NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FIVE REVIEW
Inglewood United are the first team into the Semi-Finals of the NPLWA Night Series after a 1-0 win against Gwelup Croatia at Percy Doyle Reserve on Friday evening in Group A. Andres Oliveira’s side went into the game unbeaten in the preseason competition, but Gwelup needed three points to keep them in contention of moving through to the next stage. It was a tight game with chances at both ends, but the game took a twist on 57 minutes when Gwelup skipper Blair Govan was sent off by referee Julian Serra. Inglewood took advantage of their numerical advantage and scored the winner three minutes later. A quick break out wide ended with a through ball to Steve Sokol who raced clear and finished low past Stefan King. “It was a good win and enough to move us into the Semi-Final, and we also kept a clean sheet,” striker Robert Petkov said. “We had a few chances and really should have scored more against a 10-man Gwelup, but they were still trying to sneak a goal right to the end so we had to fight to keep them out.”
Rockingham City could have also qualified on the night with a win against ECU Joondalup, but it was Kenny Lowe’s side that won and eight-goal thriller in the early game at Dalmatinac Park in Group A. Goran Static’s side started well and were ahead after only eight minutes, Luke Collins made space down the left and crossed to Shane Boyle who made no mistake from close-range. But ECU hit back five minutes later, Nicol was brought down on the edge of the box and the striker picked himself up and curled the ball home. Ryan Lowry gave ECU the lead on 20 minutes, the defender scoring at the back post, after Rockingham failed to clear a corner. It was 3-1 eight minutes later, a quick break ended with Harold, who burst into the box and finished clinically past Cyril Sharrock. Rockingham weren’t going away and pulled one back ten minutes before half time, when referee Stewart Beattie spotted a foul in the box on Boyle, Ryan Kennedy stepped up and scored from the resulting penalty.
It was a tight start to the second half with both sides having chances, but it was the Jacks who added a fourth just after the hour. Some neat link up play, from Danny Hodgson, Nicol and Harold, the latter racing in at the back post to score. Once again Rockingham hit back, and four minutes later it was 4-3. Kennedy picked out Feisal Zaw, who eased past his marker and fired home edge of the penalty area past Johnny Perkins. But it was ECU who sealed the win on 78 minutes, Nicol was brought down just outside the corner of the penalty area, and once again the Scottish striker stepped up and curled the ball home to seal the win. “An entertaining game for the neutral,” ECU striker Nicol said. “I thought we were in complete control of the game and caused our own problems through sloppiness and a lack of match sharpness which is to be expected in pre-season. But the win puts us in a position to be able to go through to the next round, should we win our final group game against Cockburn City on Wednesday evening.”
In the final game of the Group, Perth Glory made it back-to-back wins after a 1-0 win against Cockburn City at Dalmatinac Park. The only goal of the game came in the final minute of the first half. Glory won a free kick just outside the penalty area and Giordano Colli delivered a teasing set piece into the area which beat everyone and nestled in the back of the net. Cockburn pressed after the break looking for the equaliser but Ruben Zadkovich’s side defended well to keep them at bay. “I thought the goal was thoroughly deserved as we had numerous chances early on and lots of set pieces in attacking areas,” Glory defender Nick Walsh said. “I think we made it harder than it needed to be for ourselves by only scoring one goal, but it was good to hold on for the win in the end.”
Armadale moved clear at the top of Group B, after a 4-1 win against Balcatta in the early game at Frank Drago Reserve. It was Balcatta who started the brighter and they were ahead after only six minutes, with Adam Tong scoring. But ten minutes before half time John O’Reilly’s side levelled, with referee David Bruce pointing to the spot after Josh Cortes was brought down in the box. Ryan McEvoy stepped up but saw his penalty saved by Riley Stephenson but Cortes was quickest to react and he fired home the rebound. Armadale took control after the break and they were ahead on the hour, skipper Brian Patterson finishing low into the net from the edge of the penalty area. It was 3-1 three minutes later, Manase Abandelawa low shot went under the body of Stephenson. But the best was left to last when they added a fourth on 82 minutes. Peter Jacobsz picked the ball up 25 meters out and his powerful shot flew into the top corner of the net. “I think we have a great mix in the team at the minute of young and old, and we are playing with a lot of confidence and it’s showing,” skipper Patterson said. “We still conceded a sloppy goal from a corner, so we’ve got to work on that moving forward.”
In the late game at the venue Floreat Athena produced a stunning form reversal, thrashing Bayswater City 6-0, to leave the top of Group B wide open. City sat top of the group at kick off and unbeaten in the group, while Floreat languished at the foot, without a win. But it was Vas Vujacic’s side who opened the scoring early, with Dean Evans scoring. They doubled their lead on the half hour through Liam Murray and late goals from Murray and Ludovic Bio gave them a 4-0 lead at half time. A shell-shocked Bayswater looked to hit back after half time, but Floreat weren’t finished and Murray completed his hat trick, before Josh Anasmo’s shot was deflected into his own net by a Bayswater defender to seal a comprehensive win. “I thought it was a dominant team performance,” midfielder Dean Evans said. “We’ve had a pretty poor night series by our standards so we were hungry to put a strong showing against Bayswater. I thought we controlled the game from start to finish and we look forward to another positive display against Sorrento on Wednesday night.”
In the final game of Group B Perth SC moved closer to a Semi-Final spot after a 2-0 win against Sorrento in the late game at Percy Doyle Reserve. It was a perfect start for Ramon Falzon’s side, taking the lead after only 60 seconds, Michael Domfeh scoring. Both sides had chances in this one, but it was Perth who scored a second on 69 minutes to seal the three points. New signing Calvin Whitney finding Yagoub Mustafa, who made no mistake. “It was a hard-fought game against Sorrento, and we were pleased with our performance, especially with the quality we showed for lengthy periods in both halves,” Falzon said. “Getting an early lead, from our first goal scoring opportunity we created, put us in the driver's seat to manage the tempo of the game. The execution by the players was more clinical compared to our previous game, as we patiently controlled the game until we could double our lead midway through the second half.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO REVIEW - SUNDAY GAMES
On Sunday in the early game in Group B Ashfield have bounced back from their opening game defeat to beat Morley Windmills 3-2 at Murdoch University. They hit the front on 17 minutes, but Morley levelled six minutes later. Good build up from Flynn Nolan and Leigh Morgan ended with the ball at the feet of Dion Berman, who made no mistake. But Ashfield regained their lead four minutes before half time, but Tim Kantor’s side restored parity again on 77 minutes, Jordan Fazzari’s long-range strike gave the Ashfield keeper no chance. But three minutes into stoppage time Ashfield won it.
“We went behind again and at half time went in 2-1 down. We dominated the second half and had half a dozen good chances go begging but we deserved our equaliser late on,” Kantor said. “We continued to press forward to try and find a winner and continued to dominate creating more good chances but could get a winner, and a lapse of concentration late on saw the Ashfield win it. All in all, very happy with the two games so far and we got some very important minutes into the players legs.’
In the late game at the venue Mandurah City made it back-to-back wins with a 4-1 win against Murdoch University Melville. The visitors were ahead on the quarter hour, Joe O’Brien coolly slotting home after some tidy build up play in the middle third. But MUM levelled before half time, with Kai Jones scoring, to send the teams into the break even. But after the break Mandurah took control, first on 54 minutes O’Brien added his second, and four minutes later he completed his hat-trick with another clinical finish. The game was wrapped up with arguably the goal of the night as a Jamie Burns half volley left the MUM keeper stranded. “Kris and I are yet again delighted with the result and the nature of the victory,” Mandurah coach Pete Taylor said. “We’re finding some great combinations and the lads are playing with a smile. We head into the Ashfield game full of confidence and raring to go again.”
Finally, in Group E, Kingsley Westside have edged out Swan United 2-1 in the early game at Macedonia Park. It was a tight first half with both sides creating chances, but failing to convert them, but it was Kingsley who hit the front on 68 minutes. Jayden Drummond made a run down the left, his cross picked out Janno Sa at the back post who tapped home. They doubled their advantage seven minutes later, Joel Gillespie crossing to Drummond who headed home. Swan found a lifeline two minutes from time, when Kingsley lost possession just outside the penalty area and Loic Anga shot flew into the top corner. They pressed late looking for the equaliser but Kingsley held firm. “Very pleased with our progress so far in the night series and that’s two games in a row now where if we took our chances, we could’ve won both games comfortably,” Kingsley Westside coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “But it still early days yet and we’ve got lots to work on before our season starts so all in all quite happy for where we are at.”
In the late game at the venue Olympic Kingsway continued their winning start with a 5-1 win against Shamrock Rovers. There was a farce before kick off with both sides having the same-coloured kit, so Olympic had to wear a Stirling Lions kit. It affected them at the start but they finished the half well and were ahead on 38 minutes, with Otto van der Poel scoring. It was 2-0 in the shadows of half time with Giles Davies on target. After the break Hamza Hena bagged a quick double to but Olympic in control and although Ross Jarman pulled one back for Rovers, Hana completed his hat-trick in the final minute, to seal a comfortable win.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO REVIEW - FRIDAY GAMES
It was week two of the State League night series and in Friday night’s games Balga continued their unbeaten start to the competition with a 2-0 win against Quinns in the early game at Wanneroo Reserve. Balga opened the scoring just after half time, Sai Gadi’s long-range free kick was saved, but Weldo Tesfit fired home the rebound. They sealed the points just after the hour, Samson Anaya picking out Farruh Mavlonov who made no mistake. “Our game improved in the second half and the goals which could have been scored in the first half provided stability,” Balga Head Coach Gerhard Janssen explained. “We are looking forward to play Wanneroo next week to further improve our performance.”
In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City and Joondalup United have fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw. It was Joondalup who opened the scoring early in the second half, Jamie Stewart swooped onto a flick on from Nic Maplestone and smashed ball home from just inside the penalty area. But Wanneroo levelled 20 minutes from time, a long-range shot was blocked, and the ball was controlled by an on running Greg Greenwood, and he finished well past the Joondalup keeper to level. “The boys gave an improved performance from our first game against Balga,” Joondalup Head Coach Nick Jennings said. “But once again we were left to rue a number of missed opportunities which would have put the game to bed.” Wanneroo’s Scott Johnston said it was a good workout. “The team put a really good shift in from the first to the final minute against a really physical Joondalup United,” he said. “We responded really well to come back from going a goal down, with both teams having chances to win it at the end. We take a lot of confidence from taking four points from two Division One teams in the past weeks into a crucial game against Balga where either team have a good chance to progress out of the group.”
In Group C Dianella White Eagles bounced back from defeat last week to beat Fremantle City 2-0 in the early game at Edinburgh Oval. The Eagles made the perfect start, opening the scoring after only eight minutes. David Heagney turned his marker and played Nikola Zmukic in on goal and he finished clinically. They doubled their lead on 20 minutes, a ball across the box found Stephen Musonda who made no mistake from close-range. Fremantle pushed to get back into the game but couldn’t find a way past a tight Dianella defence. “It was a really good game our boys worked their socks of and got what we deserved in the end,” Heagney said. “Especially after many people didn’t think we would have a chance against a very strong Fremantle team.”
In the late game at the venue UWA Nedlands continued their good form under new coach Dom Gangemi with a comprehensive 7-1 win against hosts Curtin University. UWA were ahead after only four minutes with Egide Rashford on target, and it was 2-0 when Godfrey Asimwe scored on the half hour. It soon became 3-0 with Bryce Conway crossing to Rhys Williams to score and it was 4-0 at the break with Asimwe adding his second. UWA continued their dominance after half time and Pascal Sedgwick added a fifth, before Adam Carlino made it 6-0 on the hour. Conway found their seventh ten minutes from time, while Curtin scored a consolation goal late on.
“We’re happy to get another 90 minutes into the legs, we've not had any real match time throughout pre-season so night series is a great opportunity for everyone to get on the pitch in a game environment,” UWA’s Thomas Moroney said. “It’s good to go and deliver a measured performance against a fairly young and energetic side in Curtin, we've a few new faces/familiar faces back after a season or two away who are integrating into the set-up well - which you love to see. It's all about being ready for start of the State League though, so we'll look put in another good footballing performance next week against Fremantle, but with an eye on the first weekend in April.”
In Group D Subiaco have won back-to-back games after a 2-0 win against Kelmscott Rovers at Hartfield Park. Subiaco were ahead on 23 minutes, with Elliot Ireland finding the top corner of the net with a free kick. They added a second just before half time, some good build up play ended with Ben Campbell finishing well. “It was a disciplined game from the boys and another clean sheet to go with it which we’re very happy about,” Subiaco defender Ben Johns said. “It sets up a winner takes all game next week against Forrestfield which we’re looking forward to.”
In the late game at the Venue Forrestfield United has edged out Gosnells City 4-3 in the local derby. The visitors opened the scoring on 22 minutes, a well worked move ended with Scott Pereira heading into the bottom corner. But the home side levelled three minutes later, Jake Pen crossed in from the left to Ryan Francis who set up Jason Pottier who coolly finished from just inside the penalty area. But Gosnells regained their lead on the half hour, Wade Farmer cutting in from the right and his shot from outside the box went in off the post. But Forrestfield restored parity again three minutes later, Josh Pereira whipped in a great ball from the right to Vlad Naumovski who headed home.
Gosnells led for the third time on the hour, an inch perfect through ball from Hussein Jafari sent Farmer clear and he finished well. But Graham Normanton’s side weren’t finished and they levelled again 81 minutes. Good approach work from Jordan Hart, saw him find substitute Jordan Lyall who finished with aplomb into the bottom corner from just inside the box. It looked like the points would be shared but in the fourth minute of stoppage time the home side won it. Trent Kay crossed from the left, and it was headed back across goal by Naumovski, and Rhys Loxley fired home the winner.
“The game was a bit of a scrappy one. Both teams played a very different brand of football and we found it really difficult at times to deal with their directness,” Forrestfield skipper Loxley explained. “In the second half we were able to get control of the ball a lot more and we finished the game the stronger of the two. Credit to them though, they battled hard as you would expect in a local derby, but we will take positives in the fact that we have scored seven in two games with six individual scorers. We also understand that we have to improve in certain areas before we start the season.” Despite the loss Gosnells Coach Marc Anthony was pleased with his side’s performance. “It was a good hit out, and I thought we deserved something from the game,” he said. “But we’re happy with the performance and improvement from the squad.”
In Group F Western Knights continued their solid start to the competition with an 8-2 win against Joondalup City in the early game at Macedonia Park. They were ahead after only three minutes, Ciaran Byrne made a run out wide and pulled the ball back to Joshua Marocchi, who picked out Conor Thurston who finished well. It was 2-0 on 16 minutes, good work in the middle of the park by Johnny Charmers and Andrea Jukic, ended with the ball played outside to Jake Rycroft who found Charmers in the box who finished with aplomb. Joondalup were back in the game two minutes later when they scored from the spot, with Callum Speed scoring. But two late goals from Byrne put the Knights in control at the break. First, he scored from an in-direct free kick, firing the ball under the wall and into the corner of the net, before he was picked out by Rycroft to tap home.
It was more of the same after the break, and it was 5-1 on 53 minutes, Marocchi’s low cross found Byrne, who squared the ball to Thurston, who sent Rycroft running into the box to finish. It was 6-1 three minutes later Charmers' corner found Adam Harris free at the back post who headed home. Joondalup pulled another back on 73 minutes, with Bayley Brown-Montgomery scoring, but the Knights weren’t finished and add two more late. On 84 minutes a ball into the box was turned into his own net by a Joondalup defender before Rycroft wrapped up the scoring four minutes later. “It was great team performance on the night from us, and we took control of the game from the start and got that early goal,” Byrne said.
“We moved the ball well around the pitch all night and I think fitness levels played a part towards the end when we got the last three goals. Credit to Joondalup though, they tried to play out from the back and did well in certain times of the game. They kept themselves in it for a period of time but the two goals just at the end of the first half may have deflated them going into the second half. We now look forward to taking them goals and confidence in to the game next Friday night against Stirling.” In the late game at the venue Stirling Lions were too strong for Canning City 3-0.
GLORY SILENCE THE ROAR
Perth Glory returned to HBF Park in style, beating high-flying Brisbane Roar 3-1 on Friday evening. Diego Castro netted five minutes before half time, before Jack Hingert headed in on the stroke of half-time to ensure the match was level at the interval. On his A-League debut, Glory substitute Kosuke Ota had a hand in creating the second-half goals from Bruno Fornaroli and Castro for the free-scoring hosts, who have now netted 18 times across their first six games, an A-League record. Brisbane played their part in a good game, but couldn’t keep a rampant Glory out despite racking up 20 attempts on goal.
Glory has three games in hand on most of the teams above them and are up to fifth in the table, two points behind Brisbane and six adrift of leaders Central Coast Mariners. Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia was delighted with his sides’ performance, especially after they only emerged from a fortnight of home quarantine last weekend. "It was a very good win," he said. "The guys did really well. It was a performance that showed they had been in quarantine for a few weeks and hadn't had much match practice, but to their credit, they stuck at it and kept pushing and the guys that came off the bench made the impact that was required.
"I'm proud of this team that is continuously pushing to go forward and continually challenge themselves to be on the front foot. We've always said that we wanted to play attacking football. I want us to be the kind of team that I would like to watch and the guys have really started to take that on board. They want to play that kind of football as well and at the moment they are really hitting their straps and are doing very well." Garcia made two changes to the side that beat Adelaide United last time out with Josh Rawlins and Carlo Armiento coming in for Nick Sullivan and Andy Keogh, who dropped to the bench.
The Roar arrived in the west in good form and they started the brighter and Riku Danzaki shot was saved low by Tando Velaphi, before Golgol Mebrahtu met a Jay O'Shea free-kick, his header beat Velaphi but the crossbar came to the Glory custodian’s rescue. But Glory settled and pressed and many in the crowd were convinced they had a penalty on 22 minutes when Nick D’Agostino raced clear and was brought down by Roar keeper Jamie Young, but after a VAR check the decision was no penalty, much to the disappointment of the Glory faithful.
D’Agostino was in again on the half hour, a superb pass from Castro foind Fornaroli, the ball deflected to the Young Socceroo striker, but Roar defender Corey Brown got back to block his effort. Moments later Jonathan Aspropotamitis headed Neil Kilkenny’s corner inches over the top. Roar looked impressive going forward and Jack Hingert’s shot whistled over the top on 38 minutes, but two minutes later it was Glory who opened the scoring. The pace of D’Agostino again saw him race across the top of the penalty area and he slipped the ball onto Castro, and the Spanish maestro cut in the from the left and curled his shot past Young.
Roar almost hit back immediately, a cross found the lively Dylan Wenzel-Halls, his shot cannoned off the woodwork and away to safety. Then Aspropotamitis did well to clear Golgol Mebrahtu dangerous cross as the Roar pressed for the equaliser. That finally came three minutes into stoppage time, Corey Brown’s cross from the left found Hingert, who lost his marker before heading powerfully past Velaphi to send the teams into the break level.
Roar started the second like they finished the first and Velaphi got down well to deny Rahmat Akbari. Garcia went to the bench on the hour making a quadruple substitution. Keogh, Daniel Stynes, Osama Malik and Japanese international Ota all coming on, replacing Dane Ingram, Armiento, Brandon Wilson and D’Agostino. Roar went close again moments later Mebrahtu was given far too much room, before volleying over the top, he should have done better.
Then against the run of play on 68 minutes Glory regained the lead. Kilkenny’s cross-field pass found Ota on the left, his cushioned pass found Fornaroli and the Uruguayan striker’s half volley flew past Young in front of the Shed. It was 3-1 seven minutes later, and Ota was heavily involved again. A flick from Castro started the move finding Fornaroli, who played the Japanese defender down the left, his shot was saved low by Young, the rebound falling to Castro, who controlled first time before firing home to seal the win.
Roar Head Coach Warren Moon was positive about the performances from his side despite finishing on the wrong side of the ledger. “I thought we were very much in control of the first half,” Moon said post-match. “Second half was a good contest, but we were undone by two well-taken goals which gave them the ascendency…then obviously they got the third to steal it. We couldn’t stop scoring a few weeks ago. We’re creating the same number of chances but our [good] performance is still there. As long as we keep ticking [off] those targets and producing those performances as a group then it will turn around for us.”
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 15 Brandon WILSON (6 Osama MALIK 61'), 17 Diego CASTRO (16 Nick SULLIVAN 83'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 61'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (10 Andy KEOGH 61'), 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM (8 Kosuke OTA 61'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 34 Mason TATAFU
Brisbane Roar: GK Jamie YOUNG, 3 Corey BROWN, 5 Tom ALDRED, 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 10 Riku DANZAKI (11 Joe CHAMPNESS 73'), 17 Golgol MEBRAHTU (33 Keegan JELACIC 73'), 19 Jack HINGERT, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 25 Rahmat AKBARI, 26 Jay O’SHEA, 27 Kai TREWIN (15 Jesse DALEY 78') - Subs not used: RGK Macklin FREKE, 16 Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH, 29 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS - Referee: Alireza Faghani
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FIVE PREVIEW
It’s week five of the NPLWA Night Series with all games being played Friday evening at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. In the early game at Frank Drago Reserve, Armadale meet Balcatta in Group B. Bobby Taneski’s side produced their best performance of the competition last week with a 1-0 win at Floreat Athena, while Armadale fought back to draw 1-1 against Perth SC. Reds winger Chad Nilson said it was a good point especially after the injuries, they had which left them depleted. “It was a great result for us especially considering we had players dropping like flies the longer the game went on,” he explained.
“We even had to bring on our keeper Craggsy on upfront, but it was a resilient performance and a great a result, and shout out to Manase with three goals in two games.” Nilson is expecting another tough test on Friday against a Balcatta side who are starting to hit some form. “It should be an interesting match, as we obviously beat Floreat as well, so could be a close one,” he said. “There’s a great team spirit amongst the lads this year and it’s helping us out on the pitch evidently, so can’t wait to get back out there.” In the late game at the venue Floreat Athena will go on search of their first point of the competition when they take on hosts Bayswater City, who are yet to be beaten in Group B.
The early game at Dalmatinac Park sees Rockingham City take on ECU Joondalup in Group A. Rockingham are coming off a hard fought 2-0 win against Cockburn, while ECU let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 against Inglewood. Jacks skipper Johnny Perkins said it was disappointing to concede late but they have taken some positives from the game. “Yes, we should have managed the game better and seen it out, and we conceded two sloppy goals,” the keeper explained.
“We were at fault for both so we know it’s a matter of cutting out those lapses with fitness and sharpness getting minutes in legs every week. Having said that we controlled the game for large periods and played some attractive football so we take the positives and move on to Rockingham on Friday.” In the late game at the venue Cockburn City, who were beaten by Rockingham last week, will go on search of their first win of the competition when they host Perth Glory, who are coming off a big win against Gwelup Croatia.
In the early game at Percy Doyle Reserve, Gwelup Croatia will look to bounce back to winning ways when they take on Inglewood United in Group A. Gwelup let a lead slip last week against Glory and need a win keep their semi-final hopes alive, while Inglewood fought back late to draw against ECU. United’s new striker Ajak Riak was on target last week and he said they had chances to win it late. “I thought we was very unfortunate to go 2-0 down after having a really good first half with plenty of chances,” he said.
“We dug deep in the final 15 minutes and I think the flow of fresh legs from the subs gave us a spark to comeback.” Riak, who joined Andres Oliveira’s side from Olympic Kingsway, after helping them to the Division One title last season, said he is looking forward to the challenge on Friday, in a must win game. “We take every game with the same mindset, and I’m sure all the guys will agree we want to win every game,” he said. “It will be a good test for us to prepare for the 2021 campaign.” In the late game at the venue Perth SC takes on hosts Sorrento in Group B, looking to keep the pressure on the top two in the group.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK TWO PREVIEW
It’s week two of the State League Night Series and it kicks off on Friday evening, and in Group A Balga will be looking to build on their draw against Joondalup United when they take on Quinns at Wanneroo Reserve. Quinns were well beaten by Wanneroo and new coach Glen Grostate will be looking for them to bounce back in this one. In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City meet Joondalup United, with both sides looking to keep their unbeaten start to the group.
The game will take on extra significance, as it has been three years since the WA Football Community was saddened by the passing of Garin Collins. Garin was part of Joondalup United’s 2014 State League Division Two side who won the title without losing a game. He also played for a number of other Perth clubs including Wanneroo City Soccer Club, Floreat Athena, ECU Joondalup Soccer Club, Quinns FC and Cockburn City Soccer Club.
Friday’s game will be dedicated to him as he once donned the colours of both teams. A minute of silence will be observed before the game and all players from both sides will be wearing a green armband to honour Garin who was Hibernian FC supporter. Past and present JUFC and Wanneroo members and players are invited to head down to celebrate his life. Please remember - RUOK? A conversation could change a life. If you need to talk for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Men’s Line 1300 78 99 78.
In Group C Fremantle City take on Dianella White Eagles in the early game at Edinburgh Oval. Cameron Lord’s side started well with a big win against Curtin, while Bobby Despotovski and Stewart Moses will be looking for their side to bounce back after defeat against UWA Nedlands. Both sides have recruited well in the off season so this one will be a great game. In the late game at the venue, it’s the ‘University Challenge’ when Curtin University host UWA Nedlands, who impressed in their win against Dianella
In Group D Subiaco will look to build on their win against Gosnells, when they take on Kelmscott Roos at Hartfield Park. The Roos were beaten by Forrestfield last week but coach Warren Smith was pleased with his sides first hit out of the season. “The game against Forrestfield was good, we learnt a lot about our group, and we were just wanting to be competitive,” he said. “I feel we achieved what we set out to achieve in the game, against a State league Division One side. I feel we could have got a point out of the game but unfortunately, we could not take our chances in front of goal, something to work on.” Smith will be looking to continue their progress against Subiaco on Friday. “We’re looking forward to another test against another Division One side in Subiaco,” he said. “They are a well-structured side and will be a great test for us, it should be a good game of football and we’re looking forward to It.” In the late game at the venue Forrestfield United host Gosnells City in a local derby.
Finally on Friday in Group F, Night Series holders Western Knights will be looking for back-to-back wins when they take on Joondalup City in the early game at Macedonia Park. Ivan Zuvela’s side held off a fast-finishing Canning last week, while Joondalup were beaten by Stirling. In the late game new Lions coach Ian Ferguson will look for back-to-back wins when they host Canning City.
On Sunday, Group B games will be at Murdoch University and in the early game Morley Windmills meet Ashfield. (5.00pm) Both sides were beaten in the opening round, Ashfield by MUM and Morley by Mandurah. New Windmills coach Tim Kantor said there were positives to take from the game. “We fielded a very young squad and it was extremely pleasing to see how well a couple of our U18s acquitted themselves,” he said. “We knew we were going to be up against a very physical and experienced outfit and we were very pleased with how the youngsters acquired themselves.”
Kantor said Sunday will be another tough test but they are looking forward to it as they prepare for the season ahead. “This week is a new game and a new challenge. Ashfield are also a young side so we are very keen to see how we match up,” he explained. “It’s February and we have some real exciting talent that will get some minutes on Sunday and hopefully we can use the night series to build towards round one.” In the late game at the venue last week’s winners Mandurah City take on hosts Murdoch University Melville at 7.00pm
Finally on Sunday in Group E Swan United take on Kingsley Westside in the early game at Macedonia Park. Swan opened the competition with a draw against Shamrock, while Kingsley were beaten by Olympic, so both sides will be doing all they can to get in the winner’s circle. In the late game at the venue last season’s Division One Champions Olympic Kingsway take on last season’s Division Two champions Shamrock Rovers, which should be one of the games of the round.
GLORY BACK ON HOME SOIL
Perth Glory are back on home soil after a month away, when they host Brisbane Roar at HBF Park on Friday evening. (6.05pm). After playing three games in the east and completing 14-days quarantine, Richard Garcia is backing his squad as they battle their disjointed A-League campaign, and it won’t be long to wait for the next home game, Tuesday against league leaders Central Coast Mariners.
Garcia believes his players have what it takes to continue their encouraging start to the season which has seen them win three of five games. "It is tough on the group, but it’s what we've got to expect this year and the boys are up for that," he said. "For us, it was possibly a good break just to sit back and look at other teams and see how we'd fare against them tactically. But the boys are dying now to get back out there and play some football.
"The group has responded really well when it's come up against tough challenges. This season is going to continually put these challenges up and I think they [the players] are doing very, very well with it. With the mentality that we have in the squad, it's good to know that you can rely on them to keep themselves in a good state mentally and physically."
Brisbane will head into the game searching for a fifth win of the season which would move them to within one point of the leaders, but go into the game without talisman Scott McDonald, the former Socceroo striker is out with a hamstring injury. But the focus for Garcia this week has been very much inwards. "They have made a great start to the season and are doing really well, but we have nothing to fear," he said. "We know the quality we possess and that we can be very competitive in this league and do well and that starts with these next couple of games. "For us, it's about what we do and how we want to play and fulfilling our potential as a group and as a team and I think everything else will then take its place."
In terms of team news Osama Malik returns to the squad for the first time since dislocating his shoulder during pre-season, while Luke Bodnar returned to action in the clubs NPLWA Night Series win against Gwelup Croatia. Meanwhile Garcia confirmed that Andy Keogh is expected to feature in the upcoming two home games after recovering from a groin strain and he also provided an update on the status of new recruits Kouske Ota and Sebastian Langkamp. "Andy is struggling a little bit, but he's mended quite well over quarantine and now it's about making sure we give him the right load to be able to come back into full fitness," he said. "He spent quite a bit of time out of the game coming into this season and we saw the qualities he possesses in the [first] Adelaide game.
"Unfortunately, I then asked him to back that up three days later, so it always becomes an uphill battle for him then. It’s about maybe taking the foot off the pedal with him and making sure we manage him right and that he builds up the football element of his game. He's an integral part of the team and the squad and he'll be available.
"Ota and Langkamp are out of hotel quarantine now and it's a good opportunity for them to get with the group and find their feet as far as some physical work is concerned. It's hard coming out of international quarantine because you can't do a lot, if anything, so we need to give them some time to settle and make sure they're in the best possible shape before they start full training. They need to acclimatise and we need to make sure that their bodies are ready and that they don't come in, pick up an injury and then we've lost them for the season. "We've got to be as mindful as we can be of getting them into a good physical state.”
Perth Glory squad: GK Tando VELAPHI, GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6 Osama MALIK, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *1-3 to be omitted* - Ins: MALIK (returns from injury), KEOGH (returns from injury) - Unavailable: 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 2-3 weeks)
Brisbane Roar squad: GK Jamie YOUNG, GK Macklin FREKE, 3 Corey BROWN, 5 Tom ALDRED, 6 Macaulay GILLESPHEY, 8 Danny KIM, 9 Masato KUDO, 10 Riku DANZAKI, 11 Joe CHAMPNESS, 15 Jesse DALEY, 16 Joshua BRINDELL-SOUTH, 17 Golgol MEBRAHTU, 19 Jack HINGERT, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 25 Rahmat AKBARI, 26 Jay O’SHEA, 27 Kai TREWIN, 29 Jordan COURTNEY-PERKINS, 33 Keegan JELACIC, 34 Alex PARSONS - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: KIM (promoted), KUDO (promoted), COURTNEY-PERKINS (promoted), JELACIC (promoted), PARSONS (promoted) - Outs: 77 Scott MCDONALD (hamstring) - Referee: Alireza Faghani
SKY BLUES TOO STRONG FOR GLORY
Perth Glory’s search for a Westfield W-League win will continue after a 2-6 loss against Sydney FC at Dorrien Gardens on Thursday evening. Alex Epakis side found themselves 0-4 down on the hour with a double from Remy Siemsen and others to Princess Ibini-Isei and Clare Wheeler, but Glory hit back with Hana Lowry scoring a brace, but late goals to Ibini-Isei and Wheeler sealed a comprehensive win for the Sky Blues.
Head Coach Alex Epakis pulled no punches in his post-match comments. "I'm devastated and they [the players] are devastated," he said. "The effort and attitude in our preparation wasn't reflected in the game against Brisbane and it certainly wasn't reflected in the game we just had here. There are disappointed players in there because it's not what we want to be about. Unfortunately, conceding another late goal in the first half and an early one in the second half destroyed any momentum we were looking to build.
"Hana Lowry then scores two goals, but instead of it being 2-2, it's 2-4 because of the goals we conceded just before and just after the break. This is another steep learning curve for this young group and all we can do is face up, front it, look in the mirror and see where we can be better as individuals. There are so many disappointments right now in terms of the feeling, but there is a good character in the group and we'll respond as best as we possibly can going into the run of games that we now have coming up."
Glory went into the game unchanged from the side that were beaten by Brisbane Roar last time out, and they went close early, Caitlin Doeglas’ shot was well saved by Jada Whyman. Moments later Ibini-Isei pounced on a loose ball, but her shot was soberly saved by Lily Alfeld. Glory had started well and Taneesha Baker, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, went close on 21 minutes, after she was found by Lowry, but she could only find the side-netting, before Marianna Tabain’s long-range shot flashed over the top. But on the stroke of half time, it was Sydney who opened the scoring. There seemed little danger when a loose ball fell kindly for Siemsen some 25 metres out, but the Young Matildas representative unleash a stunning left-foot strike which arrowed its way into the bottom corner.
It was a cruel blow after a promising 45 minutes from Glory and they suffered another just after the restart when Ibini-Isei found a pocket of space in the box and lashed a fierce shot past Alfeld. The Sky Blues were now well on top and Siemsen grabbed her second and Sydney's third, finishing well after being teed up by Rachel Lowe and seven minutes later, Wheeler made it 4-0 by forcing home Ally Green's low cross from the left. Glory were now on the ropes, but teenager Lowry gave the fans some hope with a quick-fire double.
First an angled drive past Whyman, before Jamie Lee-Gale’s cross from the right was side-footed home by the youngster. But Wheeler almost immediately restored the visitors' three-goal advantage with a close-range effort, dispelling any notion of the ladder leaders slipping up. Alfeld then produced a superb save to block Wheeler's penalty after Liz Anton had brought Ibini-Isei down in the box, but the latter became the fourth player to claim a brace on the night when she squeezed home a low shot right at the death.
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ (6 Tijan MCKENNA 46'), 10 Alexia MORENO (23 Katarina JUKIC 59'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (13 Jamie-Lee GALE 58'), 17 Marianna TABAIN (16 Isabella WALLHEAD 69'), 18 Taneesha BAKER - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT
Sydney FC: GK Jada WHYMAN, 3 Charlotte MCLEAN, 5 Ally GREEN (17 Angelique HRISTODOULOU 79'), 6 Clare WHEELER, 7 Ellie BRUSH, 8 Rachel LOWE (9 Allira TOBY 68'), 10 Remy SIEMSEN (15 Mackenzie HAWKESBY 68'), 11 Cortnee VINE (19 Charlie RULE 84'), 12 Natalie TOBIN, 18 Taylor RAY, 20 Princess IBINI-ISEI - Subs not used: RGK Eliza CAMPBELL - Referee: Isabella Libri
SAINSBURY OPENS UP ABOUT FOOTBALL AND HIS BELOVED ARMADALE
It’s been a long journey in football for Perth born Trent Sainsbury, from junior football at Morgan Park in Armadale to the San Siro in Milan and he now plying his trade at Belgian First Division club KV Koryrijk. But his journey could have ended early, after he was going to walk away from football, but a chat to then NTC Football West coach Kenny Lowe changed the direction for the talented defender.
Speaking on ‘The Socceroos Podcast’, the Australian defender shared how his footballing journey has helped put life into perspective and with a second child on the way, how he has managed to balance family with his commitments as a professional footballer. When asked about the best piece of advice he has received, Sainsbury opened up on an exchange with the current ECU Joondalup Head Coach Lowe that resonates to this day. "I think it goes back to one of the simplest of things: 'if you don't enjoy doing it then it's not for you," he said.
"I've taken that on board from Kenny when back in the day I was thinking about finishing up trying to become a professional footballer. When I was 14 or 15, he brought me in and said, 'just come down and have a couple training sessions with me and the boys.' He said to me,' you have just got to find that love of the game again. There's no pressure, just try and be the best person and the best footballer you can be.' And that gave it back to me. I really wasn't going to, but my dad said just go down, have a look, enjoy it and see what happens’, and that was sort of when I kind of fell in love with football again and wanted to become super competitive at it."
As the old cliche goes, for Sainsbury, the rest is history. A meteoric rise with the Central Coast Mariners saw him win an A-League Championship before heading abroad in 2014 - the same year he made his Socceroos debut. The Thornlie-born defender has faced questions regarding his naturally laid-back attitude over the years, but in response, Lowe's advice continues to ring true.
"When I did get that that contract at Central Coast Mariners, I think a few people kind of looked at me and said, 'you're a bit nonchalant'- but that's just me," Sainsbury explained. "It's worked against me quite a few times in my early parts of my career and later in my career as well, but at the same time I love the game, I just want to enjoy the game and when I get on the pitch, I'm as serious as anyone else. I think I don't do it as a job, now I do it as a hobby."
With that motivation in mind, Sainsbury explained the on and off-field reasons for his recent move to Belgian club Kortrijk. “Kortrijk was more of a move to just try and get match minutes, but also as for my family," he said. "My wife and I are expecting a second child now in early April, so it was more of a get the family into an environment where they can be most settled and thrive. My family's happy so for me that's enough at the moment."
When it comes to setting goals moving forward, Sainsbury is no longer a starry-eyed young player with his sights fixated on the top. Rather, he is focused on enjoying the moment, approaching each game in isolation with an immediate focus on building up fitness and form to ensure he is in top condition when the Socceroos finally return to action. "I'm not looking too far ahead," he admits. "I've done that in the past and I thought I'd remain at one club one or two clubs pretty much my whole career and look how that turned out. I know with football you just cannot predict the future so I'm looking now just in the short term and that's getting back with the national team and playing games here my club."
Despite this emphasis on short term goals, Sainsbury does have one special dream in mind for the twilight years of his career - involving a homecoming to his grassroots club. "Honestly I've spoken to the wife about this," he reveals. “I said, once I’ve retired from professional football and go back to the State League game, I'd love to go and spend a season back in Armadale. To try and bring in as many of my Socceroo mates as possible and win the FFA Cup, that'd be the ideal dream but I’d definitely just love to play in front of my friends and family. I grew up supporting that club and my dad and his mates have been there since day one supporting it, so that's one of the things I'd like to do when I finish my career off."
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FOUR REVIEW
It was week four of the NPLWA Night Series and all game were on Sunday, and Inglewood United continued their unbeaten start, but had to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with ECU Joondalup in the late game at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium. It was a tight first half with Inglewood keeper Alex Dunn producing a stunning save to deny Danny Hodgson’s free kick before Robert Petkov hit the base of the post at the other end. But five minutes from half time it was ECU who hit the front when referee Josh Mannella spotted a foul in the box and Hodgson converted a Panenka from the spot. Kenny Lowe’s side doubled their lead in stoppage time, Inglewood failed to clear their lines and Chris Harold punished them. ECU were on the front foot early on the second half with Harold and Daryl Nicol a constant threat, but they couldn’t find a third.
Inglewood coach Andres Oliveira went to his bench bringing on Adam Falcone and he had an immediate impact crossing to Ajak Riak to score on 78 minutes. They had the ball in the net again four minutes later, Mark Barnett heading home, but the referee had spotted a foul on the box. But they did level six minutes from time, a mistake at the back was punished by the alert Falcone, who was mobbed by his teammates. Inglewood was now well on top and pressed for the winner and in the final minute they were convinced they had a penalty when a shot struck the arm of an ECU defender but the referee was well positioned to wave away their strong protests. “It was a good hit out against good opposition,” Inglewood assistant coach Jason Colli said. “It could have gone either way and I’m sure the crowd were entertained.”
In the earlier game at the venue Rockingham City beat Cockburn City 2-0. Goran Stajic’s side were ahead on 19 minutes, good lead up play ended with Dylan Rogers who found the bottom corner of the night from the edge of the box. Rockingham then had to defend stoutly to keep Cockburn at bay, but missed chances cost them, the best coming from substitute Euen Grant who headed inches wide after bringing picked out at the back post. But their profligacy in front of goal came back to haunt them when Rockingham add a second deep into stoppage time. A long clearance from Cyril Sharrock found Christos Vaenas on the left, and he cut inside his marker and finished low past the keeper. “I thought it was very assuring to see our squad see out the game in that fashion,” new recruit Feisal Zaw explained. “We defended well and created plenty of chances which is also very encouraging, and I’m definitely excited for the season ahead.”
Perth Glory have bounced back for their first win of the competition, coming from behind to beat Gwelup Croatia at Dorrien Gardens. Taki Nicolaidis’ side we’re ahead just before half time, with Shubham Mokala sending Sam Mitchinson clear and he finished well past Cameron Cook. But Ruben Zadkovich’s side hit back and levelled seven minutes into the second half with skipper Giordano Colli shot taking a slight deflection to beat Gwelup custodian Stefan King. But 10 minutes later Glory found the winner, Adam Zimarino firing past King from a tight angle. Colli was delighted with the win and the performance. “Overall a great performance from the lads,” he said. “I thought we played a good first half, and we were unlucky with the goal right at the end of the half. But we came out strong in the second half building lots of pressure and it eventually paid off with two quick goals, and he held firm to win the game with some great defensive efforts at the end of the game.”
In the early game at the venue Armadale and Perth SC have fought out a 1-1 draw to maintain their unbeaten starts. Armadale were forced into a late change with Callum Mellowship injured in the warm up. They then went behind on 24 minutes with Cameron Teece scoring, and it went from bad to worse for John O’Reilly’s side, the coach losing three more players to injury, and having to bring their reserve keeper Michael Craggs on the park. They were kept in the game by new keeper Yousri Gharsallah, who made a number of fine saves and four minutes from time they equalised and Craggs had a hand in the goal. He picked the pocket of a Perth defender before finding Manase Abandelawa who made no mistake. “Perth definitely dominated us first half and probably lucky to go just 1-0 down,” skipper Brian Patterson said. “But in the second half we reset and I thought we finished the stronger of the teams and got our reward late.”
In the early game at E&D Litis Stadium Bayswater City maintained their unbeaten start to the preseason competition with a 3-1 win against Sorrento. Gareth Naven’s side opened the scoring in first half stoppage time, a quick counter attack ended with new signing Ndumba Makeche who finished neatly. It was 2-0 just after the hour, Albert Fullard played a one-two with Fraser Dunlop on the edge of the box, his cross into the box was headed home by Jason Mirco. Sorrento pressed and were rewarded in the last minute, with Alex Morgan pulling one back, but in stoppage time Bayswater sealed the win. Kosta Sparta’s diagonal ball found Mirco on the right, he played a neat give and go with Dunlop, and Mirco held off his marker and finished well.
“It was a very important win for us, we’re all still holding towards what the new manager wants,” Mirco explained. “We’ve used our full squad throughout the night series so far so it’s important to see everyone chipping in and helping in each respective match. Playing Sorrento, we knew what a tough opponent they would, there always a tricky game. We started very bright and took the game to them early and I think Ndumba’s goal was crucial. We’ve got another huge game at the weekend against Athena so we’ll get into training this week and begin preparing for another tough opponent.”
In the late game at the venue, hosts Floreat Athena’s poor start continued losing 1-0 to Balcatta. The only goal of the game came on 52 minutes. Floreat were hitting on a quick counter attack and Jack Leech won the ball and fed David Cyrus, who played the ball over the top and Amir Ajan won a header with the last defender and raced into the box and finished into the bottom corner of the net. Defender Adam Tong said it was nice to get a win at a ground they have had trouble at over the years. “Obviously the boys are pleased with the win against last year’s winners of the night series on their home ground, where we haven’t won since 2013,” he said. “I thought we deserved the points and victory we defended well as a team, and played some great one touch football during the 90 minutes which is pleasing to see.”
ROAR TO STRONG FOR GLORY
Perth Glory are still searching for their first Westfield W-League win after being well beaten 4-0 by second placed Brisbane Roar at the Lions Stadium on Sunday. Matildas Emily Gielnik and Olivia Chance both scored first-half goals, before Gielnik added a second after the break before substitute Larissa Crummer scored the fourth late. It was tough for Alex Epakis’ side, who were backing up from Thursday's narrow defeat against Western Sydney, and they did create a number of chances but once again the young side failed to take them
Despite the loss Epakis was still quick to praise the character shown by his young squad. "Full credit to Brisbane, they were a class above today and I think you could see what experienced players can bring to a squad,” he said. “But in terms of my girls, I'm so proud. Up until the 93rd minute they were still going for it. It's been a quick turnaround; two games in four days after only playing three in three months has been a bit of a shock to the system, but we're building some resilience. I'm excited to see what we can do and what we can learn from this and hopefully we can continue to grow as a squad."
It was a warm and humid evening in Queensland, and Glory keeper Lily Alfeld was the first to be called into action as she kept out two angled strikes from Gielnik in the space of a minute. Glory's response was a teasing cross-shot from Taneesha Baker which flashed just wide of the far post and with Lexie Moreno and Hana Lowry combining to good effect in the final third, the signs for the visitors looked promising at that stage. But it was the home side who opened the scoring on 23 minutes, and what a goal it was.
The Glory defence looked to have seen off a Roar attack, but when the ball was cleared to the edge of the box, Chance unleashed an unstoppable strike which arrowed its way into the top corner giving Alfeld no chance. They added a second four minutes later, Gielnik long-range effort was misjudged by Alfeld and the ball ended in the net. Roar came close to extending their lead late in the second half, Winonah Heatley's deep cross crashing off the woodwork and Alfeld then producing a reflex save to deny Gielnik at point-blank range.
The experienced Matildas forward was not to be denied five minutes after the restart, however, capping a surging down the left channel by rifling a fierce shot into the far corner. Malia Steinmetz did her best to force Glory back into the contest on the hour-mark, her header from a Deborah-Anne De La Harpe corner flashing just over the bar, before Caitlin Doeglas followed suit, twice going close as the game moved into its final quarter.
Head Coach Alex Epakis emptied his bench in the latter stages, but his charges were unable to claim the consolation goal that their endeavours arguably deserved and instead it was Roar who had the final word as Crummer came off the bench to side foot home a fine cross from fellow-substitute Kaitlyn Torpey. The loss leaves Glory at the foot of the table, three points adrift of Melbourne City, but do have two games in hand.
Roar Coach Jake Goodship conceded he wanted more out of his squad before the break, he says they were comfortable in control of the game in the second stanza. “I thought the first half was disappointing,” he said post-match. “They made it difficult for us. They man-marked our midfield three, we found it difficult to get space on the ball, but second half we dominated.”
Brisbane Roar: GK Morgan AQUINO, 4 Clare POLKINGHORNE, 6 Winonah HEATLEY, 7 Kim CARROLL, 8 Mariel HECHER, 13 Tameka YALLOP, 14 Leticia MCKENNA (12 Larissa CRUMMER 71'), 15 Emily GIELNIK (2 Kaitlyn TORPEY 80'), 16 Jamilla RANKIN (11 Sharn FREIER 77'), 23 Isobel DALTON, 25 Olivia CHANCE (19 Rebekah HORSEY 71') - Subs not used: RGK Georgina WORTH
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE (16 Isabella WALLHEAD 66'), 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY (12 Sarah MORGAN 73'), 9 Malia STEINMETZ, 10 Alexia MORENO (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 73'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 17 Marianna TABAIN (6 Tijan MCKENNA 66'), 18 Taneesha BAKER - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT - Referee: Kelly Jones
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE REVIEW - SUNDAY GAMES
The first round of the State League Night Series concluded on Sunday, and in Group E Swan United and Carramar Shamrock Rovers fought out a 1-1 draw in the early game at Macedonia Park. It was Rovers who took the lead after only 14 minutes, a short corner from Jack Bardsley was played to Yang Zhang who put a great ball into the box and Dylan McCann headed home. But Swan hit back seven minutes later, Deng Mawien headed home powerfully from a corner. “I think a draw was a fair result,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “We had some good chances to score but didn’t take them and I think both teams were a bit rusty but it’s good to get 90 minutes for the team and give players a good run to get miles in the legs. There is a lot of positives to take from last night’s game but we also know what we need to work. Big game next week which we will look forward to.” Swan new coach Dan Evans was pleased with the game. “The game was competitive as we expected,” he said. “We were unable to convert chances and unable to convert possession into goals. Some cheap giveaways gave Shamrock some opportunities, but overall, I was pleased with the performance but we have much work to be done.”
In the late game at the venue Stirling Lions new coach Ian Ferguson won his first game in charge after a 2-0 win against Joondalup City. It didn’t start that well with defender Jordan Rowe being shown two quick yellow cards by referee Sailota Phiri and sent off. But four minutes into the second half the ten men hit the front. Josh Booysen sent Richard Howles in on goal, he raced clear of his marker and finished well from a tight angle. They wrapped up the points six minutes from time a great individual run by Ryan Malton, easing past a number of Joondalup defenders before finding the corner of the net. “It was a tough game after going down to 10 men so early,” Lions' keeper James Bosdet said. “We had to work hard and were under the pump for 15-20 minutes immediately after the red. They had a few chances which is understandable having the man advantage but we still looked comfortable and were causing them trouble upfront. I thought the second half we dominated possession and deserved the three points.”
In Group D at Hartfield Park, Subiaco ran out 2-0 winners in the early game against Gosnells City. They opened the scoring on 51 minutes, Cian Guest’s lob flew into the top corner of the net, and eight minutes later they doubled their lead. Elliot Ireland was given far too much room and he curled into the top corner of the net. “A couple of good goals, although I thought Cian’s was a cross,” Subiaco defender Ben Johns joked. “It was a very positive start to our night series campaign, especially to get the clean sheet with many new players in our squad this year, and were looking to build on this for the next two games.”
In the late game at the venue hosts Forrestfield United beat Kelmscott Roos 3-1. Graham Normanton’s side were ahead after 14 minutes, Josh Pereira and Rhys Loxley combined to find Mitch Crocker who slipped the ball into Jordan Hart, who chipped the on-coming keeper. It was soon 2-0, some good build up play ended with Pereira, who was given far too much room and he finished clinically from 20 meters. Kelmscott reduced the margin ten minutes before half time with Brodie Macrea on target, and both sides had chances after the break. But it was Forrestfield who wrapped up all three points deep into stoppage time. Loxley raced down the left and whipped in a deep cross to the back post and Tarek Atta made no mistake. “It’s just minutes in the legs and it highlighted things we still need to work on,” Crocker explained. “We need to play for longer and not get complacent. We were good for about 25 minutes so we'll improve on that next week.”
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE REVIEW - FRIDAY GAMES
Western Knights begun their defence of the State League Night Series title on Friday evening with a hard fought 3-2 win against Canning City in Group F at Edinburgh Oval. The Knights were ahead after only 13 minutes, Alex Kretowicz raced down the line and cut the ball back to Paul Lloyd who finished in the bottom corner. It was 2-0 on the half hour with Ciaran Byrne on target after a goalmouth scramble. The game looked over on 55 minutes when the Knights added a third, Johnny Chalmers curling home superbly. But Canning had other ideas and they pulled one back two minutes later with new signing Jordan Rana scoring. Chris Finlayson’s side pulled another one back ten minutes from time, with another new signing Michael Lawson scoring, but they couldn’t find the equaliser.
Both coaches were happy with the workout. “We were satisfied to get the win in what was our first competitive game,” Knights coach Ivan Zuvela said. “I thought Canning were a very well structured, disciplined and well coached side and they gave us a very good hit out.” Canning coach Finlayson added. “First half was very good made enough chances to score just didn’t put them away and conceded to soft goals but I was impressed on the way we played to how we wanted. In the second half we conceded a third soft goals then we decided to lift the intensity and got two good goals back both pressed for goals We definitely made it hard for ourselves we didn’t hold on to the ball for longer periods and when we had it, we couldn’t clear our lines and it became wave after wave, but overall, definitely a pass mark in certain areas and others need rapid change.”
Also, on Friday in Group A at Wanneroo Reserve Joondalup United and Balga fought out a 2-2 draw. It was Balga who hit the front, converting from the spot on 13 minutes. But four minutes later Joondalup levelled, a pinpoint cross from new recruit Lydon Hodgkiss picked out the unmarked Jamie Stewart to head home from close range. It looked like Joondalup had won it three minutes from time, with Jay Lang’s free kick giving the keeper no chance. But deep into stoppage time Balga found the equaliser. Joondalup coach Nick Jennings said missed chances cost them. “For us it was a case of missed opportunities, particularly in the first half when we should have put the game to bed,” he said. “All credit to Balga though who never stopped working and made it difficult for us to play, and we’re rewarded for their efforts with an injury time equaliser.” New Balga coach Gerhard Janssen was pleased with the performance of his side. “It was a close game against a Division One team with huge potential,” he explained. “But in the second half we should have won the game, it’s early in the preseason, therefore our cohesion is not working yet.”
In Group A Wanneroo City started the competition on a high with a 6-1 win in the late game against Quinns at Wanneroo Reserve. It was a perfect start for the hosts with Charlie Breen opening the scoring early, but Quinns were soon level. But In first half stoppage time Breen restored City’s lead from the spot after he was brought down. After half time Wanneroo dominated and Scott Johnston curled home a long range shot home, before Luke Serra fired home a free kick from the edge of the box. It was 5-1 on 68 minutes, Shakeel Alexander racing clear to score. They added a sixth late, Joe Allsopp was sent clear and he rounded the keeper and rolled the ball home. “To win 6-1 was great credit to the boys attitude and work over the last few months,” Wanneroo coach Jesse Bridgeman said. “The attitude from the first minute to the last was excellent, the work rate was high and the boys worked for each other. I’m very pleased for the group and we are looking forward to next weeks clash with another tough opponent in Joondalup United.”
In Group B Mandurah City begun with a 4-1 win against Morley Windmills at Murdoch University. It was Morley who were in front after only 27 minutes, with Leigh Morgan scoring for Tim Kantor’s side. But that’s as good as it got for them and four minutes later the Dolphins levelled, Alex Grayson finding the net after a great cutback from Joe O’Brien. They were ahead on 36 minutes, Scottish striker John Baird chipping the keeper from long-range. Andy Brown made it 3-0 on the hour, before O’Brien headed the fourth 15 minutes from time. “Pete and I are really happy with the performance and goals in the game, I thought we controlled the game for most of the match and played some really nice football,” Mandurah coach Kris Donnell said. “Our fitness levels were again superb which is great to see, the lads are working very hard and it’s starting to show in games.”
In Group E Olympic Kingsway started life with new coach Michael Janssen with a hard fought 2-0 win against Kingsley Westside at Macedonia Park. It was a perfect start for Olympic and they were ahead after only two minutes. A cross was only cleared as far as Otto Van der Poel and his shot from the edge of the box found the corner of the net. Both sides had chances in an entertaining game, but it was Olympic who sealed the win late in the game. A quick counter attack by Tyler Garner and he sent Hamza Hina clear, he held off off his marker and chipped the on coming keeper. “We produced some good chances in a dominant first half and the team performed to a good level at this stage,” Janssen said. “In the second half Kingsley threw everything out to score and we needed to deal with some pressure but the boys were strong and Dave Keenan produced a number of saves. Kingsley was the expected tough start into the Night Series and they will be strong in the league. We will now continue our build up for the league and prepare to play Shamrock next weekend.”
In the other game in the group hosts Murdoch University Melville’s new coach Matt Wardle began life well with a 5-0 win against his former club Ashfield. Ben Pellizzari was the hero, bagging a hat-trick, with others to Mark Lucas and Charlie Watt. “After eight weeks of preseason training and a few friendlies it was great to play some competitive football,” Wardle said. “Keeping a clean sheet and scoring five was very pleasing for myself and the playing group. It’s very early and still lots of football to be played between now and the season starting proper but results like Friday’s one is a positive start and something we can build and learn from.”
In Group C UWA Nedlands came from two goals down to beat Dianella White Eagles 3-2 at Macedonia Park. The Eagles were two up inside the first half hour, with Stephen Musonda and Asa Sippits on target. But UWA reduced the margin on the hour with Sam Kent scoring, and Egide Nzoyikorera equalised ten minutes from time. It looked like the points would be shared but in the final minute Adam Carlino popped up with the winner. “It was a good game, because Dianella are a team, that could play Division One easily,” UWA Head Coach Dom Gangeni said. “In the first half we approached the game not with the right intensity and our building was slow, but we still created three clear chances to score. In the second half the boys played well and we raised the tempo of the game and we scored three amazing goals. It was a good result for the confidence of my boys that’s all, and there is still a lot of work ahead.”
The other game in the Group took place at Edinburgh Oval where Fremantle City beat hosts Curtin University 5-1. It didn’t start well for Fremantle, with Matthew Sparrow being sent off after only four minutes, but the 10 men took control and two minutes later Mitch Firth headed home from a corner. It was soon 2-0 with Noah Shamaki scoring, but Curtin did pull one back six minutes before half time through Allister Gommes. Fremantle increased their lead in first half stoppage time with James Harmer on target from the spot. It was 4-1 on 72 with Shamaki adding his second, before Charlie Parry’s powerful shot crashed off the cross bar and if was not over the line already Hamer was first there to make sure. “Under the circumstances it was a great test for us to basically play a full game with 10 men,” Fremantle coach Cameron Lord said. “The manner in which everyone worked for each other and helped each other out was really pleasing.”
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK FOUR PREVIEW
It’s Week four of the NPLWA Night Series and all games this weekend are on Sunday. First up at Dorrien Gardens Gwelup Croatia will look to build on their big win against ECU Joondalup when they take on Perth Glory. (5.00pm) Glory are coming off a 2-1 loss to ECU and defender Nick Walsh said they deserved something from the game. “It was definitely a tough loss to take,” he said. “But we can look at the positives in terms of the number of chances we created and, on another day, maybe a few more would have gone in, but that’s football.” Walsh knows the importance of three points on Sunday, if they are to keep their chances of moving into the knockout stage alive. “It is important for us to get a result on the weekend if we are to progress and we are going into the game with confidence knowing that we have the capability to get a result,” he said. “We are just taking each game as it comes and focusing on giving ourselves the best chance possible of progressing whilst also getting valuable minutes under our belts for the season ahead.” In the late game at the venue Armadale will be looking to keep their winning streak going when they take on hosts Perth SC (7.00pm)
There is also a double header at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday, and first up Bayswater City take on Sorrento (5.00pm) Sorrento gained their first point on Wednesday against Balcatta, while Bayswater also drew in midweek against Perth SC. City striker Luke Salmon was on target for Gareth Naven’s side and he said it was a good game a well-earned point. “It was a really good game up and down the pitch,” he said. “I thought both teams fought really hard and a draw was a fair reflection on the game.” Salmon said they head into the Sorrento game looking to continue their improvement. “It will be a tough game against Sorrento, but we need to take our positivity and energy into it which I think will make it easier for us,” he explained. “We know a win will put us in a good position with two games left.” In the late game at the venue Floreat Athena will go in search of their first point of the competition when they host Balcatta (7.00pm)
The final games of the round are at Perth Plasterboard Centre Stadium, and first up Rockingham City take on Cockburn City (5.00pm) Cockburn picked up their first point against Gwelup last weekend, while Rockingham won their opening game against Perth Glory, but a loss against Inglewood last time out took the gloss of that win, but new signing Shane Boyle said that what preseason competitions are all about. “As you know preseason is about game time/fitness, in preparation for round one of the new season, and the games played so far has seen Goran (Stajic) introduce a number of young/talented players from the club,” he explained. “This has given them valuable game time which is great for not only their development and the club but also the NPL.”
Boyle has been impressed with the new Head Coach and he said it’s rubbing off on the players. “Goran’s professional approach has been well received by the boys. His positive approach and knowledge of the game has seen the player group embrace his approach which I’m sure will see continues improvement to the group and work towards a successful season,” he explained. “We’re all looking forward to testing ourselves against a well organised and talented Cockburn side on Sunday night.” In the late game at the venue Inglewood United will look to continue their scoring blitz, having scored nine goals in their two games so far, when they host ECU Joondalup. (7.00pm) The Jacks will be at full strength after Head Coach Kenny Lowe rested his senior players in the loss to Gwelup in midweek.
STATE LEAGUE NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE PREVIEW
The 2021 State League Night Series begins this weekend, as Western Knights look to defend the crown, they won last season. The preseason competition starts on Friday and in Group A the games will be played at Wanneroo Reserve and the early games sees new Balga coach Gerhard Janssen take charge of his first game when they take on Joondalup United (6.30) United Head Coach Nick Jennings knows Janssen well and is expecting a tough first up game.
“We’ve followed a six-week training programme leading into night series, and the boys have reacted well to the challenges that have been thrown at them, including the COVID lockdown. They have worked hard and are ready for the challenges ahead of us,” he said. “The night series games are always a step into the unknown with clubs have so many new players, and in the case of Balga a new coach. I’ve known Gerhard for a few years and wish him every success in his new role except on Friday night, we know the game will be a big test against a side keen to impress but we mean business and are looking forward to the game.” In the late game at the venue Wanneroo City host Quinns in a Northern Derby
In Group B the games will be played at Murdoch University on Friday and first up Mandurah City meet Morley Windmills (6.30pm) Mandurah coach Pete Taylor said it’s been a tough preseason but they are ready for the game. “Preseason has been going really well, although the interruption with Covid was unfortunate but if anything, it’s made the players that little bit hungrier. Luckily it wasn’t anywhere near as extreme as last season so we still feel well prepared,” he explained. “Like everyone else were really excited to get things going. The Night series gives us the perfect opportunity to get players up to speed in preparation for the league. We’re expecting a tough, competitive first game against Morley as we are with all our night series opponents.” In the late game at the venue Murdoch University Melville host Ashfield (8.30pm)
In Group C the games will be played on Friday at Macedonia Park and Edinburgh Oval. The first game sees UWA Nedlands take on Dianella White Eagles at Macedonia Park 6.30pm) The Eagles have recruited well and new midfielder Kris Gate said things are ticking along nicely at the club, and they had a good workout last weekend in the ‘Banjac Cup’ against Forrestfield. “The new squad is looking good, there are good bunch of lads, and Sunday night’s game was a great game, but more important on the night, both clubs looked to put in a good performance and honour Rod Banjac,” he said.
“I personally didn’t know Rod, but after playing in the game I knew he was a very well-liked man, so it wasn’t about the result, both clubs went out and played the game in the right manor and I was honoured to play in the game. Friday’s game will be a different kind of game it’s all about winning I know Stewy and Bobby are concentrating on the lads getting fit, but as players the night series are games you go out and win no matter what. Yes, it’s still preseason but getting that winning feeling and momentum is also important, and to be fair I don’t know much about UWA but hopefully we can turn up and perform and get the win for the club.” The other game is at Edinburgh Oval where Curtin University host Fremantle City (8.30pm)
In Group D the games will played at Hartfield Park on Sunday, and in the early game Subiaco meet Gosnells City 5.00pm, while in the late game Forrestfield United host Kelmscott Roos (7.00pm) United midfielder Mitch Crocker said they are looking forward to get back playing competitive games. “We had a good hit out against Dianella last week and we were trying to bed some things in, but it wasn’t a fantastic performance, but it got us some minutes and showed us where we're at,” he said. “We're under no illusions. As soon as there is a trophy to fight for, games become more intense and it will be a tough game, but we'll be up for it though.”
In Group E on Friday, Olympic Kingsway take on Kingsway Westside at Macedonia Park (8.30pm). The other game on the group is at the same venue on Sunday when Swan United meet Shamrock Rovers (5.00pm) New Swan coach Dan Evans takes charge of his first game at the club, and he said things are progressing nicely in the Valley. “I’m pleased with the lads progress throughout pre-season. We have worked hard and from a conditioning perspective we are on track. Of course, there is still a long way to go but I’m happy with the group as a whole,” he explained. “Shamrock will be a tough opponent. They will be organized and very competitive, so we certainly aren’t taking them lightly and we are looking forward to the contest.
Finally, in Group F the first game is on Friday night at Edinburgh Oval where Western Knights start their title defence against Canning City (6.30pm) It will be a huge challenge for Chris Finlayson’s side, but the Canning coach is looking forward to the challenge. “Like the rest of the competition the preseason has been a little disruptive and we are definitely not where I’d like to be however, we have had a few good hit outs and we are progressing in the right direction, new signings are working hard existing lads are looking sharp and the new systems are taking time, so signs look good for the season ahead, all be it behind schedule,” he explained.
“Friday night, well is there a bigger club to play against especially first up, it’s not too different to last year we faced Kingsway Olympic. We seem to get the group of death again, so tomorrow night we need to concentrate on our game plan and what we are trying to introduce this season. We are expecting a very tough game against a very good side we need to be competitive first, stick to the plans and use these three games to get ready for the season ahead.” - The other game on the group takes place on Sunday where Stirling Lions entertain Joondalup City at Macedonia Park (7.00pm)
DE SILVA HOPEFUL OF SPANISH MOVE
Central Coast Mariners star Daniel De Silva has revealed he's dreaming of a future move to Spain after making a strong start to the new A-League season. The 23-year old midfielder was signed by Italian giants Roma in 2014 but that move was controversially cancelled as a result of complications to do with the transfer fee.
De Silva would enjoy a brief stint in the Netherlands the following year with Roda JC before returning to Australia to link with Central Coast in 2017. Since coming back to the A-League, the young attacker spent a season on loan at Sydney FC before establishing himself on the Central Coast under coach Alen Stajcic.
Central Coast are current league leaders after eight games and De Silva is shining with two goals and two assists already to his name. While focused on a successful season in Gosford, the former Inglewood United junior has admitted a return to Europe is on his radar with Spain his preferred destination.
"For me, the dream is to go and play in Spain. I think that’s the league that probably suits me the best," De Silva told The ABC Football Podcast. "Footballing wise it’s not as physical as other leagues in the world, it’s more technical, there’s a bit more passing and things like that."
"So that’s definitely one of the countries I’d like to go to but any opportunity that came I’d obviously think about it and think if I could be successful in that league. For sure, going back to Europe is definitely what I want to do and hopefully I’ll get back over there soon."
Central Coast coach Stajcic has been careful not to put too much pressure on De Silva since arriving on the Central Coast but is hopeful he can show his best more regularly moving forward. "I wouldn't single him out as this year being a particularly important one for him," Stajcic said last month.
"I just think everyone has talked about how good he is and it's up to him at some point to deliver on that consistently. We've seen glimpses of that in his game this year, that he's got a little bit more consistency in his game and he's showing his true quality."
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE CATCH UP REVIEW
The remaining Week One NPLWA Night Series games were played on Wednesday evening and Gwelup Croatia were the big winners thrashing a young ECU Joondalup side 7-0 in the early game at Percy Doyle Reserve. Jacks Head Coach Kenny Lowe made 11 changes to the side that beat Perth Glory on Sunday, and the youngsters were overwhelmed by Taki Nicolaidis’ side. It was a tight first 20 minutes with the ECU youngsters holding their own and they went close to the lead when Australian Joey’s striker Sebastian Gomez fired just wide. But on 33 minutes it was Gwelup who opened the scoring, Jon Stynes heading home Declan Hargreaves corner after ECU keeper Joe Pollard misjudged the flight. They added a second five minutes later Hasani Sinclair finding space in the box to head home.
Gomez fired wide again just after half time, but Gwelup started to get on top and it should have been 3-0 on 53 minutes, but Pollard guessed the right way to save Sinclair’s spot kick. But moments later Sinclair did add a third, turning home Shubham Mokala’s cross. It was soon 4-0 Stynes curling home from just inside the box, and Stynes completed his hat trick on 70 minutes, losing his marker to head home at the back post. Second half substitute Sam Mitchinson fired home a sixth late, before Stynes rounded off the scoring seven minutes from time. ECU kept pushing to the end and Ben Hinshelwood’s effort hit the crossbar late, but it was Gwelup who ran out convincing winners.
In the late game at the venue, hosts Sorrento have fought out a 1-1 draw with Balcatta. It was Balcatta who hit the front in the shadows of half time, Amir Ajan raced into the box and was brought down and referee Steven Gregory pointed straight to the spot, Ajan picked himself up to score from the resulting penalty to send them to the break with a narrow lead. But seven minutes into the second half Sorrento levelled, Tim Hill curling home superbly from the edge of the penalty area. Both sides pressed for the winner but had to settle for a point apiece.
Balcatta’s Jonathan Corness said it was better performance in their second game. “It was a more complete performance then against Bayswater, we kept the ball more efficiently and were a bit more patient in the attacking half,” he said. “We're still a little leggy at times but that fitness will come with more games.” Sorrento’s goalscorer Tim Hill said it was good to fight back to earn a point. “To be fair it was a typical preseason game, both teams ran a lot and worked hard and possession was shared throughout,” he said. “I thought we did well to come back into the game and we felt unfortunate to not win in the end.”
The other games were played at Frank Drago Reserve, and in the early game Armadale maintained their perfect start to the competition with a 2-0 win against Floreat Athena. John O’Reilly’s side were ahead after only 23 minutes. Good work down the left ended with Pieter Jacobsz, who crossed to Manase Abandelawa, who lost his marker and finished low into the corner of the net. It was Abandelawa who added the second on 67 minutes, cutting into the box and finishing with aplomb. Floreat pushed late to get back in to the game but their cause wasn’t helped when Liam Murray was sent off four minutes from time. “It was great result and fully deserved,” Armadale skipper Brian Patterson said. “The gaffer made several changes to the Sorrento game and good to see the young lads coming in and doing the business. We look forward to the Perth game now, and the team will take a lot of positives from this result.”
In the late game at the venue Bayswater City and Perth SC have fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw. Both sides were coming off big wins and it was Perth who opened the scoring on the half hour. Cameron Teece’s long-range free kick finding the back of the net, via the crossbar. But City levelled with a free kick of their own on the hour, Luke Salmon curling home from the edge of the box to give both sides a share of the spoils. “I think the result wasn’t a bad one,” Teece said. “But going off the number of chances we created we should of and could have got the win, we were just unlucky in front of goal a few times.”
GLORY BACK IN W-LEAGUE ACTION
Perth Glory will resume their Westfield W-League campaign on Thursday evening when they travel to NSW to take on Western Sydney Wanderers at Marconi Stadium (kick-off at 4.10pm WST). Head Coach Alex Epakis hopes his young side can build on their away draw with Canberra United and secure a first win of the season. Glory have not been in action since their gutsy draw in the nation's capital on 24th January, adding further disruption to what has already been a disjointed campaign.
But Epakis is confident that the squad's positive mental approach will enable them to overcome the adversity they continue to face. "It's been a bit stop-start because obviously we had that week when we couldn't train due to lockdown," he told the clubs website. “We had some momentum, I believe, after the last game against Canberra. "That momentum would have put us in a good position for games immediately after that, but it hasn't panned out that way, so we've tried to keep hold of whatever momentum we had left from that fixture and put it into training for the last four weeks and hopefully that'll give us a good start against the Wanderers.
"I think it's difficult to ask the players to perform when there are no matches consistently, but I also think we have the characters who will step up to the challenge and then the sky is the limit. If we can bring how we're training into life in the game against Wanderers, we'll give ourselves every chance. It's just whether that lack of actual match-intensity minutes is going to be what makes us fall a little bit short. You can't always correlate training to matches, but you can correlate consistent matches each week."
While Glory have played just three times this season, Wanderers have seen action on seven occasions, picking up only one win. Epakis, however, feels that Dean Heffernan's side are better than those results suggest. "The competition has been inconsistent in its nature this season," he said. "Sometimes the underdog wins and the form other teams have gone into games with hasn't counted for much. That's going to be the case against Wanderers. I haven't looked too much at their win-loss record, I've just looked at the players that they've got and I know they're capable of anything.
"There are some great players there with good experience at W-League and international level and with that squad, I think they're going to be asking themselves how they can be higher. They'll definitely go into the game wanting to win it as much as us, but we're really positive and looking at one or two wins, with all the games we have in hand, potentially taking us up to mid-table. With teams having played those games and got their points tally, we know what we're chasing and looking to achieve."
Epakis also feels that the Canberra performance provides a more accurate picture of Glory's quality than the current, skewed, league ladder. "Since that game," he said, "we've seen Canberra get some very good results and they are sitting high in the table, so that performance showed that we can match it player for player with those strong, experienced teams and that in itself gave people a really good energy post-match. I thought we could have got the three points, but we've waked away with one and we know more importantly that our performance allowed us to compete and we have the quality and capability to perform.
"That said a lot to the girls. That will be the message going into this game: don't forget, we drew with Canberra. We took it the full 90 minutes, we had some really good moments and some moments that we could have been better in, but we took something out of it and that's our starting point for this Wanderers game. That's the minimum level we expect and if that's what we produce as minimum, we're hoping that we give ourselves a real chance."
Glory will head into Thursday's game looking to avenge last season's two defeats against the Wanderers, the second of which came in the final game of the year in Bunbury. Overall, the two sides have met on 15 previous occasions, with Glory claiming nine wins to Wanderers' six. In terms of early squad news, new signing Taneesha Baker is poised to make her senior debut for Glory, while the home side have no fresh injury concerns.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: GK Sarah WILLACY, GK Courtney NEWBON, 2 Caitlin COOPER, 3 Nikola ORGILL, 4 Margaux CHAUVET, 6 Olivia PRICE, 7 Chloe MIDDLETON, 8 Erica HALLOWAY, 9 Bryleeh HENRY, 10 Libby COPUS-BROWN, 11 Danika MATOS, 12 Julie-Ann RUSSELL, 13 Georgia YEOMAN-DALE, 15 Rosie GALEA, 16 Isabel GOMEZ, 18 Sarah HUNTER, 25 Teigan COLLISTER - *Two to be omitted* - Ins: PRICE (promoted), HALLOWAY (promoted) - Outs: Nil -Unavailable: Nil
Perth Glory squad: GK Lily ALFELD, GK Rebecca BENNETT, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 6 Tijan MCKENNA, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ, 10 Alexia MORENO, 11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 12 Sarah MORGAN, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 16 Isabella WALLHEAD, 17 Marianna TABAIN, 18 Taneesha BAKER - Ins: WALLHEAD (promoted, BAKER (promoted) - Outs: 13 Jamie-Lee GALE (not selected), 23 Katarina JUKIC (not selected) - Unavailable: 3 Gemma CRAINE (hamstring – season) - Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE CATCH UP PREVIEW
On Wednesday evening there are four NPLWA Night Series Round One catch up games. First at Percy Doyle Reserve Gwelup Croatia take on ECU Joondalup (6.30pm) The Jacks opened their campaign with a hard fought 2-1 win against Perth Glory on Sunday, with goals from new recruit Chris Harold and Harry Evans, but Head coach Kenny Lowe will be looking at some of his younger players in tonight’s game. Gwelup were held to a 2-2 draw against Cockburn City, and Taki Nicolaidis will be looking to get their first win of the preseason competition.
In the late game Balcatta take on hosts Sorrento. Both sides were beaten 1-4 in the last round, against Bayswater City and Armadale respectively, but Sorrento midfielder Kian McGuigan said they will look to put that right on Wednesday. “It was a tough loss on Sunday, I thought we played some really good football at times but think fatigue started to take over late in the second half as our goals we conceded came from our own mistakes,” he said. “Tonight, should be a good game against a good team, we definitely need to bounce back from Sunday just need to keep working hard and have the right attitude and hopefully the result will come in our favour.”
The other games take place at Frank Drago Reserve and first up Armadale will be looking for back-to-back wins when they meet Floreat Athena (6.30pm). Second half goals from Angel Andres, Pieter Jacobsz, Chad Nilson and Kevin Ashwood gave John O’Reilly’s side a big win against Sorrento, while Floreat were edged out by the odd goal against Perth SC. Armadale skipper Brian Patterson said it was a good start to the preseason, but it’s still early days. “To be fair I think we dominated the first half also but just conceded a sloppy goal against the run of play, but in the second half we continued to press and were rewarded with the goals we needed,” he said. “It’s always good to get the three points, and it’s great to see that we had a number of younger lads playing and some of them getting on the scoresheet.
“We will definitely be trying to build on the Sorrento game, but three games in seven days will be tough though, but our squad has a lot more depth this year. These games are just more about the squad getting minutes in the legs so the gaffer will surely be rotating.” Meanwhile, Floreat will be without defender Dennis Galan, who was sent off against Perth. In the late game at the venue Bayswater City host Perth SC. (8.30pm) Both sides won their opening games, Perth beating Floreat Athena, while City overcame Balcatta. Gordon Smith bagged a brace to help Gareth Naven’s side to victory, and the new City coach will come up against his former club in this one.
GLORY GET HOME COMFORTS IN W-LEAGUE
The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) released all the remaining fixtures for the Westfield W-League 2020/21 Season on Wednesday with Perth Glory getting a good run of home fixtures, this after only playing one game at home so far this term. They are set to be in action at Dorrien Gardens five times in the space of just 22 days from late February to late March, before rounding off the campaign with away games at Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory.
Following this week's away fixtures against Western Sydney Wanderers (Thursday 18 February at 4.10pm WST) and Brisbane Roar (Sunday 21 February at 4.05pm WST), Alex Epakis' side will begin their run of five consecutive home games on Thursday 25 February when Sydney FC will provide the opposition (kick-off at 6.35pm WST).
Next up at Dorrien Gardens is a clash with Newcastle Jets on Monday 8 March (kick-off at 6.35pm), followed by meetings with Canberra United on Thursday 11 March (kick-off at 6.35pm), Melbourne Victory on Sunday 14 March (kick-off at 6.05pm) and Melbourne City on Friday 19 March (kick-off at 6.35pm).
Glory will then play the return away fixture against Melbourne City on Thursday 25 March (kick-off at 4.05pm WST, venue TBC) ahead of a final regular-season game with Melbourne Victory on Sunday 28 March at Epping Stadium (kick-off at 1.05pm WST). APL Commissioner Greg O’Rourke is looking forward to a thrilling finish to another exciting edition of the Westfield W-League.
"Due to the various border restrictions that have been in place over the past few months, this has been a particularly challenging Westfield W-League season for our Clubs, players and fans manage," he said. "Thankfully we are now in a position to announce all the remaining fixtures of the Westfield W-League 2020/21 Season.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Clubs, players and coaching staff as well as our broadcast partners FOX SPORTS and ABC TV, for their understanding and cooperation throughout the season so far. With all teams in contention for the Finals Series, the stage is now set for a thrilling finish to the Westfield W-League 2020/21 Season."
GLORY’S ON AGAIN OFF AGAIN SEASON FRUSTRATES SUPPORTERS
It’s been a frustrating time for Perth Glory coaches, players and supporters after they were somewhat left in the dark over A-League fixtures for the next month. Richard Garcia's men were scheduled to host Melbourne City on Saturday 20 February and Western United on Saturday 27 February, but both of those games have now been postponed.
Australian Professional Leagues (APL) confirmed on Wednesday a raft of revised fixtures which include new dates and opponents for Glory in the club's next two home games. So instead, Glory will welcome Brisbane Roar to HBF Park on Friday 26 February (kick-off at 6.05pm WST) and Central Coast Mariners on Tuesday 2 March (kick-off at 6.20pm WST).
We all know the border closures and WA Premier Mark McGowan’s hard covid-19 quarantine policies have made it hard for the governing body to schedule games, and after Tony Sage’s comments that he didn’t want his club to travel again, after their three-game stint in the east, the fans have been left frustrated, and many believe they have been kept in the dark. But club CEO Tony Pignata came out on social media to explain the situation to supporters
“For those waiting on fixtures we should know within the next 24-48 hrs. As you can appreciate with Vic going into lockdown it has caused some changes. With the team still in 14 day quarantine there will be no game this week but stay excited we should get some home games soon,” he wrote on his twitter account (@tpignate9)
I believe Sage’s comments were valid, Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners are yet to leave NSW, while Glory have played four games on the road. I’m sure once the covid-19 situation clears and team are allowed to travel and train prior to games, then things will sort its self out. But midweek games at HBF Park are always tough to attract a good crowd, so let’s hope sooner, rather than later, we can get back to weekend games in front of a packed HBF Park crowd.
GLORY ADD TEENAGER TO W-LEAGUE SQUAD
Perth Glory have added 17-year-old striker Taneesha Baker to their Westfield W-League squad for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign, on an injury-replacement contract. The Junior Matildas representative has been given her opportunity after Gemma Craine unfortunately suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in last month's home clash with Adelaide United.
Baker, who along with fellow Glory players Hana Lowry, Isabella Wallhead and Tijan McKenna, were all named in the Junior Matildas squad for the 2019 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, starred for the Hyundai NTC in the NPLW WA last season, was previously a part of Glory's extended squad and Head Coach Alex Epakis is confident that she can thrive at W-League level.
"Taneesha is another exciting young local talent," he told the clubs website. “She has come through our local NTC program and after training with the squad the last few months, has really progressed her playing style and decision-making. She has a direct nature about her, wants to go forward and is likely to create goalscoring chances. Taneesha is a good replacement for Gemma [Craine] and I am really looking forward to having her in the squad and working with her now and in the future."
SAM KERR CONTINUES TO SCORE AT CHELSEA
Sam Kerr continued her stellar season in the English FA Women’s Super League scoring a goal to help Chelsea to a comfortable 5-0 win against Bristol City at Twerton Park. The Matildas skipper, who joined the club from Perth Glory in 2019, after stints in the US at Sky Blue FC and Chicago Red Stars, has had to adapt to the cold UK weather and covid-19, but see has fitted in well in Emma Hayes side, and was delighted after a ‘professional performance’ from the side against City on Sunday afternoon. The Blues dominated proceedings in wet conditions, and a Fran Kirby brace and a goal from Pernille Harder put them into a commanding 3-0 lead going into the break.
Kerr added a fourth 10 minutes into the second half, heading home her 12th goal of the season before Bethany England netted from close-range to wrap up a comprehensive win. Kerr was delighted with a strong display from the Blues, despite the difficult conditions. “It was a great performance,” she said. “We had multiple goal scorers and it was difficult conditions, but that’s what we came here to do. We got the three points and we did the job well.”
Kerr, Kirby, Harder and England have a combined total of 48 goals and the East Fremantle-born striker believes we are now seeing the benefit of the work put in on the training pitch. “Every week in training it’s so competitive, whoever is on the pitch. We’ve all played together a lot now, and it’s nice to see us all get on the scoresheet,” she explained. “I’m happy to be contributing to the team, that’s what my job is, that’s what I’m here for. The more we win the better for me.”
Chelsea will now have a break from league action with a number of the squad reporting for international duty. Attention will then turn to their Champions League round of 16 tie against Spanish side Atletico Madrid on March 4, and Kerr believes their last two victories over Arsenal and Bristol have showed a real strength in the Blues squad.
“I think last week we’ve showed what a team we are, and the performance against Arsenal and then this to back it up, they have been massive team performances,” she said. “We always want to be at the top of the league, and everyone is chasing us. “We need to come out and keep on putting in professional performances like we did and put the pressure back on everyone else.”
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE REVIEW
The NPLWA Night Series resumed on Friday evening and Inglewood United continued their goalscoring spree after a 4-1 win against Rockingham City in the early game at Dalmatinac Park. Andres Oliveira’s side bagged five last time out against Cockburn and were ahead in this one after only 13 minutes. A cross into the penalty area from Steve Sokol found the head of new striker Ajak Riak, who made no mistake. The tall striker added a second eight minutes later, some neat lead up play ended with Robert Petkov, who picked out Riak to finish clinically. Rockingham found a lifeline early in the second half when referee Joshua Nixon pointed to the spot and Ryan Kennedy converted the resulting penalty. But that was as good as it got for Goran Stajic’s side, and United added a third on 78 minutes, with a contender for goal of the season. Riak was the provider this time, he crossed to Andreas Theodosiades, who controlled the ball on his chest, and his superb overhead kick found the top corner from 10 meters. Petkov added a fourth late from the penalty spot to give United a comprehensive win. “There is still plenty to work on as a team,” United defender Mark Barnett said. “I feel after two games now we are coming together well as players and the new lads are making the right impacts we need following on from last season.”
In the late game at the venue Cockburn City and Gwelup Croatia fought out a 2-2 draw. Taki Nicolaidis’ side were ahead on 27 minutes, Ethan Brooks mazy run down the left took him past a number of Cockburn defenders, before delivering a perfect cross for Hasani Sinclair to tap in unmarked. Cockburn levelled six minutes into the second half, Sebastian da Silva’s cross found an unmarked Anthony Skorich, who headed home, despite the best efforts of keeper Stefan King. But Gwelup regained their lead on 72 minutes, Rocco Pizzata found space down the right before crossing to Sinclair, who headed home powerfully. It looked like Gwelup would hold on to the three points, but five minutes from time Cockburn restored parity. Alex Basto cross again found an unmarked Skorich who headed home to give both sides a share of the spoils. “It was a great game and a great improvement from two weeks ago,” Cockburn’s Jesse Lazzaro said. “This time more of the younger boys got their chances and stepped up very well, and keeper Ben Radonich was outstanding. It’s great to get so more minutes into the legs and good to see we’re improving every day, and good to see Skorich back on the scoresheet.”
On Sunday we headed to Percy Doyle Reserve, for a repeat of last season Final between Perth SC and Floreat Athena, and once again Perth ran out winners, 2-1. New striker Cameron Teece rattled the crossbar early for the Perth, but they did find the opener on 25 minutes. Kris Santich fed the ball wide to Yagoub Mustafa, who cut into the penalty area and finished well. They doubled their lead two minutes later, Jayden Gorman received the ball from an overhit cross, and he turned towards goal, raced into the area and finished clinically from the angle. Floreat were back in the game fifteen minutes from time when Sean McManus’ shot hit the arm of a Perth defender and referee David Bruce pointed to the spot. Nick Ambrogio stepped up to convert and it set up a frantic finale, but Floreat couldn’t find the equaliser. It went from bad to worse in the final minute with Dennis Galan being sent off. “We are pleased with the overall performance against a tough Floreat side,” Perth Head Coach Ramon Falzon said. “We are happy with our overall defensive discipline and the amount of goal scoring chances we created especially in the first half. Getting the lead and doubling the score was very important because it felt like a just reward for the players, after the efforts they have put in over pre-season in the lead up to the first Night Series game.”
In the late game at the venue Armadale started their group games on a high beating hosts Sorrento 4-1. It was the hosts who opened the scoring on 21 minutes, with Jaxon Temata scoring, and they led by that goal at the break. But three minutes into the second half Armadale levelled, Angel Andres capitalizing on a defensive mistake to race one-on one with the Gulls keeper to score. Armadale hit the front on the hour mark, Pieter Jacobsz’ good tenacity to win the ball, before racing into the box and finishing well. Sixty seconds later they added a third. Some neat build up play ended with Chad Nilson out wide, and the speedy winger cut in on the angle to finish well. They wrapped up the win ten minutes from time with Kevin Ashwood’s free kick finding the top corner. Despite the win, Reds Head Coach John O’Reilly said they are still a long way from the finished product. “It was a very good first Night Series runout for us,” he explained. “But there are still a few areas to work on, but lots of positives to be taken from the game.”
The final games were held at Frank Drago Reserve and first up last season’s champions ECU Joondalup beat Perth Glory 2-1. The Jacks dominated for large periods in the first half and new signing Chris Harold opened the scoring on the half hour, and what a goal it was. The former Glory striker picked the ball up in the middle of the park and raced forward before unleashing an unstoppable long-range shot which flew into the top corner of the net giving Cameron Cook no chance. But nine minutes later Glory found the equaliser, ECU failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Chris Donnell who finished low past Johnny Perkins. The Jacks custodian then produced a superb save to thwart Ciaran Bramwell as Glory pressed for a second, but it as the Jacks who regained their lead in the first minute of stoppage time. Harold was brought down on the edge of the box and Evans stepped up and curled the resulting free kick up and over the wall and into the corner of the net. After the break it was backs to the wall for the Jacks, as Glory pressed for the equaliser and it looked like they had found it on 66 minutes, but Nelson Tshongo cleared Ciaran Bramwell’s effort off the line, before Perkins produced a fingertip save to deny them late. “I thought we played well tonight, and the new lads fitted in really well with our structure and it bodes well for the season ahead,” Evans said post-match. “I thought we should have been a few more up at half time, we created some great chances but failed to take them, and with the preseason being reduced due to the corona virus lockdown we had to dig deep late on to get the result.”
In the late game at the venue hosts Bayswater City ran out 4-1 winners against Balcatta. It was birthday boy Gordon Smith who opened the scoring on 22 minutes, Jack Allen sending the Scottish striker one-on-one with the Balcatta keeper to score. They doubled their lead just before the break, Luke Salmon finishing with aplomb after a ball over the top. It was 3-0 on the hour, Steven Hesketh header crashed off the crossbar, and Balcatta failed to clear and Smith punished them firing home from close range. It was 4-0 five minutes later Kosta Sparta raced past two Balcatta defenders and finishing low past the keeper. Balcatta scored a late consolation goal with Anthony Topini on target, but it was too little too late. "Happy to start our Night Series with a win and good performance," Smith said. "It's always important to start life under a new coach well and I thought we did that, and it's good for Gareth to get off to a winning start at the club. On a personal note, it's nice to get on the scoresheet, but it's still early days and we move onto Wednesday's game against Perth SC."
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK THREE PREVIEW
NPLWA football in WA is back this weekend, with the night series resuming after last week’s lockdown, with games on Friday and Sunday. The pre-season competition has got off to something of a false start, with just two matches from Round One completed. Football West have announced the remaining Round One matches have been rescheduled for Wednesday, 17 February, while Round Two, which should have taken place last weekend, is now set for Wednesday, 3 March.
This week’s fixtures start on Friday at Dalmatinac Park, when Inglewood United meet Rockingham City. (6.30pm) Both sides had big wins in the opening round, United thrashing Cockburn City, while City came from behind to beat Perth Glory. It’s still early doors in the competition but winning is a habit and both sides will look to continue their winning form in this one. In the late game Cockburn City host Gwelup Croatia, with Scott Miller’s side looking to bounce back from last week’s heavy loss.
Gwelup’s game in round one was called off hours before kick-off and skipper Blair Govan said it was so frustrating. “The lockdown came at a pretty annoying time just a few hours before we were due to kick off our first night series game, but the boys responded well everybody has done their part to keep on top of their fitness,” he explained. “Luckily we only really missed a week of training, so it hasn’t set us back really we are just looking forward to playing in a game now and hopefully things roll on and that’s the last of the disruptions.”
Govan said pre-season is going well at Wishart Street, and is expect Cockburn to come out firing after their loss last time out. “We held on to most of last year’s squad so we had a solid base to build on and the new boys have fitted in easily. We have worked hard and the standard has been great so now we are looking forward to getting on with night series and getting some game time in the legs. We can’t look in to Cockburn’s last result too much, they are a good team, and are always going to be will drilled and hardworking and have some quality players. We can only focus on what we have worked on and try put it into the game, put in a solid performance and hopefully start things off with a win.”
On Sunday there are double-headers at Frank Drago Reserve and Percy Doyle Reserve. In the early game at Bayswater, Perth Glory take on ECU Joondalup. (5.00pm) Glory let the lead slip against Rockingham last week, and Ruben Zadkovich’s side will be looking to bounce back in this one, while Kenny Lowe’s side will be hoping to start the preseason competition on the front foot. In the late game at the venue Bayswater City host Balcatta. (7.00pm) Bayswater new Head Coach Gareth Naven will take control of his first game in this one, and the former Perth Glory skipper will look for a winning start.
Standing their way is Bobby Taneski’s Balcatta, who ended last season well, and central defender Adam Tong, who will play against his former club, said they are looking for a good start to the season, but he’s just glad to back playing. “It’s been a strange time with the COVID and the league last year the way it was all set up, but we are just happy to get out and play competitive games again,” he explained. “Fingers crossed this year things won’t change, and we can have a proper season with the top four, FFA Cup and relegation and promotion.”
Tong said they have a tough draw in the preseason competition but he is relishing the challenge, “With preseason eight weeks in the lads are looking fitter and believe it or not their touch is coming back,” he joked. “We have had a few friendly games over the last month which is always good to try and get that match fitness back and implement what style of play we are going for this season. I think when you look at our group it’s the group of death basically with Perth SC, Baysie, Floreat, Sorrento and Armadale, with all teams capable of beating each other.
“This week it’s always good to have a game under lights at Frank Drago, and I’m expecting it to be a tough one with Gareth taking over as manager this season and the squad he has assembled. Like always it’s a battle but one, us minnows at Balcatta enjoy, as it lifts your game playing against a strong opponent. Hoping the restrictions are lifted and a few people come down and watch the game which I think would be of good quality.”
Finally, at Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday, there is a replay of last season’s final when regaining night series winners Perth SC take on runners-up Floreat Athena (5.00pm). Perth have won this competition 21 times over the years, and not many people will be backing against them this year, but saying that Floreat have also won the preseason trophy eight times. Floreat defender Dennis Galan said it’s been tough around the world over the past year, and although the lockdown was disappointing Perth is still the best place to be.
“As you can imagine it’s been an unsettling time for everyone in the world, but Perth had it good for 10 months, where we were free to do as we wish, so it just makes you appreciate how good we have it here in Perth,” he explained. “But we’re back now and the lads are all buzzing to be back at training and having a laugh with each other. I guess the positive note is that it’s happened before the season kicked off, so we will use the night series to build fitness and momentum leading up to the season.”
Galan said they are working hard under coach Vas Vujacic and new assistant coach, and another Floreat legion in Adrian Sutton, and are looking to start on a high and put last year’s final defeat behind them. “Preseason has been good to us, and Vas and Adrian Sutton are looking to build on last year, and the boys have looked sharp and ready to kick off night series,” he said. “Last season unfortunately for us, Dean Evans was getting married, so the whole squad was in Sydney celebrating him signing his life away and missed playing the final
“Luckily there is no wedding this year, so we should all be fit to play. These games are always a blockbuster and I’m sure this one will be no different. They’ve had a couple new signings, so I’m sure Perth will be strong as usual, but us boys are always up for the challenge and looking forward to another entertaining game.” In the late game at the venue Sorrento host Armadale. (7.00pm) Both sides finished in the NPLWA top six last season and will want to start the competition well, the Reds going in search of their first night series trophy, while the Gulls will look to add to their 1999 success.
WILLIAMS JOINS THE HAWKS
Former Burnley, Perth Glory, Floreat Athena and ECU Joondalup defensive midfielder Aryn Williams is back in the game after signing for English National League South club Havant and Waterlooville. The 27-year-old played 22 A-League games for the Glory, after a three-year spell at English side Burnley. He headed to India in 2017, and spent two seasons at Neroca FC, before heading to Indonesian Liga 1 side Persebaya Surabaya and helping the club to the East Java Governor Cup in 2020.
But after the club gave the defender an indefinite period of time off due to the uncertainty of the league due to the corona visa, he headed back to the UK to visit his twin brother Ryan, who is currently playing for English Division One side Portsmouth, and enjoyed it and decided to find a club in the UK. “I originally came back to spend some time with Ryan, and then decided I wanted to stay and try a find a team here,” Williams explained. “I spoke to my agent and he organised for me to head to the Hawks for some training and I ended up gaining a contract with the club.”
Williams enjoyed every moment of his time at Persebaya, and said the supporters were amazing. “I really enjoyed my time at Persebaya, it’s a fantastic club with amazing fans and I was really sad to leave,” he said. “But playing back in England has been a goal of mine since leaving Burnley in 2013, so I am happy I was able to reach that goal but now the hard work starts again, and I have to get used to this cold weather.”
The Williams family is well known in football, with older brother Rhys also playing overseas at Saudi Arabian club Al-Qadsiah, while his father Eric has coached in Asia and Australia. Aryn made is debut for Havant on Saturday, coming off the bench early in the FA Trophy tie against National League side Notts County. After a hard-fought game the sides were level 2-2 at full time and unfortunately Paul Doswell’s side were beaten in the penalty shootout.
Despite the defeat Williams said it was good to back on the park, and getting game time back in the legs. “I came into the game in the middle of the first half so I got a really good run out,” he said. “I felt comfortable and really at home in the midfield and I’m looking forward to playing again on Tuesday night in the league. It’s always tough losing in the cup and especially on penalties, we worked so hard against tough opposition and we can hold our heads high and say we gave everything we had, we were just unlucky on the day.”
DEANS TO STEER THE JETS
Craig Deans has completed one of football's longest apprenticeships in being named Newcastle Jets' A-League coach. The three-time interim coach was installed on a full-time basis today, having acted in the role since Carl Robinson's sudden exit to Western Sydney Wanderers in December.
Deans, who is contracted to Newcastle until the end of next season, was opted for by the club over former Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe, former Western Sydney Wanderers and Glory assistant Hayden Foxe and former Newcastle and Young Socceroos coach Gary van Egmond.
Deans, former Bassendean Caledonian and Western Knights player, turned out for national league teams Perth Glory and Carlton before joining Newcastle in 2003. He turned his hand to coaching in 2008 and has held since held Academy and W-League coaching positions with Newcastle.
"I’m very proud to be given the opportunity to lead the Club," Deans, 46, said. "After successfully working through some challenging times as a Club, we can now focus on moving forward and building a strong culture both on and off the field to enable us to bring success to this Club and the Newcastle region."
"I would like to thank Shane (Mattiske) and the new ownership group for putting their faith in me and thank the players for their commitment and effort through the pre-season and the first seven games of the season. I also want to say a big thanks to all the coaching and support staff who work beside me, and within the Jets system, for all that they have done in helping me get to this point."
"Finally, I want to thank the fans for their valuable support. We’re back at McDonald Jones Stadium on February 28 and I cannot wait to see our fans and members out in force to support the team." Newcastle began the season with four straight losses but have started to turn things around with two wins and a draw.
Executive Chairman Shane Mattisk said the appointment of Deans provides Newcastle a leader who genuinely knows and understands the Club. "He’s proven that during what was a challenging period, he can bring together a team and build real success," commented Mattisk.
"He comes from our community, deeply understands our Club and our Players, and has demonstrated his ability to deliver a very competitive team within a very tough competition. He is the right person for this team, this town and this region. Craig has created a side that is working for each other, working for him and working for our community."
GLORY GET TRAINING GREEN LIGHT
Perth Glory have been given an exemption from COVID-19 home quarantine restrictions to train behind closed doors from tomorrow. Glory went into quarantine on Saturday after their 12-day, four-game road trip across Victoria and Adelaide but will be allowed to drive to Perth Oval, train and drive home.
The move puts their next home game against Melbourne City back on the agenda but it’s unlikely to be played as scheduled on Saturday 20 February, the day they come out of isolation. It will also depend on WA’s border restrictions. If City are allowed into WA, the game is likely be moved back a couple of days.
Glory are able to train two hours a day on the pitch but not use any stadium facilities. “It’s great news,” coach Richard Garcia said. “We won’t be able to train fully with all facilities, no video analysis, no gym, it’s going to be limited, but we’ve had enough experience in quarantine to know how to get these things done.”
“I’m just so happy for the boys that they can get out, that we can get some kind of fitness into them and get them going again. We’ve had a few days rest now and they will be itching to get out the house and back to training. It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks.” Glory are currently fourth on the A-League ladder.
WA YOUNGSTERS STARING ON THE BIG STAGE
It’s not just the Perth Glory A-League team giving youngsters a chance, with W-League trio of Hana Lowry, Tijan McKenna and Isabella Wallhead all impressing, and to make it more impressive they grew up within a postcode of each other, all represented the state and the country at youth level together. Now, all three of them find themselves in the Glory’s W-League set-up and harbour dreams of playing together for the Matildas one day.
Lowry, Wallhead and McKenna have shared pitches in WA, from Cockburn City’s Beale Park to Perth SC’s Dorrien Gardens via international tours of continental Asia. All three have known each other since their early teens, having grown up in Cockburn’s western suburbs, with Lowry and McKenna having come through John Curtin College’s famed football program and Wallhead going to school at nearby Seton Catholic College. They all dream of one day walking down the tunnel and out onto a pitch together for the Matildas – something they first discussed when they were much younger.
All three spent time in Cockburn City Soccer Club’s youth ranks and Football West’s National Training Centre side in the NPLW WA. Given their geographical proximity, its somewhat unsurprising that their footballing careers have frequently overlapped, with Wallhead and Lowry have known each other the longest, with Tijan meeting them through her sister, former Perth Glory and current Brisbane Roar midfielder Leticia.
“It would be crazy to go from three girls at Cockburn City Soccer Club, going through all those stages together and then onto the Matildas,” Wallhead said. Lowry said their friendship off the field lent itself to on-field chemistry. “Playing together for five years, you learn what each other’s strengths are and you know how you can read each other better,” she said. “As you keep playing together, that experiences of being on the pitch together makes it easier. When you accomplish something and you know that you worked together for so long on it, when you do it together, it means a lot more.”
They first played together when they were named in WA’s Under-12 side for the Australia Pacific School Games in Adelaide in 2015. Three years later, the trio earned national youth honours when they were selected in the Australian side who travelled to Kyrgyzstan for the Under-16 Women’s Championship qualifying tournament. “It was big step up; it was like little league to a big stage, more nerves came along with it, but the people around you helped you,” McKenna said.
Almost a year later, the group were named in the Young Matildas side who contested the Under-16 tournament in Thailand, helping Australia to the semi-finals and a fourth placed finish. Lowry and Wallhead both made their W-League debuts for Perth Glory in the 2019-20 campaign, with McKenna signing on for the current season. A creative forward, Lowry is regarded as one of Australia’s best young prospects and has already caught the eye with a string of impressive performances in the W-League this season and last. McKenna has already made three appearance in the midfield this season, while Wallhead played three times in defence towards the end of last season.
KILKENNY HAS THE FINAL WORD WITH MAUK
Perth Glory’s 2-1 win against Adelaide City took a back seat on Friday evening, and it was the war of words between former teammates Stefan Mauk and Neil Kilkenny that had the football world taking. The pair were once teammates at Melbourne City, but after being locked in a heated battle at Coopers Stadium, the players didn’t hold back with their thoughts of each other in half-time and full-time interviews live on Fox Sports.
The pair were teammates during Kilkenny’s 18-month spell at Melbourne City between 2016 and 2018, and a series of fierce encounters during a full-blooded first-half soon spilled over to a war of words at half-time. When asked by FOX Sports if he and Kilkenny were still friends, Mauk replied: “Nah, I guess there’s a reason why they didn’t play him at City… so enough said I think.”
Mauk had opened the scoring for the Reds in the first half, but Kilkenny provided the assist for Bruno Fornaroli equaliser before an own goal from George Timotheou completed the late turnaround, and Glory’s midfield general allowed himself to let loose at full-time. “I said it on the pitch, I was at Melbourne City for a year-and-a-half and I got player of the year in the first year,” Kilkenny replied.
“I think that’s a bit unprofessional of him, but maybe he should write that in his diary instead of putting it out in the public domain. Things happen on the pitch that should stay on the pitch. It’s a big boy game and I showed with my football what I meant. I love a good chat on the pitch. I know I can get into his head and obviously I did.”
It was Kilkenny who had the last laugh when the 35-year-old helped spark the comeback when he collected Diego Castro’s pass and recorded his competition-high fifth assist of the season, squaring the ball for Fornaroli to add the finish. Kilkenny has been in vintage form so far this campaign and the 14-cap Socceroo believes there is still much more to come. “I’m living the dream, it’s what I wanted to do since I was four or five years old,” Kilkenny said. “I want to extend it as much as possible. I have to look after myself and hopefully I can play as long as I can. My aim is to 40. Whether I can do that is a different matter but hopefully I can give myself the best opportunity.”
Glory flew back to locked-down Western Australia on Saturday and went straight into a 14-day isolation period ahead of their next proposed match against Melbourne City on Saturday, 20 February, but on arrive they had some good news with WA Premier Mark McGowen allow the team to train while in quarantine. “It’s tough, we’ve had a lot of lockdowns,” Kilkenny said. “But to go back with three points in the back pocket, especially in the last half an hour, it was really pleasing for the lads to do what they did and we look on to the next game and we can’t wait to start again.”
GLORY COME FROM BEHIND TO BEAT REDS
Perth Glory produced another spirited performance to secure a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday evening. Stefan Mauk had given the Reds the lead at the break, but Bruno Fornaroli’s fourth goal of the season and a Daniel Stynes’ deflected shot secured the win and moved Richard Garcia’s side to third on the A-League ladder.
The coach was thrilled with his side’s performance, especially with it being their fourth game in 13 days, and praised them on their resilience on the road. "After a long two weeks away from home it's fantastic to know they're running games out with physical fatigue, mental fatigue, and they've still got that desire to win," he said. "It's fantastic to see how together they are and how much they want to succeed."
Garcia made five changes to the side that beat Melbourne City on Sunday, with Nick Sullivan, Brandon Wilson, Andy Keogh and Nick D’Agostino coming into the starting eleven, with Callum Timmins, Josh Rawlins, Daniel Stynes and Carlo Armiento dropping to the bench. It was Glory who started the better and bossed possession, but it was Adelaide who created the first opportunity on 14 minutes. Yaya Dukuly cross picked out Ben Halloran at the back post, but his shot was straight at Tando Velaphi.
The home fans thought their side had a penalty moments later, when Dane Ingram brought down the lively Halloran, but the flag had already gone up for offside in the build-up. But on 20 minutes the Reds hit the front. Halloran raced down the right, and he cut the ball back to Mauk, and the Reds skipper swept the ball home. Glory went in search of a quick equaliser and Keogh stung the palms of James Delianov after good work from Wilson.
But Adelaide looked dangerous going forward and Velaphi had to be alert moments later saving bravely at the feet of Halloran. Keogh was brought down in the box, but referee Adam Kersey waved away their penalty protests. Fornaroli then tried his luck from long-range on 37 minutes, his effort flashing just over the top. Keogh was replaced sixty seconds later the Irish striker injuring his groin and was replaced by Adelaide-born Carlo Armiento. Both sides had late chances, first Diego Castro was denied by Delianov, then in stoppage time Halloran raced clear, but Velaphi got his angles right and he fired wide of the target.
Reds talented youngster Mohamed Toure came on at the break and he was soon in the action. His pace took him clear of Lachman down the right, but his low shot was wide of the target. Glory looked static early, and were struggling to break down the Reds defence, but they did go close on the hour. Sullivan raced down the right, cut into the penalty area, but his shot on the run was well saved by Delianov. Armiento then stung the palms of Delianov, but Adelaide went close themselves five minutes later, Al Hassan Toure shot was well claimed by Velaphi.
Garcia introduced Stynes on 70 minutes, and three minutes later they levelled. A superb through ball from Castro sent Neil Kilkelly into the penalty area, and his low cross was stabbed home by Fornaroli. It was all Glory now and it wasn’t a surprise when they hit the front seven minutes from time. A short corner caught Adelaide napping, and Kilkelly picked out an unmarked Castro, his shot was blocked, but the ball fell to Jonathan Aspropotamitis, who found Stynes on the edge of the penalty area, his first time shot deflected off George Timotheou, wrong footing Delianov to win it, before being swamped by his teammates.
Adelaide coach Carl Veart was left to rue a poor second-half performance, when Glory's experienced stars stood up for the visitors and dominated the contest. "In the end, we lacked that bit of experience and that football smarts towards the end of the second half," he said. "When they got the likes of Castro, Fornaroli and Kilkenny, they took control of the game. For some reason we just kept on dropping off, dropping off and just kept giving them far too much space and time."
The Glory now travel back to Perth and look set to face 14 days in quarantine, but Garcia remained upbeat about his player's ability to deal with what lies ahead. "Yep, I actually don't know what to say to that," Garcia said. "These guys have had to overcome every hurdle so far and they've done that and they've challenged themselves to continually focus on what they can affect which is their performance, which is their behaviours. So yeah, it's going to be tough, quarantine, but we have to deal with that in the best manner we can and then look forward to the next game."
Adelaide United: GK James DELIANOV, 6 Louis D’ARRIGO (35 Al Hassan TOURE 46'), 8 Stefan MAUK (16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS 69'), 9 Tomi JURIC, 15 Noah SMITH, 18 Joe CALETTI, 19 Yaya DUKULY (17 Mohamed TOURE 34'), 22 Michael JAKOBSEN (3 George TIMOTHEOU 43'), 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN ((29 Kusini YENGI 69'), 34 Yared ABETEW - Subs not used: RGK Joe GAUCI, 2 Michael MARRONE
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 39'), 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN (34 Mason TATAFU 90+2'), 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 71'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS - Referee: Adam Kersey
ADELAIDE UNITED v PERTH GLORY – PREVIEW
Perth Glory will head into Friday's clash with Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium, looking to build on their gutsy 3-1 win against Melbourne City last week. (4.05pm WST) It’s been a gruelling schedule for Richard Garcia’s side, having played four games in the space of just 11 days, but the Head Coach feels that the best is very much still to come from his players. Glory will be looking for a second victory over the Reds this term having beaten Carl Veart's side 5-3 at HBF Park in last month's thrilling season-opener.
Garcia, who will again tinker with the starting line-up, said his new look side are building nicely, but like any coach, is looking for more. "We've got a lot of improving to do," he told the clubs website. "We're still in our infancy and are nowhere near where we need to be as a team. But the good thing is that we're playing as a team and getting results off the back of that. We've got a lot of improving to do not only in attack, but also in defence. This will be another game in which to grow as a group and make sure that we're heading in the right direction."
The squad have at least had a longer recovery period since defeating City on Sunday and Garcia was quick to praise the club's physio and strength and conditioning staff for the role, they have played in helping the players maintain their performance levels in the hectic schedule. "The lads have had more time to rest which is good, but now it's a cumulative fatigue," he explained.
“Playing games back-to-back to back, it takes a little bit longer to recover, but the medical staff and physical team have done a fantastic job of trying to keep the players in a good state of well-being in terms of not only bodies, but minds as well. It's a huge credit to them that they've kept the guys as fresh as they can be in this hard period."
Garcia hinted that striker Andy Keogh and Riley Warland are poised to return to the selection frame, having missed the Melbourne City game through injury. He knows that the presence of the former Ireland international will significantly bolster Glory's already prolific attack. "Andy had a bit of a tight glute and rather than take a risk, we erred on the side of caution," he explained. "He's firing now and ready to go. It's good to have options, it’s something we've been a bit light on at times.
"We want two good players for every position and that's slowly, slowly coming. The more the young guys start to prove themselves and with the players that will be coming into the squad as well, it'll put us in a place where we will have real competition for places. That's fantastic to have... you want players to be challenged by each other. The players are taking every challenge on board.
"Whether they start or come off the bench, they're looking sharp and ready to go. It's not just about the guys who start, it's about the guys who come on and affect the game. That's a big thing for us - everyone knows their role and is prepared to come on and affect the game." Also missing from the squad is Osama Malik, Luke Bodnar and Chris Ikonomidis who are all on the injured list.
Adelaide United squad: GK James DELIANOV, GK Joe GAUCI, 2 Michael MARRONE, 3 George TIMOTHEOU, 6 Louis D’ARRIGO, 8 Stefan MAUK, 9 Tomi JURIC, 15 Noah SMITH, 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17 Mohamed TOURE, 18 Joe CALETTI, 19 Yaya DUKULY, 21 Javi LÓPEZ, 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 29 Kusini YENGI, 34 Yared ABETEW, 35 Al Hassan TOURE - *2-4 to be omitted* - Ins: TIMOTHEOU (promoted), JURIC (returns from injury), LÓPEZ (returns from injury), NIYONGABIRE (promoted) - Outs: 7 Ryan KITTO (knee) - Unavailable: 4Ryan STRAIN (groin)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 37 Riley WARLAND, 88 Neil KILKENNY - * 1-3 to be omitted* Ins: KEOGH (returns from injury), WARLAND (returns from injury) - Unavailable: 6 Osama MALIK (shoulder 2 weeks), 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 3-4 weeks), Luke BODNAR
ARNOLD KEEPING TABS ON RUKAVYTSYA
It’s been a long time between drinks for former Perth Glory striker Nikita Rukavytsya, but after impressing for Israeli side Maccabi Haifa, he is in line for his first Socceroos appearance in more than three years after coach Graham Arnold all but confirmed the talented striker would be in his squad when the Australian team returns to action next month. The Ukraine-born, Perth-raised striker has netted an incredible 38 goals in his last 53 games – including 16 in 17 outings this season, having scored a brace in Maccabi Haifa’s 3-0 win over Hapoel Kfar Saba on Monday.
The 33-year-old, who attended Mount Lawley Senior High School, before being offered a spot at the Australian Institute of Sport on a football scholarship. He played junior football at Inglewood United, Perth SC and Future Glory, and went on to play in the A-League at Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers. He has had a late-career renaissance, and last month he was voted Asia’s fourth-best player in a poll run by the Asian Football Confederation, in lieu of their usual awards which were scrapped because of COVID-19.
Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold has been thoroughly impressed, with Rukavytsya’s form, and he will looking forward, like the rest of the players, the end of what has been the longest break between matches for the Socceroos in more than 50 years, having gone through 2020 without so much as a training camp. But Australia’s qualifying path for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is finally set to resume next month with an away trip to Nepal, and Arnold said Rukavytsya – who last wore the green and gold against Honduras in November 2017 – was in the frame for a call-up.
“With COVID, there’s no guarantees with anything. But in a football sense, you look at how well he’s doing, and he’s on that list to be looked at,” he said. “A kid that’s doing fantastic, got fourth in player of the year in Asia – we’re crazy not to look. I watch his games every week and he’s got a coach and a style that is fitting and suiting him exceptionally well.
“The reason why he’s gone to this other level is like anything – he’s at that age of maturity and experience. Now when he gets half a chance in front of goal, he’s calm, he’s relaxed and he just finishes it. When you’re a bit younger you have a rush of blood or you’re a bit more excited. He’s 33 years of age but he hasn’t lost one bit of his speed. If anything, his touch has got much better, [as has] his awareness of his runs in the box.”
Rukavytsya moved to Israel, where his wife is from, after leaving the Wanderers in 2015 and spent a year with Beitar Jerusalem before signing for Maccabi Haifa. Now in his fifth season with the club, the Socceroo was reportedly in the process of obtaining Israeli citizenship several years ago. “It’s a big thing for a player when they’re away from home, happiness off the field, and being settled in a stable environment, he is that,” Arnold added. He’s been at the one club for a number of years now, he’s a legend of the club. He’s a quiet kid, a great kid, he’s proud to wear that Australian shirt and he’s desperate to get back in it.”
The Socceroos are officially scheduled to play a home World Cup qualifier against Kuwait on March 25, but sources say that match is likely to be postponed until the June international break, because of difficulties getting players in and out of the country. The Nepal game, however, is a certainty to be played as slated on March 30, and travel exemptions from that country’s government could enable Arnold to call up a strong squad of overseas-based players.
WILSON CONFIDENT GLORY CAN SHUT-OUT ADELAIDE
Midfielder Brandon Wilson is confident Perth Glory can claim their first A-League clean sheet of the season tomorrow at Adelaide United. Glory have the worst defensive record in the competition having leaked 11 goals, eight in their last three games on the road.
But each outing brought an improvement. Five goals were scored by Western United, two by Melbourne Victory with just the solitary goal from Melbourne City in Sunday’s 3-1 win. The game in Adelaide brings an end to Glory’s tough 12-day, four-game road trip against an Adelaide side out for revenge after their first round 5-3 loss at HBF Park.
“It’s hard to go three games (in eight days) and expect us to be getting three clean sheets but it’s definitely coming,” Wilson said. “Last game you saw the defence tighten up. We are getting a bit more structured defensively and fatigue is not clicking in as much now.”
Glory may have the league’s worst defensive record but they are also the leading scorers with 13 goals. “From the start Garc (coach Richard Garcia) said we are going to be an attacking team first and foremost and we are going to play forward as much as possible,” Wilson said.
“With that mentality and the players we have, from the back to the front, inevitably we are going to score goals, whether that’s from open play or set pieces its going to happen. We like to play free-flowing football, going forward a lot, and being a part of that is great.”
Wilson returned from a stint with Wellington Phoenix this season after being unwanted by previous coach Tony Popovic. He has featured in the last three games after missing the first Adelaide clash with injury and believes the much-needed win over Melbourne City was a moral booster.
“It’s given us a little confidence booster going into the next game,” the 24-year old said. “The change room was a lot better than after the two losses as you can imagine. We are still going in fatigued but we’ll deal with it as we deal with it.”
MCGUIGAN AND GILLIES FLY INTO GULLS NEST
Sorrento continue to build their squad for 2021 and the club announced this week the signing of midfielder Kian McGuigan from fellow NPLWA club Gwelup Croatia and defender Neil Gillies from neighbours Joondalup United. Gulls Head Coach Jamie Harnwell is pleased to have signed the pair. “I’m delighted to welcome Neil and Kian, both players have shown a great desire to learn and improve through pre-season already and are hungry for success with the club,” he explained. “I’m looking forward to seeing them both in the sky blue this season.”
McGuigan, who has had spells at Perth Glory, ECU Joondalup and Gwelup, said the move north is good for him. “I’m really happy with the move to Sorrento the boys and coaches have been very welcoming, unreal banter as well,” he said. “We’ve been training for a few weeks now and we’re looking really sharp, so I’m just buzzing for first game of night series now.”
An opportunity for more game time was one of the reasons the 20-year-old left Wishart Street, but he had an enjoyable year at the club. “I really enjoyed last year with Gwelup, and it was quite a tough decision whether to stay or not because I got along with the boys, coaches and everyone there very well,” McGuigan said. “But they have made some unreal signings for this season, so I thought my game time would be limited, so I now need to get my head down, work hard and cement a spot in the Sorrento side for 2021.”
Gillies played for Heathridge, ECU Joondalup and Quinns, before spending two seasons in the US college system with Santa Barbara City. He had a successful season at Joondalup United last season, but a move back to the NPLWA was something he couldn’t turn down. “I’m buzzing to sign with Sorrento, they look a strong a side this season with a lot of quality players and great coaching staff,” the 21-year-old explained. Obviously, it will be a step up for me going into the NPL but I’m really excited and hoping to perform well to help the team.
“I really enjoyed my time at Joondalup United, I was only there for one season but enjoyed playing with a good bunch of lads and playing under Nick and Steve. To be fair, if we had a bit more luck and some things went our way, we could have had a really strong finish in the league, so it was tough to leave but I’m very excited to get started with Sorrento in the night series and the NPL season.”
STRIKER HEALING WELL AT ECU
It was a season to forget for ECU Joondalup striker Ellis Healing, after two knee injuries cut his season to just one pre-season game. The 26-year-old first injured his knee in the Night Series game against Perth SC in March 2020, his first appearance for the club after his move from Gwelup Croatia. He decided not to have surgery and his knee healed after intensive rehab, and he was back ready to play in the clubs round 13 game at Floreat Athena last season. He was selected in the under 20’s on the day, but unfortunately, he re-injured the same knee in the warm up, and this time he decided to have the surgery.
“Yes, 2020 wasn’t a great year for anybody, but my knee problems made it that extra bit harder to deal with. I obviously missed the whole season and not only that it affects your everyday life of being active and being able to work etc, so it wasn’t ideal,” he explained. “Suffering one ACL is bad but getting two within a seven-month period is pretty difficult to deal with. The hardest obstacle is overcoming it mentally. Once you do that the rehab becomes second nature and you really have to go all in and dedicate your time to it if you want to return to football, which I do.”
Despite his injury Healing said the club have kept him in the fold and he celebrated long and hard when the club won the title last season, although it was tinged in sadness, having not being on the park. “Despite me only playing 15 minutes for the club since joining (what a 15-minutes by the way) they really did do good by me and stuck with me and always made me feel included still in the club, so I have to thank them for that,” he said. “So as all the lads know, I was buzzing when they all won the league on the final day and made sure I got my fair share of the celebrations that night!”
The talented striker has now had surgery on the knee and is on the way back, and although some people have written him off, he said he will be back. “I had the surgery back in October, and shout out to Chris Hutch who has been helping me throughout my Rehab, everything is going to plan with it and I will be back better than before I believe,” Healing said.
“I’m well aware a lot of people have written me off now after two serious knee injuries and most have probably forgot about me, but I don’t mind it, I know I’ll come back better. And unfortunately, as people know, I’m not short of believe in my own abilities, and I’m confident I’ll be back later on this season and help ECU to win back-to-back titles.”
GLORY-VICTORY CLASH POSTPONED
Perth Glory's home A-League game with Melbourne Victory has been postponed amid the recent changes to border restrictions. Glory were due to host Victory on 13 February in what would have been their first game back in Perth after a stint on the eastern seaboard, but that encounter will now be rescheduled.
Changes to border restrictions had already resulted in two changes made to this week's W-League fixtures involving Glory. Glory Women were due to play Melbourne City on Thursday then Victory on Sunday, but will instead face Sydney FC and Newcastle respectively.
LAZIO APPOINT WILLIAMS AS ASSISTANT MANAGER
Lazio women have appointed Nicola Williams as assistant to new manager Carolina Morace. Capped 150 times by Italy, Morace praised Lazio president Claudio Lotito for his increased focus on the women's team.
"I have returned to a club which is now of an international dimension," said Morace, whose playing career included time at Lazio, Reggiana, AC Milan, Verona and Modena. "The president's interest (in the women's team) is very important ... It's an honour to be here."
Williams, who is married to Morace, was born in England and moved to Western Australia at a young age. She played locally for Sorrento and Northern Redbacks as well as on the national stage for the State, Western Waves and Perth Glory Women.
Williams coached at State junior and youth levels while still playing. She went on to hold similar positions in the Australian national team structure before moving aboard to coach with Juventus, Milan and Trinidad and Tobago.
GLORY FACE STRIKER CRAM FOR ADELAIDE CLASH
Perth Glory coach Richard Garcia says he will do his best to "cram" in all of his attacking stars after declaring Andy Keogh a certain inclusion for Friday's A-League clash with Adelaide United. Keogh missed Sunday's win at Melbourne City with a tight glute, but has since returned to full training duties.
Friday's match will mark the first time this season Diego Castro, Keogh, Bruno Fornaroli and Nick D'Agostino have all been fit and available for selection. D'Agostino has notched four goals in four games in a scintillating start to the season while Fornaroli has scored three.
Keogh was instrumental with a series of assists in the first three games while Castro returned from a leg injury against Melbourne City by playing the opening 64 minutes. Deciding who starts and who is relegated to the bench will be a big headache for Garcia this week.
"You just cram them all in there," Garcia said with a laugh. "It's good to be able to have options. That's something that we've been a bit light on at times. We want two great players for every position (throughout the team). That's slowly coming."
Glory's schedule of four games in 12 days meant Garcia rotated his squad heavily. And although the players have now had a five day break, the coach is still wary of over burdening his players. "Now it's accumulative fatigue," he said. "Playing games back-to-back-to-back it takes a little bit longer to recover."
SAGE PUTS GLORY PLAYERS FIRST
It’s been another difficult start to season for Perth Glory, not only did they miss the start of the A-League due to a 14-day mandatory quarantine after returning from the AFC Champions League, they have been forced to the eastern states to play three games, with only one on home soil against Adelaide United. Owner Tony Sage has had enough and this week he insisted he will put the welfare of his team first, before committing to playing scheduled games.
This will give the newly formed Australian Professional Leagues its first major challenge, with Glory’s already congested fixtures list thrown into further chaos due to the WA governments strict lockdown laws last week. “Contrary to comments made in the media by A-League officials today, I have refused to allow the team to fly east after the game against Adelaide," he said on Tuesday. “The players have done enough over the last few months and deserve a break and to be home with their families. No other team has had to play five games in 21 days.
“It has taken a toll on everyone involved. We will be happy to again play a maximum of three games in NSW but after a well-deserved break.” It could see the club forfeit games, but Sage said he would put the players ahead of that if the club refuses to travel. “We hope not but player welfare is my paramount concern,” he added. Football Australia and the APL are yet to comment on the standoff.
HISTORY-MAKING JONES STARS IN SAUDI CUP WIN
Al-Nassr have paid tribute to goalkeeper Brad Jones after inspiring his team to a Saudi Super Cup glory. The West Australian shot-stopper made a number of vital saves to help Al-Nassr to a 3-0 win over bitter rivals Al-Hilal on the weekend. It marks the first trophy of a disappointing season so far.
Jones made a point-blank save to keep out a header from South Korean star Jang Hyun-soosix minutes before the break and followed that by denying Salem Al-Dawsari when he was through on goal. Six minutes after the restart Jones kept out former French international Bafetimbi Gomis. Brazilian midfielder Petros opened the scoring on the hour before Abderrazak Hamdallah and Sami Al-Naji sealed the win.
Saudi television commentators hailed a “shining and brilliant performance” from Jones and his coach was also delighted with the club’s second Super Cup triumph. “It was a strong team performance and Brad Jones made some excellent saves and with that, we always knew we would get opportunities to score,” said Al-Nassr’s caretaker Croatian coach Alen Horvat.
The fortunes of Jones, who played as a teenager for Armadale and Bayswater City, have also improved since last season when it was reported he was on his way out of Al-Nassr. The 38-year old has once again been one of the Al-Nassr’s most consistent performers and on 15 January, he kept clean sheet number 26 in the Saudi Pro League, more than any other foreign goalkeeper in the league’s history.
KERR HITS DOUBLES FIGURES
Sam Kerr continued her brilliant goalscoring run for all-conquering Women's Super League side Chelsea in a 4-0 win over Tottenham Hotpsur. Australia's captain nodded home Chelsea's third goal in a one-sided London derby, taking her to seven goals in her last seven games across all competitions.
Chelsea took the lead through Melanie Leupolz's magnificent strike and an Abbie McManus own goal. Kerr stepped up in the 38th minute by tapping in Pernille Harder's pinpoint cross. Leupolz completed the scoring in the second half by slotting in from the penalty spot.
Kerr's first half finish took her season tally to ten goals in all competitions. The win maintains Chelsea's place at the top of the WSL while extending their all-time record unbeaten league run to 33 games.
HOW GARCIA HELPED D'AGOSTINO START TO FULFIL HIS POTENTIAL
Perth Glory's Nick D'Agostino has gone from being criticised for his professionalism by Tony Popovic to being the equal top goal scorer of the A-League. And current Glory coach Richard Garcia believes it's down to a change in his mentality.
A former member of the Centre of Excellence squad at the Australian Institute of Sport, D’Agostino has consistently loomed large as one of Australia’s most promising striking prospects: making his A-League debut for Brisbane Roar at just 17 years of age.
Turning that senior breakthrough into consistent minutes, however, has oroved a challenge for the Gold Coast-born attacker. His best season with Brisbane came in 2018/19 when he made six starts and 11 substitute appearances for a single goal under John Aloisi and Darren Davies.
D'Agostino moved to Perth ahead of the 2019/20 season and while on-field signs were promising - scoring three goals in seven appearances - he also earned a public rebuke from then-Glory boss Popovic for letting his standards slip during the league’s COVID-enforced lockdown.
Flash forward to 2020/21 and the early signs for now 22-year old D’Agostino under new Glory boss Richard Garcia certainly appear more promising. D'Agostino has four goals from as many appearances to his credit, putting him alongside Brisbane Roar's Dylan Wenzel-Halls atop the A-League’s Golden Boot race.
D’Agostino feels the influence of Garcia is having a big effect on him and the group during what has been a difficult start to the season for Glory. “It’s confidence,” D’Agostino said. “That’s a big one. The gaffer has a lot of belief in me to go out there and score some goals and that’s my job, being an attacker.”
“You want to score goals and there’s hopefully the Olympics this year to go ahead and I’m fighting for that spot to get in that team. I’ve had some troubles in previous years doing that with consistent game time but I’m getting that now and the confidence is high and I’m scoring goals. So I can’t be happier.”
It was just over a year ago that D’Agostino played a key role in helping the Olyroos secure a place at the Olympic Games for the first time since 2008. “Thailand was a long time ago now,” said the attacker, who goal against Uzbekistan sealed Australia third place at the AFC Under-23 Championships.
The 2020 Olympic were postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic but D’Agostino’s dream of becoming an Olympian remains alive. The International Olympic Committee last week declared that the Games, even if they took place under heavily modified conditions, would still be going ahead in 2021.
“Every young Australian wants to play in an Olympics,” he said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been there. Arnie wants to go there and win a medal as well. That’s our aim, that’s our belief and we want to go there and do Australia proud. He said that from day one, he said ‘we’re going to the Olympics and we’re going to win a medal’.”
“Him constantly repeating it and saying it to the group that we’re going to go and do that. That’s our aim, that’s our goal and hopefully, when we get there we can put the ball in the back of the net and get to that medal stage.”
COVID LOCKDOWN SEES NIGHT SERIES SUSPENDED
The WA governments Covid-19 lockdown saw all Sunday’s NPLWA Night Series games postponed, and has put the pre-season competition in doubt. Sunday’s game between Gwelup Croatia v ECU Joondalup, Sorrento v Balcatta at Percy Doyle Reserve, and Floreat Athena v Armadale, Perth Sc v Bayswater at Dorrien Gardens were all called off and a new date hasn’t been given at this time.
Football West CEO James Curtis put out the following statement - Football West would like to advise that all football activity in the Perth metropolitan area and Peel and South West regions has been suspended until further notice, in line with the current WA Government restrictions. This follows today’s announcement from Premier Mark McGowan that those areas will enter a five-day lockdown from 6pm tonight after a positive COVID-19 case detected in a hotel quarantine worker.
All matches, including tonight’s NPL Night Series fixtures at Dorrien Gardens and Percy Doyle Reserve, training and other programs are on hold and further advice will be provided as and when it becomes available. It is important for the safety of the community we all adhere with the relevant restrictions and latest health advice.
To keep up to date with this fast-evolving situation, please follow the State Government’s COVID-19 advice here: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-latest-updates. We appreciate your understanding through this period.
GLORY BEAT CITY WITH GUTSY PERFORMANCE
Perth Glory produced a gutsy performance to beat Melbourne City 3-1 at AAMI Park, to end their Victorian stint on a high. The win moved Richard Garcia’s side off the bottom of the table, and everyone involved played their part in the win. First half goals from Daniel Stynes and Dane Ingham, plus a late header from Nick D'Agostino, secured the win and moved Glory on to the fringe of the top six. The win was marred somewhat when a City fan threw a bottle at them as they celebrated the third and deceive third goal near the sideline, something the FA need to stamp out.
"They deserved that tonight because they put in a lot of hard yards," Garcia said post-match. “We've still got a long way to go to be the team that we envisage as a group. That'll come in time and with a lot of hard work, I'm sure we'll get there. We're still growing our fitness after such a hectic schedule and you see that players are getting fatigued not only in our games, but in other games as well. So that's part and parcel of it, but it's pleasing to know that the guys had the mentality tonight to see it through the whole way."
The Coach added the players weren’t aware of the lockdown back in Perth, but the win would have brought a smile to their fans back home. "I'm very pleased with their determination, their work ethic and team spirit," Garcia said. "It's been a tough week for them and we've got another one away against Adelaide, so we've got to prepare for that as well. We found out (about the lockdown) just before we left and it did have an effect but we as a group want to focus on what we can control and at the moment (what) we can control (is) how we play on the pitch, what we do."
There were injury concerns over Andy Keogh and D’Agostino heading into the game and both missed out on a spot in the starting line-up as Head Coach Richard Garcia made five changes to the side that lost to Melbourne Victory in midweek. In came skipper Diego Castro, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Callum Timmins, Daniel Stynes and Josh Rawlins, with D’Agostino, Brandon Wilson and Nick Sullivan dropping to the bench, while Keogh and Riley Warland were omitted.
At kick off Garcia’s chargers sat bottom of the table, after Wellington Phoenix upset Central Coast Mariners earlier in the day, but they made a good start and went close to the opener after only seven minutes. Neil Kilkenny’s corner picked out Ingham, whose header crashed off the crossbar. City hit back and Jamie Maclaren was sent in on goal, but Glory defender Darryl Lachman got back to block his effort. Moments later Maclaren went even closer, he was picked out by Naoki Tsubaki, his low shot beat Tando Velaphi, but hit the far post and rebounded back into the grateful arms of the Glory custodian.
But on 11 minutes it was Glory who opened the scoring. Bruno Fornaroli and Castro combined down the left, the latter picking Stynes with a crossfield ball. The midfielder raced forward, his shot took a deflection of Carlo Armiento and nestled in the back of the net, for his first A-League goal. City looked for an instant response, but it wasn’t Maclaren’s day. The former Glory striker lost his marker from Tsubaki’s cross, but headed over the top. Velaphi then produced a smart save to deny Maclaren, before Rawlins low cross was only inches away from the sliding Castro in the penalty area.
City pressure was final rewarded on 32 minutes. Craig Noone found space on the right and his curling effort bounced off the base of the post, and Maclaren was quickest to react to fire home. Garcia went to his bench early again, this time bringing on Wilson to replace Timmins on 36 minutes, the former ECU Joondalup midfielder looking fatigued. But four minutes later Glory regained the lead. Kilkenny’s free kick picked out Ingham at the back post and the New Zealand international headed home. His celebrations were cut short with the flag up for offside, but after a VAR check the goal stood, and the celebration continued, the Glory leading 2-1 at the break.
Glory went close to a third early in the second half, Kilkenny finding Castro, and the skippers low cross was inches away from Fornaroli at the back post. City need a spark and their Uruguayan midfielder Adrian Luna almost found it, he wriggled away from his marker, but Velaphi produced a great reflex save to deny him from close-range. Velaphi was then out quick to save at the feet of French midfielder Florin Berenguer, as City went in search of the equaliser. Glory looked out on their feet, playing their fourth game in just 11 days, but they were defending gallantly, and with Kilkenny organising, City couldn’t find the equaliser. Sullivan was lucky to stay on the pitch after scything down Marco Tilio, but five minutes from time Glory found a third to seal the points.
Kilkenny’s free kick found D’Agostino, who rose highest to head home via the post. The players were incensed after the goal when a City fan threw a bottle at them as they celebrated near the sideline. But the Glory comfortably held onto their lead, leaving City's coach Patrick Kisnorbo lamenting a "flat" performance. "We beat ourselves tonight, to be honest with you, I really do," he said post-match. "I don't think they created anything at all - I think it was more with us maybe a lack of concentration and giving them the chances to have a shot on goal or a set piece."
Melbourne City FC: GK Tom GLOVER, 2 Scott GALLOWAY, 9 Jamie MACLAREN, 11 Craig NOONE (13 Nathaniel ATKINSON 74'), 14 Naoki TSUBAKI (23 Marco TILIO 54'), 16 Taras GOMULKA, 10 Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER 56'), 18 Connor METCALFE, 19 Ben GARUCCIO, 20 Adrian LUNA, 22 Curtis GOOD, 36 Kerrin STOKES - Subs not used: RGK Matthew SUTTON, 3 Scott JAMIESON, 17 Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 43 Alec MILLS
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 17 Diego CASTRO (18 Nick D'AGOSTINO 64'), 19 Callum TIMMINS (15 Brandon WILSON 36'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 22 Josh RAWLINS (16 Nick SULLIVAN 60'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 34 Mason TATAFU - Referee: Chris Beath
D’AGOSTINO FOCUS PAYING DIVIDENDS
Nick D'Agostino sealing goal against Melbourne City yesterday took the striker equal top of the A-League goalscoring ladder, and has but to bed the criticism of his professionalism by former coach Tony Popovic. His late header took him to four for the season, and Head Coach Richard Garcia believes it's down to a change in his mentality. He headed west last season having found himself on the outer following the appointment of Robbie Fowler at Brisbane Roar, scoring three goals in seven appearances after eventually forcing his way into the side post-Olympics qualification.
Move forward to 2020-21, and the early signs for the 22-year-old D’Agostino under Garcia certainly appears more promising. Coming to the end of a tough Melbourne triple-header, D'Agostino bagged his fourth goal in as many appearances, moving him alongside Roar striker Dylan Wenzel-Halls atop the A-League’s Golden Boot race after just a month of competition. Those four strikes also eclipse his highest ever single-season mark of goals in an entire A-League campaign - just 296 minutes in.
“It’s down to him and his mentality,” Garcia said of D’Agostino’s form. “It’s down to the hard work that he’s putting and the focus he’s putting in on the training ground. It’s good to see that he’s found that focus. I think he’s matured a bit. Sometimes that’s what it is. We expect young players to be mature and they’re not quite there. This might be the year that Nick focuses on the right things and makes sure that he does everything in his power to be at his best.”
For his part, D’Agostino told SBS The World Game that the influence of Garcia was having a big effect on him and the group during what has, logistically and mentally, been a difficult time for Glory early in the season. “It’s confidence,” he said. “That’s a big one. The gaffer has a lot of belief in me to go out there and score some goals and that’s my job, being an attacker. You want to score goals and there’s hopefully the Olympics this year to go ahead and I’m fighting for that spot to get in that team. I’ve had some troubles in previous years doing that with consistent game time but I’m getting that now and the confidence is high and I’m scoring goals, so I can’t be happier.”
It was just over a year ago, of course, that D’Agostino was the talk of the Australian footballing town after he played a key role in helping the Olyroos secure a place at the Olympic Games for the first time since 2008; scoring the only goal of the game as Australian downed Uzbekistan in the third-place playoff at the AFC U23 Championships in Thailand. While West Australian border restrictions prevented him from taking part in the only games that Australia’s U23s have played since - pre-season games against Sydney FC and Macarthur FC - his absence in those games was still apparent: Arnold bemoaning the lack of he and Wenzel-Halls in his squad as forcing him to play without a true number nine.
“Thailand was a long time ago now,” the striker reflected. “I need to keep playing, playing well and scoring goals and hopefully it goes ahead, with everything going on around the world.” Responding to reports that the Japanese Government had conceded in private that the Tokyo Olympics would have to be abandoned in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) came out forcefully last week declaring that the Games, even if they took place under heavily modified conditions, would still be going ahead in 2021.
For D’Agostino, this means that his dream of becoming an Olympian - and capturing an elusive medal - is still very much on the agenda. “Every young Australian wants to play in an Olympics,” he said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been there. Arnie wants to go there and win a medal as well. That’s our aim, that’s our belief and we want to go there and do Australia proud. He said that from day one - even before we went to Thailand - he said ‘we’re going to the Olympics and we’re going to win a medal. Him constantly repeating it and saying it to the group that we’re going to go and do that. That’s our aim, that’s our goal and hopefully, when we get there, we can put the ball in the back of the net and get to that medal stage.”
Even if they do go ahead, though, the Perth attacker knows that the battle for a place on the plane to Tokyo will be fierce. Squads are restricted to just 18 players at the Olympic Games and, with the sudden explosion of young players playing in the A-League in 2020-21, more and more players are putting their hand up. Add to that those overseas-based players that may come under consideration, as well as possible overage ringers, and Arnold suddenly might find himself into some very, very difficult decisions at the selection table. “You see other people at the top of the leader board and you want to edge in front of them every chance you get,” D’Agostino told The World Game of the competition. “[I had a] little cameo off the bench, one goal tonight. So, very happy. I’m just trying to stay in front of Carlo Armiento at the moment! He’s got me pipped with the assists but I’ve got him with the goal.”
INGLEWOOD AND ROCKINGHAM START NIGHT SERIES WITH BIG WINS
The 2021 NPLWA Night Series started with a bang for Inglewood United and Rockingham City, both winning their opening games against Cockburn City and Perth Glory respectively. The opening game at Dalmatinac Park started well for Ruben Zadkovich’s Glory side with Giordano Colli firing home a free kick past Brad Sprout from the edge of the box on 16 minutes. They held their lead until the hour mark when City levelled.
A corner from new signing Noah Cavanaugh found Harry Bolan who headed home. Then on 72 minutes City hit the front, second half substitute Nathan Ng’s defence splitting pass sent Cavanaugh clear and he finished clinically. Glory pressed late looking for the equaliser, but they couldn’t find a way past a hard-working City side. The only downside on the night for Goran Stajic’s side was the late sending off of Bolan and Sean Boyle.
“We lacked composure early in the game, but it was difficult weather conditions for both teams to play at a high level,” Stajic said. “In addition, having two of our players sent off made the victory sweeter. The only negative would be that I don't like that we made a lot of turnovers and that we didn't break the game open with the clear chances we created. It almost came back to bite us. Congratulations to the Perth Glory team who provided an entertaining game, and I would like to congratulate our players on the win and our super loud supporters who were amazing.”
In the late game Inglewood United started well and were ahead after only six minutes, new signing Ajak Riak headed home Roberto Del Borrello’s cross, who was also playing his first game for the club. They added a second on the quarter hour, with Robert Petkov on target, and it was 3-0 eight minutes later, with Thiak Kuel scoring. Cockburn reduced the margin on 71 minutes with Sebastian da Silva scoring, but that was as good as it got for the home side, with Inglewood added two more. First on 78 minutes Petkov’s shot on the turn beat the keeper, before four minutes from time Abdul Sesay converted from the spot.
“It was a good run out for our first competitive game of the season,” Inglewood Coach Andres Oliveira said. “I thought we played well in the first half, scoring three goals from nice build play. Second half Cockburn came out more aggressive and create chances but only scored the one, and we managed to score two more on the counter to finish the game off, which is pleasing. So overall, very happy with the display, but I’m not getting carried away as Cockburn had quite a few players out.”
NPL-WA NIGHT SERIES - WEEK ONE PREVIEW
The 2021 NPLWA Night Series kicks off this weekend, and holders Perth SC begin their defence when they take on Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday 7.00pm. Perth Head Coach Ramon Falzon said they are looking forward to the competition. “Pre-season has been progressing well, and to be fair it has been a relief to get back to a normal football training regime after the majority of the 2020 season was severely impacted by the effects of covid-19,” he explained.
“Since all the uncertainties triggered by the pandemic disappeared, the feeling of positivity returned within the playing group, which helped us focus on preparing ourselves for the 2021 season. The pre-season preparations have been progressing smoothly and we did not experience any long-term injuries. We played a few friendlies against Perth Glory, Balga and some internal games to immediately start working on improving and refining our performances.”
He will come up against a familiar face and friend on Saturday, with former Perth SC skipper Gareth Naven taking control of his first game as Bayswater City coach, but Falzon knows when the whistle goes their friendship will be put on hold for 90 minutes. “I had the pleasure of working with Gareth when he was the Head Coach of Perth Glory Youth, and through that experience I got to know Gareth and his coaching philosophy well and I rate him highly as a person and as a coach,” he said.
“That mutual respect will always be there between us; however, I am sure that both of us would want to start the Night Series with a win on Sunday. Although it is still early days, I think that Bayswater will be a highly competitive team once again. Our encounters against them are usually great games to watch because of the football quality and the intensity infected by both teams. We are expecting a tough clash on Sunday, however we are looking forward to it and we are keen to start building momentum in our performances as we get closer to the NPL.” In the early game at the venue Vas Vujacic’s Floreat Athena take on John O’Reilly’s Armadale – kick off 5.00pm.
The pre-season competition begins on Saturday when Perth Glory meet Rockingham City at Dalmatinac Park. 5pm. It will be the first competitor game for both coaches, Ruben Zadkovich at Glory and Goran Stajic at City, and Stajic is looking forward to the challenge at the SafeRad Stadium. “It's no secret that I have taken the hardest, yet most rewarding job in WA football, where you don't have much time and competitions like these are extremely valuable win, lose or draw,” he explained.
“It allows me and our supporters to get to know the players more, such as when they are leading or chasing a game or even closing out a game. We will look to introduce several formations throughout the night series and see what works and what doesn't. Overall, our objective is to consistently perform at a high standard, preparing ourselves for the home and away season.” In the late game at the venue Scott Miller’s Cockburn City host Andres Oliveira’s Inglewood United 7.00pm
The final games take us to Percy Doyle Reserve on Sunday and first up league champions ECU Joondalup begin their campaign against Gwelup Croatia. Jacks defender Shane Cassidy, who was a worthy winner of the clubs Fairest and Best Award last season, said pre-season is going well and they are looking forward to what will be a tough opening game against Gwelup. “Preseason is going well at the Campus and the coaches are putting us through our paces and getting us ready for what they want from us this year,” he said. “The squad is shaping up nicely now, although we lost a lot of good players from last season, the club showed its intent for this year by bringing in the calibre of players they did to replace them.
“Sunday’s game against Gwelup should be a good one, they have signed a lot of good players so it should be a tough one. But we have worked hard in training on our game plan and different formations and that’s what Sunday will be about trying to put into place what we want to do this year, and if that comes about, I’m sure we have the quality to start the night series off the right way.” In the final game at the venue Joe Harnwell’s Sorrento host Bobby Taneski’s Balcatta at 7.00pm
GARCIA READY TO GIVE THE KIDS A CHANCE
Perth Glory new Head Coach Richard Garcia hasn’t been worried about giving some of the club’s youngsters the opportunity in the A-League season, and they haven’t let him down. Garcia, along with assistant Steven McGarry have both worked tirelessly in the club’s academy recently, and both have seen the players at first hand and had no hesitation to inject the youngsters to the senior side.
The club’s academy pathway has already unearthed talented players, with the likes Daniel de Silva and Jacob Italiano going overseas to ply their trade and Garcia, who has already promoting five players - Bryce Bafford, Nicholas Walsh, Mason Tatafu, Joshua Rawlins and Giordano Colli - from the Academy First Team, while Daniel Stynes, Luke Bodnar, Callum Timmins and Riley Warland have all returned to the fold, and all shone in the club's AFC Champions League squad.
Warland, who first started at the club’s Academy as a 10-year-old, made his starting debut against Melbourne Victory on Tuesday, while Young Socceroos midfielder Timmins made his first start in the opening-day win over Adelaide United. Garcia is excited to see what the future holds for his young chargers. “I have every confidence in the young players that we currently have in and around our A-League squad," he said, "and surrounded by good experienced players, they have an environment in which to grow and improve.
“WA has always produced talented young players and the substantial investment our owner Tony Sage has made into the Glory Academy has allowed us to create a pathway for such players to learn their trade in a professional environment and then be given an opportunity to represent their home-state club at senior level. It is up to those players to take those opportunities and we have seen a number of them grasping the challenge in both the AFC Champions League and more recently, in the A-League.
“We’re seeing a lot of young Australian players impressing across the A-League this season and that can only be good for the future of the game in this country." Bafford, Walsh, Tatafu, Rawlins, Colli, Stynes, Bodnar, Warland, and Timmins have all come through the clubs NPLWA side, highlighting the important role Australia’s National Premier Leagues play in the pathway to the professional ranks and preparing youngsters for the challenges that exist in the A-League.
ARMIENTO THRIVING UNDER GARCIA
Perth Glory’s Carlo Armiento has come into the A-League side in recent weeks, this after impressing in their AFC Champions League campaign in Doha. The 21-year-old headed west in February 2020, and struggled to get a spot in the starting side, but under new Head Coach Richard Garcia the South Australian has showed his talents, this after only a handful of A-League games under Tony Popovic. But Armiento believes a change of coach gives everyone the opportunity to impress, and that’s happened for him under Garcia.
"When a new coach comes in, they all have different opinions," Armiento told a-league.com.au. “When Gertjan came into Adelaide he had his opinions, and he wasn’t really a fan (of me). So, I thought to see if there were any other options in the A-League, and Perth came about. Personally, it’s been good for myself - the last couple of years haven’t always been upwards [development-wise], it’s probably been more down, so it’s good all the hard work I’ve been putting in is finally coming out."
Armiento says both Popovic and Garcia have helped to improve his game as an attacker throughout his time in Perth, and it allowed him to gain a long-awaited opportunity to let his talents shine. "Working with Tony Popovic was very good, I learned a lot off of him," Armiento said. “Now with Richie, I’m loving my football. He played in the Premier League, he’s an attacker, and I think he’s given me the freedom to just go out there and express myself, which I love doing.
“We have the freedom up there, Bruno (Fornaroli), Andy (Keogh), (Nick) D’Agostino, myself, Diego (Castro), there’s quality up there so I think Richie just gives us the message to go out there and enjoy our football. As a youngster, it’s all about opportunity - when you get that opportunity, you need to take it with both hands. I have that opportunity, and hopefully I can take it.”
Three goals and an assist in just two substitution appearances against Adelaide and Western United made it impossible for him to be overlooked in Glory's midweek game against Melbourne Victory, in which Armiento played from the start and assisted his side's only goal in the 2-1 loss, picking out Fornaroli with an inch perfect cross. With an embarrassment of attacking stars in the Glory squad Armiento could be forgiven for thinking his time in the starting line-up was limited, but with his confidence at an all-time high, and he believes in his own ability.
"I think confidence is a big part of any footballer, if you have confidence you feel like you can do anything,” he said. “Even in the first game I just went out there, and I know I have the ability so I just expressed myself. To be playing with Bruno, Andy, Diego, they give you so much confidence. Richie is very good with me, he just says not to worry about anything, just go out there and express yourself, don’t get caught up in too much of the game plan, just enjoy yourself - that’s why I’m loving it so far. Our attack has that much depth, so if Diego goes out, Andy goes out, Bruno goes out, us youngsters know we have to step up. I think you’ve seen in the last couple of games we have, so we need to keep working hard. It’s going to be a headache for Richie if we all keep performing, but I think it’s what he wants."
GLORY PAYS THE PENALTY LATE
Perth Glory have conceded two late goals, including a last-minute penalty, to go down 2-1 to Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Australia Day. It looked like Bruno Fornaroli’s header on the hour would be enough for Richard Garcia’s side, but former Glory midfielder Jake Brimmer levelled four minutes from time and he then won it for the hosts from the spot.
Garcia said the schedule is tough, and the workload on his players showed late. "We're getting better at backing up, which is fantastic, but it's always hard when you have to play three games in six days and there were a few tired bodies out there," he said post-match. “When you're coming into the late stages and you're bringing young boys off the bench that don't have that experience, sometimes you cop goals.
"It's a tough schedule for us - we've been asked to play four games in 12 days which is pretty tough, I think, for anybody. We're probably the only people that are being asked to do that, but that's what happens and we've got to deal with it. We started slow against Western United and again tonight you could see the guys that have played most of the minutes looked fatigued in the first half and it took them quite a while to get up to speed."
Skipper Diego Castro was still unavailable for this one, and Garcia made five changes to the side that were beaten by Western United on Saturday, with former Fulham and ECU Joondalup teenager defender Riley Warland making his starting A-League debut. While Nick Sullivan, Carlo Armiento, Brandon Wilson and Tando Velaphi also came into the side, with Liam Reddy, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Josh Rawlins, Callum Timmins and Daniel Stynes dropping to the bench.
The hosts were on front foot early and the lively Marco Rojas raced into the penalty area, but Darryl Lachman got an important foot in to deny him. The New Zealand international was in again on 19 minutes, but his shot on the run was saved by Velaphi. Robbie Kruse then went close, but his long-range shot was saved low by the busy Velaphi. Moments later Victory had their best chance of the game, Kruse raced across the penalty area, and his back heel picked out Brandon Lauton whose first-time flashed inches past the far post.
Glory continued to struggle with a rampant Victory, and Velaphi came to their rescue again on the half hour, this time producing a smart one-handed save to deny Brimmer. Glory’s first real chance came moments later, Neil Kilkenny sent Fornaroli clear, but the Uruguayans curling shot was well saved by Max Crocombe. Velaphi was keeping Glory in the game and he got down well to save Kruse’s shot just before the break, but it was scoreless at half time.
Velaphi started the second like he finished the first, producing a great save to thwart Rojas, but Glory was more of a threat going forward and Armiento was denied by the alert Crocombe. Brimmer was then sent clear by a great through ball from Jacob Butterfield, but Velaphi saved low. But on 62 minutes it was Glory who hit the front. Armiento made space down the left and his deep cross picked out Fornaroli at the back post and he made no mistake, heading past Crocombe. The home side looked for a quick response and Kruse shot from the angle flashed inches past the far post.
The Victory supporters were a little quiet, and it looked like they would suffer a third defeat of the season, but Brimmer had other ideas, and he found the equaliser on 86 minutes. Adama Traore’s cross from the left picked out Brimmer, who lost his marker and headed low past Velaphi. Then three minutes later the former Glory midfielder scored the winner. His corner from the left struck the arm of young defender Rawlins, and referee Shaun Evans pointed to the spot. VAR checked the incident and upheld the decision and Brimmer stepped up and sent Velaphi the wrong way from the resulting penalty to seal the win.
The comeback win got Victory off the mark for the season and Grant Brebner admitted the win had relieved some pressure -- and would lift the club as a whole. "Certainly, there was a little bit of pressure -- probably put on myself and the players probably felt a little bit of pressure as well," he said post-match. “We knew we'd been playing well in patches throughout our two games but tonight I felt apart from the goal we conceded we thoroughly deserved a win."
Melbourne Victory: GK Max CROCOMBE, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Adama TRAORE, 5 Ryan SHOTTON, 6 Leigh BROXHAM (13 Birkan KIRDAR 78'), 8 Jacob BUTTERFIELD, 10 Robbie KRUSE (25 Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO 78'), 16 Brandon LAUTON (17 Elvis KAMSOBA 46'), 19 Dylan RYAN, 22 Jacob BRIMMER, 23Marco ROJAS(14 Jay BARNETT 90+3') -Subs not used: RGK Matt ACTON, 15 Aaron ANDERSON, 35 Zaydan BELLO
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (21 Bryce BAFFORD 79'), 15 Brandon WILSON (19 Callum TIMMINS 72'), 16 Nick SULLIVAN (22 Josh RAWLINS 64'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 63'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 23 Dane INGHAM, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 37 Riley WARLAND, 88 Neil KILKENNY -Subs not used: RGK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 34 Mason TATAFU -Referee: Shaun Evans
FFA CUP REGIONAL DRAW
The draws for the regional second and third rounds of the FFA Cup were held on Monday, and teams up to the Belt Up Amateur Premier League, including regional sides, were included in the draw for the second round, which takes place on the weekend of 20/21 February or 27/28 February. There are some intriguing ties, Premier League Champions North Perth United travel to Metro Premier League side Chipolopolo WAFC, while there is a south west derby with Busselton City hosting Bunbury Dynamos.
Full Draw: Maccabi SC v Kwinana United, Maddington White City v Kalamunda United, North Beach SC v Wembley Downs, Port Kennedy v East Perth, Chipolopolo WAFC v North Perth United, Twin City Saints v Greyhounds Christian SC, Perth Hills v Football Margaret River, Jaguar v Alexander Florina, Yanchep v Joondanna Blues FC, Dunsborough Towners v South Perth United, Busselton City v Bunbury Dynamos, Woodvale v Ellenbrook United – Bye: Perth AFC, Northern City, Hamersley Rovers, South West Phoenix, Riverside Christian FC.
The Men’s State League teams join the competition at the third-round stage, with games scheduled for 20/21 March. That draw was also made on Monday with Division One side Swan United facing a tough trip to either Jaguar or Alexander Florina, while Division One Champions Olympic Kingsway will visit either North Beach or Wembley Downs. Division Two Champions Carramar Shamrock Rovers travel to Hamersley Rovers, Northern City travel to Balga, while South West Phoenix host Murdoch University Melville. The standout tie of the road sees Western Knights, who won the Cup in 2017, hosting Stirling Lions, who won the cup in 2010, at Nash Field.
Full Draw: Busselton City/Bunbury Dynamos v Port Kennedy/East Perth, Perth AFC v Riverside Christian FC, Jaguar/Alexander Florina v Swan United, Maccabi/Kwinana United v Dunsborough Towners/South Perth United, South West Phoenix v Murdoch University Melville, Balga v Northern City, Gosnells City v Yanchep United/Joondanna Blues, Kingsley Westside v Subiaco, Canning City v Dianella White Eagles, Woodvale/Ellenbrook United v Chipolopolo WAFC/North Perth United, Hamersley Rovers v Carramar Shamrock Rovers, Western Knights v Stirling Lions, Mandurah City v Perth Hills United/Football Margaret River, North Beach/Wembley Downs v Olympic Kingsway, Maddington White City/Kalamunda United v Ashfield, Kelmscott Roos v Forrestfield United, UWA Nedlands v Morley-Windmills, Quinns FC v Bunbury United, Curtin University v Joondalup United, Twin City Saints/Greyhounds Christian SC v Fremantle City, Wanneroo City v Joondalup City.
MELBOURNE VICTORY VS PERTH GLORY PREVIEW
Perth Glory are in ‘Australia Day’ A-League action on Tuesday when they travel to AAMI Park to take on Melbourne Victory. (Kick off 4.05PM) It’s a busy schedule for Richard Garcia’s side and this will be their third game in the space of seven days, having beaten Adelaide United last Wednesday before being edged out by Western United in a nine-goal thriller on Saturday. Garcia is hoping to have skipper Diego Castro back for the game, and he also confirmed that most of his squad pulled up well and are raring to go again against Victory, who are still searching its first win of the season.
"Diego is still on that borderline," he told the clubs website. “We're still deciding on how people have pulled up here. There are some that are looking to go again and are feeling good, so if that gives us an opportunity to go that little bit longer without Diego, it's perfect for both sets of players. With Diego coming back from injury, sometimes it's good to give him that bit of extra time. That's one place where we do have healthy numbers [in attack] and it's now about having those options in defence and in midfield as well. We want to try and use everyone, especially with the way the schedule is and having to back up several times."
Garcia said fatigue took its toll on Saturday, but he is looking forward to the challenge on Tuesday. "We're going to have to freshen it up a bit, but quite a few have pulled up pretty well," he said. "In the first half of Saturday's game, they really felt sluggish and fatigued, but we saw as the game went on that they grew in stature and finished the game really strong. It's a big testament to them that they got over that fatigue from the first half and showed great resilience throughout that game to continually fight and try and come back to get the result. It's going to be a tough game [on Tuesday], but we're fully up for it."
The coach is aware they have to tighten up at the back after conceding five on Saturday, but he knows the players are still settling in and has every confidence in them. "Those guys have got to learn from the slight errors that they're making," he said. "A lot of those errors are through fatigue. When you look at the AFC Champions League and then the Adelaide game, the goals are coming late and it was the same at the weekend. So, it's about the players learning to deal with their decision-making under fatigue and that's something that doesn't come overnight. It comes with experience, more games and having experienced people alongside you. That's going to be an ongoing development for us and these guys have just got to step up and learn as quickly as possible."
Victory, meanwhile, have confirmed that they will be without two of their major off-season recruits in Rudy Gestede and Callum McManaman who will both miss the game through injury, but Garcia still expects Grant Brebner's side to be a tough test. "They'll be a tough opposition," he said. "At the moment, with the way the schedule has been going, I think teams are still trying to find their feet. It's too early to tell how people are travelling. It'll be a tough game, no doubt, at their place where they'll be looking to rectify the weekend result.
"It's going to be a tough game, but we're fully up for it."
Brebner intends to exploit Perth’s defensive record, the Head Coach has one eye on his sides attacking threat. “They’ve had a free-flowing, goalscoring couple of games. It is our job to stop them scoring, no matter who we are against,” he said. “We have a defensive side of our game which isn’t too bad. We have players that are coming together and understanding each other. We didn’t get opened up, we didn’t get played around and we made mistakes that look bad. Collectively and defensively, we are a strong team.”
Melbourne Victory squad: GK Matt ACTON, RGK Max CROCOMBE, 2 Storm ROUX, 3 Adama TRAORE, 5 Ryan SHOTTON, 6 Leigh BROXHAM, 8 Jacob BUTTERFIELD, 10 Robbie KRUSE, 13 Birkan KIRDAR, 14 Jay BARNETT, 15 Aaron ANDERSON, 16 Brandon LAUTON, 17 Elvis KAMSOBA, 19 Dylan RYAN, 22 Jacob BRIMMER, 23 Marco ROJAS, 25 Luis LAWRIE-LATTANZIO, 35 Zaydan BELLO -*0-2 to be omitted* -In: LAUTON (promoted), LAWRIE-LATTANZIO (promoted), BELLO (promoted) -Out: 7 Callum McMANAMAN (injured – ankle), 9 Rudy GESTEDE (injured – hamstring) -Unavailable: 4 Nick ANSELL (injured - hamstring), 11 Ben FOLAMI (injured - knee), 32 So NISHIKAWA (injured - shoulder)
Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH, 15 Brandon WILSON, 16 Nick SULLIVAN, 17 Diego CASTRO, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 20 Carlo ARMIENTO, 21 Bryce BAFFORD, 22 Josh RAWLINS, 23 Dane INGHAM, 24 Daniel STYNES, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 34 Mason TATAFU, 37 Riley WARLAND, 88 Neil KILKENNY -*1-3 to be omitted* -Ins: CASTRO (returns from injury) -Outs: Nil -Unavailable: 6 Osama MALIK (shoulder 2-3 weeks), 7 Chris IKONOMIDIS (knee – 4 weeks) -Referee: Shaun Evans
GLORY LET IT SLIP LATE IN CANBERRA
Perth Glory opened their account in the Westfield W-League after a 1-1 draw against Canberra United at Viking Park on Sunday afternoon. It could have been even better as Liz Anton put them ahead with just four minutes remaining, but the home side hit back moments later through substitute Hayley Taylor-Young. It was a warm day in the nation’s capital, with two drink breaks in each half, but Alex Epakis' side were determination and produced a disciplined defensive performance against the unbeaten United.
The Coach was proud of his players in testing conditions. "Coming away to Canberra who were scoring goals for fun and were in really good form and doing it under these conditions with so many young players in the squad, I think it's a good result and a good point to build on going into the next round," he said post-match. "It should begin to present the belief that we can compete with whoever we play if we back ourselves and give a 90-minute performance.
"I think we're in a position to grow from that, 100%. Performances are what I'm looking at and I always knew that if the performances were at a level where we at least gave ourselves a chance to compete, then the point or points would come. So, I think today was a really positive step in the right direction in terms of competing for a full 90 minutes, having the belief that we can earn points through composure and not taking a backward step regardless of who the opposition is. It's a good point and something that we can build momentum from."
It was Canberra who dominated in the early stages, with Paige Satchell seeing a low shot deflected wide on the quarter hour, before Michelle Heyman headed Emma Ilioski's cross over the bar. Glory weathered that spell of sustained pressure and went close themselves on 38 minutes, but Katarina Jukic’s snapshot was straight at United keeper Chantel Jones. Moments later former Glory midfielder Isabella Foletta tried her luck from long-range, but it whistled over the top. Glory had the best chance of the half in the shadows of half time, Caitlin Doeglas finding Marianna Tabain in the box, her shot was superbly saved by the alert Jones.
Glory started on the front foot early in the second half and Doeglas shot was well saved by Jones, before Hana Lowry fired wide. But Canberra also had their chances and Glory custodian Lily Alfeld produced a great save to deny Grace Maher’s free kick. The hot weather was taking its toll on the players, and both sides made a number of changes, but it was the hosts who looked the most likely to win it, but four minutes from time, and against the run the play Glory scored.
Deborah-Anne De La Harpe’s free kick was headed back across goal and Lowry forced the ball back to Anton, whose first time shot beat Jones. It looked like the three points were heading west, their first ever against United on the road, but sixty seconds later Canberra levelled. Nicki Flannery found Laura Hughes who slipped the ball to substitute Taylor-Young, whose shot beat Alfeld and hit the base of the post, the ball rolling agonisingly over the line, with both sides sharing the spoils.
Canberra United: GK Chantel JONES, 2 Emma ILIOSKI, 5 Lauren KEIR, 8 Laura HUGHES, 9 Demi KOULIZAKIS (6 Bianca GALIC 79'), 10 Grace MAHER, 13 Paige SATCHELL (12 Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG 74'), 15 Jessika NASH (7 Rachael GOLDSTEIN 89'), 18 Izzy FOLETTA, 19 Nicki FLANNERY (14 Jessie RASSCHAERT 89'), 23 Michelle HEYMAN - Subs not used: RGK Keeley RICHARDS
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 6 Tijan MCKENNA (13 Jamie-Lee GALE 73'), 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 65'), 17 Marianna TABAIN (12 Sarah MORGAN 79'), 23 Katarina JUKIC (10 Alexia MORENO 65') - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT - Referee: Rebecca Durcau
KERR NAMED YOUNG AUSTRALIAN ACHIEVER IN UK
Matildas captain Sam Kerr has been recognised for her feats at Chelsea by being named the 2021 Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK. The 27-year old is the second footballer to be recognised with the honour, awarded by the Australia Day Foundation UK, following Socceroos great Harry Kewell, who received the inaugural award in 2005.
Kerr has scored seven goals in the opening 10 games of the English Women's Super League season, helping Chelsea to top spot in the competition, and currently sits third in the golden boot standings. She is the 17th winner of the Young Achiever of the Year in the UK award, which recognises the achievements of a young Australian in the UK who has excelled in any field of endeavour.
"It is humbling to be recognised alongside previous winners of this award, who hail from a diverse range of backgrounds and who have all made great contributions to various areas of society," Kerr said. "Socceroos great Harry Kewell was the first recipient of this award in 2005, so it is a massive honour for me to be recognised for my efforts in British football, like Harry was 16 years ago."
GLORY BEATEN IN A NINE GOAL THRILLER
Perth Glory and Western United have fought out a nine-goal thriller in week five of the A-League on Saturday, but it was the home side who were victories 5-4 in an enthralling encounter at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. Victor Sanchez gave United the lead in at half time, but all the action came in a frantic second half. Goals from substitute Carlo Armiento and Bruno Fornaroli gave Glory the lead early in the second half, but a brace from Dylan Pierias, his first with his first touch, regained the lead for the hosts.
Glory wasn’t finished and Nick D’Agostino made it 3-3 before Tomoki Imai made it 4-3 for the hosts, and incredibly Armiento made it 4-4 twelve minutes from time. The game was decided six minutes later, Steven Lustica firing home, from Alessandro Diamanti corner, which looked like it have curled out before he fired home. Glory looked good going forward, but will need to lift at the back, and need to hit back on Tuesday when they take on Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Despite the disappointment of losing the game Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia was pleased with his side’s performance going forward. "It was a crazy game," he said post-match. "I thought we did well to get ourselves where we wanted to be early in the second half, but the little things we did wrong came from our fatigue and we've got to improve on that.
"We haven't had a chance to train since the Adelaide United game, and that is something that we've had to adapt to and now we need to put our best foot forward for Tuesday's game [v Melbourne Victory]. We want to improve on our defending, but we've scored four away from home, so that was pleasing for me and it was pleasing how the boys reacted after a sluggish first half. If you tell me that we're going to score four goals away from home every game, I'll be very happy, because there are going to be games where we don't concede five."
Garcia selected the same side that convincingly beat Adelaide United on Wednesday, the only change on the bench was Brandon Wilson coming in for Nick Walsh. The home side, who were searching for their first win of the season were on the front foot early and Tomislav Uskok headed Connor Pain’s cross inches wide after only three minutes. But seven minutes later they did hit the front, Pain raced past Josh Rawlins on the left and crossed into the penalty area, Lustica cleverly let the ball run to Sanchez who finished clinically past Liam Reddy.
Mark Rudan’s side were dominating, with the Glory chasing shadows, and it was almost 2-0 moments later with Uskok heading just wide of the upright. Glory started to get into the game and Fornaroli had their first real opportunity on 20 minutes, Andy Keogh combining with the Uruguayan striker, but his effort was deflected over the top. United were in again two minutes later, Diamanti sending Besart Berisha clear, but the striker dragged his shot wide. Garcia made a tactical change on 38 minutes bringing on Armiento for Daniel Stynes.
He made an immediate impact and went close to the equaliser just before half time. He was given far too much room in the middle of the park and drive towards goal, his long-range shot was well saved by Filip Kurto, and at the break United held the advantage. Glory made a double change at the break with Brandon Wilson coming on for Callum Timmins to make his 50th A-League game, while Riley Warland replaced Rawlins. It was a bright start from Garcia’s side and D’Agostino long range shot was saved low by Kurto, and on 56 minutes they were level.
Armiento raced into the box after neat give and go with Fornaroli and finished past Kurto at his near post. Armiento was the supplier two minutes later as Glory hit the front. He raced down the left and his low cross was superbly back heeled into the corner of the net by Fornaroli. But the home side hit back and levelled sixty seconds later, Pierias heading home Lachlan Wales’ cross past Reddy, his first touch after coming off the bench. United regained the lead just after the hour, Imai’s cross fell kindly for Pierias who finished well.
What a game and it wasn’t long before Glory restored parity, Neil Kilkenny’s free kick picked out D’Agostino at the back post, who powered a header past Kurto. But United were in again on 75 minutes, Wales’ cross wasn’t dealt with and Imai finished powerfully. The small crowd were seeing a goal feast and it continued three minutes later, Armiento bagging his second after Kilkenny’s free kick fell to him and in the goalmouth scramble, he fired home.
But United won it on 84 minutes, Diamanti’s corner found Lustica, whose shot deflected past Reddy to win it, despite the corner looking to have curled out. Glory had one last chance to grab a point, but D’Agostino’s header drifted inches over the top. Western United Head Coach Mark Rudan said three points were vital. "The most important thing is that we got through an incredible game,” he said. “You can go through all the what-ifs and all the scenarios and explain to all the players what’s required but it’s a behaviour - that wasn't tactical, it's a behaviour and that's what disappointed me the most because we just weren't there. We almost waited for them to get that goal for us to get into gear again. That will be spoken about because I'm pretty big on habits and behaviours and I think that's the most important thing. "
Western United FC: GK Filip KURTO, 2 Aaron CALVER (8 Lachlan WALES 60'), 4 Andrew DURANTE, 6 Tomoki IMAI, 7 Besart BERISHA (5 Dylan PIERIAS 59'), 10 Steven LUSTICA, 11 Connor PAIN, 13 Ivan VUJICA, 20 Victor SANCHEZ, 22 Tomislav USKOK (3 Brendan HAMILL 60'), 23 Alessandro DIAMANTI (27 Jerry SKOTADIS 90+6') - Subs not used: RGK Ryan SCOTT, 25 Luke DUZEL, 26 Nicolas MILANOVIC
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Andy KEOGH (21 Bryce BAFFORD 65'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS (15 Brandon WILSON 46'), 22 Josh RAWLINS (37 Riley WARLAND 46'), 23 Dane INGHAM (16 Nick SULLIVAN 78') 24 Daniel STYNES (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 38'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Sub not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 34 Mason TATAFU - Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
OLDFIELD: STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT AT OXFORD CITY
Oxford City are on course for one of the most successful seasons in their history – but manager David Oldfield believes there is more to come. The National League South side are fifth on the ladder, into the last 16 of the FA Trophy and beat League One side Northampton Town in the FA Cup before taking Shrewsbury Town to extra-time in the next round.
Oxford triumphed 5-3 at Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday, but once again they did it the hard way. Oldfield’s men were 3-1 down with just over half an hour to play, making it the fourth time in five games they have come from behind to win. And while they need to stop giving themselves so much to do, their boss has seen plenty of good signs.
“The boys have been fantastic,” said Perth-born Oldfield, whose playing career included spells with Manchester City, Leicester City, Luton Town Stoke City and Peterborough United. “They’ve really bought into the process and worked their socks off. We get reminded once or twice, where we’re just below-par in some of our performances, that there are some things we need to do better.”
“I think that’s where our frustration is. From the outside it looks good and from the inside it looks good, too. We’re trying really hard, we want to progress as a club and there are some really good things going on. As much as we can be grumpy, we must remember that we’ve done very well.”
Victory at Hemel stretched Oxford’s unbeaten run to nine matches and they have not tasted defeat since the 1-0 FA Cup second round defeat at Shrewsbury on 29 November. It was only the third time they have reached that stage, while a win over Peterborough Sports in the fifth round of the Trophy would set up the first quarter-final in their history.
Oxford’s position of fifth in the league is a place higher than their best ever finish. This has all been achieved with a young squad, which is why Oldfield knows there is room for improvement. “We have to be mindful of that, but our expectations are high and we need to make sure we reach those standards as much as we can,” he said.
“Let’s make sure we know where we are in the grand scheme of things. There are so many times our passes are sloppy, we get caught offside for no reason or our shape gets disjointed. We’re not far away. We have to impress from the bench, but we also have to make sure we start better.”
GLORY OPEN SEASON ON A HIGH
Richard Garcia has got his Perth Glory tenure off to a flying start after his new look side beat Adelaide United 5-3 at HBF Park on Wednesday evening. Skipper Neil Kilkenny’s penalty had them in front early, before Nick D’Agostino doubled their advantage. The Reds, who went into the game unbeaten in the A League under new coach Carl Veart, pulled one back on the stroke of half time through Nathan Konstandopoulos.
But the home side dominated thereafter with Bruno Fornaroli, D’Agostino and Carlo Armiento adding other goals to make it 5-1. The coach would however been a little disappointed to concede two late goals from Mohamed Toure and Ben Halloran, but the damage had already been done, but their lack of match fitness after COVID quarantine showed, but the performance would have pleased Garcia and the Glory faithful.
The coach was delighted to get the season underway on such an emphatically positive note. "I was very pleased with the performance," Garcia said in his post-match media conference. "The older guys in the squad really stepped up and helped the younger players. I'm very confident in the leaders that we have in the squad and the fresh young talent we have and now it's about going on from here. There are a lot of improvements still to be made."
The win was even more impressive as skipper Diego Castro missed the game with injury, but Garcia put his stamp on the team, selecting a number of players he had coached in the club’s youth team. Teenager Josh Rawlins came in at left back, with Callum Timmins and Daniel Stynes in midfield. There were also club A-League debuts for Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Darryl Lachman, while Andy Keogh started after re-joining the club.
It was a bright start by Garcia’s boys and Fornaroli tried his luck early cutting in from the left, but his effort whistled over the top. But on nine minutes they hit the front. A ball into the box to Fornaroli ended with Red's keeper James Delianov clattering into the back of the Uruguayan striker, and referee Adam Fielding had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Kilkenny stepped up drilled the ball down the centre of the goal to give Garcia the perfect start.
He almost added a second six minutes later, Stynes raced into the left of the penalty area, his low cross found Fornaroli, but his first-time shot was well blocked by Noah Smith. But the home supporters were on their feet again just after the half hour. Timmins won a 50/50 ball in the middle of the park, the ball was eventually headed downwards by Stynes, which caused panic in the Adelaide defence and the ball fell to D’Agostino who fired home, despite an attempt goal line clearance from Jordan Elsey.
But their good work was undone in the shadows of half time. Their looked little danger when a ball was delivered into the box from the left, but the unfortunate Dane Ingham failed to clear and the ball fell kindly to Konstandopoulos, and with their first shot on goal they reduced the deficit. Glory almost snatched a third in stoppage time Kilkenny teasing free kick was met by Keogh, but the striker’s header drifted just wide of the post. But after being outplayed, Adelaide went into the sheds only one goal down
Glory started on the front foot again after the break and Timmins’ long-range shot was pushed around the post by Delianov, but on 51 minutes it was 3-1. Keogh was given far too much room in the middle of the park, and he played in to an unmarked Fornaroli, who side footed home, much to the displeasure of the Adelaide coach. Veart looked a forlorn figure in his technical area, but Louis D’Arrigo shot from the edge of the box flashed inches over the top as the Reds looked to get back into the game. But that was squashed on the hour, when Glory added a fourth. Kilkenny picking out D’Agostino unmarked at the back post to head home and he went off to celebrate with the shed.
Then seven minutes from time it was 5-1. Keogh, who was outstanding all game, chased a long ball and won his battle and passed into the path of substitute Armiento, who finished clinically from a tight angle. The Shed were in full voice and Garcia made a number of changes as fatigue crept in and two minutes from time Adelaide reduced the margin. Glory lost possession and Pacifique Niyongabire crossed to Toure, who finished well. They added a third deep into stoppage time, with Halloran powering home from inside the penalty area, but it was little to late and it was Glory celebrating a perfect start to their 2021 season.
Reds Coach Carl Veart made it clear that the display wasn't acceptable. "We'll look at the players we left behind. I said before coming here we left some players behind with Melbourne Victory in mind for Saturday night, and after tonight's performance, all positions are up for grabs,” he said. "I suppose we built up some momentum with the first two games, and then having that 17-day break … it wasn't great. We were slow, very lethargic. It didn't help us at all. It was very unlike the way we performed in the first two games. Too many individual mistakes.”
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 5 Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (21 Bryce BAFFORD 78'), 10 Andy KEOGH, 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO, 19 Callum TIMMINS (16 Nick SULLIVAN 78'), 22 Josh RAWLINS (37 Riley WARLAND 77'), 23 Dane INGHAM (34 Mason TATAFU 89'), 24 Daniel STYNES (20 Carlo ARMIENTO 69'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 88 Neil KILKENNY – Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 25 Nick WALSH
Adelaide United: GK James DELIANOV, 2 Michael MARRONE (34 Yared ABETEW 73'), 6 Louis D’ARRIGO, 9 Tomi JURIC (24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 73'), 15 Noah SMITH (3 George TIMOTHEOU 60'), 16 Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (37 Jonny YULL 71'), 18 Joe CALETTI, 19 Yaya DUKULY (17 Mohamed TOURE 60'), 22 Michael JAKOBSEN, 23 Jordan ELSEY, 26 Ben HALLORAN - Subs not used: RGK Joe GAUCI - Referee: Adam Fielding
OXTOBY MAKING HISTORY IN ENGLAND
Tanya Oxtoby has come a long way from remote Western Australia to becoming manager of Bristol City in England’s Women’s Super League. Oxtoby has been coach of City for the past two-and-a-half years. In that time, she has won two Manager of the Month awards and led the club to sixth place in her first season in charge and 10th last season.
Oxtoby grew up in the tiny Pilbara mining town of Wickham, which is located 1572 kilometres north of Perth and has a population of under 3000. She made her way from the bush to go on to a professional playing career, then coaching, and is now a qualified sports psychologist who also serves as an assistant coach with the England Under-19s women’s national team.
“When you start to reflect a little bit you think 'god, that’s my journey and where I’ve come from',” she said. “I’m so proud of my heritage, my Aboriginal heritage and where I grew up and my family connections - to be the girl from the bush who’s come over to Bristol to work in one of the best leagues in the world.”
“It’s crazy to think that’s been my path. I’m so, so grateful that I get to work in this league and work in an environment that every single day where you get to try and help people reach their hopes and dreams, that’s amazing. To be where I am now from where I came from, it’s definitely a bit surreal I think.”
A proud Indigenous woman, Oxtoby believes we need to make sure the pathway is there for Indigenous kids to tap into in the beautiful game. “There seems to be a lot more thought going into how to increase participation within the Indigenous community and give them the opportunity to be able to really excel at football,” she said.
“I think that’s really important. Look, there’s so much talent out there, no matter what background they’re from. Let’s tap into all of it. We want every single young female to be playing football and everyone should have the opportunity to be able to do that. There seems to be a real conscious effort now that football for females is as accessible as possible, and that is so, so important.”
“In particular in remote and regional areas, we need to make sure that football is visible, is an option and is a pathway. I’m really lucky my mum and dad pushed me to move from where I was to open up doors. We need to make sure those barriers aren't there for kids in regional areas, and there’s a clear pathway for them to reach their potential and chase their dreams. You can’t be what you can’t see.”
Oxtoby played in the old Women’s National Soccer League as a defender, and went on to captain Perth Glory in the W-League. In 2012 she had a spell with English side Doncaster Rovers Belles and then managed Nottingham Forest. Following a stint as an assistant coach with the Glory back in her home state, and with the Young Matildas, she returned to England in 2016 as an assistant with Notts County Ladies and then Birmingham City.
Oxtoby joined Bristol City in 2018 and has witnessed first-hand the rise of the WSL and English women’s football in general, with an increase of Aussie talent flooding into the UK in the past nine months. “It’s fantastic for the Matildas and for Australia with Australian footballers over here playing,” she said. “It’s so great to see the girls here playing in the WSL across a number of different clubs.”
“It makes me really happy to see we’ve got so many amazing Aussies over here now. And then when you look at the infrastructure and all of the things behind the scenes for the league to be what it is - the commercial sponsorship, the media coverage. From a club point of view, making sure all clubs are meeting requirements and the support that goes with that - it shows just how far the women’s game has come.”
"I think at this point in time it’s the best league for women’s football in terms of its competitiveness and holistically with the support it gives its players to reach their potential. I’m just really grateful I can get a chance to be involved in that because it’s certainly what I dreamt of as a player, to have all of that in place. Hopefully our national team will benefit from that at the World Cup as well.”
The Vixens have two Matildas of their own in their ranks, in the shape of midfielders Chloe Logarzo and Ella Mastrantonio. “It was something we’ve worked really hard on,” Oxtoby admitted. “When I first came in we weren’t in a position to bring in some international players. I worked really hard with the board to make sure we were in a place to attract those types of players. Chloe and Ella are reaping the benefits of that, which is fantastic.”
Last week Oxtoby went on maternity leave, with former West Ham United coach Matt Beard taking the reins temporarily at Bristol City. The West Australian, who contracted COVID-19 late last year and is expecting to give birth in March, may be the first head coach in professional football to ever go on maternity leave. FIFA only approved new maternity cover regulations aiming at protecting women footballers in December.
“Maternity has probably come a little bit sooner than I initially planned,” she said. “But given what’s going on over here at the moment, the priorities have to be with the baby and make sure we’re both safe. I’ve already had COVID once so certainly don’t want to go through that experience again.
“You add in the pressures and stress of the day-to-day stuff going on at the moment at the club, it’s just the right decision in the current environment. It shows how far the game’s come, the women’s game, to be in the position to do what we’re doing at the moment with Matt coming in and me taking a step back. It’s a credit to the sport that we’re at that point and hopefully in the future it will just be the norm. We’ll see.”
Oxtoby's Vixens are fighting hard to stay in the WSL this season, and have one of the smallest budgets in the competition. After 11 matches of the 2020/2021 campaign City has yet to win a game, and are bottom of the ladder with two points. It has been a difficult season so far for the club, with COVID-19 raging across the country along with dealing with a crippling injury list.
“It’s been tough,” the 38-year old said. “I think everybody is really pleased we’re back playing with what’s going over at the moment with COVID. So we’re pretty privileged to be back playing the game that we love. But it’s been tough, I’m not going to lie. It’s a totally different world at the moment in terms of the protocols and the way that we operate.”
“Obviously our results in the league haven’t been what we would want them to be at this point but we’d had a tough start to the season with injuries. So hopefully we can turn the corner and the girls can pick it up for the second part of the season… [but] that’s what this group’s about. You look at what they’ve been through this season already, some of the hurdles that have been thrown their way and they don’t crack.
“They stay together and they fight. I’d said a few times there’s two key points for us for the second part of the season and that’s keeping everyone fit and healthy, so we’ve got a full squad to pick from. We’ve got one of the lowest budgets in the league, we're one of the smallest clubs in the league, and we need to keep everyone fit and healthy.”
“And also we need a bit of confidence and I think our victory on Wednesday in the Continental Cup went a long way towards that. The girls will continue to fight all the way through. We’ve been in this position before so we know exactly what it takes to get ourselves out. We did it last year and I’ve got no doubt that we’ll do it again this year."
MARINERS HOPE DE SILVA CAN DELIVER
Alen Stajcic believes Daniel de Silva is one of the A-League's top players at his best but the Central Coast Mariners coach isn't ready to say he's found his feet just yet. The 23-year old midfielder was regarded as one of Australia's best young talents after making his A-League debut at just 15, but this season shapes as an important one to deliver on that potential.
Stajcic won't define de Silva's season in such strict terms, but says it's up to him to live up to the hype that has surrounded the Australian Under-23 international since he was a teen. "I wouldn't single him out as this year being a particularly important one for him," Stajcic said. "I just think everyone has talked about how good he is and it's up to him at some point to deliver on that consistently."
"We've seen glimpses of that in his game this year, that he's got a little bit more consistency in his game and he's showing his true quality. The other night was one of the best games I've seen him play - certainly for the Mariners, so I'd be happy if he could keep that up every week because at his peak he's one of the best players in the A-League."
De Silva found the net in Central Coasts' 2-0 win over Macarthur Rams on 3 January and backed that up with a strong performance against Western Sydney Wanderers on Tuesday night. And leading into Friday's match against his former club Sydney FC - where he played the winning 2018/19 season on loan - he will again be called on to deliver.
Central Coast are coming off their first loss of the season to the Wanderers just three days ago as they look to bounce back against the league champions. "(Sydney) have been up and down but they're without doubt the most prominent team in the country over the same period we've been down, over the last four or five years," Stajcic said.
"The first couple of games they've had some good moments where they control and dominate the game and show their real class, and then there's times I thought Wanderers got on top of them in the last 20 minutes the other day. They're without doubt the team to beat and the yardstick for other clubs to measure."
FIVE-STAR GLORY CAME OUT ‘ALL GUNS BLAZING’ SAYS KEOGH
Perth Glory’s ‘tough few months’ served as motivation for their red-hot A-League start, according to returning striker Andy Keogh. After competing in the AFC Champions League in November and December last year, Glory's preparations for the new season were curtailed by a 14-day quarantine period while most of their A-League rivals were deep in their pre-season programs.
Returning to competitive action like animals released from their cages, the Western Australians ripped Adelaide United to shreds in a 5-3 triumph in their season opener last night. Neil Kilkenny’s penalty and Nick D’Agostino’s double helped clinch an emphatic start to the 2020/21 campaign, while 34-year old Keogh rolled back the years to record assists for Bruno Fornaroli and Carlo Armiento on his Glory return.
“I don’t feel that young any more,” Keogh quipped. “It’s been a tough few months but we’ve come out all guns blazing today so it’s a fantastic result. We were completely dominant, I think we could have had a couple more,” said Keogh, who netted netted 43 goals across four A-League seasons for Glory.
Keogh paid tribute to Glory’s youngsters that stepped up on the night, three of which were named from the start to make their first competition starts in the A-League. “Callum Timmins was excellent tonight, (Daniel) Stynes, Josh Rawlins - a 16-year-old - they have big futures and they did so well to come in today and show what they can do,” he added.
Glory coach Richard Garcia revealed he had no hesitation in throwing his young guns into the mix. “Having people like Neil Kilkenny, Andy Keogh around them, those guys really try and help (the youngsters) on the park,” Garcia said. “You can see that their confidence is growing every time they step out on the park with those senior guys.”
Garcia believes Glory’s character shone through after waiting so long to open their 2020/21 campaign and he insists their team spirit was forged during 14-days of quarantine following their AFC Champions League exploits in December.
“It was a group mentality. The guys really pulled around each other and made sure everyone was doing ok, everyone was working hard,” Garcia added. “We did a lot of sessions over Zoom and made sure everyone was in constant contact. I think we’ve got a really good team spirit down here and great bunch of guys.”
KEOGH HAPPY TO BACK IN PURPLE
Perth Glory returned to action on Wednesday night, and Andy Keogh put in a superb performance in their win against Adelaide United in the A-League opener. The Irish striker was pushed out of the club after a fall out with former coach Tony Popovic last season, and he went on to sign for Saudi Arabian club Al-Qadsiah in 2019, before a short stint at Indian Super League club North East United FC. But once Popovic left the club he contacted new Head Coach Richard Garcia to return and he quickly welcomed him back.
The 34-year-old striker, who coached Inglewood United in the NPLWA for a season, didn’t actually name Popovic but his comments were definitely aimed at the former boss. "When the staff changed," was Keogh's not-too-subtle response when asked when he finally felt he could return. "What happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors. We're all professionals here, we move on. It's great to have him (Garcia) as head coach. It will be fantastic to work under him and give my all to help him achieve success."
Keogh scored 15 goals for Perth during the 2018-19 campaign, and he was looking forward to forming a potent strike force with Bruno Fornaroli, and after last nights performance it will have Glory supporters salivating at the prospect. Fornaroli has scored 60 goals from 99 A-League games, while Keogh has 55 from 123. "I feel we're both intelligent players that link up well," Keogh said. "He's got a proven goalscoring record, I have as well. We've got over 120 A-League goals going in to the season between us, so I don't think there are many strike partnerships that have had that in this league before."
IREDALE HELPS CAMBRIDGE UNITED TO THE TOP OF THE TABLE
Former Perth Glory and ECU Joondalup defender Jack Iredale has helped Cambridge United back to the top of the English Division Two table, scoring in their2-1 win at Southend United. The CU’s had found themselves 1-0 down at the break but Iredale changed that early in the second half. Harrison Dunk’s cross found him 14 meters from goal, and he volleyed home spectacularly. They hit the front on 68 minutes when Paul Mullin's dangerous cross from the right was tapped home by Joe Ironside, the win leapfrogging Mark Bonner’s side over Newport County and Carlisle United to the summit.
Iredale said it was good to get the win, and goal was pleasing. “It was definitely a game of two halves,” he said. “The weather conditions certainly didn’t make it easy but a really important three points for us.” On his goal Iredale said he had plenty of practice at the Campus firing them past Jack's skipper Johnny Perkins at training. “I think Johnny was just trying to help me get my confidence up and it’s worked so thanks pal,” he joked. “The ball fell nicely to me in the box and my touch off my chest bounced in a nice spot, and I struck it really sweetly and it was nice to see it come off the bar on the way in.”
The 24-year-old, who also had spells at Greenock Morton, Queens Park in Scotland, and Carlise United in England, played in a more advanced position for Bonner’s side in the win, but he enjoyed it, but knows he has to perform to keep his place in the side. “I’ve been asked to play a little higher a few times this season, so it’s always fun to get a bit closer to the goal,” he said. “Any game time is good game time so hopefully I can keep playing wherever I’m needed.”
FIXTURE CHANGES ALREADY FOR PERTH GLORY
After only one A-League game and two Westfield W-League games for Perth Glory the covid-19 restrictions around the country is putting the fixture list under great pressure, with news today that Football Australia have today confirmed a raft of February fixtures for both the A-League and Westfield W-League. It looks like trips to new A-League club Macarthur Bulls, Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix (all in NSW) are all postponed and will be re-scheduled, if and when the restrictions in those states are lifted or will the NSW clubs be forced into a bubble in another state, like Glory did last season?
Glory Glory's A-League trip to Adelaide United has been locked in on Friday 5 February (kick-off at 4.05pm WST), with home games to follow against Melbourne Victory on Saturday 13 February (kick-off at 6.20pm WST) and Melbourne City on Saturday 20 February (kick-off at 6.20pm WST).
In the W-League, meanwhile, Glory will be in away action on Thursday 4 February against Melbourne City at Frank Holohan Reserve (kick-off at 4.05pm WST). The following three fixtures for Alex Epakis' side are away at Melbourne Victory (Epping Stadium) on Sunday 7 February (kick-off at 1.05pm WST), home to Victory on Sunday 14 February (kick-off at 6.05pm WST) and away at Brisbane Roar (Lions Stadium) on Sunday 21 February (kick-off at 4.05pm).
GLORY SUFFER NEW CASTRO BLOW
Perth Glory captain Diego Castro is in doubt for Wednesday night's A-League clash with Adelaide United due to a minor leg injury. The 38-year old pulled up sore from the club's pre-season game earlier this month and is yet to resume full training duties.
Castro is Glory's most important player and rookie coach Richard Garcia doesn't want to take any unnecessary risks, especially in a season where Perth will face a major fixture squeeze due to their delayed start. "He's done a little bit of a muscle injury," Garcia said just days before Glory's season opener.
"It's nothing too bad, but we want to make sure he's good for the whole season. It's very dependant on how he goes the next couple of days. He's one of our elder statesmen, so we want to make sure we take every precaution possible. We've been putting him in and out of training to make sure his load is being monitored."
Glory will enter their season opener missing a host of their front-line players. Brandon Wilson is carrying a leg niggle, Osama Malik (dislocated shoulder) and Chris Ikonomidis (knee) remain sidelined. Former Japan international Kosuke Ota only started his two-week quarantine period on Saturday, while former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp is yet to arrive in Australia.
Glory are yet to play a game this A-League season, while The Reds have already notched a win and a draw from their two outings. Glory's delayed start to the season - and the two-week quarantine period they were forced to undergo after arriving back from the Asian Champions League - means Adelaide will boast an advantage in terms of match fitness and touch.
But Garcia said his players would be up for the challenge. "Once they get out there, I'm sure the adrenaline will take them through it," he said. "I think they're very well prepared for the task ahead." Glory expect their fixture against Western United in Geelong to go ahead on Saturday followed by a few more games in Melbourne.
JACKS ADD TRIO FOR NEW SEASON
After snapping up Daryl Nicol last week, ECU Joondalup have added talented trio Chris Harold, Jakub Prajza and Declan Hughes for 2021. The 2020 NPLWA Champions have acted quickly after losing Luke Bodnar, Callum Timmins and Riley Warland to Perth Glory. Harold said the club is as close to a professional outfit and is looking forward to his first spell in the NPLWA.
“I think reconnecting with Kenny was the major drawcard for me coming to ECU,” he told the clubs website. “Not considering all the other aspects of joining the club, having such a positive pre-existing relationship with Kenny was what got me excited to come and play. We know how each other operate and I respect how he looks after his players and invests in people. Coming from a professional context, the environment that I knew he’d create is exactly what I was chasing.
“The first impressions have been great, and I like what the club is trying to implement here. It feels as close to professional as you are going to get in the NPLWA and having spoken at length with Mark Donnelly the President, I think the club is only heading in a positive and successful direction. For me it is the perfect balance of feeling like an NPL club which has value in its culture and environment. But this is coupled with good coaching and facilities to make it more professional.”
Prajza has joined form local rivals Sorrento, but the Czech defender said he is looking forward to the new challenge. “I’m delighted to have sorted everything out to join ECU Joondalup,” he said. “Kenny (Lowe) contacted me before last season to join the club, but at that time I already signed with Sorrento. He contacted me again before this season, and I really like his thinking about football and his enthusiasm, it reminds me of European football. After a couple meetings with him I decided to join ECU, and I’m so excited about that and hungry to win some trophies.”
Hughes returns to the club after spells at Ross County in Scotland, Bayswater City and with Perth Glory in the AFC Champions League. “I’m delighted to be signing back at ECU, it’s a great club with a good coach who are heading in the right direction,” he said. “I think the team looks very strong and I hope that we can try and push for some silverware at the end of the season like they did last year. I will try to perform by best each week, hopefully bring some goals and assists but mainly get results for this club.”
NEVILLE SCORES HIS FIRST GOAL IN ISL
Former Sorrento and Perth Glory defender Scott Neville scored his first goal for his new club SC East Bengal in the last minute of second half added time to help salvage a point against Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan, on Friday. Jordan Murray put Kerala ahead in the 64th minute before Neville's 95th minute equaliser ensured that SCEB extended their unbeaten run to six games. The result mirrored that of the reverse fixture between the two, when Kerala had done the salvaging against SCEB with an injury-time equaliser. Neville is on loan at the Indian Super League club from A-League side Brisbane Roar.
SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler praised his players' grit to score a late goal and earn a draw against Kerala Blasters. "We tried to force passes out of our own, but once we got a foothold of the game, I think we looked okay,” he said. “We didn't play any games in six days so maybe that's why we weren't in our normal selves in terms of performance, but the boys showed lots of grit and desire to come away with that goal."
SC East Bengal looked threatening and could have scored more, but their forwards scuffed the lines. As a result, the ISL debutants couldn't take the lead and ended up chasing the match. "It's not ideal and something we plan towards. We go to every game with the belief that we can hit the right results,” Fowler added. “Sometimes, you put the onus on the opposition and make it incredibly difficult by getting a lot of men behind the ball. It was maybe easier for them to defend and we tried every player. So yes, it was tough, but we got a goal at the end, which is the main and important thing.”
GLORY EDGED OUT BY REDS
Perth Glory were beaten for the second time in five days by Adelaide United, as the Reds claimed a 2-1 win in Thursday evening's Westfield W-League game at Dorrien Gardens. The visitors opened the scoring early, with English striker Fiona Worts scoring, but Alex Epakis’ hit back just after half time with Caitlin Doeglas on target. The game could have gone either way but it was the Reds who won it 16 minutes from time with Emily Condon scoring, and despite a late rally, the home side were unable to find another equaliser.
It was an improved performance from the side and Head Coach Alex Epakis had mixed feelings post-match. "It's actually quite bittersweet," he said, "because from a performance point of view, that was markedly better than our last game. "Our playing style really came to life and our individual players did their jobs much better than last week, so in that regard, I'm quite happy and it's a step in the right direction. But obviously from a result point of view, it's a bit of a sucker-punch. I thought we did enough to win this game and showed some very good signs and I feel for the girls that they haven't got anything from it."
It was warm night in Perth, and it was Adelaide who got off to a scorching start scoring in the first attack on six minutes. Mallory Weber's pass sending Worts racing through to finish clinically past Glory custodian Lily Alfeld. Glory went close themselves on 13 minutes, a surging run by Gemma Craine ended with a shot which flashed the wrong side of the post. The Reds should have doubled their lead eight minutes later when Emily Condon pounced on Sarah Morgan mis-judged pass on the edge of the box, but after rounding Alfeld, the midfielder somehow fired wide of an open goal.
Both sides had late chances as the game, like the temperature, hotted up. First Weber raced onto a long ball but she scuffed her shot and it went wide. Moments later Hana Lowry picked out Doeglas on the edge of the penalty area, but her volley was blocked by some desperate Adelaide defending. Then in the shadows of half time a pin-point pass from Morgan sent Doeglas clear, but Reds keeper Sian Fryer-McLaren was out quickly to deny her. At the break the Reds led 1-0 and Glory had it all to do.
Glory made a perfect start to the second half, and were level on 53 minutes. Some neat build up play ended with Marianna Tabain sending Doeglas into the left-hand side of the penalty area, she held off her marker before calmly finishing low past Fryer-McLaren, much to the delight of the home faithful. They almost hit the front on the hour. The impressive Lowry found space down the flank, the teenager crossed to Tabain, whose bicycle kick flew inches over the top. The game was there to be won by both teams, but Glory suffered a blow on 71 minutes, losing Craine with what looked like a hamstring injury, she was replaced by Katarina Jukic.
The Reds, who won last weekend’s game 1-0, lifted again and Glory keeper Alfeld produced a stunning fingertip save three minutes later, to deny Georgia Campagnale’s long-range effort. But there was nothing Alfeld could do moments later as the Reds won it. Weber delivered a pinpoint cross from the left and Condon climbed highest in a crowded box to head home. Glory pressed for the equaliser late but couldn’t find it.
Adelaide’s Condon was thrilled with the victory and delighted to atone for earlier squandering a golden chance in the first-half after rounding the goalkeeper. “I’m just so, so thankful we got that goal in the end,” Condon told Fox Sports after the game. “Obviously I missed that sitter in the first-half, so I think I had to try and redeem myself which I did. So, I’m just very happy with the overall team performance and just really happy to get the win.”
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 2 Sarah CARROLL, 3 Gemma CRAINE (23 Katarina JUKIC 71'), 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 8 Hana LOWRY, 9 Malia STEINMETZ (11 Patricia CHARALAMBOUS 77'), 12 Sarah MORGAN (6 Tijan MCKENNA 60'), 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (15 Abbey GREEN 77'), 17 Marianna TABAIN - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT
Adelaide United: GK Sian FRYER-MCLAREN, 3 Matilda McNAMARA, 4 Mallory WEBER, 5 Charlotte GRANT (2 Emily HODGSON 58'), 6 Georgia CAMPAGNALE, 7 María José ROJAS, 8 Emily CONDON (21 Lara KIRKBY 89'), 12 Isabel HODGSON (15 Meleri MULLAN 83'), 16 Dylan HOLMES, 19 Maruschka WALDUS, 23 Fiona WORTS - Subs not used: RGK Annalee GROVE - Referee: Georgia Ghirardello
MAYNARD-BREWER READY FOR NEXT STEP AT CHARLTON
Former ECU Joondalup goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer is closing in on a league debut for English League One club Charlton Athletic after becoming the club’s number two keeper this season. Maynard-Brewer swapped the Jacks for south-east London in 2015 as a teenager and has spent the past five years working his way up the ranks at the Addicks. Two years ago, the keeper made his senior debut in a 1-0 EFL Trophy loss against Swansea City Under-21s. This season, he has already featured in two EFL Trophy matches. With Ben Amos Charlton’s first-choice shot-stopper, the youngster has regularly sat on the bench as his back-up and is close to a first team start.
Maynard-Brewer, who turns 22 in June, is yet to feature in an official Football League or Australian youth international match – the latter due to red-tape – but key officials for club and country rate him highly and believe a breakthrough is nigh. Two months ago, Maynard-Brewer made his FA Cup debut, weeks after signing a contract extension until 2023, and many people believe he has a big future in the game. “I’ve had experience in (EFL Trophy) games, but this felt like my proper debut, Plymouth (Argyle) put up strong side. It was good game to be part of, intense,” Maynard-Brewer told Optus Sport.
“We lost one-nil but I was happy with my performance. Three days later we played Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy, another League team – the first time in a long time I’ve started on a Tuesday, good to get two games in such close proximity. “Important I keep training hard and putting myself up for selection. I get confidence that I can step in if I get a chance for those league games. The main focus for me is breaking into Charlton team, the way to do that is improve every day and work as hard as I can with Ben Amos and keeper coach Andy Marshall. Next few years, in the medium to long term, I want to be an established Championship or Premier League keeper, that is the ultimate goal. I want to play in the Premier League, 100 per cent.”
Maynard-Brewer isn’t the only Jacks player to don a Addicks goalkeeper shirt, with former player and keeper coach Andy Petterson playing 85 games for the club between 1094 to 1999. Petterson admits the 190cm keeper is nearing the stage where he must play regularly, but cites Nick Pope – the Burnley and England keeper who at the same age had four loan deals to Conference clubs and had made just one appearance for Charlton – as the ideal role model.
“He just needs to put his head down and work hard and he will get an opportunity. We take Nick Pope as example and I put him into that category – if he gets an opportunity, he can emulate something like that,” Petterson told Optus Sports. “When he (Pope) first went there he was third or fourth choice and went on loan numerous times. A few years later he came into the first team and within six months he was sold to Burnley and not long after got into the England setup.
“Being number two Ashley is experiencing what’s happening on matchday and what is expected of him. He’s just waiting for that call, hopefully it comes soon. He’s really enjoying himself; he’s got a good personality and got the right attitude and wants to crack it. Dillon Phillips was there and won player of the year at Charlton but after they got relegated, he moved to Cardiff and instead of buying another keeper, they had faith in Ashley being number two - that shows you they have a lot of faith and belief because that means you could be called into action at any stage.”
Petterson revealed that Maynard-Brewer had received several offers to return to the A-League, but believes he will reap the rewards of persisting in the cut-throat environment of English football. “He’s had opportunities to come back to the A-League and - in my opinion – the A-League will always be there,” says Petterson, who recently departed Indonesian Liga 1 champions Bali United due to Covid cuts. “Back in my day there were maybe 10 or so keepers in the UK. I’m not sure how many there are now, but not many are playing. The NSL wasn’t an option for us – you stayed and waited for your opportunity and not enough are doing that now.
“Now they get trial, don’t play and come back (to Australia) instead of staying and battling it out. I’m hoping for his sake, when he gets his chance, the team is doing well and he can do well and he should keep his place. It’s a hard one. He’s getting to that age where he needs to start playing regular football – for a goalkeeper to progress you need games. He has had some loan deals at fifth tier levels and done really well in those. He needs to be patient also.”
Maynard-Brewer admits Pettersen’s impact has been profound. “He was massive, I started training with him when I first came to ECU in the northern suburbs of Perth and took my training to next level. He has a good CV – played almost 100 games at Charlton and 50-odd at Portsmouth,” he said. “He opened the door for me at Charlton, got in contact with Charlton head scout and that’s how I got over.”
A delayed FIFA clearance and Charlton’s reluctance to release him cost him a chance to officially debut for the Young Socceroos in 2018, where he was set to compete for the No.1 shirt with James Delainov (now with Adelaide United), before a fixture change again robbed him of a chance to officially debut a year later, instead playing a friendly against a Qatari club side. With the Tokyo Olympics among the key upcoming internationals, the Olyroos and Socceroos are firmly on Maynard-Brewer’s hit-list. “Olympics, very much on radar, would be unreal experience to be part of. I just need to get myself in best situation to be part of that squad to travel to Tokyo,” Maynard-Brewer said. “Socceroos, yeah that’s the aim.”
MALIK MAY REQUIRE SURGURY ON HIS INJURIED SHOULDER
Perth Glory defender Osama Malik may require surgery after suffering a shoulder dislocation during their recent friendly against NPLWA side Perth SC. Malik is set for another frustrating stint on the sidelines after the injury last week, and he was restricted to just 11 games last season due to a serious hamstring injury, and his recent shoulder setback has sidelined the 30-year-old once again.
The club are still deciding the best way to treat the injury, and are getting further advice on whether it requires surgery. Even if it does require surgery, there's a chance Malik could return in a few weeks and play out the season before going under the knife. "He's pulled up a little bit sore," Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said. "We are just waiting to see what type of rehab he needs for that. It might be a few weeks out. But it's also one of those that might be sooner rather than later, and possibly surgery in the off-season."
Garcia’s side are a little short at the back, and are still waiting on the arrivals of former Japanese international Kosuke Ota and former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp due to covid-19 protocol. The pair will miss the early part of the season given they have to complete two weeks of quarantine once they arrive in Australia. Glory's campaign kicks off at home against Adelaide on January 20.
The coach said Ota and Langkamp would provide vital experience to a squad that boasts plenty of youth. “We've got two experienced guys coming in that will definitely add to the young squad we've got and provide another set of mature guys to a bunch of young, aspiring footballers," Garcia said. "The quality and experience (Langkamp) has got from playing in the Bundesliga - he'll be a welcome addition to the already thriving defence that we've got so far."
CASTRO SAID COUNT ME IN FOR HUB LIFE THIS SEASON
Diego Castro's future at Perth Glory looked bleak last year after a dispute with former coach Tony Popovic, but the Spanish skipper has made peace with the club, with new coach Richard Garcia playing a key role. Castro said he's committed to playing in an A-League hub this year if necessary, with new coach Richard Garcia proving to be the ultimate peacemaker. Castro's future was thrown into doubt last season when he didn't join his teammates in their NSW hub to finish off the campaign.
Rumours swirled about why Castro decided to stay in WA and holiday with his family instead of joining the hub. Glory owner Tony Sage even stated Castro threw his player contract back in the face of then-coach Popovic and football director Jacob Burns after being asked to take a sizeable pay cut. Castro remained silent during the saga, preferring to sort out the situation face to face with people at the club instead of getting into a slanging match via the media.
Glory's hierarchy underwent a major turnover during the off-season, with Popovic and Burns both among the departures. Garcia played a key role in convincing Castro to stay at the club and the waters have been smoothed to such an extent that the 38-year-old has retained the captaincy. Castro didn't want to get into details when asked exactly what happened last season, but said he had been unfairly treated and chose to stick to his morals and principles.
When asked if he would play in a hub this year, Castro was clear. "Yes, of course," he said at the clubs’ season launch this week. "The new coach, the new director, Terry McFlynn, they convinced me it's still a good place to be. "I've been playing ACL, and I've been doing the quarantine. That's a sign that it is clear that I (am showing) commitment. It wasn't good in the last hub, but for sure we can figure out what it's going to be in the next, because I'm feeling all the support from the coach and the club."
Castro has played the past five seasons as Glory and said he was thankful for the opportunity and the support he's received from fans. He said he's 100 per cent committed to the club's new direction and he's looking forward to helping the younger players develop further, and he was always keen to see out the remainder of his contract and he hopes fans didn't interpret his silence as disrespect. "I've always wanted to stay. I never said anything to the contrary," Castro explained. "I want to let everyone know that I have always been thankful of being here. The situation was out of my hands and the morals and principles are important for me. The new coach was the first person helping me and I had a year more on my contract, and here I am trying to do the best I can."
VALE FRANK AROK AM
The WA football family is deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of former Socceroos coach and national football great, Frank Arok AM. Arok passed away in Serbia on Tuesday, 12 January 2021 due to illness. He was 88. Many WA fans will know of his time as Head Coach of Future Glory between 2001-2003, when he teamed up with another WA football legend Rod Banjac, who also tragically passed away last year.
Arok was born in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1932, and while he was a competent player in his nation of birth, he made the transition to coaching – a profession that he would dedicate much of his life to – in the early 1960s. In the late 1960s Arok migrated to Australia and commenced his esteemed career in the Australian game with St. George Budapest.
He was awarded National Soccer League (NSL) Coach of the Year honours twice, after taking out the 1982 NSL Playoff Series with a 3-1 win over Sydney City, and guiding a young St George team to the 1983 NSL Championship. Earlier in 1983, Arok was appointed as the Head Coach of Australia’s men’s national football team, the Socceroos – a post he would hold for seven years through to early 1990.
During his tenure as Socceroos boss, Arok managed Australia in 89 international matches all told, with 48 of these fixtures being ‘A’ internationals. Arok’s record as National Team coach was strong, with 41 of his 89 fixtures in charge ending in success for Australia, while he also recorded 22 draws. While Australia didn’t reach the FIFA World Cup throughout Arok’s tenure as Socceroos Head Coach, he did guide the green and gold to several great victories during his time in the role.
On October 8, 1985, Arok’s Socceroos defeated Israel in World Cup qualifying for Mexico 1986, securing a famous 2- 1 victory in front of over 50,000 fans in Tel Aviv, in part thanks to goals from David Mitchell and John Kosmina. In 1987 and 1988, Arok helped Australia seal just its second appearance in the men’s football tournament at the Olympic Games for Seoul 1988. Qualification came after success in a series of home and away fixtures against Taiwan, New Zealand, and Israel.
Ahead of the Olympic Games in 1988, Australia hosted the ‘Gold Cup’ to recognise Australia’s bicentenary. South American heavyweights Brazil and Argentina attended the tournament, as did Saudi Arabia.
Arok’s Socceroos managed to make it to the Final of the competition on home soil – which they lost 2-0 to Brazil at the Sydney Football Stadium, but not before thumping Saudi Arabia 3-0 and Argentina 4-1 along the way. Just shy of 19,000 fans saw Australia defeat Argentina on home soil in July 1988, with Paul Wade, Charlie Yankos (2) and Vlado Bozinoski scoring the goals for the green and gold.
At the Olympics two months later, Australia secured strong results under Arok. On 18 September 1988, Arok led Australia to 1-0 win over Yugoslavia in the team’s opening fixture. While Australia lost to Brazil in game two, a 1-0 win over perennial African powerhouse Nigeria on September 22 helped Australia reach the knockout phase. There Australia was eliminated by the eventual Gold Medallists, Soviet Union.
Arok’s final fixtures in charge of Australia, before continuing his time in Australian club football, came in January and February of 1990. In a two-match series held in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia played the touring Torpedo Moscow. On February 2 1990, a brace from current Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold complemented by a 19th minute strike from Alex Tobin sealed a 3-0 victory for Australia against the visiting Russians in Arok’s final match in charge.
After his time with Australia, Arok re-entered the Australian club coaching scene with a variety of famous Australia clubs. He returned to St. George Budapest, coached Marconi to National Soccer League Grand Final success in 1993, mentored South Melbourne between 1994 and 1996 (winning the Dockerty Cup in 1995 with former Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou by his side), and the Gippsland Falcons from 1996 and 1998.
He coached a total of 429 NSL games, the second-most matches of any coach behind Zoran Matic. Arok also had spells with Port Melbourne, Sydney Olympic, and Glory, before moving to Serbia to retire in 2003. Arok’s contribution to football in Australia was formally recognised by the nation in 1990, when he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours for “service to soccer, particularly the Australian national coach”. Arok was also an inaugural inductee into Football Australia’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Over the past 24 hours, dozens of current and former players, coaches, administrators, fans and media involved with Australian football have expressed their memories of Arok, demonstrating just how significant his contribution to the game was. Tributes will undoubtedly continue to flow over the coming days and weeks. Prominent Australian coaches including, but not limited to, Arnold, Postecoglou, Frank Farina, Gary van Egmond, Aurelio Vidmar, John Kosmina, Steve Corica, Ufuk Talay, Jean-Paul de Marigny, and John Hutchinson all played under Arok, undoubtedly influencing their careers in the game.
Arok is survived by his daughter Marijana Novakovic, and granddaughter Gordana, who was named after his late wife. On behalf of the WA football family, we extend our deepest sympathies to the immediate and extended Arok family, and those closest to Frank. RIP Frank Arok.
KERR CELEBRATES A YEAR AT CHELSEA IN STYLE
Sam Kerr celebrated her first year at Chelsea in style, helping the Blues to a 5-0 win against Reading in the Barclays Women’s Super League. Ironically, Kerr made her debut for the Stamford Bridge club against the Royals as well, but it was Fran Kirby who made the headlines in the big win bagging four goals. Kerr set the striker up for her first on 16 minutes, before a deep cross to the back post from the Matildas skipper handed Kirby her hat-trick and took her above Kerr as Chelsea’s top goalscorer.
For Kerr the move has delivered even more than she initially hoped for. Having previously split her club career between Perth Glory and the United States in recent seasons, she decided to tackle Europe in late 2019 after shining at the Women's World Cup in France. Though initially struggling to fire as freely as she did back in the W-League, Kerr has since settled in North London and already struck eight times across 13 appearances this season for the Blues.
While COVID-19 has made her transition even harder, the 27-year-old has relished the challenge and concedes the move has actually exceeded her expectations. "It’s been really good and really enjoyable. It’s been everything I hoped for and a little bit more," Kerr told Chelsea's official website. "Obviously with everything going on around the world it’s been a little bit different but I’ve really enjoyed it. I think I’ve learnt a lot and we’ve won a lot so I’m happy.
"For us, in 2021, we have a lot of trophies that we could potentially win so hopefully as a team we can get our hands on as many of those. Personally, I hope to keep on scoring and helping the team get to where we need to be to win those trophies." The win moved Chelsea to second on the ladder, one points ahead of London rivals Arsenal, and three points behind leaders Manchester United, but they do have a game in hand.
GLORY BEATEN IN W-LEAGUE OPENER
New Perth Glory Westfield W-League coach Alex Epakis’ first game in charge ended in a controversial 1-0 defeat against Adelaide United at Marden Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon. A harsh penalty ten minutes from time from Emily Condon was enough for the home side, but replays showed Glory skipper Natasha Rigby got the ball ahead of Maria Jose Rojas, but it gave United the points.
Epakis felt that there was plenty to like about the teams’ performance. "I think we did well in certain periods and both teams had control of the game at different times," he told the Glory website. “We created enough chances to get a result, we got in behind them enough to do more with it, so I feel like when we do that, we give ourselves a chance. I don't think there was much in it and I felt that we were good for some kind of result.
"The penalty was a bit of sucker-punch at the wrong time in the game. Tash [Rigby] is a pretty honest player who would have been the first to put her hand up if she'd got it wrong. It looked as if she got the ball... it looked like a fair challenge. I thought in the last 15-20 minutes with the fresh players coming on and their ability, that we'd have enough freshness and quality to get over the line, but it wasn't to be on this occasion. Ultimately, we just have to be a little bit more clinical and make sure that the efforts we're having on goal are meaningful.
“If we're better in that area next week, we'll give ourselves a chance and the girls are already dissecting and analysing how we can do what we do better to get a result on Thursday. I told the girls after the game that we did ourselves very proud. We know that it was a good performance, not a great performance and we are capable of great performances. We're very lucky that we have a quick turnaround to help us put that in place in the next match."
Glory gave starting debuts to six players for this one, and one of them went close after only two minutes. Former Fremantle City striker Gemma Craine was sent clear down the flank, her angled shot beat Sian Fryer-McLaren but the post came to the rescue of the Reds custodian. Both sides then went close as the game became end-to-end and Marianna Tabain's free-kick flashed over the top for Glory, before a stunning fingertip save from New Zealand keeper Lily Alfeld, prevented Emily Condon putting the Reds in front.
Craine was a constant handful and she went close again on 27 minutes. She was sent in on the left of goal, but Fryer-McLaren stood tall to deny her with her legs. The home side ended the half the better and went close to the opener just before the break, Alfeld producing another smart save to deny Emily Condon and at the break it was all-square and everything to play for.
Adelaide started the second half like they finished the first and went close twice in as many minutes. First Dylan Holmes’ powerful shot crashed off the crossbar, before Rigby did well to block the follow up shot from Mallory Weber. Moments later the lively Rojas raced past a number of Glory defenders but her effort on the run flashed over the top. Glory managed to weather that storm, but they were undone with ten minutes left.
Rojas raced into the penalty area and Rigby’s tackle looked to have cleared the danger but referee Georgia Ghirardello had other ideas, pointing the spot, to the amazement of the Glory players. The decision prompted prolonged protests from the Glory players, but it fell on deaf ears and Condon eventually stepped up to fire the Reds in front from the spot, the ball going straight through a hole in the net. Glory pressed late looking for a deserved point, but Tabain's late free-kick was saved by Fryer-Mclaren, leaving Epakis' side to switch their focus to Thursday's meeting with the same opponents at Dorrien Gardens.
Adelaide United: GK FRYER-MCLAREN, 2 Emily HODGSON, 3 Matilda McNAMARA, 4 Mallory WEBER, 6 Georgia CAMPAGNALE, 7 María José ROJAS, 8 Emily CONDON, 12 Isabel HODGSON (5 Charlotte GRANT 67'), 16 Dylan HOLMES, 19 Maruschka WALDUS, 23 Fiona WORTS (15 Meleri MULLAN 57') - Subs not used: RGK Annalee GROVE, 13 Ella TONKIN, 21Lara KIRKBY
Perth Glory: GK Lily ALFELD, 3 Gemma CRAINE, 4 Natasha RIGBY, 5 Deborah-Anne DE LA HARPE, 7 Elizabeth ANTON, 9 Malia STEINMETZ, 12 Sarah MORGAN (6 Tijan MCKENNA 58'), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS (15 Abbey GREEN 65'), 17 Marianna TABAIN, 23 Katarina JUKIC (8 Hana LOWRY 57') - Subs not used: RGK Rebecca BENNETT, 31 Isabella WALLHEAD - Referee: Georgia Ghirardello
GLORY HELD BY PERTH SC
Perth Glory’s pre-season continued on Friday evening when they were held 1-1 by NPLWA side Perth SC at a packed Dorrien Gardens. Niccolò Sabatini gave Ramon Falzon’s side the lead on the half hour, but Bruno Fornaroli levelled four minutes later. It was a hard-fought game in sweltering conditions, and both sides had chances to win it, but had to settle for a draw.
Glory Head Coach Richard Garcia said it was great to play another side after only just completed their hotel quarantine after returning from their AFC Champions League campaign. "It was fantastic to see the crowd out tonight, have a game against a competitive team and get some minutes under our belts," he said. “It'll be great for us to now be able to review the performance and see how the boys did.
“There were definitely a few cobwebs... and they have a long way to go in terms of the chemistry with what they're doing, it was ok. It wasn't what I wanted, but at the same time, the guys got to play for an extended period against an opposition that wasn't us, which was fantastic. I wanted a bit more fluidity. At times it was broken up a little bit and some players were a bit unsure still, so we still have to work on a few things and make sure that come the 20th [January], those guys know what we want."
The ground was packed at kick off and it was the home side who opened the brighter and new signing Cameron Teece, who has joined from Sorrento, went close on a number of occasions early. Glory first real chance came on 22 minutes, skipper Diego Castro’s free kick flashed over the top. But it was Perth who hit the front on the half hour. Sabatini cutting in from the flank and raced into the penalty area and finished with aplomb past Tando Velaphi.
But their lead last only four minutes. Nick Walsh made ground down the left and his low cross was finished clinically by Fornaroli past Adrian Sinagra. The goal lifted Glory and Nick D’Agostino headed wide moments later, but on the stroke of half time Brendon Wilson lift the pitch injured and was replaced by former ECU Joondalup midfielder Callum Timmins.
Glory opened the second half well and half-time substitute Daniel Stynes went close on 58 minutes. Good approach work from Carlo Armiento and Fornaroli set up the former Gwelup Croatia midfielder, but his shot could only find the side netting. Stynes was a real handful and he went close again on the hour. His effort was well saved by Perth custodian Sinagra, the rebound falling to Bryce Bafford, whose effort crashed against the crossbar and away to safety. Glory lost Osama Malik with injury on 73 minutes, not a good sign with the season opener next week against Adelaide United.
Sinagra then made a smart save to deny Fornaroli moments later as Glory looked for lead, but Perth SC weren’t finished and went close themselves on 77 minutes. Former Glory Youth striker Yacoub Mustafa raced down the flank and he set up former Fremantle City midfielder Riley van Dieken, but he failed to find the target when well placed. Glory thought they had won it three minutes from time. Sinagra had done well to thwart Stynes’ snap shot, the rebound falling to Andy Keogh who finished well, but his celebration was cut short with the assistants flag up for offside. But at the final whistle both sides shared the spoils.
Perth SC Head Coach Ramon Falzon was delighted with his side work rate and performance. “We were very pleased with our performance tonight,” he said. “We matched a professional side for approximately 60 minutes, where we even managed to take the lead, however that was only short lived since Perth Glory levelled a few minutes later. Their fitness levels were definitely better than ours and in fact Perth Glory took over and were superior in the final 20 minutes of the game, however we managed to hang on to the 1-1 score line.”
Perth SC: GK Adrian SINAGRA, 3 Jordan DE LEO (15 Emerson ALEXIS 80’), 4 Lachie BYRD, 5 Niccolò SABATINI (12 Daniel MCKENZIE 75’), 9 Cameron TEECE (6 Sam FLORES 75’), 10 Michael DOMFEH (7 Yagoub MUSTAFA 60’), 11 Riley VAN DIEKEN, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Jackson MORGAN (11 Jayden GORMAN 60’), 19 Bojan RADINOVIC, 22 Kristian SANTICH (15 Will GORDON 75’) - Substitutes: RGK Ben RATAJCZAK, 14 Carl DIAS, 18 Carl MORGAN, 21Nathan BRYDE, 22 Max BLACKSHAW
Perth Glory: GK Tando VELAPHI, 6 Osama MALIK (16 Nick SULLIVAN 73'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 13 Luke BODNAR, 15 Brandon WILSON (19 Callum TIMMINS 45'), 17 Diego CASTRO (10 Andy KEOGH 59'), 18 Nick D'AGOSTINO (24 Daniel STYNES 46'), 20 Carlo ARMIENTO (21 Bryce BAFFORD 59'), 23 Dane INGHAM, 25 Nicholas WALSH (27 Jack PAINTER-ANDREWS 46'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Liam DRISCOLL, 26 Giordano COLLI, 34 Mason TATAFU - Referee: Adam Fielding
DEANS SEES A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR RESILIENT JETS
Newcastle Jets' interim coach Craig Deans says he can see light at the end of the tunnel for the club following the implementation of new temporary ownership by A-League investors. Football Australia ended a stalemate with Chinese businessman Martin Lee earlier this week, cancelling his licence and handing it to a consortium led by A-League clubs Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United.
Deans took over as interim coach following the sacking of Ernie Merrick and was later replaced by Carl Robinson. "Ernie left in January last year and there's probably been half a day where the players haven't been focused on their job," said Deans, a former Western Knights and Perth Glory player.
Deans said there is no way he would invest his time and energy in the club if he thought it would fail. "I wouldn't sit here now if I thought I was wasting my time," he said. "Even 12 months ago, I wouldn't have put my hand up to step in. You have to be positive in sport, you can't walk around feeling sorry for yourself. There's no time for that ... I'm sure there's bigger and better things to come."
Newcastle are now able to sign players and coaches under the new ownership model, and Deans has previously stated that he wants to be considered for the job. Robinson recently returned to the club having coached Newcastle last season before signing with Western Sydney at the end of 2020.
RIGBY READY TO ROLL FOR GLORY WOMEN
Perth Glory captain Natasha Rigby says the new-look squad is brimming with enthusiasm and confidence as they prepare for a new W-League season. They finally get to start their campaign against Adelaide United tomorrow after two false starts with games postponed because of COVID-19.
The silver lining to that was coach Alex Epakis had an extra week to prepare and Rigby believes they can go one better than two years ago when beaten 4-2 by Sydney FC in the Grand Final. “A new coach, a new squad, a new chapter ... finals, finals, finals. It’s very exciting,” Rigby said.
“It’s phenomenal to see the improvement in the few weeks that Alex has been here. He has a direction and clear vision, he knows how he wants to play and he’s good at communicating it. We are a young squad with a lot of local girls which is very different. It’s so exciting.”
The pandemic forced a drop in the number of overseas recruits across the W-League but Epakis secured three New Zealand internationals. Rigby said all teams were in the same position and recruitment of local players would be a great competition leveller. “Every team is in a similar position with more local players and that will really help us,” she said.
“The whole league is playing with different squads because we have lost girls and have not got the international girls because of COVID. It can be anyone’s to win this year. It’s fantastic to see the local girls stepping up, particularly the younger girls, because they can see the opportunity of getting to the level they have been striving for.”
Rigby said Glory would play a structured, possession-based style. “Alex is very structured. He knows exactly what he wants, he breaks it down well and that has made it easy to understand,” she said. We are looking to play creative, free-flowing football but also play the ball a lot and keep it moving.”
“It’s different to how we have played in the past but it seems to be working for us. We used to go long but we are trying to avoid that this year. We still have some quick plays, but we want to play a possession game. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of smart football because you have to pick your times when you go forward.”
Rigby is in her second season as captain. “I’m so honoured and grateful to be able to captain the girls, especially this year because it has such a local flavour,” said Rigby, who grew up in Margaret River and joined Glory in 2016. “I’ll just lead by example and wear my heart on my sleeve.”
GLORY SIGN EX-BUNDESLIGA DEFENDER LANGKAMP
Perth Glory have bolstered their A-League defence by signing former Bundesliga defender Sebastian Langkamp for the next two seasons. The 32-year old, a former German Under-18 and Under-21 international, spent much of his youth career with Bayern Munich before amassing nearly 200 Bundesliga appearances for Karlsruher SC, FC Augsburg, Hertha Berlin and most recently Werder Bremen.
During a six-year spell at Hertha Berlin, Langkamp helped the club secure three top-ten Bundesliga finishes along with qualification for the Europa League and as recently as June 2020 he was lining up for Werder Bremen against Bayern Munich. The 1.93m centre-back is now excited at the prospect of launching the next chapter of his career with Glory.
"After such a long time playing in Germany, I had to ask myself the question would it be great to have a new experience in another country for me professionally and us as a family," Langkamp said. "There were two or three options to stay in Germany, but we decided to try the new experience and it was an easy decision for us."
Langkamp said he'd previously tuned into the A-League to watch Sydney FC's Alex Baumjohann - his friend and former Hertha Berlin teammate - play. "Alexander Baumjohann is a friend of mine, I played with him at Hertha Berlin, so I watched some games that he played in last season, including the Semi-Final against Perth," he said. "I know about the big clubs and how Perth has been really successful in the last years and I am really looking forward to joining the club."
Glory coach Richard Garcia is understandably thrilled to have a player of Langkamp’s impressive pedigree on board for the 2020/21 campaign. "Sebastian is a great addition to the squad and someone who will bring a wealth of experience to the group," he said. "Having a player of his quality will bolster our defence as well as help improve our young defenders at the club."
DARYL NICOL RETURNS TO ECU JOONDALUP (courtesy www.ecujoondalup.com.au)
ECU Joondalup have started preparation for the new NPLWA season, and their first signing of the new campaign is to bring Scottish striker Daryl Nicol back to the club for 2021. The 31-year-old had two seasons at Bayswater City, after joining the Jacks from Scottish Highland side Cove Rangers in 2016. The speedy forward had two successful seasons at the campus and became the first ECU player to win the Football West Gold Medal as the league’s player of the year in 2018. Nicol said was great to be back at the club and is looking forward to the new challenge.
“I’m delighted to be back at the campus where it all started for me in Australia,” he told the club website. “The club has changed a fair bit since I left but there are still a lot of familiar faces whom I’m delighted to team up with again. It’s really exciting to be joining the champions and its quite incredible what Kenny managed to achieve in his first season. Hopefully I can play my part and add something different to an already fantastic team. Winning trophies has to be our target once again and the way the squad is shaping up, I think that’s a good possibility.”
Nicol went on to win back-to-back Gold Medals in his first year at Bayswater, and enjoyed his time at Frank Drago Reserve, and although he won personal awards, he was disappointed the club didn’t win any trophies, despite all their hard work in his time at the club. “I had a fantastic time at Bayswater and it was a tough decision to leave. They are a fantastically well-run club with great people behind the scenes,” he said.
TABAIN RETURNS FOR MORE GLORY
Perth Glory’s Marianna Tabain has returned home to where it all started after two years away from the W-League club. The striker is set to re-start her career in Saturday’s opening game away to Adelaide United.
Tabain, who scored 20 times in 89 games for Glory, is third on the all-time leading goalscorer standings and is second place on the all-time W-League appearances list. The 28-year old played nine seasons with Glory in two spells between 2008 and 2018.
Tabain’s last game for Glory was in the losing Grand Final two seasons ago before heading off to the Croatian champions league. She then took a break from the game after being injured in pre-season before deciding to return after talking with new coach Alex Epakis.
“I’m excited to be back,” said Tabain, who played for Croatian League and Cup Champions ZNK Split. “It’s a bit of a re-start to my career but I had time away from the game to reflect. The change with Alex stepping in was a really positive one. I spoke to him and it felt right to come back.”
“We have a good balance with some experienced players and plenty of young ones coming in. It has been a bit rushed in terms of pre-season but the players have a good connection on and off the field.”
Glory face a disrupted season but have put concerns to one side in their pre-season preparations. “It’s out of our control. All we can do is train week to week,” Tabain said. “A lot of girls have to balance playing with work so if we get stuck in quarantine it’s going to be a bit of a struggle for them.”
“We’ve had a few weeks to learn the playing style that Alex is trying to implement. He has done a lot of analysis, he knows his players well already. Alex is very big on playing between the lines, keeping possession and knowing when we can and can’t go forward.”
“It’s not always going to be pretty but noticing those moments when we can do things is important. It will be game by game, the coaching staff are smart enough to know what we have to do game by game and we trust in their belief.”
GLORY FACING FIXTURE PILE-UP
Perth Glory’s start to the A-League season has been thrown into chaos after their first two games were re-scheduled. Tough border closures brought on by the COVID-19 situation in New South Wales and Victoria have left the competition in disarray with Glory facing a fixture pile-up.
Their first game, scheduled for Saturday week at home to Adelaide United, will now be played on Wednesday 20 January. But they have no idea who their next opponents will be after their second game with Brisbane Roar, scheduled for that Wednesday, has been postponed until sometime later in the season.
Glory are already two games behind some sides after a delayed start because of their 14-day quarantine when they returned from the Asian Champions League in Qatar. They will now be squeezed into an even tougher schedule with regular midweek games.
Garcia, said he faced a week-in-week-out balancing act as only players with overseas experience will have played in such a busy schedule. “The fear of the unknown is the biggest thing,” Garcia said. “We’ve spoken about that as a group, that this season is going to be something where we are going to be flexible, roll with the punches.
“The guys are aware that we can only control how we train, how we play. The rest ... we have to be flexible. Whether that’s game times or how many games we play in a week we have to be ready to go with it. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the bubble model we had in Sydney last season. If the guys can live a semi-normal life, then they can be flexible.”
Garcia has already been planning a rotation of his squad with games coming just days apart. “There’s been a real focus on short turnarounds. That’s going to be one of the most difficult challenges,” he said. “If we have to cram games in, in a re-arranged schedule, that’s going to be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
“Trying to balance how we get the best out of these guys every game, week-in-week out will be a fine balancing act. It will be a new experience for some guys. If we had been playing twice a week for three or four years we would adapt, we would have a bigger squad size, a deeper pool of players.”
GASPAR’S RUN: FROM PRO FOOTBALLER TO SPORTS DIPLOMAT
Robbie Gaspar’s playing career took him to Croatia, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia during a 17-year period. But a move into sports diplomacy and business after retiring in 2013 has seen him find his true calling.
Along with his work with Professional Footballers Australia and FIFPro, Gaspar has turned his love of Indonesia and connections in the south-east Asian country into a new career path. An ‘Indonesia specialist’, the 39-year old is the acting chairman of the Western Australian chapter committee of the Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC).
Gaspar is also the vice-chairman of Balai Bahasa Indonesia Perth, a non-profit organization that promotes the teaching of the Indonesia language and the fostering of cultural links between the two countries. The former attacking midfielder is passionate about sports diplomacy and using football as a tool to build links between Australia and its closest neighbour.
“Then hopefully down the track you can build those business to business or government to government links,” Gaspar said. “I’ve learnt that football is a soft diplomacy tool and a great way to develop those personal links. Earlier this year I came back on board with the AIBC as vice-chair, then the chair stepped down as an increased workload because of COVID and I became acting chair.”
“It’s been fantastic. I’ve been going to a fair few events and speaking on behalf of AIBC and meet a lot of cool and diverse people. I’ve been able to help some business increase their footprint in Indonesia. Indonesia is our nearest neighbour, our largest embassy is in Jakarta – there’s close to 800 people working there - the next closest is in Washington with only 350.”
“Strategically Indonesia is so important to us. They’ll be a top-four economy by 2050, so I think it’s a great way to build those people to people links. Football doesn’t discriminate – it doesn’t matter who you are, everybody can participate, everybody’s got that love of sport. I think Australia is really starting to realize the potential of it.”
Gaspar he played for Western Knights as a teenager before a spell in the academy of Croatian giants Hajduk Split in the late 1990s. Spells with Sydney Olympic and Perth SC preceded a 2002 move to Asia where he began an eight-year trail-blazing journey playing in the Indonesia Super League.
At that stage no Australian had previously played professionally in the nation of 277 million people. “I grew up here in Perth, I moved to Croatia at 16 and had a year and a half at Hajduk Split in their Under-17s and Under-19s,” Gaspar explained. “I struggled, I missed home, I came back to Perth and then moved over to Sydney Olympic.”
“They (Olympic) had a really strong side under Branko Culina. I learned a lot about myself and the intensity of first-team football. I came back to Perth and played for Perth Soccer Club for a year and then had an opportunity in Brunei. It whetted my appetite for Asian football and then I signed for Sabah in Malaysia.”
“I had two fantastic seasons there, then went back to Brunei for another six months, and then had the opportunity to move to Indonesia. No Australian had played in Indonesia before so it was really going into the unknown. I thought I’d give it a crack, go for one season or maybe two. Then almost eight years later I came home.”
“I didn’t think I was going to retire but I had a bit of an injury. I thought the earlier I start my transition the quicker I’ll get through it. In 2013 I retired, went back to university and started working for FIFPro. I started working with the PFA in 2015 and have been there ever since.”
For eight years Gaspar advised FIFPro in their support of player associations in both Malaysia and Indonesia. Since 2015 he has served as a player development manager for the PFA in Australia, but it was his three years an executive committee member of the Indonesian Professional Footballers Players Union that led to his transition from pitch to boardroom.
“I was passionate about making change,” Gaspar said. “Someone said to me I’ll stop complaining once I get involved and make some changes. I jumped on board ... I was passionate about player rights. I was inspired by Brendan Schwab and Simon Colosimo and everyone else who’s made that change. I thought what a great way to make some changes by getting on board with the players union in Indonesia, especially at the time when there was a lot of issues going on there.”
“It was quite tough, but I don’t regret it, I really enjoyed my time there. That probably led me to my work with the PFA in Australia and working with FIFPro, restarting the players association in Malaysia and trying to start one in Singapore. I think the players need a voice for the game to go forward.”
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR GLORY TEENAGER LOWRY
Teenager Hana Lowry has the world at her feet. The Junior Matildas midfielder is set to start her second season when Perth Glory play Adelaide United in Adelaide next weekend, and coach Alex Epakis believes “the sky’s the limit” for the talented teen.
“I sincerely believe that she is capable of anything,” Epakis said. “I thought that before I met her and from watching her from afar. Now having seen her from up-close it has cemented that. She is someone who is able to tactically understand ideas very quickly and put that into practice.”
“That supplements her technical and physical abilities. She’s well regarded in my eyes, she’s well regarded by the junior national coaches. If she follows the trajectory she is on the sky’s the limit. I can’t see any reason why she can’t play for Australia. I want her to stay at Perth Glory as for as long as she is playing in Australia.”
Lowry, 17, maybe touted by some as the new Sam Kerr, but her feet are planted firmly on the ground. Her dream maybe playing in the 2023 World Cup on home soil but for now she is focused on the new W-League season, juggling five nights training, games and preparing for university.
Lowry began playing as a 7-year old at Cockburn City, went through local pathways and the Glory system to play for the Junior Matildas in the 2019 AFC Under-16 Women’s Championship where she was Australia’s player of the tournament. She had a further taste of international football playing in Laos and the Pacific Islands.
Lowry will be one of seven teenagers in a new-look Glory squad, put together by Epakis in just three weeks. “It’s been a really different pre-season. The coach and some players only came in a few weeks ago after quarantine but it’s been really good,” Lowry said. “We haven’t been together for very long but it feels like the girls have been together for years.”
“Everyone has gelled really well. It’s good to have new people, to have fresh people who bring something new to the game. It’s a young squad but there is confidence in the new girls and the younger girls coming through. They bring speed and power and enthusiasm.”
Lowry believes Glory will improve from last year’s seventh spot. “The main thing for us is to get better and better each week and improve our performances,” she said. “We have set high goals and everyone believes we can go as far as we want to go.”
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This page was last updated on the 23rd December, 2020