I KNOW I’M GOOD ENOUGH: BIRIGHITTI
Mark Birighitti is adamant he has the quality to thrive as Dundee United’s number one. The Australia international returned to the starting line-up for Saturday’s 1-0 Scottish Premiership loss to Motherwell, replacing Carljohan Eriksson between the sticks.
It was Birighitti’s first appearance since shipping 11 goals in games with AZ Alkmaar and Hearts back in August. And although he was unable to keep but Sondre Solholm’s winner, despite getting a hand to the headed effort, Birighitti believes he can illustrate his worth at Tannadice.
“Everywhere you go, fans are going to be critical,” said Birighitti. “At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to perform on the Saturday. Confidence has been a bit low - but I believe in my qualities. I know I’m good enough to play at this level and kick on.”
Birighitti admits that “big balls” were required following his first two outings for the club. “I don’t want to harp on about it (the AZ Alkmaar defeat) - that’s in the past now, but it felt like on that night everything they had was going in,” reflected Birighitti.
“As an individual, it’s tough. Goalkeeping is a special position and you need big balls to recover. The week after, we had Hearts and that result (a 7-0 loss to Alkmaar) was playing in the back of the players’ minds.”
“I could have done better with a couple of my decisions that game, but that’s football. I had a bit of time out of the team and I’ve been working hard on my game in different areas; trying to improve and be the best version of myself.”
Providing he retains his position, Birighitti’s next challenge could barely be more onerous: shut out a rampant Celtic side on their own patch. The Hoops racked up a 9-0 victory when the sides last met, in what proved to be the final nail in Jack Ross’ coffin.
“That’s another horrendous game - that’ll live long in the memory bank,” said Birighitti, who watched the loss to Celtic from the bench with Eriksson between the posts. However, the former Perth SC junior However, is keen to embrace the Tangerines’ Mission Improbable.
“We have tightened things up at the back and we’re not giving many opportunities away,” he added. “They’ve got quality all round the park but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to. We have to be ready for the game. We’ll go there and give it a real hot crack.”
FORNAROLI THANKS GLORY FANS FOR ‘INCREDIBLE LOVE AND SUPPORT’
Mystery still surrounds Bruno Fornaroli’s Perth Glory exit, but the Uruguayan striker has given a heartfelt thanks to fans for their support. Fornaroli has joined Melbourne Victory only days after agreeing to a “mutual contract termination” with Glory.
Fornaroli had played the first two games of the season before being omitted from the match-day squad for Glory’s 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners. Glory initially said the striker was unavailable through injury, a claim the 25-year old refuted by saying he was fit and ready.
“Dear Glory fans: I want to deeply thank you all for the incredible love and support you have given me since I arrived in Perth,” Fornaroli posted on social media. “We created a lot of good memories together and I will keep that with me. “I with you the best of luck for the future. Un abrazo a todos (a hug to all).”
Fornaroli made 79 appearances and scored 35 times for Glory, who he joined midway through 2019. Without their main man in attack, Glory lost 2-1 to Adelaide United on Sunday, despite a stunning Giordano Colli strike halving the deficit.
COLLI’S STUNNER IN VAIN AS GLORY GO DOWN TO THE REDS
Perth Glory failed to capitalize on last week’s win at Central Coast, after being edged out 2-1 by Adelaide United in round four of the Isuzu Ute A-League Men’s clash at Coopers Stadium on Sunday. Giordano Colli had given them hope with a stunning long-range strike, this after Craig Goodwin and Hiroshi Ibusuki had given the hosts a quickfire two goal lead. They had plenty of possession in the second half, but couldn’t turn it into goals, the loss leaving Ruben Zadkovich’s side tenth on the ladder.
The coach was heartened by the way they reacted to finding themselves two down early in the game. “We want to be super-competitive and we were again,” he said. “We are building and it is going to take time, but it doesn’t make it any easier after a loss. The spirit is great in that dressing room and again we’ve shown character to come back from two goals down, get back into the game and still be chasing it late.
“But away from home against a quality Adelaide team, you need to execute and I don’t think we executed well enough around either box. We were defensively poor in those moments [conceding the goals] and there were some individual errors there. There were just lapses of concentration which you’re always going to pay for away from home. I don’t think we executed well and were just a bit sloppy.”
Glory went into this one unchanged from the win at the Mariners, and they started brightly creating a couple of half chances, but it was the hosts who took control and Japanese striker Ibusuki was constant threat, heading over the top on two occasions from Goodwin’s crosses early.
Their pressure was rewarded with the opener on 17 minutes, Ben Halloran’s persistence saw him flick on to Goodwin, and the Socceroo finished low past Liam Reddy into the corner of the net. They added a second four minutes later, Goodwin’s free kick to the back post wasn’t dealt with and Ben Warland sent the ball back across goal for the unmarked Ibusuki finished from close-range.
But Glory was back in the game on 31 minutes, with one of the goals of the season. Colli picked the ball up in the middle of the park, and the former Bayswater City youngster strode forward and unleashed a stunning strike that gave Joe Gauci no chance. Zadkovich made a change moments later, with Luke Bodner replacing Zach Duncan, and the former ECU Joondalup midfielder almost made a perfect start, seeing his powerful shot saved by the alert Gauci.
Reddy then got down well to deny Ibusuki again before the break, and in the shadows of half time Colli almost levelled, his free kick from the edge of the box deflected off the wall and drifted inches past the post with Gauci stranded. But at the break the hosts held a narrow advantage, but Colli’s wonder strike had Glory back in the game.
Adelaide was on the front foot after the break and Harry Van der Saag was thwarted by Reddy early, before the defender headed over the top moments later. Ryan Williams then picked out Ben Azubel, but the Israel striker headed inches over the top. Ryan Williams was constant threat down the right, and 13 minutes from time he raced past his marker on the right, and his teasing cross was pushed away by Gauci. Goodwin and substitute George Blackwood went closest to adding a third for the Reds, while Glory delivered ball after ball into the home box in the final moments, but could not manage to break through for a second time.
“I’d say, across the 90 (minutes), I wouldn’t say we were the better team,” Adelaide’s Ben Halloran explained post-match. “I think we didn’t really start too well and when we got 2-0 up, we were definitely controlling the game. The goal they scored was an absolutely worldie – hats off (to them) because that was a great goal. We just made it hard for ourselves today.
“Maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t won a game yet this season (and maybe) we’ve got the jitters a little bit. Credit to Perth, they kept fighting the whole way and made it hard for us, but we probably should have closed it out earlier. We’re just happy to get three points.”
Adelaide coach Carl Veart said they should have put the game to bed earlier. “It was a difficult game, they made it very difficult for us, and we didn’t make the most of the opportunities that we created,” he said. “We had enough opportunities (today) to score three or four goals.
“It’s something that we’re working on at training, but it’s something that we need to start implementing in games because we can’t make (the end of games) so nervous, just not for the for the staff, but also for the fans. I’m sure they (the fans) would have preferred us to put the game to bed earlier.”
Adelaide United: GK Joe GAUCI, 2 Harry VAN DER SAAG (28 JUANDE 64'), 3 Ben WARLAND, 6 Louis D’ARRIGO (66 Nestory IRANKUNDA 83'), 7 Ryan KITTO, 8 ISAÍAS, 9 Hiroshi IBUSUKI (14 George BLACKWOOD 76'), 11 Craig GOODWIN, 21 Javi LÓPEZ, 26 Ben HALLORAN (55 Ethan ALAGICH 83'), 41 Alexandar POPOVIC - Subs not used: RGK James DELIANOV, 36 Panashe MADANHA, 47 Asad KASUMOVIC
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF (16 Keegan JELACIC 69'), 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 10 Salim KHELIFI (3 Jacob DOWSE 68'), 11 Ben AZUBEL, 19 Zach DUNCAN (4 Luke BODNAR 35'), 20 Giordano COLLI (43 Adam ZIMARINO 69'), 23 Mitch OXBORROW (18 David WILLIAMS 53'), 29 Daryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Pierce CLARK, 36 Joseph FORDE – Referee: Alireza Faghani
FORNAROLI JOINS VICTORY
Former Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli has found a new home, the Uruguayan signing for Melbourne Victory. Tony Popovic’s side have gone three consecutive matches without a goal, so they have turned to the former Melbourne City striker to help solve their attacking woes in the Isuzu UTE A-League. Fornaroli was a free agent after he and Perth Glory agreed to mutually terminate his contract on Friday.
The 35-year-old, and Glory’s leading goalscorer in each of the past three A-League Men seasons, had been immediately linked with Victory, who are in the midst of their longest scoring drought since 2016-17 despite boasting Manchester United great Nani, Nick D’Agostino, Ben Folami, Chris Ikonomidis and Tomi Juric.
Fornaroli, who left City at the end of 2018-19, will return to Melbourne to reunite with former Glory boss Tony Popovic, and Victory are expected to register him as an injury replacement player as the transfer window closed last month, making him available for Friday night’s game against Newcastle Jets.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to join a Club like Melbourne Victory and work with the boss again,” Fornaroli said. “Melbourne Victory is the biggest club in the country and to be representing them at a ground where I played some of the best football in my career is exciting for me, but exciting for all of the fans as well and I can’t wait to get started.”
Fornaroli made two appearances this term for Glory, before dropping out of the squad in Round 3. He spent four seasons at Victory’s rivals City, where he scored 57 goals in 83 matches across all competitions and won the 2016 Australia Cup. “Bruno is a player who will complement our squad and supply another dimension to our final third,” Popovic said. “His qualities speak for themselves and having worked with him in the past, we believe the environment at Melbourne Victory will bring the best out of Bruno. He is a leader and will add more experience to the squad to help us achieve success this season.”
NEW ERA BEGINS AT THE GULLS
It’s all change at the top for Sorrento FC, after long time President Derek Harnwell and vice President Alan Gray stood down from their roles at the club after over a decade overseeing the Percy Doyle Reserve side. The clubs AGM was held last week, and it was a great turn out, and the club’s members elected new President Nico Hoyle and Vice President Alan Hodgkinson.
Outgoing President Derek Harnwell wished the new committee all the best. “I would like to thank everyone who has been involved at the club over my time. It’s been a big part of my life and a pleasure watching the club grow,” he said. “I wish all the best for the incoming committee, that they will go from strength to strength and I’m excited to see what the future holds for Sorrento FC.”
Incoming President Nico Hoyle, who has been at the club since a young lad, said it is an honour to become President. “After starting at the club at the age of 5, it is an honour to now become the club’s president,” he explained. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Derek for his years of service. The club would not be in the position we’re in today without the work he has done. I would also like to thank Kaye Harnwell, the back bone of our club for many years.
“Kaye has been instrumental in gaining funding for many grants, which has helped to build the infrastructure that’s currently taking place outside. The next year is going to be a very exciting time with the completion of our gender-neutral change rooms, our new stands, new pitch upgrades completed including hybrid grass and of course the FIFA Women’s World Cup being on home soil, which will be great for our local women’s game. I look forward to getting started with the new committee!”
GLORY LOOKING TO BUILD ON WIN AT MARINERS AGAINST ADELAIDE
Perth Glory will look build on last week's win against Central Coast Mariners when they take on Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday afternoon. (Kick-off: 12pm WST - 2.30pm Local Time) Goals from Giordano Colli and Aaron McEneff gave them their first win of the Isuzu Ute A-League season, and speaking in his pre-game press conference, Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich said his players are relishing the prospect of spoiling Adelaide United’s homecoming on Sunday.
Like Glory, the Reds are yet to play a home fixture this term, instead making consecutive trips to Wellington, Macarthur and Sydney FC from which they have claimed two points. Zadkovich said the hosts are a tough proposition in front of their own fans, but he is adamant his chargers are very much up for the challenge. “They’re a good team, and I think they’ve had an unlucky start to the season if I’m honest,” he explained. “They’ve had some red cards and different kinds of scenarios and they’ve also been away from home, but one thing we know about them is that at Hindmarsh [Coopers Stadium], they’re a bit of a different team and a different beast.
“We know they’ll be up and about, they’re an attacking team with some high-quality players like Craig Goodwin, Ben Halloran and [Hiroshi] Ibusuki. We know it’s going to be a tough challenge, but one thing we’ve made a real conscious effort with this group is to embrace those challenges. As a club we have to do that right now because that’s how rebuilds are, it’s about hard work, effort and togetherness and that’s the focus for us. We know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we’re happy to pitch ourselves against anyone.”
Zadkovich said training had been upbeat this week after last weekend’s victory over the Mariners, and it had, unsurprisingly, lifted morale within the playing group. “It’s been nice to see the guys getting some rewards for their efforts,” he said. “To get a result just gives them a bit of a boost, but we’re still a work in progress. In Rounds 2 and 3 we created more chances than the opposition which is a positive sign, but there’s a long way to go and we still need to keep improving.
“We’re facing a little bit of adversity being away from home [for the first five games] but the mentality and the togetherness of the group are really strong and week by week we’re getting better and better and growing. Momentum is huge in this league, one minute we’re twelfth, the next minute we’re sixth, so it’s a funny league but it’s still early days in the season. In this competition, back-to-back wins really go a long way and you can jump up the ladder and we have an opportunity to do that this week. Three points are on the line and it’s away from home, so our backs are against the wall a little bit, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge and I know the players are as well.”
In terms of team news, injury has forced Luke Ivanovic to withdraw from the Glory squad, while Bruno Fornaroli has left the club, but otherwise, no fresh concerns emerged from Sunday’s win in Gosford. The last seven meetings between Glory and the Reds have produced an even split of three wins apiece and one draw. But in their 25 previous A-League visits to Coopers Stadium, Glory have picked up eight wins and suffered 13 defeats, and one on Sunday will be vital, with all their games being played on the road in the first five rounds.
Adelaide United Captain, Craig Goodwin, says the Reds must make Coopers Stadium a happy hunting ground this season ahead of the team’s first match on home soil. “We’re showing glimpses of what we can do and what we can achieve, but I’m very confident that we’re going to have a good year and we really need to get that going in this next game,” he said. “I think we have to approach every game as a must win, you have to have the attitude that you’re going out to win the match every single time.
“Yes, in terms of the break with the World Cup coming up, it is important to try and put as many points on the board as we can and especially games at home. We want to make Coopers a fortress, as it’s always been for us, and we have to pick up as many points as possible.” Adelaide United Head Coach, Carl Veart, has selected his 20-man squad for the clash, Hiroshi Ibusuki’s rescinded red card against Sydney FC sees the Japanese forward available but Lachlan Barr has been ruled out of the game with a calf injury, while Steven Hall has returned from international duty with a knock to his knee.
Squads: Adelaide United – GK James DELIANOV, GK Joe GAUCI, 2 Harry VAN DER SAAG, 3 Ben WARLAND, 6 Louis D’ARRIGO, 7 Ryan KITTO, 8 ISAÍAS, 9 Hiroshi IBUSUKI, 11 Craig GOODWIN, 14 George BLACKWOOD, 21 Javi LÓPEZ, 26 Ben HALLORAN, 28 JUANDE, 35 Luka JOVANOVIC, 36 Panashe MADANHA, 41 Alexandar POPOVIC, 47 Asad KASUMOVIC, 49 Musa TOURE, 55 Ethan ALAGICH, 66 Nestory IRANKUNDA - Ins: MADANHA (promoted), TOURE (promoted) - Outs: None
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Pierce CLARK, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 3 Jacob DOWSE, 4 Luke BODNAR, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 10 Salim KHELIFI, 11 Ben AZUBEL, 14 Jack CLISBY, 16 Keegan JELACIC, 18 David WILLIAMS, 19 Zach DUNCAN, 20 Giordano COLLI, 23 Mitch OXBORROW, 25 Matt HATCH, 29 Daryl LACHMAN, 36 Joseph FORDE, 37 Jacob MUIR - Ins: CLISBY, David WILLIAMS, MUIR- Outs: 12 Luke IVANOVIC
FORNAROLI EXITS GLORY
Perth Glory have confirmed that Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli, has left the club, after his contract was mutual termination by the club with effectively immediately. This comes in the wake of a bizarre injury standoff after the striker was left out of a win against Central Coast, when Fornaroli refuted claims he didn’t play due to injury taking to social media to say, “I’m 100 per cent fit and ready Perth Glory. Wrong information”.
It ends a three-year spell in the west for the crowd favourite, after the striker joined after walking out on Melbourne City. He departs having made 76 A-League appearances and scoring 34 goals, and in his time at the club represented his new country, making two appearances for the Socceroos in last year’s World Cup qualifiers.
The 35-year-old was quick to acknowledge the club’s supporters. “I have enjoyed my time here at Perth Glory and in particular, the relationship that I have developed with the members and fans who will always retain a special place in my heart,” he said. “I would like to thank the club for resolving this situation with me quickly and effectively and wish the players and staff all the very best for the future.”
Glory CEO, Anthony Radich, believes that the decision is the right one for both the club and the player. “Bruno has been a great servant to Perth Glory and we sincerely thank him for his efforts and contribution and wish him well for the remainder of his career,” he said. “It is a difficult decision for both parties, but such decisions have to be made as we continue to rebuild the club. Moving forward, Bruno’s departure means we have an opportunity to strengthen the squad when the transfer window reopens in January and we fully intend to do so.”
MCLAUGHLIN FLYS OFF WITH GULLS TOP AWARD
Sorrento FC defender Ryan McLaughlin capped off a great season, after winning the clubs First Team ‘Best Player of the Season’, pipping midfielder Dean Cummings to the award. It ended a successful 50th anniversary celebrations, and the season official came to an end on September 24, when they held their Senior Presentation Evening, at a gala function at the Westin, Marriott Hotel in Perth. The Gulls went into the final game of the NPLM WA season needing a win at Stirling, and hoping Bayswater slipped up against Balcatta, to make the end of season Top Four Finals, and they achieved it, and went on to beat Stirling again in the Major Semi-Final, but their run ended against Perth RedStar in the Preliminary Final.
McLaughlin said it was a great season and he was honoured to win the Best Player of the Year Award. “It was fantastic to win the POTY trophy at Sorrento for the 2022 season. We had a great run at the end of the season and everyone in the squad played their part in that,” the defender said. “It’s always nice to be recognized by the coaching staff and players for your efforts and I’m sure there was four or five guys in the running for the award also.”
Sorrento Head Coach Trevor Morgan said the defender was a deserved winner. “Ryan had an outstanding season, and I think him and Mark Barnett make a great pair of Central defenders and they work well together,” he explained. “Ryan is great in one v one situations, and he is quick and reads the game well. He can improve on his distribution forward which is something we can work on but I definitely think that given the opportunity he could play at a higher level, and he has all the attributes needed in a defender and deserved his award.”
In other awards on the night young keeper Patrick Hughes won the ‘Most Improved Young Player of the Year’, and Morgan said this award was the first of many for the talented shot stopper. “Paddy had a great season for us, he made mistakes but who doesn't at that age, but he showed great character in bouncing back from them and turned in some top-class performances that won us games,” he said.
“His distribution is good and he is very comfortable in possession which is a big plus in the way the game is played today. He is only 17 and is another that should he continue to progress as he has done over past 12 months should come to the attention of clubs at a higher level than we play at. He thoroughly deserved his award and I feel that will be the first of many coming his way.”
In other awards on the night Chris Jackson won the NPL first team Golden Boot, the striker scoring 20 goals, while Gustavo Giron Marulanda won the ‘Most Significant Save or Goal of Season’, his two goals against Stirling in last league match of season to get Sorrento into the end of season finals, while under 18s coach Allan Hodgkinson won the ‘Best Club Person’ Award.
The U20s finished third in the regular season, and Zechariah Dabbs won the ‘Best player Award’, ahead of Niall McKeon, while Dabbs also won the Golden Boot with 22 goals. The U18s also finished third, and William Hocking won the ‘Best Player Award’, ahead of Ben Wyeth, while Rhys Thompson won the Golden Boot with 22 goals.
In the Womens State League, the Gulls had a successful season finishing third, and Jess Lindquist won the ‘Player of the Year’ and ‘Players Player of the Year’, Jess Santich won the ‘Coaches Award’, while Jodie Brough took out the Golden Boot, scoring 12 goals., and the ‘Heather Kelland Award’. The Amateur side capped a great season by winning the Hyundai Women's Amateur League Division Two title, and it was Gabby Denman who won the ‘Player of the Year’, Lauren Byford won the ‘Players Player of the Year’ and the Coaches Award, while Rose McGarty won the Golden Boot scoring 17 goals.
KERR BAGS FOUR AS CHELSEA TOP CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP A
Matildas skipper Sam Kerr has helped keep Chelsea top of Group A in the Women’s Champions League on Wednesday with a four-goal haul in an 8-0 thrashing of Albanians Vllaznia. The Blues backed up an excellent victory over PSG in their opening group game six days ago, and it was Kerr who broke the deadlock after 10 minutes finishing well after good work from Pernille Harder. Kerr added a second on 37 minutes, benefiting from winger Guro Reiten’s deflected cross, before Reiten was also the provider for the Blues’ third as she found Denmark’s Pernille Harder two minutes later.
UEFA gave what had appeared to be Kerr’s third goal to captain Magdalena Eriksson after a scramble from a corner, but it was overturned after the match and given to Kerr. In the meantime, Kerr had swept home to make certain of her hat-trick, and Harder then added her second and replacement Katerina Svitkova got on the scoresheet with 12 minutes remaining. Harder completed the rout and claimed her hat-trick with two minutes left to put Chelsea two points clear of Real Madrid.
“Obviously I’m paid to score goals but I also think I bring a lot to the team when I’m not scoring too,” Kerr explained. “So, it’s just about being patient, getting in my groove, and I did tonight and hopefully I can again against Villa [on Sunday].” It’s been a lean spell for the striker, having only scored one goal in the WSL this season, but General Manager Paul Green, who was standing in for the absent Emma Hayes, said there has never been a worry about that. “She’s won the golden boot two seasons in a row and we’ve never had any doubts she would score this season,” he said.
WA TRIO SELECTED IN JUNIOR MATILDAS SQUAD
West Australian football continues to unearth some talented players for international squads, and this week three have been selected for the Junior Matildas' squad, for a three-match international series against the Korea Republic starting this Sunday. Hyundai NTC Womens under 21 trio Ischia Brooking, Jessica Skinner and Ruby Cuthbert, who helped the NTC to the NPLW WA U21 title last season, and also made their first team debuts last season, were all named in the squad for the games at Kingscliff Soccer Club, NSW, and Broadbeach United Soccer Club, Queensland.
Australia will take on the U-15 Women’s National Team from Korea Republic in three fixtures played on Sunday, 30 October, Wednesday, 2 November and Friday, 4 November 2022. Football Australia CEO James Johnson welcomed the staging of additional youth national team matches on Australian shores. “Following the successful men’s Group G AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023™ Qualifiers in Shepperton earlier this month, we are thrilled to receive another of our football neighbors to Australia,” Johnson said.
“When it comes to women’s football, the Asian Football Confederation has some of the world’s strongest nations and this will be an excellent development opportunity for a new cohort of CommBank Junior Matildas. This will be their first foray into international football and a fantastic chance for Rae Dower and the team to obtain quality match minutes against one of Asia’s best. We thank the Korea Football Association for their co-operation in securing these international matches between our two nations and for their support of women’s football.”
With the AFC U-17 Women's Asian Cup™ Round One Qualifiers set for April next year, CommBank Junior Matildas head coach Rae Dower is pleased to have matches to commence preparations for those crucial qualifiers. “This camp will be another 'historic' occasion as the group will play a three game friendly series against the Korea Republic U15 Team,” Dower said. “It will give both teams the opportunity for much needed preparation for the Round 1 Qualifiers of the AFC U17 Women's Asian Cup.”
“With so few opportunities for young footballers over the past couple of years due to the pandemic, we want to avail ourselves of every chance to help this exciting young group of players develop and experience international competition. I jumped at the opportunity when it presented, and we would like to thank the City of Gold Coast for their support in hosting these international matches. I can't wait to welcome Korea Republic this week.
“We aim to make it an educational camp with a number of activities planned to develop greater cultural appreciation for the players and some additional work in providing professional development opportunities for new staff and referee education.”
Ahead of the first home matches for the CommBank Junior Matildas since they took on Myanmar in 2019, Dower has finalised a 24-player squad for the series. The final roster was whittled down from the provisional squad announced last week with six Member Federations represented in the final selections. All three matches will be open to the public with free entry. MATCH DETAILS - Game One - Sunday, 30 October 2022, Kingscliff Soccer Club, Kingscliff - Kick-off: 12pm WST. Game Two - Wednesday, 2 November 2022, Broadbeach United Soccer Club, Broadbeach - Kick-off: 4pm WST. Game Three - Friday, 4 November 2022, Broadbeach United Soccer Club, Broadbeach - Kick-off: 4pm WST
Squad: GK Jessica SKINNER, Ischia BROOKING, Ruby CUTHBERT (Football West NTC), Poppy CHANNING, Sienna DALE, Indiana DOS SANTOS, GK Sofia FANTE, Mia GOLDING, Alvina KHOSHABA, Lauren NADA, Lillian SKELLY, Talia YOUNIS (Football NSW), Grace KUILAMU, Rosie MCMAHON, Shelby MCMAHON, Chloe PARKER (Football Queensland), Anastasia MARZILLI, Annalise SIMPSON (Football South Australia), Nia MOHD SALLEH, Poppy O'KEEFFE, Amelia TARTAGLIA, Clancy WESTAWAY (Football Victoria), GK Georgia RITCHIE, Pearl TEIN (Capital Football)
GLORY DOWNPLAY FORNAROLI'S ABSENCE
Perth Glory have shrugged off Bruno Fornaroli's controversial absence from yesterday's 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners. Coach Ruben Zadkovich hinted on Friday that the veteran striker could be left out of the squad after a quiet opening two rounds, and following a limited pre-season.
When Glory posted their line-up for Sunday's game on Instagram - without Fornaroli even on the bench - they commented saying: "Bruno is out due to injury." But the Socceroo responded soon after, saying "I'm 100% fit and ready @perthgloryfc wrong information" in a comment that was later deleted.
"He was just unavailable," Zadkovich told reporters post-match. "He ruled himself out with a with a rib injury on Friday, so couldn't finish the final session, which meant that he wasn't available for selection. So there's not really much going on there."
Zadkovich said he hadn't seen Fornaroli's comment. "To be honest, I'm not sure (what the situation is). Who knows, social media - his account could have got hacked for all we know," he said. "So I can't really comment, I haven't seen those comments but all I know is that I picked a squad that was available and they went out there and did the job."
But the Glory coach refused to be drawn on Fornaroli's future. "He's set a hell of a goal-scoring record in the league and like all the boys, he's extremely valuable to our club," Zadkovich explained. "But like I say, the focus isn't on him at the moment."
RISDON STAKES CASE FOR SOCCEROOS RE-CALL
Western United coach John Aloisi has hailed Josh Risdon's quality as the forgotten Socceroo makes a late charge towards a World Cup berth. The 30-year old defender started every group stage match at the 2018 World Cup but between injuries and falling down the pecking order, he hasn't played for the Socceroos since January 2019.
Risdon said during the week that he hasn't heard from Socceroos coach Graham Arnold recently but pushing for national team selection remained a goal. And he did himself no harm by blanketing Macarthur young gun and fellow Socceroos hopeful Daniel Arzani in Friday night's 1-1 A-League draw.
"I don't even need to talk about him because I think his performances speak for itself," said Aloisi, whose playing career included 55 outings for Australia's national team. "He comes up against top wingers in our league every week and he puts on great performances every week."
"So I'm not the national team coach. I'm not going to start to say that he should be in a national team. That's up to Graham Arnold, who he selects and who he thinks is in his mind for that right fullback position. But I'm happy with the way Josh is going and if he keeps on performing like that, then we're only going to be better as a team."
YORKE CALLS FOR SOCCEROOS TO DE SILVA
English Premier League legend Dwight Yorke wants to see Daniel De Silva capped by Australia. De Silva was influential in midfield as Macarthur draw 1-1 with Western United on Friday night, prompting cacoh Yorke to double down on his comments during the week that the 25-year old should be in the Socceroos' radar.
"You can't fault Danny as far as I'm concerned," said Yorke, who made close to 600 appearances for Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Sunderland in addition to representing Trinidad and Tobago on 72 occasions. "I put it out there because I've had the experience of international football."
"I've had the experience of playing at the very top. When I see a damn good player in Danny - that's exactly what I watch - it's my duty as a manager to push someone like his class to get into the Australian team. It's not my decision to make, to pick the squad, but I know what quality play he's got."
MATILDAS FACE A TRICKY GROUP STAGE IN WORLD CUP
The Matildas have been given a tricky group stage for the 2023 FIFA World Cup, which will be held jointly in Australia and New Zealand, starting in July next year. In the draw on Saturday, Tony Gustavsson’s side were drawn along with Canada, Nigeria and the improving Republic of Ireland in Group B, which many are calling the ‘Group of Death’. “It’s a very, very tough draw,” Gustavsson said. “For me, there’s a difference between expectations and belief, I feel that we have the belief from our fans and from a nation and, with that belief and the support, that means we have an extra player on the field. Expectations is more about people speculating, what can we expect of this team based off rankings, historical results, the draw and all those things. But I leave that to others and focus on is the belief.”
Ireland in particular shape as a potential stumbling block the Matildas could do without, but Canada is the real problem. The world number seven have forged a built a level of consistency that makes them favourites to top the group and, should Australia finish second, they will head straight for a perilous first knockout tie with the winners of Group D, looking at this stage to be European champions England. Lose that and it would mean a humiliating early exit from a home tournament.
But, should Australia top their group they will face the runner-up of Group D, likely to be either Asian champions China or Denmark, the latter of whom Gustavsson’s side beat 3-1 in a friendly earlier this month. After that, the likes of Germany, France or Brazil potentially await in the quarter-finals. The Matildas games are all over east, which is a little disappointing for WA supporters. The first on July 20 against the Irish at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, then they take on Nigeria on July 27 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, before a clash with the Canadians on July 31 at AAMI Park, Melbourne.
Ireland, who are ranked 24, are one of five debutants in the expanded 32-team tournament, alongside Morocco, the Philippines, Vietnam and Zambia, and will mark their first appearance at a major competition on the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Football Association of Ireland. Really, though, the most significant advancements have occurred over the past five years since the national team of 2017 threatened to boycott over paltry wages and resources.
Head Coach Vera Pauw, since taking over in 2019, has prioritised playing high-quality opposition with a view to growth, and a year ago they beat the Matildas 3-2 in Dublin. “Australia were the better team, of course,” Pauw said. “But somehow, we managed to win. It was a fantastic game, and that was a turning point in our real belief that we can do something.” They will have to do that something under the intense spotlight of Australia’s opening match in front of home Sydney support. “The more pressure, the better,” she added. “It’s about a task that you have to execute, it’s not about how many people are in the stands. The bigger the stage, the better, because this is what we dreamed for.”
Nigeria was once the undisputed powerhouse of African women’s football, but they are on their worst run of results to date. This month’s 2-0 friendly loss to Japan in Kobe was the Super Falcons’ fifth consecutive defeat and pressure is mounting on Head Coach Randy Waldrum, who took the reins in 2020. At July’s Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the American oversaw a fourth-placed finish – their equal-lowest and a disappointment for a team who won 11 of the previous 13 tournaments.
Equalling their round-of-16 berth at France 2019 seems a tall task in this group and Australia have the historical upper hand, having defeated them 2-0 in the group stage of Canada 2015. But the quality of this group of players, including Barcelona forward and 2022 Ballon d’Or Féminin nominee Asisat Oshoala, is undeniable. “Our expectations are to make it out of our group and make a deep run at the World Cup,” Waldrum said earlier in October before the draw. “We feel like we have the talent to do that, and right now we just need time to gather the team and prepare properly.”
Canada cemented themselves as a World Cup contender when they won gold at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Since then, they have further matured under Head coach Bev Priestman and are unbeaten in 2022 apart from a 1-0 loss to the top-ranked United States in July’s Concacaf Women’s Championship final. One of their victims this year was Australia, who they beat 1-0 and 2-1 in Brisbane and Sydney last month. Those friendly wins – with an understrength squad – make them clear favourites to top the group.
“That experience will definitely be invaluable for sure,” Priestman said after the draw. “But, at the end of the day, what matters is when they play us in a World Cup. And I think for them, after two losses at home, they’re going to want to come out and show that when it really matters. So, we can’t underestimate them. Our group, it could be worse but it could be better - I’m feeling good.”
The Matilidas won’t be playing in Perth, which is a huge disappointment, but there is 32 teams taking part, and there are five games at HBF Park. First on July 22 Denmark will play China in a Group D game, then Republic of Ireland meet Canada in Group B on July 26. On July 29 Jamaica will play the Group C Play-off winner in Group F, then on August 1, Group B Play-Off winners meet Denmark. In Group D. Finally, on August 3 Morocco meet Colombia in Group H, tickets for the games go on sale on 25 October.
22.10.2022 - FORNAROLI IN DOUBT FOR CENTRAL COAST Perth Glory striker Bruno Fornaroli could be a shock omission for Sunday's clash with Central Coast as coach Ruben Zadkovich searches for a winning combination. Glory's new-look squad have started the A-League campaign with losses to Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets, with the results ramping up the pressure on last season's wooden-spooners. Fornaroli is one of the competition's greatest strikers with 82 goals in 142 appearances, and he earned his Socceroos debut earlier this year. But his quiet displays against Western Sydney and Newcastle have raised the prospect of Fornaroli being benched – or overlooked altogether – for the trip to Gosford. Fornaroli, who suffered a serious ankle injury when playing for Australia against Saudi Arabia on March, sat out a portion of Friday's training session. "He's had a mixed pre-season in terms of he's had to be modified a little bit,” Zadkovich said. "He's worked pretty hard to get back on the pitch, but so far it hasn’t been so effective." "It could be (because of) fitness, it could be team cohesion with a lot of new faces. It could be a few things. Form comes and goes. We need every player at the moment, especially in that front third, to be making the right movements and forward runs to get into positions to score. That's a big thing he needs to focus on." Zadkovich played his cards close to his chest when asked whether Fornaroli might need a stint out of the side. "Potentially," the coach said. "I'm going to pick a side this week that I think wins the game, and after training we'll do that.” Glory have another three games on the road before being able to host games in Perth again.
GLORY SINK THE MARINERS TO GET THEIR SEASON STARTED
Perth Glory have produced an improved performance and kick started their Isuzu Utu A-League season on Sunday afternoon, after a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford. Samuel Silvera gave the hosts the lead half way through the first half, but Giordano Colli levelled just before half time. Irish import Aaron McEneff gave Glory the lead just before the hour, and Ruben Zadkovich’s side hung on late as Mariners throw everything at them, but with skipper Mark Beevers and Darryl Lachman outstanding at the heart of the defence, they stood firm to claim the points.
Zadkovich was delighted at the character his side showed to come from behind and seal victory. “We’re working really, really hard as a group, so I’m just really proud,” he said post-match. “We showed a lot of belief and resilience. The boys have been huge in the three games, albeit in performances that haven’t been near what we wanted and that’s because we’re a group in our infancy. It’s going to take time, and we’re going to have to build on our structures and our processes
“But if they show that level of work rate, effort, fight and mentality as a group, then we’ll definitely get there, it’s something to build on. We had a really good performance last week and created enough chances to win that game and it was a step in the right direction, but the result wasn’t there. This result will give a bit of confidence to the team and everyone involved at the club. It’ll pick up the mood for everybody on a day-to-day basis… and now we’ll look to build on it.”
Glory made three changes to the side that were edged out by Newcastle Jets last week, with skipper Mustafa Amini missing out with injury, he was replaced by Mitch Oxborrow in the middle of the park, while Jacob Muir and most surprisingly Bruno Fornaroli were left out of the side, replaced by McEneff and John Koutroumbis, and there is more to come out about the Uruguayan striker, who was not happy about his axing.
It was an even opening, with half chances at both ends. First on 13 minutes McEneff sent Ryan Williams down the right, he pulled the ball back to Salim Khelifi on the edge of the box, but his shot was well blocked by a Mariners defender. The hosts hit back seven minutes later, Paul Ayongo made space down the right, and cut inside his marker, but he shot straight at Liam Reddy.
It was end-to-end and Khelifi’s curling effort was saved low by Danny Vukovic, but on 21 minutes it was the hosts who found the opener. Good work on the left of the penalty area by Socceroos striker Jason Cummings, while out muscled Williams, before cutting the ball back to Silvera, and the English-born midfielder made no mistake from the edge of the box.
Glory looked for a quick response and Colli sent Zach Duncan into the box, but his shot was also well blocked by the alert Brian Kaltak. The visitors looked like they had a penalty just after the half hour mark, McEneff’s cross from the right clearly hit the arm of Silvera, but after a VAR check somehow it was missed, to the annoyance of the Glory coaching staff. But they were ended the half the better and Khelifi’s free kick was straight at Vukovic, and in the shadows of the break they found the equaliser.
Some patient build-up play ended with Williams out on the right, his dinked cross picked out Ben Azubel, whose diving header saw Vukovic produce a smart save to deny him, but Colli was the quickest to react, the former Bayswater City midfielder rifled home from close-range. It sent them to the sheds level at 1-1 and all to play for in the second half.
The Mariners were first to go close after the break, Cummings cross to the back post on 51 minutes was volleyed wide by Jacob Farrell. But six minutes later Glory hit the front, Mitch Oxborrow sent the lively Williams down the right, he found Colli on the edge of the box, and his ball into the box wasn’t dealt with, the ball falling kindly for McEneff, who raced into goal, rounded the keeper and scored into an empty net.
But after taking the lead the Glory sat back and the Mariners, who cleared their bench, began to take control. Farrell’s long-range shot was saved low by Reddy and moments later Marco Tulio blazed over the top when well placed. The dangerous Farrell then set up Cummings, but he sliced his shot wide, before Farrell headed Tulio’s cross wide of the far post. The hosts were pressing and Glory were hanging on, but they had a couple of chances late to wrap up the points.
First McEneff’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected just over the top, before Khelifi sliced a shot wide. The Glory were defending desperately to hold on to their lead, and even Vukovic came up late in stoppage time as the Mariners pushed everyone forward looking for the late equaliser, but they couldn’t find it, Glory securing their first win of the season and moving off the bottom and into sixth on the table.
“Delighted to get the win, they put us under pressure at the end, and they throw everything at us late, but we held firm and got the three points which is massive for us,” Glory midfielder Aaron McEneff said post-match. “The boys were great tonight, we conceded some sloppy goals in the first two games, even the goal we gave away tonight we could have done better, but his team, like I’ve said before, it’s a new group and it’s a progression week by week and were going in the right direction.”
Central Coast Mariners: GK Danny VUKOVIC, 3 Brian KALTAK, 4 Joshua NISBET, 6 Maximilien BALARD, 7 Samuel SILVERA (14 Garang KUOL 57'), 9 Jason CUMMINGS, 11 Beni NKOLOLO (98 MARCO TULIO 61'), 15 Storm ROUX (2 Thomas AQUILINA 61'), 17 Kelechi JOHN (25 Nectarios TRIANTIS 85'), 18 Jacob FARRELL, 90 Paul AYONGO (21 Michael RUHS 57') - Subs not used: RGK Yaren SOZER, 13 Harrison STEELE
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 10 Salim KHELIFI, 11 Ben AZUBEL (3 Jacob DOWSE 78'), 19 Zach DUNCAN (4 Luke BODNAR 66'), 20 Giordano COLLI, 23 Mitch OXBORROW (12 Luke IVANOVIC 66'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Pierce CLARK, 16 Keegan JELACIC, 25 Matt HATCH, 36 Joseph FORDE - Referee: Lachlan KEEVERS
GLORY HOPING TO KICK START THEIR SEASON AGAINST THE MARINERS
Perth Glory will look to kick start their 2022-23 Isuzu Ute A-League season on Sunday afternoon when they take on Central Coast Mariners in Gosford (kick-off at 2pm WST). Ruben Zadkovich’s side have lost their opening two games, and with last week’s last-minute defeat against Newcastle Jets still fresh in their minds, a result in this one is vital to get their five-game road trip and season going. The coach is confident that his players are in good shape, and he will be looking for further improvement on Sunday.
He did see things he liked in the loss against Newcastle, and believes they are heading in the right direction, and he is hoping Sunday will see them get their first win of the season, but the venue hasn’t been kind to them over the years, only winning their four times in 15 games, but they are unbeaten in their last five visits, picking up three wins and two draws and the three most recent meetings between the two clubs have all ended in draws.
“The boys are looking sharp and they’ve been training well, and last week we had enough chances to win the game,” Zadkovich said. “We had more shots on target, more penalty box entries and had the better off it in the boxes, we just need to keep improving. We’re in that building phase and are still in our infancy as a group, it’s going to take time, but we’ll just keep working hard.
“I keep saying to the guys that my belief doesn’t waver and neither should theirs. You need to stay really resolute in your beliefs and continue to work really hard and that’s what they’re doing. It’s just a matter of finding the right balance and the right combinations between players, that’s really important. We need to make sure that we’re focusing on each game on its merits and that we’re super-competitive first and foremost.
The longer our structures and processes are in place, the wins will start to follow.”
The Mariners drew their first game of the season last week at Wellington, and Zadkovich said they can’t underestimate them. “Central Coast are a good side, they’re tough and physical and work really hard and are quite attacking,” he explained. “They’ve got some neat intricacies to the way they create chances, so we’ll need to be on our toes defensively first and foremost and we need to keep improving with the ball as we did from Round One to Round Two and hopefully grow again and create a few more chances.” In terms of team news David Williams misses the trip due to illness, while the Mariners welcome back Garang Kuol and Nectarios Triantis back from Young Socceroos duty and Daniel Hall from suspension.
Squads: Central Coast Mariners: GK Daniel VUKOVIC, GK Yaren SOZER, 2 Thomas AQUILINA, 3 Brian KALTAK, 4 Joshua NISBET, 6 Maximilien BALARD, 7 Samuel SILVERA, 9 Jason CUMMINGS, 11 Beni NKOLOLO, 13 Harrison STEELE, 14 Garang KUOL, 15 Storm ROUX, 17 Kelechi JOHN, 18 Jacob FARRELL, 21 Michael RUHS, 23 Daniel Hall, 25 Nectarios TRIANTIS, 29 Dor JOK, 90 Paul AYONGO, 98 MARCO TULIO
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Pierce CLARK, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 8 Mustafa AMINI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Salim KHELIFI, 11 Ben AZUBEL, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Jack CLISBY, 16 Keegan JELACIC, 19 Zach DUNCAN, 20 Giordano COLLI, 23 Mitch OXBORROW, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 37 Jacob MUIR, 43 Adam ZIMARINO, 77 Stefan COLAKOVSKI
RISDON SAYS BIG STADIUMS ARE HOLDING THE A-LEAGUE BACK
Josh Risdon believes less is more when it comes to reviving A-League crowed numbers, the defender saying smaller venues offer a better atmosphere than largely empty stadiums. The 30-year old right-back says 'boutique' grounds may be the answer for some clubs.
"I'm a big believer in the smaller the stadium, the better," said Risdon, captain of Western United. "It definitely feels louder when you pack out a smaller stadium, rather than playing in a bigger stadium with less fans."
"Definitely that is the the aim behind our new stadium, to start off small and get a good fan base going. Then as the club grows, we can build a bigger stadium and get more fans and attract more people to the games."
United's new stadium, at Tarneit in Melbourne’s west, is scheduled to open in 2026, with a capacity for 15,000 fans. From next year, the club will play A-League home games at their training base, which will cater for up to 5,000 spectators.
GLORY QUARTET SHINE FOR YOUNG SOCCEROOS
Perth Glory quartet Chris Donnell, Joseph Forde, Jayden Gorman and Kaelan Majekodunmi, have helped the Young Socceroos qualify for the AFC under 20 Asian Cup after topping their group in the qualifies in Kuwait on Wednesday evening. Also in the squad were former Glory defender Josh Rawlins, striker Gabriel Popovic and former ECU Joondalup midfielder Matthew Dench, and the side won all three games to qualify. “It was a great experience for the team to qualify for an important tournament together,” midfielder Donnell said. “The boys did very well and now it gives us an opportunity to go even further as a group.” Defender Majekodunmi added: “The boys did well in the tournament managing to top the group, and we have now given ourselves a bigger opportunity to compete in the Asian cup, which will be a challenge. Overall, the boys showed a lot of determination and resilience along the journey and now must focus on the next.”
Head Coach Trevor Morgan said, it’s so important to qualify for major tournaments like the AFC U-20 Asian Cup and the FIFA U-20 World Cup. “I’m very pleased and excited for this very talented group of young players to have now made that a possibility for themselves,” he explained post game. “I’m very thankful for the investment and commitment to this age group made by Football Australia in allowing us to go to the Costa Cálida Super Cup in Spain only a few weeks ago to expose these players to international football at a high level, which was vital to our success during these Qualifiers.
“Our youth national teams need to be filled with the best talent, we need to showcase them to the world, and exposure these players to the highest levels of football as they go on their journey to becoming top professionals and Socceroos, where I’m really thankful we were able to bring such a talented group of players to Kuwait for these important Qualifiers. It was great to assemble an experienced technical and support team for this tournament, particularly to have Brad Maloney onboard straight from his success with the Joeys at their respective AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers early this month, highlighting the collaborative approach that Football Australia is taking in producing the next generation of Socceroos.”
Morgan’s side was drawn alongside Kuwait, India and Iraq, and they started the tournament against hosts Kuwait. Rawlins, who joined Dutch side FC Utrecht from Glory this season was named captain while Majekodunmi, Donnell, Popovic and Dench started the game, and they ran out convincing 4-1 winners. Adrian Segecic opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Kuwait were reduced to 10 men with Saleh Almehtab given a second yellow.
Popovic slotted the ensuing spot-kick before scoring a second five minutes from the break to put them in a commanding 3-0 half-time lead. The hosts hit back from the penalty spot seven minutes after the resumption, but two minutes before full time Nectarios Triantis tapped home from close range to put the result beyond doubt.
In the second game they took on India, and Morgan rang the changes, with the WA contingent all on the bench. But they made a great start with Garang Kuol firing home into the top corner from the edge of the box on 11 minutes, and they doubled their lead on the half hour with own goal 11th-minute finish into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Australia struggled to play with any real fluidity in the second half with India making things difficult. Gurkirat Singh’s long-range strike ricocheted in off the post just past the hour mark, making for a few anxious moments. However, two lates goals helped settle the nerves and indeed flatter the scoreline for Australia. Adrian Segecic volleyed in Gorman’s deft chipped cross before Yaya Dukuly released Max Caputo one-on-one with the goalkeeper and he clinically steered his finish home.
The Young Socceroos toughest test of the group would arrive against Iraq in the final game. Morgan reverted back to the side that beat Kuwait in the opener, and both sides headed into the group clash on maximum points, with the Aussies boasting a +2 superior goal difference. It meant they only needed a draw to claim top spot, and Yaya Dukuly saw his penalty saved in the first half. But his blushes were spared on the hour, as a sliding Popovic met Dench’s low cross from the left to win the tightly-fought contest.
It was Popovic’s third goal of the campaign. Both teams continued to have chances but on the balance of play, Australia deserved the victory. Despite the loss, Iraq also qualified for next year's tournament after finishing fourth out of the best five runners-up. Australia joins host Uzbekistan, fellow group winners Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Indonesia, Oman, Tajikistan and Iran plus best runners-up Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, China, Iraq, and Syria in qualifying for next year’s tournament.
REDSTAR CELEBRATE A FANTASTIC FIRST SEASON
Perth RedStar’s first season was a successful one, and they official wrapped it up last weekend when the club held their Presentation Night at the Joondalup Resort on Friday evening. The men’s side took out the Top Four Cup, beating Floreat Athena in the final, the side that just popped them for the league title. In the first team awards it was skipper Ellis Healing who won the ‘Player of the Year’, while top goalscorer and Football West Gold Medalist Daryl Nicol winning the ‘Players Player of the Year’
Both players deserved their individual awards, and both were happy to receive them. “It was great to win the Player of the Year award, after missing the last two seasons with injury this was a good moment for me,” Healing explained. “There’s a lot of other awards out there that are glorified popularity contests but these holds true value.” Nicol added: “I’m delighted to pick up the Players’ Player of the year as I believe to be recognised like that by your teammates is the most special award you can receive.”
Head Coach Callum Salmon said the pair were outstanding and both leaders in the squad. “Both were outstanding throughout the season, on and off the field, a pleasure to work with and coach,” he explained. “Both had huge performances in our big games, and when the team struggled both players never stopped working. Both players always motivated to win and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings for each player individually and what we can achieve as a team.”
The RedStar’s women’s side took all before them in season 2022, Carlos Vega Mena’s side won the night series, Stare League Cup, NPLW League title and the Top Four Cup, and Kim Carroll won the Player of the Year with Emily Dunn taking out the Players Player of the Year. Vega Mena said they were both outstanding defender’s last season. Kim is a true professional. What she brings to the team and the pitch every week is invaluable,” he explained.
“Kim remains composed under pressure and has the ability to read the game, predict patterns and prepare the response. She never holds back and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. After last season, Kim was determined to bring home a trophy and really stepped up this season. She kept the team, especially the back line, organised and made sure everyone was on the same page each week. She is an absolute asset to the team.
“What can I say about Emily? She’s a tough, tireless, experienced defender who can anticipate the play and position herself accordingly. Emily doesn’t hesitate to put her body on the line, she simply goes out on the pitch and gets it done. To top it off, Emily is a beautiful person and very important member of the team. The players obviously appreciate her as much as I do, Players’ Player is a well-deserved award for Emily. Kim and Emily are two of the best defenders in the league and are an absolute pleasure to coach.”
Dunn said it was an honour, and a shock to win the award. “To win the award was a real shock, and really meant a lot to me,” she explained. “It has been such an honour to be a part of this team this year, so coming away with an award is just icing on top for me.”
In other awards on the night, Nyle Weale won the U20s Player of the Year, while Sean O’Connor won the Players’ Player of the Year, and Louis Hadfield the Golden Boot. George Losondo won the U18s Players’ Player of the Year, with Ryder Leasor winning the Player of the Year, and Sarsan Ahmed won the Golden Boot.
In the Womens first team the Golden Boot was won by Larissa Walsh, while in the under 21’s Player of the Year was won by Sara Kifayatullah, Olivia Goud won the Players’ Player of the Year, while Hannah Insch won the Golden Boot. Mark Scanlan won the Men’s Club Person of the Year, with Lynn Yavu-Kama winning the Womens.
HARGREAVES TAKES OUT BAYSWATER CITY’S F&B
Bayswater City just missed out on a spot in the Top Four Finals last season, but it was a huge improvement from Gareth Naven’s side, who finished a disappointing eighth in 2021. Their season officially came to an end last weekend when the club held their presentation night, and it was midfielder Declan Hargreaves, who took out the Rocco D’Orazio medal as Fairest and Best ahead of Jason Mirco. The midfielder was delighted to have won the award, and is looking forward to next season.
“I’m very proud to win the Rocco D’Orazio medal amongst a talented squad of players, and I’ve enjoyed playing back at Bayswater again it’s a great club,” the midfielder explained. “On the season, we didn’t finish where we would have liked and fell short at the end. But we know what we have to work on and we will be ready for a strong year next year.”
Bayswater City President Oriano Colli said Declan had an outstanding year, and was a deserved winner of the medal. “Declan is a deserving winner of the 2022 Rocco D’Orazio medal, having twice been runner up 2015 and 2017,” he explained. “He embodies what we want to reflect in our side, excellent attitude to training and games, along with a never say die attitude, not to mention excellent technical abilities.”
In other awards on the night Kosta Sparta won the First Team Players’ Player of the Year, while Ndumba Makeche won the Golden Boot. In the U20’s Jacob Forsyth won the Fairest and Best, with Brad Vlachy the runner-up, Forsyth also won the Players’ Player of the Year, and Will Gallagher won the Golden Boot. Orhan Boric was voted the U18’s Fairest and Best, with Aryan Azaralou the runner-up. Azaralou was the Players’ Player of the Year, while Boric also took out the Golden Boot. The Masters Fairest and Best was jointly won by Trevor Hatton and Victor Sikora, while Hatton also won the Players’ Player of the Year, with Vas Kalogeracos winning the Golden Boot.
RISDON RARING TO SHUT DOWN ARZANI
Four years after he was Daniel Arzani's Socceroos World Cup teammate, Josh Risdon is ready to stand in the young gun's way. The Western United captain and right-back is on a collision course with Macarthur FC left winger Arzani in Friday night's A-League Men clash.
The exuberant Arzani recorded a goal and an assist in the Bulls' round two win over Adelaide and shapes as a Socceroos bolter for the second time in as many World Cups. But if Risdon has his way, the 23-year-old won't be adding to his resume against United.
"He's obviously an unreal talent that we've got in Australian football at the moment," Risdon said. "I've worked a little bit with him, obviously with the national team at the last World Cup, he's very, very talented. He's pushing for a World Cup spot so he's in good form."
"I saw some highlights from him on the weekend and he can do some some things that a lot of players can't. It'll be a good test for myself. Obviously I like coming up against the best players and testing myself so it'll be a good challenge on Friday night, that's for sure."
Arzani dealt with lengthy recovery from an ACL tear and bouncing between unsuccessful loan stints in Europe, while on Manchester City's books, before returning to Australia. "He's obviously come back to Australia looking to find that form again and I'm sure he's matured as a player over the years, playing in Europe," Risdon said.
Risdon, for his part, is enjoying a rare injury-free run and is looking to hit top form with United. He was Australia's starting right-back in Russia and is still looking to put his foot forward, but hasn't heard from Socceroos coach Graham Arnold recently.
"It's something that's obviously in the back of my mind," he said. "I would have liked to have been involved the last few years here and there, but obviously, injuries and whatnot have happened, COVID as well. I know there's a lot of talk about who's going to go to this World Cup."
"it's a different sort of lead-up to this World Cup, given that it's a very short amount of time coming in from the season. I know Arnie's looking at players who are playing well and every week so I've got four games, really, to put my best foot forward and see what happens."
KERR PLACES THIRD IN BALLON D’OR, AGAIN
Australia captain Samantha Kerr has come third in voting for the prestigious Ballon D’Or Feminin for the second consecutive year. Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas made to back-to-back prizes ahead of runner-up Beth Mead (Arsenal) and Kerr (Chelsea).
The Ballon d’Or, voted for by experts around the world, recognises the world’s best footballers of the last season. Kerr is one of just four players who have been nominated all four times since the women’s award was inaugurated in 2018 – finishing fifth, seventh, third, and now third again.
French striker Karim Benzema, who guided Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double by scoring 44 goals, collected the men’s award. Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich) finished the count in second spot with Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) third.
The Kopa Trophy as the best under-21 player went to Barcelona teenager Gavi, while Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona) won the Gerd Muller Award for the best striker of the year. The Lev Yashin Award for best goalkeeper went to Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois.
Mane collected the Socrates Award, a new humanitarian prize, for his charity work in Senegal where contributed toward the construction of a hospital and several schools. Manchester City claimed the Club of the Year award with six total Ballon d’Or finalists named.
GLORY BEATEN AT THE DEATH BY TEN-MAN JETS
Perth Glory’s 2022-23 Isuzu Ute A-League season has begun with back-to-back defeats, after conceding a late goal to go down 1-2 to Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The visitors fell behind on the hour, with Jordan Elsey headed home a Carl Jenkinson cross. Elsey then saw red, the defenders high challenge on David Williams in the box, which allowed substitute Aaron McEneff to level things up from the spot. Glory pressed for the winner, but they were caught out on a quick break by Jaushua Sotirio in stoppage time, with Beka Mikeltadze finishing clinically to seal the points.
It was a huge disappointment for Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich, who thought his players didn’t defend well after looking to win all three points late in the game. “I felt like we deserved something from the game for sure,” he said post-match. “If not a point, then probably three, it was very disappointing. The context of the club and the position that they find itself in, there’s a real eagerness there to win that game and we almost wanted it too much. A few boys out their lost sight of the game-management side of the game and there were those little signs of naivete.
“They were going gung-ho for the three points because that’s what they want, that’s what they want for the members and fans and for the club. They’ve worked so hard today to try and get three points and it’s just a lapse in concentration and a little bit of naivete [that has cost us]. There are some massive positives to take away and some massive areas for improvement… today I thought we created enough chance to win the game.”
Glory skipper Mustafa Amini echoed his coach’s comments. "It's a tough pill to swallow," he said. "We're starting slow but looking game to game, from Western Sydney Wanderers to today, we were a different team. (But) that goal at the end wasn't good enough and it cost us. We have to learn from that."
It was a cagey start to proceedings, with debutant Glory striker Ben Azubel looking lively up top, but it was hosts who were first to go close, with James McGarry shot whistling past the post, before former Glory skipper Brandon O’Neill saw his low shot from the edge of the box, flash narrowly wide. Amini returned fire at the other end, his shot was deflected wide, before the Glory skipper saw another effort blocked.
Glory was starting to get on top and went within inches of the lead on the half hour, Azubel cutting in from the right and his curling effort beat Jets custodian Michael Weier, but crashed off the crossbar and Bruno Fornaroli fired the rebound wide. The Israeli import was then denied by the Newcastle ‘keeper shortly before half time, his shot on the turn was tipped around the post, but at the break it was all-square.
After the break the hosts lifted the tempo, and Mikeltadze headed over the top early, and on 59 minutes they found the opener. Former Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson’s cross was headed home by the unmarked Elsey, giving Liam Reddy no chance. Glory looked for an immediate response, Ryan Williams shot was blocked by the alert Weier, but 20 minutes from time Glory found the equaliser. A cross into the box saw Elsey’s high challenge on substitute David Williams on the edge of the box, and referee Daniel Elder booked the defender, and it was his second yellow card, and sent off.
Glory players were convinced it was in the box, and after checking the VAR monitor, the referee changed the the card to red and awarded a penalty. McEneff stepped up and found the bottom corner of the net, to level with his first goal for the club. Glory pressed for the winner, David Williams was denied by Weier, before Amini fired straight at the Jets custodian, after good work on the left by Salim Khelifi, while Ryan Williams’ effort was straight at Weier.
But there was late drama, Glory forced a corner, but it was cleared and Sotirio raced forward, and with Glory having pushed players forward they were caught out at the back, and the former Wellington Phoenix striker squared the ball to Mikeltadze, and the Georgian striker finished low past Reddy. “It was just a great goal," Jets coach Arthur Papas said post-match. “(Mikeltadze) is a guy who works so hard and for him to score that goal in the last minute, it means something. There's a very good group dynamic building here in terms of resilience and physically, what they can do for 95+ minutes.”
Newcastle Jets: GK Michael WEIER, 4 Jordan ELSEY, 6 Brandon O’NEILL, 7 Trent BUHAGIAR (11 Jaushua SOTIRIO 74'), 8 Beka DARTSMELIA (14 Mohamed AL-TAAY 90'), 9 Beka MIKELTADZE, 10 Reno PISCOPO (5 Matthew JURMAN 74'), 24 James MCGARRY (3 Jason HOFFMAN 82'), 25 Carl JENKINSON, 32 Angus THURGATE, 33 Mark NATTA - Subs not used: RGK Jack DUNCAN, 17 Kosta GROZOS, 18 Daniel STYNES - Red Card: Elsey
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 8 Mustafa AMINI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (18 David WILLIAMS 63'), 10 Salim KHELIFI (23 Mitch OXBORROW 82'), 11 Ben AZUBEL, 19 Zach DUNCAN (6 Aaron MCENEFF 63'), 20 Giordano COLLI (12 Luke IVANOVIC 84'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 37 Jacob MUIR - Subs not used: RGK Pierce CLARK, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 14 Jack CLISBY - Referee: Daniel Elder
NICOL AND WALSH STAR AT THE NPL-WA AWARDS
Perth RedStar duo Daryl Nicol and Larissa Walsh were the stars at the NPLWA Awards at the Westin Perth on Thursday evening, winning the 2022 Gold Medals and the league's top goalscorers. Walsh was voted the Women’s Player of the Year, while Nicol took out the Men’s award, receiving their medals from Minister for Transport; Planning; Ports Rita Saffioti MLA and Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes.
Both strikers also received their competitions’ Golden Boots as top scorers, Nicol bagging 34 goals, while Walsh scored 21, and their trophies were presented by former Socceroos World Cup star Joshua Kennedy. For Nicol, this was his third Gold Medal after he was the voted the league’s Best and Fairest in 2018 and 2019, and he said this one was even sweeter after the RedStar won the Top Four Cup Final this season. “I’m thrilled to win this award for the third time in five years,” he said.
“It is always fantastic to get the recognition for having a consistent season and this season was probably my best out of the lot as I finally managed to get my hands on a trophy with the team. It’s an award which I’m very proud to win and I accept it on behalf of the team as it is no secret that the reason, I’m able to pick up these awards is due to having such brilliant players around me and a good coaching staff. Congratulations to Chok on a fantastic season also, having two RedStar players in the top 3 says a lot about the season we had as a team.”
RedStar coach Callum Salmon said Nicol has been outstanding this season, and brought the best out of his teammates. “All the awards and accolades Daryl receives are well deserved for the amount of work he puts in and the quality he brings every week,” he explained. “He is a role model for the younger players, sets the standard for our experienced players and is a pleasure to work with. Scary thing about Daryl is from what we’ve seen this season he looks like he is still improving all the time.”
The Gold Medal completed a year to remember for Walsh. Her goals helped RedStar go through the season unbeaten as they swept the board by winning the NPLWA – Women’s league title, Night Series and Top Four Cup, plus the Hyundai Women’s State Cup. “It was amazing to win Player of the Year, I knew I had won the Golden Boot but I didn’t think about the Gold Medal as there were so many players this season that I though stood out on the field in their positions,” she explained.
“Football isn’t an individual sport and I feel winning this award was a reflection on the efforts of the girls and Carlos throughout the whole season. Everyone stepped up their games this season and that pushed me to strive and improve my game each week through club training and extra training on the field and in the gym. It shows that in the right environment players can really excel and I think this season was a great environment for me.”
Her coach Carlos Vega Mena said it was a well-deserved award, for the hard work Walsh put in during the season. “It has been an honor and a privilege to coach Larry, not only is she a very good person and teammate, she is a professional in every sense of the word,” he explained. “Larry is focused, works hard, and is committed to improving with every training session. She has shown her resilience and determination to succeed by scoring close to 30 goals across all competitions and assisting with many more.
“As a coach you want players that can take on board your playing style, and Larry has proven she is capable of that and more this season. She is not just an NPLW First Team player, but the Perth RedStar U16 Coach and the Club Player Representative. It has been a busy season for Larry, and the 2022 Golden Boot and Gold Medal awards are well deserved. I couldn’t be prouder of her and her achievements this season.”
In other awards Floreat Athena coach Vas Vujacic won the Ron Tindall Award for the NPLWA - Men’s First Team Coach of the Year, after leading his team to a dramatic first State title in 15 years. The NPLWA - Women’s First Team Coach of the Year was Carlos Vega Mena after his Perth RedStar side went through the league season unbeaten, while the Female Coach of the Year was Sam Geddes of NPLWA – Women’s Under 21 league champions Hyundai NTC.
The Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year award, named in honour of the Perth-born West Ham striker who died from testicular cancer in 2014, was won by Armadale’s Pieter Jacobsz, while Hyundai NTC’s Tanika Lala won the Female Young Player of the Year award. The two Goalkeeper of the Year awards went to Perth SC, with Rebecca Bennett winning the Women’s award while Luke Radonich received the Men’s. Meanwhile Gordon Perkins’ scorpion kick for Armadale against Balcatta was named NPL Men’s Goal of the Season, with Melissa Shepherd’s long-range strike for Subiaco, also against Balcatta, won Women’s Goal of the Season.
Football West CEO Jamie Harnwell said: “Congratulations to all of our winners, in particular to Larissa and Daryl on their stellar seasons, both are deserving Gold Medal recipients. Thanks to Minister Rita Saffioti for her speech and presenting the awards, to all of the Football West partners and supporters, and to all of the participants who have helped make this such a successful season.”
In other awards on the night, Bayswater City’s Orhan Boric won the Men’s U18 Player of the Year, Perth Glory’s Christian Belladonna the U20 Player of the Year, and Hyundai NTC Klaudia Houlis the Women’s U21 Player of the Year. Sorrento’s Rhys Thompson won the U18 Golden Boot, Perth SC’s Samuel Cook the 20 Golden Boot, while Perth SC’s Stella Zampogna won the U21 Golden Boot.
Perth SC won the Men’s Fair Play Award, with Murdoch University Melville winning the Women’s. The David Schrandt Award for the Administrator of the Year was won by South Perth United’s Sony Sindhe, the David Cantoni Disabilities in Football Award was won by Katelyn Smith, while Louis Prospero and Mel Moffat both received Football West Life Membership.
GLORY LOOK TO BRING DOWN THE JETS TO KICK START THEIR SEASON
Perth Glory head to the McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on Newcastle Jets in week two of the Isuzu Ute A-League. (kick-off at 2pm WST, catch all the action on Paramount+) Ruben Zadkovich’s side were beaten by Western Sydney Wanderers in a lackluster performance last week, and it showed the lack of game time against quality opposition in the lead-up to the season, and in his pre-game press conference he did acknowledge that his side did not fire on all cylinders, but he is hoping his new-look squad can and will improve.
“We’ve got some strong leaders and strong personalities in this group and a coaching staff whose belief doesn’t waver, especially mine,” he said. “We’re only looking forward and if we continue to look forward and grow and improve, performances and results will start to come. When that penny drops, it starts to become momentum in our favour and the belief grows. I think it’s fair to say that that hasn’t quite happened with this group yet, but it will happen… and that’s when we’ll reap the rewards.”
The former Derby County and Socceroos midfielder, said he is using the improvement of another English club to inspire him as they head into the clash against former Glory skipper Brandon O’Neill’s new club, looking to bounce back. “There are plenty of those examples in world football at the moment, such as Mikel Arteta,” he explained. “He had a very torrid time at the start of his Arsenal tenure, but the more [transfer] windows he’s had and the longer he’s been in the role, the more the belief has grown and you look at them now and they’re top of the Premier League. That, for me, is how belief and confidence work, you’ve got to earn it. “You’ve got to get through the tough times and we’ve got a strong group which I believe in whole-heartedly.”
Despite the loss at the CommBank Stadium, Zadkovich said there were positives to come out of the game, and he is looking for and improved performance against the Jets. “We need to improve with our ball speed, our positioning and awareness, more forward runs, opposite movements, more width at times and we need people not to be in the same channel in wide areas,” he said. “There are many, many areas and like I keep saying, these things take time to implement. “We have a lot of new faces and it’s going to take a little bit of time for those connections [to form]. “They’re not just tactical; they’re also emotional connections between players, learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses and understanding the natural habits and movements that players make.
“We’ve been working on that on the training pitch this week and we’ll continue to improve. We’re chasing an improved performance first and foremost we want to be competitive like we were last week. We were hard to beat and were in that game which is a good foundation, but we need to lift in many areas and the focus for me is about improving at the moment. Individually and collectively we just weren’t at our best last week and that might be a little bit of rust and it might take a few more performances, or we might improve dramatically. We definitely have a lot of room for improvement and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
Glory has a good record at the McDonald Jones Stadium, winning on 12 of 25 previous visits, although the last eight overall league meetings between the two sides have thrown up an even split of two wins apiece and four draws. Zadkovich said they an unknown quantity after their scheduled season-opener against rivals Central Coast Mariners in the F3 derby was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. “It’s a tricky one as it’ll be the second game, we’ve gone into not having had a video to go and look at their [the opposition’s] structures and processes,” he said. “We can only look back at previous seasons and speak to as many people as we can about the pre-season games that they’ve had.”
“It makes it a difficult process as we’re not quite sure of what they’ll do, but it makes it much easier to focus on us and where we need to improve. That’s always the main focus for us anyway. It just makes it a little bit trickier to prepare tactically as we have to go in a little bit blind. It’s another challenge that we have to stand up to.” The Jets have a number of players in line to debut for the club, with former Arsenal and West Ham United defender Carl Jenkinson, Georgian midfielder Beka Dartsmelia and ex-Glory skipper, Brandon O’Neill.
Squads - Newcastle Jets: GK Jack DUNCAN, GK Michael WEIER, GK Noah JAMES, 2 Dane INGHAM, 3 Jason HOFFMAN, 4 Jordan ELSEY, 5 Matthew JURMAN, 6 Brandon O’NEILL, 7 Trent BUHAGIAR, 8 Beka DARTSMELIA, 9 Beka MIKELTADZE, 10 Reno PISCOPO, 11 Jaushua SOTIRIO, 14 Mohamed AL-TAAY, 17 Kosta GROZOS, 18 Daniel STYNES, 19 Callum TIMMINS, 23 Rory JORDAN, 24 James MCGARRY, 25 Carl JENKINSON, 32 Angus THURGATE, 33 Mark NATTA - Unavailable: Archie GOODWIN (international duty) Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, GK Pierce CLARK, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 8 Mustafa AMINI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Salim KHELIFI, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Jack CLISBY, 16 Keegan JELACIC, 18 David WILLIAMS, 19 Zach DUNCAN, 20 Giordano COLLI, 23 Mitch OXBORROW, 25 Matt HATCH, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 36 Joseph FORDE, 77 Stefan COLAKOVSKI - Unavailable: GK Brad JONES, (injured), GK Cameron COOK, (injured), 21 Anthony BURKE-GILROY (injured), 22 Adrian SARDINERO (injured)
MANNELLA AND SKINNER TAKE OUT TOP HONOURS AT REFEREES AWARDS
The WA referees held their annual awards night at Dorrien Gardens last Friday evening, and the winner of the ‘Golden Whistle’ as the 2022 All Flags Football West Referee of the Year, was shared between Josh Mannella and Shane Skinner. The pair had outstanding seasons, and were both rewarded with a spot in the two showcase games of the season, Mannella refereed the Men's State Cup final between Cockburn City and Armadale, while Skinner officiated the NPLM Top Four Cup decider between Perth RedStar and Floreat Athena.
Mannella said it was a great honour to win the award. “It is very humbling to be recognised as the ‘Golden Whistle’ winner with Shane, especially amongst such an experienced group of referees,” he explained. “This year has had its challenges but has shown the collective strength of the group which is something to be proud of. I’d also like to thank the support of my family, as they have been there since day dot, and sacrifice a lot to help me with my refereeing. It as an absolute honour and something that I am very proud of.”
Skinner was also honoured to take out the reward, and said it was a year of some significant challenges to the group. “It’s an honour to receive the award, and be recognised within a very strong pool of experienced match officials. Many of whom I looked up to, as I developed as a match official and progressed through the leagues,” he said. “This year has made me particularly proud to be a referee, in a year that presented some significant challenges to the refereeing community as a whole. But also, a year that showed the collective strength and resilience of our community, and the way in which we support and stand up for one another. Only making accepting this award that much more humbling.”
The NPLWA Women's Official of the Year was Caleigh Ormerod, who refereed both the Women's State Cup and NPLW Top Four Cup finals, while Mannella was also acclaimed as Assistant Referee of the Year. In other awards on the night Troy Malatesta/Albert Muyembe shared the State League Referee of the Year, with Alex Maggio taking out the State League Assistant Referee of the Year. Ben Kaiser won the State League Youth Referee of the Year, and Matthew Southern the Amateur League Referee of the Year.
Dragan Kovaceski picked up the Community Competitions Referee of the Year, Maria Avramita the Junior Female Referee of the Year, Connor Richards the Junior Male Referee of the Year, Southern also won the Senior Competitions Referees' Referee of The Year, and Kovaceski also picked up the Community Competitions Referees' Referee of The Year, and Nic Cirillo won the Referee Encouragement Award.
"Congratulations to all of our winners and the other nominees for their performances throughout 2022,” Football West Referee Coordinator Dave Avison said. “Football West is always looking to strengthen its referee stocks and we encourage anybody who is keen to get involved to sign up for one our Level Four courses."
Football West will hold a two-night course at Gibbney Reserve, Maylands, on Tuesday October 18 and Thursday 20 October, between 6-9pm each night. To register check out the Football West website.
2022 STATE LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS
The 2022 State League Awards night was held at Kingsway Reserve last Friday evening, where the season’s best players were recognised, with Hyundai Australia Regional General Manager Michael Beros, Football West Director Ivy Chen and CEO Jamie Harnwell in attendance. It was another exciting season, and the Men's State League Division One Player of the Year was won by Murdoch University Melville midfielder Patrick Sara, while the Hyundai Women's State League Player of the Year was won by UWA Nedlands Jacqueline Chiastra.
Sara, who helped MUMFC to fifth in the league, their highest position they have finished a season in their history, and he said it was great season from the whole club. “It obviously feels really good to win this award. I think I’ve come second twice before, so it’s nice to finally go that extra bit and win it,” he explained. “I had a good season, played almost every minute which helps as well. Even though it’s an individual award, I couldn’t have done it with the players and coaching staff around the club. It’s such a good environment to be in, and really look forward to pushing for promotion and getting the club to where it deserves to be.”
Chiastra, who was a huge part of UWA’s runners-up spot in the Womens State League, and found the net ten times in her 15 games, echoed the thoughts of Sara and said the award was only possible because of her teammates. “I’m so grateful to have received this award, it caps off a good season for the club,” she explained. “But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, and my coach Lawrence Lewis, who were so supportive both on and off the field.”
In the Men's State League Division Two, it was Balga’s Bleron Mamudi who took out the Player of the Year. He bagged 12 goals last season, and was outstanding for the Princess Road Reserve club, who only missed out on a play-off spot by three points. “To be honest it was a big honour to win the award coming off a good season with the team,” Mamudi said. “It was a very tough season that we had, but it felt good ending it with an award. It’s an amazing feeling winning best player and I cannot thank the team and coaching staff enough for their support and drive all year, the trophy meant a lot to me.”
Also recognised on the night were the State League's top coaches of 2022, and title winning coach David Tough was awarded the Men's State League Division One Coach of the Year, as Olympic Kingsway returned to the top flight of WA football for the first time since 1999. “Absolutely delighted to win the award but it really was group effort from the coaching staff and everyone at the club,” he explained. “Winning 19 out of the 22 games and only conceding 15 goals, our consistence was incredible over the season.”
The Men's State League Division Two Coach of the Year was Marc Anthony, whose Gosnells City side were crowned champions and promoted to Division One. "Lennie and I are delighted to lead the club back to Division One, and the players were outstanding for the whole season," he explained. "To have won the coach of the year is a huge personal achievement for me, but it couldn't have happened without my coaching staff and the players."
The Hyundai Women's State League Coach of the Year went to Stephen Suttie, after leading South West Phoenix to a third straight league title. “Yes, it was a successful season for us and built upon the previous years. We had to work very hard pre-season as we lost a lot of experience from our 2021 squad and brought in five new players. Pre-season was difficult in terms of the opposition we played (Redstar U23, Subiaco NPL and NTC U15) but we intentionally stacked it that way because it needed to be difficult to help fast-track our new players, and it worked for us because beating our main rival UWA in Round One was huge for us,” he explained.
“This year more than any other year you needed a bit of luck because at any time, any player(s) could get struck down with COVID, and we actually stopped naming our team on a Thursday night because by Sunday it would change. But we managed to not get hit too badly for the most part, and when required we brought up girls from our Boys junior NPL teams and they were well equipped and able to fit into our system pretty seamlessly. I thought my players applied themselves brilliantly this year. We have five girls from Busselton and Margaret River so training and away games are such a commitment for them but they give the team everything they have got.
“Our mix of 3-5 experienced players providing the core with the remainder being 14-16-year-old girls has worked really well for the last few years and did so again this season. We aren’t afraid to play the young ones and it’s always been the direction we have wanted to go and we are proud of that. For me obviously is nice to win Coach of the Year, but ultimately, it’s the players who get the job done on the park. Ariana Longmore-Dawson won the Golden Boot and when you have a striker who scores every week then the team is always going to do well, but I am thankful to my players for their work and commitment which allowed success for us all.”
In other winners on the night - Men's State League Division One Golden Boot: Joe O'Brien (Mandurah City), Hyundai Women's State League Golden Boot: Ariana Longmore-Dawson (South West Phoenix), Men's State League Division Two Golden Boot: Jamie Gibson (Carramar Shamrock Rovers), Men's State League Division One Reserves Player of the Year: Ben Paton (Mandurah City), Men's State League Division One Reserves Golden Boot: Bill Orr (Fremantle City)
Men's State League Division One U18s Player of the Year: Stewart Kerr (Rockingham City), Men's State League Division One U18s Golden Boot: Oliver Carr (Murdoch University Melville), Men's State League Division Two Reserves Player of the Year: Albert Mombo (Morley Windmills), Men's State League Division Two Reserves Golden Boot: Sam Rawlings (Joondalup City), Men's State League Division Two U18s Player of the Year: Brandon Vuong (Gosnells City), Men's State League Division Two U18s Golden Boot: Dylan Kelly (Curtin University)
EAGLES ANNOUNCE NEW COACHING DUO
Dianella White Eagles have appointed Darran Quinncroft and Steve Burton as Head Coaches for next season. The Eagles played in the State League Division One last season for the first time since 2018, under the tutelage of Stewy Moses and Bobby Despotovski, who both left the club at the end of the season. The club issued the following statement on their social media platforms. “The DWE Board is pleased to announce Darren Quinncroft and Steve Burton as our Head Coaches for 2023,” a club spokesman said. “We are confident their experience and passion for the game will help us drive the club forward as we grow bigger and stronger.”
Both Quinncroft and Burton, took over the reins at Morley Windmills half way through last season, and Quinncroft is looking forward to be back at Dianella Reserve and the new challenge. “For me personally, I’m buzzing to be appointed at Dianella White Eagles,” he said. “I enjoyed my time there as the Under 20s coach a few years back, so to go back there to be a first team coach I couldn’t be happier. It’s a club that can match my passion for the game, and they have some big plans that they have been working towards and I’m looking forward to getting it back on track.”
O'NEILL PRIMED FOR GLORY OVER FORMER CLUB
Newcastle Jets recruit Brandon O'Neill isn't looking at Saturday's clash with his former club, Perth Glory, as anything more than a chance to launch the new season on a winning note. Newcastle were supposed to kick off their 2022/23 campaign against Central Coast Mariners last weekend, only for a torrential downpour to force the derby's deferral.
Instead Newcastle play their first A-League game at home against last season's wooden spooners, who O'Neill left in June, just one season into a three-year deal. O'Neill told 'the Newcastle Herald' he harboured no ill will towards his home-town club, saying it was a "big decision" to leave, but one that he felt was best for all parties.
"You've got to be able to look yourself in the mirror, and I know deep down inside myself that if I'm happy and I'm challenged and in the right environment, then I wake up and spring out of bed and I'm ready for the day ahead," he said. "I don't think it's any fault of anyone's. I just didn't feel like me."
"I had long, hard chats with family members and my wife, and they could see I wasn't myself. Through that process a decision was made and I had to choose the right environment, under the tutelage of the person who was going to get the best out of me. I had to pick the place that was going to make Brandon O'Neill happy again. And Newcastle under (coach) Arthur (Papas) was definitely the right decision."
"I didn't move here (to Newcastle) for the lifestyle. I've come here to win things. And that starts this weekend. Playing against my old team is just a step towards winning the championship. The season is like a three-stage process, and the first stage is getting off to a good start. That's what we want to do on the weekend."
OSMAN WINS ARMDALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Courtesy of Armadale Soccer Club)
After so many highs this year at the Armadale Soccer Club, the 2022 season ended with the clubs annual Senior Presentation Night at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, with all the glitz and glamour in a packed hall. In the NPLMWA First Team Abdul Osman was the star on the night, taking out a clean sweep of the awards, winning the Players Player of the Year and the Coaches Award.
The midfielder had an outstanding season and was rewarded with a place in the WA State League side that played Perth Glory last month. He played 20 games in his return to the club last season, bagging three goals, but it was his energy in the middle of the park that caught the eye, and he was a well-deserved winner. “Abdul had a great season, and he was a pleasure to coach,” Head Coach John O’Reilly said. “It was great to have him back at the club after a few seasons away, and he was outstanding in the midfield and was a large part of our success, and hope there is more to come.”
In the NPLMWA Under 20s it was also a clean sweep, with Eli Holdsworth taking out the Players Player of the Year and the Coaches Award. The defender played 20 games this season and scored in the final game of the season at home to Floreat Athena to seal a great season. “As a captain you should lead by example and week in week out Eli has done just that. His work rate and effort at training he brings in to match days every Saturday,” 20s coach Kodi Madeley said. “Being a very strong centre back Eli has the talent to read the game like a midfielder he had the team organised and made it possible to play out from the back.
“I’m disappointed I won’t get to coach him again as I have stepped down but I really think Eli is a player to watch in the future at Armadale. He made a couple of appearances in the first team this year and I’m sure he will do the same next year if not be a first team player. I wish Eli all the best with his career in football and I’ll always support him in every way.”
In The NPLMWA Under 18s Jaylen Barlow was a deserved winner of the Players Player of the Year, and played 20 games for the season and was a mainstay at the back along with Max Adlem, who was rewarded for a solid season, winning the Coaches Award. “Jaylen showed leadership and commitment and the team really took to his leadership from the back line, he was a pleasure to coach, and I wish him all the best for the future,” 18s coach Cristian Cortes said. “Max’s calmness and knowledge of the game was exceptional, he was a rock on the backline for us and played well with Jaylen, I wish him all the best for the U20 next season.”
In the Belt-Up Men’s Metro Division Three South team, the Players Player of the Year went to Glen Autridge. The defender was outstanding and deserved his award, while Brad Greipl won the Coaches Award. “Glen was new to the club this year, but he settled into the team right from the start. He was quick, strong and very good in the air, all the attributes you need to be a good centre back,” Coach Kevin Brophy said. “He suffered a nasty calf injury which ruled him out for the last few weeks of the season, but not before he had stacked up some great performances. He was consistent all year and this was recognised by his team mates, making him a clear Players Player of the Year winner. Really looking forward to Glen building on this year and coming back bigger and better next year.
“Brad rejoined the club this year after a few years out. Previously he had come up through the grades to be an integral part of the first team. Injury forced him to curtail playing at that level, so it was great to see him back in action. He showed all season what a great player he is playing pinpoint through balls as well as making last ditch tackles. He predominantly played as a sitting centre midfielder, although had to drop in as centre back towards the end of the season when injuries mounted. He overcame a dislocated shoulder his performances and leadership made him a worthy Coaches Award winner.”
In the Hyundai State Womens League side Suzy Clarke was awarded the Players Player of the Year, with Chante Mitton and Kirsty Woods winning the Coaches Award. “Suzy received a very important award, because it was her team mates who decided and it was well deserved. Every game Suzy played made us look strong in defence and there wasn't many one v one she didn't win,” coach Eddie Garrido said. “The coaches award was a tie, Chante started the season calm and collected, but as we started to play stronger opposition, she knew how to work around different challenges and because she has a football brain and very coachable player, she cemented herself in the starting side every week. Kirsty worked hard in the middle of the park and if you can't win the ball force a mistake. Kirsty accomplished this in most of the games and helped the team regain possession at critical times, she also scored a couple of brilliant goals and worked above and beyond for the team.”
In the Hyundai Womens Metro Division Three South team, Amber Jackson won the Players Player of the Year, with Tarryn Quinzi taking out the Coaches Award. In other awards on the night, the Committee Member of the Year was won by Jaclyn Wolf, while Ethan Wolfe won the Club Member of the Year, congratulations to both for all their hard work during the season. Keeper Alex Fisher won the Achievement Award, and everyone wishes him all the best in the UK. The annual ‘Toni Buti’ Perseverance Award was won by first team player Gordon Perkins, who had a great season, the President’s Award went to keeper Blake Henshall, who made his first team debut for the club last season, while the Excellence award was won by Eli Holdsworth, which capped a great night for the 20’s skipper.
MATILDAS STUN DENMARK
Perth Glory have started their Isuzu Ute A-League season with a disappointing 1-0 loss against Western Sydney Wanderers at the CommBank Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A game that lacked clear cut chances from both sides, was won with a scrappy goal from Bosnian striker Sulejman Krpic 12 minutes from time. Liam Reddy saved a late penalty from Krpic, and Glory almost nicked a point late, but Lawrence Thomas got down well to push new Irish import Aaron McEneff shot round the post.
The Matildas have produced their best performance for a year, capping their European road tour with a 3-1 win against Denmark in Viborg on Wednesday morning. They made the worst possible start, conceding a goal after just 47 seconds, with Everton midfielder Karen Holmgaard on target. But Australia turned the game around with three second half goals in the space of nine minutes, with a brace from Arsenal striker Caitlin Foord and another from Katrina Gorry, which saw them beat Denmark for the first time in their history, and securing their first win over a top-20 ranked side since beating Brazil in Sydney last October.
A week ago, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson was under pressure after a number of poor performances, but two wins and seven goals later, things have changed and the coach will hope to keep the momentum swing with the home double-header against Sweden and Thailand next month, ahead of the World Cup. “That feels very good,” former Perth Glory striker Foord said post-match. “We’ve been building and the results haven’t fallen our way, to get the win against South Africa and tonight is huge for us and for our confidence. I am proud of the way we bounced back and turned the game around.”
“It was less than ideal start but the belief in this group is strong and we felt calm on the bench,” Matildas assistant coach Mel Andreatta said. “We’re pleased we stuck to our principles, had a great second half and got the win.” Gustavsson made one change from the side that defeated South Africa 4-1 in London on Saturday, with WA’s Sam Kerr replacing Mary Fowler with Cortnee Vine keeping her place after her two goals in London, Vine justified her selection with another lively outing.
The hosts, were without US-based Nadia Nadim while Kerr’s Chelsea colleague Pernille Harder was only fit enough for a spell off the bench, made a great start and were ahead in the first minute. Janni Thomsen and Sofie Bredgaard combined down the left, before the Bredgaard’s low cross was swept past Matildas keeper Teagan Micah by the late-arriving Holmgaard. But, within a minute, Australia could have levelled, Catley burst down the left flank but Kerr fired her cross wide from eight-meters.
The game continued to ebb and flow with chances at both ends. Foord and Vine tested Danish keeper Lene Christensen, while at the other end Kerr was alert, to hack off the line after a corner caused chaos. Then a deflected Bredgaard shot then looped over Micah and struck the junction of bar and upright, but at the break it was Denmark with a narrow lead.
But after half time the Matildas took control, and Kerr was denied twice by Christensen, but on 66 minutes their early pressure was rewarded with the equaliser. Hayley Raso found Foord on the right, and she cut inside her marker, her shot taking a deflection off the leg of Simone Boye Sorensen and past the Danish custodian. Then eight minutes later substitute Alex Chidiac stole possession, and Gorry seized on the loose ball, and spectacularly sent a dipping shot over Christensen from nearly 25-meters.
It was a great comeback from Gustavsson’s side, and it got better straight from the restart, Kyra Cooney-Cross drove forward before finding Foord, and her shot on the turn flew over a stranded Christensen to seal the result, and securing their first victory away to a European team on their home soil since beating France in Angers in 2013.
SOCCEROOS MAKE PITCH FOR CIRCATI
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has made a personal pitch for the international allegiance of promising young defender Alessandro Circati, who is making waves in Italy under the guidance of legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon at Parma. The 18-year old was born in Italy but raised in Perth where his father Gianfranco played a season for Perth Glory and later represented Perth SC.
Circati came through Glory’s academy before signing with Parma last year and is now seeing regular game time in Italy’s Serie B, making four starts so far this season. If he continues to get minutes, the defender could become a real option for Australia - and possibly in the short term, too, with centre-backs Kye Rowles (broken foot) and Harry Souttar (knee) in a race against time to be fit for next month’s World Cup.
“Graham Arnold called me not so long ago, expressing his interest in me and saying that he’s been following me,” Circati said. “It was a normal conversation, telling me just to continue what I’m doing. It was good. [But] it’s a decision that can’t be made quickly, and it’s not a decision that I’ll make now because I have love for both countries. I don’t prefer one over the other.”
Circati was part Italy’s Under-20 that played friendlies with Germany and Norway in April. That squad also featured Sydney-born talent Cristian Volpato, who made his Serie A debut for Roma last year. “It was both of our first times being able to represent Italy as a country,” said Circati, who is open to playing for either Australia or Italy.
“We played against each other previously, so we knew each other. I was quite pleased, knowing that there’s another Aussie boy representing the Italian national team. He’s a great player with for sure lots of potential. I wish him all the best for what he has to come for the rest of the season. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see each other soon. But I haven’t spoken to him about (which national team) he prefers.”
For now, though, Circati’s focus is playing as much as he can for Parma in their push for promotion to Serie A, where they had been a fixture until the club was declared bankrupt in 2015 and was re-founded in Italy’s fourth division. The defender still has to pinch himself at times given he shares a dressing room with 2006 World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon, who is still on the Parma’s books at 44.
“It doesn’t feel real,” Circati said. “Only two years ago, I’d be playing FIFA with him, looking at videos of him, hearing about things he says and does. But he’s just like one of us. He’s a real down to earth guy, which you can learn a lot from. He’s really humble and he’ll give advice and tips to the young players. Last year, my debut game, he was behind me... I knew that he was going to help me, he was going to speak to me and what he says is something to listen to.”
“It’s great having him in and around the change-room, because he really adds personality and with his deep voice, you sure know when he’s speaking. He has a lot of love for the game. Everyone can see that, from the inside and the outside, with his perseverance and his want to keep playing and continue doing what he did for so long and what he mastered - I’m sure he won’t finish any time soon.”
GLORY DOWNED BY WANDERERS IN SEASON OPENER
Perth Glory have started their Isuzu Ute A-League season with a disappointing 1-0 loss against Western Sydney Wanderers at the CommBank Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A game that lacked clear cut chances from both sides, was won with a scrappy goal from Bosnian striker Sulejman Krpic 12 minutes from time. Liam Reddy saved a late penalty from Krpic, and Glory almost nicked a point late, but Lawrence Thomas got down well to push new Irish import Aaron McEneff shot round the post.
Perth Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich admitted they lacked spark and creativity in the final third, and showed they have a lot to work on. “I thought we lacked a bit of creativity in the front third,” he said post-match. “It was nice to get another game and it showed that we were definitely rusty in the combinations going forward and missed some cues and moments to get in behind.
“We didn’t take those opportunities in the front third or execute very well, but the big positive was that we competed really well and were solid defensively. We didn’t give too much away to them; to be honest, it was a pretty cagey game. We looked a little bit leggy late, but the attitude and mentality were really, really positive and we just didn’t have enough [players] perform at their peak today. We looked like we needed the hit-out.”
Zadkovich gave seven players their starting debut for the club, with Johnny Koutroumbis, Mark Beevers, McEneff, Ryan Williams, Salim Khelifi, Zach Duncan and new skipper Mustafa Amini all in the starting lineup. The game hardly set the competition alight with few real chances in the opening 45 minutes. The best fell to the hosts, Reddy was out bravely at the feet of Krpic’s feet before Kusini Yendi then headed high over the bar. Former Sydney FC striker Milos Ninkovic wasted the best chance close to half-time when he failed to make contact with a far post cross, while Khelifi had Glory’s only real opportunity in the first 45 minutes but shot over the top.
Mark Ruban’s side continued to create the better chances in the second half, and were on the front foot, but Yengi and Krpic both went close, but were unable to convert. Brandon Borrello then saw his shot parried by the alert Reddy, and the Glory custodian was called into action again moments later, this time to claim a strike from the dangerous Ninkovic. But roared on by the ‘Red and Black Block’ the host found the opener on 78 minutes. Borrello’s cross was deflected by Gabriel Cleur and the ball looped up nicely for Krpic who nodded in his first goal for the club.
The hosts had a perfect opportunity to double their lead three minutes from time, when Stefan Colakovski brought down Remy Najjarine down in the box, and referee Kurt Ams pointed straight to the spot. But Reddy guessed the right way to save, and keep Glory in the game. Glory pressed for a late equaliser, Wanderers goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas was called into action, first blocking a David Williams cross and pulling out a crucial stop low to his right to push McEneff’s shot round the post. Glory is back in action next Saturday (October 15) when they take on Newcastle Jets at the McDonald Jones Stadium (2.00pm WA Time)
Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Lawrence THOMAS, 2 Gabriel CLEUR, 3 Adama TRAORE, 5 Tomislav MRCELA, 6 Marcelo GUEDES, 9 Kusini YENGI (7 Ramy NAJJARINE 74'), 10 Milos NINKOVIC (21 Jarrod CARLUCCIO 87'), 11 Sulejman KRPIC, 17 Romain AMALFITANO, 26 Brandon BORRELLO, 28 Calem NIEUWENHOF - Subs not used: RGK Daniel MARGUSH, 12 Ruon TONGYIK, 33 Alexander BONETIG, 35 Zachary SAPSFORD, 37 Alexander BADOLATO
Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS (77 Stefan COLAKOVSKI 73'), 8 Mustafa AMINI, (23 Mitch OXBORROW 63'), 9 Bruno FORNAROLI (12 Luke IVANOVIC 73'), 10 Salim KHELIFI (18 David WILLIAMS 63'), 14 Jack CLISBY, 19 Zach DUNCAN (25 Matt HATCH 63'), 29 Darryl LACHMAN - Subs not used: RGK Pierce CLARK, 36 Joseph FORDE – Referee: Kurt AMS
GLORY TRIO HELP JOEYS QUALIFY FOR THE AFC U-17 ASIAN CUP
Perth Glory trio Corey Sutherland, Jaylan Pearman and Andriano Lebib have helped the Joeys secure a 3-1 win over China to clinch top spot of Group G and with it, automatic qualification to next year’s AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023. Adelaide United youngster Nestory Irankunda once again proved decisive for new coach Brad Maloney’s side, scoring a brace and registered an assist for Central Coast Mariners midfielder Miguel Di Pizio’s emphatic sealer at the Shepparton Sport City Precinct on Sunday afternoon. The visitors negotiated the majority of the second-half with 10 players when Cui Taixu’s stray boot caught the face of Irankunda five minutes in.
Australia settled the quickest of the two sides and they would open the scoring inside seven minutes through Irankunda. The speedster dribbled past three defenders before being brought down inside the box and the referee made no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Irankunda picked himself up and confidently dispatched the resulting penalty and performed his trademark backflip as he ran off in celebration. Maloney’s side maintained the pressure after taking the lead but their profligacy in front of goal proved costly. Max Hately was unable to capitalise on a defensive error, shooting wide his one-on-one attempt, and then squandered a shot from point-blank range.
Moments later Peter Antoniou’s accurate low cross found the striker but his effort was spectacularly saved by goalkeeper Xie Gongbo. They had a chance to double their lead on 23 minutes, when they were awarded a second penalty for handball, but Hately failed to take advantage, slipping at the critical moment and seeing his penalty flash wide of the target. To make matter worse China made the ‘Green and Gold’ pay, when Wang Yudong got on the end of a corner to equalise with a simple tap in. Then on the stroke of half-time, Antoniou’s near-post effort almost squeezed in but was parried away in the final action of the first 45 minutes.
China’s start to the second half wasn’t the best when they were reduced to 10 players when Taixu was adjudged to have made dangerous contact with Irankunda. From that point on it was the Joeys with the ascendancy and they finally found the breakthrough via a lovely bit of composure from Irankunda. The 16-year-old brought down a loose ball before steering his clinical finish across the goalkeeper on 65 minutes.
He would then turn provider ten minutes later when his square ball spotted an unmarked Di Pizio and the midfielder unleashed a brilliant strike from distance to put the game to bed. China thought they had grabbed a goal back off a set-piece but the assistant referee immediately raised his flag for offside as Australia held on in front of 1,117 supporters.
MATILDAS TOO STRONG FOR SOUTH AFRICA
The Matildas have lifted the pressure on Head Coach Tony Gustavsson, after a convincing 4-1 victory over the African Cup of Nations winners South Africa at Kingsmeadow in South-West London, the home of the Chelsea Women’s side. Australia controlled the game and converted their chances, which was a timely boost after a poor run of results. It was all the more impressive for being largely achieved without Chelsea and former Perth Glory’s Sam Kerr, who had been unwell leading into the game.
Kerr did feature in the last ten minutes, to the delight of her fans in crowd, but the game had long been won. In her absence, stand-in skipper Steph Catley provided leadership, having a hand in four goals, and Courtney Vine a goalscoring line-leading presence at centre-forward. The Sydney FC striker scored twice in the opening 25 minutes. Clare Polkinghorne and Caitlin Foord added further goals before South Africa gained a late consolation through Hildah Magaia.
"The girls played great," Vine told Paramount Plus post-match. “It was a really good outcome and I'm obviously happy to score. "We've had a pretty good training week this week leading into the game … the intensity's been there every session and obviously to top it off with a win is exactly what we wanted.
"We've had a lot of discussions and as you can see in this roster, we have a lot of nines. Caitlin has played nine for national and been good. You have Gielnik and Crummer, you can play Mary as a false nine, we have a lot of options in the nine, but we felt that Vine had been really good against Spain and then unfortunately, she couldn't play that second game against Canada due to a soft tissue injury.
"This camp, she had been training well and we wanted a different type of nine in this game. We know she always goes for everything, all those loose balls, she has that penetration threat. We could open space in front of the backline more so for Mary and Caitlin to navigate in, and it turned out well. I don't think it was a coincidence that Vine scored because she's been looking good in multiple camps, so it was well deserved."
Kerr was one of four changes from the side beaten 2-1 in Sydney by Canada last month, all of them enforced. Lydia Williams, Tameka Yallop and Emily van Egmond were also missing, with Teagan Micah, Catley, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Hayley Raso coming in.
Australia dominated from the start, and made the breakthrough on five minutes. Catley, regularly overlapping on the left, forced a corner that she took herself, and Mary Fowler rose unchallenged and her header went through reserve keeper Regirl Ngobeni's arms and onto the post, but Vine was on hand to tap home, for her debut international goal, the easiest she'll ever score.
Her second, however, showcased a touch of ingenuity. Catley seized on a loose pass and neatly released Arsenal team-mate Foord, who’s cross was cleverly flicked in by Vine. She could have had a half-hour hat-trick, but shot just wide from another teasing Catley cross. But they did add a third in the shadows of half time, Polkinghorne lost her marker and headed in at the near post from Catley’s corner. It was 4-0 eight minutes into the second half, and it was a brilliant solo effort from Foord, taking a Catley pass and dribbling forward before finishing clinically inside the far post.
Gustavsson, who was wearing a green-and-gold scarf as he stood on the sideline, made a raft of changes for the closing stages but Australia remained in control. But South Africa scored a consolation goal three minutes from time, Aivi Luik and Polkinghorne failed to deal with a long clearance and Magaia ran clear before chipping Micah, who was stranded well off her line. They are back in action on Tuesday, when they take on Denmark at the Viborg Stadium, kick off 3.00am (AEDT)
WANDERERS FIRST UP FOR NEW LOOK GLORY
Perth Glory will kick-off their Isuzu Ute A-League season on Sunday, with a trip to the CommBank Stadium to take on Western Sydney Wanderers. (kick-off at 12pm WST, live on Paramount +, 10BOLD). After last season’s covid hit campaign, the Glory will start their season with five games on the road, due to HBF Park out of service due to renovations for the Womens World Cup. It’s another blow for Tony Sage’s club, who will play the majority of the games at their new temporary home of Macedonia Park, with a much-reduced capacity. But Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich said he is looking forward to the new season, and putting last season’s wooden spoon behind them, but knows it will be a challenge, but one he is looking forward too, starting against a good Wanderers side on Sunday.
“It’s hard to say exactly how the game will go, but we want to put a real sense of pride back into the badge and what Perth Glory means to us as staff and players,” he said in his pre-game press conference. “We haven’t seen too much of them [Western Sydney Wanderers] but they have some high-quality players, like Milos Ninkovic who has crossed from Sydney FC and is one of the best players that the country has ever seen and they have another string of high-calibre players. They’re at home in front of a full stadium, but it’s just the sort of challenge we look forward to.”
Zadkovich said his squad have worked hard and is confident they can, like he said, ‘Put the pride back into the badge’. “We want to get ourselves back to where we need to be and we’re looking at Sunday as an opportunity to get one step closer towards that,” he explained. “Whether we’re there on Sunday, time will tell, but one thing I can assure you of is that if we keep working as hard as we are now, we will get there. We need more games and it’ll be interesting to see where we’re at on Sunday, but we’ll be a team that plays closer to what I want than was the case last season.”
Glory will go into the game with good omens on their side, having not lost an opening-day game since 2017, while the two sides’ overall record is exactly even with the 28 previous meetings seeing both with ten wins apiece and eight draws. But their record against the Red and Black isn’t the best, their last victory came on the final day of the 2014/15 season when goals from Jamie Maclaren and Andy Keogh helped them to a 2-1 win. Prior to kick off, there will be an indigenous smoking ceremony to cleanse and prepare the venue for the match and season ahead, and let’s hope it’s given more respect than it was in the Australia Cup Final last weekend.
Match Day Squads:
Western Sydney Wanderers Squad: GK Daniel MARGUSH, GK Lawrence THOMAS, 2 Gabriel CLEUR, 3 Adama TRAORE, 5 Tomi MRCELA, 6 Marcelo GUEDES, 7 Ramy NAJJARINE, 8 Oliver BOZANIC, 9 Kusini YENGI, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Sulejman KRPIC, 12 Ruon TONGYIK, 17 Romain AMALFITANO, 19 Daniel WILMERING, 21 Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 23 Yeni NGBAKOTO, 26 Brandon BORRELLO, 28 Calem NIEUWENHOF, 35 Zac SAPSFORD, 36 Alessandro LOPANE
Perth Glory Squad: GK Liam REDDY, GK Pierce CLARK, 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS, 6 Aaron MCENEFF, 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 8 Mustafa AMINI, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 10 Salim KHELIFI, 11 Ben AZUBEL, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 14 Jack CLISBY, 16 Keegan JELACIC, 19 Zach DUNCAN, 20 Giordano COLLI, 23 Mitch OXBORROW, 25 Matt HATCH, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 37 Jacob MUIR, 77 Stefan COLAKOVSKI - Unavailable: 1 Brad JONES, (injured), 13 Cameron COOK (injured), 21 Anthony BURKE-GILROY (injured), 22 Adrian SARDINERO (injured)
GLORY SANP UP AMERICAN STRIKER
Perth Glory is continuing to strengthen their Liberty A-League squad for the 2022/23 season, after signing American striker Rylee Baisden. The 28-year-old arrives from the NWSL after a stint with North Carolina Courage, but she is no stranger to the league, after scoring three times in 11 appearances for Brisbane Roar during the 2019/20 campaign.
Originally from California, Baisden enjoyed a stellar collegiate career at Pepperdine University and following her spell with Roar, debuted for North Carolina in September 2020. The experienced striker said she is excited to be returning to Australia and confident that Glory can make a major impression in the ALW this year. “I am beyond thrilled to be joining Perth Glory this season,” she told the Glory website.
“In speaking with [Head Coach] Alex [Epakis], it sounds like I share the same mindset and attitude towards football and winning as him and the rest of the club. “I’m looking forward to hopefully being a worthy addition to the team and I’m excited to share the field with some amazing players in a country I have so much love for. After finishing my first season in the league back in 2020, I was excited to get back, but COVID derailed that plan. I feel like I have a bit of unfinished business and I’m grateful for this opportunity to come back.”
Epakis believes Baisden’s signing represents a major coup for the club as they look to continue their improvement from last season. “To secure Rylee for the upcoming ALW season is really special and exciting, she is exactly the type of player we are looking to have in our attacking play; quick, dynamic and with the capacity for repeat efforts with and without the ball,” he explained. “Rylee is very direct and exciting when she is on the ball and moreover, she brings a strong level of experience from some of the top competitions around the world, as well as previous experience in the ALW.
“I am really looking forward to welcoming her to the club and I am sure she will have a strong impact for us in the competition. “Finally, her professional mentality and demeanour is something that certainly stood out to me during our conversations and I believe the team will benefit a lot from having Rylee here this season.” The club announced there will be further squad announcements made shortly.
AMINI NAMED GLORY CAPTAIN
Former Socceroos midfielder Mustafa Amini has set his sights on bringing back the "good days" to Perth Glory after being named the club's captain. The 29-year old signed with Glory on a three-year deal in June and was unveiled as captain at today's season launch.
Glory finished with the wooden spoon last season and Amini has a big job ahead of him to help the new-look squad turn the club's fortunes around. "It's an exciting year with plenty of hard work ahead of us," Amini said. "This is a challenge not only for me, but the whole football club as we look to bring the good days back to Glory."
"It's a rebuilding phase, we know that, but we aren't shying away from the challenges ahead and although it's going to be tough we will fight and give our all, that's for sure. I believe that our players and staff have what it takes to be competitive this season."
Coach Ruben Zadkovich feels Amini has what it takes to lead Glory. "Musti is a unique personality and someone I've admired for a long time," Zadkovich said. "His infectious personality and strong mentality enable him to lead naturally and easily on the pitch."
"He has a deeply-embedded ruthless mindset to winning, but carries himself with a happy-go-lucky spirit off the pitch which makes him a real favourite among players and staff and with the members and fans." Glory kick off their season away to Western Sydney on Sunday.
RIGBY TO LEAD GLORY WOMEN
Experienced defender Natasha Rigby will lead Perth Glory's women's team for a fourth straight season. Glory only narrowly missed out on a finals berth last season and Rigby is confident they can get there this time around.
"I have full faith that with the squad we have we can compete with the best this season," Rigby said. "We are looking forward to building on the collective spirit that we fostered last season as well as welcoming all our new players with open arms and hearts."
Coach Alex Epakis said Rigby was the best leader he had worked with. "More broadly we have a strong leadership group, led by Tash, who plays a pivotal role in shaping it," Epakis said. "She has a fantastic character which is underpinned by the perfect mix of humility and competitiveness."
"Tash embraces and actions our team identity and has an unwavering desire to serve her teammates through thick and thin. She is certainly focused and driven on having another standout year and guiding the team throughout the course of the season."
BURGESS CLOSE TO INJURY COMEBACK
Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says Cameron Burgess is making good progress in his recovery from injury. The defender has been out of action since suffering multiple facial fractures during last month's 2-0 home win over Bristol Rovers.
"Everything's on track after his surgery. He's out on the grass, he's running, he's doing ball work and not feeling any ill effects," McKenna said. "I think another week or so and he can get a mask fitted and start to join in with some little bits of training."
McKenna is currently without the services of Panutche Camara (groin), Sone Aluko (knee), Greg Leigh (leg fracture) and Gassan Ahadme (foot fracture) in addition to Burgess. Ipswich are away to Morecombe on Saturday.
INJURY CLAIMS GLORY’S JONES ON EVE OF NEW SEASON
Perth Glory have been dealt a huge blow with former Socceroo and Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones sidelined with a long-term knee injury just days out from the start of the new season. The 40-year old has been carrying the cartilage injury through pre-season after damaging his knee late last year.
Jones, capped six times by Australia, managed just five games last season, two in November before sustaining a calf injury and three more in March when the knee damage sparked the long lay-off. He inked a two-year deal with Glory and was expected to be competing with fellow veteran ‘keeper Liam Reddy this season.
Jones spent well over a decade in England with Middlesborough and Liverpool. He played three seasons in the Netherlands with NEC Breda and Feyenoord followed by a similar length spell at Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. He represented Australia at the 2004 Olympic Games and was a member Socceroos squad at the 2010 and 2018 World Cups.
CLARK JOINS GLORY AS INJURY REPLACEMENT
Perth Glory have signed goalkeeper Pierce Clark as injury replacement for veteran shot-stopper Brad Jones. 24-year old Clark, who has been playing for Victoria National Premier Leagues side South Melbourne, was brought in for pre-season trials when it looked like Jones would miss a significant part of the coming season.
Clark, who was in the youth set-up at Newcastle Jets, has also enjoyed spells with Victoria clubs Dandenong Thunder and Bentleigh Greens as well as in New Zealand's top flight with Tasman United. He will sit behind veteran Liam Reddy and rising star Cameron Cook in the pecking order.
“Pierce has come in and trained the house down,” coach Ruben Zadkovich said. “He has a real appetite to work hard and is striving constantly for improvement in his game. He is battle-hardened by a long string of games in the Victorian NPL and that resolve will make him an important part of our squad.”
GRANT'S USAIN BOLT BANTER AFTER SOCCEROOS BLOW
South Korea-based defender Alex Grant was one of the unluckiest omissions when Socceroos boss Graham Arnold named his squad for last week’s friendlies against New Zealand. A melding of consistency, composure and ruthless old school defending this season for the K1 League’s third placed side Pohang Steelers, Grant was scouted by Socceroos assistant Tony Vidmar. But he didn’t quite make the cut.
The feedback Grant received was a perceived lack of pace, which he cheekily referenced by aping Usain Bol’s iconic lighting bolt pose after scoring in last month's 2-0 win over Suwon Bluewings. Mirthful gestures aside, the 28-year old took it on the chin and has not given up on chasing an elusive cap, even though fellow Korea-based stopper Harrison Delbridge, Thomas Deng, Kai Rowles, Bailey Wright, Trent Sainsbury, Milos Degenek and Harry Souttar are the current chosen ones.
A foot injury at training last week has ruled Grant out for the final four games of a season in which he’s made 27 league appearances and excelled across a range of metrics including distribution, interceptions and duel-winning ratios. The Manchester-born, ex-Stoke City product scored the goal which powered Pohang into the final of last season’s ACL, and he has emerged as one of South Korea’s most vaunted defenders.
“I just have to keep doing what I’m doing,” Grant said. “I was injured when I came here last season and the club stuck by me. I like they think I’ve played them back with my performances - and I’d loved to have been involved with Australia. I think my name was in the conversation here and there and I’ve been in a few extended squads. I thought the latest squad was maybe my best chance to get in with a few players out injured.”
“I thought I was in with a shout, especially with the form I’ve been in. I know Tony Vidmar was in Korea the other week and on that occasion we lost and it wasn’t my best game. I’d like to think he’d have seen a few others during the course of the season because I’ve been very consistent. The feedback I got was that I was on the slow side, which I haven’t really heard in my career before. I won’t say I’m fastest and my Usain Bolt goal celebration (against Suwon) was a bit of banter about that.”
Grant, though, remains optimistic that his chance may yet come at some point, and he harbours no recriminations. “That’s football and it’s all about opinions,” he added. “I take it on the chin - maybe I need to get back in the gym and work on my speed! I think the players and coaching staff here were disappointed for me. I’m not writing off the national team. It’s still an aspiration and a dream. Some players have to be more patient than others.”
A case in point is fellow defender Sasa Ognenovski, another Australian who starred in South Korea and belatedly made his Socceroos debut at 31. “I hope I don’t have to wait until that long. But football changes quickly and anything can happen," said Grant. There’s often a silver lining in life and Grant not gaining Socceroos selection allowed him to remain in Korea to be alongside his wife for the birth of his second son.
HAYWARD’S SIDE GIVE JOONDANNA THE BLUES
South Perth United have capped off a great Belt-Up Amateur Cup campaign beating Joondanna Blues 5-2 in a pulsating Final at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Jack Dalla Via gave Lee Hayward’s side a two-goal lead early, and it looked game over when Alex Godfrey added a third before the break. But Joondanna hit back and Rory Feely reduced the margin before the break, and Jonathan Cole added another early in the second half. But South Perth steadied and Abraham Cheng scored a fourth, before Dalla Via completed his hat-trick 18 minutes from time to seal the win.
“I didn’t feel we played our best football today, but we did make the most of our chances when they came and to go 3-0 up within the first 30 minutes was great, however credit to Joondanna they didn’t stop,” South Perth coach Hayward said post-match. “To go from 3-0 to 3-2 shortly into the second half was a bit of a concern but Abraham’s goal to make it 4-2 within a minute of conceding made things a lot easier before Jack wrapped it up with his hat-trick to secure South Perth its first Amateur Cup, and it was reward for all the hard work the boys have but in this year.”
Both sides reached this one after wins against Premier Division sides, and it was South Perth who opened the scoring on 14 minutes, Oliver Cheveralls free kick was played back by skipper Alex Godfrey, and Dalla Via shot from outside the box found the bottom corner. It was a great start for Hayward’s side, and it got better eight minutes later, when they added a second. George Stephens slide rule pass found Dalla Via, who finished clinically.
Joondanna were shell-shocked, but it got worse for them on the half hour, after referee Matthew Southern pointing to the spot after a push in the box by Demosthenes Georgiou on Godfrey. The skipper picked himself up and sent Cristian Ramirez the wrong way from the resulting penalty. It looked like being a long day for the Blues, but they found a lifeline before the break. Callum Charlton made space down the right, and his cross was headed onto the crossbar by Travis Preston, but Feely was on hand to head home.
That goal gave Joondanna a lift and they added a second seven minutes into the second half. William Townsend ball was flicked on by Feely, and Cole fired home past Liam Boyce from close-range. It was game on, and the big crowd were getting their monies worth, but three minutes later it was South Perth who added a fourth. A long ball into the penalty area was only cleared as far as Cheng, who volleyed home from the edge of the box. What a great advert for Amateur game, both sides giving it their all, and there can only be one winner and South Perth sealed it on 74 minutes, Bradley North cross to the back post was headed home by Della Via to complete his hat-trick and set off wild celebrations in the stands.
“Thanks to the Joondanna lads for a great game, a hell of an effort for a Division Four team to make the cup final so well-done boys, but for us it was such a great feeling for all the boys getting redemption for last year's cup final,” skipper Godfrey explained. “The effort all the players, Lee and the all the coaches put into this season and yesterday’s game was brilliant. We took our chances throughout the game which made a big impact on the final score and the way we were able to play the game. The club has come a long way over the past five years so feeling very proud - Up the Gulls.”
South Perth United celebrate winning the Amateur Cup for the very first time. (Photo courtesy Football West/Fotoenzo)
EMERALD’S SHINE IN AMATEUR RESERVES CUP FINAL
Emerald FC have come from behind to secure a cup and league double after beating North Beach SC 2-1 in the Belt-Up Amateur Cup Final at E&D Litis stadium on Sunday afternoon. Ross Westwood had given North Beach a perfect start with the opener on seven minutes, but Emerald levelled from the spot in first half time stoppage time, with Andrew Dunbar converting. Both sides had chances after the break but it was Emerald who found the winner 18 minutes from time, with Diarmaid Ryng on target.
“We came into the game full off confidence after clinching the league last weekend, we didn’t get off to a great start though with North Beach taking the early goal well, and had the better opportunities to double the lead,” Emarald coach Cathal Quinn explained post-match. “It took us maybe 30 minutes to get settled into the game and start playing a bit of ball and got our reward for our hard work with Andy Dunbar slotting the penalty. Much like the semifinal we came out a different team in the second half with a few changes and had more control of the game then. The winning goal was an unbelievable strike from Diarmaid, even though it kills me to admit it. From then on, we kept things tight and held on for a deserved win and a brilliant finish to our first season in the Premier.”
North Beach, who took out the Division One title, were on the front foot early and they found the opener on seven minutes. A poor back pass from Conor Foley let in Westwood, whose shot found the bottom corner, despite Emerald keeper Gerard Doran getting a hand to it. Amerigo Murolo went close to a second moments later, his curling free kick was saved low by Doran. Emerald hit back and Keith Rochford headed wide at the back post from Gerry Gaughan’s free kick. Gaughan then saw his free kick tipped over the top by Robert Edwards, as Emerald went in search of the equaliser.
Edwards was alert again on 35 minutes, tipping over Ryng’s set-piece, but Emerald went closer six minutes later, Ryng’s cross was headed goalward by Rochford, but the alert David Kelliher cleared the ball off the line. But in stoppage time their pressure was rewarded with the equaliser, Gaughan was brought down in the box by North Beach skipper Aaron Roberts, and referee Dragan Kovaceski pointed straight to the spot. Dunbar, who was the league's top goal scorer stepped up and sent Edwards the wrong way from the resulting penalty, to send the sides into the break all square.
Both sides struggled to create chances early in the second half, but it was Emerald who hit the front on 72 minutes. Gaughan won possession out wide and played the ball to Ryng, who stepped forward and unleashed a stunning effort that flew into the top corner of the net giving Edwards no chance, much to the delighted of the Emerald supporters in the big crowd. They went close to a third late, first Dunbar was denied by Edwards, before Ryng’s follow up shot flashed inches wide.
North Beach pressed late the best chance fell to Westwood, whose snap shot flew over the top, but at the final whistle it was Emerald celebrating the victory. “We were a bit frantic in the first half hour but once we settled into the game, we controlled it and ran out deserved winners,” Emerald skipper Ryan Macdonald said. “The full squad has contributed to a man and the cup and league double shows the talent and strength of the full squad throughout the year.”
Emerald FC are the Amatuer Cup Reserves Winners. (Photo courtesy Football West/Fotoenzo)
HOLMAN ON TARGET AS SAINTS WIN METRO CUP
Perth Saints are the 2022 Belt-Up Metropolitan Cup winners, after a 2-0 win against Lynwood United at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday morning. Madison Holman gave the Saints the lead on the half hour, but they were reduced to ten men on the hour with Nicholas Lomma receiving a second yellow card. Lynwood pressed for the equaliser, but couldn’t find it, and own goal from Lynwood’s Michael Drake secured the win and cap off a good season for Rob McVey’s side.
“Sunday was a great day, we played well all around the park with everyone doing their bit to ensure we looked solid in all aspects and not allowing Lynwood much of a chance, even with 10 men for the final 30 minutes,” Saints scorer Madison Holman explained. “I know all the boys will be stoked knowing we got the win not just for the club, each other or ourselves but also for our coach Rob. Lynwood were a good bunch of lads and gave us some good competition, Saints we’re just too sharp on the day and look forward to doing it again next year.”
It was a tight opening in this one, with clear cut chances few and far between, but it was the Saints who hit the front on 29 minutes. A long clearance from Kurt De Souza found Holman, who controlled the ball and raced towards goal, held off his marker Joseph Knox, his shot from the angle beat Lance Cooper and found the corner of the net, to continue his scoring in each round of the cup.
Holman had another opportunity five minutes later, but his header was straight at Cooper, and Lynwood couldn’t break through a tight Saints defence well marshalled by De Souza and Mark Darby, and at the break it was the Saints holding a narrow advantage. The game took a twist on 61 minutes, when Lomma was sent off for an off the ball incident, and he was shown a straight red card by referee Reece Granger after a chat with his assistant.
Lynwood continued to struggle in the final third, but Holman was a constant threat at the other end, and his shot on the run was well saved by Cooper. But Lynwood did go close on 76 minutes, William Alberghini holding off his marker and his hooked shot was saved low by Peter Wile. Holman was then denied by Cooper, as the game opened up, but nine minutes from time the Saints sealed it. Darby’s free kick into the box was headed into his own net by the unfortunate Drake, under pressure from Holman.
Perth Saints celebrate winning the Metropolitan Cup. (Photo courtesy Football West/Fotoenzo)
FREMANTLE SPOT ON TO WIN THE METRO CUP FINAL
Fremantle City have won the Hyundai Women's Metropolitan Cup, after a penalty shoot-out win against Hamersley Rovers at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Ella Kerman gave Rovers the lead early, but Fremantle levelled just after the hour, Leniana Masibaka firing home. Neither side could win it in normal time, but it was Fremantle who prevailed 4-1 in the shoot-out, with Tess Cliff saving three penalties.
“Playing against Hamersley is always good, as they are very well organised and well coached and have some great players. I thought the game flowed and at times we had the upper hand and at times they did. We dominated the beginning but against the run of play they scored after a defensive mistake from us,” Fremantle coach Robert de Kleine said post-match. “This gave them a lot of confidence and for most of the first half they then dominated proceedings. However, we kept defending well and they had no real big opportunities in that half.
“In the second half we needed to start to take more risks plus I also felt that the longer the game went on the more we got into our game. I am very proud of how well the girls listen well to the instructions and were able to run the game out dominating, and I thought Leni’s equaliser was well deserved and in the end the draw was a just result. In the penalty shootout we nailed our plan and our goal keeper Tess was awesome, but so was the whole team. Amazingly this was a back-to-back Cup win for the Fremantle City Womens Amateur team and the third time in seven years, so obviously we do something right for those girls not willing to play NPL.”
It was Hamersley who made the break through on eight minutes, Lara Ameduri header was misjudged by a defender and Kerman nipped in and fired home past Cliff from the edge of the box. Rovers had the chances to increase their lead but failed to take them, and Fremantle defended well, but at the break Rovers had the upper hand. Fremantle were on the front foot after half time, and they were rewarded with the equaliser on 66 minutes.
A ball into the box wasn’t dealt with, the rebound falling to Masibaka, whose lob nestled neatly in the back of the net. Both sides had the opportunity to win it in normal time, but it was a shoot-out to decide the winner in this one. First up Zoe Andrijich fired home for Fremantle, before Rovers’ skipper Kerman had her penalty saved by Cliff. Masibaka fired home Fremantle’s second, before Cliff saved Jordanna Henderson’s second. Zahlia Lornie made it 3-0, before Rebecca Dudek converted Rovers’ third. But up stepped Alice Vandermeire who scored to seal a 4-1 shoot-out win.
“Hamersley put up a great performance on the day, and we knew they were going to be hard to beat as they have played consistently great football across the season,” Fremantle’s top goalscorer Alice Vandermeire explained. “They are very strong in midfield and have some key fast players in attack that were going to give it their all. I am so proud of the way we picked ourselves up at half time to finish the game strong and leave nothing on the pitch. Having played a few finals before, we knew we might end up going to penalties and full credit to our goalkeeper, Tessa, who read the kicks well and saved the day (literally!). We always enjoy playing Hamersley as they are a clean and quality side that will continue to build strength in years to come.”
Fremantle City are the Women's Metropolitan Cup winners. (Photo courtesy Football West/Fotoenzo)
CLISBY EXCITED BY GLORY RE-BUILD (courtesy perthglory.com.au)
It’s been almost a decade since Jack Clisby made his Perth Glory debut, slotting in at centre-back for an Australia Day showdown with reigning champions Brisbane Roar in 2013. The Perth local’s career path subsequently took him away from Western Australia, initially to Melbourne City and then on to Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners.
Now 30, Clisby has more life experience than he did when Ian Ferguson first threw him into the fray against Brisbane, but his passion for the game remains unchanged. “I can’t wait for the season to start because I know we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” said Clisby, who re-joined Glory last year. “I’ve had quite a few pre-seasons and they don’t get any easier as time goes on, but that’s the beauty of it.”
“You put all the hard work in to get where we are now and I couldn’t be more excited about where the team’s at at the moment. We’ve got great depth this year, every player is fighting for their position and I think it’s going to be quite difficult for the coaching staff to pick a team. It’s a massive squad full of very good players and I think the competition for positions is what drives the standards in training and in the games.”
Clisby’s willingness to embrace the rigours of yet another gruelling pre-season reflect his personal approach to physical conditioning which he believes has improved as he has matured. “When you’re younger, you look at the senior players doing what they do and you think that because you’re young, you can get away without doing those things as much,” he said. “Now I’m an older lad, I wish someone had really drilled that into me.”
“All those little details off the field – sleeping well, eating right and making sure you’re in the best nick possible – it really goes a long way. You learn more about your body as the years go by and what works for you and what doesn’t. The football side of things, the fitness side of things and the tactical side of things, that all comes from a good foundation of looking after yourself.”
As always, the new season offers the promise of better things to come and that resonates very firmly with Clisby, for whom the tribulations of last year were especially hard to bear. “It was one of the darkest times I’ve felt in my football career,” he said. “The way everything went, the results, not being able to play at home for months on end, injuries galore; it felt really depleting.”
“But when (coach) Ruben (Zadkovich) came in towards the back end of the season, he started setting in stone what he wanted moving forward and the targets for the next season and he’s really laid those foundations and brought those principles and discipline into the squad. The players have really bought into it. We know that we’ve made improvements and are heading in the right direction and it’s exciting.”
Subject to selection, Clisby will make his 50th A-League appearance for the club in the upcoming season-opener versus Western Sydney Wanderers, taking his career total to almost 190. But for all the water that has passed under the bridge since, his memories of facing Brisbane on his senior debut remain vivid. “The week before that, I signed my first-team contract and I went out and celebrated with my family at the C Restaurant,” he recalled.
“Then in that week there were a few injuries and I came straight in at centre-back. There were some nerves, but it was an experienced bunch of boys and I’d been training with them for a while. It wasn’t the easiest of games to come into, but when you’re making your debut, you’re just buzzing as a young player. I remember it quite clearly and it seems like yesterday even though it was nearly ten years ago. Time flies in football.”
BARNES’BOYS SPOT ON TO WIN MASTERS CUP FINAL
Forrestfield United have produced a stunning second half comeback to beat Joondalup City 5-4 on penalties in Friday evenings Belt-Up Master Cup Final at E&D Litis Stadium. First half goals from Stephen Connolly and Francis Westhead had Joondalup in control at the break, but an early goal after half time from Steven Rodger got Forrestfield back in the contest. Rory Mouttet levelled just after the hour mark, taking the game to a shoot-out, and Forrestfield prevailed 5-4 to go back-to-back.
“Unbelievable comeback from the lads, Joondalup took their chances in the first half and we had our backs to the wall, but you always know with this group we never give up and the early goal in the second half was crucial,” Forrestfield coach Phil Barnes said post-match. “Joondalup tired and we probably could have won it in 90 minutes, but penalties are always nerve racking but our keeper was superb, and winning the cup back-to-back is something special and we will be celebrating hard.”
Joondalup, who were refreshed after a team trip to Bali in the week, and they found the opener on seven minutes. Mouttet headed inches wide at one-end, and moments later Connolly raced down the end, before cutting inside an unleashing a stunning strike from long-range that found the top corner of the net giving Forrestfield keeper Robert Woolmer no chance. It got better for Joondalup in the shadows of half time, as they added a second, Westhead shot from the edge of the box sending the northern suburbs club into the break with a commanding lead.
But whatever Forrestfield coach Barnes said at the break work, and three minutes after half time they reduced the deficit. Scott Campbell’s in swinging corner wasn’t dealt with and Rodgers headed home from close-range. Forrestfield then restored parity on 68 minutes, Greig Christie’s corner to the back post was headed home by Mouttet. Both sides had chances late, but they couldn’t be separated and it was down to the penalties. In the tense shoot-out Forrestfield’s Campbell saw his penalty saved low by Lee Fletcher, but Woolmer guessed the right way to save Peter Cartwright to even it up. Then Joondalup skipper Gary Patterson had his penalty saved low by Woolmer to win it for Forrestfield, and set of wild celebration on and off the pitch.
“We were in the same situation last week, being 2-0 down against Mindarie but last week we still felt like we were in control. The final was different. Joondalup came out of the blocks hard and they were making every possession difficult,” Forrestfield’s Rory Mouttet explained. “We really had to talk each other into the game at halftime. A few of our leaders stepped up and got us fired up. We knew when we got our first early in the second half that we were right back in it.
“I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to bring us level after a fantastic Greig Christie corner and we were finishing the game strongly with a few chances to close it out. Penalties is always a difficult way to decide the game and our keeper Rob was brilliant. He had his day and it's a testament to our entire squad. We just never give up. We always believe we are in with a chance. The character and quality of our lads across both squads and the camaraderie and closeness off the pitch are what got us over the line. I'm so grateful to be part of it. Full credit to Joondalup who were a great bunch of lads and played a brilliant, hard fought and honest contest that could have gone either way.”
Forrestfield United celebrate winning the Masters Cup. (Photo courtesy of Forrestfield United)
BAYSWATER TOO STRONG FOR SUBIACO
Bayswater City are the 2022 Belt-Up Over 45s Masters Cup winners, after a 4-0 win in the final at E&D Litis stadium on Friday evening. Alun Vernals gave Bayswater the lead early, before Dom Ando doubled their lead on the hour. With Subiaco chasing the game Bayswater added two more late, with player/coach Nicky Dyer adding the third, before Carl Medica rounded out the scoring late. “It was a hard-fought final, but once we scored our opener, we seemed to control the game. After halftime it became easier to retain possession and mounted a few chances,” Dyer explained post-match.
“Then to be fare once the second went in, I thought we were in complete control and Subiaco dropped their heads. It was nice for me to pop up with the third, and we cleared our bench to give lads a taste of the game, and Diesel (Medica) came on and slotted home the fourth. I thought Alun (Vernals) was man of the match, and Dom (Ando) was also outstanding, and they just couldn’t cope with Victor Sikora in the end. A very satisfying win in front of a great crowd.”
It was a tight opening to the game in front of big crowd at the home of Floreat Athena, and it was Bayswater who hit the front on 27 minutes, former Perth Glory striker Vas Kalogeracos’ corner was headed home at the back post by the unmarked Vernals. The former Bayswater City State League assistant coach went close to a second five minutes later, his long-range volley saved by Sam Lowe, but at the break City held a narrow advantage.
It got a bit feisty after half time, and referee Evangelos Georgopoulos had to show a number of yellow cards after a clash in the middle of the park, but it was Bayswater who doubled their lead just before the hour mark. Ando was found unmarked on the right of the penalty area, and he finished clinically into the top corner of the net giving Lowe no chance. Subiaco were struggling to get behind a tight Bayswater defence well led by Vernals, but Simon Edwards’ shot from the edge of the box was the closest they came.
Bayswater looked to kill the game off, and Kalogeracos tried his luck from range, but it was straight at Lowe, and the striker was in again moments later after a mistake at the back, but his shot was deflected wide by William Morales. But from the resulting corner Bayswater added a third, Ando dinked the ball to the back post, and Dyer ghosted in to head home from close-range. The icing was added to the cake five minutes from time, Steven Dobinson’s cross from the left was volleyed home by Medica to seal a comprehensive win, and give them the league and cup double.
“Just rapt to have won the game,” Bayswater’s Paul Lincoln said post-match. “We had a few players out tonight and some playing with injuries, so it was a great effort from the whole squad. “After a slow start I thought we controlled the game, and in the end, it was a good win, and great for all involved that we have the league and cup double to end a great year for us.”
Bayswater City are the Over 45's Masters Cup Winners. (Photo courtesy of Bayswater City)
AMATEUR CUP FINAL PREVIEW
After last week’s thrilling end to the Belt-Up Amateur Premier League season, the Belt-Up Cup's takes centre stage this weekend, culminating in the Amateur Cup Final between Division One side South Perth United and Division Four side Joondanna Blues at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday afternoon. (4.45pm) Both sides have had a tough run to reach Sunday’s showpiece, and South Perth have beaten four Premier Division clubs on route to Sunday’s game.
They had a bye in the first round, before a Bradley North hat-trick saw them win 4-1 against Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park. In round three they hosted Quinns, and prevailed in an eight-goal thriller at Challenger Reserve, with Sheldon Mulholland and Jack Dalla Via scoring doubles in the 5-3 win. In the quarter-Final they returned to Challenger Reserve, and a goal ten minutes from time from Ben Godfrey saw them beat Joondalup United 1-0. That set-up a Semi-Final against Premier Division leaders Maddington White City at E&D Litis Stadium, and three second half goals from Dalla Via, Luke Pedley and Mason Langham caused a huge boil over to send them into the Final.
South Perth United coach Lee Haywood said it’s been a great season so far, and promotion to the Premier Division made all their hard work rewarded. “Our objective for the year was to secure promotion and have a good cup run, so I think we met those,” he explained. “We added some good depth this season and used a lot of players and everyone has played a part in securing promotion. The club and myself are really looking forward to being in the Prem next year but it would be nice to add a cup final win to top the season off.”
Haywood said the cup run has been tough, and knows Sunday will be a another one, but it’s one they are looking forward too. “We went in as underdogs in all of our previous cup games, which kind of took the pressure off of us and allowed us to go out and enjoy the games knowing that we were not really expected to win,” the coach said. “Within that run there was some pretty convincing performances and some big wins but that would mean nothing if we were to fall at the final hurdle.
“But we will not underestimate Joondanna on Sunday, they beat Jags and also Division One champions North Beach so they are clearly a good side. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to watch them play so I’m not sure what to expect exactly, I know they watched our game against Stirling a couple of weeks ago so I’ll have to mix up the game plan a little. Several of the lads played in last season’s final and I’m sure they do not want that feeling of walking up to receive a runners-up medal for a second consecutive year.”
Joondanna also had a bye in the opening round, and in round two they travelled to Kingfisher Park to take on Ballajura, and goals Graeme Ross and Nick Banks saw them secure a narrow 2-1 win. In round three they hosted Division One leaders North Beach, and Bradley Skea scored early, but the visitors levelled through the league’s top scorer Alexander Kretowicz, but Banks’ late penalty was them run out 2-1 winners. In the quarter-final they welcomed Premier Division club Jaguar to Charles Riley Reserve, and early goals from David Brownlees and Gabriele Colli put them in control, and they secured the tie on the hour, with Andy O’Neill adding the third, to seal a 3-0 win. In the semi-Final they met Maccabi at Wotton Reserve, and in a tight game Travis Preston scored the only goal to seal a 1-0 win.
Promotion to Division Three was the reward for Joondanna in the league, and coach Jon McGinty said the new look squad deserves all the credit. “It's been a fantastic year for the club, and taking the club into the amateur leagues after nearly 20 years of socials was a hug step,” he explained. “We’ve a completely new squad and coaches, and it made things fresh and exciting and it's been an enjoyable year with the boys. It has been difficult with injuries and lads away, but if we said promotion and the cup final at the start of the season we would have been dreaming.”
McGinty said the cup run has been outstanding, and they will take a great deal of confidence into Sunday’s final. “Every game has been unbelievable, all the teams have been superb, great lads and some of the football we have played and come up against had been a joy to watch,” he said. “I thought the North Beach game was big because they were flying, and we were just settling with new players coming in so to get a result then showed what we were capable of and was a huge confidence boost. When we played Jags and Maccabi, we just focused on ourselves, set up solid at the back and then the work rate of the lads has been the driving force. Very different teams but focusing on our own tactics and strengths in both games got us here. The atmosphere during the games were immense and we are looking forward to the final as well.”
Assistant coach Luke O’Neill said South Perth will be another tough game, but it’s a cup final and they can’t wait for it. “Lee has done a great job at South Perth this season with promotion to the Premier League and back-to-back cup finals. Both teams have beaten some top sides to get to the final,” he explained. “We saw in the semifinal, beating Maddington, we know it’s going to be a tough game, but it’s a challenge we as a club are looking forward to. The coaches, players and everyone involved with the Joondanna Blues are looking forward to the game. We will be asking the lads to keep working hard and have that belief that got us here. It’s a huge achievement for the club to get to a final in the first year as an amateur team, the hard work from the club has paid off, but we want to continue that good work.”
AMATEUR RESERVES CUP FINAL PREVIEW
In Sunday’s Amateur Reserves Cup Final, Premier Division Emerald take on Division One North Beach at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday afternoon. (2.30pm) North Beach opened their campaign with Luke Aitken bagging a brace in the 4-0 win against Fremantle City at Charles Riley Reserve, while in the second round Amerigo Murolo scored a hat-trick, as they beat Yanchep United 9-1 at home. In the third round they travelled to Reader Reserve and beat Ballajura 4-2, with Toby Bull scoring a brace, then in the quarter-final they hosted Sutherlands Park at home, and doubles from Aitken and James Ashford saw them run out 4-0 winners. That set up a semi-final at E&D Litis Stadium, and they won 3-1, and coach Ali Westwood said it was a different sort of a game.
“It was an interesting game with interruptions due to the lights not working and then the sprinklers coming on when we ended up on a back pitch to finish off the game so for the lads to push through and get the win. I was very proud,” he explained. “We had a clinical finish from Jack Tozawa to open the scoring, before he went on a solo run down the left and set up Amerigo Murolo for the second. Kwinana hit back and then we absorbed a lot of pressure towards the end and had our counter attacking work in our favour when Ross Westwood was found open in the box to finish them off with a third.”
North Perth took out the Reserves title, and Westwood said it was a fantastic season. “We only had one loss coming before we took out the title and the second coming once the title was wrapped up and we were looking towards the cup,” he said. “We may have become victims of our own success from the last few years as we have won the previous four league titles in our respective reserves divisions, so for the lads to push through that, integrate some new faces into the team and move on to be even better than we have been previously obviously everyone associated with the team is extremely happy with our season. We will be aiming for six again when we tackle the Premier Division next season.”
The coach said the players are looking forward to the cup final against Premier Division champions Emerald, and he is looking forward to the challenge. “It’s always going to be a tough test against Emerald, we have played them a few times over the previous few years in Division One before their first team got them promoted, and they’ve always been very tough and physical to face,” Westwood said. “We know what we can expect from them and nothing will be easy for us on Sunday. But to be the best you have to beat the best so we are looking forward to the challenge and will prepare ourselves as best we can.”
Emarald was given a bye in the first round, and in the second round they were pushed all the way by Kingsley Westside at Fraser Park Reserve. Gordon Niner bagged a brace as the game ended 3-3 after normal time, but they won the penalty shoot-out 4-3 to move through. They were forced to penalties again in round three after they drew 0-0 with North Perth United at Kingsway Reserve, but they prevailed 4-2 in the shoot-out. In the quarter final they travelled to Macedonia Park to take on Maccabi, and returned with a 2-0 win, with Andrew Dunbar and own goal sealing the win. In the semi-final they met Kelmscott Roos at Wotton Reserve, and Louis Nicolaou levelled the score on the hour, and again it went to penalties, and coach Cathal Quinn said it was a nervy clash. “The semifinal was a great game, and Kelmscott we’re well on top and deserved the half time lead,” he explained. “We regrouped at half time made a few changes and were a different team and overall, I feel we deserved to go through. A penalty shootout is always a tough way to settle a semi-final, but our keeper took the final penalty luckily for us he tucked it away.”
Emerald returned to the top flight in 2022, and Quinn said to win the league was a great achievement from the lads, and they will be looking for the double on Sunday. “It was a great first season in the Prem from us, I knew we had a very talented squad and would go Ok, but never imagined us winning it as there are a lot of great teams in this league. We hit form at the right end of the season and finished strong with some good results thankfully to get us over the line. Sunday will be a tough game, and North Beach are a very good side. We have played them a few times over the last few seasons and they finished above us last season to claim the Division One title so we know we’re up against it. But on our day, we can beat anyone so we won’t fear the challenge on Sunday and hope to come out the right side of the result and take home our very first Amateur Reserve cup to cap off what would be a brilliant season for us.”
METRO CUP FINAL PREVIEW
In Sunday’s Metropolitan Cup Final, Premier Division Perth Saints meet Division Three Lynwood at E&D Litis Stadium on Sunday morning. (10.00am) Lynwood opened their cup run after a brace from Julian Bridge-Meek gave them a 6-1 win against Mindarie 6-1 at Riverlinks Park, and in round two they hosted Emerald at Hossack Reserve, and a hat-trick from Connor Macrae helped them to a 5-0 win. In the third round they needed penalties to beat Alexander Florina, after coming from 0-3 down after only 12 minutes, before goals from Osman Iscel, Adam Norris and David Drummond saw them beat SDSA / TOKOSS 3-1 at John Connell Reserve.
In the semi-final they met Premier Division Perth SC, and a brace from Luke Mcloughlin secured a 2-1 win, and coach Luke Reilly said it was a great performance. “I thought the semi-final was a cracking game and contest. I thought our boys did really well and deserved to be 1-0 up at half time,” he explained. “We knew the next goal would be crucial and again did well to go 2-0 up. Perth SC did get one back with a few minutes to go after throwing everything at us but we managed with everything they had and came out deserved winners, in my opinion.”
Lynwood won the Division Three South title this season, and Reilly said it was a huge achievement from the new look side. “Our well-established amateur team folded at the start of this year meaning Lynwood had no senior men’s representation, and as devastating as this was, we had to do something to try and keep some of the boys together that didn’t want to go elsewhere,” Reilly said. “We decided a single metro team was the best way forward. Once registered and placed into a division by Football West, we set our objective to challenge for the title. Chuffed we were able to achieve that at the first attempt. Great effort by all involved. We had our challenges throughout the season with injuries, people away, work commitments etc, like most teams which meant we needed all to contribute and that’s exactly what everyone did.”
Reilly said they are looking forward to the challenge of playing Perth Saints, and knows it will be a tough game. “Sunday’s final will be another solid challenge for us but we’re all looking forward to it. As underdogs from Division Three, taking on another Premier Division team, we have no expectation to go out there and get the win. We have nothing to loss and that’s exactly how we will approach the day,” he explained. “Other teams this season have written us off and underestimated us, but we have already proven we can go toe to toe against any other metro team. Regardless of the result on the day, we are all really excited to be part of this final and really proud of the boys for getting as far as they have.”
Perth Saints began their cup run with a 7-0 win against Chipolopolo FC at Tompkins Park in round one, with Madison Holman bagging a hat-trick, before they beat Carramar Shamrock Rovers 3-1 at home in round two, helped by a brace from Steven Da Silva. They hit the road in round three to take on Mindarie at Riverlinks Park West, and doubles from Da Silva, Holman and Levi Reichelt saw them win 7-0.
In the quarter final they met Victoria Park at John Connell Reserve, and a double from Holman and another to Jake Dascanio saw them run out 3-0 winners. In the semi-final they took on Perth SC Division Four side, and Holman gave them the lead early from the spot, before Perth SC had two players sent off, and the Saints went on with it after the break and further goals from Da Silva and a brace from Giuseppe Stellitano secured the 4-1 win.
Coach Rob McVey said it was a well-deserved win. “I am unsure how much the sending offs changed the game, I felt we were on top at the time and unfortunately for them they had two players sent off at the same time,” he said. “The main concern I had at that point was that we kept our discipline and played to the best of our abilities and see out the game with a victory which we did. All credit to Perth they gave everything they had right to the final whistle.’
The Saints finished second in the Premier Division this season and McVey said they go into Sunday’s final in a confident mood, but is well aware cup final are tough, but they ae looking forward to it. “Lynwood have done very well this season in winning their league and getting to the cup final and you don’t do that without being a good side,” he explained. “We will approach this game like any other and we will give our opposition the respect that they deserve.
“I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them play, but I am told they are a very capable side that will cause us problems. We all know cup finals can go anyway and it’s not always down to who performs best on the day. They can be won and lost with one bit of luck or one unlucky mistake, but at the end of the day I just hope it is a good game that entertains the spectators and one that the players enjoy.”
MASTERS / MASTER OVER 45 CUP FINALS PREVIEW
The Masters Cup Final takes place on Friday evening at E&D Litis Stadium, with Joondalup City taking on Forrestfield United. (8.15pm) Joondalup beat Canning City in the first round, before they beat their North Division One side 4-1 at the Iluka Sports Complex. In the quarter-Final they took on Spearwood Dalmatinac at Dalmatinacc Park and doubles from Dom-Brearo Elliott and Francis Westhead secured a 4-0 win. In the Semi-final they met Balga at Frank Drago Reserve, and they found themselves three goals down at half time. But an early goal from Mark Makhouli got them back into the game, and he went on to bag three more to give them a come-from-behind 4-3 win.
“It was definitely a heart stopper game that’s for sure, and the lads started a little slow and all credit to Balga who came out of the gates running,” Joondalup coach Andrei Sarpe said. “We had to make some tactical adjustments just before half time, however these proved to be the game changer. The team really stood up in the second half and showed excellent character to come from 3-0 down. I’m sure we will remember it for some time as it was similar to a game against Subiaco last year, which we won 5-4 after being 4-0 down to clinch the title. This team has real character and leaders that will work hard until the last minute.”
Injuries took their toll on the side in the league, and Sarpe said they will be looking to end the season on high in the cup final. “This season has been a challenge for all of the teams I think, and we have been decimated by injuries from the very first game, however we are proud to say that we did not postpone any game. We played each game with the team we had available (sometimes 10 players) even when other teams used COVID as an excuse and postponed games to suite themselves knowing we had limited numbers available,” the coach explained. “It is a shame Football West did not have a better strategy to deal with teams abusing the system. Nonetheless we are a very proud and humble group of lads who just want to enjoy playing football together. Reaching the cup final is a massive achievement given the challenges we faced however we are here now and will give it our best shot.
“We will definitely have to come out firing on all cylinders from the very first minute on Friday. I don’t think we can afford another start like the one in the semi-final. Forrestfield have been at the top of the South league for many years so I’m sure they will be right up for this. We recently returned from Bali after our end of season trip so we are hoping that this time away bonding with each other will give us that little bit of an edge on game day. No doubt it will be a great game and we encourage everyone to come down and support both teams. C’mon the boys! “
Forrestfield made light work of Belmont Villa in the preliminary round, running out 19-0 winners, with Steven Rodger’s scoring eight, while Spencer Hore bagged five. In the first round they travelled to JA Lee Reserve, and came home with a 5-1 win against Perth Royals. In the next round they hit the road again to take on Hillarys, and returned from Flinders Park with a 3-0 win, with Rodger’s scoring a brace, and another to Greig Christie. In the quarterfinal they hosted FC Shoalwater at Crazy Domains Stadium, Hartfield Park, and late goals from Scott Fyfe and Scott Fletcher gave them a hard fought 2-1 win. They hosted Mindarie in the semi-final, and found themselves two goals down early, but Dean Thurston pulled one back before the break, and a second half brace from Rory Mouttet completed the comeback, and a 3-2 win.
Forrestfield coach Phil Barnes said it was a slow start in the semi-final, but he was delighted the way his side fought back to win. “Yes, we were slow to start, and to be fare Mindarie were very quick out the box, and caught us out,” he explained. “But credit to the boys no one dropped their heads and got back into the game before the break. We’re a fairly fit side and we managed to get over them in the second half.”
United took out the title this season, and Barnes said the players are looking to add the cup on Sunday to cap off the season, but knows it will be a tough game. “The lads were brilliant this year winning 18 games. We were challenged early in the season, but the depth we have in the squad we finished the season really strong to top the table,” he explained. “Joondalup city have a fantastic team and we really respect them, and coming back from 3-0 down in the semi was unbelievable. It’s going to be a cracking final and going back-to-back would be unbelievable, and we’re bringing a massive crowd and hopefully they can get us over the line.”
In the earlier game in the Over 45 Masters Final, Bayswater City meet Subiaco. (6.00pm) Subiaco entered the competition in the Preliminary Round, and beat Belmont Villa 7-0, with Dylan Weiner and Ian Joselowsky both scoring hat-tricks. In round one they hosted Lynwood United at Rosalie Park, and ran out convincing 9-1 winners, with Mark Watson, Sharne Hesse and Simon Edwards both scoring braces. In the next round they met Joondalup United at Charonia Reserve, and Weiner scored in a 1-1 draw, but they won the penalty shootout 5-4. In the quarter-final they hosted MUMFC Green and won 3-0, before a goal from Weiner saw them beat Woodvale 1-0 in the semi-final at Timberlane Park.
Bayswater City entered the competition in Round One and beat Wanneroo City, before they hosted Fremantle City at Frank Drago Reserve in round two and a hat-trick from Vas Kalogeracos helped them to a 7-1 win. In the quarter-final they welcome Perth SC in an Italian Derby, and goals from Paul Lincoln, Victor Sikora, Steve Cramphorn and Stuart Cardey gave them a 4-1 win. They were at home again in the Semi-Final, and they secure their place in the final with a 3-0 win.
Bayswater coach Nicky Dyer said the win against Spearwood was a good effort from his side. “The semi-final win against Dallies was easier than we expected if I’m honest,” he said. “They travelled to us with a squad that had endured a hard season, and injuries had them not at their best. However, we played our own game, played to our strengths of defending well. We controlled the tempo and finishing our chances, although a silly red card with 25 minutes left didn’t help them.”
Dyer said Sunday will be another tough game, as they have played them a number of times this season, and all have been close. “Subiaco in the final, that’s an interesting fixture. We have played them three times this year. beating them twice and drawing at Frank Drago 2-2,” he explained. “They are a strong outfit, better than their league standing suggests. A strong no-nonsense team, so we will need to be at our best and hope Victor, Vas, Lincs and our lads all perform at our best - Can’t wait for the challenge.”
HYUNDAI WOMENS METRO CUP FINAL PREVIEW
It’s the Hyundai Womens Metro Cup Final on Sunday afternoon at E&D Litis Stadium, with Hamersley Rovers taking Fremantle City. (12.15pm) Fremantle beat Woodvale 2-1 in the opening round, with a brace from Cara Villella, before a 9-0 win against Kingsley Westside in round two. In the quarterfinal they made the trip to Koorana Reserve to take on Port Kennedy, and a brace from Alice Vandermeiren helped them to a 6-2 win. In the semi-final they met Subiaco at Rosalie Park and prevailed 2-0, and coach Robert de Kleine said it was a well-deserved win. “This season we dominated the games against Subi and this continued in the Semi Final,” he said. “However, they made it hard for us and are a tough opponent, but in the end, we prevailed to take our place in the final.”
The coach said he has been proud of the player group this season, and a win in the cup would be the icing on the cake. “After winning the last two seasons we lost a few strong players, however some came up from our lower teams and have fitted in really well,” De Kleine said. “We recruited one of our club legends Kirsty Fraser, who had spells as semi pro player in the States and Scotland as our coach. I still did the Sunday games while she got her bearings, and I’m really proud what we all (players and coaches) have achieved this year.
"Together we worked really well in moulding the team in a cohesive team who works hard for each other. I see a great future for the team depending on what the new Womens structure will look like next season. Sunday will be tough test, and Betim (Ziba) and Hamersley have recruited really well in the off season and put a very strong team together. Unfortunately for us, they managed to shade us a couple of times. However, if there is one team who can rise to the occasion it will Fremantle City and I am quietly confident that we can retain the Cup.”
Hamersley Rovers started their cup run with an emphatic 14-0 win against Whitford City, with Royan Norman scoring five, before they beat Perth RedStar 3-0 in round two at Carine Open Space. In the quarterfinal they beat Ballajura, which set up a semi-final home game against Port Kennedy. Norman gave them the lead early, before Brianna Patrick added a second. Norman bagged a second after half time to secure a 3-0 win and a place in the final. “The game against Port Kennedy was a great game, it was played in good spirit and both teams enjoyed the game, they are a quality team,” Rovers’ coach Betim Ziba explained. “The 3-0 win gave us good momentum towards this final, as it showed we could beat teams we haven't played before.”
Rovers won the league this season, and the Night Series, so they will be looking for the treble on Sunday. “Our season has been one where things have fit perfectly. The night series win got us into good momentum for the league, losing only one game the entire season. We were the team to beat and every week we had to be consistent and we were. Proud of what the girls achieved since getting promoted from metro Division One in 2021,” Ziba explained.
“Fremantle City is a team we enjoy playing. They play nice football which means the game is entertaining and competitive. They are a dangerous team and have quality players and a quality coach. We beat them twice this season so we know we can win. The game will be intense and competitive but exciting. With Night Series and the league won, we are looking to complete the treble this Sunday and get the win.”
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY TWO REVIEW
Maddington White City are the 2022 Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division Champions, after a dramatic final round of the season. Going into the final games, three clubs were in the running for the title with only one point separating them, but it was Maddington who prevailed, beating Kwinana United 8-2 at Mills Park. “We knew we had to get a big win over Kwinana to win the league, and the boys came in hungry and prepared. Everyone gave it their all, and I think we played our best game of the season,” Farruh Mavlonov explained. “I was happy to get a hat trick in the first half to help the side win the game, we are very excited to be back in State League next year.” The hosts raced to a three-goal lead in the first 25 minutes.
Farruh Mavlonov opened the scoring on 14 minutes, before Mateo Galizia added a second five minutes later. Mavlonov scored again to put City well in control, but Kwinana hit back and Mustafa Mkanza reduced the deficit. But Mavlonov completed his hat-trick just before half time, and they went on with it after the break with Jose Zuniga bagging his 21st goal of the season, with others to David Sarria, Ramiro Costes and Samir Ramos. Wayne Carter scored a late consolation goal for the visitors, also his 21st of the season, but it was Maddington and the big crowd celebrating the title and promotion to State League football for the first time since 2013.
East Perth sat top of the table going into the final game, but were beaten 1-0 by North Perth United at Inglewood Stadium. There cause wasn’t helped after Niall Murray was sent off by referee David Avison on the half hour, and seven minutes into the second half North Perth found the winner with skipper Connor Engelbrecht scoring after terrific work on the left wing by Scott Wrightson and Raido Reinsalu. “To a man we were superb today,” North Perth defender Kelechi Osunwa, who missed the game due to suspension, explained.
“We hustled and harried and with George Mills and Nicholas Song stepping into the first team and giving us an extra bit of bite and clinical finishing from Connor. Even with ten-men East Perth still had a presence in game but it wasn't until the second half that we managed to take advantage and claim the winner. The win is a decent win considering we lost to East Perth heavily earlier in the season but overall, it gives us a good end to the season and kick start to next season too.”
East Perth coach Colm Costello said it wasn’t their day, but that’s football. “Well done to Kevin and the North Perth lads, it was a well-deserved win,” he explained. “When we went down to ten men it made the task so much harder, and like I said we never expected an easy game and they played well took their chance and got the win. From our perspective it is a season the players and club should be extremely proud off. We battled right to the end and lads have put bodies on the line weekly to get us to last game of season and a chance, and we couldn’t have asked or got much more from them.
Lastly congrats to deserved champions Maddington, they are a brilliant side and we shared some great battles with them this year and I think these are the games that will stand to us moving forward. We wish them the very best of luck in the State League next season, and I can see them doing extremely well.”
Jaguar finished runners-up, this after a hard fought 1-0 win against Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park. The visitors knew they needed a win and results elsewhere to go their way, and they made a great start with Hamad Hamad’s goal on the quarter hour. The hosts pressed for the equaliser, but couldn’t find a way past Jags keeper Michael Dudek, and Jags found the win, but had to settle for second place after Maddington’s win.
It was just as dramatic at the other end of the table, with three teams battling it out to stay in the league, and it was Joondalup United and Wembley Downs who survived the drop, with Quinns relegated to Division One. Joondalup needed a win and other results to go their way to survive, and that’s exactly what happened, after a come-from-behind 3-2 win against Peel United at Beldon Park.
The visitors were ahead on nine minutes, with Jack Richardson scoring, but Joondalup responded when Adam Taylor got free down the left and his cross was well finished by Ryan Pellow. But Peel regained the lead midway through the second half with Richardson bagging his 14th goal of the season. But the game turned on its head in the final ten minutes, Taylor pounced on a loose pass and lobbed the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area to make it 2-2. Then with seven minutes to go, James Spurry’s free kick wasn’t dealt with and Drew Kirkpatrick’s pull back from a tight angle found the net off a Peel defender to win it.
“It was a crazy end to a great season of amateur football. We didn’t make it easy for ourselves again but the character shown to score those late two goals sums up how we turned things around over the past couple of months,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained. “To win three and draw two of the last five games against good teams is brilliant and I’m very proud of the playing group. We needed a bit of help from elsewhere to stay up but I believe the squad is good enough to be in the Premier Division so I’m delighted for the lads, their hard work paid off. Finally, congratulations to Maddington on winning the league and everyone else for making it an exciting year right to the last whistle.”
Quinns needed a win, and they had been in good form in recent weeks, but they were beaten 2-1 by Emerald at Gumblossom Park to go down. “Overall happy with the performance, we knew we could have an influence on who could go up or down,” Wembley coach Shane O’Donovan said. “So, we had to match Quinn’s intensity which we did for most parts of the game. Sorry to see Quinn’s go down, but that’s football.” The visitors made a great start with two goals in the first ten minutes. First on seven minutes a great ball from Paul Power put Nathan Leamy through and he slotted home.
They added a second moments later, Leamy beat his man on the left and then put in a fantastic cross for Shane Young to tap home from close-range. Quinns needed a lifeline and found it ten minutes into the second half, with Ryan McCready scoring his 16th goal of the season. But try as they might they couldn’t get another, and they lost Luke Williams and Guy Armstrong late, both sent off by referee Albert Muyembe, while Emerald’s James Woods was also sent off late, after receiving a second yellow card.
In the final game Wembley secured their place in the league, after a 6-3 win against already relegated Queens Park at Butlers Reserve. “A fitting game for the end of season,” Wembley player/coach Jeff Cornez said. “We were up 3-0 then 3-3, then 6-3, it was definitely one for the neutral to enjoy with some great goals by both sides. We didn’t stop believing in ourselves and our abilities, it was a very long season and I really want to thank every guy in the squad for contributing to the team and club.”
The hosts were ahead in the first minute, skipper Harry Browne with space fired home from about 18-meters into the bottom corner. It was 2-0 when Jack Mellor headed home a set-piece, before Cam Chambers cross shot was deflected in by the Queens Park defender. But the visitors hit back and Kevin Oyori pulled one back before half time, and two early goals in the second half by Alex Fazekas and Jean Stephan Foolchund levelled things up on the hour. But Wembley steadied and regained the lead five minutes later, Browne adding his second with a curling effort from the edge of the box. They made it 5-3 on 70 minutes Luke Thistlethwaite racing clear and rounded the keeper to score. Thistlethwaite wrapped up the scoring seven minutes from time, with a smart finish.
AMATEUR LEAGUE WRAP
It’s been another great season in the lower amateur leagues, and congratulations to North Beach Soccer Club who took out Division One title, and promotion to the Premier Division. They finished the season with a 3-0 win against Ellenbrook United at Charles Riley Reserve, the result relegated the visitors. “Everyone connected with North Beach is extremely proud of all the players and the coaching team of Michael Rea and Nick Di Carlo. It's been a massive year for the whole club, with the reserves and the third team also winning their respective leagues. Having some strength in depth is crucial for a team hoping to succeed and when that depth includes some experienced heads alongside with young players, it is exciting for the club,” Simon Collins explained.
“Getting back to the Premier Division has been something we've been trying to do for a long time, but always fell short. The last time we were in the top division was 1987 and there are only a couple of people still at the club who remember those days now. Alex Kretowicz quite rightfully takes a lot of the plaudits this year after a superb season scoring over 50 goals, in the process breaking a 30-year-old senior club goal scoring record in the process a few weeks ago. But the whole team behind him can take much credit too. A dynamic midfield led by captain and club stalwart Chris Judge drives the team forward and doesn't give the opposition time to rest. The defence and Jackson in goal were rock solid and conceded the least number of goals in the division this year. We have a good young group that are mates off the field, so that helps the team chemistry.
“A healthy junior system behind us with a lot of good young players coming through, will hopefully help refresh the team going forward in years to come. I think every day will now enjoy a nice summer break to recharge the batteries. We look forward to the challenge next year of competing with the best amateur teams in the state. Hopefully we do ourselves justice.” They are joined in the Premier Division by South Perth United Football Club, who beat Olympic Kingsway 5-0 to pip Maccabi to promotion. Joining Ellenbrook in Division Two will be Belmont Villa, who were beaten 3-0 at Gosnells City, in coach Peter Allen’s final game as coach of Gosnells. In the reserves North Beach made it a double, taking out the title, again ahead of South Perth United.
In Division Two, it was Kingsley Westside who took out the title and promotion, and their final game of the season against Mandurah City was forfeited. “Over the moon with Kingsley Westside winning the Division Two league title and also the Reserves league title this year,” coach Mo Livingstone said. “There were lots of good teams in league this season, who made it very difficult for us, and that made it even better that we finished on top securing not only promotion to Division One but also take the winner’s shield. Over the last couple of seasons both the reserves and first team have knocked on the door of promotion and/or a title so it was great that all came together for the squad this season to win the double.
“It is a credit to the club, coaching staff and most importantly the players who have been nothing but awesome from pre-season in January. They took that into the season proper basically maintaining pole position in both leagues throughout the season. We will now have a rest, celebrate the achievements and enjoy the off season. Planning and work towards 2023 will come around quickly and we look forward to taking our place in a competitive Division One and see how we go.” Joined Kingsley in Division One is Canning City, who beat Ballajura 6-2 in the final game, while Fraser Park and Subiaco were relegated.
In Division Three it was Perth AFC who won the title, 12 points ahead of runners-up Cracovia, who are also promoted to Division Two. “Where can I start, what a great season for everyone involved at Perth AFC this year. I would like to thank Perth AFC, Rob Caruso and everyone in the club for giving me this opportunity,” Coach Nathan Thorp explained. “When I got the job, the goal was always for promotion, and all of our lads have been amazing this year and they deserve all the praise and more importantly the success.
“They achieved not only our goal, but they exceeded it. The effort, commitment, winning mentality, attitude and quality they have shown from the start of pre-season in early January to the final game of the season has been absolutely top. Not only do we gain promotion, we go up as champions, and add to that, unbeaten champions. It’s a huge accomplishment, and Jake, myself and the club can’t give them enough credit. Also, with the reserves winning their respective league this season, it shows we have great depth and quality throughout this young and upcoming club. I’m very excited to see what we can all achieve as we go into Division Two and test ourselves to push even more.” At the other end of the table Noranda City and Sutherlands Park were relegated,
In Division Four Alkimos-Quinns took out the title and promotion, ten points ahead of runners-up Joondanna Blues, who beat them 5-0 in the final game of the season on Sunday. “This has been an incredible season from finishing bottom of the league last season in Alkimos’s first season in existence,” coach John Evans said. “All credit is down to Craig Stephenson (assistant coach) and all squad players for all their hard work on and off the field.
“Putting this team together was a hard task, but from game one we have all become great friends on and off the field. The standard of football in Division 4 is really high and has surprised me, so going into every game we knew we were in for a battle each week. We are now looking forward to see what we can do next season, in Division three.” Wembley Downs won the reserves title 12 points clear of UWA Nedlands.
GLORY HIT THE STATE LEAGUE FOR SIX
The WA State Teams hold on the Challenge Cup has ended, after being beaten 6-0 by Perth Glory at Kingsway Reserve on Sunday afternoon. Two goals apiece from Ben Azubel and Adam Zimarino, and singles from Keegan Jelacic and Giordano Colli eased the A-League side to a comprehensive. The crowd stood as one to applaud former Olympic striker Danny Hodgson as he tossed the coin before the game, and Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich said it was a special moment.
“To see Danny [Hodgson] back up on his feet and talking and communicating the way he is, it’s fantastic,” he told the Glory website. “He’s been through one hell of a tough time and it’s nice to see that the Perth and WA community have really got behind him. For him to be out here on his feet presenting that trophy shows how strong he really is and it was a special touch.
Glory began on the front foot from the outset, smarting from their 0-1 defeat to the State Team last season, but they created a number of chances, with Zimarino, Jack Clisby and Ryan Williams all being denied by WA keeper Jason Saldaris, but they found the opener on the quarter hour mark. Colli’s cross was headed home by new Israeli import striker.
He added a second on the half hour, after referee Shane Skinner pointed to the spot after Jelacic was brought down in the box, and the striker made no mistake from the resulting penalty. It was 3-0 just before half time, former Perth SC striker Zimarino finishing clinically. Zimarino added another just after the break, and Jelacic chipped home number five from just outside the box.
WA striker Ndumba Makeche was then denied by a smart save from Pierce Clark, before Kosta Sparta’s shot on the run flashed wide moments later, as the state looked for a reply. But Glory completed the scoring eight minutes from time when substitute Jacob Dowse picked out Colli who capped a good individual performance, finishing clinically past Luke Radonich. “I was pretty happy, especially with the first half, and more than anything, we looked fit, we looked powerful and we looked sharp,” Zadkovich added. “We were on the front foot and there were a lot of positives.
“There are still a few things there that I saw which we need to work on, but it was another positive step in the right direction and it was nice to be back in front of our home fans. It’s tricky to gauge where we’re at as we’ve only had one A-League opponent in pre-season, but one thing I can tell you is that the players, the staff and everyone at the club is working really hard. We’re going in the right direction, but there’s a long way to go. We have some challenges ahead, but they’re challenges that myself and my staff and my players will meet head-on.”
WA State Team: GK Jason SALDARIS (c), 2 Ryan FINNIE, 3 Ollie ANNIS, 4 Hristijan JANKALOVSKI, 10 Nick AMBROGIO, 11 Bailey BROWN-MONTGOMERY, 14 Robert PETKOV, 16 Kosta SPARTA, 17 Declan HUGHES, 19 Blair GOVAN, 27 Ndumba MAKECHE – Subs: RGK Luke RADONICH, 5 Federico ACHILLI, 6 Jesse FULLER, 7 Jack LEECH, 12 Stephen HESKETH, 20 Hasani SINCLAIR, 21 Jonothan CORNESS, 26 Abdul OSMAN
Perth Glory: GK Pierce CLARK (trialist), 2 John KOUTROUMBIS, 5 Mark BEEVERS (c), 7 Ryan WILLIAMS, 11 Ben AZUBEL, 14 Jack CLISBY, 16 Keegan JELACIC, 19 Zach DUNCAN, 20 Giordano COLLI, 29 Darryl LACHMAN, 43 Adam ZIMARINO – Subs: RGK Adrian SINAGRA, 3 Jacob DOWSE, 4 Luke BODNAR, 9 Bruno FORNAROLI, 12 Luke IVANOVIC, 18 David WILLIAMS, 25 Matt HATCH, 37 Jacob MUIR, 55 Dakota ASKEW (trialist) 77 Stefan COLAKOVSKI - Referee: Shane SKINNER
SOCCEROOS MAKE IT TWO-FROM-TWO AGAINST THE ALL WHITES
The Socceroos have completed the double over New Zealand, after second half goals from Mitch Duke and debutant Jason Cummings secured a 2-0 win at a packed Eden Park on Sunday afternoon. Graham Arnold made eleven changes to the side that beat the Kiwi’s on Thursday in Brisbane, which included a debut to defender Harrison Delbridge, while there was a number on the bench, including Cummings, who would come on for their debuts for the Green and Gold.
“Overall, the playing group is a very inexperienced team in terms of caps,” skipper Mathew Leckie said post-match. “But you see how much energy these young boys have, and we need them to perform at this level because they’re the type of players that are going to be the future for us. I’m sure he [Arnold] has got a lot of thinking to do over the next couple of months. I think this camp’s been great. A lot of new boys. And they’ve been very professional and showed that they want to be here.”
After a disjointed game in Brisbane, the Socceroos were on the front foot early, and Riley McGree stung the palms of Oliver Sail on 12 minutes. But it was the hosts, roared on by over 34,000 fans who took control, and Chris Wood’s shot on the edge of the box was deflected wide by the alert Thomas Deng moments later. Elijah Just then made space down the left, and his low cross was well claimed by Andrew Redmayne, with Wood ready to pounce. The lively Matthew Garbett then saw his effort saved low by Redmayne, but the host suffered a blow on the half hour with Wood leaving the field, the Newcastle United striker injuring his ribs.
But they still looked dangerous and three minutes before the break Garbett cut in from the left, his cross found Just, whose shot flashed over the top. But in the shadows of half time the Socceroos should have opened the scoring. Connor Metcalfe won possession in the middle of the park and Duke was sent racing into the penalty area, he cut the ball back to Marco Tilio, and with the goal at his mercy the winger fired wide, and at the break it was scoreless.
Whatever Arnold and the coaching staff said at half time worked, as the Socceroos looked lively and Tilio’s shot from the edge of the box was pushed away by Sail. Then on 54 minutes, their good start was rewarded with the opening goal. Metcalfe’s teasing cross picked out Duke, who got in between two All Whites defender to powerfully head home. The big striker went close to a second four minutes later, Joel King cross from the left was flicked on by the striker, but Sail saved low.
But the Socceroos almost handed the equaliser to the hosts on 68 minutes, a mistake at the back by Delbridge the ball falling to Alex Greive, but his first-time shot was straight at Redmayne. Garbett then saw a header flash wide, before Arnold went to the bench, bring on Cummings, Cameron Devlin and Ryan Stain for their debuts. The crowd were then on their feet on 74 minutes, when Winston Reid was substituted, which brought an end to the international career for the former West Ham United and Brentford defender.
But ten minutes from time the Socceroos doubled their advantage and sealed the game. The exciting 18-year-old Garang Kuol, had only been on the pitch for six minutes for his debut, when he did superbly to keep the ball in on the right and race forward, he squared the ball to Riley McGree, who shot was saved by Sail, the rebound falling to Cummings whose shot hit the arm of Liberato Cacace, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Cummings took responsibility and sent Sail the wrong way from the resulting penalty. Keanu Baccus was the final fresh face introduced to the action by Arnold as Australia made it two wins from two against the All Whites, while keeping two clean sheets in the process.
New Zealand: GK Oliver SAIL, 2 Winston REID (5 Michael BOXALL 74’), 4 Nando PIJNAKER, 6 Bill TUILOMA, 7 Elijah JUST (11 Alex GREIVE 55’), 8 Joe BELL, 9 Chris WOOD (20 Ben WAINE 32’), 10 Marko STAMENIC, 13 Liberato CACACE, 19 Matthew GARBETT (15 Benjamin OLD 74’), 21 Tim PAYNE (24 Storm ROUX 75’) – Subs not used: RGK Alexander PAULSEN, RGK Michael WOUD, 3 Deklan WYNNE, 14 Andre DE JONG, 16 Dane INGHAM, 17 Callum MCCOWATT, 18 Cameron HOWIESON, 22 Kyle ADAMS
Socceroos: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, 3 Nathaniel ATKINSON (5 Ryan STRAIN 63’), 4 Joel KING, 7 Mathew LECKIE, 10 Denis GENREAU (17 Cameron DEVLIN 63’), 13 Thomas DENG, 14 Riley MCGREE, 15 Mitchell DUKE (19 Jason CUMMINGS 63’), 21 Marco TILIO (16 Garang KUOL 73’), 23 Connor METCALFE (6 Keanu BACCUS 83’), 26 Harrison DELBRIDGE – Subs not used: RGK Mitchell LANGERAK, 2 Milos DEGENEK, 9 Martin BOYLE, 22 Tyrese FRANCOIS - Referee: Yusuke Araki
UWA SCORE LATE TO SECURE SURVIVAL
UWA Nedlands have secured their spot in Division One, after a 2-0 win against Carramar Shamrock Rovers in the second leg of the State League Inter-Divisional Promotion Playoff Final at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon, to secure a 2-1 win on aggregate. Late goals from Simon Burt and an own goal from Ross Jarman secured the win, and UWA Coach Basil Lenzo was delighted post-match. “Whilst it’s not a premiership, it feels better than that. The players have had a tremendous second half of the season where they worked extremely hard at every session and continued to want to learn and improve,” he explained.
“We signed five young players from Perth as well as Williams, Boffey and Bouhlas, and the players responded and we focused on every game. Come to the Shamrock game and after the disappointing way we played Tuesday, we knew we had the legs and we tweaked the game plan, and two goals in the last 12 minutes shows how resolute and resilient the players became. UWANFC were rewarded for their vision to collaborate with Perth, and the players were rewarded for their hard work, very proud of them all.”
With Rovers holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg, it was always going to be a cagey start with clear cut chances few and far between, the best opening came on ten minutes, Alfred Moore cut in from the left and his shot on the run flashed over the top. Rovers hit back, and they thought they had doubled their advantage in the tie on 22 minutes, when Jake Bardsley’s long-throw wasn’t dealt with, and Alan Reidy slammed home, but referee Adrien Liechti spotted a handball. Rovers were in again moments later, Kieran Harrison header looked destined for the bottom corner of the net but Rocco Liberti produced a stunning one-handed save to deny him.
Rovers went close again just after the half hour, Bardsley’s long-throw again caused problems, the ball bouncing up over Liberti and crashing off the crossbar and away to safety. Bardsley’s long-throw was a threat UWA were struggling to combat, and just before half time another was headed goalward by skipper Callum Traynor, but Liberti saved bravely under pressure from Harrison. But at the break Rovers still held their narrow lead.
Rovers started brightly after the break and Traynor headed over when well-placed early, before Jamie Gibson shot at the back post was saved low by Liberti. UWA needed a lift and Moffatt saw his shot drift wide, but they were struggling to break down a compact Rovers defence, but 13 minutes from time they found the opener on the day and levelled the tie. A short corner was crossed by Hayden Boffey, Daniel Holgate punched clear but only to Luke Randazzo, who played the ball out to Thomas Moroney, his cross to the back post was headed home by Simon Burt at the back post. But their celebrations were cut short after the assistants’ flag was raised, but after a short chat the referee awarded the goal, and it was now game on.
UWA were looking for the winner and Boffey headed inches over the top on 86 minutes, but sixty seconds later they found it. Moffatt’s curling free kick from the left took a touch off the unfortunate Jarman and found the corner of the net, much to the delight of his team mates and the supporters in the crowd. Rovers pressed late looking for a goal to take it extra time, and when UWA didn’t clear a corner Reidy’s shot was blocked by some desperate UWA defending and cleared, and their chance had gone, and the referee’s whistle singled joy on an off the pitch for UWA.
“Incredibly proud of the boys to never to give up until the very end. We knew if we conceded we would be in big trouble due to the value of the away goal and just hung tough the whole game,” UWA skipper Luke Randazzo said. “The boys dug deep and I’m delighted that UWA will remain in Division One next year because it’s very hard to get back up if you slide down. Hopefully we will learn some lessons from this year and the club will try to be a more competitive outfit moving forward.”
Striker Sam Moffatt said it was a hard-fought win, and they had to earn it. “I couldn’t be any prouder of the boys yesterday. We weren’t satisfied with how we played on Tuesday and felt that we let ourselves down in that regard, but yesterday we played exactly as we set out to do and reaped the rewards,” he explained. “It’s been an incredibly long and tough season but for the boys to stick together over the last couple of months, improving week upon week, yesterday’s victory was as much of a reward as well as hard earned, and as I said, I couldn’t be prouder of the entire playing group and coaching staff.”
UWA Nedlands: GK Rocco LIBERTI, 2 Sam GUTHRIDGE, 5 Rory BETTS, 6 Simon BURT, 8 Luke RANDAZZO (c), 9 Sam MOFFATT, 10 Max BLACKSHAW, 11 Hayden BOFFEY (7 Toby ROBERTSON 90’), 12 Emerson ALEXIS, 15 Thomas MORONEY, 17 Alfred MOORE (28 Hasan ASADI 94’) – Subs not used: RGK Casey ROBERTSON, 3 Jonathan BOUHLAS, 4 William HIGGINSON, 14 Georgios PAPATHANASSIOU, 16 Luke TROWER
Carramar Shamrock Rovers: GK Dean HOLGATE, 2 Thomas FORBES, 4 Callum TRAYNER (c), 5 Wayne GUEST (15 Chris PUGH 84’), 6 Seamus EDWARDS, 7 Alan REIDY, 8 Chris TATE (3 Ger FITZGERALD 84’), 9 Jamie GIBSON, 10 Kieran HARRISON (24 Griffin STURE 73’), 13 Jake BARDSLEY, 14 Ross JARMAN – Subs not used: 11 Rhodes BOYCE, 12 Chris WILLIAMS, 16 Joshua HART, 20 Jack BARBOUR – Referee: Adrien LIECHTI
MABIL STUNNER GIVES SOCCEROOS VICTORY AGAINST NEW ZEALAND
The Socceroos have continued their recent domination over Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand after a scrappy 1-0 win at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The only goal of the game came from Awer Mabil, the Cádiz winger firing home from long-range on the half hour, but it wasn’t the performance many of the 25,392 supporters were looking for in the final game on home soil before the World Cup in Qatar.
"Far from satisfied, to be honest. There was a lot of things we could have done better. Very satisfied with the result; at the end of the day, winning games of football is what it's all about and we managed to do that today,” Jackson Irvin said post-match. “A lot of aspects of the game we can do better, we know that. But with a tight preparation and a lot of travel, there's a lot to be pleased about. At the end of the day, a win's a win. It's a landmark event for the national team. One hundred years. And I'm glad we could send everyone home with a positive result."
In Australia’s farewell match that doubled as a Centenary celebration with 2022 marking 100 years since the men’s national football team played its first ‘A’ international match in Dunedin, it was the visitors who opened brightly, and went close after only two minutes, Trent Sainsbury poor clearance only found Tim Payne, whose shot from distance was well saved by Mat Ryan. The All Whites should have opened the scoring on ten minutes, a long ball from keeper Oli Sail wasn’t dealt with and Milos Degenek mis-cued header fell to Andre De Jong, who beat Sainsbury to get one-on-one with Ryan, but his shot flashed narrowly wide of the right-hand upright.
It was the wake-up call the hosts needed, and they started to get back into the game, and should have hit the front on 17 minutes. Aaron Mooy’s corner fell to Irvine, but he failed to find the target from close-range. The home supporters thought they had the lead on the half hour, Mooy’s corner was headed goalwards by Irvine, and turned home by Armadale-born Sainsbury, but referee Ryuji Sato disallowed the goal for a push on Kiwi defender Nando Pijnaker, but replays appeared to show Pijnaker simply slipped.
But their frustration was short-lived, and on 33 minutes the Socceroos hit the front, Irvine won possession and found Mabil on the left, he cut inside his marker and fired home a stunning strike from long-range into the bottom corner giving Sail no chance and bagging his eighth goal in 29 appearances for the Socceroos. The hosts looked more settled now and had the All Whites on the back foot, but couldn’t turn their chances into goals, but at the break it was Mabil’s strike the difference, in a lackluster first half.
Graham Arnold’s side started the second half well, but New Zealand were dangerous too, and Joe Bell’s long-range shot stung the palms of Ryan, before the keeper was out quickly to clear the danger after Chris Wood raced towards goal, and took out the keeper and was lucky not to receive a yellow card, for a hip and shoulder, which would have been good in this weekend’s ALF Grand Final. Both sides went to the bench, and the game became open.
Riley McGree was one of those, and he almost had an immediate impact, his shot from the edge of the box flashed over the top. The chances continued to flow, with Martin Boyle’s volley from outside the area, sailed wide, but the Kiwi’s weren’t going away, and Nathaniel Atkinson produced a great last-dich clearance after good work on the right by Ben Waine. But the Socceroos should have added second five minutes from time.
The visitors had a free kick on the edge of the box, and it was blocked by the wall and the Socceroos broke quickly and Boyle slipped in Matthew Leckie who was in on goal, but Sail got a slight touch on his low shot and deflected the ball on to the post and out to safety. The game was end to end, but it was the hosts who went close to a second in stoppage time, McGree picking out Jamie Maclaren, but he failed to beat Sail, but they saw out the game and farewelled their home country before the World Cup Finals, with a victory.
Socceroos: GK Mat RYAN, 2 Milos DEGENEK, 5 Fran KARACIC (3 Nathaniel ATKINSON 70’), 6 Martin BOYLE, 10 Ajdin HRUSTIC (14 Riley MCGREE 61’), 11 Awer MABIL (7 Mathew LECKIE 70’), 13 Aaron MOOY, 16 Aziz BEHICH (4 Joel KING 86’), 19 Adam TAGGART (9 Jamie MACLAREN 61’), 20 Trent SAINSBURY, 22 Jackson IRVINE (23 Connor METCALFE 86’) – Subs not used: RGK Mitchell LANGERAK, RGK Andrew REDMAYNE, 8 Thomas DENG, 15 Mitchell DUKE, 17 Denis GENREAU, 21 Garang KUOL, 24 Cameron DEVLIN, 25 Marco TILIO, 26 Harrison DELBRIDGE
New Zealand: GK Oliver SAIL, 4 Nando PIJNAKER, 5 Michael BOXALL, 7 Elijah JUST (20 Ben WAINE 65’), 8 Joe BELL (10 Marko STAMENIC 65’), 9 Chris WOOD (17 Callum MCCOWATT 71’), 13 Liberato CACACE (3 Deklan WYNNE 71’), 14 Andre DE JONG (18 Cameron HOWIESON 71’), 16 Dane INGHAM, 19 Matthew GARBETT, 21 Tim PAYNE (6 Bill TUILOMA 87’) – Subs not used: RGK Alexander PAULSEN, RGK Michael WOUD, 2 Winston REID, 11 Alex GREIVE, 15 Benjamin OLD, 22 Kyle ADAMS, 24 Storm ROUX – Referee: Ryuji SATO
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY TWO PREVIEW
We go into the final games of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, and every game this weekend will have a say in the title and relegation battles, in one of the closest seasons in the competition. We start in the title race, and in midweek there was a vital game at both ends of the table, with Quinns giving their relegation survival hopes a boost, and ending the title aspirations of Kwinana United after a 4-0 win in a round nine catch-up game at Kelly Park. “The lad’s performance was brilliant tonight, and deserved the win,” Quinns coach Lee Garnish explained. “We worked extremely hard, and wanted it more on the night.”
Quinns were on the front foot early, and had a couple of good chances, which they failed to take, but should have taken the lead when they were awarded a penalty, but Tom Ashworth fired over the top. But five minutes later Callum Wm made space down the flank, and cut the ball back to Ryan McCready who made no mistake. They added a second, with Guy Armstrong finishing at the back post, before Sam Vencat headed a third before the break. They sealed all the points in the second half, McCready heading home his second.
Back to this weekend’s game and league leaders East Perth welcome the 2020 league winners North Perth United, and a win at the Inglewood Stadium is vital if they are to keep their spot at the top, but with them only leading on goal difference it will be a tense day for all the teams at the top. East Perth jumped to the top of the table with a win at Kwinana last week. Colm Costello said it’s been a great season for the club, and it is better than he could have imagined, especially in their first season in the Premier Division.
“What an end to a brilliant season in the Premier, I’ve really enjoyed the campaign we have had, and to be involved in the last game of the season is brilliant,” he explained. “The squad have really grown in the second part of the season and myself Jason and Sully could not be prouder. The first year was never going to be easy in this division but we are still battling with a chance to win it.”
Costello said Sunday will be a tough game, and although North Perth haven’t had the best of seasons, they are a good side, but he knows what is at stake, and is looking forward to the challenge. “All we can do on Sunday is try and get our result correct, and that’s all, as results all year have shown in big games, league table doesn’t seem to matter. So, we just have to approach Sunday no different to any other week, and we are looking forward to the North Perth visit and have prepared well,” he said.
“As long as I am coaching, I’ve never had an easy day against them, and if we are not at our best, we will not get a result. The top five teams this year have all beaten each other, and credit must go to all the teams for making this year so competitive. It is so important this week that we play the game not the occasion. As I have said, we have probably come into this part of the title race late on, as such - but the lads have stood up in the big moments this season which we are extremely proud of. In the other games being played on Sunday, there is nothing that we can do, so this week it’s about us and what we need to do. The goal difference scenario is crazy with how close it is, it’s going to be an exciting afternoon of football at both end of the table on Sunday.
Any slip up will be pounced on by the chasing pack, and second placed Maddington White City will be looking to keep the pressure on East Perth, but face a tough game against fourth placed Kwinana United at Mills Park. Kwinana hopes have slipped from their hands after back-to-back losses, but Maddington need to win and score goals, to keep the pressure on East Perth. “We are very proud of ourselves because this is the second season in a row fighting until the end for the title,” Maddington’s Alejandro Sarria said. “We know that we have to beat Kwinana and score as many goals as possible and we also know that it will not be easy to beat them. We trained and prepared ourselves physically and mentally for this match and we know what we are capable of.”
Jaguar are also still in the race, but will need to beat Kelmscott Roos at Frye Park, and results elsewhere to go their way to take out the title. Jags coach Josam Muwowo said last week’s loss against Maddington was a great game to be involved in, but the result wasn’t what they were looking for. “The game against Maddington was an interesting match as both teams displayed some good quality football which entertained the massive crowd. However, the result didn't go in our favour as we were leading by a solo goal but after going down, we accepted the moment that was a football situation which occur in certain instances,” he explained. “We as the technical bench understood the feeling of the boys on that day and gave credit to them as they played with their lungs out in order to win but things didn't just go their way.”
Muwowo said all they can do is get a result at Kelmscott on Sunday, and hope other results are favourable to them. “This week we have now shifted our focus to the last game against Kelmscott who have been in form lately. We will do best on Sunday against a good side at their home ground. It won't be easy for us but we will try and see how we can respond to the pressure on Sunday,” he explained. “It's been a tough year for the boys especially maintaining the top spot but they still look motivated and optimistic that anything can happen in their favour at the last minute, we haven't given up until it's all done.”
Meanwhile the relegation battle is down to four, with Queens Park, Wembley Downs, Quinns and Joondalup United battling it out to stay clear of the bottom two relegation places. Quinns need a win to make them safe when they host Emerald at Gumblossom Park, and coach Lee Garnish said his players are in good form. “The lads have turned it around in the last four weeks and now starting to reap the rewards of the hard work,” he said. “Massive game on Sunday - our boys know what’s at stake. We will be hoping to continue this good run of form and take the game to Emerald. It’s now in our hands and a win for us means we don’t have to worry about other results.”
Joondalup United need to win, and hope other results go their way when they host Peel United at Beldon Park. Joondalup Coach Neil Sherwin said the turnaround of form has been great, and he knows they need a win, and that’s all he is concentrating on. “We can only control our games and over the past six weeks I’ve been delighted with how the lads have turned things around. Training has been great and we’ve taken that into games, leading to some very good results. We’ll put in one more big performance against Peel and see what happens,” he explained.
“We were 1-0 up against ten men the last time we played Peel and managed to come away with nothing. We’re in the position we’re in because of results like that, so Sunday is another opportunity for us to give a much better account of ourselves. We also took no points from Kwinana, Maddington, Jaguar, North Perth and Emerald first time round. In the second half of the season, we picked up 11 from 15 against the same sides. Another three on Sunday is the target.”
In the final game Wembley Downs welcome Queens Park to Butlers Reserve, and three points are vital. The visitors need to win by a huge margin to avoid the drop, and need results elsewhere to go their way, while Wembley need a win. A late goal by Cam Cambers last week earned Wembley a point at Peel and that point could be vital, and coach Jeff Cornez said Sunday is another huge game. “Cam’s goal was a massive goal in the moment and seeing the other results even more important. We would have loved the 3 points but it wasn’t meant to be on the day,” he explained.
“We know Sunday’s game is simply win and we’re safe. We aren’t going to think about any of the other scenarios. We have a job to do and I have faith we will get the job done. We know Queens Park aren’t going to roll over for us as they have too much pride in that club. It’s going to be a battle and we will need to play some good football to get the result we need, we’ll want to win and know what it takes, and as Ted Lasso said: ‘We are a group that cares unlike those folks at a hip hop concert whose hands are not in the air.’
ROVERS TAKE NARROW LEAD INTO PLAY-OFF SECOND LEG
Carramar Shamrock Rovers will take a narrow advantage into Saturday’s State League Inter-Divisional Promotion Playoff Final second leg against UWA Nedlands at Dorrien Gardens, after securing a 1-0 win in the first leg at Wanneroo Reserve on Tuesday evening. “Despite leaving with a 1-0 win, we felt like we should have got more out of the game given the number of chances we created for ourselves,” Rovers’ skipper Callum Trayner explained. “UWA are a fit, resilient team and we have no doubt they’ll regroup and come out firing in the second leg. We’ve worked extremely hard this season toward achieving our goal of getting the club into Division One, so we’ll be giving it absolutely everything on Saturday to earn that right.”
The only goal of the game came on the hour, Toby Robertson’s corner wasn’t cleared and the ball fell to Jake Bardsley, who finished clinically from eight meters. Both sides had chances but it was Rovers who won out narrowly. “Tough loss on Tuesday night for the boys, I felt like rovers played to their game plan and we were a bit off the pace early. Got dragged into a back-and-forth encounter which didn’t suit us, credit to Rovers who pressured us relentlessly and didn’t give us much time,” UWA’s Sam Moffatt explained. “A few days off now to focus on what we have to do better, review the tape and make some changes in order to create more opportunities. We have seen what they offer, so it’s up to the boys now to turn the deficit around and come away with the desired result. One thing for certain the boys will give it their all again Saturday.”
UWA Coach Basil Lenzo said it’s been a great season since he took over, and Saturday is a huge game, but one he is looking forward too. “Whilst Shamrock have had an excellent season, our last few months have been exceptional. The commitment, hard work and energy these players have provided since we arrived, has been absolutely exceptional,” he said. “It really has been enjoyable to watch them embrace our sessions and grow as footballers. We all knew the task when we took over as we were two games behind Quinns. We just need to focus on ourselves and continue with our exceptional work rate and play accountable football against a side who will no doubt keep us honest.”
GALLEN AIMING TO PROVIDE GLORY A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
If what you know and who you know is a recipe for success, Perth Glory assistant coach Joe Gallen has the ingredients to help drag the club from the mire of last year’s disastrous wooden spoon season.
The experienced Gallen may have stepped into the A-League unknown but he was greeted by a couple of friendly faces. He brought Ruben Zadkovich to English club Queens Park Rangers as a teenager and also played a big role in getting Andy Keogh to Millwall a decade ago.
Gallen, 49, has a playing CV that includes Watford, Exeter, Shamrock Rovers. But it is his coaching credentials - which includes spells at Exeter, Millwall, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rotherham United, Portsmouth and Leyton Orient - that are crucial rookie coach Zadkovich.
Gallen wanted a new challenge - and some sun - but admits Perth was not on his radar. “I was after a change of scenery. I was wondering where I could coach in the sunshine,” he said. “Australia wasn’t somewhere I had considered but Andy, Ruben and thinking I could coach in the sunshine was ultimately why I came to Perth.”
Gallen has already identified distinct differences between the English game and the A-League. “It’s a technical league, more possession based, playing from the back, a slower build-up,” explained the former Republic of Ireland youth international.
“In England sometimes it can feel like a war, up to 62 games a season. It’s tough going. Here it’s one game a week, 26 games a season but at the end of the day football is football. Player problems and issues are the same. It’s a people industry and what I do know is people.”
Gallen said the passion for Glory shown by Zadkovich and Keogh was a “big pull” but there were areas for improvement. “They were looking for an older head, someone who has been round a bit... that’s me these days unfortunately!” he said. “Ruben is a very good coach, very ambitious, very confident, knows what he wants.”
“There are aspects like recruitment where we can improve. Recruitment is the key driver for success. We are building a group with belief, attitude and a no excuses culture but ultimately we have to win. We don’t get paid to just turn up. We don’t get paid to enjoy it. We get paid to win.”
MACEDONIA PARK TO HOST GLORY
Perth Glory will avoid spending almost the entire A-League Men season on the road after securing Macedonia Park as a temporary home base. Glory owner Tony Sage feared last month his club would be forced to spend the first five months of the season on the road due to a big delay in the $35 million upgrade to Perth Oval.
With Perth having few rectangular venues that would meet all the requirements of an A-League Men fixture, Glory were facing the very real prospect of playing all but three games interstate. But Macedonia Park has now been approved for Glory to use, with the club to play 10 of their 13 home games there. The remaining three will be played at Perth Oval, post-March 10.
Significant temporary infrastructure improvements will be made to render Macedonia Park fit for A-League action. This includes the addition of temporary seating to build its capacity, pitch renovation, additional parking and a lighting upgrade. The WA Government has agreed to assist in implementing these improvements.
Given it will take time to put in the temporary seating, Glory's first two home games that were originally scheduled for October 29 (Central Coast) and November 13 (Brisbane) will now be played at Macedonia Park later in the season. Glory's first home game will now take place on December 10 against Western United.
The retention of the club's 13 home games is a huge relief for Glory, who have spent much of the past two seasons on the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We have been confronted by a unique set of challenges caused by circumstances completely beyond our control," Glory chief executive Anthony Radich said.
"Being informed so late in the piece of the unavailability of HBF Park for an additional six home games beyond the original four has severely delayed and thrown our season-planning into disarray. We wanted to avoid having to play 'home' fixtures on the east coast given that our members, partners and fans have been deprived of normality in terms of home games for the past two years."
Glory are set to be financially compensated by the WA State Government for the loss of income associated with having to move to a smaller venue. Macedonia Park has a current capacity of about 7000, but it's unclear what the capacity will be once the temporary seating is included. Pre-COVID, Glory were averaging crowds of between 8000-9000 at Perth Oval.
GLORY FIND A NEW HOME
Perth Glory have confirmed that the club will play ten of their thirteen home games of the 2022/23 Isuzu Ute A-League Season at Macedonia Park, the home of NPLMWA side Stirling Macedonia. It’s a relief for many Glory supporters, who thought they wouldn’t see any home games this season, after the club were forced to relocate to a temporary home due to the ongoing and delayed stadium renovations at HBF Park, but they will return to that venue for three regular-season home fixtures beginning on March 10th.
“We have been confronted by a unique set of challenges caused by circumstances completely beyond our control,” Glory CEO Anthony Radich told the clubs website. “Being informed so late in the piece of the unavailability of HBF Park for an additional six home games beyond the original four has severely delayed and thrown our season-planning into disarray. Our members and fans were our primary consideration throughout the decision-making process and there is no perfect outcome. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that our members, partners and fans are able to attend games at a venue which is of a rectangular orientation and fit for football.
“As well as needing a rectangular venue, we wanted to avoid having to play “home” fixtures on the east coast given that our members, partners and fans have been deprived of normality in terms of home games for the past two years. Obviously, there are major financial implications for our club and we are discussing with the State Government potential compensation for loss of access to HBF Park. We’re pleased to say the State Government is looking to provide significant financial support, match day/event and temporary infrastructure support to enable us to host home matches at Macedonia Park.”
A-Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke, was quick to explain the importance of Glory not being forced to relocate home games yet again. “The impact of this construction delay is considerable on Perth Glory, its members, sponsors and corporate partners,” he said. “It was vital to ensure they were able play in their home city.” The news was also warmly welcomed by Stirling Macedonia Football Club President, Luke Pavlos, whose side finished third in their first season back in the NPL since 2019.
“Macedonia Park was used by the Perth Kangaroos who were the forerunners to Perth Glory in the early 1990s,” he said, “and the club was, of course, created by two Stirling residents in Nick Tana and Paul Afkos. So, the fact that they will be playing at Macedonia Park in the City of Stirling creates a real sense of nostalgia. We are looking forward to working with Perth Glory, Venues West and the City of Stirling to deliver an experience that will be second to none and bring back some of those early-days memories when other teams feared the trip to Perth due to the atmosphere created by the home fans.”
City of Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin is similarly enthused at the prospect of Glory A-League Men’s fixtures being played at Macedonia Park. “Hosting these games will make a significant economic impact in the City of Stirling,” he said. “It will create a lasting legacy and an incredible opportunity for local residents to have this quality of sport in their neighbourhood. The city is eager to work with the organisers, clubs and broader community to ensure these games are a great success.”
Significant temporary infrastructure improvements will be made to render Macedonia Park fit for A-League football, including the addition of temporary seating to build its capacity, pitch renovation, additional parking and a temporary lighting upgrade and the State Government has agreed to assist in implementing these improvements. This work, however, will take time to complete and as a result, Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has had to amend the club’s season fixtures.
The original first two home games of the ISUZU UTE A-League Men’s campaign, v Central Coast Mariners on Sunday 23 October and v Brisbane Roar on Sunday 13 November, will be rescheduled at Macedonia Park for later in the season, thereby ensuring that the club retains its 13 scheduled home fixtures. The first home game will now take place on Saturday 10 December at 7.30pm WST against Western United. The game against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday 23 October will be reversed and played instead at Central Coast Stadium, while details regarding the new scheduling of the Sunday 13 November meeting with Brisbane Roar are to be confirmed.
Fixtures update inclusive of revised dates and kick-off times is expected in the coming days, but the capacity will be limited. “Macedonia Park is an historic football venue,” added Radich, “and we look forward to making it our home. We are confident that the infrastructure improvements will create an atmospheric boutique venue with a strong community football feel. We will endeavour to create the best possible fan experience, turning the venue purple each week and giving our team the best possible chance to be successful this season.
“We would like to sincerely thank Stirling Macedonia Football Club and the City of Stirling for their support and acknowledge the similarly proactive approach of Australian Professional Leagues (APL) who have been steadfast in their support, helping us to strongly argue our case for a venue fit for football and to be appropriately compensated for our loss. I understand that this has been a very distressing and difficult time for all our members and fans and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their great patience and understanding. We are greatly appreciative of their unwavering faith and incredible loyalty.”
WA STATE TEAM LOOKING FOR MORE GLORY
The Gold Fields WA State Men's Team will take on Perth Glory on Sunday afternoon, in the 2022 Gold Fields Challenge Cup game at Kingsway Reserve. (3.00pm) The Glory will take a strong team into this one, as they prepare for their kick off to the Isuzu Ute A-League season in three weeks’ time, while WA coach Cris Ola has selected a strong squad to take them on. “This year’s Gold Fields State Team has only five players continuing from last year, with players invited from clubs in the NPL,” he explained. “A number of players were unfortunately unavailable (including top scorer Daryl Nicol), but Ferando Barreiro (Assistant Coach), Michele Mestieri (keeper Coach) and myself are happy with the final squad and also how the short-term prep (3 sessions) went. We hope to give Glory a good competitive challenge in which the Gold Field State Team players to prove their selection and confirming once more the good standard of this year’s NPLM competition. Hope also for a good crowd to attend and enjoy this year’s Challenge Cup.
Sunday's entry fee is with a gold coin donation, which will go to assist former NPLWA - Men's Golden Boot winner Danny Hodgson in his ongoing recovery. WA team manager Alex Novatsis said it’s always an honour to represent your state, and the side will be looking for a repeat of last season’s 1-0 win. “These are great occasions and players from the NPLWA - Men's competition look forward to this game as they get the chance to represent the state and test themselves against A-League opposition,” he told the Football West website. "WA won last year's game 1-0, so we know the Glory lads will not want to be beaten again. Football West would like to thank the NPL clubs for their assistance and of course the players and coaches, plus Glory. We also acknowledge Gold Fields as the name sponsor of all of the Football West State teams."
The squad was selected from players being invited by Football West, unfortunately players from Armadale, Inglewood United, Cockburn City and Gwelup Croatia were not. Ruben Zadkovich’s Glory side will be out to reclaim the Challenge Cup after Kristian Santich’s late goal clinched victory for the State Team at Percy Doyle Reserve last year. They are unbeaten in pre-season this far, having picked wins against Perth SC and Gold Coast Knights and drawn with Inglewood United and Central Coast Mariners.
The Gold Fields WA State Men's squad: GK Luke Radonich (Perth SC), GK Jason Saldaris (Floreat Athena), Jonathan Corness (Balcatta Etna), Jack Leech (Balcatta Etna), Steve Hesketh (Bayswater City), Ndumba Makeche (Bayswater City), Kosta Sparta (Bayswater City), Abdul Osman (Armadale), Nick Ambrogio (Floreat Athena), Bailey Brown-Montgomery (Floreat Athena), Jesse Fuller (Floreat Athena), Robert Petkov (Floreat Athena), Ryan Finnie (Perth RedStar), Blair Govan (Perth RedStar), Declan Hughes (Perth RedStar), Federico Achilli (Perth SC), Hasani Sinclair (Perth SC), Ollie Annis (Sorrento), Hristijan Jankuloski (Stirling Macedonia), Calvin Whitney (Stirling Macedonia)
FOOTBALLWA.NET - TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD TODAY!
It was on this day, twenty-five years ago when footballwa.net was born.
Originally known as the "The Western Australian Soccer Site", it was first uploaded on Saturday 20th September in 1997. On this same day, Floreat Athena won the Premier League championship in the last round of the season after defeating Stirling Macedonia 3-0, while Southside United (now Gosnells City) would later claim the Division One title. Floreat Athena would also go on to win the State Cup, while Shamrock Rovers would win the Amateur Premier Division title.
Founded by Jacob Aufdemkampe, the website has continually evolved over the years to become established as the prime source of news, information and historical data on grassroots football in WA.
Picking up on the lack of publicity afforded to the local game, Aufdemkampe set-up the website with the expressed aim of raising the profile of football in WA. Through word of mouth alone the local community embraced the website to the extent it is now the most comprehensive single source of online information on the game available.
In early 2000 the website 'staff' was doubled with the addition of Brett Klucznik whose priority has been the compilation of the weekly news updates and the provision of photographs and soon after the name of the site changed to soccerwa.com. Then in 2003, Peter Simcox came on board as the website broadened it's coverage of our game in the state. In 2005, in line with the new governing body and associations across Australia, we changed our name to footballwa.net, which is what it is currently known. Websites of today have changed since we first went online, but we don't pretend to be fancy. We keep our website as simple as possible and easy to read articles without having to click on separate links, and to find results and tables with ease.
There have been many changes in local football in the past twenty-five years since we first started. Back in 1997 the state had several associations running different aspects of the game, it wasn't until the formation of Football West in 2005 when the code was "united" under one administration body. We have seen our top flight competition change over the years, not only in name but also in the number of teams involved in it. We have seen seven different clubs crowned champions of Western Australia during that time, with Perth SC winning on ten occasions over the last quarter of a century. Our very own Perth Glory have been champions of Australia twice, have made six Grand Finals (hosted four of them) and finished top of the league four times.
Also, a special mention to our sponsors over the years. Even though we run as volunteers, any sponsorship helps with costs to keep us online. Our current sponsors are Prosperity Strata Management and Macron Sports Hub Perth, thank you to Louis Prospero and John O'Reilly respectively for your support. SDLeisure Gloves are also set to come on board soon, thank you. If any other businesses would like to sponsor the website, please get in touch with us.
On behalf of Jacob, Peter and Brett, we would like to thank all our contributors over the years, including coaches, players, administrators and others. While there are too many to thank, we wouldn't be where we are today without your help. Finally to our loyal readers, we hope you enjoyed our first twenty-five years and hopefully we will be around for a bit longer yet!
IPSWICH'S BURGESS TO UNDERGO SURGERY
Ipswich Town will be without defender Cameron Burgess for a spell after it was confirmed he requires surgery on a facial injury suffered against Bristol Rovers last week. The 26-year old has made seven appearances for the Tractor Boys this season, including the home win over Bristol when he was forced off in the second half.
Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna said it’s currently unclear how long Burgess will be out of action. “He’s been to hospital and has seen a specialist,” McKenna said. “He has some fractures around his cheek area, around his nose as well, so will need surgery next week.”
“He has a lot of swelling at the moment so we’ll need to wait for that to go down. Then we’ll see what the timetable is for him returning to play... It’s a shame for him on a personal level because he was probably playing the best football of his career and was on an upwards trajectory, but he’ll come back strong again.”
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY ONE REVIEW
We have a new leader at the top of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, with East Perth jumping from third to top on goal difference, after a 4-2 win against Kwinana United in our ‘Match of the Round’ at Kelly Park. “I thought it was an absolute cracker of a game, both teams just went for it and a brilliant showcase for amateur football,” East Perth coach Colm Costello explained. “Mark (Purvis) is a brilliant coach, and we knew we would have to be relentless in every part of our play and we really stood up to the challenge.”
It was the hosts who found the opener on 17 minutes, referee Liam Howgate awarding a penalty, but Wayne Carter saw his spot kick saved by Jamie Serra, but Josh Mackinder was quickest to the rebound to fire home. But East Perth levelled three minutes later, a short corner from Deane McFeeley found full back Niall Murray who rifled the ball into the top corner with a goal of the season contender. But Kwinana, who were still in the title race, regained the lead just after the half hour, Mustafa Mkanza firing home from distance, for his contender of goal of the season.
But the visitors restored parity six minutes from half time, Thierry Berard in swinging corner finding the net. The opening to the second half was frantic, with chances at both ends, but both keepers, Serra and Ellis Roberts making some fine saves to keep the scores level. But on the hour East Perth hit the front for the first time, Kyle Loftus made space down the right, before finding Mehdi Rabei Gholami, who was brought down, and the referee again pointed to the spot, but this time Murray made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
The visitors went close to a fourth moments later, Ryan Frankcom slid the ball to Liam Hunt, whose shot on the turn crashed off the crossbar. Kwinana pressed for the equaliser, but were unable to find it, and seven minutes from time it was East Perth who sealed the points and top spot. Nicky Carroll’s perfectly weighted pass found Liam McManus whose first time shot flew into the net. “Overall brilliant performance from the lads, our subs have made such an impact the last few weeks and have changed games which is pleasing,” Costello added. “Another one down and now another cup final against North Perth United next week and we are expecting another huge battle with them, it's never an easy game.”
A ten-man Jaguar slipped to third after a 2-1 loss against Maddington White City at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre, who are in second place only by one goal behind East Perth. “We knew that Jags are one of the most difficult teams to beat in the league, and we found ourselves 1-0 down in the first half,” City’s Alejandro Sarria explained. “The second half was different we knew that if we had lost or drawn, we were out of competition for the title, and we started playing our football with ball on the ground, moving jags side to side to open up spaces, and we managed to score two to take the points.”
It was Jags who dominated in the first half, and their performance was rewarded with the opener, with Magai Deng firing home. But early in the second half the hosts were reduced to ten men, after Akuei Guot was shown a second yellow card by referee David Bruce, and sent off. Maddington pounced on the extra man advantage and they levelled when Jose Zuniga’s pass found Farruh Mavlonov, who cut the ball back to Samir Ramos, who made no maitake from close-range, much to the delight of the travelling supports.
The visitors were on top, and roared on by the large travelling contingent, they found the winner late, skipper Cesar Orozco in the right place at the right time to fire home. Jags pressed late looking for the equaliser, but Maddington held firm to seal the win, and keep their title hopes alive. “Now we are focused on the Kwinana game, who are one of the best teams of the league,” Sarria added. “We haven’t won anything yet and we know that we have to score as many goals as possible to become champions. We are proud of what we have achieved this season but this is not over yet.”
At the end of the table, Quinns moved off the bottom of the table, after two late goals gave them a come from behind 3-2 win against North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. “We took the lead, and were wasteful and had chances to but the game to bed,” Quinns coach lee Garnish explained. “We then found ourselves behind, but the lads found another gear and scored two late goals to win it. The boys have played well in recent weeks against Jags and Kwinana and yesterday felt we finally got a little luck our way.” The visitors found the opener on the half hour, good work from Leyton Hunt to win the ball in middle of the park, before getting the ball the ball out wide to Guy Armstrong who crossed to Ryan McCready, who made no mistake. They had chances to add more, but they were wasteful in front of goal.
But the host were level nine minutes into the second half, Raido Reinsalu scoring. North Perth then hit the front 20 minutes from time, Darby Gaffney on target, and it looked like Quinns would leave empty handed. Then with nothing to lose, Quinns found another gear, and were awarded a penalty in the final minute, and Tom Ashworth slotted home. Then in stoppage time, Quinns won it. Danny Head’s flick from a corner found McCready who headed home from close range to seal a vital three points.
They were replaced at the bottom of the table by Queens Park, who were thrashed 6-1 by local rivals Kelmscott Roos at Coker Park. “What a win, it’s really nice to finally find ourselves on the right end of games like these. The boys played some really nice football at times and got some really good rewards for it,” keeper Taylor Warwick explained. “One really nice thing that came out of the game was our coach Richard Changadzo handed a debut to 17-year-old Kayne Holroyd. Kayne has been the most consistent player for our reserves all season and he got his reward by coming on in the last minutes and even grabbed himself an assist which is pleasing to see. We’ve got one more game and are eyeing a finish in the top four providing we beat Jags and other results go our way.”
The visitors found the opener early, Brodie McCrae’s shot was well saved, but the rebound fell to Alex Ekeze who made no mistake. It was 2-0 on six minutes, a corner swung In by Ishmael Greywood, was flicked on Ekeze found Jacob Meggs at the back post who finished well. Queens Park pulled one back moments later, a long ball over the top found Alexander Fazekas, who scored via the post. But Kelmscott restored their two-goal advantage on the half hour, skipper Callum Husain cross was fumbled by the keeper and Ekeze finished smartly.
It was 4-1 on the hour, Greywood’s cross, to the edge of the box, found Benn Lewis who smashed home a first-time volley into the bottom corner. It 5-1 16 minutes from time, Greywood skipped past two defenders down the right, and played an inch perfect ball across the face of goal for Lemeo Wordu to tap in. They wrapped up the scoring late, debutant Holroyd played an inch perfect through ball to Ekeze, who finished clinically to complete his hat trick.
Joondalup United continued their recent good run of results, after a 2-1 win against Emerald at Fraser Park Reserve. "It's another huge win for us and the difference was simply a team wanting it more. We weren't very good in the first half, Emerald played well and deserved their lead, but we sorted a few things out at half time and were the better side after that,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained. “We've had a tough run of fixtures but conceding only five goals in six games has helped us pick up points and take things to the final game. Next week is set up to be very exciting at both ends of the table and shows the quality throughout the league."
It was the hosts who opened the scoring on the half hour, Shane Young bagging his first goal of the season. But Joondalup turned things around in the second half and equalised just after the hour mark. Niall McGurk got free down the right and his pin point cross was headed home by Andreas Bouzinekis. Then with ten minutes remaining, Jack Walsh's long ball went through the middle of the Emerald defence and Adam Taylor was on hand to lob the goalkeeper from 25-yards for the game winner.
In the final game Peel United and Wembley Downs have fought out a 2-2 draw at Bortolo Reserve. “The game was a perfect summary of our season. A lead given up, a wonder strike, a crazy own goal, an end of game goal and another performance we probably deserved more from,” Wembley player/coach Jeff Cornez explained. “We had an opportunity to be safe from the drop, but credit to Peel who didn’t make it easy although we did have several chances to put the game away early in the first half. We now wait for the midweek Quinns result to see if our game against Queens Park has any significance. Regardless we will want to put in a good performance for our last game of the season at home where we have struggled to pick up points.”
Both teams needed the three points to make sure of avoiding the relegation battle, and it was the visitors who opened the scoring on 14 minutes, a well worked ball down the right saw Harry Browne hit a low cross that was turned in by Peel defender Scott Bradley at the front post. But in the final minute of the first half, Peel levelled, with Faris Noor Rani. The hosts hit the front just after the hour, with Wembley’s David Marshall scoring into his own net. It looked like Peel would take the three points, but two minutes from time Wembley found the equaliser, a set piece from Kyle Thistlethwaite was headed home by Cam Chambers.
STATE LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS SEMI-FINAL REVIEW
UWA Nedlands and Carramar Shamrock Rovers will meet in the State League Inter-Divisional Promotion Playoff Final after both secured wins in Saturday’s semi-final second legs. First UWA, hopes of staying in Division One, are still alive after a 2-1 win against Kingsley Westside at the UWA Sports Park, to run out 3-2 winners on aggregate.
“An absolute battle against a very physical side who played a very direct game,” UWA coach Basil Lenzo explained. “We had a plan and we just kept working towards it and it was great to get the result, and I thought our back five were outstanding and held the onslaught of long direct balls and set pieces. If we only had a bit more time, I know that these boys would have got us out of the relegation battle. The senior players have rallied around the younger players and have really worked so well as a side. It was never an easy task and even less easy with little time however regardless of age, they all have been 100% in it. That’s all we asked for and they have all embraced it. We couldn’t have asked for anything more from the group.”
It was UWA who made the break through on 26 minutes, Luke Randazzo and Sam Moffatt combined on the edge of the box to find Alfred Moore, who skipped past his marker before finding the bottom corner of the net. But three minutes later Kingsley levelled, Josh Waldock firing home from six meters, and it was game on. But early in the second half UWA found the winner. Ilya Nebylytsya had an effort well saved by UWA keeper Rocco Liberti at one end, and a quick break ended with Moore on the left and he found Emerson Alexis, whose shot went in via the bar.
“Kingsley were an incredibly physical and tough challenge, and I don’t think I’ve played in a game with that many yellow cards for a long time,” UWA skipper Luke Randazzo said. “We started strongly and had the game on our terms, but to their credit they wrestled it back and it was a tight contest throughout. Pleased to get a result and give ourselves a fighting chance to stay up in this division, a big final week to come.”
In the other Semi-Final, Carramar Shamrock Rovers also beat Swan United 3-2 on aggregate, after a 2-1 win at Garndis Park. “Another tough game and we're delighted we have progressed through to the final. Swan started brightly and our keeper, Dan Holgate, had to be at his best to prevent Swan taking the lead. After that initial ten-minute burst from Swan, our boys settled into the game and we started doing the things I felt we needed to do well for us to win the game,” Rovers’ coach Gerry McEwan explained. “When we scored, the momentum was definitely with us and I think we were in control of most aspects of the game, although we always knew Swan had players who could hurt us if we gave them the chance.
"Second half we had to deal with a few injuries, but credit to our substitutes for the impact they had on the game, with special mention of young Griffin Sture, only 16 years old and has made a vital contribution in both legs of this tie. As Swan made some tactical changes near the end to try to get an equaliser, we caught them square at the back scored. Swan did pull a goal back in added time, then we played another two nervy minutes, but we successfully kept Swan away from our goal. I think the crowd would have enjoyed an entertaining game with both sides giving everything and credit to Swan for the sporting manner in which they accepted defeat after such a great battle. We now look forward to the challenge of UWA.”
The hosts found the opener on 27 minutes, Jack Bardsley made space down the left, and his deep cross found Alan Reidy at the back post, and his header looped over Swan keeper Nick Stone. Swan lifted the tempo in the second half and created a number of chances, but they couldn’t convert. But after soaking up all the Swan pressure, it was Rovers who doubled their lead on 83 minutes. A flick on was misjudged by Swan defender Chris Marshall, and Reidy raced in on goal, and finished clinically past Stone, much to the delight of the home faithful. Swan did pull one back in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Ben Greaves cross from the left was headed home by Brennan Borzecki, but it was too little too late and it was Rovers running out winner. “A great win and fully deserved,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “They were probably the better team on Tuesday night but we were definitely the better team on Saturday. The boys all put in a lot of effort and we look forward to UWA next week, a massive game for us and the club.”
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY ONE PREVIEW
It’s the penultimate week in the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division with four teams still in the mix for the title and promotion to State League football, and all meet each other this weekend, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Kelly Park as fourth placed Kwinana United host third placed East Perth. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless otherwise stated) Both sides are coming off wins last week, East Perth beating leaders Jaguar, while Kwinana came home from Quinns with the points, so three points in this one is massive for both sides.
First, we had Amateur Cup Semi-Final action in midweek, with Division One side South Perth United, upsetting Premier Division Maddington White City 3-0 at E&D Litis Stadium on Wednesday evening, to join Joondanna Blues, who reached the final last week with a 1-0 win against Maccabi. South Perth began on the front foot from the first whistle however they were unable to turn possession into goals in the first half. But second half they made an instant breakthrough, almost from kick off, Jack Dalla Via scored a great goal from distance.
Luke Pedley made it 2-0 from a corner on the hour, before his defensive partner Mason Langham made it 3-0 on the ten minutes later to seal the tie. They finished the game with ten men after George Stevens was sent off by referee Walter Ciotti for an off the ball incident. “I thought the boys battled hard from the first whistle and we didn’t allow Maddington to play,” South Perth coach Lee Haywood said. “I felt we were always in control even when we were down to ten men for the last ten minutes.”
Back to league action and East Perth bounced back from defeat against Kelmscott in round 19, with a huge win against Jags, and David Long said it was a squad effort on the day. “Yes, it was great to get the win, create plenty of chances and get the clean sheet. I never look forward to playing Jags as they are a very dangerous team and can cause you a lot of problems,” he explained. “It probably wasn’t the best game of football, but the boys knew we would be up for a battle on the pitch and that’s exactly what it was.
“We knew we would have to bring the game to them, with high intensity pressing, giving them no time on the ball, forcing them in to making mistakes and being first to every second ball. The win was down to a squad effort, not only the 11 that started the game but the boys that came on to drive the game home and it showed as we didn’t stop until the final whistle. To come away from the game with a clean sheet as well was great, we haven’t conceded too many goals on our home pitch which is exactly what you want as well.”
Long said the players and coaching staff have been outstanding this season, especially with the club being in the Premier Division for the first time. “It’s been a great season so far, especially winning the night series in our first year. If you had of said to us at the start of the season that we would be still in the title race with two games to go we would have been more than happy,” the defender explained. “I feel that as we had a lot of new players come down to the club this year, myself included, that this season was about coming together and getting everyone use to playing together.
“Building the team especially since it was the clubs first year in the premier division. But Colm, Jason and Sully have pushed us each week to get better, the boys have worked hard in training, battled on the pitch and got the results to put us in the position we are in. So yes, it’s been a great year so far, we have achieved more than what we set out to do but we’re not done yet. To be in the running with two games to go why not have a crack.”
The central defender, who joined the club from Quinns this season, said the league has been the best since he has been playing in it, and to go into the final two games, starting at Kwinana, and four sides can still win the league shows that. “This has been the most competitive season that I’ve ever played in the Premier Division. There haven’t been any easy games as some people might say,” Long said.
“They (Kwinana) are a good side, so I expect it to be another great game at their place this weekend and with both teams going for the title, everything is on the line. Last week’s win against Jags will mean nothing if we don’t show up this weekend. If the boys bring that work rate and intensity into this week then we are definitely in with a fighting chance of getting the win.”
Kwinana’s Jake Fallows said they had to work hard for the win at Quinns, but they were sloppy in the first half and went in one down, and that was disappointing. “Hard fought it was, but we were really disappointed with our first half showing, we need to be better than that,” he explained. “The work rate and desire, wasn’t there at all, but we managed to get the three points with a better second half where both teams could have scored a few more to be fair, but we’ll take the three points and move on.”
Kwinana have been there or there about the last few seasons, and Fallows said they have three massive games ahead of them, starting against East Perth on Sunday. “It’s been challenging and a lot of rotation, but we have put ourselves in the mix for the title,” the central midfielder explained. “To be fair we are in with a slim chance, so we will take these next three games one at a time and see if we can finally win this league which we have just fell short of over the last few seasons.
“This weekend is massive for the league, with Maddington and Jaguars also playing each other, and that adds to the exciting finish we have. East Perth will be full of confidence after their win last week against Jaguars but it’s up to us to get the result and catch them up in the league. We roll on this weekend couldn’t ask for a better finish with a few great sides wanting that State League position.
The other vital clash is at Herb Graham Recreation Centre, where Jaguar host Maddington White City, as the top two sides play off. The Jags had their five-point lead at the top cut to just two after a 3-0 loss at East Perth last week, with Maddington beating Kelmscott 3-2, and Jags keeper Michael Dudek said they had chances early, but failed to capitalize on them. “Yes, it was a disappointing result on the weekend, but unfortunately we were unable to finish our chances early, and then conceded from a mistake in the first half,” he explained. “After that it was hard for us to get back into it, and full credit to East Perth for a deserved three points.”
Dudek said the end of the season couldn’t have been scripted better by Football West, with four teams looking for the title. “It's going to be a huge finish to the season and will likely be decided by how the results go this week,” the keeper said. “It's by far the most important game of our season, and we need to be up for it. But when it comes down to the fine margins of one game, I think our coach is right when he says 'It's in God's hands now'. So, let's pray that he supports Jaguar.”
In other games this weekend bottom of the table Quinns will look for three points when they travel to Woodville Reserve to take on North Perth United (1.00pm), who have faltered in recent weeks, while Joondalup United will hope to back up from last week’s big win against North Perth, when they take on Emerald at Fraser Park Reserve. (1.00pm) Meanwhile, Queens Park who beat Peel last week to move three points clear of the drop zone, welcome local rivals Kelmscott Roos to Coker Park, while Wembley Downs, who are not out of danger yet, make the trip to Bortolo Reserve to meet Peel United.
STATE LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW
The 2022 State League Inter-Divisional Promotion Playoffs are evenly balanced heading into the second leg on Saturday afternoon. The first legs took place in midweek, and in the opener on Tuesday evening, Swan United hosted Carramar Shamrock Rovers at Wotton Reserve, and they fought out a 2-2 draw. “In what is a farcical situation, we were forced to play our home game at a neutral venue, but despite this I thought we played the better football on the night and I was pleased with many aspects of our performance,” Swan coach Dan Evans explained.
“However, you can’t write off a team like Shamrock and we knew that they would capitalize on any errors made. Credit to them they battled all game and their 94th minute equaliser now means they have two away goals. So, the situation is simple for us, we go to Carramar on Saturday basically needing to get all three points. It certainly won’t be easy but playoff games aren’t easy. Even so, I’m confident we can go there, create enough and do what we need to do.”
It was the visitors who found the opener on eight minutes, Jack Bardsley put a dangerous cross in from the left, right across the face of goal for Alan Reidy to tap in at the back post. But Swan levelled minutes later, skipper Chris Marshall’s ball over the top found Alex Young who rounded the keeper and finished well. Swan hit the front on 74 minutes, Liam Merigan quick free kick put Michael Maratea through who crossed to the back post where John Monterosso headed home. Rovers were then reduced to ten men with Seamus Edwards shown a second yellow card by referee Albert Muyembe and sent off. But with the last kick of the game Rovers found the equaliser, Jack Bardsley scoring from a cross from Ger Fitzgerald, and it’s all to play for in the second leg on Saturday at Grandis Park.
Swan’s John Monterosso said the draw sets up a great game on Saturday. “It was a good performance overall but disappointed to concede so late but that’s football and u can’t let up,” he explained. “We go into the second game with a valuable lesson learnt.” Rovers’ Tom Forbes agrees. “Ultimately, we are disappointed with the result. Swan’s goals should have been avoided and our discipline in the latter stages of the game let us down,” he said. “The importance of these games cannot be understated and we owe it to everyone involved at the club to return next season in the first division.”
Rovers’ coach Gerry McEwan said it was a battling draw, but he knows they need to be better on Saturday to get the right result. “A tough game, with probably both teams feeling they could have prevented all four goals scored,” he explained. “I thought we edged the first half and should have gone in ahead, but Swan was definitely the better side in the second half and I'm sure they're frustrated at not having a lead going into the send leg. I know we can play better than what we offered last night and we'll need to if we are to progress in this tie.”
Then on Wednesday evening a late goal from Toby Robertson earned UWA Nedlands a 1-1 draw against Kingsley Westside at Chichester Park. “As expected, a very tough playoff game, but I felt we were in control until we scored,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “After we scored thought we sat back to much and UWA got on top for a while, but overall happy with the game all about our recovery now to make sure we are ready for Saturday away leg.”
It was a tight affair with chances at both ends in the first half, but it was the hosts who found the opener eight minutes into the second half. UWA failed to clear a long throw with the ball finding Luke Doyle, who made no mistake, calmly passing the ball into the net. It looked like that goal would be enough, but six minutes from time Robertson found the equaliser. Both second legs kick off at 3.00pm on Saturday, Carramar Shamrock Rover hosting Swan Untied at Grandis Park, while UWA Nedlands welcome Kingsley Westside to the UWA Sports Park.
“This period of games is always going to be tough. We’ve come a long way over the past few months and now we have to take each game as it comes,” UWA’s Sam Moffatt said. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and only want to focus on each game as it comes. The pressure on these games has risen and credit to the boys for continuing to battle last night and we were able to come away with a draw and an important away goal. We turn to Saturday with a lot of excitement and a lot to learn from yesterday’s game.”
ARMADALE YOUNGSTER HEADS TO DUBAI
Armadale youngster Tarek Atta impressed in his stint at Alfred Skeet Reserve, helping the club to the Australia Cup round of 32 and the State League Cup Final, and he has headed overseas, after signing a deal at newly promoted Fleetwood United in Dubai, the club recently winning promotion to the UAE Second Division following a sensational play-off victory against Sport Support last weekend. Armadale Head Coach John O’Reilly wished him all the best. “Tarek came in late in pre-season, but was a big contributor to our squad, and scored some important goals for us,” he said. “From everyone at the club we wish him all the best in Dubai.”
Atta, who played at Forrestfield United in 2021, before heading to the Reds, said the opportunity to play overseas is a huge challenge, but one he is looking forward too. “I’m really excited for the opportunities that are available in a city that has many ex and current top professional players around and watching,” he explained. “It’s just the beginning for me though, so its head down and focused now. The move came about from my interest to play abroad and get experience outside of Perth in my football career, and after my agent alerted me about the opportunity, I jumped at the chance.”
The Dubai based sister club of UK side Fleetwood Town, will now play fellow promotion winners Gulf United on Friday evening for the Championship trophy. It’s an incredible feat for the club who are in their first ever season after being founded less than a year ago by Town chairman Andy Pilley, who had flown over to Dubai with CEO Steve Curwood to witness the promotion first hand. Goals from Samuel Njangui and Malick Ndiaye sealed a 2-1 win on the night and a 4-2 aggregate victory in the end-of-season play-offs after the side topped Group B of the UAE Third Division.
They will now face Gulf United, managed by former Newcastle United and Wellington Phoenix skipper Steven Taylor, on Friday evening to compete for the league title. Atta said he is looking forward to his first game for the club next month, but he thanks Armadale for the opportunity last season. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to have played at Armadale last season, which was my first season in NPL men’s football,” he said. “It was a great season, spent with highly experienced players and coaches that helped develop my game significantly. To make it to the round of 32 in the Australia Cup and reach the State League Cup Final was a highlight of the season. I wish the club all the best in the future and I’m confident they will be a strong contender in the NPL next season.”
GLORY ADD TUNISIAN WINGER
Perth Glory have bolstered their attacking options, by signing Tunisian winger Salim Khelifi on a one-year deal (subject to international clearance). The 28-year-old brings a wealth of European experience having made nearly 200 combined appearances across the Swiss Super League and German Bundesliga 2 and also featured in the Europa League. He has also represented Switzerland at every level from Under-16 to Under-21, before he declared for Tunisia in 2019 and won his first senior cap that year. He spent the last four years with reigning Swiss champions FC Zurich, but he is looking forward to embarking upon a new stage in his football journey down under.
“My thinking behind this move is that I had come to a point in my career where I needed a new challenge and a new adventure,” he told the Glory website. “The A-League is something that I was very interested in and I think that this move to Perth Glory will be good for my career. I want to start something new, win as many games as possible and help the club get back to where it belongs. “Personally, my aim is to play as much as possible, score goals, deliver assists and help the team get stronger.
“I have been following the A-League because my friend Leo Lacroix is at Western United, and we played together in the Switzerland Under-21 team. I know that it is a very competitive league with a lot of technical and physical quality. I have only heard good things about Australia, I’m very excited to have signed for such a great club and I can’t wait to meet the team.”
Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich is confident that Khelifi can make a major impact in the A-League this year. “Salim is a very welcome addition to the squad,” he said. “He will bring another attacking dimension to our structures, possesses very good close control and has the ability to take on his direct opponent and open up the game very quickly. “His character references are very strong which is important to us and his experience in Europe will only benefit those younger players in our squad. We are really excited to have him joining our team.”
Born in the Swiss town of Winterthur, Khelifi made his senior debut for Lausanne-Sport and chalked up more than 70 appearances in the Swiss top flight before completing a move to German side Eintracht Braunschweig. He went on to play more than 80 league games for Braunschweig, scoring 11 goals and claiming 12 assists and this impressive form persuaded FC Zurich to bring him back to Switzerland in 2018. During his time with Zurich, he played seven times in the Europa League and opened his account in the competition in a Group Stage win over AEK Larnaca.
At international level, meanwhile, Khelifi progressed through the age ranks for Switzerland before opting to represent Tunisia, and he made his debut in a 2019 friendly victory over Mauritania. Glory Head of Recruitment, Andy Keogh believes that Khelifi has the potential to become a key figure in the 2022/23 campaign. “This is a great signing for the club as Salim has a lot of quality and experience at elite levels,” he said. “We’re delighted that he has decided to join us on our journey of making this club competitive again and the Members and fans proud of us on and off the pitch.”
GLORY WOMEN FINALLY GET HOMECOMING
Perth Glory Women finally get an A-League homecoming after spending last year on the road - and the chance to put last season’s heartbreak of narrowly missing out on finals behind them. The A-League club are in discussions to base themselves at Macedonia Park this season, with the venue needing temporary stands and extra lighting to meet the league standards.
Last season’s women’s campaign was ravaged by COVID-19 restrictions with Glory Women playing just one match at home, but they finally get to return to Macedonia Park in the second round in November. Their only home game last year was the dramatic 2-1 come from behind win over Brisbane Roar before they moved to the Eastern States.
Coach Alex Epakis said the side would be relieved to play in front of a home crowd after missing out on last season’s finals only on goal difference. “I know the players are going to certainly lift when they have the opportunity to play in front of our members and supporters,” Epakis said.
“Our last memory at Macedonia Park is a special one. We have got an opportunity each week to test ourselves against strong opposition teams while showcasing our strengths and style. We will take each week in our stride and prepare ourselves as best as possible to compete with confidence.”
Captain Natasha Rigby believes the side can go one step further to the finals this season. “Having to play all our games away last season brought us really close together,” she said. “We have a lot of trust within the group. We’ve definitely recruited really strong and built up a solid base from last year.”
“We just really want to build on the foundations we’ve laid over the last few years. We’ve got a solid and strong squad and being able to bring in extra players to add to that is awesome.” Glory Women’s 2022/23 campaign opens on Saturday 19 November away to Canberra United before the first home clash with Adelaide United.
OLDFIELD EXITS WEYMOUTH BY MUTUAL CONSENT
David Oldfield has departed National League South club Weymouth by mutual consent. The Perth-born 54-year old’s game at the helm proved to be the mid-week 2-1 loss at Bath City, their sixth in eight games this season.
Oldfield came to Weymouth with a glowing reputation having guided Oxford City to a play-off position in the National League South. He joined Weymouth in January but managed only two wins from 31 games as he battled to reverse plummeting form in the National League last season.
After relegation, he then oversaw Weymouth’s worst start to a league season in their 132-year history, losing the first five games this term. The developments come ahead of an FA Cup second qualifying round clash at Winchester City, with much-needed prize money on offer for the financially-troubled Terras.
GLORY BEAT KNIGHTS IN PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY
Perth Glory continued their build-up to the new A-League season with a 4-0 win against NPL Queensland club Gold Coast Knights in Wednesday’s pre-season friendly clash at the Croatian Sporting Complex in Carrara. Second half goals from Ryan Williams, Ben Azubel, Matt Hatch and Adam Zimarino eased Glory to the win against former Socceroos Scott McDonald’s side. Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich was pleased to see his squad get another competitive hit-out under their belts, only four weeks out of the opening game against Western Sydney Wanderers.
“Another clean sheet, a few goals, plenty of positives, but the result is not the focus,” he said. “We were chasing the performance, and in patches it was good, in patches it was poor. We need to keep refining. The combination and timing between players, is still clunky at times, but it’s not far off and starting to take shape. It was a good test, and it also raises a few issues and a few more coaching points and areas to work on.
“They did not make things easy and watching the players deal with the frustration of not being able to get ahead was good. There’s often a sense of entitlement when an A-League team plays an NPL team that they should win, but it doesn’t work like that. It was nice to see the boys fighting with the frustration and the process of ‘why can’t we get ahead. I found the struggle interesting and learnt a few more things about different people. They dug themselves out of it got some good interchanges and really nice goals.”
Williams, who joined the club from Oxford United in the summer, had already had one effort ruled out for offside, when he opened his Glory account with a close-range finish two minutes after the break. Moments later defender John Koutroumbis saw a well-struck shot saved as the Glory piled on the pressure. Ben Azubel made it 2-0 on 72 minutes, the Israeli striker capping a powerful run through the home defence with a composed finish.
The big striker was involved in the third, six minutes later, teeing up Matt Hatch who made no mistake. The Knights were denied a late consolation three minutes from time, when substitute keeper Cameron Cook kept out a penalty and instead, it was Glory who had the final say. Adam Zimarino, who had struck the woodwork earlier in the second half, capped a quick break featuring Azubel and Keegan Jelacic by sweeping home his side’s fourth in the last minute.
ARNOLD CALLS UP SAINSBURY AND TAGGART
West Australian pair Trent Sainsbury and Adam Taggart have been named in Socceroos’ coach Graham Arnold’s thirty-one man squad for upcoming international friendlies with New Zealand. Australia will play their Trans-Tasman rival in Brisbane on 22 September with the return fixture taking place in Auckland on 25 September.
“This camp is the last opportunity we will have to work with the squad ahead of November’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament,” Arnold explained. “We have been closely monitoring our players since qualifying for the World Cup and are regularly speaking with them about this opportunity. I can’t wait to get back into camp to work with our experienced group of players and the next generation of emerging stars.”
“The incentive couldn’t be bigger, there’s a place at the FIFA World Cup™ at stake and if you’re working hard and playing well then there’s an opportunity for you to represent your country on the biggest stage,” he said. The game in Brisbane will be the final opportunity for Socceroos’ supporters to see the team on home soil before they depart for Qatar.
GLORY WELCOME IVANOVIC WHILE ARMIENTO DEPARTS
Perth Glory squad is taking shape and this week they signed striker Luke Ivanovic from Brisbane Roar on a two-year deal, while Carlo Armiento has had his contract terminated by mutual consent to allow him to take up an opportunity elsewhere, and he has signed for the Roar. Ivanovic, 22, arrives having scored four times in nine games last season. He made his senior breakthrough at Sydney FC in 2018, eventually chalking up 38 appearances for the Sky Blues over the course of three seasons.
He is now looking forward to the new challenge here in the West. “I thought to myself that this is a great opportunity to go to such a competitive club and see what they are building up to this year,” he told the clubs website. “Having spoken to Ruben [Zadkovich], I am super-excited to come across to a fantastic club. I want to be winning games and scoring goals. I want to be a key asset to the team and I’m really looking forward to getting started.”
Zadkovich feels that Ivanovic will prove to be another quality addition to the club’s new-look squad. “Luke is a very exciting talent in the top half of the pitch, he possesses a lot of high-quality attributes that suit our model and has a sharp eye for goal,” he said. “We are very excited to have a player like Luke in our ranks. He will add a different dimension to our frontline, has a lot of scope to improve and is real prospect for the club.”
Having played his youth football for the Football NSW Institute, APIA Leichardt and Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Ivanovic joined Sydney FC in 2018 and made his A-League bow in December of that year when introduced from the bench against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford. He departed the Sky Blues to join Brisbane Roar ahead of the 2021/22 campaign and made an immediate impact for the Queenslanders with a debut goal against Melbourne City in Round One. He would go on to score a further three goals last term, one of which came in the final minute of the Round 19 clash with Glory.
Armiento, 23, joined the club in 2019 and made 26 A-League appearances over the next two seasons, scoring three goals. He unfortunately sustained an ACL injury during pre-season training last year and was subsequently ruled out for the entire 2021/22 campaign. Glory Head Coach Ruben Zadkovich was quick to praise the South Australian for the contribution he made to the club on and off the field during his time at the club.
“Carlo is a top person first and foremost,” he said, “and is very well respected at this club and also in this group of players. He expressed his desire to pursue another opportunity elsewhere and we respected his wishes as we couldn’t guarantee him the regular first team football, he wanted off the back of his long-term injury. We wish him all the best in his career and future endeavours.”
ROUX RETURNS TO ALL-WHITES SQUAD
Central Coast Mariners right-back Storm Roux has earned his way into the All-Whites squad set to face-off with Australia later this month. The 29-year old's selection comes off the back of a brilliant season with Central Coast in which he played 18 games and scored once.
Roux, who played juniors with Sorrento, has made over 200 professional appearances for Perth Glory, Central Coast and Melbourne Victory since debuting for the former in 2013. The defender has 10 caps for New Zealand to his name, with this call-up marking his first since 2019.
“I am buzzing to be back in the team after a couple of years out. It was my goal to get back into that New Zealand squad,” Roux said. “It is even better playing against Australia; it’s the first time I have played them in a while. I am really looking forward to the game.”
BURGESS HEADS TO HOSPITAL AFTER INJURY
Ipswich Town's Cameron Burgess has been taken to hospital with a possible facial fracture, suffered in tonight’s victory over Bristol Rovers. The powerful defender was replaced on 62 minutes after a clash with Rovers’ Harvey Saunders, which saw Ipswich player take a heavy blow to the face after executing a tough tackle to win back position inside his own half.
Injury has come at a cruel time for Burgess, who has shown excellent form in Town’s last two league games after replacing George Edmundson in the Ipswich defence. “He’s gone to the hospital with a possible fracture, so we’ll have to wait and see how he gets on tonight,” Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna said.
“I’m really disappointed for him because I thought he was excellent tonight, continuing his form. He’s a great example for everyone in our squad of how to be when you’re not in the team, which he wasn’t during my first few months here. He showed how to improve and develop through training and in meetings, showing the benefit of working on yourself, and was at a really, really high level.”
FIVE WEST AUSTRALIANS NAMED IN YOUNG SOCCEROOS SQUAD
West Australian's Kaelan Majeks, Joseph Forde, Chris Donnell, Matthew Dench and Joshua Rawlins have been called up for Australia's Under-20 national team. The quintet were named on coach Trevor Morgan's 24-player Young Socceroos’ squad that face Chile, England and Morocco later this month in Spain.
Majeks, Forde and Donnell are part of Perth Glory's development programme while Dench is forging a career with English League One side Charlton Athletic. Rawlins, who played 40 games for Glory between 2020 and 2022, joined Dutch outfit Utrecht on a four-year deal in May of this year.
“The Young Socceroos participation in the Costa Cálida Supercup in Spain is a great first step for this group,” said Morgan. “We have a highly talented crop of footballers in this group, who play either locally or in leagues around the world and selecting a squad for this tournament created a welcomed headache.”
“To be able to play world class opposition from three confederations in Morocco, Chile and reigning under-19 European Champions – England, within the space of eight days presents an ideal learning experience for this squad as we prepare for future tournaments and develop the next generation of Olyroos and Socceroos.”
GLORY SIGN AMERICAN FORWARD COLEMAN
Perth Glory Women have added powerful American forward Gabriella Coleman to their squad for the coming A-League season. The 24-year old joins fresh from playing for Iceland club HK Kopavogur, where she scored nine goals last season.
Coleman boasts an impressive sporting pedigree with her father, Marcus, an NFL Hall of Famer. She was a standout performer at collegiate level across two seasons with Mississippi State Bulldogs and three campaigns at Oklahoma State Cowboys.
“I’m really looking forward to coming to Perth Glory and contributing to a team that embodies some of the same soccer philosophies that I share,” Coleman said. “Speaking with coach Alex (Epakis), I believe that this is a great opportunity for me to grow as a player, while hopefully helping the team achieve success as well.”
Epakis said Coleman had the attributes to make a major impression during her maiden season in the A-League. “Gabriella is a powerhouse player,” Epakis said. “An attacker who is very strong in open space when she is running at defenders, she also offers the flexibility in her game to link play up and play with her back to goal.”
“She is a further excellent addition to our attacking options and someone whom I believe can add a level of physicality and speed to our overall balance within the squad. Gabriella is very hungry and determined to do well and has a fantastic growth mindset which became clear during our early conversations. I’m very excited to work with he
MANDURAH STUN CHAMPIONS TO TAKE OUT TOP FOUR CUP
Mandurah City are the 2022 State League Division One Top Four Cup winners, after a 1-0 win against Champions Olympic Kingsway at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. “This win was for all the hard work from everybody at the club, we have such loyal supporters, which are the best in the state,” Mandurah player/coach John Baird explained. “The players were outstanding a different performance from what we’ve had the last seven wins on a row, but to get the eighth win on the bounce shows how good we are. It was a special day in many ways and having the memories we do makes it all worthwhile.”
Mandurah had an early look in this one, Craig Barker’s snap shot in the opening minute flashed just over the top. They went close again on the quarter-hour, Sam Byrne’s cross from the left picked out Alex Grayson, and the former Liverpool apprentices’ header was saved by David Keenan. Olympic hit back and Ciaran Byrne sent Ewan Fawcett down the right, and he won possession at the corner of the penalty area, and crossed to Michael Zimarino, who shot was well save on the line by the alert Alfie Brincat.
Mandurah ended the half the better, and went close to the opener five minutes before half time. John Baird’s corner picked out Lydon Hodgkiss, who lost his marker, but his header was well saved by Keenan. Olympic went close in first half stoppage time, the lively Fawcett played James Fanelli down the right, and he cross to Zimarino, but skipper Harry Collin s got a last-ditch block to deny the striker, and at the break it was all to play for in the second half.
Olympic should have taken the lead early in the second half, Fawcett played a neat give and go with Byrne, the defender racing into the box, cutting inside his marker, but after doing all the hard work, he fired straight at Brincat, who saved low. But on 54 minutes it was Mandurah who found the opener. Baird’s ball was chested down by Barker, and O’Brien played a one-two with Murray Mackintosh, before racing into goal and finding the bottom corner from the angle, his 24th goal of the season, much to the travelling Dolphins Pod of supporters in the grandstand.
They went close to doubling their lead nine minutes later, Olympic defender Cian Hirrell’s pass went straight to Hamish van Dieken, whose shot on the run was saved low by Keenan. O’Brien was in again moments later, Grayson’s ball over the top sent the striker in on goal, but Fanelli raced back to get a last-ditch tackle in to deny him. Olympic keeper Keenan then produced a stunning one-handed save to deny Barker, whose shot from the edge of the box looked destined for the top corner.
Olympics’ chances of getting back into the game took a hit on 79 minutes when Hirrell was shown a second yellow card by referee Niall Gillmor for a tackle on Van Dieken, and sent off. Olympic pressed late, but Mandurah held firm, and almost nicked a second deep into stoppage time, Keenan raced out of the box, and his heavy touch went straight to Barker, and his shot from out wide rolled towards goal but drifted agonizingly wide of the far post.
Goalscorer Joe O’Brien said it was a great day for the club, and it was a real tough game. “It was the hardest battle we’ve faced all season,” he said. “Kingsway we’re dangerous, but we dealt with their attacks and took our chance when it mattered, and I thought we thoroughly deserved to take the trophy home.” That was echoed by keeper Alfie Brincat, who produced two great saves to keep the side in the game. “What a day for the club, the team defended really well and Kingsway couldn’t find a way to break us down,” he said. “The support from the fans was unreal, it was a great day for everyone involved at our club.”
In the other games on the day, Fremantle City beat Subiaco 3-0 on penalties in the Top Four Under 18s Cup Final, after the game finished 0-0 after normal time. Meanwhile goals from Patrick Shortall and Nic Echeverria has given Forrestfield United a 2-0 win against Subiaco in the Top Four Reserves Cup Final
Olympic Kingsway – GK David KEENAN, 3 Michael ZIMARINO (13 Tommy AMPHLETT 75’), 7 Ewen FAWCETT (6 Giordano SPORTIELLO 83’), 9 Ciaran BYRNE, 10 Taylor GARNER, 12 James FANELLI, 14 Shane CASSIDY (c), 15 Cian HIRRELL, 16 David PERICH (8 Daniel HARRISON 83’), 17 Joshua SAMSON, 18 Nick KOEFLER – Subs not used: RGK Brendon BRASSINGTON, 4 Andrew SCALDAFERRO, 20 Raeez PANDOR – Red Card: Hirrell 71’
Mandurah City – GK Alfie BRINCAT, 4 Harry COLLINS (c), 9 Joe O’BRIEN (20 Charlie BREEN 89’), 10 Craig BARKER, 11 Alex GRAYSON (7 Dylan ROGERS 75’), 15 Sam BYRNE (5 Silas BECSI 76’), 18 Hamish VAN DIEKEN, 19 Lydon HODGKISS, 23 James PAYLOR, 29 John BAIRD, 44 Murray MACKINTOSH – Subs not used: RGK Dylan WILSON, 17 Reece ALLAN, 24 Zak BYRNE, 31 Andrew MURRAY – Referee: Niall GILLMOR, Assistants: Adrien LIECHTI, Jatin LODHIA
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY REVIEW
The Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division title is looking like a four-way tussle between Jaguar, Maddington White City, East Perth and Kwinana United, after a dramatic round 20 on Sunday. First up, league leaders Jaguar saw their lead at the top cut to just two points, after they were beaten 3-0 by East Perth at the Inglewood Stadium. “A great response from the lads after disappointing result at Kelmscott,” East Perth Coach Colm Costello said. “The group have been brilliant for us since January, so to be in the position we are in shows the hard work they have all put in. Before the game we spoke about the depth of the squad and that was exactly how we were able to get the deserved result against the league leaders, it sets up another cracker against another top side next Sunday.”
East Perth found the opener eight minutes before the break, a free kick was whipped in from Niall Murray and a Jags defender headed back to his keeper was short and Mehdi Gholami latched onto it and headed home. They doubled their advantage ten minutes into the second half, a free kick from Dave Long was headed out only as far as the evergreen Oscar Kelly who caught the ball on the half volley to rifle home. They made sure of the points five minutes later, when Liam McManus intercepted Jags skipper Juma Wade ball, and played a great through ball to Mehdi who got between the two defenders and fired home.
Both sides finished with ten men, after Jags Weric Malual was shown a red card on 78 minutes, before East Perth keeper Arron McKenna was sent off in stoppage time. “A brilliant win from the lads, probably not the best football performance from us today but definitely a solid dogged one to dig deep for the points,” Costello added. “Jags are a great side and very tough opponents so to score three keep a clean sheet was brilliant. Two red cards probably dampened a very good contest and it was by no means a dirty game but a very hard-fought battle. Kwinana now next week and that’s going to be another battle against a very good side.”
Maddington White City have put themselves back in the title race and ended Kelmscott Roo’s eight game winning streak, and their title hopes, after an entertaining 3-2 win at Mills Park. “We knew it would be a tough match against the in-form Kelmscott side,” Maddington striker Farruh Mavlonov said. “It was a great game from both sides and we made the most of our chances with our top goalscorer Jose (Zuniga) bagging a hat trick to seal the win.” The hosts opened the scoring, with Zuniga firing home a superb long-range strike, but just before half time Kelmscott levelled through Alex Ekeze.
The hosts regained their lead after half time, after Samir Ramos was brought down by Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick and referee Liam Howgate pointed straight to the spot, and Zuniga converted the resulting penalty. Maddington added a third when Zuniga’s in-swinging corner found the net at the near post. Kelmscott pulled one back late, with Ekeze converting a penalty. It set up a frantic finish, but the hosts held firm to take the points, and move within two points of the leaders.
Fourth Placed Kwinana United have a game in hand, and are still in the mix, this after a 3-1 win against Quinns at Gumblossom Park. “The first half our work out of possession was miles off the standards that the boys had set, but in possession we weren’t too bad but just our desire to get the ball back was poor,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis explained. “We reminded them at half time what about the way they’ve played this year and thankfully we got a reaction. Quinns did, and had a few chances in the second half, but I think overall we deserved the win.” It was the hosts who found the opener early, with Ryan McCready on target, and they held the lead until the hour, when Kwinana levelled with Wayne Cater on target. They hit the front nine minutes from time, with Dean Couling heading home. They sealed the points in the final minute, Carter was sent clear, and rounded the keeper to make it 3-1.
The relegation battle is also heating up, and the loss for Quinns sent them back to the bottom of the table, but they do have a game in hand. Joondalup United survival fight continued with a 2-0 win against North Perth United at Beldon Park. "It was a great performance from start to finish and we were good value for the win. Ryan Pellow's unbelievable strike set the tone early, and we also hit the crossbar twice before the second goal settled a few nerves,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained.
"We were solid defensively again and have only conceded four goals in the last five games which is a massive improvement. A very important three points but there's a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks with things tightening up towards the bottom." Joondalup took the lead on 12 minutes, when Charlie Barlow played a pass over the top to Ryan Pellow who let the ball bounce up before hitting a first time shot into the top corner from 25 meters. The second goal arrived just after the hour mark when Curtis Wreglesworth found space down the right and drilled a cross into the penalty area that found Drew Kirkpatrick. The striker laid the ball off to Andreas Bouzinekis who finished calmly from the penalty spot.
Wembley Downs are still clear of the drop zone, after a 3-0 loss against Emerald at Butlers Reserve. “Very pleasing result after a few bad ones. We knew had to get back to basics and play with more intensity which we did,” Emerald coach Shane O’Donovan. “Wembley had a spell in the second half and might have got one back, only for a great save from our keeper. But all an all we dominated I feel, know it’s just to keep that going and finish the season on a high.” Emerald found the opener just before half time, the ball was worked over to Ryan Murray on the wing, who put in a sublime cross for Andrew Wood to head home. It was 2-0 when Ryan Murray was quickest to react after rebound to score, before Paul Curran broke from midfield and slipped the ball to Wood to slot home a third, and a great way to bounce back from back-to-back defeats.
Queens Park also gained three valuable points, after a 2-0 win against Peel United at Bortolo Reserve. “I thought it was two well played games on the day,” Queens Park coach Fredo Coron said. “There was a good show of football from both teams, and it made it an enjoyable Sunday.” The visitors found the opener four minutes before half time, they hit on a quick counter attack, after defending a corner, and Joshua Cortes was sent forward and finished well. They sealed the points 15 minutes from time, after referee Walter Ciotti spotted a handball and skipper Justine Kaupa converted.
NICOL AT THE DOUBLE AS REDSTAR WIN TOP FOUR CUP
Perth RedStar are the 2022 NPLMWA Top Four Cup winners after a dramatic 3-2 win against Champions Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. It looked like Floreat were on course to win the game after goals from Bayley Brown-Montgomery and Phillip Arnold gave them a two-goal lead at the break. But the game changed in a dramatic last 19 minutes. Ryan Lowry reduced the margin on 71 minutes, before Daryl Nicol levelled three minutes later. It looked like we were going to extra time, but deep into stoppage time Redstar did a Floreat, on Floreat, with Nicol securing the win, and taking out the ‘Gary Marocchi Medal’ as player of the match.
“It seems 3-2 is the regular score line against Floreat, but we are usually on the receiving end of that so to come out on top in the way that we did is absolutely fantastic,” Nicol explained. “Going in two goals down at half time against the champions and to win it in the final minute is the sort of stuff you dream about and I’d have to say that’s up there with the best moments I’ve experienced in football. It brings the first piece of silverware to our club and hopefully that can kickstart a long period of continued success.”
It was an even opening to this one, with clear-cut chances few and far between, but on 21 minutes it was Floreat who found the opener. Redstar thought the ball had gone out of play on the left, but it was play on, and Robert Petkov found Brown-Montgomery, who was fouled, but a good advantage from referee Shane Skinner, saw him play on and did neat give and go with Arnold, before his long-range shot found the corner of the net. RedStar looked for an immediate response, and Andy Higgins’ ball to the back post found Ellis Healing, whose volley was deflected just wide of the post.
Floreat looked for a second, and Chris Saldaris headed wide from Laat Mathiang’s corner on the half hour, before the central defender lifted the ball over the top after Mathiang’s free kick wasn’t dealt with by the Redstar defence. Declan Hughes then tried his luck from long-range, but his shot was saved at the second attempt by Jason Saldaris. But two minutes from half time Floreat doubled their advantage. Petkov and Andrew Palmer combined, to find Arnold, who long-range shot found the bottom corner of the net.
Petkov headed straight at Riley Stephenson as Floreat started on the front foot again after the break, but RedStar hit back and Nicol’s shot on the turn was saved low by Saldaris. Floreat should have had a third on the hour, Mathiang did well down the right, and his cross from the bye-line found Palmer, but he couldn’t get a good contact on the ball and Stephenson got down superbly to claw his effort away. But on 71 minutes RedStar were back in the game.
Higgins’ free kick picked out Lowry, and the former Wellington Phoenix defender header beat Saldaris, game on. Then four minutes later they were level, Higgins’ found Chok Dau down the left, and he played in Nick Walsh, who’s cross from the bye-line found the late arriving Nicol, who headed clinically past Saldaris, much to the delight of the RedStar supporters. Higgins went close to a third, after being picked out by substitute Kye Murray, but his effort was saved low by Saldaris.
It looked like we were heading to extra time, but there was a twist in the tale, and the RedStar’s won it three minutes into stoppage time. Floreat had won the league, and last week’s Semi-Final against Redstar with a late winner, but the shoe was on the other foot in this one. Declan Hughes won the ball in the middle of the park, and found Murray on the right, his cross was nodded down by Higgins and Nicol ghosted in at the back post to fire home, and win it, which set off wild celebrations on and off the pitch. There was a special moment after the presentation with bash victim Danny Hodgson being photo’d with his team mates, holding the trophy. “What a win, it has been a season with a lot of ups and downs and nearly moments, so to finish it off with a last-minute winner was a fantastic way to go out,” skipper Ellis Healing explained. “The best moment of the season for me was seeing DH7 be able to lift a trophy almost one year after the tragedy he went through.”
RedStar Coach Callum Salmon was delighted for his players, and thought once they found the opener there was only going to be one winner. “Wow what can you say about an amazing group of RedStar players and a huge performance. To win against Floreat, who have been an absolute champion team this year, in the way we did - nothing is sweeter,” he explained. “Floreat have been excellent all year, and they have players that make you work for everything and they deliver quality. Their coaching staff is top class and it shows with their win record. Again, always so proud and happy for my players when they produce huge performances. Higgy, Daryl and everyone were amazing and absolutely deserved to win. What a night and looking forward to doing it all again next year.”
In the under 18s Top Four Cup Final, Perth Glory have beaten Bayswater City 1-0 at Dorrien Gardens. The only goal of the game came late in the second half, with substitute K Ngo scoring, after his initial penalty had been saved by R Sinclair. Glory completed the double, also taking out the Under 20s Top Four Cup, beating Perth RedStar 1-0 also at Dorrien Gardens. The only goal of the game came after only two minutes, with Joel Anasmo scoring.
Floreat Athena - GK Jason SALDARIS (c), 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 9 Robert PETKOV, 10 Nick AMBROGIO (17 Jawad REZAI 72’), 11 Dennis GALAN, 15 Chris SALDARIS, 16 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY, 18 Phil ARNOLD (12 Liam MURRAY 94’), 20 Andrew PALMER (5 Ethan MOM 94’), 21 Laat MATHIANG – Subs not used: RGK Gianluca DE FELICE, 3 Alexander CHRISTODOULAKIS, 13 Filip MINIC, 19 Mohammed AL-ZAIDY
Perth RedStar - GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Sami RIAK (11 Oscar MALFIORE 86’), 3 Blair GOVAN, 4 Declan HUGHES, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 12 Nick WALSH, 14 Chok DAU, 16 Ellis HEALING (c) (15 Kye MURRAY 69’), 18, 19 Ryan FINNIE (8 Tom HOUGH 62’) – Subs not used: RGK Joe POLLARD, 24 Sonny O’SHEA, 25 Sean O’CONNOR - Referee: Shane SKINNER, Assistants: Arvin SHANMUGANATHAN, Lawson RIMMER
REDSTAR TAKE OUT THE QUADRUPLE
Perth RedStar have capped a huge season, by taking out the NPLWWA Top Four Cup, beating the Hyundai NTC Women 3-0 at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. Goals from Larissa Walsh, Shawn Billam and Jayna Ridley secured the win and capped off a fantastic first season for the club. “It was a great turnout for the game as it always is for the top four final, and we had a lot of pressure on us to win but we played our game and showed why we deserved to win,” Olivia Wood said. “I thought we had control over the game and could’ve scored more, but NTC did well to keep us at bay. Really proud of the team as with a couple changes, we were still in fine form which just reflects the season we have had. The clean sweep was a long-term goal for us but we took each game by game and focusing on the week ahead. I think the quadrupole showed that it wasn’t luck and actually our hard work and quality as a cohesive unit which made us different from other teams.”
The Champions made the best possible start, finding the opener on five minutes. The NTC gave the ball away when playing out from the back and it was pounced on by Wood, and Shawn Billam and Sarah Carroll combined to send Larissa Walsh into goal and she finished calmly past Lilly Bailey. The NTC looked to hit back and a mistake at the back from Kim Carroll saw Anna Powell win possession, but her shot from distance was straight at Maya Diederichsen. Moments later a quick break from Tanika Lala, saw the striker race towards goal, and her shot on the run stung the palms of Diederichsen, but the keeper collected the rebound.
They went even closer on the half hour, NTC skipper Grace Johnston’s long-range beat the RedStar custodian but went inches over the top, although many in the crowd through it found the net. This was the best spell of the game for the NTC, and Johnston’s shot from distance bounced awkwardly in front of Diederichsen, but she claimed the rebound. But against the run of play Redstar added a second, Quyen Doan’s ball sent Billam clear, and she raced into the box and finished through the legs of Bailey, to go into the break with a two-goal lead.
NTC started brightly after the break, and Lala shot from the angle was palmed away by Diederichsen in the opened minute. But RedStar were still dangerous going forward and Wood’s shot on the run was saved at her near post by the alert Bailey. They were in again on 56 minutes, Carla Bennett sending Sarah Carroll in on goal, but Bailey stood tall to deny her, and Mischa Anderson cleared the rebound. RedStar were taking control and on the hour, Jacinta Coleman slid in Jayna Ridley, who went one-on-one with Bailey, who saved well with her legs, before Bennett’s long-range shot was saved low by the busy Bailey. But on 77 minutes RedStar added a third to seal the game, great work down the left by Wood, saw her race past two NTC players, her cross found its way to Ridley, who fired home from six meters.
Coleman went close to fourth moments later, being sent into goal by Ridley, but Anderson got back with a superb last-ditch tackle. The NTC went close to a consolation goal late, Johnston’s corner slipped through the hands of Diederichsen, but the alert Doan headed the ball off the line. The win continued the domination of Carlos Vega-Mena’s side, and Jacinta Coleman received the ‘Player of the Match Medal, from Football West Chairman Sherif Andrawes.
RedStar skipper Shawn Billam said it was the perfect end to a perfect season. “Firstly, commiseration to NTC they had a couple of opportunities in the game and some great players, but we continued to play our style of football and moved the ball well and took our chances in the first half,” she explained. “There tried to come at us in the second half and we held out and dominated possession. It’s a great feeling to achieve what we have the girls and Carlos have worked so hard all year and we come away champions.”
Head Coach Carlos Vega-Mena said the final was a tough game. “We went into the final determined to bring home the Top Four Cup, but we were well aware the NTC are a dangerous team and should never be underestimated. Their mix of talented players bring game intelligence, speed and energy to the pitch, and we knew that they would bring everything to the final on Saturday,” he explained. “They worked hard to get there and fully deserved their spot. I think it's truly outstanding to see the young NTC team in the NPLW Top Four Final, they should be very proud of their efforts.
“It was obvious on the day just how hard they have been working throughout the season, but it was never going to be an easy task for them to go up against us. They posed a threat at times and made us work hard for the win, showing maturity and composure beyond their years. Overall, I think we controlled the game and were able to take advantage when space opened up on the pitch.
The Coach said he is so proud of his players, and they deserve all the credit for a great season. “After missing out on the titles last season, we were determined to make amends this season one game at a time. After bringing home the Night Series Cup, we decided to do our best to challenge for every title. At some point the players set themselves the difficult task of completing the season undefeated. Their grit and determination made this a reality against some strong competition,” Vega-Mena explained.
“There are no words to express how proud I am of this group as they have shown what they are truly capable of. They have remained humble throughout the journey we have been on this season, which I believe was a contributing factor. I am extremely happy and proud to be a part of their success. What a way to end the season. I'll let them have a little rest now, before we start focusing on 2023. I think they have earned it.”
In the under 21 Top Four Final, the NTC secured a 3-1 win against Perth RedStar in the earlier game at Dorrien Gardens. Angelique Clayton gave the NTC the lead early, but Dareskadar Tamru levelled for RedStar on the half hour. Klaudia Houlis regained the lead for NTC early in the second half, and she added her 22nd goal of the season 15 minutes from time to seal the win.
Perth RedStar – GK Maya DIEDERICHSEN, 2 Sara CARROLL, 3 Larissa WALSH, 4 Bronwyn STUDMAN, 6 Carla BENNETT, 7 Kim CARROLL, 8 Shawn BILLAM (c), 10 Olivia WOOD, 11 Emily DUNN, 17 Jacinta COLEMAN, 18 Quyen DOAN – Subs: 5 Tessa DE LEO, 9 Jayna RIDLEY, 12 Chloe FINNEGAN, 13 Olivia GOUD, 14 Renee LEOTA, 19 Rachel LARSEN, 20 Jayde ODONOHOE
Hyundai NTC Women – GK Lilly BAILEY, 5 Mischa ANDERSON, 8 Grace JOHNSTON, 9 Tanika LALA, 11 Louise TANA, 12 Anna POWELL, 13 Abbey WOOLEY, 14 Jenna HARNWELL, 15 Natalia VEGA-MENA, 16 Sophie MEADEN, 17 Violet LONGMORE – Subs: 2 Wilma THODHLANA, 3 Ava RICHARDS, 4 Catherine ADAMS, 7 Olivia TRUEMAN – Referee: Caleigh ORMEROD, Assistants: Chloe SMITH, Maria AVAMITA
NPLM WA TOP FOUR FINAL CUP PREVIEW
The 2022 NPLMWA Top Four Cup Final will see Champions Floreat Athena taking on Perth RedStar at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday evening. (7.00pm) Floreat beat RedStar in last week's Semi-Final, Robert Petkov’s late goal securing the win. It meant RedStar took on Sorrento in Tuesday’s Preliminary Final, and Ellis Healing’s long-range strike sealed a 3-2 win, set up Saturday’s clash.
RedStar skipper Healing said the loss against Floreat last week was hard to take, but he was proud how the players bounced back to beat Sorrento in the local derby. “We were gutted to lose it so late against Floreat, but the lads showed great character to get the win against Sorrento,” he said. “It was a very hard game on Tuesday night, our quality got us in the lead and then the last 10 minutes, but it was difficult defending a lot of long balls into the box but our lads at the back were quality at keeping it out our net.”
Healing, who has returned this season from long-term injuries, and he has led by example this season, and he said they are looking forward to Saturday, and they are determined to get a result this time. “We roll into Saturday to have another crack at Floreat, and we are ready for it,” he said. “We always have a tough game against them, and Saturday will be no different, but we we’ll give it everything to take the trophy back to the arena.”
Floreat’s Sean McManus said the win against RedStar was pleasing, but he said it was a tough game. “It was an end-to-end game against RedStar last week, we went 1-0 down first but managed to get another back through Bayley and it was a great finish,” he explained. “To then go on and win the game late on again was amazing, myself and Bayley actually said we’ve done it before we can do it again and I got the ball up to him to lay it to Petkov and he took his chance to win us the game.”
McManus has returned from a broken leg this season, and he said to win the league was well deserved, they want to finish it off with the NPL treble, of Night Series, league title and Top Four Cup, but he is expecting another battle. “I definitely think we deserve it this year as we have been ruthless when it matters most in the games, we’ve won all season. We are on an unbeaten run of 12 so hopefully can keep this going into the final and claim the treble,” he explained. “You can never rule any team out in this league, especially not RedStar with the quality they have and they always give us a tough game. We know they are determined to beat us but that just gives us more fuel to go on and win again come Saturday night. It will be a very exciting game for the spectators that’s for sure.”
In the under 20s Final on Saturday afternoon, Perth Glory will take on Perth RedStar at Dorrien Gardens. (2.30pm) Glory won the Major Semi-Final on Saturday with a 3-1 win against Perth SC, and in the Preliminary Final Perth beat Perth Redstar on Tuesday night. But they were found to have fielded an ineligible player, and under competition rules the result is awarded to Perth RedStar and they will advance to the final.
In the under 18’s Final on Saturday morning, Perth Glory will take on Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens. (10.00am) Glory won the Major Semi-Final on Saturday, beating Perth SC 4-2, and in the Preliminary Final goals from Scotlan Morrison, Julian Kelly penalty and Joshua Bell gave Bayswater City a 3-0 win against Perth SC to reach the Final. Good luck to all teams on the day.
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE TOP FOUR CUP FINAL PREVIEW
The 2022 State League Division One Top Four Cup Final sees Champions Olympic Kingsway taking on Mandurah City at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday afternoon. (3.00pm) Olympic reached the game after a win in midweek against Fremantle City at Kingsway Reserve. The hosts found the opener in first half stoppage time, with Joshua Samson scoring. But Fremantle levelled ten minutes into the second half through Riley van Dieken, but two minutes later Ciaran Hirrell regained Olympics’ lead moments later, and skipper Shane Cassidy added a third from the spot four minutes from time. Chris Thackray pulled one back for Fremantle in stoppage time, but it was Olympic moving through.
Goalscorer Samson said it was a good game, but they had to earn the win. “It was a tough match, and both teams gave everything to be in the final. Fremantle came out firing and made it tough for us to play. They retained the ball really well in the first half and created good goal scoring opportunities,” he explained. “As a team we had to be discipline and ride out their wave of attacks. I think we did this well and we got the reward right at the end of the half. We knew if we can get another clean sheet at home then we will be in the final, however we knew we would have to fight for it. Fremantle never gave up and made it difficult, but we did what we had to do a grind out the win.”
Head Coach David Tough said they struggled early, but was happy how his side fought it out. “We certainly weren’t at our free-flowing best and we’ve played a lot better but were delighted to be in the final,” he said. “Fremantle started so well and could have been one or two up in the first 15 minutes, but after we weathered the storm and started to pass the ball and we found a way to win.”
Tough said they take on a Mandurah side in fantastic form, so it should be a great contest. “Mandurah have been the best side we’ve played this season and in John Baird you’ve not just one of the best players in the State league but in the WA football,” the coach said. “They have the top goal scorer in Joe O’Brien and were the highest scores in the league, so we know we must be at our best. They are the last team to beat us but since then we’ve gone 12 games undefeated, and I feel that we are in a much better place. This time we should have our full squad to pick from which give us a best chance of victory. We’ll be well prepared and hope to put on a much-improved performance.”
Samson echoed his coach’s comments, and said they are looking forward to the game. “Sunday’s final will be incredibly tough, Mandurah have had an excellent second half of the season and are fully deserving of their place in the final,” he said. “We know what their qualities are and we’ll try to mitigate them and impose our style on the game. As a team we are excited to play in our second final this year and are ready for a physically and mentally demanding game. It will be a battle but this is why we play the football, big teams, big crowds and big trophies on the line, we look forward to another tough game.”
Mandurah went into their Semi-Final against Wester Knights at Genesiscare Stadium on Wednesday evening without player/coach John Baird, due to suspension, and Scottish striker Leigh Griffiths, but they got the job done, running out 4-2 winners. They found the opener on 12 minutes, with the league top goalscorer Joe O’Brien on target, but the Knights were level two minutes later, with Dean Hurley scoring. Alex Grayson gave the hosts the lead just before half time, but Ben Campbell restored parity for the visitors early in the second half. But the Dolphins regained the lead, with Sam Byrne scoring on 54 minutes, and 11 minutes from time Murray Mackintosh added a fourth to seal the win. The Knights ended the game with ten men after Reece Abrams was shown a second yellow card and sent off.
Coach Baird, who will return for Sunday’s final, said it was a great performance from the side, to continue their good form and he said Sunday will be a fantastic day for the club. “The result against the Knights was pleasing for so many reasons,” he said. “The squad was stretched a bit but the boys coped so well, to take the lead twice but get pegged level twice but still kick on shows how good our character is, we have a young group but they show so much maturity. Sunday gives us an opportunity to process even further as a team, the togetherness of the full football club can be shown on Sunday at the cup final with our friends and families.”
Goalscorer Mackintosh said the Knights were good early, but the lads showed great character to secure the win. “The Knights started fairly well and it took us 15 minutes to get a hold of the game as they pressed well, but once we got control, we managed to get ahead but conceded two slack goals. But in the second half I thought we showed great character as a squad to up our gears and put the game to bed deservedly playing great attacking football and defending well.”
The striker said Sunday is a huge game for the club, and they go into the game confident after beating them at home in round 12. “Ahead of Sundays final we are optimistic after beating Kingsway in the last game and ending the season well,” Mackintosh said. “Hopefully we keep our impressive recent form going and playing to the last game of the season (final) is always a positive and I’m sure all the boys will enjoy the challenge.”
In Reserves Top Four Cup Final Fremantle City will take on either Subiaco or Forrestfield United, who play tonight, on Sunday at Dorrien Gardens. Fremantle overcame Rockingham City 4-2 in their Semi-Final at Wauhop Park, with goals from Alex Guzman, Callum Shepheard, Tommy Mills and Damon Brun.
In the under 18s Top Four Cup Final Subiaco will take on Forrestfield United at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday morning. (9.00am) Subiaco secured their place after a penalty shoot-out win against Olympic Kingsway on Tuesday evening. LachlanL Vearing gave Subiaco the lead early, but Loris Koknaris levelled on the hour, but in the shoot-out, Subiaco won 5-4. In the other Semi-Final goals from Alexander Baker and Cooper Holland gave Forrestfield a 2-0 win against Dianella White Eagles on Wednesday evening.
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND TWENTY PREVIEW
We head into round 20 of the Belt Up Amateur Premier Division, and four of the top five meet this weekend, and with only three rounds to go Jaguar are in pole position, sitting five points clear of the chasing pack, and this week they head to the Inglewood Stadium, to take on third placed East Perth. (1.00pm) The Jags beat Quinns last week to move further clear at the top, while East Perth were beaten at Kelmscott, so a win in this one and results elsewhere going their way they could wrap up the title on Sunday.
First on Wednesday evening Joondanna Blues moved into the Amateur Cup Final after a 1-0 win against Maccabi at Wotton Reserve. The only goal of the game came from Travis Preston, the goal enough to send Jon McGinty and Luke O'Neil’s side into the final, this despite the sending off of Bradley Skea. “What a night for the Joondanna club, full credit to Jon McGinty, the players and the club everyone was excellent on the night,” coach Luke O’Neil explained.
“Jon’s worked hard behind the scenes to get this club into the amateur league and this is an amazing achievement. The effort from every player was rewarded, they never stopped, we had to dig in there when we went down to 10 men. We knew Maccabi would have more of the possession, we just had to be patient and disciplined with our roles. The breakthrough came from a corner with David Brownless whipping the ball into the box and Travis heading the ball home. This cup run has been unbelievable, we will continue to work hard and will look forward to the day.”
Back to the league action, and Jaguar coach Josam Muwowo said Sunday is a huge game for both sides, and he is looking forward to the contest. “Sunday is another tough contest for us playing East Perth at their backyard it will be a very difficult game,” he said. “With due respect to our opposition, we will try our best to see how can compete and absorb pressure in their territory but we know it won't be that easy as they are one of the best team in the league this season. We have prepared well this week and we are ready to face the challenge, all the best to both teams and let them enjoy.”
East Perth Coach Colm Costello said they will be looking to bounce back from last week's loss, but knows it will be tough game. “Massive game for us Sunday against the leaders Jags, and Josam has done an incredible job, I have been involved in some great Premier Division in previous years, but for me this is by far the most competitive one,” he explained. “Jags have been the benchmark from round one, so huge credit to them on a great year so far. We are well aware they could gain promotion this Sunday so for us as a group it really is the last throw of the dice for us and we are well aware.
“Last week’s performance was disappointing and we didn’t deserve anything from the game against a very good Kelmscott side. However, the lads have worked so hard this season in our first year in the division to be mixing it is a big plus for us as coaches. We got Sunday out of our system by training very well this week and we have some important players back for us this week and are at full strength so absolutely no excuses. With nine points left to play for its looking like an exciting end to a great season, we are looking forward to another big challenge, these are the games you love to be involved in.”
Second placed Maddington White City welcome Kelmscott Roos to Mills Park, for another huge game. (All games kick off at 3.00pm) The hosts have faulted in recent weeks, and they have only one win in their last four games, which has seen Jags pull clear, while Kelmscott are on an eight-game winning streak, and keeper Taylor Warwick said they can still push for the title. “What a run we are on, I’ve personally never won eight games in a row in my career, and it’s amazing to be a part of. We are still within a slim chance of winning the league and until it’s impossible for us to do so, we will believe that we can,” he explained.
“We go into games with a real sense of belief and confidence and know that if we play our best football, that nobody can beat us. Maddington are no exception and we are going into this game with a real desire to get another win and continue this amazing run. Maddington are always going to be a tough opponent and they are still wanting to win the league, so they will be hungry for a result. We have players coming back from injury which will only strengthen the squad that we currently have and I am seriously excited for this game.”
In other games, Kwinana United who sit fourth, and have a game in hand, need to keep winning to keep their hopes of the title, and they make the trip to Gumblossom Park to meet Quinns, who need the points in the relegation zone. In other games in the relegation battle, Joondalup United host North Perth United at Beldon Park, while Queens Park make the trip Bortolo Reserve to take on Peel United. In the final game Wembley Downs will look to build on their win at North Perth last week, when they entertain Emerald at Butlers Reserve.
NPL-WA WOMEN'S TOP FOUR FINAL CUP PREVIEW
The 2022 NPLW WA Top Four Cup Final sees Champions Perth Redstar take on the Hyundai Womens NTC side at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday afternoon. (4.45pm) The RedStar have taken all before them this season, unbeaten in the league and taking out the Cup and Night series, so thy will be looking for the quadruple on Saturday. Meanwhile the NTC, who finished the regular season in fourth place will play in their first Top Four Cup Final, this after a 2-1 win against Perth SC in midweek. Jaime Duncanson gave Perth the lead midway through the first half, but Jenna Harnwell levelled for the NTC in the shadows of half time. No more goals were scored in normal time, but the NTC won it early in the first period of extra time, with leading goalscorer Tanika Lala scoring her 15th goal of the season, sending Ben Anderton’s in to the Final.
RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said Saturday will be another tight contest, against a good NTC side. “The competition for a position in the Top Four was very tight this season. NTC have beaten third placed Fremantle and second placed Perth to get into the final, they fought hard for the spot and have proven they deserve to be there, it's pleasing to see the young team reaping the rewards of their hard work,” he explained. NTC is always a well-coached and organised team. They have played some quality football this season and are always brave on the ball.
“When you mix this with their speed, energy and game intelligence, it makes them a dangerous team. As a development team NTC is packed full of talented and skillful young players, I think they can challenge any team on any given day, especially if they put in a full team performance. I am looking forward to facing NTC on the pitch on Saturday and seeing how they have grown and developed over the 2022 season. We will be going into the final with the same mindset we have had all year. It's the last game for 2022, the girls are determined to go out with a bang and bring home the Top Four Cup.”
RedStar’s Olivia Wood believes the NTC youngsters have grown in confidence and there wins against Fremantle and Perth shows the ability they process. “NTC had a good chance to get into the final, as they usually play well against Freo and Perth, so to me it wasn’t a big surprise when they made it through,” she said. “They have really come together as a team in the last few games so we can’t go into the game thinking it will be a walk in the park. They have some quality young players so we cannot underestimate them and their ability to put the ball in the back of the net. We are definitely going to be focusing on finishing our chances and capitalising on their mistakes while playing good football. We know they will put up a fight as they have nothing to lose, but it will be great to come away and finish with the quadruple.
It's a family affair in Saturday’s final, with RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena’s daughter Natalia playing for the NTC, and she said the win against Perth in midweek was a great result for the program, and she is looking forward to the final against her dad’s side. “To beat Perth for the fourth time was a huge achievement for us as they are a strong team,” Natalia explained. “It wasn’t the prettiest game but that can be the reality of a semi-final. We did what we had to do to win. At the beginning of the season, we set ourselves the goal of getting into the top four, but to be in the final is a dream come true.
“It’s a testament to the players hard work but also the work of our coaches Ben and Fernando, and it’s been a pleasure to work with such supportive and talented coaches. I’m grateful for all of the knowledge they have shared with us and we wouldn’t be here without their constant encouragement and infectious positivity. To be able to play in the top four final alongside my team mates and for my coaches is an incredible opportunity that I’m very grateful for. Win or lose our achievements our something to be proud of. To be able to play against a mixture of experienced and talented players in the RedStar squad is an exciting challenge, and I look forward to giving them a run for their money.”
NTC’s Grace Johnston said the extra time win on Wednesday night took a lot out of the players, but speaking to Football West she believes the challenge of playing in high pressure finals will continue to stand them in good stead. “It was a hard game and the legs are sore at the moment but I’m so proud of the girls. It’s the furthest a NTC team has ever gone through a season, and hopefully now we can go on and win the whole thing,” the midfielder said post-match.
“We showed grit and determination and left 100% out there tonight. We just didn’t want to let them score, especially after we got the goal in extra time, and we were desperate not to give them a sniff. It’s brilliant to be a part of these games. As NTC, we aren’t always used to playing in finals so it’s really exciting. These intense games are just what we need. The curriculum we’re learning under our coaches Ben (Anderton) and Fernando (Barreiro) is definitely working and we continue to strive towards bigger and better things.”
“We will probably take a closer look at how they play leading up to the game, but we just want to come out, give 100%, at our end and play our game. Obviously though, you need to adjust slightly to each opposition, especially with RedStar and their elite attackers. It’s my first final. I’m sure that will sink it a little bit more after the music stops in the changing room and I get home. But we can’t let the nerves and excitement distract us from what we want to achieve this weekend, and we will give it our absolute best.”
In the NPLW WA under 21 Top Four Cup Final will also see Hyundai NTC and Perth RedStar meet at 12.15pm. The NTC pipped RedStar in a thrilling title race on goal difference, and it is the second time in a week that the pair meet each other, following NTC’s 2-0 win in last Saturday’s major semi-final, while RedStar advanced to the final with a last-gasp 4-3 preliminary final win over Perth SC on Wednesday night.
BIRIGHITTI FACES SPELL ON SIDELINES
Dundee United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti faces “a few weeks” on the sidelines following a hamstring injury. The 31-year old is facing a spell of rehabilitation following a strain packed up on the eve of last week’s 2-1 victory against Livingston.
“It was a hamstring injury,” confirmed interim head coach Liam Fox. “Mark opened it up the day before we played Livingston. It was pretty innocuous — he just stretched a bit too much and felt the hamstring. He will be okay. These Aussies are tough lads! Don’t worry about that.”
“Mark was out on the grass on Tuesday but is still a good few weeks away. He is desperate to get back. Injuries are part-and-parcel of the game and Mark is experienced enough to know that. His family are over in Scotland now, he is settled in a new house and he’ll come back when he is ready and — I’m sure — be pushing for that place again.”
Birighitti has has endured a testing start to his Tangerines career. The shot-stopper shipped 11 goals in two games against AZ Alkmaar and Hearts, subsequently losing his place between the sticks to Carljohan Eriksson, who was named in the SPFL team of the week following his heroics at Motherwell.
AUSTRALIA RAMP UP BID TO SECURE CIRCATI
Australia’s hopes of leap-frogging Italy to win the international allegiance of Parma’s dual nationality defender Alessandro Circati have received a boost, with the highly-touted teenager expected to join a Young Socceroos European camp later this month.
Circati - who has already made two appearances for the Serie B side this season - made his debut for the Azzurri U-19s in April. It was feared he might have prematurely shut the door on the green and gold, despite spending almost his entire life in Perth.
However, if Parma agree to release Circati during the international break later this month it’s likely he’ll link up with coach Trevor Morgan’s side for a three-game tournament in Spain involving Chile, Morocco and England.
There’s also the lure of a possible Socceroos future for the former Perth SC and Perth Glory junior, with his breakthrough at Parma enticing Australia assistant Rene Meulensteen to Italy last weekend where he watched the young centre-back put in a 90-minute shift against Genoa.
Meulensteen was impressed by Circati’s composure and maturity beyond his tender years. “He’s an up-and-coming boy who’s on the radar of not only the Under-20s and U-23s but also the Socceroos,” Meulensteen told ftbl.com.au
“He’s somebody we want to keep tabs on. He’s very mature for his age in the way he plays and is making headway in a strong league. He’s got a lot going for him and is definitely one to watch for the future.”
“I don’t think he’s been tied to either us or Italy yet, so it’s more than worthwhile for us to follow it up and see where’s he’s at. He looks confident in everything he does and there’s no doubt he has a lot of promise.”
Father Gianfranco Circati, himself a former professional in Italy, revealed that Alessandro turned down the chance to play for Italy at the European Under-19 Championship in June in order to focus on Parma.
“I think the Italian technical director was a bit shocked,” Gianfranco said. “But Alessandro makes his own decisions and we support him.” Circati is not tied to either nation until he makes a senior international in a FIFA recognised tournament.
VICTORY SIGNS TEMPLEMAN
Melbourne Victory is pleased to announce the signing of goalkeeper Miranda Templeman for the 2022/23 A-League season. The teenager is widely regarded as one of the Australia’s best up and coming talents, impressing at youth international level as well as domestically.
Templeman represented Australia at the Under-20 World Cup in August and move to Melbourne after playing the recent season with Adelaide United. She is now looking forward to joining the A-League Women’s Champions in their side’s quest for further silverware.
“It’s an honour to be joining Melbourne Victory and working alongside the players and staff who have created an incredible culture for everyone in the squad,” Templeman said. “I’ve come to the Club to test myself every day and the only way I can do that is to give it my all and contribute to the team in every match and every session.”
Victory coach Jeff Hopkins says Templeman has an incredible opportunity to continue to develop and push for first team experience with his team. “We’re incredibly pleased to have a talent like Miranda join the squad for the upcoming season and can’t wait to see what she can bring to the squad,” Hopkins said.
“She has been outstanding at youth international level and we’re excited to see her develop as a senior goalkeeper in the A-League Womens.” Templeman is the Victory’s second new signing of the 2022/23 pre-season, joining Jessika Nash and the re-signing of Tiffany Eliadis.
YOUNG SOCCEROO DUNCAN JOINS GLORY ON SEASON-LONG LOAN
Perth Glory have confirmed that Young Socceroos central midfielder Zach Duncan has joined the club on a season-long loan from Danish Superliga side AGF. The 22-year old made 27 appearances for AGF across all competitions last season having previously played inthe A-League with Brisbane Roar.
“Zac is a player that has a lot of positive attributes which will enhance our team with and without the ball," said Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich. "He is a natural ball-winner and has the technical ability to match. I’m looking forward to seeing him shine back in the A-League and am very excited to play a part in his development as a player and a person."
Sydney-born Duncan played his junior football at Marconi Stallions, Sydney Olympic and the Football New South Wales National Training Centre. He was later part of the youth set-up at both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers. But it was following a 2018 move to Brisbane Roar that he really rose to prominence.
At Brisbane, Duncan captained the club’s youth team to the Y-League Championship before making his A-League debut in March 2019. He was snapped up by AGF soon after breaking into the Brisbane first team and, to cap a memorable 2019, earned his first Young Socceroos cap in November. Duncan made his Superliga debut in August 2019 against Lyngby BK.
HEALING STUNNER SENDS REDSTAR INTO TOP FOUR CUP FINAL
A stunning strike from Perth RedStar skipper Ellis Healing, has moved them into the Top Four Cup Final after a hard fought 3-2 win against local rivals Sorrento in the Preliminary Final at the RedStar Arena on Tuesday evening. An early own goal from Mark Barnett set the hosts on their way, but Gustavo Giron-Marulanda levelled for Sorrento moments, and when Chris Jackson put the Gulls ahead on the hour, it looked like they would continue their dominance in the recent meetings this season. But the league’s top scorer Daryl Nicol levelled, before Healing’s long-range shot moved them into the end of season showpiece against Champions Floreat Athena at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday.
“Easily one of the toughest games of the season and no surprise given Sorrento’s form coming into the game, plus with it being a derby and a semi-final,” RedStar coach Callum Salmon explained. “Sorrento have some top-quality players, and the intensity throughout the game was high and both teams made it an entertaining game. Very proud of our group, we’ve been excellent all year and a huge improvement on last season. Ellis was on fire last night, and each player gave huge performances. Daryl scores again, what a season he has had. Chok electric throughout and happy for the team to make the final and have one last crack at Floreat for this season. We’ll throw everything at them and I’m sure it’ll be a quality game.”
The hosts were ahead on seven minutes, Nick Walsh sent Healing down the left, he got to the bye-line and his low cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Barnett. But three minutes later the Gulls levelled, Jackson and Giron-Marulanda combined, the latter firing low past Riley Stephenson. They went close to the lead moments later, Jackson’s speculative shot almost caught the RedStar custodian out at his near post, but he managed to bundle the ball behind.
Andy Higgins then saw his shot from the edge of the box flash wide, as the chances came at both ends. Joel Driscoll then got down well to deny Higgins again on 20 minutes, after good work on the left by Nicol, before. Jackson’s shot on the run flashed wide on the half hour. Then Stevenson saved well to thwart Giron-Marulanda’s close-range header, from Ollie Annis’ corner, but it was the hosts who ended the half well, forcing a number of corners. Driscoll saved well to deny Sami Riak, before Higgins’ snap shot from the edge of the box flashed wide, but it was all to play for at half time.
Sorrento went close early in the second half, Barnett’s header was straight at Stephenson, but RedStar hit back, with Chok Dau’s curling effort flashing inches wide of the post. But on 58 minutes it was the Gulls who hit the front, Healing saw his shot charged down by Byungatae Ahn, and Tim Hill’s pass sent Jackson on a quick counter attack, and the striker raced towards goal, but took his shot early, finding the bottom corner of the net. They went looking for a third, but Dean Cummings’ long-range shot was straight at Stephenson, but the hosts weren’t finished.
Healing’s long-range free kick deflected just wide of the post on 64 minutes, and from the resulting corner they restored parity. Higgins’ initial set piece was played back to him, and his curing cross from the right was headed by Nicol, his 32nd goal of a superb season for the Scottish striker. Then six minutes later the hosts regained the lead, Riak and Dau combined to find Healing, who cut inside his marker, before his long-range shot flew into the top corner of the net giving Driscoll no chance. Sorrento lifted the tempo and Cummings headed straight at Stephenson, before Giron Marulanda’s shot on the turn was deflected just over the top.
The Gulls striker went close again two minutes from time, but the Colombians shot was well blocked by Ryan Lowry. Jackson then saw a header punched clear by Stephenson, as Sorrento pressed for the equaliser, and RedStar was defending deep. Sorrento had one last chance deep into stoppage time, Hill’s ball into the box was flicked on by Jackson, Stephenson punch went straight back to the striker, whose shot was cleared off the line by Lowry, and in the goalmouth scramble Jackson went down after a challenge by Declan Hughes, the Gulls convinced it was a penalty, but referee Tom Glavovic was well placed and waved away their protests, the hosts hanging on to move into Saturday’s Top Four Cup Final.
Perth RedStar - GK Riley STEPHENSON, 2 Sami RIAK, 3 Blair GOVAN, 4 Declan HUGHES, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 8 Tom HOUGH (19 Ryan FINNIE 90+2’), 9 Daryl NICOL (15 Kye MURRAY 71’), 10 Andy HIGGINS, 12 Nick WALSH (11 Oscar MALFIORE 76’), 14 Chok DAU, 16 Ellis HEALING (c) - Subs: RGK Joe POLLARD, 38 Theodore LEEMING
Sorrento – GK Joel DRISCOLL, 2 Byungatae AHN, 5 Mark BARNETT, 9 Chris JACKSON, 10 Ollie ANNIS (15 Zach DABBS 76’), 11 Tim HILL, 14 Joe TWEATS, 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS (c) (19 Jaxon TEMATA 86’), 18 Jordan BROWN (8 Scott WITSCHGE 76’), 21 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA – Subs: RGK Liam HATTERSLEY, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 7 Alex MORGAN – Referee: Tom GLAVOVIC – Assistants; Julian SERRA, Benjamin KAISER
NPL-WA WOMEN'S TOP FOUR CUP SEMI FINALS - REVIEW
The NPLW WA Top Four Cup kicked off on Friday evening with the Hyundai NTC Women beating Fremantle City 2-0 at Wauhop Park. “We are still a work in progress, and it was good to play the same team this week, as it gave Ben and I the opportunity to go on to the training ground and work on a few things,” NTC assistant Coach Fernando Barreiro explained. “Ben (Anderton) is meticulous with his preparation for games, and it’s been a privilege to work with him this season, and we did some analysis from the previous game, and tweaked the team a little, and it worked for us, the girls put in a great performance, and the intensity was super high and the girls rose to the occasion.”
“I thought Lily (Bailey) was crucial for us tonight, we are a development team, and always play out from the back, and she is good with her feet, but is also a good shot stopper and she showed that tonight, and what can I say about Tanika (Lala). The second top goalscorer in the league, and the kid works super hard at training, and Ben and I believe in her, and that has shown in recent game, her confidence is high and she has taken on board all what we are trying to teach her on the training track. I believe the skies the limit for the Kalgoorlie girl, she is a quality person, who listens and wants to learn.
“Tonight, I thought first half our ball retention was good, but we had to make a few changes after half time, and it threw the chemistry out a little, but all credit to Fremantle, they came out and put us under pressure, but it’s a learning curve for us, and although we won the game, while go back and look over the video, and see where we can improve for Tuesday against Perth SC.”
There was plenty of controversy going into the game, but the game went ahead and the hosts went close to the opener on four minutes, Jess Darmago shot was saved by Lily Bailey, while Darmago follow up shot was blocked by the NTC custodian, and skipper Grace Johnston cleared the ball off the line. The NTC hit back 13 minutes later, Tanika Lala made space down the right, her cross was knocked goalward by Fremantle’s Matilda Boyle, but Dayle Schroeder caught the rebound under pressure from Anna Powell. But the visitors were ahead on 24 minutes, Lala shot stung the palms of Schroeder, the rebound fell to Ischia Brooking. whose shot deflected off Natarsha Smith and looped into the net.
Fremantle looked to hit back immediately and Boyle’s through ball sent Jamie-Lee Gale clear, but Bailey was out quick to clear the danger, and moments later Schroeder saved low from Lala’s long-range shot. Fremantle were on the front foot after the break, and after skipper Natasha Rigby made space out wide, here low cross fired over the top by Mikayla Lyons. With Fremantle pushing forward looking for the equaliser NTC striker Lala almost added a second, but a great last-ditch tackle from Laura Waltman denied the youngster. Bailey then produced a smart save to deny Gale’s long-range shot
The game was now open with chances at both ends, first NTC’s Ava Richards couldn’t find the target from close-range, while NTC defender Jenna Harnwell cleared Kate Nolan’s shot off the line. But in stoppage time the NTC secured their place in the Top Four Cup Final, the lively Lala raced at the Fremantle defence, cut inside her marker and finished past Schroeder, and eliminate Fremantle from the competition.
The second semi-final saw Champions Perth RedStar move into the Final, after a 1-0 win against Perth SC at the Redstar Arena on Sunday afternoon. “Even though we have had a very successful season, the girls have remained humble and have continued to focus on one game at a time. We knew going into the semi that it would be a tough game against strong opponents,” RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena explained. “When you’re going up against the second strongest defensive record in the league, you know it’s not going to be easy to score. The girls just had to be patient and look for the opportunity to present itself. I believe we dominated and took advantage of the opportunities as they arose, with one crossing the line. We look forward to watching Wednesday night’s game to see who will be joining us in the final on Saturday.
The games between the two sides this season have been tight, and this one was no different. Both sides tussled for the ascendency in the first half, but clear-cut chances were few and far between. The best for the hosts went to Sarah Carroll, whose goalbound shot was blocked, while Perth’s Liana Cook saw her effort flash over the top. But RedStar lifted the tempo after the break and the lively Olivia Wood found Carroll, but the striker couldn’t keep her effort down. Carroll was a real handful and she was denied the opener after a great save from Azzurri custodian Rebecca Bennett.
But just before the hour mark, the hosts found the breakthrough, Perth gave the ball away in the middle of the park, and Larissa Walsh raced goalward, before slipping the ball to Bennett, who fired home via the crossbar. The visitors pressed late looking for the equaliser, and Faye Phillps’ shot was blocked by some desperate RedStar defending, while Caitlin Doeglas’ deflected shot bouncing agonizingly over the bar with Redstar keeper Maya Diederichsen well beaten. They had one last chance to level late, but Doeglas’ corner was headed inches over the top by Abbey Meakins. Perth will now play Hyundai NTC for the chance to meet RedStar in next weekend’s Final.
After the game, Perth Coach Peter Rakic thought they had not performed their best on the day. "We simply weren't good enough today, and I'm disappointed in the way we performed. For a game of such high stakes with the opportunity to go straight into the final, we failed to capitalise on this and we looked tired from the first whistle,” he said post-match. “I addressed the position we were in at half time by stating that even though we were not at our best, we were still in the match, yet we had to be weary of our mistakes and unfortunately it was a mistake that cost us the game. It's hard to accept at times when football does that to you, but we have to hold ourselves accountable in these instances.
“I don't think you can afford to have an 'off' day in finals football and most certainly not against Redstar. I don't really believe they were that great either, they managed to push us into our half more times than we would have liked but I don't feel as though they posed a huge threat to our goal, Beck was called into action a couple times and nothing more than what we would usually expect. The most important thing now is to recover and prepare for Wednesday's fixture against NTC which is going to be a proper battle for the final spot. Everything is on the line here and I'll be expecting a massive response."
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND NINETEEN REVIEW
Kelmscott Roos winning run has been extended to eight games, after a 3-0 win against East Perth in our ‘Match of the Round’ at Frye Park. “What a win, the game was amazing to be a part of, it was filled with emotion and hunger from our boys. Everybody played there part yesterday and got some serious rewards from it,” Kelmscott keeper Taylor Warwick explained. “Sergio's goals have been completed and we finally got the win over East Perth we have been craving. Credit to East Perth, who were physical and good on the ball, but we were just too good defensively for them to cause us many problems. That’s eight wins in a row and I believe that we are unstoppable at the moment, we go into games with a real sense of confidence and desire to get the best results. Super proud of the boys and finally Kelmscott’s name is getting thrown in with the league big names.”
It was a tight opening, with both sides having chances, but it was Kelmscott who found the opener seven minutes from half time. Some great work by Lemeo Wordu down the right, he eased past three East Perth defenders, before cutting the ball back to Phatehate Kiazolu, who found Ishmael Greywood who turned his marker and finished clinically. East Perth was on the front foot early in the second half, but they couldn’t turn their pressure into goals, But the hosts doubled their lead nine minutes from time, Bradley Kazich raced on to a long goal kick from Warwick, and raced into goal and finished low. They wrapped up the points eight minutes later, Greywood finding space down the right, before crossing to Wordu, who made mistake.
Jaguar extended their lead at the top of the table to five points, after a hard fought 2-1 win against Quinns at the Herb Graham Recreation Centre. “Relieved that we could hold on to get the win yesterday. Quinns put up a good fight and had quite a few chances to equalise toward the end,” Jags keeper Michael Dudek explained. “As usual, their keeper is very hard to beat and meant that we weren't able to get an extra goal to take the pressure off. We'll take it though, and it sets us up for a huge game against East Perth this week. If we win, and a couple other results go our way, we could have promotion confirmed by 5pm that day. If we lose, the pressure comes right back on us, so it really is a season defining game and we need to be up for it.”
Jags found made a great start and were ahead on nine minutes, Mabor Thomas found himself on the edge of the box, and his powerful shot on the turn took a deflection and went past the keeper, who was wrong-footed. But Quinns hit back and Ryan McCready levelled two minutes later, his ninth goal of the season. But on the hour, Jags won it. Ayella Joseph made space down the flank, and his cross to the back post was met by Magai Deng with a powerful header into an empty net.
Maddington White City missed the opportunity to close the gap on the leaders, after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Queens Park at Coker Park. Maddington were ahead early, Jose Zuniga converting from the spot. But the hosts levelled on 35 minutes, with skipper Justine Kaupa on target. The hosts then hit the front four minutes later, Alexander Fazekas racing clear and lobbing the on-coming keeper. But two minutes before half time Samir Ramos restored parity for the hosts. Both sides had chances after the break but neither could find the winner.
Kwinana United also lost ground, after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Joondalup United at Kelly Park. "It was another good result for us against one of the best and most consistent teams in the league. We struggled to get going in the first half and Kwinana deservedly had their noses in front but we made a tactical adjustment at half time that swung the momentum in our direction,” Joondalup coach Neil Sherwin explained. “We scored a nice goal and had a couple of good chances to win the game but a point is acceptable on the road. We're back at home this weekend and will be targeting three points to give us a chance of staying up."
Kwinana found the opener on the half hour, Mustafa Mkanza firing home from the edge of the box. But Joondalup equalised just after the hour mark, Nader Khayat played a lofted pass in behind the Kwinana defence and Adam Taylor controlled the ball and took it around the goalkeeper with his first touch before slotting into an empty net. Both sides had chances to win it late, but it ended 1-1. “I thought we dominated the first half really, but Joondalup came at us more in the second half, which we knew would happen but just didn’t deal with one moment and they scored,” Kwinana coach Mark Purvis said. “I think their pressure deserved something, but the linesman flagged for offside and was overruled by the ref. Sometime when you’re under pressure you need a decision like that to go for you. After that, things evened out again and both teams had chances. We are disappointed not to get the win but we will pick ourselves up and go again next week.”
Wembley Downs moved six points clear of the drop zone, after a 4-2 win against North Perth United at Woodville Reserve. “This win has been coming. We’ve been playing so well as many of the other teams have been noting but just couldn’t get a result,” Wembley coach Jeff Cornez explained. “Really proud of our resilience but the season isn’t over yet, we need to focus on Emerald and be prepared for another tough game.” Wembley were ahead on 22 minutes, when Matt Deveraux was sent clear and a last-ditch tackle diverted the ball into the path of Luke Thistlethwaite who finished well.
But the hosts levelled early in the second half Nickolas Bailey scoring, but Wembley hit back moments later, a free kick was whipped in by David Marshall and the ball was half cleared to Jack Mellor who volleyed home from six meters. They added a third on 54 minutes, training ground set-piece found Cam Chambers rising highest to power a header home from a Kyle Thistlethwaite corner. But United weren’t finished and James Rushton-Woods reduced the margin 12 minutes from time from the spot, but deep into stoppage time Wembley sealed the points. Harry Browne who broke on a counter attack, beating two players and side foot past the onrushing keeper.
In the final game Peel United have won on the road for the fourth time this season, after beating Emerald 2-1 at Fraser Park Reserve. The first half ended scoreless, but both sides had opportunities to convert, but early in the second half Peel hit the front. A quick counter attack allowed Mitchell Kelman to break the lines, and fire home a clinical finish. They doubled their lead 13 minutes from time, Jack Richardson converting with a lovely first touch and finishing from just outside the box. Emerald pulled one back with 10 minutes to go, Ryan Murray on target, and it set up a tense finish, but Peel held firm to take the points.
GLORY PLAYERS GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
Perth Glory players have put the club’s homeless crisis behind them to concentrate on their build-up to the new A-League season. Glory have been kicked out of Perth Oval for their first nine home games, unable to return home until March because of delays to the stadium redevelopment for next year’s Women’s World Cup.
If a temporary local ground is not found they may have to move to the eastern states for 19 consecutive games. With five weeks before Glory kick-off their 2022/23 A-league campaign away to Western Sydney Wanderers, Zadkovich said the fixture fiasco was not an issue.
“It’s out of our control and not worth spending mental, physical and emotional energy on,” Zadkovich commented. “It’s life, it’s football and I keep reminding the boys there’s plenty of context for what tough times really look like for us. We’ll play wherever and we’ll go about our business as best we can.”
Zadkovich said the mid-week friendly with Inglewood United, which ended in a scoreless draw, had been a good test of new defensive structures and of breaking down a solid opposition backline. “It was one of those games that are tricky because, to be honest, the pitch was pretty ordinary,” he said.
“It was a real leveller and they dropped into a deep 5-3-2 block. We had to try and break it down on a pitch where you can’t move the ball so quick. It was a perfect challenge for us. We wanted to be resolute and not give too much away. We did that really well.”
“They set up to counter with some pacey guys waiting for us to commit numbers that posed a nice defensive problem. The boys handled themselves well staying level-headed to go about their business… I was pleased with some aspects but it highlighted some areas that need refinement… We got what we wanted out of
FLOREAT PRODUCE ANOTHER LATESHOW
Floreat Athena produced another dramatic finish, with Robert Petkov scoring a stoppage time winner in the Top Four Major Semi-Final to beat Perth RedStar 2-1 at E&D Litis Stadium, and move into next week’s Top Four Cup Final. The league top goalscorer Daryl Nicol had given the visitors the lead early, but last week’s title winner Bayley Brown-Montgomery levelled before half time, before Petkov won it late.
“We are all buzzing to continue on from last week and make the final,” Petkov said. “We knew RedStar would come out so we had to make sure we were up for it and in all honestly, we didn’t play very well especially after a slow start but a great solo goal from Bailey brought us at 1-1 leading into half time. RedStar are a quality side and our games with them have been very close but we also know if we continue to the end, we can score a late winner and luckily enough it came for us.”
The visitors went close early, Andy Higgins’ long-range shot was deflected wide, and from the resulting corner Blair Govan header at the back post was wide. Floreat hit back and on 21 minutes Laat Mathiang’s free kick was headed back across goal by Chris Saldaris, but Phil Arnold’s header was saved by Riley Stephenson. But sixty seconds later it was the RedStar’s who took the lead. Scottish defender Ryan Finnie’s cross from the right was flicked towards goal by Nicol, Higgins played the ball back to Nicol, and the striker made no mistake from close-range.
But ten minutes later the hosts found the equaliser, Jesse Fuller sent Brown-Montgomery down the left, and he held off his marker, and his mazy run into the box ended with a shot, which crashed off the crossbar and down over the line. Chok Dau then stung the palms of Jason Saldaris as RedStar looked to regain their lead, but at the break it was level and all to play for after half time.
RedStar went close again early in the second half, Higgins’ free kick picked out Govan at the back post, but his header was deflected wide. The former Floreat defender went close again on the hour, Higgins’ corner found him in the box, but his header was saved low by Saldaris. Higgins’ curling free kick was straight at the Floreat custodian five minutes later, as the RedStar’s looked to turn their dominance into goals. Sami Riak then saw his goalbound effort blocked by Chris Saldaris, after he was picked out by Dau’ pass, but they couldn’t find the second goal.
The hosts had ridden their luck, but they almost snatched the lead on 76 minutes, Ludovic Boi’s free kick picked out Brown-Montgomery, but his header was straight at Stephenson. Moments later Jawad Rezai shot was saved low by Stephenson, and it was the hosts who were finishing the game the better, and three minutes into stoppage time they found the winner. A long ball from Sean McManus wasn’t dealt with by the RedStar defence, and Petkov pounced to fire home.
“Obviously we are buzzing with the result, however, we do realize we never really got going and it wasn’t our best performance,” Floreat defender Dennis Galan said. “But credit to Perth Redstar, they made it difficult for us and had a lot of possession and made it hard for us to try and play our game. In saying that, even on our worse day, it’s good to know we can still compete with the top teams and give ourselves a chance of winning games. We have a winning mentality within the squad and we don’t ever give up to the final whistle, which we proved again on Saturday. The club is delighted to be in a final with a chance to win another trophy and make it a treble. It would be the cherry on top of what has already been an unbelievable season from the club and hopefully we can deliver come game day.”
In the other games at the venue Champions Perth Glory moved into the 18’s Top Four Cup Final, after a 4-2 win against Perth SC. Daniel Adesina gave Glory the lead early from the spot, but Toby Snook levelled for Perth on the half hour. Corey Sutherland gave Glory the lead at the break, before Jonathon Leithead on the hour. Luca Morelli reduced the margin for the Azzurri, but a second from Adesina secured the win for the Glory. In the second game, Perth Glory 20s moved into the final with 3-1 win, also against Perth SC. Christian Belladonna, Daniel Bennie and Joel Anasmo gave Glory a three-goal lead at the break, and Daniel Zivkovic scored a late consolation goal for Perth SC.
Floreat Athena - GK Jason SALDARIS, 6 Jesse FULLER, 8 Sean MCMANUS, 9 Robert PETKOV, 11 Dennis GALAN, 12 Liam MURRAY (5 Ethan MOM 46’), 15 Chris SALDARIS, 16 Bayley BROWN-MONTGOMERY, 18 Phil ARNOLD, 20 A PALMER, 21 Laat MATHIANG (14 Ludovic BOI 67’) (19 Mohammed AL-ZAIDY 82’) – Subs not used: RGK Gianluca DE FELICE, 13 Filip MINIC, 17 Jawad REZAI
Perth RedStar - GK Riley STEPHENSON, 3 Blair GOVAN, 4 Declan HUGHES, 5 Ryan LOWRY, 9 Daryl NICOL, 10 Andy HIGGINS, 12 Nick WALSH, Chok DAU, 16 Ellis HEALING (c), 18 Sami RIAK, 19 Ryan FINNIE – Subs not used: RGK Sam POLLARD, 8 Tom HOUGH, 11 Oscar MALFIORE, 15 Kye MURRAY, 25 Sean O’CONNOR, 31 Oliver LEEMING, 38 Theodore LEEMING - Referee: Steven GREGORY, Assistants: Albert MUYEMBE, James KNOWLSON
SORRENTO TOO STRONG FOR STIRLING
Sorrento moved into the Top Four Cup Preliminary Final after a 2-0 win against Stirling Macedonia in the Minor Semi-Final at Macedonia Park. Jordan Brown gave the Gulls the lead at half time, before substitute Scott Witschge scored in stoppage time to seal a second win at the venue in two weeks, and set up a clash with local rivals Perth RedStar at the RedStar Arena on Tuesday evening. “An outstanding defensive display from our lads gave us the opportunity to progress to the next round,” Sorrento coach Trevor Morgan said.
“When everything you work at comes together it is very pleasing, we were put under immense pressure as Stirling tried to get back in the game but everyone did their jobs individually and got back into a good shape that was hard to break down and handled all that was thrown at us. The players deserve all the credit for putting in some great displays recently and our resolve will be tested again on Tuesday when we have to be at our best again to progress to the Final.”
The visitors, who won at the same venue last week in the final game of the regular season, went close in this one, Gustavo Giron-Marulanda saw his shot from the edge of the box saved low by James Bosdet. But the hosts hit back on eight minutes, Calvin Whitney’s shot on the run was well saved by Patrick Hughes, who grabbed the rebound with Michael Domfeh ready to pounce. Stirling were in again two minutes later, Kai Matthews ball sent Domfeh in on goal, but some desperate defending from Mark Barnett and Byungatae Ahn, blocked the striker’s effort.
Bosdet then produced a fingertip save to deny Giron-Marulanda’s free kick on 20 minutes, but from the resulting corner Sorrento found the opener. Tim Hill curled the corner to the back post and it was headed back across goal by Dean Cummings, and Jordan Brown headed home from close-range. Stirling were struggling to break down a tight Sorrento defence well marshalled by Barnett and Ryan McLaughlin, and at the break the Gulls lead it 1-0.
Stirling lifted the tempo after half time, and Asher Nelson found Alex Tanevski early, but his shot was straight at Hughes, before McLaughlin clears Nelson’s shot off the line moments later. Sorrento were defending really well as the hosts pressed for the equaliser, but every time the hosts had a shot it was blocked, by a very disciplined Sorrento backline. Sorrento almost added a second five minutes from time after a quick counter attack, but Bosdet producing a great reflex save to thwart Scott Witschge.
But Stirling’s problem all season is scoring goals, and they couldn’t find one to get back into this one, and in the first minute of stoppage time Sorrento sealed the win. Witschge charged down Bosdet’s clearance, and his shot from a tight angle was pushed up in the air by the Stirling custodian and the ball bounced into an unguarded net, much to the pleasure of the Sorrento travelling supporters. “They had a lot more of the ball but just struggled in the final third, while we defended excellently and were solid throughout the game,” Sorrento’s Ollie Annis explained. “We had a few chances to kill the game off which Scotty did late on. we have built some good momentum up and hopefully we can take it into Tuesday night.”
In the other games at the venue a goal 14 minutes from time from Bayswater City 18’s Celeston Fuller, gave them a 1-0 win against Sorrento, while the Gulls were reduced to ten men late, with Anton Vinciguerra receiving a second yellow card. Meanwhile in the second game, Perth Redstar under 20s beat Sorrento 3-1. RedStar raced to a 3-0 first half lead, with goals from Louis Hadfield, Josh Kingston and an own goal from Jesse Owuor. Alessio Fazzari pulled one back in the second half for the Gulls but it was too little too late.
Stirling Macedonia – GK James BOSDET, 2 Kai MATTHEWS (12 Nikola TALIMDZIOSKI 76’), 3 Hristijan JANKULOSKI, 5 Luke PALMATEER, 6 Dejan SPASESKI (c), 7 Asher NELSON, 9 Michael DOMFEH (11 Amir AJAN 66’), 10 Sam WYNNE, 13 Calvin WHITNEY, 16 Kevin GALLO, 17 Alex TANEVSKI – Subs: RGK Luke GARAS, 8 Tristan COLLI
Sorrento – GK Patrick HUGHES, 2 Byungatae AHN, 5 Mark BARNETT, 10 Ollie ANNIS, 11 Time HILL (c), 14 Joe TWEATS (19 Jaxon TEMATA 90’), 15 Zach DABBS (8 Scott WITSCHGE 76’), 16 Ryan MCLAUGHLIN, 17 Dean CUMMINGS, 18 Jordan BROWN, 21 Gustavo GIRON-MARULANDA – Subs: RGK Joel DRISCOLL, 4 Shaun KILKELLY, 6 Jesse OWUOR, 7 Alex MORGAN – Referee: David BRUCE – Assistants; Matthew SOUTHERN, James WEBB
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY TWO - REVIEW
Olympic Kingsway were crowned the 2022 State League Division One Champions, receiving their trophy in the final game of the season, the Green Machine finishing their season unbeaten at home and their narrow 1-0 win against UWA Nedlands saw the visitors drop into the relegation playoff zone, where they will play Kingsley Westside over two-legs, while Olympic host Fremantle City in the Top Four Cup Semi-Final on Wednesday evening at Kingsway Reserve.
“We didn’t play the best yesterday, I think you could see everyone was thinking about the celebration more than the match, it wasn’t our best performance but happy to get a clean sheet and a win to keep our home record and goals against still going,” Olympic skipper Shane Cassidy explained. “UWA put up a massive fight and had the best chances in the first half we were lucky to go in at the break 0-0. We made some changes and lifted our performance for the second half and played a lot better and just did enough to get the job done, all the best to UWA in the playoffs if they play the same as yesterday, I’m sure they will be fine.”
The visitors needed a win and Subiaco to lose to avoid the play-off, and they held firm for most of the game, but the hosts won it 12 minutes from time. Daniel Harrison found Calum O’Connell down the left, he slipped Michael Zimarino in on goal and the striker beat keeper Rocco Liberti to the ball and fired low into the net. “Very disappointing outcome, we pushed them hard especially in the first half and fought like our season was on the line but in the end, they were too strong,” UWA skipper Luke Randazzo said. “With Subiaco upsetting Knights it meant the result was just about determined anyway. We now scrap in a playoffs series to retain Division One status for 2023.”
Subiaco avoided the play-off spot after a 2-1 win against Western Knights at Nash Field. Going into the game they had to equal or better the result of UWA, and they were ahead on 17 minutes Emmanuel Langoya’s corner picked out Kevin Beattie at the back post, his header crashed off the crossbar and in the goalmouth scramble Vasco da Silva fired home. But the Knights levelled three minutes into the second half with Dean Hurley converting from the spot. But Subiaco earnt the three points, with a penalty of their own three minutes later, skipper Elliot Ireland converting. “What a win and great way to end the season, I couldn’t be prouder of the lads, it wasn’t pretty by any means but we did what was needed,” Ireland said. “Like I said before the game, it’s never easy to go to Knights and get any points so to go there and win makes it all that much better, especially after such a tough season for us.”
With results elsewhere going their way Mandurah City took out the runners-up spot, after a hard fought 4-2 win against Dianella White Eagles on Friday at Genesiscare Stadium. “Excellent win, we had spells in the game where we played some of our best football this season,” Mandurah coach John Baird said. “We’re motivated to finish on a high and we’re excited to host Western Knights this week in the Top Four Cup.”
The host found the opener on 17 minutes, a ball into the box by Baird was chested down by Joe O’Brien, and Hamish van Dieken swept the ball home. It was 2-0 on the half hour, Leigh Griffiths played the ball out to Murray Mackintosh on the right, and his cross was finished via the crossbar by the alert O’Brien. But the visitors were back in the game moments later, a ball into the box from Sebastian Stenqvist picked out Darko Ristoski, and with the Mandurah defence looking for the offside flag, that never came, he headed across goal and Daniel Mackenzie found the bottom corner of the net from five meters.
Dianella were level in the shadows of half time, Kristian Despotovski’s curling effort was well saved by Alfie Brincat, but Vladimir Olujic was quickest to the rebound to score. But the hosts regained their lead two minutes into the second half, there looked little danger when a long ball was sent over the top, but the ball didn’t go into the penalty area and O’Brien pinched the ball off keeper Peter Pilkadaris and crossed to Griffiths, who made no mistake from close-range.
They added a fourth 13 minutes from time, Baird sending O’Brien down the left, and the league’s top goalscorer cut inside his marker and finished clinically for his 22nd goal of the season. Both sides were reduced to ten men late, first Dianella midfielder Ristoski was given a second yellow card by referee David Avison, for backchat, while Mandurah player/coach Baird also received a second yellow card for a tackle on Nathan Diaz. “It was good to end the season with a win and to move into the top four cup on good form,” Hamish van Dieken said. “We want to win the cup so it’s good to be going into it full of confidence. There were things we needed to do better against Dianella but we will reflect on them and make sure we are 100% for the finals.”
There was a six-goal thriller at Forrest Park, as Joondalup United and Murdoch University Melville fought out a 3-3 draw. “I thought a draw was a good representation on the game,” Joondalup skipper Scott Hoyle said. “Both teams had chances to win with both goalkeepers, keeping their teams in it, so a point each was a fair result in the end.” Adam Buckley gave the hosts the lead, but Feizal Zaw levelled, and gave them the lead from the spot at the break. Callum Stocks restored parity early in the second half, and Jude Baillie gave the host the lead on the hour. But five minutes from time the visitors secured a point, with Pat Sara scoring.
“Joondalup is always a hard place to go to, they are a solid team at their home ground with a few good results and they set up well and made it difficult for us to get the ball down, and weather and pitch conditions didn’t help either,” MUMFC keeper Tom Allan explained. “Second half we had a lot more of the ball with most joy through the middle but couldn’t find the net, and Joondalup defended well in numbers, a 3-3 was probably a fair result at the end of the day, but I’d say we were disappointed most to not come away with 3 points. Winning the Night Series and finishing fifth on the table has really shown the quality of the squad this first season in Division One. It’s a real positive that we are disappointed to not finish higher, but credit to Taki, Matt and the club for the endless support, pre-season can’t come fast enough.”
Rockingham City ended their season with a 4-2 win against Fremantle City at Hilton Park. “Really pleased to get the win after a tough result last weekend, the boys responded very well and it was one of our better all-round performances this season,” Rockingham coach Kris Donnell said. “The team have come a long way this season in such a short space of time, we are absolutely delighted to finish in the top six and looking forward to a good pre-season with the squad.” Riley van Dieken gave the hosts the lead early, but Shaun Mukwevho levelled. Roberto Soares gave Fremantle the lead at the break, but it was all downhill after that, with Taylor Carter levelling, before a Robbie Galvin brace secured the points for Rockingham.
In the final game Forrestfield United ended their season with a 3-2 win against already relegated Quinns at Crazy Domains Stadium, at Hartfield Park. “Very happy to end season with a win, and I thought we played some good attacking football especially in the second half,” Forrestfield coach Richard Abrams said. “Quinns didn’t make it easy for us as expected, however with the chances we had the scoreline could have been a lot more. We set out for a 6-8 finish and credit to the players and support staff for achieving that with a very little budget and securing a solid base for the 2023 season.” Tyler Holden gave the visitors the lead early, but Andy Harold levelled from the spot in the shadows of half time. Denzel Tshuma gave the hosts the lead early in the second half, but Holden restored parity for Quinns on the hour. But Harold converted a second penalty 14 minutes from time to secure the points.
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY TWO - REVIEW
Kingsley Westside secured the final State League Division Two play-off place, after a thrilling 4-3 win against Champions Gosnells City at Flinders Park. “The game was as I expected Gosnells came and played like the Champions they are and wanted to go out on a win,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “It wasn’t the best performance from us, but so proud of the way my boys found a way to keep going and get the win. When they were awarded a penalty in the last minute, I thought that was our season, but credit to the boys found a bit more to get the winner. Then having to wait four hours to see if we were in playoffs was a bit nerving but as I said during the week the pressure on Curtin to score so many goals would play a part and obviously it did in the end. So now we look forward to the playoffs against UWA in a week’s time.”
It was a great game to end the regular season, and it was the hosts who found the opener on 20 minutes, Paul Stewart firing home a free kick. But the visitors hit back with Darren Francis levelling five minutes later and Wade Farmer gave them the lead on the hour. But Kingsley hit back and levelled on 71 minutes, Jonny Hulme sent clear and finished clinically. The hosts regained the lead five minutes later, with Luke Doyle firing through a crowded penalty area, after Gosnells failed to clear their lines. But in the first minutes of stoppage time Gosnells found the equaliser Jamie Burns firing home from the spot. It looked season over for Kingsley, but deep into stoppage time they found the winner. A long throw found Hulme at the back post, and he finished low to set off wild celebrations from the home faithful.
Curtin University missed out on a spot in the play-offs on goal difference, after a 4-1 win against Ashfield at Edinburgh Oval on Saturday evening. Needing to win by five goals to pip Kingsley, Kieran Witt gave them a perfect start, scoring twice in the opening 23 minutes. But they couldn’t find anymore, and when Stephen Barnard scored for Ashfield from the spot 15 minutes from time, it looked all over. But an own goal from Kurtiss Allen-Nash and another from skipper Jeffrey Ledwith late, gave them hope but they fell two goals short.
Two teams who have qualified for the play-offs meet at the Swan Italian Club, on Francis Street, with visitors Carramar Shamrock Rovers beating Swan United 3-1. “Very happy with the result and it was a very competitive game considering we both technically had nothing to play for,” Rovers’ Ger Fitzgerald said. “We played very well especially in the second half and now have a week off before we play them twice again which will be two tough games.” All the scoring came late after half time, the visitors finding the opener seven minutes after the break, Rhodes Boyce heading home from close-range at the back post. It was 2-0 on 75 minutes, Daniel Pearce tapping in from close-range. Swan found a lifeline four minutes from time, with John Monterosso bagging his 20th goal of the season. They pressed for the equaliser late, but it was Rovers who found a third in stoppage time, Kieran Harrison’s free kick was headed home superbly by Fitzgerald.
Balga finished the season in sixth place, after a 5-1 win against relegated South West Phoenix at Princess Road Reserve. “We were on top for most of the game and could’ve had more than five,” Balga skipper Liam Kessel said. “But it was a good way to end a strong second half of the season.” The visitors opened the scoring early, with Luke Monks long-range shot flew home, his first goal of the season. Ben Wantee levelled from the spot on 20 minutes, before Weldu Tekeste added a second, also from the spot before half time. Elias Sobol scored into his own to increase the lead for the hosts, before Tekeste grabbed to more to complete his hat-trick.
Joondalup City and Morley-Windmills ended their season with a 2-2 draw at the Iluka Sports Complex. “With eight first team players out, our young lads stepped up and proved once again they can cut it at the next level, Darus Flomo (17) again getting minutes and putting in a shift along with several others from the U23s,” Joondalup coach Brad Haywood said. “A draw was probably a deserved results with both sides not finishing the chances to grab the win. Unfortunately, inconsistency in both our form and lineup has cost us at a crucial time in the season however the boys know we have a solid base to build upon for next season. I’m pleased we managed to break our goal drought and can put that behind us now.”
The home side were ahead on 14 minutes, a free kick from the left was turned home by Liam Peacock. It was 2-0 five minutes from half time, Hayden Lowe’s shot from distance was parried by the Morley keeper and Peacock was on hand to fire home the rebound. The visitors were back in the game early in the second half, with David Ninkovich scoring. Then nine minutes from time Morley found the equaliser, Ninkovich added a second to seal a point.
In the final game Canning City moved up a place to tenth, after a 5-0 win against Wanneroo City at Burrendah Reserve, saw them leapfrog their opponents. “The boys put in a good performance to cap of a really good last month for us and the club,” Canning keeper Alec Radonich said. “We knew Wanneroo would be a tough game and we went there knowing we had to be at our best to take the three points. All the boys played really well and we were rewarded with our best performance of the season, a great way to finish.” William Jacobsz was the hero, bagging a hat-trick, with others from Rowan Steed and Ethan Levitt.
NPL-WA ROUND TOP FOUR CUP SEMI FINALS - PREVIEW
After last week’s dramatic end to the regular season, the NPLM WA Top Four Cup kicks off this weekend, and Champions Floreat Athena will host runners up Perth RedStar in the first semifinal at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday afternoon. (3.00pm) Floreat almost handed the title to RedStar on Saturday, after giving away a two-goal lead at Armadale, but Bayley Brown-Montgomery’s stoppage time winner secured the club fifth Premier League title, and they go onto Saturday’s game after beating the RedStar twice 3-2 in the regular season.
First in round four at home, Chok Dau had put the RedStar’s ahead early, but goals from Nick Ambrogio and Brown-Montgomery gave the hosts the lead at the break. Daryl Nicol levelled early in the second half, but Robert Petkov won it for Floreat. They then produced a stunning late comeback in round 15 at the RedStar Arena. Ambrogio had given Floreat the lead early, but Blair Govan and Dau looked to have given RedStar’s the points as the game went into stoppage time, but in another dramatic finish, Ben Steele levelled, before Laat Mathiang won it with a penalty in the fifth minute of injury time to win it.
Floreat’s Sean McManus is still coming to terms with last week's dramatic win, but he said it was a day he will never forget. “Where do I start, what a game and what a feeling to lift the trophy after a hectic 90 minutes, it just shows the togetherness and quality we have throughout our team and to get a 91st minute winner yet again this season, this time to win the league proves that it was no fluke,” he said. “We don’t stop until the final whistle is blown and for Bayley to score the winner, we couldn’t be happier for him, he took his chance and proved a lot of people wrong.”
To win the league was special for McManus, after he broke his leg in the opening round, but his hard work and dedication paid off. “It was obviously a devastating one to take first game of the season and I was told I could be out for the season, but I worked as hard as I could to get back fit,” he explained. “As soon as it happened, I said I would be back for the Balcatta game exactly three months from the leg break and I did assist the winner in stoppage time. I started the night series playing striker scoring goals and finished the season playing right back with two clean sheets, so it was definitely different from my usual season, but when called on I did a job for the team and that’s the main thing getting the club to their first league trophy in 15 years.”
McManus said they haven’t finished yet, and he is looking to Saturday as they embark on winning another trophy. “Our main goal this year was to win the league, now we have done that our next goal is winning the Top Four Cup. The boys reset again on Tuesday night to go again and get our minds on winning another title, we are hoping we can do the treble this year,” he said. “Personally, for me this is the only trophy I haven’t won since being in Australia so would be nice to have a clean sweep on all the medals and trophies for the NPLWA competition.”,
RedStar midfielder Declan Hughes said it was a crazy day on Saturday, they thought they had won the league until the late goal for Floreat, but missed opportunities cost them late in the season, and his brother Patrick had a hand in that after the Gulls beat them in the local derby. “It was a very dramatic end to the season, and at the whistle I thought we’d won it for a minute or two but fair play to Floreat,” he said. “The loss against Sorrento was tough, and as much as it pains me to say, he did make a few good saves.”
Hughes said Saturday is another huge game, and he said a win against Floreat is one the players are looking for, after a lean time over the last couple of years, and he said they are ready for the challenge. “We’ve trained well this week and all the boys are eager for the game this weekend at Floreat,” he said. “It’s long overdue that we beat them, so I’m sure we’re all up for it this weekend to get straight into next week’s final.”
In the minor semi-final, third placed Stirling Macedonia welcome fourth placed Sorrento to Macedonia Park on Saturday, for a second week running (3.00pm) Last week the hosts went into the final game against the Gulls with a chance of winning the title, and things were going to plan after Giles Davies headed home. But a second half brace from Gustavo Gordon- Marulanda secured the win for Sorrento, and saw them secure their spot in the Top Four Cup. There other meeting this season came in round 11 at Percy Doyle Reserve, and Giron-Marulanda gave the hosts the lead just before half time, but Nikola Talimdzioski secured a point for the visitors.
Sorrento midfielder Tim Hill said last week's win was massive, and it was like a Cup Final, and there was no comeback with a loss. “We knew before the game that our fate wasn't really in our hands going into the game, but that all we could really do was focus on winning the game and hope that other results went our way and that’s exactly what happened,” he explained. “Stirling were really up for it as they were still fighting for the title, so we knew we could try to frustrate them and make it hard for them and force them into mistakes and that's sort of what we did in the end. We stuck it out with our experience and managed to just out battle them.”
Hill said they have finished the season well, and with only one loss in their last six games will have them primed for a crack in the Top Four Cup. “We've had a great end to the season and picked up some great results, it's a shame we didn't start this run maybe two or three games earlier, because if we had of maybe we'd be sitting as champions right now,” the midfielder said. “But we know if we can continue how we have been playing, I believe we're as good a chance as any of the teams in the four to win the finals.”
It's a return to Macedonia Park for the opening game in the end of season finals, and Hill said Stirling will be up for it after beating them last week, but they are looking forward to the challenge. “Playing against a team after you've just beaten them is always a bit of a psychological battle, we know they'll be up for it even more this time so we will probably be made to work even harder for the win again,” he explained. “They had a great crowd out last time so hopefully they can come down again and provide that atmosphere to play in and we can get the win and move on.”
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE, ROUND TWENTY TWO - PREVIEW
After Olympic Kingsway won the State League Division One title last week, and Quinns were relegated, the battle to avoid the relegation playoff takes centre stage this weekend in the final round of the season. The two sides battling it out are Subiaco and UWA Nedlands, and both face difficult games on the road this week. UWA sit in the playoff spot at the moment, but they are on the same points but have a two goal worst goal difference, and they travel to Kingsway Reserve to take on the Champions Olympic Kingsway, who will receive their trophy after the game. Olympic are in great form, and thrashed a good Rockingham side last week to win the title, while UWA were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Dianella.
UWA skipper Luke Randazzo said Saturday is huge for the club, and they will go there and give it a good go. “It is literally do or die for us this weekend and we are very aware of the implications of the result. We are confident we will give it our very best go, against the best team in the league and hope we can procure a point or three, and we can only control our outcome and can’t get caught up worrying about other results,” he said. “The Dianella game was a tough outing and certainly a hostile crowd, but it was a shame we couldn’t get more but it’s history now so we’ll turn our energy and focus to Kingsway.”
Subiaco make the trip to Nash Field to take on second placed Western Knights. (3.00pm) The hosts were beaten at Mandurah last week, while Subiaco fought back from two goals down to earn a vital point at home against Forrestfield, and they go onto the game knowing if they equal or better UWA’s result, they will avoid the relegation playoff. Skipper Elliot Ireland said they are looking forward to the challenge. “Although no one probably wants to be fighting for survival in the league, these types of games are the ones you love playing football for, because it’s like a cup final,” he explained. “It’ll be a challenge against an experienced Knights side, it’s never easy to go to Nash Field and get points but I have full belief in the group to be able to do that. I know we’re all looking forward to it.”
In other games this weekend Mandurah City welcome Dianella White Eagles to the Genesiscare Stadium. (7.45pm) The Dolphins will have Leigh Griffiths in their side, as the former Celtic striker plays his final loan game for the club. Forrestfield United welcome Quinns to Crazy Domains Stadium, at Hartfield Park, Fremantle City entertain Rockingham City at Hilton Reserve, while Murdoch University Melville make the trip to Forrest Park to take on Joondalup United
STATE LEAGUE DIVISION TWO, ROUND TWENTY TWO - PREVIEW
We head into the final round of the State League Division Two, and the race for a promotion playoff spot is still up for grabs, this after important midweek catch-up games. Swan United booked their place after a 2-0 win against South West Phoenix at Hay Park in Bunbury on Wednesday evening. First half goals from John Monterosso and Brennan Borzecki secured the win and wrapped up third place. “It’s never easy travelling down to Bunbury, and in midweek it’s even harder, but another win and clean sheet is pleasing,” Monterosso explained. “To be fare it should have been more, but a Wednesday night in Bunbury and securing playoff spot we take it, and we now look forward to the playoffs.”
Balga missed the opportunity to improve their chances after a 1-1 draw at Walter Padbury Reserve against Champions Gosnells City on Tuesday evening. This means they need a miracle to qualify and will need results elsewhere to go their way. “It was a fiery game, and the boys gave it their all and left with our heads held high with the effort we put in,” skipper Liam Kessel said. “It was a game where both keepers pulled off some remarkable saves - we could've easily left with three or no points, but I couldn't be prouder of how we turned our season around to match it with Gosnells
So on to Saturday three teams will be chasing the final spot, with Kingsley Westside, Curtin University and Balga all still in the mix. (All games kick off at 3.00pm, unless otherwise stated) First up Kingsley welcome Gosnells to Flinders Park, and the hosts are hitting some good form, and coming off a big win at Carramar Shamrock Rovers last week, and three points are vital in this one. “I feel we are starting to hit our straps at the right time of year as I’ve said previously, I felt we’ve been playing well just not capitalising on the chances we’ve been creating,” Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich said. “The 2-0 win on the weekend was very important in our pursuit of top four and keeping a clean sheet has given us good confidence.”
Dimitrovich said all they can do is win, and the decision to play the other game late is no concern for him. “Look that’s out of our control, all we can do is get the right result and sit back and see what happens later in the night. I actually think it puts more pressure on curtain knowing that they may have to win by a certain score cause all of a sudden you might miss an opportunity that you should’ve scored then everyone starts to become desperate as the game goes on,” he explained.
“We know what’s on the line for us on Saturday I’m confident that if we bring the same attitude, we have the last five or six weeks we can get the result we need come 5pm Saturday. Just hope Gosnells are still in party mode and want to be nice on the day, but in seriousness we are expecting a very good Gosnells side to play as they will probably want to go out on a win.”
Balga have an outside chance of qualifying, but need other results to go their way and get the job done when they host South West Phoenix at Princess Road Reserve. It will be tough but skipper Liam Kessel said they will give it their all and hope for some help elsewhere. “We are excited to show a good performance, we aren't really pinning any hope on a playoff spot with needing two results go our way and a massive score line for us against SWP,” he said. “We just want to end our season on a high on our home ground with a good performance.”
The final game sees Curtin University hosting Ashfield on Saturday evening at Edinburgh Oval. (7.00pm) This game has been scheduled for a number of weeks, and they will know what result is required, but coach Troy Reid said they want to win the game whatever happens in the other game. “The players and the whole club are looking forward to Saturday night. There are obviously multiple scenarios that could play out between us and Kingsley, but we’re lucky enough to know what we’ll need to do when we walk out,” he explained. “Regardless of what happens in the Kingsley game, we’ll be up for the win and confident of claiming that last playoff spot.
In other games Canning City welcome Wanneroo City to Burrendah Reserve, while Joondalup City entertain Morley-Windmills to the Iluka Sports Complex. The final game sees two sides meet who are in the playoffs already, as Swan United host Carramar Shamrock Rovers to the Swan Italian Club on Francis Street.
BELT UP AMATEUR LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION - ROUND NINETEEN PREVIEW
We head into round 19 of the Belt-Up Amateur Premier Division, and our ‘Match of the Round’ takes us to Frye Park where two of the form sides of the league meet, as Kelmscott Roos welcome East Perth. (All games kick off at 3.00pm unless otherwise stated) The Roos are on a seven-game winning streak, while East Perth have only lost once in their last seven, so it should be a great contest.
Kelmscott are the most improved team in the league over the past month, and they seemed to be gelled together after the unfortunate passing of their coach Serge Tucci, and they have shot up the table, and keeper Taylor Warwick said they are doing it for their former coach. “Serge would certainly be proud of what his boys have achieved this season. He set us out some really big goals to achieve and we have surpassed every one of them with flying colours. We miss his presents around the club but know that his wearing the green and gold and cheering us on forever,” he explained.
“Our form has been pleasing, and seven wins in a row, these types of runs don’t happen every often at all, but it’s so pleasing to see that we are finally getting the rewards for playing good exciting football and this run is completely deserved. We’ve been made to work hard for it but we have enjoyed every second of this run of games and we hope it won’t stop against East Perth on Sunday.”
Warwick said the Night Series final defeat against East Perth hurt the players, and they have one thing to do that their former coach asked them to do this season. “East Perth are always a tough game, this will be the third time this year that we play them and know we won’t have it easy, but I believe that we have the perfect momentum to see us through this game and continue our run,” he said. “Our goal is to challenge for that title and make each team above us work extra hard to be there, and it starts on Sunday. The last goal that Serge had for us was to finally get one over East Perth this season and this is our last chance to do that. We are looking forward to this match and have trained extremely well this week to be prepared for the match.”
East Perth edged out Maddington last week to keep their title hopes alive, but coach Colm Costello that game is forgotten, and they are now concentrating on another big game at Kelmscott. “Last week was a big win for us, but it is well gone now and as I said previously if we drop points this weekend it’s possibly back into third place so we really need to be ready,” he said. “The lads are on decent run too so it’s the makings of a great game and it’s an obvious six pointer for both teams.
“We are well aware its another huge task ahead this week, Kelmscott are on a very dominant run at the minute, and winning seven on the bounce in this division is unheard of so they have obviously come together at the right time of the season to push on in the title race. With them playing teams above them in recent weeks, we know they are a team that will have a huge say on things in the coming weeks. We are under no illusions that this game is massive and we will need to match our performance from last week or better it to get anything from the game. We have played them three times this year and each game both sides could have taken the win, and Sunday will be the same.”
In other games league leaders Jaguar welcome Quinns to the Herb Graham Recreation Centre, the visitors needing the points at the other end of the season, likewise Queens Park who host second placed Maddington White City at Coker Park, the hosts looking to build on last week’s win at Emerald, while City will look to bounce back from the narrow defeat at East Perth. North Perth United host Wembley Downs at Woodville Reserve (1.00pm), whole Emerald welcome Peel United to Fraser Park (1.00pm)
In the final game fourth placed Kwinana United meet Joondalup United at Kelly Park. The hosts sit fourth, six points off the leaders, but they do have a game in hand, and were made to work for their narrow 1-0 win at Wembley last week. Joondalup sit at the foot of the table, one point adrift, but their form is on the improve, and will look to build on the draw with the leaders last week. Kwinana are hitting some good form, with only one defeat in there last five games, and Coach Mark Purvis said the players have worked extremely hard to turn things around.
“Yes, we are doing well at the moment, and that is credit to the players and the standards they have set. That’s not just the starting 11 but those on the bench and those in the reserves. We train as one group so if the standard isn’t good then it will have an effect come game day,” he explained. “So, to be on this run of form is down to the whole group. We aren’t really thinking about the title we just to win as many games as we can and all we are focused on is this game against Joondalup.”
Purvis said Joondalup have improved from the last time they met in the league, a 3-1 win in round eight at Beldon Park, and he is expecting a tight encounter. “Joondalup are always a tough side to play against and after their two most recent results they will have their tails up for sure,” he said. “It’s up to us to be able to match their work rate and desire, if we can do that then it’s gives us a good chance to get the three points, it should be a good game.”
NPL-WA WOMEN'S ROUND TOP FOUR CUP SEMI FINALS - PREVIEW
The NPLW WA Top Four Cup starts this weekend, with two big semi-finals on Sunday. In the first, Champions Perth RedStar welcome Perth SC to the RedStar Arena, and in their last two meetings it’s been a close fought game, and Sunday will be no different. Perth RedStar coach Carlos Vega-Mena said it’s been a fantastic first season at the Arena, and winning the league was well-deserved for his side.
“When we merged and became RedStar we were looking forward to the opportunities it would open up for the female players at the Club. The inaugural season has been very successful for the Club as whole, and the NPLW in particular. The support from the Club has been awesome and I feel privileged to have been the coach of the first team to put trophies in the cabinet,” he explained. “We went into this season with the mindset of one game at a time. I told the girls at the start of the Night Series that we would focus on one goal at a time, achieving that goal then moving onto the next. We missed out on the Night Series at the beginning of 2021, so we started with that. Once the Night Series title was secured, we moved onto challenging for the League and the State Cup.
“At some point, the players set themselves to the task of securing the league undefeated. This was an extremely ambitious and difficult task, but the whole group committed themselves to achieving it. Every club has struggled this season with injuries, illness and player movements. We were no exception, we put our heads down and got on with it. There is a lot of talent spread throughout the teams and I have enjoyed watching the younger players across the cubs getting time on the NPLW pitch. I think it’s important that they have this exposure to the First Team competition where they can learn from the more experienced players.”
Vega-Mena knows Sunday will be another tough game, but his side are looking forward to the challenge. “It certainly has been interesting watching the battle for the Top four, the competition for those positions has been tight, and I’m expecting our semi-final against Perth to be tough, as all the clashes have been,” he explained. “They have some talented and experienced players along with talented players coming up through the ranks. Finals are different to league matches, and any team can win on the day. I think the team that makes less mistakes will make it through to the Top Four Final.”
Perth coach Peter Rakic said he has been delighted with his players this season, in his first season at Dorrien Gardens. “As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m content with what we’ve achieved and our position on the table given the circumstances and challenges that we’ve collectively faced this year. It’s been a long, tiring season, and I couldn’t possibly ask for more from my group of girls,” he explained. “They’ve adapted well to my playing style and taken everything on board, and they’re always so eager to learn and continue pushing for more. I firmly believe we have the right type of players and mindset to build something amazing here at Perth SC.”
Rakic said they are looking forward to taking on the Champions, and believes at their best they can get the job done. “We’ve been here before, and probably too many times to count to be honest, so we know what is expected to overcome an opponent like RedStar,” he said. “These cup matches are no different to the league fixtures, we have to remain focused over the full 90 and be brave on all accounts. I’ve witnessed some excellent football over the course of our year and if we’re able to put together a real team performance on Sunday, then I’m sure we can cause an upset.”
The second semi-final sees Fremantle City entertaining the Hyundai Women’s NTC side at Wauhop Park on Friday evening. (8.00pm) The sides met last week in the final regular league game, with Fremantle running out 3-1 winners, but Ben Anderton’s young side have been impressive this season and they will be up for another big game. Fremantle Coach Garry Church said last week win against the NTC has given them momentum going into Sundays knock out cup semi-final.
It’s nice to finish the league with a win, and I think the last few games we have had a bit more consistency in terms of player availability and certainty in performance. We started to see some of the things we have been working on come to life during the games which is always nice to see,” he explained. “We are respectfully confident going into the top four finals especially hitting a bit of form as of late. We except a tough game against NTC as they play some nice football and are organised, but the girls are looking forward to the game and I am sure we will do our best to entertain.”
Fremantle’s Jamie-Lee said to reach the end of season finals is a great achievement after a tough season for the port side, and it gives them the opportunity to win some silverware. “I thought it was a tough season for everything this year. With covid illnesses, injuries and players leaving to play over east, we lost seven starting 11 players after the Night Series and I know we weren’t the only club to have something similar. Considering the circumstances, we did well to secure our third-place finish and I believe we are peaking at the right time coming into the top four finals,” the defender explained.
“You always know when you come up against NTC that they will be physical, fast paced and structured opposition. Ben (Anderton) has done a great job with the young girls this season and it’s great to see the youngsters finish in the top four. We obviously played them the last game of the regular season so we have a good idea of what’s to come tonight and this week we have been working on areas to exploit their structure. I am looking forward to seeing it in action tonight.”
For NTC Natalie Vega-Mena the journey this season has been fantastic, and she has enjoyed every minute of it. “I think our team has had a good season especially considering how young our team is, how many injuries and people out with covid we had,” she said. “Being able to win a spot in the top four for the first time in the history of the NPLW is a an achievement that we’re very proud of.”
Vega-Mena, who scored her first goal in the NPLW WA last week said they are looking forward to the game tonight, and the challenge ahead. “Heading into the game with Freo tonight the girls and I want to prove that we’re a strong side and we deserve to be here,” she said. “Win or lose I’m greatful for my season with NTC and I’m very proud of my teammates and our hard work this year.”
BURGESS: GOAL CAPPED OFF A GOOD NIGHT
Cameron Burgess was delighted to score his first Ipswich Town goal in mid-week and hopes he won’t have to wait so long for the second one to come around. The defender was on target on Tuesday, heading Ipswich’s fourth in a comfortable 6-0 victory over League Two side Northampton in their first qualifying group game of this season’s Papa Johns Trophy competition.
“Yes, I finally got one,” laughed Burgess, who joined Ipswich last August from Accrington Stanley. “Cam (Humphreys) put the perfect ball in for me to get my head on it. He looked to pick me out and it was good to get on the end of it. I knew that if I made a good contact, I would have a good chance of scoring, so cheers to Cam for the delivery.”
“It capped off what was a good night for me and the rest of the boys at the back. Greg Leigh and George Edmundson also scored, which is good to see and something we have been working to add to our games in recent weeks, while the clean sheet is always a bonus. It was another positive to add to a positive performance and result.
Ipswich return to league action tomorrow looking to extend their six-game unbeaten record at Accrington. Burgess was in the side beaten 2-1 at the Wham Stadium last season and he revealed that the Blues, who have only returned triumphant once from their four visits in the past four seasons, are hoping to learn from their mistakes 11 months ago.
“I remember the first half was good but the second not so good,” recalled the 26-year old. “It’s a club where I was happy and enjoyed my football, so I am looking forward to going back again to see the many people there that I got to know. I’ll also be looking to right a few wrongs from the game there last season.”
“One of the things we’re determined to do this season is to remember the disappointments we had last season and hopefully not make the same mistakes again…They are still unbeaten this season and a big thing for is that they have only failed to score in one of their games so far, which was a 0-0 draw.”
“Our aim will be to keep another clean sheet to add to the three we have kept in our last four games but it’s never easy against Accrington. They have an honesty about them, which we’ve all seen before and was also there when I played for them. Also, you know they are going to be a very hard-working side so you have to make sure you at least match them in that area.”
Accrington somehow survive on League One’s smallest attendances with an average crowd of just 2,311. But while the numbers may be small, Stanley’s supporters always guarantee something of a hostile atmosphere for visiting players. “You’ve got to stay humble when you go there. It’s the small dressing rooms and stuff like that,” Burgess said.
“I’ve been a player there and experienced it but one thing I can say is that the pitch is going to be very good. They’ve done a lot of work on the playing surface in the last year or so and I recall it was in good shape for our game there last season. Yes, it’s a tight pitch, slightly different to Portman Road I suppose, but the surface itself should suit us with the possession football we like to play.”
KERR READY TO STRIKE AGAINST CANADA
Samantha Kerr has defended the decision to rest most of Australia’s best players from recent outings with Spain and Portugal, saying “time off” was needed. The Matildas captain returns to national duty tomorrow when Australia faces Canada in the opening game of a two-match friendly series.
The game will be the Matildas’ first since their forgettable June European camp, from which the majority of Australia’s stars, including Chelsea striker Kerr, were given a leave pass. While the 1-1 draw with Portugal was acceptable, an embarrassing 7-0 loss to Spain was not, with coach Tony Gustavsson blasted for allowing his stars to rest.
However, Kerr claims several of the Matildas teammates simply needed a break. “Everyone was on different schedules, and we hadn’t had a break for two years, so there were a lot of us that needed some time off,” Kerr said. “Now everyone’s feeling refreshed, there’s a really clear path to the World Cup and where we want to be in 12 months.”
"It’s just about getting really prepared and being laser-focused. It (the Australia-New Zealand co-hosted World Cup) is going to come around so quickly. We’re making the most of every session, and spending as much time as we can together because team cohesion is really important - it’s about getting everyone on the same page.”
APL JOIN CAMPAIGN TO FIND GLORY A HOME
The A-League owners have vowed to help find a solution to Perth Glory’s homeless crisis that could see them spend five months on the road next season. Glory have been kicked out of Perth Oval for their first nine home games and are unable to return home until March because of delays to the $35 million stadium redevelopment for next year’s Women’s World Cup.
If a temporary stadium cannot be found Glory may have to move to the Eastern States for 19 consecutive games. Australian Professional Leagues representatives met with Sports Minister David Templeman, Venueswest and Perth Glory on Wednesday. They also inspected possible alternative temporary grounds including the favoured Joondalup Arena.
APL chief executive Danny Townsend tweeted he was in Perth “to find a solution” and later wrote “Getting the Glory back to their best is very important and we will do everything we can with Government to make the best of a challenging situation. Positive meetings. Ideally we need a proper rectangle experience if we can.”
Glory chief executive Anthony Radich said it was a positive meeting. “It was a sharing of opinions, ramifications and likely consequences,” Radich said. “It was a two-part discussion. Firstly, there is the infrastructure problem that needs to be in place to stage an event that befits our club, our reputation and brand and for the A-League as well.”
“We need to be in a rectangular stadium. Secondly we outlined the wider commercial loss, regardless of where we end up. We have to get moving quickly with some certainty.” Joondalup Arena would need a temporary stand, extra lighting and ground resurfacing but that move would have a knock-on effect on WAFL club West Perth and their pre-season training.
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This page was last updated on the 26th August, 2022