Socceroos players celebrate Tom Rogic's winner against Syria

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Perth Glory defender Jason Davidson's mental strength and appetite for hard work have reignited his hopes of a return to the national set-up. Davidson has been a key in Glory's table-topping run, playing all 13 games and coming off the bench to help spark Sunday's 4-3 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Davidson is expected to feature in Saturday's clash with Melbourne City as coach Tony Popovic rotates his players in a heavy schedule. But it could have been a very different story. A hairline fracture was discovered in his back when he joined West Bromwich Albion after an impressive 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"It's something that I've had from young apparently," said Davidson, who has 22 Socceroos caps. "I don't even know where it is. It has been a test of my mental side at times, but it's important to be strong mentally to keep going. I just try to focus on the positive side and keep the negative stuff out of my head."

WBA retained Davidson despite the injury but after a couple of games he moved to Huddersfield Town. He was also with Groningen before signing for Glory from Croatian side Rijeka, where he was loaned out to Slovenian club Olimpija Ljublijana.

Davidson has dropped 5kg under the tough Popovic regime. "I came to Perth to get back to a level where I needed to be. I thought Tony was the best coach to give me the opportunity to get back in the national team," he said.

"It's been fantastic to feel fresh and fit again. It's enjoyable to play with a smile on my face, be happy and enjoy my football. Every player should have the ambition to play for their country. I've been fortunate enough to have tasted that and it's something I aspire to again."



Here's a scary thought for Perth Glory's rivals - coach Tony Popovic reckons his players are going to get even fitter in the coming weeks. Glory have built a reputation for their elite fitness this season, with Popovic's demanding training regime helping his team snatch a series of wins at the death.

Glory's dominance late in games was on display again last Sunday when they came from 3-1 down in the 77th minute to snatch a 4-3 win over Western Sydney Wanderers. Glory are three points clear on top of the table - a margin they can extend to six with victory over Melbourne City on Saturday night.

Popovic has been thrilled with his team's sensational start to the 2018/19 season. But he's adamant they can go to another level. "I believe we can be a lot fitter," Popovic said. "I don't believe we're fit enough yet to play our style of football for 90 minutes.

"But that will grow and that will get better. It's not easy to open up and play at all times the way we want to. Physically it's very demanding. We've got to keep working on that and improving that, and hopefully the minutes will get longer and longer that we can dominate games."

Popovic successfully rotated his squad during a recent stretch of three games in eight days. The former Socceroo is likely to do the same when Glory take on Melbourne City (away), Adelaide (home) and Newcastle (home) over the space of eight days.



A late goal from Celtic midfielder Tom Rogic has secured the Socceroos a place in the knock-out stage of the 2019 Asian Cup after a 3-2 win in Group B against Syria at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday evening. The holders were made to fight for the win against a determined Syria, who were roared on by a vocal crowd. Awer Mabil gave Graham Arnold's side the lead just before half time, but Syria hit back moments later, Omar Khrbin scoring from close-range. Perth Glory winger Chris Ikonomidis regained the lead for the Socceroos, but a dubious penalty ten minutes from time by Omar Al-Soma restored parity. Another Syria goal would have knocked the Socceroos out, and there were some nervy moments, but Rogic calmed the nerves in stoppage time, firing home superbly from the edge of the box.

"It's fantastic, a wonderful learning process," Arnold said. "The older boys did very well with their leadership, we knew that Syria were going to throw everything at us but we did well tonight. We're very grateful and happy to go through to the last 16, I do believe the longer we go, the longer the learning experience for these guys on a four-year journey. That was a difficult pitch to play on, very quick, Mabil is a terrific striker. That's another learning experience. Past experiences show that when you score a goal or concede you have a three- or four-minute emotional window where you can switch off. Straight after we scored, we conceded, that’s when you have to be more focused than ever.”

Many were concerned in some of the defending on the night, but Arnold said he is focusing on the positives for now. "It's when there are a lot of long balls, it can become a lottery with the second ball," he said. "The first goal was a mental thing, the second one, you said I don't want to look at - it was a penalty, there's not a lot we can do. "This journey is really exciting, I'm learning a lot on how to deal with training sessions. Without four players out there tonight through injury and suspension, it was a mighty performance."

Arnold made one forced change to the starting line up from the win against Palestine, with Massimo Luongo coming into midfield, with skipper Mark Milligan dropping back to the centre of defence in place of the suspended Trent Sainsbury. It was Syria who settled the quicker, and they looked dangerous every time they went forward, and the dangerous Khrbin went close to the opener on 13 minutes, but he fired wide of the post. The Socceroos should have taken the lead eight minutes later, Rhyan Grant's teasing cross picked out Jamie Maclaren, who lost his marker, but his glancing header flashed wide - he should have done better. Maclaren, who scored his first goal for the green and gold against Palestine, went close again on 36 minutes.

The Hibernian striker was picked out by Rogic, but Ibrahim Alma produced a good save to deny him completed a better save to deny Maclaren's follow up. But the keeper could do little on 41 minutes when the Socceroos hit the front. Ikonomidis found Mabil, whose curling shot flew in the top corner of the net, much to the relief of the Australian fans in the crowd. But they say you are always vulnerable just after you score and that was the case as Syria levelled two minutes later. Mouaiad Al Ajaan cross was headed goal wards by Khrbin, Mat Ryan saved, but the ball wasn't cleared and when it was returned back into the box Khrbin side footed home from close-range.

The Socceroos re-grouped at the break and they opened well with Mabel firing over the top, and on 54 minutes they regained the lead. Rogic's slide-rule pass picked out Ikonomidis on the left of the penalty area and he finished low past Alma, and despite a desperate goal line clearance from ? the goal was awarded, much to displeasure of the Syrian players, who surrounded the referee as they thought the ball hadn't crossed the line, but the goal stood, and replays later showed it did go over the line. Syria were then adamant they had a penalty when it looked like the ball hit the arm of skipper Milligan in the box, but the referee waved away their penalty claims, I think the Socceroos got away with that one.

Arnold's side looked to kill the game off and Rogic's low shot was saved by Alma, before Ikonomidis fired just wide on 70 minutes. They went closer five minutes later, second half substitute Apostolos Giannou raced down the right channel, his low shot beat Alma, but crashed off the far post and away to safety. But on 79 minutes they certainly didn't when Omar Al Soma fell in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Replay's showed he had been brought down by his own team mate, but Al Soma sent Ryan the wrong way to level things up again.

It was now Syria pressing for the winner and Fahad Youssef long-range shot flashed wide, and moments later Tamer Hag Mohamad did likewise. It was tense, as one more goal to Syria would end the Socceroos campaign, but in third minute of stoppage time they scored the vital third. Ikonomidis found space down the right and intelligently squared to the ball to Rogic on the edge of the box and he finished clinically to win it. The Socceroos' Round of 16 opponents will be the Group F runner-up, which will be determined when Japan and Uzbekistan square off in the early hours of Friday morning.

Australia: GK Mat Ryan, 2 Milos Degenek, 4 Rhyan Grant, 5 Mark Milligan, 8 Massimo Luongo (6 Matthew Jurman 90+1'), 9 Jamie Maclaren (14 Apostolos Giannou 68'), 15 Chris Ikonomidis, 16 Aziz Behich, 21 Awer Mabil (10 Robbie Kruse 82'), 22 Jackson Irvine, 23 Tom Rogic

Syria: GK Ibrahim Alma, 2 Ahmad Al Saleh, 3 Mouaiad Al Ajaan, 5 Omro Al Midani, 7 Omar Khrbin, 8 Mahmoud Almawas, 9 Omar Al Soma, 10 Mohammed Osman (21 Fahad Youssef 72'), 12 Hussein Al Jwayed (15 Abdul Malek Anizan 74'), 14 Tamer Hag Mohamad, 20 Khaled Al Mbayed (18 Mohamad Zaher Almedani 83') – Referee - Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos



Perth Glory maintained their six-point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League after a gutsy come from behind 4-3 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at HBF Park on Sunday afternoon. Goals either side of half time from Kwame Yeboah and Roly Bonevacia looked like it would end Glory's recent good form, but second half substitute Diego Castro pulled one back. Abraham Majok then added Wanderers' third and it looked grim for Tony Popovic's side, but goals from Ivan Franjic, Andy Keogh and a controversial Juande penalty four minutes from time completed the stunning comeback.

"It was a crazy sort of game," Popovic said post-match. "We created an amazing opportunity in the first couple of minutes and we didn't take it. They've [Wanderers] been very dangerous all year and are a very dynamic team, but we defended very poorly today, so it was no real surprise that we struggled at times. But what can you say about the character of the boys? You're down 3-1 in the 77th minute at home and you win 4-3. It's quite special. I'm just delighted for everyone involved and I'm sure it's a night that the fans will remember."

Glory made five changes to the side that beat Sydney FC on Wednesday with Scott Neville and Tomislav Mrcela came into the back line for the rested Matthew Spiranovic and Jason Davidson, who dropped to the bench. Juande came into the middle of the park for Neil Kilkenny, who dropped to the bench, while Andy Keogh and Fabio Ferreira came in to the front line, with Diego Castro and Brendan Santalab also dropping to the bench, as the coach continued his rotation policy. While the Wanderers were missing import players Oriol Riera and Alexander Baumjohann.

The home side made a good start and should have taken the lead after only three minutes. A neat one-two between Ferreira and Neville sent the defender down the right, his cross picked out the unmarked Keogh five meters from goal, but the Irish striker headed inches wide. The side selected by Glory had raised a few eye brows in the 9,000 crowd, but it was a good start and Juande tested Wanderers keeper Nicholas Suman moments later.

It was the second visit to Perth for the Wanderers this season, and they starting to get on top in this one and Yeboah was denied by a smart save by Liam Reddy. Yeboah, who has recent signed for the Wanderers from German club Fortuna Köln was a real handful and he was thwarted again by Reddy as they pressed for the opener and it duly came six minutes before half time. Nick Fitzgerald's corner flicked off the head of Shane Lowry and Yeboah turned the ball home at the back post despite Mrcela's attempted goal line clearance.

Popovic made a double change at the break, bringing on Castro and Davidson for Shane Lowry and Joel Chianese, and once again it was a positive start, with Suman getting down well at his near post to save Franjic's effort, but against the run of play it was the visitors who doubled their advantage on 67 minutes. A quick break down the left by substitute Abraham Majok, who had replaced the injured Jordan O'Doherty after only 18 minutes, he released Yeboah who squared the ball to Bonevacia, and the Dutch striker made no mistake from the edge of the box.

It didn't look good for Glory, but they are a new team under Popovic, and they reduced the margin four minutes later. Jake Brimmers’s cross wasn’t dealt with and Neville’s shot was turned home by Castro from close-range. The flag was up for offside but after consulting with his assistant the goal stood. But the game swung back in the visitors’ favour when Yeboah led another quick counter-attack and laid the ball off for Majok to fire low past Reddy. Many in the ground thought that was game over, but Glory had other ideas. First on 79 minutes Castro’s cross was headed against the bar by Alex Grant and Franjic fired home the rebound to make it 3-2.

Then four minutes later the home side drew level, Castro slipped Franjic down the right and his low cross was turned home by Keogh at the back post. Glory were well on top and two minutes later Glory won it, when Keogh was pulled down in the box by Brendan Hamill and referee Kurt Ams pointed to the spot. It looked a little soft, but VAR gave it the all clear and Juande finished with aplomb. But the action hadn’t finished there and in the third minute of stoppage time Jaushua Sotirio found space in the box, but Grant got back with a last-ditch tackle to deny him and seal a remarkable comeback.

Wanderers head coach Marcus Babbel was left fuming after the game and thought the officials got some of the decisions wrong. “If I say that, what I think, what is in me then I get a (fine) or I get banned, so I’m not talking about it,” he said post-match. “But you have the chance to talk about it because I saw a fantastic game, two games played a really good style of football I think for the supporters, for the people in the stadium, was a fantastic game to watch." He also added he struggled to see how there were “so many mistakes” in the A-League, given the presence of the VAR. "This is what I don’t understand. Now you have the help with the VAR and even then, you do so many mistakes,” he said. “This is very hard to accept and especially if you have a team on the pitch like today with so many young players that deserved definitely more. But what will you do?”

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT, 4 Shane LOWRY (3 Jason DAVIDSON 46'), 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE (17 Diego CASTRO 46'), 9 Andy KEOGH, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA (11 Brendon SANTALAB 81'), 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 88 Neil KILKENNY

Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Nicholas SUMAN, 5 Brendan HAMILL (c), 7 Nick FITZGERALD (22 Rashid MAHAZI 62'), 8 Jordan O’DOHERTY (49 Abraham MAJOK 18'), 11 Bruce KAMAU, 13 Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 17 Keanu BACCUS, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 27 Kwame YEBOAH (16 Jaushua SOTIRIO 87'), 28 Roly BONEVACIA, 33 Tate RUSSELL - Subs not used: RGK Vedran JANJETOVIC, 14 Mathieu CORDIER - Referee: Kurt Ams



Perth Glory's top-two finish lies in tatters this morning after a disappointing 1-3 defeat against an understrength Newcastle Jets at No.2 Sportsground on Saturday afternoon. Skipper Sam Kerr gave them the lead at half time, but after the break it was all Jets and goals to Arin Wright, Tara Andrews and Cortnee Vine stunned Bobby Despotovski's side and has really dented their top two aspirations, while the win bolstered the Jets finals chances.

"We did not play well in the second half, not at all and it was very disappointing," Despotovski said post-match. "It was a pretty even game in the first half and we took our goal well. I thought the girls played well in the first half, but the second half was horrendous.

"I'm not sure that Newcastle are better than us quality-wise, but it looked like they wanted it more and it was exactly the same as the second half against Melbourne Victory [in Round 9]. Once things started not to go our way, we seemed to want to hide and that's not acceptable. We need to calm down now, reflect on the game and then get back on the training ground, regroup and get ready for the Western Sydney game. The finals places are all still up for grabs."

Glory opened brightly and went close to the lead on 23 minutes, Leticia McKenna’s shot was well saved by Jets keeper Britt Eckerstrom. The home side went close moments later, Arin Wright shot flashed inches over the top. But on the half hour Glory hit the front. Rachel Hill's cross was headed home by Kerr for her 50th goal in Glory colours. Glory custodian Eliza Campbell made sure they would go to the break with the lead, producing a stunning save to thwart Jenna Kingsley.

The Jets lifted after the break and Hannah Brewer and Gema Simon both went close before Wright levelled things up on the hour, a well-struck shot from the edge of the box. The home side hit the front four minutes later, Andrews capitalised after some hesitant Glory defending. Kerr did come close to restoring parity with a header, while substitute Lexie Moreno also fired just over the bar, but they couldn’t find a away past the impressive Eckerstrom. With Glory pushing players forward the Jets wrapped up the points in stoppage time, Vine shot took a deflection and rolled in to the net past Campbell.

Newcastle Jets FC: GK Britt ECKERSTROM, 2 Hannah BREWER, 4 Libby COPUS-BROWN (11 Cortnee VINE 61'), 5 Arin WRIGHT, 6 Cassidy DAVIS, 7 Gema SIMON, 12 Tara ANDREWS (19 Pana PETRATOS 89'),17 Jenna KINGSLEY, 18 Clare WHEELER, 22 Larissa CRUMMER, 32 Tessa TAMPLIN (25 Teigan COLLISTER 72') - Subs not used: RGK Claire COELHO

Perth Glory: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ, 5 Shannon MAY (15 Alexia MORENO, 84'), 9 Rachel HILL, 10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI (17 Liana COOK 45'), 11 Leticia McKENNA (12 Jenna ONIONS 56'), 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 20 Sam KERR (c), 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - Subs not used: RGK Morgan AQUINO - Referee - Isabella Blaess



Perth Glory's chances of snaring Bruno Fornaroli appear dead in the water after Andy Keogh expressed his desire to stay in Perth. Melbourne City were exploring the prospect of a blockbuster trade that would have seen them send Fornaroli to Glory in a straight swap for Keogh.

Fornaroli's hefty pay packet was already shaping to be a major stumbling block, while City were also hesitant to send the star attacker to a title rival. The final nail on the head could be Keogh's preference to stay in Perth, where he is settled with an extended family.

"I see my future here," said Keogh, who joined Glory in 2000 and the clubs' fourth highest goalscorer with 47 goals in 106 appearances. "I'm settled in Perth with my family and have enjoyed my time in WA over the past four-and-a-half years."

"I'm close to finalising my Australian citizenship and have built up a good relationship with the passionate fans who have always been great to me through the good and the bad. They're also my harshest critics which is great because it pushes me to perform even better."

The 32-year old has been in strong form this season, netting seven goals in 12 games. "I'm in form at the moment, enjoying my football and loving the new regime under Tony Popovic," Keogh said. "The team has been performing consistently and I'm happy to have contributed more to that this season, long may it continue."



Look out Asia, the Socceroos are just getting started - that's the message from Perth Glory's Chris Ikonomidis after Australia kick-started their AFC Asian Cup defence with a 3-0 win over Palestine. The 23-year-old made the most of being handed a start by providing assists for Awer Mabil and Aposotolos Giannou in a bright display.

"I'm happy with my performance and the team's win," Ikonomidis said. "We've got a squad full of talented players. This is Australia. This is just the start for us, we're only just getting warmed up. There's so much more to give. I think there's a real buzz in camp and everyone's excited for the next match."

Ikonomidis's rise to Socceroos starter is one of several exciting emergences in Australian football since last year's FIFA World Cup. His ball to Mabil for the South Sudanese refugee's strike was a combination between two 23-year olds who weren't part of Australia's squad at last year's World Cup in nRussia.

"I told him before the match to come in on my right foot and I'll have my head up, just cut across the defence and I'll look for you. We performed that," Ikonomidis said. "Getting that one win and having the goals flow brings a little bit of relaxation and more confidence to team."



Aston Villa's Jordan Lyden is out for the remainder of the 2018/19 season following a freak injury in training. The midfielder was recalled by Villa boss Dean Smith earlier in the week from on loan to League Two side Oldham Athletic.

22-year old Lyden damaged a muscle when he simply had a shot at the end of a training session, with scans showing he will miss at least the next three months. It is a blow to Lyden and Smith as Villa seek a return to the Premier League with a promotion push in the second half of the season.



Football is not the main concern when Stirling Lions host South West Phoenix at Macedonia Park on January 19, the game will be a Charity Match for Phoenix teenager Baxter Hutchinson who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, with all money raised going to the ‘Cure Brain Cancer Foundation’.

“After being diagnosed in September 2018, 18-year-old Baxter has been a dedicated campaigner to raise awareness and funds to help in finding a cure for brain cancer,” Stirling Lions President Luke Pavlos said. “Andrew Forrest and Tour De Cure have both supported and contributed towards Baxter’s fundraising, helping him raise much needed money for Brain Cancer research. “South West Phoenix FC, whom Baxter played with prior to his diagnosis, along with Stirling Lions FC are proud to support the teenager, to further raise money for Brain Cancer research.”

The charity match will be held at Macedonia Park Balcatta on January 19th (5pm) A gold coin donation entry fee, canteen, bar as well as raffle ticket sales will go towards the charity, with proceeds to be donated to Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Baxter’s determination and courage is an inspiration to all and with unconditional support from his family and friends Baxter has been unselfishly raising money towards brain cancer. We ask all Footballwa readers and WA football supporters to come down on January 19th to support the game - gates open 4pm.



Perth Glory are back in Hyundai-League action on Sunday when they host Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 13 at HBF Park (5.00pm WA Time) Glory moved six points clear of the chasing pack after the win against Sydney FC on Wednesday and this will be their fourth game in 15 days, but it doesn't look like it's affected the squad and Head coach Tony Popovic has the luxury of a full squad to choose from. Alex Grant and Fabio Ferreira were rested for the Sydney game, and both come back in the squad, while Andy Keogh started on the bench and will be pushing for a starting role this week, but Brandon Santalab, who replaced the Irishman in the starting line-up, and scored, would love I'm sure to play against his former employer.

In fact, there is four former Wanderers players in the Glory squad for the clash, Santalab, Matthew Spiranovic, Liam Reddy and Scott Neville, while Head Coach Popovic was also coach of the club. Popovic was quick to salute his players' resilience, maintaining their performances in a hectic period. "We travelled back from Brisbane and arrived on Monday afternoon and the lads put in a performance like that on Wednesday [against Sydney FC] without any talk of a short turnaround or fatigue," he said. "I think that shows where the players are at physically and mentally.

"They'll take on any challenge and we know that there are many still ahead of us and we can't take our position for granted, because if we do, we won't get the result on Sunday. We'll need to perform as well if not better against Western Sydney. They are a different type of opposition. They'll be very dynamic, they run, they chase, and they've created the most chances in the league. If we take them for granted, we'll end up empty-handed, so we need to make sure that doesn't happen."

Santalab, who scored 35 goals in 97 appearances for Wanderers, admits having many fond memories of the club but said all emotion will be put aside at kick-off. “It’s business as usual for me. The main goal against the Wanderers is to shake the back of the net,” he said. “It’s all about focus now, not thinking too deep into the situation and not letting the emotion get into this one. It’s very easy to do, but the sole focus is on the end result. Three points. I have a lot of respect for everybody at the Wanderers and what that club gave me in my career, great memories that I will have for a long time, but this is not the time think about that. This is the time for us to focus, get the three points.”

The striker opened his account for Glory in the big win against Sydney, and he said he celebrated hard after firing home the third goal of the night. “It was not so much about relief. It was great to score in my first start,” he said. “That gave me a lot of confidence. Whether I start or come off the bench goals are always in my mind. It’s always great to score but for me it’s always been about the team and the work rate and how I can make a difference for the team. That’s the key. That was my main target in the game against Sydney and the goal was a nice bonus.”

On the other hand, the Wanderers enter the game eighth on the table after a run of five matches without a win, form that sees them 10 points off the final’s places. Markus Babbel’s side should have got something from a 3-2 defeat to Wellington Phoenix on Tuesday but paid the price for poor defending late and life gets no easier for the struggling Wanderers as they head to the west without Spanish striker Oriol Riera and influential German midfielder Alexander Baumjohann, who both limped off in the loss to Wellington.

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 21 Jacob ITALIANO, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: GRANT (promoted), FERREIRA (promoted) - Outs: Dino DJULBIC (Omitted) - Unavailable: 10 Chris IKONOMIDIS (international duty)

Western Sydney Wanderers: GK Vedran JANJETOVIC, RGK Nicholas SUMAN, 5 Brendan HAMILL (c), 7 Nick FITZGERALD, 8 Jordan O’DOHERTY, 11 Bruce KAMAU, 13 Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS, 14 Mathieu CORDIER, 17 Keanu BACCUS, 21 Tarek ELRICH, 22 Rashid MAHAZI, 24 Raul LLORENTE, 27 Kwame YEBOAH, 32 John ROBERTS, 33 Tate RUSSELL, 34 Patrick ZIEGLER, 49 Abraham MAJOK - *two to be omitted* - Ins: MAHAZI (promoted), LLORENTE (promoted), ROBERTS (promoted), MAJOK (promoted) - Outs: 9.Oriol RIERA (injury - 3 weeks) 10.Alexander BAUMJOHANN (injury – 3 weeks) - Unavailable: 16.Josh RISDON (international duty), 19.Mark BRIDGE (injury – 2 weeks)



Australia have breathed new life into their Asian Cup defence with a solid 3-0 win against Palestine in Dubai. After their opening round loss against Jordon it was vital to get the three points and they did it comfortably with Glory winger Chris Ikonomidis outstanding, setting up two of the goals. Jamie Maclaren opened the scoring early with his first international goal. The result never looked in doubt from that point, and the points were wrapped up, with Awer Mabil scoring the second goal and Apostolos Giannou providing the sealer at the death, both from crosses from the Glory winger. The Socceroos now need only one point from Tuesday's meeting with Syria to secure second position in Group B and a round-of-16 clash against the runner-up from Group F, likely to be Uzbekistan or Oman.

“I’m happy with my performance and the team’s win,” Ikonomidis said. “We’ve got a squad full of talented players. This is Australia. “This is just the start for us, we’re only just getting warmed up. There’s so much more to give. I think there’s a real buzz in camp and everyone’s excited for the next match.” On the Mabil goal the Glory winger said he gave him heads up prior to the match. “I told him before the match to come in on my right foot and I’ll have my head up, just cut across the defence and I’ll look for you. We performed that,” Ikonomidis said. “Getting that one win and having the goals flow brings a little bit of relaxation and more confidence to team. We’ll be doing exactly that again in four days’ time.”

Coach Graham Arnold made three changes to the team that lost their opener, Rhyan Grant replaced the injured Josh Risdon, while Ikonomidis and Jackson Irvine came in for Robbie Kruse and Massimo Luongo who both dropped to the bench. The coach wanted a reaction to the Jordan shock, and he got it, but Maclaren fluffed his lines early after being picked out by Ikonomidis, the Hibernian striker took an air swing with the goal at his mercy. But he didn’t have long to wait to rectify that miss, giving the Socceroos the lead on 18 minutes. Tom Rogic's cross from deep was headed home by Maclaren, and he was mobbed by teammates as he celebrated his drought-breaker.

You could see the relief in the group and in a flash, it was 2-0 to the reigning champions. Ikonomidis was found down the left, he cut inside his marker and sent a deep cross to the back post Mabil was on hand to fire home. Australia were on top and Irvine nearly added a third, first his effort was blocked by defender Musab Battat and his second flashed over the crossbar. The Palestinians were struggled to create anything going forward, while the Socceroos looked dangerous going the other way. Mabil could have had a brace before the break, racing into the box from Maclaren’s lay off, but he failed to find the target.

Palestine were on the front foot after the break, but it was Australia who went close to a third, Grant’s ball into the box was met by Palestine defender Abdullah Jaber his flick hit the crossbar and away to safety. The only downside of the win came on 83 minutes, when Trent Sainsbury earned a yellow card for time-wasting. It was his second of the tournament, meaning he will be suspended for the match against Syria. But in the final minute the Socceroos added a third. Giannou, who came on for Maclaren late in the second half, was picked out in the penalty area by Ikonomidis, and Cyprus-based striker headed home from inside the six-yard box.

Australia: GK Mat Ryan, 2 Milos Degenek, 4 Rhyan Grant, 5 Mark Milligan, 9 Jamie Maclaren (14 Apostolos Giannou 82'), 15 Chris Ikonomidis, 16 Aziz Behich, 20 Trent Sainsbury, 21 Awer Mabil 10 Robbie Kruse 87'), 22 Jackson Irvine, 23 Tommy Rogic (8 Massimo Luongo 75')

Palestine: GK Rami Hamada, 6 Shadi Shaban, 7 Musab Battat, 8 Jonathan Zorrilla (18 Oday Dabbagh 57'), 9 Tamer Seyam, 14 Abdallah Jaber, 15 Abdallatif Al Bahdari, 19 Mahmoud Wadi (12 Khaled Salem 77'), 20 Nathmi Albadawi (3 Mohammed Rashid 71'), 21 Alexis Norambuena, 23 Mohammed Darwish



Perth Glory head east for Week 11 of the Westfield W-League when they take on Newcastle Jets at No. 2 Sportsground on Saturday afternoon. (4.30pm WA Time) Glory, who are still looking for their first win on the road this season will face a tough game against a Jets side who are currently languishing in eighth place on the ladder having won just twice this term. But Craig Deans' side held Glory to a 2-2 draw at Dorrien Gardens last month, this despite having Larissa Crummer sent off after just 26 minutes and Glory Head Coach Bobby Despotovski feels that they will again make life difficult for them.

"It's always a hard game against Newcastle even though they are in a different position to where they were this time last year," he said. "Last year they were in the top four and now they're out of it having had a couple of crucial injuries. Nevertheless, it's going to be difficult. It's a long journey and Nikki [Stanton] is suspended, so we'll need to reshuffle the pack and be at our best to get anything out of the game."

The 1-0 win against Canberra United has given the whole squad a lift and Despotovski said it's vital they keep that momentum going to keep their finals push going. "The win over Canberra means nothing if we don't get three points against Newcastle and then Western Sydney in our next game after that," he said. "It's so tight with six teams going for the top four. I was really pleased with the clean sheet against Canberra and to be fair, we've defended well in the last few games. The partnership between Kim [Carroll] and Katie [Naughton], along with the full-backs in Jamie-Lee [Gale] and Tash [Rigby], is working very well. They have been doing the job for us. "

Saturday's game will see Kim Carroll play her 100th Westfield W-League appearance. The defender has been a mainstay of the Glory backline ever since she joined the club ahead of the 2015/16 season. Also, at international levels and she helped the Matildas lift the 2010 Asian Cup and was a part of the squad at both the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, and Despotovski said the defender is vital going forward. "Kim is our vice-captain and is very experienced both in the W-League and obviously with the Matildas," he said.

"She's crucial for us not only as part of the defensive unit, but also in terms of the leadership she brings. Jamie-Lee next to her, for example, has not played many W-League games, so Kim needs to organise and think for two at times and help guide her along. She's been fantastic for us this year and reaching 100 games is a great achievement." In team news for the trip Nicole Stanton is suspended and will be the only notable absentee from Glory's squad, but the Jets are set to be without key midfielder Emily Van Egmond, striker Katie Stengel (foot) and fellow-import Taylor Smith who unfortunately sustained a serious knee injury when the two teams last met.

Newcastle Jets FC squad: GK Britt ECKERSTROM, RGK Claire COELHO, 2 Hannah BREWER, 4 Libby COPUS-BROWN, 5 Arin WRIGHT, 6 Cassidy DAVIS, 7 Gema SIMON, 11 Cortnee VINE, 12 Tara ANDREWS, 15 Renee POUNTNEY, 17 Jenna KINGSLEY, 18 Clare WHEELER, 19 Pana PETRATOS, 22 Larissa CRUMMER, 25 Teigan COLLISTER, 32 Tessa TAMPLIN - *one to be omitted* - Ins: VINE (return from injury), TAMPLIN (promoted) - Outs: 10.Emily VAN EGMOND (ankle - 6 weeks) - Unavailable: 9.Katie STENGEL (foot - 4 weeks), 14.Taylor SMITH (knee - indefinite)

Perth Glory squad: GK Eliza CAMPBELL, RGK Morgan AQUINO, 3 Kim CARROLL, 4 Alyssa MAUTZ , 5 Shannon MAY, 9 Rachel HILL, 10 Jacynta GALABADAARACHCHI, 11 Leticia McKENNA, 12 Jenna ONIONS, 13 Jamie-Lee GALE, 14 Caitlin DOEGLAS, 15 Alexia MORENO, 17 Liana COOK, 20 Sam KERR (c), 22 Abbey GREEN, 24 Natasha RIGBY, 25 Katie NAUGHTON - *two to be omitted* - Ins: MORENO (promoted), COOK (promoted), GREEN (promoted) - Outs: 7.Nicole STANTON (suspended – 1 week)



Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic believes Joel Chianese’s double strike against Sydney FC is the confidence-building boost the striker needs. The first-half goals, with a third coming from Brendon Santalab, enabled Glory to outclass the visitors 3-1 on Wednesday night.

A chipped collarbone and groin injury ruled Chianese out for the bulk of last season, but he has featured in every game under Popovic in the current campaign. “He has been outstanding in every game,” Popovic said. “He’s as good as anyone out there. He’s always been a talented player, maybe a bit like the group, looking for consistency.”

“He just keeps growing and getting better and I expect him to be an even better player. Tonight he added something that he knows he needs to do more of, and that’s score goals. He gets in so many good positions, he sets up so many goals for everyone else. He was at the right spot, the right time and he deserved that.”

Chianese, who scored 11 goals in 40 appearances for Sydney from 2011 to 2014, attributed his renaissance to Popovic. “I’ve got the backing of the boss, who has given me a lot of confidence to go out there and be positive,” Chianese said. “He’s given me game time and I feel feel like I’m improving every game.”

Chianese is enjoying the new central role he’s been handed by Popovic. “It’s almost taken me back to when I started at Sydney when I was playing as a second striker,” he said. “I enjoy playing wide, but playing through the middle gives me a lot more chances.”



Rotherham United are working on a new contract for attacking midfielder Ryan Williams. The 25-year old is out of contract at seasons' end, but having impressed since joining the Millers in June 2017, the club are are keen to tie him down. And that's something Williams is happy about.

"There has been some kind of talks between my agent and my club," Williams said. "I am happy here. I am playing at a really good level, playing well in a team that is suited to me and for a manger who suits me. The rest of the contract stuff is to do with my agent and the club."

Williams' form for the Millers over the last 18 months has put him on the verge of international recognition, having been the preliminary squad for Australia's Asian Cup squad. He has made the step up to the Championship with aplomb this season and puts his impressive form down to his relationship with boss Paul Warne.

"Player-management is probably the gaffer's strongest point, but he offers a lot of other stuff," said Williams, who has chalked up 75 league and Cup appearances to date for the club. "He has just kind of let me do what I need to do to go out and perform. I have a good relationship with him."

"If he has a problem or I have a problem on or off the pitch, I just go and speak to him and he sorts it out and brings it all back down to earth. He has been massive for me, especially after coming from Barnsley where I had a period of being out injured. He has given me a platform, he has let me get on with it and let me do what I am good at."



Melbourne City goalkeeper Lydia Williams admits the national team is the main priority now for the Matildas in the W-League. Season 2018/19 of the W-League is now at the business end and City will be battling Brisbane Roar tomorrow afternoon for a place in the finals.

In the past fortnight City’s Kyah Simon and Roar’s Katrina Gorry have succumbed to injuries which leaves them out for the rest of the season. Both players are key in the Matildas’ upcoming preparations for the 2019 World Cup in France and the national team’s first choice ’keeper says they need to take precautions for the tournament.

“While it’s good to focus on the present, everyone has an eye on France,” Williams told The Women’s Game. “We have a great medical staff and support staff and we’re doing everything they can to make sure they’re ready to go. At this point in time, it’s everyone’s main priority ... the bigger picture is the national team.”

“We really have to look after ourselves in terms of our bodies and maintain them throughout different seasons as a lot of us play overseas. We then return, perform for the national team and then on top of that, there’s the W-League. We try to make sure the priority is the national team ... at the end of the day, it’s for Australia.”

Despite the national team being at the front of Williams’ mind, she still believes her club can taste success this season. City have won three Championships in a row since their inception, but currently sit fifth on the table. But slow starts are familiar to them as they won the last two Championships from fourth.

“We’ve been in the same position for the last couple of seasons, so it’s nothing new,” she said. “We’re obviously a bit frustrated with having to win the last couple of games to bring it home, but we have the players that can come into it and really perform on the day.”



Perth Glory moved six points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League after a 3-1 win against Sydney FC at HBF Park on Wednesday evening. A stunning first half was the difference, with Joel Chianese bagging a well taken brace, while Brendan Santalab scored his first goal for the club on his starting debut. Adam La Fondre pulled one back for the visitors on the hour, but it was too little too late as Glory beat the Sky Blues for the first time in ten games.

"Sydney are a quality side and they have been good for a number of years, and we've had trouble against them so to be three up at half time showed how well we played, and we could have scored a few more in the second, it was good performance, so we'll take the win and keep moving forward," Glory defender Scott Neville said. "People have said we put a marker down with tonight's performance, but we have gone quietly about our business. We've a strong squad and the rotation of players is important, and we had a number of players missing tonight, so if we keep everyone fit, we will go a long way."

Head coach Tony Popovic rotated his squad again for this top of the table clash, and he made six changes to the side that beat Brisbane Roar on Sunday, with Ivan Franjic, Matthew Spiranovic and Tomislav Mrcela coming into the back line in place of Alex Grant and Dino Djulbic who were rested from the squad, while Neville dropped to the bench. Santalab replaced Andy Keogh up top, while Diego Castro and Juande came in for Jake Brimmer and Fabio Ferreira.

In the last meeting Sydney dominated from the start, but it was Glory who opened the brighter in this one and they opened the scoring on 13 minutes. Jason Davidson played a one-two with Castro, before crossing low to Chianese who made no mistake, firing low past Andrew Redmayne. It was a perfect start and Glory went close to second moments later, again Castro was the provider, but this time Chianese couldn't find the target. But that miss was forgotten by the former Sydney winger on 24 minutes, when he doubled Glory's lead. Neil Kilkenny's ball over the top sent Chianese racing clear, he cushioned the ball superbly on his chest under pressure from two Sydney defenders, before driving into the box and finishing with aplomb past Redmayne, much to the delight of the 9,521 Glory supporters.

Glory were putting on a clinic, and some of the football was outstanding, and Castro went close to a third late in the half. He was picked out by Santalab, but his curling shot flashed inches over the top. But the fans didn't have long to wait for third, and in the third minute of stoppage time Chianese turned provider. He seized on a mistake by Josh Brillante and sent Santalab down the left channel and the former Western Sydney Wanderers' striker finished clinically, and the whole crowd gave their heroes a standing ovation as they left the pitch.

Glory looked solid at the back after half time as Sydney looked to get back in the game, and despite dominating possession it was Glory who went close to a fourth. Castro linked up again with Chianese, he shot from close-range flashed wide of the target. Sydney did pull one back on 68 minutes, le Fondre finishing superbly from long-range. Liam Reddy then produced a great save to deny Michael Zullo, but Sydney never seriously threatened to claw their way back after that and indeed it was Glory who finished on the front foot, with substitutes Keogh and Jacob Italiano both going close right at the death.

Glory head coach Tony Popovic was thrilled with his players' first-half performance. "Great intensity, great football and disciplined defensively. It was an all-round great 45 minutes and I'm glad they got the three goals they deserved. It was probably the best half of the season," he said. "We've had some good halves that maybe haven't resulted in three goals, so if you look at the total package in terms of performance and goals, yes, this was it. But I think we've played as well as that, without getting the rewards. It was a very confident, dominant display against an excellent team. In our last home game, we lost to them and I think it's quite clear the improvement we've made since then."

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 3 Jason DAVIDSON (23 Scott NEVILLE 81'), 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 11 Brendon SANTALAB (9 Andy KEOGH 64'), 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO (21 Jacob ITALIANO 89'), 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 20 Jake BRIMMER

Sydney FC: GK Andrew REDMAYN, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Josh BRILLANTE (31 Luke IVANOVIC 81'), 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE (c) (11 Daniel DE SILVA 66'), 22 Siem DE JONG (17 Anthony CACERES 77') - Subs not used: RGK Alex CISAK, 18 Jacob TRATT - Referee: Jarred Gillett



After Sunday's second half fight back against Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory make a quick turn around when they host Sydney FC at HBF Park on Wednesday evening (7.00pm WA Time). It will be Glory's third game in ten days and a second consecutive home clash with the Sky Blues. In that game a double from Adam Le Fondre gave the Sky Blues the points and despite Chris Ikonomidis' late strike the result ended Glory's unbeaten start to the season. Glory have bounced back from that set back and have won back-to-back games on the road at Central Coast and Brisbane, scoring eight goals, but this one is important, with Sydney seemingly having the wood on Glory, winning the past nine games between them.

A win in this one would put a marker down, as still many in the east don’t think Glory will be there come season's end with many still talking up a Sydney v Melbourne Victory Grand Final. A win tonight will give Glory confidence that they can beat Steve Corica's side, but Glory need to be on the front foot early, as Sydney bossed them in the first game early and they never recovered. Both sides will be missing players on Socceroos duty, with Rhyan Grant and Ikonomidis in the UAE. But there are tasty battles all over the park, with both sides liking to get the ball down and play attacking football, so I'm betting there will be a few goals in this one.

Le Fondre and Alex Brosque have been on fire in recent weeks and were huge in the Sky Blues win in the last game between the two sides. In the middle of the park Milos Ninkovic, former Glory midfielder Brandon O'Neill and Alex Brillante are outstanding, with pace and guile so it will be interesting to see who Popovic goes for in the engine room to play alongside Neil Kilkenny, who has been outstanding again this season and sits fourth in the Fox Sports Alex Tobin Medal count. Glory rested Matthew Spiranovic, Tomislav Mrcela and Juande last week, and held back Diego Castro from a start also, although the Spanish Maestro was superb when he came on after an hour. So, it will be interesting which way the coach goes, a few selection headaches for sure.

Glory head coach Tony Popovic said his side can create more new history, and after a good start to the season he will be looking for them to continue that positive trend by bringing the Sky Blues' nine-match winning run against Glory to an end. "This year I think we've created a lot of history so far and changed a lot of perceptions and results in terms of past history that the club has had against teams," he said. "Tomorrow [Wednesday] we have another chance to create some more new history against Sydney FC and that's what we'll be looking to do. All the players are available, except for Chris Ikonomidis [away on international duty] and that's a good headache for me to have as a coach. Everyone that has played has done a wonderful job and everyone that has not played is itching to get into the team. That's exactly what we want that here at the club and I'm sure that whoever is selected will be up for the challenge."

Popovic was delighted the way his chargers had fought back against Brisbane and he said it showed the fight there is within the squad. "It's quite clear how much belief there is among the group," he said. "We felt that we started the game very well, but with their first attempt on goal they scored and then lifted with the crowd behind them. They got some confidence and capitalised on that before half-time leaving us a huge challenge. But the players took that on and scored four away goals in the second half which is not easy to do. So, we were delighted with the performance and the result. The January period is difficult, but we've dealt with the travel very well so far and we'll be ready for tomorrow, that's for sure."

Sydney currently sit third on the ladder having recorded seven wins from their 11 games, including a 5-2 victory last time out against the Mariners. Former Glory Daniel de Silva will return to the squad having missed their win last weekend due to a clause in his loan deal preventing him from playing against his parent club. Sydney coach Corica is determined to continue their dominants over Glory, and said he is confident his players can dish out another lesson to Perth. "Obviously we're doing very well over there," Corica said. "The boys enjoy playing over there. Each game is very important, but this is a top-of-the-table clash, and our players know that, and they know what will happen if we win it - we'll be top of the table. We're very confident. The boys are doing a great job at the moment. The last time we went to Perth was a great win."

Perth Glory squad: GK Liam REDDY, RGK Tando VELAPHI, 2 Alex GRANT, 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 5 Ivan FRANJIC, 6 Dino DJULBIC, 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 11 Brendon SANTALAB, 13 Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16 Tomislav MRCELA, 17 Diego CASTRO, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA, 23 Scott NEVILLE, 27 JUANDE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - *two to be omitted* - Ins: SPIRANOVIC, MRCELA, JUANDE - Outs: 15 Brandon WILSON - Unavailable: 19Chris IKONOMIDIS (international duty)

Sydney FC squad: GK Andrew REDMAYNE, RGK Alex CISAK, 2 Aaron CALVER, 4 Alex WILKINSON, 6 Josh BRILLANTE, 7 Michael ZULLO, 8 Paulo RETRE, 9 Adam LE FONDRE, 10 Milos NINKOVIC, 11 Daniel DE SILVA, 13 Brandon O’NEILL, 14 Alex BROSQUE (c), 17 Anthony CACERES, 18 Jacob TRATT, 21 Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 22 Siem DE JONG, 24 Cam DEVLIN, 31 Luke IVANOVIC - *two to be omitted* - Ins: DE SILVA (return from non-selection due to Mariners loan agreement), LOKOLI-NGOY (promoted) - Outs: Nil - Unavailable: 3 Ben WARLAND (foot – 1 weeks), 5 Jop van der LINDEN (hamstring – 2 weeks), 12 Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 19 Chris ZUVELA (knee – indefinite), 23 Rhyan GRANT (International Duty)



It's been reported from Melbourne that Melbourne City are lining-up a swap-deal involving City's unsettled Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli and Perth Glory skipper Andy Keogh. City coach Warren Joyce signed Keogh when he was coach at EFL side Leeds United and is keen to bring in the Irish striker to give them more strike power, with Fornaroli on the outer at the club after a fall out with the English coach.

The 31-year-old Uruguayan's feud with Joyce has meant he hasn't played since November, but it's reported City have reached an agreement with him to move on, but Sydney FC and Adelaide United also in the chase for his signature. City have started to move people on with Michael O'Halloran leaving the club and Kearyn Baccus coming in from Western Sydney Wanderers, but it's up top where they are struggling.

Glory coach Tony Popovic was coy when asked about the swap-deal on Tuesday morning. “There’s nothing to comment on because we’ve got nothing to discuss in terms of that,” Popovic said. "There’s nothing to rule in or out, because we’re talking about speculation. There will always be talk in January about good players. We’re on top on the table. It’s no surprise our players are creating interest from other clubs, and that’s what’s happening. If he (Fornaroli) was available, I think he could help any side, but if you’re asking me if Bruno is a good player - yes. Is Andy Keogh a good player - sure is.”

There was another twist when it was reported that Adelaide and Sydney have also entered the race to sign Fornaroli, the cashed-up Reds have thrown their hat into the ring. German coach Marco Kurz has been given $1 million to spend by the club’s new ownership group. Meanwhile Sydney, who almost signed Fornaroli as a marquee in the off-season, have also re-entered the fray for the Uruguayan, but for next season rather than this January window.

As a Glory supporter I'm not keen on this deal. Yes, Keogh does have his knockers, but he is starting to hit his straps and has bagged seven goals this season under the new coaching regium. Fornaroli is a good striker but it looks like he is a bad influence in the dressing room, do we need that? Keogh in my opinion holds the ball up well and brings players into the game, while Fornaroli scores goals, but likes the ball to feet and will not go looking for it. Both good players but I think we'll keep Keogh Thank-you!!!!



Former Perth Glory duo Brandon O'Neill and Josh Risdon are being courted by several English Championship sides, including Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa. The pair have both expressed a desire to test themselves at an overseas club, and it's been reported that Villa has reviewed footage of the pair and will no doubt ask for advice from former Socceroos skipper Mile Jedinak, who is still on the books at the club and played alongside Risdon at the recent World Cup, as they monitor their form.

The pair are close mates, both are from Western Australia and played at the same junior club (ECU Joondalup SC). Both came through the ranks at Perth Glory together and both have thrived since leaving their home state for NSW, especially O'Neill who wasn't really given a chance at the club. One problem of playing overseas is a work permit, but the pair do have European connections. O'Neill has an Irish passport while Risdon is applying for a Croatian one, with heritage through his mother's side. Risdon's previous attempts at shifting to England have not progressed due to work permit issues.

Risdon, 26, has made no secrets of his ambitions to play overseas, and is hoping the opportunity comes along. "I feel like I've paid my dues in the A-League, I've been here nearly 10 years and it's something I've always wanted to do," he said. "If the opportunity comes along, I'd jump to get over there and take the next step. It's where every player wants to go, you can experience different cultures, different leagues, different styles of football."

O'Neill, 24, whose contract at Sydney is up at the end of the season, has also said wants to play outside of the A-League and test himself at Europe. After three impressive seasons with the Sky Blues, he is weighing up whether to leave Sydney FC at the end of the 2018/2019 season after winning four trophies with the club. "I have aspirations, like anyone else in Australia, to play at the highest level and overseas," he said. "Both myself and Sydney FC, and as a club they’ve been brilliant in terms of talking about that and they realize that’s what I want to do. But they also want to support me and help me as much as possible.

"But maybe not yet – there’s still a lot of football to be played, a lot of scenarios to play out. The biggest thing for me is I have the support of the club, I have the support of my family and friends that I will make the correct decision moving forward that ultimately helps me achieve what I want to achieve and where I want to play. It’s a good position to be in because lads that have been in this situation don’t have the support and the actual guidance to make the right decision, and it is a big decision because I’m 24 now.

"We’ve been so lucky to have the success we’ve had at Sydney FC and I feel that the next part of my career, and the next part of my life is trying to play at the highest level possible. Whatever the situation or the scenario that plays out, me and Sydney FC are committed to making sure the best outcome happens for club and player. I’ve said this to so many people, but Sydney is my footballing home and forever will be.

"I was born in Perth and raised in Perth, and my family and friends are still over there, but in terms of my career and what’s happen in the four years I’ve been here this will forever be my home. I’d love to travel and see a bit of the world and then finish my football career here because it’s the best club in the A-League, it’s the best club in Australia to be part of and I have no intention of ever playing for any other A-League club because of what they’ve offered me and what I’ve been able to do here. It’s a big decision that I’ve got to make this year… I’ll make sure I’ll make the right one and everyone will be happy."



Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic has refused to guarantee the future of Andy Keogh, fuelling rumours the star striker could be swapped for Bruno Fornaroli. The Melbourne City forward has fallen out with coach Warren Joyce and reports are rife the club are keen to swap him for Keogh.

Popovic did his best to sidestep the topic when pressed about it this morning, but he left the door open for the swap to go ahead by refusing to guarantee Keogh would stay at the club. "There's nothing to comment on, because we've got nothing to discuss in terms of that," Popovic replied when asked whether Keogh will remain with Glory until the end of the season.

Popovic was also reluctant to talk about the direct swap. "Well there's nothing to rule in or out, because we're talking about speculation," he said. "There will always be talk in January about good players. We're on top on the table. It's no surprise our players are creating interest from other clubs, and that's what's happening."



Aston Villa are set to recall Jordan Lyden from his loan spell with Oldham Athletic, with the Championship giants considering offering the midfielder new terms at Villa Park. Lyden has been impressing at League Two outfit Oldham, making 14 appearances for the Latics across all competitions.

Villa are reportedly keen to take a look at the 22-year old’s progress as they consider offering him a new deal at Villa Park. The former ECU Joondalup junior has been limited to just 7 outings for Villa since 2015, however, new manager Dean Smith has placed a strong emphasis on promoting young players from within the club.



Former ECU Joondalup youngster Jordan Lyden has impressing at League Two side Oldham Athletic, making 14 appearances for the Latics, after moving on loan from Aston Villa. The 22-year-old helped Oldham to an upset win against English Premier League side Fulham last weekend, and it's been reported that Villa are looking to recall Lyden as they consider offering him a new deal at Villa Park.

In his senior career, Lyden has managed only seven appearances in claret and blue, with the latest of those coming back in September 2017, when Steve Bruce handed the midfielder just under half-an-hour of a League Cup defeat to Middlesbrough. However, Dean Smith is now in-charge at Villa Park, with the former Brentford boss having an emphasis on promoting young players, and Callum O’Hare, James Bree and Keinan Davis were all involved on Saturday afternoon as Villa crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Swansea City.

Lyden's current deal expires in the summer, and his loan deal, and performances at Oldham have impressed the Villa coaching staff, and he said it was always the case that this loan would be instrumental to his future. “For me personally, I just needed game time,” Lyden said. “Villa have told me that if I get game time here, then we can talk about a new contract when I go back. I’d like to stay here for the season, get Oldham promoted and then hopefully I can push on back at Villa from there.”



Australia's Asian Cup defence has begun in the worst possible way after a 0-1 defeat against Jordan at Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Sunday evening. Despite dominating possession, the Socceroos couldn't find a way past a packed Jordanian defence and lost to a bullet header from Anas Bani-Yaseen after only 26 minutes. While disappointed with the result, skipper Mark Milligan feels it will be easy to lift the team for Friday’s second Group B match against Palestine. “We have a great bunch of boys,” he said post-match. “This will hurt everyone, it’s hurting me at the minute and I know everyone feels the same. But we’ll let [the result] settle, we’ll let Arnie [coach Graham Arnold] have his say and we’ll get to work as players to focus and get ready for the next game.

“We can be a little bit more patient as we have been but sometimes it’s hard to maintain your patience when a team is sitting in so deep and giving you that ball to play. We need to settle down and keep our composure. The good thing is we kept going until the end. We’ll work on things and we’ll be alright. We know we have to be better if we want to progress and succeed in this tournament. I still think there's good signs in the way we want to play but we need to execute better.”

Jordan held off a late onslaught by the reigning Asian champions in the second-half to leave the Socceroos with little margin for error in their remaining two group matches. Already struck by injury to key players such as Aaron Mooy, Martin Boyle, Daniel Arzani and Mat Leckie, the Socceroos suffered another blow before the match with Andrew Nabbout ruled out due to a groin strain. Jamie Maclaren took his place in the centre of Australia's three-pronged attack but failed to make much impact on the match as Graham Arnold's men dominated possession but were largely ineffective up front.

Celtic's Tom Rogic had Australia's best chance to level the game in the second half but somehow blazed his shot over from 12 yards after a cutback by Aziz Behich in the 72nd minute. Awer Mabil, starting the match ahead of Perth Glory's Chris Ikonomidis, also smacked the post with a shot in the second half. There was late drama when Maclaren found the back of the net in the 87th minute but his effort was ruled out for offside. Australia also believed it had a good shout for a penalty late in the first half when a Robbie Kruse effort was blocked by a Jordanian defender but despite howls of protest Omani referee Ahmed Abu Bakar Al Kaf was unmoved.

The loss was sealed when veteran Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi's double save to deny Ikonomidis and Grant was followed by the final whistle. Defeat isn't terminal for Australia given a third-place finish in the group could still lead to progression to the last 16 but it raises plenty of questions for Arnold heading into the second group match against Palestine in Dubai on Friday. Jordan can all but ensure its progression to the knockout stages when they face Syria in Al Ain on Friday.

Overall it was a dis-jointed display, with Rogic failing to impose himself on the game, but he had some mates as well. We played the ball to slow and didn't get behind Jordan until the introduction of Rhyan Grant and Chris Ikonomidis, both should have started. The lack of firepower up front is also a worry, we went with Jamie Maclaren, who hasn't scored a goal for the green and gold but losing Nabbuat Leckie and Boyle before the game and tournament respectively we might struggle in the rest of the games. So instead of the talking about who we will play in the quarter finals, on Sundays display we should be worried about getting out of the group stage.

Australia: GK Mat Ryan, 2 Milos Degenek, 5 Mark Milligan, 8 Massimo Luongo, (22 Jackson Irvine 74'), 9 Jamie Maclaren, 10 Robbie Kruse (15 Chris Ikonomidis 55'), 16 Aziz Behich, 19 Josh Risdon (4 Rhyan Grant 46’), 20 Trent Sainsbury, 21 Awer Mabil, 23 Tomas Rogic

Jordan: GK Amer Shafi, 2 Feras Shilbaya, 3 Tareq Khattab, 4 Baha Abdel-Rahman, 6 Saeed Al Murjan (10 Ahmed Saleh 90'), 7 Yousef Rawshdeh, 11 Yasen Bakheet (14 Ahmad Ersan 88'), 13 Khalil Bani Ateyah, 18 Mousa Suleiman (9 Baha' Seif 72'), 19 Anas Bani Yaseen, 21 Salem Al Ajalin



Perth Glory produced a superb second half comeback to beat Brisbane Roar 4-2 in Week 11 of the Hyundai A-League at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The home side were in control at half time, with a brace from former Glory striker Adam Taggart, but Glory hit back on the hour with Neil Kilkenny converting from the penalty spot after the Roar were reduced to ten men with Daniel Bowles sent off. From then on Glory took control and Kilkenny added another from the spot nine minutes from time, before an own goal from Aaron Reardon and a header from skipper Andy Keogh gave the Glory the points and move them back to the top of the table, although Taggart had a chance to complete his hat trick late on and reduce the margin, but he blazed over the top from the penalty spot.

"We've shown real character and quality to come back from 2-0 down, it's very satisfying because it's always difficult here [in Brisbane]; the conditions and the pitch make it tough," Glory Coach Tony Popovic said post-match. "We're delighted to have come out of two difficult back-to-back away games with six points. I thought we started the game well and created plenty of opportunities, but then we conceded and that happens in football. After we conceded the second, though, I felt that we started forcing things and getting a bit anxious, so the message at half time was about getting back to how we started, trusting our game and believing in ourselves. That was it. The players did the rest."

Popovic made four changes to the side that beat Central Cost Mariners on New Year’s Eve with Dino Djulbic, Scott Neville and Shane Lowey coming into the back line in replace of the injured Tomislav Mrcela and Matthew Spiranovic, while Ivan Franjic dropped to the bench. In the middle of the park Jake Brimmer came in for Juande as the coach freshened things up with Glory also in action on Wednesday evening at home against Sydney FC. It was a tight opening with clear cut chances few and far between, but it was Glory who had the first real opportunity. Fabio Ferreira, fresh off a brace against the Mariners, saw his first shot blocked by Jack Hingert, before firing over the top after good work from Neil Kilkenny.

But against the run of play it was the home side who opened the scoring on 22 minutes. There looked little danger when a long ball out of defence by Dane Ingham, but Liam Reddy raced out of his box and collided with Lowry, the ball rolling to Taggart, who fired home from close-range, despite a despite last ditch tackle from Djulbic. The Roar, who have only won once all season, were battling for every ball and had the Glory on the back foot and it wasn't a surprise when they doubled their lead five minutes before the break. Eric Beautheac's corner picked out Taggart, who lost his marker and headed powerfully past Reddy.

The home side carried on where they left off after the break and Beautheac's long-range shot flashed inches past the post early, but Glory lifted and pulled one back on the hour. Keogh's through ball sent Joel Chianese racing clear and as he entered the penalty area he was brought down by Bowles and referee Adam Kersey pointed straight to the spot and sent the Roar defender off. Kilkenny kept his nerve and drilled the penalty down the middle to reduce the margin. Popovic smelt blood and brought on Diego Castro and Franjic as they made their numerical advantage count and the Glory started to get on top.

Keogh was denied by a superb block from young defender Reardon, before Jamie Young saved low to deny Castro. The Roar custodian then produced another smart save to thwart Keogh, as the Irish striker was sent in one-on-one, before Chianese headed Jason Davidson's cross narrowly wide. But Glory's pressure was rewarded with the equaliser on 81 minutes. Second half substitute Brandon Santalab's shot from the edge of the penalty area hit the arm of Reardon, and after checking the VAR the referee pointed to the spot. Kilkenny stepped up again and sent Young the wrong way to level things up.

Glory were now well on top and it was only a matter of time till they hit the front, and it came four minutes later. The ball pinballed in the box (check video) before eventually falling to Chianese, whose low cross was turned into his own net by the unfortunate Reardon. Glory then added a fourth on 87 minutes to put the game out of the reach of the Roar. Chianese chip from the right picked out Keogh, who headed past Young from five meters. Despite the score line the drama wasn't over and Henrique shot hit the post before Taggart was brought down by Franjic and the referee awarded his third penalty. But Taggart couldn't complete his hat-trick blazing over from the resulting penalty.

“The message from the boss was to stay calm and composed,” Davidson said post-match. “We know were a quality team and that we’re going to create chances, to stick to the game plan. Credit to the boys, because it shows the character in the team and the resilience and discipline to go out in the second half and get the job done. “Going into the season we had our targets and we take each game as they come. For us the confidence and the belief are through our hard work and discipline. Defenders put their body on the line to stop goals and attackers create chances to score the goals. It was a great team effort today and the boys should be very happy with the result.”

Brisbane Roar: GK Jamie YOUNG, 2 Dane INGHAM (34 Aaron REARDON 60'), 4 Daniel BOWLES, 7 Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8 Jacob PEPPER, 9 Adam TAGGART, 11 Eric BEAUTHEAC, 14 Alex LOPEZ, 17 Matt MCKAY (c) (26 Nick D’AGOSTINO 56'), 19 Jack HINGERT, 24 Connor O’TOOLE - Sub not used: RGK Brendan WHITE, 23 Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 33 HENRIQUE - Red Cards - Bowles 59'

Perth Glory: GK Liam REDDY, 2 Alex GRANT (11 Brendon SANTALAB 75'), 3 Jason DAVIDSON, 4 Shane LOWRY, 6 Dino DJULBIC (5 Ivan FRANJIC 62'), 7 Joel CHIANESE, 9 Andy KEOGH, 20 Jake BRIMMER, 22 Fabio FERREIRA (17 Diego CASTRO 62'), 23 Scott NEVILLE, 88 Neil KILKENNY - Subs not used: RGK Tando VELAPHI, 15 Brandon WILSON - Referee: Adam Kersey



Perth Glory moved up to third place in Conference A in the Foxtel Y-League after a 4-2 win against Adelaide United at Dorrien Gardens. They had to do it the hard way as three minutes after Jaiden Selden had given them the lead defender Zayd Farah was sent off. But they did double their lead on the hour though Daniel Stynes, before Pacifique Niyongabire pulled one back six minutes later. But the ten men continue to create chances and Stynes added his second before Ethan Brooks made it 4-1 moments later. Adelaide did pull another one back through Taras Gomulka, but Glory held on for the three points to end their home games on a high with back to back wins for the first time this season.

“We showed courage and we showed the resilience that the boys have started to grow in recent weeks,” Glory academy Head Coach Richard Garcia said. "People put their bodies on the line and defended well, so when we go forward, we’ve got that quality that allows us to go and score. The most important thing was their mentality and that’s something we’ve been trying to drive…today was a good display of what we’re capable of when everyone’s thinking and doing the right thing.”

Garcia made one change to the side that beat Melbourne Victory last week, with Walter Scott coming back into the side to replace Ethan Brooks, who dropped to the bench. It was the visitors who opened the brighter and Carlo Armiento's shot was cleared off the line by some desperate Glory defending. Moments later Niyongabire saw his shot well saved by Jackson Lee, the Glory custodian also reacting to save Armiento’s follow-up effort. It was backs to the wall for the home side, and Lee denied Niyongabire again on 24 minutes, and their early pressure should have been rewarded two minutes later.

Gomulka was a found unmarked at the top of the six-yard box, but his shot flew over the crossbar much to the relief of the Glory defence. That miss came back to haunt the Reds, and on the half hour Glory hit the front. A superb run from Selden, which saw him race past three Adelaide defenders, before finishing with aplomb past Isaac Richards. But three minutes later the Glory were reduced to ten men when Farah was shown a second yellow card by referee Shane Skinner and sent off.

Garcia shuffled the pack at the break with Brooks coming on and his trickery caused problems for the Adelaide defence and he supplied the cross as the ten men doubled their lead nine minutes into the second half. Brooks made space on the right and whipped in a low cross for Selden, his shot was blocked, but the rebound fell to Stynes who eased past his marker and made no mistake. But the visitors were back in the game on 67 minutes, Armiento's shot was parried by Lee, and Niyongabire was on hand to fire home.

That goal lifted the visitors and they went to the equaliser soon after, second half substitute Ninko Beric's shot hitting the woodwork. It was anyone’s game and the Glory took control on 77 minutes when Kristian Popovic was brought down in the box by Jai King-Byrne and the referee had no hesitation in pointed to the spot. Stynes stepped up to score and give the ten men back their two-goal buffer. They increased their sixty seconds later, Brooks again racing clear of his marker and finishing clinically. The Reds did score a consolation goal moments later, with Gomulka finishing, but it was too little too late.

Perth Glory: GK Jackson LEE, 2 Daniel WALSH, 3 Walter SCOTT, 4 Zayd FARAH, 5 Henry HORE (C), 6 Kristian POPOVIC, 7 Trent OSTLER, 8 Cameron MURRAY (14 Ethan BROOKS 46’), 9 Jaidon SELDEN, 10 Daniel STYNES, 11 Gabriel POPOVIC - Subs not used: RGK Nicholas SPECA, 15 Jack LEECH, 17 Kristian SANTICH - Red cards: Farah (32’)

Adelaide United: GK Isaac RICHARDS, 7 Taras GOMULKA, 8 Jai KING-BYRNE, 11 Carlo ARMIENTO, 12 Yared ABETEW, 14 Noah SMITH (9 Ninko BERIC 65’), 19 Al Hassan TOURE (10 Aladin IRABONA 61’), 22 Cooper NUNN (44 Jared CLARK 61’), 24 Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 27 Louis D’ARRIGO (C), 28 Kristian KONSTANDOPOULOS - Subs not used: RGK Cameron COOK - Referee - Shane Skinner



Adam Taggart looked like he was carrying the world on his shoulders ahead of Sunday’s huge A-League fixture against leaders Perth Glory. A lot has happened since the striker left West Australia eight months ago for Queensland and the chance to play under former Socceroo and World Cup hero John Aloisi.

Aloisi has quit, Roar are languishing near the bottom of the table and Glory – under new coach Tony Popovic – are setting the pace for the rest of the league. Taggart is currently second on the goal scoring chart with seven from 11 appearances but agrees with teammate Eric Bautheac that the players let Aloisi down.

“As individuals we weren’t performing as well as what we could be,” Taggart told “It’s obviously hard to talk for everyone but you know, myself, I’ve definitely not been playing the sort of football that I know I can this year.”

“And I’m sure everyone would probably say the same about themselves. It’s been a difficult period and I think for John, who worked really hard for us, it was disappointing on our behalf to have not been able to do more for him to stick around.”

Roar stopped the rot with a 2-2 away draw against Newcastle Jets last round, ending a five-game losing streak. The Queenslanders showed plenty of grit coming back twice through Taggart and Bautheac to earn the point but according to the striker beleives “it’s hard to say anything has changed”.

“Obviously a few more young boys have come in and probably helped lift the squad I think. All of them have been really good so far,” commented Taggart in reference to the recent promotion of youth team players Jay Barnett and Dylan Wenzel-Halls. “(But) the way we want to play is exactly the same.”

“Coming second bottom there comes the point where there’s not much to lose. People start to play with a bit more freedom and that’s probably what everyone can see. People probably feel like there’s a bit less pressure obviously being second bottom. No one’s giving us much of a chance at the moment.”

Despite his subdued demeanour, Taggart said he was looking forward to Sunday’s clash and the quick turnaround. “Perth have everything to lose being top of the league and performing really really well – and us obviously at the other end,” he said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for all of us to really help kick on from a good couple of team performances.”

If you have any additional information on Western Australian soccer that we have left out, or if you would like to get in contact, email Jacob at

since the 26th June, 2002

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