometimes you think I’m not here on merit, but they all believe in me and the gaffer believes in me.”
Lyden, 19, said he had been overwhelmed by the support of the Villa faithful. His only regret was that mum Donna missed his debut having returned to Perth after a trip to Birmingham just days earlier. Lyden was spotted by Villa at age nine and spent several months a year there from age 12, before moving permanently at 16.
“I’ve had a lot of support from Villa fans which is great. A youngster coming through the academy is what they want,” he said. “Even when I was on the bench warming up, they were clapping me on sideline. It’s a massive boost, it makes me relax a lot more and feel comfortable. The fact I’ve got that never say die attitude, the Aussie spirit, is good. I hate losing, I play to win … the fans like that I guess.”
GLORY THRASHES THE JETS TO CREATE HISTORY
Perth Glory rewrote the record books, with its biggest win in its Hyundai A-League history, after a stunning 6-1 win against a 10-man Newcastle Jets at the Hunter Stadium on Sunday. Diego Castro and Chris Harold scored doubles, while Alex Grant headed his first A-league goal for the club, a day after his 21st Birthday, and an own goal to Daniel Mullen rounded off the scoring. Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard was sent off just before half time but the Glory were already dictating terms. “I thought the players deserved what they got today,” Coach Kenny Lowe said. “The first 10 minutes we were perhaps slow out of the blocks, maybe we set up a little bit wrong, but the players provided a solution themselves on the park, which was good. It’s nice to get a win. We’ve deserved a few wins as we’ve moved forward so I guess we got what we deserved today when maybe we haven’t in other games.”
Lowe made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Melbourne City last week, with Alex Grant returning from suspension and Nebojsa Marinkovic from injury, they replaced Jacob Collard (suspended) and Andy Keogh, who was under an injury cloud going into the game and he dropped to the bench. It was a poor start to the game for the men from the West, their passing was off target and Newcastle was bossing the middle of the park. David Carney raced clear on seven minutes, and his shot hit the side netting. It was a lucky let off, but it wasn’t a surprise when the hosts hit the front on 14 minutes.
Carney whipped in a corner and Milos Trifunovic nipped in at the front post to head past Ante Covic. The Newcastle fans thought it was going to be their day, after not beating the Glory for 11 consecutive matches, but Lowe’s men had other ideas. Castro was a constant threat and he tried his luck twice in as many minutes and on 23 minutes the Glory’s pressure was rewarded with the equaliser. Josh Risdon eased past Ryan Kitto on the right and crossed to Harold, who rose highest to head home.
The Glory went close again ten minutes later, Harold was clear on goal when he was dragged back by Boogaard, and with him being the last man he was lucky not to see red, referee Shaun Evans only showing a yellow card. The Glory continued to dominate and in final minute of the first half they hit the front. Castro was found on the right hand side of the box, and he waltzed past Lachlan Jackson, before firing home powerfully past Mark Birighitti from eight-yards. It went from bad to worse for the Jets and sixty seconds later they were reduced to ten men. Boogaard dived in on Harold, and the referee had no other options but to send the defender off.
Lowe’s side started the second half, like they finished the first and added a third three minutes in. Castro picked out Marinkovic on the right of the penalty area and his cross into the six-yard box was bundled into his own net by Mullen, as he tried to clear it. It was one-way traffic now and six minutes later it was 4-1. Gyorgy Sandor was given far too much time on the edge of the box, and he slide Harold in behind the Jets defence, and the striker scored his second with aplomb. It was 5-1 on 74 minutes, woeful defending by the Jets from Mitch Oxborrow’s corner, left Grant totally unmarked and he headed home from six yards, his first for the club.
Andy Keogh replaced Harold on the hour and he should have added a fifth on 75 minutes. The Irish striker was sent one-on-one with Birighitti, but the Jets custodian blocked his shot well, the rebound fell to Doigo Ferreira, whose shot was blocked on the line and Castro’s follow up shot flew over the top. The Glory was toying with the Jets keeping possession well and attacking at will, and Jamel Reiners saw his powerful shot well saved by Birighitti. Covic, who was having a quiet day, was called into action eight minutes from time but he saved easily from Jason Hoffman’s long-range shot. But two minutes from time the Glory added a sixth. Risdon picked out Castro in the penalty area, the Spaniard showed great feet to dribble past a couple of Jets defenders and fire low past Birighitti to put the icing on the cake.
MATILDA WILLIAMS HOPES IT'S THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR OLYMPICS
It's the balancing act between club and country that Lydia Williams hopes will result in a second W-League championship and a maiden appearance at the Olympic Games. The Matildas custodian makes her long-awaited return to finals football with Canberra United in tomorrow’s semi-final against Sydney FC.
Williams was an integral part of Canberra's inaugural championship in 2011/12, but missed last season's triumphant campaign recovering from torn knee ligaments. Her class was there for all to see on the international stage, helping Australia charge to the quarter-finals at last year's women's World Cup in Canada.
The next assignment for the Matildas is a brutal Olympic Games qualifying tournament where they will play five games in ten days in Osaka from February 29. Williams, who has tallied up 49 appearances for Australia since 2005, has missed two Canberra United games this season while on international duty with the Matildas.
"As soon as Canberra United and the W-League is over, it's straight into camps and the national team commitments," Williams said. "There's always been one eye on the W-League and one eye on the national team Coming out of season right back into a full-on program then a tournament is going to help us."
The Matildas face a difficult task to qualify for the Olympic Games, with six teams battling it out for two spots. "This will hopefully be third time lucky qualifying through Asia for the Olympics," Williams said. "Just like the World Cup, we can beat anyone. First things first, but hopefully we have the drive and the talent to take it all the way."
It was announced last week that Williams had signed with National Women's Soccer League side Houston Dash, where she will team up with Canberra teammate Ellie Brush. "It's pretty exciting to be back in the league," Williams said. "This is my first full season playing back after my knee and I'm excited to play with some familiar faces."
Canberra put the finishing touches on their W-League semi-final preparations with a light training session this morning. They have their full squad available for the clash with the Sky Blues apart from central defender Emma Checker, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The second semi-final between Melbourne City and fourth-placed Brisbane Roar will be played on Monday.
RISDON READY FOR OVERSEAS MOVE
Defender Josh Risdon stands on the brink of making the most important decision of his life. If he gets it right, the Bunbury product could be Australia’s starting right-back at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. If he doesn’t choose the right path for his club future, the Glory starlet could join the long list of Australian players who have returned to their home country after overseas stints that didn’t work out.
Risdon, who is believed to be weighing up options in Germany, says it’s unlikely he will seal a move to Europe during the current transfer window. But the 23-year old is adamant he’s ready to go should a suitable deal come up after the season. “If the opportunity comes, then I’ll definitely take it if it’s the right one,” he said. “But it’s definitely about taking the right one.”
“I don’t want to go over and be not playing and that sort of stuff. I want to make sure it’s the right opportunity for myself, so I can go over and stay over for quite a few years and make a good career overseas. This is my sixth season, so it’s not like I’ve rushed over. I’ve played a few games in the A-League, so I’ve learnt my trade here. I think I’m more than ready to go overseas.”
Having made his Socceroos debut in November’s 4-0 trouncing of Bangladesh, Risdon is well aware of the importance of getting regular game time to keep himself at the forefront of Ange Postecoglou’s mind. “Once you stop playing game time it ruins your confidence and you might start doubting yourself and you lose a lot of fitness,” Risdon said. “Being involved in the Socceroos, playing week-in, week-out will be very important.”
Risdon will be a key figure as Glory searches for its first away win of the season at Newcastle Jets on Sunday. Star striker Andy Keogh travelled with the team on Saturday, but could be deployed off the bench against the Jets after battling soreness. Keogh, who is looking for his first goal two games into his second stint with Glory, mostly trained away from the group this week.
LOWE PRAISES CASTRO AFTER JETS WIN
Spanish midfielder Diego Castro put in a ‘Man of the Match’ performance to help Perth Glory to 6-1 win on the road against Newcastle Jets. The former La Liga player with Sporting Gijon and Getafe showed his class, and was a constant threat for the Jets backline and bagged a brace, and also ran the show. Kenny Lowe has hailed Castro the “best player in the A-League” after the Spaniard inspired Perth to the rout of the Jets on Sunday.
It was a sublime all-round performance from Castro, who is now match fit, as the Glory kept their finals hopes alive at the Hunter Stadium. Lowe who is never one to mince his words showered praise on his marquee signing. “I think Castro is the best player in the A-League, the best player by a country mile,” the Glory boss said. “He’s very intelligent, knows the game inside out, just a super player.” There’s no way you would have predicted the Glory onslaught early on as the Jets dominated the first 15 minute, but then Castro and Co took over.
It’s a massive confidence boost for Lowe’s side, as they head into the second half of the season. They still have plenty of work to do to chase down the top six, but the big win is just the tonic they needed before they host Melbourne Victory on Saturday night. The win means Perth has jumped up into seventh spot on the A-League ladder but still seven points behind Adelaide United in the last of the Finals places. But with 11 games left, they can still mount a charge for the finals.
GLORY READY FOR JETS CLASH
Perth Glory hit the road this weekend when they travel to the Hunter Valley to take on Newcastle Jets at the Hunter Stadium (1.30pm WA time) It’s a vital clash for Kenny Lowe’s side, and a loss will make the gap to a finals spot that further away. They will looking to carry on from last week’s gallant 2-2 draw against the in-form Melbourne City, when Diego Castro and Chris Harold earned the 10-man Glory a point.
With defender Michael Thwaite out injured, and on the verge of leaving for China, and Jacob Collard suspended, the return of Alex Grant is a welcome inclusion for Kenny Lowe. Marc Warren injured his shoulder last week and will be under an injury cloud, and if the experienced defender doesn’t recover it looks like so Diogo Ferreira will drop back into the back four, although Glory Youth defender Ross Millard has been added to the squad, the former West Ham and Stevenage FC Youth player has impressed in the Foxtel National Youth League this season. Aryn Williams, who was re-signed by the club this week until 2017 said they head east full of confidence. “Every game we go into we have confidence and we are all gelling together nicely as a team,” he said. “We won’t be approaching this game any different to any other game, we will go out there with a positive mentality and hopefully we can get the away win we have been searching for all season.”
Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic looks set to play after missing the last five games with a hamstring injury. He looks set to take the spot of Mitch Oxborrow, although the former Jets youngsters may get the nod against his former club. Gyorgy Sandor and Diego Castro have been in sensational form and the pair has worked well with strikers Andy Keogh and wide man Chris Harold, and Lowe will be looking for that to continue on Sunday.
The Jets have been goal shy this season, but they broke their drought last week bagging three goals against Wellington Phoenix. The Glory do have the wood on the NSW outfit, but Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard has encouraged his teammates to back up their effort from last week against the Glory this weekend, knowing a win will help the Jets still in the hunt for the top six.
“It’s a big round for us this week at home in front of our fans,” Boogaard said. “It’s a big opportunity for us to get some momentum, and it’s great to be able to do that at home. We’re making sure that we go into each game concentrated on implementing the game plan that the coaching staff want. Sunday is another chance for us to get a result at home in front of our home fans.”
New Jets signing Steven Ugarkovic is in-line to make his A-League debut off the bench, after the midfielder returns from the Olyroos failed Rio Olympic qualifying tournament in Qater. The 21-year-old has been playing for Croatian Second Division side Gorica, on-loan from top-tier club Osijek, and his signing will bolster the Jets squad. The Jets will be missing the suspended Ben Kantarovski, but have Cameron Watson and Nick Cowburn to play in his role on Sunday.
‘KEEPER WILLIAMS SIGNS FOR HOUSTON
Houston Dash have filled their open goalkeeping spot with the signing of Australian international Lydia Williams. The Katanning-born shot-stopper last played in National Women's Soccer League for Western New York Flash, prior to tearing a knee ligaments while on Matilda’s duty at the 2014 Asian Cup and missing the remainder of the season.
Williams is currently the number one at Canberra United, who are through to the W-League finals after finishing the regular season in second place. Williams, who has 49 national team appearances to her name, has played much of the past five seasons at Canberra, interspersed by spells at Western New York and Sweden’s Pitea IF.
WILLIAMS REWARDED WTH NEW GLORY CONTRACT (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
After impressing on his short term contract at Perth Glory, Aryn Williams has been rewarded putting pen to paper and re-signed for the A-League club until 2017. The 22-year-old is delighted to play for the team he supported as a lad. “I’ve worked extremely hard for an extensive amount of time to get this contract, and I am over the moon I have been offered an 18 month contract,” the former Burnley trainee explained. “I’ve always wanted to play for Perth Glory and now, I am able to put the shirt on with pride knowing I have worked so hard to get here. I am looking to continue my career with Perth Glory so I am just going to work hard and see where it takes me.”
Aryn, whose older brothers Rhys and twin brother Ryan are professional footballers in the UK at Middlesbrough and Barnsley respectively, spent two seasons at The Clarets Academy, before returning to WA and playing for PS4 National Premier League side Floreat Athena. He was outstanding at the heart of the back four and he looked really comfortable in that position in the A-League. “First and for most I enjoy defending, and whichever club I am playing for or whether I am playing at centre back, right back, left back or holding midfield I will give everything I have got,” he said. “I do enjoy playing centre back as I get to command from the back and win headers and tackles at crucial moments.”
It wasn’t a surprise when Kenny Lowe brought him in to the Glory set-up and Williams has repaid the faith the Coach had him. The injury to Michael Thwaite has come at the wrong time for the club but the right time for Williams, and he has taken his opportunity. “With any player at any level you need to take your opportunities when you are given them and if I continue to play well then hopefully it will have to be other players trying to take my position,” he said. “Whether you are 17 or 35 you need to grasp every opportunity with both hands and work extremely hard to retain your position in the team, and I can tell all Glory supporters that’s what I’ll be doing.”
The Glory hit the road this week to take on Newcastle Jets, and they will get Alex Grant back from suspension, who Williams has formed a good partnership with. But the talented defender said, if selected this weekend he will only be worrying about his game. “The only thing I am worried about is my own performances in games and at training and if I work hard and continue to impress the coaching staff then I’m sure the staff will be in for a selection headache,” he said. “We will go out there with a positive mentality and hopefully we can get the away win we have been searching for all season.”
NPL PLAYERS PLAY FOR CHARITY
The new QBE NPL Night Series is just around the corner, but some of the NPL players have put their hand up to play in a Charity game at Macedonia Park on Saturday 29th January with a 10.30am kick off. The Helix Sports Performance team is made up of players from different clubs and they will take on hosts Stirling Lions to raise funds for Breast Cancer Foundation.
Brest cancer affects 1 in 8 Australian families in their lifetime and the prevalence is increasing year to year. Your entry in the form of entry fee and other donations are helping provide vital funds for research into the prevention and cure of breast cancer.
Helix Sports Performance representative Tim Frey would like to thank the players for giving their time to the game. Sam Mitchinson, Declan Hargreaves, Brian Farrell, Ethan Kerridge (Bayswater City), Billy Quinncroft, Tyron Pottier, Jason Mirco, Scott Bulloch (Sorrento), Blair Govan (Floreat Athena), Lewis Hall (Heidelberg NPLVIC), Danny McNally (Wanneroo City), Daniel Cuticone (Kingsway City), Anthony Peritsior (Gwelup Croatia)
Frey also thanked Stirling Lions for making this match possible, and there will also be a raffle on the day and all the proceeds will be directed to bushfires appeal to the recent bushfires affecting the southwest region of Western Australia. To all the WA football family get along to Macedonia Park and support this good cause.
GLORY ADD YOUNG SOCCEROO MIDFIELDER TO SQUAD
Perth Glory has added another player to their squad in the January transfer window, with exciting Australian under 17 attacking midfielder Kosta Petratos signing for the next 18 months. The midfielder, who turns 18 in March, spent the past two years at the Centre of Excellence in Canberra under the tutelage of former Socceroo Tony Vidmar.
Petratos, who is the younger brother of Brisbane Roar striker Dimi, is happy to head to west. “It’s exciting to be in Perth and to land a senior A-League contract,” he said. “I’m keen to show what I’ve got on the field for Kenny (Lowe), the boys and most importantly the supporters.”
He represented Australia at the 2014 AFC Under 16’s Championships in Thailand, where the team reached the Semi-final and said he’s his own player and is looking forward to fighting for a spot in the side and looking forward to the Brisbane Roar game in ?? “Yes I’m my own player and I don’t live in the shadow of my brother,” he said. “We’ve always had rivalry in the backyard growing up in Sydney and I’m sure if the time comes, that rivalry will shine again.”
Glory Coach Kenny Lowe said Petratos had a good pedigree, and was the type of player the club had been looking for. “Kosta is someone we’ve been looking at for a while,” he said. “He’s a technical player and has played at a good level for his age, so he’s a good addition to our squad.”
BOLAND ENJOYING LIFE AT GREEN GULLY
Former Swan United, Floreat Athena and Perth SC striker Liam Boland is enjoying life at NPL Victorian side Green Gully, and his form earned him a spot in the NPLVIC league team of the year last season. The 23-year-old left Perth for Melbourne in January 2015 and joined Oakleigh Cannons, but things didn’t work out and his move to the Keilor Downs club has been just the tonic for the big striker, who bagged 17 goals last season in 17 games.
Boland, who is in the middle of pre-season training at the club said things are going well for him at the moments. “We are eight weeks into pre-season now and with a lot of new players we are gelling really well after a weekend away together,” he said. “I was really happy to have made the team of the season in my first year here, and the club has been great to me. We were struggling when I first arrived but with a few new faces and former Melbourne Victory defender Rodrigo Vargas taking over as player/ assistant coach we managed to turn the season around and almost make finals.”
His first club was Oakleigh, but when Green Gully came in for him he jumped at the chance to join them. “I had very limited opportunity at Oakleigh and never felt comfortable, although I made some good friends, the style of football didn’t suit me and I didn’t feel I was valued by the club,” Boland explained. “Green Gully had been after me for 18 months and it was an easy decision to move to a club where I was wanted.”
The coaching panel at the club is strong, with Arthur Papas and assistant Coach Shaun Ontong and they have been one of the most successful sides in Victoria for a number of years, winning the league title nine times, and Boland said the club will be looking to improve on last season’s seventh place finish. “Arthur has been great to work with so far, he has a clear vision on where he wants us to be by the start of the season,” he said. “His training and organisation is of a professional level that I haven’t experienced in the state league and everybody at the club has agreed on our goal being to win silverware this year, both players and staff.”
They will have some good sides pushing them for the title and the striker said the usual suspects will be in the mix. “I think the top two from last year in South Melbourne and Bentleigh Greens will be up there again as they have also strengthened their squads,” he said. “We have made some great signings to strengthen our team this year and even though we have only played a couple of friendlies I believe we will challenge for the league.”
Boland has played in both the NPLWA and NPLVIC, and he said the Victorian league has a better profile. “I think the Victorian clubs have a stronger pull of bringing in talent from all over Australia. A lot of state league players nationwide want to play in NPLVIC as there is more exposure which leads to more opportunity,” he said. “A few players were signed by A-League clubs this year and some making moves to Asia as well and that is why the league is a bigger draw for players.”
The striker had trials at A-League clubs when playing in WA, and he said there still a burning desire to play at the next level. “I trailed at Perth Glory and Gold Coast United, five years ago, I’m 23 now and I moved to Victoria to see what opportunities it would present,” he explained. “I think I’ve matured and would be much more prepared if I was ever to get another chance, but as for now I just want to score goals and win something with Green Gully in 2016.”
SMITH TIPPING INGLEWOOD TO REAP THE REWARDS
Defender Rikki Smith says a close season overhaul of the playing roster has put Inglewood United on the cusp of an exciting new era. Although one of the local scenes longest serving clubs, trophy success has eluded Inglewood for much of its six-and-a-half-decades with just one League title and two State Cups in the cabinet.
Coach Michael Garcia is determined to add to that silverware and in doing so has revitalised the squad for the coming campaign. Former Welsh youth international Mark Pritchard and Grenada defender David Cyrus top an impressive list of recruits which Smith believes can change the club and propel them back to the top of the table.
“Things are looking promising” Smith commented. “We’ve signed quality players and it’s great that a number of the players coming in know each other as well as those already at the club, it’s like we’ve all been playing together for years. We’re like a little family already, and you need that sort of unity to be strong all season and win games and trophies.”
“I’ve heard the ‘Inglewood is a sleeping giant’ comments for quite a few years now so it’s time to stop the talk and start delivering. The committee are delivering off the pitch so it’s time for us players to start delivering on it, beginning with Night Series which we will be doing everything to win.”
With around two dozen players vying for a place in the line-up, Smith says the tempo at training is on the rise as the Night Series draws nearer. “We've got a great mix of youth and experience and training has been intense,” said the veteran of 154 Inglewood appearances. “Everyone knows they’ve got to perform or risk not playing.”
“The coaching group have laid out their expectations for the season ahead and working hard is a big part of it. The Gaffer (Garcia) is a very modern thinking coach, everything at training is based on game-related situations with work built around short sharp intervals. It’s the fittest I’ve been for a few years and so I’m expecting big things of myself and the team this year.”
GARCIA KEEN ON NEW GLORY DEAL
Perth Glory captain Richard Garcia is keen to stay on at the A-League club next season. Garcia comes out of contract at the end of the season and the 34-year-old says his vast experience would be useful in the club's attempt to become a power in years to come.
Garcia hasn't given up hope of playing finals football this season - Glory are currently seven points adrift of sixth spot - but he knows the bigger picture is about helping the club become a force. "I'd love to stay with my home-town club," Garcia said. "I can help with that plan, and help mentor the young guys through. You always need experience amongst youth."
Garcia left Perth at the age of 15 to chase his football dream overseas. The attacking midfielder had stints at West Ham United, Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Hull City before returning to Australia in 2012. Along the way he represented Australia on 17 occasions, including at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
THWAITE HEADS TO CHINA
Perth Glory defender Michael Thwaite has reportedly put pen to paper and signed a one-year deal with Chinese Super League club Liaoning Whowin. The 32-year-old, who has been outstanding at the back and in midfield when required over the past four seasons, is expected to join the club, which finished mid-table last season, in the next few days.
The move of Thwaite has been played out on social media with Glory CEO Peter Filopoulos denying the big defender would leave the club after being quizzed by people, has he had a contract until May, but Filopoulos confirmed over the weekend that Thwaite has a release clause, which has now been activated. “There are some conversations and some correspondence with a couple of Chinese clubs through various agents, but we haven't finalised anything as yet," he said.
Filopoulos said the club wouldn’t stand in his way if he wanted to leave. “I'm sure over the course of this week there will be some developments on that front. Michael's got some ambitions and we've known that for several months,” he explained. “He did have an agreement with the club that if something did come his way during the course of his remaining contract which ends in May, we wouldn't stand in his way."
Thwaite, who has 13 Socceroos caps, returned to the A-League from Europe in 2008, after playing for Romanian club National Bucharest, Polish side Wisla Krakow and Norwegian side SK Brann, and he played for Melbourne Victory and Gold Coast United in the A-league before heading west. He has been sidelined for the last two weeks, and it’s appears only a matter of time before he moves on. It was reported that he let his feelings known on the clubs salary cap issues last season, and many thought his day’s at the club were numbered.
TAGGART IN GLORY'S SIGHTS
Perth Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos has confirmed the club is actively pursuing local boy Adam Taggart. The club had hoped to lure Taggart home from London club Fulham for the closing stages of the A-League campaign, however, he is ineligible to play for Glory this season having already played for two clubs — Dundee United and Fulham’s Under-21s.
Glory have pitched a multi-year offer to Taggart to join the club now and train for the rest of the season before being free to play next season. "We’re keen to get Adam back and we’re in discussions about getting him next season," Filopoulos said. "It’s official that he can’t play for more than two clubs this season but we definitely want him next season."
RISDON TO STAY WITH GLORY
Socceroo Josh Risdon looks set to remain at Perth Glory until the end of the season, though his contract is no closer to being resolved. Risdon, 23, was offered a much-improved multi-year deal with Glory prepared to support his European ambitions though finer details, such as a minimum release clause, must be agreed.
Agent Tony Rallis said that Risdon would likely remain at Glory until the end of the season before exploring his options. "Josh has attracted interest from Europe and he is keen to take that next step in his career at some stage," Rallis said. "There was talks with Randers but they’ve had a few issues while there is also interest from several German second division clubs. But I would be surprised if he leaves in this transfer window."
LYDEN IMPRESSES ON VILLA STARTING DEBUT
West Australian midfielder Jordan Lyden has put in a solid starting debut, as he helped Aston Villa to a 2-0 win against Sky Bet League Two side Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup third-round replay at Villa Park on Tuesday. The 19-year-old, who came through the ranks of the ECU Joondalup academy, played the whole game and was the talk of twitter, with Villa fans praising his performance.
The teenager wasn’t fazed by the occasion, and starting a right-back, a position he has taken up this season. He defended stoutly and was also good going forward. Villa Coach Remi Garde, praised the youngster. "It was not his favoured position but I wanted to play Micah (Richards) at centre-back and Lyden told me that he's played right-back before," Garde said. "Maybe he's not the most gifted player that I have in the squad but for sure he has one of the best attitudes in the team. He's got a very good attitude - and that's important when you want to go step by step as a football player.”
Since being included in the Villa Matchday squad for the first time against Arsenal on December 13, Lyden has also been on the bench for further Barclays Premier League matches against Norwich, Crystal Palace and Leicester and got his first taste of senior action as a late substitute in the original tie at Wycombe. “For his first game, he was okay - he's a good player. He is working well. He is young and he is working very well in training sessions,” Garde added.
Lyden has been at Villa since he was 16; the Australian was raised in Perth and joined from ECU Joondalup - the same club Villa signed Chris Herd and Shane Lowry from. Former boss Tim Sherwood took a close look at Lyden during pre-season training and was close to bringing him into the first team squad, but it was Garde who decided that he deserved a place in the Matchday 18 just two weeks after promoting him into the first-team.
FRANKEN AT HUME AT CITY
After five years at the Football West National Training Centre and Perth Glory, keeper Jordan Franken has become the latest player to head east after joining NPLVIC side Hume City for 2016. The 20-year-old was courted by some clubs in WA, but believed a move to Victoria was the way to go. “I decided to leave because I didn't believe I was in the club's plans moving forward “I felt there was a lack of opportunities available in Perth,” he said. “There was interest in Perth and I had to make some tough decisions but I felt that I needed a different challenge and environment and I’m happy to have signed for Hume City.”
Franken has some good memories in his time in football in WA, and has made some good friends along the way. “I was involved with Glory and the NTC for the majority of five years, and I will always have good memories of those times. To go through the system and come out with some life friends is very special,” he explained. “The best part for me was going into each weekend with the underdog tag and a target on our backs. Each week you were tested and as a result the victories were much sweeter when they came.”
After speaking to a few clubs in the league, Franken thought Hume was the best fit for him and his looking forward to the up-coming pre-season. “I spoke to a few other clubs over here but Hume was the team that stood out and I’m delighted to be on board,” he said. “Hume is an ambitious club who are on the rise, and their performances in the FFA Cup last year are testament to that. The current group firmly believe we have the squad to challenge for the title and I can’t wait to get started.”
The keeper began his football at Sorrento FC, and spent all of his juniors at Percy Doyle Reserve, but he said the NPLWA is growing and he enjoyed the rivalry rounds. “The Gulls are my home club, and I've got some great mates involved down there and the club has a strong familial vibe, full of hard working and passionate people, and they were my only club before I transitioned to the NTC/Glory program,” he said. “What I love about NPLWA is that everyone seems to know everyone and there is a strong friendship that accompanies the rivalry between clubs and players, and the Rivalry Round was a great initiative of the league.”
The NPLVIC is strong and competition is intense and Franken said the league will again be tight. “The Victorian Premier League is always very strong especially since clubs have the possibility of relegation looming over them,” he explained. “South Melbourne, Bentleigh and Heidelberg will be strong again, Pascoe Vale has just moved to improved facilities and play attractive football, and the newly promoted Melbourne Victory will be a dark horse with many of their players gaining A-League experience over the off-season.”
Franken had a glimpse of A-League football with Perth Glory and said he will be doing all he can to make back to that level again. “Absolutely, that's the prime reason for my move, to be in the best available all-round environment for me to develop and be given the opportunity to make it at the next level. I am only 20 so in terms of the career-span of a goalkeeper, I haven't even graduated primary school yet,” he joked. “For me it's about becoming the best I can possibly be at pursing my love and passion. If I can do that then I can guarantee I will be satisfied with myself. I know that I have the mentality and work ethic to make it in the A-League and beyond, it's now about putting in the hours and proving that.”
THWAITE AND GOLEC SET TO EXIT GLORY
The departures are continuing at Perth Glory with the A-League club confirming Antony Golec will depart this week and Michael Thwaite is likely to join him. Golec and Thwaite are the latest players to split from the Glory camp, coming hot on the heels of international pair Sidnei Sciola and Guyon Fernandez who moved on last week.
Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos revealed Golec is moving to Moldovan outfit FC Sheriff after playing just six games for the club after signing from Western Sydney Wanderers earlier this season. ""We'll be finalising the terms of that transfer this week I would imagine," Filopoulos said.
Thwaite has been a cornerstone of the Glory's defence for three-and-a-half seasons. But once he let his feelings known on the club's salary cap drama last year, his days were numbered. "There are some conversations and some correspondence with a couple of Chinese clubs through various agents, but we haven't finalised anything as yet," Filopoulos said.
"I'm sure over the course of this week there will be some developments on that front. Michael's got some ambitions and we've known that for several months. He did have an agreement with the club that if something did come his way during the course of his remaining contract which ends in May, that we wouldn't stand in his way."
WANDERERS EDGE OUT THE GLORY LATE IN W-LEAGUE
Perth Glory has ended their Westfield W-League season with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Western Sydney Wanderers at Popondetta Park on Sunday afternoon. Both goals were scored late with Erica Halloway and Hannah Beard on target for the home side, the defeat allowed the Wanderers to leapfrog the Glory to finish seventh. “The whole group of players and coaching staff are very disappointed in the result specially after we were dominating large parts of second half, and in doing that we become little undisciplined in our defensive shape and that open the door for western Sydney to break quickly and score,” Coach Bobby Despotovski said. “Never the less I can say the girls were magnificent during the year and I can only say big thank you to them all.”
The Glory had keeper Gabby Dal Busco to thank early. She produced a stunning save to deny Rachel Soutar. Glory’s American import Vanessa Di Bernardo then went close, but Caitlin Cooper got back with a last ditch tackle. While Wanderers had the better of the first half it was the Glory who could have scored first as Carla Bennett’s cross found Caitlin Doeglas in the box but the winger’s shot was deflected wide. Before the break Shannon May went close to the opener, but her shot was saved comfortably by Wanderers keeper Teagan Micah.
The Wanderers custodian was in the action again early in the second half, this time pushing DiBernardo’s close-range effort around the post. The Wanderers were pressing high and the Glory were hitting on the counter attack, and Micah produced a good save to thwart DiBernardo again with six minutes remaining. But it was the Wanderers who hit the front on 87 minutes. Alix Roberts’ pin-point cross found Halloway, whose volley gave Del Busco no chance.
It was a huge blow for the Glory side, who had given everything, and Wanderers went in for the kill and doubled their advantage in stoppage-time. Beard received the ball with her back to goal, but her shot on the turn beat Dal Busco low at here near post.
GLORY YOUNGSTERS STUN CITY (courtesy www.perthglory.com.au)
Perth Glory Youth side ended their Foxtel National Youth League campaign with a 3-1 win against a strong Melbourne City side at Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday morning. The visitors led 1-0 at the break with Steve Kuzmanovski on target, but a stunning second half from the Glory youngsters, saw Daniel Stynes and Joe Knowles, who bagged a brace, to give them the three points. The win was built on a solid defence performance, and central defender Ross Millard said it was good to end the season with a home win. “A good end to the season for us, and I thought we toughly deserved the win today,” he said. “Jared (Tyson) gave us a lift today he made some good saves when we needed them and I thought defensively we were strong today, even if we had players playing out of position, but it gives us a good lift with the NPL Night Series just around the corner.”
With both sides having experienced players in their sides it was a lively opening, but it was the visitors who hit the front on 17 minutes. A ball over the top sent Kuzmanovski clear, and he lobbed the on-coming Tyson to give City the early advantage. The home side hit their straps and on the half hour Nikola Talimdzioski raced clear down the left, held off his marker, but his shot flashed inches wide of the far post. Glory were in again moments later, with Talimdzioski sending Knowles clear, but the striker’s powerful shot was superbly saved by Dean Bouzanis.
It was a perfect start to the second half for Gibson’s side and they were level in the opening minute. Knowles burst into the penalty area and fired low past Bouzanis. City looked to hit back and skipper Mahmut Ali Eyigun’s free kick was well saved by Tyson, before Kuzmanovski’s low cross was inches away from Marc Marino at the back post. It was end to end football with both sides having good chances. First Glory skipper Calvin Whitney played in Knowles, whose first time shot was well saved by the alert Bouzanis.
Moments later Hernan Espindola got in behind the Glory back four, but Tyson was out bravely to block his shot, and Marino’s follow up shot went wide. City were pressing and on 80 minutes Matthew Millar’s shot was parried by Tyson, the ball rebounded back off a Glory defender and rolled agonisingly wide of the post. But two minutes later the Glory hit the front. Knowles, who had caused the City defence all sorts of problems all game, made a darting run down the right and he found Stynes, who finished low past Bouzanis. The points were wrapped up on 83 minutes, when the Glory added a third. Heny Durr played in Knowles down the right; he outpaced his marker and finished clinically past Bouzanis.
10-MAN GLORY HOLDS OUT CITY
Perth Glory came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw against high flying Melbourne City in round 15 of the Hyundai A-League at the nib Stadium on Saturday evening. They also had to do it with 10 men, when youngster Jacob Collard was sent off on the hour mark, but some stellar defending from the Glory kept City at bay. Erik Paartalu had given City the lead on the half hour, but Diego Castro levelled in first half stoppage time. Aaron Mooy regained the lead for the visitors before Chris Harold; on his 100th A-League game earned the Glory a point.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe was full of praise for the effort of young side, particularly defensively. "I thought we were good value. They play the right way and it was quite enjoyable to watch in a perverse sort of way except when we went to 10-men," Lowe said. "To the players, you can only give them credit because they are starting to put performances together. They might not be getting the things out of it they should, but maybe it will change as we move forward."
City was out of the blocks early and Ante Covic had to be alert to save at the feet of Bruno Fornaroli after only five minutes. The Glory hit back and Gyorgy Sandor played Josh Risdon into the area, but his shot was turned around the post by Thomas Sorensen, who was injured in the incident. The City custodian recovered after treatment, and he was at it again on ten minutes, punching clear Risdon’s free kick, with Aryn Williams ready to pounce.
The Glory were giving as good as they got and Castro’s curling shot flashed inches past the post, before Andy Keogh shot was saved low by Sorensen. Harold was a constant threat and on 29 minutes he was sent into the box by Castro, but again Sorensen was down to turn his shot around the post. But it was City who opened the scoring sixty seconds later.
Mooy’s cross was flicked home by Paartalu, who got the faintest pf touches to send the ball past Covic. The Glory ended the half the better and Sandor’s quick feet took him into the penalty area, but again Sorensen got down low to deny him. But in the shadows of half time the Glory levelled. Castro was brought down on the edge of the penalty area by Paartalu, and the Spanish maestro picked himself up and curled his free kick up and over the wall leaving Sorensen rooted to the spot.
City made the perfect start to the second half and they regained the lead two minutes in. Mooy played the ball to Fornaroli at the top of the box. He continued his run down the left to collect the return, and the Socceroo midfielder fired low past Covic. The Glory looked to hit back immediately and Sandor picked out Mitch Oxborrow, but his shot was saved low by Sorensen. But on the hour the Glory levelled.
Castro found space on the right, and picked out Keogh at the back post. His first time shot beat Sorensen, but City defender Aaron Hughes managed to block the shot on the goal-line, but Harold was on hand to poke it home from close-range to level the score at 2-2. But three minutes later the Glory were reduced to ten men, with Collard picking up a second yellow card for kicking the ball away, something the youngster will learn from.
It was backs to the wall now for the home side and Marc Warren looked in trouble with a shoulder injury, but the defender was strapped up and he continued. Mooy was pulling the strings in midfield, and his shot moments later whistled over the top. But the ten-men Glory were hitting on the counter-attack, and substitute Jamal Reiners long-range shot was deflected, but Sorensen got down to save.
Then Harold made space in the area, but with a tight angle his shot crashed off the post, the rebounded didn’t find a Glory player in the penalty area and City cleared. City almost snatched all three points in the second minute of stoppage time. Mooy corner picked out Paartalu, whose header was heading for the net but Warren got back with a last ditch clearance to earn them a share of the spoils.
SHOWTIME FOR WA YOUNG GUNS
Coach Kenny Lowe has backed his young Western Australian born and raised players to step up against A-League glamour team Melbourne City tonight. Team captain Richard Garcia, Josh Risdon, Aryn Williams, Jacob Collard, Mitch Oxborrow, Jamal Reiners, Chris Harold and Joe Knowles are in contention to feature in the game at Perth Oval.
With experienced defenders Michael Thwaite and Dino Djulbic out through injury and youngster Alex Grant suspended, Lowe said his options were relatively straight forward. “Play the young boys and see how they stand up,” he said. “They’ve done ever so well. Grantie's (Alex Grant) done great, Aryn Williams' done great, you got young Jacob Collard in there.”
“It’s like a crèche in there at the moment with the back four. What’s the average age 20? There might be some negatives with Thwaitey not being there but there’s some massive positives cause we’re finding out how the young WA boys can cope which everyone wants to see.”
Lowe said he expected a tough match against Melbourne. “We’ve only lost two games at home and we’ve been down to 10 men both times,” he said. “We dominated created chances (last week against Adelaide United) even with ten men. We’re in a good spot, we’re playing quite well we just need to finish the games off.”
GLORY HOPING TO BOUNCE BACK AGAINST CITY
Melbourne City head west looking to continue their sparkling run of form when they face Perth Glory in A-League Round 15 action on Saturday night at nib Stadium (6.40pm). City produced a stunning display of attacking football to snap the Western Sydney Wanderers’ 10-game winning streak, in a 3-2 thriller last week, while the Glory come into this contest on the back of a 3-1 loss to Adelaide. The defeat last week ended the good home form of the Glory, but they will fancy their chances, having the edge over City in recent head-to-head matches, winning two and drawing two of the last five meetings. However City prevailed in their latest clash, 5-1 earlier this season.
The Glory will be hoping Michael Thwaite will be fit to play in the center of defence, with Alex Grant suspended, but the form of Aryn Williams and debutant Jacob Collard would have pleased coach Kenny Lowe. They do regain the services of Marc Warren, who is available again after suspension, while Nebojsa Marinkovic should be available after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury.
The partnership between Andy Keogh and Diego Castro will be one to watch, the pair looked good against the Reds, and the more they play, the better the understanding will come. The sending off of Grant did un-balance the side last week, but they still created chances and that will encourage Lowe, but he will be hoping Thwaite can respond to treatment on his injured knee to return on Saturday.
It will be Chris Harold’s 100th A-League game in the City clash, and last time Glory beat City at home was in the FFA Cup semi-final in October, and Harold believes that will give them confidence. “Most certainly it will, that was a huge game as the winner progressed to the final and we coped better in that high pressure situation,” he said. “City have proven they are a class outfit with talented attacking players, but I think we will cause them some serious headaches. If we can remain solid at the back, and start dispatching some of the great chances we have been creating for ourselves lately, we can definitely get a good result.”
City has been in superb form in front of goal this season, and they will be hoping for another big performance in order to close the gap on Brisbane and Western Sydney. They have scored a total of 35 goals already this season - 13 better than the next best in Roar and the Wanderers, and they have some dangers weapons in the final third.
Bruno Fornaroli is one of the main reasons the Uruguayan striker scoring 12 goals in just 14 games. City boss John van’t Schip was full of praise for Fornaroli after he scored again in City’s 3-2 win over Brisbane. "Bruno has had a fantastic year. He's not only a goalscorer, he works hard, he helps the team and he brings that extra winner mentality into the team," he said.
For new English defender Aaron Hughes it will be longest domestic away trip in his career. “Even travelling to Brisbane is probably the longest I’ve travelled for a domestic game … flying anyway,” he joked. “In England, sometimes if it’s not too far, you take the bus, but you get stuck in a traffic jam for four hours. It’s a long way (to Perth). But everyone said it’s a tougher journey just because of the time difference and the heat. But it’s part of the experience. It’s part of why I came here, to try new things and challenge myself in new ways.”
Squads for the game - Perth Glory: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Richard GARCIA (c), 10 Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 13 Diogo FERREIRA, 14 Chris HAROLD, 15 Hagi GLIGOR, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Mitch OXBORROW, 19 Josh RISDON, 23 Michael THWAITE, 24 Jamal REINERS, 25 Jacob COLLARD, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS - **two to be omitted** In’s - Marc WARREN (returns from suspension), Antony GOLEC (promoted), Nebo MARINKOVIC (returns from injury), Michael THWAITE (returns from injury) - Outs: Alex GRANT (suspended), Joe KNOWLES (omitted)
Melbourne City FC: GK Thomas SORENSEN, GK Dean BOUZANIS, 3 Aaron HUGHES, 6 Erik PAARTALU, 8 Aaron MOOY, 9 Harry NOVILLO, 11 Michael ZULLO, 15 David WILLIAMS, 16 Jason TRIFIRO, 17 Wade DEKKER, 18 Paulo RETRE, 19 Ben GARUCCIO, 22 Jack CLISBY, 23 Bruno FORNAROLI, 24 Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25 Jacob MELLING, 28 Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 39 Ali EYIGUN - **two to be omitted** - In’s: Steve KUZMANOVSKI (promoted), Ali EYIGUN (promoted) - Outs: Nil
BACK-TO-BACK WINS ON THE CARDS FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory will be looking to end their Westfield W-League season with back-to-back wins, when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers in their final game of the season at Popondetta Park on Sunday. They ended their home games last week with a hard fought 2-1 win against Adelaide United and Coach Bobby Despotovski said it was a pleasing performance.
“The win against Adelaide was a product of the way we played the game, everything we have worked on and put in place over the last couple of months has started to come through,” he said. “It was very pleasing for all involved to see the players reap the rewards for all of their hard work during the season. Hopefully we can build on that performance and continue to grow as a team and a club.”
The performance of American import Vanessa DiBernardo was outstanding last week, scoring two and having many other chances, and Despotovski said she has been fantastic since she arrived at the club. “I think Vanessa has had an outstanding season for Perth Glory, but also an important aspect is that she is fantastic person and very professional as well,” he said.
“She has shown our players what being a professional football player is all about. How she approaches training, games, recoveries after the game, it’s not a surprise to me that she is knocking on the door for the USA National team. We were very lucky to secure her services for this year and I can assure our supporters that we as a club will do everything we can to bring her back for next season.”
The final game of the season is something Despotovski would like to win and he said they will be doing all they can to head home with three points. “Yes it would be nice to end the season with back-to-back wins,” he said. “We just want to continue playing the brand of football that we have shown our supporters we can last weekend against the Lady Reds. I won’t be an easy game, but we will do our best to get three points and finish the season with a bang.”
The Coach has been delighted with the support they have received at home games at the Ashfield Sports Club, and he said it’s a massive boost to have them at the games. “The support we have had this season has been amazing, and from me personally and the club as a whole, I’d just want to say a big THANK YOU,” he said. “We will try everything we can to keep entertaining you and hopefully repay your loyalty with more home wins next season.” The Glory W-League kicks off at 12 noon (WA Time) on Sunday.
GLORY YOUTH LOOK TO END SEASON ON A HIGH
It’s Perth Glory Youth’s final game of the Foxtel National Youth League for the season, when they host Melbourne City at Ashfield Sport Club on Sunday morning (10.30am) The youngsters put in one of their best performances last week in the 2-1 defeat against Conference A Champions Adelaide United, and midfielder Calvin Whitney said they will be doing all they can to end the season with a home win.
“I feel we played very well, even though we had a young side we played our football and it worked for us, but we conceded two sloppy goals early on in the game and we real should have drawn or even won it,” he said. “We would love to win the last game of the season, and I really believe we can. Last time we played them we played really well and hopefully this weekend we can again and win a home game.”
The new look Glory side has performed well in the competition, and despite winning just the one game the performances have been encouraged. Whitney, who started playing as 8-year-old at Belmont before moving to Forrestfield United, the Football West NTC and then the Glory Youth, said it’s been a huge learning curve for the younger players in the NYL this season, but he believes they are improving ahead of the PS4 NPLWA.
“I think in the PS4 National Premier League WA we will do really well, seeing that we are playing well at the end of the Youth League season,” the 19-year-old said. “Hopefully we can carry that form into the next season and improve on last season, when we finished the season with three straight wins.
VIETNAM CLASH 'A CUP FINAL' FOR OLYROOS SAYS EDWARDS
Ryan Edwards says Australia's second group game of the AFC U-23 Championships is a must-win after the Olyroos were beaten by United Arab Emirates in their opening match by Vietnam. Aurelio Vidmar’s side was dealt a blow on their Road to Rio, losing 1-0 to the UAE with a heart-breaking late own-goal deciding the dour contest.
With Vietnam going down 3-1 to Jordan in the other opening match clash in Group D, Sunday’s meeting between Australia and the Vietnamese shapes as a must-win for both sides. “We’ve just got to look ahead and focus on Vietnam because they had a loss against Jordan today in our group so we’ll look at their game and ours and work out how we’re going to get three points,” Edwards said.
“It’s three Cup finals really and we lost the first one today so we have to go again. It’s a massive game against Vietnam, they lost today, we lost today, so it’s a must-win for both teams to stay in the group and go into the third game, so hopefully it’s a positive for us."
Edwards said UAE's game plan worked well but was disappointed a profligate Australian team didn't take their chances when presented. “It was a tough game. In saying that we had some good chances to put them away and it would’ve been a different story. We’re disappointed but we pick ourselves up and we’ve got another game in a couple of days against Vietnam.”
Edwards, currently with Scottish Premiership side Partick Thistle, said the squad’s focus is now entirely on Vietnam. “We’ll do a recovery session for the boys that played and the boys that didn’t will get put through a session,” said Edwards. “We’ll have another training session the following day and then we’ll have Vietnam on Sunday.”
HERD EXTENDS DEAL WITH CHESTERFIELD
Midfielder Chris Herd will remain with English League One club Chesterfield for the remainder of the season after extending his deal at the Proact Stadium. Herd was brought to Chesterfield in September by former manager Dean Saunders on a short-term contract through to this month. The former Aston Villa player has impressed new boss Danny Wilson during his three games at the helm and will now see out the 2015/16 campaign with the Spireites. 26-year old Herd played 42 times for Villa and spent time on loan at Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic last season.
EX-HEARTS STRIKER GORDON SMITH JOINS ECU JOONDALUP
Former Heart of Midlothian striker Gordon Smith has flown to Australia, after deciding it was a case of ‘now or never’ to realise a dream of playing football abroad. The 24-year-old has agreed a season-long deal with PS4 National Premier League WA side ECU Joondalup, after securing his early release from Scottish Championship side Dumbarton. The striker had spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Cowdenbeath but was keen to ‘try something different’ and was offered the opportunity to go Down Under thanks to a former team-mate of his Dad, Gordon, who also played professionally.
With the QBE NPLWA night Series season getting under way next month, Smith had a decision to make on his future – and he confesses a wintry day playing at Cowdenbeath’s home ground Central Park in November, helped convince him to head to the other side of the world. “A couple of months ago when we played Arbroath the weather ruined the game. The ball was off the pitch every 30 seconds and when the weather’s like that it’s hard to play football,” he explained. “I just thought to myself why not try something different, with different weather, I’m buzzing.”
It was a tough decision to move to the other side of the world, but after speaking to the club he is delighted to start a new chapter in football career. “It was either now or never, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve done it. I could have stayed at Cowdenbeath again or tried something different,” Smith said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve not got any commitments, I’ve not got a wife or anything like that, and I can’t wait to get started.”
ECU Joondalup Coach Dale McCulloch believes Smith the signing of Smith is huge for the club on and off the pitch. “Everyone knows we struggled in front of goal for the last two seasons, and Gordon will give us a massive boost in the final third,” he said. “He comes with a wealth of experience in Scottish football and has an eye for goal will be vital for us this season. We have been creating chances, but not converting them, so with Gordon coming on board along with Steven McGarry it will really give us a real target up top which is pleasing. He will also work with our academy sides and it will be great for the youngsters to have such a professional player working with them.”
Born in Edinburgh, Smith played for Hibernians' youth teams, but was released by the club and signed for Livingston. He then signed for Scottish Premier League side Hearts in the summer of 2009. He made his debut as a second-half substitute against Dinamo Zagreb in a UEFA Europa League tie. Smith scored his first goal for the club in his first league appearance, scoring Hearts' goal in a 1–1 draw with Edinburgh derby rivals Hibs at Easter Road.
The following season Smith was sent on loan to Stirling Albion, and having impressed manager Jim Jefferies whilst on loan at Stirling Albion, he was awarded a new contract at Tynecastle. On his return to Hearts games were limited to substitute appearances, under new manager Paulo Sergio, although he played against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League. Smith was sent on loan to Hamilton in December 2011, and also had stints at, Raith Rovers and Stirling Albion, before moving to Dumbarton and Cowdenbeath. He has also represented Scotland at under 17’s and under 19’s levels.
The striker spoke to a number of clubs in Australia, but believes ECU Joondalup is the place to be. “I was speaking to a few teams and I had a couple of contacts out in Australia. Willie Herd, who used to play with my Dad at Falkirk, is a youth coach at ECU Joondalup, and he put my name forward, and they were itching to get me. I was offered a decent deal, and they’re going to give me coaching to do as well, and I just thought ‘why not go for it. I’ve loved playing in Scotland but I’ve always wanted to try playing somewhere else, in a different country.”
TAGGART SOUNDS WARNING TO OPPOSITION
On the eve of their AFC Under-23 Championships opener, Adam Taggart has sounded a warning for the Olyroos opponents by declaring there is no second chance for Australia. The Olyroos are just two days away from the opening game in Qatar against United Arab Emirites, in a tournament that doubles as qualification for the Rio Olympics.
Taggart will form part of a vibrant, speedy attacking force for Aurelio Vidmar’s side alongside the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borrello, Andrew Hoole and Mustafa Amini. “There’s a hunger and desire to score goals. We’re always working on those things away from camp to improve those and get better,” Taggart said. “It’s always a little bit difficult to come into camp and gel straight away.”
“But as a team we’ve been together for so many camps, so many tournaments now it’s something we need to have in our back pockets already. There’s no second chance now we have to go out there with all of our quality and bring together all of our strengths and hopefully make an unstoppable team here in Qatar.”
This tournament marks a return to the green and gold for Taggart since he was part of Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad at last year’s World Cup in Brazil. While he’s endured a frustrating period with injury since moving to Fulham after that tournament, the pacy striker feels he’s matured a lot through those experiences.
“Throughout my career so far it’s been about improvement and progress and even though it might not have come so much on the field since Brazil, it’s definitely come along off the field,” Taggart said. “I think I’ve improved in a lot of different ways and when the time comes when I can get a good run of games together in a good team then I think is going to help me for the future.”
KEOGH READY TO BRING GLORY TO THE CLUB
Andy Keogh made his return to the Perth Glory side in Saturday’s 1-3 defeat against Adelaide United last week, and while Keogh didn’t score, the Irish striker is aware of what his job is and isn’t shying away from what he needs to do. “It’s obvious… I’m there to score goals and that’s what I want to give” he said. “I contributed a little bit (on Saturday night), I’ve got a lot more to give. That’s how it is when you’ve come in mid-season and you try to get that match fitness in straight away. I’ve been training hard and been putting a lot of effort off the pitch so hopefully my fitness will come back very quickly”.
In front of the Glory’s biggest home crowd of the Hyundai A-League season (9,009) the former Wolves striker acknowledged there were some changes to this year’s squad compared to last year but praised the acquisition of some players, especially Spanish marquee Diego Castro. “I’m training and playing with the likes of Diego Castro a bit more and learning how he plays, that will help in the future games,” Keogh said. “The team is similar in style of play, and if anything, it has more flare with Castro in it.”
In the loss to Adelaide, the Glory squandered two clear-cut chances, but its chances like those Keogh is confident of putting away. “Hopefully some of those chances that fell to Diego and Chris Harold will fall to me and I’ll put them away,” he said. “There’s 39 points on offer and you look for that top six and create something in a season where no one expected anything.”
Keogh said leaving Glory had not left a “bitter taste”, and he spoke of his return and said it was the football rumour and gossip mill that helped him return to the West. He was unhappy at Thai club Ratchaburi where he moved after Glory’s salary cap affair last season. “I was passing comments with some of my mates and it went from there,” Keogh said. “People talk quickly and as soon as the gaffer (Coach Kenny Lowe) heard I was interested in coming back we struck up a deal.
He added: “I didn’t like it in Asia. It didn’t work for me. I didn’t enjoy the professionalism over there. The A League had a lot more to offer. At the time, it was time to make a decision and I made a decision that obviously didn’t work out how I liked,” he said. “There was only one place I wanted to come back too.”
Keogh missed training on Tuesday after pulling up sore from the Adelaide United game. “It’s nothing to be concerned about just a bit of an extensive recovery with a few of the other lads,” he said. “It was tough going, the pitch was very hard, and having 10 men (after defender Alex Grant was sent off) took a lot out more out of the lad’s legs. It was enjoyable to be back, disappointing result. Obviously Granty being sent off changed the result but if you look at the chances there were some positive things to look at."
LYDEN HUNGRY FOR MORE AFTER VILLA DEBUT
Jordan Lyden’s debut for Aston Villa in the FA Cup has whetted his appetite, with the Perth-raised midfielder hoping to figure again for the Premier League strugglers against compatriot Mile Jedinak’s Crystal Palace this week. Lyden was on the bench against Arsenal last month in the Premier League but went one better in the draw with League Two Wycombe Wanderers at the weekend, replacing skipper Micah Richards late on.
Lyden said he had "mixed emotions” after the match. “I’m over the moon to have got on but on the down side we didn't get the result we were looking for … I just want to push on now and involved in the Premier League. I got about ten minutes and was happy with how I went on the right side of midfield."
"I saw a fair bit of the ball, made a few runs forward to create space for others and I was really pleased with how it went. Now I've had that taste I just want more. We have a lot of games coming up, including the replay obviously, and to be a part of any of them I’d be chuffed to bits."
Lyden has impressed coach Remi Garde with his verve and vigour in recent training sessions with the first team and Villa fans have been calling for his inclusion for several weeks as the side languishes ten points from safety at the foot of the table. Whether he features at Villa Park against seventh-placed Palace on Wednesday is open to conjecture, but Lyden is convinced he is ready to make the step up.
“I think I took my debut in my stride, it didn’t really faze me to be honest and I feel I can build from here now,” he said. “All of I could think of when I was tapped on the shoulder and told I was coming on was ‘can I get the winner?’ Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to change the game for the good, but the experience was huge for me, and hopefully the win we need is coming.”
Villa have yet to win in eleven games under Garde and urgently need three points against Palace to inject a sliver of confidence into the team. “We still have togetherness, both staff and players, and it was great to see so many of our fans at Wycombe,” Lyden said.
“They gave me a good reception when I was warming up and when I went on, and that made me feel really comfortable. I always give my all in every match I play, and I think a lot of them will know what sort of player I am. They keep a good eye on the under-21s because that's where a lot of first team players have come from in the past."
While his club fortunes are on the rise, Lyden, who played for the Young Socceroos at the 2014 Under-20 World Cup in Malaysia, was overlooked for this month’s AFC Under-23 Championship, where the prize for the Olyroos is a place at Rio 2016. The dual nationality midfielder qualifies for both England and Australia but his preference lies with the green and gold.
Despite being fit again for seven months after recovering from recurrent hamstring injuries that sidelined him for a year, Lyden has yet to have any further contact with any of the national teams' chiefs. “For me, it's maybe not such a surprise because I was out for so long and my main aim has been to get football under my belt," he said. "That injury really stunted my development."
"This year it’s all been about playing and now being involved with the first team hopefully that contact with the national team will come again. I’ll just have to wait and see. Both my parents are English but I was born in Australia and it’s my home country. I have also been involved with the Under-20s and I would love to represent Australia again, whether it’s maybe at the Olympics or one day with the Socceroos."
FEYENOORD, HAMBURG TARGET GALLOWAY
Melbourne Victory youngster Scott Galloway is on the radar of Feyenoord and Hamburg, according to reports from the Netherlands. Dutch website ELF Voetbal reports Galloway has been scouted by Feyenoord on a number of occasions in recent months, while Bundesliga club Hamburg are also keeping close tabs on the versatile 20-year old.
It's understood Galloway's versatility is a huge drawcard for both clubs, with the Perth-born youngster able to play both as a right and left full-back, and also in a defensive midfield role. Galloway, who signed for Melbourne in 2013, is currently in Doha with the Olyroos ahead of the upcoming AFC Under-23 Championships, which double as qualifiers for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
GLORY SEND IMPORT SIDNEI PACKING
Perth Glory winger Sidnei Sciola has been given a free pass to sign with Mexican side FC Juarez. Glory confirmed they had come to a mutual agreement with the 29-year old Brazilian, who made 42 A-League appearances and scored six goals since his arrival in 2013. Another import, Guyon Fernandez, was released by Glory last week tomake room for Irish striker Andy Keogh to return to the club.
TEECE STRIKE NOT ENOUGH FOR GLORY YOUTH
Perth Glory Youth side have put in one of their best performances of the Foxtel National Youth League season, but fell just short, after losing 2-1 to Conference A league leaders Adelaide United at the Elite Systems Football Centre on Sunday morning.
Riley Mcgree and Jordan O'Doherty gave the home side a two goal lead after only 16 minutes, but Cameron Teece pulled one back on the half hour, and they peppered the goal in the second half but failed to find the equaliser. "We gave away a couple of sloppy goals early but I thought we battled back well and got the equaliser and dominated the second half but couldn't turn it into goals," Teece said. "We came into the game with confidence after a good win last week and we should have come away from this one with at least a point."
The home side, who sat on top of the table at kick off, knew a win would almost certainly put them in the Grand Final, and they dominated early, and Mcgree gave them the lead after only five minutes. Ioannis Nestoras almost added a second two minutes later, and Dylan Smith fired inches wide moments later as the home side continued to dictate terms. The home side pressure was rewarded on 16 minutes, when they added a second. Oliver Zafiridis’ corner picked out O’Doherty who headed home powerfully.
With the hot conditions in the South Australian capital there was a drinks break on 25 minutes, and the break helped the Glory settle and seven minutes later they narrowed the margin. A long free kick from Ross Millard found Teece, who brought the ball down on his chest and his shot on the turn flew into the bottom corner of the net giving Adelaide custodian Daniel Margush no chance.
It was the Glory who started the second half the better and they went close on the hour. Teece played in Nikola Talimdzioski, and the striker was one-on-one with Adelaide keeper Margush, who brought the youngster down outside the box.
But the referee only showed a yellow card, but with Margush being the last man it should have been a red. The Glory was now on top and four minutes later they went within inches of the equaliser.
Talimdzioski found substitute Alex Tanevski in space 20-yards out, and his first time shot beat Margush, but crashed off the crossbar and away to safety. Daniel Stynes was the next Glory player to go close. The winger made space down the left, and eased his way past three Adelaide defenders, but a superb last ditch tackle from Ruon Tongyik saved the day for the home side. Both side had chance late. Dejan Spaseski free kick whistled wide of the target for the Glory, before Zafiridis free kick flashed just wide of the upright.
DIBERNARDO BRACE GIVE GLORY WOMEN THE POINTS
With Perth Glory first team and Youth team both losing against Adelaide United this weekend, it was left to the Glory Women’s team to turn the tables on their South Australian opponents, and they did in style, winning 2-1 at Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday afternoon with American import Vanessa DiBernardo bagging a brace, but they had to hang on late when Abigail Dahlkemper pulled one back for the Lady Reds and Ella Mastrantonio was sent off.
The win, their first since round five wasn’t enough to keep their slight finals hopes alive, with Brisbane Roar winning earlier in the day. “It took a little while, but this is a good win for us and it feels good,” DiBernardo said. “We played a very good first half, but we finally broke them down in the second and scored two really nice goals. We were unlucky to give one up, but we stuck together and took the win.”
There was another big turnout for the final home game of the season and it was the visitors who had the first opportunity after 60 seconds, Sutton’s shot pushed around the post by Gabby Dal Busco. The Glory custodian was at it again five minutes later, this time saving well at her near post from Dahlkemper’s shot. DiBernardo was a constant threat, and she kept Reds keeper Kaitln Savage on her toes on the quarter hour.
Glory were having their best period of the game and DiBernardo shot on the turn was saved low by Savage, before Carla Bennett low cross was inches away from DiBernardo in the six yard box. On 20 minutes Shannon May played a great through ball sending DiBernardo clear, but Lauren Steer got back with a last ditch tackle. Both sides had good chances before the break, Savage superbly tipped over DiBernardo’s shot, before Chantelle Ryder’s shot on the run was saved low by Dal Busco.
It was even opening to the second half and the Glory hit the front on 64 minutes. DiBernardo stole the ball from Adelaide captain Elizabeth Milne deep in the box before dribbling around Savage and firing the ball home at the near-post. Caitlin Doegles curling effort was well saved by Savage as the Glory looked for a second. DiBernardo then went close on 76 minutes, but her shot flashed just wide of far post.
But two minutes later the Glory did doubled their advantage and it was DiBernardo again, she latched on to a through ball and finished low past Savage. It looked like the Glory were heading for victory, but the Lady Reds pulled one back six minutes from time with Dahlkemper heading home. Moments later Mastrantonio was showed a second yellow card and sent off, and it set up a tense finish, but despite the visitors pressing the Glory hung on for the win.
TEN MAN GLORY BEATEN BY REDS
Perth Glory’s five home game unbeaten run has come to an end, after they were beaten 3-1 by Adelaide United at nib Stadium on Saturday evening. The home side made a perfect start with Chris Harold’s header deflected into his own net by Tarek Elrich, but The Reds were level on the half hour through Sergio Cirio. The Glory were reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time with Alex Grant sent off, and Adelaide made their numerical advantage count with Marcelo Carrusca and a late Craig Goodwin strike giving them the points. “I think when you get a man sent off, it’s very difficult, especially with a team that tries to keep the ball like them (Adelaide United),” Glory coach Kenny Lowe said. “I thought everyone on our side put on a good show, they ask enough questions when you have 11, but you can’t fault the effort of the 10 guys out there.”
Lowe made three changes to the side that lost to Brisbane Roar last week, with Michael Thwaite (injured), Marc Warren (suspended) and Jamel Reiners, who dropped to the bench, with Aryn Williams, Andy Keogh and National Youth League skipper Jacob Collard coming in for his A-League debut. Both sides knew a win would take them into the top six and it was the home side that made the best start and they were ahead on six minutes.
Richard Garcia made space down the left and whipped cross into the penalty area and Harold’s header was deflected into his own net by the unfortunate Elrich. It was a great start and the 9,000 plus crowd were getting behind the side and Garcia went close to a second six minutes later, but his long-range shot flashed wide of the post. Harold should have added a second on the quarter hour, he was picked out in the penalty area and with the goal at his mercy the striker blazed over the top.
Adelaide began to get into the game and Elrich looked to make emends for his own goal, bursting down the left, but a superb last ditch slide tackle from Collard cleared the danger. Craig Goodwin and Bruce Djite tried their luck from long-range, but both shots failed to trouble Ante Covic. But on 27 minutes the Reds levelled. Some great lead up play from Djite and Carrusca ended with Cirio firing home from close-range.
Both sides had chances as the game opened up. First Goodwin headed straight at Covic, before Keogh and Garcia combined to pick out Diego Castro, whose shot beat Eugene Galekovic and crashed off the post. Then in the final minute of the half Goodwin raced clear and was clipped by Grant and referee Stebre Delovski showed the big defender a straight red card. Then from the resulting Goodwin free kick, Covic produced a stunning save to deny him and send the teams in level at the break.
There was a re-shuffle of formation at the break for the Glory, but it didn’t work and two minutes in Adelaide hit the front. Carrusca danced around both Garcia and Mitch Oxborrow before the Argentinian threading the ball between Williams and Covic and into the net. The Glory hit back and Harold shot was well held by Galekovic, before Harold again saw a shot deflected inches past the post with the Adelaide custodian well beaten.
But it was the visitors who were dominating and Williams was superb at the back as they did their best to hold out a rampant Adelaide side. Covic saved well to deny Cirio’s curling effort, before the Glory custodian saved well to thwart Carrusca. The ten men Glory continued to press and Josh Risdon long-range shot curled inches past the post.
The Glory were hitting on the counter attack, Keogh shot on the turn whistled over the top before Williams’ header was well saved by Galekovic. Both sides had chances late. Pablo Sanchez fired over from close-range, before Joe Knowles’ back post header was straight at Galekovic. But with the last kick of the match the Glory resistance was breached and Adelaide wrapped up the points. Goodwin raced clear of Gyorgy Sandor before slotting the ball into the bottom left corner.
PERTH GLORY V ADELAIDE UNITED - PREVIEW
Perth Glory returns home this weekend when they host Adelaide United at the nib stadium on Saturday evening. The Glory were beaten last time out in Brisbane, the loss ending a four game run without defeat, and they also came out with injury concerns with Michael Thwaite injuring his knee (he has been included in the squad), and Marc Warren picked up another yellow card and is suspended for Saturday’s clash.
If the big defender, who has been outstanding this season, misses out, Coach Kenny Lowe will have a few players pushing for a spot in the heart of the back four with Alex Grant. Ayrn Williams dropped into the position last week at Suncorp after Thwaite was withdrawn, and performed well, but there is also Antony Golec who could come in.
Lowe is hoping to have a number of players return from injury. Nebojsa Marinkovic will miss another week with a hamstring injury, but Diego Ferreira, who missed last week has return to the squad. Mitch Oxborrow and Gyorgy Sandor worked well last week, so Lowe will have a few selection headaches ahead of the game. Up front Jamel Reiners has shown glimpses of his skill and pace, but struggled last week and was brought off a half time, but Lowe looks set to leave the 17-year-old in the starting side. Joe Knowles will be pushing for a start, while the rumour regarding Andy Keogh doesn’t seem to be going away, and could the Irish striker make a surprise return on Saturday?
Perth Glory captain Richard Garcia would love to have Keogh available this weekend but the midfielder isn't losing sleep over the club's transfer activity. "Andy would be a fantastic addition,” he said. “You know, we need a few more goals, so to have a striker like him come in would be fantastic. You've got one eye on [the transfer window] but really you're concentrating on the weekend, you've got to prepare for the weekend. You don't really have time to sit back and think 'What if?’ So if things come and things happen then it's a bonus or a negative or whatever, but as a bunch of players, you're just trying to get ready for the game."
The Reds have been in rich vein of form, but defender Michael Marrone says they must be more clinical in front of goal as they look to get back to winning ways this week in the West. They played out a scoreless draw against the Western Sydney Wanderers last week, and Marrone has called for the Reds’ to be more deadly in front of goal. “Collectively, as a team, when you start getting results, your confidence starts to lift and that’s when you see players hit form,” he said. “The team is doing quite well at the moment, but we still need to get a lot more results to get up the table. We need to be more clinical in the front third, but the good thing is that we’re creating these opportunities because if we weren’t, maybe like earlier on in the season, we’d be worried.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 9 Andy KEOGH, 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, 25 Jacob COLLARD, 28 Joe KNOWLES, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS -**two to be omitted**
In’s: 9 Andy KEOGH (pending international clearance), 13 Diogo FERREIRA (returns from injury), 25 Jacob COLLARD (promoted) - Outs: 3 Marc WARREN (suspended)
Adelaide United squad: GK Eugene GALEKOVIC (c), GK John HALL, 2 Michael MARRONE, 3 Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4 Dylan McGOWAN, 7 PABLO SANCHEZ, 8 ISAIAS, 9 Sergio CIRIO, 10 Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11 Bruce DJITE, 14 George MELLS, 16 Craig GOODWIN, 17 Mate DUGANDZIC, 18 Jimmy JEGGO, 19 Eli BABALJ, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 25 Ruon TONGYIK - **two to be omitted** - Ins: 19.Eli BABALJ (returns from injury), 25.Ruon TONGYIK (promoted from NYL) – Outs: Nil
DESPOTOVSKI LOOKING FOR FIRST HOME WIN IN W-LEAGUE
Perth Glory will play their final home game for the season in the Westfield W-League, when they take on Jamie Harnwell’s Adelaide United at Ashfield Sports Club on Sunday (4pm). It’s been a horrendous season on the injury front for Bobby Despotovski’s side, with Matilda’s striker Sam Kerr missing most of the campaign, and now Catlin Foord is out for the final two games after breaking her collar bone in last week’s 2-0 loss against Canberra United.
The coach said they have had a long list of injuries, and they have had some bad luck along the way. “If I was superstitious I’d say we were cursed but that’s the way it goes unfortunately,” Despotovski said. “I must admit it is frustrating for Collette McCullum and me, but if we had a long list of soft tissue injuries, we would have to look into the training and see what we’re doing wrong, but the injuries we’ve had are broken bones.”
During the season they have lost Sarah Carroll (Broken Toe), Sam Kerr (Turf Toe), Caitlin Foord (Broken Collar Bone), Carla Bennett (Broken Wrist), but Despotovski said you can’t prepare for that situation. “With those sorts of injuries, there is nothing the coaching or medical staff can do,” he said. “There are two games left in the season so from here on we wish Caitlin a speedy recovery and the girls in the squad will dig deep as they have done throughout the year for our final matches against Adelaide and the Wanderers.”
They will be looking for their first win at home this season against the Lady Reds and the coach said he is hoping they can thank there supporters with a win on Sunday. “We will be going into the game with the same intensity we do in any other, and a win would be good for our supporters, who have stuck with us throughout the season,” he said. “Also with it being our final game of the season we would like to have one win at home.”
Adelaide is coached by former Glory striker and Glory Women’s coach Jamie Harnwell, and Despotovski said he’s looking forward to catching up with his former team mate, and hopes it’s a good game. “People say it would be nice to get one over Jamie, but for me it’s the same as any other coach coming to Perth,” he said. “Obviously he is a Perth Glory legend, but some of the girls that are now in the squad haven’t had much time playing under him, so maybe there will be a little more incentive for them to get one back, but for me it’s the same as any other game.”
GLORY YOUTH LOOKING FOR A WIN ON THE ROAD
After last week’s courageous 1-0 win against Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory Youth will be looking to continue their winning run in the Foxtel National Youth League, when they take on Adelaide United at Elite Systems Football Centre, Angle Park on Sunday morning.
Coach John Gibson said his players were outstanding last week and he will be looking for a repeat performance against the Reds this week. “We've said all season the work rate, attitude and belief of this player group is always excellent,” he said. “We know it was going to be a fantastic challenge for this new group, and there was always going to be opportunities for the extended squad, and we have been pleasantly surprised with many developing nicely plus gaining vital experience in the FNYL. We look again to our upcoming game vs. Adelaide on Sunday, in very hot conditions, which we enjoy. They (Adelaide) are a good side, but as per normal we will display positivity, belief and be brave.”
The last time the Glory met Adelaide at home, 18-year-old defender Hayden Stevens made his NYL debut for the club. He hasn’t looked back since and was a solid contributor in last week’s win, and he said it was reward for the players. “It was great for us all too finally get the result we’ve been wanting all year, it was rewarding for everyone,” he said. “They were in good form after thrashing Adelaide the week before, but we all put in a massive shift to get the three points, and I thought we deserved the result we got.”
The former Kwinana United and Cockburn City youngster said they will be hoping to reverse the result from the last game they met the Reds on Sunday and said they will be looking to end the season on a high. “We’re looking forward to Sunday’s game, and with two games remaining we will be doing our best to end on a high,” Stevens said. “But we know, like every game in this competition, it will be a tough one, and the boys won’t be looking at their past results, we need to focus on our game. They (Adelaide) are still top of our conference and it’s a big challenge to go there, but we head over full of confidence, like we have all season, and looking for back-to-back wins.”
KEOGH CLEARED FOR GLORY RETURN
Andy Keogh has been cleared to play for Perth Glory against Adelaide United at Perth Oval tomorrow night. Glory had been named Keogh in the extended squad for tomorrow’s game but were awaiting clearance from Thailand, where the former Ireland international last played for Ratchaburi.
That clearance came through this morning, allowing Football Federation Australia to sign off on the deal. “Andy’s been training with the team for a few weeks now and he’s hungry to get out there. His winning mentality has helped lift the vibe around the playing group, so we’re all excited,” coach Kenny Lowe said.
Keogh's return should boost Glory's crowd and the Irish striker is desperate to get back on the pitch. “It’s going to be a great night for me and my family,” he said. “I’ve been working hard on and off the pitch over the last few weeks and I really can’t wait to get out there and smash a few in.”
Keogh, scorer of a dozen goals last season, will provide Glory a huge boost in the goalscoring department. The team have found the back of the net just times in 13 games this season to be placed ninth on the ladder, though only three points outsit the finals spots.
Glory submitted an application to re-sign Keogh after announcing his return last month but he could not play until one of their five marquee spots became available. They were finally able to make the move yesterday when summer signing Guyon Fernandez agreed to part ways with the club.
Fernandez, who arrived in Perth last September, has been sidelined with a serious hamstring injury, making just five appearances this season. The Dutch forward managed only one full 90-minute game and scored one goal. He will look for another club in the A-League, but is expected to move overseas.
VALENTINI HEADS TO GERMANY
Former Perth Glory striker Stefano Valentini has left the club and headed to Germany for trials at a number of clubs. After a stellar first season with the Glory Youth side, Valentini was a surprise selection in Kenny Lowe’s FFA Cup squad, for the round of 32 tie against Newcastle Jets. The 19-year-old came off the bench and impressed and held his nerve to convert a penalty in the shoot-out win.
He was overlooked in the senior squad from then on, but continued to shine in the Foxtel National Youth League, and to leave the club and his mates, was a tough decision. “To leave the club and my really good mates was of the hardest thing I’ve had to do in the game,” Valentini said. “I enjoyed my time in the youth side and I thought we had a much improved season, and we finished off the season very well which was well deserved.”
His debut in the Glory senior side is something the striker will never forget, and he believes his time at the club will help him in his trials in Germany. “When I was told I was travelling over for the game it was a great feeling,” he explained. “But to make the bench and come on and score in the shoot-out is still one of the most amazing things that have happened for me in football, it was unbelievable and something I will never forget, and it taught me a lot about playing at the next level, which will be invaluable in Germany.”
Valentini left WA in 2014 and joined Victorian NPL club South Melbourne, and he said it has also helped his development, on and off the field. “Playing at South Melbourne was a great, it was a stepping stone, living without any friends and family and made me realise what sacrifices you need to make for football,” he said. “My dream is to be a professional football and I believe to head to Germany is the best option for me and I’m looking forward to showing them what I’ve got, and we’ll see what happens.”
WILLIAMS TO PUT ‘WORST YEAR OF CAREER’ BEHIND HIM
Ryan Williams is over the injuries and lack of opportunities that dented his 2015 campaign and is eyeing a big year at Barnsley. Williams was loaned to League One side Barnsley last July, from Championship club Fulham, but soon after suffered a groin injury which sidelined him for the better part of four months.
“I had a hernia on the right then it ended up being pubic synthesis, which is inflammation of the pubic bone,” Williams said. “Now it’s okay, but it’s been the worst year of my career by far. Everything is really good now and I feel better than I did before physically and mentally.”
Williams, 22, was a teenager when he moved to England in 2010 to join Portsmouth. He spent three years with Fulham during which he was loaned to Gillingham, Oxford United and Barnsley to gain first team experience before deciding to leave the Cottagers, after making just two appearances for the club.
“I just wanted to be settled somewhere to play football week in week out and obviously I know Barnsley from being on-loan before and I enjoyed my time there,” Williams said. “It was an easy decision if I’m honest, we had a big squad and a lot of midfielders at Fulham when I was there which made it very difficult."
Barnsley are currently 17th in League One having moved out of the relegation zone. “It’s been frustrating, signing for a new club and not being able to play,” Williams said. “The team haven’t had the best run of results but we are out of the bottom four now so hopefully the momentum will get us further up the table.”
Williams, the younger brother of Socceroo Rhys and twin of Perth Glory defender Aryn, has represented Australia at Young Socceroos and Olyroos levels. He was expected to further his international experience in this month’s Olympic Games qualifiers in Qatar but has been prevented from doing so by his club.
“I’d say everybody that plays for their country wants to play as much as they can and I’m no different,” Williams said. “It’s disappointing I can’t help the boys but understandable from the club as we aren’t in the best position right now and I’ve barely played at all here. So I’m eager to get going again with Barnsley.”
MELBOURNE RELEASE JAPAN-BOUND VELAPHI
Melbourne City have paved the way for Tando Velaphi to move to Japan by releasing the goalkeeper from his A-League contract. 28-year old Velaphi, Melbourne's first choice 'keeper past season, is expected to sign for a J-League club within days after spending much of this season playing second fiddle to Thomas Sorensen.
City coach John van 't Schip said Velaphi, a favourite with the Melbourne fans, will be missed. "Tando has been a model professional and has developed into a mature and talented goalkeeper," van' t Schip said. "Tando was a popular figure not only in the change rooms but with the fans and I'm sure they will join with me in wishing Tando all the best for the next challenge in his career."
CLISBY DELIGHTED WITH NEW MELBOURNE DEAL
Former Inglewood United player Jack Clisby says he can think of nowhere else that he would rather continue his career than Melbourne City after penning a new deal with the A-League club. Clisby raised eyebrows with his move away from hometown club Perth Glory twelve months ago but has shown his value this season by playing every position in Melbourne’s back-line.
“I didn’t want to go anywhere else, this is the best club in the A-League for me,” said Clisby, who shot to prominence at the age of 20 by winning the prestigious Gold Medal with Inglewood in 2012. “I feel like I’ve developed as a player since joining from Perth (Glory) … it’s been a good transition and I’m excited to continue that here.”
Clisby, 23, has been a regular fixture of Melbourne’s match day squad this season, featuring in 11 of their 13 league outings to date. After making his mark locally with Inglewood, he stepped onto the national stage with Glory where he gained 31 appearances before transferring to Melbourne, where he’s tallied up a further 25 games in total.
GLORY KEEP CLEAR OF TRANSFER RUMOUR MILL
Perth Glory captain Richard Garcia says his side is concentrating on Saturday's clash with Adelaide United and not listening to talk about the transfer window. The club is trying to accommodate Andy Keogh, but to make room for the Irish striker they may have to axe one of their five foreign players and are reportedly in talks with Dutchman Guyon Fernandez about paying out his contract.
Coach Kenny Lowe has said he has no immediate plans to shuffle his squad but Garcia confirmed the club was trying to fit Keogh into the side. "I believe the club is still trying to get Andy a spot," Garcia said. "Whether that comes to fruition before the weekend is another matter altogether. I know the club has been active ... so hopefully good things to come."
"As a bunch of players we are just trying to get ready for the game. The main thing, the most important thing is the club, the team, and that we're successful on the pitch. As a group of players we have to concentrate on the next game and if people come in and out then we'll deal with it when it comes but for us it's about Saturday's game."
Football Federation Australia have refused to allow Keogh to be signed under the guest player rule and Glory would have to lose one of their overseas signings before February 5, the last day of the transfer window. Glory are also said to be targeting Fulham forward Adam Taggart, who has finished a loan stint with Dundee United.
CHEESEMAN REWARDED FOR ANOTHER STELLAR SEASON
Football West referee Mathew Cheeseman has been rewarded after another outstanding season in the NPLWA, by being selected again on the FIFA International List in 2016. The 30-year-old, who worked in all corners of the globe last season as an assistant, joins the strong 25 list of officials on the list for next season. Cheeseman, who is on crutches at the moment after minor surgery on his Achilles, said it’s a privilege to be on the list. “Being retained on the FIFA list for a fourth year [first added in 2013] is an achievement I'm extremely proud of,” he said. “With only 15 male football officials from Australia on the FIFA list (6 referees and 9 assistants), to be included in that elite group is something that every referee aspires to.”
He is also currently working for Football West in a role as Referee Coordinator, and after being on the panel last year he has officiated in some big games. “After I was added to the AFC Elite Panel of assistant referees last year , it gave me a taste of furthering my international career receiving appointments to Asian Champions League, AFC Cup and World Cup qualifying matches, as well as AFC U19 & U23 Championship qualifiers,” Cheeseman said. “Then there is the small matter of officiating in front of 99,384 spectators at the MCG for the International Champions Cup match between Manchester City and Real Madrid in July. However all that has now gone on hold pending my recovery from surgery, and hopefully my career has still got many more highlights to come.”
Cheeseman has been doing his job under a great deal of pain last two season, but he hopes the surgery will be successful and he can get back better than ever. “Unfortunately over the last two years I have been constantly forcing my way through the pain barrier with insertional Achilles tendinosis in my left leg, and I had a corrective operation in early November to remove a heel spur (approx. 10mm) and strengthen the tendon with five pins and 10 anchors inserted,” he explained. “I'm currently in a moon boot until February, and all up my recovery time is likely to be around nine months. I'm aiming to back to full fitness for August, just in time for pre-season for the next A-League season.”
He will be joined on the list by new Assistant Referees Ryan Gallagher, George Lakrindis and Anton Shchetinin, who have joined a growing number of Australian Match Officials on the FIFA International List in 2016. Australia will be represented by 25 FIFA listed officials in 2016, including Matthew Cream who is Australia’s most experienced FIFA official having received his first FIFA badge in 2000. Gallagher and Lakrindis have already received their first international appointment – Thursday’s Liverpool FC Legends v Socceroos Legends match in Sydney – whilst Anton Shchetinin will officiate in an Asian Champions League Play off later this month.
FFA Director of Referees Ben Wilson congratulated Australia’s newest FIFA officials. “For Ryan, George and Anton this is a reward not just for their consistently strong performances in the Hyundai A-League, but for the many hours of training and dedication they have put in throughout their refereeing careers,” he said. “I want to congratulate our entire panel of FIFA officials and I’m confident they will continue to perform strongly on the international stage in 2016.”
FIFA International List in 2016 - Men Referees: Chris Beath, Strebre Delovski, Jarred Gillett, Peter Green, Alan Milliner, Ben Williams
Men Assistant Referees: Ashley Beecham, Paul Cetrangolo, Mathew Cheeseman, Matthew Cream, Ryan Gallagher, George Lakrindis, Nathan MacDonald, Anton Shchetinin, David Walsh
Women Referees: Kirralee Andruschak, Kate Jacewicz, Casey Reibelt
Women Assistant Referees: Renae Coghill, Allyson Flynn, Sarah Ho
Men Futsal Referees: Chris Colley, Scott Kidson, Ryan Shepheard, Darius Turner
TAGGART AIMING HIGH WITH FULHAM FUTURE ON THE LINE
Former A-League Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart admits he doesn’t know where his immediate club future lies, as he heads into combat with the Olyroos this month with Rio 2016 shimmering on the horizon. The 22-year old striker has yet to make his senior debut for Fulham after 17 months in west London, with injuries and ill-fortune taking their toll.
But fresh from a loan spell with Scottish Premiership strugglers Dundee United, Taggart has recovered his fitness and will be looking to attract the attention of new Cottagers manager Slavisa Jokanovic, from far away Doha this month, as he hunts the goals which could clinch Olympic Games qualification for Australia at the AFC Under-23 Championship.
Taggart has trained briefly under the man who led Watford to the English Premier League last season. And while the striker knows a starring role for his country could aid his cause at Craven Cottage, he also realises he could just as easily exit the club during the January window. Former clubs Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory are known to be been to bring Taggart back to the A-League.
“The main thing for me is to get back to playing regular first team football,” Taggart said. “You never know what’s going to happen this month. Fulham have a new gaffer in and there may be an opportunity there but I really can’t say how things will go. I’ve had a few days training under him, so we will see.”
“Everything is an option. You can’t rule anything out, especially the situation I am in. But my long-term goal is to be playing regularly in Europe and I still think I have something to offer, whether that’s in England or somewhere else. My heart still lies in having a career in Europe and I will take the next few weeks away with the Olyroos and see what comes up, and what Fulham’s thoughts are.”
The Olyroos’ Olympic Games campaign commences on 14 January against the United Arab Emirates before outings with Vietnam (17 January) and Jordan (20 January). “With Brazil the prize, it makes it a little bit more special,” said Taggart, who knows all about football crazy nation after making two appearances for the Socceroos at last year’s FIFA World Cup finals.
“I know how much they love the game there, and it would be a great experience for everybody if we make it. We have a strong squad (and) we're a tight group of players. We feel as if we should achieve something … but we all know how tough these qualifiers are, and we're not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”
Taggart is looking forward to putting over a year of injury setbacks behind him by banging in a few goals for Australia. “It’s hard enough coming to a big club like Fulham at the best if times and when you are out for 12 months it’s difficult,” he said. “But now I am feeling in my best shape for a long time, and I am confident and hungry."
FOORD RULED OUT FOR REST OF SEASON
Perth Glory Women have lost the services of Caitlin Foord after the striker fractured her collarbone during the weekend clash with W-League champions Canberra United. Foord joins club mate and fellow Matilda Samantha Kerr, who is on the road to recovery from a foot injury suffered in mid-November, on the sidelines.
“If I was superstitious I’d say we were cursed,” said Glory Women coach Bobby Despotovski. “There are two games left in the season, so from here we wish Caitlin a speedy recovery and the girls in the squad will dig deep as they have done throughout the year for our final matches against Adelaide and the Wanderers.”
Foord and Kerr are both expected to recover in time to take their places in the Matilda’s squad for March’s Olympic Games qualifying tournament. Glory Women host Adelaide United at Ashfield Reserve this Sunday in what will be the team’s last home match of the season.
TYSON'S HEROICS EARNS YOUNGSTERS THE POINTS
Perth Glory Youth team opened their Foxtel National Youth League account with a hard fought 1-0 win against Brisbane Roar Youth at Cleveland on Sunday morning. The home side had thrashed Adelaide United 10-0 last time out, but they were denied on numerous occasions by man of the match Jarrad Tyson.
The Glory custodian pulled off a number of fine saves, to see the Glory youngsters over the line and Nikola Talimdzioski popped up with the winner just after the hour to seal the three points. “It was a hard fought game, we defended with our life and where able to keep the clean sheet which was well deserved for the boys efforts all over the park,” skipper Jacob Collard said. “We haven’t had much luck this season in the competition, so it was good to get the rub of the green today, and as a skipper I’m ever so proud of them all, they deserved it.”
There were two experienced keepers in the sides at kick off with Tyson coming in for Jordan Thurtell for the Glory, while Roar had Michael Theo in goal, as he recovers from his long term injury. The home side were out of the blocks early and Nick D’Agostino, who made his A-league debut this season, was a constant threat, and the Glory were on the back foot but Tyson was standing firm. The Roar, who had a very strong side on the park created a number of clear cut chances in the first half, but Tyson was outstanding, and some desperate Glory defending thwarted them.
After the break the Glory began to get into the game, but still they had Tyson to thank for keeping them in the game. Joe Knowles went close early, before Gibson brought on Daniel Stynes eight minutes in and ten minutes later he was involved in the winning goal. He received the ball on the left and played a reverse pass to Joe Knowles down the line. The striker made ground down the left, cut inside his marker and crossed to Talimdzioski, who ghosted in at the back post and fired low past Theo from close-range.
The home side throw everything at the Glory late in the game, but the youngsters defended superbly and at the final whistle they were rewarded with their first victory in the competition this season. The youngsters will return to training this week, and with just two rounds of the season remaining they will be looking to end the season on a high. They take on Adelaide United next Sunday at Elite Systems Football Centre at Angle Park, before returning to the Ashfield Sports Club in the final game of the season against Melbourne City on Sunday 17th January.
KEOGH RETURN TO SQUAD ON THE CARDS
Andy Keogh could return for Perth Glory as early as Saturday night’s home clash with Adelaide United, as Perth edge closer to fitting the import in their squad. It’s also reported that the club are also interested in signing Perth-born Olyroos striker Adam Taggart, who is seeking another move from English club Fulham after ending his loan stint with Dundee United. Keogh’s fate rests with Glory officials negotiating a severance package with one of the five visa players before February 5 — the last day of the A-League transfer window.
If Glory can’t strike a deal between Tuesday — when the transfer window opens — and February 5, Keogh won’t be eligible to play until next season. It’s Dutch striker Guyon Fernandez, who is currently sidelined with a serious hamstring injury, who has been reported to be cut from the squad. Fernandez has featured in five A-League games this season, managing the full 90 minutes just once. Brazilian striker Sidnei Sciola is also sidelined and has scored just six goals in 42 appearances.
When asked if the club was prepared to make a tough decision to pave the way for Keogh’s return, Glory chief executive officer Peter Filopoulos said they are working on it. “We’re not going to comment on that,” he said. “We’ve signed Andy but we’re still trying to work out how to fit him in.” The Irish striker’s new contract officially began on Friday, but he’s been training with the team for several weeks and is nearing match fitness.
The CEO did not rule out Keogh playing against the Reds on Saturday night. “I don’t have a crystal ball in front of me at the moment, but we haven’t given up hope,” he said. “We’ve always maintained that we haven’t given up hope that at some stage during the January window, which closes on February 5, that maybe something eventuates which will enable us to register Andy as a player. Anything could happen over the next month. “I’m not pre-empting anything at this stage. The important thing is that Andy Keogh is our contracted player for two-and-a-half years.’’
While Keogh is ready to take the field, Taggart remains unavailable until late January as joins the Olyroos squad for Rio 2016 qualifiers in Qatar. Glory’s roster has two spots left — enough room to sign local talent Taggart as a marquee player and bring Nebo Marinkovic within the salary cap. However negotiating a deal to satisfy Taggart’s UK club Fulham, who paid a transfer fee to Newcastle Jets in 2014, remains the biggest hurdle. “If he wants to come home, the door’s wide open and he is more than welcome,” Filopoulos said. “It’s no secret that we want young WA talent. “We’ve started building for next year, it’s about sustainable success and we’re taking a multi-year approach. It’s quite exciting, we’ve cleaned our decks and consolidated, we’re quite buoyant and excited.’’
KEEPER JONES HEADS TO EREDIVISIE SIDE NEC
Former Australia goalkeeper Brad Jones has agreed terms on a six-month deal with Eredivisie high-fliers NEC Nijmegen, finally ending his search for a new club. The 33-year-old, who has four Socceroos caps to his name, has been on the look-out for a new home since parting company with English League One side Bradford City in October.
Jones is expected to officially ink an agreement tomorrow and will join his new teammates in training ahead of the second half of the Dutch season, which commences on 17 January with NEC home to Willem II. The former Armadale junior will be keen to provide stiff competition for NEC's current number one Marco van Duin.
Jones, who trained recently with Perth Glory, will become the latest Australian to ply his trade in the Eredivisie, alongside Roda JC trio Tomi Juric, Rostyn Griffiths and Daniel De Silva. He heads to the Netherlands after 15 years on the books of English clubs Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Bradford City.
MACLAREN BACK TO HAUNT THE GLORY
Perth Glory’s four game unbeaten run has come to an end after they were beaten 2-1 by Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The home side raced to a two goal lead, with former Glory striker Jamie Maclaren coming back to haunt them, while Brazilian striker Henrique added the second. Substitute Hagi Gligor pulled one back for Kenny Lowe’s side and they had chances to take at least a point, but Roar keeper Jamie Young was in outstanding form, and the Glory’s profligacy in front of goal let them down.
Lowe thought they deserved something from the game. “I thought we deserved one. I think that would have been fair, but I guess if you don’t finish them you don’t deserve them,” he said. “To come to a place like this, with the squad they’ve got, with the young boys we played today – really it’s testament to our guys that they did put a show on. It’s just frustrating for everybody – not so much for me but the players – when you put in that much effort and endeavour, it’s a bit of heartache when you actually deserve something.”
Lowe said there were no hard feelings over the in-form striker’s departure and said Maclaren has improved at the Roar. “Jamie wanted to leave, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s football, you move on,” he said. “He’s a good footballer. I think sometimes young lads want it a little bit too quick but we had Andy Keogh there, it was difficult for him. Fair play to him, he’s worked ever so hard and he’s improved, and he scored today. I’m sure he’s feeling good about it.”
Lowe was still without the services of Nebojsa Marinkovic, and lost Diego Ferreira to injury before the match, and he was replaced in the starting line up by Mitch Oxborrow. The home side were well on top early and Dimitri Petratos’ had an early chance, but his shot from the edge of the box flashed wide of the target. Maclaren then saw a header go wide of the post. Glory hit back and Josh Risdon’s long-range shot was comfortably saved by Young. Glory custodian Ante Covic was a busy man. He saved low from Maclaren on 19 minutes, before the veteran saved superbly to deny Thomas Brioch’s curling shot moments later.
It should have been the Glory with the lead on the half hour, Chris Harold went one-on-one with Young, but the keeper stood tall to save. Moments later Diego Castro made space, his shot beat Young, but Shane Stefanutto got back to clear the ball off the line. It was the Glory finishing the half the better and just before the break, Risdon’s cross picked out Michael Thwaite at the back post, but the defender’s shot was weak and claimed low by Young.
Glory defender Thwaite looked to be struggling with a knee injury, but carried on after half time, but Lowe brought on Aryn Williams in place of Jamel Reiners, who slotted into the defensive midfield role. But seven minutes later the home side hit the front and it was that man Maclaren. A quick break ended with Brioch picking out Petratos, whose through ball sent the Olyroo striker clear and his low shot went in via the far post. Young kept his sides lead intact three minutes later, reacting well to save Chris Harold’s low shot.
Henrique seems to enjoy playing the Glory, and three minutes after coming off the bench, the Brazilian doubled their advantage. There looked little danger when we received the square pass from Maclaren, but with little back lift he fired home superbly into the top corner of the net, giving Covic no chance. But the visitors were back in the game on 70 minutes. Barely seconds after replacing Thwaite, Gligor was picked out by the impressive Castro, and the youngster fired home superbly from the edge of the penalty area.
It was game on and it was the Glory asking the questions, and they should have levelled three minutes later, Castro in on goal with just Young to beat, but his attempted lob was easily saved by the Roar keeper. Young was at it again moments later this time he smothered Alex Grant’s toe poke, before he denied Risdon one-on-one. Substitute Joe Knowles looked lively when he came on and with two minutes remaining, his mazy run ended with a shot which was blocked, and Marc Warren’s follow up shot was also blocked on the line by Jade North.
It was Brisbane’s fourth straight victory – and their seventh without defeat at home – and sees the three-time champions start the year in top spot, ahead of Western Sydney Wanderers on goals scored. The Glory missed the chance to break into the top six and instead remain ninth ahead of a return home to meet Adelaide United and Melbourne City in consecutive weeks.
W-LEAGUE FINALS LOOK OUT OF SIGHT FOR GLORY
Perth Glory will face an uphill battle to qualify for the Westfield W-League finals series after losing 2-0 to defending champions Canberra United at a sweltering Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday. Ellie Brush put the visitors ahead after 22 minutes with a near-post header, before Ashleigh Sykes sealed Canberra’s sixth straight win three minutes from full-time with a close-range finish. “We worked hard right to the end, but unfortunately it didn’t get us over the line,” Glory captain Kim Carroll said. “Without using excuses, injuries are hurting us this season.”
The Glory knew the importance of three points in this one, and the game was in doubt with the temperature touching 35 degrees, but it went ahead as scheduled. Glory’s Matildas star Caitlin Foord was dominant early, but it was the visitors who hit the front on 22 minutes, Ellie Brush headed home after some sustained pressure. The Glory suffered a blow when Foord was forced from the pitch in the 38th minute with a suspected broken collarbone after landing heavily on her right shoulder following a challenge from Canberra skipper Nicole Begg. Sykes was causing the Glory defence all sorts of problems, but she was denied before the break by a great save from Mackenzie Arnold.
Glory striker Katie Schubert was the next to suffer injury, after a clash with United’s keeper Lydia Williams, but she carried on courageously. Arnold continued to produce some great saves, to keep her side in the game, but with the Glory chasing the game and pushing players forward looking for the equaliser they were caught out again three minutes from time. Sykes showed her quality, to score and continued her superb season to date. Glory needs both Adelaide and Newcastle to lose their respective matches on Sunday to remain in contention for the finals, with two games in the regular season remaining.
WILLIAMS STARTS COMEBACK WITH CHARLTON
Defender Rhys Williams has joined Championship strugglers Charlton Athletic on loan as he ramps up his return from a double Achilles rupture. The Middlesbrough utility will initially spend a month with the London club, with a view to returning to the north-east primed to push for a first team place at a club competing strongly for promotion to the Premier League.
Williams's injury woes mean he has managed only 90 seconds of football in the last 23 months. This time last year he was unsure if he had a future in football, as injury felled him for a second time in his comeback match. But with a handful of matches under his belt for Boro's under-21s, Williams is taking nothing for granted as he approaches his return to senior football.
"It's been amazing to play again, and I am just looking forward to getting out and trying to help Charlton get some points and climb the table," he said. "They showed a lot of interest and it's nice to be wanted again. The feeling is that I pick up some good match fitness during my time there and then go back and fight for a spot at Middlesbrough."
Williams, 27, is out of contract at The Riverside at the end of the season. "I just need to get playing and see what happens from there," he said. "Playing again is amazing and I think my wife is happy too because I come home in a good mood now. I have training well and honestly feel the fittest I have ever been. Let's hope I last longer than last time when I got injured again after 90 seconds."
BRISBANE ROAR V PERTH GLORY A-LEAGUE PREVIEW
It’s been a happy festive season for Kenny Lowe’s side so far, unbeaten in their last four games, three of them against sides in the top four of the Hyundai A-League ladder. But they face the toughest test of the season so far when they take on the in-form Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday afternoon to open their 2016 campaign. (2.15pm)
Glory midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic will miss again with a hamstring injury, and Lowe hopes Diogo Ferreira has recovered after limping off in the 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory last week. Ferreira was outstanding in the middle of the park, as Lowe went in with a diamond midfield, along with Gyorgy Sandor and Diego Castro. The back four will need to be on their toes on Saturday with the lively Roar strikers causing problems to all defense’s this season, but Michael Thwaite, Alex Grant, Josh Risdon and Marc Warren have been solid in front of the impressive Ante Covic.
Grant believes the game will be a good test for the side as they look to maintain their positive momentum, but knows they need to improve their away form. “That’s what we really focused on ahead of the Victory game, our away form, as it hasn’t been the best this season,” he said. “It’s not only us, but every team, will be focused on picking up points away from home. It’s massive if you want to finish in the top six, so we’ll be looking for a positive result on Saturday.”
The Glory head into the match on a four-game unbeaten run, but the big defender is confident they can improve, and he’s looking forward to taking on the Roar. “Obviously everyone wants to be in a winning team, and if you’re not losing it’s also a massive bonus,” Grant said. “Teams are struggling to score against us. We’re defending well as a team and as a unit, and we’re finding the back of the net now as well, which is always a positive. They (Brisbane) will be full of confidence after beating Melbourne City last week, but so are we.”
It’s the second meeting of the two sides this season, with the Roar winning the first encounter in November 1-0, with Brazilian striker Henrique coming off the bench to score the winner. It’s the first time striker Jamie Maclaren comes up against his former club, he missed November’s game because of international duty, but he will be looking forward to this encounter. Another player who has forced his way back into the side is striker Brandon Borrello, who netted his fifth goal of the season last week in what was a big confidence booster after he was dropped from the squad in recent weeks.
“It’s been great. I’ve had a couple weeks to reflect on the way the boss wants us to play and he’s given me a chance and I thought I’ve made the most of it, it was a great team performance,” Borrello said. "The Boss (John Aloisi) has challenged me . . . I think I have answered him and taken my opportunity as well as I could but I have to back it up on the (training) paddock. I've regathered the past couple of weeks and I gave the team a good performance. That's all I can do."
The Roar extended their winning streak to three matches on the back of last week’s 3-1 victory over Melbourne City, and they will be hoping to close the cap on A-League ladder leaders the Western Sydney Wanderers, but Borrello is expecting a tough game. "They gave us a good run for our money the last time we played them at home,” he said. "It's going to be a very exciting game, hopefully another free-flowing attacking game, but we don't want to give them any chances."
Squads - Brisbane Roar: GK Jamie YOUNG, GK Andre JANNESE, 3 Shane STEFANUTTO, 5 Corey BROWN, 7 CORONA, 9 Jamie MACLAREN, 10 HENRIQUE, 11 Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13 Jade NORTH, 14 Daniel BOWLES, 15 James DONACHIE, 16 Devante CLUT, 17 Matt McKAY (c), 18 Javier HERVAS, 19 Jack HINGERT, 22 Thomas BROICH, 23 Dimitri PETRATOS, 28 Brandon BORRELLO - **two to be omitted** - In’s: Corey BROWN (promoted), Devante CLUT (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: Steven LUSTICA (abdominal strain, 1 week)
Perth Glory: GK Ante COVIC, GK Jerrad TYSON, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Marc WARREN, 5 Antony GOLEC, 7 Gyorgy SANDOR, 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, 25 Jacob COLLARD, 28 Joe KNOWLES, 29 Aryn WILLIAMS - **two to be omitted** - In’s: Jacob COLLARD, Joe KNOWLES - Outs: Nebojsa MARINKOVIC (hamstring 1 week)
GLORY NEED A W-LEAGUE WIN SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
To say Perth Glory’s Westfield W-League game against Canberra United is vital is an understatement. The second placed United head to Ashfield Sports Club on Saturday looking to strengthen their finals chances, but if the Glory want to play finals football this season, then three points are vital for Bobby Despotovski’s side.
The Coach is well aware of the situation, but believes they are capable of getting the right result against a good Canberra side. “Every game since losing to Melbourne Victory at home is vital for us qualifying for play offs,” Despotovski said. “They (Canberra) are a very strong team and ladder proves that. We will go into the game with determination to do well and get something out of it like all the other games. If we are to get anything out of the game will be determined by our ability to execute our game plan to the 100%. I am sure all players and coaching stuff will give their absolute best to get positive result.”
The loss of important players due to injuries has hampered the Glory this season, but Despotovski said it’s given younger players in his squad the opportunity to impress. “Injuries are part of the game, but we did have some unexpected injuries this year Sam Kerr (turf toe) Sarah Carroll (chip bone in her toe), two long term injuries. We didn’t have that many muscle (Soft tissue) injuries which is good,” he explained. “Because of those injuries some other players got their chance to play games which was good experience for them, and we have given game time to lot of players that previous year haven’t got the chance to play, and we are very happy about it.”
But there is some good news on the injury front ahead of the Canberra game, but Despotovski still has players missing this week. “We are looking forward to welcome Sarah Carroll back this week, as we have couple of players away overseas,” he said. “Sarah hasn't played game for few weeks and we will have to be careful not to over stretch her in the first game back after long term injury. It’s a big game and we hope everyone enjoys the game.”
Canberra has only ever lost once in Western Australia, a 0-3 reverse at Ashfield Sports Club in October 2014. Other than that they have a formidable record on their longest domestic journey. In seven matches in the far west Canberra has won three and drawn three and has bagged a fourteen goals in the process. United’s forwards seem to enjoy playing against Perth Glory with Ashleigh Sykes having scored eight times against them, including a double in the 2014/15 Grand Final, whilst Michelle Heyman has seven, a tally that includes the only two hat-tricks registered by a Canberra player in their history – back-to-back in seasons 3 and 4. Caitlin Munoz isn’t adverse to a goal against Perth either, with three of her Westfield W-League goals haul coming against the Glory.
GLORY YOUTH LOOKS TO OPEN NYL ACCOUNT
Perth Glory Youth side will be going all out for a win on Sunday morning, when they take on Brisbane Roar in the Foxtel National Youth League at Cleveland (8.30am). It will be a tough ask with the Roar coming off a stunning 10-0 win against Adelaide United, with striker Harry Sawyer bagging five goals, while midfielder Devante Cult scored a hat-trick.
The Glory were edged out 3-2 last time out by Melbourne Victory, but they had the chances to at least take a point out of the game, but coach John Gibson said his young chargers need to make their chances count. “It’s certainly been a trend the whole FNYL season so far, but if we've creating plenty of chances but haven't capitalised and it would be more of a problem if we weren't creating,” he said. “The group can't be faulted for the endeavour and character, but its end product including final ball and the lack of ruthlessness in front of goal which we need to improve.”
The side will go into Sunday’s game still looking for their first win of the season, but Gibson said they will continue to improve. “We set high standards and the lads have worked really hard, but in this league if you are off the pace slightly you will get punished,” he explained. “Yes we have had a number of injuries in the squad, but we have a no excuse policy. We have given opportunities to a number of players who have debuted in the NYL this season, and it will hold them in good stead in the future.”
One of the young players to make the step up is Daniel Stynes. The 18-year-old midfielder played a huge role in the PS4 NPLWA under 23’s title winning side last season, as well as playing a number of games for the first team. Stynes said they were unlucky not to take anything out of the game against the Victory. “We definitely deserved to get something out of the game, however early mistakes ultimately cost us in the end,” he said. “We were all over them in the second half and the boys felt really disheartened at the end of the game.”
Stynes, younger brother of Floreat Athena midfielder Jon, came through the ranks at Quinns FC, before heading to ECU Joondalup and the NTC. He’s looking forward to Sunday’s game and getting their first win of the season. “It’ll be a really interesting game, they obviously have a lot of quality in there team, but so do we, so we will go there full of confidence,” Stynes said. “The last game we played them we should have taken something out of the game, but we missed a number of opportunities, so hopefully we can change that this weekend.”
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This page was last updated on the 24th December, 2015