Archived News : November-December 2020


31.12.2020

GLORY’S W-LEAGUE OPENER CANNED DUE TO COVID-19 RULES

Perth Glory’s W-League season has been thrown into further disarray after their opening match against Melbourne Victory on Saturday was postponed under Western Australia coronavirus rules. Victory were prevented from travelling because Victoria’s trans-Tasman bubble is not recognised under WA’s COVID-19 regulations.

Victory’s New Zealand signing Annalie Longo has been training with her new teammates but she would have fallen two days short of the 14 days in the bubble required to travel to Perth. And because of her contact with other players the rule applies to the entire Victory squad.

It is the second time Glory’s opening game has been delayed after they were orginally scheduled to play Canberra United on Tuesday at Dorrien Gardens. They will now open their campaign away to Adelaide United on Saturday 9 January. However, the delay gives coach Alex Epakis more time to prepare his squad that would only have had five full training sessions before the first game.

31.12.2020

SAGE EXCITED AS CLUBS TAKE CONTROL OF NATIONAL LEAGUES

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage said it was a huge relief that A-League independence day had finally arrived. The A-League and W-League will have a new structure after the historic “unbundling” from Football Australia left clubs free to control own destiny with the Australian Professional Leagues taking charge.

“It’s a huge relief. It’s very good news. I’m happy and excited,” said Sage of the agreement which will see the clubs take responsibility for marketing and commercialisation of the A-League. “I’ve been in the fight for eight years. I started it and a few other owners joined in four years ago. The clubs now own the league.

“It means all decisions are made by us and all the profits or losses are made by us and the FA gets a distribution, a golden share if you like. At the moment all money goes to the FA and they distribute what they think the A-League needs. That’s why clubs have suffered. Now the clubs get all the revenue.”

The Professional Leagues will operate under the umbrella of Football Australia as the top tier of domestic league football competitions. The APL will take over the operational, commercial, and marketing control of the Professional Leagues and all revenue generation responsibilities.

Football Australia will be responsible for items such as expansion, promotion and relegation, the Asian Champions League, FFA Cup, and other domestic and international competitions. The new model for the Professional Leagues will be implemented throughout the course of the 2020/21 A-League and W-League seasons.

30.12.2020

YOUNG GOALKEEPERS EXCITING: BIRIGHITTI

A player whose own stellar A-League form once earned him opportunities in Europe, Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mark Birighitti says it's exciting to see some young shot-stoppers take their chance in the domestic competition.

Adelaide's James Delianov and Melbourne City's Tom Glover are all but locked in as their teams' first-choice goalkeepers. Delianov, 21, starred in the opening game against Western United while at Western Sydney Wanderers, Daniel Margush will get first crack in goals, supported by 19-year old Noah James.

"There's a lot of good young goalkeepers in the league that have been struggling for game time in previous years," Birighitti said. "Young James Delianov - perfect example - I worked with him at Melbourne City. He's got an opportunity now and he was fantastic in his game the other night. (He had) big shoes to fill obviously after Paul Izzo leaving."

Birighitti lauded Glover's form at City and said Margush had a great opportunity following Daniel Lopar's departure from the Wanderers. "It's good to see these young keepers getting a run and showcasing what they've got and it will be an exciting time for the young goalkeepers this year," he said.

The A-League has been crucial in unearthing the Socceroos' goalkeeping stocks with both Mat Ryan and Mitch Langerak moving overseas off the back of their form in the league. Birighitti was signed from Newcastle by Swansea City and later had a stint at Dutch club NAC Breda.

Birighitti, whose playng days started on the local scene with Perth SC, isn't ruling out a future return to Europe but at the moment doesn't see that a priority. "Of course I'd like to go back to Europe at some stage but my main objective, my main goal this year is to have a really good year with the Mariners," he said.

"I'm happy here, but I'm still young ... I'll be 30 in April. I don't want to set long-term goals. My main goal at the moment is to focus week in, week out and perform as best I can and help the team as much as I can and if I can do that the rest will take care of itself."

29.12.2020

EPAKIS BELIEVES GLORY YOUNGSTERS WILL DELIVER W-LEAGUE SHOCK

New Perth Glory W-League coach Alex Epakis is under no illusion about the task ahead of him - but he is ready to meet the challenge head-on. He had just three weeks to recruit almost an entirely new squad after 13 players left after last season.

Epakis has the youngest group in the league, including seven teenagers, two of them 16 and two 17-year-olds. And he has only five full squad training sessions before Saturday night’s season opener against Melbourne Victory at Dorrien Gardens.

But Epakis taking is taking it all in his stride, saying the challenge has re-energized his love for the game. And he believes his re-built side will produce a few shocks. “I tried my best to put together a team in a three-week window, two of them while I was in quarantine,” Epakis said.

“I relied on my contacts in New Zealand, Sydney and what I knew of the players here. We’ve got an eclectic mix of players, one that we are quietly confident about, one that is setting the platform for future success. That’s what really excites me about the whole project and why I was keen on coming over.”

Epakis refuses to use lack of time together and W-League experience as an excuse. In fact, he sees it as a strength. “The exuberance and naivety from the younger players is that little bit of X-Factor and unpredictability that is going to catch teams out,” he said.

“I tell the group that these are the cards we have been dealt. Let’s manage it the best we can. We’ve had very open conversations about what we want to get out of the season. We all agreed, without compromise, that environment was the number one thing ... if our environment is right our performances will be competitive.”

“I have never coached a team where the group is so strong. There is such good energy and spirit. We have a group that’s very connected, very together, and that is going to be worth a lot. We’ve got an opportunity to start something here, build something from the ground up. That’s the way I’m looking at it, as a project that will bear fruit in the not too distant future.”

“I can’t understate how much I am enjoying it. Coming to a new city, a new club, working with young players that I haven’t worked with or known has been a really good experience. It has invigorated me as a coach and made me think outside the box.”

27.12.2020

RISDON TO MISS TWO MONTHS

Western United will kick off the 2020/21 season minus Socceroos defender Josh Risdon. Injuries have hit the A-League side hard ahead of tomorrow's season opener against Adelaide United, with Risdon set to miss up to 10 weeks with a tibia injury.

Risdon was left out of United's squad for Monday night's game, with the club later confirming he had developed a tibial stress fracture mid-way through pre-season. The 28-year old, Australia's right-back at the 2018 World Cup, enjoyed a superb first season at United and is a big loss to Mark Rudan's side.

Also on thee absente list for United are Sebastian Pasquali (hip), Brendan Hamill (adductor) and Luke Duzel (hamstring) while want-away midfielder Max Burgess is unavailable. The club are keen to build on the success of their A-League debut season when they made the semi-finals.

24.12.2020

WORK AS USUAL FOR AL-QADISIYAH CAPTAIN WILLIAMS

Christmas can be a busy time for footballers in some parts of the world, and that is certainly the case in Saudi Arabia where players from all continents will spend 25 December training ahead of some big-league clashes. Al-Qadisiyah captain Rhys Williams has plenty of experience of a packed December schedule when playing for Middlesbrough.

Williams, 32, knows how important it is to stay sharp even when friends and family worldwide are tucking into turkey, cakes and chocolate. “I think (training) is quite normal for everyone, even in my time in England,” Williams told Arab News. “It’s a busy time for the fans and the football clubs. It’s Christmas, but you have to rein yourself in and be professional about it.”

“Obviously it would be nice to have the full day off with your family, but on the other hand we’re in such a privileged position to be doing the job we love. We have to take the sacrifices. A professional career isn’t forever. You just soak it in for as long as possible, and when the football is finished then you can enjoy it to the full.”

And there will also be no Christmas gatherings or chats with fellow Australians Brad Jones (Al-Nassr) and Mitch Duke (Al-Taawoun). “Everyone’s got their own thing to do, everyone’s got their family here and everyone’s in the same position in that they’ll be training on that day,” Williams said. “I think we see each other enough!”

Sunday’s game is a big one with eighth-placed Al-Qadisiyah taking on Ettifaq, who are two places higher. So competitive is the league that a win could take either team into the top three. “It’s a massive game, especially after the loss to Al-Hilal two nights ago,” said Williams, referencing to Monday’s 3-1 loss to the league leaders.

“It was tough to take (losing to Al-Hilal), and I thought we did OK. A couple of decisions could’ve gone either way on the night. You have to take it on the chin. We’re a newly promoted team and looking good. We can’t wait to put things right again.”

A good end to the year would be welcome, but 2021 may be an uncertain time for Williams. “It’s a year that could be quite funny as I’m coming out of contract,” he said. “It’s up at the end of the year, so come January I’m half a free agent. There are things I want to address pretty quickly if possible.”

Williams would welcome a new contract with the club he joined in 2018 from Melbourne Victory. “I feel like this is my club, and I captain the club on match days,” Williams said. “I feel at home here, and my family is at home here. I’d love to stay, but ultimately we all know the ball isn’t in my court. We’ll see ... January is a funny period where anything can happen.”

24.12.2020

NEW SEASON WILL DEFINE NEXT GENERATION OF MATILDAS: DE VANNA

There are less Matildas than ever in the W-League season but Lisa De Vanna said there's an opportunity for a new generation of footballers to make their mark. Many senior Matildas are based in Europe and there will be fewer international players, especially Americans, than in previous years.

De Vanna expected the season to "make or break" young Australians keen to push for the Matildas leading up to the 2023 Women's World Cup. "It will be different of course. Take away the internationals which will make it a bit more challenging but I think it's great," said De Vanna.

"It's something that we needed - it just gives now the coaches an opportunity to watch in the best league in Australia, who are the best young players coming out? Who can we cherry-pick and make them a Matilda, to build up for the biggest event in (less than) three years' time?"

De Vanna, who has returned from playing in Italy to turn out for Melbourne Victory, said identifying and developing fresh talent was crucial to building squad depth and competition for places. "I think the Matildas team's a little stale. There's no competition and I think competition brings the best out of everyone," she said.

"You look at the US, you look at the Germans and you look at the English team, any player's replaceable. When no one's safe, you work harder and you're always walking on eggshells and I think that's important to have depth because you start to challenge yourself a little bit."

The coming W-League season is shaping up to be an unpredictable but competitive one. Defending champions Melbourne City have been hit hard by departures, but Grand Finalists Sydney FC have maintained the majority of their squad and look set to be contenders once again.

Brisbane Roar have benefited from the return of Matildas Clare Polkinghorne, Emily Gielnik and Katrina Gorry from stints in Europe, while Tameka Yallop has also signed on. Meanwhile, Victory are out to break a championship drought that stretches back to when De Vanna played a crucial role in their 2013-14 triumph.

"Of course I'll bring something - whatever it is," De Vanna said. "It's a goal for us to win the championship and the minor premiership of course. But the hard hit-out now is our first game, getting the ball rolling, so let's see (where we go) from that."

The W-League season kicks off this weekend and has already been hit by New South Wales' coronavirus cluster, with at least the first round reshuffled. Victory, who were due to play Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, will travel to Western Australia to face Perth Glory on Wednesday.

24.12.2020

GLORY TO BENEFIT FROM ADDITIONAL PREPARATION TIME

Perth Glory won’t use its delayed start to the A-League season to study their opposition and will instead focus on internal improvement after a winless Asian Champions League campaign. While their opponents prepare to kick off on 27 December, Glory won’t open their account until 16 January against Adelaide United due to a stint in quarantine.

Veteran midfielder Neil Kilkenny said the playing squad would spend its additional time developing as a cohesive squad after welcoming several new additions in the off-season. They also farewelled a number of players including Alex Grant, Juande, Joel Chianese, Ivan Franjic, James Meredith, Gregory Wuthrich and Tomislav Mrcela.

“I’m sure we’ll analyse the teams closer to the time but we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves for the next two weeks and make sure we’re right for the season,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the season starting. Football is like that, especially in the A-League.”

"There's a big turnaround of players every season - I think more so in the A-League which I believe needs to stop. We need to get a settled squad and a settled team. Everyone gets on really well and the new players and old players have integrated into the squad well and hopefully we can win some games.”

New coach Richard Garcia added players would rather start in line with the rest of the competition. “I think it’s good that we get the extra training that we need,” Garcia said. “That preparation is going to come in handy this year because the games are coming thick and fast this season.”

Garcia said he would take a conservative approach with attacker Chris Ikonomidis, who hasn’t played since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on 1 February. While refusing to put a timeline on the midfielder's exact return, Garcia expects to see Ikonomidis back in action early in the season.

“He's travelling really well in his rehab but we want to make sure we have him for the rest of the season and we don't re-injure anything,” Garcia said. "We're hoping (he returns) towards the front end of the season, but it all depends on his progress over the next few weeks I suppose. If that takes a little bit longer, then so be it.”

22.12.2020

THREE MORE LOCAL TALENTS ADDED TO GLORY WOMEN SQUAD

Perth Glory is delighted to confirm the signing of three more talented Western Australian players in Rebecca Bennett, Gemma Craine and Tijan McKenna for the 2020/21 season. Glory Women coach Alex Epakis believes the trio of signings further strengthens what is already a very competitive and highly-motivated W-League squad.

Goalkeeper Bennett joins the squad following an outstanding National Premier Leagues Women campaign with Perth SC. “Bec has worked hard in the local competition over recent seasons to develop and strive for an opportunity at this level,” Epakis said.

“She has shown herself to be a very mature goalkeeper with great shot-stopping ability and has worked very well with our goalkeeping coach in recent weeks. Bec is someone we can certainly rely upon to add quality to our goalkeeping ranks and I am excited to see how she takes this opportunity.”

Attack-minded Craine claimed the 2019 Premier Women’s Gold Medal during a hugely-successful spell with Fremantle City. “Gemma is a player who has been involved in the local competition and community for a number of seasons and has also spent time in the US College system and playing in the UK<’ said the coach.

“She instantly showed that she has a superb attitude and the ability to get into great goalscoring positions. Equally, Gemma works very hard without the ball, is driven by a fantastic winning mentality and I believe she will add a lot to the squad.”

Midfielder McKenna is already a seasoned performer for both the National Training Centre and Junior Matildas. “Tijan is a very exciting young prospect who has stood out to me since I arrived for the first session here,” said Epakis. “She is very tenacious without the ball and has an immense work-rate.

“With the ball, she has great decision-making ability and phenomenal confidence to want the ball as often as possible. At 16 years of age, Tijan has a bright future and I look forward to assisting her as she develops further.”

21.12.2020

IREDALE SLAMS CAMBRIDGE BOO-BOYS

Cambridge United defender Jack Iredale says it was “really disappointing” to see some fans boo the taking of the knee before his team’s victory over Colchester United, stating it “not what we stand for as a club”. A small number of supporters booed the players as they took a knee in support of the fight against racism last week.

Iredale, who joined the League Two club in August from Carlisle United, started in the 2-1 win against Colchester at the Abbey Stadium. It was the first the U’s had taken the knee with their fans present in their home ground, and the English FA is looking into the incident.

“It is really disappointing,” Iredale said. “It’s not what we stand for as a club. I think the reaction by the higher-ups in the club has been spot on, they’re trying to do the right things. Everyone from the top down is following the same message and that’s coming through from the club.”

Iredale has been thriving at Cambridge this season, making 20 appearances in all competitions, with one goal and one assist. “I’ve really enjoyed it,” the 24-year old said. “Obviously the good results help and the environment, but even before that the group of players that were there before I arrived were really good.”

“I get on really well with the manager as well too so, so far it’s been really good. I’m playing the majority of games. With the condensed season we’ve got there’s a bit of rotation of the squad. So I’m not starting every game but I’ve been involved in every game, whether it’s been from a start or off the bench.”

A left-back by trade, Iredale has featured at left midfield, right midfield and centre-back, as well as on the left side of the defence in 2020/21. “I’ve been all over the place,” admitted the former ECU Joondalup and Perth Glory player.

“I’ve been playing left-back, left mid, right mid – it’s a bit weird as I’m used to playing left-back and at times I’ve find myself in little pockets and I’ve got to check my shoulder. It’s a bit strange but I’ve been enjoying it. I’ve been asked to play a higher-up role, and to have a bit of freedom to play a bit more advanced is always fun.”

Cambridge have made a solid start to the season with eight wins and four draws in their first 17 games of the season. The U’s currently sit in the playoff places in sixth spot with 28 points, eight behind league leaders Newport County. “We never really set a goal, an end-point goal at the start of the season,” Iredale admitted.

“We’ve broken the season up into blocks and given ourselves targets for each block, and so far we’re on track for hitting the target we’ve set ourselves. But we’ve got a game in hand as well so hopefully we can take three points from that one and that will put us in really good position, especially coming out of the Christmas period.”

A small number of fans have been allowed back into some Football League matches, with Cambridgeshire in tier 2 restrictions and allowed small crowds. “Finally, it’s been a long, long time,” said Iredale, who left Australia in 2017 to join Greenock Morton. “I think we were the first game back with fans with the new restrictions.”

“Playing in front of fans definitely makes a difference. It (the COVID-19 situation) is what it is. I’m speaking to friends and family every day back home and its chalk and cheese compared to Perth at the minute. It’s crazy, to be honest, hopefully we can get back to what Australia’s doing soon.”

21.12.2020

GRIFFITHS HAS NO REGRETS AFTER SWAPPING FOOTBALL FOR REAL ESTATE

Gwelup Croatia’s Brent Griffiths walked away from professional football in 2017 at the age of 26. And for the past few years the former A-League defender has plied his trade locally for Bayswater City while building an impressive career in real estate. But defender admits he is unsure if he ever fulfilled his full potential in the world game.

Born in England, Griffiths was raised in Perth and sent several years together in the Blackburn Rovers academy. He linked with Perth Glory in 2008 and made his first team debut two years later before spells with Wellington Phoenix, Central Coast Mariners and Penang (Malaysia).

But it was after his brief stint in south-east Asia that Griffiths decided on early retirement and a drastic career change. “I was playing in Malaysia and was earning good, tax-free money, but the league standard was poor, and I was simply unfulfilled,” said Griffiths, the younger brother of Melbourne City midfielder Rostyn.

“I met my now wife late 2016 and kind of had a light bulb moment. I did have a second run in 2017 in Indonesia. I signed the contract but wasn’t allowed to play. I took it to FIFA with the PFA’s support and won the case, which essentially funded my retirement.”

“It’s a different enjoyment from playing football, but this path has allowed me to start a family, buy houses, set groundworks in Perth and enjoy a lifestyle that is difficult to be achieved when you’re dictated by the league schedules or training sessions.”

Asked whether it was hard to give the game away so young, the now 30-year old Griffiths said: “The short answer is yes, I am a firm believer though that nothing lasts forever and the decision to transition was the right decision for me. The person I was at 10 when I decided to play football professionally is a light-year away from the person I am now.”

“I think I would’ve perhaps liked to have been pushier to coaches and environments and less ‘happy’ to be a team player in some instances. It’s a double-edged sword because the year we won the A-League with Mariners the team comradery was the best I’ve ever seen, but I didn’t play many games which were to the detriment of my career.”

“The game had changed a lot since when I started, so it’s difficult to regret something particular because my decisions led me to have the career I did, whether I fulfilled my potential is a tougher question to ask. I look back at my career with many mixed emotions, my time in each country and club was such an integral part of my personal growth as a person that I often wonder how did I do that given the situation.”

“I had some amazing experiences and personal highlights, like playing with the youngest-ever Asian Champions League team in Korea, but also some extremely low points which I try not to dwell on because I can’t change the past. All in all, I am happy with the career I had because it led me to where I am today.”

These days Griffiths is back in of Perth where he’s working as a commercial sales and leasing consultant at firm Burgess Rawson. “My father was involved in property as both a builder and developer in small to medium-size projects such as townhouses, apartments and mixed-use developments,” he said.

“Rostyn and I have always been involved in his projects, from painting fences to cleaning rubbish off sites as children, to lending an ear and investing in some projects. I worked with the PFA via a People2People placement that eventually landed me in commercial real estate through the old Perth Glory owner’s nephew.”

“I really enjoy the freedom I’m given in lieu of the regimental athlete lifestyle, and it ticks the three boxes I set out four years ago when transitioning from football of complexity, autonomy and reward for effort. I knew like anything in life that I had to stick it out for the rewards to be achieved as it was a depressed market when I first started, however, the WA economy has improved considerably and that time has now come.”

Griffiths has not disconnected from football completely and for the past few years has played in the National Premier Leagues with Bayswater. In 2021 the centre back will wear the red of Gwelup. “After nearly three years with Bayswater it was time for a change, and I had some amazing achievements with them in winning the treble in 2017,” he explained.

“This season I decided to sign for Gwelup Croatia, which is a great family club and look to challenge for the NPL title this year. I’m the oldest in the team so having the benefit of youth was certainly a clincher in the decision, and I look forward to winning some silverware.”

Griffiths has also earned his Senior C License badge, but as of now has no plans to head into coaching. “I would like to get involved in some capacity one day, but I’m still enjoying lacing the boots up and being the veteran in the team for a change,” he said.

20.12.2020

DE VANNA: 'EVERY PLAYER WANTS TO HAVE THAT HEROIC SEND-OFF'

Lisa De Vanna has never done things quietly. So it took many by surprise when, after the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the Matildas’ all-time leading goal-scorer went underground. Media interviews were rare. Public appearances rarer still. True to character, she blocked everything and everyone out to focus on what came next.

“I just wanted to focus on myself, reflect a little bit moving forward,” said De Vanna, whose 150 caps puts her one behind Cheryl Salisbury as Australia's all-time record appearance maker. “It was a big moment for me as it was potentially my last World Cup and that was hard to realise, you know, it’s coming to an end.”

“Obviously, the circumstances – what happened previously – we were a bit unsettled. We’ve been together for a very long time, so that mentality of winning didn’t die, but it wasn’t the outcome that we wanted. I personally expected better, and I expected better of myself, but it wasn’t the case.”

While her World Cup journey had potentially reached its end, De Vanna continued to work. Less than a month after the tournament, at the behest of then Matildas head coach Ante Milicic, she signed for Serie A side Fiorentina – a signal that her national team aspirations were not over.”

“After the World Cup was quite tough for me ... I just wanted to keep low and continue to play football elsewhere. That’s why I escaped a little bit,” she says. “I’m half-Italian so I wanted to play there. I’d heard about the league and obviously the way they played against us (at the World Cup), so I decided to go over there. It was one of my favourite football experiences.”

“I loved Florence. When you had those days when life feels like shit, you get on your bike and you ride down and see the Duomo, you go past and you see the Michaelangelo. You start to have a bit of perspective in life and you start to realise you’re living in one of the most historical, beautiful cities. That takes away the shit day.”

De Vanna was adored at Fiorentina. The owner made a point to shake her hand after games, she was invited to the VIP suite and was introduced to some of the club’s big names. And her teammates loved her too. “I took the mickey out of them and they just loved that,” she said. “They loved that I’m passionate and a straightforward kind of character.”

Her football was improving, as well. She’d scored five goals in 14 games and was racking up the minutes. She felt they could make up ground on league leaders, Juventus. But then COVID-19 hit. “I was spewing,” she said. “I didn’t realise how serious it was, to be honest, because I don’t follow the news. I really switched off from the world.”

“I didn’t understand anything; I was just living in the moment, which is something I’ve never done before. I didn’t realise how bad it was until we drove all the way to play AC Milan, which is a five-hour bus drive. We get there and they knew there was a case somewhere, because up north is where it hit really badly.”

“We drove five hours up there and the next morning they said, ‘game cancelled’, then we had to drive all the way back. These Italians, I tell ya, they’re just like, ‘relax, everything’s okay’ so they take forever to get things done, which killed my life. But it taught me how to be patient, because patience I don’t have.”

De Vanna spent several months in lockdown in Florence, waiting for decisions to be made. Flight delays and border closures added to the stress. “I had anxiety,” she said. “Some days I was depressed. I wasn’t allowed out of the house, and if we did, we’d get fined.”

“I remember I went outside once in 10 days, just to get food. One time, I went outside for a walk, the cops pulled me over. Lucky I pretended I didn’t understand Italian – and they told me, ‘go home’. So I went home, otherwise I would’ve been fined $1000. They got really strict in the end.”

“I tried to do some exercise in the house. I had a good support network, so I would talk to a lot of people. I did a list of things that I had to get through each day, so it just kept my mind busy. It takes a strong mind to do that alone in Italy, friends and family at home, not knowing what the fuck is going on because Italians aren’t the best communicators.”

The pandemic intensified her desire to be surrounded by the comforts of home and family. A few months after returning to Australia, she signed for former club Melbourne Victory. The primary reason was to be closer to her sister, Sonya, who gave birth to her first child eight months ago in Melbourne.

De Vanna has been leaning into her responsibilities as an aunt. Today she is far more settled than what her past 18 months suggests. “That’s life, I think,” she says. “Things happen that you learn and grow from. Good things happen, shit things happen, and it shows the character that you have.”

“It happens to everybody; I’m no different to any other player or any other person that goes through life. I really just want to be in a good team environment and play some good football, and I think the rest will come. If I’m good enough (for a Matildas re-call), then I’m good enough - if not, then I’m not.”

“Every player wants to have that heroic send-off. Winning a World Cup, put your hand up and walk away as a legend. I wish I was Abby Wambach and have her ending. But I’m not, that wasn’t the case but you never know in the future. I’m a strong believer that things happen for a reason, so I’m hoping that my reason for all of this will come soon.”

18.12.2020

GREEN AND GOLD CHARITY CUP ON SUNDAY

If you want your local football fix this weekend, get along to UWA Sports Park when UWA Nedlands host Rockingham City in the Green and Gold Charity Cup, with all money raised going to the Pararoos to attend the IFCPF - International Federation of CP Football 2021 Nations Championships. (Kick off 18.00pm).

It will be Rockingham City new Head Coach Goran Stajic's first game in charge of the club and he is looking forward to it. "We are preparing physically and mentally hard during this phase and all the players will have the chance to perform in a game day scenario where the final result will not be the focus,” he explained. “The main result will be about raising money for the Pararoos, I encourage all football supporters and sponsors to get behind this charity game."

The players are also looking forward to get back on the pitch. "We are looking forward to the game against UWA Nedlands to not only showcase our new squad but also raise money for the Pararoos,” City new signing Afian Giyanto said. “It’s excellent to see the rise of CP football... uniting everyone together with the world sport we all love."

UWA’s Rhys Williams echoed Afian’s comments. "It’s exciting to be playing a quality team like Rockingham City with a rich history,” he said. “This is such a great cause and we hope that people dig deep and help the Pararoos out." Make sure you come down to support the twilight game, and also a great opportunity to enjoy the summer weather by packing a picnic basket, blanket and wearing our club colours. This event is a gold coin donation or donate at www.pararoos.com.au

18.12.2020

OTA LOOKS SET TO JOIN GLORY

With the departure of a number of experienced defenders over the past month, Perth Glory have acted quickly to fill the void, and they are looking to bring in former Japanese international defender Kosuke Ota, subject to medical clearance. The 33-year-old has played the past 13 years in the J-League, performing well for the likes of Shimizu S-Pulse, FC Tokyo and most recently, Nagoya Grampus. He also spent two seasons playing in the Dutch Eredivisie for Vitesse, while at international level, he has seven senior caps, one of which came in a 2014 friendly win over Australia.

Speaking to the club’s website Ota said he is excited at beginning a new chapter in his career. "Glory were very enthusiastic in making their offer to me," he said. "They have many young players, and the future seems promising and I feel I can support the club with my experience. A-League football has been changing from a more physical style to a more tactical one and I can't wait to join, play in the team and hopefully help bring success to the club in both Australia and Asia. I have visited Australia many times and the country is one of my favourites."

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia is delighted to have captured the services of Ota, and believes it’s a a major coup for the club. "Kosuke is a player of the very highest quality with a wealth of top-level experience and we are extremely pleased to have secured his services," he said. "The fact that he can play as a left-back and left wing-back gives us even greater flexibility in terms of our formation and I'm confident that he will be a major contributor this season."

Club CEO Tony Pignata the defender's signing illustrates the scale of Glory's ambitions in 2020-21. "We are committed to building upon the success of the past couple of years and bringing players of Kosuke's quality into the squad is a key part of that commitment," he said. "His arrival is another major boost for our 2020/21 squad which features an exciting blend of experience and young WA talent and we know they will do our Members and fans proud when the A-League campaign gets underway on January 16th."

17.12.2020

MEN’S STATE LEAGUE DIVISION THREE ON THE CARDS?

With the quality of football played in the Belt-Up Amateur Division last season many people believe the gap between Saturday and Sunday football has narrowed. This week Football West, following a recommendation from the State League and Amateur, Masters, Metro Standing Committees, are exploring the viability of adding a Division Three to the Men’s State League competition in 2021.

A State League 3 Advisory Group will be set up and they are seeking applications from any interested individual to join the group. (Applications on the Football West website) It has defiantly gripped the local football forums with a number of positive and negative comments left and Footballwa.net Jacob Aufdemkampe had his say on the suggestion.

“I’m not totally against the idea. We had four divisions back in the 1980’s, but I believe if it’s going to be done, it has to be done right and not be rushed. After COVID it’s probably not the best time to think about it yet,” he said. “State League clubs with teams in the Amateur League will be against it, no question and I can't blame them for that.

“There was similar opposition against State League Two forming for the same reason. Like I said before this was talked about a while back, I'm still not totally convinced we need it, but I'm also prepared to look at how it will be set-up if it happens. Don't forget doing it the "right way" through the system is pretty new, it's only been around since FW was established in 2005 and only three clubs have ever taken up that offer of doing it that way.”

It is an exciting opportunity for members of the WA football community to help shape and inform the conversation on an important initiative that has the potential to change the landscape of the competition structure. The Advisory Group’s main tasks will be to: Review the data collected so far, Review the need, appetite, potential benefits and detriments of introducing a State League Division Three.

See if the competition is considered viable and beneficial to explore potential models and timeframes for its introduction, supply a report and recommendation based on the findings to Football West. The findings of the group will then go through the necessary approval processes via the relevant Standing Committees and Football West Board.

Anybody interested in volunteering for this group, please submit a nomination form on the Football West website by close of business on Friday 15 January, 2021. They would like to have a wide representation from the WA football scene involved. Successful candidates will be notified by Friday 22 January, 2021. Additionally, anyone with opinions or suggestions regarding the concept of a State League Division Three, please contact clubsupport@footballwest.com.au with your views.

17.12.2020

KERR ON TARGET IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DEBUT

Sam Kerr celebrated her Womens European Champions League debut for Chelsea by scoring to help the Blues to aa comprehensive 3-0 win against Portuguese side Benfica at Kingsmeadow. It sealed an 8-0 aggregate win for Emma Hayes’s side in the round of 32 game were they rarely got out of first gear. Kerr, who scored the winner against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in the Barclays Women’s Super League, bagging the second on Wednesday evening to move Chelsea into the Round of 16 of the competition.

On another night the Blues could have had three or four goals by the time Bethany England put them in front on the night on 28 minutes. There may well have been a touch of good fortune about it, as the striker appeared to be attempting to pick out her fellow forward Kerr with a left-footed cross, but instead it turned into a fierce strike that caught the Benfica keeper out.

Chelsea continued to press for more goals, albeit with the urgency one might expect from a side holding a 6-0 aggregate advantage, and had their finishing been sharper there may well have been a few more by the time. Eventually Kerr made it 2-0 in the 64th minute, the Matilidas striker finishing clinically after being sent through by a defence splitting pass by Norwegian Guro Reiten.

There was a special moment soon after that goal, as Drew Spence was brought off the bench to make her 200th appearance for the club, having debuted back in 2009, and then in stoppage time the icing was put on the cake as England added his second, tapping home a cross from Fran Kirby to make it 8-0 on aggregate. It was a controlled display, yet a job well done, leaving Chelsea in good shape ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday for their final game of 2020.

15.12.2020

STATE FOOTBALL CENTRE PLANS NOW ON SHOW

The first glimpses of Western Australia’s new $32.5m mega football hub have been revealed as public feedback opens on the plan. Surrounded by bushland and bound by Welshpool Road, the 16 hectare City of Canning site will house the State Football Centre of Excellence ahead of Australia hosting the Women's World Cup in 2023.

The blueprint proposal released today includes two full-size pitches, three five-a-side playing pitches, a grandstand for about 700 seated spectators, change rooms, office space and meeting rooms. Football West’s new ‘Home of Football’ was greenlit on 14 June when State Premier Mark McGowan pledged $16.25 million towards the project.

In September the proposal was put before the State Design Review Panel, who confirming that it supported the design intent of the project and provided advise. The pitches at the park will feature interwoven synthetic and natural turf and be flood-lit, catering for both local children and national and international stars.

Fire and flood threats have also been considered with a critical stormwater function and implementation of “asset protection zones and interface treatments”. The centre will be built on a site north of the Queens Park Open Space after the initial masterplan was officially adopted by Canning Council on 17 November 17. To have your say visit the DPLH website before 27 January.

15.12.2020

A-LEAGUE THE RIGHT STEPPING STONE FOR YOUNGSTERS SAID SAINSBURY

Perth-born Trent Sainsbury believes A-League clubs relying on young Australian talent this coming season is exciting, and could be the creation of a generation of proven professionals. Most clubs will be looking at their youth set-up in 2021, and Perth Glory have given a glimpse of the talent coming through their system, with a number of them making their debuts at the recent AFC Champions League in Doha.

A significant reduction to the league's salary cap and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 means most clubs will turn to unproven local talent during the upcoming campaign. It's a situation that has some fearing about the standard of the competition but in Sainsbury's opinion it's a huge opportunity for Australian football. The 28-year-old, who played junior football at Armadale SC, knows first-hand how a chance in the A-League at a young age can set the platform to a successful career.

He was part of a Central Coast squad which won the 2011/12 A-League premiership alongside Mat Ryan, Tom Rogic, Mitchell Duke and Mustafa Amini. All have gone on to play overseas and represent their country, a success built from their start at the Mariners. "I wouldn't have had the career I've had, and I know that without a doubt, if I wasn't playing minutes in the A-League," Sainsbury said. "Reaching that 50-60 game mark and then heading overseas as a professional, sort of hardened to the lifestyle of football that you're going to encounter when you get over to Europe ... it's a good course to follow."

Sainsbury felt if those youngsters thrown in the deep end this season can forge a path of success, it could set a platform for the Socceroos to ensure a deep talent pool for years to come. "The more youngsters that we've got playing the game the better it's going to be for the Australian football landscape," he said. "I know it sounds a bit far off but winning the World Cup should be our aspirations in the next 30 to 50 years. That only starts with young Australian footballers playing the game at a professional level and playing many, many minutes, and then heading off to overseas to bigger leagues and performing there as well."

15.12.2020

WILLIAMS EAGER TO REMAIN WITH PORTSMOUTH

Portsmouth winger Ryan Williams has dropped a major hint on his future by stating that he would “love to stay” at the League One club. The former Fulham, Barnsley and Rotherham United player is in his second spell at Fratton Park, but is out of contract at the end of the season.

Williams has said that he is eager to agree a deal on fresh terms when the club are ready to negotiate. “I’ve not had any contact about that,” the 27-year old said about a new deal. “I’m just enjoying where I am at the moment and I’m sure there’s a conversation to be had down the line or when they’re ready.”

“Of course, I’d definitely love to stay. My family is settled down here, I love it and I know what sort of force we would be if we were to get up to the Championship. It’s exciting and I’d definitely love to stay.”

Williams moved to England in 2010 and initially struggled for game time through spells with Portsmouth, Fulham, Oxford United and Barnsley. A 2017 move to Rotherham United saw him become a regular, making 88 appearances across two seasons.

Williams was on the move again in mid-2019 with a return to Fratton Park, where he has been pushing for a third League One promotion of his career. Portsmouth are currently third on the table, after Williams scored both goals in a 2-0 win at Ipswich Town last weekend.

14.12.2020

TAGGART PRIMED TO JOIN CEREZO OSAKA

Socceroos striker Adam Taggart’s proposed switch to J1.League high-flyers Cerezo Osaka is all but done, pending a medical. Suwon Bluewings will receive an undisclosed fee for the 27-year old, who had a year remaining on his contract but has been lingering close to the exit door for the past 12 months.

Speculation of a move away from South Korea has been rife since Taggart won the Golden Boot with 20 goals in a spectacular debut season in 2019. He wasn’t quite as productive in 2020, finishing the year with nine league goals from 23 appearances.

However, interest in the former Perth Glory marksman hasn’t wavered, with the Cerezo’s pursuit of him first emerging last month. The Sakura’s sit fourth on the J1 ladder with two rounds remaining, and are on course to qualify for the 2021 AFC Champions League.

13.12.2020

GLORY SNAPS UP KIWI TRIO

Perth Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis continues to strengthen his Westfield W-League squad, and has added New Zealand internationals Lily Alfeld, Elizabeth Anton and Malia Steinmetz. All three players plied their trade in the New Zealand Womens League, with Alfeld and Anton playing for Auckland, while keeper Alfeld played at Northern Lights. Anton and Stenmetz have both played for the Football Ferns, with Alfeld playing for the under 20s.

It isn’t the end of Epakis recruitment as they prepared or their opening fixture of the season against his former club Canberra United at Dorrien Gardens on Tuesday December 29, and he said the trio will strengthen the squad. "To have all three girls make the move from New Zealand to Perth is very exciting for me and the club," he said. "They each bring an exceptional attitude and are looking forward to playing a big part within the team once they get out of quarantine.

"Lily brings a lot of experience as a goalkeeper having played everything from US College to international football and her leadership and quality at the back is going to be an integral ingredient to ensuring we are strong and well set up. I have no doubt she will be a huge influence within the team and we are excited to have her on board this season.

"Liz has all the qualities and ability to be a real focal point in our defensive set up. She is comfortable with the ball at her feet and makes good decisions to go forward, but is equally strong in her defensive tasks. She comes with good international experience from the New Zealand Under-17, Under-20 and senior national team and seems to be a very focused individual who is ready to make a good impression within the competition this season.

"I have coached against Malia previously and having admired her for some time, am really excited to have the opportunity to coach her. She is strong, ball-winning midfielder with great passing qualities. As a previous New Zealand Under-20 captain and current member of the senior squad, Malia brings a wealth of leadership qualities and I think she will be a real asset to the team both on and off the field."

The players are also thrilled at the prospect of playing in the W-League, and in a professional environment at the Glory. "I'm so excited to sign with Perth Glory for the 2020/2021 season and the opportunity to train and play in a professional environment," said Alfeld. "I'm really looking forward to joining the girls shortly and getting to work."

Anton and Steinmetz echoed their compatriot’s words. "I’m really looking forward to my first season here at Perth Glory as it’s my first overseas contract," added Anton. "I'm excited for the challenge and can't wait to get out of self-isolation to start training and to meet the team. "I'm looking forward to getting absolutely stuck in to this environment with the players and coaches and building on every game together," said Steinmetz. "I'm so happy to just be here and know it'll be an experience that will help me further my career."

13.12.2020

LACHMAN READY FOR GLORY

Perth Glory new Dutch signing Darryl Lachman is still getting used to playing for his new club, but he is looking forward to bringing more Glory to the club. The 31-year-old defender, who joined the club on a two-year deal from Israeli side Hapoel Raanana, will be the experience at the back this season, especially after Alex Grant left the club last week. Lachman played for a number of Dutch Eredivisie clubs, including Willem II, Twente, Groningen and two spells at PEC Zwolle. He also had an unsuccessful spell at English Championship club Sheffield Wednesday in 2015, but heads to Glory after a short stint in Israel.

The Curacao international told the ‘The World Game’ he can’t wait to get started in Perth, after only joining the club in their AFC Champions League bubble, and passing on his experience to youngsters Josh Rawlins, Luke Bodnar, Nick Walsh and Mason Tatafu. “I’ve already spoken to the young players, some of them look a little bit older than the ones in Holland,” he explained. “In Holland you see directly who are the younger ones. Except for Josh, you could see he was young. But apart from him the other ones look mature. They don’t make a lot of jokes, they’re serious about what they’re doing. They’ve got one goal – they want to be in the A-League – and they want to do everything for that.”

Glory failed to win a game in the Champions League, and it took time for Lachman to get close to fitness as his last game was in June in Israel, and he knows he has a way to go to get match fit. “They were good games, tough games as well,” he said. “But it was pre-season, especially for me, because I didn’t train since June. So, I need to get back to my fitness again, compared to the lads who had been in training before that.

“In the beginning it was really hard for me and (being) directly in Qatar with the weather there, it was hard to get my fitness right where it was before. I was fighting with my mind as well, because I need to get back to where I was five months ago. But obviously that takes a long time to get back to that. I need to give myself some time to get fit. The weather here will be a big difference for me. But when we play with Curacao, they also play in hot weather, but I will get used to it pretty quickly. I don’t think that will be a problem.”

He is still a part of the Curaçao national team, and there is a familiar face in the dug out there, with former Socceroos coach Guus Hiddink in charge, and is also a team mate of ex-A-League players like Roly Bonevacia and Guyon Fernandez, and was with Trent Sainsbury when the Socceroo defender was at Zwolle. But when asked what he knew of the A-League, the defender said he knew very little before arriving here. “I didn’t think about the A-League that much,” he said.

“I know some of the Dutch players like Siem de Jong went to the A-League, Tommy Hiariej went to the A-League. But apart from that you don’t hear that much because of the time difference. So, for me it’s all new. I played against Roly, he’s also now a teammate at Curacao. And I played with Guyon Fernandez at PEC Zwolle. “When Trent came at Zwolle I was injured, then when I was fit again, he was injured. And then I left PEC Zwolle to FC Twente, so I never played with him, and don’t know him that much.”

The defender said he will be doing all he can to help Glory to the title, this after they missed out in the Grand Final in 2018 and the Semi-Final last season, both to Sydney. “I think the grand final is the target,” he said. “To be fair, I haven’t spoken to Richard yet about that because we’re in quarantine. But I think, what I’ve heard from the boys, they want to of course go for the title and to win as many games as possible, and to see what the league is going to bring.”

13.12.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - WESTERN KNIGHTS SOCCER CLUB

Western Knights Soccer Club was formed in 1968 when a group of Croatian immigrants established the "Metropolitan Soccer Club". They joined the old Third Division of the Soccer Federation of Western Australia. It wasn't to be a great start, with the new team only winning two games in their debut season and finished second last.

The following year Metropolitan would become "Croatia North Perth Soccer Club". It was to be a complete turn around from 1969, under coach Ivica Barišic they would only go on to lose one game to claim the championship and promotion that came with it

Ante Žanetic became coach in 1970, and Croatia continued to impress. Newly promoted, they did very well and finished in third place behind Bayswater United and Swan Athletic.

Barišic once again became first team coach in 1971, and as he did two years earlier, he took the club to the title. Based at Wellington Square, Croatia were in a three way struggle with Kwinana and Cockburn for top spot. However it was Croatia who won the championship by one point and along the way they scored 106 goals.

After only four years as a club, Croatia North Perth were now in the biggest league in Western Australia. Their rapid progress up the leagues and big crowds at games meant they had outgrown Wellington Square. Croatia moved to the enclosed venue at the Velodrome. Derek Buckley became coach, and in a normal season it would have been considered not too bad of a year. In their first campaign in the top flight the club finished ninth in the twelve team league. However it was decided to reduce the top flight competition from twelve to ten clubs. This meant a play-off system was used for the bottom clubs and the runners-up from Division Two. In the round robin play-off it was tenth place Kwinana who won it, and they stayed in the old First Division.

Croatia were back in the second tier in 1973, with Vladimir Knezovic the new boss. It was to be a good season, with the club finishing runners-up. But with only one team going up, it wasn't enough to return straight back to the big league.

1974 would be no different, another runners-up place, this time behind rivals Spearwood Dalmatinac. It looked like Croatia were not getting the luck they deserved, but this all changed in 1975 under new coach John Lorell. He guided them to the championship with only two losses, but only by the smallest of margins via goal average against second placed Cracovia.

It was back to the top flight in 1976, but once again the club went straight back down. They did manage to win four of the eighteen games, but it wasn't enough and Croatia finished last.

1977 saw the club once again back in the old Second Division, but there was to be no quick return to the top. The team did have a good year though with a fifth place finish. In 1978, the team went one better, finishing fourth.

In 1979, all clubs were forced to have a Perth geographical name listed first. This meant Croatia North Perth SC would now become "North Perth Croatia". It was to be a great year under new coach David Harrison, with the team ending up in second place behind West Perth Macedonia.

The runners-up "curse" continued in 1980, again just missing out on the championship and promotion, this time to Morley-Windmills who finished two points clear.

Barišic took over as coach during 1981, and like he did in the early 1970's, he took the club to promotion. Croatia did once again finish runners-up. However, it was decided by the Federation to increase the top flight from ten back to twelve clubs. This meant the top two teams would be promoted.

After a six year absence, Croatia were back in the top flight in 1982. Alan Kerr took over from Barišic during the year, and the club finished ninth, but finished well clear from the bottom two sides by sixteen points.

During 1983, Lazlo Koroknai became coach. Once again it was to be another ninth placed finish. Under Koroknai again, 1984 would be the best finish the club had so far had in the top flight. Ending up in sixth.

1985 was a difficult year for North Perth Croatia, with the club being in the relegation zone for most of the year. It went to the last game of the season. Croatia needed to win and hope other results went their way, but it wasn't to be. They lost to arch-rivals Spearwood Dalmatinac, and the club were relegated.

Koroknai continued on as coach in 1986. Back in the old Second Division, the club were hoping to bounce straight back up. However, it wasn't an easy year, with the team ending up in seventh.

Gordon Todd took over in 1987. The club moved to Perry Lakes Stadium and had a much better season. During the year Edie Dabrowski became the new boss. Croatia were in a four way struggle with Sorrento, Balcatta Etna and Fremantle Benfica for the top two spots. It went to the last game of the year, and the club finished runners-up. Usually this would mean automatic promotion. However, the newly established Super League was to commence in 1988 with only eight spots available. Criteria was used to determine who would be in the new league, and there was a sigh of relief when Croatia were to be one of the clubs in the new competition.

North Perth Croatia were now in the new Super League. Eric Williams would take the club back into the top flight. The team struggled at the start of the season, however to the surprise of many, the newly promoted club surged up the table. For the first time in their history, they ended up in a runners-up position in the top flight of WA football.

1989 proved to be more difficult, with Croatia ended up in fifth. In 1990 the Super League was increased to ten clubs. The top five would now compete in the play-offs that decided the championship. Croatia finished the regular season in fifth spot and qualified for the finals. In the Elimination Final they beat Kelmscott Roos 4-3 in a thriller, before losing 6-1 to Stirling Macedonia in the semi-final.

In 1991, Chris Marustick became coach. During that year all Super League clubs resigned from the SFWA to form their own break away competition that was to be called the Professional Soccer League. Croatia once again made the championship play-offs, but lost to Perth Italia 2-0 in the Elimination Final.

1992 saw Robbie Dunn take over as coach during the season. It was to be a good year with Croatia ending up in sixth. The club also made the Cup Final but lost 4-0 to Stirling Macedonia. The following year was to be even better, with Dunn taking them to fourth and a place into the Top Four Cup. They made it to the Grand Final but lost 2-0 to Perth Italia.

In 1994, Croatia had a more difficult year. Graham Normanton took over as coach mid-season, but he could not help them to stay up. The newly merged governing body, the PSF, decided to reduce the top league from twelve to ten clubs. This meant the bottom four would be relegated. Croatia finished third from bottom. Their seven year run in the top flight was over. 1994 would also see the club move to the Croatian Sporting Complex on Whishart street in Gwelup.

The Junior Soccer Association of WA banned all ethnic names in their competitions in 1995. Instead of having separate names for both the junior and senior parts of the club, it was decided a brand new name would be established throughout for both juniors and seniors. The Western Knights Soccer Club was to be the new name. Ivo Miletic became the first team coach that season, in the hope of bringing them straight back up. That is exactly what he did. Due to problems in a night series game with Dianella White Eagles, the Federation decided that both league fixtures between the teams would not be played. It was a credit to the Western Knights that they won the championship finishing seven points clear of runner-up Kingsway Olympic and with two less games played!

Western Knights were back in the Premier League in 1996, the team under Miletic finished in a respectable seventh place. They also made the Night Series Final but lost 2-1 to Macedonia. 1997 was not too different, with a fifth placed finish.

1998 would end up being a season that Western Knights fans will always remember. It was the start of the Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly era, who became first team coaches that year. Soccer West Coast decided that the top five would decide the championship, this was the first time the method was used since 1991. Western Knights finished top of the league to win the minor premiership. In the finals, the club defeated Fremantle City in the Major Semi-Final 2-0. This got them to the Grand Final with their oppenents being Sorrento, who were also chasing their first Premier League title. The Knights played great, especially the man of the match Eugene Singerozan. Singerozan scored two and Trim Morgon added a third all in the first twenty-five minutes of the match to sink any Sorrento hopes of a first championship. Ross Greer did manage to pull one back for Sorrento, but it wasn't enough. Western Knights achieving their first ever championship.

In 1999 it was decided to go back to traditional first past the post method. However, the Top Five finals would remain and be called the "Champion of Champions" series. The Knights couldn't repeat the same success as the previous year, but finished fifth to qualify for the Top Five. Once again they met Sorrento in the Grand Final, and even though the league championship wasn't on the line, the Knights were wanting to lift another trophy. However, it wasn't to be, with Sorrento getting their revenge with a 5-1 thrashing.

2000 saw the club move back to Perry Lakes after a six year stint at Gwelup. It was to be another great season. The Knights finished runners-up to Fremantle City in the league, just missing out on the title by goal difference. They also reached the Top Five Grand Final again, but lost 2-0 to Perth SC. They went on to win the Cup Final for the first time in their history, with a 2-1 win over Sorrento.

The next few years saw the club continue to have good seasons under Campbell and Kelly. Firstly, the club found a new home at Nash Field in Mosman Park in 2001 and finished fifth, this was followed by third in 2002 and 2003. They also were Night Series runners-up in 2002, and won it in 2003. They went on to make the Top Five Grand Final in 2003 but lost to Perth SC 2-1.

2004 would be another great season. Starting in the Night Series, the club made it all the way to the final but lost to Perth SC. However, it was in the league where they dominated. They ended up easily winning the championship by nine points to claim the trophy for the second time in their history. They also went on to win the Top Five Grand Final with a 1-0 victory over Sorrento.

It was a slight downward trend after 2004, but the team still finished third in 2005. Their next big success was in 2008, when the Knights beat Sorrento 2-1 to win the Cup Final. That season would also be an end of era, with long term coaches Ronnie Campbell and Willie Kelly stepping down.

Paul Price was now at the helm in 2009, the first change of coach at the club in more than a decade. Football West decided that a new top five play-off system would decide the champion team. The last time this occurred was in 1998 which the Knights won. The club did have a great start to the year, and claimed the minor premiership by five points over rivals Perth SC. In the finals, the team did lose to Perth in the Major Semi-Final. The Knights did set-up a re-match with Perth after they beat Floreat Athena in the Preliminary Final. The Grand Final was held at Inglewood in front of a big crowd. The Knights were hoping to win their third state championship. However, it was Perth that was on top during the match, and won the game 2-0.

The Knights were hoping to go one better in 2010. Once again, they finished top of the regular season to win the minor premiership. Club legend Carl Medica took over as coach during the year. This time they went straight into the Grand Final after beating Perth 2-0 in the Major Semi-Final. Perth won the Preliminary Final to make another title decider with the Knights in the Grand Final. The club were hoping to get the revenge they wanted, but it was Perth that ended up winning the match that mattered by 3-1 and the Knights had to again settle for runners-up.

In 2011, the club finished the regular season in fifth, and just qualified for the finals. Their hope of making the Grand Final for the third year in succession was dashed when they lost 3-2 to Sorrento in the Elimination Final.

2012 proved to be a very difficult year for the team. The Knights were forced to play their home games at Wauhop Park as Football West deemed Nash Field not good enough for Premier League football. Robbie Dunn took over during the year, but he could not save them from relegation. For the first time since 1995, the club would not be in the Premier League.

The Knights were back in Division One, but were back home at Nash Field. Dunn continued on as coach over the next couple of years, finishing fifth in 2013 followed by fourth in 2014. Andy Thorburn took over in 2015 with the club winng the Lower Division Night series, and claiming sixth in the league.

It was Trim Morgan who became the new coach in 2016. His first year was a good one, with the team ending up in fourth. However, it was 2017 where the club had success. The Knights won the Cup Final over NPL-WA side Sorrento 1-0, this qualified them to play in the national FFA Cup competition. The round of thirty-two saw them fly to Queensland, where they lost 3-1 to Gold Coast City. The team then went on to win Division One, but were denied promotion to the NPL-WA by Football West due to criteria.

Ivan Zuvela was the new coach in 2018, and they finished fourth before just missing out on the title in 2019 by ending up in second spot. 2020 saw the Knights start well, beating Kingsway Olympic in the Lower Division Night Series Final. They then went on to finish top of the regular season in the COVID-19 effected year. In the second phase of the season the club finished two points from Olympic to finish runners-up overall.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
Premier League winners - 1998, 2004
Premier League Minor Premiers - 1998, 2009, 2010
Premier League runners-up - 1988, 2000, 2009, 2010
First Division winners - 1971, 1975, 1995, 2017
First Division runners-up - 1973, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1987, 2019, 2020
Second Division winners - 1969
Cup winners - 2000, 2008, 2017
Cup runners-up - 1992
Premier League Top Four/Five Cup winners - 2004
Premier League Top Four/Five Cup runners-up - 1993, 1999, 2000, 2003
Night Series winners - 2003
Night Series runners-up - 1996, 2002, 2004, 2010
Night Series Lower Division winners - 2015, 2020

11.12.2020

GRANTS LEAVES GLORY

Alex Grant has left Perth Glory, effective immediately, to explore his opportunities overseas. It was reported last week that Korean powerhouse Pohang Steelers had signed the defender and Glory announced on Friday he had been released from his contract for an undisclosed fee, but nothing has been announced officially from Pohang.

The 26-year-old English-Born central defender played his junior football at ECU Joondalup, before heading back to the UK and stints at Portsmouth and Stoke and loan spells at Havant & Waterlooville and Macclesfield Town. He returned to the Glory in 2015 and played 86 games, bagging three goals. Grant said it was difficult decision to leave his Glory mates and family but said it was something he couldn’t turn down.

“I have learned an awful lot in the past five years, not only about myself, but about my profession as a footballer,” he told the Glory website. “Playing for Glory has put me in good stead going forward and it was great to taste that success we had a couple of years ago, especially for the fans who had waited a lot longer for it than I had. I’ll miss the fans and The Shed and it’s hard because coming from Perth, even though I wasn’t born here, my heart will always reside with the club as they’ve given me a lot over the last five years.

“I’ve been fortunate to play football in my home city with my family coming to watch me. It’s been an amazing experience, I’ve really enjoyed it and it’ll be sad to leave the faces that I’ve known for the time I’ve been here, but that’s football. I'm grateful for what the club has given me. I’ve made some lifelong friends here, not only on the pitch, but upstairs in the office as well who I'll never lose contact with and I'd like to thank them all.”

Like everyone, Grant has had to deal with covid-19 and he said it’s been tough 2020, but hopefully that is behind him, and he said it might not be the last time you see him in purple. "The last nine months has probably been the toughest I've ever experienced as a footballer with everything that has happened throughout the world,” he explained. “I’ve got a young family and I have to look after them and that’s a massive responsibility, so I want to give it everything I’ve got. I feel like I’ve always put in for the club and hopefully the members and fans will respect my decision to leave. It's not forever, leaving Perth, who's to say I won't be back here. But I'm going now and I want to give it a good go. It's going to be hard, but I'm going to give it everything I've got when I'm over there, I'm looking forward to the opportunity and I'm grateful that Glory have been understanding."

Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said they didn’t want to lose Alex, but was quick to acknowledge the contribution that he made at the club. “Alex has been a great servant for Glory and during his time with us, has evolved into a mature player,” he said. “Obviously we’re sad to lose such a good player, but we’re pleased to see him progressing his career and wish him all the very best for the future. We hope to see him back in Glory colours one day.”

Those sentiments were echoed by club CEO Tony Pignata. “On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank Alex for all his efforts over the past five years,” he said. “He has always been a hugely-popular figure with players, staff and members and fans alike and we wish him the very best of luck in the next chapter of his career." From everyone at Footballwa.net and the WA football family good luck Alex!!

10.12.2020

BRUCE AWARDED FOR OUTSTANDING SEASON

It’s been a tough 2020 for all the players in the state, but it’s been the same for the officials, who have battled through the COVID-19 pandemic and continue their fitness. Last month the WA referee’s association rewarded the best officials in the All-Flags Referee of the Year Award and David Bruce was a deserved winner of the ‘Gold Whistle’ as Referee of the Year. The 34-year-old had an outstanding season and capped it off by officiating in the NPLWA Final Series Grand Final, and he adds the award to the one he won in 2016. Bruce spoke to Footballwa.net and said it was a tough season for everyone involved in the game.

“The referees and their families, the refereeing department, football in this state have all faced challenges this year from cost cutting to scheduling, but it’s been a team effort to overcome these challenges and deliver on the park,” he explained. “For some referees Covid has presented challenges financially (job loss, wage cuts, mentally - not being able travel see love ones, uncertainty with jobs) to physically being prepared for matches and able to train. I believe all the referees have taken all this in their stride, prepared week in and week out to be on the park. Particularly the Sunday league and junior referees who had to juggle last minute changes to appointments and 25% cut to match fees for all referees really hit this group, but credit to all involved for being on the park and delivering every week.”

On his award, Bruce said it’s an honour as there are a number of fine referees in the league, and he said he is happy to be recognised by his peers. “It’s an honour to receive the ‘Golden Whistle’ with names of past referees who have received this and to be a part of this group. It was unexpected for me, I thought 2016 would be one and only- but nice to receive. The award is nice recognition, but for me personally in the past two years with challenges faced off the field, getting out to referee Saturday and Sunday has helped me mentally and physically overcome these challenges,” he explained.

“It’s led to me just enjoying being out on the park and enjoying life, which I take more personal satisfaction from. The support and friendship I have received, my refereeing colleagues, refereeing department including tech committee and coaches, players and supporters of game, my family in Brisbane particularly my little brother Matthew (who referees NPL in QLD) and my partner Alix, this award is for them and I personally say thank you to them.”

Bruce would love to referee at the next level, but knows the A League panel is strong, but he will continue to improve and he never knows what is around the corner. “Refereeing on A-League would be nice and doing my first national league game will always be a goal, and won’t say no if opportunity arises. But at this stage I don’t think I will be on panel for 2021, unless I get a call up from Cheesy at FFA,” he said. “We have great team of officials currently on the panel including some young upcomers, which I hope get opportunity to referee at highest level once the boarders open. For me these days I will continue to referee NPLWA till the right time comes to retire or priorities in life change. I’m at a point in my career, where I live by motto. ’90 minutes we play football, after 90 minutes let’s enjoy that cold beer.”

In other awards Jessica Byrd won the 2020 NPLWA Women’s Referee of the Year, while Arvin Shanmuganathan won the Assistant Referee of the Year. Stephen Knight won the State League Referee of the Year, while Stewart Beattie is the State League Assistant Referee of the Year. Jamie West (State League Youth Referee of the Year); Albert Muyembe (Amateur League Referee of the Year); Parham Bahrami (Junior League Male Referee of the Year) and Libby Caldwell (Junior League Female Referee of the Year). The final acknowledgement went to Filip Najdovski, who received the Referee Encouragement Award.

10.12.2020

RUKAVYTSYA RANKS AMONG EUROPE'S MOST PROLIFIC STRIKERS

A world-record scoring streak has finally come to an end for Nikita Rukavytsya. The former Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers winger was best known for his pace rather than his finishing ability in the A-League, but he is currently in the midst of an incredible late-career renaissance at Israel's Maccabi Haifa.

Before Wednesday, 33-year old Rukavytsya had scored at least one goal in each of his last 13 games across the Israeli Premier League and the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League. According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, it was the longest run of consecutive scoring games by any player in the world this season.

While Rukavytsya didn't hit the back of the net as Maccabi Haifa won 3-0 against Bnei Sakhnin on Wednesday morning, he still has 14 goals and five assists to his name from 12 matches. This has prompted IFFHS to ranked him as the 12th best striker in the world for this year, and the seventh best in Europe behind the likes of Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) and Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan).

While the standard of the Israeli Premier League is certainly not world-renown, Rukavytsya's hot streak is still remarkable, especially given the Ukrainian-born attacker had never previously looked like a regular goalscoring threat. He has been capped 18 times for Australia and was part of the 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa, but hasn't worn the green and gold since 2018.

Rukavytsya now looms as a surprise option for Graham Arnold when the Socceroos resume their Qatar 2022 qualifying campaign in March. The location of those matches is yet to be determined, but it's highly unlikely to be in Australia because of 14-day quarantine requirements. That may well play in Rukavytsya's favour if A-League strikers Jamie Maclaren and Tomi Juric are unable to be called up.

10.12.2020

GLORY W-LEAGUE SQUAD TAKING SHAPE

With the opening Westfield W-League fixture against Canberra United only three weeks away, new Perth Glory Head coach Alex Epakis has continued to add to his squad for the upcoming season. The latest are talent striker Katarina Jukic, former midfielder Marianna Tabain, and new signing Deborah-Anne de la Harpe and Sarah Morgan. Jukic was outstanding in the NPLW WA taking out he goal of the season and winning the league’s inaugural Gold Medal, while Tabain returns to the club after a stint at Croatian side ZNK Spilt.

After two years away from the competition Tabain is eager to get back into the action under the new Head Coach. "I think we’re all really excited to work with and learn from Alex in a new environment," she said. "We have a fairly young squad compared to usual, so it’s a challenge, but it’s a good challenge that we’re excited about. Obviously, we hope to get results and play nice football, but it’s also important that we grow and gel together as a team."

Epakis regards Tabain’s return as a major coup for the club. "Marianna is a fantastic addition to our squad, a well accomplished player and great professional," he said. “We are very excited to have her return to the Perth Glory squad for this upcoming season and I am looking forward to working with her. I believe she will be an integral part of the squad on and off the field and we are hoping that she can deliver some x-factor in important moments."

Jukic said to return to the club is special and she is looking forward to working with Epakis. "I’m looking forward to the 2020 season starting after all the set-backs with COVID-19," she said. "This year there's a lot of young local talent in the squad and a new coach in Alex, so I’m excited to work with everyone and see what our team can bring to the W-League."

The coach is expecting the versatile forward to make a big impact. "Kat brings a phenomenal amount of experience to the team," he said. "She is returning now for her sixth season with the club and is a very proud Glory player who sets high expectations of herself and enjoys working and training very hard. I am sure we will see her working effectively in and around the box and hopefully scoring more goals which we know she is capable of."

New recruits de la Harpe is a 20-year-old striker who has represented the Australia Under-side and has a wealth of WNPL NSW experience, while 19-year-old defender Morgan is also a Young Matildas representative who has previously featured in the W-League for Canberra United and starred for Epakis former club Sydney University SFC. Both players are keen to prove themselves at Glory. "I’m very excited to put on the Perth Glory colours this season," Morgan said. "I look forward to experiencing a different environment and learning from the players beside me to make myself and the squad the best we can be for this upcoming season."

The felling was the same for Deborah-Anne. "I’m really looking forward to joining Perth Glory this W-League season," she added. “I’m excited to experience a new environment and to learn from the coaching staff. I’m also excited for the opportunity and feel that we can achieve a lot as a club – I can’t wait to put on the Perth Glory colours!

Glory Head Coach Alex Epakis knows both players well from his time spent coaching in the WNPL NSW and is confident that they can make a major impact for the club in 2020/21. "Sarah is a player whom I have worked with over the past three seasons at both Sydney University SFC and Canberra United," he explained. “She is a versatile player who has great positional awareness, good technical ability under pressure and a very good understanding of my playing style. More importantly, she is a great young lady who is eager to grow as a player and this will be a fantastic opportunity for her to really make her mark in a new environment and I am eager to assist her development further.

"Deborah-Anne has been a player I have been aware of and tracking for some time. I’ve coached against her in the WNPL NSW and have been impressed with her physical output and technical quality. She has a very mature mind-set and level of professionalism for someone so young and is very eager to make the most of her first W-League opportunity. Both are young players with fantastic pedigree who have represented Australia at Young and Junior Matildas level and have the relevant qualities to assist in executing the desired playing style."

9.12.2020

O’NEILL BUZZING FOR NEW SEASON AT NORTH PERTH

It was another successful season for North Perth United in 2020, the club winning the Belt-up Amateur Premier Division, making it five Premier League titles in the last ten seasons. The Woodville Reserve club will have a new coach in the dugout in 2021 with Luke O’Neill taking the reins from Alex Carter, who has been a part of four of their title wins. O’Neill was first to admit he had big shoes to fill but said he is buzzing for the season and the challenge ahead.

“I’m buzzing, it’s been a full-on couple of weeks, but very pleased and excited that everything is done and I’m coming back to the club, I can’t wait to meet the lads and get started,” O’Neill said. “Meeting with the President, the committee members, and hearing their ambitions and hunger for more success made it an exciting challenge. At the end of the day, it’s a massive club and I’m honoured and excited about the challenge ahead.

“Taking over from Alex, who has had so much success at this club, he’s a legend at NPU. I look at it as a challenge to continue the club’s success, it’s not going to be easy but we will make sure we are working hard to achieve the goals the club has set out for 2021. North Perth United is a huge club and to be a part of it, is a massive privilege. I messaged him and congratulated him on all the success and wished him good luck at Ashfield, and it’s going to be a challenge for me and a challenge I’m very motivated by.”

Club President Kevin Flavin is happy to have O’Neill back in the NPU Family, and looking to see what he can bring. “It’s not easy for a new coach to take over a team that has just won the league and I respect his ambition for taking on the job.” he said. “We wanted someone like Luke because he knows the club and knows the way things work here. Since being away he’s gained lots of experience in his coaching career and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with our first team. Expectations at NPU are always to try and win as much as we can, that’s what we do here, but this is a new chapter for the club and Luke will be given plenty of time to build the squad he wants, and will have the full backing of the committee.”

O’Neill has played several years in WA football, most notably at Bayswater City and Balcatta, who he helped to promotion in 2009. He also played at United as well as coaching the clubs reserve side and at Stirling Panthers and Morley Windmills last season. The 32-year-old said he is looking to put his stamp on the squad next season as they look to go back-to-back. “I’m someone who wants to see each player giving their all for the shirt and club, I encourage the players to work hard for each other and enjoy their football,” he explained. “I’m a young coach who’s full of enthusiasm and passionate about football, on the sidelines or at the training ground the lads will probably get sick of hearing my voice.”

The planning for next season has begun and O’Neill said he can’t wait to get started. “I hope to get the best out of every player and allow them to express themselves on the pitch,” he said. “We had a meet and greet a couple of weeks ago, it was good to have a chat with the lads about preseason and the goals moving forward for season 2021. I congratulated them on their season as champions, especially with the crazy year it’s been, we decided as a club to start preseason in January which I can’t wait to start.”

7.12.2020

IKONOMIDIS BACK AS ELRICH HEADS EAST

Richard Garcia’s A-League squad received a massive boost this week with Socceroos striker Chris Ikonomidis returning to Perth after injury cut short his appearances last season and saw him miss the AFC Champions League campaign. But they have lost Tarek Elrich, who has parted company with the club and had his contract terminated by mutual consent. The 33-year-old defender made ten A-League appearances for Glory last season after arriving in January.

But the news on Ikonomidis’ return has brought many smiles from the Glory faithful. It was a frustrating 2020 for the 25-year-old whose ACL injury brought his season to an end back in February. But he returned to Perth two weeks ago with his recovery very much on track and after his two weeks of mandatory quarantine completed, he said it was a great to be back. “It's good to be back in Perth and back at Glory," he said. “I feel good, I feel fit and I've recovered well. I've met some of the new staff today and caught up with some of the old staff as well, which has been great."

With the injury now behind him the speedy striker said the support he received on his return from the knee injury has lifted his spirits. "[Injury] is always a challenge that you have to take on," he said, "and having a good mindset and good people around you always make things easier. Obviously with COVID, it worked a little bit in my favour as I didn't miss as many games. There have been a lot of changes around the club and around the world with COVID, so it's good to get back into everything and get used to the new way of life."

In terms of the upcoming season, Ikonomidis confirmed that things are looking good. “It's hard to put an exact time-frame on it at the moment because I haven't caught up with the physio staff or anything like that just yet," he said. "They've still to do their assessments of me and so on, but we'll know a lot more in the coming weeks. I'll be back out on the grass on Friday and it'll be good to catch up with Andy [Keogh] again. We stayed in touch and it's great to have him back."

7.12.2020

GARCIA PLEASED DESPITE AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ELIMINATION

Perth Glory finished bottom of Group F in the AFC Champions League, but Head Coach Richard Garcia can see the positives from the competition and many of the Purple Army can also. Narrow defeats to some of the best sides in Asia, and the club blooding some of their talented youngsters, it bodes well for 2021. The next two weeks will be difficult for all the travelling party as all will have to do the mandatory two weeks isolation as per the covid-19 protocols.

Garcia said the trip was a great build up for next months A-League campaign. "It was a good exercise in us growing as a group, in us being away together and gelling," he said. "I think a lot of the younger guys learned a lot about senior football and themselves and the senior guys, along with some of the younger guys as well, have really stepped up and taken leadership roles. It was very good to see many of them evolve into more than just footballers, into good leaders and good athletes."

There were a number of new faces in the squad in Doha, with no fewer than ten players making their senior debuts for the club. Darryl Lachman, Josh Rawlins, Mason Tatafu, Nicholas Walsh, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Declan Hughes, Nick Sullivan, Giordano Colli and Bryce Bafford all made an impact, while Carlo Armiento was also handed his first start for the club. Daniel Stynes also returned after a spell at NPL side Gwelup Croatia and Luke Bodnar after helping Kenny Lowe’s ECU Joondalup to the title.

Stynes and Aspropotamitis also bagged their first senior goals for Glory and history was of course made when the club picked up its maiden AFC Champions League point courtesy of the dramatic 3-3 draw with Shanghai Shenhua. Garcia said it wasn't just the players who were brought closer together by their experiences in Doha. "As a staff, we have had a lot to deal with since taking over at the club, it's been one thing after another," he said. "Between us going away so early and not having the preparation time we needed and the mental state of the players at the moment, it's all been very challenging.

"But it's been a good experience to try and face those challenges head on and help the guys be the best they can be. The staff have done an excellent job. I think about us being one team, not just the playing group, but the staff as well. "We work together tirelessly to help the guys to be as successful as they can be and I think it was a great opportunity for the staff to bond as well."

7.12.2020

KERR HAT-TRICK SEALS LONDON DERBY WIN FOR CHELSEA

Sam Kerr has put a disappointing season behind her, well to her high standards, bagging a hat-trick, her first in English football to help Chelsea to a 3-2 win against neighbours West Ham United in the English Women’s Super League. The former Perth Glory and Matildas striker bagged the opener on the quarter hour, before regaining the lead just before the hour and sealing the three points ten minutes later. The game was soured for Kerr after she was injury celebrating her third and replaced, and despite the Hammers pulling one back late the Blues hung on for the points to consolidate third spot.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes is hoping Kerr will be fit for their midweek Champions League game against Portuguese side Benfica, and also praised the service the striker received from her team mates. “I don’t know what the situation is with Sam’s injury,” she said. “In terms of the hat-trick, I want to talk about the amount of running players are doing around her to help with that, especially Beth England who made a lot of selfless decisions today, and the same with Fran [Kirby] who made just as many selfless decisions.”

England international Kirby assisted on two of Kerr’s goals, with the first coming after 15 minutes when her low, driven cross into the box was tapped in by the Matildas striker, past her compatriot Mackenzie Arnold in the West Ham goal. But West Ham hit back to level just after half-time, with Rachel Daly on target. But Chelsea regained their lead ten minutes into the second half, after good work by record signing Pernille Harder, the Danish international’s looping cross was pushed away by Arnold, only for Kerr to tap into an empty net.

Kerr completed her hat-trick on 68 minutes, losing her marker in the box to turn home Kirby’s low cross. But as she turned away to celebrate the goal, she bumped into a West Ham defender and had to be replaced. The Hammers weren’t going away and substitute Alisha Lehmann made an immediate impact as her pressure resulted in an own goal from Chelsea’s Swedish captain Magdalena Erikkson two minutes from time to make it 3-2 but Chelsea held on. Chelsea are now 12 games unbeaten at home – a new WSL record – and lie third, three points behind current leaders Manchester United to three points with a game in hand.

4.12.2020

GLORY END AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WITH NARROW DEFEAT

Perth Glory’s inaugural AFC Champions League campaign came to end, ninth months after they started it. Ironically it was the same side, FC Tokyo, who were the opponents, and an early goal from Brazilian midfielder Adailton was enough for the Japanese side to take the points and in doing so progress to the last 16 of the competition from Group F. Glory we’re on the back foot on the first half, but a triple substitution by Richard Garcia saw Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli and Dane Ingram coming on, and Glory were on top after the break.

They had chances to take something from the game, but they couldn’t find a way past Tokyo keeper Go Hatano. The finished the competition bottom of the group, but many positives from his young squad as they now start preparation for the new A-League season next month at home to Adelaide United on January 16. Garcia was a little disappointed with the result, but was pleased the way his side had played during the tournament. "I was disappointed with the result," he said, "but the boys have given their all over what has been a tough three weeks and I was very pleased with that side of it.

“Tokyo needed to go out and get a result and we were a bit fatigued to start with and it looked as if the previous games had taken their toll on the boys. It's testament to them that they stuck at it and the guys that came on for the second half changed it around a little bit and we got on the front foot a bit more and took the game to them. This trip has been a good exercise in terms of us growing as a group, being away together and gelling. A lot of the younger guys learned a lot about senior football and it's been very good to see the older players and some of the younger ones evolve into more than just footballers, into good leaders and good athletes."

The coach went for a youthful line-up for the final game, with Declan Hughes, Giordano Colli, Carlo Armiento, Bryce Bafford and Mason Tatafu coming into the starting line-up. Tokyo needed a win and results elsewhere to go their way to qualify and they made the best possible start and where ahead after only eight minutes. Glory lost possession in the Tokyo half and a long clearance sent Adailton away down the left, he outpaced his marker before finishing low past Liam Reddy.

The Brazilian was a constant threat and he was denied by Reddy moments later, and the Glory defence were working overtime. Reddy was beaten on 17 minutes, but Takuya Uchida’s shot hit the base of the upright, back into the grateful arms of the Glory custodian. But Glory hung on, just and at the break they had it all to do. It was a bright start to the second half with Castro pulling the strings and they went close to leveling on 53 minutes, Armiento cutting inside from the flank, but his shot was straight at Hatano.

Glory were on top and Tokyo went to the bench, bringing on some experience, including Brazilian midfielder Leandro. But Glory weren’t fazed and Neil Kilkenny saw his effort flash over the top moments later, after good approach work from Fornaroli and Colli. Fornaroli went close himself on the hour, but his shot from long-range flew wide. Tokyo were also creating chances and they went close to a second on 75 minutes, Taichi Hara’s shot deflected wide of the target. Glory weren’t going down without a fight and Castro’s shot on the turn was straight at Hatano.

Fornaroli was brought down on the edge of the box, in a perfect position for the Uruguayan, but he couldn’t keep his effort down. With four minutes remaining the Glory were convinced they had a penalty when Armiento was blatantly pushed in the back by a Tokyo defender, but amazingly referee Hanna Hattab waved away their strong protests, and replays showed he had got it wrong. Glory pressed forward looking for the equaliser, and they were nearly caught out again in stoppage time but Leandro dragged his shot wide.

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY (GK), 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 4 Darryl LACHMAN (7 Luke BODNAR 65'), 5 Nick WALSH (23 Dane INGHAM 46'), 10 Daniel STYNES (17 Diego CASTRO 46'), 11 Declan HUGHES, 14 Giordano COLLI (22 Joshua RAWLINS 65'), 25 Carlo ARMIENTO, 27 Bryce BAFFORD (9 Bruno FORNAROLI 46'), 28 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 13 Osama MALIK

FC Tokyo: GK Go HATANO, 4 Tsuyoshi WATANABE, 5 Daiki NIWA, 7 Hirotaka MITA (24 Taichi HARA 57'), 10 Keigo HIGASHI (8 Yojiro TAKAHAGI 69'), 15 ADAILTON (38 Kazuya KONNO 84'), 22 Takumi NAKAMURA, 27 Kyosuke TAGAWA (31 Shuto ABE 57'), 28 Takuya UCHIDA (20 LEANDRO 69'), 37 Hotaka NAKAMURA, 44 Manato SHINADA - Subs not used: 6 Ryoya OGAWA, 23 Kiichi YAJIMA, 32 Joan OUMARI, 49 Kashif BANGNAGANDE

Referee: Hanna Hattab

4.12.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - WANNEROO CITY SOCCER CLUB

Wanneroo City Soccer Club was formed in 1976 as "Wanneroo Soccer Club". The club applied to join the Amateur Soccer Association that season, and were granted entry into the old Third Division (now known as Amateur Division Two) and finished in third place. Their first home ground was on Scenic Drive in Wanneroo.

1977 saw them promoted into the second tier of the amateurs, however they had a difficult year, finishing eleventh and were relegated back to the Third Division for 1978. During that season, the club applied to join the old Fourth Division of the semi-professional Soccer Federation of Western Australia competition, and were successful in their application.

Wanneroo had a great debut year in the Fourth Division in 1979. The club was now based at the playing grounds of the Wanneroo Primary School at Church Street. Under coach Bobby Gordon, the first team won the league and Top Four Cup and were promoted to the old Third Division.

R. Kuzimski took over as coach in their first season in Division Three, which ended in a good year, finishing fifth. In 1981 the club would again end up fifth, but it was their Cup run that made the headlines that season. As player coach, Micky Quayle led the team all the way to the semi-finals, beating higher opposition in Kwinana United and top flight Stirling Cracovia in the Quarter-finals before losing 5-1 to Inglewood Kiev.

1982 saw Wanneroo move to the nearby Wanneroo Showgrounds, being an enclosed venue the club now could charge entry for the first time. Bobby Gordon returned as coach. In the league they finished fourth, but once again it was in the Cup where they had a good run. They shocked everyone when they beat 1981 state champions Perth Azzurri 2-1 in front of a big crowd at the Showgrounds. Their run halted in the Quarter-finals when they lost 5-0 to Gosnells City who went on to win the cup that year.

John Sydenham joined Wanneroo as player-coach in 1983, and he led the club to runners-up position and promotion. They also won the Top Four Cup.

1984 saw Wanneroo in the second tier of WA football for the very first time. Micky Quayle returned as first team coach, with their very first game in the division being at the Showgrounds against Morley-Windmills, which they lost 1-0. Their first win was in Round Four, when they came back from two goals down to beat Balga away from home, Ridgewell scoring twice with Tiley getting the other. The team ended up in seventh.

1985 proved more difficult with the team being relegated after just winning four games for the year.

The club were determined to go straight back up in 1986, but just fell short by one point. Former state player Ray Illott joined the team that year. They had to settle for third place behind promoted teams Swan Athletic and Subiaco City. In was also the season where the City of Wanneroo found a new home for the club, which included full change room and club room facilities. It was at Kingsway Sporting Complex, just opposite of the home of Kingsway Olympic. In 1987 the club had another great season, but once again finished third and missed out on promotion. The club also changed their name to Wanneroo City.

After recent near misses, Quayle was determined to lead his team to promotion in 1988. It ended up being a great season, with the club finishing one point ahead of Rockingham City to claim the championship.

1989 would see the club back to the second tier after a four year absence but there were changes off the pitch. The new name of the club would now be "Wanneroo British" with the colours changing to white shirts and blue shorts, to represent the cultural heritage of the club. On the field the club had a difficult year, finishing tenth from fourteen teams.

John Brown became the new coach in 1990, which saw the league numbers expand to sixteen clubs. The team was mid-table for most of the year, finishing in ninth.

1991 would see one of the club's best ever seasons. Tony Bayliss winning the league's player of the season, and team winning the championship. This usually would have meant promotion to the top flight of WA football. However, the administration of the sport was in turmoil, which lead to a break away league of the top clubs during that year.

In 1992 Wanneroo British stayed loyal to the Soccer Federation, as did most second tier clubs. The team was in a three way battle with Balga and Ferndale United for the title, but it was Ferndale who claimed it on the last day of the season.

In 1993 the war between the associations was over, with now one governing body controlling the semi-professional game. British kept their place in the second tier in a new fourteen team league, where they finished sixth. English star Jimmy Case also played a number of guest appearances for the club.

1994 saw British have a decent season, ending up in ninth. However due to the reduction of teams in each league, the bottom six were to be relegated. British just missed out on staying in the league by three points.

The club were back in what is now known as Division Two in 1995, which saw a number of players leave the club. Wanneroo British ended up in eight place in the twelve team league.

In 1996 the club decided to remove the "British" from their name to once again be known as Wanneroo City. The season was a mixed bag, with the club ending up fourth in the eight team Second Division.

In 1997, the now governing body Soccer West Coast decided to abolish the Second Division and merge it with an expanded Division One. The team had a good season, winning sixteen from twenty-eight games and finishing sixth from fifteen teams.

Frank Malone was the new coach in 1998, and the team did well to finish fifth. They qualified for the brand new Top Five Cup that year, and made it all the way to the Grand Final before losing 2-1 to Rockingham City.

1999 saw another great season, this time Wanneroo ended up in third and again made the Top Five Cup finals, however this time they lost in the Minor Semi-Final.

The 2000 season started a downward trend, with the club finishing seventh. In 2001, Wanneroo ended up in an overall position of twelfth, while 2002 was even worse. The team finished bottom of the seventeen club league with only three wins. That summer, Wanneroo City were in talks with neighbour Perth City who shared with Kingsway Olympic just across the road. It was decided both clubs would merge to form "The City Soccer Club" to be based at the home ground of Wanneroo.

Perth City had a rich history in WA football and it took a lot of courage to join the merger. They were formed more than one hundred years earlier, the club won a number of WA state championships in the first half of the twentieth century. The next fifty years wasn't as kind, though they did win top flight titles in 1950 and 1954 under the old Western Australian Soccer Football Association. They also won the last WASFA championship in 1962 before it dissolved due to the formation of the new Soccer Federation two years earlier.

Perth City made the top flight again in 1967, 1970 and 1971 before a slow decline down the leagues, and even going as low as the old Fourth Division in 1985. It wasn't until 1995 when the club started to become more successful. They finished fourth in 2001 under coach Stuart Currie, while in their last season before the merger they ended up in eleventh in 2002.

The new "The City Soccer Club" walked onto the field in 2003. Stuart Currie became the new club's coach, while the blue and gold of Perth City became the official colours. It was to be a difficult start to the season, but the team had a late rally to finish tenth in the sixteen team league.

The club once again became known as Wanneroo City in 2004, however the blue and gold colours continued as did coach Currie. It was to be a much improved season, with Wanneroo finishing runners-up to Armadale in the league. In 2005, the team went one better to easily win the championship and only losing one game in the process. They also returned to their traditional red and white colours.

2006 saw history occur, with Wanneroo City playing their first ever season in the WA Premier League. Currie who took them there, resigned as coach, with Gerry McEwan taking over. It was always going to be a difficult season. Jamie Goodman became coach mid-season and he helped them avoid relegation to finish third from bottom.

A number of players left prior to the 2007 season, and the club was up against it from the beginning. Mike Brazil took over from Goodman during the year, but he could not save them from the dreaded drop, with the team only winning one league game.

It was back to Division One football in 2008, and Gerry McEwan returned as coach. Under McEwan, Wanneroo became one of the most consistent teams in the league over the next several years. They were third in 2008, runners-up in 2009, while finishing third in 2010 and 2011. David Tough was the new boss in 2012 and he also led them to third place. In the process they also made the Night Series Lower Division Final in 2009 and 2011, but lost on both occasions.

It was to be Wanneroo City's year in 2013, under David Tough the team became the strongest in the league. They won the championship by three points on the last day of the league season. The Under 18's also won the league title and won the State Cup by beating Gosnells City 2-0 in the final. The cap of a great season the Reserves finished runners-up in their league.

On any other occasion, the club would have been promoted back to the Premier League. However, the new NPL-WA was to commence in 2014, and as a result there was to be no automatic promotion. After this success many players left the club, and the team struggled. They finished bottom of Division One in 2014 with only eleven points.

For the first time in nineteen years, Wanneroo were back in the Second Division. Nathan Chapman resigned as coach during pre-season, with Matt Debarro taking over. His brought in a number of quality players to lead the team to fourth.

Debarro left to join Swan in 2016 and many of the better players left to join him. Lee Ryan became the new first team coach, however it was to be a hard season, with the club ending up second from bottom, but still easily avoided the drop into the Amateur League.

After flirting with relegation the previous year, it was Tim Kantor's job as new coach to improve the team. He signed a number of quality players and got them all the way to third place and into the promotion play-offs. They met Morley-Windmills over two legs in the semi-finals, but it was the team in orange that won 5-0 on aggregate.

In 2018 under Kantor, Wanneroo were in a neck and neck race with Kingsway Olympic for the Division Two title. Both teams ended up with 52 points, fifteen points in front of third. However, it was Olympic who had the better goal difference and won the championship. In any other season, the points Wanneroo accumulated would have been easily enough to win it. Once again, it was to the lottery of the play-offs for promotion. In the semi-finals, the club faced Division One Mandurah who were hoping to stay up. The club from Peel won the first leg 2-1, then down at Mandurah, Wanneroo tried everything to get something out of the tie, but it wasn't to be. It ended up in a 3-3 draw, with Mandurah winning 5-4 on aggregate. Once again, Wanneroo's promotion dream was over.

2019 didn't go as well as the two previous years, but the club still had a good season. Kantor resigned later in the season, with Jesse Bridgman taking the helm. He guided the club to sixth place.

Bridgman continued as coach in 2020, and Wanneroo were on top early, winning their first five games to head the table. A mid-season slump then occurred, but the team still managed to make the second stage of the COVID-19 effected season. Wanneroo ended up in third overall, but then lost 1-0 to Dianella in the semi-finals of the play-offs.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
First Division winners - 1991, 2005, 2013
First Division winners - 1969 (Perth City)
First Division runners-up - 2004, 2009
First Division runners-up - 1966 (Perth City)
Second Division winners - 1988
Second Division winners - 1995 (Perth City)
Second Division runners-up - 1983, 2018
Second Division runners-up - 1978, 1982 (Perth City)
Third Division winners - 1979
Third Division runners-up - 1985 (Perth City)
Night Series Lower Division runners-up - 2009, 2011

4.12.2020

DE VANNA RETURNS TO MELBOURNE VICTORY

Melbourne Victory have confirmed the signing of Matildas forward Lisa De Vanna ahead of the 2020/21 W-League season. The veteran striker, a member of the Melbourne’s 2013/14 Championship winning team, returns to the club for a third stint having most recently played for Italian Serie A club Fiorentina where she scored five goals in 14 games.

De Vanna, 36, is Australia's all-time leading goalscorer with 47 goals in 150 appearances in the green and gold. She has played at four Women’s World Cups, two Olympic Games tournaments and was a member of the Matildas’ 2010 AFC Women’s Asian Cup-winning side.

De Vanna said she was excited to return to the club ahead of the upcoming campaign. “It’s wonderful to be back at Victory and it’s clear Jeff, his staff and the players have built a special environment here,” said De Vanna, whose career has taken in spells in Australia, England, Sweden, the United States and Italy.

“The professionalism and competition at training has been excellent. Everyone is working hard on the training tack and as a playing group we are hungry to improve on the foundations of the past couple of seasons. We play football to perform for our members and fans, and we are can’t wait for the season to start and play in front of them again. It’s going to be an exciting season.”

Head Coach, Jeff Hopkins, said he was thrilled to sign the four-time W-League Championship winner. “Everyone is aware of what a fantastic player Lisa is and the success she has achieved in her career to date, both at club level and for the Matildas,” Hopkins said.

“Her experience and leadership will be particularly invaluable assets for our playing group during the upcoming season. Our young attackers, in particular, will be able to learn a lot from Lisa. Lisa has fit in seamlessly into training and as a squad we are working hard to make sure we are ready to go for our season opening match against the (Wester Sydney) Wanderers on December 27.”

3.12.2020

ACL INJURY FOR FORMER REDBACKS MIDFIELDER

Former Northern Redbacks midfielder Demi Vance has suffered a season ending ACL injury, and is now in doubt for the Womens Euro 2022 Finals in England, if they win their play-off game. The 29-year-old, who spent two seasons at the Redbacks, helping them to back-to-back WA Womens Premier League titles in 2015 and 2016, recently signed for Scottish Womens Premier League side Glasgow Rangers, and was named Women's Player of the Year by the Northern Ireland Football League last season.

Vance played a big part in the Northern Irelands push for a spot in the Euro finals, but an injury during their 3-2 win against Belarus last Saturday has put an end to that. “Unfortunately, my domestic and international season has come at an end and I now wait on surgery to fix my ACL,” she said. “Like everybody else, I can’t quite work out the reasons for the year that has been 2020.

“As gutting as it, I have to believe that everything happens for a reason and I will continue to stay positive through the highs and lows that will happen throughout this long process. Thank you to my teammates and staff for all the support, I have the best people around me. My recovery has already started to comeback fitter and stronger. But for now, it’s time to get behind the girls the game against Faroe Islands and secure our play-off spot we undoubtedly deserve for Euro 2022.”

The game against the Islanders ended well for all concerned, Kenny Shiels side running out 5-1 winners to earn a play-off spot in the competition for the first time, just pipping Wales to second spot. Vance, who has earned 70 caps for her country will undergo surgery and will hope to recover in time to play in the finals, but it could be too soon – From everyone at Footballwa.net - All the best on the rehab Demi

2.12.2020

WILSON EMBRACES OLYMPICS LIFELINE

Perth Glory's Brandon Wilson feels like he has been given a second chance at life after his Olympic dream was revived. The midfielder was initially ruled out for the Tokyo Games after copping a lengthy ban for unprofessional conduct while on Olyroos duties in Cambodia in April last year.

But the postponement of the Tokyo Games until 2021 means Wilson and Olyroos teammates Nathaniel Atkinson, Lachie Wales and Riley McGree - who were also suspended - are now available to fulfil their Olympic dreams. The 24-year old was recently recalled into the Olyroos' squad and hopes he will earn selection for the Olympics.

"It was a hard one, it was a hard pill to swallow," Wilson said of the initial prospect of missing the Olympics. "But you can let those things defeat you or you can keep moving forward and trying to improve, and that's what I tried to do the whole time."

"It's been a long road but it's like a second chance at life. I'm just taking it day by day, that's all I can do at the moment and hopefully the dream comes true. The Olympics is something I’m striving for, something in the future, but the number one goal is getting fit and taking on the A-League season."

Glory ended their Asian Champions League drought on Monday by collecting a 3-3 draw with Shanghai Shenhua. Wilson will miss this evening's clash with FC Toyko due to an accumulation of yellow cards but feels the tournament has provided some valuable experiecne for a young Glory squad that's registered a single draw from five games.

"We haven't got the results we wanted but we have grown as a group," he said. "Being exposed to this opposition is good for our development. As a team we've grown. Hopefully we can take that to the A-League season and crack on." Glory will return home following this evening's game for two weeks of quarantine ahead of the A-League season.

1.12.2020

GLORY AND SHANGHAI PLAY OUT A SIX GOAL THRILLER

Perth Glory earned their first ever point in the AFC Champions League after a thrilling 3-3 draw against Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium in Doha on Tuesday evening. It could have been so much better for Richard Garcia’s side, who were leading 2-0 after an hour with two stunning free kicks from Bruno Fornaroli and Carlo Armiento, with his first touch after coming off the bench.

But Shanghai hit back with three goals in 11 minutes, a brace from Columbian striker Giovanni Moreno and another from half time substitute Yu Hanchao to take the lead. It looked like another narrow loss for Glory, but four minutes from time Neil Kilkenny converted from the spot to level. Both sides had chances to win it late and Shanghai were reduced to 10-men after the final whistle has tempers flared, with Cao Yunding shown a straight red card and both sides had to settle for a point.

Garcia was pleased with the performance and said they deserved something from the game. "It didn't do my heart any good," he said, "but it was a hard-earned point and one that I definitely thought we deserved. Besides 15 minutes of the game, I felt we were in control of it, and the lads showed great resilience, really stood together as a group and worked hard to get back into the game. We need to learn from these experiences and be more composed when teams are coming at us, ride out that storm and then be composed enough to keep the ball and change the tempo of the game.”

The coach said they will be doing all they can to end the competition on a high in the final game. “We'd love to now take three points [from the FC Tokyo game on Thursday] and end on a high,” Garcia said. “Going back to Perth with a win would be fantastic for the group and probably nothing more than they deserved, but we have to be mindful of people 's bodies and make sure we do the right thing by them and have everyone fit for the A-League."

Garcia continued his rotation of the squad, making seven changes to the starting XI with keeper Liam Reddy coming in for his first appearance, while Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Luke Bodnar, Josh Rawlins, Bruno Fornaroli, Daniel Stynes and skipper Diego Castro returned. It was an even start to the game, the highlight, or was it lowlight, was when Shanghai teammates Moreno and Cameroonian midfielder Mbia slide into each other as they both attempt to prevent a stray pass from going out for a throw, comedy gold.

It was Shanghai who had the best opening chance on 24 minutes, Moreno eased past his marker, but Reddy stood tall to deny him. Glory had a better chance four minutes later, Castro slipping the ball to Stynes, but his shot was straight at keeper Li Shuai. The game was defiantly opening up and both sides had good chances in the blink of an eye. First Dane Ingram had a perfect opportunity to find the opener, the New Zealander ghosted in at the back post, cut inside his marker, but he scuffed his shot which was easily claimed by Shaui.

Moments later Shanghai had the best opportunity of the half, Liu Ruofan’s shot on the turn beat Reddy, but the alert Aspropotamitis cleared the ball off the line. Ingram was lively, and he went close again on 38 minutes, Castro and Stynes combining to set up the youngster, but his shot from the angle was well saved by Shaui. Reddy then produced a smart save to deny Ruofan, but in the shadows of half time it was Glory who hit the front. Rawlins was brought down on the edge of the box, and Fornaroli stepped up and curled the ball past the wall and into the net to send Glory into the break with the lead.

Another bizarre moment to start the second half when Nick Walsh wasn’t allowed on the pitch with a different numbered shirt, after his shirt had a blood stain on, so Glory keeper coach Danny Milosevic had to tape up the stain on his old shirt, and the youngster took his spot on the pitch. Shanghai were out of the blocks early in the second half and Reddy was out bravely to save at the feet of Bio Jinhao. Glory settled and doubled their advantage on 58 minutes. Stynes was hauled down on the edge of the penalty area, and Armiento, who had just replaced Stynes, stepped up and curled the ball home.

It looked like Glory were on course for the victory, but four minutes later Shangaui reduced the margin, Moreno heading home at the back post after a pin-point cross from the left by Yunding. They levelled ten minutes later, Hanchao’s ball into the box wasn’t dealt with and Moreno stabbed the ball home. Amazingly Shanghai were in front sixty seconds later, Hanchao finishing clinically from the edge of the box. Glory had it all to do, but Garcia’s boys weren’t finished and Nick Sullivan saw his shot flash inches wide of the post after being picked out by Castro on 81 minutes.

Then three minutes later they levelled. Armiento was brought down by Mbia, and referee Hettikamkanamge Perera pointed straight to the spot. Kilkenny kept his nerve and sent Shuai the wrong way from the resulting penalty to make it 3-3. Shanghai pushed late to nick the three points but Reddy saved well to thwart Hanchao’s header, but at the final whistle both sides shared the spoils. The action wasn’t over there though, with Yunding being shown a straight red card by the official.

Shanghai Shenhua: GK Li SHUAI, 3 Bi JINHAO (20 Kim SHINWOOK 59'), 10 Giovanni Andres MORENO (37 Sun SHILIN 75'), 23 Bai JIAJUN, 24 Zhu YUE (11 Yu HANCHAO 46'), 25 Peng XINLI, 30 Stephane MBIA, 31 Wang WEI (35 Feng XIAOTING 75'), 32 Fulangxisi AIDI, 36 Liu RUOFAN (28 Cao YUNDING 59'), 43 Qian JIEGEI - Subs not used: RGK Ma ZHEN, 14 Sun KAI, 26 Qin SHENG, 33 Wang HAIJIAN, 38 Wen JIABAO - Red Cards: Yunding

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (4 Darryl LACHMAN 66'), 5 Nicholas WALSH (16 Nick SULLIVAN 66'), 7 Luke BODNAR, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Daniel STYNES (25 Carlo ARMIENTO 57'), 13 Osama MALIK (15 Brandon WILSON 57'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 22 Joshua RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 11 Declan HUGHES, 14 Giordano COLLI, 27 Bryce BAFFORD, 28 Mason TATAFU – Referee: Hettikamkanamge Perera

1.12.2020

AUSSIES LOOKING TO TAKE GREECE BY STORM

Former Perth Glory Head Coach Tony Popovic is looking to be part of an Australian revolution which is hoping to take Greece by Storm. Popovic spent two seasons at the helm of Glory, leading the club to an A-League Grand Final in 2019. But after being beaten in last season’s semi-finals against eventual winners Sydney FC, he surprised many by walking away from his contract at the club, which had another year to run, and agreeing to join Greek second division club Xanthi FC.

Popovic is no stranger to coaching in Europe, after a short unsuccessful stint at Turkish Süper Lig club Karabükspor in 2017, but the opportunity to return was something he couldn’t turn down, especially with the club being owned by Australian Bill Papas. The former Sydney Olympic director convinced Popovic he was the man to lead the club back to the Greek Super League, after they were relegated last season in the playoffs.

“The idea was to join a first division team, but I’m accepting if it is second division. I believe in myself and know I have the knowledge and experience to succeed,” Popovic told Optus Sport. “I feel that with the backing of the owner and leadership team, we’ll do everything we can to go back up, but do it in a professional and respectable manner. I’m excited by the opportunity first and foremost, then the challenge. I’ve always loved a challenge and tackled them head on.”

With Popovic and Papas and goalkeeper coach Zeljko Kalac, there are a host of Australian players, who will also call Xanthi home for the season. Former Adelaide United keeper Paul Izzo, Socceroo and former Western Sydney defender Matthew Jarman, Socceroo and former Melbourne City midfielder Joshua Brillante, his son Kristian Popovic from Glory, plus New Zealand and former Wellington Phoenix youngster Callan Elliot have all joined in the off-season.

Australian coaches have struggled in Europe, and this week Kevin Muscat was sacked by Belgian club Belgian First Division A club Sint-Truiden, but Papas believes Australians are underrated and undervalued by foreign clubs and often judged by their passport rather than their true ability. By installing an Australian coaching panel with in-depth knowledge of their capabilities, those players know they will be backed in a way they might not be elsewhere in Europe.

And with an Australian owner in Papas calling the shots from the boardroom, the coaches know they will be given the time and resources necessary to see the project through to completion. "I think we are very much underrated in terms of our coaching stocks ... we underrate ourselves, we underrate our own players," said Papas. "We have a great youth talent pool here in Australia that is wasted, and it doesn't know where to go. We want to prove [that] very quickly through recruiting some A-League players and progressing some youngsters overseas, and certainly now we have the means and the vehicle in Xanthi to be able to demonstrate that."

1.12.2020

KANTOR LOOKING TO TURN WINDMILLS FORTUNES AROUND

Morley Windmills have appointed former Wanneroo City coach Tim Kantor as senior Head Coach for 2021. He is joined at Wotton Reserve by Antony Benetti as his assistant and Kantor said he can’t wait to get started. “After overcoming some health issues in late 2019 I had kept my options open to coach again, however I was very selective as to where I wanted to go and when the Morley Windmills job came up it ticked all of my boxes and thankfully, I ticked theirs,” he explained.

“Morley Windmills are a massive Club in the WA Football landscape steeped in history, winning the Premier League title in 1973. They have some great people there running the club and Antony and I would love be a part of the clubs’ resurgence.” The covid-19 pandemic disrupted football in 2020, but Morley did finish the season off well under Jason van Rooy, and Kantor said they are looking to continue his good work.

“Yes, Season 2020 was a disappointment due to COVID-19 but it was great to see football being played around the state. It just goes to show how great this game is and the passion that all clubs, players, coaches and administrators have, so I’m looking forward to hopefully an uninterrupted 2021,” he said. “Windmills did finish the season off really well and we have a core of real quality players. Antony and I will certainly be looking to add some more quality and youth which we are both very keen on.”

Kantor has been in the game a long-time and has made a lot of good friends along the way. But his thoughts are only on Morley now, but he is looking forward to games against former clubs and mates. “In more than 30 years of coaching at all levels in WA, this is only my third club,” he explained. “I spent most of that time at my beloved Floreat Athena where I had been involved in almost every team from juniors right through to being First Team assistant under my good friend Glenn Grostate (now Quinns Head Coach).

“After retiring from coaching at Athena in 2016, an opportunity came up in the summer to take the reins at Wanneroo which I couldn’t refuse and I enjoyed a few great seasons with them narrowly missing promotion twice. I made some very close friends at Wanneroo and it is going to be strange being in the away dug out but I’m already looking forward to that fixture.”

1.12.2020

JANSSEN READY FOR BALGA CHALLENGE

Balga will go into 2021 with a new man at the helm, after Gerhard Janssen was appointed Head Coach. Janssen was Technical Director of Football at First Division club UWA Nedlands before heading north, and he said after a chat with President Ken Shorto the decision was an easy one. “I had great talks with Ken and the committee and I was immediately convinced that Balga SC are a great Club and would be fantastic to work with,” Janssen said. “The clubs fee-free junior program is a great motivation and shows that alternative solutions are possible in Western Australia.”

Shorto said Janssen’s appointment is a huge for the club, but he also thanked Danny Cain for his hard work in a difficult 2020. “The board and I are delighted to have Gerhard join Balga SC. His values and experience developing junior players perfectly aligns with Balga SC and our Fee Free Football program. We wish Gerhard and his team the best of luck and success.” he said. “I’d like to thank Danny for all his hard work over the last season. It was a challenging year for football in general however Danny’s professionalism shone through and he did an excellent job. He has more than earned a good break and an opportunity to spend more time with his family. I am delighted that Danny remains a big part of the Balga SC family”.

Janssen has an extensive background in football development here and overseas. He coached at Krefeld and Bielefeld, where he played as a young player. Afterwards he scouted for different clubs in Germany and worked for professional players. He headed down under 12-Years ago and worked at Floreat Athena, before six years at UWA, and he said he made some good friends at the club. “I met many fantastic people at UWA, who will remain friends for life,” he explained.

“We developed players into senior players and had a little bit of success, although the club could not provide the financial support like other State League teams - but now my focus lies with Balga SC. Our coaching team wants to create an atmosphere that enables players to develop and to reach their full potential. Hence, we brought in high quality experienced players who can support the pool of highly talented players to show the football community in WA just how good they are.”

Although 2020 wasn’t the best off the pitch with the league shutting down for a few months, it allowed Janssen time to head back to Germany, a trip he learnt a great deal. “I spent a part of 2020 in Germany and spent a lot of time in Junior Bundesliga Academies to see what is new on the highest level,” he said. “I see the transition of young talents into senior football as one of the most important tasks, as currently WA is losing many very talented players in this period of time. We have already started with after-season training and invited players for the U18s, Reserve and First Team to take a look at our training sessions and how we plan to play football in 2021.”

1.12.2020

MORE W-LEAGUE SIGNINGS ON AN OFF THE FIELD AT GLORY

Perth Glory’s W-League squad is taking shape and the club announced this week that Abbey Green, Hana Lowry, Lexie Moreno and Isabella Wallhead will be a part of the club’s Westfield W-League squad for the 2020/21 season. All four have already been handed their senior debuts and Lowry grabbed her first W-League goal with a memorable header in last season’s Round 11 victory over Newcastle Jets.

Teenage striker Green returns to the club, having made her W-League debut against Brisbane Roar during the 2018/19 campaign, while 17-year-old defender Wallhead featured as a substitute on three occasions in 2020. Now 19, young Matildas representative Moreno has made ten appearances over the last three years having scored on debut against Canberra United back in 2017 and 17-year-old Lowry, who has also represented Australia at youth level, made three starts in purple last season and starred for the Football west NTC last season.

Head Coach Alex Epakis is relishing the prospect of the talented youngsters continuing their progress in the upcoming W-League season. "Lexie, Isabella, Abbey and Hana are some of the brightest and most talented young players in the country,” he said. "They are products of the local NTC programs and proud Perth locals. Each of them has plenty of ability and potential and I look forward to working closely with them to aid their development and ensure that they are ready to contribute to the squad in a positive way."

The club also announced a sponsorship partnership with Breast Cancer Research Centre for the upcoming season. Established in 2009, Breast Cancer Research Centre - WA is a clinician-driven and founded organisation which aims to provide the best treatment, undertake high-quality research, deliver broad-based education and provide care and support to breast cancer patients and their loved ones. Its partnership with Glory will see the organisation’s logo proudly displayed on the back of the club’s W-League playing shirt and shorts and upon prominent signage at their home games at Dorrien Gardens. Club Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata believes that the partnership is a great fit with both Glory’s W-League team and the club in general.

"Breast Cancer Research Centre – WA provides a service which is absolutely vital to cancer patients and their families alike,” he said, “and having first partnered with them last year, we are very proud to be furthering that association in 2020/21. I know that our W-League players will share that sense of pride when wearing Breast Cancer Research Centre – WA’s logo in the upcoming campaign and we look forward to working with the organisation on a number of exciting awareness-raising initiatives in the coming months." Further player announcements will be made shortly and Glory's Westfield W-League Season will get underway on Tuesday 29 December when they host Canberra United at Dorrien Gardens (kick-off at 6pm WST).

30.11.2020

LET THE W-LEAGUE GAMES BEGIN

The draw for the 2020-21 Westfield W-League have been released today, and its good news for Perth Glory supporters, with games to be played here, at Dorrien Gardens. It kicks off at the home of Perth Soccer Club on Tuesday December 29, when new coach Alex Epakis will take on his former club Canberra United (6.00pm WA Time)

It will be a busy January period, with Glory in action on no fewer than five occasions, with two of those fixtures being at home against Newcastle Jets on the 10th and reigning Premiers and Champions Melbourne City on the 23rd. Following a visit to Sydney FC to round out the month, Epakis’ side will open February by hosting Brisbane Roar on the 7th ahead of another Dorrien date with Melbourne Victory on the 20th. As the season enters its final furlong, the women in purple will play their final home game against Adelaide United on 6th March before finishing up with back-to-back away fixtures at Newcastle Jets on 18th March and Western Sydney Wanderers on 27th March.

Glory Chief Executive Officer Tony Pignata is urging the club’s Members and fans to get behind the team as they target a return to the Finals. "We have an innovative and highly-credentialed new Head Coach at the helm in Alex Epakis,” he said, "and he’ll be working with an energetic and motivated squad which is packed with exciting young WA talent. The players and coaching staff are really looking forward to getting back into action and I know our loyal W-League Members and fans are relishing the prospect of heading along to Dorrien Gardens again to support them. The W-League match day experience is truly unique and I would call on anyone who hasn’t previously attended to do so this year and show their support for both Glory and women’s football in general."

Speaking to The World Game, Epakis said the squad is building, and he knows the talent there is in the west. “Even before I took the role, I knew that there were some really talented players over here in Perth. That was a big part of me wanting to take the project on, because I feel like I can have a positive impact on these players,” he explained. “I think I’ve [also] got to dig deep and look for some players that have potentially fallen through the cracks that the other clubs haven’t picked up yet. If I can have a small impact on a player that gets to a World Cup, then that’s a big win.

“I don’t often push players to a point where they can’t do what I’m asking them to do. I think, from a principle point of view, I’m a big believer in just doing the simple things well and I think with the young team we’re going to have, I think we’re just going to further emphasise the small details and nailing those before we think about nailing. Coaching’s an interesting one because you can have your ideal philosophy, what you want your team to look like, and your playing style. But my playing style is to win. I’m very competitive as a person.

“But I’m also a realist and pragmatist in terms of if I want to play a certain style but the players aren’t ready for it, and in a short season of 12 weeks with a limited run in, you need to find that middle ground. The style of play is we’re going to have a specific game plan each week that will hopefully allow us to compete and win. We want to dominate and dominate with the ball. Sometimes that means building up from the back and sometimes that means needing to release someone into space early. I think it’s about the players having a structure that’s fluid and allowing them to make the best decisions in those moments.”

FFA head of leagues, Greg O’Rourke said: “The world is watching women’s football in Australia. “This year’s W-League is packed full of young, Australian talent as the players battle for places in the Matildas squad ahead of the rescheduled Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo and the AFC under-20 Women’s Asian Cup.”

30.11.2020

GLORY VETERAN LOOKING FOR W-LEAGUE RETURN – BUT WHERE?

Perth-born and former Perth Glory W-League striker Lisa De Vanna could be one of the only big-name Matildas to appear in the W-League this season, but there is a silver lining to the lack of stars, according to former Matilda and W-League coach Heather Garriock. It’s been reported over east the 36-year-old Matildas and former Florentina striker is looking at returning from a stint in Italy to continue her career in the domestic competition.

It would make her one of the biggest names in the league, given that Australian superstars such as Sam Kerr, Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord will be among the high-profile players missing when the W-League kicks off at the end of next month. But Garriock said there would be a silver lining to the exodus of internationals and stars – she estimated more than 50 players would be lost to the league this season compared to last.

She said the dearth of big names meant young players would get the chance to show their skills – and try to press for national selection with the Women's World Cup being hosted in Australia in 2023. “Our established Matildas and better-known players are away playing in Europe but they have been there a very long time and this gives a lot of younger players the chance to come through and show everyone just how good they are," said Garriock.

"It is going to decrease [the standard] of the competition level ... but we need to bring through this next generation. It's vital that they get a chance to get exposure. The World Cup is just around the corner and we need to build the infrastructure on and off the pitch. It's important for Football Australia to showcase this talent, from a commercial and marketing point of view as well as a footballing one."

Jeff Hopkins, the coach of Melbourne Victory's W-League side, echoed Garriock’s comments. "Some people might think it's a bit doom and gloom because so many of the top players are now in Europe and not America and not coming back to play here, but I don't. I think people will see there is a silver lining with the younger players coming through," he said. "I am excited by it. A lot of these players were having to wait their turn with all the big names, and if Australia is to build on its stocks for the national teams then they are going to have to take the next step forward." – Watch this space.

29.11.2020

GLORY ARE HUNGRY FOR VICTORY: GARCIA

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia says they need to get a taste for victory as the end of their tough Asian Champions League debut draws closer. Glory have two more games starting tomorrow against Shanghai Shenhua, who beat them 2-1 in the first game of the re-booted tournament, and three days later FC Tokyo.

Garcia said a win would boost the team’s confidence ahead of the looming 14 days quarantine and the new A-League season. “It’s important that we get a taste of winning,” Garcia said. “A win will be a reward for their hard work and efforts and leave a good taste going into quarantine. It’s going to be a tough period so for them to get a win will be the icing on the cake.”

Garcia said players were driven by heartbreak losses in the last two games with late goals sending them to defeat. “The boys are very hungry. It’s good to see that they were disappointed with not coming away with points,” he said. “They know how close they were in the games. That drives them on. They haven’t tried to put any excuses on board. We are not far from putting together a complete performance for 90 minutes.”

Garcia is using the ACL as the pre-season he never had at home, testing combinations and line-ups, including using a back four rather than the wing back system used last season. “We’ve set up a little bit different to the way we’ll set up in the A-League,” said Garcia, whose team are a long shot to progress beyond the ACL group stage.

“We’ve set up the way that suits Champions League football, that suits the fitness levels of the players and we’ll evolve into A-League mode. The good thing about coming away and trying something new, putting the boys in a situation that they haven’t been in before, is the luxury of knowing they are comfortable with either.”

“We’ve tried to maintain the pre-season mode and mentality but there’s the fine balance of pushing too hard and breaking them. We’re just trying to find that balance where we’ve got to be fresh enough for the games but fit enough heading into quarantine and the season. I don’t want to come home with any injuries.”

29.11.2020

VELAPHI’S HEROICS IN VAIN AS GLORY BOW OUT

Perth Glory’s slim hopes of qualifying for the next stage of the Asian Champions League were quashed after suffered another late defeat, going down 0-2 against Ulsan Hyundai at the Education City Stadium in Doha on Friday evening. Just three days after conceding late goals to go down to the Korean side, it was a case of déjà vu with Junior Negrao and Kim In-sung scoring again to give them top spot in the group. Despite the loss Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia was pleased with much of what he saw from his new-look side.

"I thought we weren't too bad for the first hour, but then slowly dropped off and lost a bit of composure," he said post-match. "As the pressure started to mount, we didn't stand up to it and eventually gave away a silly goal from our free-kick and then copped another. So not a great end to the game, but I think the guys did well considering the amount of changes to the team and the schedule we've had so far.

"It always helps when you've got experienced guys in the side towards the back end of a game and there wasn't much experience on the pitch at all for us. But we've got to manage the players' loads to make sure that we have people fresh for the next game on Monday. I thought the young guys did a great job again, but that little bit of fatigue has set in now that the games are coming thick and fast and that concentration for 90 minutes-plus needs to be there. That's something we need to work on in pre-season."

Garcia handed debuts to new signing and former FC Twente defender Darryl Lachman and Glory NPL defender Mason Tatafu, and he also gave first starts to Carlo Armiento, and Glory NPL duo Giordano Colli and Nick Walsh. The coach resting a number of key players, and making eight changes from Tuesday night. There was a minute’s silence prior to kick off in memory of the passing of Argentina superstar Diego Armando Maradona

The Glory custodian was busy early, first on the quarter hour Velaphi produced a smart save to his right to deny a Bjorn Maars Johnsen header, before the gloveman produced an even better save on 28 minutes, this time diving full length to his right to deny Park Jung-In's powerful strike. Glory were tight and disciplined at the back and went close themselves before the break. Armiento found space on the edge of the box with a neat turn, his shot looked destined for the top corner of the net, but a superb one-handed save from Ulsan keeper Jo So-Huk denied him.

Glory made three changes at the break with Bruno Fornaroli, Nick Sullivan and Daniel Stynes coming on to bolster the attacking options, but it was Velaphi who was keeping them in the game, and he produced another great save on the hour. Bjorn Johnsen lost his marker and his looping header looked like it had beaten the Glory keeper, but he got back to fingertip it on to the post, and Lachman cleared the rebound. Ulsan were well on top and once again the Glory conceded late, this time on 87 minutes.

Glory lost possession and were punished, Negrao slipping the ball into In-sung who finished neatly. They were in again two minutes later. Jeong Dongho played Lee Chungyong down the right, he crossed to Johnsen, who held off his marker and slide the ball to an unmarked Negrao, and last season's K-League Golden Boot winner finished clinically to seal the win.

Ulsan Hyundai: GK Jo SUHUK, 5 Kim MINDUK, 6 Park JOO HO (C) (2 Jeong DONGHO 63'), 10 Yoon BITGARAM (98 Lee SANGHEON 82'), 17 Kim SUNG JOON (72 Lee CHUNGYONG 61'), 19 Bjorn JOHNSEN, 22 Koh MYONGJIN, 30 Jung HOONSUNG (9 Junior NEGRAO 46'), 44 Kim KEEHEE, 66 Seol YOUNGWOO, 99 Park JEONGIN (7 Kim INSUNG 46') - Subs not used: RGK Seo JUHWAN, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Davy BULTHUIS, 8 Sin JIN HO, 11 Lee KEUNHO

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 4 Darryl LACHMAN (15 Brandon WILSON 63'), 5 Nicholas WALSH, 11 Declan HUGHES, 13 Osama MALIK (7 Luke BODNAR 66'), 14 Giordano COLLI (9 Bruno FORNAROLI 46'), 23 Dane INGHAM (10 Daniel STYNES 46'), 25 Carlo ARMIENTO, 27 Bryce BAFFORD, 29 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY (C) (16 Nick SULLIVAN 46') - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 17 Diego CASTRO, 22 Joshua RAWLINS - Referee: Sivakorn Pu-udom (Thailand)

29.11.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - UWA-NEDLANDS FOOTBALL CLUB

UWA-Nedlands Football Club was established in 2010 after UWA Soccer Club and Nedlands FC, who were a successful junior club, merged to form UWA-Nedlands FC.

UWA Soccer Club was formed in in 1949, and was commonly called "University". Jock Bownes and Malcolm Bailey helped set-up the club in its first year. Their debut game was a friendly against Imperial Ex-Services, which University won 6-1. The club joined the Western Australian Soccer Football Association, and in the six team Third Division, University dominated the league. They won all their games, except for one that they drew, to take out the championship.

University were promoted to the Second Division for the 1950 season, and in a league of nine teams they finished fifth, just one place below Azzurri. 1951 ended up being very similar, with the club ending up in sixth.

The club decided not to enter the league competition in 1952 and 1953 before re-joining the Third Division "South" league in 1954. However, in June of that year, the club dissolved.

It wasn't until 1962 when Peter Forrestal looked at re-forming the club. After several meetings, the UWA Sports Council approved the affiliation of a "new" University Soccer Club in April of 1964. That season they joined the third tier of the Soccer Federation of Western Australia. It was to be a great season, University finished runners-up and were promoted to the second tier.

The club stayed in the second tier for the next eight seasons, and almost gained promotion to the top flight in 1968, missing out by just two points from Subiaco City. The club was only relegated at the end of the 1972 season, when the Federation decided to re-start the Third Division. This meant the bottom six clubs would be relegated, and unfortunately, University finished fourth from bottom.

For the first time in almost a decade, the club were back in the Third Division in 1973, and didn't find the new league easy. They ended up in seventh place from nine teams. The team were to stay in the same division for the next eights years, with the highest position achieved being sixth. It wasn't until 1980 which University saw another promotion year. The club had a great season, but were among a group of five clubs who were still able to win the championship with only a few games to go. As it turned out, University had to settle for runners-up, two points behind champions Balga. But it was good enough for promotion.

In 1981 the club were back in the old Second Division (now known today as Division One), but it was to be a short stay. The division now also had Under 18's, which the club had difficulty fielding, but managed to put out a side. The first team only won four games and finished last, but due to the expansion of the top flight there was to be no relegation that season.

Under coach E. Dobrowski, University were hoping to have a better season in 1982. The start to the year was not a good one, with the club not able to put out a team in the Under 18's league. Once again, the first team struggled on the pitch after only winning four games. With only one match to play, both University and Canning Cortinthian were fighting against the drop. Both had the same points but Corinthian had a better goal difference. As it turned out, Corinthian lost which meant University only needed a draw to stay up, but they were defeated 6-3 to Balcatta Etna and were relegated.

Dobrowski continued on as coach in 1983, but things were going from bad to worse. With only six wins, the club finished second last and were relegated to the fourth tier for the first time in their history.

The club were now in the old Fourth Division in 1984, but had a much better season. This time ending up in third place, just four points short of going straight back up. 1985 was very similar before the club improved greatly in 1986, ending up winning eleven matches and finishing runners-up, six points below Ferndale United, but more importantly two points ahead of Swan IC United. This meant promotion back to the Third Division.

S.Sibson was coach in 1987 in their first year back in the third tier. The club didn't get close to a promotion spot, but it ended up being a good season. The team finished fifth. The next two seasons proved more difficult, but they managed to stay above the drop zone.

In 1990, the old Fourth and Third Divisions were merged into an expanded fifteen team league. However, the team continued to struggle, ending up fourteenth in both 1990 and 1991.

It wasn't until 1993, when University had another shot at promotion. They won more than half their games that season, but failed by just three points of going up. The following year the team only won three of twenty-seven games and finished second last, before improving by achieving sixth placed finishes in both in 1995 and 1996.

In 1997, Soccer West Coast decided to abolish the third tier. This meant after an absence of fifteen years, the club was back into what was now called Division One. However as the league was expanded, SWC were looking to reduce the division back to twelve clubs. It was expected that the bottom four clubs would play in a new Saturday League in 1998 that amateur body WAASSA would control. Being back in Division One, University were also required to field an Under 18's team, and were fined heavily for not being able to do so. As it turned out, the club finished fourth from bottom, only two points from Armadale and as a result lost their status as a Soccer West Coast member.

The semi-professional era had ended for the club in 1998. Due to mergers, only two teams (University and Balga) ended up being forced to leave Soccer West Coast. Due to lack of interest, the mooted Saturday League by WAASSA was abandoned, and both clubs were put into the Amateur First Division which was expanded to fourteen teams instead of the Amateur Premier Division. This was also be the year that the club would start to be known as "UWA", even though it had been the official name of the club for many years, the team was commonly known as simply "University". Many players left after their relegation to the Amateurs, and the club did find it difficult, finishing tenth in the fourteen team league.

After a number of mid-table finishes in the Amateur First Division, the club hired Kevin Burton as coach, and he lead the team to runners-up behind Subiaco United in 2001 and promotion to the top flight of the amateur competition.

UWA were now in the Amateur Premier Division, and they didn't just want to make up the numbers. Under Burton the club became a force in the competition, finishing third in its first two seasons followed by runners-up in 2004 and 2005. They also made their first Amateur Cup Final in 2005, but lost 1-0 to North Lake Espanol.

There was a change of fortunes after Burton left the club in 2005, with UWA ending up in ninth in 2006 followed by tenth in 2007. Andy Dickinson became the new boss in 2008 who took the club back up to fourth and then third in 2009. UWA also made the Amateur Cup Final that season, and beat Murdoch University 2-0 to hold up the trophy.

2010 would be the first season under the UWA-Nedlands FC banner after the merger with Nedlands Football Club, with the club having a great season, ending up in fourth.

Kevin Burton was back at the helm in 2011, once again there was another strong showing, this time the team finished third. During that season, Football West announced the return of the semi-professional Second Division in 2012. Now having a good junior base after the merger with Nedlands FC, plus having a strong first team, the club applied for entry. It was to be no surprise that they were accepted into the competition.

UWA-Nedlands FC were back in semi-professional football in 2012 after a fourteen year absence. Burton continued as coach, and had a very strong squad to choose from. They were one of the favourites for the title and they easily dominated the league, winning twenty games from twenty-four and ending with sixty-three points.

In only their second year back in the State League, UWA-Nedlands FC were now in Division One after their promotion. Andy Dickinson was back in charge. It was not going to be easy, but the team avoiding relegation by finishing second bottom.

Mike Lyons was appointed the new coach in 2014, and they fared better, this time ending in eighth. James Rae took over during the 2015 season and he guided them to ninth.

The big change happened in 2016, when Michael Janssen was appointed the new first team coach. With limited resources compared to some of the big clubs in Division One, he easily avoid relegation over the next few years, finishing as high as fifth in 2017. It was during this period where the club's Under 18's started to dominate their league, winning the championship in both 2018 and 2019. The first team also made it to the Lower Division Night Series Final in 2018, but lost 4-1 to Fremantle City.

During 2020, Janssen resigned as first team coach. Former Fremantle City technical director Dom Gangemi took over. The first team finished ninth overall. 2021 will be their ninth season in a row in Division One, a new record for the club.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
First Division runners-up - 1968
Second Division winners - 2012
Second Division runners-up - 1964, 1980
Third Division runners-up - 1986
Night Series Lower Division runners-up - 2018

27.11.2020

RAWLINS MAKES CHAMOIONS LEAGUE HISTORY

Perth Glory defender Josh Rawlins has made Asian Champions League history as the youngest player in the Qatar-based tournament. While his Chisholm Catholic College mates are kicking back on holiday, the Glory scholarship player is kicking around in one of football’s biggest arena’s.

Rawlins made his debut against Shanghai Shenhua at 16 years, six months and 26 days. While he is the seventh youngest player in 18-years of ACL, he is yet to make his A-League debut. However, he did get a taste of the big time against Manchester United at Optus Stadium in July last year.

“It’s been a bit weird but the more experienced players are helping me and including me,” said Rawlins, who represented Australia at youth level, including at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup. “Once you get into the game you forget about everything else and focus on the game.”

Coach Richard Garcia has kept his eye on Rawlins in two seasons at the Glory academy. “We were a bit wary that he was so young but he’s conducted himself very well,” Garcia said. “This trip has been excellent for his development. He’s always shown maturity on the park. Off the park he is starting to mature being around the older guys.”

26.11.2020

GLORY SIGN FIVE FOR NEW W-LEAGUE SEASON

Natasha Rigby will once again lead Perth Glory’s W-League team, after being named captain for the 2020-21 season. The defender wore the captain’s armband for the first-time last year and started all 12 games, and has over 50 appearances for the side, and she will be joined by Sarah Carroll, Patricia Charalambous, Caitlin Doeglas and Jamie-Lee Gale.

Rigby, whose form was recognised with selection in the Women’s Talent Identification Camp in Canberra this week, said she was looking forward to working with new coach Alexander Epakis. “I am really looking forward to this season,” Rigby said. “Our team has a really exciting home-grown feel to it and it is such an incredible opportunity for more local players to step up and experience the W- League.

“We are all eager to see what Alex can bring to the team. He has a great deal of experience in women’s football and I think he will bring an injection of passion and professionalism into the team. If we continue to work hard, stay focused and foster a positive culture, I think we will be very competitive this season.”

Epakis acknowledged Rigby’s strengths as a player and leader. “I know Tash has been a big part of the Glory squad for a number of seasons now and has always played a key role within the team,” he said. “I have learnt very quickly that she has a great energy and attitude about her. She bleeds Glory and I am very excited to work closely with her as footballer and as a leader within the group.”

Carroll has been a familiar figure in the famous purple since making her debut during the 2011/12 campaign and although usually employed as a defender in the W-League, the former Young Matilda showcased her versatility by scoring nine times while occupying a more advanced role for Northern Redbacks in last season’s NPLW WA competition.

26-year-old defender Charalambous also has a strong Glory pedigree having spent two seasons in the West before joining Cypriot side Apollon Limassol and then returning to Australia to link up with Canberra United last year. Pacy attacker Doeglas, meanwhile, featured in each of the club’s 12 games last term, claiming three goals which marked her best return in a single season. Now 24, the Perth local has been a regular member of the squad since 2015 and her goal after just 18 seconds against Western Sydney Wanderers in 2016 remains the second-quickest in Westfield W-League history.

Gale was another regular during 2019/20, the reliable and industrious full-back adding a further eight appearances to the 11 she made in what was her maiden campaign in 2018/19. Epakis believes that all four players will make a very positive impact this year. "Pat, Sarah, Caitlin and Jamie-Lee bring a strong background of experience from within the W-League and in particular. have a strong connection to the club," he said. "They each have a firm understanding of the type of environment we are wanting to create this season and will play an important part in helping to build that and guide the younger players on and off the field."

26.11.2020

GARCIA CONSIDERS RESTING CASTRO

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia says he may have to "pull the reins" on Diego Castro to ensure the Spaniard doesn't get injured before the A-League season. The star midfielder has played full minutes in Glory's two Asian Champions League games in the Qatar hub, which included Wednesday's heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Ulsan Hyundai.

Glory's next assignment is against the same Korean side on Friday - giving Garcia's men just two days between games. They then have another match on Monday and Garcia is keen to swing the changes for Friday's clash to avoid any burnout. Castro, at 38 years of age, is tipped to be among the changes. "Look, he's a warrior," Garcia said.

"He's the type of guy who always wants to play and you almost need to pull the reins back on him and keep him out for his own good. He is 38, but he's got the mindset of a 21-year-old. It's so good to have senior professionals who are itching to get out there. We are going to have to make a few changes (to the side) to make sure people's bodies are not breaking down."

Midfielder Neil Kilkenny is expected to get more game time after coming on in the 79th minute against Ulsan in his return from injury. Defender Osama Malik, who played the second half, is another option to get more minutes as he builds up fitness. Glory are bottom of Group F with no wins from their three games to date.

25.11.2020

HEARTBREAK FOR GLORY IN DOHA

Perth Glory are still searching for their first point win in the AFC Champions League Group F after they conceded two late goals to lose 1-2 against Korean giants Ulsan Hyundai at Education City Stadium on Tuesday evening. Daniel Stynes has given a youthful Richard Garcia’s side the lead on 71 minutes, the former Gwelup Croatia midfielder firing home his first goal for the club. It looked like they would hang on for a historic first win on the competition but half-time substitute Kim Insung levelled in the final minute of normal time, before Brazilian striker Junior Negrao won it for Ulsan in the final minute of stoppage time.

"It was a fantastic performance from the group," Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said post-match. “They were very patient, very disciplined and played well as a team. "They probably deserved more out of the game, but that's the harshness of football and there were plenty of positives to work off in that performance. I thought we kept controlling them without the ball very well and we've done that in both games. "We don't have the fitness that they [Shanghai Shenhua and Ulsan Hyundai] have as we're coming into our season and they're coming off the back of their seasons, so for us it's about trying to make sure we don't concede and are in a good position to score.

“I was very, very pleased with the back four. I feel that they've come on in leaps and bounds since they've come into the squad and a big part of that is down to the senior players in the group and how they have helped them and made them feel part of it and responsible for the way they play. We're constantly getting better and more confident within ourselves and in our bodies and are building towards where we want to be."

Ulsan were on the front foot early, with former Glory defender Jason Davidson in the thick of the action. There best chance fell to Lee Keunho, but he headed over the top. But Glory held firm and went close themselves on the half hour, but Stynes’ long-range shot flew over the top. Defensive duo Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Luke Bodnar were outstanding at the heart of the back four as Ulsan continued to press, but they couldn’t prevent Norwegian striker Bjorn Johnsen going close, but his shot went the wrong side of the post.

Glory ended the half well and started to create some good chances. First after good approach work from Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli set up debutant Nick Sullivan, but his shot was straight at keeper Jo Suhuk. Moments later Fornaroli shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide. But in the final minute Bodnar had to be alert, getting in a last-ditch tackle to deny Johnsen, who was proving a real handful, but at the break it was all square.

Garcia made a double change at the break with Osama Malik and Carlo Armiento coming on for Bryce Bafford and Sullivan. They started the second half well with Castro pulling the strings and Stynes was everywhere and a bundle of energy, while Fornaroli and Armiento were giving the Ulsan defence plenary of headaches. Glory gave another one of their youngsters a debut just after the hour with Nick Walsh replacing another teenager Josh Rawlins.

Ulsan weren’t going away and forced three consecutive corners as they searched for the opener, but Glory stood firm. Then on 71 minutes it was Glory who hit the front, Stynes cutting across the top of the penalty area before finding the bottom corner of the net with a low shot, much to the delight of his teammates.

It was backs to the wall for Garcia’s men, as Ulsan looked for the equaliser. In-Sung saw his curling effort flash wide, before Jung Hoondung’s shot was saved by Velaphi. It looks like they would hang on for the win but in the final minute of normal time Ulsan levelled. A cross from the right deflected off Castro, the ball fell Yoon Bitgaram, who laid it back to In-Sung whose first time shot beat Velaphi.

It was a huge blow for the inexperienced side, but they almost restored their lead sixty seconds later. Ulsan switched off and Fornaroli’s shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but Suhuk produced a stunning one handed save to deny the Uruguayan. The point would be a great reward for the performance on the night, but in the final minute of stoppage time Ulsan won it. A long clearance from the keeper was flicked on by Johnsen, and Dongho’s cross from the left found the unmarked Negrao who volleyed home superbly past Velaphi to seal the three points

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Luke BODNAR, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Daniel STYNES (11 Declan HUGHES 90+1'), 15 Brandon WILSON (88 Neil KILKENNY 79'), 16 Nick SULLIVAN (13 Osama MALIK 46'), 17 Diego CASTRO (C), 22 Joshua RAWLINS (5 Nick WALSH 67'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 27 Bryce BAFFORD (25 Carlo ARMIENTO 46') - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 4 Darryl LACHMAN, 14 Giordano COLLI, 28 Mason TATAFU

Ulsan Hyundai: GK Jo SUHUK, 2 Jeong DONGHO, 3 Jason DAVIDSON (30 Jung HOONSUNG 76'), 4 Davy BULTHUIS, 8 Sin JIN HO (C) (6 Park JOO HO 76') 10 Yoon BITGARAM, 11 Lee KEUNHO (9 Junior NEGRAO 60'), 19 Bjorn JOHNSEN, 44 Kim KEEHEE, 72 Lee CHUNGYONG (22 Koh MYONGJIN 60'), 98 Lee SANGHEON (7 Kim INSUNG 46') - Subs not used: RGK Seo JUHWAN, 5 Kim MINDUK, 17 Kim SUNG JOON, 66 Seol YOUNGWOO, 99 Park JEONGIN - Referee: Muhammad Nazmi Nasaruddin

25.11.2020

FOOTBALLS COMING HOME

After weeks of uncertainty the A-League fixtures were released on Tuesday with Perth Glory set for home games, but only if the spread of Covid-19 is under control across the country and the borders are kept open. The official start date for the A-League is December 27, but a Glory’s will be delayed until January 16, with the squad being forced into two weeks hotel quarantine following their AFC Champions League campaign in Doha

First up for Richard Garcia’s side is back-to-back home games at HBF Park. They will take on Adelaide United on Saturday January 16, before hosting Brisbane Roar on Wednesday January 20, with both games kicking off at 6.20pm. They then hit the road for three away games in NSW in eight days, with games against Western Sydney Wanderers, Wellington Phoenix (who are based in NSW for the season) and Newcastle Jets.

Many Glory members and supporters have been concerned for many years about playing in the hottest part of the day, but the club have listened to their concerns and will be playing their home game in the evenings, and Glory CEO Tony Pignata said he can’t wait for the season to kick off and see the Glory family back at home. “We’re all hugely excited at the prospect of the Glory family returning to HBF Park and once again creating what we believe is the best match day atmosphere in the country," he said. "Absence has definitely made the heart grow fonder as far as seeing our team playing here in Perth is concerned, so starting the season with two home games is especially welcome.

"Having four consecutive home games during the run-in to the end of the campaign is also a major plus. Afternoon kick-off times during the height of summer have long been a bugbear of our Members and fans, so we’re delighted to see that this issue has been resolved this year. On behalf of the club, I’d like to thank Football Federation Australia and the Leagues for all the hard work they have put into creating this draw in extremely challenging circumstances and urge our Members and fans to get on board for what I’m confident will be another season to remember."

24.11.2020

ASPROPOTAMITIS LOOKING TO RELIEVE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PAIN

Perth Glory’s Jonathan Aspropotamitis hopes another impressive showing in tonight’s crucial Asian Champions League clash with Ulsan Hyundai will help him secure a long term future at the club. The defender, known as “Aspro”, scored Glory’s first ever ACL goal on his debut in last week’s 2-1 loss to Shanghai Shenhua.

Aspropotamitis, 24, is on a short-term deal for the ACL campaign but says there is no any extra pressure to perform and it will be “business as usual.” “I’d be more than happy to stay on but for the time being it’s just focussing on these next games,” said former Australian youth international Aspropotamitis. “Whatever happens after that...what will be, will be. From my perspective there’s no extra pressure at all. It’s business as usual.”

“It’s about me going out and playing on a stage that’s good for my development. It was nice to score my first professional goal but at the end of the day it’s about trying to get the three points. We’re disappointed we didn’t come away with the win because I thought we were really good value and we need to take that forward.”

Coach Richard Garcia said Aspropotamitis had shown maturity. “Jonathan’s come in and done a great job. He’s shown a very wise head from such a young guy.” Garcia said. “He’s conducted himself very professionally. It’s about him being consistent in performances and showing his leadership qualities ... we’ll assess (his future) when we get back and the dust settles a bit from this tournament.”

Glory’s ACL campaign could be left hanging by a thread if they go down to table-topping Ulsan. “They are fully fit and raring to go, focussed on trying to win this tournament,” Garcia said. “We need to go out with the same mind set as we had against Shanghai. The boys have carried a lot of confidence from that game as well as the belief that they are capable at this level.”

24.11.2020

JARMAN AND BARDSLEY TAKE OUT ROVERS’ AWARDS

It was a successful first season for merged club Carramar Shamrock Rovers, and at the clubs Presentation Night at the Woodvale Tavern they celebrated winning the title. The big winners on the night were Ross Jarman, who won the Coach’s Award and Jack Bardsley who won the Players Player of the Year and the ‘Michael Harden Young Player of the Year. Jarman, who edged out Bardsley for the coach’s award, said to win the award capped off a great season for the club and him personally.

“It was a really good season at Shamrock with a talented group of players. We knew ourselves we had the quality to challenge for the title and backed ourselves each week to pick up points regardless of the opposition,” he explained. “I was delighted to win the coaches player of the year as the award could have gone to any one of us. Overall, I'm glad the club has performed well on the pitch as it reflects the hard work that all the players, coaches, board members and anyone associated with the club has put in.”

Bardsley, who started in his first season at the club, pipped Kieran Harrison to the players player award, and he was surprised to win his awards. “I felt extremely honoured when my name was called out for this award because there were multiple people in the team that had a great season and could’ve also been up there,” he said. “As a club we were extremely happy with this first season as a newly merged club and I was personally happy with my season being able to score some goals and finishing top of the league. I’m looking forward to what next season has to offer for us and hopefully we can continue this form and get promoted into Division One.”

Head coach Gerry McEwan said both players played huge roles in the club’s successful season. “Ross was a model of consistency, a coach's dream, so well worthy of his award. Jack Bardsley had a good presentation night. Jack is the first winner of our "Michael Harben Young Player of the Year" award, named after young Michael who was sadly taken away from us earlier this year at the age of 22,” he explained.

“Michael actually played alongside Jack last year in our first team, so I'm sure he would have deemed Jack a worthy winner. Michael was at Shamrock Rovers when I first arrived as coach, one of a nucleus of six or seven players who were holding the first team together at that point, so he helped lay the foundations of what we went on to achieve in 2020.” In other awards on the night John McNeil won the reserves coaches player of the yeaR, while Braedyn Rodgers won the under 18s coaches player of the year.

McEwan said the whole club are looking forward to 2021. “You never know in football, but as far as I'm aware, we have retained all our first team squad for 2021 and there's a few players interested in joining our squad that should increase competition for starting spots,” he said. “The great teams in World Football only sign two or three players every year, in order to freshen things up and keep everyone on their toes, so given the season we've just had, that's exactly what we're looking to do, to add to the fast-developing group of young men we already have committed to our club.”

20.11.2020

EPAKIS TAKES THE REINS AT GLORY

With the kick off to the W-League just around the corner, Perth Glory left it late to find a replacement for outgoing Head Coach Bobby Despotovski, but on Friday they appointed former Sydney University NSW Women’s NPL Coach Alexander Epakis to the role for 2021. He guided the Uni to three consecutive titles and has also worked as a senior assistant coach at W-League club Canberra United.

Glory are set to field an inexperienced W-League squad next season featuring mostly WA players. Former Matildas defender Kim Carroll left the Glory earlier this month to sign with Brisbane Roar, along with young keeper Morgan Aquino and striker Leticia McKenna, and the coach will be looking to improve on the clubs seventh place last season with just three wins and two draws from their 12 games.

Epakis has a great CV, holding an A-License as well as a master’s degree in sports coaching, and was Head Coach at the Sydney FC academy from 2015-2017. He is excited by the opportunity to work with a Glory squad which is set to be packed with talented young WA players this season. "We want to build a culture and environment that we are all proud of," he said. “It needs to be based on core outcomes that give us the best opportunity to develop as a team and be competitive in each match. A commitment to weekly improvement and working towards a style of play and process are important pieces in what I would like us to achieve as a team."

Glory CEO Tony Pignata is confident that Epakis is the right man to move the club’s W-League side forward. "Alex definitely has the range of experience, knowledge and passion required to be a successful W-League Head Coach," he said. "He is an outstanding coach and individual who will leave no stone unturned in his efforts to ensure that we have a strong, motivated and competitive W-League team this season. We will be fielding a young, hungry squad with a strong WA flavour this year and I would urge all our Members and fans to get along to the games and get right behind them."

The Westfield W-League 2020/21 Season fixtures are scheduled to be released later this month and Glory W-League Memberships are expected to be available shortly afterwards. The club have said further announcements regarding Glory’s playing squad for the season will also be made shortly.

20.11.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - SWAN UNITED FOOTBALL CLUB

Swan United Football Club was formed in 1984, after the Swan Italian Club on Francis Street in Middle Swan approached Frank Arvino and Tony Scali to help establish a new football club. The name of the new outfit would be the Swan IC United Soccer Club.

The club's first season was in 1985 in the amateurs under coach Andy Clues and were based at Jack Mann Oval. During that summer, the club applied to join the old Fourth Division of the Soccer Federation of Western Australia, and they were accepted entry into the competition.

1986 would see semi-professional football at the club, with their very first game at that level being a 2-0 win against Mirrabooka United at Jack Mann Oval. Harvey and Giorgi were the goal scorers. The club had a great season, finishing third and just missing out on promotion by two points!

In 1987, Swan IC United would finish fourth, however promotion was even closer. Albany in second place and Leederville Espanol in third all finished on 35 points with Swan, however Albany got the all important promotion spot on goal difference.

The team moved to their current ground at the Swan Italian Club premises in 1988. R. Hutchins would replace Andy Clues as the new first team coach. This would also be the first year where the club would wear the black and white colours that they are now known for. Once again, the club was right up there contesting for the top spots, however as in previous seasons the club just missed on going up, this time by only one point.

In 1989 coach Hutchins made sure of a top two finish and promotion that came with it, and were only four points away from the Fourth Division title. As it ended up, the Fourth Division was to be abolished that summer and merged with an expanded Third Division.

Swan were finally out of the fourth tier in 1990 and now in the old Third Division (known today as Division Two). The club also dropped the "United" from their name to become Swan IC. State football legend Len Dundo would become their new coach. In the fifteen club league, Swan had a good season, finishing sixth and winning fourteen games from twenty-eight. M. Romeo scoring the most goals for the team.

Dundo continued on as coach in 1991, and it what would be a very good season. Sixteen teams competed in the league that season, and the black and whites finished runners-up and gained promotion. They were only two points short of Canning Corinthian in the race for the championship.

Swan IC were now in the second tier in 1992, and once again had another good year. Due to the PSL breakaway, there were two associations controlling the game that season. Swan joined the new break away competition and were still able to play in the Second Division. The club finished runners-up, seven points behind champions Bassendean Caledonian who were promoted.

In 1993, the club were one of the favourites of winning the title. With the controlling body now back under one umbrella, it was decided the top two teams would be promoted to the top flight. After a four way struggle with Dianella Serbia, Melville Corinthian and Stirling Toscany for most of the season, the black and whites got the promotion they wanted. Swan finished runners-up, two points behind Serbia, but won promotion on goal difference with Corinthian and Toscany all locked on the same number of points.

Just nine years after their first competitive game, and only five years since leaving the Fourth Division, Swan IC were now in the top league of Western Australian football. It was a great achievement by the club. Swan however didn't just want to make up the numbers. Coach Mickey Cairns signed a number of quality players, including ace striker Peter Murphy. He helped the club have a great debut top flight season, with Swan just missing out on a place in the Top Four Cup on goal difference to Perth Italia. It was to be an even better season in 1995, with the black and whites making it all the way to the Night Series Final before losing to Stirling Macedonia, and also finishing fourth in the league!

Tony McGuire took over as first team coach in 1996 after a number of experienced players left. It was to be a hard year, with Swan finishing ninth, however there was to be no relegation that season. The following year proved just as difficult, winning only six games and the team was relegated. The club's four year stay in the top flight was over.

Steve White was at the helm in the 1998 season, with the club hoping for a quick return back to the Premier League. With only one team going up, it was a neck and neck race with Ashfield/Bunbury and Rockingham City, however Swan had to settle for third.

1999 would end up being one of the best seasons in the club's history. New coach Eric Williams helped the team dominate the league, only losing three games and winning the First Division championship by ten points.

The black and whites were back in the Premier League in 2000 and once again showed they would be no pushover, finishing fifth and making the Top Five finals series. Swan IC easily beat fourth placed Inglewood United in the Elimination Final 3-0, before losing 2-1 to rivals Perth SC in the Minor Semi-Final.

A number of players left during the summer and 2001 ended up being a disaster for the club, winning just two games and finishing last. However, luckily there was no relegation that season.

2002 also was to be another difficult year. Carlo Scali took over from Paul Wozny as coach during the season, and he safely guided them away from the relegation zone, but they still finished eleventh.

2003 saw a marked improvement, with the team finishing eighth in the league. But it was their cup form that surprised many. Former Perth Glory coach Gary Marocchi took over from Scali during the year, and he guided them all the way to the Cup Final, beating Perth SC 2-1, and making sure Swan IC won their first major honour.

The following year in 2004 was almost identical. Another decent season in the league saw them finish eighth, but once again it was their form in the Cup that saw them make the final for the second year running. Swan IC became the first team since Dalmatinac ten years earlier to win back to back Cup Final wins after they beat Fremantle City 2-1.

There was to be no run to the Cup Final in 2005, however the club did make it to the Night Series Final, but they lost 3-0 to Inglewood United. Marocchi resigned during the season, and Carlo Scali once again became coach and he got them to another eighth spot finish in the league.

For the fourth time in a row, the club ended up eighth in the Premier League in 2006. They again went on another great Cup run, but after a 4-4 thriller, they lost 3-0 on penalties to Stirling Lions in the final. The following season Swan IC ended up in ninth.

Paul Lincoln took over as coach in 2008, and he guided them to seventh, before they finished ninth in 2009. This would also be the first season that the club played under the new name of "Swan United Football Club" after Swan IC and Swan Districts merged. It would end up being a difficult year in 2010, and Jamie Goodman who took over mid-season could not save them from last place and relegation that came with it.

John O'Reilly became the new boss in 2011 to start life back in Division One, and he was hopeful he could get them straight back up. The year started in great form, with the club making it to the final of the Lower Division Night Series. At Wotton Reserve, the black and whites beat Wanneroo City 3-1 to start the year with some silverware. In the league, Swan were one of the favourites, however Bunbury Forum Force took all before them as champions, and finished nine points clear of Swan who had to settle for runners-up.

Mid-way through 2012, O'Reilly left the club with Mick Skowron being appointed as new coach. The team finished fifth. The following season was more difficult, Damian Scali took over as the new coach during the season, and the club ended up in tenth.

Salv Todaro was signed as coach in 2014, and Swan improved to seventh. However, a number of players left during the following summer. With a young squad at Todaro's disposal, he could not save them from relegation after they finished last with only two wins.

2016 would see Swan United back in the Second Division for the first time in twenty-five years, and the club was determined to go straight back up. Matt Debarro was hired as the new boss. The club's goal of promotion was not realised, however the club had a good year and finished sixth.

The black and whites had another good season in 2017. With one game to go, Swan United met Kingsway Olympic in the last game of the season, both needing a win to make the top four and the promotion play-offs. With almost the last kick of the game, Swan won 2-1 and now had a chance of going up. In the promotion semi-finals, the club met Gosnells City over two legs, with Gosnells winning the first at home 3-0. This meant the club had a mountain to climb to get to the final, and it proved too difficult with Gosnells gaining victory in the second leg winning 3-1.

Mike Ford initially became the new coach in 2018, before Paul Dundo took over soon after. It was to be a great season, with the club ending up in third to qualify for the play-offs. Swan took a 3-2 lead in the first leg over Dianella White Eagles before easily winning the second leg 3-0. The team was now only one fixture win away of returning back to Division One. Their opponents in the final were Mandurah City, who were hoping to avoid the drop into Division Two. The Mandurah outfit took out the first leg 2-1. Swan had their backs against the wall in the second leg in Mandurah. But it was to their credit they came back to win the game 3-2 in extra time. With scores tied on aggregate, the game went to a penalty shoot-out. But it was Mandurah who prevailed and won 5-3.

With play-off disappointment the last two seasons, Swan were hoping it would be third time lucky. For most of the second half of the season the club were in a fight with Balga for that important final play-off place. With only a few games to go, it looked all over after the black and whites lost 5-3 to them. However, the team fought back strongly to win their last three games, and with other results going their way, Swan were in the promotion play-offs for the third season in a row. The team started their play-off semi-finals on fire, by easily beating Morley-Windmills 4-0 in first leg before losing the second leg 4-3. This was enough to put them into the final, however with most expecting Murdoch University Melville to win the fixture, Swan were hoping to prove the pundits wrong. They won the first leg away from home 2-1, before easily winning the second leg 3-0. After four years, Swan United were back in Division One!

Eric Williams took over as the new first team coach in 2020, however a number of experienced players left. It was going to be a hard season in the higher division. Williams resigned just prior to the season re-starting in July. Paul Dundo once again became the new boss. The first stage of the season would see Swan finish last with only two wins. The second phase which determined the final league overall positions, the team drew two from the five games, but that was enough for the club to avoid bottom place and finish eleventh.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
First Division winners - 1999
First Division runners-up - 1992 (PSL), 1993, 2011
Second Division runners-up - 1991
Third Division runners-up - 1989
Cup winners - 2003, 2004
Cup runners-up - 2006
Night Series runners-up - 1995, 2005
Night Series Lower Division winners - 2011

20.11.2020

PALMATEER WINS GOLD MEDAL AT OLYMPIC

The rise of Olympic Kingsway Football Club continued in 2020 with the club winning the State League Division One title and winning the final series cup final. Their successful season officially came to an end on November 7, when the club held their Presentation Evening at their clubrooms, and it was skipper Luke Palmateer who was the big winner on the night, after taking out the fairest and best and players player of the year.

The central defender, who also polled well in the State League Division One Player of the Year, said it was a huge honour to win the awards, but was quick to thank his teammates. “I'm really honoured to be receiving this award,” he said. “Having come off a season where we had won both the league and the top four cup final, as a collective is something special, so to cap it off with an individual award is just the cherry on top. I've played with this club now for four years and to see each and every year a continuation of improvement and progress makes me proud to be a part of the Kingsway project.”

Olympic Head Coach Gary Williams said his skipper was a worthy winner and led by example all season. “The awards for Luke were fully deserved,” he said. “He was the model of consistency throughout the season and as a result his performances have also been recognized by his peers.” It’s also been a huge season off the pitch and under the leadership of club President Steven Nelkovski and his hard-working committee, the club have built a new grandstand and will be pushing for a NPLWA spot next season.

Nelkovski said 2020 was a good one for the ‘Green Machine’, but he said it was a tough for everyone in the football family with covid-19. “While winning the league and cup double was very special for Olympic, all clubs, players, coaches, support staff and fans should be congratulated on the 2020 season,” he explained. “In difficult circumstances, all clubs committed to a new format and played out an enthralling season.”

In other awards on the night Tyler Garner was the runner-up in the first team fairest and best, with Ajak Riak the top goalscorer. In the reserves Charlie Lacey won the F&B, with Regis Gatambiye the runner-up, Stan Kindness won the players player of the year, while Ethan Casey was the top goalscorer. In the 18’s Danel Higgins won the F&B, with Nedim Kujovic the runner-up, Naresh Magesan won the players player of the year.

The 2020 Clubman of the Year was won by Kim Michailidis. “Kim goes above and beyond to help our club in any way possible,” Nelkovski said. “On behalf of every member of the OKSC community we would like to thank Kim for his tireless work. He is a great example of the hard work done off the pitch to help us achieve our two trophies this year.”

19.11.2020

GLORY TO LEARN FROM ROUGH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TACTICS

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia said his players need to become more street smart to deal with the roughhouse tactics of their Asian Champions League opponents. A young Glory outfit suffered a 2-1 loss to Chinese powerhouse Shanghai Shenhua in Qatar on Wednesday.

Diego Castro, Bruno Fornaroli and Nick D'Agostino were particularly targeted throughout the match. D'Agostino copped a boot to the head and a knee to the backside in separate incidents, Fornaroli was cut down from behind on numerous occasions and Castro had to deal with some tight marking.

Garcia said his side learned a valuable lesson about what tactics they can expect to deal with for the remainder of the competition. "It now becomes international football, and there's a completely different set of rules in international football," said Garcia said.

"There were some feisty challenges and some manhandling. But that's all part and parcel of Champions League football. We need to become a little bit more street smart with that to learn to be able to cope in these environments." Shanghai ended the game with four yellow cards and numerous other warnings from the referee.

But Garcia was proud of his team's performance, especially given that the starting line-up featured five debutants. Luke Bodnar, Declan Hughes, Bryce Bafford and 16-year-old Josh Rawlins were among the youngsters in the starting side in Garcia's first game in charge.

"The way the boys went about their business and played was very encouraging," Garcia said. "There were some massive positives out of the game. I think they (the young players) started with a few nerves, but grew into the game. As the game went on, their belief in themselves grew and their performances were very good."

18.11.2020

YOUNG GLORY SIDE EDGED OUT IN DOHA

The Asian Champions League kicked off again this week and a young and inexperienced Perth Glory side were beaten 1-2 by Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in Group F at the Education City Stadium in Doha. With only Bruno Fornaroli in the starting line up from their last A-League game, Richard Garcia gave a number of younger squad members an opportunity in the clash, and they ever let him down.

There were plenty of positives for the coach to take from a game in which he handed no fewer than seven players their senior debut for the club. "It was a decent performance," he said post-match. "The way the boys went about their business and played was very encouraging. There were some very good performances which is fantastic after such a short run-in to the tournament.

"Some of the younger players started with a few nerves, but they grew into the game and as it went on, I think their belief in themselves grew and their performances were very good. My message to the group after the game was that there were a lot of positives, we played well in patches and that we have a lot to work on to get to the next level, to where we want to be. But for a first game, it was very encouraging... and thankfully we don't appear to have picked up any injuries."

Former Ross County and Bayswater City midfielder Declan Hughes, ECU Joondalup defender Luke Bodnar, along with Glory NPL players Josh Rawlins and Bryce Bafford all started while Neil Kilkenny, Osama Malik and new signing Darryl Lachman were amongst the substitutes. Tando Velaphi made a return in goal, with Liam Reedy unavailable, while new recruits Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Brandon Wilson and skipper Diego Castro were also in the starting XI.

It wasn’t the best of starts for Garcia’s side and they found themselves behind after only seven minutes. Rawlins lost possession in the middle of the park and Zhu Jianrong played in Peng Xinli, who finished clinically past Velaphi from the edge of the box. Glory looked to hit back immediately, Wilson’s shot was deflected wide, before Castro shot on the turn was straight at keeper Li Shuai. Bafford’s pace was causing them problems down the left and on 20 minutes his run and cross was inches away from Fornaroli in the penalty area.

There were some physical tackles flying in and the referee was busy with the yellow cards, as Glory took the game to their more experienced opponents. Hughes shot from distance flew over the top on 37 minutes, but moments later Shanghai Shenhua doubled their advantage. Yu Hanchao was given far too much room in the box and his shot went through the hands of Velaphi to make it 0-2. It was a bitter blow for Glory, who hand held their own, but two mistakes were punished with goals. But in the final minute of the half, they went close to pulling one back. Dane Ingram found space on the left, his cross picked out Fornaroli whose header was saved low by Lu, so at the break Glory had it all to do.

Glory went close again early in the second half, Castro and Fornaroli combined, the later seeing his shot on the turn saved low by Lu. Second half substitute Carlo Armiento almost made an instant impact five minutes after coming on, he was picked out by Bodnar’s through ball, but he couldn’t keep his effort down from the angle. Bodnar was having a solid debut at the heart of the defence, and it was Glory who were on top and they found a lifeline nine minutes from time.

The lively Armiento raced into the box, his shot was saved low by Lu, but Aspropotamitis was on hand to fire home the rebound. That was the signal for the Shanghai Shenhua players to find cramp, and the physio was on and off, with time running out for the equaliser. There were only four minutes of stoppage time, obviously the cramp worked, but in the final minute Glory almost found it, a cross from the right found Fornaroli, but the Uruguayan's spectacular overhead kick was over the top. Glory are back in action on Tuesday (November 24) against Ulsan Hyundai at the same venue kick off 9.00pm WST.

Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 3 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 7 Luke BODNAR, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 11 Declan HUGHES (16 Nick SULLIVAN 63'), 15 Brandon WILSON, 17 Diego CASTRO (c), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (14 Giordano COLLI 77'), 22 Joshua RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 27 Bryce BAFFORD (25 Carlo ARMIENTO 63') - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK, 4 Darryl LACHMAN, 5 Nicholas WALSH, 10 Daniel STYNES, 13 Osama MALIK, 28 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY

Shanghai Shenhua: GK Li SHUAI, 8 Zhang LU, 11 Yu HANCHAO, 15 Zhu JIANRONG (21 Zhu BAOJIE 64'), 18 Gao DI, 25 Peng XINLI (3 Bi JINHAO 64'), 30 Stephane MBIA (35 Feng XIAOTING 73'), 31 Wang WEI, 32 Fulangxisi AIDI, 37 Sun SHILIN, 43 Qian JIEGEI (26 Qin SHENG 88') - Subs not used: RGK Ma ZHEN, 4 Jiang SHENG LONG, 23 Bai JIAJUN, 29 Zhou JUNCHEN, 36 Liu RUOFAN, 38 Wen JIABAO - Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan

18.11.2020

INJURED GLORY DUO TO MISS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OPENER

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia will not risk two of his most experienced stars in tonight’s Asian Champions League clash with Shanghai Shenhua. Midfield general Neil Kilkenny, who captained the side in the Sydney hub for the restarted A-League, and defender Osama Malik are both nursing slight injuries and will miss the game.

The absence of Kilkenny and Malik puts even more pressure on Garcia’s young squad that includes eight academy and local players. “We had a couple of guys carrying niggles on the plane. Neil’s one of those guys,” Garcia said. “He was eager to come on the trip and he’s travelling really well, the same as Osama Malik. “Those two are looking good for the back end of the tournament.”

Garcia will not name his squad until close to kick-off at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, a venue built for the 2022 World Cup and that has an airconditioned pitch. “The guys that we had pencilled in for the first game are all fine and fit,” Garcia said.

“We had a plan in our heads but whether that comes to fruition is another thing. It’s going to be something that’s continually evolving, continually changing, with knocks, niggles and injuries, especially when we come into the last two weeks. That period is going to be really tough.”

The squad will have had two training sessions before the game after a short three-week, pre-season in Perth. “They are as prepared as they are going to be. We’ve had a short run to the tournament,” Garcia said. “We know we are probably a little bit behind the eight-ball but that’s part of the challenge and something I want the players to rise to.”

“It’s a tough task mentally and physically. We want to be competitive but at the same time we have to be mindful that we are a bit underdone, be mindful of how the players return to Australia. It’s going to be a difficult balancing act for us to pull off.”

17.11.2020

COCKBURN DEFENDER IS THE STAR OF THE SHOW AT AWARDS NIGHT

Cockburn City defender Julian Teles capped off an outstanding season by being voted the clubs fairest and best and players player of the year at their presentation night at the Dalmatinac Park clubrooms. Scott Miller’s side finished third on the NPLWA ladder, and second in the top six, but missed out of a spot in the Final Series Grand Final, after a loss at home to eventual winners Floreat Athena.

Teles, who moved to the back four this season after a number of years as a striker, edged out trio Kristian Santich, Jesse Lazzaro and Riley Woodcock who were all runners-up, to win the award and he said it was pleasing to win after a difficult season off the pitch. “With the year that it has been, it definitely taken a toll mentally and physically on everyone, so to be able to pull through and finish second was a great achievement from the lads,” he explained.

“It was definitely some of the best football that I have been a part of and that’s due to us over the years gaining an understanding of each other. The award was a great achievement, considering how well we played as a collective and with how well we did, so to be named fairest and best makes the season a little sweeter.”

Cockburn City assistant coach Dale Wingell said the F&B award was tight, but it showed how well the players had performed this season. “It’s fair to say in the awards stakes Julian’s hands were full on the night. Taking out the F&B and players player award respectively, but it was just reward for a really progressive season for him,” he explained. “Probably making his success feel even more special was the fact there was only one or two votes separating around five to six players which reflects enormously on the quality of the squad and their overall performance during the course of the season.

“From a coach’s perspective it was great to see him grow personally. His performances were consistently of a very high standard but it was the development of his maturity that was more noticeable. He started to become one of our leaders on the field as did that had a positive effect on the entire squad. Looking forward to see what next season brings for him and his development continues on.”

In other awards on the night Jesse Lazzaro won the first team top goalscorer, while Callan Baker won the under 20s F&B and players player of the year, with Alex Basto the runner-up, while Sebastian da Silva was the top goalscorer. In the under 18s Brodie Wren won the F&B, with Tom Skuse the runner up, Dyaln Reeve won the players player of the year, while Mark Reid and Milam Bulatovic was the top goalscorer.

17.11.2020

GARCIA PLEASED BY CASTRO’S RETURN

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia says it is “fantastic” to have Diego Castro back at the club after his unexpected exit last season. The Spanish star surprisingly withdrew from Glory’s squad in July, declining to finish the A-League campaign citing COVID-19 concerns. It was a major blow to the Glory's finals chances.

But Castro has now been welcomed back into the fold and Garcia is keen to look forward. “It’s good to have Diego back, to be honest it’s good to have all the players back,” Garcia said. “The experienced guys as well like Neil Kilkenny, Liam Reddy and also great to have Bruno back on board and the addition of Andy Keogh as well.”

“It’s important that we treat every situation on its merits. Look, I think Diego has come back into the club and been very positive, been a great leader amongst the group, especially amongst the young guys. His attitude and application have been top class.”

Glory are currently in Qatar for the Asian Champions League. Garcia admits the condensed tournament has its challenges. “We’re taking a very young squad, it’s going to be a challenging tournament with the fact we haven’t been in training for very long,” he said.

“We’ve only been in training for three weeks and this is our fourth week completed now. They’re on the back end of their season so they’re going to be super fit. The expectations are to compete and try and get some good results and build for the A-League season.

Garcia was appointed coach in September with the exit of Tony Popovic. The 39-year old says he plans to follow Popovic’s playing style and not make major changes to the team. “I don’t want to play with it too much,” he admitted. “With the framework that we’ve got at the moment is very good.”

“I’ll have my slight twist on that. Being a former attacking player I want to play good attacking football, so I think I’ll just put a bit more attacking flair on it. I think the players are quite happy with the way we’re travelling at the moment, and happy in the direction we’re going.”

16.11.2020

GARCIA TO GUIDE YOUNG SIDE THROUGH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CAMPAIGN

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia will be nursing his young side through their tough Asian Champions League campaign. Glory left for Qatar on the weekend for three weeks in a hotel bubble with the first of five games in Doha on Wednesday night against Shanghai Shenhua.

But Garcia has set his sights further ahead and hopes his team returns home unscathed ready for the A-League season. “We want the players to have the ambition and determination to win games,” Garcia said. “But we want to make sure ... we have the bodies for A-League as well.”

“It’s going to be a challenge. It’s about us managing them and making sure everyone’s head is in the right space and ready for that A-League season. It’s about managing their bodies and making sure we get back here in one piece.”

Garcia has an inexperienced squad with eight of his 22 players drawn from academy or local ranks. “Those guys will definitely get an opportunity to play,” he said. “Putting them into those games is probably something that you would like to ease them into. The best thing that can happen is that we see some good young players emerge.”

Garcia is aware of the task against the wealthy Asian clubs. “The resources they have are exceptional. We’ll be up against multi-multi-million dollars squads,” he said. “That’s going to be a big challenge but for me and and as a club it’s a fantastic opportunity to be on a massive stage.”

With just three weeks training under their belts Garcia will use the tournament to introduce players to the attacking style he has vowed to play. “It’s not like we’re starting from scratch,” he said. “It’s more a case of changing the things that I’d like changed and getting the boys into a space where they have ownership of what they do and how they go about things.

“It’s about them becoming accustomed to the group and the way we do things. The boys are pretty headstrong and they have had to put up with quite a bit over the last few months. They have conducted themselves excellently and I feel they are in the right place to success this year.”

15.11.2020

SKIPPER WINS NEW BOYS BEST AND FAIREST

In their first season in the State League, Kingsley Westside held their own and finished eighth, and skipper Jayden Drummond was a standout and he was rewarded by winning the State League Player of the Season. He capped off his season by taking out the clubs fairest and best award at the club’s presentation night at Optus Stadium. The former ECU Joondalup winger said winning the league player of the season was a surprise, and a huge honour.

“The state league player of the year was a bit of a shock, something for a team to come up from the Sunday leagues and a player to receive it, is something I’ll cherish,” he said. “But you can’t win anything like that without good team mates and coaching staff around you, so thanks to Kingsley Westside boys. I think there was only a few points between the top eight at the end of the season, so to win it in such a tight league makes it even better, I’d love to see how tight it was though, there are some very good players in this league.”

The 28-year-old was the big winner at the club awards night no only winning the B&F he also won the players player of the year, and he said it was a season like never before. “We had an up and down year, started off brilliantly but we just couldn’t put games away that we were in control of, something we will learn from and take into next year, we know this is where we belong on the Saturday stage so it’s just about pushing forward now,” Drummond explained. “It’s always an honour to win a club award, especially our first year in state league and the difficulties 2020 threw at us.”

Head coach Steven Dimitrovich said Drummond stood up during their first season in the competition and he was delighted for him to recognised by the club and league. “It was our first season in the competition, and we had an up and down season, so for our captain to win the league’s Player of the Season shows the quality Jayden has,” he explained. “He stood up and showed great leadership for us, both when we were playing well, but most importantly when we weren’t, he really led from the front.”

In other awards on the night Ryan Williams won the first team coaches award, while in the reserves Jason Murray won the best and fairest, Ollie Valentine the players player of the year, and Benjamin Partridge won the coaches award. In the under 18s Lucas Farley won the best and fairest, Ilya Nebylytsya the players player of the year and Jack Talevski the coaches award.

15.11.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - SUBIACO AFC

Subiaco AFC was formed in 2009, after an agreement between Subiaco United ASC and Subiaco City Junior Soccer Club to work together and both trade under the one title of "Subiaco AFC".

Subiaco City commenced in 1909 as "Subiaco BAFC" and played in black and white. They joined the Western Australian British Football Association the following year. In their very first season in the league, they finished in seventh place. 1911 proved to be much tougher, with the club ending up ninth and they recorded no wins.

After top four positions in what was called the "Presentation Cup" league over the next few years, the league was then suspended during World War One. The competition did resume in 1919, however Subiaco did not re-join the league until 1923, when they finished sixth in Division One.

The next three years (1924, 1925 and 1926), the club struggled and failed to win a game, which would see them get relegated. They won the Division Two title in 1928 to regain their place in the top flight.

Subiaco managed to stay in the top flight for a number of seasons, until they finished last in 1935 and were relegated. From 1936 to 1941 the club was in Division Two, finishing as high as third to as low as sixth.

The competition was then suspended due to World War Two, and it resumed in 1945, however the club did not re-enter the competition until 1951. By this stage the local Subiaco council had achieved city status, and it was decided to re-name the club the "Subiaco City Soccer Club".

Their first year in 1951 back after the war the team only played in a Reserves league, where they finished sixth. In 1952 the club resumed first team football, and the team started their debut season back in the league as Division Two champions.

Subiaco City were back in the top flight in 1953, and even though never setting the league on fire, the team stayed there for the next five years. After relegation at the end of the 1957 season, Subiaco were back in Division Two, and struggled. They finished ninth in 1958, followed by eighth in 1959.

The club started the season in Division Two in 1960, however mid-way through the year, eight of the ten top flight teams broke away to form their own competition. In July, all leagues were re-sorted and started fresh, with Subiaco now finding themselves back in Division One where they ended up seventh. The following year Subiaco were ninth before deciding to join the new Soccer Federation of Western Australia in 1962, who were about to start their third year of competition. Subiaco would play in the old Second Division of the SFWA competition and did well to finish fifth.

The club were relegated to the old Third Division for the 1964 season and ended up in sixth spot. The road back to the big league started in 1965 when Subiaco were Third Division champions. Just three years later, the club won the league once again, this time the Division Two title and were promoted back to the top flight, and for the first time in the top division of the SFWA competition.

Subiaco were back in the top league in 1969, and they didn't find it easy. They just avoided relegation by two points. In 1970 the team finished last, but luckily the league was to be expanded from ten to twelve clubs, which meant there would be no relegation. After a ninth place position in 1971, Subiaco were eleventh in 1972 and were relegated. Their four year stay in the top flight was over, and little did the club know at the time that it would be forty-two years before they would return.

More heartbreak was to follow the next year, with a further relegation. However, after K.Hordell took over as coach in 1974, Subiaco won the old Third Division championship and were back in Division Two. Their stay there would be short lived, with the club returning to where they came from only two seasons later.

Subiaco City were now back in the old Third Division (known as Division Two today), and were to stay there for the next ten seasons. The club did get to fourth position in 1978, and also found themselves as low as last in 1981. This usually would have meant the drop to the fourth tier, however luckily there was no relegation.

The club were back on the up by 1984, making the top four. In 1986, Subiaco would finally find themselves promoted again by finishing runners-up. But their season back in the second tier in 1987 would be a struggle and the club went straight back down.

Subiaco City almost go promoted at their first attempt, by ending up in third. However, difficulties off the field started to affect the seniors at the club. Training space at Rosaile Park was proving to be difficult as did playing at the ground on Saturdays. The senior part of the club was looking elsewhere to train and play. After the Subiaco council could not find a suitable venue, the seniors looked further afield. With Balcatta SC now part of the Perth Italia merger, their ground was made available and the seniors moved there for the 1989 season. It was decided to change the name to "Subiaco Stirling Soccer Club", however the juniors would remain as they were under the Subiaco City Junior Soccer Club name.

In 1990, Subiaco Stirling moved once again, this time to the lower oval at Princess Road Reserve in Balga. Gerry Wardell took over as coach and finished tenth. Glynn James was the new coach in 1991, however the club struggled and ended up in fifteenth.

In 1992, the biggest change in the senior club's history was about to take place. The club moved to the fenced area at the upper oval at Princess Road Reserve to share with the Balga Soccer Club. The name was changed to the "Balga West Coast Soccer Club" and for the first time in decades the colours of maroon and gold would not be used. The new colours became blue and gold. Ian Cowan became coach and the team finished ninth.

Terry Beaston was the new coach in 1993, and Balga West Coast did slightly better to end up in seventh. However, it was to be an end of an era. After more than eighty years, the senior part of the club was no more and folded. The juniors however as Subiaco City Junior Soccer Club lived on.

Subiaco United ASC, nicknamed "The Bears" when first formed started in 1984 and joined the Perth Friendly Soccer Association. The following season they joined the Amateur Soccer Association's Fourth Division and did well to finish third.

Subiaco United slowly rose up the leagues, though they did have a brief hiccup when relegated in 1987. Following this, they were back in the Second Division in 1990, and then won the championship in 1992 to make it to the Amateur First Division.

After flirting with relegation in the first few seasons in Division One, Subiaco United started to become a contender, and finished fourth in 1997 and 2000. However, 2001 was to be their year, winning the First Division title easily by ten points and were promoted to the Amateur Premier League.

Subiaco's stay in the amateur top flight was to be brief. The step up proved too much, and with only one win, the club went straight back down.

Back in Division One in 2003, the club were one of the favourites to go back up. However, they had to wait until the 2005 season when they finished runners-up to Fremantle United to gain one of the promotion spots.

The club were back in the Amateur Premier Division in 2006, and finished seventh. The following year proved a difficult season, and once again they found themselves relegated. 2008 would be the last season they played under the Subiaco United banner, and what a year it ended up being. Not only did they win back promotion in their first year of asking, but they also won the championship on goal difference.

After the 2008 season, Subiaco United were in talks with Subiaco City Junior Soccer Club regarding a merger. It was agreed both clubs would stay as separate individual incorporated bodies, however they would work together as one, and both trade under the brand new Subiaco AFC banner. Subiaco United would later become "Subiaco (NPL) FC Inc" but continue to trade as Subiaco AFC.

2009 would be the 100 year anniversary of the Subiaco City Soccer Club, and also the first season that "Subiaco AFC" would run out onto the pitch. The seniors had a decent season, finished eighth in the Amateur Premier Division.

In 2010 Subiaco AFC just avoided relegation to finish tenth before ending up in ninth in 2011 under coach Ian Cowan. During the year, Football West announced a new State League Second Division would commence in 2012, and Subiaco AFC put their hands up to join the competition. Along with six others clubs, they were successful in their application.

In 2012 the club were back in the semi-professional competition, nineteen years after their predecessor Balga West Coast left. Cowan stayed on as coach, and led them to a successful season to become runners-up in the league, but short of winning promotion.

Darren Yates was the new coach in 2013 and he led them to fourth place. However, it was once again off the field which would change the future of Subiaco AFC. The club applied to join the new National Premier Leagues - Western Australia competition. This was to replace the current State League Premier Division. Subiaco put in a very good submission, and even though they were competing with all current Premier Division clubs, plus teams from Division One, the club found out they were successful and were the only team from outside the top league that gained entry into the new league.

In 2014, Subiaco AFC were back in the top league of Western Australia. The last time they were there as Subiaco City was way back in 1972. Jumping two divisions up was always going to be a tough assignment, but the club under new coach Gerry McEwan were competitive in the first year in the NPL-WA. They finished eleventh with four wins, and were well clear of bottom placed Armadale.

2015 proved even better, with the team this time winning six games and ended up ninth. The following season Football West announced there would be relegation for the bottom club if the Division One champions ticked all the boxes for criteria to get promoted to the NPL-WA. As it happened, Subiaco did finish bottom, and it wasn't until the last week of the season where potential Division One champions Joondalup United were given the go ahead for promotion if they won the league. Joondalup United did hold up the trophy that weekend and were celebrating promotion. As it turned out during the summer, Subiaco successfully argued to Football West that Joondalup United should not have been promoted due to lacking some of the criteria in time. Football West decided that there would be no relegation after all, and Joondalup United plus runners-up Mandurah City would be promoted to form a fourteen team NPL-WA in 2017.

The NPL-WA was now strengthened to fourteen clubs, and Ian McMurray was appointed the new first team coach. It was to be a successful season, with the team winning eleven games and finishing as high as eighth. In 2018, Football West decided that three teams would be relegated to bring the number of NPL-WA clubs back to twelve. It was always going to be a hard season, and it went to the very last game. Subiaco did their part and beat Perth Glory who were then denied the championship. However, the club also needed Balcatta to lose, but they won 2-1 and Subiaco were relegated.

Basil Lenzo took over as coach in 2019, and with a number of players leaving it was always going to be a tough year. However, the young squad still did well and avoided the relegation zone to end up tenth.

Former Perth Glory player Brad Hassell took over the helm in 2020, and in a COVID-19 effected season, the young players concluded the year in tenth. The Reserves would win the Finals Series Trophy, while the Under 18's won the championship and Finals Series Trophy double.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
First Division winners - 1968 (Subiaco City)
Second Division winners - 1965, 1974 (Subiaco City)
Second Division runners-up - 2012
Second Division runners-up - 1986 (Subiaco City)
Night Series runners-up - 2018

14.11.2020- 'YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON' ; FORNAROLI’S COVID FEARS

Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli admits COVID-19 is a concern for him and his teammates ahead of this month's Asian Champions League campaign. The Glory squad yesterday departed for Qatar where they'll be in a biosecurity bubble to play their remaining group fixtures in the continental championship.

Glory begin their campaign on Wednesday night against Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua and have four more matches between then and 3 December. If Richard Garcia's young team make it through their group they then have knockout fixtures which could potentially lead to the 19 December 19 final against Iran's Persepolis FC.

Fornaroli says preparing for and playing games in a bubble is an unusual but completely necessary action. "It's hard because you know what's going on around the world," he said. "We feel safe here but the competition put us there in Qatar. We are players, we can't do much ... maybe it's not a question for me."

Garcia, who is preparing for his first competitive games in charge of Glory, echoed Fornaroli's concerns. "The protocols look to be a good state and we're pretty confident that everything will go smoothly but there's always going to be that niggling thought in the back of your mind," Garcia said.

12.11.2020

EVANS TAKES OUT FLOREAT ATHENA PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Floreat Athena midfielder Dean Evans finished his 2020 season on a high, not only winning the NPLWA Gold Medal, he was also voted the club’s Fairest and Best at their presentation night at the Litis Stadium Clubrooms. The 30-year-old skipper was an ever-present in the Athena side during the regular season, and Head Coach Vas Vujacic said he was a worthy winner of the award.

“It was hard to look past Dean for the award, he consistently plays at a high-level week in and week out,” he said. “He played every game of the regular season and was instrumental in the success we have had. On top of his performances, he showed his dedication and courage to be a part of the final for us after sustaining a chest injury in the final game of the season. He really has become a stalwart of FAFC.”

Evans said despite not winning the league a Final series win was well deserved and to be selected as player of the year as a huge honour. “It’s always an awesome feeling when you win individual awards and being part of the history of the club, but for me though, winning trophies with a great bunch of boys is a better feeling,” he said. “We’ve had a strong core group for the last few years now and we just want to keep winning things yearly and building a group that challenges for the league each year. We’ll aim again to win everything that’s available in 2021.”

Evans beat Liam Murray for the top award, while Murray and Noah Shamaki were joint winners of the first team top goalscorer. Andrew Maranta was rewarded for an outstanding season by being voted the ‘Troy Bernard Young Player of the Year’, while Victor Stambelos won the ‘Frank Papas Club person or the Year. Laurie Todd won the under 20s F&B, with Filip Minic and Ben Steele the runners-up, while Ben Rutter won the top goalscorer. In the 18s James Nixon won the F&B, ahead of Nicholas Boudville, while Rob Ferrante won the top goalscorer.

11.11.2020

GLORY ADD NPL-WA PLAYERS TO ACL SQUAD

Perth Glory have named a young-looking squad which will travel to Qatar to resume its 2020 AFC Champions League campaign. Head Coach Richard Garcia named 22 players in the group which will be based in Doha as Glory completes its Group F fixtures against Shanghai Shenhua, FC Tokyo and Ulsan Hyundai, as they look to progress to the knockout stages the competition.

There are nine players who played in the NPLWA last season, with Glory’s Nicholas Walsh, Mason Tatafu, Joshua Rawlins, Giordano Colli, Cameron Cook and Bryce Bafford, while ECU Joondalup defender Luke Bodnar, Gwelup Croatia forward Daniel Stynes and Bayswater City midfielder Declan Hughes have also been added to the squad after impressing in a recent trial. Recent signings Brandon Wilson, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Nick Sullivan and Tando Velaphi will also travel, while, while new defender Darryl Lachman will fly directly from the Netherlands to join the group in Doha. More good news with Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli also making the trip, as well as Liam Reddy, Neil Kilkenny and Osama Malik.

Andy Keogh will not travel as the Irish striker, who recently became an Australian citizen, is still classed as an overseas player under AFC regulations and the club’s allocated three foreigner spots had already been filled. Nick D’Agostino was given the nod to travel, after an illness set him back, but Alex Grant will not be risked due to a calf injury.

Garcia believes that the Champions League provides an exciting challenge for his squad and a tremendous opportunity for a number of young WA players to prove themselves at senior level. "We’ve seen these players develop through the Academy, and they deserve this opportunity," he said. "It will be a huge test for them against the best that Asia has to offer and I am confident that they will adapt and rise to the challenge. Providing young WA players with opportunities to play for Glory is part of the club’s ambitions and I’m sure our Members and fans are as excited as we are to see how they perform."

There will also be another coach in the dugout in Doha, with former Football West Technical Director Cris Ola joining the travelling party in keeping with AFC regulations which stipulate that every club’s staff must include a Pro-Licence-holding coach, and Garcia was quick to thank Ola for agreeing to come on board. "I was due to complete my Pro-Licence this year,” he explained, "but unfortunately COVID-19 prevented me from doing that. I'm therefore very grateful to Chris for coming in and appreciate all the help that he has already provided."

The travelling party will depart Perth on Saturday 14 November ahead of the club’s opening game against Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium, Al-Rayyan on Wednesday 18 November. (All of Glory’s AFC Champions League games will be screened live on Fox Sports) All Glory fixtures are as follows: Wednesday 18 November (6pm WST) v Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium, Tuesday 24 November (9pm WST) v Ulsan Hyundai at Education City Stadium, Friday 27 November (6pm WST) v Ulsan Hyundai at Education City Stadium, Monday 30 November (9pm WST) v Shanghai Shenhua at Education City Stadium, Thursday 3 December (6pm WST) v FC Tokyo at Education City Stadium.

Perth Glory AFC Champions League Squad - Liam REDDY, Tando VELAPHI, Cameron COOK, Nicholas WALSH, Luke BODNAR, Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, Darryl LACHMAN, Mason TATAFU, Joshua RAWLINS, Brandon WILSON, Dane INGHAM, Carlo ARMIENTO, Osama MALIK, Declan HUGHES, Neil KILKENNY, Nick SULLIVAN, Daniel STYNES, Diego CASTRO, Bruno FORNAROLI, Giordano COLLI, Bryce BAFFORD, Nick D'AGOSTINO

12.11.2020

BURTONS’ WILIAMS OFF THE MARK WITH EFL TROPHY STRIKE

Ryan Edwards is off the mark at Burton Albion after scoring his first goal of the season to save his side from defeat against Fulham’s under-21 side in the EFL Trophy. The midfielder calmly slotted home after some neat interplay in the box with left-back Reece Hutchinson, cancelling out the visitors’ ninth-minute opener to draw the Brewers level.

With no further goals scored, the game went to penalties to decide who would secure a bonus point in the final round of EFL Trophy group games. Burton went on to win the shoot-out 4-1 but, even with the extra point, it wasn’t enough to secure qualification to the next round of the competition.

11.11.2020

STAJIC JOINS ROCKINGHAM AS FARMER WINS CLUB F&B

Rockingham City finished bottom of the NPLWA table last season, but will look for success in 2021 after appointing Goran Stajic has Head Coach. The former Balcatta coach is looking forward to the challenge of turning the clubs around. "RCFC and I agreed very quickly and professionally. They respect the fact that I am a coach who does not request for readymade players or list,” he explained.

“After all, at my previous club we created and reinvented players like Mokala, The Zimarino Bros and Castiello, who have now become super NPL players. At Rockingham City, there are now a group of young talented players whom the club can be proud of developing and hopefully make a significant impact next year and in the future of Australian football. Ultimately, we must continue to be extremely brave and keep pushing those young men into the unknown and guide them, ensuring they are given the opportunity to persevere on that path.

“I also understand that you can’t win the NPL only with young players. It is necessary to combine youth with more experienced players which creates a cohesive and compact team. With the players we will bring in over the coming months, it will ensure we remain on the desired path of NPL football. The goal is clear, to chase a top four finish and to reach as far as possible in the FFA Cup competition, even to the final would be great for the club."

Rockingham President Brian Kennedy said they are delighted to secure the services of Stajic. “Rockingham City FC are very excited about the appointment of Goran Stajic as head coach and looking forward to working alongside him,” he said. “Goran comes with a great pedigree and a wealth of experience and hopefully can attract quality players to our club.”

The club also held their presentation night last week with Michael Farmer winning the Players Player of the Year and Player of the Year, while youngster Luke Collins won the coach’s player of the year. “I was quite surprised to win either of these Awards,” Farmer explained. “To be recognised by your team mates and the club is something I’m really proud of and is a really nice way to end the season. All the players that stuck around this year with all the challenges this season threw at us deserved them just as much.

Scottish-born Collins said he was surprised to win the award, and even play first team football last season. “It was very unexpected as at the start of preseason I was playing with the under 18s side, before playing one game in the under 20s then getting the call up to the first team,” he said. “Gaz put a lot of belief in me this year and I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity. He gave me the chance to play in that environment and it has only benefited me as a player, so looking forward to next season and see where it will take me.”

Kennedy said the pair were worthy winners of the club awards. “Michael was a consistent player all season, a reliable defender, chipping in with a couple of goals during the 2020 season, and it was also great to see his peers recognising that he had a good season,” he said. “Luke is an exciting young prospect who started this season at 18s then to the 20s and was then given his chance at 1st team and never looked back, and he finished runner-up in the player of the year.”

In other awards on the night Joe Moss won the under 20s Player of the Year, with Jethro Yumange the Players Player of the Year, while Nestus Burger won the Coach’s Award. In the under 18s Dylan Sibanda won the Player of the Year, with Eli Holdsworth the Players Player of the Year, while Ben Pugh won the Coach’s Award.

11.11.2020

STYNES WINS GWELUP’S FAIREST AND BEST

Daniel Stynes had a major impact on Gwelup Croatia’s successful first season in the NPLWA and he had two things to celebrate this week. First the 27-year-old was voted the Clubs Fairest and Best on Saturday evening at the Croatian Sporting Club, and on Wednesday he was selected on the Perth Glory Asian Champions League squad for the upcoming qualifiers in Qatar.

The forward, who was part of the Glory squad before being released by former coach Tony Popovic, said it was an honour to win the Gwelup player of the year. “I’m ecstatic to win the award, it was a good season individually and one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve had in a very long time,” Stynes explained. “It’s a fantastic club that is led by wonderful people in Jure, Dejan, Laura, Ilija so a massive thank you to them. As well the coaching staff in Taki, Glen, Paul, Shaneo and everyone associated.

“And lastly the playing group were unbelievable, it was a completely new team and to be honest the players became a lot like a family towards the end in that we were so close knit. On the playing side, I think it’s fair to say that we underachieved. With the players we had we should’ve been up there, however if you look at the whole season, we were second overall so that is an achievement in itself. I’m looking forward to continuing our good work next year in which it will be a full season.”

Gwelup head coach Taki Nicolaidis said Daniel had a standout season and deserved the award. “I thought Daniel thoroughly deserved our F&B award for 2020,” he said. “He played a pivotal role in our sides success, not just through his link up play and assists but also scored goals at crucial times for us.” Skipper Blair Govan was runner-up in the F&B count, with Hasani Sinclair winning the Coach’s Award, while Ndumba Makeche won the top goalscorer. In other awards on the night Lucas Triglavcanin won the under 20s Fairest and Best, ahead of Adam Buckingham, who also won the Coach’s Award, while Owen Goodliffe was the top goalscorer.

Benjamin Entwistle won the under 18s Fairest and Best ahead of Raphael Gomba, who also won the Coach’s Award, while Cody Psaila and Alex Evangelista were joint winners of the top goalscorer. In the Womens State League Lidija Denona and anna Maggs were joint winners of the Fairest and Best, Ana Denona won the Players Player of the Year, Sophia Raschi won the Coach’s Award, while Nicole Lombardo won the top goalscorer.

10.11.2020

KILKENNY AND FORNAROLI SHARE GLORY’S TOP AWARD

Neil Kilkenny and Bruno Fornaroli have been named joint winners of Perth Glory's top award, the Most Glorious Player. The star pair shared the award when coaching staff could not separate them - the first duo to win the prize since Simon Colosimo and David Tarka in the 2006/07 season.

Kilkenny stepped up as captain when marquee signing Diego Castro refused to travel to the club’s Sydney hub for the re-booted A-League season. “I’m really honoured to receive this award. It’s been a tough year for everyone,” Kilkenny said. It’s nice to be recognised for your consistency and the sacrifice you give for the team.”

“Ever since I’ve been at the club I like to think I’ve given a consistency of about seven out of 10 most weeks. I’ve tried to lead by example since I walked through the door. I’m still going to demand more from myself and more from players around me and that won’t change with the team we’ve got this year.”

Glory face a tough start to the new season, the squad flying to Qatar on Saturday to spend at least three weeks in a “bubble” during their Asian Champions League campaign before kicking-off the A-League season. “It’s going to be tough, especially with us having only had three weeks of training,” Kilkenny said.

“Not many players that are in this squad have experienced the hub situation. A lot of people don’t realise how hard it is. Hopefully the young players understand that the industry that we are in is results driven and that’s what it comes down to. It’s going to be difficult but we just want to get out there and start playing.”

Fornaroli, who also picked up the Golden Boot award with 13 goals, said it was an important award in his first year at the club. “I can’t wait to be on the field again and score some goals,” said the Uruguayan striker.

Spanish midfielder Juande took out the Players’ Player of the Year with James Meredith’s strike against Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 26 earning the Goal of the Year. Defender Alessandro Circati was the Most Glorious Youth Player and Jaylan Pearman and Royie Rahamim shared the new Academy Rising Star Award.

Spanish international Celia Jimenez Delgado became the third overseas player to claim the women’s Most Glorious Player, following in the footsteps of Alexandra Nilsson and Vanessa DiBernardo. Rising American star Morgan Andrews bagged both the Players’ Player Award and Golden Boot prizes.

10.11.2020

KEEPER SHUFFLE AT GLORY

Perth Glory have had a shuffle in the goalkeeping ranks ahead of the Asian Champions’ League group stage with Daniel Margush heading out the door to Western Sydney Wanderers, while former crowd favourite Tando Velaphi returns. Margush joined the club earlier this year and was a part of the squad that completed the A-League 2019/20 Season in the New South Wales hub, but the 22-year-old’s contract at the club was terminated by mutual consent. "We’d like to thank Daniel for his service and wish him all the very best in the next chapter of his career," Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said.

One door closes another one opens, and the club have brought in Velaphi, who has signed a one-year deal. The former Australia Under-23 international returns for what will be his third spell with his hometown club for whom he has previously made a total of 74 A-League appearances, and the keeper cannot wait to resume his Glory career. "I’m a Perth boy and the club is very special to me, so I’m really pleased to be back,” he said. “Football is always full of twists and turns and now I’m really looking forward to take the opportunity that has been handed to me by Richard (Garcia)."

The coach is similarly thrilled that Velaphi is back on board. "Tando is a fantastic, experienced goalkeeper and it is great to have two genuine A-League number ones fighting it out for a starting spot," he said. "As well as a consummate professional, Tando is also a great person and I know how much it means to him to represent his hometown club." Velaphi first joined Glory in 2007 having previously made his A-League debut for Queensland Roar aged just 19, before stints at Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Wellington Phoenix and Japanese club Shonan Bellmare.

10.11.2020

BAFOBUSHA WINS INGLEWOOD UNITED F&B

After letting the title slip on the last day of 2019, Inglewood United finished a disappointing tenth in the NPLWA this season, but talented midfielder Anthony Bafobusha was a shining light and was rewarded for an outstanding season by being voted the club’s Fairest and Best at the clubs’ presentation evening at the Inglewood United function centre.

The 23-year-old said it had been a challenge season with the COVID-19 concerns, but an enjoyable one. “The season was very tough and frustrating for us, and it was a very bizarre season given the challenging circumstances the whole world finds itself in,” Bafobusha explained. “Like everyone else in the league we tried to adjust and do the best we could with the situation, and the season was a rollercoaster ride filled with plenty of ups and downs, results and our table position was not good enough. But a credit to the staff and the squad for sticking together and soldiering on in trying circumstances.”

Bafobusha, who played for Perth Glory youth and had a spell at Dutch club Roda FC in2018, said to win the award was a huge honour. “Winning the Player of year Award was a great honour and achievement for myself, I’m very happy,” he said. “The club and coaching staff put a lot of responsibility on me this season and I had the desire to have a better season and things have gone so well. I’m just grateful, and I’d like to thank the coaching staff and the boys, because without them the award would not be possible.”

Head coach Andres Oliveira said the midfielder had a great season. “It was a well-deserved for Anthony to win our player of the year,” he said. “He showed leadership and quality in every game with a 100% commitment. I couldn't ask for more from him, and it’s been enjoyable coaching a talent like Anthony.” Thiak Keul was the runner-up in the Fairest and Best and also won the rising star award, Bafobusha was also voted the Players Player of the Year, while Steve Sokol won the golden boot.

In the under 20s Toby Robertson and Lal Cung were joint winners of the Fairest and Best, Adrian Manno won the Players Player of the Year, while Robertson won the top goalscorer. In the under 18s Hamza Belhassen won the Fairest and Best and the Players Player of the Year, while Belhasan and Gordon Perkins shared the top goalscorer. In other awards the hard-working Karl Kramer won the ‘Siggy Kramer Club Person award, while Sean Cross was given life membership of the club.

Club President Cesare Colli also thanked everyone from the club for all their work over the season. “A big thank you to all our volunteers, without your support the 2020 season would not have been possible,” he said. “A special thanks to our coaches, team managers, match day officials in particular the reliable Flo and Ian who have been sensational over many years. To our social committee again, an outstanding job with our end of year functions. Thank you Litsa, Fiona, Cheryl, Donna and Silvana. Thank You All - Have a great summer break we look forward to seeing you all back in 2021.”

10.11.2020

ADAMS WINS ARMADALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Armadale may have missed out on a spot in the NPLWA Final Series, but 2020 was a successful season for the Alfred Skeet Reserve Club. They reached the top six of the shortened season and injuries took their toll and they fell away late in the season. A player who stood out during the season was Blake Adams, and he was deservedly voted the clubs Coach’s Player of the year at the Reds Presentation Night at the Pagoda Resort.

Adams season was outstanding and Head Coach John O’Reilly said he deserved it. “In a season of inconsistencies Adams offered us a consistent and balanced performance every week,” he explained. “He is a player that doesn't let anything get in the way of his focus of doing his job. Strong tackling, no nonsense, fully committed, team player. His team mates also recognised is efforts with him coming close second in the players player of the year nominations.”

The defender said he was surprised but delighted to win the award. “I’m really happy to win the award and play with a great bunch of blokes,” Adams explained. “The season for us was quite good, we played some good football and made the top six, but there were lots of ups and downs. So hopefully next year we can carry on and get higher up the table.”

In other awards, Angel Andres won the Players Player of the Year, just ahead of Adams, while Brodie McRae won the under 20s Coach’s Award, with Daniel Cumming winning the Plays Player of the Year. In the under 128s Marley Kay won the Coach’s Award, with Alex Fisher winning the Players Player of the Year. Away from the night it was a big celebration for Reds youngster Michael Adams Mwingira, who was voted the NPLWA 18’s Player of the Year.

Under 18s coach Kodi Madeley said he was delighted for the youngster. “We’re to start with Michael, to be honest it has been a massive honour to coach this young man this year as over the last three years coaching the 18s, I have developed some young superstars, but for Michael to win this award it’s a massive achievement for him,” Madeley explained. “I have screamed and shouted at this young man and given him every little bit of knowledge I know about the game, and he has soaked it all in, at preseason and week in week out he played his heart out for Armadale. He also trains hard and listens, and he was my top goal scorer, and finished in the top 5 in the league - So well-done Michael well deserved, enjoy it mate.”

9.11.2020

PERTH GLORY HEAD TO ECU ON WEDNESDAY

The ECU Joondalup Football Stadium will be hosting a Perth Glory trial game on Wednesday November 11 – kick off 5.00pm. Richard Garcia’s side are preparing for their Asian Champions’ League Group F games, and it will be a great chance for supporters to see some of the experienced first team and some budding young players in action.

Garcia has a number of NPLWA players trialling, all looking for a professional A-League contract. It is free entry, with the clubrooms and bar open from 4.30pm and a chance to see Perth Glory team for 2021 taking shape, before they head off to Doha. After months of uncertainty, Glory's AFC Champions League campaign is set to resume in Qatar on Wednesday 18 November. Shanghai Shenhua will provide the opposition for Richard Garcia's side in what is the first of two consecutive Glory "home games", with the second coming six days later on Tuesday 24 November against Ulsan Hyundai.

The return fixture with the Korean side is scheduled for later that week, on Friday 27 November, ahead of the second meeting with Shanghai Shenhua on Monday 30 November and the final group game against FC Tokyo on Thursday 3 December. All locations and kick-off times are still TBC at the time of writing, but we thought it was an ideal moment to check in with our Group F opponents and get an idea of what kind of shape they are in ahead of the resumption.

9.11.2020

NPL AWARDS WRAP

With the covid-19 pandemic postponing the Football West annual awards night this season, they held a virtual event last week. In the NPLWA it was a tie for the ‘Gold Medal’ with Floreat Athena skipper Dean Evans and Perth Glory skipper Giordano Colli sharing the award. Both players finished on 21 points, six ahead of Gwelup Croatia striker Ndumba Makeche, and seven ahead of Cockburn City skipper Cameron Edwards and ECU Joondalup striker Danny Hodgson.

Colli, who also won the Dylan Tombides young player of the year, said it was an honour to be the joint winner of the award. “Firstly, I would like to congratulate Dean Evans on also winning the award, and for me personally it’s an honour to win such a prestigious award considering the quality and talent that is in the league, I was stoked to come away on top,” he explained. “I was happy with my season with Perth Glory and knew that I had a good season especially after seeing the first 11 rounds I knew that I would be in with a chance entering the last five games.

“It was a very up and down season for us as we started very strongly then towards the middle, we had a slump and then picked it back up again in the latter part. We were unfortunate to not make the finals as I feel we would have had a really good chance of winning it. Lastly, I would like to thank my teammates and all the coaching staff involved for the season and can’t wait to go again next year.”

Evans, who won last season's award, but was ineligible, led Floreat to the Finals Series Final win against Perth SC, was a worthy joint winner. “I’m extremely happy to be rewarded for my efforts this season in what was a very strange year. After finishing top last year, but not being able to receive the award due to suspension was quite frustrating, so was very proud to go one better this year. We had a great year at Floreat Athena and hopefully we can go on in 2021. Also, big congratulations also must go to Giordano for being crowned joint winner.

“Again, it’s always an awesome feeling when you win individual awards and being part of the history of the club. For me though, winning trophies with a great bunch of boys is a better feeling. We’ve had a strong core group for the last few years now and we just want to keep winning things yearly and building a group that challenges for the league each year, and we’ll aim again to win everything that’s available in 2021.”

In other awards NPLWA awards Danny Hodgson won the Golden Boot, Scott Miller won the Ron Tindall Coach of the Year, while Alex Dunn and Luke Radonich shared the Goalkeeper of the Year. Floreat Athena striker Ben Rutter and ECU Joondalup striker Dor Jok won the under 20 Player of the Year, while Rutter, Perth Glory duo Hugo Snowden and Joseph Hobson won the 20s Golden Boot. Armadale’s Michael Adams Mwingira won the under 18s Player of the Year, while Perth Glory’s Toby Snook won the under 18s Golden Boot.

In the NPLWWA, Perth Glory W-League players stole the show. Murdoch University Melville Katarina Jukic was the runaway winner of the Gold Medal, collecting 31 votes, 11 ahead of NTC midfielder Hana Lowry, Northern Redbacks defender Kim Carroll and NTC striker Leticia McKenna polled 18 votes, while Fremantle City’s Gemma Craine finished on 14. Jukic also won the Golden Boot, and scored one of the goals of the season, the 30-year-old said it was strange season, but she was delighted to be recognized.

“Considering the Covid situation it was disappointing having a shorten season, but I think it was a great first Womens NPL season and it has set a bench mark for the future of the league, but MUM FC were fantastic in supporting our team especially with many players moving from Queens Park,” she said. “With the setbacks last season and the opportunity to be a part of the Glory squad both gave me a drive and a new enjoyment for the game and set me up for the season I had. I couldn't be happier with the team’s performance this year.”

In other awards in the NPLWWA Murdoch University Melville’s Peter Rakic won the Coach of the Year, while keepers Miranda Templeman and Gabrielle Dal Busco were joint winners of the Goalkeeper of the Year. NTC’s Mia Yeo won the 23s Player of the Year, while her team mate Olivia Trueman won the under 23s Golden Boot.

9.11.2020

WILSON NAMED IN OLYROO SQUAD

Perth Glory midfielder Brandon Wilson has been named in the Olyroos squad for two upcoming friendlies in Sydney, marking the end of his exile from international duties. But teammate Nick D’Agostino is a surprise omission although it is understood he has missed some pre-season training.

Wilson recently returned to Glory after a brief spell with Wellington Phoenix. The midfielder has 44 Glory previous to his name but made the game day squad just once last season under coach Tony Popovic. Wilson will leave for Qatar after the under-23 camp and games against Sydney FC and Macarthur FC.

Wilson, along with Nathaniel Atkinson, Lachie Wales and Riley McGree, were suspended by Football Federation Australia in November after an incident while on Olyroos duty in April 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door on Wilson, Atkinson and Wales to feature at the postponed Tonyko Olympic Games in 2021.

“The next nine days and the forthcoming A-League season represents a fresh start and a great opportunity for all players to push their case for Olyroos selection in Tokyo,” Olyroos coach Graham Arnold said. Travel restrictions have limited the squad to players at Australian clubs and Wellington Phoenix, who are currently based in Wollongong.

8.11.2020

OLDFIELD TIPS A 'A BIG CHALLENGE AGAINST A VERY GOOD CLUB'

Oxford City manager David Oldfield says his side face a 'big challenge' against a 'very good club' when they come up against Northampton Town in the FA Cup on Monday. The Hoops are ninth in the National League South with two wins from four matches and reached the first round of the FA Cup by grabbing a late 3-2 win over Weymouth in the fourth qualifying round.

"It's a great game for us and a really big challenge against a very good club with good players and good staff," said Oldfield ahead of Monday's tie. "I grew up not far from Northampton so I know the club well and I know how well they've done in recent times."

"Keith Curle has done a great job there and I know how strong and competitive and what a good side they are. We watched them against MK Dons and we are under no illusions as to how difficult the challenge is. On one hand we need to know all about them but on the other hand we need to concentrate on ourselves and be as good as we can be."

Oldfield does not believe Oxford's artificial surface will give his side an advantage against Northampton. "Normally in the FA Cup you have a crowd and a muddy pitch but we're missing both," he said. "Northampton won't have played on an artificial pitch too often but it's a very good pitch and it's not a huge advantage.

"A lot of clubs at our level do it and without doubt Northampton are good enough to adapt to it, so it won't be an issue. It's a Cup game and as much we I try to play it down, we are excited and we are looking forward to it. But we can't get carried away. We need to make sure we concentrate and focus on the game."

Perth-born Oldfield took charge of Oxford shortly before the COVID-19 lockdown in March. He enjoyed an impressive playing career that included over 650 league and cup appearances for English clubs Luton Town, Manchester City, Leicester City, Stoke City, Peterborough United and Oxford United.

8.11.2020

GLORY FORCED ME OUT: KEOGH

Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh has revealed how he was “forced out” of the club following their most successful A-League season. But the former Republic of Ireland international could not be happier now after a momentous two weeks in which he re-joined the club and became an Australian citizen.

Keogh is delighted to be playing under former teammate Richard Garcia who was appointed coach after the controversial departure of Tony Popovic for Greek side Xanthi. The 34-year old striker scored 15 goals in the 2018/19 season but was left out in the cold and benched for the Grand Final by Popovic.

“It’s great to be back,” Keogh said. “I never wanted to leave. I was forced out of the club. I felt I had a fantastic season that year, the team had a fantastic season. It didn’t end the way we hoped, it certainly didn’t end the way I hoped after five years of graft … To not play (in the Grand Final) was disappointing and after that I was forced out.”

Keogh headed to Saudi Arabia club Al Qadsiah and then had a six-game stint with Indian side North East United. “Luckily I got a great offer in Saudi and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a great time,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave and then took six weeks in India because I didn’t have anything else at the time.”

Keogh returned to Perth with his family just after the COVID-19 lockdown began. “We bunkered down in the best place on earth,” Keogh said of spending two weeks in quarantine on returning to Perth. If I had not re-signed with Perth I didn’t know what I was going to do because I wasn’t going to another A-League team. I had multiple offers but my loyalty is to Perth and it will be until the end of my career.”

Keogh played more than 50 game alongside Garcia before he retired. “It was nice that he wanted me to come back,” Keogh said. “The fact that Rich is an ex-teammate and friend made it even better. He knows what I’m about. He’s seen me score a lot goals, how I play, how I move. I’m sure Rich was able to picture how I’d fit into his system and what he wants to do.”

Glory has changed a lot since Keogh left and they face a packed schedule which starts in ten days. Glory play five Asian Champions League games in three weeks followed by a 27 December start to the A-League. “It’s a young squad, it’s a bit depleted at the minute but we’ve got bodies coming in,” Keogh said.

“You’ve got to look at the bigger picture, look to when we can get the visa players in and the rest of the Aussie boys from interstate that the club are looking at. Then we’ll be able to progress further but right now it’s about getting fit and strong and ready for a condensed A-League season.”

“The Asian Champions League is a fantastic tournament but it’s probably come at the wrong time for the A-League sides. It’s very inconvenient as it disrupts what’s important and that’s revamping football in Australia.”

8.11.2020

PERTH ON THE SOCCEROOS AGENDA

The Socceroos are scheduled to return to Perth in March as the national team prepare to re-commence their World Cup qualifying campaign. Graham Arnold’s team is due to face Kuwait in a fixture originally slated for 26 March but postponed just 16 days out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perth, which has not hosted the Socceroos since 2016, could be in line to hist two World Cup qualifiers in the second and third phase of qualifying if the Asian Football Confederation opts to move the March game to a neutral venue, or complete all second round games at a central hub.

The 60,000 Optus Stadium has the potential to lure Asian heavyweights Japan, South Korea and Iran – games usually played in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane - to Perth. Football Federation Australia has signed a two-game agreement with West Australian officials with Perth Oval being home for the Kuwait game.

“FFA has an agreement in place with the WA Government to play two FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers in Perth - one in round two of qualifying and the other in round three,” an FFA spokesman said. “FFA is committed to working with the Government to host qualification matches in Perth when qualifying resumes, however the scheduled of matches in all locations is currently unclear to due to the global COVID-19 landscape.”

The March game will be the Socceroos first outing in 16 months and take on added significant ahead of a fixture cluster. Arnold revealed the Socceroos were still planning to play in June’s postponed Copa America, with more World Cup qualifiers scheduled around the same time.

“We tried to get a couple of friendlies, we had England booked at Wembley in November which got cancelled. (Games) are important, not just for players, coaches and the Socceroos brand but for fans,” Arnold said. “The plan from AFC is we will reboot and restart second phase of qualifiers in the march window, where we’ll play Kuwait and Nepal.”

“June will be Jordan and Chinese Taipei to end that second phase before moving into the third. We’re still looking with some help from FIFA at Copa America in terms of regulations, to help boys get out of their clubs to go to Copa America, so that’s still on the table. And we’ve still got Olympics to plan for, as do the Matildas.”

8.11.2020

MOSES JOINS DESPOTOVSKI AT DIANELLA

Dianella White Eagles have shown they are determined to make an impression next season after a busy week at the club. The club appointed former Bayswater City First Team Coach Stewart Moses as Head Coach to work alongside Bobby Despotovski, while they signed David Heagney, Kris Gate, Bobby Wilson, Dejan Aleksic, Kristian Despotovski, Sasa Njegic and Ryan Pretorius for 2021. Despotovski said Moses is a perfect pick up for the club. “When I heard that Stewy was available it was no brainer to bring him on board,” he explained.

“His record speaking for itself, being involved with Bayswater for last seven years, he has great rapport with players, all of the players have great respect for him as a coach and more importantly as a person so bringing Stewy was very easy decision for me and Dianella as a club. I think he will fit very well in to the culture that we establishing at the club with new committee and wider Serbian community.”

Moses said he had seven good years at Bayswater, but said it was time for a change and is delighted to join Despotovski. “I really enjoyed my time Frank Drago but it was the right time for me to move on,” he said. “Working alongside Chris (Coyne) we had a great deal of success, but with him moving on it was the right time for me to do likewise. I’d like to thank Oriano Colli, Gerry Maio and the rest of the club’s hierarchy for the opportunity to work for them, and I wish them all the best under new coach Gareth Naven.”

The coach said he is looking forward to get to work with Despotovski at Dianella. “When Bobby rang me about the position I was really excited about the challenge, and Dianella have a big and passionate supporter base, and I’m looking forward to helping the club secure more success,” Moses explained. “I’m honoured to take on the re-build that was started by the late Rod Banjac, and Bobby and I have worked hard to bring in some quality players to freshen the squad. I’m under know elusions it will be a challenge, but people who know me would tell you I’m up for it and I can’t wait to get started.”

8.11.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - STIRLING LIONS FOOTBALL CLUB

Stirling Lions Football Club was formed in 1958 as "Macedonia Soccer Club". Jim Siderov was the first president, while Tom Tolev was secretary and Phil Tsalev was treasurer.

The club's first season in senior football was in 1960, when they joined the Western Australian Soccer Football Association. The club started the season in Division Three, however in July eight clubs playing in the top flight broke away to form their own league. All the teams staying loyal to the Association had their leagues re-started and Macedonia were moved up into Division Two. In a short seven game season, the club finished in sixth place in the eight team league.

The club had a much better season in 1961, finished equal top of the league, but Macedonia had to settle for runners-up due to goal average. This would have meant promotion to the top flight of the Association league. However, the club decided to move to the new Soccer Federation of Western Australia, which were about to start their third season in 1962. In a tougher league, the club ended up in eighth spot in a twelve team division.

Macedonia decided to not play in 1963, so had to re-join the old Third Division in 1964. The new name of "East Perth Macedonia" ran out onto the field after a year's absence, but it would be a difficult season. The team finished bottom with only two wins. 1965 fared much better, this time they got to second place and won promotion!

Back in the old Second Division in 1966, East Perth Macedonia had a decent year in a tougher league. The club finished mid-table and won seven games from eighteen.

In 1967 the club was dissolved in rather controversial circumstances due to a number of reasons. During 1969, the Macedonian Community of Western Australia decided to give the required financial backing to re-start the football club. The new name of "Macedonia United" was to be used, and the club played in the second tier of the Amateur Soccer Association. Their home ground was Woodville Reserve in North Perth and they finished runners-up to Belmont and would have won promotion to the top division of the Amateur League. However during that summer, the club applied to re-join the semi-professional Soccer Federation of Western Australia. The competition was being cut from three divisions to two, and it was unlikely the club would get the nod, however their persistence paid off, and Macedonia United were successful in their application.

In 1972, Macedonia were back where they belonged, and were now in what would today be called Division One. It wasn't the easiest of seasons, but Macedonia still did well finishing ninth in the fourteen team league. 1973 was another improvement, with Macedonia United ending up in fifth spot before a third placed finish in 1974.

The club were now hopeful of soon making the top flight, however 1974 ended up in disaster. The club had moved to the Velodrome and finished second last and were relegated back to the old Third Division.

Macedonia United were determined to fight back, John Angelides returned to the club as president, while Val McKenzie became coach. The club moved their home games to the Kiev Sports Ground in Inglewood. The team easily won the league with nineteen wins from twenty-seven games and were nine points clear from runners-up Osborne Park Galeb.

McKenzie continued on as coach for the next two seasons, and twice he led them to the runners-up spot, both times agonisingly close to promotion!

In 1978 the Federation required all club names to have a suburban name in their club title, hence Macedonia United changed to Menora Macedonia. Derek Scales took over as coach, and it ended up being a frustrating season. The team finished tenth with five wins and only five points above the relegation zone.

In 1979 the club changed names once again, this time to West Perth Macedonia. The Macedonian Community also increased their financial commitment to the football club and Ernie Hannigan was recruited as coach. He signed a number of experienced players, such as Denis Bairstow, Keith Cockburn, Ray and Dave O'Callaghan and a very young Paul Middleton. It was to be an instant success, with the team winning the league with only one single loss and with it won promotion to the top flight.

1980 saw West Perth Macedonia finally in the top league of Western Australia. Two new players in John Alavakis and Keith Blunt would go on to be legends of the club. The team's very first game in the top flight would be away to Spearwood Dalmatinac and it ended in a 3-3 draw. In the league, the team were very competitive and finished in sixth place, but it was in the D'Orsogna Cup where the team was at their best. Making it all the way to the final to play Perth Azzurri at Dorrien Gardens. It was a great team effort which saw Macedonia win 6-1 and gain their first major honour with Chris Proctor being best on ground.

1981 would prove to be more difficult, the team only won six games to finish eighth. There was marked improvement in 1982 which ended in mid-table.

1983 would be the start of the glory years for West Perth Macedonia and they went on to become a dominant force in WA football. The team dominated the league season under coach Colin Ashley, only losing one game to easily win their first state championship by eight points and also won the Top Four Cup. There was more of the same under Ashley in 1984, again winning the league title, this time by just one point. They also finished runners-up in the Top Four Cup and in the Night Series.

Michael Brennan took over as player coach in 1985, determined to make it three championships in a row. Spearwood Dalmatinac who finished runners-up the prior two years, were leading the table at the halfway mark with Macedonia having to do all the work to catch up. A good second half of the season and a vital 2-1 win away to Dalmatinac in August put the club back on top. Going into the last game of the season, both Macedonia and Dalmatinac were level on points, but with Macedonia having the better goal difference. All the club had to do was win at home against derby rivals Kingsway Olympic. It was Macedonia who won 5-1 to win their third state title in a row, and relegated rivals Kingsway Olympic. This would also be Macedonia's last home game at Inglewood.

In 1986 the club changed their name to Stirling Macedonia and moved into their brand new facility at Balcatta, called Macedonia Park. Gordon Ferguson took over as coach and their first game at their new home would be in the national Nanda Cup competition against NSL side Adelaide City in March of that year. It was a proud day for the club, played in front of a big crowd. After going down early, it was John Hunter who blasted in the equaliser. It went to penalties, and it was former Kingsway Olympic keeper Willie McNally that saved Hunter's penalty to produce a 6-5 win for the visitors. The season started in fine form when the team won the night series. New recruits that year were Hunter, Steve Whitehead, Eddie Sinclair and Frank Bate. Macedonia were hopeful of winning the title for the fourth year in succession, but it wasn't to be. The club had to settle for the runners-up spot, with Dalmatinac finally claiming the trophy for the first time in five years.

Former state player Ray Illot took over as coach in 1987, and it ended up being a great season. The club won the league title with ten points to spare and made it to the D'orsogna Cup final but lost 3-2 to Floreat Athena.

A new eight team Super League was formed in 1988, and once again Stirling Macedonia were one of the heavy favourites for the title. They started of the year in fashion when they won the Night Series by beating Floreat Athena 2-1. In the league, it wasn't a great start to the season after they lost 2-1 to newly promoted Sorrento. However, they still managed to finish third and made the Top Four Cup final, which they lost 5-2 to Athena.

1989 saw the club finish the season in fourth spot and once again made the finals. With the play-offs now deciding the championship, the club had a chance of winning the state title. They played Sorrento in the Minor Semi-Final who beat Macedonia on penalties. Most clubs would be happy with a fourth spot finish, however this was the worst season for the club since 1982!

In 1990 the club wanted to go all the way, and finished the regular season in third. In the finals, the club easily beat North Perth Croatia 6-1 in the semi-final before beating minor premiers Floreat Athena 2-1 in the Preliminary Final. Macedonia were now one game away from a fifth state championship. In the Grand Final against Perth Italia, they were 1-0 down until Alan Herscher scored deep into stoppage time for Macedonia. In extra time, it was Herscher again to put them in front! However it wasn't to be their day, with Italia ending up winning the game 4-2 and the title that went with it.

1991 saw the season start in style for the club, winning the Night Series final in a 2-1 win over Perth Italia. Macedonia would finish the regular season as runners-up and were hopeful of a good finals run. However the club lost the Preliminary Final in a 3-2 thriller against Italia to finish the season third overall.

Willie Kelly became the new coach in 1992, and the club were on the hunt for more honours. The title was once again decided by the traditional first past the post method, and right up to the last game of the season it was in Macedonia's hands. They had to just get a draw with arch rivals Floreat Athena. However Athena won 2-0 and with Italia beating Dalmatinac, the trophy once again went to Dorrien Gardens. The club did win the now separate Top Five Cup Final beating Italia 2-1.

Kelly stayed at helm in 1993 and even though the club finished third in the league, the club did not win any trophies. However they did make the Cup Final but lost 3-0 to Italia.

Stuart Kamasz became the new coach in 1994 after he joined from Rockingham City. The club almost won everything on offer, firstly winning the Night Series against Athena 4-0, before winning the league by four points. They then won the Top Four Cup against Inglewood Kiev 2-1. They did make the Cup Final, however they lost 3-2 to Spearwood Dalmatinac, and missed out on a clean sweep of trophies.

In 1995, the Junior Soccer Association forced all clubs to remove their ethnic names. It was decided to register the name "Stirling Lions" for the juniors to play under, however the seniors would remain as Stirling Macedonia. It was to be another great season under coach Kamasz. Once again the team won the Night Series Final after beating Swan IC 3-0 and the championship was also theirs for the second time in a row, after finishing three points clear on top. Macedonia also won the Top Four Cup beating Inglewood Falcons 3-1.

The team were looking to repeat their three championships in a row from the 1980's in 1996, but they fell just short. Having to settle for runners-up by just one point. They did however win a hat-trick of Top Four Cups, once again beating Inglewood in the final. The club had a very good cup run, and won it by defeating Sorrento 2-1 in the final.

Kamasz left as coach during the summer with many players also leaving. It ended up being a long league season for Macedonia in 1997, with the club finishing eleventh from fourteen teams, their worst season in the Premier League. However, they surprised most by reaching the cup final, but lost 2-0 to arch rivals Floreat Athena.

Peter Paraskov became coach in 1998 and the glory years looked well and truly behind them. Another difficult season saw the team end up in tenth from twelve clubs. In 1999 it was decided to re-name the senior part of the club as the same as their juniors, and they would now play under the Stirling Lions banner. Rick Slade became senior coach and the Stirling Lions finished ninth.

During that summer, the Lions were controversially relegated. Not on the field, but off it due to a dispute with the governing body. It meant for the first time in twenty seasons, the club would not be playing in the top flight. Don Evans became President and led the charge to get them straight back where they belonged. Alan Armstrong became coach, and after a difficult start, the Lions finished runners-up and only just missed out on promotion by one point!

More heartbreak was to follow in 2001 with Wayne Thorpe at the helm, again the club lost the title by one point and were denied going up. All was to change in 2002, Basil Lenzo was appointed first team coach and he guided them to a great season. It went to the very last game away to Morley-Windmills. All the Lions needed was a draw, and that is exactly what they got and with it the First Division title and promotion back to the Premier League.

Stirling Lions were back with the elite in 2003, however the jump back up proved difficult and the team finished last. But fortunately there was to be no relegation that season.

It wasn't until the arrival of Mike Lyons during the 2005 season did the club once again become a power in WA football. In his first full season in 2006, the Lions had a great year. Firstly finishing runners-up in the league, their best performance in the top flight for a decade. Plus then winning the Cup after beating Swan IC on penalties. Their cup success was repeated in 2007, this time beating Cockburn City, again in a penalty shoot-out!

After top half finishes over the next few years, Lyons handed over the reigns to Paul Lincoln in 2010 where the club finished third overall after the championship finals. Doug Hesketh took over during the following season and by 2013 he assembled a team that were one of the best in the state. They finished on top by four points, but due to competition rules at the time, the state championship was decided by a top five play-off system. The Lions lost 4-1 to Bayswater City in the Major Semi-final before defeating defending champions Sorrento 3-1 at Macedonia Park in the Preliminary Final. The Grand Final was played at the Litis Stadium in front of a big crowd against Bayswater. The Lions were chasing their first state championship since 1996, but it wasn't to be, with Bayswater winning 2-1 and holding up the Premier League trophy for the first time.

Stirling Lions just missed out on a place in the finals in 2014 under Gary Williams, but they did reach the Cup final but lost 2-0 to Bayswater. This did mean they went onto play in the round of thirty-two national FFA Cup competition, where they met A-League champions Brisbane Roar at the Western Australian Athletics Stadium, but they lost 4-0. Rob Milevski took over the following year and mid-table finishes resulted over the next few season before a ninth place finish in 2018 with Keegan Ashley at the helm.

2019 would be a difficult year for the club. Trevor Morgan became coach during the season, but he couldn't save them from bottom place and relegation that resulted.

Milevski returned in 2020, but in the COVID-19 effected season, the Stirling Lions ended up in seventh spot.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
Premier League winners - 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1995
Premier League Minor Premiers - 2013
Premier League runners-up - 1986, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2006, 2013
First Division winners - 1979, 2002
First Division runners-up - 1976, 1977, 2000, 2001
Second Division winners - 1975
Second Division runners-up - 1965
Cup winners - 1980, 1992, 1996, 2006, 2007, 2010
Cup runners-up - 1987, 1993, 1994, 1997, 2014
Premier League Top Four/Five Cup Winner - 1983, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996
Premier League Top Four/Five Cup runners-up - 1984, 1988
Night Series winners - 1986, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1995
Night Series runners-up - 1984, 1984, 1990, 2016

4.11.2020

LIONS SWOOP FOR FERGUSON

Stirling Lions have appointed former Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson as Head Coach for season 2021. He will be joined at Macedonia Park by John Lavery as his assistant, the pair taking over from Rob Milevski and David Micevski who have moved on. Ferguson, who coached Quinns for the last two seasons, said he is delighted to join the club. “I’m delighted to be joining such a big club with a proud and successful history,” he said. “The facilities are exceptional and I’m looking forward to meeting the players and the challenge of getting the club out of Division One and back into the top flight.”

Ferguson has a long and successful history as a football player, starting in Scotland Clyde, St Mirren and then making a big move to Rangers in the Scottish Premier League. He won nine titles in a row at Rangers under Graeme Souness and Walter Smith and followed it up with a tenth title under Dick Advocaat. Ian has also been capped by his country Scotland Nine times as a player. Ian also won a Scottish FA Cup scoring the winner in a 1-0 win against Dundee United, and he is an inductee into the Rangers Hall of Fame. Ian has also coached at A league level with North Queensland Fury, Northern Fury FC and Perth Glory, guiding them to the clubs first-ever A league Grand Final.

Lions President Luke Pavlos said they are delighted to have secured the services of Ferguson. “His resume speaks for itself- Scottish Premier League ten titles in a row, Scottish FA Cup winner, nine Caps for Scotland and Rangers Hall of fame as a player,” he said. “He’s a former A League coach with Perth Glory and North Queensland Fury and Northern Fury in the Queensland NPL. I’m not sure if there is anyone in the state with better credentials.

“2020 was very much a rebuild year in the end, but the Covid disruption gave as the opportunity to build unity within a solid group of players which was basically a whole new team from our 2019 NPL side. We played some fantastic football to the back end of the season and came close in the top four finals, but close will not get us promotion in 2021. We’re a very proud club with a long history of success and looking to lift the bar. We want to create our own history now and be positive moving forward.

“Ian brings a level of professionalism and a winning mentality like no other, with values and a vision which is perfectly aligned with where we wish to be. We’re looking forward to 2021 and giving promotion a real shake. We are extremely grateful for all Rob Milevski and David Micevski’s effort in 2020, they have set fantastic foundation for Ian to now take the Reins and help guide us back to where we belong, the NPLWA.”

4.11.2020

QUINNS BRING IN GROSTATE

Quinns FC have acted quickly to fill the void of losing Head Coach Ian Ferguson and his assistants John Lavery and David Hall, by appointing experienced coach Glen Grostate for next season. Grostate was an assistant coach at NPL side Gwelup Croatia last season, and has had coaching stints at Floreat Athena and interstate. Club President Steve Alderson said it’s a great appointment for the club. “Glen is a qualified FFA coach and brings with him a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill set that will support the continued growth of the state teams,” he explained.

“Glen has previously worked with various different clubs from Juniors to Seniors throughout WA, Melbourne and Canberra delivering continued success and achievements, and we look forward to build on the foundations that have been put into place by the outgoing coaching team.” Grostate said he is ready for the challenge. “Being from north of the river, Quinns is the correct fit for me, and I’m happy to be appointed to the role,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead, and to create something special with the current players and coaches.”

The club also announced Danny Smith has been confirmed as the Reserve team coach and the under 18’s coach will be confirmed. Alderson thanked the former coaches for their work over the past two seasons. “Under their guidance the club has gone from strength to strength with them leading us to promotion for the first time in our history to State League Division One,” he explained. “This success continued again this year with our position being cemented in the league and narrowly missing out on top six finals. From all the of committee, players past, present and members we would like to thank them and wish them all great success for whatever the future holds.”

4.11.2020

CARTER HEADS TO THE PHOENIX AS OAKLEY WINS F&B

South West Phoenix will go into 2021 with a new coach at the helm, after Nick Carter was appointed as Head Coach, replacing Nigel Wilcox who stepped down. The Bunbury based club re-entered the Football West competition last season after a year out, and the Bunbury based club have appointed a new coach for 2021 with Nick Carter taking up the reins, replacing Nigel Wilcox.

Back in 2010 the club were on the verge of a spot on the inaugural NPL season, but after being controversial omitted the club spiralled down the leagues and many thought the club was gone. But after a number of former players returned to the Hay Park club this season, and the appointment of Carter will see the clubs push for a return to the State League begin in earnest.

Last season the Phoenix finished ninth in the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division and keeper Jamie Oakley was rewarded for a stellar season by taking out the clubs Fairest and Best award, beating Blair Pastega and Matthew Curtis to the award. Oakley was delighted to be voted the best player for the season. “It’s an honour to win the Fairest and Best and be voted players player by my peers. It’s always nice to pick up some personal awards, but I’d trade all that in for more team success,” he explained.

“I Look forward to building on the personal success next year and really pushing forward as a team with promotion back on the table.” In other awards on the night, Matthew Curtis won the first team Coaches Award, while William Curtis won the Fairest and Best in the reserves, ahead of Shane Lloyd, while Gareth Johnston won the coaches award.

For Carter the appointment is a challenge, but one the 32-year-old is looking forward too. “I’m really excited about the project put in front of me, and helping the club on and off the field,” he said. “I have wanted this job for a long time, but knew I had to do the hard yards first before I was ready. I feel it’s the right time now and looking forward to getting things going for the club.

“I was at Rockingham City for the last couple of years before things happened, and then Covid hit, so I was going to have time off. However, friends at the club asked me to come back to help and I am glad I did, I loved it. The first team coach Nigel (Wilcox) indicated he would step down at the end of the season and recommended me to the club, so it just fell into place.”

Cater has a great cv, after working as a Sport Rehabilitator for Bury Football Club and Radcliffe Borough back in England, then at SWP. He also had roles coaching at Dalyellup Football Club, in Bunbury, Twin City in Kalgoorlie, SWP, and Rockingham City FC. “I’m an accredited FFA ‘B’ Licence Coach and I have applied to do my A Licence, which I am hoping to get onto, but my mates like to say I have more degrees than a protractor,” he joked. “I’ve a BSC (Hons) Sport Rehabilitation, MSC Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), MSC Sport and Exercise Science & Medicine and Master of Teaching (Physical Education).”

The new coach believes the club should be playing State League football, and he has been given the job to start their push back up the leagues. “There is no doubt this club should be up there, unfortunately with the year out it affecting the club massively, and even back before then, not getting into the NPL at the time had a massive implication on the club on and off the field,” Carter explained.

“The committee are working tirelessly to make things happen and I don’t think many people understand the demographic of the club. The same group of core players have saved this club over and over again, as well as the ones of the playing field who have devoted a lot of time to SWP and its time they were rewarded for their effort. We have a great group of players at the moment who trust each other and care about each other. We will get back to where we belong. I promise that.

4.11.2020

GARCIA IN A RACE AGAINST TIME

Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia is racing against time to get his squad ready for the re-booted Asian Champions League. Glory leave for their coronavirus bubble in Doha in 11 days and play their first game against Shanghai Shenhua four days later.

Garcia is dealing with player concerns over COVID-19 and getting them in shape for the tough schedule of five games in three weeks. “Everyone is concerned about COVID, I have concerns about it, but nobody has come out and said they don’t want to travel,” Garcia said.

“We have been open with players about the protocols and everyone has been very positive. My biggest concern is getting the players right, getting their bodies into shape. In a limited pre-season we have to get ready for a crazy amount of games in a short time.”

When Glory return they will be in hotel quarantine for two weeks. If they progress past the round of 16 they face the prospect of Christmas in self-isolation. That would cause more headaches with the A-League season starting on 27 December.

Marquee signing Diego Castro, who refused to join teammates in Glory’s Sydney hub to finish off the A-League season, will travel to Qatar. Garcia’s 22-man ACL squad will also include academy and National Premier Leagues players.

“We’ll have to box a bit differently, play a bit smarter to protect the players and make sure we don’t get a spanner in the works for our A-League season preparation,” he said. “Some younger players will get opportunities a lot earlier than they probably expected.”

3.11.2020

SWAN APPOINT EVANS AS HEAD COACH AS BLACK WINS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Swan United have appointment Dan Evans as Head Coach for season 2021. The 36-year-old heads to Francis Street after coaching in America, and he is looking forward to getting out of hotel quarantine and getting to work. “I’m really excited to start, once my quarantine finishes,” Evans explained. “Swan is a great club and I’m looking forward to working hard with the group, and I’m grateful to the board in giving me the opportunity. I was looking to return to WA and started dialogue with Swan midway through last season. They were looking for someone to take over and I guess the timing worked out.”

Evans started as assistant first team coach at Gosnells City, before a two-year stint as head coach at Melville City. He then helped Morley Windmills win promotion in 2017 as assistant first team coach, before heading to the US, working at Toledo Villa FC, Pacesetter Soccer Club, Lourdes University and in the Olympic Development Program in the USA. He also held Technical Director positions at Ashfield and Stirling Lions and worked on various programs with Football West.

The coach, who holds B-license amongst others gained in Australia and in the USA, and is working on his A license, said his time in America was a good learn curve, and he is determined to improve the Black and Whites in 2021. “I enjoyed it, and it certainly kept me busy and had an opportunity to continue my development as a Coach,” Evans explained. “I’ll be working as hard as possible to see Swan climb the table next season. I know last season was tough for the club, but with Covid it was a bit of a strange season for everyone. Certainly, this season the expectations are greater and I’m confident that you will see a big improvement from the group.”

It was a great season for Tom Black, who was voted the clubs Fairest and Best at the Swan Italian Club last weekend. He edged out keeper Nick Stone to the major award, who won the Players Player of the Year, while Connor Anderson won the Clubman of the Year. Black was delighted to win the award. “It’s a huge honour to win the award, but I couldn’t have done it without the boys,” he said.

“It obviously was a tough season because of the whole Covid situation and the results we were getting. We also lost a lot of players but lots of credit to all the boys that stuck through it and hopefully this season is a stepping stone to bigger and better things for next year.” In other awards on the night Ian Hutchinson won the Reserves Fairest and Best, with Hayden Burney the runner-up, while Ryley Krul won the Coaches Award.

3.11.2020

NORMANTON RE-SIGNS AS CROCKER WINS FORRESTFIELD F&B

Forrestfield United have secured the services of Graham Normanton, after the former Perth SC Head Coach re-signed for 2021 at Hartfield Park. Normanton won multiple league titles in his time at Dorrien Gardens, and his winning mentality and tactical knowledge will be a huge boost for the club as they look to return to the NPL after relegation in 2018.

Meanwhile, at the clubs’ award night at the Pagoda Hotel, midfielder Mitch Crocker was the big winner, taking out the Fairest and Best Award, ahead of defender Trent Kay, who was also voted the Players Player of the Year. “I’m really proud to win this award and I’m really proud to do it playing for such a great club with such a great bunch of lads,” Crocker explained.

“I had a tough start to the year so it’s been pleasing to feel like I’ve been quite consistent over the season. It’s been a strange year for everyone, but we all got together at the start of the season and said if there is a season to play then we’ll try and finish as high up as possible. Normo has been brilliant and the lads have been brilliant and really bought into his philosophy so roll-on next season as we push for a return to the NPL.”

Forrestfield assistant coach Sean Doyle said Crocker had an outstanding season. “Mitch had a fantastic season all round. He has always been the player that gives you 100% effort, but this season he coupled that with some outstanding performances,” he explained. “Seeing him earn the Fairest and Best award was great to see as he has been a true clubman for the previous five seasons and is playing some of his best football at the moment.”

3.11.2020

NPL-WA PLAYERS PUSH FOR GLORY SPOT

Perth Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said it’s been a race against time to get a 22-man squad ready and fully fit for the clubs Asian Champions’ League Group F games which restart next week. The Glory squad travel to Doha next week to pay their second game in the competition, this after a 0-1 defeat in the opener against FC Tokyo back in February. They take on Shanghai Shenhua on November 18, and the coach is having to juggle the squad with the concerns of COVID-19 and players fitness.

Most of the squad have only just returned to training, and with a tough schedule of five game in three weeks, Garcia is wary of overloading the players ahead of the A-League season, which is only a month away. With that in mind Garcia has added a number of players from the Glory NPL squad and a number of invited players from other NPL clubs to train with the side and some could take their place in the squad for the trip to Doha.

The coach believes that the players' experience in the New South Wales hub at the end of last season will help them adapt in Doha. "The players are getting used to the changes within daily and sporting life," he said. "Even the way we operate on a day-to-day basis has changed; as an organisation we've had to adapt to the world around us. There are the usual reservations among the players as there are in the wider community...but they're all professionals and have been wrapping their heads around what's required."

Skipper Diego Castro will travel to Doha, after the Spanish striker refused to travel to the A-League bubble at the end of last season, after a reported spat with former coach Tony Popovic. "We're looking to take 22 players over to Qatar which will provide us with some give in terms of how we manage the players and their loads," he said.

"We have a busy schedule which is going to be very challenging on the players and their bodies... and it's about trying to get the players into a condition where their bodies don't break down." Garcia said the news of the easing of border restrictions means home games will return to Perth sooner rather than later. "That news was massive," he said. "We want to play in front of our home fans; that gives us strength. We love playing at home."

3.11.2020

CORNESS TAKES OUT BALCATTA’S MVP

Balcatta’s season officially came to an end on Saturday evening, when midfielder Jonathan Corness won the clubs MVP award at their Presentation Night at their Grindleford Reserve clubrooms. The 25-year-old, who pipped John Kearney for the top prize, said he was delighted to win the award. “I'm very pleased to win the award, and I couldn’t have done it without my fellow players,” he said. “For me I was just happy to go out and play and enjoy my football this year.”

Balcatta failed to make the top six in the NPL after squandering several winning positions during the season and they finished a disappointing 11th place at the end of round 11. They improved in the lower table fixtures and only missed out on a Finals Series spot by one point. Corness said letting a number of games slip cost them. “It was an odd season for us, many games we drew from winning positions and playing some decent football,” he explained. “Although we did finish in the bottom half, we finished strong to finish second in our group.”

Head Coach Ljupco Taneski said the award was a great reward for the midfielder. “Jonathan was superb all season, consistent in his performance and played largely in a new position this season,” he said. “He has added goals to his game and that will only keep improving. He has done so well that others have taken notice away from the NPL, and if not successful, we will be looking forward to working with him again in what will be his sixth year with the club.”

Balcatta President Peter Carlino said Corness was a worthy winner of the top award. "Jonathan proved his versatility this year by playing in a number of key positions and was rewarded by scoring four goals in important games for the club,” he explained. “He is a tireless worker in the middle of the park, and his season went from strength to strength. He achieved three consecutive Man of the Match performances, and his good season has been rewarded and he is now on a two-week trial at Perth Glory, and wish him all the best.”

In other awards on the night Michael Zimarino won the Coach’s Award, while Jonathan Bouhlas won the Luke Beyer Rising Young Star award. There were joint winners of the under 20s MVP, with Oliver Ford and Luke Alessandrino sharing the award, with Nicholas Burmei the runner-up and Oliver Stulz won the Coach’s Award. In the under 18s Michael Scafetta won the MVP, with Sebastian Medica the runner-up, while Brandon Condo won the Coach’s Award.

The evening began with the ‘Tony Multari’ Club Person of the Year, awarded to Paul Calcei. “Paul volunteers’ countless hours at the club in a number of various roles, being the first to nominate his efforts for any task,” Carlino said. “Balcatta FC is very fortunate to have Paul as part of its community, congratulations on an award well deserved. We would also like to acknowledge Trilogy Catering, G & N Construction and Bendigo Bank for their generous contributions in Trophy Sponsorship. Finally, a special thank you to Lisa Stanoveski, Maria Carlino and all committee volunteers for organising the evening.”

2.11.2020

DESPOTOVSKI LEAVES GLORY

Perth Glory Westfield W-League side are on the search for a new Head Coach after Bobby Despotovski stood down today. The clubs all-time record goal scorer took charge of the team in 2015 and subsequently guided them to two Grand Finals in 2017 and 2019. He stepped up to coach State League side Dianella White Eagles, after his great mate Rod Banjac passed away, and he will continue his role for the club in 2021

The 49-year-old reflected fondly on his five years at the club, where he witnessed Sam Kerr’s development into a global superstar of the sport. "I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to what we have achieved," he told the Glory website, "and I feel that we achieved a lot. As well as reaching the two Grand Finals, we played our part in producing one of the best footballers in the world. But the proudest thing for me is that this club now represents the people and players of Perth and WA.

"A lot of young players have come through and are continuing to come through and they have to be kept at Glory to ensure its viability. "In particular, I’d like to thank the two assistants I worked with in Collette McCallum and Jessine Bonzas, with the part Jessine played in the collaboration between the NTC and Perth Glory enabling a lot of young kids to make the step up to W-League football. People step in and step out of football for a number of different reasons and I’ll definitely still come to games and support the team."

Glory CEO Tony Pignata was quick to acknowledge Despotovski’s contribution to the club. “Glory have become established as a consistent force in the Westfield W-League during Bobby’s five seasons in charge and on behalf of the club, I would like to thank him for the huge amount of work that he has put in," he said. "He displayed the same level of passion for Glory in the role of W-League Head Coach as he did during his playing days with the club and helped provide our Members and fans with a number of unforgettable moments. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours."

1.11.2020

CARROLL HEADS BACK TO ROAR

Perth Glory’s Matildas defender Kim Carroll has left the club and returned to her former club Brisbane Roar for next season. The 33-year-old spent five seasons in the west and also played in the State League and helped Northern Redbacks to the NPL WA Finals Series Grand Final win against Fremantle City. The defender played for Brisbane from 2008 to 2011 before joining Fortuna Hjørring in the Danish Elitedivisionen, where she played in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

She re-joined the Roar in 2012, before signing for the Glory in 2015, where she played over 60 games, but the Queensland-born defender said she is excited to be back around friends and family. “It’s really nice to be back in Queensland. My sister is still in Brisbane and my parents live in Far North Queensland and they’ll be able to make the trek down,” Carroll explained. “I’m excited to be backing playing with some of the girls I started with when the [Westfield] W-League started. It looks like a good squad has been put together. It’ll be a slightly different season but it’s a really good chance for young players to step up – we’ve got a good base and we’ll be looking to win it.”

With more than 50 national team caps to her name, Head Coach Jake Goodship is thrilled to have one of Australia’s most experienced defenders locked in for the upcoming campaign. “Not only has Kim been one of Australia’s finest footballers for more than a decade now, but she’s a proud Queenslander and a foundation player at this club,” she said. “She’s a terrific inclusion in our squad and I’m sure our younger players will benefit greatly from training and playing alongside Kim.”

1.11.2020

KEOGH – IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK

Perth Glory striker Andy Keogh has spoken about how ‘It's great to be back’, after re-joining the club last month. The 34-year-old spoke as the club hit the track in the second full week of pre-season training, as they prepare for the Asian Champions' League group stage and A-League season. Keogh is now in his third spell with the club, the Glory’s record A-League goal scorer said he is relishing working under his former teammate Richard Garcia for the first time. "It's a good atmosphere, a good vibe," he said. "The sessions have been good.

"They've been fitness-based; basically, getting everyone's legs going again and making sure that there are no injuries and that we're all strong before the tough stuff comes along. "For me personally, training has been slow and steady. I've not done a lot recently as there's only so much you can do outside of football, so I've just taken it steadily, making sure that all the parts of my body are getting stronger and I'm looking forward to progressing nicely in the next few weeks and months."

Keogh spent the past year-and-a-half playing in Saudi Arabia for Al Qadsiah and India with North East United, and the Irishman particularly enjoyed his experience in Saudi Arabia, the club based in the coastal city of Khobar. "It was great, we lived in a compound and it's a lovely city,” he explained. “Saudi has a bit of a bad reputation outside and, I guess, inside the Middle East as well, but when you actually go there, it's a lovely place. It's beautiful and the people were very friendly. Like everywhere, you have bad people and good people, but it was nothing but a good experience and I was actually pretty sad to be leaving in the end."

He was similarly impressed by the standard of the football in what is one of the Gulf region's strongest competitions. "It's slower in the summer because of the heat," he said, "but they're very sharp, explosive players there and it's technically very good. Their top teams would be a lot better than any of the A-League teams and the rest would certainly compete."

Keogh's departure from Al Qadsiah, however, reflected what he feels is a systemic issue in Saudi football. "They have all the facilities, but sometimes their mentality isn't quite right," he said, "and perhaps that's because money's no object out there. You can see that in all the teams over there. I scored ten goals in 14 games and we were top of the league and they just called me in one day and said that they didn't want me anymore because they thought the midfield needed to be strengthened. They decided to sacrifice me for a new midfielder and it was like off you go, next one in. They always seem to think the grass is greener and that's why there's such a high turnover of players there."

A brief stint in India at North East United followed for the striker before he returned to Perth and as he prepares to add to his 122 A-League appearances at the club, he also has a personal milestone looming large on the horizon in the form of Australian citizenship. "Perth is my new home," he said. "I visited many times when I was a child and I've got lots of extended family here who are Aussies that were born here. My kids were born here as well and it means a lot to me. To finally become a citizen is a proud moment for me and my family and I'm proud to be part of such a fantastic country with such a good community spirit about it."

The same can be said in terms of Keogh's feelings about representing Glory once again. "I never, ever wanted to play for another A-League team," he said. "I watched Glory in 1998/99 from The Shed with my uncle and I always said that I'd play for them when I came to live in Australia. A lot of people have come and said that they're glad to see me back and it's nice to be appreciated. Obviously, I didn't leave on my own terms and it's great to have the chance to finish my career here at Perth and then transition into my next stage, whatever that may be."

1.11.2020

CLUB IN PROFILE - SORRENTO FOOTBALL CLUB

Sorrento Football Club was formed in February 1972, and in its very first season as a club had seventy-seven junior players.

In 1973 the club joined the old Third Division (now Division Two) of the Soccer Federation of Western Australia (semi-professional competition) and were based at Marri Reserve in Duncraig. In its first year of senior football, Sorrento did well and finished fifth in the nine team league. In fact they ended up in fifth spot over the following two seasons. The team moved to play home games at Kingsway Reserve in 1974.

Sorrento's first promotion would be in 1976, under coach Sandy Thompson. The club won seventeen from twenty-two games to finish runners-up, just four points behind league winners Canning Corinthian, but it was good enough to go up.

The club's first season in the old Second Division (now Division One) was successful, with G.Ogley taking over as first team coach. The club ended up in third spot, only two points away from finishing second. Sorrento were hopeful that the team could build on that season, however 1978 ended up being a disaster, with the team finishing in bottom spot and relegation back to the Third Division. This would end up being Sorrento's only relegation in their history up to 2020.

1979 would be a big year for the club, not only did the first team have a good season finishing third, but also Duncraig Reserve (now known as Percy Doyle Reserve) was being made available. The first team would continue to play at Kingsway Reserve, but would move to Percy Doyle in 1980.

The next few seasons the club had up and down years. Finishing as low as eighth in 1980 to as high as third in 1981, once again just missing out on going up. It wasn't until 1984 that Sorrento won their first league title, winning the competition easily and losing only one league game.

Now back in the old Second Division in 1985, coach Vince Radcliffe was now eyeing the top flight. Players that signed for Sorrento that season was Chris Proctor, Duncan Hill, Eddie Hodgkinson and the return after a year at Athena was Charlie Kenyon. While experience players that helped win promotion the previous year, such as Derek Harnwell, Gordon Ferguson, Alan Pye, Dave and Ray O'Callaghan and Dave Brooks all returned. Even though the club did not end up in the top two that season, they still did well for a newly promoted team, ended up in fifth.

It was to be a sixth placed finish in 1986, before 1987 would be the year that Sorrento will fondly remember. Former player Gordon Ferguson would take over as first team coach, and he assembled a team that would win the league in what was a very tight season. Only four points separated Sorrento and fourth placed Balcatta Etna. It wasn't until the very last game of the season where the club drew 1-1 away to Fremantle Benfica, who could have also got the title had they won. In any other year this would have meant automatic promotion for the seagulls, but this time it was different. The top flight was being reduced from twelve clubs to eight for the new Super League. Criteria was to play a role, and it was relief to everyone at Percy Doyle that Sorrento was given the nod for promotion.

1988 would see Colin Irwin as the club's new coach and this would also be Sorrento's very first year in top flight football, and they started the season by shocking the league. The club beat WA powerhouse club Stirling Macedonia 2-1 away from home. To prove this was no fluke, the first Super League game at Percy Doyle Reserve provided another big win, this time a 2-1 victory to Perth Italia. Even though their form later dropped to end up in seventh place in the eight team league, Sorrento surprised many by the number of games they won in their first year in the top flight.

1989 would see Sorrento have a great season. The team finished in third spot, and for the first time in WA league history, the championship was decided by a play-off system. In a thrilling Minor Semi-Final, Sorrento met Stirling Macedonia. It ended in a 3-3 draw after extra-time. But it was Sorrento that won 6-5 on penalties. The seagulls now were in the Preliminary Final against Perth Italia and right from the start were the better team, with Cliff Collins putting Sorrento 1-0 up. However it wasn't to be, with Italia fighting back to win 2-1 and earning a spot in the Grand Final.

The league was extended to ten teams in 1990, and Sorrento were hopeful of making the finals again. However, this time the club had to settle for seventh. Over the next few seasons, Sorrento would finish the year in mid-table. Tom Kilkelly took over as coach in 1993 and he got them as high as fifth in 1995. Sorrento reached the Cup Final for the first time in 1996, but lost 2-1 to Stirling Macedonia.

It wasn't until 1998 when Sorrento started to become one of the strongest clubs in the league, with Steve Neville in his first stint as coach. After a seven year absence the competition was once again decided by a finals series. Sorrento took full advantage of it after finishing the regular season in fourth spot. The club won three play-off games in a row to make it to their first Grand Final. However, it would be Western Knights who took out the title with a 3-1 win.

In 1999, Sorrento won their first major honour in the top flight. They beat Floreat Athena 2-1 to win the Night Series competition. The league was once again decided by the traditional first past the post method, and it went to the very last game of the season. Sorrento needed to beat ECU Joondalup to win the league, however they lost 2-1 at home and the trophy went to the ECU campus for the first time. Sorrento had revenge in the now separate Top 5 Cup "Champion of Champions" Finals, beating ECU Joondalup 3-1 in the Major Semi-Final, and then thrashing Western Knights 5-1 in the Grand Final to hold up the Top Five Cup.

Trevor Morgan once again took over as coach in 2000 with a sixth placed finish and took them to the Cup Final, but lost 2-1 to Western Knights. However, it would be 2001 which would go down in history for the Percy Doyle Reserve club. The club only needed to draw with Inglewood United at home to be assured of winning the league, and after a 1-1 result it was Sorrento who won the state championship for the very first time, sparking huge celebrations at Percy Doyle. Sorrento now hoped to defend the Top Five Cup, but with the championship already won, they went out in straight sets and missed the Grand Final.

Sorrento lost a number of players during the following summer, and struggled at the start of the 2002 season, only winning one of their first six games. However, the club finished well clear of relegation and finished in ninth position.

It wasn't until 2005 when Sorrento against challenged for the league title, however this time they were just three points short from Perth SC who won the championship. 2006 though would be Sorrento's season. It was Steve Neville's third stint as first team coach, and they only lost two league games through the year, and easily won the state championship by nine points.

2007 looked like 2002 all over again with a number of the players that won the title the previous season leaving the club. The team finished in eleventh spot, but was well clear of twelfth spot Wanneroo City who were relegated.

With a number of experienced players re-joining the seagulls, Sorrento were once again one of the favourites for the championship, and this is exactly what happened. Floreat Athena and Perth SC pushed them all year, but it was Sorrento that ended up three points clear. Sorrento hoped it would be third time lucky in the Cup after making their third final. However, once again the team lost 2-1 to Western Knights.

After a eleven year absence, it was decided that the top five play-offs would decide the main prize in 2009. Sorrento were mid-table with several games to go, however the team just missed out on a spot in the top five by three points and had their chance to defend the championship dashed.

Sorrento again just missed out on the finals in 2010, but it was 2011 where the team had a better year. Paul Price took over as coach, ending a twelve year period where either Steve Neville or Trevor Morgan was in charge. The Percy Doyle outfit made it to another Cup Final, this time against Perth SC. After four attempts, the Cup finally went to Sorrento, winning 1-0. Sorrento finished the regular season in fourth spot, and needed to win four games in a row to be champions. After beating Western Knights 3-2 in the Elimination Final, they went on to win the Minor Semi-final 3-1 against Inglewood United, and then beat minor premiers Balcatta 3-0 in the Preliminary Final. They now met defending champions Perth SC at Frank Drago Reserve to decide the season, however it was game they would want to forget, with Perth winning 7-0.

Paul Price continued as coach in 2012, and it would end up being the most successful season in the club's history. The club won the Cup Final for the second year in a row after beating Balcatta 4-3. In the league they finished the regular season in third spot, and after losing the Qualifying Final to Floreat Athena, it meant the team had to do it the hard way. They got revenge against Perth 3-1 in the Minor Semi-Final before beating Bayswater City 2-1 in the Preliminary Final. It meant another Grand Final at Frank Drago Reserve. It was to be a thriller, in front of big crowd, Johny Mirco put Sorrento ahead. However, Benny Kovaoio and Mark Pritchard turned the game in Athena favour. It was to be club legend and former Perth Glory player Jamie Harnwell who came off the bench to put the game into extra time with a great goal in the closing minutes. Jason Mirco and Ryan Pearson scored for Sorrento in the extra period, before Athena scored too little too late with only seconds to go. Sorrento would claim the 2012 state championship, and won the double with the cup they won earlier in the season.

Sorrento went onto finish the regular season in third spot again in 2013, however this time they lost in the Preliminary Final 3-1 to Stirling Lions before again making the finals in 2014 under co-coaches Trevor Morgan and Jamie Harnwell but lost to Balcatta in the semi-final.

Jamie Harnwell became sole coach in 2015, and again led to club in fourth spot, however there was to be no finals that season, with the competition reverting back to the first past the post method. Sorrento had another great cup run, beating Perth SC 2-0 in the final. This meant that the club qualified to play in the nationwide FFA Cup round of thirty-two where they went on to play A-League powerhouse Sydney FC. The game was held at Perth Oval, however the A-League club were too strong winning 2-0.

Sorrento went on to finish near mid-table for the rest of the decade, but it was in 2017 where the club had another good run in the cup. Losing the final 1-0 to Western Knights, however qualifying once again for the round of thirty-two nationwide competition. Sorrento beat Canberra Olympic 1-0 in front of a big crowd at Percy Doyle Reserve. The next round would see Sorrento on the road to face former NSL champions South Melbourne, but lost 4-1.

Jamie Harnwell remains as coach and after a difficult start led the club to fifth spot in the 2020 COVID-19 effected season.

SEMI-PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE HONOURS (Using current divisional names)
Premier League winners - 2001, 2006, 2008, 2012
Premier League runners-up - 1998, 1999, 2005, 2011
First Division winners - 1987
Second Division winners - 1984
Second Division runners-up - 1976
Cup winners - 2011, 2012, 2015
Cup runners-up - 1996, 2000, 2008, 2017
Premier League Top Four/Five Cup Winners - 1999
Premier League Top Four/Five Cup Runners Up - 2004
Night Series winners - 1999

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This page was last updated on the 26th October, 2020