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What a difference a year has made for Perth Glory. Twelve months ago, almost to the day, the club was a mess. Alistair Edwards had been sacked as coach after a bitter dispute within the football department and the club limped through the rest of the season, finishing eighth. The current campaign could hardly be more different. Glory, with a revamped squad under new coach Kenny Lowe, have lost just once in 14 matches in all competitions this season and sit three points clear on top of the A-League.

In tonight's inaugural FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United at a sold out Coopers Stadium, Glory have the chance to create history and break a decade-long trophy drought. "It feels a lot better than it did last year," owner Tony Sage said. "We did have a few issues. They're all gone now, it's all behind us. We're still only a third of a way through the season, but the FFA Cup final for us is a big moment."

Lowe had limited success in the league as interim coach in the second half of last season, but did enough away from the pitch to impress Glory management. He won the full-time role in April and immediately set about rebuilding the squad with a string of high quality recruits. "With Kenny's CV and what he's done with juniors in WA is second to none in this country," Sage said. "We had to give him a go. He's picked the squad that he wanted this year and with the eight new signings you can see the difference that it's made."

Glory have endured plenty of hard times since the A-League era began in 2005. The former National Soccer League powerhouses have reached just one Grand Final in nine seasons and never finished an A-League regular season higher than third place. But the good times might be on their way back. Winning the inaugural FFA Cup would be a massive boost for the club. "It's very important," Sage said. "We were bitterly disappointed after the Grand Final in 2012, we couldn't bring it home. I think winning the cup would do really well for Perth as a city and for Perth football."



A-League leaders Perth Glory are claiming underdog status for tomorrow night’s FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United. Sensational early season form has traditional strugglers Glory sitting on top of the league ahead of the inaugural Cup Final. But coach Kenny Lowe says travelling to Adelaide - the site of their only A-League loss of the season - gives the Reds a "huge advantage". "They're a super team," he said. "They play the game the right way and everyone should take their hats off to the way they play because you've got to be brave the way they play. We're coming into a cauldron here... but we want to try and spoil their party."

Coopers Stadium will be a sea of red after a full sell-out declared last week. But there will at least be one pocket of purple with Glory flying their entire playing and backroom staff to Adelaide for the match. The FFA Cup has been a tremendous success story for the sport, connecting the grassroots of the game with A-League professionals. The knockout competition that began with more than 600 clubs is down to just two; meaning either Adelaide or Glory will end a title drought. Perth haven't claimed a trophy since the 2004 National Soccer League whereas Adelaide's lean streak extends to 2006 when they topped the A-League ladder.

Two painful A-League Grand Final losses to Melbourne Victory on either side of an Asian Champions League Final defeat means Tuesday night's match is the chance for coach Josep Gombau to end Adelaide's finals hoodoo. "For us as a club it's very important. Not every year you can win a trophy," he said. "I wish the people from Adelaide can enjoy this and we can win this game." Both coaches have one key selection issue after Gombau confirmed Argentine whiz Marcel Carrusco would start but defender Nigel Boogaard remains in the balance. For Lowe it's whether to pick Mitch Nichols., who is struggling with a hamstring injury.



Perth Glory veteran Richard Garcia cannot wait for his maiden Cup Final but says he would have loved tomorrow’s FFA Cup decider to be played as a stand-alone fixture on the weekend. The Perth-born 33-year old spent 15 years in England where the closest he came to playing in a Cup Final was the 2008 Championship promotion play-off.

Back then, Garcia played a full game as Hull City defeated Bristol City 1-0 to earn promotion to the Premier League at Wembley. The 2010 World Cup Socceroo remembers that day fondly and would love to one day see the FFA Cup Final become such an occasion. “That was a fantastic feeling and when we got promoted to the Premier League it was an even better feeling,” Garcia said. “But just the atmosphere of the day and everything which comes with it is unbeatable.”

Garcia admitted some disappointment at the fact the inaugural FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United will be played on a weeknight. The game is sold out, but Garcia felt the occasion as a whole wouldn’t be the same as he’s experienced in England. “We’ll be focusing on the game and it’ll be such a great event,” he said. “But it’s a bit of a pity it’s on a Tuesday night. I’m sure it’ll still be great, but it would’ve been nice to have stopped the whole league and had a special weekend just for the FFA Cup.”

Nonetheless, Garcia admits after a long career in England it was a dream to be playing for his hometown club in his maiden Cup Final. Garcia left Perth for West Ham United in 1997 - in Glory’s infant years - but said he always planned to return to the club. “When Glory came about, I was just about to leave for England but it was always my plan to come back and play for my hometown club,” Garcia said. “To be doing so well and have a cup final it’s fantastic. I couldn’t have dreamed of having a better start to my Perth Glory career.”

Glory haven’t won silverware since their 2003/04 National Soccer League title and Garcia said it would mean so much to the club if they ended the drought. “It’s the first FFA Cup. It’s like a quiz question, so we want to be the first winners,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to keep the momentum going and get some silverware. I’m sure it’ll mean a lot. The way we’re going in the league means a lot as well. We’ve got momentum. As a club we’re feeling good about ourselves and where we are.”



Goalkeeper Brad Jones has ended a 21-month wait for an English Premier League start - but the good news ended there. The 32-year-old shot-stopper was called upon by under-pressure Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to face Manchester United, who ran riot with a 3-0 win. Despite some errors, Jones still has the backing of Rodgers, who says he will continue to be Liverpool's first choice, with regular ‘keeper Simon Mignolet dropped indefinitely.

Jones was not helped by some woeful defending, and bounced back with a strong save late in the game. "Simon has been fine, he's a good professional. I spoke to him the other day and he accepted it (being dropped)," Rodgers said after the loss. "I don't think Brad Jones had much to do today, other than for the goals. The change is for an indefinite period. I felt Brad did very well for me last year when I needed him - he's a very capable keeper. We have to find solutions all over the squad to be better."



The first silverware of the season is up for grabs on Tuesday evening when Adelaide United and Perth Glory meet in the inaugural FFA Cup Final at Coopers Stadium. All available tickets for the Final were sold within three days of going on sale, so a capacity crowd of over 16,000 is expected for the decider – (kick off 7.30pm EST). FFA CEO David Gallop is over the moon with the success of the competition decider. “The inaugural Westfield FFA Cup Final has become the hottest ticket in town in its debut year,” Gallop said. “It’s an amazing story for a competition that has captured the imagination of football fans everywhere. The atmosphere at the Final will be fantastic and I thank the fans of Adelaide United and Perth Glory for embracing the big game.”

Both sides have been potent in front of goal with Andy Keogh scoring five and Nebojsa Marinkovic four for the Glory, while Sergio Cirio has bagged five and Bruce Djite three for The Reds. The road to final started in June when Adelaide edged out Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in the round of 32, thanks to a Cirio goal, while Keogh’s brace gave the Glory a 2-0 win at Newcastle Jets. Adelaide met A-League opponents again in the Round of 16, and Djite and Cirio gave them a 2-0 win against Brisbane Roar. The Glory met Victorian State League side St Albans Saints and won 4-1, Marinkovic scoring a double, with Jamie Maclaren and Keogh added the others.

In the quarter finals both sides needed extra time against A-League opposition. Adelaide travelled to the Allianz Stadium and two strikes from Djite in extra time gave them a 3-1 win against Sydney FC, while the Glory became the first club to beat Melbourne Victory this season, winning 4-2 at nib Stadium. Keogh scored twice, while teenager midfielder Danny De Silva scored his first senior goal for the club. That set up two intriguing Semi-Finals where Adelaide beat Central Coast Mariners 3-2, with another double to Spanish striker Cirio. The Glory ended the dream run of NPL Victorian side Bentleigh Greens, with Marinkovic bagging a brace in the 3-0 win.

Both sides have started the A-League season well, only losing once. The only Glory loss came against the Reds at Coopers Stadium in round 2, with Cirio and Awer Mabil scoring, and that win will give Josep Gombau’s side a vital edge going into the final. The Reds passing game has been outstanding, with their Spanish and Argentinian brigade shining, while Djite and Jason Goodwin give them pace in the final third. The Glory has been led superbly by skipper Michael Thwaite and defensive midfielder Rostyn Griffiths, while the pace down the flanks from Josh Risdon and Scott Jamieson is a great weapon for Kenny Lowe’s side, but Keogh is the key if they are to head back with the trophy. It has all the hallmarks of being a classic Cup Final, and the winner will go into the history book as the first ever winner of the competition.



Perth Glory secured their first Westfield W-League Grand Final appearance after a 3-0 win against Sydney FC at nib Stadium on Sunday afternoon. First half goals from Elisa D’Ovidio and Kate Gill, and a first W-League goalfor the club from Gabrille Marzano in the second half won the game for Jamie Harnwell’s side and booked a home Grand Final next weekend against Canberra United. “I’m delighted with not only the result but the performance,” Glory Coach Jamie Harnwell said. “The girls were outstanding and I can’t praise them highly enough.” The former Perth Glory defender is now looking forward to next week’s final, but knows that Canberra will be tough. “We know what to expect, and it will be a tough game. They are a very strong unit with creative individuals that can cause us problems,” Harnwell said. “However, if we play to the level we are capable of, we will cause them a lot of problems as well.”

Without Matilda’s striker Sam Kerr, the Glory were on the front foot early and her replacement D’Ovidio put them ahead on 10 minutes. Gill played the ball out to the striker on the left of the penalty area and she fired low past Casey Dumont, to have the big crowd on its feet. Sydney, who was thrashed 5-0 by the Glory a fortnight ago, looked to get back into the game but they found Glory keeper Mackenzie Arnold in stunning form. The Glory custodian, who was in doubt before the game with a damaged cheekbone, produced a number of stunning saves, the best a one-handed effort to tip Amy Harrison long-range shot over the crossbar from. The Glory doubled their advantage eight minutes before half time. Gill found space on the edge of the penalty area and here superb lob hit the top corner of the net giving Dumont no chance.

Sydney opened the second half well with American striker Jasmyne Spencer a constant threat and Arnold had to be alert to save the diminutive striker’s shot on the hour. But the Glory lead by a great defensive display from Alanna Kenndy and Shelina Zadorsky, were not going to give up their advantage, and the game was made safe ten minutes later. Dumont’s clearance went straight into defender Renee Rollason, the ball spilling to Gill in the penalty area. The W-League top goalscorer unselfishly laid the ball off to substitute Gabe Marzano, who slotted her first Glory goal from close range. Both sides had late chances Harrison’s long-range shot drifted inches wide, after Arnold was caught off her line, while Dumont produced a stunning save to deny the Glory a fourth in a goalmouth scramble.

Harnwell’s chargers have dominated the regular season, setting new records for most goals scored (39), most points accumulated (30) and best start to the season (six straight wins) on the way to winning the league premiership, and will be looking to add a Grand Final victory next week. “I couldn’t be more proud of the girls for the way we played against Sydney,” Glory striker Elisa D’Ovidio said. “We had a few players missing, but I thought we played some great football and everyone gave it their all.” The 25-year-old, who announced her retirement at the end of the season is hoping to end her career with a W-League title. “Canberra is a strong side, so we know it will be a tough game,” she said. “But if we play the football we have been playing all season, then I’m sure we will get the reward we deserve, and win our first ever Grand Final, which will be a great end to my time in the game.”



Socceroo Mitch Nichols is in doubt for this week’s FFA Cup Final against Adelaide United as Perth Glory attempt to end a decade-long trophy drought. Nichols limped off with a left hamstring problem in the second half of Friday night’s league win over Newcastle Jets. Nursing an iced hamstring after being substituted midway through the second half, Nichols cast a disconsolate figure on the final whistle, remaining in his chair before limping into the rooms rather than celebrate with teammates.

Nichols received treatment over the weekend and the club maintain their playmaker hasn’t been ruled out of the Cup Final. The 25-year old is no guarantee to board the flight to Adelaide with his teammates and, should he be cleared to play, is likely to be left out of the starting eleven given the potential for the match to go to extra-time. Nichols will be keen not to further aggravate the problem as he looms as a strong chance of selection in Ange Postecoglou’s 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup. Ruben Zadkovich shapes as an inclusion for Glory’ with Brazilian attacker Sidnei set to remain on the bench.



Perth Glory maintained their lead at the top of Foxtel National Youth League after a 5-3 win against Central Coast Mariners at Ashfield Sports Complex on Saturday. Doubles from Joe Knowles and Chris Harold and an own goal saw the Glory home, while goals from Anthony Kalik and Sam Perre, plus a late strike from substitute Trent Buhagiar were the scorers for the visitors.

The home side made the perfect start, and hit the front after just one minute. A slide rule pass from Cameron Edwards sent Harold racing clear, and the striker finished clinically past Adam Pearce. Kalik was a constant threat for the Mariners and his shot from the edge of the penalty area whistled over the crossbar moments later. But on ten minutes the Glory doubled their advantage. Brandon O’Neill’s teasing free kick into the area was headed into his own net by Brian Jamba.

Knowles was causing havoc down the right and on 33 minutes he raced past his marker and delivered a perfect cross to Harold, whose header flashed wide of the target. The Mariners began to get into the game, and five minutes before the break they were back in the game. O’Neill stuck out a leg and the Mariners winger fell in the box and referee Niko Hoyle pointed straight to the spot, Kalik stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty. Jack Clisby almost made it 3-1 just before the break, but his long-range shot flew over the top and at the break the Glory held a narrow advantage.

The Glory pressed after the restart and O’Neill free kick was only inches over the crossbar, but on 51 minutes the Glory restored their two goal advantage. O’Neill’s in-swinging free kick picked out Harold, whose bullet like header flew past Pearce. The home side began to get on top and added a fourth moments later. Harold was given far too much space on the edge of the box, his shot was saved by Pearce, but the rebound was headed home by the alert Knowles.

It looked game over but the Mariners hit back on the hour, Sam Perre was sent down the left, and he cut in and slide the ball past Jordan Thurtell. But the result was made safe five minutes later, with a superb team goal. Some neat one touch football ended with Borbor Sam racing down the left, his perfect cross found Knowles, who made no mistake from close-range for his 7th goal in eight games. The Mariners scored a late consolation goal through a long-range shot from Buhagiar, but at the final whistle it was the Glory running out winners and maintaining their lead at the top of the table.



Perth Glory continued their great start to the A-League season after a 2-0 win against Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium on Friday night and in doing so moved four points clear at the top of the table. An early strike from Richard Garcia his first for the club, and a stunner from Nebojsa Marinkovic sealed the win, and the Jets ended the game with ten men when skipper Kew Jaliens was sent off for a crude tackle on Scott Jamieson. “I've thought about that goal for a long time, ever since Glory came about, so for me to get one tonight is fantastic,” Garcia said. “We've got a great bunch of guys who work hard for each other, we don't know when we're beat. That team spirit that we've got is taking us a long way.”

The home side was out of the blocks early and deservedly went in front after only 11 minutes. Josh Risdon played the ball into Garcia, who looked to play in Daniel De Silva, but Scott Neville’s attempted clearance fell back into the path of Garcia who finished low past Ben Kennedy. It was nearly 2-0 moments later. Garcia made the most of a mistake from Jets defender Sam Gallagher, racing down the right, his cross to Andy Keogh at the back post was almost turned into his own net by Jaliens.

After the goal both sides struggled to create any decent chances, the best for the home side fell to Keogh, who couldn’t find the target after a low cross from Risdon on the half hour. The Jets ended the half well and on 37 minutes David Carney’s cross found Joel Griffiths at the back post, but the striker fired wide. Then before the break Carney’s long-range shot whistled just wide of the target.

Newcastle, who were still looking for their first win of the season, should have levelled eight minutes into the second half. Ben Kantarovski found Joel Griffiths who played in Carney, but the former Socceroo blazed over from the edge of the box. Marinkovic tried his luck from long-range on the hour but failed to test Kennedy. Keogh was really handful for the Jets and he went close to the second on 76 minutes. Scott Jamieson’s racking ball found the Irishman on the right, who took on Adrian Madaschi before unleashing a shot which flashed wide of the target.

The Jets were then reduced to 10 men on 82 minutes when Jaliens lunged in on Jamieson and referee Kris Griffiths-Jones showed the Dutch defender a straight red card. The Glory made their one-man advantage count and wrapped up the points four minutes later. Keogh playing the ball into the path of Marinkovic on the edge of the penalty area, and the Serbian midfielder drilled his shot in off the post. The home side almost added a third late, but Kennedy produced a stunning save to deny Keogh’s long-range shot. But at the final whistle it was the Glory faithful celebrating another three points.



Perth Glory are on the verge of ending a decade-long trophy drought in next week's FFA Cup final, but the A-League remains the priority for Rostyn Griffiths. Glory will be out to extend their lead at the top of the league ladder when they host winless Newcastle Jets at Perth Oval tonight. It is one of three big games in the next eight days, with the Cup Final away to Adelaide United and another home league match against Central Coast Mariners before Christmas.

Describing himself as a traditionalist, Griffiths said the true marker of a team was its league form. The midfielder said six points from games with Newcastle and Central Coast would be crucial to Glory's chances of setting up a top-two spot. "This next week is really big," Griffiths said. "The two home games for me are the most crucial. The FFA Cup final obviously is massive and everybody wants to win it, but for me, I'm all about the league. We've got a chance to get six points at home before a tough Christmas and New Year period, so we need the points now."

Glory's brilliant start to the campaign has forced them to re-evaluate their targets for the season. "At the beginning of the season we just said we wanted to make finals, but now you get to Christmas and we're at the top, so we want to be pushing top-two," Griffiths said. "That's what we want to achieve. We want to get as far up the ladder as possible and definitely getting a home grand final I think is most important now." Second from bottom Newcastle have endured a week of turmoil, with player bust-ups at training and increasing pressure on coach Phil Stubbins.



Perth Glory Women’s W-League semi-final will take on special significance for Elisa D’Ovidio after her decision to hang up her boots at the end of the season. Table-topping Glory take on Sydney FC in Sunday’s Pink Ribbon semi-final at Perth Oval aiming for a victory that would seal the club’s first Grand Final appearance. There will be no second chance with the losing team’s season over.

D’Ovidio has been part of the Glory squad since foundation in 2008 and is determined to end her playing days as a winner. “To be able to walk away as a winner would be amazing and obviously it would be very emotional for me,” D’Ovidio said. “It’s been a fantastic season so far and we want to go all the way. For me to have been part of the Perth Glory journey and how great this season has been has just been incredible. But it’s not finished yet and we all known we have to be switched on against Sydney to make it to the Grand Final.”

Glory coach Jamie Harnwell said he would have a “quiet word” with D’Ovidio before the game to ensure she does not allow emotions to get the better of her. “It can be quite emotional and you do have to settle yourself down,” said Harnwell, who made a record 256 Glory appearances before retiring in 2011. “Vids has been a huge part of Perth Glory both on and off the field and she has given so much to the club. She’s played a few roles as a player, development officer and as a girls coach and she’s shown great professionalism to juggle all that.”

D’Ovidio and Gabe Marzano are front runners to replace Matilda’s striker Samantha Kerr, whose knee injury last weekend cruelly robbed her of a place in the finals. Harnwell is confident the team, which won the premiership with a record number of points, can overcome Sydney. “It’s a one-off game and you’ve got to be aware that any team can take the chocolates on the day,” he said. “It’s about rocking up on the day and having the same level of performance that has been so successful to this point.”



Striker Adam Taggart has revealed that he is closing in on his debut for English Championship club Fulham. The Socceroo joined Fulham in June from Newcastle Jets but has been sidelined since the pre-season by a groin injury. After playing for the Cottagers' Under-21s earlier this week, Taggart is hopeful that his senior bow is around the corner. "Now it's just about pushing forward and getting the sharpness back to really push for some more game time," he said. "I've been training hard every day but games are obviously very different so it was good personally to get out there for a run and get used to match situations again."



Perth Glory have taken a major step towards developing a long-awaited high-performance training and administration base. The club today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Joondalup to explore the possibility of building facilities at Percy Doyle Reserve. Glory’s administration, first team and junior, youth and women’s programs currently operate out of separate venues. The new facilities at Percy Doyle Reserve would be part of a redeveloped southern end of the sporting precinct, separate to those of National Premier Leagues club Sorrento.

Glory chief executive Jason Brewer said the move was a major step in the right direction for the growth of West Australian football. “We are thankful to the people and council from the City of Joondalup for embracing our vision to promote and help grow the game in a corridor of Perth’s northern suburbs which already has a huge following for the world game.” he said. Glory and Football West have long campaigned for government funding to build soccer-specific facilities, highlighting public money spent on other sports such as basketball, rugby union and netball.



Kenny Lowe hopes next week's inaugural FFA Cup final will be a "line-in-the-sand" moment for a resurgent Perth Glory. After a barren ten-years without a trophy, the former powerhouse of Australian football is starting to win back respect on the back of a brilliant start to the 2014/15 campaign. Glory have surprised by reaching the inaugural FFA Cup Final and storming to the top of the A-League ladder with 11 wins in 13 matches in all competitions this season. They meet Adelaide United in the Cup Final at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday night, but must first negotiate Friday's A-League clash with Newcastle at home.

Lowe felt lifting the Cup would be the ideal way to silence Glory's critics and steer the club back towards the top of the domestic game. "The professionalism of the team, they've all got their own personal pride in the way they want to go about their business," Lowe said. "They're really fired up and it (winning the Cup) will be a little marker in the sand for everybody over east to say that we're maybe the real deal … we're at a little crossroads (and) if we can add a little bit of silverware to it then it all adds to the kudos."

Lowe overhauled Glory's squad this year, bringing in a string of proven A-League players and a sprinkling of international stars in a bid to turn around the club's fortunes. Captain Michael Thwaite said the recruiting campaign and changes within the football department had been the main reasons behind Glory's success. "It comes down to recruiting good players and having a good staff around you," Thwaite said. "There's a good link between the administration and football department now with (former captain) Jacob Burns filling in that role. The club in general is taking the right steps, right from under-12s right through to the A-League team."



Perth Glory defender Josh Risdon was straight on the phone upon finding out of his inclusion in the Socceroos extended squad for next year’s Asian Cup. Risdon, one of four uncapped players named by coach Ange Postecoglou, wasted no time in conveying the news to the two people who did everything they could to help him realise his dream, his parents, Ray and Leanne. "I've never been so proud and happy to make a phone call," said Risdon. "Mum and dad used to drive me five times a week from Bunbury to Perth so I could train with junior rep teams. It was two hours each way in the car, but they never hesitated, they were always happy to do it."

Whether 22-year old Risdon makes the cut when it is reduced from 46 players to 23 remains to be seen, but even if he doesn't the defender says he'll take consolation from the fact he has arrived on Postecoglou's radar. "I'll just keep trying to perform well for Perth and give myself the best chance of making it," he said. "You never know what might happen." Risdon played juniors with ECU Joondalup and spent several years in the National Training Centre prior to being picked up by the Glory Youth team. He gained an A-League debut in late 2010 and has gone on to make 79 appearances for Glory.



The season of Samantha Kerr has come to a bitter end with a knee injury ruling the Perth Glory Women attacker out of the W-League finals. Kerr, 21, has been a key player in Glory’s historic first premiership success this season, scoring 11 goals in a record-breaking campaign. She was on target in last weekend’s final regular season match away to Canberra United before limping off with a knee injury. Despite early optimism she should be fit to play in Sunday’s W-League semi-final against Sydney FC, scans have revealed damage to the joint surface cartilage of her left knee, which requires surgery.

Coach Jamie Harnwell was bitterly disappointed for Kerr and acknowledged the blow to the team. “She’s been exceptional for us this year, not just with the goals she’s scored but her overall commitment to helping drive Perth Glory to the top of the W-League,” Harnwell said. “Obviously, you will always miss a player of her calibre. It’s awful for her and it’s a blow to us as a club but I’m confident we have the quality in the squad to cope. We’ll keep pushing towards our goal and whatever we achieve will be down to the contribution of every player in the squad.”

Kerr, who will be sidelined for three months, has her fingers crossed her teammates can secure Glory’s first W-League semi-final win, which would in turn ensure the team hosted the Grand Final at Perth Oval on 21 December. “I’m devastated to miss the finals series but I have 100% belief in Jamie and the girls to go all the way,” she said. “Hopefully, this year is our year.” Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was also injured against Canberra when she received a heavy knock to the face. Scans cleared her of serious injury and she is expected to be fit to take on Sydney.



Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe wants to wait until Danny De Silva is 35 before talking about the midfielder's feats on the football field. De Silva is a surprise inclusion in the extended Socceroos squad for next year’s Asian Cup, but Lowe is doing his best to protect the 17-year old starlet from the growing hype. "He's just a kid. I keep saying to come back when he's 35 and we'll talk about him them," Lowe said of De Silva, who will join Italian giants AS Roma at the end of the A-League season. "He's got potential, but he's not finished now. It's nice that he's getting the accolades but just let him play, let him play and be a kid."



It's been dubbed the group of death, but Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is pleased to be facing two of the leading contenders for the Women's World Cup straight away. Australia were handed a difficult draw for next year's tournament in Canada by being grouped alongside world number one the United States, European powerhouse Sweden and nine-time African champions Nigeria. The top two teams from each group progress to the round of 16, with the six best, third-placed teams also qualifying.

Williams believes having seven Australians playing in the American professional league – the National Women's Soccer League – will be an advantage against the United States. "It's probably the most entertaining group out of the whole competition, but of all those teams I'd rather see them all in a group game than in a play-off," Williams said. "They have an X-factor in a play-off and maybe we can catch them out in a group stage. We've played with and against these players for the last three years. We know these players a lot that we're going to be versing, so it's probably easier in that way than the unknown."

Williams has missed the entire W-League season recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but is confident of returning in time for the World Cup. "Do all my rehab correctly and get ticked off in the right areas and it should be all right," Williams said. "I'm at the AIS five or six times a week with my rehab. I have someone looking after me in everything I do, from running, to gym, to goalkeeping, to physio and probably the best support I can have in Australia. It's definitely a month by month, week by week monitoring, but I'm riding on as much luck as I can to get back for it."



Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has rewarded the A-League’s best performers with inclusion in his extended 46-man squad for January's Asian Cup. In total 16 A-League players have been named in the squad, the youngest of which is 17-year old Perth Glory starlet Daniel De Silva. The teenage midfielder is joined in the squad by fellow West Australian’s Chris Herd (Aston Villa), Brad Jones (Liverpool), Josh Risdon (Perth Glory), Nikita Rukavytsya (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle), Adam Taggart (Fulham), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough).

Postecoglou said he was very happy with the extended group, a month out from the Asian Cup. “I’m happy with the depth of squad … it is now up to these 46 guys to ensure they rise to the challenge ahead,” commented the Australian coach. “We have set about trying to broaden the depth of players and I’m happy with how that has transpired over the last five matches since the World Cup. We have a good group of players to choose from for what will be an exciting time for Australian football.”



Perth Glory Women will be waiting on scans after both Sam Kerr (Knee) and keeper Mackenzie Arnold (Face) were forced off in their 2-1 defeat against Canberra United in the final round of the Westfield W-League at Viking Park on Sunday. It isn’t an ideal situation for the Glory, ahead of next week’s Semi-Final against Sydney FC at nib Stadium, but Coach Jamie Harnwell is confident they will be prepared for the clash with the Sky Blues. “We’ve been preparing for this semi-final for three weeks really,” he said. “Everyone knows their roles if they’re called upon. Hopefully Sam and Macca will be fine but I’m confident we’ve still got the team and quality even if they’re not.”

Canberra knew a point would see them into the Semi-Finals, at Newcastle Jets expense, and it was a cautious start to the game with chances few and far between. Kerr was a constant threat and her deep cross on 23 minutes was only inches away from Kate Gill in the area. The home side had the best chance 15 minutes later, American midfielder Lori Lindsey’s long-range shot whistled inches over the bar. The Glory, who was looking to add to their record season with an 11th win, went close just before the break.

Gill was alert to pounce on a poor pass from Sally Rojahn, but former Matilda’s defender Ellie Brush got back with a superb last-ditch tackle to save the day. Then Kerr raced clear from Collette McCallum’s ball over the top but the lively striker dragged her shot wide of the target. The Glory lost keeper Arnold to a facial injury in stoppage time, she was replaced by Gabrielle Dal Busco, for her A-League debut, but it was all-square at the break.

The change didn’t affect the Glory, and they hit the front seven minutes into the second half. Gill was the provider, sending Kerr into the area with a perfectly-weighted pass, and the Glory striker finished with aplomb past former Glory custodian Chantel Jones. But ten minutes later Kerr limped off and was replaced by Gabrielle Marzano, and Canberra were back on level terms moments later. Caitlin Munoz header found Michelle Heyman, whose close-range shot flew past Dal Busco.

That goal meant Canberra was now in the finals, but the home side wanted more. Heyman cut in from the flank and her shot was heading for the top corner, but Dal Busco produced a stunning save to deny her. Glory, were also not settling for a point and Gill headed inches wide, from McCallum’s corner moments later. But roared on by a vocal crowd Canberra sealed the win and a Semi-Final trip to Simmonds Stadium in Geelong next week to take on Melbourne Victory, four minutes from time. Heyman crossed to Ashleigh Sykes, whose stunning striker flew into the net giving Dal Busco no chance.



On the edge of extinction just two years ago, Perth Glory Women have risen into a league of their own. It is almost three years to the day since the team suffered an 11-0 drubbing by Sydney, a devastating result that remains the biggest domestic defeat at the elite level of either the men's or the women's game. But they have already secured this year's W-League premiership and their 5-0 win over Sydney last weekend also set a new mark for the biggest number of league points earnt in a single season.

It has been a stunning transformation under Glory playing legend Jamie Harnwell, who says he never lost belief in the program during his four years at the helm. But he admits the Sydney flogging had him asking questions. "In your first year as coach, something like that hits you and you wonder whether you're cut out for it and whether it's all it's cracked up to be," Harnwell said. "To sit here this length of time at the top of the league and looking to finals is pretty rewarding. But I always believed we'd find a way somehow."

Such was Glory Women’s dominance this season that they secured the league premiership with three regular fixtures still to play. Their season includes a 10-1 win over Newcastle Jets, where Kate Gill's five goals were the most in a match by any player in W-League history. The team's Twitter tag theme before the season even started was set as #ALLTHEWAY. That premonition now looks like coming true just two years after funding for the $240,000-a-year program looked as good as gone.

Fortunately, Football West had the courage to persist with finding new funding options and Harnwell, a two-time championship winner with Glory's men, openly says this year's rise of his team is one of the highlights of his stellar career. He takes equal satisfaction out of the game's unprecedented recent growth among WA girls and women. Participation in women's football increased 8 per cent this year to almost 6600 registered players, not including thousands of girls who play in indoor centres and at schools. Registrations have risen 14 per cent in the past five years and 76 per cent in the past decade.

While a clever recruiting drive has given the Glory team impetus, it has also been serviced by a strong theme of persistence and development. Six players who were in the record loss to Sydney are still in the squad, including goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold, who was just 17 and in goal that day. One of the star recent recruits is Samantha Kerr. She is one of six Australian internationals in the team and is embracing the growing support for her from younger players, in similar fashion to that she had afforded to athletics great Cathy Freeman and her brother Daniel Kerr, formerly of AFL side West Coast eagles.

"I was in the Eagles cheer squad banging on the fence for him and a big fan," Kerr said, admitting she also wore her brother's No. 4 on her back on a guernsey that still fitted. "I went to every game and always wore his number and I'm proud of what he achieved, but you don't just want to be known for your brother. You find it a bit weird that people from all over the world are coming out and wanting to buy jerseys with our names on them and it's still pretty crazy because I'm only 21. But it's super-cool and I'm embracing it."

Kerr took up football when her brother and their father Roger took offence to the rough treatment she was copping from boys playing AFL. She has since travelled the world with the game and also won a grand final with Sydney in 2012. "I've been in the middle of New York, by myself with no family and no friends, walking through Times Square and wondering, 'How did I get here?'," she said. "My mum would probably be freaking out if she knew I was walking in Times Square by myself. I've travelled a lot of the world, but there's still no place like home. I love Perth."

The exploding popularity of Football West's Skill Acquisition Program for nine to 13-year olds is a prime example of where the women's game is heading in WA, with more than 60 girls registering for next year's program, up 20 on last year. The youngsters' love for the Glory women is obvious, with 10-year old twins such as Tiahna and Madelyn Atkins quick to name their favourite players. "Gabe (Marzano) taught me how to juggle the ball and whenever I see her, she practises with me," Tiahna said. "She's my favourite Glory player - we both play in attack and like to shoot goals."

The Glory Women are an eclectic bunch comprising university students, teachers, soccer promoters and even an army work diver. Harnwell said he realised he had a tight-knit and talented group during a pre-season team trip to Broome. "They did some school clinics, some training sessions and had the camel ride on the beach and I think it was a pretty big driving force for them," he said. "They are a lot of fun. I really enjoy the relationship I've got with them."



A man of the match performance from keeper Jordan Thurtell has helped Perth Glory Youth to secure a 1-1 draw in Saturday morning’s Foxtel National Youth League clash against Sydney FC at Lambert Park. The young Socceroos heroic’s looked in vain with minutes to go, with Sydney leading by Jordan Tsekenis’ first half goal, but a last gasp Chris Harold goal earned them a share of the spoils.

The home side were out of the blocks early and Thurtell had to be alert after only ten minutes, tipping away Max Burgess’ powerful header. It was one-way traffic and Cristian Gonzalez dangerous cross moments later was only inches away from George Blackwood at the far post. The Glory settled but were struggled to break down a tight Sydney defence. Still the home side pressed and Blackwood burst into the area, rounded Thurtell but took the ball too wide, but his cross from the bye-line found Daniel Araujo who blazed wide. But on 36 minutes Sydney pressure was rewarded with the opening goal. Burgess picked the ball in the middle of the park, and sent a perfectly weighted through ball into Tsekenis who finished clinically past Thurtell. They hadn’t finished yet, and Thurtell saved well to deny Blackwood two minutes later.

Glory head coach John Gibson made a change at the break bringing on Borbor Sam to replace Cameron Edwards, and they opened brightly and were having more of the ball, but it was still the home side that were creating the best chances. On the hour Burgess played in Charles Lokolingoy, but he fired wide. Then eight minutes later Thurtell produced a stunning save to thwart Gonzalez’s free kick. The Glory settled and began to get on top, and went close to the equaliser on 72 minutes. Jack Clisby run into penalty area ended with a low shot that beat Anthony Bouzanis, but crashed off the post.

It was the visitors now on top and pressing for the leveller, and Harold and Joe Knowles’ pace was causing problems for the Sky Blues defence. But it looked like time was against them, but in the last minute they got their rewards. Mitchell Oxborrow made space down the right, his inch perfect cross found Harold who headed home past Bouzanis to level. There was still five minutes of stoppage time, and both had late chances to win it. First on 92 minutes Burgess raced clear and played Gonzalez in down the channel, but instead of shooting he cut the ball back to Burgess and the chance was gone. Then in the final minute, Glory almost won it. They won a free kick on the edge of the penalty area and skipper Jacob Collards’ set piece curled over the wall, but crashed off the crossbar, and the points were shared.



Perth Glory winger Youssouf Hersi has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a hamstring injury against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium last weekend. Scans have revealed a tear to the Ethiopian-Dutchman's hamstring and as a result, Hersi will undergo surgery in Perth later this week and is not expected to take any further part in season 10 of the Hyundai A-League.

Perth Glory FC Chief Executive Jason Brewer said the club was focused on helping Hersi make a full recovery as quickly as possible. "We're disappointed to lose the services of such a valuable player from our line-up early on in the season. The club is now working with Youssouf to ensure the road to recovery for him, is effective and smooth as possible and that he receives all the support required" he said.

Hersi, who is also a Foxtel A-League All Star, said he too was bitterly disappointed his season had come to an end. "I would like to thank my teammates, the club and fans for all their ongoing support and well wishes I have received over the past week. I would like to wish the boys all the best for the rest of the season and most importantly good luck in the FFA Cup final against Adelaide in just over a week" Hersi said.



Perth Glory moved four points clear at the top of the Hyundai A-League after a come-from-behind 2-1 against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night. The home side hit the front with a controversial penalty from former Glory striker Shane Smeltz early in the second half, before Rostyn Griffiths equalised eight minutes from time and Andy Keogh’s penalty five minutes later won the points. "The boys have dug deep tonight, I think everyone was on their last legs,” Griffiths said. “The boys are buzzing off that, we've worked so hard for it. The Club's done well, everyone's done well in the off-season to recruit the players we've got and now we're top of the table”.

The visitors started brightly and within minutes Nebosja Marinkovic’s corner found the unmarked Griffiths, but his downward header bounced wide of the target. Moments later Mitch Nichols found himself one-on-one with Vedran Janjetovic, but the Sydney keeper stood tall to deny the Socceroos midfielder. The Glory was well on top and Scott Jamieson shot on the run drifted wide of the target. The best chance of the half fell to Keogh on the half hour, the Irish striker raced clear but a superb last ditch tackle from Matt Jurman denied him. Sydney was struggling to get into the game, but on 37 minutes they created their first opportunity. The lively Bernie Ibini found space, but his shot was saved low by Danny Vukovic.

The home side started the second half the better and hit the front 10 minutes in. Ibini played the ball back to Smeltz, whose shot hit Dino Djulbic on the shoulder, but referee Alan Miliner pointed straight to the spot, and Smeltz stepped up and sent Vukovic the wrong way to score. The goal spurred on the Sky Blues and Vukovic came to the Glory’s rescue with a great one handed saved to deny Terry Antonis’ shot from the edge of the penalty area. But with Sydney dropping deeper the Glory began to get back in the game, and Keogh’s low cross was only inches away from Nichols in the six-yard box, before Janjetovic saved low from Keogh’s long-range shot. But on 83 minutes the Glory levelled.

Sydney switched off at a Marinkovic free kick; the Serbian’s in-swinging set piece found the unmarked Griffiths who headed home powerfully from six-yards. It was their just rewards and they looked the likelier to take all three points, and three minutes from time they did. Jamieson cut in from the left, played a one-two with Keogh, and was felled in the box by a clumsy challenge by substitute Chris Naumoff, and Miliner awarded a second spot kick. Keogh kept his nerve to score, despite Janjetovic getting a boot to it. Glory coach Kenny Lowe described the penalty awarded to Sydney as a "poor decision" but praised the 'character' of the team to claw its way back and grab the three points. “I thought we bossed the first half, but fair play to them they made it hard for us in the second half and asked questions but the character of the team shone through, it was top notch tonight,” Lowe said.

Articles compiled by Brett Klucznik, Paul Oliver and Peter Simcox unless otherwise stated.

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 jacob@footballwa.net

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